Sunday 28 December 2008


I think it's time that I introduced you to Mark. Mark is a Paramedic in the LAS, and a lovely fella to boot.
As I've posted many times before, without the help of the Ambulance Service on many many occasions, or Hospital Staff we would be Donald Ducked, many times over.

I've known Mark for years - years ago we worked for the same company, fell out of touch when we left (me off to the Police, him off to the LAS) and then met whilst at an incident a couple of years ago.

Mark is the kind of person that causes a thoughtful pause whenever he has spoken, whilst people try to work out if he is amazingly deep or is genuinely as shallow as he appears.
He is genuinely as shallow as he appears.

Example: Whilst talking about winning the lottery, on a bored night shift outside the local hospital.
Mark: "Yeah, if I won I'd buy Buckingham Palace and move in to there."
Area: "So you think the Royal family would sell it to you Mark?"
Mark: "Yup."
Area: "They'd give away generations of tradition, Britain's top tourist spot, home of our Monarch - to you?"
Mark: "Yup."
Area: "Why would you want it anyway?"
Mark: "Cos then when it's raining I can ride my motorbikes inside."
Accompanied by the look of smug intelligence. Like I hadn't thought of that.
"Then I'd knock the corridor walls through so I could ride from one end to the other, like."

Anyway, one of his most endearing and frustrating qualities is his complete inability to master any kind of attention span. A couple of weeks ago, we were both at an incident where we were on 'standby,' a non-specific task that involves standing around for hours before being 'stood down.'

As the hours went by and I ran out of papers to read, I wondered towards Mark who was sitting in the driver's seat of his ambulance staring blankly out of the window. With no sign of his oppo, I tugged the door open and climbed in to the cab next to him. As I did I noticed his partner, crawled up in a foetal position and snoring gently on the stretcher in the back of the ambo.
"What's the matter Mark, did you try telling him a joke?"
Mark grinned and pulled a thermos flask out from beneath his seat. He poured a cup out for both of us, and I gripped on to the mug of hot chocolate trying to get some warmth into my fingers. I wasn't in the mood for chatting, staying awake was hard enough - but Mark of course had other ideas.
"So, right... I've been thinking."
No answer from me. I huddled up into the collar of my goretex jacket, praying for silence or oblivion.
"The thing is, right - have you ever seen an ugly Asian woman?"
Pause. My brain went into overdrive as I tried to work out where this conversation was heading. And failed of course. "Mark, what the Hell are you talking about?"
"I just mean. They're better looking than white women."
"Mark, what exactly do you mean by 'Asian Women?' I mean, which country or countries are you even talking about? Asia isn't one place. And besides..." I tailed off as I realised I had made the fatal error of trying to inject sense into a conversation with Mark.
He sighed. "I suppose you're right. Maybe I'll leave it then."
Thirty seconds of silence.
"Do you think cats are ambidextrous?" No answer from me. Mar tried again.
"More hot chocolate? I found it in the canteen, when I came back from rest days, but it heated up alright when I reboiled it." Cue sounds of a desperate uniformed copper trying to spit out any remnants of the warm liquid back into the cup.
"Mark, if you ever find a woman stupid enough to want to spend time with you, she'd better have appalling standards of personal hygiene or else the relationship is going nowhere."
A satisfied smile from Mark. "I heard woman can burp seven decibels louder than men. Do you reckon it's because they've got more body fat?"
There's no way to deal with this. "Mark. Shut. Up. Now. Or I will kill you."
"Only I've been thinking of going to Canada. I want to practise my French. Are there Italian Canadians as well?"
"Mark. Please. I'm begging you. Really. I will get out of the Ambulance and promise never to be a bad man again if you will please shut up."
"Nah. Tell you what though, there's a girl at the Royal London, I reckon she likes me. Not sure whether I should go out with her though. Not my type."
"Mark, you'd get up on a scabby cat going out of a skylight. Please, stop talking."
"True enough. Do you reckon Trumpton ever play rodeo type games with their hoses in their down periods? Those hoses pack a punch, I reckon if you tried to sit on one on a crash mat it'd be just like one of them electronic bucking rodeos, like."

And so on, and so on, until dawn.

Thursday 25 December 2008

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to anyone silly enough to be on the net today. I don't count, I'm a shift worker.
Seriously though, thanks to everyone that has visited, read my blog, commented or emailed. Lets hope none of you lovely people ever has to need the assistance of me or my colleagues.

I'm currently sitting at home alone, not long out of bed and enjoying some peace and quiet before I head out to face the chaos. In the meantime, a little yuletide story:

Yesterday, whilst driving back from dropping some case papers off I found myself behind a car which was being driven by a young woman. I was trundling along behind her, not really watching her and idly looking over the other cars passing past in the opposite lanes.
As we approached a pedestrian crossing, the lights went to amber, then changed to red. The woman in the car in front accelerated through them, making the waiting pedestrians look open mouthed.

Frankly, doing with a marked Police Car behind you is just taking the mick.

I hit the blues and pulled her over, into a shopping centre car park.
I told her why I'd stopped her. She started to deny it then thought better of it - she was just short of being bolshy, and obviously frightfully annoyed at the Police having the nerve to waste her time.
After checking her licence and insurance details on my Mobile Data Terminal in the car, I walked back to her.
"Here's your driving licence back - going through red lights is an endorsable offence, so you are eligible for points on your licence plus a fine. However, on this occasion I am going to let you go with a verbal warning, seeing as it's Christmas Eve."
The woman's outraged response - "I'm not a Christian. Why should Christmas make any difference?"

