Wednesday, 8 April 2009

On the roll of the dice

I was puzzled. There I was, just off duty and changed into civvy clothes, having finished a hard week behind a desk trying to come up with a conjuring trick to save 4% of my division's annual budget in order to keep the HQ accountants happy. I'd been specially selected by the superintendent to do this - well actually he'd been told to do it but shit rolls downhill. I was amazed at being asked, because I'd never been sent on a course in accountancy or how to save money. I'd done many firearms courses, tactical adviser (firearms and public order), managment of disasters and civil emergencies, police instructor training (2 very hard months in Harrogate), then there was counter terrorist search and I even spent a month at the Army Staff College on `low intensity warfare and counter-insurgency`, so I really felt puzzled as to how I could end up trying to come up with a plan to save £115,000, especially after I'd pointed out to the superintendent that I'd failed GCE Maths - twice. I was puzzled because not only had I succeeded in completing my allotted task with a lot of help from some good friends who'd already been there, but also, I'd managed to save £135,000, a cool 20 grand more than was required. My puzzlement was because having proudly presented my work to the super', who'd checked all the proposed facts and figures, he promptly told me to re-work it so that we just saved the required £115,000 (where he got the we from I'll never know). He said that we should keep that bit back so that we had a head start for the following years savings plan. As you can imagine, I was underwhelmed. I believe that my old force has since employed divisional accountants or `budget managers` who are probably much better trained at fiddling the figures and not saving too much money at a time. Anyway, this was playing on my mind as I strolled across the town centre car park towards Sainsburys. I'd decided to get me and Mrs Hogday a bottle of Soave, so I was taken slightly aback when from out of my line of vision, a lanky scrote stepped in my path and said, "Oi mate, can you do us a favour"? "No I can't", came my rapid reply and I kept on walking. I recognised him as a local lowlife substance abuser. My snappy rejection of his opening line was clearly not what he'd been used to getting from the poor unsuspecting public he'd previously harrassed and seemed to take him unawares, because he looked a tad puzzled before he made a recovery and came back at me with, "No mate, you don't understand". We'd had several complaints, of late, about `aggressive begging`in the town centre and I twigged that this was probably one of them. I couldn't remember his name but I knew the face from my frequent visits to our crime management unit and from reading the daily incident reports of druggies, drunks and brawlings. This bloke was a pain in the arse. I was tired and wanted to get my wine and go home and drink it with my wife and my dinner, so I spelt it out for him in simple words; "No, you're the one who doesn't understand, I am not your mate and I won't do you a favour, so get out of my way". He started to walk alongside me as I continued across the car park and try to engage me in more of his banter but by now I was getting seriously pissed off. I stopped and told him once more to bugger off. He said, "Give us some change" and stood right in front of me leaning into my personal space. I stepped back and turned discretely sideways on to him, whilst slowly rolling up my evening paper tightly - very effective if you need to prod someone in the solar plexus which, I started to perceive, might be necessary. I said, "Listen carefully, get out of my way and stop demanding money". This drug influenced dreg then said something that almost made me laugh, "D'you want some then"? I have to say it was said a bit half heartedly as I suspect even in his mildly addled state he realised that at a well proportioned 6`3" and 14 stone, with my left foot leading, I did not look like his usual pushover victim. I said, "Do I want what"? He just clenched his fists and stood there, slightly rocking in the breeze. I decided to spell it out to him again and, to my recollection this is pretty much what I said (and which I later entered into my police pocket notebook and which later entered a police investigation log, for reasons that will become obvious if you stick with me and keep reading): "Look at you, a skinny, pasty, heavy-smoking, drug-using wreck. You don't look like you could run 25 yards and yet you are seriously considering taking me on? You must be joking. Do yourself a favour and get back behind those bushes over there where you spend your wasted days. I am now going to contact the police control room so do yourself a favour and piss off out of my way". I moved back half a pace, keeping a close eye in case he did decide to assault me which I though was possible but, with me having taken the initiative, now seemed to have receded for the moment. Time to move away. I walked off and was immediately onto the police control room via my mobile. Being a job issue phone I had a direct dial straight to the control room console that covered our area. I relayed the incident, told them to ensure the CCTV was running and monitored and requested a local unit attend and turn the guy over (job slang for stop/search/obtain details). He loitered in the area of the bus station with several of his cronies, which is where I was eventually heading, so I was pleased to see one of my guys checking them out as I emerged from the supermarket. The whole thing was over in less than 3 minutes and the end result was I got a lift home in the area car. Two hours later, Mrs Hogday and I were walking the dogs prior to our wine and dine when my mobile phone rang. It was the duty sergeant at the control room, an old mate of mine. "Hi Hogday, free to speak? About that bloke you had the problem with in the car park earlier, well I thought you'd like to know he won't bother you anymore". "How's that?" "Well actually he won't bother anyone anymore, He's been found dead in the multi-story car park". I was shocked! "Fuck me! I never touched him" . The Sgt replied, "We know that. Its all on CCTV. It looks like he just collapsed. CID are dealing so can you ring the DS". I relayed my story to the DS and later faxed him the copy of my pocket book entry, pretty much as I've written here, which he found quietly entertaining in its frankness. I never minced my words. It would appear that this guy had indeed been in the multi-storey for reasons we'll never know and could only speculate on, and had been found by a member of the public, dead as a doornail. There was a post mortem and the Pathologists report painted a very sorry picture of his overall state of health. A long term chronic drug abuser and alcoholic, his death was due to some sort of pulmonary embolism or other very nasty, sudden, no hope, goodbye cruel world thing. The Pathologist further stated to the investigating officer that this guy's organs were so shot and his overall condition so poor that he was, in effect, `a dead man walking`. The following week I spoke to the Detective Sergeant and went over the incident again. The thing that always stays with me (and this wasn't that long ago) is that had I felt it necessary to fend this man off with my rolled up newspaper in his gut, thump him or even just give him a firm shove, he could very well have dropped on the spot and any subsequent conversations with the Detective Sergeant could well have been under caution, in an interview room, turning my entire evening into a world of shit. With everything done correctly and with my entire encounter with this aggressive street person captured on CCTV, coupled with the pathologists findings, I would have been exonerated from any blame, but the fact that I did not have to lay hands on him, or at least chose not to even though I was coming close, made this a very close run thing. Please do not draw any inferences between my telling this story now and the unfortunate death of Mr Tomlinson at the end of the G20 day in London.


