Former officers reveal the crafty tricks they used to have up their sleeves

We look back at the old days of policing. (Pictured: Nottinghamshire Police Inspector Alan Stuart - circa 2000)

We look back at the old days of policing. (Pictured: Nottinghamshire Police Inspector Alan Stuart - circa 2000)

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Check out this list of classic police tricks and trade-craft from the days of 'old fashioned coppering'.

We were amazed when we stumbled across a forum thread of ex-police officers discussing the "good'ol days", when a make-believe canine unit was almost as good as a real one, and you knew exactly how to get a crim to stop running.

Ex-officers have told that a fictional canine unit can be as handy as a real one... (Image: Derbyshire officers with police dogs, by image Don Batterham, date unknown).

Ex-officers have told that a fictional canine unit can be as handy as a real one... (Image: Derbyshire officers with police dogs, by image Don Batterham, date unknown).

All these entries are taken from an online forum contributed to by former officers (who have remained anonymous for obvious reasons).

And you'd be amazed as some officers claimed their tricks are still used today. Let us know if you think we're missing anything off our list.

9. Black thread: "We used to walk the town centre at night with a reel of black cotton. We would tie a length of it at each end of an alleyway, at ankle height. Later on our patrol, all we had to do was make sure the cotton was still unbroken and we knew that no one had been down that alleyway."

8. Man's best friend: "Whilst I shouldn't possibly let out trade secrets, my favourite with running suspects is "STOP NOW OR I WILL RELEASE THE DOG" in a suitably loud and angry tone. So far it has worked in about 30 per cent of my footchases."

We look back at the old days of policing. (Image: Police clash with picketers at the Ollerton Miners Strike, March 14, 1984).

We look back at the old days of policing. (Image: Police clash with picketers at the Ollerton Miners Strike, March 14, 1984).

7. Racing handicap: "Unless they have a good bit of ground on me to start off with they generally aren't going to win. I compete in 6.5 mile races regularly. In fact, I recently used this in a chase, shouting "I wouldn't bother mate, I run half marathons,' whereupon he stopped!"

6. Section 18, 17, 16: "I used this the other day when doing a Section 18 (entering a premises to search):

Me: "You've got 20 seconds to open the door (whilst having a look inside)..."

Him: "I'm getting dressed."

Me: "18, 17, 16, 15..."

Him: *BANG (falls over trousers round ankles).

5. Photo-ops: "At demos always protect the old ladies and women with children who seem to turn up without thought for their safety. Make sure the Press are about when you do this.

4. Waiting for PC Godot: "Me and my mate found ourselves searching 19 lads in a radio blackspot. I had a long and loud talk-through with an imaginary van crew telling them not to bother coming all the way into the car park....if only they knew...."

3. Optional cover: "When stopping cars driven by persons who believe insurance is no longer compulsory but an optional extra. Admire their vehicle and give it a quick "when do think you are going to be able to pay for the insurance". You will be surprised how many drivers say they will be buying it tomorrow."

2. Decoy Roadblock: "Always hold a roadblock on a straight stretch with plenty of lights at night so that oncoming villains can see you stopping cars. Arrange it that there is a slip or side road before the road block so that the villains, on seeing the activity ahead, can quickly turn into it. Alas...that is where the real check point is - gotcha!"

1. Stoic Sargeant: "Always carry a mannequin somewhere on the carrier with a spare uniform raincoat and cap.They are useful when you have to leave it and give the impression your vehicle is being guarded, for fooling senior officers that you are up to complement and for placing on the rear seat with its fingers up in a V sign for following traffic."

Are you a former policeman? Share your memories of the days on the force, how the job has changed and what tricks of the trade you used to use, at comment@derbyshiretimes.co.uk.