Thursday, December 04, 2008

On route to violence

PC (Ex-PCSO, not WPC) Bloggs has sent me an email questioning the emotions that go through your head en route to a violent shout. I was going to send an email reply but I'd thought I'd share it with the world.

A word of warning though- in doing so I am breaking two of my rules of blogging- i.e. don't post after a shandy or two, and don't blog when you've been awake over 20 hours. Oh well. So forgive me if this goes a little sideways here and there.

And now, right on cue, Scrappycat (one of two small beasties I own that treat the Simon residence as a hotel) has decided to lie down right in front of the screen, so I'm having to crane my head one way then the other to see what I've written.

Anyhoo in response to the question. In the manner of a true politician I'd have to ask what kind of "violent" shout it is. Usually, the response is apathy. More often than not, a call which comes out as depicting violence is nothing of the sort by the time we get there. Blue lights and sirens invariably have an amazing fight stopping (and run provoking) effect by the time we are out of the car. Most of the time the uniform does have an effect and will stop the majority of street type fights.

Domestic violence jobs are by far the most dangerous. More often than not, there is very little information to go by and the fact that it is the first call to the address can mean absolutely nothing in terms of what has and is going on behind the door. Two colleagues had a nightmare experience at one a few years back- one got knocked out and the other only saved herself from asphyxiation by managing to wrestle an arm free and squeezing and twisting his balls with every ounce of strength she had. (I have yet to see this technique in the Home Office Approved Restraints manual)

In short, there are very few situations we know we are going to where we know there is going to be violence. I've learned not to try and second guess whats happened at a call because no two are ever the same. I just worry about a) where the call is and b) getting there without stacking it. Then think about what I've got to do with the job when I get there.

The exception though is the emergency activation button when an officer presses their little red button. This invariably means "I need help now" and anyone who has access to a car with a fleet number will be on their toes.

But what goes through my head? Well, actually pretty much the same thing. Where do I go, and don't crash. The only difference now is I have no mechanical sympathy for the car and rag seven bells of hell out of it to get there. I'm mature enough (!!!!!!!!!) to not feel the need to drive like a tool to every call whether shoplifter or domestic- but I leave the minimum in reserve for the urgent assistance shout. The adrenaline tends to get going on this kind of call too, especially depending on what the officer in trouble manages to transmit across the radio, and there is a definite buildup of tension as you get nearer the scene. I can best equate it to the build up to kickoff in a rugby match- you know its about to get physical and you may well get bashed around but if you're going to be any use you keep your head and chose your moves carefully.

Right... that will do. Tis now well past my bedtime and I shall suffer if I don't get moving. PCSO Bloggs, I hope this has been of use!