Watching CCTV, that is.
As a controller, I have access to all the towns’ CCTV. ¬†We use it a lot. One thing I’ve learned from CCTV is that no matter how prominent the cameras are, many people forget they are there and do the most insane things on camera. From beating each other up to smashing shop windows to having full sex on a bench in the middle of the town centre at 4 in the morning.
If it’s really quiet we can waste a bit of time flicking through all the different towns to see what’s going on, or if there is something interesting or juicy going down it’s good to get a front row seat sometimes.
It can be really frustrating though. It’s like when I watch those cop shows and police chases on the TV. You half wish you were there and you¬†fantasise¬†about getting involved again, just for a a few minutes, so you could nick some dickhead like you used to do on a daily basis a few years back.
The most frustrating thing is when there is some kind of disturbance going on and your colleagues are out there rolling around the floor with someone. There’s not a thing you can physically do to help them. I once saw on officer challenging a couple of drunk thugs in the High Street. It ended up in a full blown scrap and the officer had his arm broken. We did all we could to get someone to assist him even before it started kicking off. But we couldn’t get them there quick enough to prevent a serious injury to the officer. It wasn’t a very pleasant experience.
On another occasion we watched a group of drunken thugs attack a lone male. It wasn’t long before the guy was on the floor curled up in a ball, having taken a battering already. Someone walked up to him and stamped on his head. It was one of the most violent things I’d witnessed since moving to the control room. The brave thug who did it ran off leaving the victim sprawled on the street, unconscious. For all we knew he could have been dead; it looked that bad on CCTV.
As it turned out the thugs got arrested getting into a taxi a few streets away, they were followed by the CCTV controllers. The victim came round and thankfully wasn’t seriously injured. he spent the night in the local A&E and for some reason I never found out, refused press charges.
Funny old world.