Tuesday 4 November 2008

Rememberance Day

I was going to post this the day before Rememberance Sunday, however events have forced my hand a little.

Just over a year ago I was on patrol in a relatively low crime area in my divison - low crime in comparison to the rest of the borough anyway. Those living in the Ivory Towers would still be shocked by the sheer brazenness of the criminality that goes on in the area.

Whilst driving around late at night, I turned the lights out as I went down a side street which bordered a local park. The park was part of a church; although there had been no reported crimes there (so hence completely unworthy of our attention), I had talked to the Priest and discovered he was getting more and more trouble from drinkers and drug takers hanging around there.

He had also been suffering minor criminal damage to the church, and had drinks thrown at him when he had asked them to leave. Of course, none of this had been reported. When I asked why, he shrugged and held out his hands: "My daughter is in the Police and my son in the Army - I know how short you are, I wouldn't like the idea that I would be taking Police Officers away from tackling REAL crimes and more deserving victims."

This is the kind of attitude often displayed by those who both need and deserve our help most, and it is tragic that whilst the Priest (and many elderly people especially) suffer in silence so as not to bother us, the local oiks get yet another Police car, yet another CID officer, yet another pointless arrest, yet another intervention from outside agencies... for a threats by text from an ex. Again.

Anyway. Deep breath. Back to the story.

On this occasion, as I went lights out on the car, I saw the sillouhettes of two figures, crawling over the side gate that led into the churchyard park.

I was still some distance away, so coasted down towards them, slowing down and coming to a stop using my handbrake in order to keep the brake lights off.
As I stepped out of the car, they were well inside the park, so my operator trotted around to the main gate to prevent their escape.

Which left me with the mission of climnbing over the gate, wearing twelve pounds of body armour and a utility belt - whilst also trying to remain silent.
It's as surprising to me as to you that I managed it relatively well.

I spotted the two figures straight away, hunched over a wall. They were so busy talking that they didn't even notice me until I had a hand gripped into their hoods on their tops, and had started to twist hard to keep hold.

What I had seen had convinced me that they would not be leaving the park without a new pair of shiny bracelets.

In the darkeness, lit by distant street lights, the moon and a Nokia mobile phone, it was immediately clear what they had been doing. Crouched in front of a war memorial, a can of spray paint at their feet - and a giant swastika still dripping wet over the headstone.

I've arrested a huge amount of nasty people, but rarely has the temptation been so great to show them the error of their ways myself. I managed to resist though, and instead opted for icy calm.
One of them tried to pull away, and his look of sullen insolence changed to something like panic as I held on - I think he realised he was going nowhere.

I was joined by my partner, who quickly realised the situation and assisted by taking one of the two fifteen year olds.

I then made a quick decision - the paint was still wet, and if wiped at now might well be removeable. However, that would remove all evidence of the offence, and there was no way these two were not being arrested.

After a quick conflab with my oppo, the two suspects were cuffed hand to hand, round a tree so they couldn't leave. A quick dash to the car, and luckily there was a camera in the boot. After a very quick bout of photography, I explained to the lads what happened next: "Right, just so we're clear here. You ARE getting arrested. Right now I am going to attempt to clean this paint off. I've got absolutely no power to make you clean it, but if you do it will go in my notes and be read WHEN you go to court. If not, I will describe exactly how you refused to help and instead watched as we cleaned it."

Funnly enough, both offered to help.
One asked about cleaning cloths; by this point my oppo had found a bucket of water from somewhere in the church yard. I looked at the youths in their Kappa hoodies. "It's a warm night, isn't it boys...?"

Later, in custody, a senior officer questioned my decision to arrest two juveniles for minor criminal damage that they had attempted to clean up. I was about to blow a fuse, when my oppo tactfully asked the Supernintendo if he knew the circumstances; once explained, to be fair the Super was on our side.
"These two are getting charged. Understand? They ARE getting charged."

Coppers don't look lightly on situations like this.
You'll be pleased to know, neither did the Judiciary.

The church has now paid a huge amount (destined for the upkeep there) to help secure the graveyard. The Priest still doesn't report incidents when he kicks people out, but most importantly the families of the men named in the memorial never found out about the damage caused.

This post was posted earlier than expected, due to THIS news story.
I wasn't aware of it, until someone emailed me to tell me about it - no idea if he wants to have his name plastered about, so I'll just say thanks to TF for it.

I can only hope that when the buggers are caught for it, the same attitude displayed by the Police, CPS and Judicary in my case is shown in theirs as well.

