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Enter John Child's WORLD!!

all in the day of a HATO

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TheWanderer – 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 there Don

TheWanderer: hello there mate how are you?

falkor: okayish thanks for phoning select to view Don's profile

TheWanderer: that's not a problem, I was just having a flick through waiting for the email back I thought it's getting on for two

falkor: oh top man [text blocked]

TheWanderer: [text blocked]

falkor: here have you done any 5 - 1 shifts lately?

TheWanderer: can't stand earlies

falkor: oh they're earlies are they, oh my god I was thinking it was 5pm to 1am

TheWanderer: no they're AM jobbies

falkor: which are your best ones then?

TheWanderer: I like my nights actually

falkor: yeah?

TheWanderer: not a great deal going on but they are good

falkor: yeah you can get an atmsophere going there can't you

TheWanderer: yeah it's always good because you know it's either going to be really dead, or you know you'll get something really juicy at night

falkor: yeah and if you go into your outstation the flippin place is deserted isn't it?

TheWanderer: yeah that's it

falkor: anyway you've seen WorldWidePolice haven't you?

TheWanderer: I have

falkor: you've been on there and undoubtedly you've been on a few other forums

TheWanderer: yep

falkor: so have you seen anything on WorldWidePolice or the other forums that you think might be good to bring over to national Traffic?

TheWanderer: to be honest I've been dedicated onto NT of recent, so I've not really been snooping around anywhere else

falkor: were you on WorldWidePolice for quite a while then Don?

TheWanderer: I was for a long time back in the early days

falkor: you were?

TheWanderer: I was on there and on emergencyservicesonline as well and obviously that upped and slipped into all oblivion

falkor: why?

TheWanderer: I've no idea - I just know that Nick the guy that was running it - he just closed it down overnight and it was gone

falkor: that's terrible isn't it?

TheWanderer: we've got quite a few members actually on national Traffic, that I do know from emergencyservicesonline

falkor: my god it's just a tragedy when something like that happens isn't it?

TheWanderer: it is

falkor: do you know the fire services forums

TheWanderer: I'm not familiar with those no

falkor: I think there's one member on the site at the moment that goes to 'em, but I joined the fire services forums a couple of years back and they're ever so strict

TheWanderer: I'm told though that the guys on there are quite open as well aren't they?

falkor: yeah but you try talking about like "Off Topic," like playstation and stuff like that, they won't have it!

TheWanderer: okay so they're sort of "on the job" all the time basically

falkor: no they won't have it - there's no "Off Topic" section at all

falkor: ah I just remembered, they did bring in an "Off Topic" for their subscribers only, that's fairly recent, but if you're a bog standard member ...

falkor: and another thing about those fire services forums which I could not believe - remember when we crashed earlier in the month? well they had a crash like that on fire services forums November 2004 and then they just started all over again!

falkor: they started all over again Don! they started from post 1 again!

TheWanderer: to be honest I think I remember emergencyservicesonline doing that as well at one point

falkor: that is absolutely - well it's a crime isn't it?

falkor: all those posts are just GONE? not only are all the posts gone but all the members have got to reregister - I know it's not much when you think about it - but it's just crazy

falkor: the only thing you can think about is that the bloke never had any back ups!

TheWanderer: yeah it's just having somebody like yourself who knows what they're doing, to actually keep the site running

TheWanderer: I suppose some of the guys on there have just set the forums up and don't really have a clue what the consequences of a crash are

falkor: well the big shame of it is, is that when you start out on one of those forums there isn't anybody coming around every few days saying "oh by the way have you done this" or "oh by the way have you done that" and I think you can fall into the trap of feeling like a really big boss sort of thing and the next thing you know there's a crash and then of course you go to the site hosts - the owners of the site - and say well can you restore my forums? and they say CERTAINLY! send us the back up and you say BACK UP? [laughing]

TheWanderer: [laughing]

falkor: [laughing] and this is exactly what happens y'know and the poor old newbie administrator is completely oblivious anyway better move on to something faintly resembling Traffic Officer stuff

TheWanderer: yep

falkor: Dartford River Crossing Police / Traffic Officers do you know anything about them?

