Archive for the The Job – Comment category

June 22nd, 2012

Same old, yadda, yadda, yadda

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

Call takers in West Mids must be feeling a little uneasy right now.

The force is planning to cut 118 posts from the current setup of call centres when they change over to a two-call centre system in 2013. The changes form part of the force’s bid to save ¬£126million.

Force manages say, don’t they always, that the cuts will lead to an improved service which will deliver a better service. They also say that the number of non emergency calls answered within the target (“what targets?” – Theresa May) of 30 seconds.

So cutting 10% of the staff will lead to a better service? If this is true why hasn;t anyone been sacked for allowing the force to waste so much money by overstaffing for all those years?

June 21st, 2012

Management speak with forked tongue

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

So the HMIC has released a report about how police deal with anti social behaviour victims.

The only surprise is how many people are satisfied with the police response. I’d have thought it was far less than two thirds, judging by the amount of ASB jobs we either don’t get to within any meaningful time or don’t get to at all.

It’s all very well trumpeting to an¬†aggrieved¬†public and a¬†frustrated¬†public that anti social behaviour is at the top of the list, but when you want to increase attendance at something without any extra resources – indeed with much fewer judging by how many front line officers are being cut – then you have to decrease something else. With chief constables now promising to see more victims of anything, let alone anti social behaviour, then something has to give.

I was¬†interested¬†in a couple of comments the HMIC made regarding his report. Vic Towell, Assistant Inspector of Constabulary, told a press conference that call centre operators were reluctant to ask victims of ASB whether they felt vulnerable or had any long term illnesses or diseases – they two key questions which someone has decided will prevent people from killing their children and themselves due to failures of the police to deal with ASB. He said: ‚ÄúOne of the problems with customer relations management systems is they tend to be drop-down menus, tick box and ask these questions. It‚Äôs very easy to forget there‚Äôs a person at the end of the line.¬†I‚Äôm sure we‚Äôve all suffered from this with call centres ‚Äď you want to be treated as a person and they‚Äôre treating you as number 55 in a queue. We‚Äôve just got to shift that culture now of thinking of people as people at the end of the line, and not as a caller to be dealt with, recorded and then move on to the next one.‚ÄĚ

Which is fine, except when you give the call centres targets for answering the phone lines whilst on one hand saying, the needs of the caller are paramount and if you need to spend more than the average amount of time allowed for a call, then so be it, and on the other hand berating staff because they have not met the call handling targets and are spending too much of their time dealing with people’s problems rather than answering the next call.

Further, the trouble with tick box delivery of service is the same as what happened when they decided that anyone subject of a racist incident is a candidate for an enhanced service, people will say they think it happened to them because they are Asian, black or whatever, whether it did or not, the amount of jobs which mention a racial element shot up, and I’m not convinced ¬†it was just people feeling Ok to report it now when they didn’t before.

So if you say that vulnerable victims or people with long term illnesses will get an enhanced service and someone will actually turn up on their doorstep within a reasonable amount of time, then you can bet everyone suddenly feels vulnerable.

Meanwhile, the real vulnerable victims will slip through the net while we are busy treating everyone who answers the tick box questions correctly the same way.

June 10th, 2012

The battle’s not over yet

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

As regards yesterday’s post, it seems I’m not the only one questioning the rationale (other than offering rewards for doing what the government wants) behind wanting lawyer Tom Winsor as the new Inspector of Constabulary.

For those saying he won’t do a worse job as an HMIC than previous police jobs, I don’t recall many HMICs raping the service as thoroughly as Winsor is doing right now, what’s he gonna be like if he has full control? You can only judge than on what he’s done so far. I woudn’t have thought that¬†criticism¬†of the decision to try and appoint him in the role would be that hard to find.

June 8th, 2012

Jobs for the boys

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

So Tom Winsor’s legal firm advises G4S who are set to profit from entering the realm of law enforcement once forces sell out to private companies.

Tom Winsor gets the job of cutting the police budget by, in part, recommending selling off services to private industry and slashing wage bills.

