….and then there was silence

“Can you go straight out to an accident” said the skipper as I walked in the door at twenty-to-five clutching my lunch and a box of reduced price Asda cookies to share with the shift. I had, for once, had time to grab a treat (on the way to work) for us to munch on during parade but wasn’t going to be able to join them to eat it.

I threw the cookies at one of the others in the locker room, threw on my body armour and belt, grabbed my radio and spray from their lockers and dragged my kit bag out to the car. It was about a 10 minute drive to the scene, but this was only because I was lucky enough to have the local knowledge to decipher the vague location details given to me by the control room or it would have taken much longer. Having lived and worked in the area for 10 years, there wasn’t much of the patch I didn’t know. If one of the newer members of the shift had been sent we would probably have had to go searching for them as well as dealing with the crash!

I hit the big red button and made my way through the maze of “unnamed road”s showing on the Sat Nav. Not far from where I expected it to be I came across the scene. Two cars had collided head-on and one car still had the driver in it.  The two occupants of the other car were uninjured barring the usual minor grazes from air-bag deployments. I called in the update and then went to see what I could do to help the trapped driver of the first car.

His name was Dave.

His window was missing (I assume shattered in the impact) and he was, as far as I could tell, uninjured. He was on his phone to his wife or girlfriend (I don’t know which) telling her about the accident and reassuring her that he was fine. Dave was trapped in the car, but only because the dashboard and steering wheel had moved backwards on impact and had pinned him into the driver’s seat. The front doors on both sides of the car were deformed and were going to need to be forced open by the fire brigade.

I called the control room again and confirmed that there was an ambulance and a fire tender on the way. They were, but didn’t know exactly where we were so I told Dave he would have to wait a few minutes. He joked that he might as well phone the insurance company as he “couldn’t exactly go anywhere” at the moment. I offered to try to force his door with a crowbar, but he told me it was fine and that he would wait for the firemen to give his car a makeover. “I’ve always wanted a convertible” he said. We chatted for a few minutes and I took his details down in my pocket-book for the copious forms that I knew awaited me when I finished. Dave said he would buy me a pint in the local pub if he saw me in there and I replied that he should keep the money for the re-spray on his car!

It was at that point that I noticed a smell. It was faint at first, but soon got stronger. I thought it might be the residual smell of an airbag or of hot rubber from skidding tyres. It wasn’t.

There was a wisp of smoke from the bonnet vent on the driver’s side of the car. I saw Dave’s eyes widen a little – he had seen it too. I reassured him by saying it was probably just steam from the coolant bottle or radiator. I told him I would be straight back and went for the extinguisher in the boot of my car “just in case”.
I was only away 20 seconds or so, but by the time I got back, the smoke had become darker and more noticeable. Dave told me that he had reconsidered my offer of trying to get his door open. I grabbed the crowbar and set about the driver’s door with a fair degree of urgency. It was no good….I was never going to get it open.

“Oh shit!” he said. I looked round and saw the smallest of flames flickering through the gaps in the bonnet vent. I dropped the crowbar and grabbed the extinguisher. I shoved the nozzle toward the vent and let off a blast of powder. I moved it to a small gap at the side of the bonnet where it had folded up slightly and gave it another squirt. A cloud of powder rose into the air, and I had to step back to avoid breathing too much in. It’s not good for your lungs I am sure.

The fog cleared and the flames returned.

I tried again with a bigger blast this time. Now wishing I had a bigger extinguisher. It had an effect for a few moments, but then things just went straight back to where they were before. The bonnet was starting to blacken around the vent, and the paint was starting to bubble as the heat increased. I emptied the remainder of the extinguisher down through the vent but still the heat and smoke continued to build.

I called the control room, desperate to know how far away the fire service were. I told them that the car was now smoking and that I needed more help at the scene. I could now hear sirens in the distance, Dave could hear them too. I saw his face change…becoming a little more relaxed as he heard his rescuers approaching. “Thank f**k for that” he said, “I thought I was gonna be toast for a minute!”.

Regardless, I was still going to try to get him out if I could. I grabbed a seatbelt cutter, and hacked his belt off at the shoulder. I tried to reach down inside the car to get to the recline cog at the bottom of the seat. The plastic interior trim had bent out of shape and blocked my hand from getting to it. I could touch one or two teeth with a fingertip, but could not get anywhere near enough power behind it to turn it. I suspect it was pinned in place anyway. The sirens got louder.

I tried the back doors of the car to see if I could get inside and pull the seat back from there. It was impossible…no matter how hard I pulled, it was not moving an inch.

I caught a flash of blue lights out of the corner of my eye. I turned and gasped as I saw that it was an ambulance not a fire engine. I am pretty sure I said something unprintable and Dave knew exactly what I was thinking. I sprinted to the ambulance and got their extinguisher too. It was bigger than mine, but two minutes later it was gone, and the fire was still building. Flames were now coming out from the sides of the bonnet as well as through the vent, and Dave said he could feel the heat on his feet.

The driver of the other car joined me and the paramedic in trying to pull the door open. I managed to pull the top of the door away from the roof and get my hands down inside it, but the main panel of the door still refused to yield. Dave was getting desperate. He was trying to distract himself by writing a text message to someone. I don’t know what it said, but it was short. He was trying to get out from under the steering-wheel, but it was right across his hips and he just couldn’t get free.

The fire continued to grow under the bonnet, and I could see smoke coming from under the wheel arches. It was soon replaced by flames. Dave was shouting now…he was thrashing around in the hope that some specific movement might miraculously change his situation.

I was desperate too. I took him by the arm and tried to pull him free. Dave screamed out in pain. I apologised for hurting him, but soon realised that it wasn’t me that was to blame. The fire was starting to make the heat in the foot-well unbearable as it broke through from the engine bay. This was it…make or break time. We tried everything from all sides and using every ounce of strength we had. The windscreen shattered with the heat and the paramedic and other driver backed away at the bang. It was going to be down to me from now on…

Dave was looking straight at me. I could see in his eyes that he was in pain, and was so, so scared. He asked me again to help him, and I continued to try for what seemed like hours, although I am sure it was only minutes. I saw smoke starting to pour out from around the dashboard and went to the rear seat again to give it another final try. My body armour was left on the road as I needed every inch of space to put my entire body behind the effort. Nothing worked.

I came back to the driver’s door, trying to pull the door open with my hands again. The bodywork on the car was now burning my palms as I touched it. Dave was screaming in pain….screaming at me for help….screaming at me to save him. I kept telling him I was sorry. I knew what was going to happen…and he knew it too. I was driven back by the heat as the flames moved from the engine bay to the inside of the car.

He looked straight at me through the smoke….mouthing words that had no sound…and then there was silence.

Two, maybe three minutes later the first fire appliance arrived and the crew sprung straight into action. It was too late though and the silence from the car continued to echo through my mind. I had to leave.

Another Police vehicle arrived behind the fire appliance and I walked over to them, pulling on my body armour again as I did so. A road closure was needed at the end of the road as this was now going to be a long job. I volunteered to take that on and the officers in the car agreed. They didn’t know what had just happened and I didn’t want to have to describe it to them. I simply said “It’s a fatal” and wandered off down the country lane to the junction about 600 yards away.

Library Picture - No related to this incident

I stood there for an hour or so. The closed road cuts off a corner between two larger roads and is a bit of a rat run. As a result, car after car stopped to ask if they could go down it. Even once I had procured some cones and a Road Closed sign, they still continued to ask. I didn’t mind at first as it kept me occupied. I didn’t want time to think.

I did, however, become a little less tolerant towards those that demanded access, regardless of the situation. You always get them…ask any serving officer who has ever closed a road. The inconsiderate and those full of their own self-importance who believe that access is their right…and that my sole intention in closing the road was to provide an inconvenience in their lives.

These people seem to think that telling me that “I pay your wages” will suddenly part the cones and allow them to drive their cars unimpeded through the scene of the accident. One of them actually called me a fascist, and threatened to have my job if I didn’t let them through. They have no comprehension that roads only get closed for a very good reason. A short diversion does not justify this kind of abuse from every member of the public that cannot bear the prospect of being five minutes late for their evening’s plans.
Many have little, if any, concept of real life, and the tragedies that occur outside their own little bubble and some see the Police as no more than a necessary evil that should only become involved in their lives when asked to do so.

None of them knew what I had just gone through – I knew that. But regardless, I wished that some would give me a little more respect. We do what we do for a reason, and there is so much more to our job than most will ever know, or could ever imagine.

Perhaps one or two people will read this who have, in the past, thrown their hands in the air in disgust when presented by six cones and a yellow jacket. Perhaps they will consider that, just possibly, there might be another Dave down the road, and that the officer stood before them may well have just stared into the helpless eyes of the dying or the dead. Just drive on and work out a new way to get home from a layby down the road. It’s not that much of an inconvenience really…is it?

Since that day I have been back to the scene a couple of times, and have made an effort to go to the local pub for that pint. I’m just sorry that Dave couldn’t be there to join me…

About MinimumCover

UK Police Officer and Blogger View all posts by MinimumCover

488 responses to “….and then there was silence

  • Special Dibble

    Beautifully written, I can only hope to god that you feel some sort of ease when thinking back on it. I cannot comprehend what emotions you must feel about this but believe when I say, I was moved by this and I really do feel for you mate.

    • MinimumCover

      Thanks mate….its one of those jobs that will always stay with you. Having said that…its what we signed up for, and I wouldn’t change it.

      Perhaps those in government who would have us do our job for less and spend that money on fighting other peoples battles should try standing in our shoes at something like this and then have another go at justifying their position!


      • Anonymous

        Been in a similar situation many years ago as a young PC. A child lost his life that day, and it takes a long time to come to terms with the feeling of ‘could I should I?’.. Well done for doing your best mate. More to Policing than speed guns and breathalysers….

      • Anonymous

        we have a very tough job whn we have such situations to deal with and if people knew how really hard it was, I am sure they would see us differently,we have hearts, we care and love like all others and hurt when even a stranger is needs help or is injured. do some think we are made of stone and have no feelings.take care brave colleague.x
        a Pc who thinks its worth fighting for the good.x

      • anon

        A poignant account and without wishing to detract from it in any way, reading around your site I wonder how much of it is “a modicum of fiction ” ?

        • MinimumCover

          The circumstances of this post are entirely accurate as far as the subject matter is concerned.

          That ‘modicum’ you refer to mostly relates to names, places and other identifiable elements that have been amended to protect myself and those involved from easy identification and is, in this job and the current climate, necessary if I want to continue to write.

          I am sure you understand, having felt the need to conceal your own identity when posting your comment!

          Hope that answers your question.


      • Andy Darby

        Utmost respect

        Ex Legionnaire

    • Anonymous

      How I feel for each officer who ever has to witness anything like this. I worked as a civilian for the police force for 25yrs, 21 of those years recording road traffic accidents. I understand reading this ,as I saw some officers after dealing with horrendous accidents. My heart goes out to this officer and he and all officers should receive respect for what they deal with in the job. I hope MP’s will get to read it
      and to stop being so bloody minded. Pay cuts… disgraceful.
      Best wishes to this police officer and I hope with time he will be OK. He did his best, couldn’t have done more. RIP Dave

    • Anonymous

      After 26 years service I can only hope that someday the public actually know a small part of what we witness. I’ve seen soldiers bodies held together by their uniform with Police trying to give First Aid. I’ve seen DIC Prison Officers decapitated through the sun roofs of their cars. I’ve seen a man killed through trying to jump-start his car from 240v light fittings. I’ve seen infant death through neglect. I’ve seen lots that keep me awake at night thinking of the injustice of life. I get paid for that. It never makes its right. We do the best we can. We present the best evidence we can. We can never make it right. We can try our best and some. We can never afford to become emotionally involved, but we do. We’re Robots. No we’re not actually. We have the same emotions as everyone else. We’re human. I have visions that never leave me. I get paid for that. Don’t try and tell me that I don’t care. I do. I’m trained to accept the injustice in this world. I try and treat everyone as if they’re a realitive of mine. P.S life sucks.

      • Anonymous

        Ditto…although I’m a Special and don’t get paid. However, I’ve just qualified as a Doctor and have seen the extended aspect of this with dealing with the relatives in A&E or the wards. Police officers are the first to arrive and the last to leave a scene.

        Life sucks…you’re absolutely right!! But sometimes it can be pretty awesome too…and it’s those bits I cling to!

    • anon

      Thank you. i was just wondering as you yourself introduced the concept of the introduction of fiction to stimulate debate.

    • Jamie

      You are right about people’s own little bubble. I’m a train driver and someone jumped in front of my train and died. To see death happen makes you appreciate life more. And changes your perspective on it too. Being escorted back through by a Detective ,a packed train with me in shock, not one person complained about being delayed and being late. The DCI helped.me through my shock. I have walked past a deceased on the track being bagged up in bits. The police do a 1st class job as their day is varied in many ways that very few can imagine. I applaud you and the Police force.

    • Caroline Jephcott

      I despair of some people! Where is the respect for Police or any one else today?

      I would never think to question a road closure. I am disgusted by how people in the UK are accepting the “divide and rule” concept imposed on us all by the latest government and their media counterparts.It only serves to make us all more intolerant, judgemental and quite frankly behave like baboons.

      You have written a truly emotional blog It is difficult to write a comment because not only does the reader ,of any virtue, despair for you,despair at the public demanding cones are lifted for them and the poor chap who died, but we all kind of know that the reality is that at the moment, in this financial climate we are in, exacerbated poor tabloid journalism,we all think too much about ourselves, how we feel, what is happening for us in a day and forget that others out there are probably having a worse time!

      Maybe with more people like you blogging, a sense of reality will get out there and people will start to come to their senses.Here is hoping, otherwise the way we are all going we could be very very glad that we have one of the best Police forces in the world protecting us as individuals and as a nation!

  • sabrewulfe

    I`ve tried four times to comment…and deleted every one…they all seem so glib…

    Very, very moving post….How you face something like that and remain positive, I do not know….I`m not sure I could..

    As for respect…my `Respect for the Police` button just switched to 11…

    • Quiddity


      I’m left feeling like I don’t have words to convey what’s in my head and heart at the moment without sounding trite or hackneyed.

      I wish the people that need to read this would.

      • MinimumCover

        That’s why I decided to put it on here. Some peoples idea of what we do is so far from the truth that it takes something like this being rammed down their throats to open their eyes a little.

        This is also the sort of job that means we can’t always get to see everyone as quickly as we would like. Trouble is, you can’t tell people that when they give you a hard time for being there a couple of hours later than they wanted.


  • SNT plod

    I just hope to God that I will never be faced with what you witnessed. I salute you.

      • Anonymous

        My heart goes out to you for a very well written and articulate post!! I know what you went through as it or similar happened to me on three occasions and no matter how you cope with it. It never goes away and no matter how many times you analyse it there wS nothing that you could have done to change it. One case I had was like yours and I had go watch the the guy die being engulfed by flames. I later had my tea and was having bacon sandwiches which should have been looked after by someone whilst I went to the loo! Needless to say the bacon was unattended and burning at the edges I was preparing my sandwiches when he came Back and asked me how the guy was I could have cried but to get it out of my system I shouted at him that he was like the bacon crispy at tne edges is there anything else you want to know? Just Leave me alone I cannot say anymore I was not angry with him it was just trying to get it out of my system. On another case I cradled a young girl who had been knocked off her tricycle and she was screaming in my ear as I waited for the ambulance it became a whimper and then silence as her hand went limp down to her side and then the breathing disappeared and she had died The ambulance arrived a few seconds later my 2 daughters at
        That time were roughly the same Age as her how I did not cry I do no know


  • pj21

    Mate, nothing to say that you haven’t already said. Hope you can recover from this.

  • Lorna Parrett

    My father & 2 brothers were in the Job from the 50’s to the 90’s and often came home really screwed up by what they had to deal with, no counselling then, I hope you got some & I’d just like to say ‘Thank you’ for doing your job

    • Kirsty

      No counselling then…..no counselling now. Not once have I ever been offered any in 12 years. It’s a sad state of affairs :(

      • Police Dr

        That really is upsetting – every force in the UK opperates an occupational health scheme and every officer has access to counselling. If someone suggested that you need counselling you may be offended afterall no-one but you knows how you’ve been affected by an incident and so you need to ask – its there if you need it and ask for it.

  • Girl Next Door.

    I don’t have the adequate words to say what is in my head.

    I can say that you did everything you possibly could. The one person who needed to know you tried your best knew and that is what matters.

    • Mjolinir

      As a Police Fed Rep ’70s, probably the most difficult part of my responsibility was to provide something akin to ‘counselling’ in similar circumstances – and I echo ‘Girl Next Door’.

  • Shay

    My goodness. Speechless with tears in my eyes.

  • Eve

    My respect to you MC and my condolences …what a meaninless word….to Dave and his family. How you coped after that I will nere know . God bless you and Dave. Ill never forget this or either of you. Take care and may nothing like this happen again to you. Eve x

  • Eve

    PS..sorry for all typos….I was in tears and couldnt see properly.

  • beirutbeats

    Good grief. I am so sorry you had to go through that. You serve an incredible role to society and you have my gratitude. Keep up the good work. And thank you.

  • Deborah Parr

    I don’t know who to feel most sorry for. Both of you, in equal measure.

  • PC Lightyear

    Harrowing Stuff.

    Sadly fairly familiar too.

  • Dave the Dog

    You have my greatest respect and also my deepest sympathy MC. RIP Dave.

  • The Sybarite

    It made me cry and total respect to you from this MOP.

  • Scarlet Pimple.

    There are no words MC. I’ve had a similar experience, still remember the name
    the date and time. Think about it every year that passes and there have been 54 of those years. Take Care.

  • Jim

    Thank you for trying .

  • MPS(n)P

    Excellent post, very familiar but still horrifying at the same time.

    I think the hardest bit has to be reverting to normal duties or going home and pretending everything is normal. Very few will ever understand or appreciate the enormity of incidents like that.

  • Anna (@tinkerb311a)

    So sad :(

    Really well written and hopefully those people will read this and it might make them think.

    • MinimumCover

      If just one person remembers this post next time they find themselves at a closure, I will be a happy man. We have enough to deal with sometimes without the uneducated or inconsiderate making things more difficult.

      • Anonymous

        you tried your best, you need to remember that… and just for the record, whenever I am stuck in traffic and hear sirens I always think how lucky I am to ‘ only’ be stuck there, while somebody could be seriously injured, or worse. I would much rather arrive somewhere late, than not at all………i totally agree with what you say.

      • Charlie Fox

        Just saw this again and wanted to tell you that I remember every time now, though this piece is so, so much more than to teach patience when confronted with a closed road, even if that was your intended message. Such a deeply human struggle, you should be proud of yourself as a person x

  • iamrogertheshrubber

    I was so moved by this story. Although I am abroad out of the UK if you ever want to get in touch then I’d be willing to listen. Contact via my blog.

    Stay brave.

  • TraceyVanguard

    So very well written and so very very sad. MC you evidence everything I see and believe about the guys and girls who police our streets, entirely selfless and yet faced with having to deal with those both public and political who only chose to speak when it is in a negative tone. Take strength in that Dave knows you tried, that you had the opportunity to help and that there are alot of us out here who truly value all you do.

    • MinimumCover

      Thanks for your kind words….

      If only they counted towards the tick boxes and targets that many of those in the ivory towers across the country seem so obsessed with. Its not always about the results that can be measured is it!


      • Anonymous

        Great piece of writing. You are right the bean counters good not care less. This incident would not have even merited a stat return. Then some senoir officers then ask you to justify your existence when you get your yearly, waste of time, appraisal!!!
        The Police should not be statisically driven and it is time the chief constables stood up to the govenment!!!

      • DV

        MC now that you’re available from your last call, that call that doesn’t really count as ‘serving the public’ because it’s not measurable (politically), can you take shoplifter thats been detained. He’s stolen £20 worth of goods. No trace on his details on PNC. Should be suitable for a PND.

