Tuesday 18 September 2007

Linguistic Tribulations

Please try and imagine the scenario as best you can, I’m not very good at setting up the scene.

I’d met a friend of mine in Central London, and we were at the train station about to head back. Stupidly we’d both unthinkingly driven to our respective local tube stations so drinking was out, and our little day trip had come to a close earlier than expected.

Of course, on approaching the ticket barriers with warrant cards drawn, we notice (too late, too late) a group of four lads creating a fuss with the barrier guards.


I should explain a little bit of background here. As many readers know I’m originally from West Yorkshire. My friend is a Welsh lad. Both of us have next to no accent through necessary social camouflaging. Except when we are either drunk, angry or both.

Of course, one thing led to another and we found ourselves physically marching this group of second generation Vietnamese lads out of the station.

Area: “Roight you lot, no more shoite, Oi’ve had enough, get away!”
Friend: “Now then boyo, don’t try and sneak back, I’m not stupid you know.”
Ultra Cool Youth: “What you talking about man? You taking the piss, innit?”

Ah, joy of joys. That’s what it’s all about.



Sunday 16 September 2007

Police Slang

After requests from various people I started a list of police slang. Then I discovered this one wholesale on Police Oracle.

Obviously the vast majority of these I have never heard for real and are never used nowadays. Which of course is a good thing. Any additions welcome...

