PROVIDED BY - Rob Jerrard LLB LLM (London) "Internet Law Book Reviews"

150 years of Service 1839 to 1989

Text of the Booklet issued in 1989, EXCLUDING the Photographs. Written by Donald Rumbelow, Police Sergeant, since Retired.

The medieval City of London was a fortified town on the north bank of the Thames with a Roman wall shaped like a "bow" protecting it on three sides and with a line of battlements and towers guarding it from the river. At night when curfew was rung, two hundred constables, one from each precinct, would arm themselves with swords, halberds and longbows; half would guard the City's gates and half the rivers edge until daylight. This was the standing and marching watch. It was a defence system going back to a time 'whereof man hath not the memory

Over the centuries, as the City gradually lost its defensive character, the watch was reorganised on a ward basis. The watch was not a body of paid professionals but consisted of individual ratepayers who were compelled by law to take office either as constable or watchman as part of their ward duties. As constable they had to serve for one year. As watchman they had to patrol their ward at night, the number of nights varying according to the size of the ward.

Unpaid, burdensome and time consuming the work was delegated to servants and apprentices and ultimately to the oldest inhabitants as one way of keeping them off the rates. In 1667 a number of younger men were allegedly rejected in the following terms.

"If the whole City came to be entirely bereft of all its watchmen (which in God's name I pray may not happen) I would be loath to give employment to the likes of you. The watch must be left for the aged. the infirm and the not over robust. Some of you are still under 70 years of age and fit in mind and limb, and still have the audacity to seek employment in the watch. I tell you that you are able-bodied, lazy, idle shiftless knaves. The Watch hath no place for you".

This was the system that was to remain almost unchanged until the early 19th century. A Watch act of Charles 2nd's time gave the watchman the nickname of "Charlies". They never lost their reputation - it was the same in Shakespeare's time as it was in Dickens's time "the abandoned character of the majority - their levying contributions on the wretched street-walkers - their keeping brothels and their seldom, if ever, bringing a thief to justice". Attempts to co-ordinate the wards, to get them working together, were left to the City's head of police (the word was not used until the 18th century) the City Marshal, together with his Under Marshal and six marshalmen. Their efforts were ineffective. In the City as elsewhere the only deterrent was the hangman's rope. Until the early years of the 19th century London has been described as the "City of the Gallows". Whichever way it was approached, whether by river or by road, the way was signposted with gallows. There were over two hundred hanging offences. A man could just as easily be hanged for writing on Westminster Bridge as he could be for murder; he could be hanged for impersonating a Chelsea pensioner as he could be for stealing. Crime was so bad that in the 18th century travellers in London had to go "armed as if for battle". There was frequent rioting which the authorities found difficult to handle. Increasingly the military had to be used to put down such disturbances, the civil power not being strong enough, and inevitably there came a time when the Watch system broke down completely.

In 1780 there was an outbreak of anti-Catholic rioting led by the fanatical Lord George Gordon. The rioting began at Westminster and quickly spread to the City. For two days the homes of Irish Catholics in Moorfields were looted and burned while the authorities stood helplessly by. Emboldened by their success the mob attacked the prisons. The flames from Newgate towered over the others and turned the sky blood-red. On Black Wednesday a Holborn gin distillery was set on fire and as a 120,000 gallons of raw spirit roared into the air the flames could be seen from more than thirty miles away. Men and women flung themselves on the ground to drink the burning spirit. It was at this point that a watchman walked by on his rounds and calmly called the hour "as if in a time of profound tranquillity".

The riots were finally crushed by the army but it was a further five years before a London and Westminster Police Bill to reform the London watch went before Parliament. It was thrown out. It would be 1822 before Robert Peel made a second attempt. There was widespread opposition to the forming of a police force which would be modelled, it was thought, on the French system of spies and agents provocateurs. Nearly fifty years of war, first with Revolutionary and then Napoleonic France, only confirmed these prejudices.

The City retained its watch system but in 1705 had abolished the old system of personal service and created a body of paid professional watchmen, the first in the country, although as corrupt and inefficient as before. In the aftermath of the Gordon riots the City fathers formed in 1784 a City of London Day Police which is the beginning of the present police force. The men were issued with a blue greatcoat every four years and a pair of boots every two. By 1822 the uniform was a blue coat, blue trousers and a drab waistcoat with the City button. On the top hats of the Smithfield men were painted the words "City Police". Blue was chosen as a suitable colour for the men to wear on duty at the public executions outside Newgate.

