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The Cops Issue

I Am a Copper

I am a British street Police Constable and I've worked all over London from Kentish Town to Oval and Brixton. I am the person who turns up if you’re assaulted by a drunk in the street or if there’s been a burglary or there are drug addicts partying in...
PJ
Κείμενο PC John Thurtle
1.6.06

Photo by Jane Stockdale

I am a British street Police Constable and I’ve worked all over London from Kentish Town to Oval and Brixton. I am the person who turns up if you’re assaulted by a drunk in the street or if there’s been a burglary or there are drug addicts partying in your stairwell or your dog’s bitten somebody or you’ve locked your keys in the car. I’m the guy who turns up and has to deal with all of your problems every day. That’s why I love it when a car full of students drives past me and yells: “Get a real job pig” or “I hope you die”, which happened to me the other day not long after I’d just arrested a guy for beating up his wife in a drunken rage. Usually I work an 8-hour shift and because I work in London, which is always busy, this usually goes over into overtime. That’s the reason why a lot of us tend to ignore things towards the end of the shift so they can finish on time. During the day, the crimes mostly include shoplifting and vagrancy, or crack addicts pretending to be homeless when they’ve usually got some kind of terribly dysfunctional family at home—a couple of members of which are most likely smoking crack as well. At night, the main things I have to deal with are assaults, drunk and disorderlies and domestics. Vice: What’s the most dangerous thing that’s happened to you? I gave a ticket to a guy that was parked dangerously. He knocked my pocket book out my hand and he ran back to his car. I shouted for him to stop and chased after him to arrest him and he just drove into me and caught me on the corner of his bonnet and I flipped over it. And he just drove off. He went round the block and came back ’cos he felt guilty; it was all on CCTV. I can’t remember exactly how long he went down for, but he went to prison. Wow. People are idiots, eh? This job sounds like a nightmare. Well there’s the satisfaction of helping people out but I also like getting into places free and having free travel. That’s the power of the badge. What’s the worst thing about it? Being scared every day. Erm… got any funny stories? The other day we were on patrol and disturbed two junkies preparing to inject themselves and when they saw us, one of them accidentally squirted the other in the face with what I believe was heroin. The squirter was gutted that he’d lost his dose and the other guy was rolling around on the floor with a needle hanging out of his leg murmuring: “It’s in my eyes.” That’s the funny story? Nothing funny really happens. It’s a serious job. PC JOHN THURTLE AS TOLD TO CANDI KAYS