I don’t think even what us Cops consider to be normal is realistic anymore.
Our definition of “normal” has always been slightly different from that of the general public. We expect more drunks, more violence, more idiots, more deaths, but I think even we are shocked by what appears to now be “normal”.
Some of my busiest shifts lately have been a mid-week early turn. When we’re gearing up for a Saturday late shift (especially if it’s just been payday!) we expect a degree of chaos. When I walk in at 0700hrs on a Tuesday to over 30 prisoners, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. I should point out that I am on a team of what should be about 30 of us. The reality is that we are a team of about 12. Police cuts are just fabulous.
And it’s not just 30 prisoners. It’s the live jobs that require monitoring, the handover from the previous shift and the delightful line “sorry ran out of time, there’s 3 Albanian’s in for PWITS, interpreter booked for 0900hrs”. Result! That’s the reality.
The other week, in about an hour, in the one area of one City that I work, we had the following:
- A house shot at.
- 7 prisoners in for PWITS
- Another house shot at (no, not linked)
- A machete weilding maniac
- A robbery
- A potential hostage situation.
That’s the reality of Policing in 2019.
Violence is on another level. Assaults on Police are through the roof. Back up is never “just round the corner” (no, it’s not The Bill). The number of Priority 999 calls that can’t be responded to because there actually aren’t any officers left is scary.
On my radio channel, every day, are open shouts for anybody at all to leave the job they’re at because something more serious has come in. On my radio channel, every day, the controller is met with silence. That’s the reality of Policing.
Those officers aren’t dealing with a theft. They’re dealing with a man with a weapon, a violent domestic, a sudden death, a shooting, a stabbing, they’re trying to save somebody’s life, and they’re being asked to leave to go to something else. That’s not okay, not on any level. But that’s the reality.
We aren’t even half way through January yet. We have already seen children killed, too many armed robberies to count, too many Police Officers no longer with us, too many shouts for assistance with nobody free to help.
That’s the reality of Policing. It’s going to be a busy year.