Monday 31 March 2008

White Van Man

People that know me may be surprised, but I was nice to someone the other day.

It was the end of night duty, and I was single crewed driving the streets early in the morning, as it was just getting light. I was on an 'A' road heading towards another nick, and as I pulled off at a junction I saw a white van blatting along the road in the semi-darkness.

I turned round on the junction roundabout and then back onto the dual carriageway in the direction the van was heading in and went after it.

The speed limit on the road was 60mph, and the van was doing ninety odd approaching a set of lights. I coaxed the battered diesel engine to catch up with the van, and as we passed the traffic lights I hit the blues and woke the driver up with a burst of two-tones.

The van pulled straight over, and the driver climbed out and walked to me. As I got out I recognised him straightaway. I'd arrested him a couple of years beforehand on a warrant, and remembered he had needles in all his pockets at the time. If I do traffic stops on people I usually get them in the car in the back seat to keep them contained and to try and protect us from passing traffic - with junkies I'm not so keen on this idea.

He (I'll call him Aaron) apologised straight away for his speed, as I was searching him. I did checks, and he actually had an actual full driving licence. Aaron explained he had a job as a courier, hence the van (with insurance) and driving licence.
He told me that in fact he was clean now. I've heard this before from drug addicts, and funnily enough I often suspect a mistruth. Aaron obviously knew this, and pulled up his sleeves to show a lack of needle marks. When I had nicked him he had a very long record of drugs, theft and Failing to Appear offences, and was expecting a child. I reminded him of this, and he laughed.
"Truth is mate, that's what's sorted me out. There's only so long you can live like a wanker."

Aaron hadn't come to the notice of the police since the birth, he'd got his driving licence in the same month, and had been working agency for courier companies since then. He looked knackered, but as I talked to him I realised that the grey face had more colour than it used to, and he was amazingly lucid. He'd had a second child, and fathering duties plus early mornings were obviously catching up with him, but I actually believed him about the drugs.

I knew then that Aaron would be getting a verbal warning - he was late to work after sitting up with a crying ill baby, not through injecting himself with gear. I knew that he couldn't afford to lose his licence as he'd probably lose his job, and to be honest I was impressed.

Afterwards I did some digging, and according to the Drug Intervention Programme team, Aaron really has gone clean. No relapses, paid off his fines, and working six days a week twelve hours a day to support his new family and clear his debts.

Aaron is one of the few examples of someone actually, truly changing, and I respect him for that. I'm glad I stopped him, it cheered me up and I know some officers would have done him for the traffic offence.

I've seen him a couple of times since then at about the same time in the morning, as it's a usual haunt of mine, and he's been doing a steady 59mph.

Something postive for once!

Wednesday 26 March 2008


This was a comment posted by "Taffy" in response to my post, Kitchen Nightmare. I think it deserves a post of it's own.

Before reading it, please remember that it is friendly rivalry - "Taffy" is in fact a pan-London officer, and like me he has had to call on the TSG (and needed their help badly) more than once. For non-met readers, the Territorial Support Group are the Met's "Hard Boys" - they travel in public order buses and are called out to large scale public order situations, and to assist Boroughs that need their help with situations that are too large for their team officers to handle. They also do a lot of proactive preventative patrols, and, yes, they always wear their flat caps at all times.

My Guvnor likes them for this.

They are also the only non-firearms officers in the Met to currently carry taser. Hence the post.

Great, TSG have taser. Now all we need is for...

# Metcall to write up the request.
# Chief Insp IR to bounce it because it wasn't done properly, or doesn't reflect what the situation is.
# Metcall operator to ask someone what to do.
# Metcall operator to do it.
# Metcall supervisor to check.
# Chief Insp to authorise deployment.
# Pan London despatcher tries to raise Commissioners Reserve.
# Pan London despatcher fails. After all, there is no R/T set in the gym.
# Chief Inspector rings TSG Inspector on the mobile, and leaves a message.
# TSG Inspector waits 5 minutes before calling back " Sorry Guv, dealing with a stop"

TSG Deployed

# Commissioners Reserve "regroup" (ie get dressed) and embus. Time scale depends on co-ordination of hand-sock movement. Carrier skippers check officers boot laces are tied, assisting where appropriate. Precious time at this stage is saved, however, as flat caps were never removed.

