Hertfordshire Police Historical Society
This Week In History
At 3:10 AM on 17 December 1942, Police Sergeant 15 Geary and War Reserve Constable 167 Lilley stationed at Watford, were patrolling vicarage Road Watford, when they observed an unusual light in the sub post ofﬁce. The ofﬁcers stationed themselves at the front and rear of the shop respectively and almost immediately a man broke out of the premises by bursting through the plate glass window. The Sergeant closed with him, but he broke away, and War Reserve Constable Lilley took up the chase and caught the man about 400 yards from the scene of the crime. The man was later identiﬁed as Harold Walter Pearson and that Herts quarter sessions on 4 January 1943 he was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment for burglary. Both ofﬁcers received commendations for their actions in this case.
Letter from A. F. 0. Liddell, dated from Whitehall, enclosing suggestions for more effectually securing prisons against attacks from without.
Precautions for this purpose are applicable to two conditions:—
1. Where a military guard is stationed. In this case the periods of relief, the distribution of the force, the posting of sentries, the piercing of loopholes for musketry, etc., must depend upon the judgment of the military officer in command; the division of supervision, upon the agreement at which the civil and military authorities may jointly arrive. The portions of the prison more immediately entrusted to the protection of the military should be defined and distinguished.
2. Where no military assistance is called for, or where the military guard is kept in reserve. In this case the following precautions are necessary :— (1) The space between the outer gate and the prison door should be made more secure by the addition of an inner open iron gate, or safety gate, as it is usually termed. (2) A door of iron or of wood plated with steel should in all cases be placed on the prison side of the governor’s private door of entrance. (3) All windows giving upon points without the prison walls should be strongly barred internally, and, if possible, provided with iron shutters readily closed. (4) The drains should be carefully barred in different places, and examined daily. (5) The prison should be provided with reflecting lamps and tin candlesticks, kept in good order and regularly inspected, in a place readily accessible. (6) The interior of the prison should invariably be kept securely closed, the yards or spaces intervening within the exterior walls being regarded as altogether outside of the prison itself; and the admission of strangers into these yards or spaces without a written order should be forbidden. (7) Where firearms are in the possession of the prison authorities they should be kept within the interior prison, unless actually in the hands of officers on duty, and then should be loaded. (8) In case of an actual assault being apprehended, and when the outer grounds of the prison are of considerable size, the force of warders, etc., should be kept within the prison, and those without be withdrawn to the interior on the first alarm. The force should not be weakened by patrols without the external walls, but should be told off to stations from which all points between those walls and the prison can be best commanded.
The Watford police sports and social club Christmas party was held at the end of the year. There is none of the old-fashioned nonsense of Santa Claus arriving on a sleigh drawn by a reindeer at their Christmas parties, last year the revered old gentleman arrived on the back of a police motorcycle, but this year he became even more up-to-date and arrived by tube, not the underground variety, but of the cathode ray type. A giant television screen was built for the purpose and the children were invited to switch it on. As the switch was turned, sleigh bell music was faded in and Santa (police constable Eames) appeared on the screen. The idea was for Santa to smash the screen and climb through it, bringing gifts for each of the 180 children present, but things did not go according to plan. So eager was he to join the children, that he struck the screen with too much force and to the dismay of the hosts and the delight of the young guests, the whole front of the television set collapsed.