Friends of the

Metropolitan Police History

Officer 41

Location of interview:Northwood

Officer's Gender:Male

Date joined Met Police: 1 May 1963

Date left Met Police:10 May 1998

Rank of leaving:Deputy Assistant Commissioner

Divisons served: E (Hampstead), Q (Harlesden), D (Paddington), A

Specialist service:Cadet Traffic

Transcript of interview

Or print interview to read

Click on to listen to track.

Track 1: 2'38”: Introduction to interview. Life before the Metropolitan Police: Life and family circumstances in Bristol; schooling; youth club and local PC; sport, rugby and running; police and sport; applied Bristol City Police and Metropolitan Police; successful both; took the Metropolitan Police job.

Track 2:  01'53”: Cadet School at Hendon: describes accommodation; Cadets divided into Houses; 1 year at Ashford in Kent; Kentish town as a Cadet; Dalston Road describes accommodation and conditions.

Track 3: 02'05”: Training School at Peel Centre: describes and comments; Commandant; Tommy Wall; PTI; length of course; Class Captain. Posted E, Hampstead: Greater London and Divisional boundary changes.

Track 4: 5'21”: Women Police Officers in TS. Hampstead: 3 Reliefs and nine week shift patterns, describes and comments on: health implications; old timers on the beat; discipline very different then; standards of dress; Parades; Appointments; signing out Handcuffs; dates for shirt-sleeve order; everyone dressed the same; permission for shirt sleeve order; belts, braces and epaulettes; chin straps up or down; winter down, summer up.

Track 5: 06'12”: Walking a beat: communications, police boxes; calling in; deal with what came up on your beat; idling and gossiping; discipline; Patrol Sergeant; Traffic Offences; Robert Mark and Traffic Wardens; Process. Different Duties: Early Turn; school crossings; traffic points; refreshments; statements; domestics; communications; being assigned; Velocette Riders, Echo24: Van and RT car, with Radios; IR; Late Turn: school crossing patrol and traffic points. Kray and Richardson Trials: escorting from Prison; Witness protection, fixed point;

Track 6: 04'44”: Arrests: blowing your whistle; support from Public, telephoning in; walking the prisoner to the nearest Police Box, and await van; advice from experienced officer; you needed to be able to communicate with public. Drunkenness or disorder, criminal damage; taking details; Station Officer, and charge sheets; form filling; cells; Assistant Station Officer; taking prisoners to court. CID and Crime Arrests: Police Prosecutions: legal aid forms and file;

Track 7: 03'23”: Accommodation: Kentish Town Section House: in yard of Police Station; new building; lack of sleep due to joke; marriage; wife's father Traffic PC; Colindale Avenue police houses; wife's family bought house in Edgware; getting married and buying house around corner; financial struggle and 10 per cent deposit; married quarters; married at 21years old.

Track 8: 06'50”: Relief at Hampstead: Women Police Officers, describes role; children and young persons; alien registrations; older Women Police Officer and alien registration, au pair and secretarial courses; did not patrol; care proceedings. BME: entirely white; PC Roberts and Paul Condon. Describes Police Station Area: 'Happy Hampstead': wealthy middle class; Henry Brook, Home Secretary; arty types; Gay people; students and bedsits, Belsize Park and Swiss Cottage; council estates; derelict houses; building the M1; Irish community, sleeping rough; Station Sergeant from Belfast; Wandering abroad arrests. Reaction to gay community: Jack Straw Castle; arrests; importuning; on the Heath and down at Ponds; male only swimming; attitudes to; thought arrests waste of time.

Track 9: 11'09”: Specialist work: Traffic Patrol; influence of in laws; ambition to be CID officer; plain clothes work; CID and corruption scandals; wife's situation, and night duties. Posted to TDM: Southwark; posted to Wembley; not keen or good at role; standards of police driving. Sergeant's Examination and escape. DPG and motorcycles. Training at Traffic: motorcycles: Velocette Course; had his own motorcycle and own car; not keen on mechanical engineering; Radios and Harlesden: answering calls PR. Promotion to Sergeant: influence of father in law; financial strain of mortgage; moonlighting not allowed; having little numbers, trades; dismissal if caught; carpentry; so studying for Sergeant's examination for higher pay; 3rd Competitor, in front of Paul Condon; very surprised. Interview for Special Course: Harlesden as Skipper; Chief Superintendent's advice; Special Course, not paid for Additional Rest Days; describes and comments on. 3 day interview: successful; comments on. Special Course and seeing Commander: Travel, family and children.

