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Metropolitan Police History

Officer 17

Location of interview:Aston Clinton, Buckinghamshire

Officer's Gender:Male

Date joined Met Police: 1 January 1966

Date left Met Police:16 July 1999

Rank of leaving:Substantive rank of Chief Inspector, but acting Superintendent

Divisons served:Y (Edmonton), N (Holloway), B (Kensington),Y (Hornsey)

Specialist service:Cadet Training School

Transcript of interview

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Track 1: 5’07” Family life before Metropolitan police.  Born Kingston upon Thames.  Family from New Malden.  Mother and 2 brothers.  Father left when a baby.  Lived with Grandfather in Graften Road.  Burlington Primary School in New Malden.  Then Beverley School for secondary modern.  Left school just before 16.  Always wanted to be a surveyor.  Training contract in Kingston with big surveyor company.  Work as surveyors assistant.  Enjoyment of working outdoors rather than office work.  Process towards police service at 17 1/2 .  Chief Surveyor’s role in decision to leave.  Coffee shop incident with old friend who had become a Police cadet.  Learning of activities of Police cadets and swift enrolment.

Track 2: 1’50” Reasons for choosing the Metropolitan police service in particular.  Local police service of London.  Reception by Police service on request to joining the Police cadet corps.  Talks about views of the Police cadet corps in the community.

Track 3: 1’23” Experience in the application process for recruitment.  Borough High Street entrance exam and interview. Colonel Croft’s presence in interview. Process of waiting for acceptance in the canteen.  Being 3 out of 41.

Track 4: 7’50” Talks about Colonel Croft and the cadet system.  Describes his appearance and character.  Interpetation of bullying.  Events after selection to cadet corps.  St Thomas’s hospital medical inspection: chest x-rays.  Went off to Billy Graham event in London with friends.  Telling parents of enrolling.  Mothers response.  Six week period of waiting before active enrollment.  Hendon 5th January 1966 arrival at Colindale from New Malden.  Recalls the journey to Colindale and welcome to Police training school.  MET Police cadet training school.  Old Police college.  Describes the structure of the college and the houses. Explains 38 Block and its appearance.  Dormitories.  4 houses for the cadets.  Public school appearance of Hendon Cadet training school.

Track 5: 5’13” Reception process on arrival at Hendon cadet training school.  Explains difference between A course cadet and b course cadet.  3 months course at Hendon.  Recollection of ethnic character of cadet colleagues.  Absence of black or Asian officers.  Presence of other British cadets from outside of London.  No women.  B course: Fielding house, main house dormitory and coping with being placed in alien environment with another house after 38 block was full.  Recalls his friend and how they coped with his fellow roommates from another house.  Competitive nature of houses and difficulty getting on with other houses.

Track 6: 10’07” Cadet training in B course.  Describes difference with A course cadet training, which lacked practical preparation for Metropolitan Police service.  B Course sergeants.  Compares to basic training course.  3 month term before division placement.  Uniform dress and dealing with strict presentation.  Transition process to divisions.  Placement in Edmonton: social activities and experiences from April to November.  Once a week attendance of Kingsbury cadet centre.  Geographic distinctions within the Metropolitan Police service.  Enjoyment of being at the back of the wireless car.  Memories of policing in the wireless car and relationship with fellow police officers.  Discipline procedures to new cadets.  Perceptions of PCs to cadets.  Animosity to cadets and low level bullying.  Jobs and tasks allocated to cadets.  Explains General Orders: compilation of all the mistakes Police officers had made over the years.  Process of amending the General Orders once a month.  Enjoyment of experience.

