Is it Christmas?

It really doesn’t feel like it’s Christmas in two days.

I get asked ‘are you ready for Christmas?’ Well..I think so. There’s been no build up because I’ve been working, my husband has been working, and we are working over Christmas.

I hear “I’m so excited” Well..me too, but for the 27th, when we get to have our Christmas Day.

Work is busier than usual. People are more drunk. More violent and apparently all round more stupid.

The cells are full, the staff are knackered, and the jobs keep coming.

All that said, we make the most of it. I’m so lucky to have an amazing shift, we are a proper little strange family.

We have been having a “Mince Pie-off” which has not been good for our waistlines, but fun all the same! I think the big reveal of which shop has the best Mince Pies is tomorrow…

We have laughed so hard we have cried, and given each other the motivation to plough on through.

Thank God for a good team & good Sergeants, those guys really do make it so much easier.

To all of you with your families over the next few days, have a really Happy Christmas x

A Weary Week…

It’s been a really, really long week. It’s the time of year where there’s Christmas parties, lots of alcohol, lots of annual leave, and a much higher demand.

In one week, within just my team, over just six days, the phrases “the wheel has well and truly fallen off”, “you’re all duty today because there’s too many prisoners” and “there’s been a shit load handed over” have been fairly common.

A police officer was hit by a car.

A victim of a serious assault went missing because they can’t cope with what they’ve gone through.

There were more prisoners than officers.

Someone has a fractured skull as the result of an assault.

Someone has been stabbed twice.

Someone nearly lost their eye in an attack.

There was more than one violent disorder with multiple prisoners.

There was more than one dirty protest in custody.

There was a 0430 start for a warrant.

There was more than one late finish.

Somebody thought it was okay to be racially abusive, it’s not.

Somebody got remanded for a serious assault.

Multiple are now on bail for stalking, public order and assault offences.

In just six days, with just one team.

Whilst you’re out and about, having a drink and enjoying time with your friends and family, please do it sensibly.  You don’t want to end up with a criminal record as the result of having one too many beers.

Be festive, not foolish.

Be Festive not Foolish

It is that time of year again where the Festive period results in people being unnecessarily silly.

The don’t drink/drug drive campaigns do the rounds again.

The shoplift/purse theft campaigns do the rounds again.

The burglary campaigns do the rounds again.

Yet for reasons unknown to us, people still drink & drive. People still take drugs & drive. People still steal, and people still break into homes and steal presents.

Just today, somebody was in Custody having blown 166. Just how?!

Be festive, not foolish.

Yesterday, a delivery driver was in Custody having been caught drink driving. Just why?!

Be festive, not foolish.

Over the last week there’s been yet another rise in violent assaults. Of people being bottled over the head, being attacked with machetes, being involved in car crashes where alcohol has played a part.

Be festive, not foolish.

It’s only the 3rd December. We, as Police, as Paramedics, as all Emergency Services, know that there is worse to come. The demand is massive, the hours worked are excessive, and Christmas is still weeks away.

Weeks more of Christmas parties, of alcohol fuelled assaults, of thefts from shops. Twice this week (I’m on day 3 of 6 of my working week) my Custody block has stopped accepting new prisoners because it’s been full. It has capacity to hold over 50.

Help us. Be festive, not foolish.

Don’t complain if we don’t arrive as quickly as you would like. You don’t know what we’ve just come from.

Don’t complain if you see us in Tesco buying food. You don’t know when we last ate.

Don’t go to A&E unless it is an accident or emergency (the clue is in the title).

Don’t abuse the call takers when you don’t get the answer you want. You don’t know how much pressure they are under.

Be festive, not foolish. Support us. Help us and work with us.

Cops need Cops

There is so much bad press every day about the Police, the lack of Police and the failure of Policing.

Every department is under-staffed and over-worked.  Every department thinks another department is better off.  Every department does something that pisses off another one, unintentionally.

Response moan that investigation teams NFA their jobs.  Investigation teams moan that response handovers are rubbish.  Custody moan that people aren’t being dealt with quickly enough and are still in custody.  Response cops moan that Custody take f-o-r-e-v-e-r to book somebody into custody. Investigation teams moan because they’re late off again because CPS are taking an age to make a decision.

But actually, would any of those departments be able to do their job without the others? No.

Without custody there’s nowhere to put the prisoners.

Without response there’s nobody to arrest those prisoners in the first place.

Without investigations there’s no chance of getting people to Court.

We all moan, I think it’s in the job description, but we all secretly know that we couldn’t do the job without each other.

It was on one of my recent late shifts that I was thinking about this.  I requested the 999 call for a job I was dealing with.  A horrible job.  An even more horrible 999 call.

And I thought for a minute, could I be a call taker? Could I listen to those distressing, literal cries for help day in day out?  No, I don’t think I could.

Thank god we have people who can.  Without them, the public and the Police would be stuffed.

I’ve been on response, and I’ve moaned about the Investigation team binning a job that I genuinely thought had potential for a decent outcome.

I’m now on investigations, moaning about response.  It’s not fair really.  We are all so over-worked we can only do our best.  And it’s really easy to be the 9am jury slagging off the people who did the job before we started work.

We moan about rubbish handovers.  Maybe they’re “rubbish” because the Cop writing it was called straight out to another 999 call, and was then late off and remembered they hadn’t finished it.

We moan about jobs being NFA’d that we’ve worked really hard on.  More than likely it’s CPS making that decision, and we shoot the messenger in Investigations instead.

We moan that Custody are taking flipping ages to seemingly do anything, but maybe that’s because the female on the next wing is trying to tie her tights round her neck.

