Legends and Losses.

It’s been a while. It’s been interesting and challenging times. I have changed roles. Again some may say, a ‘varied career” said the Lieutenant Governor when presenting me with my long service medal last year!

We have met new police officers from recruitment or transfers and we have sadly lost some through retirement and their passing.

Nothing should always stay the same and most things benefit from change.

Policing has changed rapidly over the years to keep up with changes in society and demands. Officers have changed rapidly too having grown up in a different generation to me.

I am now one of the more senior officers (in age not rank) and that happened almost overnight it feels. I recall being told many years ago that my thirty years would go really fast. I didn’t believe them but I wish I had now.

Along the way I have had the pleasure of meeting people who quite simply can be called legends and will always remain a big part of our policing family.

I wrote about losing one of ours a few years ago now. The loss is still felt and I remembered Andy Pailor today when I saw his name on an old file. I smiled as I read his written words knowing that he had cared and thought about each part in order to truly reflect the story behind the problem.

This week again sees the flag at Police Headquarters at half mast as we remember colleagues lost. One loss is that of John ‘LAXEY’ Kinrade. His cheeky sense of humour and incredible knowledge and passion for Policing will always be remembered as he remains one of our legends where no bad words can be said and all that knew him has a story to tell.

I became the target of one of his wind ups very early on in my career. Posted at the top of Police Drive on TT Race duties he told me that when the Chief Constable and the Lieutenant Governor passed me on their way to the grandstand that I had to salute.

He also told me to make sure that it was with my left hand and palm out. He lied, I did it, I learnt.

Lessons come in all different shapes and sizes and from sometimes doing it wrong. I still get my left and right mixed up when saluting which thankfully is not often but I always remember Laxey with a smile and a distant echo of his wicked laugh.

Rest in peace Laxey, we will hold the line and remember you always.

There is no I in team.

This last week has been a busy and testing time for our small force.

We were stretched to our limits and beyond but managed not to snap with the help of our support staff, Special Constables and the pure determination and grit of all involved.

It is in such times like this when we tell our family that we don’t know when we will be home, cancel plans for the next few days and work long hours that we really show who we are and with this strangely comes a massive, tangible and real morale boost.

Officers from different areas and departments simply come together and many different hats are worn so that the right person is in the right place at the best time.

Police are at their best under pressure. We are can do people with a passion to succeed regardless of the demands placed upon us. We don’t always get it right but we always try our best with what we have.

At the time it is tiring and demanding but when the dust begins to settle and the wheels start turning you cannot help but feel pride when being carried along on the wave of excitement that comes with working in such a manner and in a team such as ours.

We choose to do this job. No one makes us and we don’t want sympathy. However, despite the hard work behind the scenes this week we have come under fire from those people who like to criticise and comment on social media and often without knowing the facts.

Everyone is entitled to an opinion and this is an important right but these days opinions often seem to be aired without any facts or first hand knowledge which can be dangerous and upsetting for families of loved ones involved in investigations and can actually cause major complications relating to evidence and court.

Social Media is one of the greatest inventions of our time. It helps us to communicate with each other, find lost friends and family, share information, keep people safe and at times amuse ourselves. However, at times I fear that we have all become a little dismissive of the harm that it can cause if we don’t think before we post or share or comment.

We are all part of a big team in our own little communities and we all have a responsibility to keep ourselves and each other safe but all I ask is that we all take a moment to think about what we do and what we say and if by doing such a thing will it harm another.

We teach our children to do this but we sometimes get so caught up in our busy and often stressful lives that I fear we forget to take a moment, take a breath and think about the possible repercussions of our actions and our behaviour.

“Back to Black” (and white).

I thought it time to reflect on where I have been and where I am going with almost two years completed in my new non uniform role.

Self reflection is something that we all should do in our day to day lives and our work roles. By being able to reflect and look back on things we have done only then can we make ourselves better, stronger and more accountable for our actions and decisions. Only with self reflection can we really improve and change.

I have been on leave for a couple of weeks and managed to almost switch off. However, being a Police Officer means you never manage to completely forget and nor should you.

