Law but not much order
IF you thought that the policing methods used by DCI Gene Hunt in the hit TV show Life on Mars were a bit unorthodox then, to paraphrase the popular saying, you ain’t read nothing yet.
A new book published by a former detective now living in Worksop lifts the lid on what policing was really like in the 60s - and it puts the TV drama in the shade.
Graham Storr, 71, wrote Booper’s Tale while he was serving five years in prison for corruption in the 1980s.
He joined South Yorkshire police in 1963 when he was 19 and was nicknamed Booper because he looked like a child of that name who advertised sweets on TV.
The first time he was working nights on his own he recalls a big fight breaking out outside a Sheffield nightclub.
“I waded in waving my truncheon about but not really making contact with anyone, until back-up arrived,” he said.
“They took two of the youths into the police box and gave them a good hiding, don’t ask me why.”
“That was the first time I saw a different side to policing.”
Graham said his slide into bad practice was a gradual process, and came about primarily because of peer pressure.
“It was a case of everyone else was doing it and it was expected that you would join in and do the same.”
He believes he was made a scapegoat when he got sent down for his part in a £1.5million fraud case in Sheffield.
By then he was a detective sergeant and had earned a reputation as being a good ‘thief taker’.
Although sentenced to five years he served two years and eight months, most of it in HMP Highpoint in Suffolk.
To get him through he decided to put pen to paper and write his story down.
“I was very bitter at that time because I felt like I had been made a scapegoat.”
“I wrote it all out by hand and you can tell by my writing when I was having a bad day.”
On Graham’s release in 1987, his writing was put away in a drawer and forgotten about.
It was years later that he remembered it and gave it to his two daughters to read, and it was one of them who suggested it should be made into a book.
Graham went ahead and published it himself. The first 100 sold out in three days so he has had another 500 printed.
“I’ve had a great response from people. People who know me now say they don’t recognise the character in the book, because I have changed so much.”
“One friend said I haven’t an ounce of criminality in me, and that’s true, I’m a different person now.”
Graham and his wife moved to Worksop eight years ago. She is mentioned in the book but, like everyone else he includes, has had her name changed.
He says his book isn’t for the faint-hearted, it includes descriptions of violence, corruption, deceit and mismanagement, with police officers committing almost as many crimes as the criminals they were paid to catch.
DCI Hunt would have had a field day.
*Booper’s Tale can be ordered at [email protected], price £11.99, and is also on sale at MD Newstyme on Bridge Street.