Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Christmas In Review

Well, my Christmas shifts have come and gone.
Fun they were not, and I have a sneaking suspicion that my division wasn't too dissimalar to Stressed Cop's.

During my Christmas Day shift alone, I did or dealt with the following:

I went to a serious sexual assault, assisted with a short pursuit, was involved in three foot chases, kicked down a door, had a Christmas hug from three Ambulance girls, got involved in a large scale fight resulting in Officers calling for Urgent Assistance, handcuffed my reluctant partner during said fight, went to and chased off a number of gang fights, got kicked out of refs breaks twice, stopped and searched a few ne'er do wells and played thumbsy wars with an Ambulance Crew to decide a course of action for our call...

The thumbsy was probably my favourite moment. Not least because during said thumbsy war, our Section Sergeant arrived in time to witness my defeat at the hands of a five foot three petite Ambulance Girl. And then sigh before walking away from me muttering. I'm sure he misses me on our rest days.

I have to admit to a slight feeling of ennui before arriving at work on Christmas Day. In fact, I was pissed off and dreading it. My previous shameful post, an exercise in feeling sorry for myself, may well have indicated that.

The shift was all I expected and more. It was full of crap from parade onwards. What was great however, was the morale. A shift that none of us wanted to be parading for, understaffed and overworked - but determined to have a laugh. This went also for all the other emergency service and shift workers I met through the shift.

So thank you boys and girls for helping make my Christmas Day actually bearable. Please don't take it personally though when I say that I'd prefer not to spend it with you next year.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Happy Christmas


Well, this may be more of a moan than a proper post. But hey, it's my blog - and you can't say I didn't warn you.
It's also link heavy. Tough.


So Merry Christmas. Here's to another Christmas working, the ninth year in a row that I won't be seeing my family, drinking and catching up with my siblings, laughing with loved ones or opening presents on the day I'm supposed to.

Here's to another 'festive' day of gang fights and alcohol fuelled violence.

Here's to another day of trying to keep chipper whilst waiting to start a ten hour night duty, another day of trying to remain sober and interested with the foreboding presence of the upcoming night shift looming large in my mind.

Here's to yet another day of taking a moment to stand watching the street, desolate apart from happy families going on Christmas walks and couples in love enjoying the cold before heading in to warm up. And another feeling of embarrassment as I smile towards them to show I'm part of their day; before the rush of heat in the head as I realise I'm not part of their day at all, they don't know me, and won't be seeing me unless their Christmas goes badly wrong.

Here's to another day of trying to comfort distraught weeping Burglary victims, and being unable to answer the question "but what about the kid's presents?"

Here's to praying not to have to deal with another RTA that leaves blood on my uniform and a destroyed, bereft family. Here's to the prayer being answered, and not having to knock on an unsuspecting family's door with a heavy thud and a heavier heart.

Here's to another Christmas Eve night by myself with nothing but a bottle with a percentage mark on it for company. Here's to answering cheery phone calls from friends and family and trying to keep the blackness out for the length of the phone call for their benefit.

Here's to another long shift, after a day trying not to think of the coming descent into an uncaring night, with no one but the LAS to wave to. Here's to another end of a Christmas shift, coming home to an empty lonely home and a cold unfriendly bed.

This year I will be thinking again of the men and women that will never have to share another Christmas like this again.
I'll also be thinking of the boys and girls that can't be home for Christmas at all, and the ones that will never be coming home for Christmas.

Merry Christmas readers.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Beano Down The Trousers

You'll be happy to know that I was thoroughly put in my place and given a good old-fashioned bollocking recently.

Driving my patrol car about, I'd been searching for a wanted male who was a named suspect on the PNC (Police National Computer). He had returned to his ex partner's house and made off on seeing the Police arrive into a patch of grassy land nearby, desolate apart from the odd burnt out car and used drugs paraphenalia.
I had enthusiastically joined the chase, and in doing so had got a puncture whilst attempting to drive along a gravel driveway.

Our exploits had taken us close to another force area, and knowing their nick was closest I limped the car there to survey the damage.
The tyre had a serious puncture and the car was going nowhere with it in place. So, I used my intiative (a bi-yearly event), borrowed some tools from the neighbouring force's garage hand, and then replaced the tyre with the space saver. After five minutes work, I radioed my Sergeant and told him what I was doing, then I drove the car to Kwik-fit and replaced the orginal tyre.

Sorted, and back on the road in less than an hour.

Oh no. I was then told not to take any calls, and instead to return immediately to my nick. Where I was given a bollocking by a Sergeant for changing the tyre myself. What I should have done was parked the car up at the side of the road, then called out VT to attend. I have done this before. It takes about two hours at least.
And of course, they don't carry tyres either. All they do is replace the puncture with a space saver, then let me drive to Kwik-fit to get the original replaced.

I was bollocked good and proper, and told to think about the consequences if I had injured myself whilst changing the tyre.
The fact that I used Non-Met tools in a Non-Met nick was apparently even worse, and the Sergeant (not from my team incidentally) mentioned that he was considering an action plan for me because of what I had done. I was too shocked to argue, and left the office thoroughly chastened.

It's why stories like this one from Inspector Gadget don't surprise me in the slightest.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Today is Yesterday's Tomorrow


I was drinking with a good friend and colleague of mine recently, and ended up thinking back to my college days. My first kiss was from a girl a couple of years older than me, called Denise.
Her Dad ran the local scrapyard.
The song "Stuck on You" by Lionel Richie was playing and I was frankly terrified.
And slightly bemused, if I'm completely honest.

Anyway, shortly afterwards she broke up with me and went out with my mate Dale. Dale was shorter than most people of our age, but a great footballer. Fair's fair.

Fast forward a year or two (ok, maybe quite a lot more) and I've had my fair share of break ups and break downs.

The interesting thing is that I've managed to break up with and be broken up with, and on each occasion I've managed to do it without involving the Police.
Yet, I often feel I'm in a minority there. As any Police Officer knows, no matter how ridiculous you may think your 'issues' are, our informants from our calls can always beat them.

There is almost nothing that will not be sent down to a patrol unit to deal with. Unfortunately, if a call is a "type 29" - ie a domestic, then a unit will have to attend. Regardless of whether a crime has been committed or even alleged. In fact, regardless if a crime is even possible.
A domestic type call is anything that refers to a call between a husband and wife, boyfriend and girlfriend, exes of any description, siblings, parents, family members and any sexual partners past and present.

In the incestuous estates we inhabit on our day to day patrols, these are most of our suspects, victims and witnesses.

As soon as the domestic tag is applied to a call, then everything that follows is out of our hands. If we attend and there is no allegation at all, no injuries, no hint of violence, then we only have to do the following: Full statement from each party involved; A statement from the officer on scene; A twenty six page domestic violence book; A Full 'non-crime' Crime report on the computer (taking between forty five minutes and an hour and half dependant on typing skills); A seperate computer report on any children or vulnerable people in the premises or involved in any way. So you result the call, justifying your actions. Then complete all the above, justifying your actions. Then you bring all the above to your Sergeant, so he or she can then justify your actions.

