Monday, 21 December 2015

No one asks to be a victim.....

Sitting in a hospital on constant obs for the victim of a stabbing leaves you with time to think and contemplate the finer things in life.

My first thought was that by now I really should keep a spare phone charger at work. There's nothing worse than being on constant obs when your phone dies two hours in and you're left staring at the walls.

My next thought, once I'd settled down for the inevitable 9 hour stint at the hospital, was one of sorrow and pity for the victim.

Four days before Christmas and he's lying in Intensive Care with all manner of cables protruding from him and a vast array of monitors beeping constantly in order to keep him alive. This room could almost make a NASA launch control room look inadequate.

The cynic in me, given my length of service, could assume that this was yet another drug deal gone wrong or part of a wider gang war.

I'd be wrong though.

This young man was simply enjoying a night out with his friends and family and was returning to his car at the end of a night out. He'd not got involved in any arguments and was looking forward to waking up in his own bed the following morning.

Instead he's lying on a bed in an induced coma. 

He'd been jumped by a number of people and at least one of those had a knife. Some of the group were heard, whilst pulling the man with the knife away, saying "That's not him". The response? "I don't care" as he went back and continued to attack the victim.

Quite what his family and friends are now going through I can only imagine. Four days before Christmas and at a time when families should be able to come together and enjoy each other's company they're having to hope and pray that he sees Christmas.

If he survives then there's the mental and physical scars that this young, innocent man will have to come to terms with for the rest of his life.

He didn't ask for this to happen. Maybe I'm getting soft in my old age but incidents like these should be happening far less often than they do.

Why carry a knife? Why stab someone? I don't think I will ever understand the mentality of someone that thinks it is acceptable to behave like this and to inflict such horrific wounds on anyone.

I sincerely hope that he makes a full recovery and that he is at home with his family for Christmas.

Whatever you're doing over Christmas and New Year I hope you enjoy it and please, above all else, stay safe.


Monday, 16 November 2015

The Terrorist Threat

The events in Paris have sent shockwaves around the world and for some it's been a wake up call.

I, along with my colleagues, stood respectfully and not only observed a minutes silence at midday today (French time) in order to remember those lost in the cowardly attacks on Friday but also to contemplate the wider implications of what those attacks meant.

We are not fighting a visible enemy. These terrorists are all over the world fighting under a false banner of Islam.

Let me get one thing clear. These people are not fighting a religious war. They are fighting a war of terror and religion has nothing to do with it.

I have met hundreds, if not thousands, of Muslims during my career and they, like everyone else, denounce this violence. There should be no retaliatory attacks on Mosques or Muslim individuals. That is not the answer and will simply provide Islamic State with the fuel that they want.

What MUST happen is that we all unite regardless of race, religion or ethnic background in order to overcome these terrorists.

Even now when I turn on my TV the news is full of Islamic State. We are giving them the airtime they want and spreading their propaganda. Whilst I accept that the events of Friday are international news and it is going to receive media coverage (and rightly so given what happened) I sincerely hope that there is a lot happening behind the scenes in order to identify and neutralise the future threats.

Our attention now turns to the friendly football game between England and France on Tuesday evening. Security, understandably, has been stepped up with the promise of more armed officers on the streets to ensure a peaceful event.

Is that enough? What if the attack, when it happens as it surely will, happens elsewhere? Do we have sufficient response measures in place?

The response that our brothers and sisters provided in France was amazing. They are very well equipped and showed it. It's extremely saddening that such measures needed to be taken. Could we, in the UK, respond as impressively as the French?

The reality is that we have so few firearms officers outside of the capital that without time to mobilise it is highly likely that our unarmed officers, me included, will be first at the scene of such a terrorist attack.

I am sure that I do not only speak for myself but my thousands of colleagues in that if it came to giving my life in order to save the life of just one member of the public then that is a choice I would make. I signed up to protect the public and to fight crime. Whether that be Joe Bloggs beating up his partner, stealing from the local supermarket or pulling out a Kalashnikov then I'm there and will do my utmost to ensure that innocent members of the public can live their lives without fear.

