WOMEN. A policeman’s lot may not always be happy but oh my goodness don’t you see some sights. It’s no secret that I think women are wonderful, I do but as a policeman you really had to think of them as people. It’s not to say that I treat them any different. I was courteous with everyone I spoke to until treated otherwise. Read my previous posts and you will see some women have caused me great pain, others have been a delight and some have been – well?
At the end of training our squads were sent out to work with the Traffic Branch over the Christmas period. Visions of Starsky and Hutch flashing around in unmarked cars were soon dispelled by the reality. Nine out of ten shifts were spent walking up and down the side of the highway, ‘showing the flag.’ The roads were full of holiday traffic heading to the north and south coasts, and the majority did slow down when they saw you. We had a radio each and would chat on our own channel. If a car seemed to be doing something odd or suspect we’d call ahead and the next bloke would pull them up.
I received a call about a Holden Monaro going a little too fast, I saw it coming and waved it down. It pulled up on the gravel verge, the windows were tinted and I stayed on the passenger side. Opening the door I saw that a woman was driving: a very glamorous, well put together, cougarish, dangerous woman. Wearing a slinky halter top and a very short denim mini skirt. She had long, thick black hair, pouty lips, and wore big sunglasses. She lowered them down her nose and gave me a knowing smile as she peeked over the top of the Raybans.
“Is there a problem officer?” – “You were travelling too fast back down the road, can I see your licence please?” She handed it over and I looked at it for a while,”Is everything okay?” she says, “I think so.” I handed it back, she twisted around in her seat to face me and lifted her left leg up, and over the centre console. “Is there anything that I can do for you Constable – anything at all?” The day was hot and I sweated a little more. I know air conditioning doesn’t always do the trick but crikey lady you really needed to wear panties.
A stinking hot Sunday afternoon, same deal as above but on the South Coast side of Brisbane. This was before the big motorway, and the highway ran through the suburbs. One enterprising mate stood on top of an embankment giving him a clear view into the cars. Our priority was seat-belts. “Blue Holden wagon, passenger not wearing a seat-belt.”
I waved the car over and my heart fluttered a little bit. Two twenty something beach beauties sat there in macrame bikinis, blue ones. We all remember macrame, the light shades, rugs, wall decorations. Wool put together with largish holes in it, you get the picture. Leaning in through the window I put on my stern face, “Any reason for not wearing your seat-belt?” She stares innocently at me with her big brown eyes, “The buckle of the belt was sooo hot when we got in, and I can’t do it up, (blink, blink, blink went the eyes) can you fasten it for me – please?”
Wanting to do the right thing and instruct her on the proper use of the belt, I of course said, yes. She opened the door and I leaned in. Now this may be a man thing, I’m not sure but there is something tantalising about helpless young women in bikinis, smelling of suntan oil and the sea. I could go on but it would sound…. Anyway, hands trembling like a drunk on a three-day bender I take hold of the belt and click it into place. “Oh thank you Constable.” Eyes blinking rapidly again she wriggled her bottom into a more comfortable position. They drive off happy – with a stern warning – and I reflect on how bloody easy it would be to get into serious trouble. I also feel a little nostalgic as I write about it thirty-two years later. At least it is a nice memory.
A hot night (again) brings out the worst in people, especially when those people are drinking and fighting with their spouses. Our provincial city has its main street running one way, so it usually has its fair share of people driving around and around all night. Down the main street, back up the other one – a big race track really. Driving from the top of town I slow down at the first intersection. A flash of blue fabric catches my attention and I come to a halt.
A woman, in her late twenties stops in the middle of the road wearing nothing but a mans shirt (open) and panties. She faces us, puts her forearm up to her forehead in the best tradition of silent movies, and crumples to the ground. Blue light on and I get slowly out of the car, waiting to see who’s chasing her. It turns out she was chasing her boyfriend who had taken refuge in the phone box next to us. The hero that he was gets out and goes to kick her. By this time the crowd in the pub on the corner are out on the footpath, yodelling and yahooing while we arrest the bloke and throw him in the car. Problem one solved, now for the distressed damsel. The reason for the catcalls is now very obvious, the shirt (a large one) is wide open and her breasts are out there. It’s very obvious that she’s breathing and drunk, we’d called for an ambulance and the crowd started to come closer for a free look.
We didn’t have a blanket in the car – so – being the gent that I am buttoned the shirt. Now it was a BIG shirt, I took hold of both sides lifted it away from her and buttoned it, all very proper. The ambulance turned up, took her away and we hauled the idiot boyfriend off to the watch house. A quick trip to the radio room to write it all up and a call comes through from the hospital for me.
