29 Sep 2011

What is the person missing?

Dont get me wrong, when people go missing the role of the police is vital but the role of the people who report the person missing is vital too. When someone is reported missing a police officer has to ask a number of questions which assess at what risk the person is at. If these questions are answered incorrectly then we have an issue.

I recall one incident that occurred whereby a local care home brought some of their patients to our town for a day out. The patients had all sorts of illnesses from Alzheimer's to Parkinson's. They spent all day wandering the sights when we received a phone call saying that one of their patients had gone missing is the last 5 minutes.

Officers went to meet them and ask the usual questions to assess risk, how were they feeling, essential medication etc. It was deemed that as the male patient, we will call him Mr. Grey, was a long time sufferer of a severe case of dementia, that he would be high risk. This was also due to him being 92 years old!!

Officers on scene began to glean details from the carers of possible places he may go, people he may see. Whilst other officers searched the area in patrol cars and on foot armed with photographs copied from the carers. A couple of vital pieces of evidence were passed to us from the carers "He isn't great at walking and wouldn't be able to walk far at all" and "He doesn't even remember his name!" This was great as it shortened out search boundaries in the first instance. We began to check local shops and restaurants as it was thought he may sit down in there for a rest.

After about 30 minutes of searching we received a phone call from a chip shop about 3 miles away from where the male went missing saying that they had a confused old man in their shop. This guy matched the description of Mr. Grey and so officers went to the shop.

The result of this was that this male was in fact Mr. Grey who stated he used to live in the area and that this was his favorite chip shop and so he walked quite easily the 3 miles for some chips after giving his carers the slip. He said he knew where the bus he came on was and was going to go back once he was done. Moral of the story? Never underestimate what a human can do and never say never to a police officer as it only makes you look like a fool.

24 Sep 2011

Whose in the wrong?

I have to admit when I listen to the radio and hear "Non injury RTC, any unit available" I usually keep quiet and finish eating my salad until I declare I'm free. Alright I lied I don't eat salad it's more like, I finish eating my Burger King before I call up.

I recall one day in particular when I was not free as I had appointments but from the moment I started work that day I was unusually eager. Don't get me wrong this had happened before, but at this time I was at least 2 years into service and this would normally have been beaten out of you through workload stress.

So, as I said, I quickly called up and what did I get? Two vehicle head on collision at our usual accident crossroads, low speeds, minor injuries, road blocked. There I was, on route, traffic head on. Fended off vehicles, ascertained that neither driver was seriously injured and got recovery on route as the vehicles were blocking a carriageway each.

Then came the worse part of any RTC, the "Over-exaggerate" I say this with enough experience that every driver involved in an accident always believes the other party is to blame. In this instance we had in a Red Ford, young posh white mum and 2 year old child and in a Grey Golf, young black executive type male. But to save confusion I will call her Mrs Ford and him Mr Golf.

Mrs Ford was the first I spoke to, she was being seen to by paramedics for a burn from her airbag. She stated Mr Golf was sitting at the lights opposite her and he screeched away from the lights nearly running down someone crossing, He turned towards her as she was going straight on and she didn't have time to move and smashed straight into his left side.
Plausible.

Mr Golf stated that when the lights turned green he moved off and sat at the junction waiting for space to go and Mrs Ford didn't go around him but just drove straight into him.
Also Plausible

It was at this point I got the irritating "eye witnesses" trying to but in saying Mr Golf was completely at fault as it couldn't have been a mother as she had a young child in the car and she is injured. Then when I say "So what did you see" they say "Well nothing but it's got to be his fault"

I realized at this point that it was up to the insurance companies to place blame and that I would have nothing to do with it. I then decided to check everyone's details to pass over insurance companies and check addresses they give are legitimate. I began with Mr Golf who was driving a company car with his name on the insurance, I checked his driving license and all details checked out. At this point the "eye witnesses" were giving the man abuse like "There was kids in that car" and "Hope your happy" I had to bite my tongue to stop from pointing out that the first was not grammatically correct and the second was plain stupidity.

