This video has been sent to me today by PC James Griffiths of West Mercia Police
It also incudes the words from PC Amie Holland’s much publicised poem
Try and watch it without the tears streaming down your face ….
This video has been sent to me today by PC James Griffiths of West Mercia Police
It also incudes the words from PC Amie Holland’s much publicised poem
Try and watch it without the tears streaming down your face ….
From Deputy Chief Constable Ian Hopkins
We have been extremely touched by the messages of support and offers of help from police officers and staff around the country.
There have been thousands of people and organisations wanting to assist and give up their time including using the #coverforgmp hashtag on Twitter and Facebook.
Our priority continues to be to support the families of Fiona and Nicola and we are speaking to them as they consider what arrangements they want.
We have spoken to the Association of Chief Police Officers and have asked them to co-ordinate the offers of support from forces so that we can take up some of the kind offers but ensure that we can still do the best for the families.
We intend to have representation from every UK force either in supporting the force providing cover for GMP or attending the funerals.
We will provide some more information about the plans once we have details from the families of Fiona and Nicola.
24th September 2012
For all those who have offered their time and support to GMP: Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan, said:
“First of all I want to say a heartfelt thank you for everyone’s kind offer of support to GMP.
“People and organisations from every walk of life have contacted us to pledge their support and to give up their time.
“Today, ACPO will be releasing a note to all Forces to explain that we will be grateful to take up all genuine offers of assistance, but they will of course need some time to organise the logistics of this.
“However these kind offers haven’t just come from within the police family.
We have had volunteers from numerous different organisations offering to help out. We will find a way to work with any members of the public and any organisations who want to show their solidarity.
“We will work with other forces to arrange the support from within the police service, but, just as importantly we promise to come back to everybody, no matter where they are, as soon as we can. We will do our utmost to ensure that everyone who has offered their help will be able to do so.
“Once again, thank you for your support – it really makes a difference.”
The last few days have, it’s fair to say, been a blur; sleep has become a distant memory. Like every decent person around the country, police officer, staff, family, friend or not, I felt physically sick when the news started coming out about the horrendous murders of PC’s Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes in Manchester on September 18th.
After writing my post on the matter, It Tomorrow Never Comes, and whilst watching one of the BBC News Channel live feeds from the scene I received a tweet from @ResponseSgt wondering if a small number of officers could be rallied to #CoverForGMP so their own teams could attend the funerals of the officers concerned. Shortly afterwards I had a similar tweet from @TheCustodySgt (or it may have been the other way round).
After a couple of minutes thinking about it, I reckoned that shouldn’t be too difficult, even to get 40 or 50 bobbies from GMP or one of the neighbouring forces to step in and help their colleagues and so I tweeted the message
Calling all cars …. Would you work a day in GMP so their officers can attend funerals for Fiona and Nicola ?
I then went off to mow the lawn, with the thought of ‘how would that work’ milling over in the back of my mind whilst I cut the grass.
Not very long after at all, Mrs C, who as it happened wasn’t working that day either, came out into the garden saying “Chaos, what’s wrong with your phone it won’t stop beeping”. As soon as I looked at the screen and saw the sheer number of notifications and emails outstanding, I knew something big was happening !
Within a very short space of time, my initial guestimate of that 40-50 officers to help had been blown well out of the water. Within hours, over 1,500 police officers, staff and members of the public had offered to get to Manchester and do whatever was asked of them, for free !!, in order that the officers, staff and people of Manchester could pay their respects at the funerals of their fallen colleagues.
A couple of days later and there are now well over 5,000 people who have said YES to #CoverForGMP ! – yes, that’s right, OVER 5,000 !!
And that’s on my Facebook and Twitter alone. Many, many more have already contacted GMP and their own forces to offer help.
These are people from all over the country; yes many are police officers and staff who directly feel the pain that Fiona and Nicola’s colleagues, families and friends are going through – but many are not. They are everyday folk who are also so overwhelmingly shocked and affected by what has happened that they also feel the need to do something, anything, to help out. For that, and for every kind word received by me, by GMP, and all the other police forces round the country I can only say a big, big thank you yet again.
On top of that, Virgin Trains and National Express have also indicated their wish to assist us moving people around and have been put in direct contact with the Senior Officers Teams at Greater Manchester Police.
Highways Agency staff are queuing up to volunteer to work on the day to keep the expected boom on vehicle numbers flowing as freely as possible.
