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Metropolitan Police History

Officer 37

Location of interview:Romford

Officer's Gender:Male

Date joined Met Police:20 July 1964

Date left Met Police: 1 March 1987

Rank of leaving:Constable

Divisons served:S, E, K, CO and N.

Specialist service:SPG, Home Beat Officer

Transcript of interview

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Track 2: 11' 21” Life before the Met: only child; dad engineer and mum stayed at home; father had war work exemption from military service; Highland Secondary School for Boys; left 1958 without any qualifications; apprenticeship with engineering firm; worked painting benches for company; father a tool maker manufacturing parts for Stirling machine guns; when he became apprentice making parts for Rolls Royce, Fords, and Vauxhall; completed apprenticeship but not happy with work; local connections to police; successful in his application to Met Police; hobbies, cycling; to Southend. Father had car: most people cycled for transport; mother kept house close to Harold Lodge Park; local relatives; war damage. View of School: primary school positive; fails 11 Plus; apprentice; told off by MD of engineering firm for poor efforts; National Certificate for Engineering; City and Guilds course. Holidays: Holiday Camps; Butlins; touring the West Country; first car owned by family; visit to Brooklands Sands; Romford Borough Football Club; other cars; learning to drive and motorbikes.

Track 3: 12'30” Recruitment to Met Police: fiancée, wants to get married; married quarters; interview; Interview Board; lucky enough to be sent to Hendon for training; examination; what newspaper did he read; medical; interview process and numbers; letter received to attend Hendon; glad to leave engineering; leave prior to training; holiday camp in Norfolk; neighbour interviewed by local Inspector. Police Training School: reported to Peel House; Green Goddess to Lambeth for uniforms, thence to Hendon; numbers on to epaulettes; describes accommodation and Hendon buildings; new block being built; describes classrooms; sports facilities; swimming and diving test; running track.

Track 4: 24'00”  Training at Hendon: describes uniform and feelings about wearing; uniform standards; reversing collars; tails of blue shirts; tunics and buckles; police whistle; trousers; boots. Morning parade: boots; buffing boots and gleaming toe caps; Police Helmets, brushing of; badge; truncheon came later with Warrant Card; Attesting; enjoyed wearing the uniform; learning to iron; First Aid and Instruction Book; learning by rote; poor learner; help from fiancée; she knew the IB better than him; failed final examination; sent to Peel House for two more weeks; describes conditions there; did not like but passed out. Training Superintendent: describes; falls foul of in telephone queue with others; not saluting senior officer; dressing down; Inspector saves the day; importance of knowing who your senior officers are. Describes Inspector positively: had support from. Practical training: mock personal injury accident; not hurrying to the incident; surveying the scene; exercise repeated. Other Joiners: Servicemen had advantages; trainees from Kuwait; enjoyed their company; training staff's reactions to; first BME that he had go to know; make up of Joiners; Women Police Officers.

Track 5: 11'28”  How he lost his first 'prisoner': practical training on making arrests; incident demonstrated, 'stooges' and police; disturbance in a 'public house' and take prisoner to 'police station'; no handcuffs in those days; 'prisoner' disappears; red faced, recovers prisoner; dressing down; never lost a prisoner. Unarmed combat: no handcuffs till many years; prisoners held by elbow and wrist; arm lock for restraint. Peel House; two weeks; horrible; poor conditions; practicals in court yard; a dismal place; repeat of final two week; passed final exam. sworn at; rough and tumble in practicals; not bullying in those days; a Disciplined Service; military feel. Why learning to march? Disciplined Service: a Force not Service: explains his view.; did not stand any nonsense; being squeaky clean; follow orders; death messages; neighbour disputes.

Track 6:  14'02”  First years doing the Job: West Hampstead: a very new type of location to him; started December 1964; Sergeant gives him Christmas Day off; New Year's Eve, Trafalgar Square; never worked Christmas Day again; commuted by motorbike; Finchley Section House; describes Divisional arrangements; and move to Harlesden Section House; describes Section Houses; Section House Sergeant; describes role and 'locking up'; disciplined atmosphere; went home when could and saw fiancée. Fiancée meets him on police property when at Hendon; describes incident on his 21st Birthday. Fiancée's view of his role as Police Officer; plans to get married; Job's permission to get married; Police married quarters; plans for the wedding 1965; parents give deposit for house in Romford or Hornchurch; house purchased in Harold Wood. Requests Job to buy a property and travel arrangements. Transfer.

