I was standing at a bus stop in 1981 when a police car I didn’t realise was Special Patrol Group stopped and one of the officers inside asked me what I was doing. “Waiting for a bus,” I said, bit confused by the question. “Well get a move on,” he replied.
And that was my one and only encounter with the SPG. I appreciate that had I been black, my encounter might have been more prolonged and led me to a local cop shop. I found this in my 80s collection – a leaflet from a group in south London campaigning against the so-called SUS laws allowing police to stop young people and search them in the street. This became a major cause of the 1981 riots.