Archive for the The Job – Comment category

November 21st, 2012

That was worth it, then

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

The Police and Crime Commissioners election, what a farce.

How many of you exercised your democratic rights to vote? not many I’m guessing. I did, I went to the polling station. there were 6 staff there. I was the only one in there. I didn’t see anyone on the way in or the way out. The staff looked bored.

I spoiled my paper by leaving a choice message to the candidates on it.

It was an election that nobody called for, nobody was interested in, and practically nobody bothered about. I saw on the BBC News that it cost something like ¬£100million. I have no idea of that’s true or not. I’m bloody sure, had they had the election in May with all the others, they’d have got a far higher turnout, and would have saved the country a packet. I’ve not heard why it was so important to have this election in the middle of November, unless it was to do with engineering a favourable list of suitably biased Commissioners for the government…

I do know someone who manned a polling station from 6.30am until 10.30pm, had 100 people voting out of an electoral roll of 2,000, and was paid £170.

I received one leaflet through the door, I think it was from the Conservative candidate. I have not the first clue what the others were proposing. I did note that when interviewed 75% of the candidates couldn’t even recall the name of the chief constable and none knew how many police officers are in our force. And one of them is now responsible for running the police service.

September 30th, 2012

Who knew?

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

Today saw the 9th annual National Police Memorial Day which saw a Police Memorial Service at York Minster, dedicated to the memory of  the 4,000 police officers who have died on duty in the last 100 years.

Who knew?

I heard about it, after the fact, on the BBC News this evening.

Strangely, I didn’t hear one word about it, in the weeks leading up to it, from my force. No posters on the walls at HQ, no¬† mentions on the weekly orders that get out by the chief giving useful information to all the employees of the force, no emails, nothing, bugger all.

I do see posters, get emails and read on the weekly bulletin about Black History Month, Traveller Engagement Week, news and invites to attend any one of a number of Gay Pride events.

Strange, that.

September 3rd, 2012

There’s only one side who are wrong

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

I’ve been saying for years that one of the biggest reasons this country is in such a shite state is because people do not fear consequences.

When I was growing up, I was taught that whatever I did had consequences. If I did something wrong, not only would I meet those consequences from my parents, I would also meet consequences from my neighbours, or anyone else with a vested interest in a peaceful and stress free life. It was the old saying along the lines of it takes a woman to have a child but a village to raise it.

These days, there are no consequences, therefore a certain section of society feel it is their right to do whatever the hell the please, whether that is keeping their neighbours awake at night with loud music and parties, helping themselves to anything they don’t want to save up for, or breaking into someone’s house and stealing what they themselves wouldn’t have the ethics to obtain legally.

Consequences don’t have to be massive or life-changing. A simple ‘please don’t do that’ might have the desired effect, if told young enough and often enough. Other consequences might include having personal items removed, being fined, or even being punched in the mouth.

If burglars thought that one of the consequences of breaking into someo0ne’s house in the middle of the night might include being shot, I’d guess there might be many fewer burglars.

I hope these people don’t get prosecuted.

August 22nd, 2012

There are no targets

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

The public voice of the control room will tell you there are no targets. Calls into the control room are dealt with on merit, to the best of the call-taker’s ability and are resolved at the point of source, if at all possible, by the call-taker resolving the problem. If they can’t, they pass the matter on to someone who can, often in the form of a job which gets sent to the controllers for a police unit to be assigned to deal with it.

Being able to deal with the call when it comes in, from start to finish is good; it satisfies the needs of the caller, and it means less calls come in because the caller has to call back again, and again because their problem isn’t resolved. It also takes time; call-takers can only deal with one call at a time, this means when they are resolving someone’s issues,. they are not dealing with someone else’s.

It might be as simple as finding out a piece of information. Often the call-taker will be able to pass this information straight away, sometimes they have to go and find out. This might involve looking it up or speaking with someone else who knows. While they are doing this they are not answering calls.

If you go for several years in a row without replacing any staff in the control room, there comes a time when you haven’t got enough staff. The result, apart from finding it impossible to get a¬† summer holiday (bitter, much?) is that people have to wait longer for the phone to be answered, because call-takers are trying to deal with each call to the best of their ability to give the best service possible.

Answering the calls in a longer time is fine, as long as you don’t have targets for answering calls.

