July 2023 meeting: 50 years of service with Thames Valley Police

On 10 July 2023, Christine Bovingdon-Cox spoke about My 50 Year Career in Policing in the Thames Valley.

The Thames Valley Police Force was established in 1968 through the amalgamation of five local forces. In her talk, Christine related the colourful and varied career she had enjoyed in the TVP between joining as a cadet in 1971 and receiving the British Empire Medal in 2021 in recognition of her service. In 1973, at the end of her training, Christine was posted to Aylesbury from where, in early 1974, she attended the aftermath of an IRA bombing at the National Defence College, Latimer. Ten people were injured and although there were no fatalities it was a harrowing experience. Between 1978 and 1980 Christine was in the CID in Oxford and in 1980 transferred to Special Branch where she acted as a protection officer for important visitors to the Thames Valley. These included cabinet ministers and members of the royal family, several of whom Christine has very fond memories.

After periods spent in the women’s specialist unit and in uniform on the beat in Oxford, Christine set up the domestic violence unit as a pilot scheme in the TVP. Up to that point domestic violence had not been taken very seriously despite being a widespread problem. To deal better with the issues involved Christine decided she needed more knowledge of civil law, and this led her to study part-time for a law degree at Oxford Brookes University, graduating in 2004. Later Christine became a family liaison officer. This involved supporting murder victims’ families in the knowledge that, although they were bereaved, they might also include the perpetrators. In 2005 she was deployed to live for four months with Samantha Lewthwaite, the widow of one of the 7/7 bombers, who had been placed in witness protection. Subsequently, Lewthwaite has herself become one of the world’s most wanted terrorist suspects.

There’s no meeting in August. The AGM will be held on Monday 11 September, followed by a talk from Trevor Jackson on Cemeteries of Oxford: more than a century of history.