Successive committees in 1812, 1818,1822 and again in 1828 had urged that something should be done to reform the London watch and police but all had foundered on the prevailing hostility towards a central police force. Excluding the watchmen and the Thames police the Home Secretary had fewer than 400 men with which to control a London population of more than a million. Nationwide there were fewer than 60 democratically controlled boroughs and of these the City of London was the most powerful and spokesman for them all. Any attempt to place the City under the control of the Home Secretary was bound to be resisted as an infringement of its liberties and characters. Critics, however, urged that if the City were excluded from a police bill for the whole of London thieves "would assemble in London as an asylum. When they threw a dog into the water, the fleas all got into the head to avoid drowning, and in the same way all the thieves would get into the City to avoid hanging".

There was equally strong Parliamentary opposition to Peel's ideas which were denounced as "rash, experimental and dangerous". In order to get his Metropolitan Police bill through, Peel was forced to exclude the City from his plans.

The passing of the Bill strengthened the hands of the reformers within the City itself to reorganise its watch and police. For the next ten years there was a prolonged political struggle to get this done and ultimately watchmen and marshalmen were swept away. In 1838 a Day Police and Nightly Watch of 500 men was formed under the command of a Superintendent. Still the changes were not enough and in 1839 renewed political pressure led to a further reorganisation. The name was changed to the City of London Police and a Commissioner, Daniel Whittle Harvey. appointed.

Guinea-a-Day Men "Men, dwarfs in height, and old in years, of diverse bodily deformity, mentally weak, and with little or no character, had no hesitation to apply" to the Commissioner's renewed cry for more recruits in 1861. Applicants had to be under 40 years of age, 5' 7" without shoes, able to read and write and keep accounts, and to possess a decent suit of clothes and a hat. Poor wages and conditions meant an average length of service of four years and the continuing need for new recruits.

Three shillings a day was the wage for a top rate constable but many existed on far lower sums down to as little as 12s 6d a week for some probationers. Because of the Commissioner's insistence that policemen had to live in the City itself this meant that not only was a large part of the wage spent on rent but that frequently the men were competing for and sharing slum accommodation with the very thieves that they were working against.

Initially watch houses had to be used as police stations. There were six divisions. Each division had its own station. The City's first police station was on No. 2 division (divisional letters were an Edwardian modification). The station was a converted pub called the Greyhound opposite the Henry 8th gateway of St. Bartholomew's hospital. The cells were so cold that prisoners had to be frequently carried out because overnight they temporarily lost the use of their limbs. Potential suicides, who had been dragged from the river, had to stay in their wet clothes.

The 1860's saw a remodelling of the early Peeler uniform. The top hats were either shabby or the leather tops cracked and gave the policemen headaches. In fights or bad weather they were easily lost. The long coats held water and caused rheumatism in the knees. In 1865 the top hat was replaced by the Britannia or combed helmet.' The brim was very wide like a bowler hat. The coat was replaced by the tunic. Armlets continued to be worn on the left wrist by constables and by sergeants above the elbow as recruiting from the army became more frequent (because the men were in a better physical condition than the normal applicant) and the uniforms became more military. the wearing of chevrons made this impossible and so the duty armband for sergeants was transferred to the right wrist. Because of public suspicions about police the uniform had to be worn both on and off duty and this was what the armband indicated; when he wore the armband he was on duty and when he wasn't wearing it he was off. Such suspicions were applicable to most police actions. Any attempt by them to control even the City's traffic was regarded as an unnecessary interference with trade. One of the most notorious blackspot was London Bridge and in 1855 the Commissioner. after he had warned the public with newspaper advertisements. experimented with police pointsmen as a way of bringing the traffic under some sort of control. There were no prescribed routes for omnibuses; they went where they liked and set down and picked up where they liked. Traffic used both sides of the road. squeezing their way through wherever there was a gap. Having 20t two lines of traffic moving in opposite directions. To do this he had to station 3 sergeants and 21 constables along a 400-yard stretch of roadway. After 3 weeks he was able to reduce their numbers by a third and within a short time, as the traffic became accustomed to the signals. he was able to reduce the number of pointsmen on this particular stretch down to 6. The success of this experiment allowed him to gradually extend the practice to other parts of the City. So highly valued were the pointsmen that for many years they were paid extra wages and exempt from night duty.