What actually happens, when the figures go below the target level is the supervisors get nervous, it might be their butt on the line come the management meeting in the morning when the people who say they prefer quality service to a slavish desire to reach targets, ask why the figures are too low. Once the percentage dips below the desired level, what to do? Go with the quality service maxim and let the figures fall or go for target acquisition and try to rescue the figures.

The answer is easy, people who work in the control room know that the public face is complete bollocks and the figures matter. The only way to retrieve the figures is to get more people to answer lots¬† more calls but there aren’t any more call-takers. Simples, get the controllers to answer the phones.

But surely if the controllers are answering the telephones, they can’t answer the radios? I’m glad you asked that. Of course, but who gives a fuck. the people that run the control room sure don’t. The executive at their armchair quarterback meetings each morning don’t care, as long as they can tell the Home Office that the ‘non existent’ targets are being met.

Of course, the only way to get controllers to swap over to call-taking is to close a radio channel and get all the officers from one area to share the radio system of another area, thus doubling the workload of the other controllers while having the radio space available to all the officers in two areas. The service to the officers and members of the public they need to deal with drops through the floor.

But at least more calls are being answered within 10 seconds. (regardless that the ensuing dealing of that call might take 3 days).

August 15th, 2012

Things must change

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

Today saw the memorial service for PC Ian Dibell, who was shot and killed whilst off duty, when he intervened in a dispute between neighbours in Essex in July this year.

Who knew?

I missed the start of the 10 o’clock news tonight, was it features, it certainly wasn’t featured in the majority of the other 20 minutes I did see.

As is normal practice when preparing entries for this blog, I go to the Google News section and input the word ‘police’. I then scan the search pages for any stories worthy of comment. I was looking for news of the service. I gave up after 10 pages, 100 hits.

I tried again, this time with “police Dibell”. Google came up with the goods, a link to the news story on the BBC News website (where I get most of my stories from). I’ve also checked the BBC News front page to see what I could glean of the memorial service. I’m struggling though; it’s not on the front page, neither is it on the front page of the UK News section. You’re alright though if you’re looking for news of some overpaid footballer’s latest transfer, some band nobody’s ever heard of bus crashing where nobody was killed, some other footballer forced to quit football after a heart attack, and the government’s new play space rules causing a ruckus.

No matter, on to the England News page. Oh, there’s the bus plunge story, GB gold medalist returning home, some TV actor caught using his mobile phone and a boy microwaving the neighbour’s cat.

Found it!, you need to go to the eastern region sub section and select Essex, it’s the top story.

So onto the story itself. Apparently hundreds of people attended. Chief constables of forces from all over the country attended. I looked for photos of lined streets, hundreds, or thousands of police officers in best dressed uniform, squad cars and police motorcycle riders lining the root, just like regular readers of this blog will have seen in previous posts about American cops who have memorial services.

All I got was the photo of Ian Dibell that we know from all the previous stories, a photo of the Home Secretary, Theresa may at the Service, an occasional pic of PC Dibell’s girlfriend. I’ve checked a good 20 websites mentioning the story. I can only assume they weren’t there.

If we can’t honour our own properly, how can we expect the public to change their attitude to the worth of a police officer’s life?

August 13th, 2012

Another day, another…

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

…wait for the Ambulance service.

Regular readers may feel that I have a bee in my bonnet about this one, given the amount of stories of late that I’m posting. And I know the garden isn’t all that rosey within the police service but I’m really not trying to divert thoughts from the police onto the other services, but bloody hell.

This week we had an officer in the town centre calling up wanting an ambulance urgently. A 90-year-old lady had fallen over on the footpath and hurt her hip. Alarm bells always ring when I hear this, ever since my own mother-in-law fell over in our kitchen and broke her hip. She spent a while in our local hospital until she had an emergency hip replacement. After a few weeks she returned back to her part of the country where complications necessitated a stay in her hospital during which she contracted one of those  illnesses brought about by unclean wards and she died.

We called an ambulance explaining the situation, and ambulance came there none. None available. Not until 65 minutes later. 65 minutes during which a frail 90-year-old was lying on the footpath amongst the shoppers, all presumably tutting that we weren’t doing anything to get her medical aid.

Meanwhile we were having a debate about whose fault it would be if she died on scene, or if we picked her up and took her to A&E ourselves and inadvertently caused a condition which lead to her death. We concluded that it would be our fault whatever happened. It usually is.

