December 31st, 2007
Well it’s my last New Year’s Eve working as a copper (provided I stay on same the shift pattern) because next year my shift are on rest days and the one after that I’ll be a pensioner!
When I was younger I used to try and ring my Mum on New Year’s Eve. I couldn’t always ring just after midnight but I tried to do it as near as possible. This was before mobile phones, so you had to have access to a landline. I’ve rung her from some weird & wonderful places. Several times I’ve called from Casualty and only once because I was the patient. I’ve even rung her from the mortuary. That’s a strange place to be wishing someone a Happy New Year.
I’ll be in the control room tonight around midnight. Whatever I’m doing I know it won’t involve having sufficient time to make a private phone call to my mother and there’s no point in wishing here as she hasn’t got a computer. I’ll give her a call some time tomorrow.
But as you are here, I’ll wish you a Happy and safe 2008. It’ll be my last full year as a police officer. Everyone I know who has retired says the last year won’t last long. I don’t care, I’m on the final straight.
December 30th, 2007
The reason for this post in two parts has nothing to do with wanting to leave a cliff-hangar a-la Eastenders at the end in some attempt to make you want to come back to read the rest of it. No, it was more to do with the fact that I wanted to keep my one-blog-every-day run going a little longer and I didn’t have time to complete it yesterday before going to work, so I kind of just abandoned it but posted it anyway.
If you haven’t read the first part, take a scroll down or click the link before reading Part Two, herewith enclosed….
He’s motionless in the driver’s seat. The first thing you notice when you actually stick your head into the car to check him out is the overwhelming smell of stale alcohol. I’m not sure if that’s the right expression, stale alcohol, it’s the smell you get after someone has been in the drunk cell for a few hours. I guess many people know the smell when their partner has been on the booze.
The cause of the accident has already forumlated in your mind; the road went round a left hand bend, the car didn’t. Oak trees which have survived two hundred years take a bit more than a listless Ford Escort to make them give way.
You’ve already shouted at the man in the car, several times, before you called on the radio for an ambo and some assistance. You’re single-crewed, you have several priorities which scream out at you like a devil & angel on your shoulder. "Safety – life-saving – help, safety – life-saving – help". Help is on the way, it’ll probably be 15 to 20 minutes if the road conditions are favourable in the other towns.
You feel for a pulse, you try the neck first almost ramming your fingers into the flesh below the chin, at the side of the Adam’s Apple. Nothing. Is it nothing because there isn’t one or because you just can’t find it? You’re not an expert. You try the wrist, still nothing. It’s then you notice the gash right across the far side of his face. You shine your torch into the face, checking the eyes for any reaction but not really looking into them, looking into the gash. It’s long and deep, maybe he hit his face on the steering wheel. There isn’t much blood. Strange considering how deep and nasty is the cut. Then you realise that maybe his heart stopped beating at the moment of impact and there was no machinery to pump the blood out from the confines of a body.
"Safety – life-saving." You run back to the patrol car, grab some blue lamps and signs and carry them beyond the crashed car laying them out to form some kind of force field you hope will protect you if the next person coming the same way is as drunk as the last. You’re out of breath. Even fit people take the strain when they’re out there, in the dark, with dead people, hoping someone doesn’t wipe them out too.
You pass details over the radio, details someone in a warm, air-conditioned room will want to type into a computer so other people in offices can fine-tooth comb it tomorrow.
You go back to the car, crouch beside what used to be a young man. You look into his face and ask yourself why. You wonder about others tucked up in a warm bed somewhere, some of whom will be woken long before dawn. They won’t rest the same ever again. He’ll be their son, their brother, their husband maybe. Not any more.
Eventually through the mist the flashing glow of blue lights appear. The armchair philosophy of the last ten minutes is disturbed as your role takes over again. They come, the paramedics, the colleagues, the accident investigators, the undertakers and the recovery crews. They go soon enough and once again you’re alone at the side of some misty lane in the middle of nowhere.
The oak will heal in time, new bark will replace that which was ripped out by twisted metal and shattered glass. The oil will disappear over time, the broken glass will disipate across the countryside by thousands of tyres from unknowing drivers of vehicles.
The mist is lifting now and the light oozes across the fields. It’s time to go home. You need your sleep. You need to be ready….for the next one.
