Former West Yorks Police Officer's collar numbers

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jetwalking
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Postby jetwalking » Tue 14 Feb, 2012 10:12 am

Hello everyone - can you help please. I am new to this forum- so please be patient! I know that there is some extremely detailed police knowledge/input on this forum - and I have spent ages reading their threads to try and get the information that I need.

I am currently constructing a wooden memorial to officers with whom I have served with in West Yorkshire Metropolitan Police/ West Yorkshire Police. The tribute involves including their personal collar numbers.
Three officers (who I did not know) but who's deaths had an immense impact on me as a young serving officer were:
PS Michael Hawcroft
PS John Speed
WPC Yvonne Fletcher (Met)
From joining and reading your discussions I have ascertained that PS Speed's number was 696 (which sounds like a good old Leeds number)- could anyone confirm that please? I have written to the Met for WPC Fletcher's number (would be grateful if anyone knew that) - that leaves me with PS Hawcroft's number - any ideas please?
I have noticed that no collar number is ever mentioned/ inscribed on any memorials to these former officers?
Thanks in anticipation - I served with people like Graham Widdowson (626)
Bob Mason (2675) Ian Broadhurst (at the moment I don't know his collar number either)
regards jetwalking
iansmithofotley
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Postby iansmithofotley » Tue 14 Feb, 2012 12:42 pm

Hi jetwalking,

I joined the Leeds City Police Force with John Speed in 1965 and we did all our training together at Pannal Ash and back in the force. His collar number was 696 and mine was 681. As the numbers were quite close together (the numbers in between were all taken by other serving officers) we invariably sat next to each other as in many of the classes, which we attended, we had to sit in numerical collar number order (I have no idea why). We always seemed to be serving at different sides of the city and never in the same Division. We both went into C.I.D. shortly after completing our probation in 1967.

I think that John worked at Dewsbury Road and then Gipton PS CID, whereas I started at Upper Wortley PS and went to Ireland Wood PS CID. After not very long, John went into the Special Branch, where he spent most of his career, and I went into the Leeds City Crime Squad. We both got promoted in 1972 and John eventually finished up back in the Special Branch, whereas I worked in uniform at Dewsbury Road PS and Chapeltown PS before going back into CID at Dewsbury Road PS and then the Burglary Squad. Without wanting to bore you any further, I served all over the place after 1976.

I can not help you, at all, with Yvonne Fletcher.

So far as relates to Michael Hawcroft, I had met him but I did not know him. In those days, after the 1974 amalgamation of forces, people tended to serve in the areas in which they had previously served, unless they wanted a move, got promoted or get into trouble. Michael Hawcroft was from the Bradford/Keighley area so possibly had a number starting with '3', depending on when he joined, I will explain why.

As you will be aware, after the amalgamation, Leeds City Police officers kept their original collar numbers, Bradford City Police Officers had a '3' placed before their original collar numbers and the West Yorkshire Police officers either kept their own numbers or were re-allocated a new number, depending on what their original number was.

Police collar numbers, in the constituent forces of the West Yorkshire (Metropolitan) Police, were only for constables and sergeants. Once an officer was promoted, they lost their collar number. New recruits were allocated collar numbers that were vacant because officers had retired, resigned, died or due to increases in establishment. An example was in Leeds where, until about 1966, the collar numbers only ever went up to 799. The force got an increase in establishment for more officers so the new recruits, or transferees, received numbers starting at 800. They were affectionately known as the '800 Club'. In April 1974, upon amalgamation, the highest Leeds collar number was 1046.

Another thing was that, at that time, the force was short of officers and particularly sergeants. In those days, besides passing police promotion examinations, to get promoted, constables and sergeants had also to pass educational examinations and many officers could not pass them (they were abolished a few years later). Anyhow, the Chief Constable, at the time, Alex Paterson, did something that, in those days, was unknown - he advertised, nationally, for sergeants. The result was that the force got about twenty new sergeants and quickly increased the establishment. They came from all over the country and nearly all were constables who could not get promoted within their own forces (or were not prepared to wait after passing their exams) so they transferred to Leeds on promotion. Many of these were the early 'butterflies' (officers who spent their careers transferring from force to force, getting promoted each time - more prevalent these days than ever before).

