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on 5 October 2017
Amazing read
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on 16 March 2006
'Not for the Faint-Hearted' should be mandatory reading for all senior police officers in the United Kingdom in the hope that some of John Stevens' leadership skills and detective ability might rub off on them. It would be a forlorn hope.
When Stevens retired as commissioner for the Metropolitan Police after 40 years police service he left a rudderless ship behind. No other commissioner has come even close to his ability. Can you imagine any senior officer walking into a bar in Ulster and telling ten of the provinces worst terrorists to "bugger off"? Stevens did.
Commended on no less than twenty-seven occasions for bravery and detective-work, Stevens has been showered with awards, was knighted and is now a Peer. This extremely well-written book describes in stunning style his meteoric success and how he dragged up an angry, resentful and, due to the MacPherson Report, thoroughly demoralised Metropolitan Police by their bootstraps, to regain their self-respect.
I began by suggesting that police chiefs should read this book, but they won't; the majority are too busy simperingly championing the causes of minority groups, in the hope of advancement and inclusion in the Honours List, instead of protecting the public at large. But young men and women in police forces all over the UK should read it and profit by it; it's the way coppering should be done and, given the right leadership, could be done again.
The best autobiographical true crime book I've read in a long time - and highly recommended.
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on 28 December 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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on 15 August 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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on 6 September 2014
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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on 26 March 2010
EXCELLENT AND EXTREMELY INTERESTING THE DIFFERENT JOBS HE HAS DONE IN HIS CAREER - APPEARS TO REMEMBER THE 'BOBBIES ON THE BEAT' RIGHT TO THE END OF HIS CAREER - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
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on 26 September 2010
As a Former Police officer myself I knew the places and teaching establishments John Stevens was writing about and actually met the man myself when he came to Suffolk HQ. The book gives a concise life story but I would have been more interested in his text books on Policing but thats only because I was a PC myself. John did so much to bring the Met into the modern world that he was like my old headmaster a very good man who should never be allowed to retire.
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on 30 October 2005
It is a shame that there are not more books of this calibre. My interest only started due to living in a force area of which he was Chief Constable (Northumbria). Interesting, informative and could not put it down - no housework done that weekend!.
Shows the man behind the uniform. Shame he has now retired. When he left the force we lost a great copper.
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on 26 November 2005
This book is a fascinating read and gives an insight to the workings of the policeforce and the man leading the Met. But Oh dear the standard of English was terrible. I believe it was ghost written. Perhaps Sir John would have been better tackling it himself. I found myself counting the number of times "I myself" occurred! Despite this it is still worth reading.
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on 27 December 2013
Although having read this book some time ago, I bought this book as a gift to a friend. The book is an excellent account of the life and work of John Stevens a man who has achieved a great deal during his life time. I would recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in Policing.
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