The yoof of today

I’ve been on a bit of an operation this week aimed at curbing incidents so frequent that they are simply titled YCA: Youths Causing Annoyance. What this basically means is tackling instances of anti-social behaviour by disenchanted young people hanging around – apparently- aimlessly. For us it means the wielding of techniques and powers such as the power to seize alcohol form under eighteens in public – an anomaly in the law being, until we were given this power, that all the offences relate to licensed premises i.e. the purchase and sale of alcohol to young people, not the possession of it by them. We also use a video team to capture images of the offenders, to use, where there are no blatant offences, to show their parents later – the idea being that the parents will be shocked into better parenting and curb their offspring’s excesses. That’s fine as far as it goes but presupposes that the parents actually give a damn.

I have to say though that the tolerance in the UK for all things young is low. Youths seem not to have to do very much to cause annoyance; simply hanging around on a street corner is annoying apparently and explanations to callers to the police by our control room staff of what the law considers anti-social behaviour to be, doesn’t wash. So I often feel that I am treading a line between enforcing the law and harassing kids who simply want to ‘hang’ with their mates. There is precious little will, it seems to me, to spend any money on providing the sorts of places that are actually likely to be used by today’s young people.

Anyway on a lighter note and talking of all things young; I have a week off next week and am hanging with my good friends Jacqui and Tracy in – this was an impulsive last minute thing – Argassi…what? you don’t know where it is?…it’s on the delightful (I am told) island of Zante (Greece, you uncultured lot!). And as if that wasn’t enough I shall be returning not to my regular beat but straight to the Force Driving School for my driving course – oh joy! I am very excited, though curious to see what the driving instructors are like, I am told they are predominantly older traffic officers and they – traffic officers – are a funny breed. So, from pedalo to police car: should be fun.

P.S. Sorry about the dodgy picture, I don’t know him – honest!

May 11, 2007. girl-stuff, life, police. 4 comments.

Duty – an old fashioned word

The comment from Grateful in my last post set me thinking about some of the reasons people give for being in the police and some of the qualities – if I can call them that – that are a prerequisite of being a cop. Grateful pointed out how the police had responded to an incident with professionalism and without judging any of the parties involved. I guess what they did was to carry out their duty without fear or favour. When you start to unpick that old fashioned cliché you see how that works in practice. For example I helped to police a demonstration against the war in Iraq a while ago. Marching alongside older people and young families, as well as the usual smattering of grubby anarchists, I found myself feeling that, inside, my views and feelings were such that I could just have easily have been out of uniform joining in the procession; but I didn’t, neither did I give any hint of my views or opinions even when goaded by the black flag waving types who assumed that I was only one step away from being a member of the third Reich: without fear or favour.

On another occasion I dealt with the victim of a vicious assault; this was different because the people who attacked him were members of his own community who felt that the law and judiciary had failed them. He was an alleged paedophile who, in the absence of forensic evidence and faced with a victim too young to give a detailed account had, as they say, got off with it. A community had decided that they would ensure that he did not get off with it and taken the matter into their own hands. No matter how distasteful or abhorrent his alleged crimes I still had to simply see a man who was suffering horrific injuries: without fear of favour.

Interestingly, it is often people who feel that they deserve being favoured who try to influence the way in which we do our job; a number of my colleagues have dealt with incidents involving celebrities – premiership footballers or soap stars – and been faced with “do you know who I am?..” and taken great pleasure in responding “No…should I?”

There is a world of difference – at least in today’s world – between some poor lonely chap far from home becoming the victim of the theft of his wallet out of his back trouser pocket by a young lady positioned in front so as to – ahem- reach into his pocket unnoticed; and the same thing happening to a premiership footballer – sigh – we could make a fortune…damned sense of duty!

April 29, 2007. crime, life, philosophy, police, Prostitutes, sex, Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Acting tough

OK, public order training: all operational cops – those who don’t wear suits; you know, the ones who turn up at your house when you dial 999 – have to do a minimum of two days a year training for the occasion when the societal wheel comes off and there is large scale public disorder. You’ll have seen the sort of thing on TV: cops dressed in crash hats, dark coloured overalls, looking mean and dodging missiles.

The training takes place at our purpose-built training centre, with a layout of streets, junctions, houses and shops, all there for rioters to riot in and for the police to save the world in. For most of us who like physical activity, it’s two days of fun and frolics, with no paperwork at the end; for those who don’t like physical activity it’s two days of hot, sweaty hell.

