Friends of the

Metropolitan Police History

Officer 32

Location of interview:Romford

Officer's Gender:Male

Date joined Met Police:20 July 1957

Date left Met Police:31 December 1987

Rank of leaving:Detective Sergeant

Divisons served:H, G, K C1

Specialist service:No specialities

Transcript of interview

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Track 2: 9'35”:  Life before joining the MPS: growing up in Dundee, and schooling; family circumstances. Childhood ambition to be a detective: Radio Times advert for applications to MPS. Joined as cadet and posted Bow Road Police Station after 13 weeks training. Remembers cold frosts and early starts, and foggy evenings; smogs; dodging trolley buses; fully attested as a Constable, posted Poplar Police Station; youngest officer on relief; ex-cadets not always popular; resentment that cadets could be excused National Service; thought had never occurred to him in Dundee. Two years in Uniform at Poplar; sometimes at Isle of Dogs and Limehouse. Further on recruitment; pamphlet, and illustration; interview by local Police Superintendent in Dundee. TS Hendon: 30 cadets in his class; fresh intakes every week; resignations, some lasted only a day; rote learning; law and beat duty; practical demonstrations; poor swimmer; diving into the Thames and stomach pumping at the London Hospital; Pool of London;  Leave from course; happy about home visits; travel paid by free travel warrants.

Track 3: 9'46”: First years in the Job: Learning Beats; mentor taken round for three days; no resentment as ex-cadet; good teacher. Relief: middle service men; four youngsters; Section House, Limehouse; describes; comfortable and warm. Police work: no short cut to experience; working alone and unless deputed; no Idling and Gossiping. Parade: describes; local intelligence; stolen car list cards; not many cars; showing your Appointments; describes Armlet; walk to allotted beat; describes walking a beat; refreshment times; comfort breaks tolerated, booking in and out; bitter cold weather order from Commissioner. Night shift: describes; communications, whistle and torch; taking your courage in your hands. Effects of shift work on health; poor digestion and sleep loss; comments on; ulcers and stomach trouble very common.

Track 4: 12'35”: Late 1950s support in East End from Public: public phoning in; Area Car, Wireless Car; H2, the comfort of seeing it coming during violent arrest.; gratitude to public; describes an incident, Brunswick Road, wine company premises, hears crashing and noise; investigates and finds 'Chummy' in the act of burglary; suspect flees; makes a 999 call and arrest suspects; Wireless Car support. Senior Officer: describes Superintendent; strong character; applies for Traffic Patrol; blocks application and order to seek promotion; disappointed; interest in vehicles; Aide to CID, direct application to CID, by passing Supt.. Inspectors: great respect for his Inspector: Sergeant supportive at Poplar: did not like all Sergeants from Limehouse; role of Inspector, Hillman Minx car; advanced warning of his arrival. Life on Relief: camaraderie; annual outings. Sub Division (staff from 3 stations) social outings: day trips to Brighton. Section House life, describes, dances, snooker, cards and television; conditions and cleaners. Motorbikes and colleagues; purchase of motorbike; buys a Velocette; describes various vehicles he owned.

Track 5: 9'23: Aide to CID: Aide patrolling in pairs, H Division; describes role and partners; learning CID craft; describes an Aide colleague; prevention of crime by catching criminals in the act. Long hours: no overtime paid; an allowance paid; accepted as part of the job, no complaints. Arrests: charging, presenting cases at Court unless complicated; learning Court craft; survival factor involved, had to keep up arrests; Aide's diary; arrests in back and recounting activities; over zealous arresting; shame brought on police force. Typing: essential for CID officer; carbon paper and the torture thereof; typing with two fingers at Bethnal Green. Selection Board, District and Central; length of time required to pass Board; appointed to CID 1963; nerve racking interview by very senior officers, including John du Rose.

Track 6: 6'52”: DC: posted G Division; describes area; inexperienced; did a lot of typing; attended crime scene and interviewed victim; low success rate; describes work; Annual Review of Clear Ups; no targets. Describes burglaries and back streets  around Spitalfields,  Commercial Street, Brick Lane; French feel to area, Huguenot feel; theft of church vestments, describes case. Old Street Magistrates Court: mention Magistrates; theft of a dog, describes case, praise from Superintendent; roasting from a Magistrate; life in the witness box. Doctor charged with misuse of drugs.

Track 7: 12'02”: Marriage and accommodation: transfer to K division; Romford Police six weeks with Essex Police during transfer to MPS; Elm Park Rail Crash and Kathy Duncan murder; promoted to DS posted to East Ham, served their for 7 years, which was unusual; became part of the furniture there; minor crimes system; collator system, describes; good relationship with collator; uniform and CID got on well there; could be tensions between CID and Uniform; Thames and Docks. Transferred to C1, NSY; Special Crime Branch; names Squads; being in the frame, support to provinces, C1 Reserve; describes role; Illegal Immigration and Extradition Squad. Chemist Sergeant: checking on control of retail pharmacies; abstruse job, only six sergeant in MPS doing this; called in by Drug Squads and raids; developed expertise; he and colleagues consulted by very senior officers; office hours; unpleasant moments; prosecuting pharmacists; medical professional arrested; job held in high regard by Senior Officers and Drug Squad colleagues.

Track 8: Looks back on service: changes mainly for the better; technology, photocopiers; computers; since leaving, change going at an alarming rate, not critical but finds policing incomprehensible; run like a fire service, responding; not much crime prevention. School days: impressed by pension scheme and wages;  during service conditions and pay fluctuated; did not join for money but for job satisfaction.

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