White Van

By Tiro

[This piece was written as my response topic set by WITP: take an existing literary character and put them in a different situation]

Age if under 18: Over 18
Occupation: Police Officer

This statement (consisting of 3 pages each signed by me) is true to the best of my knowledge and belief and I make it knowing that, if it is tendered in evidence, I shall be liable to prosecution if I have wilfully stated anything which I know to be false or do not believe to be true.

I am currently employed as a sergeant in the Roads Policing Unit (RPU) of the Northfordshire Constabulary. At 1056hrs on Friday 13 April 2011, I was carrying out a patrol in company with Police Constable 4861 STUBBS, also of RPU, in a marked Vauxhall Vectra, fleet number VK-61. At this time we were standing at a red traffic light on the junction of Old Beacon Street and Shady Drive at Whitebourne, when I observed a large white long-wheelbase Ford Transit van travelling northbound along Old Beacon Street.

I recognised this vehicle as one I had observed approximately two weeks earlier, driving in an erratic manner during the hours of darkness and in heavy fog on Sweetmount Lane, Mossridge. On that occasion, due to that vehicle’s manner of driving, I had been involved in an RTC which had resulted in extensive damage to my police vehicle and caused me a minor injury to my left leg.

On the material date I was able to identify this as being the same white van, by means of its make, model, colour, and the number and nature of various other features: namely, roof-mounted ladders and a number of lewd and jocular comments scribed in the dirt on the rear doors. I signalled to PC STUBBS my intention to require the vehicle to stop, activated my blue lights and siren, and moved forward across the junction to take up position behind the white van. I heard PC STUBBS at this point asking whether I was sure this was the right van, and I was in the middle of reprimanding him for this when the first collision occurred.

It appears that a civilian vehicle impacted the rear of my car. The civilian had clearly been approaching the junction too quickly to allow for possible hazards entering from the side roads, and had been unable to stop in time as I made my entirely legal entry into the junction for policing purposes. Unable to stop due to our existing commitment, I asked Stubbs to note the VRM of the offending vehicle in order to pursue a later prosecution for due care. I proceeded after the white van, which I observed to be some distance ahead turning right into Butterbank Road. I crossed the opposing lane and followed the target vehicle into Butterbank Road. I accelerated slightly in order to close the distance, but was forced to stop when an elderly gentleman stepped out into the road ahead of me. In order to alert the gentleman to my presence, I sounded my horn for no more than six seconds, before offering him some necessary words of advice regarding road safety and moving on in pursuit of the target white van.

At this point, which I estimate as being approximately 1059hrs, I had temporarily lost visual contact with the van. Reaching the east end of Butterbank Road, I observed a local beat car parked at the side of the road, crewed by Police Constable 7251 ENDERBY.  I asked PC ENDERBY whether he had seen the target vehicle; he replied that he had seen the white van come by him and turn up Fallmoor Lane.

Travelling along Fallmoor Lane, I approached a commotion of some sort by the side of the road with several people being gathered around a young female of approximately 25-30 years. I believed the lady to be in a drunken state, she was clearly upset and for some reason was in possession of a pushchair, though she did not seem to have a child with her. Another female known to me and to the police as Rachel GARDINER attempted to obstruct me in my lawful duty by stepping out into the road with her arm raised. I stopped briefly to inform her that I was engaged in dealing with a very serious incident, and told her if she required assistance she should ring 999. I was forced to warn her under Section 5 of the Public Order Act regarding her subsequent abusive language. I then resumed my pursuit.

At approximately 1102hrs I turned onto Stonedell Street, where I regained visual contact with the white van, which was travelling eastbound some distance ahead of me. The van was attempting to avoid further suspicion by driving for the moment in compliance with traffic regulations; however I took the opportunity of a relatively clear road to make up some ground on him. It was at this point that the speed camera by the bus stop was activated, however I should note that this camera is clearly in need of recalibration as its reading is fast by at least twenty miles per hour.

I had closed to a distance sufficient to read the VRM of the vehicle which I asked PC STUBBS to note. To my surprise, PC STUBBS then openly questioned my motives in seeking to stop this particular vehicle, claiming that it had done nothing to warrant our attention. I took a moment to explain the situation to STUBBS, and to point out that he would be guilty of dereliction of duty if he did not follow my orders.

I had just finished reprimanding STUBBS this second time when I noticed the white van approaching the traffic lights at the end of Stonedell Street. The lights were yellow, but I noticed the van speeded up and, in my view, crossed the lights on red, before taking a left turn onto Linwick Lane. I pursued the van through the junction, and found as I turned left behind it that in an attempt to further obstruct me it had pulled in to the side of the road. Due to the danger posed by oncoming traffic I felt I had no choice at this stage but to attempt to box the van in to prevent it driving off, and this is the reason I then moved my vehicle sharply to the left and engaged in a tactical controlled collision with the front of the white van. Immediately upon executing this deliberate maneouvre I heard a cracking noise and experienced a very sharp pain up my left leg.

Despite being in tremendous pain, I knew I had to prevent the driver from decamping from the van and making off on foot. I therefore exited my own vehicle and made my way around to the driver’s window. The driver had opened the window as a prelude to making his escape and was shouting incoherently at me. To ensure his compliance, I drew my CS gas and applied two short five-second bursts to his face. I then placed myself against the bonnet of the van as a further barrier to prevent him moving off. It is at this point that I assume I was overcome by the pain in my leg. I recall nothing further before waking up in hospital.

Statement given in dictation to Inspector Michael ISHMAEL, Road Policing Unit, by Sgt 5716 Jonathan AHAB.

Read more about Tiro HERE



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