Keep in mind that these are for NON crimes. When there has been a crime or an allegation made, then obviously you arrest and all the above is used as evidence.

Amongst the many, many calls I have been to needing all the above for a non-crime domestic are a psychic wife who had had visions that something bad was going to happen to her husband, a woman who had called police because her boyfriend wouldn't get off the computer (relatively common, that), a woman who had called police as her boyfriend had cheated on her and wanted him arrested for it, and many, many "threats" by text. Of the "u slag u shaged tracy an shes got hiv i hop u get cancr" type.

Examples from other officers are always welcome.

I'm in a stable relationship at the moment, but even in my worst relationships I have never felt the need to call my colleagues down to join in. In fact, I've always wanted to keep my private life... well, private.

Am I alone in this?

Saturday, 21 November 2009

PC Bill Barker - RIP












RIP PC Bill Barker.


I'm sure that his colleagues at the moment are grief stricken, and equally sure that they are still out at work helping in the flooded areas in Cumbria.


At the same time, I read about Wootten Bassett turning out again, this time for the 100th repatriation.

My admiration for that town, turning out repeatedly to honour returning fallen troops, is boundless.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Keep Cool



That was the good news, as provided by an anonymous commenter. Thank you.


Now, go look HERE at Gadget's blog.
Most of the time I avoid any type of political comment on the Police. Gadget, Copperfield, Nightjack and many others have that covered in a more eloquent way than I could ever hope to do. In fact, you'll be pleased to know that due in part to my dimness, and also in part to my being knackered, it took me three attempts to spell "eloquent" just then.

However, Gadget's post above just infuriates me. A particularly brave officer is injured and the Chief Constable unable to comment as he is a serving officer.
As a serving Police Officer myself, there's obviously no way I'd suggest that people should email into the Police Force mentioned and take the Chief to task for what I see as pretty appalling behaviour on his part.

It's just what I'd do if I wasn't in the job.
But I am.
So I won't.

Watch the video again, it'll make you feel better.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Introducing The Hardline


Shortly before my enforced absence from both the blogging and Policing world I got an email from a Police Officer with perhaps the funniest signature I’ve read in a work communication.

It was so funny that I had to ask the officer concerned whether he actually used it – he told me that not only did he use it, but that almost no one had noticed.



This was either a joke that I didn't get, or an elaborate lie in order to test my credulity.


Alternatively, my Inspector is more observant than his.

My numerous attempts at creating signatures were quickly thwarted. My first three were trialed in emails to my whole team. I knew when my Inspector had read the first by two methods. First, my outlook folder has the "read" reports turned on. Secondly, after fifteen seconds there was a bellow of "AREA!" from the office.

After the first three, I simply sent the next ones directly to the Inspector for him to proof read. I'm relatively sure that he may have found at least one amusing, and also just as sure that he doesn't even have a computer at home - let alone the will and ability to waste his evenings off reading Police blogs.

So, any suggestions at an email signature are welcome. I will actually use the best of them- but acting on my Inspector's orders, I am not allowed any reference to: obesity, teenage obesity, any type of warfare, Dog the Bounty Hunter, or CAMRA.

Nor any mention of fishing, hypnosis, or ripped jeans.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Notting Hill 2

Yes, this was slightly delayed.
For once, there are real reasons for it. Unfortunately, I have suffered from complete computer failure. This was catastrophic, but relatively easily fixed.

However, this was followed by an assault and injury on duty, leading to a brief stay in hospital and as a direct result a move away from my normal job in the Police.

If anyone is still reading - let alone worried - I am almost fully recovered and in fact have now got to the point where I'll be missing the prescription drugs I've kindly been supplied...

These are all that survived my appalling day at Notting Hill:













Outside the operational feeding centre. Yummy...















My pillow for my 'eye resting' time.
Not as comfy as you might think.














A blue light blat through the car-nee-val. Just before we got an interesting and so far unidentified substance liberally thrown over the windscreen.

Monday, 31 August 2009

Notting Hill - Day 1

It's not all fighting in the streets and eating jerk chicken you know.

Neither is it all getting deafened by the floats and sound systems, being crushed by the crowd, or being asked for directions to the tube station for the three thousand, four hundred and sixty second time.

No, in between patrolling and dealing with incidents, we have to keep up with a gruelling and punishing fitness regime:



It's not easy being a Policemanofficer you know. Level II public order suits do not lend themselves naturally to any kind of physical activity.

There will be more photos tomorrow from Monday's fun. In the meantime, if you're not sure what I'm talking about check out the Police Slang post. Then look under "Not Carnival Related."

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Feeder

Over the past few days I've not been sleeping, and trying to work out why. As an actual, real life diagnosed insomniac with the meds to prove it, this isn't in itself unusual. It's something that happens regularly. However I've found that trying to work out what might be bothering me or keeping me awake can help.

Like exploring a cavity in a painful tooth, this isn't always pleasant and can throw up surprises you didn't want and weren't expecting.

One of the things I ended up thinking about was a call I took a few years ago.
It had been a long summer and even fans of the heat like me were looking forward to shorter days, cooler temperatures, and longer tempers. At forty minutes to going home time, a call came out for a child being assaulted by their parent.

This by itself is not an unusual call - most of them turn out to be not an assault at all, but in fact a parent (rightfully) chastising a misbehaving child.

Not this one though.
As we made our way towards the call, sighing inwardly at how we thought it would turn out, the control room called up with more info. A second call had come in from a member of public that the child was bleeding and being thrown about. Our controller paused, then said "Area, this looks like a bad one."

A detailed description of the adult was given, and sure enough as we TOA'd (Time Of Arrival) at the scene, a male grabbed a young toddler some distance away and started waddling away. Me and my partner, Dan, stepped out and broke out into a jog to catch up. As we did, the male started running - with a two year old in his hands, he wasn't going anywhere.

Other units were already running at this point, but I called up and updated on the male making off. As we ran across the car park, sweating already in the humid heat, two more marked Police vehicles arrived on blues and stopped, doors slamming as the officers moved to head off the male.
All this whilst being watched with blank expressions by groups of people - at least, the ones that weren't out and out eye fucking us.

The male ran into a block of flats, one of many on our sink estates with no security or key fob to get into the communal areas. As he ran in, he dumped the toddler on the ground - why not, he was only being slowed down carrying the child.

We didn't see this, not until we ran into the building. We were still some distance off, but not far enough to not notice the reaction of the local residents.
Seeing us running, and seeing now where we were going, groups of our local gang members and druggies were drifting into the building and melting away at speed.

As me and Dan hit the door and went into the building, we were in time to see the last four or five melt away into the shadows of the stairwell. I'd estimate perhaps twenty five people had headed away from us. They'd seen the Old Bill were here, and decided that perhaps their outstanding warrants/pocket full of drugs/illegal weapons/house full of counterfeit goods should remain theirs for the day and so had made their exit sharpish.

