Thursday 18 March 2010
A few days ago I was on patrol with a colleague who had recently joined our team.
Whilst cruising around one of our many sink estates, looking for a wanted male, a call to a pub fight came out - it was closing time so not an unusual call to get.
"Any unit Bravo X-ray sector to a disturbance at the Hare and Billet Pub, Brixley Road. Informant states twenty plus fighting with weapons, on an I-Immediate grade."
As the units started to answer up, I called up and accepted the call as well. We weren't far, and I turned to my oppo and said "I wouldn't worry, that place is always calling in fights. Every time they mention knives or serious injuries or gangs, just to get us there quicker."
I pootled at a reasonable clip down the hill leading to Brixley Road, and pulled left at the junction by it. Blues and Rear reds left on to show other units where we were as much as fend off traffic.
My partner called up on the radio and showed us on scene - as he did, a bottle came sailing over the pub wall and landed on the bonnet with a thud.
As soon as we opened the car doors, we could hear the shouting and "sounds of disturbance" that the sealed windows, chattering radio, sirens, and heater on full had hidden. I leant in the car and pushed the horn of it, activating the two-tone sirens again. I wanted the people fighting to know the Police were here, and hopefully stop... I also called up on the radio and asked for an eta for back up units.
As I did, I saw my colleague disappearing into the pub.
Muttering aspersions about his parent's marital status when he was born, I followed. I drew my baton and racked it, adrenalin completely failing to overcome the very real and well placed fear that had taken hold. As I got to the door way I was greeted by the edifying sight of my colleague coming back towards me, sharpish. "I didn't think it would be as bad as it sounded," he breathlessly said.
"And it's as bad as it sounded."
As he talked, a pint glass hit the ground and rolled towards us. Followed by what appeared to be a chair leg, this time thrown with more conviction. Reacting simultaneously, we made our way back to our car to wait for more units to arrive
A borough's worth of Police units, and two public order carriers later, peace was restored.
In the wonderful way of drunken scraps like this, no allegations were made. The pub was trashed, there were bloodied and bruised people with ripped clothing scattered about, and numerous people handcuffed after showing aggression. But of course no one saw anything, no one knew who had started it, no one wanting to give details.
Fast forward to Custody an hour later, and a group of four Custody Sergeants getting very pissed off with large group of people being booked in for being Drunk and Disorderly...
A rude awakening for myself for thinking the call was LOB. A rude awakening for my colleague for thinking he was invincible.
And a rude awakening for the pub landlord for allowing the booking from a well known section of the community, known for their attitudes towards drinking and fighting.