Archive for May, 2006

May 30th, 2006

Pissing in the Wind

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

Not something I tend to do, at least not against the wind. 

Pity you can’t accuse the government of the same. What are we, 1 week into the national knife amnesty and how many stabbings have hit the headlines. Must be at least three.

We’ve got one of those knife-bins at my nick. There is a ‘no questions asked’ policy when people surrender their edged weapons, meaning someone can go from the scene of a stabbing straight to the nick and stick it in the bin. Even Asda have CCTV on their front doors, we don’t.

Yet again it’s another case of the government appearing to do something about violent crime without actually doing anything. How many would be murderers have handed their weapons in, then? I guess we’ll never know but I reckon it’ll be about the square root of bugger-all. A bit like the effort the government is making into curbing violence in our society.

May 29th, 2006

PDBs *

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

* PDBPersonal Development Bollocks

I recently had my annual PDR (or Personal Development Review as bollock-speakers [management] like to call it). It might be more widely known as an ‘annual report’ or ‘appraisal’.

The annual report was something which was done by your sergeant, who knew you quite well, knew what your strengths and weaknesses were, knew how you coped under pressure – because he/she was out there on job with you, and knew what the standard of your reports was. Unless the sergeant didn’t like you it was usually quite good to pretty good and sometimes excellent. You had little involvement in the appraisal process because it was a report on what supervisors thought about you and your work.

Nowadays, the system has been totally turned on its head. It kind of reminds me of the times when it was your birthday and people bought you presents or a cake. These days, when it’s your birthday, you have to buy other people cakes – how does that work?

Now, with the PDR, it’s you who has to do all the work and basically write your own report. It has two effects; not only does it mean that the sergeant no longer has to monitor your work (how can they these days as you rarely see them on the street on a job with you), it also wastes even more time when you are compiling stuff for your PDR which could actually be spent on the street catching naughty people.

It works like this; you have set objectives, some are set by the government, some are set by the force and some are set by the local division, there is room for a few you might want to set yourself. You then have to write a few paragraphs for each objective showing evidence of how you have met the target. So, for instance, I currently have these as some examples:

To meet responsibilities as set out in the Organisation’s Health & Safety Policy - I’ll be honest, I haven’t got a clue what the force’s health & safety policy even says, let alone how I have met the responsibilities of it. I know I haven’t crashed my car & I’ve worn my bullet-proof vest & I haven’t fallen over, but I did trap my finger under the lid of the photocopier, and I had 3 paper-cuts this year, so did I fail it? I haven’t a clue.

Conduct Operational Risk Assessments - They love the phrase ‘risk assessment’, it’s the bosses way of saying "not our fault, mate". I have, apparently, to ‘risk assess’ everything "ensuring adequate control processes are in place & appropriate contingency plans are developed". Hmmm… I don’t recall doing any of that, ever, but I’m still here so whatever I am doing appears to work. How do I evidence that, other than being present for work every day? I have no idea.

Adopt a Problem Solving Approach to Community Issues – it goes on to mention certain bollox-speak nuggets as ‘community partners’, ‘legislation policy procedures’ & ‘partnership agreements’ . Er, yeah, right.

Respect for Race & Diversity – I have to welcome diversity & treat people with dignity & respect. The way I evidence this is by showing that I search all travellers’ sites that my bosses send me to note the car number plates in the middle of the night with equal diligence. Institutional Racism, anyone?

There are several others including Community & Customer Focus, Problem Solving, Resilience, Personal Responsibility, (strangely,  none on learning new legislation) yada, yada, yada.

So, I have to go through all the jobs I’ve dealt with, look them up on the computer, print them out, highlight areas which prove I adhered to one or more of the above requirements. It can take literally hours. Those younger in service spend eons doing their’s. You wright your own report. You don’t mention all the jobs you cocked up during the last year, or all the times you were playing ‘hide-&-seek’ on nights and watching porn, obviously. So by the time you’ve finished you have hard & fast evidence that you are a paragon of virtue & the best officer since Dixon of Dock Green. Your sergeant doesn’t know any different because they’ve never been on patrol with you and your inspector doesn’t know any different because they wouldn’t know who you were if you jumped out of their soup. You might have done two jobs really well all year and been total crap the rest of the time. Completely meaningless.

The system is totally and utterly pointless. It matters not one jot what the PDR says; I’m not relying on it for a wage increase as pay goes up depending on length of service, not quality.

To prove it, last year I didn’t fill in a single box. I signed it and submitted it. My sergeant wrote a paragraph about what a sterling chap I was and got me to sign that and my Inspector wrote exactly what the sergeant wrote only using longer words and got me to sign that too. After it left his hands I doubt anyone, anywhere ever read it again.