It wouldn’t be so bad if this wasn’t just a rare occasion, but it is happening EVERY SINGLE shift.

I still haven’t read anything in the papers about it.

August 12th, 2012

More bad news for the Olympic haters

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

News today that police made 242 arrests during the Olympic games.

Considering that 139 of them were for ticket touting, I don’t think that’s a bad figure considering the size of the thing and the amount of people involved. 245 people were arrested during the 2011 Notting Hill Carnival and that was just over two days.

As mentioned previously, my personal experience within the control room is that the local populace hasn’t taken advantage of the fact that we’re policing the Olympics, along with all the other forces, and have less cops on the streets than normal, since we’ve been comparatively quiet in the last two weeks compared to¬† more¬† normal times.

August 10th, 2012

Where there’s blame, there’s a claim

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

Police searching for missing 12-year-old Tia Sharp have found a body, in her grandmother’s house.

This won’t be a surprise to many readers of this blog.

Nor will the ensuing stories over the next days and weeks blaming the police for anything they can.

August 7th, 2012

Get a life

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

Back in the eighties, on the miners’ strike, we were thrown together with police forces from all over the country as we policed the mines around Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire.

One of the memories of those times is dealing with the thousands of “I’ve met the Met” stickers which appeared at every conceivable place. The Met officers loved plastering them over¬†everything¬†they could be that shop windows, mine signs, other police forces’ vehicles and equipment. Every other force utilised their efforts in defacing or removing as many as they could. It was regarded as a bit of banter.

I’ve not seen the stickers for a while but was interested to see that they appear to be going strong still, in fact they make the news today, after a Met PC has been ‘disciplined’ for sticking one of them on a Welsh police vehicle somewhere around London, while the North Wales officers were working in London.

It appears one of our Welsh colleagues complained about the sticker and two officers were investigated and one received “management action” and was referred to the Met’s Rubber Heel Department.

I don’t know whether I’m more surprised that at least one officer on a reasonable to large salary is paid to deal with complaints about putting stickers on another force’s vehicle, or that someone using that vehicle thought it was such a serious matter as to warrant an official complaint.

August 6th, 2012

This legislation is looking a bit dog-tired

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

I’m not one for shouting about the need for new laws every time some story hits the headlines. I tend to take the viewpoint that most things can be adequately covered within existing laws rather than the creation of new levels of bureaucracy for what appears to be nothing more than political posturing and vote-winning.

Some cases do make you wonder though, for instance the guy who has been found guilty today of owning a dog dangerously out of control in a public place.

Symieon Robinson-Pierre, has been convicted after his pitbull attacked and injured five police officers who were carrying out a raid at his address. The law couldn’t apply in the case of one officer who was attacked by the dog while the officer was in the man’s garden, as the garden is private property.

Of the four charges brought in respect of the other officers, one was a not guilty after it was ruled that a second attack also took place in the garden, the other three charges stood and Robinson-Pierre will be sentenced in September. The dog was shot by officers after it was pinned to the ground with a riot shield.

It does seem strange that someone can be allowed to have a dangerous dog which can inflict serious damage on people who are on private property quite lawfully. Either the wrong legislation is being used or this is one law does need looking at.

July 23rd, 2012

I see some parallels

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

So the East Midlands Ambulance service are planning to close most of their ambulance stations in a bid to save money and increase efficiency.

Now where have I heard that before.

The EMAS was among the worst performers for responding to 999 calls within the set times and the bosses believe that by shutting 66 ambulance stations and replacing them with 13 ‘hub stations’ they will save (a¬†paltry) half a million quid and increase their success rate in response times by (a paltry) 5%.

I know the¬†parallels¬†might be slightly askew in that members of the public don;t routinely go to ambulance stations like they do with police stations, but you’d have thought they might look at the police experience first and see if that gave any hints.

We’ve been closing police stations for a few years now, though these days it’s kind of a wholesale process. I don’t recall seeing many reports from people who live in towns where police stations have closed, that they feel better served. Indeed, as a¬†member¬†of the public myself, as¬†ewe¬†all are, even police officers, and council tax payer, I don’t think me and my neighbours feel safer in our beds knowing there is nobody at the police station down the road every night and at most other times during the day, and that should there be an emergency, officers have to blue light it from a couple of towns away rather than 1/2 of a mile.