Track 7: 31’30” Experiences after joining the Metropolitan Police Service: 14th November 1966 on the first Monday after his birthday.  Process of transition from cadets to Metropolitan Police Service.  Allocation to Peel House in Regency Street.  Recollection of physical journey from Hendon to Peel House.  Describes Regency Street: small, 5 storeys, dormitories, classrooms and dining room.  Compares to Hendon.  Training at Regency Street for 13 weeks.  Women in training class.  Women Police as Branch of Metropolitan Police Service.  Absence of ethnic minorities.  Training reflections:  easier, rote learning, primary objects of the Metropolitan Police Service.  Achievements in the training.  Practical training: limited and mainly classroom based.  Lack of space.  13 weeks of training: junior, intermediate and senior stage.  Posting selection process: treatment of ex-cadets in adult training school.  Bullying of ex-cadets: prejudices and preconceptions.  Difference of training experience because of being an ex-cadet.  Drill and experience.  Confronting the inspector over allocation of opposing postings to home address.  Refusal to accommodate.  Edmonton request his return as a PC.  Life as a PC in Edmonton.  Working class environment compared to home life: North London accents and distinctions with south Londoners.  1966-1967 period of work.  Prevalence of new recruits.  Camaraderie.  4 Police stations in Edmonton Division.  Training of women Police officers.  Difference in career after division.  Allocation of jobs with women and children to female PCs.  Distribution of roles.  Ethnic minorities in the division.  Greek PC.  Shift work and duties.  Changes in work: lack of radios, police posts and boxes for communication.  Shift requirements to report in via a police box.  Describes the police box procedure.  Whistles.  Dealing with day-to-day crimes.  Partnership with old PCs on the beat: resentment and difficulties.  Watching a film on his first day out on the streets.  First arrest: purposeful patrolling/purposeless patrolling.  Beat or patrolling.  Procedure of working day.  Arrest procedure: walking the criminal back to the police station.  Evidence of prejudice and discrimination on the relief: not as a PC in Edmonton, character of Edmonton as a white suburb of London.  Issues of community: not ethnic minorities.  Move to Holloway and new issue of ethnic minorities.  Social life off duty in the section house.  Living in Tottenham horsebox.  Lack of space in Edmonton and learning from difficulties of living in the horsebox.  Conditions of accommodation.  Interests and hobbies: fencing.  Socialising with his group.  Shift work patterns. Abnormality of days off.  Visits to family.  Wife at Sussex University.  Visiting wife in Brighton.  Public order: local dustbin men.  Dealing with demonstration: Grosvenor Square demonstration.  Lack of equipment and protection for police officers.  Violence of demonstrators.  Directing the protest away from the embassy.  Frightening day of his career.  Lack of public order training.  Reaction of the crowd when he fell down, difference in relations with the community.  Lack of preparation of Metropolitan Police Service.  Character of demonstrators.  Lack of tools to tackle incidents of that scale successfully.  Chaos.

Track 8: 11’24” Promotion in the Metropolitan Police Service in 1973.  Achievements in training.  Expectations of him high.  Never wanted to join CID so sought promotion.  Married for 2 years.  Sergeants exam.  Competitive system: pass, yet failure.  Retaking the exam.  Sent to Holloway.  Compare Holloway to Edmonton.   Relief at Holloway.  Busy working life.  Responsibilities for public counter and charge room.  9 years as Sergeant.  Remembers first night as station officer: PCs testing his skills.  Discipline issues.  Step from PC to Sergeant.  Distinction and transition towards discipline.  Talks of incident of taking discipline against a PC who was undertaking work on Camden passage antique market when booked on duty.  Instituting disciplinary actions.  Relations with PCs in light of new role.  Reasons for taking a step from being a front line officer after 18 months. Wife as a teacher and application to training school.  Process of admittance to instructors course.  Successful process of course and move to working as an instructor.

Track 9: 2’ Discussing attitude to cadets and aspect of bullying.  1974.  Element of bullying in training school greatly changed and improved.  Describes training school in 1970s: firm but fair.  Difference he found with how it had been: physical, character of training, nature of recruits.

Track 10: 5’32” Women’s role in Metropolitan Police Service and influence on his working experience.  Holloway.  Disbandment of Women Police Service.  Working with female Sergeant and learning to work with women.  Postings and dissemination of shifts.  Friction with male PCs over gender roles.  Older male PCs.  Joan and Daphne, two female PCs he worked with   Holloway female PCs appearance.  Awareness of new procedures necessary within integration of female PCs.  Relationships with male PCS.  Impact on Metropolitan Police Service.  Ethnic minorities: Holloway’s character as Cypriot and Greek community and  Edmonton Irish community.

Track 11: 6’52” Instructor at training school.  Bullying.  Ethnic minorities and women joining the service.  Changes in character of trainees in Metropolitan Police Service: growth of female trainees.  Training experiences as a Sergeant: 1973-1977, probation training, first aid training course.  Tour of duty in specialist department for 2 years.  Return to division in Kensington to recruitment.  Experiences in new role in Kensington: progression of career and preference for the semi-inner ring over the inner ring.  Application for post in careers department and eventual success in gaining post.  D1 careers department recruitment process: interview, impressions and reasons for success in the end in personnel and training.  Recruiting shop.

Track 12: 7’35” D1 recruiting experience: team composition, roles and duties in generating recruitment in Metropolitan Police Service.  Activity in county shows advertising Metropolitan Police Service.  Ethnic minority recruitment  Focus of recruitment drive: grammar schools, military children.  Aversion to military personnel joining the Metropolitan Police Service despite drive to do so.  Armed services and recruitment procedures and strategies  Recruiting females: speaking at girl schools in Barnet.  Career progression after training school: Inspectors exam demands.  Challenge of promotion demands regardless of success.  Eventual success.

