What a great cover photo on your July 2019 issue: London’s Metropolitan police officers on the Noddy Course.

When the Met put hundreds of officers on two wheels in the late 1950s, many of them had no motorcycling experience.

The two-week Noddy Course at the police’s Hendon Driving School taught them the tips of motorcycling – including nodding to their senior officers rather than letting go of the handlebars to raise a salute.

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While the real speed cops – dressed in proper motorcycling gear – continued to ride around on their Triumph twins, the new recruits kept as much of their everyday uniform as possible. This was the force’s reassurance – that putting constables on motorcycles didn’t mean they would lose touch with the public.

PC49 posed by the Houses of Parliament. The strengthened helmet with more secure straps and the rubberised raincoat marked out a generation of constables who had spent their early police service pounding the beat on bicycles.

These Velocette LE mounted officers did receive strengthened helmets – which gained latterly the additional safety strap shown in your photograph.

This was hardly proper motorcycle riding gear, but was nevertheless appreciated by those many policemen and women who looked back on their Noddy days with affection.

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Dennis Frost

Read more Letters, Opinion, News and Features in the September 2019 issue of OBM – on sale now!

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