chapter  10
Closely Observed Training
Pages 10

I was commissioned through a Home Office Project to generate a series of case studies for police training. On one occasion I was involved in their handling of football crowds. On a Saturday morning before a match involving Norwich City and Tottenham Hotspur, I joined all the police involved in a meal in a local school. It was euphemistically called ‘operational feeding’. Everyone was there when I arrived with a very senior officer. I was wearing jeans and a leather jacket, ready to inveigle myself into the very heart of the Barclay stand, where the rowdiest supporters would be. As we walked through the serried ranks, deep into their main course, I caught many covert stares and whispers. And a sort of peculiar respect. ‘Such is the power of research in the police force’, I thought. The senior officer spoke, as we sat down. ‘They think you’re Special Branch’. ‘I forgot to tell them you’d be here.’ He smiled and patted the bulge of the cassette recorder in my jacket pocket. ‘Gun?’