Friday, 26 October 2007


An email from "Gunner", a regular commenter on this blog, made me think about traffic stops. The email he sent I will no doubt post at some point, but it was a number of things supposedly said for real during traffic stops, very amusing.

I have said some of those things of course.

The thing is, I suspect that traffic process is done very little throughout most of response Police officers. A lot of it is left up to traffic officers to do.
Yes, probationers are expected to hand in a certain amount of process, and all of us are expected to show a return of work of some type, so traffic process is done.

But I don't think it's way off the mark to guess that 80% of people that get pulled for traffic offences are let off with a warning. I'm not talking for No Insurance or similar, but for the smaller offences. I STOP people for these offences, but I have a very simple test to see what happens afterwards.

You see, I walk up to the car, and say "Excuse me mate, you weren't wearing your seatbelt back there." I then wait for the reply from the person, knowing that it will affect the outcome of this stop. If he replies "Sorry, officer, my fault, I know it's wrong..." or something along those lines, and doesn't smell of booze or drugs then frankly I know that within about thirty seconds I'll be back in my car and he'll be on his way.

If, after my opening gambit, the reply I receive is along the lines of "Fuck you man, you filth are always pulling me over, just get out of my face. I'm not getting out of the car, last time I got arrested it took four of you," then there is a good chance that I will in fact be doing some kind of writing. Although not necessarily for traffic offences.

I actually stopped someone who was on his phone a while back, and I was busy enough to verbally warn him and be on my way. Except he wasn't happy with that. And went into a rant about how last time he was nicked for supplying drugs the week before it was well out of order, you filth are all the same, it wasn't enough for supply...

So, funnily enough he found himself getting searched.

And, funnily enough, had drugs on him.

So once again was off to Custody for PWITS (posession with intent to supply). Although, like many of my customers, his custody record should have read "Failed the stupid test, arrested for prompt and effective investigation of any sign of intelligence."

More trade secrets!

On another note, Belfast Peeler seems to be in a pickle at the moment.
He is one of my favourite Police Bloggers, and it's his choice whether he explains the situation. However, can I suggest posting a comment in support of him at this time? The comments may not be posted (as they may be more damaging to him) but he'll be reading them, as he has comment approval on his blog, and I think we should show our support for a great blogger and someone who sounds like a great copper as well.

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Top Tip

Top Tip

If you are being chased by a police dog, don't try to get away by crawling through a tunnel, going onto a little see-saw, and jumping through a hoop of fire.

They are trained for that, you see.

Saturday, 20 October 2007


I've got shaky hands again, and I don't know why. I'm safely at home, the heating is on, the door is locked (and double locked) and my uniform is sealed in a plastic bin sack by the front door.

My hands weren't shaking earlier when I was at work, thank God. Although they should have been.

I can still smell the metallic tangy smell, my hands are washed clean but still feel sticky, and I've been searching for nail clippers since I've got home to get someone else's DNA out from under my nails. My shirt I won't wear again, I'm desperately short of them now but even if I bleach it I think it's ready for the great launderette in the sky. My strides are black so should hide the stains well - and I only have two pairs, getting hold of another takes weeks if not months.

I'm thinking about anything at the periphary of the incident - anything except what I actually dealt with. The LAS fast responder who turned up. Six hours earlier in the shift we had been at another scene, talking about his son, his car, he smiled: "you lads need some gloves?" We don't even bother making up an excuse now, their gloves are better than ours, we both know it.

At the more recent scene he wasn't smiling. No jokes about his son's college, no banter about swapping gloves for an asp. Instead I watched as he pushed a copper in the chest who got in his way, trying to keep someone alive whilst chaos happened round him.

I was working with him - I like to try and help out medical staff, it's less glamorous than some of the tasks on offer but it's still the number one role of police officers (saving life and limb). I saw that his gloves were working well, but the blood was spattered over his elbows. I knew then that it wasn't sweat I was feeling on my arms, but didn't want to look. The Gucci gloves only go so far.

Seeing the mess afterwards, gloves, tape, wires, assorted debris from the kit bags that were scattered all over.

The flash of blue strobe, a copper climbing in the Ambo for continuity, as I walk away I realise someone has put up police tape and a cordon is in place - why is it the tape is always upside down?

My hands didn't shake then, nor when I washed my arms off, or when I wrote my notes.

But now I'm on the prowl for diversion in the middle of the night, in my home, and they won't stop shaking. And there's no bloody booze in the house. Whatever happened to the promise of 24 hour drinking?

PS - I'll re read this post tomorrow at some point... if it's as badly written as I suspect it may be, I'll get rid of it and substitute it with some funny pictures

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Gangs and Tags

On my division we have a gang problem. This is an occasion when I have to admit that the intel units and desk weenies were right and we were wrong. Four years ago they were telling us the gangs were rising and we had a growing problem.

Most officers on the street laughed at this. We knew most of the lads, the so called "gangs" who were just disorganised groups of disenfranchised youths hanging about outside the corner shops.

