PETEY, BOB & A LITTLE YELLOW VAN
One quick glance told me that the much coveted ‘industrial wheelie bin/broken chair’ parking space at the back of the nick had been commandeered by the Force’s mobile incident van. This seriously didn’t bode well as it usually meant a critical incident had raised its ugly head.
Grabbing my rucksack from the back seat of the car and slinging it over my shoulder, I looked up to see Petey frantically trying to key in the code to the back door of the station.
“Bloody hell Mave, they’ve only gone and changed the code again and I can’t get in. I’ve been here half an hour already” he whined.
“Yep Petey they have. Now if some bright spark hadn’t given it out to Jerome Mills, the most prolific thief we’ve got round here…..”
He rolled his eyes, blushed profusely and quickly interrupted “……I know, I know Mave but he said he was here to fix the air conditioning, I didn’t know who he was did I?” He paused looking for confirmation.
“Petey, it’s a bloody police station not a four star hotel, we don’t have air conditioning..” I made my way to the locker room, with him trailing behind me.
“If the van’s here there must be a scene on the go, bet you I get sent down to cover it.” he paused, thought for a bit and then added. “Do you think it’s my turn hey? If it is I’ll have to take my butties with me, could be there for hours..”
Watching him as he pulled his jumper over his head, leaving him with static hair that suddenly sprung out into a hundred different directions all at once, I had to quietly admit that I did feel a modicum of sympathy for him. He hadn’t passed his driving course so until such time as he did, he would continue to get all the foot beat jobs, scenes and enquiry office duties.
Bounding up the stairs he disappeared into the Parade room, only to excitedly emerge seconds later. “It’s a murder scene Mave, I’ve got to go and relieve mornings. Can you give me lift and bring the other lad back. They’ve already got the new van down there…”
His voice tailed off as he bounced back down the stairs in his usual ‘tigger’ fashion to the locker room to grab his gear. I picked up the keys for my patrol car, along with a new Incident & Scene Log pre pack coffee cups and what was left of that mornings digestive biscuits. Something told me it was going to be a long shift for poor Petey. Meeting him in the back yard, he was already standing by the car with his clobber strewn around him on the ground. Body armour, jacket, briefcase, helmet, fluorescents, flat cap, all weather pants, riot bag – in fact it looked like he’d cleaned out his locker and had everything apart from the kitchen sink.
“Just in case Mave, gotta be prepared, you never know what could happen next…” he excitedly grinned.
Letting out a sigh I shook my head. “What….fire, famine, flood and another World War all in one shift Petey!”
He just scratched his head and smirked.
After loading up the car with all his worldly goods, he jumped in beside me, happily chattering away. “Wait ’til you see the new van Mave, it’s got everything. It’s even got a cage in the back for prisoners, can’t wait to get a lock up and try that out can you? Isn’t it good they leave it there in case it rains?”
I moved out slowly into the line of traffic and accelerated once the road branched into the dual carriageway, Petey still animatedly babbling away, ten to the dozen.
Everything that happened next seemed to be in slow motion.
“Oooh Mave, me butty box it’s on the…………………” No sooner had the words escaped from his mouth when the car in front braked suddenly, which in turn made me brake sharply just as a missile of sorts shot from the roof of the police car, coming into view very briefly in the middle of the windscreen as it soared through the air. Petey’s face filled with horror.
“Me butty box Mave, it’s me butty box.” he wailed.
Looking closely I could see Bob The Builder gracefully attached to the side of the blue sandwich box, grinning inanely back at us flying through the air to land squarely and with some weight…..on to the roof of the car in front.
“…….I forgot, I put it on our roof whilst I was waiting.”
With a strangled square catching in his throat, he fumbled for the door handle in an attempt to jump out and retrieve his cherished butty box. Just as his feet hit the ground, the car in front set off in first gear. With his jaw almost hitting the glove compartment, we watched as his ham & pickle butties sailed off into the sunset on the roof of a red Renault Clio. Well, that was until they slid off on the next available bend, only to be run over by a Daihatsu flat bed truck which had come through on the inside lane.
Petey’s face fell, he had been through thick and thin with his Bob The Builder butty box. It had held his most treasured Mr Men yoghurt pots and Tesco value crisps. Now watching the shattered plastic and his butties squashed into the tarmac, he became distraught.
I tried to console him. “Look on the bright side, it was quick, he wouldn’t have felt a thing Petey.” I couldn’t help but giggle as I surveyed Bob The Builders one eye peeping out from behind a mangled bit of ham.