Track 10: 05'53: Special Course: accelerated promotion: a year course at Staff College: describes arrangements; course contents;  sitting examinations; Inspector's promotion examination. Harlesden Sergeant: promotions to Station Sergeant, at Willesden; comments on and describes; Army influence; military service of officers; Traffic experience and military influences; former loyalties remain; ribbing and Royals; discipline and self discipline; hands in pocket and retribution; peer group pressure.

Track 11: 05'30”: Police Sports: athletics and boxing for Metropolitan Police; rugby for Division; international runner; coaching; sport is good for police; bemoans lack of sport today; Metropolitan Police Athletic Association and National Police Athletic Association; team building; fitness and health; good to play external bodies; consent of public and closeness to public; friendships outside; MPAA time; sport dies away; Imber Court and crowds; track at Hendon; huge numbers; three line whip for senior officers in early days. Boxing.

Track 12: 08'49”: Inspector, Paddington Green: new type of work; white and blue shirts; describes uniform of Inspector; little fish in big pond; Chief Superintendent; new Police Station; accommodation for senior officers at the station; in charge of a Relief at 25yrs old; leadership and risk of falling flat; baptism of fire; 6 person fatal RTA on fly-over; Arson Bayswater Road, fatality; Australian diplomat murdered; Flying Squad and death of prisoner; all in first week. Number of officers parading; up to 30 PCs and 5 Sergeants and Station Officer; sex workers and pornography; council estates; Queensway; Harrow Road; IRA terrorism; bomb call hoaxes; describes incident a5 Paddington sorting office, injury to postal worker; bombing and first Inspector on scene; Hilton bombing; Portman Hotel.

Track 13: 14'38”: IRA Terrorism: Commissioner introduces Mobile Patrols, Short Patrols; analytical work by junior officer; bombers return to scene of crimes; catching perpetrators; brief at NSY; leak to press; disloyalty; made exercise a nonsense; Operation Combo, repeat exercise; area patrolling in plain clothes; Marylebone; team and skipper; very cold weather; long-Johns and soup; other crimes passed to Uniform; identify suspicious behaviour. Balcombe Street Siege: late evening and night patrolling with Skipper; call on PR; shots fired at restaurant off Grosvenor Square; car index spotted by patrolling PC; heading their way; flagged down a cab; followed suspect vehicle; suspects on foot; became aware and four suspects run; pursuit; suspects open fire with hand guns; dropped bag with firearms including automatic weapons; refers to photograph; pursuit continued; PR; confusion over location; sirens going wrong way; SPG carrier.  Grasped situation; SPG come under fire; SPG return fire; suspect coming their way, with shots fired in their direction; taking cover; arrival of Flying Squad; suspects flee; Flying Squad under small arms fire; three run into Balcombe Street; one heads Boston Place; continues alone after single suspect down Boston Place.

Track 14: 11'56”: Describes suspect's route in detail from map: chasing single suspect; suspect make contact to main group again; suspect ran into block of flats; Mathews family's flat; asks publican to get help; joined by DI hiding behind car; joined by SPG; not aware of circumstances inside building at that time; assistance arrives; cordon; Paddington and statements; siege; command centre, British Rail HQ; siege lasted for one week. Returned to scene  as staff officer to Forward Commanders; there when suspect leave building and end siege;  mentions Spaghetti House Siege; terrorism and criminality. Negotiating end of siege; suspects fear entry of SAS; different limits for terrorist then. Prisoners interviewed and charged at Paddington Green; trial at Old Bailey; Peace Agreement; his name and address on IRA list found property; George Medal and other awards.

Comments and describes own reactions: fear of friendly fire; feared for his life in Boston Place; may never see family again;

Track 15: 05'17”: Paddington: Public Order and demonstration; Trade Unions and Anti Apartheid; managing marches; size of crowds. Football matches QPR; football hooligans; keeping supporters apart. Lords Cricket Ground, more genteel; no stands in those days; Commanders enjoys the cricket; an excellent Commander; did the books. Notting Hill Carnival: providing serials; finished policing at Lords; called to Carnival, riot; missiles; dustbin lids; looting; from then a massive police operation.

