3 June 2014
Andy hit the button on the console as Phil stamped his foot on the floor. The roaring engine competed with the wailing siren. Rubber squealed as the car accelerated down Helen Street. Andy replied to the radio. “Car 4K responding en route, will advise when on scene, over.” Andy was amazed at how quickly Phil could drive through the streets they had been walking side by side the day before, the streets he had known all his life.
Andy wasn’t fully sure of all the radio codes. “It’s an assault,” said Phil, sensing his doubt. “Or a street altercation of some kind. Probably even just two people shouting at each other and some overly-worried person phones us. We turn up, and nobody’s there. Another day of successful policing.” Phil kept the car straight the whole time he was talking, eyes trained on the road. Andy felt calmer just from watching him drive. He was so focused, so calm in what he was doing that Andy felt safe even as he was hurtling towards an unknown altercation.
The car weaved through streets so quickly Andy briefly lost track of where he was. The streets were mostly empty. The few cars all got out of the way quickly as the siren screamed towards them. Eventually Andy saw buildings he recognised. They were on Shaw Street. He turned the siren off as the car cruised down the street towards what looked like two women pushing each other while shouting. They didn’t stop as the car stopped and the two officers jumped out. They each went for a different woman.
“Right come on, stop it, get off of her.” Phil’s voice was deep and booming, authoritative. They pulled the women apart. Their hair was messy, one had a cut lip that was bleeding and the other, older had scratch marks on her cheek. Andy looked round the street to see who had called them but they were alone. The windows surrounded them on both sides, still and monolithic. He thought he could see some blinds shaking but was to focused on the women to keep looking.
“Now what’s this about?” asked Phil. Having quietened down the women immediately burst out shouting again. Andy was quickly realising why someone had phoned the police. “Do you want to have to come with us to the station?” he asked. The women stopped shouting, still sharing dark looks. “Good. I thought as much.” Phil walked away a few steps with his woman, talking to her. Andy turned to his woman. He could smell alcohol from her and her hair and clothes looked like she hadn’t washed in a few days. “Okay miss, what happened?” “She was talkin aboot ma weans! I’m no havin that.” “You can’t be fighting with people in the street.” Andy took the rest of her statement and waited as Phil came back over. His woman had started walking off. “Is nothing else happening?” “No, as far as I can tell it’s two people who live around here who’ve exchanged words and it got a bit personal. Am I right?” Phil asked. The woman, still looking sulky, nodded. Her lip had stopped bleeding and was beginning to swell. “Do you live near here?” “Aye. Street up there,” she said, pointing. “Okay, my colleague here will take you home while I write up what happened.” Though still sulky a not of concern came into the woman’s voice. “Am I in trouble?” Andy looked up to see Phil rolling his eyes. “Lets just get you home and away from anyone you might start fighting with.” Phil opened the car door and sat in the driver’s eat with his feet on the pavement as Andy walked away.
“I just don’t want them to take my weans away. I try to look after them the best I can but I don’t always have the money but I try, I’m not bad am I?” “It’s not my place to say miss. Are your children at school now?” “Naw, one’s left. She’s off work today though so she’ll be in now. Oh she’s going to be so angry at me.” They carried on walking home. Once they had reached a door the woman stopped and pulled out a set of keys with a furry keyring so dirty it was completely black. Andy pulled the door open and they walked up. When they reached a door the woman knocked. After a few seconds pause it opened, a younger, better groomed version of the woman appeared. “Donna, I’m sorry, I-” “Get in,” said the girl. Andy could see that this as not a rare occurrence. “I’m sorry officer,” said the girl in a polite but short voice. “Thank you for bringing her back. She gets agitated sometimes but she doesn’t normally have like, this…” The girl motioned vaguely at her mouth. “How old are you?” “Eighteen.” “Alright. As long as I know I’m not leaving her with a child.” “My brother will be out of school later and then out somewhere else with his friends, probably. She’ll be asleep by then, I wouldn’t worry.” “Are there any other problems at home you need help with?” “No, honestly. Keep an eye out for my daft brother if you’re still on the street later on though, he’s a wee daftie.” “I will. Thank you for being here and looking after your mother.” “Thank you for bringing her here, goodbye,” said the girl, pulling her head out of the gap and closing the door. Andy went back downstairs quickly, shaking his head.
Phil was waiting for him in the car. “Do you do that often? Turn up to people fighting in the streets and let them go?” “Look at the woman you took away. If we took her in every time something happened, she’d never be out the place.” “You know her?” “I know her about. I know her lassie’s eighteen now too, so you don’t need to worry about leaving her with children. Cheer up,” he added as he turned the car’s engine back on. “You wanted to help people, you’re helping them. Don’t try and push people down, just let them get on with it.” Andy sighed. “Trust me. You’ll get on a lot easier in Govan if you try and keep the place going rather than trying to knock lumps out of it. Anyway, ‘mon. We need to get back to the station.”