Charles McIlwrick , a retired police officer who served in London for 36 years has been selling his memoirs in Chester market. Charles, who is originally from Northern Ireland moved to Chester at the end of his career explained about his motivation for writing the book:
“I joined the Met in 1957. I was married to a lovely lady called Maureen, and sadly she died of cancer and it broke my heart” Charles remarried but tragically his second wife also died from cancer. He decided to write his book in 2013 after a close friend was diagnosed with lung cancer and he wanted to share the story of his life. ” All monies from the sales of the book are being donated to cancer charities in honour of his lost loved ones. So far he has sold over 700 copies and is selling the remaining stock on selected days in the market.
Charles explains that the book’s eye catching title is inspired by his time policing at Chelsea football club. “All you used to hear was people chanting “all coppers are bastards” .. I thought, hang on, not all are, there might be a few, but not all are!”
Across his 36 years of service in the Force Charles says that he can recall “almost everything” he dealt with. “All the sad things, all the happy things… I got to be an Inspector , so through the 3 ranks, constable, sergeant, inspector you deal with very different things. My last 16 years were at Brixton, through the riots. They were the most harrowing experiences in my life. ”
Charles says that the modern day police force has changed beyond all recognition. “in 1957 I’d go on night duty walking the streets of London, 18 years of age. All I had was a little truncheon, a whistle and a torch. Now when you see the police they have big bright jackets they have a belt on them, how they carry it round I have no idea! We didn’t even have radios! As a young constable I made the decisions and I stood by them. If you caught somebody up to mischief, for stupid things and you didn’t want to go to court in the morning. You would go and tell them to clear off!
” Nowadays I don’t think I could do the job, political correctness and the fact that police cannot use their common sense to deal with things.. has ruined the job. There are too many politicians and particularly one Home Secretary who ruined the police.. and now of course look at her position! You need people to work with you, not be destructive. ”
Charles says that writing the book was therapeutic but very moving.”Very often I had a lump in my throat because it bought back some wonderful memories. The book is to try and help people who may find themselves in the same place as I did, where they can actually relate their story. Everyone has a story in them if they can remember it! The charities I’ve supported have been so grateful, I’ve done the best I could for them .”
Charles will be in the market next Saturday (19th) and some Fridays before Christmas