Friends of the

Metropolitan Police History

Officer 19

Location of interview:Essex

Officer's Gender:Male

Date joined Met Police: 1 December 1951

Date left Met Police: 1 March 1966

Rank of leaving:Detective Constable

Divisons served:B (Chelsea)

Specialist service:C10 (Stolen Car branch)

Transcript of interview

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Track 2: 7’07”: Service with Metropolitan Police Service: Why joined.  Finished RAF as VHF wireless engineer and looked for equivalent role in Ambulance and Fire Brigade.  Metropolitan Police Service offer opportunity, which suited him better. Hendon training school.  Death of George V: dealing with the funeral, catering for Police on duty.  Chelsea posting: impressions of its characters and community. Learning beats: Experience working with a Scotsman and drinking on duty. Stolen cars: procedure and incident of locating and pursuing a stolen vehicle. Character who stole the bike and prosecution in Chelmsford. Kings Road, Chelsea: history of its name, explained as link to King Charles, Worlds End and his meetings with Nell Gwynn.

Track 3: 6’23”: The Streets of London: Meaning to interviewee. Recalls lady’s activities in Chelsea, known as the black widow. Famous actress activities in Chelsea. Jack Train. Jack Warner PC Dixon and recollections of his role in the Metropolitan Police Service. Molly Parkin. Army Game programme and local theatre. Dealing with the Royal Family events and especially the Queen Mother. Jack Slipper in the section house: playing snooker while on duty. Shoplifting incident at Woolworths: arresting a one-armed shoplifter.Track 4: 8’25” Night duty: smoking and lucky response to M&S break-in. Late-turn in Sundays: posting to beat on the river, dealing with a regatta and catching a criminal in Chelsea. Civil dispute incident: dealing with a disputing couple who were migrating to Australia. West Kensington event in block of flats: dealing with man with shotgun. Lead thieves: incident in South Kensington and catching a criminal with lead. Thefts of lead on roofs of vacant houses: tackling robbery and climbing roofs to catch a criminal. Catching street book keepers in Worlds End: occasion of arresting a book maker

Track 5: 10’49”:  Hospitals: connection between policemen and nurses.  Nurses dance: snobbish sister at the party and relationship with single police officers.  Barrow-boys: tackling and arresting one particular barrow-boy who turned out to be an identical twin.  Coronation: planning and preparation for the event.  Brochures for PCs and duty details.  Smoke and fog 1952/3/4: dealing with visibility problem in London.  Helping a lady get to the hospital.  Miracles 1953/4 and the Great Flood: tackling problems of the flood, house boats, evacuation, using truncheon to wake people up. Dead bodies: first incident of dealing with dead body, pathologist, distracting secretary. Flood tide at power station: impact of removing a dead child.  Circus: Knightsbridge and dealing with road traffic accident involving an Elephant.  Dealing with beggars.

Track 6: 2’ 44”:  Uniforms and problems it caused when patrolling: incident in Natural History Museum, recalls birds singing in dawn chorus.  Indecent exposure and incidents with children: describes arrest of one flasher and his treatment in the police station by female officer.

Track  7:  9’49”:  Harrington  Hall  Hotel  robbery:  death  of  the  night  porter. Pursuing  and investigating criminals responsible and their eventual hanging. Murder suspect with an alibi. Working as a van driver: shooting of DS Ray Purdy. Explains incident: Gunther Podola being monitored and arrested by Ray Purdy and Sandy Sandford, events that led to the shooting. Recalls being one of the first on the scene and dealing with Sandy Sandford. Dealing with the press and relationship this led to between the Metropolitan Police Service and the press. Podola arrested in South Kensington. Consequences of the arrest leading to execution and involvement of the press. Kitchen staff of Chelsea Womens hospital stealing food: arresting for theft. Brompton Cemetery theft of flowers: catching the perpetrators. Equipment: Truncheon and whistle. Discusses the importance of talking as a valuable tool: incident of dealing with a prostitute and her pimp in Chelsea.

Track 8: 7’03”: Dealing with the rich and the poor: discusses the difference in treatment based on socio-economic status.  Incident of a drunken bike rider and his link to a multi-millionaire, which led to an appeal.  Prominent lawyer conducted successful appeal. Night duty in Knightsbridge area: stopping a young Australian and realizing it was Rolf Harris.  Serious problem in B, F and A divisions of bogus window cleaner: catching the culprit.  Q car: plain clothes car, meaning it has no visible signs.  Interviewing people: Fulham incident of Detective Sergeant who always succeeded in getting a confession. C10 posting after catching bogus window cleaner.

Track 9: 3’04”: Incident: Old lady who called police after had a possibly dead client in her flat. Dealing with the problem in an unofficial manner. Shift work: dealing with night duty and late- turn.  Dealing with family life, police demands and lack of sleep.

