Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Gossip Police Radio

During my time in The Met, I attended a 4 day (yes, that's four days) Radio Telephony (R/T) course at Wandsworth Police Stn. 
We were trained to use the mains radio and all of its 10 in-coming and out-going channels. We weren’t allowed to crew an Area car until we’d passed the course, after which we were allowed to be issued with a flat cap and a British Warm (a fab and rather snazzy greatcoat that I wish I had now).
For all the stick the force gets, Met r/t procedures were very strict and highly professional Eg. If you once said `please or thank you` you’d be mildly bollocked by Information Room (IR) for taking up airspace. If you weren’t hot enough to log the message correctly you’d eventually get referred to the IR inspector for words of advice. Of course logging the calls was the R/t operators job, yes we were double uniform crewed in those days (triple crewed if you included the plain clothes observer we would carry for dealing with prisoners, obs etc). Simple stuff.

To the day I retired I remained unimpressed by the r/t procedures of the Constabulary force  I transferred to, which was based on nothing more than `pick it up as you go along`. I always thought it sloppy and always felt for the poor old control room operators who almost always gave better than they got in return.
Rant over. Out


dickiebo said...

Ah, I remember it well. I was graded 'OK for a Radio Van' - which were used at demos, etc! An honour indeed!
Do I spy my fav alltime Area Car - the Rover 3500? Superb motor, and the very best Area Car or Q Car that I ever had the pleasure of driving.

Hogdayafternoon said...

Ditto re the Rover 3.5 V8 Dickiebo - what a delightful motor car, the business! No flashy stripes and bright colours, no `Police` stickers apart from the little metal sign above the rear number plate. And if you had one without the Mickey Mouse searchlights it was even more difficult to spot. What is it with all this hi-viz shit?

We did have the last of the 3.8 S type Jags at Lewisham/Catford when I was a cadet. We even had an MGC GT. I only had the pleasure of going out in that the once, but I had a grin on my face, even when I was scooping up bits of a lorry drivers scalp after a prang on the A20. Even remember the load - "Nappy Pac" disposable nappies, all over the road. There was quite a bit of `soiled salvage` for the `married with kids` that day.

CI-Roller Dude said...

I used to tell some cops that the radio only had so much talk time in it. If they talked too much or too often, the radio would shut off.
There were some cops...that as soon as they keyed up the radio to blood would boil because I knew they were going to be on the air for a long time.
In the last several years, when we to computer aided dispatch computers in the cars...and you could send a message on the computer...I'd use that and stay off the air.
The computer message would be very clear and the exact message would get across...still some would talk on the radio for several minutes.

I think they felt if they talked a lot, it would look like they were working hard.

Many times my only response to a long message was: "Ten Four".

TonyF said...

Wish some of the persons on the shop link radios would get lessons on basic r/t. Today control were asked for a 'sound check, please'
CCTV Operator and engineer together 'One, two, one, two,...'
In another town, one of the shop link used to insist on calling 'contact' every time he saw a shoplifter. For those military amongst us, that always made us twitch. An as for the 'Over and out' merchants, grrr.

BillB said...

Hogday - I got a dose of proper radio communications, first in the Army - stationed in a NATO bunker in Germany talking to missile batteries at odd hours, then as a private pilot (for 200 hours anyway till I figured I couldn't fly regularly or if I did, go bankrupt ;-) )

With aviation in particular there are certain key phrases that are standard - phrases that if you don't use - or understand - can kill you.

Or others.

"Hold short" - means go right up to the edge of the runway and wait for the oncoming traffic to land (as an example).

As an aside that is one of the factors that was the result of the collision between 2 747s at Tenniferif.

The KLM pilot took off without permission.

Anyway was your radio use as focused?

It sounds like it was.

Did you use the same phonetic alphabet? (alpha, bravo,charlie, delta...)

That is used by our military and aviation but for some reason the police here use a different phonetic alphabet - which I think is of WW2 origin - able, baker, charlie, dog (I think)

Just rambling - gotta get up at 05:00

Tadanori said...

Roger that.

Some officers thought they were Alan (pop pickers) Freeman or Tony Blackburn. Entertaining in the depths of a winter night but dangerously stupid antics on a Friday night free for all brawl in the city centre.