Blue Eyes said...

It all depends on the angle you see things from and what colour spectacles you are wearing.

How do you know your little altercation didn't "stress" your drug-addled friend out? Could this have tipped him over the edge?

Constable said...

Hang on let's get back to the important stuff here!

Was your dinner nice and did the wine taste good?

Another smack rat found dead in a gutter somewhere. Oh dear what a shame. Thankfully you were not in the loop and can still reflect on the event with a clear conscience. What's for dinner tonight?


Hogday said...

CC.Com: Home made pizza, from the base up!! Mrs Hogday quit her day job after the last few painful years of locking up very very bad people and putting them into the revolving door system. She is now an excellent chef. (and I'm still 14 stone).

Blue: LoL. I wish to further state that the car park I was in and the multi storey he croaked in, were not one and the same, but 10 minutes walk apart. Now get back to your rat hole in Profeshnial Standards and think up something else ;)

Anonymous said...

One less shithead on the street. I wouldn't let it upset my dinner either. Problem is police departments are unwilling to back the people they trust to protect and serve the community, kind of like the shitheads you're taking off the streets.

Evil Twin's Wife said...

That's wild...I think I would be a bit freaked out myself.

powdergirl said...

Huh, saved everybody including himself, a bit of trouble, didn't he? Glad you didn't have to put your hands on him, hygiene seems to be the first to go with the users.
Hey, I'm making pizza tonight too, at my sons request, he likes to hear me curse when I'm trying to flip the dough in the air.

Blue Eyes said...

Hoggsy: I don't think it matters that he died some distance away from your little attack. You used force on him even if it was only verbal, you set his weakened heart aflutter and he then stumbled to his death in the multi-storey. Had you provided the adequate after care after you attacked him he might still be here today, providing joy to his friends and family and you never know he might have become a latter-day productive member of society.