When the governors of St. Bartholomew's Hospital had leased the Greyhound public house to the Police Committee for conversion to Station No. 2 they had leased them at the same time a piece of ground in Moor Lane where they could build Station No.1. Other stations had been more difficult to convert or build. Bow Lane (the actual address was 1 Great St. Thomas Apostle) had been intended for the' detective department but the building was too small (the Inspector's bedroom doubled as a kitchen). No. 6 Station was the old Bishopsgate watchhouse overlooking St. Botolph's churchyard. Conditions were so bad that the Police Committee chairman complained that the men on duty there were obliged like fishes rising from the water, to go into the street to breathe a little fresh air. The Commissioner (Harvey) had been against so much fragmentation and his dream of a station one on either side of the City and one near Guildhall was not realised until a hundred years later when Wood Street replaced Cloak Lane in 1966 to join with Bishopsgate and Snow Hill as the City's police stations. Harvey must be credited with initiating the plan. The construction of the first Bishopsgate police station was begun in 1861 and rebuilt on its present site in 1939.

The Commissioner's official residence (he had a house at Brixton where he kept cows) and offices were at 26 Old Jewry. This was a former merchant's counting house, warehouse and private house. The property was bought in 1842 and almost immediately he handed over part of the house as offices to the Detective department which he created at about the same time. Public hostility to policemen in plain clothes. for fear of their being used as spies or agents provocateurs, was such that some magistrates actively encouraged the public to give beatings to policemen so disguised. The first detectives were instantly recognisable, as they tended to wear their police trousers and top hats with their civy clothes. It was some years before they could get to grips with some of the bigger City cases which tended to go to a long established private detective office in the Mansion House itself and operated by two former marshalmen. The resulting upsurge in work soon led to a number of "hot pursuits" throughout Europe and America. In 1857 it was one such pursuit that resulted in the first murder of a City policeman.

Detective Sergeant Charles Thain was bringing back a prisoner, Christian Sattler, from Hamburg where he had chased him for a theft from a City stockbroker. The two men shared a cabin on the journey back and it was while they were at sea that Sattler managed to retrieve his gun and fire three lead balls into the detective's chest when he returned to the cabin where Sattler was still handcuffed. There was no doctor on board and it was another 3 days before the ship landed. Ten days after landing Thain died and on 9 February 1858 Sattler was publicly hanged outside Newgate gaol. Surrounding the scaffold was a ring of City policemen whose job it was, until 1868, to maintain order on execution day.

The Houndsditch Murders "Let the Tsar pay for the revolution". On 16th December 1910 a gang of Latvian revolutionaries tried to rob a jeweller's shop in Houndsditch. The safe was supposed to contain about seven thousand pounds worth of Tsarist jewellery. Such 'expropriations" were to get funds to finance the revolution in Russia. The money would pay for guns and propaganda and finance further "expropriations" throughout Europe. The young men and women involved had been caught up in the 1905 uprising in the Baltic State of Latvia. They were on the run from the Tsarist secret police. Some had been in prison. Some had been tortured. Some were anarchists. Some were part of the Bolshevik fighting squads and answerable only to Lenin.

The group had rented two terraced houses in Exchange Buildings, behind the jewellers shop, and began tunnelling their way through the back wall on the Friday evening. The noise was heard by neighbours and the beat constable, PC Piper, was told - Piper, thinking that there might be some innocent explanation for the noise, went and knocked on the door of one of the houses. The door was opened by Gardstein, the leader of the gang, but his manner was such that Piper's suspicions were instantly aroused. Making some excuse Piper went away but returned about fifteen minutes later with other policemen. Piper waited in Houndsditch to watch the front of the shop while the others went to Exchange Buildings. Sergeant Bentley knocked on the door and again the door was opened by Gardstein.

"Is anyone working out the back? May we have a look?" he asked. Gardstein said nothing but partly closed the door. Bentley waited about half a minute before pushing open the door and stepping into the house. On the table were some cups and saucers. And oxyacetylene torch. A man appeared at the top of the stairs. His face was in darkness. Bentley repeated his question. "Has anyone been working out the back? May we have a look?"