The two-day course consists of, on day one: running through the already familiar routines for dealing with crowds; dealing with angry armed people; dealing with brick hurling rioters (wooden bricks – but they still hurt if they hit an unprotected bit); taking junctions with a shield team; forcefully entering buildings whilst having tyres and bricks dropped on you from above; and dealing with petrol bombs. Day two of the course consists of an exercise that involves senior officers tackling a staged public order situation and designing a strategy and tactics that we then fulfil (with varying degrees of success).

The kit is heavy and uncomfortable; the only concession I make to femininity is to ensure that I have sufficient perfume (Issey Miyake is good: nice and fresh) to counter the sweaty, musty smell that lingers around your boiler suit by the end of the first session – I only wish my male colleagues would make the same concession.

Our PSU serial was lead by Sergeant Khan: he has been a sergeant for about 7 years and doesn’t , at the moment, feel that he has to be the best at everything – this makes for a good couple of days. His briefing went like this:

“You don’t have to be the best at this – we can have a laugh and enjoy it so long as, when the chips are down and the bosses are watching, we get it right.”

So that’s what we did; take this example:

A line of helmeted and booted police officers fill the width of a road carrying riot shields; they chant rhythmically to keep in line with each other: “One, two, one, two, one, two”; at a junction the cry goes up “Hold the line” and the wall of shields stop. We wait poised, bent slightly holding our shields, waiting for the familiar drill: the sergeant shouts loudly,
“Shield to the left what can you see?”
“ROAD CLEAR SARGE” comes the over-loud, enthusiastic response from a probationer who is on his first course with us.
“Shield to the right what can you see?”
The reply comes in a voice that is a remarkably good impression of the upper class accent of John LeMesurier,
“There are a number of people in the street sergeant, they look rather cross to me and I don’t quite like the look of them.”
The line of shields wobbles and sways with suppressed mirth until the cry goes up,
“Missile” and the first of a hail of wooden blocks come raining on and over us, bouncing of the helmets of those who haven’t learnt to keep their heads down. We wheel into the junction and disperse the rioters.

Taking off our helmets after defeating the rioters we have a break; the end of the break is something I dread: during the exercise we sweat profusely into the soft padding of our helmets; during the break the sweat cools in the foam of the helmet; after break replacing the soggy cold sweaty helmet is a truly unpleasant experience.

The angry person exercise is quite good, it is meant to replicate the, not uncommon, situation when someone really loses it in a house and we have to don protective clothing and use shields to subdue them in a corner of the room. This is one occasion when the lighter officers (and I don’t just mean the women, because there are some hefty policewomen and some very slight policemen) have a disadvantage. The theory is that you pin the person in the corner with your shields and lift the shields so the they cannot hit you with the weapon – in this case a pickaxe handle or baseball bat. The most successful way is not to beat around the bush in the doorway too long and to ram them quickly, people who hesitate end up with the angry person dodging behind them: you don’t want that. It works well in an empty room; but, I am told by those who have tried it, is a nightmare in a furnished one. As an aside, this routine for tackling a wild weapon wielding person used to be called the ‘angry man’; political correctness intervened and made it the angry person – there are many quips expressing surprise that it hasn’t yet become the ‘reasonably cross person with a justifiable grievance’.

The climax of the first day is the outdoor exercise to deal with petrol bombs. For this we don our flame-proof overalls and all take it seriously. In pairs we have to walk through a wall of flame as the instructors smash petrol bombs at our feet: chins down, shields held in front, you lose all vision as the whoosh of heat bursts over and around you as you step through the flames. It is quite amusing for everyone though, when a probationer has not been before – especially when their colleagues have been winding them up before hand, by telling them that the course instructors expect a smart appearance and will check that their boots are properly cleaned; in short, they are encouraged to ensure that there is plenty of boot polish on their boots. The boots are flame-proof but boot polish is highly flammable. As they step through the wall of fire you can see the momentary panic as two flaming feet dance around in order to extinguish their boots.

At the end of the day we have done well: had a laugh but also ensured that we can all work together at the drills and techniques if we need to for real. Then it’s off home for a long hot bath – a shower just won’t cut it when you feel like this.

April 16, 2007. crime, girl-stuff, life, police, Uncategorized. 2 comments.

Dads and Daughters

I sometimes worry that my mum feels left out of some of the conversations I have with my dad about policing. Watching The Bill on TV I constantly carp about procedure and dad constantly compares to ‘his day’. The series Life On Mars had provided him with a host of reminiscences; he joined the police in 1972: right at the heart of the Mars years. “Was it really like that?” I ask, knowing the answer already – some of my older colleagues still remember the back end of that era – my dad goes misty eyed as he remembers the pre PACE (Police and Criminal Evidence Act) days when the rules that governed the detention and treatment of prisoners were far fewer and, in the main, left to the discretion of the honourable police. I ask my dad whether he thinks it was better:
“No not better” he replies, “It was often brutal and open to corruption, PACE is restrictive but it was necessary. We cocked it up for ourselves by not sorting out some of the bastards in the job at the time.”
At this stage my mum tells my dad to calm down; I can only guess at some of the memories that put so much bite into the word ‘bastards’.

