Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Page Eighteen - Musical Cars (Copcast #133)

The call was a central station intruder alarm and the venue was unusually a church in deepest Kenton. On scene were Mike 21 a Ford Focus response car, Mike 2 a Ford Transit sation van driven by George, November 2 the second Ford Transit station van and Mike 1 a Vauxhall Astra driven by the Duty Inspector. All in all a good turnout and an impressive array of white vehicles with blue and yellow stripes along their sides, all of them casting an eery blue flickering light over the scene.

The uniformed officers clambered over walls and railings and set up cordons searching for intruders and ensuring no one would escape them.

When the building was eventually found to be apparently secure and unoccupied, the Dutty Officer decided to check out the key holder. Given the distances involved in affluent Kenton, the Inspector leaped into his Astra and zoomed off … the 100 meters to the key holder’s home. Getting no answer there he moved on next door to the home of the second key holder.

Being unsuccessful there as well, he returned to the church, in his car, to where the other three crews were doubled up in hysterics. Struggling to stifle his giggles and at least show some pretence of respect for his senior officer, George asked “Was it far to the second key holder sir?”

“Er what do you mean Saint?” replied the Inspector.
“We were just wondering how far you had to drive there sir.”
“What are you trying to suggest Saint?” demanded Inspector Brigstock.
“Oh er, nothing sir,” said George pointing toward his friend as he edged past Mr Brigstock towards his waiting van. “It’s not me sir, it’s Andy there. He’s already got his pen out writing notes, not sure what for though. 'Bye sir.”

George ran off down the path followed by his probationer.

“Right Smith, come here” said the Inspector to Andy. “I don’t want to hear about this on Copcast or any other form of media, digital or otherwise, including that newsletter of yours. Do you understand? If I do, there will be a piece of Kenton that will be forever you, clear?” said Mr Brigstock, looking pointedly toward the graveyard as if to underline his meaning.

Andy Smith ran as quick as he could to his car. Chris meanwhile had clambered into his van along with his operator. As George passed the van he opened the door and said, “Are you sure you’ve got the right one this time?” He was referring to an earlier call that night when Chris had climbed into George's van by mistake and become somewhat confused and concerned when his key didn't work in the ignition.

“Oh ha ha, are you ever going to let that drop?” replied Chris.

Just then Mr Brigstock strolled past as he walked toward the response car. “Bloody idiots, can’t you even find your own vehicles?” he muttered as he opened the door of the Ford Focus and climbed into the driver's seat. George watched from the driver's seat of his van as the Duty Officer tried to get his key into the ignition.

“Er sir, I think you’ll find that your car is the Astra that's behind our van. That one is Mike 21 and Andy’s been driving it all night so far” Mr Brigstock glared at George as he climbed back out of the car and stalked back to his Astra, growling “I knew that George, thank you.”

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Page Seventeen - US Letter (Copcast #132)

George was flipping through the pages of a magazine a colleague had brought back from the US when a full page advert caught his eye, it was titled “Bathroom and Plumbing Services” and claimed to be everything you needed for the perfect bathrooom. The advert went on to explain that their craftsmen had years of experience and even knew all the rules of plumbing including hot on the left, cold on the right and shit flows down hill. At the bottom of the page was the banner “So don't delay, call Rich Schumaker now for all your plumbing needs”.

As he turned to the next page George found himself reading a letter that had him quickly engrossed, it was titled “The Police” and said:

Well, Mr. Citizen, it seems you've figured me out. I seem to fit neatly into the category where you've placed me. I'm stereotyped, standardized, characterized, classified, grouped, and always typical. Unfortunately, the reverse is true of you; I can never figure you out. From birth you teach your children that I'm the bogeyman, then you're shocked when they identify with my traditional enemy … the criminal!

You accuse me of coddling criminals ... until I catch your kids doing wrong. You may take an hour for lunch and several coffee breaks each day, but point me out as a loafer for having one cup. You pride yourself on your manners, but think nothing of disrupting my meals with your troubles.

