Friends of the

Metropolitan Police History

Officer 106

Location of interview:North Kent

Officer's Gender:Female

Date joined Met Police: 9 September 1975

Date left Met Police:30 May 1990

Rank of leaving:Constable

Divisons served:

Specialist service:No specialities

Transcript of interview

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Track 1: 4’27’ Introduction.  Life before joining the MET; work at BHS and cleaning job, factory, cafeteria.  Father was in the MET.  Describes working in BHS.  Sister.  Mother worked in a factory.  Education; Primary school in Lee Green.  1983 Father retired from the MET as a constable.  Explains why she applied for the MET; career advice and fathers career.  Police related events when she was a child; sports days and Christmas parties.  Greenwich section house parties.  Father’s colleagues socialized with them as she grew up.  Describes memories of her father as a police officer; Q-car.  Reaction of family of her career choice.

Track 2: 36’27’ Police Cadet; application process.  Interview at Paddington Green police station.  Tests.  Interview board.  Warrant number as a cadet.  First day as a Cadet.  Sunday afternoon at the cadet college in Hendon.  Accommodation at Kingsbury.  Describes other cadets in her training group.  A course and B course.  Segregation of female cadets at Kingsbury.  Explains she was part of the first female cadets and they established gender segregated facilities.  Canteen, accommodation and other facilities at Kingsbury.  Recalls catering was good.  Salary as a cadet was £16 a week.  Accommodation and living away from home age 16 for the first time.  Reflects on the experience of moving away from home.  2 ½ years as a cadet.  Weekends at home.  Considers leisure activities amongst cadets.  Exams and sporting events on Saturday mornings.  Reflects on the differences of female cadets to male experience.  Transport of females to and from Hendon.  Ratio of men to women.  Discipline as a cadet.  Good behavior and respect for authority.  Leaders, Police officer instructors, academic teachers and cadet commander.  Describes the instructors.

Kingsbury, female accommodation.  Chief Inspector, female police officer in charge of the female cadets.  Number of other female Sergeants also worked at Kingsbury.  Hierarchy of officers.  Class captain and syndicates; order of academic ability.  Discipline and marching between lessons.  Civilian clothing and cadet uniforms.  Skirts and male adventure training kit.  Equipment.

Academic work as a cadet.   Timetable and lessons (academic, police lessons and PE).  Reflects that it was much like school.  A-Levels or GCSEs.  Internal examinations. Extra-curricula activities.  Feminine lessons for girls to counter masculine influence of police training.  Encouragement of femininity.  Expectations of female officer role.  Sporting activities.  Fitness emphasis for pecking order.  Volunteered to march in Holland.  Less academic influence.  Dartmoor activities.  Preference amongst peers for sporting excellence rather than academic success.  Considers the problems for academic cadets who struggled with sport.

Physical training routine at Hendon.  Considers her enjoyment of the obstacle course.  Gymnastics.  Training logs.

Trainees who dropped out of the course; those bad at sports.  Instructors support of those who struggled.

Community work as a cadet.  1 year working for the police to investigate stolen cars leaving the country in Dover.  Sent to Hampstead school for handicapped children. Reflects on community work.  Work investigating the stolen cars leaving the country; log book given to Scotland Yard.  Limited involvement in the investigation.  Treated like a helper.  Work on PNC (Police national computer) investigating stolen cars.

Posted to police divisions just before posting to training school.  Sent to Wembley.  Went out with constables on general police work.  Did not do night duty.  Recalls relationship with other police officers; good and bad.  Walking the beat and patrolling in cars.  No training while working as a cadet in police stations.  Reflects on no radio.  Nicknames for cadets.  Female officer work.  Pranks amongst police officer; apple pie bed.

Passing out parade at the end of her cadet service.  Recalls the event.  Demonstration, log throwing, drill, band, speeches, Sir Robert Mark gave a speech.   Father’s response to her police work. Recalls it was very different to police work.  Personal presentation expectations at the cadet school.  Female sergeants at Kingsbury felt unhappy with the sheltered policing experiences provided to cadets.

