Friends of the

Metropolitan Police History

Officer 23

Location of interview:Shepperton

Officer's Gender:Male

Date joined Met Police: 1 August 1968

Date left Met Police:31 August 1997

Rank of leaving:Superintendent

Divisons served:A (Hyde Park), C (West End Central), X (Southall), T (Feltham), S (Golders Green), B (Notting Hill), Q (Kilburn)

Specialist service:Air Support Unit, Diplomatic Protection Group

Transcript of interview

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Track 2: 9’55": Life before the Metropolitan Police Service: Father’s career in the army from aged 17 and work in the Indian Army.  Mother district nurse.  Discusses the meeting of his parents in 1940 on ship to Delhi and later married.  Mother became a nanny and Father continued to serve in the Indian Army.  Family's relocation to Britain due to father's illness in 1944.  November 1944 death of father.  Mother’s role as single mother and district nurse in Devon. Age 7 went to boarding school and then at 14 went to a boarding school in London.  At 18 joined the cadets in January 1962.  Reason for joining the cadets: lack of knowledge of career ambitions, desire for active service and decision whether to join the police or the army.  Mother’s reaction to decision to joining the police.  Meeting a retired police inspector who advised him to join the Metropolitan Police Service rather than work in the countryside.  Reason for joining the cadets: time filler before joining the police force.  Difference to senior and junior cadets to his route through A course cadets. Training activities.

Track 3: 1’19": Selection process to join the Metropolitan Police Service: eye test, medical test, interview and written paper.

Track 4: 3’35": Posting to Hyde Park Police station.  Beat Street section house: old horse box accommodation.  Discusses the 3 beats within Hyde Park: rowing boats, night duty, types of crime and parading the flower beds.

Track 5: 3’30": Joined the training school of the Metropolitan Police Service. Training school: Peel House or Hendon.  Peel House training staff: Tommy Wall and the wrestling society. Wrestling: training, diet and preparation for fight with Hendon training school.

Track 6: 1’16": Training school colleagues: Richard Wells.

Track 7: 2’37": Memories of training school: A reports and the Instruction Book, reporting of incidents.  Preparation for active service: form 29, prostitution and vice.

Track 8: 0’58": Female PCs. Women Police department distinction from male PC work.

Track 9: 11’54": Posting to CD1 (West End Central). West End divided into 2 divisions.  CD1: Mayfair, Soho and St James’s.  Reception and induction into new division.  Learning beats and becoming familiar with courts that covered their area. Marlborough Street and Bow Street courts. Street traders and street photographers. Attachment to a senior PC for introduction to the beat and traffic points. Working with the Relief.  3 week attachment to a senior PC for introduction to the job. Transition to independent PC work.  Recalls dealing with an incident of a burst water main above a sandwich bar.  Standing as a new PC.  Other experiences whilst on probation: prostitute domestic problem with a client.

Track 10: 2’27": Incidents in the West End: Premiers in Leicester Square and Windmill Theatre’s last night.

Track 11: 3’57": Weather: 1962-63 cold winter in London.  Granted indulgence for a 2 hour meal break.  Clothing: heavy winter uniforms, capes, leggings to keep warm.  Shift patterns: month of nights, 2 days off weekly leave, but expectations to work on these days off.

Track 12: 4’27": Memories at CD1: vagrancy patrol (plain clothes patrol intended to tackle drugs problems). Recollections of policing the swinging sixties: infamous venues in London. Corruption in West End Central: Harry Challenor's fabrication of evidence.   Impact of incident on Metropolitan Police Service: recruitment problems, apprehension of PCs.  Became an aide to CID.

Track 13: 2’54": Disillusionment with Police work and desire to see more of the world.  Decision to join the army. Training for short service commission in the army.  Resignation given to Big Jim Starritt on 31st January.

Track 14: 0’39": Winston Churchill’s lying in State.

