Excerpts from the cynical side.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Youths.

I was browsing through google trying to find a suitable alcoholic style picture for a work night out i'm planning when I came across the following picture seen on the left. Obviously to protect the little "angels" i've blocked out their faces (but you'll notice i've kept the smile bit in).

What is wrong with our country? That is something I really have to ask myself more and more thesedays. Every human being, agency, organisation, situation, legislation and service is political, in fact politics is why we see this picture today of our youth getting drunk underage and causing a nuisance.

For this blog i'd just like to discuss this picture which shows some awful sights. Firstly we see a littered can in the background, next we see a male just out of shot probably acting as the "lookout" for the cops. Secondly we can clearly see these kids are boozing off big bottles of alcohol - one each. Thirdly it's daylight and finally they're well under the age.

The youth of today really have a warped view on childhood. They assume getting drunk every weekend is all part and parcel of "having a laugh". When I was a kid I used to watch superman, wrestling and the incredible hulk on tv. I remember when fireman sam and thomas the tank engine were amazing to kids and I was lucky if I got the odd bottle of pop on a weekend.

Now we have kids as young as 12 getting drunk in our parks, car parks and on the streets. I really have to ask why the hell is this happening? Why does a lot of my time get spent on chasing youths around the town who run away at the sight of a police vehicle because they are in posession of alcohol? Why are the shops selling them to children? Why is the government just pushing this problem into the "anti-social" bracket and brandishing it off as a police problem?

This certainly is a government and parental problem and not a police one. Surely we can argue since everything has become political, this country has become crap. You wouldn't see youths doing this or behaving in this manner in the 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s or even early 90s really. Look at how many decades that is compared to now? What was different? It's quite simple - the rules were different, authority was respected and the government had humans working in it and not monkeys who are not in touch with real life. We should stop adhering to the liberal European rules, scrap the human rights act and apply common sense to those who break our laws or cause decent people misery in some way.

We've all most likely been there when Mr and Mrs. Bloggs phone up because there's a large group of youths sat outside their house making loud noises and causing general annoyance. We shout up we'll attend and as soon as we turn the corner, the youths are off like a rocket down alleyways, across fences and over back walls leaving a couple of lookouts left until we go. We then result it as youths made off, advised the rest of the party and told the informant that we'll be in the area.

Shortly afterwards, the youths return and the game starts again. Later we arrive again but this time they've drank their alcohol and they're abusive towards us. We lock up a few for public order offences or drunk and disorderly depending on the circumstances, and that ties us up for an hour or so, away from the streets and away from possibly fighting real crime for those who pay taxes.

As we cart off a few, the others have again done their dissapearing act and return to cause further havock because their friends were taken away. Wing mirrors off cars get smashed, car tyres are slashed, fighting between youths start and various other moronic crimes take place. Our other colleagues turn up, the youths again run off or get taken to custody.

The result? Slap on the wrists for the youths (who brag about it the weekend after), paperwork for the cops, no man power for the sergeants, no peace for the residents and their dread of next friday/saturday night when the game begins again.

Fantastic.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Tread with caution.

A little while back I was speaking with a Sgt, whom I have the utmost respect for, and we were catching up on things due to him moving to a different station on my division and one of these catch up chinwags is the result of this next post, I hope it serves caution to all those who may arrive at this situation.

We'll call the Sgt "Eric" for the purposes of the tale. Eric's officers were all tied up in custody as all of them had locked up and would be busy for a couple of hours at least when a report of a prowler in a back garden came through the radio. Eric, being not much of an office dweller, shouted up he would go to the job as all of his officers were tied up.

Eric opens his filing cabinet draw and takes out his body armour, utility belt with appointments and gets kitted up. The Sgt's car keys are taken off the hook and out he flies to the address. Cut to a full search of the back garden, of the area and a negative result; Eric is now in the address talking to the female who phoned the job in.

