Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Page Twenty Six - Cat Minge (Copcast #141)

George and his old mate Mark were posted as the Early Turn van crew and as even more of a rarity George was posted as the operator and not the driver. The banter between the two was usually fairly predictable, Mark would be baiting George over his stocky build and George in return usually found some way to mock Mark's bald and shaved head.

The two friends had been working on the the same team together for years but didn't often get a chance to work together and the supersticious among their team-mates preferred things that way. You see, George and Mark had a reputation for being grief-magnets, that is to say when they worked together then the shift was not going to go well and somewhere along the way the wheel was going to come off.

Fairly soon after parade and that all-important first coffee of the shift, it seemed as if the worst might come true. The first call the van was assigned to was a sudden death. Never the most pleasant of taksings to be given, it became evident immediately after their arrival that this was going to be even less pleasant than normal.

The recently deceased turned out to be the the local cat-lady and they had been called by her 44 year old son who had found her when he came to see her for his weekly visit. Every town has a cat-lady and this one followed all the stereotypes faithfully. Her house was over run by around twenty-five cats, all of whom appeared to be shedding fur with abandon and none of whom appeared to ever leave the house for any reason, especially to use the toilet. The house was filthy, there were unwashed dishes all over the kitchen and the whole place reeked of stale cat urine.

The cats themselves were undernourished, dishevelled and neurotic, there didn't seem to be a single healthy specimen among them and they somehow managed to be everywhere at once. They were sprawled over shelves and tables, seats and cushions and particularly on every space on the floor where either George or Mark tried to set foot.

While they made arrangements for the coroner and the undertaker to attend and deal with the body of the old lady, Mark made sure that the RSPCA (the main UK animal welfare organisation) was informed. Within the hour a lady RSPCA Inspector turned up to attend to the cats. She identified one that had the worst open wounds and decided that that one was her priority and removed it from Cat City. Mark almost ran out of the with with her then returned to the van where George was waiting and desperately gulping some fresh air into his lungs.

“How many is she taking?” asked George.
“Just one for now. She’ll be sorting the rest tomorrow. She’s worried about that one. It’s got open wounds and minge,” said Mark.
“Minge?” queried George.
“Yeah! A skin disease that animals get,” Mark confirmed.
“You mean mange, you fool” said George.
“Oh yeah,” said Mark, “I wondered why she was looking at me a bit funny when I started going on about minge.”
“You might get away with that Mark,” said George, “so long as you called them cats and not pussies.”

Eventually they both returned to the police station, scratching themselves vigorously. Whether it was because they had attracted cats fleas through their prolonged contact to that house filled with mange ridden cats or whether it was just the thought of the fleas they did not know, but Inspector Brigstock was on hand to give advice to the pair on how to eradicate cat fleas.

While he was doing so, Mark was scratching the top of his shining and smoothly shaved scalp. It was then that Mr Brigstock pointed out that fleas lived in hairy or furry places and not on bare, hairless skin.

“But Guv!” cried George, “Mark’s ones are wearing ice skates. Look!”

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Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Page Twenty Five - Trojan Alarm (Copcast Episode 140)

The Area Car Mike 1 and a response car Mike 21 crewed by George and his latest probationer had taken a call to a Personal Attack Alarm that had been set off at a house in a large suburban residential area. As the two cars flew through early evening traffic with blue lights flashing and their sirens playing different tunes to each other, so that other drivers would realise there were two cars running, not just one, the crews were receiving updates.

One such update sent chills through both crews, the address was a listed Operation Trident location, the occupants were somehow at risk from attackers with firearms, A Trojan Armed Response Unit was already tasked and running to join them as were the Duty Officer, Inspector Brigstock and a skipper to act as scene controller.

The Area Car and Response Cars arrived on scene having run silent for the last quarter of a mile and the crews deployed to create a discrete cordon and to keep the house under observation without being seen. After a few minutes, during which George had realised he was watching the wrong house and finally crawled into a position to see the right one, the Trojans arrived followed soon after by the inspector and sergeant along with a dog van and a couple of other Response Cars.

