A Policewoman’s Lot – Part Five

WPC Cox sometimes complained to the male PCs about their endless banter, silly practical jokes and general sexist behaviour. They just laughed and said if she couldn’t take a joke she shouldn’t have joined. Alison was accepted more by them now and she got on well with everybody. It was just part and parcel of being the section woopsie, she thought. They said that if you weren’t thick skinned when you joined the police force, you soon would be afterwards.

Having been tricked and had over so many times, she was now less green and began to wise up a bit. One day PS Rose, who was standing in for Dave Cowan as the patrol sergeant, briefed them about a planned operation. A flasher had been seen in an isolated area of the park and had exposed himself to a number of schoolgirls. A description of the man was given, a middle aged white man in a dirty raincoat. They would take up positions where he had last been seen and try to catch him. To entice the offender out, WPC Cox would act as a decoy after dressing up in school uniform. “We’ve borrowed a uniform from the grammar school for you, Alison,” he explained. “It is a larger size. It should fit you okay.” He handed her a large polythene bag containing items of clothing. “We can get started as soon as you’ve got changed.”

Alison went to the WPCs locker room and examined the contents of the bag. There was a maroon school blazer and school tie, a short pleated grey skirt and knee length white socks, and a school boater hat. I can wear my blouse and shoes with these, she thought. She took off her clip on police tie and slipped off her uniform skirt, then her shoes and stockings. She knotted the school tie around her collar and put on the white socks, then zipped up the short grey skirt. It was fairly short, barely reaching to mid thigh. She laced up her shoes and tried on the blazer. That was a bit tight with her large bust, but it would be okay if she didn’t button it up. Then she tried on the hat and examined herself in the full length mirror in the room.

Alison was quite tall and a bit old to pass as a schoolgirl, she thought. But the offender would be looking at the uniform and it would probably be okay at a distance. It should be okay, she thought, though the skirt did look really short on her. She folded her uniform and placed it in her locker.

Suddenly she had second thoughts. She had noticed a bit of a smirk on Don Marsh’s face and she wondered if this was just another of their planned wind ups. The more she thought about it, the more convinced she became. Getting her to dress up in school uniform, like girls sometimes did on fancy dress nights at the night club in the city centre. Sending her to an isolated spot where someone could jump out at her, like they had when they sent her to the derelict hospital building. It had all the hallmarks of one of their practical jokes. But she wouldn’t say anything. She’d play along with them for the time being.

Alison went back to the parade room, where the rest of the section were gathered. She gave them a twirl as if she was modelling the school uniform. “What do you think, lads? Do you think I’ll pass for a schoolgirl? It’s a bit tight. Do you think my skirt’s too short?” They all agreed that she was fine, and that she needed to show a bit of leg to draw out the flasher. “I won’t take my handbag. I’ll carry my radio in the polythene bag. Where’s Sergeant Rose?” she asked innocently. “Isn’t he here?”

“He’s gone down the park in plain clothes to check things out,” they explained. “Let’s get in the van and we can join him down there.” Alison followed them out to the yard and let them all get in to the rear of the van. She stood facing them with her hands on her hips.

“What’s up, Alison,” asked Don Marsh. “”Aren’t you going to get in?”

“No, I’m not,” she said. “This is another of your wind ups, isn’t it? You bastards. Admit it, you fucking bastards!”

Don Marsh looked at her with an expression of injured innocence on his face. He looked at the other PCs seated in the van, who said nothing. For a moment she had some doubts. Maybe it was genuine after all, she thought. But then they all collapsed helpless with laughter. “I knew it was a wind up,” she said. “Where’s Sergeant Rose, anyway?”

“We had you fooled for a while though, didn’t we?” said Don.

“Yes. Yes, you did,” she admitted. PS Rose suddenly appeared, dressed in a dirty raincoat. He pulled the coat open wide to reveal a sign hung from his neck, with the word “BOO!” written it. They all burst out laughing again.

“That really suits you, Sarge,” she said cheekily. “I wouldn’t be surprised if you really are the flasher.” He slapped her bottom indignantly.

Shortly before Alison completed her two year Probationary period, she applied for a vacancy that had come up on the Cambridgeshire South Rural Policing Unit, and was accepted soon afterwards, joining a team of five other officers and a rural sergeant. This covered a number of small towns and villages south of Cambridge, and operated out of a Rural Office in Great Shelford, about five miles south of the city itself. The Office itself was a police house which served as a base for the rural officers. Great Shelford was basically just a big village of about 5,000 people. Most of the nearby villages were even smaller, but were often outstandingly quaint and beautiful, with a chocolate box cover quality, surrounded by large areas of rich farm land.

Most of the people who lived in the area were well to do. It was a quiet, prosperous area, but there had been a number of burglaries and thefts of quality cars recently, and a problem of thefts of farm machinery from isolated areas. This was thought to be the work of offenders from outside the area. Alison seemed to spend most of her time dealing with minor road accidents, a few instances of vandalism by youths, the odd report of stray livestock, and similar mundane matters.

Alison enjoyed working on the Rural Unit. The sergeant, PS Hopper, was very easy going and there was a relaxed working atmosphere. The shifts were better, with no early starts and less night work. She was largely left to her own devices to patrol her area on her own in a marked blue and white Ford Escort Popular. It wasn’t exactly a Maserati, but it got her round the district and she wasn’t expected to get involved in any high speed car chases. She spent a lot of time at meetings of the parish council and neighbourhood watch. She soon got to know many local people.

Sometimes she missed her old section, and laughed about the silly practical jokes they used to play on her. But she was happy in her current role and had no plans to change in the near future.

To be continued.