Friends of the

Metropolitan Police History

Officer 118

Location of interview:Essex

Officer's Gender:Male

Date joined Met Police:20 October 1979

Date left Met Police:10 August 2017

Rank of leaving:Inspector

Divisons served:

Specialist service:No specialities

Transcript of interview

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Track 2: 4’53’ Life before joining the MET police: born in Shropshire.  Rural upbringing.  University in Sussex, Briton.  Went to America as a gap year to work as an extreme sails man.  Ambition to join the MET police on his return to the UK.  Bramshill selection.  Graduate entry process.  Met wife at University.  Reflects on his time at University and the help it provided for him at the MET.  Leaving home for the first time.  Recalls his summer holiday jobs; i.e. Security guard at Butlins.

Track 3: 7’27’ Influence of television for decision to join the police.  1960s upbringing and privileged exposure to the television.  Police themes to TV programs that inspired him.  The Sweeney and its accuracy of its portrayal of the police.  Reality of overwhelming amount of paperwork.  Lack of radios.  Describes the police offices and messy desks.  Canteens, equipment and uniforms.  Pipe smoking, whiskey drinking and older MET colleagues.

Explains that he initially applied for the West-Midlands police.  Recalls that during the interview he decided he wanted to go to University first and join later.  

Track 4: 1’38’  Police TV Programs: Doc Green and Z-cars.  Recalls his impression of these programs and their relationship to the reality of police work.

Track 5: 7’41’  Application process to join the West-Midlands at the Shrewsbury police station.  Remembers the interview and his impression of the police officer he spoke with about joining.  Radio and other exciting forms of equipment.  Formal interview with interview board.  Decision to withdraw and go to university first.  Explains he was also interested in joining the Army and he went to Sandhurst.  During his time at University he also applied to join the RAF.  Failed the medical due to poor eye sight.  Bramshill selection process for the police.  Royal observer corps.  Branch of the royal air force with the intention of providing observation during high alert times of the cold war.  Patrolling and bunker work.  Describes various roles with the underground bunkers until he was 15.  Ways of detecting if a nuclear bomb had exploded.    Considers how it helped him with his application to the MET.

Track 6: 3’04’  No family connections to the police, but his wife joined the police.  Describes his wife’s application and failure to join the MET for height and father’s Polish origins.   Appealed to the Commissioner and she was accepted.  Wife retired in 2013.

Track 7: 2’08’ Reaction of his family to him joining the MET police.  Support from his parents. 

Track 8: 8’26’  Interview process in 1979 to join the police.  Because he was living in Sussex he enquired about joining the MET.  Excluded because he was under 6 ft.  Applied for the graduate entry scheme.  Medical examination.  Interview questions and his responses.  Interview panel.  Bramshill.  Considers his potential rejection to the MET because of his responses in the interview.

Bramshill selection.  Written tests, group exercises and personality tests.  Failed to get on to the graduate entry scheme because he was bad at English.  Thames Valley police officer was interviewing him.  

Track 9: 8’15’ Medical at Paddington Green.  Recalls he was covered in bed bug bites and he was concerned that this might be a problem with his medical examination.  Recalls the process of being examined and importance of being able to undergo the assessment.  WPC interview and examination process.  Predominance of white males.

Importance of social assessment.  Promotion and commitment to police was essential for a successful career in the MET.  Expense of private life for police career.  Importance of a balance in life.  Smoking and drinking culture in the police.  Importance of the pub for police work, including mixing with criminals to gain information.

Reflects on his rejection from the graduate entry scheme.  Promotion process in the graduate scheme or independently.

Track 10: 16’56’  Beginning at Hendon in 1979 as a recruit.  Describes Hendon base.  Recalls that he had to pay for his services at Hendon.  Conscious of the beginning of his career.  Disciplined environment.  Culture shock.  Rote learning.  Adapting to new approach to learning.  Academic and study.  Physical training and participation.  Gym kit for men and women.  Changes in approaches to female trainees and sexism.

Temporarily sent to Wandstead cadet training school.  Describes the accommodation.  Examples of sexism. Drugs.  Changes in approaches and culture in the police.  Ethnic mix of the recruits.  Presence of female recruits.  Strict presentation as a recruit.

Accommodation at Hendon and the placing of female and male recruits.    Cleaners and recruits dislike of them.  Standards of appearance and haircuts.  Issue of having a beard. Discusses the important training process of testing recruits ability to withstand teasing and bullying.  Process of rejecting recruits. Fitness training at Hendon and boxing fighting.  Injuries of recruits.  Tough physical training of recruits.

