Sunday, November 28, 2004

 

Tales of the Village Bobby

I spent a lot of my service as a Village Bobby. This is a much maligned job but certainly if you’re bent is helping people, rather than driving at a million miles an hour on traffic, or spending days in smoky bars with “snouts” on CID. I visited Schools, raised my hat when hitting old ladies, and generally strolled round the village in my tunic and funny hat. The advantage being that at the standard 2 mph walking speed it gave the locals ample time to invite you in for tea. After a few years of this, you got to follow the kids from crèche to infants, to junior then senior schools. In some cases on the poorer estates where birth control was being able to run faster than granddad! you watched several generations slide into the same old trap of no education, no job and the only way to get housing was lots of kids – but it had its compensations
You got a vastly extended, cast iron bladder from drinking so much tea, you EARNED the respect of the community by being in the square, every Friday and Saturday night at closing time to ensure that the noisy ones went home rather than breaking things up – No Kebab van in my village thank you – You lived in a substantial, detached house, with a little office, double garage (one for the van and one for your car) and were on every committee from housing, through schools to even the arts club and tennis club. Not a sparrow moved without me knowing ! Once a week a Sergeant would arrive at the house with a big blue bag of paperwork, quick cuppa and discuss what I would be doing next week, then pick up last week’s blue bag and head back to the bright lights ! This was in the days of fairly primitive radio – We had a Pye Westminster system in which the hand held radio came in two parts the transmitter then fitted into the car and became amplified as a car radio – wonders of modern science! My bit of the Thames Valley being fairly hilly – the car radio more or less worked but the hand held was not very good (bloody useless to be precise) You could shout for help all night long but no one would hear you ! One of the reasons for knowing all the drunks on the square so that if the worse came to the worst and you got a walloping you would know who done it and when you recovered (depending of the severity of the walloping) you could either take a few friends round and remonstrate with them, or “Nick” them one by one, take them in to the main station, where they could conveniently fall down the steps in the cell corridor!
But I digress – This is about the sheer idiocy of the powers that be in the Police Service back in the days when we didn’t need numbers as we all knew each other
Question! Why do Policemen have numbers?
Answer:- In case they get lost – Boom boom
So there we are 11pm ish, wife in jamas and dressing gown, just settling with Cocoa, I was just turning off the outside lights and locking up when “bang,bang, bang on the front door. I open up and there stands Mr Angry
“This is the Police house?”
“Yes”
“Right, let me in I want to use your phone!”
“Pardon?” still trying to be polite to this obviously rude man.
“Listen sonny”(He was about 5 years older than me) “I am a tax payer, I pay your wages, I’ve broken down and I want to use your phone to get a taxi to take me home, so none of your lip just show me where the phone is!” The Force actually paid for STRICTLY DUTY calls which had to be accounted for in a special book – and calling taxis did not fall in to this category and anyway the phone had been switched through to the lounge from the office and she who must be obeyed was in the lounge in her night things – not way Pedro !
So after telling this git his fortune, and sending him towards the phone box in the square rejoicing, I lock up and go to bed, forgetting this unseemly episode.
A week passes and even she who must be obeyed has stopped talking about the rude man who came late at night.
Out in the van, visiting outlying farms when a radio message – “Report to Area HQ, immediately, the Superintendent wants you” Wonder what that’s about
I did ask for the mounted Section for my village fete
And there’s that planning permission for a new garage on the main road? Ah well, wait and see.
On the mat outside office, - Secretary peeks out of her office – Mog, what have you done, We’ve had an official letter of complaint from the MP to the Chief! No idea thinks I, I caught the last poachers up on the MP’s estate,
Went to his last surgery in the village, to be on hand in case he needed to speak – Can’t think.
Needless to say, Mr Angry had written to his MP that I had been rude to him, refused to help him etc etc etc . After the usual shouting, bellowing and pawing of the carpet I managed to get in the odd word edge ways. Notwithstanding my years of service, the privacy of my own lounge (owned by TVP) and the fact that I would have had to pay for the call myself – I GOT AN OFFICIAL REPRIMAND which was entered on to my service records.
It was still there when I retired some 15 years later – and I got to see the actual file they keep on you – not the one produced at the end of each year for yearly reports. I read it again and I still could not believe it – The Superintendent thought I was being unreasonable!! Perhaps if Mr Angry called at his house late at night demanding something he would have let him in – MY ARSE ! – (it still rankles even now)
Evenin all
Mog

Comments:
Wow I just LOVE your blog :)

I've often thought about joining the police myself... But it'd have to be a wee country place like in Hamish Macbeath rather than the Grey Toon and it's dodgy neighbours :)

I'm reading a really good book at the moment written towards the end of the 19th century by a Grey Toon policeman. It's bloody great! Just like Dickens except it's all "fit" and "fa" and "foo" - it's a shame there wasn't blogging in the 19th century :P
 
Being a Village Bobby is definitely the best job - but there are still petty restrictions - The government seems to think everyone's a villain and the Police are the biggest villains of all ! But there are lots of good things to make up for it - more to come in the blog
 
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Any tips on bloggin ? id like to see your reply to this story :)

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