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Pongolad – Friday 30.3.07
[text blocked] means that words which occurred in the interview have been withheld in the security interests either of the individual speaking, or the national traffic site itself, please do not ask for these words to be revealed as more than likely you will receive no reply at all or a curt reply telling you what to do

[interrupting] the person speaking now, talked over the one before

[laughing] chortling sniggering or cackling are all included in the broad term ‘laughing’

falkor: hello Battersea Dogs Home!

pongolad: whot hoe Battersea Dogs Home, funnily enough I’ve been dealing with one of your dogs today

falkor: have you? What’s been going on then?

pongolad: a large dog beside the motorway [text blocked] select to view profile of pongolad

falkor: not a biter

pongolad: no no, not this time around

pongolad: hi falkor, pongolad here

falkor: hi pongo thanks for phoning, you’ve had a rough day have you?

pongolad: a busy one

falkor: blimey you poor old git, do you often get off late from work like that?

pongolad: no not often, but it’s just one of those things – you get caught up in a job and we had to go onto somebody else’s patch to do it as well

falkor: and you get paid time and a half for that don’t you?

pongolad: no

falkor: what happens then?

pongolad: if we’re claiming overtime, we can either claim overtime, or claim for time off in lieu (TOIL) I mean today, by the time we’d actually got away and cleared of it, we were actually back at the outstation, by quarter to 3. So it was only 19 minutes over our normal finishing time, but then had to get round the ongoing incident, so the worst part has been the journey back home

falkor: right here we go then! Which of these is your favourite? Stingray, Captain Scarlet, Thunderbirds, or Joe 90?

pongolad: well probably Joe 90

falkor: well that’s your nick name!

pongolad: [laughing]

falkor: you ARE Joe 90, but you’re a bit old for that

pongolad: I am yes, but I watched it with my kids

falkor: but when Joe 90 first came out, were you young enough to watch it then?

pongolad: no I don’t think so

falkor: well how did you see it then – you just got the video did you?

pongolad: No sorry I was young enough, of course I was young enough and I watched it with my kids

falkor: yeah I love the theme tune to that Joe 90, that is absolutely wicked, I tell you what, they haven’t shown that on TV for a very long time

pongolad: I don’t think so, no

falkor: Because they have shown Stingray and Capt Scarlet

pongolad: that’s right yeah, I used to watch them when I was a kid

falkor: oh me too yeah

pongolad: on the old black and white TV

falkor: Joe 90?

pongolad: no no Stingray and Capt Scarlet

falkor: oh right – no they wouldn’t have been too good in black and white

pongolad: [laughing]

falkor: everything was in colour from Stingray onwards

pongolad: it may well have been in colour, but back in 1965 when I remember watching it it was all black & white

falkor: really? You didn’t have a colour TV then?

pongolad: oh Christ no, we didn’t get a colour TV until 1972 I think it was

falkor: blinkin heck

pongolad: colour TV didn’t start broadcasting until 1969 and it wasn’t until the early 1970s that just about every programme was broadcast in colour

falkor: no, oh well you got me on that I gotta say

pongolad: [laughing] am I dating myself there am I?

falkor: well I think you noticed on those videos, that I uploaded, that there was no Stingray, and there was no Captain Scarlet, because you actually put the question “Where is Stingray” and ….

pongolad: [interrupting] I never actually had a look at the videos, I was just going on what was being said in the posts, that’s why I posed the question because they were about the same era

falkor: well there’s nothing from Stingray or Captain Scarlet in those videos unfortunately, it would be lovely

falkor: well moving onto Highways stuff let’s talk caravans! You’ve been involved with caravan RTCs

pongolad: oh yes indeed – probably most of us have been

falkor: really?

pongolad: if not RTCs then we’ve been with ‘em after blow outs, usually o/s ones so you either provide cover for them so that they can do it themselves on the outside, or putting a lane 1 closure on and get somebody else up to deal with it, depending whether we can get far enough onto the hard shoulder

falkor: you’ve never been a caravan man yourself?

pongolad: funny enough I was yeah many many years ago, which is why I empathise with them, but then again I did my caravanning mainly on the continent. That’s one of the reasons that I said in the post that they’ve got them as a separate vehicle – they’ve got to be TUV tested every year and get through an MOT. So every year at least it’s been checked and you know that your brakes are alright, your lights are alright and your tyres are alright on it and it’s in decent order

falkor: this is what’s contributing to the RTCs?

