By Len A.Hynds

We had a new Inspector come to our station, and he was posted to our relief. We soon learnt to respect him as a man who had risen through the ranks and certainly knew his stuff. I was on night duty covering a beat at Camberwell Gate, standing in a deep shop doorway watching the numerous shops along that stretch of road, when I saw him approaching, from the direction of the station. I waited until he was level with me and stepped out reporting "All correct sir," as one had to. I had somewhat startled him by my sudden a ppearance, and he then said that he would walk the beat with me. As we walked along, he said pleasantly that he had heard of my reputation for catching burglars and thieves, especially at night, and that the rest of the lads called me the 'Black Panther', which was news to me, but jokingly he said he expected to see some action being out with me.

That's a tall order I thought, because you can go for many nights when it is as quiet as the grave, and no decent villains set foot outside. I decided to go down an alleyway and check the backs of the main road shops, where I had put marks on doors and windows By marks I mean pieces of cotton or a matchstick, if they had been broken or moved, someone had passed through that doorway or window in my absence.

We were halfway along this small street or alleyway when a car drove in behind us with no lights on, spotted us, and the doors opened and three men got out and ran away. I said to the Inspector "It's off," running towards the car as the driver was still in it and trying to drive on through the alleyway. The Inspector started chasing the three men, whilst I stood in the roadway to stop the car, but it drove straight at me and I leapt in the air before it struck me, landing on the bonnet, and managing to grasp the drivers windscreen wiper to hold myself on.

The car careered out of this small street, which from memory was called Gateway Street, across John Ruskin Street, but by this time I had managed with my free hand to get my truncheon out and I smashed the windscreen into smithereens. He crashed the car into the front of a butchers shop, as he could no longer see where he was driving, with the plate glass falling and missing me by inches With the impact the windscreen fell in on him, and I leant forward and with my truncheon pinned his neck against his seat, and with a fair amount of venom in my voice I said, "You bastard, your nicked."

The Inspector, Mr Stanley, came running back having fought with two of them, but they escaped and said, "I was only joking Len about seeing some action." He embellished it slightly later in telling the relief that I came out of the butcher’s window holding the prisoner, but with a bunch of sausages around my neck.