We generally have an excellent relationship with the force here in Smalltown. They scratch our backs and we scratch back. Other times its like we are on different planets let alone teams. Here are some of the things that the Police Service do that drive me batshit insane.
- Ask us to watch somebody rather then actually dealing with it in the way it deserves (for example Head Stamping and watching a man die)
- Use the CCTV system as a diagnostic tool ignoring the experience and opinions of operators (no it all looks quiet at the moment (yes because he was stabbed before we put the images through dumbass))
- Try to bypass procedures. If you want a copy of footage for investigative purposes then CONTACT THE MAN EMPLOYED TO DO THIS! If it IS really needed urgently (yeah right!) then i will do a copy but you at least need to be bothered to get the request done.
- Tell me that x, y or z is around and ask me to watch them. I can’t do this, its called The European Convention on Human Rights.
- Avoid arresting people because it is a) busy b) near the end of your shift or c) the cells are full. 20 minutes after you blissfully bugger off home they ALWAYS bottle somebody, ie Head Stamping
- Sit in my control room and distract me when I am obviously busy. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE seeing you fellas (and girls…phwoar) but if I have 3 phones ringing and two radios bleating I’m probably not in the mood for company. I also will not be interested in “taking a look at that arrest you did last week”
- Wash up your coffee mugs after aforesaid visit.
- Don’t make me coffee on aforesaid visit.
- Sign in as PC Mickey Mouse and PC Daisy Duck, this causes questions to be asked at management level.
- Switching to an incident channel for something we have involvement in and not switching us over also.
- Use the term “No complaint so no offenses revealed” I don’t give a fuck if his girlfriend wont moan about being punched in the stomach I FUCKING SAW IT.
- Chase misspers that are really kids that have gone out…again.
- Put your damn hands inside your tunic. You look sloppy and if he pulls a knife wont be able to stop it plunging into your carotid. However this will lower the number of double napoleon tunic pocket fools.
- Ask me if we can see x, y or z location. We cant see it, we have never seen it and we wont be seeing it.
- Don’t ask if I can see x, y , z location when there is a camera right up its arsehole.
- Don’t bring me Percy Pigs!
This blog was never really intended for non vocational stuff but I think that it really needs saying.
Goodbye Michael, you will be sadly missed and fondly remembered.
And you sit.
Thumbs are twiddled.
Occasionally somebody will walk down the street on their way to work.
A crime may occur where you cant see, you will spin all cameras within a 30 mile radius in that direction hoping, praying for a slice of the action.
Maybe I will take up poetry.
My grunkirtle was sadly outrooth,
So I heptated the samoflange,
The group are bought to our attention by a local pub. It’s a very rowdy group of males probably on a stag evening (its early yet) and the licensee has had enough. He has successfully ejected them but keeping it that way…
He asks us for help. We swing the camera to his do and sure enough there are 6 burly young men fighting to get back in. The door takes a real hammering but as one of our more historical watering holes i have a solid wooden door rather then a silly glass one and the only thing even dented is their pride. We call Police HQ for assistance and patch through our images. Then we realise its “wannabee CCTV” on their radio. This is the time when our ability to pass images becomes a real liability. You see, its early, these guys are already pickled to the gills before most people have left home. They WILL be a problem later.
She listens intently as we pass details then says the fateful words. Can you keep a watch on them, I have nobody available. Contrary to this an officer pipes up “I can take a look if you want?”, no its OK we have them on CCTV it all looks OK.
Well fair enough by this time they HAVE moved on but I wouldn’t have said it was OK as they guys are very rowdy. We still have shoppers on the street and this really isn’t enamouring them to Smalltown. Instead they send a PCSO with the explicit instructions “not to engage” as this wholly pointless move will of course solve everything. (rather then just removing a PCSO from elsewhere).
Then they fall on one of their own, removing his trousers and pants, running off an leaving him fully debagged in front of the young and old of Smalltown. This indignity finally gets our recalcitrant dispatcher to do something, so she sends PC Ineffective.
They are just heading off up the main run of roads in the night economy when PC Ineffective arrives. He has a word (from the comfort of his car) and drives off. His write off is “They are going home now, can I book State 4? (lunch)”
We continue to watch the group who of course do go home.Via the local Wetherspoons. By this point hair is physically being torn from heads as we call up to the Control Room again. Oddly there is no-one available.
About 30 minutes later I am informed by another venue nearby that there are two groups who seem to be having “a disagreement”. I swing the nearest eye around and lo and behold is 4 of our 6 lads facing off against 3 lads and 2 girls. The argument is obviously heated. It turns to fisticuffs and one of our newcomers lands a lucky punch on a very drunken lads chin knocking him to the floor right by the safety railings. The attacker is quickly pulled away and the melee is considerable.
One scene haunts me even today. One of the “ladies” steps forward and grabs the top rail, jumping fully into the air and landing surely, with both booted feet, entirely on our prone males head. He had just began to lift it from the floor and he is knocked back down.
Our offenders make off and in amazement at what I have just seen I jump back onto airwave, unusually for me, demanding that officers attend on an A-grade. Thankfully she acquiesces.
Officers are dispatched to the victims, thank God its not PC Ineffective. We instead get PC Confused. he quickly tracks down the victim and details of the vicious assault are passed. He looks at the guy and decides not much has happed. He must have an iron skull!
