TRIBUTES have been paid to a Herefordshire police officer who worked his way up to become Chief Constable.

Neville Ovens was the fourth generation of Herefordshire police officer in his family, involvement dating back to around 1870.


His daughter has gone on to become the fifth generation of police officer.

Mr Ovens died at St Michaels Hospice earlier this month.

He was born in Kington in 1938 while his father was serving there.

Following his education at Lady Hawkins Grammar School Mr Ovens embarked on his National Service which took him into the RAF at Innsworth, Gloucester, where he met his future wife Jean.

Following his National Service he returned to Hereford and joined the Herefordshire Constabulary.

Mr Ovens went on to become a sergeant while at Hereford and during that time they welcomed a daughter and son.

His son Paul Ovans said: "A recently re-discovered news article from the former Hereford Evening News outlined his remarkable sporting ability in cricket and in particular football.

"In a quote to the article Neville indicated that he turned down the chance to play for West Bromwich Albion, as happy to play for the ‘love of the game’.

"He continued to play for various police teams and the county side."

In 1967 Herefordshire Constabulary was amalgamated with their neighbours Shropshire and Worcester to form what was the new West Mercia Constabulary.

Mr Ovens was heavily involved and was transferred to the headquarters at Worcester as a representative of the former Herefordshire Force.

He continued to climb through the ranks within the local force.

In 1980, as required at that time to achieve the higher posts in the police force, he had to leave the area. Following periods at Staffordshire and Cheshire, Mr Ovens achieved the top post of chief constable in Lincolnshire Police.

His service to the various police forces with which he served was marked by Mr Ovens being awarded the Queens Police Medal. (Q.P.M) together with the Order of St.John.

On his retirement from policing he returned to his home county Herefordshire.

Mr Ovens became a prominent figure at Ross-on-Wye Golf Club holding the positions of captain and president. He also had involvement with his hometown golf club where he learnt to play.

Mr Ovens later combined his affection for both clubs and organised an annual competition at Kington Golf Club involving members and friends from both.