Well, its been a little while since I've posted a blog and lots has happened....
My First Official Complaint
Well it had to happen at some point (and have a feeling another one is due soon)!
Rolling around on the floor with a drunk 20-something year old bloke in the high street = no complaint
Pain compliance on a rather large chap trying to head-butt colleagues and myself = no complaint
Arresting a farther at his family BBQ in front of his children on fathers day = no complaint
Rolling around in the back of a prison van with a drug induced chappie = no complaint
Palm-heal striking a very drunk and upset man who's friend (who according to him 'aint done nuthin) had been arrested late on a saturday night = no complaint
Giving a seemingly educated young middle class person a ticket for failing to stop = Aggressive racist bully who spits and shouts.
The reality went something like this.....
While on a cycle safety awareness operation we were tasked with stopping people who went through red traffic lights (amongst other things).
Now this particular person rode gingerly rode through a red traffic light a started to navigate through on-coming traffic, I asked them to stop and said "before you injure yourself can you just go back to the light and wait for it to turn green, there have been a number of accidents involving cyclists in this area and we (the police) are trying to reduce them". "I don't have time, I'm late!" came the reply. "Please can you go back to the lights, wait for it to go green then you can go on your way", "No, this is stupid, I'm very late, I don't have time". "Going through a red traffic light, even as a cyclist is an offence, I'm not going to give you a ticket but I would like you to go back to the traffic lights and wait for them to turn green.". Now, considering we were on a cycle safety operation and had a big pad of Â£30 tickets to dish out, I think that it was a reasonable request to make. Apparently not.
As he decided to just ride off when he saw a clean break in the traffic. "STOP!" I shouted (so technically he was correct about something), he continued on his merry way. After checking no vehicles where coming I ran into the road, grabbed his cycle rack and said "Jump off please", he dismounted, "Can you join me on the pavement". I took the cycle to the pavement and lent up on some railings. "Im sorry, I tried to offer you some words of advice and asked you go back to the traffic lights and wait, you chose to ignore the request and cycle off, I asked you to stop and you continued. I cant over look this. I propose to deal with this by the means of a fixed penalty notice". The reply was "Im in a hurry I dont have time for this, there must be another way to deal with this..... (repeat several times). "Do you have any ID on you?", "No", "Anything with your name and address on?", "No", "Can you tell me your name and address please?", "No", "In order for me to give you a fixed penalty notice I require your name and address". (repeat previous verse several times).
"You have committed an offence under the Road Traffic Act which I was prepared to overlook, you have committed a further offence under the Road Traffic Act by failing to stop when I required you to do so, In order for me to give you a fixed penalty notice I require your name and address, if you fail to provide me with your details I can arrest you (Im thinking I really dont want to explain this to a custody sergeant), please save yourself the embarrassment of being escorted to our police van (I pointed to it) and taking you to our custody centre."
"its....... (insert name/address here), but I want your details", "No problem, they are on the ticket and I will give you a card with further details of my station and the operation we are performing today. Now, you said you are in a hurry so you may want to call someone to say you are going to be late whilst I fill out the ticket and do a quick PNC check. This will take about 10 minutes"
On the ticket it asks for an ethnicity code, as with most people I show a ethnicity list (neatly stuck to the inside of my Pocket Note Book) and asked them to point to the one that bests describes their ethnicity.
So, a caution, ticket, caution, explanation on when/how to pay and the bit to fill in if they wish to go to court and a neatly filled out police 'business' calling card later he was free to go on his way.
2 weeks later.... I was shown an email accusing me of violently shaking him off his bike while he merrily rode along with his iPod on, shouted at him, pushed him to the side of the road where a crowd gathered (according him the local paper turned up... tho funnily enough nothing appeared in the paper). apparently when I asked for him where he came from I muttered racist abuse and spat at him!
Even though it was an absolute pile of tosh (and anyone could see through it), it still bothered me! me racist? violent?
Luckily I was double crewed and my crew partner was only 20ft away. After he met with my sergeant and Inspector (that kind of accusation would never be ignored) it was all dropped.
Funnily enough (or not) I gave out another ticket the other day when I was on foot patrol and member of public complained that a vehicle was park right across the footpath and they couldn't get by. I walked up and after 10 minutes of trying to locate the owner I decided to start writing out a ticket.... as if by magic the owner appeared out of a nearby shop. I mentioned not only was it parked over double yellow lines it was also parked right across pathway and that someone had complained to me that they had to walk in the road to get round. They seamed to dis-agree with this (I failed to see how they could, after all the vehicle was parked 2ft to my left). Another request for my number and reminder that I will be hearing more about it.
