Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Whilst I'll miss my colleagues and some aspects of the job, I won't miss having to walk on eggshells whenever speaking or acting, for fear of offending people. "No it's not because you're black/white/muslim/agnostic, it's because you are being an utter cock and behaving in a criminal manner." Nor will the endless and arbitrary paperwork purely for obtaining statistics be missed. There are some in the job who have become so obssessed and brainwashed that due process has become an end in itself, as opposed to a means to an end. This applies especially to crime recording and resulting.
One of the last things I did was write a 1-9 up for a Burglary Other that occurred last year, was resolved at the scene by the offender paying the money for the stolen item, and was only put on because muppet incarnate complained about myself and another officer after the incident, and PSD insisted the crime be put on. Point 9 asked for the officer's next tour of duty. I took great pleasure in writing "Never, ever, ever again!". When I asked what the point of doing a full write-up for a crime that was resolved at the scene and is over 8 months old was, I was given a look of horror and the words "You can't just ignore that, it's POLICY!" Finished the write up for fear of being hanged for treason if I didn't.
Furthermore, at training people are ingrained with a view that using force is a bad thing, as it could lead to negative PR and a bad image, as well as it being spelt out that it could potentially be the end of their careers. Indeed some probationers come away from training so scared to use force that they were injured in situations where they need not have been, because forces were more concerned about their image than the safety of their officers. I never had a problem using force, and used it wherever I could justify it as being needed. I was more concerned with my human right to life than any conceivable rights of the offenders. It raised eyebrows, but I've emerged after a few years relatively unscathed and in one piece.
Any complaints I may have attracted will remain permanently unresolved, indeed my lack of concern for incivility complaints may not have done me any favours in keeping the numbers low. C'est la vie.
The ridiculous and quaint policies that cover every offence from assault to murder, which lead officers step-by-step through everything that must always be done in all circumstances, has killed what little discretion was left to be afforded by officers. Now, street level decisions made at an incident will often be in breach of force policy if not illegal. I've lost count of the number of cannabis joints I've put down the drain rather than confisicating and going through the bureaucratic rigmarole, wasting my time and everyone else's for the sake of one sanctioned detection. It's often accompanied with a lecture to the smoker, often a young asian lad, in which case it is centred around them being a disgrace to whichever religion they'll claim we are discriminating against.
So, why have I jacked it in?
1. The job is shite - as any officer with more than a few years in will tell you. I'm naturally cynical anyway, and realised this after just two and a half years. It's run and determined at all levels by people more concerned about advancing and protecting their own careers than the utter mess they leave behind for everyone else to cope with. This runs from the top level of government down. Fighting crime is not a priority, something freely acknowledged by certain members of the force, preferring the achievement of sanctioned detections instead to keep the figures healthy. Real crime is a distraction, and any prevention or solving thereof is an incidental by-product of the main aim of the police - PR and performance management. If we tell everyone crime is lower, people will feel safer.
A good example is Manchester. An insider there e-mailed me recently pointing out that gun crime has exploded (so to speak) in recent months, often with at least one or two firearms incidents a week (indeed there was one today), yet senior officers will go on record to say that it's down, which considering there was the second double fatal shooting this year, in the same division as the last one, is somewhat rich. It's certainly down compared to the Gang Wars of 80s and 90s, but compared to most other places its a worry. At least Nottingham admitted they had a murder problem!
2. I'm emigrating - I've got the chance to move out to a country with a far better quality of life. I'm young, am not affected by pension worries having left the job and am taking this chance whilst I have it. Whether I join the cops or not out there depends on the culture, lifestyle and whatever opportunities present themselves out there.
3. I passionately don't care about the public anymore - having been abused, assaulted, complained about by and generally snubbed by the very people we supposedly swear an oath to uphold and protect, I've sometimes identified more with the offender of a crime than a victim. When you get to this stage you know it's probably time to finish.
More often than not, the victim is rarely innocent to a crime and is often as much to blame for it. They're the 'victim' only because they dialled 999 faster than the 'offender'.
