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…