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Meet the police patrolling Warrington's streets at Christmas
2:00pm Friday 20th December 2013 in News
MANY of us will be spending Christmas Day in the traditional way - surrounded by family, opening presents, stuffing faces with Turkey, watching festive specials on TV, and, probably, falling asleep on the couch.
For officers at Cheshire Police, it’s just ‘another day’ at work.
“It’s one of those things that when you take on this job, you have to do,” said PC Adam Davies, from Warrington Central NPU.
“It’s just part of being a police officer.”
Leave is rarely granted over the Christmas period - if your shift falls on any of the days, you work.
There will be 34 officers on duty on Christmas Day in Warrington.
Good will prospers in the halls of neighbourhood units though, with staff without families often volunteering to cover.
One such officer is Sgt Paul Whitehead, from Warrington East NPU, who has worked the last 20 Christmas Days.
Sgt Whitehead said: “I’m quite happy to do it.
“You’re there to deal with any incidents that happen.
“If you arrive in the morning and pick up enquiries from the night before.
“There might be scenes that need guarding, people in hospital that need guarding, and prisoners that need processing.
“The job we doesn’t stop because it’s Christmas.”
It’s not all bad, double pay softening the blow of leaving loved ones.
Many police say they don’t mind working over the holidays, families already used to fitting round shift work.
Arpley Street police station is dressed in festive finery, and those working often do so in a cheery atmosphere.
“Because they are with their other family’, as Chf Insp Giles Orton puts it. Rumour has it, even Santa visits.
But serious work remains.
On Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day last year, police were called to 584 incidents.
They varied from brothers fighting over a new Playstation, to violent arguments between partners, to drunken troublemakers.
Officers also patrol to hunt for drink drivers and police the often busier-than-usual bars on Bridge Street.
While pay is increased, many have children at home missing a parent on Christmas Day, like PC Paul Caswell.
He is missing his seven-month-old daughter’s first Christmas to police Warrington West on Christmas Day for the fifth time.
PC Caswell said: “Everyone would prefer to be at home rather than at work.
“If I was at home I’d be the first person out of bed having a massive breakfast, and then a massive dinner.
“You have to put your life in accordance with the job.
“Next year, she’ll be more aware of what’s going on, and hopefully I’ll be luckier with time off then.”
But with Christmas a time for loved ones to be together, is there ever any grief from other halves?
PC Chris Kearney, from Warrington Central NPU, said: “My wife understands the importance of being a police officer.
“She knows I can’t say ‘not now Mr and Mrs Victim’, I’m off to have my dinner.”
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