- Monday, 15 October 2012
Anyone who is not obliged to perform night work has no idea what it's like to try and remain alert during the early hours of the morning. The human body is at its lowest ebb around 4-a.m., and it is well known in medical circles that death is more likely to occur at that hour than any other time.
My own experience of the dreaded night shift has included falling asleep whilst actually walking the beat and waking to find myself lying on the pavement, my helmet having rolled several feet, away to the gutter. Fortunately the good folks of Manchester were themselves tucked up in their beds and it was only witnessed by a large black tom cat.
Some officers, when feeling they were moribund and likely to drop off, would find a deep doorway, draw their truncheon, put it between the small of their back and the door of the shop, and to try to rally some wakefulness. The theory being that should they succumb, the noise of the truncheon when it fell to the ground, would wake them up.
I knew of several officers who carried small alarm clocks on nights and got down to it in railway carriages in sidings for an hour assured that they would not oversleep.
A constable who was on the same section as myself was nicknamed the Dormouse and his speciality was to take a nap in a parked car, a convenient practice in those days, as car owners rarely bothered to lock their vehicles. Few people could drive it away, and there were no instruments of value, like radios, DVD players and the like. One particularly wet night he took shelter in a large old saloon car parked on a croft.
He settled down on the back seat, removed his helmet and arranged his cape over his head and was soon in the land of Nod. The Dormouse woke to find the vehicle in motion, and as he pulled his cape back over his head, he replaced his helmet; he tapped the driver on his shoulder and demanded that he stop. The driver clutched at his chest, he was fighting for his breath and it was some time before the officer could calm him down. He explained that there were complaints of someone vandalising cars in the neighbourhood, and he had been hiding in the vehicles in the hope of catching the culprit.
The motorist, now fully recovered from his ordeal, thanked the officer for his diligence, and then carried on to work.
Tales of a Manchester Police Officer - Insulting Gestures - 15 February 2013
Tales of a Manchester Police Officer - Auld Lang Syne - 14 February 2013
Tales of a Manchester Police Officer - Nicknames - 12 February 2013
Tales of a Manchester Police Officer - Still with the peelers - 11 February 2013
Tales of a Manchester Police Officer - Some you lose - 11 February 2013