Location of interview:Bexley Heath
Date joined Met Police: 1 April 1975
Date left Met Police: 7 January 2007
Rank of leaving:Inspector
Divisons served:Tooting, Bromley, Rochester Row, Marylebone, Bexleyheath, W, P, R, A, D and C
Specialist service:No specialities
Transcript of interview
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Track 1: 11'36": Early education in Kenya until 16 years. Travelled to UK in 1967. Settled in Plumstead, SE London. Joined Royal Engineers, Army October 1968 and served for 6 years. Decision to join police whilst serving in army in Cyprus after visit from Metropolitan Police recruiting team. Joining Police was seen as a means of keeping up sport. Process of joining Police seen as simple. Had 4 GCE O level passes. Medical test. Process completed in one afternoon. Given date to join Police on 1 April after three month gap by choice. Attended Recruiting Centre, Paddington. Attested at New Scotland Yard. Intake at Peel Centre comprised 28 officers. Introduced to Sergeant instructor. Classmate was born in India, and remained friends with him thereafter who also had an Army background. Importance of complying with instruction to have haircut, regardless of need. Training course lasted 16 weeks. Found initial training enjoyable. Drill. Physical Training. Race walking.
Track 2: 31' 26”: Posted to Tooting police station at Amen Corner after initial training. Coach from Peel Centre dropped off recruits to their stations. Greeted by Inspector in charge of relief in Swahili who respected Sikhs. Interviewed by Commander. Accommodated at Nightingale Lane section house. Walked to work. Small Asian community in Tooting. Has kept in touch with some from the community ever since. Reliefs at police stations. Being only ethnic officer at station was not important in 1975. Young officers did not accept him, but older officers with experience in Armed Forces accepted him readily. Grunwick dispute. Need to parade at 2.30am. Comments about Asian workers involved in trade dispute. Notting Hill Carnival 1976. Elder members of community liked to have Sikh officers visit their home. After 1976 young people made contrasting comments. National Front active at the time. Trained for public order duties and availability of protective shields not used because authority not given. Injured and knocked unconscious in public order situation. Mother was worried by his injury. Discharged from hospital after two days. Played in Metropolitan Police hockey team. Did Nijmegen Marches. Played squash and other sport. Lewisham demonstration in 1976 altered his family's attitude. Made friendships playing for Metropolitan Police in hockey teams. Tooting was part of W District. Support for sport by senior officers. Times of shifts. Night duty arrests followed by court next morning. Drunk and disorderly arrests at night. Shoplifters during day time. Questioned suspect and arrested a man who had refused to be dealt with by a black officer. Support by magistrate who told prisoner 'How dare you say that to one of my officers?'. Patrolling by police vehicle after two years' probation period complete. Southall riot was a testing time as Sikh people wondered whose side he was on. Brixton riots in 1981, but officers were better equipped with shields. Older residents very supportive. Youngsters did not accept police service, or authority at all. Communication by police officers and Sus law. Stop and search was a big issue. Difficulty of statistics.
Track 3: 27'36”: Colleagues at Tooting. Parading for duty, when junior officer made the tea. Parent Constable gave personal tuition on patrol. Personal radios. Patrolling alone and linkage to community. Requirement to report offenders for traffic process. List of disqualified drivers.Liaison with hospitals and medical staff. Became a Panda car driver after training course in Hendon. Transferred to Bromley in 1976. Challenge of policing a community with no ethnic population. Reaction of burglary victims to Sikh officer attending their call. Communications staff. Attitudes in late 1970s at Bromley police station. Black youth congregating outside MacDonalds. Army attitudes far more accepting of black people. Incident involving foul language by National Front youths against him in plain clothes. Bus driver stopped outside Penge police station and incident dealt with by police. Importance of sport in being accepted. Female DS at Tooting. No female officers at Bromley police station at the time. Colleague from West Indies joined in 1975 and killed in road traffic accident. In 1997 Sikh colleague died after falling through roof. Distress of family. Transferred to Bexleyheath as Sergeant. Duty on Indian dowry case demonstration resolved by personal intervention as a Sikh rather than by public order team.
Track 4: 17' 15”: Social life. Colleagues visited parents at Plumstead. Involvement with Sikh community hall at Plumstead and at Morden. Standing in Sikh community. Divali. Residents at section house had little social outlet. Section house compulsory for first two years. Entertained Japanese officers on attachment at his parents' house and return hospitality in Tokyo. Friendship with white officer and visit to India. Guest at his wedding. Shift work and life as a single officer. Weekend work difficult for extended family functions. August bank holiday and New Year's Eve commitments. Family rather than police support for wife.
Track 5: 38' 45”: Transferred to Bromley police station after 4 years' service. Opted for promotion rather than transfer to Special Branch or CID. Commander's certificate of fitness to sit promotion examination. Studied for promotion without informing colleagues or attending classes. Informed by Area car crew about success at passing examination, and then waited his turn for promotion. Became Sergeant at Rochester Row A Division 1982. Public order training. Description of ground, and homeless people as part of community. Beggars and the homeless. Visit of Pope John Paul to London. A District ground. Lords cricket ground. Transferred to Marylebone 1986. World Cup cricket. Passed Inspectors' examination in 1988 but not high enough to succeed. Transferred to Bexleyheath as home posting. Succeeded at Inspector's promotion 1981. Transferred to Bow Street police station as Inspector. Constable stabbed and killed on Bow Street's ground the same evening as he had first visited the station. Murder enquiry continued. Liaison officer with Indian High Commission. Inspectors' duties. Charing Cross police station opened 1992. Closing of Cannon Row. Charge Centre duties for demonstrations. Duty on funeral of Princess Diana. Inspector's role in charge of 6 – 8 Sergeants and team of Constables and responsibility for policing Whitehall. Description of ground. 7 July 2005 suicide bombers, anticipating further attacks. Announcement of Olympic games award to London 2012. News of Stockwell shooting. Suspect package threatening changing of guard at Buckingham Palace. Responsibility of Inspector.
Track 6: 18' 25”: Experience in plain clothes at Tooting. Assistance with murder enquiry involving Sikh suspects at Greenwich in 1978. Building trust with Sikh community. Support of Sikh temple at Woolwich. Arrest for questioning of son of family who had treated him well and recovery of murder weapon because of trust established with suspect's father. Belief by others that he had only arrested suspect for career purposes rather than to establish truth.
Track 7: 12' 6”: Completed 30 years at age of 55 years age limit, and extended service by two years. Opportunity to become involved in other interests without undertaking further paid employment. Web design course. Research on Sikh Olympians and stamps. Bricklaying. Hockey. Keeping fit at gym. Sikh Police Association. Changes in Police Service and modern commitment to paperwork would mean that he would not personally wish to join the Service again but would encourage others to join. No regrets about his service at all.