Friends of the

Metropolitan Police History

Officer 35

Location of interview:Kent

Officer's Gender:Male

Date joined Met Police:24 July 1957

Date left Met Police: 1 January 1970

Rank of leaving:Constable

Divisons served:R

Specialist service:Dog Section

Transcript of interview

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Track 2: 4'37: Life before the Metropolitan Police: family circumstances: Southend, Orpington; work at plastics company; motorbikes industry; relationship and family; joins police for increased stable income. Family connections to Metropolitan Police: interest in family history; Thames Division; police strike; family historical connections; reaction to; Wapping.

Track 3: 15'35”: Recruitment to the Metropolitan Police: entrance examination; basic; interview by three SO, half and hour; passes; medical; not testing; six months later posted TS Hendon; married; 16 week course; slightly older than average of 23; class captain; culture shock; marching. Checks and follow ups. BME and backgrounds: mainly white British; BME; unrepresentative; Woman Police Officer; recruited mainly from South East; recruit from military, Marker on Parade. View of Cadets; difference in appearance, belts and chrome buckles; sharp creases; training procedure, made difference; life experience, simply a learning process; role play; dealing with people in real situations. Learning process: regimented; class room bases; learning by rote: reports, definition and Instruction Book; amendments; different learning methods; Star report, word perfect; A Reports.  Team spirit: groups forming, canteen and bar; close eye on how much time spent in bar. TS staff: different styles; stickler Inspector; sergeants more approachable. Pass Out Parade: family; photograph; marching to music; Peel Statue; reception; relief for finishing. Family and friends view, positive; young daughter; rugby connections; supportive response. Fitness and sport at Hendon: swimming and life saving; self-defence.

Track 4: 44'19”: Posted R: week off; back to Hendon; bus drove around London  dropping off recruits at Police Stations; Greenwich; Relief; shift pattern; Reporting Sergeant; Home Beat Officer; Learning Beats; positive support; keen to get him involved. C Relief: Area Car, a privilege but on car very quickly; walking the Beat; Night Duty; working alone; Panda Cars. First days in Job: feeling conspicuous; people did not take a lot of notice of him; loved Night Duty. First arrest: Drunk and Disorderly woman; pressure to return figures; plead not guilty at Court; first Court appearance; changes; case papers and cross examinations. Interacting with public;  Senior Officers: Commander; a Chief Superintendent. Commander on top floor at Greenwich. Pocketbook: Appointments; parade; duties and refreshment times; rules for writing in notebook; absences from Beat; crimes recorded; property; pocket book and pages numbered; changes, pre-printed books, changes; everything in ink. Diversity Training: no formal training. Public order work: Aid Serial up town; CND; football; after probation, R DSU; reserve for central London; 3 postings; shield training; Miners' Strike; first serial to attend; violence, pictures in paper; very political; billets; protesters reaction to police; shift changes at pits; very little contact with strikers; car parks and deserted; positive reaction from working miners; going down the pits; insight into the dispute; Metropolitan Police kept out of volatile areas; Northern officers. Relations with County Forces: got on; different methods; forming squads and marching; impeccably turned out; blue NATO jumpers; mickey taking. County Forces well drilled. Posted Woolwich: most enjoyable place worked: busy Police Station Area;  Shooters Hill: Panda Car Driving; working Dog Handlers; Police Driver Training; Standard Car Course, Hendon; civilian instructor, describes course; describes police vehicles. Learning roads and routes no problems. Comments on Metro: no warning equipment; Sherpa van had manually operated bell. Communications: TS Hendon; Personal Radios, describes; Radio Telephony Course, describes. Learning on the Job: process and procedure, application of theory; role play not like real life; observing other officers; trial and error. Police truncheon: only used for breaking windows; describes, comments on usefulness; relied on size and presence. Police humour: part of life; probationer and practical jokes; never had jokes played on him because older; barrier to trauma; humour and can seem insensitive, but way of distancing from realities; true to other services. Dog Section at Shooters Hill; taking out dogs and handlers; volunteer for training with dog section. Application to Dog Section; successful after 4.5 years; very unusual to get in with less than 15 years service; gets puppy, straight into Section as Puppy Walker and van driver; 1986, basic dog course at Keston; posted Shooters Hill. Describes Keston: Imber Court; moved to Keston, Kent 1950's; describes building; 7 acres, very rural; 100 kennels; all dog courses run from there; describes kennels; cuddly toys; changes to regime; discipline, parades and inspections; cleaning the estate; running for dogs; contractors; own kennel and inspection; kennel staff.

