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Saturday, December 10, 2005



There have been odd comments on this being a dull or uninteresting blog. My response to that is generally; dull is as dull thinks. What do you expect? I’m not involved in a profession with huge dramatic capability like Policeman, Fire-fighter or Paramedic. There are generally no breathless foot chases, fire blowbacks or flashing blue lights off to save a life. My job mostly entails pounding a beat looking for people who park illegally and penalising them with Parking Tickets. Although as regular readers are aware this is far from the whole story.

Now this is the big ‘however’; it is axiomatic that the further you travel on foot, the more you will see, so I tend to see quite a lot. It is also true that you can’t be omniscient; you can’t see everything, everywhere.

Sometimes, if I may take liberties with the old Shakespearian cliché; that some are born dramatic, some attain drama, and some have drama thrust upon them. So it is with us. Because we are simply there as uniformed Parking Enforcement Officers, stuff happens.

I’ve kept this post back for a long time and altered a few key details, just in case my employers think they can identify us and use this blog as a stick with which to beat me. Not that I think they ever read my nonsensical drooling, but I prefer to err on the side of safety. Like I have often said, I need the money.

At the time I was on one of the ‘perimeter’ beats that are not quite leafy suburbs, but not town centre either. Control comes over the airwaves with a message from CCTV;
“Message to all Patrolling Officers, stand by.” Hello, thinks I, we don’t hear this often. All of a sudden this VW skids round a corner into the road I’m patrolling. “All officers be on the lookout for VRM:” CCTV reels off the number. Bloody hell, that’s him!
“515 responding control, Vehicle seen heading northbound along Chavland road at speed. Dark coloured VW hatchback, three males.” I reel off the descriptions and registration from my brief glimpse.
“Thankyou 515.” Control logs off with; “Over and out.” Thirty seconds later another of our lot chimes in.
“This is 499. Vehicle turned right into Shire road, almost knocked over some pedestrians. One lady is down, going to assist. Over.”

All of a sudden we’re all alert and focussed, keeping the airwaves clear for the next report. Control currently has no ‘Units’ available, but I’ve got a feeling this will empty the Police canteen. It is as they say, a ‘live’ one. My mobile phone rings, it’s one of the town centre beats. “Hello Bill.” It’s Big Harry.
“Wotcher Harry. What’s going on?” I respond.
“Gang just turned over one of the local Jewellers. Bastards nearly ran me down.” Harry sounds a bit aggrieved. Wouldn’t you be?
“Yeah, saw him tear arsing up Chavland road.” Suddenly the sound of sirens Dopplering around the streets can be heard over the phone.
“I phoned it in direct.” Says Harry. In other words he didn’t bother with his radio; he just dialled 999 on his mobile.
“499 to control. No Ambulance required, the lady had just fallen over.” Comes over the radio. Well that’s a relief. A squad car speeds past me, blues and two’s at full stretch.
“He’s forgotten his sandwiches.” I remark dryly. I can hear Big Harry’s rumbling chuckle on the other end of the line. We’ve done our bit. Panic over and back to work.

That afternoon I’m covering the northern end of the beat which borders an industrial estate. Something caught my attention, I forget what it was, so I did a double take and stepped back a few paces to get a better look. It’s a dark coloured VW hatchback parked in a non restricted street which we don’t normally patrol. I check the VRM (Vehicle registration mark or Number plate.). Sure enough, it’s the same car, so I walk to the end of the road and call it in to Control. “Okay 515, get out of there.” Is the response. That is exactly what I do.

Turns out the three guys were long gone, but a month later they did get caught pulling the same type of caper in a neighbouring town. From what I heard on the grapevine; CCTV evidence and some forensics linked them to the VW I’d seen and they copped a guilty plea. Job done.

Like I’ve often said; this job isn’t all about issuing parking tickets.

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Location: British Columbia, Canada

Exasperated expatriate expostulations all the way from British Columbia, Canada. As if anyone really cared. Oh, I also watch Icelandic Volcanoes and seismic activity. Don't ask me why.

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