To the copper/s that hopefully arrest these lowlifes, a genuine offer from me - a bottle of bubbly if I ever find out who you are.


Old BE said...

Those kids just need a foot massage. I think you did the right thing ATNS. I remember someone telling me about an offensive message which had been sprayed on a wall somewhere for which the "suspects" were arrested. The local council had spotted the offensive message and cleaned it off before the officers managed to get a camera down to get the required evidence. I think the lesson was "always call up for a camera"!

Anonymous said...

What utter scumbags. As America is quite topical today, I cant imagine that even their scum would stoop so low.

I agree with blue eyes...maybe just a foot massage will help.

I despair.

TonyF said...

I heard the news on R2 this morning.
The theft of peoples names from a memorial. For some families these memorials are all that is left of their loved ones, no known grave, and for these in the Royal or Merchant Navy or the RAF, not the faintest idea where their bodies are, no offence to the Army, but we usually do know which country they were in.

Somehow,this is the most despicable of crimes.

Just for the Liberal elite, and the rest of our 'leaders', and the other hard-of-thinkers, this crime, to you, will appear to have no victims. However, in reality, all the honest hard working people in this country are victims here, all of our pride in what was a Great Britain now being ground down by your poor, weak, spineless leadership.

It makes me so angry.

An acquaintance whom does civil works for us, told me that they were busy doing works at crematoria around the area reinforcing monuments. We were at the time pricing up a job at a crematorium to install CCTV. He was telling me that they were having to put in footings for memorials, small crematoria type memorials, with 2'6" of concrete! FFS! (Actually they were putting in deeper footings off their own backs from savings from other jobs!)just because someone is pushing the memorials over. Any memorials, Jew, Christian, Atheist, anyone...

CCTV in a crematoria?? I felt guilty and angry and, well impotent, having to quote prices to cover memorials. I am an atheist, but I respect deeply other peoples memorials. I may not like, or I may even despise their beliefs, but I defend their rights to have their memorials unmolested.

Anonymous said...

i dont understand the sort of people who do this, i suppose i never will.
Most of my family have or are in the forces or the police, i am lucky we have never lost anyone but this sort of thing just makes me sick.

Anonymous said...

I actually have no words (no polite or coherent words that is) I am completely gobsmacked at those stories. Memorials?? But, they are paid for with blood and honour and sacrifice.

And FOOT MASSAGES????? Yes, fantastic idea, lets do more things like that: I vote for custody suites installed with X-box 360's and a Domino's Hotline, we can have Community Service at Alton Towers and Young Offenders at Cadbury's World.

That'll teach the little bast*rds.

Alex Kelly said...

Absolute scum. I don't really have anything else to add to that.

Anonymous said...

What sentence did they get?

joker1972 said...

My poor mother has work with little so so like this for 20 years in a well lets call it "kiddies prison" and I can tell you they don't get it! Ask them what they would if some one did this to say their Grandfather's grave? They would reply something like "I F@#$ing kill them" I sometimes think a bullet to the head would help.

Anonymous said...

It's not just the police - in the Ambulance service we see the 'older' generation are more embarrassed to call 999 and tend to wait until it's really dire dire dire circumstances before they do, often when it's too late :-(

Then the younger generation who quite happily call us for a stubbed toe...

Anonymous said...

I remember reading this a while back. It's probably going to start a trend. They really are scum, if they catch them they should make them go out to Iraq. Perhaps they should drive 100m in front of proper soldiers to look for roadside bombs?

Ben Martin said...

Area, I'm finding it very difficult to express in words how much respect I have for you. How you acted in this situation is exactly how I'd like to see all police acting in every situation.

That you took the extra effort to clean off the paint and spare upset for the families shows just how much you care about the people you're out there to protect, as a decent copper and a decent human being, the latter being such a rare thing sometimes.

I for one am really glad you are out there.

Anonymous said...

Ultimately it comes down to respect or in this case lack of it.

These people have no respect for other peoples property or memory. They don't realise that many of us would not be here today, or living the free life we do, if the people represented on these plaques had not died for this country.

Absolutely disgraceful

Anonymous said...

Thank you.

On a somewhat related note, I was very proud of my 9 year old son for bursting into tears (he's a man's man and doesn't cry) - we were in the war cemetary in Bayeux where I found my Dad's second cousin.

Anonymous said...

Foot massage?

I think a baton massage is more appropriate.

Mark said...

Good Christ. Area, all applause to you for how you handled your situation. But the Manchester thefts?

