Archive for the The Job – Experience category

November 5th, 2012

At last!

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

So, I’ve finally managed to go part time.

I decided a while ago that although I still need to earn a living – I have kids to assist thru university and I can’t survive on just a police pension – life is a little more important to me than work. For the last three years, since I retired, my family and I have enjoyed a greater standard of living than ever we did when I was a copper, but I don’t want that to lead my life. It’s starting to hit me that I am probably around two-thirds through my life, and I only want to be working for the bare minimum of the third that’s left.

I have stuff I want to do outside the job, I’m becoming more interested in other pursuits, and to be honest, I don’t want to go down the route of some of the other people who work in that control room, i.e. becoming ill with stress and having to take months at a time off work.

So I am now known at work as part-time-weeks.

Whoopee!

July 30th, 2012

Jury’s still out

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

I’ve put in to reduce my hours, but it’s like waiting for Christmas (which I can’t get off, by the way, again).

I’ve now worked for this lot for around 33 years and feel it’s about time to slow down a bit. As I’ve mentioned before, I can’t fully retire on just the police pension as I still have children at home who want to go to uni.

So I officially applied to drop my hours to give me more time to chill out a bit and pursue one or two new interests I;ve taken up since I retired from the uniformed job.

The only trouble is I can’t get anyone to make a decision. I don’t know how many departments it takes to decide that i can work a few days a month less but who ever I ask it seems to be somebody else.

Come on guys, pull some fingers out, I want to plan my life.

July 26th, 2012

Moments of serendipity

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

I was reading something about complaints about police recently, can’t remember what it was, it might have been about the numbers of complaints we get.

I had very few complaints in my 30 years. I was never disciplined and all complaints against me were found in my favour.

Some years ago I got a call to a block of flats, an elderly gentleman had been assaulted by the paper boy after an altercation on the doorstep when the chap had not been satisified with the way the local paper had been screwed up into his letterbox. I got the impression that the old boy was having a go at the lad who, for whatever reason, had enough, punched him in the mouth and walked off.

When I arrived I was met by someone who was not the typical vulnerable old boy you might think whilst on route to a report of an elderly male who’d been bested by a teenager.

For a start he was around 6’1 tall, he had a choice turn of phrase, a handlebar moustache and was quite large in stature, not fat but wll built with a large chest which he puffed out at every opportunity. He said he was an ex-para and there were mementos around his flat which suggested this might be true. He was around 70, as I recall.

The paper boy had split the man’s lip. I took a statement and left, promising I would do what I could to trace the lad and bring him to justice.

A phonecall to the local newspaper distributor revealed the address of the lad who was arrested 15 minutes after I left the chap’s flat. I then spent the next four hours in custody interviewing the lad and sorting out the various reports and papers, fingerprinting & photographing, etc etc.

When I got back to the nick having taken the hapless teenager and his mother home, I was told that Mr Para had made an official complaint that I had not updated him on what progress I was making with his case.

The reason I hadn’t was obvious; I’d been dealing with the offender since leaving the victim’s house. Needless to say the¬†complaint¬†went nowhere, but it was registered in that year’s stats.

Some months later I had a¬†strange¬†sense of karma¬†regarding¬†the old man. I was out shopping one afternoon when I happened to go into my local branch of John ¬†Menzies. Who should I spy behind the chocolate display rapidly trying t force a really expensive box of chocolates into a plain ‘elderly person’s’ shopping bag, but Mr Para.

They say what goes around comes around.

July 15th, 2012

Would the last one to leave…

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

I sometimes wonder whether the job is trying to get people to leave so they don’t have to make them redundant.

It’s the only explanation for the way they’re treating people, piss them off enough so that they leave, less hassle for HR.

Three people in the last 3 months have retired, they didn’t have to, but have just had enough. They won’t be replaced so I guess the department has saved around ¬£90,000 without having to do anything. I know one of them was pissed off with not being allowed to take leave when he wanted it. He was in the control room when I was a probationer so he must have 34 plus years in the job.

