This is the official blog of ex-Sgt Ellie Bloggs. I was a real live police constable then sergeant for twelve years, on the real live front line of England. I'm now a real live non-police person. All the facts I recount are true, and are not secrets. If they don't want me blogging about it, they shouldn't do it. PS If you don't pay tax, you don't (or didn't) pay my salary.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The British Elite

In our first week in training school we were pre-warned that an incident was going to take place in the classroom at a random time. We would have to observe the incident and write a statement about it afterwards. This was very exciting to us new recruits and we were on tenterhooks for days just waiting for it.

Then, on the third day of the week, the door burst open in the middle of a lesson about stop-searches. A man walked in. He was stocky, stubbled, good-looking in a smouldering kind of way. He crossed the classroom behind the trainer, who stared at him for a moment before continuing with her lesson. He took up a position behind the podium, hands in pockets, an expression of brooding on his face. He was clearly about to act.

For ten minutes our gazes were fastened on him; we were breathless with excitement. Most of the class surreptitiously noted down his description in their pocketbooks. We all watched him unerringly as he fiddled with bits of paper, tapped some keys on the computer screen and popped the tops on and off marker pens.

Then he nodded to the trainer and walked out. We were a little disappointed that the "incident" was so tame, but one girl got out some statement paper and started recording it nonetheless. At this point the trainer spotted her and asked what she was doing, and on hearing the answer collapsed in hysterical laughter for a good five minutes.

It turned out the man was just another trainer, at a loose end for ten minutes, who had popped in to observe a colleague's lesson.

Good thing we weren't training for some kind of special important role, where powers of deduction and observation would be required.

Copyright of PC Bloggs.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read that with interest and made careful notes myself....I'm due to be starting my training course in the New Year so will be one of the people making all these mistakes!

19 September, 2007 17:44

Blogger Jumped Up Suit said...

LOL. Exactly the same ploy happened to me/us in my intake. Do you think it is some kind of special training device they use? I was bo**ocked afterwards 'cos I was spotted taking notes for my statement. I suppose that will learn me for being such a swot.
Thanks for your blog, it has cheered me up recently and inspired me to begin one of my own. Purely for my own satisfaction.
Keep it up.

19 September, 2007 23:33

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha ha, we had one of these incidents as well, except they didn't warn us that we would be having to write a statement on it, so nobody really paid attention or made any notes. Hardly fair, and when we told the next class about it we got a bollocking for helping them out!
Fortunately the man worked in the nick so we sneaked down to get a look to get a good description!

19 September, 2007 23:51

Blogger alanorei said...

My late dad was at a real incident once (well, twice, actually, but that's another story).

The incident stretched the powers of observation and deduction to the very limits of capacity of the local law enforcement at the time.

Unfortunately, the crime itself exceeded even these limts and remains unsolved to this day, though the eventual outcome had its positive aspects, as will become evident.

The incident happened at a place called Big Bell (now a ghost town), in the Murchison goldfields of Western Australia, near the Murchison River about 400 miles nor-nor-east of Perth, in about the mid-to-late 1930s, when Dad was in his mid-to-late twenties.

Dad was actually assisting the local police constable, as a sort of PCSO, though a very different individual from many of today's teenage equivalents.

He was over 6 feet tall, well-built and a talented boxer and Australian Rules football player. He was also level-headed and well educated, particularly for those times and, obviously, public spirited. His actual occupation, i.e. day job, was as a mining engineer and he thus worked part-time in the evenings with the local constable, who was a Scotsman, known universally as Jock (of course).

(It is possible that Jock was an early example of those intrepid souls emigrating from the old country to policing in pastures new overseas.)

One night, a local poultry owner complained to Jock that some unscrupulous felon had pinched his four White Leghorns.

Jock swiftly set up* an incident room in the bar of the local pub, reckoned to be the only venue in town large enough to fulfil this function.

*The crime scene apparently yielded no clues.

Whereupon most of the townsfolk convened to assist Jock (and Dad) with enquiries. It was well after closing time but group pressure soon persuaded the landlord to open the bar.

During the resulting atmosphere of conviviality, it was decided to round up all the available poultry in the area to see if the owner of the missing Leghorns could locate his stolen birds amongst them.

This was duly done and no fewer than forty fowls were collected and arranged along the benches around the walls of the bar room, where they commendably remained quite docile, each with its head tucked under its wing, fast asleep.

The downside was, they were all Black Orpingtons.

And they definitely all belonged to another local poultryman, who was judged to be entirely innocent of the theft.

Regrettably, the missing White Leghorns were never found. It was obviously deemed futile to declare any kind of 'White Leghorn Amnesty.'

On the plus side however,

a) The forty Black Orpingtons were all returned to their grateful owner safe and sound, when they were no longer needed as evidence.

b) Both the investigation team and all those assisting with enquiries were able to down a good few pints*. (Dad recalled that "Jock was gloriously drunk" by the end of the night - the investigation lasted until after sunup the next day, so the team clearly stuck to their task with a will, though Dad couldn't recall much of its latter stages.)

*Including the owners of the Black Orpingtons and the absent White Leghorns, I guess. Possibly even the thief - perhaps criminals had some 'rights' even in those days, provided they remained undetected.

c) As I recall from Dad's account, the paperwork required was, at most, minimal.

I guess the moral is, anyone emigrating from the UK to join a police force in the (former) colonies might well encounter some unusual incidents that are still capable of testing powers of observation and deduction to the full.

20 September, 2007 00:04

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