Now that I’m in the control room as a civvie, people often ask me why I came back full time rather than picking & choosing my hours. In fact, they ask me why I came back at all, to be fair, & the only reason I can give them is that the money is good, especially when you add it to a police pension; those university fees don’t pay themselves.
I know quite a few in a similar boat to me who have come back on a part-time basis. The trouble is that if you do that, the part-time they want you to do is usually late shifts; anywhere between midday & 3am.
This just happens to be the shift I hate the most. It’s not because it is busy, I can handle being busy, it’s just that there is so much shite to deal with. This usually includes ringing back pissed-off customers telling them we’ve not had anyone free for the last 3 days & can we try again tomorrow, and juggling all the jobs we don;t have people to send to trying to find reasons why one is more important than the other & constantly rearranging lists in order of importance. People sometimes think we should see them in order of when they asked us to send someone. Unfortunately, we have to work on a rota based upon what is more serious or what has a higher priority in our targets. Although we are open 24 hurs a day & have branches everywhere, that’s where our similarity with Tesco ends; we don’t serve people based on their position in the queue. This pisses people off, especially on lates when most things happen & when most people are available to be seen.
I don’t mind early turns, though I prefer them whenÃ‚Â we did straight 8 hour shifts years ago. We would start at 6am and be home by 2.15 leaving a reasonable amount of the day left to do something with. Now we finish at 4 or 5pm when the day has gone. Early shifts can be quiet but generally they can tick along nicely & if you get a few decent jobs time can pass quite quickly.
I’ve never minded night shifts, despite seeing research over the years about how much working night shifts can knock off the end of your life, I quite enjoy them. You can get some really good jobs at night, & some equally good arrests. Nothing much beats nicking burglars or car thieves (they’re actually often both the same thing).
Nights can be deadly though. I’ve never yet fallen asleep at work (well, not in the control room though a patrol car might have been a different thing) but I know several colleagues who have fallen hostage to Somnus during a boring shift. My last set of nights I came really close. It was soooo slow. We didn’t have a single pursuit all night, we didn’t have a single RTC on the fast roads network (dual carriageway/motorway). Even the semi-constant PNC checks ground to a halt as, apparently, there was nobody on the roads, at least nobody worth stopping.
Sometimes I think my three favourite shifts are annual leave, rest days & sick, in that order.