We all moan I think, as a way to cope.  We are struggling, frustrated and tired, and it’s easy to shout about something.

But at the end of the day, no matter what role we are in, what job we do, or what City we Police, we know we can’t do our job without each other, it’s just a shame that we don’t vocalise that more sometimes.

Political Whiplash

Not five minutes ago were Politicians and the media stating that Stop & Search incites racism, and shouldn’t be used.

Fast forward five minutes, and Politicians and the Media are telling Police to use Stop & Search to help tackle knife crime.

I stand by the fact that I believe Stop & Search to be one of the most effective tools we have.  Yes it may be a bit embarrassing, and yes people will stop and stare because apparently that’s what we do these days…. but if you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to lose.

If you don’t want to be searched, if you kick up a stink, the chances are you’re probably in possession of something you shouldn’t be.  Don’t forget, we actually need grounds to conduct a Stop & Search, we can’t just pick on people. (Contrary to what the media would let you believe.)

It’s effective.

It prevents crime.

Every knife off the street is another life likely saved.

Every bit of intelligence obtained helps us build the bigger picture.

But do you know what would really help?

If we could actually do our job.  Stop & Search is part of our job.  If you are a businessman we don’t take away your computer keyboard.  If you’re a Doctor we don’t take away your defibrillator. If you’re a fireman we don’t take away your hose.  If you’re a taxi driver we don’t take away your steering wheel.

So why should we have Stop & Search taken away from us?  Stop using it to make fake and juicy headlines and to aid Political agendas and start letting us do our job, do what we are trained to do, and try to tackle the surge in violent crime.

To the year June 2018, ONS stated there has been:

  1. A continued rise in the number of Police recorded offences involving knives or sharp instruments (up 12% excluding Greater Manchester Police)
  2. The number of admissions to Hospital in England and Wales for assaults involving a sharp instrument has increased.
  3. The number of homicides increased following a long-term decline (up 14% excluding terror attacks)
  4. A 22% increase in Police recorded offences of Robbery

Stop & Search ultimately helps saves lives. So let us use it.

Treading Water…

There are more Cops to help with the rise in violent crime. Are there bollocks! Loosely translated, that means there’s more Cops who have had their shifts extended, rest days cancelled, and annual leave refused, in order to try and cope with demand. There aren’t more Cops. Let’s not forget that all too recent comment that there’s no direct trend between the rise in violent crime and the reduction in Police numbers…

There’s not enough of us to do our normal shifts, let alone cover all the added extras like festivals, political leader visits, football matches and Christmas demand. If I work one of those duties it means I’m taken off my usual duties. Which means someone has a rest day cancelled to back fill. It’s not sustainable like this, it really, really isn’t.

I have an £80,000 fraud to investigate. It’s taken a total back seat because I’ve also got six Section 18 Wounding with Intent’s to investigate, one of which is already going to Court & the CPS are being needy. It’s rubbish. That poor fraud victim hasn’t had any contact from me in a few weeks, I have no updates, I’ve not interviewed the suspect, it would actually be totally fair to say I’m failing them.

We have to prioritise. We priotise based on risk, threat & harm. Jobs lower down that list have to wait. Which is good in theory but it would appear we keep getting high risk jobs, so the list keeps growing, and the low risk ones never get a look in.

Prioritisation is right, but it shouldn’t be to the extreme that it is. It shouldn’t mean we fail victims to the extent that we do, and it shouldn’t mean we forget about jobs until they turn red on our task list and we have an “oh shit” moment.

I have over 15 separate investigations, plus those that I acquire after I’ve interviewed people in custody, plus those that get linked to a job I already have. There quite literally aren’t enough hours in the day. I believe there’s over 100 crimes in our team inbox that haven’t even been allocated out for investigation because we all have so many already.

But it’s ok, because there’s more Cops coming….! Negative press. Untruthful press. Misleading headlines. All far too familiar.

We know our job has challenges. We knew that when we joined. But we shouldn’t be pushed to breaking point. We shouldn’t be working late more often than not in order to just about keep on top of it.

We get very good at treading water that’s for sure. Our head’s are just above drowning level. Just.

Heroes

This is slightly different to my usual posts about not enough resources, being knackered, and not knowing quite how we are going to carry on doing our job with the lack of support, resources and funding we currently have.

This post is about us as heroes.  Never have I come away from a fireworks display feeling overwhelmed.  Well, never until last night.  I’m a cop, my husband is ex-military and a paramedic, and we both came away super impressed.

The theme was heroes.  The Armed Forces, Emergency Services, Teachers, Grandparents, Sports heroes, Superheroes, brothers & sisters. I guess in some way, everybody has a hero, and that hero can be anybody.

I won’t lie, it was an unexpected and pleasant surprise to hear Emergency Services being branded as heroes, rather than the usual Daily Fail headlines. The display was opened by the Royal British Legion, and the Last Post played.  It’s hard to believe it’s been 100 years since the end of the War.  It really was incredible throughout.

To try and be a little positive on a Sunday, I guess it is important to realise the good we do, the way we help, and the fact that in the view of some, we are a kind of hero.

We help save lives.

We find your missing children.

We lock up the people who have hurt you most.

We stay with you at your time of need.

We hold your hand if you’re scared.

We run towards the danger when everybody else runs away.

Even though sometimes we’re frightened, we try not to let it show, we do our job anyway.

We learn to expect the unexpected.

We get hurt along the way.

No matter just how crap our day has been, if you’re the next person to need us, we will be there.

In the words of Coldplay – “Hercules and his gifts, Spiderman’s control, And Batman with his fists, And clearly I don’t see myself upon that list”.

Firework