September 27th, 2006
The one thing that all the police blogs I know have in common is that we all just want to tell it like it is; to cut through all the verbal bollocks and spin. None of us have gone to the mealy-mouth school & none of us are particularly well versed in the art of talking through the ring-piece much perfected by politicians and senior officers.
I recommend the afore-mentioned people take a look at this video which shows a US police chief telling it like it is after the death of one of his officers.
I doubt we will see anything similar on the UK TV screens anytime soon.
September 26th, 2006
Training Days are great; you get to not deal with domestics & other people who can’t get along.
The way our particular shift system works is that every 5 or 10 weeks you get a day designated as ‘Training Day’. On these days you don’t have to turn up for work to do police work, you are supposed to be, er training. Training includes such things as diversity training, learning new legislation, more diversity training, policy & procedure changes, diversity training, self defence and diversity training.
Apparently, nobody has told the managers of the potential importance of training because more often than not we forgo the training & spend the day going round in vans mob-handed, trying to get the arrest figures up by nicking people wanted on warrant. Most people are either out or have moved so you get 8-12 officers spending a whole day making pointless visits on wanted peoples’ addresses to get the sum total of 1 or 2 extra arrests, if you’re lucky; sometimes we don’t get 1 extra arrest.
You see training isn’t measured (with the possible exception of diversity training) but arresting people is.
So it’s clearly more important to arrest Joe Scrote for failing to appear at court for no MOT than to learn what powers we have to arrest him in the first place.
September 23rd, 2006
Thank Christ for figures.
Figures is how people tell we do a good job. The more figures you have the better you are. We have lots of figures in the police and lots of people to count them.
The minute you ring the police the first figures kick in. We have to answer the call within 10 seconds or at least 85% of the calls within 10 seconds; there are stats for that. Then if it’s not an allegation of someone looking at someone else in a funny way, or a complaint of someone sending someone else a text message, or some such bollocks which makes up about 90% of police work, then we have assign a police officer within 3 minutes of getting the 999 call; there are stats for that. Then we have to arrive at the job within 15 minutes; there are stats for that. Then we have to try and arrest someone because there are nice big stats for arresting as many people as possible because it proves how well we do our job.
Most people don’t give a shit about figures, unless they are a senior officer, a civilian figure-counter or from the government. Most people don’t care if the phone is answered in 10 seconds or 15 seconds. What they want is to see a police officer some time the same day, the nearer to the time they actually made the call the better.
There aren’t any figures for how many people are helped by police officers, so nobody is interested in providing a service which just helps people. A bit old fashioned but a shame none-the-less.
September 18th, 2006
The Pope is in the news again this week.
I don’t suppose there are too many UK cops who can pull a Pope story out of the hat so in an effort to impress here’s one;
On the 30th May 1982, Pope John Paul II paid a visit to the UK. Police were drafted in from all over the country for a jolly with loads of overtime.
We drove to Coventry in convoy on the Saturday night and spent the night in some convent-type school. During the early hours of Sunday morning we were bussed in to Coventry airport where the Pope was due to land later that morning. We spent most of the day standing still and not getting any paperwork.
There were loads of people from all over the country turned up for a glance at His Holiness. I mean, thousands and thousands and thousands. They even turned some dual carriageway into a massive coach park, there were coaches for as far as the eye could see. They reckon about 350,000 people turned up at the airport.
We had pride of place, right at the front lining the runway between the route the Pope was going to take and the massive throng.
The Pope arrived in a helicopter & after saying something, as Popes do, he did a slow drive up the flightline in his famous ‘popemobile’ so that everyone could tell their kids they’d met the Pope.
My mate brought his camera. He had this fantastic idea to get a shot of the two of us together with the Pope. He goes up to this total stranger at the front of the crowd, gives him the camera with instructions to take a shot at the precise moment the Pope is behind us so his future grandchildren can put a photo of their grandfather & the Pope over their mantle-piece.
So the Pope begins his drive up the crowd-line. Eventually he nears us, we’re supposed to be watching the crowd, making sure we throw ourselves in front of any bullets some assassin might fire from within the crowd, but hey, it’s the Pope, so you kind of ignore the crowd and watch the Big Fella from Rome.
Timed to perfection just as he gets directly behind us we both turn to the unknown cameraman, snap to attention and smile and he captures the moment of history forever in glorious technicolour. The crowd are caught up in the moment, all shouting, cheering, crying and fainting as he drives slowly past.