Processes of becoming a recruit constable.  Procedure; interview, medical.  Reflections on advantages of the cadet experience.  Improved confidence and insight.

Track 3: 32’38’  Time as a recruit as Hendon.  14 week training programme.  Administrative tasks in the first few days becoming a recruit at Hendon.  Recalls she was one of 6 or 7 recruits of the same age.   Waiting for enrollment.  Recalls other trainees and the cadets were kept in the same class.  Older recruits.  Predominance of male recruits compared to females.  Ethnic minority officers.  Uniforms as a recruit.

Accommodation at Hendon.  Communal facilities.  Segregation of male and females.  Food and catering facilities.  Section house warden.  Incidents outside of training hours.  Relationships and social life at Hendon.  Busy studying.  Shopping centre.  Salary as a recruit £40 a week.  Describes the payment process.  Canteen and shop facilities.  Emphasis of training as a recruit. Swimming, gym work, self defense.  Drills.  Learning to march.

Advantages of training as a cadet.  Training instructor at Hendon.  Sid Butcher.    Class captain and vice class captain; election process.  Role of the class captains.  Robert Peel statue parade ground.  Recalls other recruits who struggled to pass and had to repeat.  Fear of being put back.  Academic training as a recruit at Hendon; law and procedure, report writing.  Lessons on sections of the law.  Large amount to process and understand.  Daily tests on policing procedures.  Variety of training.  Mock court.  Report writing and procedures involved in dealing with the public.  Rigorous testing.  IB book; police instruction book on police procedure.  Constant amendments to the IB book.

First aid training.  Doctors.  Civil defense training in case of nuclear attack.  Dealing with possible radiation fallout.  Self-defense training.  Dealing with the public and restraint.  Equipment at training school as a recruit.  No truncheon until later in career.  Whistle, hat.

Discipline at recruit training school at Hendon.  Military emphasis.  Resignation of recruits who failed to make the standard.  Limited relationship to instructors of higher ranks.  Experience of swimming at Hendon.  Exams to pass recruit training. Warrant card at end of training.  Warrant card gave you free travel on the tube.

Passing out parade.  Buffet.

Final exam and then allocated postings.  Recalls the allocation process, close to home.  Posted to G-division.  Block posting to various divisions.  Many went to airport division, which was very unpopular.  Relief on her posting.  Given her divisional numbers.  Process of moving from being a recruit to a police constable.  Ex-cadets had to do security work at training school before they took their postings.  Recalls limits placed on young officers.

Reflections on time as a cadet and a recruit.  Argues it was a different experience; cadets was like school, where as the recruit experience was much more demanding.  Team building.  Feelings before taking up her new posting.  Moved to G-division with a friend.  Apprehension as a female officer entering a male dominated area.  Father’s advice about posting and working as a female police officer.

Track 4: 61’17’  Introduction to continued interview.  First day on division after recruit training at Hendon.  G-Division, City Road.  Admin.  PC and panda car took her to Hackney station.  Returned to section house in the panda car.  Reflects on having another new PC posted to her division.  Nerves on her first day.  Reporting Sergeant and welcome by the station officers.  Uniform.

Section house at Eed House, Hackney.  Describes the section house, old building.  Segregation of the female officers from the male officers.  Basic facilities, communal toilets and bathroom.  Sergeant in charge of the house.  Hierarchy of the old officers.  Payment.  Large canteen.  Meeting room.  Parties at the section house; communal lounge.  Television.  Gymnasium and sports facilities.  Problems and discipline problems in the section house.  Incident of a drunk PC entering an officer’s room.  Section house sergeant’s role and responsibility.  Warden.  Security.

Moved after 2 year to Holloway Road into a police let with another officer.  Explains that young officers were allowed to move into marriage quarters.  Recalls the good facility of the police let.

Recalls her 2 years at the section house.  Communal living.  Noise and disturbance.

Relief work in Hackney.  Inspector in charge, 3 sergeants in charge, 20 PCs.  Supportive colleagues.  Reflects working as the only female officer.  Male dominated culture.  Snooker at lunch time.  Improvement in inclusive social activities.

