This is the official blog of Sgt Ellie Bloggs, a real live police sergeant on the front line of England. It's not the official opinion of my police force, but 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 pay my salary.


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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

From Chapter 12 - 'Missing':

On 7th July 2005, I worked a night shift. I came home and briefly switched on the news to see that the London Underground had come to a jarring halt over some kind of faulty fuse.

When I woke up, the faulty fuse turned out to have been a team of suicide bombers.

For the next three months, people came up to me and said, ‘You must be awfully busy at the moment, with all the troubles.’

I would nod sagely and agree that I was, indeed, awfully busy. Blandmore town centre being the United Kingdom’s hub of international trade and politics, we were hit with an outbreak of Terror in the form of flour smeared on post-boxes and children’s backpacks left in restaurants. Every other town in the country was the same.

In actual fact, I contributed in no way whatsoever to the investigation into the London Bombings. I may even have hindered it, by continuing to attend robberies, assaults and shopliftings without any regard for the magnitude of worldwide events.

One positive thing that came out of the Bombings was emails like this:

From: Jack Bauer, Counter-Terrorist Unit, Blandshire Constabulary

To: All officers and staff, Blandshire Constabulary

Subject: Terrorism

Officers attending incidents involving suspicious packages should adhere rigidly to force policy: on receiving a call, Operation Sapper should be informed (if there really is an Op Sapper anywhere in the UK, sorry – I made this name up).

Operation Sapper will advise the officer of the protocol. In most cases, the caller should be advised that the police are taking no action and it is really up to them to deal with the problem.

On occasions when an officer does attend, the package should be examined. If the package contains white powder, this is a possible ANTHRAX attack. In which case the officer should forensically seal the item and isolate it from public contact. (An example of this might be wrapping it in Clingfilm and putting it in the bin.)

If the item turns out to be suspicious, the officer should inform Operation Sapper who will send a specialist unit to assess the scene.

Officers should bear in mind that it might be an idea to move away from the package before using their personal radio to transmit a signal. Operation Sapper can provide no guidance on how far away it might be an idea to move.

OK, you had to read between the lines a bit, but that was the gist. I can safely say that this sort of advice has saved my life on no less than zero occasions.

It is now Monday. In my job, this brings no more groans than any other day of the week. Indeed, the day begins sweetly enough with my being wrapped up in a big fluorescent ribbon and sent forth into the town to Reassure the Public.

We have to go out of the side door, as the front counter is closed with police tape across the doors. The sergeant informs me that someone walked in and slit her wrists in the centre of the foyer yesterday. It is being investigated as a possible complaint against police.

An hour of foot patrol later, Will and I are in full Reassurance mode, just in time for the shops to actually open at 10am. We have traversed the pedestrian zone four times and seen absolutely nobody in fear of crime, which is surely a sign that we are doing our job well. In fact, we have seen absolutely nobody whatsoever, which is an even better sign.

‘I hate foot patrol,’ I moan.

‘But why?’ He is genuinely amazed. ‘It’s real police work.’

‘That’s fine and dandy, but I have twelve jobs in my docket and could do with some time to go and do the enquiries for them all.’

He shrugs. ‘Yes, but if you go back inside you’ll be sent out to another incident, and you’ll collect another investigation.’

His logic is infallible.

‘So you think we should go out on foot all the time?’

‘Oh no,’ he says. ‘If we did that, there wouldn’t be enough people to go to all the fights and murders. They’d have to do something drastic, like recruiting more police officers.’

‘Now you’re just being silly.’

We walk on with an air of friendly amusement.

You may find it hard to believe, but despite recent developments in our personal lives, Will and I actually manage to make our way about town without diving into doorways to feel each other up. That’s just how professional we are. I have cast the occasional sneaky glance at him, though, and for that I am ashamed.

At 10.05am, however, our rambling is interrupted by a flustered young woman.

‘Have you seen my son?’ she gasps.

As I have seen no-one, this doesn’t take much considering. ‘No, why?’

‘He’s missing.’

‘How old is he?’

‘Four. He’s called Ali.’

This calls for my pocketbook. I record a description of the toddler and broadcast it over my radio for everyone to be aware of.

‘Where did you last see him?’ I say.

‘By the train station.’ She waves her arm in that general direction. ‘He was right behind me. We walked down from the Porle on the way to his nursery school. Then I turned around and he was gone.’

‘Can you show us where exactly?’ I begin to tread towards the station, but the woman is hovering.

‘Well... ’

‘Yes?’

‘Well, I need to get on, really.’

Get on?’

‘I’m late for the hairdressers.’

My confusion must show on my face, for she produces a mobile phone and elaborates. ‘I’ll just be round the corner at Chanterelle’s Hair and Beauty. If I give you my number, can you tell me if you find him?’


To read the conclusion of this tale of woe, order 'Diary of an On-Call Girl' now.


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'Diary of an On-Call Girl' is available in some bookstores and online.

18 Comments:

Anonymous Seasprite said...

At least you had some "policy" in force ref seizing anthrax! We just made it up as we went along. Oh hang on, nothing new there then! The white powder ended up being stored in the garages under the nick at the Inspectors suggestion.Hmmm.