Nurse, “I’d like to report a rape.
Me, “Who’s the victim?”
N, “The woman who was brought in from ///// street.”
M, “Who raped her?”
N, “A tall man in a blue shirt, dark-haired, mustache and big shoulders.”
M, “Where did he rape her?”
N, “In the middle of the road in //// street, fifteen minutes ago.”
M, “That was me, she’s describing me.”
N, “Well aren’t you coming over to take the report?”
M, “Err, no I was there with her, she wasn’t raped.”
N, “But she said she was raped, you must have raped her….clunk.” I hung up. Sometimes you have to shake your head and ask why?
The female of the species can often outdo the male, don’t be fooled they can turn on you like a pit bull. I’ve confronted a woman who robbed a Credit Union with a big revolver, luckily she dropped it in her shopping bag when we closed in. She needed money quick and took the .38 calibre withdrawal option. Domestic arguments were the biggest worry though, violent, volatile situations that could turn nasty very quickly.
Domestic violence is not confined to those on benefits or living in public housing. But it seemed that way, the majority of call outs came from those areas, and they were usually the worst. Alcohol remains the catalyst for fights and most couples aren’t in the mood to listen when you get there. The idea was to try to settle them down, make sure any kids are okay, and if all else fails remove the violent one (mainly the husband).
A beautiful summers afternoon and a call to a disturbance at a local public housing estate. The houses all looked the same and I remember how nice the front yard looked, there was landscaping in progress. We took the jobs in turn, it wasn’t mine so I stood back and let my mate talk to the woman. The same old story, husband is drunk and has beaten her up, she had a black eye and a cut lip. He was nowhere to be seen, she was agitated and wanted him gone: out, put him in jail, get rid of him, useless bastard. The same old rants.
I’d positioned myself on the path leading to the front steps, these went up onto a small veranda. That way I could keep an eye on her and the front door, she began screaming at my mate and I looked that way. Then back again, as a large angry man wearing nothing but a pair of underpants and wielding a chefs knife, launched himself off the rail. He hit me in the chest and we went to the ground. (Now he was the fourth person to attack me with a big knife, one was a prisoner in jail but that’s another story).
I’d had enough, a brief struggle ensued and I disarmed him, he wanted to punch on. Big, drunk and angry are hard to handle on your own. (matey was trying to keep the wife away from the discarded knife) We were issued with a nifty little rubber truncheon. It was kept in a hidden pocket in the right trouser leg. I whipped it out and like Samson of old, smote him hip and thigh. And believe me they hurt on the hip-bone. Of course he screamed and hollered. The wife broke free, grabbed hold of a loose fence paling and whacked me unconscious with it. It seemed that the sight of me hitting him brought out her wifely, loving instincts. This isn’t the forum to discuss the psychological intricacies of domestic violence and its causes. We were in effect nothing more than referees for people’s lives.
Ending on a lighter note. A Sunday day shift had us covering another patrol’s area besides our own. We received a job for a neighbourhood dispute between kids and headed on down, this was nine a.m. A traffic accident came in and we went to that instead. The day turned out to be something of a record, thirty-two jobs for one car.
We missed our lunch, smoko and we were twenty minutes from knocking off. “Go to job number two at ///// before you come home.” Sigh. We were given house number seven, I went into the yard to be confronted by two dogs. A harlequin Great Dane and a Fox terrier. Neither of them liked me and the chase was on. Luckily the fences weren’t too high, I vaulted through three front yards before the Dane gave up.
A loud, “Oi, you copper.” Caught my attention, I came to a halt and sat back on the fence. The Foxy had ripped my pant leg and I was tired, pissed off and hungry. This woman was a sight to behold, for those who watched the Carry On movies you would remember British actress, Hattie Jacques. A statuesque, imposing, large woman. This – lady was twice her size. She wore a dirty Mu Mu dress, was bare foot had a child on her hip and waved a rolled up newspaper at me, the following tirade went something like this,
“You effing coppers have kept me waiting all effing day, those effing kids next door have been throwing effing eggs on my roof,” she came to a shuddering halt in front of me, leaned forward and waved her paper, enveloping me in the smell of stale sweat. “I’ll have you know I pay your effing wages.”
Taking a hanky out I wipe the inside of my hat brim, and put it back on. Pull out my notebook and pen, open it up and say, “Lady, you don’t effing well pay me enough.”