11 calls - no arrests
I always hate the twelve hour day shift, a horrible early start and a long drag of a day!
First call of the day to assist the council with a "urgent assistance – disturbance heard in background" a cynical glance from my driver but we treated it with blues and twos. On arrival the council worker came out to greet us, he didn't expect us to attend on blues so was quite perplexed. He explained the problem that the venue was a butcher's and he was an environmental health officer trying to report the owner for waste offences. However as soon as he had explained his business the shopkeeper suddenly forgot how he had been speaking English for the last 5 minutes. He showed us the problem, which was a wheelie bin full to the brim with rotting meat, not to mention the blood trickling out onto the pavement from the bottom of it. Of course it was causing the neighbours some rightful concern especially because we could smell it from about 30 yards away. We managed to establish his identity for the council using a number of unofficial passing interpreters and let them get on with their day.
On route back to the station for some toast and we were called to a personal attack alarm at a local garage that we were right on top of. These calls are very rarely genuine and this one was no different. I say we were right on top of it but the name of the garage was totally wrong so despite driving through the correct garage's forecourt to turn around we still managed to take 5 minutes to get to it!
Next up – Assist the LAS with a "collapse behind locked doors". I dread these calls, the occupant is either dead or you have fun putting a door in only to find the occupant is on holiday or simply not in. It was off our sector but with the division short of units we went anyway. On arrival at the flat (on the fourth floor I might add!) the door was already opened and LAS were on scene. I could see a pair of elderly legs and we were met at the door by the informant who was a neighbour – the sort of neighbour I would like if I ever get old – who said the lady had fallen and banged her head the evening before and been there ever since. I stuck my head in to say hello to the LAS and was met by the most putrid smell – the lady hadn't been able to get to the toilet after falling. I quickly stepped out of the flat, grabbing the callsign of the ambulance and leaving the scene. The ambulance had it covered.
Smelly call number 3 next. Back to our sector to deal with a drug addict in a church "Tourniquet and needle sticking out of foot – LAS en route". Again, met by the informant who told us the male was actually inside the church – we were expecting to find him in the graveyard or outside. We went in to find a male exactly as the description on the call – sitting with an array of litter and drug paraphernalia around him (the syringe still embedded in his foot – yuk!) I shouted at him to get up, which he did – eventually. We made him pick up all his litter and recap the needle and soon got him out of the church. He hadn't overdosed and was just on a normal hit so we cancelled the LAS they have better things to deal with. A quick name check and he was told in no uncertain terms that a place of prayer was no place to shoot up.
At the moment I'm coming to the end of a posting in the 'big car' – this is an colloquial name for the RT or pursuit car on the borough. Every now and then people don't stop for police and the specialist task of this vehicle is to take control of the pursuit as soon as possible as this driver is the highest trained. I have never engaged in a pursuit before and today was my first whiff of one. A colleague had tried to stop a moped and they had sped off, we were nearby and so we were assigned. I grabbed the radio handset which we're supposed to use which transmits to the entire of South London – eek. Unfortunately a garbled commentary from our pursuing colleagues and a far more agile moped managed to get away before we got close enough for a proper chase. I'm sure it will happen again. On the plus side one of his mates was tracked down a little while later and arrested by a colleague because he had a stolen tax disc!
Dragged over to another sector then for males causing a disturbance in the communal area of a block of flats. We checked all the communal areas (which were insecure – doesn't help keeping non-tenants out!). The communal area in question stank of human liquid – nice smell no.4. The call required no more than words of advice to the informant – i.e. Get the communal doors fixed and then only residents can get in!
Some Nando's and a cup of tea next and some routine patrolling in a lull in calls whiled away some of the afternoon. Aiming to get on with some ongoing cases we headed back to the station hoping not to leave it again before home time. Unfortunately it was short lived and an intruder alarm at a police building (not a station just some offices) dragged us out onto the street again screaming up the busy high street dodging pedestrians. Again it was a non-event. I always worry that I get complacent with these calls but I go to an average of 5 a day and not one has been genuine yet. We still had a glimmer of hope of getting off on time but we were in that last hour of suspension before the next shift cover comes on where time stands still. If something comes out now we will be late off.
It did – abandoned telephone call for police "distressed female crying heard in the background". Off on the blues again and shortly later we were on scene met by a man holding his child. After we established he had called police we entered the house and I spotted his wife lying on the floor wheezing. This struck me as rather odd but it didn't seem to faze our informant. Apparently she always does this and he doesn't know why so my colleague and I decided to lift her up (she was breathing at least!). We sat her up against the wall but she didn't respond to voice or pain. Her eyes were flickering and to me it looked like R.E.M but I thought it may be fitting. I decided to call an ambulance as a precaution and asked the usual – low blood pressure, epilepsy, diabetes. She woke up but it didn't help – she couldn't speak much English. Although we did establish that she hadn't been assaulted so that was fine all we had to do was wait for the ambulance. To be fair they weren't long and were happy for us to go whilst they assessed her in the back.
Back to the station, handed over to the night duty and we still managed to get off on time – which was a result. We have to make sure all our calls are resulted before we go off duty otherwise we return to work with a snotty email so its good practice to check just before you go off duty.