We have attended emergency calls to violent disturbances involving knives or what we call ‘edged weapons’ on every shift for the last two months.
The weapon of choice for Ruraltown slag has been the Samurai sword for many years. Second are kitchen knives, followed by the machete, introduced by the Metrocity gangs who came onto us during the last Governments Safer Streets campaigns from 2003 onwards. The youth went back as soon as this street crime initiative ended, leaving the weapons and drugs culture behind.
Which ever Home Officer genius invented the last ‘big wing’ operations forgot to read the chapter about crime displacement. In terms of long term damage and criminal culture, Ruralshire has never really recovered from those days. All the violence, hatred and damage of the city street gangs came to visit us, only we did not have, and do not have, anything like the numbers or equipment to deal with it.
I remember literally fighting for my life with four young drug dealers from South Metrocity after a stop check went wrong for us when they all produced machetes and sharpened screwdrivers. I learned later that all four had previous convictions for GBH against police officers in other counties. They were from Somalia and Ivory Coast which interested the geographer in me. Clearly, attempting to murder policemen on a street in Ruralshire was their way of saying ‘thank you’ for the political asylum they so richly deserved.
It was the only time I have ever battered someone with my useless aluminium stick. I learned never to use my ASP again on that day. It just made them more angry and had no effect at all. Next time, and there will be a next time, I am going to use the shovel from the boot of my response vehicle. I mean it.
Back to now though; it is alarming to find yourself standing in a huge pool of blood, there is always so much blood, with someone shouting and swearing at you, waving a monster knife about. It is so strange when they come for you. You almost can’t believe it, even though you can see it. Thankfully, these people are usually so drunk or so mad that they fall over or blunder around. We have short-shields if you can get the boot open quick enough.
TASER was fantastic until they stopped the courses due to the cost and many trained officers were sent away to the new neighbourhood silo-teams under the re-structure, when we lost two-thirds of our response teams. Now TASER mainly sits in a secure locker back at the nick.
I have been to three knife incidents on my own in the last month. I managed to get each one under control eventually but it is only a matter of time. The team is brilliant. We would all go to the wall for each other. Even Ruraltown Neighbourhood Team officers have broken away from their heavily restricted ASB beats (against specific instructions) to help, so long as it is before midnight.
I have to thank them for that; they will face huge criticism and bullying the next day for diverting to help us. Each set of senior officers is trying to break the new model to prove a point and enhance their own careers at the expense of their colleagues in a classic Tory ‘divide and rule’ strategy.
Meanwhile, unless we are lucky enough to have some TASER nearby, it is only a matter of time before one of these idiots gets one of us badly. We all know it and it is starting to create pressure. In the Army, we always had the weapons we needed. I am determined to continue on Response. I have plans to fight with everything I can lay my hands on when it finally comes to me. I know I will probably be prosecuted by my own colleagues afterwards but at least I will be alive.
On Friday I stood in front of a man stabbing a double glazed window over and over, trying to get to his estranged children inside. I went to the call on my own because we have so few officers available these days and double crewing is not allowed before a certain time. The marks in the window were deep. I didn’t know you could do that to glass. I don’t discuss these things at home