Having initially joined Staffordshire County Police in 1962, I transferred to the Stoke-on-Trent City Police in 1964. In January, 1968 the two forces amalgamated and I finished up back in “the County” again. The transition for a man on the beat was fairly gentle. It meant things like new uniform clothing and new forms by the dozen. The new uniform clothing came in dribs and drabs and the first item that I received was a very nicely tailored gabardine mackintosh. It was delivered to my home at Trentham, because at that time I was the Resident Beat Officer for the Trentham area. (This should give some of you a big clue as to my true identity!). This splendid garment arrived in a custom built cardboard box filled with tissue paper. With it came an instruction that for the time being it was not to be taken into general use, but was to be kept for very special occasions such as Royal Visits. Consequently, the Macs became affectionately known amongst Police Officers throughout the City area as “Royal Visit Macs”.
My Mac was duly stored in its box on top of a wardrobe at home. It remained there for several months until, one dark November night I was on Evening Duty (6pm-2am) it poured very heavily with rain for the whole of my shift. The two Macs that I had in general use quickly became so sodden that they were not fit to wear, in fact one began to leak. Having taken my Refreshment Break at home I was getting ready to go out on patrol again when I decided that I would not use either of the two sodden Macs. I made the momentous decision that I would put on my Royal Visit Mac!! (the original instruction in relation to its use was still in force) I reasoned that in view of the time of day no one who mattered would see me. It was duly removed from its box and off I set. Everything went well until about 1a.m. I received a message on my personal radio (which was an event in itself in those days) asking me to rendezvous with a Panda Car Driver at one of the local schools. I arrived to find him standing out on the pavement looking rather flustered and perplexed. For some reason he had decided to do a bit of “off roading” across the School Playing Field. In view of the weather this was somewhat foolhardy. He had become rather seriously bogged down and wanted help to extricate the vehicle from the mud. Upon arrival at the vehicle we decided that it would probably be best to reverse it from its present location. The Driver got in, I got ready to push at the front and reverse gear was engaged. Oh happy day! the vehicle began to move and then disaster struck for me, the front wheels began to spin, the mud began to fly, I kept pushing and then the car drove away into the night leaving me in my Royal Visit Mac looking more like a chocolate Policeman than a real one. I was covered from head to toe in sloppy mud. It was even dripping off my chin. It was several days before I was able to thank my colleague for “baptising” my Royal Visit Mac.