My First Day – part two

by Kitty

I stood to attention in front of the Inspector.

“I am PC 142 Walker, Sir.  I came back from training school yesterday, Sir.  I was told to report to you, Sir”.

The Inspector took up once more his knife and fork and pitched once more into his breakfast.  Still chewing, he eyed me over keenly.  What he saw was a young man of 21, six foot tall, medium build, short brown hair and a tanned complexion.  My grey pinstripe suit identified me as an ex-serviceman but it was worn smartly with well-polished black shoes, white shirt and blue tie.  I looked anxious I suppose but that was only to be expected.

I had always been in awe of and wary of policemen.  Even though for the last 4 months, I had eaten, studied and slept amongst similar men to myself, I did not yet feel like a “bobby”.

The Inspector skewered a piece of sausage on his plate with his fork, hesitated and pointed at me.  “You’ve got a uniform, have you?”  I considered.  Well, you could say I had a uniform of sorts.  The week before going to training school, I had been given some second-hand pieces of uniform namely trousers, tunic, helmet, greatcoat and cape plus whistle, truncheon and a pair of handcuffs.  There was no way that the Watch Committee, the civilian group that help on tight hold on the purse strings were going to expend much on a trainee recruit in case he did not stick it out.

I was reminded of those Hollywood film-sets you see in Westerns.  The facade was all there to make it look like a saloon to the viewing public but they had not gone to the expense of completing the saloon.

“Yes, I have a uniform, Sir”

“What about boots?  Have you got a couple of pair of good boots?” Asked because 1947 seems to be turning into a wicked winter.

“Yes I have boots, Sir”.

We had to provide our own boots albeit they were paid one shilling a week allowance to enable them to maintain their footwear.

“Right lad.  Off you go home and get some sleep.  I want you to report back here tonight at 10 o’clock.  For the first few weeks, you’ll be on nights with another bobby.  It’s nearly the end of December and there’s likely to be some snow so wrap up warm”.

I was shocked.  It was only 3 days before Christmas Eve.  Nights for weeks?!  Must get this sorted out.

“What about Christmas, Sir?”

“What about Christmas, lad?”

“Well, Sir, I wondered about being off?”

“Off!  Off!  You haven’t even started duty yet and you’re on about time off.  Bobbying don’t stop for Christmas lad nor for any other holiday for that matter.  Get off home and be here tonight well before ten”.

With that the Inspector concentrated on the remains of his breakfast and I swiftly left the room still not convinced that policing was the life for me.