Friends of the

Metropolitan Police History

Officer 30

Location of interview:Kent

Officer's Gender:Male

Date joined Met Police:25 April 1955

Date left Met Police:31 October 1980

Rank of leaving:Detective Inspector

Divisons served:A and Special Branch (SB)

Specialist service:Special Branch

Transcript of interview

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Track 2:  04'50”:  Early life: 6yrs old returns to UK; boarding school; father stationed Colchester Wellington College; crammer to pass entrance exam for regular commission. Gunner in Royal Artillery.  Sandhurst: Russian Studies; commissioned RA. Posted Germany: then Korea; fighting was over; truce. Decides to leave Army: Japan disposal unit; selling surplus equipment. Troop ship journey to UK; baggage officer, describes role.

Track 3: 02':44”: Tradition of Military/RA Service in his family: family expectations; turned down by Royal Navy. Reason for leaving Army: boredom; training in RA without much live firing; camp life; repetitive routine. Considered military police; read up police in general. Discharged from Army.

Track 4: (Void).

Track 5: 00'57”: Reasons for joining Metropolitan Police; worthwhile job and outside life appealing.

Track 6: 07'30”: Recruitment process: Beak Street; medical; interviews; comments on his Commission; would he get on with people without this status; did not bother him; examination, cannot remember; exemptions. Police Training School: squad of 15 men; no women; class captain; went through process fairly easily; learning by rote. View of other joiners: troublesome recruit, lacked initiative and discipline. Civilian recruits; nearly everyone had been in the service; National Servicemen; could all march and accept routine; parades; passing our parade. Practical Training: dealing with the public; barrows boys, car accidents; reports; court training. Memories of Training staff: restraint techniques and used as a stooge for.

Track 7: 44'22”:  First years in the Job: posted A Division, Cannon Row: a lot of work on fixed posts; Downing Street; Palace of Westminster; Buckingham Palace; sent on wireless operator's course; sometimes observer; plain clothes, armed posts; Army experience of firearms and wireless sets. Comments on Police Firearm Training; negligent discharges. Area Car Roles; phoned in calls; usefulness of plain clothes police officer on board; suicides, Monday early turn; coroner's officer; investigation. Spotting offences. Cannon Row: role like being a watchman; traffic points; Parliament Square; preferential treatment for MPs; car numbers for VIPs. Senior Officers and silver tokens; under the eye of senior officers at New Scotland Yard. Supervision: paraded by Sergeant; marched out. Rest and Refreshments. Aide to CID: describes role; arrest for stolen property; investigation. Arrest Off Duty: theft of ham; prosecution. Trafalgar Square; photographers fleecing tourists; observing from top of bus; chases escapees by bus. Photographers lodge complaint. fizzles out. Main interest in crime arrests. Was in uniform at least 18months; application to CID; attached to CID, Rochester Row. Patrolled whole division looking for crimes: vehicle crime; retail theft. Hotels and crime: hotel security officers; Working as an Aide: colleagues and supervising Sergeant; working in pairs to corroborate evidence; DCs. Public order work. Facilitating: Royalty and VIP line of route. Describes role on marches: public order and their safety; violence; demonstration Downing Street, mounted officers. Aide to CID: finished when went to Special Branch 1958; enjoyed using own initiative; no fixed posts. Changing of the Guard: patrolling crowds: picket pockets and “bustle punchers”; arrests of. Case of a lost child. Difference between Army and Police: cut himself off from Army. Acting Sergeant. Walking a Beat:Traffic and parked cars; learning the ground; keeping warm and cups of tea; parks; Gross Indecency. Police Accommodation: Section House; A Division Section House; Westminster Abbey; maintaining modesty and the nuns. Describes conditions in Section Houses: Section House Sergeant; and Duty. Travel to and from work: official travel passes.  Drunk and Disorderly: Trafalgar Square, Police Box. Parks and Gardens; homeless people; being deloused; public baths. Bomb sites: car parks: National Car parks; homeless people. Court work: Bow Street; public order cases; Courts day by day; case of photographer duping public; covert observations. London's communities: office workers; shops; very few residents. Downing Street fixed posts and communication: firearms work. Learning beats: Negligent Discharge; panic ensured; writing up statement and kindly DCI; poor firearms training; improved later. Duty Officer: bush telegraph; incident at fixed post. Complaints Against Police: fixed point traffic duty and threat of complaint; five minutes breaks; The Mall and Parliament Square, describes; horse drawn vehicles; training for. Mounted Branch Unit in Old Scotland Yard; describes incident of arrest by. Continuing training.

