Talk of how things used to be has had me strolling down memory lane which touches on a few themes in this thread. Around this time of year - the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness - in 1967, when I was recently back from district training centre and after a few days being shown around was working on my own, I was standing at the side of Balm Road Leeds 10 at 1030pm, when I saw a moped being ridden without lights. I stopped the rider who was very apologetic, assured me that the lights had just failed (which provided a defence) and left with a promise to get them fixed. The following night, there we were again for a re-run, but the time I took his name and address. You couldn't make it up but this hardened recidivist was called Hood. (I'll not megtion his forenames as the conviction is well and truly spent, but it wasn't Robin.) I remember that when told he was nicked he replied "Anybody can see this on here" an early example of Kwackerism and it was certainly true that I had seen him under the bright yellow glare of the street lights.
Back on days, on one of my first early turns, I was sent on escort duty to bring a suspect back from Gateshead where had been checked hitchhiking on the A1, and connected with an offence in Leeds. The driver was an older PC, in the twilight of his career, whose main qualification for going was being an authorised police driver. It turned out that our suspect was none other than Mr Hood. He wouldn't speak to me, presumably still miffed at being reported for having no lights, but having been arrested because he had been grassed for cashing a woman's family allowance, he grassed her in turn to my colleague, for receiving stolen property, .
Back at the nick in Leeds, I was soon getting hard words fom a long-serving detective sergeant, wanting to know what I was doing arresting somebody for fraudulent conversion, which students of the Larceny Acts will know wasn't a felony, so there was no power of arrest without warrant. With me still totally confused, we were off in the divvy van with a posse, round to the house and when we were invited in (no search warrant) we found the place piled high with stolen property from crimes all over the place. Powers of arrest seemed to pale into insignificance, although I then got another telling off from the same DS for "my" prisoner not being fed. (No such thing as custody officers in those days.) Most of the rest of the CID were busy tailboarding "my" case, to the derision of my own section sergeant who had sent me in the first place. Others involved were grassed and arrested. A few days later, the case was up in front of the Stipe on guilty pleas and I was there ready to give the antecedents, that being the occasion when, unbeknown to me in my naivety, any commends etc., would be bestowed, guaranteeing a report in the Yorkshire Evening Post - fame indeed. At the moment I was getting ready to go into the witness box, another DS who I had not seen before in my life, popped up and told me he would deal with the antecedents, because he anticipated there were going to be some tricky questions. There were none, but I missed out on a totally unmerited moment of glory.
It's true that fings ain't what they used to be.