pongolad: it certainly doesn’t help. Last weekend it was the first weekend for the caravanners. A lot of them are going to their very first rally for the season. You get the odd one or two around earlier but this weekend is when they all start, the hardened ones are already sorted but now's the time the rest start. The dust come off and it’s guaranteed that as soon as they all start rolling out that’s it, trouble. Y’know we had one who had a blow out on his car and a blow out on his caravan. The blow out on his caravan was while he was actually on the dual carriageway and he lost it basically and he ended up polishing his car all the way down the side of a bloody great truck

falkor: oh no, do you mean the caravan came loose?

pongolad: no no he actually bent his tow bar, the stabiliser kept it .. if he hadn’t have a stabiliser I think the caravan would’ve come loose. But within the region yeah we had one that flipped over

falkor: oh no

pongolad: the one we had today was actually reported as caravan flipped over but it wasn’t, it was actually a large generator – looked like a caravan. We went up to it and there was supposed to have been another accident there and they couldn’t deal with that and had another crew on the other side doing a lane closure. As soon as we were heading back, they were out in force and no doubt there will be a few more today. We had one on Saturday that had been rolled – again, generally speaking, they tend to be older vans. It’s amazing how they upgrade their car, they get a great new car and they’re going round with the old vans – it’s like the comment this guy made about his tyres having been on for 20 years

falkor: I saw that

pongolad: “They’ve lasted me 20 years” “Great pair of Pirellis them” they might well have been!

falkor: it’s absolutely ridiculous isn’t it

pongolad: if your caravan's in use for 5 or 6 months of the year and then you don’t do anything with ‘em what can you expect?

falkor: I can see exactly what you’re saying. Now I saw on one of your posts, that your board buddy is keokeo and I noticed that you’ve been chatting with him quite a lot on the board, how have you built such a rapport with this bloke?

pongolad: ah well without giving too much away – he twigged who I was

falkor: did he?

pongolad: yeah

falkor: bloody hell

pongolad: we don’t do too much on there really, I could’ve put some one else as I’ve been having quite a lot of contact from her too

falkor: oh lovely

pongolad: in fact it’s quite interesting, because some of the ideas that have been muted and I was contacted the other day about use of conference calls for when you’re working with the ISUs, but it appears that some regions don’t do that. Now I don’t know why because certainly in our region they do and it seems to work pretty well and she did put on there that it’s not been something that’s happening their side, so I did have a conversation with her on that one and lo and behold got a PM the other day, saying “you wouldn’t believe it but I heard a super doing a conference call, they’re trialling it”

falkor: nice one

pongolad: well it’s one of the things I do like about nationalTraffic, yes the grown ups are coming on and monitoring it and some of them are picking up some decent ideas off it – I don’t care if they’re claiming them as being their own – you know let ‘em be glory hunters, great, as long as they act on it and we move ahead

falkor: I think we’re seeing 1000 private messages a month on the site

pongolad: yeah?

falkor: yeah because since we started 6 months ago, we’ve seen almost 6000 private messages go through and that is awesome

pongolad: it is, mind you I’d heard rumours of the site, but I didn’t join with some of the others at my outstation – I joined later and apparently when they went through their training, they were warned not to join it

falkor: what – not to join the site?

pongolad: yes

falkor: no?

pongolad: and I thought hang on we’re all adults here and I’m slightly longer in the tooth so we don’t tend to take those things kindly and having found it, I was more than happy to post

falkor: thank goodness!

pongolad: and I happen to know that there’s quite a few from our outstation that do, there’s a lot of them that like to keep their identity secret, but that’s their personal choice

falkor: did you see that post from that new member the other day? He said he’d put up a poster in his outstation?

pongolad: yeah [laughing]

falkor: [laughing] and when he came back in it was ripped down and he said it wasn’t even in the bin

pongolad: funnily enough I was going to print that same one and take it down to our RCC, to see how long it lasted

falkor: nice one

pongolad: I may yet

falkor: well why not?! But I’ve been having a look at a few of your posts and have noticed that you’ve got a liking for “Wish you were here,” Pink Floyd

pongolad: oh yes

falkor: I love that

pongolad: when they were talking about the relaxing, a lot of the groups that were coming through I was thinking, “Got that one,” “got that one,” “Got that one,” yeah I can relate to that one and if you’re of that era anyway, then you do know most of those

falkor: well that’s definitely a favourite of mine, in fact I went into HMV only last week and I saw that one and I thought “crikey I’ve got to have that,” but they’re not cheap are they?

