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Video: What happened when the Recorder joined Havering police’s emergency response team

09:00 22 February 2014

PC Sarah McKenzie and PC Matt Sutton

PC Sarah McKenzie and PC Matt Sutton

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When thinking of police officers, you may imagine the storming down of doors and high speed car chases.

But what are their roles like in reality? We joined Havering police for three days to find out.

The night shift teamThe night shift team

Day one – Tuesday – saw us arrive at Romford police station bright and early. After meeting Pcs Matt Sutton and Sarah McKenzie, the latter of whom we accompanied on all three days, we were ready for action.

Our first call, after 8am, was an alert about a burglar alarm going off.

We hurtled to Emerson Park, hoping to catch an offender red-handed but the home owner had simply left their garage door open.

We also went to a burglary scene in Gidea Park where the only signs of entry were tiny scuff marks on a door.

PC Matt Sutton searching a young boy who was caught underage smoking and skipping schoolPC Matt Sutton searching a young boy who was caught underage smoking and skipping school

The police then stopped four 14-year-old boys in Gobions Avenue, Romford. They had three packets of cigarettes confiscated and three were escorted back to their school. The other one said he had been expelled.

Wednesday’s evening shift saw Pc Andy Tyler join us. We went to a domestic in Rainham, during which a woman’s husband had allegedly thrown crockery around. A footprint on the front door was also visible.

There was no luck in searching for the man, who had left the house, but he may be arrested at a later stage.

The officers also dealt with more than a dozen young people inside the Brewery, Romford. They had allegedly been spitting and swearing at security guards, and were banned from the premises.

A police late shift showing what Havering officers deal with on a day-to-day basisA police late shift showing what Havering officers deal with on a day-to-day basis

Our Friday night shift with Pcs McKenzie and Kerry Mills, which began at 11pm, saw officers approached by a couple outside Hornchurch police station. They said the woman’s brother had been missing since 5.30pm.

He is 40 but has a mental age of 14.

While officers were at their Hornchurch house, a call came from the man’s parents – the brother had walked all the way to their Redbridge home.

After making sure he was safe and well, officers returned to Havering.

A distressed man talking to an ambulance crew after he was allegedly hit around the head with a baseball batA distressed man talking to an ambulance crew after he was allegedly hit around the head with a baseball bat

The final call came after 3am and concerned a 27-year-old who said he was attacked in Upminster Road South, Rainham.

He said he had left a party after an altercation but that two men approached in a car before jumping out and hitting him on the head with what he believed was a baseball bat.

The man, who had some lumps on the back of his head, declined to go to hospital.

The climax of the evening was when officers pursued a vehicle at high speed near Havering-atte-Bower.

Because we were a distance away at the time of the call, we were unable to catch the offender, but it was a memorable experience.

So our week as honorary constables was a mixed bag, but we enjoyed our exploits and came away with a better understanding of what it really means to be a police officer.

See more photos from our shifts at the picture gallery on the top right.

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