Chin Up

It seems to me that there are plenty of police officers out there with their heads down at the moment.

I’m proud to count any number of them as my friends… I’m proud to serve alongside them all.

• There’s the retiring officer – who thought they’d never say it, but they’re glad they’re going;
• There’s the brilliant PC – who has put their papers in, saying simply that they’ve had enough;
• There’s the Police Staff member – who sees no prospect of getting on in the Job, now leaving for the private sector;
• And there are those who are staying – but who will, if you ask them, tell you that all is not well.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised.

There are any number of reasons that might be given for their sense of unease:

• Austerity
• Police Reform
• Pay & Conditions
• Pensions
• Unprecedented levels of scrutiny and no shortage of external criticism
• Public Sector partners feeling the strain
• A policing past that is catching up with us – the recognition that some of our troubles are of our own making – and a policing present that is becoming ever more complex and challenging
• An evolving terrorist threat that puts police officers directly in the line of fire

Whether you agree with them or not, it all adds up to a pretty challenging picture.

Certainly the most challenging I’ve known in more than 22 years of doing this remarkable job – arguably more challenging than anything seen in the post-war era.

And there is a realisation that so much of what is happening is beyond the immediate influence or control of any one of us. Indeed, the only thing that is within our absolute control is the way in which we – both individually and collectively – choose to respond to it all.

And we could let our heads drop. On occasions, perhaps some of us might be forgiven for doing so.

Or…

We can remind ourselves that, in spite of everything, this is still the best job in the world; that it is still one of the very most important…

Because, whatever else is happening, the calls will keep coming.

To the crime scene, to the car crash, to the Domestic Violence victim, to the Missing Person, to the man having a schizophrenic episode, to the illegal rave, to the trafficker and the pimp, to the Sudden Death, to the ‘Suspects On’, to the child left home alone, to the family feud, to the stalker, to the pub fight and the street brawl, to the suspicious package, to the neighbour dispute, to the gang member, to the girl threatening suicide, to the aggravated trespass, to the lonely soul who just needs someone to talk to…

Regardless of what’s going on in the world around us, there are people out there right now who need a helping hand – and there are people out there right now who just need nicking.

We are still that agency of first and last resort…

What’s not to love about this extraordinary line of work?

• There is the brilliance & bravery, the courage & compassion of the officers I work alongside – the ‘everyday heroism’ of the people who police our streets;
• There were my days as a Hostage Negotiator, with a boss who would ring and ask simply, ‘are you ready to save a life?’. A little hokey perhaps, but it certainly reminded you of what’s important;
• There is the recognition that this, truly, is a job like no other;
• There is that precious sense of belonging – of being part of a unique and extraordinary (and occasionally dysfunctional) family;
• There is the fact that I have laughed longer and harder in the company of police officers than perhaps with anyone else;
• There is the gratitude and appreciation of those for whom we have answered the call;
• There is the priceless knowledge, as you head home at the end of the day, that you have made a difference – perhaps all the difference in the world;
• There is the realisation that the police service still has the support of the vast majority of decent people;
• There is the remembrance that it really isn’t the critic who counts…

Yes – it’s damn challenging at the moment. But, chin up…

Because this Job still matters more than I can possibly say.

When I grow up, I still want to be a police officer…

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23 thoughts on “Chin Up

  1. panache2009

    This article brought tears to my eyes. Tears of sorrow that such fine young Officers are being treated unjustly and unfairly, then tears of pride. Pride that young men & women are carrying on doing their best for every one of us, regardless of personal harm, they are committed to serving us and protecting us. The Country needs to stand up and support these Officers, they need us now to ensure their future is safe and they are adequately safeguarded. We owe them a debt of gratitude which we must never forget. Society needs a strong, robust Police Force to grow.

    Liked by 2 people

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  2. Kristin Daly

    Hello from across the pond- Rochester, NY- my husband is a sheriff deputy and he, his co-workers, and all of their families (especially the group of police wives I’m friendly with) have felt the vitriol lately – the sense that everyone hates the police.

    This brought tears to my eyes- it is so true- what my husband does, his fellow officers, is honestly heroic- not to sound hokey- but even in the mundane, their work to make society better, to protect and serve their communities, and keep us safe is unbelievably admirable and not to be underestimated, trivialized, or judged by external sources who have no idea what the subtleties and realities of their jobs entail.

    To put it simply, they risk their lives for the betterment of the world. And something I am forever grateful for. Thanks for writing this and I am definitely sharing this with my blue family 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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      1. andrew bradshaw

        Your main article I could tell was from a high ranking officer.
        You all upstairs have no idea at all what the pc has to put up with these days.
        Yes it’s fine saying you do from the office but the buck stops with us and as the saying always was shit rolls downhill

        Liked by 1 person

      2. policecommander Post author

        I understand the point – though it’s a bit of a generalisation… I like to think that there are some of us who haven’t forgotten what it’s like – and do what we can to stay in touch.

        Like

      3. doctorplod

        Andrew really appreciate and respect your views (and believe me it rolls our way too!), but when I’ve been getting my bum kicked, my reputation destroyed and my career and family threatened, it really has just been me standing very much my own in the box and this has happened a few times in my service. However, I’ve always known that most of my colleagues, whatever their rank (police staff or cops) were always there, right behind and quite often there to buy me a well earned pint after. Some of us really do care about our staff, we’re not all sociopathic ‘snakes in suits’. Regards Rob

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Kristin Daly

    Amazing and brought tears to my eyes. The job that law enforcement officers do is admirable beyond what any words can say. I am forever grateful for the job they do tirelessly and in the face of relentless scrutiny by armchair critics and those who have no idea what the job entails. My husband is a sheriff deputy over here across the pond in Rochester NY, and part of what I love about him is his deep-seated passion to help make our community a better and safer place. To help those in need. To risk his life to do so. He is a good soul, and he, along with his fellow officers need to be reminded how grateful most
    of us are for them.

