I thought we had it tough
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.
'Diary of an On-Call Girl' is available in some bookstores and online.