I’ve been sat looking at this blank page for 30 minutes trying to think of a way to sum up my weekend. Between domestic violence, assault and sex offenders, its been a fairly standard weekend.
Crazy, huh? That violence, assaults and sex offenders can be seen as ‘standard’ but welcome to the world of the police constable.
Saturday and Sunday dayshifts made up my ‘weekend’. When most people are choosing to kick back and relax, have a beer or fire up the barbeque, my colleagues and I are strapping on body armour and facing down threats to society.
I walked back into the house on Sunday evening and tried to switch off the awful things I had seen. One difficultly you face doing my job is keeping your family safe from your trauma. It is traumatic. It may be that someone else has suffered a beating or someone else’s children have been abused, but we are all human beings and you cannot help but feel a small part of the trauma that victim’s feel. Some choose to speak to their loved ones about their experiences. Others choose to keep things to themselves. Some will fall somewhere between these two extremes and give sanitised accounts of what has happened during a normal day at work.
Saturday was spent dealing with a domestic incident where someone broke into a flat belonging to the family of his ex-partner and damaging items within. Burglary is not a crime against property – despite what people may think. Having your telly nicked is only part of the story. Someone has violated your private property. What else did they do in your home? Will you ever feel safe again? Its easy, when you’ve been to twenty burglaries, to forget the human impact of this crime. Victim’s often feel very vulnerable. The place they should feel safest suddenly feels very unsafe.
Sunday morning a young man was violently assaulted walking home in broad daylight. A bright and sunny day and suddenly your peace comes to an end at the hands of unknown attackers. Working with ambulance crews to ensure the safety of the victim is the priority before trying to locate suspects. CCTV enquiries, witness appeals, searching the location for evidence of the attack. Just as people are settling down with a cuppa and the Sunday papers, officers are sifting through the dregs of violence on the streets of small-town England.
As most are thinking about Sunday lunch my colleagues and I were considering the best approach to an online paedophile hunting group operating a ‘sting’ in the town. Its not as simple as ‘bad man do bad thing,’ there’s far more to it. Arrest, gather evidence, seize electronic equipment, consider the community impact, safeguard victims and also safeguard suspects. There’s so much that goes on behind the scenes. Most people just see a Facebook livestream of the ‘sting’ but not the hours, days, months of work that goes into the subsequent investigation.
I walked back into the house on Sunday evening tainted by the things that I have seen.
How was your weekend?