I’ve done exactly the same this year. It took me under 1 minute to sign it and return it. My PDR was 8 pages of A4, if I’d actually filled it in it could have been double that. And there’s officers all over the country sitting in offices sweating away and worrying about their PDRs, when they could be out there doing police work.

 

May 24th, 2006

Headless Chickens?

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

Hertfordshire Police recently appeared in the news in one of those “Oh no” moments for the executive. It seems staff have been circulating ‘inappropriate’ emails to each other. I seem to recall a similar investigation for the same email in Greater Manchester Police some time ago, also.

The story on the BBC News website, and regional TV news said that police officers and support staff were being investigated for distributing an email which contained gruesome photos. The BBC said: “The e-mail reportedly contains a series of images, one of which shows the head of a black man who dies after jumping on to metal railings during a police chase. It is captioned: ‘Don’t run from the police’.”

I seem to recall some time back that there was a bit of an uproar when the media stated the race of someone they were reporting on when it wasn’t relevant to the story. So, for instance, a news report could say that police were looking for a “black male, 6’2, medium build with short hair” in relation to a particular crime, but it was not appropriate to say something like “Jo Bloggs,  a black male, was convicted of rape this afternoon at Cheltenham Crown Court” as the race of the offender was deemed irrelevant and only served to create more racial tension, or something.

You don’t need to be the brain of Britain to realise that using the job’s internal email system to send funny cartoons, jokes, good luck pass-it-ons and gruesome photographs around your workmates isn’t really the done thing. Most businesses have email & internet policies and I’ve yet to come across one which says you can use the email system to show each other pictures of decapitated men. You’ll not get an argument from me that what appears to have gone on in Hertfordshire (and no doubt in many other organisations, police & otherwise) wasn’t somewhat stupid. But what did get me was that in the reports what has been highlighted is that the hapless idiot who apparently ran from the police and jumped over a barrier not realising there was a 30-foot drop onto metal railings below, was black.

Oh, but silly me, in today’s modern police service, anything involving police officers and black people must mean that racism is involved.

The BBC report ended thus: Det Sgt Alicia Moore, chair of the Hertfordshire Black Police Association, added: “The inquiry team has consulted closely with us since the beginning of this investigation and, to date, we are satisfied with the course of action that is being taken.” Other BPA representatives wre interviewed on the TV reports too.

I’m glad the BPA is satisfied with the course of action taken by the social engineers at Herts Police but WTF exactly has it got to do with the BPA?

The story here is that staff used an internal email system to circulate a gruesome photograph. The fact that the subject was black is of no relevance whatsoever. Still, it’s another stick for the BPA and others to beat the police with and another good opportunity for police managers to highlight their ‘diversity’ credentials.

So instead of a bunch of rather silly individuals being rapped for misuse of an email system, they’re all probably wondering whether they’ll be getting sacked for racism. 

Somehow I don’t think the story would have the same effect had the highlight been “The e-mail reportedly contains a series of images, one of which shows the head of a man who dies after jumping on to metal railings during a police chase.”
 

May 23rd, 2006

Blog Updates

Posted in Blogging by 200

Damn clever these tech wizard geeky people who write php and javascript & stuff; I’ve just added a little tracking gizmo to the blog which shows me some stats on how many people are visiting this site & how they get here.

If you are running WordPress and haven’t got one I can recommend ShortStat. I can’t find the link right now but if you Google it with ‘WordPress‘ you’ll find it.

So, thanks to all the Police-type blogs out there which have 200Weeks listed on their links, especially Coppersblog from which so many people visit this site.

It’s amazing how search engine technology works. i wonder what the people who entered the following into their search engine and came up with 200weeks.police99.com thought….

 all of which produced a link to 200Weeks which someone foolishly clicked & ended up here, presumably rather disappointed!

May 18th, 2006

A Load of Old Pony

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

No wonder there is never a police officer around when there is a burglar walking up your path; we’re too busy dealing with absolute shite like:

  • “This geezer called my 14-year-old Chelsea a slag and I want somefink done abaat it.”
  • “I want my brother arrested, he borrowed my mobile phone and won’t return it.”
  • A customer just shouted at me ‘cos we only had one till open and I take that as a threat.”
  • “That arsehole across the road looks at me every time I leave the house, that’s harassment.”

Just a small soupcon of the drivel which has taken up the time of the officers round my way, much the same as the time taken up in every town the length & bredth of the whole country.

