This guest blog has been written by someone who, like many others, feels let down by some sections of the mainstream media when it comes to their reporting of the police and the life-saving work of officers.
‘So in the current media climate when police officers are vilified for the actions of a few, with their decisions constantly combed over and dissected under a microscope, it is important to recognise that the general public are being misled.
This story will hopefully show how that is happening, from a small town in the north of England.
In the early hours of this morning, my colleagues were on mobile patrol when they spotted a large plume of black smoke rising from a residential street.
Naturally, they drove directly to it and alerted the control room over the radio.
Every available officer, including myself, rushed to the scene to assist with the house fire that was blazing through multiple flats.
The flats are owned by the council and typically house elderly residents with the odd ‘care in the community’ exception.
The front doors to these flats are known as ‘fear free doors’ and are incredibly tough to force entry through.
The flats are self-contained on one floor, and so there are flats on the bottom floor and flats on the top. My colleagues approached the inferno and tried their utmost to clear the burning flat before the fire made further attempts became impossible, turning their attention to evacuating the neighbouring properties.
Due to the time of the morning, no one was answering their doors.
As I arrived on the scene I saw that my colleagues had forced entry into one property and were carrying an elderly resident out, through the thick plume of smoke.
Flames were licking the brickwork outside the building through the now smashed windows and were towering upwards. The smoke was so thick, it was difficult to see the floor at my feet.
I took the door ram (enforcer) from my car and ran to assist my colleagues in clearing the remaining properties.
As the blaze continued to worsen, each house was systematically and methodically cleared, one by one, by police officers as the fire service was yet to arrive on scene.
The one flat that was left to be cleared was the one immediately above the flat that was ablaze. Despite the loud knocking and shouting, the residents either had not heard, were too terrified to move or had succumbed to the smoke already.
We then began forcing the fear-free door with our enforcers, and despite our best efforts, the door put up a fight.
After what felt like hours, a panel came free from the door, small enough for an officer to climb through after he had removed his stab vest and PPE.
That officer ran into the smoke-filled and partially burning building and opened the door from the inside so that we too could enter the flat.
We located the terrified elderly residents and carried them to safety.
As we got outside, I saw that the first fire crew on the scene were running the hose to the fire. My colleagues then switched into a first aid role and provided immediate assistance to the group of terrified; elderly residents stood aghast at the sight of their lucky escape.
Stood alongside them, police officers pulling soot from their noses and mouths, retching from the smoke. We quickly established that the fire had been deliberately set with malicious intent, and so began an area search for the suspect.
As we handed over to early turn, the suspect was arrested nearby.
Those officers then returned home, having risked their own lives and safety for that of complete strangers, uniforms stinking of smoke, eyes watering, noses burning and hearts pumping but satisfied in the knowledge that their actions had saved lives.
Upon waking from a very deep sleep, I saw that our local news outlet had written a piece about this incident.
Nowhere does it mention the heroic and selfless actions of the police officers that selflessly risked their own lives and health to save members of the public.
They put themselves in harm’s way in such a literal sense to save lives.
Instead, the news outlet reported that ‘noone was in at the time of the fire and no one was injured’.
That sentence is only true because men and women in blue, ran towards danger to ensure no one would be left to the flames.
Not one officer asked for recognition, commendation or even gratitude; however, for their actions to be so nonchalantly glossed over by the media when their actions undoubtedly saved lives, is disgraceful’.
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