Guard of honour for former Beds Chief Con Alf Hitchcock
A guard of honour and a salute by chief officers were just two gestures carried out to mark the funeral of former Bedfordshire Chief Constable Alf Hitchcock.
Hundreds of people turned out to pay their respects to the 58-year-old who died following a short illness on 16 June.
Alf was Bedfordshire Chief Constable between 2011 and 2013 and was serving as Chief Constable of the Ministry of Defence Police (MDP) when he died. He was also made a CBE for his services to policing.
The funeral cortege was given a police motorcycle escort made up of officers from the four forces he served - Bedfordshire, the Met, Lancashire and MDP. A guard of honour was formed outside St Paul’s Church in Bedford while current Bedfordshire Chief Constable Jon Boutcher and MDP Deputy Chief Constable Andy Adams took a salute.
Following the service, which was attended by around 300 mourners and also streamed live to the nearby Harpur Suite, the funeral cortege made its way to Bedfordshire Police HQ, in Kempston, where officers and staff paid tribute to their former chief constable.
Woburn Road was temporarily closed while a short reading was given to mark Alf’s sad passing with Deputy Chief Constable Mike Colbourne taking a further salute.
DCC Colbourne said: “The sheer number of people who turned out for today’s events, and the flow of tributes which have been paid since his untimely death, is testament to how highly regarded Alf was by the policing family and indeed the wider communities he served.
“He built tremendously strong relationships when he was with Bedfordshire and will always hold a special place in our hearts. We are proud to have called him our chief constable and I cannot speak highly enough of him as a man; it is incredibly heart-breaking to lose him at such a young age but his legacy will live on with the force. While nothing can stop the sadness we all feel at this time, I hope the show of respect and affection we have seen today will be of some comfort to his family and friends.”
MDP DCC Andy Adams added: “Alf Hitchcock was appointed as Chief Constable of the MDP four years ago. He quickly established himself as a highly committed leader of our organisation and was very well respected for his dedication to the force and the wider MoD.
“His career in policing spanned five decades, joining Lancashire Police in 1977. He served with dedication and professionalism in the Metropolitan Police, the National Policing Improvement Agency and Bedfordshire Police until joining the MDP in 2013.
“His contribution to public service and policing in the UK are both many and diverse. His vision and preferred inclusive police style will be carried forward for many years to come.
“We at the MoD Police feel a great sadness at his untimely loss as a greatly respected leader, policeman and friend.”
Mr Hitchcock began his policing career with Lancashire Constabulary in 1977. He later joined the Metropolitan Police Service where he served as commander for specialist operations, progressing to deputy assistant commissioner and acting assistant commissioner.
He left the force in 2009 to become deputy chief constable at the National College of Police Leadership, before joining Bedfordshire Police as chief constable in 2011.