Thursday 28 June 2007

Bank Holiday

A while back I was working a late turn major bank holiday, which is always nice for the bank balance if not so much for my excuse for a social life. As usual, the already short response teams had been hugely cut down in numbers to save money on overtime, and as usual we had alcohol induced fights and domestics happening all over the shop more frequently than we could effectively deal with.

It's on shifts like this that you start to appreciate the people you work with, and when you instinctively work harder and work smarter.

After a ridiculously busy shift, as it got darker and colder, and people's alcohol imbibing reached break point, things started getting really bent. Calls were coming out all over our area for fights and domestics, officers were rushing to one, "Area Search No Trace, where's the next one control?" Lower grade calls weren't even being assigned to officers as we were so short and the control room was desperately trying to keep the emergency calls in check. Every call was finished with us hustling out to the car to turn the blues and two tones on and blat back across the division for the next call. We took a call to a possible domestic - a male smashing up two women's car with a metal baseball bat. We were second unit on scene, and went off to do the area search for the guy who had just made off leaving two very shaken girls. As we were doing the search we were diverted to someone being attacked in her flat.

We started heading in that direction whilst keeping an eye out for the fella, as it was close by. As we did our van unit TOA'd at a pub fight nearby. My partner and me both turned the radio up as they gave their location - two female officers turning up without back up to a pub fight on bank holiday can get nasty. It shouldn't matter that they are females, but it does. They can take care of themselves, but both of us made a mental note of the location in case they called for assistance. Every unit was assigned to a call or off the road. We arrived at our call and found the house in darkness, all seemed quiet and neighbours told us they haven't seen anyone.

We come out of the block of flats and the radio was screaming, whilst we've been inside the block where our radios don't work it all went wrong. A stabbing was reported close to the baseball bat call and the pub fight, by males of the same description. The van unit attended leaving the now calmed down pub and called for urgent assistance. Another unit arrived on scene and also called for assistance.

I broke into a run towards the car and we leapt in and headed towards.

I arrive on scene I see a crowd of people, blood on the floor, lots of angry people shouting. Some are witnesses, some are victims, I assume some must be suspects, and some are just pissed and enjoy shouting at coppers.

We have six officers there against the large crowd. We TOA but don't cancel other units, there aren't enough on to guarantee help otherwise. I wade in and start trying to give first aid to a couple of bleeding, drunk and abusive girls, one of which is the girlfriend of the suspect. I am helped by a drunk neighbour who repeatedly tries to steal my radio "for a laugh." The main suspect for the stabbing has made off, but there is a lot of aggressive people around shouting. I leave the pushing and shoving to the other officers as I try to hold one of the girls still so the little that is left of her nose that is attached to her face remains in place. Maybe the doctors will be able to sew it back on, and stitch up her upper lip. They really do work wonders at the hospital, despite being overstretched, overworked and underpaid. She tells me to fuck off and that she hopes I die of cancer. I love my job.

London Ambulance Service turn up and start to clear away the injured and pissed, working their magic (I love the LAS).

There are now quite a few officers with us, but we are hugely outnumbered. Our Inspector gets on the radio and tells the control room we might need more units soon. The control room says there are none to send. Guvnor: "I appreciate that, but tell officers with prisoners to leave them at the nick. Officers with paperwork can leave that and come out, get people de-assigned and available." The control room comes back. "Yes guv, we appreciate that, but everyone is there. There is no one else to send."

This is when the call comes out for Urgent Assistance from the LAS a few roads away. This is probably the only thing that could get us away from the scene. As me and my partner were first aiding not crowd control, and ambo were on scene, we ran for it.

We turn up and the ambulance is surrounded by drunken angry young men, chief amongst them is the main suspect for the stabbings, and the baseball bat. Happy days, he's quickly arrested and we escort the Ambulance away. I look at my watch; it's fifteen minutes past my shift end time. I won't be off for hours. I hope CID, the CPS and whoever else gets involved make sure this bugger doesn't get bail and goes straight to court. I spend hours seizing his clothes and writing up my notes well, and the officers at the scene do the same, getting statements and seizing evidence and manning crime scenes.

He gets bail.

Four days later his girlfriend, the original victim, is killed by him.

I have to keep reminding myself I love this job sometimes.


Anonymous said...

Please let me be the first to say what a great new police Blog this is. I have linked to this site and I welcome this new edition to our police Blogging family.

joker the lurcher said...

in fact as you mention the LAS you are not who i thought you might be. but still a great blog! i know i'm not as famous as inspector gadget and i'm only a dog but you get my vote.

BelfastPeeler said...

Great post. Every time there's a full moon we get hectic nights like that.

Anonymous said...

Welcome, another excellent read. And for all those 'politicians' that read and think they understand police work - take note, when you go to bed it is like this more often than not. Leave the policing to us, cut the red tape and give us the resources to do it.

Trouble is with all the blogs to read I never get any spare time on my rest days now to recharge my batteries.

Phil McCracken said...

ATNS, a very well written blog and a welcome new addition. Just remember to keep your head down from those pesky internal affairs.

Unknown said...

Welcome to the world of blogging! I don't really have much to blog about, which is why I love reading other people's works. Especially when they do have things to blog about!

A truly remarkable post, thank you for it.


Anonymous said...

Love the blog, will be adding you to my favourites. Roll on another bank holiday for more of the same!

Anonymous said...

I've added you to my favouites. I've done 26years on he front line and love it. Why do people join up and then want to work in an office.
I wish I had the technical no how to run a blog without being detected. I've got loads of funny/ sad stories to tell.

Anonymous said...

Great Post. Fully agree with the sentiments on Bank Holidays and resourcing levels. With so many forces now calling themselves a 'service', it beggars belieft how they can reduce manning levels (no offence ladies) on Bank Holidays. You wouldn't see private sector 'service' providers doing that. Can't imagine Sainsbury's leaving 4 people in the supermarket on BH monday,if for no other reason than they actually see an increase in customer traffic and they don't have to worry that their people might be stabbed, bottled, shot etc etc.

Its not rocket science!

Anyway, great blog!

Area Trace No Search said...

Thanks all, and especially thanks to Mr Gadget - I asked for advice and I got a link. If I can pay back the compliment I will try!

Hopefully I might even get my overtime paid for the past two bank holidays. I'm still waiting.

Anonymous said...

Good blog. Was very sorry to hear that the young lady was murdered, do you know if CPS contested the application for bail?

Anonymous said...

I'm just a MOP, but your posts are interesting and well written - I'll be back (got here from Inspector Gadget's link!).

Anonymous said...

Great blogg ATNS.
It's nice to know that other forces run out of officers too.

We are a small force but all it took was one 'medium' pub fight and it took all the shift members from across the sector to control.

I was on a 25 minute A grade from the other end of the sector in a van and it was still going when I got there...

Not sure if i love the job - but it keeps me busy...

keep it up fella, good work

Metcountymounty said...

Nice post post mate, and I would like to join you in praising the LAS!, I've been a massive fan of them from day one in the smoke and every night shift its the same old faces, quite a few taken to getting a few brews in at the canteen which is nice to see!!

Area Trace No Search said...

Metcountymounty - where is your blog? What address do you use without cuddles interrupting?

Thanks all.

phlegmfatale said...

Although wrong outcomes are heartbreaking, you can't bend the universe to your will--you can only do what you know is right and hope that the wheels of justice turn as they should to keep lunatics off the street.

Followed the link here from The LawDog Files. Fantastic blog - you write beautifully.

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