The out of office goes on the emails but it doesn’t stop you thinking about the cases that you are managing and the victims you are helping. You just have to find the careful balance of caring but not to your own detriment which is often difficult to do and more so on a small Island with a real sense of community.

During the first week of my leave I went back to work. Sometimes things happen that take priority and this was one such occasion. The day had come for sentencing at court for a case that I had managed from the start and of course I would be there at the end. It was one of those cases that gets under your skin like many do and that make you see how awful people or the circumstances they find themselves in can truly be.

The matter surrounded a sixteen year old boy who was minding his own business but was attacked and robbed of his bus fare home to where his parents were waiting. It was a brutal and sustained attack that there was no justification for at all.

I am not here to talk about the facts of the case as it is done and sentence passed and thankfully such instances are rare.

What was abundantly clear about this case was how far reaching the effects of crime can go. Some sympathy goes to the offender who by all accounts has led a difficult life with very little family support. There was no one at court to support him but now through the system he will get offered support and guidance to change. He just needs to want to and take the chances given. I hope he does.

Far more upsetting was how this one moment had touched a whole family.

From speaking to the boy and his family over the months leading to sentencing I could see how they been changed. Again I am not here to tell their story as it is theirs but with guidance and the support of each other and their wider family they in time I hope will heal. They will never be the same.

What touched me about this matter and again strengthened my resolve to keep doing what I am doing was this family. Like many others they were there when it mattered the most. They didn’t judge and they didn’t show anger only love and support for their children. They were not angry or upset over the length of sentence or the mitigation given by the perpetrators advocate. They are what family is all about. They are what keep me doing what we do and keep me caring.

So, back to black and white it is for me as I come back from leave to uniform duties. Just for two weeks I volunteered to help out. The main reason for leaving my warm and cosy office with regular (ish) hours was that I am a strong believer in always remembering where we come from and who we are.

I have spent most of my working life as a 24/7 uniform patrol and response officer and it is the skills that I acquired doing such a role that have made me who I am. Sometimes we need to go back to see where we are going next and to appreciate matters from others points of view.

Although Police officers and support staff work as one big team, each with an important role to play, it is those in the black and white uniforms who are at the front of making changes and keeping people safe so I will always offer to help out if needed, even if it means night shifts and being out after dark!

Winnie the Pooh is an inspirational leader.

A few days ago I was delighted to attend the graduation ceremony or passing out parade as it was in my day for the newest batch of student constables. The nerves were easy to spot even with the sharp creases and shiny shoes to distract.

Also that night was the graduation of our Police Cadets. A greater bunch of young people would be hard to find and it’s been fantastic to see them grow and mature.

Chief Constable Gary Roberts gave his speeches and throughout I was overcome by how much I still feel proud and lucky to be a police officer.

Sitting on the front row with family behind were the newest members of our Police family with no real idea of what they are about to face in the coming months and many years ahead but more than up for the challenge.

I could not decide if I envied them or was grateful that I was not one of them. However, what I did feel was an enormous sense of pride in what we do and how we are perceived.

The world of policing has changed a great deal since I swore my oath on the 28th August 1998 and to some it would be almost unrecognisable.

For example, when I joined we had only just got the main legislation and codes that we now work to approved and finalised. Before then I have been told that it was a whole different world. One where apparently you could arrest someone and keep them as long as you want! So, as you can see we have moved on and thank goodness for that.

When I started women officers were still called WPC’s and the photos of the baddies were all in an envelope in a filing cabinet. We didn’t have body armour nor gas and our radios weighed a tonne. Our reports we did on a type writer and we didn’t bombard people with emails. Instead we spoke, in person, or worst case scenario over a phone so not all has changed for the better.

In his speeches Mr Roberts made many references to Martin Luther King and ended on one from A A Milne and Winnie The Pooh. I smiled as the slide came onto the screen as it is not the first time that I had seen it nor I imagine the last. The message is quite simple and works for us all. Most importantly the use of such a quote at the completion of a great deal of hard work and effort on the students and cadets behalf was perfectly timed. It is a message that we should all consider and if brave enough follow. It is one we should teach our children and at times remind ourselves and others if they are able to listen:

Supposing a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?’
‘Supposing it didn’t,’ said Pooh after careful thought.
Piglet was comforted by this.”