Hmmmm, I think I will just stick to rolling around on the floor with drunken/drugged people while being filmed on a mobile phone which uploads directly to youtube...... no complaints ever seem to come of those!
For my boyfriends birthday we took a holiday round the states (New York, Washington, Orlando, Las Vegas and San Francisco).
As a treat (after a bit of co-ordination from my sergeant and a kind person on response) we met up with a sergeant 'Chuck' in the San Francisco Police Department and a ex-pat who is a serving officer in the SFPD.
We turned up at the precinct and got a tour and met a number of high up people (I got lost in the rank structure). Now I dont know what I was expecting, but I guess it was largly based on all those American Cop TV shows that on the back channels of Sky TV. In a number of ways, its no different to our police stations are organized with an exception to:
Briefing : Consists of standing in front of a large cork-board before starting duty
Amenities : Huge TV room, gym and canteen.
Cells : Two large rooms for multi-occupancy with a large chrome rail to handcuff your detainees to.
Armory : A big room with lots of guns of all types and sizes.
As you can imagine the armory was a source of much interest. It was explained while we stood in the centre of the room "When an officer comes to work he has his side-arm with him (the handgun), he then comes in here and checks-out a shot-gun, a tazer (looks like another shot-gun, wicked stuff) and a tactical rifle". Now I thought my utility belt was full!!!
Where and why? Well, apparently its all needed. The side-arm (utility belt) for those ad-hoc moments when you need to pop-a-cap in someone's ass. The shotgun (front of the car) for general purpose destruction, the tazer (trunk of the car) if you're a panzy and dont wish to spray the public standing close by with someone's intestines and a tactical rifle (trunk of the car) for those moments when suspect has an AK-47 or has body armor (apparently it happens alot). "So? is it true you guys just have a stick?" came the question. "Yes, we all live in castles and cannons are a real nightmare to carry around".
The one thing that struck me was that just like our section police rooms, the walls are covered with 'nominals', known persons who cause a large percentage of the local headaches, except these are dived into gangs..... oh and instead of 9 or 10 badly photocopied pictures they have about 150!
Chuck and his partner (and the SFPD who largely footed the hospitality bill) took us to lunch in the Castro and a few evenings of getting to know the local area (mainly viewed from restaurants and bars). Cant wait to go back!
BDA (Basic Driving Authority) - Prison Vans and People Carriers
Because Im so old and can drive pretty much anything (except busses and trucks). Taking advantage of this I took another driving test so that I can drive the big police prison vans and the people carriers/mini-buses.
I expected (as per my car test) to potter around for half an hour while chatting about random things. Not quite so.
Its been about 8 years since I have driven anything larger than a mid-size saloon car so taking two steps up in to a chuffing great van (that we had to borrow from LST as its not very often anyone is taught these things) I realised it probably wasnt going to be quite the same as my car BDA test.
After plowing my way through Lewes traffic, reversing a few times, parking etc etc we headed back to HQ. "Now park it in there" my instructor pointed to a space between two other vans that only looked large enough park a motorcycle. I lined it up and gingerly reversed the huge lump of metal between the two vans, pulled my wing mirrors in so that it would fit. Opened my door and slinked out in the tiny gap between the vehicles (im pretty slim), maneuvered myself under the folded wing mirrors and took a look back. There must of been about 10 inches either side to spare. "Hmmmm, not bad, could have been better" remarked my instructor!
Anyways, I passed and was told I should apply for the 'standard' course (blues and sirens) as I had good potential (I may have reminded a few people of this since).
RPU (Road Policing Unit, aka Traffic Cops/Black Rats)
I recently spent two days with RPU, which largely consisted of tapping in car registration numbers in the MDT (Mobile Data Terminal) in the vehicle using a dodgy wireless keyboard that had a several keys missing (We had ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) but it was so slow it was easier to do it manually)
I gave out more tickets in 2 days than I have done in the past 12 months (no complaints as yet). It was quite mundane if im honest and we secretly wished for dodgy wet weather so we could attend an RTC (Road Traffic Collision). The team were really nice though.
LST (Local Support Team aka 'The Door Boshers')
Two whole days filled with over-flowing testosterone.
I attended two raids and a demonstration (although I personally I wouldn't have called it a demonstration, more like a few people that were a bit cheesed off).
Again, a great bunch of people who took the time to explain things to me in great detail. It was a good experience.
Cant wait for my attachment with the Dog Unit next month (I've been told I shouldn't pat the dog and tell him he's cute, something to do with ripping my face off). I'll let you know how it goes :S