Society Magazine

The Inevitable Is….well….inevitable! – Updated

Posted on the 10 February 2012 by Minimumcover @minimumcover

Last night was the fist of the two night shifts that I should have been working and, weather aside, it was going well until the predictable domestic came in. Due to a combination of resource-intensive accidents, prisoners that couldn’t be dealt with by the Prisoner Handling Team, and the usual pointless number of officers left to deal with everything else, I was left with two options.

  • Make a health and safety call and leave the victim to it
  • Turn up on my own and hope it didn’t get too punchy

Unfortunately I chose the second and unfortunately that was a bad call. The eighth floor of the block of flats that me and my team end up in nearly every week felt comfortably familiar…it was somewhere I knew well…somewhere that had never caused me an issue. There were no alerts on our system about the flat in question…one of 10 on that floor, and we had only been called there twice in the last two years. Perhaps that was the reason I just walked up to the battered front door and pushed it open. What could go wrong…?

The next thing that I knew was that I was flat on my back and fists were flying. I tried to grab my radio…my baton…anything, but nothing was within reach or able to be released quickly from its securely mounted position on my vest. What I now know is that the call was not actually a domestic but a cannabis recovery attempt by one dealer on another. He was not at home when they forced their way in and it was one of the paid immigrant residents, paid to look over the plants, that had called in terror when her door had been demolished.

As there were 80 to 100 plants in the house the intruders had still been in the process of recovering their ‘lost profits’ when some bloke in a black stab vest and hat blundered in and interrupted their evening.

Thankfully the expectation of the two individuals that I was attacked by was still that there would be more than just me coming to intercept them and after a few punches and well-aimed kicks they did a bunk down the communal stairwell and disappeared into the night. Perversely it was the 23 year-old occupant that stayed with me while I got my composure back. She knew she had no entitlement to live, work or grow cannabis in the UK but still she stayed until, a life-time later, the next response team Astra appeared in the car park.

I am not working tonight. I have enough bumps and bruises to make me more of a handicap than a help, and to mean that I would be absolutely no use if things got tasty again. I feel for the rest of my team as I know the phones have gone unanswered throughout the area to try to get someone to cover my shift, but its Friday night, its cold and the will to make things work has long-since gone.

Good luck to those that remain…they know who they are.

*** Update ***

Well I popped into the nick today after being seen by the doctor and being signed off for a week or so. Turns our that there were two reasons that my chest was crunching a little when I moved…one on each side. Nothing lasting or dangerous to my health in the long term, but enough to keep me away from the front line for a bit.

Amongst the anticipated drivel in my email account (I know I should have ignored it but I am conscientious like that) were a couple of emails that related to this incident.

The first was from a colleague of mine who I have spoken to only a few times in the last couple of years. She had forwarded me an email from the District Chief Inspector expressing his concern and sympathy for the fact that she had been injured on duty. Confused by this as she had just come back from leave he had questioned her shift and worked out that the email was meant for me. We have a similar FIN, the first and last number are reversed, and the boss had obviously just got it wrong , not twigging that my first name was not Julie!

The second email was from the same Chief Inspector. This time it was correctly addressed and had come directly to me. The content was very wordy and corporate, but basically said that on the strength of my disclosure about being injured whilst single-crewed and without backup, he felt it proportionate to invite me into HQ for a meeting so I could receive some informal advice designed to avoid such carelessness in future, and to discuss the impact of my actions on the resilience of his District.

Thankfully there was no CCTV at the block of flats I was in when injured or I might have been for the high jump regarding my lack of hat whilst being kicked in the chest.

It was obvious that the two incidents had not been linked in his world and this made the tone of the email all the more insulting. Being thanked for my dedication and then slapped in the face for it by the same person, in almost the same breath, just made me consider why I was doing this in the first place. I am taking a copy of his email from August last year informing all the Sergeants of his requirement to single crew vehicles where possible (even on nights) to the meeting – clearly this instruction, which effectively caused my predicament, has slipped his mind!

To be continued…..

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