The 17th Instalment in the Series of the life and times of Murder Squad Detectives Joseph Lind and Marjory Hendricks.
In past decades, the issuing of Apprehended Violence Orders (AVO's) or Court Issued Prevention Orders has been similar to the free hand out of Chocolate Biscuits at a Church Fete.
Rules have been tightened up on this process over the past couple of years with an issuing of an AVO subject to greater Court examination and determination.
The majority of persons subject to these Orders obey the limitations and restrictions placed on them but there will always be that few who, like an accelerant to an open flame, will behave in a more uncertain manner. Whether it be anger, hatred, a need for vengeance or in their narrow field of logic, to teach some-one a lesson, the result will be death to one or both parties involved.
Lind and Hendricks were both deeply effected emotionally during the Investigation of the "Bodies in the Bags" Case with several loose threads constantly pulling at their consciences. In a surprised twist while the two were on-site of the macabre murder of a charismatic Pastor of an Evangelical Church, they identify the third person involved in the "Bodies in the Bags" case supposedly seeking solace and God's forgiveness for his role in the crime.
The Police Building was twenty-two storeys tall, making it for a short time, the tallest building in this City, which supposedly, was the hub, the centre of the sprawling metropolis of Sydney.
It also went another ten floors below ground. One of which was the underground Gym and slightly heated Lap Pool of eight lanes which it shared with the 'Pig Sty'. The overnight Holding Cells. The lowest level was the Ballistics testing and gun range. Along with a sizable Armoury and the required specialised vehicles for the Tactical Operations guys and Crowd Control requirements.
The cells were the first floor down, accessible from both the Police Station on the Ground Floor and several Lifts that serviced the rest of the building. There was one Lift that was used exclusively as a carrier for the transfer of Prisoners. While in use for that purpose, it could not be entered by anyone pushing the Lobby button to reserve it.
The building and its associated expansive mall surround took up an entire block. The building off-set on this block with a light pink coloured aggregate finished Plaza that gave almost level entry off the street footpath on three sides. The most was five up and ten down on only small sections of the boundary caused by the fall of the land. The entire Plaza Area sufficiently protected against vehicle intrusion by heavy bollards; to deter even a tank, some would suggest.
Regimental in their location on the vast, flat pedestrian-way were landscaped plots looking like small oases amongst a desert of light pink aggregate stone chips. In the centre of each small plot stood a spindly white trunk gum with little canopy foliage. Light, silver-grey, thin leaves that always drooped downwards.
Though that was the look of this particular Eucalypt.
Planted for its aesthetic charm; not for what little shade they could offer. Contrast between the pink and the white with the almost grey foliage, so the Architect would have enthused!
Over half of the ground floor of the Police Building was two storeys tall. A Foyer suitable for any up-market, modern Office Block in town. Completely enveloped in single panes of very thick glass. Treble-sheeted so I was once told. A close inspection on a slow day failed to enlighten me on that point. Supposedly bullet proof and shock proof although I wouldn't like to be standing near any of the panes if subject to a gunshot or a bomb explosion. Cost a fortune so went the rumour. Each massive pane slightly off-set, one against the other.
A flurry of Lifts.
A single, large revolving door that never stopped spinning its slow orbital trajectory. It was also the first metal detector 'station'. Several turnstiles, accompanied by an X-ray chute and a full Body X-ray machine at each position. This was a bloody bottle-neck and a pain at each morning start-on time. Half the building's staff realised that if they came an hour earlier, they could avoid the 'squeeze' and get in valuable Gym time before the scheduled sliding 'start-on' time.
Thus the bottle-neck now existed for two bloody hours each and every morning; instead of the previous one hour!
To be crowded onto trains like sardines to get to work only to have to practically strip down in front of the milling throng to gain entry through these various 'stations' into your place of employment was both frustrating and humiliating!
A further sign of the times!
A ritual that the majority must now abide by to protect us from a very small minority!
Of course, any-one driving an Official or an Unmarked vehicle avoided this frustrating ritual. Straight down the Entry ramp into the second to fourth Sub-Basement levels for official vehicles.
A car bomb one would think, would cause more damage to the building and its inhabitants than anything that an individual could bring in, in their brief case or handbag.
That was just too logical so it seemed!
Perhaps we were just more trustworthy....or something!
Those that drove Official Police Vehicles or 'Unmarked' sedans.
To be fair, there was a Barrier operated by an armed guard....and several other technical bits that I am not at liberty to divulge.
Most of the Officers who drove these vehicles wouldn't know if a tonne of explosives had been somehow inserted into their vehicle while it was parked overnight at their residence. Wouldn't have a clue and I doubt that any would ever check that point before starting up said vehicle each and every morning.
A Security/Reception/Enquiry desk snaked its way towards the large Lift Lobby, positioned so that a final eye-view of all those who succeeded in finally gaining access were given one last 'look over' as they then crowded together in the Lift Lobby!
The rest of this area was a smattering of cosy settings. Large, bulky sofa lounges and chairs. Very rarely used I would maintain. Heavy, very heavy solid timber occasional tables centred within each setting. A beautiful 'In Door' Plant Garden seemed to find its way through the thick glass walls from outside. A bubbling waterfall and stone covered creek outside did seem to breach the impossible transparent barrier. There was always local bird-life winging brilliantly through this lush fernery. Some had even made their way inside much to the annoyance of the Counter Security Staff.
What was left of the ground floor area was taken up with the local Police Station.
Tacked onto one side of the Ground Floor of this monolith was a projection like a glass triangular bubble called the Coffee Jar. At any time of the day or early evening, the outdoor settings would be a third full with Cops from the adjacent building. The Sixteenth Floor cafeteria could not compete with the standard of the coffee...or tea on offer from this establishment.
The outdoor seating arrangements seemed to grow after every rainy period, sprouting large umbrellas like mushrooms protecting the ever increasing number of table and chairs. People seated like some form of fungi under these towering mushrooms. The available indoor area was almost always empty unless a cold wind was blowing from the snowfields or lashing rain deterred even the most hardy coffee sipper.
Smoking was tolerated in the outdoor area even though it was illegal!
It was a gorgeous day. Warm, not hot. Sunny. There were even some Rainbow Lorrikeets flying kamikaze loops at an incredible speed around and through the trees of the Plaza.
Squawking their pleasure as they did so.
Estelle and I had sat for a cup of coffee at the Coffee Jar before we wandered back into the Police Building. We'd walked around the nearby huge, multi-level Shopping mall, munching on our sandwiches as we slowly walked past seemingly hundreds of shops and countless mid-day Shoppers and Amblers. Us too, adding to the mindless stroll of the throng.
Clem 'Lofty' Hills Series:
Murder Squad Series: