I was genuinely very saddened today to hear of the sudden death of Paul McKeever, Chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, and tireless campaigner in protecting the rights of the officers ‘on the street’ and a thoroughly nice chap to boot.
In the last year alone, who can forget the rousing speech he gave at the mass rally of police officers, staff, family and friends in London on May 10th 2012, and his opening gambit “Colleagues, fellow officers, we ARE the finest police service in the world and YOU are the finest police officers in the finest police service in the world …”
If you need to remind yourself, just watch the video below (Paul’s speech starts at 2mins 57seconds)
And who can forget his masterstroke comments to Home Secretary Theresa May during the 2012 Police Federation Conference when Paul asked the assembled audience to “put their hands up if they believed the Winsor report into pay and conditions was independent.” He turned to Mrs May and said: “Not even you put your hand up.”
Many people have commented negatively on the Police Federation recently, and about the way it appears to have been heading, myself included, and I have had the privilege on more than one occasion of debating my thoughts directly with Paul on the phone. Needless to say, i don’t think he necessarily agreed with my ramblings, but what I can say is that he always listened and never criticised another point of view.
He was also forthcoming with plenty of advice and was more than happy to talk directly; not through a myriad of committees, or distant reps, or press officers, but directly – surely a credit to a man for whom nothing really seemed too much trouble.
The last time I spoke with Paul was in Manchester in early October. We were both there for the worst of reasons; the funerals of two police officers killed in the line of duty. Even then, with hundreds and hundreds of people around, Paul made time to acknowledge and speak with as many people as he possibly could.
I recall the point when he asked me if I’d been to see the DCC at Greater Manchester Police, how funny he’d found it that the Force had agreed to put my pseudonym on a Certificate of Special Recognition rather that my correct details, and then the sudden realisation he may have let the cat out of the bag too early. He hadn’t though. As he put it then “If that’s not a sign that Twitter has come of age in policing, what is ?”.
The Police Federation magazine was due to run an article with Paul, detailing his thoughts and reflections on his time in the police service. I do hope they still publish it for all to read. But just in case that doesn’t happen, you can read it now by clicking here.
Paul McKeever had already announced his retirement as Chairman of the Police Federation, and his successor, Steve Williams is all ready to take the mantle on. It’s a big pair of boots for Steve to fill, but the best legacy we can all leave for Paul, is to make that happen.
In the shorter term, @TheCustodySgt has already tweeted the hashtag #StandForPaul. It’s very early days yet; everyone at Federation Headquarters are in shock at today’s news, and obviously Paul’s family are devastated. Over the next few days we will be trying to see what assistance can be offered in preparing and providing a fitting tribute to the man who has led rank and file police officers through the most turbulent period in policing for many years.
If you use Twitter and / or Facebook, please tweet or post the hashtag #StandForPaul to show your support, and stand by for further information.
I personally feel proud to have met Paul McKeveer and being given the opportunity discuss matters with him on a one-to-one level (especially as I’m not even a Fed Rep !). Sleep well mate, you deserve that. RIP.
The man in charge of policing in Nottinghamshire, PCC Paddy Tipping, has said he is going to ask for the opinions of the people of his county with regard to reinstating the Mounted Section of their police force – which was closed down only last year. The seven horse strong unit would apparently cost more than £400,000 to re-establish – four times what was apparently saved by closing the unit down in the first place.
But Nottinghamshire is not the only police force to disband their mounted units, and with everyone acknowledging that massive savings have to be achieved in police budgets, and there are undoubtedly more cuts to come, is the expense of a Mounted Section justifiable ? or would that money be better spent on recruiting more officers to the front line ?
But, and lets just talk hypothetically here; if the budget was to be found from somewhere, would it be best spent on horses ? … or perhaps more useful would be returning helicopter numbers to what they were before the advent of the National Police Air Service (NPAS).
The NPAS was itself launched in a fanfare on the 1st October 2012, telling us how by combining services, removing county boundaries, and centrally coordinating police helicopter activities, we would get a better service, with less helicopters, for less money.