Every one of them, without hesitation - and every one of them passing the crumpled form of a beaten, bleeding, bloodied body of a two year old boy dumped unceremoniously on the stained concrete floor. Lit by the yellowed but still working strip lights, it was impossible to miss the child lying there. Left in the middle of the corridor, the residents had obviously stepped over him in their rush to keep their gear secure.

I knelt by the child, and sent Dan forwards: "Go. Go, get the fucker!" As more coppers filtered past, I checked for signs of life. Breathing, movement, and open eyes filled with tears and terror. And blood everywhere.

Yes, we caught the suspect. He tried to hide and on being approached by Police Officers used street furniture as missiles before being very definitely arrested.
I wasn't involved in any of that; instead I had abandoned any pretence of professionalism or duty and had insisted on riding in the ambulance, had insisted on cradling the child all the way there and holding on until the nurses at the A&E managed to convince me to let go.

The only thing that really stayed with me from this call was the response of the people on the estate. Not one of them stopped to check the child, and instead chose to cut and run. After suffering an assault from his stepfather, the child had had to endure a lesson in London Estate politics, and lay broken and bloodied on the floor, watching as adult after adult abandoned him and left him to his private pain.

I only post this now, as two of the other officers involved have left the job for good, and the other main participant doesn't even own an internets, let alone use one.

Incidentally, I worked out what was keeping me awake. I reckon it could well have been the beer I'd been drinking during the day after all...

Monday, 10 August 2009

PR Procedure


Here in Metland.com, we used to have a control room per division.
It was only two years ago that the Met "upgraded" and got rid of all the local control rooms. Now we have a set of call centres where people, often with no local knowledge and no background to the area they are working on, try and despatch calls and keep a lid on the officers on the ground.
Most importantly, they're the ones that get help to me when I call for it.

As you can imagine, most of us hate the new system and long for the days of the CAD (Computer Aided Despatch) room back, so you could pop in at 0300hours and share a doughnut and a chat.
The advantages were huge - the local CAD room knew each officer, knew who was hard working and who needed a prod, who needed to be referred to the Sergeants and who could deal with what call well. They knew when someone was taking the mick, and also knew when to give an officer space - eg not sending an officer with a recent bereavement to report a sudden death.

They also had local knowledge, and so when a call came out even before any intel checks were done, often the controller would pipe up "Units running to this call, that's Danny Banksies address, be aware that last time we had to get the short shields out as he had a knife." Things that are done through intel checks now, but often too late. And intel checks can never replace the indepth personal knowledge most of our control room staff had.

However, what I miss most is something else completely. Before our transition away from local CAD rooms to our centralised 'Metcall,' our radio channels were not routinely recorded.
Add this to the many varied relationships that sprung up in the team, often between coppers and civvy staff in the control room.

That would mean you could sigh with joy at exchanges like the following near the end of a shift:
BX: "Any unit free to deal with an I grade call, a type 29 at Johnson Square House, male assaulting female now with sounds of disturbance?"
BX21: "Bravo X-ray, show Bravo X-ray two one to your last call."
BX: "Received."
Pause.
BX: "Bravo X-ray two one receiving Bravo X-ray?"
BX21: "Go ahead."
BX: "Steve, if you're home late then you can drive yourself to the bloody pub tonight. Bravo X-ray out."

Domestic harmony on the way to a domestic. Bliss.
Sorely missed in my opinion.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Foot Chase


One of the laws of Policing is that whenever you get a group of coppers with any experience together, especially if there is alchohol present, the war stories will start coming out.

Some of them are even true and not embellished with layer upon layer of fabrication.

A tendency at times like this, is to approach these stories slightly cautiously, especially if you don't know the group as well as you could.
A lot of the stories start with "This copper I once knew..."

This reminded me of a similar one - about a copper I used to work with, a grizzled old sweat who had been there, seen that, and done it all. With an almost superhuman ability to drink tea and coffee.

Although I have talked about my experiences with both vehicle pursuits and foot chases here and here, I also had one of my first ever foot chases with this guy.

Mark had been tasked to sit in a road that had newly been made a one way street, and stop and "advise" people that were ignoring this and roaring through anyway. It had previously been used as a cut through and after a few near misses the residents had understandably complained.
Filled with the kind of glee that only a thirty year copper can feel when tasked with a job like this, he collared me and brought me along to join in the excitement.

It was actually a great job - a lovely sunny day, no paperwork as we were 'advising,' not sticking people on. Sitting there in shirt sleeves, no vests, and being brought cold drinks by the residents - grateful that for once the Police had listened to their requests.

After about two hours, a little Peugeot turned into the road ignoring the no entry sign and barrelled towards us. I shuffled out from the cul-de-sac where we were parked up, and raised my hand. No response. And I was even wearing my hat. The cheek.

The car continued on its merry way, leaving nothing but a trail of exhaust smoke and the smell of a car that hadn't had its oil checked for some time.
I of course used my literally weeks of experience to leap into action, and so stood there, arm still outraised with my mouth doing a very good impression of a goldfish.

The area car thrummed alongside me, and Mark said "are we going after it, or are you hoping he's going to change his mind and come back?"
I snapped out of my little moment, and clambered in to the passengers seat. Mark hit the blues and I felt the surge as the kick down pushed us back in our seats.
"Shall I call it in?"
Mark had a grim look on his face: "Nope, he'll stop. He's not going to get away from us in that."
Sure enough, the car turned a quick right out of the road, and as we caught up and did the same it came to a sudden stop.
The driver, obviously a local with knowledge of the area, leapt out at a run and headed down an alleyway that ran along the back gardens of the houses.
I jumped out as well, as did Mark. I was positively shaking with the adrenalin and excitement, and held the radio in my hand like a sword of justice and truth.

Running up the path, I shouted some unintelligable nonsense into the radio about the foot chase. Mark later told me that he kindly translated for the control room so that they could understand what I was trying to say.
Whatever, I could hear units answer up and start to make their way, and even heard two tones in the distance. Other than that, all I was interested in was the suspect ahead.
This was before my night duty diet consisted purely of kebabs, so I felt pretty good about catching the suspect. Now it will depend purely on whether it is before or after I've eaten - I keep myself relatively fit and can still do the shield run in sub two minutes, but after a kebab I need time to adjust...

On this occasion, I hadn't eaten and was desperate to get this fella.
As we ran along the alleyway, a man came wondering out of a side turning further along, with a dog on a lead. Bald, with the traditional string vest tucked in beneath an impressive stomach. He didn't even factor into my thinking.
Not so for Mark. He took this opportunity to utilise a skill he picked up as a Sergeant in the army: a bellow so loud and deep that even in my blue funk, I heard it clearly. "Stop him! He's a rapist!"

String Vest didn't hesitate for second. With surprising agility, he swung and kicked the suspect in the shins, knocking him straight to the ground. Me and Mark ran up, and leapt on him to apply the cuffs.
"Thanks" I managed to pant out. String Vest didn't even break his stride and stepped over us struggling to get the cuffs on, quietly saying as he did so "You're doing a splendid job lads."

