Two things have disgusted me today. The first is the savage murder of a man in circumstances that beggar belief. The second is the manner in which the British media have reported it. They have played straight into the hands of extremists and crossed the boundaries of decency for the sake of a sensational story.
Our servicemen and women put themselves at risk in war zones to protect journalists and are repaid with the kind of footage we have seen today that served only to reward the vile terrorists.
RIP a British Soldier and thank you the Metropolitan Police
It was early December 2007. I’d just finished a late shift. As I walked to my car I was chatting to a colleague about another colleague who’d just had major surgery for bowel cancer.
“do how did #### know something was wrong?” I asked.
“He’d had a lot of blood in his poo, it was always runny too.”
“yeah, but isn’t that like irritable bowel syndrome? I get that, it’s what shift work does, stress and funny eating and sleeping patterns.” I replied.
“Apparently not, not the blood.”
I paused. I felt sick.
“you’ve gone pale mate, you ok?” said my colleague.
” Maybe I should see my GP.” I replied.
Some weeks later things were no better down below, I’d worried about it all over Christmas so I went to see my GP.
I just blurted it out.
“I’ve got blood in my poo and it’s always runny.”
The GP was brilliant, we discussed politics whilst he performed a quick examination.
Within a week I had an an appointment at the local hospital. Within minutes I was diagnosed with a large sigmoid polyp. Two days later a barium x ray followed by a CT scan, a day later a colonoscopy and biopsy. The following week an MRI scan. The next day I received a phone call. The consultant wanted to see me and my wife the next day.
I was petrified.
We sat in his office. He explained the results of the tests. The polyp was about the size of a sink plug, situated just around a bend in my plumbing. He explained that so far tests showed it to be stage two precancerous – then came the “up front” speech.
“Imagine a juicy apple” he began. “all shiny, you take a bite and it’s brown and rotten inside. That’s what we can’t be certain of.”
He referred me to a specialist who could perform the required surgery in a less invasive way.
Two months later I had the operation.
A week later I was sat at home waiting for the histology results. The jury was out. I was scared.
The phone rang. It was the Colorectal nurse.
“It’s all clear.” She said.
That’s all I needed to hear. I was lucky, maybe the person she phoned next wouldn’t be.
Every year since I meet up with the team and they give me drugs and stick a camera up my bum. Then I have a sleep followed by tea and biscuits.
So, it doesn’t matter how embarrassed you may feel. If you’re at all worried tell your doctor. They really aren’t bashful.
Bowel cancer can kill you but if the symptoms are detected early on then it can be prevented.
Check your poo.
I’ve just completed a fortnight stint covering another team as a favour to allow a colleague to go on a trainer’s refresher course before taking up a post at our Force Training School.
For me it was also an opportunity to see how other teams work and how their dynamics compared to my own.
Conveniently for me and in order to align shifts I ended up with a fair few extra rest days which just happened to fall on weekends. A great chance to catch up with friends and family.
Apart from one night shift spent at the city centre unit all the other shifts were at my own unit so I settled in quickly. My two Detention Officers, Dan and Mike were experienced lads and friendly banter was the order of the day. I’m a great believer of not taking the job too seriously until you need to. If you do it will sap every ounce of mental and physical energy leaving you nothing to draw upon when it goes “bent”
I will curse and moan when ever Comms call to request “space for…..?”
But to be honest I’d rather be busy. Doing nothing, especially on a night shift takes for ever so 3 or 4 queuing in the holding bay soon passes the time and once you’re full you’re full.
The shifts passed pretty much as usual. Familiar faces on both sides of the desk. I consider myself a tolerant person and will try my hardest to ride out even the most obnoxious of detainees in order to get them booked in and processed, but there comes a time and that time came yesterday just after the start of a Late shift about 1420.
“Can you take a breach of bail from the front desk Sarge?” said a PC. I sighed. “yes, ok.”
I wasn’t happy, I was suffering with a
heavy bout of man flu into it’s second day. I’d rolled into work just before 1400, I usually get in 25 minutes early for hand over and a brew so I’m relaxed and ready. Not yesterday though, I’d got up at 7.30am and seen the wife and kids off, then feeling rough I’d decided to grab a couple of hours extra “gonk”. I must have missed the alarm because I awoke at 1304 ! Six minutes before I would normally leave. Panic set in It was like that scene from Four Weddings, you know the one? Hugh Grant shouting F@ck f@ck f@ckwdy f@ck! I dressed, grabbed some refs and was on the road by 1320.
Anyway, back to the Breach of Bail.
“Bring him through.” I said. Suddenly a familiar face from the previous two earlies stood before me. Before I could utter a word he launched in to ” oi ! Listen to me!” It didn’t bode well. For him. Two thing were wrong. I don’t like being called “oi” nor having a finger jabbed towards me.
So, reminiscent of the scene from Full Metal Jacket where Private Pyle struggles on the obstacle course combined with the Hamburger scene from Pulp Fiction I retorted and took charge again. There was a stunned silence. From everyone.
Then he tried to explain why he had for the third time in six days arrived late to sign on.
“I slept all day yesterday in your cells so last night I couldn’t sleep so I overslept this morning so I had to get my methadone and then I was late………”
“STOP! I don’t want to hear anymore of your pathetic excuses, if I can get here on time then so can you! Save it for the Magistrates tomorrow morning, you never know, they may accept your excuse and set a president.”
He realed back, his head dropped. Silence except to answer my booking in questions.
A mug of steaming tea appeared, Mike, one of my DO’s grinned and high gives me, “legend, sarge, legend. I’ve never seen or heard a Custody Sergeant bawl a DP out like that. Wait till I tell Dan!”
“Where’s Dan?” I asked.
Mike looked slightly sheepish and replied; “Oh, he called in to say he’s running late and will be in by three.”
I took a gulp of tea and called in the direction of the holding bay “NEXT!”