Top positive review
22 of 24 people found this helpful
If only they were all as good as this.
on 12 September 2011
At first glance, you will probably reject this book in favour of something else. After all, there is no reason why you should think that the recollections of a policeman from Sheffield during the 1960's and 1970's should be of interest except, perhaps, for other policemen or maybe the people from Sheffield. If you do reject this book, however, you will be denying yourself an excellent and compelling read.
Like the author, I also left school at the age of 15 and I well recall the time when police constables had a beat which they patrolled faithfully - checking every door was secure along their own personal route (their beat). In those pre-radio and pre-mobile phone days, these `Bobbies' were required to meet at pre-determined times with fellow constables and their only means of attracting attention was their police-issue whistle. In each town would also be found a police box to which each `Copper' had a key and from where they could call the station. It was also in the 1960's that Dr Who first appeared and he chose that police box as the design for his Tardis...
Author and former Policeman Martyn Johnson has portrayed his life in uniform with great style. In short, this man can write and what he writes is funny, witty and yet, at the same time, often telling. None more so than his account of his first arrest and how he ended up helping that thief steal the coal which was so much needed by a young lady with no food, no heating and a small child.
At 6 feet one inch (1m 85cm), Johnson was a big lad and, having spent a short time as a Blacksmith before joining the force, he was also a strong lad. It says much for his own personal style of policing and of the values he placed on the local community and his own integrity that he was not rebuked by his sergeant over the coal, nor did he hide behind his uniform when a couple of local thugs needed an old-fashioned lesson meted out with honest fists.
Hard to put down, this book tells a story of one man's time in police uniform. Curiously, although recounted with supreme honesty and without deliberate embellishments or exaggeration, the humour shines through like a bright light. The work is, therefore, supremely entertaining as it brings to life that much-lamented time when we felt safe because the streets outside were patrolled by policemen who, not only cared, but also made it their duty to get to know everyone on `their' beat!
They say there is a good book in everyone - if only they were all as good as this.