A A Milne. 

Take from this what you will but for me it is simple and true. Often these days with policies and procedures, health and safety and a common fear of risk taking we forget to take that simple leap. In policing this is often what we have to do but thankfully we have a great group of colleagues around us to take that jump with us even if the consequences are unknown or scary.

So welcome to our policing family and good luck in your chosen paths to the Cadets because trust me you’re in for an exciting time with plenty of trees that may fall down.

Spinning plates. 

To be a Police Officer and to always keep a partner, spouse, family or friend happy is a difficult task and often involves missing out or letting people down.  I have lost count of the family occasions , weddings , birthdays and general get togethers that I have missed out on, had to cancel,  stay only for a short time before heading off or getting called away from at short notice.  I have gained the reputation amongst some for being a bit rude but believe me I am far from that,  I simply can’t keep everyone happy all of the time or split myself into two! 

Like all my blogs this is not for sympathy or hugs but just to give an insight into the battle we sometimes face to balance our work and our families and friends. 

Again and as always it is a choice that we make and one that we do willingly but sometimes it is hard to see the look in loved ones eyes or the messages or comments about never being seen or always cancelling when we are having to go and deal with other peoples problems and needs over our own. But, that is what we do and who we are,  it is a conscious choice.

To be the partner, spouse, family or friend of a Police Officer must be hard, very hard and we all understand that and try our hardest to find the balance but sometimes we just can’t spin all the plates safely. 

Sometimes  we are simply so tired both physically and mentally that we can’t string a sentence together, sometimes we are short with them and snap and sometimes we simply need to be on our own as we don’t want to bring them into our world to share the nasty and sad things that we have to see.   We just need time to process the thoughts and put them away in the back of our minds so no one else can come to harm.

Sometimes we just want to sit and do nothing much and say very little. Think about it this way if it helps…. our job is to talk and listen all day and every minute.  

We talk and listen to our family before we leave home, our colleagues about what jobs we are going to and when, we talk on the phone, on our radios,  whilst speaking to victims and witnesses and whilst interviewing suspects.  We talk and we listen, it’s what we do to try to help  make sense of the issues faced by the people who ask us to help. 

So, after a long day of talking and listening sometimes we want to just sshhhhh. Just for a short time and to become a partner, spouse, family or friend again and to ensure that our plates keep spinning and everyone is safe and happy to the best of our ability. 

To the partners, spouses , family and friends of Police Officers I say this.. be patient, be kind, be strong and be understanding but above all it’s simple… be there even though we often are not.

Behind every great man..

It’s been a while. A while since I found something to talk about. A while since I have had the time. It’s always about time. When we are young there is too much and when older not enough. We just can’t seem to get the balance.

Policing is much the same, it’s all about time.  Sometimes we seem to have a lot; mainly when we are stood in the dark guarding a scene, at a road closure, waiting for back up when we are facing fear, or when we are waiting for that night shift to finish when we are down to the last half hour and the sun is up. 

However, mainly with police clocks we are talking about the lack of time. How much time do we have to deal with a job before the next one takes us away? How much time do we have to get to our colleagues in need of assistance?  How much time do we have on the clock to question that person suspected of harm? All questions that we go through on a daily basis and hope that the clock slows down.  Breathe, time enough. 

It used to be that when we joined we signed up for thirty years. That’s a lot of time to do this role. To face the fears we have to, see the things we wouldn’t choose to and do the things we sometimes wish we didn’t have to. 

It is a choice that we make to spend around a third of our lifetime doing this role.  It’s a choice we are happy to make. If we were not why would we? Would you? Could you? It is after all our choice and our time. No one forces us.

Over the past few years a lot of officers have ‘ done their time’ or sadly and cruelly had their time stopped  by the limitations of their body or mind after facing injury or illness.

I have seen many colleagues come and go.  More will follow, and in time so will I.

I have seen the pride they expressed regardless of how much time they gave and no matter how their clock was stopped.  Some were sad, some angry and bitter, but deep down and if they were honest, all had a sense of achievement that they had belonged to a group of people who give their time to others often at the expense of themselves. 