December 29th, 2007
I used to work in a division which was quite large & a little remote. I’ve mentioned it before. When I say remote, I mean in terms of the rest of our force area, not in terms of the rest of the country, I mean, nothing like the Scottish Highlands or anything but remote enough to be exciting.
It didn’t matter what happened in our area, we were always first on the scene. Fatal RTAs? we beat traffic almost every time. Shootings & armed robberies? (yes we had one or two) we beat firearms. It was a great place to work, little backup but some juicy jobs.
I got sent to an RTC at about 2.30 in the morning. Out in the sticks somewhere along one of the main arteries into our area. Countryside for miles around, dark, occasional houses but not many. You never knew what was in it until you got there. A tuppeny ha’penny damage only, a drink drive arrest or a triple fatal (yes we had those too).
So there you are on another blue light run, this one isn’t a dual carriageway or motorway, there’s lots of bends, trees & bushes. You take the opportunity to keep your hand in on the driving skills front. And then you come round the bend and see it in the road ahead. The light from the headlamps glows through the early morning mist, well one of them does, the other is smashed. You pull up a safe distance from the scene, just so that anything approaching will see your blue lights in time before piling into the road crash scene.
Whoever called it in hasn’t stopped. Sometimes they don’t. They just drive on past but at least they call 999. You can’t see if anyone is inside the car as you approach it. Normally they’ve either run off or they are standing at the side of the road rubbing their heads and wondering how they came to get into that situation. This time nobody is walking around looking for excuses to blame their bad driving on. Nobody is shouting at anyone else and putting the blame on them. And it’s quiet, very quiet. It’s not like being in the town where the distant hum of the motorway or main road is a constant reminder of people moving about at every hour. There’s no hum of street lights, no noises from the factory night shifts.
It’s no obvious what’s happened straight away. The car has a smashed offside, the light cluster is gone, the bodywork dented. There is only one vehicle, if it hit another then the second one is long gone. There are no skidmarks on the approach so it doesn’t look like a car coming the same way you just came was involved.
You get closer and you see a large oak tree off to your nearside, the RTC car’s offside. It has a thick scar across it’s trunk, the light beige of it’s bare moist wood shines flashes in the pulses of blue from your lights. So the car has left the road, hit the tree and bounced back into the carriageway. No doubt a nicked car and the lads who nicked it have been picked up by mates and are currently searching the streets of the town you’ve just come from, looking for another ride.
It’s not until you get up close to the car that you realise someone is inside. They’re not shouting out to you, there’s no moaning. You open the door, it’s a male, white, twenties. A quick glance beside & behind him tells you he’s alone. You pause long enough to call on the radio for an ambo… (( part two to follow ))
December 28th, 2007
What is it about the youth of today and coats?
While I’m up to my arse in the latest clothing technology designed to keep me warmer than anything else ever designed by man, anyone under the age of about 25 is wandering round the town centres in climates I normally see on Christmas films in just a short sleeved shirt or a minscule dress.
Call me old fashioned but when I go out of the warmth of my house or place of work, I want to be reasonably comfortable and I want to know that my body will function as near to normal as possible. Has mankind evolved so much in the last twenty years that we are now able to go out half naked when the ice is on the ground?
"Here, fancy giving that lad over there a bloody good kicking?", "Er, sorry, but I’m not capable, my knees are knocking together faster than a Patrick Moore xylophone recital and it’s nothing to do with being scared." Or "what about shouting some abuse at that copper?" "No, my lips are numb and nothing resembling speech will form from them."
Strange. But the biting cold doesn’t appear to stop them getting involved in the usual Saturday night revelries of getting pissed, removing all the town’s hanging baskets, riding around in shopping trollies and kicking people lying on the path in the head.
I reckon we missed a trick when Captain Scott went to the South Pole. What a waste. We could have shot Amundsen right up the arse if we’d just have kept Scott at home and sent a bunch of chavs. None of this "I’m going outside, I may be some time," only for them all to perish. We could have sent some drunken louts who’d have made it right across the Antarctic in just a white short sleeved shirt and a few Mars Bars.
December 27th, 2007
When I posted my dedication to the memory of those officers lost in 2007, I had no idea I would be adding to the list so soon.
