Friends of the

Metropolitan Police History

Officer 53

Location of interview:Banstead

Officer's Gender:Male

Date joined Met Police: 9 December 1968

Date left Met Police:10 December 1998

Rank of leaving:Inspector

Divisons served:A (Gerald Road), W (Lavender Hill), V ( Wimbledon) L (Clapham)

Specialist service:Special Patrol group. Special Branch

Transcript of interview

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Track1: 1' 2”: Introduction.

Track 2: 3' 32”: Early life Father was painter and decorator. Mother worked in shop. Attended grammar school in Taunton a long distance away. Left school and worked as market stall assistant and at Butlin's Minehead until he joined Metropolitan Police cadets. Describes Minehead. No relations in Police. Prospect of excitement in London.

Track 3: 12' 14”: Wanted to join Police because of news of three police officers murdered at Shepherds Bush in 1966. Desire to serve the public for a job worth doing. Attended Borough High Street recruiting centre, and slept overnight in cubicle. Physical exercise in cadets. Life in cadets at Hendon and Ashford. Wanstead. Leyton police station and reaction to cadets from older Constables. Reaction to Somerset accent. PT Instructor who had been an Olympic wrestler. North Wales walking and outdoor training. Leadership training.

Track 4: 12' 27”: Progression to Training School to become Constable at 19 years of age. 13 weeks training. Training for cross country to avoid parade. Lack of work experience and knowledge of London before joining Police. Instructor Charlie Fogg, race walker and drill instructor. Learning methods and ethos of Hendon. Diversity. Learning law and procedures. Norwell Roberts had joined when he had been in cadets. Few ethnic minority officers. Female officers increased in 1970s. Issue of racism and police sense of humour.

Track 5: 2' 20”: Posted to A Division. Transported to new Divisions by green coach. Posted to Gerald Road.

Track 6: 22' 24”: Describes ground at Gerald Road. Embassy protection duty. Speed of learning on A Division. Buckingham Palace and Palace of Westminster. Accepted for duty on Special Patrol Group. Spanish Embassy. Marching to beats no longer taking place. Supervision. Iranian Embassy. Returning to police station for unofficial refreshments. Beak Street section house. Cubicles. Philip Game section house. Canteen. Characters. Horseplay. Coping with effects of police duty. Mortuary. Police humour. Effects of attending sudden deaths.

Track 7: 12' 02”: Joined SPG at Hounslow. Wearing of spectacles. Elitism of SPG. Duty hours. 24 Divisions made bids for SPG. Travelling time to Divisions across London. Formed 1965. Comparison with duty on Division. Quality of supervision. Quality of deployment of SPG. Public Order situations and team work. Front line on demonstrations. Demonstrators would chant out officer's number. Firearms training 1973. Central London and Heathrow security patrols. No public order training for SPG at that time. Quality of SPG as a Unit.

Track 8: 13' 07”: Terrorism and bomb explosion near Strand. SPG officers at Indian High Commission. Firearms and risk of injury. Attitude to terrorists and Stalker Inquiry. Spaghetti House Siege. Training for armed sieges. Attitude of Divisions to SPG and community relations. Brixton policing policy and Scarman Inquiry.

Track 9: 7' 42”: Promotion examination. Transferred to Special Branch duty. Firearms issue. Interchange system on promotion. Return to SPG. Transferred to Lavender Hill 1976.

Track 10: 10' 53”: Public Order training. Wedge formation for dividing non violent crowds. Speakers Corner. Hanratty family. Tariq Ali delegation at Hyde Park police station. 1978 Lewisham National Front march. Attack on police coach. Use of police shields. Female radio operator. Public Order training at Feltham. Wooden blocks. Petrol bombs.

Track 11: 26' 31”: Women Police as a separate unit working with children. Juvenile crime. Equal opportunities. Increase of female officers. Banter. Lack of female senior officers in general duty. Child protection. Black and ethnic minority officers. Acceptance of black officers. Issue of officers who were variations from norm. Jim Starritt Deputy Commissioner and dress code. Vic Coventry in charge of A Division. Senior officers. Changing role of Chief Superintendent. Discrimination in promotion system. Stress and vulnerability. Dealing with traumatic incidents. Welfare. Comparison with military leadership. Change. Sheehy Inquiry, structure of Metropolitan Police and number of senior officers.

Track 12: 9' 11”: Married, bought own house at age of 21 years and had children. Annual station dinner. Played squash. Horse riding. Community contact. Home Beat Sergeant. Inspector at Clapham. Time spent dealing with ordinary people.

Track 13: 19' 23”: Lavender Hill part of Battersea Division. Contact with female officers. Described ground. Acting Sergeant. Promoted Sergeant at Wimbledon 1977. Wimbledon football duty. Describes ground. St Helier Estate. Mitcham. Colliers Wood. Station Officer duty. Station Sergeant rank. Police doctor attending prisoners. Describes Wimbledon ground. 1977 lack of black people in Wimbledon. Phipps Bridge Estate. Policing demands in poorer areas. Drug addict shoplifter and drug driven crime. Drugs, crime and poverty.

Track 14: 3' 41”: Describes ground at Mitcham. Gipsy culture. Unsuccessful security van robbery at Mitcham by illiterate thief.

Track 15: 19' 50”: Inspector November 1987 at Clapham. Police hard working ethos. Hard policing. Describes police work and ground. Afro-Caribbeans. Africans. Vietnamese.Gentrification. Vietnamese boat people. Reaction to police arrest. Complaints against police. Effectiveness of arresting recidivist offenders. Victims of crime, and treatment of witnesses in court proceedings. Deterring youths from crime. Public surveys on police priorities. Safer Neighbourhood teams.

Track 16: 10' 34”: January 1990 Inspector TSG. Divisional Support Units and introduction of TSG. Based at Thornton Heath. Call to scene of murder. Missing children enquiry. Tour of duty ended in 1994. Returned to Wimbledon. Prospect of retirement, and decision to go at 30 years' service.

Track 17: 12' 46”: Changes of uniform. Blue shirt with detached collar. Serge trousers, with braces, then belt. Blue nylon shirts. White shirts. Jackets without belt. Chequered band on caps. Nylon jackets. Woollen pullovers. Body armour. Equipment around belt. Radio equipment using morse code in 1936. No personal radios when first joined as cadet. Police box system. Making a ring. Radios. Police car bells and sirens. Teleprinters. Stray dog messages. Electric typewriters. Computers. PNC. Equipment in police patrol cars.

Track 18: 4' 36”: Since retirement, plays tennis, badminton and golf. Amateur dramatics. Wrote book. Chairman of social club ad historical connections with Wimbledon militia.

Track 19: 11' 52”: Van driver role. Firearms incident. Challenge to armed man. Being shot and wounded by shotgun on duty. Press interview and involvement of Press Bureau. Subsequent criticism by senior officers. Prosecution accepted plea of guilty on reduced charge, and assailant sentenced to 4 years imprisonment.

Track 20: 8' 05”: Incident at Clapham, trying to arrest suspect armed wielding knife who commandeered police car. Prisoner subdued by being struck with truncheon. Defence at court alleging self defence, and two trials where jury failed to agree. Complaint of prisoner alleging tooth being knocked out by police.


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