Responsibilities as a female officer.  Care for children.  Little impact of the equality act.  Specific role for females.  Increase in WPCs over her career.  Explains that the WPCs often moved into office jobs so most WPCs were young probationers.

Police radio for PCs.  Reliable equipment.  Explains the use of radios to communicate with station Hackney and Dalston.  First few arrests; drunks and shoplifters.  Incident of a crime arrest.  Chasing juveniles at night and apprehending him in the dark.  Patrols in plain clothes.  Process of dealing with reports for crimes and policing.  Paperwork changes and increase. 

Describes involvement in Hackney Court and the process court.  Application for warrants.  Juvenile court, magistrates court, Crown court and the Old Bailey.  Car thefts at court.  Stolen cars being taken to scrap yards and she was involved in taking the case to the crown court.  Involvement in the full process from arrest to processing to court prosecution.

Describes shift work patterns. Area car work.  Operator of the area car.  Pressure as a female officer to do a good job on area car.  After her transfer to Bromley she was not allowed on the area car because she was a female.  Responsibility as operator.  Emergency response.  Car chases.  Driving as a police driver.  Describes the 5 week course to become a driver.  Hendon driving school.  Describes the cars they drove; Ford escorts.  Marked vehicles.

Canteen facilities and canteen culture at Hackney.  Inclusive.  Staff working in the police canteen.  Ethnic minority police officers at Hackney; Asian PC and later a Black officer.  1 black WPC.  Reaction of other police officers to the ethnic minorities; low level racism.

Not allocated a truncheon or handcuffs.  Reflects on police work without equipment.  Backup on patrol.  Foot patrols during the day.  Policing alone.  Briefings before patrolling.  Sergeant would issue the parade book with information.  Collators office and their role in aiding the police officers.  Information about persons with convictions in the area.  Role of computers limited.  Handwritten crime books.  Typed reports on a typewriter.

Incidents for assistance; youth attempted to assault a lady on an estate.  Recalls the youth and a crowd had gathered and threatening situation.

Final examination as a recruit before passing.  Confirmation as a police officer afterwards.  Highbury vale and later Holloway road where she finished her continuation training.

Working hours.  Getting involved in Beat crime, investigation and admin.  Attachment to Vine street to aid with the prostitute squad.  Night shift.  Felt work was unsatisfying and got limited results.  Posting to CID attachment and traffic division.  Uniform work at Vine street.  Beat crimes work; minor crimes, stolen vehicles.  Aid to other division.  Policing big events in London; demonstrations radio operator as a WPC.  Wireless operator.  Royal Wedding in 1981.  Policing violent demonstrations; Wapping.

Discipline at the Hackney division.  Recalls laxity around discipline and bad PC behavior.  Pranks against probationers; school crossing patrols.  Sending probationers on prank police calls.  Teasing female officers.

Social life on the relief at Hackney.  Active social relief.  Drinks after work.  Parachute jump.  Sociable time with young officers.  Mixing with Dalston PCs.  Meeting her future husband at Hackney, who was on another relief.

Posted to Bromley.  System to move officers after 5 years at a division.  Husband decided he wanted to be posted to south of the river.  They were living in Sidcup in Kent.  Wanted to work somewhere more local.  Affluent area.  Quieter division.  Less crime.  Husband posted to Orpington.  Often at the same incidents.  Other noteworthy incidents while at Bromley; juvenile flasher arrested.  Dealing with the man’s bike.  Juvenile ran off and she chased him until he gave up.  Feelings of success for pursuing the juvenile.  Describes her hard hat.

Thick snow in London.  Describes policing in the snow.  Communications officer at Bromley.  Command and control system as new technology began to take over.  1988 left to have her first child.  Considers paperwork and the support of the MET during her pregnancy.  Maternity leave.  Returning to the force had to be fulltime, so she felt she had to leave.  Considers her feelings at having to leave because of her child care demands.  Explains that later on part time work was an option, but by then it was too late.  Recalls that she failed to get a satisfying job after the MET.  Teaching assistant.  Reflects on the training in the MET for her later career outside the MET.

Reflections on her career in the MET.  Proud of her career.  Job satisfaction.

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