TheWanderer: I don't know a great deal, I've been over and through the crossing a couple of times towards round the M25 and I know they've got some nice Landrover 90s with nice blue lights on the top

falkor: yeah but which are they Don? is it Dartford River Crossing Police or Dartford River Crossing Traffic Officers?

TheWanderer: no they're Traffic Officers and from what I can gather, they're employed by the actual crossing operator who are obviously responsible for it on behalf of the Highways Agency

falkor: really? on behalf of the Highways Agency?

TheWanderer: they do a very similar role to ourselves

falkor: yeah?

TheWanderer: just basically under slightly different legislation, there is a specific Dartford River Crossing Regulations or something along those lines - they've got a separate statutory instrument which give them their powers to work

falkor: you like their vehicles do you Don?

TheWanderer: I do like their vehicles. I don't think the 90s would be brilliant for use on big stretches of motorway, but definitely for the pulling power in the small areas

falkor: and they've got blue lights

TheWanderer: they've got blue lights on them and if they can have 'em why can't we?

falkor: I think they're police y'know

TheWanderer: no no they're definitely employed by the crossing operator

falkor: so they're Traffic Officers

TheWanderer: they're Traffic Officers

falkor: and they've got blue lights

TheWanderer: yep definitely

falkor: have they got sirens or anything?

TheWanderer: I've no idea, I've seen the blues but I've not had the opportunity to see them for long enough to know whether they have sirens

falkor: what sort of uniforms have they got?

TheWanderer: again I've not seen the actual guys I've just seen the vehicles but I'm reliably informed that they've got the white peaked caps

falkor: moving swiftly on to the Rollercoaster thread Don - I notice that you entered the thread the other day

TheWanderer: yes

falkor: but did not say whether you'd been on a rollercoaster

TheWanderer: I didn't

falkor: [laughing]

TheWanderer: I've been on "oblivion"

falkor: oblivion?!

TheWanderer: yeah I've been on oblivion at Alton Towers back when I was at college

falkor: and you chucked up

TheWanderer: under much duress I'm not a big fan of rollercoasters

falkor: no

TheWanderer: I wasn't particularly well afterwards

falkor: no and I've seen quite a few of those crazy rides and I'm thinking "yeah I'm gonna chuck up on that one" and there's no point going on it is there?

TheWanderer: well that's it I didn't want to go on it, it was pressure of a couple of friends at the time, y'know peer pressure

falkor: well I've been on the "Vampire Ride" at Chessington World of Adventures I gotta say about half a dozen times over the years

TheWanderer: right

falkor: but I think it's one of their oldest rollercoaster rides going - I gotta say I spent about half an hour looking up the Vampire Ride on the internet the other day and they've had to upgrade it and do a lot of work on it but it's still there

falkor: Ever been over there Don?

TheWanderer: I've not been to Chessington actually, but it's always good when you get a classic ride that's been kept there for many years

falkor: yeah but their overcrowding has just got worse and worse - I mean you go in there anytime Don and it is wall to wall people

TheWanderer: yeah there's just queues everywhere, but obviously the park owners don't care as long as they're getting the people through the gates

falkor: they couldn't give a poxy monkeys

TheWanderer: y'know you get some of the smaller theme parks, some of the really poor ones and they seem to be pay per ride and that seems to be better for the person actually going because with the likes of Chessington and Alton Towers you've paid all your money up front

falkor: yeah

TheWanderer: but you can't necessarily get on to any of the rides all day

falkor: I know you say that but I've gotta say I do prefer paying it all up front y'know

TheWanderer: yeah I suppose you know what you're spending, but it's a case of making sure that you're getting your value for money

falkor: and then of course the other side of the coin is that they then take advantage of that don't they

TheWanderer: yeah

falkor: anyway regarding YouTube and the motorway videos ...

falkor: have you seen a few?

TheWanderer: I've seen a few of them actually I saw the recent one with the hunter

falkor: yeah?

