Worthing National Trust Association
Tales of a Detective
The audience in a packed hall listened attentively to retired Detective Inspector Steve Roberts who gave us a fascinating talk on his thirty years’ service with the Metropolitan Police. He applied to join the Met in 1976 as he came from the Whitechapel area. After a two-
One of the things he specialised in was the prevention of “jump up” crime which is where the criminal waits for the appropriate moment then climbs on to a goods vehicle and steals parcels known as “joeys”* in the trade. He told us the amusing story of how he helped foil an attempted robbery by three men in the Commercial Road. One of the robbers tried to get away in a truck and Detective Roberts threw himself on the back of the truck armed only with a truncheon. This could have been a dangerous situation but fortunately the robber agreed to drive them to the police station.
After ten years, he joined the Flying Squad (“the “Sweeney”)* which deals with major armed robberies. There were four Divisions in London and Detective Roberts was stationed in the South-
There are two types of operation, one reactive, investigating a crime after it has happened and the other proactive when they get intelligence beforehand. They usually work in pairs in unmarked cars, sometimes watching suspects for 14/16 hours a day.
Finally, he moved to the Kidnap Unit which works out of New Scotland Yard. The most important rule here is not to endanger the victim’s life. He has worked abroad in the USA, Thailand, Holland and China. His last humorous anecdote concerned eating Chinese food whilst on assignment to sort out some Snakehead gangsters preying on Chinese migrants.
An appreciative audience asked many questions. The vote of thanks was given by Jackie Casey.
*Cockney rhyming slang: Parcel = Elephant and Castle = joey the elephant;
Flying Squad = Sweeney Todd.