At the rendezvous point Inspector Brigstock eyed the unusually all-female Trojan team as they swaggered over toward him, “I take it you're armed then?” he muttered. It was the turn of the armed response officers to look at the Duty Officer in less enthusiastically, although to their credit they refrained from voicing an answer.

After a swift briefing during which they were filled in with the latest intelligence on the address that the Control Room had managed to gather together for them, everyone was deployed. A Trojan assisted by a pair of local officers were able to get into the back garden unseen and cover the rear of the house while the remainder gathered at the front door. The area was kept secure with road closures out of sight of the house.

Eventually everyone was in place and ready, the front door was opened with the aid of the Enforcer Ram and the entry team flooded through the door, securing each room as they went, quickly reaching the kitchen where they found … two CID Detectives sitting at the table with the occupier enjoying a nice cup of tea.

Apparently the Personal Attack Alarm had been playing up and the two detectives had come down to check it, not realising they had set it off during their fiddling. The guv'nor launched into a lecture about the use of Personal Radios and the value of actually turning them on so that their users could be aware of what was happening around them in the outside world and possibly even preventing situations like this one. After which everyone, including George trooped back out of the house for a debrief back at the station.

Sadly the day's catalogue of disasters was not yet complete for George, as the queue of officers returning to their cars turned the corner of the house, most of them noticed the enormous puddle in the road beside the kerb left by the previous night's rain. George didn't. Caught in his own little world for a moment he failed to notice the car that drove through the deepest part of the puddle just as he walked past it. He did not miss the curtain of water that the car created, nor did the water miss him.

George stood stunned, drenched literally from head to foot while his colleagues including Inspector Brigstock gathered around him. Standing in a spreading pool of water he turned to his guv'nor with arms stretched wide, seemingly trying to invoke some kind of divine intervention and cried, “I don’t believe it!”

It took several minutes for Mr Brigstock to stagger to his car, despite the assistance of his Sergeant. The two were laughing so hard they actually looked like a pair of drunks on their way home from an evening of drunken revelry. In fact it was several minutes before either of them were able to stop laughing long enough for the tears in their eyes to clear and allow them to drive from the scene.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Page Twenty Four - Gentleman Bikers (Copcast #139)

George had a new operator in the car with him and they were halfway through an extremely uneventful Night Duty, so much so that George was having difficulty keeping his eyes open and his eyelids felt like they were made of lead. What he desperately needed was something to concentrate on that would focus his mind. Just then the answer to his prayers appeared in front of him.

As he drove across a deserted flyover he noticed a solo motorcycle ahead of him and as he slowly gained on it he saw that the rider appeared to be having difficulty in keeping his machine travelling in a straight line. Even closer now he realised that there was a pillion on the bike and that this was the cause of its instability, the pillion's legs were flapping on either side of the rider.

George lit the blue strobes and alternately flashing headlights on his patrol car indicating to the motorcyclist that they should pull over and stop, the flickering blue light bouncing off all the buildings nearby rapidly had the rider's attention and the bike soon stopped. George and his operator emerged from the car and approached the bike rider and the passenger. They were two gentlemen, the pillion apparently inexperienced in the arcane arts of remaining on the back of an inherently unstable machine.

George spoke to the pillion passenger while his operator led the rider a few paces away, positioning the two so that they faced away from each other while George and his colleague could maintain eye contact. While he ran some checks on the two men and their motorcycle, his operator was able to ascertain that they had travelled a few hundred miles from the north of England in search of the rider's ex-boyfriend who lived somewhere to the south of where they had been stopped. The length of the journey and the condition of the bike, a very battered old Kawasaki GT550, reminded him of a line from Star Wars, when Princess Leia caught her first glimpse of the Millennium Falcon, “You came in that? You're braver than I thought”.

Completely unaware of this conversation and satisfied that his checks had revealed nothing untoward about the two motorcyclists, George stepped over to the rider and said “Because of the way you were riding I think you may have been drinking and because we’ve had to stop you, I’m going to ask you to take a breath test. Have you ever blown before?”

The rider, who had been quite taken with George, trying to watch him over his shoulder throughout the stop with an expression something akin to adoration, brightened up and smiled. “Oh yes! Once or twice.”