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

I have been posted with probationer officers regularly for quite some time. Most have been great, a couple have been complete nightmares, and a couple have left the job since.
Not due to being posted with me, I hasten to add.

Because of that, it's a nice experience to spend time with less fresh officers.
I actually like going out with probationers, but occasionally it's relaxing to know that I don't have to worry about what the other copper with me is doing, and can just trust them to get on with the job.

I recently had an Aid requirement which was like this - for non Met officers, 'Aid' is when you are sent off borough to Aid other areas or departments with your presence, such as football aid, festivals, protests and the like.
For perhaps the only time I've ever had this, our entire serial of officers (one, three and twenty one) was bereft of probationers, full of skilled and capable officers.

An error on duties part, I'm sure.

Because of this, despite being a very long winded, busy, and violent type of aid, it was also paradoxically one of the most relaxing and straight forward.

Every time we piled into a crowd to stop a fight, I knew that my oppo would be with me. I knew that when we went into a violent situation single file I didn't have to worry about a copper getting lost, or being unable to deal with the situation.
I knew that when we were facing off, hugely outnumbered against a drunken heaving crowd, I wouldn't have to worry about anyone saying the wrong thing to someone in the crowd.

I mentioned this last point to a good mate of mine on my carrier, as we faced off against the braying crowd in question. He had to raise his visor to hear me, so I had to repeat myself.
"Hmmm" came his answer, followed by a thoughtful expression. This was not what I had expected. "What? Don't you agree?"
Another thoughtful face.
"Well now Area, yes, in theory I do. But instead of a half dozen probationer officers guaranteed to say or do the wrong thing, we have you instead."
Outrage. This from someone I had considered a friend, for years. "I resent that suggestion, and demand an apology."
"Area, you're a nice fella, but you know as well as I do that the public order manual has nothing about bringing a packet of joke sweets to work and offering them to the other coppers on your serial. It has even less about offering said sweets to crowds of thugs. Do us a favour, I want to get home before daylight tonight. Just shush..."

Huh.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Update Update

Firstly, thank you to the many people that have come out of the woodwork and emailed or commented, especially the exceedingly polite emails that say in brief that they don't like my blog or subject of writing but still feel I should continue.

I am going to continue blogging, albeit cautiously.
So far, only one person in the Met knows about me and this blog - as of last week, this changed.
It's now two people.
I've asked the advice of someone who knows about this sort of thing and works in the kind of department that could be involved in 'getting' me, and she has been very supportive and helpful.

Basically, if I get fired then it'll be because of racist, sexist, or derogatory behaviour rather than simply having this blog.
Hopefully.

Because of that, I feel it's only right to start posting as much derogatory behaviour as possible.

Stand by for (many) further updates, as I've been writing posts without publishing them.
Some involve squirrels.

Thank you.



And by the way - Sierra Charlie is back. Drop by and say "yo homey" or something equally as 'street.'

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Nightjack et al - The First Of The Gang To Die

This is only a quick post.
Most people who have an interest in Police blogs will know about The Times outing Nightjack.

I know there will be many opinions about the legal outcome of the court case, but I personally think that The Times choosing to actively pursue Nightjack is a low action - it's also hard to see the reason why they felt the need to do that.

And now of course, many Police bloggers are looking at their blogs in reflection.
So far, we've lost:

Nightjack

Sierra Charlie

Ex-PCSO Blogs

Max

Metcountymounty

All of them have gone, directly due to the decision of the judge, and the persecution by The Times.
I'm in a similar position and still trying to decide whether I should keep posting. To those that have emailed my address in the top right corner, I will email back but I've been keeping my head down here and waiting for the dust to settle.
That includes the questions I've had from various press outlets - I'll reply, but I'm loathe to put myself on offer.

This blog has never been about getting hits, or fame. I've done mini-interviews and commented for various press publications, and everytime I've asked for the comments NOT to be attributed to my blog. Just as another Copper.

I love doing this, and I enjoy most of all when I get comments from people, validation for the time spent in front of the computer. But I also have a mortgage and bills to pay, a car to run, and a job that I mainly love.
I don't have the same political clout as Nightjack, Gadget, or many others - so hopefully I'm not so much of a target and instead am just seen as yet more inane witterings from behind the blue line. But I also don't have a plan 'B.' There's no book deal, no writing career, no trade to fall back on.

I started writing this a couple of years ago for me, to get the stress of a few manic shifts off my chest and because it seemed like a good way to chat about the job to no one in particular. I still have funny and stressful shifts, and I still want to write about them.

At the moment I don't know whether to continue blogging or just delete it all and get on with muttering to myself whilst sitting in patrol cars again. The problem with not doing it, is that I'll quickly become one of those people you see in the street fighting themselves. I have about four or five drafts saved with incidents of note, but am reluctant to post them.

Meanwhile, some brave people carry on causing trouble with this Police blogging lark.

Whatever your opinions of the deleted blogs, of the various blogs on offer about Policing, about this blog, whether you are pro police, anti police, or just undecided - I can't see an argument for losing the non censored, non official view from any industry. Much less Policing, a profession that has been subject to conjecture and attack, a profession that traditionally closes ranks, a profession that often is simply not allowed to explain their actions, thoughts and feelings to the wider public.

Short version - I'm still trying to decide what to do with this blog.

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Seals & Crofts


This has been a semi regular post to write recently. Another post apologising for my lack of them.
This is partly to do with a recent huge amount of Aid requirements, meaning spending very long periods of time in the back of a public order carrier.

It is also partly due to the fact that recently I have been doing courses. Courses that have the potential to (hopefully) make me some money and get to do some more interesting Policing type things. Although I've no plans to leave response team at the moment - I like my days off too much.

More important than either of those is the fact that I am actually quite enjoying work at the moment. A lot of my blog posts (as per the norm for Police blogs) are inspired by moaning. By bad shifts, by not enough time off, by crap from above.
All this and more is still happening.
But.
Sometimes in this job you just go through purple patches, and I am tentatively having one at the moment. The bad shifts keep coming, the crap keeps coming down and the calls don't stop.
But.
I am being left alone to play at work by my direct supervisors, I've got some more interesting things to do, and of course it's sunny.

And now I bring myself to the most pertinent point in my lack of posts.
It's sunny, and recently I have rediscovered the joy of making the most of my rest days. I've made new friends, strengthened friendships with acquaintances, and got closer to previously already close friends. I'm a lucky man. Barbecues, food, drink and company make the joys of the internets pale in comparison.

Must try harder.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

R/T Set















Is this thing still on..?

It was a lonely Sunday evening night shift, and we had but one thing to be excited about.
We had been warned that at 0100 hours the radio system would go down for five minutes.

Five minutes without calls being given out, five minutes with no back up if we were already dealing with calls or came across something direct.
Five minutes of peace...

