Friends of the

Metropolitan Police History

Officer 105

Location of interview:North Kent

Officer's Gender:Male

Date joined Met Police:

Date left Met Police:

Rank of leaving:Sergeant

Divisons served:

Specialist service:No specialities

Transcript of interview

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Track 3: 20’50"’ Process of joining the MET police.  Recalls that he had no previous association with the police.  Advert encouraged him to join the job.  Considers aspects of the job that were attractive: pay, age 23 he desired a new career, offered good career opportunities.  Application, interview process, medical.  October 1979 started as a recruit at Hendon training school.  Presentations.  Broad base experience.  Discusses his past work and training.  Class mates as Hendon.  Describes the different characters at Hendon.  Considers he was one of the older recruits age 23.  Antics at Hendon.  Fraternization of male and female trainees.  Lack of deterrent or strict discipline.  Residential experience.  Art college experience meant he found the training experience difficult.  Law and procedure.  Star reports needed to be learnt word perfect.  A report required a good knowledge.  Recalls his struggle with learning the academic side of the course.  Peele House and later Wanstead for the continuation of cadet training.

Describes a colleague he clashed with at the training school.  Antics and pranks.  Learning curve.

Recollections of the training staff: Sergeant Boxer, Sergeant White, Drill Sergeant Sid.  Recalls learning to drill properly.   Predominantly Sergeants.  Discipline.

Recalls his long art college hair style, which was cut to short back and sides.  Dress code and enjoying his uniform.  Describes the changes in the uniform from the 1970s to the 1980s.  Overcoat.  Police whistle and key.  Manually altering Traffic light signals.  Wooden truncheon.  Pocket book.

Track 4: 24’35’  Posted to Hackney on G-District.  Discusses the process of randomly being placed in the MET to meet division needs.  Culture shock after growing up in Kent.  Introduced to large ethnic communities; Black communities.  Large amount of police work.  Poverty stricken borough.  Drugs crime,  racial tension, poor police relations.  Exposed to bad aspects of the community.

His colleagues went to City Road.  Reliefs.  Only probationer.  Confirmation as a PC.  Reaction of other PCs to him as a probationer.  Working the Relief.  Area car drivers were the hierarchy of the relief.  Police hierarchy.  Old PCs given respect.  Bottom of the hierarchy as a probationer.  Climbing the hierarchy ladder.  Traffic process and enjoyed dealing with the processing of incidents.  Considers that this meant he was not considered highly.  Peers harassed him and he attempted to resign after 18 months service, but was talked out of resigning.  Given advice to avoid colleagues who were making life difficult for him.  Describes the harassment and the colleagues involved.  Reflects on how he felt and the problem of bullying and intimidation in the police force at the time.

Describes a very nice colleague who helped him get through the problems.  Greatest interest in dealing with the people in the community.  Describes his interest.  Balancing the pressures of the job.  Strengths and weaknesses in police officers.

Canteen hierarchy amongst the relief and how women fitted into this process.  Describes the perception, role and work of WPCs.  WPCs were called ‘Plonks’ by male PCs.  Recalls one WPC he knew who was the victim of bullying and pranks.  Indecent assaults, smacks on the bottom and demeaning roles given to WPCs.  Recalls academic characters that joined the Police with a degree and were called ‘boffins’.  Preference for management roles.  Area car drivers, thief takers and dog handlers needed a good arrest record.  Describes the differences in officers who were keen for arrests and those who were less enthusiastic.  Gay police officers.  Ethnic minority PCs and WPCs were very much in the minority in the MET.  Racism from the community against ethnic minority police officers for joining the police.  Card school, but was not invited to join.

Track 5: 0’21’ Continuation of the interview introduction , North Kent, 18.10.12

Track 6: 16’15 Drill Sergeant Sid Butcher at training school.  Describes his character and skills as an instructor.  Learning to swim.  Recalls the experience as a non-swimmer and not being taught at the training school.  Mock police station at Hendon.  Describes the process of play-acting police work.  Practice around Peele.  Process report book, ARB and now CRB.

Passing out parade.   Sergeant Sid Butcher.

Instruction book.  Process of phasing out the book.  GO book.  Police review subscription.  Reflects on the changes in methods of training; discipline.  Considers his approach in comparison to police training.  Improvements in the focus of some aspects of police training with a shift in emphasis; away from learning policy and procedure parrot fashion policy and towards relationships with the community.  Importance of improving police and community relations.  Policing by consent.

Learning methods.  Rope learning and repetition.  Improved recognition of alternative approaches to learning and changes.   

Track 7: 7’41’ Section house, Mare Street.  Describes the organization of the section house; section house Sergeant.  Glass factory next to the section house caused disturbance.  Facility; new building, canteen, arcade games.  Limited discipline.  Incident of a drunk male officer who had got into bed with a WPC.  Issues of sleeping in the section house after night duty.  Cleaners.  Describes officers using the sink for urination.  Local pub.  Late drinking hours for police officers.  Drink driving amongst officers.  Smoking culture.  Parties and social activities.

Desire to leave the section house.  Bought a house in Romford after two years.

