Bank Holidays: a time for family, friends and fighting

There are recognised trends that, pretty much, give the cops an idea of the types of incidents they might have deal with in a particular tour of duty. Bank Holiday weekends, for instance, often combine families, friends and alcohol; add sunshine, barbecues and neighbours and you have a heady mixture. In our house when we have a row we cross swords with sarcasm, spite and verbosity; other families’ lack of education, failure to have learnt adequate social skills and poor communication skills make their techniques for resolving family disputes more limited.

The radio message we received, early yesterday evening, filled us with dread:
“We’ve got a report of a large scale disturbance in Jade Goody Way – can you attend, over.”
This wasn’t really a question but an order,
“Roger, show us to it – any back up?”
That was a real question; Jade Goody Way is a hell hole where some of the worst families in our city uneasily rub shoulders with each other. Sirens on, to alert people of our impending arrival, as much as to get us through the traffic, we made our way with haste, though our insides screamed at us to run away, rather than face fighting with these hard bitten people.

Pulling into Jade Goody, apart from the usual thud of an object hitting the side of the car – in this case a chicken leg, we were met with an eerily silent scene of mayhem. Burger buns strewn across the street, blood or ketchup splashes on the road – and no we didn’t dip our finger in it to test- a sherry trifle apparently flung at the front of a house, a glass topped table splintered in the street and fence panels kicked out of a number of scruffy front gardens. At the centre of it all a ’03 black Range Rover with its door open and engine running. We approached the car and were joined by a skin headed man aged about 35yrs wearing a smart brown suit and cream crew neck sweater; around his neck was more gold than I could afford with six month’s wages – but not nice gold: thick garish kerb necklaces and the like. If he had been a dog he would have been an Staffordshire Bull Terrier, I recognised him as Terry O’Neil a National Crime Squad target criminal:
“Can I help you officers?”, his voice an amused, feigned, interest in us,
“We’ve had a report of a disturbance in the street here – it looks like there’s been quite a scrap” I said,
“No problem here miss” he replied, using the term of address of people who have spent time in prison.
“All the same, we’ve got to investigate, I’ll knock on some doors”.
“Help yourself miss, but nothing has happened, you’ll see.”
He leant against the Range Rover and casually lit a cigarette, watching as we picked our way through the debris towards the trifle-attacked address. The door was open so we shouted and entered, there was nobody in the house, but at the back was a group of two women and a man; he was nursing a bloody nose; the gas barbecue was incinerating forgotten chicken legs. Our inquiries were met with stone-wall denials of any incident; we met the same response at each of the houses we visited. At the houses that seemed to have escaped involvement, there was no reply, at the others the best explanation we were given was that it had been a ‘wild party’.

Frustrated we left, O’Neil nodded consiprationally at us as we left, our tyres crunching on crockery; he strolled over to the first address we visited as we pulled away. We had spent 30 minutes for what?

Later, I bumped into one of the Jade Goody alcoholics leaving the off licence with three 3- litre bottles of White Lightening; I asked him what was at the bottom of the dispute. To save face for him I made it look like I was turning him over – not that I had cause – he emptied his pockets as he told me that O’Neil’s brother lives in the close and had revealed, in a drunken state of O’Neil family invulnerability, that he had been shagging women at three different addresses in the street. Not unexpectedly it had kicked off and O’Neil had been called by his brother, whisked away somewhere and O’ Neil had returned with compensation – though how much you get for having your girlfriend/wife/lover shagged by the brother of a big league crook goodness only knows.

I had some useful intelligence for the National Crime Squad (who, for all I know, could have O’Neil under surveillance and been watching it all); but I find incidents like this madly frustrating. In this climate of targets, we – the police – can not afford to spend time investigating incidents and crimes where we are not welcome. What did I have to show for this? No crime recorded, no victim identified, no suspect arrested: no tick in the box.

And on another level, are there communities that, with people like O’Neil in them, live outside the rules and morals that govern the rest of us, I felt superfluous on that street: O’Neil was the man sorting it out, not us.

April 9, 2007. alcohol, anti-social behaviour, crime, Easter, life, philosophy, police, sex. 6 comments.

