Looking back over the years – Guest Writer
Looking back over the years
Guest writer – Jeff
“Looking back over the years,” will be a series of short stories brought to you from a guest writer. We will see life through the eyes of a retired met officer. Written in his own words, you will envision how things were challenging and how situations have moved on from years past.
A fascinating insight into the UK policing from years ago.
A young policeman’s first memory on the job
In 1966 I was an 18 year old, moving from the North of England to London to join the Metropolitan police cadets and following my initial training, I was posted to East Ham Police station.
One cold Spring morning, at about 9am when I was thinking of what to have for breakfast, when I was told to get into the police van with some Policemen to be taken to the tube station at East Ham.
An unknown man had walked down from the platform, walked further along the tube track before falling across the rails and the electric current rail just before the next tube train came charging through and hit his body.
The sergeant in charge spoke to the Station Master to ensure that the electricity had been turned off and that no further trains would be coming down the line. We were surround by lots of angry commuters on the platform and all complaining that they would be late for work, appointments etc.
Not knowing the procedure, I was instructed to hold onto a corner along with 3 other policemen of a rubber sheet while we walked along the tube line. Our job was to find and recover the jumper, picking up pieces of a human body and throwing them onto the sheet with no idea as to the identity of what it was we were picking up.
All this due to his lack of foresight of his actions in committing suicide on the tube line and the consequence’s that remained for other people.
It was also my introduction to what is called 999 humour which is how the Police, Fire Brigade and Ambulance staff cope with these horrible situations, to some people it may seem sick, but it was drummed into me that whilst I was working I had to just get the job done and deal with it later.
I can assure you that it was a long time before I ate ham sandwiches again.
This was the first of many of my experiences like this. Why is it that people who commit suicide don’t appreciate how their actions affect the people who are left behind and the enormity of the scene that has to be cleaned up afterwards.
Think twice before jumping in-front of a train.
A huge thank you to our guest writer Jeff, I will like many I hope look forward to your next story with interest.
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