As the night wore on, we were given regular reminders that it would be happening.

At about ten to one, the controller keyed up "All units Bravo X-ray, just a reminder about the switch off for maintenance for the airwave sets. There will be no receiving or transmitting capability from 0100hours for a period of five minutes at most. A repetition, no radio capability from 0100hours for a period of five minutes maximum. If there are any problems after the five minutes or the radios don't come back online, call me direct."
Silence
"Er, Bravo X-ray from BX201 - how do we call you direct to let you know the radios aren't working, if, well, the radios aren't working?"
Laughter around the borough. The femal controller keyed up again:
"Sorry petal, I don't make the rules. I'm sure I'll think of something by then..."

A wonderful example of prior planning by the met.

Incidentally, the radios did come back on line after just under five minutes, and no one died in that time.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Warning Formula











This happened a few months ago, but I was reminded of it when attempting to clear my locker out of some of the debris and detritus that had collected in it.
A futile attempt at an unachievable task, incidentally.

Whilst sorting through the memos I had been handed on various ops, damaged uniform, discarded public order kit and paperwork that I needed to submit, I found a PNC print off that took me back.

I had been on patrol in a borrowed Patrol car, a pool car of the worst type.
High mileage, older model, smelly - Police readers will be wondering how this differs from standard patrol cars, but our motor was all that and more.

Whilst heading along a dual carriageway after resulting a domestic we had been to, I saw something that made me hit the brakes, hard. A car (a light blue Toyota Corrola) a short distance in front of me had obviously decided that they didn't like being on the route they were, and as a result had taken the (entirely logical) course.
Slowing rapidly from 70mph, the car had indicated into the right lane, then bumped over the central reservation. Finding themselves facing the wrong way into the traffic coming the opposite way, the driver had then proceeded to flash their headlights and honk their horn before driving a hundred yards the wrong way and turning off the carriageway into their intended road.

Myself and my oppo stared open mouthed at each other for a brief moment, then without any further hesitation hit the blues.

The manouevere that the Toyota had pulled was too dangerous to do, even with blues and twos on. It was getting dark, and I hadn't counted on ending up in hospital this shift.

We sped up to the next roundabout - luckily not far away - and span round and back on the opposite carriageway. A sharp left into the road the Toyota had gone into (for the more action minded of you, we managed an accidental prolongued squeal from the tyres at this point) and I slowed the car down to a crawl as we started looking down the side roads.
My oppo nudged me, and pointed to a set of tail lights ahead. "That's that expletive Toyota"
I pulled up behind the Toyota, which was heading along at a reduced pace after seeing the flickering of blue lights in his rear view.

The car drifted to the left and stopped. My partner got out to speak to the driver, and I ran the VRM (Vehicle Registration Mark) through the MDT (Mobile Data Terminal) in the car.
The Insurance tag flashed up - "NO INSURANCE."
Interestinger and interestinger.












My Mobile Data Terminal in action


I went to join my oppo and the driver. The driver was a West African, and indignant at being pulled over.
My partner took a couple of steps back and started to do a name check, keys of the Toyota now safely dangling from his belt. I approached the window to receive a barrage of abuse.
Apparently I am "not a Godly man," I am "an evil person" and "God will punish me."
This before I had even said 'hello.'

I pulled an IRB from my vest, and started to fill his details into the booklet. I had already decided that this person should not be allowed to drive after the stunt he had pulled, and that I would be giving him an opportunity to explain his dangerous driving to a court.
I explained he would be reported, then started to do the infamous 'warning formula.' "I am reporting you for the question to be considered of prosecuting you for the offences of Dangerous Driving and Driving with No Insurance. You do not have to say anything but it may harm your defence if you do not mention now, something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence."
Unfortunately, I was distracted and it took me a couple of attempts.

My colleague was standing behind the Toyota, illuminated by the flickering strobe lights. And giggling like a loon.

I noted the driver's reply ("You have no authority. I am a business man"), and went back to the laughing officer. "What's up?"
"Sorry Area. You can't stick this fella on."
"Why not?"
My partner said nothing, and just pointed to the rear window, with a window sticker on it.
A simple message: "God Allows U-Turns."














On to another call

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

'Cos It's Hard Duw, It's Hard, Harder Than They Will Ever Know

Something found hanging in a Police Station somewhere in Metrocity.

Incidentally, a rarity by itself - the two silver stripes meant it was an Inspector's helmet, not something that has been issued for a long time here.

Cultural reference - miners used to turn their hats as well on retirement.
Something to remind them of the flowers that could have grown in vases over their heads.


To friends that have gone before.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Patience = Low











"Bravo X-ray two-two, Bravo X-ray two-two, an 'I' grade call now, Brixley High Street, PI Accident. Car versus motorbike."
"Received, show X-ray two two D-delta to your last - but we're running from the opposite end of the divsion"
"Received"

A two minute pause

"Bravo X-ray, show Bravo 2 to your last as well. We're clearing the last call and not too far"
"Received. Bravo X-ray two-two, can you cancel to your last? We've got another immediate grade call, this time at 27 Letsby Avenue for a confirmed sequential alarm."
"Bravo X-ray, we can, but we've just made our way through traffic away from that last location."
"Received, there's no one else - I'll send it through."

Another two minute pause.

"Bravo X-ray from Bravo 2 - sorry, we've had to 54 the vehicle with a flat tyre. Can you cancel us from the last?"
"Received. Bravo X-ray two-two, can you re-attend the Brixley High Street call please to the Persons Injured accident?"
"X-ray, received. We are nearly TOA on the other call though."
"Received, sorry to do this to you but there's no one else shown."

Three minutes pass.

"Bravo X-ray two-two, you can cancel to your last. LAS on scene and stating no injuries, drivers exchanging details and no obstruction."
"Received Bravo X-ray. We're going to stop for a break, my operator's started to feel sea sick with all this too-ing and fro-ing, and we're due refs."
"Um, X-ray two-two - can you just quickly deal with the other outstanding immediate call on your way back...?"

Yes. This is how I often spend my day. Although I dealt with quite a bit of self created incidents I came across direct, after twelve hours of rushing about today I actually resulted the grand total of one call.
A threats by text domestic from an ex-boyfriend's new partner.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Update

So, an update is apparently due.












Not Metrocity

I have come back from peace and quiet away from the smoke, to hear that PC Gary Toms has died from the injuries he sustained whilst attempting to arrest a number of Robbery Suspects.
Sad news for the Police, for the Met, for Gary's department and team, and for his friends and family.

On top of that, more officers injured doing their duty.

I also come back to the news (via email) that we are still racist in my division, in case whilst away I started to believe that I was open minded or relaxed.
It's always nice to be told how you feel, in case you get confused.

Never mind. The being away did me good, not least because I managed to not think about the following: Protests, Detections, Crime in general, House prices, The Recession, Sleep deprivation and, of course, Shaving.

Instead, I have been mostly seeing this, whilst visiting Southernshire. Or was it Ruralshire..?












