20 Years in the Greater Manchester Police

A Few More Police Stories

Lucky Dog

One of the many varied tasks carried out by the Police is to deal with stray dogs. Thus any dogs that come into the Police station are kennelled until they were collected by the Manchester Dogs home. Any such dog is then kept for a limited time and then if not claimed is put up for sale to the general public.

Many of the dogs brought to the Police Station were young and before they were sent to the dogs home it was quite common for Officers coming off a night shift to take them for a short walk along a nearby canal. Thus one morning I found myself letting a young border collie pup out of his kennel in readiness for a quick walk. The young dog jumped up and in a moment of excitement vented its bladder down my left leg. Half an hour later and having consumed a fair quantity of canal water, it quite deliberately cocked it's leg up against me again as I put it back in the kennel.

This dog was duly sent to the dogs home and was not claimed. As I type this he is sitting across my feet. He is now almost 11 years old and is probably the best £ 20.00 I have ever spent. I called him Lucky.

Photo of Lucky on Mobility Scooter.
Lucky used to enjoy a ride on my mobility scooter.

Sadly since writing this I have had to have Lucky put to sleep as he was suffering an aggressive throat cancer. He was a belting dog who will be impossible to replace.

Not Cricket

The division on which I spent a large part of my police service not only covered Old Trafford Football Ground but also Lancashire County Cricket Club, the venue for many test matches. I always hated working the cricket matches as the day would start with a furious amount of traffic duty followed by hours of inaction and another furious hour of traffic duty at the end of a very long day.

On one such occasion I was policing a match between England and the West Indies and had settled myself on the boundary safe in the knowledge that I had found myself a good spot in front of the West Indian fans. Whilst noisy they were renowned for their sense of fun and they usually went home well satisfied as at that time the West Indies regularly thrashed the English team.

The summer sun shone brightly as from somewhere behind me I heard, "Hey boy, want to come and see what Mamma can do for you?" It was quite obvious from the reaction of the crowd that the comments were directed at me. I ignored it in the hope that it would go away. Like hell it did, the innuendo came thick and furious and even some of my colleagues sitting some distance away were starting to enjoy the spectacle. I turned around to see a sea of absolutely delighted West Indians amongst whom was the culprit, a very large lady of about 60 years of age with a grin like a Cheshire cat.

Things went from bad to worse. I couldn't leave my position on the boundary and there was no way any other officer would swap, anyhow they were enjoying it far too much. It just got worse and worse. The small number of Police and the delight of the crowd meant ejection from the ground was a non starter. I have no doubt the crowd, who were extremely good humoured would not have entertained it and I had to admit to myself that such a course of action would have been over the top. So on it went for hour after hour.

At the end of the day I fled thankfully to my traffic point only to find about ten minutes later a large number of West Indians heading my way with the aforementioned lady at their head. She shouted a couple of compliments to me before disappearing into the crowd.

That day had seemed to last forever. I could quite happily have hit the lady at the time but now look back on the incident with fond memories. Yet another instance when it pays to be able to laugh at yourself.

Crown Court

Throughout my Police service I attended at the Crown Court on many occasions to give evidence in cases ranging from minor thefts up to and including murder. Trials by jury are quite a strange affair, seemingly weak cases will result in a conviction whereas on occasion cases thought to be very strong would for no apparent reason result in an acquittal.

I found myself giving evidence on one occasion in a theft case with a man accused of having stolen a quantity of roofing tiles from a building site. It wasn't the most interesting of jobs I'd ever done, relied heavily on circumstantial evidence and it was clear that the case had failed miserably to grab the interest of the jury. Even though I was sure of the guilt of the accused person, as the case broke for lunch, I held out no great hopes of a conviction. Returning after lunch I continued giving evidence in the trial only to be interrupted by the accused person who started to argue about the quantity of roofing tiles he had allegedly stolen. There followed a short adjournment rapidly followed by guilty plea. Another success for the good guys.

The Last Laugh

The police frequently have to attend to reports of a sudden death and have to complete paperwork prior to a post mortem. As such they act on behalf of the Coroner. This job is now performed largely by a single officer the Coroners Officer but it was until a few years ago a task that was regularly performed by officers as part of their daily duty. A Coroner works covering a given area and on the division on which I was working, two different Coroners covered different parts. Thus somebody dying in one area would be taken to the mortuary for that area and if necessary a post mortem conducted there. We were all warned of grave consequences should a body be taken to the wrong area. The undertakers were also well aware of this little procedural quirk.

It came as something of a surprise when still a young recruit I was sent in the company with a very experienced officer to take a death report only to find that the body had been moved from the home address to a hospital mortuary in the wrong area. There was nothing else for it other than to have the body moved to the correct mortuary. The undertakers were dispatched and there should have been no problem had it not been for a middle manager at the hospital who was now refusing to release the body.

After a considerable length of time in fruitless negotiations my colleague suddenly announced that he was taking the police car to the mortuary and that he was going to take the body himself (and that of course also included me), and furthermore anybody resisting this course of action would be reported for prosecution for obstructing a Coroners Officer.

This was starting to get really good and was greatly appealing to my macabre sense of humour . Off we went to the mortuary in the Police car, at that time an 850cc two door mini. I was really hopeful that we would have to seize the body and put it in the back of the car, shroud and all. Just imagine all the rumours that would have started as we drove through nearby estates. Sadly it was not to be . The manager signed the appropriate release form and the body was then moved by the undertakers.

The relatives were thankfully never aware of the situation and I suppose all the other arrangements passed off without a hitch. I suspect that this situation would not arise now and that the problem could be sorted out between the different coroners. It's probably another example of how times have changed.

A Legless Dunk

Dealing with people who are under the influence of drink is virtually a daily occurrence for a Police Officer. Often these people can become violent and it is not unusual to be involved in some sort of a scuffle before the offender is conveyed to the Police Station. It came as no great surprise then, when going on duty one morning, to be told that the Sergeant on the night shift had been assaulted whilst arresting a drunk. We were all relieved to hear that he hadn't been badly hurt, relief which turned to glee as his colleagues related how the offender had been a one legged man who during a scuffle had taken off an artificial leg and hit the sergeant over the head with it. A really unusual offensive weapon.