Recently (after successfully avoiding it for a while) I have been doing a few shifts on Operation Blunt.
For those of you lucky enough not to be au fait with the practicalities of the operation for street PCs, here is a short summary.
On regular days response team officers (and occasional others) are warned for "Op Blunt." We will be taken off our already short teams, and given a parade time with operational orders. We will parade at our nick on that day at the given time, and have a short briefing.
Then the fun begins. We will then drive to a central parade point, and from then to whichever borough we have been assigned to patrol for Operation Blunt. Often we will pass officers from different boroughs heading towards our borough to patrol it.
We like to wave at them.
If this car I've stopped has people with knives, where is my back up? On the other side of London of course.
We then get a further briefing at the central parade point, and then all embuss and head over to the Division we are assigned to, and patrol there to proactively deter knife crime. We are encouraged to stop search, but we are not allowed to take the vast majority of calls that come out.
Not that we could, as we wouldn't know the way anyway.
If we get prisoners, we have the joy of booking them in and dealing with them in a strange nick.
Because of all the parade and briefing/travelling time/operational feeding/parade and briefing/getting lost on way to ground assigned/de-briefing at area/travelling time back to borough, we obviously spent a relatively small amount of time actually on patrol.
After doing our short hours on patrol, we then make our way across London back to our home borough, not forgetting to wave at the non-local officers leaving our borough. Then home for tea and cakes.
Of course, if we had been allowed to put these numbers on to OUR borough on response teams, we would have been able to have enough coppers to both respond to calls AND to proactively patrol. Most coppers regularly try to prevent knife crime given the time. We might even be able to use a little of our local knowledge to actually target our patrols, and get to places without arguing over the A-Z.
I didn't need an A-Z for this call. What I needed was a large amount of non-existent officers to help with the mad person waving a twelve inch kitchen knife around.
Anyway. Something I heard over the radio on Operation Blunt made me giggle manically for an inappropriate amount of time.
Control: "Units to assist on an I Grade please, robbery at Brixley bus garage in the past two minutes .on a number 37 bus."
Unit: "Bravo X-ray, show Bravo X-ray Two Zero One. Have you got a description?"
(Pause for comedy effect...)
Control: "Bravo X-ray Two Zero One, it's red with four wheels."
I can't help but find it reassuring that even in The Kremlin there are still long forgotten slightly eccentric people manning the microphones.
Long may their reign remain undiscovered by the people in the Ivory Towers.