The Surrey Constabulary in 1959

2009:

When the late Chief Superintendent David Stewart retired (late 1980s) he visited each shift as they came on duty on his last day at Guildford. He told me afterwards that, despite a considerable increase in numbers, more PCs paraded for duty when he was at Guildford in the 50s than when he retired thirty years later.    Retired Superintendent Tony Kirton

The policeman represents a stable element in society at a time of rapid social and economic change. The decline in religious observance, a general lowering of moral standards, a restless, turbulent age – it is against this shifting background that the policeman is expected to set an example of old fashioned virtues.      Royal Commission 1960

Summary

This paper has been compiled from the reminiscences of those who served in 1959 with a few addition facts from recognised history references. The author has not had access to the HQ archives. The document will give a feel for the working life of the patrol constable on foot or cycle. There are some contradictory statements but it must be remembered that former officers are drawing on fifty year old memories.

From these memories and with some intelligent guesswork the figure of 342 officers out of an establishment 705 were dedicated to foot or cycle patrol divided between eight divisions – just under 50%. It must be born in mind that the figures in this paper are based on establishment and at this time nationally the police were operating 14% below establishment with the Home Counties carrying significant vacancies. This could indicate that the true operational strength was about 600 or so, but that can be no more than speculation.

Introduction

An important number of officers were dedicated to rural or section stations with CID numbers being very low by today's standards and Traffic in proportion high (See below for more detail on their role). It is likely that on the single station divisions about six officers would be available for foot/cycle patrol on each main shift and those with two subdivisions, three officers each shift at both stations with possibly two more on rural patrol.

There were also "cover shifts" when officers were available based around 10-6 pm and 6-2 am. However one officer recalls his section of three policed Woking for their eight hours on a regular basis. These officers would be supported by a sub-divisional area car (sometimes divisional) a motorcyclist a Traffic car and Traffic motorcyclists along with local supervisors for most divisional areas.

No one could say the workloads or administrative burden can be compared with modern times although there was plenty for the 1959 foot patrol to do. Commitments were more time consuming because of poor communications, lack of transport and an expectation that all tasks no matter how minor would receive careful attention from the police.

PC Charles Barnham at Guildford

PC Charles Barnham at Guildford

The Surrey Constabulary in 1959 undertook foot and cycle patrol in a way that would have been recognised by the Victorian constable. Recorded crime numbers and road accidents (collisions) were escalating along with the growth in traffic, impacting upon the Force and the deployment of resources.

A great deal of the serious crime was committed by criminals living outside of the county even though the Force had a considerable reputation amongst south London villains in particular for intensive stop and search checks. It is known that not going to Surrey was discussed in prison!

High visibility policing was ensured through experience that dictated high profile beats such as town centres as a priority; school crossing patrols; village constables well known to the community who visited every farm regularly for firearms enquiries and diseases of animals enforcement; standing for ten minutes every hour by phone boxes and interacting with the community (they would not have called it that!); visiting residential areas to check unoccupied houses. There was a longer working week and much less annual leave with not a great deal of general or specialist training with a great deal less and not so complicated paperwork for the patrols. Officers always wore helmets and were immediately obvious.

Annual Reports were not required at that time so that's why none can be found and therefore there is no easy route to obtain accurate information.

These were hard times for the police with low pay and increasing public expectations to counter particularly criminal activity. In 1959 Prime Minister Harold Macmillan won a third consecutive Tory general election and presided over an increasingly prosperous nation as the standard of living for the mass of the people rose. The party's manifesto boasted "we have cut taxes in seven Budgets" and declared sweepingly that "it was within the party's power to double the UK's standard of living within a generation."

Cutting taxes usually impacts upon public services; impacting public services probably meant low pay for the police and therefore with a burgeoning economy, better salaries were readily available without the discomforts of police life. (Taken in part from the BBC website) Police officers would need some persuasion that they "Never had it so good."

The 1962 report of the Royal Commission commented on the inadequacy of police pay in 1959. It was also recorded that by 1960 the maximum police pay for a constable was 5% below the national average and on the minimum scale 30%. Critchley (page 252) wrote:

And much had by now gone wrong, in consequence, with police strength, recruitment, and even, it seemed at times, morale with many officers dissatisfied with their lot. The war against crime was not being won.

Nationally, recruiting was brisk as many officers resigned or transferred although the numbers coming from National Service meant the often petty discipline was not too arduous or off-putting, particularly as the fierce discipline of previous years was moderating and unacceptable to many particularly following the War. To be a sergeant was normally to have served for fifteen or so years and an inspector twenty years plus.

Police numbers had increased by 10,000 between 1949-1959; totalling 70,000 officers in 1959 or one police officer for every 598 persons, although in London there were fewer officers than before the War. (Critchley page 264) From the Police Federation website:

The relative number of police officers per 100,000 of the population has fallen steadily since 2006 reducing from 260 to 254 per 100,000 or one officer for every 393 persons, with constables falling from 204 to 198 (2009).

If this trend continues over the next three years to 2012 then the relative number of police officers per 100,000 of the population will decline even further to 251 and constables down to 193.)

  • 1959 Surrey: 1 police officer for every 721 persons or 138 per 100,000
  • 1959 Nationally: 1 police officer for 598 persons or 167 per 100,000
  • 2009 Nationally: 1 police officer for 393 persons or 254 per 100,000

During the period 1949-1959 40,000 probationers were appointed. In 1959 2,000 left the service 93% during their first ten years, half of whom were probationers leaving the service 14% under strength nationally. Shortages were particularly acute in London, the Home Counties, West Midlands and the industrial north – some 50% of the population.

Policemen were always expensive and in 1959 there were competing demands. However in an interim report of the Royal Commission officers on maximum pay scale were to be awarded the equivalent of a 40% pay rise. During the year before the Commission's report a net total of 500 men were lost to the service. In the following two and a half years there was a net gain of 7,000.

The Royal Commission making the case for a substantial rise in pay reported:

The police are expected to know more than was necessary twenty, even ten years ago; the public expect them to achieve higher standards in the application of their knowledge; their duties have increased; and they are required to discharge these duties in circumstances which are probably as difficult as at any time since the police were first established during the last century.      Critchley, page 277.

The inspector was prominent in the life of the constable but ranks above that were rarely seen except when in trouble! The 1960 Royal Commission on the police could not find a graduate serving and declared that "the tincture of bookishness" was the death knell to a career.

Authorised Establishment

  • 1 Chief Constable – Herman Rutherford
  • 1 Assistant Chief Constable
  • 1 Chief Superintendent
  • 10 Superintendents
  • 11 Chief Inspectors
  • 36 Inspectors
  • 135 Sergeants
  • 705 Constables

Not normally on patrol duties:

  • 1 Woman Chief Inspector
  • 5 Women Sergeants
  • 30 Women Constables

Total:

  • 900 men and 36 women = 936

The figure of about 347 officers available for foot patrol in 1959 is an educated guess with how this figure was arrived at set out below. The Force area is now larger having recovered the whole of the county of Surrey, although Gatwick airport and surrounding area was lost to Surrey in the 1970s.

(In 1959 the British Airport's Constabulary policed Gatwick Airport. However, prisoners were taken from the airport to police stations on the eastern side of the county.)

Estimate deployment in Surrey Constabulary

Area/crime car

 

Take anything that came in. When not deployed would undertake stop checks as a deterrent and to capture criminals and traffic process.

Excellent local knowledge and policed the philosophy that criminals are also prolific traffic offenders and one will lead to the other.

Some of the 8 Divisions. would have two sub-divisional cars others one. Not all would work 24 hours every day and at times the car would run solo if staff were short.

Possibly 14 cars x 2 men x three shifts = 84.

Car crews 84 constables.

It is likely that all the major towns had a car with best case 24 hour cover with two crew but frequently not all hours were covered, there would have been solo working and additional reserve crew provided from foot patrol.

Some sub-divisions combined to make a crew and Guildford Division and possibly Woking just had the one car.

Motor-cycle

The real work horse of the divisions dealing with incidents but mainly paper enquiries and sudden deaths

13 x 2 shifts = 26 + 13 reserves = 39 constables

One motor bike for each main station = 13 motor bikes with two officers to cover 16 hours plus a reserve covering days off, although some areas did not run with a reserve and the bike worked 9-5 if staff were short.

Station Officers

Worked the public counter, front office and liaised with Control. Usually an experienced man but not always.

Possibly 13 stations, 3 officers a day = 39 - reserves taken as needed from patrol strength.

39 constables

PCs in the station office 24 hours a day – normally a senior constable who could deal with callers and stop the need to deploy a constable.

Traffic

Provided a significant part of proactive policing answering 999 calls, stop checks and arresting criminals in addition to traffic related duties. They also gave the force the ability to respond to serious incidents with Control moving them where they were needed anywhere in the county. It was possible that three Traffic cars could be deployed along with a dog handler and local resources. Traffic officers were usually very experienced officers.

Four garages with five areas Chertsey W1 Burpham W2 and W3 Dorking E4 and Godstone E5.

Each area 3 cars 24 hours double crew.

5x3x3x2 = 90 constables.

One superimposed car a day on each area duties discretional 5x2=10 constables.

Motorcyclists 2 per areax5=10 constables.

Driving school 2 and Traffic Admin 2.

Total 114 constables

Former chief supt. traffic (PC at the time) provided the numbers. In 1959 also a supt., chief inspector, two inspectors and five sergeants. By 1964 the establishment was 122.

The supervisors would often use a de-commissioned ex-patrol car or call a car and sit in the back whilst they patrolled. Many times the traffic car would be single-manned due to court attendance; with motorcyclists this would have an even greater effect.

Court attendance would have a huge impact on availability. Numbers supplemented by probationers on attachment, using motorcyclists as crew and occasionally a member of division particularly for specialist patrols.

CID

Low in numbers and dealt with the more serious crime as patrols dealt with the bulk. If a murder or other very serious crime would come together from across the county.

8 Divisions with four constables on each = 32 constables plus 10 in HQ.

Total 42 constables

Four CID constables at Guildford and possibly the same at Oxted and Guildford so 8 divisions may equal about 32 on CID.

Crime Bureaux: Fingerprint dept 1 but much work was local.

Photographic Dept approx 2 Production of, and study of circulations/crime information etc (4-5) SB (2) HQ, Crime Bureau.

Control Room

Acted as the voice and will of the Chief Constable.

One PC on each shift.

4 constables

Control Room one PC a shift with four shifts = 4 (Plus a sergeant and a civilian).

Dog Section

One of the first established with handlers not in a traditional section as they worked on divisions with a regional training school at HQ.

