I get asked a lot about whether or not I have any advice about being a copper.
And it’s never as glamorous as it looks in the films, or the TV shows. It’s blunt, hard work. It’s going back through paperwork and trying to catch one mistake that some bloke made, or trawling through CCTV footage to pick up the image of the right van at the right time.
… well, that’s if you’re in the homicide unit. For a while you’ll be a cop on the beat, dealing with drunk people who’ve taken agin to you and say things like: I am a citizen of the UK and it is my right to walk along this bit of pavement and wee where I please!
Essentially, you’re dealing with the people that nobody wants to deal with, at the worst time possible to deal with them.
And you’re dealing with them on your time, and on your family’s time. You miss milestones, and birthdays, and Christmases, and dinners, and all those little moments that make a family a family.
My wife used to say that I keep my promises with everyone else’s families but my own. She wasn’t wrong. She still isn’t. She’d say that I was able to rally the troops and inspire others to work hard and bring a team together in the dying hours of the night, but I couldn’t have a one-on-one without mentioning work. She’d say she’d married me, not a detective.
… but then I met Sherlock Holmes. And I realised there was someone who was even madder than I was, even more dedicated to his work. Someone who would willingly have conversations about death and grisly murder as if it were just a casual chat over coffee.
… to be fair, we often do chat over coffee about murder, or, cases but that’s not… really…
What I’m trying to say is that my meeting Sherlock Holmes allowed me to realise that my normal is more normal than his normal, which allowed me to take a day off every once and a while.
Advice, though. Would I still become a copper if I had my chance over again? Yeah, I absolutely would. The only real advice I could give is it’s not for the faint of heart, or for someone with a peaky stomach.
And make sure you call if you’re going to be home late.