April 24th, 2009

At the sharp end

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

I don’t know what it is about knives at the moment but it seems that every other job in the last week has involved a knife.

There must have been a dozen jobs where at least one of the parties has had a knife in the last 2 or 3 days & that’s just on my channel, on my shift.

Domestic incident between husband & wife? One of them will storm off from the house with a knife. We then have to decipher whether they are going to harm themselves or someone else. If the latter, then we have to find out how many people the one still at home has been shagging – the shag-ee – to decide which houses to go round & protect the shag-or/s.

Teenage female shoplifters? One of them is bound to have a small kitchin knife in her back pocket.

The flavour of the month is self-harming with a knife. We’ve had 2 girls & a bloke cutting their wrists with a knife. Of course, most times this happens the cuts are no more than paper-cuts, presumably designed to make someone feel guilty about something. Although one guy did have a pretty sterling effort at slicing his arms off.

The upshot of all these jobs is that, because the British police are not generally equipped to deal with people with knives, unless you class the ability to let them stab you in a vest while you try to hit them with a thin metal stick as ‘equipped’, the first thing people call for is the firearms car, who are probably busy frightening some teenager who has a BB-gun in public on the other side of the county.

You then, according to the rules, have to give the officers a warning that they need to be in posession of their personal protective equipment. What essentially they are saying (they, being the people who design protocols) is that because we don’t give everyone the right tools for the job, if we at least tell them to wear their vests & be careful, if they get stabbed it’s not our fault, hands neatly washed.

They are also saying that officers who are issued with a vest, pepper spray & a stick, cannot be trusted to have this gear on them when they are sent to the report of a person with a knife. Neither do they trust the controllers to have passed on the message, so it has to be written down & documented that they were given the warning to wear the equipment which most of them wear all the time anyway.

To nick a similar well-known phrase or saying, it’s arse-covering gone mad.

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