It is a little known fact that when a road policing officer stands in front of a mirror, they do not see their reflection. That being said as 2014 draws to a close we all inevitably start to reflect on events that have transpired in the year nearly gone and in doing so we ultimately examine ourselves. We consider ourselves as police officers and think about that curse or gift, depending on which side of the emotional fence you sit; that is the ability or lack of it to walk on by, to not do nothing, to step in when most others walk on by whether on duty or off. It is this trait that you are either born with or your not. Those that aren’t wish they were and those that are, at times wish they weren’t.
It is fair to say that this year has seen some notable events regarding police pay and conditions and to be honest it is going to get a lot, lot worse; much worse! But more than that is the way policing in England and Wales will undoubtable change. With that, ultimately, in my opinion the whole fabric of society will change. For years the internet and social media have slowly become more important not only in our private lives but our corporate one’s. Up until now the old fashioned way of doing things has been a fall back. I predict that within the next couple of years, that fall back will disappear and with it traditional values and the sense of society. You only have to go back 20 years or so when a family got together at these times and played board games, positively interacting with each other. Now, kids stay in their rooms, emotional connected to their X Boxes yet in reality experiencing no true emotion at all. It is a problem we are storing up for ourselves and we are already starting to see the fruits of that rotten tree.
Indeed the more savvy police leaders also see a storm brewing. As experienced cops retire to be replaced by the next generation of police officers, perhaps starved of human contact I speak of above. The less savvy, with blinkers on, may not I think, be able to cope with the changing times and neither will the officers they employ. Not all but in my opinion a significant number.
And so as 2015 fast approaches perhaps it is more important than ever for us all, in whatever we do to ground ourselves in the reality of the moment. For most that means our family and friends. As many of you will know I love my bike. Cycling stopped me from falling into a deep black hole as a young teenager. And so, it is only right along with every other British cyclist we admire Bradley Wiggins, a man who has suffered his own demons along the way. In a candid interview on the radio, Brad describes how he had to ride at near 100% of his capability every single day but he also knew that he was not going to win every race. I thought that was pretty close to our day to day lives as serving police officers. The interviewer asked how did he deal with that pressure. His answer was simple yet profound. His Kids!. On each thumb Brad has tattooed the initials of his kids. Sat on his bike, time trialling, that is what he see’s. And when all said and done. Olympic champion, tour de France winner he grounds himself when his kids ask “What are we doing tomorrow Dad?”
Empires have fallen and civilisations have come and gone. Whilst your average Egyptian 4000 years ago may not have had an iPhone 6 they felt the very same emotions we all feel today. For you see with the ever changing world both now and in the past the one constant is the human being. We haven’t changed, we will never change.
2015 is nearly upon us. You don’t need the stroke of the minute hand past midnight to make a change. All it takes is a decision and that takes a split second.
Below is Bob Welsh, an retired state trooper. He sums it up for me, why I am a police officer.