Certainly the policing minister Damien Green MP was right when he said at the launch “Crime or the need to search doesn’t stop at county boundaries. It is actually the deployment and the speed of deployment that makes a difference“. The fly in the ointment appears to be though that you have to have the helicopters in the right place, at the right time, to make that difference.
And with reports that some areas; the South West, the North of England and the whole of Wales not having any ‘direct’ night time helicopter cover as a result of the changes and having to rely on a helicopter coming (in some cases) from a very long distance away, it’s had to see how it works.
The issue was covered in considerable detail by ‘PoliceAirCrew’ in their blog on the subject A Comment on Police Air Support
But let’s not kid ourselves, we may think a few horses are expensive to run but helicopters are a whole new ball game. They cost a lot of money to keep in the air. heck they cost a lot of money to keep on the ground. But the benefits they provide to policing in general are many; they are wide and varied, from taking command and monitoring pursuits, searching wide areas for fleeing offenders or missing people, using their thermal camera equipment to detect drug factories from many thousands of feet in the air, the uses of a helicopter crew are endless.
So ….. would the hypothetical money earmarked for horses be better spent on more helicopters, that can get to more places, more quickly and help solve more crimes, and find more missing people ? …. or would it be even better spent on more police dogs ?
Ask any bobby on the beat what the most useful and helpful ‘specialist’ role available to them virtually 24 hours a day is, and most of them will say ‘Ham and Cheese’ ! .. No, no they won’t, most of them will say the police dog. For general volume crime work, police dogs are invaluable. They are great in crowd control situations (as are horses), they are great in searches and catching fleeing villains (as are helicopters), they are great at sniffing out drugs on people, in cars, in buildings. Some are trained to sniff out hidden money and in some cases, injured or dead people.
You cannot underestimate the usefulness of a police dog and it’s handler. Full stop. But their numbers have also been cut drastically. And that can only make things harder for the officers on the ground who are trying to solve the crimes, and catch the bad guys.
So ….. in that case, would the cash be better spent on increasing the number and availability of police dog units ?
Out of interest therefore, if you had to choose (hypothetically of course), just one of the three to spend your allocated budget on, helicopters, hounds or horses, which would you decide ??
For a pleasant change, there hadn’t been a lot of Chaos in ChaosTown the other morning, which is always good ….. and then the radio shrieked into life (don’t you hate those ear piercing tones that someone activates when there’s an emergency call that needs deploying to ? – what, your force doesn’t use them ? – well keep it that way, for your ears sake !!)
“Control to any unit that can make 11 Bridge Court please, we have an Immediate Response concern for safety, any unit respond ?”
In one of those very rare ‘just round the corner moments’ myself and Katie, who had just had no luck locking up one of our finer and more frequent station visitors, were literally two or three streets away. “Charlie Mike Four Two, show myself and Four One on route, what’s the details please ?”
“Four Two thanks” came the reply over the air “call from the Ambulance service, they are already on route, elderly female caller on line to them stating she can’t wake her partner Norman up and he’s not responding”
Myself and Katie glanced across at each other as separately but together we could see where this was leading. No matter how long you’ve been doing ‘the job’ these type of incidents never, ever get any easier and you rather hope and wish that the ambulance is going to get there before you.
It was surprising therefore, to turn the corner into Bridge Court and see the heart-warming and visionary sight of a large yellow van with shiny green and yellow stickers all over it, already parked outside the bungalow in question. “How” exclaimed Katie “Just how do they do it ?” she asked in a somewhat astounded voice. In fairness, the same thought did cross my mind.
As we got out of the police car and walked heavily towards the gate and pathway leading towards the front door of the house, one of the ambulance crew came out to greet us. As is ‘the norm’ curtains were twitching in the street; a cul-de-sac of bungalow’s, and several of the neighbours had ventured outside to empty the bin or sweep the path. This is a street primarily occupied by elderly, retired people who enjoy a bit of uninterrupted peace and quiet in their own little corner of our town.