We continue to monitor the offenders on another camera. They are in no hurry to leave the scene and are literally a street or so away. The woman of course shows her shame and guilt by laughingly re-enacting her double foot plant for a couple of passers by, obviously friends. Thankfully we direct more units to these and insist that CCTV evidence is such that they must be detained. They are.
I then, as always, start to doubt what I have seen, Maybe it wasn’t as bad as i thought? Thankfully Sergeant Placid decides to pop down to the Bunker to see exactly what has happened so he can decide what is to be done. I play the footage.
“JESUS CHRIST, SHES GOING AWAY FOR THAT!”
He also posits his surprise that the victim wasn’t more seriously hurt.
She initially intends to plead not guilty but changes her mind. I believe she was given a suspended sentence. Sometimes i still think of it and shiver. I wonder if she even remembers?
Sometimes people get drunk. Often they are men and rather large.
They get arrested for being Drunk and Incapable but are so big that backup is needed to lift them unwillingly into the van.
Then you find that its a real struggle to get them even near the van. Perfect solution. Bigger van.
The bigger van arrived. 6 Officers now manhandle the drunken fool into the back. As they lift 4 at the arms/shoulders 2 at the feet, bum hanging down. His trousers head south.
My camera has a perfect view of his bulbous buttocks, rather brown crack, winking ring and two rather saggy teabag like testicles. He is quickly covered up but not before I try to tear my still living eyes from their sockets and drown them in the strongest bleach I can find.
Somebody pass the Ajax!
Sometimes I wonder if this shit pays enough…
In the States they are elevators in the UK Lifts (why they haven’t a different name going the other way I don’t know, maybe people on the 13th floor do not want to take the “drop” down?) In my job we call them the sexo-pissarama-rooms.
Yes for some reason people do odd things in lifts. The most obvious is the use as a cubicle for the disposal of all that lovely blue bottle booze. You see, the reason that lifts stink like piss is because people piss in them. They also make a great place to take a crap though gladly the sight of someone curling out a donkey choker is rather more rare.
Another thing about lifts is the aphrodisiac qualities, people enter this small steel room and suddenly are all over each other. We know spring has sprung even in the bunker when a vertical ascent turns into the Smalltown equivalent of Spanish fly. Maybe they would be less…indescrete if they knew about the camera?
Well…no. People that spot the camera are always convinced that nobody has seen them. They wave and giggle, flash parts that are better left unflashed and indulge in all sorts of silliness.
One girl was being silly BEFORE she spotted the camera. I mean how many of us get into the lift and decide its the perfect place for a dance? Spot the camera and use the cunning method of continuing to dance but with an air of utter embarrassment. Then look panicked when the door is slow to open.
Then we have the strange urge that people have to put things in their mouths with we astounded watched two gentlemen perform with just the aid of their own bodies.
Its not just lifts though, the stairwells are also fantastic places to have sex, take drugs, wee and poo. Even, in the case of Drunken Oldman, a great place to kip (along with disabled loos)
Finally for those that were expecting the Geri Halliwell song, here you go. For those that were not, good luck getting it out of your head today!
This is an extract from an actual event in Ashford following which CCTV operators were arrested for manslaughter.
CCTV operators watched a homeless man die in toilets in Ashford but did nothing to summon help or medical aid, an inquest has been told.
Eric ‘The Viking’ Hughes was found dead outside the public loos in New Rents in November 2007.
He was spotted by police and concerned shopkeepers in the hours leading up to his death and CCTV crews were advised to monitor his condition.
Full article at the KENT NEWS website.
Now this brings some very interesting questions, in Smalltown we have people possibly collapsed/sleeping rough every day. We have a huge migrant population and a lot of these while away their lives drinking once they discover that the UK is not the land of milk and honey as previously thought. So what to do…
Lets put myself in the position of the operators on that fateful night in 2007. Eric apparently was a well known rough sleeper so wasn’t doing anything that he hadn’t done time and time before. Police discovered the man in the Toilets and asked CCTV to keep an eye on him, they did.
Later that night a concerned nightclub owner called up to report that he was still there and he was worried. CCTV being aware of him continue to watch.
Eric slowly dies of Hypothermia with alcohol complications. To the operator this would have looked like sleep.
Who was to blame, was it the Police for foisting the Duty of Care onto CCTV? Was it the nightclub owner for doing the same? Was it CCTV for not getting him checked again? I don’t think there is an answer but it is certainly frightening that in today’s blame culture I could be arrested for a serious crime simply because nobody else would take responsibility. Police could have checked that he was OK later in the evening. The club owner could have called an ambulance if his situation was that bad. Instead CCTV takes the blame, the fact that a CCTV camera is no replacement for going up and giving the guy a prod seems to have escaped attention. One thing that a CCTV operator often is, is helpless. Maybe if they had informed Police the outcome would have been different? If they had attended they may have established the true extant of his plight and got aid. Or they may have simply been too busy and he would have died anyway. One thing is for sure, they wouldn’t have arrested themselves.
I am now very careful when I see somebody “sleeping” if they don’t move then the Police get told, what they do is down to them but the buck is well and truly passed. I don’t like it but at least if the worst does happen the blame isn’t mine, and that’s just madness.
I guess what is most to blame is the mentality that it is always someone’s fault. Perhaps what really happened was that a lonely man died a lonely death. Surely its really best to grieve the loss and move on?