BNC Text K68

Suffolk Sound Archive: interview. Sample containing about 6620 words speech recorded in leisure context

2 speakers recorded by respondent number C622

PS5BB X f (Yvonne, age unknown) unspecified
PS5BC X m (Sidney, age unknown, retired police officer) unspecified

1 recordings

  1. Tape 092901 recorded on unknown date. LocationSuffolk: Ipswich () Activity: interview

Undivided text

Yvonne (PS5BB) [1] Good afternoon Mr
Sidney (PS5BC) [2] Good afternoon to you.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [3] Now you're going to tell me all about your experiences in the police aren't you?
Sidney (PS5BC) [4] Yes
Yvonne (PS5BB) [5] What can you remember about your first week, or when you joined the force?
Sidney (PS5BC) [6] Well I have made some notes since you j ... can I just walk down and get them I want this to happen ... I made some notes, here.
[7] Now, now I joined the force in June nineteen twenty three at Ipswich and the force strength at that time was eighty seven, which was one thousand, no one constable per thousand population.
[8] Now the training at that time was nil.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [9] [laugh] Yes.
Sidney (PS5BC) [10] Er on appointment, like other recruits, I had to serve the first month on night duty.
[11] The night duty was made up of nineteen areas, they made the nineteen beats, and er I had to go with older policemen learning each of the beats.
[12] Often I had to learn two beats per night.
[13] I was always with an older policeman.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [14] Yes
Sidney (PS5BC) [15] Not often the same policeman, and I gained that experience when I found the way that they were examining property, the way they attended to accidents and street disturbances and they were pretty tough customers and I learnt a lot.
[16] Now that went on for a month.
[17] Now, the first twelve months of anybody's service [cough] is a period of probation.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [18] Yes.
Sidney (PS5BC) [19] During that twelve months you get extra supervision and at the ... during that period the chief constable is entitled to dispose of your service at a week's notice, but after you get over the probationary period only the Watch Committee could dispose of your services, the onus was on the Watch Committee.
[20] Well now, during this twelve months I went out on the beats etcetera, I just merely picked it up, if I was in doubt about anything my sergeant would put me right and the atmosphere, the amount of discipline was quite severe, for instance, I always, we had always to parade at least ten minutes before the hour to be acquainted with what had happened since we were last on duty.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [21] Yes
Sidney (PS5BC) [22] We had no facilities for food in the police station.
[23] We had to take our own meals at all times, even when we had cups of tea we had to take to the station our own tea, sugar and milk, but there was always a large kettle during the winter months on a coal fire, and during the summer months on a gas ring.
[24] The only thing given to us at all in that line was every policeman on night duty was given a pint of coffee.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [25] Oh yes.
Sidney (PS5BC) [26] Every policeman was given a pint mug and on night duty we were, haven't, we, each of us was given one pint of coffee.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [27] To keep you awake?
Sidney (PS5BC) [28] Yes, and erm ... no food whatever was obtainable in the police station.
[29] When we arrested people, if we arrested them and if they were in the police station for many hours, the only food that they were given was supplied by Weavers Restaurant, just inside Street.
[30] Now they were provided with a meal for which the police, at that time paid sixpence, and for the sixpence for breakfast they got a thick round of bread, margarine, a piece of cheese and a mug of tea.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [31] For sixpence.
Sidney (PS5BC) [32] Now they got much the same thing for the dinner, but if the prisoner had got any money of his own, and if he cared to contribute an extra sixpence [laugh] he got a hot meal at midday.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [33] Yes.
Sidney (PS5BC) [34] For his tea, for the sixpence he got bread, bread, margarine and either a piece of cheese or some jam.
[35] That's what happened.
[36] And erm, yes well now as I tell you we had no motor cars at all, we had about fifteen bicycles, which of course were ridden, twenty four hours a day, and after each night-duty, through riding over rough paths and etcetera they used to get punctured and damaged.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [37] [...] your own puncture?
Sidney (PS5BC) [38] Then the next morning, they were taken for repairs at a garage in Hyde Park Corner.
[39] He was the man who supplied the new bicycles, Raleighs, and he undertook to keep them in repair.
[40] And of course they got knocked about a lot.
[41] Well now I, Bull's Eye Lamps, that we carried at night, they were merely paraffin oil lamps.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [42] Yes.
Sidney (PS5BC) [43] And during the winter months [...] we wore overcoats and capes.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [44] Yes.
Sidney (PS5BC) [45] We used to be glad to put our hands underneath the cape onto the Bull's Eye for a little warmth.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [46] Yes.
