Monday 13 October 2008

Things That Have Annoyed Me Recently (part 3)

Recently, in Custody.
I had arrested a woman in her late forties who had been rather silly - she was not known to Police before and basically had been caught doing something that she knew was wrong in a moment of stupidity.

We all deal with this kind of person occasionally, someone who has thus far led relatively blameless lives and suddenly they come to the attention of Police.

No, before you ask, this was not a figures arrest. In fact, there was no detection involved in this one...

We had brought her in, and the woman was obviously terrified. Unlike our usual, regular customers she felt shame at being arrested and obviously didn't want to be with us.
She also told the Custody Sergeant she suffered from claustrophobia.

Now, as any copper will no doubt attest, a huge amount of the clientelle we get in our cells will claim they have claustrophobia, or any other condition they can think of to get released, bailed, or just to wind up the coppers.

This woman was obviously not playing the system, so after a brief chat with the Custody Sergeant (and an even briefer trip to the cell door, discovering she quietly having palpatations) we brought her out of the cell and sat her on one of the metal seats opposite the Sergeant's desk, where the Skippers could keep an eye on her.

I was writing my arrest notes when our borough commander walked in, on one of his rare trips to see the troops in custody. As he went up to annoy the custody sergeants, I thought it prudent to make myself busy so decided to get the kettle on and brew up for the Sergeants.

For those of you not in the job, Custody Sergeants run on tea. Without tea on a fifteen minute cycle they will not, and in fact can not function.

I made a list of who was drinking what, and as I went past the huddled, shivering nervous woman I had arrested, I took pity and said "Tea love?"
She shook her head, and I contined on to the kitchen area.
Follwed by the Borough Commander.


Expecting a chat about the borough's "basket of ten," or possibly a bollocking for taking the prisoner out of the cell, I was surprised at the topic of conversation he chose.

A ten minute lecture on the inappropriateness of calling a female prisoner "love."
A promise that this would be mentioned to my team inspector.
And a threat that if said prisoner made a complaint against me, the borough commander would have no choice but to give evidence on her behalf due to the blatant and flagrantly open way I had chosen to use this "wholly inappropriate term in a public, CCTV recorded arena."

He then disappeared off - one of the Custody Sergeants told me later that as I was boiling the kettle (and boiling up inside) our wonderful leader went up to said suspect and offered her his apologies.

As I came back with the teas, the boss was gone from the custody area. I sat down next to the woman, and gave her a tea - yes, she had said no, but she needed a little kindness.
"You OK love?"
She smiled wanly as she took the cup.
"I'm OK, thanks for this. But who was the idiot in the hat who came in?"

'Nuff said.


Anonymous said...

The problem with calling her "Love" arises when the trial starts, and clever lawyers are after you, trying to find what you have done wrong, in order to make your job more difficult. Hey, that's their job, no hard feelings, ay?

She has always seen the police as basically on her side. In custody, you managed to still appear to be on her side, taking her out of the cell, giving her tea.

If you have to charge her, then you become most definately not on her side. That is the moment when she will pick up any weapon that might come to hand.


Area Trace No Search said...

Abigail - all good points.

In fact, we did charge her, with the absolute offence she had committed (and God Bless her, fully admitted.)

She went guilty at court, but having said that it was a relatively minor offence with no chance of a custodial.

With more serious offences, I see exactly what you're saying.

I need to toughen up?

Anonymous said...

Aye! "Toughen up" and become one of THEM! (I think u know who I mean.)

Anonymous said...

With my Police Authority and Head of Custody Visitor panel hat on, I am delighted that there are still coppers who treat those they arrest as human beings - where appropriate. Be careful who you upset on the way up, for you know not whom you may meet on the way down...

Anonymous said...

Hang on - your Borough Commander, the most senior officer at the station, comes in and catches you committing what he perceives to be a disciplinary offence and then says he's going to report it down the line to your Inspector?

Has the Borough Commander lost his bottle?

Anonymous said...

Unbelievable! Surely there are bigger things to worry about in the service than that!

Anonymous said...

Sums it all up really doesnt it?

What a jerk your BC is. I hope you told your inspector what the woman said to you after he had left.

Anonymous said...

True about the tea, although I hated those MaxPax mixes. You made the tea, what with all those forms awaiting your pleasure. Tea making was the gaolers job. Your visitor, I am afraid is what is wrong with the job, there are plenty like him.

Roses said...

ATNS love, you are a softie, but we love you anyway.

McNoddy said...

Fan I'm dae'n custard duties I have an affa habit o' callin' a' the young eens, loon. I can see I'm gonna hae tae stop 'at, jist in case I'm telt aff by some hi heid yin, and as for gie'n a bosie fan a quine is greetin.....

