The man now chairing two Spalding trade groups – and looking after two of the town’s popular shops – has the same powers of arrest as any policeman.
Darren Sutton (42), a familiar face for the last two years at Charmed Interiors in Sheep Market and now at Bookmark in The Crescent, is an inspector in the Lincolnshire Police Special Constabulary.
“I have all the same powers of a regular policeman and wear the same uniform,” said Darren.
He worked for fashion retailer Peacocks for about ten years, including an eight-year spell as manager at the Spalding branch, before becoming operations director in a firm run by his twin brother, Jason, and oversees two branches of Charmed Interiors as well as the recently acquired bookshop.
Darren has become the new chairman of Spalding Town Retailers’ Association and the new chairman of The Crescent Traders’ Association and is working alongside fellow traders to promote the town’s mix of independent traders and nationally known names.
Traders are already talking to the district and county councils, along with MP John Hayes, to boost town centre attractions and to encourage more people to shop in the town.
Ideas being looked at include better street signage to direct visitors to the town centre, holding more events in Market Place, allowing limited daytime parking in Market Place – so customers can park closer to stores and nip in for a few minutes – and perhaps allowing buses through in a similar system to that employed by Boston in its Strait Bargate pedestrian area, where in-town buses travel slowly with audible and flashing warnings.
Darren says changes can only be achieved by working alongside the councils.
Team work is key to Darren’s volunteer police role.
He devotes 30-60 hours a month to the unpaid police service, working with fellow Specials, sergeants and constables, in Spalding and Holbeach.
He joined around 14 years ago, working in Cambridgeshire for two years before switching to Lincolnshire.
Darren said: “It’s nice to go into the town and walk around and give some ‘presence’ to people in Spalding.
“Even if it’s just for a couple of hours, I think people feel better when there’s a police officer around in uniform.”