April 11th, 2010

Thanks for calling

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I had another of these days in the control room today.

Only it was worse.

We started the shift with over 30 jobs. As I looked through the logs, at least a dozen of which I’d seen already the day before & the day before that, I looked round the room to see that most of the other areas were double-crewed. I was single-crewed, again.

I had more jobs that any other division in the force, but that never seems to get in the way of the control room supervisors actually thinking where the staff should sit.

I had 4 units to play with plus a few PCSOs & a couple of neighbourhoods. Unfortunately, I was on one of the divisions where the usual reply when you ask a neighbourhood officer to deal with a ‘neighbourhood-type’ issue is “Sorry, I’ve got a meeting, & that’s not my area anyway.” Other divisions have neighbourhood officers who will deal with anything they’re sent to.

So with the most jobs in the force that need to be dealt with, what do the shift sergeants do? Yep, send 75% of the available manpower out on arrest enquiries. And bugger my boots, but all 3 units find someone in & make arrestes, so that’s them off the road for at least an hour. In fact there are so many arrests made within the first hour of the shift in ours & the neghbouring 2 divisions that it takes 90 minutes to 2 hours to book a pris0ner in.

One of the people I rang yesterday, who could be best described as an ignorant arsehole when he’s in a good mood, has rung in wanting to complain that he’s still waiting to be seen. His need for the police is because one of his neighbours looked at his wife in a funny way & called her a fat cow. The log yesterday started with “I want police dan ‘ere naaah”.

He didn’t get his request & it doesn’t look like he’ll get it today either. He wants to speak to the Inspector. My patrol sergeant is dealing with a prisoner as he went out on one of the arrest enquiries as one of his officers only stayed an hour at work before going off sick with the lurgy.

I ring the inspector, who is supervising a missing person search for an elderly Alzheimer’s patient  who has gone walkabout on the next division. He says he’s not going to be available for another 3 -4 hours at least & could I do him a favour & ring Mr Bollox back & let him know he’ll either ring him later in the day or pass it on to the next inspector.

So I do. And I get it with both barrels. Apparently it’s my fault that the police are fucking useless & when Mr Bollox smacked his neighbour in the face breaking his cheek last year we were down there nicking him within 20 minutes, but when he wants help it takes 2 days. He sees no difference  between a serious assault & name calling. As the conversation continues his voice not only gets louder but it gets higher. I don’t mind this because if it goes on longer than about another minute it will be so high only dogs can hear it.

I have to take the phone away from my ear, my colleagues sitting nearby stop what they’re doing & try to earwig in. I remain calm, my voice deep & measured. This probably winds him up even more because he’s not getting a reaction. He switches tack & tries the personal insults. He starts calling me a See You Next Tuesday & then hopes my wife dies of cancer. I tell him in measured tones that that’s really not a nice thing to say. I don’t mention that it’s a recorded line because I know it’s pointless. I tell him I’m going to put the phone down because I don’t actually have to listen to him. I’ve already mentally tarrred & feathered the inspector & am promising myself never to do him another favour.

Finally, I thank Mr Bollox for the chat & put the phone down.

I look up to the screen which, in the time I’ve been on the phone has gained another 5 jobs, 2 of which are arrest enquiries by the units who have worked their way through custody with their first arrest enquiries & come out the other side. Mr Bollox has rung back & spoken to one of the calltakers, I fear it is not to praise my professionalsim & calmness under fire.

Sometimes I just want to scream, in several directions: “OH, FUCK OFF!”

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