Track 7: 17'58”  British West Hampstead: ' British West Hampstead' and describes communities of the surrounding areas. Role as Police Officer; shift work and early starts; describes shift patterns and shock of; problems with shift systems; health issues and hiatus hernia; Parade and breakfast; stopped taking tea; Kilburn High Road, takes the train; early cafes. Roles as Probationer; taken out; school crossing patrol, describes; feeling of power with Traffic Duties; reporting a motorist for a Parking Offence, Process; help from his reporting Sergeant; describes the incident and reaction of older women driver; 'rain best policeman ever'. Police Whistles; describes an incident with youngster; uses whistle; fleeing youngster stopped by other Officers; stop and search; takes name and address, Stop Book. Churchill's funeral: posted on a Serial to event; posted St Martins in the Field; watched cortège; keeping people off the traffic island; refreshments and comfort breaks.

Track 8: 15'13”  Night Duty: very scary and dull time, solitary; Police Boxes; shaking door handles and looking for break ins; tell tales. Explains Phoning In: Police Boxes and Police Post; Box Key; signing in book; Reserve Officer; lights on Boxes and communications. Death Message: describes incident and reaction of husband. Describes a Police Post. Duty Officer supervision: driving around and the Police Sergeant walking around. Always did things properly. Pocket Books: describes; Accident Books; everything else recorded in notebook. Use of Pocket Book and rules for; using a pencil; never rub anything out, no spaces. Truncheons: two occasions uses; breaks a window and Notting Carnival, breaking bottles to stop being used as missiles; not useful; Truncheon training, describes; use recorded. Occurrence Book; describes; Truncheon Pocket.

Track 9:  18'13”  Marriage: Transfer request; could have been inquiries into wife's family; some were known to police. Transfer agreed: Posted to Dagenham; walking beat, The Heathway.  Describes the Police Station Area: housing estates and their uniformity; describes incident, with the van driver, the Masked Wrestler; pub disturbance; first arrest, Drunk and Disorderly. Notting Hill Carnival:  youth violence; thin blue line and drawing truncheon; dustbin lids and no waiting cones as shields; pushing back into side streets; disperse crowds. BME and White British; most of trouble by White youngster. Dealing with drunks; arrests and marching prisoners back to custody; evidence to Station Sergeant; Magistrates courts and transport; extra duty and court processes; rapid process and fine; quieter and gives evidence at Dagenham; more severe fines. Gaolers: older officers; arrangements; transport to court; Court Gaolers and Court Officers; refers back to training; never left prisoner until handed to gaoler. Reviews first 18 months of police work; following procedures but more casual on streets; formalities at Police Station. Responding to behaviour of individuals.

Track 10: 16'05”  New experiences: Area Car posting; as Operator; Observer; Driver; Attitudes to Area Car Driver; status; higher training, skilled; Drivers role to get to incident fast, did not get wet; good coppers. Canteen: Drivers table; police card games; Driver card school; cliques and echelons, describes. Being called 'son': attitudes of experienced officers. Women Police Officers: describes at West Hampstead; day duty; out of hours; high quality; women and children; Dagenham, separate office, very little to do with; calling them Plonks. Card games: describes. Continuation Training, describes; held at Harold Hill Police Station; two weeks Final Course, Peel House; baby faced lad from West End Central, Plain Clothes Vice; A Division did not get any arrests; enjoyed and passed with flying colours; less rote learning. Passed Probation, comments on new status.  Police Orders.

Track 11: 9'21”  Police Orders: describes; detailed explanations of new instructions and legislation; Duty Officer draws attention to relevant passages; Larceny Act changes to Theft Act, PACE, run special classes. Collators: describes role of; criminal intelligence; card index record; referred to before actions; people wanted; briefing for Beat Officers from Collator. Arrest information to Collator; Criminal Record Office by telephone; CRO numbers; all details delivered before Court next day by phone or telex. Communications between Area station and sub stations: telephone and telex; Reserve Officer; describes history and role of. Duty as Reserve Officer; plug in telephone exchange and direct lines. Never did duty as Gaoler: reserved for older officers.

Track 12: 1'04”  Continuation of interview 27 April 2009.

