Being a WPC Is Part Orwell, Part Kafka. and Part Trisha

The Mail on Sunday (London, England), September 23, 2007 | Go to article overview

Being a WPC Is Part Orwell, Part Kafka. and Part Trisha


I have always felt the need to speak up when I saw wrongdoing.

Which is why, after my A-levels, I wanted to do a job that made a difference.At the time the police seemed to offer that opportunity. I now work shifts on'response' for the Blandshire Constabulary in an average town somewhere inEngland. I'm under 30 and I've been doing the job for several years.

I had arrived with the notion I would arrest people when I had evidence theyhad committed a crime. What I didn't expect was the utter lunacy I find everyday on the beat. Modern policing is part George Orwell, part Franz Kafka andpart TV's Trisha. Here is just a small insight into my working life . .

We're en route to a 'domestic'. A Mop - member of the public - reports that theman in the flat above may be murdering his wife. There's been a lot ofscreaming about knives. We know the couple in question. There are seven of us.We don't normally send a van-load of officers to a domestic, but we're all outin the Transit tonight 'reassuring the public'. So far we've reassured a fewhoodies in McDonald's.

But as a 21st Century police officer, your sole aim in life is to preventdomestic violence - to help women with 'the wrong guy'.

We reach the door of the flat. I knock and it swings inwards. Wayne is standingthere, clad in just scruffy combats.

He doesn't seem to have a knife. 'Good evening Wayne,' I say. 'Everything allright?' Old takeaway containers and beer cans are piled up around his feet.

'Yeah, everything's fine.' 'Is Lisa here?' She staggers out of the bathroom.She's 23 and completely hysterical. 'Look what he's f ****** done to me!' shehowls. He appears to have plastered her in cheap make-up.

'I haven't done nothing, you stupid b****,' says Wayne. 'But I f ****** can ifyou want.' Lisa has the beginnings of a bruise on her cheek and her lip isbleeding.

'He needs nicking for assault,' I say to the rest of the team. I am presentingone of them with a free opportunity to edge closer to their monthly target ofeight arrests. It's all about 'targets' these days.

Our force isn't that bothered who we arrest, or why, as long as we fill ourcells.

I give Lisa the spiel I give to victims of domestic violence, about bail,prosecution, court and victim support.

Lisa says: 'You ain't going to arrest him, are you?' I am taken slightly aback.'Of course. In fact, we have.' She starts crying. 'I don't believe this.

I don't want him arrested.' 'It's sort of what we do,' I tell her.

Back at the station I pass my report to the sergeant to sign. He has 12 years'service and is therefore considered competent to sign a large number of forms.Only two other people check the work he's signed to make sure he hasn't lied orcocked up. Now that's trust.

I take back the signed document ready for despatch to the Domestic ViolenceUnit (DVU). 'Do you think DVU will deal with him this time, Sarge?' 'Only ifthere are no Strategy Conferences going on in the entire country.' 'How do DVUsupport us, Sarge?' 'Well, we send them completed risk assessments and theyfurther assess the risk to that victim. They then ring up the victim and fillout another risk assessment. They then set up a meeting Mysterious policeblogger 'David Copperfield' has revealed himself to be Staffordshire PC StuartDavidson. Sick of paperwork and political correctness, he's leaving to join theCanadian police. The job of exposing the insanity at the heart of policing nowfalls to fellow web diarist 'WPC E.E. Bloggs', who must also conceal heridentity and those of the people she meets...

MAY 5, 2007 with the council to compare risk assessments and decide on a finallevel of risk which will be reassessed and agreed by their supervisors. Thenthey send us emails telling us where we went wrong and what we need to do toput it right.

That's where the support comes in.' The radio pipes up: 'Could you attend theBenucci Foundation? …

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Being a WPC Is Part Orwell, Part Kafka. and Part Trisha
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