You raise hell with the guy who cuts you off in traffic, but let me catch you doing the same thing and I'm picking on you. You know all the traffic laws … but you've never gotten a single ticket you deserve. You shout "foul" if you observe me driving fast to a call, but raise the roof if I take more than ten seconds to respond to your complaint.

You call it part of my job if someone strikes me, but call it police brutality if I strike back.

You wouldn't think of telling your dentist how to pull a tooth or your doctor how to take out an appendix, yet you are always willing to give me pointers on the law. You talk to me in a manner that would get you a bloody nose from anyone else, but expect me to take it without batting an eye. You yell something's got to be done to fight crime, but you can't be bothered to get involved.

You have no use for me at all, but of course it's OK if I change a flat for your wife, deliver your child in the back of the patrol car, or perhaps save your son's life with mouth to mouth breathing, or work many hours overtime looking for your lost daughter.

So, Mr. Citizen, you can stand there on your soapbox and rant and rave about the way I do my work, calling me every name in the book, but never stop to think that your property, family, or maybe even your life depends on me or one of my buddies.

Yes, Mr. Citizen, it's me … the lousy cop!

What caught George's attention most of all was the caption beneath the letter, it said:

The author of this article was claimed to be Trooper Mitchell Brown of the Virginia State Police who was alleged to have died in the line of duty two months after writing the article. It was later claimed however to be a fake but we agree so strongly with the sentiments it contains that we have reprinted it here as a salute to the millions of men and women police officers who put their lives on the line for us everyday.

George sat a moment staring at the page before grabbing a pair of scissors and neatly clipping the letter and the caption from the page then stepping over to the noticeboard and carefully pinning the article in a clear space near the middle.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Page Sixteen - Early Turn Battering (Copcast #131)

It was 7am and Parade had just finished, George was in the canteen. He was just sitting down for a quick coffee with his partner for the day Bob, before they went out and lamenting how boring Early Turns can be, especially midweek. The Control Room called on their radios and asked for a crew to answer an emergency call to a suspicious male in the street apparently following a paperboy. The informant had described the male as being very tall and well built wearing a long dark coat with a big chunk of wood underneath it.

George called back and said they'd go. As he got up he told Bob he could relax on the ride out there because he knew exactly where they were going. The taffic was light and George made good time and only needed blue lights to get to the scene within a very few minutes. As they approached, Bob said “Well I'm blowed, there he is exactly as he was described. I don't like the look of him George, drop me here and drive past so you can come up behind him on foot, all 'Contact and Cover' like”.

George agreed and slowed to drop Bob off thinking to himself 'just like the book says, one from the front and the cover from the other side to keep the subject off guard'. As he pulled up and climbed out of the car he called the Control Room to tell them they were on scene. He could see Bob with one hand out in front of him toward the big guy and heard him call out “Whoa fella, stop right there for me. You match the description of someone I've been told about who has a big lump of wood under his coat so I need you to drop anything you're holding and open your coat."

George approached slowly and quietly and could easily see the big lump of concrete that dropped at the suspect's feet, the hairs on the back of his neck bristled. Bob suddenly shouted “Drop the wood or I'll spray you, this is CS, drop it now”. “Oh dear” said George as he drew and extended his Asp baton with one hand while grabbing the radio with the other hand and calling “567, more units on the hurry-up” at the same time that Bob sprayed the suspect dead centre of the chest just below the throat. 'Good shot' thought George, 'looks like he emptied the canister on that one' and waited for the big man to drop.

He didn't. George shouted at the top of his voice and ran at the man who was now advancing on Bob trying to wrap a big lump of wood around his head. George whacked the man's leg with all his strength behind the Asp but rather than crash to the ground the man swung the wood at George's head and connected across his forehead. George now realised there were two men and they both attacking both Bobs, worse still he couldn't breathe. He'd got so close to the assailant that he was now suffering CS contamination.

