“I’m going to caution you through the drive through”

It wouldn’t be fair to paint a picture that Policing is all doom and gloom, hard and tiring.

On one chilly night shift, it was far more about hilarity than anything else!

We all (when I say all I mean about 5 of us) rolled into our 10pm briefing, plying ourselves with caffeine before the first Grade 1. There’s bound to be a classy handover from lates which one of us lucky lot will get to follow up on.

I get crewed with my “work bestie”. Happy days! A night shift always goes faster with some Haribo and silly conversations.

About 11pm we thought we best head out. We were full on caffeine and caught up on paperwork, so let’s go and see what trouble we can cause hey?!

The conversation went something along the lines of this:-

“So..what kind of job do we want tonight?!”

“Something fun. Not too much paperwork but catching the baddie would be good. Not a fight though!” (That is a story for another day)

“Oooh like a decent burglary with offender on scene?”

“Sounds good to me!”

And off we went. Radio silence for what seemed like aaaaages. To be fair anything longer than five minutes on a night shift can drag with nothing going on. But we went about town, putting the world to rights and patrolling all our hot spots.

A deployment! Wahoo! An alarm at KFC. Classy. Too right we called up straight away, nice cheeky blat across town to wake us up, and probably not much work at the end of it. Lovely job!

Our colleague came along too, you know, just in case. (Personally I think he was as tired/bored as us and just wanted a jolly!)

We drove round the building and it all seemed a-ok. Until we got to the drive through. The window was smashed. Goddam it. Nevermind! We sent our colleague on their way, as even though we were just two girls, we could handle a broken window and waiting for a keyholder thank you very much.

Sat in the car, literally in the drive through, we decided to be efficient (who knew!) and whipped out our laptops to start the paperwork. We had at least a criminal damage if not a burglary to write up now.

I get out of the car to go and meet the keyholder, leaving my colleague in the drivers seat, when something made me turn round.

Well crap. Someone’s in KFC! Where the bloody hell did they come from?! I assure you we had checked the building….*

Then he turned round. Bloody hell again. One of our well known drug users. Some days you could have a pleasant conversation with him, others you had to dodge the haymakers/dirty needles/all other rubbish he decided to launch in our direction.

Tonight however, he was sweeping. You really couldn’t write it. He was wearing a KFC coat and sweeping the floor! I think we both just stood and watched for a few seconds! My colleague, who genuinely does try to see the best in everyone, asked if he had a job there now. Well, I nearly lost it! Hilarious! No disrespect to our current trespasser, but I would have put my annual wage on him not having gained employment!

So there we are, arresting him on suspicion of burglary, THROUGH the drive through window, caution and everything! Luckily for us, he was so off his face he couldn’t work out how to get out, as there wasn’t a chance I was fitting through the tiny window in all my kit.

We called our colleague back…damn it…and he brought us the van.

The rest of the night involved statements and photographs and custody runs and without spelling it out, suggesting very strongly that they bin the stock he was helping himself to!

This will definitely go down in my “memorable job” list…probably as the funniest!

* It transpired he was hiding in the office on our arrival which genuinely was out of site of all the windows!

The first of many “one of those” jobs…

It’s no secret that throughout a career in the Police, as with any emergency service, there will be jobs you go to that you just won’t ever forget.

Sure, they’ll get easier to think about, they won’t make you cry, you won’t struggle to sleep and get flashbacks, but you’ll always remember them.  Whether it be your first suicide, first car crash, first domestic, first arrest, first time you were assaulted, things will stick in your head.  They make you who you are.

These jobs don’t just test you as a person, they test everything. You go home and don’t want to talk, your other half can’t make you feel better, nobody can relate to what you’re feeling, because the truth is, you don’t know how you feel yourself, not yet anyway.

My first “one of those” jobs was when I had about 16 weeks service under my belt.  I wasn’t being tutored any more, I could drive and go to jobs by myself, but I had only four months experience on shift.  Truth be told, nothing can prepare you for some jobs.

It was about eight o’clock in the morning, it was just after Christmas, and I was single crewed.  I was working in a different city to the one I normally do, and I was by myself.

Sat in the office, my colleague was with me. He was also single crewed.  I was trying to down a cup of tea before going to a job I had been sent to. It wasn’t ongoing, it was just to take a report.  Then I got diverted.

“We have reports of a man on the tracks”

“A man or a body?”

