More On The Siege – And A Response To Comments

The call was for an assault in the street. A nice simple job for a pleasant afternoon in Newham.
We arrived and found six police officers around a Russian man and his girlfriend. There was a lot of shouting and screaming on the behalf of the man, mainly because he'd had his front two teeth knocked out.

Suddenly one of the police turned to me and said, “Quick, we are moving to another area”.

“Why is that”, I asked.

He pointed to a house window across the road, “Because there is a man there with a gun”.

Thirty seconds later my ambulance, my patient, my crewmate and most importantly *myself* were 200 yards down the road behind some houses and a very solid brick wall.

Policemen with big guns appeared from nowhere and they laid plans about what to do about the situation.

To cut a long story short, the police negotiated the release of a child from the house and after around seven hours the siege was ended peacefully.

My patient managed to smoke all of one policeman's cigarettes.


Now to reply to two comments that initially don't seem related.

'Let's hope they don't gun down an innocent brown-skinned young man this time.'

A somewhat snide remark. The police don't go around looking to shoot people, despite what the media may lead you to believe. Whenever I've been involved with armed police I've been impressed by the pure professionalism that they show. They are anything but looking for brown-skinned people to shoot.

People who make such pronouncements don't understand how confused a scene can get, with differing intelligence, hearsay, rumour and lines of communication suffering from Chinese whispers.

The second comment is this…

Well now some ten hours after your post, and I can't find anything on the Beeb web site. I'm keeping the conspiracy theories at bay by acknowledging that I'm probably not looking for the right thing…

Related to the above comment, this is an example of how the media works. The operation went off without a hitch – no one was shot, there were no interesting pictures of irate kidnappers. The only injury was someone who had been punched in the mouth.

In 2002 the armed police were called out 2,490 times in London alone.

How many times was this reported in the media?

It's only a story if someone gets shot.

This is why the public have an imbalanced view that the police enjoy shooting people. You never hear of all the lives that have been saved because of their attendance.

The reason why blogs such as mine are so popular is because they tell you the stories that aren't interesting enough for mainstream media to dedicate time to. We humanise the jobs that are often just 'nameless men in uniforms'. Perhaps we need an armed police blog…

15 thoughts on “More On The Siege – And A Response To Comments”

  1. I don't sincearly beleive that the police go out of their way to shoot people, or enjoy doing it.My point is twofold. The met under Blair (both of them) are rapidly becoming a paramilitary force, are role for which they are very poorly trained (Qualifying on a 'shots' course takes three weeks, with no prior experience), I beleive the role should be fulfilled by CBQ/CT trained special forces (many former special forces and army vets agree with this, having analysed the Mets operational tactics).

    Secondly, in the specific case of Jean Charles, the operation should NEVER have gone live – what killed this man was the phrase 'worth a look' and complete incompetance in the chain of command.

    To be brutally honest am am far more terrifed of the police response to the 7/7 bombings than I am of the terrorists themselves.

  2. TomI'm not an armed officer, I wouldn't know a trigger from a firing pin, but I know enough to leave it to the specialists.As you quite rightly say, they are villified when they pull the trigger, yet their training is geared towards using lethal force as a final option. They all know that shooting someone will result in a massive investigation and they will be subject of the hindsight brigade's pontifications.Thank you for putting your point of view, it's nice to know there is some support out there.

  3. Just because an editor decides something is not newsworthy doesn't mean its being supressed, especially in such a short time period after the event. This story will only be carried in local papers, which often are weekly and rarely carry much on their websites due to costs.People are mainly to blame, nobody ever bought a paper for the headline “police do their job” so it doesn't get given many inches. Where as most people will be caught by the headline “Police shoot Vicars at random” or “Police let granny killer off with a hug”, causing these stories to be kept in the public mind by the editors to boost sales. These people are not interested in the public good, they are interested in boosting sales for fame, money or both.In other news I'm glad you finished that job with the same number of holes you started it with.

  4. There is a Radio 4 panel game which used to fit modern style newspaper headlines to ancient events. For example Jesus casting out demons in Matthew Ch8 v30 may have been reported in The Sun as “Nude Pigs in satanist death plunge!”After that over to Mornington Crescent..

  5. Hear hear!It would be really good if the police would stop closing down their incredibly good, humanising blogs generally too.

  6. Hi Reynolds, Your right about the 'snide remark'. Not the best way to get the point across.Of course the police must make difficult desicions under stressfull and dangerous conditions, and may have to use leathal force to protect themselves and the public. However, an unarmed man in his boxers was shot, beaten then dragged outside. Weather or not the shooting itself was right or not, the treatment after was certainly not.

  7. Absolutely agree. I have a clear conscience as I have refused to purchase a newspaper for about 12 years now. I read blogs like this and am very choosy about which 'news' sites I read. I *would* buy a paper that doesn't stoop to pandering to the lowest human instincts…most headlines sicken me and I am sickened by people who continue to allow the editors to profit from such morbid interest and voyeurism. Thank goodness for Reynolds and others like him. 3 cheers now..hip hip…

  8. You and the Police keep up the good work Tom.Folk like to and will moan whatever.

    Blogs like this, Nee Naws, etc definitely hit the spot and for those who are still not internet friendly, the spot will be extended by your book.

    Glenda

  9. I notice Amazon has knocked four quid off the price of your book before publication. Does that mean they've read it?

  10. the person who made that remark is this site's resident troll. They weren't even trying to get a point across, they were just trying to be inflammatory.

  11. To the 'snide remark':Read “Blink” (reviewed on my site recently). It discusses an infamous shooting in New York, where four white male police officers shot a lone black man… as you say Tom these things can be very confusing in real-time, and Blink does a good job of unravelling this incident.

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