Archive for the Not the Job category

February 5th, 2008

MPs & Scandals

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I see our MPs are up in arms over one of their number being bugged by the police during a prison meeting with someone who was awaiting extradition to the United States on charges of supporting terrorism.

It seems that an MP who happened to be a childhood friend of the suspect visited him in prison to discuss how to get him off being deported. His conversation with the suspect was recorded without his knowledge. "How could this be allowed to happen", "Who was responsible?" "Did government ministers approve this?" These questions are bouncing round the walls of Westminster this week as everyone there displays their shock & horror that a 40-year-old protocol appears to have been unilaterally binned by the police.

I am somewhat surprised that there is an expectation that an MP is sacrosanct from intelligence/evidence gathering, especially given the performance of quite a few MPs who appear to be far from untainted when it comes to both criminal and ethical transgressions. After all, it’s not as if any of them have ever served prison sentences for serious crimes, or alleged to have made personal profit from involvement with mass murderers, or illegally taking money to ask questions in the House, or profited to the tune of hundreds of thousands by employing members of their family to do work which didn’t exist, or authorised bribes to sell arms, or became embroiled in sex scandals (sorry too many links to list them all), etc, etc, ad infinitum.

Given the amount of alleged criminal, deceitful & downright unethical behaviour from such a small group of individuals, I think they’ve got a bloody cheek to expect to be left alone when it comes to criminal investigations, by whatever method of evidence-gathering.

February 3rd, 2008

A Few of my Favourite Things

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Not much time today for anything thoughtful, so here’s a collection of videos of one of my favourite things – motocyclists making arses of themselves.

 

 

 

 

 

January 28th, 2008

One rule for MPs … again

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News today of another MP ‘apologising’ for something which many other people would be staring at the inside of a police interview room.

Tory MP Derek Conway "employed" his son as a researcher whilst he was a student at university. MPs are fully entitled to employ their spouses or other family members. I’m surprised that this is still the case given the depths of the murky waters many MPs have found themselves in when it comes to money and the lengths which people like Tony Blair have gone to to publicly decry ‘sleaze’. Privately their ethics appear to be somewhat different. I’m sure I’m not the only voter who was completely amazed by the recent revelations that Peter Hain, a man at the very forefront of government, still can’t follow the rules in relation to how they accept cash to fund their exploits, despite the very high profile publicity given to the same subject since his party came into power.

Conway’s son was employed as his father’s researcher at a sum of over £1000 a month, not bad for a 19-year-old student on a full-time degree course. He also received ‘bonuses’ totalling £10,000 & is said to have been paid in the region of £45,000 over three years, but the Standards and Privileges Committee found "no record" of what work he had done nor the hours he’d worked and said the £1,000-plus a month he was paid was too high. There is no evidence that the MP’s son actually carried out any work for his father & that he was overpaid for the position he was given. The MP has been told to repay £13,000 and faces a 10-day suspension from the House.

The committee’s assessment all but acuse the MP of criminal activity saying this arrangement was "at the least an improper use of parliamentary allowances" and "at worst, a serious diversion of public funds".

I expect that Mr Conway is currently counting his lucky stars rather than waiting for the early knock on the door from PC Bloggs of the Met Fraud Squad. He’s apologised to the House & accepted the committee’s assessment & recommendations.

That’s all right then.

January 20th, 2008

What next?

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Now that I’m on the home straight leading to the last fence before the finish line (retirement), I often find myself dreaming about what’ll happen next year. I’ll be 50-ish with at least 25 years of working life in me and not the bloody faintest idea what to do with it. Well that’s not strictly true, I have loads of ideas what to do with the next 25 years, it’s just that all of them will still require me to pay for a mortgage, children going through university & everything else so I’ll need a job, of some description.

The trouble is what does 30 years as a police officer qualify you for? There must be loads of things but when I try to narrow it down what is there? I know mates who have gone into security, joined a private investigation team, worked for the Highways Authority & the council. I know someone who turned his hand to tree surgery, several who are courier drivers, a couple who deliver very expensive cars from one part of the country to the next. Someone delivers & collects caravans, one churns out works of wooden furniture from his garage. There is theguy who now runs a pest control business, at least 2 electricians & one training to be a plumber. Quite a few stay on in the job in one form or another. I know a chief’s driver, officers who have returned as civvy driving instructors, quite a few police comms ops return the next day as a civvy comms ops.

Me? I’m not sure I want to do any of those things. The trouble is it’s a big scarey world out there. When all you’ve done for the majority of your working life is police work in some strange way’s it’s a safe world, you have a regular job. As long as you don’t nick anything or post stupid things on the Internet (doh!) they can’t kick you out so it’s a pretty regular wage. You don’t have to worry about the bosses shipping everything to Poland or China, you don’t need to worry about people not buying your cars any more. Out there in the real world there’s a whole lot of variables I’m not used to.