I just can't process that. The people whose names are on those plaques died defending the country that these dead-souled pukes live in.

Anonymous said...

Ecclesiastical Courts Jurisdiction Act 1860


May be of assistance.....

Anonymous said...

Fairly simple solution here ATNS - they think it's funny to do these kind of things.

I'd love to see them dumped into the army, shipped off to Iraq or otherwise to get shot at.

I suspect after coming back from there, they wouldn't think about doing that again.

Nice touch making them use their "kool threadz" (as i saw one burberry clad inspiration for contraception writing on his mobile phone today)...

Mac the Knife said...

"a genuine offer from me - a bottle of bubbly if I ever find out who you are"

I'll match that offer. Keep me posted ATNS.

Anonymous said...

Urgh. Urgh, urgh and urgh again!

I cannot believe how little respect people have these days.

No (polite) words...

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

good call ATNS,I have heard of copper memorial panels being stolen from other gravyards previously which is just the lowest of the low!and what is it with your SO's?ours would never dare to question as they might be fpund to be lacking in the knowledge dept!!!

Anonymous said...

thank you "area", a good night's work well done. as a former united states marine you've got my salute.

Vetnurse said...

I wonder what the scroats would do if they were tied into a chair and made to watch films and look at photos of the various WW1 battles and conditions.
And at images of the concentration camps.

Would it penetrate or just go straight past them?

loveinvienna said...

Robert Service - Young fellow my lad

"Where are you going, Young Fellow My Lad,
On this glittering morn of May?"
"I'm going to join the Colours, Dad;
They're looking for men, they say."

"But you're only a boy, Young Fellow My Lad;
You aren't obliged to go."
"I'm seventeen and a quarter, Dad,
And ever so strong, you know."

"So you're off to France, Young Fellow My Lad,
And you're looking so fit and bright."
"I'm terribly sorry to leave you, Dad,
But I feel that I'm doing right."

"God bless you and keep you, Young Fellow My Lad,
You're all of my life, you know."
"Don't worry. I'll soon be back, dear Dad,
And I'm awfully proud to go."

"Why don't you write, Young Fellow My Lad?
I watch for the post each day;
And I miss you so, and I'm awfully sad,
And it's months since you went away.
And I've had the fire in the parlour lit,
And I'm keeping it burning bright
Till my boy comes home; and here I sit
Into the quiet night.

"What is the matter, Young Fellow My Lad?
No letter again to-day.
Why did the postman look so sad,
And sigh as he turned away?
I hear them tell that we've gained new ground,
But a terrible price we've paid:
God grant, my boy, that you're safe and sound;
But oh I'm afraid, afraid."

"They've told me the truth, Young Fellow My Lad:
You'll never come back again:
(Oh God! the dreams and the dreams I've had,
and the hopes I've nursed in vain!)
For you passed in the night, Young Fellow My Lad,
And you proved in the cruel test
Of the screaming shell and the battle hell
That my boy was one of the best.

"So you'll live, you'll live, Young Fellow My Lad,
In the gleam of the evening star,
In the wood-note wild and the laugh of the child,
In all sweet things that are.
And you'll never die, my wonderful boy,
While life is noble and true;
For all our beauty and hope and joy
We will owe to our lads like you."

Little basta*ds - make them read this and watch the videos from the Concentration camps. They'll never do it again.

I for one will stand and pay my respects for 2 minutes at the 11th hour, on the 11th day, of the 11th month and I will be proud to do so.

Liv xxx

PC Plastic Fuzz said...

Part of me understands why kids graffiti on plain walls. Why they 'tag' anyway. Of course I don't condone it, but I kind of understand it. Why you would want to put a swastika or any other graffiti on a war memorial, or a grave is something I just cannot comprehend. It makes no sense. Scum.

I think you did well there ASNT.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Awesome. Absolutely awesome. You did a stunning job. I hope those little no-goods have learnt their lesson, and got a proper bollocking from their parents too.

I tip my (invisible) hat to you, sir. We need more coppers like you around.

Anonymous said...

Do you reckon, if these kids went to places the war had been fought, met the people who had lost family at war (either in person or through film) it would make any difference to their attitude to life?

I visited Aushwitz when I was at school, and I tell you, I'm sure even people with that amount of disrespect would be touched into never, ever doing anything like that again.

Then again, maybe they wouldn't be.

Anonymous said...

re: anonymous @1931hrs,
sadly we're no better off over here, the local cops of two departments are investigating cases of knocked over gravestones and other vandalism in graveyards.

Anonymous said...

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