Of course, the presence of ambulances and police cars in their street generally only signals one thing to the residents, all of whom are that one step closer to meeting their maker on a good day. I suppose it’s like that old adage as you get older – the number of Birthday and Christmas cards you get to give and receive each year gets less and less as more and more of your friends and family depart this spinning lump of rock.
I gave the pretty young blonde haired girly paramedic the standard eye to eye contact ‘cop look’ …. not not the one you’re thinking !!!, the one that silently says ‘dead or alive’ ?’, along with the secondary glace (no, not that one either !!) of ‘how come ambo crews get all the Gucci gear; what with their practical combat trousers, far better quality looking fleeces that have a Tog rating above 0.0000000001 … my gosh they’ve even got proper waterproof cases for their Airwave radios !’
And then, as she flutters her eyelashes back (are they real ???) I glance away to the side and stare longingly at their brightly coloured chariot, sparkling wildly on a cold winters morning. I mean look at one, the next time you see a modern ambulance – fit for purpose, designed specifically for the task, fitted with every conceivable role specific gizmo and gadget – heck they’ve even got dazzling bright blue LED lights on every corner, bend, nook and cranny than a Blackpool amusement arcade, so you’ve got no chance of not seeing one coming – us; it’s still an old recycled bit of spinning chrome covered plastic under a now very dull and weathered blue plastic lens cap.
Anyway, envy monster tucked back in his corner, the paramedic replied quietly “You best go in, they’re in the front room” and scuttled off quickly to carry her kit bag back into the back of the ambulance.
I looked back at Katie, she looked knowingly at me, and we both made our way into the house to deal with the worst.
“You alright mate, not seen you for a bit” was the opening comment from none other then Neil the Paramedic, the guy who, some years ago, had helped me make my decision (albeit unknowingly) to join the Boys (and girls of course) in Blue. “Everything’s sorted here, could do with a trip to the vet for a check up but right as rosy”.
I looked again at Katie, this time with a very puzzled expression on my face before turning back to speak with Neil “I’m sorry, call me thick but I’m not with the programme here. Who’s fine ? what vet ? Where’s the old dear, and more importantly, where’s this Norman chap ?”
“Aaaahh” Neil replied, “you obviously didn’t get the stand-down and update then”. “Well clearly not” I answered “I take it the old boy’s okay then – you taking him down for a check-up are you ?”.
Neil laughed “Best you come with me” he said as he led me into the front room of the house. “This is Gladys” he said, introducing me to the lady of the house who, far from being in a state of high distress at the thought of losing her lifelong partner, was sat in an armchair, calmly stroking her pet parrot. A very nice, colourful parrot I may add, but a parrot all the same.
Before I could say anything, Neil interjected “and this is Norman”, pointing quite clearly at the aforementioned bright blue and yellow feathered friend.
“I’m very sorry to trouble you all” Gladys said on seeing us, “I didn’t want to make a fuss but I just didn’t know who else to call”. “No that’s fine my dear” I said to her still not registering what had been going on here “We’re just glad you’re all okay”. I stepped forward to give the bird a quick stroke, but it was quicker than me and it’s beak spun round in my direction quicker than I could move, grabbing hold of the bottom of my fleece’s sleeve and giving it a fair old tug.
“Be careful” said Gladys, “Norman doesn’t really like male strangers”.
“She’s well right there” Neil quipped in “Gave me a right pecking, and I was trying to do him a favour”.
“Okay” I replied “just for my benefit, can we just confirm everyone is okay and no-one has passed away ?”
So Neil began to explain. Gladys had called 999 as she had come through into the living room, found Norman lying still on the bottom of his cage, couldn’t get hold of her daughter on the phone and had just panicked and dialled 999 as she didn’t know what else to do. Neil and his crewmate had just finished a job round the corner so were on scene within a minute or so, found out what the circumstances really were and had radio’d through to update their control room and stand us down. But that message hadn’t got through yet.
And then, as if by magic: “Control to Chaos, just had a call from Ambulance Control, it’s all in order, you can stand down, stand down”.