Track 13: 3’18” Posting after careers department.  Inspectors exam and posting to Hornsey as Sergeant.  7/8 months later posting as Inspector.  Impressions of Hornsey: community, enjoyment of the job.  Geographic circumference of the division.  Character of community: diverse socio-economic mix of the population.  Tottenham estate.

Track 14: 5’17 Describes first days on the job in Hornsey.  Behaviour of other Police Officers and establishing his role as a Sergeant.  Parading as a Sergeant.  Setting a standard.  Make up of the shift.  Character of Sergeants on the shift: young.  Inspector's character.  Experiences at Hornsey: closing of the station and working in portacabins.  Move of station to Highgate.  The escape of a prisoner and eventful recapture.  Working as acting Inspector: shop lifting squad.

Track 15: 3’19” Move to Wood Green.  Character of community: shopping.  Shop lifting problem and police response.  Annual event to tackle problem.  Responsibility for paperwork.  Receiving commendation.  Busy working life.  Arresting a women in a wheelchair for shop lifting.  Team work.  Pre-promotion course to Inspector.

Track 16: 6’54” Posting to Edmonton as newly promoted Inspector.  Effort to move him back to the training school.  Relief at being posted to Edmonton instead.  Reception and response by Chief Superintendent.  Disappointment of reception as a cadet and eventual relocation to Enfield.  Dislike of working in Enfield in the outskirts of London.  Team composition: older team.  Readjusting to new team.  Installing standards.  Demands of commute.  Return to training school.  Make-up of the shift in Enfield.  Geographic area.  Cecil Parkinson living locally.  Dealing with a much older catchment of people: average age of PCs much older.  Impression of team: lazy and lacking needing leadership.  Working night duty outside.  Relationship with PCs.

Track 17: 5’21” Development of communications and implications: personal radios and panda cars.  Transformation of Metropolitan Police Service by advanced and immediate communication.  Reduction of relationship with the community because of panda cars.  Change in role of the Metropolitan Police Service and community relations.  PCs response to new cars: popularity.  Parade team: increase in numbers and eventual reduction of numbers depending on posting and different divisions.  The advent of the squad.

Track 18: 7’ Women and ethnic minorities in Metropolitan Police Service.  Experience working with only two male colleagues of ethnic minority.  Lack of presence of these groups.  Public order in Y.  Duty at Tottenham Hotspur Football ground.  Work difference as a PC and later as an Inspector in Public Order roles.  Juggling his family with Metropolitan Police Service.  Crowd control at football matches compared to demonstrators.  Dealing with supporters.  Arsenal and Tottenham: inter-London rivalry.  West Ham and Chelsea in comparison being a small problem.  Changes in levels of crime.  Motor vehicle and burglary crime rapid increase in 1970s and 1980s.  Downgrading of Metropolitan Police Service response to certain crimes implication on level of certain crimes.  Changes in treatment of burglary.

Track 19: 5’ New laws and legislation implications on Metropolitan Police Service roles.   Larceny Act  transition to New Theft Act in 1968.  Rethinking theft and property.  Implications of legal theory on Metropolitan Police Service action to actual crime.  Complicated theorizing during training school with little implication on practical terms of policing.  Introduction of the breathalyser and Road Safety Act: arresting more motorists and change in motorists relationship with the Police.  Police chases.

Track 20: 1’56” Interviewer discusses topics outlined in interview so far: progression of career.

Track 21: 5’15” Unit commander in Hertfordshire: process of promotion, travel to Chessington.  Duties for Police station and reflections on demands of the job in Chessington.  Discusses home beat officers and geographic area under the jurisdiction of Chessington.  Aspiration for a new role: non-job character of role in Chessington.  Liaising with local community and regulating home beat: parish council and procedure for contact with the community.

Track 22: 4’40” Posting by Les Poole (0.20) back to Training School as an Inspector, working as number 2 at overflow training centre in Wansted.   Relationship between Hendon and Wanstead training schools: Hendon was full and Wanstead taking 3 courses of 120 a year.  Changes in training procedures and programmes.  Alex Main review of police training;  implication on police and social services procedures and protocol.  Curriculum transition to psychology and social aspects.  Legislative role in learning programme.

