Society Magazine

Attacked Because Her Daddy is a Cop

Posted on the 06 April 2012 by Minimumcover @minimumcover

I am a Police Officer.

I know this because I have spent nearly a dozen years being called Plod, Copper, Pig, Rozzer, Gavver, Old Bill, 5-0 and many other degrading (and unprintable) names by those of restricted vocabulary, those with criminal tendencies or those blessed with a personality that includes a subtle blend of both. As if the uniform, car, horrendous hours and encyclopaedic knowledge of form-filling were not enough, I also have these delightful daily reminders of the job that I do.

I am not the sort of Police Officer that provokes trouble – we all know that there are those in the job that can calm a situation down and those that will be the catalyst for a punch up by their mere presence. I have, as a result, managed to retain a relatively low rate of injuries on duty and a ‘speaking terms’ relationship with the majority of people I have dealt with over the years.

I understand that the majority of the verbal abuse, aggressive reactions and general lack of respect is largely directed at the uniform, and what it represents rather than the person wearing it. I am also understand that I can’t make friends with everybody, but in my personal experience the unreachable are thankfully few in number.

I have a family too.

My family includes a daughter, aged 9, called Amy. Those that berate me in the street do not see this aspect of my life. Many of them see the Police as an unjustified intruder who invades their world with the sole purpose of stopping them doing the things that they believe they have a right to do, and preventing them from taking those things from society that they believe it owes them.

Occasionally these two vastly different aspects of my life come together. I try to keep them apart if possible for fear of consequences on a par with the crossing of the streamers in the Ghostbusters movie but I understand that sometimes it’s impossible to avoid.

My family does not need to know, or understand, many of the things that I do at work and likewise, those that I deal with at work do not need to have any knowledge of my personal life.

Recently those lines of separation were blurred…no…obliterated by a split second decision made by a child:

Dad, can we walk on the other side of the road. It’s sunny over there and I’m getting cold

Amy grabbed my hand and steered me across the pedestrian area of the city center toward the six feet of sunny paving on the far side outside Boots. We emerged from the shadows and I flipped the sunglasses down off my head in response to the intense sunlight now shining almost directly into my face. Amy started to skip a little, as she tended to do when she got her own way. I started to plan my tactics for avoiding the toy shop that was a few hundred meters away. I considered the possibility that it was not entirely down to the cold that Amy had chosen that point to alter our course…she can be devious like that!Attacked Because Her Daddy is a Cop

I looked down at her…merrily scuffing off the front of her trainers on the ground as she experimented with a variety of silly walks. When I looked up again it was too late; I hadn’t seen him coming.

With an effortless and well-practised technique the teenager in the hooded top turned his head toward us and launched a mouthful of spit into the face of my daughter. Amy screamed and turned toward me, wiping her face with her sleeve. ‘F***ing wa**er’ was the comment from under the hood as the teen passed by.

I saw red. For the first and only time in my career I can honestly say I lost control.

How dare this person attack an innocent child…….How dare he attack my child!

I turned and flew at him, grabbing him by the arm. He shouted yet more abuse and tried to pull his arm free. Instinctively I twisted the fabric to strengthen my hold and grabbed the back of his top with the other hand. He kicked out at me two or three times and tried to run, almost breaking free. There was no way that I was going to let him go. Off duty or not, I was going to make sure he wasn’t going to get away with this.

He continued to lash out at me, verbally, physically, and I dragged him to the floor, pulling his hood back so I could see the face of the person who had assaulted my little girl before pushing it back over his face to stop him repeating his attack on me. I looked round to check Amy was still ok. She was stood there…watching…crying. A middle-aged lady had knelt down next to her and given a tissue to wipe her face with.

Less than a minute later the first security guard arrived. At first I thought he might think I was the offender…I didn’t have all the garb of office to identify myself on sight. I shouted that I was Police and thankfully watched as the guard grabbed the teen by his legs to stop him kicking me with his heels. ‘CCTV have got it all on tape…we’ve called it in, they’re on their way’ he said. I told him I was what had happened and that I needed to go to my daughter. He relayed the information to the person on the other end of  his radio. A second security guard arrived and took my place so I could go to Amy. She looked straight at me, her eyes red and her nose streaming:

Daddy…he scared me. Why did he do that?

How do you explain that kind of mindless blanket prejudice to a nine year-old? How can you possibly tell your daughter that she has just been attacked because of the job that her dad does…not because of who he is…just his job! I tried to explain, but without fully understanding how someone could ever contemplate doing something so disgusting, I think my explanation was poor at best.

By the time Amy began to calm down the first Police Officers arrived. I told one of them what had happened and gave him my details. He said something to his colleague and the teen was arrested before being cuffed, moved to his feet and being led away to wait for a van.

I looked around for the lady that had comforted Amy but she had gone…I wish I could have thanked her for her compassion. There were ten or twenty people stood in a vague circle around me and Amy; two or three of the crowd were holding out mobile phones – I expect they were filming events with a view to putting them on YouTube or proudly sharing the clips their friends.

We walked back to the car and made our way home…Amy was silent throughout the whole journey.

By the time I had explained to Amy’s mom what had happened and consumed a cup of coffee I received a phone call from the officer that had arrested our assailant. It turned out that he was the younger brother of a man I had arrested for drugs possession a couple of days earlier. He had been a passenger in the car with him at the time and had recognised me in the street. Unfortunately I had been partially blinded by the sun, and distracted by Amy at the vital moment and had not seen him alter his course to intercept us or I might just have been able to avoid the confrontation or at least any involvement of my daughter.

He was charged with the offense and subsequently convicted at court. He was, unfortunately, only ordered to pay a pittance in compensation to Amy for what he had done and has failed to cough up a single penny so far. I believe he is complying with the community order that was also imposed, but I don’t expect that is particularly stressful for him.

Amy still mentions him from time to time. She holds my hand that little bit tighter when we go shopping. She did, however get to go in the toy shop the following weekend. I would have bought her the whole store if it had meant she hadn’t had to go through that ordeal in the first place.

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