This goes too for our Support Staff  without whom we often would be lost, stumble or fall.  These men and women make a choice to work in our environment and often like us get to see and hear things that no one should. 

They read and type the written words that form the statements of the victims and witnesses.  They may not hear their voices through  the written page but the words tell a story often of pain and anguish that they cannot help but to listen and to feel.  

They transcribe our interview tapes of the people we are paid to protect society from. They listen to the words used and the allegations made while they write the story on the page. They cannot help but become emerged in this world of violence, fear and anger.  Again, it is their choice but they take it all in their stride, do justice in the written and spoken word and play a major part in making the victims words come alive and the perpetrators lies or confessions heard. 

The people who take the initial 999 calls and our front counter staff.  They take the time to listen, guide and support when people are often at the lowest point in their lives and at the time of their greatest need.  They are the first contact and their time is often the most important and must be used wisely and carefully.
Amongst the many retirements of late one stands out.  Alma. Just Alma. She doesn’t need a second name her first is enough. Today she left us after 29 years of time given to helping others as first contact at Police Headquarters. She was there when I started and still there 18 years later. Time has been good to her as I don’t see her as looking a day older! She will be missed terribly as she is part of the fabric of many of our lives and a hard act to follow.  Now  she gets her time, with who she wants to share it with,  but I’m pretty sure she will be back…it’s only a matter of time. 

It is her leaving party this evening and as I write this I wish I had been able to give her my time.  However, I am quite sure she will understand and insist that I am spending it with my family. 

Time is precious and should be guarded fiercely and shared wisely. Our family is what keeps us doing what we do. It enables us to carry on in the worst of times and enjoy the best. They are there in the background supporting us, worrying about us and helping us with everyday matters which in turn helps us to give as much as our time as possible to the community we have chosen to keep safe. 

However,  there comes a time in everyone’s lives that we need to look after others. To be there for them as they have for us.  Without our family we could not give as much as we do because we do what we do to make our community safer not just for our family but for everyone else’s. 

Time is precious, take hold of it before it runs away and share it wisely when it is needed the most with those you hold dear.
As for Alma, thank you from your police family and all the members of the public that you have helped over the time that you chose to give, you will not be forgotten only cherished. 

New faces from across the water and the wrong socks. 

Today I met four new colleagues who have joined the Isle of Man Constabulary from the UK. They were put through intensive and scary sounding interviews to get here and by the sound of which I would have crumbled.  I am hopeless at selling myself. In fact to get my new role as a trainee Detective I had an interview, the  first since I joined the Police in 1998. For some reason in my recent interview I thought it appropriate to put my foot on the table, right in front of the panel, whilst wearing  Muppets socks (uniform policy quite clearly states that this is not the best choice of sock). Suffice to say the moment was one I will cherish and likely will never be beaten.  I was given the job but I still do not know how as like I said I do not to sell well and sadly it is something that has held me back all my adult life.

We also got a shiny new Superintendant in the New Year also from over the water and she seems to be settling in well. I cannot pronounce her surname so thankful as ever to rank structure I have the safe option of Ma’am.

Since I joined we have had four Chief Constables. Two from our own brood and two that came from ‘the mainland’. There are different views held by different people on this and I am not here to judge. Besides all cops are the same. Simply people who want to help people regardless of where they come from, what they have did and where they are going. 

For anyone to choose to be a police officer I take my hat off to them and even more so these days with the extra burden faced by cutbacks, changes in society and beliefs and work and home life balance. It’s hard to get it all right all of the time but we choose to do this. Our Police Force is changing rapidly as is society and as we are moving forward we are grateful for all the help we can get.  It doesn’t matter where the help comes from as long as they hold the values and behaviours that run though us as people and us as an organisation. Society and it’s structures are moving at a very  fast pace and all government organisations have to keep up to make sure that we can continue to keep as many people safe as we can but without losing the things that make us as an Island full of rich culture strong. 

So, my advice to the new officers today as they were shown their new office was simple. We are Manx and sometimes we may do things that make you puzzled, confused or you may find our ways funny compared to the big world ‘over there’.  

