Back in July 2011 I wrote a blog to go on the site Letters to Nowhere The MoD Stole My Boyfriend about life being Married to the Job. I thought I’d put it on my own site as it’s all still true although nowadays my Hubby spends his time dealing with serious sex crimes (see revision). Have a read and take time to visit Letters to Nowhere as its a fantastic site that gives you more than a sneaky peek into life in or supporting the military.
I’m married to a DS on a Serious Crime Squad. He’s been in the job for 16 years and we’ve been married for 10 years and have a “blended” family of 3 children. The vast majority of the time my life living with a member of HM Constabulary seems vaguely similar to other peoples. There is nothing unique in shift work, weekend working nor the few hours of extra work to play catch up. What is unique is the urgent nature of certain jobs, time running on the custody clock and the need to gather evidence to charge or face returning a potentially dangerous suspect back into the community. Those shifts that start as 8 hours but go on and on and seamlessly merge with another with a few hours sleep between. These are the things that can be difficult to plan for, accommodate or work around but we manage.
In the early days when he wore a uniform and I was young and didn’t have faith in his ‘shield of invincibility’ I used to wait up for him nervously spinning fingers waiting for the front door to close. I always knew that a weekend late turn on the ‘fun bus’ would mean trouble but that’s just part of what I had to accept if I was to retain my sanity and learn to take advantage of a large empty bed and uninterrupted sleep on a late or night shift. The children are proud of their dad although the 5 year old describes him as “not a proper police officer” because of his lack of uniform. The 15 year old still cringes when reminded that she announced to her classmates age 7 “my daddy has a gun” without qualifying that he was a firearms officer. Cue difficult conversations with the head teacher.
Not being in ’the job’ I sit on the outside listening in while they talk about horrible and challenging shared experiences that bind them together. I love the banter, the ability to talk about the experiences they have had, to share the mickey-taking but never actually talk about true feelings (those discussions are my responsibility). These funny, crazy people who are there to look out for my man’s back and to use their warped sense of humour to help him get back up and out there the next day ready for whatever is coming next.
I want him to vent when he comes in the door and I listen with interest to the everyday dramas that he faces. Not so much the criminal stuff but talk about the ineptitude of the system, the politics and the bad press that all too frequently plays out in front of us. I sympathise with him when he talks about the never ending drive for performance to targets and governance by career “politicians” rather than career police officers and the overwhelming lack of appreciation of a job well done despite amazing results, bad people behind bars and victims who have seen a positive outcome from our justice system. And I remind him that the thing about the police force is that those who serve are just a cross section of society – some are good; some are bad, some dedicated and some not so. Some work hard and continue to believe in the job they signed up for and some who make a career out of doing as little as possible.
I’m a police officer’s wife but I’m a member of the public he has sworn to protect and he does a bloody good job of it. If our family was to befall bad times, if something dreadful and unthinkable was to happen he is the kind of copper that I would want to turn up on my doorstep and I know that the Police Force is made up of many like him. It’s a Police force that we should be proud in and should refuse to simply accept that the head line grabbing behaviours of the few apply to the many. With the loss of promotion prospects, overtime payments, support staff and the inability to replace retiring police officers the drain on resources increases daily but my husband and his colleagues continue doing what they believe in. Doing the job that many wouldn’t and couldn’t do.
Revision: In October 2011 hubby became DS on the Sex Crime Team. We both had reservations about the move not least because he’d previously served a period of time on something (sadly) similar (Child Protection Team) and I had virtually begged him to leave because the impact of what he saw and heard every day weighed so very heavily on his shoulders. We talk about his work far less now than before; partly because he acts as censor and partly because I just don’t need to know. The months adjusting to the new ‘talking but not talking’ can be tricky. I am basically a nosey mare but its enough that I am already aware of my own safety and that of our children. If I really knew what went on I don’t think there could be a ball of cotton wool large enough to wrap the kids in.
But it’s not all doom and gloom: My further education is going well and the number of hits I have had to make on Urban Dictionary are increasing. Who’d have known that there were so many ‘things’ that are not listed in the Karma Sutra that ‘do-it’ for people? Last weeks discussion about bread had me really confused. Left to me I would have thought that ‘breading’ was a term for people who were turned on by the smell of fresh bread (in the manner of Greggs, Tescos Bakery etc) but NOOOO! Still, if it’s a consent thing and well, it keeps the toilets clean who am I to object to what others do in their own time?!
And I suppose that is the point of me reposting and revising this blog – it’s not just the job that he does it’s the knowledge that he carries about our locality; the people and the places; the bad things. As his eldest daughter turns 16 and desires more freedom he knows more than most fathers about whats actually out there and how thin the line is between safe and unsafe.
Being ‘the Police’ means carrying that kind of knowledge and letting your family go out into the world.