Over the last few months, especially in the last couple of weeks actually, there has been a whole load of public moaning about parking police cars, ambulances and fire engines in inconvenient places.
However to me, it’s not just parking we get moaned at. Sometimes it does genuinely feel like some members of the public will take any opportunity they can to slate us. I hope they remember their comments on the day they need us most, and we block somebody else’s driveway to help them. I’m sure that would be just fine.
Whenever I return to my car which has, let’s be honest, been dumped, and there are people around, I apologise.
If we are responding to a Grade 1 in the middle of the night, we don’t purposefully put our sirens on, because we know at 3am you’re probably asleep.
If we are in the queue at Tesco and somebody offers we go first we say “no it’s okay” despite not having eaten all shift.
We try, we really do, to respect you, as the communities we protect.
It’s a shame it doesn’t go the other way.
We get moaned at when we park inconveniently. Well I’m sorry but if someone is about to jump out of their loft with a noose around their neck, I may just have other things on my mind than the perfect parallel park.
For me though, it’s more the digs at our appearance than our inability to park that wind me up.
I’ve been told I look scruffy. I’ve overheard people muttering that we “always look a mess”.
That time I walked past you and my boots were covered in mud, was because I had just found a car on fire in the middle of a boggy field.
That time I walked past you and my hair was all over the show was because I was dealing with a crash in the pissing down rain, and I’m freezing cold.
That time I walked past you literally covered in dust from head to toe, was because I had just been doing CPR on a 37 year old man on a building site. He died.
That time I walked past you and looked half asleep, was because I was four hours late off but had offered to go and help my colleagues at a GBH in town.
You can judge all you like, but you will never understand. When we come to work we do really try to do our best at whatever jobs we deal with that shift. There is nothing worse than finishing that shift, feeling like all you have done is let people down.
I bet if you ask any copper, one of the most used words on a daily basis is “sorry”.