Once every year someone will come up and say we are doing a good job and they appreciate and respect the police. They are becoming an increasingly smaller minority and their compliments no longer balance out the abuse and ungratefulness of the Great Unwashed I had the misfortune to encounter on a regular basis. The GU demand that police succumb to their every whim and desire; that police dare not close roads, redirect traffic or inconvenience them with such trivial things as crime scenes (which are, of course, there purely for them to walk through); that each crime be investigated with a full team of detectives, and summary justice be dispensed against whoever happens to be standing with a 50 yard radius at the time of the call, for they are 'clearly the one who did it'. Failure to comply with any or all of the above leads to an unleashing of cliches, threats of complaints and the kind of abuse you'd expect from a drugged-up and tooled-up lunatic you've just restrained and prevented from committing a bank robbery, even if you've just said "I'm sorry, the road is closed for 2 minutes whilst this parade passes by". They have, however, carte blanche to put themselves in harms way and in exceedingly dangerous situations, demanding that we get them out of it.
At the same time, the Great Unwashed are the first ones to complain if we arrest them for any offence under the sun, for in their own mind they have the equivalent of diplomatic immunity. If we dare reprimand them for their behvaiour or conduct, they take on a demeanour akin to genuine surprise and offence, as if the police should be out policing everyone except them. Any intervention of any nature, including terorrist ops, result in the demand that we be catching muderers, rapists and muggers. When we say we've caught them all, they won't have it. Tossers.
At most jobs, nobody is innocent, the distinction is the degree to which they are guilty. Yes we police officer shouldn't pass such judgements, but do the job even for a few weeks and you won't be able to help yourself. Even the occasional purely innocent victim of crime, usually a member of the Chattering Classes, can turn on a dime to a nasty, snarling, hostile animal for even so much as the faintest whiff of something not going in their favour. How dare we say there's no way of catching the offender - we should be arresting everyone in the city and bringing them in for questioning. Damnit, they are the victim of a crime and we should be doing absolutely everything in our power to solve it. Never mind that it's the fifteenth theft from person we've had that day, they are better than everyone else and should get priority treatment. Sorry, if it's not a key crime it doesn't matter who you are, you'll just have to wait in line. Next time report it as a robbery or something.
Blue light runs to urgent jobs often involved braking at the last minute because some idiot decided that safety be damned, they were going to run right across the road in front of us, because the two seconds saved by doing so as opposed to waiting for us to pass, in spite of the risk of injury or death, would make a profound difference in their lives. I've often been tempted to get such people run over just to teach them a lesson. There's absolutely no excuse for it.
What gets me the most is when we're doing our job and are suddenly interrupted with "Listen to me", followed by a rant of how the utterly ill-informed and often poorly-educated fool with ideas above their station thinks we should do their job. I used a Life on Mars line on one to great effect, with "Shut up. I'll listen to the snot in my hanky before I listen to you" stopping them in their tracks.
The Public - wanting 100% of their rights, 100% of the time, 100% perfectly delivered and always 100% by everyone else. I'm sick of saving them from themselves and receiving nothing but hostility in return, and think they should just be left to kill themselves through stupidity without intervention. That's what most of them want anyway. They're not worth risking your personal safety or life for, and I no longer care what happens to them.
4. Erm - I think the above three and the previous blog entries explain it.
This isn't the end of the blog just yet though, final a post as this may seem!
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On my first blue light run a bus driver decided to pull out on us. I wanted to get out and arrest him, but didn't really have the time.
Good luck with whatever you do old chap.
Fantastic! Do it all the time as it is by far the most sensible thing to do. A street caution needs as much paperwork as an arrest so what is the point!! Stick it in the drain. Oh and being an asian officer I agree with that point as well and wont be making a complaint ;)
Ahh Life on Mars. Personally, I would get rid of the Human Rights Act, change the law so that the Police can behave in a Life on Mars/Sweeney way and build more prisons. The amount of utter bollocks/abuse you have to put up. I wish the police could respond with a knee in the groin to the little shits and put an end to all this political correctness nonsense. Ahh well. Maybe the pendulum will hopefully swing the other way to old school policing. I've enjoyed reading your blog and whatever you do in the future, good luck!!!
If it's Oz you're headed for I'm sure you'll love it here. I emigrated from England in 72.
As for joining the job here, I'd advise against it, given all you've said above. You'll find its pretty much same shit, different accent. (They do give you a gun though) I'm out of it in a few months after 28 years.
If you have any marketable skills you will do much better in civvy street.
I think most of us know th job is a load of shit, especially with all the beaurocratic undermining the goverment has been responsible for. Gone are the "Life on Mars Days". Escaping to Oz is the best place for you.
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