Friends of the

Metropolitan Police History

Officer 34

Location of interview:Frome

Officer's Gender:Male

Date joined Met Police:20 September 1948

Date left Met Police:23 September 1973

Rank of leaving:Constable

Divisons served:Wembley

Specialist service:No specialities

Transcript of interview

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Track 2: 9'36”: Life before the Metropolitan Police: Schooling; family circumstances; starts work De Napier & Sons, aircraft manufacturer; wartime; apprenticeship; local pressure due to absence from military service; abandons apprenticeship; called up and joins Army; Home Guard;  posted to India, officer training school Bangalore; Gloucestershire Regiment; posted UK, at Gloucester.  Political pressure for demob and industrial employment for men; sees presentation from Police; joins Metropolitan Police; secure employment. Describes London during the war; night-time bombing raids; Perivale calmer; blown out of bed by a landmine. Rationing; mother household management; digging for victory; arrangement shelter in the front room and sleeping arrangement. Home Guard: describes experiences; Army Cadet Force. London's transport during war years.  Utilities: bombing raids. Policing and War Reserves.

Track 3: 7'32”: Recruitment to Metropolitan Police: Beak Street; interview and Civil Service Entrance Examination; passed well; medical; family checks; interviewees; acceptance notice by mail. TS Regency Street: rote learning, practical demonstration and exercise; Instruction Book; other trainees; PTI, Inspector, and wrestler, describes. Drill: being Army good at; Royal Marines; Inspection Parades. Posted to Wembley, XM.

Track 4: 13'55”: First years as Police Officer: Learning Beats. Section House, Harlesden: but permission to live at home in Perivale; describes Section House conditions. Station Inspector. Section House Sergeant. Police Duty: describes Police Station Area; pedal bicycles; describes beats; school crossing patrols; shops; Night Duty; paper shop incident; marking materials; box of matches with sharpened end. First arrest: drunk, Wembley High Road; Harlesden, arrest following assault on PC; reaction of Station Sergeant. Court work: giving evidence. Beat Motorcyclist: training and posting; had to be available for job coming over switchboard; Process. Wembley Stadium: Traffic Points; Police Regulated Traffic Points; getting spectators in, could watch match as long as out in time; bad experience of Traffic Point, catches pneumonia; describes uniform for Traffic Point; tour of duty on Traffic Point; brother experiences PC on Traffic Point.

Track 5: 5'49”: Describes first Uniform: boots; Appointments; shorter truncheon as motorcyclist; report books; phone numbers, doctor, vets;  training for inspecting animals; sergeant and Form 29; showing your Appointment. Parades: Roll Call; Parade Book. Horse drawn vehicles: traffic lights.

Track 6: 5'13”: Royal and State Occasions: Remembrance Sunday: Aid to A; first town job; Cenotaph; late turn, public file past; no tributes placed by public at Cenotaph; government door keepers did this; describes moving story of small child, and his tribute to his dead father; comments on, children trust coppers.

Track 7: 3'48”: George VI funeral: Coronation; describes system for arrival of dignitaries at Westminster Abbey; very cold and no overcoats; crowds, sand and a police motorcyclist. George VI funeral: long day and dull work; underground and coaches for transport.

Track 8: 10'48”: Working with Women Police Officer: early absence of Women; describes role Women Police Officers; unwritten rules about Area Car and sex workers; not a lot work with them when on Traffic Patrol. Norwell Roberts: tells story of incident with Black motorist; Roberts' perfect diction; Roberts Learning Beats; illegal parking; racist comment from Black motorist.  Roberts' sense of humour. Comments on senior officers: variable: characters; no problems. Attitudes bullying; no place for timid officers; ex-servicemen; practical jokes and mickey taking; Inspector Smith's bicycle. Traffic Patrol during petrol shortage: aid from Constabularies; practical jokes; motorcyclist prank; joker later found handcuffed to bicycle rack; relations with other forces.

Track 9: 6'49”: Married life: describes wife and her work; children, describes. Accommodation: Police flat in Wembley; private flat; buys house in Pinner; Rent Aid. Travelling to work: pedal bike; motorbikes; second hand Mini. Hobbies: planning for the future; getting 25 in; compulsory retirement at 55; Willesden College; qualifications for job when left; part-time teacher Willesden College of Technology with Commissioner's permission. Police sports: basketball team; shooting X Division team, Bisley.

Track 10: 5'36”: London's communities: 1948, going back in time; East End large Jewish Community; did not ask for Christian names, good relations; good relations with BME; theft incident. Tolerance: mixed well with BME in Army. Irish community. Political correctness: comments on; Scottish colleague. Notting Hill Gate. Public order: not posted as Traffic Patrol.

