Friends of the

Metropolitan Police History

Officer 69

Location of interview:Frinton

Officer's Gender:Male

Date joined Met Police:26 June 1961

Date left Met Police:20 June 1996

Rank of leaving:Detective Sergeant

Divisons served:H, A (Cannon Row), E (Bow Street), J (Chadwell Heath and Barkingside), K (Harold Hill), N (Kings Cross)

Specialist service:Cadets Stolen cars.

Transcript of interview

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Track 2:  9'45"  Early life. Father worked with a bank. Lived in Olney and moved on promotion with bank. Visited Festival of Britain. Father then moved to Hereford. Passed 11+ examination and went to Hereford High School. Joined Army cadet corps. Snow and flooding in the area. Visited Aldershot army camp. Target practice with an old rifle. Watched Coronation on TV. Interested in armed services.  1954 moved to Reading with his father's job. School captain. Disturbance outside their house when police were called introduced first experience of police officers.

Track 3:  0'42"  Aged 16 years and took O level GCE. A friend joined Berkshire police.

Track 4: 30'16"  Experience of friend in Berkshire police made him apply to Reading police as a cadet, and then tried Metropolitan Police.  Listened to radio programme PC 49. Invited to interview with Metropolitan Police. Medical examination. Successful application and went to Cadet Training school at Hendon. Physical training, swimming, learning to type.  Phonetic alphabet.  Codes for police stations. Lost touch with many of his counterparts. Posted to H Division, Arbour Square. Attached to clerks office. Taking dispatch to Moylan House and walking through East End in uniform with reaction from the public. Snooker sessions at lunch time.  Boredom. Invited to shooting practice, and then took up rifle shooting in the police.  Transfer to Cannon Row, A Division. Cadets were being employed as RT operators for central traffic squad. Duty at Wellington Arch.  Hyde Park corner then being controlled by PCs rather than any traffic lights. RT operator on police van at Hobart Place at various points in West End. Traffic congestion coded from Green, flowing well, to Black, stationary. Respect for PCs on traffic patrol doing removal duties. Removal of offending cars by means of jigglers, keys that could open many car locks and ignition systems. Introduced to rifle shooting at a local range near Hyde Park police station. Section House accommodation and cubicles.  Education at Kingsway College.

Track 5: 15'27"  Cycling to and from work and to his girl friend's house. Became senior cadet at 18 years of age. Did not pass senior cadet selection board. Judo practice at Kennington. Passed board at second attempt and then went to Hendon and PC recruits course. Found study difficult because of poor memory. A and B reports. First Aid instruction, passing of which was compulsory. Colonel Croft and the Cadet Corps. Preparation of base at Ashford in Kent for new cadet course there.

Track 6: 17'22"   Passed examination despite absence from formal tuition. Posted to Division with effect from 19th birthday. Posted to Hackney, listening to cases at North London court.  Attested at Peel House. E Division covered Bow Street and Holborn. Called to shoplifter on first day as Constable on way, in cadet uniform,  to first posting, charged at Gerald Road. Arrived at Bow Street two hours late. Posted to Bow Street and lived at Old Street section house. Conditions in cubicles in poor conditions 1961. Transferred to MacNaghten House section house. Rules against having women in their rooms. Blue shirts with detachable collars. Hooks in basement of Bow Street and no uniform lockers.

Track 7:  46'07"  Posted to relief at Bow Street. Keeping control of streets. Covent Garden market traffic. Beats and fixed points. 18 beats kept full by having officers posted to each, plus traffic points. 40 officers on early and night duty. Attending court off night duty. Overtime taken as time off. 60 to 80 prisoners going to Bow Street court. Guilty plea cases dealt with first. Purple hearts and reefers used by beatniks. Sometimes morning court appearance off night duty followed by traffic summons appearance in the afternoon. Hopker's summons headings used as a guide for traffic offences.  Overtime had to be taken within three months. Duty Sergeant looked after hard working officers. Ceremonial duties involved traditional No 1 uniforms with long line of buttons. On duty for Winston Churchill's funeral. Market office and Chief Inspector Lilley, and reaction of market porters. Probationers on duty learning courts, and learned beats with another officer.  Night duty incident with police officer off Chancery Lane, and need to ring in regularly to police station. Posted to front door of Bow Street police station.  Opera House uniformed door staff, traffic congestion and opinion of a Sergeant that they were causing obstruction. Transfer of Sergeant away from Bow Street. Women police officers duties in relation to children and young people. Civilian matron dealing with female prisoners. Pay varied between £8 and £10 per week.

Additional Rest Day (ARD) working. No ethnic minority officers. Few civil staff. Police officer employed in offices at end of police  service. Storeman in charge of uniforms, equipment, typewriters etc. Prisoner's property stored in paper envelopes in cupboard in charge room. Superintendent lived above station. Drunks all placed in one cell. Discipline action enforcing the need to book in and out of the police station. One month night duty in one session. He ran bar at Harold Scott section house. Social life, cinema and dance halls. Shooting club at rifle range at Kingsway near WH Smith warehouse and became member of police team. Became secretary of rifle section of Metropolitan Police, and taking part in national police competitions. MPAA (Metropolitan Police Athletic Association) time off that could not be paid as overtime. Also a member of Romford rifle club. Current decline of sport in the police.