No Detection here












No fighting, spitting, domestic violence here.













No evidence of an offence in sight



Meanwhile, please give a warm welcome to two more Police blogs that have appeared.
The first is Southernshire Constabulary, a PC on response in Southernshire - of course - and the second (new-ish blog) is Sierra Charlie, an SPC based in Metrocity.

As Nightjack sadly leaves, others move to try to fill the gap left by his departure.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Ian Tomlinson

I've had quite a few emails asking for my opinion on the death of Ian Tomlinson.
I've also had even more conversations about it at work, in the canteen, in the carrier, on scene at incidents.
I've also been asked about the incident involving Sgt Smellie and Ms Fisher.


I'm sorry, but I'm not going to talk about it on this blog - It's a little too close to home for me.

Instead, here are some links to Police Bloggers that aren't scared to talk about it:

Inspector Gadget

Sgt Stressed Cop

PC Michael Pinkstone

Ex-PCSO Bloggs

Ex-PC 200 Weeks

Ex-UK PC David Copperfield

PC Disgruntled

Sierra Charlie

And finally, a comment from Hogday. He's a gent, and this post has nothing at all to do with Ian Tomlinson's death.

Friday, 3 April 2009

Whose Street? Our Street!














PC Area in his brand new hi-viz. NOT asleep, despite what his colleagues may say
.


So - stories from G20, in no particular order.

A couple of people obviously read internet blogs, or at least the books that follow. I heard two officers (not from my carrier luckily) discussing how they'd try and spot Inspector Gadget.
And MCM.
And ASNT...

In my carrier we ran a competition on the second day for spotting the best bit of graffiti. The only rule was that the graffiti had to be on a Police vehicle. Lots of them had been damaged the day before, and so still had spray paint on.
Our favourite was one of the armoured warthogs with "PIGS" sprayed tastefully below the Police sign on the bonnet. Spot on.

Scary moment when I got hit by something, and looked at my arm to notice that I was bleeding, and bleeding heavily through my boiler suit.
Then a relieved moment as I realised that it was just tomato that the protestors had thrown.

Lots of interesting moments dealing with the less pleasant people, but you've all seen that on TV and probably are bored to death of seeing and hearing about public order contingents charging and being charged, so I'll leave that out.

The best moments by far for me were on the second day, at the Excel centre. More specifically, at the Operation Feeding and Deployment section.

A particular thank you to the level II serial headed by a female Sergeant that had most of my carrier lusting after her, and what appeared to be an all female crew in the carrier.
I of course kept it professional, but there was a lot of excitement from some of the more boisterous members of my team, and mutterings of transfers to the South London Borough where the carrier had come from.

Watching the TSG serials sleeping in the grass, after being on duty for 36 hours and still being kept on. One fella was talking in his sleep as the sun came out from the mist, and it was a genuinely bizarre sight seeing him muttering, surrounding by snoring public order officers lying next to a runway lined with coppers in beat duty helmets.














The view from the 'front line.' I wish I could also describe the smells.



Anyway - down to the important things (after the attractive level II skipper and her carrier obviously). Time to give thanks.

First - to the level three public order officers who helped us out. I'm very aware that you lot did the shitty posts without the praise, and we just got sent round to finish the fights you were in.

Second - To the catering crew at the op feeding centre. Lest anyone forgets, they were doing the same (if not more) hours as us, and getting paid a hell of a lot less than us.
They were also doing a bloody good job of cooking something resembling food, whilst at the same time giving a smile to each copper, albeit sometimes weary. At one point, I accepted a burger from a catering woman and made some joke about the hours, and she replied "fourteen hours and we're staying on till everyone is gone."

Third - to all the non-Met officers that turned up. Sorry for the stickers. And also for the incident with the food fight (that never happened).

Fourth - to the London Fire Brigade. Specifically the Silvertown LFB Station. If anyone knows the lads there, say thanks again for me. The station was pointed out by a couple of level three officers on foot patrol to our carrier, and we (like many that had gone before) made liberal use of their toilets, TV room, warmth and company. They went beyond their obligations and frankly showed us how it should be done.


All this amongst our struggles with the militants. It's not my place as a street monkey to say this, but I will anyway. I think that actually our tactics were sound, and most if not all of us did a bloody good job. I also think that the majority of genuine protestors were at the very most only an annoyance, and frequently friendly, intelligent and often entertaining.
Equally, the small minority that were determined to use force and attack everyone that stood in their way were shameful. They were the reason that the genuine protestors were held back and shepherded about, they were the reason that negative press was given, they were the reason for injuries on both sides, and they were yet another nail in the coffin for legitimate, lawful, peaceful protest.

As a very small example, I spent some time in the impromptu climate camp in the city of london. Despite my appearance in body armour, public order flame proof overalls and assorted kit, I had a good time. I chatted to lots of the people there, and agreed with many points of view. I didn't see criminality there to the extent that I had to take action, and was treated with respect. I was even told a few times that the protestors there were impressed with the Police action.
Some were surprised to learn that actually, coppers were also human and also that some of us weren't too impressed with the idea of our pensions, tax, savings and future earnings being pissed away by the people that were supposed to know how the economy worked.
When the decision was taken to close the climate camp - after over twelve hours - the vast majority left willingly and peacefully. It was (yet again) a small minority that prompted ugly scenes, and left a bad taste.

I was at the front line and saw officers injured, and despicable acts of violence.
But the violent lot were not the 'real' protestors, they were just rent-a-thug mobs. In my opinion, they did almost as much damage to the movements they professed to support as they did to the lines of Police that they attacked.

Friday, 27 March 2009

Rush Job

Very busy at the moment, hence no blogging.
Yes, the G20 has a lot to answer for.

I'm obviously going to be home even less over the coming week, with my own shifts plus all my rest days cancelled and extended tours of duty. I have even been warned for two consecutive shifts on one day...

Can't and won't talk about G20 in detail until afterwards - suffice to say that we're all quite worried about it.
As my usually jovial Sergeant said today whilst talking about it: "It's going to go to shit, isn't it? I mean, we're buggered really, aren't we?"

Worrying.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Our Customers

An example of our customers and the joy of working in a front office in a Police Station.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Power!


One of my fleeting moments of power and influence.

It was 0800hours and a few of us had been called in on a rest day for a pre-planned operation, to dress up in plain clothes and go out looking for wanted offenders.
We had obeyed by turning up in the obligatory "plain clothes copper" uniform of DM booths, jeans, and North Face jacket with buzz cuts for the blokes.

Of course, the robbery squad were too busy to deal with any robbery prisoners. Same for the burglary squad, and the domestic violence unit are always snowed under with their prisoners.
So all three had requested that we didn't go out looking for any of their circulated suspects.

Instead, we were briefed to go out looking for SERCO breaches. Most met officers will know these - when people who have been electronically tagged breach their conditions, SERCO automatically send a fax to the force with the time of the breach, and arrest enquiries are (eventually) made.