Track 13: 24'00”  Posted Plough Corner: describes Police Station at Gallows corner; 3 officers patrolling; fair size ground; cycling; describes Police Station Area; cycle patrolling and walking. Type of crimes; burglaries; theft. Traffic accident: describes incident Gallows roundabout; injured female passenger; gives first aid; Traffic Patrol takes over; women's leg saved by his prompt action; letter of thanks. Domestic incidents: husband and wife dispute; describes dealing with; minor injuries; calming people down; prosecutions infrequent and never made arrest; officers views of; never had to deal with serious injuries; frustrations of these incidents; local refuge; training to deal with; support networks and Social Services. Other crimes: Plough Corner next to Police Station; occasional ale passed over back fence on hot days; refreshments and television; describes colleagues; describes Sergeant and daughter death from cancer; visits from wife; bread pudding. Night duty and armed patrol: duty officer supervision. Communicating with local communities: few resources for local youths. Style of policing: describes incident a public house Fiddlers in Dagenham; learning softly softly approach; whisper in ear from experienced officer; common sense in dealing with public.

Track 14:  24'51”  Harry Roberts: Epping Forest search for him; hot summer and heavy uniforms; Roberts' army back ground; Barkingside Police Station, refreshments; Sir Joseph Simpson; jumped to attention; stood at ease; not armed; found sticks to search with; thin blue line; sighting to be passed down line. Feelings were running high. View of Sir Joseph's death, comments on. Area Car night duty Operator; Jaguar car; no seat belts; car chase A12 : block road with oil tanker; line of car chases Ford Zephyr;  ramming by suspect's car; RTA with lamp-post. Injuries and damage.  Describes eventual arrest. Co-ordination IR New Scotland Yard and Chelmsford, Essex.  Radios on cars: personal radios towards end of posting; reliability; describes PR, had leather pocket made; reliability; attitudes to PR; safety and supervision; PR only working locally; person to person links which Romford could block during incidents; stop and question checks via radio; Police Box and public telephones; free phone to New Scotland Yard. Eventually Plough Corner was closed; sending off party.

Track 15: 6'06”  Posted to Harold Hill 1969: describes Police Station Area; Harold Hill Hospital; sudden death of baby; first responder; child abuse injuries; arrests parent for murder; husband was convicted of murder; punched baby with snooker cue. Describes Police Station and staff. Describes Harold Hill council estate and residents.

Track 16:  07' 15”  Harold Hill Estate: describes employment at Fords; industrial estates and commuters. Low unemployment. Access to motor car; repairing cars in the front gardens; multiple car families. Education and youth centres; hanging around on street corners. Sports facilities: boxing club, football teams. Harold Wood, less facilities. 1977  youth centre at Harold Wood opened by residents. Adults spent free time in public houses: community centre.

Track 17: 26'13”   Working with Police Colleagues: BME, did not work with in his career. View of Senior Officers; differences of opinions; got on well with; Harold Hill, met earlier colleague promoted to Sergeant. View of top management and communication with. Life on the Relief: describes at Romford; shift work; Divisional Social events. Divisional Sports Association: International Police Association; Police Federation, no right to strike; negotiations; discipline; pay; mentions Miners Strike and pay rise. Interests and hobbies: shooting clubs, pistol shooting competitions; CO Division Club, Smith and Wesson pistols; Romford Club, rifle and pistols; renews rifles; missing rifle and investigation. Eventually cleared of any wrong doing.

Track 18:  Effect of police work on family life and accommodation: positive view of: property allowance; sells first house; police accommodation, married quarters; shortly afterwards bought own house. Long police hours only came with SPG: wife calm and supportive. Children's view of his police work; son follows his example with smart school uniform. Wife joins Specials and all the family take part in first aid competitions.

