Friends of the

Metropolitan Police History

Officer 52

Location of interview:Hertfordshire

Officer's Gender:Male

Date joined Met Police: 1 January 1957

Date left Met Police:10 June 2005

Rank of leaving:Chief Superintendent

Divisons served:R (Greenwich), E (Bow Street), Y (Hornsey), N (Holloway), G(City Road), S (Boreham Wood), E (Albany Street), Q (Wembley)

Specialist service:Training School, DPG. MSD.

Transcript of interview

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Track 1: 18’14” (introduction to interview) Life before the Metropolitan Police Service: Father’s job as an aircraft fitter and transferred to Oxfordshire. Growing up in rural Oxfordshire.  Moving to Wellington in Shropshire. General schooling and admittance to grammar school  in  1948. Siblings.  Describes Wellington and growing up outdoors.  Two brothers decision to join the air force and army and he joined the Navy. Application at 16 to join the cadet service in Birmingham or London. Interview with the cadets and swift selection process. Interviews in Beak Street. Reporting to Beak Street and posting to Hendon training centre. Posting to R division to Blackheath Road, Greenwich division. Walking the beat, working in the divisional office and dealing with court procedures. Training and learning to undertake practical police station. Tower Bridge. Registering for National Service. Describes the Chief Inspector and reading the notice exempting cadets from National Service. Career advice he offered about joining the Navy. Recruitment process of joining the navy. Reporting to Portsmouth Barracks in 1955 and dealing with the rail strike by getting a lift by a stranger. 2 weeks at Portsmouth barracks, coach and impressions of Liverpool, arriving at the aircraft carrier, initiation and settling into the Navy. Reflections about continued ambitions to return to the Metropolitan Police Service. Returning to the Metropolitan Police Service and reporting to Beak Street before posting to Peel Street and Hendon.

Track 2: 4’11” Metropolitan Police Service cadets and National Service.  Experiences during his National Service in the Arctic.

Track 3: 10’38” Returning to the Metropolitan Police Service and Hendon. Recollections of the living and classroom accommodation of Hendon in 1957. Recalls fellow trainees and training experience: Wrestling. Character of recruits: Absence of female trainees because they were trained in Peel House and absence of BME ethnic minorities. Character of classmates: white working- class. Experiences in his first section house and working with a graduate. Training staff at Hendon with comparisons to Peel House. Socialising as a trainee. Predominance of ex-servicemen within trainees.

Track 4: 21’00” The process of posting: head hunting and sport selection process.  Posting to E, Bow Street station.  Reception at the section house and station.  Recalls his Chief Superintendent who possessed a DFC and bar.  Relief system: early, late and nights.  Grays Inn Road. Walking the beat and telephone posts.  Describes the problems for recruits learning the beat and their relationship with PCs. Meeting the problematic PCs daughter years later.  Procedure and protocol for patrolling the beat,  Learning the beat.  Character of divisions area with its mixed community and socio-economic character of the area.  Including Kings Cross: Red light district and brothel raids. Various other areas: Holborn. Incident with the Daily Worker (communist newspaper) .  Duties: Grays Inn Road and its Reynolds Newspaper, tackling the trolley buses on Clerkenwell Road and working traffic points surrounding Kings Cross Station.  Policing the ethnic communities: Little Italy and the Italian community, Hatton Garden and the Jewish community, Leather Lane working class community, Kings Cross and its strong Irish and Scottish element, and the Indian community behind McNaghten House.  Canteen and refreshments in and outside the police station canteen.

Track 5: 8’55” Women police officers at Grays Inn Road E division.  Roles and duties: juvenile crime. The problem of juvenile crime and discusses an incident of arresting a 16 year old after an offence in Covent Garden Market.  Role of the WPC: women and juveniles.  Perceptions of female officers and their attitude in the Metropolitan Police Service.  Norwell Roberts and the introduction of black police officers.  Prejudice and discrimination against Jocks or Irish rather than black people.         Greek community in Holloway.  Policing Grays Inn Road, the Italians and Jews in the community.  Discusses the activities of the Italian community in the area: Catholic processions across London.