At this point everything turned into a free-for-all, George is not a small lad and Bob's about the same size but at one point George realised he was fighting alone because while he'd been whacking seven bells out of every available inch of the guy, he'd managed to toss Bob over a garden fence. Then Bob was back and all three of them were rolling over the bonnet of a parked car. At some point a valient member of the public leapt into the fight to help Bob and George but by that time neither of them could see anything because of the CS. By the time the rest of their team arrived they were completely blind and struggling to breathe, unlike their suspect.

By all accounts it only took their colleagues a couple of minutes to reach them and the big guy was buried under a heap of uniforms, but it felt like an eternity to George and he was sure he had been fighting for his life. Apparently a couple of the drivers managed previously unheard of speeds in their efforts to save them and both Bob and George were eternally grateful. The two lads were dragged off to hospital and seen by Sister who treated them for CS contamination. As the effects of he CS began to wear off it was clear that George was still seeing double and was decidedly unsteady on his feet.

During the next few days at home recovering from concussion, George was able to reflect on the episode and realised he was as guilty as everyone else in taking things for granted. Early Turn in the middle of the week can be just as hairy as any other time and more importantly, it doesn't matter what weapons and equipment you carry, sometimes it just isn't going to be enough.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Page Fifteen - More Fencing (Copcast #130)

The Early Turn crew of Mike 21, the response car, was George and Tone; who had put on a uniform to help the response team to put out enough crews that morning. You may remember Tone from a few pages back in George's Pocketbook, he fell foul of a garden fence while out hunting burglars on a covert posting with George. To be truthful Tone was a little reluctant when he was posted as George's partner for the day after his last experience of working with him, but he shrugged and got in the car without a word.

Patrolling along a quiet residential backstreet their peaceful drive was suddenly interupted when a young man wearing a hoodie appeared from the alley between a pair of houses and stared at the patrol car with an expression somethwhat like a rabbit caught in a pair of headlights. Just as suddenly the man was gone, running back into the alley.

George and Tone looked at each other and without a word both burst out of the car, George remembering to take the key and lock it while Tone called for more units on his radio. The two lumbered after the fleeing suspect without a clue what he may have done wrong but intent on finding out all the same.

Other members of the team were arriving and spreading out in the search leaving George and Tone to recover their breath and make their way along a little alleyway where they managed get on top of a garden fence to give themselves a lovely bit of 'eyeball' over the gardens. The new arrivals were progressively searching the gardens to flush the little tinker out into the arms of officers waiting at the other end of the gardens. George and Tone rejoined the hunt but unfortunately Tone was by now panting for breath and sweating profusely and some of those fences were more than three feet high.

With the grace of a distressed giraffe, Tone climbed onto a garden table which was sadly not built like a climbing frame and was promptly transformed into a pile of timber. Fortunately one of their colleagues managed to reassemble the table as Tone and George clambered over the protesting fence. One table down and several fences later the suspect was spotted. Tone by now was determined to lay hands on the culprit that had caused him so much distress and was almost salivating at the prospect of arresting the elusive prey.

Seeing the hooded figure over the fence in the next garden, Tone demanded he stop and put his hands on top of the fence where he finally applied his handcuffs and told the man he was under arrest on suspicion of … erm, oh burglary will do. George was watching Tone with an amused expression on his face as he cautioned his prisoner and then it dawned on Tone; his handcuffed prisoner was on the other side of the fence to where Tone was standing holding the cuffs, how were they going to get on the same side of the fence as each other?

Luckily for Tone, the rest of the team began to gather and after searching the garden where the prisoner was standing with his arms on top of the fence, they recovered a small bag of stolen items that were later traced back to a house that Tone's prisoner had just burgled. With the help of the team, Tone and his prisoner were escorted round to the front of the houses and reunited, George drove the pair back to the police station where Tone took great delight in booking his burglar into custody.

George meanwhile had dragged the duty officer, Inspector Brigstock into the custody office so that he could authorise a Section 18 search of the prisoner's home.

