Friends of the

Metropolitan Police History

Officer 54

Location of interview:Rustington

Officer's Gender:Female

Date joined Met Police: 9 November 1953

Date left Met Police:13 November 1983

Rank of leaving:Detective Chief Inspector

Divisons served:R (Blackheath Road), H (Leman Street) Y (Wood Green), E (Albany Street)

Specialist service:Forensic Science laboratory. Counterfeit Currency, Art and Antique Squad.

Transcript of interview

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Track 1: 17.27 Introduction: Eldest sister of three. Father was a printer. Mother went back to work as Cooperative Store in World War II. Father joined RAF. Attended Technical school, and learnt shorthand typing. Secretary to Peabody Trust until joined Police. Attended Baptist church and Girls Life Brigade. Wanted a job with people and discovered that her grandfather had served in the Metropolitan Police. Father was proud and pleased with her decision. Women Police were regarded better then than today because there was more respect. It's a fair cop used by prisoners.

Worked with women and children. Sometimes information about child neglect would be given by family members. Violence against women police officers unusual. Missing persons and alien enquiries. Early Turn 8am – 3.30pm and sent back by Sergeant to obtain alien's date of birth before being allowed to complete her tour of duty. Sent for application form and attended Beak Street for interview. Three male officers and Miss Bather interviewed her. 9 candidates selected from batch of 36. Medical examination and educational examination. Civil Service examination which could exempt officers from needing to take it again for promotion purposes. Reactions from work colleagues. Police work turned out to be better paid.

Track 2: 11.25 At selection interview Miss Bather asked a question about living away from home. There were about 500 women officers at the time, and about 2500 when she left. When she joined CID, she filled the one vacancy to make up a full complement of female CID officers. A4 Branch dealt with all Women Police matters. At Peel House, the food was awful. Learning A and B reports parrot fashion. Acts of Parliament and definitions of legal offences. Instructor might require another member of class to continue part way through. Need for memorising details before interpretation. Did not do swimming. Self Defence. Living in Peto House, Aybrook Street.

Rationing still in force when she joined, and pooled rations with colleagues. Measured for new uniform. One uniform issued from Lambeth Stores. Gaberdine overcoat. Three shirts, six collars and stockings. Black tie. Two deep pockets in skirt. Later, she had a handbag as a uniform Sergeant.

Track 3: 8.14 Posted to R Division at Blackheath Road. Lived on top floor of police station. Three Women officers on each relief, as training station. Then posted to Bexleyheath as she lived nearby. One other WPC there, and covered Belvedere and Erith from there. Used cycle, and claimed cycle allowance. Both her sisters had moved away from home by that time. Parents supportive, and helped with Nijmegen Marches.

Track 4: 9.23 Reported for duty to the Women Sergeant at Blackheath Road 15 minutes before duty commenced. Given particular points to be aware of prior to going out on patrol. Preparation of cases for court. Allocated a beat and expected to work that beat. Each week, two Women officers on night duty for the whole of R Division covering as far as boundary with Kent. Communication through police boxes. Where there was no Women Sergeant, the Station Officer might allocate enquiries. Relationship with male colleagues.

Track 5: 16.24 After 5 years' service, went to classes for promotion. Transferred to Leman Street and in April 1959 went into CID having passed promotion examination. Got promoted to Uniform Woman Sergeant and then transferred to CID waiting for WDS position. Worked on Murder Squad at Hammersmith Prostitute Murder Squad with 200 officers, 34 of whom were women. Worked undercover, posing as prostitutes. The last prostitute murder, 7th case, collated the earlier six. Two suspects were in the frame. Promoted to Uniform Inspector at Wood Green, before returning to CID, taking charge of women on that Division. Awarded Sybil Hill trophy because she obtained highest marks in the promotion examination. Promoted Inspector in 1965. Inspectors Course at Bramshill. Chief Inspector 1976. Incest cases.

Track 6: 8.36 Duties of Woman Inspector on Y Division. Some stations only had one WPC for the whole station. Had a car to travel in rather than using bicycle. Attitude of Woman Inspector towards CID duties. Antecedents in CRO files, describing background of criminal. Relationships with other female officers. Y Division relationships.

Track 7: 6.38 Whilst at Wood Green, living in Kingsbury and bought house with colleague, and claimed half rent allowance each. Advantage of purchasing home with rent allowance contributing to mortgage. Change to property prices.

Track 8: 14.59 Transferred to Albany Street (ED) as District Woman Detective Inspector. Later equal pay was introduced. Became a DI in CID office doing general CID duties before integration. Reactions from male colleagues to women being promoted into mainstream jobs. Reactions of male senior officers. Jealousy. Earning respect by attending incidents with male subordinates. Standard of dress for appropriate situations. Challenge to professional standards. Women knuckled down to integration duties, and comparison with males.

Track 9: 7.37 Dealing with allegations of rape, and effective investigations. Advantage of female investigators, and comments on effectiveness of integration.

Track 10: 17.36 Wembley Detective Inspector from 1972 – 1976, then promoted to C7 Forensic Science Laboratory, and then lectured at Detective Training School. Questions then introduced into examinations on forensic science. Talking also to Divisional Surgeons and scene of crime preservation. Development of specialist photography. 1978-9 transferred to DCI at Gerald Road. Meeting the Queen Mother as member of Metropolitan Women Police Association. Then transferred to Counterfeit Currency Squad, then Arts and Antique Squad. Liaison with Sotheby's and other auction houses. Problem of identification of items. Plan to set up database to match reports of stolen and recovered items.

Track 11: 13.18 Played netball and tennis. Women Police sports activities. Nijmegen Marches, training towards 25 miles per day for 4 days. Took part on several occasions, and then assisted with use of a scooter, carrying food, First Aid kit and waterproof clothing. Men did a longer route. Formation of friendships. Wearing of uniform in final day. Four days Special leave granted for the actual walking days, with MPAA time allowed for training.

Track 12: 8.57 Acted as Treasurer of Metropolitan Women Police Association (MWPA) Sports Section. Formation of MWPA in 1976 and member of Committee. About 350 women joined in the first year and 504 had a dinner for the Diamond Jubilee in 1979. Comradeship, particularly for those who have retired and living on their own. Newsletter. Visits to Australia.

Track 13: 3.36 1960 commendation for case involving series of breakings involving gang of burglars and a police officer involved. 1975 commendation whilst at Wembley, solved by identifying an individual typewriter with assistance of Forensic Science laboratory. Commended by the court.

Track 14: 12.31 Final years of service more difficult because of resentment against women being promoted to posts in competition with men. Advance of women within the Police Service. Change of standards. After retirement, cared for her mother until her death in 1984, and for her father until 1988. Volunteer help with hospice. Treasurer for village hall project. Visited Australia


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