"So what time do you finish?" she asks, clearly not one bit bothered about the supposid "prowler" now.
"7 in the morning" Eric replies realising she is acting flirty
"Why don't you take off that body armour and have a drink with me?" she continues
"Sorry i'm on duty" he defends
"What about after?" she responds
Eric said the female was slim, blonde, mid 20s and very good looking, however his engaged fiance was more important to him so he declined saying he was engaged but flattered for the offer.

Eric then offers safety advice in case there was a prowler, which obviously he's doubting at this stage, and then heads back to the station. I'll bet some reading this might be tempted to have taken her up on her offer after work? Well here's the twist...Eric is curious about this female and he puts her details into the local intel system. Intel revealed that she was famous for making allegations against police most notably sexual allegations...

The people we serve eh?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Clarity.

First of all I would like to thank "honest_uncle" who commented in the previous post about me having the wrong image for chief con/commissioner rank. To be honest with you honest_uncle I didn't even notice it myself until you mentioned it. I've now acquired the correct image and swapped it - google is amazing isn't it!?

Well onto my story for today then; I got a phone call from a friend yesterday informing me that he was having a bit of a drinking session at his with a few other of our friends and did I want in. Of course being a graduate in my time, formerly living the life of a University student years back, the answer clearly could not be a no. Cut to 8pm and we're all in the living room, beer in hand, tv on, lazily leaning back on our friends comfy living room sofa chairs.

We're reminiscing about past girlfriends, current girlfriends and recent amusing tales when someone switches on a police reality show, the kind where a camera crew follow British bobbies around whilst they go about their tour of duty. I rarely sit down to watch tv, usually because I find most television either full of insurance/debt adverts or full of unrealistic soaps that middle aged women, eating malteasers, watch. But this didn't seem too bad, I do sometimes watch them when they are on.

Questions were directed to me like a flurry of punches a boxer gives a southpaw fighter in a boxing match. "Can that copper do that?" "Have you been in that situation?" "If that was me i'd have done this, what do you think?" "She's only saying that cos' the cameras are there, am I right?". Suddenly it crept up on me that i'm glad i'm watching rather than being on camera.

The stress each officer must undergo whilst working and being harassed by some journalist, whom is just interested in bloodlust and gore, with a camera must be overwhelming. I watched certain situations each bobby came across and I do have to agree that bobbies on camera turn into mp's debating in the house of commons; a lot of it is unrealistic as to the situations we face.

Lets take one example from this reality show, a male is drunk and screaming at this bobby that he is going to rip his head off if he comes any closer to him. The bobby, who is illuminated by the 10,000 watt camera spotlight on him, has his hands raised and out asking the male politely and calmly to "calm yourself down, alright calm yourself down though", shortly which the male starts getting worse which results in him being wrestled to the floor by a group of bobbies and put in the back of a van. The bobby then ends up walking away and a close up shot reveals he's cut his lip.

In reality as soon as this idiot started screaming and swearing, he would have been pushed away from the officer and told to get back. If he didn't he'd receive a shower of CS incapacitant spray and a free taxi to police ensuite accommodation courtesy of drunk and disorderly or public order etc. So in my opinion, it seems to me that it's even more dangerous going out with a camera crew.

It was interesting to see how colleagues deal with things differently in different forces, but again I don't think its a realistic picture Joe public see's on screen, but who cares about that as long as it gets ratings? After all the bill solves crime in 60 minutes and they don't even use tape recorders in their interview rooms!

Anyone for the sports channels?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Honesty.

I think one of the major issues about being a police officer is the honesty of the witness(es) you are dealing with. If I can keep a straight face when I tell a friend a punchline from a witty joke, in an effort to get that friend to think about it before he realises it's a joke and if I can also tell someone to put down the knife and they can still walk away free and after they do they end up in steel bracelets and carted off to custody, then so can anyone else lie to me.

I think it's often a case of going to every job with a fresh mind and giving that person the benifit of the doubt. The training environment would almost certainly suggest that, following up on that, the training environment would also add that we are there to bring cases before the court not decide who we will help or won't because we suspect them of lying, which I would agree is true. I don't think anyone no matter how experienced as a cop can fully work out what most people we deal with think or were thinking or might be thinking. We just have to stick to the facts, the evidence, the past history and our own common sense to operate and function.