Track 11: 3'00”: Harrow and Wealdstone rail disaster: traffic chaos; facilitating traffic flow of emergency vehicles; long hours that day; traffic diversions. Police reaction. Press attention.

Track 12: 21'00”: Specialist work: 1951, posted Traffic Patrol; application and engineering process; unfortunate incident with CID officer's evidence in court; considers leaving job; Governor persuades him to remain; transfer to Traffic Patrol. Training: already car and motorcyclist courses; standard Traffic Patrol Course. Working with an experienced officer. TP course: Road Traffic Act, Construction and Use Regulations, Excise Act; thorough ground in legal work and traffic law; rote learning; describes. Practical sessions: stopping and report; court training; real magistrates.  Usefulness of course. Being engineer, specialised in Construction and Use . Different posting defined the work: speeding; jumping traffic lights; Accident, Ambulance Called; radios; Process. Reactions of car drivers: dealing with cards dealt; unpredictability of police work; peeping around corners; two categories of car drivers, friendly and unfriendly; Bayswater Road, gentleman stopped for speeding. Traffic Offences leading to criminal investigations: describes an incident; using cunning; crouching girl and her safety; drip dry shirt. Drink Driving: not caught from observation, usually following an accident; proving drink driving offences; USAAF, and head on collision; Alcotests; police Divisional Surgeon. Dealing with trauma: police response to; steeling one's self; incident, Kingsbury Underground Station women's suicide; dealing with remains; discussions with Fire Officer and officer safety; officers did not discuss it; maintaining efficiency; distractions. Black humour to disassociate from trauma.

Track 13: 10'28” Telephone call from Assistant Commissioner, Mr Waldren: request to give a talk on Accident Investigation and Examination of Vehicles. Road Traffic Act 1956: Death by Dangerous Driving; first dealt with by CID as a crime; CID not interested in these cases, thought belong to Traffic; civilian cab Inspectors with no investigatory or court experience; passed to Traffic by Waldren. Took on this work. describes preparing talk; gives lecture, nervous. Academy of Forensic Sciences: invited to annual lunch in London; present paper. Dr Francis Camps: leading pathologist. Gives paper: advice from Camps; you are the expert. Garage Inspector arrives at door holding IB: on Commissioner's order has to stand for promotion: very successful; posted Driving School Sergeant.

Track 14: 14'52”: Dealing with a Fatal Accident and proving Death by Dangerous Driving: examines vehicles; pedal cyclist killed, describes incident; broken light lens; describes the conditions of the bicycle, road and Kodak lorry; visit mortuary and examines body; explains the fatal injury; proves cycle lamp was on. Examining vehicles: describes processes, and invented them; paperwork solutions; Book 40; police form-minded; row with Superintendent/Sergeant over paperwork, equipment and examinations; demonstrates situation; wins argument. Court and Book 40: Counsel's gambit; dictating notes on vehicle examinations; support from judge.

Track 15: 11'02”: Driving School: no foot experience as Sergeant; Velocettes; Sergeant on Traffic Wing. Traffic Patrol Course: Advanced Traffic Patrol Course, describes; Brake Courses;  new Training School, purpose built workshop; teaching braking systems; setting faults on systems; bus chassis; car mechanics; vehicle examinations. Describes incident Coldharbour Lane: death of child; goes to scene with driver; proves brake failure by reconstruction; describes process; hole in master cylinder. Coroner's court: advised that fault would not have been apparent to driver. Gratitude of driver.

Track 16: 6'49”: Vehicle lights not on: motorcyclist runs into back of lorry; dispute whether lights on lorry were on. Contacts manufacturer: proves lights were on; contact with GEC; evidence relating to filament  and reaction to oxygen; describes case and examination processes. Academy of Forensic Sciences:

Track 17: 18'04”: Retirement from Metropolitan Police: contacts with commercial engineering company Bristol; arguments of bus chassis and dripping oil; modifications to braking system. training engineer; communication skills; letter of appointment; pay negotiations; Willesden College of Technology job offer;  pay requirements; family discussions; family agree to move to West Country; air-brake test rig; sales people and fitters. Unigate Foods: Institute of  Road Transport Engineers; Technical College Trowbridge; Fleet Engineer Unigate Foods; takes job on double money; Driver's Hours Rules; operational requirements of 32 workshops; Wincanton Transport, Chief Fleet Inspector; Driver's Hours Rules. Retires: comments on Metropolitan Police service; attitudes to police; own views, scruffiness; image to public; looking after people; conversations with public; looks back to a story of unsupervised child talking to dog; words of advice and caution to child and supervising adult; comments on story. Would do the Job again; but not in this day.


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