Tales From George's Pocketbook



Welcome to another tale from George's Pocketbook. George is a frontline UK response officer dedicated to fighting crime, resolving family disputes in minutes that have taken years to break down and getting in the faces of the social underclass.All events are real and names and places have been changed to protect the innocent, not so innocent and plain stupid.


  • Page Fifty One - Burglar at the Door (Copcast #166)


    Back when George was a probationer himself, a lot of things were different. They had personal radios back then but there was only one channel to communicate on and the radios were pretty basic. There were three volume settings, louder, louder and deafening; and the only way th turn the thing off was to drop the battery out of the bottom. If you were with another officer when you stopped someone in the street and you called the Control Room for a name check, it meant that the reply "Are you free to speak?" was an instruction for every one else to remove their batteries and allow you to receive the information in confidence. In addition to his radio, George used to have a truncheon and a pair of handcuffs on his belt, the truncheon sat in a purpose built pocket down the outer thigh of his uniform trousers. You don't want to upset the public do you? All of his report books along with his pocketbook, were distributed among the pockets of his jacket. These days, when George steps out on foot patrol he looks more l

  • Page Fifty - Away on His Toes (Copcast #165)


    There are so many reasons why people become police officers, probably as many reasons as there are officers. Beyond the reasons for joining though, there are the unexpected reasons for staying. For instance there is the heart-stopping moment of excitement when a call comes over the radio for units to assist with a call to 'suspects on premises'. Those calls often seem to come in when everyone is in for refs and the canteen is packed. After the briefest of pauses during which you could hear a pin drop, there is usually absolute pandemonium.Resembling a scene from a World War Two film, set in a fighter squadron ready room, everyone suddenly scrambles for the doors, grabbing their kit on the run. Once outside, bodies will hurl themselves into every available vehicle and no one cares who is supposed to drive; if you end up in the driver's seat, then you drive.One late Turn, George and his team were in for dinner when just such a call came through followed by the mad dash outside. George found himself squeezed int

  • Page Forty Nine - The Rain in Spain (Copcast #164)


    George was sitting alone at the team table in the canteen, catching up with two weeks worth of paperwork, when half of the Relief piled in for refs. They greeted him in the usual boisterous round of "welcome back" and "how was the holiday?" A couple of his colleagues noted that he hadn't been his usual chirpy self since he'd got back and wondered if everything was all right.George put down his pen and pushed his papers and files aside as he looked around the familiar faces of his Relief, mostly tucking into their breakfasts but almost all had their eyes on him. As he paused a moment before continuing, a hush actually fell over the gathering, then he said "Spain was okay, apart from getting nicked that is."Suddenly there was uproar. His team threw a torrent of questions at him about what had happened while a couple of  others howled with laughter, one poor soul slipped sideways and fell off his chair, taking a bowl of cornflakes with him that ended up over his uniform. Gradually order returned and the flo

  • Page Forty Eight - Left Hanging (Copcast #163)


    The New year is a strange time, for some people it is a celebration of hope while for others it can be a time of hope for better times to come. For a few though, the New year is a reminder of how bad things can be and a time of loneliness and misery. Through all this there are a very small number of people who can be found working the night away, doing everything they can to keep the rest of us safe; these are the police patrols, ambulance crews, hospital staff and firefighters. One New Year's night will stay in George's memory for all the worst reasons. He was posted with an old team-mate called Jack, a deeply caring individual who wore his heart on his sleeve and George loved working with him for just that reason. Jack would literally do anything for anyone, whether that was an old and trusted friend or a stranger who was in need. George and Jack responded to countless calls to alcohol related disturbances, fights, injuries and disputes, as did the rest of their team, over the next four hours. By three

  • Page Forty Seven - It's Just Routine Guv' (Copcast #162)


    A hunch is all it takes, there's no logical reason why a one particular vehicle attracts the attention of an alert copper while another doesn't. It may be something obvious like a minor moving traffic offence or just their manner of driving. Sometimes though you just 'know' something isn't right and pulling over a vehicle for a driving documents check can reap rewards and make for a good collar.Last week George was on mobile patrol with another probationer. Not much was going on, so he decided that it was a good opportunity for Jeremy, the probationer, to practice a much needed bit of traffic process for his development. A short while later his attention was drawn to a black Ford Fiesta a couple cars ahead of them. There was nothing particularly interesting about it, if anything it looked in good order. George relayed the index plate to Jeremy and he ran it through PNC, the Police National Computer. The MOT had expired so it was worthy of a stop. Just before he did though, George asked Jeremy to check Intel t

