Monday, 8 September 2008
Fight! Fight! Fight!
Three or four years ago, I was visiting family on Boxing day, in a semi-rural location, south of Metro City.
I had volunteered to be a designated driver for the evening (after having my fill of alcohol on Christmas Day) and had been out for a couple of cokes watching my friends and family get slowly merrier and merrier in the local town.
As we left, I noticed the poor single crewed bobby sitting in his patrol car watching people drifting out of the local pubs. We piled in my car and I put the heaters on full in order to clear the screen of the ice mist which had appeared in the December smog whilst we had been tucked up in the warm.
I had a car full of female family members, and they were giggling and talking loudly to each other as I stared blankly at the windscreen, and the picture outside that became visible. Although all had seemed peaceful on leaving the pub, as the ice vanished from the screen, I saw a scuffle break out outside two of the pubs.
I couldn't hear anything over the unaware but happy giggles in my car, but no doubt the scuffle was accompanied by the usual screams of "faackin ell" and "leave it Dave, it's not worth it."
Mating calls of the underclasses?
Anyway, the scuffle became more fight like. As I watched, the lone PC climbed out of his car and made his way wearily towards the two idiots on the ground - at the same instant as a group piled out of the pub and ran towards.
Suddenly oblivious to the happy place in my motor, I saw as the PC realised he was sandwiched in the middle of two groups of drunken violent individuals.
Without thinking, I put the car into gear and drove towards the PC as he shouted into his radio and drew his asp and CS - one for each group, futile as it as.
I jumped out of the car and ran towards the PC, ID in hand. He saw me and just shouted "Yes, please mate."
What followed was a kind of chaos as the PC and me tried to keep the innocent bystanders safe whilst also getting back to the relative safety of his car. I knew the reality of policing - that even in metrocity, on nights we are short. On bank holiday nights we are even shorter. On Boxing day night duty... in the semi-rural backlands... I'm not stupid, and it didn't take me long to calculate that help would not be immediate. I worked outside the Met in rural areas before moving to London, and I had an idea of the panic the PC would be trying to quell.
I honestly can't remember how many people I came into contact with in those minutes whilst waiting for the sound of two tones. By the time the first Police cars turned up (three of them in convoy) I was on the floor rolling around with a drunken lad who was bigger than me and doing a better job of absorbing the knocks of the fight. I'd also lost sight of the uniformed bobby.
The first thing I knew about the units arriving was when I felt myself being pulled up and out of the kerfuffle by two uniformed coppers.
I managed to resist the urge to hug them.
As half of the county turned up I decided to go and check on how my giggling girls were doing. Still giggling, and still not sure what had happened. As I went to leave, the first copper came over to offer his thanks, but it was a hurried thanks as you could see that keeping control was still an issue.
Whenever I think about moving back out of London now, I always think about this kind of situation. In Metrocity we find ourselves (especially in the kind of areas I work) in this kind of position much more regularly than many of our county mounty colleagues. But the important thing is, when we call for help, it usually gets there relatively quickly. Whilst I was rolling around with the idiots and the lone PC, I would have given next to anything to have a Police Car appear on scene, and I could see the relief on his face when I jumped in to help.
It's not EASIER working metrocity - it's very busy, regular officer assaults and a constant barrage of calls and violence ensures this. But boys and girls, trust me, it can be worse.
'Nuff respect to my county mounty colleagues listed on the blog bar to the right.
I'll stick to dealing with my gangs and organised violence and crime for the moment.