Archive for April, 2010

April 30th, 2010

Election Fever

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

I don’t usually do jokes for blog entries, but I’d not heard this one before & it is quite topical….

While walking down the street one day a Member of Parliament is tragically hit by a truck and dies.  His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance.

‘Welcome to heaven, ‘says St. Peter.’ Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around these parts, you see, so we ‘ re not sure what to do with you.’

‘No problem, just let me in,’ says the man.

‘Well, I ‘d like to, but I have orders from higher up. What we’ll do is have you spend one day in hell and one in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity.’

‘Really, I’ve made up my mind. I want to be in heaven,’ says the MP.

‘I’m sorry, but we have our rules.’

And with that, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell. The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green golf course.  In the distance is a clubhouse and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him.  Everyone is very happy and in evening dress. They run to greet him, shake his hand, and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich at the expense of the people.

They play a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster, caviar and champagne.  Also present is the devil, who really is a very friendly, nice guy who has a good time dancing and telling jokes. They are having such a good time that before he realises it, it is time to go.

Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves while the elevator rises….

The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens on heaven where St. Peter is waiting for him.

‘Now it’s time to visit heaven.’

So, 24 hours pass with the MP joining a group of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing. They have a good time and, before he realises it, the 24 hours have gone by and St. Peter returns.

‘Well, then, you’ve spent a day in hell and another in heaven. Now choose your eternity.’

The MP reflects for a minute, then he answers: ‘Well, I would never have said it before, I mean heaven has been delightful, but I think I would be better off in hell.’

So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell.

Now the doors of the elevator open and he’s in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage.  He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags as more and more trash falls from above.

The devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his shoulder.

‘I don’t understand, ‘stammers the MP.’ Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and clubhouse, and we ate lobster and caviar, drank champagne, and danced and had a great time.  Now there’s just a wasteland full of garbage and my friends look miserable. What happened?’

The devil looks at him, smiles and says, ‘Yesterday we were campaigning… you voted.’

April 29th, 2010

Help a Friend

Posted in The Job - General by 200


David Lee Robinson is a 28-year-old rookie cop with Leicestershire Constabulary.  He joined the job as a PCSO & served 2 years before being accepted as a police constable.

In 1999, as a student,  he was diagnosed with a brain tumour. He was successfully treated however in 2005 the tumours returned. Further gruelling treatement followed involving an operation to remove the tumour & six months’ of chemotherapy.

In 2009 he was told the tumours had returned. He now has several brain tumours & another on his spine. Doctors in the UK have told him this is incurable & they can only offer palliative care.

His website says: “David has now begun a second chemotherapy treatment requiring long hours at the hospital in the hope that this may slow the tumours down. However, David is always mindful of the fact that any treatment will not be curative and that there is no proven treatment for brain tumours which have recurred.

“Looking ahead, David has been offered a place on a clinical trial at The Duke hospital in Durham, North Carolina, USA as long as his symptoms remain stable following current chemotherapy treatment. The treatment is a biological gene treatment for adults suffering from a recurrent Medulloblastoma (the brain tumour David has) where other treatment has failed, in the hope of prolonging or improving the quality of life for this aggressive disease.”

In order to receive the new treatement David has to raise £100,000.You can donate at his website. He also has a Facebook group.

April 28th, 2010

Ride’em Cowboy

Posted in The Job - General by 200

The boys & girls on traffic in the Midlands are getting to play with some brand new toys.

The Central Motorway Police Group which is conglomeration of Staffordshire, West Mercia & West Mids police drives around the areas motorways. They’ll be using seven new Jaguar XFs soon. The petrol-heads amongst you (or should that be diesel-heads?) will be interested to know that the cars are the Diesel S version, which has a 3.0 litre V6 engine producing 240 horsepower, or something.

Geoff Cousins, Managing Director for Jaguar Cars UK, said: “Police drivers demand the very best from their vehicles“, which will come as news to most of us who thought that what we demaned was the cheapest…


April 27th, 2010

Blog Updates

Posted in Blogging by 200

I’ve added a couple of new links to the the Police Blogs. I say ‘new’ actually they’re not, they’re links I removed because the blogs ceased, but they’re now back.

