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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Friday, November 27, 2009

I thought we had it tough

Last night in custody I faced the polite question: "R U a dyke or wot?" [written as spoken]

No, it wasn't the PACE Inspector coming to ask why I was perched behind the custody sergeant's shoulder shadowing her for the day, but a female being booked in for obstructing officers trying to interview her children about alleged sexual abuse by a relative. Yes, you did read that right.

To some of our customers, the concept of a female police officer is still most surprising. Which in itself is surprising given their profile in television dramas and on the streets. Somehow people seem to imagine that we are given the uniform and all the gear, but still don't do quite the same job as the men.

Admittedly, most female officers police in a slightly different way to males. Partly because we're able to: believe it or not there are still some guys out there who are loath to punch a girl in the face. Partly because we have to: believe it or not there are still some guys out there more than willing to punch a girl in the face. I get hit by a guy, I'm going down. Therefore I don't get hit.

But in all honesty as a 21st Century Acting Police Sergeant, I can say with 100% confidence that there is no job I wouldn't give to a female on my shift - at least not just because she's female. I'd go further and say there isn't a sergeant at Blandmore who would consciously discriminate in what he/she expects of his male and female officers. For one simple reason: he can't. We don't have enough staff to cover the bare essentials expected of us, let alone if we start worrying about what gender we send to what.

That's not a good thing: sometimes it's nice to have a range of sexes and sizes to choose from when assessing who to bosh in the next door when the enforcer's not available, or who to deal with the serial complainant who makes sexual advances on all male officers.

But if nothing else, at least it's given women on the front-line a chance to evidence for themselves that they really are capable and incapable in the same measures as their male colleagues.

And when I look at the job Isabella Mcmanus is doing in Afganistan, I count myself lucky just to be called a dyke every other week.




Quote of the week: "I saw a man carrying a handgun in the beer and wine aisle... I went to pay for my shopping and then to buy cigarettes."
Then again, if she'd run away from the gun-toting maniac without paying, she'd probably have been arrested a month down the line after a civilian investigator sent the arrest pack down.


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

11 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the Link to McManus, nice to hear a positive story.
Re stereo typing, People only see their mirror image, unless, thus education [to draw out] is required to open minds.
According to Hobbes men are continually in competition for honor and dignity and because of this there arises envy and hatred.

Dungbeetle.

27 November, 2009 21:22

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re the quote - you're obviously not from North Kent - we don't nick our fags, but a bloke with a gun won't stop us from buying them.

27 November, 2009 23:00

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since when has "evidence" beome a verb? lol

I would really like an honest answer to a question I have been wanting to ask a serving officer for some time, so I wonder if you could give it some thought and perhaps post an entry on it?

How compartmentaised do you feel the modern neighbourhood or response officer is in today's Police Forces?

Now by that I am wondering how, or indeed if, officers are encouraged to consider the wider criminal justice picture, or whether they are forced to be blinkered to achieve targets.

As a member of the public it seems officers have been forced away from a discretionary "advice and guidance" role, to rigidly following the letter of what they have been told to do.

Is this as a result of moving to situational based training rather than learning the laws enacted by Parliament, points to prove etc.

I appreciate that is a bit of biggy question but I'd be interested on your views on it.

Many thanks, keep blogging and don't let them shut you down.

28 November, 2009 08:49

 
Anonymous TheBinarySurfer said...

PCB - Isabella McManus undoubtedly has a tough job. Puzzles me why she didnt go out as a private contractor though.
The pay is massive - a friend was offered in excess of £4k tax free a week to take a high-risk training post in Iraq a not long after they went in again (when it was still extremely high-risk as opposed to medium-high now).

He turned it down after his partner veto'ed it, but still, there's some serious money to be maid out there.

28 November, 2009 11:16

 
Blogger PC Bloggs said...

"Evidenced" most certainly can be and is used as a verb, in the same way that "previous" has become a noun in the police.

As for whether we consider the wider "criminal justice picture" - is that really the job of the front-line bobby? Being a police officer isn't rocket science. It's at a higher level that the blinkers are on, in my opinion.

28 November, 2009 15:50

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon at 0849.

Many words get twisted to simply abbreviate procedures in the police.

e.g Crimed, nocrimed, evidenced.

Most industries have these. Police ones seem to see the light of day more due to TV dramas and reality cop shows. Thats just language evolving. You used the term "compartmentalised". Which I am sure was not a word 30 years ago.

As for the question of do we see the bigger picture?. The answer is yes most of us do. However we often do not have the luxuary of being able to let this influence our actions due to pressures from the following:-

Victim / public expectations.
Upholding the law / keeping the Queen's peace.
Expected impartiality.
Expectations of senior ranks.
Current Government initiatives.
Community Impact factors.
The need to make decisions quickly often in fast paced dangerous situations.
Officer experience.

This list is not comprehensive and is just a few off the top of my head. Sometimes we get it right sometime we get it wrong.

However in the majority of situations inaction is not an option and it is very easy to analyise a situation after the event using the benefit of hindsight to apportion blame.

This is why we get very annoyed by the likes of the press for critisising us when they have not had the experience of having to do this or are not in possession of the often limited facts available to the officer when they HAVE to make the decision in the heat of the moment.

PC A HUNN

28 November, 2009 17:13

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello. And Bye.

29 November, 2009 09:03

 
OpenID inspectorgadget said...

"there is no job I wouldn't give to a female on my shift - at least not just because she's female"

Does that include making the tea?

(Someone had to say it)

29 November, 2009 19:42

 
Anonymous R/T said...

RE: tea - there's been a lovely "white" paper ( a training thingy, I think) going round MP for ages. It's written like a lesson aid and is very funny. Maybe MCM could use his extensive IT powers to post it?

30 November, 2009 15:39

 
Anonymous A Polis Man said...

Tea, when do get time to drink tea, old governor moved on a while ago, new one doesn't like drinks in parade so not even a chance before it all goes hell in a handcart!

01 December, 2009 11:11

 
Blogger Kimpatsu said...

But in all honesty as a 21st Century Acting Police Sergeant, I can say with 100% confidence that there is no job I wouldn't give to a female on my shift.
Including strip-searching a male suspect? And, would the converse also be true...?

19 December, 2009 04:42

 

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