A history of service in Surrey in the late 1960s before transferring to the Metropolitan Police and retiring as an Inspector

Andrew Hasted: In 1964 I had applied to join the Metropolitan Police Cadets but they turned me down. I then applied to join Surrey Police cadets and was accepted. Police Cadets have now been extinct for 30 years or so but I have always thought it was a mistake to stop recruiting in this way.

Young boys (No girls allowed then!) could be brainwashed and all the lads I joined with stayed the course for their 30 year contracts. I cannot think of one who failed to complete his full service in the Police. At that time a high proportion of direct entrants into the force as constables left early in their service.

I was told to report to Redhill Police Station which was part of the old fire station in London Road, Redhill. I started around September 1962. This office was like nothing you can ever imagine now.

It was very small with a tiny front office open to the public twenty four hours a day. The switchboard was one of those with plugs so when the phone rang you had to put a plug into the board and push a key forward. If an extension was required a matching plug went into that socket and the key was pulled back to ring the phone.

Upstairs was the shared general and sergeants office which was about twenty feet square and beyond that a smaller CID office. At the top of the flight of stairs was the inspector's office.

The Inspector in charge of Redhill at that time was a terrifying character called George Allman. He had been in the recently amalgamated Reigate Borough Police and was a big fierce man. He was naturally known as the 'NUT'. Any failure to answer his phone extension instantly would be met by bellows of rage from his office and an appearance at the top of the stairs with much shouting.

Cadets were the lowest of the low and were a recent invention to help recruiting to the main force which was difficult as the pay was terrible. They had previously existed as Boy Clerks and were treated just like that. I had no wish to work in an office and my dream of an outdoor job seemed a distant memory and we were used as office skivvies.

At Redhill I was the assistant to the station officer and was expected to answer the phone, run errands, deal with found property, and make the tea and any other routine menial tasks. Cadet's hours were 44 per week. This was generally 9-1, 2-6 and 9-1 or 2-6 on a Saturday.

At the time the Police pay generally was abysmal and certainly no one joined for the money. My wages were £6.10shillings a week. I lived at home at Purley and travelled eleven miles to Redhill daily. At first I went by train but then I took to cycling down the A23. I was pretty fit at that time.

After I retired many have mentioned the generous police pension. All I would say is when I joined the cadets and later the regular force I honestly do not believe I gave it a moments thought. I probably did not even know what the word pension meant. Anyway we had eleven percent deducted from our salary for it for most of my regular service.

I had no uniform to start with but shortly after joining I was sent to HQ at Mount Browne Guildford to do a month's course on how to be a cadet. We were then given uniform which was similar to the regular force except we wore caps with blue bands and battledress tunics much like my army cadet days.

Luckily I had been in the army cadets and knowledge of how to bull boots and press uniform was invaluable. The uniform was issued from force clothing store at Guildford Police station by 'Jock' Alexander. Everything, according to him, was a 'Pairfect fit'.

The month's course was not mentally demanding and as someone with five GCE O levels I was quite unusual. Whilst it was not mentally demanding it was quite physical. I was quite chubby. We were soon running cross country and doing gym activity. In that month I lost a stone in weight and I honestly believe it was a turning point for me. I found that I began to enjoy the exercise and continued it thereafter.

Cadets had to do 'further education'. In my case it was more like the other way round. One and a half days a week was cadet training and half a day was taken by Sergeant Green. He held this at Reigate Police station. I do not recall what we were trained in but we did cover current affairs.

One full day a week was day release at Redhill Technical College. We did the same things as I had been doing at school which was really silly and boring for me as I had already passed GCE in those subjects and I was just going over old ground; stuff I had done years before. All the other lads had little or no qualifications so it was aimed quite low. I might have been better employed doing "A" levels.

At lunchtime our habit was to cross the road to the Lakers Hotel and play bar billiards; drink stout and cider, (most of us under the legal age) and eat cheese and onion rolls. In the afternoon it was back to college and we would have a long gym session which I really liked.

The one of the masters was (clearly) a gentleman of homosexual persuasion, and he seemed to take a fancy to me. I recall him leaning right over me looking at the Atlas pressing against me and clutching my shoulder saying 'Where is Irkutsk Andrew?' I gave him a good shove and never had any more trouble.