        You’ll get a Sanction Detection from that because apparently its more important. And it probably is to the bafoons that “Pay our wages.” “Why are you stood in my road. Shouldnt you be out catching burglars!?”

        I’ve been lucky, not been to a fatal RTC, yet. Ive only managed a few of the ‘life changing’ variety thus far. Obviously sudden deaths are one thing ( went to one today in fact) but to have to stand by and watch it happen, whilst feeling so helpless, is quite simply, horrific. I take my (silly) hat off to you MC. You did everything you could for Dave and im convinced your presence made all the difference to him. You cant measure the extraordinary, and thats just what you efforts were.

        Stay safe next set


      • Anonymous

        Firstly MC sorry you had to go through this. It sounds like you did everything you possibly could.
        I am sick of this performance culture and see the negative effects it has on quality officers day in day out. Not to mention how the public suffer because of it. The powers that be do not trust supervisors enough to know what their PCs are doing. I believe the types of incidents that don’t have tick box’s are up there with the most important aspects of our job.
        Thanks for trying to get this message out there.

  • Mrs Rural

    Now thats a blog post! An incredibly moving piece, written so well. I don’t have any words to offer, but I’d gi e a hug if I could. Amazing piece, amazing bravery & effort, RIP Dave x

  • Anonymous

    so sad tears in my eyes hope you know you are all very much appreciated by the majority of us ordinary bods R.I.P dave

  • formerprobbie

    As a newly confirmed probationer I am yet to deal with a fatal. I know that it will cone at some point and I can only hope that I can do my job with the dignity and strength that you so obviously did during that terrible time. I am only glad that Dave had you there, someone that he knew cared for him at that moment.

    I hope that writing this has helped you in some small way.

  • Anonymous

    Nice try. As an officer and not a 10 year old I can see that this is contrived shite. Although all comments and scenarios have happened, lady have moot happened here. Stop wasting real police officers time

    • MinimumCover

      I have no idea what you are actually saying….and neither, it seems, does anyone else. It would appear you have invented a strange new language all of your own!

      If reading this true story written by a “real police officer” is a waste of time, then feel free to add something worthy to your own blog for us to enjoy – why not add a link here when you are done so we can all marvel at it…

      I am sorry for wasting 5 minutes of your precious time.


      • Anonymous

        Maybe ‘anonymous’ was the narrow minded idiot telling you he paid your wages at the closure point! How rude and how disrespectful:-(
        I believe in Karma and your good deed will be fully acknowledged MC. As for ‘Anonymous’ who couldn’t even publish his own name to back up his shallow comment; Karma repays EVERYBODY:-)

      • Jeanette Sinclair

        So sorry MC, I am the 2nd ‘anonymous’ who spoke about Karma. didn’t realise you had to add your name before publish, went to add it and it had already posted.

      • DeLaney Rachelle (:

        how could you sit there talk to this person liek this..?! how would you know if he was “a real officer” or not..?! i think youre pathetic!!

  • Susie C.

    The cursor is blinking, but words fail.

    All I can say is, I’ll never pass a road closure again without thinking of this tragic story. You have my sympathy for what you went through, and my gratitude that you’re willing to do the job you do.

  • Thecustodysgt

    Fabulously written and harrowing account. I hope you are like me and you found the exercise of blogging about this cathartic and helpful to you.

    I too have attended at some awful scenes but I have never cried and kept emotions detached as best as I can. The only time my emotions have surfaced at home was after losing a colleague and friend in horrible circumstances. I came home, flopped on the sofa and sobbed my heart out. I think you rexperience would have engendered the same outcome.

  • rednelly84

    This is probably the most moving piece of text I have read for a while. I may not save lives but my job is to educate lives and I have every admiration for you and your colleagues. I can wholeheartedly understand your frustrations that arose on that tragic day. We can only hope that someone, somewhere is listening and there are more workers and less managers.

  • Bolly

    Tears first thing in the morning. As a seasoned ‘tec, I rarely have to deal first hand with such scenes. I always appreciate my uniform colleagues who do.

  • Gav c

    Having just read this it has brought back my memories of a very similar incident i dealt with 5 years ago. You describe everything perfectly. I thought i was over it but as a grown man i sit here desperatly fighting a loosing battle to hold back the emotions and tears. I will never forget the helpless look on his face and the knowing that there is absolutly nothing i can do. I have never felt so helpless in my life.

    I hope you recieved welfare help after this. I did not. Ironically the rp guys who eventually dealt with the reports did. Go figure that one???

    My thoughts are with you.

    The general public have no idea about what we go through every day. There will be thousands of similar stories up and down the country.

    We help people during the very worst times and have to relive these experiences for the rest of our lives.

    Chin up and thanks for a superb piece of writing.

  • Sounds of silence… « PC Richard Stanley

    […] below entry was originally published under the title ‘And then there was silence…‘ on the Minimum Cover blog having been written by an anonymous UK police officer who also […]

  • Dave Thomas

    Well written, I know exactly how you feel.

  • Tony Stamp

    Awesome powerful post. I hope time serves you well and allows you not to be haunted by this nightmare.

    A fellow cop.

  • @alphatreblesix

    Words can’t express what needs to be said, other than I know you will do exactly the same tomorrow if you have to, because that’s what you do……….

  • Anonymous

    As the mother of a serving met officer, I pray my son never has to deal with anything so horrendous, but realistically I know he may. My admiration and appreciation of the police has always been high ( even before my son joined) but you have elevated it even further. Thank you for all you do.

  • mitchell-images

    Fantastic read. Real stuff of nightmares that come true. I hope that you get over this. I am sure that during the course of your career you have/will help many more more people, who, without your intervention would have come to harm. I hope that does not sound condecending, it’s not meant to.

    This is being retweeted by Jody McIntyre and co so expect some incoming!

  • thoughts-running-through-my-head

    I read this after seeing it on Girl Next Door’s blog, beautiful post. x

  • Hildegard

    As a civilian, I apologise for every numpty who’s ever failed to put 2 & 2 together & come up with the glaringly obvious answer that someone must have died, or be near enough to death to make a full investigation necessary. Everyone who’s ever been that stupid would be screaming for you to stop traffic had their the merest hint that their kith or kin been in a fatal/ near fatal crash.

    I’ve never thought that a road could be closed on a whim. Could never mouth off at an officer who’d closed a road precisely because it’s in my mind that s/he might have just gone through something as horrific as you had experienced.

    Maybe it’s just because I grew up around firefighters. Maybe it’s just because I went to a bulk-standard comprehensive that told me I was part of humanity, not some divine creature outwith normal law & ethics.

  • Anonymous

    Ah yes I’ve had many a civil word said to me by people who think I’ve closed a road off just to annoy them. How I wish I had a copy of this in my pocket to hand to them.

  • Andrew

    I’m a member of the public. 2 years ago Iwas first on the scene of an accident involving a HGV and a Honda Jazz; Im first aid trained and always carry a first aid kit in my car. The Jazz was on fire lightly smouldering around te engine bay. The driver, an old lady was slumped across the steering wheel , but er passenger was alive and moving slowly in the footwell. Again we couldn’t get doors open or release reach the occupants. I know that one old lady, maybe two, burned to death in that car. It happened on the a35 in Dorset and tge distance meantthat it was along time before anyone arrived. The image of the old lady’s legs writhing on the floor will stay withe forever.

    • MinimumCover

      I hope you got the help you needed….trust me its worth getting. Thanks for sharing your story. It’s a sad thing that so many of us have been through similar incidents.

      Having said that, at least we are not alone.

  • A truely moving Blog that everyone should read!!!! « ghostmom

    […] ….and then there was silence Posted by MinimumCover on September 16, 2011 […]

  • caz

    I feel for the officer as I know what he goes through, the helpless feeling you get at these incidents and the public not understanding what our job entails and poor Dave who didn’t make it god rest his soul. This is a tragedy that we see only to often.

  • greeneyedamazon

    That was so moving and very very tragic. As a serving officer myself I have only had to deal with one fatal and believe me thats one too many – it never goes from you. We do our job because we choose to do it, we want to make a difference to peoples lives and help people – you tried your best to help Dave. In that scenario its difficult as we’re always told help but don’t become a casualty yourself – I think everyone will agree you do your utmost and thoughts of yourself and your own well being are the last thing on your mind.

  • Craig 'Smithers' Smethurst

    Very moving and such a hard thing to experience i am sure. Hopefully at the very least a officer or two may get slightly more respect from your write up! Thoughts are with you and his family

  • Anonymous

    Very moving and When i saved the 3 people on the Cornish coast from losing their lives and i got them to safety was great. Although the thoughts of what you have gone through must have been the worst. I am sure that Dave is always there looking and sitting when you are having a drink.

    With regarding people taking to officers i had the same problem in large supermarket company. Talking to me like dirt and you are the lowest…..! Respect always comes and with time moving on the country is forgetting the PLEASE,THANK YOU…. Small simple words.

    This story will always stay in my mind and i was reading it and could not read but went back through for Dave.

  • Boxy

    Speechless. Very well written piece. I have the same memories from a very similar incident. Not one I like to remember, but I know deep down, I could do no more. 10 yrs in, and I still love it. There are many downs, but also many ups. That’s why we love it.

  • zskdorset

    Oh my god. I’ll never forget reading this. Thank you – and well done x

  • anon

    I don’t think I could ever write down in words how much respect I have for police officers. My partner is an officer and every day I think to myself what an amazing person they are for going out there and putting themselves on the front line of things. Those people who are quite happy to ‘slate’ the police force should stop and think ‘who is the first person I would ring if my child went missing’ or ‘if I was in that car who would you ring for help’. The things they see are things that no one should ever have to deal with. I will always admire the Police Force and their Officers for the amazing job they do.

  • Theresa

    I used to work in a police control room and listened to some harrowing things and situations down the phone, real life – another world. I was the person on the phone, you were the people dealing with them ‘for real’. I cried reading this and my heart goes out to you for the desperate feeling of helplessness that you must have felt and those overpowering emotions you must have felt and still feel. I hope you find some peace of mind in the fact that you are not super-human and did everything in your power that you possibly could. God bless you, you all do a fantastic job.

    T. x

  • Nick Etchells

    Very moving.
    As a traffic officer and FLO …. I know where you ate coming from.

  • Anon

    Beautifully written. I was there with you and I felt your despair and sadness. Thank you for sharing.

  • gemma wilson

    beautifully written, so sorry that you had to go thro that, and hope you are still/tyin making a difference in your role, and life. you have reminded me why i have also joined the police and want to help! thank you for doing your job!

  • Gary Powell

    having dealt with a similar incident at which it was too late I can fully appreciate your situation. You are right, we are seen as many out there as the person whose job it is to sort out there domestic situation,their complaints about FACEBOOK comments or to solve neighbourhood issues that we use to sort out ourselves. We are there because “they pay our wages” even though the majority of our callers have never paid a penny in tax but seem to be better off than the hard working population with their 60 inch plasma telly.
    There are less of us out there to cope with peoples problems. They will not realise what we actually see day after day and what Policing is all about. We do not go on strike when we don’t agree what the powers that be impose on us. When it hits the fan we go and deal putting ourselves and our colleagues in the front line going above and beyond.
    I suspect that every bobby out there that reads your account will reflect and they too will be able to relate to your comments we are there with you even though there are less of us.
    We always make it work and the bosses at the top get the credit for their portfolio. I would like to think that they can remember a time when they were in our position but in my experience they join – get a degree – get a desk job on some project – and live on other peoples efforts.
    Fight the good fight my friend we sympathise with you but I am sure you are not looking for sympathy.
    Keep safe out there.

  • Anonymous

    Gaz, you did this! Thank God there are policemen like you, you could not possibly have done more.

  • kev

    30 years a copper been to many accidents thankfully only 3 like this yoru pain will ease but you will never forget that job but you did your utmost to help and that is all we can do good luck mate stay well

  • Maggie

    My Dad was a policeman in London from 1952 to 1977 … there was a similar incident for him but it was another pc just off duty and on his way home to his wife and twin sons (18 months old at the time) and his car was trappped underneath a lorry that slid out onto the main road down a very steep hill… unfortuantely the same result as Dave… Dad came home that day after completing another 7 hours of his shift, sat down and poured himself a brandy (something he NEVER did normally) and cried his heart out… the sum total of his therepy and the next morning was back at work as if nothing had happened… I have a high respect for all police officers past and present and wish you all the best for your continuing desire to serve the people in whatever capacity it takes… :-)

    • Gary Powell

      when it is one of your own – even if you did not know him/her – it is impossible not to be sad. To be able to carry on when this happens is truly professional. The Police service is not a job it is a calling to make a positive contribution to society.
      The traffic officers who deal with more of these tragedies than the rest of us get my greatest respect as do all our emergency services.
      It is about time the government who ever it is realises this contribution.
      Words are worth nothing deeds make the difference

  • Next time the road is closed.....

    […] Next time the road is closed….. We all know the feeling, the road is closed and it inconvenience's us, so we take it out on the copper on the roadblock. I don't know if this is true, but it's thought provoking nonetheless. Bit of a read, but stick with it. ….and then there was silence | MinimumCover – The Police Officer Blog […]

  • kevin

    Only one word “respect”

  • Leo McGuire

    As a fellow law enforcement officer from across the pond-now retired, I thank you for your selfless dedication and humanity. Too often the complexities of our everyday lives seem to take priority over what really matters. If they only knew the horror of reality and the bits and pieces of our lives that are lost when we lose someone. I recall as if were yesterday my 1st first aid call 26 years ago- i kept her alive long enough to have the plug pulled in intensive care. It was no matter my efforts, God had called, and my job was to hold her on until her family said goodbye. Sometimes we do not know why or what for but there is a reason. Imagine if Dave did not have you there with and for him, you were his blessing.

  • John holcroft

    So touched and moved by this story. As someone who’s lost their brother in a road traffic accident I feel for the service men and woman that have to deal with these situations. There is no training in the world that could possible prepare anyone to do that job. I thank god that people do, I thank those who did their best for my brother six years ago and to those that every hour of each day put themselves there to help others. John.

  • Panathanikamacos

    Very moving and well done!
    The number of replies above and i’m sure those to come will say everything.
    Sorry my only further comment isn’t happier but:-
    In my force today your name would be Optimum Numbers.
    The number of officers hasn’t changed just the name which i’m sure makes someone feel better.
    Don’t let the b*****ds grind you down!

    • MinimumCover

      Our phrase for “the fewest we can get away with” also changed recently. I think it was done so they could dip below it without appearing liable and risking a payout when (not if) it all goes wrong!

      • PenelopePipstock

        It wont go wrong because we, as in the cops on the street, wont let it, we take pride in our job and thats the fat cats with their ‘heavy’ shoulders from decoration take the all the credit!! Beautifully written piece btw and I hear you from start to finish !

  • Frankie

    I just hope I can be as brave if i ever end up at a job like that. Thank you for sharing and I hope it has helped in some way to write it down.

  • Anonymous

    Retired Plod
    Been there 30 odd years ago. All the tears came back. Total respect mate. Get counselling if you can

  • jerkTheTruth

    This is not a true story, but well written.

    And before anyone jumps down my throat, I am a psychologist who specialises in deconstructing prose.

    • MinimumCover

      Thank you for your input…although the motivation for, and the benefit in, publishing this opinion here escape me.

      Perhaps you could oblige me by sending me your reasons for suggesting I have simply “made this up” by email. I would be interested to read them!

      Spread thinner than ever before…

      • Lorna Parrett

        Hmmm, ‘JerkTheTruth’ – well PART of his name seems about right.

      • Annette King

        think you all do a great job and do not get enough respect at all. makes me so mad the goverment going cut back on you guys yet you still do an amazing job and would like too thank you for the great job you do from the bottom of my heart. Im sorry you come across some rude ignorant people in your line of work. But they soon change there minds when something happens too them. keep up the good work and take care of yourself be safe

    • Anonymous

      If you ever anticipate that someone might jump down your throat for writing something it’s because you probably shouldn’t write it! Excuse my prose when I say “need visit Psycholigist! You to” – Make a sentence expert!

    • kit-blair

      I don’t know where you trained as a so-called psychologist, but perhaps you need to get your money back so that you can spend it on respect lessons. I have never read such an irresposible load of ****e, though it does seem appropriate coming from someone who calls themself “jerk”!
      MC you are as polite as you are heroic and have my undying admiration and respect.

    • Roy Barker

      Jerkthetruth, I feel sorry for your patients….if you managed to keep any.

      Those of us who actually wear the uniform can relate and sympathise with MC because some of us have been at crashes, involving persons deceased or who unfortunately have passed in our presence.

      Who are you to pass comment on this piece? and more to the point I’m pretty damn certain that you will have been one of those losers who loses his/her rag at the poor copper at the road block.

    • Richard

      MC much respect.
      JERK Your a C**T! Now try saying thats not true

  • Metcountymounty

    That is one of the most moving posts I’ve ever read, thank you.

  • Anonymous

    Dave, bonnet vents, unnamed roads sounds like a boy racer to me I feel for every1 who had to. Witness that horrific scene and job well done for mc

  • cas

    Simply, Thank You from the bottom of my heart. R.I.P. Dave.

  • UKgypsy

    This really hit home, it does take a special person to be a police officer, as you’re expected to take so much on the chin and just carry on with your ‘day job’. As a public facing police civilian staff member, I see all to well the publics reactions to the necessary steps that have to be taken on occassion and also suffered from verbal abuse as a result. On a daily basis I see my police colleagues deal with some tragic and horrendous incidents and I also see them pick themselves up after with such resilience that I have nothing but awe and respect for them and wish them a safe shift whenever they put on their uniform. We ALL need to remember they’re are human beings too, doing a one of the hardest jobs out there. God speed.

  • Anonymous

    Know you’re not alone, and many of us live with the haunted memories of holding the hand of the dying. I will not share the details other than to say I know I am amongst many who will have read this with a sense of true emotion and empathy as we too have pictures in our head of a Dave, a Lisa, an unnamed look of fear. From the unborn and Mother carrying through to the Great Grandparents, those pictures will always be so personal.
    jerkTheTruth – Please go and see a Psychologist – whether you think you have some academic right to make such a statement or not, your arrogance in placing it here is astounding.

  • Anonymous

    Been there, done that. still have the nightmares. All power to you for that post, it really appealled to me, maybe now others can experience just what goes on behind the yellow jacket and daft hat. Cheers.

  • kellym82

    Incredibly harrowing. As a newly attested Special Constable I know I may well face this sort of thing in the future.

    Thank you for sharing your experience, I hope that some people who feel ‘inconvenienced’ by road closures might understand that glimpse of the man under the yellow hi vis.

  • Dave B

    I have been in similar situations and know that speaking to the guys on the shift helped me. I hope that the guys you work with will offer some of the same support I have received.

    Take it from me, it definitely helps to talk it out.

    We are all in it together.

    • MARK

      It is good to talk but in our force we are all single crewed all the time, yes even on night shift, we don’t get chance to share. As regard to the fact that this story is made up, i don’t think so. I recognize the emotion and helplessness having been in similar situations. If you hadn’t experienced the situation you could not write about it.

  • Pasty Skipper

    Very well written mate, and something unfortunately you will carry with you for the rest of your life. I have had two young people die in my arms and seen way too many more, one through an RTC. It’s 4am and the weather is lashing down we get the call to single vehicle RTC, the thoughts were some pillock has slid off and is stood waiting for us or a drink driver who is off and running. When we arrived the car was obscured behind the lorry that had stopped to help. Then I saw what was left of the car, embedded amongst the trees, roof ripped away, balanced precariously on a bank. I slipped and slid to the drivers side, on the downhill side of the car, knowing any second the car could slip and crush me. I told my guys to stay clear, detailing one to try and grab me if there was any movement, (there was no way he would manage it but it made us feel better). I struggled to reach the driver, the image of his battered body still sits with me. I spoke to him, re assured him, said those words we all say, you will soon be out of here, the ambulance will be here soon. There were some low moans, shallow breaths of air, I knew he was fading, I told him to hang on, think of his family, cling to life, I held him, I told him how much his friends & family wanted him to live and loved him. I silently prayed the ambulance and fire brigade would hurry up. It seemed like forever but I know it was minutes, I heard the ambulance had arrived, the paramedic got to me, we shared that look, not good, he run his checks and shook his head, the driver was gone.
    I climbed out and got back to running a ‘Fatal’ scene, ensuring the specialists were called, I got on with my job, the mix of feelings, could I have done more? Why did he die on me? Did I help make his passing more peaceful, a soothing voice telling him he was loved?
    Typing this brings back the sadness at the waste of a young life, but we carry on, it’s what we do, sometimes we win, sometimes we lose.