Track 19: 43'34"  Posted to Special Patrol Group, 1971: describes SPG; 3 unit; task force; describes roles; not liked by officers on Division; targeting crime work; did upset local people; local back lash. !971 SPG created new unit; based Hounslow, concerned about travel; application process; in fact posted Leyton. Carriers; describes shifts. Uniform and plain clothes: describes tactics; Central London, drugs; patrolling. May 1971: order to return to Carriers; personal radios; sent to Notting Hill; Metro Club; stand-off; surrounding building; negotiations; order to withdraw; violent disorder; return to incident; rescues officer under attack with a hammer; assaulted and attended hospital; wife reaction; arrests for assault and affray; cases hear at Central Criminal Court; gives evidence there; see defendant on way to court; describes giving evidence; not asked to identify; cross-examination; all suspects acquitted.  Headaches: injury compensation and Federation; visit to GP, and his letter; CICB and increased compensation. Headaches and sunglasses: helped but against regulations; later Job issues sun glasses to officer. Theft by pecuniary advantage: young women promising sex, ask for money for hotel room but disappear; describes tactics; undercover work; Greek Street; prisoner advises that they are Frith Street; prisoner charged, court case; guilty plea; helps defendant. West End patrolling: in Uniform; drugs search of famous person; formal complaint; complaint dismissed. No additional training: briefing on new units work; no shield training at this stage. Community view of SPG: not aware at first; hostility when community realised they were not local police officers; over-ridden. Reaction of BME communities: after Brixton unrest; describes a reaction of hatred; held back in Brixton, and left to local officers. Stop and Search: Sus laws; describes powers; greatly used by SPG; local dignitaries were unknown so stopped and searched all and sundry; negative reaction from BME; black youths and street crimes; describes work; street muggers; tensions; good results and bad reaction; reaction of local commanders; Commissioner's officers; moving on. No  'no go' areas: mob handed.

Track 20: 14'13”: Special Patrol Group: further incidents; demonstration Whitehall; Mounted Branch; tactic of demonstrators; arrest those kicking and throwing missiles at horse; assault on police; gives evidence in court; individual case; evidence from dock; questioning by defence counsel;  gives benefit of doubt;  Security detail Heathrow; terrorism searching passengers to America; describes work; Women Police Officers assigned to search female; no Women Police Officer available; women passenger resist search; refuses to take coat off; pilot called for; women eventually agrees; a good tour. Equipment: no special equipment; reaction of media; Metro Club, front page news Evening Standard; no adverse coverage. Leaving the SPG; wearing a beard; against SPG orders; Inspector complains; easy visual distinguishing mark for criminals; chooses to return to Division.

Track 21:  New Flash Card

Track 22: Posted Romford: describes driving SPG carriers; posting to van; having the tea ready; car with no lights; follows and call assistance; collision with Panda Car; Police Accidents; Garage Sergeant investigation. Rank structure of Sergeants. Drivers course from Romford station; driving instructor; driving the police way. Hendon driving school: describes learning to drive an automatic car; journeys around south of England. Petrol rationing: speed limit.

Track 23: 17'36”: Incidents at Romford: Panda Driver; theft of scrap metal; describes chase and arrest; Crown Court sentencing; later good relations with suspect. Work on stolen cars; squad to catch car thefts from car parks; successful; too much overtime and not on Relief. Retail theft: describes;  Shop Squad; describes shoplifting family and case; 8 year old stealing to order; catching mother for handling. Young ladies team of shoplifting. Old lady stopped by store detective; theft of loaf bread; old ladies remains firm; arrests, kind treatment and patience reveals true story. Women exonerated. Good use of police time. On own time with wife: arrests shoplifter. Crime Squad at Dagenham: murder inquiry; son-in-law suspected; discrepancy on mileage of suspect car; acquitted. Home Beat Officer: Takes over from another colleague from Plough Corner; describes role; first aid; wife a Special and helps with First Aid Competitions. Havering, and parents parking outside schools; regular task.Track 24: 7'53”: Integration of Women Police: describes previous set up and roles; Romford Women Police Officers on Relief; describes; feelings of responsibility for their safety; Women Area Car Drivers; rivalry; good quality officers; attitudes at time; additional skill of women; typing; radio; Women Police Officers on demonstrations; escorting marches. Women's Service excellent.

Track 25:  11'05” Describes role of Home Beat Officers: Panda Cars; break down of relationship with public; re-establish contacts; living on your patch; some officer not keen working where they lived; mother-in-law lives on Beat. Building contacts: older people; schools; youth clubs; discos; church halls; youth drinking; loses facility. Crimes on patch; describes case of malicious damage to cars; Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinator; Crime Squad. Posted to another Beat.

Track 26:  Continuation of Interview: 29th May 2009.