After some time in the front office at Redhill I was sent to Reigate which was the divisional HQ. This was in an old house in Chart Lane, Reigate. I went into the divisional office (D.O.) which was where administration was undertaken. Sergeant Smith was in charge and treated cadets as real skivvies. I never really took to this type of office work and often got into trouble for misfiling. It was so boring, and I started to become very disillusioned with my choice of job. I hated this uninteresting office stuff. My dad managed to persuade me not to resign.

These were the days when you left school and went to work and not changing jobs much at all. I could complete my work in divisional office in about three hours a day so I obtained a book called Teach Yourself Typewriting and learned to touch type reasonably well. This proved a very useful skill in later life. One advantage to Reigate was that there were more other cadets there and at least I had some other lads my own age to mix with.

One of the lads I met was 'Ted' Edwards. His correct name was Francis but he was called Ted. He lived and worked in Caterham and I got to know him from the training days. Ted was a bit crackers and could be seen doing strange things like typing with his gloves on; and pretending he was German. He was so off the wall and non-compliant that eventually he got the sack. Even in that era to get the sack was pretty unusual.

Other cadets of this era were Tony Jackson, Paul Kimber, Ian Clinging, Bob Bartlett, Brian Carroll, Ray Lee, Mick Morley, and Bill Wiltshire. I apologise for any omissions.

After a time in divisional office I was put into the CID at Reigate. The office civilian was Mary Street who was a spinster lady. She seemed quite old to us but I guess she was only in her forties. She was pretty fierce. The sergeant was a very nice guy called Bill Church.

The CID office work was much more interesting and we were allowed to go around Reigate town circulating flyers of stolen property to jewellers etc. I quite liked this but the public tended to treat us as full officers although we had no powers.

There was one jeweller called Keith Davis and his daughter worked in the shop. She had lovely big dark eyes and I fell for her but never plucked up the courage to do anything about it.

In the office we also got to deal with the reports of crime and see the files of villains and their photos. This was more like good preparation for the regular force.

Bill also allowed us out with the crime-car sometimes and one evening I was with the crew having our meal when we got a call to an automatic burglar alarm at the local department store in Church Street. We tore down there ringing our bell (No sirens then) and pulled up outside in our high powered 1600cc Hillman Husky.

For some reason these cars were known as the 'Tilly'. The car crew had been to this place before and I knew what to do. Two of us ran up the side just in time to nab the burglar exiting the side window into our arms. This was very exciting for an eighteen year old cadet.

Bill did treat the cadets as human beings and one day he took me down to Earlswood lakes and we fished out some telephone mechanisms which had been thrown in the water after they had been ripped out of phone boxes for the money in them. After this Bill announced we were meeting some of the other CID men in some pub and after we had drunk six pints each he drove the CID car back to the station. This was before the days of breath tests and was considered quite normal behaviour.

There was no canteen at Reigate and the officers cooked their own food in a little meal room. I was in there once when a PC called Gerry Bixley was warming up a tin of baked beans by standing it in a pot of boiling water on the stove. He had failed to pierce it and it exploded scattering beans everywhere and some of them got stuck on the ceiling.

After a while I decided I needed a car so I went to the car auction and bought a 1946 Austin 8 saloon for £21.10shillings. This thing was a death trap but of course at the age of eighteen what did I know. It had rod brakes which even on a good day were hopeless. Oil leaked from a defective seal into one of the brake drums and from time to time you had to take the wheel off to clean up the oil so the brakes worked better. Naturally it had wonky steering and dodgy tyres. Petrol was about five shillings a gallon which seems a lot to me at the time.

As cadets we were told we had to complete the Duke of Edinburgh's award. This was compulsory for us and it was made clear that failure equals the sack. Again I think this was an important crossroads in my life and set me on the road which I followed later. I do not remember much about the award other than the expedition. I know we had to pass various athletic tests as one section of it. I was very fit at the time and even in the cadets gymnastic display team jumping over boxes head first etc. It was also compulsory to take part in the annual force cross country.

The big thing about the D of E award was the expedition. For the silver award this was in the New Forest but I do not recall much about it. The Gold award expedition was in Snowdonia and we had to plan our route between camp sites, supply and carry all food and kit for four days in wild country. We were allowed one food dump. Dried food was almost non-existent in 1963 but you could get things like Vesta dehydrated curry and milk in tubes. We had to supply all our own equipment and some of this was inadequate and really dangerous for the task set.

