• 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.
  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Comments

    Brett Anderson on Another 90 minutes
    Another 90 minutes |… on T.W.I.M.C.
    Another 90 minutes |… on 90 Minutes
    whichendbites on Try saying……..inst…
    Diem Burden on Try saying……..inst…
  • 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.
  • Advertisements

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. Its dangerous and stressful. He has been looking forward to coming home for months. 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 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 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 held some 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 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 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. Their eyes ask you 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 awkward questions or even 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.

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.


11 Responses

  1. God that must be hard for you.

    When I was 16, my mum came into the living room and told us that a lad from across the road had been killed in a motorbike accident the night before.
    We were really shocked and upset as we had known him for years. No-one was sure whether it was drink or just the driving. I say that because it had pelted down with rain the night before and his bike had skidded into a lamp post. Although his helmet was done up it had slipped back onto his neck.
    But the point I was making was how wonderful the police were.
    They came at about 2.30a.m. and told his father what had happened. He collasped with shock and he asked for a neighbour to be brought round to his house to help him.
    The policemen went round to the neighbour and brought her round to see him.
    The poor man was hysterical. He had lost his wife a few years before with an illness and he was his only son.
    The neighbour stayed with him till dawn …….and so did the police.
    They were great.
    The neighbour wrote to the police station afterwards and thanked the officers for what they did.
    The police then went round to see the neighbour and she thanked them personnally.

    That was back in 1972 but it’s funny how you don’t forget these things isn’t it?

    I’m sure that although it is unpleasent for you to do,you do it well. I can tell that by the way you have written this.
    You really do care.

  2. What a waste. The poor lads, their devastated families.

    Shit happens all year round, but it always seems worse this time of the year. I still can’t figure out why.

    It’s a haunting story. Thank you for sharing that with us, it can’t have been easy writing.

  3. You put me in mind of an alternative ending.

    It was around ten years ago, and the early evening news had been full of tales of the mortar rounds which had fallen all around an army compound in Bosnia. As I walked up the garden path, I didn’t even reach the door, let alone knock on it. They had been expecting me. As soon as the gate had swung shut behind me, the father of the house just pulled the door open and screamed at me to go away, go somewhere else, anywhere else.

    His wife was screaming, tears rolling down her face as they had been for the last two hours. From the front room, I could hear the younger siblings crying and the grandmother wailing. I carried on walking forward, and he launched himself at me, punching me in the chest, then trying to push me to the gate. Firstly, and as cleanly and gently as I could, I dropped him to the floor. Second, as calmly and clearly as I could, I said “Go indoors, put the phone back on the hook, and wait. Your son is safe. He’s been trying to ring you ever since the last round landed. He rang us instead.”

    Within two minutes, their collective grief had turned to joy and I was already on my way to a burglary in progress. They never had a chance to say Thank You and I don’t know if they even thought about it. Nor should they have to. Sometimes we’re here for the good news too. Heads or tails, it’s what we do.

  4. Seen a few of these over the years. I hope you don’t mind me posting a link back to my own blog but it reminded me of a piece of writing I filched from one of the police forums which tells a similar story, not my own but I liked it.


  5. Nice Post, I dont need to say anything else.

  6. Awful job, beautifully written, thank you.

    Has me counting my blessings…

  7. Crappy isn’t it.

    W.E.B, you do write beautifully.

  8. My heart goes out to those of you that have to tell families this kind of news, and to the families that have to get that news. We just had a similar thing here, young man on leave, went out with friends and was then killed in an accident. He was to return to Iraq in another week. The family stated that if it had to happen, they were glad he was here, home and not on foreign soil. It breaks your heart. No, there are no courses to help you tell anyone that kind of news. You have to do it from your heart. Find a place where you can feel it enough to truly care for the recipients, and then find a drawer within yourself to place the pain you feel from it and close it, so you can move on and be of service to others. It’s an awful thing.

  9. Like with when I saw a man dying, having a heart attack, nothing can prepare you for this. It scares me that with your experience it still hits you hard…

  10. Never forget any of them , remember them all

    They make us who we are.

    – Tbl

  11. Never forget any of them , remember them all

    They make us who we are.

    – Tbl

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: