What red button?

Posted: March 17, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

Having spent 30 years working alongside a great many police officers I think I can be confident in the proposition I’m about to give you.  I doubt very much that an empirical study has been conducted to prove my theory but I have seen it in action so many times, it must be true and I believe it is safe to say that it is more a male thing than a female one.

I’m not trying to be sexist or provocative but men just have a certain compulsion that women don’t seem to share.

I’m not talking about competitive sports or cheffing (being a chef). It’s definitely not about football or cars either.  In each of those cases, there are many women just as good or interested in them as there are men, so there’s no real imbalance there.

What I’m referring to is the ability to totally disregard the signs and warnings placed before a police man, particularly one relatively but not exclusively, young in service.

I guess it happens in other walks of life but they are out of my sphere of experience so I am not qualified to pass comment.

What I have experienced are those Constables (I was one as well) who see a red button.  Above or below it is a sign warning the observer “not to touch the button.”

It is either invisible or not applicable to those who manage to ignore the warnings (red for danger and words for those that can read) and go ahead anyway and press the button.

When the pooh hits the fan as a result, they act all innocent claiming “what?  It wasn’t me.  I didn’t do nothing,” which I know is a double negative but it’s not meant as such at the time it is uttered.

So what has that red button been for?  It has closed down the gas boilers or switched off all electric power including the emergency generator for a very large and very (under normal circumstances) busy building.

English: Red glass button

Image via Wikipedia

It’s also been to prevent the deletion of important digital images or it has been to prevent the loss of evidence a seized computer belonging to a suspected paedophile.  It’s been the mobile phone belonging to a drug dealer that shouldn’t have been switched off (if it was on at the time) or on (if it had been switched off at the time). Either way, crucial data could have been or was lost.

It’s the sign in the Custody Suite warning all in it (staff, detainees and visitors) that the area is monitored by audio and video recording equipment and yet the officer is caught assaulting a prisoner in full view of the camera (I’m not suggesting here for one moment that they should have done it off camera).

So if you’re wondering how you can make your cop look inept in your next story, think no further than one of the above examples.  Not only are they realistic, they’re true and there are probably far worse examples that could spring to mind if I thought about it long enough:  some amusing, some not so.

Is it just a male disability that manifests itself in the police service or does it also happen elsewhere?

Don’t forget to book your place on the Crime Fiction – Making it Real weekend workshop March 2012


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