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Andrea Quinton

An open letter to the public

An open letter to the public of the UK

 

Dear everyone,

 

Why am I choosing to write to you now? Well I am a police officer. I have served you for 26 years, 2 of those as a volunteer. I love my job, I enjoy going to work, and I am at my absolute happiest when I know I have helped one of you.

 

I have been with you when your baby has died. Nothing affected me more that carrying your baby into the white coffin in the ambulance. I wasn’t even a mum myself then.

 

I have sat with you and revisited you when a burglar came and pretended to be one of us, and made you feel safe again.

 

I have fought with you when you were drunk, or just angry. Generally, in the past, you would later apologise, but sadly no longer.

 

I have attended your house to resolve your domestic dispute over who owns the remote control. I was just 19 and you were in your forties!

 

I have attended to your partner when you battered her within an inch of her life, and ensured she never saw you again, even though she would not prosecute you. She has her life back.

 

I have picked up your 6 year old girl in my arms, lost and upset because you turned her out of her home after she repeated the sexual behaviour her Uncle had done to her, on her 3 year old brother. I cuddled her. I loved her, and everyone knows, I wish I had kept her. She became a prostitute due to lack of social care and money.

 

I have picked the pieces up from colleagues who have fallen apart after cutting your son down from the loft where he hung himself.

 

I have chased those kids who burgled your house, caught them and got the conviction in court to send them to prison.

 

I have talked your son down from the roof of the building, where he had threatened to throw himself off.

 

I have sat with you after you were raped by an alleged friend of yours, taken you to court in my own car, fought with the barristers supposedly on our side, and ensured he got sent down. You were so very brave.

 

I have sat with your very neglected children in the back of the car, while they wept for their mum who did not know how to look after them safely, but whom they still loved.

 

I supported a colleague who had been mown down deliberately by one of you, and subsequently had to leave the job as he lives in constant pain. He is one of the nicest people you could ever meet. His life is affected forever. The offender served 8 months.

 

This is not everything. I am not unique. There are thousands of us doing more than this every single day to protect you. Yes we make mistakes. Sometimes we get angry. We get tired and grumpy, and act unprofessionally. I pick up those pieces too, making sure we deal with that, and get those officers back on track.

I have no time for cops who are criminals.

 

But I am also a person. I am one of you. I am a wife and a mum of 2 young children. I do the school run. I do the shopping, the cooking and the cleaning. I hurt! I am affected by what you say. Last week it was a “whore”. That is the least of it. I am very affected by what I see.

 

This week yet another of my family has been murdered. The list is growing. But it never gets easier to lose one of our own in such a needless tragic way. Why would someone choose to run a fellow human being over rather than get a puncture in their stolen car? Why?

 

The current public outrage over these incidents, over the murder of Fiona, Nicola, Dave and all my colleagues is heartwarming. Nothing was harder to deal with than the public clapping at every police officer along Deansgate as we walked to Nicola’s funeral. I know you know you need us, I know you care about us as police officers, and as people.

 

My plea to you, is to remember those feelings. We are getting far fewer. We cannot do any more than we are doing. We are going to work every single day wishing there were more of us to look after more of you. We, as in every public service, have our limits. We cannot arrest every £10 shoplifter in a store which makes millions and still chooses to have no security, as we would not have time to look for your teenage daughter who has been indoctrinated into believing love is sexual abuse. We cannot investigate every criminal damage, as we would not have time to stop the domestic abuse which damages your minds far more than the physical abuse.

Everything is a priority. We know that. And yet we are still asked to prioritise. We try our best.

 

I am not feeling sorry for myself. I am happy to continue to look after you, to fight for you, to save you from further harm. But I want to be able to come home to my family. I want my colleagues to make it home to their family.

 

WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT MORE NOW THAN EVER BEFORE.

 

Please stick with us. Remember your heartbreak at watching those 2 little girls deliver flowers and messages to their Daddy who will never come home. Remember the heartbreak of watching the parents of the murdered police officers, knowing they will never watch them get married or have grandchildren. There are thousands of them out there. Just remember them.

 

Yours faithfully.

 

A cop!

Featured post

I’m only Human after all

The words of the Rag and Bone Man, played over and over in my car. My sons current favourite song.

As I drove home from work last Tuesday after a 16 hr day, never have the words rung more true with me.

I had just spent the day coming to terms with the terrorist incident the night before. 22nd May 2017. Manchester Arena. 22 people dead. Lots more injured. Thousands of lives affected forever. My colleagues dealing with the most horrendous of tragedies. At 9am that morning, I had been in our morning meeting discussing the Ariane Grande concert…. ” we won’t get any trouble from that” I remember saying as someone much younger than me with daughters, explained who she was. How wrong could I have been?

