October 18th, 2008

Saving the Bacon

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

I used to love my job. There really is nothing better than front-line policing. It’s not a job that most people could do, and there is a certain buzz when you’re actually out there, making a difference.

I enjoy my current role. It’s removed from the front-line but I like to think much less removed than most of the other policing roles. I also like to think I make a difference here too, helping those on the front-line where I worked for so long.

As much as I loved the role of a front-line officer, I would not do it for free. The remuneration for being a cop is reasonably good. OK, you’ll never get rich, but you don’t join the job to make a wad of cash. Plus the pension is was really great (as I am shortly to discover).

Special Constables are front-line volunteers who do the job for nothing, zilch, bugger all, well, apart from the occasional expenses. They don’t get paid. They give up their free time to come in, put the uniform on and go out there. Depending on their role they can face exactly the same hazards & danger as the rest of us. OK, they have the same equipment, but their training is not as thorough as us regulars & they can still end up on the wrong end of an assault or injury.

Sometimes, I’m amazed how much we rely on them. Specials work an awful lot of weekends, just when we are at our busiest. Some work late turns finishing well into the wee small hours, some work whole night shifts. Some come in for a few hours & lots come in and do a whole 8 or 10 hour shift.

Sure, there are lots of things they can’t do. Of necessity, due to their training, they can’t deal with everything but they’ll take most things.

Last weekend was just such an example. We had 4 teams of specials on, and had it not been for them we’d have been in some serious trouble.

You get weekends when, for some unknown reason, the wheel comes off & we are rushed off our feet. Violence & disorder just seems to rocket, call it full moon, call it mob mentality, I don’t know. There are just days when unrelated incidents all involve disorder, all over the place.

The specials took the lions share of the jobs, this was because we had a major job where the shift made some arrests and 80% of our front-line resources were then tucked up & off the road for the whole shift. Unfortunately, this doesn’t stop everyone else fighting. You can’t tell the 999 operators just to tell folk we haven’t got anyone & can they ring back tomorrow; the calls still keep coming.

We had about 10 specials working, this was almost as many as the whole night shift that paraded. 8 of them had to stay on past their 2am shift, 3 of them didn’t get off until 7 in the morning. One of them was assaulted during the shift. It’s not unusual for them to be kept on shift after their duty time; we rely on it, often.

They worked really hard last weekend. Most of them have full-time jobs.

I enjoyed the job but, nah, I wouldn’t do it for nothing.

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