Posts Tagged ‘police’

I was going to blog about writing today, but a wierd thing happened to me at the beginning of the week and with it, mixed responses. It made me question whether my decision was right or wrong. Let me explain.

On Monday, I’d arranged to see a friend. As I neared her house, a police car drove up behind me, lights flashing and sirens wailing. I pulled my car to the kerb to let him pass and then continued on my way.

The police car stopped not far from my friends house. Passengers from two stationary buses had unborded and the police officer were talking to a young man.

I got to my friends front door, watched the police for a few minutes (as I’m nosey), then went inside.

An hour later there was a knock at the door. My friend was busy making lunch and asked if I would answer it. When I opened the door, a young man smiled, apologised for bothering me, and politely asked if I would telephone for an ambulance as he had chest pains. I recognised him immediately as the young gentlemen the police had removed from the bus some sixty minutes earlier, and I questioned him on this. He confirmed it had indeed been him and that he’d only been trying to get to the hospital.

The smell of alcohol was evident, and his demeanor suggested he’d had more than one drink. Nevertheless, I told him to wait where he was and I would telephone an ambulance.

After I shut the door, my friend asked who had knocked. I explained the situation to her and then telephoned the local police station. They asked several questions: How old was the gentleman? What was he wearing? My friends address? I explained the earlier bus situation and that I suspected the young man to be intoxicated, hence why I opted to phone the police and not an ambulance. The police said they’d send an officer and also contact the medical service.

I relayed this message to the young man, who still waited on the doorstep, and then shut the door again.

Outside was absolutely freezing and at this point I also considered taking out a blanket to keep him warm. My friend laughed at me and said she would have sent him on his way. But, her mum said she would have done the same as I.

Also, by now the man had drank another can of beer and now lay on the doorstep.

Less than ten minutes later a paramedic arrived. He parked a few houses down and my friend told me to go outside and get him – which I did. The paramedic checked the man, who was now unresponsive and to be honest, looked dead.

Eventually, the man opened his eyes. The paramedic worked wonders. Within two minutes we knew the guys name, age, and that he stayed in a shelter. He was only twenty-five. This revelation brought tears to my eyes. How could someone so young have already reached such a low?

The paramedic discussed the complaint of chest pains and explained that an ambulance was on it’s way but the young man couldn’t lie just to get a warm bed for the night.

Then the ambulance arrived and the man was propped up and helped into the back.

At this stage I went back indoors.

My friend thought I was totally nuts even entertaining this man in the first place, and my sister, who I later retold the story to, agreed. However, my mum and my friends mum said I’d acted correctly. My husband sat on the fence with his decision because he knows me and understood my conscious wouldn’t, regardless of this mans lifestyle, let me live with turning him away.

I am not a stupid person. I have worked for the police. I know how to deal with people, how to question people (well, apart from I when I am with Kristen Lamb and we visit Bonsai Gardens, but that is a whole other story), and under no circumstances would I have invited this person into the house.

So, my question to you is this. What would you have done? In today’s age, where people are attacked in the street and passersby don’t lift a finger to intervene, was I right? Would you have done the same? Or, was my friend and sister right? Should I have ignored him and closed the door?

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I didn’t have to think hard about what to blog about this week. If anyone has had access to a television or newspaper over the last couple of days, you will have seen the horrific images of London in turmoil.

So, what kicked it off?

Well, originally it was linked to an incident which occurred on Saturday in Tottenham, when police shot and killed an armed drug dealer. A quiet protest was held by the victim’s family….and then all hell broke loose.

By Saturday evening, shops in Tottenham were being looted with one newspaper reporting, “Youths broke into MacDonald’s and started cooking their own hamburgers.” I think this statement sums up the intelligence of the Neanderthal’s involved.

The first I heard about the trouble was on Sunday when my hubby saw the news feed on his phone. And, if I am completely honest, the only reason we were remotely interested in reading more was because my hubby grew up in Walthamstow, which is only miles from Tottenham. It isn’t the first time youths have caused trouble in this area and I’m sure it won’t be the last. By Sunday night, we were aware the trouble had reached Walthamstow, but were unprepared for what happened the following evening.

The BBC reported that Monday’s violence began when police stopped and searched a man in Hackney. Nothing was found and the man was allowed on his way. Then, later in the afternoon, groups of people started throwing stones, and a bin, at police officers.

I returned home Monday evening after an meal out with friends. We began discussing the trouble Tottenham and Walthamstow had seen over the weekend and decided to see if there were any new updates. We switched on the television……..and sat in stunned silence. Buildings were ablaze, shops were being looted. Rioters were fighting with police. It looked like a war zone. The only time we spoke was when police steamed after the gangs – for that we cheered…loudly.

Throughout the evening, the trouble escalated to Clapham, Hackney, Lewisham, Ealing…..Everywhere. It even reached Ilford and Romford, which was way too close for my liking; My Dad and sister live nearby.

In front of my eyes, a building burned until it was nothing but a shell. Shop owners where robbed, and our under staffed police force could do nothing to help them. Teenagers picked up metal fencing and lobbed it at security shutters that protected the shops inventory inside. Police cars and fire engines had windscreens smashed. How could this happen?