Poor Petey was less than amused and after scraping up what he could, we continued our journey in complete silence, broken only by the occasional loud scratching of plastic as he tried to fix the shattered bits back together again.
Arriving at scene, he cheered up considerably as he went to lovingly inspect the new van. It was a Peugeot Expert, small and very yellow with the police livery on the rear side panels and bonnet, but as Petey had promised, it did indeed have a prisoner cage in the back. This was accessed by double doors at the rear and a sliding toughened perspex and metal grille viewing door that was next to the double seat in the back. The cage, although small had two little benches either side for prisoner comfort during transportation.
Petey’s joy knew no bounds. He sat in the drivers seat, turning the wheel left and right.
“Wait until I pass my driving course Mave, this’ll be me.”
I half expected him to start making ‘brum brum’ noises. Tipping his cap to a jaunty angle, he rested his arm through the window and continued his phantom steering of his little yellow van.
“Right I’m off to see a witness for a statement, I’ll see you later. If you need anything just let the control room know”. Picking Andy up from the morning section, I gave Petey a wave and watched him in the rear view mirror as I drove away, still cosseting the bonnet of the little yellow van.
Three uneventful hours passed by with very few calls or any of our regulars out and about for stop/checks. As the silence from the radio threatened to deafen me, Petey’s panic struck voice suddenly broke out over the air;
“1469 to Alpha, 1469 to Alpha…..it’s a little bit urgent!” Petey’s voice rang out over the air.
The Control room response was immediate. “Alpha to 1469 , go ahead 1469″
“Errr could a patrol come back to the scene to speak to me please?” His range went up an octave.
“1469 what’s the nature of the urgency, are you okay?”
There was an expectant pause as Petey’s rapid breathing filled the airwaves.
“Errr yep, I’m sort of okay but would rather not say over the air.” Petey’s voice trailed off into a muffled response.
I had already started making and I knew from experience that the rest of the Section would be too. Any call like this from a colleague warranted a fast response. I turned into Grosvenor Road where I had last left Petey with three more marked police cars following behind me, one car containing Bob and Martin and another van making it’s way from the opposite direction. We simultaneously pulled up by the little yellow van.
Petey’s paperwork was scattered across the passenger seat, but no sign of him anywhere. I radioed up. “We’re at scene now but can’t find 1469. Can you get a location for him urgently please?”
Heidi in the Control Room obliged, but after several squeaky shout-ups to Petey, there was still no radio contact with him.
Suddenly Bob shouted for us to be silent.
In the stillness that followed we could hear a very muffled voice.
“Mmmppppff ……I’m in here, oh God please let me out….I’m dying….I’m in awful pain..” wailed a disembodied voice, followed by a weak banging coming from the rear of the van.
Bob hastily flung the van door open to reveal……….
………Petey stuffed behind the metal cage doors to the prisoner section.
His fingers were hooked through the grille holes with his legs wedged under the bench. He was very pink, very hot, very sweaty, his hair standing on end as he panted and wailed.
“I only wanted to see what it was like..the walls were closing in on me and I need a wee…..” He fell into Bobs arms once the cage doors were unlocked. “……..I didn’t know it locked itself, nobody told me that bit…….why didn’t anyone tell me?.”
Bob and Martin to their credit actually managed to contain some of their laughter this time, letting out only a few small snorts, whereas I was found rolling around in the gutter laughing fit to burst along with the rest of the Section. Poor Petey, not content with launching his butty box onto the roof of a Renault Clio” giving Bob the Builder a most traumatic end, he had now added to his daily faark-up by spending the best part of an hour caged up.
His bright idea had been to climb over the rear seats and slip through the perspex sliding door to experience life as a prisoner in the black hole, just to see how it all worked. As he shut the door behind him, he had heard an ominous ‘click’. This had led him to later consider in the darkness that it might have been a good idea to check for locking mechanisms and safety features in the van handbook before disappearing into the cage. Sitting in terror, it slowly dawned in him that he had also left his one and only means of escape in the ignition – the vehicle keys. This handy bit of kit just so happened to have an emergency override key for the cage dangling tantalisingly from its fob.
Not wanting to reveal his idiocy to all and sundry he had sat with his head in his hands contemplating his predicament for 59 minutes and ten seconds precisely, until his peanut size bladder and the three mugs of coffee from parade earlier had forced him to make the decision to radio up for help.
Shaking his head and looking around at us, pink with embarrassment and the urgency to pee, Petey suddenly had a fresh revelation. With a sinking heart he now knew that it would take a very, very long time for him to live this one down…….
(c) 2014 Gina Kirkham
Handcuffs, Truncheon & A Primark Thong