I wanted to be a police officer since I was thirteen, and at 16 my dream came true when I joined GMP Police Cadets. After that two years I served 10 years in various roles as a Constable, with some of the bravest and best people imaginable.
As I wrote in my book ‘Diamond Geezers’ my concept of true friendship was forged during those years, and in some senses it spoilt me for what sometimes passes as friendship in the rest of the world.
In the church I have made some great friends too, but such terms as brother/sisterhood are sometimes bandied around too easily as religious concepts among people who are Sunday acquaintances; but while not wanting to be over sentimental, when you’ve been through that dangerous door with someone, or fought alongside them in a dirty pub as the pint pots fly past – you learn who your friends are. My best mate is still one such man I faced fear down alongside with.
The call that every Bobby worth their salt would abandon everything to run to was that of a police woman ‘requiring assistance.’ It was a rare occurrence to hear such a call, because the police women themselves were such brave and resilient people, and when a PW was hurt by a man – he’d crossed the line.
My mum used to always warn me to be careful when I went on duty and I told her not to worry – but many bigger and tougher guys than me were invalided out after injuries on duty. I also remember when I was in GMP a police Inspector called Ray Codling was killed at Birch services and it cast a pall over the thousands who had sworn to work together there for ‘the protection of life and property.’ Just after I left the police it was a brother not only in the police but also a brother in Christ, Stephen Oake, who joined the list of those who laid down their lives in the line of duty. (The full list is found here).
Federation spokesman Ian Hanson said ‘GMP is a family’ – and both serving officers and retired grieve deeply today.
Since I first saw the news break this morning of first of all one, then two police women being murdered in such a callous manner by the coward Dale Cregan. I’ve wandered around in something of a daze. I cried a few times. I’m very angry. I reflected that anger toward heaven as I prayed and the Bible doesn’t shy away from people praying like that. God would rather us be real than religious. The God I know loves people, but hates evil – and punishes it.
If you want honest prayers where people vent their feelings about injustice try Psalm 5, 6, 11, 12, 35, 37, 40, 52, 54, 56, 58, 69, 79, 83, 109, 137, 139, and 143.
King David asked, “Lord, how long will the wicked… triumph they break in pieces Your people, O Lord, And afflict Your heritage” (Psalm 94:3,5).
Jeremiah said: “Why does the way of the wicked prosper? ” (Jeremiah 12:1).
Anyone who knows me or our church will know we support and work for and with many great organisations that work to help those in prison, we work to help rehabilitate offenders, we believe in changed lives and see evidence of it regularly. We believe in forgiveness.
But the Bible also indicates that since the very first murder, blood shed like this pollutes the ground and ‘cries out’ to God.
On Sunday in our services we will have a time of silent prayer, and take up financial offerings – that is the least we can do.
And today I’m just talking to God about how I feel about this, I find it hard to talk to anyone else about it that’s why I’m writing it down here.
Praying for the families of Pw Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes; RIP.
Praying for the City I love, where so much great work is done and incidents like this appall everyone, that after this ‘dark day’ we’ll work together for light and right.
Praying for the Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy who I have met on a number of occasions, and all the Police here who are as he says, ‘In Mourning,’ that their professionalism and integrity will result in the strongest possible case being presented to the court so justice is done here on earth.
Praying for organisations like Redeeming Our Communities, founded from our church by Debra Green OBE working together with the Police and all people of good will for the benefit of all.
But right now – I’m not proud to say, I can’t pray for Cregan, and those who have sheltered the evil coward.
So what do you do when you can’t pray?
I’ll have to talk to God about that.