8 constables

A number of dog handlers, say 8 including the one at the dog training school.

Divisional and Prosecutions Office

 

8 divisions with two constables in each = 16 constables

Each division had a divisional office and process office staffed by a sergeant supported by two PCs and civilians – 8 divisions 8 sergeants and 16 constables.

Additional abstractions

 

8 divisional mechanics/drivers, 3 acting as tradesmen, 2 in GO.

13 constables

Divisional mechanic, painter, carpenter, printer, General Office. There was also a sergeant running the force garage at Ladymead.

Constable establishment

 

705 constables

 

Estimated abstraction from foot patrol as set out above

 

358 constables

 

Foot patrol availability after abstractions

 

347 constables

 

Rural sections

 

Possibly 126 officers on rural section stations some would work 10-6 am or 6-2 am but the highest number would have been between 8 am -12 mn.

At least: Frimley, Bagshot, Ash, Frensham, Hindhead, Haslemere, Cranleigh, Horsley, Shere, Ripley, Brookwood, Wentworth, Egham, Bookham, Holmwood, Merstham, Horley, Salfords, Warlingham, Lingfield, Caterham on the Hill.

Numbers varied from about 6 to as many as twelve so a guesstimate of 6 per section for 21 sections = 126

Allocation to divisions for foot/cycle patrol

The pool for patrol and anything else that needed doing. Many were probationary constables.

Available resources would for most divisions include a number of foot/cycle patrols, rural officers, area car, motorcycle, Traffic car and motorcycle and a dog handler. In addition there were supervisors including rural sergeants, and CID would respond if necessary. It was not unusual in the early 1960s for Control to move units to where they were needed and this was probably so in the 1950s.

Total of 347 on foot patrol divided between 8 divisions = 43 constables a division for foot/cycle patrol including rural.

43 on four shifts leaving 10.75 per shift before abstractions.

Abstractions: Of this 10.75, 2 would have been rural, say 1 on annual leave and 1 probationer either in force training or on refresher or final course. A gaoler at court or in the police station if busy, court commitments, prisoner escort will reduce the number further.

This would leave most shifts at single police station divisions 6 constables or where there are two sub divisions 3 constables for foot patrol.

Officers worked an 88-hour fortnight and about 14-21 days annual leave. Time off was taken in lieu of overtime with units claimed for overtime in excess of 45 minutes.

Guildford and Woking having one divisional station and no sub divisions would average 16.5 constables a shift and where there are sub divisions 50% of this figure.

A typical shift at Redhill would be Sergeant, Station Officer, and town beat man maybe one or two cycling the outskirts plus a 9-5 or 10-6 who would cover the town for the meal-break of the town officer then cover the Station Officer for his break.

One officer recalls working Woking with three on a shift and the sergeant going off duty at midnight.

Civilian staff

 

Authorised 181

Actual 153

 

Cadets

 

60

Undertook a great deal of the administrative tasks on division and in HQ alongside their training and development.

Visible Policing

Why was there more visible policing? A longer working week, less annual leave, fewer training abstractions ensured officers were available for duty more than today with several of these duties making them highly visible to the public.

  • Uniform: Nearly every officer wore an instantly recognisable helmet (to be in public without a cap or helmet was a huge indiscretion) with the overwhelming majority of the force undertaking uniform duties. Officers had a presence more so because few organisations wore a similar uniform.
  • Local crime enquiries were thorough and involved speaking to a lot of people who would then be aware of police activity.
  • Traffic point duty and parking enforcement. Undertaking point duty and school crossing patrols meant local police officers met with many parents and children and fell out with many motorists.
  • Foot patrols in high streets/town centres was a priority.
  • Unoccupied house visits in residential areas.
  • Standing for ten minutes in the hour by a phone box during which some of the paperwork was undertaken.
  • Paperwork for patrol officers was not complex; a great deal went into registers or required completion of a proforma.
  • The large number of men attached to rural stations usually living where they worked, undertaking police work when off duty (or by his wife) and with huge amounts of local knowledge. Many issues were resolved without a pencil being drawn! When it is considered that most if not all divisions had rural sections, Ash, Milford, Cranleigh, Haslemere, Hindhead, Frimley, Ripley, Byfleet, Horsley, Bookham, Holmwood, Warlingham, Lingfield and so on across the county with a sergeant and six or more men, some had two sergeants and a dozen officers, rural staffing was a major part of the "business". Parading for duty was not the norm for rural officers many started at a phone box near their village home.
  • Most officers lived in the towns where they worked and travelled to work in uniform by cycle or on foot. Many were known off duty as police officers.
  • Some divisions such as Dorking had two main stations i.e. Dorking and Leatherhead, Reigate had Redhill and Horley, Oxted had Caterham, Farnham was joined with Camberley; the pool of officers was dissipated i.e. sub-divisions and rural sections along with other abstractions. Woking and Guildford seemed to have more officers but this may be a consequence of there being no sub-divisions and officers parading together.
  • The use of split shifts and cover shifts of 9-5, 10-6 pm, 4-12 mn and 6-2 am made more staff visible. Additional staffing was arranged to meet public order demands in off duty military concentration areas such as Guildford, could be significant.
  • In the rural areas the focus on diseases of animal's legislation and firearms licensing ensured that all farmers were visited and got to know their local officers.

