Sunday 2 August 2009

Foot Chase

One of the laws of Policing is that whenever you get a group of coppers with any experience together, especially if there is alchohol present, the war stories will start coming out.

Some of them are even true and not embellished with layer upon layer of fabrication.

A tendency at times like this, is to approach these stories slightly cautiously, especially if you don't know the group as well as you could.
A lot of the stories start with "This copper I once knew..."

This reminded me of a similar one - about a copper I used to work with, a grizzled old sweat who had been there, seen that, and done it all. With an almost superhuman ability to drink tea and coffee.

Although I have talked about my experiences with both vehicle pursuits and foot chases here and here, I also had one of my first ever foot chases with this guy.

Mark had been tasked to sit in a road that had newly been made a one way street, and stop and "advise" people that were ignoring this and roaring through anyway. It had previously been used as a cut through and after a few near misses the residents had understandably complained.
Filled with the kind of glee that only a thirty year copper can feel when tasked with a job like this, he collared me and brought me along to join in the excitement.

It was actually a great job - a lovely sunny day, no paperwork as we were 'advising,' not sticking people on. Sitting there in shirt sleeves, no vests, and being brought cold drinks by the residents - grateful that for once the Police had listened to their requests.

After about two hours, a little Peugeot turned into the road ignoring the no entry sign and barrelled towards us. I shuffled out from the cul-de-sac where we were parked up, and raised my hand. No response. And I was even wearing my hat. The cheek.

The car continued on its merry way, leaving nothing but a trail of exhaust smoke and the smell of a car that hadn't had its oil checked for some time.
I of course used my literally weeks of experience to leap into action, and so stood there, arm still outraised with my mouth doing a very good impression of a goldfish.

The area car thrummed alongside me, and Mark said "are we going after it, or are you hoping he's going to change his mind and come back?"
I snapped out of my little moment, and clambered in to the passengers seat. Mark hit the blues and I felt the surge as the kick down pushed us back in our seats.
"Shall I call it in?"
Mark had a grim look on his face: "Nope, he'll stop. He's not going to get away from us in that."
Sure enough, the car turned a quick right out of the road, and as we caught up and did the same it came to a sudden stop.
The driver, obviously a local with knowledge of the area, leapt out at a run and headed down an alleyway that ran along the back gardens of the houses.
I jumped out as well, as did Mark. I was positively shaking with the adrenalin and excitement, and held the radio in my hand like a sword of justice and truth.

Running up the path, I shouted some unintelligable nonsense into the radio about the foot chase. Mark later told me that he kindly translated for the control room so that they could understand what I was trying to say.
Whatever, I could hear units answer up and start to make their way, and even heard two tones in the distance. Other than that, all I was interested in was the suspect ahead.
This was before my night duty diet consisted purely of kebabs, so I felt pretty good about catching the suspect. Now it will depend purely on whether it is before or after I've eaten - I keep myself relatively fit and can still do the shield run in sub two minutes, but after a kebab I need time to adjust...

On this occasion, I hadn't eaten and was desperate to get this fella.
As we ran along the alleyway, a man came wondering out of a side turning further along, with a dog on a lead. Bald, with the traditional string vest tucked in beneath an impressive stomach. He didn't even factor into my thinking.
Not so for Mark. He took this opportunity to utilise a skill he picked up as a Sergeant in the army: a bellow so loud and deep that even in my blue funk, I heard it clearly. "Stop him! He's a rapist!"

String Vest didn't hesitate for second. With surprising agility, he swung and kicked the suspect in the shins, knocking him straight to the ground. Me and Mark ran up, and leapt on him to apply the cuffs.
"Thanks" I managed to pant out. String Vest didn't even break his stride and stepped over us struggling to get the cuffs on, quietly saying as he did so "You're doing a splendid job lads."


Anonymous said...

