PICTURE THE orderly streets of Stamford Hill, about as suburban as Hackney gets, on a spring day. Nippy, yet still ripe with the optimism of the season.
Entering the scene, bedecked as it is with the canopies of spreading London Planes, come two coppers on bicycles – well, one of them is a plastic plod, but the label on his chest says POLICE so he looks like a fully paid rozza.
As they puff their way up Stamford Hill a woman comes towards them.
“’Ullo, ’ullo, ’ullo,” London’s finest must have wondered, “what’s all this about, then?”
The woman came to the point: she was the head of a nearby girls primary school, and she wondered whether they would like to visit.
Unscheduled, a visit… why not? A police officer is nothing if not prepared for the unscheduled.
Puffing themselves up at the chance to give an impromptu show-and-tell on the importance of neighbourhood policing, for they were from the Springfield Safer Neighbourhoods Team, they soon, however, found themselves well-upstaged in the puffing-up department.
There in the grounds of Yesodey Hatorah School were seven Scots Guards, their towering bearskin hats making them look taller than any man, the highly polished buttons of their immaculately pressed jackets sparkling in the sun as it burst through a light covering of cloud.
An eighth Scots Guard wore the uniform of frontline combat. Equally fiercesome.
The 300 students and staff listened raptly as the Guards’ commanding officer explained the difference between ceremonial and frontline duties, and chatted about the differences in military garb.
“Ten-shun!” The soldiers sprang to attention, before giving a short demonstration of saluting and marching, then taking questions and offering students a chance to try on the bearskins.
Springfield Safer Neighbourhoods Team was not to be denied. The team handed out stickers and other promotional items to the schoolgirls. The team showed them the equipment on their belts.
Fascinating. The team was thanked by the head teacher for their participation.
Police Officer Conrad Boddington from the team said later: “Community links were built.”
Police Officer Conrad Boddington said nothing about why extraordinarily dressed soldiers were invited to talk to a girls school in the heart of Jewish Hackney.
Hamish Scott 120414
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