TheWanderer: the mickey take out of the crocodile hunter

falkor: oh god I missed that one, where's that?

TheWanderer: it's on there somewhere, we've got a link to it - no we haven't got a link to it from the forum, it's the one that you actually sent me the link about

falkor: did I?

TheWanderer: yeah

falkor: [laughing] oh my god I don't remember seeing it

TheWanderer: I think someone had raised some concerns about it and you sent the link across and we all agreed that it wasn't actually Traffic Officers that were on it

falkor: the crocodile hunter?

TheWanderer: I think it was called Traffic Management hunter

falkor: ah I know the one you mean now - you know what? I thought you were talking about that bloke in Australia, the bloke who died

TheWanderer: good old Steve Irwin

falkor: oh I really liked him

TheWanderer: they did a micky take out of him though

falkor: ah of course! that's who they were taking the micky out of I'm as thick as two planks I am

TheWanderer: [laughing]

falkor: no I know exactly what you're talking about now but that bloke Steve Irwin I tell you what I was so gutted when he got killed y'know

TheWanderer: it was a weird way to go y'know with all the various animals that he's got close to over the years

falkor: that was crazy

TheWanderer: and it was one of the more harmless ones that actually finished him

falkor: I was just totally speechless because I'm just a fan of all his programmes

falkor: I know he was a bit crazy holding his kiddie up just like Michael Jackson did, didn't he?

TheWanderer: yeah he did yeah

falkor: I mean no one likes that do they? why did he have to do that? that's totally uncalled for but that was the only thing that I think you can criticise him for

TheWanderer: it was probably a publicity stunt

falkor: I think that everyone who calls him a twat for that is right but as for the rest of it ... absolutely brilliant

falkor: but they didn't actually play a lot of his programmes after he died did they?

TheWanderer: no

falkor: do you think they did?

falkor: they should have done

TheWanderer: there's still a few knocking around on sky but no they seem to have dried up

falkor: well that's totally wrong isn't it? I mean I always expect when someone pops their clogs, that they're going to put all their programmes back on TV, they have done with other people haven't they? no I've gotta say I was a bit disapointed about that

falkor: so what about these cover shifts then?

TheWanderer: I'm lucky enough that I don't have to do them

falkor: you're excused cover shifts?

TheWanderer: well we don't do them at our outstation

falkor: oh right

TheWanderer: one of the outstations in our region does but basically we're all 24/7 at our outstation

falkor: there's so many variations I just can't keep up with it all I tell ya

TheWanderer: as far as I know within our region, they're trying to get some stability and get everybody onto the same shift pattern select to view Don's profile

falkor: so your outstation doesn't need them and that's as simple as that

TheWanderer: I think the good thing with it, is that where there's a mixture of shift patterns ...

falkor: yeah

TheWanderer: it enables better resilience across the regions, but I think cover shifts are a real waste, because a lot of the time the guys are going in but the early turn already have all the vehicles out, so they're just stuck around the outstation doing admin

falkor: are they? SOUNDS GREAT TO ME

TheWanderer: because there's no vehicle for them

falkor: what's wrong with that? sounds brilliant!

falkor: [laughing]

TheWanderer: yeah but we get paid to go out on the road, we're not supposed to be sitting around in the outstation

falkor: yeah I know I'm only joking but I think if I was a Traffic Officer I'd be quietly thinking to myself "well there's the rough and there's the smooth"

falkor: anyway, let's talk about the interview stage ... I noticed that you put a post on the other day about getting into Traffic Officer work and you said about a 45 minute grilling - I didn't quite understand what that meant, is that in regard to the assessment or the interview?

TheWanderer: it's the interview don't worry it's not like take you down the local kebab house and try and skewer you or anything

falkor: [laughing] so it's a 45 minute grilling? it's that bad?

TheWanderer: well you've got basically a panel of two when you go for your interview stage and it's just more like rapid fire questions

falkor: oh great

TheWanderer: rather than an interview

falkor: for 45 minutes?

