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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Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Real Police Woman

Every time I try to describe what it's like to be a police officer, I think about PC Sharon Beshenivsky. She was shot dead as she attended a routine panic alarm activation at a travel agents. In Real Crime on Monday night, they showed how police tracked down the killers.

Somehow the case sums up exactly what it is like to be a police officer in modern Britain, it's simply a
matter of degree.

As a woman, you patrol with a female colleague, or a male one, or alone, with no distinction.

You patrol with officers of just a few months' service, when you only have a few yourself.

You are called to an emergency when you're trying to get off on time for your four-year-old's birthday party.

It's always a false alarm when you zoom there with heart racing. When you go expecting apologies, it's never a false alarm.

The crime is nearly always solvable, and it always comes down to CCTV, car registrations, random fortuitous eye witnesses, and DNA. How many vans you get to pick up your suspects may vary.

Somewhere along the way, the case will involve someone who should or could or would have been deported, only wasn't.

As a police officer, you think that no one outside the police can understand.

But actually, they do.

I don't why PC Beshenivsky's death seems so important. It could be because she was so young in service, on such a routine call. It could be because members of the public were the first to run to her aid, and later left tributes, flowers and even a sculpture at the site of her death. It could even be, dares admit this hardened feminist, because she was a woman, crewed with another woman, shot to death in the street on her child's birthday while her husband made the party preparations at home.

Strangely, the fact that she was female was actually the least relevant factor in the entire case. The robbers ran out armed, within seconds discharged bullets at the sight of the police. They would have had no idea they had killed and injured two women until later. Sharon was not even the first female officer to be murdered on duty.

But for me, the shooting of Sharon Beshenivsky and Teresa Milburn came early in my career, when I was at a similar level of service, and was attending panic alarm activations on a weekly basis. It was a time when I was
clamouring about female equality, and expected to do exactly the same jobs as the boys I worked with, and to do them just as well or better. I suppose it summed up just what equality could really mean.

As a female sergeant now, and one of many in my area, I don't have a moment to think about PC Beshenivsky when working out my crewings. I don't have enough officers to be picky about who they work with, and I wouldn't be even if I did. There is literally no time or money for sexism in my day-to-day job. My female officers do exactly the same work as the men, and they are equally likely to get gunned down in the street on their way to a routine commitment.

Which is why I never miss an opportunity to spend a few minutes in a briefing talking about cases like PC Beshenivsky, and thinking about how we drive by, where we park and how we approach the most routine of calls.

If one of my shifts ended the way Sharon Beshenivsky's sergeant's did on 18th November 2005, I am not sure I'd ever go into work again.

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


Blogger MPS Probbie said...

An excellent post; well-written and spot-on in every detail.

19 August, 2010 09:33

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful writing. I can still feel the hairs on the back of my beck standing up.

19 August, 2010 11:20

Blogger Hogday said...

I lost a close colleague before I'd completed 2 years service. Murdered whilst trying to arrest 4 in a stolen car. I spent the rest of my service telling those I was responsible for leading, probably ad nauseum, that there is no such thing as a routine stop and to never risk their lives trying to get a thief out of a stolen car, when society valued my friends life with a sentence of 4 years imprisonment. Don't ever stop reminding your officers.

19 August, 2010 12:36

Blogger Hogday said...

Further to my last, above, images do stay with you. The Sgt in this article is a member of my family. He is holding one of his officers, WPc Yvonne Fletcher, machine gunned to death by a man in the Lybian Embassy. It is our duty to remember and ensure that others do to, especially the results of these cases.

19 August, 2010 13:01

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was working that night, as a probationer constable (Oh, sorry, someone got a pay rise from changing that, it's STUDENT Constable nowadays..) very new in service, some 15 miles away from where Sharon was gunned down. The first I heard of it was my mobile phone ringing with various family members asking if I was OK. It is a night that I have never forgotten, and as a consequence, as routine as they are I never forget that night when attending panic alarms. 999 times out of 1000 there may be nothing to it, but that 1 time there is something dangerous I do not wish for any officer to be caught out. SC Glenn Goodman not too far away in North Yorkshire was also gunned down on a vehicle stop, again that was far from routine. It's a dangerous job and the danger always seem to come when we least expect it. Keep safe out there guys to all my colleagues in all the forces and lets not forget our colleagues, and the lessons we can learn that might save ours or a colleagues life some day.

19 August, 2010 15:04

Blogger Tulip said...

We treat thugs so lightly, a telling off, an admonishment, a warning...

We teach them it is ok, teach them to carry on doing what they do, we teach them that it is acceptable to have no respect for the police and authority.

And then we wonder why it happens!

