I have been told by my friends that this blog is not exciting enough, and that it is too far removed from The Bill. Unfortunately, I have to agree, although the Bank Holiday post was as close to an ending from The Bill as I could manage, all wrapped up in half an hour. It’s been a while since I’ve watched the Bill but I can’t remember them sitting on the phone for hours for CPS advice to charge/bail.
On a more exciting note, I had a pursuit a while back.
Most Police Officers have pursuits on a semi-regular basis, although in city areas especially most end very quickly – either the bad guy disappears or bails, or the chase is called off by the control room or (less often) by the chasing unit.
I was trundling along one of our local rat runs on a night duty, and I spotted a likely looking vehicle. To non police officers who might wonder what I mean by that, the only way I can describe it is this: the kind of car you wouldn’t want to cross the road in front of.
It had three occupants who all did their best to avoid my gaze, and I pointed it out to my partner Dan who was driving. He had also noticed them and swung our police car round to get behind them. I called up on the radio for a check on the registration, and found myself in a queue - as always. We have computers in the car for doing checks, but they don’t give us all the information that the control room can over the radio. I started doing the check on the computer whilst waiting, partly to get the result and partly to get the registration number noted; although I wasn’t expecting a chase I have forgotten a car’s registration number before whilst chasing it and found it very embarrassing indeed.
As I did this I realised that we were getting a lot of attention from the occupants of the car. Me and Dan shared a look, and I called up on the radio for the check to be done on the hurry up. I said to Dan, “I think he’s going to go. Do you reckon you can keep up?” Dan gave me the look so many people do over time, and said “Eat me.” It’s his way of showing he cares. As I laughed, the car in front sped up. Dan hit the blues. The car didn’t stop.
I called up “Control from BX22, active message.” The Active Message phrase is supposed to get people’s attention, to let them know that it’s not just the usual waffle and to shut up and let ME speak – I usually only use it for ambulance messages and pursuits.
The control room gave me the go ahead, and I gave the details: “Vehicle failing to stop, high street towards the centre, red Ford Escort, three up.” I gave the details of the registration and then moved to the mainset. In London if you have a pursuit or other major situation you get off your borough radio channels and start using the “channel north” or “channel south” radios fitted into your cars. I called up and started the pursuit, and heard other units start to call up.
One of the things you learn is to keep your cool whilst chasing, otherwise the chase is called off. It takes a certain type of mind set to cling on to the door handle whilst doing 90MPH round a bend then pick up a microphone and say “er, control from BX22… yeah, he’s done a left left into Letsby Avenue, no pedestrians, left at the end of the road, stand by for road name,” when in fact what you want to say is “I need the toilet. Like, now. Perhaps we should stop at a service station?”
As you may have guessed I’m not big on pursuits.
The car we were chasing jumped on to a large A-road and continued to Fail To Stop. Luckily it was a small underpowered vehicle, as every really fast car in the Met seemed to be on the other side of London. The driver was starting to panic, and swerved off the A–road into a small rural type road. We were well into another borough and although I had kept the commentary going in the slowest, most sardonic voice I could manage, every unit I heard on the radio was calling up with hopelessly inadequate ETAs. I knew we could carry on chasing, as I can read road signs as well as anyone else. I just hoped we wouldn’t get a foot chase as I had no idea where I was in relation to anywhere I’d been before.
The car stopped.
The occupants bailed out.
We had a foot chase on our hands. Oh dear…
In the spirit of The Bill - To Be Continued…