This was a lesson which took me all of my probation to learn, many moons ago, one i'm glad I did learn. I would go to jobs and wonder to myself "is this person telling me the truth or is there something more sinister here?" "I think she's not telling me something here" "I think he thinks i'm stupid" etc...Nowadays I don't really keep an opinion on any job I go to, I just think "well this is the job, lets investigate it and stay neutral" just as required to do so. I do my job properly, I help those who need help and I put the bad guy behind bars for the night.

Then I hang up my uniform in the locker room, shower, get changed into my "civvies" and relax to the radio on my way home or paradise depending on how tired I am.

As for those who constantly tell lies and have a history of lying to the police...well they're another story.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Run fast.

I've finally discovered the secret to wearing simply body armour and a short sleeve shirt in winter. Prior to discovering this secret i've endured many years wearing something extra such as a fleece or hi vis jacket. The secret you ask? A t-shirt under your short sleeve shirt! It works wonders. After close inspection I saw that other colleagues have already been doing this tradition before me...it's like some kind of secret info that I was kept out of.

It works, try it!

Another way of keeping yourself warm is to either stick on the vehicle heater, if it works, or to possibly engage in a spot of foot pursuit. Speaking of foot pursuits, this is what this log is about...

"Any patrol for the last please?"

Comms finish their general shout for any patrol to attend a report of a male and female arguing on the street. I'm in with a colleague and we decide to head to the location.

"Show myself and [insert colleagues collar number here] to the last please" I offer.
"Roger thank you" comms acknowledge.

We arrive and immediately I can see a female outside an address and a male...who appears to...yep he's running away from the scene and more importantly away from us! We give chase and we're off just like the cap gun for the London marathon, all aiming to run as fast as possible. Over one fence we go, through a broken fence next and we're back out onto open road.

My colleague has clearly not been sacrificing enough time at the gym and shouts "i'll go bring the car round" running off back towards the car, i'm assuming he'll be pole vaulting over a fence again! I'm fine for stamina and i'm not tired either, and mr. moron is heading into a cul-de-sac.

At this point i'm on the radio directing further patrols to the area and also directing my colleague, who is driving our police vehicle in the background. I can hear the police vehicle's engine in the background, some wheel skidding noises, he's almost at the location! While at the same time i'm sprinting down into this badly lit cul-de-sac...and he's disappeared!

Well he couldn't have gone past me and I know he hasn't had enough time to get ahead of me...he's definitely gone to ground hiding somewhere. Colleague pulls up and he turns the engine off, while we listen for anything suspicious...and immediately I can hear some slight scuffling nearby.

The torch illuminates the area where the noise is and low and behold mr. moron is trying to scale over a garage roof. Off we go again, I manage to get there and grab the male round the hips and bring him to the floor gradually. We've detained him until we can find out what offences might have been committed and/or if he is wanted.

We check him with our communications room and he is known on our systems but not wanted by us. Another patrol has gone to the female to ascertain A - if she is ok and B - if the male has assaulted her or broken the law in some way.

Turns out the male had assaulted her and was promptly arrested, cautioned and handcuffed. He then was given 5 star accomodation at our police en-suite rooms known to many as "police custody". I think that sgt who dislikes the word "shut up" is on too...great.

A few hours of paperwork await myself and colleague now...it's a wonderful life we have sometimes eh?

Monday, October 09, 2006

Free Taxi.

Each time someone is reported missing from their place of residence, a report needs to be generated and the person is risk assessed against various competancies. The result is that the missing person (misper) gets allocated into one of three categories: high, medium or low risk.

High risk mispers are generally those deemed to be vunerable in various ways from age to disibility. Unfortunately some mispers really do take a rise out of the police. Take a persistant 11 year old misper, who has a criminal record longer than your arm. He is known for street robbery and criminal damage, standing at a mere 4 feet 10 inches tall and weighing in at around 7 stone max.