“We don’t know, that’s all the information we have”

Shit.  Probably one of the only jobs I’ve never wanted to go to. How do you deal with the worst case scenario? How do you even start to deal with it?

Because my colleague is ace, he jumped in with me, and we went together. I’ll never be able to say thank you enough for that. I genuinely couldn’t have dealt with that job by myself.  Because it was the worst case scenario, it was a man who had been hit by a train.

Carnage. I can’t even begin to explain how I felt when I leant over the bridge and saw what I did. Now what.  I shouted at my colleague, who lucky for them, was looking over the other side of the bridge!  We waited for Network Rail to confirm that all trains had been stopped and the lines were off, before navigating the most precarious set of steps down to the tracks.

First time for everything, I hadn’t walked on a railway line before that day, let alone dealt with this. On the outside, I was calm and doing what I had to, inside I was breaking. This was somebody’s son, maybe a dad or a husband?  That’s not important right now.  If I thought too much about that, I wouldn’t have got through the day.

Ambulance came, and quickly went, as it was clear even they couldn’t do anything to help. The Body Recovery Team, a Sergeant, another Sergeant and an Inspector all turned up. Was this a crime scene? Was it a suicide? Was it an accident?

A few hours later, the undertakers came and took the man away, then slowly but surely, we all left.

We got back in the car, and didn’t say anything.  Somehow the silence was loud. Neither of us had been to a job like that before, there were no words, but I found comfort in not being alone.

Our Sergeant called us back to the station for a debrief.  “Are you ok?” she said. I think I replied with “I don’t know”.  How do you explain how you feel after that. Numb? Upset? Scared? Shocked? All of the above?

To be honest I’m not sure even now, nearly two years later, that I could find the words to explain how I felt. I’d never dealt with trauma on that scale before. I can talk about it now without getting flashbacks, without being upset, but somehow, sometimes, it still feels like it was only last week.

You learn to cope in this job, that’s for sure. Jobs get easier, trauma becomes normal, and you find a way to cope.  I’m lucky in that my husband will give me a cuddle when I walk through the door, and then do anything in his power to distract me. He knows there’s no point in talking it over and over.  We go for dinner, or play a game, just something to distract me, and that works. I’m grateful for that, he helps more than he probably realises, he’s my rock.

 

My First Day…

Do we get called Probationers anymore? Student Officer? Probie? Newbie?  Depends where you are, who you talk to, and what they fancy to call you on the day!

Never bothered me.  I knew I was new, I knew I was in my probationary period, and I knew when I joined, that this was a two year long process.  Call me what you like, I’ll probably answer to it!

After a loooong 16 week course at a Police Training Centre, I was free to fly the nest! I was a Special Constable prior to joining up, which I thought would stand me in good stead, but my god, how different is it doing the job every day!?

I was going to work in a place I hadn’t even visited before, to a shift of strangers, and I had this horrible feeling that I would be expected to be competent already.  Thankfully I was wrong!

Before I started, I went to meet my shift.  I walked in, having remembered the three different door codes, and asked for my tutor.  “Oh he’s on his way back from a shooting, he will be here soon.”  Well, shit.  If that wasn’t a reality slap around the face I don’t know what is.  In those very few seconds, what I had just joined up to do became very real. This would be me. I would be going to those jobs.  The biggest question in my head was “and what on earth would I do if I got sent to that?” Well, it really is amazing how fast you learn.

My first “actual” day couldn’t have been better.  I got on with everyone on my shift, they all wanted to help me, everyone was friendly, and I got on with my tutor!  It’s a bit of a blur, I don’t remember what jobs we went to, but I remember going home that night, feeling content.  I did it.  My first day, often the hardest, was done, and I survived!

Meet the bobbie behind the blog…

Hi!

Before I start, I best let you know that I’m brand new to blogging. It’s something I have thought about for what seems like forever, but just keep putting off!

However, as you’ll learn if you read my future posts, a recent new change in my life has made me seize the day so to speak, and I thought “oh why the hell not?” So here goes!

I’m a serving Police Officer. I have done my job for less than three years. Sometimes it feels like I’ve done it forever, and others I feel so far out of my depth it feels like I’m drowning.

For me, there are two reasons that I want to write this blog. Firstly, as an honest outlet for myself. How I feel, what I’ve dealt with, what went wrong (and right!), but secondly to show you (if anyone has read this far) the other side to policing. The side that the media don’t write about. The side that isn’t public knowledge. The thoughts, the feelings, the tears and all other emotions behind “just doing the job”.