In Leeds, the policewomen had their own collar numbers starting at '1'. Upon amalgamation, all of the policewomen received a '5' (50 , 51 or 52, etc., to make a four figure number) before their numbers to distinguish their gender, which was helpful for operational purposes. In those days, all of the equal opportunities principles and problems had not taken their effect, like today, where all the numbers are mixed up (it must cause operational difficulties when supervisors are dealing or allocating tasks, on paper, with officers who they do not know).

If you contacted the current force or any older (elderly?) officer from the Bradford area, it would not be difficult to obtain Michael Hawcroft's collar number.

I hope that this helps.

Ian    
jetwalking
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Postby jetwalking » Tue 14 Feb, 2012 6:12 pm

Ian, thank you for taking both the time and the trouble to give your extensive knowledge.
My service started in 1981. From a personal point of view it is interesting to have the structure and thinking of the 60's 70's generation of 'bosses' explained. My career started out from the remnants of respectablility that my predecessors had fought hard to earn fromt the public. Initially
I enjoyed foot beats- quality 'collar taking' and an absolute day to day relationship with the community - but above all respect. I cut my teeth walking to jobs- in fact you didn't expect to drive - you were put up for a course when your Sergeant thought it was right. As one of my Sergeants once joked- 'A Driving Course Lad!- why would we want you to get to jobs faster- when you don't know what you're doing when you get there'??
Quite right as well.
I guess out of the ever evolving monster that the police is I was schooled by some right old sloggers from the sixties and seventies - but underwent an absolute metamorphosis along the way of technology, miners strike, steel strike, widespread drugs (the public not me!) and [edited for content] manangement along the way.
It is interesting that you mention The Chief advertising for Sergeants and the 'butterfly' generation that it spawned. I absolutely agree with you.
'The job' - for me started as almost a calling- became a love- then a career- then a test of endurance and finally a survival test to get to the end.
I have been out for a year and I can only think that it is how a long term prisoner must feel when they walk out of prison for the first time!!
I don't owe anyone a penny and most importantly nobody owns me (except the wife of course).
(Just to ramble a bit more) From the 80's right up until about 2000 normality still appeared to reign. You could go to any nick in this country (which I did on prisoner transports, enqs etc) and after about 30 seconds of being in a new nick you could observe the time honoured Status Quo: The quiet but knowledgeable 'guide' who assisted you, the surly Station Sergeant who invariably had a heart of gold, the 'giddy-kipper' young copper who had plenty of ideas and who was vocal about how to solve your enquiry. He would be shot down by either a withering look from the old sage/ or forbidden from speaking at all!!- told to make the tea (aha' now's there's a complete months worth of thread on it's own- the making of tea by the probationers-in the early days I loved making tea- as it was the only thing that you could get half right!!!in the end we the older end were making it- because the 'newbies' thought it demeaning- you can tell a lot about someone with their attitude to and how they make tea)
By the time I had finished bafunity reigned supremely ! ! Common sense is no longer 'a viable alternative' Example: a bad driver nearly knocked a colleague of mine from a police motorcycle. I stopped the driver and gave him a polite but firm bollocking- didn't do him.
The next few months ensued with a (I'll say Detective- but actually it was no more than a little girl without a uniform) an officer from D&C taking a complaint from the man's son !! (yes you've heard it right) stating that his father had been made to publicly apologise and had been demeaned. The 'Detective' pleaded with me to come to a 'mediation' meeting with the son and for me to apologise for my actions i.e. doing my job.
When I put it to the 'Detective' that I would gladly meet the son; but in all eventuality would probably be locking him up for conduct likely- and the lady Detective if she intervened - as well as popping around to the son's dear old dad and doing him for a bit of Reckless Driving- suddenly it was all 'straightened out' - I must stop rambling- as my therapist says it's no good for me (tee hee)
Anyway back to the subject matter- thank you for your kind enquiries. On reflection I have had about 20 colleagues who have either died naturally, been murdered- or in the case of Ian Broadhurst- executed- died in RTA's etc and I want to remember them with a simple wood creation that I am making.
I have already started a process of events on the 'old thin blue line-a-gram' but after reading a lot of input here - about young coppers who were gaffers when I came along- I thought I'd give it a go.
Please don't stop writing as it is immensely interesting.
I served twice in Leeds - 1981 onwards. I then did gigs in Castleford, Knottingley, Normanton, South Kirkby, The Republics Of Fitzwilliam, Hav-a-[edited for content] (sometimes known as Havercroft) 2nd Gig in Holbeckistzan from 2000 onwards. Return tour to Wakefield 'District' all over Wackyfield and the hamlets of Ossett (never did find a treacle mine - o'h and that reminds me has anyone got the collar number of 'Tommy' Butler)
I have had a great career with the people and communities of West Yorkshire - I won't say with West Yorkshire Police- as I think that the management are a disgrace to both the officers and the public that they serve.... (Time to stop for now I think.... where's my yoga mat gone !!)
Andy
iansmithofotley
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Postby iansmithofotley » Tue 14 Feb, 2012 9:25 pm