For the sake of simplicity we'll call him X. X lives in a childrens home, commits crime almost monthly and continually gets a little slap on the wrist. To further the annoyance, X likes to leave his childrens home to go across to the other side of my force to stay with his friends. He then gets reported as a high risk and alarm bells start ringing force wide for him.

He gets found each and every time in the exact same place, every weekend and sometimes various weekdays too. Each time he is then rewarded with a free taxi ride home, meaning officers being allocated the job of driving a few miles to pick X up, take him back and then fill out an unnecessary report.

The report asks some strange questions which we have to ask the missing person such as "have you been a victim of crime while you have been away? have you committed any crimes while you have been away? do you think you will do this again?" Something which muggings here has had to fill in many times for X, even though I know where he will be, I know what he will say as does all of my colleagues who too have picked X up and taken him home from time to time.

So, in short, if you want a free taxi home - get someone to phone 999 and report you missing and make it sound like you are a complete menace to society. Please wait up to ten minutes though, as we will try and get to you as quickly as possible, we wouldn't want you being cold as you have to get home don't you?

Mr and Mrs tax payer - please flush the toilet as you put your money in it.

Many thanks.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Eagle eyes.

They say that one important skill that comes with experience is having a "double ear", this means being able to hear comms shout you up or know what all of your colleagues are dealing with from radio transmissions, and at the same time be doing something else like writing a witness statement up etc.

Another important skill that comes with time in is having the coppers "eye". Some bobbies might call it the coppers nose but I think that's an inaccurate metaphor. This story centres about me using such a skill that I've developed over time.

I'm in a vehicle and on afternoons, it's just gone dark and I'm driving down a long main road. The clock appears to be stuck because I still am 6 hours away from finishing and it's dead...Well apart from that car that's just taken a sharp left around the corner...hmmm I think I'll follow that.

I turn off and head down the road and can see it turning left again into a pub car park, it stops in a parking spot whilst I pull up behind it. A quick glance shows that there are 4 on board, the driver has just got out of her car and is approaching my vehicle.

I get out and speak to her asking if she's lost or if everythings ok, because in fairness anything could have caused her to take a sharp turn away and it's always nice to be polite I think. I take a look at the tax disc and it's out of date and the driver isn't sure if she has the right insurance apparently?

I sit the young lady in the back of my car while I speak with her. The PNC on the car comes back in her name, insured too in her name. Ok no problem there, just the issue of tax - she provides me with a receipt showing she has just bought a new tax disc...the usual lecture on "failing to display valid tax is still an offence" is mentioned by myself but I'm prepared that its the end of the matter. Here's where the eye comes into play.

As I'm letting her out of my car I see something drop out of her back pocket...looks at first glance like a snap bag. She quickly picks it up and walks away.

"What did you just drop then?" I ask
"Oh just a piece of paper" She lies, walking off
"Wait a second" I say and approach here
"Show me what that was" I ask

She presents me with a snap bag with what appears to be cannabis in it.

"What's this?" I ask
"Erm...well...I...I...err....I think its nothing" She lies again
"Come and sit in my car right now" I demand

She comes clean that it is in fact cannabis but it's her friends in the passenger seat of her car.

"How long have you had this in your possession for?" I ask
"A week"
"Are you sure a week?"
"Yeah"

I go out and speak to her "friend" who agrees that it is hers but she only bought it 5-10 minutes ago from someone she didn't know. Somebody is lying their backside off and I'm starting to get a bit pissed off now, if there's one thing I dislike it's liars and I meet too many of them in my job.

Unfortunately there was a very small amount of the stuff in the snap bag, which warrants a street caution due to the fact that the girl who had it in her pocket hadn't been in trouble before as I PNC'd her. Cue her getting a long chatting to and a street caution for possession of cannabis (class C drug).

Whilst it's not the crime of the century it just shows that the coppers eye is fully operational and the young female has been given a chance to right her ways...but I doubt it will have made any difference and the drug taking will continue away from police knowledge.

What the female had trouble understanding was that the cannabis was found on her, not her friend and that it didn't matter if it wasn't hers or not she was found with it in her possession. I think that's my discretion used up now for a while because the sanctioned detections are calling...