I was at my friends, in Romford, early the following morning. Her house overlooks the London sky line, and unfortunately the eerie reminder of  the buildings and cars destroyed by fire.   

Last night saw local residents take a stand against crime and the trouble makers thinking they had a right to commit it. Walking the streets, these remarkable people protected their friends and family, properties, and businesses. The result saw hardly any trouble in London. However, the rioting escalated further north of the country in Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham.

Unfortunately, three people died when they were purposely mowed down. One man arrived on the scene and instinctively tried to help the victims. Someone then told him his own son was lying behind him. Covered in blood, this father immediately started CPR. His son unfortunately died. These three men were just trying to protect what was theirs and our thoughts and prayers are with their families today.

But why are people doing this?

There have been many comments from the youths and rioters – none of which I feel remotely sorry for. One youth, his face covered by a bandana, said: “I’m here for money and cause the police nick you for stupid things. This is payback. They (police) can’t do nothing.” And this is a spokesman? Doesn’t really put forward a very good case, does he?

One youth who, while expressing he in no way condoned what had been going on, tried to rationalise it. “It is wrong, but they (rioters) are trying to make money cause they can’t get to college. It’s showing everyone’s frustration. No one has a future.”

What amazes me is that this barbaric behaviour is being put down to the economic status of this country. ‘Youths don’t have a voice’ and ‘People want money and are frustrated.’ It makes me sick. We’ve all been down on our luck at times, and all felt the depression and stress that brings….but not once have I ever considered going out, robbing a shop, burning down an entire building, and throwing a brick at a copper. There is absolutely no excuse for this!

The public are screaming for the rioters parents to be brought to account. Well, I hate to break it to you but, knowing some of the areas these youths derive from, the parents probably sent their children out armed with a crowbar and an list of things to steal.

And to add insult to injury, we now have Germany taking advantage of the situation by comparing London to the Capital of Samalia. And many other nations, including Australia are saying we shouldn’t be holding the 2012 Olympics. Hey, why not just stick a barb wire fence around our shorelines and be done with it?

And today?

So far, over 400 people have been arrested and today saw some very busy courts. It makes my blood boil when ‘youths’ cannot be named due to their age, but one 17 year old has been charged with burglary. His lawyer described him as ‘someone with promise and who was studying to be a sound engineer. This was a moment of madness.’ A moment of madness? Really? Because, from where I’m standing, it was more like twelve hours of madness.

The most stupid so far?

The man who was arrested for stealing a bottle of wine from Somerfields Supermarket with a street value of probably no more than £3.99! And two sisters for stealing bubble gum from a newsagents.

I think David Cameron, who returned home from his holiday yesterday, said it best. “For too long there has been a lack of focus on the complete lack of respect shown by these thugs. I’m clear they are no way representative of the vast majority of young people who despise them as much as the rest of us do. But there are pockets of our society that are not just broken – they are sick. When you see children as young as 12 and 13 looting and laughing, and when we see the disgusting sight of an injured young man with people pretending to help him while they are in fact robbing him, it is clear there are things that are badly wrong in our society.”

So, have you seen the images? Have you watched the news reports? What do you think of what’s been happening in London and England in the past few days? Do you agree with what some of the rioters argue? Let me know.

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I had never heard of the author, Ken Bruen. Perhaps not the best of starts, but I honestly don’t know where to begin with reviewing this book.

I picked ‘Blitz’ from the book shelf purely because it had Jason Statham on the cover. Okay, so I’m shallow, but Statham’s rugged stance was too persuasive and I buckled in a moment of weakness. It would appear this 2002 book was picked up by Hollywood and hit our screens in June of this year. I confess I totally slept though this period, but the promo on YouTube looks pretty good.

So, what’s this book about?

Basically, a tough cop has to find and stop a psychpath from killing police officers. It’s neat and it’s simple.

Then, I turned to Chapter One. The first paragraph reads:

THE PSYCHIATRIST STARED at Brant. All round the office were signs that thanked you for not smoking.

      The psychiatrist wore a tweed jacket with patches on the sleeves. He had limp, fair hair that fell into his eyes, thus causing him to flick it back every few seconds. This doctor was convinced he had Brant’s measure.

So, nothing wrong with that. Then it continued –

    He was wrong.
    ‘Now, Sergeant, I’d like you to tell me again about your violent urges.’

‘Huh?’ I had to back up and re-read. I’d never seen a layout like this before and it threw me. In fact, for the first thirty pages it kept throwing me. Eventually, I came around to Bruen’s way but it wasn’t without a fight.

So, what kept me interested?

The story. There are three stories going on here. Well, actually there are four if you count the killer. And each story lets its character have its own point of view. There is Brant, who I thought would be the main character given the picture on the cover and the blurb on the back. How wrong was I! It’s a bit like Tarantion’s Pulp Fiction and, fortunately, I like this format. Plus the stories drew me in.

What I didn’t like was the ending. I won’t reveal what happens, but I felt very let down.

Would I read another Ken Bruen book? I would have to say ‘yes’. The strange layout aside, I found the story engaging, fast paced and the characters very real. I just hope the next Bruen novel I choose finishes with more of a bang.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Have you read any other Ken Bruen novels? Have you seen the movie version? Let me know.

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