Why don’t we start saying ‘No’?

I have been mulling over the last few days about why we do what we do. I don’t mean as individual officers per se, but as a Force both Nationally and Collectively.
We get the most ridiculous calls, we go to some of the most ridiculous jobs. Who else would do it?

An example is a call made by a female who was upset for picking up a child after she fell over, and her mother running over and shouted ‘get off’ to the female stranger. The female stranger rang in because she was ‘very upset’ and ‘in shock’. What? Hang on? You go over to a strangers child and pick her up, her mother tells you to ‘get off’ and you call the police because you are in shock?? Really??? Or another call when someone rings in because the next door neighbours cat has poo’d in your garden? Or we get a call because their child has broken the telly but you need a number for social services to replace the 54″ tv as its ‘essential’ ? *shakes head and looks to the floor*.

We do so many different jobs and wear so many different ‘hats’, social worker, teacher, mother, nurse, psychologist, counsellor blah blah blah…. But why do we keep saying yes?
Officers had to be ambulance a few weeks back to take an initial s136 Mental Health patient who had been assessed at the local hospital, who had no beds, so 150 miles return, two officers on overtime, because ambulance ‘wouldn’t touch it’. It’s okay- we’ll do it.
Officers had to attend because the caller didn’t want a person to be around their address and they haven’t asked them to leave but they ring us, or even better, the caller received a call, it was a wrong number but they are worried its a crank call- call us…. Come on – keep piling it on.

With Winsor now digging his talons deep in to the flesh of the Police service to get his pound of flesh for our Government, officers are now discussing industrial action and also now losing their ‘goodwill’ and feel like they should ‘work to rule’ and not put themselves out.

You can’t blame us really. Winsor was meant to be doing an independent report and yet it seems a blueprint copy from a speech Cameron made in 2006, and apart from the odd ‘colouring out of the lines’, this a carbon copy of what the Conservatives wanted 6 years ago. Don’t get me wrong, Labour weren’t kind either, but to say its an Independent review? Ha!

Anyway, back off the soapbox and back to the nonsense. Some of the jobs we get are ridiculous or unnecessary, but we don’t seem to bat them away but just take on what I like to call ‘shit’.
The call taker doesn’t normally bat them off either because they aren’t allowed to use common sense or they are just so damn scared of making a judgement & might lose their jobs they don’t let jobs through. If they do use common sense then they have someone supervising who tells them otherwise, and have to take them on.
We then try our best, using Common Sense and placate or bat back as a ‘no crime’, but then Control Room staff are told to ask ‘was anyone harassed alarmed or distressed’ and then tell us off because we are not wearing our hats.

It seems the reality has checked out. Even ambulance crews are calling us to attend when there is a slightly ‘iffy’ address, or the nearest one is at least an hour away- no wonder we are losing our goodwill and normally we are lucky if even the fire service acknowledge our existence.

There are going to be less officers to deal with these ‘pressing issues’ and more are going to be standing their ground. For example there was a Grade A domestic, where a female was heard to be screaming and someone had rung it in. Officers were called up but the unit was on a meal break, the next unit was doing ‘paperwork’ and so a unit from another area had to come across. Officers were actually saying ‘No’ (not directly but basically) There was a time when everyone would call up, back up and deal, but now they are starting to dig their heels in- it is fair to say they are ‘pissed off’, and really who can blame them, now having to work out their own hours which are applicable for their ‘unsociable hours’, get it checked and signed off and send it in. Ridiculous.

Officers are no longer interested in overtime nor are they interested in dealing with the crappy jobs that we get sent to- which they would once chuckle at, but now they just look so depressed.
They are trying their best and seem to be fighting against the tide. If we were a private owned company and we took nonsensical calls they would send anyone, so why are we not learning to say no? Because we are a Public Service and Proud and Professional to the last. We will still give blood, sweat and tears to the job even when we are treated worse than we ever have been, but please give a thought next time before you ring the Police for something trivial, perhaps think of a more suitable person or company, and let us deal with what we were designed to do. Law and Order. A warranted Officer. A multi talented, multi faceted officer of the law.

If you want to show your support for a colleague or friend, or even your local Police, read up on the Winsor report, show your support by signing the e-petitions on line, and joining us in London on 10th May 2012. Don’t have the ‘it’s not going to make a difference attitude’, it will. We need a voice, and by going you are our voice. @inspjulietbravo (twitter) #antiwinsornetwork


13 Responses to “Why don’t we start saying ‘No’?”
  1. helen666 says:

    I could not do your job and one of your officers told me I had the patience of a saint on one of their many call outs.
    Public service should be just that Public.. not private.. better the devil you know and all that.This government is intent on ruining all things British and we may not say it very often but where would we be without our police?
    I for one would be up the creek without a paddle and so would my children. I think privatising the police is going to be the biggest mistake this government has made yet and if it goes through they will regret it.

