At our meeting on November 8th 2018 Jackie Dimmock, our speaker for the evening gave us a brilliant talk about her life as a member of the Police Force. Jackie’s talk had the title, ‘The Good, the Bad and the Downright Funny’. Jackie is now a talented member of the North Hants Quilters. We knew we were in for a treat and as we entered the Rathbone Pavilion Jackie had her large quilt on display. Across the centre she had placed with great pride in large letters, ‘WPC 22 – 1982-2002’ and under this, ‘Hampshire Constabulary’. Surrounding the title were lots of scenes of aspects of her career. Attached to the large quilt there were empty spaces on another quilt. It became clear as Jackie’s talk began that these spaces were for a series of small quilts illustrating some of the events of her career.
Jackie explained that the letter W in WPC was not used now for female constables but it was for most of her career and she is proud of that title. She described the job as harrowing, distressing, disturbing and emotional, although humour could strike in odd moments. Her career started on 10th March 1982 at Newport on the Isle of Wight. The Yarmouth area was rural with many small roads for police cars to negotiate. In those pre-social media days, women PCs were given nothing to defend themselves with and their only equipment was a radio! Loo stops could present a problem and once, in a covert operation, she was provided with a bucket in a tatty old van! Eventually, she had a truncheon only big enough to fit in her handbag which she had to pay for herself. Swinging the said handbag gave her a good method of attack. Now women PCs have advanced radios, CS sprays, handcuffs, cameras and stab vests which are uncomfortable to wear. When Jackie showed us the 2nd quilt we all laughed as it depicted her climbing over a wall with suspenders on display as her male PC was sitting comfortably in the driver’s seat of the police car watching her. They had been called to a school and her co-officer had told her that the gate to the school was locked so he asked her to climb over the wall to unlock it. I doubt whether she laughed as another male police officer arrived on the scene and calmly opened the supposed locked gate and walked through. All along it had been a prank on a novice constable. As each small quilt was revealed many more funny incidents were described including police cars chasing a double-decker bus, stolen from Shanklin, down the narrow streets of Yarmouth, following it over hilly fields with the eventuality of all vehicles getting stuck in a muddy valley. Hilarious images were described as the joyriders had to get out of the bus and run for it with police chasing them waving their truncheons.
In 1988 Jackie worked in Basingstoke mainly but also her round covered Alton, Aldershot and Fleet. Jackie’s talk revealed her wonderful approach to dealing with wayward children and teenagers. She was driving her police car and, passing some youths at a bus stop, she drove slowly winding down her window. She heard them making pig grunting noises. So she turned the car around and asked them in soft, friendly tones, “Did you want me, boys?” They were very worried and suitably ashamed. Jackie explained that a constable’s attitude went a long way. Jackie applied for CID departmental job experience. She told us of horrific crimes she was sent to investigate. She has had to deal with the after-effects involving under-age drinkers and drug users including the very personal and unpleasant task of strip-searching IOW women prisoners. The latter is now carried out in prisons by medical practitioners. Jackie described in detail the work of SOCO (Scenes of Crime Officers). She took a 9-week SOCO course in Durham. Forensic evidence was all that was available then. DNA was in its infancy but fingerprints and blood samples were stored so with further progression in forensic science those samples could be used to reveal perpetrators of past and current crimes. Jackie was with the Child Protection Unit for 5 years and she worked for the Liaison Department as a Primary School Liaison Officer. That department was axed so she worked in schools with children and parents. So ended Jackie’s very entertaining, informative talk cleverly illustrated by her wonderful quilts. She truly was ‘a compassionate but slightly scary’ WPC and she was thanked for a great presentation!
Next WI meetings:
December 13th 2018 – Social Evening with a Christmas theme.
January 10th 2019 – Colin Pawson of the British Carriage Society is involved with the Carriage Driving for the Disabled, Ashe Warren. He tests drivers to take handicapped clients in the woods and fields around Ashe Warren Farm. This meeting is open to men and women so please come and join us.
February 14th 2019 – Mervyn’s Coaches – a family business run for 35 years, supplying coaches for excursions, private hire, school trips, a bus service and film and television work.
Why not come along as a guest, a potential new member, or as someone who is interested in listening to a particular speaker? We are a cheerful group of ladies and we do have fun! If anyone would like to come along or would like more details please contact Carolyn Brown