Tom Winsor becomes the Home secretary’s preferred choice for the first ever appointment of a civilian Inspector of Constabulary.

I see that the cash for honours culture is alive and well in the government.

June 7th, 2012

Blimey, good effort!

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

Alan Melville, was a special in Northern Constabulary in Scotland until he retired this week, after 51 years!

Alan joined Inverness Constabulary in 1961 before I was out of nappies and retired 3 years after me.

I often say these days I don’t know why anyone would want to stick 35 years in the police force these days, and that’s on a full salary. Doing it for free is a whole different level.

Well done Mr Melville, I think we can say you’ve done your bit now, have a long and happy retirement.

June 3rd, 2012

Here comes the rain, little darlin’

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

Well, who pulled the short straw to work the entire Jubilee weekend?

That’ll be me then. The nearest I’ll get to a bowl of celebratory jelly will be during the half hour break we get on bank holidays (which seems strange in itself as we have to work 8 hours and our normal break is an hour, for some reason on a bank holiday we’re only entitled to half an hour – nothing to do with the fact that they don’t employ enough people on a bank holiday to cover the breaks).

It’s not often that I hope for rain, but rain does have an effect of being rather a useful police officer in that it tends to prevent a lot of crime and disorder as most people don’t like standing around in the rain after they tip out of the pubs half legless looking for a fight.

I have no idea how many street parties we’ll be having this holiday break and I really don’t want to spoil anyone’s fun, but a little timely rain might help with the queues for ambulances and the local A&E.

May 21st, 2012

Hurrah for the Home Office

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

Another day, another complete load of bollocks designed to fool particularly stupid people.

A new white paper, whatever the bloody hell a white paper is, gets announced tomorrow designed to force police to investigate anti social behaviour.

The coallition will announce that they are disposing of ASBOs and replacing them with something exactly the same, though they won’t actually say this. A new Criminal Behaviour Order will ban individuals from certain places or activities, pretty much like an ASBO was supposed to do. Anyone who breaks their order will be liable to up to five years in prison, hurrah. Except that the government don’t want people to go to prison for burglary and stabbing people so why they are suddenly going to be countenancing prison sentences for people who wind their neighbours up is beyond me.

They will also say that police will be forced to investigate anti social behaviour if at least five people complain. This is great news, usually all the anti social behaviour we attend currently (which in my opinion is not enough but a fair proportion) is usually only reported by one person. Clearly this means we will now be able to forget all that and only attend if five people complain. Thus freeing up thousands more officers to look for disobedient teenagers who can’t be arsed to come home on time and we will be able to investigate thousands more cases of people being naughty on Facebook. Hurrah!

Of¬†course, the government will say they are taking ASB more seriously whilst¬†completely¬†misunderstanding what we do now and what we can’t do because of their fucking cuts. They’ll trumpet it as positive action by saying more stuff will be done to help people, without a moment’s thought that the actual people available to carry out their new old policies, are the same people being cut in their 20% efficiency savings.

May 19th, 2012

I can’t understand why there’s no outcry

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

I posted in December 2011 and this April about the poor service coming from the ambulance service. It had certainly gotten worse between December and April.

In April I reckoned that I was dealing with about a dozen calls a week where an ambulance wasn’t available, sometimes for quite serious injuries and incidents. I have to say it is almost approaching that number a shift now.

In the last couple of shifts we have had several calls for an ambulance but none were available. An 88 year old lady who had fallen behind locked doors. We forced the front door and called am ambulance. None available.

Elderly man who had fallen in the street, no ambulance available. Victim of a stab wound to the arm, no ambulance available. RTC, person with head and leg injuries, no ambulance available. After 45 minutes of waiting and the third or 4th call from our control room to theirs, still no ambulance available but a request from their controller to call them back if the injuries became life-threatening; presumably they think police officers’ first-aid training, such that it is, would make it clear when someone has an injury that might be life threatening. I know on most occasions I dealt with injuries, unless their head was half hanging off I didn’t have a clue if they were likely to die or waltz off into the sunset singing God Save the Queen.

