Scotland Yard's Flying Squad (Hardback)
100 Years of Crime Fighting
Since 1919 Scotland Yard’s Flying Squad has been in the forefront of the war against crime. From patrolling London’s streets in horse-drawn wagons, it has progressed to the use of the most sophisticated surveillance and crime-fighting equipment.
Between the Wars, the Squad targeted protection gangs who infested British racecourses and greyhound tracks. The highly effective Ghost Squad was formed to tackle black-marketeering in the aftermath of the Second World War.
As crime figures soared in the 1950s and ‘60s the Flying Squad, as C8 Department was now known became involved in the most serious cases nationwide – The Great Train Robbery, Brink’s Mat, The Millennium Dome and Hatton Garden heists. As always, the Squad concentrated on ambushing and arresting armed robbers in the act as, in police parlance, they ‘went across the pavement’.
Despite many high-profile successes, allegations of corruption have haunted the Flying Squad and after the conviction of officers in 2001 there was a very real possibility of disbandment.
Yet this most famous of police units survived and today continues to fight and be feared by the hardest of criminals.
Drawing on first-hand accounts, Dick Kirby has put together a thrilling book that proves that fact is way better than fiction.
Dick Kirby's book on London's Flying Squad evokes memories of The Sweeney, and in more recent times, Lynda La Plante's young Jane Tennison series, in which Jane has just become a member of the Flying Squad. What a job they had to, and still do! Fascinating.Books Monthly
A comprehensive history of the met police flying squad and a book worthy of anyone's shelf who wants a thorough reference book about the sweeny.Amazon Customer, Richard Domoney-Saunders
It is an easy yet informative book from an author that prides himself on producing 5 star books.
If you only get one book on the subject then this should be it.
Read the full review here
This impeccably researched offering charts the rise of the Flying Squad through various stories relating to the people and their escapades that made them the most famous crime-fighting unit in the worldBritain’s Gangland Magazine
The Squad has always dealt with the hardest and most violent of criminals and Dick Kirby’s book gives a precious insight into its exploits for over a century; his credible insight allows the reader to get to the heart of these complex investigationsPaul Millen, author of Crime Scene Investigator.
Dick Kirby is a master of recording anecdotal evidence, quick wittedness, use of informants and ‘tricks of the trade’ … highlighting the spirit of perseverance persisting within the Squad, over the years.London Police Pensioner Magazine
A no-holds-barred illustrated history of the celebrated police unit, written by an ex-Scotland Yard author with unrivaled contacts.Bookseller 12/7/19
Dick Kirby’s Scotland Yard’s Flying Squad was published to mark 100 years of the life of what is undoubtedly the most renowned sharp-end crime fighting unit, and in just over 200 pages the author describes many of their cases, ranging from their very first operation against a smash-and-grab gang attacking a Pimlico jeweller’s shop to more recent cases such as the Millennium Dome and Hatton Garden robberies. The early newspapers’ descriptions of the Flying Squad’s operations as ‘thrilling’ can be applied throughout Flying Squad history.Alan Moss
What runs through the Squad’s history is the need for robust policing methods to combat violent thieves, the value of advance information about crimes being planned, and the need to turn incomplete pictures of conspiracies into evidence that can be presented at court that will survive blatant and hostile attacks by defence lawyers.
There are many heroes and examples of enormous courage in these pages, from Ted Greeno, whose success at placing bets at racecourses funded rewards for informants, to Jack Capstick, the ‘Ghost Squad’, and a very significant number of officers awarded medals for bravery. They jumped on to the running boards of fast-moving getaway cars and combatted violent gunmen with little or no personal protection.
Often using unconventional methods, Flying Squad officers found themselves stretching the procedures and protocols of normal policing for the perfectly acceptable motivation of bringing to justice the gangs who themselves subverted the law at every opportunity. The concentration on obtaining good evidence that would send armed robbers into prison for many years eventually led to ‘supergrasses’, a spectacularly successful tactic that did not survive many attempts to repeat the success in less appropriate circumstances. It is unfortunate that very senior police officers and other authorities were often in situations of enjoying the reflected glory of great success, but also considering complex counter-allegations against the police without finding a way of definitively backing one side or the other. A few police officers did indeed succumb to taking personal advantage in the difficult world of dealing with serious criminals; the reputational damage caused by their convictions for corruption have made the job of honest policing even more difficult.
The public, not least the innocent bank clerks and other victims who found themselves targeted by violence, should rightly be very thankful for the efforts of those who have served in the Flying Squad, and the courageous team spirit that led them to move in and quell violent situations. This book is certainly an authoritative history of the Flying Squad and is thoroughly recommended.