Track 5: 20'11”: Shooters Hill: Romeo Zero: Morris Mariner dog van; bell that burnt out if used too long; reactive policing; suspects on premise; General Purpose Dog, long haired German Shepherd; bred by Dog School; successful dog; Police Trials; Civilian Trial; Central Demonstration Team; 100th Royal Tournament; agility races; dressed as a Wren; Prince Harry's Birthday Party; other shows; light hearted time. Operational work: describes dogs skills; searching for people; finding lost suspects; gardens and streets; tracking; finding articles with recent human scent; recovering evidence; chasing suspect running away; detaining, circling and barking. Criminals reactions: very different from training; suspects weave and dodge; holding their arms in, other bites; learning curve for dog and handler; different criminals' reaction to dogs; lashing out, helps dog. Police reactions to dog: positive; enthusiasm and adrenalin; catching 'police officer'. Use of Force: issuing a challenge; bit more often by own dog; infection from bites. Every job different: uses different element of dogs training; Marches at Erith; suspect netting wild birds; tracking from last sighting; barking indicates hidden suspect; person comes out of water; property recovered; irretrievable object; paraphernalia for catching wild birds; local unrest, public disorder during arrest; dog deployed; used all aspect of training. Area searching: describes skills of dog in scenting; cover large areas of ground; human resources to contain area; Officer Safety. Water and tracking. GP Dogs and armed suspect: taught not to be afraid of firearms; trigger to dog; same with any weapon; judgement calls; sometimes dog dies; impact on handler. Close bond with dog: describes. Mistreatment of dogs: called to assist RSPCA; incidents, describes. Effective training of dogs: reward system best way; displaying right behaviours gains reward; punishment does not work well; positive learning.

Track 6: 15'56”: Varying shifts: quiet shift; early turn, tea and correspondence; vehicle and cleaning; administration; exercise dogs; motor patrol, checking likely spots; training with dogs; hide and seek; tracking; refreshments; show your face a police stations, relationships with quieter station; listening to radio; dangerous dogs, and stray dogs. Busy shift: Friday and Saturday; mainly public order; Pubs turning out; Clubs turning out; deterrent, supporting local officers; car thefts and burglaries; suspects calls; arrests and paperwork. Dog deployments: R District, 2 dogs; Dog Sections  Area; Catford base, covered R, P, L, M; Area resource a lot ground to cover; Peckham and Lewisham. Tasks and targets: past, roving brief; intelligence based and tasking after became Area Resource. Dogs and Police Stations. Schools and community groups presentations: his dog good at this work; many different kinds of groups. Positive public response to dogs. Public Order situations: drunks, Dutch courage, and provocation to dogs. Careful with patting dogs by public. Dog retires with hip problem; new dog, very different, not from puppy; nervous and aggressive, poor operational performance; replaced by new puppy, operational to 1996. Retired dogs: home; other services. Transfer to Explosive Detection Dogs.

Track 7: 5'51”: Missing people: trained and capable for open area; tracking; describes incident of colleague. Tracking: dogs find disturbance to ground; consistent tracks; soft and hard surfaces; introduce dog to start of track; harness and line; handler know-how; recognising dog's body language; hot and cold days; rain; handler's ability develops with experience; dog's motivation. Handler's performance: refresher courses; licensing dogs; public safety, control.

Track 8: 7'31” Police Equipment: dangerous dogs equipment  improved; radios upgraded; vehicles, van, cleanability of cages; warning equipment on Astra vans. Police Dog Leads, describes. Lead training: holding and using a lead. Rest breaks for dogs: depended on task; nose work, tiring, rest important; olfactory rest, describes how dogs scent and mechanics of. Victim recovery dogs: describes processes; flesh, fluids and blood. Training for other services: surrounding force; Kent, BTP; City, overseas forces; Customs dogs and foreign agencies.

Track 9: 19'51”: Explosive Detection Dogs: Explosive Search Dog Unit; Tenure, staying with dogs; successful transfer; CO 54. Central dogs unit with drugs dogs: describes CO54: constant re- organisation; Operational Support; Dog Support Unit. Plain clothes: searching premises to be used by VIP; back entrances, search and be gone. Decision for a higher profile; working in Uniform; High Visibility Patrols. Working in pairs: Police Search Advisers; describes role; Diplomatic Protection Group, risk assessment; Route Searches; vessels and air-crafts. Re-assuring the public: aftermath of 9/11: Heathrow; positive response from public; easy to become detached from public in specialist roles; day to day policing skills rusty. Describes work at Heathrow: visibility: huge estate, mobility; equipment; bomb suits; visit a Terminal, patrolling air-side; American response to security, different of British.; vulnerable airlines; VIP movement and Royal Suite. Type of dog: working: Cocker Spaniels; Springer and Labrador; working dogs with high search drive. Patrolling amongst passengers; bag searches; re-assurance. Freeze and stare at source of scent; accompanied by armed officer; dynamic risk assessment; dog looking for his reward, best toy. Abandoned luggage: problem arising; often arising. Education role; stroking dogs; training staff and agencies with MPS; giving presentations to related units; Palace of Westminster. Incidents in London: potential terrorist incidents, before or after; 24 hours response to those incidents; licensed searchers. Instructors: operational dogs handlers and trainers.

Track 10: 11'20”: Transfer to ESDU: totally difference from GP Dog work; dog has only one role; learning new ways of dog handling; a difficult task after 12 years; working with different breeds; took a while to adjust; spaniel and then Labrador. Manual discarded after months as operational dog; Labrador work until he was 9.5yrs; strong willed dog; travelled overseas with that dog. Working with that Labrador: VIP searches; working alone with dog, or Search Adviser; forming part of a much larger search team; counter-terrorism patrolling with armed officers; intelligence led operations. Training: familiarisation with armed officers procedures. Dog handlers and CS spray: dog not effected; never had to deploy it; CS and airports; contamination; ASU. ASU: training for handlers and dogs. Methods of entry: ASU, vessels and fixed point; logistics and Health & Safety; line access equipment and training.