“What do we have here then?” Asked Mr Brigstock as he watched the prisoner's property being listed.

“Oh, those are sim-cards from mobile phones sir” replied George.

Mr Brigstock turned and glared at George, “Officer Saint, I have had occasion to warn you before, please be reminded that I am not a complete technophobe”, he blasted. “I know about computers and the internets and I am aware of what a mobile phone is”.

Turning to the custody officer, Inspector Brigstock demanded “Did you know these were sim-cards used in mobile phones, sergeant?”

“Erm, yes sir” replied the custody officer as he looked up from his papers, “but only because prisoners have brought them in with them from time to time.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Page Fourteen - Ninja Reflexes (Copcast #129)

George aches today. He’s just crawled out of bed to discover his legs don't want to work and that pretty much everything from the neck down is running about 30 seconds behind. Why?

Well, yesterday they were tasked to implement the summer drink-driving campaign. It’s the same every year; the summer months mean increased alcohol consumption earlier in the day and therefore more chances for the police to catch the scourge of UK roads, the drink-driver.

In the UK police have the power to stop any moving vehicle to check the driver’s driving documents and the drink drive campaign is used to get the message over to anyone who is stopped. For the most part, drivers welcome this small inconvenience but there are the odd few that take a real exception to getting stopped. In George's experience these are the ones who normally have something to hide.

After about three hours stopping vehicles, George decided to go a little further afield. All of the drivers he had stopped so far had been receptive to the campaign. Those with minor traffic violations (brake lights not working, no seat belts) were given tickets and breathalysed. No drink drivers here, so he went deeper into the countryside.

It didn't take him long; his attention was drawn to a sports coupe clearly not keeping to the speed limit in the country lanes. George made ground on it, it was pushing 55 in a 30 but he was struggling to keep it in view. Then a tractor pulled out and the car had to slow down, George caught up with it and pulled it over. He could not get past the tractor so had no choice.

You can tell a lot from how someone gets out of a car. Their stance and their attitude give a lot of information. George’s personal radar was on full and he could sense that he was going to have his hands full. Fortunately he was not alone, his probationer was fired up and could sense the same. He seemed to pick up on George’s wariness as they approached the driver. As it turned out, a fat lot of good that did.

"Hello sir, do you know why we’ve stopped you?” George asked.

"Um, I think I was going a little fast around that last bend officer" he replied.

The driver was leaning against his car, he was a little unsteady on his feet, his speech was slurred and his eyes were glazed. ‘Bingo’, George thought.

"Okay, this is how it is. I suspect you have been drinking so I require you to provide a specimen of breath,” he instructed.

The driver complied, the test was performed and the result was negative. George stared blankly at the readout, which displayed zero. 'Drugs' he thought. As he was thinking this, the driver pushed his colleague who was caught unawares and fell on his ass. George tried to grab the driver but he turned and ran towards the field next to them. Cursing his slow reactions he gave chase, shouting for the man to stop. He didn't and kept running leaping over a hedgerow into the next field. The field was uneven and George was blowing like a steam engine, the going was tough and he could hear his probationer calling up for assistance but he didn't know the name of the road where they had stopped the car. Then George had a stroke of luck, the driver slipped and hit the dirt, as he struggled to get to his feet George launched himself at him.

Being an ex-rugby player (a tight head prop) he tackled him midriff and heard the air expel from the driver and there was a satisfying crunch. 230 lbs of equipment-laden copper was now on top of the man who had now started to cry. The driver made a last effort to fight George off, but by now his colleague had caught up and they cuffed him, arresting him for failing to stop and on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs.

A search of the prisoner revealed three wraps of crack, so he was nicked for possession and a subsequent search of the car revealed a set of 'knun chucks' under the passenger seat, so he was nicked for that too. Add resisting arrest and he had a full house. The driver cried all the way back to the police station, apparently he was worried about what his 3 year old would think of him in years to come.