Track 10: 7’39”: Chelsea Pensioners: Royal Hospital tennis courts.  Communication: describes use of the Police Box and Police Posts.  Reporting procedures: schedules for reporting in to the station. Uniform: change to collar and tie uniform.  Melton cloth: thick and heavy.  Exhausting wearing uniform: Point duty.  Driving courses: highway code, restrictions to class 5 drives or Police van grade 4 driver.  Qualification to intermediate course to get to grade 3.  Driving the are car as a relief driver in grade 3. Final course to progress to grade 2 or 1.  Explains difference between grade 2 and 1.  GP (General purpose car) used by CID duty officer.

Track 11: 7’07”:  C10: working in stolen motor vehicles.  Initiating work on stolen vehicles.Learning and compiling a book.  Procedure and protocol to find stolen vehicles: checking registration and electrical equipment on the car. Tactics by criminals to hide stolen vehicles. Tactics by Metropolitan Police Service to locate stolen vehicles: Utilising acetone.  Stoke Newington firm: A40’s or A55’s and 6 weeks at the Old Bailey.  Scotland Yard and success of work demanding relocation to new head quarters in Chelsea.  Explains the unit and character of the job. Reasons for enjoying the position.

Track 12: 8’40”: Life before the Metropolitan Police Service: Family life and married life.  RAF and working previously for Post Officer engineering. Training in RAF.  Feelings about joining the Metropolitan Police Service: adopting a way-of-life.  Living in a police community.  Constantly living as a Police officer off duty.  Troubled first marriage as a result of the demands of the job. Reasons for interest in the Metropolitan Police Service. Wages.  Recruitment process: civil service exam and medical. Training school: IB (instruction book).  9 month and 15 month exam following training school. Training at Hendon and later in Chelsea.  Residential course in Hendon: demands of training.  Chelsea posting and lived in Battersea.  Probationer in Chelsea: Sergeant, Inspector and treatment by other PCs.

Track 13: 5’06”: Female PCs: separate Police work.  Dissemination of roles and duties based on gender lines.  Recollections of highest ranking female PC.  Mary Wedlake who became senior officer in Scotland Yard. Ethnic minority officers – recollection of BME officers.  Feelings of colleagues: camaraderie and difficult officers on relief. Technology: absence of phones, hand cuffs. Stick, whistle and key to Police box.  Explains 1st reserve work.

Track 14: 5’01”: Chelsea Police station: describes physical layout and structure.  Superintendents Walker and Dennis. Queen Mother inspected flower displays: competition between Police Stations for flower display. Visit of Queen Mother to Fulham: working as a plain clothed PC. Tennis and sporting activities in Chelsea.  Royal Hospital tennis courts.  Recalls old tennis partner.

Track 15: 9’45”: Hobbies and interests: building radios and amplifiers.  Snooker in section house. Holidays: coach trip to south coast and visit to Scotland.  Social life within the Police: Christmas party in section house, annual dinner in Peter Jones in Sloan Square, Imber Court events and PCs versus Sergeants game at cricket.  Recalls incident when he was playing cricket with his brother and friend.  Incidents of first aid.  Public order events: Notting Hill riots.  Beginning of the problems with the black youth. Process of arrest: caution and procedure to remove them to the station before processing at the station.  Dealing with arrests: arm lock.  Incident of a violent arrest and having to subdue prisoner. Reliance on the local community.  Community policing: respect of the general public and reflects on change that has occurred in the relationship.

Track 16: 15’05”: Court procedure: escorting prisoner into the court.  Discusses character of court life: prostitutes, drunks and other criminals.  Notoriety in court room: incident of a prosecuting a flasher and certifying him as insane. Police vehicles: police vans.  Discusses introduction of new models. Wolsely (3.50) 6/80s, 6/90s and 6/99.  Use of lower octane pool petrol by police cars Eventual transition back to 4 star petrol.  GP van and superintendents car, area cars and Q cars. Lambeth 'Old wreck' car for special observation.  Motorcycles for traffic control.  Noddy bikes when in C10.  Lack of body armour and protection.  Reflects on reasons and implications of using the bikes.  Injuries while on duty.  Describes his identification warrant card.  Reasons for leaving based on medical grounds after 16 years: difficult situation in his life. Adjusting to life outside the Metropolitan Police Service. 3 month transition to leaving Metropolitan Police Service: finding accommodation and starting his life again.  Lack of assistance. Colleagues' reaction to retirement. Planning life after the Metropolitan Police Service: finding a new job.  Job as a salesman in frozen food van.  Later work with electronic firm for 22 years.  Reaction of community to life as Police officer.


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