• 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
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    Only in our dreams are we free. The rest of the time we need wages.
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    Don't confuse your idea of how important you are with the responsibility of your role.
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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.

Ghost of Christmas past.

Its a few days before Christmas.

Dave, as I’ll call him, an only son has come back on home leave. He’s in the Army.  He has been looking forward to coming home for months. A chance to relax, unwind and to have some quality time with his family and friends. He’s 18 years old and is looking forward to time with his family after a tour abroad and some beer with his mates.

He meets up with his best friend who I will call Steve. They go out for a couple of bevvies, meet up with some more friends and over the night and the talk of foreign places, catch up what they have been up to and keep no count of what they drink, why should they ?

Steve plans on leaving his motor bike in the pub car-park and walk home with Dave, who will be staying at his parents nearby. It gets late, too late and somehow the decision is made for the both of them to ride home on the bike.

Don’t know who made it, no one will ever know, but its too late to change it.

The tree at the roadside, on the bend, never even flinched.

The bike ?

Well, that was left in bits all across the road. Amongst the bits were two dials that gave up their secrets. They gave the road speed and the engine revs at the time the bike, Dave and Steve met the tree.

The people who can work these things out gave about 70 mph. Some of us tried to help them, to help the bendy-toy like bodies and the mess inside the helmets. They still groaned for help but nobody, anywhere, could have helped.

Some of us preserved the scene but we were unable to preserve their lives whilst the ambulance crew told us what we already knew. Others busied themselves with directing the passers by out of the way and towards the detours around the scene.

Then some of us had to go to visit the homes of these unfortunate lads, just young boys out for a great time.

The parents of Dave knew exactly. They knew that we brought bad news, even before their doorbell rang.

Parents can sense things, read your body language.

Just exactly how do you tell someone that their only son, who had come home for Christmas, was not coming home for Christmas ?

How on earth do you try to share their dread to try to make it easier for them, or perhaps easier for yourself ?

You can’t, no training can prepare you for this moment.

Are you the parents of Dave ? etc etc etc. You know and they know. You know that deep down inside they know what you know, not the exact details but that you hold a horrible secret.  But they still hope that you have somehow made a mistake, a terrible,terrible mistake.  Perhaps they have not heard you properly, in their personal moment of momentary denial that they have not heard you correctly, that this is some sort of a nasty dream.

But it is not.

Your mouth is dry, you got that funny thing fluttering in your stomach, you try not to stutter or mumble and get your message across clearly, concisely, as humbly and respectfully as possible. In their eyes are the questions that they simply do not know how to begin to ask you out loud. Someone has to go with them, luckily not me. No more awkward questions and no more awkward silences.

The parents of Steve wondered what trouble he had got himself into this time and couldn’t see the signs, too quick defending their son against all comers and thought there had been some form of conspiracy. Another case of mistaken identity or the wrong crowd he had got in with.

There had been no conspiracy. No wrong crowd. Not this time.

Only some terrible, terrible news. Then they were quiet.

We leave them to their grief. Here we are necessary trespassers but only for a short time.

Whilst we were left with protecting the scene for a closer examination the following day it dawned on me.

At 3 o’clock in early hours of a cold and frosty December night a new picture emerged that no-one had seen before.

A tyre mark, illuminated by the frost that ran for an awful distance around the bend, that bend, nearer and nearer towards that damned tree. Clear and vivid as though it had been painted onto the road.

No-one else had seen it, just me.

Closer and closer until it also met the same tree. Again the tree never even flinched. It all came back again, more vivid than before.

People moaned because the road was closed, how inconvenient for them. But they would probably enjoy their Christmas. They would be the lucky ones. I never slept for 3 days, never slept properly for weeks but I did have a Christmas, of sorts.

Like the birth of your child, the laugh of your loved one or the thoughts that make you smile, somethings you never, ever forget.  There are darker, helpless moments when you realise just how insignificant and useless you really are and how little you are able to change. no matter how hard you try

We never found out who was driving or who was pillion.

We only knew that two families would have a miserable Christmas. Lots of friends of the two families would be full of sadness. This would be a Christmas to remember, but for all the wrong reasons.

We just put it down to another life experience that helps us to deal with the next life experience in the hope we make a better job of it next time.

The bosses say to you, ‘be professional’.  But they never tell you about this.

Nobody tells you about this.

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5 Responses

  1. I couldn’t do what you do – and I have the hugest respect for those who can.

    Have a safe one.

    xx

  2. Well put, WEB, it never gets any easier, does it?

  3. It is the hardest thing to tell someone that a loved one has died.

    I remember so well the day my Flight Commander told me my Dad had died. I don’t know who it was worse for. But for me I only had one Dad, I really hope that he never had to tell anyone else, but he probably has.

    Thanks WEB, I hope you have a peaceful and restful solstice/whatever, and a wonderful 2010. Thanks from a grateful MOP.

  4. A side of policing that is never really shown, never really trained for and for some people, may be the only conact with the police they’ll ever have. Having done several over the years, this blog is very well written and at least acknowledges an anguish the officer feels notwithstanding the poor recipient. I hope I never do another one. Thank you for sharing this, it humbles us all.
    Be safe
    A BlackRat

  5. It`s a thankless task doing a death inform, luckily in 14 yrs I only had to do it twice, I recall it like it was yesterday. Stay safe and have a HAPPY CHRISTMAS

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