Track 16: 14'30: Notting Hill Carnival; hundreds of serials on duty; Reserve; policing Carnival. Police casualties; no safety equipment. Reasons for rioting: great deal of criminality; Mangrove Club; thought law unto selves; officers on scene injured; command and control; B District. Diplomatic Protection Group: loss of officers on A and B Divisions due to excessive fixed point duty outside embassies; describes 6 months posting and role; riding motorcycles. DPG based at Walton Street, Kensington High Street and Tottenham Court Road; describes staffing; Women Police Officers on relief, Shop Lifting Squad; reactions to Integration. DPG, describes role of; armed officers; red cars. Iranian Embassy Siege: Trevor Locke. Promotion to Chief Inspector: process of promotion; gift of District Commander; knew their people; compares with system when he left; distractions of; poor promotions; Tank Test; finding good managers; limitations of new system; a reason for leaving as DAC; assessments, objectivity; Civil Staff Principal could over rule; could not cope with new system; DI shortage, 2 Area; employment tribunal case leads to promotion and training comes to a grinding halt; Attempts to resolve organisational problems arising from it are blocked.   Chooses to retire.

Track 17: 03'26”: Promotion to Chief Inspector: Selection Board; posted to Gerald Road; describes. Queen Mother's Flower Garden award every year; Harlesden and Sergeant's duties, gardening role; gardener at Gerald Road, Sergeant's and window boxes, help from Hyde Park. Admin Chief Inspector.

Track 18: 12'17”: Describes role: Process Section; administration of Police Station; relieve work burden of Sergeant's and Inspectors; comments on current moans about paperwork; Sergeant's and Traffic patrol, paperwork and Police Prosecution; landlord and tenant dispute; Chief Inspector, Admin lifts burden on Inspectors and Sergeants. Posted operational Chief Inspector, Cannon Row; describes Cannon Row Police Station; memories, Cardiff Arms Park  and investiture for George Medal; Willy Hunter, Commander D, provides car and driver; leaving Palace and reception Cannon Row; SEG escort; guard of honour; emotional moment. Cannon Row: Ceremonials Office; Palace of Westminster and Buckingham Palace. Responsibilities; Intruder at Palace; Margaret Thatcher.  Royal Military Police: cartoon; Royal Tournament, Earls Court; parade from barracks and demonstration; gas leak on Mall; re-routes procession; instructions to Special Constables; cannons towed by Land Rovers and keeping the public back; Accident and comments from Regimental Sergeant Major.

Track 19: 08'38”: Rochester Row: as Chief Inspector; Iranian Embassy Siege; on duty; receives message but no more Senior Officers to scene; frustrated; telephone call from DAC John Dellow who he knew; as authorised firearms officer called to scene; supervision of  firearm officers; contingency plan  for immediate entry; His involvement was in the first hours. Press. SAS going in: assigned to prisoners; describes removal of people from building by SAS; takes surviving terrorist to secure cells Rochester Row Police Station. Role of John Dellow:

Track 20: 08'04”: A Division, Chief Inspector: Anti National Front marches; Southall. Anti- Fascist groups; experience public order staff required; violence Southall High Street; bus attack; Anti- Fascist demonstrators take over top of bus; death of Blair Peach; NF compliant with Police requests; opposition came from Anti-Fascist; dummy demonstrations. Death of Blair Peach. Nasty incidents at event perpetrated by Anti-Fascist; injuries to Police; Police Officer drowning in paint; injured Mounted Branch Officer. Learns later of death of Blair Peach: Blair Peach Inquiry; A10; SPG later disbanded.

Track 21: 04'38”: Mountbatten Inquiry: Bank Holiday duty; assassination of Lord Mountbatten; review of Royal Protection; Seconded from A District Complaints Against Police Unit to assist Jock Wilson and John Dellow. Royalty Protection issues.

Address

Friends of the Metropolitan Police Historical Collection

38 Wincanton Road

Noak Hill

Romford,

RM3 9DH

  • Email

    Email Us
  • Registered Charity Number: 1167839