Three people have taken career breaks, one for a year, one for two years and one for several years. I know one of them can’t take all the shite any more and is off to university with the hope of getting another career at the end of the course and not coming back. ¬†That’s gotta be another ¬£100,000 saved. None of them will be replaced because there is no recruiting.

Meanwhile, I’m waiting to hear whether they will accept my proposal to cut my hours. Rumours are that they’re biting peoples’ hands off to save money, so I’m hopeful of a positive result.

June 29th, 2012

It seems so bloody pointless

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

We came on duty on a night shift to find that one of the 5 units available would be written off at the start of the shift to go to a hospital 30 miles away to babysit another person waiting a mental health assessment.

You always get an ‘oh bollocks’ moment when your officers book unavailable straight away because it means that some jobs which need to get done, won;t get done, and someone will be waiting another day to see an officer. Often several units book unavailable right away. Sometimes they are catching up on paperwork from the day before, sometimes they have to make enquiries on previous jobs, often they are tasked to make ‘arrest enquiries’ so the local division can keep the stats up and show those who worry about beans that they are doing their part, regardless of the fact that one bean counted in the arrest department means no beans counted in the victim seen within a reasonable time department (mainly because nobody counts those beans, they’re not important)

The handover from the late shift controller is fairly straighforward. Nothing complicated, most people have been rung back and put off for tomorrow, sorry we didn’t get more jobs cleared but 2 officers (20% of the shift) have been at the hospital since they started the shift.

It turns out that it was actually the early shift who Section 136′d a women threatening to top herself. We get loads of them. They fall into the too difficult box, nobody knows how to deal with them. The only thing we can do is pass them on to mental health professionals. When they’re pulled off a bridge parapet over the motorway, or grabbed down from a tree with a jumper tied round their neck, you can’t really give them a stiff talking to and send them on their way.

The hospitals aren’t geared up to deal with them. They need to arrange a psychiatrist, mental health professional and social workers so they can do an assessment which will say either that their is nothing wrong with them and they should leave the hospital (what happens after they do is no concern of the hospital) or that they should stay at¬†hospital¬†under a mental health act section for further examination and/or¬†treatment.

In our force area it takes hours and hours. The hospitals refuse to take ownership of the patient until such time as the mental health team are actually there and ready to start their assessment. This means they demand that police officers babysit the patient. On this occasion the early shift took the women in at 11am, handed over to  late turn officers at 4.30pm who then handed over to night shift officers at 10.30pm.

The examination took place at 2am, lasted 15 minutes and the assessment was that there was nothing wrong with the patient and she was discharged, back into the care of officers who have then to decide what to do with her. On this occasion we were fortunate enough to find a relative who could take her in. Sometimes we just take them home and within an hour they are back out into the town and standing on a railway bridge parapet crying take me now cruel world. We have no way of dealing with them other than to take them to hospital, and the cycle begins again. Two officers, 15 hours at hospital, 3 hours travelling two and fro from hospital, 36 hours of police time, for what?

I dread to think how many man hours are completely wasted with this cycle.

I understand in some other force areas the officers merely convey to hospital, hand them over and drive off again, within an hour.

What is anyone else’s experience?

June 26th, 2012

More old habits

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

I’ve been a member of the International Police Association for many years.

I believe there are some worthy purposes which underpin the Association; their motto is Servo per amikeco which I think is Esperanto for Service through Friendship. Basically, I used it as a source of drinking and tremendous fun in foreign countries.

I used to go abroad on trips under the auspices of the IPA. Mostly before I was married or before we had children. A group of us would go some where in Europe, meet up with a load of foreign coppers and spend the time socialising, drinking and eating amongst some semi official police business. Apart from having a laugh it as quite educational; we learnt much about each other’s methods of policing. We got to check out the gear, drive their vehicles, fire their guns, visit their training centres, all sorts.