pongolad: they’re not no

falkor: you go for those old time CDs, you’d think they’d be cheaper but they’re not

pongolad: to be honest it bugged me for years. I always said I was going to get “Dark side of the Moon” and obviously I had “Wish you were here” on album, but it was getting a bit crusty, but the prices they were charging, usually the charge is over the odds of the latest chart ones

falkor: £15

pongolad: and when I got posted down to Bosnia, no I went back again the following year, I was there with the United Nations and then we went green, went back the following year with a trial and while I was up in Bosnia, the camp I was at, they used to come and sell CDs outside the gate. So I ended up bringing back 100 from ‘em cost me about £2 a time

falkor: right

pongolad: sometimes the running order wasn’t in the right order, so obviously they were all ripped off in some Bosnian factory, but they’re all pucker gen ones and some of the albums that I came back with hadn’t even been released across here yet

falkor: was that the same in Croatia?

pongolad: well I was actually in Bosnia on that one

falkor: is Croatia and Bosnia the same place?

pongolad: well it’s all the former Yugoslavia

falkor: well I read that you served with Spanish troops

pongolad: we were all in the same base, we had Spanish, we had Dutch, we had Norwegian, we had Swedish

falkor: what were you then?

pongolad: I was in the forces [text blocked]

falkor: did you volunteer for that – were you ordered to go on it?

pongolad: we were ordered to go, we actually lost money to go. Everybody else in the United Nations troops across there were being paid a fortune and all the Brits who went from Germany, we lost our overseas allowances, so it cost me £7 a day for the pleasure of being there

falkor: you LOST your overseas allowance?

pongolad: yeah

falkor: how does that work?

pongolad: basically the government will do anything to claw the money back from you

falkor: because you’re still overseas!

pongolad: yeah but we weren’t in the place that the allowance was based on – they reckoned we didn’t have a cost of living in Croatia because we were actually on our operational tour so we shouldn’t be spending money

falkor: did you have a rifle or anything?

pongolad: oh yeah

falkor: you were armed

pongolad: oh yeah

falkor: what were your arms then?

pongolad: the SA 80

falkor: did you have to use it?

pongolad: no no, funny I got shot at twice though

falkor: bloody hell it sounds like you DID have to use it then

pongolad: yeah but both times I was unarmed

falkor: oh no

pongolad: yeah once was the drunken croats, they were celebrating their recapture of the province Knin and they got absolutely legless and decided to shoot up our accommodation and I was talking to a couple of kiwis and we had a couple of RAF nurses billeted in the same area - basically we were in big containers and they decided to shoot at the containers and over our heads

falkor: my god. How long were you out there for?

pongolad: 6 months

falkor: were you ready to go home after that?

pongolad: oh yeah, always

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

falkor: were you replaced? Or was that the end of it?

pongolad: no no we were replaced, in fact we were replaced by a bigger force, because we did a cross over from the United Nations to going green. It was the time when NATO came in and the yanks decided that they were going to come in in force, so they actually sent a larger force across in place of us, it is a large area but we opened up the country. While it was United Nations we were so restricted on what we could and couldn’t do – basically anyone could stop a convoy, but the croats used to stop us crossing the border and in one instance they held the convoy there for nearly 2 days. Just pushed them on the side of the road and waited there refusing to process the paper work

falkor: is there any books on this subject at all? Any films or anything?

pongolad: films ….there’s been a few that touch on it, but they don’t tend to touch on the inadequacy of the United Nations really, I know they did a couple of serials “made for TV” type ones but it wasn’t so much on us, it was based on the earlier ones it was based on the Cheshires, Col Bob Stewart is the officer who you see on the telly

falkor: ah yes I’ve heard of him

pongolad: yeah they were in the first lot – they were the ones who got a lot of the trouble – we weren’t getting so much of the hassle, although they were still getting shot at across the country, once we’d gone green it was totally different – Peace was, basically, forced on them

falkor: what do you mean once you’d gone green?

