A sequel to ‘Walsall’s Front Line-Volume I’ – this book deals with factual accounts of policing in parts of the borough of Walsall, in the West Midlands, over a twelve-month period between 1998 and 1999.
During a time of high-crime levels and a virtual epidemic in the use of heroin it includes accounts from local police officers who knew the area and its communities intimately.
At one end of the scale it deals with serious crime cases including an unusual murder where the only witness was a dog named ‘Benny’, to cases of anti-social behaviour by local disaffected youths. During a survey conducted by the Local Authority one such group detailed their favourite pastimes as ‘Drugs, Sex, and Stealing’ and listed their regular activities as ‘dossing and getting hassled by the police’.
In an environment where one third of all children in Walsall had used cannabis by the age of sixteen years, a relatively small number of police officers and staff battled to maintain order and stability.
Whilst this illustrated book is a historical record of policing in one small corner of the ‘Black Country’, it also seeks to illustrate the human nature of the job coupled with a reality of what could be achieved. It was a relentless exercise – often sad and challenging but routinely fun and hugely rewarding.
At times the ‘thin blue line’ was stretched to capacity – but it never once broke!