Abduhl Sheikh

Born: 10th March 1942

Nairobi, Kenya

Date of interview: 24th May 2006

Map showing where Abduhl Sheikh came from

So you're at Bisley and then how long were you there?

Eight years. But this is where I got my first challenge. A person, RC, I remember that bastard, sorry about the word. Came in from Wormwood Scrubs, one of the worst prisons in this country even now. He came in as a principal officer, and he became a training officer. He was the biggest racist I've ever met ... we were supposed to pass an examination, the principal officer's examination before you could apply for promotion. So I said I'll go and attend training classes. He said 'I'm not having you in my classes and as long as I'm in here I'll make certain you never ever go above the rank of an officer.' So I told him, I said 'Listen Mr C, I will pass the examination without your help and I will get promotion without your help and then I'll come and see you.' And do you know, of the fifteen people that he's supposed to have trained, not a single one passed and I passed and I was second in the country with my marks.
Two years later I got promotion without his help. I became a senior officer. I was posted to Brixton. Didn't have much else choice, didn't want to go there, which is again one of the worst prisons, still is to a certain extent although it's better than Wormwood Scrubs. Ten years there and what I learnt in Brixton was good and by the time I left there wasn't a single person who didn't respect me and I was the first senior officer Asian in there. Got promoted in Brixton.

From Brixton, because of the overcrowding, the Ashford Remand Centre or Ashford, now was it a remand centre at the time? It was young persons prison near Heathrow, Middlesex. It was closed down so I was given the task together with the number one governor of reopening it manning it, to take the overcrowding our, because its hell of a lot of money, and closing it down. Those three years that I spent at Ashford was the best in the prison service, as far as I am concerned. They were excellent, I'll never forget them and neither will the staff. They still occasionally drop me a note saying thank you because the staff were brand spanking new from the school.