    • Anonymous

      In a dark world you shed some light, it makes me feel better that there are people like yourself who do there very best to help people, even in there final moments. you are a credit to the human race , I’m sure your soothing voice helped him, I know if it was me i would not want to pass on alone.
      All the best Marc.

  • Anonymous

    You are a truly humble and admirable person, as are the others of you that have written on here about your experiences. I have no idea how you get over that apart from offer it to God if you are a believer. I admire you for your calm repsonse to the so called psychologist as I would have lost my cool with the jerk. However, thats why you’re in the job you’re in and I’m not. The next time I think about moaning about the police I’ll think of this post instead. God bless you.

    • Mjolinir

      I reckon that “Jerk” earns some credit – for writing with the one hand not employed on his (It MUST be a ‘he’?) favourite diversion.

  • Tipsy

    Was first on the scene of what turned out to be a 2 car, head on RTC, and it was evident that both male drivers had been killed instantly. Found a 9 year old girl in the back of one of the cars, and started CPR. Eventually I was relieved by a paramedic crew and they stopped the attempt and pronounced life extinct. I then manned a road closure outside of the golf club and had several middle aged males call me all sorts of rude and unpleasant names, as they presumed that I was making it personal by not allowing them through to play their rounds of golf! When I lashed out verbally at the third one to do it to me, a complaint was made about my “attitude” and thankfully my Sgt at the time told him the facts and actually said that he was pleased with my resilience, as he would have told him to f**k off a lot sooner….complaint was withdrawn!
    Still haunts me when I drive past that location, as do the many others that I’ve attended over the years. Generally people know routes by various pubs…..for me, it’s all about where people have died.

  • Anonymous

    Thirty years ago I was a Caualty Nurse in a small Cornish Hospitol,in fact I was the only Casualty Nurse because I was on night duty,in a twelve hour shift after getting the on call Doctor out of bed (he had been qualified 6 months) we, despite everything we could do lost to death a Baby girl 6 months old,a young man aged 31 we also lost two men who had come to Cornwall on holiday.the little Casualty department had three beds plus an emergency bed,I ended up laying out two (apart from the Baby because I had three small children Night Sister wouldnt let me) in the plaster room,I remember crying,I can even now after all these years remember names.My youngest Son and his Wife are Police officers ,I am so proud of them.Please remember you did the best you could do and Dave will have known that,you will always remember Dave and thats good.

  • comms-op

    My god this has moved me to tears,so beautifully written,and so true of all the things you guys go thru that nobody realises.such a shame that the government and our own forces are so far removed from real life.you cannot put a price on what is expected of you all x

  • NS

    When one motorist told me in pomous tones that in the Malaysian Grand Prix he had just watched they cleared the scene in minutes – I had to point out that my person was being cut free from a power pole and it might take a bit longer for her sake …. ….

  • Su Parkinson

    Just so heartbreaking and thought provoking….do read this. Take just 5 minutes out of your busy day, it makes you think how lucky we all are but also how fragile too.

    Police are there to help us, not make life more difficult ….would YOU do their job????

  • bekkie kite

    It will never change honey. The.public will never see what we deal with or understand it. 23 years on and i still have nightmares over things i have seen. Dave was lucky to have you there with Him. Xxxxx i wish i could lie and say it gets easier. But it does not. Xxxx

  • dawn

    you may have not saved this life but you will save many more…you do a good job to keep us safe and i think everybody would thankyou and all the emergency sevices and to tell you what a excellant job you all do..very proud of you all…:)

  • Matt

    My ex girlfriend’s father is a policeman who deals with investigating car accidents, usually fatal accidents. I have a tremendous amount of respect for anyone who turns up at such scenes of carnage & does their best to help. This post is absolutely heartbreaking. I can imagine something like that will stay with you for life.

  • Shijuro

    Very moving mate… Hope you are ok…

  • Anonymous

    Incredibly harrowing account. Beautifully written too. Just dreadful. Anyone who thinks the Police are “over paid” and don’t deserve the pension they signed up for at the end of 30 years service – well you need your head examining.

    Use your social media networks and get this article read by as many people as possible.

  • Mike Alderson

    Deeply moving.

    The reality of policing and the things that you’re exposed to over your service is that you never do forget. Time doesn’t dim the images, but you do find a box inside you to lock them away and (mostly) they stay in the box.

  • oldish hack

    What a stunning piece of writing, so deeply moving. Maybe a few of our politicians should read it – and then try to justify the Winsor report. I hope it would make them think twice, but then again I doubt it!

  • Neville Evans

    You’ve worked on your shift for a couple of years now and you’ve shared many experiences with your work colleagues, some positive and some negative. Used to the taste of adrenaline, the late nights and early mornings become part of your routine, incidents pass and go and policing becomes your world view. You’ve come along way and made many adaptations to the stresses and strains of modern day policing. You notice that one of your colleagues is slowly changing, a little abrupt at minor incidents, avoiding work at all costs, a little heavy handed in the custody suite, always blaming someone else. You talk to them, they’re restless in their voice and body language and unable to talk. Rumours begin to form and the locker room is full of un-helpful gossip, but deep down you know that something is wrong. Your concerned, you can see a pattern forming. Outbursts of anger, complaints from the public and sometimes reckless behaviour. The shifts performance begins to deteriorate and your colleagues are dreading working another day with officer x. You talk to your supervisor, she just can’t see it, it’s the same old rhetoric ‘failing disciplinary standards’ but you’ve seen it all before. Your colleague is woefully stressed. You talk to your colleague, but he denies that he is stressed, he’s far too strong to admit needing help. What’s your next step? Concerned, yes, because you know he’s a good copper.
    Morale Matters – A police officers guide to reducing stress and improving morale in the workplace. Available from http://www.talkandsupport.co.uk or Amazon UK.

  • moving Post from minimumcover… | Shijuro_is_not_georgedixon's Blog

    […] Read it here at mimimumcover’s blog.. Share this:TwitterLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. ← OVER TO YOU SHAMI… […]

  • Lorraine

    I’m a controller and know I sometimes loose sight of what you guys face at times, thank you for sharing this, I’m spreading the word as people can make a difference, the underlying message for me is the amazing work the police do. The government need to understand cuts don’t and never will work. Thank you MC

  • Iain

    I also remember my first FATAC or whatever they call them these days but it wasn’t anything like yours. Time is a healer.

  • Anonymous

    Respect for the job you do sir, apologies for the small minority of selfish, disrespectful ar******s who should wish they or theirs never end up in such a dreadful fatal accident and i hope they dont have ignorant people wanting to pass there loved ones dying just so they dont have to take a detour!!!!

  • Tompers

    Once again well done for putting this in words so well. As a Flo on R P U I see so much of this . I also had to deal with the death of a 5yr old in a house fire some years ago and share what you are trying to get across. Some people like the police they just don’t like to be policed. Sad thing is you and the rest of us would try to save them as well, despite their worth. Take care fellow officer.

  • Kelly Cording

    What a touching story. Reading that, I thought it was going to be a happy ending and it gave me a lump in my throat to realise it wasn’t. I can’t imagine how you must have felt. I couldn’t do a job like yours. I can’t help but wonder what Dave’s last text said :-(

  • Anonymous

    Whilst I appreciate the humbling nature of what happened, you decided upon this career and where it was poignant and moving, you ruined it with this comment, turning into a crusade….

    “Perhaps those in government who would have us do our job for less and spend that money on fighting other peoples battles should try standing in our shoes at something like this and then have another go at justifying their position!”

    • MinimumCover

      Thank you for your opinion. It’s a shame you didn’t feel courageous enough to put your name beside it.

      This is by no means a crusade.

      The political assassination of UK policing through financial penalties and the culling of officer numbers means that people like Dave will die alone, without help or hope. The alternatives are there, but being cast aside for no good reason.
      If those that made those decisions tried “standing in our shoes at something like this” then I genuinely believe they would think again about the impact of their actions.

      I am sorry you feel this sentiment should remain unvoiced.

  • Anonymous

    I have had that knock at the door, I know what you must have been through because it doesnt end there, being on the scene 1st, you would proberbly had dealings with the family. Try telling someone they have lost a family member. I experienced the officer standing there telling me. Well done Lads and Girls. Thank you for all your hard work keeping us joe public safe and sound, and looking after us when we dont know which way to turn. Josie Stubbings.

  • Frankie

    I can only applaud u and other persons that ave to deal wiv these situations on a day to day basis knowing that u did all u could do for them but knowing it still wasn’t enough to keep them alive but just having u by their side in their last few moments of life would ave made it bit more easier to cope wiv their outcome chin up my friend keep up ya gd work and let’s hope these wanky politicians take pay cuts to stop people like u losing ya jobs cos they need cut backs

  • Neil

    “Thank you for your opinion. It’s a shame you didn’t feel courageous enough to put your name beside it. ”

    wow! how condescending is that?

    Surely, from your story, then more firefighters [not police officers] are needed to save “Dave”?

    I notice you chose to ignore my point that you chose this career?

    “The political assassination of UK policing through financial penalties and the culling of officer numbers means that people like Dave will die alone, without help or hope. The alternatives are there, but being cast aside for no good reason.
    If those that made those decisions tried “standing in our shoes at something like this” then I genuinely believe they would think again about the impact of their actions. ”

    You know that those in power just look at numbers and results.

    Oh and nice dig at the control room who don’t have the local knowledge you do. Bravo!

    • MinimumCover


      I think you have missed the point…

      I thank you for including your name on this reply. People often “troll” emotive posts like this (anonymously) to attempt to start arguments. I am not getting drawn into one with you; whether you post as “Anonymous” or not.

      We had the right number of fire-fighters, but unfortunately they were further away than I was and, as it transpired, would never have been there in time – regardless of numbers.

      I did indeed choose this career and am proud to have done so. Regardless of the difficulties it presents. I do not want medals or congratulations….just to go home every day knowing I did my duty.

      Numbers and results are exactly where its at…regardless of the mechanism driving them – at least we agree on SOMETHING!

      My comment about the information passed to the control room was a reference to the vague information that they had available to them from the caller (often the case when we receive calls from the rural areas) and not a dig at the personnel in the control room – who I have HUGE respect for by the way!

      It wasn’t included in the blog as I considered it superfluous information, but the caller made reference to a fallen tree at the side of the road near the scene. I had gone to that tree when it was blocking the road the day before, so knew where I was heading. This information would have meant nothing to any of the other officers on my shift. I consider that to be good luck!

      I hope that clarifies my position to some degree. This was meant to be a post about a tragic set of circumstances, not the basis for a cat fight. I am sorry if some ambiguity caused you offence.


    • Anonymous

      I would guess you may be a senior officer or some other do gooder!!
      Get of your horse and get back to reality…..
      STOP wasting our time….

      • Liz Gardiner

        You’re the one wasting people’s time with your inane and, frankly, offensive comments. Just acknowledge that this man tried his damndest to save a stranger’s life and deserves our respect not the sort of unpleasantness you obviously think is clever – it’s not. Get over yourself.

  • Lati

    God bless you…. I actually started reading this this morning and had to rush out to an emergency at work but was determined to finish reading it tonight. Utmost respect and admiration to you and others that deal with things like this everyday of their life.

  • retiredtothesun

    I am now retired, injured, but had been on RPU. After an accident I was at the hospital when life support was switched off for the 15 year old victim, I will never forget mums face, ever…I have been run over at a road closure, been wiped out by ignorant drivers who take offence at being told they cant drive there…
    Im glad for my own sanity I no longer face these incidents, let cameron Clegg and Tessie May try our roles and see how far they get…

    Good luck to you and keep safe

  • Keith kennedy

    The last post re accidents and deaths was written by me forgot to sign in Keith Kennedy sept 20 23.34

  • PeterC

    31 years in, and had dealt with some terrible things, but I never had to deal with a situation like that. I can’t imagine how you could ever get over it.

    I think sometimes we (and the public) believe we are invincilble; we are the ones with all the answers – the ones who make it all better. But sometimes, just sometimes, reality strikes and we (and they) have to face up to the fact that we are just human too.

    My thoughts are with you

  • Law review: “….and then there was silence” « Charon QC

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  • Dazza

    Very well written piece. Been to a few fatal TA’s and had to give death messages as well. Have had tears rolling down my face giving the messages, but never in front of the family members (suppose I din’t want impede their grief). Memories never leave, but as one poster said they go in a box. Every now and again though a sound, sight or smell lets the box open a bit.
    Initially tried to bottle it all up with all the not allowed to show emotion cr@p, forget it, if offered counselling take it and if not offered ask for it. it is not a sign of weakness.

    MC I feel for you and hope it gets easier soon

  • sallybarden

    Beautifully written piece. Dave’s family will draw comfort from knowing that you “tried”. There is nothing worse than having to tell a family that someone died alone. Didi you ever find out what the last text said?

  • Mjolinir

    Hope MC will forgive me for a bit of ‘Road Closed’ levity.

    Many years back there were major floods on my patch; I was manning a junction, trying to divert through traffic as there was 3ft of water on the road for the next 3 miles

    One commuter in a flashy sports car refused to take any notice of my assurances, and drove on at great speed. Until he hit a metal sign just like the one in MC’s photo, took out all the lights, got it jammed underneath, wrecked the suspension, and abandoned it. Much to the amusement of locals who had had very little else to laugh at that day. Schadenfreude

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  • Eileen Falconer-Douglas

    I am speechless, I have always, and still do think our police service is the finest in the world. Poor Dave, and poor policeman who will carry the mental scars the rest of his life. Bless you xxx

  • Beth Tennant (@padster75)

    The power of words and the actions of the few. Respect and love to you all for what you all do in the line of duty. Being an ex-theatre sister I have helped pick up the pieces of RTAs, but never in the front line, always hidden away in some remote an inaccessible hospital department. I thank you and your colleagues that there are people like you willing to do what you do each day, often in the face of adversity. I am sure one day Dave will be sat by you at the bar, you’ll just have to look into your heart to see him xx

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for doing what you do. Having police officers in the family, and having worked in criminal law and so made the acquaintance of a fair few police men and women, I do respect and appreciate what you do.

  • Rosie Bryant-Moore

    That’s awful, what a terrible thing to have to go through. Your piece was very moving and well written. Thank you for sharing it. I’m sure Dave realised that you did your very best, and thank you to you and your colleagues for the work you do. Best wishes xx

  • jackie

    Thank you for sharing that with us.. It must have been hard to write down. So sad you were unable to do more. I’m sure Dave knew you had done all you could. I’m glad for the hard work you all do and appreciate it.. Take care. Xx

  • Pinky

    Just wanted to echo what others have said. You are appreciated. Very moving piece, thank you for sharing.

  • Debbie.


    As a serving Officer I have been in a similar situation although not as horrific. Helimed , Police cars, ambulance and fire crew at scene. And I was called a “wanker” for closing the road !

    Im truly proud to work with my colleagues. Nowhere in our portfolio is there a space to put stories such as ” I spent an hour with an elderly lady who was lonely” or ” I held the child’s hand until the ambulance arrived”…the real stuff that matters and the reason most of us joined the job.

    I only hope I will have your strength and courage if faced with such an incident. God bless you and Dave’s family. Stay safe and thank you.

  • CelticWoman

    Very moving, thank you for sharing it & R.I.P Dave

  • David

    Cop with over 28 years service, 16 in the Traffic Dept. Been there bud. :-(

  • Brian J

    That was a hell of a read with a coda made all the more tragic by the entitled treating you like some sort of robot after you’d just witnessed something truly awful. You really earned that pint.

  • Sue Sharpe

    I came home a bit depressed about useless shite. 19yrs in comms, luckily only 2 jobs stick in my mind, I wasn’t even at scene. It’s frighteneing thats what I send my colleagues to every day. I may not be a Police Officer but I am in the same team. I never forget how hard your job is. Hope my laptop survives being splashed with tears….keep up the good work everyone involved in anything like this x

  • Anonymous

    i struggled to read the story through my tears….. i totallly take my hat off to you…
    im totally disgusted by the people that hurl abuse at police with ref. to road closures. my husband was involved in an RTC on a motorcycle and the road was closed for several hours…. people tried to pass the road closure signs and one person removed the cones and drove on…. him driving in his Lambo was forced to turn round on a small road…
    my thoughts are you and Daves family :(

  • Bob Hannent (@bobdvb)

    Such an excellent and moving post, thank you for sharing such a difficult moment because it gives us a valuable insight into your hard work. As a teen I was allowed to do work experience with the police and it opened my eyes greatly to a different world.

    My car was recently taken out by an oak tree and the response cars who came to assist me were very civil and helpful. Thankfully that was a minor incident for them and me (it’s only money). I like to think that I am more relaxed than most people to road blocks, they are just a fun challenge to reroute around, and delays. As a regular user of the M25 I do dislike “Rubber Necking” which slows down traffic.

    Before the summer this year there were a spate of suicides on the tracks around Wimbledon, it started to really grate on everyone because we had two incidents a week at some point. So the BTP took the decision to open up the routes before the incidents had been resolved, but this made it very difficult for the officers attending. In one incident I witnessed a rather stressed & alone WPC who was having to direct people to quickly move off the platform as she was standing next to a covered body.

    It is a tough life and all who do it deserve our patience and respect.

  • Robert Hawkes

    Wonderfully written. You did all you could. Your a hero in the eyes of the people that matter. Modern life has changed people and I’m sorry to say its not for the better only looking out for No 1. Hope your ok and you get some comfort from the positive feedback on your post.

  • emma wright

    I do the same job and have attended a very similar double fatal…. We didn’t even think it would be a serious crash when we arrived…

    Very well written, it still amazes me to this day the reactions we receive from certain members of the public when they come across us at road closures. I’ve now moved to Australia and do the same job. I can assure you, it happens the world over too!

    Thanks for writing that…

  • Joanna Mitchell

    Actually my husband has worked on the road crew teams as a call out for fatals on the A1, and as such, I am fully aware that if a road is closed – especially by the Police, then there has been a fatal accident. I am probably in a minority here, but I am always polite to road crews, and usually wave, smile and say thank you to them as I drive through a diversion/contraflow or whatever the blockage is.
    I for one think that we owe all the people involved in terrible situations like this should be praised and not abused for doing a job that most of us wouldn’t want to do.
    Thank you for writing this, it brought a lump to my throat and a tear to my eye.

  • Anonymous

    From time to time I am involved in road closures (for carnival processions, etc) and I know just what you mean. Everyone has a reason why just they should be allowed in. Some just try to drive round (as I don’t have a blue light, they presumably assume I can’t do anything about it. Well, I can’t chase ’em, but I can call those who do have blue lights…) We’ve had drivers “chicken-run” at some of our guys. And the abuse. And this is NEVER an “ad hoc” event, always something for which big yellow signs have been posted for months! :(

    I’ve never had to deal with a Dave, or anything similar. I hope I never do. My respect and sympathies to all those on the front line.

  • G soon to be A19

    The sad thing is this is not an isolated incident, I attended a similar situation where a young mum to be, lost hers and her unborn baby’s life in a car fire. The driver was saved but she wasn’t so lucky. It never leaves your mind.

  • John Flood

    I too was moved by this. I admire your bravery and charity as much as I am saddened by Dave’s pain and death. Please continue the good work.

  • Lesley Curtis

    I cried reading this. I can only imagine what it was like and my heart goes out to you – and to poor Dave. I have the utmost respect for the emergency services. It’s a job I couldn’t do, that’s why I’m glad that there’s people like you in this world that can.
    God bless.

