Not since the days of highwaymen and footpads had armed robbery been seen in London. Geoffrey Barton explains the political backdrop to the arrival in the UK of armed revolutionaries driven by their own frenzied missions, causing citizens to go in fear. Laws were passed to deal with aliens and terrorism but as the author explains the civil police were ill-equipped to deal with the problem. Although well known to local people, the Tottenham Outrage of 1909 when two Latvian robbers, Jewish refugees, intercepted a payroll has been comparatively hidden to the wider world (unlike the notorious Siege of Sydney Street which took place two years later). Resulting in the most spectacular police pursuit in history it involved a hundred police officers and up to a thousand citizens in running to ground two desperate police killers. The book follows every inch of the six-and-a-half miles and minute of the two-and-a-half hours of the chase. It also pays minute attention to the people and places involved as well as the aftermath. As former Head of Firearms Training Operations for the Metropolitan Police Service, Mike Waldren writes in his Foreword, ‘The officers…did their best relying on guts and determination to see them through an unprecedented incident.’ The first in-depth account of an iconic event – fascinating police, social and local history based on extensive first-hand research.
‘An inclusive piece of writing that has been thoroughly researched. Readers are unlikely to find a better source of information on this intriguing event and its impacts, and it sure to please those with a thirst for history’– Crime Traveller.
‘A thoroughly comprehensive work and I was particularly interested in the chapter on weapons. In fact, there’s a huge amount of detail that I’ve not read anywhere else before’– Sandeep Christian, Chairman of the Highams Park History Association.
‘The Tottenham Outrage 1909 has been part of my life, from childhood…as a retired London police officer, I believe I’m uniquely qualified to say that this account is the most comprehensive and enjoyable read’– Peter Lawrence, History Lecturer and Tutor, ex-Royalty and Diplomatic Protection Squad, Scotland Yard.
‘A useful account of a very significant case for the history of policing, firearms control and the control of aliens’– Police History Society newsletter.
Geoff Barton is a skilled ‘thief taker’. Joining the MPS in 1975, he learnt his trade in Brixton and Walworth, where his size, strength and power soon made him a fearsome adversary. Selected for firearms training he focused on tackling dangerous robbers, murderers and serial killers. This makes him an ideal person to describe the dilemmas faced by the police as they and the citizens involved deployed a motley collection of dormant firearms, cutlasses and makeshift weapons.
The late Mike Waldren QPM was the Historian to the Police Firearms Officers Association. Formerly a chief superintendent with the Metropolitan Police Service and was Head of MPS Firearms Training and Operations.