But I’ve never seen an elephant fly …. (oops sorry, wrong film !!)
I’ve selflessly stolen the title of this article from a tweet by @SuptTozer, the senior police officer in charge of policing the town of Shrewsbury and County of Shropshire; a place I bet most people have never probably heard of, so just for your info, it’s above and to the left of Birmingham …. near Wales …. but not quite !!
Superintendent Tozer, along with several of his senior officer colleagues had taken to the streets on New Years Eve to join their response team officers in dealing with the madness and mayhem brought about but the complete inability of a significant number of people to enjoy themselves without resorting to gobsmackingly large amounts of alcohol, which for a large part had no other effect than to make them smack someone else in the gob !!
** humble side thought – I know @SuptTozer is a Twitter follower of mine; i wonder if he saw my tweets over Christmas about when I arrived at Bigtown and the then Super used to insist Command Team staff worked the Friday & Saturday night shift public order vans so they ‘never lost sight of what it’s like on the ground’ ?? Maybe that’s where he got the idea from for this ?? Ok maybe not **
What I’m sure the good Superintendent intended to serve as a running commentary for his followers and the local community of frontline life in one town in one county on New Years Eve has unexpectedly been picked up and run a as news article by both the local and national press. The full list of tweets from @SuptTozer is here:
I was going to write my own blog about the events of New Years Eve, but in fairness all I would be doing was replicating more or less was was written above, just in a different place !!
Needless to say however, some people have already started to criticise the Superintendent for ‘wasting time on Twitter’ but surely what he’s actually done is ‘tell em exactly how it is’.
There are actually 21 tweets between 21.00 and 07.00 the next morning – 2.1 tweets per hours – hardly scandalous but certainly engaging, communicating and informing – all the sort of things police officers of any rank are supposed to do aren’t they ???
But what do the tweets tell us about one small market town in a relatively quiet county in the English heartlands ???
Well by just after 9pm they already had someone locked up for an offensive weapon, had several missing people to try and find, and another who’d taken an overdose. Out of all those jobs, only the one is a ‘crime’ matter which is what the Home Secretary says is all that police officers should be dealing with …. but who is going to sort the rest out …. outside of office hours …. during the New Year holiday break ???
Less than half an hour later a violent crime takes place right in front of them – it doesn’t say if this was alcohol related by my money goes that way !!
By midnight however, the good Super gets a feel of what nightshift bobbies have been saying for a long time – “I have a fleece, a stabproof + florie (fluorescent) jacket and I am cold”. Sir I get the humour in which the comment was intended (towards people dressed in very ‘flimsy’ clothing) but please let uniform buyers countrywide know how you felt – the kit is just not up to scratch !!
And so the night went on …. We learn that by 3am the local Custody Block was full – and that’s BEFORE many of the pubs and clubs closed !!! Drugs and drink-drivers feature also in what essentially would have been the recipe of makings for most town and city centres country wide on the same night.
But whichever way we look at it, the common theme throughout the night has been the general misuse of alcohol. As @SuptTozer tweeted at 4.30am “It’s been a night of alcohol related … now what’s the word? well actually it’s stupidity”. In fairness, as I worked New Years Eve night, I couldn’t have put it better myself !!
For me though, the most important ‘tweet of the street’ was at 4.50am when the Super typed “I have seen my officers stand being shouted, taunted and ranted at, and calmly go about their duty making arrests and keeping the peace” and again at 7am when he said “As I come to the end of my night shift, I give thanks for the many that do this time and time again, without fail: Thank you”.
Hopefully he had chance to tell his troops this in person as well, but it does make a great change as a frontline bobby from anywhere to see a senior officer recognising the work we do publicly, not just on New Years night, but every other day and night of the year. Morale amongst the troops is, as we all know, at an all time low. Sometimes it’s just a simple thanks like this that makes all the difference !
Happy New Year everyone …. no doubt we’ll see you again same time next year