Liverpool City Police

The Twins of the Flying Squad

In 1924 the 'Flying Squad' carried out their duties on bicycles. Then they got a motor-cycle combination which had to carry three. In those days the 'Flying Squad' was known as the "Four R's" - Riley, Wright, Richardson and Rawlinson.

A short time later Riley and Wright were provided with a small saloon car. It was christened 'The Canary' because it was painted a vivid yellow, and it was so unlike a police car that they were able to park up where thieves were at work and watch them before nipping out to arrest them.

Both were soon promoted to D/Sergeant. They were nicknamed the "Two Alsatians".

Some of their interesting cases included the arrest of the "The Bobbed Haired Bandit" in 1927. She was a smartly dressed female, always loaded with jewels, who used to drive a high powered car for a gang of London burglars which included the infamous Charlie Sparks, originator of the 'smash and grab' raids.

In 1925 Riley and Wright raided seven coin dens within 6 months, they found a double half-crown mould which was later used as an exhibit at lectures to new Police recruits.

Another smart arrest was that of a father, mother and daughter from Barcelona. They followed the International Exhibition from country to country. After visiting the Exhibition held in Glasgow, they passed through Liverpool on their way home and decided to 'help themselves' at a city store. They were spotted by one of 'The Twins' and arrested.

Both specialised at race meetings, Royal shows and big flower shows, and their work often brought praise from Chief Constables outside Liverpool.

Both were staunch supporters of Everton FC.

During their careers, D/Sergeant Riley earned 44 rewards and commendations, including the Award of Merit in 1937; D/Sergeant Wright received 40 rewards and commendations, and the Award of Merit in 1938. Wright's last reward was a grant of £2 for breaking up a gang who were assaulting foreign seamen during the last week of his service.

Brian Starkey

Source: Written memories of Austin Rawlinson, provided by his son, Peter Rawlinson (ACC Retired)

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