Policing the county in 1959

  1. The Force was a different place in 1959. There was much more of a "family feel" to the way of life with a great deal of sport, social activity based around the Club at all the large police stations, fewer people and wives and children knew each other. Many lived in police houses attached to or close to other police houses and friendships for life were formed. It was not perfect; many of the police constables and supervisors did not have the personality for the work and could be difficult but in the main people got on well and supported each other. There were high expectations of personal behaviour and standard of work.
  2. More hours worked per officer, an eighty-eight hour fortnight, i.e. five-day week followed by a six-day week. There were fewer abstractions for training. Most drivers and riders were authorised after a brief test by a member of the driving school (Traffic constables), no public order or firearm's training. Outside probation little on offer although parent constable and senior constable courses were developed probably in the early 1960s. Annual leave was believed to have been between 14-21 days.
  3. Split shifts were frequent, i.e. a gap between two lots of four hours. This meant no meal break and you were working for the full eight and not seven and a quarter hours. Officers paraded for duty a quarter of an hour before their shift then off out for the start of the duty. Common shifts, 9-1, 6-10, 6-2 in the morning, 10-2 am, 1-9, and 8-4 am; start at 6, 2, 10, or on Traffic 7, 3, 11 to ensure cover. All combinations often with no particular pattern with one rest day per week and one additional rest day per fortnight. Some divisions there was no particular rest day pattern – officers did as they were told! CID frequently worked twelve hours a day or longer; 9 am–10 pm, when on days or 9 am -10 pm if on late!
  4. Officers could not normally go sick without a sickness certificate from a doctor. If reporting over the telephone with a cold officers had to be speaking to someone very sympathetic, otherwise they would say take time off from your units."Time off sick was not a problem; not being on duty was regarded as letting your colleagues down. The job was regarded as a vocation. You worked with colleagues who, unless it was a blatant crime/error, would attempt to make things right. This happened at all levels, although there was inevitably someone who enjoyed schadenfreude."
  5. The ladies worked under their own supervisors, in their own offices and did not work a shift pattern concentrating on women and girls. They did undertake foot patrols usually in town centres. Women and men had separate section house in some divisions which ensured an active social life!
  6. To be posted to Traffic required a report saying you were interested – if they wanted you, off you would go. Brief driving test by one of the inspectors and a key to the garage! Training followed at a later stage once the applicant became an experienced driver.
  7. CID had a six month learner phase and if accepted you would become a detective constable which in time would lead to a course at a detective training school, probably Hendon or in the far north. HQ CID consisted of Crime Bureau with a few officers working on MO, crime circulations and others on fingerprints and photographic. There were also two SB officers. Scenes of Crime was very rudimentary – a uniform officer with a motorbike and a wooden box. Scenes of Crime Officer Cliff Woodman was the first to become scenes of crime officer in the 1950s at Horley, in those days it was a uniform officer who did it on a part time basis. His mode of transport was his pedal cycle to which he strapped on a wooden box containing equipment and off he would go and pedal to the scene. Surrey had a blood and paint index; all the standard samples would be taken, glass paint wood fibres etc. Fingerprinting examination was done with graphite for light surfaces and chalk for dark surfaces these were applied with a squirrel haired brush. When a print was found a photographer would attend from Mount Browne with his full plate camera to photograph the print and forward it to fingerprint department. Training for fingerprint examination was given at Mount Browne. Forensic training was given at Scotland Yard and explosive training at Woolwich and in Bordon, Hampshire. Ray Woodman joined Scenes of Crime at Leatherhead in the mid 1950s, having the same training as Cliff. (In time a third brother, Vic became a Scenes of Crime Officer)
  8. "The Scenes of Crime Officer, or Clues Officer (as I was then known), was a uniform PC who attended by cycle, carrying the box of brushes, powder, etc. on the handlebars. Incidentally, the box had been made by the DI who was a skilled carpenter. Any clues found were submitted to Crime Bureau at HQ or a photographer came out from there. Apart from one photographer being a civilian, there was no scientific support within the Force. There was no stolen car squad. Few people had cars and if they were out in it at night, if they were not checked, details of the vehicle was written on a form and submitted at the end of the duty for the attention of CID."
  9. All crime reports were submitted to and seen by the chief constable who would frequently make comments in green ink – hopefully "Good work".
  10. 1959: crime nationally 675,000 a rise of 8% on 1958 – police had never been so hard pressed. Detection rate dropping but police numbers had not kept up with the demands of crime and growth in traffic. The following for Surrey gives an indication of the rising levels of reported crime:
    • Crime Statistics Comparison:
                 Crimes   Breaks
      1958    8,339    1,945
      1959   9,150     1,926
      1962  11,035    2,519
      1964  13,488    3,481
  11. Have regard to the less efficient way of dealing with crime in 1959; the greater expectation from senior officers and from the public in the level of interest and time dedicated to an investigation. The same can be said for road accidents. Almost non existent communications for foot patrols and limited transport.
  12. Nationally growth of crime outstripped police numbers. Nationally in 1959 there were more police than ever before in peacetime – many not fully trained due to the large number of probationers - 10,000 more police than in 1940. Half of those leaving nationally were probationers but the remainder were fully trained imposing a critical handicap on a service already 14% under strength. The loss of any trained officer represented a cost to a strained budget.
  13. Total strength: 1959, 70,000 or one police officer for every 598 persons although there was a much poorer ratio in Surrey.
  14. Civilians: 1949-59 3881-8082 (By 1975 risen to 20,000) – many policemen were released for patrol duties in consequence.
  15. Many competing demands on the countries resources in 1959 and policing was not a high spending priority.
  16. The condition of policing in the late 50s led to the Royal Commission 1960.
  17. Control Room: "When I joined as a Cadet in 1962 I worked in the Control Room in the old building in Mount Browne. There were four rotas and each had a sergeant, PC and a civilian operator. Plus there were two cadets. Also the main switchboard was adjacent and this was manned by control room staff when the one telephonist was not working. It also has to be considered that before main trunk dialling nearly all external and internal calls throughout the force went via the HQ switchboard."
  18. Stop checks were a part of the culture and were undertaken by foot and mobile patrols endlessly. However to undertake a CRO check or a stolen vehicle check there was a need to be near a phone, or have one of the few force radios, then wait a significant time for an answer from New Scotland Yard.
  19. In November 1959 that the Minister of Transport opened the London to Birmingham Motorway - the M1 which signalled the modern age of traffic policing for which Surrey had a significant reputation, not the least amongst criminals who would avoid the county as they knew they would be stopped.
  20. Radio channel M2HJ was shared with the Fire Service. "Most 999 calls were genuine, but not always of an urgent nature. Urgent calls were often attended by the duty sergeant, who picked up the beat PC en route. There were no personal radios, so messages were passed by telephone when the PC made his next 'point'. This may seem like an unnecessary delay, but it must be remembered that there were far fewer incidents and the public did not expect everything to be dealt with 'yesterday'. The station officer was a PC, usually one who had several years' service, who knew his way around the 'manor'. Station officers had considerable experience and were able to resolve a great many calls for help on the phone or at the counter.
  21. Police Cadets: Every police station had a quota of cadets who underwent training, including day release to technical colleges, but had responsibilities for a great deal of the administration; accident recording, registering correspondence, records of aliens, helping out in the enquiry office, and operating the frightening switchboard along with many a stray task that needed to be done including tea making. Cadets, depending on their supervisor's willingness, also went on patrol with constables on foot or in the car.
  22. Uniform: "When I joined the cadets 1956 some of the constables on nights still wore the old collar tunics. Capes were also worn - they were warm but devilish things to dry. Helmets were the order of the day. You did not get a cap unless you undertook regular driving duties and they had to be worn even when driving. Failure to wear a cap, unless officially excused after a report to the Superintendent, would result in at least a reprimand. Whistles worn Surrey not Metropolitan Police style i.e. the way the chain was wound around the top button. Whistles were our method of communicating with one another but as there were so few of us I doubt whether anyone would have heard! Lamp, cycle and boot allowances were paid as was one for typewriters."
  23. Probationary Constables: One officer at least, spent his first two weeks as a police officer living at Mount Browne and working in the vegetable garden before going to training school. "The mode of transport on division in the late 50s early 60s depended on your posting. In a town, particularly its centre, eight hours of foot patrol was the norm. On a rural area or in the outer areas of a town then the pedal cycle was the means of propulsion. Personal radios did not exist and the only contact with the police station was via the public telephone system or via a co-operative member of the public's telephone usually from shop/business premises. The patrolling officer could only be contacted by the police station once an hour whilst making a 'conference point'. The officer's duty sheet provided a set of conference points to be made each hour. Normally this was a telephone box (TK) but sometimes a private house or business premises. The point would be referred to as K then a number indicating the telephone box in question e.g. K21 or by the name of the premises, e.g. 'Rose Cottage'. The officer was expected to remain at the point for ten minutes, normally five before and five after the hour. If an officer was needed to attend an incident then it had to wait until telephone contact could be made. Any urgent matter was usually dealt with by a traffic car or the divisional wireless car. If neither was available it was not unknown for the station officer to'shut up shop' and attend in any vehicle that could be found".
  24. A probationer constable would not be authorised to drive police vehicles. Before authorisation was granted an application to drive would be submitted through a supervisor and would only be considered at HQ if the superintendent's 'blessing' was given. Once approval was given a member of the HQ Driving School would attend the police station and the applicant would undergo a driving test. If successful the officer would be considered fit to drive divisional vehicles. Eventually a driving course (of one week's duration) might be offered. There were no blue lights fitted and the divisional wireless car was a Hillman Husky estate (a very small one) with a bell mounted under the bonnet (this was louder inside than outside the vehicle).
  25. Training: "A very superior knowledge of police law was demanded." "I joined Surrey Constabulary in August 1958 and spent from 11 August to 8 November 1958 at No. 6 District Police Training Centre at Sandgate, a total of thirteen weeks. There were many lectures in the classroom, PE outdoors or in the gym, life saving/swimming in the outdoor pool on Folkestone sea front, and a great deal of practical lessons on the roads at the centre - traffic control, how to deal with road traffic accidents, unlawful parking (including no lights "They were on when I left home, Officer"), etc. At Sandgate there were three exams to test progress, and, as the first two years of service were probationary years, poor results on the exam could lead to dismissal. During the first week at the training centre, each officer was given a booklet containing definitions which he had to learn by heart. Following the passing out parade officers went to headquarters before being conveyed to their postings. There was no section house at Oxted so all single men there were in digs. "My digs were about two miles from the police station which meant that I often started duty at the nearest telephone box, before going to the station."
  26. During the probationary period, one day each month was spent in the classroom. I went to Reigate police station and had lectures from an inspector from Training Department together with homework which entailed researching a subject and writing several pages about it. These papers were handed in at the next session, where they were marked and paper handed out for the next month's topic. After about a year's service, and again after two years, I went back to Sandgate for two weeks for further study. During those first two years each probationer was attached to various sections for a fortnight each time. Divisional Office, CID, Traffic Department and Headquarters - to give a taster of what each section entailed. The section sergeant submitted a progress report on his probationers each six months.