We have said many times that officers run in, as others run out. Of course this was true here as well, but this time, the public were running in to help us, to help tend the injuries, help hold the frightened children until their parents could be found, help police carry the injured to the ambulances.

I wont describe the details. It is just too raw. but suffice to say, the scene was one of utter chaos, and yet, and here is the bit that made me so very proud….. Every single police officer doing exactly what was needed, every single police officer with a member of the public, with an injured person, trying to save lives, supporting whoever needed it.

As you will know, the whole of Manchester has pulled together to support those affected. Police officers have been looked after, being able to accept food and drink from anyone offering it. We are not allowed to do this normally, but in these circumstances, and just for now, not only did everyone want to help, but we accepted that help. The applause as we walked past the public, difficult for us to deal with, but so welcome. The cameras in our faces as we laid flowers and paid our own respects were a different story – I fought the urge to push them away.

Everyone who helped had humanity and wanted to ensure that LOVE and not HATE won over. They wanted to do their bit to support everyone in any way they could. Why – because its what we do. In Manchester, in London, in Paris, in New York, and also in Syria, in Iraq, in Columbia, in Thailand, in Northern Ireland.

We are all only human after all.

And here is the point, Police Officers are only human too. Members of our police service were at the concert. One police officer was killed. They had their children there, they know people seriously injured.

This week, brand new student officers through to the most experienced of detectives and many senior officers, have done their bit to manage this investigation, from the initial scene, through to supporting each other, from exhibits through to the long process of supporting families, from now through to….. well when does it end? At the conclusion of the investigation? As we move onto new posts? As the families continue living their lives without us? The reality, I believe, is never. It will never end.

Our officers will continue attending assaults and sudden deaths. They will continue listening to people complaining about the children playing football on their streets. They will continue seeing children carrying knives to protect themselves. They will continue picking up drunks off the street. They will continue to deliver the worst news ever to families. And so it goes on. They will all have their breaking point. That point when a memory flashes back, and they cannot, for that second, or maybe for months, push it away again.

As we start to take a break from the long hours and cancelled rest days, we each pause, exhausted and the tears flow. But then we pick ourselves up and go again.

This week I have been proud to know those individuals who were first to the scene, proud to wear this uniform, proud to be a part of GMP, proud to be a part of the BEST police service in the world without exception and proud to be Mancunian.

Please continue looking after each other. We’re only human after all.

#Itookhome the best job in the world

So today social media has been brought alive with the above hashtag.

I do not intend to repeat everyone’s memories here. Please read them on Twitter. They are more powerful when written by the individual who felt them.

The lack of detectives is a genuine concern felt by all of us in the service and sadly the original intention of the media interview which led to the hashtag, is now overshadowed. To suggest firstly that response officers only deal with 999 calls, and secondly to suggest they do not take work home with him, shows how out of touch with reality the comment is.

All areas of the police service need resources. All areas of the fire service, nursing, social services, mental health services and paramedics require additional resources. That fact is well known.

Equally the truth is that every police force works differently. Recent transferees to my own force have highlighted the fact that they are not omnicompetent officers, as ours have a need to be. Therefore the idea that a response officer attends only 999 calls may well be true in some areas of the country. I don’t know. I doubt it! But I do absolutely know that there isn’t a police officer, firefighter, paramedic, doctor or nurse, who has not taken home what they have seen. None of them go home and immediately switch off because their part in an incident has finished. None of them do 40 hrs and switch off.

I am proud to be a part of our police service, and proud to be a part of our emergency services and public sector. We are THE best in the world. (Though I met some pretty incredible officers from the USA this weekend as well at the Thinbluelineuk ball)

The cuts under austerity have doubled the actual headcount loss. Why? Because every one of us gives far more than we are paid to do. We live and breathe our careers. It matters to us. The public matter to us. Helping the public IS really why we joined our chosen professions. It is why we continue to do it no matter what.

So yes, I have taken home lots in my head I hope my children will never have to see but I will never complain about that. I chose to do it. I am privileged to do it. I am privileged to be allowed in your lives when it really matters, and sometimes at the most difficult of times.

My colleagues are the hardest working, most dedicated, professional individuals I have met – ALL of them – Detectives, uniformed officers, neighbourhood officers, PCSO’s, Special constables, traffic officers, family liaison officers, armed officers, specialist public protection officers….. The list goes on and on. They all have memories that live with them forever. Fortunately some of those are fun and happy memories.

#itookhome the best job in the world.

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