The SMP was, in addition to a law enforcement organization, the first line of military defence against Chinese uprisings. By the mid-20s, large riots were becoming a significant problem in Shanghai, which led Fairbairn to create the "Reserve Unit" (a.k.a. the Riot Squad)
the world's first SWAT unit. Those training sequences that involve shooting popup targets in dark buildings? They invented those too. There are plenty of books about Fairbairn and the SMP. The above is really only meant as an introduction so I can write a bit about three officers who served in the Reserve Unit. These fellows are like gifts from early 20th century history, so perfectly molded are they to fascinate those of us interested in the history of modern martial arts.
O'Neill, Poole and Robinson
Gentleman and Warrior, a W.E. Fairbairn biography, mentions that "besides Fairbairn there were three other SMP officers in particular, who also found great fascination and practical use in training with the Chinese officers. They were Dermot (Pat) O'Neill, Jack Poole and J. Robinson. These three were great pals, working, socialising and training together," and that "Robinson had been a catch-as-catch-can wrestler," "Poole had been a useful professional boxer winning 67 out of 69 fights, and had been at one time sparring partner for the Italian heavyweight Primo Camera." Jack Poole's son, Mick Poole, confirms this: "My father, P.J. (Jack) Poole, Pat (Dermot) O'Neill and James were best friends all through their time in the Shanghai Municipal Police, and shared a house for most of that time."