Friends of the

Metropolitan Police History

Officer 108

Location of interview:Romford

Officer's Gender:Male

Date joined Met Police:30 June 1958

Date left Met Police:25 November 1994

Rank of leaving:Superintendent

Divisons served:

Specialist service:No specialities

Transcript of interview

Or print interview to read

Click on to listen to track.

Track 2: 8’40’: Background before joining the MET; born in Kingsbury.  Early childhood during the war years.  Eldest of 3 children.  Father was a milkman during the war.  Mother was a house wife.  Local school.  Left aged 10 in 1950 to Forest Hill, south London.  Father bought a tobacconist shop.  Past 11 plus.  Elaines public school.  Moved to Essex.  Moved to grammar school in Illford.  O-Levels.  Left at 16 to become an industrial chemist.  Trainee paint chemist in Bow at Nicholson Clark.  Worked as a chemist testing paint for 2 years.  Decided after 2 years that they wanted an alternative career.  Discussed police service with a colleague.  Age 18 decided to join the senior cadets.  3 months at Hendon. Sent to K-division for training.  Traffic control and worked various unit.  Age 19 sworn in as a constable.  Posted to West Ham as a constable.

Discusses the attractions of the job; pension, outside life, good salary, exciting job, good career opportunities.

Probationer at West Ham.  Describes the probationer period.  City Road and asked questions by the station commander.  Explains that he was not interested in promotion.  Describes his seniors and hierarchy in the MET.  Treatment of probationers and constables.

Track 3: 9’37’: PC at West Ham.  Working in VICE.  Q-car.  1961 sent on a light weight motorcycle course and became a ‘noddy rider’.  2 years working on 2 home beats.  Rode the RT motorcycle, which had a radio.  1964 became a class 4 driver for cars and vans.  Crime incidents during his time.  Alarm response in a back street of forest street.  Searching the premises and apprehending burglars.  Describes using his truncheon.  Lack of communication.  Whistle.  Vulnerability of officers.  Team work.  Night duty.  Shift system arrangement: 3 reliefs.  Describes relief work.  Traffic point police work.  Refreshments and welfare of officers during long shifts.

Track 4: 8’19’: 8 years at West Ham.  Describes the introduction of new administration system.  Administration work.  Describes the role of an inquiry officer.  Relieves the administrative work from police officers.  Divisional officer sergeant who asked if he would like to move to Romford in 1966.  Explains his decision to move to Romford and take on day duty.  Promotion exam.  Postings of clerical staff.  1963 married.  Describes buying his bungalow.  1966 first child born.  Describes his house.

Murder of a Chief Inspector’s wife at Romford.  Describes the enquiry process and interviewing police officers. Describes his role in Romford.  Creation of London borough.  Merge with Essex police officer.

Track 5: 5’14’:  Life as a constable.  After living at home with his parents in Illford, posted to Harold Scott section house, then Norman Kendall section house for single men and women in West Ham.  Describes section house life.  Describes the purpose of the section house for keeping single men together.  St Pancreas riots when they utilised section house men.  Describes working at the riot and his experience during the event.  First arrest during night duty.  Arrested a man for urinating in the street.  Describes the feeling of his first arrest. Section house social life. Football for West ham division.

Track 6: 19’38’: 1978 promoted to becoming a Sergeant.  Posted back to West Ham to work as an acting Sergeant before promotion.  Recalls Ronan point disaster when a block of flats collapsed.  Describes the scene.  Recalls the population and surrounding community in West Ham and their support for the police in the east end.

Posted H-division to Bow Road as Sergeant for 2 years.  Recalls the different areas within the division.  Council flats and problems for the police.  First experience supervising other police officers.  Describes the working experience on H-division.  Aid to other stations.

Change in rank structure within divisions.  Explains why and how it was implemented.  Operational relief duties.  Vacancy for a Sergeant at the discipline office at Scotland Yard.  Describes his decision to take the position.  Moved to P3 Discipline office.  Roles and duties in his new job.  Working daily with the Deputy Commissioner, Commissioner and assistance Commissioner.  Describes the process of dealing with a discipline hearing.  Decided to apply for promotion for Inspector.  Describes his failure to get promotion, despite passing the exam.

Thyroid illness. After illness he was posted as a Sergeant to Woodford J-Division.

Incident of a Detective Sergeant returned to uniform duty and required to be posted to Woodford, so he was reposted to Barkingside.  Describes the Commander of the division recommended he pursued promotion and moved him to Illford to improve his chances.  Selected as Inspector at Illford.  Describes police work at Illford, traffic offences, pornography, plain clothe car work.  Training and preparation for promotion to Inspector.  Learning on the job.    Avoiding complaints against himself.  Describes complaints against officers and the problems they created for promotion.

Reflects on his 10 years as a Sergeant.  Experience and operational duties background provided an advantage when he was promoted to Inspector.  1978 became Inspector at A-Division Islington.

Track 7: 1’01’: Second interview intro, date 10.04.14.

Track 8: 7’33’:  Incident in 1961 at West Ham police station, while he was working as a Constable.  Incident during an interview of a man by CID.  Suspect was armed and escaped from the station.  Suspect was pursued by officers and shot Sergeant Hutchins dead.  Describes the duty officer, an Inspector, who was also shot dead.  Describes other officers pursuing the suspect.  Suspect contacted a newspaper and the police arrived at the scene to arrest the suspect.  Suspect shot himself.  Officer Charlie Cox was shot, but survived.  Reflects on the reaction of the officers at the station after the shooting.  Considers the feelings and issues when the new Inspector took over.  Recalls the public’s sympathetic reaction.  Books and reports about the incident.  Inspector Palsey was killed.  Peter Chapman area car driver.