*deep breath*

"So, let me get this straight... you weren't getting a ticket, but think that you deserve one because you're not Christian?"
No answer.
"Good bye, drive carefully."

Wednesday 17 December 2008

Express Yourself

Like many coppers, I often claim to be unshockable.
And then I am without fail proved wrong.

One of the things that was slightly disconcerting to me when I first started doing Gaoler duty was some of the cell dweller's activities once safely hidden away in their rooms.

Spitting, fighting, self harming, vandalism, peeing or defecating in unusual places - all expected and easily coped with.

However, some of our 'clients' partake in slightly different methods for passing the time.

A significant number of young adult males feel that whilst lying in the (CCTV viewed) cell awaiting questioning is a good time to indulge in some "self expression."

I think it's safe to say that whatever fantasies people may or may not have about Police Officers, seeing the reality of the urine stained, dirty, smelly, vomit ridden cells is not something that would turn most people on.

Of course, rattling the wicket on the door and reminding them that their cell is covered by CCTV as they approach the crucial moment is only fair.
Bizarrely, this only stops some of them.

As I said, I'm still shockable.

Sunday 7 December 2008

The Bear Returns

Yet another shift with too many calls, yet another parade room with too few officers, yet another station yard with not enough Police Cars to get out and start assigning callsigns to calls.

Yet another evening in the company of Ruffles. You may have to read that link for this to make any sense.

Once again I have spent a shift driving our Sergeant around. I think it is supposed to be a compliment (and of course he keeps asking questions that I will be forced to regurgitate in March).
Apparently it is 'Good Experience.'

Blackstones never mentioned keeping a temperamental teddy bear happy though.

Once again, Ruffles was strapped into our super powered diesel car in the back seat and stayed safely there, unless excitement happened.
Once again we went to a fire, and once again Ruffles was placed on the dashboard.
Apparently not only does he like fire, he also "loves seeing firemen in their uniform."

Ruffles at scene at an incident. His identity has been protected

My Sergeant has been working on response for most of his twenty two year career. People talk about the risks of Policing, and the effects of shift work...

After my first post about Ruffles, a few people suggested some ideas for dealing with him. What I am worried about is the effect it could have on my Sergeant's morale. Seeing him proudly sitting Ruffles by the computer in the parade room is somehow heart warming.

Ruffles also has an inappropriate sense of humour. At one point we went to a very nasty scene. Blood everywhere, withshocked officers standing in silence, ashen faced and monosyllabic when asked questions.
You know things are bad when the usual cynical comments are not forthcoming from either the coppers or ambo at the scene.

After we had left, Ruffles proceeded to tell a very long and tenuous inappropriate joke.
At least, I think he did.
My Sergeant 'translated' for him.


Tuesday 2 December 2008

The Guinea Pigs Have Taken Over The Bank

Of course, as mature as I may pretend to be I am not totally averse to having fun at work sometimes.

One of my more elaborate plots involved someone who had annoyed me considerably - and no, he was not a Senior Officer. Call him Paul.

We had had a little bout of small practical jokes on each other, ending with him doing the traditional "fingerprint ink on the hat band" routine on me.

All very funny.

In retaliation, I started to collect at any opportunity the paper discs, discarded from hole punches - the actual 'holes' you punch out of the paper.

Once I had the correct amount (one 'C' size evidence bag for those interested) I waited in lair for my adversary.
Unfortunately I had to wait a while, as we work in different departments. However, whilst chatting to the garage hand in the yard of the nick one day, who should I see drive up but my sworn enemy.

Paul parked his response vehicle, and wondered in the direction of the canteen.

I approached the car, and with care, tipped the small paper hole punch discs (do they have a name?) into the heating vents of the car.
I then positioned the vents to face towards him, and put all of the fans on to maximum so that when he put the key in the ignition and started the engine they would burst into life.
Oh yes.

I sat myself down with some paperwork, with a view of his car. I was prepared to wait. Then the radio crackled into life: "Any unit available to run the Borough Commander from Bravo X-ray to the council offices at about half eleven, over?"
A pause. Not a popular job.
"Bravo X-ray from Bravo Zulu Two One, I'll run him over when I've finished refs."
"Two-One, that's much appreciated. Bravo X-ray out."
I recognised Paul's voice immediately.

The temptation to let the mini explosion happen to Paul AND the Borough Commander was huge, but I didn't like to think of Paul having to explain the situation to any Senior Officer.

I trotted up to the canteen - "Paul, can I borrow your keys? Just need to move your car."
Back down to the yard. The garage hand came out of his office grinning. "You'll be wanting this then?" He handed me the vacuum cleaner.

The only way to get rid of the eyelets was to flush them out, so I started the car, and experienced the softest explosion known to man kind. It was a little like being in a warm snow storm, as the paper discs fluttered around me.
For a minute, all was peace.
Then I set to work with the vacuum cleaner.
It took me my whole bloody refs break.

You'll be relieved to know I have a plan B though. Glitter. He'll never get that off...