Please stop reading now if you’re offended by the occasional F Word. I promise not to over-do it, but it’s vital to the story. I do not wish to offend.
Well, to tell the truth I’ve met ‘The Commissioner’ 3 times now. The first occasion was on August Bank Holiday Monday 1976 during the Notting Hill Carnival riots. It was a gloriously hot sunny day and my serial had been on duty on ‘Aid’ to Notting Hill for the Carnival since about 8am. At some time in the afternoon we were dismissed, back to base and go home lads. Well, we probably got about 5 miles down the road before the radios started squawking and we sent back again. It seems the wheel was coming off. We were deployed to form a cordon somewhere in Ladbroke Grove to prevent the local youths, who were now throwing bricks and bottles, from progressing any further. As we de-bussed, our beloved Inspector received a bottle to the swede and went down, oh dear, we were leaderless. After fighting a series of running battles, I think it’s fair to say that we lost that year, we were sent to NSY for feeding, always a good sign, you’re not going home any time soon if they’re feeding you. So there were, what remained of 1,2 and 20 (not very many if I recall, most had been removed to hospital) stood on the ground floor of NSY waiting for the lift doors to open and take us up to the 4th floor for our meal. A more, rag-tag dishevelled bunch you could not imagine. Discarded on the floor were all the dustbin lids we had ‘borrowed’ from the residents of Notting Hill to protect ourselves as shields had not been issued in 1976. Eventually the lift doors opened and as we swept forward to get in out stepped Sir Robert Mark, looking pristine in his lovely posh Commish uniform. Someone was heard to say “and you can fuck off too mate” and we pushed past him to go for our meal. To his eternal credit, not only did not say a word, but he then went to pay a visit to The Front Line. I changed my opinion of him slightly that night. I think I finally got home about 5 in the morning. A long day.
The second occasion was on the awarding of my Long Service and Undetected Crime Medal. I should have been presented with this in 1994 after 22 years service, but for some reason which was never explained to us, my intake was given their medals in 1995, a whole year late. Sir Paul, now Lord Condon of G4S, was now the Commissioner and stood up on the stage reminding everyone gathered what had been happening in the world 22 years previously when we all joined the Job. I don’t know who wrote his speech for him, but they obviously didn’t twig that he was a whole year out. Quite pathetic really.
The final occasion was sometime about 1996/7 when we were told that the Commissioner was coming to pay a visit to our unit. We were given firm instructions that we should all enter and leave our office by the main (front) door and not under any circumstances use the back door. Stop laughing @Met2Moz, I can hear you!!. So I was sat at my desk writing up my most recent escapades (probably with my partner, I don’t remember exactly) when there was a knock at the back door. ‘Fuck Off’ said I, doing what I was told. A second, slightly louder knock at the door followed, “I’ve told you once, Fuck Off”. Well, this did no more than prompt a very loud and rather angry sounding knocking on the door. A tad pee’d off by the lack of understanding by the idiot on the other side of the door, I walked over to the door, opened it and said “If you’re not the Commissioner you’re not coming so Fuck Off” “Ah, good afternoon Sir, All Correct”. Yes you’ve guessed it, in front of me was stood an apoplectic Detective Chief Superintendent and a rather amused Commissioner. He had the grace to laugh, and that was ALMOST the last I heard of it. Somebody (and I know who you are) sent the details of this charade to Dogberry for publication in the Police magazine, so my embarrassment was complete. In my defence however, I maintain that as he WAS the Commsioner I didn’t tell him to Fuck Off. And I kept my job, so it wasn’t all bad.