100 Yard Hero: A member of the public who is very brave and shouts obscenities at a police officer from a safe distance.
Alabama Lie Detector: Police baton.
Angler: a thief who uses a rod or pole to steal from ground-floor windows.
Bad Call: What your police partner says when they think you need an eyesight test. Usually uttered after you've pointed out a member of the opposite sex.
Bamber, to do a: UK police expression which means to make a mistake.
Banter: leg pulling. eg: Good banter, fierce banter, nasty banter. To describe a close knit a team. eg. 'They've got good banter that lot'.
BINGO Seat: Bollocks Im Not Getting Out Seat. The seat at the back of a police carrier where the laziest officer sits. One up from a BONGO.
Black Rat: Originally Met traffic officer. Now in general use. Alledgedly chosen as a motif because it's one of the only animals that'll actually eat it's own young! Until fairly recently a traffic officer could place a black rat sticker in their private car as an unobtrusive way of 'showing out' to colleagues, in the hope that they wouldn't get pulled for driving offences etc. Now-a-days it's more than likely that the car doing 90mph in front of you with a rodent sticker on it's number plate isn't actually being driven by a Black Rat, but a sl*g boy racer who's chancing his arm. Give him a tug.
Black Rover: Warrant card, when used as a travel card on bus, tube or train.
Blag: a violent robbery or raid; the act of using clever talk or lying to get something. Also to get something free, or at vastly reduced price. Also see G.T.P and Do you take warrant card?
BLAHING: Usually used when officers tell war stories about previous exploits.
Blues and Twos: Driving very fast on an emergency call.
Body: Potential/Valued customer wearing handcuffs.
BONGO: Books On Never Goes Out. See also Uniform Carrier, FLUB and Clothes Hanger.
Boy Racer: Term of endearment for young and usually spotty members of the public. Usually said to male drivers who travel at high speed in their spoiler clad Vauxhall Novas.
Brew: Hot beverage, usually but not always tea. See also chink-chink.
Brief: a solicitor or barrister. Also brief, a police officer's warrant card.
Canteen Cowboy: Police officer, generally young in service. One who likes to advise other officers, usually younger in service than the cowboy. Can be used as a put down, but usually behind the cowboy's back. eg: 'He's a real canteen cowboy that one'. Can be used as term of endearment during banter. eg: 'You're a real canteen cowboy, you are!' Slap on the back, guffaws etc.
CHAV: Popular phrase widely used. Several variations of the same. Council House And Vermin, Council House And Violent etc.
Chink-Chink: The sound that cups make when knocked together. Called over the radio to indicate that a brew's up. If more than one station shares the same channel to avoid disappointing thirsty officers, chink-chink may be followed by the individual station's call sign at which the brew is ready and waiting.
Clothes Hanger: Useless or ineffective police officer. See also uniform carrier.
Con: convict, confidence trick
Cooking the books: The art of making an area appear safer to the public than it actually is in reality. Also see not carnival related.
CSI: Crime Scene Investigator (formerly SOCO).
Cush: savings to fall back on. From cushion.
Datastreaming: a growing crime where a hacker obtains credit card details to create counterfeit cards.
Do you take warrant card?: Method of payment for goods or services by police officers. Practice believed to have been totally eradicated in the early 1900's. More flexible than your most flexible friend. eg. 'How would you like to pay for this curry?' 'Do you take warrant card?' 'That'll do nicely sir'. It has been said that back in the early 1900's some officers in the UK had totally done away with the need to carry any other form of accepted payment on their person. Also see: G.T.P. and Blag.
Done it in: To be late for a shift. eg. 'Can you show me weekly leave in lieu, I have done it in for early turn again....'
Down, going: to be sent to prison.
Double-Bubble: To be in the unlikey position of earning double time. eg. 'I've got double-bubble...... Yeee-Haaa!'
End: share proceeds from a crime.
Early turn: Shift or tour of duty starting at 6am. Can be used as an excuse for various bodily functions or odours. 'What's that smell?' 'Sorry it's me, I have early turn bottom'.
FLUB: Fat Lazy Useless Bastard. See Uniform Carrier.
Force Feeding: Sampling the culinary delights created by Michelin starred chefs employed to look after the delicate palates of Police officers. Force is often uttered with a silent 'd'.
Front: a person with a clean criminal record who provides an acceptable face for a known criminal who is the real owner of a club or business.
Gate fever: the emotion shown by a prisoner nearing the end of his sentence.
Get pulled: To be stopped by police, also give tug. Can also mean to be taken to one side by a senior officer and spoken to about something. Usually something you've done wrong. eg. 'I got pulled over not having a shave'.
Give tug: As in 'give him a tug'. Same as get pulled.
Good Call: Very rare occasion where police presence is required. Also may be used by fellow officers in reply to your attempts at pointing out a particular attractive member of the public. Negative may be Bad Call or worse.
Grass: an informer.
Gravel Rash: What a prisoner recieves when taken to the floor causing cuts to face.
G.T.P.: G ood T o P olice. Many things can be considered G.T.P. Shops that provide discounts, curry houses, night clubs that provide free entry etc. G.T.P -The unethical practice of using your position as a police officer to obtain services or goods for free. (or at wildly knocked down prices.) Business that are G.T.P are never found advertising on the local nick's canteen notice board, nor are these businesses ever advertised in a particular force's in-house magazine or newspaper. The practice of police officers frequenting G.T.P. businesses is believed to have been eradicated in the early 1900's - Thank god. It has been said that before this time police officers had to make a show of paying for goods, then feign embarassment that the shop owner had seen the officer's brief fully opened and left on the shop owner's counter, before this farcical act of attempting to pay for items had even taken place. It is also said that officers would pass on information about any particular shop's G.T.P'dness to fellow officers - Outrageous! We're definately glad it doesn't happen anymore. Also see: Blag and Do you take warrant card?
Ghurkha: Someone who has forgotten their powers of arrest. Taken from stories from the British army, e.g. Ghurka's don't take prisoners.
Guv: Officer of at least Inspector rank. Someone who doesn’t get paid any overtime.
Gypsey's Warning: When someone is given a 'quiet word' in their ear. Was in common usage until the 90's when it became politically incorrect. Believed to date back to old English, when children who misbehaved were told they'd be taken away by the gypsies if they continued in their bad behaviour.
Hobbit: a prisoner who complies with the system.
Icecream: a narcotic.
JAFLO: Just Another Fucking Liaison Officer. Often used on mutual aid visits to outside forces.
Jumper: a thief who steals from offices.
Ker-Ching: as in noise made by a cash register. Usually said out loud shortly after giving a caution for littering (or any other sec.25 worthy offence.) ten minutes prior to clocking off time. Also see over-time bandit.
Kremlin: New Scotland Yard.
L.O.B. A call which did not require police presence. Load Of Bollocks, in less politically correct times was often heard on the police radio, was often given by old sweats as a result to a call.
Lag: a person who has been frequently convicted and sent to prison. Often 'old lag'.
L.A.S. People who make drunks disappear, take our carefully applied bandages off and know which nurses at the local hospital are currently single.
Late turn: Shift / tour of duty that starts at 2pm.
Local nick: police station
Lump, The: building site fraud to avoid payment of income tax.
