‘Blue’ – a police memoir by John Sutherland, hits No.4 in Sunday Times book rankings

A newly-published book about the Metropolitan Police has hit fourth position in the Sunday Times book rankings!

Police officers from around the country attended the London launch of Blue: A Memoir this week – a new book outlining the highs and lows of being a British Bobby.

The book by Ch Supt John Sutherland – Twitter’s @policecommander – focusses on the positive work of his Met Police colleagues during a 25-year career but also on how policing can take its toll, including its difficult to read pages on John suffering from depression.

The strapline for the book is “Keeping the Peace and Falling to Pieces.”

Speaking at the event, John said the idea for the book came from the imbalance of predominantly negative reporting about policing in the media.

He said: “For the past 25 years, I have had the privilege of doing a job I love – alongside people I truly admire.

“In its way, this book is a love letter to each one of them: my family, my city and the women and men of the police force.

“Blue tells some of their stories – some of our stories – and in doing so, tries to provide some balance to the wider story being told about policing in this country.

“But it is also a very personal story of the toll that life and policing can take. Four years ago, whilst serving as the Borough Commander for Southwark in South London, I broke. I’m still mending.”

The book features large chunks on John’s rise through the ranks, his time as a hostage negotiator, as a borough commander and has a real focus on the scourge of knife crime in the capital.

Both the speech and book resonated well with the audience in attendance at the launch in London – which also included a number of John’s friends and family.

Also there were the Kinsella family. Ben Kinsella was killed in a stabbing incident in Islington in 2008 – and John has remained in touch with them.

‘Blue: A Memoir’ went on sale on Thursday 25 May.

View on Police Oracle

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As a closing note, I will add my own congratulations to Chief Superintendent John Sutherland, who is on Twitter @policecommander

Steve Shearwater

Big Mistakes that Writers Make in Crime Novels – According to Police Officers

I’ve only just found the article posted below, from the Daily Express, but it was actually published the very day before my own first UK police novel went on sale.

Having spent many years in the police myself, I wasn’t too worried that I would have committed any serious transgressions, although of course I did strive to leave out as much as possible about the tedium and long-winded nature of many police investigations, but in reality that is a necessity for a writer, not an option.

My own top-six “hates” when watching or reading a story about the British police are:

  1. Inspector Morse, as entertaining as the programme might be, could not have kept his forename to himself.  An officer’s full name has to be written on every report and every statement made, and announced publicly every time an officer gives evidence in court.  So it could be no secret, even if he made every Endeavour to keep it so!
  2. British police officers do not “read their rights” to people, they caution them and later report or charge them.  Britain is not America!
  3. Similarly, British people do not and cannot “press charges” and cannot “withdraw charges,” either.  Again, Britain is not America!  The police and then the Crown Prosecution Service [CPS] make all such decisions.
  4. The portrayal in stories of uniformed officers as being less clever or less involved in major incidents is as laughable as it is offensive. Apart from there being a constant need for teamwork across many disciplines in the police, many excellent officers have no interest whatsoever in working for the C.I.D. (Criminal Investigation Department).
  5. Detectives share identical status to their uniformed brethren of the same rank; becoming a detective is not a promotion and certainly gives no authority over a non-detective of the same rank.  Once again, this is Britain, not America.
  6. Lastly, as it states in the article, details of cases are never, ever, discussed in front of members of the public or anyone else who does not have an adequate and legally justifiable need to know.

Here’s the article from the Express.

Reader reviews of Steve’s novel (and purchase here).

Steve Shearwater

Just How Beautiful is the Lake District National Park? Bill Bryson’s Opinion!

Those of you who love American author Bill Bryson‘s hilarious travel books may know of his latest edition.

Bill Bryson’s latest book about Britain (2015)

His first book about Britain, Notes from a Small Island, was hilarious and immensely popular, and The Road to Little Dribbling is an excellent and equally funny successor.

In it, he writes: “The Lake District, when it is fine, and it usually is at least that, is about as beautiful as Earth can get…”

What more needs to be said?