 
They can be dealt with quite adequately over the phone with the simple phrase “Grow up and get a life”
 
Next?
May 10th, 2006

No Evidence of E.T.

Posted in Not the Job by 200
Britain’s defence intelligence chiefs have, this week, published the findings of their four-year investigation into the mystery of alien intelligence.

Their detailed research concludes that “almost 100 per cent” of sightings can be explained by purely “natural phenomena”. The document is emphatic that reported “evidence” is not down to alien civilisations or hostile powers but it fails to dismiss those who claim such evidence as fantasists or hoaxers.

Professor Colin Cockaleakey, acting head of the Portondown Investigative Scientific Service Office (PISS-Off) said, “After four years of evidence gathering & evaluation we are able to conclusively show that there is no evidence whatsoever of any sentient intelligent beings within the Home Office”

“Sightings of such phenomena as bloated, gaseous objects around the corridors of Whitehall & then disappearing without trace can easily be attributed to a phenomena known as ‘Charles Clarke’.

The report contains particularly damning claims that decisions coming from the Home Office which start off with little or no merit can, by the time they have gone through the Home Secretary, government spin offices, well-chosen newspapers & the BBC actually end up as if a modicum of intelligence was used somewhere in the process.

“This is demonstrably false,” said Prof. Cockasnook, “careful forensic examination reveals in almost every case the complete lack of thought which goes into these ideas.”

The 620 page report, costing some £6.2million, shows how ordinary people can be fooled into thinking that such things as force amalgamations, government control of the police & the slavish acceptance of political correctness are proof of government intelligence.

It cites the case of labourer Jock McTatt, subject of the recent Speilberg film “If bullshit had Wings”. McTatt famously described walking along Auchtermuchty High Street when he was plucked from the crowds by an unseen force in grey ‘suits’. “One minute I was preparing to look up women’s dresses using a camera I got off eBay, the next I was in this strange room with weird, powerful lights, surrounded by talking heads sending me subliminal messages of such wonderment & blinding brilliance I was completely blown away. I later awoke with absolutely no memory of the previous 2 hours.

PISS-Off concluded that McTatt had not been abducted by aliens but had simply been in the audience of BBC’s ‘Question Time’.

Professor Cockaleg concluded, “Whilst government ministers using their brains is or should be an expected norm to any and all tax-payers, it should be consigned to the quaint old tradition it once was. One only has to look to John Prescott to realise that ministers are more used to using other parts of their bodies, such as their dicks, rather than their brains.”

Professor Cockahoop is very rich (now).

May 9th, 2006

More Thieving Scum

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

With almost 3 decades in this job there isn’t much which a) you haven’t seen before & b) shocks you.

I never cease to be amazed at the depths some scum-sucking pondlife will go to & we had another case recently.(Thieving Scum). Sadly, no matter how many you lock up there will always be others to continue in the finest traditions of this country’s lowest of the low.

A 96-year-old lady is minding her own business in the safety of her own home when 2 males knock at her door. To cut a reasonably short story even shorter, they tell her they are police officers and are checking up on her safety & well-being. They enter the house and once inside the proceed to rifle through the poor woman’s home until they have taken her £5,000 life-savings.into ‘protective custody’.

If that on its own wasn’t bad enough, the low-life shites who have the moral ethics of a nematode (parasite roundworm) return to the house two weeks later. This time they dispense with the pleasantry of pretending to be officers to gain her trust; they’ve seen her now and know how frail & risk-free their crime is.This time they just kick in the back door, march in and search the place while the terrified victim remains in her chair unable to move due to a combination of her age & fear. They find the only cash now left in the house since their last visit in the form of two-weeks’ pension money.

Scum like this are usually, although not exclusively, connected with the ‘travelling fraternity’. who feel themselves immune to the laws of the land and think it’s OK to ride roughshod over the needs & rights of the most vulnerable members of our society.

If anyone can think of a reason why this filth shouldn’t have their bollocks slowly chewed from them by several hungry policedogs, let me know.

May 7th, 2006

Pigs Might Fly

Posted in Not the Job by 200

So, Charles Clarke & John Prescott have both done the decent thing, and been sacked.

I guess it’s no coincidence that Blair chose to do it on the day after the Labour Party did so badly in the local elections. I can’t help thinking if he’d had the balls to do it before the elections he might have got the labour Party a few more votes. 

Prescott now faces a possible enquiry from the boys & girls in blue into an allegation of misconduct in a public office for allegedly shagging his junior staff member in his private office.