Hi jetwalking,

Thank you for your message, it makes interesting reading for me. I am just glad that I served in the 1960's and 1970's when we could all police with our own discretion and our own common sense. Personally, as far as I am concerned, the job started to go 'pear shaped' after the amalgamation in 1974 as the force became too big and more impersonal. Prior to this time, in Leeds, through the VHF radio, which covered the whole of the city, you got to know most other officers, their collar numbers, and your way about the city, just from listening to the radio for eight hours a day and particularly when we were all on 'noddy bikes'. Even now, I can still recall names and collar numbers of those early days. Personal radios appeared around 1968 when 'Unit Beat Policing' and 'panda cars' became the 'best thing since sliced bread', and divisions were then equipped with 'radio rooms' and a radio operator on each shift.

The Police are the best in the world at re-inventing the wheel. In the 1990's, forces developed 'Area Control Rooms' and increased civilianisation which led to a more impersonal service for the police and, more importantly, the public. I understand that the wheel has turned again and they are now going back to divisional radio rooms. When people have a problem and need to contact the police, surely it is far better if they can ring someone at their local police station, preferably a police officer, who knows the local area and the local problems, rather than a civilian in a control room, miles away, who has no local or police knowledge. It would be even better if they could go to a nearby local police station which was open 24/7 and speak to a police officer (not a civilian or PCSO) who they knew, or who would help them. I find it very hard to believe that cities like Leeds and Bradford can operate without a city centre police station where the public can call in to report whatever or seek advice or directions. No doubt the wheel will turn again in the future.

Overall, I enjoyed my police service, particularly the first nine years, but as time went on, regrettably, after the amalgamation, I found that there was much less trust within the force (or 'service' as it is now called). In my early days, even if staff didn't get on with each other there was a mutual respect and commitment to support colleagues and get the job done for the benefit of the public. As time went on, I found that this general trust disintegrated and more and more it was necessary to be careful that someone was not trying to 'pull a stroke' on you. I found it very sad really and it got worse as times went on. Once I got to inspector level, my eyes were opened even wider and, at times, I could not believe what was going on or the strokes that were pulled and nepotism was rife. After a couple of years, I moved into a job that I liked and I worked very hard at it until I retired in 1995. Joining the police force was the best job in the world for me. I was very lucky to have served my 30+ years and I am enjoying my retirement. I am just so very pleased that I am not serving nowadays.