# TSG travel in convey to, say, Kingston. From Enfield.

# 45 mins later (lets be generous) TSG arrive at RVP. Local Inspector arrives, having stopped off en route to pick up an incident log and a probationer to use it. Delayed arrival at RVP due to detour to scene to check on welfare of 5 PC's holding naked man down, and to address missing headgear/necktie related issues.

# TSG carriers squabble over who gets to "unleash the fury".

# Two Alpha males from the victorious carrier are duly issued with the device.

# Batteries flat. Leaving do the night before. Second place carrier goes to the scene.

# Man tasered. Local residents see 27 officers leaving the scene, dragging a naked man behind. Photo sent to the Daily Mail.

# Enquiries made with local newsagents by said newspaper indicates man did indeed purchase said paper on saturdays. National outcry. Police brutality, and potentially racism, is the order of the day. This would never have happened under maggie, house prices in the neighbourhood take a nose dive.

Monday 17 March 2008

Policeman VS Fireman

There are I think six or seven of these videos, a series in progress - all created by Policeman VS Fireman.

Previous commenters have mentioned the occasional snide comments between Cops and Trumpton.

This may be why.

Thursday 13 March 2008


Recently on my division, as on many other divisions in the met, there has been a drive on improving standards.

Uniform standards that is. What else did you think it meant?

Emails have been sent round, inspections have been done, PCs have been given bollockings for not wearing a hat or a tie - I personally saw a long service PC getting bawled out by a guvnor for not wearing his tie, as he had his hi-viz jacket on.

Background to that is that the PC had leapt out of his car and shoved on his yellow jacket to try and fend off traffic as his colleague was crouched in the road trying to stem the severe bleeding of a pedestrian who had been hit by a motorbike. But that obviously wasn't important.

This has come from high up, and despite being ridiculous, it makes me smile inwardly. It puts me in mind of the captain of the Titanic checking the qualifications of his on-board chefs shortly after hitting the giant ice cube.

Then recently, I was at an assistance shout. A sporting event had spilled out into the street after the fans had consumed generous quantities of alcohol, and level two public order officers were deployed and requesting urgent assistance. I arrived on scene with a colleague and jumped out of the car whilst it was still moving to assist a British Transport Police PC who had just fallen to the floor and been kicked in the face by a beered up football fan; Pulled the suspect off the PC assisted by other officers, then ran to where another fight was breaking out.

This continued for half an hour or so, ducking bottles and street furniture being thrown at us. Injured PCs were led away, many arrests were made, and half the met turned up to try and control it. Afterwards, we were talked to by our guvnor: "I noticed a few of you weren't wearing your hats..."
Although I will and do happily wear my hat most of the time when I get out of the car (it keeps my poor head warm and dry), the day when I stop to walk around the car, open the boot and get my hat out rather than help a PC on the floor being kicked in the head is the day I hand my warrant card in.

Anyway. Deep breath.

After this, I took to wearing my hat. Constantly. In the car, out of the car, at calls. Walking around the Police station. Eating refs. As did my colleague from the assistance shout.
Smirks from some of the other PCs.

Then another one of my regular partners in crime started wearing his all the time. Then another. Before long, half of us were wearing hats during morning parade (until then I'd never seen a hat in parade, let alone someone wearing one).

Bless, the Inspector and his bosses saw this and started to get embarrassed. And so started to wear their hats everywhere, even walking around inside the nick. Spot on.

Then I remembered my Hendon training school days. It is still (officially) Met policy to salute an officer of Inspector rank or above, if they are wearing their hat... In practice I have NEVER seen one saluted in day to day work, and in fact only ever seen it during parades, ceremonies and funerals.