  • Page Forty Six - Wanda Isn't a Fish (Copcast #161)


    At ninja skills training, sorry Defensive Skills or Officer Safety Training, they bang on about using tactical communications, officer approach and stance, the conflict resolution model, how your behaviour affects others, the reactionary gap, etc. All very valid and if you want to avoid getting the odd punch on the nose then it's worthwhile paying attention. The biggest problem George often encounters however is being crewed up with a probie who's been watching too many episodes of Street Wars or Police Interceptors and is a little 'punchy'. It's quite often these younger ones who prefer wearing the uniform to actually getting stuck into the paperwork. On a Friday Night Duty you can almost feel the testosterone brewing in the office prior to jumping on a carrier.Recently they were on the Public Order Carrier on a Friday night and were called to reports of a female making off from a criminal damage at a pub. Clearly she didn't like the cocktails and had demonstrated her frustration by throwing a bar stool at a

  • Page forty Five - Not Linford Christie (Copcast #160)


    George hates foot chases. Aside from the obvious that it knackers you out if it goes on for more than five minutes, you also have to contend with street furniture, mums with buggies, jeering youths and cars that absolutely and categorically will not stop to let you pass. The bad guys are normally half George's age, light on their feet and wearing Nike air trainers whereas he's wearing a stab vest, belt kit and running in size 10 steel toecap army boots.He only has a dozen years left in the job, so tripping over a bollard and smashing his pelvis on a kerbstone is not high on his agenda. He's seen it happen and you can take his word it isn't pretty or funny, especially if it's one of your colleagues. For this reason one of the first things he asks any new probationer is "what are you like at running?" Most eager ones tell him they are trained to an Olympian standard. That's that sorted then, they chase on foot and George'll back them up in the car. Well that's the plan at least but it never quite works out that

  • Page Forty Four - Operator's Duties (Copcast #160)


    The Radio Telephone or R/T Car tends to be the flagship on a Borough and the crew of the car are therefore looked upon to provide the lead in pretty much any day to day incidents that don’t need a supervisor. The driver of the R/T Car is also the most highly qualified driver on the Borough having attended and passed the four week Advanced Driving Course including pursuit management. As such, the ‘Driver’ is usually the oldest and most experienced PC on the team.Obviously this means that it is an honour, no a privilege for a lowly probationary constable to be allowed to act as the Radio Operator on the R/T Car. There is however a price to be paid for such a privilege. The Operator must ensure that the car is cleaned both inside and out, fit to be seen in public.The Operator must carry out the car’s Daily Inspection, making sure that all the fluids are correctly filled, the wipers work, the warning equipment including blue lights and sirens work, the tyres must be inflated to the correct pressure and have no da

  • Page Forty Three - Not a Disaster Movie (Copcast #158)


    The snowy weather may have reduced most of the UK to a post apocalyptic state but the movie 'The Day After Tomorrow' doesn't even come close to reflecting the effects. Who could imagine it, snow ... on a workday? The schools were all closed, milk was turning sour in the farms because the tankers couldn't get through and anyone living more than five miles from their place of work was guaranteed a day off. Except for anyone employed by the emergency services of course. Families still have domestics, shoplifters still try their luck, drug dealers still push their gear to finance the pit bull terrier and a brand new 50" plasma screen TV. It never stops and as a result the police and other emergency services still have to find some way of getting into work.For George it wasn't too difficult though. Thermal underwear, a beanie hat, two pairs of socks and an iPod got him through an hour's hike to his police station. At the station the Inspector had decided that only emergencies were to be attended to reduce the risk

  • Page Forty Two - Best Defence (Copcast #157)


    In this crazy world where it is perceived that the bad guys get more rights than some victims,George is always at his happiest when he feels he's got 'one over' on a defence solicitor. Like most police officers who interview their own prisoners he views the defence brief as a necessary evil. Given that the UK Criminal Justice System is deemed as one of the fairest in the world and a model that even the US built theirs on, he accepts them for what they are.How they sleep at night however is beyond his comprehension but then he might guess that someone has to do it or the system wouldn't work. For the most part defence solicitors know how to play the system and are reasonably well behaved. Like everyone George has had a few stroppy ones who have decided that his line of questioning  was inappropriate. He has even had occasions where a solicitor has hijacked the interview, answering questions on behalf of the prisoner. That's no problem though, he just stopped the tapes and ejected the wayward brief from hi

