Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Still about

Well things most certainly have been busy last fortnight or so. The couple of days off I did get round Easter were spent on a long-planned weekend away and a bit frantic finishing-decorating-jobs (which I still have little bits to do, darn it). One of the tell tale signs of working in this job is that your weekends are planned about 6 months in advance. I'm up to June already, seriously.

Quite a few things have raised my eyebrows workwise in the last 2 weeks. A prominent regional newspaper ran a front page headline on a job my team dealt with, which was so hilariously underinvestigated and inaccurate (the media report that is, not my teams job) I still find it hilarious. Its amazing just what crap "witnesses" say to hacks, and I'm like "I was there, that really didn't happen".
I find it equally astonishing a major incident at a major public building has barely made any news headlines. There was such a cluster of emergency vehicles of all types you probably could've picked all the strobes up from space, yet it warranted barely a paragraph on a news website (sorry, not giving the link, otherwise I might as well publish my photograph and warrant card!)

Anyway, for the time being here's a post I started last week, that I never got the chance to finish until now.

I was out and about fairly late at night- or is that early in the morning?- slowly pootling up the high street when I noticed the Citroen going in the opposite direction, headlights and foglights on, stuck right up the backside of another car, snaking about left and right. Some youngish bloke driving it.

I don't like the look this, I say to the Pc who's got the short straw of being paired up me on nights. I spin the car round and look down the road. He's floored it once he's past the speed camera and has pulled off an overtake just before one of the main junctions.

We're sooo having a word. He's stopped at the next red light further on, and I get behind him. Not sure if he's seen me yet. Checks show up nothing, registered keeper in the next county.

Lights change and we're off. And we're off. Flick all the switches and get the disco lights and noise on. He jumps the next red light, bumping the car off the curb as the tyres squeal round the tight left bend. I'm just about to shout at the Pc to put this up on the radio when I realise he's just turned into a small car park with no way out. Now I don't know if he always planned to stop there or whether he meant to go for it and just cocked it up. Either way, he's now stuck between a concrete wall and my grille which is about 3 inches away from his bumper (just in case he tries to force his way past, he can't get any momentum up to take me out).

The Pc jumps out and yells at the driver to get out of the car. Which he does, with an sullen "amIbovvered" attitude. I get out too and go to him.

"What the hell are you playing at?"
"What, I aint done nuthin"
"Nothing? What bit of red light and curb did you not notice? Not to mention your nice little overtake back on the high road"
"Yeah well it weren't red, I didn't see yous behind me"

I stop. I've noticed he's swaying. His words are bit slurry. I lean in and catch that all too familiar smell on his breath. I glance over at the car and see 3 young teenage girls looking out at me with a mixture of excitement and fright in their expressions.

I look at sullen attitude boy. You stupid, selfish prick.

I get the breath gadget out of the car.
"Had a drink tonight?"
"Yeah only shandy why"
Breathalyser procedure explained. "Blow here".

I look down at the gadget. I show him. "See this little red light? You've failed. You're under arrest".

Attitude boy suddenly goes through a complete facial expression change and becomes scared schoolboy. "I was only drinking shandy, I just went for a drive, oh god oh god". I hope my expression tells him how much sympathy I have. None. I know he's way over the limit, and he's come out to show off to 3 girls, friends of his family. A recipie for disaster. I know far too well how this story sometimes ends.

I get a colleague to come down to pick up the girls, take em to another nick. I'm not so stupid to leave them in a car park on the rough side of town on a Friday night. Attitude boy's wife is paying for a cab home for them.

Proper breathalyser back at the nick and he's over twice over the limit. The immensity of his stupidity is beginning to hit him now and he's crying down the phone to his wife. I spoke to her just after he was arrested and she accused me of making it up, he'd only been drinking shandy all night, he's not drunk, he can't be. I think I might have been a bit rude to her by the end of it. "Which part of lots of shandy means he's still pissed do you not understand?"

I know that in an evening I have probably made this man's work life and freedom a whole load more difficult. But driving a car is a privelege and a responsibility. Not a right.