Sunday, November 28, 2004
Tales of the Village Bobby
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?”
“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)
Saturday, November 27, 2004
Sanctimonius Bastard Sergeant
The wheels of the shift cunning bastard turn and we decide to try and catch them “at it”. Now comes the best bit. High Wycombe, for that is where this story is based, is a town of many, and bloody steep, hills. Of they go, on nights “checking unnoccs”, and the troops fan out to keep an eye out for the Sgt’s car. Time passes and about an hour later we get a sighting report – Sgt’s car parked at the top of the station car park in dark shadow, with the proverbial steamed up windows and bouncing up and down !! Just as the troops are mustering for the big finale the car begins to slowly roll down the hill – it picks up speed quickly and smashes into another car – doors open and trouser less Sgt and WPC with skirt up round middle leaping out – lots of bad language – apparently when he got to the short strokes he managed to lean on the hand brake and away we go ! Of course the senior PC is immediately on hand – The explanations get sillier by the minute – Of course it all comes out in the enquiry – Sgt gets posted out (sanctimonious bastard) WPC loses husband – he gets suspended from driving and his wife takes him for every penny he’s got (I think he’s still paying now !!)and that is one of the best illustrations of living in a glass house and throwing stones I know of
Wednesday, November 24, 2004
Plane Tails from the hills !
But as an officer and a gentleman, his personal weapon was a pistol – mostly kept loaded for snakes etc. He would lay there shooting mosquitoes off the ceiling, creating a shower head effect through the tin roof. He would wake up, his bunk awash and wonder how it all got there !
Best of all was his pet boa constrictor – This 9 ft long, bad tempered git of a snake lived in a large hutch outside the door to his bunk ! – You’ve guessed it, Doc would lock his door, throw the keys in with the snake and retire to the Mess, to endeavour by serious drinking to meet the pint pot ambition. Suitably refreshed – or even over refreshed he would stagger back to his bunk – crawl in to the cage and try and retrieve his keys. Most evenings he would manage to get the keys out without too much of a problem – But the best laid plans – It had to be me, first time as Guard Commander – one of the roving sentries reports in “shots fired” from the direction of the Officer’s bunks – Take several squaddies at the double and there it is a bloody great snake trying to strangle the shit out of the Doctor who is wrestling round with this thing, gun in hand shooting wildly in all directions (other than the snake) I seemed to recall that a constrictor needed to anchor its tail before it could squeeze the life out of you but this one had several coils round the Doc and he was turning a funny shade of puce ! In we go, every one grab a bit – It would have made a great film scene – I’ve never seen anything so strong as that flaming snake – we get the doc out from its coils and he then starts shouting “don’t hurt the snake “ I do not believe it (one foot in the grave !) we roll away and the snake is away on its coils into the yungle – Damned doctor was so upset he wouldn’t dress our wounds – who says constrictors don’t bite ! When we dis-mounted the guard the Orderly Officer takes me aside and says “I didn’t want to say much but you and your chaps look awfully scruffy this morning” – Needless to say he was “otherwise employed” , over at the Airport when all the fun was going on and the Doc was well liked by all so we didn’t like to tell him ! – The cage was left open and sure enough, the stupid creature came back in a couple of days when it was hungry and happily slithered ? back inside. More from the empire to come
Friday, November 19, 2004
Tales from the Empire
For most of us this was a first experience of the tropics and the variety of flora and fauna was amazing. I had a Mango tree on one side of the doorway to my bunk and a lime tree on the other. Pick the fruit and let it ripen on the window sill – cut a fresh lime in half and suck to cure the obligatory hangover from the local gut rot
It works – There are 150 different varieties of snake – 143 of which are poisonous including the two most deadly snakes in the world either of which will kill you pretty damned quick. One wit asked how we could identify which were the non-poisonous ones if we came across a snake ! – Answer a sweeping aggression policy – if it comes towards you – kill it !!! we’ll worry about identifying from its corpse. Also there were the insects – I have never seen such big bastards – even the midges were bumble bee sized and the spiders did not bear thinking about !! which brings me to the point of this tale. One afternoon four of us decided to take our launch out on to the river and do a bit of water skiing – bloody silly with all the alligators, water snakes etc etc but anyway we did ! To get to the river we had to go down a path through some fairly untamed yungle to the mooring on the river – about a half mile . We did our water sport and moored up. As we walked down the path back to camp we saw what we thought was a standard (about 6-8 inches across) tarantula pulling a very large (8 – 10 inches long) very iridescent green beetle along the path. As we approached we realised it was the other way round – the beetle was pushing a feebly struggling tarantula along. This thing then suddenly took off with a sound like a bloody helicopter and I swear it came towards us with evil intent
We took off running ! This thing chased us all of 400 yards down the path to camp – four grown men running away from a beetle – You bet your life !! I’m only glad it didn’t catch us. One of our number, Paddy by name went back down the path to see what had happened to the spider ! – it was still laying in the middle of the path twitching. He whipped back got a waste bin and captured it.