All I need to know about you fascist scum can be seen in that 2 minute video that the Guardian have.

Hogday said...

BE: Good job I didn't start using sarcasm on him, I hear that's become an aggravating factor under a new amendment. The news of his sudden demise meant that I couldn't follow up with any racism (he was a sort of grubby white colour) and maybe some homophobic taunts - I feel cheated and my pulse rate is increasing since you pointed this out......

Blue Eyes said...

Always happy to help ;-)

Constable said...

Blue eyes,


Though he is no longer serving you might be responsible for Hoggman choking on an unchewed bit of homemade pizza!

Would that make you responsible? ;)?


Hogday said...

Shit, just think of all those lowlife's I've given a `nasty glance` at over my 30 years service, out there in the world eating themselves up over the seeds of hatred I must have sewed into their minds. Now I see why us `police` are subliminally responsible for all those unnecessary suicides....I think I'll become....yes....a politician - no need for a conscience. I feel so much better.

loveinvienna said...

Maybe you intimidated him too much by being 6'3" and 14 stone? Maybe your height and weight tipped him over the edge Hogday?! Maybe you are to blame for being too tall?!

One less idiot toerag scouring the streets; I feel sorry for the eejit in a round about way (drugs are evil, nuff said) but society hasn't lost anything.

Also, wanted to say thank you for the comment on my blog :) what a gent :)

PC Michael Pinkstone said...

Bloody good post. The whole time I was reading it I had an image in my mind of what this chap looked like (and it was strangely similar to our very local "smack rat", who has an ASBO prohibiting everything except a stint in prison, it would seem) and the result of him dying was quite unexpected. Sad thing is that one day - however many years ago - that sorry little sod was pushed into this world just like the rest of us, and he ended up dying in a multi-storey car park all alone with no one giving a crap.

Hogday said...

L.I.V: Hi again! Thanks for dropping in. Glad you're up and at `em. I concur with your sentiments. Over half of the low-level crime I and every other police dealt with could be traced back to a drug habit.

PCMP: Ditto. If our authorities were serious about drugs in society there would be more re-hab accessibility, because surely no one chooses to live like that given an alternative. As for the dead dead-head, I could so easily have been accused, by a headline-hungry local media, of `beating a homeless man to death`. I was so close to giving him a `firm shove` and would have been totally justified in so doing, pre-emptive strikes being appropriate in circumstances where one perceives immediate assault (so I was taught in my latter years of service - previously I would have either had to gild the lily or hope someone would take my word for it). I think the police are lucky that so few people caught up in demo's have dicky tickers. God knows what they'd be facing if a demo by the morbidly obese turned ugly?

It was true that no-one gave a crap about the bloke in my tale. The only outcome of note was that the crime desk staff and the bean counters were delighted as it helped the street crime stats no end. Welcome to Thunderdome,

Yours etc, Mad Max.

Vetnurse said...

Bad boy for working out how to save money so well, was it to get rid of a couple of wasted bodies that hang around your back rooms.

As to the druggie that died and despite being described as a "dead man walking" should that not have been a "dead scroat with stink walking"?

Anonymous said...

Very wild story. funny how that happens. Gods way of staying anonymous i guess..... Good to see you blogging again..... It's been awhile and miss your posts.

Anonymous said...

Hello there!

I was fascinated by your story. Horrific as it was...he was going to die regardless of his conversation with you.
His health issues killed him long before he ever approached you. You simply had the misfortune to be one of the last, if not the last to speak to him.

Your behavior seemed appropriate and responsible to me.

I hope you have a nice day, and don't mind my visiting you a bit?

Wendy (from Blue's page)

I too make home made pizza and my husband just loves it. :)

Hogday said...

CPDc: I always taught my son to walk away from trouble if it was at all possible. In his job, he's been at the scene of a homicide where a very fit man, who was an amateur boxer, gave a short right jab to a drunk who, unwittingly, asked his girlfriend for a dance once too often. Drunk goes down like a drawbridge, head hits road with sickening smack, man dies within the hour. Simple as that.

S`Cheeks: How nice of you to drop in. I always like visitors and will look in on your blog in return.