I have two days public order training this week where men are men – and so are the women! I’ll tell you all about it soon.

Oh yes; seeing as everyone is talking about it: I loved the Life on Mars ending…ahh bless.

April 12, 2007. life, parents, philosophy, police, TV cops. Leave a comment.

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.

Getting it out of your system

I could not get the old lady victim of the other day out of my system. Sometimes it’s like that, things go round and round your head: what difference will it make to her if I catch the bastards who attacked her? How many other lives did they walk all over the same day? My dad says you just have to put things to the back of your mind; in the old days drink was the answer (even for my dad) – now we are a little more enlightened, at least some of us are. I went for a long run, then a sauna and then treated myself to a facial at the gym: my skin had gone blotchy, probably with stress so the lovely Babor face stuff they have there was more than justified in my view.

This question of incidents sticking with you is interesting; I had a conversation with my dad not so long ago: he claimed not to be troubled by some of the things he’d seen; but when I pushed him he could dredge up, in great detail, memories of suicides, murders and fatal road traffic accidents – I think he was a bit surprised by the way some of that detail had stuck. It makes you wonder about the ‘hard-man’ attitude of some of the lads when it comes to things like post-traumatic counselling after serious incidents like child death.

I’m on nights this weekend, should be action packed and full of things to tell you. I already have a little snippet of news from the nick, but will try and do that one afternoon after I get up.

March 30, 2007. Babor, girl-stuff, life, make-up, night duty, vulnerable people, working women. Leave a comment.

Springtime, and the vermin come out of hibernation

It’s spring; yesterday I thoroughly enjoyed a day of walking my beat in the fresh spring sunshine. Spring also brings out some of the worst types of crooks. I was sent to deal with a report of a bogus gardener. Doesn’t sound too bad does it? As you will see though, these people are some of the most cynical and heartless…I’m struggling for a word to describe them that isn’t extremely offensive.

Typically these characters pose as someone offering a service; they target older, vulnerable people, most commonly women, aged 80+, struggling to maintain their independence in their own home. They either simply con their way into the house and steal from these people or, as in this case, bully the victim into having unnecessary work done on their house or garden, then charging them hugely inflated prices. In this case the lady was 87yrs old, proud and independent – until now. She was visited by, what appeared to be, jobbing gardeners who, without asking her, trimmed trees and shrubs in her back garden. They then demanded £750 for the, appallingly shoddy, work. She had £500 pounds in the house(!); they agreed to settle for that (out of the goodness of their hearts). It was only after she told the home carer about the gardeners that the alarm was raised – she didn’t even want the carer to do anything about it because, having realised she’d been done over, she felt stupid.

My job is, predominantly, to investigate the crime and catch the crook; but I couldn’t help feeling that anything we did in that line was secondary to what this poor old woman needed. Sat in the quiet of her living room, amongst the faded wall paper and furniture that must have been from the 1970s, she looked small and crumpled, as if some of the stuffing had been taken out of her (I understand now where that phrase ‘knock the stuffing out of you…’ comes from). My instinct was to gather people around her: friends, relatives anyone to protect her; but she refused to let me contact any of her grown up children; “Don’t tell them, they’ll have me put in a home…” was her reasoning.

I’ll bust a gut to catch these crooks: neighbours have given a description of the white Transit pick-up van used and the name on the side: ‘Gary’s Gardens’, though doubtless the name will have changed by now. My best shot is that the van will have been picked up by CCTV passing near to the local shops; I’ve already arranged for it to be examined by a colleague on another shift whilst I’m on my rest days.

Even now I can’t help thinking about this incident (as you can tell). The most enduring thought I have is not just anger at these bullies; but rather that they have no idea what they are doing to people: they are stealing far more than money.

March 28, 2007. crime, life, police, vulnerable people. Leave a comment.

Early shift: have I told you what I look like in a morning?

Early shifts are not my favourite: four 7am to 5pm shifts are not good; by the end of the third I am ready for bed at 9pm – irrespective of whatever is on TV or whatever offers of hot nights-out come my way. Getting up at 5.32am (those two minutes are important) to be in work for 6.45 is not good and requires the application of rather more make-up than would otherwise be necessary – in fact, it requires the application of under-eye products more normally used by rather older women.

O.K. moaning finished; it’s my job.