    Chin up. Stay strong. We need you all. Your work is not in vain.

    Liked by 1 person

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  4. doctorplod

    We recently spent the evening in the company of an extremely wealthy (and pretty drunk) man . He waxed lyrically about what he had, where he’d been, his annual bonuses, it was amazing there was enough room for him and his ego at the table. When he’d finished, he glanced around the table fishing for compliments and awe. Not wishing to disappoint, I looked at him smiling and said, “You know, you can stick as many zeros after your bonus, and I guarantee you’ll never be able to match my fortune”. Curious, he said “So what do you do?” I replied “For 30 years I’ve worked with the most amazing, talented, and committed people you could ever meet. When people run from trouble, they run towards it, when I’m feeling like shit they put an arm around me and ask ‘how can I help?’ When my wife passed away, I knew there were 70,000 people who would help if they could, no matter how small. When the community cry, they’re the first with a hanky. When I’ve got to react quickly, there’s invariably a whole army right behind me in support. Sure, I’d like an Aston, and the Caribbean holidays, but would I swop my 30 years of friendship, banter and professional pride … Not in a million years. Hang in there it will get better and I guarantee, somewhere out there today there’s a young PC who at the end of their police service will say the same thing. Nice blog mate.

    Liked by 1 person

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  5. responseskipper

    Pretty much epitomises my philosophy and my departing posts to my colleagues when I retired in September. Now I spend my days as an undergrad at uni surrounded by youngsters who will change the world, very refreshing as I remain by nature an optimist and I’m glad there are still a few of us around.

    Only found your blog recently, but have very much enjoyed reading your thoughtful and thought provoking posts. One can only hope that in a service where honesty is a prerequisite yours does not get you into too much bother. Perhaps if we went back to being honest and sought to act less like our political masters then the world might be a better place?

    Cheers

    Karl

    Liked by 2 people

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  6. YoungPc

    not as easy to keep your chin up when you are having trouble at home yet are being constantly blocked from moving teams by a supervisor with a grudge against response teams.
    Why is it being made so difficult to move from the LPM to an ERPT?

    Liked by 1 person

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  7. Mark

    John – you know me and came to visit me in hospital when I broke my hip on duty. Big respect to you for that as it was genuine concern. I’m putting my papers in .. Counting the days till April – the reason bullying management who continue to trot out lies and can’t stand to be challenged with the truth. Does anybody believe more officers have gone into Neighbourhood Policing ? might show that on paper but not much community work going on from what I can see. The dedicated pro-active beat officers have shown their judgement by going back to response policing. I would rather do anything than work for this lot any longer .. Obviously I’m not operational so miss that connection and opportunity to police. Like to thank you as you were always one of the good ones. Good luck for the future

    Liked by 1 person

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  8. Leon Tamblinb

    It IS the greatest role in the world. It’s not a job by any means. The variety is emmemce but so are the emotions and stresses.
    The saddest thing about it all and what these millionaires ‘in power’ don’t see is they’re sending Policing BACK 40 years. Theresa May didn’t even know what we paid into out pensions, being 11% for those who didn’t know, it’s now 14.25% and out new pension is due to begin on April 1st but we have NO information on it.
    It’s sad the bitterness this government has had towards us but all the words are true.
    Sorry if this seems negative but I’m just saying what I feel. I wouldn’t want to do any other job.
    What I’ve lost is nothing compared to what others have lost as these cuts have already had consequences and people will have died.
    On that note I WILL hold my head high and ‘keep calm and carry on’
    #arolelikenoother (as the word Job doesn’t quite cut it)

    Liked by 2 people

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  9. Anonymous

    That’s very true, and your only as good as your last job. Sunday, commendations from SLT 1st down at a domestic homoside detained offender. Monday, a proactive trawl by D&C of Facebook apparently turns up my van parked in a disabled bay after 1st down at a CIT robbery and I forgot to move it whitest doing the primary. What a difference a day makes!

    It can’t get any worse can it?

    Liked by 1 person

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  10. Chrissie Broughton

    Can I just say, I joined the job late in life, got in just after my 40th Birthday. All my life I had wanted to be a police officer, because it stood for truth, and honesty and I wanted to put the bad guys/girls away. Nearly 10 years in my bubble has burst. This saddens me very much. I have personally experienced bullying by seniors, I have experienced people blatently lying to cover their butts because they knew they were doing wrong. I was the victim of child abuse (aged 6) and my fathre’s passing bought it all to the front. Yes I had to take time out, but when I came back I was put into the “too difficult to handle” box and this is where I have remained. I have been passed from one supervisor to another, I’ve over heard conversations from senior managers talking about me. People around me have made decisions without talking to me, and about what I want, they have put labels on me for some reason, They have completely ignored direction from Occ Health, so why do we have them. The “my being a victim” part falling by the wayside. The job still do not know how to deal with a mental health glitch (which is what it was) and they severly penalised me for it. I did consider speaking with the CC but having been challenged again about why I wanted to talk to him, I decided that it would be better if I try and move on. These things have a habit of following you around. As I got told recently “Inspectors speak to Inspectors”. I have in recent months thought “stuff it, I’ll go back to IT and earn more money etc”, but I can’t as I’ve been out the loop for too long.

    But after all this, I still want to make a go of it, I still want to do good. There is something in me, battered as it may be right now that I am proud of being a police officer. I want to help those less fortunate, of those in need, to save life and to protect the public.

    Liked by 1 person

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