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My Early Police Days Part 7a

Mervyn Mitton



Sorry for the short delay - I have decided to retire and closing South Africa's top Collectors'
Shop (Militaria, silver, porcelain, prints etc) has been a major undertaking after 24 years in
the shop. Nearly finished and then things will - hopefully - get back into a routine.

We have talked in these past few blogs about my time in the Metropolitan Police - a period
in my life that I greatly enjoyed. I am often asked by people about what would be a good career for their children - dependent on the child, if he/she is of a confident nature - then I always say
that a job as a Police Officer is both a challenge and a satisfying way to spend your working life.
There are many dangers - however, you have the companionship and friendship of your fellow
Police, and there are many different careers within the police that you can apply for. Not everyone
in this World has to be a high flyer - many of my friends were quite happy to remain as uniformed constables. They enjoyed the inter-action with the public and the salary allows a good standard
of living. The choice is up to the individual to pick the Branch they wish to serve in - and to take
the exams if they want promotion.

So, having given my short recruiting speech, I must remind you that I joined 46 years ago - and
the Policing of those days was quite different then today. Not in a bad way - just that things are
more technical today. One example would be the new pullover daily uniform. I hated it when I
first saw pictures - now , I realise it is part of the modern way people dress and probably more
functional then the heavy tunic. Daily life has changed and evolved and a modern Police Force
has to do the same. Friends I am still in contact with after all these years always say - 'Mervyn,
you would hate it today - so much paperwork and so many petty regulations."

I possibly would - we had a lot of freedom and discretion in those days to do our job. However,
change is inevitable and most Countries today have pressures that didn't exist fifty years ago.

I came across a recruiting book that I was given when I first applied - so , probably printed 50 years
ago. I am going to show some of the pictures - just to remind you of times past.

Dress of the Day - 'A' Division - in front of Houses of Parliament


Point Duty was quite common in those days. The white sleeves buttoned to the tunic.


I talked about how at Hendon they staged classes to look the 'real' thing. This is such a class.


Assisting the Public is a big part of a Civilian Police Force. Note his Duty Arm Band


The light m/cycle on the left is the Velocette air cooled Beat Patrol Bike. The main use was for
delivering messages and attending to routine calls - however, they made many arrests. The m/cycle on the right is a patrol one for Traffic Division. Note the different headgear. The Velocette
driver wore a standard helmet with extra re-inforcement.


Mounted Branch - taken into the Met. in 1839 from the old Horse Patrol. The horses are/were
magnificent - but for the rider 4 out of each 8 hour shift was preparing them.


This is one of the stations at the communications room at Scotland Yard. This was what I meant
by technology advancing.




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you will miss the shop mervyn and that thrill when somebody pulls a little gem out of a brown paper bag.

rumjar, joe cruise liverpool.

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Those pictures bring back memories... I think I must have seen that booklet at some time as a youngster. Which, given that my early passion for medals led to an interest in the uniforms they are worn on and that I lived in London until 1968 is not too surprising!

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Were do I sign up?

Ah, policing in the past, how much different than today's demands. While I do not believe it was "easier" in the past however the differences between "then and now", certainly with members of the public and even senior staffers, has changed the complexion of the career, at least here in Ontario.

It is interesting how many times we see the police officer of the past included as an iconic figure along with the land marks of the City.

Thanks for continuing with this exceptional blog.



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