Woking Police Station

1980s, late: Woking Police Station: Ann Carter: It is always sad to see the demise of an old nick and although it was obvious to all that the time had come to make way for a block of very expensive flats it was still like parting with an old friend. There were so many memories of people and events; this was the start of a completely new era and to my mind the start of the rot.

Crammed into a small area we were always in close contact with our colleagues and if anything happened we were all within shouting distance, whereas the new police station you needed a tannoy system and a good pair of running shoes. The old station office or front office would have been excellent museum material these days. At the time we lived in it and in a perverse way we loved it. It was the hub of the station and on nights provided a warm place to have a quick cuppa and catch up on events.

My old section was B section and Jill Vear our communications officer and I spent many hours in the front office both on nights and days. We had a lot of fun in those days and played some wicked tricks on each other. I well remember Sergeant Peter Beard who was very tolerant of us and the games we played. On one occasion he got so cross with us that he wheeled us chairs and all and placed us in a cell and locked us in so he could get a bit peace during the night.

One of the tricks we played I still remember to this day. Peter had a habit of eating his night sandwiches on the move and frequently we would find a half eaten sandwich lurking in what passed as the canteen in those days. It actually was a room with one table and a vending machine and Peter would go and get a drink from the machine and put his sandwich on the top of it and then forget it.

Jill and I got to work one night having found the said sandwich with one large bite out of it. Jill always carried with her a spare set of teeth, as she was always worried that she might break one set and be left toothless. That night we embedded said teeth in the sandwich and later presented it to Peter saying where we had found it. He was horrified and thought his teeth had come out and spent at least three or four minutes trying to fit extra teeth in his mouth.

Another time we placed tape on the telephone so that when it rang and he picked it up it continued to ring, whilst we had hysterics round the corner.

At the entrance to the cell passage was a very small office, which was the emporium of Vic Smyth the collator. Outside was a radiator and whenever a found dog was handed in it was generally chained to this until someone had the time to take it round to the kennel. More often than not in the winter we would avoid going out to the kennel as it was not heated and the neighbours tended to complain if we had a barking dog, not to mention the section house residents. Vic was well known for not liking dogs and a few moments after they had been affixed to the radiator he would nip out of his office, un-tie the dog and show it the back door. One poor lady brought a dog in to me three times having caught it leaving the back yard and she was not impressed with our security.

I remember one night signing for a Lion dog as it had been described and when I went to look at the dog it was immense, the size of a small pony. It was very placid and at about 2 am it started to whine. It was obviously in need of a tree, it being a large male dog. I unhitched it and left the police station at ninety miles an hour heading for the dentist next door. At the front of the dentist's car park they had recently planted a very nice ornamental cherry and this poor dog watered it well and truly with about a gallon of urine.

I noticed later in the week that the tree had met its demise and was later removed by the gardener. I was very glad that I had not been seen with the Lion dog in the early hours otherwise I fear that I may have lost one or two teeth on my next appointment!

Eventually I ended up on the enquiry section, which later renamed the training section, and all new recruits ended up in this office for their basic street training. I read Off Beat these days and hear of people who are now in exalted ranks and can remember them well from their ‘training days'. Ken Halls and I were the main players and we shared the office with the coroner's officer Ron Hill, and Ken acted as deputy every now and again, a job that he disliked intensely.

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