Along with the vast majority of my colleagues in the Met, and those from the county forces, BTP and the City, I'm absolutely shattered. It's been a long couple of weeks - thankfully with some variety - but that was mainly because we didn't have enough people or kit to fill all of the posts. As a result public order serials went short, search teams went short, vehicles were plundered and all teams but predominantly response, were decimated.
Those who were on were constantly retasked at the last minute, many came on with no idea what they'd be doing or what kit they needed because their duties had been chopped and changed so much that no one had a clue. The vast majority didn't care anyway, we just got on with it. If you have infinite resources then you can cater for most eventualities and keep a good body of personnel available for fluid and spontaneous incidents.
Not even the Met is big enough for that, especially in the current economic climate with budgets very tightly controlled in lieu of paying for plenty of back up. Standing at the forward command area at the ExCeL and seeing how much was involved from Level 3 PC's for area security through to the SFO's, helicopter crews, public order teams, search teams it was quite awe inspiring really. Christ knows how we're going to deal with the Olympics, that's going to be ten times bigger and will go on for months and not just a couple of weeks.
I've no doubt an awful lot will be arranged at the last minute and will be sorted out on the hoof, that's how we usually do it anyway.
Most officers were on extended shifts (12 hours minimum though most did 16+ each day) and when things went properly pearshaped we had no relief and were just kept on, regardless of when we were due to start the next day. On the 1st for example, most of the serials were on an 0800 start, they didn't finish until 0200 and were then due back on for 0430 - so much for a minimum of 11 hours between shifts. After spending 14 hours getting battered with bottles and poles in one of the cordons in the City we were retasked to clear and take the climate camp.
Before we cleared the camp I was walking around trying to find somewhere to sit down and the streets were littered with shattered public order teams trying to get some food and fluids, others were trying to get a couple of minutes shut eye before we went back in. When you're that knackered you don't really care that your new found pillow is a kerb covered in broken glass and debris.
Before anyone says we milked the overtime so why complain, we were all on cancelled rest days so no one had any overtime except normal time+3rd after 12 hours. After two weeks of extended shifts, no one wants the overtime anyway, we all just need sleep.
When I can get my head together and sort my very knackered legs and feet out I'll be putting some more posts up, in the mean time I'm going to enjoy the family stuff, go to the zoo and get some much needed rest. In lieu of some decent vids of some of the action, here's a brilliant vid I was told about whilst getting rained on by bottles of Becks -