Friends of the

Metropolitan Police History

Officer 39

Location of interview:Worcestershire

Officer's Gender:Male

Date joined Met Police:28 November 1951

Date left Met Police:30 October 1983

Rank of leaving:Chief Superintendent

Divisons served:

Specialist service:No specialities

Transcript of interview

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Track 2:  07'11”: Life before the Metropolitan Police: family circumstance Hampstead; passed Hendon on the way to and from school; family friend who boarded CID officers; ambition for Royal Navy; negative response from headteacher; City of London Police Cadets; MPS Cadets; vague responses; interview from MPS; scout camp and cycle journey for interview; first Cadet at Limehouse Police Station; Arbour Square; Old Street; City Street; National Service, Army, describes; Military Police for Cadets; motorcyclist and military law; Egypt; pull out of Canal Zone; demob; military reserve; Suez Canal Crisis.

Track 3: 01'58”: Return to Metropolitan Police: re-application; interview postponed, selection to service; Hendon.

Track 4: 2'26”: Beak Street: cubicle Section House; all from services; regulars and National Servicemen; no women or ethnic minorities.

Track 5: 6'35”: TS Hendon: 13 weeks; top of class. Posted K, East London, Plaistow: Limehouse as Cadet; describes Pennyfields, Limehouse; West India Dock Road, Chinese community, describes; enquiries in Pennyfields with a Sergeant; flat caps and helmets; Poplar Police Station; Poplar Mortuary, visit and pathologist; vivid memory. Plaistow: street bookmakers, describes; look outs; PS and PC always posted to deal with; rota system for convictions.

Track 6: 06'07”: Street Crime: theft and prostitution; Night Duty, 14 Patrol Rathbone Street Market; shaking hands with door knobs; bomb site and cafe; a moving statue; chasing suspect in heavy uniform; capture; flashing his torch; searches suspect, and finds rashers of bacon; suspect sentenced to 9 months at West Ham Sessions; walking the prisoner to a Police Box.

Track 7: 07'59”:  Working a Beat: Parades and Appointments; only ever drew truncheon at parade; beats and schedules; refreshment breaks and calling in; Police Boxes; ring time and 15 minutes; occasionally say Patrol Sergeant; Police Box light flashing; ringing in; distant Beats; Cycle Beats; Cycle Allowances. Significant: Velocette Bike rider; very quiet; Motorcycle Beats; no radios; Commendation for arrest of burglar. Prostitution: unaware of generally; Canning Town, arrest women for being a Common Prostitute; her suicide; Inquest; first prostitute arrested at Plaistow for many years.

Track 8: 05'21”: Relationship with colleagues: no BME; Women Police Officers, dealing children, young persons and women; very good at role; superb records for juveniles; good intelligence; pay for Women Police Officers; Women Detective Sergeant on K Division; numbers. Integration. Parades: Senior Officers not seen on patrolling; saw them when in trouble; doing the books; describes a senior officer and his stolen spotlights.

Track 9: 7'28”: Posted: marriage; example of friend on posting; did not want wife living in East End; Metropolitan Police Surrey Area; flat in Norbiton; V Division, VD, Putney; Chief Superintendent from West Ham; K to V; Kingston upon Thames; settled in quickly; old police station; different environment. Vacancy for Aide to CID, New Malden, VN; interview; arrests for crime short on V; 13 on K; selected; works with another Aide; that Aide dies in RTA; wanted experience of working in a CID office; Promotion Examination for Sergeant; Competitors and Qualifier; promotion follows. Decision not to stay in CID: variety of Uniform role and liked people; not just dealing with criminals and victims of crime.

Track 10: 4'44”: Promotion: posted to Lavender Hill as Sergeant; new experience. Ethnic Diversity on K; BME at Lavender Hill; Cadet at Limehouse; West India Docks; Banana Boat stowaways; describes processes; Captain radios ahead with details; PC, Aliens Officer, arrests at dock and charges stowaways; magistrate always sentenced to 28 days prison at Brixton; British Citizens, and on release took up residence in Brixton.

Track 11: 13'51”: BME and Brixton: foundation of BME population in Brixton; immigration scheme for Afro-Caribbean population; Windrush; joined existing population. Policing a new community: formation of attitudes; mother and Indian Pedlar; fear; Laskar seamen and Chinese, no hostility from police; colour blind policing. St Pancras Rent Riots, Race Riots: turned out from home to St Pancras: very violent event; paraded Kingston Police Station; travelled up by train. Policing the riot: close to ringleaders and pushing them away; nothing sophisticated about it; no safety equipment; no awareness of command and control. Riot lasted some time: level of violence. Notting Hill Riot: murder of a BME man; similar police action; Ladbroke Grove; told to stop talking to a BME man. Violence. Role as Sergeant: W Division: Sutton; administrative changes; more sergeants at Sutton: compulsory posting; travel to work difficult; eventually purchased a motorcycle.