We should all question things we are not sure of or disagree with as it’s how we learn and develop and make ourselves better. 

However, now you are with us on the ‘real mainland ‘ you may not always get an answer that to you makes sense or even you agree with and sometimes you can’t change it. 

So, sometimes just sometimes you just have to sigh and smile and in a  gentle exhale of breath say “Isle of Man” and then gaze out of the window to the green hills and the rolling sea and settle and repeat a well known Manx phrase  “Traa dy Liooar ” which quite simply means time enough.  So, welcome to our new family members and don’t forget to wear black socks. 

Time waits for no one. 

Recently I have been thinking a great deal about time. In August I reached my eighteenth year as a police officer and today I reached my forty first birthday. I was twenty two when I joined straight out of university. It seems like only yesterday. I had perfect eyesight and no grey  hair but now, according to a very good friend of mine , I “look more like Sue Perkins than she does” and the grey hairs are coming on nicely. 

A couple of weeks ago I was one of the last officers to leave one of our recently closed Police Stations. A station gone and with it countless memories remain within its walls. As I left I saw out of the corner of my eye a small wooden board propped against the wall. When I looked behind I found the brass plaque that had been displayed at the front of the building when opened many years before. I left with it under my arm and delivered it to the Chief Constables office to be kept as part of our history.  

Despite the closure of stations,  change was needed. To be more effective as a service with less money and resources,  downscaling and streamlining was inevitable as with many other parts of government. 

With the closure of this station came the centralisation of many policing departments and uniform staff. I had to smile as it is now  pretty much back to how it was all those years ago when I started. Most of the time in life you should never go back. However, in policing sometimes going back a few steps can work.

By reforming and regrouping into one main building there is a real buzz of excitement back into the place. Now, instead of sending an email or picking up the phone we can speak to each other face to face.  

At the start of the week I was asked to go to our new Staff Development Centre to assist the new student Constables with some role plays. I happily gave up my time to help them and it was great to get out of the office and do some shouting. Lots of shouting and some words my mother would scold me for and blush. It was after all Public Order Role Plays.

It was watching these brand new bobbies with shiny shoes and energetic enthusiasm that brought it all back to me. Time passes quickly and sometimes we just have to slow down and remember where we have been and where we want to go.

Sometimes we have to go back to basics, start again, fix things and sometimes we need to move forward, push ourselves and learn new things.

One of the Superintendents asked me the other day how I was finding my new role. My reply to him was as it has been for others. Everyday I am learning something new. Time has moved on for me and it was my time like these new officers to learn and develop myself as I enter the latter part of my career.  Time waits for no one so have no regrets and take any opportunity you can. 

So, can you teach an old cop new tricks? 

Time has come for a change. 

After many years of wearing  a uniform and walking the beat it is time for me to hang my truncheon up! 

I think eventually we all need a change and a move away from the norm. To step outside our comfort zone and to set ourselves new challenges and goals. Trust me I’m really nervous and a little scared which is expected as at my age and length of service we don’t like change, especially if we are Manx.

Time has come for a change and I wanted to leave on a high and with no regrets or missed opportunities. After being honoured with an award for ‘Service to the public’ at the Chief Constables  Award Ceremony this year it was clear that this was my time to move on. How could I possibly do better, go further and try harder except to try to maintain that service to the public. It was not about the recognition meaning the end but it’s certainly about the right time to end and now is that time.

I have loved pretty much most of my time spent in uniform carefully learning my trade and trying to please everyone which in the world of policing is often hard.

I have been scared, hurt, humiliated,threatened, frustrated, reduced to tears, covered in blood, watched people pass away before my eyes and experienced many other emotions and situations that I would not wish on anyone.  I have seen amazing sights and qualities in others that only get displayed in times of crisis and I have seen how resilient people are and how amazing it is to truly help someone who is at their lowest point. I have and do work with a great group of people who make a conscious choice to daily put themselves in places and situations that really we should turn from. Why do we do it? Because we want to make a change. To help, to care and to be part of where we live in a positive way. This goes for police officers all over the world. 

