Have you ever wondered what it's like to be a response officer?
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This week Leicestershire Police has been shining a light on the work of Response Police Officers.
It forms part of a national policing ‘Week of Action’ celebrating the professionalism and challenges faced by those in this important role.
The 24/7 work of a response officer means never knowing what you might get called to next, whether it’s dealing with a disturbance or a violent individual.
PC Azmil Shaffi has been in response policing for the past nine years and is based at Euston Street Police Station in Leicester. Here he details a day in his life…
It’s 10.45pm and I’m freshly out of a hot shower. My uniform is on, laptop on standby and I’m ready to tackle the last shift of the set – the night shift.
At 11pm myself and the other officers receive our briefing. There’s always the anticipation of what I could be tasked with - scene preservation, prisoner handover, cell watch, missing person, or maybe something else.
Tonight, however, the sergeant informs us there are no specific tasks – a fantastic time to get some clerical sorted and tackle that file I’ve been trying to do, perhaps get some proactive work completed and ready to respond to whatever the night shift may bring.
It’s 11:20pm and there’s a call already to attend an incident of a possible bilking involving a taxi driver and a customer. I put my clerical to one side and head off. But while en-route another call comes in over the radio for officers to attend a Grade 1 – this is deemed the most serious incident due to the potential threat of harm or danger to life. I call up and off we go to a domestic incident. It transpires the suspect is responsible for causing criminal damage at the address.
When we arrive they have disappeared but we listen to the victim who discloses long term issues and it’s clear that multi-agency intervention is required by social services, medical professionals and others. We provide some safeguarding advice and undertake the necessary evidential work at the scene before returning to the station to start our paper work.
12.42am and there’s another Grade 1 – a third-party call about a possible disturbance at an address. Inside a couple deny anything has occurred. We speak to them separately and there’s no indication of physical harm or distress. Both disclose a verbal argument. All necessary information obtained and one party removed to ensure some form of safeguarding.
Meanwhile, a male presents at the Leicester royal infirmary with injuries which are later confirmed as being a gun-shot wound. Numerous enquiries begin and it’s clear we’ll be assisting our colleagues in some capacity.
At 1.55am another Grade 1 comes in just when I’m in the ‘zone’ typing reports for the last two jobs. Off I go again, however, this time it’s to deal with a break in progress. There’s a chance to catch the suspect in the act. We arrive and find our youngest officer in service has already detained the individual - well done.
While the suspect is taken away we begin the golden hour principles of securing evidence. Luckily for the investigation a member of public witnessed the incident and better yet captured it on their mobile phone. Fantastic result!
Back at the station, it’s now 4am and I have three jobs to write up but I’m definitely in need of some food. I’ve not long managed to eat something when I’m asked to meet a Scenes of Crime Officer (SOCO) at force headquarters to pick up a forensic hand swab kit for a firearms job that’s coming in. Off I go and 45 minutes later I’m back at Euston Street Police Station with the goods.
Next task is to look at the arrested individuals’ phones for evidence.
At 9am I finally make it home safe and sound for some good old sleep. It’s been a tiring but rewarding night.
Melton based PC James Porter has been a response officer for the past three years and says no one day is ever the same but that’s what he loves about it.
It’s 6:30am and I get into work and put on my kit ready for the 7am briefing from our sergeant.
This is my first day back working on area – I’d been seconded to work at the Download Festival the day before which was fun but still hard work.
We are briefed and given recent crimes of note and intelligence. This allows us to know what to be on the lookout for when we’re out and about. Officers are then crewed and given their individual tasking for the day.
Today I’m on my own. After a quick clean of the car, I head to police headquarters to collect a drugs exhibit – I’m qualified to complete drug field tests to assist colleagues by identifying drugs for their investigations.
I start to make my way back to Melton and the first emergency incident comes in – East Midlands Ambulance Service is asking for assistance with a male who may be in possession of a knife and could harm himself or others. I make my way on blue lights to assist another unit which has also been tasked to attend.
Together we manage to ensure the patient is safely taken to hospital to get the care he needs.
I return to the station to complete the drug identification – heroin. I complete my paperwork for this and head out to my next job of the shift - a male believed to be at his ex-partners address in breach of his bail conditions.
I locate the man inside the property and ensure the ex-partner is safe and well before reporting the male for breaching his bail conditions. Back to the station, fuelling the vehicle and grabbing a sandwich on the way.
Statement and paperwork for the breach of bail done and I just manage to eat my sandwich before another emergency incident - a report of two males fighting outside a petrol station.
Upon arrival the males have gone. I check around the local area but can’t locate them and so return to the petrol station to check CCTV. Unfortunately, it didn’t capture enough for me to identify those involved.
I travel to Oakham to visit a shop owner who has reported damage to one of his shop signs by a group of youths. A quick chat and a plan made to try and identify the group by local CCTV. Once I have identified the group I will visit their parents.
It’s almost the end of my duty so I make my way back to Melton but just yards from the station a moped whizzes past me. I stop and speak to the driver, completing checks on them and the bike. All documents are in order but I give some words of advice about his manner of driving. Back to the station to finish my paperwork and answer the last couple of emails before going home.