Track 8: 0'55"  Introduction to second interview

Track 9: 0'19"  Continuation of introduction

Track 10: 25'48"   Bow Street. Field cookery course for Home Defence. Mobile columns. Lippitt's Hill. Description of Lippitt's Hill camp. Married in March 1965. Second tour of duty and change from cable laying to cook house duty. Met wife who worked in a bank and was transferring to a job as  a nurse. Transferred to Chadwell Heath. Sergeant showed him the ground, walking at a fast pace.  Large ground with no communications. Difficulty of making arrests with a cycle. Transfer to Harold Hill. Attendance Centre for juvenile offenders. Working with Essex Police and use of Metropolitan Police Act to deal with rowdyism. Support from magistrates.

Track 11:  5'50"  Liaison with ex-Essex Police officers when territory transferred to Metropolitan Police. Arrest  record whilst in uniform on wireless car. Commendation system.  

Track 12:  3'34"  As TDC posted to Dagenham.   

Track 13: 35'30"  Enquiry in relation to theft of car radios at Ford motor company. Barking magistrates court and relationship with police. Factory breaking at Rainham, and arrest of suspects for going equipped to steal and defence of preparation for extra marital affair. Q car duty. Late turn duty at Rainham and Bert Wickstead. Theft of cigarettes and example of police corruption with conviction of police officers involved. Cars being set on fire at Hornchurch. Observation in snow storm, and eventual conviction of suspects. Upminster and taking examination for promotion. Criteria for appointment for CID,  failure to pass on first two attempts, and success on third attempt. Attendance at Scotland Yard to make decision about remaining in CID or not. CID course.  Returned to uniform as Sergeant. Making arrest of drug addict and risk of late arrival for CID examination. Noddy motorcycle training course. Riding police motorcycle towards Gallows Corner and accident after flat tyre.  6 weeks sick leave. Accident assessed as being 'to count' against against him. Promoted in 1969 and transfer to Barkingside.

Track 14:  10'29"  On CID course in 1969 learnt of arrest of Kray brothers.  Promotion to Sergeant at Barkingside. Station Officer duty, and advice from senior constables. Station Sergeant at Barkingside. Van driver. Responsible for prisoners. Prepared legal aid reports on behalf of his relief. Started to run crime squads.

Track 15: 27'29"  Role of Sergeant and need to motivate officers.  Taking scruffy PC to task.  PC later resigned. Observation post detecting stolen cars.  Transfer to Claybury.   Electrical explosion at police station with teleprinter. Discipline problem with officers working at Fleet Street. Early morning search for burglars, near Chigwell sports club, and arrests. Forensic evidence and further burglaries in Chigwell area. Overhearing of prisoners' conversations in cells, forensic evidence and building of case against the burglars from south London.  Gratitude of victims' family. Replacement of Claybury police station by new Chigwell police station. 

Track 16: 14'04"  Claybury Christmas dinner with station covered by officers from other stations.  Visit by Commander during celebration for collator's 30 years' service. New Inspector. J Division crime squad. Operation to arrest group of burglars stealing from large houses. Suspects had shoes seized for forensic examination.  Decision to investigate them for conspiracy. Police 5 programme identified Bobby Oliver and George Green. Multiple arrests and 3 month trial at Old Bailey.

Track 17:  12'06"  Crime Squad lasted fro 12 months and return to Chigwell police station. Assistance to Bert Wickstead investigating headless murder victim.  Loughton police station, starting at 3am. Booking in prisoners after raids. Before PACE and right of prisoners to legal advice. Suspect Dudley.  1978. Imprisoned. Subsequent complaint against  police enquiry, and rebuttal of allegations, with Dudley being successful on appeal.  

Track 18: 5'32" Social life and pressure of working long hours. Detective Duty Allowance as TDC in lieu of overtime.  Divorced in 1979 / 1980. After retirement worked as a loss adjustor against with long hours and then divorced for second time. Strain on marriages.

Track 19:  6'22"  Return to Chigwell police station after 17 years service. Applied for transfer to CID in 1977 as a Detective Sergeant. Within 10 days he was transferred to duty as DS. Colleagues in CID office. Suspect who broke leg after rooftop chase, and difficulty of writing notes of interview. Suspect hiding in cold water tank in loft.  

Track 20:  13'27"   Suspicion of him because he had transferred to CID as a DS. Investigation of rape. Arrest of suspect armed with machete.  Picked up chair as defence. Eventually suspect arrested and suspicion allayed.  Investigation into police corruption and freemasonry, with long hours and security problems about the confidential enquiry. Surveillance and end of enquiry. 

Track 21: 0'52"  Introduction to third interview.

