1. Make a throw away comment on twitter that you'll dance Gangnam Style on YouTube if your followers increase by 1000 in a week feeling safe in the knowledge that it took you 2.5 years to get 4000.
2. Get proved wrong by the power of twitter and some meddling individuals and get an extra 1000 followers in 3 days.
3. Go to HQ and your senior bosses in the hope that they'll stop it only to find that they actually have a heart and think raising money for a good cause is a good idea.
4. 'Persuade' your team members to get involved. After all everyone should go down with the ship (being ex RAF I'm not 100% sure that's right).
5. Announce that you want the public to arrive at a time and place and join in not expecting the press and public to turn up and video the video being videoed then put it on the web immediately.
There, simples. And the main video isn't even out yet. Believe it or not I'm not that stupid normally ....... Honest!
Would I do it again? NO!
Will there be a torrent of abuse from certain quarters for us having demeaned ourselves like this? YES!
Are they right? NO!
Do I regret doing it? NO!
Think about this. We still police by consent in this country. We can't justify achieving compliance through force in most cases and rightly so. Compliance can be achieved through understanding. The person understands that they have no choice but often this involved heated discussion and can lead to force being used. Compliance is better achieve through respect and understanding of the job we have to do and this is often achieved by demonstrating that we, the police, are human. We have feelings, we care about things, we have families and the greatest weapon of all we have a sense of humour!
I have used and observed the use of a keen sense of humour a number of times to defuse a situation. I have dealt with many suspects, professionally and compassionately because we have found common ground and had a 'bit of a joke'. This means that the whole process is easier for both police and prisoner. Innocent until proven guilty and all that.
By showing the human side of police officers we can gain the trust and respect of the majority of the public. Yes there will always be those that will moan but they are definitely in the minority.
The above reason for my team, myself and friends and colleagues humiliating ourselves is actually a byproduct of our main aim.
I personally feel I am a fortunate person. I live in a wonderful place, have a fantastic wife and healthy bunch of gorgeous children and a job that I love.
Both working full time 999 jobs complete with the unsocial shift patterns that come with it and looking after a family can be hard work. I can't even begin to imagine what it would be like to care for a child with complex needs or even to be that child growing up in an environment where the basic of functions we take for granted is an impossible task.
Well that is where Dawn and the ever smiling Josh come into the story. Dawn is trying to do what every parent should do. Do the best for your child.
For those of you who don't know of Joshua, he was diagnosed with his first brain tumour in 2004 age 3 and following complex surgery due to the location of the tumour on the brain stem, was left with complex physical disabilities & needs.
Joshua now 12, has severe neuromuscular disabilities that require a fully adapted home - his family needs to raise £25,000 to cover a ceiling track hoist, a special medical bath, building work & other basic equipment
Joshuas parents share his care & due to DLA funding restrictions Joshua isn't entitled to 2 fully adapted homes, so they need to privately raise funds for all his needs.
They are £17000 in to the £25000 journey to fully equip Josh's home to make his life better.
And that is where we can help. You search YouTube and you will find everyone around the world copying Psys' Gangnam Style video. The video is bizarre and the tune can be annoying. (In fact I would be happier to never hear it again!) the numerous remakes appear and disappear on the Internet with very little fuss. I don't have £8000 to give Josh and Dawn but I do have it in my power to do something unique to draw attention to their quest. That is how we ended up at the video. It may be the first and only time you will see British Police Officers doing this anywhere. That will get attention, good or bad, which can only be good for Dawn and Josh.
My colleagues and I have sacrificed our dignity and pride (trust me, I never dance!!) and ask that you sacrifice and pound, dollar, euro or two. Whatever you can afford to help Josh reach his target and make his life better.
You can donate through www.superjosh.co.uk
You can get to know Josh on twitter @journeyjoshuas
All I say is have a think, perhaps find your Josh and do something daft for the benefit of someone else.
To the moaners and negative press I say, get a grip. This was filmed in our own time at no public expense. Do something good yourself instead if moaning.
Here it is!!! - GangnamPoliceman
on PC - on mobile -
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I've been a copper now for 15 years. It's been the most consistent thing in my life (apart from my wonderful family of course) and it's fair to say most things I do have become second nature.
I think after a while the conditioning kicks in and even the softest, most liberal amongst us can become desensitised to what we see every day and whilst remaining empathetic and professional it takes a lot to shock me these days.
