Are you an emotional sort? Im a bit of a mixed bag. I’m not one to suffer fools gladly. I play hard ball when it comes to bail. Notwithstanding personal pleas, if previous history and offending behaviour dictates it then bail is denied and I lose no sleep over it. I’m hard and unrelenting. On the flip side I’m a sympathetic and helpful sort. I’ll happily sit on a cell floor for 30 minutes talking to a juvenile if I think its doing some good. I am easily affected by films. I wont cry (unless it’s Marley and Me) but I can feel emotions close to the surface.
So this weekend we had the royal wedding. I listened to the radio and was moved by the choral singing. The arrangement of This Is The Day was superb. The ceremony was lovely despite a few liturgical bloopers pointed out by @kneewax on Twitter. Whilst many other tweeters confessed to crying, I was not unmoved but miles away from tears.
Whilst the wedding party moved to and from the Abbey there was plenty of opportunity to see how many police officers were on duty. It prompted me to post a tweet which is reproduced here;
Let us remember that no matter what our view today. We are Crown Servants. Impartial, un politicised and the best in the world. Amen.
Now on the face of it this may seem a bit trite. Particularly in the current climate. But as I sat watching the images I felt an affinity, a solidarity and a comradeship with those officers and I don’t know them from Adam. Furthermore, I would throw down my life to protect one of them as they would for me. I’ve spent 20 years in the service of my country. I’m proud of what I have done. I may not have set the world on fire. But I’ve been there for the public and I’ve been there for my colleagues; 24hrs a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year on duty and off. I am proud of the uniform and I wear it with pride.
Pride is an interesting thing. It can be our own self esteem or sense of dignity. Others can often see it is arrogance or self importance. Especially if we are proud of ourselves.
I sat and looked at an old photograph the other week. It had me as a little boy, my brothers and my parents. I’m lucky and grateful they are all still here. But even so my mind wandered to happy memories and time spent together in a simpler time. I could feel those tell tale emotions rising. These are irreplaceable memories and woe betide anyone who attempts to undermine that.
Seeing my colleagues on duty brought those same feelings to the surface. I felt emotional. Not because of the wedding. But because my family was out on display and I was proud of them. They stood for everything that is good about the UK police service. They stood for honour and tradition. They stood for respect and fairness. They stood for impartiality. I felt emotional because my colleagues and I stand on the edge of a precipice the government have pushed us to. The police, the values we uphold and that the public expect are under threat.
It saddens me deeply that those who would listen choose not to hear. Don’t be under any misapprehensions. The police, nationally, are a family and we can only be pushed, prodded and abused so far before we come out fighting.
I hope and pray that lobbying MP’s and pressure from our Federation will eventually bring a dawn of realisation to those who would glibly undermine almost 200 years of police service.
I offer my thanks and respect to all my colleagues. Whether they worked the royal wedding, policed the streets of Glasgow or Nottingham or simply had the day off like me. Be proud. You’ve earned it.