Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Page Thirteen - Shed Theft (Copcast #128)

George was in an extremely good mood; on the way to work he had stopped at the Post Office to collect a package he had been waiting for from Amazon. He got changed in the locker room in record time and could hardly wait for parade to be over so that he could carry his prize into the canteen where he carefully opened the heavy cardboard packaging.

After taking a sip of his coffee to calm his nerves he lifted the rare and currently out-of-print copy of a hardback book and examined the cover, the title proclaimed boldly "How To Become A Sex God", with the subtitle "The secrets of being irresistible to women" printed in tight lettering beneath it. The image of a broadly smiling man with an impossible mop of white hair and the author's name 'Morgan Wright' dominated the remaining space on the front cover.

George held his breath as he handled the book with reverence and slowly opened the front cover to see the chapter list. He chuckled as he read:

'Chapter One - You Need An English Accent'

At that moment his reverie was interrupted by the sound of his personal radio squawking into life and the control room assigning him to report a possible shed burglary. George acknowledged the call and collected his probationer on the way to the back yard where their car was waiting for them.

On the journey to the call, George’s probationer sat nervously fidgeting wondering why his driver seemed so distracted and didn’t appear to be trying to avoid the fallen branches in their path. He had no idea that George’s mind was on the book. The previous twenty-four hours had seen some of the heaviest storms seen in that part of the country for some years and the gale-force winds had left debris everywhere including the roads.

Eventually they arrived at the address they had been sent to and George mercifully began to pay attention to his surroundings. After being met at the door by the householder they asked him to explain what had happened. They were led through the house into the rear garden where a large garden shed stood at the far end with a large pile of neatly cut timber stacked next to it. Oddly, the shed had no roof.

“It’s unbelievable” exclaimed their informant, “these animals will steal anything these days.”

“Apparently your shed has been burgled, can you tell me what happened?” asked George.

“Well, last time I checked it was a couple of days ago and everything was fine, nothing missing or anything. I came out this morning and found it stolen, gone.”

“What has actually been taken from the shed sir?” asked George.

The man looked blankly at George “Why, the roof of course, can’t you see? They’ve broken into my garden and stolen the roof off my shed, what sort of person does that? To add insult to injury the left two huge wooden panels in my garden, made a right mess it did and it took me forever to cut it all up and pile it up there”.

George stepped closer to the neat stack of timber that the man was indicating and prodded it with his boot. He looked thoughtful for a moment then turned to the caller.

“Can you tell me, was the roof constructed from tongue and groove planking with a dark grey roofing felt covering it?”

“Yes officer, how did you know?”

“It’s my professional opinion sir, that there has been no offence committed here, in fact I think this is a clear case of storm damage. All that wood that you cut and gathered up still has the roofing felt attached to it, you’ve made a very impressive stack of spare timber out of your own roof that was torn off your shed during the storms.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Page Twelve - Shoplifter (Copcast #127)

Last Wednesday George had a day of running around from job to job, until he eventually settled on taking a statement for a street robbery. Actually it was not so much George but more his shiny new probationer, who was just two weeks out of training school. After a patiently exhausting three hours of coaching and guiding his colleague in obtaining a witness statement he decided that he needed something to drink.

They were due off duty in an hour and had to pass the 24 hour supermarket on the way back to the police station, so a quick visit to the store for a much-needed orange juice seemed appropriate and in order. Here was the first schoolboy error. As they walked into the foyer a member of the security staff approached them and advised them that they had just watched, via CCTV and covert staff, two 'ne'er do wells' walk into the rest rooms with a mobile phone held aloft their heads in order to circumnavigate the store alarm system. One of them was armed with a very long screwdriver as the mobile phone was held in a security case.

With a heavy heart George told the store security people that they would wait outside, in order for the suspects to complete the offence by walking outside the store without paying for the property. He also updated control and told them where he was in case things got hairy. After about five minutes the security guard approached him and told him that the pair had left the rest rooms without the phone and were now walking about the store. A member of staff had recovered the phone.

No problem, George briefed the probationer that he would be arresting one of the pair for attempted theft, going equipped to steal and causing criminal damage to the packaging on the phone. A few minutes later, the pair walked outside where George stopped the male and his probationer spoke to the female. The male was drunk but happy to be searched, George found a pair of pliers in his pocket and a bloody great screwdriver up his sleeve. He then told the probationer to say the magic words, which he did without any problems.

Then it went a bit wrong.

George’s man decided that being handcuffed was not on his agenda. He managed to get them on after a brief bit of pushing and shoving, eventually controlling the male by the bar in the middle of the handcuffs. This led to a bout of potty mouth from the male who called George, in no particular order and with random interjected expletives: a nazi, a fascist, gay, a pig, etc.

No problem, water off a duck’s back for George who told the prisoner to behave and stop being so naughty. Unfortunately as he was doing this, the man decided that he was now embarrassed at being nicked and tried to run into the car park with George still holding on to the handcuffs. A twist of the cuffs to apply a little bit of compliance pressure and he was stopped in his tracks but then he decided to turn and run at George, head down. George jumped on him, along with another unit that had arrived so there were three police officers on top of a fighting male with the general public strolling by. They eventually got him in Velcro limb restraint straps and called up for a caged van. The male was then taken into custody, with his trousers around his ankles, handcuffed to the rear and wearing limb restraints around his knees.

In custody the prisoner calmed down and requested a cup of water. As he gave him the drink it dawned on George that about an hour previously he had gone to the store for a drink, which he still hadn’t had. After all the paperwork was done they got off about four hours late, much to the dismay of George’s wife.

