The Dark Arts
These take place at 8.30am, and are attended by the duty sergeant, a local intelligence officer, the Local Police Area Commander, and representatives from various departments. There is also a woman in a long-sleeved red top who sits in the corner. Her job is to burrow through every computer system we own and collate a list of what crimes have occurred overnight. She reads out each one, and the LPA Commander decides whether or not he can alter its classification. Quite a few burglaries are transformed into thefts, and several broken car windows change from attempted thefts to criminal damages.
Having reduced Blandmore's "volume crime" figures by 5%, the LPA Commander then goes onto solve a number of offences himself. For example, the burglary at Corinthian Way where the glass was removed from the rear patio window.
"Who does that kind of thing?" he will muse.
The pressure is on. The local intelligence officer suggests a few names of burglars who are known to prise glass out of windows. The duty sergeant will say that one of them was seen by the night shift on the weekend.
Now that we know who has committed the burglary, the LPA Commander sets an action for the early shift to arrest the offender.
Next, there is a round-up from each department. The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) run through all the incidents which response officers botched the night before, and the LPA Commander requests that a few emails are sent to the officers' inspector. Then, the detective sergeant responsible for "DA" speaks up. I have not heard of this department before, but his report also consists of all the incidents botched by response officers the night before, and the LPA Commander requests that a few more emails are sent, this time to a different inspector.
My sergeant will then tell everyone how we have half the number of officers on duty that we should, and the LPA Commander tells him to make sure this number improves throughout the day. The priority of the day is set. It is to erradicate racism from Blandmore.
As we leave, I ask my sergeant what "DA" is. It turns out Domestic Violence has been re-named overnight, and Violence is now Abuse.
The representatives of each department trudge back upstairs to begin collating the sheets of statistics for tomorrow's meeting. It will take most of the day.
The LPA Commander asks the woman in the red top to make him a cup of coffee, while he prepares to go through everything again in the Later Morning Meeting.
I turn my radio back on and race straight out to a report of a fight in progress. I fail to erradicate racism that day or the next, but no one minds.
'Diary of an On-Call Girl' is available in all good bookstores and online.