29 July, 2008 09:00

 
Anonymous Simon said...

Ordered a copy Bloggs. Have been resisting for a while due to skintness and tightness but finally gave in. You win...

29 July, 2008 09:16

 
Blogger jerym said...

I read that about the woman and the hairdressers in your book and could`nt believe it then either. Come on Bloggs did you make it up?

29 July, 2008 09:52

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am somewhat stunned that any mother could be so casual about their 4 year old child going missing. I would expect them to be frantic with worry, not casually continuing with their day while they leave it up to the police to find him.

AJ

29 July, 2008 10:37

 
Anonymous weepeecee said...

A teenager went missing on my patch once. I was on patrol that evening and was flagged down by a bloke who turned out to be her dad.
He was out looking for her! With a torch and a mobile phone and everthing! And it was past midnight!
Brought a tear to my eye, it did.

Back at the station I told others what I'd seen. I don't think anyone really believed me.

29 July, 2008 11:43

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's better than we usually get round our way:

"My son/daughter has not turned up after school. I phoned his/her social worker and they said to ring the police."

29 July, 2008 12:40

 
Blogger PC Bloggs said...

It's completely true, with descriptions/names/location altered to protect the child's identity.

29 July, 2008 13:43

 
Blogger PC Bloggs said...

In fact, might be worth adding that everything in my book is true and happened to me personally, hence I can describe it with some authority.

But the sad fact is, even though I have disguised people's identities, had I not bothered it would still be virtually impossible to identify my force/area or any of the characters. There are people like them, behaving identically, in every town and city in the country. In fact I have had emails from bobbies from numerous different forces claiming I MUST be from their force. I haven't done anything clever to conceal myself, it's just the same picture all over the country and in some cases, the world.

29 July, 2008 13:47

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

unbelieveable. funny but sad.

29 July, 2008 16:32

 
Anonymous Elliott said...

Was working at a festival in a not very nice area and had a woman who lost an 18 month old child...

Now any intelligent person would have informed the police, stewards, medical team etc...

No she sent her TWO AND A HALF year old to look for his lost brother.. With the inevitable results!!

Thankfully the two children were found unharmed...

There are people that mean we need more lifeguards in the gene pool.

29 July, 2008 21:53

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was thinking of putting in a "req note" for a filing cabinet on wheels/castors - so I could pull it around or else tie it to the back of the panda car

Said cabinet would contain... obviously every form needed, plus copies of the policy and procedure on everything which our force has produced ( this has expanded greatly in the past few years and puts the EUs 70 000 words on the export of duck eggs to shame!)

I believe I have more chance of getting said filing cabinet than a "mobile data terminal"

29 July, 2008 22:24

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

""I read that about the woman and the hairdressers in your book and could`nt believe it then either. Come on Bloggs did you make it up?""

You know this is true after just a couple of days wiping the backsides of the underclass.
As someone famous once said " you can't polish a turd".

29 July, 2008 22:27

 
Anonymous Dave H. said...

We're doomed, such people have the largest families.

Totally OT, earlier in the year you asked for examples of ludicrous defences (after Mark Dixie's attempt to increase his sentence with 'had sex with her but didn't realise she was dead...').

One of the liquid bomb plotters just tried this:
'He said he had been considering starting up a fireworks business, although he said that he did not have a licence.'(BBC)

Yep, in the absence of decent Standard bangers it's perfectly reasonable to improvise your own using high explosives.

Should the caution be 'You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence if you come out with utter crap.'

I suppose in his case it won't make a lot of difference.

30 July, 2008 10:46

 
Anonymous TheBinarySurfer said...

I've gotten my paws on your book Ms Bloggs, pretty good read too.

As for the above, good parenting all around!

Nothing surprises me with the underclass after i first-aided at a well known Jazz event in Wales some years ago.

Cue one frightened, injured child who appears to be drunk and who had fallen on some broken glass(not serious just painful).

Two hours of searching the area with a copper and another first-aider calling his mothers name (when a 6-7 year old kid calls his mother "Charlie" and swears enough turn the air blue when you try and clean up his cuts you know the kind of person you're going to find).

Several hours later, Mum is still absent and our friendly copper has contacted the local child social services.

Cue a few radio squelches back and forth between the copper and his control, followed by another copper arrives asking after the child.

Apparently they'd arrested the Mother earlier for trying to gouge chunks out of another woman with a corkscrew when she "spoke to her boyfriend" during one of the morning acts (11am).

The mother was so drunk it had taken her nearly 5 hours to sober up enough to remember she had a child and that he wasn't with her now...

Sad thing is i bet every police reader here goes "I have several 'Customers' like/worse than that"...

I really do want a fitness to parent test introduced... /Sigh

30 July, 2008 13:30

 
Anonymous Susie said...

The missing boy is one of my favourite extracts.
I also loved Shimona's trip to the cells and her belief that she couldn't have been arrested because no-one had put her in hand cuffs. Brilliant.
Everyone who is saying how much they love the book should put a review on Amazon - that might encourage a few more people to buy it.

30 July, 2008 13:52

 
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15 April, 2009 10:39

 

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