Sidney (PS5BC) [47] Well, the er night duty was difficult.
[48] We had a lot of walking to do, bicycles were only used by the policemen on the outskirts of the borough.
[49] They had such a long distance that they were allowed to have a police bicycle.
[50] Well now that happened, all of this happened in nineteen twenty three.
[51] Well now in nineteen twenty six we had the general strike, and the conditions in Ipswich were so violent that our Borough Police we couldn't cope with them, and our Chief Constable, he had to apply to the Home Office and he got permission to have men from East Suffolk and West Suffolk Police, Cambridge County Police, Huntingdon Police sent some, and they were billeted in hotels in the town centre.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [52] I see.
Sidney (PS5BC) [53] And what these strikers were doing, they got really out of hand, they were overturning motor cars, what few there were.
[54] They were preventing millers from sending out flour from our two mills, Cranfields and Gibbons.
[55] They just wouldn't let them come out with the flour.
[56] They the da the harbour master's men at the lock gates came out on strike.
[57] There was nobody to open and close the lock gates.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [58] Yes.
Sidney (PS5BC) [59] We [...] some special policemen to go down there and open these gates, and of course, you can just imagine that the policemen who came into Ipswich, they were pretty rough in their dealing with the strikers.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [60] Yes.
Sidney (PS5BC) [61] We in the borough, we dare not be rough because we had to remain in Ipswich after the strike was over.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [62] And would, would the people they were being rough with know the difference?
Sidney (PS5BC) [63] Yes, they [...] got frightened.
[64] There was some policemen from Cambridge County and they were handpicked, two brothers came among that little group, and they each weighed over twenty stone, these two brothers, and of course everybody referred to them, as the two tinies.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [65] Yes.
Sidney (PS5BC) [66] They were stationed at a poli number two police station, which was the custom house at the Ipswich docks, and they spent most of their time when they were off duty just lying on stretchers [laugh] lying about, then of course evening time, when there was er more activity, course they came out and my word, if they told strikers they were not to go to this part of the town or road.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [67] They didn't.
Sidney (PS5BC) [68] If they were told they didn't go, they certainly got some help.
[69] It didn't matter t who it was.
[70] It didn't matter if they were town councillors or what, if these policemen said not this way, this way and they said no I live this way, they got a clip in the ear as quick as anything.
[71] The Ipswich Borough Police couldn't have done that. [laugh]
Yvonne (PS5BB) [72] Yes.
Sidney (PS5BC) [73] No, no
Yvonne (PS5BB) [74] Could, could, could the ordinary people tell the difference between the Borough Police
Sidney (PS5BC) [75] Yes
Yvonne (PS5BB) [76] And the County Police by the uniform?
Sidney (PS5BC) [77] Yep no, no well [...] they would have different cap badges in the helmet.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [78] And that was the only difference?
Sidney (PS5BC) [79] That was the only difference, the cap badges they all differed you see.
[80] Well now, because we were in the Ipswich Borough Police, we were in the fortunate position of knowing that we would serve our full thirty years in Ipswich, which enabled us to buy our own houses through building society.
[81] Our children had in, they went to [...] schools here, and what with the friends, and neighbours and former schoolfriends we got on wonderfully well with the general public.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [82] Yes.
Sidney (PS5BC) [83] But when I talk about that good feeling between police and public, it, it mattered more for the local policeman.
[84] For instance, I was one of several born in Ipswich you see, and I had advantage over a lot of men who were released from the Guards to come here.
[85] You see, you take Mr , splendid policeman, he came straight from the Guards into lodgings in Ipswich.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [86] No.
Sidney (PS5BC) [87] Now, when he became a detective, he hadn't got the advantage of the local knowledge that I had.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [88] Yes.
Sidney (PS5BC) [89] But I was in a position to help him as I was his senior.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [90] That's right, yes.
Sidney (PS5BC) [91] And that was why he said, and he's always said, he owes me such a lot.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [92] That's right.
Sidney (PS5BC) [93] But he was such a hardworking, keen man.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [94] Yes.
Sidney (PS5BC) [95] I was only too pleased to help him.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [96] Help him
Sidney (PS5BC) [97] Oh er he was a rare worker.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [98] Yes.
Sidney (PS5BC) [99] And because he was only in lodgings, he felt in his spare time that he would come with us if we were visiting lodging houses or something.
[100] He would be glad to come with us.
[101] I didn't like taking his spare time.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [102] Yes.
Sidney (PS5BC) [103] Now when I tell you about lodging houses, we had four registered lodging houses in Ipswich that they had at that time.
[104] Pretty rough.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [105] And what exactly was a lodging house, bed and breakfast or?