It makes sense if you bring it down to basics; we are an emergency service that deals with crime. Neither an emergency nor crime can be a happy event so you have to expect anger, upset and trauma at nearly every incident we deal with. I'm painting a dismal picture here but there is obviously a bright side to what we do or else why would we continue. A vast majority of these incidents require positive action, protecting someone from further harm, rescuing someone from danger, finding and locking up a bad guy or even finding a solution to a long term issue.
I still find it sad that after a while the conditioning kicks in. As happened to me in my first years it doesn't take long before I see younger colleagues attend incidents of abuse, violence and disgusting behaviour having lost the ability to be shocked.
Don't get me wrong there are still some sickos out there that can still shock me but in the main to me it is run of the mill, everyday stuff. Probably the way you feel about work, not boring or mundane, just part of my life. At the moment I am lucky with working in Neighbourhood /Community Policing I get to break up the 'trauma' with the occasional happy event, friendly meeting, fun police cadet session or even paperwork.
Now, I've rambled on I better drag myself back to the subject of this post which will hopefully explain my ramblings. A short while ago I was discussing the blog with an experienced blogger. I was moaning about my inability to come up with an interesting subject to blog about. He suggested a 'day in the life' type post. I questioned whether anyone would have an interest in it and the answer was yes.
That’s my reason for the introduction (clearly), my insecurity as to whether people would find it interesting could be borne from the conditioning that the incidents we attend are mundane everyday occurrences. Of course it may be that I know I am boring!!
I have chosen a Saturday dog watch shift (bonus point to the first person to tweet me or comment with the reason it's called a dog watch). It's the safer option as there are no meetings, less emails and paperwork to catch up on, in fact for most of the shift I take on more of a PC role.....much more interesting.
So its 1700 hours and we are already in the briefing room preparing for the shift ahead. The team tonight consists of the Local Policing element (responsible for routine incidents, night time economy policing (pubs and clubs) and community policing) including our dedicated Special Constables and the Response element (responsible for responding to emergency incidents). Although we have our clear areas there is a fair amount of cross over when busy or Q.
After briefing I trail off into my office to tackle the few emails (only a few is a rarity that only occurs at weekends), allocate a few crimes for investigation and send out a couple of messages re staff changes. A quick call to Truro ensures the team there are ok and ready for the evening ahead. There is also the small matter of a prosecution file for a person that I had arrested for a public order offence and assaulting police officers the previous night. She had been charged to go to court whilst in custody that morning because of her previous offending history. This means a file needs completing for CPS. This is where being Sarge comes in handy. Clearly due to all the supervisory tasks I have to complete delegation is in order. Nothing to do with the amount of time it's been since I last completed a file. Fortunately the team can't do enough for a good skipper and the said file is quickly despatched.
We are joined by the Special Constabulary (SC) Sergeant, Andy Duckham. He and I chat to discuss crewing options. This can be more complicated than it sounds even with small numbers. There needs to be a balance of skill, ability and experience in each team to meet the requirement for tasks and potential demand. Tonight is the night we decide to trial something new. For a while we had been talking of using a double crewed SC secure van to transport prisoners to custody whilst the arresting officer gets on with the paperwork thus saving time! Simples. Tonight Andy and Ross will kick this off.
Normally it's a few hours before the need to arrest someone appears, it is the last resort of course. However it's now almost 1800 hrs and response get called to a shoplifter. He has recently received a caution and has no fixed abode so arrest is the only option. Much to the dismay of our transport crew, they are off to Newquay as there are issues at Camborne custody. Time ticks by as the teams attend a few routine incidents and a Road Traffic Collision (RTC). It is now still only just gone 7pm when a call comes out over the radio for units to attend an incident in Penryn where a drunk male has gategrashed a wedding party. No-one responds and it becomes clear that everyone is busy. Down goes my pen and on goes my body armour as a response officer calls up to go. He is heading there alone so I jump into a police van to back him up, arriving at the scene less than 5 minutes later. We were directed to a nearby male who had now left the party and stopped to talk to him. He was clearly drunk as he staggered along the path with a rucksack on his back pretending not to see us. After a bizarre conversation I decided to give him a warning and send him on his way, the opposite way to the wedding. No one was hurt, no harm done. As he wandered away a nagging feeling in the back of my mind told me something wasn't quite right, so I parked out of sight around the corner. Within minutes the drunk male returned, stood in the middle of the road, stuck two fingers up at wedding guests outside the venue and began to shout and swear at them. To his surprise he then had me heading towards him and was subsequently arrested. He obliged with the customary threats and abuse as he was put in the back of the van mainly centering on spending time alone with me and questioning my parentage etc, but hey, water off a ducks back.
