Back in the 1990’s in Kent Country Constabulary, part of the county ‘patch’ was some of the major ports in the country. One of the more controversial things which happen there is live animal exports, which are still going on. And sadly during one protest, one of the protesters fell under the wheels of a moving lorry and was killed.
Now at this time Kent Police was trying to get real clever, and deploy ‘evidence gathering’ teams, and also be very flexible with deploying the Riot Squad. Normal officer are only able to be Riot Squad on an ad-hoc basis, so only if there is a real emergency. And the training you get for this is quite laughable, during your square bashing at Training School, you got one afternoon instruction on how to march in pretty lines and deploy in the face of a rioting crowd.
Now I have actually been in a couple of different riots, and the training was absolutely useless. As well as the square bashing, you also got a couple of days in riot gear where you threw rocks at each other, but it is nothing like the real thing when the people on the other side of the riot shield are not on the same paycheck as you.
So one fine day, during a particularly hot summer of hate, protesters gathered at a port, and the word went out that each area had to send ad-hoc officers down as well as their riot unit. So off went my crewman, and most of the other officers on patrol that day in my district. So all of a sudden it seems like I am the only unit available, I get sent here and there for various emergencies, then to a nasty domestic. The thing about domestics is you turn up, and are expected to deal with a problem which probably took years to develop, which when you are fairly young, and have had no experience of hour parents fighting, and don’t have a contentious relationship with your significant other, the only thing you can draw on in these situations is a little training, and hope to build experience as you go along.
That’s the problem with only accepting police candidates who are young and have no ‘issues’, may mean they have no experience of dealing with other people’s issues. That is particularly true over here, where candidates have to regularly pass a polygraph test, which in itself is not known as a reliable test of truthful behavior, and is regularly deceived, but like many other pseudoscientific theories it is trusted as gospel by the authorities.
So anyway, I ended up trying to deal with a domestic between an older couple, who knew a lot more about destructive and mutually abusive relationship theory than I did, then in the middle of that I get pulled away to a theft in progress, suspect still on scene, out in the rural area.
So i roll on that on my own still, blue lights and two-tone sirens going, out to this lovely old building which despite its rather pleasant appearance, was actually a low security women’s’ prison. Now i had delivered prisoners to the high security women’s’ prison, which bad been a deeply disturbing experience, but this prison had all the appearance of a pleasant country manor.
Well it turns out that one of the inmates on day release, had stolen something while out, and was being detained by staff. So not really an emergency i needed to leave the domestic for, but i gathered statements, arrested the suspect and took her back to the station. When i arrived back at the nick, signed off at the station, saying i would be processing my prisoner, control asked if my crew member would be heading out to take more calls. My crew member, the one who left right after parade to go to the port to be ad-hoc riot squad. So basically I had been sent to accidents, domestics and theft’s ahead of other units, because control thought i was in a double crewed unit, and the other units had been goofing off.