Track 8: 26’35’ Posting to Hackney.  Recalls bullying and harassment amongst police officers against probationers.  Gaining status on the relief.  Becoming an area car driver.  Describes the police cars and using the blue lights.  Becoming a van driver 1984.  Status as a van driver.  Ford transit.  1983 joined the traffic division and joined the solo motorbike school.  Describes the training to join the traffic unit on a motorbike.  Incident crashing his bike into a field.  Sent to hospital and late in the evening taken back to the course with his broken bike.  Recalls lack of safety protocol.  Lack of risk, health and safety at work protocols in the past.  Dynamic risk assessment causes issues for successful police responses to emergencies.

Life in the MET.  Recalls colleagues who were approaching the end of their service.  Changes in police work over the course of his career.  Manning phones and answering incoming calls.  Form 101 message pad.  Incoming calls from MP and New Scotland Yard.

Nuclear alert box.  Training for officers in the case of a nuclear attack.  Reflects on the end of the nuclear threat.

Contact with CID.  Not a thief taker, rather traffic patrol.  Attribute or skill of officers determined whether they had contact with CID.  Reputation of the CID.  Recalls an officer who became involved in the CID.

Soft toilet paper campaign.  Describes the issues officers had with the old toilet paper they were provided.  Role in changing the toilet paper.

Neighborhood policing.  Formalization of neighborhood policing.  1984 given the opportunity to take on exclusive shifts on the home beat.  Describes his role in improving knowledge about community members and relationships with people on his beat.  Recalls the condition of the houses of residents.  Describes neighborhood policing today.  Gaining intelligence for police work.  Useful intelligence recorded in the Parade book.    Role in advising officers about community information and local knowledge.

Track 9: 7’48’  Road traffic collision in Hackney.  Recalls policing at 10.30pm and coming upon the scene of carnage involving a Ford Capri.  Dead lady on the scene.  Police colleague had been involved in the accident and left the scene of the accident.  Reflects that the officer did not loose his job.  Describes the tragedy of the 2 ladies involved in the accident.  Suicides and other tragic accidents.  Considers how police officers dealt personally with traumatic incidents.  Recalls having to deal with an incident in Chiselhurst involving a sudden death incident.    Coping strategy.  Post traumatic stress after the death of children operationally.

Track 10: 0’15’ Continuation of interview, North Kent 25.10.12

Track 11: 1’14’ Dealing with the media during public order events.  Recalls his photo being in a newspaper after he arrested a lady during a public disorder event.

Track 12: 8’38’ Iranian Embassy Siege 1980.  Transported in a bus from Hackney.  Recalls a journalist from the BBC.  After they were relieved the embassy was stormed.  Procedure and protocol during a tour of duty.  Occupational health has changed the process of dealing with officers working long hours without food or drink.  Welfare of officers.  Equipment provided with during public order police work.  Traditional garb.  Crowd control training.  Greenwich river way public order training.  New public training centres.  Facilities; archaic and draconian.  Gravesend training today.  Improvements in training technics.

Track 13: 1’21’ CTC after training school.  CTC; continuation training course before confirmation as a PC.  Training based at Holloway road. Describes the role of the CTC.  Preparation for final examination.

Track 14: 12’49’ Miners strike 1984.  Describes the police role in the riots.  Taken in convoy to Lincolnshire.  Spittlegate army base.  Deployed at the pits to man the riots.   Describes his exposure to violence.  Catering at the mines.  Overtime.  Recalls that many London officers met girls in pubs and clubs in the area, and brought them back to London.  5 days working at the riot.

Riots at Sandringham Road, Stoke Newington.  West Indian community.  Relationship between the police and the West Indian youth.  Linked to the Brixton riots.  District support unit.  Recalls that he was called to Sandringham Road and the scene they had to tackle.  Petrol bombs and violence.  Dustbin lids.  Finsbury Park Carnival and youth riot.  Recalls that they were given no means of protecting themselves or responding to the incident.  Describes an officer who told them off for using dustbin lids to protect themselves.  Process and protocol of police response to riots.  Police felt they were ‘canon fodder’.

DSU – district support unit.  Describes the posting and link to relief work.  Prison officer dispute and sent to Wandsworth prison to work as prison wardens.  Describes Wandsworth prison and primitive facilities for prisoners.

Police feeling when dealing with public disorder; fear, group support.  Foot patrol intimidation and vulnerability.    Police support in numbers.

Track 15: 1’14’  Media and press during public disorder incidents.  Picture of him in the Evening Standard during an arrest of a female in Stoke Newington.  Police brutality.

Track 16: 11’24’  Transferred to Romford as part of a career development policy.  Idea of moving officers from their division.  Reflects on policing requirements.  Advanced driving course 1985.  Describes the empire within the driving school.  Procedure and protocol in the training process.  Recalls an incident during his training with a colleague who criticized him and he argued with him.  Gained Class 2. Driving the area car at Romford.  Premier position on the relief as area car driver.  Late duty due to driver role.  Incident of being questioned by the V8 Commander at New Scotland Yard because he appealed an incident.  Describes the incident and dealing with the carnage on the A127, which led to a report against him. 

