Police Work: Police Force or Police Service?

The badge of authority.

The formal wear NSW Police Cap.  Like the British Bobby's helmet, it represents a policeman in charge of events.  It is a badge of authority. Pity so many wear baseball caps today...
The formal wear NSW Police Cap. Like the British Bobby's helmet, it represents a policeman in charge of events. It is a badge of authority. Pity so many wear baseball caps today...

Police Rescue - It's a big part of the job.

Welcome to Police Work: Police Force or Police Service?

The weakened hands began to slip. Once desperate and grasping with fear, they had clung strongly to the keel of the upturned dinghy. Whilst they had been strong, when the fisherman had had his strength, the rocket had been fired into the night sky. Now they were weak, bruised, aching. The fisherman’s body was a mass of pain. Consciousness lingered at the end of a pin-point of agony at the base of his skull. Even the fear of sharks had gone now. He was so, so tired. And the salty waves slapped, slapped, slapped. Hope was gone. Death inevitable...

The police rescue launch bobbed and rolled.

The throb of powerful engines filled the night. The police launch bobbed and rolled. The bubbling exhaust, the sound of voices. Powerful hands gripped the dying man beneath the armpits.

“You got, ‘im, Jack?

“Yeah, Sarge.”

Rescue. Safety.

There was a crackle of voices on the Police Launch’s radio: “Nemesis to VKG. We’ve picked up the man, four miles east of Barranjoey. He’s okay now. Says he was alone. We have his tinny in tow. Am returning to base.”

Police aboard such vessels as these have pulled many a person to safety.

This one's probably named the 'Nemesis.'  So many of them are.
This one's probably named the 'Nemesis.' So many of them are.

She's searched everywhere - where was her little boy?

The woman sat staring into space, the coffee untouched. She had searched everywhere. She’d been to the houses of neighbours; had spoken to all the children in the area. Later, when her husband arrived, they had patrolled the area searching, calling out, stopping the car and looking in all the parks and areas where a small boy might stop to play. It had been nine o’clock when they telephone the police.

Modern Day Police Communications Centre.

A far cry from the primitive equipment we used in the "Hat Factory' way back in the time I was working at VKG.  And in those days half the staff, like myself,  were civilians: ex military mostly.
A far cry from the primitive equipment we used in the "Hat Factory' way back in the time I was working at VKG. And in those days half the staff, like myself, were civilians: ex military mostly.

Police Work: Police Force or Police Service?

“Eighteen division cars, any car in the area. Would any car or station knowing the whereabouts of a missing child, name: Johnny Little, described as five years old, three feet six in height, slight build, fair hair and complexion; last seen wearing blue shorts, white t-shirt, contact Parramatta Police.”

The telephone shrilled. The woman grabbed up the receiver with trembling hands.

“Misses Little? It’s Sergeant Bailey here. We’ve got good news for you. One of our cars found Johnny down at Lidcombe Railway Station. Stationmaster there saw him wandering around and phoned us. He must have hopped a train and... Yes, he’s safe and well.”

 

The Rescue Squad were in attendance.

The canvas stretcher swung gently as it moved up the darkened cliffside. Soon its precious human cargo would be safely on the way to hospital. Another abseiling accident. The Rescue Squad were in attendance. The blue light, flickering continuously on the roof of the squat-looking truck, indicated their presence. But the Squad’s work was almost over here. At two o’clock in the morning there is still time to get a little sleep before turning out in the morning- that is if there were no more call outs before the sun rose.

The Rescue Vans haven't changed much in appearance from the 1970s.

Police, Fire Brigade and Ambulance Service, all have their 'Rescue Squads.  We need them all...
Police, Fire Brigade and Ambulance Service, all have their 'Rescue Squads. We need them all...

This is it - this is what it's all about: serving the community.

This is police work. This is what it’s all about. Service to the community; helping other human beings. There are many who think the main line of police work is to catch criminals. In my opinion, not so. It’s an important part – an essential part. But come the day when every man and woman is honest, when wickedness and criminality are no longer extant, a police force would still be needed. There will still be accidents, calamaties, disasters.

Traffic Accidents - more people injured and killed than in wars, apparently.

We used to average a traffic accident call every 20 minutes at VKG radio (Sydney Metropolitan Area) even way back in 1975.
We used to average a traffic accident call every 20 minutes at VKG radio (Sydney Metropolitan Area) even way back in 1975.

Talking a person out of jumping to their death - It's all part of the job.

“Seventeen-one. We’ve an overturned truck on the on Rowe Street at Eastwood, just south of the railway overpass. Northbound lane. Traffic banking up already. Could we have some backup to seal off the northbound lane and help in directing traffic?”

“Three one off top end William Street. Accident, no person injured...”

“Fourteen one, Surf Rescue says there’s a man appears to be standing on top of a tall building, corner of...”

 

Police Force or Police Service? The film and television industry paint a very distorted picture of overall police work.

The amount of work that goes on in a regular patrolman’s day is incredible if only for its versatility: helping with disasters, visiting hospitals, breaking into homes where somebody has died, helping to find people. The list is enormous, and it would be fair to say that the ‘service to community’ aspect of police work far outweighs the prevention and detection and solving of crime. The film and television industries thrive on presenting drama, action, conflict. More events occur to individual officers in television shows than will happen to the average policeman or women in a hundred years on the job. The reality is that the lot of the policeman is to serve his or her community. This they do, for the most part, with an enthusiasm and dedication that few employees bring to their jobs.

Now an essential part of NSW Police, the helicopter play a very significant role.

In the mid 1970s helicopter activity in the NSW Police was about as rare as 'rocking horse manure,' but we knew they were on the way.
In the mid 1970s helicopter activity in the NSW Police was about as rare as 'rocking horse manure,' but we knew they were on the way.

Times have changed. But the same old dedication to service prevails.

As a civilian radio operator who, thirty-five years ago, worked in what was then the ‘nerve centre’ or hub of the then New South Wales Telecommunications Centre: radio call sign, VKG, or ‘the Hat Factory,’ as it was then called, I salute the men and women of the NSW Police Service of today. Times have changed. Procedures are different, I’m sure. But the same old dedication to service prevails.

I hope you enjoyed reading: Police Work: Police Force or Police Service.

Keep on keeping on...

1 comment

acooa 5 years ago

HI. The police vessel pictured above is the 16 metre FALCON. NSW police vessle Nemesis is a gray 33 metre vessel.

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