When I joined up a fresh faced little boy, it was a different job.
Panda cars looked like this:
Cuffs were fine…radios ran out of power after 3-4 hours…stick only good for breaking windows…
A PIC was searched at the station and a paper custody record completed; took 10-30 mins. If we were busy, we took the details ourselves.
The custody sarge worked on his own for most of the time…
A file for court consisted of:
File front sheet (details of case/defendant); Case summary (short, concise summary of circumstances and important evidence); Charge sheet; Witness list; witness statements;a tape transcript and a PNC check of defendant. That’s 7-items. Done on paper…so we could do them anywhere-even parked up in a car out on the patch.
We charged our prisoners-the custody officer made that decision. If it was a tricky one-the gaffer had final say.
Stations had their own cell block.
Shifts were 0600-1400; 1400-2200 and 2200-0600. Student officers were called Sprogs (fng, pro-cons etc…) and arrived at least 20-30 minutes early to do the tea for the shift- in order… (Insp, Shift Sarges, Control sarge, Custody sarge, big tray for parade room-area car drivers first then panda men/ladies…we cleaned up too…).
Kit was checked by the sarges, pocket books signed by the Inspector and problems sorted out by the sarges and the gaffer.
We filled in a crime report and took a statement at most jobs-they were passed on and INVESTIGATED…
We had big shifts: Insp, 2xshift sarges; custody sarge; Control sarge; Office man; 3 or 4 double manned pandas, an area car and access to force traffic/dog.
A team of beat men-usually long service types that knew their patch inside out.
Now pandas look like this and this:
Now we have CARRY and wear this kit:
When we arrive at the station under the watchful eye of CCTV, we wait until the electronic custody system is completed. Takes 30-60 minutes, that’s without the queue… Now we need two custody staff plus a runner.
A file for court consists of:
All done on a computer…requiring an officer to be at a station sitting down-not patrolling.
These exist for one purpose: to make the lives of the CPS easier.
Shifts are diverse… 0700-1500, 1400-2300, 2200-0700, 1700-0300, 1700-0500, 1000-1900 etc…
We now have: response teams… no area cars (we don’t pursue people now) -1 double or 2 single manned cars per area making 3-5 available resources; Neighbourhood teams some 10-15 strong; PCSO and council wardens (neither can be tasked by us).
We have local and force CID… civilian controllers… civvie custody suites for areas making for miles of travelling to lodge your PIC…
We are now required to do the following at a job:
Fill in crime report, (12-page risk form if it’s a domestic), statement, house-house, CCTV, SOCO, community liaison, return visits, community reassurance…
This is definitely NOT the job I signed up for…or enjoyed so much.
I have often been asked why we carry so much kit…
It’s because officers reported a huge increase in assaults against them. Resisting arrest is the norm. Why?
Nothing happens to them at court if they attack an officer (or anyone else for that matter…).
I remember going to court with a chap that punched me in the face during arrest-he got an extra 6-months inside for his trouble.
Now we are in a situation where we are responsible for everything from: people being stuck in their cars following a big snowfall (remember?), to officers driving past an accident ( a classic-IPCC called in to investigate a fatal RTA because a panda was on the OPPOSITE SIDE OF A DUAL CARRIAGEWAY at the time of the collision-I shit you not)…
Still, I am getting another medal next year…