Track 23: 14’32” 18 months in Wanstead before it was renovated and given it a new role.  Training. Role in training process: Changing role from Sergeant to Inspector.  Changes in training approach.  Movement in programme from Trainer focus to student focus training.  Donald Bligh and Dr James Kilty role in aiding and developing new programme procedures.  Discusses different character these people imposed on the training.  Running courses on facilitation with Jame Kilty.    Views of new approach to training: asking recruits how they felt about things, views on new style of training, reception by other PCs to new training approach.  Psychological and touchy-feely approach: 6 category intervention analysis.  Training and experience of trainers of new approach.  Feedback from staff to new student centred approach to training.  View of transition that has occurred in police training and results on new recruits: improved understanding about the demands of the job before practical experience after the mid-1980s.  Impact on training staff: Use of constables as trainers and new staff in training school.  1984 working in Wanstead training school: using PCs in training.  Garnet College and changes in its role in trainers training: Academic training and the selection process.  Plumbers academy: Hendon Technical College teaching certificate.  Relates to developments of Police training in advance of other types of training.

Track 24: 1’12” Training of trainers at recruit training school.  

Track 25: 10’05” Establishing the Staff Training and Developments Unit in Beat Street in London.  Selected as number 2 of the new unit.  Developing the new centre in Beat Street. Responsibilities.  Move to back to night duty in Hampstead.  Changes they made in the teaching procedures.  Confronting inappropriate attitudes and bad behavior of trainers.  Challenging racially motivated attitudes: bottoming issues.  Discusses reception by Police Officers to new approach to tackling attitudes.  Process of debriefing and dealing with the stress and pressures of the job.  Character of trainees and their roles.  Discusses feedback he received from an old trainee.  Skills required to facilitate a group and reception by trainers to new approach.  Officer's opinion on the  intervention of a trainer.

Track 26: 6’30” Working in Hampstead.  Describes Hampstead as the best kept secret of the Metropolitan Police Service: geographic area, village within London, broad spectrum of Policing requirements.  Meeting the Superintendent and posting to Relief for 4 months.  Operations Inspector's transfer and undertaking his role: maintaining operational division.  Policing Hampstead Heath Fair.  Problems of Hampstead: Jewish youth on the high street on Thursday nights.  Tackling the activities of the Jewish youth and behavior.  Liaising with the Jewish community and organisations.  Dealing with particular problems.

Track 27: 5’05” Planning Process: divisions need to produce a Policing plan.  Senior managers inability to understand a short, medium and long term objective.  Operations office responsibility for establishing a plan.  Impressions of formulating the needs of the division with the requirements of the organisation.  Measuring and monitoring objectives: results of these aims on Policing.

Track 28: 7’36” Difficulties of Planning Process: lack of training, guidelines or aid for divisions.  Emergence of notice boards.  Work after retirement with inspectors on a management course.  Organising front line management 20 years after Planning Process.  Attitude of the Metropolitan Police Service to new procedure.  Hampstead policing.  Disenchantment with the Metropolitan Police Service.  Inspector training experience and frustration over failure to reach Chief Inspector.  Criticism of interview technique.  Application to Central Planning and Training Unit in Harrogate.  Assessment process and joining the Central Planning and Training Unit of Home Office Department at Pannal Ash - Harrogate.  Commute demands of new posting and family life.  Working as an Inspector in Harrogate.  Running the course programme.  4 month in-house training course.

Track 29: 14’26” Role of the Central Planning Unit (CPU): Director of Studies.  Working with one other Inspector to run the course and teaching the facilitative techniques.  Colleague from Cumbria.  Promotion to Chief Inspector trainer.  Working as the head of the training department.  Working as a Chief Inspector trainer for 4 years: facilitating other trainers, running the day-to-day running of the centre and monitoring staff and programmes.  Home Office, F2 or F3, department.  Structure of the department.  Lack of control of CPU over Metropolitan Police Service training.  Metropolitan Police Service own probation training system.  Chairing a working party of Metropolitan Police Service training staff and CPU training staff to try and unit the probation training school: difficulties and implications.  Challenging the differences in the Metropolitan Police Service training scheme to the CPU.  Working experiences: working as the only Chief Inspector working with HMI training scheme, becoming educational advisor of Police training and move to Durham in new position.  Controversy of being given position as a Chief Inspector rather than a Chief Superintendent.  Clashes of the CPU with divisional training centres: Ryton.  Superintendent’s reception of him in new Inspectorate posting.  Formal black tie dinner and its reflection of problems of relationship with CPU.  Metropolitan Police Service promotion process.  Liaisons with National Working Party and Martin Hall, Chief Inspector of training school.  CPU’s liaison with London.  Reflects on Metropolitan Police Service attitudes and procedures to training and its distinction from the CPU.