First is Stan Still from “You’re Nicked” a blog which started back up last month after being AWOL since October 2008. The second was the “World Weary Detective” who has decided to start blogging again after being closed down in 2006 after the Met issued some ‘advice’.

Welcome back fellars!

I’ve also added a link to “All Copped Out

UPDATE: Also added The Thin Blue Line (thought I’d already added that one, whoops)

April 26th, 2010

I’m still on hold

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

We’ve been 136’ing people for many years, you’d have thought they’d have a protocol for it by now.

Section 136 of the mental health act is society’s get-out clause which says the police can deal with people they are not trained to deal with. It gives officers the power to take someone to a hospital (place of safety) when it appears their mental capacity is so unbalanced that either their own or others’ safety would be put at risk to leave them.

We use it mainly for people who are threatening or trying to kill themselves. We take them to a hospital where a properly trained group of people take many hours to assemble & then give them the once over & kick them back out on the streets saying there is nothing wrong them.

Gemma has been 136’d loads of times in the past 5 years. We tried it again today. I have no idea whether she was sectioned or not but I’ll take a guess at not since she is rarely sectioned despite standing in the street, semi naked, threatening to jump off the nearest railway bridge whilst chewing razor blades.

She was taken to the local A&E, they have a nurse there who is nothing short of anti-police, I have no idea why, I’ve never met her, though I have spoken to her on the phone & she was anti me within 30 seconds & all I was doing was passing a message. Anyway, before the doors of the police transit were fully open, Nurse Happy was running out of A&E saying that Gemma wasn’t going there & we would have to take her elsewhere. I’m sure there is something about a duty of care & a hospital being a place of safety & not taking people  elsewhere willy nilly once they are at such a place, but the only thing on Nurse Happy’s mind was getting the officers to fuck off with their charge. Apparently, there was already a mentally imbalanced person on the premises & they can’t cope with two, or soemthing.

They sat in the car park at A&E for 3 hours while Social Services failed to ring me back, several times. I did get through but was told that it was another department’s responsibility. I was given another number to try, which I did, but it wasn’t their responsibility either, they gave me another number which turned out to be the same person I first spoke to who gave me a 3rd number. Which turned out to be the same office as the second person I spoke to. Apparently, it was nobody’s responsibility.

I rang a mental health treatment unit in a nearby town, it wasn’t their responsibility really but it was worth a try. They didn’t mention responsibilities, just that they didn’t have a bed free.

I rang back the first social services office, or was it the second, can’t be sure, it still wasn’t their responsibility & they tried to give me the same number they’d given me before. I rang it in the tiniest hope that perhaps the morning staff had been relieved by anyone with some common sense, but no, it still wasn’t their responsibility. I have no idea why, they were the social services mental health team in the same town as we all were. I was asked whether Gemma had taken drink or drugs, apparently if she had it wouldn’t be their responsibility under a different protocol, even if it was their responsibility, which of course it wasn’t. No, she wasn’t drunk or drugged, she was just mental. Unless standing in the streets, pissing pretty patterns on the pavement, whilst spitting blood at anyone who approaches you & regailing tales of how you’ve eaten your baby’s brain is normal behaviour, which, come to think of it, probably is on that estate.

I asked the second department whose responsibility it wasn’t to ring the first department whose responsibility it wasn’t & find out if there was a third department whose responsibility it might have been because it sure as hell wasn’t the responsibility of the 4 police officers who were sitting in the sun at the local A&E. And if they couldn’t find a third department perhaps they could decide which of the two departments were responsible so that they could perhaps decide where Gemma should go & perhaps get a mental health team together to assess her.

I left work another 3 hours later.

As far as I know the officers are still sitting in the car park.

April 25th, 2010

Drunk in charge of a what?

Posted in Videos by 200

a bit of light relief after a stressful weekend….