The role of the uniformed officer is without a doubt one of the most challenging. You have to know a little bit of everything at any time and have the ability to talk your way into and out of any situation. You have to be able to go into situations that others quite rightly run from and stand your ground when others try to sway you with threats and violence. You have to be able to make quick decisions and stand by them, to make mistakes and learn from them and to keep going when all you want to do is sit,in the quiet, and breathe. 

You have to be a judge, jury, lawyer, parent, nurse, social worker, farmer (for all those cows in the road), marriage councillor, politician, bearer of bad news, problem solver, shoulder to cry on, the list is quite frankly endless but most of all you have to be honest and true. Never make a promise as sadly these days there is not a lot of certainties in life . The only promises I make to people are that I will try my best with what I have and what I can influence.  

I am not leaving the police but moving sideways I suppose. I am pushing myself as far as I can out of my comfort zone and into a completely different area of policing.  One full of new challenges, new ideas and at the moment full of studying!   I am not going to discuss my new role quite simply as I do not feel that as yet I have enough knowledge of the area to fully talk about it and how it really is. I don’t know if I will be able to talk about much of it but I will see as it may be a good way of showing other sides of policing and the challenges we face as I hope some of my previous blogs have tried to do.   I have seen this area of policing from the outside and now I’m going to look in and I hope that as I have tried with the last part of my career that I will try my hardest, give my best and help as much as I can. 
As for whether I can learn new tricks let’s hope so, but failing that at least I will have tried and challenged and pushed myself a little further. 

As Socrates once said “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new”. I have fought the old and will continue to just in a different way. Some things  can’t be changed whether that be people or policies but we can all certainly try in our own way to influence change in all we do. To challenge ourselves to do better, try harder, not give up and above all to change  if change  is needed. 

I hope to bring what skills and ability I have to a new role and to move on in my career in whatever path it may take me as our communities  and our police service evolves constantly with new challenges and old problems. 

However, I am lucky in that I am not leaving where I have been because I don’t like it but because I do and by doing so someone else can take my place. They can have the pleasure of working within a community who value and appreciate what we are trying to do and who work with us as opposed to against us to keep our island as safe as it can be. 

It’s a bit like Marmite really.

Well it’s that time of year again when the Isle of Man truly comes alive. For two weeks of the year the Island is buzzing more than ever with the influx of visitors from all over the world and the sound and smell of motorbikes.  Love them or not they are coming and for us  police officers comes one of the  real challenges of our policing year but one that we have off to an art, The Isle of Man TT Races.

Policing the TT has changed dramatically over the years. As with most things health and safety (quite rightly in most cases) and financial cutbacks have altered how we do things. As with everything our primary goal is keeping people safe. This includes our normal residents, our visitors and ourselves. 

Now, let me just dispel a myth that has been going as long as I have. We do not get help with extra cops from elsewhere. Once our box is empty it’s empty. The only extra help we may get is some German Police used to come over (I’m not sure if they still do) but they were great in helping us with the language barriers. 

What happens is that leave is refused and days off worked in this period so that we can put as many bobbies out on the beat and in places where they can assist the most. Detectives who have had their uniforms hung in a locker since the last races dust them off and iron them ready to join the uniformed officers in order to increase our numbers and provide the best service we can. You can always spot the Detectives as they have the whitest shirts and the shiniest shoes.  Shifts are altered and extended so that we can have as many officers on duty as we can. We have to be able to cover races, special events that take place all over the Island and normal day to day policing of our Island. 

Yes we do get paid for it but wouldnt you expect to get paid for extra hours worked?  However,  if you asked officers towards the middle of the second week trust me they would much rather be at home getting a hot meal with their family than working extra long shifts.  However, despite the massive upheaval that this period causes in our lives it is only for a short period so we make the most of it. Policing this time of year is a skill that we have built on over the years and are recognised world wide for.  We are firm but fair and this is recognised by the bikers and locals alike. There  is so much fun to be had this time of year and we get so very well looked after by our community who take this time to help us and show their support by feeding us on our patrols!  The  ‘brew spots’ are plentiful and open later or earlier depending on your shift. Many a happy time I have had on a night or early morning sitting at a camp site drinking tea and eating biscuits with the campers.  

