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Memoirs and Biography

The Police and Me: As the Thin Blue Line Got Thinner



About this book:

  • ISBN: 978-1-910237-31-1 (paperback)

  • Published May 2017

  • Price £12.00 + postage

  • 220 pages

  • Illustrated with 12 colour black & white photographs



About this Book:

“What’s gone wrong with the police force?” The chief constable looked pensive as he put that question to a man of thirty years’ service on his last day in the job. The ensuing discussion was the spark that ignited these frank and revealing memoirs.
John Sharpe had been a student and a soldier when he donned a dark blue uniform to take on a Lake District beat in 1963. CCTV and computers were unheard of in policing and the uniformed figure on the street had no personal radio, pepper spray, taser or protective clothing – and little chance of ‘back-up’ except from the public.
Murder of a police colleague and two arrests for attempted murder would soon test his mettle, along with pre-breathalyser carnage on antiquated roads. Then a spell as staff officer brought its own set of pitfalls among the high and mighty of the job and a behind-thescenes view of remarkable eccentricity at top management level.
‘Ordinary outside duty’ pitched the writer into the vagaries of the local magistrates’ courts and some surprising challenges of managing trainee staff. Mixed feelings were his reaction to assignment in 1980 to computer technology that would hasten the controversial process of police withdrawal from the streets and closure of stations.
Complaints against police were a particularly sensitive area that became the writer’s eventual speciality. He raises the familiar veil of secrecy far enough to reveal an extraordinary range of options that were available to the experienced investigator.
These wide-ranging reminiscences have much to say about police procedures and management with all its human frailties. But the author misses no opportunity for humour as he draws on his 30-year experience of the service to offer a nostalgic inside view of an often misunderstood organisation that has seen dramatic change.

Reader reviews:

'Very much enjoyed reading your book' NH, Gosforth

'Enjoyed your book very much …. Loved the commonsense policing' SB, Odiham

'Well written, interesting, entertaining and intelligent' RC, Penrith

“A penetrating light on an organisation grappling with change, and sometimes with itself in the process. An illuminating and thought provoking read.” DWS, Bournemouth

"Fascinating. John Sharpe has written a very personal history of policing in one of the country's most beautiful areas He joined the police in the early 1960s, a time when police officers walked the beat alone, without radios and generally without backup. His chronicle of those times, the characters he meets and deals with (both police and criminals) and his insights into policing through the gradual change into the 1970s and 1980s make for enjoyable and absorbing reading.  For anyone who enjoys watching TV documentaries about policing today this book provides an essential and well written backstory. This book will make you laugh and  make you think - highly recommended." DL, Sedbergh

'Finely written ... often hilarious' Professor Michael Mullett

Press reviews:





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By the same author:

Colourful Characters of Cumbria's Eden Valley



Copyright © Hayloft Publishing Ltd