With minimum ‘staffing’ levels over the festive break, all resources have been pushed to the limit on many occasions. The SLT see the festive break as exactly that. They expect each and every officer who is working have a bit of a double time holiday whilst they laze around the various stations doing nowt, waiting for that call to uphold the tradition of supplying a high level of Policing intervention on occasions where it is deemed necessary.
There will be none of that sitting around on your arse chatting over anything topical, mainly because the calls still arrive and there are a lot less officers to go around.
We have one dog to cover the City Division and one dog to cover the County Division. Where the two meet across the series of small to medium sized towns, well we will see who is nearer and not committed.
The morning shifts are relatively quiet with some mopping up of crime visits, lost property and the aftermath of the festive family fisticuffs. Festive cheer and alcohol only appear to vent the simmering hostilities and subdued bad feelings of the previous 12 months. All this without the added anger factor of receiving a present they simply did not believe santa would get them. Some families are just like being locked into a pressure cooker. Everyone can hear it madly hissing away as the pressure continues to build and no-one wants to try to calm things because they are either worried about offending someone or just can’t be bothered, preferring to wait to call in the Police family mentoring team when it all kicks off. After all, that’s what the Police are there for, isn’t it ?
How is it that it is never anyone else’s fault ?
It is always because someone was nicked, or someone got pushed, or someone didn’t like being grabbed, spoken to firmly or told simply to go away before things got out of hand.
Stuck firmly in the middle, piggies in the middle if you like, are the unlucky poor response officer or anyone else who is uncommitted and is available to attend or get dispatched because the resources are thinner on the ground than normal. Everyone is a Police Officer first.
With Christmas Day and Boxing Day having passed there is that eternal New Year’s Eve general love-in, where for at least 15 minutes everyone loves everyone else until old habits return and any feelings of fondness for the fellow man deteriorates into drink fuelled hatred and violence because someone looks at someone else a bit odd, someone else was just asking for it or someone disses someone else and they just couldn’t let it pass.
As we take the last weary steps of 2008 into 2009 things are unlikely to change. I await, with interest, on how the Politicians and the SLT will spin everything to appear somehow better.