Track 9: 15’51’:  Promoted to Inspector and posted to Kings cross division working at Islington station.  Reflects on the new role as an Inspector.    Considers working in North London.  Linking with King cross sub-division.  Enjoyment as Inspector.  Dislike of shift work.

Commander asked him to work at Scotland Yard as a Staff Inspector.  Transferred to personnel department. Describes role and duties.  Explains the jobs and training.  Interview techniques, management of staff organization.  1983 New Commissioner set plans to bring the force up to date and he was put on a project team to review the management structure in the MET.  Describes his team and their work and research.  Research in America and private firms of organizational structure and the management of police officers.   Restructuring process.  Divided the MET into 8 areas, rather than 4.  Problem of implementing change.  Reducing the number of Commanders and Chief Superintendents.  Reducing authority numbers.  Concern about trivial issues such as the district football teams, rather than the wider picture.  Explains their ambitions and intentions. 

Promoted as a result to Chief Inspector and received a commendation for the work they had done.  Remained in personnel.  Promoted to Superintendent and moved out of personnel.

Track 10: 3’44’:  Inspector at Islington and working with WPCs.  Role of the WPCS; specific role of looking after female prisoners, predominantly station based and supporting role.  Explains that this changed only in the 1970s.  Considers the attributes of the WPCs.  Describes complaints from PC’s wives who were concerned about their husbands working closely with WPCs.

Track 11: 16’20’:  Superintendent 1987 after 29 years service.  Posted to TO10, prison transport service.  Role was to improve the management of prisoner transportation.  6 months posting.  Returned to personnel and staff inspection with more responsibility for major projects within the force.  Requested to leave the Commissioners office and return to operational duties.  Posted to Kings cross as Chief Superintendent 1989.  In 1990 the Home Office requested he went to Gibraltar to look at the structure of the Gibraltar police on behalf of the commonwealth office.  Explains the background to the work.

Returned to Kings cross.  Describes the projects within the borough and incidents; IRA bomb.  Describes the scene of the explosion.  In 1991 he was approached again and requested to go to Uganda to assess the organizational structures.  Team of Ugandan Superintendents.  Describes the situation in Uganda and his complete review.  Life in Uganda.  Lived in the high commission houses.  Recalls the mud huts for police stations.  Police training school lacked basic facilities.  Lived in a bungalow, which was guarded.  Recalls a neighboring houses guard was shot dead.  Common situation of shootings.  Explains why the MET were offering advise to the Ugandan police force.  Background to the initiative.  Visited and worked in Uganda between 1991-1994, when he was posted to Barkingside.  Considers why he was posted to Barkingside until retirement. 

Track 12: 1’32’:  Staff Inspector; Inspection job at a Dog unit training centre.  Recalls an incident when he discovered an officer who had been bitten by a dog.

Track 13: 0’14’

Track 14: 4’40’:  Operational life at Kings cross.  Dealing with incidents out of hours.  Decision making role of the Superintendent.  Importance of his decision making authority and guidance to officers.  Detention of prisoners led to an act that required senior officers to make these decisions.

Track 15: 1’19’:  Report about police officer’s heights.  Describes the issue of height restrictions within the police and concern about the recruitment process of ethnic minority.  Wavering the height restrictions.

Track 16: 4’34’: Superintendent at Kings cross.  New police station built in Islington.  Describes various police buildings that were sold and redeveloped.  Caledonian Road police station.  Books written about the history of police stations.  Loss of history during the closing of the police stations.  Impact on police officers when a police station was closed.  Loss of historical records and artifacts.  An old lamp that was preserved and taken to the new station.  Desire to preserve details and the history of the police stations.

Track 17: 4’34:’ Pursued higher qualifications in 1981.  Post-graduate diploma.  Explains that it was important for his career path and his desire to pursue the course.  Working in staff inspection.  Master’s degree on organizational structures.  Utilized his police experiences.  Decision to pursue teaching after retirement.  Importance of thinking about and planning post-MET working careers.  Became a Senior Lecturer at East London University.

Track 18: 0’47’: Interest in history and 3 year part-time course in genealogy.

Track 19: 0’26’:  MET funded the degrees.

Track 20: 9’20’:  Retirement and becoming a Senior lecturer.  Teaching middle management business studies.  Supervising dissertations, lecturing at various places.  Created a master’s program.  Created an international courses in the Far East.  Reflects that he learnt to use the computer and understand new technology.  Considers that in the MET he was never required to learn to use a computer.  Adjustments to new career at the University where there was no longer a hierarchy.  Human resource issues.  Continued at the University until he was 65, when he retired.  Reflects on the skills he brought to the university job from his police force working experience.  Utilizing examples of his police work and research for his university teaching.  Explains why he left.

Track 21: 8’15’:  Reflects on the current restructuring plans of the MET force.  Decentralization.  Changes and constant plans for new structures.  Describes changes in structures during his career and current restructuring.  Introduction of computers and new technology into old police stations.  Lack of resources and budget cuts.  New technology and policing facilities.  Keeping police stations open 24 hours. 


Friends of the Metropolitan Police Historical Collection

38 Wincanton Road

Noak Hill



  • Email

    Email Us
  • Registered Charity Number: 1167839