Friends of the

Metropolitan Police History

Officer 16

Location of interview:Potter’s Bar

Officer's Gender:Male

Date joined Met Police:12 July 1965

Date left Met Police: 8 July 1997

Rank of leaving:Chief Superintendent

Divisons served:E (Hampstead): C (West End Central): Q (Wembley)

Specialist service:Public Order

Transcript of interview

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Track 3: 6’16”: Life before the Metropolitan Police.  Family background in Southgate, N14.  Local parents origins. Fathers job as civil servant and mother as a tax officer and housewife.  Schooling in St Andrews, Southgate, post war. Eversley schooling before secondary school Oakwood. 11 Plus accepted to Enfield Grammar School. Life in large Enfield Grammar school. Character of school pupils from difficult backgrounds. Troubled life at school. 2 O’ Levels obtained. Suffering the consequences of schooling. Recollections of Mr L.C. Saw, Headmaster. Rejection from returning to school at 16 and realization of new life expectations. Became apprentice Butcher/bacon hand for the Co-op. Ethnic make-up of Southgate. Talks about a local Nigerian family.  Recalls Jewish community in the area.  Council estates.

Track 4: 7’46”: Age of 16 working in the Co-operative.  Influence of his father on his life choices and application to the Metropolitan Police. Opportunities offered. 202 Borough High Street interview. Testing process for acceptance for an interview in 1964. Ethnic communities involvement in applications. Reasons for joining. London born and bred. Selection and induction process to service.  Motive to re-take failed exams rather than become a Police officer.  Cadet Corps experience  in  Hendon.    Journey  to  the  training  centre.    Training  course  leading  to Ashford. Character of trainees.   Ethnic minorities and females absent.   Prevalence of Scottish and Welsh, along with other non-Londoners.

Track 5: 13’59”:  Life as a Cadet.  Training process and structure. Accommodation.  Dormitory life. Friends and team. Competition and practical jokes. Flooding of accommodation. Recollection of Police Officer training at this time of training as a Cadet. Academic progress in training; O level and other certificates gained. Second phase of training in Ashford, Kent. Accommodation in large country house. Character and structure of Ashford training: physical and mental preparation for Policing. Sports: Canoeing work, mountain rescue work, fencing, continuity drills, gymnastics and archery. Ambitions and expectations of training. Enjoyment of training programme.  Third phase in Police station. New demands and working in Hampstead. Life living at 26 ½ Rosslyn Road Hampstead. Working in small teams. Shift work and night duty. Golders Green training.  Working as a typist. Working school crossings as a cadet. Community interaction; helping local butcher. Burnt Oak Broadway work with Butcher and being caught by Chief Superintendent.

Track 6: 3' 51”: Reasons for joining the Police service.  Enjoyment of cadet service, working Newham Hospital.  Life in Hampstead Police Station. Role in the arrest of A6 murderer. Real enjoyment of teamwork and colleagues.  Discipline and relationships as a cadet in Hampstead. Behaviour of PTI in cadet corps.  Distinctions between Cadets and PCs.  Natural progression to Police Force.

Track 7: 1’04”: 12th July 1965 joined Police Service.  Peel House in Regency Street.  Tommy Wall, Chief Superintendent and Herby Castle the Drill Sergeant.

Track 8: 10’52”:  Posting to C District to West End Central, Savile Row.   Tommy Wall’s role in posting. Split structure of West End Central Station. CD1 and CD2. Work at CD2. Learning beats with street tutors. Experience of religion in the Police Force. Transition to patrolling on his own. Posting to a Relief Force. Characters and colleagues. Learning the ropes on 4 beat, near Oxford Street. Marble Arch post for a month. Soho patrols. Night duty. Traffic point work in Regents Street. Section House in Beak Street, then moved to Trenchard House in Broadway Street, Soho. First few years on the beat. First arrest. Dealing with street traders, prostitutes and club touts in the West End. Community relations.

Track 9: 13’03”:  Policing Soho.  Drug scene: First drug arrest for Opium.  Vehicle theft and petty theft. Methods to tackle crime. Mayfair compared to Soho problems. Arrests for firearms. Sex trade in Soho: Review Clubs and strip clubs, long term prostitutes and ponces, club touts and opportunistic women. Changes in sex trade problems. Trafficking. Clubs Officer work. Women Police Officers. Gender divisions in Police work. Problems of juveniles and the Pop scene in London. Discusses tackling a particular case of drug abuse by juveniles. Drug abuse in the West End.  Dealing with overdose incidents. Tackling abuse with drug clinics to prescribe drugs to users.

Track 10: 14’04”: Communication within Police Force.   Use of Police posts, whistles.   Ethnic communities within the Police Force. Black Officer Norwell Gumbs @ Roberts as the first black officer. Walking the beat and investigating crime. Use of stop and search for arrests. Plain clothes observation technique. Policing West End Central’s embassies: American Embassy, Greek Embassy, United Arab Embassy, Grosvenor House Hotel, Claridge House Hotel. Armed policing. Training for use of guns. Dealing with demonstrations. Public order problems. October Revolution: impressions of the demonstration and police response, violence of protestors against Police Officers and lack of Police equipment. Police perception in aftermath of October Revolution. George Brown, the Home Secretary and the emergence of the mobile canteen. Operational catering.