TheWanderer: yeah you can't get a word in edgeways, apart from actually answering what they're asking

falkor: that is a long time, 45 minutes is bloody long

TheWanderer: I felt mentally exhausted when I came out of mine, they just keep pressing you about the things that you've actually told them about in the past

falkor: do they? they sort of go over your application form basically

TheWanderer: yep

falkor: bloody hell Don did you ask them anything?

TheWanderer: I didn't get a chance to be honest

falkor: [laughing]

TheWanderer: until right near the very end because it is it's just like rapid fire from them. y'know answer this answer that, give me an example of when you, it just felt like forever while I was in there

falkor: I've gotta say that my impression of getting into the Highways Agency as a Traffic Officer is bloody tough, that's my opinion and I've actually got mates who have written in for an interview for a HATO and they've never even had a reply

TheWanderer: I remember you saying actually that you've had people who'd never even had acknowledgement of their application

falkor: so they've just given up and looked elsewhere

falkor: I think it's a very competetive thing to get into personally

TheWanderer: well I think it is too. well I know in our region there were 20 odd posts going and there were 900+ applications with only 72 getting to the assessment centre

falkor: wow

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falkor: so .... John Child. You actually quoted his name on the forums the other day

TheWanderer: I did quote John's name yeah

falkor: well you might be interested to know that he's actually done a bit of work for us in the last couple of days

falkor: He's upgraded the GreenMylon logo

falkor: Did you know the GreenMylon logo Don?

TheWanderer: yeah is it the basketball ones now, I did notice those

falkor: no no the logo for the site

TheWanderer: ah right because I use subSilver which is probably why I've not seen it

falkor: ah well if you go into GreenMylon there's a logo on there, which has been ripped from the calendar do you remember one of the months from the calendar has got a lady Traffic Officer stopping the batmobile?

TheWanderer: I have yes

falkor: well I just ripped that out of there and plonked it at the top for GreenMylon and I was looking at it actually a few times and I thought it's not very wide y'know and I thought it's not really wide enough for the page so I emailed John Child and I said is it possible to make this a bit wider? I don't know what with put a police car in there or another traffic car just something and he said yes I'm going to add Robin to it and he said as you're using it for the site so now we've got Batman AND Robin standing at the side of the road [laughing]

TheWanderer: I'm really going to have to go in and have a look at that

falkor: but first of all he sent it as a JPG so what you had was that white background and sometimes it looks a bit hard so I emailed him back and said John thanks ever so much for doing it, it looks bloody good but can you make it a GIF because as far as I know only with the GIF can you have a transparent background y'know so now - he's done it - with that logo you've got the batmobile and traffic officer and the background of the site is actually shining right through the whole scene

falkor: that is so much better to me

TheWanderer: what a quality bit of work that

falkor: well he keeps on doing these things for us you know, he's a lovely bloke old John Child

TheWanderer: I've emailed John myself actually and I keep meaning to take him up on his offer of doing me a personalised cartoon

falkor: Yeah I saw you wrote about that, an A4 cartoon that's a fairly good size isn't it?

TheWanderer: yeah

falkor: you're gonna go for that are you?

TheWanderer: I'm going to go for that, it's just a case of working out what I want on it

falkor: another thing is that Tricky and you were having a bit of a chat on the forums about badges for £2.50

TheWanderer: we have. Funnily enough I've just posted on there I've found somebody else that does keyrings and all sorts

falkor: what sort of badges are we talking about? what is the result going to be then?

TheWanderer: well everyone seems to be hooked on the muttley logo at the moment

falkor: oh they do yeah, you included Don you as well!

falkor: so you're gonna have that done are ya?

