• What You Measure is What You Get.

    Einstein : Not everything that can be counted counts. And not everything that counts can be counted.
  • About me.

    I know enough to know that at 04.00am it gets dark out on the streets. It has done this for the last twenty odd years, to my knowledge and will probably continue for the forseeable future. At some stage in this ‘future’ I shall retire and probably won’t give a damn if it still gets dark at 04.00am. Until then I shall be out there, somewhere, lurking in the shadows because someone, somewhere will be doing stuff they shouldn’t and then, well then I will introduce myself. In the meanwhile I shall try to remain sane and remember why I joined in the first place and try to ignore all the people who piss me off by making the job more complicated than it should be.
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    Any opinions contained in posts are mine and mine alone. Many of them will not be those of any Police Force, Police Organisation or Police Service around this country. The opinions are based on many years of working within the field of practical operational Police work and reflect the desire to do things with the minimum of interference by way of duplication for the benefit of others who themselves do not do the same job. I recognise that we all perform a wide range of roles and this is essential to make the system work. If you don’t like what you see remember you are only one click on the mouse away from leaving. I accept no responsibility for the comments left by others.
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  • C.T.C. Constabulary.

    A Strategic Community Diversity Partnership. We are cutting bureaucracy and reducing the recording of target and monitoring related statistics. Our senior leaders will drive small, economical cars from our fleet surplus to save money to invest in better equipment for our frontline response officers. We are investing money to reinstate station canteens for the benefits of those 24/7 response officers. We have a pursuit policy. The message is that if you commit an offence and use a vehicle, we will follow you and stop you if necessary. It is your duty to stop when the lights and sirens are on. We take account of the findings of the Force questionnaire and are reducing the administration and management levels and returning these officers to frontline response duties. We insist on a work-life balance. We have no political masters. We are implimenting selection processes that take account of an individuals skills and proven abilities for the job. Our senior leaders will have one foot in reality and still possess the operational Policing skills they have long forgotton about and seldom used. All ranks are Police Officers first and specialists second. We will impliment career development and performance evaluation monitoring of our leaders by those officers who operate under that leadership. The most important role is that of Constable. All other roles are there to positively support the role and the responsibility of Constable and the duties performed.
  • Whichendbites

    “We trained very hard, but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams we would be reorganised. I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganising. It can be a wonderful method of creating the illusion of progress while creating confusion, inefficiency and demoralisation.”......Petronius
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    If you had to identify, in one word, why we will never achieve our full potential, Meetings would be that word.
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    When there is no answer to your problem, there is always deflection from the need to justify giving an answer.

Seeing, perceiving, understanding.

I returned from a few days off and found out that I had been ‘allocated’ the job of embedding myself within the community at a school. Not just any school, but one of those special schools. One of those schools where children and young adults with severe learning difficulties, mental and physical mountains to climb go. These places are quietly in the background and for the most part lost to their general existence. I checked the rosters and sure enough. I saw that I was the chosen one. There was no no way out. This duty was mine and everyone else had, by some strange and wonderful miracle of fate, got themselves other things to do keep themselves occupied.

A quick phone call was made and the visit confirmed, subject to the usual operation commitments taking precedence. At the time anything would have done.

I arrived at the place and could see the staff and helpers arranging the assorted wheelchairs, trolleys and rows of chairs for the kids who could walk with little or no help. The audience was to be in the shade under some trees. Everyone from the school was there. All the staff were there. All the volunteer helpers had volunteered for the day and were there. All the children were there, they normally are. Lots of parents, family members and carers were there. I was there. At that time I would rather of been somewhere else. Anywhere else, but not here.

I was seeing, all these people. My perception was one of not really giving a toss and my understanding was just about nil.

I was introduced and then I began to talk. Some of the children were clearly not at the level of my normal school visits so I tried to appear gentle, deliberate and calm as I talked and moved about. I spoke for a few minutes and had absolutely no recollection of what I was saying over the groans, shouts and grunts from my audience.

As planned, I left the shade of the trees and my audience. I walked to my van to get out my companion and return to the centre of the stage. I was worried that someone or something would cause the dog to take chunks out of these unfortunate children.

The shouts and groans stopped as though they were somehow interested. Suddenly they were not just children with all manner of unfortunate mental and physical problems. They became small people. How could the addition of one dog have such an amazing effect. I began to see and my perception changed but I still could not understand.

I put the dog down in various places close to the rows of people. The dog remained surprisingly calm and did not seem worried at all. This was the animal that has taken lumps out of people and the restraint and calm belied the seething turmoil that is sometimes unleashed when the signals are right.

