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Enter John Child's WORLD!!

all in the day of a HATO

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Our forums regularly see the latest rumours, fears and worries of the H.A guys and gals who hit the UK's motorways each and every day.


mondeoman – 28.3.07

falkor: hello is that you MM? view mondeoman's profile

mondeoman: how are you?

falkor: not too bad, what happened at 3 o’clock then?

mondeoman: I didn’t get home in time

falkor: oh you were coming straight from work?

mondeoman: No I was out looking for DIY stuff and got a bit waylaid

falkor: oh well thanks for phoning through now

mondeoman: that’s alright mate

falkor: because there’s not that many Traffic Officers who are willing to be interviewed I tell you

mondeoman: well I’m unsure, but I’ll give it a go

falkor: yeah! Race Track phoned through yesterday, you’re the second one … who else have I got phoning up? There’s only a couple more after that, so there’s a total of four, which I think will be fine, it’s very good of you to go through with it

mondeoman: any supervisors?

falkor: do you know what? To be quite honest I can’t remember who’s supervisors and who isn’t half the time!

mondeoman: alright

falkor: how you doing anyway?

mondeoman: not bad, not bad

falkor: enjoying yourself?

mondeoman: [text blocked]

falkor: oh right

mondeoman: [text blocked]

falkor: You’ve got to give a presentation on logistics?

mondeoman: No it’s Gist logistics, the National Fleet Managers and their HGV trainer drivers doing a presentation as to what the traffic officer services, what we do – we’ve done quite a few. We do quite a lot with ASDA

falkor: How many people are you working with?

mondeoman: I’m just on my own

falkor: You’re giving it?

mondeoman: Yep

falkor: Have you done it before?

mondeoman: Oh yes done quite a few

falkor: Do you enjoy doing them?

mondeoman: Yes it’s good - it gets across what we do – that we are not VOSA – things like that

falkor: [interrupting] you mentioned ASDA just now

mondeoman: yeah we’ve done it with ASDA. we’ve done it a few times … because the drivers don’t start at specific times, they start every 15 minutes

falkor: [interrupting] all I know about ASDA is that it’s a huge great supermarket

mondeoman: yes they’ve got a massive distribution centre at Bedford

falkor: oh right

mondeoman: we send a unit down there with a couple of Traffic Officers – go down there for 5 or 6 hours and get really looked after, fed and they even put them in a wagon – the thing is with ASDA, is that ASDA visit schools – they take a HGV with them – tell the kids of the dangers of playing near busy roads and going near HGVs. In the South East, the HA got up a presentation on throwing stones off bridges

falkor: crikey

mondeoman: so we’re going to try and do that one with them, ASDAs have tried it a couple of times and now we’re just tweaking it, to see how we can do it the best

falkor: what age?

mondeoman: about 10 – 13

falkor: right

mondeoman: you’ve got to be careful because on the M1 it’s not so much of a problem

falkor: yeah

mondeoman: we don’t want to make it a problem

mondeoman: the A5 in Milton Keynes is a big problem

falkor: bloody hell

mondeoman: both ASDAs and TESCOs have mentioned it, quite a few have had stones thrown off the bridge each week

falkor: jesus

falkor: I had no idea that you were getting into all this MM

mondeoman: yeah before we went live, we went out and met all the fire stations ambulance and that, people like that, recovery operators and then we thought, well we’ll go out and meet the people who use the roads the most, y’know lorry drivers – we want them on our side. Well we’ve had some bad press, which is why I love that article on Truck Net – the lorry driver who went out for a shift riding onboard with a T.O. it’s such a positive read, gives us a good name

falkor: yes that certainly did come across quite amazingly, that page is quite riveting, that bloke from Truck Net has given a most detailed and interesting account there. What that bloke wrote is just quite an incredible read, I’ve read that 2 or 3 times now

mondeoman: yeah select to log in to TRUCK NET!

falkor: Right, I’m going to ask you some questions on the site now, no cheating, are you ready?

mondeoman: ok

falkor: what do you think about this business of all these people who want to change their usernames?

mondeoman: I answered that today actually. I think we should keep it as they are, but if somebody’s got a specific reason to change it, like management have found out who they are, then they should ask you for authority to change it

falkor: if management have found out who they are?

mondeoman: yeah

falkor: what the HELL is going on?

mondeoman: [silence]

falkor: what IS going on?

mondeoman: [silence]

falkor: who should CARE if management find out who they are?

mondeoman: well yeah

falkor: can you tell me?

mondeoman: well one of my managers knows who I am on there

falkor: [interrupting] but let’s get down to brass tacks here, what the schmeg is going on about whether the management find out who they are?

