Richard Anthony Underwood joined the police in 1969 when he was twenty-two, and after 14 weeks training at the Number 1 Police National Training Centre near Warrington, he served initially in a sub-divisional police station at Ashton-under-Lyne, but also with a short spell at Mossley. He subsequently moved to work from the Divisional Headquarters at Oldham.
Oldham was originally in Lancashire and I joined in 1969 as PC 4869 of the Lancashire Constabulary, but the subsequent Local Government Act of 1972 combined ten metropolitan boroughs to create Greater Manchester Metropolitan County Council. Oldham was was one of those metropolitan boroughs, and I subsequently worked from the same police station as part of the Greater Manchester Police.
In the police I passed the police class 1 driving course. This meant that as well as driving a vehicle in a set area of Oldham I was also sometimes responsible for driving the section van to incidents wherever they occurred, and as a result I was frequently involved in most of the incidents taking place when I was on duty.
Whilst in the police I passed the Police Sergeant’s Examination, and was responsible for regularly court appearances to give prosecution evidence after arresting people for a wide range of offences including burglary, assault, theft, fraud, criminal damage, etc. On one occasion I arrested someone with a gun after a chase following a post office robbery, only subsequently discovering the pistol was loaded with blanks rather than live bullets (luckily for me!)
After five years in the police my wife and I, and our family, both moved to London to train as Salvation Army Social Work officers, and for the bulk of the next twenty years I was to be a minister of religion.
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