The voice' answered "In there" and Bentley stepped further into the room. As he did so the back door swung open and in walked Jacob Peters carrying in his outstretched hand a Dreyse pistol which he began to fire at Bentley. As Peters opened fire so did Gardstein from the top of the stairs with a Mauser pistol. His shot went through the rim of Bentley's helmet, across his face and through the shutter behind him. Peters was firing across the kitchen table at a range of less than three feet. His first shot went through Bentley's shoulder and the next through his neck, severing the spinal column. Bentley dropped backwards over the door step a dying man. The gang, four men and a woman, now burst out of the next door house as well and caught the unarmed policemen outside in the street completely unawares. Sergeant Bryant was shot once in the arm and once in the chest. Sergeant Tucker was hit twice, once in the hip and once in the heart. He staggered a few paces and dropped dead on his face. Constable Woodhams ran towards the gunmen but fell unconscious into the roadway when a Mauser bullet shattered his thighbone. By this time only Constable Choat was left on his feet. He ran forward, caught hold of Gardstein and fought him for possession of his gun. The rest of the gang, seeing what had happened, rushed back to Gardstein's assistance and turned their guns on Choat who was shot eight times. As Peters fired the last two bullets into his back, Choat fell backwards, dragging Gardstein with him and a shot meant for Choat caught Gardstein in the back and he was dragged out of Exchange Buildings a dying man. Behind them the gang left three dead or dying policemen and two others who had been crippled for life.

Gardstein's body was found the next day in a house in the East End and within the next two weeks five men and three women were arrested for their parts in the murders. on 2nd January 1911 two of the gang were betrayed by an informer and in the early hours of the next morning the house in Sidney Street was surrounded by armed police and emptied of all its occupants except for the two gunmen who were hiding in the attic. At daylight, when called upon to surrender, they responded with a burst of firing and the Siege of Sidney Street had begun. The Siege lasted about eight hours. Churchill, who was Home Secretary, gave permission for Scots Guards to be brought up from the Tower of London to reinforce the police; this was done because the police were so badly armed. They even brought a field gun with which to shell the house if necessary. The siege ended when one of the gunmen was killed and the house caught fire. The flames forced the surviving gunman down from the upper rooms, where the fire had started. to the' ground floor where he suffocated in the smoke and flames rather than surrender.

At the trial of the Houndsditch murderers there was a badly bungled prosecution. One of the women went mad. Another was sentenced to two years imprisonment but this was quashed on appeal. The third woman and the five men to their obvious amazement were acquitted.

At the time of his trial Jacob Peters who had fired the fatal shots into Bentley, Tucker and Choat was a political refugee, an unemployed tailor's presser in the East End of London. Six years later he went back to Russia as the Bolshevik delegate from London. He played a prominent part in Lenin's seizure of power and was appointed deputy head of the Cheka. He became known as the Robespierre of the Russian revolution from the ferocity with which he signed the death warrants of the party's enemies. He became known as "Executioner" Peters from the number of executions he carried out with his own hands. He boasted that in the first year the Cheka had shot only six thousand people. In 1930 he was sent with two battalions to Moscow to purge the Red Army. Ultimately Peters himself was purged and he was shot in 1938. After Stalin's death he was rehabilitated. There is a statue of him in Riga Central Park. Ironically the man who was nearly hanged in 1911 for the murder of three City of London policemen is now widely regarded as a model revolutionary. In Russia he is known as a 'Hero of October"

Strikes and Zeppelins Sir William Nott-Bower became Commissioner in 1902. In 1831 the Special Constables Act had been passed which authorised the swearing in of special constables in emergencies. The most notable example of this power being used was in 1848, at the time of the Chartist riots, when over 22,000 persons were sworn in. The flaw in this arrangement was that the Specials could only be sworn in after the emergency had arisen which meant they were untrained and undisciplined and without proper leadership. This threw the onus onto the other stand-by which was the military but again such aid could only be used after any disturbances had begun. With the threat of a European war looming on the horizon and with increased militancy among the working class local authorities were directed by the Secretary of State in 1911 to build up adequate police reserves for emergency situations without having to seek the help of the military. Nott-Bower's response was to create a First Police Reserve of police pensioners - men who would resume uniform as constables in times of emergency - together with a Second Police Reserve of civilian volunteers. The outbreak of war in 1914 meant that Nott-Bower was able to meet the great depletion of strength from men joining the colours. The Second Police Reserve ultimately became the Reserve which became a permanent organisation as from 1912. Its strength at the outbreak of war was about 2,000 men. The regular force had been reduced to less than two thirds of its strength and without the Reserve the force would not have been able to meet its wartime commitments. The Reserve was organised in four divisions, of six companies each, attached to A, B, C and D divisions at Moor Lane, Snow Hill, Bishopsgate and Cloak Lane respectively. The Reserve had its own Commandant and Staff Officer as well as clerks provided by the regular police force. Throughout the war years the Reserve guarded searchlights, bridges and power stations and turned out about three hundred men whenever there were air raids.

