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Interview with John Donoghue, author of Police, Crime & 999


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Tell us about Police, Crime & 999: The True Story of a Front Line Officer.
It does what it says on the tin. It’s the true story of a year in my life as a response officer. We are the cops who respond initially to the 999 (911) calls with the blue lights flashing and sirens blaring. It’s your all access view behind the scenes of what REALLY happens in the police.

What genre is it?
Humour, True crime, Autobiography.

What kind of readers will it appeal to?
Anyone who enjoys a laugh or is interested in what happens behind the scenes.
WARNING: Contains humour and traces of nuts.

Complete this sentence for us: If you like  ______________, you’ll love Police, Crime & 999.
Hot Fuzz.

Everyone will need to buy the book to hear all the stories, but can you tell us one anecdote from your time as a policeman?

There is a tale of two police officers who went to the house of an elderly lady to take a statement from her. She made them both a cup of tea and ushered them into the front room where they all sat, discussing the purpose of their call. As they talked, the door was nudged open and a German Shepherd dog pottered into the middle of the room. The dog looked around and then proceeded to squat down and, with his back legs all a-quiver, deposited a fresh steaming turd on the lounge room carpet. The police officers exchanged sideways glances but didn’t say anything. After all, it was the woman’s house and everyone has different standards – it wasn’t up to them to admonish the hound. They looked over at the house owner but she just acted as if nothing had happened. Instead, she avoided looking at the dirty beast and his doings, picked up her cup of tea, took a sip and continued to politely chat to the officers. Meanwhile, the dog, having completed his ablutions, sauntered back out of the room.
Twenty minutes later and ready to leave, the officers’ curiosity had finally got the better of them. As they thanked the lady for the tea, one of them felt compelled to enquire why she hadn’t said anything when her dog had come into the room and pooped on the floor.

“My dog?” replied the old woman. “I thought he was your dog!”

How often do things like that happen? Surely most days are just humdrum?

That’s the thing; you never know what is going to happen on your tour of duty. From the strange 999 (911) calls, bomb threats, sudden deaths, drugs raids, burglaries, pub fights and lectures to school children, right through to rude snowmen and arresting members of the Royal family… you never know what is going to happen next!

Even the most innocent calls can turn bizarre:

Caller: Is that the police? I want to report a disturbance in the street.

Police: Have you an address?

Caller: No! Shirt and trousers! What kind of pervert are you?

The book is very funny; was that important since crime and police work are usually portrayed very grimly?

Someone once said that a policeman’s lot is not a happy one. Indeed, people have a perception of police officers as serious and humourless – I thought it was time to show what actually happens behind the public face you see. Being a police officer is one of the best jobs in the world whatever country you serve in. Despite all the drunkenness and cruelty, crime and disorder, the job has the potential to be fun – a lot of fun!

What is the one thing about policemen that would surprise the rest of us the most?

Take your pick:

In the UK, we don’t carry guns / we’re not that big on doughnuts / A police officer is attacked in the UK every twenty minutes (that makes it sound like there is an organised rota! You know what I mean!)

Writing a book is never easy, but other than that, what has been the toughest part – editing or marketing?

Writing was fairly easy … there are so many funny / bizarre / interesting things that happen. Marketing is a constant challenge … and takes me away from writing the next one!

Twitter is excellent to spreading the word. Add me if you are a tweeter – I’m @JohnDonoghue64.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I never set out to be to be a writer … I wanted to be a sailor …and a soldier …and a policeman.

When I left school, I ran away to sea …or more accurately, caught the train and joined the Royal Navy. After six years on the high seas (including two fantastic trips to the USA), I transferred to the Army, serving Queen and Country throughout the Cold War.

However, when it began to thaw, I took this as my cue to move on. Leaving the army as a Captain, I joined an international security organisation, although it was more budgets and spread-sheets than James Bond and Pussy Galore. Bored, and in search of more fun and excitement, I handed back my company car, expense account and keys to the executive toilets and joined the police force where I am currently a serving police officer.

The navy and the police – is it adventure you are addicted to or danger?

I just think I get bored easily!

Have you got a blog where readers can keep up with your work?

I have a website www.policecrime999.com.

Where can we buy Police, Crime & 999?

Available from Amazon in the UK & US (paperback & kindle), Barnes & Noble or any good bookshop in the UK.

What’s next?

I’m still a serving police officer, but between shifts, I’m writing the sequel to Police, Crime & 999. The actual title is still yet to be decided. There are still lot more stories to tell.

While you’re waiting, you can always check out my first book Shakespeare My Butt! about my military service and travels with my dog around the strange named places in the UK. It’s been described as “Bill Bryson on magic mushrooms”. Not sure Bill would approve of that!

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Enjoyed this interview? Then check out our conversation with David Eckhoff

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7 Comments

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  2. Brilliant book, highly recommended…

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  5. Donna Beecham

    Absolutely brilliant book. Educational, and very, very funny!! Highly recommended by me!

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