Location of interview:Beckenham
Date joined Met Police: 4 October 1976
Date left Met Police:12 July 2000
Rank of leaving:Chief Inspector
Divisons served:W (Battersea),
Specialist service:No specialities
Transcript of interview
Click on to listen to track.
Track 1: 1'03”: Introduction to interview.
Track 2: 58'58”: Life before joining the Metropolitan Police: family life in Barbados: happy childhood; schooling; worked as a proof reader Barbados Advocate; civil service and secure job;; considers moving to UK for economic reasons; limited opportunities in Barbados civil service; Enoch Powell recruiting in Barbados for people to work in UK for NHS and LT; low status of bus drivers; slight embarrassment at role; decides to take role and move to UK; moves UK 1960; troubled flight takes 26 hours; describes arrival and starting work LT; his doubts and acceptance; Chiswick and Wandsworth; describes role as conductor and then driver; being a black driver; friends from Barbados and social life. 1967: looks for different role; had no apprenticeship; hard to start in most trades; dry cleaning trade and qualifications; local firm Battersea and then Sketchleys. Applications to MPS in 1961, 1963, 1976. Sir Robert Mark and BME recruitment; Mark complains of lack of success on local TV; never saw campaign; application at 36 years old; interview process; being an older learner; Class Captain, Hendon. Posted Battersea: CTC; photographic memory; learning General Orders and IB; top of CTC class Earlsfield; instructor's response; putting theory into practice; final Probationers examination, Beak Street, came top with 98% . Walking Beats Battersea: his relief and getting started; late turn and pride in his appearance; first BME Battersea; Sergeant and posting; describes; school crossing patrol; Sergeant tells him of bets on refusal to take him; positive response from colleagues; his motivation and determination to do well; respect from people from work ethic; never uses colour as an excuse; support from colleagues. Working a Beat: public seeing Black PC and crashing car; disturbance at block of flats; accepts call from PR; large black lady, complainant; white women accused requires a white officer; informs Station Officer by PR; a case of common assault and civil remedies; advises accused that 'only black officers available'; words of advice and caution, and seen not taking sides. Brixton Riots: white drunk prisoner and sergeant response to prisoner's comments; his response; prisoner later apologises. No overt racism at Battersea. Promotion to Sergeant: examination process; comes tenth on Sergeants' list; ageism; only three years service, not five; over 30yrs old; controversy over Special Course; Commander's support but turned down; chooses not to appeal to Commissioner; comments on reasons for not doing so: permanent APS at Battersea. Grunwick dispute and leading a serial. Promotion as Sergeant to Gerald Road: hated posting, too quiet and without challenge; rich people cheating meters; menial arrests; low levels of criminality. Drunks at Victoria: his role as Station Officer; multiple drunks coming through front door; being tested by PCs; insists on proper searches; suddenly reduces flow of drunks. Promotion to Inspector: writes for permission to take classes; called up by Commander and told being posted instructor at Hendon; describes his positive response to; posted Hendon to be an instructor. Applies for Inspector classes: told going take Certificate of Education; alarm bells but takes positive views; better journey to work; advantages of training; teaching practice, South East London Training College; legal aspects of their work; instilling discipline in students, describes; 'chief personnel officer, British Gas'; offered drugs and shown going equipped tools; had to keep police status confidential; other tutors; gains qualification. PACE: preparing for 1986 and teaching police instructors; good grounding for legislation that would change MPS; making negative positive; expert on PACE. Permission for Inspector's examination: qualifier; took again, passed as competitor; applies for Home Posting on P; posted to Brixton; Women Police Officer wife's reaction. Brixton: best posting during his service; motivating a young demoralised team; they knew nothing of PACE; teaching them what they needed to know; teaching day by day; describes Police Station Area; Railton Road; Dexter Square and shopping centre for drugs; blitzing drug problem; female couriers; Cautioning and putting back on street; stops females as couriers; community's positive response. Always challenging; believing in The Job; not accepting favours; communication, but fair, positive and compassionate enforcement. Demonstrations outside Police Station: ring leaders; his actions following arrest; invites a delegation of four into station; visit prisoner in cell, all custody procedures followed. Comments from one female and long term connection to: Brixton Summer Project. Comments on his role as BME officer: conflicting perception of him. Brixton: respect for Chief Superintendent Roger Street; his reputation and reaction to him; working relationship; his send off from community on his leaving; working as his community officer. Street at faith healing service; changes under him; Sharon Kerr; people getting their cards stamped; 7 years at Lambeth, and comments on. Promotion to Chief Inspector.