Track 15: 9’57": 20 week short service commission officers course: extreme training.  Presence of ethnic minorities from the British commonwealth.  Commission to 1st Battalion of 6th Queen Elizabeth Ghurka rifles.  Explains decision to join the Ghurkas. Mike Huins' role in his decision. Desire to work abroad and in an active unit. August posted to Hong Kong and fighting in Malaysia.  Learning the Ghurka language. Sarawak posting.  Language course and return to Hong Kong.       Mao Tse Tung problems in China and Hong Kong.  2 months in Nepal.  Return to Hong Kong and end of three year term.  Decision to stay in the Army and join the Royal Army Ordnance Corps.  Undertaking a regular commission course and resultant return in 1968 to Britain. Return to the Metropolitan Police Service.  Repeating training course for 16 weeks: new procedures, technology and equipment.

Track 16: 2’04": Hendon Training School.  Discusses the experience of repeating the training programme: preconceptions, expectations and experience. Adjusting to new recruit position.

Track 17: 4’55": Posting to Southall: reasons for posting being that Ghurka language knowledge perceived as beneficial for working with new Indian community in Southall. Adjusting to new policing: new technology, protocol and community.  Southall community: illegal immigrants and tackling illegal employment.  Problems for children to be transported across London.  Learning to work with the Indian community: discusses the character of the Indian community and relationship with Metropolitan Police Service.  Asian PC in Southall.

Track 18: 00’52": Tackling the Indian community in Southall.  Incident of a fatal accident in Southall and utilising the community network to identify the victim

Track 19: 00’59": Promotion: exam for promotion whilst doing probation classes. Volunteer for Anguilla (0’55”).

Track 20: 00’53": Noddy Bike and riding a motor cycle

Track 21: 3’33": Promotion to Sergeant in 1970.  Preference to work with West Indian community, but posted in Golders Green and works closely with Jewish community.  Discusses the process of learning about Jewish practices and customs.  Crimes in the Jewish area: lower levels of delinquency. Transition experience to Sergeant roles: greater administration in the charge room and limited ground work.

Track 22: 8’19": Move to Boreham Wood. Working with the Helicopter unit: training and posting. Impressions of policing in a Helicopter: ground level information, air traffic and navigation and weather practicalities.  Incidents: Chigwell landing.  Posting to New Scotland Yard’s department A10 for police complaints for the holiday season.  Eventual permanent posting to A10.

Track 23: 5’16": A10 structure: Working with 2 Squad attachment in North West London.  Roles and duties: Investigations and complaints procedure.  Night duty.  Expenses and travel opportunities.  Experiences of arresting a police officer.

Track 24: 11’26": Marriage to wife 1973: meeting in Southall at ex-pat club, social life outside the Metropolitan Police Service, chairman of ex-pat group and move to home.  Life outside the Metropolitan Police Service: rugby, wrestling  and Denis McNamara. Move to new home in Shepperton.  Posting to Feltham Police station in order to accommodate family life.  Dealing with white council estates and delinquents.  Responsibilities as a Sergeant. Instruction classes for Inspector rank.  Birth of son on morning of Inspectors exam and eventual qualification.  Promotion to Wimbledon: working as relieving Inspector, receiving a Relief, impressions of the community, policing the dog track, Wimbledon football club.

Track 25: 2’02": Transition from Sergeant to Inspector.  Solitary role as an Inspector.

Track 26: 11’28": Training and courses.  Sergeants exam and the special course.  Churchill College, Cambridge, selection process: interview and rejection for the Special course.  Inspectors course. Junior Command Course.  Impressions of the demands of the courses.  Policing in Wimbledon. Move to the Diplomatic Protection Group in Tottenham Court Road. Roles and responsibilities: red vehicles, specific system for security gradings, shift work and variety of roles.  Mobile patrol, area cars and ranger cars, lack of probationers or WPCs.  Lack of disciplinary problems.  Relationship with the embassies: Indonesian ambassador, Chinese, Seychelles  Night duty: one Inspector covering the area and the other covering Scotland Yard.

