Pen for pigs

Posted: July 17, 2016 in Uncategorized

I am thinking about the last 20 years, as I approach midnight blackness of my career in the pen. I cannot claim to have ever experienced the flush of enthusiasm which appears to infect most new porkers. Perhaps I was too long in the tooth when I began this, my third career. As I reflect I see that things were much simpler back then. 

As a young piglet I learned the power of the mark one mouth. The only self-protection equipment I had was a side handled baton a la TJ Hooker. We had been taught rudimentary self-defence techniques. We would practice these once a year.

My uniform consisted of white shirts, black clip on tie, heavy serge navy blue trousers, boots, a heavy serge tunic, blue NATO pullover and cap.

We were given radios when we were on duty. They failed more often than they worked. We worked as two officers in each car. We had simple computers that had black display screens with green text. Our intelligence system was a turquoise screen with white writing. We used typewriters and blobby biros. Everything was handwritten, mostly on self-carbon paper which required the strength of Samson to write on for it to be legible through the layers.

Once I was confirmed in rank, Constable, I was sent to the uniform investigation team which we called the Beat Crime Unit. I then became a Detective and have risen to the dizzy heights of Detective Constable.

Twenty years on much has changed. Officers look like a South American para military squad. Military style cargo pants (sorry I know its American but that is what they are called), black turtle neck shirts, ballistic vests, personal issue, our radios are also personal issue as are the ‘Phone / tablet handsets. Each officer now carries an extendable baton and pepper spray. Many are armed with Taser.

Our computer systems are now so intelligent they are cleverer than the officers using them. 

More people seem to be arrested although I think some arrests could be avoided by using verbal communication (talking they called it in my day). We are taught to be aware of our NVC’s, (posture) and to be politically correct.

One area that does, in this old boars eyes, need improvement is two of the three R’s. Readin’ and rightin’. I have increasingly, over the years, become aware of the creeping disease that is txt spk. It finds its way into all sorts of official documents. We now use our computers to type reports. I marvel at the laziness of those officers, who must know their spelling is not great, who fail to use spell check. And yet, we are constantly told we must be professional, must adhere to the code of ethics and cope with increasing work against diminishing resources. All the while the public support for the office of constable appears to be diminishing. I have lost count of the number of unemployed, unemployable criminals who have told me that they pay my wages, that I am their servant and that I should just fuck off.

Of course it may just be me. It may be that I work in a particularly nasty place. Or it could be that the public are losing patience with having to wait for emergency response, tales of highly paid (chief) officers incapable of delivering on unrealistic expectations with fewer officers.

I cannot wait to retire.

  1. Never mind. The language hasn’t rubbed off on you yet. You managed to refer to Englishmen stout and true on your previous post. Racism and misogyny are endemic in the police force aren’t they? Or am I just believing media rumours?

    • I genuinely think it depends where you are. Of course there are racist officers where I am, many more make comments easily construed as racist out of sheer frustration with the systems failings and having to keep dealing with the same people who don’t get dealt with robustly enough. But, on the whole I think this pen’s officers tend not to have rascist sentiments ingrained. The Met probably do but then they have always been different. Misogyny, no. I cannot say anything about the top brass but we have a good number of senior female officers, some of which I have met and some of those I have actually liked. I have not witnessed dislike, contempt or prejudice aimed at any of my female colleagues, nor have I heard them complain of it. Perhaps I live in a bubble of my own making?

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