Track 30: 12’31” Rejoining the Metropolitan Police Service after tour of the CPU.  Change of director and working as Staff Officer to aid the new Director.  David Ryan, Chief Constable of Norfolk became National Inspector of Police training.  Working with David Ryan on complete review of Police training: specific role on report of Sergeant and Inspector training nationally.  Return to the Metropolitan Police Service in Kentish Town: reflects on Metropolitan Police Service preference for pushing experts back into the practical work of Policing.  Metropolitan Police Service aversion to National Police Training.  Peter Ryan’s role in bringing them in.  Working in Kentish Town as Chief Inspector.  Divisional Personnel Officer for 1 year: being replaced by civilians.  Implications of arrival of civilian staff.  Differences in training and knowledge between Police and civilians: difficulty of transition. Setting up the Criminal Justice Unit for Kentish Town.  Discusses the appointment of civilians to new posts despite lack of qualifications.  Running the personnel department: lack of personnel training.  Preference for IPD qualifications and retirement.   Ideas and changes of the Metropolitan Police Service.  Move to CJU.  Allocation of training courses: systems to deal with issues.

Track 31: 11’21” Advent of the Criminal Justice Unit (CJU): taking over responsibility for prosecutions from the process department and the crime side.  Difficulties of uniting two departments: conflicts of personnel working together.  Negotiating unification.  CJU’s responsibilities and duties.  CPS adjustment to new system: previous approach based on the probability of conviction, which was changed dramatically by the Metropolitan Police Service who pushed convictions regardless of probability.  This resulted in the heightening of the bar for taking crimes to conviction.  This required more evidence for more crimes.  Working relationship with the CPS.  Weaknesses of the CPS: weak lawyers.  Importance of liaison with the senior Crown prosecutor.  Implications of greater demands on PCs to gather evidence: friction and conflicts with the Prosecution Service.

Track 32: 7’16” Process towards transfer for 6 months on manager exchange with Bermuda Police Force: Training department.  Move to Bermuda.  Bermuda’s inspection by Foreign Office.  Bermuda’s response to weakness findings.  Rewriting training programme from 1950’s system.  40 page review report to Commissioner of Policing in Bermuda and report to the Metropolitan Police Service: implementation of recommendations.  Approach to Bermuda policing review: retraining the training staff.  Student centred techniques shaped for Bermuda. Approach to bringing change.  Failures of the previous system.  Return to Metropolitan Police Service: sent to the complaints department.

Track 33: 12’13” Working in the Complaints Department: working as an internal investigator in Camden, North-west London.  Team work and procedure of making a complaint against police officers.  Informally resolving problems or formal procedure under the area complaints unit.  Workload and tackling complaints: interviewing the complainant, response of complainants.  Example of a fatal motor accident involving a Police car and a New Zealander.  Issue perceived with the use of a Police Officer investigating a Police complaint.  Explains procedure and protocol.  Dealing with work load.  Personal reflections on role.  Public perception of role of Police in Police investigations.    Discusses senior teams role.  Arresting a Police Officer: Special Constable incident.

Track 34: 13’09” Procedure of reports and prosecution in the PCA.  Discusses the incident of the motor accident between the PC and the New Zealander.  Ground Prosecution Service, court summons and court procedure.  Dealing with minor incidents: Discusses another incident of a PC violent action in a Pub and eventual resignation because he would not apologise.  Tackling unacceptable representatives: Police Federation and legal advisors.     Difficulties trying to resolve a case.  Informally resolving incidents.  Occasions of disciplinary panel to resolve issues: 2 major cases.  Discusses bureaucratic complexities of the system that elongated the whole process without need.  Recalls swift justice when worked in 1960 as a Police Cadet in the Old Bailey.  Reflections of PCs perception about the Area Complaints Department.  Views of the department: stress and work load. 

Track 35: 4’30” Overview of career progression: move into training.  Career decisions and influence.  Discusses perception of corruption in the CID, which prevented him from being a detective.  Verbal corruption of evidence, lack of movement of detectives to new areas leading to inappropriate of relations between detectives and local criminals.

Track 35: 7’24” Planning for retirement.  Return from Bermuda and decision to elongate service to age 52.  Decision to leave based on problems of work: heavy work load, stress and psychological pressures.  Lack of preparation for retirement and eventual move to running a training course until second retirement.  Working as a training consultant for Metropolitan Police Service.  Working for Department of International Development: tackling corruption in Nigeria.  Perceptions of his life as a Police Officer: decision to live away from Police Officers and out of the Police conclave.  Life in Aston Clinton as an ex-Police Officer.  Legacy of Police work: enjoyment of leaving the service.  Reason for joining: mistake.  Affection to Police Service.  Criticism of promotion system. 


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