Track 27: 5’35": Iranian Embassy siege.   Undertaking a tour of duty during the incident to protect alternative posts.  Implications of the hostage incident: SAS, catering, heads of state diplomatic meeting in Queens Street. Trevor Lock after the incident and Freddy Laker.  Decision to leave the unit.

Track 28: 5’52": Leaving the DPG and move to Notting Hill. Working as a relieving Inspector with West Indian community.  New system of Policing: Jim Hart and Ian Beckett, study of neighborhood policing. Adopting and implementing the Neighbourhood policing scheme in Notting Hill. Long term implications of the new experiment. All Saints Road and drug dealing.  Battle with the West Indian community: unlicensed drinking clubs.

Track 29: 14’01": Mangrove Club, policing problems and drug dealers.  Tackling the problem: truncheon charge into All Saints Road.  Relationship between the police and the black community thenceforth.  PCs patrolling 30 yards of street. Tackling unlicensed drinking clubs.  Community relations with West Indian community.  Involvement with Notting Hill Carnival. Working as the Notting Hill Carnival Inspector: demands, liaising with Kensington commander and Chief Executive. Promotion to Chief Inspector and posting to Kilburn.  Raiding a drinking club on Kilburn’s patch and coming face to face with a black man from All Saints Road.  Impressions of working as Admin Inspector in Kilburn.  Community Liaison Officer: Working with 2 Area with DAC and Community Liaison team. Discusses the overlaps and dissemination of duties for the CLO.   Establishing the consultation groups in Camden, Barnett and Hertsmere.  Friends and colleagues: Richard Wells.  Involvement in committees: Princes Trust.

Track 30: 10’51": Princes Trust: committee of North West London.  Implications on police work and community relations.  Becoming Chairman of the committee.  Promotion to Superintendent on 7 area  Posting to Southall. Working with Bob Sage.  Considers the current approach to police structure and dissemination of roles. Bob Sage’s community policing and relations with local people. Banning processions and working hard to establish good relations.  Indian community progression into more prosperous areas.  Frustration with community policing: domestic violence protocol. Tom Shebire approached  him to work as Commissioner of Prince's Trust.  Sir Paul Condon's  decision to allow him to go to Prince's Trust on a full time basis.

Track 31: 7’17": Secondment to Prince's Trust: regional officer. Working with 10 regional committees and linking volunteers with the headquarters in London. Working procedure: working at home, committee meetings and holiday camps.  Prince's role in the projects and meeting recipients of his money. Arranging a meeting between Chief Constables and Prince Charles. Privileges and opportunities found from the role.  Dissemination of funds to children in need.

Track 32: 1’28": Reaching 30 years of Police service.  Returning to Kingston before retiring in 1997 at 55.

Track 33: 11’57": Post retirement work: running public services course for youths wishing to join the police services, teaching and overseeing the course part time, careers service work, gardening and now working for a car hire company: delivery and collection work.  Reflections and regrets on career; changes in the Metropolitan Police Service.  Perception on weaknesses of the procedure and workings of the service today.  Discusses his son's decision not to join the Metropolitan Police Service. Views of families and friends on past career in Metropolitan Police Service.  Final thoughts about oral history project.  Reflects on impressions of the Metropolitan Police Service and good policing.

Track 34: 20’37": (Follow-up Interview) Notting Hill policing as a relief Inspector. Working as the Carnival Inspector from November.  Planning and preparation for the event over 1 year. Implications on career.  John Perrott. West Indian Community’s possession of the Carnival and particular approach to the event.  Negotiating with the community and its committee.  Problem of mavericks exploiting the carnival.  Sister Monica. John Perrott, the Commander’s role in negotiating with the London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.  Issues: toilets, public order (A8), catering logistics, engineering and negotiating contracts with schools for police bases.  Post carnival work: clearing mess, lost property and reports.  Reflections on approach to role. Problems of sponsors and financial organisation.  Sister Monica: a nun in North Kensington from the West Indies, role as a social worker and community liaison officer.  Potential problems and dangers with Notting Hill Carnival.  Steaming. Working closely with senior officers.  Promotion to Kilburn: 1 year in administration, spell in operations and transition to Chief Inspector role.  Move away from ground work, shift work.

