(Courtesy: Skywatch International) Source: Sunday Independent [London] Date: November 22 1998 Headline: Police open their X-files on UFO encounters By Jason Bennetto A GROUP of retired and serving police officers are risking ridicule by coming forward to tell all about their alleged encounters with UFOs. More than 20 officers have responded to an advertisement in Police Review inviting them to recount their close encounters of the third kind. These include stories of alien abduction and gigantic blocks of light hovering above their squad cars. At least two former officers claim to have photographic evidence of their meetings with extra-terrestrials. Their extraordinary stories are to be collected in a new book Policing the UFO, to include interviews with at least 20 former and serving police officers and as many as 200 recorded incidents involving police from around the world. Many of the examples from the second category will be taken from previously unreleased Ministry of Defence papers. The book's author, Irene Bott, has chosen to concentrate on police officers because of their relative position of trust in society. "They are less likely to be written off as cranks, loonies or anoraks," she explained. Others may, however, think they are boldly going beyond the call of duty and risking ridicule and professional suicide. For this reason, many officers appear to have waited until they have left the police service before speaking out, although others who contacted the researchers feel so strongly about what they have witnessed that they are prepared to be named. The reported encounters include: - An officer who claims to have been abducted and medically examined by aliens in the 1980s. The former officer, who has yet to give the full details of his case, is said to have been out driving when he experienced disturbances to his vehicle followed by memory loss. He later recalled, via hypnosis, being taken aboard a space craft and examined by aliens. - A police officer says he took five photographs of a UFO while on duty in the West Midlands in the 1980s, but that the MoD confiscated them. - A policeman and woman were out on patrol in the countryside and saw lights and a cylindrical object in the sky. - An officer who saw a disc shaped object hovering 20ft above the road. - A police officer who, in the 1970s while on duty, saw a wedge-shaped object in the sky that was about four storeys high and 50ft long. - Declassified MoD papers from the 1950s to the 1970s that report investigations into reported sightings by police officers and incidents at military bases. The files name police officers involved and allegedly include accounts of helicopters being sent after UFOs. There have also been several reports from officers in Sussex - one as recently as last month - an area which is considered a fruitful zone for UFO sightings. While the majority of the police officers who have been in contact are retired, some are serving and include an Inspector. Ms Bott said: "In a court of law the person who is most believed is usually a policeman. Also, these people are out day and night observing things around them so they are excellent witnesses. "A UFO is simply an unidentified flying object, it's not little green men. "Many officers do not want to talk about it openly while they are still serving because they can kiss their promotion chances goodbye." So far she has been in touch with about 20 serving and former officers - two serving officers contacted her a couple of weeks ago and claim to have seen UFOs in the past month. Nick Redfern, an author of several books on UFOs, who is assisting Ms Bott with her project, added: "These people are willing to fly in the face of potential ridicule, which shows how strongly they feel about what they have witnessed - these are strong, credible witnesses." One of those to come forward was former Pc John Hanson. His encounter with a UFO took place on the evening of 14 June 1995. Mr Hanson, 52, who retired from the West Midlands police force in 1994, after 27 years service, was at his home near Redditch, Worcestershire, when he looked out of his bedroom window. "I saw a silver pear-shaped ball of light hovering over a tree," he recalled. "It was about 40ft off the ground, and about 20ft long and 5ft wide. "Immediately opposite was a red cigar-shaped object, about 30ft tall. "The pear ball suddenly moved and there was a piece cut out of it like a wedge of cheese. It then changed into the shape of a jelly bean and jumped onto the cigar shaped object. The two objects then fused together, produced a rippling light and were gone." He said the whole episode lasted about five minutes and took place at 10.35pm, and that a similar sighting took place 20 miles away on the same night. "I am not talking about flying saucers or space men, but an unidentified object - some form of energy source," he added.