Before the year is out we’ve lost another colleague who has died on duty in London.
Yesterday evening police were called to the report of some kind of domestic incident in London. Officers arrived and at some stage one of them was assaulted by a person who was arrested. Details are still a little sketchy on the news services but it appears a very sort time later a different officer collapsed & died in the front garden of the house. The officer’s details haven’t been released yet, no doubt we will know throughout the course of the rest of the day. The detained male has since been further arrested on suspicion of murder.
Further details on the BBC News website.
December 26th, 2007
Well, that’s Christmas over & done with for another year. It was pretty much the same as previous years so far; a few people died, a few people nearly died, a few people lost their driving licences because they still haven’tcottoned on that partaking of the booze & driving don’t really go too well together and quite a few people lost their liberty due to the actions which were in the main brought about by an excessive quantity of said booze.
There was something missing this year. Over the last 30 years or so it’s been as much a part of Christmas as shopping on Christmas Eve, getting pissed & food poisoning.
This year I haven’t been able to read the Home Secretary’s Christmas message. The tradition is that in the week before Christmas the Home Secretary sends out a patronising missive to all police officers about what a wonderful job we’ve done over the last 12 months in very difficult & changing circumstances. I like the Christmas message; it’s what keeps me doing the job for all these years, knowing that I am indeed appreciated.
This year my Chief Constable has decided not to publish the Home Secretary’s message. I love this kind of direct action. It makes me feel somewhat vicariously militant. Apparently, the chief thinks the Home Secretary’s annual bollocks ((obviously, a word of explanation is required since, being a woman, the Home Secretary – much like the rest of the cabinet – doesn’t actually have any bollocks. Bollocks is what comes out of her mouth, that’ll be in the verbal sense rather than the physical (except when she gives the Police Minister a blow job, if she does, of course) maybe that’s what they mean when they say the Home Secretary sucks)) doesn’t square with the other message she is putting out about minimising our pay award this year.
I’m gutted. I might not be able to complete my 30 years’ service such is my depression at not receiving a personal thanks from the government.
December 25th, 2007
& a Safe & Peaceful New Year *
* what did you expect, War & Peace? It is Christmas Day…
December 24th, 2007
So it’s Christmas Eve once again. In a little while I’ll be back at work, probably watching all the excesses of Christmas on the CCTV systems. It will be interesting watching it all again from the comfort of a swivel chair rather than from out there in the trenches of the cold & wet.
When I think back to nearly 30 years of Christmases, the things which leap out at me aren’t the festive joyous & funny incidents. It’s the tragic ones which linger in the memory. One Christmas morning after a night of watching the brigade do their stuff & subsequent scene-guarding I spent some time going through the gutted shell of a flat which contained three burned bodies. I can still recall the sight of what used to be a mother lying over the top of what used to be a young child, her last act before death to try & protect her child before both fortunately succumbed to smoke before the flames reached them.
One Christmas Eve I spent with the mother & father of a man in his twenties who brought his festivities to an abrupt end by jumping off a multi-storey car park.
Three days before Christmas I got sent to an accident with a motorcyclist. He wasn’t a young tearaway, he was in his 40s. He slipped on the ice and a lamppost robbed him of Christmas, and life.
There must be something in the human condition, whatever that is, which makes people give up the ghost at Christmas; there seem to be so many deaths, natural or otherwise.
This year of necessity my wife will be making our house ready for Christmas morning. She’s done it many times before, she knows the routine. I won’t be getting pressies out of the loft or doing last-minute present wrapping. I won’t be making the piles of presents in the living room or around the tree. I’ll be miles away watching people getting pissed and fighting, speaking to some of them on the phone, and sending colleagues in to pick up the pieces.
We’ll have our Christmas dinner a few days after most people. It seems a little strange when you have to transpose days in your life. We’ll save a few presents back and have our very own mini Christmas. It’ll be great, we’ll be together, we can even watch Xmas telly on our Sky Plus.
December 23rd, 2007
Twas the night before Christmas
Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung on the doorknobs with care,
But something was missing, my dad wasn’t there.
Out in the night parked under a star,
My Dad was there watching in his traffic car.
Now out in the snow, where nothing had stirred,
the radio crackled, the big engine purred.