  • Pat H

    I believe this post to be true……..but, were it not it would still bring the ploiceman’s problems into the open. We really take our emergency forces forgranted mainly because we just dont think about them too much!!! That is unless they are needed. They see the worsed and not so often the best of hunanity and unfortunately there is a policeman somewhere in the UK dealing with the same sort of incident in very much the same way as MC.
    MC you have the respect and thanks from Dave’s loved ones and and the admiration of most of the decent population of this nation.
    From a Mother of a serving Police Officer

  • Chris

    Lost a young mother and 6 month old baby when I couldn’t get underneath a car. Seen 2 people burn to death in cars when I couldn’t get near the car and watched a 20 year old drunk driver die in my arms whilst the Fire brigade tried to cut open his car. The most recent of these was 20 years ago but I still get a lump in the throat particularly when thinking about the young mother and baby. This blog was all too realistic.

  • Kiieran Murray

    Absolutely tragic for Dave and for the officer. Who could imagine being in that position of having to not be able to stop that dreadful outcome. We are a special group of people and this government has total disregard for what we do. Send this out to the public. Those who questioned the officers’ reasons for closing the road should be ashamed.

  • Eve

    This is such a terribly sad case. I have commented further up the page already. I notice reading other comments its quite common for people to be trapped in their cars after an accident. Can anyone advice motorists what they could carry in their vehicle that may be of use in such an event? A cutter to slice through seat belt would be one…..any others?

  • ian

    your story fills me with anger.

    they should have sent serious help at your request without delay.

    the silenece will continue to echo through my mind as well…. your narrative was beyond real

  • David L

    Thank you for the work you do, and for sharing it in your wonderfully written, eloquent blog post. It had me in tears at my work PC and I can’t begin to imagine what being confronted with this would do to me. Thank you and much respect.

  • Mark

    We chatted for a few minutes and I took his details down……
    I’m sorry but you failed Dave, you should of done a better risk assessment of the situation, you should of tried to get him out sooner and if you couldn’t you should of been more pro-active in neutralising any risk to him.
    You should of been more aware of the risk from fire, and if you were it would of probably never got to the state of where you couldn’t control it. These words may sound harsh, its a very traumatic story, and obviously a hard outcome for the people involved to deal with, but hopefully it will highlight to anybody else should they ever find themselves in such a situation not to underestimate the dangers in what may at first seem a rather benign situation.

    • Lorraine

      MC did not fail, your dreadful synopsis is without any thought or intelligent argument, I work in a police control room as a controller dispatching officers to incidents and understand a fraction of what it must be like, why is it so many people judge…..”better risk assessment; get him out sooner; be more pro-active getting him out”, your response is much like those that insisted on access to the closed road. I like Debbie could say more but will leave this to the one person that knows what happened…..MC

    • Matt

      Hi Mark,
      An interesting take on the situation, but one that I would associate with an idiot of some sort.
      When attending a scene like this, a dynamic risk assessment would be carried out, and where no immediate threat exists, but the possibility of crush injuries do, the preference would generally be to wait for specialist equipment and a medical assessment (for example, to avoid a toxin build-up in the blood stream suddenly being released – resulting in a possible cardiac arrest).
      I would say that making every possible attempt to free the occupant once the circumstances had changed, thus changing the risk, is very pro-active.

      But then again, I guess you know all this already.

      I hope you are not in a job that involves protecting the public.

      • Mark

        I’m quite aware of the condition you mention but without knowing more details its hard to say how much of a risk that would of been.
        I’m happy to accept he was trapped and without additional help he wouldn’t have been released.
        Once you know that information, you reassess the situation and do what you can to prevent further harm. I would of just thought that an experienced officer as he describes himself would have realised how great the risk was from fire in such a RTA and that he would of done more to try and prevent (which is always best) the fire than chat and make notes, finally responding to the threat when it was to late.

    • Dips

      I take it you did MC the courtesy of reading all of the blog… The bit that said he was pinned in & how he tried to free him. It’s a terrible outcome, but I have no doubt that MC did everything possible to save Dave.

    • kit-blair

      Apart from showing a complete lack of any respect for MC’s heroic actions in an almost impossible situation, this comment reveals its author’s ignorance of what actually happens to a vehicle in these situations.
      I would also suggest that the writer needs to go back to school for English lessons; everyon, except you, knows that we say “should have” not “should of” as you have done.

  • fredrum

    As so many people have already said, thank you so much for the work you do and for sharing this so movingly, so eloquently. Amazing. You are a true inspiration.

  • Nigel

    Sobering. Some of us do care and appreciate your efforts. Condolences to all involved.

  • Debbie.

    I have refrained from doing this until now…..
    Mark, I have no idea what profession you do or your motive in writing such a comment but I will say this. MC did everything he could. He is trained Officer and dealt with the situation best he could in a rural area. I too Police in a rural part of Wales and back up can be as far as 20 minutes. We carry no equipment that would have got Dave out that car.

    If MC had written a blog and it was clear he had failed someone, which he most definitely has not, why would any person deem it appropriate to post what you have ? He is the one who lives with the “what ifs” and “if onlys”.

    I will not involve myself any further but I do have one word for you …..thoughtless.

  • Veronica

    What an incredibly real, raw and moving account of an awful, heart-rending event. Your efforts were heroic and your blog serves well to remind us exactly what officers have to deal with.

  • CoffeeLovingSkeptic

    A grim story, from a fellow 999-er
    I know what it’s like to see a person alive one moment and silent the next, but this story is particularly harrowing.

  • Anthony Bartram

    As a journalist i’v been lucky enough to have known a lot of traffic cops Without needing their help thank goodness. I have nothing but admiration for them and the job they do. I also recognise a good writer when I read one. This must’v been a terrible experience for you, but an important account, moving and honestly told. I hope others read this and have a better understanding of what you do and just how important it is to keep our emergency services local. Best wishes, thankyou and take care out there

  • Kris

    All those people that go on about how bad the Police are and how they are all fascist NEED to read this blog entry to maybe understand that you are all normal people like us with a difficult job to do and maybe then they might start showing you all some respect instead of disdain.

  • Karen

    Left this all day to read to give it my attention. Can I say humble Thank You! I can only imagine give HUGE thanks to people like you. K x

  • Matilda McCullagh

    Such a sad story and I do not think I will ever forget this message when I come across a road closure again.I am only grateful that in times of need we have so many angels, like you, walking among us on Earth.Thank you so much for all the hard work you and your colleagues do on a daily basis,I shudder to think what the world would be like without compassionate human beings like your self.

  • Paul Lancs Cop

    Every member of the Public who moans the Police don’t do anything and ring up every night to moan at kids playing football on the street needs to read this!!

  • Martins

    Sad story !! That is message to all people of what is happening on roads every day !
    I feel sorry for Your expirience and for Dave who past away !

    All respect to You !

  • Malcolm Samuel.

    It’s certainly a sad story, particularly for the family of Dave and I’m sure that the Policeman won’t forget that day either.

    My thoughts are with them at this moment in time.

    Sometimes there are no happy endings………

    It’s a shame that there was only one Policeman available to help Dave that day, as more of them may have been able to force Dave free or to find another way of stopping the fuel from igniting on what was probably a hot engine. Of course Firemen and Engineers think of these things and they often have the tools on them to do that job.

    For my own part I wish that Dave had, had the 4 Policemen I had; and that I’d had the Policeman who tried in vain to save Dave’s life.

    Then my outbursts on this site probably wouldn’t have been so venomous towards the Police force.

    But then there are a number of other people who were witnesses to my treatment and they have all turned their backs on my quest to gain justice…………Including at least 4 doctors, several nurses and one or two civilians and a W.P.C……All of whom don’t wish to be named.

    Then there’s the Superintendent in the Police Standards Department who laughed at my claims, saying that I probably deserved all I got………..(What an admission of guilt, but then Policemen in Manchester and Yorshire have heard what happened to me at their hands!)

    I know that one or two of them feel some guilt about not having the courage to stand up and tell the truth…………

    One lady was sobbing into the telephone when I asked her why she’d ‘borne false witness’ against me.

    And when I asked a lady doctor to stand up against the barbarism she’d witnessed she called the Police to protect her…………..In case I asked her any awkward questions or made her feel the guilt that she undoubtedly still feels………

    To her credit she asked the Police not to harm me again because she thought I’d been hurt enough. However they were extremely eager to threaten me down the telephone, promising me more of the same if I attempted to contact the lady doctor again……………

    This I call “symbiotic protection” because as long as she keeps quiet the Police won’t be summoned into court to answer for their ill-deeds; and as long as they threaten me not to approach her to ask her to be a witness against them, she can’t be asked to stand against them.

    And we all thought the “Hippocratic Oath” was dead in the water, like our Governments and Legal System…………

    I’m saddened that these high profile professional people cannot find the soul to stand up for what’s right and I’d like them to know that if the situation had been reversed I would have defended their right to fair play, to the death.

    I wore an RAF uniform for 9 years and I wore it with pride; and I never disgraced it once………

    I wore it to defend democracy and the people of this country (Including Policemen and lady doctors); and I never wavered from that……..But now I wonder why I bothered.

    Reverting back to the story about Dave………….It seems to be one of life’s ironies that Dave only had one Policeman to help him when he may have benefitted with 4 or 5, whereas I may have benefitted from having Dave’s Policeman at my side instead of the 4 or 5 “cowardly, perverted scum” that I had. None of whom should have been there at all.

    (But then Policemen are quite often “not where they’re needed.”)

    They know who they are………….And so do a number of other people who witnessed my torture but couldn’t stand the shame of being exposed for what they really are.

    Full marks to Dave’s Policeman for trying to resolve a very bad situation.

    But thumbs down to those others who are unfit to walk the streets, let alone wear that uniform. And yet they’re still walking their beats. (Except for the one who retired 3 years ago on a fat pension.)


    Malcolm Samuel.

    P.S. If you want their names I’ll provide you with them, and the whole story. And you can then judge our legal system and some of our ‘wonderful’ Policemen on those merits……….

  • Michael O'Leary-Palmer

    Hi, I thought I was a tough cookie but this seriously shocked me….I have in the past had bad dealings with the police and now as I am older with responsiblities I regret how I behaved…I hope you find in time that you did everything you could…you knew the route to the location of the RTA which meant you were able to be with Dave for his last moment alive…I know this isn’t much help but you were his mate for those final moments…and I think althought the ending was tragic…you gave Dave comfort…so please please don’t blame yourself for this…you are one of the special few who put their own life on the line and I hereby salute you….please don’t punish yourself for any of this…its just god’s way…he can be a cruel bastard at time…
    RIP Dave

  • Alan S

    You don’t mention the smell !
    The smell of the burning body lingers, it gets in your throat, it stays for days.
    I can still smell it now, years after the RTAs.

    I have dealt with a a couple of ‘fatals’ that involved burning.

    I did not have the luxury of walking away and leaving someone else at the scene. It was my job. Once the flames were out I was able to, and required to, search the body for any ID.

    With ID I was then able, and required, to visit the mans wife and explain why he would not be home that night. Dealing with the body was the easy bit.

    But then you paid my wages to do that.

  • Ade TGM

    A truly touching story, honestly brought a tear to my eye.

    A few years back I lost my best mate on the road in a motorbike accident and there were similar issues of people not being able to wait when the road closed. The Police did their best at every step of the way, right through till it got to court.

    It’s amazing how passive people can become to accidents these days until you know someone involved in one.

    A huge thank you to yourself and everyone in the force who has ever helped to those in RTAs. I can’t imagine the toll they must have on you mentally.

  • Hannah

    Thank you. For doing what you do every day. For being there for Dave. For being there for countless other Daves. For caring enough to write this. For making me appreciate the police a lot more. Thank you.

  • Anonymous

    Moved beyond comprehension as I too, have also been in a very similar position. Thank you for writing the article.

  • Ted

    Been there. A drowning in an iced over canal basin. Two kids drowned, an uncle died of a heart attack in the water, two cops nearly drowned. The fire service arrived in time for them. That was 1988 but I can still remember it vividly.

    But I couldn’t write about it as well as you have.

  • Anonymous

    Well done mate. Let it be known.
    Ex PC 1283, Hants

  • Ronnie

    Have always respected fantastic people like you, (as a teen I was rescued frm an RTA) Thank u for taking time 2 share yr experience & remind all of us the real parts to what u guys do. Will never understand the idiots who’ve attempted 2put any negative against ths wonderfully written account, like the abusers, they will sadly always be there, bt rest assured, as u can see frm these responses, most of us sane lot can’t thank u enough. Keep letting the minority wash away & be v.proud of what u did & continue 2do :-)

  • Game Online

    Thanks. I hope you continue releasing more useful articles.

  • Bosh

    Rick such a tragedy. So well written as well. I wasn’t aware of what you went through.
    Here’s to two very brave men Rick and Dave….incidentally Dave will belooking down from a nicer place than here, thankful that his last moments here on earth were in the presence of a wonderful human being that didn’t do it for the money…..he did it because it was his duty and he cared. Even if what happened and what he witnessed was well above and beyond the call of duty – Thanks Rick – Nigel Boshein

  • Gazza

    Jesus mate, I just read and re-read what you’d written and it brought a tear to my eye. I went through something similar a few years back. It still haunts me today. That last look from a dying man. He knew he was going. I remember him tugging at my body armour as the darkness enveloped him and took him away forever. It will never leave me.
    Thanks for your post. Well written and oh so poigniant.
    Semper Fi. You’re not alone.

  • emmaboakes

    Heartbreaking to read. We’re so lucky to have people like you looking after us all.

  • leezy

    You did your best and should Be proud of yourself.. ignore those who believe to be better than you because not one of them could of coped with that situation.

  • Anonymous

    On 27th september 2008, I suffered the same intrapment that dave had, but fortuntaley I am here to tell the tale. And I seen the services, all three do there part, and I love all of you. YOU, did what you though was right, because it is your job, and ignorant people like that, should be thankful it wasnt them. I still cannot believe they asked and abused you for not letting them past, they should have been arrested, for judgement of Character, slander! Krissy Gray serving soldier.

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  • Luke walsh

    This was a tragically beautiful story. The man that passed was so tragic but to know that the brave police officer was there until the last minute trying to help is amazing and I respect you so much for what you do everyday. If I could I would buy a pint for you and all the officers. Paramedics and firefighters that put there life on the line for other.

  • Ruth

    What a well written account of an every day tragedy by a brave and insightful public servant. I’ve often wondered whether some of the carnage on our roads about which we seem to be in denial could be avoided by the traffic reports not just saying ‘road blocked due to an accident’ but ‘road blocked in an accident which has killed two peole and injured a child’ or whatever. This account helps bring home to us what a responsiblity we have when we drive, to ourselves and other road users and also to police , fire and ambulance personnel who may have to deal with the aftermath of accidents.

  • Anonymous

    If I were unfortunate enough to be in a car crash, I’d want you there.

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  • Neil

    That moved me :( Poor Dave, poor you.

  • jon

    Just found a link to this on Pistonheads, and I cannot convey how emotional it made me feel.

    A nation cannot fully grasp what turmoil the members of our emergency services go through. What you have written, is only the tip of the iceberg, and I doff my cap to you.

  • Olivia

    Thanks for posting this, and for the work you do. The story is so sad, but a useful reminder to drive with consideration for others, and to appreciate what public servants do for us. I hope you get enough appreciation from people in general, to make up for the idiots who give you abuse over the slightest inconvenience.

  • SD

    thank you for doing the job you do

  • Suzy

    This moved me to tears and brought back memories.My Dad was in the RUC/NIPS for 35 years and I learnt from an early age that he witnessed terrible things including fatal injuries to his colleagues as well as the public. You are a real hero and you did your best, just like my Dad. It’s heartbreaking that you can’t save them all, but without you many more would perish. Stay strong!

  • Ashley Farman

    Very moving been there myself.

  • Geoff Ball

    I have been there and I understand! I don’t need to explain……thats the difference if you have been in the job. Very very well written. Brought back a few memories that I have put in the back drawer!!!

  • suggsygirl

    I’m a Prisoner Custody Officer and have seen some horrific things in both courtrooms and on the back of the prison vans. I understand the frustrations with selfish people after dealing with something like that and I’d like to say what a wonderful and thought provoking blog this was. I shall certainly be subscribing to read more. I hope you’re okay and that you get any counselling or support you may need.

  • Anonymous

    I can’t begin to understand how you cope but I hope you know you make the country proud that you do.

  • Anonymous

    I never believed people could be so damn ignorant, until I started out as a SC, one of my first tasks was closing a road after a life changing accident, I had just dealt with the parents of one of the parties involved, when was confronted with an irate motorist, demanding to be let past, as the detour involved would add ten mins to his journey.
    To say I gave him what for would be an understatement, maybe with more experience I may remain more calm when dealing with idiots.

  • Anonymous

    As someone who has had too many dealings with the Police in the past, I have to say that you have really opened my eyes to the dark side of your job, your actions were heroic

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  • Jackie

    I can’t say anything that hasn’t been said already. I read your blog this morning before I went to work and it has haunted me all day. You did more than most people would or could have done. You and your colleagues have my utmost respect and admiration for the dedication you show to your job. I hope I never need you, but it’s reassuring to know that you are there if ever I do.

    Thank you.

  • Samantha

    My friends over the years have included people in the fire service and ambulance service and then I became a first responder (and a TT Marshall) – I’ve had first aid training on top of training but have been lucky not to have to deal with anything like the situations my friends have had to (which most of my ‘courses’ would not have covered) Recently I went out with a Policeman. Some of the stories he told me about jobs he’s had to go to were horrific – in a different way. Fatals but no fire.

    What you guys deal with is a part of the job – but the way you deal is the mark of great men and women. I am glad to have met amazing people like you and to still count many as friends. You deserve all the support and respect that you can possibly get – and more

    I have always held all three services in high regard. I always have been polite and ‘smiley’ to police who are at the closed sign of a road. I often have to ask directions as am usually riding a motorbike and in an area I don’t know! But hope that my ‘blonde’ I’m going to get lost questions amuse rather than irritate!

    Sadly – the great general public can be incredibly self centred and stupid at times.

    My thoughts are with Dave and his family and will always think how lucky he was to have a great man by his side in his final moments.


  • Sobering reading - MBClub UK

    […] Sobering reading ….and then there was silence | MinimumCover – The Police Officer Blog […]

  • paul o

    Brought back some memories. Been there. Never forgotton.

  • Martin

    My attention was drawn to this from a number of Grampian colleagues posting it on Facebook. Absolutely horrendous situation and it is noted that your focus is on the public’s understanding (or lack of) of road closures etc rather than any ‘we don’t get paid enough for this shit’ rant.

    As Police Officers we know what we signed up for and we know we Police by consent. The consent of the public. But sometimes we wonder why we bother when the public (in a jury) make a horrendous error and acquit someone guilty as sin, or believe their complaint of kids playing football on the street is the most pressing matter the Police have, when they fail to realise that seatbelt and mobile phone legislation is there to save lives and not to inconvenience them or when they think the rules should apply to everyone but them.

    This story reminds me of an incident I attended when I was a young probationer. A recently retired Police Officer (who I didnt know) ended up under a bus on his motorcycle. The incident had just happened and a main road was closed to allow for accident investigation. I had to stand at a side road just metres from the incident to redirect traffic looking to join the road at the scene of the incident.

    I was astonished by the lack of consideration by the motorists I was turning back. People who were so self absorbed that they must have believed it was all part of a conspiracy just to irritate them. The lasting memory of that time at the roadside was one motorist who, fifteen minutes after the accident occured, thought that he had a legitimate cause for complaint that there weren’t diversion signs up warning him in advance of the road closure. As if I could have conjured them from a wizards hat or a teleported a team of council employees from nowhere and laid them out along every possible route to the scene the moment I arrived. At least he got home that night, unlike the poor guy on the motorbike, who never got home again.