Track 12: 06'00”:  Sutton, describes Police Station Area; rural policing; always plenty to do; role as Station Officer; Traffic Offence; Aliens; prisoners; Hospitals, 14,000 mentally infirm patients; 400 missing person a year; describes an incidents of someone coming in and slitting his wrist; 'callous' response. Comments of patients: child patients; not actually mentally ill but developmental problems; hydrocephalus patients.

Track 13: 14'56”: Promotion to Station Sergeant: oral examination; verbatim A Reports; very senior officer at NSY; problems with definition of incest. Studying; revising with wife; buying a table and chair; learning by rote. Social life: shift work; spare money limited; pay as Cadet; £8 a week; rent allowance, explains and describes; help buying own home. Communities in Sutton: white British middle class; very few BME; wife nurse at Kingston at hospital; BME and hospitals. Promotion to Inspector: Croydon: Wallington, Station Officer requires greater supervision; moved to Wallington; Boundary Changes due to creation of Greater London Council; Wallington down graded to Sectional Station; transferred Epsom; promotion to Inspector only by selection; Junior Command Course, A Course; Bramshill; pay, rank and Districts; Inspectors paid monthly in arrears; over-lap and overdrawn 7s. 6d.; called to Bank Manager for explanation.

Track 14: 03'51”: Bramshill, new police staff college: residential, purchase of car; a whole new world; first time met officers from other police officer; “arrogant” Metropolitan Police officer; Sierra Leone officer; describes course organisation; liberal studies and policing matters; presentation on Licensing; Inspector in Hong Kong Police, describes incident. Posted Wimbledon: doing as you were told.

Track 15: 15'27”: Role as Inspector: different uniform; describes role of Station Officer; first day as Duty Officer; testing out the new boss; 17 PCs on parade; funny comment; requests pocketbook; his response and smiling faces; supervision and expectations. Senior Officers: circumstance at Wimbledon going out with Chief Inspectors; liaises with; Administration Inspector. Wimbledon tennis: night duty; extra patrols; death of PC in RTA; describes policing the event. Unit Commander: SO for small station: New Malden; describes Police Station organisation. Unit Beat Policing: logos on police vehicles; comments on system; failings of system; Personal Radios, comments on previous communications; avoiding Police Boxes; idleness; greater contact with officers and directing to job; black spots and supervision; less time on visible patrolling; hard working but less seen. Home Beat Officers: describes role of; gathering local knowledge; cups of teas with old ladies; discipline and teas breaks; major change to role of police. Collators: describes role.

Track 16: 04'44”: Public Order: Summer of discontent: Inspector in charge of a Serial at Grosvenor Square, 1968: describes Serial; role of Women Police Officer, Radio Operator; Police Buses, describes. Operational feeding: before the event started; mobile canteen. Safety Equipment: not available until after Notting Hill Riot 1976: re-enforced helmet, describes; extra straps.

Track 17: 13'10”: Grosvenor Square Riots: no verbal briefing; briefing his Serial from Operational Order; posted to the right of Grosvenor Square; first sign of trouble; police routing of the march was poor; too close to American Embassy; in retrospect a tactical error; describes route of march;  greater numbers marched than expected; brought in to stop attack on Embassy; communications; Book of Remembrance in Embassy; enters and deals with incident; PC with truncheon drawn; orders it put away; missiles thrown at police line; loses cap; DAC  loses cap too; afternoon of fighting; Issue of letting a police officer leave lines with an arrest; describes hours on duty. Melee: limited communication; most stayed together; action in side streets; huge amount of noise; stones from rioters; fear of young PCs; truncheons; Mounted Branch, very effective; foot duty officer not used to working with officers; press and media. Injuries to police officer. Pushing back. Aftermath: chatter. Debriefing: A8/10 report.

Track 18:08'24”: Public Order: recollections, vast majority of demonstrations were peaceful; facilitating public expression of opposition; generally good relationships; some difficulties. Legislative changes: effects on policing; leave cancelled; maintaining coverage at own police station. Drugs culture, 1960s: knowledge of drug offences very thin; raids on public houses, Kingston, LSD; arrests by CID officers: raids in Surbiton; aroma of cannabis; small contact with drug offences. Road Safety Act: Breathalyser and Drink Driving; previously opinion of police surgeon; variable response form police surgeons; breathalyser took away the argument; describe introduction to his relief; describes breathalyser; massive increase in drink drive arrests; popular activity with some officers; favourite of his Station Sergeant at Wimbledon.