There are hundreds and hundreds of messages of support of people offering to just turn up and make tea for everyone (never going to say no to that) and others the other end of the country wanting to make sandwiches, bake cakes, get up in the middle of the night and drive hundreds of miles to help keep everyone fed !
With all the police-bashing that has gone on lately from all sides, just ask yourself this: Where else would you get literally thousands of people, offering to work FOR FREE; at very short notice; on a day off, or even book annual leave, to do someone else’s job; to drive possibly hundreds of miles into the bargain; to cook and clean; to answer phones; to walk the streets; to deal with some of the worst that life can throw at us ?? – has this one tragic event alone, shown everyone that the United Kingdom still has the best police service in the world, and that the vast majority of the British public actually do believe in and support their police officers.
More importantly, will it be that if one positive thing can come out of the horrendous events of September 18th, will it be that the police and the public will begin to re-engage in a big way ??
Let’s also remember, this hasn’t been started by some kind of Mutual Aid request from GMP or any other force – it’s not a plan that’s been put together by any Chief Officer – it’s not really a ‘plan’ at all !! – this has purely been driven by, dare I say it, ‘frontline’ police officers, so shocked and numbed about what has happened that they felt the need to channel their emotions, very quickly, into something as positive as possible. I think we have achieved that.
As expected, there have been a few negative comments thrown my way about this whole idea, which I don’t think I worth giving penance to, but to the couple of people that have suggested I’m only doing this to try and get a promotion; Really ?? think about it – NO, not a chance !! and anyway I’m anonymous and intend to stay that way – I’m doing this because I’m in a position where I can, it’s as simple as that !
There is a heck of a lot of planning going on behind the scenes at Greater Manchester Police already, and any final decision on how they can best make use of the offers on the table has to be a logistical decision for them. I know that the Senior Officers are doing everything they can to make #CoverForGMP happen but of course, the wishes of the families affected will be paramount.
All updates will be announced immediately by GMP who will be in charge of any operation, the GMP Federation, Police Federation nationally, and will be cascaded via myself and also directly to all other UK police forces so please keep following on Twitter and/or Facebook for quickest updates. On Twitter make sure you are following:
@ConstableChaos – @MikePannett – @InspGadgetBlogs – @GMPolice – @GMPFederation
If possible, please do not call the number being re-posted on Facebook/Twitter for Greater Manchester Police. This is a General Enquiry Helpdesk number. The staff in there are being fantastic and they are recorded peoples info onto a database in readiness, but the number IS getting swamped and our calls may delay genuine requests for service from GMP getting through.
If you would like to add your support / comments, please do so here –> Calling All Cars … Would You #CoverForGMP – everything will be made available to GMP as required.
The most likely scenario is that each Police Force outside of GMP will be asked to collate and coordinate their own staff / officers. If you are GMP please speak with your Line Managers / Duties Teams. I’m not sure yet exactly what the plan is for members of the public offering help but this will be announced in due course as well.
The suggestion I have put forward to Senior people involved, based on feedback I’ve had, is that a number of officers working on a ‘mutual aid’ type basis could cover mobile patrols in the main areas, freeing up GMP officers, whilst the rest line the routes, in uniform. I must stress this is not a confirmed plan and is remember, subject to the families approval.
Once again, THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH FOR YOUR HELP, SUPPORT AND KIND WORDS.
One final note …. I was originally going to call this post ‘It Started With A Tweet’
“Eternal” a tribute to PC Fiona Bone and PC Nicola Hughes
I didn’t know them but I have been where they were. Running to a job in progress without thinking too much about what I was actually running toward.
I didn’t know them but I have done what they were doing. I joined for the same reasons. I had that Calling – the burning passion to help and make a difference.
I didn’t know them but I was once in their shoes being sent to the scene of some incident or other with the full intention of doing good when I got there.
I didn’t know them but I have left my family and loved ones at all hours of the day and night, accepting the dangers i might face but with the full expectation of returning home at the end of a shift.
I didn’t know them but I worked with people like them. I have seen their faces around every briefing room, in every station I have ever worked in. I have had the pleasure of working alongside them and supervising them and helping them achieve their goals.
I didn’t know them but I have had to deliver that painful message that a loved one isn’t ever coming home again.
I didn’t know them but I know the helplessness of desperately trying to save a life when you know all hope is gone.
I didn’t know them but they were my colleagues, my friends, my family.