    Needless to say my attitude towards ‘the public’ changed somewhat after that. And whenever my train is delayed or I’m wondering why the wait time at A & E is four hours, I relax and think to myself ‘yeah, I don’t mind waiting. Sometimes things are going I don’t know about which I’m sure are more important than me.’

    • A AND E NURSE married to met policeman

      i agree with everything you have said i dont know how you all do your job with muppets that think you are there just to cause them some sort of aggrevation or upset , i thanks you all for keeping us safe, coming to us in our times of need , in violence , and in the most dangerous situations going , people dont understand that your job is not about speeding tickets and breath test its about the lady who is getting hit by her partner, the sudden death that lay underscovered for weeks, the racism , the man who is stuck under the wheels of a lorry and you know when you move it thats it hes dead, finding guns and drugs and putting yourselves on the front line of danger putting your lives in jepody just so we can walk the streets in safety so THANK YOU ALL x

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  • Anonymous

    i have the greatest respect and admiration for all emergency services the police especially as they have helped me not only threw violence but also threw so much over the past years . my fiance is a met pc . my heart is with you all may you keep safe and strong and angels watch over you in your jobs as you serve .

  • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    How do you cope.
    Thank you for all you do for us. you all have my respect.

  • Viv Hopuare Hayden

    I was just feeling sorry for myself when this story popped up on facebook, it is a very moving story & had me in tears, what a great job you did & you are quite right when people say “I pay your wages”! who do they think they are.. I will be thinking about Dave now, but I’m so glad you were there with him & I’m sure he felt the same, you are a wonderful person & I hope that you are proud of yourself, I dont know you, but I’m really proud of you & Dave, both of you are heros. xx

  • Anonymous

    What a very sad experience for both Dave and you. I can only imagine how terrifying it must have been for both of you. When I was little one of my firend’s mum died in a very similar way. My friend got peace by knowing those around the car during the final moments were doing everything they could to save his mum. I’m sure Dave’s family feel the same for you.

  • NCMedic

    From a Southern Yank (rather than the northern one) and chap in paramedic school, you have my condolences. First on-scene and the resources yu desperately needed were just too far away. I hope you’re able to find a way to make friends with the ghosts. Stay strong.

  • NCMedic

    And my RSS reader just made me look like an idiot. That’s “you,” not “yu.”

  • Gary O'Keeffe

    VERY moving read, major respect for people like yourself stuff like this does remind us that theres more to policing than speedtraps.

    Massive respect i couldent face stuff like that

  • princess1980

    So very very sad, i have never been in a situation like this, and i hope to god i never do. I can not imagine what it would be like. Thank you for doing this job, and thank you for doing this blog, to educate the ignorant people. you are a brave person, and poor Dave was lucky to have someone there that cared about him as opposed to someone that was just doing there job. RIP Dave. and a salute to you for doing your job so well. Would like to shake your hand one day. God bless Dave’s soul and god bless you.

  • ingwhiz

    Thank you for sharing this. I have so much respect and compassion for people like you who face this reality as part of their jobs. My dad was in the police too, and every Christmas Eve night he worked. My sister and I used to get really impatient, waiting for him to come home so we could open our presents the next morning. He confessed, when we were older, that on many of those nights, he had had to break the news to a family that a member of their family had died in a crash, on their way home from parties or suchlike. It really put our selfishness into perspective. I hope your post helps put other people’s selfishness into perspective, too.

  • Will Richardson

    Very telling who the twats were and their complete incomprehension of the public service that the police and others provide despite the attacks on pay and conditions, such as the proposed pensions taxes and continual anti-public service propaganda that denigrates and undermines us. Their unaccountability and sense of entitlement beggars belief yet it’s those they see as ‘beneath’ them that get vilified, rather than the real culprits. I’ve been compared to concentration camp guards at Auschwitz simply for telling someone what my role is and what theirs is, as well as one coward calling me a ‘wanker’ just as he put the phone down. ‘They’ see themselves as ‘special’ and entitled to be let off with kid-glove special treatment, they take and take whilst public servants give and give.

  • Revreese

    This is the most moving story I have read in a long time.
    I read it to my wife, who was moved aswell.
    I cannot understand how you guys manage dealing with difficult situations like this. I am trying to volunteer for my local force to help out however I can. I would like to become an Officer full time, but after reading about events like this, it makes me question if I would truly be able to cope with it at times.
    And I thought working retail put one on the front line of ignorant people.
    Thank you for writing this and moving us all, some things should be said.

  • Will Richardson

    …then there’s the trolls on here, mercifully few, tellingly varying degrees of anonymous, the gracious humility and patience of your responses is a model of civility and humanity, respect!

  • Will Richardson

    To the Brave Police Public Servants who do their jobs selflessly and don’t abuse their power, yet suffer attacks on their pay and working conditions, we salute you!

  • chris

    I take my hat off to you, I work with a lot of PC;s who have dealt with similar issues. I am a PCSO and have helpd RPU out with many things like this and it doesnt get any easier. Well written and thought provoking – have you thought of writing a book ?

    • MinimumCover

      Thanks for the comments. You are right about the fact that it doesn’t get easier, but I think we take something from each incident that makes us better when it comes to the next.

      Don’t think I have the content for a book yet, but in the future…who knows!

  • Tj


    I’m a Paramedic and get my fair share of crappy jobs. What this post has done for me is to allow me to try and work out if there is anything medically I could have done had I been with you. I now have a plan for this and other similar entrapments. It’s also gone in my mental book of training scenarios so others can also plan for it.

    Stay safe bro.


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  • Anonymous

    I read your post the other day. But I thought I would just let you know that our Chief (Leicestershire) has just put up a link on his internal blog pointing towards your post and making comment about it! So you do get the big bosses reading the blogs. And if he is reading yours, I’m sure he is reading Gadgets!!
    It is a fantastic piece of writing and I hope I never have to face what happened there. Well done.

    • MinimumCover

      Thanks for the heads up! Its nice to know the bosses are reading! Would love to know what he wrote…was it good or bad? Perhaps you could point him in my direction and ask him to make contact via email if he wants to…

      Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

  • Lewis

    That was a difficult story to read…

    I have always backed the bravery of the Police and the hard work that they do. My dad is a Detective Inspector and he has told me several stories from incidents he has attended and its a horrible thing to have to deal with.

    It’s a shame it turned out this way, but everything was tried in the end and I commend you for risking your life saving a man from what could have taken both your lives.

  • M O'C

    amazing writing. Having been trapped in a car for 45minutes that seemed like eternity I KNOW what an amazing and neccessary job you do and have nothing but respect for those who have the strength to do it.
    Luckily my husband, disabled son and I all got out alive in no small part thanks to the police officers on duty.
    You did all you could and Dave will have known that

  • janjanismyname

    This is the perfect blog for anyone who wants to know about this topic. You know so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I really would want…HaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a subject that’s been written about for years. Great stuff, just great!

  • chas youens

    After doing 30 years on the front line I coccure with all the thoughts and feelings of the writer.In my day we never had Sat Nav’s we had to know our area well, and as indicated sometimes to a while to arrive at the scene. Having dealt with many serious and fatal accidents over the years some of which made the national papers I did in the end learn how to deal with the sights and troumer of such an incedent.
    When people ask ” Do you enjoy your job?” I could only ever reply ” Some of it”

  • roobee

    Another unsung hero. I wish May and Cameron would read this …….then again I m sure they are far to busy planning how the make the thin blue line thinner. Total respect for you mc ,.rip Dave x

  • dee

    For every selfish member of the public that critisise our olive force there are many that are proud and very appreciative of the job you do, I send all good wishes to you and hope some day your heart will be a little less heavy! Every time I see my son in his uniform I am so proud of the job he does! I don’t know you, yet I am proud of you ! Godbless x

  • Lucy

    I am currently studying for a Masters in Criminal Justice and Policing at the University of Leeds. My lecturer for policing recommended this blog as part of our reading to gain a better understanding of what the police go through on a daily basis. I assumed that it would be another ‘day in the life of’ blog that I had read before… Usually full of very dry humour and stories that are good for a bit of a giggle if nothing else…. Not once have I come across an account that reduced me to tears at my desk…. I was incredibly moved by this story. We often think of the police as emotionless robots, put in place to cause aggravation rather than work to solve it… However, we would all do well to remember that they are human too, they think and feel in exactly the same way we do and events effect them in the same way if not more so!

    I shan’t lie, I have been guilty of getting pissed off when diverted after an accident (mostly when trying to get to and from university at the beginning or end of term!) In future, I will think twice and remember that the police (for the most part) are only ever doing their job and that we as the public should respect that!

  • Steven Maxson

    Very, very powerful story – my thoughts and prayers with all concerned.

  • Rachael Gray

    It really Annoys me when people dont respect the emergency services. i used to be on a lifeboat and was regularly face with criticism because i was female… was often told i was useless and females shouldn’t be on the boat , this pice of writing was very emotional, i felt i was there too… looking at the dying in the eyes stays with you forever… and it is always the upper class that believe they have more rights regardless to the situation. Emergency services are in place to help those in need not taking into account what class your from… so why shoud the ”upper class” be given more rights. after all we are all human we share the same rights.

    My thoughts are with all those who were involved.. R.I.P Dave hope your keeping that pint cold

  • Anonymous

    Amazing and heartfelt sympathy to all concerned

  • student paramed

    f#@k me… That’s all I can think to say.

    Thank you for what you do and who you are.

  • Will_Always_Stop_To_Help

    Some heroes join the army and travel to war carrying out the wishes of our government, god speed to them.

    On the other hand all of you are heroes but without the fanfare, the glory, the medals or at times even simple appreciation. Yet you do this to protect each one of us, here in our streets, towns and countryside.

    We are all very lucky you like your job and continue to do it, so I hear your words and I hope others do to.

  • Anonymous

    Reduced to tears. But respect. It wouldn’t be so bad if pple were just stopping to ask if you were aware of an alternative route … but some people just have their head’s up their lower orifices … Chin up mate there are some of us who do respect law enforcement and have a healthy bit of banter too :) Biker Bird don’t know how to change from anon :/

  • Donald

    Very well put together lad. After being a traffic cop for 25 years, I took early retirement aged 56 last year as the job (for me) had become untenable. When I joined the Motorway Unit where I completed my last 12 years of service, we had 32 patrol cars able to be deployed. When I gave up and called it a day, we routinely patrolled with 2 cars – at which point I truly started to believe that no one cared about my safety. I helped set up the Motorway FLO Unit, and dealt with 50 fatals/potential fatals in my last few years. Sadly, earlier this year, along with the Motorway Unit itself, this too has fallen victim to the latest cost cutting. Even now this feels like a kick in the teeth. I loved my job and always intended working there until I was 90! I was a good traffic cop – but the Force is no longer interested in good traffic cops…..

  • Firehand

    Dad spent over 30 years on Highway Patrol here in OK, every kind of vehicle/vehicle & pedestrian/vehicle & livestock accident imaginable; there are some he still won’t speak of.

    And every LE officer I’ve ever k now has flat hated two groups: the idiots who, desiring a look at the crash, slow down and screw up traffic flow even more; and the morons you describe, who insist that THEY need to go through there, “I’ll just drive on the shoulder/other side of the road/median”, etc.

  • perlhaqr

    God. That’s… Simply horrible. I’m weeping now and I imagine had I been in your situation, watching a man burn after I was unable to help I’d have been curled up vomiting and catatonic for a while afterwards. You have my most abject sympathy.

    I’ll be sure to carry a chain with hooks in the ambulance if I ever start using my EMT license. Pull the door off if necessary. The service can charge me for the bumper. I don’t want to be the first (or second) responder and unable to do anything.

  • gazza57

    Do you know, I share an office with a bloke who thinks all police are unable to chew gum and walk at the same time, he makes baseless trite remarks all day every day, he sees no good in anyone and is a poisonous sad figure who cannot keep a relationship with anyone, every girl he meets clears off after a few weeks when they realise just what an angry bitter and twisted individual he is, I would like to read him this article just to emphasise to him how unfair his prejudices really are but I guess it would do no good.
    For the record the cops go a great job and idiots like him do the police service a real injustice.

    PS Don’t tell the home office of they’ll make him a politician perfect credentials.

  • FireMedic

    Terrible call. I’m sorry we (the firemen) took so long to get there. Be safe.

  • Anyone near Taunton on the M5 last night?

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  • Anonymous

    that is so so sad

  • Anonymous

    My thoughts are with you pal, incredible article, all the best

  • Big Henry

    That was By Far …….a powerful Dramatic & upsetting Day for you & as You Say The Upperclass ( ive Experinced it myself ) don’t see The Sunshine throuh the Cloud’s unless its Blue Sky , We’r there for every one But , a Certain Few are only There for Them Selves !!
    I’ve No Doubt that Before You Decided to Write This Out in Both the Manner & detail that No Matter how Much Dave Knew You Were Doing your Up Most Best it Just wasn’t enough, & He Will meet you Some day in a Place after this Place & That Pint will be Wating for You Both to catch up. You Did Great buy Sharing This day with Others & If i Met you in A Pub/Bar i would Stand you a Pint in Dave’s name Thank you & take care

  • Martin

    You will never forget but you will get stronger. You will continue to cry but that will ease and as time moves on then so will you. Its such a devastating incident that no matter how prepared you are or think you are, its clear that we’re not and never could be. I hope you have an interest outside work as this is a great help. My thoughts are with you mate.

  • Anonymous

    A very unfortunate ending. At the same time, maybe this is a good reason to name your roads to help cut down on emergency response time, or else you get personnel losing precious minutes trying to find the incident.

  • mumof4

    Bless you for your service.

  • Anonymous

    My uncle was an Ohio State Trooper who retired after 19 years because he just couldn’t go to another home and notify a family that their child or other loved one had died in a crash. You all have a hell of a job, and I am glad you’re able to do it so well.

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  • Matt Jones

    My Brother is a serving police officer in Birmingham city center. He tells me basic details of things that go on in his daily work and I’m never less than amazed how he and men like him carry on. Loads of respect to all of you and……. Thank you. How ever much you earn, it’s not enough!

  • One of the many

    For, those police officers, fire service personnel and ambulance personnel we all have or at some time will have a ‘Dave’. My ‘Dave’ was a five year old boy in an incident in 1981 and I still remember it all now. The public, the politicians, the rule makers will never know or understand, not that they want to know!!

  • heenan81

    I feel so much empathy and sympathy for you and every other officer that has to endurd the relentless onslaught of why not, what’s your number, who’s you supervised etc. the event you attended is enough to impact permanently on the mind of any single person, to most it would be an event that would scar the mind, maybe damage it. You are a strong, strong human and the courage and conviction you showed were truly inspiring and I am sued that if you were not there Dave’s final moments would have been a whole lot worse.

  • red97

    Unimaginable. You made a huge difference to someone’s last moments. Speechless really…

  • Dean

    Wow. What a job…. I’ve been in two years and have been to many RTC’s but never a fatal! I hope you can somehow put this incident to the back of your mind. God knows how! You clearly did all you could. I’m sorry it happened to you. God bless.

  • To be

    To be honest there is nothing I can think to say other than “next time a road is blocked I WILL remember this”. You do an amazing job, thank you for being there for all of us. God bless x

  • Dee

    I have heard so many stories like this, and my heart bleeds a little more each time, I work in a police control room, and have taken a call from a man after a fatal where the road was closed, asking if the force where I worked were going to pay for the extra fuel, as he had to put extra in his car to get to a meeting that the road closure had made him late for……what a sad sad individual….
    When I replied to him that I would be sure that the deceased family would be gutted that their loss made him late for a meeting …he put down the phone….
    People, when you make your comments…please look out of the box, Police don’t close roads for a giggle.. whilst you are making your remarks, there may be someone on the other side of the cordon losing their life, just think, that could be you, your family or friend….

  • Anonymous

    Once you see that a driver is irritated by a closed rode, couldn’t you say “There’s been a fatality”? Would that help?

    • MinimumCover

      That’s all well and good until you find out you have a relative at the closure and they weren’t meant to know yet…

      Many just ‘want to go a little way up the road’ and unless they can see blood and guts on the tarmac right there on the road in front of them they assume you are making it up!

    • Anonymous

      Too bad the percentage of good cops isn’t a bit higher so that we could just trust them. If you or any of your colleagues you consider close participate in the Blue Wall of Silence, then you contribute to the problems you speak of. If not, then thank you for your service, and I’m sorry for any flak I give you because of the number of cops that are less than honorable.
      (same anonymous guy…Dave from Kentucky)

      • bedlambabe

        Dave from Kentucky,
        It is a shame, as the saying goes, “that when some one has a good experience (with the police or any Service) they tell no-one. If they have a bad one they tell ten”.
        It is human nature to complain about any bad service we have received which is why it seems that Services only offer bad service. If we took as much energy and time to praise the good work they do then we would think differently about them. But, of course, that stuff doesn’t make interesting reading, I guess, otherwise the media would be full of praise for police instead of slating them all the time.

        MC, a beautifully written piece, and your maturity at replying to the posts shows the restraint of … well, a fine policeman!

      • Anonymous

        What percentage of cops would you say participate in the “Blue Wall of Silence”?

  • Ali

    And they reckon local knowledge doesnt matter anymore and mapping works great and the new gps maps never fail!!! One big control rooms fine you dont need to know your patrols in person !! Think this proves you do and it always takes something like this to prove it. I feel for you and hope you got all the help you should off but probably didnt.
    Beautifully written x

  • Sally Brooke

    My husband was Police officer for 30 years in West Yorkshire and retired in 2010.
    He, like you was one of the good ones…. Who cared about people he came into contact with….. Who remembered many people he had come into contact with in many sad and distressing situations.
    It wasn’t just a job. It was a vocation.

  • Gemma mason

    So so sad…….. But thank you, what an in site and I do hope your message gets a cross to as many people as possible. You tried your best and my goodness that’s more than what many would have done! Have that beer buy two and say ‘cheers’ I’m sure that’s what fave would have wanted!

  • Wintersgood

    Dealt with something similar except it was a fatal stabbing! Initially he was talking to us however he soon started to deteriate and we did our best with cpr! Worst of all his family members were at the scene, not only did i have to see the terror in the victim eyes and try to promise him he would be ok knowing that he wasnt dealing with his family, espeacially his mother, was absolutely heart breaking! But we’re not supposed to show emotion or fear, you have to be strong because everyone depends on you to fix everything! Once he had passed away there’s a scene to be co-ordinated, cordons, enquiries to be made, your clothing needs to be seized and statements taken. But you cope and get on with it……then when your no longer needed and CID are on hand to take credit for the job you’ve done….oops I mean “take over”, you become a resource and are deployed to another job! You turn up to the next job which is a neighbour dispute over “next door parking in their space”!!!! You want to scream at them “BOO HOO IF THIS IS ALL U HAVE TO WORRY ABOUY YOUR LUCKY, YOU DO REALISE THAT U HAVE CALLED THE EMERGENCY SERVICES ABOUT THIS, SHALL I TELL U ABOUT THE DAY I’VE HAD” but you don’t, u smile and promise to speak with the neighbours as their behaviour is unacceptable! You try your best to help people but u finish ur shift and no one asks to check if ur ok. Then u return the next day and it all starts again and u do it because u love ur job, that’s why the government know they can cut our wages because we will still turn up the following day and the day after! We feel just as strongly about the state of the economy and the governments “solutions” however when everyone else gets to riot…oops I mean protest, we’re there working 12 hour shift with no idea when our rest days will be re-instated. We got shot at, police stations and car were set alight, we faced hundred strong angry mobs who’s only intention is to cause u serious damage! It’s terrifying but u can’t run away and when u do get home to ur loved ones and are asked HOW WAS WORK, u simply reply OK as u don’t want to worry them! But hey we’re obviously not worth our wages!!!!!!!

  • Baz

    Well, Jo, here’s one member of the public who has the greatest respect for our police and I don’t mind saying it. No, you’re not perfect but I’ve travelled a bit and I’ve never seen better, even though, or perhaps because, I’ve had the occasional minor scrape with the law in my youth.

    I think that many forget that you are human like the rest of us and a large majority do the job as well as they can.