Track 8: 66'15: Special Branch: describes reasons for joining; entrance examination; writing reports; pedantry and carving reports. Subversion work. Port Duty, Southampton: Summer Relief; describes role; Port of Folkestone. Passport checks; entry stamps; liaison with Customs. Promoted First Class Sergeant: Posted Dover. Remains in own house. Car Traffic for ferries: Immigration Officers; patrolling car lines; further describes role; frequent arrest. Training when joining SB: working with experienced officers; discreet enquiries; identifying subversives; liaison with MI5; demonstrations and meeting; taking car numbers; attending public meetings without being rumbled; hiding under the stage at Conway Hall; avoiding oranges for snacks. Observation Van: facilities, whole in floor, describes use; describes observations; being rumbled local kids; tailing suspects. Process: identity, work and accommodation; Russian community; spying, military and industrial; nuclear secrets. Gordon Lonsdale, spying: cover of being a Canadian; describes difficulties for spies; advantages of Commonwealth cover stories; thorough training in Moscow on British ways of life. Discovering if they had suspect views: discreet enquiries; industrial disruption; Communist; apathy of other workers opens way for subversives; employers brought problems to own door by treating people badly; mapping the suspect life; Government very worried; also monitored fascists, tended to be more co-operative. Informants: hard to penetrate left wing organisations; hidden Agendas. Public Order intelligence gathered and passed to Uniformed Branch; describes; mentions Grosvenor Square; SB in crowds at demonstrations; interrogating arrested suspects. Extra-national emergencies always brought trouble to London: setting up squads to deal with as needed; Palestine crisis; papers and documents. 'Water cooling' intelligence sharing: discussions with colleagues and share accommodation; extra duty; shooting of PC Yvonne Fletcher outside Libyan embassy; staffing levels. Public Order work; weapons and firearms; plain clothes work; never one of the Hairies; posh accent an obstacle; describes undercover work of colleagues; CND; paying informants; his informant living in Irish community; eventually passed to Security Service; developing informants; establishing relationship; turning suspects. Naturalisation Enquiries: also a source of informants; Polish community very co-operative in anti-communist work. Large influxes: Hungarian disturbance brought a great deal of people to London; used to insert spies; security background checks of all immigrants. Russians using defectors families to pressure them; working with defectors and their fear of reprisals. Resettling overseas spies, describes; maintaining security of Security Officers working overseas. Russian interpretor: carried out security checks on; came to marry British citizen; gaps in account of life; address books produces further intelligence.Homosexuality illegal in UK at time: seduction and leverage on British diplomat by Russians 'honey traps';  Russians using their women to entrap men; sexual 'weaknesses' and blackmail. Investigating people's sexual history for Positive Vetting; tact and discretion; making feel safe to tell; imperfection taken as a given in vetting; fearful people a concern; important to be frank. Other 'weaknesses': mental instability; naval clerk and homosexuality; homosexuality becomes legal, but still wished to know to protect. Naturalisation enquiries: further describes; loyalty to this country; issues over oath of loyalty to Queen; dishonesty, prosecutions and refusal; checking referee; interest in refusals to give reference; work undertaken for Home Office; staffing; reactions of applicants; Criminal Record and Security Checks; collecting taxes. Insights into other countries and their people: Polish train conductor; very much liked the Poles; some resentment by to checks by Poles who served in war; looking for permanent residents.

Track 9: 1'57”: Positive vetting of Special Branch Officers. Visa applications in context of cold war. Close Protection.

Track 10: 48'25”: Close protection: General Office Commanding, Northern Ireland: protecting during visits to London; describes; taken off normal duty. Permanent post to protect senior government ministers. Heads of Commonwealth, close protection: dull work and long hours: could talk to military officers; trust very important and respecting privacy; tried to treat officers as servants on occasions; must keep hands free. Support by uniform detail. Limited training for this work. IEDs, and car bombs: protecting security of cars; IRA terrorism;  bombing came later.  Security of accommodation and vehicles: not standing operating procedures. Posting at Ports: concentrated solely on Port works; describes his accommodation arrangements. View of postings: arrests add to interest; British passport holders leaving checked; aware of single persons and the means of travel to port; looking for fleeing criminals; CRO checks; checking their UK travel itinerary with local forces; describes case of man with exceptional amount of money; theft from employer. Temporary passports could be suspicious, describes enquiries; distressed British seamen; deserters and leave passes; stolen goods; wanted persons; liaison with Kent Police; runaways; copper's instinct; Foreign Legion and domestic disputes. London criminals and foreign travels. Competition between ports to catch travelling criminals; role partly like village bobby. Amusing incidents; describes: feeble excuses; liaison between SB, Customs and Immigration: stowaways and lorries. Asian travellers and document fraud: two out and six back. Required proactive policing to maintain interest. Promotions: describes. General Orders and Folkestone: lots of time for studying. Comments on work of Customs Officer; request search on drugs smuggler. Describes respective roles at ports: stolen cars. Fraudulent documents: vanity or criminal intent. Liaison with French police. Counterfeit money. Officers' reactions to port posting: Sergeant Peter Imbert goes on to become Commissioner: everybody expected to do a turn; own views. Outlines SB's ports roles through out UK.

Track 11: 11'04”:  SB and IRA terrorism: Irish Squad: describes roles; liaison with NI police; gathering intelligence; describes visit to NI; tough role of NI SB; keeping track of people coming and going from UK to NI and Eire; tracing and tracking. Wider role of Irish Squad: identifying active IRA people in this country; warrants and raids; hearts and minds; tried not offend Irish communities; intercepts; RUC; Garda; disrupting bombing campaigns; discusses success of SB; Security Service takes over; international terrorism; liaising with foreign forces. SB Officers posted abroad. Interpol.

Track 12: 22'54”: Leaves MPS: works as Investigating Officer with Personnel Security Investigation Unit: dealt with all Civil Service except Security Service and Royal Household. Describes Positive Vetting: protecting from blackmail; nobody perfect and not looked for. Looking for vulnerability; financial position and selling secrets; comprehensive overview; access to secrets; tact required; not many refusal but some; temporary refusals. More reluctant to talk about finances; relationships; frankness best policy for applicants; reviews over time or change of circumstances or promotion. Long time in job: training; communicating with applicants. View of human nature; police experience helped; never stop learning about human nature. Describes reactions of applicants; Retirement: reactions to; helps community when required. View of the Job. Left MPS while still young enough to gain employment. Reactions of former colleagues to rank. SB reunions. Sport and hobbies: back packing and camping; not revealing about employment.


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