Saturday, 4 July 2009

Sierra Charlie Speaks: Sarcasm Is Not One of the 5 'P's

Our colleagues in the Metropolis have a new-ish leader and he says that policing is all about getting results. Officers should be productive, professional, take pride in their work, improve their presence on the streets and be proud of what they do. Excellent stuff. This is almost back to Peelian Principles (another two "P"s!).

The Duty Sergeant's recent post about cordons touched a nerve for me. The other night I was posted on the cordon of quite a serious incident on our patch. I arrived after the initial urgency had worn off - having got there on foot from bloody miles away - but the investigation had hardly begun. It was to be a long night. The incident had happened at a time when there were a great many people about and word had spread far and wide. By the time I got there it had even been on the internet or local news according to one of the bystanders I chatted to.

What I am trying to say here is that nearly everyone who came up to see what was going on had already heard what had happened. People who quizzed me knew more than I did, because all I knew were the basics and had not read wild and exciting speculation on-line. For some deep animal reason, people love to see the scene of a nasty occurrence. People slow down on motorways when there has been a crash in the other direction, people swarm like flies to the scene of a violent incident on their streets.

I can almost understand why people rubber neck. But what I cannot understand is why they want to actually go in to the scene of a crime while police are still doing their bit. I know people don't always think but, seriously, why do they think it might be a good idea to trample all over the sparse evidence? What personal satisfaction do they get from seeing the bits of broken glass up close? Do they want to see blood? Have they not seen CSI?

So anyway I am at this cordon trying to answer questions without a) knowing much or b) wanting to give away any information I shouldn't and people keep asking the same questions. Innocent and nervous questions I can handle. Questions about whether this is common in the area are understandable. Requests for details are met with answers like "a crime" and "I don't know the details". But to the gentleman who asked if he could cross into the scene to use the cash point down the street, I'm afraid I used cold, dry sarcasm.

"Which bit of POLICE LINE DO NOT CROSS do you think means that you can go to the cash point?" I asked in my politest tactical communications tone. "I'll take that as a "no" then" he harrumphed.

It shocked me how easily this came to me. I should be ashamed of myself. But for some reason, I am not. The cordon was there for a very good reason. I was stopping people crossing it for a very good reason.

There are other cash machines.

Sierra Charlie
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  1. "Can I just cross though to get a couple of beers from the off-licence before closing?" I'd have to concede on that one, on moral and humanitarian grounds!

  2. Sierra Charlie05 July, 2009 01:11

    Cheers! Nice to see my badge up on the screen, glad you didn't show my full shoulder number :-)

  3. `Tis in the nature of the beast. Reminded me of my time at the Staines air crash I blogged way back, where the great unwashed all came out to picnic at the scene and prevented half of us from getting there. Bloody lesosera's (anag)

  4. Hog Day - I think 'lesosera's' is one of the solutions to the team crossword we tried to complete the other week. Isn't that a place where horses are kept?

  5. LH - isnt Corale a chain of betting shops haha

  6. uniformed civ06 July, 2009 19:16

    sometimes sarcasm is the best tool for the job

  7. Well I think Psarcasm should be one of the 5 'P's

  8. Ya know I was at a cordon not that long ago and I got asked something similar as someone (who was drunk) wanted to walk through the cordon to their house approximately 150 yards away...
    I politely told them "No" and they began to tell me how I was what was wrong for this country... so I stood there and nodded understandingly. This idiot then said he wanted to walk through and I told him very, very politely that it said "Police line do not cross" for a reason!! I may have muttered something else but I'm not really sure as I had personally lost interest several minutes before and was running on auto-pilot.

    Needless to say the idiot didn't get to cross my line!!! No way, no how.