Still, I expect the ambulance service will be different and the current appalling level of service our citizens currently experience will suddenly be transformed once all the ambo stations are shut.

July 22nd, 2012

We need more incident rooms

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

So, crime is down this year, by almost 4%. Apparently, around 4 millions crimes were reported last year. It’s the lowest crime rate since 1989.

The Telegraph is¬†bemoaning¬†the fact that the police only solve 1/4 of all offences. I’m not sure how they think we should be solving all these crimes, given that the vast majority of crime is committed by people unknown to the victim, who are never seen by anyone.

In contrast 95% of drugs offences are solved. This isn’t so wonderful when you bare in mind that most drugs offences are only recorded when we catch someone with the drugs. All the times we don’t catch someone are not recorded since we don’t know about it. Maybe the Telegraph thinks that everyone who takes drugs are ringing us up to report that they got wasted last night, so we can get the figures to match those for burglary, damage and theft.

95% of the 552 murders recorded last year were solved. What does that tell us? Maybe that if you put a Detective Superintendent and a whole incident room full of detectives and civilian staff on the case of Mrs Miggins missing plant pots, you might get a much higher detection rate there too.

July 19th, 2012

I am at liberty to comment, as the subject is just a PC

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

I’ve been otherwise engaged today so haven;t seen any news programmes on the TV.

I understand that a police officer has been found not guilty of manslaughter, and that it’s all over the front pages of the national press.

I also heard that representatives of the IPCC and Metropolitan ACPO ranks have been speaking about the officer before a disciplinary investigation has been concluded. Something which they seem loathed to do when the subject is a senior police officer.

How strange.

July 17th, 2012

Same old, same old

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

So, the workings of G4S has been described by a parliamentary enquiry as “a humiliating shambles“.

And this is the government’s favoured ‘partner’ to take on the role of many policing functions?

It comes as no real surprise, the people who make decisions on how the police run, either nationally or locally, have a long history of making poor choices. We have a radio system which falls far short of what was promised, which cost the country billions and works no better than the old system in many areas. We buy command and control systems designed by people who will never use them with functionality we never use and lacking things we could really do with.

We spend millions on PDAs which officers refuse to use because they are shite.

Does anyone know whether, in the bidding for outsourcing police functions, G4S were the cheapest by any chance?

Still, it’s not all bad news; ¬£400million has been wiped off the value of G4S following the current Olympic debacle.

July 12th, 2012

The future is bleak

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

I was going to write ‘The future is G4S bleak” but I can’t figure a way how to put the correct code into a WordPress heading.

As more and more forces consider the option of selling out to the largest security company in the world, G4S, shocking news that G4S appears incapable of facilitating a drink fest in  building custom-built for the purposes of the consumption of hop-based alcohol.

The government have been forced to call in the Army, or rather, a larger proportion of the Army than they had already bargained for. Fortunately, the machinery to sack or retire thousands of soldiers hasn’t fully kicked in yet, otherwise they’d really be in the kak. This is because G4S have suddenly realised, 3 weeks before the games start, that they can’t actually deliver that which they promised when the shiny ¬£50 notes were waived in their corporate faces.

It’s a good job the Olympics is this year and not in 2013 when the Army & Police would be largely absent. Mind you, if we hadn’t spent those billions of staging the Olympics maybe we wouldn’t be sacking police officers and soldiers, and they could do the job they are actually paid to do rather than checking tickets at sports events.

Still it’s not all bad news. Apparently Surrey Police are having second thoughts about going into business with companies who can’t deliver.

Did I mention I can’t get any time off to watch the only event we got tickets for, or that I can’t get a bloody summer holiday this year for the first time in 33 years?

July 8th, 2012

It’s OK, I’ve told the Old Bill

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

I’ve posted about the¬†general¬†attitude that seems to prevail these days that everything is someone else’s problem to deal with, usually the police.

Never more true is it than with teenage ‘missing people’. I say ‘missing’ because around 99.9 per cent of the missing people we have to deal with are not actually missing, they are merely recalcitrant kids who can;t be arsed to follow the rules laid down by their parents or frequently their ‘care’ homes.