I didn’t know Fiona or Nicola. But although I didn’t know them – I actually knew them very well indeed.
We weren’t in the same force but we were part of the same service.
That service, that family is now stricken at the loss of two sisters who were known and adored my many…
but who will be recognised, loved and mourned by thousands.
They have been taken from us cruelly and far too early.
I didn’t know them but my sorrow will last a lifetime.
My thanks for what they were doing for us all will be everlasting.
My pride in them….
I am currently a serving GMP Police Constable working on the Bolton Division. I did not know the girls personally, but a loss of two of our own is felt across the force. Therefore I wanted to do something to honour their memory. I have written this poem and I dedicate it to my two incredibly brave colleagues. I want to share this poem with as many people as possible and it has already received almost 1,000 likes and over 100 comments on Facebook in just 24 hours. I am speechless at the response my poem has received and have been truly humbled by some of the comments I have received. I dedicate it to the G Division’s two brave officers. Rest in peace girls xx
The alarm clock goes off, it’s early in the morn,
I rub my eyes as I let out a yawn.
As I dress my mind wonders of the day that lies ahead,
As I count the hours until I can return to my bed.
Another working day as I creep from my house,
Leaving loved ones to sleep, I’m as quiet as a mouse.
My car pulls from the drive, the radio blurs into life,
What will the day bring, what troubles, what strife?
There it is, my nick, I see it, I care,
As I pass by the badge I so proudly wear.
Vest on, belt on, to the parade room I go,
To my colleagues and friends, banter in full flow.
We’re briefed up and ready for the challenges of the day,
To serve and protect in every sigle way.
In our panda we patrol listening so carefully,
To the radio on which a call soon will there be.
And it comes, it’s inevitable, a job there for us,
A call for help, for the help of ‘the fuzz.’
“On route” I say as we continue to chat,
Most likely about refs or of this and of that.
All so quickly we arrive, to the house we draw near,
Then I see him, it’s him, I cannot move with fear.
The most wanted man standing here in front of me,
Then I see it, there’s a bang, all is still, this cannot be.
It’s dark, I’m alone, “What happened?” I say,
Why did this become that dreaded day?
I have a family, a life stretching out before me,
Though most just don’t see it, she’s just another PC.
Yes I have seen and done things that most of you fear,
For the job and the badge that I hold oh so dear.
But I’m not just a uniform, I’m a person too,
Yes I may be a bobby, but I’m someone’s daughter like you.
But today I have made the ultimate sacrifice,
With my life I have paid the largest price.
With pride and integrity, I did serve and protect,
Though at times it was hard and we were shown no respect.
But it was our job, off we went, so professional and formal,
Not knowing this day would be anything but normal.
I have no regrets, the service I willingly gave,
Day in and day out, I never saw it as brave.
And now I move on, new friends most I meet,
As I walk my shift on heaven’s beat.
But please don’t forget me, on parade I once sat,
Just a girl who happened to wear a bobby’s hat.
By PC Amie Holland, Bolton Division, Greater Manchester Police
The half-night shift had really got off to a good start for Big Pete and myself … all those best laid plans had already gone by the wayside as within fifteen minutes of booking on shift we were grappling on the floor with some drunken crazy guy who objected most profusely to us barging our way into his house and having the gall to arrest him for, in his eyes, “nothing more than giving the old bitch a good slap” !! After all, apparently she’d deserved it by the realms of some god-forsaken twisted reasoning that we really couldn’t be bothered to delve into but in either way, he was going to be spending the next few hours in one of our palatial hotel rooms whilst the poor innocent lady of the house had to endure hours of waiting down at the local A&E to get her now swollen, battered and bruised face looked at.
It didn’t help matters that the local Custody Unit was already full, the only van on our sector was broke ….. again ….. and we had a additional 20 minute journey to the next nearest available cell space in a neighbouring division. The trip consisted mainly of much shouting and balling, and me virtually sat on top of our latest friend in the back of the panda for the majority of the journey whilst Big Pete ‘made progress’ and arranged for a nice welcoming committee to greet our guest when we arrived at his new temporary home.
Dave and Kate had kindly offered to meet the lady down at the hospital and take some details from her whilst we dealt with the males accommodation requests and then headed back to Bigtown to start the great paperchase.