I did this expedition in August 1963 and I was the team leader and so called map reader. There were four of us in a group. We were supposed to have had adequate training but this was not up to much. The Army Cadets had taught me how to map read but a compass is quite essential in wild country. We had a prismatic compass but I had no idea how to use it properly. Our stove for cooking was fuelled by meths which we carried in a glass bottle!

We travelled from Reigate via Guildford in a minibus crammed with us and our gear and loaded on the roof rack as well. This was before the days of motorways. We had to stop in Pershore, Worcestershire for lunch then on to Tan-yr-Alt which is towards the west of Snowdonia and I believe was just outside the National Park. In charge were PC Sid Crowhurst and PC Geoff Todd. Sid was a grizzled veteran from the old Reigate Borough Police, but Geoff was a young guy who was very fit.

As we drove into Snowdonia I was quite amazed. I had never seen any mountains before and had no real conception of what they were like.

Tan-yr-Alt was actually hostel type accommodation for youth groups. It was quite adequate for us lads. After arrival Geoff announced he was taking us for a stroll. Some stroll – up some 2,500 foot peak near the hostel. We came down in the dark and I remember seeing the lights twinkling from the summit to this day.

The next day Geoff took us over Snowdon from one side to the other round the Snowdon Horseshoe Ridge. This is quite a big day. The next day Geoff took us up Tryfan, another big slog and the following day we started our four-day expedition. To me now this seems quite foolhardy as a preparation and in later years cadets were given a practice week before undertaking the real expedition.

Andy Hasted on the left with fellow cadets.

Andy Hsted on the left.

I was fit and strong but some of the lads struggled to carry their kit and had bad blisters. One actually passed out on the way up Snowdon but no allowance was made for this during the rest of the week. No one had heard of health and safety. During our expedition the weather was generally reasonable but we did get caught in a hailstorm at one stage.

By some miracle our navigation was quite good and we only got lost on the last day. On the third day we made such good time that we pushed on past the official night stop and went over south Snowdon from Beddgelert to the next valley and camped there. We got dodgy stomachs from the water from the river and on the last day did get a bit lost on the mountains. In spite of that we got back to base earlier than anyone ever had before on previous expeditions.

This violent introduction to the mountains instilled in me a love of them, and the outdoors, which exists to this day. I collected my Gold Award from the Duke some time in the autumn of 1964.

In August 1964 the chief constable deemed me fit to join the regular police at age of nineteen years and by now I was impatient to get on with the real job. Off I went to training school. This was a thirteen week course at Sandgate, near Folkestone. My friend and fellow cadet, Brian Carroll was in the same class. We remain friends to this day.

At this time England was divided into six police regions and this was No 6 region training centre. It was a large old country house. It is now the HQ of Saga PLC. We lived in dormitories. There was a handy pub at the end of the road but we were only allowed out one night during the week.

The PT instructor was a sergeant called 'Punchy' Wallace who had done some boxing. He introduced himself by announcing "My name's Wallace and I'm fucking hard" . I am sure he was. He had cauliflower ears and looked knocked about. He took us for so called life saving training. This was carried out in a murky old green watered swimming pool somewhere locally. It was not heated. As we stood on the edge shivering Punchy would cry "In the water. Go! As quick as flash – move yourselves." A failure to move as 'quick as flash' resulted in a push.

The police instructors were from all over No 6 region. I had Sergeant Langrish from Hampshire. I remember him as a reasonable man. Discipline was strict and it should be remembered that many of the instructors, if not all of them, were ex-servicemen. I did quite well at training school, the police and army cadet experience stood me in good stead.

Towards the end of training we learned where we were going to be posted. I was very depressed to hear that I had been given Caterham. This was a horrible place to be. Not only did it have a huge hill dividing it, everyone else there was married. All my single mates were posted to the west of the county and most lived in the single man's quarters at Guildford Police station.

I was expected to live in lodgings in Tupwood Lane, Caterham. This was no more than five miles from my home address at Purley. I thought Caterham was a dump and to make it worse it was very quiet from the policing point of view. As a youngster action was craved and this was an inauspicious start.