It’s causing a lot of friction between control rooms. I like to think I’m usually pretty¬†friendly¬†and professional when I speak to people, especially those who are in the same kind of business. But I’m getting pretty pissed of speaking to ambulance controllers who are short, snappy and sometimes just downright rude just because you have the temerity to ask if and when an ambulance might arrive. I know some of my colleagues can be rude and snappy too, but that’s not really an excuse to speak to me like that.

I don’t know if it’s just me, but there seem to be lots more calls where the ambulance is declining to attend in the first until an officer has been because the patient is ‘being violent’. Now there are times when someone is being violent, and situations where I wouldn’t anyone with at least a stab proof vest, a big stick, some pepper spray and may be a Taser, to enter first, but these are not the norm. The amount of jobs we get to where absolutely nothing is happening but the ambo has either not been sent yet, or is sitting in another street, seems to be on the increase. It almost seems like the ambo control is using the police service as a triage nurse to find out whether one is actually needed before they send one.

We’re now recording all incidents where an ambulance is not available, the Association of Chief Police Officers is getting involved, apparently. After all, whenever an ambulance isn’t available, it’s the¬†police¬†who have to pick up the workload. we’re now running people to hospital routinely rather than have an officer wait with the patient. We couldn’t possibly just drive off and tell the patient to wait for an ambo, because if they died it would be our fault.

May 16th, 2012

Yes, we’re just like everyone else

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

This week sees the British Medical Association trying to persuade its members to vote for strike action in protest at the government’s plans to change pension conditions.

Train drivers in Lincolnshire are expected to strike again tomorrow over plans to change  their pension scheme.

Last week, the much heralded¬†fuel¬†tanker drivers’ strike was called off after an agreement was reached with employers. Also last week public sector workers all over the country took part in a 24-hour strike over pension plans.

Among those striking last week were UK Border Agency workers, also angry at plans to change their pensions.

At the same time as 35,000 police officers were marching in protest in London, prison officers held a half-day strike against the government’s pension reforms.

Teachers’ unions are considering similar strike action.

The police are not alone in having their wages and pensions attacked by a government who failed to prevent themselves falling into a hole they are now using our cash to claw themselves out of.

The difference between the police and everyone else is that they all have the right to take industrial action. All we get to do is spend our days off walking through London and not clap the Home Secretary while holding up signs.

May 10th, 2012

Home truths

Posted in The Job - Comment, Videos by 200

I’ve been at work most of today so I haven’t seen any news coverage. How did we get on, lots of good coverage?

This is what it’s about. One of the most telling comments in the below vid is where a police inspector says that he would no longer encourage his son to join the job. perhaps if everyone felt the same and the message got passed on to the next generation of would-be-cops, the government might fonally get the message?

April 24th, 2012

About time

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

So the UK police are going to re-investigate the Madeleine McCann case with the hope of  bringing some closure to the event.

Does that mean they’re finally going to get the McCanns charged with child ¬†neglect?

April 17th, 2012

Wrong is wrong

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

A lesbian PCSO has been jailed for illegally¬†accessing¬†police¬†computers¬†and passing on information to Wrexham’s ‘close-knit community’.

Lisa Stapely was apparently recruited under a positive discrimination scheme because she was a lesbian. She tipped off a friend that the police were looking for her and has been jailed for 10 months for misconduct in a public office.

It would be wrong to blame the positive discrimination policy for hiring someone who turned out to be corrupt as there must be officers and PCSOs who aren’t members of a minority sexuality group who get into trouble. But I bet the selection pool would have been greater had the requirements for the job not been based on being a lesbian.

If discrimination is wrong, so is positive discrimination. I want the best people on the streets, not ones who tick a special treatment box.

April 15th, 2012

With Facebook friends like these….

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

F***ing Facebook.

Or should that be f***ing idiots who post stuff on their Facebook page and leave themselves open to people complaining to their employers about their comments?

PC David Crawford from Merseyside Police might be wondering himself, after slagging off women who go to Ladies’ Day at Aintree. His Facebook page has now been removed as he undergoes an investigation by Merseyside’s finest rubber-heelers.