  • Page Forty One - I Know Kung Fu (Copcast #156)


    It was a cold sunny day in town; George and his probationer were in the middle of a routine vehicle stop-check when a report of a road rage incident, involving threats and a weapon of some description, came in from not far away from their position. A female driver had been threatened with what appeared to be a baseball bat, or large stick, by another road user following a verbal argument over parking.The local CCTV operators had been alerted and were scanning the town for the offending vehicle. After a few minutes a vehicle matching the description was spotted queuing to get into a town centre car park. George called up, allocating his call sign to the incident, as did a number of other units. Then CCTV called up on the radio "Control, the vehicle has one male occupant. We can see into the vehicle and can see what looks like a long stick on the back seat".George asked the Control Room for clarification. He was told again that apparently it was some kind of stick. He was then informed that given the lack

  • Page Forty - Dipped Copper (Copcast #155)


    It was mid-December when George’s team celebrated Christmas together by gathering at a pub before going on to a restaurant. They chose one of the small rural towns on the edge of their constabulary where there was a pleasant little inn only two or three doors away from the local police station.The mood of the team was extremely buoyant, not only were they celebrating the beginning of the festive season and looking forward to all the excesses and fun of Christmas with their families, but also a recent successful operation. As the result of hours of scanning CCTV recordings, surveillance operations, statement taking and an enormous amount of written work, the team had managed to arrest, charge and convict a prolific local pickpocket. The sentence had been announced that day and the dipper had begun a custodial term that would see him behind bars through Christmas and well into the New Year.Everyone was in high spirits and congratulating themselves on their eagle-eyed detective prowess and boasting about their h

  • Page Thirty Nine - Santa's in Trouble (Copcast #154)


    Once upon a time, long, long ago, police officers used to decorate their vehicles with tinsel and lights at Christmas in keeping with the festive spirit of the season. Sadly, for a variety of reasons, this is a practice that hasn’t been allowed by senior officers for a very long time.Back in the early days of George’s career there was an R/T Driver on his team called Tim. He was over six foot six inches tall and weighed in at a magnificent 20 stone, or 280 pounds for those of you outside the UK, who went by the name of Tiny. In those days, George’s team worked a four-week shift pattern that included a full week of Night Duties, which meant that they worked Night Duty on Christmas Eve for six years on the trot. Tiny saw this as an opportunity to spread a little festive cheer and so each year he paraded for Night Duty dressed as Santa Claus complete with hooded red robes and breeches, spit-shined black boots and an enormous white beard. His generous girth meant that he had no need for any additional padding und

  • Page Thirty Eight - Watching the Detectives (Copcast #153)


    George thought to himself “If I were ever to write this as a story, no one would believe me. They’d say I made it up”.The day had started so well, his team was in early and was all in plain clothes and the covert radios were all working, that in itself was a minor miracle. The unmarked cars had all been arranged and parked in the yard and the battered old plumber’s van with the dark windows was out in the street. George had given the briefing, grateful that one of his team mates was so handy with Powerpoint and it had been so complete there hadn’t been any questions. Everyone knew what they were supposed to do and where they were going to do it.The mission was actually fairly simple, Billy the burglar had been released from prison two weeks earlier and since then wouldn’t you know it, burglaries had sprung up all over the area. An operation had been planned and authority for Directed Surveillance had been authorised without any hesitation at all, another minor miracle. All they had to do was to plot up around

  • Page Thirty Seven - The Old Dog (Copcast #152)


    It is true to say that most of us become a little complacent about the work we do and the things we deal with. As we become more familiar with them it’s easy to forget how difficult others may find tasks that we take for granted.George had just arrived back in the rear yard of the police station having collected a stray dog that had been roaming the streets nearby. He’d had little trouble getting the dog into the caged section of the van although this may in part have been because it was raining and the van was warm and dry. Standing at the rear of the van with his hand on the handle of the cage door he was reassessing the dog, in particular the size of its teeth, which it seemed keen to display in an angry snarl aimed at George.“Best get the experts,” grinned George as he grabbed the radio and asked the Control Room to put a call in for the Dog Section to attend. Fifteen minutes later, and just before breakfast, the dog van arrived and two burly dog handlers emerged from it.“What’s up here ladies, are you ha