It really was one of those surreal moments when your mind knew what the job you were being sent to would entail, and auto-pilot hade already kicked into gear, yet the situations reality had taken us down another, utterly and completely different path and I was struggling to engage reverse gear.
Neil went on “My dad use to keep parrots and the like, and I’ve seen this happen to ours; almost like a coma or a stroke or something”. My day seemed to be getting stranger by the second. And it didn’t help that Norman was now sat happily on Katie’s knee getting stroked and petted, and was as happy as Larry !
“Gave him a puff of oxygen and a bit of a chest rub, just what my dad used to do, and he’s back up and running.”
“Are you serious” I said, still not sure if I was being would up or not.
“Ohh yeah, there’s obviously something wrong, and he’ll need to go down the local vet this morning, but they’re strong old things parrots you know, probably outlive me and you the way things are going !”.
“The way this morning is going” I replied to Neil “I’m going to be lucky to make the day out I think”.
All the while this randomly bizarre conversation was going on, Gladys was busy trying to get hold of her son on the phone, but sadly without success. “Tell you what Gladys” piped in Katie, “we’re here now, I’m sure we can pop you and Norman down to the vets surgery, we’ve got to go back into town anyway”. “Well I hope he’s got a cage to go in” I called over with a bit of a smile “don’t want him loose in the panda eating me alive”.
As we walked out of the house and to the police vehicle I turned to Gladys and asked jokingly, “What sort of a parrot is he anyway, he’s lucky he’s not a Norwegian Blue !”
Don’t know what a Norwegian Blue parrot is ???? tut, tut, tut – watch and learn :
On Friday 18th January 2013 there will be an event at Bramshill Police Training College, Hampshire, led by DCC Gordon Scobbie of Tayside Police, the ACPO lead on Social Media issues, and ACC Sarah Hamlin of the Norfolk Constabulary.
The event, which is being run by Nick Keane, Digital Engagement Business Advisor with the College of Policing, has been arranged to discuss openly and look towards trying to establish a common Code of Practice and provide advice and better clarified information for police officers and staff using Social Media, both officially and unofficially, primarily Twitter and Facebook.
Present will be DCC Scobbie and ACC Hamlin, along with several other ‘official’ police tweeters & bloggers, representatives from the Police Federation, a couple of high profile non or former police officers that blog and tweet, and lastly but not leastly from the anonymous police blogging world, myself and @TheCustodySgt.
So why have we suddenly decided to ‘out’ ourselves so to speak, and attend this event, against all the suggestion and speculation from others online that the moment we walk through the doors of Bramshill, we will be pounced on by whichever Complaints & Discipline Department they’ve managed to rope in for the purpose, chucked in the Tower of London and never be seen again ??
I can only speak for myself, but from my point of view, its a simple matter that Social Media policy throughout police forces across the UK varies and for the most part is a great big mess. There are some very good examples of police use of Social Media – the various Greater Manchester Police divisions, and of course @SolihullPolice being those that immediately spring to mind, but of course there are other areas where it is painfully awful or non-existent.
At the present time, who can ignore the massive positive impact that @SgtGaryWatts from Devon & Cornwall police has had. From rising to a silly challenge on Twitter, to being overwhelmed by the result, to being a man of his word and doing exactly what he said he would … but not only that; by combining his ‘fate’ with a chance to help a little boy in need who many of us interact with on Twitter, roping in a few of his colleagues and mates, and producing the ‘#GangnamPoliceman video, Sgt Watts has done far more for the positive image of Devon & Cornwall police in a couple of weeks than many years of official waffle would ever achieve. And then there’s the small matter of thousands of pounds raised for a worthy cause into the bargain.
For my own part, and for a much less cheerful reason than Sgt Watts, #CoverForGMP changed in an instant the whole perception of how police on Social Media were seen and perceived. That from one little tweet during the lowest of low times in the recent history of the British Police Service, thousands of people rallied to show their support for their colleagues in Greater Manchester, and also for the people of the city as well, and on two cold days in October, more than a thousand of them made that solemn journey to line the streets of Manchester City Centre to say goodbye to two fallen policewomen, epitomises the good power that police use of Social Media can have.