One thing that has changed over the years is how we are treated and this is down partly to our new leaders and the value they put in their people. That’s not to say previous leaders did not value their staff but more that policing then was more of a ‘just get on with it’ as opposed to if you look after your staffs welfare then they can give so much more. 

For example, my first TT I was a keen 22 year  old university graduate just out of training. When the races were  on we used to get posted to many random areas around the course. Now we do not go near the course unless we are required due to an incident.  This first year of TT I was unlucky. I got posted to what in essence was a gateway to a field with a bucket to sit on and once I was there I was stuck. For the whole day.   This was my first lesson in what happens when you work in a male dominated world as it was then.

See, no one had thought what may happen if I needed a toilet break! It was a very hot day indeed and being worried about drinking too much I didn’t. However, as the day went on I found myself in need of a comfort break and ended up doing so in a cow shed with a cow looking on. It was not my finest moment.  Suffice to say after raising this issue and maybe after a lady inspector became aware, female officers were put in more appropriate points around the course.  
We also used to have to do the early morning practices that thank goodness are now a thing of the past. Getting up at silly o clock to stand at a point then doing a full day shift followed by a few hours down at the promenade beer tent with only a soggy bap for tea if you were lucky was not good at all.
So, like I said,  we are treated very well indeed these days despite not seeing our family for days on end. 
As I said TT is a bit like marmite you love it or you don’t. Me, I’m afraid I am in the I don’t camp for most of the time. Although road safety has improved massively over the years thanks to education and enforcement there are still too many people who don’t go back to their family the same as when they left for my liking.

 I have a very healthy respect for bikes and bikers and the choices they make to compete or ride bikes. It is a choice they make. However, I have seen too much sadness to really be able to say that I enjoy it.  I have watched a man die as he held my hand at the side of the road with nothing I could do. This will stick with me forever as we were both strangers but put together in such a moment that we became linked. I had to go to the coroners inquest about  it and give evidence about his last moments. In doing so it  helped  me deal with this matter as afterwards a friend of the fallen rider came up to me and hugged me. He told me that although it was a tragedy  he knew that his friend had died doing something that made him who he was.
As tragic as matters can often be it can also be a wonderful place and time. The Island truly comes alive in colour and sound and we are certainly kept on our toes.
Those officers working in the main town I take my hat off to as they get it the hardest constantly being in the middle of the action. I work in a quieter area. I  get my share of the action but it’s a different style of policing altogether. Most of our regulars go to the capital to join in the action and the young people  go to the fair  so we get a chance to do some real community policing.  We put our hat on and wander. We get to sit down and chat to those visitors taking a break from the hustle and bustle and enjoying the countryside. We get to carry out speed enforcement and education in the quieter areas so that our residents and visitors alike are kept safe.  We get to have our pictures taken countless times and answer questions such as ‘why do you wear white helmets?’ and ‘when do the roads shut’ and other questions only asked in a two week period of the year. We try to speak German or French that we think we recall from school but can’t . What I have found though is that no matter how much foreign speaking people who have been a bit naughty say they do not understand they always seem to understand the phrase  ‘ I will take your bike off you’ .  

I am not sure if it is true but I do recall being told a story about one officer many years ago who stopped a biker after he had carried out a very foolish and somewhat dangerous manoeuvre. The biker wasn’t quite getting the message shall we say.  So, in order to enforce his point,  the officer ‘allegedly ‘ took the keys from the bikes ignition and threw them a short distance into the adjoining field. The biker was then told to look for the keys and whilst doing so to reflect on his actions and learn. He found them and hopefully learnt a valuable lesson.  Whether  true or not I certainly get the point that was being made. We are here to keep people safe but everyone has a part to play in making sure that they return to their families  after the smell of the engine oil and the roar of the bikes is over. 

So, as I said at the start it’s a bit like marmite but love it or loathe it it’s coming soon and will effect us all so please stay safe, take extra care on the roads and enjoy the atmosphere. Just think though, if you see a cop looking a bit weary instead of saying ‘think of the overtime’ just think what they may have had to deal with that day, that they may have seen someone injured or worse , have not seen their family for days and need a good sleep but are still going to make sure that our island can be as safe as it can be.