mondeoman: [silence]

falkor: what is the whole crime here?

mondeoman: what I meant was, if the T.O wanted to change it because they don’t want management to know who he is

falkor: yeah I know exactly what you’re saying but I’m trying …..

mondeoman: [interrupting] I think that the site has done nothing but good for the service

falkor: yeah

mondeoman: I think it’s regulated well, that’s why I’m not that bothered about people finding out who I am

falkor: ooooooh YOU’RE JOKING!!!

mondeoman: at least one if not two of the OMs knows who I am on there

falkor: yeah … but it’s so sad isn’t it?

mondeoman: yeah

falkor: it’s tragic really

mondeoman: [silence]

falkor: isn’t it?

mondeoman: I think it comes through from people in the Highways Agency who haven’t got a clue what we do

falkor: no?

mondeoman: I think that the people in top management just don’t know what we do

falkor: well … moving on from that .. what’s your thoughts on Prospect?

mondeoman: ummmmm

falkor: Have you been lumbered with it it? Have you been saddled with it?

mondeoman: I’ve never been a union man – my Dad was never a union man and I worked in the coach industry, where apart from the big bus operators, there isn’t a union. The time I was a member of the UCW when I was working for the Royal Mail, I never had occasion to use it. I had a disciplinary against me a couple of months ago and the union rep came in with me, but I probably would have done just as well without him, without being disrespectful to him, so I’m not sure. I think it’s good to have backing behind you if you need it, one of ours had a foreign lorry driver making allegations that he stole £200 out of his cab – things like that you’ve got to have the backing, so that a good solicitor or lawyer can be appointed to you, then that’s where they’re worth the money and as I put on the forums today, this month’s Prospect magazine didn’t even mention the highways

falkor: yeah I read that yeah

mondeoman: y’know we’ve got an ongoing pay dispute – so I think that shows, but I haven’t got a lot of time for unions full stop

falkor: so you’ve been saddled with Prospect, you’d be better off with a different union?

mondeoman: I think so

falkor: which one though

mondeoman: Sorry?

falkor: which one?

mondeoman: I don’t know

falkor: No I don’t know either, I’m not sure

falkor: fair enough

mondeoman: I’m not a union man anyway

falkor: so … moving onto the Olympics – are you going to end up winding up there?

mondeoman: well our NOM seems to think that we could be hired out. Whether that’s in place at the moment I don’t know

falkor: what would you be doing?

mondeoman: I presume traffic management on the trunk roads

falkor: yeah?

mondeoman: I believe that we can be hired out to the Police Forces and that and to events

falkor: I don’t see how this is going to work though MM, you haven’t got enough vehicles to go round now! So what are you going to be driving?

mondeoman: I don’t know if they would hire vehicles in

falkor: Ah yes this is what they will do

mondeoman: it depends how much they want us to do, they can’t go hiring marked up vehicles but then if it’s just doing traffic management on trunk roads, you only really need a car with chevrons and flashing lights, you don’t need VMS

falkor: But how is it going to work though, because they can’t take you off of your motorway duties to do that can they?

mondeoman: well you’d think not

falkor: so you’d be working it on your rest day?

mondeoman: but they have to comply with the working time directive so they can’t do that for too long

falkor: I see

mondeoman: I don’t really know

falkor: it’ll be interesting won’t it, couple of years off yet anyway

mondeoman: I mean when we started off helping out Thames Valley off network, we didn’t charge them anything, it was all done to build up the relationship with TVP and then our Police Liaison Inspector said “oh no we can’t do that”

falkor: yeah?

mondeoman: and so that finished

falkor: talking about building up relationships can you go for a Police ride on with the TVP or not?

mondeoman: Errr yep – it’s very difficult in our patch BEDS and TVP, because they only have one motorway car at anytime and TVP is never on the motorway, it’s always tied up with other stuff, because they’re always that short of Police, having said that we have done it and they will do it, but you won’t be doing motorway work

falkor: so any Traffic Officer that fancies that, can go for it?

mondeoman: yes yes TVP and I asked one of the BEDS Inspectors and they said that’s fine

falkor: is it worth doing?

mondeoman: I think so, just to build up … I mean BEDS and TVP are very pro – the majority of ‘em, there’s one or two … HERTS are very very anti

falkor: [interrupting] YEAH I remember reading your post on that, you were very honest on that

mondeoman: with HERTS if we pull up now and it's certain officers, we don’t even bother to get out – we just put it in reverse

falkor: [laughing]

mondeoman: we just don’t give em the opportunity to blank us

falkor: oooooo nice one

mondeoman: there’s a couple off BEDS who don’t like us, but they’re professional

falkor: you’ve got three different police forces running there?