My heart sinks when an officer, or a member of the Armed Services gets maimed or killed in the line of thier duty. My heart breaks when I hear of a 90 year old ex-serviceman killed for a pittance and a bus pass.

But, it is your world, and you have to make the rules, and you have to enforce them.

Sadly, as an older person in the community, it seems you are desparate to learn nothing from the elders, those who have instilled discipline, earned respect and gained confidence from members of the public.

Life is just too easy for you today, and you want it to be even easier.

20 August, 2010 09:11

Anonymous Ron Broxted said...

Wear the uniform, pay the price. New Scotland Yard delenda est.

20 August, 2010 12:41

Anonymous 20-1 said...

Maybe if you can't say anything nice, you shouldn't say anything at all.

20 August, 2010 18:30

Blogger CSI Guy said...

Fantastic read Sarge.

20 August, 2010 19:51

Anonymous Ron Broxted said...

@20-1, firstly I am surprised P.C Ellie Bloggs kept the comment up.Last night I had to deal with the PSNI/RUC/B Specials trying to intimidate a peaceful protest outside the BBC. Derry not quite so peaceful where they baton charged Taigs daring not to be 2nd class citizens. But back to England. You banned your pals in the EDL/BNP from Bradford. A pity as we wanted a result. After Tomlinson's murder we decided not just to get even but teach you a lesson. See you at the barricades and remember...ball baerings under police horses hooves work wonders.

21 August, 2010 11:35

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ron Broxted,
Excellent post - you clearly have learnt a lot from the Israelis about the art of PR.
Placing an anti-police post which combines a bigoted and stereotypical view of the police service on a post about the death of an officer engaged in trying to prevent an armed robbery - that really takes the biscuit.
Adding to that PR triumph by fomenting further disorder against the police is just incredible.
Beshenivsky died whilst trying to stop criminals - you know those people that we protect you from whilst you are busy calling us fascist pigs and worrying about your civil rights to cause disorder.
The fact you can conflate the conflict in Northern Ireland, the anti-Israeli protest, the G20 and the EDL suggests that you truly are a rebel without a cause, as long as the protest might involve a ruck.

Incidentally I've always found the Palestinians to be extremely decent, friendly and honourable people unlike the variety of rent-a-mob swampies who jump on the bandwagon and ruin every peaceful protest.
That goes for when I lived in the Middle East too.
If you want to do something useful then f@@k off in a boat and break the blockade.

21 August, 2010 14:55

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Tulip....Do you not regard this world as also belonging to you? It is your world too, unless you are an alien from another planet, who has learnt our language and how to use a computer here.

There has been, and no doubt always will be, a great deal of argument and debate about "the rules" and who must enforce them. It may have escaped your attention, but the last government brought in thousands of new "rules", some of which made no sense whatsoever and were unfair.

If I was in a position to make the rules, I would put right a lot of the nonsense that has evolved regarding "Child Protection". Parents would not be accused of child abuse for instilling a sense of discipline, and respect for authority in their children. This needs to happen to restore the authority and security of the family. Then we would see an improvement in the behaviour of the young in our communities.

And paedophiles who violate the innocence of children WOULD be subjected to surgical castration, by law, as a punishment for their vile deviant crime. Harsh? No. Justice - Yes, because paedophiles are callous and dangerous individuals who really do not give a damn about the harm they inflict upon their victims, families and society as a whole.

But I am interested to learn exactly who are "the elders" to whom you refer. Would these be religious "elders" perhaps?
Or the elder heads of state, the Monarchy? It's quite true that at least ONE HRH has not been taken seriously enough, regarding his deep concern for the dangers facing this planet. Some people have been very rude about him and his life long noble quest to help save us all from a global tragedy.

However, I can assure you dear Tulip, that my life has never been "easy", not for a long time and certainly not "today", nor yesterday for that matter.

After a long time of struggle and hard work on planet earth, having reached my 60th year, yes, I DO expect life to be a little bit easier for me now; because I know that I deserve that small blessing.
However, there are some mean minded individuals who would begrudge me that mercy in old age.

22 August, 2010 01:31

Anonymous Anonymous said...

How many people have died and will die at the hands of the police but the police will never see the inside of a court room...Most if not all of the people who kill cops will go to prison,,,The police are just way above the law maybe thats why the public just dont give a shit about you.

22 August, 2010 02:56

Anonymous Ron Broxted said...

Apres moi le deluge.

22 August, 2010 13:35

Anonymous painauchocolat said...

Ron, if you're going to post in foreign languages in an attempt to look intelligent, then at least take the time to do it properly.

Otherwise people might think you look a bit silly, and who would want that?

22 August, 2010 17:36

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon @2.56......Some coppers who have commited the act of murder against their partner, have seen the inside of a court and been sent to prison for it.

