The Red Menace

It’s coming up towards the end of a gruelling night shift. So far today, the craziness included helping drag a drunk, near-drowned teenager out of a park lake, which meant I had to head back home to get a dry shift of clothes.

Of course, since this is towards the end of our shift pattern, I didn’t actually have any more clean shirts (my break days are usually eaten up by catching up on sleep and doing laundry. It’s a pretty rock and roll lifestyle, this being a police officer business), and so I got on the rap-rod to the sergeant.

“Hey skip,” I said.

“Delito! How’s the kid?”

“I don’t know, actually. She was breathing when she came out of the lake, and LAS are taking care of her.” I said, referring to the capable hands of London Ambulance Service, who were at the location nearly immediately.

“Did they look you over?” Continue reading


Babies Don’t Bounce

Dawn on a Tuesday morning, and I’m sitting in the briefing room, contemplating why I am doing this job again. Don’t get me wrong, I love it, but the first early start after four days off really gets to me. Every. Single. Time. The muted half-conversation and the stingless banter around the room indicates that, like every other first shift after a short break, I’m not the only one contemplating a change of career, or a quick nap in changing rooms before heading out.

“(…) is Mike Delta 592 and Mike Delta 5112″, I hear.

I engage the one spider-sense you (eventually) develop as a police officer: The ability to rewind a conversation in your head. It’s one of those weird things; You start reacting to your shoulder number almost instinctively, and even if you weren’t really paying attention, you’ll somehow be able to recall the whole conversation without even really trying. The beginning of the skipper’s statement had been “Today, two-six (…)”. Continue reading

“Jog on, douchebag”

“Mate, if you don’t get back in your car and shut the hell up, I’m nicking you for breach of the peace”. I’m trying to stay as calm as I can, as my face is about an inch away from his.

He’s tall, athletically built, and for the first time in a very, very long time, I’m finding myself wishing that someone would take a swing at me. There’s nothing I’d rather do right now than to take this belligerent yuppie cunt to the ground in handcuffs.

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Tinker, Tailor… Spy?

His name was Jamie. “My friend, I have absolutely nothing against the police”, he confided, still leaning against the car, “but this really is rather a bit of an inconvenience, and I wish you weren’t doing this”.

In this job, every blue moon, you come across cases that are just plain bizarre. There was the 12-year-old I arrested for sexual assault, the 80-year-old that got nicked for stealing fully inflated party balloons, and tried to do a runner with his zimmer frame. And the car thief whom I completely failed to arrest after she flashed her boobs at me. She caused such a mishegas among the group of deeply religious bystanders, that I was distracted for long enough that she simply left the car where it was, sauntered off, and got on the tube.

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Crossing over to the other side

“Call an ambulance”, I shout, as I’m running across the road to the man on the asphalt. He is making a horrible gargling sound. In the three seconds it took me to cross the road, his white t-shirt was soaked with claret.

I’m applying pressure to his throat to try to stop the bleeding, but it’s coming out with a surprising amount of force.

The passer-by I had shouted at for an ambulance was fumbling with her mobile phone. She said something, but not loud enough for me to hear. “What?!” I barked back. “I don’t know the number”, she blurted out, and burst into tears.

There wasn’t time to stop and ponder about the sheer idiocy of that statement. Even though I was now covered in blood trying to save the man’s life, an old joke from the Simpsons forced its way to the forefront of my mind. “Operator! What is the number for 911?!

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Bringing them back from the dead

“Oh, bollocks, he’s not breathing”, my colleague says. That’s my cue to swear, drop my radio in the passenger seat, and come running to help him. This particular motorcyclist is wearing a full-face helmet, and he needs a solid dose of CPR to keep him from popping his clogs.

Usually, we find out about traffic incidents over the radio. Someone dials 999, or CCTV spot that something weird is going on with the traffic, and discover that two finely engineered boxes of iron and plastic have reduced each other to a set of insurance claims, and the driver and passengers to ‘casualties’.

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