I mentioned recently about a trip to Russia. We also visited Germany several times, Holland, Belgium, France, Italy, Germany. We stayed in hotels, police barracks, training schools and officers’ own homes.

Over the last 30 years, I also hosted many foreign police officers, from all over the world. Some of them became long distance friends, others we never heard from again. I’ve never been to the States, at one time I had about 15 different offers for a place to stay from New York to Colorado to New Mexico & California. I even hosted a sheriff from Transylvania County and have the badges and patches to prove it.

I particularly remember one American cop, who came over with his wife. We got in touch with each other via a police chat list on he Internet. I invited him to stay, gave him a tour of the factory and got him a coupalongside ride-alongs. We corresponded for a couple of years until he stopped respondingwhile er some emails and letters unanswered ¬†I ¬†heard from his wife. It turned out he had been shot at work, whilst it wasn’t fatal, it was serious enough to end his career, whereupon things had gone downhill, he fell victim to depression and his marriage broke up. It was so sad.

I’ve paid my dues to the IPA every year but for at least 10 years I’ve not done a single IPA related thing. Well, I say I pay my dues, actually my wife does. Back in the mists of time and for reasons I cannot recall, the annual fee got swapped over to my wife’s account. Every January since, when the subs come out of her account, she reminds me to swap it back. I think she’s been paying to for over 25 years. I’ve never swapped it back.

I think I’ll probably just cancel the subscription, if I ever get round to it.

June 23rd, 2012

Driving the red roads

Posted in The Job - Experience, Videos by 200

I went to Russia some years ago and went out with the Russian Police. It was an experience.

None of the front line troops possessed a car, they simply couldn’t afford one. You had to be about the rank of colonel before you had your own car. Everyone lived in a flat. The job sent a truck round collecting officers from their flats at the start of the shift, and dropping them off at the end. The basic patrol car was the Lada, though the Gucci boys in the Moscow Traffic Police had nice shiny Ford Crown Victorias.

The road safety was somewhat different to the UK. In my time there we came across 2 fatal accidents. The body from one was laying in the central reservation as the traffic filtered through. It remained uncovered. And this was during the incident  and after the police arrived. No road closures, no scene preservation. Small shrines littered the roads, areas marked by small fences, almost like a personalised grave, they often contained parts of the vehicles, like steering wheels or tyres, presumably driven by the deceased.

Many drivers in Russia are now fitting dashboard cams to capture evidence in case they are involved in an RTC.

June 20th, 2012

So that’s that, then

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

After waiting six months to find out whether I’ve got any leave in the summer, I’ve just found out that I haven’t. Unfortunately, having kids at school, I can’t take my holidays outside the school breaks. It looks like the Mrs Weeks and the kids will have to go without a break.

And to rub salt into the wound, the only tickets we got for the f***ing olympics I can’t get the day off to go to that either.

But my shifts have been changed at the end of the summer so someone who hasn’t got kids can get some leave, so that’s nice.

June 12th, 2012

Its either fun or frustrating

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

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.

May 29th, 2012

Wish me luck

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

I’ve been thinking over the past couple of months, it might be time to look at reducing my hours.

Since I retired, I’ve found new interests outside the job. I only have a few more years with the kids at home before they disappear and I’ve given 33 years to the job.

I still work full 24-hour shifts which means you can;t commit to regular out of hours pursuits, well, not unless you are prepared to miss at least 1 in 4 of the weekly meetings. That means if you pay a subscription for membership, ¬†say to a football team or table tennis club, you immediately throw 25% of your annual fee straight down the drain because you can’t attend the meetings on a late shift or sometimes a night shift as well.

I think it’s about time I did some me and my family stuff, so I’m going to see if I can drop a few days a month and get some more free time.

