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Not for the Faint-Hearted: My Life Fighting Crime [Paperback]

John Stevens
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Jun 2006
In this absorbing and controversial memoir, John Stevens records highlights of his meteoric career, from walking the beat as a constable on London's Tottenham Court Road during the 1960s to the summit of his profession as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. As a junior detective he achieved so many arrests he became known as 'Swifty Stevens'. As Deputy Chief Constable of Cambridgeshire he began the first of his three inquiries into collusion between the security forces and paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland. One of his most striking successes was in the car-crime capital of Europe - Newcastle - where he achieved the most spectacular reduction in crime ever known in Britain. In 2000, when he was appointed Commissioner, London's police force was in a poor way, understrength and weakened by low morale. Five years later, and despite political wranglings, his leadership had restored the force to its best-ever state.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 424 pages
  • Publisher: Phoenix (1 Jun 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753820838
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753820834
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 12.7 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 571,950 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

John Stevens (b.Oct 1942) was Commissioner, Metropolitan Police for five years until Jan 2005. A career policeman for 40 years, he headed high-profile inquiries into Northern Ireland collusion, as well as alleged malpractice at National Criminal Intelligence Service. He has investigated anti-terrorism matters on three continents. Knighted in 2000, he was made a life peer in 2005.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent enough 15 Aug 2006
I agree with a previous reviewer that the book was, in the main, an easy and enjoyable read.

John Stevens' account of his early years in the force with lots of 'thief-taking' was not only interesting but also made him come across as a decent, old school, hard working cop.

However as the book goes on, and he become more senior, his old school beliefs do seem to have left him with some views that not only do not stand up to any form of intelligent analysis but also would be the types of comment expect a closed minded grumpy old man on the bus!
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4.0 out of 5 stars A dyed-in-the-wool copper, but interesting. 6 Sep 2014
By Rastus
Verified Purchase
A well-written and interesting account of the life of a very ambitious policeman. But I was particularly struck by the contrast between a mere six pages. At page 112 he tells of the way his degree course in law opened his eyes to analytical thinking. Until then, he says he had crashed along arresting people left, right and centre, thinking the law was black and white. Now, things were no longer that simple... But, turn to page 118 and he is back in the nick and an order of Mandamus has hit the fan. Has anything really changed? He tells us that two cases he is managing, including the one involving Mandamus (presumably habeas corpus) have formed the catalyst for PACE, the Police and Criminal Evidence Act of 1984. But, our John has mixed feelings about the change because it has "changed the way we interrogate offenders". A dyed-in-the-wool copper born for the job, but interesting nonetheless.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Topical and from the top. 28 Dec 2011
Interesting view of what makes a Senior career Policeman.Perhaps does not have an independant perspective on his career as too close to the issue. I'm thinking of the long hours and the relocations to move up the ladder.
A very interesting read overall especially as he becomes more senior and feels able to share opinions with us on current issues. Alludes nicely to cases we all know and with a ittle research these are v.worthwhile. I think of his oblique reference to the Daniel Morgan axe murder 24 years ago. The case against police collapsed this year. Obviously a man who knows a lot and was discrete. Same for West Midland Police force corruption, non IRA bombers etc. What a teaser!
Oof course he can only say what would be acceptable and I would have liked to have 30 minutes over coffee! While finishing this book I met an ex Met Detective and was able to get more background info from him! I also was reading the MI5 Official History and observe different perspectives on the same cases and issues.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT READ 26 Mar 2010
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
5.0 out of 5 stars Not An Arrogant Heart 20 May 2008
By A. M. Haynes - Published on
Sir John, now Baron John, who enjoyed a career that saw him rise to the highest position in British Policing, the Commissioner of the London Metropolitan Police, has written a thoroughly enjoyable book. One aspect that the book lacks is arrogance, he gives insight into his own short-comings in his brilliant career, a fact that betrays any idea that he might be superhuman, while glossing over any pomp and circumstance that comes with his elevated position. Despite retiring at the top, he is still a beat copper/detective at heart. Anybody that is on the job learns that his career goals were achieved through good old fashioned hard work, very inspirational.
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