Friday, 31 May 2019
Alpha One Zero
Alpha One Zero.
It's a radio call sign, a handle, an identifier. It belongs to the Inspector on duty as the Critical Incident Manager for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly police. Just over the Tamar Bridge in Plymouth it's Papa One Zero. If you drive far enough along the A30 into North, East and West Devon it will be November One Zero looking after you.
The One Zero role is essentially a challenging mix of supporting officers and supervisors as they do their job, assessing and authorizing the more contentious searches and powers that police use and managing those "critical" incidents that have already or may have a significant impact on individuals and the community.
When I was doing it as a full time job, which I did for a handful of years as both Papa and Alpha One Zero, my wife asked me if I was happy working as a One Zero. It was a good question.
I would belly ache about the shift hours and the difficulty in getting time off. I would generally look grey and washed out and occasionally, when I needed to, I would recount depersonalized stories of what the team had dealt with during the shift. But it did get under my skin. It was the single best job I have had in both of my careers. It was only when I finally had my "wobble" that I changed jobs. I will be eternally grateful for her quiet, non-judgmental support. But as I have said previously, I have been working towards getting back in the fight and have started covering a few shifts again.
The last shift I worked was relatively "Q".
There was not too much handed on from the night shift. There was a search of refuse sacks we has seized and had at a police station following a sickening sexual offence, an open area search for evidence involved in an attempted murder, two fourteen year old Mispers or missing persons to locate who may or may not have been targeted by predatory offenders, a high risk offender for a violent domestic to locate and arrest, a person to safeguard following some worrying stalking and a fatal road traffic accident to follow up.
The support group officers, patrol officers, neighbourhood teams and local investigation detectives searched, enquired, suspect hunted and safeguarded their way through that lot. At the same time the radio drove patrol and neighbourhood officers around the county to the never ending calls for service.
My admiration for those that still do that job full time was renewed, and I hope my hand over to the late shift didn't miss anything important.
PS Your kindness, honesty and safe driving is appreciated by us all.