Young P.C. Stephen Rollin
I joined the Nottingham City Police Cadets after leaving school in 1966. I became a Constable in 1969 and remained in Nottingham up to 1971 when I became 21 years of age and eligible for a job in the Bermuda Police Force (BPF). I flew to BDA on BOAC on November 5 1971, upon arrival I was taken to my new home in McBeath Block. There I met Mick Brown, Ken Van-Thal, Phil Every and many others.
Hot rodders - Ken Van Thal, Mick Brown and Stephen Rollin
Mick and Ken and I all bought Honda CB 125's. I'd never ridden anything more than a pedal cycle and a horse before I came to Bermuda.
I was initially attached to the Mobile Reserve and from there I went on the beat in Central Division at the old police station on Parliament Street. I spent about two years there then I was transferred to Operations Division in late 1973.
Driving around in the Morris Marina was much better than walking the beat and spending hours directing traffic accompanied by a hangover. In Traffic I had a stint on Radar along with Roger Kendall and Ernie McCreight and an Advanced Driving Course.
P.C's Steve Rollin and Ernie McCreight in the Operations Room
I went on several Police overseas tours including an International Police Association (IPS) visit to New York in 1973, with a great group - all of us teetotallers! I stayed at a Police Officer's home on Long Island and we visited all the tourist attractions including Times Square, the Empire State Building, and quite a few local bars. It was a great trip.
My next move was to Marine Section in March 1976. It was a great job and I loved almost every minute of it except, I guess, the incident with the ‘Georgia’. Something we don’t need to go into, Hamilton Magistrates Court was a learning experience.
I stayed with the boats up to 1981 when I was moved, at my request, to Narcotics. I think Kevin Hamilton and I simply swapped roles. My supervisor at that time was Norell Hull. Norell was famous for his response to questions about how things had been going, ‘It was the best of times; it was the worst of times’ or a slight variant of that was his regular response to a greeting. I’m sure Norell had read 'A Tale of Two Cities'.
The Narco days were a learning experience working at the airport (CAT). It was an eye opener seeing the devious ways used to smuggle drugs into the country. We found it concealed in many different ways moving either by mail or passengers on ships and aircraft. For the most part the streets were a pretty scary experience. I got quite a few bumps and bruises over the years.
During my time in Narcotics the OIC’s were at different times Johnny Williams, George Rose, Tom Cassin, Dennis Ramsey and George Jackson. I worked with Butch Burgess, Rudy Richardson, Terry Gift,and I think all of them that appear in the above photograph. I worked with all of the Customs Officers and Norell Hull during my tenure in the JIS. My Street Team had a nick name ‘The Dream Team’. Whether or not this was derogatory can only be assessed by the people using it.
I moved out of Narcotics About 1996. I had passed the promotion exam in my younger days and in those days it held for promotion permanently (I think). I had been advised that if I wanted to make Inspector I would have to move around a little and go into a different department. I went back to Hamilton and moved between Station Sergeant and Watch Sergeant. During 1998 I became ill and I was shipped off to Boston for brain surgery.
I returned to a period of light duties. I had two choices Marine Section or Admin. I chose the former and I did several weeks cruising around the islands.
I returned to regular duties at the end of the year in Central Division. Shortly afterwards I was promoted to Inspector and transferred to Government Security Officer. I enjoyed the work but it didn’t last too long. I was then sent to Western CID. A great experience but the closest I had come to it before was during my tenure in Narcotics. I had spent much time preparing Supreme Court files but not basic CID work. Mick Redfern, the DS was a great help and we worked together well.
I spent about eighteen months there and I returned to Watch Inspector In Hamilton. Had some great times there and worked with some very reliable Sergeants and Constables.
March 19, 2005 saw my retirement from the Police Service at age 55. I had stopped working a few weeks earlier due to pre retirement leave. I moved to the UK shortly after that and have remained here ever since.
I've been getting together from time to time for a few years now with a group of us "old timers" from our 1971 group, Phil Every, and Mick Brown, together with our regular partners. Ken Van Thal joined us one time when we met up on Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour, but sadly, Phill is no longer with us. CLICK HERE to read Mick Brown's "Then and Now" article on our website.
My older son Alexander is now an Inspector in the BPS and my younger one, Andrew, qualified as an electrician and is married to a Bermudian girl. They provided us with two wonderful grand children. I am very proud of all of them. I was making frequent visits to Bermuda but due to the Corona Virus I have not been back for two years now. I look forward to seeing my family as soon as travel permits.