One of the things we had to do was look after the stray dogs. There was a kennel locally for all the stray dogs from the eastern side of Surrey. Twice a day a policeman had to go to feed the dogs and clean the kennels and the yard out. Whilst I hated the job I did do it conscientiously.

I could see no point in living in lodgings and felt this would be very lonely. I obtained permission to go back home. The truth was being a county police officer was really a married man's job. I was very envious of my single mates having a good fun social time together far away at Guildford. I felt I was no further forward. I was now on full shift work with one week of seven nights every four weeks and 6 am starts and two-till-ten shifts. None of this is conducive to social activity.

I mentioned the pay before. At this time I was taking home about £10 each week but I managed to buy an old minivan. I could have earned much more as a labourer on a building site. It was not until ten years later after the Edmund Davis review into pay, that there were dramatic improvements in police pay.

I was beginning to wonder which direction my life was taking. I continued to keep fit by running. At this time this was thought very strange behaviour and you would never see joggers like now. It was not uncommon to be the recipient of taunting comments whilst out for a run.

My first arrest took place in the main A22 road at Whyetleafe. A lady flagged me down as I was on my push bike and told me there was a black Ford Prefect coming along and she thought the driver was drunk. I boldly stepped into the road and raised my hand, not flinching as it lurched towards me. The male driver was fairly paralytic and I duly arrested him for 'Drunk in charge' and received a bollocking for failing to take the name and address of the witness who had promptly cleared off.

After a few months at Caterham I was sick to death of the place and bored stiff. No one had shown me round or shown any interest in on-the-job practical training. In fact the idea of that was an anathema. It was sink or swim. I asked for a transfer.

Luckily someone sensible recognised that this was not really the place for a young single recruit and I was posted back to Redhill. This was not ideal but was much more like it. It was busy from the policing point of view and had lots of variety. It also had the main A23 road running through it.

Although I was still on the beat I used my bicycle a lot for patrolling. There were no personal radios and every hour it was necessary to make a 'point' which was a telephone box somewhere on your beat.

If required for a job the station would phone you on the call box number. If a member of the public was using the phone the system failed. If you were on the town centre foot beat they rang the police phone in a box attached to the town hall. This fired up a light on the roof of the town hall that you could see from a distance so you knew you were required.

If you wanted to phone the station the trick was to do it from a call box and yell the location down the earpiece. For some reason this could be heard the other end and you would get a call back. The first personal radios, which were almost useless, were issued in 1967 when I was a beat officer at Redhill.

There were one or two other young constables at Redhill, notably Tony Jackson who I had been a cadet with. One of the long serving sergeants was an old boy – George Keeping. George was prone to panic and would never let us 'boys' leave the station "you'll only get involved and get into trouble" . As soon as his back was turned we were off. We must have given him a nervous breakdown.

I was an authorised cyclist and used a pink Raleigh for patrolling beats other than the town beat. A small allowance was paid for this. I had a full motorcycle licence and around this time someone asked me if I wanted to be a motorcyclist. This was reckoned to be the busiest job at the station as the bike had a force radio fitted. Motorcyclists worked 8-4 and 4-12 with no nights.

There were two full time riders, Pat Nagle and Archie Newman. The force motorcycle instructor was 'Bomber' Brown. He came over from Guildford HQ and I passed the force test (No training). I was the reserve filling in for their days off and leave - which meant I rode it most of the time. A police motorcyclist as a probationer! I was certainly no older than 20 years.

Our bike was call sign J72 and it was a clapped out 350cc Triumph 3TA. Flat out at 60mph sparks came out of the exhaust. This was later replaced by a new 500cc speed twin that was much better. Nevertheless this was great for me and I crammed in as much work as I could into my days.

Motorcyclists dealt with everything, usually unaided. I dealt with sudden deaths, suicide, road and industrial accidents, crime, statement taking for other forces, serving summons, and executing warrants. I went to lots of post-mortems, my record was attending five one after the other in one morning. It must be the best job I ever had in the whole of my Police service.

The best bit of all was that on Sundays and bank holidays all the Londoners headed for Brighton. This was the days of "mods and rockers" and I enjoyed waiting for them parked at the roadside of the A23 to pull them over as they travelled to the coast or home. I was getting regular arrests for crime from such activity and had a number of pursuits on the bike and sometimes on foot as well. It was great fun.

