Never Leave Home On A Bad Note …
This was a piece of sound advice given to me on Day One by my Tutor Constable, somewhere in the dim, dark and distant past of the Chaos career.
I never really understood why he was telling me this at the time, although he did quantify it by telling me that every now and then, someone will never get the chance to say ‘sorry’ when it’s needed ….. and that better not be me !
It was a bit deep for that moment, especially on my first ‘live’ morning in the job, when all I could think about was not bashing all the teacups onto the floor with my shiny new baton, or gazing in awe at the dozen or so ‘experienced’ police officers that now sat around me in the briefing room.
But the events in Manchester yesterday, have brought that one line straight back to the front of my mind. Now I’m not suggesting for one minute that either PC Fiona Bone or PC Nicola Hughes had had a cross word with anybody – as every early-turn officer did yesterday, they got up, went to work, and intended to spend the day doing the job they loved, helping the people of the area they served.
No one, absolutely no one, could have predicted the horrific turn of events that was to take place in Abbey Gardens, Mottram, Manchester, at around 11.00am.
As PC’s Bone and Hughes attended a perfectly routine report of a house burglary, something police officers up and down the country, both in uniform and CID do every single day, they were met in the street with a hail of gunfire and then a grenade being thrown towards them. Witnesses describe hearing ‘a dozen or so shots and then 10 seconds later a loud bang’.
One of the officers died at the scene and the other shortly afterwards in hospital.
Shortly afterwards, Dale Cregan, Manchester’s Most Wanted man, walked into Hyde Police Station and handed himself in. Initial reports suggest the original burglary call was a bogus report, made either by Cregan himself or someone acting on his behalf, and was made purely to lure police officers to the location with only one purpose in mind.
Virtually every police officer that was on duty yesterday went home to their partners, family and friends.
And as a result, the whole police family, across the UK and beyond, is mourning.
Yesterday afternoon I tweeted “with now 2 murdered police officers, today is not the day for cheap political point scoring
#GMP #RIP” and that was right. There was clearly a lot of anger showing in some of the comments being posted on various Social Media, but they are arguments for another day – a day when the facts are known and can be debated clearly and rationally.
Everyone’s thoughts had to be, and still do, with the immediate families, friends and colleagues of Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes, two young women, doing nothing more than the job they love and trying to make Manchester a better place for everyone. Nicola for goodness sake was only 23 – I’ve got kids older than that !!!
Speaking of which my younger two, aged 14 and 9, were unusually quiet yesterday evening. One of them may still be fairly young but she’s very switched on, probably far more so than I was at her age. Having got past all the ‘nothings’ when asking them what was wrong, as I tucked the younger one into bed she said to me “You won’t get shot will you ?”. how can you answer that – I couldn’t. But it demonstrates very clearly just how far the repercussions of a madman’s actions quickly spread.
And so, back to my Tutors words of wisdom – Never Leave Home On A Bad Note …
We’ve all done it.
I’ve done it … grumbled at Mrs C over something completely trivial and pointless, so pointless in fact that by the time I’ve got into the car I can’t even remember what it was, or shouted at the kids for treading mushed up Chewits all over the living room carpet just as I was going out the door to start another Friday night shift in Chaos Town.
But I’ve been lucky. At the end of every shift I’ve returned home. Yes, there have been some close calls along the way – I’ve had knives, swords and machetes galore waved in my face – some of them very close, too close for comfort !!
I’ve been jumped on by three drugged crazed loopies, hell bent on stopping me from stopping them from doing what they want to do, with the resultant outcome being me losing two teeth and having my nose rearranged before my colleagues got to my aid.
I’ve even had a bus glance me as I was knelt in the road giving first aid to a seriously injured person – clearly the police car with big yellow and blue stickers, flashing blue lights and me wearing a hi vis yellow jacket wasn’t enough of a hazard warning for the driver !!!
But the point remains, at the end of every day – I’ve been lucky; I’ve come home, more or less in one piece. Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes didn’t get that option yesterday.
So what I will say, over and above my sympathies that have already been sent to the families of those affected; to the Greater Manchester Police, and to the policing family countrywide is this:
No matter what your day throws at you, life’s to short to be angry at those you love. Take that extra minute to say sorry; to say you love someone; for that hug; for that kiss. Don’t be the one for whom tomorrow never comes ….