There are two current thoughts with this. First, they are so short staffed - deliberately so Рthat they may not allow someone to drop shifts because that will leave them shorter. Or second, that they are trying to save so much money that they might welcome the ease at which they could save another few grand off a wage bill.

So, let’s hope the right ethos pertains when I stick my¬†application¬†in!

May 26th, 2012

Not long for this job

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

I went to a wedding this week. One of the shift got married.

It was real opportunity for people to let their hair down.

I got to talk to lots of people, many of whom work out on shift but are very friendly with the control room staff, so much so that they got invited to the wedding. It was interesting talking to some of the guys and girls out on the street, especially the¬†ones¬†who are being shafted the most by the government. Many of them joined under one set of conditions and find themselves being shat on as new¬†conditions¬†are¬†introduced, for instance the ones who are suddenly finding that they have to work a few more years than they had, for the last few years, ever thought possible. I spoke to no less than 3 people who are actively looking for another job. One of them leave is a couple of months time. She’s going self employed and setting up as a photographer. I wish her all the best.

With recruitment at a standstill, wages on hold and proposed decreases in starting salaries, it will be interesting to see who actually applies to join this job, and what the calibre of future applicants is.

May 25th, 2012

And one more

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

Sometimes you just have to lighten the load.

In the control room we currently have at least four members of staff who have been off for longer than 3 months with stress. It’s getting more like that. I saw someone crying in the little room outside the control room this week. It was something to do with what happened as she was trying to control an incident, I didn’t bother finding out the details.

So it makes a nice change to introduce some levity into proceedings.

We had a really busy night shift. I can’t remember which one of us suggested it but someone said something along the lines of, wouldn’t it be a laugh if we had a donut for every immediate job that came over, and how long we could last before either giving up or being sick.

So the next night we bought in a couple of dozen jam donuts and set them up on the desk beside the radio console. We were both in position by ten minutes to the start of our shift. By the time our shift had actually started we’d eaten 3 donuts. By the time we were an hour into the shift we’d had 10 donuts. By the time I took my grub break at 2 in the morning, we’d run out of donuts and had gone onto Chocolate Bourbons.

I didn’t manage to eat my sandwiches during my break. I kind of just laid there, floundering. When I got back thankfully the Bourbons had gone.

Someone offered to nip out to the local 24-hour supermarket during their break to get some more donuts.

I said it was a bad idea.

I won’t be eating donuts, for a while.

May 20th, 2012

Dream on, son

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

The Metro reports today that the Olympics will be the biggest pre-planned police operation the country has ever seen. No shit, Sherlock.

12,500 officers will be on duty for the Olympics, 9,500 of which will be drafted into London each day from forces all over the country.

I’m not a police officer (any more) and I won’t be going to London to help make the streets safe for those few people who actually got tickets, but I still haven’t had any leave approved over the summer. That’s why I still don’t know whether I can actually have a holiday with my wife and children this summer, nor whether I can actually attend my own child’s graduation or go to my best mate’s wedding. I’ve had to turn the role of best man down because I can’t guarantee that I’ll be able to get leave to attend.

It’s a bit worrying that there are only 2 months to go and they still don’t know how many staff they’ll need, or when they’ll need them.

May 9th, 2012

Changing Tracks

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

Anyone see the news today, apparently there is a new advertising campaign to stop people killing themselves on railway lines. It showed clips of people having near misses on the lines.

My first ever dead body was a railway line fatality. I was a very young probationer at the time. I was on patrol with the sergeant when the call came over the radio. A train driver had reported hitting something on the approach to the station in the town I worked.

We arrived at the rough location with a couple of other officers, it was probably 3/4 a mile outside the station. We split up into two groups, one went north, the other south. I went with the sergeant towards the railway station. It wasn’t long before we picked up what looked like a bundle of clothes in the torchlight.

As it turned out this was about the cleanest of any railway death I ever attended through the years. Most of them have occurred at the station where people have just jumped in front of the train as it whooshed past. They can be very messy.