Track 6: 6’32” Life in McNaghten section house.  Socialising: playing football in Chigwell, Kings Cross picture house and limitations of free time due to late turn.  1960 marriage and move to Highgate. Accommodation in the section house.  Interests and hobbies: Swimming, snooker, billiards, dancing in Westminster and college club in Newport Street Jazz club.  Meeting his wife. Dances at McNaghten.  Cost of living in the section house.

Track 7: 6’39” Marriage in 1960 and moving to Highgate.  Commuting to work on a bicycle. Working at Grays Inn Road: arrests and incidents.  Incident of a man with a gas can, blowing his whistle for the first and only time, and arresting one of the men. Equipment, technology and Metropolitan Police Service uniform.

Track 8: 14’47” Promotion.  Reasons for seeking promotion. Taking the skippers and stations exams (1.50).  Promotion classes.  Passing the Sergeants exam.  Posting to Holloway 1962.  Recalls the workings of the station. Moving to Hornsey.  Role as Section Sergeant at Holloway.  Taking the lightweight motor cycle course. Taking the SPS exam and seeking promotion to Inspector.  Holloway community: Irish community, Greek and beginnings of a black community. Archway Tavern and tackling offences and violence in the area at night.  Discusses the dangers affecting PCs walking the beat: murder of PC Summers in Holloway and the hanging of the criminal in Holloway.  Public reaction to the hanging and tackling the public disorder.  Taking over the relief of the murdered PC. Involvement with Arsenal crowd control: incident in game against a foreign team and insufficient policing.

Track 9: 17’04” Policing Astoria Cinema pop concerts and tackling 4 concerts (Johnny Mathis, Roy Orbison, Rolling Stones and the Beatles).  Reflections on the emergence of youth fans.  Policing Highgate dogs and under age drinking.  Reflections about the crowd involved in the dog racing events.  SPS exam and moving to Hornsey. Working the Relief as a Station Sergeant in the 1960s. Working as a duty officer and learning skills that aided his progression to Inspector. Incident of a suspicious dead baby in a Hornsey flat.  9 months later discovering that the husband had stabbed the wife to death.  Incident of a car with Arab passengers falsely claiming diplomatic privilege despite being a drunk driver.   Hornsey race track at Alexander Palace. Tragic event at Y division involving the football team.  Colleague on his division and request to do the Muswell Hill traffic point.  Car accident at Muswell Hill killed him. The wife had cancer and died, and organizing fund raising to help the orphaned children.  Participation in the football event.  Socialising at Hornsey after late turn.

Track 10: 8’33” Promotion process from Hornsey to become an Inspector.  Posting to training school for 18 months. Relationships at the training school and their lack of Inspectors: Special course and SPS trainees.  Commander had left and requests return to ordinary duties.  Relationships in the Metropolitan Police Service.  Issue of an Inspector perverting the course of justice and his eventual promotion as Inspector.  Return to training school as Chief instructor.

Track 11: 7’50” City Road fire: dealing with the death and destruction, and the murder enquiry in the aftermath.  Upsetting other colleagues, and the issues and problems that arose within the murder enquiry.  Being challenged by a senior officer; DCI’s reception of him on his return to the station.  Explains during his Superintendent's course years later and having to tackle the DCI in the classroom.

Track 12: 7’37” City Road and working as Admin Inspector.  Dealing with dangerous driving and licensing paperwork.  Problems of licensing and drinking after hours in City Road.  Lack of sports at City Road.  Discusses tutoring a colleague.  Reflections about the learning curve at City Road and being challenged by a senior officer.  Understanding of criminal law and legislation. Discusses the confrontation and relationship with the colleague.  The bullish character of two colleagues.

Track 13: 1’31” Public order at Grays Inn Road.

Track 14: 4’29” Working at Grays Inn Road and dealing with the St Pancras rent riots. Experiences of public disorder of Euston Road and the approach of the Metropolitan Police Service to tackle the riots.  Judd Street  and Euston Road demonstrations. Utilisation of horses to disperse the crowd.  Protective equipment and training of officers for dealing with public order.