    • I agree, if they privatise the police it would be disasterous. We chose this career to help people and keep law and order.
      This job has such an affect on officers and so many have mental health issues for dealing with very difficult situations and the stresses – we are being treated badly and we need all the support we can get.
      Thank you for your support.

  2. Baffling, mind-boggling instances of people who must not be able to hear themselves speak. Thanks for the window into it, and bless you for sticking with it. A lot of people take up the practice of mindfulness to counteract burnout. Just a thought… Cheers, Margaret

  3. ash says:

    good post. agree with the majority and that we should say no but don’t agree with the comment re call takers. I’m a call taker and a specials sergeant, occupying these roles whilst waiting for my start date as a pc, and I proactively nip jobs in the bud at source. just as our roles as officers and the accompanying diacretion is being dissolved by reams of policy documents, call handlers are increasingly been given dialogue to use on calls as common sense and initiative is eroded!

    • To be fair I think perhaps I didn’t make it clear in relation to control room staff, who I might add, do a great job, and often have to say things they don’t want to on the air, or take jobs they don’t think should be taken on.
      I have worked in the control room and it can be equally frustrating, so with that I have re worded what I was trying to get across.



    • I do believe there are those call takers like yourselves who are specials too that do see how it is, however, there are some who don’t have a clue and will take on jobs for fear of getting in the crap themselves or to stop someone making a complaint against them.

      Keep up the good work 😃

      • iceman9866 says:

        u should see the stuff we dont create, if i get another call about concern for a horse in a field and its raining and it does not have a blanket i will …..

  4. Mark Watson says:

    I would like the police we have had in the past. The police that protect us from those that would do us harm, from those who would steal from us and from those who would threaten our way of life if not our existence. The traditional idea that we need a force of people who will help to uphold the rights of law abiding and contributing citizens is surely a key principle of any police force in a democratic and ‘advanced’, civilised society. I for one would prefer that your time, and your colleagues time be spent to protect us and bring to justice those who would rather go their own way and selfishly commit acts that go against the principles of what our society and communities are built upon. Otherwise we may as well descend into anarchy and chaos and go back to the ‘real’ dog eat dog jungle and survival of the fittest or the most violent.

    I think you all do a fantastic job but too much is now placed in your way to be as effective as you could be. There are too many rights assigned to those who have neither earnt them or have not exercised those rights responsibly.

    Perhaps the government, because of political correctness, has lost sight of what the Police are there for?

    I for one am really for the Police Force and hope they can once again be allowed to focus on their key objectives, get back to basics and do it with the proper support they deserve. Anyone who disagrees should think carefully about the alternatives and where that could lead.

    And by the way, anyone making a call to the police that is not associated with ‘proper policing’ (some kind of charter might have to be published to define this) should be charged for the time wasted at the equivalent of £100 plus £5 per minute.

    Good luck.

  5. Plod says:

    I’ve just got home from my late shift and was on the “diary car” – basically I spent 8 hours going from one complainant to another for the entire shift. I got a break 7 hours after I started when I managed to get a quick bite to eat and a cuppa then back out again for the last job before heading back in to update them all.

    Of the 8 incidents not 1 was a crime and EVERY one of them would have been sorted out without any police involvement 10 years ago (maybe even 5). I had to listen to my fellow 24/7 response officers going to grade 1 incidents knowing I couldn’t back them up if anything happened just in case I was late for my next appointment!!!!

    This is what we are up against on a daily basis, in top of the 8 people being off or on restricted duties!!

    Oh I also received a letter today telling me that my pension contributions will go up next month and they will back date it for the month we’ve just had!!! At least I’ll get a pay rise in September ……………… Oh no that’s stopped for the next two years too!!!

    It’s not all doom and gloom though, I got a nice email today telling me I’d passed the Part 1 Sgt exam in the top 10% in the country!! Great news, until I realised if/when I get promoted it will put me into the next bracket to pay both more tax AND higher pension!!!!!!!

    Rant over – I’m still very proud to be a PC and the job that I do!!

    • Congratulations on passing Part one.
      I concur with everything you are saying- I do hope that we get the respect we deserve and leave us alone. I don’t think we are asking that much really?

  6. Controller :) says:

    Having been a call taker who thought outside of the box and got Constant tellings off for not sending officers to a woman dead plant that “might” have been poisoned ( sorry it was autumn and it “might” just have died ! ) or arguing that dialing 999 because the remote batteries had died wasn’t an emergency… I became a controller… Now I just argue other peoples calls !! The other fashioned resolve before you resource seems to have gone out of the window because people are afraid to say NO!

    • Totally agree. I worked in the control room too, and you would have the genuine callers on the normal number and the 999’s would be for people out of credit or were lost, or wanted to speak to a certain officer. Crazy!

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