Friends of the

Metropolitan Police History

Officer 59

Location of interview:Carshalton

Officer's Gender:Female

Date joined Met Police: 2 April 1976

Date left Met Police:19 December 2006

Rank of leaving:Detective Constable

Divisons served:Z (Croydon),P (Lewisham), V (Wimbledon), L (Brixton)

Specialist service:Flying Squad. Drug Squad

Transcript of interview

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Track 1: 14'24”: Introduction to interview. Life before the Metropolitan Police: family life and circumstances; education; life on a council estate; future careers; and other siblings in police. Local Home Beat Officers; scrumping; Attacked young child: interaction with old fashioned Women Police Officer; annoyed with how situation handled. Ambition to be actor. Joins police; family reaction; two brothers in police and their response; man's world; row in front of mother; tries out unarmed combat to brother detriment; family decides she will cope. Breaking new ground; sporty girls; reactions of TS Staff; short and long term Cadets; low numbers of female trainees; selected for B course, describes; 6 women on police course. Lippets Hill and assault course; weight lifting, judo and expedition in Wales; male and female teams; new ground for women; latrines; females had to hold their own. Police Station, Harrow and Wealdstone: loved work; attached to a Relief and part of team. Women Police Officers: Juveniles; older officers' reactions and roles undertaken; treated like a probationer; not allowed to arrest or patrol alone. Pressures: males' world: commandant's reaction; Arriving at Cadet School: separate accommodation and arriving late; travels with commandant to accommodation; discussion about clothing. Opinions not encouraged: negative attitudes.

Track 2: 08'09”: Describes incident: Wealdstone Police Station, Area Car and map reading, travel sickness; vomits over driver; ridicule; recognised by driver many years later. Hendon TS: Her intake a large number of females;  Drill Sergeant's reaction; inspected, dressed in civvies; comments      and behaviour to women; effects on one female recruit. Cadets had an advantage for two week, then even terms; seen as young and 'cocky' by older recruits; advice from Women Sergeant. Sea of white hats; high drop out rate; not many lasted 30 years; illness, injury and family commitments.

Track 3: 6'10”: Hendon: bullying of females recruits by PTIs; unarmed combat training; hurt by instructor; waking up in the nursing home with broken nose; lost time, put back a week to take a final examinations; the dangers of challenging authority in the police. Hendon full: class spends two weeks in Durham, team ethic; accommodation;  back to Hendon for final two weeks and the hard discipline. Passes Final Examination.

Track 4: 09'48”: Posted Croydon Police Station :shortage of Section House accommodation and being allowed to live at home; rent allowance and contributing family. Relief life was fantastic: 'Puppy Walking'; very supportive officer; looking beyond and interest in architecture; street wisdom; where Bentley was caught and an officer paralysed; changing to fit in and banter; older Women Police Officer's experience; buys home with another Women Police Officer. Family life and police work; busy household and shift work; father worked for LT; walking around quietly; mother very supportive; mother keeps schedules of family's  shifts. Move to rented accommodation; own house; freedom at twenty; first in family have a mortgage; canteen banter.

Track 5: 07'13”: Life on Relief: did not like Traffic Crime; collecting minor arrests and being told to be nasty; no problems arresting for crime; shop lifting work. Posted Crime Squad: need for women; female detectives and CID male bastion; Women Police Officers and integration; Hardy Amies Uniform: describes and comments; guinea pig for new uniform; directing traffic and two cautions; driver thought was fancy dress. Application for CID.

Track 6: 08'16”: Croydon: motorcycles and women police officer; breaks leg; arrests shoplifter when shopping with family; humour at magistrates court. Crime Squad Croydon: pick pockets and car crime; decoy for flashers;  attitudes of experienced male CID officers; looking after own safety; getting into fights. Relations with local solicitor: social event; parachute jump cancelled due to court commitments; accusation of pillow talking to local defence solicitor; response of DI and her reaction; double standards. Posted Crime Squad Sutton: no comeback and not making waves to keep CID posting; took positive view. Work was different: support from Women Detective Constable; investigating sexual offences. Getting through CID board.

Track 7: 08'49”: TDC: posted Lewisham before Detective Training School; murder and GBH investigations; CID course. Role of CID Officer: Building good friendships in CID: lateral transferred DI, and opposition to him. Marriage: non-police partner; life outside; parachuting as hobby; met husband there. Parachuting Club at Ashford: police display team; professional license; travelling to displays abroad; MPAA time; discretion of line managers; their reactions and helped with work relationships. Comments on herself; family reactions.

Track 8: 12'19”: Posted Central Drug Squad: former Senior Officer invites her to join; surveillance work; reaction to posting to an elite squad; very long hours; husband 's reaction to; following couriers all over UK. Undercover OP: Undercover test purchase and drugs raid; suspects doing a dirty deal; assaulted with 75% pure heroin; ingest heroin powder; assault on colleagues with knife; under influence of heroin; cannot call for help; team disarms suspect.; drugs overdose treatment.  Recovery: DS suffers later injury; counselling and checked for addiction. Back to work under pressure and danger: trauma;  Comments on poor counselling. Commendation from case and sentences. A very frightening experience: health implication; ex gratia compensation payment; refuses medical discharge.

