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Death on the Beat (Hardback)

P&S History > True Crime Women of History

By Dick Kirby
Imprint: Wharncliffe True Crime
Pages: 208
ISBN: 9781848846203
Published: 3rd July 2012



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There is little that shocks the British public more than the killing of policemen and women whilst tackling criminals. Even hardened crooks baulk at what is seen as the ultimate crime particularly in the days when the police were largely unarmed.

Death on the Beat looks at fifty years of crime enforcement through case studies to demonstrate the ever present danger to those who patrolled London’s streets and paid with their lives. Many who died were carrying out routine duties. PC Nat Edgar was shot in 1948 by a burglar and PC Patrick Dunne was murdered investigating a domestic incident in 1993; it took thirteen years to bring his killer to justice. Detective Sergeant Ray Purdy was shot arresting a cheap blackmailer and PC Ray Summers stabbed to death breaking up a gang fight. Particularly shocking was the gunning down of the three-man crew of the ‘Q’ car in 1966.

Terrorism brought more deaths. The IRA were responsible for the murder of PC Stephen Tibble and the horrific bombing of Harrods which cost three brave police officers their lives. The case of WPC Yvonne Fletcher, shot from inside the Libyan Embassy in 1984, remains highly contentious.

Acclaimed crime writer and former Met detective, Dick Kirby has drawn deep on his knowledge and contacts within and outside the Metropolitan Police to get first-hand accounts of these crimes, the ensuing investigations and the aftermath for those affected directly.

Written in his no-holds-barred and authoritative style, Death on the Beat, Dick’s ninth book, promises to be the best yet.

This is not a good book, it is a great book with each chapter catching the imagination of the reader from start to finish. A very highly recommended read".

Bob Fenton, QGM, Honorary Secretary to the Ex-CID Officers

...another excellent book by the redoubtable Dick Kirby ... Nobody reading this book can fail to be sobered and impressed by the courage and humanity of the men and women working to keep our streets safe for us.

History by the Yard Website, September 2012

An extremely well-researched and well-written book. Thank you, Dick Kirby, for placing your extensive research before us all in an informed read.

Paul Millen, author of Crime Scene Investigator

Dick Kirby, as we’ve seen over the past few years has used the time profitably, writing a series of books on aspects of the history of crime-fighting. This book covers 50 years of crime enforcement and describes in detail the constant danger to the police who have patrolled London’s streets.

East Anglian Daily Times, 28 July 2012

Rarely, if ever, have I been so captivated and moved by a book ... the way in which Mr Kirby has gone about it is exceptional. The straight and factual style works superbly, putting the reader there on the scene of these tragedies as they developed.

Police Memorabilia Collectors Club, October 2012

Latest book by ex-Sweeney mainstay-turned-author remembers officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice. The result is Death on the Beat – a study of 10 stories of courage spanning some 50 years and highlighting the ever-present danger to those who take up the vocation of policing.

Cliff Caswell, Police Oracle website

Detailed and informed case studies of the killing or murder of policemen

Bertrams Books, August 2012

Death on the Beat ... was extremely well researched and gives the reader a little insight into the working lives of everyday police officers responding to emergency calls or situations and an understanding that their lives can be taken in ‘the blink of an eye’. This book ... outlines the demanding and difficult tasks that police officers have to respond to on a daily basis and in some cases, the outcome is extremely tragic and sad. Well done, Dick Kirby

Chris Burk - Customer Review

Dick Kirby, a former Flying Squad officer who has ‘walked the talk’ writes ...with his usual trademark humour, twinned with impeccable research. This is a fitting tribute to the many officers killed in the line of duty and exemplifies how the pain felt by their families and friends continues to this day.

Tangled Web Website

Dick Kirby, as we’ve seen over the past few years has used the time profitably, writing a series of books on aspects of the history of crime-fighting. This book covers 50 years of crime enforcement and describes in detail the constant danger to the police who have patrolled London’s streets.

East Anglian Daily Times

...it was written from the heart. I found it captivating and the chapter on the Harrods bombing, very emotional and moving. I cannot remember such detail being written about each episode and it without doubt opened my eyes to the reality of each case and the lasting effects it still has on this ‘old hand’.

Colin Howe - Customer Review

"I really enjoyed reading what happened in the end to those who took part, their careers, the families of those who died, where the officers are buried and the memorials now in place. It’s details like this that make the end of the story so interesting. A fitting tribute to those officers and their families who died doing their duty."

Gary Dale– Customer Review

A gripping read detailing the most sad and tragic days suffered by the Police Service, which has been written with insight, knowledge and compassion. You cannot help but be moved by the individual accounts of the deaths on duty of those who protect us.

Mick Preston- Customer Review
 Dick Kirby

About Dick Kirby

Dick Kirby was born in the East End of London and joined the Metropolitan Police in 1967. Half of his twenty-six years’ service was spent with Scotland Yard’s Serious Crime Squad and the Flying Squad.
Kirby contributes to newspapers and magazines on a regular basis, as well as appearing on television and radio. The Guv’nors, The Sweeney, Scotland Yard’s Ghost Squad, Brave Blue Line, Death on the Beat, Scourge of Soho, Scotland Yard’s Flying Squad, London’s Gangs at War, Scotland Yard’s Gangbuster, The Mayfair Mafia, Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad, Racetrack Gangs, IRA Terror on Britain’s Streets, Scotland Yard’s Casebook of Serious Crime, The Brighton Police Scandal and Missing Presumed Murdered are all published under the Wharncliffe True Crime imprint and he has further other published works to his credit. On retirement he lives near Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. Kirby can be visited at his website: www.dickkirby.com.

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