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    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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Red to Green

Having arrived at my station for a night shift I am walking to my van to load up my gear and put my dog in when a voice comes out from the office for me to contact comms. Already the night is picking up, there is a job before I get a chance to brief. A quick chat with comms sets me on the road before I am due to start, but there are simply not enough dogs around and no one on lates.

Someone has been seen breaking into cars in a lane. 

Despite my best efforts I get there after the foot-chase and our man is arrested. I make a search of the area for anything that might have been stolen. As I watch the dog, he moves behind one vehicle, then another, and another, but does not come out. The whine tells me he has something.

I join him and my torchlight brings his find into view. Several power tools in their boxes, some loose tools and boxes of assorted bits and pieces. Not the thief but but the proceeds of the thief. The self employed builder who owns the van broken into will be happy that several hundred pounds worth of kit will be returned in the near future and not left to replace at his expense if his insurance doesn’t cover him. Insurance does not replace the inconvenience of the loss of tools acquired over time. Community service does not make the offender question the error of his ways and offer some deterrent against future thieving. The owner of the van has his own form of community service in mind.

From there I assist with the logging of the gear and make the relevant notes before I answer the call of those who want some more of my type of specialist support. Not because there are no resources left, but this time for canine reasons. A district footy has stopped someone with warnings and a warrant.  I drive close by and there is relief. I park, pop the back and approach. I see the sense of deflation as the odds are suddenly reduced and we now have slightly more of an advantage in case of a threat or effort to flee. We talk quietly and are reassured by the close but purposeful growls.

The relative calm is later interrupted by the radio when a taxi fare legs it to avoid a hefty bill. From the last sighting we track up behind the offender and get to within 50 yards before he if off with close pursuit of my canine friend. The bush evasion techniques are no match and when I join the noise I see the taxi dodger has taken  fence-top position in an effort to remain unharmed. Suddenly arrest does not seem to be such a bad option.

Following the next round of writing the patrol resumes in the hope of another chance to deploy and do what we train to do.

In the early hours an alarm, followed by several 9’ers give us a burglary in progress and the world seems to be on its way. Too many head for the scene and I am there quickly. My friend begins to track away. We give the locations and response fan out to cover the roads, lanes and other by-ways. I follow and pass along roads, along lanes and stop by some fencing. There is no obvious clue apart from efforts to climb the fencing that backs onto a high wall. When I look it seems we have the booty but not the burglars. High value power tools are neatly hidden where no one will look. Is this an effort to hide them to prevent association or to conceal them for later collection ?  More writing and then I am off into the night again.

There is another report of persons seen in an empty building, possibly to steal anything metal that can be scrapped. Response are there and have seen figures on the roof and in upper windows. I have parked up close by and walked in by a more covert route. I find where entry was gained and move up through the building silently. I can hear voices so move to a dark and quiet spot near a stair case. They can come down and pass me or they can grow wings and jump from the roof. I decide to wait.  It is clear that they are moving about to see where response are on the ground. The sound of the movement above me gives me hope that they will make a move, so I wait.  Brigade are on the way, so this could turn into a long stand off.

After what seems like an eternity of 20 minutes or so, I hear the hurried thumps descending the stairs from above me. They have decided to try to get out from an area they think we have not covered. I do my best to keep the dog quiet and then they stomp passed my position, along a corridor, a long, straight and dark corridor in which they are silhouetted against the street lights coming in through the windows.

I burst out of my hiding space into the corridor shouting. I tell them who I am and for the them to stop or they could be in for trouble. They must think I am joking. I am not. My friend is not. He is after them.

As suddenly as he is almost on them, they stop. Their arms are up and I have no gun.  They are ours. I have complete obedience and compliance until they are cuffed and handed over to response. Then, and only then, are they ready to take on all-comers. We get close, just close enough to remind them that at 2 against 2 the odds were not in their favour.  Why, at 6 against 2, should be any easier for them ?

They are now in the comfy seats where they have all the rights and protection. For a few seconds, they were not so comfortable, and they knew it.  Justice and accountability for their actions were just that little bit too close for their liking.

Suddenly the writing does not seem as bad.

This night everything went well, from red to green. Driving home in the morning, even the traffic lights are going my way.


8 Responses

  1. Brilliant! It’s funny the bravado comes back when the teeth go away….

  2. Your story reminds me of a former neighbour, a WPC in Northumberland. She had to arrest a man who was terrorising old folks, knocking on their doors and telling them, in a quiet slow voice ‘I’m going to kill you (he wasn’t he was just another unfortunate who needed professional help, and he was no trouble at all). Later that evening she and a colleague had to transport the man, and a pair of drunken and unruly Scotch ‘hard men’ to another police station thirty miles away. The Jocks were loud and abusive and quickly started abusing and threatening the unfortunate in the back of the van.

    From the back my neighbour and her colleague heard the unfortunate say, very quietly, ‘I’m going to kill you’ and the terrified hard men were silent for the rest of the trip.

    Dogs and genuine lunatics seem to have the same effect on ‘hard men’.

  3. With his dentistry, it’s really no wonder they behaved. I suppose it’s all bravado when they’re in the back of the car…sad really.

  4. Jobs a good-un.

  5. Brilliant. I love the pulling up and opening up the back when the locals are checking out someone. You can see them deflate when they realise running is no longer an option. And what is it about when they are cuffed the gob starts and the threats flow.

  6. Brilliant!
    Had nearly the same my self last night, missed the guy searching a huge open area-it happens? Then he’s spotted a quick dash in position to send the dog, shout the challenge and even in his drunken state he’d rather give up than take on a land shark!

    No better job!

  7. There are crims & there are terminally thick crims.

    What on earth is the point in running from a dog? If faced with the choice between being arrested or being hurt and arrested – why choose the latter? Duhhh…

  8. On a lighter note, I think all emergency services should try using felines. Search & Rescue Cats, Response Cats, Sniffer Cats.

    Oh – and for the visually impaired – Guide Cats.

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