Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Laughing Policeman


It was a rainy night duty, and PC Rain was doing the wonderful job that we all know and love him for. I was single crewed and had actually managed to get a refs break. I wasn't expecting one, so I had called up another unit that was on their way in to grab me a nice healthy meal.

Whilst waiting I had been browsing through the hundreds of notice boards that are up around our nick. I have no idea where they come from, but surely people must realise they aren't serving their purpose anymore? When every wall and every surface is plastered with these boards, with "Senior Management Updates," "Community Relations News," and "Our Basket Of Ten Priorities" then it all becomes a senseless blur, like slightly more colourful wallpaper.

Hidden amongst this was a useful section which showed our current senior officers on the borough, a large section with blow up photos of each one. I had spent an informative ten minutes or so finding out how many of them I actually knew/recognised/had heard their name before (three out of about twelve) and how many I had actually met(two). I had then spent slightly less time correcting some grammatical and spelling errors that had appeared below the photos (awful really, someone had spelt "suck" as "suk"), written by cynical and bitter officers no doubt. I recognised at least one Inspector's handwriting.

I then ambled towards the canteen, a bundle of computer handouts in my hand, passing the Sergeant's Office on the way where two Sergeants sat typing at their computers. One paused and looked up.
Sgt 1: "Ah, Area, just the man. Are you doing anything right now?"
Think fast, think fast, think fast... oh bugger... "No Sarge, not particularly."
Sgt 1: "Good, pop in, I need a word"
I started to think even faster. How could he have seen from his office?
Area: "Ah, the thing is Sarge, I was only correcting their spelling. I didn't add anything."
A Blank Look.
Sgt 1: "Do I want to know what you are talking about?"
Area: "Er..."
Sgt 2: "Shut the door Area and take a seat, you're cluttering up the office."
I did as I was told, then decided to bite the bullet.
"Am I in trouble Sarge?"
Sgt 1: "Should you be?"
Sgt 2: "Stupid question, Pete."
General laughing from the Sergeants. I tried to smile as well.
Sgt 1: "In fact Area, believe it or not I just wanted to say I've received a letter from someone thanking you for your help in dealing with her incident. I've also got an email from another relief's Inspector saying you did a good job working with his team the other week."
Area: "In that case, can I take the Beano from out the back of my trousers then. As I'm not getting a beating this time?"
At this point, Sgt 2 who had been typing continually turned to me. Whilst sitting at the desk I had been nervously fiddling and folding at the print outs that I was holding. "What are you doing with those print outs Area? Is that a paper plane you're trying to make?"
Um, actually, it was supposed to be the head of a power ranger. I didn't mention this.
Sgt 1: "I think its nice that Area can express himself without using crayons occasionally." (smirk)
Sgt 2: "Of course Pete - so on top of his other talents, Area here is a black belt in Origami as well?" (snigger)

Ha ha ha. No-one should be in that much of a good mood on night duty. Especially Sergeants.

Ha bloody ha.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Tagged

I have been tagged by a few, very nice people.

Unfortunately, I will not be doing the tagging thing. Please do not take offence, but I really like to stay anonymous. With the tagging thing I am supposed to think of things that are uniquely me, but I do not want to help the Dog With Ginger Eyebrows any more than I already have.

I also don't want to go through what Gadget went through in September 2006, or any other blogger forcibly unmasked.

I could of course just lie on the tagging thing, but what would be the point?

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Magic Tree


I get lots and lots of emails; most are not addressed to me, and even fewer are relevant to me, but it gives me a lovely warm fuzzy feeling inside when I get back to work after a set of rest days to find that people at work love me so much they feel the need to write to me.

Even if most are along the lines of "will all HR staff please note that the door to the office must be locked at 3pm sharp on leaving the office so that the computers are not used by non-HR staff (ie 24hour Police Officers)."

I was on refs and reading through my emails, when I read one from one of our team Sergeants, addressed to all our team. It read something like this:
"At a recent critical incident, the Chief Inspector was disappointed to note that some of our officers were not wearing their hats, and others had put on their hi-viz jacklets without first putting on their ties. He has asked for this to be raised within the team, and it has fallen to me to raise this morale-building point on behalf of the senior management team.
Although I recognise that the incident was a fast moving and dangerous one, and you all had more on your mind, and in fact I was probably a guilty party, please try not to make yourselves a target for senior management.
On a side note, at this incident I noticed that one of our response vehicles had a fetching little decoration of a magic tree hanging from the rear view mirror. I do not want to see this again, or else I personally will be having words.
Thanks all, Sergeant Weary
"

Fair point. Cut to Area locking his computer, and making his way to his unit that he had carefully parked in the Chief Supernintendo's parking space (it's OK - it was after 4pm). If a little bird had been sat on the Police Station wall, he would have noticed Area having a casual chat with a Sergeant whilst standing conspicuously in front of his windscreen and trying desperately to attract attention from the rear view mirror, then hurriedly removing an offending (Peach Blossom flavour) magic tree from his car before making his way up to his computer in a reflective frame of mind.

In my defence, these cars are used twenty four hours a day seven days a week. They are eaten in, they are sat in by officers wearing body armour in all weathers, after foot chases, they have drunks and vagrants in and even the occasional dog.

Two days later, another email from Sergeant Weary.
"RE my last email. The point also stands in relation to Traffic Light Air Freshners, Winnie the Pooh air fresheners, or in fact any object hung off the rear view mirror.
That is all
."

Huh.

Monday, 12 May 2008

On Using My Asp


So far in my career I have used my asp only once in anger, outside of a public order situation.

Of course, I have used it to smash windows, search shrubbery, and poke sleeping colleagues, and have drawn it and racked it many times in readiness, but the truth is that in most of the one on one violent situations I have been in I have not had the time or the space to draw and use it.

I might have been justified in using it, but picture the scene - Police are fighting in a very thin hallway with a suspect for a domestic. He's drunk, possibly on crack and used a knife on his victim which we think he still has. He also has a long history of violence against Police. Only one person can get to him at a time - but the last thing you want is him getting away further into the house where he can arm up, have time to get his weapon out and/or barricade himself in with the victim.

So one by one, coppers try and fight him, and an asp would knock out the Police Officers before it did any harm to the suspect. Even if there was room to draw and rack it.

So although I think it's a useful piece of kit, I think most members of public would be surprised how little it is used.

The scenario described above is a common one; the area I work in has a lot of blocks of flats and housing estates with the horrible thing corridors.

Just before going on annual leave I went to yet another shout the same as above. Police had attended the address and were talking to the victim when the suspect came back. One of the officers on scene had time to call for urgent assistance, and it was immediately obvious that there was a "large disturbance in background" as our reports like to say.

We were all making our way, but of course most of us were on the opposite side of the division. Nevertheless, I was the second responding unit to arrive on scene, to find the situation as above, with lots of screaming and shouting and a Detective from a neighbouring nick sitting outside the front door bleeding and calling for more help on the radio; CID had luckily been in the area doing enquiries and actually had radios turned on, so ended up assisting.

We charged in and I stretched around to try and get a hand on part of the wriggling and fighting suspect in order to try and drag him out to try and control the situation. My crewmate ran out and I found out later smashed a window to climb in the house in order to tackle the suspect from the other side of the corridor.

One of the initial officers, injured and by this point no doubt exhausted, drew his CS and sprayed it.
This was very effective, much more than an asp would be.

On the Police Officers anyway.

As we finally dragged the suspect out, with tears rolling down our faces and coughing, ripped uniforms and two injured officers in tow, the suspect still had time to attempt to headbutt two officers, and to kick a sergeant who had arrived on scene. Not a good idea, incidentally.

As the suspect was pushed into the waiting van and the doors shut, the extractor fan was switched on, and it was immediately obvious that the suspect was recovering from the CS exposure quicker than we were.

London Ambulance attended and cleared away the injured officers to a local hospital, whilst half of the shift trekked back to custody to try and get changed/write notes/wash off the CS crystals. And of course the officer who had sprayed the CS got a little ribbing from his red-eyed colleagues.

I'm not saying I don't want CS or an Asp, but I think it's easy to feel brave with a kit belt on. Knowing their limitations is probably more useful than knowing their possibilities.

I mentioned this to a skipper who had arrived at custody to assist with the welcoming committee for the suspect. He turned to me, and said "Area, you're not a bad copper, but I wouldn't trust you to explore the limits of a wet paper bag without hurting yourself."
Good point, well made.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Beach


For the past two weeks I have been hundreds of miles away from the Big Smoke, sunning myself on the beach and topping up my sunburn.

During this time I have acheived zero detections, I have dealt with no domestics, arrested no one, put on no crime reports and managed not to get sworn at, spat at or assaulted.


Of course I am looking forward to going back to work...

Fin.