pongolad: well basically we threw away the UN berets, we painted our vehicles green and black again instead of white, took the UN labels off them as well and then we declared “well we’re now a fighting force and if anybody gets in our way then we will fight.” Prior to that in the UN if anybody came at you you just had to hand them your keys and say “fair enough” and walk away. Prior to that to get through Bosnia, you only had 3 routes to drive over and 1 of them was across the mountain. You had to go across this mountain where they’d cut a route through it, because we couldn’t touch the main roads and where we did, we understood why. The first time I took a convoy through the roads, the villages were just totally destroyed

falkor: oh no

pongolad: absolutely destroyed. Whichever side had been winning the conflict at the time, as they moved backwards and forwards …. rather than keep the properties they would just destroy them

falkor: oh my god

pongolad: in each of these villages and towns there was seemed to be a couple of houses that had been totally unmarked and untouched and I found out later that it was because they belonged to local Mafioso. It didn’t matter what your religion was ….. you didn’t cross the mafia, y’know I saw a village probably about 1000 houses, every window and door had been blown off and the roof had been blown off… they just turn the gas on apparently and just throw in like a big fire cracker or a thunderflash and they would just blow everything up so you would have the walls there, but no window frames no door frames and no roof on it

falkor: doesn’t bear thinking about

pongolad: but then you’d have a couple of pristine houses sat there that were unmarked and I just thought “what’s it all about?” really really weird

falkor: well you haven’t got any kind of situation like that now

pongolad: no

falkor: so … let’s move back onto traffic officers and I do understand that we have traffic officers out there being threatened, even being manhandled.

pongolad: yes

falkor: that’s what I understand

pongolad: yeah we had a few whilst I was working in the Control Centre. We had an incident that was just about on camera, it turned out that the guy had broken down 5 hours earlier, about 6 or 7 miles down the motorway. Had been repaired or the AA had been out to them and got it going again and he’d broken down again – we got a call in from the local police force to say that they’d passed this on the way to another incident, could we get the T.Os out to it – when they got there, it turns out that the guy was absolutely legless, so considering he’d been on the motorway for over 5 hours it begs the question, he’d obviously got a drink in his car and decided that he was going to keep on drinking

falkor: and he had a go at the traffic officers

pongolad: he had a go at both of them

falkor: that’s why you’ve got to be double manned isn’t it

pongolad: yeah

falkor: you’ve got to be double manned the whole time without exception

pongolad: but that incident where it was a male/ female crew – it was the female who he was trying to pull around and the male gently tried to get in and they managed to back off and get him into the back of his car – the AA turned up and had a word with him and he managed to spin it out while waiting for police to turn up and eventually it was an armed response unit as there were no traffic available and then the guy was arrested on the spot

falkor: just in the nick of time

pongolad: and I’ve heard he got done and went down and the Traffic Officers didn’t have to go to court

falkor: always a bonus

falkor: hey I saw you writing on the forums the other day about TSCOs arrogant TSCOs

pongolad: Traffic Safety Control Officers or something like that TSOs

falkor: never heard of em! Who are they?

pongolad: good question

falkor: what sort of uniform?

pongolad: none

falkor: none?

pongolad: none but they drive round in cars usually marked up with TSCO on it

falkor: I’ve never seen anything else about this on the forums

pongolad: they’ve got amber lights on them and most have got matrix on the back – the one we went to the other day was parked up in a live lane and he’s got “Warning – stuck in traffic,” flashing across this light bar in red but the writing was only about 2” tall so you’d have to be right on his bumper to be able to read it

falkor: [laughing] what do these people do?

pongolad: I believe they’re contractors – where you’ve got roadworks on large sections of the motorway and it’s going to be like a long term job – a year or whatever – they contract out the recovery and then you tend to have a recovery vehicle stay at 2 or 3 strategic points around it, to do the free recovery. But they have a TSCO and certainly the ones we dealt with last year were top guys, really really good and once they got to know us and realised what the job was that we do and how we could help them, they were always asking us to come down and put in rolling road blocks to assist them. Y’know great, but we had a couple have moved in, one in particular who is so arrogant and seems to think he’s much better than everybody else and of course he’s worked the roads for god knows how many years – he knows better and he jumps out in front of live traffic stopping it and all sorts, major issues

falkor: that is terrible

pongolad: yeah it’s been taken up by management and I have to say in recent shifts I haven’t seen him and nobody else has seen him, so we did hear a rumour that some action was going to be taken and we were just hoping that the action was that they’d got rid of him

falkor: ok aquarium time now pongolad, tell me all about it

pongolad: [laughing]

falkor: I love these aquariums, is it a big one or a small one?