Sidney (PS5BC) [106] No no no just a combination sleeping and combination only.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [107] Yes.
Sidney (PS5BC) [108] Now, the main lodging house in Ipswich was afterwards taken over by the Salvation Army Hostel.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [109] Yes.
Sidney (PS5BC) [110] But before the Salvation Army took it over, it was a, a Borough Council property, which was leased to a f Jewish company in London, and they used to send a manager, at this lodging house and these were then let nightly at about ten pence per night.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [111] I see, yes.
Sidney (PS5BC) [112] And all they di provided, but there was a big kitchen where they could fry their own food, make their own teas and so on, but the Sal the, the house proprietors, they didn't provide any food whatever.
[113] They were required to leave their beds and get out of the hostel by nine o'clock in the morning, and they were not expected to hang about any more until about five or more in the evening.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [114] So if they hadn't got a job they got nothing [...]
Sidney (PS5BC) [115] Oh no of course ver ... very few of them had got any work.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [116] No.
Sidney (PS5BC) [117] It, they were at these lodging houses because they hadn't got the work, nowhere else to go.
[118] They was only, they'd either got to pay for accommodation at a lodging house or go to the workhouse, they called them then, which is the casual ward, and at the casual ward they were required to bath on admission, which a lot of them didn't like, they were compelled to do certain work.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [119] Yes.
Sidney (PS5BC) [120] And, they were often not released until they'd been at this casual ward for two days.
[121] Now some of them [...] used to find that a bit irksome.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [122] Where, where actually was the casual ward?
Sidney (PS5BC) [123] Well which is now where the Borough General Hospital is at .
Yvonne (PS5BB) [124] Was the casual ward part of the hospital?
Sidney (PS5BC) [125] Yes.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [126] I see, yes.
Sidney (PS5BC) [127] Yes, yes that was [...] run separately,
Yvonne (PS5BB) [128] But part?
Sidney (PS5BC) [129] but, but the same building.
[130] There was a half of the premises, and the casual wards there they, course I tell you they used to have to bath and then they used to have to do chopping wood and [...] sort of work like, like that.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [131] Useful work.
Sidney (PS5BC) [132] Yes, casual work and when some of these casuals felt that they didn't want to stop there two days, they used to tell the authorities that they had got promise of work at, at Yarmouth and [...] and could we go soon, you see.
[133] And of course the authority was glad to get shot of them, and then the tramps, they used to go round the country, and they used to walk from one village to another and mainly, people who had arrived in Ipswich casual ward, had previously been the night at Stowmarket.
[134] They used to walk the twelve miles Stowmarket to Ipswich, they used to go to the police station after five o'clock, and they used to get a ticket, which they used to take up to the casual ward.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [135] I see.
Sidney (PS5BC) [136] Now policemen, we used to have to give these blessed people these tickets, and we used to have a book, and they just merely gave name, age, occupation, which was nearly always labourer, where, and they had to tell us where they came from and where they intended going to, and more often that was from Stowmarket to [...] , or the other way round.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [137] Yes.
Sidney (PS5BC) [138] And we found that over a period of, oh about a couple of months, the same people almost used to come round.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [139] Go round in a circle.
Sidney (PS5BC) [140] They did nothing else.
[141] [laugh] And we go us got used to them.
[142] We didn't like them coming in the police station, they used to come into our parade room where our men were having food, and you can imagine them coming in a bit lousy and so on.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [143] Yes, as I was going to say verminous.
Sidney (PS5BC) [144] Yes, I mean you know they were not too welcome.
[145] Then occasionally when we had houses broken into and so on, if it was thought that a tramp could have been responsible, it used to be a great help if we gave out nine tickets for tramps and only eight of the nine were admitted to the casual ward, then we should clamp down of course on the one who failed to turn up.
[146] The reason some of them failed to go to the causal ward is because they used to do a little bit of begging, and if they'd got enough money they would perhaps pay to go into a common lodging house.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [147] Yes.
Sidney (PS5BC) [148] Well now.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [149] You were telling me about the common lodging houses. [laugh]
Sidney (PS5BC) [150] Yes, well anyhow that, that more or less covers the early part of me being on the beat.
[151] Well then ...
Yvonne (PS5BB) [152] You, you were saying you had to visit each of those four lodging houses
Sidney (PS5BC) [153] Yes
Yvonne (PS5BB) [154] and I interrupted you about the casual ward, so you didn't really finish that?
