The day had come. My first day on active duty as a police officer. I got up early, around 0500 hrs, briefing was at 0700 hrs and I had a 40 minute drive to the station. I got into my pristine, washed and pressed uniform and drove to the station. I went to my locker and donned my stab vest and duty belt. A short march up the stairs and I was in the crew room where I was introduced to my tutor constable (JD) by the Sergeant and given my radio. I was ready. Or so I thought…
Briefing was short and shift began slowly with various jobs trickling in, a dog in the road there, a neighborhood argument their. Not exactly the action packed crime fighting ninja type experience I was hoping for. In fact it was so slow that we went out on the prowl for a mobile phone ticket. A rare opportunity for a response cop in today’s day and age. It was approaching lunch time and for the first time since joining the police service I was actually bored! That was until the radio crackled into life and I heard my call-sign for the first time. The words that I had been waiting for all morning followed. “Can you break for a Grade 1?”. Adrenaline hit me. JD hit the magic “999” button, the bluelights came on shortly followed by the sirens. It was game on. There were no clear details on what the job was, all that we had was a “mental health related incident” and that we were the closest unit, 12 miles away. I punched in the post code and the sat-nav eventually complied giving us an ETA of 15 minutes… If you have never been in a 3 year old police Vauxhall Astra 1.6 estate at the mercy of an advanced driver on a bluelight run, do it. Its a surreal experience travelling at twice the speed limit, swerving between traffic in a car that my auntie drives. There is no feeling quite like it!
We arrived at the scene in just 7 minutes, the sat-nav had been counting down 3 seconds at a time and my Diet Coke that had once been in the passenger door pocket was now in the boot. We were first at scene and met a picture I will never forget. It was a public car park, a man stood covered in blood, an 8 inch carving knife in his hand. He was the suspect. My vest was stab proof but I wasn’t about to test it. We got out of the car and it seemed the world had fallen silent. I fixated on the knife, before a metallic type smell filled my nostrils, it was the smell of blood. I couldn’t make sense of where it was coming from but there was a lot of it. JD shouted the suspects name while I updated control. Armed Response was coming as well as a dog unit and 3 other response units. I could hear sirens but didn’t know if they were coming for us. JD directed the suspect to put down the knife, but got “You f*****s are next!” as a response. Thankfully the sirens grew closer. I turned and saw a rapidly approaching BMW X5 unmarked ARV tearing into the car park. Relief. The ARV was followed by another unmarked BMW, a 330d Xdrive touring being driven by the on shift inspector. I realised that this shit had got real… The ARV team took over the communication attempts with the negotiation trained Inspector trying to reason with the suspect. It didn’t take long before the suspect charged the firearms officers and received a taser straight to the chest. It was done. The knife dropped and the ARV officers subdued him.
Our support seemed like it had taken an age to arrive but in actual fact the ARV was only 4 minute behind us. At 20 years old I had never before experienced a potentially life or death situation. Most civilians don’t ever experience a situation where they are the last resort. But that is what police officers are. A last resort. If the police are being called, something is wrong and it is down to us to solve it. Perhaps it is this that has us coming back for more every single day. The role of a police officer has never been so diverse but it is situations such as this that bring us together.
If you want to learn more about front line policing I would thoroughly recommend the books below. Just click on the title to be taken to the Amazon page.