Its been a bit busy for the last week, both at work and home, so just getting a few minutes in the sun to jot down thoughts on how it went for us.
We finished up the last week with nights duty on the Sunday. I mentioned before about our computer screens all going bright red with serious incidents (they’re colour coded, red being serious) well that night was another one of those. No clear reason why, just one call after the other, all with immediate risks to people. No sooner had we got officers on the way to one incident than we had another come in leading to some significant juggling acts by the Team. In the middle of it all we had a firearms incident resulting in staff being tied up for a long time and my colleague and myself on the phone negotiating with a gent in his house, eventually persuading him to leave the house without his weapons. Fortunately it turned out that they were air weapons and it was all sorted with no injuries and we avoided any risk to other members of the public. All in all it proved to be a very stressful night for the whole team.
Recently on Twitter I had a brief conversation in relation to Noise Nuisance and basically who’s responsibility it was to deal with it. Noise, whether coming from a commercial premises or as a result of neighbours over enthusiastic activities (take that how you wish but yes, we do get calls about just about everything) can be very distressing and have a significant impact on people’s quality of life. I mentioned then that the Local Authority are the lead on noise issues and Dudley Council have a comprehensive Web Page providing advice. But if you have been reading our Blog you will know that in our world things are never simply ‘Black and White’ and there is considerable cross-over between each agencies responsibility. Continual noise issues may also constitute Antisocial Behaviour and as such the local Neighbourhood Teams regularly work in partnership with the Council to address these. In our experience though, from the calls we get some of the greatest concern relates to late night noise – someones party, loud music, etc. This becomes particularly prominent during the summer when parties often spread out into the garden or a radio is taken out to sit in the sun. Quite understandably people want the noise stopped ‘now’ and that is when we get the calls. It can be difficult to say to someone suffering in these circumstances that ‘it’s not a police matter’ particularly at night when there may not be any Council staff available to come out and deal with it. But ultimately there are many things that we do not have responsibility for and therefore have no powers to enforce.
Most of the time in the Control Room we are totally reliant on the caller for details as to what is happening at an incident. As most people call us at stressful times it is understandable sometimes that information passed to us may be inaccurate. Often the numbers of people involved or weapons seen may be mistaken in the heat of the moment. Sometimes the location may be wrong, quiet often we have to go by a persons description of the area to work out where they are, although the miracles of modern technology are beginning to have an impact. Some callers are now giving their locations from their phone or SatNav, like a caller we had recently. This particular gent was giving us a street name that no one knew so in exasperation with us he passed his location as a post code off his Phone … and we were able to ask officers from Warwickshire to go and speak to him. In much the same vein we had a 999 call passed through recently and I will skip the nature of the call to avoid identifying the caller but the detail went along the lines of “I want to report ……. its at, em, I’m not sure, I’m a bus driver, I’m not good with roads”! fortunately we were able, by a process of elimination, to work out how far into a neighbouring county he was on his route and get our colleagues to assist there as well.
Joy of Nights
I have always felt that there is a perverse pleasure in working Nights. Even though it can so debilitating there are some pleasures that you just cannot get working at any other time. There is something very satisfying to know that each night, after you sort out all your E Mail at the start of the shift, that there is unlikely to be anymore arriving, such a change from the daytime, such freedom! Then there is that unique feeling as you hear the birds start to sing and watch the sun coming up, knowing that a new day is beginning. There is a degree of pleasure in the drive home passing all the morning commuters heading off to work (and their constant E Mails!). Reading back through that last passage I might have almost convinced myself that it’s a joy to work through the night. But then there is the thought of the 4am slump when your body just wants to give up and the thought that at some point during the mornings sleep the doorbell will go or the phone will ring with an exciting offer on an automated message (yes I know… unplug the phone!).