Personally, I think everyone who goes to Aintree and takes part in the furtherance of an industry where the death of horses is just an inconvenient by-product of the entertainment, should be slagged off.

Remember as one of Her Majesty’s finest, you have no rights to thoughts which are not politically correct, much less any to share those thoughts and jokes among your mates.

The biggest mistake PC Crawford seems to have made was to open his FB page to people liable to stab him in the back.

April 14th, 2012

It would be incredible if it wasn’t so normal

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

I often blog about the appalling service we give to members of the public. About how we consistently let down decent folk who ask for a simple but efficient service and only call us when they really require some police help, unlike the majority of our ‘service users’ who call us because they can’t be bothered to sort out their own lives and believe they have an entitlement for action as soon as someone looks at them funny.

News today of a corner shop in Wales who reported a local thief who ran off with two¬†packets¬†of cigarettes. They called within 15 minutes and were told police were too busy, (probably dealing with Facebook complaints, or harassing people who don’t really want to see police). The shopkeeper was told police would attend the following day.

They didn’t.

Actually, I’m suprised they said they would attend; in our force, unless the shopkeeper knows the thief personally, has a copy of his driving licence and birth certificate or a confession signed in triplicate, we don’t attend at all. We just take a report over the phone, largely so we can leave officers free to deal with the work-shy.

Anyway, the police in Cardiff didn’t attend the next day, or the day after that.

In an effort to track down the theif the shopkeeper put up a CCTV image of the thief inside the shop so staff would be alerted and customers might recognise him.

Cardiff Police eventually sent a PCSO, six days later, who told the shopkeeper to remove the photo because members of the public could see it.

Presumably, Cardiff Police are now checking asking al police forces to remove similar images from their websites and liaising with the producers of Crimewatch so they remove the relevant mugshot sections of their episodes.

April 9th, 2012

Sophie Khan appears to be a bigot

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

Who the fuck is Sophie Khan? I hear you ask.

I’m glad you did. She is a solicitor-advocate, whatever one of those is, who specialises “in Actions Against the Police at GT Stewart, an activist & writes for Solicitors Journal, Indy, Guardian and Times Law. ” (GT Stewart are, apparently, her employers, a law firm in London.)

She also very anti-police, one of her most recent tweets was “Good Night all. I’m off to bed. Will be dreaming about suing the police as always. Sweet dreams to you all. I love my job so much :)”

On the 7th of April she posted the following comment on Twatter: “Met Police aren’t just racist while on duty, they are racist off duty. They’re members of BNP scum. Well done on being the most hated.

Insp Gadget points out, this is not just some anti-police hater from down the pub, but someone who purports to have access to ¬†a creating items for national newspapers. Didn’t someone just get locked up for spouting bigoted vitriol on Twitter?

Khan’s comments have raised a certain amount of understandable ire from both police officers and elsewhere. As a result she has removed the comment and also removed her association to her firm of solicitors from her Twatter heading. I wonder why she would do that and whether it has anything to do with her realising that opening her ¬†mouth in that way might not have been such a good idea.

Hmmm, I wonder if the Solicitor’s Regulation Authority have a code of conduct for solicitors.

I’m happy to pass on the same information that gadget does. If you were offended, harassed, alarmed or distressed at her comments you can:

Let her know what you think: https://twitter.com/#!/khan_sophie

Complain to her firm T: http://gtstewart.co.uk/?page_id=589

OR Complain to the Solicitor’s Regulation Authority http://www.sra.org.uk/contact-us/

April 7th, 2012

You’d have thought they’d know by now

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

Logistics Departments, what’s that all about?

Before we had one, supervisors used to sort out all the time off and annual leave. They seemed to manage it quite well, it was reasonably rare to have leave refused, and if it was not possible to grant it, but it was for an important occasion, they’d usually find a way round it.

Then they brought in logistics departments. The one thing guaranteed when you create a department to deal with an issue that doesn’t really exist, is that they will fuck the whole thing up. They’ve been at it for years and they are no better now than they ever were, though all the staff in there have several years more experience by now.