Earlies are often a time for routine work: I get chance to walk my beat, catch up on paperwork and make any planned arrests; at least that’s the theory. They are also the time for being dumped-on with a hand-over prisoner: this involves processing a prisoner arrested by someone else on night duty who couldn’t deal with them at the time, for example because they (the prisoner) were too drunk to interview or were arrested too late in the shift to justify the overtime. Nobody likes to deal with a prisoner for which they are not going to get the credit – all the glory (and the tick on the stats sheet) goes to the arresting officer.

Sunday morning was one of those occasions, I was the only ‘walker’, therefore I was the only one who could be spared to deal with prisoners in the cells. There were three, arrested making-off from the scene of a factory burglary; each of them juvenile; each of them with an excuse for being in the vicinity of industrial premises at 4am. Not a promising start; and it got worse. Their parents would not turn out to the police station to act as Appropriate Adults (this is required by the Police and Criminal Evidence Act for juveniles). Even though they were already awake, having been woken by officers with authority to search their houses they were resolute; their attitudes ranging from “I’m sick of being dragged out of bed by the cops for him” to “It’s too early, ring me back nearer lunchtime and I’ll see what I can do”. This meant that we had to rely on either Social Services to provide someone, or a volunteer from the rota of accredited Appropriate Adults (the fact that this rota exists should tell you something). To add to the logistical nightmare each of the junior crooks wanted a solicitor and, they all had the name of a solicitor to hand – each wanted a different one: it was going to be a long morning.

After liaising with the Custody Officer I reviewed the partially prepared file left by the arresting officer; he had done a good job. The case summary was complete, up to the current moment, outlining the circumstances: a taxi driver had contacted the police to report two youths acting suspiciously (probably ‘dogging out’) near to a small engineering company on an industrial estate; shortly after, a report of an alarm activation was received from the same location and three youths, two wearing clothing described by the taxi driver, were arrested near by after a short chase of two of them; the other affecting an air of nonchalant innocence as he strolled along the street -“What me officer?” – it didn’t wash.

At the scene of the crime a lap-top, printer and cash box had been stacked near to a broken window, as if ready to pass through; they probably hadn’t banked on setting off the alarm and had clearly not thought through their plan; this was probably an opportunistic burglary.

I discussed the case with Geoff, the detective covering the morning shift and he agreed to sit in with me during the interviews; I like Geoff he is professional and, importantly for a detective, in my view, not patronising.

At about 9am we had assembled the Appropriate Adult and solicitor (or more accurately legal executive, your have to have done something really bad to get an actual solicitor!). I had my interview plan, so off we went – everyone seemed weary and over-familiar with the process.

The method of interviewing follows a model and it works to our favour when there are more than one inexperienced prisoner who are prepared to say more than “No comment”. We allow each interviewee time to give their account of the evening’s events from much earlier than the time of the crime up to the time of their arrest. And so it went, the first round of interviews produced widely varying tales that, in the second round, we would use to tie the suspects in knots: because they couldn’t speak to each other they had no idea what their mates were saying so we peppered the interview with phrases like:
“That’s not what Liam said, he reckons you two were out together all night…”. Quickly the over-mature, testosterone-teen attitudes withered to be replaced by indignation as they realised that their best mates were busy protecting their own backs.

Despite the wearying process I was pleased; in the event Geoff and I carried out a good set of interviews that resulted in an approximation of the truth, though the two that the taxi driver had seen claimed they didn’t know that the other lad was actually going to force his way into an office. He, so far as they were concerned, was only going for a pee around the corner, there goes that best mate thing again – he was on his own. Crime Scene Examiners later told us that they had found more than one set of finger prints on pieces of broken glass from the window, so we shall see.

Eventually, after a tortuous morning, and after liaison with the Crown Prosecution Representative, all three were bailed to return to the police station another day when the original officer in the case will have the results of the forensic examination and the facts could be presented to the Youth Offending Team for a decision whether or not to charge them.

With great pleasure I left the remainder of the paperwork for the arresting officer and went out for couple of hours walk around my beat before home time. Whatever happens to the burgling threesome, the hands of the judiciary are tied by their age in any case. Their intelligence records suggest that they are often up to no good and two of them already have cautions for theft offences. At the moment, they are pretty poor crooks: hence they got caught; but time and practice will serve to make them better. Evidence suggests that they are unlikely, having gone this far down that road, to be diverted from it. As I walked, I couldn’t help wondering, as I looked at the different kids and different families I passed, which would turn out OK and which parents would be too busy/tired/drunk to nip this sort of thing in the bud; or am I being too hard on parents with tough lives?

March 26, 2007. crime, girl-stuff, life, make-up, police. 1 comment.

Next Page »