Sidney (PS5BC) [155] Yep, I'd finished the lodging houses, they were rough, my word they were rough, they used to get drunk and fighting, and of course they used to be amusing really they used to get fighting at a lodging house quite close to the dock and after when the windows was smashed, we would find that they'd been temporarily repaired with a coal sack taken from the coal yard next door, and all that sort of business, and anyhow, nothing particular out of the way happened until three years later of course when we got the general strike, and the strikers used to meet outside the labour institution headquarters in Street.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [156] Yes.
Sidney (PS5BC) [157] That's where the union headquarters were you know, and because I was a local man and had worked at Cranfield loading trucks at the dockside, I knew, knew a lot of the dock labourers, and they knew me, and I used to know each morning what the strikers were likely to do, where they were gonna hold up Eastern Counties buses and so on I used to know all that, and of course the duty inspectors used to purposely send me along.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [158] To find out. [laugh]
Sidney (PS5BC) [159] To find out you see.
[160] Well now it was largely, I think as a result of all that that three years later, now that was in nineteen twenty seven towards the latter of nineteen twenty seven, there was an opportunity for a detective to be appointed on a series of promotions.
[161] Superintendent retired, he was replaced by of course Detective Inspector ,
Yvonne (PS5BB) [162] Yes.
Sidney (PS5BC) [163] Sergeant was made Inspector, was made Detective Sergeant and of course I became Detective Constable.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [164] Yes.
Sidney (PS5BC) [165] And when the promotions were made before the Watch Committee, I was the last one to go in, and the chairman of the Watch Committee, that was John , he said to me , Chief Constable has recommended that you be given a trial with the detective staff.
[166] He said, we agree with that, he said we have decided that you will go on the detective staff on probation for a period of six months, and that means that if you like the detective staff and, and if the detective staff like you you will continue.
[167] Well now, at the end of that six months I'd had varied success, sometimes I had poor periods when I wasn't detecting much, then I would have a little break, do better, but at the end of the six months nobody told me whether I was stopping there, but twenty years later I did go back to uniform as an inspector.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [168] Yes, yes.
Sidney (PS5BC) [169] Inspector, but anyhow, now when I went on the detective staff ... I'd only been on the force just over three years
Yvonne (PS5BB) [170] Yes.
Sidney (PS5BC) [171] and I, I've felt at that time and since I went on too early.
[172] I don't really think at that time I would have had enough experience to justify going on the staff.
[173] I, I [...]
Yvonne (PS5BB) [174] They must have thought you could do it.
Sidney (PS5BC) [175] [...] I couldn't type, we hadn't got anybody doing the office work in the detective staff, the Detective Sergeant used to do most of it, if he was not available I used to have to get an older detective to type a report out for me, and because I was a junior, they were not so careful in typing my reports as they were theirs.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [176] Yeah.
Sidney (PS5BC) [177] And I mean [...] it was a difficult start, and I was in fact a junior detective for five and a half years before any alteration was made in the staff, there was no promotions or leaving so that as junior detective for five and a half years, I got all jobs that nobody else wanted
Yvonne (PS5BB) [laugh]
Sidney (PS5BC) [178] unless [laugh] unless, unless if I was in the detective office on my own and there was a decent job reported, I went straight out on it.
[179] Sometimes I was lucky, sometimes I wasn't [laugh] for instance, if anybody came to the enquiry after the report that the theft of a bicycle from outside the library.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [180] Yes.
Sidney (PS5BC) [181] Our detective office was two flights of stairs above the enquiry office, and they used to ring up to our office and say I'm sending a Mr upstairs, he's lost his bicycle from the library, I'm showing him up.
[182] When he knocked on our door the older detectives wouldn't answer it.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [183] So guess who did!
Sidney (PS5BC) [184] Now, my desk was not too far away, after he'd knocked twice I used to get it.
[185] [...] it was a hopeless job, go to the library nobody would know what happened to bicycles, and also, we always circulated a list of stolen property to all pawnbrokers, jewellers, garage owners, and cycle agents, about every week.
[186] Not only property stolen in Ipswich, but from surrounding areas, and it was a long job.
[187] Cycling in you know, and of course because nobody else wanted the job, sometimes we were supposed to share it with another, and nearly everybody else, except me, would be too big you see.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [188] [...] they'd all be doing something else.
Sidney (PS5BC) [189] Or that they'd got to attend court or something.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [190] Oh yes.
Sidney (PS5BC) [191] So I finished up doing the lot.
[192] Well now, although ... it was not much more of a job really than an errand boy's, but as I did that for five and a half years I got to know the people at the pawnbrokers, the cycle agents I got to know them so well, I knew the staff, I got to know the people who were pawning clues and that regularly, I was getting more information every year.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [193] So it did you a lot of good although [...]