Track 22:  25'06"  On duty in special enquiry at Chigwell police station. Invitation to join C10 motor vehicle squad. Disguising of stolen cars (ringing) by thieves. Transfer to C10. Staffing of squad. Form 150 used, before computers and fax machines. Police National Computer PNC.

Investigation roles. Worked outer K Division, to assist officers with enquiries relating to stolen motor vehicles. Insurance total loss salvage cases, theft of similar looking stolen vehicles and re-identification of its identity. 'Cut and shut' method of joining two cars together. Seizure of suspect cars. Developed proficiency in examining cars, and identification of original chassis number. Owners identified peculiar marks of their cars.

Track 23:  6'13"  1980 – 1983 service in stolen car squad. Stolen Aston Martin and suspect black man who walked with a limp. Series of theft of valuable sports cars. Picture of lady traced through details of photographer. Successful conviction of Brenton Henry.

Track 24: 10'52"  Return of Brenton Henry to stealing cars after release from prison.  Search of flat and recovery of papers leading to many other thefts. Further imprisonment. Assault on wife and further arrest of same man.  Eventual return of prisoner's property, dealing with woman who had not known of Henry's background.

Track 25: 7'15"  Informant and enquiry into stolen Rolls Royce motor cars and gold bullion. Observation on Hatton Garden cafe. Arrest of suspects. Evidence at court, and contents of a shoe box.

Track 26:  3'57" Motor vehicle squad Christmas lunch and pantomime. Changing culture. No ethnic minority staff.

Track 27:  9'35" Female officer and involvement in fatal accident and eventual medical discharge.

Swapped jobs and returned to Islington police station after 3 years on stolen car squad. Murder squads and overtime commitments.  Transfer to Kings Cross.  Invitation to drink by CID officer.

Track 28:  9'16"  Investigation of rape case by two brothers. Forensic examination. Approach by father of suspects and arrangements for them to attend police station by appointment. Pressure on victim to withdraw allegation and action for perverting course of justice. Defence based on argument of willing participation rejected and commended for handling of rape case.

Track 29: 26'33"  Night Duty CID on Division. Reserve duty at Scotland Yard. Experience at dealing with novel situations. Stolen credit cards and involvement of garage cashiers. Pattern involving one cashier and complex fraud solved resulting in commendation. Screening of crime enquiries. Beat crimes squad, investigating beat crimes,  proving ground on career path to CID. 

Comment on current practices. Return to stolen car squad. Importance of liaison with uniform and CID. Lorry thefts, and scrap yard in Southampton, involving experts from industry. Perpetrator imprisoned. Chassis plate relating to Ford cargo lorry. Search warrant at Forest Gate, and lucky find of Ford van. Chassis plates and old vans bought at auction from Murphy.  40 or 50 vans recovered. Finding of steering column identification to establish date of manufacture.

Track 30  0'54"  Introduction to fourth interview.

Track 31: 1'01"  1989 posted to Leyton police station. CIPP team

Track 32:  7'57"  Worked in general CID office and went on 13 week trip round the world in 1990 to celebrate 30 years service. Surgery for hernia. Posted to Operation Bumblebee combatting burglaries. Squad at Leyton as part of London-wide initiative. Increasing arrests of burglars.  Reporting burglary offences without finding clues. Increased information from victims and more thorough searching of suspects' homes.  

Track 33:  13'18"  Crime Support Group duty for 3 months, checking and supervising evidence. World trip and connection with stamp collection. 1991 Operation Hyena to combat vehicle crime.

Formation of squad at expense of Divisional manpower. 5 officers with traffic patrol representation. Lasted 3 years. Trip to Cyprus on enquiries. Change from 8 to 5 Areas. Plan to increase strength.

Track 34:  14'14"  Area was East London, and increase in territory.  Squad disbanded and applied to East London Crime Squad. Involved in Crown Court trial for interview. Testing on new wording of caution in arrest procedure. Arrests of people involved with already seized stolen cars. Importance of obtaining convictions. Counterfeit credit card enquiry. Arrests undertaken on an urgent basis. List of credit card numbers from internet. Several months over in USA.  Credit card fraud.

Track 35: 3'47"   Working as DS on squad.  East London crime squad. Surveillance course and requirement to undertake fast car course, aged 55 years.  Child Protection duty considered.  Returned to Division.  

Track 36:  14'50"  Stayed serving after 30 years and perceived as being more expensive on the budget.  Love of operational police work. Telephone call from a firm of loss adjusters. Retired from Metropolitan Police.  Investigating insurance claims. Wife was unhappy with the move. Territory from Nottingham down to London.  New car supplied. Fraudulent fires. Need to learn about boilers and re-tread tyres. Insurance claims not paid out because of previous bankruptcies. Failure of second marriage. Disagreement with boss and resigned.  Stress of being bullied at work.

Track 37:  11'55"   Working as a loss adjuster and retired, then became self-employed investigator of motor vehicle fraud. Took statements from victims on a sub-contract basis for insurance companies. Lost money after court action against previous employers. Move to seaside. Still continues to investigate crimes to pay for divorce settlements. Comment about the current Police Service and unwillingness to join again.


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