Despite being a Response and Custody Inspector for the last 8 years and having a decent understanding of what is occurring on the front line; it is actually 15 years since I was a response Pc.
I thought it was about time I experienced for myself what it was like to be a PC on response today.
Starting at 7pm on Saturday night, D relief Redcar and Cleveland volunteered to accommodate me and I took up occupancy of a lock up van.
5 arrests; too many urgent calls to count; 164 miles travelled; a small cut in my neck from a ‘danger keep out’ sign that I climbed under; my head ringing from the relentless radio transmissions and my eyes streaming from trying to write statements at 7am later, I think I understood what it was like.
I managed a toilet break at 04.50, nearly 10 hours into the shift and I had the luxury of eating at 05.20. Two of my colleagues arrived, tried to eat and were turned around without success.
Response officers work hard. So very very hard it is impossible to quantify. Other than my crew mate, I barely saw another member of the team all night. We were on our own out there. It was relentless. It was dangerous. It was exhausting.
I had no outstanding workload so I trudged away sometime after 7am. All the others stayed behind working. A simple 12 hour shift is a luxury these people do not get.
Each and every one of D relief across the force was a hero last Saturday night. We tried our damned hardest against unprecedented demand and some horrific incidents.
Horrendously we didn’t keep everyone safe and we didn’t prevent all the crime. But we tried so hard and I want to thank every one of them for that. I couldn’t ask for more.
A shout out to the control room too. Unbelievable at managing it all.
Perhaps have a thought for the thin blue line when you climb into bed tonight people.
Words from Rob Cleveland Police Federation Secretary