So, in the spirit of the 'what I did on duty' blogs, I thought I'd fill you in on perhaps my shortest duty ever which occurred only yesterday. I've no doubt that some of you will feel that I acted unnecessarily but I'm satisfied with my actions.
All times are approximate as I really wasn't expecting to keep track of time:
15:45 - I've been out for a walk with the dog. We went for a wade in the river and I'm a passenger in the car on the way home. I've just finished looping up her long lead and hoop it over my shoulder so that I don't have to carry it and fight with the dog when we get her out the car. It's a glorious sunny day and traffic in town is relatively heavy for a sunny Saturday afternoon thanks to some event or another in town.
15:46 - We pull up at some traffic lights. We're in lane two, in the knowledge that lane one quickly becomes obstructed with parked cars just after the junction. I hear something playing unnecessarily loud music pull up to our left and have a glance up. It's a blue Astra or Vectra; I get confused with the older models. I think nothing of it and we pull off from the junction.
15:47 - No distance at all down the road, and I can see what's about to happen. We're following a nice black Mercedes, very new, very clean and clearly well looked after. It's in lane two with us. Vectra boy is in lane one and is desperate to make progress, whatever the cost! He puts a sprint in down lane one, quickly approaching some parked cars, clearly trying to undertake the Mercedes. The Mercedes driver is having none of it and puts his own sprint in to close the gap. Neither of them will let this go lightly, and I start to make a comment to my driver, who gives me the "if you get involved..." look.
Both cars slow down a little, but with next to no warning, Vectra really sticks his foot down and swings the wheel right, shoving his way right in front of Mercedes. Mercedes has to slam the brakes on, shortly followed by us. Vectra had left about one and a half car widths between the parked car in lane one and Mercedes to mark a dart for it, and he'd somehow been successful. Bemused, I begin to make another comment, but realise that we're not moving, and neither are Vectra and Mercedes. I notice Vectra start to drive off and feel satisfied that nothing will come of this, although I find that my hand is already on my seatbelt release - just in case. Suddenly, Mercedes opens his door and cusses at Vectra; nothing outrageous, but clearly inappropriate. What Mercedes doesn't realise is that rather than stick his car, which is clearly an automatic, into 'park', he's stuck it in reverse and it's now slowly rolling its way towards us.
Mercedes realises his error and jumps back into his car foot first. He slams the brakes on, probably at the same time that Vectra does, who's heard Mercedes shout and is really not impressed. Vectra flies out of his car and takes six of the twelves paces towards Mercedes in record time. I fling my seatbelt off, mindful that I am in fact on my own, but satisfied that we're A) close enough to the nick, B) in a public enough place that if things go really wrong I'll get at least some help and C) suitably covered by CCTV that I can put in an appearance. I flick my seatbelt off, open the door and I'm not quite out of the car before a nice loud bellow of "POLICE OFFICER, GET BACK IN YOUR CAR, NOW!" erupts from my lungs. It clearly has some effect, as there's the order of a few seconds where everyone just stands still and there's an awful silence. Keeping myself behind the car door, I point the finger at both drivers and instruct both to get in and walk away. I'm already of the mind-set that whilst Vectra has clearly driven carelessly, Mercedes could've just been the bigger man and let him into the lane, and that frankly they're as bad as each other. I simply want each driver back in their car and going home as quickly as possible.
Vectra mutters something at Mercedes, who replies to the effect of "watch it mate, there's a police officer there." Mercedes is clearly more respectful, and is aged perhaps late forties, early fifties. Vectra on the other hand looks like he's got a chip on his shoulder and is aged perhaps in his early to mid twenties. Satisfied that neither of them are brick outbuildings, I leave the safety of the car door and step towards the nearside of the Mercedes. I implore both of them to just get back in their cars and go home. Mercedes starts to state that he's annoyed at Vectra and I interrupt him, saying that I know, I'll have a quick word, I've seen it happen, but if they want to talk about it they'll pull into the convenient parking space on the left and act like adults rather than have a shouting match in the street. Mercedes seems to want none of it, and starts to get back in his car. Vectra starts to walk back and I start to catch up with him. He turns to me with the "I'm going to protest like a little child" face on that a number of us are familiar with, and starts to whine that he "HASN'T DUN NUFFIN". I give him the look, and find suitable words of advice: calm down.
Satisfied that both drivers are getting back in their cars, I walk back to my driver who is clearly unimpressed with my intervention and feels perhaps a little embarrassed at being associated as a Police WAG. On the way back to the car, I realise that I still have the 10m dog lead around my shoulders - I wonder for a fleeting moment if they thought I was a dog handler, complete with dog!
15:49 - The whole thing is over in next to no time. Whilst I've identified myself as Police, no names were given or warrant cards shown and I'm satisfied that the incident was resolved with minimal effort. On the way back home, I start to shake a little, and realise that I've had rather a dose of adrenaline. Having not been on shift for what feels like aeons, and living so far from my duty station, I'm not sure if I've missed it or not!