My sense is that the two most dangerous places to live, work or be in the police are Midsomer in England and Lerwick in Shetland. Both places are blessed with amazing police chiefs, but the hazards are immense.
Over the last few weeks I have been using the docu series called Shetland, featuring Douglas Henshall, to begin to understand the very specific policing practice in the Highlands and Islands. Here are my reflections:
- There are great plus points to living there as far as mobile phones are concerned. Firstly they never ring in the middle of something else you are doing. And more importantly they will ALWAYS ring just as you are leaving one place, to give you a reminder of which scene you should be heading to next – brilliant prompts.
- It is clearly best practice to interview the most difficult subjects by yourself and preferably on a beach, headland or away from any other distraction and witnesses. The most productive nuggets of information are then given, always remembered, and never denied or challenged by the confessor.
- If you think you are likely as a police operative to be going somewhere dark and dangerous, always go alone. Never turn the lights on when entering a house. Always walk so that someone could come up behind you easily. If you must use a torch use a very very weak one.
- Similarly if there is a rampaging criminal out there in the dark, and you are a vulnerable adult at home (especially Female) then when you hear a noise outside in the dark, don’t turn any lights on outside. Grab a weak torch if you have to, and then open the door and ask loudly ‘is there anyone there ?’. Then proceed to walk around your building and wait for the inevitable uncomfortable discovery.
- If you are developing a mood board/murder board of suspects and links in your inner offices then do make sure it is done directly in front of the open front desk customer arrival point – so the keen eyed will easily be able to see whether they or their cousins or wider family are on the display board.
- If you start as a DC on Shetland, or you have lived there all your life, do make sure to befriend someone in the general public or your wider family and tell them about the case – it helps everyone feel they are in the know.
- And finally, if you start policing in Shetland, I suggest at least one prime suspect will normally be found at the far right hand end of the Lounge bar as you look at it from the customer side. They will be by themselves either nursing a drink or playing the slot machine beside the bar. They may not be pleased to see you, but at least they will be expecting you.
I will continue to study this very detailed set of lessons on policing. Oh sorry – that’s my phone going “Tosh”…OK I’ll be right there. Stay safe – especially if you live in Midsomer or anywhere on Shetland.