pongolad: it’s 180 litres a metre long, a bow fronted one – it’s set up as an aquarium tank, as a community tank, it’s settled down nicely

falkor: what have you got in there?

falkor: you got a filter? You got a pump?

pongolad: yeah it’s one of these dual ones that comes with an internal filter fitted in the corner and a pump that fits on the top of it, everything’s all hidden in this block in the corner not too obtrusive like it used to be

falkor: does it heat the water or not?

pongolad: it does yeah

falkor: it heats the water

pongolad: yeah there’s a thermostat in the corner as well keeps it as a set temperature

falkor: so you’ve got tropical fish?

pongolad: yeah I try and run it to about 25°C

falkor: how many fish have you got then?

pongolad: a fair few, probably upwards of forty to fifty I would think

falkor: that is a lot

pongolad: I’ve got about fifteen small neon tetras

falkor: yeah

pongolad: well some of them aren’t so small anymore, but there’s a lot of different tetras in there and there’s a few large gouramis in there and a couple of large Angel fish as well

falkor: but that takes a lot of looking after doesn’t it?

pongolad: not a great deal no. I feed the fish twice a day and change about a quarter of the water and then clean the bottom up every 3 or 4 weeks

pongolad's huge tank

falkor: and it’s all down to you is it?

pongolad: oh that’s down to me yeah [laughing]

falkor: the whole lot

pongolad: [laughing] it is unfortunately, not the feeding

falkor: it’s a great joy though

pongolad: oh it is yeah and sometimes you think well you don’t need all this reality rubbish on the TV – I’ll put a nice bit of Pink Floyd on in the background and just lie back and watch the fish, it’s so fascinating

falkor: you’ve got the lighting in there? It lights up?

pongolad: oh yeah yeah

falkor: is that okay for the fish?

pongolad: yeah

falkor: no problem for them?

pongolad: no no problem at all. We’ve got two different ones in there – one promotes the healthy plant life and the other one brings out the reds and blues in the fish

falkor: you’ve got REAL plants in there?

pongolad: oh yeah

falkor: you have done well then, how d’ya get away with that then?

pongolad: well don’t have to do a great deal with it to be honest. Once they’re in there mind you we’ve had some plants that have not been so successful as others – some fish seem to like one certain type and just string ‘em and eat them all up, but other ones they just leave them alone

falkor: I am very familiar with that “eating them all up” thing

pongolad: [laughing]

falkor: I got real plants and realised it wasn’t going to work when they kept being eaten so I got plastic ones, but it’s just never quite as good is it?

pongolad: no and I’ve got five amazon swords in a clump there and they’ve really grown very well falkor: bloody hell you are an expert

pongolad: well I wouldn’t say I‘m an expert at all, I used to keep them when I was a kid, so I haven’t had them for years but I’ve always meant to

falkor: too right

pongolad: it was one of those things that when I left the forces decided to do, like getting a dog

pongolad: she’s sat here by me now waiting patiently for me to take her out for a walk

falkor: flippin heck have you got any minute spare at all in the day pongolad? You’ve got everything mapped out haven’t you?

pongolad: no I wouldn’t say that

falkor: fishes, dog, forums, Pink Floyd

pongolad: you’ve got to try and keep yourself a bit active haven’t you?

falkor: yeah true

pongolad: got to have a bit of a social life as well when I’m not driving

falkor: and the dog keeps you physically fit really

pongolad: well it certainly keeps me out and about and we live in a hilly town there’s some nice walks here

falkor: oh you’ve done well

pongolad: and I’m only 400 metres from the river

falkor: nice one

pongolad: beautiful walks down there

falkor: you’ve got a lot going for you I think

pongolad: oh yes it’s nice up here select to view profile of pongolad

falkor: well it’s been a pleasure pongo

pongolad: well thank you!

falkor: thanks very much for phoning

pongolad: no problems

falkor: all the best and see you back on the site

pongolad: yeah I hope you can make something out of this

falkor: [laughing] that’s great, cheers!

pongolad: yeah cheers then bye

falkor: 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

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