We are still receiving memories from former members of the police force about their days pounding the beat in various locations around the Black Country, but we are sure there must be more stories to tell.
Peter Hubbard lives in Crewe is an avid reader of the Bugle and when he first turned to pages 20 and 21 in edition 1096 he thought, at first, someone had collared his copy of a photograph he had of a group of police officers at training camp.
He told us, “I was flabbergasted to see the picture and without delay began to read the accompanying story.
“Mr. Shipman’s ‘beat’ initiation followed a similar pattern to the one I experienced. Four weeks with a senior PC, in my case a-25-years-in-the-job bloke who couldn’t stand too long in one place because his back went into spasm, and as a result he walked my feet off.
“It was in such a trauma, green fields to smoky atmosphere, that I arrived from Wolverhampton to be stationed at the Wednesbury Division of the Staffordshire County Police.
“I have written before about some experiences I had, and wonder whether Mr Shipman might possibly entertain us with a few more of his in the near future; hopefully he can.
“Pounding the beat could be monotonous, especially after 0300 hours on the night shift, but in the end it was what you made of it.
“I think the worst aspect on nights was when, during a spell of snow and frost, you’d appear back at the station for a much needed coffee break (all of 20 minutes) looking like a snowman, greatcoat covered with frost, even eyebrows twinkling in the light. In those 20 minutes you had to take off your helmet and greatcoat, eat whatever ‘snappin’ you’d got, drink a hot drink of tea or coffee as best you could, and get dressed again to resume the rigours of your beat. If you were a bit slow keeping to this time schedule a rebuke was soon forthcoming from the sergeant.
“When I was a night duty PC at Darlaston police station we had to sweep the floor, apply floor polish and bumper it to a reflective shine, cook any grub the other PCs out on the beat had brought in for their snappin (usually beans on toast), put the brew on, wash up afterwards, record any messages (all the station’s bulletins from headquarters), operate the switchboard, and, to make sure we weren’t shirking in our duties, dust and polish the office furniture.
“I can’t ever remember putting my feet up, but at least on a cold, frosty winter night it was a darned sight warmer in the station that being outside on the beat! “As for the names in the frame, I can’t remember them all, but I do remember all the WPCs, funny that.
“In the back row left to right I’m second from the left, T.
Griffiths (Staffs Co.) is fourth and the last man standing is B.
Hampton (Stoke City), who, if I remember correctly was just 18 years of age.
“Middle row: A. Moult (Walsall Borough) is second from the left and A. Weeks (Staffs Co.) is third.
“Front row includes, from left to right: Mary Higgins (Birmingham City), Marjorie Lilley (Peterborough), (?), Chief Constable (instructor), the Commandant, Sgt. Church (instructor Stoke City), Grace (our ‘Grice’, whose surname sadly escapes me, from Birmingham City), Ann Staples (Notts Co.) and Jane Greenwood (Derby Co.).
If you were a former police constable, like Peter Hubbard, and you have a story to tell, contact jwork man@blackcountrybugle.
co.uk, or write to Bugle House, 41 High Street, Cradley Heath, B64 5HL.