Track 15: 12’12” Promotion to Chief Inspector at City Road and return to training school as Chief Instructor 1973.  Closing of Trenchard House and move to a new building at Hendon.  Revising training programme and opening the new school. Teaching the history and development of policing and being offered a post by Michigan University.  New legislative change and its implications on the training of new recruits: research department and upgrading instructors’ courses.   Initiatives taken as Chief Instructor and aiding trainees struggling with the course.  Metropolitan Police Service politics and the recruitment of officers to the training school.  Introduction of temporary Inspectors.

Track 16: 11’08” Posting to Whetstone for 3 months and later move to Boreham Wood. Working as Chief Inspector at Boreham Wood.  Character of the rural community: agricultural, council estate. Recalls visiting the Hari Krishna centre in Letchworth. Reflections about role in Boreham Wood: tackling a plane crash and a PC fight.  Discusses the wife of a PC visiting him to discuss problems in their domestic affairs, and later his suicide.  Discusses the uncle, who was an Assistant Chief Constable in Wales and his involvement in organising the service funeral.

Track 17: 2’58” Recalls having a pint with a senior officer and discovering a PC's well-stocked sideboard.  Recalls a call to a bank alarm in Boreham Wood and the injury of officer on duty.

Track 18: 8’19" Psychiatric hospitals.  Dealing with deaths at the hospitals.  Incident of a missing patient, organizing a police search and finding the dead body.  Dealing with an incident of a patient throwing himself in front of a train and siege after jumping over a fence.  Discusses dealing with completely new events.  Incident in Boreham Wood re plane crash.  Dealing with the media and protecting his home.

Track 19: 11’29” Annual qualification reports and gaining promotion to Superintendent. Posting to Albany Street near Portland Street (ED) 1.25). Return as Staff Officer to DAC training.  Problems with his back and having an operation.  Role as Superintendent at Albany Street and supervising all charges in the charge book.  Recalls executing a warrant.  Staff Officer at Peel House: learning curve and liaison work with DAC.

Track 20: 1’01” (interviewee outlines interview thus far)

Track 21: 12’50” Posting as Superintendent to Barnet division.  Discusses the ill health of the Chief Superintendent and the subsequent role he took as Chief Superintendent. Promotion to Chief Superintendent and posting to Wembley.  Relationship with the Hertfordshire constabulary.  Reflections about the role Superintendent at Albany Street and Barnet.   Policing of Barnet football club. Problems of Whetstone and dealing with the housing for informants.  Supervising Bushey, Whetstone, Potters Bar, Boreham Wood and other areas under the division.  Dealing with the Serious Crime residential informant and creating a relationship with CID.  Recalls Holloway where poor relations between PCs and CID led to difficulties dealing with charges.  Mounted branch.  Working in Barnet: living in Potters Bar and teamwork.  Posting to Wembley.

Track 22: 16’47” Working in Wembley.  Crime: Chalk Hill estate, Asian community and Wembley football club: Scottish and Irish fans causing problems at Wembley football stadium, policing 6 public houses for football fans and pick pockets. Policing Wembley Stadium: grounds and physical setup.  Recalls incidents at Wembley and responding to the collapse of a canopy.  Iranian embassy siege and policing politics leading to his move to Paddington.  Wembley stadium tunnel and problems relating to spitting. Circulating corridor and segregation.  Ladies hockey match between England and Scotland.  Policing boxing matches and betting.  Cup finals.  Policing the street market on Sunday. 

”Reflections about changes in demands of policing football clubs.  Community policing and consultation groups. Working with local kids and football in the community.  Lack of training in Metropolitan Police Service for demands of policing.

Track 23: 8.25” Posting to Paddington Green as Chief Superintendent.  Policing demands: Middle Eastern and Irish community, prostitution at the railway stations and Lords cricket ground.  Policing approach to trouble in the members stand at Lords Cricket ground.    Policing alcohol abuse.  Discusses the comparisons between policing Wembley and Lords: crowd size.  Elitist nature of Lords and social occasion of cricket events.

