Walking down the familiar streets of Bow, Sandra Pullman felt like she never had before. Since she was knee high she knew this was what she was destined to do. She had dreamed of it; what it would feel like and what it would be like. It was better than she had anticipated; it gave her a feeling like no other. She wanted to follow in her father's footsteps, she wanted to be as good as him, and she wanted to make him proud.
Sixteen years old and her first day on the beat; Police Constable Sandra Pullman now had a foot on the ladder of the Met, beginning her journey to becoming 'a proper copper' as her father called higher ranking officers. Detective Inspector Gordon Arthur Pullman, Sandra's father had died two years previously when Sandra was only fourteen years of age. She didn't understand how or why he died, but as a police officer, she knew that he was constantly risking his life. She worshiped the ground he had walked on, and this was her way of being close to him again.
Just out of school and really still only a kid, with her trousers too long and her boots too heavy, Sandra looked like she did on her first day of secondary school. Her long blonde hair was scraped back into a tight bun and her hat was perched on top of her head. She tried walking the best she could, oozing confidence and stamina, but hiding the niggling feeling that was asking 'am I doing the right thing?' She assured herself she was, she had wanted this all her life, but more than that, she wasn't doing this for herself, she was doing it for her father. Intermittently, Sandra checked her warrant card to re-assure herself that this was real. Looking at her uniform didn't convince her as many a time at home she would be allowed to try on her father's hat and stab vest. Inside her warrant card she slid in a small photo of her father on his first day as a serving officer; giving her the strength and determination to get through the day.
Day after day the young girl had walked down this road, to and from school, home, the shops and friends houses. She knew them like the back of her hand. But today she walked down them as though they were all brand new. The people that passed her that she knew well enough to say hello to, but not enough to have a full conversation with now passed her without saying anything; she passed them feeling superior and important. But was she? Theoretically she was; she had knowledge beyond her few years, but in practice, in the face of adversity, would she be able to apply all of that knowledge and stay safe? Probably. Sandra, even as a small child, was clever, quick-witted, street-wise, sharp tongued, independent and strong. She was doubting herself more than ever, which was a rarity, but she would make this work. Sandra was used to the streets being dirty and full of graffiti, it was normal, but today it was filthy and full of criminals and scumbags.
PC Pullman had been paired with PC Jackie Harvey; a forty year old uniform from London, who was more than capable of being CID but preferred 'getting her hands dirty' on a daily basis. She was talented and experienced and could be a great teacher for Sandra, but Sandra thought she was boring. She was used to having a laugh at other people's expense, and making light of most situations, but this one had had a personality transplant at some point in her life.
It felt like they had been walking for hours around the same old streets of East London. It was silent most of the time; she could have cut the atmosphere with a knife. The streets were empty, which was unusual. A few hundred yards in front of them, Sandra spotted something, something that wasn't usually there. A big silver tin bin was wedged into the entrance to the alley way that led to the allotments. She had never seen it there before. Sandra walked over to it by herself, and in the background she could hear PC dull-and-boring calling her name. 'PC Pullman, come back here, you go where I tell you to...PC Pullman...I'm speaking to you...Police Constable Sandra Pullman!'
Sandra took a deep breath in, as though she were about to be sick. "Over here" she called, kicking the bin so hard it fell on its side. As Jackie approached where Sandra was crouched, she saw what Sandra spotted yards ago. A female lying unconscious on the floor. Sandra didn't like to check for a pulse, she had heard about new girl windups and fake dead bodies, but this one looked genuine, she couldn't leave her for dead. Pulling her glove off, Sandra pressed two fingers to the woman's neck. Nothing. She was gone.
"Jackie, she's gone" Sandra confirmed as her colleague was busy trying to make her radio work.
"Control, this is PC Jackie Harvey, I'm at the Bow Allotments, we've got a body"
Not fifteen minutes later, squad cars, forensics, ambulances and plain clothes officers pulled up. "What happened?" a man asked, stepping out of his navy blue ford escort. Police tape had already been put across each entrance to the alleyway and a uniform officers demanded some ID from the man.
"DCI Jack Halford, CID" the man asked, flashing his warrant card in the young boy's face and walking under the cordon. "So, what have we got?"
"Young female, found under the silver wheelie bin" Jackie began, as though she had made the discovery.
"And you found the body?" Jack asked.
"Yes, yes I found her" Jackie replied smugly.
"Excuse me sir" Sandra butted in. "Actually, I saw the bin wedged into the entrance of the alley, I've never seen it around this area before, you only see those on estates, I knew instantly something was wrong. I went over and moved the bin and there she was"
"What's your name?" Jack asked.
"PC Sandra Pullman, sir, first day" she held out her hand. Jack obliged and shook her hand.
"Very well done. You say you know these streets?"
"Thank you sir, yes I do, I live not far from here, I walk these streets everyday" she replied.
"How do you fancy spending a day with us up in CID?" Jack asked, knowing this girl was something special already.
Sandra beamed from ear to ear. She loved this job already. "Yes please sir, thank you"