More Promotion

Joe was soon chosen for promotion to inspector, and was sent on a training course to the police college at Bramshill House in Hampshire. This is what he had to say about it:

“I worked in the driving school for about 12 months, which wasn’t long. I was then selected to go to police college for further training. You went to police college if you were a sergeant and getting near to being promoted to inspector. The college would broaden your outlook, it was as much academic as law. I got selected to go to Bramshill and knew I was in line for promotion to inspector. I did six months there and handed the driving school to another chap, Norman Horobin.

Red Lion Street Police Station.

I came back thinking I was going to return to the driving school, but when I got back he called me in and said “I’ve had very good reports from the college. I’ve an indication that Inspector Rose is retiring in about two months time, and I’ll tell you now that you will be promoted on the day he retires.”

That was unusual, very unusual so far in advance. He said “In view of this it might be wise for you to go back on the street, and get back to the everyday life of a foot patrol sergeant because you will be a foot patrol inspector.”

Joe became an inspector in 1963, and continued in the same roll until about 18 months later when the 1966 amalgamation of the local police forces had started to take shape. In 1960 a Royal Commission had been appointed to look into many aspects of policing. One of its recommendations was that smaller police forces should be amalgamated. This resulted in the formation of West Midlands Constabulary, on the 1st of April, 1966. It was formed by merging Dudley Borough Police, Walsall Borough Police, Wolverhampton Borough Police and parts of Staffordshire and Worcestershire Constabularies. When the plans for the merger were taking shape, Joe was made a temporary chief inspector, with the responsibility of forming the traffic division of the new force. Joe was delighted and described his good luck as follows:

“I was lucky, I couldn’t believe it. If you were made a temporary officer, it would be permanent, they never sent anyone from temporary back to their old rank. So I knew I was going to be a chief inspector. On the 1st of April, 1966 I was made substantive, and took charge of the traffic division for the Black Country.

I had to be interviewed by the promotion board for the job because it had to be advertised within the force. I was asked to take the post which was based at Brierley Hill. You used to have to move to the town you were serving, you had to live on your division. But because this was the headquarters of the traffic division for the Black Country, I didn’t have to move. The head of the promotion board, Mr. Goodchild said “There’s only one problem Davies, a language problem, you’ll have a great deal of difficulty understanding them at Brierley Hill!” I didn’t know what to do, he looked so serious, but he was joking. I got on all right with him because I wasn’t afraid to work.”

New Ideas

Joe invented a group system of policing which made the whole operation run smoothly and more efficiently. It became a great success and was introduced universally.

“I introduced a group system of policing, which pleased Mr. Goodchild very much. We were having shifts, then a day off, followed by a return to the shift.

When the inspectors and sergeants had a day off they were replaced by someone else, who would leave work for them on their return.

How can we keep this together I thought? If one’s on they’re all on, so I devised the group system.

If an inspector was on, all his men were with him, except for annual leave, so there was no need to move staff sideways. Mr. Goodchild liked the idea.”

Another view of Red Lion Street Police Station.

Joe’s new system had many benefits, and ensured that people were available when needed.

“We had one day, a Thursday that was spare. At the time we were having a lot of bank robberies. They were coming in, snatching wages as they were being delivered. I told the Chief Constable that wages were collected on a Thursday, to be paid on a Friday, so we had to watch premises on a Thursday night. I mentioned that we had a group of bobbies on a full shift who could do the banks, and could be stationed around them to look out for the snatches, and also look at factories where they knew there was cash. That spare day used to be taken off, so Mr. Goodchild thought it was marvellous how it all fitted in. He was secretary of the Association of Chief Police Officers, and asked me to do graphs for other forces. It was interesting, and a little feather in my cap, and it’s still going.

Mr. Goodchild was so pleased with it that he asked me to see someone in the borough engineer’s department to have a proper wood panel made that fastened to the wall. He wanted it on a roller so that everybody could turn to a new date to see what they were on. If I went to another force I would show them how easily it all worked, and how it helped with court. You could look in advance and make sure that you don’t put them on court on a day off. You just turned your roller. The carpenters made a lovely job of the panel, a proper piece of furniture that hung on the wall in Red Lion Street.”

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