Track 11: 11’01’  Swimming training at Hendon.  Life saving training.  Problems of the uniform and training in uniform.  Describes aspects of the uniform; helmet, shirts, handcuffs, truncheons.  Police box.  Police boots.  Drill training.  Sergeant Butcher.  Considers the important training process of exposing recruits to abuse for future police work.  Contact with cadets.  Weekends.   Visiting his girlfriend in Brighton.

Track 12: 4’27’ Hendon training program.  Describes the process of taking the Oath in front of a Magistrate at Hendon.  Warrant card at the end of the course.  Signing paperwork as a recruit for a pension.  Considers the support from the police service for later life.

Track 13: 5’29’ Move to division after Hendon.  Last day at Hendon and process of allocation to division.  Process of posting officers based on their existing accommodation.  Posted to G-district because he had no accommodation.  Section house in Mair Street.  Describes the basic facilities of the section house.  Division of males and females.  Married quarters.  Entertainment areas.  Section house sergeant.

Track 14: 7’40’ Arrival at Hackney police station.  Allocation of a locker.  Layout of the police station.  Toilet facilities.  Describes the organization of the station, reception, cells and offices.  Large cell called the ‘tank’ for large number of criminals.  Property store and the method of utilizing it.  Snooker table and other facilities.   Team reliefs.

Track 15: 6’45’ Roles and responsibilities of the parade at Hackney station.  Morning briefing.  Collator’s office and finding information about police work.  Reliance on paper work.  Posting of PCs to beats.  Patrolling beats alone.  Role of colleagues to teach new PCs policing and the failures of his colleague.  School crossing patrol.  Equipment for police patrol; radios.

Track 16: 7’26’  First arrests as a probationer in Hackney.  Sergeant’s expectations of his police work.  Process of arrests.  Discusses his Sergeant and issues with lack of tuition.  Posted to a new instructing colleague who provided him with a better introduction to policing.  Learning important skills on the job for good police work.  Retraining criminals without handcuffs.  Refreshments and breaks.  Card games.  Shift work and quick change-overs.  Problems of shift work providing limiting rest time for police officers.

Track 17: 20’56’ Experiences of day-to-day policing in Hackney.  Arresting and backbone policing.  Death messages, approach to informing families that someone had died.  Reporting robberies, missing children etc.  Basic policing work.  Drunk and disorderly arrests.  Describes the problems of gathering evidence for prosecution and problems facing police officers in the course of helping drunk/disorderly people.   Responding to a sudden death.  Process of interviewing a prisoner.  Process of processing a prison in custody.  Absence of the legal aid system.  Emphasis on interview rather than forensic evidence.  Important training for interview tactics.

Stop and search for crime prevention.  Changes in the approach to stop and search tactic.  Grounds for stopping a suspect.  Issue of ethnic minorities and targeting particular groups in the community.   Black community and stop and search targets.

Track 18: 8’50’  Composition of the community in Hackney and police officers.  Ethnic minority and female officers at Hackney police station.  Wife’s work as a WPC from 1983.   Describes his wife’s experiences of prejudices within the MET.  Custody officer at 8 months pregnant.  Bully Sergeants and the perception of pregnant and married WPCs.  No maternity or child-care provisions from the MET.  Expense of private child-care and abuse she received for her decision to return to work.   Considers the difficulties they experienced working for the MET with young children.

Probationers initiation ceremony.

Track 19: 8’40’  Process of becoming a Police driver.  Status of being a police driver and benefits of having a driving qualification.   Higher number of arrests if you had access to a car.  RT car and Van driver.  Describes the use of the transit police van.  Use of the station van for prisoner transport.  Process of restraining and transporting a prisoner.

Track 20: 10’46’  Police attitude towards and approach for dealing with mental health prisoners.  Problems of misunderstanding towards a person with mental health problems and issue of provoking violence.  Particular approach needed for the processing of a prisoner with mental health problems.  Criticism of the MET for the physical restraint of a mental health person.  Necessity of using social workers and doctors. Violent prisoners and assault of police officers.  Violent incident he experienced when he was an inspector in Stratford.  Importance of working in partners.  Describes he chased the burglar out of a factory, but lost the batteries out of his radio.  Burglar threatened him with a screw-driver.

Track 21: 8’47’  Working as aid for another division and working on public demonstrations.  Explains the role of an aid and his dislike of postings as an aid for other divisions.  Transport, refreshments and communication equipment.  Tactics used during a demonstration to protect police officers.  Patrolling in an unfamiliar environment.  Shield training and protection clothing.  Intensive manpower deployed for public demonstrations.  Posted to West Ham as an aid.  Describes the role of the police during a football match.