Sidney (PS5BC) [194] Of course it did I, I, I was able to, I was able to pick up, and I used to clear up crimes which I know that some of the others wouldn't have cleared up at that time.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [195] Mm
Sidney (PS5BC) [196] Everybody liked to get in the limelight.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [197] Yes.
Sidney (PS5BC) [198] If a very serious offence was reported, the Detective Inspector was [...] , well he used to go [...] to deal with it personally because it was very important.
[199] If he found after two or three days that he wasn't really making much headway, he would then, after he'd left the police courts, say to me I think you'd better go down street or somewhere and see if you can find
Yvonne (PS5BB) [...]
Sidney (PS5BC) [200] see if you can find out who's spending money down that area, and then a occasionally, not, not too often, jobs that he's fell back on and dropped, I've been able to get a little start on, and very foolishly I used to tell him sometimes of the progress I was making [laugh] that was where I made a mistake.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [201] That was a mistake, was it?
Sidney (PS5BC) [202] He used to say well now I'll come with you, and from that time on, after the arrests were made.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [203] Who got the limelight?
Sidney (PS5BC) [204] He got it.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [205] Yes.
Sidney (PS5BC) [206] Oh my word, and of course the more important the people the more he wanted it.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [207] That's right.
Sidney (PS5BC) [208] But against that, although I know that he'd took three or four very good jobs that I ought to have had, but he was a very, very good detective, a hard working inspector.
[209] I've taken suspects to the police station when I haven't been able to break them down, and I've told my inspector exactly what's happened, he's got the whole picture and then he's closed the door and called the man in, closed the door.
[210] And, if he was a man with, who had never been in trouble before, and perhaps with a young family, and through being hard-up and through illness or any other reason, he would speak to him in a fatherly manner.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [211] Yes.
Sidney (PS5BC) [212] Now that you're in trouble I want to help you, you've got children, I've got children, I know what the position is, tell me what you got into and see if I can help you out.
[213] Of course they would for a start, I haven't done anything, all that sort of business, but he was extremely good and I think the reason that he'd got admissions quicker than we did, was partly by virtue of the fact that he was the boss of the department.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [214] Yes.
Sidney (PS5BC) [215] That's what I really think as well, but he was extremely good, and I used to listen sometimes to the way that he interviewed people.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [216] Get some ideas.
Sidney (PS5BC) [217] And er yes, I used to try and follow him as much as I could.
[218] Well then of course, I've told you about having these trials up and down, and then, out of the people I've dealt with mostly of them were local criminals, I should think nearly ninety percent of crime in Ipswich was committed by local people.
[219] We didn't even take fingerprints in those days.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [220] No.
Sidney (PS5BC) [221] If a stranger was picked up in Ipswich.
[222] [...] with a long record we knew nothing about him.
[223] We used to send them to Norwich, take them to Norwich prison, with the request that they be fingerprinted.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [224] [...] fingerprinting section in your own [...] ?
Sidney (PS5BC) [225] Oh no we hadn't.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [226] You had to take them to Norwich.
Sidney (PS5BC) [227] At that time we had, we didn't have any fingerprinting.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [228] No.
Sidney (PS5BC) [229] But, we knew all our locals you see, we knew all their histories.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [230] Yes.
Sidney (PS5BC) [231] But when a stranger was picked up for house breaking or shop breaking or something, a complete stranger, we used to send them to Norwich ... pending further enquiries, and with a request that they be fingerprinted, and of course they used to fingerprint, send to Scotland Yard, we used to then get the record if they had a record with a photograph, and all their previous convictions.
[232] We hadn't even got a photographer.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [233] Oh dear.
[234] [laugh] You knew, you knew your local criminals, but you haven't got any pictures of them.
Sidney (PS5BC) [235] No we hadn't, we hadn't got a photographer.
[236] So when Scotland Yard sent us photographs of criminals that we were dealing with, we used to have to take this descriptive form and photograph to Walters the photographers in Plane, and he charged sixpence to copy the photograph.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [237] Goodness.
Sidney (PS5BC) [238] [laugh] It doesn't seem believable.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [239] It doesn't does it?
Sidney (PS5BC) [240] But I mean you, you just imagine, we've got no cars, no photographer,
Yvonne (PS5BB) [241] No.
Sidney (PS5BC) [242] and er when I tell you that I went to the detective staff in nineteen twenty seven, then we started with our first mobile help.
[243] The Watch Committee agreed that we should have, not we, the force, should have a motorbike combination.
[244] Now Mr he is the garage proprietor, who used to supply the bicycles, he supplied the motorcycle and sidecar, that was a start.