  • Page Thirty Six - Silver Haired Fox (Copcast #151)


    George remembers quite vividly his days of being tutored on shift. It was a great time for him, his first foray into real police work. As a very 'wet behind the ears' probationer, he experienced confrontation on an unprecendented scale, had a taste of man's inhumanity to man and witnessed the social degradation that goes hand in hand with some of the more colorful characters police officers meet in their daily work lives. And he loved it.His tutor was a silver haired, old school copper called Bill. George had no idea how old he was, only that he was 'more than likely' in his early forties although the lines on his face no doubt belied his real age. George knew he had been around since the miners' strike and that he had seen the big changes in the criminal justice system as well as policing in the UK change forever. Bill had been a beat officer all his working life, spent some time as schools liasion officer before becoming a tutor. He used to 'swing the lamp', furnishing George with tales, most of them touche

  • Page Thirty Five - Escaped Prisoner (Copcast #150)


    The rear yard at George’s police station is not only the parking area for all the police vehicles but is also the entrance to the Custody Offices so the whole place is surrounded by a twenty foot high wall topped with razor wire and only accessible through an electric gate operated from the Control Room. Because of the security, George and his team tend to relax once they reach the yard.One Night Duty recently saw George driving the van with a new probationer as his operator. They had just collected a young man on behalf of the crew of the dog van after they arrested him for being drunk and possibly having assaulted another man. Having arrived in the rear yard, and realising there was a fairly long queue of prisoners waiting ahead of them, the dog van crew asked George and his operator to watch their prisoner for them while they dealt with some of the initial paperwork.They also told George that their prisoner seemed to be behaving himself now and that he could be allowed to sit in the rear of the caged van w

  • Page Thirty Four - Bump in the Night (Copcast #149)


    The weekend seems to start on Thursday evening, at least as far as the drinking public is concerned. From Thursday Night Duty through until Sunday Early Turn most uniform patrol officers can expect to be dealing with their fair share of drunken revellers and the problems that go with them.There is always the usual smattering of fights with the injured joining those that have over-imbibed down at the Casualty Department of local hospital. There will also be a number of rubbish bins thrown through the glass panels of bus shelters and passengers throwing up their kebabs in mini-cabs. Amidst all this carnage at about 2am one Friday morning, George and his operator were driving very slowly through the pedestrian area of the Town Centre Shopping Precinct. They were on a regular tour looking for anyone that may have drunk too much in the local bars and clubs and collapsed, presenting opportunist thieves with an irresistible and unconscious target.“What’s that?” asked George as his headlights picked up movement on th

  • Page Thirty Three - Title (Copcast #148)


    It was dark, about 2am and the strobing blue lights were flickering off houses and hedgerows accompanied by the yelp of sirens as George’s Response Car barreled along the road, he was concentrating so intently on his driving that his eyes felt like they were out on stalks. Ahead of him was his colleague Jock in another Response Car but unlike George’s car, this one was letting out a long eerie wail and its headlights were flashing alternately.They were playing different tunes on their sirens as they ran in formation so that any other road users would have more warning that there were two cars and not one, it is every Response Driver’s nightmare being the follow car and having someone pull out in front of them, not expecting a second vehicle to be there.Hence George’s intense concentration.They had both answered a call from the Control Room at around the same time, it was an Emergency or ‘I-Call’ to a woman who was being beaten by her husband. She had managed to lock herself into a bedroom but her husband was

  • Page Thirty Two - Not a Catwalk (Copcast #147)


    It cannot be denied that there are some people that find police officers in their uniforms a powerfully appealing image to behold. It is also true that there are some officers who are so enamoured of how well they look in all their kit that they walk around like fashion models on a catwalk.In his role as tutor constable, George has become used to many students coming onto the unit fully equipped with new gadgets and kit that they have paid for out of their own pocket. Admittedly some of it is useful, like a decent torch or fixed penalty ticket folder, but some of it is not so useful like a key holder that stops your keys from jangling or a PAC tag clip that also doubles as an effective ligature if you get into a rumble. The job provides new recruits with enough kit to start them off, all of it at the most economical price. Things like handcuff holders where the seams split and baton holders that lose your ASP in a foot chase. In short the job knows it will need to replace these items on a regular basis, becau

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