At this time Redhill had a few problems with public order and an Inspector called Maurice Jackman was sent in to sort it out. Maurice was a little alternative and "interviewed" prisoners for public order offences in his office. This always seemed to result in some injury to the prisoner and one apparently had a head-on collision with a chair. He was charged with damage to police property and pleaded guilty.

The methods might have been questionable but he squared the place up. He was way out of my league.

One job sticks particularly in my mind. I was attending a school showing the kids the police motorcycle when I heard an explosion and saw a cloud of smoke. I called up on the radio and was told that there was an accident at a local factory.

What had happened was some kids had been playing at the side when they had taken the lid of a drum of what turned out to be Toluene spirit which was some petroleum derivative for an industrial process. It was near firework night and one had put a banger in it. The whole thing had gone up burning one kid horribly and setting the factory alight. The boy was taken to the burns unit at East Grinstead but died three months later. It was all quite upsetting.

Another occasion I had to break into a house and found the occupant dead with her head in the gas oven. When I was doing my probationary attachment to the CID we had to deal with a death at the local rubbish tip where a gentleman nick named "Budgie" had been hit by a truck unloading rubbish and ended up dead, buried in the rubbish pile with his mouth stuffed full of rubbish.

Andy Hasted on his 500cc motorbike

Andrew Hasted on his 500cc bike

One day I was out on the motorbike when the Godstone traffic car crewed by Pat Buss was pursuing a mini which was not going to stop. I boldly arrived on the scene just as they had overtaken it and tried to cut it into the kerb. The mini reversed towards me and I rammed it in the back with the bike. Nevertheless off it went again and I was in hot pursuit. The traffic car was unable to turn round in time so I am now in pole position.

We had no in helmet communications and no way on keeping in touch with control. A mini was not going to escape a 500 cc motorcycle and the driver abandoned it and ran off into the churchyard of St Johns church pursued by me on foot. When I caught him he admitted stealing the car from London and the large amount of cash he had on him had been obtained by "rolling queers".

What on earth was this? He explained that he would pick up an older homosexual and take him back to a room. He would pretend he was shy and new to it all and once the "customer" had his trousers off he would steal his wallet and run off. Of course this activity was never reported to the police in those days so he got away with it.

Minis were the favourite to steal as the fuse could be crossed by jamming a three-penny piece coin or a bit of silver paper cross the fuses. It was easy to slide the window back and gain access. No car had an alarm.

When I was on foot patrol one night duty making my point at Reading Arch kiosk just south of the town I heard and saw a minivan rocketing towards me from the direction of Brighton. I stepped into the road and raised my hand. The car failed to stop. What was going on – surely drivers were supposed to stop for Policemen in uniform. The car was found abandoned at Merstham and had been stolen from Brighton.

One dark Sunday evening I pursued another mini along the A23 as far as Coulsdon where it turned off and headed for Banstead. The driver lost control and it went into a field. The occupants ran off it and I never found any of them.

There were a lot more road accidents at this time than nowadays. They were invariably caused by drink but to be arrested you had to be incapable and nearly falling over. It was very hard to get any conviction. No breathalyser then. It was not uncommon to deal with an accident involving several vehicles completely unaided and then it was necessary to get all the written statements and send off enquiries to other forces again with no admin help.

Police pay was very bad indeed and it was actually possible to earn more as a labourer than being a young constable. When police attended accidents in this era we often had to arrange for the damaged vehicles involved to be removed from the scene. A local garage was called via our control room at HQ Guildford but there was no system as to which one was called. Our favourite was a certain garage in Reigate where it was later necessary to swap the details of the car drivers for a brown envelope.

Similarly if a sudden death was attended a local undertaker had to be called to remove the body and a later visit to the premises with details of relatives could attract a similar result. I was schooled in these practices by the older officers and saw nothing untoward about it. It was simply accepted practice.

One of the sergeants was Bill Murray, a broad accented Irishman who was well respected and had a son Bob who was a cadet. One day I went with Bill to a house where we kept getting called to domestic disputes. The regular pattern was that the husband would go drinking and assault his wife. She would call the police and then decline to press charges when we arrived.

