Monday, 5 November 2012

Traffic Duty

When I joined the Police Force things were different. I had a cape, a lovely item warm, heavy and your hands were free to hold or carry whatever you wished away from sight. Chips, beer, a heavy torch or truncheon everything must have been carried in this way. A big rubberised coat kept out the rain but was incredibly difficult to wear and it was  impossible to chase a snail wearing one. We had two helmets. One had silver badge and fittings for use in daylight where the idea was to be seen (no need for that now). One had black badge and fittings to wear at night to allow you to hide in doorways and catch the unwary miscreant.
Traffic duty was not unusual. We had white gloves to allow high visibility! We were taught the traffic signals by rote. You learned the stop signal, forward and to the rear, the come on signal forward and to the side...
All this was put to music in a sequence to allow you remember the signal correctly. You went through the whole sequence in about 30 seconds. Giving about 5 seconds per signal. of course in practice you only chose which particular signal was needed at any one time.
I recall the inevitable happening when a newly arrived Policewoman went out to do her first traffic duty. Within a couple of minutes we received a report that there had been an accident. Apparently she had stepped out in to the road smartly and gone through the traffic signal sequence. She had in fact basically called all vehicles forward at once or within seconds of each other with the inevitable consequence.

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