Turned down by Scottish police, Douglas Paxton has just been named one of England’s top cops.
Last Friday, the former Falkirk High pupil was appointed Chief Constable for Suffolk – the force he joined after Strathclyde rejected him because he was too small!
Proud parents, Bill and Sadie, are delighted at their youngest son’s success.
Speaking from his Falkirk home, Mr Paxton, a former rector of Grangemouth High School, said: “This is definitely a case of Scotland’s loss was England’s gain.”
After graduating from Stirling University with a degree in economics, Douglas applied to join Strathclyde Police.
However, in the late 1980s, Scottish forces still had a height requirement for would-be officers.
Mr Paxton added: “He went off for the interview in Glasgow but when he was measured they said he was just too short. It was an infinitesimal amount but they still turned him down.
“Douglas then began phoning round other forces about their entry requirements and when he spoke to Suffolk they told him to go straight down. He joined them in 1989.”
At one time police officers had to be 5ft 10in but by the 1960s forces across the country had differing requirements for prospective police officers. When Douglas attempted to join, Strathclyde wanted officers to be 5ft 8in.
However, UK forces have all abolished the need to be a certain height – Devon and Cornwall Police are believed to have the country’s smallest male PC who is just 5ft tall.
Douglas (47) spent 12 years with Suffolk Police and rose to the rank of Superintendent.
In 2002 he moved to West Midlands Police where, for three years, he was in charge of a large division in Birmingham city centre, which included a match commander’s role at Aston Villa.
He was appointed Deputy Chief Constable of Staffordshire Constabulary in April 2007.
Married to Helen, the couple have a daughter Alexandra (18), who is a student at Leicester University, and a son Callum (17), who is completing his schooling in Sutton Coldfield, where the family live.
Announcing his appointment to the £133,068-a-year role, Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “Douglas impressed us with his sound knowledge of the county and all its different communities and businesses. His innovative approach to policing and partnership working will be particularly important as we work more closely with partners to get the very best value for the council tax payer.”
Looking forward to his role, Suffolk’s new chief constable said: “I feel very honoured and delighted to be returning to the force I joined as a new recruit 24 years ago.
“I share a strong affinity with Suffolk and its people having spent 12 very happy and formative years of my early career serving its communities.”
He takes up his appointment on March 4.
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