Officers are also using the same communication methods daily now, in crime appeals, missing people enquiries (the Social Media based response to the #FindTia and #FindApril appeals was massive) and in many other ways to engage and communicate with their communities, often allowing members of the public to interact with their local police officers on on the ‘same level’ for the very first time.
But police officers do have to be careful. Very careful. We are entrusted with a lot of highly sensitive and very personal information. It is vitally important that such information it treated with the care and consideration it deserves. But this shouldn’t stop officers speaking out when something is clearly wrong. They just have to be careful not to ‘cross the line’.
And therein lies the problem. The line moves, or in many places does not exist. Or moves after something has been said, and retrospective attempts are used to hold one or another officer to boot ‘after the event’. That, to my mind, just isn’t fair, right or proper.
So what can we do about it ? We need a clear set of groundrules; the same for everyone, everywhere; and ones that clearly tell people what they can and cannot say, and where that line is that can’t be crossed. I don’t doubt for one moment that at times, I’ve come very close to that line in some peoples minds (and parts of the country), yet in others I will have been nowhere near. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone, somewhere else equally thinks I’ve crossed the line, certainly if I have it’s been without intent as I try very hard to make sure I stay within the boundaries …. close to the edge maybe, but within nonetheless. But if I haven’t got a clue, and I try and be very careful and check things purposely, then what chance will the next man or woman have ?
And that’s why I’ve agreed to attend the meeting at Bramshill. Simply because I’ve been invited, that I’m aware that my thoughts and input will be considered and more simply, if I, and others in a similar position, don’t take the chance to engage when it’s offered, don’t use the opportunity given to put forward our ideas, our thoughts, our concerns, and also those of others not able or fortunate enough to take part, we are not in a position to complain when things don’t go how we want.
We may achieve very little after the event – but I hope we achieve a lot. either way, at least I (and I assume @TheCustodySgt) will be able afterwards to stand proud and say “AT LEAST WE TRIED”.
And to the comment that has been made, asking if we had ‘sold out to protect ourselves’ the answer is a big fat NO. We were indeed offered a certain amount of anonymity to attend the day but both myself and @TheCustodySgt have made our respective Senior Officer Teams aware of our attendance and are both attending with their approval.
Therefore we have advised the organisers that we will be there ‘as ourselves’ so to speak. We have not ‘cut a deal’ and remain subject to the same discipline rules as everyone else but are willing to act as a conduit or ‘go between’ for anyone else who wishes their thoughts to be known.
Ohh, and I for one am hoping they have some sooopa dooopa choccy biccies on offer during the break time !!
So here’s the story from A to Zee …. Sgt Gary Watts of the Devon & Cornwall Police said if he got 5,000 followers on Twitter he would do the ‘Gangnam Style’ dance on YouTube.
Or did one of his colleagues stitch him up good and proper, and simply tell everyone else that’s what he said ???
The story from the ‘horses mouth’ about events leading up to the making of the video can be read here –> http://www.devon-cornwall.police.uk/ABOUTUS/BLOGS/Pages/voiceofanofficer.aspx?post=7112553400058575462
Either way, the Twitterati responded in their droves …. and @SgtGaryWatts soon went over the magic 5,000 followers mark …. so he had no choice, did he ???
Add into the mixture a very good cause which is supported by many of the active Police Tweeters, #JoshuasJourney (@journeyjoshuas on Twitter) – a fund to help 12 yr old Joshua Wilson, who was diagnosed with his first brain tumour in 2004 age 3 and a half & following complex surgery due to the location of the tumour on the brain stem, was left with complex physical disabilities & needs – and you have the makings of an amazing journey for everyone involved.
Watch the video above … then don’t forget to click on www.superjosh.co.uk and make a donation to help raise the £25,000 needed to fund extensive house adaptations, inc a ceiling track hoist, a special medical bath, building work & other basic equipment to make caring for Josh easier and give him the best quality of life possible.