George still didn’t realise what he had said and looked a little confused but continued anyway. “Okay, I want you to take a deep breath and put you lips round this for me then give me a good long blow until I say stop”.

“With pleasure …” breathed the rider, his previous mission now apparently completely forgotten.

As George held the ESD, and Electronic Screening Device or roadside breath test, for the man to blow into, the man placed his hands around George's, cupping them. The expression on George's face made it evident to his smirking operator that he was beginning to understand parts of the situation that he had thus far been unaware of. The crimson blush that rose from his collar to colour his cheeks seemed to aggravate the pillion who stood to one side with a decidedly sulky expression across his face.

The breath test was negative and the two bike riders were wished safely on their way, then George and his operator returned to their car. George sat silently looking out of the windscreen at the motorcycle's tail-light as it disappeared into the distance. Finally he started the car, set it in gear and without turning said, “I don’t want to hear about this ever again,” before releasing the clutch and driving off.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Page Twenty Three - Compost Bin Arrested (Copcast #138)

It was a busy Late Turn and George eventually found time to get to the canteen for a sandwich and a cup of tea. If he was honest he would have had to admit that he was having trouble getting back into the swing of things after just getting back from a two week holiday with the family. He was only partially paying attention to the paperwork he was working through and kept finding himself looking up to the TV screen.

They were showing a comedy film called Wild Hogs and just then the character played by William H Macy in cycling shorts was sitting in Starbucks talking to his Apple computer which was pretty much ignoring him. For some reason the scene brought an image of Morgan to his mind causing him to laugh aloud. He suddenly stopped when he looked around and realised that everyone else in the canteen had stopped talking and was staring at him.

His blushes were saved at that moment when a call was broadcast on their personal radios “Any unit to assist please, suspects on premises now” followed by an address only a few minutes from the police station. Almost as one, everyone in the canteen wearing a uniform stood and ran toward the doors, fighting over each other to be heard on the radio and assigned to the call.

As George reached the yard he saw four cars ahead of him making for the rear gates, he shook his head and told himself he needed to get with it. As he drove to the call he and his operator listened to updates from the units that had reached the scene ahead of them. Two suspects wearing dark hooded tops had been seen running away from a house that they had apparently been disturbed while breaking into. They're wearing hoodies thought George, they must be up to no good. One of the suspects had been found and caught but he wasn't saying anything about where his accomplace was.

It was already dark and the search wasn't going well, too many police boots had trampled the ground in their enthusiasm to find the outstanding offender and so the two dog units that had turned up were finding no useful tracks anywhere. The Control Room decided they needed the Air Support Unit and were able to assign India 99 to assist the search. The officers on the ground pulled back and established a cordon around several streets in the neighbourhood hoping their quary was still inside it.

After a few more minutes the helicopter was overhead and circling the area. George had spent some time with the ASU a while back and he knew they were now establishing the search area and systematically guiding an Infra-Red TV camera over it in a grid pattern. To the officers on the ground it seemed to take an age before the India 99 called them on the radio and asked for the two officers stood together between two patrol cars to identify themselves. Everyone looked around but it was George that realised they meant him and his operator so he immediately waved.

“Turn to your left and walk forward” directed the operator on India 99, we've detected a strong heat source in a garden near you”. George did as he was told, he and his operator followed directions that took them over a six foot fence and through a dense hedge. Eventually they were in a large back garden looking across a moonlit lawn toward thick bushes around a pair of trees.

“The heat source is behind the two trees ahead of you, good luck”. George and his operator looked at each other and grinned, George signalled they should split up and approach from opposite sides. As the sounds of their colleagues making their way to join them filled his ears, George made his way slowly round the bushes toward the trees, careful to make as little noise as possible.

“You are directly in front of the heat source now,” called India 99. George saw a dark shape in front of him and his operator beyond. “You're mine me old mate” shouted George as he threw himself at the dark shape before his operator could get his hands on it. He managed an almost perfect tackle, striking low with his shoulder as he flung his arms around his target … which didn't move.

In the light of the torches being held by his colleagues who had now joined him to help with his prisoner, George was finally able to see that he had arrested a compost bin.