Thursday, May 04, 2006

Watching a specialist unit at work... something that not all officers get to see on a regular basis. To actually be involved in part of the operation the unit is involved in can often trigger an adrenaline rush that very few aspects of police work are able to provide.

During the course of this shift I was able to work not with one specialist unit, but two! An attachment for a couple of shifts with the dog unit is something most officers look forward to, partly because the dog unit is reserved for the "good" jobs, and isn't sent to drunken assaults; burglaries that have occurred hours after the event or shoplifters. Better yet, the dog unit is one of the few groups left that is allowed to actively pursue vehicles (if they're driving the right vehicle). Nights can often be a bit hit and miss - fortunately this shift was quite steady, with jobs coming in fits and starts, though none actually required deployment of the dog. It helps that I love German Shepherds too, though this one was quite young but very large, and nearly floored me when he jumped up to me!

Personally I think the dog unit should always be double crewed - they cover a large area and often have to listen to several radio channels at once if that area crosses over subdivisions. That's on top of navigating; using the radio themselves; driving and looking after the dog. They always appreciate an extra pair of hands.

During the night, we were asked to call in to a nick urgently. When we arrived there was brass (senior ranking officers) everywhere, and more firearms officers than I'd seen in a long time! We'd been asked to back up on a raid on a place. Without going into specifics, there was most definately going to be a male with a firearm at the place. Our job was to back up one of the firearms teams at the rear of the premises in case the guy tried to escape.

We left the nick in convoy and turned up at the place, waited for a bit whilst the brass conversed, then got out and formed up. The firearms officers had full kit on - bulletproof shields; PSU pads; helmets and goggles - the works, with MP5s out and ready. Have to admit I'd never seen them 'at work' so to speak (only ever backing up to jobs whenever there wasn't anything firearms-related going on elsewhere) and it was very impressive.

I stuck behind the dog man like glue as we went around the back whilst the main firearms team went around the front. In movies, these things are often accompanied by soundtrack. Not so here! There was deathly silence for a couple of minutes, then the codeword was given and the front team made silent entry through the main door (insofar as they didn't blow up the door or wam-ram it down).

A few seconds of silence, then the muffled sound of a door being kicked off its hinges and "ARMED POLICE! HANDS ABOVE YOUR HEAD! DO IT NOW!", followed by the radio firing up with "Male detained. Stand down. Stand down." Guns were unloaded, dog went back in the van and I was buzzing for hours!

Well-planned, well-executed and all officers involved displayed utmost professionalism at all time, as well they should considering the potential stakes of the job they are on and the tools or animals they are carrying. It also helped re-invigorate my enthusiasm for the job to know that sometimes, just sometimes, the police excel at dealing with matters like this - nabbing dangerous offenders with the potential to cause serious harm to the public. A refreshing break from dealing with neighbour disputes and drunks.

(c) Bow Street Runner. None of the material contained in this post, or this blog as a whole, may be reproduced without the express and written permission of Bow Street Runner. All rights reserved.
Sounds brilliant!!!
Im still waiting to go out with the doggie unit! Been waiting nearly a year now!!!!!

Anyway, keep up the good blog mate :)
I'm jealous. Nice job :)
Moments like that can make up for all the other cr*p. Good to have a buzz every now and then.

I agree about the dog units, almost unappreciated. One of ours lost an eye recently in a knife attack (the dog). Back on duty now I'm glad to say.
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