Deployment to Dover Dock 1990

1990: PSU deployed to Dover during a dock dispute: The Dockers in Kent revolted and there were a number of problems for the local police in Dover. One very warm Saturday a Surrey contingent of about sixty officers went on aid to Kent County Constabulary at Dover docks. They travelled in their high profile and relatively luxurious Mercedes personnel carriers with windows that would not open and no air-conditioning. It was hot; very hot indeed in the vehicles.

The plan was that we would report to the docks to be briefed, fed, and then accompany a march of Dockers and their supporters through the town. Operations insistence on "self-catering" proved of benefit yet again. Surrey arrived on time and deployed straight away, the officers having to live off what they had brought with them.

The march through the town was not very well supported and was uneventful, remaining very hot with more police than demonstrators enjoying a day by the sea. Officer in Charge of the Surrey contingent was Superintendent Bartlett, Operations.

Mercedes 410 van converted to a personnel carrier


The Force had seven Mercedes 410 long wheel base vans converted to personnel carriers.


Tom Burrell: This is a separate deployment to the one above as this involved overnight stays. We met at HQ I think and had a motor cycle escort to Dover in convoy; looking very impressive en route.

We went to Deal Barracks, which were or had been used by the Marines. Unfortunately they were in poor state of repair. We were minus half a ceiling and hot water was scarce. We used to shower at midnight, having returned from the local pub. It was called either the "Green Man" or Green Beret". The licensee was very happy as he had three deliveries in a week! He gave us a lock in every night and that was for almost every Surrey officer who was deployed.

We were fed by the army which was very good. Big choice with steak every evening and a massive full English for breakfast. The duty was boring as nothing happened all week. We had three points to cover, which were the main gates, the car/lorry parks and an upstairs area; an upper deck area or similar.

It was easy money but mind numbing. A game of football was instigated one day, police v lorry drivers, but senior officers blew for time before we even got started; something about "Giving wrong impression". The dispute was the ferry staff, not the lorry drivers.

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