Introduction

Judge King Hamilton at the Old Bailey said "PCs Bailey and Redpath behaved in accordance with the highest traditions of the police where courage has no boundaries".

His Honour Judge Boland said: "I would like to say that the police officers, particularly Sergeant Stark, behaved in the most courageous way and in the best traditions of the British Police."

It is believed that nothing quite like this has been attempted before and is really the product of the electronic age and a tribute to so many of the older generation who have grasped the new technology. In parts this is an "oral history" albeit via email. It is not and never can be a comprehensive collation of all that happened over so long a period but, is hopefully, a fair representation of the life of what was a mixture of rural and urban policing. Every attempt has been made to provide accurate information but as much is reliant on individual memory of events long ago there can be conflict over facts. If anyone is aggrieved by an entry or omissions please make contact with the editor and a correction will be made in the next edition.

Avoiding the sentimentality of the past, this is an attempt to record what it was like to be a police officer in the Surrey Constabulary. It is true that human beings when looking back gloss over the bad and remember the good. There were many good times; often exciting, deeply interesting, challenging, all built on friendships and comradeship.

There were bad things. Not everyone we worked with was easy to get on with; some of our bosses were not up to it, nor were some of the people on the ground. It could be distressing, bloody, dangerous, boring, frustrating, violent, wet, cold, tiring, sore backsides from long cycle rides, stressful (although I think the term was not used) and the paperwork! The modern police officer believes they have discovered paper. We were experts!

We lost friends in accidents, and others through injury, forced to retire. One of our members was murdered and we all felt the pain. Others have shown outstanding courage and commitment to their duty. I will mention but one case in this introduction.

Five constables selected by the chance of being on duty in a small town were thrust suddenly and with little warning into the horrors of a major air crash at Horley in 1969. To read in the official report of their actions that night is a testament to over 150 years of service to the Surrey Constabulary and the people of the County. It must never be forgotten.

What is clear when reading this history is the variety and number of really serious incidents that occurred in what for much of the time was a rural constabulary. What has changed over the period of this work is Surrey; developed from a predominantly rural environment to much of it being an urban mass.

The north of the county taken back from the Metropolitan Police with the addition of Staines; Guildford, Woking and Camberley are linked to urban Hampshire and Berkshire down to Farnham. In the east Reigate Horley, Redhill, Banstead is now a significant conurbation joined to Sutton and Croydon and on into London; to the south the greater Crawley conurbation.

The main roads, railways, motorways, international airports at the top and bottom of the area have made the job so different. That is why it is important to capture whilst we can what was it like to have been a police officer in the Surrey Constabulary.

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