Monday, 19 March 2018

I still hear voices. Thank you.

"Ear worms".

What a great combination of words.

I know they are often used to refer to those catchy little ditties we hear on daytime radio shows, and which wiggle their way deep into our consciousness. And I am so sorry if "The Birdie Song" has unexpectedly popped in to your otherwise well ordered thoughts.

However, "ear worm" has a different connotation for me and quite possibly others too. I hear my ear worms on Airwave police radio speakers or the secret service style ear buds that I wedge in my ears.  I used to use chunky headsets with cotton covers that made my ear sweat.  Not anymore.

I wanted to write about ear worms because this week is the first week for a long time when part of my daily routine will not involve swallowing a bitter tasting Sertraline pill.  I was rather concerned that the "not real" voices I used to hear in the dark old days would come back.  They haven't.

And the mere sound of chatter on an Airwave police radio that had started to make my chest chill with anxiety, well that has returned to an almost comforting noise.  It makes me feel part of something, again.

The familiar voices that make the chatter have returned to being my ear worms; ear worms I understand and know how to live with.  No matter what I am doing, If I hear Airwaves chatter it touches my ear drum and gets instantaneously conducted to whichever part of my consciousness and unconsciousness that is trying to keep track of where everyone is, what they are doing, what nasties are out there and what I should be doing etc etc etc.

So, I still hear voices, but they are technologically as opposed to psychologically conjured out of thin air. That's good.

And now to say thank you; thank you to a really rather amazing group of people.  These are the people who are there with you during every painstakingly dull moment of a long shift, working with you in every rushed and confused journey to an incident when information is flying around like a flock of startled birds, whose spirit is alongside you every time it has well and truly hit the fan and they are working magic to make sure you are not the only one it is flying towards.  Some people call them "Gold".

These are the Radio Dispatch Officers(1) and Control Room Staff who spend their shifts in one of the most incredibly high stake, multi screen, non-role playing strategy "games" I have ever seen.  And do you know the most amazing thing?  Well, actually there are two amazing things.  The first is that they sound phenomenally calm and controlled under the inhuman levels of stress.  The second is that they keep doing it; keep coming in to work; keep guiding "the blue line" to where it is needed and doing their very best to keep those on the line as safe as they can be.



PS - the snow makes the little winding lanes even more slippery, and also makes it even more important to look after each other and each other's property.

(1) - the computer calls them Resource Deployment Officers, but what does the computer know!

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Show me yours first.

I really don't know why I didn't mention these guys earlier.  Well, actually I do know.  It's because I didn't realize they were out there when I wrote the piece from which the paragraph below is an extract.

That is not to say I had never read something about them, been briefed about them or seen some cunningly crafted awareness raising materials. After all they have been around since 2010. But if I had, it hadn't stuck.

Hopefully you will have more luck.

These guys are the "Internet Watch Foundation" or IWF for those in the know, and they have a logo that reminds me of the telly programmes Panorama and Joe 90.

The Internet Watch Foundation will do their very best to get rid of pictures and videos that have ended up on the internet, and which really should not be there.  They will help young people who have had live streams recorded, shared pictures and sent videos of themselves with their kit off  or getting "explicit".  If you, or someone you might know want to get hold of them, they are here Internet Watch Foundation
I didn't know that texting a naked selfie would end up on the internet forever.  This applies to text messages and all your other tech.  If you haven't gone "kit off" then probably best you don't.  Every text, video chat or photo on any app can be recovered. People will show and share photos and videos, you know they will.  They will still exist on the internet when you find someone you want to get serious with.  They will be there when you go to university.  They will still be there when you apply get the message.  If you have already gone kit off, you will be fine but you may want some help if your photos are shared. We can help.  Oh and if you think about sharing, texting or forwarding something to your besties or mates - that is a criminal offence.
And just so you know, these people also work incredibly hard to bring down the live streams, the shared pictures and videos of child abuse, often of the vilest sort.  So I'd like to say "thank you" to anyone who works or volunteers there and happens to read this.
PS.  When I was small(er) I was told that driving a car is safe until you forget that it's not, that it's never ok to fight just because you are angry and that I should leave other people's stuff alone.  © My Dad

PPS. If you Google IWF and find yourself looking at people lifting up really heavy looking stuff, you are on the wrong page.

PPS. If you are under 25 and sometimes think the pre-internet generation don't get it, find one of them and ask them what the title makes them think of; honestly.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Harsh words.


"Critica" by Julio Ruelas (1870 - 1907) – Painter (Mexican)Born in Zacatecas.

A discussion, a debate, a lecturing, a telling off, a vent; criticism.  There is, absolutely rightly a lot directed at the police.  I like being in a country where we can do that.  I also like to think that we, the police are professional and thick skinned enough to pick out and adopt the pearls of wisdom from the criticism with good grace. It's how we have grown in to the UK's police forces we are today.  But it can sometimes feel as if there are no pearls; just moans and venting surrounding even more "directions and recommendations" that show a less than brilliant grasp what we face in the situations we are called on to deal with.  It can start to feel like being the employee of a mildly abusive employer who likes to publicly criticize your best efforts.  Perhaps my skin has just been worn a bit thin, and as in so many other situations I have been distracted by the language used.

This is an extract from an open letter one of our Chief Officers wrote when working their last tour of duty in the police. 
“I need to share with you that I have found myself frustrated, angry and disappointed when I see and read others, at a local and national level, being too quick to criticise policing without first taking the time to understand and engage with those delivering the service. These detractors and critics would do well to remember that much more is achieved with a smile, politeness and appreciation than is achieved through criticism and sharp words. It is easy to criticise others when you do not tread the same footprints and experience the same challenges as those you choose to attack.
The balance to this is of course the public confidence we enjoy, our local communities are not aligned to the national newspapers views or those within the regulation or inspection regimes. They have a much more intimate relationship with us and it is our public that we need to invest our energies focussing on serving and building relationships with them. In the villages, towns and cities of Devon and Cornwall we enjoy great support and people who believe in us and want us to succeed. This is, and always has been, the bedrock of British policing and I am grateful to have shared this most special profession and my journey within it with all of you.”
Thanks for the letter Boss.

I have not picked out examples of the headlines, the every day sniping and ridicule officers face. You will have seen them.  I have found my best way to deal with them is to stop reading them, or just change the channel (I'm not allowed to throw bricks through the telly screen).

But I will share this link, just for balance: Thanks Russell for the video.
PS – And as ever, I ask that you please take care on our roads, be considerate of others and honest in all things.”