  27. Probationers attended an initial thirteen week training course at a Home Office District Police Training Centre. Learning was to a great depth with many subjects covered that a constable, let alone a probationer, would never deal with such as murder, infanticide etc. In force the officer would attend training one day per month throughout the probation period of two years with'homework' being set by the training sergeant at each session. During the first twelve months attendance of two weeks at the District Training Centre on the Inter Probation Course took place with a Final Probation Course of two weeks duration taking place during the last few months of probation. This was of course supplemented by 'on the job' training on a day-to-day basis. During the two-year probation an officer would be attached to traffic and CID for two weeks in each.
  28. Paper enquiries were allocated to officers as there were no 'enquiry sections'. Apart from the routine enquiries such as taking accident statements for other divisions/forces, interviewing offenders for other forces, vehicle driver/owner enquires, delivering death/serious illness messages, visiting unoccupied houses, checking licensed premises with the sergeant there were many other time consuming matters such as acting as the coroner's officer in sudden deaths (if you had a hospital on the patch that was a very regular task). Visiting farmers to enforce Diseases of Animals legislation e.g. checking on the movement of pigs and sheep, ensuring movement registers were up to date and that cattle had the correct ear tags inserted. In the case of some diseases it was also a police responsibility to carry out the burning of the carcases (a very long and smelly job).
  29. Firearms enquiries were undertaken by the local PC. This entailed visiting the licence holder every three years, checking the firearms and ammunition against the certificate and reporting on the suitability of the applicant to continue to hold or to be issued with a certificate. This process frequently caused much aggravation for the police who always sought justification for having a weapon.
  30. Issue of alien's certificates was another responsibility, usually when employed as a station officer. The alien would attend the police station with photographs and an application form and a certificate would be issued if all was in order. (Often a task for the cadet which was very advantageous given they were the same age as many of the au pair!)
  31. "I think the key difference between then and now is that in the olden days there was a "can do" attitude towards requests from the public whereas now the emphasis seems to be on a "it's not our job" attitude. I well recall going to a home in Merrow one Sunday morning when the occupant had called for help because she had locked herself out of the house. I found a ladder, climber through a bedroom window and let her in - to be rewarded with a glass of sherry."
  32. Chief Constable Herman Rutherford's policy of endeavouring to give all officers every other Sunday off - attracted a lot of transfer applications from other forces.
  33. Female officers only received 90% of the male officer rate of pay.
  34. I am reminded of the definitions book. I can still stagger through "a pedlar is a man who goes from house to house or town to town, selling or offering for sale ..." and of course an animal "horse cattle ass sheep mule pig goat or dog" (NB not cats). We also on beat duties checked chemist's dangerous drugs registers and I remember going to nice houses in the Chobham area to see if "alien" au pairs were still in the country."
  35. These days do they still do "quick turnarounds" like we did? Come off nights at 6 am, back on duty at 2 pm? The real killer was to follow that with a 6 am-2 pm, two quick turnarounds on the trot!
  36. In Guildford there was a four-shift system in operation, 10 pm to 6 am, 2 to 10 pm and 6 am to 2 pm, the following week was an 8 or 9 am to 4 or 5 pm, which was to keep Guildford town running during main opening hours. A day shift in the town was mainly spent keeping the traffic moving, issuing tickets reporting motorists for parking offence one being 'unnecessary obstruction'. Lorries were not allowed to hang about when unloading and would quite often be sent around the block if it was thought there was too many close together. Traffic control at Star Corner and the railway station was done daily and on Saturdays a four-man system worked the traffic through the High Street with the man at the traffic lights at Friary Street being the key. From there a man was posted at Star Corner (the junction for Horsham Traffic) and the two pedestrian crossings further up the street. On nights every shop door was tested for insecurities and where possible the backs of property were also checked out. After meal break at about 2.00 am, it was on the pushbike and premises further out were checked. On all duties unoccupied property was expected to be checked, suspicious cars noted and suspicious persons checked. The'stop book' was just a few lines done in a few minutes. It is estimated that out of an eight-hour shift, seven hours would be spent on patrol.
  37. All shifts started with a briefing parade fifteen minutes before the start hour. Each officer had to have his own bicycle making points at telephone kiosks (TK) about every hour where he would wait for ten minutes for a supervisory visit or a call from the police station. Possibly between six and ten officers were on each shift. There was always a sergeant. Officers worked a forty four hour week; split shifts were rare in Guildford and there was one paid rest day each month. Other overtime except Bank Holidays (paid) was taken as time off in lieu. We were paid weekly by cheque, which came by post. Pay was about £6 a week and nearly all of us trouped around to the tobacconists in North Street to get them cashed.
  38. In Guildford in 1963 the area car J35 had a radio as did the sergeant's vehicle and the motorcycle – nothing else. Divisions were heavily supported by Traffic vehicles which of course in 1959 were on radio.
  39. Oxted Division, Caterham Sub Division. Divided into Valley Section, Caterham on the Hill and Warlingham. Duties were on foot and bicycle and the shifts were mainly a week about of 10 to 6 am, 2 to 10 pm and 6 to 2 pm and very occasionally a seat in the local crime car. "Whereas in Guildford I cannot say that I was ever recognised out of uniform in Caterham being much smaller, the locals did get to know you. Duties always started at the police station at the appointed hour with a briefing with our section sergeant who was always available. There would only be about two constables reporting for duty. There was only one inspector who mainly worked the day shift and was available at other times. The Valley Section had a variety of shops which kept the duty officers busy for the morning or afternoon, on foot in the town, after that he would be on his bike checking property and doing general patrols checking suspicious vehicles and people. Once again the great majority of the time was spent on the beat with only a few minutes making up the 'stop' register and noting suspicious vehicles. Late duties and nights although starting at the police station, would often finish with a ten minute point at a TK near to the officers home. Probationer training was done at Reigate each month."
  40. Hours worked and overtime was about the same as at Guildford in 1958. Although most of the county used to be involved with Lingfield Races several times a year, the local division had a very good share of the duties. This was rest day overtime for payment. In those days the races were littered with uniform policemen on the course and in the car parks.
  41. Caterham: "I joined the Job in 1957, did three months initial training at Sandgate, as one of the largest single intakes into the Surrey Constabulary at that time. Sadly, very few of made it to retirement, an awful lot packed up in probation period or towards mid service. Thomas Sharkey Hamilton was a Scotsman and one of my course; married a Danish girl he met while doing a routine aliens check, died as a serving police officer. When we came out of Sandgate, we had a weeks 'Familiarisation' course, to show us how to write reports the Surrey Constabulary way, and to familiarise us with the local forms, SC 101 etc, then on to our postings. Being a Caterham boy, I was sent to Caterham, where they gave me Whyteleafe as my patch, as they thought away from people I might know. We had a training day once a month at Reigate when training staff from Mount Browne. We travelled there by bus. After a year on probation, when officers undertook a number of attachments before returning to Sandgate for two weeks course. One day every month of training continued until the end of probation, when officers returned to Sandgate for a final two weeks. The sergeant's law exam could not be taken until five years service had been completed and there was also a requirement to pass an 'Education' exam, which could be taken anytime. This consisted of maths, English, geography. There was also a current affairs paper, where officers were asked about various government officials. It was a great relief to many people when it was abolished! Officers were advised to read the Daily Telegraph when preparing for this exam.
  42. Points to be made, at telephone boxes at Caterham were all by name, i.e. Whyteleafe post office, Kenley Aerodrome etc, and were written out on a time sheet by the night duty station officers, once a week. You had the top sheet, which you submitted at the end of the week, and a long strip carbon copy to keep in your pocket book so you knew where you had to be. When a house became available, my wife and I moved to Woking, in November 1959 where points were all numbers, i.e. K1, outside the police station, K2 at the bottom of the hill on the Guildford Road, towards Guildford, etc.
  43. Communication! Officers had a system of contacting the police station without using cash. With the old A and B buttons in the telephone kiosk (TK), lift the receiver, put in two pennies and dial the number. When the station officer answered the call, you would shout down the ear piece the TK location and put the phone down without pressing A. Press B and get money back and the Station Officer would ring back.
  44. Caterham: Shifts 9-1 pm and 9-1 am were not uncommon. An inspector was in charge with sergeants and a host of PCs. CID a DS a DC and various CID learners. The DI was based at Oxted with a DS. A large number of the younger officers had recently left the armed services while some of the others had served in the Cyprus Police Force. There was a WPC and if there was a woman prisoner a WPC was always called for and they were often brought over from Reigate or Redhill. If the woman was to be kept in overnight a Police Matron (civilian) would be employed.
  45. The Guards Depot (Caterham on the Hill) and two large mental hospitals nearby provided many tasks for the local constables. The A22 (London to Eastbourne) had a lot of weekend traffic. I am not sure when Hillman Huskies first were used but I can remember cleaning J45 which was a Hillman/Comer estate car with column change as well the CID Ford replaced at some stage by a Morris Minor and the inspector's personal car. I seem to remember cleaning the sergeant's black Ford van as well.
  46. Log Books of radio messages RX and TX in all radio vehicles and at Police Stations with radios. Bound lost and found property registers. I believe red for found and black for lost entries. Likewise for lost dogs. Police officers got into more trouble about lost and found dogs (especially the ones that escaped!) property and drinking on duty than anything else. I seem to remember that an Inspector shot himself with the police issue revolver held at Caterham Police Station. Not sure whether this was before or after I was based there. I think it was after. Lots of - probably most - police officers smoked, many of them pipes. You could smoke in non public offices but not in cars.
  47. As a cadet 1955 to 1958 I remember writing out the duty sheets (sheets of foolscap taped together) for the men's duties with carbon copies and taking Express and All Ports warnings over the land line link to division. There were fixed private wires (telephone lines) from HQ to a number of divisional stations with links on to other divisions further distant. I think from Caterham we had to get the link to Oxted first and then on to Reigate or Dorking to reach HQ. It was quite an exercise to circulate one of these messages from HQ. Once received it was entered word for word in the Day Book. It was also relayed to those PCs on duty at conference points at telephone kiosk over the public phone lines. At Caterham we would also have to relay these messages to the Warlingham office when it was attended (see later).
  48. Criminal Record Checks and suspect stolen vehicle checks could be done by contacting New Scotland Yard (then situated on the Thames just the other side of Westminster Bridge from the Houses of Parliament). It was an arduous task having to link together in force lines before trying to get the HQ to New Scotland Yard line. Fortunately we had a direct line to Kenley (Met Police) just three miles down the road and could be put through to New Scotland Yard from there. There was a lot of liaison between Caterham and Kenley and even Croydon, its Div HQ. To find out the registered keeper of a motor vehicle you had to contact the area council holding the record (PA - P J was Surrey CC) and ask for details. It was very difficult out of office hours to get these details as the force HQ concerned had to be contacted and they made arrangements to get them - it took hours! There was only a Telex machine at HQ but no teleprinter on division. In the Enquiry Office at Caterham there was a fixed receive only radio on which to monitor what was going on and to listen out for Serial and Attention Drawn messages issued by HQ Control Room (M2HJ). Serial Messages were about stolen vehicles, absconders, escapees, etc. At this time the Surrey Fire Service/Brigade used the same frequency as the police and they used to call up every single station to test their radio equipment at around 10 am each day and taking several minutes to do so.
  49. A sergeant was in charge at Warlingham with a number of PCs. The sergeant used his private vehicle for supervisory purposes and I can't remember there being a police vehicle allocated to his section other than a motor bike.
  50. I can recall Diseases of Animals movement records being handled by the officers at Warlingham, Woldingham and Chaldon and the occasional Foot and Mouth and Anthrax outbreaks.