The earliest air raids of the war took place in the spring of 1915 but these were generally confined to the coast and were mainly for the purpose of reconnaissance. The raids, in the early part of the war at least, were made by airships (Zeppelins) and the City had its first bombing raid soon after midnight on 8th September 1915. Incendiaries were dropped near Fenchurch Street but this was only a preliminary to a larger raid that same night when four Zeppelins dropped a total of thirty incendiary and high explosive bombs on a flight path over Smithfield, Little Britain, Guildhall and Liverpool Street killing six and injuring thirty eight persons. The next Zeppelin raid occurred one month later. In 1917 the switch was made to aeroplane raids which being carried out in daylight made the risk of civilian casualties much greater. On a bright sunlit day, with the cloudless blue-sky overhead, fourteen aeroplanes attacked the City on 13th June 1917. Between 11.40 and 11.42 they loosed no fewer than seventy-two bombs within a one-mile radius of Liverpool Street station. In all 158 men, women and children were killed and 411 injured. After another daylight raid the attacks switched to the night time with over half the bombs dropped being incendiaries.

The war accentuated police hardships. The first hint of trouble came in 1916 with the discovery that men were being secretly recruited into the unofficial National Union of Police and Prison Officers. 600 men had joined, more than half the force, and were demanding recognition of the union. On 30th August 1918 police forces throughout the country went on strike. The first City policeman to do so was a constable who left his beat the same afternoon, marched into Moor Lane Police Station and told the Station Officer that he was joining them. By late evening the whole force was out. Apart from better pay and conditions the men made a number of demands including the right to post notices of the Police and Prison Officers Union on the official notice board and for promotions to be made by competitive examination only (it was not until 1958 that the City adopted the national exam; until then, the promotion examinations were a local matter and had to be taken and passed each year. No matter how many times he had passed before, failure in a particular year could stop a man's promotion).

The strike lasted a token 24 hours but the following year, on 1st August 1919, when the strike call was renewed, only one man struck at once and from a force of a thousand men only 58 came out on strike. All were sacked.

Blitz Standing in the corridor of Bishopsgate Police station, on a Sunday night in September 1940, the night duty detachment for Tower Bridge were being briefed by the Duty Officer. Outside they could hear the bombing - "an overtone of throbbing and humming, punctuated by screaming and whining and the crashing shock of great explosions". A constable came in through the heavily sandbagged entrance. A nearby stable had just been hit. Some of the horses had been killed but others were alive though mutilated by splinters from the wrecked wagons.

Suddenly there was a change in the sound of the bombing and the men knew that the building was going to be hit. First there was a thin wail and then the sound built up until it seemed as if a "beam of vicious energy" was screaming towards their heads. When the bomb hit it seemed to take ages to penetrate. The building groaned and trembled as missing the upper floors it sank into the ground at the side of the sandbag fortifications. A great dark cloud rolled along the corridor towards the night duty men who headed through it scrambling over the rubble, to get to the basement room where they found the broken body of the night duty nurse under the bricks.

The bombing reached its peak on Sunday night 29th December 1940 in a raid lasting just over two hours. By the time the 'All clear was sounded over 1400 fires were burning in the one square mile alone. Flames jumped the streets and linked up. One continuous fire burned between Moorgate and Aldersgate Street, Cannon Street and Old Street.