  • Special Constable L

    As i current young (only 21) and serving special constable, i must admit i did have a tear in my eye after reading this. You reacted very quick, and clearly put yourself in danger to try and help Dave, and that is what we signed up to do. To serve and protect.

    Be proud mate. Your an insperation!!

    Regards. Lee

  • Rhiannon Watts

    The tears are actually running down my face and I have every admaration for you for the job you do. I hope you find comfort in the fact that you give your all and that there was nothing else you could have done. To see you have had the strength to write about it shows how strong you are with dealing with it. I really hope it gets easier for you time is a healer.

  • LozzyLulu

    Wow, this has made me think and realise what an amazing job you do. You’re a hero, and even though on this occasion it was impossible to succeed you certainly gave it your all. Keep up the hard work!

  • PC 119 Nigel Lawrence

    This bought tears to my eyes and memories of similar but different horrors i have encountered in my 30 years. And yes i have encountered those selfish individuals and even had one suit get out of his car, squaring up to me. All the while less than 50 feet away a young hirl was dying

  • Anonymous

    very sad

  • Dave

    Surely this would have been in the press… any chance of a link so we can see it really happened?

    If it did happen, have you thought for one minute that the mans family might not want you writing in so much detail about it? Have you thought that in making it a story of how it has affected the officer it shows the police as self centred? If I came across this blog about my relatives death I’d be furious.

    Yes, I am a cop and I have seen many harrowing things, some that ruin your average persons life. I’ve been upset, I’ve cried at times when I’ve got home and I’ve no doubt been damaged by things I have seen. I don’t want any sympathy and I certainly wouldn’t write a blog about them and expect the sympathy to be on me because it had happened on the rare occasion I’d managed to buy some cheap biscuits and not had a brew before turning out.

    I’ve always been cynical about the fire brigade and their image of running out of a burning building with a child over their shoulder. How many times does that really happen in a career? Once on average maybe, probably less if it was worked out.

    I’ve had terrible days at work, seen injuries to living and dead people that would make you vomit. I’ve seen the most horrific video footage you could imagine and gone home to my family at the end of the day. Say no more.

    But, the easy days far outweigh the bad ones. It ain’t too hard a job. People are dealing with far worse in hospitals, care homes and in social services.

    We’ve had it good for a long time, very good in fact. Let’s deal with it without the videos on Youtube showing a bobby with blood on his face with the slow piano music playing in the background “Would You Do It?”. People are not bothered, it is our job. Like the hundreds of men who have gave their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan who are paid far less than us, they are doing a job. You have a choice, go and work in a factory on minimum wage if you want, it is a lot harder I assure you that!

    The line that makes me laugh is, “It’s Not About The Money!” – Yes it is. Forget all this drivel that people come out with about joining to “put something back in the community” or “making a difference”. Absolute tosh. People join to get paid, end of.

    If I had a pound for every time I heard a traffic officer say, “the number of times I’ve swept body parts up…” I’d be a rich man. If you don’t want to do it… Leave! The door is there, someone else will fill your air conditioned BMW seat by the morning!

    • Anonymous


      ‘Id be a rich man’
      I would like to ask are you a specialsit constable. Are you a traffic officer. I for one find it dispicable that you think that MINIMUMCOVER has wrote this blog to gain sympathetic comments. He has wrote this to share his experience and show people that the public have inexcusable behaviour towards police officers. Especialy towards those that have been in MINIMUMCOVER’s situation.

      ‘Will fill your air conditioned BMW seat by the morining.’
      Being a working Officer yourself you should know that the cuts of today are affecting the Police Force so severely that the likes of MINIMUMCOVER and other experienced PCs find it difficult to get partners.This makes jobs even more difficult than what they would be double crewed. In the case of MINIMUMCOVER , if he had a partner i am very sure he would have saved Daves life.

      Id hope you have found that you are very wrong and decide to remove an uneaded comment.

    • Anonymous

      Serving officer. You are wrong in what you write. By a long way. You are not the bobbies voice. Along with a lot of others, I left better, more secure jobs, to make a difference. I am far from alone, altruistic or misguided. Do I wish I had stayed put in my cushy number? Yeh, often. Wife in the job, kids needing and wanting more time with Dad but what a role model to be than to go to work wanting to make a difference rather than a sale or an extra 2% commission?! I don’t like war stories. I don’t like recounting. Not because it’s harrowing because, for me at least, it’s not. That’s not because of some phenomenal coping mechanism but because that’s who I am and how I police; that makes me no better, or worse, than the next officer. Call my colleague an arse, lazy, great or just average I may. Dismiss their take on things because I believe we are paid from the same pot? Nope. Very arrogant reply. Note I didn’t use the descriptive of insensitive or unsupportive? You’re not. Just arrogant.

    • Catherine

      I have great respect for all of the emergency services, even though I know not all are in it for the right reasons. You are one of the individuals that contribute to so many people’s negative image of police.
      You say that if it were your relative you’d be angry or upset to see a police officer blogging about it, and yet at the same time you ask for a link to a news story to prove that it really happened. It is by not providing this link to prove to cynical fools like yourself that anonymity is preserved. In this way, this is an account of what a police officer has experienced, that does not identify the casualty or his family so that they are not exposed to the realisation of another’s difficulty and are quite rightly able to continue with their own grieving.

  • Sarah

    Do you know what, people either love or hate the police and its so unfair. I have worked as an operational member of police staff for 19 years and heard my fellow officers screaming on the radio when they couldn’t someone out of a burning car. My husband is an officer who with 30yrs has witnessed these horrendous events. Maybe jerk the truth has been sheltered by his mum and doesn’t realise that people die in tragic circumstances that are witnessed by police and other emergency services, poor love, what is he? 9? Lets start thanking our heros for what they do and not what they don’t. You are one of our heros mc and don’ you forget it. Thought

    you x

    circumstances and police and other emergency services are usually the first on scene.

  • Emma

    A very moving story. No one can ever really know what being a Police officer is really like. After a near death experience on the job I sometimes think is it worth it…but this story proves that it is. Love to all my Police colleagues out there x

  • Tom G

    That was a well written article. Sad and unfortunately too true. I hope both you and Dave find peace.
    With the exception of the story of Dave, one portion of it resonated with me “Many have little, if any, concept of real life, and the tragedies that occur outside their own little bubble and some see the Police as no more than a necessary evil that should only become involved in their lives when asked to do so.”
    It’s that narrow minded thinking that gives the Police a bad name, no one see’s what we battle with on a daily basis. The worst part is, that it’s the only thing I would change about my job. I couldn’t ask for anything else. More money would be nice but who am I kidding. None of it will take away the battle scars of the mind.

  • lauraj

    i have the greatest repect for you for helping this Dave!! :) keep up the good work and saving lives! xx

  • creativestyl1st

    This is such a powerful message to all those who perhaps hadn’t really given much thought to every aspect of a police officers role. I can only begin to imagine how harrowing this was for everyone involved, particularly for you with the realisation that your efforts to save Dave were futile. In a short space of time you had built up a rapport with him, even joking with him…neither of you could have known how quickly and tragically it would end.

    I will never forget this and whilst I have never argued about a road closure I’m sure that I will find myself desperately hoping that it’s not because of a fatality that a police officer or any person tried so valliantly to prevent.

    I have a huge amount of respect for you MC, and all those who put their own lives at risk in the line of duty. Yes, maybe you do get paid to do the job but it’s not enough. It’s not nearly enough.

    Thank you for sharing your story. Stay strong, stay safe x

    RIP Dave x

  • Chris d

    a very well written piece, very moving and yes certainly makes you think. for me, i.m left in no doubt about the fantastic work you guys do that in my mind has never been in doubt. unfortunately i.m left yelling where the hell were the fire brigade!? they let the side down. Dave died as a direct result of their failure. horrific stuff especially for Daves family.

  • Allen

    My sister, a police officer, sent me the link to this. I cried reading it, shocked at what you’d been through. Just wanted to say how sorry I am and how grateful for the work you and your colleagues do, even though so many people have no comprehension what it involves.

  • helen666

    Beautifully written, I know how this felt reading it, I wished him out the car myself as I was reading. Hoping that it would be a fairy tale ending. Truth is that there are not many of those and the reality is what you faced. I am sure that many officers face situations like this and I often wonder do they become immune to it as time goes on.

  • simon wicker

    I completely agree with what the author is saying and feeling. As a paramedic I have been at scenes such as this and fully appreciate the sentiments expressed.
    The great public have very little notion of the work of the emergency services and even less comprehension of why we may have closed a road. Most can’t even see a 5.5 ton emergency vehicle with blue lights blazing sirens wailing let alone why the road is closed.

  • Dan kirk

    Superbly written, I will share this and urge people to read it as this happens all too often, in this instance the police are waiting for the fire service I have been in situations where the fire service are waiting for the ambulance, we have all been in situations where we are waiting for each other, as we all carry out a vitally important job, as you say a much more demanding job than your average joe public may understand. The way this government is going it is only going to get worse. The public need to realise that cuts do cost lives! (sorry to use an old cliché) thank you for sharing your experience.

  • Frances

    What a brave man. Hero in my eyes!!

  • Anonymous

    Well written mate, it’s a job that changes you, it never leaves you either. I was ill health retired 3 years ago because of an injury on duties, yes duties not duty 3 in fact, shattered my discs in my back. Saying that i would go back tomorrow even though the force treated my like shit i’d go back.

  • Anonymous

    i have just read the contents and all the replies about you and i think you all do a great job i have had help from the police before now and they do care thankyou from steve

  • Linda

    I can understand your dispair – I am the wife of a retired traffic officer of 30 years – sometimes I had to pry out of him what had happened at work just so that he could unburden his heart. The carnage and damage that you guys and girls deal with is beyond belief sometimes. I admire you all.

  • Chamfrom

    Really feel for you – been to plenty of nasty ones whilst working the motorways – never had one like this though – I managed to get in one car to drag someone out that was trapped and on fire – then got a bollocking from the gaffer for working over time – the stress aint always from the public – although most of it is. Keep up the good work – the pain of these horrid jobs does pass eventually – the public have no idea what we have to contend with…..

  • unknown

    Sooo sad!! Thank god for policemen/women

  • celenagaia33

    A PC friend of mine posted this up on Facebook, and as a writer on WordPress myself, I followed the link, intrigued. I wasn’t prepared for the quality of writing, nor just how harrowing this entry would become.

    It was at the point of “It was impossible…no matter how hard I pulled, it was not moving an inch” that I had the cold stomach wrench. I knew this would end badly, for all.

    And then for you to have to stand there at the block, taking the shit from motorists, from the angrily ignorant face of Joe Public…

    This, and for many other reasons, is why I forgive the guys at work over and again. When they’re rude to me; when they leave shit smeared on seats, coffee stains on seats, mugs with foreign objects growing in them, intel dumped in regular bins for me to pick out and flag up to their respective Skippers…it’s all mediocre nonsense really. As a solo cleaner at a city Nick, I see and hear much. But I’ll never be able to fully comprehend what those men and women go through. So it’s thanks to this blog – and some mates I’ve made at work – that I can at least try, give the messy buggers the benefit of the doubt, and continue to worry for them whenever it’s a particularly bad job.

    Thanks for this.

  • Nigel

    The eyes of the dying leave their mark on you… deep and strong!
    A monetary closing of your eyes brings them back sometimes, vivid and unexpected.
    I call them my friends, they will not go away, they are always with me.
    But each one has taught me something about myself, made me a better person, better able to help the next one.
    It’s not enough to justify the tragedy that took their life, its of no help to the families left behind. but it helps me to keep helping those that really need my help… our help!
    Stay strong.

  • Sandy


  • Mr C

    Very impactive. Police, ambulance, fire, highways agency traffic officers all face incidents of a horrible nature at times, havin been 2 of those 4 I can’t think of anything worse than the one discribed.. Hopefully readers of this who have never been in a situation like this might keep it in mind next time there stuck in a traffic jam or the road they always use is closed due to an accident, and maybe as they drive past they might not be so abusive and a little more understanding.

  • Lane

    I cried whilst reading this. My friends are police officers and I never really give a thought to what they actually do for a living. Thank you for opening my eyes and doing the job you do.

  • linda parrott

    How true. Wish mops would understand and be in our postion. Good posting

  • Debbie

    What a beautiful, moving story. Certainly makes you think!!

  • Andybob869

    Nearly 13 years in 2 RTCs stick with me. the 17 year old boy who borrowed mums car on Xmas eve and was late to meet his friends. He never made it and my colleague and I couldn’t get to his car upside down in a bush. We watched him go. And another senseless one where a dad watched as his wife and 3 girls were mown down by an elderly driver who pushed the wrong pedal. All survived thank the Lord..
    we are expected to deal and move on. You are a brave, proud, professional police officer and I am proud to be in your family.

  • Anonymous

    Beautifully written, and so, so very true. I’d only stories like this were compulsory for everyone to read. I don’t demand respect, I earn it, as do you, but all we ask for is not respect, just understanding. I attended an incident after only two and a half years in the job, and held a young Polish man in my arms as he saw and spoke his dying moments, then had to speak to his sister afterwards. I’ll never forget that night.

  • Anon

    This has me in tears! I hope, to whoever people have faith in, that I never have to go through something like this… And that you never have to again!
    To say there are footballers and ‘celebrities’ being paid millions… Our money needs to go to our forces. It is more deserved being spent on those who protect us. Though not every case may be a satisfactory outcome, we should all know that it’s the police who try their hardest to make sure it’s the best possible outcome.
    I can’t even begin to understand what you went through but I salute you, and honour you

  • Jjjhhh1989

    Speechless just justifys the emergency services and how the support should not be cut but finances increased to put more brave men and women on our streets!

  • anonymous

    I was a traffic cop and a family liaison officer so i have been at the scenes where people have died, i have had to deal with the impatient drivers who want to “get through” and can’t understand why the road’s closed, i have had to do the knock on the door knowing that what i’m about to say will change somebody’s life forever and i have had to help families through the subsequent investigation

  • Dave Gee

    Every credit to you my friend… Thankfully my ‘Dave’ survived, but only because the accident was on a main road and the fire brigade were there quickly…I’ll never know whether me trying to keep him calm while holding a cloth over his mouth so he didn’t breath in too much smoke helped..Unfortunately the two in the other car didn’t make it..neither did the 12 year old I tried to resuscitate at another ‘accident’ when he was hit by a drink driver… At least on another occasion, spending 45 minutes talking to a man who didn’t know me, nor I him, gave me that immense feeling of relief and satisfaction, when he finally allowed me to help him climb back over to the right side of a motorway bridge fence….. These are just a few stories in a vast cavern of thousands upon thousands which we combine in the services, and this is why we do what we do… These are the stories the ‘Ivory Tower’ residents shoud hear, as well as those ‘impatient’ people you mentioned.. Though on the other hand, in a strange way, I’m glad for them, that they don’t understand, because they are protected from the dark side of ‘real life’ .. Well done, and Thank You for sharing your very moving and extremely well described ‘memory’… RIP to your Dave…

  • George

    Totally understand where this officer is coming from. Imagine being on duty Christmas eve night shift and attending a lone female(mother) to deliver the message that her son who had only been released from prison the day before had overdosed on drugs and passed away. The drugs he paid for with the Christmas money she had left for him in a card Christmas eve. She broke down in tears in front of myself and another officer. Around us was the Christmas cards from family and friends wishing her and her newly released son a happy Christmas! She had already prepared the table for her and her son. I delivered the message just half an hour before the end of my shift? I will always remember that Christmas eve shift and it played on my head all Christmas and every Christmas since I remember how I delivered the message that destroyed her Christmas. Yet another job we deal with telling loved ones that someone close be it child/mum/dad etc has passed away we aren’t robots and I think any officer reading this knows exactly what I am talking about! Let the people that matter read a few more of these stories for a wake up call of what a complex and vast job the Police force of today deals with

  • boommutt

    Very well written. Brother, my heart goes out to you, Dave, and both of your families. I haven’t been an officer for very long (8 years), but I will never forget the first fatal accident I responded to. People outside of our job will never fully understand what we go through on a daily basis.

    My first fatal accident involved a two year girl who wasn’t buckled into her carseat correctly and I held her while sitting in the seat next to her. The hardest thing besides that was having to maintain my emotions while having to stay on scene to finish the work.

    God bless you brother and thank you for having the courage and strength to wear the badge.

  • David S

    Incredible account…we can all relate to it. Amazing how naive members of the public are with sfq’s…

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  • Dave E

    OMG – reading this has brought back some memories as the same happend to me! One morning at 0620 we got a call for a 2 car RTC so we jumped on the ambulance and started to make the scene. On route we have to pass the fire station and I could see the boys getting their kit on and the doors going up for the tender. We carried on to the scene which was another 4 miles away. On arrival it was a 2 car RTC with one person laying on the grass… my crew mate went to her and I went to the trapped driver – He was talking but like in the account above he was trapped by his legs. As I talked to him I could see the flames coming from the foot pedels – it took so so fast that he screamed at me to help – All I can remember is the two tone horns of the fire engine coming – but again ‘it was to late’ there was a bang and the car was well alight and once the fire was out it was silent…. couldn’t even hear the morning song from the birds. We then had to ‘get on with it’ there was still the other driver to get to hospital.

    Following the ‘fatal’ I kept seeing things in the paper like ‘happy birthday Daddy we miss you’ and it ripped through me.

    I was the last person to say it will be ok to him and that I’m sorry and that will live with me forever. However, I wouldn’t change the job for the world but going past the scene always makes me think.

    Cheers for sharing as it’s ‘nice’ to know we are all in the same boat xx

  • Richard

    As someone married to an officer, I’ve heard similar accounts of things she’s seen and dealt with and it still doesn’t get any easier. My thoughts are with you … and here’s hoping (against hope) that you don’t have to deal with the same thing again – but we both know it’s a small hope.

    All the best.

  • Anon

    Thank you for sharing that with a large amount of people that even after reading your story will never really know what it is like to be a police officer. It is only times like now in poor situation we face that police officers are now speaking out and letting the public know, we do a sn good job which becomes more than a job from day one of hitting the streets. Your story genuinely brought a tear to my eye as not only did I feel for Dave but hugely for you and these are the stories we have held back from telling but now people need to know and again thank you for sharing it, all the best mate :)

  • Bruce Tann

    Thank you so much for sharing that hallowing experience. I hope writting about it goes some way to healing the memory of that awful day.

    A large number of people are in essence selfish and unfortunately think they should be shown respect rather than show it to others. I for one have the greatest respect for the Police, and although not in the job myself, my Father was and my Brother is.

    I can remember returning from a security call out in East London in the early hours of the morning around 20 years ago and was looking to join the M25 from the A12 in Essex when I noticed two Essex Police Officers attempting to close the junction. They didn’t look like there minds were on the job, the cones were all over the place and they looked so upset. I carried on down the A12 as I realised something major must have occured, but other drivers were shaking there heads and looking angry.

    It was only the next day, I heard on the news that a Police Patrol had stopped on the hard shoulder behind a broken down vehicle to help the driver, when a lorry ploughed into them. Both officers were killed that night.

    I hope those self opinionated individuals realised why the Police do what they have to do.

    Keep up the good work and hang in there.

  • Anonymous

    Well that has just brought new found respect and put my life into perspective a little! I am the first to admit that maybe I have been one of them people before :( I now feel awful. Rip dave x

  • Anonymous

    Nothing I can say will sound right and as such I won’t say anything but you did your best and Dave knew you were.

    From a fellow PC

  • Vickie

    Even when dealing with a bad cop I still sit bk and admire you Gus unfortunately there is bad in every job but you all do a marvelous job and I thank you for it.

  • A Christian Preacher

    My heart goes out to you, young man. You have no reason to condemn yourself because you did all you could and I am sure Dave knew that.

    We do not ask to be in the situations we find ourselves and when we do we try to help. I worked with the police for a year and then became a Special but unfortunately there are those who, never having worked with the police, or even bothered to find out about the different departments, who will always think you, the police, are a problem. Who do “THEY” call first when there is a problem?????