It used to be that when someone rang up and said that Chelsea had walked out the door at 9 at night ¬†because she wasn’t prepared to miss out on a bit of fun with her mates, that we said “what are you doing about it?” If the answer was, as it usually is now, “nothing”, we said “Well best you get yourself and your family out there looking for her, let us know if she doesn’t turn up by tomorrow.”

Now everything is the police’s responsibility so we have to send police officers to do what any sensible person would believe is the job of the parents or guardians.

I’ve lost count of the number of times a log includes the words “I reported it to social¬†services¬†but they told me to call the police.” Like the police have the wherewithall to sort out the problems which make Chelsea want to bugger off whenever the hell she likes, anyway.

There was some government mouthpiece on the telly just last week¬†bemoaning¬†the state of care homes and the lack of supervision, whilst at the same time completely forgetting that the problem with care homes is that the government have overseen an ethos where kids now think their rights, needs and ¬†wants trump anyone else’s, and they believe they can do whatever they please, further, that carers and guardians have no rights such that when someone says they want to bunk off for the night nobody is prepared to actually either lock the fucking door or physically stop them walking off into the night, safe in the knowledge that all they have to do is ring the old bill and the buck is safely passed.

It is not unusual to get 4 or 5 ‘mispers’ on a late or night shift, every one of which will be someone gone for the umpteenth time. Usually ¬†4 or 5 of the parents or guardians will have done precisely bugger all to locate their missing ‘loved ones’ and even when we have, several of them will refuse to get off their arse and go and collect them, preferring to remain within the comfort of their own home while the old Bill waste their time and tax-payers money ferrying the little darlings half way across the county.

July 3rd, 2012

Oops

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

A case out today with the result of a complaint against Fife Police in which a man had £600 confiscated from his address by police investigating an offence. After the investgation it was decided that the money should be returned to the man, although he was convicted of an offence.

Which was all well and good until Fife Police discovered that the cash had been stolen, from the police safe, by one of their officers. A detective not involved in the case resigned from the force and was subsequently convicted of theft.

The victim of the theft, put a poster up in his window saying that a police officer had stolen his money, he alleges he was visited 11 times by local police asking him to take the poster down. He made a complaint to the IPCC. The cash was later paid to him from police funds and he received an apology.

It’s not the details of the¬†complaint¬†which caught my eye when doing my daily trawl of police news, but the fact that it never ceases to amaze me what stupidity some officers will go to, to risk their jobs and possible freedom. It seems complete madness to nick ¬£600 and risk ¬£30,000 a year and a possible prison sentence, yet certain officers have nicked much less.

It does make you wonder.

July 2nd, 2012

Pass another violin

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

Another day another expose of the government’s lies that cutting billions from the police budget will do no harm, nay, make service provision even better for the public.

The HMIC has calculated that over 32,000 jobs will be cut by 2015, made up of 5,800 front line officers and 7,200 non- frontline officers. Despite the claims by the government that no frontline officers will be cut.

A fifth of all front offices in the country will go as police stations close and forces look to save money by opening desks in supermarkets and libraries.

The HMIC also said that Lincolnshire, Devon & Cornwall and the Met were at great risk of not being able to provide an effective police service to their residents.

Meanwhile, POlicing Minister, Nick Herberts, said:¬†¬†”This report makes it clear that the front line is being protected overall and that the service to the public has largely been maintained. The proportion of officers on the front line is increasing, the number of neighbourhood officers has gone up, crime is down ‚Ķ and the response to emergency calls is being maintained.

He was last seen entering an office at Whitehall marked ‘Cloud Cuckoo Land’.

July 1st, 2012

Is that the smell of smoke?

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

So, recent research into the summer riots last year reveals that the UK police may not be able to deal with a similar repeat, due to the savage budgets cuts installed by the current government.

Whilst Theresa May sits around playing her violin with gay abandon while insisting that you can do more with less, policing is burning to its foundations all around her.

Check out the report in the Guardian.

June 24th, 2012

Some hope

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

So the Police Federation are trying to get the government to agree to give us more Tasers.

Apparently there are 12,000 Tasers available to officers but the Fed want this to increase to 36,000, to give all front line officers the chance of protecting themselves and others with the equipment.

Meanwhile the met announce that they are closing 9 police stations in the first of a series of money-saving attempts, doubtless while announcing that the service to the public will be better after the closures.

The¬†government¬†are doing their level best to shaft the police, so the only comment I have for the Federation is ‘good luck with that one’.