I’ve got a year or so to think about it & plan.

Maybe I can just sell the kids and move to the coast.

January 19th, 2008

More Scum

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Scum

This is the face of the latest peice of scum-sucking low life to hit the news – Nicholas Hague.

Hague’s handiwork can be see in the photograph below. You might need some assistance to work out that the battered face is that of a 60-year-old female, Susan Collins, after Hague kicked her to the ground and repeatedly stamped on her face when she declined to give him a cigarette in Warrington. The victim is still in a wheelchair, is blind in one eye and 4 metal plates were used to reconstruct her face.

Susan was put on a life support machine as a result of this pond-life’s actions.

Hague had received an 18-month jail term in 2005 after admitting helping another man kick a 31-year-old man to death in Warrington in 2004.

Excuse me, did I read that right? This man got 18 months for helping to kick to death another person? 18 months? Is someone having a laugh?

How many times do stories have to appear like this before someone in the judicial system will sit up and take note and dish out some proper sentences. If this man had been given anything like the kind of sentence most reasonable people would expect for assisting in a murder, he wouldn’t have been on the streets to do almost the same thing to an innocent 60-year old woman.

As if the original sentence wasn’t joke enough, as a result of this unprovoked attack on a woman, the judge jailed him indefinitely for GBH recommending he serve at least 3 1/2 years!

I think it’s about time people started sueing judges and defence solicitors for actions which ultimately allow scum like Hague to go out and do it again.

Victim 

More info here, here & here.  

December 31st, 2007

Happy New Year

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Well it’s my last New Year’s Eve working as a copper (provided I stay on same the shift pattern) because next year my shift are on rest days and the one after that I’ll be a pensioner!

When I was younger I used to try and ring my Mum on New Year’s Eve. I couldn’t always ring just after midnight but I tried to do it as near as possible. This was before mobile phones, so you had to have access to a landline. I’ve rung her from some weird & wonderful places. Several times I’ve called from Casualty and only once because I was the patient. I’ve even rung her from the mortuary. That’s a strange place to be wishing someone a Happy New Year.

I’ll be in the control room tonight around midnight. Whatever I’m doing I know it won’t involve having sufficient time to make a private phone call to my mother and there’s no point in wishing here as she hasn’t got a computer. I’ll give her a call some time tomorrow.

But as you are here, I’ll wish you a Happy and safe 2008. It’ll be my last full year as a police officer. Everyone I know who has retired says the last year won’t last long. I don’t care, I’m on the final straight.

Best wishes….

December 25th, 2007

Happy Christmas

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Happy Christmas

 

& a Safe & Peaceful New Year *

 

 

* what did you expect, War & Peace? It is Christmas Day… 

December 2nd, 2007

If you go down to the woods today

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I want to go & work in Sudan; they clearly have no requirements for easy public order sanctioned detections or concerns about knife crime.

Sudan Protest 

This is acceptable behaviour on the streets of Sudan. Which is fine, it’s their country. Thank goodness they crack down hard on people who give names to their teddy bears.

Teddy Bear

 Warning: Anyone having anything to do with this bear should be executed 

November 29th, 2007

Micro-shaft

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This has nothing to do with policing, or society in general but I just feel like having a rant.

Is it me or is Windows Vista the biggest pile of shite in software history?

I’ve been using it for months. I have all the latest drivers for all my computer components & it still crashes to the ‘blue screen of death’. I’ve seen more crashes in the last few months than I did in a few years of using XP.

I still can’t get some of my peripherals to work. My scanner, joystick & PDA refuse to talk talk to the PC, some of my software which worked flawlessly with XP just causes Vista to fall over with it’s legs in the air kicking & screaming. I;ve seen more crashes from Vista than a drunk joyrider with no eyes.

If Vista was a kettle or a car I’d be entitled to a repair under warranty or a refund so why do I have to fork out £100 or so with absolutely no recompense if it doesn’t actually work?

No wonder Microsoft is the richest company in the world. Tossers.

November 27th, 2007

Bank Automatons

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Have you noticed how bank & credit card companies are always telling you to be careful with your ID? You have to make sure you shred all your old statements & bills, protect your PIN numbers by never writing them down, don’t allow others to use your cash cards & never give personal information to people you don’t know. All this to protect yourself from identiy fraud.

Am I the only one who thinks it’s rather ironic that when they ring you the first thing they do, after you’ve confirmed it’s you they want to talk to, is to ask you – "for security purposes" – to divulge your date of birth?