This one was much cleaner; the guy had just laid down beside the line and put his head on the track. The train had taken the top of his skull clean off. There really wasn’t much mess. I was given the job of collecting up what brain, skull and hair matter we could find.

We took the body to the mortuary by which time the black humour had fully kicked in. I won’t recount it here as times have moved on and things that happened back in the day wouldn’t happen these days.

One case I will recount was a guy who had been chopped in half by the railway wheels.  I had arranged to take some probationers up to the mortuary to see a post mortem. This was in the days when it was mandatory to see a PM as your first taste of death on joining your team back from training school. The mortuary assistant must have thought it would be funny to wind up the new police officers. When he had laid the body out on the slab he put the top half the correct way round, i.e chest facing up, but he put the bottom half the wrong way round i.e. bum facing the sky.

It was interesting checking out the probationers’ faces when the body was revealed prior to the pathologist arriving.

It’s funny but whenever I see something about railway safety I always think back to that guy in 1980. I forgot his name a long time ago. I sometimes wonder how many dead bodies I’ve seen over the years. I have long since forgotten the details of why he came to be lying on the railway tracks in the middle of the night, but I can still picture him.

April 25th, 2012

It’s just so unfair

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

I had one of those days from hell this week.

You come in as controller and within 20 minuets of sitting down you’ve picked up 10 new jobs. But the officers starting the same shift have almost to a man, and woman, booked unavailable because they’re either trying to catch up on stuff they did the day before, or have been tasked with stuff which actually is no more important than all the new victims calling in, but because the results appear on the¬†divisional¬†chief inspector’s tick chart, take presidence ¬†over everything else.

Because you can’t assign any jobs for an hour or often much more, you know the rest of the shift is just going to be one big stress-fest and by the end of the shift you’re gonna have a whole heap of shite to hand over to the next shift who will just think you’ve spent the whole day sitting on your arse doing f-all.

I never used to get stressed at work, I was¬†generally¬†considered as completely laid back, but these days I’m finding that less and less the case.

The way we work is we have one person who is the controller, whose responsibility it is to filter all the jobs, be responsible for what gets done and in what order, who decides who is and who isn’t going to be seen, and why, and decides which officers will do what jobs. The other person is a kind of assistant, they generally do the updating of the logs, field and make the phones calls from officers and to members of the public.

So when it is busy, they are usually somewhat less stressed than the controller, as they don’t have the same level of responsibility.

When you have a really busy day, it’s kind of a standing joke that you hope the ‘assistant’ has a really busy day the next day, when they’re in the big chair, just so you can kind of get your own back.

So when I came in after a particularly horrendous shift the day before, I was all but hoping for another manic shift, just so I could take the piss out of my colleague.

It didn’t happen, I was gutted. Whereas the day before, I had an average of around 40 open incidents (there’s now way on God’s earth you can keep tabs on 40 jobs, so you spend all day just reading and re-reading them trying to remember which are important, what happened when and where, and what needs doing next. It’s just bloody impossible, which is why mistakes wdo and will continue to happen, but nobody gives a shit.) The following day my mate had a maximum of about 10 jobs open at any one time, complete bloody luxury.

There is no rhyme or reason as to why two shifts a day apart can be so different. One the quieter shifts you can take the jobs as they come, stress-free, you even get time for a bit of uplifting banter which makes the job more pleasant (though you have to be careful, walls have ears), on the other days, you walk out with your head spinning, feel completely drained, stressed to the eyeballs not having had a single decent or fun moment at work. It can;t be good for productivity, health, or the public.

April 19th, 2012

Zzzzz

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

It’s not often you get a Q shift in the control room (you’re not allowed to say ‘quiet’). So sometimes a quiet shift or two is really welcome.

The trouble comes when you have a quiet night shift. At least with a decent workload you are less prone to fall asleep. And you have to remember that if it’s a busy shift then some poor sod somewhere, or maybe even lots of poor sods, are probably having something of a bad day.

