Society Magazine

Fighting with Girls and Early Morning Beers

Posted on the 11 November 2011 by Minimumcover @minimumcover

It was half past seven in the morning. It was still dark, there was rain on the windows, and mist in the air outside. It was cold.

In most of the houses in that street and those in other streets all over the town people were blinking their way out of their beds and beginning the routine of a new day. Toast and cereal was being consumed, showers and baths were running, dogs were being walked and there were even a few lunatics in trainers attempting to kick-start their day by pounding a few miles of pavement.

The same couldn’t be said for one such house at the end of a cul-de-sac. There was no cereal, no toast and jogging wasn’t even a remote possibility.

Sat on the sofa in this house was a man. He was slumped, fully dressed, in the corner of a slightly threadbare three-seater, shoes still on, with his feet on the cushion next to him. The heating was off in the house and he was wearing his coat to stay warm. On the other side of the room the TV was on. It was turned down to such a low volume that it was barely audible, but the pictures flickered in the distance, causing him to blink now and again as sudden scenes of brightness triggered an involuntary response. Next to him was the remains of a tube of Pringles and two cans of beer – one empty and one that wasn’t far off.
In silence he reached down every few minutes and poured another few mouthfuls of drink into his mouth, beginning to feel the effect of the alcohol at last. Soon there were two empty cans on the floor next to the sofa.

Fighting with Girls and Early Morning Beers

It was nearly time to sleep. The sort of uneasy and disturbed sleep that follows a night without rest.

His right hand was cut, with five distinct fingernail marks on the back between the knuckle of his index finger and his wrist. They were deep, perfectly formed crescent shapes that could only have been caused by perfectly manicured false nails. Two of these marks had fragments of dried blood around them that had sweated out through the wounds and stuck to ragged, torn skin at the edges. The fight he had become involved in was short, but the woman he was fighting had been relentless in her attack. It had probably scarred him for life.
His trousers were muddied and damp from rain and his shoes had the remains of alcohol induced vomit around the edges of the sole and over the toes.

There was no reason to stay sober, he wasn’t going to have to do anything until he left the house again at half past nine that night. The alcohol would just make it easier to block out the noise of the outside world, to stop his mind going over what had happened in the last 12 hours…over and over again.

What sort of person could find themselves in such a state at such an hour of the morning? An alcoholic? An unemployed waste of space – the sort that claims more in benefits than some earn from a full-time job? An abusive partner who picks on women outside pubs and club?

This man was none of these. This man was me…

The night shift was chaos. It should have been a late shift, but at the last-minute a phone call from the Response Sergeant changed that. One of the night shift had fallen off a ladder while painting his ceiling. This meant they needed someone to take his spot in the driving seat of the primary response car. There were two of us on my shift that could do this, but I lived closer so, as it was only 35 minutes before the start of the shift, I got the call (the other officer would already have been on his hour-long drive to work when they called me).

We were drastically under-resourced but that’s just the way things are at the moment. When I got into the office the control room were already asking us to go straight out as their list of outstanding jobs was so long that there was a scroll bar at the side of the screen. We went from job to job to job for what seemed like hours, domestic to intruder alarm to damage to domestic, fire fighting in the most part and sticking plasters on people’s lives as best as we could.

The student night scraps were thankfully few in number, but the usual issues with drugs and drink were still at their usual levels. I saw a couple of those from my shift dragging someone out of a club after he had been caught dealing coke in the toilets. I gave them a cheery wave as I passed through on blues – they were missing the extra pair of hands that I should have been giving them, but I know that they won’t hold it against me (although I might have to buy a box of doughnuts next set).

Things calmed down at about two in the morning. Gradually the jobs were boxed off and the units escaped from various custody centres where they had been for what seemed like an eternity.

At half past three we were just getting on top of the paperwork and thinking about getting a bite to eat. The radios around the room lit up as the controller called us away from comfort and warmth to go and search for a 16 year-old girl who had fallen out with her parents after getting a hard time about her social life keeping her out until four in the morning. She had grabbed two boxes of paracetamol and a kitchen knife and run off towards a local park that backed onto farmland and fields.

The usual resources were called for. The only dog unit that was on duty was on the other side of the county, and the helicopter was grounded due to lack of pilot hours (mainly due to a false and malicious call about a man with a knife they had assisted with earlier in the evening). A phone ping was declined…again. It was time to search the ground on foot. Six of us began walking an area that felt the size of  Cumbria, through crops, ploughed fields and woodland.

It was an impossible task, but we did it anyway.  Then at half past four we found her. Part of me wishes we hadn’t as the first thing she did was run, the second was threaten us and then herself with the knife and the third thing was to throw the knife on the ground and attack us with the usual girl-weapons of teeth and nails. There were only two of us at that point, and both of us were male. I know we both had the same thoughts in our heads – trying to balance the safety of the fighting girl and ourselves with trying not to touch anything we shouldn’t. This shouldn’t have concerned us as much as it did, but we are both far to conscientious for our own good and the result was a swift kick to the family jewels for my partner and me getting chunks ripped out of the back of my hand.

We soon decided that all bets were off and dealt with her as a threat not a girl. She was soon face down in the field with cuffs and restraints in place. ‘The Words’ were said and we carried her a short distance before others joined us, and with their assistance we carried her the rest of the half a mile to the road.
As soon as she got within sight of the ambulance crew, the accusations started flying. She insisted that me any my colleague had not only assaulted her, but sexually assaulted her. This was the only thing she would discuss with anyone for the next twenty minutes. The ambulance crew checked her over and confirmed that her allegations were unfounded.

Transport to custody was organised and we returned to the station to start the task of writing things up for the day shift to take on the job when our prisoner eventually sobered up.

After writing furiously for an hour and a half we just about had it sorted. Cue the Night Inspector….

“I need a full report from you about what happened with that girl you arrested tonight. She is making a complaint of sexual assault and I want to deal with it as soon as possible.” The statement I had just written was not sufficient as it wasn’t on the right form so another twenty minutes of copying, pasting and re-drafting my statement followed. The report was handed in and I was informed that I would be spoken to next time I was on duty after the account of the “aggrieved” had been obtained.

Some support would have been appreciated, but there was none. A “well done” for beating the odds and finding the girl in the first place would have been appreciated, but it never happened. The inspector involved has a well evidenced reputation for making things far more difficult than necessary, and for thinking the worst (and treating officers accordingly) until there is no other option than to admit there is no case to answer. He had already called the “Police Police” by the time I had written my report.

This was not a calm end to the shift and had left me a little stressed.

It was half past seven in the morning. It was still dark, there was rain on the windows, and mist in the air outside. It was cold. The walk home was a slow one.

It’s not often that I open a beer after a night shift, but this was one of them. Not only are Police Officers some of the rare individuals that can eat a kebab whilst sober, but also one of the few that find themselves in need of a beer or two at such an unsociable hour.

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