Islamic State you will not defeat us. We are united against you.



Saturday, 24 October 2015

It's all about you......

With morale at an all time low, cuts to the Policing budgets taking their toll and an imminent vote on compulsory severance it's easy to see why officers become despondent and disillusioned with being part of the service.

There are far more positives than negatives though. You just have to look a little harder for them sometimes.

****Potential Morale Boost Warning****

YOU are making a difference every single day that you turn up for work through your interaction with members of the public and dare I say it even those that you slap the bracelets on. Just two minutes of your time can leave a lifelong impression on those that you come in to contact with.

YOU are the reassurance for the elderly lady that was the victim of the dipping. You are the voice of reason and hope for the elderly gentleman tricked out of thousands of pounds by rogue traders.

YOU are a pillar of society and someone whom people from all walks of life will turn to in their hour of need.

YOU are the parent to the missing child and a safety net for those suffering abuse.

YOU are a ray of light to those in a dark place. You are the shoulder to cry on and the ear to listen.

YOU are the support and encouragement that the victim of long term domestic abuse needs to finally find the strength to leave their abusive relationship.

YOU have saved lives just by being YOU.

YOU go above and beyond. You are willing to risk your life for those you've never met.

YOU are a hero to some, a lifeline to others and a pain in the arse to those that want to commit crime.

YOU do an extraordinary job. 

The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra. It's that little extra that YOU provide on a daily basis.

Without YOU the service would be worse off. We need you. It's as simple as that.

Next time you have a bad day or deal with a particularly difficult job and feel like throwing the towel in just remember that without YOU we would not be able to provide such an effective and professional sevice and that we are better off with you amongst the ranks.

YOU are not the only one to feel low at times. Each and every one of your brothers and sisters in blue will have felt the same way as you at some point.YOU have the support of EACH and EVERY one of us.

YOU are a Police Officer but we are family.



Tuesday, 20 October 2015

The evolution of the Police service.....

I remember vividly growing up as the son of a Police officer and grandson of one as well.

My Dad would occasionally come home on his Police motorbike or in one of the marked cars and he'd sit me in the car or on the bike and put the lights and sirens on. 

I'd ask on a daily basis if he'd arrested any of the 'baddies' and whilst he wouldn't go in to the finer details of the jobs that he dealt with I remember listening intently when he talked about those he'd arrested.

At school when we were asked what our parents did for a living I remember the pride with which I said "My Dad is a Policeman".

He would talk about the camaraderie between him and his fellow officers and he always spoke highly of the service. Morale was high and he loved his job.

He's retired now but is always willing to chat with me if I've dealt with something particularly challenging or difficult at work and is always ready to offer his advice.

My wife is now expecting our first child and I wonder in five or ten years time what I will talk about with my son or daughter. Will I still have the passion or pride that my father displayed? Will my son or daughter be proud of me for doing what I do? Will my son or daughter be proud to state that their father is a Police officer when asked at school? Will I still be in the Police service or will I have been forced in to redundancy by Theresa May and her chums?

I know that I won't have the opportunity to take a job car home for my little one to sit in and listen to the sirens and see the lights. I know that morale is at its lowest point that I can remember since joining the job. Will I still be able to talk with such fondness for the job that I love?

Because of the threat towards the Police service from extremists and terrorists I won't even arrive home in uniform for fear of being a target or for the safety of my family if the local criminals find out where I and my family live?

Times have changed and sadly not for the better. When I told my Dad that I wanted to join the Police he was proud of me and provided me the support and encouragement I needed to follow my dream.

Will I provide that level of support and encouragement if my child decides to follow in my footsteps? It's unlikely with the way that the service is rapidly diminishing and I'd most likely try and steer them in the direction of a different profession. Ultimately it will be their decision and no doubt I'll be supportive of whatever they decide to do but I won't suggest or recommend that they join up.

Evolution is not always a good thing.