After 30 years in the pub & club trade and 12 years as a specialist licensing consultant, I was interested to spend an evening with Lincolnshire Police to see and experience some of the effects of alcohol in the evening economy. I shared a night shift on a Saturday night in June with an officer on patrol in the city of Lincoln as an observer.
My brief was to arrive at the West Parade Police Station at 2130hrs to be introduced to PC Joe Clear who I joined for the evening for his shift.
The first job was certainly unexpected. A visit to Lincoln County Hospital to observe the results of a previous incident with a deceased person. Talk about being thrown in at the deep end! Almost two hours later, we left the hospital. I have always had a lot of respect for hospital staff and left with more than ever for the hard working, dedicated nurses and their colleagues who do a great job and such long shifts.
After checking a property, following a call complaining about a disturbance, we went to the custody suite to look at how detained people are processed and I was invited to look at the very basic cells. Not really a place you would want to spend the night.
Now, in the early hours of the morning we had a well earned coffee break, surprisingly the only coffee break of the evening! I thought that officers might have had more coffee breaks during their long and demanding shifts. We did not have time to relax and enjoy it however as a call soon came in to attend a disturbance at a previously known address.
Within minutes we arrived at the address and all appeared to be quiet. Soon after, two more police cars arrived and a total of four officers were on then on the scene. All seemed to be in order and the feeling was that it was a malicious call. Two hours of officer’s time was wasted on a busy Saturday evening. This would be one of a few similar calls we dealt with during the evening. It made me realise how much valuable police time is probably, unnecessarily wasted.
Some interesting observations; Whilst driving around looking for a suspect it was very hard looking down the side streets without the street lights being switched on. I was impressed with how the taxi companies and taxi marshalls appeared to be dealing with moving the public out of the city centre. Street Pastors were helping out many vulnerable people.
On the subject of vulnerable people, I was shocked with the number of females I saw walking around the city barefoot! I suspect that their high heels had got too much for them and it was easier for them to take their shoes off! They abviously were not thinking about any broken glass that might be on the pavement let alone whatever else may be deposited there.
The recently introduced electronic notebooks appear to be a good tool with officers only having to make notes once, then the file is updated. A great deal of time must have been wasted in the past handwriting notes and then typing them up.
The conduct, attitude and professionalism of Joe, and his colleagues I met on the night was exceptional. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the evening but finished the shift with huge respect for the police on the ground after seeing what they have to deal with. Joe told me that the shift was a quiet one. I thought it was fairly manic so cannot imagine what a busy night would be like.
Although the police have response times to meet, it is clear that no matter how many officers there may be on duty, if there’s an incident occurring, or someone has made a malicious call, these times are going to be hard to meet.
We spent most of the evening until 0400hrs dashing from one side of the city to the other dealing with various incidents and my six and a half hours passed in a flash. A pleasure to have been able to join the police for the evening and have a first hand experience of what officers have to deal with.