Now the heat of the moment has passed, I have realised I took part in an arrest that was quite unlawful the other day.
It was Wednesday and I was patrolling Foundry Street. A member of the public came up to me and said “One of your policewomen is having a bit of trouble in Kingsway Arcade”.
I made quick strides along to the Arcade and sure enough policewoman Ethel French had a man in his forties pinned by his lapels against a shop front. I asked her what was up and she said she had arrested the man and he was giving her a hard time. I took him by the arm and he gave no further trouble as we took him to the Police Station. We stuck him in a cell whilst Ethel and I sorted out what had happened.
Rationing is till in force following on from the war including clothing rationing. Coupons are required to buy clothes. The man in question had apparently gone into a shop to buy clothes in possession of several ration books. The shopkeeper had asked Ethel in and she had arrested the man but, outside the shop, he had tried to escape.
I explained to Ethel that having unexplained clothing coupons may be an offence but it does not carry the power of arrest. Both of us could be in disciplinary difficulties and possibly civil proceedings if things turned awkward. We went and confessed our over-exuberance to the Station Inspector. Fortunately the black market dealer was brought out of the cells, his coupons confiscated, his identity established and he was reported to the Board of Trade.
A close shave for me and Ethel but we got away with it.