I wonder if that was Sergeant Kirby?
PC Neil's inquest evidence mentions him.
"I had in the meantime rang the bell at Essex Wharf and asked if any disturbance had been heard. The reply was "No". Sergeant Kirby came after and he knocked"
There's something slightly puzzling about this evidence. If Neil had already asked at Essex Wharf why did Sgt Kirby knock?
Or was it simply that Kirby didn't know Neil had already asked, and thus just a simple duplication of effort?
I don't exclude the possibility that Kirby didn't believe Neil for some reason. Or just double checking. Who knows?
Anyway, my line of thinking wasn't towards erasing marks, more the opposite. Policemen with chalk in their pockets. I think you can see where I'm heading.
Lol. It just reminded me of many experiences at work, summed up as if you want something doing, do it yourself.
I would expect a beat sergeant to know his men, so I just wondered what this evidence is saying, if anything at all, about the reliability of PC Neil and what it meant in the wider context of the events in Bucks Row.
What police officers carry changes slightly with the march of time. There is nothing unusual about police officers having chalk in their pockets though. For many years a special greasy yellow 'chalk' was used to mark the position of vehicles at road accidents prior to moving them.
There has never been a problem with officers leaving their beats provided that it was for a good and sufficient reason. As others have posted, responding to an assistance call would have been such. In fact not leaving your beat to help a colleague in urgent need of assistance would have been seen as reprehensible, then as now.
Indeed. I found this initial report in the London Chronicle 29/9/98.
A Cowardly Policeman Dismissed.
A few days ago a complaint was made to a constable that a man had stolen a valuable silk scarf from the neck of a little girl in Bermondsey. The man on being pointed out was arrested, when a scene of great violence ensued. Meanwhile another constable had been sent for, but instead of assisting his comrade he allowed the struggle to proceed. Assistance was ultimately rendered by some passers by and the prisoner, who has been several times convicted and is a dangerous character, was taken into custody. The constable was so badly maltreated that he has been incapacitated from duty ever since. On Monday notice appeared in the police orders intimating that the constable had been called upon to resign for "Cowardice in failing to render assistance when called upon by another constable, who was in charge of a violent prisoner, by whom he was seriously assaulted" and further staring that the discharged constable was considered unfit for the police force.
So that's pretty clear cut. A very different example to the Bucks Row situation obviously. Or does it show there was little room for ambiguity and personal judgement?