BLUtube is powered by

April 24th, 2010


Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

When we come into work we have to take over from the previous shift’s controller. This is a routine procedure during which the current controller explains the on-going jobs, who is still doing what – police resource wise – & outlines any of the more complicated jobs which will need doing by the new shift.

The handover can take anything from 15 seconds to 10 minutes which is why I try to get in 10 – 15 minutes before my shift starts as I don’t see why someone should stay longer than their duty time just to help me understand what’s on the box.

The best handovers usually start with “there’s only 6 jobs, nothing complicated.” The worst ones start “you dont want to sit here!”

You know you’re in for a draining day when you hear the latter & its even worse when you hear it several days running, which seems to a bit of a theme with me at the moment.

People often take a personal pride in the amount of jobs they have to hand over. The lower the figure the better, which means they feel guilty if there are too many, like its their own fault they weren’t able to assign everything. I never have a problem with this as it rarely my fault that the jobs haven’t been dealt with & people haven’t been seen. There should be no guilt if you’ve done your best at work, though I suspect there are people who should be held accountable.

Its a numbers game.

April 23rd, 2010

Oh to be in the countryside again

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

Being a bit of a fan of our wildlife, I enjoy watching it on CCTV in the middle of the night when the operators have nothing better to watch.

Usually it’s foxes which are picked up foraging in the town car parks throughout the force area.

A few days ago I had a few minutes of wonderment watching a fox with her cub. It was intersting to watch the different behaviours; the mother clearly had a job to do, wary & attentive, eyes everywhere as she foraged across the car park. The cub playful, more interested in jumping on its mother’s back then running off a short distance as if taunting its mother to chase it.

Working all hours you do get to experience things others never get to see.

I often pulled over on the middle of the night to watch a barn owl hunting alongside a main road, perching on fence posts then flying off over the fields on search of prey, sometimes you were rewarded with seeing it return to a post with a kill.

I worked on a rural area for a while. We had lots of deer. The problem sometimes was avoiding them as you charged around the area from one town to the next on blues & twos. I never hit one but there were a few near misses &  I dealt with loads of RTCs involving deer. It’s amazing what damage such slight creatures can do to a car.

Probably the most unusual site I saw was an albino badger. It was just wandering up the road on the middle of the night. Technically they’re not white but a very light sand colour & I bet few people have seen one outside a captive collection.

My interest in wildlife took me to being a wildlife liaison officer for a while.

Not that we ever followed up on much wildlife crime, we were usually just points of contact for officers struggling with wildlife law, & gamekeepers.

The best cases I was involved in were usually animal cruelty, though I did take particular pleasure in prosecuting one of the local hunts for blocking up badger setts.

But don’t get me started on foxhunting.

April 22nd, 2010


Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

I’ve had such a manic set of shifts that, to be perfectly honest, I’m too shagged to write anything  involving what might require some semblance of  brain function.

Suffice it to say, I’ve written a couple of similar entries recently, if you want to know what this week’s been like, check back, only I think this week was worse.

Whoever decided that an inspector who sits on his arse all day juggling figures should have primacy over front line troops & be able to send them off on meaningless arrest enquiries just so his department looks good, while people are sitting at home in fear of getting beaten senseless or waiting 14 hours for us to attend their ransacked house or 4 days to interview their children who have been approached by a potential sexual predator, should have his photograph & explanation put on the front page of every newspaper in the country.

Sometimes I’m just fucking ashamed to be part of this shower of shit.

April 21st, 2010

How to catch a thief

Posted in Videos by 200

Wouldn’t it be grand if people feared this would happen every time they tried to mug someone….

April 20th, 2010

Up the Scots

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

I’ve previously reported on my disagreements with the way the DNA database operates, particularly in England & it appeared again last week in a news report.

A lobby group applied for figures under the Freedom of Information Act on how many samples had been taken from innocent people between December 2008 January 2010. Only Cumbria Police in England & Strathclyde Police in Scotland were able to supply figures.

4,668 samples were taken by Cumbria, of these, 1,319 – 28% – had no further action taken. Only 12 were deleted from the database despite the European Court’s judgement that retaining DNA samples of innocent people was illegal.