  51. When I transferred from Caterham to Camberley the standard shift start times altered from 0600, 1400 and 2200 to 0700, 1500 and 2300. I think that F (Farnham) Division was the only territorial division to work these shifts. I must say I preferred the later start to shifts. We also had a three day long weekend (Sat-Mon) every four weeks. Rest-day (RD), RD then seven nights RD seven late, RD D seven early followed by a RD. Eventually with extra rest days off rather than paid it became a four day weekend with the Friday off as well. One could be granted units off to compensate for unpaid overtime, time and a half or time and a third depending the type of day (ordinary or RD) being worked. If you were involved in Force Sport (representing the force additional time off was granted. Some Superintendents would grant T/O for divisional sport as well. Likewise for First Aid and Lifesaving Competitions duty time would be allowed.
  52. Shotgun licences were not issued by the police but by the Post Office. Only experienced constables would be allowed to make firearms certificate enquiries. Miss Doris Fraser ran the Firearms Dept. at HQ and one would have satisfy her demands before she would place the renewal or grant application before the DCC.
  53. When first posted to a station after initial training you were attached to an experienced PC for a couple of weeks or so. He supervised the completion of various reports and tried to ensure that you had as much experience as possible during that period. If an road traffic accident (RTA) happened the station officer would try to reach you to send you with your supervising PC to deal with it. Likewise sudden deaths, different crimes including those considered extremely minor nowadays, e.g. theft of milk, coal. They also tried to ensure that you completed at least one process report during this period. Other things were also taught. If for some reason you were going to be late for a telephone kiosk (TK) point and there was a sergeant likely to be there to meet you just stopped the first vehicle coming along and did a check for documents. If you had something in your pocket book, the sergeant could say very little, even if he might be suspicious! The trick was to avoid stopping the sergeant on his way to meet you further on. Later in service I used this dodge more than once and had some useful crime detections or process reports as a result. Just luck I suppose but it sometimes saved a long cycle ride to the next TK when you were running late. Some sergeants would have you cycling from one end of your patrol area and back all shift if they had it in for you. Talking about checks we also had to record vehicles seen at night on a form so part of your patrol was spent recording such details. There would be trouble you if you hadn't recorded any vehicles when there was a call for them during the following day because of some particular crime or incident. You would even be woken from your slumbers after nights for them!
  54. Oxted: In 1959 Oxted was the divisional station but the crime car ran from Caterham. It had regular drivers from Caterham but twice a week, 6 pm - 2 am, it had an observer from Oxted. That was when it specifically patrolled the sub division i.e. Lingfield, Godstone, Bletchingley and Nutfield, although it often got sent to incidents on the Caterham sub div. There was no crime car at Oxted, there was a sergeant's car (crime car and sergeant's car were Hillman Huskies), a sub divisional motorcycle, (Triumph) and a brown van.
  55. I have trawled through my pocket books for 1959 to try to see what the Oxted complement was then. It appears there was a chief inspector an inspector with cover from Caterham at times); three sergeants and at least twenty one PCs. That number included motorcyclists (J.21, J.22) and the Div. Mech. He appears to have often covered the office PCs meal break and been the driver of the brown van. When I was observer on the Crime Car (J.45) from Caterham, there seems to have been regular drivers. CID had a detective inspector and a detective sergeant, two or three detective constables and a civilian typist. My Traffic attachment was to Godstone Traffic and I have 'booked' a PS and six PCs. I am sure there were more. My week comprised two nights, three late, one day shift and a rest-day. On Friday 25 December 1959, I worked a split shift, 2-6 pm standby at police station 10-2 am beat patrol with Bank Holiday leave on Boxing Day.
  56. Strength at Oxted was chief inspector, inspector, four sergeants and ten or a dozen PCs. Div. Office was one PS and one PC, CID was a DI, a DS and two or three DC. Div. Mechanic (PC) and Cleaner (retired PC) did all the 'stray' jobs between them. Although Oxted was the divisional station, it was fast becoming relegated to a Sub Divisional station.
  57. Oxted: A rota of a week of nights, a week of late and a week of early was followed, with three days off per fortnight. With a full complement of men, early, normally 6-2 pm, might become a 9-5 pm; a late, normally 2-10 pm, might become 4-12 mn and a 10-6 am night duty might be 6-2 am. We had no civilian school crossing patrol; it was covered by a PC working 8 am-1 pm, 3-6 pm the last part of this duty being relief for the station officer.
  58. Godstone Section: Six PCs covering four villages mainly on bicycle- Reported to village police office from where they telephoned Oxted police station to book on/off duty.
  59. Godstone Office had a sergeant ) and two to three PCs working from it as well as PCs at both Nutfield and Bletchingly.
  60. Leatherhead: Each division/section worked duties to suit the area based around three main duties 2200 to 0600, 0600 to 1400, and 1400 to 2200, with various covering shifts between, 0800 to 1600, 1600 to 2359, and 0900 to 1700. At Leatherhead we worked a six week roster:
    • 2200 to 0600 followed by 1400 to 2200 followed by 0600 to 1400, followed by 1600 to 2359 followed by 0800 to 1600 followed by a week of 'cover' one shift of each 2200 to 0600, 1400 to 2200, 0600 to 1400, 1600 to 2400 and the 0800 to 1600. This was followed by a long weekend to recover with three rest days per fortnight.
  61. Leatherhead: I was uniform beat duties (foot and cycle) most of this early period, occasionally acting as crew of the divisional car (Tilly). On moving to Leatherhead into digs I was on the sub-divisional car quite a lot. On nights, I remember well we would have an inspector until 10pm or midnight, a sergeant 10-6, PC in office, one beat PC in Leatherhead Town, and one out of town in the "industrial area" (Kingston Road). There was always one PC at Ashtead, and if enough a PC at Bookham. Additionally two on the car, a motorcycle on until midnight, and sometimes another car (single officer) until 12 or 2 in the morning. And this was the norm! Always saw last train in at night and if possible first out in morning. (This was also a task to be undertaken at Dorking in the mid 1960s and involved making arrests.)
  62. When we got married, we were given a police house at Ashtead a week before the wedding which was virtually unheard of then, with a "County Police" sign outside. We did get callers at the house, but not often - they would be directed to Leatherhead police station (we weren't even on the phone). The police sign must have blown down one night! I was on Bob Short's Ashtead section until we were all centralised into Leatherhead when personal radios were introduced in about 1966. Checking unoccupied houses was one of the important things in life - if there was a break-in all hell was paid if it had not been checked. This also applied to commercial property at night - if a break reported, we would be woken up to ascertain when we checked it, and why didn't we find the break. Unoccupied houses were an excellent way of finding your way around a section, all the nooks and crannies, and the complete geography of the area. Nearly always a good rapport with the locals. The uniform was one of the best protections when there was any trouble - just before I went to Leatherhead a WPC disturbed a man breaking into the rear of a shop. He punched her and ran off leaving her unconscious I believe. When caught he got 6 years. The uniform was respected by the public and the courts.
  63. Godalming: A Probationer Constable - September 1957 a time when there were many ex-servicemen joining who had seen service in Korea, Malaya, Aden and Cyprus. Many had been Regulars as well as two years National Service. They joined and accepted a disciplined and respected police service, having had discipline installed into them in service life. Normally four PCs paraded in front of a sergeant. Local events and recent crime details were read out and you noted any relevant information in your pocket book. This lasted about fifteen minutes and you were out onto your respective beat. Occasionally supplementary shifts were introduced depending on local conditions. These were 8 am-4 pm and 10 am to 6 pm to deal with mostly traffic problems. There was a 6 pm-2 am shift to deal with public order problems, mostly Friday and Saturday nights. The shift pattern was on a four-week cycle, with an eighty eight hour fortnight and you worked one of the rest days for pay. The training received in those days was thirteen weeks at the training school (Sandgate) and then two sessions of two weeks in the following two years at the training school with one day a month training day at HQ or Reigate. Each month you were given a subject to discuss from the syllabus. This was called Discussion on Prepared Agenda (DPA).
  64. Foot patrol and pedal cycle duties in Godalming: "Had to makes points at various telephone kiosks, the only method of communication, doing unoccupied houses, paper enquiries, investigating minor crime etc. Shift pattern at the time involved quick change over, 10-6 am, 2-10 pm and 6-2 pm. I was usually given foot patrol duties in the town or cycle duties. Duties during the day usually involved traffic duty in the High Street. Godalming High Street not being very wide had to put up with parked delivery vehicles usually outside the International Stores, you could spend hours directing traffic around these parked vehicles. If the town PC was needed urgently, the station PC would ring one of the shops and get them to send somebody out to find you so you could answer the phone."
  65. Reigate: PC in 1958 at Reigate with many of the old borough men - legends such as Inspector Thorpe who greeted me on my first day with "It is my job to get you the sack"; and Fred Gaze (not certain of the spelling) the 'strong man' who used to lift his Triumph motorcycle around rather than turn it in the road! (During the war the Canadian Military Police used to send him into the pubs to sort out the fighting and stand outside for Fred to throw them out. My second sergeant was Smith (can't recall his first name but think it was Bert.) He was 6'6" tall and he put me out with Harry Cox the police shot put champion - all 6'5" (across the shoulders too) and took delight in meeting us in the town and standing either side of me and talking over my head. Police still used the old borough pillars in the outer areas for communication and the light on top of the old town hall for town communication. Officers had to buy their bike and possibly take a bank loan to do so - cost about £30.
  66. One officer wrote: "I was working at Reigate when the first proforma process offence reports were introduced. I remember Thorpe sending me out to sort those parked without lights, etc. just before I was due to finish at 10 pm. I gave them all warnings and was sent back by Thorpe to their houses in Reigate Heath etc. to report them at 11.30 pm (all journeys on my bike). I had to write the process books and hand them to Thorpe about midnight. He then ripped them up and binned them. I used to have a list of unoccupied properties to visit during night duty. Went to my first post mortem at two weeks to find the scalp peeled back over the man's face on entry to the mortuary."
  67. Haslemere: "I joined at Haslemere in May 1959, having previously been a Cadet. There were twelve new Surrey recruits and I believe the top number issued was 789. Haslemere was a sub-division of Godalming, with an inspector and I believe three sergeants. The PC establishment was about fifteen to twenty, with just one Detective Constable. There was a section office at Hindhead, with a sergeant and as I recall four PCs, with dedicated rural PCs at Thursley, Grayswood and Chiddingfold. A double manned car (a grey Hillman Husky, equipped with Force radio) covered the area 24 hours a day and there was also a divisional motor cyclist.
  68. The vast majority of officers resided within the sub-division, in police houses or in lodgings (I was an exception as I lived at home in Fernhurst, just over the border in Sussex). One sergeant lived above the police station and another in the next door police house. Beat and cycle patrols made points at telephone kiosks on the hour. As there were no personal radios it enabled contact to be made by the station, and ensured that the officer covered the whole of his beat area. Quite often he would be met by a sergeant - missing a point being a disciplinary offence. The normal shift pattern was 6-2, 2-10 and 10-6 nights, over a four week period. The police station was open and manned twenty-four hours a day, and there was always one beat officer patrolling the town - at night he was expected to check all lock up premises. With officers living in the area in which they worked, their local knowledge was excellent.
  69. Every message and incident that came into the police station was recorded in a Day Book, which officers were required to read when they came on duty. Official message pads were not in use, only rough pieces of paper which were destroyed once entered in the Day Book. There was just one civilian member of staff who ran the office. Express messages were dictated by telephone from HQ, once all stations within the county were linked up. It was then immediately entered in the Day Book, and brought to the attention of all officers on duty."
  70. Redhill: The officer in charge was an inspector who used a Hillman car. The sergeant's car was a Morris Minor. Motor cyclists used the Triumph Speed-twin working 7-3 pm 3-11 pm with usually the more mature PCs were station officers. There were about fifteen to twenty other PCs working 6-2, 2-10, 10-6 and daytime cover shifts and most seemed to stay with one particular sergeant and station officer. The Redhill town beat was No1 with telephone kiosks used for points with most officers using cycles. The Husky utility was usually deployed around the furthest points i.e. Merstham and would deal with accidents. I assisted Station Officers; telephone switchboard operator; lost and found (Huge hardback book).
