Monday 8 September 2008

Fight! Fight! Fight!

Three or four years ago, I was visiting family on Boxing day, in a semi-rural location, south of Metro City.

I had volunteered to be a designated driver for the evening (after having my fill of alcohol on Christmas Day) and had been out for a couple of cokes watching my friends and family get slowly merrier and merrier in the local town.

As we left, I noticed the poor single crewed bobby sitting in his patrol car watching people drifting out of the local pubs. We piled in my car and I put the heaters on full in order to clear the screen of the ice mist which had appeared in the December smog whilst we had been tucked up in the warm.

I had a car full of female family members, and they were giggling and talking loudly to each other as I stared blankly at the windscreen, and the picture outside that became visible. Although all had seemed peaceful on leaving the pub, as the ice vanished from the screen, I saw a scuffle break out outside two of the pubs.
I couldn't hear anything over the unaware but happy giggles in my car, but no doubt the scuffle was accompanied by the usual screams of "faackin ell" and "leave it Dave, it's not worth it."
Mating calls of the underclasses?

Anyway, the scuffle became more fight like. As I watched, the lone PC climbed out of his car and made his way wearily towards the two idiots on the ground - at the same instant as a group piled out of the pub and ran towards.

Suddenly oblivious to the happy place in my motor, I saw as the PC realised he was sandwiched in the middle of two groups of drunken violent individuals.
Without thinking, I put the car into gear and drove towards the PC as he shouted into his radio and drew his asp and CS - one for each group, futile as it as.
I jumped out of the car and ran towards the PC, ID in hand. He saw me and just shouted "Yes, please mate."

What followed was a kind of chaos as the PC and me tried to keep the innocent bystanders safe whilst also getting back to the relative safety of his car. I knew the reality of policing - that even in metrocity, on nights we are short. On bank holiday nights we are even shorter. On Boxing day night duty... in the semi-rural backlands... I'm not stupid, and it didn't take me long to calculate that help would not be immediate. I worked outside the Met in rural areas before moving to London, and I had an idea of the panic the PC would be trying to quell.

I honestly can't remember how many people I came into contact with in those minutes whilst waiting for the sound of two tones. By the time the first Police cars turned up (three of them in convoy) I was on the floor rolling around with a drunken lad who was bigger than me and doing a better job of absorbing the knocks of the fight. I'd also lost sight of the uniformed bobby.
The first thing I knew about the units arriving was when I felt myself being pulled up and out of the kerfuffle by two uniformed coppers.

I managed to resist the urge to hug them.

As half of the county turned up I decided to go and check on how my giggling girls were doing. Still giggling, and still not sure what had happened. As I went to leave, the first copper came over to offer his thanks, but it was a hurried thanks as you could see that keeping control was still an issue.

Whenever I think about moving back out of London now, I always think about this kind of situation. In Metrocity we find ourselves (especially in the kind of areas I work) in this kind of position much more regularly than many of our county mounty colleagues. But the important thing is, when we call for help, it usually gets there relatively quickly. Whilst I was rolling around with the idiots and the lone PC, I would have given next to anything to have a Police Car appear on scene, and I could see the relief on his face when I jumped in to help.

It's not EASIER working metrocity - it's very busy, regular officer assaults and a constant barrage of calls and violence ensures this. But boys and girls, trust me, it can be worse.

'Nuff respect to my county mounty colleagues listed on the blog bar to the right.
I'll stick to dealing with my gangs and organised violence and crime for the moment.


Chris said...

Lucky you were there.

What would you have done if you weren't sober? That would have lead to an interesting situation I imagine.

Bet he was glad to see you

Anonymous said...

Braver man than me, Gunga Din. I cannot for the life of me understand how you manage with so few people on the ground. I know that sometimes you'll be short staffed due to unforeseeable circumstances, but to be routinely understaffed is ludicrous. Perhaps some of the senior managers should take a turn outside at least once a week.

Ha Ha Ha ha...

Tony F

Anonymous said...

Much respect! This is exactly the reason we stand back and wait for you guys no matter how far away you are............. theres no way I'm rolling around on the ground with anyone while on duty!!

Metcountymounty said...

And it is for precisely reasons like that, that I will never be going back.

A mate I joined up with, was in the same class and later same division as, asked me a year or so ago if I'd consider it.

"I do exactly the same job, with slightly less paperwork, get more rest days and I have backup on me within 90 seconds most times and all I have to do is sleep on the train each day. What do you think?"

"Good point. Are they still looking for transferees?"

Chris said...

Thought you would have done. Next question, what would have happened if an MOP had tried to help - would an offer be accepted? If the MOP had just got stuck in to help after it kicked off, what would have been the outcome for said MOP?

I just find it interesting at what point people accept help with things - I know that sometimes 'help' can just get in the way, but sometimes you could do with anyone offering assistance

uphilldowndale said...

The same is applicable to all three of the emergency services,out here in the country; we ain't got much and what we have is bound to be a long way away.
As a MOP who's been in a 'Help meeeee now!!!!' situation I can vouch for the fact it seems like forever; what I really really needed was a paramedic, what I got first was a traffic cop, but that was very welcome, believe me.

Anonymous said...

