Northamptonshire PC who is face of the cardboard cutouts that deter shoplifters is to retire

PC Peter Littleton
PC Peter Littleton

A police officer is retiring after more than 30 years serving on the beat in Northamptonshire.

But while PC Peter Littleton has worked his final day with the force, he will continue to help fight crime as cardboard cut-outs of him are used in shops, police stations and community buildings around the county to deter criminals.

PC Littleton said: “It’s my image that the force uses on all the cardboard cut-outs around the county.

“That’s my legacy to the force.”

PC Littleton’s career began in October 1984 when he started working in the Wellingborough division.

He had two years on frontline policing before becoming beat officer on the Kingsway estate.

This was followed by five years as Wellingborough’s schools liaison officer working with schools and community groups on topics including safety issues, stranger danger and anything to do with citizenship and responsibility.

Between 1994 and 2004, PC Littleton was a rural officer and said he ‘absolutely loved it.’

After returning to response policing and then working closely with the crime investigation department for a short time, he went back to rural policing and was based in Earls Barton from 2006.

He has been working on a project related to the police’s use of mobile data for 12 months and when this finished in March this year, he returned to Wellingborough for his final six months.

PC Littleton said: “I could have retired last October but I have gone 10 months over.

“I have loved serving the community, helping people and detecting crime.

“When someone has had property stolen or they have become a victim of crime, you want to be able to get the property back or catch the person responsible.

“When you can do that and see that person brought to justice, it gives you a huge amount of satisfaction.”

PC Littleton has seen many changes over the years, but said he has always been happy in his work.

He said: “When I started, we had no computers at the station, everything was paper based.

“But it is all done in a totally different way now.

“We used to have a control room at Wellingborough Station, calls were answered there and the incident would be written on a piece of paper and then a person was deployed.

“Technology has seen a massive change and the other change is with equipment.

“When I started the only thing I carried was a truncheon but now there is personal safety equipment, stab vest, baton, pepper spray and handcuffs.

“The equipment has improved dramatically.

“Back then we weren’t issued with personal phones, you couldn’t access any information once you went out.”

PC Littleton was a Blackberry champion for the force due to his use of the phones allocated to officers while out and about, and he has met many people while working for Northamptonshire Police.

He said: “I have worked with a tremendous group of people, obviously changing faces over the years, but all extremely professional and dedicated to the job.

“They see policing as a vocation, not just a job.

“I am going to miss some great work colleagues.

“And particularly with working in rural areas, I will miss the communities, parish councils and so many different organisations that I have developed close links with.”

He admitted some days are better than others, adding: “There have been some down times, I have had a few injuries including a damaged shoulder, but you expect this because of the nature of the job.”

Aside from that, PC Littleton has many memories from his career, including an appearance on Channel 4’s Countdown.

He didn’t win, but loved the experience and said: “I would love to go back onto Countdown.

“It’s been my favourite TV programme over the years, I never miss an episode but I rarely watch it live.”

But until then, the retiring officer is waiting to hear about a new role which he is hoping, if successful, will start in September.