Leave aside the Olympics and the fact that with three months to go to the holiday period, no annual leave has been approved. If you wanted to go abroad this year and needed to book flights, well, good luck. I still don’t know whether I’m going to get a summer holiday or not. Fortunately, we weren’t planning on going abroad though we would still like to book something, if anything is left by the time someone makes a decision on how many staff might be required during the summer.

OK, so the Olympics, is an unusual one, nobody in the force has any experience of policing one, though lord knows how much they’ve spent going abroad and trying to find out.

Christmas, though, is a different matter. As far as I know, they’ve had Christmas Day for the last 50 years. I’m told they had Christmas Day for many years prior to that. I know they had it last year and the year before and every year since the logistics department has been in existence. So why the bloody hell don’t they know how many staff they’re going to need on Christmas Day? I have no plans to go away at Christmas, I never have, but lots of my colleagues would like to. Again, they need to book in advance. Nobody can get leave yet, nobody knows when or if any leave will be approved, including the logistics department.

I sometimes wonder what they all do in their office for eight hours a day.

April 1st, 2012

Is the Ambo service Tits-up too?

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

I’ve mentioned a couple of times recently about the service the Ambulance folks are providing lately. Now I’m not singling them out for criticism, readers will know how critical I can be of the police service, but it seems the Ambo service are getting worse and worse.

I’m sure it’s to do with cuts and the management trying to squeeze each last little drop from all the people they employ, but I’,m amazed this is not mentioned more in the press. It’s getting to appallingly dangerous levels.

It used to be whenever we called an ambulance, one was sent. End of story. now it seems a lottery as to whether one is sent at all.

In the last week alone I must have personally dealt with a dozen incidents where no ambulance was available. We had one of our staple diet calls to a woman who had fallen behind locked doors. Sometimes it is the person themselves who calls 999, sometimes they press their emergency button to call centre who ring us, sometimes it’s a carer or Meals on Wheels who can’t get a reply, but the story is the same; an elderly person has had an incident and can’t get to the door.

Sure enough, we arrived, gained entry to the house and found an 87-year-old woman on the floor. On this occasion we had called an ambulance straight away because the lady had called her care centre saying she couldn’t get up.

After about 20 minutes we call the Ambo control asking for an ETA, they say they haven’t sent one and ask if it’s still required. We explain that we wouldn’t be ringing for an ETA if it wasn’t required, we’d be ringing to cancel them (well we don’t actually say that because we are polite and professional – well, I am). They say they haven’t got one and are waiting for one to come free.

Another 30 minutes goes by and Ambo control ring us checking if an ambulance is still required as they still haven’t got one. We say it is, another 15 minutes and we ring again, they say they haven’t got one and politely ask if we can take the lady to hospital. we politely decline because our officers aren’t trained to lift and transport frail 87-year-old ladies who might have broken their hips or have any other medical condition which hairy-arsed coppers might make worse by trying to help out another service that can’t cope.

I went off duty after 90 minutes so I don’t know when or if the ambo turned up.

This week we had an RTC, same story, several calls to Ambo, 45 mins to arrive after they managed to release an ambo from a previous drop at a hospital ¬†20 miles away. Then, later in the same shift someone needed to go to hospital after being assaulted. This time a single crewed paramedic arrived. There was no ambulance available. After half an hour we sent a police van, put the patient in the van, with the paramedic, drove 30 miles to one of the few hospitals in the area that still have an A&E, and had to provide another officer to drive the paramedic’s car to the hospital so he didn’t have to walk back and collect his car from the scene.

If this is representative of the way the Ambo service is going, I’m really surprised the Daily Fail isn’t publishing stories daily.

March 30th, 2012

One step forward, two steps back

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

If this story is true, it doesn’t look too good.

You’d have thought, with all the technology people carry with them these days, and all the technology people nearby have, that people would think before they open their mouths.

I mix with a lot of young black men in a social setting, they are part of a club that I help with. Some of them call each other ‘nigga’ quite often, they refer to each other as such on FB, which kind of puts out a mixed message which I’m not down enough with the kids to extricate. I ¬†don’t think because they use the word, that anyone not within that group can use it. I have no desire to use the word, much like I never use the ‘C’ word either, whether I understand the social moires of is street-culture banter, or not.