On the edge of this devastation stood St. Paul's. Most of this was A Division which the nights raid had virtually wiped out. Post-war records show that this was the largest area of continuous air raid destruction in the country. Barbican resembled a narrow canyon with steep cliffs of broken brick, stone and charred timber on either side. Moonlight made the ruins look like blackened, rotted teeth. Moor Lane, the divisional station, was demolished by a parachute mine which fell on the building opposite and caught Moor Lane in the upward blast of the explosion. Miraculously nobody was killed but 12 policemen were injured, among them the Station Officer who was found lying under a pair of heavily built swing doors which had been blown off their hinges and protected him from the falling debris. For a few days the station operated from Courtauld's premises in St. Martin's Le Grand and then from an evacuated building loaned by the National Mutual Life Assurance Society at 39 King Street where it stayed until the end of the war. By then so little of A division was left standing that the division was never reformed. The ground was split between B, C and D divisions and as from 1st August 1945 ceased to exist.

In other raids Old Jewry was considerably damaged by two bombs falling close by. Snow Hill was hit and partly destroyed. So too was Cloak Lane which was not only part demolished but had civilian and police casualties when a bomb hit the muster room. Altogether five policemen were killed in the air raids. One sergeant was killed evacuating a building which collapsed and buried him in the debris. Sixteen others were killed on active service, mostly with the R.A.F. The steady stream of men being either called up or volunteering for active service, mostly as air crew, led to the first time employment of women. They were known as the London Women's Auxiliary Police Corps with an authorised strength of one hundred (the actual strength never seems to have gone above eighty). They were used as clerks, telephonists, typists, storekeepers, ambulance and motor drivers. Another useful innovation proved to be the Criminal Records Office and Crime Index which had been started in 1938 with records and index going back to the previous year. One statistic which was commented on in the Commissioners Annual report (1942) was the fall in the number of street accidents which he humourlessly noted was due both to petrol rationing and the fact that so many of the City streets had been devastated by the air raids and were impassable.

Although no firm date can be assigned to it City police photography probably began in the late 1870's early 1880's. According to Henry Smith's memoirs there were many albums of criminal photographs stored at Old Jewry. He further explains that "many of them (were) taken by force - for criminals used to fight and struggle in order to prevent a correct representation being got of their features...." There is unlikely to have been a photographic department as such. Normal practice seems to have been that the prisoner would have been taken to a professional photographer's studio (this is what happened to the Houndsditch murderers) to be photographed. The first known force photographer was Arthur Cross, a keen amateur photographer, who was given a room in the basement of Bishopsgate police station soon after rebuilding was completed in 1939. He was allowed 10 shillings a month for the use of his small plate camera and allowed 4 hours to complete each photographic assignment before returning to normal duty. Out of the tragedy of the Blitz Arthur Cross compiled a unique pictorial record of the bombing and destruction of the City. He was given an assistant, Fred Tibbs, a C division constable to help him. Tibbs' family had been evacuated to Wales while he continued to live at Bishopsgate. Frequently he was on scene with his camera within minutes of the "All Clear". It was on one such occasion that he took the photograph of the falling front of the Salvation Army headquarters in Queen Victoria Street. The photograph is slightly out of focus because as the wall crashed down Tibbs fell back-wards into a bomb hole.

In 1951, soon after he had been appointed Commissioner, Arthur Young visited the basement photographic room. The only equipment belonging to the force were some dishes and trays and a flat bed glazing machine. Everything else belonged to Arthur Cross. Soon afterwards an astounded Arthur Cross found himself spending not œ10 but œ1,000 a year and moving into a purpose built dark room and studio in headquarters.

POST WAR RECONSTRUCTION Colonel (later Sir) Arthur Young became Commissioner in 1950. Innovation and change was the hallmark of the new regime. Instead of the rigid authoritarianism of the past there was now a greater flexibility in working practices and more concern for the men's welfare. A seven week shift system was introduced which was geared both to the needs of the policemen's domestic life as well as to the needs of the reconstructed City. The manpower situation, however, was such that for almost the next three decades the force had a constant manpower deficiency of between 22 and 260/o. This made it impossible to reduce the working week to 42 hours in 1965 when the manpower deficiency was at its peak of over 250/o. The working week remained at 46 hours. In an attempt to make up this perennial deficiency a Cadet force was formed when Colonel Young took office. The cadet training was designed on the assumption that cadets would join the regular force when old enough. In addition to the training that they received at the Cadet School in Bishopsgate they also attended the City Day College for 15 hours each week for additional tuition in English, arithmetic and geography as well as typing and shorthand. By 1963 the cadets made up just under half the number of entries into the force. Girls were admitted for the first time in 1973.