Track  11:  8’04”:  Reasons  for  promotion  rather  than  specialist  unit:  financial  ambition,  time restrictions and influence by colleagues. Accelerated promotion course; interview in Churchill Cambridge. Failure and then experience of being recalled in August 1969. 12th July 1969 promoted to Sergeant. Interview and testing process. Posting to S division in Barnett before posting as Sergeant to Golders Green. Life as a young Sergeant. Local community make-up; Jewish community, Irish, financial diverse community.  Character of the Relief Force: ethnic minorities and women officers.

Track 12: 13’13”: Dealing with responsibilities in Golders Green.  Learning on the job.  Managing the Relief. The role of the Sergeant and Station Officer. Dealing with prisoners and evidence. Book 12A for prisoners not charged, procedure and protocol. Discipline in the Police Force in arrest procedure. Hierarchy relations within station and character of colleagues. Section station in Finchley. Administration and teamwork. Innovative policing in Golders Green and Finchley. Tackling persistent offenders. Golders Green crimes. Supergrass: Jewish community relations. Community relations activity: frictions and animosity.

Track 13: 3’54”: Undertaking the competitive examination from Sergeant to Inspector.  Selection process to become Inspector. Promotion to E District, Kentish Town. Make-up of district: Irish community of Kentish Town, Housing Estates, Wealthy community and Greek community. Changes in character of the Relief: Women and ethnic minorities.

Track 14: 3’38”: Working with Women Relief.  Prejudices and preconceptions against women in Police Force: training. Ethnic officers: Asian PC in Golders Green. Norwell Roberts now detective Sergeant in Kentish Town. Relations of Uniform with CID: division and snobbery. Changes in structure of Police Force: interchange through promotion.

Track 15: 2’48”: Women and ethnic minority Officer promotions: Norwell Roberts.   Policing Kentish Town as Inspector.   Managing the Relief rather than Policing.   Era of appraisals and reporting.  Colleagues.

Track 16: 2’33”: Relief work impact on private life.   Social life in Potter’s Bar.   Family life. Implications of shift work. Hobbies. Devotion to work life.

Track 17: 5’24”: Working as a young supervising Sergeant.  Dealing with court procedures.  Crown Prosecution service. Procedure and protocol for the law courts. Evidence and  prosecuting criminals. Legal training and working as a prosecutor. Case study of a prosecution for dangerous driving.

Track 18: 4’39”: Working as Relief Inspector in 1977 in Holborn.  Quiet night duty in Holborn. Embracing role as Sergeant. Supervising Sergeants. Administration. Tackling poor quality Officers led to training school October 1978. Discusses poor quality Officer: lack of discipline, immoral and insufficient.

Track 19: 0’47”: Outcome of investigation into poor standard of an Officer.   Involvement in disciplinary work.

Track 20: 4’27":  Public order matters.  Role in Grunwick demonstration: trade dispute, role of ethnic minority staff, violent and congested area making difficult policing. Night duty. Police response and resolution of dispute. Involvement in demonstrations in Holborn: Malet Street, Red Lion Square and Quaker Meeting House.  Students Union demonstrations.

Track 21: 3’18”: Public order matters.   Perks Field.   Notting Hill Carnival: police protection, explosions and violence.  Growth of Police presence in Notting Hill Carnival.  Briefings; changes in Police response and resources.

Track 22: 9’38”: Experiences in training school as an Inspector.  Private and professional result of instructor course. Working as an instructor and supervisor. Initiating training for recruits. Implications for own career of changes in legislation. Testing systems of recruits. Changes in ethnic and gender make-up of new recruits: age, education, class, gender, ethnicity.

Track 23: 21’23": April 1984 Working as Chief Inspector in Wembley.  Implications of Hillsborough on Police procedure. Discusses the old Wembley stadium. Sent to 7 Area complaints from Wembley. Working as a complaints Chief Inspector. Negative working experiences with general public and Police Officers. 9 months in Wembley and then Kingsbury as Complaints Inspector. Applied for post a Chief Inspector in public order branch in New Scotland Yard. Changes in public order: issues development. Anti-apartheid marches. Irish demonstrations. Security changes in light of the IRA. Changes in legislation. Implications of Public Order Act. Dealing with demonstrations. Command structure: bronze, silver and gold. Transition from manual system towards computer aided response resources. Changes occurrence and focus of demonstrations: student and Parliament focus. Balancing Parliament’s needs and public demands. Became Superintendent and sent to Cannon Row Police Station, behind Parliamentary buildings. Transition to role of Superintendent. Restructuring of the Metropolitan Police: 8 areas rather than  4. Evolution of functions and roles. Issues for Cannon Row Policing: Parliament, terrorist activity, major events with national coverage and public scrutiny. Northern Ireland security issues. Dealing with the bombing in Whitehall, Horse Guards Avenue.

Track 24: 1’52”:   Response to Downing Street bombing: evacuation, explosive team and anti-terrorist branch.  Media.

Track  25:  9’09”:    Superintendent  at  Cannon  Row  1989.    Major  events.    Restructuring  the Metropolitan Police. Undertaking the merging of Cannon Row and Bow Street 1990. Approach to transition by amalgamating the social clubs. 1991 took command of acting Chief Superintendent of Agar Street Station, off the strand. Managing the new and largest Police Station. Retirement. Readjusting to retirement. Reasons for leaving the Metropolitan Police. Returning to civilian life: training preparation and mental adjustment. Work after retirement in training for external companies for response to public order instances. Relationship with past colleagues. Perception of general public of his background in the Metropolitan Police.


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