Anonymous said...

Don't toughen up, Area. I LOVE being called love, having doors opened for me, being offered a seat etc cos I's a girly.
Its a combination of old fashioned manners, and a little affection to show someone, in some small way, that you care for them, or feel for them.
(Mind you, the way my Insp says it........followed by Phwooooaaar, thats a bit different, but it does make this old girl feel good for the rest of the day!!!)

Anonymous said...

Used to live in Cornwall, and they (the Cornish) have a habit of calling you 'My Lover'. As in, 'Bringum roundeer Toosday, nump gonna be a problem, My Luvver'.

If you walked into a Cornish custody you'd probably hear that said by all ranks, without anyone batting an eyelid.

Trouble with the sanitised London-esque higher echelons is that they are so detached from everyday reality and so far removed from any conception of their own identity that, in their world, 'Tea, Love?' is a crime of heinous proportions.

Muppets, all.

Anonymous said...

Stop dithering dearie. You can call me 'love' anytime you want to.

loveinvienna said...

Her last comment sums it all up really... what a numptey he must have looked.

Poor show when the skipper gives his underlings an ear-bashing for something which everyone everywhere says and which is a pretty accepted part of the British way of life. Where I live it's duckie, lovey, love, bain (oop norf, see) etc.

Sounds as if he's so cuaght up in political correctness he's forgotten how to be a human being anymore...

I'm also interested to know... what had she done? :)

Liv xxx

Anonymous said...

I do remember once calling a MoP 'Guv', whereupon he got quite annoyed and said, 'Don't you call me "love"!!!'

Anonymous said...

It all seems a bit over the top to me. I don't see 'love' as being a sexist or derogatory term in any way.

I guess however in your job where there are plenty of people with an axe to grind who would be happy to grab even the slightest excuse to make a complaint, you have to be careful. Still I woul dhave thought a quiet warning would have been more appropriate that what sounds like a full scale dressing down.

Anonymous said...

The only time I get annoyed by being called 'love/hen/pet/my lover/duck/chuck/my dearie/cara' is when it's one of my male 'underlings' trying to swing their weight about. They generally leave the office swinging from an entirley different dimension. However, in social life, or just trying to put a newbie at their ease, nothing better.
PS Challenge to anyone who can tell from above list of endearments where my childhood was spent ;-)

Uncle J said...

At least the staff of this Station now have conclusive evidence that "Promotion to the level of Incompetence" still occurs (See Wikipedia - 'Peter Principle' )

Dark Side said...

This world is so blooy pc, pardon the pun, it's a word I use a lot and sometimes I don't think before using it, you keep doing what you do best.

In my opinion you read the situation before you made the comment and it's not something you would have done to an everyday have my blessing,,xx

Anonymous said...

I'm sure i've said this before on your blog but above all else a copper should be human - not a robot. Your bosses would happily see that side of the rank eliminated - don't let them.

Ultimately a key part of your job is understanding and gaining co-operation from people - be they suspect, witness or random passer-by.

What do you think of the new suggested logo for the UK police by the way:

Stressed Out Cop said...


My favourite posting from all the police blogs this year so far - sums life up as it is !! Nice one

Kennyo said...

MAn... That would drive me crazy..I the division I'm in now the 2 commanders are awesome, one in younger and hasn't forgotten he was once on patrol and the other Has a couple of years left and wants to enjoy themm
Cst KO

Metcountymounty said...

you seem to be getting trolled as much as me!

We recently had an unexpected visit from a Ch.Supt who decided to see how busy our custody was on the weekend night duties, much to the surprise of everyone. He walked into what can only be described as organised chaos, walked up to the custody Sgt who was trying to control it as the others booked people in. After being told we were maxed out with people still queuing up he simply nodded and said 'keep up the good work' then left. Never saw him before or since but it was nice to know they aren't all knobs all of the time.

Anonymous said...

Metcounty - as much as you dislike the thought: rank does more or less equate to ability and knowledge.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Ah, Drink Driving!

Well done for being human though Area, the woman knew she'd done wrong.

AnneDroid said...

If I'm ever arrested in your neighbourhood, please offer me a cup of black coffee and if you do you can call me love all you want.

In the west of Scotland where I hail from, all women are routinely referred to as "hen". I would feel "love" to be a step up from "hen".

Anonymous said...

Its a shame your mates did not think to bring Keith Mark Camm a drink or to get a Doctor or to a hospital well not for 24 hours that is, O yes the crude mental health jokes nice touch.
Its a bit late for tea now hes DEAD.

Anonymous said...

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