    They are too think to understand you, the police, are there to enforce the laws and 99% of the time put yourself in great danger to protect the innocent.

    They are so cock sure they are better than anyone else.

    They are the first to complain and the last to help. They will stand an watch giving no thought to you, your fellow officers or even the person who is in trouble.

    You, you man, are a credit to the uniform you wear and I wish you peace in the future. God Bless you.

  • Alexandra

    I am a nurse and was married to a traffic officer for many years. I remember the night he was first on scene to a nasty RTC, 2 dead teenagers and a car on fire in which a dreadfully injured woman was trapped…luckily he managed to crowbar the door open and drag her free before the car exploded… As part of a project I was undertaking re PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) I managed to persued all the Traffic Officers to complete an anon questionaire. The results were shocking! Most officers were affected/stressed/suffering or ‘shut down’ in some way, one had suicidal thoughts…and yet NONE dare tell anyone or sought help for fear they may risk their job or the respect of colleagues! What a dreadful culture… As a nurse I remember the horror of that moment when someone looks right into your eyes with a silent pleading, just before they die… But as a nurse the public treat me as an ‘angel’, whereas my ex-husband was regularly sworn at, spat on, threatened and even had his arm broken by members of the public! In the end he became shut down, devoid of emotion, moody and then violent at home and I had to leave to protect our children. But I believe that dragging dead children from an RTC one minute, and being spat on the next changed him…he became hardened just to survive…he now has been divorced 4 times… Well done MC for managing to maintain your compassion in one of the worst jobs ever… Alex

    • bedlambabe

      With the coming of the Winsor report part 2 these officers will be even more reluctant to show that they have been affected in any way. If they do, according to Winsor, they will be seen as being of no further use to the Service and sacked.
      Officers do give their lives in the service of the Queen, in that, I mean, they give up any chance of a normal existence.
      They suffer a higher level of mental health issues then any other job (one in 3 as opposed to the usual one in 4 in the rest of society) and the highest divorce rate (due to the shutting down of their emotions).
      We are never “off duty”.

  • Anonymous

    So sad.., deeply moved my heart goes out to you and dave x

  • Anonymous

    God bless you all ..thank you

  • Alex Gale

    Can the police not be issued with a port-a-power hydraulic it may save lives like the one in this situation,sorry to hear this but it’s a small peice of equipment which can reshape a car quite easily? Thank you for sharing this and I am glad we have such a great police force.

  • Anonymous

    I echo the sentiments of all others on here. I’ve seen atrocities too I’ve cradled a grown man sobbing like a baby after dealing with other familiar stories……suicide, fatal rtc’s and child neglect some too horrific too imagine but find there is no measure of performance on our annual appraisal for such dealings, it’s just expected….so we do, we just get on with it…I’m furious with the politicians who want to reward us for tangible results…and the media infused public who suck it up and think we are lazy and p*** takers….when the wheel comes flying off we EARN every darn penny…..

  • Clare

    Im a Pcso and have have to do a closure due to 2 fatalities and I got called some very rude nasty things and all I felt like shouting was have some respect people have just died! This story I hope people will take time to read and understand what we do or have done to try and assist people in time of need and maybe think before opening their wicked mouths ! To me your a hero like all my colleagues who do this job I just hope when I get to be a PC in as brave and Profesional as you are !!!!

  • Dawn

    As a member of the general public can i say a heartfelt thank you for all you do for us, thank you for being a true hero.

    As the wife of a serving roads policing officer who is also a family liaison officer  I’d like to say thank you for such an eloquent reminder and a tiny insight into just what “a bad day at work” truly means.

    You, and all police officers, have my utmost respect for all you do whilst facing constant criticism, bureaucracy and cutbacks. 

    I can only repeat my thanks and hope that you are managing to “process” this. My thoughts are with you and Dave’s family. R.I.P Dave xx

  • Stage

    So tragic but happens too often! All us officers only ask for the same respect we give the community we serve. Enough said!

  • Stephanie

    Very sad

  • Anonymous

    This happened to me. As a young PC in the early 1990’s. On a country lane on a bend and I was on my own for about 15 minutes with the driver as smoke poured out of the bonnet. Nothing worked to free him and we both resigned ourselves to the inevitable. The worst thing was that Trumpton came down the road from a distance and didn’t see us and turned into another track down to some farm buildings (I guess they didn’t have SATNAV in those days) – thankfuilly help arrived in the form of the men in white hats and I was placed back on to a road closure – but the driver was minutes from being burned alive.

  • Jenny

    Your all my heros!!

  • Saffron Blower

    My best friend, is currently awaiting training to join the police force. It’ll be the things like this that matter so little to some and mean the universe to others that will determine how he will see the world for the rest of his life. I pray that he never knows the pain you must have felt and the realisation that we as a race are full of people who have no respect for a man who has lost his life, and a woman who has lost her soulmate. Although I know there’s one day in everyone’s life that gives them this awful exposure to the horrible truth. Rest peacefully Dave, and every other ‘Dave’ who may be on another road one day.

  • Anon

    I’m a PC and was only having a conversation today about how much I can’t stand people anymore! Nobody cares about other peoples feelings do they? Just cos we do our job doesnt mean we deserve to be treated like shit!
    I know and have been in his position and its not good!!!
    Take care all you PC’s were better than them!

  • shaun

    Aww that was really touching- really got my attention reading that

  • ExAaS

    As an ex Control Room Operator I understand and echo your account of what the general public can be like. Its shocking the lack of respect some have when a road is closed. Someone has just died.. Lost their life.. But to you, the fact that it will take you 10 minutes extra to get home is somehow more important. At least you will get home, which is more than can be said for Dave!
    I once knew an Officer who came across an rtc on his way to work whereby a motorcyclist had hit a car on the wrong side of the road and been ripped into 3 parts. He not only had to see that but deal with the hysteria from all other parties.
    What Police Officers do is beyond human. Yet in all my time in the Control Room I only received 1 phone call from someone wanting to thank the Police for their help. The rest were complaints that they were taking longer than an hour to get to their report of a car blocking their driveways or similar. Maybe after reading this they will realise there are sometimes more tragic reasons for not being able to attend and officers are not sat in the station drinking tea and eating cookies waiting for you to call!! Keep up the good work. X

    • Roger Mant

      I have worked in the Force Contact Centre at Police HQ assisting those officers and staff taking calls from the public. I have nothing but admiration for all involved in the taking of calls and handling the aftermath. No one can prepare you for what the public might throw at you especially if you do not have a miracle to hand. God bless you all, and may you continue to perform an essential role in keeping the public safe.

  • Anonymous

    Thanku to all u men and women that make my life and my familys life a safer life.

  • Anon

    Thank god you were there and he didn’t have to go through that alone. Sometimes that’s all our public need. And all that can be done.

  • Jodie

    Hi I’m so sorry this happened but you did all you. Could to help, I had a accident 2004 it took fire brigade 1 hr to cut me out of the car if it hadn’t of been for the emergency services I wouldn’t be here today, people should understand roads get closed by police for a reason and think that one day it maybe them or a member of their family that some other irate member of the public is shouting. Keep up the good work you do.

  • Anonymous

    so sad u tried ur best xxx

  • Mark Smedley

    Sitting here on Annual leave on holiday in Egypt and brought a sad feeling of how we love the job we do, despite seeing life slip through our hands or face death many times. Yet politicians, media and low life’s on the street never want to acknowledge that in their condemning reports about Police and our job.
    Beautifully written account and I would say brought a tear to my eye but won’t in case the media or politicians start printing reports that police are now too soft…

  • Anon

    I, in the past have been one of those irate drivers, you mentioned when faced with a roadblock. However after reading this never again will I get angry when faced with a closed road. Your report literally moved me, I think we often forget sometimes just what a demanding and thankless job our police force do. However you continue to do this job with diligence and dedication, keep up the hard work all you men and women in the force, you are appreciated.

  • Michael bertram

    Truly touching story about a very genuine guy.
    I am on the fence when it comes to police as I have been let off with minor offences just cause of my good manners. But I know of some egotistic bully boy coppers who disgrace the likes of you.
    And nowadays with mobile phones having cameras you the police will have the right to remain silent as you gasp at the uneccary force in which some not all conduct them selfs.

    My morale is this a world without police no chance….but please treat us with the respect you want to receive back

  • pete yetton

    As an ex forces guy I have always had the upmost respect for the police force. A hard job and so valuable. It is events like the one mentioned that you are forced to deal with then are expected to crack on as normal.having conducted extensive research into PTSD with veterans…it is so clear that members of the emergency services should have constant access to help and therapists if needed.I take my hat off to you.

  • andy houston

    The job that the police do is fantastic, people don’t. Know just what they have to do and what they have to deal with…RESPECT the police, because one day they might just be there to try and save YOUR LIFE..you could be the Dave in this story, think positive and help the police.

  • Kev Whyte

    Many thanks to all the emergency services for an outstanding job in very difficult circumstances.

  • Anonymous

    Made me cry :-(

  • Kent Officer

    I have attended incidents such as this but never been in your exact position as you describe. We join the job to help people and I know it can feel like a failure when we can’t help someone, however we are only human too. The public seem to have some kind of super power, but we are affected personally too by tragedies such as this, maybe not at the time as we are all professional, but days and weeks later.

    The road closure situation is one of my biggest hates. The first hour is fine but as you say it wears very thin.

    Thank you for sharing as together we get through things like this as we have all, at some point, unfortunately dealt with similar situations.

  • Alex

    I think everybody can say at some point have bad mouthed police or given them some sick same as the armed forces. People forget what they have to do and what they see day to day. I would hope in my line of work I will never have to see or be put in that kind of situation, take my hat off toyou and hope the psycological effects are minimal. Good luck to you keep up the good work!

  • bedlambabe

    Years ago I stood at a road closure due to a suspected bomb. The road was taped off and, due to it being a busy area, a hand-full of us officers were standing on point.

    A MOP was desperate to get through as it was a Friday night and he had to meet his friends at the night club opposite the sus. bomb site.
    He would not listen to, “no”, nor would he listen to, “there is a suspected bomb.” He even tried to get under the tape and push passed us.

    He asked what was likely to happen to him if he did get passed.

    I replied, “If the bomb goes off? You will most likely jump in the air a hundred feet and scatter yourself over a wide area”. (Thanks, Blackadder)

    He didn’t like that answer.

    MC, in relation to your blog, I thank you for putting into words what many of us cope with on a daily basis. It is not about stats, it is not about detections, it is about people. Long may we care.

  • Kevin Whyte kjp

    Thanks for caring.

  • Cheis Blackshaw

    After nearly 34 yrs service there are jobs like this that still remain vivid in my mind and will remain vivid until my last days on earth. This story is particularly tragic and harrowing, but at the same time it needs to be told, so that the likes of politicians, who keep insisting that the police service is just like any other job, can begin to realise the skills that are required to carry out a very complicated job, which calls for you to be on your metal at every moment of your shift. I retired 14 months ago and for the whole of my 12 hour shift everything I did and said was recorded on cctv. Mind you it’s still the same I am training for to be a Methodist Minister, at least my boss who sees and hears everything is loving and forgiving and most of all understanding!

  • Matthew Harding

    A very poignant and terrifying window on the world of the average police officer, and the fantastic work that all the services do regardless of the cutbacks. We sould all take a little time to give some consideration to our fellow citizens and service personel.

  • John

    I went through almost the same thing last week nightshift. No one realises what we go through. No one knows how hard it is to look in someones eyes when you know you can not save them.

    Hope you are alright buddy.

  • Mike Bailey

    I’ve had similar experiences here. Only your “brothers and sisters in blue” will understand.

  • Tricia Clark

    What a tragedy for Dave and the policeman.

  • james scott

    I guess you never really think about the darker side of police work. You’ve an incredibly strong character to go through all that and continue with the job at hand. So sad you all couldn’t help Dave out he seemed like a nice guy. Keep up the good work your a credit to the force.

  • Penno

    I am an ex Police Officer with 20 years service. I know we all signed up to deal with the worst that life throws at you (in civilian life) and have seen so many bad things, things I can still see in full clarity in my head. I understand your story I was a CID officer most of my Service and have never had someone actually die in front of me. My heart goes out to you I know from what I have seen in my life it’s way too much.I will add as an extra that the Armed Services, Fire Brigade Ambulance, Doctors and Nurses are all in the same field game. But as long as Britain still has people like all of us around then there is hope.

  • david bean

    bloody hell it shows you how life is too short & how we take everything for granted, the emergency services doctors, nurses all deserve so much more than they recieve, one day maybe them in office will realise this & give to them instead of taking all the time. god bless dave,

  • Michael

    12 years ago I had the misfortune to have to deal with a couple of police officers that deemed it necessary to close a road. The road in question was the A628 Woodhead Pass and the date was 27th October 2000. Not an easy day to forget as it was my sisters birthday when the police decided to close the road causing nothing but tailbacks and gridlock through to Hyde and all the towns/villages around Glossop and towards Sheffield. So I can well understand the frustration caused and some of the anger from the unsuspecting public. Thing is a young lad had been in a head on collision whilst driving his sports car and had hit some family man driving a bog standard failiy car. The accident was a head on.

    The driver of the sports car was in a bad way and it was suspected it could be a fatal but thanks to the brilliant work by the rescue services, police, fire, air ambulance and the staff at the Northern General Hospital I managed to survive and not a day goes past that I dont think about the hard work everyone did to save me. As it happens the family car had overtaken a truck and hit me head on at speed. I dont remember the crash but recall coming around and trying to get out, a futile exercise when a steeringwheel was pinning my broken pelvis to the chair and my right leg was completey shattered. I only just survived as I had ruptured both kidneys and my liver too.

    Despite trying for years to track people down I failed thanks to possibly force policy to prevent people getting in touch, the only name I remember from that day was of the traffic officer that attended the scene (one of the entire team that helped). His name was PC Proudfoot of the Derbyshire constabulary. If any of you know this guy or anyone else involved on the day please pass on my heartfelt gratitude and likewise my thanks to you all that do a job thats ever frustrated by paperwork, stats and politicts with diminishing budget. I imagine you hardly ever get to see the people you save so take it from me we’re ever grateful.


  • Anonymous

    Absolutely horrific, but reading this made me angry-was there any investigation into why it took so long for the fire brigade to turn up?! It sounds like you were left to deal with this for some time on your own?

  • Anonymous

    As a young in service Police Officer, with 3 years service, I was astounded at the amount of sudden deaths a Police Officer comes across. No amount of training can teach an Officer how to cope at those incidents. 

    The expectation to manage a sudden death expeditiously moving onto the next incident, wholly unrelated without a moment to recapture your thoughts has always troubled me. After all, Police Officers are only human.. 

    I cannot comprehend how you coped under such duress, an unimaginable sequence of events..

    You are a credit to the Police Service, I hope you acknowledge that you did everything you possibly could for Dave. Very harrowing read but thank you for sharing your experience, I hope you seek comfort in the support others have shown you.  Rip Dave. 

  • Sher

    Congrats to that police man, he did a fantastic job, bad out come but we can’t win them all and I bet he was there when u were having ur pint in spirit ..

  • Patricia

    My husband and I were on our way back to Kent from Gatwick 8years ago, when we had a similar incident. Apparently a guy had deliberately driven the wrong way down the motorway, crashing into another couples car. We were the first on the scene and if it hadn’t been fro lorry drivers behind us thinking so quick to turn their lorries sideways we would have been hit by traffic behind us. Thankfully the couple were not badly injured.When we got to the drivers car, his door was stuck, my husband and I had an awful job trying to get the door open, and his car was also on fire, We did eventually get it open and pulled the driver out, but he was already dead.

    My sympathies go to everyone in similar situations.

  • Roachford

    Truly inspiring and I can sympathise with the arrogance you experienced as I have recieved it many times at fatals… I think the worst being “well this is really not on, it’s a quarter to and tesco Closes in 15 minutes, hmmmmph” when told to find an alternative route the quality continued ” I don’t know any other I’ve been driving this one for ten years and never had a problem before” it’s hard to keep your professionalism at this point and I really just wish people would learn! My first week in the job was a fatal … Fuel (not knowing at the time) running downhill from one of the wrecks and over my boots as I’m trying to cope with the casualty in front of me… With others from the other car sitting close by holding their chests in pain. Never a good situation to be in and what seems like an eternity before other agency help arrives… They soon did but it was too late for one of the passengers. I have 21 years left and I’m sure I’ll see many many more than I have already but it’s what we do. Feel for you though mate. Keep up the good work and live the dream wherever possible!

  • James

    Very moving story,amazing bravery in the face of a possible car explosion. I hope it gives people a new found respect for what you guys do behind closed roads. As it was mentioned in another post,MPs should be pouring money into the police,ambulance,and fire brigade. I think even a simple investment in cordless reciprocating saws that charge in the car ready for use is a start!

  • OldJock

    MC well done… a tough job really well described (though that doesn’t really cut it)…

    The trouble is that it isn’t always the Emergency services who arrive first. I was the first on the scene following a crash on the M74… thick banks of fog and foreign motorists driving a UK car at great speed… the A pillar of the car was flat against the door and a ghostly white face stared out from below the shattered windscreen… there were four more people inside that car… I told the first person to come up to call 999 and report an RTC… I then asked the next truck to park across the motorway… and went back to the car… more people arrived as this happened and we got the driver out… then forced the back doors of the car and got the passengers out… (there was luggage and presents strewn across inside of the car and everything in the boot was thrown forward against them)… lastly we made our way around to the front of the passenger side… I said a (mental and very short) prayer and I lifted the windscreen off the passenger’s face… nothing… I put my hand down to feel for the artery in the neck and as I reached the face blinked! I’ve never been more surprised (or shocked) in my life… the passenger unfolded themself from the footwell and got out of the car (through the hole where the windscreen had been)… they all made it to the hard shoulder and seeing that there was nothing more I could do… I left the scene…

    I haven’t told anyone about that – not even my parents – and it’s time I let it go.

    The next tale comes from the same road on a filthy wet night…

    I was the third person on the scene to a BMW that had lost a front wheel… after checking the driver was OK and getting him away to the hard shoulder… I called 999… but someone had already called it in… we had no police presence and were told they were on the way… realising how dangerous this bit of road could be I borrowed a Hi Viz vest from a van driver (who had stopped on the hard shoulder) and walked a quarter of a mile back to the base of the hill (where visibility was very slightly improved)… I waved the vest at every passing motorist (including a fast moving truck who ‘horned’ me for standing on the hard shoulder – he only just missed the BMW) for about forty minutes… at last the police arrived and started putting out cones… I asked if I could help and got sworn at for my pains… so I handed the vest back to the van driver and waited by my car until they’d finished securing the scene… had my details taken and then explained what I’d seen and done… the officer had the grace to apologise for swearing and explained that they’d been called from the other end of D&G to a ‘Lanarkshire’ crash but the ‘Lanarkshire’ car was in Edinburgh after a long chase on the M8…

    We all do the best we can in the circumstances… well done MC… and thanks for the job you do so selfessly day-in day-out.

    PS FWIW… fire extinguishers don’t seem to work very well on engine fires in cars… I’ve practised with several on simulated burns and they just aren’t powerful enough… the only ones that worked were halon but that’s banned because it kills the driver too!

  • lily

    Jo you were so brave and l feel for you lily x

  • tbgb

    Kind of reminds me of when I was in the Fire Service. My pager went off advising me of a fatal house fire, I jumped in the car and drove of asking for the update for the address.

    The address I was given belonged to a reporter friend of mine, I took the easy way out and declined to attend. She died because she didn’t have a working smoke alarm, and I spent weeks asking myself, how many times did she write up warnings about smoke alarms in her paper yet still ……………

    However, it does make me think about the emergency services who live and work in their communities, inevitably they are going to come across people they know and I know of at least two occasions where Firefighters attended fatal Road Traffic Accidents only to discover the victims were members of their own family.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for posting this and very brave thing to do at a time when we’re under pressure and scrutiny even for being honest like this. My heart goes out to you mate and sadly as we both know it won’t be the last time you or I rush into a locker room, grab our kit and rush out to a job like that. I just hope the Home Sec and all the other hangers on read this, then, just maybe they’ll realise what Police Officers do every day. A campaign a few years a go asked the question ‘Could you ?’ in relation to being a Police Officer, I know they wouldn’t know where to start. Stay well fella and thank you again for being so brave to post this.