Still I plodded on and checked Mrs Ford's details. I checked her driving license, all ok. Then I checked her car which was registered in a sister's name and she wasn't on the insurance. It was at this point the "eye witnesses" stopped their abuse. I asked if she was insured on another vehicle to which I was promptly given a registration number for what turned out to be her father's Land Rover in which she was only a named driver. I informed Mrs Ford she would not be covered to drive any other vehicles as a named driver but she wouldn't have any of it.

About an hour later after ringing around the houses it turned out as I first guessed she wasn't covered. I then informed Mr Golf of this, who looked a little annoyed and all the "eye witnesses" made their excuses and left.

It was at this point I began to probe deeper and looked at her car which had no child seat. I ended up reporting Mrs Ford for Driving Without Insurance, Failing to Secure a Child Passenger and to top it all seized her car as she was driving without insurance.

I thought this was a good day until I was approached whilst leaving by a member of the public who stated they saw the whole thing and that Mrs Ford was in the wrong lane at the lights and sped off to get in front of the car next to her and when she looked at the road ahead smashed right into the side of Mr Golf.

Well that put a smug look on my face and to top it all she got a court appearance and her sister never came to collect her car which has now been scrapped!

23 Sep 2011

Identity Crisis

Identification is key in cracking many cases as if police cannot identify the suspect then how on earth are we to find them. Ideally we would love to arrest every suspect at the scene of the crime, as this is as good as red handed, but sometimes arresting someone on the scene of the crime can have it's issues too.

I recall one such incident when we received a call as soon as we paraded at the start of a night shift that a member of the public was at a party and had been assaulted. This was all the details we needed as the person was apparently still in the party. Off we went with blues and twos ago. I think the whole shift must have turned out as we had at least 3 police cars running in a row.

When we turned up at the address we all jumped out of our cars to be met by a man dressed as a one of the Teletubbies. One of my colleagues, who is not renound for being kindest of heart said to me "I would love to punch Tinky Winky in the face too,so don't blame the guy"

After talking to Tinky Winky it turns out he had an argument with a guy over a girl, well it wasn't as simple as that, he had an argument with a Penguin over Tinkerbell and then Superman, another guy at the party, got involved and it ended with Tinky Winky having ten bells kicked out him by the Penguin and Superman. At this point I had to pinch myself to stop from laughing.


So we waded in turned the music off and kicked all of the characters out of fantasy land and onto the front lawn. This was the point at which we tried to ID the suspect as Tinky Winky had been taken away to safety by another unit.

Mixed in the plethora of icons in front of us were 3 penguins, 3 best friends who thought it funny to hire the same outfit, and 2 Supermen, obvious popular outfit. "Right, let's nick them all then and we'll sort ID out later, teach 'em to all come dressed the same" said the most experienced of the shift. At this point they were all arrested which posed an issue due to the suits being oversized and handcuff not big enough.

Well the custody suite loved us. Booking penguins and supermen in was not an everyday occurrence and as I'm sure you could guess a vast amount of, very fitting, very unfunny puns started being used like "We'll give you cell 19 it's as cold as ice, just how you like it" and "Don't worry we haven't put kryptonite in your food"

It turned out that after speaking to Tinky Winky that he hadn't even been invited to this party, he just saw people nearby dressed in fancy dress, donned his own, Yes OWN Tinky Winky outfit and tagged along. He said he wouldn't recognise the person again as he had his head on throughout! I don't really need to say much more than that and i'm sure you will agree that catching people at the scene isn't always as easy as it sounds!

22 Sep 2011

New Years Heave

Christmas and New Years is a great time for a Police Officer. Well I say that meaning purely financially, with up to 6 days available to us at double time but as well as large pay packets New Years in particular gives out even more. This though comes in the manner of workload.