I guess anyone who does, and gets recorded doing it, is setting themselves up for a fall, big style.

March 29th, 2012

It’s started already

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

Fuck me, that didn’t take long.

Petrol chaos, started by the government this week, as roads across the country chog up with people trying to squeeze every last drop of petrol into anything they can carry. Punch-ups in the queues as people jump the queue and try to insert themselves into the smallest gap to get to the pumps before the country runs dry.

AND THERE ISN’T EVEN A SHORTAGE. *

Even if the tanker drivers go on strike it’s not likely to be for a week at the very least. It seems to have gone over the heads of the greedy bastard petrol hoarders that all the petrol they have bought today, will have gone before the strike even starts.

Estimates suggest the government earned an additional £32million from the extra petrol sales yesterday

Was it back in 2000 when we had the blockades of the petrol refineries? Queues over a mile long, rationing at the pumps. Public order overtime just to patrol the queues.

* well there probably is now, you greedy selfish bastards.

March 20th, 2012

Just tell them you’re vulnerable

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

The new buzzword on front line policing is ‘vulnerability’. Is the victim or caller ‘vulnerable’?

The police suffered a massive slating over criticisms that they failed to protect someone who killed herself and her daughter because they suffered years of anti social behaviour and abuse. The case has been talked of ever since as a classic example of police failure.

The people that make the decisions have decided that this cannot be allowed to happen again. As usual, the way to resolve the issue and prevent the problem ever occurring again is to go totally the other way. Check box policing which suggests that you can assess and therefore minimise the risk of people killing their children and themselves by asking a few simple questions and ticking some boxes. If the sum of all the ticked boxes amounts to a predetermined level, you have to do something. The ‘what you actually do’ is another matter but as long as you ‘do something’.

So we now have to ask everyone if they are vulnerable. What does that mean? Who the bloody hell knows? It’s the same as asking someone if they think an incident is racist. It doesn’t matter whether it was or wasn’t, if they say ‘yes’, then it’s recorded as racist. So if they say they are vulnerable that’s a tick in the box.

There only actually needs to be one tick before they are entitled to see a police officer. They might be vulnerable because they are pregnant, have special needs, are old, are young, are repeat victims, have a headache, who knows, who cares?

As an example, we don’t go to noisy parties. Now I don’t actually agree with many of the policy decisions that have crept in over the last 20 years whereby we refuse to attend, for example, ¬†a theft of twenty grand’s worth of tools thus depriving you of your ability to earn a living, and crime it over the phone, but rigidly attend, on a high response, someone who was called a wanker on Facebook. Or don’t attend a burglar alarm if you’re not rich enough to afford coverage by a central station, but if you’re going to have a policy, you might as well stick to it.

So we don’t attend noisy parties; they are envornmental health issues and thus under the remit of the local council 99% of which can’t afford to do anything about it after 5pm Monday to Friday.

Now, all you need to say is that you are a repeat victim of noisy parties (which are anti-social, after all) and you will be classed as vulnerable and thus police will attend. Because we don’t want you driving off into the night and slaughtering your family leaving a note that it was the police’s fault. You don’t even need to be a repeat victim, you can just say you feel vulnerable and that’s enough. We don’t need to find out why you are vulnerable; if you say you are, you are, simples.

Of course, the people who bring in these new policies, have no grasp on how front line policing works. If you have a percentage of police calls which result in no response, suddenly resulting in a police response, you have to have someone to respond.

We now know there are 5,000 less front line police officers with thousands more jobs going, we know that the police are not recruiting, so who is going to do the extra work? If you’re a police policy maker, you don’t have to give a fuck how your policy gets implemented, you just demand that it does and leave the problem to someone else. There are no extra police officers provided, the thin blue lines just gets thinner.

So we now have to attend everything which has a vulnerability factor. Policing by checkboxes, while the real vulnerable victims will get swallowed up and lost in amongst the millions of calls which fit a notional criteria but where there is no risk of people topping themselves.