Interestingly, legal precedent on the matter comes from not so far away with a couple of police officers being convicted of the offence for having sex whilst on duty. So it’ll be interesting to see how long it takes old Two Jags, or should that be Two Shags, to receive the charge sheets. 

May 3rd, 2006

Self-protection

Posted in Blogging by 200

Having moaned about not being contacted by anyone in relation to being invited onto Radio 5 when they were discussing Police Blogs (see here). I was somewhat suprised to be contacted so soon by a BBC producer who thought my blog might be somewhat worthy of appearing in his forthcoming five-part-series on Blogs on Radio 4.

Unfortunately, due to the fact that I have a rather large sum of money heading my way  in under 200 weeks followed by many, many years of a full & deserving pension, I’ve had to decline. Although anonymity was offered, the programme is slated to include interviews about the blogs (which are not just police) and so the chance of my Complaints & Discipline Department having a bring-a-bottle & listen-to-someone-drop-themselves-in-it-party is therefore exceedingly high.

Still, the thought that someone actually considered this blog worthy of an approach gave me a really warm glow. And, I tell myself, is proof positive that I am not actually the only one who reads it.

Onward & Upwards.

May 2nd, 2006

Do as we say not as we do!

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

I see Charles Clarke, Home Secretary, continues to refuse to resign over the debacle about allowing foreign criminals out onto the streets of the UK as officials ‘forgot’ to deport them to the countries from whence they came.

One of the reasons quoted on the TV & national press for his ignorance, sorry, determination, is that he needs to stay in post to put the matter right.

You may remember a certain David Westwood saying exactly the same thing in 2004. You remember him, he was the Chief Constable of Humberside who took the blame for the intelligence cock-ups in the Soham Murder case. Then, Home Secretary David Blunkett, called for his resignation over the issue and Westwood refused to go stating he needed to stay in post in order to sort the problems out. The Police Authority backed the Chief and refused to suspend him.

Blunkett then went to the High Court and obtained a ruling forcing the suspension of Westwood. So no double standards there, then.

In a strange twist of fate, Westwood was later reinstated, although agreeing to retire early, and Blunkett was forced to resign over allegations of his own indiscretions some months later.

May 2nd, 2006

No Surprise There, Then

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

The Dispatches programme caused some discussion on the police websites & blogs in the last few days. Over at the Coppers Blog 2 threads have elicited a couple of hundred replies. As one might expect, most in favour of the police but it has attracted one or two apparent anti-police scribes.

The Police999.com and PoliceUK discussion forums attracted a surprisingly slow discourse on the merits (or lack of) of the programme.

Over at PoliceSpecials they really got the bit between their teeth with about 12 pages of forum posts. As is so often the case on that site, though, if people disagree with the prevailing  view of the site moderators and administrators, threads are closed down and locked. Apparently, free discussion is less important than what people might think of the site & it’s reputation. Surprisingly, given that the site is run by a serving officer and is dedicated to the Special Constabulary, the prevailing thoughts were that anyone who wanted to slate the programme for all its faults and failures, was regarded as an apologist for disgusting and atrocious behaviour. Anyone disagreeing was denied the chance to speak further on the matter.

With friends like that… 

 

May 1st, 2006

Foot in Mouth Disease

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

If you’re tall enough, you might notice police cars often have numbers on the roof. There may even be 2 numbers and a shape. This is so people in tall buildings and tv film crews can identify specific vehicles when they are making their complaints…”it was the pair in that traffic car with 546 on the roof, they’re the ones wot dun it”. It might also assist police air support units identifying individual units.

If there are two numbers on the roof one will be the force number. This is a 2 figure number individual to each specific force, so all vehicles in Greater Manchester might have 22 (they don’t actually have “22″ I’m using that as an example) & in Thames Valley all cars will have 09, for example.

Imagine the scene following a fairly long police pursuit down various main roads and motorways which ends up in the neghbouring force area. Numerous traffic, firearms and dog vehicles, all wandering about, not knowing street names, all looking for several youths who have decamped from the stolen car which has crashed into a lamppost.

The helicopter eye in the sky is trying to make some sense of who is down below and doing what, they receive a call on the radio from one of the units who thinks the thieves may be in a garden beside his police vehicle.

“Yes, unit who thinks he may have sight of these offenders, can you give us your roof number so we can identify which unit you are, over.”

“Xray-Two-Three to Air Support, roof number is 36, repeat, 36, over”

“Air Support to Xray-Two-Three, you numpty that’s your force number, all vehicles have got 36 on the roof.”

And the rank of the numpty in question?… yes, an inspector. We really ought to keep senior officers out of real police work.