Track 24: 8’55” Dealing with terrorist prisoners: lock down of the station.  Role of firearms. Events on Paddington division: demonstrations at Hyde Park corner and Edgware Road.  National Front march. Public order policing. Terrorism threats: armed squad to Jewish hospital in St Johns Wood and barracks in St Johns Wood bringing IRA threats.  Regents Park bombs 1982 June.

Track 25: 15’20” Posting to Management services department.  Replacing the Chief Superintendent in Management Services and role in reviewing all reports going to the yard about improvements to policing methods.  Difficult relationship with the commander of E division.  Experience of looking at the role of the CID.  Interviewing every DAC and evaluating policing methods.  Explains the process of initiating investigations into policing methods linked to rewards for suggestions made by officers.  Dr Hand.  Process and procedure of the workings of MSD.   Gave career advice to Inspector and advised him to get practical experience.  Reflects on vast changes in the Metropolitan Police Service and the role of MSD in these initiatives.  1984 posting to Kings Cross Road as district Chief Superintendent.  Role: dealing with complaints and preparing briefs for the Commander.  Policing Arsenal football club. Tackling a public order event in Highbury Vale, which became a hostage situation.

Track 26: 9’23” Discusses the learning curve tackling complaints and subsequent procedure.  Role of the investigating officer in processing the complaint.  City Road and the fire deaths.  Disgruntled feelings about the confines of the role.  Reflections about the procedure of police investigations of complaints against the police.  Legal department and an investigation concerning dangerous driving.  Role of the Federation in complaints procedure against police officers.  Legislative procedures for resolutions.

Track 27: 1’56” Move to role as Chief Superintendent for DPG (Diplomatic Protection Group) and role for diplomatic protection.

Track 28: 25”21” DPG headquarters at Cannon Row police station.  Supervisory role as Chief Superintendent and contact with firearms officers.  DAC John Cracknell (Queen's protection role. Dealing with financial aspects of the job. Tackling the demands of protection policing: establishing meetings for the DPG and initiating the revision of methods.  DPG role with high maintenance embassies: South African embassy Anti-Apartheid demonstrations and liaison relationship with the embassy, Israeli embassy, Iranian embassy and Syrian Embassy.  Downing Street and Margaret Thatcher’s home in Dulwich.  Problems and practicalities: authorizing firearms.  Incident of one officer taking a firearm with the intention of committing suicide.  Incident of a man found on the top of 10 Downing Street.  Summons to a Whitehall security meeting and recalls an officer bringing a security recommendation report.   Israeli embassy. Attending the National embassy days.  American embassy security demands.  Russian embassy and incident of meeting the ambassador. Recalls discovering a small room in the Russian embassy and finding 5 or 6 senior members of the Labour party inside.  Implications of international events and security issues on protection policing in London: security review at police meeting to initiate new concerns. Relationship with colleagues across the DPG and Royalty Protection department.  Promotion to acting Commander role in Royal protection department.  Recalls being introduced to the royal household.  Meeting Tim Laurence at an event. 6 month experience working as acting Commander.  3 day security event at Windsor Castle.  Return to DPG.  Involvement of his wife in his work, such as by the  Irish embassy and their invitation to wives to National Day.

Track 29: 13’04” Approaching and preparing for retirement.  Swimming and coincidence leading to a meeting and a request to work as security manager for Merrill Lynch UK.   Discusses the incident relating to arms deal.  Decision to retire from role as security manager.  Perceptions of neighbours and friends of past career as a police officer. Discusses a man who worked with him in MacNaghten House.

Track 30: 12’12” Reflections and regrets about career choice in the Metropolitan Police Service. Discusses the changes and developments that have occurred in the service: relationship with the community, paperwork, targets, attitude and demands of policing. New equipment and armour aiding police officers compared to previous police methods that utilised the community.  Major changes: women PCs, CID changes, re-organisation of divisions and the introduction of social studies research into policing.  Limited ethnic minorities and women in the DPG.  Firearms training implications on recruits to the DPG.  Procedure and protocol of the Metropolitan Police Service in the past: dissemination of roles based on gender lines.  Changes in the Metropolitan Police Service: uniform, recruits, driving, multicultural character of PCs and changes in the community.  Implication of the television on the community and the demands on the police force and policing methods.  Loss of the police family.


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