May 26th, 2009


Posted in The Job - General by 200

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 when  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.

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  1. Alpha Tango says:

    I think it depends on the shift pattern, some are much better than others.

    N/T was the best shift as it meant double crewing on response, well most of the time, and the opportunity for some proactive work!

    May 27th, 2009 at 09:51

  2. Fee says:

    I’ve only ever worked “office hours” but still manage (thanks to flexi time) to be in two hours before most colleagues – with the added bonus that I get to go home two hours sooner than they do. Yay. The only “night” shifts I ever did were with my kids as babies – two o’clock in the morning always seemed the loneliest time! Maybe I should have phoned up the local nick for a wee chat?

    May 27th, 2009 at 12:35

  3. Hibbo says:

    I’ve always been a big fan of nights, I’ve never done anything as macho as policing of course, but plenty of shift-work. There’s less people about sticking their noses in on nights so you can actually get things done. Also I could knock out 10+ hours sleep a day, rather than 3 hours working days… (Although I’m not sure if the constant changing of shifts caused this insomnia in the first place)

    May 27th, 2009 at 14:45

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