Dad adjusted his cap and straightened his tie,
Got out of his vehicle and looked round the sky.
He turned up his collar and looked all around,
And listened so hard for that wonderful sound.
And sure enough soon through the cold winter night,
My Dad on patrol saw the wonderful sight.
There up in the distance so vivid and clear,
A light getting brighter it soon would be near.
He called on the radio "Tango-one-oh,
"I think I have contact out there in the snow.
"I’ve got him on mapping, it’s him there’s no doubt,
"I’m off the to R.V. point, Tango-ten, out!"
Dad jumped in the police car & looked to the sky,
Just getting closer but ever so high,
Bathed in the glow of a deep yellow light,
He finally saw the wonderful sight.
First Dasher then Dancer then Prancer and Vixen,
And Comet and Cupid then Donner and Blitzen.
Then out in the front of the beautiful sleigh,
Was Rudolph the Reindeer leading the way.
Santa looked down at the police car below,
Grateful once more for a guide through the snow.
"This is Santa, come in Tango-ten,
"It really is good to see you again."
"Roger that, Santa, your message is clear,
"This really is the best assignment all year."
The police car revved hard as Santa flew by,
Then magically lifted up into the sky.
Over the County they flashed blue & red,
Santa behind and my Daddy ahead.
Landing on rooftops and climbing inside,
Then off to the next, my Daddy the Guide.
They finally finished their job in the sky,
Daddy saluted as Santa flew by.
"Same time again, Santa, next year once again?"
"You bet, and my thanks go to you Tango-ten.
Into the distance Dad saw Santa fly,
He took off his cap and loosened his tie.
And feeling quite pleased with himself, as he should,
He knew he did well, he did fine, he did good.
When I open my presents although I am sad,
I know Santa leaves me a kiss from my Dad.
And although I miss him I know in my soul
Though Dad’s up in heaven, he’s still on patrol.
Dedicated to the
twelve thirteen officers who lost their lives on duty in 2007:
- PC Chris Roberts, Metropolitan Police
- PC David Walker, West Yorkshire Police
- PC Katie Mitchell, Kent Police
- PCSO Christopher McClure, Greater Manchester Police
- DC Malcolm Whigham, Tayside Police
- PC Andrew Gough, Avon & Somerset Police
- PC Derek Leitch, Strathclyde Police
- PC Jonathan Henry, Bedfordshire Police
- DC Robert Shiels, Police Service of Northern Ireland
- PC Richard Gray, West Mercia Police
- PC Kirsty Allen, Fife Constabulary
- DC Steven Jeffries-Jones, Gloucestershire Constabulary
- PC Stacey Pyke, Lincolnshire Police
December 22nd, 2007
I’m on a roll now….
To the tune of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen"
God rest ye merry gentlemen and ladies of the blue,
Parliament will support you no matter what you do,
They’ll take away your hard earned cash it’s just a pile of poo,
Oh tidings of bullshit and spin, bullshit and spin, Oh tidings of bullshit and spin.
The government is guaranteed to realise your fears,
They removed our allowances we gained throughout the years,
If they take much more away we’ll all end up in tears,
Oh tidings of bullshit and spin, bullshit and spin, Oh tidings of bullshit and spin.
So sign up to the mandates all you within this place,
Detections and diversity each person should embrace,
If you appeal from what you’re giv’n you will not have a case,
Oh tidings of bullshit and spin, bullshit and spin, Oh tidings of bullshit and spin.
December 21st, 2007
For the overwhelming response to my last creative opus, you can have another.
To be sung to the tune of "Away in a Manger"
Away with the fairies the Home Sec. must be,
If she thinks her plans are all hunky dory,
Our payrise decreases and it’s no surprise,
That whilst ours go down the MPs’ wages rise.
The job is not easy this year twelve have died,
With thousands more injured we’re hurting inside,
We just need a sign that you really do care,
We don’t ask for much we just want what is fair.
Be near me my credit card I ask thee to stay
Under my limit for just one more day,
No pressies for children’s what the Home Office did
When they didn’t give me my two hundred quid.