Ten years earlier there was a particularly brutal double murder at Gravesend. The bodies of a teenage couple were found in a dyke on the edge of the marshes. On 10th September 1971 the couple had gone to evensong at their local Baptist Chapel and then gone for a walk by the canal where they were confronted by 28 year old Edwin David Sims who was armed with a shotgun. He forced them to lie down then tied them up. He next gagged and strangled them. He said that he killed them on impulse and impulses are funny things". Next day the girl's clothes were found scattered along the dyke. When found her body had been mutilated.

At Snow Hill police station, the same day, two detectives received a telephone call from the Daily Mirror reporter Tom Tullett. Sims was in his office confessing to the murders. As proof of what he said he not only had the two wristwatches and the girl's handbag but, in the newspaper parcel that he was carrying the girl's breasts.

Sims was arrested, DS Newdick is carrying the newspaper parcels,Sims was sent for trial. He was diagnosed as a grossly perverted sexual psychopath and that this condition had substantially impaired his mental responsibility. The abnormality of his mind existed at the time of he killings".On 29th November 1961 Sims was found not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility and sentenced to 21 years imprisonment.


The Electromobile ambulance service was inaugurated in 1907. It operated until 1949 when it was handed over to the L.C.C. as part of the new National Health Service, In the intervening years the original vehicle had been replaced by more modern vehicles which had been based in police ambulance stations at Bishopsgate and West Smithfield. Between them they dealt with about 1500 accidents every year. A call box system was begun at the same time as the ambulance service. Initially it consisted of 52 boxes (later 61) and these eventually converted to the Police Call box system.

Old Bailey Bombing

On 8th March 1973 IRA terrorists planted a car bomb outside the Central Criminal Court in the Old Bailey opposite The George public house on the corner of Feet Lane. There was a national rail strike that day so the normal parking restrictions had been lifted. The green Ford Cortina estate was parked early morning and it was later that day before a warning was telephoned to the police. Altogether four car bombs had been planted in central London. Two were found in time and rendered harmless. One was outside New Scotland Yard itself and the other close to the Houses of Parliament. The other two exploded before 3 p.m. One in Great Scotland Yard off Whitehall. The other in the Old Bailey. Moments before the latter exploded the street was still being cleared. A coach was hurriedly emptied and a party of schoolchildren sent running for the safety of the Holborn Viaduct railway arches. The George public house was evacuated only minutes before it was completely wrecked. The mahogany windows of the Central Criminal Court were blown out. The Press Room caught the full blast. Oak partitionings were blown away. The glass front of a nearby thirteen storey building was blown out. Bits of engine and bodywork from the car bomb were strewn about the street. Water gushed across the road from burst mains. Flying glass accounted for most of the 238 wounded who were still being evacuated when the bomb exploded. One man died. Ten yards from where the car bomb had stood (part of a wheel was found on the roof of the Court) the police photographer, who had just taken a photograph of the car was lying badly injured. Some yards away was a badly injured uniformed constable who had been caught in the blast as he cleared the street. Both men, though badly hurt and left with permanent injuries, survived. Ten persons, known as The Belfast Ten, two of them sisters, were arrested and sentenced to long terms of imprisonment at Winchester Crown Court.

Moorgate Tube Disaster Two years after the Old Bailey bombing, tragedy again hit the City. On 28th February 1975 an early morning commuter train crashed into a blind tunnel at Moorgate underground station on the City branch of the Northern line. It was Britain's worst underground disaster. The final disaster toll was 43 dead and 74 injured. Among the casualties was 19-year old Margaret Liles who had joined the City police only the week before. She was trapped in the first carriage, buried up to her shoulders in a tangle of steel, both legs doubled up behind her and one foot trapped in the twisted mass of metal lying below the bogey of one of the underground carriages.

The train had overrun the buffers and impacted itself upon the tunnel wall. The first coach had jackknifed upwards and backwards upon impact. The second coach had ploughed underneath the first while the third coach had rode over the back of the second and jammed into the roof effectively blocking the tunnel entrance. The first coach had concertinaed down from its normal length of 50 feet to 15 feet. The driver's cabin had telescoped down to 6". The fight to rescue the survivors was a 13-hour battle. Forty people remained trapped in the front three carriages. Fire, ambulance and doctors worked in shifts of five, sometimes in gaps only two foot wide, to get at them. Conditions were appalling. Not only was there pitched darkness, jammed wreckage and stifling heat but there was no air. Fresh air had to be pumped down from the surface and the number of rescue units below ground was kept to a minimum. Dust and soot from the walls continually showered down. Passengers could be heard screaming and groaning with pain in the darkness but eventually there was only silence. Dead bodies were crushed in the heavily compressed wreckage. Some had been decapitated. For others nothing could be done. One girl was found alive but trapped by her hips. She could not be extricated and shortly afterwards died. Rescuers remembered most the uncanny quiet and stifling heat. Some people were dead. Some were alive. Most of the injuries were from crushing.