mondeoman: well we have 3 patrols, one is HERTS one is BEDS and one is TVP more or less

falkor: well how about that, that’s enormous isn’t it?

mondeoman: yeah I don’t suppose there’s many of them that have got 3 really

falkor: and you’re regularly getting actual verbal abuse in the course of your duties from members of the public

mondeoman: oh all the time. On closures and …..

falkor: [interrupting] I don’t think there’s a lot of people that realise that

mondeoman: no, well apparently the lads who do Traffic Management schedules have suffered it for years and years – they’ve had stuff thrown at ‘em, cans thrown at ‘em, things like that

falkor: yeah?

mondeoman: y’know we had to put a 2 lane closure in for a fatal, lorry driver had had a heart attack, the lorry was up the bank, we didn’t know if it was going to tip or not, it had a heavy load – Police had shut 2 lanes when they got there and we then took over from them to see one fella going by, holding his head and shaking his hands out, as if to say “why have you got 2 lanes closed?” well the ambulance had just got there, the recovery was coming and it was a case of the lorry might fall on it’s side. now why do they think you do it for no reason? I just don’t know

falkor: so …. You just get used to it in the end … or you don’t?

mondeoman: well you try not to let it … I come from a coaching background, you have to learn to bite your lip. you can’t tell the people we used to carry, you can’t start arguing with them

falkor: well it’s a waste of time anyway I suppose

mondeoman: another one, we were trying to get an ambulance through the roadworks which was going to a motorcyclist lying in lane 2, with an RAC van fending off, but we just couldn’t go any further and I got out. started moving the cones and tapped on this Vectra and as I turned round he’s standing there facing me and he took me by surprise in fact, then he said “If you bang on my car again I’ll bang on you”

falkor: oh no

mondeoman: the shock of him standing there when I wasn’t expecting it, I just couldn’t take it, I just laid into him

falkor: did you?

mondeoman: I said “If you don’t get back in your car now I’ll have you nicked for not complying with my instructions and if he dies I’ll have you summoned to the coroner’s court now get out of my way”

falkor: oooooooerrrrrrr

mondeoman: I phoned up my OM the next day and said “You might be getting a complaint coming your way”

falkor: [interrupting] and you were on your own!

mondeoman: no there were 3 of us

falkor: ah so you were alright, that was ok then

mondeoman: and he was late 50s about 5’

falkor: crikey what’s going on?

mondeoman: and it was a shitty old Vectra and it’s not as if you’re banging on it – you just tap on the window

falkor: yeah of course

mondeoman: and apparently then he just sat there bibbing his horn

falkor: [interrupting] I tell you what I’m glad to hear that you had 2 other T.Os with you, because the other side of the coin is when you are working on your own. Do you ever find that you’re working on your own MM?

mondeoman: not really – I’ve done 2 shifts last week and there were no covers left, so I did two on my own, because on our patch if you’re on your own, you always do the middle bit so that if I do need help, I’ve got one from the bottom to come to me. y’know I’ve done nights on my own before, when we’re really short – but the good thing about our job, is that if it is kicking off, you can get back in the vehicle and drive off

falkor: that’s true yeah you can’t be faulted

mondeoman: if you notice that it’s going to kick off, y’know you normally get some sort of warning, y’know people don’t just go suddenly from being nice, to suddenly being a loonatic do they?

falkor: no, no they don’t, but let’s talk about the National Traffic site again, I mean you’ve been on there for a fair while now haven’t you?

mondeoman: September me, I think

falkor: oh well that was from day one then! Have you got any thoughts on the site being improved, anything that you’d like you see, something else done? Have you got any ideas?

mondeoman: no not really, I think it’s quite a good site as it is, otherwise I wouldn’t go on it so much

falkor: that’s true

mondeoman: no not really

falkor: but there was a site for traffic officers prior to this one wasn’t there?

mondeoman: I don’t know

falkor: [laughing]

mondeoman: I do know that there was one of the T.O s at [text blocked] who tried to do one

falkor: ah this is the one that I was trying to find out about

falkor: did you ever go on it?

mondeoman: no because he was told not to do it

falkor: was he?

mondeoman: he got told in no uncertain terms that if he did do it, he would be sacked

falkor: but how did they find out, that it was him that was doing it?

falkor: This is what I want to ..

mondeoman: I don’t know


falkor: oh you know who it was?

mondeoman: he runs with the same shift pattern as I do

falkor: oh my god how about that

mondeoman: somehow he always seemed to end up at all the big jobs

falkor: oh right

mondeoman: cause our lads called him Bronze xxxx and there’s a few people who haven’t got time for him, he’s a bit of a smart arse know it all. I haven’t got a lot of time for him – I do believe that he was told, that if he’d have carried on setting it up he would be out the door

falkor: he must have been pissed I should think

mondeoman: yes

falkor: so ….. have you seen anything decent on telly lately MM?

mondeoman: no


mondeoman: yeah I watch telly but I haven’t seen anything decent on it!!

