Friends of the

Metropolitan Police History

Officer 56

Location of interview:

Officer's Gender:Female

Date joined Met Police: 2 February 1981

Date left Met Police: 1 January 1970

Rank of leaving:Constable

Divisons served:J (Walthamstow), G (Hackney)

Specialist service:Air Support unit, Information Room Recruiting

Transcript of interview

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Track 1:12'58”: Introduction to interview. Life before the Metropolitan Police: family life and circumstances; father bus driver and mother a nurse; Windrush; typical for Afro-Caribbean family; privately educated; college and A levels; poor results; job with Commission for Racial Equality; meets police Inspector and encourages her to join South Yorkshire Police; fails height limit; applies for Metropolitan Police, describes process; passes height test; sister joins South Yorkshire Cadets; sister a DC; brother joins South Yorkshire also. TS Hendon: homesick; sheltered up bringing; eye- opener; struggled with some work; rote learning; Sergeant of male ilk; friend back classed; does well in final five weeks; establishing friendships; discipline. Effect of back-classing on friend: depend on each other's support; IB and learning; on own again, widens circle of friends. Describes negative male attitudes: describes incident in gymnasium; fall and twisted ankle; carrying on; effects of injury and hospital visit in Sheffield; reporting to Sergeant who wished to back class her; objects to; tries to wear her down every day; support from friend; first experience of bullying; learning to carry on.

Track 2: 12'21”: Posted to J District: Walthamstow; Lea Bridge Road Section House; C Relief, one of three Women Police Officers; rough two years, homesickness; Section House life; dreary and lonely; help from cleaner; eating arrangements. Thoughts of leaving: work issues; patrolling alone Walthamstow High Street; hostility from elements of BME community; advice from Sergeant; settling down and cracking on; racial tensions; Relief, good team and cared for. CTCs: in additional normal shift pattern; failed two CTCs; knuckling down; developing inner steel; prejudice against women. Passes Probation: Posted Waltham Abbey: older PCs; relaxed atmosphere and supportive colleagues; rowdiness, high density of Public Houses; searching and Forest. Colleague with farming interests. Community based policing: communicating with public; professional standards of time; label of not getting involved. First arrest: drunk outside Chingford Police Station; van driver.

Track 3: 14'10”: TS Hendon: speech from Commandant; advice from, dealing with being a woman, black, and from Yorkshire: did not think BME an issue but gender was; practical jokes; one hostile colleague; hopes it was personal dislike; life on Relief; maintain civil relationship; broad Yorkshire accent; using PR; teasing; comments on circumstance for Women Police Officer now; Working Parents working party; issues addressed. Waltham Abbey: Vice Unit Stoke Newington attachment for three years; describes role with sex workers; kerb crawlers; Finsbury Park; fascinating work; talking to sex workers about their circumstances; good friendships with colleagues. IDT: gets call; IR application and accepted; shift work; Tottenham riots and racial tension; concerned not to be posted there. Describes role at IR: calls and dispatch; all roles; marriage and pregnancy. ASU: helicopter familiarisation; flight with; describes journey; technical failure on flight; engine failure and perfect landing via fence; emergency decamp; flames; bird strike; narrow escape; brilliance and calmness of pilot; comment from Superintendent; national press; takes another flight; describes second trip.

Track 4: 06'15: Childcare responsibilities: morning sickness; maternity leave; driving to work; sick leave arrangements; mortgage payments and 17% interest rates; off pay; female Sergeant and retention of Women Police Officer; doubts about coming back; male attitudes to; no flexible working; mother's advice, not give up work; assistant collator role, Edmonton Police Station; posted to; childcare. Coming back to work: Working Parents Group, Chigwell; flexible working issues.

Track 5: 18'45”: Assistant Collator, Edmonton:  working Women Police Officer and women civilian staff; bullying by; describes behaviour towards here; being sent to Coventry; line maintained by Police Colleagues;  stress of return to work and bullying; new Sergeant and Divisional Intelligence Unit; Sergeant takes action; eases situation; main perpetrator remains; matters settle down; perpetrator posted away; happy unit. Posting lasts 2.5 yrs; Schools Officer, Hackney: posted to role; Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Newham; enjoyed challenging role; opposition to police; makes relationship and improves relationships; Blair Peach connection. BME and friendly approach helped; seen as positive by black head teachers; improving relationships; junior disco competition; GTP night club, Ilford; Junior Citizens Scheme; football and other sports activities; Its A Knock Out; child friendly arrangements. IDT: Schools Officer Newham; board and application; supportive management; Chief Inspector, negative about community work; working around him; good unit; discos and arrangements; enjoyable work. Chief Inspector disbands School Unit. Tower Hamlets posting: attachment to pre Safer Neighbourhood Scheme; working with Home Beat Officer and schools. Bored in role: Positive Action Volunteer; explains role and training; recruitment events; Recruitment Office NSY;  helps in office during school holidays. Applies and posted: Positive Action Unit.

Track 6: 03'51”: Positive Action Team: describes role and responsibilities; organising events; planning and evaluation; changes to senior management; freeze on recruitment; recruiting Special Constables; describes difficulties of recruiting from BME communities; improvements with Afro- Caribbean; difficulties with recruiting from Asian communities; service ratio, 10% recruitments; serving officer 8% of the Metropolitan Police.

Track 7: 05'43”: View on future retirement: comments of husband; maybe travel industry; reviewing all her options. Hobbies: travelling abroad; cruise; enjoying life; family commitments; older daughter's aspirations; children's view of role as Police Officer and effects on family; good life style; anti-police stage; unfortunate incidents; outside influences; well balanced; child minder's support; compares to other Women Police Officers; role of child minder.


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