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May 07 , 2009

Diary of an On-Call Girl

True Stories from the Front Line


"The tapes are on, the interview begins, and I ask my standard opening question: ‘Do you understand why you have been arrested?’

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Believe it or not, sometimes these words alone can prompt a confused confession.
‘I ain't been arrested,’ says Shimona.
Not exactly a confession.
‘Well, you have, because you’re here.’
‘I was never arrested, though. No-one never put no handcuffs on me.’
I put down my pen. Somehow, I don’t think this is going to be the level of interview for which I need to make notes. ‘You actually don’t need to be handcuffed to be under arrest,’ I say.
‘Yeah, I do. Right, Sonia?’
Sonia nods emphatically. ‘You do need it, me Ma said so.’
In an attempt to steer the interview back on track, I look down at PC Cansat’s statement. ‘Look, it says here, “I then said to Shimona O’Milligan, ‘I am arresting you on suspicion of assault and criminal damage.’ I cautioned her to which she replied, ‘Whatever’.” Does that ring any bells?’
Shimona titters. Then she gets serious again. ‘Does he say he handcuffed me, though? Cos he’s a liar.’
‘No, he says he arrested you.’
‘Well, I wasn’t listening.’
‘This may surprise you,’ I say, ‘but you can be arrested even if you aren’t listening.’
‘No, you can’t. Not if you’re inside a house. I know the law.’
If there is one thing I like more than a gobby teenager, it is a gobby teenager who knows the law.
‘Shimona, you are going to have to take my word for the fact that you were brought here under arrest and you are still under arrest now. Let’s move on.’

If crime is the sickness, PC Ellie Bloggs is the cure... Well, she is when she's not inside the nick, flirting with male officers, buying doughnuts for the sergeant and hacking her way through a jungle of emails, forms and government targets.

Of course, in amongst the tea-making, gossip and boyfriend trouble, real work sometimes intrudes. Luckily, as a woman, she can multi-task...switching effortlessly between gobby drunks, angry chavs and the merely bonkers. PC Bloggs is a real-life policewoman and Diary of an On-Call Girl is her hilarious, despairing, true account of her life as a British police officer. 

WARNING: Contains satire, irony and traces of sarcasm.

Diary of an On-Call Girl was serialised on BBC Radio 4 and is currently in TV development with scripts being written by the writer of the hit TV comedy Rev.

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