It’s not actually a bad drive back from Medbury to Bigtown, especially when you get chance to look at the view; aren’t hurtling along it at break-neck speeds and aren’t sat on top of the wriggling writhing mess of a 16 stone violent, smelly drunken wife-beater. As you come over the top of Medbury Rise there is a great view for miles over the rolling hills of the next county and a good long mile long straight down a shallow incline back towards Bigtown itself. In fact the only thing to spoil the view as you drop down the bank is the whacking great hyper-mega-mart superstore that the local planning committee decided what an ideal thing to build across several acres of prime greenbelt land.
Still even the thoughts of endless hours of paperwork for some CPS lawyer on the end of a phone and fax machine to read and then decide he wasn’t brave enough to prosecute didn’t deter from a splendid Autumn evenings view –hardly a cloud in the sky, the sun just getting ready to set over to our left …. and a great plume of thick black smoke rising from the ground some distance ahead of us ……
Now there’s a thing about smoke – I don’t know if you’ve taken much notice. If it’s white, or light grey, or a bluey-grey colour, that tends to suggest that there’s wood or general rubbish burning; a bonfire, or maybe even an over excited chimney …. but this smoke was black as coal, and there were lots of it !! Pete and I both knew the typical signs of a car or building on fire – something with lots of rubber, plastics and other equally man-made products which were now expelling themselves over much of the nearby environment.
I think both of our shoulders dropped at the same time and we both let out a sigh as Big Pete commented “Best we go and have a nosey at that don’t you think ?” There was no chance of anyone else being able to deal – the other 50% of our late shift were down the local hospital with our IP, so with great visions of further impending doom, Big Pete started heading towards the sources of the situation. I called up on the radio just to see if we had had any calls about a fire, which we hadn’t, and then asked the Control Room to give Trumpton a ring, wake them up (after all it was getting on for 8.00pm !!) and see if they had a special secret they might want to let us in on. The reply came back a few minutes later that indeed, the Fire Service had had a couple of calls and had sent an appliance out but hadn’t been able to locate anything as yet.
Now I’m not a fireman, and nor is Big Pete. We’ve not had all the extensive training that firefighters get these days in dealing with tricky and difficult / dangerous situations, but Pete and I both conceded that despite our limited knowledge and training on such matters, we reckoned that if you continued to head towards where the smoke was coming from, the chances are you might stumble across a clue or two as to what was going on !!!
Between us and the site of the impending disaster was an industrial estate, which obviously was where to problem lay; in one of the factories or units there; most likely an accident, and probably something involving nasty, horrible chemicals which as far as we were concerned, was as good an excuse as anything for the fire engine to get there first. We were going to be more than happy to stick a road closure on somewhere nearby, preferably upwind, so as to stop any innocent (nut most likely as nosy as vultures) members of the public straying to near to the proably noxious substances spewing out of Acme Widgets & Co or whichever business had now gone up in flames.
The problem was, as we got nearer, it became more and more obvious that the source of the fire wasn’t. It was definitely still a mile or so away from us, over the fields beyond the industrial park. “There’s nothing special over there” Big Pete quipped “Well nothing but that Farm Park place where the kids go”.
As soon as he said it we both knew where we would be going …… Holly Farm
Holly Farm has become quite a successful local enterprise. Given the difficulties faced by the farming community in general over the last few years, many framers have diversified into other areas such as accommodation; Working Farm Experiences, etc – there’s one not far off that’s built a big go-karting track over what used to be dairy cattle pasture, but Holly Farm has gone one better and turned itself into a mini-wildlife park, complete with lots of friendly animals so visiting kids can get in with them and feed the goats and sheep and wallabies and suchlike. It still didn’t explain why there was copious amounts of black smoke coming from the location though.
As we got closer however, it became quite clear that one of the wooden buildings had taken on the appearance of a dress rehearsal for Bonfire Night. All that stood between us at this point was a hundred metres or so … and an eight foot high pair of wooden gates …. chained and padlocked wooden gates. Whilst I was busy on the radio interrupting a controller desperately trying to deploy two PCSO’s to a now three hour old report of the heinous offence of kids playing football on some grass to let them know where we were and would they mind awfully letting the Fire Service know where to go as well, Big Pete had set about destroying the padlocks to the gate with the aid of a jemmy bar and big red key we luckily happened to have about our persons – or at least in the boot of the panda.