I trialed a Suburu Impreza for the job. One of the few vehicles to leave a smile on my face after driving it. Wholly impractical for almost anything aside pursuit. Needless to say, for general use, I gave it the thumbs down. The Jaguar XJS scared the bejeesus out of me until they fixed its almost fatal brake fade issue. For sheer power, predictablity and practicality it was the Vauxhall Senator 3.5 in my opinion.

Nowadays I pootle along at 60 on motorways happy to watch the world go by. Then again, the motorbike is causing me to fear the post for the next 21 days... ;-)

And yes, Hogday. You discovered my secret identity a few posts ago. Just don't tell the Fixed Penalty Office.

Hogdayafternoon said...

CI-RD: In the Met (London) we used the rule, `accuracy, brevity, speed`. If we wanted assistance we said `assistance`. If we wanted it better than quick we'd just say `urgent assistance`. A burglary was...a burglary, not a ten sixty six or a state sixty nine. In my county force they had those aformentioned codes. For ages I had to keep looking the friggin things up. Whatever happened to K.I.S?

TonyF: Yes, Grr.

Bill: Same military phonetics, although some newbies had us laughing with the occasional `I-Indigo` and `B Bother`.

Tadanori: I was once in one of those 3.8 Jag S Types as a cadet on traffic attachment. Half way up Shooters Hill SE London on a shout, doing about 75 and climbing, the driver calmly handed me the gear lever and asked me to change into third for him. The thing had come off in his hand.
As for the Subaru Impreza Turbo, I couldn't be seen in a metallic candy pink car of any description, unless I was heavily sedated ;)

Bruce Jones said...


You reminded me of one of Lex' posts:


Fair warning, don't eat or drink anything while reading it.

Hogdayafternoon said...

Bruce: You did warn me, I know. Kleenex for the keyboard again
(Oh no, when will this dooble ontondering ever end - LOL).

BillB said...

Bruce - Hogday - I read that piece of Lex's and I'm laughing for 2 minutes!

SCOTTtheBADGER said...

Who makes your radios? Motorola has LE locked up here.

SCOTTtheBADGER said...

Are the clear lights on the car in the photo takedowns, or spots?

Hogdayafternoon said...

Scott the Badger:

the personal radios we used for many years were made by Storno
(well made die cast chassis, quite handy if you couldn't get to your stick). The `mains` (vhf) sets in the cars were usually Pye. Motorola are/were used in some forces. I took part in trials for encrypted radios for use by tactical firearms units which included Moto's - in fact the trial versions had "LAPD" stamped on them. Excellent kit btw.

The spots on the roof were hard mounted. Only traffic division and area cars from outer suburban divisions (near that green stuff we called `countryside` had them.

Quartermaster said...

Dooble ontondering must never end. It's a Queens order. I read that somewhere. You'll just have to trust me on this.

I am trustworthy. Just ask me and I'll be glad to confirm it.

Roger, wilco, over and out.

Hogdayafternoon said...

I know of no one by the name of Roger Wilco. However, I believe that Over and Out were once a male/female cabaret act on the North of England working men's club circuit, involving contortions of a mildly sexual nature (So someone told me, once.)

Justthisguy said...

Radio communication discipline is a good thing. If everyone is transmitting nonsense at the same time, nobody can hear important things he needs to hear.

Oh, as a Ham told me, you Don't Swear on the Air. I mind stories of American aviators in dire straits over Viet-Nam so inculcated with that notion that the worst thing they could say while fixing to die was something like "Oh, My!" or "Danggit!"

M'self, if fixin' to die, I imagine I would say something like, "Aw, shit!"

Justthisguy said...

Pay no attention to that Quartermaster person. He is a proven and notorious sea lawyer.

Hogdayafternoon said...

I wonder what it would be like if no police turned up at crimes, just car loads of lawyers? The prosecutorials in red cars and the defenders in white. Could you envisage the scene where everyone is advising everyone to say nothing? Bliss

Justthisguy said...

If I ever got into a dispute, and policemen showed up, I would love to be able to "tell the truth and shame the devil", but the way things are these days, a prudent man should say nothing, as whatever he says will make trouble for him in court.

Now, that's the general rule. In situations in which I had to talk to coppers, I had to make a judgement call, to co-operate or not. I have been mostly fortunate in meeting reasonable badge-bearers, who listened to what I had to say, and sent me on my way.

Hogdayafternoon said...

JTG: In my early years there were no prosecution lawyers for summary offences (misdemeanors), as we did all the prosecuting and only engaged lawyers on more complex jobs. Once the prosecution service was introduced, all jobs became `complicated`.