WPC Liles was the last one to be brought out. Rescuers commented on the raw courage that had kept her going throughout her twelve hour ordeal. She had been thrown about the carriage when the train had crashed. She saw one man thrown through the carriage window before the roof and floor had buckled together and the lights had gone out. To free her the rescuers had to amputate her trapped foot and only then was it possible to free the man trapped with her. Sadly he died later from crush injuries bringing the final total to 43 dead.

PICKETS and PROTESTS In September 1983 the London Greenpeace group organised a major "Stop the City" demonstration. The objective was to bring the City to a standstill. It was a day long protest with the main protest concentrated around the Stock Exchange and Bank areas. (below). Despite 200 arrests there was a repeat demonstration the following year. By then "Stop the City" had taken on a significance far beyond its original concept. About ten anarchist groups gathered under the umbrella of "London Greenpeace" and identified the City as the main bastion of "capitalist corruption". In March, May and September 1984 the efforts to disrupt the City and bring it to a halt were a direct challenge to the police to maintain the Queen's Peace. The first was the most violent confrontation with the police being assaulted with smoke and paint bombs, house bricks and staves.

-More than four hundred arrests were made. The May and September demonstrations were nullified as the demonstrators were never allowed to settle long enough to gain the advantage. In the same year from March to December there was a huge force commitment to give mutual aid to the police forces of Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire during the Miner's Strike. Eleven officers were injured on picket duty.


Policing for the future is likely to become more specialised and in addition to his other roles as everybody's friend, crime fighter arbitrator, social worker and keeper of the Queen's Peace the policeman has to be enough of a technician, if not to understand, at least know how to use the range of technical services that is now being offered to him.

What has been described as a quantum leap in police communications has taken place. At its heart is a unique communications system known as "touchscreen". (below) All radio channels, telephones, public address and certain alarms are controlled from each of the operators positions making it possible for any operator to take control of the communications facilities directed to his or her screen by the supervisor. The functions of all the communications systems are literally at the touch of the screen where radio channels can be monitored, selected, messages passed and connected from channel to channel, telephones answered, alarms acknowledged, all from the same screen. Advances in technology have not only made the financial world a much smaller place but have given the international fraudsman, in the words of investigating officers, "the shields of distance and anonymity". Instructions and transfers can be done electronically from any part of the globe which means that the fraud squad investigators have to travel widely to collect the necessary evidence once the authority has been given for this to be done to bring a prosecution to a successful conclusion. Crime is international and in one year farad officers will travel to many countries as part of their investigations. The establishment of the Serious Fraud Office (SF0), a multi- agency collaboration, means a constant number of experienced detectives investigating some of the country's most serious and complex frauds.

So complicated are some investigations that in one instance the investigating team of forty officers used computers to unravel the web of international wheeling and dealing. Split into five teams one team worked through the documents while the other four followed up the leads disclosed. Evidence was collected from nearly five hundred witnesses scattered as far afield as America, Hong Kong, India, France, Greece, Belgium and the Channel Islands. A small sample of some of the 7400 documentary exhibits produced from the investi- gation). The total sum involved was in excess of three million pounds with ultimately 29 persons being arrested and charged with a variety of offences including theft, false accounting, forgery, deception, conspiracy and corruption.

Community involvement at all levels is underpinned by the Home Beat officers each with their own particular beat, who, on their own initiative set up and monitor schemes for that particular area with the cooperation and active participation of local individuals and businesses. Schemes such as Business Watch and Pub Watch, consisting of a series of chains of those particular businesses, give an early warning both to the police and one another of thieves or trouble in the area. Three active Crime Prevention Associations organise regular lectures and support the work of the Crime Prevention departments by financing local initiatives (below). Self defence courses for women run by the Special Constabulary, are heavily over subscribed.

Scanned and edited by Rob Jerrard

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