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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Monday, May 09, 2011

Picture the Scene

Last night at work we received a call from a member of the public saying that two helicopters had flown over a neighbouring property and one of them had crashed nearby and then blown up.  Then twenty-four blokes abseiled onto the roof of the address and a few shots were heard inside.

In the control room, the tactical inspector asked for background checks on the caller, in particular any record of them on the mental health database.  Then intelligence checks on the address, only the caller wasn't sure exactly which house was targeted only that it had a big high wall around it and the family kept themselves to themselves.

After ten minutes, the inspector decided to get some Armed Response Vehicles into the area, but had them hold off a few miles away waiting for instructions.  When the second and third calls came in, reporting loud noises in the air and gunfire, the ARVs were told to wait while a local unit did a drive-by in a marked car to try and confirm the account.  From half a mile away, the neighbourhood beat officer reported seeing smoke and a military helicopter hovering over a property not far from the local army training school.

The ARVs were stood down and the control room got on the phone to the training school - no, they had no exercises running.  Next they phoned the army itself - no, they weren't aware of any drills or operations taking place in that area of Blandshire.  Finally the call went in to the SAS, who said they'd get back to us.  Half an hour had now passed.  

Some local units put on a wide containment around the area, waiting for instructions.  After a further fifteen minutes they reported seeing one helicopter lift off and fly away.  It didn't appear to be a British chopper either.

The SAS scrambled their own helicopters and fast response teams, getting them in the air within twenty minutes.  But they still arrived nearly two hours after the action from the nearest army base with that kind of emergency call-out capability.  At which point they were miffed to find people with gunshot wounds and the extended family of an internationally-renowned terrorist.

OK, this didn't happen in Blandshire.  But it's my best projection of how we might respond if it did.  And that's assuming anyone would dial 999 at all - I think most Britons would assume this kind of operation was ratified by the government.

Pakistan got its military teams to the site near Abbottabad within the hour, just missing the US Seals flying off with Osama bin Laden's body.  Pakistan is much bigger than Britain.

The options:
  1. Pakistan has action-ready SWAT teams all over the country, to deploy to such an incident at a moment's notice.
  2. The US phoned up as the mission started - though that would still make it a quick response.
  3. Pakistan knew of and approved the operation, but can't admit it for fear of civil unrest.  The charade being played out now in the media is just that, and it's the price America agreed to pay for getting OBL.
Thoughts?  Comments?  I know where my money is.

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


Anonymous A Polis Man said...

1st and sooo right

09 May, 2011 21:01

Anonymous Larry Lard said...

Option 4: Pakistan is not currently (officially) engaged in any foreign wars, so *all* its (considerable) armed forces are *right there* in the country, making the in-country deployment of a military team far far quicker than it would be in the UK.

10 May, 2011 08:13

Blogger Jack Brooks said...

There's one intelligence database you failed to mention which would have given you a 'live' commentary on the situation: Twitter. :-)

10 May, 2011 08:27

Anonymous Anonymous said...

OBL is not yet dead, though Obama was correct in that he'll never walk this Earth again, as after being tortured for everything he knows in some out of the way place like say Diego Garcia, he'll be put too death by lethal injection and the body fed to the sharks.

End of.

10 May, 2011 16:23

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or option 5 the Pakistanis just respond immediately to reports of gunfire incidents without treble checking everything first.

10 May, 2011 17:10

Anonymous Lance Manley- former STAB PROOF SCARECEROW said...

Are you aware Bloggsy, that if you cut and paste your blog address to Inspector Gadget's comments section it links to a Rick Astley video on YouTube?

Funny though.

Oh, and...6th!

10 May, 2011 17:50

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you said in your post that there was a military training base about half a mile away. They could have waken up, had tea and toast and walked over in under an hour. But I guess that wouldn't make sure a good theory would it?

10 May, 2011 19:21

Blogger PC Bloggs said...

Training academies do not normally have specialist teams with helicopters ready to respond to incidents. A few recruits who haven't learned to fire a gun yet might have made it over there though.

10 May, 2011 19:57

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Point the first, unlike Pakistan, we have fairly decent border containment measures. The US could probably get a couple of stealth choppers in if they wanted to, but no-one else can.

Point the second, that wasn't any old training base. It was the senior training school of the Pakistani army. It would be a scrappy operation, but Sandhurst could quite easily mobilise a small but punchy force at very short notice, if the troops were in town.

Point the third, Pakistan is essentially a military dictatorship in sheep's clothing and has been at a state of war or near-war for most of its independent existence. The fact it is able to respond to an armed incursion at short notice is not surprising.

10 May, 2011 20:37

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Officer cadets in training would not be deployed (by UK or Pakistan) as any kind of "reaction force" for an incident of this type. Any such response would have to be by a formed unit at a high state of readiness.

I think your point is well made though, regarding the hand-wringing stand-off we (the British Police) would conduct... whereas the Pakistani authorities clearly have a more robust approach to the risk assessment process than we do :-)

11 May, 2011 07:54

Anonymous Mad Mick said...

Ah....robust approach.....must be SMT in Druids' clothing.

14 May, 2011 21:33

Blogger staghounds said...

Shhh! You are not supposed to look at that! Over here, SEALS!

That struck me as hilarious too, the mere hour response time to a "surprise".

I know good and well that no American city of 300,000- not even Columbus, Ga. or Newburgh, across the river from West Point- could have a military helicopter and armed response team on the site of a civil crime complaint in the middle of the night that quickly.

NYC, DC, and LA might.

Equally interesting is that they could scramble a helicopter to see the team leave, but not jets to shoot the "invaders" down.

My money is on a U. S. general and a couple of big beefy sergeants paying a call on some Pakistani general to warn him and monitor his communications personally while he sood down the air defenses.

20 May, 2011 15:24


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