[245] The Watch Committee then, this was what, round about nineteen thirty perhaps, then agreed that we should have a police car.
[246] Now that car was bought, that was kept at Garage, which was about quarter of a mile distance from the police station, kept in the garage.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [247] Who drove it?
Sidney (PS5BC) [248] There were only two policemen allowed to drive it.
[249] Police Constable George and P C Jack .
Yvonne (PS5BB) [250] And they, they had had some experience or were they engineers or something
Sidney (PS5BC) [251] Oh they had I must tell you now that at the time that we hadn't got a car at all, on the occasion of a royal visit, or some very important action being taken, my Chief Constable used to hire a chauffeur driven car from Mr of Lane in Ipswich.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [252] Oh yes.
Sidney (PS5BC) [253] He was a very smart man
Yvonne (PS5BB) [cough]
Sidney (PS5BC) [254] and he always provided a very smart car, and the first policeman to drive the police car was his own chauffeur, who left him and joined the police force.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [255] I see, well, well.
Sidney (PS5BC) [256] So that er his former chauffeur joined the force, P C , he was in, he drove of course our first police car, well which he shared with P C , then when our cars got to number two, three and so on, he eventually came up, so that he retired as inspector, traffic inspector.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [257] Traffic division.
Sidney (PS5BC) [258] He, he simply came up [cough] with the number of cars.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [259] Traffic division, yes.
Sidney (PS5BC) [260] Yeah
Yvonne (PS5BB) [261] Yeah
Sidney (PS5BC) [262] And er ... what was I going to tell you, I told you about , I talked about we had nine pawnbroker's shops, I didn't did I, but that we did have nine pawnbroker shops in Ipswich.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [263] There were six lodging houses were there?
Sidney (PS5BC) [264] Yes, that's in addition to the lodging houses.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [265] Means of communication.
Sidney (PS5BC) [266] Oh not very good.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [laugh]
Sidney (PS5BC) [267] Not very good at all.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [268] No walkie-talkies.
Sidney (PS5BC) [269] No, no nothing like that at all.
[270] [...] there were very few places in the town where we could use telephones especially at night.
[271] Very difficult indeed, you didn't like calling up people at a private house and ask if we could use the phone.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [272] What about Post Offices?
Sidney (PS5BC) [273] So what they did eventually, they put sort of call boxes occasionally, in different parts of the borough so during the night you could ring up the station.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [clears throat]
Sidney (PS5BC) [274] You could ring up the station.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [275] Yes.
Sidney (PS5BC) [276] Now I, I know on periods of night duty we had two fixed points.
[277] There was always a policeman on the .
Yvonne (PS5BB) [278] Yes.
Sidney (PS5BC) [279] And that was quite a good idea, because late at night following wedding parties and other [...] , if anybody was behaving in an disorderly manner and people were returning home, they would always tell the policeman that they saw that a rowdy crowd were coming along.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [280] Further down the road.
Sidney (PS5BC) [281] But they wouldn't walk a few yards into the police station and tell anybody.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [282] No [...]
Sidney (PS5BC) [283] But they wouldn't take that trouble, but they'd always speak to the uniform policemen, if or if they heard anyone smashing glass, but they wouldn't go out of their way.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [284] No, I understand.
Sidney (PS5BC) [285] But the relationship was extremely good, I think that you might say that for many years in my service, it was almost a case of the law abiding citizens in Ipswich coping with the wrongdoers.
[286] We got plenty of help .
Yvonne (PS5BB) [287] I suppose that's the best way really.
Sidney (PS5BC) [288] Oh, we got plenty of help, and of course, it's always been said that you don't reveal a man's past until he's been found guilty of an offence, but our magistrates were all local shopkeepers you know
Yvonne (PS5BB) [289] [...] know them as well.
Sidney (PS5BC) [290] and they used to know the, the wrongdoers, and when alleg allegations were made about any violence on the police, they would know the policeman pretty well, and more often than not they could tell whether a policeman might be of the type who might provoke anybody, they knew the policeman very well indeed, and my word if the policeman was assaulted in my early days, he'd got to have a jolly good excuse not to be sent to prison.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [291] Yes.
Sidney (PS5BC) [292] The magistrates, they, if they were satisfied that it was, I don't sound very [...]
Yvonne (PS5BB) [293] No, no, [...]
Sidney (PS5BC) [294] [...] clip of the ear, nothing like that, but if [...] if you'd got a black eye.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [295] Yes.
Sidney (PS5BC) [296] And you'd got a little bit of plaster you, you could show the court the next morning, he was going to prison.