On this occasion he got it wrong. "What are you going to do if we leave?" says Bill to the man. The answer was clearly not satisfactory and was along the lines he could do what he liked in his own house. Bill promptly arrested him for conduct likely to cause a breach of the peace. What a good piece of education for a youngster. It was something I never forgot and used myself a number of times later in my service.

I was working nights with PC Ian Martin on the 'Tilly'. It was summer and early in the morning it was broad daylight and we decided we did not like the look of this individual we saw walking along the road. We did a stop on him and he was completely obnoxious and went straight into the station to complain.

He met Bill Murray and a big gripe from him was that we were only kids. Bill had no truck with this and he said "They may be youngsters but they are police officer and entitled to your respect". I don't think it went any further. I was hugely impressed with this.

Bill gave us a good ticking off for not arresting him. "Don't you read your Crime Information and Police Gazette? He must fit the description of someone in those!"

Geoff Breckell was another young and lively sergeant who liked to rush about locking people up; a bit different to good old George Keeping. Geoff sometimes had a short fuse and I can recall inadvertently lighting this on more than one occasion.

As keen youngsters we liked to lock people up and I was always looking for the time to do some pro active work. One day I am at the side of the A23 at Merstham when a motor scooter came by. I did not care for the look of the rider and decided to go after him on the police bike.

He takes a few side roads and dumps it in someone's drive and runs for it. No good. I am fitter and catch him. The scooter had been stolen from Brixton that day just after his release from prison. He said "I should have known better than to come through Surrey. They told me in the nick to avoid it and they were right."

I was required to live in lodgings and these turned out to be in Earlswood, just south of Redhill. This was a semi-detached two and half bedroom house. I had the half bedroom and paid £3 10 shillings a week for full board and washing etc. I only lasted there for about six months exiting when the landlady, who was certainly as old as my mother, decided she had a fancy for me.

Geoff Breckell was the sergeant in charge of lodgings for single men and he was furious with me for leaving. I kept quiet about the reason until I heard that he was placing another single man in the same place and I then told him my experience. According to him most people would envy me being in that position of opportunity!

My lodgings changed and I went to live at 37 Garlands Road, Redhill. This was a terraced house on three floors just south of the town centre. The lady was Lillian Budgen who was an elderly widow. She bossed me a lot so I always called her "Chief". She had a heart of gold and I stayed with her for three years until I got married.

This house was a far cry from a modern house. There was no insulation and the only heating was one coal fire on the ground floor. It was literally freezing in the winter. There was no bathroom. If you wanted a wash you had to boil the kettle on the gas stove and use the kitchen sink, and if you wanted a bath you had to heat the gas boiler, take the worktop off in the kitchen and expose the bath and then bale the water from the boiler to the bath. None of this seemed to bother me. There was no phone and to contact anyone I had to use the call box at the end of the street.

Once I reached my 21st birthday I finished my police probationary period. By now I was a regular motorcyclist rather than the reserve. I just loved the flexibility and freedom of motorcycles. Pat Nagle the regular rider had left to join the Fire Service as their pay was a lot more than ours and he had a young family. I was also asked to help the training department with cadet training and I was involved in the Duke of Edinburgh's gold award expedition training in Wales. By now the force had proper kit which it issued for this and a practice week was spent in Wales.

To "qualify" as an "instructor" I was sent to Outward Bound School, Devon as temporary instructor in February 1967. I spent a month there. I was scarcely older than most of the students. I was introduced to rock climbing on this course. There was none of the modern equipment and it was very dangerous.

I continued to take the cadets to Wales two or three times each summer as the assistant to Constable Geoff Todd. Tony Jackson was another helper. I continued to do this until I left Surrey Police. I kept fit for this by going to the gym training with the cadets at Redhill Tech. Again health and safety was just about non existent and us young lads had little experience or training in what to do in any emergency.

One cadet managed to injure himself in wild country and Tony Jackson and I found the group miles from any road and walked him out before taking him to hospital. It later transpired that he had dislocated vertebrae in his back by falling on the rucksack frame. Another cadet decided to change the cylinder on his Gaz cooking stove inside the tent. He had a cigarette going at the same time and there was a fire which resulted in him being burned.

Some time around 1966/67 there was a new policing invention called the unit beat scheme. This was the start of the rot where policemen became paralysed and unable to walk or cycle. The area was divided in these units and each unit had a beat car. You were supposed to drive it to your beat and park it somewhere prominent and then go on foot patrol. My beloved motorcycle was taken away and we were given mini minor cars. I hated them.