The law in Scotland is different. (although the Labour Party appear to be trying to change the law in Scotland to mimic that of England & Wales) During the same period Strathclyde took 19,197 samples, 6,865 – 31% from people not convicted of any offence – all those profiles were deleted.

It seems strange that Scotland feels it can operate within the requirements of human rights legislation, whilst England can’t.

April 19th, 2010

The usual suspects

Posted in The Job - General by 200

Last week in several papers they were bemoaning the fact that the motorist pays higher fines than criminals.

This is not new. When I joined the job it took just a few appearances at court to realise that burglars & robbers were getting off much lighter than speeders.

The Daily Fail pointed out a recent case of a woman caught out by a Trading Standards sting who was fined £1,000 for selling a goldfish to a 14-year-old, though what this has to do with motorists fines I’m not sure.

Anyway, apparently the average fine at magistrates court for 2008 was £75. Violence was £210, burglary £147, theft £95, damage £120, drugs £106 fraud £195.

A parking infringement on London earns a £120 ticket. Speeding tickets start at £60 but can earn a significantly higher penalty at court.

The theory goes that most people who commit crime haven’t got much money so there’s no point in fining them a lot as the simply won’t be able to pay, whereas the motorist who gets caught has a job & is an easy victim/cash cow to boost central funds.

It’s been like that for the last 30 years to my knowledge, its not right but neither is it news.

April 18th, 2010

Let the train take the strain

Posted in The Job - General by 200

I don’t use public transport much. I can’t remember the last time I went on a  bus.

This week, I used a train for the first time in yonks. It was quite busy. I recall the last time I used a train I spent a small fortune to go from the North of England to Edinburgh, I believe it was on one of Ricard Branson’s fine trains. I spent the entire journey standing because it was so packed, actually I sat on the floor after about an hour because I was so uncomfortable. The rest of the journey was spent wondering why they had the temerity to charge me a full ticket price when they couldn’t provide me with a seat.

Anyway, the train I went on this week, was bust but not quite as full as the Virgin train. I has a large rucksack. As I got onto the train I noticed that the only spare seats were those next to someone. As I had a rucksack I decided to stand by the door & keep my rucksack on rather than manouver it around the carriage.

At the next stop some black guy got on the train. He was in his 30s. He looked into the sitting area & said ‘Bugger’. Clearly he didn’t want to sit next to anyone in any of the 8 or so free seats. So he turned the other way which happened to be the first class compartment, pressed the door button & went inside. He was on his own in a compartment, took a seat & proceeded to roll a fag. He opened a window & proceeded to smoke his fag.

I wasn’t surprised that someone has no social responsibility & believes they can do whatever the fuck they want to; the country is full of people like that. I was left wondering what his reaction would be if someone infringed on what he thought was important.

April 17th, 2010

Hello Mum

Posted in The Job - General by 200

I don’t follow horse racing but I generally take part on the Grand National sweepstakes whenever we have them at work. This usually involves taking one of my fine English pound coins out of my pocket & throwing it down the drain in exchange for a tiny piece of paper cut out of the sports section of the Daily Mirror which has some ridiculously made-up name thereon.

Apparently, some bloke called Tony McCoy won it this year. If that wasn’t highlight enough of his weekend, he also got to meet colleagues from Merseyside Police shortly after the race.

McCoy was leaving the Aintree course when he decided to give his mother the good news. Unfortunately for him he thought it would be OK to ring her from his mobile while driving his vehicle on the public road.

The Old Bill pulled him over slapped a £60 fine & 3 points on him.

McCoy said: “I couldn’t believe it when they did me for three points. You would have thought that on Saturday of all days they might have let me off, especially as I was on the phone to my mum in Ireland st the time.” Which sounds pretty much like a straight cough to me.

His mum said, in some strange nonsensical & twisted logic: “I only thought that sort of thing happened in Ireland, as the Irish get blamed for everything, but it appears it happens in the UK as well. They must have known he had just won the Grand National, surely? He must have been the only sober one there so he must have been an easy target, eh?

