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Story of the Song | 'Police Inna England' comes from profiling experience

Published:Friday | July 7, 2017 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke
Ian Allen/Photographer Peter Metro outside his childhod home in Arnett Gardens, St Andrew.
Brigadier Jerry
King Jammys
Josey Wales

Peter Metro emphatically describes Police Inna England as his biggest song. The song details an encounter with the police in England, and Peter Metro includes lines where he imitates a British accent, as he imitates the police's instructions.

Although this injects humour into the song, Police Inna England, springs from a real-life experience of racial profiling practised against black men driving luxury cars in England. Peter Metro was not only told about it, but given the experience first-hand. There was ample time to do so, as Metromedia sound system spent extensive time in England during the early 1980s.

"Me and Josey Wales did inna England inna 1983, 1984, 1985. So we spen about three years inna England, back and forth. Some a me fren dem a England whe have Mercedes Benz - at that time them call them Mercs - them say 'every time we drive we Mercs go dance, we get pull over about 10 time before we reach the dance by some a these racist police here'," Peter Metro told The Sunday Gleaner.

He was offered the chance to see it for himself.

"Them say, 'Metro, if you think a lie we a tell, we a drive go Birmingham (from London) and me a drive the Mercs'. That's a bredren name Jabba," Metro said. He told the deejay, "On the way to Birmingham, look wha a go happen. Me nah go bruck no speed limit, me nah go do nutten like dat. Bet yu have police on the highway, once dem see a black man a drive a nice car, dem a go pull him over."

And that is what happened, and Police Inna England was written from the experience.

"So that is how the song really go, because of the harassment of the police them in England," Peter Metro said, breaking into the lyrics:

"One Saturday night around 7:30 Peter Metro and Brigadier did a come from party ... "

The change of companion in the song came from a disagreement between himself and Josey Wales.

"When we come a Jamaica me and Josey Wales kick off and me decide say me nah put him name in de song," Peter Metro said.

Brigadier Jerry was the substitute. "But originally a me an Josey a travel inna mi bredren car and police don't stop harass us until we get to the venue to perform."

Police Inna England was recorded on the 'Father Jungle Rock' riddim at King Jammys studio, after the record producer and sound system owner heard Peter Metro perform the song in Montego Bay, St James. Metro was special guest on Jammys sound system at Damali Beach.

"Of all the songs in Peter Metro's repertoire, that song stands out. People love it up to this day," Peter Metro said.