Like they’ve found some paperwork left outside a bank in a black bag (‘cos the bank can’t be arsed to keep your details safe) and the bit which has your date of birth has been smeared with the rain, oh give him a bell and pretend your Barclaycard and just ask him to confirm his date of birth then we’re all set to take out some mortgages, loans & credit cards using his details, fantastic).

I find a good way to deal with banks & credit card companies when they say "For security purposes can you confirm your date of birth?" is to just say "No". If they ask why, just explain that you are following their advice to protect your identity from fraud attempts by refusing to divulge personal information to strangers.

This usually stymies them as they have pre-prepared scripts which they usually just read out like automatons  they’re not set up for user-interference. They have instructions not to divulge any information unless they can confirm your ID – like anyone living in your house is not going to know the top secret information about when you were born! The bank representative then has to end the call as they can’t even tell you what it’s about & you are free to get on with the decorating. Job’s a good ‘un.

November 25th, 2007

Another nail in the coffin

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In another example of how criminals get better treatment than the rest of us it transpires that the families of military personnel killed in Afghanistan & Iraq must pay for their own legal fees to hire a lawyer to represent them at the inquests.

34-year-old Matthew Bacon was killed by a roadside bomb in Basra in 2005. His father, Roger, wanted a lawyer to ask questions about his son’s death, on the family’s behalf, at the inquest but was told he would have to foot the bill himself.

The Ministry of Defence uses tax-payers’ money to pay for their lawyers at the same inquest.

This is rather a rather different situation if the dead person happens to be some low-life scum who dies whilst serving time in one of Her majesty’s prisons. Their families are entitled to free legal aid to cover their costs at inquests.

What does that say about the state of this great nation of ours?

November 19th, 2007

Anyone seen the Station Bike?

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You see & hear some really strange things & get to witness all kinds of strange behaviour thoughout your career as a police officer.

One such incident came to my attention after it was featured on the new Police999.com website. I can just imagine the scene in the interview room, how anyone present managed to keep a straight face I’ll never know, perhaps they didn’t.

Anyway, Robert Stewart, a 51-year-old batchelor from Scotland is pretty embarrassed I would imagine. He’ll be the one walking round Ayr town centre with a bag over his head, or hiding behind a broadsheet newspaper with the eye holes cut out. He’s just been convicted for an offence of "sexually aggravated breach of the peace". Sexually aggravated breach of the peace?? I know Scotland has some funny laws but this has to be one of them.

It comes to something if you can’t shag your own bicycle in your own room without getting nicked for a sexually aggravated breach of the peace. Poor old Robert was staying in a hostel in Ayr when the cleaners arrived. He failed to answer the door as he was engaged in other, rather important matters, so the cleaners let themselves in, only to be confronted with the sight of this chap, naked from the waste down with his little chap doing the unmentionables to a…bicycle!

The cleaners called the polis and the rest is history.

 

November 12th, 2007

Nice one!

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Don’t you love it sometimes when those arsehole bikers who love showing off come a cropper?

I know I do!

November 10th, 2007

Soldiers Not Welcome Here

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With regards to my suggestion for more people to attend Remembrance Day parades on Sunday, perhaps I could exclude one Hilary Beach of Chepstow from the invitation.

Hilary is the mayor of said town & believes that Remembrance Day should be a "time for peace". In pursuit of this fine belief she has asked the Rifles 1st Battalion, who are the local army regiment, to leave their rifles in the barracks when they parade on Sunday. She is quoted in the Daily Express as saying "I would prefer for there not to be any guns at the Remembrance Day parade. I am against this violence."

Following her logic the only logical thing to do would be to ban soldiers from attending.

Thankfully, the rest of Chepstow council disagreed with their mayor.

November 7th, 2007

Time to Remember

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Remembrance day is on Sunday. I expect there will be the usual suspects at the parades, the dwindling number of ‘Old Boys’ the Scouts & Guides and other youth/children’s groups and some of their parents and a some middle-aged men & women who think it’s ‘the thing to do’.

As usual it will be like preaching to the converted; the people who ought to be there are the very ones who won’t attend, ever – the low life, me generation, benefit thieves.

This week on the BBC News they are featuring the last few of the First World War veterans, there’s only 5 or 6 of them left & only 1 from the Western Front, he’s 109. Him & countless thousands of others have fought for the rights of most of the people who I feature in this blog from time to time, people who don’t give shit for anyone else.

I’ve just read a book by a chap who joined the RAF aged 15 during the Second World War, was promoted to Flight Sergeant at the age of 17 and a captured POW when his Lancaster collided with an aircraft over Germany. I dread to think what would happen to this country if similar circumstances arose and they had to call up some of the youth of today.

