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.



Blue Eyes said...

someone has deliberately lied about the incident to make sure we get there

I bet this happens quite often, I bet that regular callers know exactly which buttons to press to get their call prioritised. I think anyone who does this should be immediately reported for wasting police time.

Sounds like you need a beer and a few days off!!

Auntie Jane said...

You wrote: ".... I want to help them, because I still care despite all that other bullshit."

It's a good job you do still care, though I don't know how you manage with all the 'bullshit' that goes on.

As Blue Eyes said: You need a beer (or two), with a few days off.
From an MOP.

MetAnon said...

Stick with it chap, you know as well as me that at some point a job will come and make it all worth the pain and 'stress'
Keep safe

Peekok said...

Dear Sheepdog,

I really admire your sense of compassion. 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 can are unable to do anything to help themselves. Proper victims.

Guess what? The same applies to the all of non-violent protestors, they want the same thing.

Anonymous said...

I'm only 18 months into the ambulance service but I can already see the same thing happening to us.

We do the job because we love it and want to help people. End of. It should be being made easier to do that, not harder.

Angry Rozzer said...

Hang on in there mate. Been there myself so many times & funnily enough having rough time of it at the moment (long story and I won't bore you with it).
Deep breaths & a few beers is my prescription!

Cato said...

Been there and got the T-shirt so I know how you feel. Stick with it buddy, there are good days too!!

Area Trace No Search said...

The trick is to stop caring and start giggling instead.

Anytime a management memo comes from on high, pillory it.

Print it off multiple times and hand it round at parade with a serious face.
Burn the memo it is replacing in the back yard, chanting.
Stick rigidly to unenforceable rules.

Fun for all the family.

Constable said...

It's all ups and downs. Sometimes for a week or so it is the best job in the world then all the politically correct nonsense gets in the way. This makes the job harder to do. You sit on parade and snort at the latest initiative saying that you will never bend to that. Initialy you create results in order to avoid doing what triviality you were demanded to do. Then your labotomy takes over and after a few weeks you end up doing it anyway.

Just remember that in your force if it is anything like mine, if you are on the streets 24/7 there are very few people on the payroll who can do the job. The rest can do lovely powerpoint presentations about citizen focus but have not tried their belt or body armour on for many a year. Their power of arrest is firmly tied up in a dust gathering box on top of their locker, if they can remember where it is.
Don't let the bastards grind you down, one day common sense will prevail again and hopefully it will be the members of public who read these blogs that will force that to happen.

Metcountymounty said...

I think that the jobs that make all the rubbish and pointless calls worth dealing with include the really bad ones as well as the good, it's about the people we deal with that make it worth doing, even if the situation is horrible. I'm not too proud to admit that this one really did get to me, considerably more than any I can remember. The key thing is dealing with it and learning lessons to deal with the next one more effectively. Even if everything had gone how we wanted it in the typical ideal world situation, it still was one of the worst jobs we can go to involving the unexpected and sudden death of someone, especially when there are young kids involved in some way.

Blue eyes - I prefer the option of removing any right to have a Police response if someone lies about an incident to get higher up in the queue, their idea of what constitutes an emergency is usually very far from what actually is an emergency.

Auntie Jane - Like I said, it's the one job in a hundred or thousand that makes it worth it, even if I want to bitchslap a large number of the people I deal with for being selfish and putting their insignificant problems ahead of those who actually do need all of the emergency services.

Met anon - Cheers mate, although I still think that some of the pain and stress is inevitable as not all of the proper worthwhile jobs will be all peaches and cream!!

Peekok - I've never had anything against peaceful protest, I think it is the key to democracy and if a million people were to march on Parliament to make it known that the entire country wants this shower of shit of a government gone for destroying our economy and criminal justice system it would be the best thing to happen in this country for decades. The issue I've got is with those who consider it their 'right' to use violence and threats to lives and property to prove their point.

Louise - I couldn't agree more.

