Saturday, 20 October 2007


I've got shaky hands again, and I don't know why. I'm safely at home, the heating is on, the door is locked (and double locked) and my uniform is sealed in a plastic bin sack by the front door.

My hands weren't shaking earlier when I was at work, thank God. Although they should have been.

I can still smell the metallic tangy smell, my hands are washed clean but still feel sticky, and I've been searching for nail clippers since I've got home to get someone else's DNA out from under my nails. My shirt I won't wear again, I'm desperately short of them now but even if I bleach it I think it's ready for the great launderette in the sky. My strides are black so should hide the stains well - and I only have two pairs, getting hold of another takes weeks if not months.

I'm thinking about anything at the periphary of the incident - anything except what I actually dealt with. The LAS fast responder who turned up. Six hours earlier in the shift we had been at another scene, talking about his son, his car, he smiled: "you lads need some gloves?" We don't even bother making up an excuse now, their gloves are better than ours, we both know it.

At the more recent scene he wasn't smiling. No jokes about his son's college, no banter about swapping gloves for an asp. Instead I watched as he pushed a copper in the chest who got in his way, trying to keep someone alive whilst chaos happened round him.

I was working with him - I like to try and help out medical staff, it's less glamorous than some of the tasks on offer but it's still the number one role of police officers (saving life and limb). I saw that his gloves were working well, but the blood was spattered over his elbows. I knew then that it wasn't sweat I was feeling on my arms, but didn't want to look. The Gucci gloves only go so far.

Seeing the mess afterwards, gloves, tape, wires, assorted debris from the kit bags that were scattered all over.

The flash of blue strobe, a copper climbing in the Ambo for continuity, as I walk away I realise someone has put up police tape and a cordon is in place - why is it the tape is always upside down?

My hands didn't shake then, nor when I washed my arms off, or when I wrote my notes.

But now I'm on the prowl for diversion in the middle of the night, in my home, and they won't stop shaking. And there's no bloody booze in the house. Whatever happened to the promise of 24 hour drinking?

PS - I'll re read this post tomorrow at some point... if it's as badly written as I suspect it may be, I'll get rid of it and substitute it with some funny pictures


Anonymous said...

this is "off topic" to your post but i think you might enjoy hearing about a bit of "american justice" delivered on the spot.

Area Trace No Search said...

Gunner - I love it!

Wish I could have seen his face...

Anonymous said...

The writing is okay: you have expressed yourself appropriately, don't change the post.

Lay off the grog, but if you must drink then stick to beer, and remember to exercise, otherwise you'll pile on weight.

Metcountymounty said...

Don't change it mate, no one sees you when you're sitting at home wanting to get totally shitfaced to forget what you've been dealing with, its good to show that we're not the heartless uncaring bastards that we get accused of every working day. It amazes me to think that people honestly believe you can't be affected when you have some elses guts and blood all over your arms and hair, we're all human after all. My wife knows that look and she has a nice routine now of blockbusters, chinese takeaway and a bottle or two.

Great post.

PCFrankyFact said...

Its good to let it out like that mate. Been there. Well done.

Dark Side said...

It's you and it is how you are feeling, don't change it keep showing your feelings it's better than bottling it up, I hope you feel better for sharing it..xx

RandomPinkness said...

Well, I'm not just jumping on t'bandwagon but leave it it's good, well more than good, you know what I mean. Although you're normally my go to guy for funny posts, seeing another side to you and the work you do is great too.

Anonymous said...

Leave it on mate. As Met CM says you are human. I think we've all seen that recently. Get shitfaced if necessary. Take care

Anonymous said...

don't change it "area", one of my former jobs was ambulace driver, back in the stone age, before there were trained e.m.t.s and all we could do was load them and go. the public needs to hear what its like for the folks who clean up the messes they make, and the emotional cost of cleaning up those messes.

Anonymous said...

just an after thought "area", i think i'd like to have you on the job in my town, here in vermont. you'd have to carry a pistol but you'd seldom ever need it, and you'd get the respect a good cop deserves.

Mark said...


Leave it up and tie one on as necessary as long as you don't make it a habit.

Hang in there.

Area Trace No Search said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Area Trace No Search said...

Thanks to everyone that replied - just so you know, I couldn't find a drink anywhere in my house, so went back to bed, the sensible option.

I will let the silliness continue in my next few posts.

Those that have blogs I will try and reply to personally, everyone else thanks for dropping in. Please come again, I've restocked the drinks cabinet.

Oh, and Gunner - I've said it before and I'll say it again, the more I learn about your past the more I think your antics in your various jobs are more than worth writing about.

Roses said...

Good to know you're stocked up again, nothing worse than a dry house in the middle of the night when you need a drink.

At least you know we're here too.

Anonymous said...

Definitely leave it. It's a different side to you & although I always smile when I read your posts sometimes you just need to get stuff off your chest xx

BelfastPeeler said...

I'll drink to that.

Oddly enough you've gazzumped me somewhat. When I post the next one I've got saved you'll see what I mean.

As soon as I read the title I got that sinking feeling...

Anonymous said...

great post, like every one else says - This is the side of the job most people don't see.

hang in there mate

McNoddy said...

Sometimes the longest nights are the ones when you get home late and the 'normal' folk are asleep and you have only pacing about to keep you company and sane.

Anonymous said...

thanks for kind words "area" but i'm nothing special, you guys are the ones with stories to tell. i'm just an old duffer collecting his pension.

thoughts running through my head.... said...

must have been a bad one ATNS,in my line of things we usually get there after the damage is done,and picking up the bits doesnt bother me at all.What bothers me is the fact that it doesnt bother me if that makes sense?Is it normal to not care about picking up body parts?None of my friends could do it and they dont even realise what I have to do half the time,so I cant talk to them about it even if I needed to.
The worse I get is insomnia after a frantic night,but I guess thats just running through the nights events in your head,isnt it?
We always get told to pack up our uniform for destruction afterwards,but who can afford to lose uniform?I just wash it.

Anonymous said...

Nice post Area.

Good to know that we have the "Bobbies" on our side.


BenefitScroungingScum said...

Hello, I'm new to your blog, but I think this is a great post, and I hope you're all ok now. One of my closest friends, and regular characters on my blog is a traffic policeman, who talks to me about all this kind of stuff. It's not the same, but I think the least we can do as friends is listen to you offload.
Bendy Girl

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you kept this. Its always after the shift when you get in, and your mind starts to play out the alternate endings to what's happened. We all go there sometimes. Don't worry.

SNT hell

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