Once inside it became clear that a fair few of the animals were in varying states of distress – certainly none of them wanted to be the next item on Burger King’s Flame Grilled menu !!! there was a fair amount of assorted animal noises and stomping of hooved and other feet as the heat and smoke form the fire spread itself around the main enclosure area. The flames, as luck would have it, appeared to be coming from a very full hay storage barn (although how much hay was now left was a debateable point) rather than one of the animal pens themselves, but that didn’t alter the fact that it was very close, none of the staff or keepers were on hand to move the animals, and that meant we were going to have to do something about it.
“We’ll just have to open the pens” shouted Big Pete, “it’s fairly enclosed here” he said, pointing roughly to the visitor area where we we both stood, and pointing to another paddock not too far away he shouted louder “if we can herd them over there they’ll be fine”.
“Just one thing” I shouted back, trying to make myself heard above the crackling of the flames, and the noises of the resident animals, but before I could challenge Pete as to his round-up abilities, he was already lifting the bolts on the first pen and releasing the assorted livestock from their pens. “Have you any idea how to move this lot then ?” I shouted as loud as I can just as Pete opened the gate on the last pen and out ran three of the biggest,most humungous, angry, scared, antlered creatures you have ever seen. Evidently they didn’t want to stay where they were a moment longer; and their anger at being faced with the prospect of being this evenings Special Whopper Meal was only topped by the anger they felt towards this pair of yellow jacketed buffoons who were now stood in the middle of their compound !!!
“Aren’t they reindeer ?” shouted Pete. “Hell if I know” I called back “but they ain’t happy” and with that, the reindeer, accompanied by various other deer and cloven hoofed animals which Big Pete had just saved from their inevitable doom showed their appreciation by all running at full speed towards … well in any direction they could to be honest as long as it was away from us. Suddenly, Pete took off his fluorescent jacket and started waving it about like a Matador’s red cape, not really sure if it was intended to be used as a deflectionary tool, or a target for the wildlife to aim at “Which one do you think is Rudolph ?” he yelled, and then laughed, clearly enjoying himself far too much.
Bizarrely it seemed to work. Or maybe the livestock just felt sorry for him, or got fed up of laughing at him themselves. Either way the animals started closing together and herding away from Pete’s flapping Hi-Vis jacket. “Come on” he yelled “Get yours off and help – we need to drive them at that paddock”.
So there we were, the two of us, waving our yellow police coats in the wind, amongst the thick smoke of a burning barn, hoping amongst all hopes that the animals would be sufficiently more frightened of us mad-men than they were of the fire, and head off in the direction we needed them to go.
After a few false starts, we managed to corral the animals into a small paddock far enough from danger that they wouldn’t come to any harm, then took a moment to contemplate our next move. Now we’d got them there what were we going to do with them all. After all, they must have been kept in separate pens for a reason – the last thing we wanted now was to be threatened with being sued for accidently allowing the wrong two animals to start getting too frisky with each other.
And then, whilst we we having a laugh to ourselves about what had just happened, we heard a strange, other noise ….. almost like, well very like, the sound of people clapping. We both turned around at the same time to find the crews of two fire engines stood behind us, propped against a small boundary fence, laughing and clapping at us two, smoke covered, worn out and dishevelled souls. A couple of the firefighters had two hoses trained on the burning hay and barn, but the rest had undoubtedly rested themselves in a prime spot to watch the two Woodentops do their own Morecambe and Wise type live special, and had found the whole thing highly, highly amusing.
At least when the staff arrived they thanked us for our prompt efforts before calmly wandering over to the evils megabeasts and simply slipping collars onto them and leading them away, one by one to another part of the site as if nothing had happened. The Fire Investigator deemed the blaze to have been accidental – seems it’s a very common thing for stored hay and straw to spontaneously combust – something to do with the chemical reactions.
Big Pete and I made our excuses then, and left them all to it – after all we still had a worlds worth of paperwork to get through from our earlier domestic. We never did work out however, given that Dave and Kate, the only two other officers on duty at Bigtown were still down the hospital with our victim, who was responsible, but by the time we arrived back at the nick, our trays and desks were absolutely plastered in pictures of Rudolph and any number of other reindeer type images.
We were, of course, also very proud to have gotten a mention in the weekly Force Bulletin, which outlines major incidents that have taken place, along with a copy of the appreciation letter from a Mr S Claus thanking us for all our efforts to protect and save his flock, and assuring us that it would be remembered and we would get an extra special something in our stockings next Christmas ….. why oh why did I get the feeling it would be Reindeer droppings though …….??