Philip Rule (CO78)
After serving my penance at Truro School from 1970 until 1978 without troubling the prize givers, I decided that a career in the police was more beneficial to me than being captured by the police for wrongdoings. Her Majesty’s British Army had already decided that the nation’s security was sufficiently healthy without any input from me so I applied for the Metropolitan Police. In a moment of complete madness they accepted me and I joined on the 11th September 1978.
After my initial training I was posted to Clapham which I have to say was a culture shock, whilst walking the beat you not only looked in front of you and behind you but also above you as there were many occasions when fridges, televisions, the occasional wardrobe and sometimes people were thrown from balconies in the estates. Pigeons and seagulls were easy to deal with but fridges……… they hurt. I was seriously injured in the 1981 Brixton riots spending nearly 6 months off work having split a vertebrae.
I lasted at Clapham for five years until the powers decided I should be moved and ended up at a tiny police station at East Molesey. It was rather like being the local bobby in Carnon Downs. During my time there, I got seconded to the Sweeney as a driver. It was exactly as portrayed in the TV programme. I was shot at and then I realised that adrenalin doesn’t necessarily help. I still have the two bullets that ended up in the car seat I should have been sitting in when it all went wrong. I also have the car door of the unmarked police car with the two bullet holes in it. I was supposed to be there for two months but managed to hang on for two years. I had five happy years altogether at East Molesey until I made the ridiculous decision to join traffic patrol.
From the outset I realised I had made a big mistake. The supervisors made it their life’s ambition to make my life hell and they were very good at it. I left after a year having had what would best be described as a rather large ‘domestic’ with the Superintendent. Just when I thought I was winning the argument, he invoked the rank structure which meant I lost heavily.
Back I went to Kingston where I stayed for seven years and thoroughly enjoyed it. I then transferred to Kensington and Chelsea which was an awesome place to work. So compact and so diverse. Nearly 200 nationalities speaking over 300 dialects made the area so fascinating. The surprising thing though is that there is not a single public toilet in the whole borough because allegedly everybody owns their own!!
I then decided to try my hand back in traffic patrol. This time all the old supervisors had long retired and I had more service than most of my immediate supervisors. I spent my days riding police motor cycles around Central London. It was joyous and I was getting paid for it. Then I decided to have a momentous motor cycle accident which put paid to any further operational duties. Having taken the best part of four months to recover, I was seconded to the Home Office to work on a joint project. Such was my success amongst a load of civil servants where I caused unmitigated chaos, I single headedly nearly brought the Home Office to its knees. It was quite hilarious and it made me realise why nothing ever gets done in government.
In the end I decided that enough was enough and I retired at the end of September 2008 having completed 30 years of service. On occasions it was a close run thing but I got there. I enjoyed almost all of it. The bureaucracy was at times absolutely mind boggling and the political interferences were dreadful. That said, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
They were good and happy days.