I remember one New Years in particular when I was partnered with the same officer who was my mentor when I first joined patrol out of training school. We always enjoyed working together and always had a laugh when times were hard. We had been patrolling around the town as, with every New Years or even weekend, that was where the trouble was to happen. We toured the pubs and clubs, saying hello to the door staff as we went, as it was best to keep the door staff on your side as they become invaluable if you are caught short of officer on busy nights. As we approached one club we spoke to one bouncer who was telling tales of how the club was nearing bankruptcy "Management want this night to keep us open if it's quite then were gone for good" said the bouncer, who resembled a cross between uncle fester and hulk hogan all dressed up in a nice black Armani knock off. We decided to part ways to which the bouncer concluded with "Hope you have a quiet night" Any person who has been anywhere near the police service will know that you do not say the Q word. You only say "Hope your night is Q" the reasons for this bizarre tradition will become prevalent.

As we left we received a message via our personal radios that Bouncers from another club nearby were having issues. We went there at full speed with all manner or lights and sounds going even though it was only a few minutes drive. As we turned up there were hundreds if not thousands of people outside of this club milling around everywhere. We arrived to find hundred of people all being light hearted and jovial. We then went to get back into our patrol car when a very angry individual approached us with blood pouring down his face and his shirt ripped open. Even though this male had a large injury to his head he continued to puff his chest out and goad all other members of public into fighting him. My colleague and I both grabbed one of the males arms each and leant him against the back of our squad car as he was so paralytic he couldn't walk. We called control to get us an Ambulance and then had nothing to do but stand there and wait. As it was nearing midnight we knew the Ambulance would be a while so we stood there holding onto the red faced, puffed chest male who was refusing for us to look at his injury saying "I just wanna go get him, I'm gonna smash his head in"

It wasn't long before we heard the unmistakable sound of thousands of intoxicated people in the clubs yelling "Happy New Year" all at the same time. At this point my colleague turned to me and said "Well while were here Happy New Year mate" to which I replied with a sarcastic tone "Yeah of course, you too"

The Ambulance never arrived so we thought it would be quicker to take the guy down to hospital ourselves. We dropped him off outside A&E and as he wandered off into the building a call came across the radio for officers to attend A&E for an angry male causing a disturbance. I turned to my college and said "It can't be him, he just walked in there, surely"

When we got in there it turned out it wasn't the same male. Instead it was an angry male that other officers had to deal with earlier from another club. What occurred before was that this male had been glassed in the side of the neck and was just dropped off there by a specialist unit under the illusion that a local unit can take details as they have guns but no paperwork. This male was incredibly drunk and also very aggressive. Although he had a hole in his neck the size of my fist and I could see all of the tendons in his neck working he was still fighting. He was pinned to the floor by 4 or 5 members of the hospital security team. My colleague then decided to try to negotiate and get the male seen to. He was very angry, anti-doctors, anti-police, anti-public. He was what we call an arse.

After about 2 hours of us telling the male to calm down and him threatening the staff, we came to a compromise. We would get his wound patched up, we would take him to his Nan's, as he asked, and he could see the doctor in the morning. This all worked out fine until he said that his Nan lived 30 miles away. My colleague then said "Sod this let's just get this arse away from out patch" because the police officer rule is "out of patch, out of mind"

When we dropped the arse off we could take a breather. I say breather but mean a break for my colleague to have a cigarette. We had to finish it quickly of course as our control had a fight kicking off with nobody free. So with lights and sirens going we took to the motorway and headed back to town. Of course half way through the 30 miles we were cancelled as they had found someone else but as soon as being cancelled we had another fight to go to.

Inevitably this didn't come to anything and before we knew it it was the end of our night and time to go home with the radio still ringing from fights and the inn full for the night. Of all of the goings on that night, the one thing I will never forget is the bouncer who ruined it all. So next time you see a police officer and want to wish him or her a quiet night remember to say Q and they will never be able to blame you for anything!