Next time, George will either find the smallest corner shop in town before going off duty, or take a bloody drink with him.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Page Eleven - CID Rowing Team (Copcast #126)

It is a running joke in most nicks that the detectives in the Criminal Investigation Department or CID are not fighting the same war on crime as the wooden tops are and that they regularly try to row themselves out of taking on work. The reality is they are fighting the same battle but in different ways, the uniformed response officers deal with the here and now, running from one call to the next while the detectives handle everything that needs more in depth investigation and usually have a huge heap of outstanding cases to cope with.

Last week however George had a run in with CID. It wasn't pleasant and left him feeling a little heavy in heart and disillusioned with his colleagues in suits.

He attended a street robbery where a 78 year old woman was standing at a bus stop when a young lad grabbed her handbag off her shoulder. The old girl was made of stern stuff and tried to pull it back so the young lad then had to fight for the handbag. He tugged, she fell, he ran. The thief was grabbed by a member of the public who had witnessed the incident, but he got away after assaulting the good samaritan.

A robbery in the UK is defined as a theft where force was used or threatened against anyone at the time of the theft and in order to carry out the theft, but not just to escape.

After a search of the area was carried out the suspect was picked up by another unit while George took care of the victim who was suffering from a sore and swollen knee and thumb. He took her home since it was nearby and organised for an ambulance crew to see her and they in turn took her to hospital to check out the possible fractures. While they waited for the ambulance to arrive George had taken details of the incident and got the lady's statement along with some initial photos of her injuries. He also made sure by radio that CID knew about the robbery.

Back at the police station the evidence was added to the prisoner handover package for CID then just as he was going off duty a detective approached him in the locker room.

"Are you sure this is a robbery?" asked the detective, "Yes. Force was used to steal the bag" replied George.

"Was the force used on the bag strap or victim?"

The conversation continued as a heated argument over the definition of robbery and whether this case should be investigated by CID as a robbery or by uniform as a theft. The grey area was whether the thief had used force to snatch the bag or if he had used it against the victim to make her release the bag. The detective also complained that a number of initial enquiries at the scene hadn't been carried out by the uniformed officers and that the victim's statement wasn't very good, to which George retorted that he had advised them at the time, by radio, which they are supposed to monitor constantly and they could easily have aranged those things without leaving their office.

George left for home, very angry, he felt CID were trying to duck out of investigating a case that warranted their attention, just because they were already overburdened with work.

The following day George's skipper called him into his office and he guessed he was going to be 're-educated'. To George's surprise he wasn't, the skipper agreed with the sentiment but not the way he had spoken to CID and reminded him that they are under a huge amount of pressure themselves even if it doesn't involve tearing about answering calls day after day. He was warned to have more respect and not to let his emotions get the better of him. George grinned and took it on the chin, suspecting that the suits and lids will never see eye to eye.

The suspect was bailed for further enquiries and there is a chance he will be charged with robbery when he returns in a month's time while the victim is recovering at home with bruising but no fractures. So all in all a good job in the end … right?

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Page Ten - Sister and the Fighting Drunk (Copcast #125)

George was listening to the latest episode of Copcast and chuckling at Morgan's valiant attempt at an english accent, that had somehow morphed into australian, when his Night Duty refs break was interupted by a call on his radio.

“Units to attend the Accident and Emergency department at the hospital, patients fighting with members of staff, graded I India”

George and his operator, along with their whole team, were already in the back yard looking for their cars before the message was halfway through. George, like most officers in the UK, was taught very early in his training that hospital staff are among his best friends, they support and protect you but they are non-combatants and you should protect them and treat them with respect. Upset a nurse and your life is likely to become very miserable one day when either you need their assistance with an injured witness or prisoner or worse still if you're hurt and need their care.

George had a particularly close friendship with one of the A&E Sisters who he knew was on duty that night and worse, despite being only a petite 5'2” she was most likely in the thick of the action. Needless to say he was first on scene and his operator had white knuckles from holding the FM handle so tightly.

They ran in to the hospital to find a large group of people milling around in the corridor and pushing their way through found, as George had feared, the diminutive nurse with her hair somewhat messed, sitting on the back of very beligerant and apparently drunk male in his twenties, who was sprawled out on the floor, restraining him. George tried hard to surpress a grin as he asked, “Sister, could you possibly explain why you are using this poor man as a seat?”

Sister explained that the male in question had been brought in by his mother after he had been out drinking to celebrate getting out of prison. Apparently he had been so much the worse for wear that he fell and split his scalp, which explained the large amount of blood on the floor. While he was waiting to be treated the young man had got into an argument with his mother and ended up holding her by the throat against a wall and beating her head against it. At this point Sister had intervened and by all accounts a most impressive roll-around had ensued with Sister winning.

Sister just wanted the male treated and out of her department so George agreed to assist her while she sutured his impressive scalp wound which was bleeding profusely. During the procedure George noticed that Sister seemed to have forgotten to anaethsetise the patient before she began stitching, when he mentioned this she smiled slightly and said “Don't you think he's got enough anaesthetic inside him already and besides he needs to learn not to attack medical staff, we're here to help people and not to become part of their fight. Don't worry, he really can't feel this at all and it could be dangerous to add anaestheatic to his ethenolic state”.

Eventually the man was sutured and ready to leave, he woke up the next morning with a thumping hangover in a police cell with the news that he was being charged with several offences including assaulting his mother and the nurse and would be going directly to court that morning. It seems his celebrations at being released from custody were a little premature after all.

George's opinion of medical staff, especially nurses, went up yet another notch that night; they may well be non-combatants but you really do not want to mess with one of them.

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