And then get on Twitter, follow @journeyjoshuas and all the #GangnamPoliceman team that made this all possible: @SgtGaryWatts – @WildlifeCrimePC – @Cvinniev – @ShinyHorse – @ChrisBraddon – @SamBiggs and the guy who put the video together @PeteAppleyard – each any every one of them is a real life SUPERSTAR !!
The account below is a Guest Blog, sent to me by another officer having read my earlier post ‘Out With The Frying Pan and Into The Mire’. It relates to a similar yet equally harrowing tale of the dangers ‘Frontline’ officers face every single day and night, trying to keep the public safe.
It was about 3am in the morning when the call came though – a violent domestic taking place at a house on one of the local rabbit-warren estates. One of those places that unless you worked it day in, day out, you would never know where you were going from one minute to the next.
I was single-crewed as I had been all night; as had become common practice with our bosses to ‘spread us around’; to give the impression to the public that we had more police on the streets than there actually were. Officer safety, as is so often the case, had taken a backseat to public perception and political manoeuvring.
Although this approach in itself often backfired as the same public who complained they ‘never saw a copper’ were only too quick to comment when they witnessed three or four single-crewed police cars whizzing by rather than just one or two with a double crew in – same number of police officers going to the jobs but the words ‘overkill’ and ‘money-wasting’ are often thrown about.
My thoughts were often more basic; things like if you have four police cars travelling through a town at high speed, surely the risk of something going wrong or someone crashing is double what it would be if you only had two cars responding ???
As was also the norm, the Control Room was struggling to get me any back up due to various disorders in one of the nearby towns. It was a Saturday night after all; end of the month; pay day weekend, which meant all the pubs and clubs were busier than usual, but as ever, there were no extra patrols put on duty to help out.
When I got to the location, which took even me a while to find and I’ve worked that patch for years, I entered the house through the unlocked, wide open kitchen door. There was debris everywhere, plates and food on the floor, dog crap everywhere and a broken cupboard with the doors hanging off. Oh I think to myself, must have been trouble in here.
I could still hear them fighting in another room; carrying on regardless, despite my very loud shouts of ‘POLICE STOP IT NOW !’.
I’m not afraid to admit my heart started to race at this time. It was fairly clear to me that there had been, or more likely from the sound of it, a fair bit of angry, probably drunken violence going on here. I was on my own. Literally. I knew there was no backup near; no back up for many miles away, if at all, yet what was I supposed to do ??
Our training (conducted in a nice warm fluffy gym with foam mats on the floor and an instructor who hasn’t seen the outside of a police station for a very long time) tell us that we should assess, and if the risks are too high then we should wait until assistance arrives. From where ??
I knew that I had to do something NOW, before someone got badly hurt, or worse, if they hadn’t been already – that’s the nature of the beast.
As I clambered into the lounge, over more discarded broken furniture intermixed with what were once I think, the children’s toys and randomly dispersed crushed cheap lager cans, I could clearly see the angry husband punching his partner on her head whilst she lay trapped underneath him on the sofa. She was crying, screaming and trying her best to hold him off from causing her even more injury, all at the same time.
She was nowhere near a match for him in build at the best of times, but with the added aggression of his temper, combined with alcohol, I couldn’t believe she’d kept him at bay this long.
I couldn’t get on the radio to find out where back up was as I was working on the same channel as the disorder in town. The chatter on the air was non stop with other officers asking for help, calling for ‘more units’, trying to make themselves heard over and above everyone else. The Radio Controller would have stood no chance of trying to keep up with what was happening on the ground.
Time or circumstance really weren’t on my side. I could seen the rain of blows continuing. I literally had no choice …. other than to let the lady in front of me get considerably more (and probably worse) injuries …. and in a snap second I had to make the decision to launch myself at the fella to get him off her.