December 20th, 2007
Herewith I present for your seasonal delictation a new Christmas carol
(to be sung to the tune of "O Little Town of Bethlehem")
O little town of Westminster
How oft’ we see thee lie
You enter in to all the spin
The truth passes you by
Yet in the dark streets shineth
The everlasting light
Of police who risk their livelihoods
Whilst you don’t give a shite
How miselry, how miserly
the Secretary called Home
on Christmas Night down a dark street
I hope you aren’t alone
For you have hurt us sorely
With 1.9 per cent
No Christmas gifts for kiddies
We can’t afford the rent
O holy place of Parliament
Agree with us we pray
Cast out your sin & enter in
to your promise to pay
We hear the Christmas angels
Who tell us to get stuffed
Your tactics are so underhand
We’ve really had enough
December 19th, 2007
It’s amazing how some hotels can get to charge £35 for stuff I used to get at school for free. Yep, the annual Christmas Do came and went.
It was all much of a muchness really. PC Knob didn’t take his wife and did spend the whole night flirting with one of the girls from the call centre. I don’t know whether he got his festive shag or not but I suppose there was a fair chance given that she didn’t appear to be in possession of any common sense, or her guide dog.
My entire pay award this year was swallowed up in the first round of drinks. £5 for a bottle of beer which looked like it came from my daughter’s dolls house set. It was so small I had to buy two bottles as I generally like to feel I can continue drinking after one gulp.
Matt was there, I like Matt, he’s a reasonably personable chap, doesn’t do anyone any harm and is so bad at dancing he makes me look good.
It was my first group do with this particular shift, having joined it only this year. I generally get on well with most of them. Most of my Xmas outings have been pretty much male dominated until now. You spend the entire evening drinking as much as possible & taking your trousers off. It was quite different this year. Sadly, I couldn’t afford to get pissed, well not until two of the lads popped down to the local Tesco and loaded a boot up with Budweiser. It was amazing how many people had to keep going into the car park for a smoke and coming back with a couple of Buds.
The serious drinking doesn’t really start until after the Do ends. It’s really tough luck if you happen to live in the same town as where the Do is held, ‘cos the chances are you’ll be picking beer cans from behind the sofa for the next three months.
PC Knob strangely didn’t appear at the afters, perhaps he was getting his festive shag. Still, it’ll give everyone something to talk about when we get back to work.
December 18th, 2007
We can’t strike, we can’t take any form of industrial action, we can’t belong to a union but worry not, there is positive action we police officers can take; we can sign a petition on the Downing Street website, hurrah!
In fact we can sign several, some are a little more successful than others:
What a great concept. Allow the minions to create petitions right on the government’s own website, show them how much say they have in formulating social policy, let them feel involved by actually participating at the very source of politics itself, and then completely ignore them.
There are some wonderful petitions on the Prime Minister’s website. Dani Kiernan is a concerned citizen; he has a petition "to Reform the police force and not make this country a police state". There surely won’t be many people who disagree with him, after all, who wants to live in a police state. Unfortunately, the populace don’t appear to agree. He has a total of 6 signatures.
Rather worryingly, Christopher Eaton has a different perspective. He has his heart in the right place because he wants to "get rid of some of the rules which prevent our police from doing it’s job" and so say all of us. But he believes the way to do this is by petitioning the Prime Minister "to have a brutal Police Force much like the Police Forces of mainland Europe and the U.S.A". And more people agree with him than those not wanting a police state, er that’s 4 more people, he has 10 signatures.
All human life can be found on the PM’s website. You can find people who want stab vests issuing to all PCSOs (28), those wanting to start Volunteer Police Cadets in all forces (31), abolish PCSOs (71), protect funding in North Yorkshire police by scrapping proposed changes (381), to have more police officers on the streets (19), enforce police drivers to abide by the same laws as the rest of us (10). Only 6 people want to improve policing in our rural villages. 3 people in Wiltshire want the police to stop closing their enquiry offices. 9 people want an inquiry into Nottinghamshire Police’s poor performance. Only 1 person wants Kent Police to stop placing wrecked vehicles on roundabouts every Christmas. Given the overall distaste for speed cameras, it’s surprising that only 13 people want to stop building more speed cameras and use the money to hire more police.
There are loads more and that’s just police-related petitions.
The one thing they all have in common is that all of them will have precisely bugger-all effect on the government’s decision-making process.
