Bury is a nice place to live and it's perhaps not surprising that it is one of the quieter Divisions in GMP. I spent in total 5 years on the Division, initially as a foot patrol and later in a panda or the van. I also spent some time in Communications there as well as 6 months as a CID aide (during which I realised that the CID was probably not where I wanted to spend my career). My shift, "4 Scale", was a great bunch and we were a tight-knit team who worked hard as a team and also socialised together as a matter of course. Many's the time we'd head off to the pub after finishing an afternoon shift and then onto a nightclub later and finish off with a curry at the local indian restaurant in the early hours of the morning, even if we were due back on duty at 6am!
1980 saw the Steel Strike and I ended up spending lots of time sat in Personnel Carriers in and around Sheffield. 1981, however, brought the riots in Toxteth, Salford and Moss Side. First thing we knew was being bundled into personnel carriers across to Toxteth and then standing for hours behind our shields (but with no proper helmets) with bricks, railings and other objects being chucked at us. End result, plenty of bobbies injured and hardly anyone arrested.
When Moss Side and Salford erupted our Chief Constable, James Anderton, adopted a somewhat more aggressive approach: Firstly he acquired decent riot helmets for us, and secondly we were allowed to try to break up groups of rioters and arrest them. End result: Lots of rioters arrested and not nearly so many bobbies injured.
Whilst at Bury, I also spent 6 months seconded to the central licensing squad, the Hush Puppies at they were then known. That was great fun albeit fairly hairy at times, working undercover in pubs, clubs and shabeens all over the force area, sometimes doing observations for other departments such as the Drug Squad. Most of the time these duties were fairly routine and mundane observations after tip-offs about under-age or after-time drinking. Sometimes, however, we would be asked to be inside premises prior to and during a Police raid (eg: for drugs) and at other times we'd be asked to carry out observations in situations that would be really quite dangerous if our identities were discovered. All in all, though, one of the best and most fulfilling periods of my career.
I'd passed my Sergeants exam in 1979 and in 1982 was posted to Salford as a result of a [failed] Promotion Board in which it was suggested that I should "...go and see the city lights". Bury was a pleasant town in which to live, but not hugely busy in Police terms. It had its moments, of course, but generally I was going to experience and learn a lot more, a lot quicker, on an inner-city division, so I looked forward to my time in Salford.