So now the SC transport team are off to Camborne this time with the abuse rattling in their ears for the journey and I settle down to the handover file (drunks get dealt with in the morning so they understand what is going on). There's no one around to delegate to this time so I get stuck in myself.
An hour or so later and the file is complete and I'm out on foot patrol in town with PC Barry Nicholas. It's getting busy already and we are going through the ritual of -
1. Drunk walking down street with open container of alcohol
2. Police spot drunk and offending item.
3. Seconds later drunk spots police officer.
4. Drunk places bottle in jacket or behind back in slow motion.
5. Police Officer stands with hand out.
6. Drunk, knowing they cannot drink in the street begs to be allowed to finish the bottle.
7. Police Officer states no, sorry.
8. Takes alcohol and places in bin.
9. Drunk stumbles off muttering something under their breath.
We go through this a few times, and I start wondering if the new bigger and better alcohol free signs would make a difference and perhaps we should get around to putting them up. Probably not though.
Around 11pm a call comes in about a male detained by door staff with drugs. Barry heads off on foot and I return to get the van in case it is needed. I headed through town and pulled up outside. Suddenly a male in his 50's about 15 yds ahead of me starts shouting and gesticulating at my so loud I can hear it through the window. I get out to talk to him and find that his concerns are that I nearly ran him over. Unfortunately these concerns had been brought on by a clear lack of distance perception and clearly too much alcohol. This misunderstanding is explained to the male and even backed up by his partner but seems to be falling on deaf ears. We have a low level power that enables us to require a person to leave town due to their likely involvement in alcohol related crime or ASB. This fits perfect and is the next thing that gets explained to the male. Unfortunately he is still uncooperative and continues to shout and swear, justifying it by saying that the F word is in the dictionary so is ok. Every situation gets to the point where enough is enough and I now have my second arrest for drunk and disorderly and the SC crew have their third trip to custody and second to Newquay.
In the meantime PC Nicholas is oblivious to my dealings until the point of arrest as he is dealing with the possession of drugs. He has used another lower level intervention and has verified the males’ identity and bailed him to appear at a police station at a later date. This process, known as street bail, keeps coppers on the street at key times and where evidence won't be lost. Nothing can be done with this male until the drugs have been weighed and identified so nothing is lost.
Back in to the station I go to complete yet another handover file and request the CCTV as it had all been caught on camera. Less than an hour later I'm back on the streets on foot. A few more instances of the alcohol seizure ritual take place and we step in to stop a few arguments getting out of hand. For this we rely heavily on CCTV (for early warning) and our own judgement. When drunk, some men go through a ritual of their own. This normally starts off with getting their mate in a head lock and letting out a loud roar. This can often be in response to our presence, desperate for the attention of the police to come over and stop the 'fight' so they can have a laugh. Other times it’s just a build up of testosterone and other times it is real. The knack for us comes in breaking up the real fights, leaving the attention seeking 'fights' or stopping the play fights before they start banging of windows and cars. A direction to leave or warning of one can come in handy followed by identifying them to CCTV for the night. The threat of their night ending suddenly seems to do the trick on most occasions, although for me being sent home now would be a blessing.
We stumble across a few 'heated discussions'. This is the norm for a night out and is nothing more than drink fuelled testosterone overload. We are about 30 yds away when a group in front are crowding around 2 squaring up to each other. This case it's 2 men, if it was women then that would require a different approach as in my experience if women get to this stage, it is going to kick off! They are at the stage where they are staring at each other, having the competition to see who is least scared. This is always accompanied by a menacing grin and words such as 'You alright?!', 'Yeah, you?!' Sometimes a cough brings their attention to us but this time it's a larger crowd so an official 'OI!!' is needed. What happens next is what happened at school and what happens on nearly every occasion. The two aggressive males then hug each other and start laughing. One of them normally the aggressor says 'It's ok, we're just messing, we're mates' and the other agrees. A quick question from me requesting his 'best mates' name puts paid to this charade but they still insist they are mates. On this occasion the groups are split up and sent in opposite directions after pointing them out to CCTV over the radio. Sometimes a direction to leave is required, rarely an arrest.
