Until today I believed the only video I would be appear in relation to the Police Force would have been featured on Crimewatch. And yet here we were sat in a studio in Edgbaston staring down the barrel of a teleprompter in a studio with real cameras, real lights and little microphones attached to our persons. Even though it happened and even though I have had 6 hours to think about it, the whole affair remains totally surreal.
The reason for our hour in the limelight was to record a training video for the West Midlands Police. As a result of Linda’s tireless campaigning to get some justice for me following my treatment by the Police at the time of my accident; policy is changing. The new policy has been written, put out for consultation with other bodies and now requires ratification before taking effect. It will then require briefing out to the Police and Civilian Officers to ensure they understand and comply with it. At the time it appeared everything that could be done wrong was done wrong and this was borne out as the investigation progressed. It therefore seemed a natural progression to use our experience to explain why the change in policy was required. Well that was the way it was sold to us anyway.
The way it was made so “everyday”, so matter of fact was disarming. We stood in an editing suite, surrounded by recording equipment having everything explained to us and the next thing we were in the studio reading out the first lines. These were our words rolling on the screen, well mostly our words with some paraphrasing and license and yet it was as it we were reading them for the first time. Only yesterday I commented about being able to read an A4 script as well as some councillors and today I was having two or three takes to read my own words. The hardest thing was trying to read out loud but sound like I was speaking them in conversation. I think in the end we got the hang of it and were able to express ourselves ably, almost acting in a way. I imagined how Huw Edwards would do it but avoided the welsh accent. The film crew and the Police Officer seemed happy with the outcome and promised to make us look good, apparently they are miracle workers when we doubted this statement. I have to say that on reflection I enjoyed the experience. It was nowhere near as nerve wracking as I had imagined and nowhere near as brave as Linda is on her regular slot on BBC radio WM, where she has to think on her feet to provide answers to the questions on live radio but in a way, going back through the detail of my accident, realising how low, how close I was to total breakdown, or perhaps worse and being able to talk about it to a camera reminded me how far I have come. In some ways I am actually stronger for the experience as I feel able to face everyday situations in a more confident way. I now take a greater interest in the outside world, feel less self centred or perhaps less self preserving and the lessons learned have altered my concept that the little people can’t affect change, we can and in this case, we have. The fight to save countryside services also indicate that with structured argument and commitment you can make people listen. That fight is far from over but is gaining momentum. It is bringing together interested parties and providing focus for the campaign. It is exciting to be part of it and to perhaps be making a difference. In a more enlightened and positive state I see opportunities for change in other places and I am making moves towards reintroducing myself to that world. I will be attending an AGM on Saturday, which following a night shift and with a particularly emotive subject on the agenda, may prove to be interesting. I have a lot to say on this particular subject and I am looking forward to saying it and I didn’t think I would ever feel that confident to say that again.
Well I am up at stupid O’clock to try and provide the best service possible to the rail users of the West Midlands, good luck to you all. and good night.