Top detective hands in his warrent card

ONE of Suffolk's top police officers is retiring after 32 years with the force.Now a Detective Superintendent, Dave Cole began as a patrol PC at Ipswich and then rose through the ranks, serving at Ipswich, Felixstowe, Stowmarket, Bury St Edmunds, Halesworth and Woodbridge as well as at police headquarters during his 30-year service.

ONE of Suffolk's top police officers is retiring after 32 years with the force.

Now a Detective Superintendent, Dave Cole began as a patrol PC at Ipswich and then rose through the ranks, serving at Ipswich, Felixstowe, Stowmarket, Bury St Edmunds, Halesworth and Woodbridge as well as at police headquarters during his 30-year service.In the mid 1980s he spent two and a half years on the Regional Crime Squad (RCS) at Harlow and Mildenhall - an experience he describes as “enlightening.”

“The two years I spent on the RCS were an eye-opener and a complete contrast to what I had been doing up until then. This was on the outskirts of East London dealing with serious criminality mainly focussing on Class A drug trafficking and also organised crime such as lorry load theft. It was different and the tactics used were specialised and were a pre-cursor to the tactics used today to tackle organised criminality.”

It was this covert and intelligence-led work that stood him in good stead for the rest of his career. After returning to Suffolk he worked at Ipswich CID before being promoted to sergeant in 1987 and then worked in uniform and CID before taking up roles dealing with criminal intelligence and major crime in the early to mid 1990s.

In November 1995 after successfully achieving the rank of Inspector he served in CID operations at police headquarters, and then worked at Bury St Edmunds, Halesworth, Woodbridge and Ipswich before being promoted to Detective Chief Inspector in 2000.

He then worked in the Crime Management Department before becoming Crime Manager for the old Southern Area based in Ipswich.

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In 2005 he was promoted to Detective Superintendent and since then has worked primarily on overseeing intelligence gathering and development together with the management of the Force Special Branch, but has also fulfilled investigation roles as the Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) for Operation Gable, the investigation into the murder of Jimoh Plunkett at Ipswich's Zest nightclub in December 2006, and Operation Mandrill, the investigation into the murder of Nicola West in February 2007.

During his career he has also overseen other significant investigations including the enquiry into the death of Stephen Burt whose remains were found in Fen Meadow in Woodbridge in 1998, a knifepoint stranger rape in Felixstowe in 1999 and the last case in which Suffolk Police had to carry out an exhumation of a body, in 1998, resulting in two brothers being found guilty of manslaughter.

Operation Gable continues as an active enquiry, with a £20,000 reward offered this week for information leading to a conviction in the case as part of a new appeal to mark the second anniversary of the shooting. The enquiry and the team that have worked on the case from the start will now be headed by Detective Chief Inspector Dave Cutler.

However while Detective Superintendent Cole is retiring, he will continue to work for the police in his new job.

He said: “Retiring as a police officer will give me more time to spend with my family, but I will also be taking on a new role as a Change Officer within the criminal justice department at the Constabulary.”

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