Track 19: 03'33”: Police Prosecutions: comments on, even as a PC undertook court work; rare for lawyer prosecution; comments on. Court Inspector: no training; experience; dealing with barristers; Police Solicitors; driving offences.

Track 20: 03'05”: Changes to policing: Unit Beat Policing, comments on; relationship to the public was far more friendly than appears now; less dissension; walking beats v vehicles; break down in day today relationship between police and public.

Track 21: 10'58”: Relationship between Uniform Departments and specialist department: serious crimes by police detectives: concerned some incidents; suggestions of enhancing his evidence; Sir Robert Mark; unsurprised by problems arising; very saddened that reputation of Metropolitan Police was harmed; comments on; pleased that it was being stopped; sadness also; mentions West Midlands Police and Serious Crimes Squad. Dogs and Mounted Branch; delighted to see dogs, usefulness; Mounted Branch. West Ham; trampled by horse; most specialist mainly passed by. Traffic Division: different cars; uniforms; Thames Division, occasional contact with. Football in these early days: 20 officers on duty match day; sat by corner flag during match and watched game; no crowd violence; 1980s experience; mainly just crowd control; very few seats; common sense of crowds; comments on.

Track 22: 13'48”: Continuation: Promotion to Chief Inspector: interviewed three times; keen to be promoted; New Scotland Yard; describes interview and panel; describes variety of his experience; racing Epsom Downs; policing Surbiton; Posted Rochester Row: Chief Inspector Admin: public order, A Division. Late Senior Duty Officer: major incident; dealing with a complaint against police; in plain clothes; shooting involving member of Royal Family; changing into uniform in panic, problems arising with collar; nappy pin; an attempt to kidnap Princess Anne; arrest and injuries; scene under control; Detective Superintendent arrives on scene; arrival of Panda car; not normally used in central London; just passing from Dagenham; Superintendent of Royal Parks input. Informs Commander A: another Commander, Les Garrett arrives. Describes Scene: Princess Anne taken to Palace by Wireless Car; calm scene and good performance by officers.

Track 23: 04'58”: Lord Lucan: called to address; kit bag and body of Sandra Rivett; called to see Detective Chief Inspector David Gerring; palm prints and hands in pockets; 300 stray fingerprints; Late Senior Duty Officer; securing the scene; saw Lady Lucan later at NSY, 5th Floor Dining Room. Letter Box Bomb; near Victoria Palace Theatre; first time to bomb scene; describes damage to letter box and absence of further damage; comments on.

Track 24: 06'45”: IRA terrorism: bombing campaign; pub bombing; visiting various bomb scene. Public Order: ceremonial events, describes then route of State visits; comments on;Demonstrations: Lobbying Parliament; Sessional Order limiting demonstrations when Parliament is sitting; individual Lobbying of Parliament; describes huge queue; women's groups demonstration, meeting and 150 women sit down protest in Parliament grounds.

Track 25: 01'46: Continues: stopped by two PCs; removes women; Commander requests report; breach of security; police and parliament; not frequently required; Cannon Row and Palace of Westminster unit;

Track 26: 08'06”: Chief Inspector Admin: change of organisational arrangements; describes role; act on behalf of Chief Superintendent; Fatal Accidents. Operational Chief Inspector: achieving  cohesive approach across the Reliefs; ensuring sufficient officers were available; Public Order depletions; team manager. Applications: recommendations. Postings to Buckingham Palace or Palace of Westminster: more the case at Cannon Row; not so great at Rochester Row. Posting to A8(1): working at New Scotland Yard: public order department; support from Chief Superintendent; Deputy Assistant Commissioner for A Department: his Superintendent at Wimbledon; selected; hand-over does not go as planned; thrown in at deep end; comments on his staff positively.

Track 27: 06'29”: Describing A8: describes command structure; Special Branch; describes establishment; writing operational orders; Thames Tidal Flooding, before Thames Barrier; processes for staffing events, depended on SB intelligence; assessments good; short notice of events; National Front Demonstration, Islington; comments on; stalwart of department; Commander wants 2000 more PCs for the next day;  achieved. Ceremonial side: more predictable; had to be aware possibilities of trouble; SB intelligence; getting reports correct; Lord Chamberlain; meeting with military.