Comment on this interview! Have your say on what falkor and mondeoman were talking about : just click here

falkor: [laughing]

mondeoman: the only thing is road wars. y’know it was TVP chasing the bloke the wrong way up the M1, it was an Astra and one of ‘em bounced up the hard shoulder the other Police Car had a head on, whilst looking in a field

falkor: what happened when they went in the field?

mondeoman: they were in the field trying to arrest this bloke who had attacked a policeman with a knife

falkor: was it a knife or a sword?

mondeoman: a sword

falkor: oh my god Race Track was talking about this when I interviewed him!

mondeoman: while he was going up the hard shoulder he obviously was looking at the arrest – the police car just hit the one facing the wrong way

falkor: yeah that was amazing that I gotta say

mondeoman: I do deal with TVP quite a bit and I said to the garage Sgt the other day “has Ronnie had much stick over that?” and he said “oh yes – things are hotting up over that quite a bit” …. but it was quite funny

falkor: Is there any rumours on changes for Traffic Officers at all MM?

mondeoman: haven’t had any rumours for a while now

falkor: nothing on the horizon?

mondeoman: there were some rumours about losing teams and all that sort of malarkey

falkor: so nothing else then

falkor: I reckon that there’s about 4 or 5 cars. you’ve got Shoguns, Landcruisers, Pathfinders, Discoveries and the Grandis, is that the five?

mondeoman: Well the odd Range Rover too

falkor: so which is the best one for you?

mondeoman: The Discovery without a doubt

falkor: what’s the reason?

mondeoman: It’s comfortable, it’s more composed than any of the others. Because we’ve all done the Landrover experience, it shows just what the Landrover will do and it’s by far the most composed, which means it’s the safest. Vehicles by league, the Shogun’s by far the most reliable

falkor: oh right

mondeoman: without a doubt

falkor: thanks for that MM. Now do you see any development of the Traffic Officer role coming in at all?

mondeoman: My personal opinion is that ten or fifteen years down the line we’ll be traffic police

falkor: oh my goodness

mondeoman: that’s my personal opinion – they’ve tried to set up motorway police before, I think it was Kent or Essex that was against it, but if they’d gone for it there would have been an M25 Police by now, similar to what runs in Birmingham

falkor: sorry, is there a motorway Police around Birmingham?

mondeoman: yeah CMPG

falkor: what does that mean? I’ve never heard about this

mondeoman: Central Police motorway group

falkor: what does it comprise of?

mondeoman: West Mids, Warwickshire, West Mercia and Staffs I think

falkor: yeah but they’re all police officers

mondeoman: they’re all police yes

falkor: you said developing from highways agency blokes

mondeoman: they tried to do the same for the M25, they wanted the Met, Essex, Sussex, Surrey, Kent, Herts to all put units in, the same as they did in Birmingham

falkor: right

mondeoman: it was either Kent or Essex said no. If they hadn’t of said no, that would’ve been set up. Now I think that’s the way to go and we’ll be traffic police

falkor: so moving on, if you started getting fed up with Highways for any reason, what sort of job might you do? Perhaps back to coaching?

mondeoman: no. I don’t miss driving at all now

falkor: no?

mondeoman: too much traffic too many idiots on the road

falkor: that’s for sure

mondeoman: I still do a little bit, I did some work the end of last year

falkor: yeah?

mondeoman: If the government was to come along and knock us on the head or something, then I don’t know what I’d do – I don’t think we’d get redundancies

falkor: so what would they do then?

mondeoman: I don’t know. How many of us is there? 3000 odd?

falkor: so you’re saying you might get a sideways move

mondeoman: apparently the civil service does not do redundancies

falkor: so you would go into a different government department

mondeoman: then again there’s 3000 of us

falkor: but they would have to offer you that, what is the nearest thing to you that you could move to?

mondeoman: VOSA really I suppose

falkor: ah of course yeah

mondeoman: but even they’re being cut back aren’t they

falkor: are they?

