Wednesday, 17 September 2014
Page Thirty Eight - Watching the Detectives (Copcast #153)
George thought to himself “If I were ever to write this as a story, no one would believe me. They’d say I made it up”.
The day had started so well, his team was in early and was all in plain clothes and the covert radios were all working, that in itself was a minor miracle. The unmarked cars had all been arranged and parked in the yard and the battered old plumber’s van with the dark windows was out in the street. George had given the briefing, grateful that one of his team mates was so handy with Powerpoint and it had been so complete there hadn’t been any questions. Everyone knew what they were supposed to do and where they were going to do it.
The mission was actually fairly simple, Billy the burglar had been released from prison two weeks earlier and since then wouldn’t you know it, burglaries had sprung up all over the area. An operation had been planned and authority for Directed Surveillance had been authorised without any hesitation at all, another minor miracle. All they had to do was to plot up around Billy’s home covering every likely route out and, as soon as he emerged, follow him. As soon as he did something naughty like climb up a drainpipe of a house that wasn’t his, the team would be all over him and he’d be arrested for an attempted burglary. If all went well he’d also put his hands up to most of the recent spate of break-ins as well and George’s team would be able to add a list of Clear-Ups to their tally.
All that would remain would be to agree on a suitable venue for the medal presentation ceremonies.
Even though it was still early, the sun hadn’t even begun to lighten the horizon, George and the team were in good spirits. The unmarked vehicles were crewed and driven away in ones and twos then finally the rusty old plumber’s van lumbered off with George at the wheel. As everyone called in one after the other to say they were in position, George turned the heavy van into Billy’s street, the only thing that could go wrong now would be that he wouldn’t be able to park within sight of Billy’s front door and so not be able to see him leave.
George’s jaw dropped as he pulled to a halt in front of the young lad wearing a day-glo vest. Behind him there were dozens of people milling around under the bright glare of powerful floodlights. Television cameras on trolleys rolled along the pavement and thick power cables crisscrossed the road.
“Sorry mate,” called up the lad in yellow vest, “We’re filming an episode of The Beat and it’s going to take all day I’m afraid. You’ll have to find another route around.” George looked up again and realised that there were at least a dozen people wearing police uniforms wandering around and there were three marked police vehicles. The TV Company was recording an episode of their weekly Police drama series outside the front door of the area’s most prolific burglar.
Realising that the team was more likely to be able to carry out covert surveillance of the street if they went back to the police station and changed into their uniforms and brought back a couple of marked response cars, George sighed and picked up the radio.
Keying the tansmit button he said “Listen up everyone, you’re not going to believe this, but ...”