[297] The magistrates would tell you that they were du they were going to do their utmost to pr to support the police at all times. [...]
Yvonne (PS5BB) [298] Yes.
Sidney (PS5BC) [299] And, [laugh] I must get back now to
Yvonne (PS5BB) [300] Communication.
Sidney (PS5BC) [301] [...] communication yes, so that we used to have the difficulty, and we used to rely on the odd person, railway people, drivers and their guards, they used to be knocked up during the night for early duty, by call boys, we used to make use of them if we wanted a message sent anywhere.
[302] You know, anyhow.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [303] Yes, yes.
Sidney (PS5BC) [304] But er we, we had quite a difficulty, very, very difficult, we used to have to walk a long way before we could get to a telephone.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [305] Now, you all had whistles, did you use those much?
Sidney (PS5BC) [306] Oh we had whistles, and strangely enough, very seldom did we use them, simply because there were other traffic about that time [...] if you were a long way away, er you might be nearly to [...] , if you blew your whistle, there were nobody to hear you, I mean people in houses, and they were only few and far between.
[307] I, I, I don't hardly think that I can remember blowing a whistle.
[308] I don't really.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [309] Yes.
Sidney (PS5BC) [310] We, have I told you about the policeman who was fixed permanently at the ?
Yvonne (PS5BB) [311] yes.
Sidney (PS5BC) [312] the town centre.
[313] There was also a policemen all night on Bridge, all night.
[314] He was relieved, of course, by the policemen from the neighbouring beats.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [315] Was that because of the docks?
Sidney (PS5BC) [316] Yes, that faced the dock, and in case of fire or any emergency, he used to always be there and he'd be able to see it.
[317] In addition to watching the dock there'd be a policeman on patrol at the dock.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [318] Yes.
Sidney (PS5BC) [319] But he would be fixed at the bridge.
[320] And, people from the town centre who were going home to Stoke had to go over the bridge.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [321] Yes.
Sidney (PS5BC) [322] And the if there was a street disturbance or a quarrel in the house everybody over there used to come to Stoke Bridge for the policeman.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [323] Yes.
Sidney (PS5BC) [324] And er, we used to get all sorts of calls.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [325] Supposing he got called away from his post would there be somebody ready to take his place?
Sidney (PS5BC) [326] No, no, if you got called away ... there wouldn't be anybody to take over until the next relief [...] if, if the man was coming up the dock with two [...] yo yo well you wouldn't be able to get in touch with him either.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [327] No.
Sidney (PS5BC) [328] But if he was to come on at three o'clock in the morning, the other man called away wouldn't be replaced.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [329] No.
Sidney (PS5BC) [330] And er you used to get recalled for all sorts of things, often a distur family disturbances.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [331] Yes.
Sidney (PS5BC) [332] I was called away one morning, [...] somebody came along to me and said will you come along to Street, there's a chap playing up, old Harry, he's trying to build a shed or something and it's two o'clock in the morning, none of us can sleep, do come along with me.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [...]
Sidney (PS5BC) [333] Well, I went along to Street and this chap was hammering away, and the people were swearing from windows, and I realized the chap was mental.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [334] Oh.
Sidney (PS5BC) [335] Oh, I knew that that night I was in a very difficult position, if he had been on the public highway I could have taken him to the police station and taken him
Yvonne (PS5BB) [...]
Sidney (PS5BC) [336] I could have taken him if he's on the public highway, I could have taken him to the police station.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [337] But not in his own garden.
Sidney (PS5BC) [338] No, and I had I er ... I had tried to appeal to him to be quiet, he said well I've got to build this shed, I said well it don't have to be during the night when other people are trying to sleep, he said well that's up to them, and he started hammering again, while I was talking to him, and then I kept on and on and eventually, I think while I was talking to him I'd kept him quiet while I was talking to him.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [339] Mm [cough]
Sidney (PS5BC) [340] And then I told
Yvonne (PS5BB) [cough]
Sidney (PS5BC) [341] [...] told his wife to get the doctor, and that sort of business in, but er [...] imagine a man knocking up his shed during the night [laugh]
Yvonne (PS5BB) [342] He must have thought he was Noah.
Sidney (PS5BC) [...]
Yvonne (PS5BB) [343] No
Sidney (PS5BC) [344] On another occasion
Yvonne (PS5BB) [345] What would you have done with him if you had been able to arrest him?
[346] As he was mental, I mean would you have taken him to a hospital or the station?
Sidney (PS5BC) [347] No, no, no, take him to the police station.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [348] Yes.
Sidney (PS5BC) [349] And then get your police sergeant.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [350] I see yes, mm.
