For our last meeting of the session we were delighted to welcome one of our members, Ginny Golding, as a speaker. Ginny’s talk was about her time in the police force during the 1960’s and 70’s. It had not been her intention to go into the police and she actually applied as a dare ! When she applied to Cardiff City police at the age of 20 there were 10 applicants who were whittled down to two – and she got the job. The other applicant who failed at that time subsequently became the Chief Constable of Gwent.
She described her initial training in an old army barracks in Ryton on Dunnmore as just being like in the army complete with lots of marching.
Ginny returned to Cardiff as WPC19 complete in a uniform in which she as a dead ringer for Joyce Grenfell .For the next 18 months there were parades and inspections at 6.45 each morning. She spoke of being on point duty at Kingsway in Cardiff and as there were no radios at that time a flashing light on a pillar would indicate that they were needed back at the station. Her one claim to fame at this time was that she was the first officer to drive to drive the new Panda Car in Cardiff in May 1968 and her photograph was published in the Western Mail.
She was fortunate to have a varied career and after a spell with the traffic department went to Preston to the detective training school and then spent an enjoyable three years in Canton putting her training into practise.
The next training was in the use of firearms which led to a period in protection of well known people including James Callaghan, Margaret Thatcher and Princess Margaret. The downside of this period included interviewing people wanting British Citizenship. This took hours and was extremely boring.
Finally Ginny described her period in Special Branch which involved long periods away from home where she was not allowed to even tell her husband of her whereabouts. This obviously put a great strain on her relationship with her husband so after much soul searching she gave up her career in the police which had spanned 16 years.
Her talk was interspersed with anecdotes, the odd case history and one thing was clear that the “ political correctness” of today did not exist then !. She agreed that it’s a different world nowadays and she is not sure she would enjoy a life in todays police force.
I hope all our members have enjoyed this session and our thanks go to Irene for once again sorting out such a varied programme.
Our next meeting will be on September 19th – this will be the AGM followed by nibbles etc and everyone can catch up on what we all hope will be a wonderful summer.