Tears and Pride

Quite a few years ago on a sunny morning whilst driving my traffic patrol car I saw a man stood at the side of the road. This wasn’t a villain I knew or a member of the public expecting me. It was a tall, slim and very smartly dressed detective.

I pulled up alongside and lowered the passenger side window. We knew each other well. He used to work on my unit. He rested his arms on the door frame and looked into the car with a huge smile on his face. I asked how he was and how he was getting on in his new role. He was loving it. He admired the new car I had been allocated and asked after my family. We chatted for 10 minutes at the roadside before a call pulled me away. I left him on the roadside waiting to be picked up by someone from his department. I was delighted to see him. He was full of life and energy and clearly enjoying his role, his life and his family.

I never saw him again. A few days later, whilst on duty, he was murdered. I was on duty that day. I was in the office and the Sgt came dashing down to the parade room and flicked the channel over on the big VHF set. “There’s an officer down on the other side of town.” We sat and listened as the information came over the radio and then it went quiet. The Sgt had now found the incident on the computer. The information that couldn’t be passed over the radio was there in black and white on the incident log. The Sgt’s head dropped. My friend and colleague was dead.

I’ve never known silence like it. There were about 8 of us in the office at the time as we were on overlap. You could have heard a pin drop. Every one of us knew him and had worked with him. I couldn’t take it in. I didn’t know what to think or what to feel. My team’s duty time was almost over and so the Sgt just stood us down there and then. “Go home lads and hug your families, the late staff have the roads now.”

I drove home. The journey took about an hour. I don’t remember any of it. I was on autopilot. I got home, wandered into the house and flopped on the sofa. My wife was in the kitchen. “Hi, want a cup of tea?” I don’t think I replied as she came looking and found me sobbing my heart out.

It’s the one and only time that this has happened in 20 + years service as a police officer.

Yesterday was my wedding anniversary. My wife had the day off and so we went out for a little while and I ignored twitter. When we got home I went to bed to try and catch a couple of hours before night shift. I had a quick look at twitter and the whole awful news of what had happened in GMP became known to me.

I brought myself up to date with the latest news and then sent out a few tweets. I found myself welling up.

Police Officers are a unique breed. We are emotional and social beings just like everyone else. Yet we deal with the extraordinary and the downright awful. We often bury our feelings; a self preservation tactic to shield us from the trauma we see. This can manifest itself, to those exposed to it, as being cold and callous. The loss of PC’s Nicola Hughes and Fiona Bone will reverberate across the service both nationally and internationally. We will all feel that pain in the policing family. We all know that it could just as easily have been us attending that incident.

The thin blue line is stretched and getting thinner but yesterday it also became stronger, more determined and unyielding. Cut us, we bleed. Wrong us, we hurt but no matter what, you can never take away our pride.

Nicola and Fiona we are proud of you. God bless you both and may you rest in peace.

***********************************

Care of Police Survivors (COPS) @UK_COPS is a charity dedicated to supporting the families of police officers killed in the line of duty.

WEBSITE HERE There is no better time to show your support to our fallen heroes by making a donation. Follow the instructions on donation page or text COPS01 and amount to 70070 e.g. ‘COPS01 £10’

Thank you

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12 thoughts on “Tears and Pride”

  1. Touching, I think a lot of people fail to see the person behind the uniform, it does take a unique person to do this job…
    You hit the nail in the last paragraph, well said Custody Sgt.

    Ditto-Nicola & Fiona we are proud of you…

  2. Nice blog sgt! I’ve worked with both of these officers during my short career and they really are genuinely nice girls! You do mourn when you hear of someone in the police family having their life taken in such horrific circumstances but it’s always other forces.

    For it to be your own division and your own friends and knowing the circumstances brings it all home just how dangerous this job is! I’ve never seen so many grown men and women cry, police officers who deal with horrific things on a daily basis!

    RIP nic and Fiona, heaven has gained 2 angels! I saw the 2 rainbows in hattersley yesterday 🙂

  3. My thoughts and prayers are with the fallen officers and their family and friends… A heartbreaking story about your friend and thanks for sharing… sometimes we forget our Police are only human and have feelings and emotions too. Thank you and your colleagues for keeping us safe and doing the best you can with such limited resources. xx

  4. I’m a 39 year old married guy, father of 1 (with another on the way) and have spent my life working behind a desk in in nice safe 9-5 jobs, never having had the drive or selfless determination to become a police officer. Unlike my father who retired as a sergeant after serving 30 years in Strathclyde police, my cousin who current serves in a traffic unit in Sussex, my best friend who served several years as a constable in Glasgow, or the various family friends who were known as “uncles” or “aunts” through my years growing up.

    Reading your description of the day one of your own colleagues was liked in the line of duty had me in tears. I can’t explain why – maybe its the memory of the fears I had as a child, once I was old enough to understand, of something happening to my dad while he was on duty, or maybe it’s just empathy of how you felt then and how the family, friends and colleagues of the two brave police women who were murdered yesterday must feel right now. Either way, for you, and every other officer out there, serving or retired, let me say thank you. Thank you for protecting us every day, for doing the job that nobody else does, for putting your lives at risk for a poorly paid, thankless job that this government doesn’t understand the value of. Thank you For dealing with the unknown horrors that you have to every day, the major incidents, sudden deaths, traffic fatalities, murders, drug busts, assaults, burglaries, thefts, and coming back to do it all over again tomorrow.

    In times of tragedy like now, please know that there are people out there, people like me and my family, who know what you do and who value your contribution and who mourn with you for your loss.

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

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