Ideally, nothing would happen which would be great for members of the public, but bloody awful for us sitting on our arses in the control room trying to while away 8-10 hours.

We had a really quiet set of shifts last week. We even went one night without a single ‘immediate’ incident, that was probably the night we only had 3 or 4 jobs all night spread across 1/5th of the entire force area.

It’s trying to kill the time. We do have access to the internet, we can bring in books, magazines or iPads, but when you are really tired, you just can’t bring yourself to do any activity which involves the brain. I’m lucky in as much as I use a remote headset, so I can stand up and walk around my desk, which is quite interesting, for 10 seconds. You can do minimal exercises standing behind the chair. Lots of people in the control room don’t like the remote headsets and are therefore tied to the desk by a bit of curly wire.

I shouldn’t really complain about Q shifts, I mean, it’s not as if we get them that often, at least we’re not getting wound up by the high level of not-jobs we have to deal with on most normal shifts. But if it takes a little bit longer to answer the radio, just remember to shout up a bit.

March 13th, 2012

PC Dockgreen is an Arse

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

PC Dockgreen works shifts out of one of the towns I cover frequently.

I have never met the bloke, so I don’t know what his beef is, but the man is a total arse. There are one or two about. It’s not just me who has come to this conclusion, everyone I know who controls that area either knows the bloke’s an arse or, withing 30 seconds of any dealings over the radio with him, asks whether he is an arse all the time. We usually confirm that he is.

The first thing that winds controllers up is that he doesn’t so much ask for something, as bark it. I have no idea whether he has no social skills or whether the thinks that everyone else in the job owes him a living. Then he has this habit of speaking quite slowly and deliberately in a very sarcastic tone, for instance, when you don’t hear him properly and ask him to repeat something (which isn’t all that unusual with the fantastically modern and super high tech Airwave radio system).

He never tells you what he is doing or where he is and seems to be one of the these officers that people run off from. They’ve probably not done anything wrong, they just know of his reputation and don’t want to spend 40 minutes at the side of the road being talked down to. It’s amazing how many of his traffic stops start off with a high pitched, panic-stricken voice that a vehicle is ‘failing to stop’ only for it to pull over 20 seconds later, after PC Dockgreen has barked for every officer in the country to make for the area and back him up.

The relationship between a controller and an officer on the street should be based on mutual respect and assistance. It’s done on a quid-pro-quo basis. I want my officers do stuff for me, usually to deal with a job I am controlling, my officers want stuff from me, usually information and assistance to resolve their issues and make their dealing of the job as pain-free as possible. I generally find that politeness and¬†helpfulness¬†gets me a long way, it certainly makes the shift go a bit smoother, and I’m sure my officers appreciate it when I’m on the radio rather than one or two of my colleagues (who, to be fair, can be just as bad as PC Dockgreen).

So having explained to PC Dockgreen on more than one occasion over the last couple of years, that if he needs to wind his neck in and toe a bit more of the party line. I have suddenly discovered that the people he wants me to phone for jobs he’s dealing with, never pick up the phone. The messages he wants sent over the computer system strangely seem to disappear across the force network to who knows where, and the time it takes me to get him some help or find a free officer to pop down and bail him out of a mess he created himself, seems to stretch, often beyond the time that I go off duty. The last time I had occasion to point out the error of his ways over the radio, I got 3 phone calls from his colleagues saying it was about time someone did that.

I don’t suppose it will make a blind bit of difference though. He’ll still be an arse next week.

March 9th, 2012

This week I have been mainly…

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

…sending officers to chase horses.

I don’t know what it is about bloody horses this month. It’s as if the combined equine hive mind has conspired to gather together for a mass break-out of the divisions horse community.

