A police officer’s ‘night out’ in Romford

Police officers in Romford town centre

Police officers in Romford town centre - Credit: Archant

When most people get ready for a night out in Romford they put on their nicest clothes and prepare for an evening of drinking, dancing and a 4am kebab whilst waiting for a bus home. For a police officer, the routine is slightly different. Sgt Charlie Routley of Havering Police shares his experiences.

Havering police's Sgt Charlie Routley. Picture: Sgt Charlie Routley

Havering police's Sgt Charlie Routley. Picture: Sgt Charlie Routley - Credit: Archant

Shirt, trousers, yellow jacket, boots and a hat. Not forgetting the radio, torch, first aid kit, a sense of humour and most importantly... patience.

Our 10 hour shift starts at 7pm. Whilst many are still getting ready we are in the briefing room, being split into teams and given our roles for the evening ahead.

Dinner is a privilege and those who have worked the shift before make sure they stock up on Red Bull and Haribo for that 3am sugar/caffeine intake.

The town is covered by extensive council run CCTV and our eyes in the sky are on hand to tell us when and where we are needed.

The local council’s website describes Romford as “the perfect place for a night out, whether you want a quiet pub drink, meal in one of the many restaurants or a dance in one of the nightclubs”.

On the whole, this is a fair reflection of Romford on a Friday and Saturday night.

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As the crowds arrive we watch from afar. A mixture of more than 15 bars, pubs and clubs attract 1000s of revellers into the town every weekend.

The majority have a great time and go home at the end of the night a little worse for wear. The small minority who don’t are the ones who end their night in our company.

But it’s not just police officers and CCTV operators who are working to make sure everyone has a safe and enjoyable evening.

We are often joined in the town centre by our colleagues from the Special Constabulary, St John Ambulance and Street Pastors.

The cogs are ready to seamlessly kick into motion be it for someone who has fallen over, someone who becomes ill through too much drink or, on lesser occasions, someone who has been assaulted or has assaulted someone else.

This weekend saw us deal with all manner of incidents. Arrests in an environment of alcohol and crowded places are often inevitable. But in comparison to the number of people who arrive, have a great time and then leave, they are insignificant.

From helping a female who had been assaulted by her boyfriend – suspect tracked by CCTV and arrested – a male who had fallen down two flights of stairs and cracked his head open – this one verbally abused me, my colleagues, St John Ambulance and London Ambulance Service who were all trying to help him! – to being shouted at for not helping to find someone’s jacket which they left in a club.

No two nights in Romford are the same. But one constant is the professionalism and dedication of those who work together so everyone else can have a safe and enjoyable evening.

So the next time you’re out in Romford and you see someone in a yellow jacket who looks cold, tired, annoyed or hungry, be sure to wave or say thank you for being here (a high five or handshake works just as well) because not everyone goes out partying at the weekend. For some it’s just another night at the office.