There are bad people in all walks of life and in every profession, and yes some of them have gotten away with serious crimes. However, it is a bit naive to assume that ALL police officers are bad people who are "above the law".

The Home Office has had the final say and has sanctioned quite a few cover ups of coppers gone bad, often because there were paedophile judiciary involved in it too. It would be wrong and unfair to blame EVERY single police officer for the wrong doing of a few bad men.

That's like punishing the whole class in school, because just a few break the rules.

22 August, 2010 20:52

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, all the comments above relate exactly to the original post. None at all have been posted to devalue a life Ron.

I couldn't resist having a quick read of the RON BROXTED webpage. For the cops on here think L.O.B. I don't think his outpourings will be meriting any awards soon.

So in short.......I think regularly of cops paying the ultimate price for serving the public and as an ex-military also the squaddies dying day by day in far away lands. I then ask myself if I can be worthy of them and their actions.

Dig deep and give to 'HELP FOR HEROES' and if you are of a mind 'C.O.P.S'

If you have read my comments....thanks

22 August, 2010 21:15

Anonymous Ron Broxted said...

@painintherear Pashel ti na moi khiu. @anon 21.15 Orwell, fixed. Put your trust in your sword and your sword in the police. Army = brave, plod = cowards.

23 August, 2010 12:57

Anonymous weepeecee said...

I've never quite been able to figure out why so many people who apparently dislike the police seem to spend hours and hours reading police related blogs and then spewing up barely literate comments. Most odd.

23 August, 2010 14:34

Anonymous Anonymous said...

weepeecee,, so you know how we feel.

23 August, 2010 17:26

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems like only yesterday that the shooting of pc beshivnesky happened.
I think that her death was made all the more poignant by her childs birthday, and how that child will never again enjoy a birthday in the same way. I suppose it also shows that every Police officer that dies on duty leaves a family and often kids behind. As a Mum the very thought of leaving my young child behind like that leaves me cold.
To all of those that are disrespecting those officers who died just remember they are people whose families greive too. The very children they went out and did that job to provide for have an empty place on all those special occasions. The parents, spouses, siblings and friends that forever have a hole in their lives, something missing.
Just have a bit of compassion and respect.

23 August, 2010 23:12

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stay safe Tango.

23 August, 2010 23:44

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, R.I.P Sharon Beshenivsky, poor lass, and yes at least her force did get the callous scum who killed her, which is the very least they could do under the circumstances. As Sharon was a fellow officer in uniform and on duty when she was shot and killed.
Nobody would have expected anything less than a determined hunt for her killers.

Anon @1.02- 23 August.....You asked where had I "got" the information from that cops who have killed their partners/wives have seen the inside of a court and been sent to prison. Reported news anon, and a fact.

Personally I don't agree with nor support cops who have been heavy handed and as a result MoP's have died.
If those cops senior officers give them support [or not] because the incidents happened whilst on duty, you CANNOT justifiably blame ALL police officers for the mistakes or the bad behaviour of a few.

It is you who is a naive and rather ignorant fool, to think that "the whole class" should take the blame. The heavy handed actions of individual cops are NOT a "joint venture", unless there is pre-meditated planning to inflict deliberate harm on someone.

Sharon Beshenivsky was a woman, a mother and a human being who lost her life serving the public. She deserves some respect. But that's something you don't appear to have for her departed soul, so shame on you.

You prove that there are scum in the ranks of the MoP's with your comments on a post about the murder of a WPC, a young wife and a mother of a small child.

24 August, 2010 03:10

Anonymous Ron Broxted said...

Do the police know the sheer odium and hatred they are held in by all of society? In my youth (Brixton 81) it was just ethnic minorities. Then the thick blue line decided to alieante Mrs O'Grady driving back from Tescos (Is that what you call a real criminal?) Last time I saw you "dealing" with crime was (of course) political, 2 hippies holding up a Stop The War placard. None of you say what your job is when you aren't in uniform. too shit scared of meeting I Bredrin one on one. Brave? Now THAT is funny.

24 August, 2010 11:45

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a large part of decent society that supports police. Please don't presume to speak for us.

24 August, 2010 11:58

Anonymous Ron Broxted said...

Minty/Anon/Whomever, that is not support. It falls into 2 halves, fear and what can be termed servility. The fear is wearing thin, when just one slave says No the nation begins to shiver.

24 August, 2010 12:34

Anonymous weepeecee said...

Oh! Oh it's all stuff you've seen on the NEWS, is it? Well alright then!


24 August, 2010 13:00

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are getting there. It's at least a semblance of an argument now. Have you discovered Google?
I suggest you have a look at the difference between a jury at crown court "convicting" someone, and an inquest jury making a finding of "open" and "unlawful killing".
Perhaps it would be worth researching civil and criminal standard of proof whilst you are at it.

