Heritage Centre


A selection of books related to the Metropolitan Police Service that may be of interest

Blue: A Memoir – Keeping the Peace and Falling to Pieces
by John Sutherland
Published: April 2018

A searingly honest memoir of the uplifting highs and crushing lows of a life spent policing on the front line.

A Sunday Times top-five bestseller
'This is a remarkable book . . . profound and deeply moving . . . It has as much to tell us about mental illness as it does about policing' Alastair Stewart
John Sutherland joined the Met in 1992, having dreamed of being a police officer since his teens. Rising quickly through the ranks, he experienced all that is extraordinary about a life in blue: saving lives, finding the lost, comforting the broken and helping to take dangerous people off the streets. But for every case with a happy ending, there were others that ended in desperate sadness, and in 2013 John suffered a major breakdown.
Blue is his memoir of crime and calamity, of adventure and achievement, of friendship and failure, of serious illness and slow recovery. With searing honesty, it offers an immensely moving and personal insight into what it is to be a police officer in Britain today.
Click here for more details
The Official History of the Metropolitan Police
by Gary Mason
Published: Dec 2004

This book traces the fascinating history of the Met Police Service from the lawless London of 1829 when Sir Robert Peel passed the first Metropolitan Police Act, to the modernised force of the present day. Beginning with an overview of the first 150 years, the author examines various mileposts in the growth of the MPS, from the policing of the Coldbath Field Riots of 1833 to the General Strike of 1926, as well as examining the changing face of crime, and how the Met has adapted to deal with organised crime and politically motivated violence. The main emphasis of the book, however, is on the last 25 years. Public order policing, community policing, specialist policing, terrorism, technology, and forensics are all explored in detail, and supplemented by material gained by first-hand interviews with key players in all these areas. Written in conjunction with the Met Police, the author will have access to primary archive material, and will interview many key players in the MPS. The book will be complemented by fascinating case histories throughout, and illustrated by photographs from the Met archives.
Click here for more details
Girl on the Line: Life and death in the Metropolitan Police
by Alice Vinten
Published: May 2018

A revealing memoir of a decade on the streets of London as a female police constable and a unique insight into a city and the cost of keeping it safe.
‘I loved this book. Gritty and gripping, moving and shocking, this brilliant police memoir shows that life on the force really is different for girls’ Erin Kelly, author of He Said She Said.
‘Alice Vinten is the real deal - all the thrills of a crime novel, only true. Required reading for anyone interested in what the police really do’ MJ McGrath, author of Give Me the Child.
‘I've never read such an authentic and interesting account of what it's like to be a female police officer.’ Louise Voss, author of The Old You.
‘Alice Vinten's memoir is deeply moving and inspiring, with twists and dramatic real-life scenes that could have been taken straight from a crime thriller. This is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand what it takes to be a female police officer.’ Jane Casey, author of the Maeve Kerrigan series.
Click here for more details
The Brave Blue Line: 100 Years of Metropolitan Police Gallantry
by Dick Kirby
Published: Nov 2011

In their daily battle against a remorseless tide of crime, officers of London s Metropolitan Police routinely risk their lives protecting society. Veteran detective and crime author Dick Kirby has brought together a superb collection of inspiring stories of police gallantry over the last hundred years. All four officers to be honoured with the George Cross, the highest civilian award have their stories told including Jim Beaton who saved Princess Anne from kidnap in The Mall. Three women officers have been awarded the George Medal, two for decoy work, the third for a heroic rooftop rescue. The book concludes with the astonishing story of a retired detective who tackled armed robbers at the cost of his eye. He may have left the Met behind him but not his courage. Every page of this gripping book is full of excitement and courage of the highest order.
Click here for more details
Escorting the Monarch
by Chris Jagger
Published: Oct 2017

Escorting the Monarch is as close to an official history of the Metropolitan Police's 'Special Escort Group' (SEG) as one could hope for. You may have seen the team at work; as the combination of motorcycles and cars pass you by, they glide elegantly and seemingly effortlessly through busy traffic. Developing a dedicated and diligent team culture, they are masters of their trade. They hold a well-earned reputation for excellence amongst their peers; delivering their passengers (and cargo) on time, safely, in a great deal of style, and without fuss or mishap. Professional and precise in the execution of their operations, they are neither shaken nor stirred. Although the work of the SEG demands exquisitely high levels of presentation there is little room for gloss or glitter. The individuals and property they are charged to protect are assessed by government to need the highest possible levels of protection. From queens, kings, presidents and emperors, to priceless works of art, terrorists and high risk prisoners, the group escort them all. Written by the son of a retired SEG officer who himself served in the British Government's security and intelligence community, Escorting the Monarch is told, in part, through first hand stories and anecdotes gleaned from former officers of the group. The insights offered are unique, privileged and first of their kind. Chris Jagger unfolds a collection of fascinating and never before told stories built on high profile events, such as the funeral of Sir Winston Churchill, and the visit of Nelson Mandela. Now the SEG have honed their skills for over 6 decades. Through a carefully constructed description of a changing security and political environment across the decades, and an insightful analysis of the ingenuity of those who have severed with the SEG, Escorting the Monarch explains the events that made the group who they are today.
Click here for more details
Scotland Yard: The True Life Story of the Metropolitan Police
by Robert Fleming and Hugh Miller
Published: Aug 1995

An exploration of the workings of New Scotland Yard, covering all departments from the Obscene Publications Squad to Special Branch, and linked to a seven-part series of half hour TV programmes on networked Thames TV.
Click here for more details

Disclaimer:  This website has links to other sites which are operated by other people. By using these links you will be leaving the Friends of Metropolitan Police Heritage Charity website and we therefore take no responsibility in respect of linked sites. Care should be taken when using other sites where international consumer protection and regulatory regimes may differ.  The Friends of Metropolitan Police Heritage Charity in no way represents any research conclusions, opinions and/or user content that is displayed on these web sites. In addition, it does not endorse or recommend any individual book or the views of the author.