Thursday, 19 February 2009

Very bad day in a bad couple of weeks.

Work has been stupid busy recently and I've spent the few days off I've had mostly trying to forget about it and live in the normal world. My list of days that I'd rather never happened is reasonably small considering some of the things we have to deal with, most jobs just go into the work box and get locked away to be dealt with as and when, but unfortunately I've had another one added to the list quite recently. I'll have to wait until the inquest and investigation is concluded to give you a better picture of exactly how utterly horrible and fucked up the whole situation was. Watching a kids heart get ripped apart and watching their entire world turned inside out in the blink of an eye is bad enough, but knowing that Police bureaucracy, bullshit accountability and arse covering protocols dragged it out needlessly for the family still makes me feel sick.

We, the people on the ground did everything right. We do it all the time and we are good at what we do, we work well together and don't have to ask each other to help out, we all know what needs doing and we crack on and do it. We don't like getting other people involved as we can deal with the vast majority of jobs ourselves, and we can deal with them quickly. The problems come when we have to get other people involved who aren't there and who don't really give a shit - to them it's just another call to make, another list to check, another CAD to update.

They can't see the childs tears. They aren't talking to the next of kin and hearing the distress as every possible outcome is running through their mind and ripping it apart by the second. They haven't seen the worlds best paramedics and frontline trauma teams doing everything they can to stop the person they've never met from passing. They can't see the once feeling and loving eyes glass over to nothing, to emptiness, to pain for those they will never see again. They don't care.

To us thirty seconds is a lifetime in a situation like that. To them thirty minutes just is another step closer to going home on time, and it can't pass quickly enough.

I've always said that it's the one job in a hundred, or even a thousand, with a proper victim to help or a proper criminal to catch that makes the others worth dealing with. I joined this job to help those people when I can, and it makes me sick to know that some people I have to work with don't share that view, or have forgotten it if it ever existed, or that distance themselves from it to make sure their arse is covered. I know people who are terrified of the thought of getting put back out onto the street having festered in an office after getting off the frontline as soon as their probation finished. Others we work with have absolutely no concept of what we actually do, and they don't care about that fact either because they'll never have to deal with it.

They don't want to deal with the things we do and they have no incentive or motivation to do things with a sense of urgency when we ask them, as that invariably means cutting corners or stepping on toes and they won't risk it.

I make no apologies for hating a very large number of people both inside the Police and outside, this job has given me more than enough evidence to justify every stereotype or prejudice that I've got, but I still care about people who are in situations they never asked be in or did nothing to bring on themselves. These are the people I want to help; the people who are unable to do anything to help themselves. Proper victims.

I know that sometimes, more often than not in some places, we can't get to some calls from the public. A lot of the time we don't even get to hear about them as there are always more serious things coming through to us, even though it occasionally turns out some of them aren't exactly as we were told because someone has deliberately lied about the incident to make sure we get there. I'm sorry that we can't get to your burglary report because a shop has lied about how 'violent' a low value shoplifter is because they are sick of us saying we have no units to deal, or that someone has called in a hoax knife/gun threat just to see how long it takes us to get there "if they ever actually need us" or because they think it's fucking hilarious.

The Police officers who are still on the frontline teams, working 24 hours a day answering 999 calls want to help people. We care about the fact that normal tax paying members of the public, who are no different from our own families, are victims of crime, or victims of fate through no fault of their own.

We want to help them, I want to help them, because I still care despite all that other bullshit.