It's still a tragedy, but I struggle to see it's relevance to the entirely unrelated death of an unarmed police officer in a completely different force in entirely different circumstances.

Clearly concepts any more complicated than "police=bad" are a bit hard for you to grasp, so why not just carry on posting "cops are scum". It's easier for you to type and it's less for us to read.


24 August, 2010 15:26

Anonymous Adrian Peirson said...

Divide and ConqEUr, the Power elite would like nothing more than for the public and the place to be alienated from each other.

It's all by design.


24 August, 2010 21:01

Anonymous painauchocolat said...

Not all of the public hate the police, as claimed above.

Many of us recognise that they are doing an increasingly hard job in difficult and dangerous circumstances.

So, Anon et al, please don't pretend you speak for us all. You do not.

24 August, 2010 21:09

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon at 20.51... Clearly you havn't bothered to read my posts before you tell me am hated. Tang0 is right, I'm not a copper. Just a law abiding mop who supports the police. The silent majority.

24 August, 2010 22:16

Anonymous Anonymous said...

painauchocolat, if your mail is for me,
i never said ALL the public hate the police.

24 August, 2010 22:34

Anonymous Anonymous said...

To support comments above a lot of people respect the police who do a job enforcing laws that make little sense, control by rules that make less, with people whom make none.

No police force can rule without the support of the people. I seen both sides of the police and I can always say they been decent people and I like them better when they turned up and told me it would not be going further because there was no evidence (which is what I said 6 months before...such is life). I seen a bent copper locked up and a police officer hit from behind… I would not wish the job, well done to those that can do it.

25 August, 2010 12:35

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a bit odd that weepeecee felt it was necessary to get sarcastic, because a poster pointed out, in defence of an accusation that the police get away with murder, that in fact they don't ALWAYS get away with it.

The fact that a couple of cases where cops have killed their wives and tried to make it look like a car accident, and were found out, charged, prosecuted, found guilty and sent to prison for murder, is a matter of common knowledge. The cases were reported in the public domain and on the TV news, which disproves the argument put foreward that the police always cover up murders done by police officers.

It appears to depend upon the circumstances and if paedophiles are involved, well yes, it has been covered up in the past, by the government of the day.

Obviously not ALL TV news reports are accurate and many an innocent person has been falsely accused throughout the decades. That sort of situation does not help the public to have full confidence in the police, and can cause a great deal of hostility and bad feelings towards them from the public.

27 August, 2010 02:43

Anonymous weepeecee said...

Yeah I apologise for that. I got a bit blinded by all the RAGE I had read in the comments and they all melded into one.

It does get wearing though. The media report some absolute bullshit about the police. It's hard not to become a bit defensive.

27 August, 2010 22:53

Anonymous Anonymous said...

its so simple, when people die in the care of the cops or at their hands they get away with it.... ok??
When cops kill their partners {out side of work} they get done, Ok??

To all none cops who read this site its run by a cop for cops.

Any anti cops stuff is deleted weather its true or not,
Their is very little support for the police, But when the police can kill people {Ian T} and never face a jury like you or I would,,,
Then a cops gets hurt or killed they want our support???? sorry NO,

28 August, 2010 03:02

Anonymous TheBinarySurfer said...

Probably one of your best / most poignant posts, definitely captures the difference between working in the emergency services (particularly the police) and an 'ordinary' job.

A 'bad day' at the office for us MoP's is someone losing the business money or screwing up paperwork; a bad day for you can mean getting shot or stabbed.

I think people don't realise this about the emergency services, particularly the police for 2 key reasons 1) general ignorance 2) discretion shows the 'human' side of every police officer to the public, and it's been largely taken away. No human side visible, no thought for the job you guys do. Just a thought.

28 August, 2010 12:36

Blogger blueknight said...

...... banned your pals in the EDL/BNP from Bradford. A pity as we wanted a result. After Tomlinson's murder we decided not just to get even but teach you a lesson. See you at the barricades and remember...ball baerings under police horses hooves work wonders.

If RB's gang had to invade the railway station, the first thing they would do is buy platform tickets....

30 August, 2010 20:55

Blogger Little Duck said...

Inspiring. Thank you.

02 September, 2010 21:33

Anonymous Just Woke Up said...

MoPs. Is that what you disrespectful fucktards call us these days? MoPs? That must make you laugh and laugh. Just for your info I am not a MoP, nor do I resemble a floor cleaning implement. I am an educated, lawful and peaceful human being and not a member of anything. And you wonder why you have so little fucking respect these days? I don't call you derogatory names or abbreviations. Maybe I should start?
How about CoPs (Common Purpose Servants)? Just a thought...

29 September, 2010 21:20


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