Eventually he leaves our sector & we have to return to the personnel-carrier for further deployment. It’s at the moment where we take our seats on the transit that my mate screams out “fuck, that bloke’s still got my camera”. Then the reality dawns on him that there are about 350,000 people between our van and the bloke with a nice new and completely free camera.
If you’ve got a photo of me and my mate & some geezer in a white frock, get in touch. I’m sure Dave would love his camera back.
September 11th, 2006
‘Concern for welfare’ calls can be a right pain in the arse. 99% of them are about people who can’t get through on the phone to someone and can’t be arsed to go round there & check they’re OK so they get the police to do it.
You get to the address & the subject answers the door wondering what all the fuss is about. They sometimes say they don’t actually want to speak with the person who made the call (the concern-or) so they didn’t answer the phone to them.
Alternatively there’s no reply, just an awful smell through the letter-box which can be accompanied by a rather large amount of flies behind the net curtains. These jobs are quite easy also, they just take a little longer to deal with and once you’ve broken in, if anything is suspicious you hand it over to some squad or other while you stand in the street avoiding domestics and other shite.
The ones which are the pain are where you don’t get any reply, there’s no signs of life inside and no strange smells. This leaves you with a quandry; do you break in & then have to justify it to the finance officer when she’s sorting out the claims for compensation from someone who was out shopping, or do you leave it and then appear on the front of the News of the World for failure to do anything to prevent the death of poor old Mrs Miggins who had been lying on the kitchen floor for 3 months before she expired due to your negligence?
We had one where we decided to break in. I was with my mate Jim, who used to be a teacher (and funnily enough still is having jacked the job in after about 12 years). Jim put the front door in causing a not inconsiderable amount of damage in the process, only to find it wasn’t actually the front door, but the lobby door leading to the front door within. So we had to put in one of the small panes of glass in the actual front door. On reaching inside for the door catch I found the door was double-locked and the key wasn’t in the lock.
Plan B called for the smashing of the window in what we took to be the kitchen door at the side of the house. The glass was covered by a dark sheet or curtain of some description so we couldn’t see into the kitchen. I smashed the window and knocked the glass out with my baton only to find that the item covering the inside of the glass wasn’t a curtain, it was the back of a rather large kitchen dresser which had been pushed up against the kitchen door years earlier since the occupant never used that door. We couldn’t shift it.
It was getting to the stage where there wasn’t a great deal of glass left on the house, nor letters left in the plan alphabet, but we went to the rear and smashed one of the 2 double-glazed windows. The old boy must have been watching those adverts or reading his crime prevention leaflets because he had dutifully removed all the keys from the double-glazed window locks meaning we had to smash in all the glass before being able to climb in through the hole we’d created.
As Jim was climbing through the window a rather bemused looking elderly gentleman appeared from the hallway adjusting the hearing aid he appeared to be fitting to his ear to the sight of two hairy-arsed coppers entering, billy burglar style, through his living room window.
We’d managed to cause about a grand’s worth of damage to find out he’d left his hearing aid on the coffee table. I don’t think he was very placated when Jim said; “Still, at least you’re OK, that’s the main thing, eh?”
September 10th, 2006
Where does it say in the parents’ manual that if you can’t control your kids you can pass the responsibility on to the police?
If I had a pound for every missing kid report i got sent to over the last 25 or more years, who was actually missing, I’d have about, er, a pound.
The majority of missing kids are just kids who think it more important to stay out with their mates than stick to annoying parental demands.
The vast majority of people reporting their little ‘angels’ as missing know exactly where they are; usually round Chelsey’s house or down the rec’ refusing to come home and ‘can you go and get her?’
Er no, since when has it been acceptable for you to abrogate your responsibilities? She’s not missing, she’s disobedient. You go and get off your fat arse and collect her yourself. Only that message never seems to get through.
September 9th, 2006
This week marked the 25th anniversary of the women’s peace camp at RAF Greenham Common.
That takes me back; as a young officer in my first few years of service I was in a police support unit when we got called to provide mutual aid to the local force who had been beseiged by hoards of unwashed females who thought they could change the world by sticking flowers in fences & singing songs.
The hard-core lived in a little tented village made from old canvas, bin liners and Fisons fertiliser bags strewn with streamers, rainbows & balloons. I think they were called beenies or booners or benders or something.
We traveled to the base in convoy fuelled by tales of neanderthal-like females who pinned used sanitary products to their coats so the old bill wouldn’t touch them And it was true.
They sang & chanted & screamed, waved flags, ribbons & posters. One squatted down right in front of our van forcing us to wait while she took a pee 6 feet in front of the van. I was really shocked (OK so I was young & innocent).