Track 27:  28'55”: Collier Row, Home Beat Officer: shift early Sunday Morning; criminal damage to cars by youths; describes case; SOCO, and foot prints; arrests youths; clothes and shoes matched found at scene. Year progress: schools; Brownies; visits to Romford Police Station; slam of the cell door. First Aid competitions: First Aid Instructor's Course; Havering College; teaching members of public, adult education. Forest Lodge School: teaching forensic science; puts together course; teaching young people; support from SOCO. 1983: Metropolitan Police five-a- side competitions; football clubs; manages girls team. Further Education Teachers Certificate. Collier Row Carnival: successful but looses money. Governor Forest Lodge School. Metropolitan Police Band and schools. Metropolitan Police Primary School Quiz: inter-school competitions. Leslie Crowther. Brownies and Trooping of the Colour. Miners Strike: posted Chesterfield; reaction and abuse from miners; people of Derbyshire; billet; reaction of younger Officers; local Officers. Behaviour of Metropolitan Police on Miners Strike: comments on. Drinking amongst officers: early starts and long hours. Describes average day on Pit Duty: coaches; picket line; tactics; first shift; strikers and strike breakers; obstruction; violence and assaults on police. Hanging around; coaches and mobile canteen. Second shift: exercise repeated and arrangements. Sleeping in bunk beds: very tedious work. Compares with previous experience of violence to police: hatred. Abuse aimed at Metropolitan Police and in general.

Track 28: 04' 03”: Absence of safety equipment: linking arms; no bricks and bottle; does not remember Shield Serials. Not properly briefed on conflict in mining villages: only appreciated after return to London.

Track 29: 04'18”: Industrial action policing: Ford Dagenham; Grunwick; similar policing; preventing obstruction; did not enjoy; mainly good humoured; mainly dull work; over-time payments; catering.

Track 30: Collier Row: describes Home Beat area. Fighting amongst youths. Describes community: very few BME; employments; social housing and other residential accommodation. Crimes dealt; burglaries; vehicle crime; vandalism. Neighbourhood Watch. Community Policing: felt more responsibility to 'my' people and Beat; less lonely and less 'fire fighting'; working with Relief officers and Crime Book; role for older, more experienced, officers. Perception of Home Beat officers by Relief: a soft option; view of local management; compulsory late turns and rowdiness.Football season got in the way: West Ham Upton Park: policing football matches; all standing, North Bank and South Bank, opposing fans; describes behaviour; dealing with disorderly conduct; ejecting fans and arrests; fans went back in another gate; gymnasium as detention room; happy to be posted there; did not like football; reaction to teams scoring. Posting and violence outside the ground.

Track 31:  26'07”: Colliers Row, Home Beat: traffic and parking around school; priority of Romford senior officers and headteachers. Adult eduction classes: Cert. Ed. Inter-District Transfer Scheme; describes scheme. Posted Holloway: left his patch; did not like this; back on Relief and shift work; travel to work; no direct public transport; no M25; motorbike and describes journey. District Training Unit: First Aid Instructor; off night duty and to Training Unit. Still did early and late turns: Primary School and parking; traffic obstruction and access; Superintendent's orders, no injuries for 5yrs; traffic too slow; ignored traffic outside schools from then on. Young Relief: felt like old sweat; GP car and probationer; robbery, her reaction and advice to her; patrolling the likely escape routes. Integration: Women Police Officers; women on relief; sterling job but a distraction. First Aid instructor: describes role.  Reaction of BME community: hostility from Black youth; shocked by sheer hatred; comments on and can never forget; new experience policing BME communities. Causes of hostility: Brixton; stop and search; SPG; rising tension; officers' behaviour; aggression between some younger officer and BME community; politeness and tact; younger officers not learning from or listening to older officers; young officers sent to problematic areas. Aggression breeds trouble. Loyalty between police officers.

Track 32: 07'33”: Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinator, Holloway: crime prevention officers; takes on role. Setting up scheme in Holloway: working own hours and meeting residents. Successful until First Aid Instructor post become available: takes post; hours; travel and sciatica. Complete rest: Chief Medical Officer: convalescent  home Hendon; visits from wife. CMO: transferred home. Seeks returns to work: invalided out: Long Service Medal. Spinal fusion and cure to back.

Track 33: Describes retirement: poor police pension: teaching work; wood work teacher, Forest Lodge. Works other schools as instructor. Qualifies Cert Ed: qualified teacher status. Various roles as  Design Technology Teacher. Learning Mentor: successful, describes role; keeping disruptive children  in school; now extended to all students; describes role; deals with anger management violence and verbal abuse. How viewed as retired officer: different perspective; educates child on role of police. His comment on interview.


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