For the benefit of others reading this thread, Tommy Butler (mentioned by jetwalking) was an ex-army drill sergeant who taught drill and discipline to police recruits and police cadets at the West Yorkshire Police Force Training School at Bishopgarth, Wakefield. He died a few years ago and he was very well known.

Ian

Leodian
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Postby Leodian » Wed 15 Feb, 2012 1:05 am

This is a very interesting thread. No doubt there could be enough police recollections around for material for at least a book. Regular Smiley

In a police related matter it was sad to read that the memorial to PC Ian Broadhurst has recently been vandalised.    
A rainbow is a ribbon that Nature puts on when she washes her hair.
Si
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Postby Si » Wed 15 Feb, 2012 10:04 am

iansmithofotley wrote:


...all of the policewomen received a '5' (50 , 51 or 52, etc., to make a four figure number) before their numbers to distinguish their gender, which was helpful for operational purposes. In those days, all of the equal opportunities principles and problems had not taken their effect, like today, where all the numbers are mixed up (it must cause operational difficulties when supervisors are dealing or allocating tasks, on paper, with officers who they do not know).


Hi Ian,
Female officers' numbers were originally issued starting with a 5 in Bradford also. However, this was changed for "pc" reasons (sorry about the pun.) As you say, this has caused problems. For example, female officers being sent to a pub brawl.
Si
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Postby Si » Wed 15 Feb, 2012 10:18 am

jetwalking wrote:

I am currently constructing a wooden memorial to officers with whom I have served with in West Yorkshire Metropolitan Police/ West Yorkshire Police. The tribute involves including their personal collar numbers.
Three officers (who I did not know) but who's deaths had an immense impact on me as a young serving officer were:
PS Michael Hawcroft
PS John Speed
WPC Yvonne Fletcher (Met)

Hi Jetwalking,
There's a portrait of Yvonne Fletcher which was made as a 25th anniversary memorial, and the collar number is 341. You can find it on Google Images.
I used to work at Number 2 St James's Square and was there on that day.    
jetwalking
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Postby jetwalking » Wed 15 Feb, 2012 10:52 am

Si thanks for your reply.

Si
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Postby Si » Wed 15 Feb, 2012 11:18 am

Andy,
A bit of Googling found this:

"A major fund-raising event, held in memory of murdered Leeds police traffic officer Ian Broadhurst, has raised £3,500 towards a cancer charity.
The second annual go-karting event was held last Sunday at Pole Position Go-Karting, Leeds, raising £3,500 for the Marie Curie Cancer Care charity .
The prestigious “Broady Trophy” was won by a police team from Killingbeck, known as the “Off-Roaders” after they completed 214 laps in the three hours. The award for the most sponsorship raised went to the “4445s” which consisted of members of Ian Broadhurst’s family, after they raised £800. Their name was taken from Ian’s collar number."

It's from the YEP, 18th November 2005, so don't know how accurate it is.    
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uncle mick
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Postby uncle mick » Wed 15 Feb, 2012 11:51 am

Si wrote:
Andy,
A bit of Googling found this:

"A major fund-raising event, held in memory of murdered Leeds police traffic officer Ian Broadhurst, has raised £3,500 towards a cancer charity.
The second annual go-karting event was held last Sunday at Pole Position Go-Karting, Leeds, raising £3,500 for the Marie Curie Cancer Care charity .
The prestigious “Broady Trophy” was won by a police team from Killingbeck, known as the “Off-Roaders” after they completed 214 laps in the three hours. The award for the most sponsorship raised went to the “4445s” which consisted of members of Ian Broadhurst’s family, after they raised £800. Their name was taken from Ian’s collar number."

It's from the YEP, 18th November 2005, so don't know how accurate it is.    

A article from the Daily Telegraph also quotes 4445
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1451908/Traffic-Pc-shot-on-duty-is-mourned-as-two-colleagues-who-survived-salute-him.html



    

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