Monday, 31 March 2008

White Van Man

People that know me may be surprised, but I was nice to someone the other day.

It was the end of night duty, and I was single crewed driving the streets early in the morning, as it was just getting light. I was on an 'A' road heading towards another nick, and as I pulled off at a junction I saw a white van blatting along the road in the semi-darkness.

I turned round on the junction roundabout and then back onto the dual carriageway in the direction the van was heading in and went after it.

The speed limit on the road was 60mph, and the van was doing ninety odd approaching a set of lights. I coaxed the battered diesel engine to catch up with the van, and as we passed the traffic lights I hit the blues and woke the driver up with a burst of two-tones.

The van pulled straight over, and the driver climbed out and walked to me. As I got out I recognised him straightaway. I'd arrested him a couple of years beforehand on a warrant, and remembered he had needles in all his pockets at the time. If I do traffic stops on people I usually get them in the car in the back seat to keep them contained and to try and protect us from passing traffic - with junkies I'm not so keen on this idea.

He (I'll call him Aaron) apologised straight away for his speed, as I was searching him. I did checks, and he actually had an actual full driving licence. Aaron explained he had a job as a courier, hence the van (with insurance) and driving licence.
He told me that in fact he was clean now. I've heard this before from drug addicts, and funnily enough I often suspect a mistruth. Aaron obviously knew this, and pulled up his sleeves to show a lack of needle marks. When I had nicked him he had a very long record of drugs, theft and Failing to Appear offences, and was expecting a child. I reminded him of this, and he laughed.
"Truth is mate, that's what's sorted me out. There's only so long you can live like a wanker."

Aaron hadn't come to the notice of the police since the birth, he'd got his driving licence in the same month, and had been working agency for courier companies since then. He looked knackered, but as I talked to him I realised that the grey face had more colour than it used to, and he was amazingly lucid. He'd had a second child, and fathering duties plus early mornings were obviously catching up with him, but I actually believed him about the drugs.

I knew then that Aaron would be getting a verbal warning - he was late to work after sitting up with a crying ill baby, not through injecting himself with gear. I knew that he couldn't afford to lose his licence as he'd probably lose his job, and to be honest I was impressed.

Afterwards I did some digging, and according to the Drug Intervention Programme team, Aaron really has gone clean. No relapses, paid off his fines, and working six days a week twelve hours a day to support his new family and clear his debts.

Aaron is one of the few examples of someone actually, truly changing, and I respect him for that. I'm glad I stopped him, it cheered me up and I know some officers would have done him for the traffic offence.

I've seen him a couple of times since then at about the same time in the morning, as it's a usual haunt of mine, and he's been doing a steady 59mph.

Something postive for once!


nuttycow said...

What a great story. Things like that must make the job worthwhile.

RandomPinkness said...

Ach I know you can be nice when you want to be ;) it's always great when stuff like that happens it's brightened up my day.

Annette said...

Great to hear something good for a change, isn't it?

Sparkly Dancer said...

It seems to be the day for it :)

Have to agree with everyone else, that story actually warmed my heart, and I'm now a happy happy woman :D

thoughts running through my head.... said...

an Aaron turns up every now and then to remind you not everyone hates you and not everyone is bad,at least you recognise that-dont worry I wont tell anyone!!

XTP said...

Amazed that you caught him in an IRV!!

Had a similar thing a month or so back and had to give up at 116mph as the thing was flat out and the bandit - sorry, subject - was still going!

I'm sure it would have been different if I'd have been on my RT car posting, though. The wonderful Vectra would've caught up easy. NOT!!

Metcountymounty said...

It's jobs like that, when it's just you and him in the middle of nowhere, doing proper Policing, that the vocal irritating minority blatantly ignore or refuse to acknowledge.

It happens a hell of a lot more than most people care to believe, and certainly makes our job worth doing and all the other shite more tolerable. Great post mate.

Anonymous said...

Spot-on post ATNS.

Love it when you hear of tales like this, that show eventually, after some elbow grease, people's lives can be changed for the better thanks to police intervention.

Good on you, and good on Aaron.


TheBinarySurfer said...

Not the first time a child has changed someones outlook. Nice one on the use of discretion there too ATNS

Girl*Next*Door said...

That post more or less summed up a big part of why I applied. Yep, there's scum & you can try & clean them up or prevent them, as much as is possible to do, from making everyone else's life a misery.

Then there's the Aarons, who make you realise why you wanted to do the job in the first place & that it is still worth doing. No matter how much crap is put in front of you along the way.

& no, the riding ban is not permanent. I'd go bloody insane if it was!!! Lol
(the only thing that is truly stopping me getting back on a friends horse now is the steely eyed glare of the physio & her torturous, pain inducing hands & exercises) Lol

Mark said...

That's great to hear - thanks for sharing, Area.

PCSO Bloggs said...

arr bless.

"gunner" said...

good on aaron, and on you too. there's slackers enough in the world, when you run across a bloke who's actually try to demerdez and cut him a bit of slack you hopefully give him reason to try harder.
(and next time you see aaron give him "best luck" from a yank.)

Minty said...

Fair play to Aaron for doing what most junkies never do.
Sometimes descretion really is the better part of valour (never knew what that meant, but it sounds kind of right for what you did).

I'll wake up in a minute! said...

Bleedin hell! Am I getting this right? A copper showing compasion, discretion, and dare I say it, common sense? Nah, I must be dreaming!

Anonymous said...

Metcountymounty 22:39 - didn't Peter Hitchins use exactly that same line about an irritaing vocal minority?

How you been keeping?

Anonymous said...

Metcountymounty 22:39 - didn't Peter Hitchins use exactly that same line about an irritaing vocal minority?

How you been keeping?

Anonymous said...

we’re not quite as bad yet as some of the county forces but its certainly not getting better. There have been a few changes around the ‘captial of the capital’ and given how busy we’ve been because of it since we change a short time ago, we’re going to be completely f&cked by the time summer hits us. Usual case of planning from the top down instead of puttinf operational needs first but hey ho, someone has to have a nice peachy office don’t they?

TWINING said...

ASNT - popped in to say hello.

Benjamyn said...

I am a JP and today did the drug rehab review court. general round of failures. One girl brought in on warrant from another town after two years. In that time she has failed to attend the probation service at all, but had a voluntary referral to her new town's drug treatment programme. She has learnt IT skills and now has an office job. No new criminality since Sep06. No current drug use. A success. A surprise. A pleasure to see....and a rarity too.

diss said...

thanks a million for sharing this, it's good to hear 'the other side'.
though I've met many an ars of a police, there are many that are good as well. I once wrote a letter commending an officer, and that letter reached his major, who in turn wrote back. I was commending the officer for something I noticed as I was driving by late at night, in the rain. He had just ticketed a driver and they were pulling back into the traffic, when the officer then stopped again on the side of the road, to assist a stranded female driver who was alone with a broken down vehicle. Being dark, and raining to boot, what an awful night it was. Most officers don't stop, but he did, even in the rain, even in the night. That's why I wrote in about him.

Know that though you don't hear it as often as you would like I'm sure, there are many of us that appreciate you; it's those of us that do that fortunately don't need to run into you as much ;)

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