Wednesday, 19 November 2014
Page Forty Seven - It's Just Routine Guv' (Copcast #162)
A hunch is all it takes, there's no logical reason why a one particular vehicle attracts the attention of an alert copper while another doesn't. It may be something obvious like a minor moving traffic offence or just their manner of driving. Sometimes though you just 'know' something isn't right and pulling over a vehicle for a driving documents check can reap rewards and make for a good collar.
Last week George was on mobile patrol with another probationer. Not much was going on, so he decided that it was a good opportunity for Jeremy, the probationer, to practice a much needed bit of traffic process for his development. A short while later his attention was drawn to a black Ford Fiesta a couple cars ahead of them. There was nothing particularly interesting about it, if anything it looked in good order. George relayed the index plate to Jeremy and he ran it through PNC, the Police National Computer. The MOT had expired so it was worthy of a stop. Just before he did though, George asked Jeremy to check Intel to see if there was anything interesting about the vehicle. You never know, it may have been used by a known drug dealer.
Intel suggested that the occupants of the vehicle had been seen recently by a member of the public showing off a black handgun. Interesting, to say the least, the Intel had come anonymously from a concerned member of the public via Crimestoppers. George called up the Control Room and asked for some backup as he wanted to stop the vehicle safely. An ARV (Armed Response Vehicle) offered up and advised they were going to put the stop in due to the Intel. As frustrating as this felt, George knew it was the correct procedure and he really didn't want a gun pointing in his face, real or not.
The ARV quickly caught up and tailed the suspect vehicle while George had to drop back. His role was to stop traffic behind him at a safe distance in order that the ARV could put in a safe, hard stop. A few moments later the Fiesta stopped at traffic lights, the ARV boys jumped out, guns drawn and barked out orders at the occupants of the Fiesta to "get the EFF out of the car". Two bemused eighteen year olds were unceremoniously forced to the floor with their hands spread as far as they could, under the muzzles of a pair of MP5s. George watched as the ARV crew searched the men, then the car. An officer indicated that he found something in the driver's seat back and held it up so that George could see that it was indeed a black handgun. A few tense moments passed, then the ARV officer proudly announced he had secured a water pistol. It was unloaded into the gutter, proved and 'made safe'.
With no identifiable witness or victim of an incident involving the gun, there were no offences so the pistol was 'seized' for destruction and the driver and his mate were given some very stern words of advice, oh and of course a ticket for the expired MOT. If nothing else it is very unlikely that either of them will ever think that waving a replica gun around in public, even a water pistol, is an entertaining past time after finding themselves on the business end of the real thing and the ARV got a workout after a mundane day patrolling in Sleepy Hollow. George had to admit his adrenaline had been pumping too ... and Jeremy the probationer was positively speechless.