She is clearly nothing like my mum. She would have been in uproar that I had been done by the police. Not because talking on a mobile phone whilst driving is both illegal & dangerous, but that I had waited until I had finished the race, collected the prize, celebrated with colleagues, been interviewed on TV, got washed & changed, walked to the car park, got in & driven out of the course THEN decided to ring her.

Anyway, next week Ill blog about how the Irish caused World War II, facilitated the spreading of AIDs & blocked the drains outside my house so much that the garden was swimming in shite for 3 days.

April 16th, 2010

Of Icelandic Volcanoes

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

Fling has been in the news this week, or rather lack of  flying, due this time, not to snow, but to some volcano in Iceland.

That includes police helicopters which aren’t flying either. I lost track of the amounts of time someone asked if the helicopter was free, perhaps the others who work in the control room never leave the place & don’t see any news, or maybe they just have the memory of a goldfish.

When I first came I to the control room, as a PC, I was offered the chance to have a couple of attachments. The first one was with the traffic department. I didn’t actually need it as I’d spent some time on traffic some years previously, but I took it as a free day away from the control room. Nothing happened & we spent the day driving up &  down the major roads in the county.

The attachment I did enjoy was with the air support unit. Apparently, it’s good to know how they work when you have to deploy them so they let controllers out to play sometimes.

I turned at the airbase at the start of the shift to be met by the crew of the helicopter. The choppers are flown by civilian contracters many of whom are ex military. They are crewed by two police officers.

Being a reasonably tall & of, er, athletic build, the crew had some difficulty fitting me out with a suitable jump suit. Eventually one was found which didn’t require wearing my testicles round my neck & I was good to go.

Except we didn’t, not for a couple of hours. We just sat around waiting for a call. I had the resist the temptation to call one of my colleagues Ginger & refrain from saying “it’s too quiet, I dont like it“. Fortunately, I didn’t have a moustache to twiddle nor a black Labrador to stroke as I gazed off into the distant cumulus.

I’d had an introduction to the rear seat of the aircraft & a safety briefing & had been fitted with a flight helmet.

As we took off I watched the hanger getting smaller &  smaller. I realised that the last time I actually flew was on my honeymoon in 1893. I was reminded of a section of one of my dad’s BillyConnelly recordings. I think it was the ‘jobbie weecha’ sketch; all about what happens when the toilet flushes on an aeroplane. Anyway, one guy turns to the other says “its amazing, they people look just like ants“, whereupon the guy on the seat next to him says “they are ants, we havent taken off yet“.

Anyway, off we flew to a report of offenders trying to break in somewhere.

I was amazed how different things look from the air. Although I knew the town quite well it looked totally different from up above, there were mundane buildings I knew from ground level which looked quite amazing & surprisingly different from on high.

We ended up hovering over a school. It was playtime & it seemed the whole school was out in the playground waving at us.

We never located the burglars who were probably 10 miles away by now, so we headed back to the airbase.

We got off the ground three more times. Sadly there were no pursuits, we didn’t find a vulnerable missing person just minutes from perishing in the cold, nor were we instrumental in the arrest of a group of serial burglars. I knew my experience of flying in the force chopper wasn’t destined to be captured in the glorious technicolor of Sky Cops or Chopper Coppers, but I did have a great experience.

I’m now saving up for my own helicopter, so far I’ve got £7.63.

April 15th, 2010

Spring has sprung

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

I was having a conversation this week at work with someone. She is a civvy controller, I’m an ex-police civvy controller. It was during a quiet time when we weren’t particularly busy & sometimes the conversation drifts round to the old war stories.

I can’t remember how the conversation started but I found myself talking about smells, specifically about smells you come across in your role as a police officer.

Inevitably post mortems were mentioned. The unique smells, which kind of defy description, of a human body being cut up & examined. I used to take probationers to post mortems, it used to be just about mandatory to see a dead body & the process which takes place when a cause of death needs to be determined. It’s not now, too potentially upsetting for the modern recruit’s sensibilities.