Good post as always ATNS - I found myself nodding in full agreement. I work in the counties, although in a very busy and diverse town. Our resources are pretty stretched at the best of times (even more so in the past 2-3 years)so it often makes no odds where we are. If there aren't the bodies on the frontline, there simply isn't the backup. Had an assistance shout 2 months ago and one of the crews redeployed from 12 miles away. Not sure which is worse - working in a place where you more regularly get a shoeing, but can count on much closer help; or working in a slightly less danagerous environment, but having less help ... It's all pretty naffed up!

Catch you in a couple of weeks. Keep beasting them gangs!

Anonymous said...

Brilliant post. Feels like an eternity waiting for the sirens...

Roses said...

Please don't...I'm not reading. La la la la.

My Viking, in the middle of his probationary period, looked after his patch (a couple of market towns + ruralshire) BY HIMSELF, nights, over a weekend.

I was staying with him at the time (he lives several counties away from me) and I was praying to all the deities I could think of, for his safe return.

Fortunately, they've sorted out the staffing issue at that nick...but I do have that low level worry for him.

Good for you for getting stuck in. I bet you're still on that pc's Christmas list.

Anonymous said...

Don't blow it up to more than it was.

You "Hero"

A minor scuffle where you were rolled around on the floor for most of the time.

... you show your true colours in the one where you bleat with fear and impotent rage about how you were considering a private prosecution after receiving (yet another) sound thrashing

Anonymous said...


You missed the point of that post. I wonder if you would offer your assistance. I think you would probably be one of the "Why does it take four of them to arrest one bloke brigade?"

Oh and im sorry, we as police officers are obviousley not entitled to get a little p****d off when assaulted?

You call Area fearful? You are probably right. Being a hero is being scared of a situation and STILL going forward and doing the right thing. As he did, which I suspect by your lack of understanding, you never have.


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

I thought you were going to say you aimed the car at them and ran them down.But that would be wrong,wouldnt it?

Anonymous said...

Hi Max,

Are you a b*stard copper. too?

Anonymous said...


What gave it away?
Probably the "we as police officers" bit of my post.

Bless, you are clever. I hope you have been enjoying the start of big school.


blueknight said...

I was off duty in the town centre when I saw what I thought was a store detective trying to detain a shoplifter.
I approached with the question 'Is everything OK?' Then the 'store detective' explained that he was an off duty PC and the other male had kicked and damaged his car. I explained I was an off duty PC as well.
The funny thing was that the scene of the crime was 'Coastshire' Force are, I was from 'Fieldshire' and the other Pc fom 'Heathshire'. What a coincidence!. It did not get violent, mainly because we grabbed an arm each. The other PC seemed very glad to see me.

Anonymous said...

I was off duty acting as duty bag carrier for the missus on a shopping trip. I was stood outside yet another shop when I noticed a commotion about 10 yards away.

All I saw were a teen boy and girl having a go at each other (about 17/18 yrs old). I didnt have a clue how many other people they were with or what type of kids they were.

He had her against a shop wall and the public were standing just watching. I ran towards the kids and shouted that I was an off duty police officer. Thankfully it all ended peacefully with the lad cycling one way and the girl going the other.

I am a Special and had only finished training about 6 months beforehand but I instinctively knew that I couldnt let this go and escalate. You should have seen the relief on the MOPs faces when I intervened. They were probably thinking 'thank god that copper was around'.

Ok so it was day time and therefore unlikely to have booze involved. But I am glad I was there and did it.

Anonymous said...

"what would have happened if an MOP had tried to help - would an offer be accepted? If the MOP had just got stuck in to help after it kicked off, what would have been the outcome for said MOP?"

Standard procedure would be for the MOP to be arrested under S5 POA, with the likelihood that investigation would bring rise to charges of ABH.

Anonymous said...

Good post, and linked to by bystander no less! With friends like that...... Thanks for all your support - avid readers of yours!

Area Trace No Search said...

MOPs HAVE helped me before, and it has been invaluable. I may even post about it...

Anon Special - that is real heroics, realising your limitations and lack of experience, weighing it up and getting involved. As you said, that would do wonders for the public feeling safe, and appreciative of you.

Max - thanks mate, I owe you a round obviously.

Anonymous said...

i got scolded for it by an anonymous twit here a whle back, but "area" did what i'd have done in the same circumstances. standing third watch in a small town when you may be the only one on duty even civvie help should be acceptable, and i'm not about to stand by and watch on of "my cops" take a beating.

Anonymous said...

hope things are turning out well for you, i'll be looking to see if i can turn up a copy of the book here in the states.

Anonymous said...

Great post. Well done mate. Getting involved off duty can be perilous.

I work in a town in ruralshire so back is never more than 10 minutes away, thankfully. But in the next district over they often have about 4 coppers covering 170 square miles. It's frightening.


P.S. I, too, thought you were going to say you started your car and ran them over :)

Anonymous said...

I'm ex Met and now working in a smallish town in another Force.

Takes a different style of policing I think for each.

In the Met, I knew help was nearby, now, help may be 17 miles away.

Rolling about on the pavement with scrote happens to me more regularly now than it did in the Met. They know your backup ain't close.

With more and more folk taken off shift it is getting very difficult.

As for MCP - these things are at best a minor scuffle on the pavement, frequently, they are far worse. You would know, you sound the type who gets a good shoeing now and then, usually cos you open that big fat gob to the wrong folk.
I've probably met you in A+E blubbing about your 'minor scuffle on the pavement'.

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