Guildford 1961

1961: Guildford: Peter May: When I started at Guildford in October 1961 there was a Hillman Husky (J35) which covered shouts with the motor-cyclist(s).

Beats were numbered one to seven; six and seven were the outer areas of North-East (Bellfields etc) and East (Merrow) and these were the property of the longer serving officers (e.g. Sid Warren who lived at Bellfields; 'Drobney' Oliver - Merrow).

Beat 1 was the High Street and we younger ones used to wish for that beat because the attraction of standing in the High Street when all the shops closed at 5.30 pm was much sought after.

Beat 2 was North Street and around the bottom of the town. Friary Street at that time was a two-way traffic road! On Friday/Saturday day shifts you got it in the neck for allowing cars to park behind the market stalls, but didn't need to say anything when a certain sergeant called at the back of the stalls for his vegetables on his way home!

I think 3 beat was the area between the town and the By-Pass; 4 beat was Onslow Village and a nice bit about that was after the last telephone kiosk point at the Onslow Village shops on a summer 2-10 pm shift, you could free-wheel all the way down into the town. Lastly, I believe 5 beat was the area to the south of the town covering Shalford.

Around this time the force was on a six week rota. Due to manpower problems we went to a four week rota and the Chief Constable, Herman Rutherford, promised we would go back to the six-week system as soon as possible! One of the spare weeks was a traffic duty/parking 9-5 pm or 8-4 pm week which included manning the pedestrian crossing at the railway approach for traffic point duty.

Probationers were taken to these sites in the dead of night during night's weeks to be trained and given traffic control instruction by Sergeant George Cooper. (You had to stand on a particular manhole to get it right. It didn't quite work for me one daytime when I was doing the 5pm traffic duty there when Gerry Methold (HM Coroner) came bombing up Park Street and nearly took me out!).

The morning spot there was also keenly fought over because a certain young lady who had a very close resemblance to Elizabeth Taylor was the main attraction on her way to the station; this lady was the sister-in-law of one of our later longest serving officers!

Early turn on Sundays were interesting; very often with Bill Leahy or Ossie Wright as shift sergeant. First job was for someone to get the milk in for the tea and later, Alec Bucton would stink the police station our with his kipper breakfasts!

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