The Board of Trustees was formally constituted and the current Trustees formally appointed to the Board in August 2016 as part of the HLF-funded project ‘Policing Past, Community Present’ run by former Curator Angela Sutton-Vane, Assistant Curator Carmen Talbot and the Friends of Devon and Cornwall Police with the support and assistance of Devon and Cornwall Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner.

The purpose of the Board is to establish the mission, vision and values of the organisation. Together with the Curator they set the policies and long-term strategy for what the Trust will achieve.

Current Trustees

Mr David J. Rees (Chairman)

David trained as a mechanical engineer working for the Ministry of Defence and Rolls Royce. On a change of career his work has focused on the economic and social issues in rural areas working for the former Rural Development Commission in Dorset, Worcestershire and Devon.

In the South West of England Regional Development Agency he played a leading role on the economic recovery of Somerset and Gloucestershire following the 2001 Foot and Mouth Crises. Managing private and public sector partnerships he delivered major regeneration including the electrification of farms on the higher moorland of Exmoor,a new cattle market and affordable housing at Wheddon Cross, Somerset, the regeneration of Watchet Harbour into a marina and new jetty access to Lundy Island.

He is a former chair of the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust, adviser to a major UK charity and lives in Mid-Devon.

Mr Geoffrey Mackrell MVO (Treasurer)

Geoff worked for almost 40 years in the Halifax Group.  In 2001 he became Chief Operating Officer for Intelligent Finance where he helped establish that internet banking subsidiary for the Halifax. Following retirement from the Halifax in 2003 Geoff was appointed to the Royal Household as Her Majesty’s Superintendent at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, The Queen’s Official Residence in Scotland. Until his retirement in 2013 he was responsible for managing Holyroodhouse together with official engagements undertaken by The Queen and other Members of the Royal Family in Scotland.

In the 2012 New Year’s Honours List he was made a Member of the Royal Victorian Order for services to The Queen. Later in the same year, he was awarded The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Mr William Tupman (Secretary)

Bill Tupman is Visiting Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at BPP University, Holborn London, running a module in Investigation Law and Practice in the LLM programme. He was Director of the Centre for Police and Criminal Justice, at Exeter, running an MA in Police Studies, retaining an Honorary Fellowship in the Department of Politics.

He holds a research fellowship at Anglia Ruskin University, supervising PhD students. He is social media officer and a member of the executive of the Standing Group on Organised Crime of the European Consortium for Political Research. Author of Policing Western Europe; Uniform in Diversity, he has published widely on terrorism, organised crime and international police responses.

Dr Judith Rowbotham

Dr Judith Rowbotham is currently a Visiting Research Fellow at Plymouth University; formerly at Nottingham Trent University, she is noted interdisciplinary scholar working mainly across the fields of law, history and criminology, and is one of the co-founders of the SOLON network. One of the editors of the SOLON e-journal, Law, Crime and History, and the Routledge SOLON Criminology series, she has published a number of works, including Crime News in Modern Britain (Palgrave, 2013, with Kim Stevenson and Sam Pegg).

An expert in the use of printed sources, especially media sources, and a regular speaker at academic and other conferences, she has previously served as a Trustee of the RAF Museums at the time of the HLF-funded Milestones of Flight and Cosford expansion projects, and most recently was a consultant on the HLF-funded Lincoln Castle Revealed project.

Mr Bill Skelly

Bill joined Devon and Cornwall Police from Police Scotland in 2013 as Deputy Chief Constable. He has been a serving police officer since 1990, starting his career with Lothian and Borders Police and completing the command course at Bramshill in 2004. In 2014 he worked on the safety and security of the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Bill was appointed Chief Constable of Lincolnshire Police in November 2016, commencing his role in February 2017.

Dr Jim Gale

Jim Gale is a serving Police Superintendent with Devon and Cornwall Police, having joined the Special Constabulary in 1994 and the regular force in 1995. He holds MA and PhD degrees in policing-related subjects from Exeter University, and has a powerful sense of identity with both the Constabulary and Communities in the South West. Moreover, Jim has a deep seated conviction that he is standing on the shoulders of giants from the policing-past, and that the unique nature of the collection holds valuable insights for tackling today’s policing challenges.

Mr Chris Wilkes


Ex-officio Board Members

Mr Andrew Bickley (Friends of the South West Police Heritage Trust)

Hilary Bracegirdle (Curator, SWPHT)

Ms Tanya Croft (Head of Corporate Communications, Devon and Cornwall Police)

Assistant Chief Constable Russell Middleton (Chief Constable’s nominee to the Board)


Previous Trustees

Mr David James

David trained and worked as a carpenter in his early life and then joined Devon and Cornwall Constabulary in January 1988, where he spent 15 years in the Traffic Dept (Roads Policing). He was elected as a Federation Represntative in 2000 undertaking his main role as a Roads Policing Officer alongside roles as Treasurer, Discipline Lead and Chair and Secretary of the Constable’s Branch Board. After 20 years of front line Policing he was elected as the Secretary of the Police Federation of England and Wales local branch board in 2008. He retired in 2017.