This has changed. The stabbings and shootings prove this. The stabbings are more and more frequent, sometimes multiple stabbings a week - sometimes multiple stabbings in a shift. And these are the reported ones, the vast majority don't come to the attention of the police until unofficially afterwards. Either the gangs have grown up nasty, or we just didn't see them coming.

If course, we're the idiots payed to get in the way of it.

It has started to pray on more and more officers mind in my team. I can tell this, not through the serious chats we have (they don't exist). I can tell this by the tone of the jokes, by the officers suddenly becoming acutely aware of exactly how many units we have on the street at any time, the fact that we are starting to wait for back up to certain calls (and still end up outnumbered and calling for urgent assistance) and by the fact that more and more I am seeing reluctance by us to get out of the car and "get in the faces" of large groups of people we know to be violent and armed.

A conversation we regularly have in the team is "I don't understand why these lads..." Insert the chosen topic here.

The thing is - I can understand being in a gang. It's what I do. I'm in the biggest gang in the area, although our gang doesn't have the numbers on the street like some of them do. It can be a little hairy when you're battling two fighting gangs, and you know for a fact that each of them numbers more than the entire available officers on the street.

But I know the attraction of being in a gang. When I call for help, when I press the orange button and shout for more units, I get a rush hearing the two tones. I get the biggest buzz at seeing my colleagues screeching tyres, leaping out and running up to assist me.

I get a buzz when someone else puts out an urgent assistance, and I see every officer drop their food, leave their wallets, their kit, their paperwork, their mobiles, and run for the first police car they can grab.

I know what it's like to have my "homies," and I KNOW they got my back.

I even like our tag - the flash of blue lights, the flickering of strobe. Our tag doesn't last as long, but when I see it reflecting off the wall at 0200hours in the arse end of town, I feel better. I feel like I belong, and we ARE the biggest and best.

So we have homies, we have our tags, we have our colours (mainly dark blue), and have our tunes (nee nar...). So I understand these gangs.

What I don't understand is beating the crap out of people, of large scale group robberies, of carrying weapons on the street for fun. Maybe I'm just getting old...

PS - For a laugh, read this blog - it's a collection of comments from the BBC news "Have Your Say" website. Hilarious, although maybe NSFW.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Bomb Car

Ah, the joys of the "Bomb Car." I have no idea if our County Mounty Cousins have this pleasure, but I'm sure my Met Colleagues will know what I am talking about.

For the uninitiated, depending on the terrorist threat at the time each borough will put out a bomb car, with list of vulnerable or critical sites to visit, in a random order over the course of a tour of duty. The bomb car is not available for calls unless related to their core task - eg unexploded bombs or threats etc.

Don't worry though - they give us a bag with a loudhailer and two rolls of tape, so in the case of a terrorist attack we are fully prepared. And our hi-viz jackets of course.

The lovely thing about the callsign is that not only are you given a break from the endless calls, you also actually get a chance to be proactive, something that really never happens usually except for between the hours of 0300hours and 0500hours. When, of course, there is a huge amount of people about to stop...

So we wander around the borough, stopping random cars and people for anti-terror checks. Funnily, most members of public are very supportive when we tell them why we are stopping them (and sometimes searching them), to deter terrorism is a popular aim through most of society.
There is usually an embarrassing moment though, when Mr and Mrs nice who you have stopped in their Ford Mondeo ask the crucial question: "If it turned out we were strapped up with explosives, what would you do?"

Well, we've got this bag you see...

Our sites have to remain secret of course, but there are obvious targets and not so obvious ones. I always like to pop over to the Army barracks and tell the guys standing with SA80s that we are here to protect them from terrorists. If they fail to show the appropriate level of respect, I often get out the bomb car bag. The rolls of tape do it every time.

I can see it in their eyes, the squaddies wishing we had been there with our loudhailer and rolls of tape to help them out when they were in Iraq.

So I had a successful set of bomb car duties. No terrorists found, but a couple of self generated arrests, a decent amount of traffic process (no insurance and no D/L) and a chance to put the hat on and actually do some foot patrol.

Anyway, back to the domestics now...

As a side note, Twinings emailed me about his post on Burma. Check it out and leave a comment - and does anyone know if someone has started one of those government petition things about it yet?

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Backstreet's Back

Hello - after a house move and an argument with my broadband provider, I'm back.

Thanks for the messages and emails, sorry I haven't posted recently. For those that enjoyed the peace and quiet, sorry I'm back!

Watch this space..

One of the many people that have emailed me in my absence is a Doctor, who many of you may have already heard of - he is Dr Nick Edwards. He's following the route of many successful copper bloggers (and other public sector workers) and has published a book. Check it out, not least because he is brave/stupid enough to use his real name! Clicky Link

A quote from the press release: "Ever-conscious of meaningless targets, the author would like it to be known that 98% of the stories contained in this book were written in under 4 hours."