‘Having been called a ‘F***ing Pig’ several times, the other day, I didn’t dwell on it. Yawning faceFace with rolling eyes I love pigs!’
This is part of a tweet the other day by PC Caroline Newsome (@WYP_CNewsome), who is an experienced and dedicated wildlife crime officer in West Yorkshire Police. She was quite right to ignore the comment, invariably made by folk who are too stupid to be able to indulge in any sensible conversation. Very often, when someone utters this type of insult towards a police officer, it can result in the police having the last laugh, as I recounted in part of a chapter of my first book, Wildlife Detective:-
‘It crossed my mind at the time that over the last forty years I have hidden behind bushes and in a variety of other places waiting to pounce on someone who was involved in some crime or other. One such ambush that comes readily to mind was an attempt to catch youths that had begun a stoning campaign against police vehicles. Like every town or city, Perth has its rougher areas and in one of the more run-down streets, when any police vehicle passed along in the early hours of the morning, youths started to hurl stones and half bricks at it. They then ran round the corner into the next street and disappeared into one or other of the three tenement closes.
‘This stoning had occurred twice on our night shift and we were getting a bit fed up with it. I was a sergeant at the time and I told the car crew for that area that I would quietly go through the back gardens and wait in one of the closes so that I could grab at least one of the culprits as they ran through in the darkness. I use the term ‘garden’ here in its loosest possible sense to include scrub, long unkempt grass, broken fencing, all manner of rubbish and the booby traps left by the myriad of mongrels on the housing estate to stick to the feet of the unwary nocturnal visitor. The officers in the car were to give me time to get into position then drive along the street.
‘I had been out the back of the houses in the area sufficiently often in daylight that I was confident I could navigate in the darkness. It was about 1.30 am as made my way to the middle close of the three and stood in the darkness, waiting. The street outside was well lit and I was standing back a few feet into the close but still able hear what was happening outside. I intended to move back a few feet further once I heard the thunder of hooves so that I was behind a right-angled bend in the close leading to one of the ground floor doors and my hand could come unseen out of the darkness and snatch one of the retreating rogues whose antagonism towards the police had gone just a bit too far.
‘When dealing with young people who for a number of reasons rebel against any type of authority, there is a line in the sand over which they generally know not to cross. Police officers put up with – either good naturedly or with gritted teeth – name calling, a range of cat-calls, whistling and hissing. Mental pressure we largely ignore, or bear in mind for another day. Physical assault needs a prompt and effective response.
‘The officers told me by radio that they had started to drive up the street, then minutes later that stones were being thrown at the car as they came near the end of the street. The group of about six or seven yobs was now hot-footing it in my direction. I heard them coming and was about to step back further into the close when I heard shouting coming out of the darkness from the school playing fields at the top of a steep grass banking on the other side of the road, and at a height considerably above the level of the road.
‘Plainly some of the youths’ pals, for whatever nefarious purpose, were in the school grounds and had spotted me in the close. One was shouting at the top of his voice to warn his chums, “There’s a pig in the close. There’s a pig in the close. Watch out, there’s a pig in the close!” I could hear him clearly but for whatever reason the runners heading towards me either didn’t hear him, chose to ignore him, or maybe, with their entrepreneurial hats on, thought that it was a real pig in the close that they could make into a pet or, more likely and practically, convert into bacon butties. Whatever their thoughts were they came hurtling through the close and I managed to catch not one but two and held on to the struggling bodies until my colleagues came to my assistance. The two being arrested put an end to the stone throwing and I’ve had many a laugh recounting the story of the ‘pig in the close’. It was an enjoyable night altogether.’
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