If you’ve got a few weeks to waste you can see them all at the e-petitions website.
December 17th, 2007
The News of the World is reporting this weekend, on a new twist on the police pay debacle.
They reckon that Home Secretary Jacqui Spliff has plans to limit police pay rises to 1.5% for the next 3 years until 2010. Details of these plans have been hidden in the government’s "October Comprehensive Spending Review".
The NOTW say that a leaked 5-page memo titled "Police Pay – The End Game" was allegedly sent by the director of Police Reform & Resources (if there is such a person) & claims that police pay is high enough & says if we get any more then nurses pay will have to rise.
Another case of the press making stuff up to prolong a story? I guess we’ll find out soon enough.
December 16th, 2007
Got a Facebook Account? If so and you’re in the job be careful what you post because the Rubber Heel Squad are hot on your tail.
19 police officers & staff from Northamptonshire are now under investigation for making posts on Facebook in support of a colleague who was facing disciplinary action. Such comments as "Keep smiling mate, you’re a good hard working copper", and "Chin up, you’re an inspiration to us all, everyone’s rooting for you", are apparently sufficient to have you invited into the office for coffee and a chat without the coffee.
This’ll be another of those restrictions on your private life which you get compensated for by means of having a pay negotiating body to deal with your annual pay rise because you have no other bargaining power, wait a minute….
More info at the BBC News website
December 15th, 2007
The below is a section of the Police Act 1996:
91 Causing disaffection
(1) Any person who causes, or attempts to cause, or does any act calculated to cause, disaffection amongst the members of any police force, or induces or attempts to induce, or does any act calculated to induce, any member of a police force to withhold his services, shall be guilty of an offence and liable—
(a) on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum, or to both;
(b) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or to a fine, or to both
Now, can anybody think of any recent events or people who might fall into the definition of having breached this law at all? "Any person….any act calculated to cause disaffection…" Anyone fancy another tick in the arrest box and a detection for the stats by nicking the Home Secretary?
Oooh, me first!
December 14th, 2007
Blimey, I knew Inspector Gadget was popular but didn’t realise quite how popular.
A couple of days ago I made mention that he didn’t link to me, he obviously caught site of that and added me on his blog links. On the day he did that my hit rate doubled. Now I say doubled in a Government-speak type of doubled as in, wow doubling is a lot. Unfortunately, it’s not so quite so impressive when you realise that the visitor rate here isn’t very high to start with. On the newish stats thingy I have it shows I usually get between 90 and 200 visitors per day, the highest in the last 3 months or so being 265.
On the day Gadget added me to his site this went up to 362. Sadly 2 days later it’s back down to normal levels. But interestingly I got most referals from David Copperfield’s blog followed by PlanetPolice. Now Gadget sends me the most people. The last 2 days he is sending me double what Copperfield’s blog sends. Does that mean he is doubly as popular as Copperfield? I haven’t a clue but if you’re visiting me from Inspector Gadget for the first time – Hi and thanks for taking a look.
Thanks Gadget, BTW I just got the Xmas Radio Times and see you are on Xmas Day, multi-talented!
December 13th, 2007
Well, that makes 3 months with at least one blog entry every single solitary day, hurrah for me.
And that’s the easiest blog entry I’ve done for some time.
December 12th, 2007
Well, not mcuh to report about the aforementioned Radio 5 prog. It was on last night from 23.00hrs and the first half hour was dedicated to ‘Should the Police have the right to strike?’
gadget wasn’t on there, neither was anyone else who said they were a blogger. The talking heads were some guy from (I think) Dorset Police Federation, who was on the kind of ‘pro’ side to the debate although didn’t want to strike at all. The ‘anti’ side was some geezer who said he’d been on some crime squad somewhere who sounded like he served with DCI Gene Hunt, I’m not sure when he retired but I suspect some time ago, he clearly had no concept of what modern policing was like. His attitude was basically ‘quit bitchin’, get back on the street and arrest a burglar. If you can’t take a joke you shouldn’t have joined’.
A few people phoned up, some serving coppers who wanted a ‘fair deal’ and a few people who basically said the police are shite and don’t deserve a pay rise.
There was nothing new really, no new insights and we didn’t learn anything we don’t already know or expect.
You can here it again for a few days, via the BBC website.