I was literally rolling round the floor with a p**sed and drugged up muscle head when somehow on the radio I can hear ‘control to 1234 check call. 1234 are you in order?’, a pause and then ’1234, no reply’ I couldn’t reply, not without loosing a grip on the arm of Mr MuscleHead who was repeatedly and very actively trying to punch me over and over again. I can remember in that split second thinking was it worth taking the hit to be able to operate my radio to call for help!
After what felt a lifetime of rolling round on the floor with this fella, trying to punch me, bite me, head butt and kick me, I was somehow in a position to press my priority button. I could hear the control room ‘unit who pressed their priority button respond ?’ For goodness sake I thought, these super high-tech radios are all individually allocated, every time we press the transmit button it sends our badge number to the control room – they can clearly see on their screen exactly who has pressed the red button.
I manage to get out ’1234 need back up now, fighting male’. Control ’1234 what’s your location? We don’t have you attached to a job?’ ’1234 I’m at the domestic you sent me to, the male was attacking female and I had to step in’. I didn’t think saying my precise location of ‘under 17 stone of steroid, cocaine and alcohol fuelled meathead with a foot somehow stuck under the sofa and that I really would quite like some help’ would be appreciated…
Mr MuscleHead then took this opportunity when my attention on him had waned slightly to relaunch his attack on me. Listening to the tape back all you could hear was my wheezing and him shouting ‘I’m going to f**king kill you, you c**t!’ At this point I actually said “please don’t” ! Control finally managed to realise where I was and said back up was on route ….. from 15 miles away!!!
That left me with the prospect of 10 minutes or more, on my own, still fighting angry man. Great.
We carried on struggling but I started to realise Mr MuscleHead was tiring and somehow managed to reach my spray. Now I know it isn’t advisable to use in an enclosed room but at this point I was beyond caring. I managed to wriggle free from Mr MuscleHead and whilst laying on my back got a good spray right in his face as he stood over me about to put the boot in. Luckily he went down like the proverbial sack of spuds and with my own eyes streaming and snot pouring from my nose I managed to get him in a position where I could cuff him to the rear.
I knelt beside him trying to get my breath back when there was a scream of ‘you fucking cunt, what have you done to him? He can’t breath! You bastard!’
This was from his wife who was now beside him telling him it was ok and she would get me done for this and I would lose my job cos I didn’t have warrant! Please bare in mind at this time her left eye was swollen to a size I’ve only seen once before, her nose was bleeding profusely and she had clear finger marks round her wind pipe.
‘Control to 1234 are you in order? Where are you? Back up can’t find your location’
So out of breath and eyes streaming, still I had to direct back up to my location turn by turn whilst all they could hear was the female screaming at me that I shouldn’t have sprayed her fella as he had a heart condition – it seemed to have been working fine to me the past goodness knows how long !
At this point she even launched herself at me to try and help hubby! I couldn’t believe this was happening! I was now directing back up to me, trying to restrain her and keep an eye on hubby! Talk about multi-tasking! Back up finally arrived just as she sunk her teeth into the back of my hand breaking the skin and causing it to start bleeding and me a great deal of pain!
Back up finally took over the scene and I was taken to hospital for my hand to be treated. That was anther three hours of joy – not !! and to cap it all the hospital even wanted to charge me for a prescription for anti-biotics!
There was no complaint from her against him and they were both given just a caution for the assault on me !!! Where on Earth is the justice in that ??
From the time I arrived till back up got to me I’d been on my own for 25 minutes! Oh, and later on, when I asked about the kitchen and if they had been fighting in there was told no, it had all been in the living room and the kitchen was always like that!
For about two weeks after on nights in the rural patch we were always double crewed. That slowly slipped away as Sergeants and Inspectors conveniently ‘forgot’ what happened outside the little bubble of activity in their own main town, and last night was another shift on my own with back up 20 minutes away – if they actually know how to leave the place and get to me!
And at 4:20am got the call ‘control to 1234, can you take an immediate domestic. Neighbours reporting couple been arguing all night and now can heard fighting. Location is…’
At least this time I made sure back up could start rolling straight away…