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

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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.


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