He took it to our Doctor (There is a wonderful story about him – later) who pickled it in formalhyde thingy and he kept it in a large jar marked “Paddy’s Pet” I’m still glad the beetle didn’t get us though
Swinging the lamp
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
And so, In High Wycombe, where this episode occurs, there is a long park on the A40 called the Rye – in this park is a boating lake, leading on to a river/stream also, spookily enough, called the Rye. So late one evening, a group of dark blue clad, furtive figures appear carrying a store dummy, “borrowed” from one of the chain stores. This dummy is clad in a boiler suit and tied to a fishing line = the rod being also secreted about the person of one of the officers (difficult to hide a 6ft fishing rod about one’s person – but that’s another story!). As one earwig said to the other “earwigo” (puns getting worse) – in to the Rye goes the “body” – out goes the fishing line and we creep round to the other side of the lake, paying out the line as we go. The Sergeant, being a central player in the wind up, has, naturally put the new Wopsie on foot patrol on the A40 near the Rye. Quick radio call for her assistance – body in the water feebly struggling and she is off like a blue clad avenger – It is a late summer evening and it is almost, but not quite dark and with some energetic tugging on the line, we managed to get the dummy out into the middle of the lake and splashing about. She appears on the scene – we are all hidden in the bushes on the other side, some 20 yards away. My word she’s keen – off with the sensible shoes, off with the skirt – my word she’s wearing stockings and suspenders ! and in to the slimy, duck shit covered lake like a long dog and swimming well! – Sure enough, we wind in, she swims further, and just before she catches up with the dummy at the bank we all stand up, and so does she, a vision in a wet white police shirt and stocks and shocks !
Slightly offset by pond weed and duck shit ! – but non the less a sight to behold – and guess what – some swine has “borrowed” the Polaroid camera from Custody and Snap Snap and the evidence is all there – For a small while there was a sharp intake of breath – but when it sunk in she realised she had been well and truly “had” she took it in good part – although for some time afterwards the polariod photos circulated in the men’s locker rooms. Strangely enough she didn’t enter the National Life Saving competitions that year !! and many a young policeman’s erotic fantasies were satisfied by the photos (I wonder where they ended up ??
Tuesday, November 09, 2004
Blast from the Past
In hindsight I'm amazed that my liver stood for it (do livers stand ?)
Of course as soon as the rain slowed down to "standard Irish" we were out and about again and sweating out the accumulation of several months of spirits by running !!! round the airfield - God we were young and fit
Monday, November 08, 2004
Mens Rea - The criminal mind - (Or perhaps mindless Criminal)
How about the burglar who tried to jemmy a door open, failed so he smashed a window, cut himself climbing through leaving a trail of blood behind him up the stairway, stole a laptop computer, then still bleeding, ran out straight into the arms of a response unit as he had set the alarm off when trying to jemmy the door !
Or the bloke that broke into his neighbour’s hours, stole their carpets and re-laid it in his own lounge – he then left the trimmings out for the dustmen ! and wondered why the neighbour called the police !
Perhaps the man arrested for harassment who had been writing letters to his ex-partner and signing them with his own name ! he wondered why he had been arrested as he didn’t think we had any evidence it was him – ho hum
Best one recently – a man bought a fancy new computer with a stolen credit card – then took out an extended warranty including home service – in his own name
I’ll get me coat
Wednesday, November 03, 2004
Are You really ringing 999 for this ?
Caller on Christmas morning
"Can you tell me if John Lewis's sale starts on Boxing day or is it the day after ?" - Operator
"Why did you ring 999 for this ?" - Caller
"Well there's no one else open who I can ask is there ?"
Is there some sort of logic in this ?
"My next door neighbour walks his dog on the grass by my house every day to do its business - he cleans up the poo but does nothing about it peeing can yhou send an officer to tell him to clean it up "
For a bit of a reverse - we get a genuine call at 2 oclock in the morning stating that there is a naked man running along the IDR in Reading (Inner Distribution Road for those unfamiliar with the town)
Radio operator puts out "Observations" and sure enough one young earnest probationer comes back up on the radio "Any description please"
I ask you ! how many naked men would be likely to be running down the IDR at 0200 on a chilly morning
Radio operator was quick though "If there's more than one we'll all come and have a look" smart girl that operator
Ah well - if it wasn't for these little gems occasionally we'd have a boring life
Tuesday, November 02, 2004
Return of the Mog
more stupid 999 calls and strange and wonderful happenings in the murky world of policing