  71. Constables: Guildford: "I was allowed to reside at my home - in Stoughton less than two miles from the town. Normal practise was for new recruits to be posted to either a section house or to lodgings which were found for him/her. It was a requirement that you had a pedal cycle and I cycled daily to Guildford police station to commence duty. Anything you came across en route you dealt with, i.e. road traffic accidents, found property, lost dogs, etc. There was no asking for assistance as telephones kiosks were few and far between. Having lived in Guildford all my life I was recognised by many people. It did not have many disadvantages. Police in those days were treated in most cases with respect and there was no abuse when off duty."
  72. In Guildford, High Street and North Street had to be patrolled at all times. A tradition handed down from the Guildford Borough days; Tunsgate to Ram Corner had to be patrolled by a senior constable twenty-four hours a day. This was gradually eased during the late 1950s. It was necessary that officers were able to recognise the local mayor, magistrates, and councillors and show them respect. Generally the first four hours of a shift dealt with traffic and making sure there were no jams. Traffic duty at the railway station, Quarry Street and North Street was a must, and police were in the centre of the road and directed traffic flow properly. After four hours it was meal break and the remainder of your shift dealt with other enquiries, statements and unoccupied houses. Contact from supervisors could only be made hourly at a telephone kiosk at the prescribed time. If very urgent it was more by luck than judgement the station officer rang a shopkeeper to see if there was a policeman nearby.
  73. Guildford: "I don't recall CID parading with us in Woodbridge Road police station unless someone came down from the building across the yard to tell us about something or someone they were looking for. I do recall that often on nights there were only a couple of us on foot patrol in the middle of Guildford covering Beat 1 (High Street) and Beat 2 (North Street) I always got North St because the older man on duty always wanted High St which included the bakery of a teashop where tea and yesterday's cakes were always on offer."
  74. Farnham: On day shifts there would be a PS and three PCs (one covering the front office). In addition there would be the area car (two PCs) and the one motorcycle was shared by two PCs who worked 7-3 and 3-11 or 9-5 if one was off duty. The one inspector worked in the day, with the occasional evening and we might see him once a shift. He was on call at night. At night there would be a PS and two PCs, 'one in and one out' and we would change duties at about 1.30. There would also be the area car always with two PCs.
  75. Walton: "On transferring from the Metropolitan Police, I found that Surrey officers were far more serious in their approach to ALL beat matters. Supervision by sergeants, inspectors and above was something to be respected. At Walton on Thames, each relief had five constables, a sergeant and the one inspector. One of the constables was station officer. We made points at the telephone kiosk close to where we lived and were very often met by the sergeant or inspector to ensure we were on time. Pocket books were religiously signed whenever you were met. Points were allocated within the area of your beat, usually at telephone kiosks and occasionally at private houses where there were no kiosks. Again, you never knew whether a senior officer would be meeting you there. It was a serious offence to miss one of these points without just cause, often ending with a visit to the chief superintendent's office. Early turn at Walton ALWAYS started with checking the speedometers of traffic cars, we had a set three tenths of a mile in Seven Hills Road, a constable at each end one with a clean handkerchief to start and the other at the finish with a stop watch. Notes had to be made in our pocket books as traffic officers had to give this evidence that their speedometers had been checked. Apart from being contacted on a point and given an incident to attend, beat work was yours to carry out in the best interests of the public. There was no getting away early off duty as you were nearly always at the station typing out any reports or being visited by the sergeant on your last point. School crossings, unoccupied houses, sudden deaths and domestic disputes were the extent of a beat officer, plus the reporting of persons for traffic offences. Regardless of the above, life was what you made of it and I still say it was the best time of my police service. (I was later CID, Scenes of Crime and Crime Prevention Officer)."
  76. Overtime: When enough units had accrued to make up a full day, a request to the sergeant would probably result in a day off. Bank holiday working attracted time and a half in overtime i.e. twelve hours time off. Never any thought of payment and time off was not easy to get (it invariably meant some-one else being inconvenienced).
  77. Attachments: All probationers did two weeks of attachments one in Traffic and one in CID. "On my attachment to CID I had to dust for fingerprints at a housebreaking".
  78. Supervisors: There was normally a patrol sergeant and in the busy stations possibly a station sergeant with a PC as station officer. On night duty the inspector was needed he was called from home. During weekdays there was an inspector available at either Oxted or Caterham (one stationed at each). The majority of times there was a patrol sergeant on duty. Because of floating rest days duties varied and these would be covered by a split shift, which was not liked and also night duty had to be covered possibly in the middle of a "spares" week.
  79. Woking: "When I went to Woking the station officer was PC Roland Neal. We were at school together. He took me and introduced me to Sergeant Cliff Leason, who greeted me well, and shook hands with me. I was amazed, never having the privilege before with a Sergeant, being an ex serviceman, sergeants were still regarded by most of us as Gods right hand."
  80. "I was put to work on a section of three. They would no let one of the men work in the office, so it was two of us who shared station office duties. That was it – just three. At night it was one in the office, one out on the town, and that was Woking's cover in those days. The late turn sergeant went off duty at midnight, and we were left to our own devices, except for the sole traffic car that dropped in sometime during the night, and sometimes took their meal break with us. We also used to work a system of quick changeovers, that is to say you worked night duty say on Monday night, then a late turn on Tuesday, followed by an early on Wednesday. Then you had a rest day on Thursday. The system was worked so that you did not have a night duty before a rest day as there was much resentment at having a rest day after a night duty."
  81. "Driving courses in those days were four days, and you either had George Baker or Ernie Oliver as driving instructors. I had George Baker for mine and for the many various vehicle tests thereafter. We had a Hillman Minx for the car, and when I had my course it was a very cold March, and you had to have the window open all day because you gave hand signals. We had a Brown van at Woking, a Comer Q25 Cadbury Tea van type, crash gearbox, and I loved it! There were just three of us on the division who could or would drive it, so it was a case of if I, Bob Saunders, (divisional mechanic) or one other were either called out, or it had to wait until one of us came on duty. It was the only Brown Van in the county with force radio, and a PA system fitted. The divisional patrol cars, when they came in were Hillman Minx estate cars, with the bulk of the radio in the boot. It made so much noise (the radio) you could not hear yourself think. They were of course, at first, manned by senior PCs but soon we all got a chance. They were replaced by Hillman Huskies. CID had a Ford Popular for their transport, while the sergeants had little black Ford eight vans, commonly known as butchers vans, because butchers favoured them for years.
  82. I cannot remember how many staff were on CID at Caterham, only remember one and at Woking, two and they were never about after about ten or eleven o'clock.
  83. "I was posted to Camberley in May 1959. The construction of the station was identical to that at Caterham but it had a Magistrates' Court in the grounds at the rear. Again it had no section house so I lived in digs. An inspector was in charge.
  84. The prime job was J44 the crime car. As the A30 passed through town it made for good pickings and there was considerable rivalry between us local lads and those from Chertsey Traffic Centre. There are many criminals who rue the day they used the A30 through town - they tried to miss it like the plague but they could only follow the signs for London after plundering Hampshire, Dorset and beyond. I attended one of the first crime car crew courses at HQ shortly after being selected for J44 and thoroughly enjoyed it as well as having an appropriate driving course. On J44 we usually worked only 3-11 and 11-7 while our early shifts were 8-4, 9-5, 10-6 or variations thereof. We were crewed up with PCs working out of Bagshot, Lightwater and other town officers. I became regular crewmen. A sergeant was in charge at Bagshot Section and there was a PC at Windlesham.
  85. Before crewing J44 I worked in Camberley Town. I and three others had been sent there because there was friction between the local lads and United States Navy sailors based at FASRON 200 (Blackbushe just over the border in Hampshire). Yes the yanks had the money and threw parties for the local girls and the local lads weren't getting a look in! There was of course the complication of lots of soldiers from the many military establishments in the district. To help counter this US Naval Authorities ran a shore patrol Thursday until Sunday each week. They would turn up at Camberley nick mid-evening in a massive American car. I stand at six feet tall and out of this car would emerge two MPs at least six inches taller than me and certainly twice as broad. My "carers" for the evening had arrived. They cared in many ways - the steaks in their mess were delicious and if there was a melee going on in a coffee bar, pub or in the Agincourt dance hall I was as safe as houses. Many a skull or backside was at the receiving end of their long night sticks. The prisoners usually came quietly. There were other military to deal with as well at the Staff College and the Royal Military Academy. Many of the officers on the staff at the Royal Military Academy and College or students at the latter had led illustrious careers of which I had read. I could be tasked to inspect the firearms certificates of a member of the Glorious Gloucester Regiment or of a former POW escapee. Better still many had au pairs working for them ... enough said. There were also the Royal Military Academy officer cadets. They were at most times kept under close rein. However occasionally, especially at end of term or courses matters could get out of hand. RMA staff did not suffer this lightly and a young gentleman getting on the wrong side of the law would be in real trouble. I had more than one dismissed from the service. Others, such as one of our current Princes, were very polite when they thought that I would be visiting the Royal Military Academy during the course of my enquiries. Because of my age, bearing and dress off duty would sometimes be thought to be a student there. The Royal Military Academy staff were always most helpful.
  86. There was a DS in charge of CID at Camberley with the DI at Farnham.
  87. Frimley – A sergeant and seven PCs two of which were at Deepcut office.
  88. "999 I don't know too much about in the late fifties, but when I was in Control Room, 1968 to 1972, certainly a lot of people thought they were on to their local station when they dialled 999, and sometimes valuable time was lost trying to find out exactly where they were calling from. They were usually dismayed to find out they were talking to someone in Guildford, when they were phoning from Redhill. Some even tried to register their unoccupied house details via 999. Station Officers were informed by Control of calls to them, and in the days before personal radios, had to look up his list points for whomever he wanted, then got bogged down at the counter perhaps, and when he looked at the clock, found he had missed him. Members of the public used to get irate, when going into a phone box to make a call, found the phone ringing and announced when they called you and handed over the phone that "This a public call box you know, not the police station!""
  89. "We did not have drugs squads as we did not seem to have the problem in those days. When there was a murder in the county, pretty rare, CID were called in from all over, and some uniformed officers were called in as well, to work in plain clothes. Everyone was delighted; there was always plenty of overtime attached. I knew of one officer who got the deposit for his house out of that! Domestic violence was pretty rare, and was generally treated with advice and a cup of tea. Then as now I suspect, a lot of work was done when the woman was hysterical, but usually withdrew all charges and allegations, later."
  90. "I do not remember spending too much time in paperwork. I used to take my process home and type it out on dad's typewriter. There were no books in those days; you had a sheet to report on. My sergeant Charlie Covington used to amend it for me, re-type it and bring it my house for me to check and sign, when I was off duty and he was on. I never did that when I was a sergeant!"