Track 3: 42'08”: Roger Street: and Reggae Concert, Brockwell Park: always ended in disorder; cannabis and minor criminality; more serious crime; cracking down on serious crime only; reducing numbers on show; low profile and trouble shooting; bottle throwing at poor performance; takes initiative; dealing with issues and serious skirmishes; peaceful ending. Documentary on his work and his team: event filmed by; describes incident of man assaulted with hammer and bloody injury; man returns with sawn off shotgun; firearm discharged but man collapses; court outcomes. Becomes model for policing Brockwell Park: policing crime not people's enjoyment. Roger Street prepared to try different approaches. Black Bag Programme: Brixton Beat; positive response from MPS; sensitive but proactive policing. Selected for promotion 1994: slowing down process; Sheehy Inquiry; acting Chief Inspector, Walworth Road: Travelling Community; sensitive area; Traveller dies in custody; community protests; goes out to crowd after observing; takes in delegation but firm with crowd; wife's reaction; explaining procedures; his reaction to wife; taking her through the process; funeral arrangements; Coroner's Inquest; court cases; human response to; diffusing incident. Criminal Justice Unit, Chief Inspector: describes setting up CJU; CPS; problems with CRO74 resolved. Walworth becomes model for future. Further changes and reforms. Craves operational role. Explains CRO 74. Rehabilitation Of Offender Act. Importance of CRO74. Computerization. CRB checks. Posted Bromley: describes Police Station Area; not happy with posting; siege in Burnt Ash Lane, man on roof; disturbed vet, missing wife, bonfires and firearms, false alarm; pleasant but dull posting. Retirement date and extension: CMO and his reaction to request for extension. Walworth: crime figures for robbery; 50,000 victims in London; heinous crime; Commander Crime, DAC; advice sought from; status as black officer and crime by black people on black victims; victims young black people; geography of crimes; good evidence and good equipment; intelligence led targeting but not harassing; surveillance and equipment. Press response and obstacles: Borough level and stake holder communication; operational security; BME communities and accusations from: explaining the processes across London; dealing with egos; receives Commendation; a hard task; bad publicity but successful. Bromley posting: Lambeth, Borough Liaison Officer: Policing Diversity; tensions; looking at make up of community; people supporting police and gaining trust of all communities; not just ethnic lines; sexual orientation and gender; hard work and time consuming. Gives example: PACE; searching suspect's house and sensitivities; not being prevented by; communication and community leaders active support; the work gets done without recriminations; any Londoner could have issues. Working with Local Authority: partnership working; young people. Something totally new.
Track 4: 29'22”: Posted Lambeth: BLO: working with other agencies; differences from day to day policing; Public Order Policing; young people now young adults; skills for young people; local consultative groups; Lay Visitors Scheme; Scarman; still has to be strong police action on occasions; compassionate policing; professional standards required and difficulties; lack of respect for authority in society; changes to policing too rapid; PACE; old Governors excluded from changes. Force versus Service: semantics; enforcement; PACE gave officers the ability to do their job properly; providing a service; as first responders; enforcement side and service, publicly difficulties in understanding complete role. Off Duty time: patron to 13 organisation; elders; sharing experiences and foundation stones of present; comments on; involvement with young people; leadership skills for young people; peer pressure; entrepreneurial skills; IT; opportunity and economics of; time for young people. Extension of service: compulsory retirement at 60yrs old; still has plenty of energy; would do it all again; may have been more challenging or maybe not; conformist; more assertive; discrimination by colleagues did not happen; DAC and black group visit to Bristol; Commissioner Imbert; high turn over of BME officers; working out the difficulties; badly managed; Windrush all over again; comments towards. A strong personality and straight talker; but with respect; horror stories from Bristol; highest rank Inspector; coping mechanisms; MPS as an organisation; no support mechanisms; PLUS Programme. Instructor at Hendon: support on legislation; humour dealing difficulties on street; coping with colleagues, support mechanisms; idea of forming a Black and Asian Police Officers Association; NPF for grievances and problems; support for colleagues, dealing with colleagues; Women Police Officers; 'young turks'; supports principal; opposes as alternative to NPF. Lambeth: letter recommending for MBE; QPM.