We experience a couple more of these and play the same game but no harm is done. I've often wondered if introducing bromide to beer through Pubwatch would work in reducing the testosterone but that might be a bit too 'big brother'. We are getting towards the busier period now, 2am to 3am. Clubs and bars finish, those that are too drunk to realise they should be at home now head for a cold Subway or a kebab. This time of night can be busy with fights (as we discovered when the Falmouth Packet came out with us to see how quiet it was) or fine, never really a middle ground. My theory is that as well as the alcohol the atmosphere can be sensed by everyone, putting people on their guard. I'm normally quite good at sensing this and you'll often hear me moaning 'bit of a dodgy atmosphere tonight' but you know what, I'm never wrong. So we now have the revellers and police confined to a small stretch of street where the last bars and food places are.
Scanning the crowd I can see that most are having fun and the atmosphere is good. This means I can get on with keeping an eye out for my pet hate - men (and women) who urinate in the street. This annoys me on a sliding scale from nipping done to the Church Street Car Park (telling off and sent on their way) to someone’s drive or doorway (£50 fine, severe telling off and deployment of wagging finger). You can spot them a mile off as they leave the club or kebab shop (that has a toilet) and run or skip towards an alley or doorway only to find their act being illuminated with torchlight almost immediately.
A few of these occur with no fines being issued tonight and each time we return to our position of observation over the crowd. The next half hour goes by fairly uneventful. A few bottles of beer are taken away, a few people come and tell us what a wonderful job we do and a few shout low level abuse then run off as we take a step towards them, as brave as they are.
We are just about to leave it to the night shift when a commotion breaks out at the kebab shop. Their licence means that you cannot take food out at night and to ensure this happens they have to have door staff working. Frequently this concept is beyond the comprehension of an alcohol infused brain and tonight is no different. One of the door staff has stopped a customer from bringing their food out and almost immediately the young, drunk male has taken a swing at him and ended up restrained on the floor in a pile of kebab and chips. He is still struggling as we arrive and the only option is to arrest him and put him in the back of the secure van. Some of the team stay to take the door staff statements whilst another couple (not the SC crew now as they have had a busy night) take the male off to custody. Whilst this is going on the street quietens down to the point where I am happy to leave the rest of the night to the night shift.
So there you go, an insight into a typical, run of the mill, evening out with me and the team. All in a good night, 4 arrests turning into a couple of cautions and a couple of court appearances. The main aim achieved, no one seriously hurt and all the coppers went home ok.
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I hope this post doesn't come across as too 'bah humbug' but a few things have happened lately that pushed me to write this.
The example we set!
I have had the pleasure of working nights on the lead up to and including Xmas eve in 2011. During these shifts I have seen lots of people drinking in moderation but far too many people drunk out of control. There have been fights and accidents that have pushed us and the ambulance service too the limits of our resourcing. Normal everyday people like you and I have woken up in a&e or even in the cells with a number spending Xmas morning in custody!
Why? I suppose if I knew that I would make a small fortune. British culture?! We are told it doesn't happen elsewhere so why in our nation do people have to drink as much as possible to have a good time? I'm sure the guy with the 4" gash to his eye had a great time!
Not a great example!!
The worrying thing I see more and more is teenagers, many not yet 18 following this pattern. It seems that the mark of a grown up is to get off your face. A few weeks ago an 18 year old I know got so drunk he had to be restrained in hospital after falling over. In the early hours of Xmas eve, a teenager out celebrating their 18th birthday punched me in the face and found themselves sobering up in the cells. They were so drunk they can't even remember it!! The impending court appearance should bring it all back.
Neither of these individuals and the many others we see all the time have had a great time and none of us as parents would want to see our kids go down this road.
So what can we do??!!
It's difficult I suppose if society itself has set a bench mark of getting 'off your trolley' is good but change has to start somewhere. Read and get your teenagers to read this - alcohol info
Say no! Don't be afraid to be the kill joy. Make sure that our youngsters enjoy new years eve and beyond safely. I'm sure you'd rather be the horrible parent that said no than the parent picking up your kids from a & e or the cells, or worse!!
Set an example!! Start the change yourself. Know and show your limits. Even if your kids aren't there to see you out drunk others are and you could be perpetuating this image of British society.
Happy New Year
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