Track 9: 06'01”: Murder Inquiry: Earlsfield; a new focus; posted Wimbledon. Divorce. Vibrant young crowd of detectives; good team ethic; an experienced detective; sharing knowledge; Hendon, assisting on sexual offence training; stooge; S011. Murder Inquiry: forming murder squads; Lorraine Benson murder, and early use of DNA; bite mark evidence and nasal secretions in victim's handkerchief; family liaison officer and describes role. Comments on. Posted Flying Squad.

Track 10: 06'52”: Assault at Lewisham: just after Brixton Riots; racial tensions;  over crowded area; hostility to police and washing the spit off her back; street robbery; steamings; arrest of young black girl; back up; quiet approach, girl tries to escapes out of the window; kicks in locked bedroom door; caught in door; girl attacks her eyes; male officers reaction to cat fight; ambulance called; neighbours' reaction; head butted by young man, broken nose; Inner London Crown Court; high aquittal rate; defendants acquitted; her disgusted reaction; Court Inspector pacifies judge; CID support.

Track 11: 01'28”: Racially sensitive time: falling asleep at wheel; support from BME man concerned for her safety; man and friends push car back to police station; encouraging kindness.

Track 12:  09'45”: Selected to Flying Squad: swap with Women Detective Constable: improving racial relations. Flying Squad Tower Bridge: good relations; at Croydon met head of Flying Squad; relaxes rules around women and flying squad; Types of crime: organised armed robberies; Brinks Mat; cash in transit; central robbery squad; elite traditions;  central intelligence gathering and four squads;  south east quarter of London; surveillance team or arrest team; length of surveillance; catching the whole team of robbers; covert investigations; firearms and Lippets Hill; Risk assessment; white board schedule and blob code. Women on Flying Squad: opportunities in elite squads; family responsibilities; hard choices; responsibilities to colleagues; murder of John Fordham;

Track 13: 07'50”: Flying Squad: building up intelligence;  robbery at post office, Sutton; maximum sentence requires arrest at the scene; reconnaissance and risk assessment; observation; Asian family; takes role as middle aged shopper; give running commentary; muttering away to herself; post office assistant will not hand-over money; language difficulties and customer reactions; suspect under influence; other officer pretends to be son; paper boy enters; losing control of situation; removes boy by subterfuge; advises shop assistant who faints; arrests made; gun not loaded; commendations; press coverage. Being local and in the press.

Track 14: 06'37”: Posted DC Croydon: New Police Station; normal CID duties; Murder Inquiries; shot police officer; Brixton. Burglary Squad: heads up; mentors potential new difficulties. Charity boxing match; given a body guard by Army. Pregnancy. As 'single-parent'; returns to shift work. Intelligence Unit: posted central Flying Squad Intelligence Unit.

Track 15: 09'17”: Serious and Organised Crime Intelligence work: National Criminal Intelligence Service: multi agency group; international crime; Regional Intelligence Officer; separation from husband; single parent; child care responsibilities. NCIS: Regional Intelligence Officer, Slough; building profiles of major criminals; armed robberies; intelligence packages; quality targets. Home life and school governor. Intrusive surveillance. Branch office NCIS, NSY.: joins team. Serious Organised Crime Agency: posted to as DS equivalent but not paid at this rate; job satisfaction.  Professional Standards: takes role; meets new partner; issues over his facial hair.

Track 16: 06'52”: Liaison with French authorities on drug couriers: speaks French; liaises with Examining Magistrate; gathering intelligence from case on UK suspects; illegal entrants to UK; surveillance-aware criminals; drug courier; keeping arrests isolated; feeding intelligence;  school records, Department Children Schools and Family; serving a warrant on. Father traced by; discreet inquiries; intelligence package; mother's visits; hand over to MPS; final arrest and thirteen defendants. Describes and comments on outcomes: long sentences. Commendation from SOCA; French commendation.

Track 17: 09'46”: Croydon Intelligence Unit: paedophile telephone calls to lone children; resistance to investigating case; BT liaison; case gets more serious; seeks wider intelligence from surrounding police stations; intelligence package; support from a DS; case becomes more serious; calls in favours; offender profiling – fear of escalation. Taken up by new DI: resources; detailed investigation all over south and south west. Suspect calling from phone boxes: flagged at BT; suspect arrested. Battle with CPS: 500 offences; legal technical issues. Low sentence. Describes her investigation: co-conspirators not revealed. While at SOCA: children being abused online unit; same suspect grooming children online; inciting rape; introducing previous character; long sentence.

Track 18: 10'00”: Posting DPS: limits of MPS secondments; stays with DPS; retirement. Planning for retirement; resettlement day, not useful; performance related pay in SOCA; investment agents only after work. Career path as NVQ Assessor; clean break from criminals; office administration; students. Job as Implementation Co-ordinator: comments on; responsibility to son and parents; turns down return to SOCA as civilian; multi-agency working; head of department. Fantastic experience in police; views on son and police. Today and equal opportunities in the police. Lasting the pace. Psychologically profiled: hardly changed; comments on; getting the job done. Role as parent.

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