A Day in the Life of a Special
Day in the life of ADO Matthew Bowden
I have been a member of Gloucestershire Constabulary since the 4th Oct 2006 and since leaving training, I have been stationed at Gloucester South (Quedgeley) Police Station.
In my current role as an Assistant Divisional Officer (ADO), I help with the day to day running of the Gloucestershire’s Special Constabulary in the Forest and Gloucester Division – managing over 50 officers at 8 different police stations. I also co-ordinate all operations in which the Special Constabulary participates in throughout the division.
Although I am now a manager, I am still as much as an operationally active police officer as I was the day I started. One of the benefits of working in the Special Constabulary is that our duties are very flexible and diverse.
Like the majority of Special Constables, I have a full-time career as well. By day I am an engineer working for a Steam Specialist Company – I love being an engineer and although some Special Constables do have the intention to join the police full time, I do not.
I am a Special Constable as I get a great feeling being able to help others and, as much as this is a cliché, because I honestly want to make my community a safer place for my friends and family to live. And I can actually change that!
During my role within the Constabulary, I can say no two days have ever been the same. From patrolling the streets in Quedgeley, running operations, to working with specialist units such as the Police Dogs, Roads Policing Unit and the Tactical Firearms Unit.
I have participated in large scale operations, such as drug raids and multi-agency traffic operations, to smaller more specialist operations such as the “knife arch” which is designed to deter night time violence and offer public reassurance at Gloucester’s pubs and clubs.
On the whole, the general public is highly supportive of the police and it is very fulfilling knowing that your presence has deterred crime, reassure the public or offered assistance to someone in distress.
Unfortunately, as expected with this line of work, there are people who do not ‘appreciate’ the efforts of the police and it can sometimes leave us in potentially dangerous and challenging situations. However I must point out that the training, equipment and support of other officers means that we are best prepared to deal with these situations.
As previously mentioned, there are never two duties the same, so it would be ironic for me to describe a typical day in my life! So I will describe a past day.
It was an October morning when my alarm sounds for work. Luckily it was a Friday morning and I had an extra half hour in bed. I am not a morning person, so as I stumble about trying to get ready I was not thinking about much except getting to work on time!
It was a fairly typical day at work, speaking to customers and suppliers and working on projects that are soon to come to fruition. At lunch time I spoke to my partner, who is also a Special Constable, and she told me she had arranged a duty for the evening. I had not made any plans but thought, as I was not working the following day, I too was going to make it in for a duty that night. After finishing the call with the missus, I called the station to let them know I would be attending this evening. I often worked with another Special Constable or Police Constable but this time I spoke to the Sergeant who was happy to have a crew mate for the evening.
I returned off my lunch break to continue with my work. Few more calls, calculations and drawings later and it was time to shut down the computer, turn off the lights and lock up. The weekend had begun.
It was now dark outside as I drove home, now I have left work I can now start thinking about the night ahead. I enjoyed working with the Sergeant, whom I was working with tonight, in the past. We seem to always have eventful shifts and even during the quiet periods we got along very well and had plenty to talk about.
I arrived home at 5.30pm. My partner had beaten me home and had dinner ready, beef lasagne and salad – no kebabs on duty for me tonight. Think she was as eager as me to get out on duty!
After chilling out in front of the TV, I thought it was about time I started to get my uniform ready.
About 7.30pm I got into the station, the Sgt was finishing off some work as I got my kit belt and body armour on. There were keys in front of the Sgt - looks like we had the van tonight; I was secretly pleased as it was a miserable wet evening.
Not long after getting ready, a call over the radio told us about youths causing troubles at a near-by supermarket. We jumped into the van and attended immediately – the youths were still there but no one could identify the offenders. A few checks on the individuals later, we offered words of advice for them to move away from the store. As we reassured the store detectives, the group soon dispersed – surely it’s not going to be this easy tonight!
A few more minor incidents came in as the radio got ever busier with ‘jobs’. We had not yet returned to the station to finish off some administrational work I had for the Division – but I didn’t mind, I was doing the jobs I enjoyed.
As we thought we had hit a quiet period (by the way, we don’t mention that word - as not to jinx us!), we finally start heading back when reports of a serious assault came in. A man has sustained serious injuries during a fight in a pub – the night was now picking up.
As the incident was of a serious nature, we were committed to this for over 2 hours. After the ambulance had taken the injured man away, statements were needed to be taken, as well as seizing CCTV and Scenes of Crime Officers attending. After doing a thorough job, we returned back to the station to finish the paperwork off. It was the first time to sit down and have a cuppa for 4 hours – I knew the Divisional admin was not getting done tonight.
The rain had eased off by now as the clock ticked over into Saturday. We continued to patrol the area listening for jobs in our area as the radio hissed away.
“Vroom” ... a car passed us at such a speed in the opposite direction. This car was far exceeding the speed limit, he was not going to slow down for us! We weren’t able to pursue the car, but decided that it was worth following the route we believe it may had gone in case it had been a local resident and had parked up.
As we drove around the sweeping corner we saw a large cloud of steam coming from a side of a house! It looked like the car had parked on a drive ... no hang on ... that’s a garden! The car had come off the road, through a fence and into the side of a house! This was a serious incident! “Urgent”, I said over the radio to cut in and get the operators attention, “a vehicle has left the road ... Stand-by for update.”
As we got closer no one was in the vehicle any longer! I could hear other mobiles acknowledging the control rooms request for assistance as the sirens could be heard across the city now heading our way. A quick check of the area to make sure no one had been thrown out and we immediately started an area search.
“Requesting Quebec-9-9 (the police helicopter) and dogs unit, offender has left the scene”.
As you can imagine our concern was finding he driver, not because he had committed an offence but at this point the priority it was make sure he was safe and well.
We did eventually find the driver, with the assistance of “Buster” the police dog. A few hours later, after the scene had been made safe and documented as well as statements being taken, I returned to the station to conclude my duty.
3.28 am .... bedtime .... Knew that admin was never going to get done tonight!