Track 22: 11’26’ Technology in the MET in the 1980s.  Telephone operator and police system.  Police terminal for name or vehicle checks.  Human intervention and technology.  Typing and J-bell.  Station safe and guns.  Incident of a police officer firing the gun in the station.  Carrier receiver.  Testing the receiver.  Ronald and Ned were police trainers for the receiver in case of national emergency.  Practice use of the sirens in case of attack.  Context of the period.  Sirens, whistles.

Track 23: 17’28’  Move to City Road Management suite and move to Sergeant.  Attended Sergeant’s classes.  Utilizing his annual leave to pass the exam.  APS and was to be posted to the custody office.  Changes within the MET pushed emphasis on management and police officers with academic skills.  Police and criminal evidence act.  Created new unit called the planning and evaluation unit.  Working directly for the Deputy Commissioner within the evaluation unit.  Explains his background in math and physics was important.  Writing reviews.  Insight into top policing approaches.  Commander Hemmingway and the prosecution of the Cray brothers.  Reflects on his education in the post.

1984 posted to Chingford police station.  Reflects on big difference to Hackney.  Adopting a different style of policing.  Dislike of working in Chingford.  Later posted to Walthemstow and enjoyed work more.

1983 introduction of the first computer.  Considers the impact of its introduction and the problems experienced by administrative staff in the MET.  Role training new recruits in the police role who had just finished their training.

Telephone operator and old technological approach to policing.   Considers the transformation of policing to a new approach. Dealing with the Supergrass.  Secret location, armed guard and approach to gaining information. Inspector’s exam.  Explains posting to Stratford police station and limited introduction to his division.  Airport and lack of practical knowledge because he had been placed on night duty.

Track 24: 16’45’ Anecdotes as an Inspector at Stratford.  Senior officer on night duty.  Incident of a stabbing in a pub and dealing with the witnesses in the pub.  Arrested everyone in the pub.  Successful apprehension of the suspect as a result. Hostage situation in a house.  Recalls calling in the TSG.  Agitation of the suspect and decided to storm the building.  Considers his justification for his action and the problem of being the person who will receive the blame if anything goes wrong. Dealing with colleagues with problems and his responsibility doing unpopular things.  His rule that he only left work when all the PCs were accounted.  Incident of a missing PC and his important supervising role.

Considers his relationship with the senior leadership team.  Reflects on the different perspective needed to progress further than an Inspector.  His inability to gain promotion because of his attitude to police role.  Explains he was expected to be married to the job if he wanted to progress.  Decision to prioritize his family.  Others who sacrificed marriages for the job.  Satisfaction in his role as an Inspector on Relief.  Role taking the difficult decisions.  Achievements as Inspector.

Track 25: 11’04  Moving in to Youth and Community service in Stratford.  Working with schools and out of school projects.  MET police boxing club etc.  Role closing down projects that were not being run correctly.  Application for traffic and taking the fast car course.  Traffic and motor cycle exam.  Motor vehicle mechanics course.  Advanced driving course.  Police Investigation Unit in the Traffic division.  Considers the changes that occurred in the traffic division to improve the investigation process.  Teams, and detective approach to investigating a fatal collision. Introduce a booklet 115, in which any fatal collision needed to be reported explicitly into the booklet.  Introduced a checklist.  Approach to policing was an active role rather than an old-style role of traffic inspector.  Considers his responsibilities as an Inspector.  

Track 26: 17’42’ Specific role as traffic inspector in traffic incidents.  Attending the scene, interviewing and processing.  Media issues and welfare of officers.  Fatal traffic incidents involving police officers.  Changes approaches to traffic incident investigations.  Move towards complaints and DPS.  Knowledge of collisions and cases involving police officers led to his posting to training.  Advising recruits on approaches to traffic investigations.  CCTV.

Worked with the Chief Inspector of complaints.  Joined complaints department.  Dealt with fatal collisions.  Reflects on the problems of malicious complaints compared to real allegations.  False allegations.  Describes his frustrations investigating false allegations.  Complaints watchdog and their problematic attitude prioritizing the complainant.   Subsequent bad relationship with police officers as a complaints officer.  Perspective of role and experience in complaints department for promotion.  DPS disadvantages for promotion.

Track 27: 6’06’  Describes the lessons he learnt from work with the DPS.  Viewed by the MET as anti-police and complainants as anti-complainants.  Problems with investigation process in the complaints department. Retirement after 30 years in the MET.  Pension structure.  2010 retired and returned as a civilian in media in Tower Hamlet.  2013 retired completely.  Reflections on his career in the MET.  Satisfaction and enjoyment

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