Bad dream last night. It came from out of the old filing system.
I half re-lived the time I came within a gnats whisker of shooting a young chap who, as things planned out, was unarmed. We both dodged a bullet that morning.
I was up the smoke last week to the annual reunion of the survivors of my old Metropolitan Police station, Cannon Row, closed down in the 80's. It used to stand within the complex on the Victoria Embankment known as "New Scotland Yard" which was the HQ of the Metropolitan Police. That place then moved to Broadway, off Victoria Street in the late 60's to a brand new building they called....."New Scotland Yard".
Well the new New Scotland Yard got crumbly and crusty (like some of its occupants) and basically wore itself out (like some of its occupants) so they created a new home for London's police headquarters. It's now called, "New Scotland Yard" which by pure coincidence is right next door to the former home of the Met, "New Scotland Yard" - and my old nick. In my 32 years I served at numerous police stations and departments in
both London and the Home Counties, but the only reunion I've ever gone to, so far, is this
one. It's special to me.
Over lunch, I was sat amongst officers who formed part of the team who...
My grandmother used to live in Forest Gate. When I was nine years old I
rode my little bike the two miles from my home to visit her. Mum was
cross as it was a spur of the moment thing and I hadn't asked her permission. She would probably have allowed me. Mums did that sort of thing in those days.
This shooting was just past Wanstead Park tube station. We'll be passing
through there on the tube tomorrow - both ways. Luckily we're not
fourteen years old.
`Johnny used to work after school at the cinema show. Gotta hustle if he wants an education Yeah he's got a long way to go. Now he's out on the streets all day selling Crack to the people who pay. Got an AK-47 for his best friend business the American way.
Eastside meets Westside downtown. No
time, the walls fall down
Black man, trapped again. Holds his
chain in his hand. Brother killing brother for the profit of another, Game point, nobody wins`.*
(*Lyrics from "Empire", a rock album by Queensryche, penned twenty seven years ago)
"`Guerrilla` on Sky Atlantic is a serious contender for best TV drama of 2017" ...so says a headline on `Digital Spy`.
I've just sat through the first episode and have to say, as one who was
a police officer living and working at the time and in the areas
portrayed, I recognised very little, apart from a few Triumph Heralds
and Ford Cortina's.
Actors portraying uniformed police officers were wearing helmets that would have been more suited to the London Fire Brigade,
with chinstraps* worn horribly wrong (*nothing new there) and on demo
duty they were issued with baseball bats - oh really? Where was that?
Portraying officers indecently assaulting a lead female character during
a search on the street, after first having punched her in the face for
swearing at him, but then walking off? Such casual police violence I
never did see. Maybe this happened to someone who heard it from someone
who was told it happened to someone else.
I am aware of the phenomenon known as looking through rose-tinted
glasses and I did encounter...
"But soft, what glint through yonder carboot breaks?
It is the east, and firearm is in the sun.
Arise, fair sidearm, and kill the envious perp,
Who is already sick and pale with grief
That I, Met Pol, art far more skilled than he."
(Hat tipped to my friend, David Kenneth Ellis, for the Shakespearean form)
The Met's ct exercise appeared to go well. They picked a lovely day for it. Always good to do, these exercises.
Outside London it's worth remembering previous experiences. Eg. Michael
Ryan (Hungerford), killed 16 people and injured a further 15 at random in under an hour,
including the first police officer on scene. With that rifle, if he
could see you he could hit you. A neighbour just asked me about police
response times to such incidents and if there were sufficient officers. I
said a force has, on average, less than 5% trained for firearms duties.
She replied, "but we never see any police patrols anyway".
I told her not to worry.
Rule 1, reassure the patient. :-/
"....I should not
do justice to my own feelings, or to Marshal Blucher and the Prussian
Army, if I did not attribute the successful result of this arduous day
to the cordial and timely assistance I received from them...." (from
Wellington's campaign dispatch).
"....You'll see the account of
our desperate battle and victory over Boney!! It was the most desperate
business I was ever in; I never took so much trouble over any battle; and
never was so near being beat. Our loss is immense, particularly in that
best of all instruments, British Infantry. I never saw the infantry
behave so well. I am going immediately. Can we be reinforced in Cavalry
or Infantry or both? We must have Lord Combermere as Lord Uxbridge has
lost his leg...." (from Wellington's letter to his elder brother and
father-in-law to his military secretary)
and then in 1824, Parliament passed The Vagrancy Act, making begging
and the `exposing of wounds to gather alms or pity` a criminal offence,
due to the huge numbers of maimed veterans from the conclusion of the
Hampshire motorcycle traffic policeman Nick Barman was rushing to the scene of an accident when he was knocked off his bike at more than 100mph. He was thrown an incredible 300ft across two carriageways and was left crumpled in a heap, fighting for his life. Paramedics stopped working on the biker they were at the scene for and immediately attended to Barman, a traffic officer with nine years’ experience, in a desperate bid to save his life. Here, in his own words, he tells JAMES BAGGOTT the incredible story for the first time
As the paramedic walked up to me I was still conscious and I could see the look on his face. It was a wild stare, one of despair – his eyes were like saucers. He was carrying a silver blanket and was about to cover me up. He thought I was dead. He couldn’t believe I had survived the accident, let alone was awake and able to talk to him.
I remember patches before that. I was on the early shift that day – February 4, 2013 – patrolling on my BMW...
I haven't put fingers to keypad for a long time. I guess it was a mix of apathy and distractions in other forms of social media that took me away. I don't know if I'll take up regular posts over here again or not, but a friend of mine posted a link to this yesterday and I felt it worthy of re-posting here. It is by someone who is a `Borough commander` in the Met., which probably makes him a superintendent.
It's not often you see an officer of this rank blogging. I haven't checked him out but what he's written is so familiar that I suspect he is legit - one can usually always tell. I have been told that these days a person with the required credentials (not sure who exactly it is who has set these `credentials`) can join the Metropolitan Police at the rank of superintendent and start managing issues at that rank, without having to pass `GO` on the cruel streets. If that is so, then those that do will spare themselves the experiences that I had during my twenty year climb to the rank that could be described as a `deputy Borough...