Monday, 10 March 2014

10th March 2014 - Policing - Allo Allo - what's going on here?

It is now seven and a half years since I hung up my cape and returned my warrant card after 30 years as a police officer. They were thirty years that I fully enjoyed, some hours may have been a little fraught but I can assuredly look back on a career for which I have no regrets....
The strangest thing I recall was that on 5th October 2006 I did not need to take a wallet with me as I left the house. For thirty years I was required to always have my warrant card upon my person - and therefore a wallet to hold it. On the 5th October I went out feeling rather naked - as I had my house key in my pocket and a couple of pounds spending cash but no wallet - and no sudden panic that I had to return to the house..

30 years service, two commendations, one for capture of a prisoner at large and one for computerisation of the force - practically single handed in those heady days when the ripples from the mistakes of the Yorkshire Ripper enquiries were driving closer cooperation and better information handling between forces. That was a job that still had not been achieved by the time I left. Two medals, both service related.

But I thought a police officer was more in those days. Yesterday I found an old newspaper clipping from the Llanelli Star - Thursday 7th, 1999. Okay - it was not a policing story which makes it more interesting. The clip was a "Who is this?" article showing a strange and unexpected picture of someone well known in the community. The previous week had featured a good friend, now sadly missed, with a picture from his younger years... but this was a very distinctive picture of "Herr Flick" from the Welsh  premier of "Allo Allo"

The text says "The guess who? feature takes a bizarre twist this week. Last week most of you will have recognised Ernie Lawson MBE.....  Whether the mystery man , pictured above playing Herr Flick of 'Allo 'Allo fame deserves as honour remains to be seen. All I can say is the same clue is provided - he is featured in this week's Star, by name if not by photo..."

A week passed before the answer was given....
Nice to be "Llanell's best-known policeman"  

But today the news is full of another analysis of the death and aftermath of Steven Lawrence. I watched a program on the Miner's Strike - now 30 years gone last night. We have Pleb-gate and another enquiry into Hillsborough now with Freemasons, West Midland or Yorkshire police ineligible to assist... Papers and Media full of the crisis in policing, while funding is reduced, and staffing decreased. I left the police seven and a half years ago - things were changing by then - they always do. When I joined the two way radio was new technology for the old-timers on my beat.  It was an old pye radio - a handset and a receiver - each larger than a modern mobile phone - you had to extend the arial on the transmitter to talk..

But the old hands managed to only take one out with them - the transmitter or the receiver...  They were happier not being in touch !! But that was Tenby in the late 70's. Sergeant in the car.. and two constables - one in one out. Nearest backup was Pembroke Dock 22 minutes away in a fast traffic car....

The world has changed but the following was posted onto Facebook yesterday and much of it is still relevant... seems to sum up much of my experience...


-o0o-
I am a police officer

Since I joined the Police, way, way back then, I have learned much and performed many, many roles. Some of them easy and some of them not so easy.
I have been:
a marriage guidance counselor
an acting veterinary nurse,
a teacher,
a babysitter,
I’ve listened to advice from knowledgeable and experienced people,
I’ve also listened to advice from people who do not have a clue what they are talking about,
I’ve been an odd job man,
a translator,
a wrestler,
a boxer,
a fight referee,
a vehicle repair engineer,
a traffic controller,
a dog catcher,
a nightclub doorman,
a member of the sprint detention team,
a person who delivers unfortunate and unwanted bad news,
a person who sometimes delivers good news,
I have entered with a key, without a key through an open door and sometimes kicked or forced that door that prevents entry,
a writer of fact,
a listener of fiction,
I have been a cook,
an arbitrary decision maker,
a companion,
I have not told lies to cover someone else’s backside,
I have been a friend,
a plan or map drawer,
a walking encyclopedia,
I have seen over-promotion for strategic credibility instead of policing credibility,
I have seen countless guidelines and recommendations ignored because it suits someone else’s agenda,
I have been a good Samaritan,
a walking street-map,
a local information centre,
a medic,
an emergency plumber,
I have been spat at, punched, kicked, head butted, verbally abused, had things thrown at me or been threatened with a bladed instrument ( formerly a knife),
I have seen many fine officers frustrated by those who appear to have forgotten that they were once a 24/7 police officer.
I have been a taxi-driver,
an unwanted guest,
a welcome guest,
a listening ear,
a mind reader,
I have walked many a whole night shift in the freezing night air, in the pouring rain or in the humid, sweltering muggy heat dressed in a uniform that was not suited to allow me to do some of the things I expected to come across,
I have been a surrogate and temporary parent,
I have been someone’s worst nightmare,
I have been someone’s saviour,
I have seen someone take their first breath as well as their last breath,
I have been a one man cordon,
I have been one of a small group against a far larger group,
I have been very, very, very patient, tolerant & understanding,
I have been considerate, restrained and hidden my true feelings,
I have been accused of being a liar
I have saved lives
I have failed to save lives,
I have seen and smelt death,
I have comforted and reassured,
I have always learnt from what I have done,
I have been an emergency fireman,
I have been the last person someone wanted to see as well as the first,
I have been loved, hated, admired and despised in varying amounts.
I have always tried my best,
I understand that those who police and those who manage/lead are fundamentally different because of the roles they do,
I have buried colleagues
I have gone home at the end of my shift because my colleagues have been there with me,
I have been scared for my own safety,
I have acted without fear for my own safety but to protect others who are in fear themselves,
I have always been judged by those who do not do the same job, take the same risks or work under the same accountability as I,
I have listened to countless politicians talk about how they want to improve my role, how they need to show how I am accountable and how they want to make my job easier,
I have rarely seen a politician improve my role, or make it easier, in fact most often it's the opposite
I have protected life and property,
I have the respect of my peers,
I have listened to countless senior management talk about how they are improving my role only for them to move on and the next in line change things to support their own career aims and not to support or complement the work done by their predecessor,
I have wasted far too much of my time and effort completing statistical information for other people to justify their own position or to show how well they are managing what I do, yet none of these people know me,
I have listened to countless senior management talk about how they are improving my role only for them to move on and the next in line change things to support their own career aims and not to support or complement the work done by their predecessor,
I have wasted far too much of my time and effort completing statistical information for other people to justify their own position or to show how well they are managing what I do, yet none of these people know me,
I have repeated the last two things because they have probably had the most negative effect on me during my service.
I have learned about tolerance, compassion, that there are a lot of nice people out there but still some people who have no social conscience and will burgle your house or even kill someone and not care one bit about doing so,
I have seen the victim not see justice all too often,
I have seen colleagues fail to get the recognition they deserve,
I have seen repeat offenders not get custodial sentences,
I have seen Policing become a brand to be promoted at every available opportunity, some of them totally inappropriate.
I have experienced poor vehicles because they are cheaper,
I have been 'advised' because I have not reported enough people or submitted enough admin for people to measure,
I have experienced death in many forms, from violent, unexpected and unpleasant to peaceful, calm and dignified,
I have led a varied and rewarding career.

It is not a game or a fair weather trend…………..It’s for keeps.

How many can say that ?"

- Unknown
-o0o-

I enjoyed my 30 years but left without regrets and would not wish to be doing the job today...
But I salute those who still make the effort to be in the Police Service..


[ 15:01 -5 : MPV 1342+104 ]

No comments:

Post a comment