Sidney (PS5BC) [351] And if he come along he would want to know who the man's doctor was.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [352] Yes.
Sidney (PS5BC) [353] So he got his history, and then a magistrate can certify him and he can be handed over to er what is now St Clements Hospital.
[354] They used to call it the asylum, years ago.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [355] Yes, yes.
Sidney (PS5BC) [356] But they changed the name of it.
[357] Well then [laugh] while I was serving as a detective, you can just imagine I made plenty of arrests, and I got along reasonably well with most people, but there was one man I hated ... yes I hated him, I, I'd only been a detective I should think for a period of about, oh five or six months, and a man, he called on the Reverend who was the, the vicar of St. Mary where [...]
Yvonne (PS5BB) [...]
Sidney (PS5BC) [358] And this man said that he was a lay reader, and that he'd retired, he'd come back from Australia, and he though that he would like to help out in the parish.
[359] Reverend thought oh yes he'd be very very glad of you, so he said I'd be prepared to visit the sick, I'd do anything like that and he did in fact start doing some visiting, and among other people that he called upon was a person living in Road, not very far really from where I'd been born and I knew the area well.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [360] Yes [clears throat]
Sidney (PS5BC) [361] Now he called at this house and said that he was er visiting for ...
Yvonne (PS5BB) [362] For the church.
Sidney (PS5BC) [363] and while he was talking to the woman he saw in the hall an elderly woman, and he said to the woman at the door, is that your mother, she said oh yes she's with me now, she used to live at Woodbridge.
[364] He said well did she get the er widow's loaf?
[365] She said you never get anything here, she said she did get the widow's loaf once when she was at Woodbridge, he said she'll have the widow's loaf now.
[366] And he went on just across the road to Road Co-op and he bought a small loaf of bread which at that time would be about tuppence, and gave the old lady this small loaf ... [...] about ten days afterwards he called again, he said, he said I've come to see you again, now are you alright and so on, he said I've done a foolish thing this morning, he said I'm responsible for the flowers, altar flowers, he said and I've left my wallet at my lodgings, and my landlady has gone down to for the day.
[367] He said
Yvonne (PS5BB) [368] Con man.
Sidney (PS5BC) [369] he said I'm properly on the spot, so he, so the woman volunteered, she said well can I help you, I've got my fortnight's rent money here, so she let him have the rent money.
[370] Course I don't have to tell you any more, she didn't see him no more.
[371] He then went and called on a Mrs who'd got a confectionery shop, corner of Road and Road and a hard luck story there, he got a few pound for doing out the sacrament, he got some money from her.
[372] And then when they eventually complained, when other people were involved, complained, Reverend he hadn't seen this chap either.
[373] His name was , but I found he'd been lodging in a house in Road close to the railway station.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [374] Yes.
Sidney (PS5BC) [375] And when I saw the landlady there she said that she did have a Mr there but he'd left a few days ago, didn't know where he'd got to.
[376] I said well now can I see his room, she said well really I've cleared the room since he's gone, but I found some papers in the room, which indicated that he was a convict on licence.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [377] Yes, yes.
Sidney (PS5BC) [378] Well that gave me a start of course, so immediately I got a warrant out, and he, some while afterwards he was picked up in London.
[379] Well they, I had to go to Road police station, London, it was quite good, the detective took, took me around that little area and er then when I got ready to collect to take him to Liverpool Street Station, I saw him for the first time, man about sixty one and he'd got two suitcases, one lighter than the other, and while I was signing for him and his property I said to him, you take that light one and I'll take the bigger one with the view to getting on the bus to get to Liverpool Street st but the inspector there was very good, he said I'm not going to oh ... and I said to you take the light case I'll take the high one, he said I can't carry anything, I got a rupture.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [380] Ooh.
Sidney (PS5BC) [381] The inspector said I'm not going to allow you to leave here with a prisoner and those two cases.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [382] Yes, with both hands occupied what could you do?
Sidney (PS5BC) [383] Yes, so he then called in a constable, who was living in a section house nearby.
[384] He said, now go to go to your section house get a sports jacket or something, and go with this police officer, he said I'll get a police van, he said go with this police officer to Liverpool Street Station, he said and take charge of this prisoner while he gets a ticket, for Ipswich.
Yvonne (PS5BB) [385] Very wise, he might have disappeared.
Sidney (PS5BC) [386] He he said get that, he said and go with him onto the train and see him safely in the compartment, ascertain the time of arrival in Ipswich, and go and telephone Ipswich police telling them that they were to meet this on arrival at Ipswich, and I thought that our Chief Constable really