November 19th, 2009

Go ahead, over

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

This week I worked on one of the many ‘operations’ our force runs. They all have operational names like ‘Operation Protect’, Operation Guardian,’ ‘Operation Centurian’, all names which suggest strength & forthright policing. In fact all these operations are exactly the same. A group of police officers choose an area & spend the day stopping hundreds of cars in a lottery to see if they can come up with some figures at the end of it to justify stopping hundreds of cars.

Usually they get a couple of no insurance siezures, where the driver’s car is taken off him on threat of being crushed & he gets to walk home,  a couple of hundred quid’s worth of seat belt or mobile phone tickets get handed out & we arrest 1 lad who should have been in court 3 weeks ago. We don’t arrest many burglars or rapists which is what the majority of the people we do stop think we should be doing.

It can be quite soul destroying working one of these ops as a controller because basically you sit there for 8 hours doing meaningless PNC checks. You can do a few hundred, one after the other. None of the officers give you time to record the information on the log from the last check before blurting out the next check despite the fact that you ask them constantly to give you a few seconds between each check & because you’re on your own you can wait 3 hours for a pee. At least those doing the stop checks can go behind a bush.

The people who create these operations have to document everything. The operational order usually runs into several pages, it includes the officers working, where they will stand, sit or wait, what time they have their breaks, what vehicles they have & what roles they will perform. Soemtimes we do it in company of  ‘partner agencies‘ like VOSA who check HGVs for safety, or the Immigration Service, or Trading Standards.

Our powers & procedures are documented & we have to evidence that we will run the op in line with human rights law. The bit that always makes me laugh is the section where we have to document the reasons for the operation. One of them is always to increase public confidence.

Increase public confidence, in the police? You’re having a laugh. Stopping motorists going about their lawful business, noting down all their details & running checks on them incase they are Jack the Ripper or Lord Lucan  just pisses most of them off as they usually have to be somewhere.

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  1. john says:

    Closely followed by:
    “Your vehicle is not insured”

    “yes it is”

    “no, we’ve just checked”

    “Yes, I checked before I came out….here’s the letter from my Mp detailing the checks you have to do if the vehicle fails at the MID check”

    The amount of times I’ve been told I’m uninsured when I know I am is reaching ridiculous proportions now.

    November 20th, 2009 at 11:56

  2. boy on a bike says:

    Occasionally something like this turns up:

    November 20th, 2009 at 14:52

  3. Tony F says:

    I got stopped for not displaying my tax disc…Except I was , at the top left of the screen where it does not cause an obstruction….

    Just heard there has been a body found. He was doing his job, and it has cost him his life. RIP, PC Bill Barker.

    November 20th, 2009 at 16:21

  4. Civ_In_The_City says:

    There`s more and more of this ‘activity’ being confused with ‘productivity’. In a force not far from my own they have regular ‘Relentless’ operations, similarly targeting areas, with partner agencies in tow, knocking in doors and banging heads (probably).

    Not sure why they have to have special operations where ‘police go and arrest people who require arresting’. Suggests to me that either there aren`t enough plod out there the rest of the time to provide a service that keeps the arrestees at tolerable levels, or all the ‘joined up working’ between agencies only really works when they all book a special day together.

    Or someone who will benefit wants to splash some stats.

    Nah, can`t be that mercenary in the senior ranks surely?

    p.s. Did I really hear Sir Hugh Orde on the radio saying most ACPO types are against electable Chief Constables because they wouldn`t like their decision making power to be politicised and controlled by government whim? What the f*ck planet has HE been living on these last 10 years.

    November 20th, 2009 at 19:20

  5. rafanon says:

    I’m just your run of the mill MIP. I don’t mind being stopped if it gets just one tax dodging, alcohol filled or robbing bastard.

    R.I.P PC Barker. Thoughts and prayers to his family.

    November 20th, 2009 at 19:44

  6. Hi Tech Copper says:


    Unfortunately these types of ‘targeted’ (random) checks do not stop ‘alcohol filled robbing bastards’.

    99% of those stopped are genuine, honest & nice people who think that the next driver who gets waved in is going to be an ‘alcohol filled robbing bastard’ and it was just unlucky that they got waved in.

    Its never the case but makes great propaganda in press.

    Shame really

    November 20th, 2009 at 22:47

  7. copper bottom says:


    November 20th, 2009 at 23:08

  8. Hi Tech Copper says:

    ANPR is fine so long as there is someone

    a. Watching the terminal every time it ‘pings’


    b. There is someone actually available to intercept the vehicle as it travels thru it.

    200 weeks quite correctly hit the nail on the head ….

    “Increase public confidence, in the police? You’re having a laugh. Stopping motorists going about their lawful business, noting down all their details & running checks on them incase they are Jack the Ripper or Lord Lucan just pisses most of them off as they usually have to be somewhere.”

    November 21st, 2009 at 00:06

  9. Weary says:

    Yup, can’t bear these operations with their exciting but meaningless names: Operation Destroy All Humans, Operation Sleepy Weasel, that sort of thing. Let’s put a bit of thought into the best use of resources rather panicking that we’re not getting enough nicks and sending a van full of coppers to a) check addresses which have been checked half a dozen times for outstanding warrants or b) drive round and round an estate in the vain hope that they’ll pass someone screwing a house (or at least creeping about wearing a black and white top and eye mask). Certainly one imagines that Peel is turning in his grave at the thought that effective Policing equates to throwing a net over an area and stopping anyone trying to get down a particular road.

    November 21st, 2009 at 04:12

  10. pc hawkeye says:

    We used to operate similar checks at night, they were signed ‘Police Check Ahead’ The only vehicles stopped were those that did an exit stage left at the junction just before the check or did u turns, they usually contained the drunken idiots and thieves who were the subject targets of the whole excercise.
    All done with the authority of the officer, Sgt or Insp. who happened to be on duty. Dog man, traffic car and a marked bike plus a spare footman or two (remember them) No Op name and no rubbish paperwork either.
    Ahhh, the ‘old days’.sigh.

    November 21st, 2009 at 22:21

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