The sergeant had called in sick. The DI looked at me - "Area, you're Acting Sergeant for this. I need a return of work on my desk before you head off. Cheers."

I leafed despondently through the dockets - I had one for a breach of curfew by four minutes. Hmmm.
Another one for a breach of curfew that happened on the day of his court date - the suspect had been at home since then, but had obviously got home late from court and therefore technically breached his curfew conditions by being outside the curfew hours. Not unreasonable when court finished at 1700 and curfew started at 1800.
A third breach of curfew by twenty minutes where the suspect's mother had phoned and stated he was ill and in hospital. This has actually happened some weeks ago, and since then the suspect had gone to court for trial and been found not guilty.

In all, we had one docket with a 'real' arrest.
The robbery, burglary, and CID dockets had been sprited away by the guvnor from CID.

I had six officers and three unmarked cars. I quickly came up with a plan: "OK, lets see if we can nick this bugger and be back for breakfast."
Sure enough, the suspect from our one good docket had been evicted, and the house was boarded up.
I sent the other cars out to verbally warn the breaches of curfew, then at 1000 hours with nothing left to do, we RVP'd at the nick for a late breakfast.

With the "return of work" threat ringing in my ears, I decided to be creative, and we went out hunting. Two officers on plain clothes patrol in one of our busier town centres, and the rest of us targeting our hot spots and seeing if we could turn over some gang members.

At 1930 hours we headed back to the nick - loads of searches, a number of drug seizures, two shoplifters, an arrest for PWITS (Posession with intent to supply) and one for a wanted male who had decided to kick one of the unmarked cars in a drunken haze.

I dismissed the PCs with me, and headed up to report our success to the DI.

Next day, I had an email waiting in my inbox (as did the officers with me) asking in the strongest possible terms for an explanation - apparently there was great upset at my decision not to arrest the SERCO breaches I mentioned above. "Verbally warned" was not the result they were looking for. Our self created arrests didn't count as part of their targets for their dockets...

Serves them right for putting me in charge.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

House Clearance


Two thirty ay-em, and we're heading towards our divisional HQ for a spot of porcelain patrol.




It's been one of those nights, and neither of us have had a single break in eight and a half hours of work. Imagine the stress on our poor bladders.

Of course, as we drive through the darkened glistening wet streets, our control room put out the "suspects on premises" call about a quarter of a mile from our location.
And of course, muggins here answers up rather than go and take the desperately needed comfort break.

Forty minutes later, and we're still waiting for a dog unit to attend as they are tied up at a job on the other side of the Force. It's raining hard now, my stomach is tying itself in knots, and I'm standing alone in the dark on a containment on a warehouse waiting for the furry land sharks to come and bite the buggers who have been caught on scene by a security guards whilst helping themselves to the company computers.

I know my oppo is inside the security hut with the guard, watching the cameras.
I also heard the toilet flush not long after him going in there.
Bastard.

"BX23, BX201, BX24 and BX82 from Bravo X-ray. Dog unit is still dealing and unavailable. Bravo X-ray over."
A pause, then a resigned voice "Received."

Sod it. This is how bad decisions are made. I decide to go in and look for them ourselves.

Short story, we got both of them eventually. I had to run, and ripped my uniform trousers for the umpteenth time. I also got a smack from a confused probationer who had blundered into the building without a torch and mistaken my jacket saying "POLICE" as a black and white sweater with a "SWAG" bag.

Nevertheless. Two bodies in, one for me and my oppo.
First time I've ever stopped at a garage to use their bathroom with a prisoner on board...

Throughout the whole event, I kept replaying Solomon Burke singing "None of Us Are Free" through my head. At one point the rain drops hitting my hat started to sound in time to the song.
Nights do something funny to me like that.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Luton et Al

PC Pinkstone has also posted on this, as a Luton lad he feels "disappointed."

I'm as "disappointed" as anyone. But it also neatly answers a question that most coppers get asked on a semi-regular basis: "What's the worst thing you've dealt with?"

I'd say THIS kind of job is definitely up there.

Dead people, bloodied fights, violence - they are not pleasant but they are what you joined to do. Protecting people like these protestors against members of the public who are probably feeling emotions similar to you is frankly not what I joined to do.

I personally have huge respect for the armed forces of this country. The Police as a whole has a good relationship with the forces, and many many coppers are ex-services.
To have to protect a sickening group like the one shown in the video above is what is difficult about the job.

I've watched it a few times now, and my eye keeps getting drawn to an elderly man in a grey anorak and pie hat who appears to challenge the protestors. I appreciate I'm stereotyping here, but he doesn't look like the type for violence. Instead, he looks a lot like someone's Grandfather who is so upset and angered by what he sees he feels he has to react.










Rock and a hard place for the coppers there. Whilst on duty I've been to military parades, rememberance dos and funerals of local soldiers killed on multiple occasions, and the pride at those events clashes completely with the shameful actions of the protestors in Luton.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Norn Iron - Again


I've been away from the computer a lot recently due to a very busy period of shifts and a couple of crown court cases. Added together it means I've had single figure days off in the last month or so.

No sympathy needed, as I got paid for some of it for once.



A quick post today - as many blogs will be saying, thoughts and prayers with our brothers and sisters in the PSNI at the moment, after THIS

Coming so soon after the attack on the army base, I just hope that this isn't a re-emergence of a greater threat in Northern Ireland to the security forces there.

Some of you may remember Belfast Peeler - he was one of my favourite (and in my opinion one of the best written) Police Blogs, until he was pushed towards making the decision to stop blogging.
I know that because of the way his blog was set up, he still receives any comments that are left on the site, even though they're not published.
Bearing that in mind, please take the time to pop over and leave a comment saying hello, passing on best wishes or condolences to someone who is now working in a more stressful Policing environment than most of us do.

Not a good time for the PSNI, nor the men and women of the British Armed Forces, home and away.

Monday, 23 February 2009

Off Nights

A bit of advice for those of you lacking the requisite brain cells to think for yourselves.
As I do after finishing Night Duty.

When returning home from a long weekend set of nights, and stumbling half dead around your home at 0700 hours, do not be tempted to do first aid on yourself.

If you are, remember that the paste you are looking for in the medicine cabinet to soothe the cuts and scratches on your face is in fact Germolene - NOT Vicks Vapour Rub.

One is significantly more pleasant than the other to apply to your injuries.

That is all.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Toilet Humour


I got called to assist one of our PCSO colleagues the other day.

It was very funny, albeit unintentionally.

Three PCSOs had been on patrol (in an unmarked car) in the town centre, and had been flagged down by an observant elderly gent, who had asked them for some assistance.
He had noticed a couple of young men in a public toilet being slightly more friendly towards each other than was socially acceptable.

The PCSOs promised to help out, then went to the toilet. Funnily, someone else had already called this in on the 999 system, and the CCTV cameras had been pointed at the facilities.
I was in the IBO (Integrated Borough Operations Room) at the time, trying to get a broken radio replaced, and so had a good view of the goings on.

