Tracking in Birmingham

There is a serene tranquillity to be found when you are sitting next to someone’s car while they lay asleep not 20 feet from where you are. Whether it’s the fact that you are about deliver answers to an aggrieved husband or wife about their partners movements that they themselves have been unable to find, or simply that it is the early hours of the morning and for once the world seems to rest I don’t know. What I do know is that we are here once again with a job to do and as it is not without its risks, I really should get on with it rather than lie here pondering the peace and harmony of the night!

Its 0305hrs on Sunday morning and two of us, me and “Agent B” have just arrived at our next ‘Fix’ location which without being too specific, is about 15 minutes south of Birmingham city centre. We refer to the deployment of GPS tracking devices as Fixes simply as that’s what we do with them: Fix them to target vehicles. As you would expect, the world is silent but for Agent B and I preparing ‘Crystal’ for her next two-week assignment.

Crystal is a new generation of GPS tracking device, battery powered but capable of staying with a target vehicle for up to around 4 weeks with no intervention from us. Just the size of the palm of your hand and enveloped in a thick rubber casing, she will attach magnetically to a vehicle and stay there until we collect her again, sending back signals every 15 seconds informing us of her whereabouts, how long she has been there, how fast she was driven to get there and just about anything else you might want to know, or rather, might need to know if you are building a case against someone for unreasonable behaviour.

With the internal lights flashing to indicate that she is ready to go, Crystal is attached to the target vehicle and Agent B and I make our way back to our waiting car, which we have parked in the shadows about thirty feet away. Strangely, it is not the actual attachment of the device that increases the blood flow through my veins on these cold, dark winter nights, but more the waiting after the job has been done to see if our covert operation has been spotted by an ever helpful neighbour.

On this occasion, just as with all the others, our arrival, Fix and departure have gone completely un-noticed. Either way, as we slowly drive out of the modern housing estate back towards the Black Cat Investigations office leaving Crystal alone to do what she does best, it becomes apparent that the local badger population don’t adhere to the same rules of silence that we do.

Turning over yet another metal street bin, we watch the flash of its white stripes against the darkness in the rear view mirror before driving away thinking “….Well if the neighbours can sleep through that…”

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