I chased a burglar across a cemetery in the middle of the night, pitch black, without really thinking I shouted, 'Stop or I let the dog go'. He stopped dead I didn't and duly collided with him which was far softer than the alternative a gravestone. Back at the nick he wanted to complain about me telling lies! Having an imaginary dog worked on another occasion many years later on a rural beat in a small Ford van and dealing with half a dozen travellers I had caught in pursuit of daytime game (Hare coursing) They sensing that as I was alone they would do as they wished and being arrested was not going to happen. I casually told them to keep away from my van as the dog was very protective of the van and had bitten several people. Their attitude changed and they decided that going to the nick was the better option. They willingly drove their vehicle and dog trailer to the main road where my back up had arrived. I still think that if they had believed that my van had not contained a dog I would have been in the s**t. Credit to them though they laughed about it later when they found out.

Anonymous said...

That's a brilliant story. Fantastic job by Mark to use the distorted nationalism of string vest man to his advantage :D

Emily said...

I attended a robbery and upon arrival saw three robbers run off. I gave chase and soon realised my driver was no where to be seen. I cornered them in a children's play area. Three of them, one of me. I drew my rigid baton, held it like a rifle and pointed it at them, shouting, "Stop, armed police officer!" I got them to lie face down on the ground until back-up arrived. Unlike anon's story, they didn't find it amusing.

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

yes,in the dark batons *can* look like guns.apparently.

Dark Side said...

Great story Area and Anon with the dog :)..x

Tom102 said...

forgive me. I'm still in fits of laughter having read the post and some of the comments.

Outstanding. I believe that you are more likely to obtain an alturistic response from bystanders if you yell 'fire' as people are self-motivated to protect themselves, rather than a lone voice calling for help.

To Mark, anon, and ILH you have my profound respect.

Fee said...

Cracking story! Some cracking comments too.

The police caught a burglar in our street when he jumped into the wrong garden and was confronted by the owner's dog. It was the meanest looking thing imaginable, and he took one look at it and froze. The dog wouldn't bite even it you bit it first, but appearances can be very deceptive.

Sebastien Millon said...

Haha, that is a great story. I bet a foot-chase is good fun so long as no one gets hurt!

Metcountymounty said...

Insp Hobbes, an asp held in the pistol position is also rather handy at focusing the mind, especially in a dark alley with some knife wielding crack head burglar. Can't do it too often though, I can't imagine it would take long for someone to actually get shot if us unarmed bods bluffed them too often!!!

Kate said...

Fantastic blog! Another perfect example of the intelligence, quick thinking and wit within our police force. It is stories like these that make me proud of the Met. Thanks Area x x

Emily said...

MetCountyMounty - nice to see you're still around. No chance of bringing your blog back?

Zed said...

Fantastic story and great comments. I'd love to know if the Belgian police ever do anything. The ones in my commune are great - although when I once called them to take away an extremely drunk ex-friend of mine on whom my overweight partner just happened to be sitting on until they arrived - all 7 of them weren't really sure what to do.

Long story that happened in the early hours of the morning. Oh - and we were sober;)

blueknight said...

We lent our plain car to another squad who, unbeknown to us, deactivated the child locks on the doors.
We arrested two men for 'misbehaving' in a public toilet. One was aged early 30s, athletic build, wearing a track suit and trainers. The other was 40+ overweight and out of condition. We sat them in the back of the car, - suddenly a door opened and one jumped out and was off like a long dog. It was the older one. I caught him after a couple of hundred yards but I was at full stretch. He could not speak for 5 minutes and was still gasping for breath 20 minutes later.

Anonymous said...

A guy nicked my hat the other night. Snuck up behind me and he was off. The skipper nearby managed to cover the 10ft between myself and him and pass me running after the bloke. I put it up on the radio and we got a good turn out. After a 0.5 mile full pelt chase we got him.

Anon 2 said...

Anon, you are Chinstrap and I claim my £5!

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The author continued in the same spirit

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