Track 28: 13'17”: Incidents: 1976 Notting Hill Carnival: previous policing and background to Carnival; BME population; Afro-Caribbean population; grew in size; alcohol and drugs; more lively crowds; more officers required; staffing Special Operations Room GT; MPGT radio call sign; large display board and marker pens; V of desks; sat at point of V and be manager of the room; 2 officers from IR; describes atmosphere of room; public disorder. Event split into sectors: local police input; commander on ground; SPG; MPD; Local Authority; street cleaners; Carnival Committee. Steady increase in crime: serious crimes; young people; lawlessness; parade of the band and floats; routeing; long procession and accompanying officer; limits of local intelligence; generally a a joyous occasion; no reason to believe otherwise; problem from visitors; tensions with local authority; lack of co-operation; Carnival organisers; earlier tensions, Kingston Aid to Notting Hill; unfriendliness to police.

Track 29: (Void).

Track 30: 10'54”: Continues: 1976 Notting Hill Carnival ; on duty in GT; messages regarding outbreaks of disorder; describes; disorder and damage; Co-op looted; officers being injured; difficulties getting injured officers out; large area of disorder; crowd targets police; no safety equipment; dustbin lid shields; no waiting cones; BTP police car; 400 police officers injured; many injuries to the public; disarray to police lines; crowds disperse. Hot debrief at A8: overnight policing; press and media; film press; writing a report for Home Office; tasked to put team together to write report; takes over office for six weeks; comments on processes; files on previous Carnival from Registry; concise history; recount the events of the day; comments on.

Track 31: 04'47”: 1976 Notting Hill Carnival: outcomes, policing level increased; re-inforced helmets; straps and buckles; maintaining look of police officers; greater protection; beginnings of protective equipment for police officers; training; shield from Berlin; SPG and developing drills; describes drills; protective qualities and how officers deployed; SPG and Stirling Corner; basis for future for public order training; eventually mock town at Hayes.

Track 32: 11'27”: Promotion to Superintendent: publishing report for 1976 Notting Hill Carnival day before interview; interview focused on entirely on report; positive outcomes; Assistant Commissioner visits GT. Superintendent A8(2) SPG, Barnes: 2IC; describes SPG; '£200 a week and all the trouble you could find': describes command structure and establishment; various units; details a unit; car and carriers; own radio network; IR. Deployment and bids: Commander's request; different deployments; variety of work; major searches; SPG very effective. Grunwick dispute: photographic printing company; Willesden; long running dispute; unions at Grunwicks; dispute comes to an end; huge crowd for final day, Chapter Road; order to disperse; public order training; using a wedge.

Track 33: 09'00”: SPG Operation Swamp: Brixton; street robberies; to assist local police; swamped the street; name of operation was misconstrued; local community's reaction; arrests made; more white people arrested. Left during this operation: Intermediate Command Course; posted Vine Street; Piccadilly Circus; very busy; 25,000 prisoners a year; four sergeants in the charge room; describes and comments. Describes role and policing Vine Street: no local community; VIPs; Mountbatten family; Park Lane and hotel; prostitution; 180 probationary PCs; support and supervision of staff; personnel role; events, New Year's Eve; theatres; Embassies; variety of task. Promotion to Chief Superintendent, Rochester Row: brought home his progression; 40 years of fun.

Track 34: 04'48”:  Being the Governor: no difficulties with being in command; wonderful examples to follow; Police Officer first, rank second; Primary Object of Policing; proud to be a police officer; hopes example rubbed off; not losing sight of primary objects; describes role. Transferred to Tooting: District Chief Superintendent; 2 IC to Commander; describes Commander; refers back to A8(1); answer always no; comments on.

Track 35: 04'34”: Telling people he was not in trouble:  District Chief Superintendent; describes role; entirely administrative unless acting commander; Complaints Against Police files; recommendation of actions to be taken; endless complaints; previous experience investigating complaints; insight and discussions. Police investigating their own complaints: comments on; independent body; problems with.

Track 36: 08'04”: Transferred to A8(3): setting up Public Order Forward Planning; ACPO committee on Public Order; describes establishment and inter-force nature of; looking around the world; recommendations for new procedures and equipment for dealing with public order; riot helmets; Gold, Silver and Bronze Command levels; enjoyed role; water cannon; discovered they were impracticable for London; comments on further changes; not comfortable with changes; lack of smartness, comments on; opposed to black shirts historically; authority of appearance and conduct; open carrying of equipment; handcuffs.

Track 37: 07'51”: Seeks promotion outside Metropolitan Police: West Midlands Police; ACPO Committee on Public Order contact; Assistant Chief Constable post; visits area; friend serving there, DCC; selected for post; comments on. Promotion to DCC. Would rejoin again; loved every minute; sad events; a wonderful job. Reaction to as retired police officer; Neighbourhood Watch; Policing Matters Group; comments on.

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