mondeoman: well they’ve got no funding and they’re making cut backs and a lot of that’s going private, with MOT stations going private. need a new government really and hoping the new government will like the idea of us

falkor: why do you say we need a new government? what’s your reasoning there?

mondeoman: I just think they’ve not got a clue what the majority of the people want

falkor: give a couple of examples

mondeoman: crime

falkor: yes

mondeoman: get rid of all the PCSOs, let’s put proper policemen out on the streets

falkor: how can you say that? You’re a traffic officer, you’re taking up a policeman’s job!

mondeoman: well no, because I don’t do enforcement. Our Chief Inspector was saying “why do we need motorway cars?”

falkor: [interrupting] But PCSOs say that they don’t do enforcement – they’re just doing the little jobs of community reassurance – they’re not doing enforcement, they’re not supposed to – they’re in almost the same role as you but from a different aspect

mondeoman: oh I suppose so, but then we don’t say POLICE on – they do

falkor: ah I can’t argue with you on that one

mondeoman: y’know if someone’s got POLICE written on his back – they’re a policeman

falkor: okay that was one example you got another one?

mondeoman: Immigration. we had a lorry stopped by Police the other day, 10 illegal immigrants in it, they just let ‘em go

falkor: I read about that and that is just so awful – that is so appalling

mondeoman: no identification on them, no nothing

falkor: that’s pathetic, terrible

mondeoman: it is when you’ve got so many people trying to blow us up

falkor: no you’re right, that’s insanity that is

mondeoman: it is view mondeoman's profile

falkor: well it’s been a pleasure talking to you MM

mondeoman: alright

falkor: thanks very much for phoning through

mondeoman: no problems falkor select to log in to TRUCK NET!

falkor: you’re a gentleman

mondeoman: I’ll speak to you soon

falkor: see you back on the site

mondeoman: okay thanks!

falkor: cheers – bye!
interviews 2007: summary information
#sitememberinterview date GO TO includes
1national Traffic Race Track27.3.07 V I E W  ever pressed the emergency button?
risk of litigation on RRBs
12½% shift allowance or 20% shift allowance
PITO | the site before NT
national-PCSOs early days
2national-PCSOs alihowe27.3.07 V I E W  dogs and cats | street wardens | 3 litre Capri | Granada 2.8 Ghia
Lotus as a summer project
judo for PCSOs
going over to the dark side
heavy confrontation | actually doing crime reports
3national-PCSOs GlynB27.3.07 V I E W  UNISON PCSO working group
Drum and Bugle Corps | South Yorkshire Police Band
PCSOs can go onto age 65? | membership of UNISON
Met Police's PCSOs are gradually replacing Station Officers
lower pay for PCSOs? | zig zag lines
PCSOs being issued with batons etc
4national Traffic mondeoman28.3.07 V I E W  Gist logistics | Prospect, union
Police ride ons
verbal abuse in the course of your duties
the site before NT | we’ll be traffic police
get rid of all the PCSOs
5national Traffic Tricky30.3.07 V I E W  Major Incident Training
Dartford River Crossing Police
cooking | Accuracy Brevity and Clarity
Muttley in the hi-vis
French | spam | Dr Who
6national Traffic pongolad30.3.07 V I E W  caravans | legless on the motorway
United Nations
tropical fish
7national Traffic Keokeo31.3.07 V I E W  the problem of passwords and usernames
firefox V IE | subMerged
H.A. model of Toyota Landcruiser
Silverstone grand prix | night security
maglite | driving instructor | CSMA | Blues Brothers
Bradford's media museum | a windy Thursday
8national-PCSOs micky1.4.07 V I E W  'PCSO observers' | s59 seizing a car
offduty | 'pointless taxi productions'
challenging people to races
access to crimint and CRIS
PCSOs being posted to the front office
the 2004 survey!
9national-PCSOs CIDB1.4.07 V I E W  Kew Gardens 2005 | £80 PNDs
PCSO ANPR operator | seizing for no insurance
XBOX 360 | shoplifters
going to the gym 4 times a week
a power to detain, but without using force
UNISON | handcuffing someone
10national Traffic Guinness Man1.4.07 V I E W  police rideons | incident support units
Traffic Officer grade assessors
Rover TC and the Rover 3500S
union | bank holiday working
11national Traffic TheWanderer30.3.07 V I E W WorldWidePolice | emergencyservicesonline
Dartford River Crossing Police
YouTube and the motorway videos
cover shifts | John Child
car stickers and metal badges
#sitememberinterview date GO TO includes

Comment on this interview! Have your say on what falkor and Race Track were talking about : just click here

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