Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Flat Out

“I pay your wages.”

“Just do your job.”

“She stole a packet of chewing gum – you need to arrest her!”

Just who do these people think they are, giving us orders? Please bear with me – I want to get something off my chest.

I'm beginning to feel as if people assume police constables are either dishonest or lazy, but does anybody realise how hard the LPM is pushing officers?

Sir Bernard's Local Policing Model has achieved a remarkable magic trick – spectacularly reducing resources and forcing officers to be Jacks-of-all-trades, now that Sir Bernard has closed the supporting departments. We've always been strapped, but the inefficiency has become absurd.

Last week one of my friends in the Metropolitan Police Service – lets call him Graham – worked flat out from 1pm to 11pm dealing with minor crime, neighbour disputes and mopping up the paperwork and endless work returns. His only 'meal break' was the usual Subway sandwich at the keyboard.

At 11.15pm, about to go off duty, Graham and a colleague found a young Asian man with an abdominal stab wound. They gave him first aid, potentially saving his life, then accompanied him to hospital in an ambulance. Graham knew he wouldn't be going home that night.

In hospital the lad was resentful and uncooperative, refusing to give details of the stabbing, yet maintaining that he wanted Graham to investigate the incident.

“Look bruv, I been stabbed, innit!”

At 2am the lad was stitched and discharged. Nevertheless, he told the doctor:

“I'm staying here tonight, yeah?” as if the ICU ward is a free hotel.

When Graham pointed out the twenty pound note in his pocket and suggested he take a taxi home the lad became aggressive and demanding.

“I didn't ask to be brought here – you gotta take me home innit.”

Graham explained that he had no vehicle and would himself have to make his own way back to the police station.

At 4am Graham had been on duty fifteen hours and was back in the station creating the crime report. He found the young man's police record: twenty-seven pages of convictions and arrests including sexual assaults, assault on police, carrying weapons and drugs, robbery and burglary.

At 5am Graham finished the report and adopted a sleep-like state on an impromptu bed of coats on the floor. At 7am, stinking of body odour and with a headache and stiff back, he tidied up the coats and continued his paperwork.

He booked the lad's bloodied clothes into the store at another station and delivered the paperwork to the detectives' office.

By 2pm he had consumed nothing over the previous twenty hours except biscuits and a gallon of coffee. About to eat, he was instead sent to a shop where a customer had exposed his genitals. Graham finished statements and paperwork at 6pm, viewed the CCTV – noting the cameras and times when the man's penis was visible, then finally went off duty.

It emerged that the young man has a history of slashing himself to gain sympathy and attention - Munchausen Syndrome - and that's what he did this time. He wasted twenty hours of Graham's time, not to mention a bed in the Intensive Care Unit and hours of surgeons' and detectives' time.

He deserves time in court for making a false allegation, but that won't happen because he will be considered vulnerable and mentally-ill.

When Graham finally boarded his train home he had worked twenty-seven of the previous twenty-nine hours and felt ill.

Let get this straight – police constables work hard.

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- Justice and Chaos