• 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.
  • Opinions

    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
  • Just so.

    Taxation is just a sophisticated way of demanding money with menaces.
  • Reality.

    Only in our dreams are we free. The rest of the time we need wages.
  • Rank V’s Responsibility

    Don't confuse your idea of how important you are with the responsibility of your role.
  • Meetings.

    If you had to identify, in one word, why we will never achieve our full potential, Meetings would be that word.
  • There is always a bigger picture.

    When there is no answer to your problem, there is always deflection from the need to justify giving an answer.

Death of a legend

Everyone has them. When one dies, the memories, the stories and the experiences return. The personal moments, the things you have learned from your experiences that help you along your path.

All Police Officers have perhaps one colleague that has an impact on what they do. It may be a tutor, a first sergeant, a first oppo if you are fortunate enough to spend a lot of your time in a car. A really big influence on how you deal with the jobs you get. These people have such an effect that the lessons remain with you for your entire career.

When you see victims, vulnerable people, death and a whole range of grief you see the world as few others see it. You experience things that you find upsetting, things that make you angry and things that leave memories that never leave you. You know who will back you up in a fight, you know who is the best person when you need help with complicated statements, you know who has that little extra bit of knowledge to make your own job easier.

When I joined, all those years ago, there was that bloke who was big, opinionated and cantankerous. He always got the job done and everyone, I mean everyone, respected him. Apart from the bosses, that is. To them he was awkward, even sometimes obstructive and definitely did not play by their rules. He did not care for people who wore brown gloves and had their own parking space. He could reluctantly respect their rank but most of them had simply not spent anywhere enough time on the streets being Police Officers.

This person was greatly liked and respected by the victims whilst, at the same time, treated with a healthy respect by the criminals and those who had their career outside of the law. They new him, they called him Mister out of respect because they new what respect meant and who they could take liberties with. Importantly for them, they also knew who they could not.

This cantankerous and bad tempered man seemed to dislike anyone between 8 and 80 for the simple reasons that before 8 years old they had not yet learnt bad habits. Anyone over 80 years old simply had earned his respect because they had lived through 2 wars and that counted for something in his eyes.

I learnt about real respect, about patience, compassion, tolerance and about caring for victims. I learnt that statistics were for people who sat behind desks and not for real Police Officers. I learnt that sometimes you had to put yourself in harms way to protect vulnerable people and that you had to deal with people who tried their hardest to inflict injury on you and enjoy doing so. I learnt that there were people in unfortunate circumstances and there were those who simply took the piss, were lazy and had no respect for others.

I learnt about common sense and discretion. I learnt that the victims had more rights than the offender. I learnt that you had to earn respect and that it did not come without its lessons and that you sometimes got respect from places that you least expected it to come from.

I listened to the stories of how it was when it was just the City Constabulary, in the days before they joined the County Constabulary. I listened when they said how they did things. There were no computers, not many cars and a lot more Police Stations, really out there in the community. All of your patch was within an hours walk and walk was what you did. You spent your time walking around your patch, meeting people, learning the streets, lanes, secret short cuts, how to get to the RV point at the appointed time to see the sergeant, the local gossips, the ones who gave useful information, the local scroats and who was causing problems in the neighbourhood.  Not just kids sat about chatting but those who had a negative effect on the lives of those who lived within the law.  It seemed that we were able to sort out the good from the bad and concentrate our efforts on the bad.  I learnt how you lurked in dark places because you could see without being seen and hear without being heard and sometimes that is important because the darkness can be your friend.  I learnt how you could keep a bag of chips warm under your cape and how a sheet of itchy material could become useful in many ways, from a cold night to a pub fight. This was how we made the streets feel safe and reduced the fear of crime. Of course it still happened but we weren’t dreaming up the next trendy catchphrase or slogan to promote the brand. 

This was when we gave real time to people. Not just for serious crime but for every victim, of every crime.  No crime details given to a faceless, nameless voice in a call centre.

I got to the chapel early. I was surprised to see how many people were there. I saw many faces I recognised, some of whom I thought had died already. All the seats were full, the crowds gathered at the back and down both sides. Even some of the skippers  made the effort to honour this disagreeable sod who everyone knew did such a good job for his years of service. I also saw people I knew with criminal records who still respected the memory of this man.

A lot of my old group turned up, such was the testament to the passing of this man who held such a special place in our memories. We talked about things we had seen and done together. We could say it seemed like old times and for one short moment it was, but without him with us.

There were always only ever two ways, two methods, two opinions and two attitudes.

His way and the wrong way.

The problem was that he was always right.

R.I.P.

14 Responses

  1. A huge hole, that will never be filled. The seniors always fear people like that, as their own incompetence is seriously highlighted.

    RIP

  2. A very well written piece. It shows that “old fashioned” methods work. As an RSM of mine once said “Manners maketh man” he also said “You were issued 2 eyes, 2 ears and one mouth, use them in that order”. I mourn his passing. So mote it be.

  3. If you are in “The Job” and have never worked with someone like that, I feel sorry for you.

    Does the ‘modern police service’ have room for such people?

  4. I’m so sorry for your loss. We need more people like that in the world and in the Service.

  5. Uncle J -yes, I think that luckily it does.

  6. You could almost have been writing about Tug and his send off. That was some send-off. Everyone in their No 1s.. The roads closed, people stood lining the pavements even.

  7. Brilliantly written. We have a few left in our force who still work at the sharp end. Testament to their character, still working shifts and have not disappeared in an office somewhere.

  8. Nicely written, thank you.
    The was a letter in the Telegraph ( 2/2/09? ) from a time served Officer along the lines.
    ” I was instructed that the duties of a Police Officer were, in descending importance, to protect life and property, to prevent and detect crime. An Officer has no other duty.”

  9. Re-, ‘some bloke’ – That strikes a chord from the first lesson at Training School in 1966 (an introduction to the dreaded “Definitions”- required to be learned by heart.) when I became “a citizen, locally appointed but having Authority under the Crown”.

    As I recall there was an additional DUTY – “the preservation of the Peace.”

    At that time, there were still “Felonies”, and some Offences were still formally Charged as being; “against the peace of our Lady the Queen, her crown and dignity”.

  10. What a beautifully written tribute. You honour his memory by carrying on the work he taught you.

    RIP, old timer.

  11. Great post. You have succintly grasped the effects that expeienced officers have on the young in service and the bounty of knowledge that they can share.

    We have just had an old time bobby retire where I work, 30 years in the same area and he knew everything! There is a massive gap in our armour now he has retired and sadly there is probably no-one left to fill it.

    My condolances for your loss, he obviously influenced you a great deal. The sad thing is I have only 9 years in and people already look up to me. I feel like I have absolutely no clue about so many things yet to others, I am someone they can turn to. What a poor reflection on the force these days.

    Regards.

  12. Sorry to take up more web space but as to our primary duties we should still abide by Peel’s principles of policing. It didn’t seem fitting to tag it onto my last comment.

  13. A powerful tribute Whichendbites. I thank my lucky stars that I knew officers cut from the same block as this man and have spent the last hour walking the dog and remembering them. If you can get a beer from someone you’ve lifted and put away, thats a lot of points scored. To get them at your final send off is the mark of a master of his art.

    There’s many a former commissioner or chief constable who couldn’t touch the sides of the gap left by officers such as this. I can’t remember how I found your post this afternoon, but I’m glad I did. Thanks.

  14. my grandad was in the north wales police and his funeral was like this. he was a tough man but kind. what you wrote made me remember him in his uniform, before he retired and grew tomatoes. i have a picture of him when he was a young pc – it is certainly a different world now.

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