  91. Analysis of crimes and traffic accidents done at Sub DO or DO: I can remember completing HO/RT/7 in respect of traffic accidents, which were recorded in both the sub divisional office and divisional office accident registers. These registers would also act as a record of movement of the book/file from when it was first handed in by the reporting officer until the matter was completed be it no further action or Inquest/Court proceedings. Insurance companies and solicitors would write in asking for Accident Abstracts to help them process claims for or against their clients. Not all information recorded was supplied and it must be remembered that there were no photocopiers to assist this extract being compiled. Crime stats were also recorded and compiled by a similar system in the CID. Movement of all papers was recorded in correspondence registers so that it could be traced to the officer dealing or to where it was filed. Surrey with its series of S.C. forms and books was quite well advanced compared to some other forces.
  92. Specialists: Godalming was a division in those days and so had a Divisional Office. This was manned by PS and two PCs. There was a divisional mechanic who was also the brown van driver.
  93. Dog Section about ten officers. Surrey had led the field and provided advice around the world and had the regional training school established at HQ.
  94. "Probationers were attached to CID, Traffic Dept. and Divisional Office for periods. I seem to remember having a week at HQ going around the departments as well. While there we spent time at Sergeant Derbyshire's kennels. The Mount Browne strain of German Shepherds was renown throughout the world and police officers came from mostly Commonwealth nations to train and sometimes buy dogs. So much so that when joined at my table by an Indian gentleman while lunching in Bombay in January, 1964 I was taken off to the police dog centre in the city to be introduced to some of the former canine inhabitants of Mount Browne. The gentleman was the inspector in charge of police dogs in the city and had been to Surrey HQ. At table he had enquired what I was doing in Bombay and I had explained I was just passing though that day from Nepal to Tehran and onto Israel. There was an India v England test match going on but I had arrived too late that day to get a ticket. After a brief visit to the kennels I was taken to the Members' enclosure, introduced and left to enjoy the afternoon's play. Dressed in blazer and flannels and being white and of cricket playing age I was besieged in the ground more than once and asked for my autograph. Who was this Geoff Todd in the 1963/64 England touring team in India?"
  95. 1960 formation of the underwater search unit.
  96. The police firearms response was not overly professional or well equipped with reliance upon the police firearms club and little if any formal training.
  97. 1958 Traffic Department: It was normal practise for patrol cars to go to the nearest police station once they commenced duty to get the latest crime and traffic incidents. Worked a three shift pattern mostly of 7-3 pm 3-11 pm and 11-7 am overlapping divisional shifts to provide cover, so every three weeks officers had a long weekend from 3pm on the Friday till 11 pm on Monday. The shift began with a briefing by the sergeants, allocation of car etc., then out on patrol, meal breaks were taken separately so that the car was constantly at readiness and crews came in forty-five minutes before finishing time to enable the car to be washed, cleaned, tyre pressures and equipment checked and refuelled ready for the next shift. The petrol pump was situated across the yard in front of the garages and had to be turned by hand. Each driver had to sign the logbook in and out and any faults brought to attention of the garage mechanic or HQ Garage.
  98. "As a traffic man (5 weeks advanced training course at Chelmsford) I fully endorse comments about our role in 1962. Routine checks were the main activity when not clearing up RTA and we got a lot of arrests of villains from the Metropolitan Police area that has been out breaking into golf clubs etc in Hampshire and were making their way back to the smoke at 2 am! And they really did say "We were warned about driving through Surrey as you guys are always around and checking us". I recall asking drivers who we stopped if we could look in the boot "as we are still searching for the missing yacht Christine"! No one ever said no - not even the villains with something in there."
  99. CID: The CID office at Guildford had an establishment of four DCs; one DS and one DI, all highly respected officers. Night burglaries were prevalent as were public order events resulting in ABH or GBH offences. Many indecent assaults resulting from many youngsters having under age sexual experiences. Collectively there was always a 33% detection rate. There were murders and serious crimes but few if any specialist officers. In 1962 the Force did not have squads and for most murders Scotland Yard were requested to provide a Senior Investigating Officer and CID personnel from throughout the force were seconded to assist.
  100. There was no drug squad or burglary squad. It wasn't needed as there was not a drugs problem. There was far more co-operation between divisions, with officers from one division patrolling with their opposite numbers, when required. Major crime was dealt with by CID with assistance from officers from other divisions and local uniform officers working in plain clothes. "The Oxted murder was on my doorstep and I spent two weeks on house to house enquiries with a DC from Reigate (plain clothes allowance for two weeks!)"
  101. It was the view at that time which experience indicates may well have been mistaken, that child abuse was not a common feature and that which was revealed was always dealt with by a female officer, with a case conference with other agencies if needed. Domestic violence was usually dealt with by uniform officers, normally by at least two officers, with care being taken on arrival to avoid being attacked by both parties to the argument!
  102. On returning to Surrey from Sandgate the first week or so was at Mount Browne learning about force forms etc and then sent out to Oxted Division where I spent two weeks with a senior constable before being turned loose on the poor unsuspecting public.
  103. The first week I had a senior constable showing me around, but being local it was acknowledged that geographically I knew more that him. But there were still the back alleys and local trouble spots that had to be learned."
  104. "During the two year probationary period officers undertook a two week attachment on CID and Traffic followed by a report on you had an aptitude for either specialist department although was unlikely that you would be given an opportunity inside four years. I spent most of my CID attachment on observation inside a shop from 6 pm to 2 am looking for a member of staff taking stock. After my fortnight the manager came to us and apologised saying there had been a stock taking error and no stock was missing."
  105. Sitting the promotion exam from PC to PS was not permitted within the first four years of service, although the educational exams (which had to be passed before promotion exam was attempted) could be taken at any time. Exams were usually annual events. A day of difficult exams for those with ambition, a day out for those who regarded a trip to the Dorking Halls or the Guildford Civic Centre as a day away from normal duties!
  106. Training: Traffic: "I was tested on an Austin A70 by the police driving instructor PC George Baker. On the 30th September 1958 after a five week course I obtained the first of several first class police advanced driving certificates. The first course was at Kent County Police HQ Maidstone, then later at Essex Constabulary Motor Driving School, Chelmsford. You were re-tested every two years or so." Training was repeated for two weeks every two years at a regional school."
  107. Before being placed on a driving course, a full driving licence was required. At that time there was no initial driving course and becoming a detective was a near impossibility until the present incumbent died or retired.
  108. Civilian Staff: Godalming: Not many civilians in the late 1950's. There were two female civvies; there was also a full time civilian cleaner, who doubled as a special constable and a mortuary attendant. There was a typist at Oxted and possibly a civilian in DO and Process Office. Guildford: There were a couple of typists in DO and Process Office where there was also one PC. This office prepared all process files for court. Initialising 'Information's', this resulted in summonses or warrants being raised. All papers were put before the senior police officer ready for his presentation in court. Not many cases were lost in those days. All cases of crime or traffic were conducted by the police. If a case was remanded to Quarters Sessions/Assizes then all papers were sent to counsel (Wontner or Macnamara Ryan) to represent the police/prosecution.
  109. Farnham: Civilian staff (bearing in mind this was divisional headquarters) consisted of a caretaker, a mechanic, two clerk/typists and a CID typist.
  110. Transport: Farnham: Transport at the station consisted of the area car two CID cars (Morris Minor) one for the DC's and one for the DI and DS. There was also a Morris Minor for the PS and inspector plus the motorcycle (Triumph). A van was used for all manner of tasks including carrying officers. The only vehicles with radios were the area car and the motorcycle.
  111. Hillman Husky and Morris 1000 were the order of the day. There was a motorcycle at Godalming with two riders. There was a large brown van that was used for all sorts of things, prisoners to prison, stray dogs to the kennels, convey personnel etc. The patrol sergeant usually had a vehicle, Husky or Morris 1000. The sergeants in the villages i.e. Bramley, Shere, Cranleigh had little black Ford vans. Very few vehicles had radios and the ones we had did not work very well. The sets were full of valves which didn't last long.
  112. Motorcycle: There was a divisional motorcycle that worked out of Caterham but covered the whole of Oxted Division. Brown van: This was based at Oxted Police Station and driven by PC Jock Kelly, who was also the Divisional Mechanic. CID vehicle: I think there was one vehicle at Oxted and another at Caterham. They were black Ford Popular saloon cars.
  113. One reason for joining the police if you were married was the fact that you would qualify for a police house. Some, mostly rural ones, were detached with an office attached. Others were in groups of two, three or four, perhaps in a village where a rural section operated from. They had an office and a sometimes a secure room or cell(s) for prisoners. Others were just purchased on developments, etc. The force's traffic centres, like HQ had many houses. Godstone, Burpham, Spital Heath (Dorking) and Chertsey come to mind.
  114. Weekly pay cheque, early 60s I think we moved to four weekly pay. The "extra month's" pay each year was a bonus.
  115. "On New Year's Eve 1958 I was it on Caterham Valley beat. I heard a collision at the bottom of Church Hill while in Harestone Valley Road. A lamp post had been demolished but no sign of any responsible driver or vehicle. I reported this to the station and was picked up by the Sergeant. He drove up the hill and part way up we found a damaged car and its driver. He was under the influence of drink so I had my first Drunk in Charge arrest. Months later at Quarter Session at Kingston I gave evidence in the case and was commended by the Judge for the manner in which I had given evidence. The jury was unable to reach a verdict but when the judge said there would be a re-trial the driver pleaded "guilty".
  116. "The other serious offence I initially dealt with around the same time was the death of a child. It was reported as a cot death but the mother had killed her young baby. The charge at Assizes was reduced to Infanticide when her barrister offered to plead to this lesser charge. The baby's father was a postman I had known for some years as I was living with my parents in while stationed at Caterham."
  117. I made a stop check in Whyteleafe one day. I asked for the driver's documents but as he didn't have them with him so I had to issue him with a HO/RT/1. By the time I got back to the station he had made a complaint about me for stopping him. He agreed with the inspector that I had been polite but insisted that I should not have stopped him. It turned out that he had no insurance and he had made the complaint in an effort to avoid having to produce his documents. I had the pleasure of serving the summons on him a few weeks later!
  118. Pocket Books: "I, like many officers, kept a record of the results of the cases I was involved in the back of my pocket book. Pocket books had one hundred and sixty pages with the page number only appearing on the right hand page. In the early 1960s the number of pages was reduced to eighty but retaining the same method of numbering. Pocket books were completed in pencil with ink used for the dates. Sergeants and inspectors would examine your pocket book periodically and make a note therein that they had done so and when. Pockets books would also be produced at the monthly Divisional Parades and perhaps be examined by the Superintendent. Likewise they might be asked for when you paraded for the HMI when he inspected the force. He would find an incident that you had dealt with and then follow its paper trail! Registers, court papers the lot!"
  119. Police would serve summonses for local offences and also those forwarded by other forces. We would also execute many warrants mostly for non-payment of fines or to do with failure to pay maintenance for children. Many people charged with offences were remanded in custody, sometimes to police cells. We would have to deliver them to prison and the Prison Service had the job to bring them down for their court appearances. Most of our prisoners were remanded or sentenced to London jails. Prison officers liked their trips out to the country and if you were at or near the end of their run out they would sometimes wait of call back in for any remand cases. You needed to get the clerk of the court to deal with such cases first. The inspector had to keep the Clerk sweet.
  120. The Special Constabulary was used to supplement patrols both at Caterham and Camberley.
  121. "I believe Surrey must have undertaken a recruitment drive in 1958/9 as well as in the early sixties. Two teenage PCs arrived at Redhill in early 1959 after training. Everybody else was late twenties/thirties/forties. "When I was posted to Woking after training in March 1962 I was the first teenage PC and the only one for some months to come. I think it was policy (generally) to post lads to Guildford and certainly 2/3 of my Sandgate intake went there."