Track 35: 8’54": Administration post in Kilburn.  Process section and making the decision of prosecution of cases. AQR (Annual Qualification Reports) of PCs and Sergeants.  Property store and dealing with excess property.  Impact on family life: regular hours, weekends off and senior officer social events and luncheon clubs.  Drinking culture in Metropolitan Police Service.

Track 36: 17’18": Chief Inspector of Operations.  Responsibility of 4 Reliefs and selection of the correct staff for roles.  Overseeing raids and ground level street work.  Return to administration. Move to Headquarters as Community Liaison Officer  Kingsbury Headquarters.  Selection process for CLO.  Structure of the post. Richard Wells. Community policing.  Looking after juvenile bureaux in the boroughs.  Structure of divisions and responsibilties.  Emergence of the consultancy groups.  Role to establish and train consultancy groups.  Discusses the difficult groups he had to deal with: Barbara Hughes' role in the Camden consultation group, Coram Fields meeting and demonstrators against the groups.  Problems of representing ethnic minorities.  Problems and questions this raised in the community and police procedure in the community. Discusses the people he had to work with within these groups and their limited knowledge of the Metropolitan Police Service.  Barnett, Hertsmere and Camden.  Consultancy groups increase in power and relationship with the police.  Results of the consultancy groups.

Track 37: 2’31": Consultancy groups: acquisition of confidence and power.  Incident of British National Party march and the local consultancy groups prevention of the march by going above the Chief Superintendents head.

Track 38: 11’07": Lay visitors: panels of members of the public who had the right to visit any police station and inspect on conditions of prisoners.  Role to set up lay visitors in the boroughs. Recruiting process, training programme and advocating the programme to the local police station. Problems of the working of the programme in practice. Results of the visits: poor treatment, lack of equipment to accommodate prisoners specific needs, such as kosher food.  Emergence of lay visitors role as ambassadors of Metropolitan Police Service.  Emergence of criticism of armed police and utilisation of lay visitors to quell issues.  Move to Southall to do division work. Achievements and reflections of 3 years work.

Track 39: 18’09": Princes Trust: Policing number 7 area and sitting on the committee. Working with disadvantaged young people and learning about new approaches to delinquency.  Move to working as Chairman.  Co-ordinating roles as Chief Superintendent and Chairman. Tom Sebire's request for him to work full time for the Prince's Trust. Working full time for the Prince's Trust on Secondment. Adjusting to new role and reflections about decision to join. Working from home. Travel and liaising with different committees.  Role and duties across Britain.  Problems of allocated role within the Prince Trust.  Prince’s visit to Worcester. Visiting David Frost's house. Impact on family life when he began working from home.  Changes in his role within the Prince's Trust and decision to leave.  Decision to recall him to the Metropolitan Police Service.  Posting to Kingston.  Reflections and regrets about his role in the Prince's Trust.

Track 40: 16’31": Career with the Army.  Decision to leave the Metropolitan Police Service and join the Armed Services. Training in Aldershot: weapon and leadership training, and assessment of skills. Adjusting to the Ghurka regiment.  Decision to return to the Metropolitan Police Service: redoing the training course.  Implications of army experience on police career: linguistic skills, helicopter experience and background as firearms instructor. Application, but failure, to join the special course (a course to fast track PCs to a higher rank).  Reflects on the advantages gained from Army experience and weaknesses in comparison of Metropolitan Police Service training.  Feelings about where his career would have gone had he not joined the Army: lack of motivation for promotion and possibly the eventual leaving of the Metropolitan Police Service.  Reflections about the weaknesses of the Metropolitan Police Service family.

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