After taking the elderly gent's details, the PCSOs got back in the car, and drove the ten yards to the toilets.
Two got out - obviously the driver wasn't planning on spoiling his day.
The two PCSOs then held a heated conflab outside the entrance to the toilets - I'm guessing they were working out whether they really wanted to get involved in this.
They then both walked back to the car.

Our IBO Supervisor is a canny Sergeant, and he had also been watching. He leant over and spoke into the microphone:
"Bravo X-ray from IBOS, can I have talk through please?"
"Go ahead"
"PCSOs outside Brixley Town Centre Toilets, can I have your shoulder numbers? I take it you're dealing with the nuisance call to them?"
A pause - both PCSOs stopped with the car doors open, then started to walk back to the toilets, defeated.
"Yeah, uh - show 7999 and 7123 dealing"

I started to feel a little pity in the depths of my soul, and said to the Sergeant "I'll go and help them out Sarge, my operator is putting on a crime report but I'm free."
I wondered down to my police car in the yard and started to trundle towards the location, a three minute drive. As I drove, the radio burst into life with a panicked voice: "Bravo X-ray - I need a unit here to assist!"
I started to drive a little harder and reached for the blues, I was very close at this point. "PCSO transmitting from Bravo X-ray, shoulder number, location, what've you got there?"
The breathless response: "Bravo X-ray, there's a man in the toilets and he's masticating!"

Um. I didn't know that was an offence...

Anyway, after recovering from the hilarity I arrived to find the PCSOs waiting safely outside the toilet, having opened a cubicle and spotted a young man entertaining himself before making a sharp exit. He was suitably dealt with, and the PCSOs drove away at speed, thankful to be out of there.

Incidentally, the male wasn't masticating anymore when I went in there.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Cheer Up

After the depressing tone of some of my previous posts, a cheery interlude courtesy of a mate - PC Pinkstone.






And I leave you with this slightly sloshed thought: Have any of my Met readers ever actually met the famed "R.Duggan?"
A man who has been everywhere in the met, to the most unpleasant and feared parts of our stations.
A brave man, who so far has remained an unsung hero.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Operation Phoenix


In Australia, Victoria Police have launched Operation Phoenix.

Christine Nixon, the Commissioner of Victoria Police says about the bodies: "Road by road, house by house, we are working our way through," she said.

"As we go into areas now that we haven't been able to get into before, we believe we'll find many more."


A horrific job dealing with death and bereavement at the best of times, and these are not the best of times for Australia.









Thoughts with the men and women of the Police and other emergency services at this difficult time.

The task ahead is being given to a new task force set up, read about them HERE

To the Officers involved in the coming investigation - go get the bastards.
I'm a big fan of Ozzy cops, and now so more than ever. Drinks on me, boys and girls.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Assault PC

As an aside to my last post - I wasn't exaggerating.

Good on him for stepping up. I would be interested to know if the many witnesses helped the brave officer who had got involved, despite having no officer safety kit or way of getting back up.

I would also be interested to know if he'll be so keen to get involved next time...

Saturday, 7 February 2009

What Now?

So. Once again we have not enough officers on parade, once again we have no one to deal with the many outstanding jobs.

Once again we see victims calling for help and not getting it, or getting it too late. Witnesses not located and suspects not arrested.


Once again we see officers hurt, Doctors called to custody, injuries compared, visits to A&E for others.

A normal shift then.


Except I have an admission to make. Maybe I'm getting soft in my old age, or maybe I'm just getting grumpy. But I can't accept that; seeing two female colleagues comparing bruising and cuts from another violent individual whilst typing up their notes in the writing room.
They're not going to report it - why should they? They're off in an hour, and have a set of case papers to do. What would be the point in tracking down a Sergeant then spending up to an hour filling in the appropriate injury on duty forms on top of their paperwork and their trip back to the nick they paraded from.

So once again the figures are adjusted to give the impression that we're not losing the fight for the streets.

Usually, we compare injuries, talk about the incidents and then moan about the frustratingly inadequate punishments at court - eg £50 for hospitalising a Police Officer attacked randomly on the street.

This then inevitably leads on to the "what's the point" conversation. No, we have no answers for that question. But someone (often me) always makes a mildly amusing comment, then we head back out and take the next 'Immediate' graded call.

I've run out of amusing comments though.

I don't think it's acceptable for us to be injured so often. "Police Officer injured in brawl" means little.
When it's your colleague, your boss, your acquaintance, your friend, your travelling companion, your confidente, your lover... suddenly it doesn't seem so palatable.

I don't take insults, calls, crimes, victims or suspects personally anymore. I have dealt with all manner of violent deaths and injuries, come home covered in blood on numerous occasions (some of it mine), delivered death messages and dealt with sobbing traumatised victims.
Then slept like the proverbial log.

But whenever an Officer is assaulted or injured, I take it personally. Every time, and the problem is that it's happening every shift now.



This is a more regular event than most politicians will ever admit.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Traffic Stops


I have talked about traffic stops, and my experience with traffic Policing on occasions before. However, I am confused by THIS news story.




Yes, it says that the Met will no longer be enforcing minor traffic laws - but that doesn't confuse me.

I haven't given a ticket for a minor traffic offence since my street duties days in the first ten weeks of my probation, and I can honestly say I've never given a ticket for no seatbelt or similar in my career.

I do regularly process people for No Insurance, No Driving licence, or other similar serious offences.

Partly this is because of time constraints, we simply don't have time to search out traffic offences. It's also due to the alienation of the public idea.

However, according to the news story at least, it states that we "no longer have legal power to enforce certain moving traffic offences involving non compliance with signs."

No Entry signs non enforceable by Police?
I personally think that No Entry signs are not a minor issue, in some places they are safety critical - hence why they are endorseable (points on the licence).
Surely publicising this simply means that people can do what they want in front of Police cars, safe in the knowledge the most they'll get is a bollocking?

Incidentally, I didn't get this "memo" at work about not having this power. Nothing's come through my emails, or my Borough briefings.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Stuff and Nonsense

This has nothing to do with the Police. I've been searching through the blogger and internet world, and thought I'd show some of the Gems I've discovered.

This is obviously in lieu of a real post.

Bus Slogan Generator - a perfect response to the atheist campaigns on buses.

Natural Harvest - I'm not often lost for words.

Complaint Letter - one of the best complaint letters I have ever read.

FSM - Church of The Flying Spaghetti Monster

McDonald's Job Application
- I don't care if it's real, it's just hilarious.

Ukelele Weeps - Showing that even the humble Uke can be elevated to greatness.

More Music Talents - Who needs a slide? Or a second guitarist?

And finally:
My Dream Car - Someone's selling it, and I'm still nowhere near affording it. I'll keep dreaming...

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

PC George Small














RIP PC George Small.

Thoughts and prayers to his family - they've yet another tough day ahead of them. Hopefully the sheer number of coppers going to the funeral today will give an indication of how well liked he was.




Police Orphans Fund


NABD

Riders For Health