We all know that training days are an unavoidable evil in our line of work. We duly gather in smart casual attire (or business dress as it gets called in the joining instructions) at the most inconvenient location in the county and bitch about not wanting to be there whilst pointing at the idiot / swat that came in uniform. All too soon we are summoned away from the Â£1-for-the-day tea and coffee-making facilities. Filing into a room which is either a blast freezer or a furnace we instinctively head straight for the back row and start trying to avoid eye contact with the trainer at the front.
On rare occasions however, we get the chance toÂ do an operational day when we get to plan something for the whole rota to do. Normally this has to fall within the current flavour of the month, be that seriousÂ acquisitiveÂ crime, or anti-social behaviour or bolstering up theÂ stop-search figures for the station to ensure we hit the targets we don’t have…
CombatingÂ the drug dealing dregs working within the local estate is also something that also gets a few votes here and there (when we get tired of suggesting a working lunch at the local Wetherspoons), but rarely has this developed into something quite as significant as it did in Lancashire recently.
One such drugs relatedÂ exerciseÂ was taking part inÂ Penwortham, near Preston. Three plain clothed officers were gathering information about local dealers when they saw a group loitering nearby. A short time later one of the group,Â David Nestoruk, cycled past them and revealed a firearm tucked into the waistband of his trousers. He warned the officers that they had five minutes to leave the area or he would “blast” them.
The officers were concerned enough about the authenticity of the weapon that they chose to take shelter in a local hardware store and call for backup whilst arming themselves with hammers in case the armed man approached again. Eventually the male was detained by uniformed officers but the gun, which Nestoruk claims was an imitation, was never found.
In court yesterday Nestoruk’s barrister said, “It was breathtakingly stupid and childish but the consequences were utterly beyond the comprehension of the parties involved.” His client received a two year custodial sentence for the offence.
Whether this was actually an incident involving an imitation or real firearm we may never know. It does however illustrate the mindset of some of those who we serve. They are perfectly prepared to threaten others with a gun, knowing nothing about them. Had the officers been (as Nosteruk states he believed) drug dealers, what might the implications of his actions been?