M.O.: modus operandi. The way in which a criminal commits a crime.
Muppet: Most Useless Police Person Ever Trained. Generally a term of endearment used whilst engaging in banter. Used when someone makes a mistake. eg. 'You muppet, you've forgotton to bring the white stuff back with you'.
Nick: to arrest someone. Also Police Station eg. 'I'll see you back at the nick'.
Night duty: Shift that starts at 10pm. Usually called nights. Causes zombie like states in some officers, growth of whiskers, night duty bottom etc.
NonDe: Non descript, used when referring to an unmarked police vehicle taken out on obbo's.
Nostrils: 70s term for a sawn off. (Just for historical reference).
Not Carnival Related: Blatant lie. Met. Usually said to press or police officers during briefings carried out over the Notting Hill carnival weekend. To give the appearance to the public that the carnival has been totally crime free for the umpteenth year running....! eg. 'There's been 3 floats TDA'd, 5 sound systems stolen, 2 gun point robberies, 4 indecent assaults and 12 reported incidents of steaming in the last 24 hours. Also there was a small localised riot around the BoomBoomCrew's sound stage at 4am, after local residents complained of a noise nuisiance to the council. Happily we've just heard that the environment officer who attempted to turn the volume down will be out of intensive care in a few days, doctors are hopeful he'll function quite normally with only one lung. Ready for it........ All of these reported crimes we can safely say are not carnival related, so feel free to bring the family and kids along to soak up some of the great carnival atmosphere expected here today'.Nut: the expenses incurred by a thief setting up a robbery or theft. Also second most important piece of equipment after stick.
Obbo: police observation on criminals.
Old Bill: Full details here on another thread.
Old Sweat: Description of an officer long in service. possible term of endearment. Considered made it, see it, done it.
Olympic Torch: Never goes out. See BONGO.
Onion: Sergeant. Onion Bargie - Sargie. eg 'watch out the onion's coming!'
Over-Time Bandit: Officer who generally uses ker-ching frequently.
Padding: Unscrupulous police practice of adding to a drugs haul to upgrade an arrest and ensure a conviction.
Peckham Rolex: Tag worn by criminals on release from prison.
Pig: Polite, Intelligent Gentleman.
Plonk: Person of Little Or No Knowledge. definitely a 'no-no' these days! Used for female officers by Old Sweats.
Probationer:The officer who just gave you a ticket for no seatbelt.
Q.E.: Queen's evidence. An accomplice in a crime giving evidence in the hope of a lighter sentences.
Ramp: a police search or a criminal swindle.
Rat: Really Adept at Traffic law.
Refs: Refreshment break, meal break. eg. 'what time refs are you?' Mainly Met speak.
RTA: Road Traffic Accident.
RTC: Road Traffic Collision.
Sarge: Sergeant. See Onion
Section House: Large, usually decaying tower block housing young single police officers. Just like the TV program men behaving badly, but on a much, much larger scale. Also see sl*g.
Shiny Arse: Derogatory term for an officer employed in a long term office environment.
Shoulder-surfing: stealing pin numbers at cashpoints for use later with copied cards.
Showing Out: The unethical practice of hinting to an officer upon being stopped that you are a fellow officer and therefore not a sl*g. Done in the hope of receiving unfair treatment which we in no way condone e.g 'Have you got any ID on you sir?' - 'Why yes officer, I think I have my driving licence in my brief side pocket'. 'Do you realise you hit 97mph over the hump back bridge 10 miles back?' - 'Sorry officer, I'm court off nights this morning, I'm rushing home to get my number ones'. 'Have you ever taken a breath test before?' - 'Only when I was at training school, I blew under after having ten pints that day too'.
Slammer, the: prison.
sl*g: criminal. eg. 'he's a right sl*g that one'. Also person of low sexual morals, usually found living in a section house.
Suspect: Potential customer.
Snitch: informer
Sorted: everything is organised eg: 'It's sorted.'
Spin Drum: To perform a search, generally to search a property. 'We're gonna spin his drum'.
Spun Drum, property already searched. 'We spun his drum and found nuffink'.
Station Cat: Officer who preens themselves and finds every excuse possible not to leave the factory, work shy, a borderline shiny arse. Not to be confused with
Station Cat: a nice, friendly, fluffy whiskered feline whom keeps itself busy by sorting the rodent population at the nick and living on tidbits thrown to it at refs time.
Strawberry Mivvie: Civvie. Civilian police staff. Can be shortened to Strawbs etc.
Stick: Truncheon, now mainly out of popular usage except with Old Sweats. eg. 'stick him'. or 'sticks out'.
Sticked: To have been hit with a truncheon for failing to do what you're told. eg. 'I had no choice, I sticked him'.
Stick Out: to have your cover blown when in plain clothes. Generally caused by having a short back and sides hair cut, wearing dr martins boots, police issue black leather belt, blue jeans, white t-shirt and lumberjack type checked shirt whilst following a suspect in an ethnically diverse area of East London! 'You Muppet!' Also Stick Out: A particularly dangerous situation. eg. 'It was so bad, I got my stick out'.
STILL: As TGB - Thieving Gypsy Bastard (a real no no). Came about following the Viz cartoon of the same name is now totally politically incorret they are now refered too as a 'STILL' as in Still a Thieving Gypsy Bastard.
Suit: A person who spends his/her time at a desk on the phone and computer.
Supergrass: a very important informer.
TGB: Thieving Gypsy Bastard (a real no no). Came about following the Viz cartoon of the same name. See STILL.
The Bill: The Bill, popular UK TV program that Police officers watch to see the newest item of kit that may, or may not eventually find it's way down to the sharp end. For Old Bill click here to find huge detailed list of possible origins.
The Factory: Police station, generally used by those in the office.
The Filth: Criminal term for the police.
The Griff: The full facts, as in "give me the griff on that would you old chap."
The Office: Generally CID term for police station. eg. 'After we've spun his drum, we'll all meet back at the office.... Sniff'.
Thief Taker: Term of praise for a police officer. An uncanny radar-like ability to spot a criminal. eg. 'he's a good thief taker that one'.
Time, to do: to serve a prison sentence
Tit: Hat worn by wooden-tops for the benefit of tourists’ digital cameras. Plonks don’t generally have these.
Tour of duty: An alloted shift at work. Generally when referring to early turn, late turn or night duty. Couldn't be used by a shiny arse in front of shift officers. Shift officers do not consider anyone working usual daytime hours to be actually working at all. In fact they shouldn't be allowed to carry a warrant card, wear a uniform,receive pay at the same rate, park in the station yard etc.
Trumpton: Fire Brigade, very adept at cutting the roofs off of slightly dented cars. Rumoured to be prone to stealing, practice believed eradicated back in the early 1900's.
Truncheon: Stick.
Turtles: As in turtle doves, meaning gloves.
TWOC: to take without the owners consent. A Twocer is someone who steals vehicles etc. Also in Met land TDA: Taken and driven away.
Uniform Carrier: Useless or ineffective police officer. See also clothes hanger.
Upstairs: to be convicted at the crown court. The dock is reached by climbing the stairs form the cells.
VPU: Vulnerable prisoner unit, used to keep prisoners likely to be victimised away form other prisoners.
White Stuff: Milk, the second most important ingredient of a police officer's staple hot beverage.
Window warrior: a prisoner who constantly shouts from his cell window.
Window Licker: Definite 'no-no' these days. Someone who is quite obviously mad, deranged, psychotic etc. eg. 'He's a right window licker that one'.
Wooden-Top: A person who spends his/her time dealing with domestics.
YOIs: Young offenders institute.
Zombie: a particularly nasty prison officer - more dead than alive.

