When I was nineteen years of age I graduated to become a fully fledged Metropolitan Police Constable, prior to that I was merely playing at it by being a Cadet. During the two and a bit years I spent in the junior ranks as an understudy to the real thing, I enjoyed adventures and pastimes many would envy. I went Rock Climbing in North Wales, Orienteering for two days across The Brechin Beacons with nothing except a compass, a map and two bars of chocolate. I took part in the Devizes to Westminster Canoe Race and jumped willingly into every brawl or domestic disturbance that I could possibly find. I also, when time allowed, played Rugby and cricket, seeming every day. At nineteen that excitement changed. The very first week after exchanging the flat blue banded cap into the ‘Bobby’s Helmet’ I was posted, with hundreds of other’s, to protect the American Embassy against Anti- Vietnam War protesters. There in Grosvenor Square I had a sudden wake up. Marbles and darts were thrown at us with no redress to retaliation or protection other than the normal, everyday uniform that we wore and the occasional sortie into the throng to arrest ring-leaders. Today I drove passed the American Embassy and although those days in the late ’60 were horrendous, the sight of the necessary machine pistoled Police officers on the streets is worse. The world takes a long time to improve, and an even longer time to rid itself of zealots who think nothing of anything but themselves in their continued pursuit of violence to effect change.
Daniel Kemp’s Books