They were slow and hopeless for the sort of flexibility I had enjoyed. I was very keen and wanted to do lots of stops and lock up lots of villains. In the mini you had no chance of getting to them. They relied on personal radios working – these were hopelessly unreliable at this stage. The ethos was you drove the car to where you wanted to patrol and got out and then walked on patrol. This did not work!

Andy Hasted on his 650 cc Triumph motorbike.

Andy Hasted on his
650cc Triumph

I could not stand this and I applied to join traffic department so I could ride motorcycles again and was accepted as a motorcyclist being sent to Dorking. We had 650cc Triumph Saints and one unreliable Norton Atlas. On the Triumph you were king of the road and there was nothing that really could escape you. There were none of these high powered Japanese bikes around then. The Triumphs vibrated a lot and it was not uncommon for mirrors to fly off as you went along. I even lost an exhaust silencer once.

Surrey Police Traffic Department was very well thought of in the force and the ethos was that we caught thieves on wheels. This idea suited me very well. The first day I reported to HQ to see the traffic superintendent he told me "Welcome to traffic – you are here to catch thieves. Don't forget it or you are out".

Our base was in Spital Heath Dorking and we were supposed not to stray over onto the A23 at Redhill. I ignored this and never had a problem as a result. I was a prolific worker so I may have got away with it for that reason.

The big downside to this job was as a motorcyclist you were often posted to do radar speed checks. I detested doing this. A minivan went out loaded with a tripod stand with the PETA (portable electronic traffic analyser). This was quite a bulky box. This was set up at the roadside on a stand and we stood behind it.

When a car went through the beam the speed was recorded on a dial. It was quite primitive. A hundred yards or so down the road was a constable acting as car stopper and when he got the radio message about an offender he stopped them. The motorcyclist had to ride the one hundred yards on his 650cc Triumph, and deal with the offender.

Radar seemed quite a ridiculous and inefficient use of manpower as it took four to operate it. I used to pray for wet days and freedom, and was not beyond handling the box roughly hoping I would wreck the internal wiring. Most of the radar sites were roads where there had been complaints and they tended to be narrow and quiet. It was nothing for four blokes to stand for an hour and catch no one. How boring and frustrating for a keen young fellow.

I got married in September 1968. Until a few days before married I really did not know where we were going to live and was given vague promises about a police house. Shortly before the wedding one of my colleagues was given a house. He was fairly newly married and living in a furnished flat above a shop in Slipshatch Road, Woodhatch, Reigate so when he moved out we took over the tenancy and lived there to start with. After six months or so we were offered a police house at 27 Coltsfoot Drive, Burpham. Guildford so moved there.

So, in early 1969 I was posted to Burpham traffic centre, again as a motorcyclist. Burpham was good for me and there were several other youngsters on motorbikes as well. Our house was literally one hundred yards from my work. My nice police house had no heating system and the hot water came from a coke boiler. We had the main A3 coming within yards of the base – this was before the days of the modern dual carriageway it is now.

This was the period of my working life when I was very keen and had some experience. I had lots of arrests for crime on the bike and all of these were from vehicles I just stopped as I fancied the look of the occupants. Also it was nearly all duty in the daylight and the latest we ever worked was 11pm.

The management used to constantly issue memos. These were held in a big file. One morning I lost patience with this and chucked the lot in the coke boiler where they burned to a cinder. I was suspected but I denied it. I was quite a rebel in those days.

Other motorcyclists of this era were Roger Young, Brendan Hewson, Keith Worger, and Eric Darnell.

Every week we had to do speedometer tests if the police car or bike had been involved in the detection of a speeding offence recently. These were done on the Compton straight using stop watches and handkerchiefs!

The areas we were supposed to patrol day by day were up on the wall on a large sheet of paper in pencil. If I thought I had been given a boring area I simply used to add in pencil underneath + A3 patrol or somewhere more interesting.

One day I was parked at the side of the road at Wisley waiting for my next customer, when a car pulled up. The driver ran over and told me his wife was in the last stage of labour and he needed to get to Mount Alvernia hospital in Guildford quickly. I escorted him using the sirens and blue lights and he tagged along behind. The baby was born twenty minutes later so it was a near thing.