Horse jobs usually come in as immediate assignments because when they get out of their fields they are usually walking, trotting or running down the middle of the road. I’ve always thought it rather strange that in a division which is about 99.5% grass, a loose horse will always gravitate towards the busiest road. Because horses make an awful mess of cars and¬†occupants¬†of cars – you should see how a normal family saloon comes out of a one-on-one battle with a horse – we blat around the countryside looking for them when they get out of fields, which is surprisingly regular.

Nine times out of ten they disappear long before we get there, which is probably just as well because the average plod has no expertise in horse whispering, even if they can get hold of the damned things. We’ve closed several roads this week while a bunch of coppers have been flapping their arms trying to persuade a horse to bugger off back into the field, any field. ¬†It’s amazing how many fields in the division have little gaps in hedges which hold back vast herds of horsey pals with nothing stronger than police crime scene tape.

I went to a head-on with a horse once. How the driver wan’t killed I have no idea, the roof of his Mercedes was almost completely crushed. The horse was still alive, it had horrendous wounds. which included a snapped leg dangling by sinews and an open chest. My request for the firearms unit to put it out of its misery was denied, apparently the public don’t like the sight of police officers killing pets, so the poor animal was forced into a slow, lingering and no doubt painful death, while we waited 90 minutes for a vet to arrive. The horse died just before the vet turned up. I secretly wished the control room inspector a similar end.

Sometimes we can locate the telephone number of the owner, who is usually a member of a certain non-domiciled fraternity. It’s amazing how many times people must have let the horses out of the field and never anything to do with the owner not being arsed to repair any fences, that’s if they own or rent the field in the first place and haven’t just abandoned the horse anywhere someone isn;t looking because they can’t be bothered to pay the same fees that responsible horse owners have to.

March 4th, 2012

It pays the bills, and that’s all

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

I was going in to work this week and I met one of my team coming out. He was leaving the building on his way home having had his shift changed. I thought maybe he’d just arrived a few minutes before me and had left something in his car. I said: “Had enough already?”

He had a broad grin on his face and just said: “Shift change, you can tell my the smile on my face that I’m not coming back.”

And that one phrase summed up what’s happened in the last 3 years. We have a great shift, almost everyone gets along, we work hard, we work together and when a good job comes off we back each other up and help each other out. We used to be able to combine this with having fun.

There is no fun in the job these days, the management have just about beaten, hidden and robbed any enjoyment we had in the job. I don’t suppose we are any different from an awful lot of other professions. But that doesn’t make it any easier. They’re changing our terms and conditions again, having changed them a year or so ago. It’s one of those faite accomplis things where you can choose to agree with the new conditions or not, it’s up to you. You sign to say you accept them. If you don’t sign to accept them, you lose your job.

Time was when you were asked why you did your job, the reply would often be ‘because I enjoy it‘. Now it’s more likely to be ‘because I have a mortgage‘.

February 27th, 2012

All that responsibility

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

I would like to place on record that in 30 years in the job I have never taken any cash for information. To be totally frank, I’ve never been offered any money for information. Come to think of it, I don’t think I ever had any information that someone else might be interested in paying for, certainly judging by the lack of book offers I’ve had as the most prolific police blogger out there. (or should that be ‘out here’?).

We used to have a rule that any journalist wanting information had to be told to speak to the Press & PR Department. To be fair the most usual enquiry that journalists spoke to me about was how many plant pots Mrs Davies had stolen off her patio, or whether I thought the disappearance of Mr Newbegin’s cat had any sinister connotations. We weren’t trusted with anything much more serious.

Then one day someone at the Wendy House had a bright idea, ¬†why not let the officers speak to the papers about cases they are investigating. So then we didn’t have to direct enquiries to the Press & PR Department, we could speak to the press direct. Sadly, instead of them ringing me asking about the levels of plant pot thefts. I was now allowed to ring them and tell them about patio-related thefts. It was fantastic.

Still nobody offered me any money. Nothing changed. They’ve probably taken that perk away from officers these days.