Check out the original on Police Oracle HERE

Friday 14 September 2007

The Dreaming

I was planning to write this post as a "true" post then explain at the end it was a dream... but that is such a cop out.

So, truth is, this is not something that has happened to me. It is a re-ocurring dream I have, one that is amazingly real. When I wake up I wake up thinking it has happened, and for hours I still think of it as a memory, not a dream.

In it I'm on patrol with an officer from my nick, a guy I've known for years who is one of my favourite coppers to work with, call him Howard. We close up behind a clapped out Peugeout 306, big bore exhaust and stuck on spoiler in full view. The two occupants ignore us at first as we drive down the hill. Then they start to twist round to look at us. The Pug speeds up and Howard hits the blues. The car doesn't stop and speeds up.

We hit a junction at the bottom of the hill, the Peugeot pulls a sharp left and comes to a stop, holding up traffic and almost causing a pile up. Howard pulls the car to a stop as well, slightly further ahead than the Pug as we weren't expecting this.

Both occupants bail out, the passenger I'm not interested in, it's the driver I want, a white male in his twenties. I'm not on the radio, Howard is calling this in. The driver runs up a slope on a small road off the junction, he's about thirty feet ahead of me when he stops and pulls out a handgun.

It's black, it's a Glock, I recognise that much. I see him raise it and point it directly at me, and on autopilot I yank my asp out and rack it, knowing how futile that is, frozen to the spot.

His face is wrinkled in hatred, a face I've seen many times before. He fires, I hear the shot and see a flash, Jesus I'm scared. I turn and start to run, looking over my shoulder I see him standing still pointing the gun, I drop the asp realising that it's useless now, just extra weight I don't need.

I run behind a car with its windows shattered, hoping to make it to the police car. As I do I hear another shot, followed almost immediately by a thud as the bullet hits my back through the vest, almost directly between the shoulder blades and I fall to the floor.

I shout out, a swear word I'm sure, and my God it hurts... then of course I wake up, sweating and shouting. And my back still bloody hurts!

After this I get up, have some food, and watch TV until it's time to get up. Or go on the internet and look at blogs... Not much point in trying to get back to sleep, don't want to wake the neighbours up again.

My point (yes, there is one) is this: Would I keep having this dream, over and over again on a regular basis if my real life situation was different? What if instead of instinctively reaching for my asp I was reaching for my gun? What if I could get a shot off before he got another go? Would I be as terrified?

Answers on a postcard to the usual address.

I could just stop drinking Vodka before bed of course...