Examples of sort of interesting arrests I got involved in were: one day I was lurking at the side of the A3 at Thursley when a mini pick up truck came by loaded up with something covered with a canvas sheet. I knew he was mine and was out after it like a rocket. A bit further down the road the driver dumps the van and legs it up the bank at the side of the road. This was a waste of time for him. I was twenty five years of age and very fit. Even though I was dressed in motorcycle gear I locked him up. The van was loaded with stolen copper wire from a burglary in Portsmouth, and he was charged with handling stolen goods.

On another occasion I stopped a mini minor car. I had a look round this one and the answers I was given and the details from the driver just did not add up; the number plates looked dodgy and a look under the bonnet showed that the chassis and engine plate looked like it had been tampered with. The driver had stolen the car from London.

Another task we had from time to time was escorting abnormal loads. One year I escorted a load through our ground on the A3 on its way to the boat show at Earls Court. There were no problems with this escort. On its return journey on the same route reversed the thing got stuck under the Wooden Bridge on the Guildford by pass. This seemed quite baffling.

The driver then remembered that a bit had been added to the superstructure at the boat show but no one had thought to tell the police. I had to get the driver to let some air out of the tyres and reverse it off. It was then escorted by me somehow round Guildford Town Centre and eventually back onto the main A3 thus avoiding the need to go under the bridge.

Around this time we were issued with the Triumph TR6P which was a lower geared and slower version of the Saint. This was the first bike with a full fairing and what a difference it made. We were also issued with better kit than the old heavy mackintoshes and had waxy Barbour waterproof suits.

In 1969 police pay was terrible and many of my colleagues left simply to get better paid jobs. I took home £70 each calendar month but did have the free house. The lads who joined around the same time as me were the first post war babies to join the police and we had a different outlook. Then it was expected that you lived all your life in a police house. This was great for the management as they could move you around at will, and police officers simply could not afford a house anyway.

I vividly recall PC Sid Crowhurst retiring and having to leave his nice police house and move into a council flat. I was determined that this was not going to happen to me and may of my contemporaries felt the same. Permission was required to buy a house as the conditions of service allowed the force to dictate where you live.

I applied to the Chief Constable Peter Mathews for permission to buy a house. I hoped to be allowed to buy in Farnham where property was a little cheaper. The Chief graciously allowed me permission to buy in the borough of Guildford or in the borough of Walton and Weybridge. These were the two most expensive areas in Surrey. Even a small house in these areas was out of our financial reach. I felt that the message was – we don't like you buying property.

At that time the police would pay a rent allowance in lieu of the tied house but it still would be hard to get a mortgage as loans were just not available easily. An interview with the building society manager and a solid record of savings was required.

I began to think about transferring to the Metropolitan Police. We all thought the Met officers were rolling in money and relatively speaking it was true. Several of my colleagues were of the same mind. We found out that a Met constable not only got London allowance he received more rent allowance in lieu of the police house than Surrey would pay.

In London it was fully accepted that officers bought their own houses and the only restriction was that they had to be in the area covered by the Greater London Council. They had to work three of their days off in every four week period as they were so short staffed but for this they were paid time and half.

There was also a lot of other overtime available. This would provide a big boost to my pay of around 30-40%. House prices were about £500 per semi more than the Guildford area. Whilst I had no particular desire to work in London, the family welfare came first and I duly applied for at transfer.

In 1970 several constables from Burpham all did the same thing at the same time and went to the Met for similar reasons. Out of a staff of thirty five, five were lost due to the short sighted management of Surrey Constabulary.

Another young married traffic PC was my pal Peter Older who must have been the smallest officer in the force. We remain friends over 40 years later. His crew mate was Big Doug Brazier who must have been about the biggest bloke in the force. Talk about Little and Large! Doug had his unique and effective way of catching villains. From a roadside stop he could spot a 'Wrong un'. He did not always know what they had done but they had done something wrong and his view was that it was the job of the CID to find that out!

Peter was another loss to Surrey Police. His marriage broke up and instead of the force helping him they moved him off traffic department for no discernable reason to lodgings at Caterham back on the beat. Unsurprisingly he resigned. I found it hard to forgive that kind of management stupidity. A good man lost for the want of a bit of compassion and commons sense.

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