Thursday, 5 February 2009


I have just read a post from Which End Bites and a chain of thoughts started about influences that possibly govern the outcome of your life.

He mentions how an influential character from his early days in the job recently passed away. That made me think of my dad who passed away last year after a sudden illness. He was born north of the border and was at sea in the merchant navy at the age of 14 during the second world war. At the end of the war he had several other jobs including being a grease monkey on a long defunct railway line. In the early 50's he joined Notgreat City Police after encouragement from a former shipmate who had joined a couple of years earlier. At that time the force was filled with hard men who had either endured WW II as an officer or joined following the demob. They knew discipline and also what was right and wrong. They enforced the law in ways that would probably make politicians and senior managers shudder these days. People were poorer than these days but they cleaned their own step and could leave doors unlocked also children could play in the streets safely. In other words there was a sense of community that made people look out for each other. You only have to look at old photographs to see neighbours talking to each other in the streets. He used to reminisce fondly about the people who he used to deal with. He told me he never once had to use his truncheon and how they used to get criticized if the leather strap was visible sticking out of the pocket sewn into the trousers.

He used to eagerly ask me about what was going on these days and always tried to equate some of my encounters with his. After a couple of years he didn't bother but used to look at me with sadness as he realised that his adopted city had changed beyond all belief and that very few people who were falling foul of the law had anything to fear. He had to retire medically after 16 years after jumping on a wall that was subsequently demolished by the runaway truck he ironically jumped on the wall to avoid. Broken spine and nerve injuries resulting. He still insisted that if he had been a Mason he would never have had to leave the job and would have been found an office post. Once well again he worked solidly until retirement age and due to this thankfully my Mum has a comfortable life and need never worry about money again for the rest of her life. She even gets a small pension from the police from his contributions.

Speaking of my Mum she too was an officer around the same time in Notgreat City Police and after transferring to one of the surrounding Boroughs became the first female officer in that area. Guess how they met and following the birth of my brother in the early 60's she then left the job and became a full time mum who my Dad provided for for the rest of their lives. I haven't got a clue about her pension from the police but she doesn't get anything. I should ask about that really.

Anyway down to me, I tried to join the job at 18 but in the 80's that was deemed too young and told to re-apply when I reached 21. I subsequently joined the RAF and spent 11 years there leaving in 1999 after my wife left in 1997. Overseas detachments meant that one year I was home for 8 months and the next only home for 4 months. (4 months in the country then 4 months out). I wonder if my time in the forces was purely a experience to equip me for my current occupation.

I wonder if I was somehow "destined" to be a policeman due to my parentage, like my dad I saw conflict and learned what was right and wrong. I don't believe in fate or any of that type of thinking. I had a strict but happy upbringing, I knew my mum was always at home and that my dad was either at home or working. Subconsciously this has progressed to my own family as my wife stopped working and has been a full time mum since the birth of our first daughter. Chance? I don't know.

Anyway at the end of this random post I am still not sure why I have bothered to write all this. This is an off the cuff response to the post mentioned in the first paragraph. If it means anything please let me know. I will resume with police experiences shortly.


Area Trace No Search said...

For what it's worth, I think that trying to get into the mind of what a copper is, how they think, what motivates them is nigh on impossible.

In that post you came closer than most to acheving it.

Nice one, mate.

Constable said...

Ta mate it was something that just needed saying yesterday.

Not sure why but after reading WEB's post it seemed right.

I suppose I have always known what is right and wrong but since joining the job the black and white has been arsed about with by governments and the courts.There is only a tiny bit of black and white left at the end of the spectrum. The rest is now just grey, ie the difference between right and wrong means nothing when you take into account society, people and the standards that apply to both.
How will it end?

Thanks again.

Hogday said...

Nice to read your post CC.C I could empathise all the way through, particularly with your Father's entry into the world of work, so close a story to that of my own Dad who was on steam ships to South America as a teen. I only wish I could have him tell me the stories again so I could take notes.

Re my own kids, now adults, I would often get the compliment `your two children are so polite`. I'd think of my parents and always give the same response my Dad did when someone said similar about me, "Thank you very much but you know, they weren't born like it".

Nice post.

Constable said...

Hogday thank you.My kids are frequently commented upon about how nice they are. My 8 year old knows the score but the nearly 2 year old needs work but everyone agrees that she is a hoot.

Thank you for your comment on this seemingly irrelavent post.