They won’t go to the service on Sunday, but if you can, especially if you haven’t been before, you should. Give up an hour of your time to remember those of have laid down their lives.

October 30th, 2007

Diversity at BP?

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Old Jeremy Clarkson is usually good for a laugh. I caught his column in the Sun this last week. Honest, it was lying around the control room & I needed a moment’s diversion.

Anyway, there was a small piece in his column about an Asian petrol station attendant who refused to serve a soldier in uniform unless he came back in civvies. Witnesses reported that the attendant was anti-war (the captain in the 16 Air Brigade had served in Afghanistan). Clarkson said something along the lines of ‘quite right, we should all be free to choose who we do and who we don’t serve in our establishments’. He went on to add that he himself would be choosing not to take his custom the the particular petrol station in question which he regularly passed on his way to the Top Gear studios. He helpfully provided the details of the garage should others also choose not to frequent the same garage in future.

The member of staff concerned has not been sacked by BP. I wonder what would have happened had the member of staff been a white Christian who had refused to serve a woman in a burka until she had gone home and changed?

Just in case you choose not to visit there also it’s the Wisley South Connect on the A3 near Guildford in Surrey.

October 21st, 2007

That’s the way to do it

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How much better would it be if we had junctions like the clip below instead of traffic lights?

 

 

October 19th, 2007

Some Geezer

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Mention the ‘R’ word and bosses really don’t know what to do. There is so much fear of being accused of institutional racisim (whatever that is) that whenever the subject rears its ugly head in a work environment bosses run around shouting wibble not knowing how to approach it nor deal with it correctly.

Invariably, those in management positions will err on the side of caution and totally over-react to it.

Gareth Langmead a 40-year-old Catholic carpark boss at Manchester Airport found a picture of Jesus in a drawer whilst he was spring cleaning. Rather than throw it out he put it on the wall at his workplace.

A Muslim colleague complained that putting up a picture of Jesus was deliberately provocative.

Instead of telling the complainee to ‘get a fucking life’, bosses at the airport did the only thing open to them and escorted Langmead off the premises and suspended him for three days while they ‘investigated’ the complaint. Presumably, telling the Muslim they were free to put up a similar picture or asking Langmead to remove it & seek everyone else’s permission if he wanted to display anything in future weren’t in the manual of how to deal with ‘racist’ incidents.

They’ll be suspending Christians for wearing crosses at work next.

 

Some Geezer in a poster 

 

October 17th, 2007

Try Harder Still

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It seems the government have bowed under public pressure to increase the maximum amount of financial compensation available to troops injured in combat. Pressure from the campaign for paratrooper Ben Parkinson, who had his legs blown off (among other injuries) in Afghanistan has upped his compensation from £152,000 to £285,000.

The MOD has said it is "Committed to ensuring that our injured personnel are given the compensation they deserve", which sounds like a great soundbite which is somewhat short in delivery; criminal injuries compensation is topped at £500,000 & industrial injury compensation appears limiteless.

Des Browne, Secretary of State for Defence said "Our armed forces are unique in making a vital contribution to the security of our nation & we have a responsibility to continue to look after them properly when they get injured."

So that’s alright then.

 

More on the story at the BBC News website

October 16th, 2007

Empty Streets

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I’m not usually a supporter of much the Sun says but it was pretty quiet this shift so I pulled a few papers out of the recycling bin we have at work to while away a particularly boring few hours & happened upon a photograph with a comment from Kelvin Mackenzie that I happen to agree with.

I’ve blogged recently about the appalling way the government treats servicemen blown up on foreign fields whilst fighting the government’s battles which is terrible in itself, but what I find worse is the way we, as a nation do the same.

The photo I saw (I couldn’t locate it on the Sun’s website) was of a parade of soldiers marching through Abingdon in Oxfordshire, having just returned from Afghanistan. There is a small group of passers-by in the background but the main part of the picture shows the town centre devoid of people. Nobody welcoming the 4th Logistics Support Regiment home after a tour in a war-torn land, nobody thanking them for putting their lives at risk for a nation which is somewhat far displaced from our own, nobody commiserating them over the deaths of their fallen comrades. 

You don’t have to agree with the war to show support for the people, our friends, neighbours & families who have to do a bloody awful job at our government’s bidding. There is a ‘kin huge proportion of scum-sucking work-shy layabouts who aren’t fit to lick the boots of some of those lads in our armed forces. Let’s not ostracise our soldiers, sailors & airmen like we would a certain section of our society.

If you don’t have any troops returning from a war zone in your area, what about attending a Remembrance Service around November 11th. It’ll take about an hour of your life & is probably within walking distance.