Responding to emergency calls.  Describes different approaches by the area car drivers to dealing with crimes and emergency incidents.  Assessing the danger and responding to the situation safely.  Risk assessment.

Track 17: 0’12’

Track 18: 4’50’  Continues to describe the procedure and protocol when dealing with an emergency incident.  Separating parties involved in an incident.  Defusing the problem.  Difficulties dealing with domestic issues.  Big risks in going into unknown areas.  Changes in risk assessment and protecting officers’ welfare.  Road traffic incidents and danger from moving vehicles.  Limits to personal safety.  Hats and the importance of headwear for police presence to the public.  Issue of anti-police feeling.

Track 19: 2’45’  Wife who was a WPC.  Working B crimes and describes meeting his wife.  Blind date.  1985 married.  Moved to North Kent.  Wife left the job after third child.  Describes the wedding in South East London and presence of police colleagues from Hackney.  Stag due.

Track 20: 0’47’ 1985 moved to Orpington.  Recalls his life in Orpington and working at Orpington and later Chiselhurst.

Track 21: 6’57’ Incidents; helicopter crash at Beacon hill.  Describes the scene.  Incident of the murder of a mother by her son.  Explains the process of dealing with murder and limiting police officers on the scene.  Quiet division.  Violent disorder.  Orpington high street fights outside pubs.  Sudden death.  Describes the discovery of the dead man.  Recalls the doctor’s work on the scene and witnessing maggots in the body.  

Chiselhurst Station Inspector Roy Stiggs.  Describes how he offered him his office to study for the promotion exam.  1989 passed the exam.  Harry Stiggs.

Track 22: 1’54’ Decision to go for promotion.  10 years as constable and decided a change was needed.  1992 promoted.

Track 23: 10’07’  Describes posting as a Sergeant to Suffolk.  Pre-promotion course at Hendon.  Female Inspector Jane Oliver took him on his new shift work.  Late turn in custody in the charge room.  Learning on the job.  Dealing with the paperwork. ID training school CAD controller at Suffolk control room.  Managing the calls on division.

Moved to Tower Bridge, sub division of Suffolk, as a Sergeant.  Describes the area.  Moved to Rotherhithe, sub-division of Suffolk.  Tower Bridge station manager.  Liaising with the flying squad.  Describes the characters within the flying squad.

Incident on Jamaica Road of a flat explosion.  Female had committed suicide with petrol.  Describes dealing with the family at the scene.

Another incident of a man shot dead in his flat on the Old Kent Road.  Describes the scene and finding the gun.  Reaction to suicides.  Interest in sudden deaths.  Stories behind incidents whereby lives were taken.  Evidence at the Suffolk Coroner’s court.  Importance of the process of giving evidence.   Describes a coroner he had to deal with at the time and the high respect he commanded.  Professional magistrates and important good relationship with the police. 

Track 24: 14’36’  Posted to Plumstead 1996.  Busy ground.  Worked at the Thames mead police station.  Describes the police station and its intimidating location.  Clock work orange setting.  Recalls that in reality the majority of residents were good people.  Describes his PCs on the relief.  Difficulties with some PCs.  Dealing with problems with officers.  Issue of socializing with PCs under your authority.  Issue of supervision and maintaining authority.  Differences between PCs; experience, background, character.  Cross section of people within the division.  Complications of team work.  Area car drivers and fraternization.

Transferred by to Plumstead.  Changes in police parades, created centralized parading.  Discusses issues in the centralized parading policy.  Borough policy.  Combined with Greenwich to create a Borough.  Competition between division led to problems when they were combined.

Millennium Dome.  Selected to be a supervisor on the millennium dome in late 1990s.  Describes the role before the dome opened.  Security.  Enjoyed working at the Dome during events.  Describes the man in charge of the Dome.

Moved to Eltham as the training skipper.  Describes his role and responsibility as a trainer.  Community work.  Removing barriers between the public and the police.  PCSOs.

Track 25: 0’26’ Disc two, 25.10.12.

Track 26: 10’47’ Borough trainer.  Reason for becoming a borough trainer.  Responsibilities as a Sergeant to insure PCs are learning.  Recalls falling out with his Plumstead Inspector, who encouraged him to apply for the role.  Moved to training.  Reflects on his enjoyment.  Training to be a trainer.  Management school.  Teaching theories.  Qualifications from the police force.  Recalls assessments from external teachers.

Commendation at Orpington.  Driving an area car and incident in Farnborough.  Vehicle incident.  Chasing a man and describes arresting the armed man.  Section House at Greenwich and he was awarded a commendation.  Recalls he forgot his tunic and had to borrow his colleague’s jacket.

Charlton football club and working as police controller.  Describes his role.  Benefits of the role.  Move to retirement.  Enjoyed IT training while working at the MET so decided to become a band D (member of the police staff).  Applied for the job in retirement.  Describes the application process.  Retired and began working as a civilian immediately.  Band D trainer.

Last reflections on his career in the MET.  Issues and concerns amongst police officers.  Positive feelings about his time in the MET.  

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