I’ve been tagged…

…not the type of tag that keeps you indoors when you would rather be out robbing; but the type that you used to get when you were little followed by the words “You’re it…”. So, I’m it and I have to choose seven songs or albums that feature in my life at the moment. I had a look at some of the others on the tag list to get some ideas and was particularly inspired by Nurse Myra’s work themed selection. Here’s my go:

  1. First off is too obvious really and is a follow up to last weeks duty: Police and Thieves by The Clash. This is a track that haunts me; my dad loves The Clash he says they are the backdrop of the rebellious youth that was never his, or something like that. Every time I am on nights you can guess what he is singing, in that awful embarrassing dad way, as I leave the house…it’s no wonder I’m single.
  2. Next is the ‘getting ready to go out’ track that everyone has; you know what I mean- bra and panties, hairbrush, and half a bottle of wine before you leave the house. Please don’t laugh…it’s Gina G with Ohh Ahhh Just a Little Bit…Oh come on! I was thirteen for goodness sake.
  3. Oasis, Don’t Look Back in Anger; I grew up with Oasis, everyone I know loves them.
  4. What do you think of the latest Take That single? I love it and for people who were at school when I was it’s great: Take That were huge then and now they are huge again; and they’ve stuffed it up that poncey arrogant sod Robbie Williams. Anyway, the track of theirs on my MP3 player that makes me want to sit down and sigh (even if I’m in the gym) is: Back for Good
  5. Kylie or Madonna? My girl icon is Madonna and my favourite album is Music. I can’t believe she has been having hits longer than I’ve been alive and still manages to be so cool.
  6. Arctic Monkeys, Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor. I know I go to clubs and dance to a lot of crap that has never seen a real musical instrument; but I think, at heart, I’m my dad’s daughter. This band are where I think the future of music should be: real people playing real instruments and not just going after the big deal all the time. The Arctic Monkeys started off here – on the web – and I was there; I downloaded their songs before they were huge. If I could persuade my friends that studentsville was cool, I’d be at alternative gigs all the time..hey ho.
  7. Lastly another of my dad’s classics that seems to be in my DNA. I don’t know how he ever convinced his police mates that he was so establishment oriented, all he ever did when we were kids was take the p**s out of his job; still never did me any harm. He loves Elvis Costello and Watching the Detectives is just great.

I’m off today and tomorrow (annual leave today and bank holiday tomorrow, hooray!) going to the seaside with friends tomorrow if it’s nice, and taking our Easter eggs, you don’t know where I can get one do you?!

P.S. I’ve just looked through the list of categories to include this post in and couldn’t find many: they make pretty grim reading, I must have a horrid life!

P.P.S. I only had two people to tag in my blogroll who hadn’t already been done!

April 5, 2007. Easter, girl-stuff, life. 4 comments.

Rob from the rich and sell to the poor (at very reasonable prices)

Picture the scene: a Transit van trundles from an early morning call at the inner city wholesalers heading to a small shop on the rural outskirts of our glorious city. The beautifully crafted Lindt Easter eggs are intended to make a profit from weekend tourists to the expensive village craft shop. The yokel driver pulls into the local all night garage for some cigarettes and is offered tea and conversation by the kind and lonely local garage attendant. Whilst the van is on the forecourt, parked where directed – so as not to obstruct the pumps – another Transit van, this one rather scruffier, reverses up to the rear doors of the egg laden van and in a matter of moments liberates the contents intended for the rich into the back of a van of the poor.

We role up in response to the shocked call of the attendant who is consoling the van owner; in any case I need to visit the garage because, going off topic for the moment, I’ve been told that the van used in last week’s bogus official incident went there for petrol and there is a CCTV tape waiting for me. Anyway, blow me if the small area of the forecourt where the van was directed to park isn’t the only bit of the forecourt not covered by CCTV; would you believe it?

I take details from the bitter eggless van man and speak to the shocked local garage attendant who is stunned that such a thing could happen on her watch – after all, how did the thieves know to pick that van? At police school they teach you about body language, it is uncannily telling when someone is being less than honest, but evidentially useless.

I guess that local enquiries will reveal that Lindt Easter eggs are popular in our inner city community this year; and I guess that they will all have been bought from Asda or Tesco (“…but I seem to have mislaid the receipt officer…”); and I guess, in a week’s time all the evidence will have disappeared – a modern Easter miracle.

April 4, 2007. Chocolate, crime, Easter, life, night duty, police. 3 comments.