  • neil king

    You are are a brave man and your story brought tears to my eyes you tried even tho in vain to save another mans life to which i admire you

  • Gill

    I’ve been on the other side of this sort of scenario, my late partner was killed in a road accident when I was heavily pregnant with our second child. I arrived at the accident site within 10 minutes, and I know it made it difficult for everyone involved. The police and ambulance crews were superb, and contintued to be in the days and weeks that followed and I will never be able to thank them enough – not ever, even though there was nothing they could do. I just wish they hadn’t had to go through it all, and our situation wasn’t half a traumatic as this.

    I can’t image what it was like to see a healthy man burn alive because you can’t get him out, but I can imagine how grateful his family would be that there was someone there trying to help, comforting and supporting him, giving him the best chance possible. This would have been one of the few things that will give them comfort in their loss.

    Nothing can prepare you for this sort of stuff, and I just hope there’s a good “group” for you guys to talk this stuff through so you can get over it, so you can put it to rest and move on with your life.

    As for the idiots who are so wrapped up in their own little worlds – sadly there’s not a lot we can do about them, but I for one, would say tell em to “f*** off” or whatever (blame it on the trauma so you don’t get in trouble), maybe that will make them realise the seriousness of the matter.

    But to all of you, take care, and take care of each other. You are important,

    • Anonymous

      my brother was killed in a car accident and that road was closed and now remains permanantly shut, we had to deal with people complaining about this every day for over a year, it wasnt a main road it was used as a cut through for people through a country park, the thing was others had died on this road before and these same people protested and fought for the road to stay open, it did and cost a 16 year old boy and his friends their lives! I never question when a road is closed and just hope that the same thing hasnt happened to someone else. Keep up the good work that you do, things like that will never leave you but find peace in knowing that you were there and you tried to help x

  • Anonymous

    Amazing story sir. I’m sure we have all revisited scenes that have haunted us since an unthinkable incident occurred. Keep up the gear work.

    A paramedic.

  • Anonymous

    you have my deepest sympathy my friend, I am a recovery driver and do alot of RTC’s they are especially horrible when there is a fatallity, I only pick the cars and bikes up after bodies have been removed and that is bad enough, especially when you see personal effects, shoes, handbags, shopping, hairbrushes cds etc all over the car. some of the time we dont know its a fatal until one of the fire crews or police officers say so, sometimes you can just tell by either the carnage or simply the look on everybodies faces.

    I too have had insults and once even a punch thrown at me because I was blocking a single track road picking a car up out of a field. think your self lucky you have blue lights and not orange ones, orange ones make people think there is a circus comming to town!

    Never an easy or a nice job!


  • Stephen

    Such a moving piece of reality. I am proud of you for taking the time and courage to write this. Take pride in what you did, and I’m sure are still doing – although I think sometimes a little information can go a long way for the public to understand why things have to happen, e.g road closures. I know that can sometimes open a can of worms, and I am not in the position to say what should be said, and what shouldn’t – and maybe neither are you, and the command comes from above. BUT hopefully this story will highlight to whoever reads it that there are often very real reasons why things are done the way they are. Take care and I wish you well. x

  • jack

    Truly emotional

  • Anonymous

    Fairplay to you, horrible horrible situation

    Keep up the good work :)


  • Tony Sainders

    When will we ever be apriciated for the work we do. We are always the first to be criticised when certain people have been inconvenienced. I think you have summed it up eloquently.

  • Kim

    I’d like to say that there are some members of the public (myself included) that really do appreciate the work that the Police put in. While I do know a lot of people who think that they get pulled over for speeding because the PC in question was ‘having a bad day’, I also know a number of people who understand that they were pulled over because that PC was doing their job. The latter is obviously a view that stems from respect, which is something that society seems to be lacking these days.

    This is a very sad story – even more so because you went above and beyond the call of duty to save him. Stories like this don’t get reported, unlike their derogatory counterparts. If that pessimistic group of the public stopped to think about these incidents then they’d realise what an amazing Police Service we have and perhaps then they’d give the respect that is so deserved.

    Thank you for what you do.

  • Alex

    I’ve been to a few R.T.A’s in the past and sympathize with this great person, he tryed everything he could, and was withe a helpless doomed man right up to the end, I can only emagine how he must feel based on how I’d probably feel after.

  • KATE

    There is nothing I can say that will make any difference, but thank you for the work you do. I have never given a police officer a hard time for a closed road, and never would, you just assume if they have shut the road it is not a good day for someone. I have just followed whatever they have told me to do, or gone where they have told me to. Next time (if there is and I hope there isn’t) I will ask if he or she is OK. Only thing I can say to you and all who do the job. THANK YOU.

  • BD

    I am the daughter of a police officer. I’ve seen him change over the course of his patrolling years, and as a young girl, never understood why. Though aware that these tragedies occur, I can’t even begin to imagine having to be there and deal with it myself. I’m sure it would change me as a person too, and reading something like this gives an insight into just how that’s possible. I’ve much respect for the force and little for much of the public. If people were more aware of the depth of the job, perhaps they would appreciate you more so.

  • Christine foster

    What a tragic story not only for Dave but the Police Officer my question is Why does this stupid government continue to cut down on the Police leaving them very vulnerable when trying to do their job in protecting each and everyone of us.

  • Anonymous

    thank you MC for taking the time to write this. As a ten year traffic officer (17 service) don’t want to be there, don’t want the t.shirt hope that i’ve got the same cannonballs if needed. RESPECT..

  • Anonymous

    Fellow brother, you my friend are a true hero just like the rest of us. Members of the general public have no idea and most of them will never understand what we have to go through when a situation such as that is thrust upon us. We are expected to put up and shut up when they tell us in their words “i pay your wages!” I take my hat off to you my friend for being there for Dave in his final moments and I am so sure he knows you did nothing else but put him first right through to the end. I really hope “joe public” read this and realise that this is only a small window into the working life of a serving police officer!

  • Anonymous

    THANK-YOU to all officers, sincerely, thank-you! My son is a Detective Inspector and his wife a Practice Nurse and I really appreciate their impact on our society to become more “civilised’. They, like all of us, can only do their best which all true professionals try constantly to do. Only fellow officers know how difficult this can be at times and how many times it is necessary to switch off the effect it has on them as individual officers and how many relationships breakdown because of that intrusion on their private lives.

  • paul

    I was once the first at the scene of a fatal accident, the guy was not yet dead. I was amazed by the lack of help or care others gave, there must have been 50 or more cars stopped behind me, only about three came to help. This was before any emergency services were called. Sometimes people are wankers.

  • Vicki81

    I have always had 110% Respect for the Police force and will continue to do so, what you and your force/s do, witness, deal with and still have patience of a saint is beyond comprehension, or maybe its because you/s are actually saints to do your job day in and day out, I to salute you Sir and appreciate ALL you/s do to protect our country P.S Maybe the government should take note of this and give you/s what you/s rightly deserve!

  • bookalicious1

    Working in the control room we deal with RTC’s on a daily basis, and we know that our police officer colleagues have to attend to these jobs, and some of them are fatals. It wasn’t until I read this, and I must admit it made me cry reading it, that I realised the true extent of what you have to deal with. I knew in the back of my mind, but this really hit me.
    I know how abusive the public can be, as I put up with their comments on a daily basis, and the early hours of this morning being one of them! But I still can’t get my head around the fact that they think you’ve closed a road off for the fun of it. Can’t they just think about it?
    This just shows that you are worth your wages and so much more. You should be so proud of the job you do.
    I know that this a job that will stay with you for the rest of your life, but I just hope that the pain lessens for you. You did everything you possibly could and no-one could ask for more.

  • Rambo

    Bless you mate….. and well done you could have done NO MORE!!!!
    In my 25Yrs I have only dealt with “already fatal” or “cut out & survived” jobs apart from one where they were unconscious and died at scene without knowing anything about it…. NEVER THIS conscious and compos mentis … to then die is such horrific circumstances. I have no doubt it will stay with you .and. only be surpassed by something worse god forbid. The majority of Joe public haven’t got a clue… politicians… EVEN LESS!! Keep the faith.

  • Anonymous

    I feel for you mate…that must have been horrible! I have nothing but admiration for your composure after walking over to sort the Road closure . As a mere Special Constable for 22 years, and just about to early retire , I often see , experience and see what officers go through. The day to day things that are thrown their way is only shadowed by one other occupation and that is a serving Forces personnel in Afghanistan . I have saved one life from a sinking car that she was trapped in and had another die in my arms at an Fatal M/Cycle RTC looking up at me and it is something that does stay with you. However the type of horror you experienced I could not imagine and you have my admiration and utter respect and sympathy . I hope you have found a good coping mechanism though it can also make you stronger in many things. Stay safe out there bud !

  • SAMC3031

    I feel for you mate…that must have been horrible! I have nothing but admiration for your composure after walking over to sort the Road closure . As a mere Special Constable for 22 years, and just about to early retire , I often see , experience and see what officers go through. The day to day things that are thrown their way is only shadowed by one other occupation and that is a serving Forces personnel in Afghanistan . I have saved one life from a sinking car that she was trapped in and had another die in my arms at an Fatal M/Cycle RTC looking up at me and it is something that does stay with you. However the type of horror you experienced I could not imagine and you have my admiration and utter respect and sympathy . I hope you have found a good coping mechanism though it can also make you stronger in many things. Stay safe out there bud !

  • shug

    So so tru. Great story

  • Andrew Dahl

    What a really sad story, you did all you could… My thoughts are with you and the guy’s family

  • Gary

    I have always had great regard for you guys. All the emergency services do a hard job.

    I met a cop last week that did you guys no good. He was rude and arrogant. I don’t know why he was. I did not give him a hard time but I nearly reported him. He took my police respect rating down by 70%. These type need containing, they do no one any good, and make your jobs harder.

    I will try and rebuild the respect again. This story has helped. I do feel for you. I could not do your job.

  • Denis

    This article moved me to tears. I am a retired police officer. Retired seven years ago after 30 yrs service. You have to deal with something like this to be able to understand the feelings.

  • Dave E

    I came upon an accident scene on my way to work in 1997 an 86 yr old man hit at 40 mph, and just laid in the road no one helping him I thought he was still alive, I called an ambulance and shut the road, diverting traffic I then started mouth to mouth and could hear the contents of his stomach coming up, not what I wanted at 7.20 on a Sunday morning. The ambulance arrived took one look at him and told me not to bother. At the Hospital later the doctor was critical of the fact no one had cleared his airway, he made me feel I had killed him, he wasn’t to know I was the only person who actually tried to save him. Took me months to get it out of my system. So I can understand how you must have felt. It makes me sick when people carry on about being ten minutes late for work when the road is shut or a diversion is put in place. These incidents take a little bit out of us and Im not sure we ever really get it back..
    Take care my friend

  • Dawn

    Im a nurse we never forget the ones we loose and hate that loss of control people really do have no idea and abuse is becoming more paramount you have my greatest respect and my heart goes out to you and daves family x

  • Anonymous

    First saw this at work and was almost reduced to tears. You were very brave my heart goes out to you and Dave’s family

  • Anonymous

    first read this at work and it almost reduced me to tears only the fact I was surrounded by people stopped me. You were very brave and my heart goes out to you and of course to Dave’s family

  • Kate

    Such a moving and lovely tribute to a member of the public .. I came across this blog via Facebook. So often we think only of the fatality and never those who do their best to prevent such an outcome. We think of Dave and his family, the paramedics and fire brigade. But how often do we think of the police officers first on the scene. I’m ashamed to admit not often enough.. Have a pint for Dave and i’ll def spare my thoughts for those who deal with the aftermath and first on the scene.. On a slightly lighter note. Its a sin you are eating Asda own brand. You deserve Marks & Spencers top of the range biscuits x

  • Paul


    I had a similar incident to this and from one of your opening lines ” if a younger member of the shift was sent, we would need to search for them” . Well I sadly was that younger member, and was sent to a road accident.

    I got all my stuff together and away I went but not entirely sure where I was going. Got the iPhone out an tried mapping it but the signal wasn’t good enough.

    17 minutes it took for me to get on scene but by that time it was too late, paramedics arrived just at same time as me and all we could do was console the poor mum who has just lost her child.

    I keep thinking over an over if only I knew where I had been going but that’s the necessary evil in our job, we have to have been somewhere to learn where it is, I’ll never forget where to go now.

    It’s a job we love and for most a job we do so well. Forget about the KPI and the supreme reign above us. For you, Dave would have known that without a shadow of a doubt you were a good Police officer, not because you got 50 tickets that week, not because you attended the most calls but because you dealt with him in the professional manner and showed the personal side that you cared, for you this is a call you will always remember, an I’m sure if he had made it, or if this is somewhere beyond you will be the cop he would always remember.

    Good job

  • Joanne Roberts

    We all seem to be struggling with things in our life at the moment.. We don’t like our job, or we don’t have a job…
    I take my hat off to the brave and humble people who put on a uniform everyday and see life’s real hardships.. God bless x

  • Anonymous

    I’m beyond words, this story brought a lump to my throat and a tear to my eye. I have always had a lot of respect for the police, and all the emergency services, but I admit I haven’t thought about the emotional strain these wonderful people are put through.
    I hope people take note.
    I also want to thank you for what you did for Dave, I know he would thank you for your bravery and kindness if he could.
    Ami x

  • Ian Parrott

    There but for the grace of god go I.

    My worst nightmare and hope I never ever have to deal with such an incident. You are what makes us different.
    Pity the government can’t see this. Maybe if they found themselves in such a situation things would be different.

  • "...and then there was silence"

    […] then there was silence" ….and then there was silence | MinimumCover – The Police Officer Blog A gripping story by a cop in the UK. This is something every citizen should read, especially the […]

  • Anonymous

    My deepest condolences to the family involved. I blame the government for cutting the fire service back so dramatically, they should have been there where they were needed for Dave RIP x

  • Susan Dawn Berry

    cannot write much as in floods of tears. I am married to a retired Met. Police Officer so know how these things affect them. A huge thank you to all our police, where would we be without them xxx

  • Just some citizen

    Ugh, pro-cop propaganda is the worst. Oh no, a guy died and now I’m sad and the mean ol’ public just won’t stop being mean to me. This story should end with the cop jacking up some high school kid that looked at him wrong because he was still keyed up with adrenaline, charging him with resisting arrest and assaulting an officer, getting his buddies at the station to bury the brutality complaint, lie in court about the events at the scene, and ruin some kid’s life forever. That’d be closer to a true story.

    • callopanon

      Well you obviously think you know what it’s like working behind the scenes for the Police, so why don’t you join the Special Constabulary and give some of your spare time to show them just how it’s done and then you will be able to make first hand comments!

  • Robin Saunter

    I’m just a regular MOP and I admit it – I do get cross when ‘they’ close the road, especially both carriageways of a motorway for a ‘police incident’. But after reading the piece I’ve changed my mind. Thank you.

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  • Ross

    Very emotional piece of writing. Also great advice Callopanon, If people wan’t to moan then maybe they should do the job themselves.

  • Click here

    I want to to thank you for this good read!
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  • Angela

    Such a horrendous storey, I have never asked to pass through a closed road & have myself witnessed a women being hit by a car (she survived thankfully but it’s been with me for over 25 yrs, can’t imagine how the police officer dealt with such an ordeal). The police officer has my full respect & sympathy, I couldn’t do his job xxxx

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  • Anon

    Having spent 20 years serving in HM Services, I have a rough idea what goes through your mind after witnessing similar events! I find it hard still, having witnessed some atrocities in Bosnia in the 90s, as well as recent tours in the last 10 years!
    I certainly do hope that the message you are trying to convey to the public eventually sinks in, then hopefully people will start to realise how hard and difficult a police officers job is and can be on a daily basis.

  • bravomike11

    Reblogged this on The Thoughts of a cop and commented:
    This still gives me chills, years after first reading. A very impactive Blog post from minimum cover

  • bravomike11

    Reading this again, a few years after first reading it, still as impactive as the first time.

  • learn't the hard way.

    having been on the wrong side of the law as a young & not very bright lad I apologize for all the times I gave abuse to the police, yes I was a complete scumbag back then but i’m proud to say that I eventually grew up & genuinely regret the way I was back then, yes back then I hated the police & they didn’t like me but they had a good reason “I didn’t ” they used to stop & search me because they knew I was a wrong un & I would call them all the names that my tiny mind could think of,anyway i’m well into my 50s now & 35 years have passed since I was that dick head, the police & other emergency services do a great job in very difficult circumstances & I know I couldn’t do some of the thing’s that they have to do, I know this has moved away from the original post & I’m sorry for that, my reason for posting this is so that if any young guy or girl out there is having a problem with authority & they read this then all I would say is grow up, get a life & realize that without the people that society in general slag’s off the M & F officers of the law, we would be in dire straights, so the next time you see a police officer, fire fighter, or ambulance personnel, just stop for a moment & answer honestly do they deserve to be abused or should you be thanking them for keeping you and your loved ones safe & knowing that should the worst happen these men & women won’t judge you they will simply put themselves in danger to help you.

  • Alex

    You put yourself in an emotionally and physically compromising position through your compassion and care, let alone your duty as an officer. You have my utmost respect for your actions and Dave and his close ones have my sympathy. However, if I were ever in Dave’s situation, I’d be comforted and touched by your efforts. You gave him a friend and guardian in this darkest hour.

    Again, you have my respect.

    A member of the public

  • Annie

    It’s a tough job we do and people really don’t understand, even some of our supervisors. One of my most traumatic experiences about 18 years ago, I was kneeling in the road, it was midnight and pouring down with rain, I had just scooped out the injured mans teeth so we could do CPR, I discovered his key ring “best dad ever” and my understanding sergeant said “why arnt you wearing your hat”

    Fortunately the male lived for a month and his family was able to spend time and say their goodbyes. I won’t tell you what I wanted to do with my hat!!!!

  • Richard

    Amazing read and so true every word. Your a brave front line officer and did everything you could.

  • UK

    someone just shared this on FB and it’s totally touched me, even though it’s now a few years after it was written.

    Here’s to Dave

  • Chris Davies

    Dude, I am not a police officer, but you tried, it took balls for you to even put this on the internet! You should be proud of your self!! I most certainly am!
    May God bless you!!

  • Tony Ellis

    I truly feel for you my friend,as a recently retired cop I fully understand what you have been through and continue to go through each day with this tragedy on your mind. Thoughts of what could you do differently which may have changed the outcome, but sadly, in this case, you did all you could and more and I’m sure dave is looking down from above knowing the same. We are a rare breed of people,the last line of defence for most and the least appreciated by some. It takes a certain kind of person to do what we do and go home with our minds and bodies intact. Most people go home and tell their family’s about the day, but, sometimes we can’t put our closest ones through what we have just experienced to prevent them worrying about us. All colleagues reading your account have you in there hearts and minds, so next time I’m in the pub I shall raise my glass to you and our colleagues worldwide.

  • Gary B

    I have never doubted the difficulties the police or our Public Service men and women face, or the commitment and sacrifice that they go through to do their jobs, but I still had to read this article. The comment about “we new what we signed up to” is true to a degree, but it does’t prepare people for the emotions and stresses that are forced upon them! I have the greatest respect for the Police, Fire Service and Medical Services, we should be VERY proud and respectful of them. I hope that the Police officer that wrote this article, gets what he wishes, some respect and understanding, something that everyone is entitled to.You have mine Sir.

  • Mike

    Massive respect to you guys, as a civilian I thank you all for doing your best to keep us safe. We are lucky to have people like yourself doing a really tough job.
    Thank you.

  • unnamed

    wow! super!

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