TheWanderer: well the badges I was looking at I'm actually struggling to source now

TheWanderer: but I've found another guy who's doing the badges and the keyrings in a set and I've just put some pictures on the forum regarding them actually

falkor: oh brilliant

TheWanderer: and they're a really really high quality metal badge about an inch square with the logo encased under a plastic bubble coating

falkor: fair enough, sounds good to me

TheWanderer: the keyrings are similar, they work out at about a fiver a set, they are good and I'm chatting to the guy at the moment trying to get a discount on them

falkor: good luck with that Don

TheWanderer: the car stickers thing I've put on hold for the moment

falkor: yeah I saw you said that

TheWanderer: but that's not a problem either. that's a five minute job when I actually do go ahead with getting hold of the materials printed for it because I got a really good price on that as well

falkor: nice one you're getting things done

TheWanderer: the hardest bit's working out the distribution because of obviously the people are concerned about giving out their personal details

falkor: I thought this was going to come next you know - I actually considered that. I thought "yeah I'm gonna stay quiet about that" I thought that might be an issue

TheWanderer: but the guy who's looking at doing the badges, he's got his own little e-bay shop as well so if I can get him to hold my art work there he'll be able to just send them out to individuals rather than me be stuck in the middle

falkor: ah excellent that sounds like the business to me Don

falkor: here when we go back to when all this kicked off back in September, can you believe it's six months ago?


TheWanderer: it's really hard to realise it was six months ago. from when I've joined the job time has really flown

falkor: yeah? it's sad isn't it [laughing]

TheWanderer: y'know I'm all official on a permanent contract now and it's just all so long ago

falkor: when did that happen?

TheWanderer: what my permanent contract?

falkor: yeah

TheWanderer: fairly recently

falkor: right

TheWanderer: it's all formal and above board now

falkor: so you're not taken on on a permanent contract when you first join?

TheWanderer: no we basically have a year's probation. Thinking about the way some of the PCSOs were operating, some were being taken on on 3 year temporary set ups weren't they?

falkor: correct

TheWanderer: we have a year's probation before we get a permanent contract

falkor: well I suppose that's fairly standard actually to be quite honest

TheWanderer: it's a standard service thing for a government department

falkor: but going back to September when we kicked off the site do you remember it was just me and you on there wasn't it?

TheWanderer: it was and then we had a couple of your guys from national-pcsos come across to have a look

falkor: that's it yeah

TheWanderer: and then we had a few more bods I recruited a few

falkor: Charl_Hunter turned up, he turned up next didn't he?

TheWanderer: he did yeah and it's really weird, that I've got no idea where Charl came across the site from

falkor: he did say

TheWanderer: he's been a real expert really on anything medical

falkor: oh he's been a joy to have hasn't he

TheWanderer: then we had good old Blackrat who's quietened down of recent, I think he's been seconded to some sneaky beaky stuff because I've not seen him on the road of late

falkor: oh my god that's sad isn't it?

falkor: but we had no idea how it was going to go Don did we?

TheWanderer: no

falkor: we had no clue at all, for all we knew it was just going to be a lame duck

TheWanderer: that was it and with what had happened with the other forums and you sent me a copy of the email from one of our members

falkor: oh we can't talk about that on here Don

TheWanderer: [text blocked]

falkor: [laughing]

TheWanderer: obviously you know you sent me a copy from that and what a good turn out

falkor: flippin heck, it's looking good isn't it

TheWanderer: yep

falkor: looking good

falkor: SO: we've got Shoguns, Landcruisers, Grandis, Pathfinders, Discoveries, is that the lot?

TheWanderer: there's still a couple of Range Rovers knocking about from what I can gather

falkor: which is your best?

TheWanderer: well I'm unlucky really because I don't get an option of the Discovery but I do like the Landcruisers and I'm a big fan of the Shoguns as well, they may have a tractor engine in but the Shoguns are very good for their pulling power in more ways than one

falkor: you've come across that have you?

TheWanderer: oh yes

falkor: when was the last time?

TheWanderer: couple of weeks ago, actually while it was nice and sunny unfortunately though they were too busy chatting my colleague up

falkor: were they?

TheWanderer: yes

falkor: well I think we'll have to leave it at that Don. Thanks ever so much for phoning through

TheWanderer: no problem falkor no worries select to view Don's profile

falkor: that's 22 minutes

TheWanderer: there you go

falkor: brilliant

falkor: thanks very much

TheWanderer: alright falkor

falkor: see you back on the site

falkor: cheers bye

TheWanderer: 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

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