So, I'm not quite back. I've been thinking for quite some time about writing again, an awful lot has happened since my last post over 5 years ago. Firstly, I finally left the Met, best decision I've ever made to be honest. I was enjoying how my career plans were going right up until the Olympics, I made some friends for life and managed to get on some really awesome jobs, nearly getting killed in Brixton during the August 2011 riots with a scaffolding pole round the head wasn't one of them however.
My wife and I had started deciding on an exit strategy which was ultimately going to get me out of the job, as I had lost my taste for most aspects of it completely, the main trigger for me was the riots. Not what happened during, it was afterwards with the media and the constant slagging off from the public. The scummy rioters I could handle, that was the job. Being slagged off by thousands upon thousands of people who days earlier were cowering under their beds while we literally battled to stop people burning entire estates to the ground.... fuck me, that was something else. The fact that no police officers were killed was a direct result of the awesome green angels in the LAS, not the level of violence we faced - many people have been medically binned or have quit as a result of injuries they sustained, and their treatment by the job after. I was involved in a rescue of a female officer who got abducted into a crowd during a baton charge, they only stopped stamping on her head and legs after her leg broke and they realised the screams were from a female.
Then there was being treated like crap during the Olympics working 20 hour shifts for 3 months and having to get whatever sleep we could in vans, rat infested police stations, underground car parks etc... Post Olympics it was carnage, the Met introduction of the Local Policing Model destroyed literally thousands of careers, many like me were put back to square one, and that for me was the last straw.
When I first joined up it was the one job in a hundred which made the rest of it worth it, towards the end it was closer to one job in a thousand, if that. The job politics, the bullshit with the government, the most anti-police Home Secretary that the country has ever seen, the media.... it all just became too much and I decided that was me done.
The retraining had one very specific goal - to emigrate. I'd done a lot of specialist ops in the counter terrorism side of things in the years up to and over the Olympics and Jubilee. I really enjoyed the planning and ops development, so became a certified Project Manager and Risk Manager, along with another degree to boot! We'd been saying for years that we were going to try and get out of the UK, we've both travelled a lot and agreed a long time ago that the UK wasn't where we wanted to raise our family. We planned initially on Canada for purely ease of travel from the UK for family and then Australia or New Zealand, we had no idea really, somewhere else. Anywhere else.
The plan was afoot and well underway, the job went to rat shit at every possible turn, I'd had 6 different shift patterns in a year, three different teams, been shafted by people who never had the courtesy to even meet me first, effectively putting my career plans back 5 years. Were it not for the plans already in place I would have jacked it in, I was on a low, probably the lowest I've been for a very long time despite the exit strategy.
But then opportunity ever so gently tapped a little finger on the door.
The glimmer of hope eventually became a blinding glare, and 18 months later I'm writing this post from our little house on the beach in sunny Australia!
Without a shadow of a doubt the last 18 months have been the hardest of our lives, the three of us have moved half way round the world, leaving friends and family back in the UK. We've made some great friends here who have gone through the same incredibly stressful process, the application and training has given me a new reinvigorated love for the job. Same job, different post code, but you'd be amazed how much of a difference it makes not being slagged off every ten seconds from literally every direction, bosses, politicians, media and the public alike. Oh, and being paid 100% more with the same monthly outgoings is pretty nice too!
I don't know how much I will be writing, it certainly won't be as much as I did before but I have got a few stories to tell. Quite possibly one of the most horrific jobs I ever dealt with happened in my last few shifts before I left the Met, thankfully the fucker has been found guilty and at this point is awaiting sentencing for 3x attempted murders.
I've been through the mill and I'm glad to say I've managed to make it out the other side intact, well mostly. Things are good, job is going well and I'm looking forward to another summer with no rain for 100 odd days.... beats walking around London in the pissing rain at any rate!! To my many friends still working on their own exit plans I wish the best of luck, to those of you who supported us despite an almost relentless onslaught I thank you, truly from the bottom of my heart.
We can't do this job without you, we may be miserable, grumpy, people-hating, anti-social bastards, but we'll give everything we can to try and help you. I honestly hope you never have to experience some of the things that I have seen, but I could not be more proud of the tenacity and devotion that my colleagues and I would give every day. It takes something else to lay down in a pool of someone else's blood, to hold their hand and tell them that you will stay with them no matter what, knowing all too well that your voice could be the last thing they hear.
Please look after my friends, they need you as much as you need them.