Without any prompting I looked, to my surprise and concern, at my canine companion who had got up and walked slowly towards a girl who was a mass of belts and straps that held her in place in a specially designed wheelchair. He moved ever so gently to her face, sniffed her and began to deliberately and carefully lick her cheek.

She immediately began to convulse and appeared to be having some form of seizure. The staff and volunteer helpers nearby burst into spontaneous applause and my initial horror at what I thought was taking place subsided to enormous relief. She was going to keep her head and I needn’t have been worried. I even noticed that some of the people were crying.

I continued for several more minutes before placing my boy back into the security of my van and returned, relieved, to the building for the regulation discussion over a cup of tea with the head before I left.

I was greeted by excited gibbering that left me wondering who were the staff and who were the people they were helping. It turned out that this was the greatest display of just about anything by way of emotion and movement that they had seen from this girl and they were overwhelmed with genuine tears of joy, disbelief and thanks.  I had done nothing. 

I began to see. I saw that there were people here. Small people with all manner of hurdles and barriers to what I had considered a normal life, that they and the dedicated staff and helpers who supported them, supported the families and carers to help give them a level of fulfillment and achievement that only they comprehend.  This may not have been normal to me but for them, normal was exactly what it was. These people were special. The staff, volunteer help, families and carers are truly dedicated and deal with a level of frustration that needs a sense of determination and patience that leaves me in a very humbling position. 

My perception changed based on what I seen.

My understanding changed because of my perception of what I had seen. It is not just about looking, but seeing what is there. I mean really seeing, perceiving differences and getting a greater understanding.

All because of my dog, who had no barriers or pre-conceived ideas, just reacted to something he saw, perceived or understood in his doggy mind.

I was not sufficiently blind to have missed this and I am richer for it.

I wonder if this school will still be open next year ?

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19 Responses

  1. Oh now I’ve got tears in my eyes. Lovely post.
    Ax

  2. yes that also brought a tear to my eye, I’ve always wanted a dog but the mrs has lots of cats so its a no go.
    good luck John gibson

  3. Animals really do have a special perception of people, don’t they? I like to think that your dog reacts to the vibes that he gets from people. i.e. Aggression from/to thugs, and peace & calm to/from these special people. Nice job, WEB. See? Doesn’t have to be in the back of the diary, does it?

  4. Excellent post WEB! Thanks! :-)

  5. A wonderful post WEB. Tears in the eyes here too. Always knew you were a big sofftie at heart :)

  6. Good work W.E.B. some of those kids will never forget your visit.

    Mrs Jack works in Special Schools a lot and always says that we should visit more. I’ll show her the the post when she gets back from work. I used to visit the Special School on my beat quite a lot when I was on CBT. The Landrover always went down well.

    You’re right to worry about yours still being there in a year though. Mainstreaming is apparently the best. It is merely a co-incidence that it is cheaper and conforms to a political ideal.

  7. my sister in law works with special needs kids and is just as devoted to them as the teachers in the school you went to, absolute gems and in dire need of a pay rise.

    I took the time to read through This End Bites last night while eating an old tuna sandwich – bloody excellent mate!! you’ve definately tapped into the lands shark’s psyche, much like the cat one you did a while back with the sniper pillows.

  8. That’s why I think dogs are the best. These animals sense so much and are so intelligent. It’s interesting to see how you felt at first about your assignment, then how you felt later. Sometimes, I believe we are placed in certain places for a certain time for our own growth. Beautiful post, W.E.B.

  9. Great post. It’s the days / events like that which make the job worth doing i guess.

  10. Excellently told and emoted WEB, wonderful.

  11. Top post. Again.

  12. Your post made me cry.

    I’m glad there are people like you in the service.

  13. Great post!

    Don’t forget, though, they are teachers, so they only work from 9 until 3.30, and get loads of holiday…
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    ..
    .
    (Parents were, SWMBO and big sis are, teachers – no tongue-in-cheek smiley available ;-) No way would I do their job)

    (Or yours – thanks for being out there)

  14. Horses are the same, always amazes me that the Riding for the Disabled ponies who cheerfully try to finish us volunteers off turn into little angels during their RDA sessions – animals know these things!

  15. Cracking post mate! It’s just another bonus of being a handler.

  16. Spot on WEB – your line about you not being blind enough is top notch, and one I hope to steal and make my own one day… ;-)

  17. Very nice! Love the details!

  18. Excellent post. One of the best yet and one of the reasons why I keep coming back.

    I, too, love the way animals can teach us so much. You should have seen the wains at the local playgroup here last year when I smuggled a piglet into the park next door. (I had to stop to check the piglet in case it was stressed on a its journey through the village and the children just happened to come out at that point!)

  19. Couldn’t help it, just burst into tears reading that.

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