“All available units, urgent response to The Royal George, Lower Castle Street, reports of twenty plus fighting, several calls coming in” ……
As police cars light up like Christmas decorations half way across the county, something strikes your tired and weary commentator as strange about this job. Pub fights are nothing new; on the contrary they are ten a penny on weekend nights – but this was a Tuesday, and the Royal George is, well, not a likely venue for World War 3 to be breaking out.
The Royal George on Lower Castle Street is probably best described as an ‘old mans pub’. Go in on any evening and you’ll be tripping over the whippets parked up in the entrance lobby; you’ll be deafened by the sound of the dominoes clattering and flat caps and tweed jackets are the clothing of choice. It’s the home of the Bigtown Pigeon Racing Club, that’s The Royal George.
The George and Dragon on Crown Street in the centre of town is a completely different matter – it’s one of those ‘fun pubs’ where no one that wants to drink proper beer would ever go near, ever. It’s the home of foolish, drunken jobless louts, shots, doubles, stag and hen parties, happy hours that last all day, and our number one trouble spot for fighting and general nuisance.
“Are you sure on the location” I ask the Control Room via my radio. “Yes, yes” come back the reply. I’m still not convinced; the calls are coming through the emergency operators based at Headquarters, who then pass the jobs to the despatchers, who then pass the jobs to us. I’d take a guess many of the call-takers have never heard of Bigtown, never mind set foot in the place. Experience suggests their intricate working knowledge of our dear town’s varied wildlife, sorry I mean nightlife, is somewhat non-existent, and given two similarly name public houses in the same locale, there’s a big space for error unless you know what’s going on.
“Another call coming through” declares the controller over the radio “reports now say thirty fighting, all Polish males, now mention of weapons, bats and metal bars being used, requesting firearms car and dogs, all units stand by”.
Polish males …. weapons …. at The Royal George ???? not a cat in hells chance. Units are still making towards Bigtown at a rate of knots from far and wide. “Control” I pipe up again “Can you get The George and Dragon in the town centre up on CCTV it’s a much more likely location, I’m not convinced about The Royal George”. “Sorry Chaos, cameras that end of town are out of action – have been all week – workmen cut the cables” came the response.
As if perfectly synchronised, four panda’s descended simultaneously on the car park of The Royal George, lights flashing like an outtake from Close Encounters, and were met with ……. silence; well apart from the now incessant barking of three whippets which we’d woken up.
Having told the control room to divert any units still making our location to the George and Dragon, we chucked ourselves back in our high performance wheelbarrows and headed into town to find the real action. Needless to say, as the first car arrived in the right place, the calls for ‘urgent backup’ and ‘more units’ blasted across the air. For once though, the callers to the police weren’t exaggerating – there were probably thirty Polish guys fighting, and they had smashed up some pub chairs to use as weapons against each other.
It must have taken a good twenty minutes to get things under control; appears it had been a wedding reception gone badly wrong – more so for the eight non-English speaking, heavily intoxicated Polish nationals we now had under arrest, in cuffs and in various positions, mainly flat on the floor with several bobbies holding each one down until the vans could arrive and take them away.
After much explaining to the various custody sergeants and seemingly hours of time on the phone to interpreters at the different cell blocks we had to take our new found friends to; much more paperwork; and much, much more grumbling about not having the correct info in the first place, we eventually got back to Bigtown nick for a well earned cuppa. By some strange twist of fate, we were the late shift yet such was the mountain of paperwork the one job generated, the night turn had arrived, done their shift and gone home before us !!!!
This fact had not gone un-noticed, and much mention was made of it in the report room in the hope out Inspector may have also still been here (moral support and all that), but none of us were naive enough to really believe he would be. And then our sergeant piped up “By George Chaos, you were right you know”. With that, we all laughed !! In the words of Zebedee, it was time for bed.