Angry Rozzer - Cheers, I'm a big fan of controlled breathing, and sometimes a nice couple of pints of your favourite silly juice is definitely a help.

Cato - Agreed, and that's exactly the reason go to work!!

Area - I tend to scoff in disgust most of the time and carry on how I was before the new diktat as I'm safe in the knowledge it'll all go back soon enough when the person who comes up with the bollocks gets their promotion and leaves anyway! Also going round the nick and collecting every copy of "The Sharp End" and piling them up in the bin in the yard for all to see is quite liberating.

Constable Confused - I've no doubt that there is going to be a change back to proper Policing soon. Then we can leave all of the Labour inspired social engineering shite behind and just get back to catching criminals and sending them to court and helping those we are supposed to help. The problem we're going to face is how we get there and I've also no doubt a few massive riots will happen before things swing back the other way.

Anonymous said...

I used to worry that there was something wrong with me when I felt like that and saw indifference all around. Found it a bit of a mirror moment. Made me think of those days sometimes those memories can be painful. Keep it up.

Texas talker said...

I have so much respect for what you do. Those of us who have been victims are survivors because of your efforts and the efforts of other frontline responders. The rest haven't been victims yet because of your efforts. No system is going to work perfectly, but we are depending on you, so please keep at it.

butterflywings said...

Sympathies. That must be so frustrating - the people you have to try to work with who don't care, that is. And the idiots who waste police time, too.
I feel bad for whingeing about crap days at work now.

Completely agree too on protests, peaceful protest is one thing, but we do not have the right to do anything we like in the name of a cause, however great that cause is.

mystic mog said...

Thank God for that - I had thought that in the "modern" age noe one would subscribe to the ideals that I had when I joined back in the 70s(now retired- for the second time)It was not really fashionable then either - I have always said exactly that when asked "I joined to help people" I was a village bobby - not a high flying detective or a black traffic rat- Great stuff - I know the feeling of the really "bad" jobs - We were always the ones having to break the bad news, take daddy away, etc., keep the flag flying mate
cheers mystic mog

TheBinarySurfer said...

It's good that you still care. If you find yourself not caring even on really meaty, good jobs that you should have been proud to be involved in, it might be time to consider other careers as that means something's broke inside.

And yes i fully agree - should be a "3 strikes" system or similar on it.

Call the police about total shit once, you get dirty looks from the response guys involved.

Twice = stern warning.

Third time -any call you make to any emergency service is automatically dumped to last in the q.

Note: The one exception would have to be genuine mental health patients as lets be fair, they're often not in control of their actions and while it's frustrating for a copper to have to deal with it you are often genuinely helping them even if it's only for a few minutes.

To any of the doubters on this idea: google "boy who cried wolf".

Max SPV said...

We (3) on (foot) patrol ran down the road turned up to "10 Males fighting with bottles and other weapons"


Nothing. Speak to doorstaff at the nearby Bar. Nothing. No tell tale blood on the floor. No security looking flustered, red or puffing.

Nobody looking disheveled. Can't hear any shouting or anything else. Response unit turn up and we're fed details of the informant. Three of us bundle in the back of the car and off we go. Find the informant..."oh, yeah, they threw a bottle at me, it hit me on the arm."

"Do you want to make a complaint?", "Sure, if you find them".


Bridge said...

If it's any consolation, I emigrated to one of the former colonies a while back, and the bullshit and arse-covering that goes on here makes the UK public services seem sane by comparison.

I'll give you an example - staff meeting, told that there was some bullying going on and a couple of boys had been intimidating little girls and stealing money from them, so could we keep an eye out. I asked for the names of the scrotes, as I was happy to volunteer to follow them around every spare minute I had to ensure they didn't have a chance to repeat this behaviour. Answer: can't tell you, it's against school policy, but you could look it up on the computer as it's all on there.

i.e. can't tell you what you need to know in five seconds, feel free to spend three hours looking at the record of every student in order to identify them so that I don't have to worry about going against policy.

If it wasn't against policy, I'd swear.