Friday, 10 July 2009

Roadblocks - what's the point in arguing with me about it?

I just love going to block off the road and deliberately inconvenience everyone who uses that road by telling them to take another way home because [insert inane reason here].

Actually no. I loathe blocking off roads. Specially big / busy ones because to be honest I don't like having every second motorist abuse the living crap out of me or people come up and tell me I'm some jumped up little N*zi or something like that. I hate it. But in the interests of the safety of the public at large and more importantly the safety of my colleagues kneeling in the middle of the road attempting to preserve the life of a knocked down pedestrian I will gladly block ANY road for as long as is necessary no matter how much of an inconvenience it is...

Why do the motorists using the road 'think' that I have blocked off the road? I don't know to be perfectly honest but I think they are 110% convinced I've done it to personally spite THEM! and to personally inconvenience THEM! and of course no one else, it is all about them!

None too long back I raced out on a Friday late shift at about 4 minutes past the starting point of my shift and about 30 minutes after peak hour had set in... I knew before I left the station that I wasn't the only unit being deployed but it was only lates turning out, day shift was going off duty. I know that the area car was going out along the most direct route to the accident scene. I yelled at the area car driver that I'd turn up on the other side of the accident and block the road. I then turned out and took the long drive on blues to the far side of the accident (it's about another 5 - 10 miles to get around all-be-it on bigger roads).

I arrived at the village where I needed to block the road. I know the area car had arrived at the scene and called "all services" which means that it's likely to be a Fatal RTI. A MoP had been hit by something fairly big and was dying in the middle of the road in the next village along.. so I prepared for a long wait and deployed what little resources I had available to me to assist with my roadblock. This involved a probationer and a local PCSO who just happened to be on my side of the accident scene and who came up to help out knowing that I would need it on arrival.

So I had set up my roadblock at the main intersection leaving the village (this is a large village - almost a small town) and I was re-directing traffic back up through another road in the village and back on to the main A road which runs around the back and which will get everyone where they need to go... But of course every second driver stops in the MIDDLE of the intersection to say "I just need to get through...." and they get told politely to drive on as they can't stop there... I've got a probationer with me who walks out and tells them to move then starts answering their questions thus exacerbating the problem. So after a few words of advice the the probationer stands back and waves people through then yells at the ones stopping and tells them to stop up the road and walk back. I eventually send them to walk up the lines of stopped traffic and start telling people that they will be diverted.

Some smart drivers think they can go through the little housing estate and come out half a mile behind me through the roadblock.. needless to say I've thought of that and I've got the local PCSO standing there sending them all back up to me where I smile as I let them back out in to the traffic mayhem to work it out again. The only people who get through the roadblock are those who can PROVE they live in the bit of the road I can see.. so as such live within the first half a mile of the closed road - because after that is a bit of open road before the next village and I'm not letting anyone up there at all.

Then we've got one numpty in a big black SUV (I think it was a stupid Porsche thing) who stops in the middle of the junction and starts to get out of his vehicle and of course brings all 4 roads to a halt!!! My blood pressure begins to rise as does the stress level as everyone tries to drive around him (they did this because the stupid SUV was blocking their view of the police officer directing traffic so they started to move by themselves because they didn't think it would hurt of course).

I manage to make him move a few feet and then he stops and begins abusing me saying "I only live just up there..>" pointing of course through my roadblock.

I very politely say "The road is closed sir. Sorry but you will need to move your vehicle" to which I receive a load of verbal abuse and the same "But I only live just up there..>" with the same pointing motion.

After about the third repeat of his statement and pointing and abuse I walk over to him leaving the probby to direct some traffic (I worry though he's not done that before on a junction/road THIS busy). I walk up to numpty and say "Just where is 'just up there'?" and the numpty starts off by saying "just up there" with nothing further than that! (Well that helped a lot didn't it..)

So with my stress levels rising I say "Where is 'just up there'?" (followed immediately by) "and please be a little more specific, 100 yards, half a mile, 4 miles?" and I try like hell not to sound overly sarcastic. He tells me it's "just the other side of the roundabout" with his very impertinent and impatient tone as he sits in this big shiny poor excuse for a vehicle - I know that the roundabout is the OTHER SIDE of the RTI and it's also quite a number of miles off.. So I remain as calm as I can while at this point about every third car is honking their horn and becoming more and more irate and I just want this idiot to leave... I've now got a queue of around 300 cars on the 4 roads coming to this junction!
I say "That's the other side of the blockage sir, you will have to drive around another way.." and he abuses me a bit more and says he will drive through. He then starts off by asking how to get around so I asked how long he'd lived there (apparently only 25 years and he didn't know another road home - idiot). By this point I've got a bit pissed off with his attitude, his abuse, and his disregard for anything other than himself, oh and of course his insistence that he be allowed through my roadblock which was obviously there just to annoy him, of course with lots of cars now blocking up everywhere that I can see I want him moved and say something vaguely along the lines of "Sir, I am sure that the person laying in the middle of the road dying would appreciate your driving through this road block and past him as he takes his last breath in the middle of the road... Drive on, follow the traffic and move out of the intersection.. Good day sir."

(While I was majorly pissed off I was of course still polite!)
I waited weeks to be hauled in to the Inspectors office for a chat about this incident but strangely it didn't happen.

Oh yeah, traffic turned up after a long while and while some of their units went to the accident scene another came and took over from me - thankfully!! and I went off and stood somewhere quiet for a few minutes just to calm down.

Of course I don't block off roads for the fun of it. It is ridiculous but a lot of motorists seem to feel that it's done just to annoy and inconvenience them. Of course it's not. We do it for YOUR safety and OUR safety. We know how much it inconveniences you so we don't like to do it for longer than is needed but please, have some patience, courtesy, and just keep moving in the direction you are being waved. Please, DO NOT block up the intersection to ask if the road is closed "OF COURSE IT IS CLOSED, THAT'S WHY I AM HERE!!!" And NEVER try to cut through a residential street to come out the other side of a police roadblock. We can't be everywhere but YOU could kill someone by doing that, the road is blocked for a VERY GOOD REASON and sometimes I cannot tell you why that is but believe me when I say it's best if you don't know right at that time...

It was the posts by various and sundry about Cordons that made me think of this particular roadblock. It's frustrating for all, remember however that for the one person standing in the middle of the intersection in a yellow jacket it's even more frustrating when you stop and stuff it all up or vent your frustrations on him/her - we are just trying to do our job as well so please just drive on, slowly and safely because of course everyone else is frustrated and confused as well...


  1. Every single bobby reading this has had the same, I guarantee it! I was never able to keep my patience as long as you seem to have done, though. Don't think I was ever really rude but the sarcasm levels leapt as time went on. "Take a wild guess" crept in after about 30 minutes but one does have to remember that the person asking is stupid and really does think that they're the first to ask the question!

  2. Sierra Charlie11 July 2009 at 18:01

    We've all been there!! I was once blocking a tiny street because there was a kid's parade down the high street of a very well-heeled town. Of course well-heeled towns are full of well-heeled people who think that the law is there for their convenience and nobody elses... I thought one woman was going to just drive straight over me when I asked her to wait five minutes for the kids to pass by!

  3. TheBinarySurfer12 July 2009 at 11:27

    Pity incidents never really have enough manpower attenting, otherwise you'd be able to haul them off to one side, give them a provider etc.

    It's only fair if they're going to make your job vastly more difficult than it need be that you similarly inconveience them!