I took to saluting every single senior officer I saw. As did a large proportion of the relief. A wonderful way to stop unwanted conversations with senior officers, snapping to attention and ripping off salutes. It got to the point where my poor Inspector couldn't walk down the corridor without saluting every few paces.

Shortly after that in parade, our guvnor made a few "clarifications" about the crack down on the uniform code, and when and where it should be adhered to.

Hats off at urgent assistances. Result.

Of course, the wonderful bonus to this is everytime I am dealing with an incident out and about wearing my hat now, and a guvnor approaches, he is watching warily to see if he is going to be put through the embarrassing rigmarole of saluting in the street.

Particularly brave and stupid officers have been raising their hand quickly to brush their hair in order to see the senior officers flinch and/or start to raise their hand in salute.

Childish? Maybe, but I think more than that it's an example of us keeping our morale up despite the best attempts of senior officers.

PS... an unspecified and probably worthless prize goes to the first person to work out the relevance of the title. If anyone does.

Wednesday 12 March 2008

Punk in Drublic

It was a dark, stormy night, and all good people were in bed. Naughty people were out to play though, and causing us to get wet repeatedly. Non Police readers may remember the days of school uniform getting wet and the trousers drying against your skin, a lovely feeling... We have the same type of trousers in the Police.

We took a call off our division, to assist an area that had run out of units to send, a request from the London Ambulance Service for our assistance with a drunk patient. When we turned up on scene it turned out that the division we had been sent to assist had in fact mustered up two units to attend, who arrived on scene at the same time as us, but hey ho.

LAS quickly explained that they had been called to two drunk females, who had become abusive.

Both girls were easy to spot - fifty feet up the road, staggering about in dirty t-shirts, soaking wet, with one of them shouting "Filth! Filth! Filth!" repeatedly. LAS stated that she may have taken more than just alcohol.

We approached the girl shouting, to have a word. Six coppers, and she did not want us anywhere near us. Her face snarled up in hate, and she let out a barrage of abuse. As one of the local officers approached her, she hit him in the chest and pushed him into the road.

Ah. I could sense that a subtle approach was going to be needed here.

Another copper pushed the girl away, and tried to talk to her. She stormed off about ten paces, then just as quickly turned back, and pushed at the first officer she saw and swung a fist at the next. As she did this she kept up a barrage of abuse, screaming like a banshee "Cunts, you fucking cunts, fuck off!"

Her friend did the "leave it Shelly, it's not worth it" routine, but to no avail.

I think we could safely assume she did not want LAS assistance.

The barrage of abuse kept up, some of it quite inventive. She kept pushing the two closest officers, who kept cool and kept marching her up the road until her friend grabbed her by the hand and pulled her away.

The thing is - how have we come to this? How have we come to the point where you can get away with shouting "Cunt" repeatedly at a Police Officer without any punishment? In the met we are told that a Police Officer can NOT be a victim of minor public order offences, which in effect means that it's open season to abuse coppers, unless there are other members of public around to be offended. CPS will not even run with a public order offence against a copper in my division. Apparently it's our jobs to be abused.

Assault Police? Well, no... Although the pushing and shoving, and the misguided punch fell into this category, again, CPS drop so many assault police charges, we all knew that there was no way they'd run with an assault police by a small built girl against six, burly, male coppers.

Besides, I could hear on the radio that all our units were getting tucked up, and it was looking again like my car would be the only one on the streets covering a population of well over a quarter of a million. The neighbouring division's radio was screaming out as well, with top graded calls stacking up.

As we all walked back to the cars, there was no satisfied smile, no feeling of jobs well done; shamefaced again at being unable to fight back against the idiots on the streets, knowing that we had done the right thing for keeping us available to try and keep a lid on the incidents that were coming out, but also knowing that the right thing was far from the way it should be.

Saturday 1 March 2008


Sorry for the lack of posting, I've been suffering with man flu recently, and as I'm too stubborn to take sick leave I'm suffering when I'm at home.

I will be back once I've got a few nights sleep.

By the way, I've found out what Man-Flu is called when women have it.

It's "Bird-Flu" of course.

I'll get my coat...