Track 11: 10'33”: Searching buildings: working as team; safe methods; dogs search alone at first; handler after observing, steps in and systematic search; repeat process; safe means of exit. Interest of role: progression from GP work to specialist work; end of service; but now people go straight into  drugs and explosives searching; calm but motivated and serious; many different skills; chemical biological training; regular training; rotating roles, describes; Diary Car, preplanned jobs. Concentration: working in pairs; robust training scheme; constant scrutiny. Dogs and bonds: dogs differs; temperaments and motivations of dog; dog and handler should compliment each other.  Concentration: threat levels, routine, intelligence led, and threat level. Specialist equipment: hydration and rest break; discipline of not allowing monotony to take over. Dogs and Fireams: changes over years; different combinations of skill; training to fit deployment organisation; crime and terrorism trends; best value.

Track 12: 5'50”: Changes to selection processes: equal opportunities; not pre-requisite to  be a GP dog handler for ESDU; can go straight from Boroughs; written application evidence competencies; markable process; interview, evidence put to test; suitability course, working with dogs, physical fitness for job; dedication; sometimes peoples' first dog in life; competitive process; vacancies limited; mainly takes several attempts; learning the selection process.

Track 13: 17'21”: 2004 Cocker Spaniel puppy: Labrador retires; reselection approved; starting from scratch for the second time; moulding the dog for outcomes; learning a different breed again; good outcome; biddable and effective, joy to work with. Monthly attendance at Dog School; checks on progress of dog; 12 months old went on basic course; still working Labrador during process. Advantages of Cocker Spaniel: lighter and easy to lift; smaller spaces; breed has strong drive; describes Labrador, independent minded; controlling search; Spaniel's working methods. Rests: conditions; 20-30mins at a time; comments on. 7/7: effects on policing; on loan to dog training school; course suspended, operational handlers return to work; officers returning from scene; logistics relating to forensic and cross-contamination; response jobs in London; high visibility patrols at infastructure points; permanent change to roles. Uniform for dog handlers, describes: washable; safety equipment. Role as Trainer: since 9/11 greater resources; now 4 times previous; greater training requirements; remain operational; primary role training; quality assure the unit; fortunate in role; more varied role. Implications of NI peace process; comments on; numbers dropping through natural wastage; consequences of new terrorist threats. Measuring role: proving prevention and return to normality; glad does not have set policy. Very fortunate to work as a specialist: fortunate length of time as specialist.

Track 14: 12'31”: Working with police colleagues, Women Police Officer, BME, Senior Officers: more Women Police Officers in specialist role; improved respect for women; equality. Senior Officer: respect has to be earned; good relationships essential; more familiarity; less formal discipline; job get done and greater job satisfaction; big emphasis personal responsibility/development. The nature of training has improved greatly. BME officers: increased numbers as whole; Dog Support Unit (DSU) and cultural views of dogs; dogs in houses; cannot force people to embrace dogs; openness to diversity; ensure opportunities. Metropolitan Police policy on diversity: as important in DSU; diversity part of MPS culture now; contribution to the policy. Diversity: Stephen Lawrence Inquiry and its impact; on going project; diversity awareness and competencies in policing London; personal interactions and view points. Institutional Racism: forced an examination of all process; adjustment; served its purpose; could also be viewed as alienating people. The complexity of MacPherson's comment not properly understood: positive outcomes. Working on Relief: bullying; definition have changed; people more thoughtful about what they say; perceptions; generally progress; made for a more cautious approach; close knit teams.

Track 15: 06'31”: Social Life and off duty: wide circle of friends; not many police related; family history research; gardening and exercise; family and grandchildren. Long hours, comments on; Miners Dispute; family ill health; short lived; overtime budgets. Shift work: not interrupted family life; variations positive benefit; things balance out. Available at different times to support children: not being on Relief: mutual swaps. Police Sports: R District rugby team; too old now; maintaining a level of fitness. Meets officers from all parts of service due to role. Barking to Southend walking race.

Track 16: 07'21”: London's communities: DSU, talking to wide range of community groups; constant interaction with communities; cultural implication of dog work; not constrain by Borough boundaries. Broadened out look as police officer: open-minded and approachable. Challenges of being a young person in London: mobile phones; drugs; video games; gangs; bullying; suburban life; pressures much greater for young people. Police have positive role. Knife crime: risk for young people carry knives; peer pressure; carry knives leads to major consequences. Death messages to parents; a very difficult task, comments on.

Track 17: 03'07”: Retirement: comments on; difficult question; 30 Plus; Olympics; life after MPS; looking for work; good to find a new role. Missing the comfort blanket being part of MPS; not having Warrant Card and paying own train fares. No regrets, would join again. Interview a valuable experience.

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