Last night was immensely quiet. It’s ok to say the ‘Q’ word now, I’m off shift. Ten hours of burning diesel and only a few minor jobs came in. I thought to myself, if Nick Herbert, Theresa May or Tom Winsor were with me tonight, having taken the offer that so many on Twitter tender, we’d not get paid a penny.
By 0615am, most of the shift are rolling into the back yard, filling out the mileage on the car logbooks, removing their gear from the boot and hanging the keys back in the parade room. We have 45 minutes left (technically) on shift, but the last hour is rarely busy and if the day shift arrive early, the Sergeant usually stands us down early too.
At 0640, the call comes we all don’t want to hear,
“Anyone free for an immediate response?”
“Caller walking his dog reporting a male up a tree with a noose around his neck. Location: ******** Park.”
The fight to get on the radio both frustrated and humbled me at the same time. The ENTIRE shift turned out, re-grabbing keys, sprinting to the cars, and screaming out of the back gate with lights flashing and sirens blaring. I finally got my callsign out.
We saturated the park, found a more accurate location and found a man determined to end his life. Those in the job know the difference. Those who want attention, or want help (there’s a difference) call us first. Those that want to die, don’t.
The noose around his neck, made from extremely strong 1inch lashing straps, the end looped around the sturdiest branch, secured underneath by 4inch nails to prevent the rope slipping, this bloke meant business, and he was seconds away from jumping. ‘In the nick of time’ seemed to be coined for just an occasion.
Tenderly and compassionately talked down by a colleague and taken to the local Mental Health Facility for assessment, the rest of us stood down. Life and death on a Monday night. With seconds to spare.
As we finally filled out the mileage for a second time in as many hours, bags unloaded, the order to stand down came. We walked, as one, to the locker room. No high-fives, no back slaps, no congratulations, just quiet reflection taken in our stride. From the 26-year senior bobby, to the 21-year-old probationer, we doffed our stab vests and belts, saying goodbye and ‘See ya tonight’. When we’ll do it all again.
No crime reported. No detection, no story in the paper, no press release. Just one life, for now at least, saved.
Theresa, that’s worth every penny.