Friday 27 March 2009

Rush Job

Very busy at the moment, hence no blogging.
Yes, the G20 has a lot to answer for.

I'm obviously going to be home even less over the coming week, with my own shifts plus all my rest days cancelled and extended tours of duty. I have even been warned for two consecutive shifts on one day...

Can't and won't talk about G20 in detail until afterwards - suffice to say that we're all quite worried about it.
As my usually jovial Sergeant said today whilst talking about it: "It's going to go to shit, isn't it? I mean, we're buggered really, aren't we?"


Thursday 19 March 2009

Our Customers

An example of our customers and the joy of working in a front office in a Police Station.

Friday 13 March 2009


One of my fleeting moments of power and influence.

It was 0800hours and a few of us had been called in on a rest day for a pre-planned operation, to dress up in plain clothes and go out looking for wanted offenders.
We had obeyed by turning up in the obligatory "plain clothes copper" uniform of DM booths, jeans, and North Face jacket with buzz cuts for the blokes.

Of course, the robbery squad were too busy to deal with any robbery prisoners. Same for the burglary squad, and the domestic violence unit are always snowed under with their prisoners.
So all three had requested that we didn't go out looking for any of their circulated suspects.

Instead, we were briefed to go out looking for SERCO breaches. Most met officers will know these - when people who have been electronically tagged breach their conditions, SERCO automatically send a fax to the force with the time of the breach, and arrest enquiries are (eventually) made.

The sergeant had called in sick. The DI looked at me - "Area, you're Acting Sergeant for this. I need a return of work on my desk before you head off. Cheers."

I leafed despondently through the dockets - I had one for a breach of curfew by four minutes. Hmmm.
Another one for a breach of curfew that happened on the day of his court date - the suspect had been at home since then, but had obviously got home late from court and therefore technically breached his curfew conditions by being outside the curfew hours. Not unreasonable when court finished at 1700 and curfew started at 1800.
A third breach of curfew by twenty minutes where the suspect's mother had phoned and stated he was ill and in hospital. This has actually happened some weeks ago, and since then the suspect had gone to court for trial and been found not guilty.

In all, we had one docket with a 'real' arrest.
The robbery, burglary, and CID dockets had been sprited away by the guvnor from CID.

I had six officers and three unmarked cars. I quickly came up with a plan: "OK, lets see if we can nick this bugger and be back for breakfast."
Sure enough, the suspect from our one good docket had been evicted, and the house was boarded up.
I sent the other cars out to verbally warn the breaches of curfew, then at 1000 hours with nothing left to do, we RVP'd at the nick for a late breakfast.

With the "return of work" threat ringing in my ears, I decided to be creative, and we went out hunting. Two officers on plain clothes patrol in one of our busier town centres, and the rest of us targeting our hot spots and seeing if we could turn over some gang members.

At 1930 hours we headed back to the nick - loads of searches, a number of drug seizures, two shoplifters, an arrest for PWITS (Posession with intent to supply) and one for a wanted male who had decided to kick one of the unmarked cars in a drunken haze.

I dismissed the PCs with me, and headed up to report our success to the DI.

Next day, I had an email waiting in my inbox (as did the officers with me) asking in the strongest possible terms for an explanation - apparently there was great upset at my decision not to arrest the SERCO breaches I mentioned above. "Verbally warned" was not the result they were looking for. Our self created arrests didn't count as part of their targets for their dockets...

Serves them right for putting me in charge.

Thursday 12 March 2009

House Clearance

Two thirty ay-em, and we're heading towards our divisional HQ for a spot of porcelain patrol.

It's been one of those nights, and neither of us have had a single break in eight and a half hours of work. Imagine the stress on our poor bladders.

Of course, as we drive through the darkened glistening wet streets, our control room put out the "suspects on premises" call about a quarter of a mile from our location.
And of course, muggins here answers up rather than go and take the desperately needed comfort break.

Forty minutes later, and we're still waiting for a dog unit to attend as they are tied up at a job on the other side of the Force. It's raining hard now, my stomach is tying itself in knots, and I'm standing alone in the dark on a containment on a warehouse waiting for the furry land sharks to come and bite the buggers who have been caught on scene by a security guards whilst helping themselves to the company computers.

I know my oppo is inside the security hut with the guard, watching the cameras.
I also heard the toilet flush not long after him going in there.

"BX23, BX201, BX24 and BX82 from Bravo X-ray. Dog unit is still dealing and unavailable. Bravo X-ray over."
A pause, then a resigned voice "Received."

Sod it. This is how bad decisions are made. I decide to go in and look for them ourselves.

Short story, we got both of them eventually. I had to run, and ripped my uniform trousers for the umpteenth time. I also got a smack from a confused probationer who had blundered into the building without a torch and mistaken my jacket saying "POLICE" as a black and white sweater with a "SWAG" bag.

Nevertheless. Two bodies in, one for me and my oppo.
First time I've ever stopped at a garage to use their bathroom with a prisoner on board...

Throughout the whole event, I kept replaying Solomon Burke singing "None of Us Are Free" through my head. At one point the rain drops hitting my hat started to sound in time to the song.
Nights do something funny to me like that.

Wednesday 11 March 2009

Luton et Al

PC Pinkstone has also posted on this, as a Luton lad he feels "disappointed."

I'm as "disappointed" as anyone. But it also neatly answers a question that most coppers get asked on a semi-regular basis: "What's the worst thing you've dealt with?"

I'd say THIS kind of job is definitely up there.

Dead people, bloodied fights, violence - they are not pleasant but they are what you joined to do. Protecting people like these protestors against members of the public who are probably feeling emotions similar to you is frankly not what I joined to do.

I personally have huge respect for the armed forces of this country. The Police as a whole has a good relationship with the forces, and many many coppers are ex-services.
To have to protect a sickening group like the one shown in the video above is what is difficult about the job.

I've watched it a few times now, and my eye keeps getting drawn to an elderly man in a grey anorak and pie hat who appears to challenge the protestors. I appreciate I'm stereotyping here, but he doesn't look like the type for violence. Instead, he looks a lot like someone's Grandfather who is so upset and angered by what he sees he feels he has to react.

Rock and a hard place for the coppers there. Whilst on duty I've been to military parades, rememberance dos and funerals of local soldiers killed on multiple occasions, and the pride at those events clashes completely with the shameful actions of the protestors in Luton.

Tuesday 10 March 2009

Norn Iron - Again

I've been away from the computer a lot recently due to a very busy period of shifts and a couple of crown court cases. Added together it means I've had single figure days off in the last month or so.

No sympathy needed, as I got paid for some of it for once.

A quick post today - as many blogs will be saying, thoughts and prayers with our brothers and sisters in the PSNI at the moment, after THIS

Coming so soon after the attack on the army base, I just hope that this isn't a re-emergence of a greater threat in Northern Ireland to the security forces there.

Some of you may remember Belfast Peeler - he was one of my favourite (and in my opinion one of the best written) Police Blogs, until he was pushed towards making the decision to stop blogging.
I know that because of the way his blog was set up, he still receives any comments that are left on the site, even though they're not published.
Bearing that in mind, please take the time to pop over and leave a comment saying hello, passing on best wishes or condolences to someone who is now working in a more stressful Policing environment than most of us do.

Not a good time for the PSNI, nor the men and women of the British Armed Forces, home and away.