Then there was the smell of death, again just about unique. You can’t always remember the smell in your mind, kind of visualising it, after a while but the moment you smell it again, you know exactly what it is. That tell tale whiff you get when you sniff through the letterbox of a neighbour who hasn’t been seen for a while, the release of bodily gases when you move a body to examine it for wounds.

Of course, the smells on some of the living customers can be pretty damned rank too. The smell of an alcoholic’s breath, so different from a person who is just pissed. The people who for reasons of lack of access or laziness haven’t seen a bath or a shower or a change of clothes for weeks.

The smells you get in a hospital A&E, both the clean, fresh, chemical smells & the bodies, alcohol & B.O. One of the worst was the smell of blood. We once babysat someone who had cut their wrists but was refusing treatment. He was violent too. We had to stand in a locked room with him but the staff couldn’t treat him. He spent over an hour bleeding everywhere. Not gushing but just enough to have a regular supply to spray up the walls, all over the floor, everywhere. After an hour in there the smell was so pervading I am surprised I didn’t faint. Once he eventually collapsed he was treated.

Of all the smells I came to the conclusion the worst one was when I was sent to get some milk for the tea club. I can’t remember how but the milk got spilled all over the back seat of the panda. I dabbed it up as best I could during the shift & left it in the parking bay.

Two or 3 days later my name was mud, it was the height of summer & the smell in the car was so overwhelming it had to be taken out of commission & professionally cleaned.


April 14th, 2010

Get a life

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

I have previously waxed lyrical about how much of modern police work is generated by abuse on Facebook. One of our other major areas of work is threats & harassment from ex-partners.

A significant proportion of our calls are from people whose relationships have split up but one party won’t leave it alone &  feels the need to keep contacting the other party. Spookily, this is often done via Facebook but probably more commonly via text messages.

It usually takes the form of abuse or threats. I have no idea why people do this. I know I have to think back to the last time I was dumped – probably secondary school to be honest &  we didn’t have mobile phones – but I can’t recall ever feeling the need to cycle round to Wendy’s house to stick a note through the door that I was going to torch it.

It’s mainly, though not exclusively, men who indulge on such fripparies. I dont know why, perhaps it’s just the male species’ inability to grow up, something of which I am just as guilty as the next man, perhaps a flaw in their character dictates that they have to show macho posturing to any sleight on their character. This is probably why I see so many of them taking off their shirts after a few sherbets in the town centre every night.

I’m not really sure if there is a point to this entry today, it was just sparked because 5 of the 20 jobs on the box when I came in to work this morning were to do with males who won’t grow up & get a life.

April 13th, 2010


Posted in The Job - Satire by 200

You just gotta love the Yanks’ sense of humour & how they can integrate it into policing.

Would never happen over here….


April 12th, 2010

Of double whammys

Posted in The Job - General by 200

Clearly, for the last 31 years I have completely misunderstood the Legal Aid system. I was under the impression that it provided financial assistance to those charged with offences in the court who couldn’t afford to defend themselves.

I had no idea it was so defendants who earn three times the national average wage as a minimum, plus who get a substantial expenses package which allows them to have a free house, courtesy of the taxpayer & earn all the profits on that house, and all sorts of other little wheezes by which they get extra cash.

MPs Elloit Morley, David Chaytor & Jim Devine have just been granted legal aid to defend themselves over charges that they ripped off the public with false mortgage, rent & expence claims. If you thought the bottom of the barrel had been well & truly scraped when their ‘nosein the trough’ scandal broke last year, think again. These paragons of parliamentary advantage are currently trying to weedle out of any prosecution at all, claiming the right of Parliamentary Privilege from  sixteen hundred & dumpdy-doo, but shold they fail to avoid prosecution it will be you & me footing the bill. So we paid for their greed in the first place, they got caught out & we have to pay all over again so they can defend themselves.

Some estimates areputting the potential trial costs at some £3 million.

It really just confirms that the very laudible aims of the Legal Aid system is open to abuse from both ends of the scale, while thousands of people with genuine claim to financial assistance to support their legal cases have to go & whistle.

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!”