Wednesday, 5 November 2014
Page forty Five - Not Linford Christie (Copcast #160)
George hates foot chases. Aside from the obvious that it knackers you out if it goes on for more than five minutes, you also have to contend with street furniture, mums with buggies, jeering youths and cars that absolutely and categorically will not stop to let you pass. The bad guys are normally half George's age, light on their feet and wearing Nike air trainers whereas he's wearing a stab vest, belt kit and running in size 10 steel toecap army boots.
He only has a dozen years left in the job, so tripping over a bollard and smashing his pelvis on a kerbstone is not high on his agenda. He's seen it happen and you can take his word it isn't pretty or funny, especially if it's one of your colleagues. For this reason one of the first things he asks any new probationer is "what are you like at running?" Most eager ones tell him they are trained to an Olympian standard. That's that sorted then, they chase on foot and George'll back them up in the car. Well that's the plan at least but it never quite works out that way.
The other day George and a probationer were taking a statement from a shop owner when the CCTV Control Room called up to say they had a wanted person on camera, not far from otheir location. Various units called up, two PCSO's had eyeball on him but were holding off and an unmarked unit were coming in from the top end of town. George looked at his probationer who was in the middle of his statement and told him it was okay, other units were nearby they'd get him. Best finish the statement.
A few minutes later CCTV called up again, the suspect was moving off on his bicycle. The PCSO's were told to hang back for health and safety reasons and the unmarked unit still some minutes away. There was no one else nearer so George told his probationer that they would try to sneak up on the suspect as this lad had warning markers for escaping. As soon as they got to the door of the shop they spotted him - and he spotted them. In fact he was staring right at them. A second's pause and George shouted "Right, get 'im!" The probationer launched himself out of the shop, the bad guy started to make off on his bike, the lad made it to the road and was gaining momentum fast.
The probbie stepped up a gear and chased the suspect on his bike up a busy main road, car drivers stopped in awe and passers-by just stared. Why does that never happen for George? He was like a gazelle and was catching up with the cyclist fast; George on the other hand was way behind calling for back up in between gasping for breath. The lad seemed to be getting away when all of a sudden two plain clothes officers jumped on him, or rather he cycled into their arms. The probationer was on him in seconds, slapping handcuffs onto the protesting teenager before George caught up, clearly worse for wear and puffing like a steam engine. After a few minutes recovery he asked his probationer what he had arrested him for, other than making a police officer run.
"What me? I haven't arrested him for anything yet" was the answer.
"Best nick him for something then" was George's reply and eventually the words were said once they'd remembered what offence the lad was wanted for.
After the foot pursuit up a busy main road, members of the public took their time to take the mickey out of George once the bad guy was driven away by another unit. He thanked everyone for their kind comments, given that he hadn't even warmed up he thought he had done rather well and besides he was extremely proud of his probationer at that point. That was his third arrest in the one day. His probationer later received an email from the controller stating she was impressed; George on the other hand, got a message of commiserations.