Nature of the work

Following is set out to indicate the nature of the work undertaken by foot and cycle patrols in the Surrey Constabulary in and around 1959:

  • "The mode of transportation on division in the 1950s depended on your posting. In a town, particularly its centre, eight hours of foot patrol was the norm. On a rural area or in the outer areas of a town then the pedal cycle was the means of propulsion. Personal radios did not exist and the only contact with the police station was via the public telephone system or via a co-operative member of the public's telephone usually from shop/business premises."
  • It can only be speculation but if the Force was up to establishment which it was often not, if there were significant numbers of probationers which there were, under training, further speculation for an average shift would have one officer on annual leave, one sick, one on a course or county sport of some sort, two or three were in court for the morning; patrol numbers fall away.
  • On being allocated a beat the points at telephone boxes or other prominent places where the officer can be met or contacted were set out in a beat book or were proscribed on the duty sheet by the sergeant. The points were set to ensure the beat was fully covered. To miss a point without notifying the station officer was a serious matter and could result in discipline. If you were not there you could be lying injured.
  • 1958 December: The murders of Martin and Stephen Bromley: Diana Bromley the wife of a senior civil servant murdered her two sons Martin aged thirteen and Stephen aged ten at their home in Haslemere firstly by giving them barbiturate tablets to make them sleep. Diana made a bed up in the garage and reversed the car in. She then carried the boys down and lay them on the bed, turned on the car engine and lay beside them, determined that all three should die. After some time and death not having overtaken them the mother took a cloth belt and strangled Martin. Stephen was carried to the bathroom, filled the bath and drowned her second son. To make certain she then took a razor and slashed their throats. Mrs Bromley then slashed her own throat but not enough to die so she tied a heavy object around her neck and jumped into the garden pond. It was not deep enough so she got out and walked back to the house where later that evening she was found in the garden by the gardener. Neighbours were called but at first nothing was found until Diana was seen and a 999 call made. A local doctor came and treated Diana and certified the deaths of the two boys and she recovered enough to be charged with murder by DI Cornish. On remand she attempted suicide which caused a degree of brain damage and in time she was found unfit to plead.
  • 1959: Turkish airline crash approach to Gatwick involving PM of Turkey.
  • 1959: Fatal road traffic accident: Mike Hawthorne world motor racing champion on A3 at Guildford; attack on Weybridge police station by riotous crowd.
  • 1959: Murder in Oxted: Before the days of Scenes of Crime Officers a murder of an old lady in Oast House Road, Oxted following a burglary. She was struck on the head. A number of young men waiting to go to training school were brought from HQ to help with the searching. One took a swig from a bottle and the fingerprints were found and for some time were thought to be those of the suspect. Gordon Ellerby was dealing with fingerprints and Ron Underwood was a DC.
  • 1959 March: A twenty eight year old man pleaded guilty at Surrey Assizes to breaking into Leatherhead Parish Church stealing money and maliciously wounding the vicar. He was sent to prison for four years.
  • 1959: The station officer at Walton abandoned his station duties to go over to the cinema opposite in order to turf out rowdy youths rather than get someone else to do it. Frequently there were problems in or near disreputable cafes/coffee bars where the drugs culture developed.
  • Encapsulating the policing philosophy the term zero tolerance could be used although not invented in 1959. Very little that came to police attention was not investigated or some action taken. Many of the men in their 40s had fought in the Second World War and some of the older men were very tough ex Borough constables who resolved many issues in traditional ways.
  • "I was a town foot beat PC at Farnham and lived in a village police house some five miles from the station. I was well known in the village and often dealt with enquiries when off duty. My duties were 6-2, 2-10 and 10-6 consisting of patrolling the town dealing with parking/obstruction by vehicles, assisting in free flow of traffic around delivery vehicles, formal traffic control in the town centre on Saturday mornings (waving arms about in the middle of the three-way junction), inserting details of offenders in pocket book, attending court, at night checking all shop premises for security, stopping and checking vehicles or, if not possible, completing 'vehicle seen at night forms', if early turn on Monday attending the market and witnessing the slaughter of pigs at the rear of the adjacent butchers' shop."
  • The reason for being in the market was to issue movement licences to the buyers who had to keep the animals isolated for twenty eight days. The stupidity of the system was that the animals were not identified - the licence would simply say, for example, six pigs (not even the breed). The copy of the licence would then be sent on to the police of the area where the animals were being kept and the local Diseases of Animals inspector (local PC) would then have to check that they were kept isolated for the twenty eight days and endorse the copy licence accordingly. At Leatherhead I had done this and our local pig owner (who couldn't read or write) would simply show me six pigs. Obviously they could be any six. A licence could be issued for immediate slaughter, hence the butcher's shop visit.
  • "After a year at Camberley, I was not doing well, as a probationer couldn't cope with the huge volume of work, and given last chance being moved to Dorking Section House."
  • In September assisting control of excessive traffic going to Farnborough Air Show. Broadmoor escape, Sovereigns Parade at the Royal Military Academy, Military Tattoos and Horse Shows at Aldershot. All affected policing at Camberley. Summer Saturdays saw swarms of cars and coaches streaming down the A30 for the West Country or A325 for Portsmouth and the coast. It could take hours to get through Camberley on a bad day ... or was it down to my traffic point duty lasting until the end of the early shift if it was bad.
  • December working extra night duty to make up the crew of a single-manned traffic car to visit farms in the area on the look-out for poultry thieves (turkey patrol).
  • "It was at about this time that I took part in a raid on licensed premises (a club) where after-hours dinking was taking place. A number of local prominent people, including a JP and a Master of Fox Hounds, pleaded guilty and were fined - as well as the club being shut down."
  • Custody was the responsibility of the station officer. Each police station had cells and ablutions and feeding was overseen by a PC when meals either came from a section house or were bought in i.e. Angel Hotel in Guildford at weekend (often another of the garage mechanic's 'stray' jobs) Female prisoners had a civilian matron. Interviews were not tape recorded and further interviews often shouted through the cell flap.
  • Unoccupied houses to be visited supposedly daily but a panic just before the owner returned was very frequent to make certain there had been no burglary.
  • Vehicles seen at night form to be completed every night duty – if the vehicle could not be stopped.
  • Attending crime scenes, dealing with minor/bulk crime:

           Crimes   Break
1958   8,339    1,945
1959   9,150    1,926.

  • Attending road traffic accidents (RTA) and dealing although fatal RTA although reporting may be given to a more senior constable. The numbers of RTA were considerable and formed a significant part of the work of constables. "I remember cycling to the station at 5pm one afternoon and being told by the station PC that there was a RTA and there was no-one else to attend. I cycled off to deal with it and on arrival found that it was a fatal. (Sidecar passenger tipped out under the wheels of a heavy lorry.) It was before personal radios, there was no phone nearby so I got on and dealt with it on my own - until the sergeant drove up in his (non-wireless) van to see where I had got to. All I needed by then were measurements of the road, so I got him to hold the end of the tape measure."
  • Many road traffic accidents were a result of drink driving and the practices and procedures were time consuming as there was nothing other than opinion of the officer and a doctor. Given the high number of stop checks drink drivers were frequently arrested.
  • Drunks, drunk and disorderly and public order offences - frequent.
  • There was less paperwork to complete and the ten minutes spent keeping a phone box company was an opportunity to get much of the writing done.
  • Time sheets were submitted weekly and carefully scrutinized by the duty sergeant; had to show points made, missed and when met by a supervisor.
  • Industrial accidents and fires - attended most incidents where the Brigade were called.
  • Death messages – few telephones and only other option for families was a telegram.
  • Civil Defence training and Mobile Column into Kent or Sussex; air raid siren maintenance and testing. "Cold War was ever present. There was one PS who was responsible for Civil Defence training and at every Divisional Parade - held monthly - he would lecture on the subject." "Mobile Column: Officers particularly ex-military were involved and they used bespoke vehicles from a central source. The column Surrey was involved in operated over southern England and was engaged for several weeks late summer 1959. I do not know what they did but it was certainly the "talking point" and it must have drained resources."
  • Public house visits regularly usually with the sergeant – a register kept and the sergeant under pressure to make visits – frequently beer made available for the visiting officers.
  • Weekend cover at stray dog centre.
  • Manning police office two hours morning and two hours in the evening in rural areas.
  • Hourly conference points made at telephone kiosks and at some pubs and private houses where phone boxes not available.
  • Prisoner escorts to court and to prisons – a frequent timely abstraction. Often early turn on overtime.
  • Stray dogs to RSPCA kennels – possibly two in the county.
  • Collecting abandoned cycles in the brown van.
  • Checking aliens at their homes once a quarter; naturalisation enquiries.
  • Checking farm registers under diseases of animals, markets, slaughterhouses – significant role also dealing with outbreaks of disease such as anthrax.
  • Carrying out general enquiries mainly for other forces mostly the Metropolitan Police given their proximity. (They never took statement at the scene of an RTA and sent out all their enquiries to the constabularies).
  • Sudden deaths including suicide – would act as Coroner's officer and make full enquiries and attend opening and full inquest.
  • Traffic offences i.e. speeding, construction and use, no L-plates, lighting regulations etc. point duty, parking, unnecessary obstruction offences. School crossing patrols.
  • Constables used as HQ painter, carpenter, printer and divisional mechanics.
  • Point to Point at Peper Harrow, Lingfield race course, local fairs/fetes, agricultural shows, Brockham Bonfire, royal and VIP visits.
  • Public order in town centres which were very lively particularly Guildford, Woking and Redhill with numerous officers deployed at weekend. Double shifts were worked with the late turn working 4-12. Frequent problems of violence with military personnel but often dealt with in the "old fashioned" way. Also violence in public houses and at dances in towns and village hall were not infrequent. "One night I had a bit of bother with two sailors in uniform. The sergeant an old Borough man came round the corner tried to shut them up but they persisted, so I arrested them and going to the nick they were giving lots of abuse. Outside the nick the sergeant said "Now I will give you the choice, lads, you can come in and be charged or you can come up this alley with me and my colleague where I will take your windpipe out and strangle you with it. What is it to be?" With one accord they wanted to be charged. He kicked them both up the backside and told them to get back to their ship."
  • Missing people from home, huge mental homes – more in Surrey than in any other county and children's homes – absconders.
  • Attending court; which was for most cases and very time consuming? Acting as gaoler and court usher. Court: As a guilty plea was entered in most motoring cases, the Inspector taking Court would read the statement of facts, thus releasing the PC for other duties - or working less overtime!
  • Participation in sport was encouraged and four hours duty time was allowed if representing the County - a full day if a PAA event outside the Force area.
  • Automatic alarms: Many stations had alarm systems from banks, etc., terminating in them, as did Control Room at HQ.

Contributors to this work

Phil Miles

Barry Siviers

John Molyneux

Gerry Atfield

Jim Rankin

Peter Bradley

Tony Forward

Vic Woodman

Tony Kirton

Pip Kerridge

Dave Spratt

Gerry Middleton- Stewart

Geoff Todd

John Wright

Stan Wood

Fred Booker

Brian Taylor

Ron Underwood

Mick Horne

Don Sapsford

Cliff Blackford

BBC website

Jim Platt-Higgins

Police Federation website

Bob Watford

Critchley, T.A. (1978). A History of Police in England and Wales, Constable, ISBN 0 09 461490 3.

Tony (Harold) May

Robert Bartlett

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