They encircled the fence as a gesture to try & link arms around the whole base as if anyone actually gave a fuck.
Private Eye used to have a cartoon called ‘Wimmin’ about dungaree-wearing fat lesbians. The entire cast were at RAF Greenham Common that day.
It was a great day out. Didn’t change a thing mind, despite what the participants might tell you now.
September 6th, 2006
The Government’s (or should that read “Charles Clarke’s”) badly-planned attempts to merge the police forces of England & Wales has cost the tax-payer millions.
The BBC reveals that several southern forces have submitted claims for reimbursement of wasted cash spent on “consultations, meetings, literature & staff”.
Cambridgeshire Police are asking for the return of £250,000, Hertfordshire £194,000, Thames Valley £186,000 & Essex £166,000. The total being claimed by the eight forces mentioned totals almost £1.2million. If this is extrapolated across the rest of the 41 forces affected it will amount to several million quid. Tax-payers money, wasted.
A mate of mine inadvertently damaged a police vehicle recently. The cost ran to a couple of thousand of our British pounds. He was punished by having his driving permit removed, loss of overtime as he can no longer drive and loss of status (such that there is) of no longer being one of the few area car drivers on the team. And he didn’t even mean to do it.
I wonder if anyone in the Government will be taken to task for the disappearance of a few million quid down the drains of Whitehall.
I won’t be holding my breath.
September 5th, 2006
So Ian Huntley, murderer of schoolgirls Holly Wells & Jessica Chapman, has failed on his second suicide attempt in prison.
Apparently, he was found collapsed in his cell having taken an overdose. Immediate assistance was summoned but nobody had any extra tablets, so, sadly, he was taken to hospital.
I guess there won’t be too many people sorry that he failed to do the job properly.
The general secretary of the Prison Officer’s Association was on TV today asking how his members could be expected to prevent suicide attempts by prisoners unless they were kept in a glass cage with no possessions & 24-hour monitoring.
I think he answered his own queston.
September 5th, 2006
In another triumph for the British judicial system, boxer Naseem Hamed was released from prison yesterday after serving just 16 weeks of a 15 month jail term.
Hamed was convicted in May 2006 of dangerous driving whilst showing off in his £325,000 mercedes-Maclaren. He overtook on double white lines on a blind summit and crashed at 90mph head-on into a vehicle being driven quite lawfully & correctly by Anthony Burgin, who was almost killed. His wife was also injured in the collision. Hamed then collided with the Mondeo he had been trying to overtake.
Hamed appears to be a serial offender having previously been banned for driving a Porsche at 110 on the M1 in Derbyshire. He also has 3 other convictions for speeding.
Mr Burgin may have been entitled to a small amount of satisfaction at the 15-month jail sentence dished out to Hamed for his reckless behaviour behind the wheel, however, he has been robbed of this by the current sentencing guidelines which allow an automatic reduction of 50% of the sentence with a further 25% reduction for those given a 12 – 18-month sentence if released on a home detention curfew.
In a crass display of insensitivity and conspicuous consumption, Hamed was collected from the front gates of the prison in a large Bentley and a gazzilion-foot long stretched limo. Offering his first thoughts for the victim since the trial, he then went on to whinge about missing the birth of his baby whilst serving the 16 weeks (tough shit sherlock).
He has now returned to his multi-million pound lifestyle while his victim still struggles with the ongoing recovery of his serious injuries.
Whilst I don’t necessarily agree that prison is the correct method of dealing with many offenders, I do understand how outraged Mr Burgin and the rest of society will feel at someone who serves less than a third of his sentence.
September 2nd, 2006
Squads, don’t they really piss you off? (unless, of course, you are on one)
There are 3 types of police officer (well 4 if you count the ones who sit on their arses in offices); frontline officers who do the lions’ share of police work, senior officers and people on squads.
Squad officers are easily identifiable; they are usually either pissed or in bed at 3am, having spent years trying to get into uniform they spend the rest of their careers trying to avoid it, they are usually full of their own self-importance and whereas uniform frontline officers deal with absolutely everything, squad officers are above dealing with most things.
They also have to use the phrase ‘not in my remit, mate’ several times a shift (mainly office hours only).
They decline to carry out work on behalf of frontline officers but expect the frontline to drop everything when they want a statement or one of their prisoners needs a lift home.
The vast majority of squad members will have come from frontline positions at some stage but will have completely forgotten what it’s like on the front line & what pressures normal officers are under all the time.
Squad officers have also forgotten that we’re all actually in the same job.
(and if you think my team were let down by some squad officers this week, again, you’d be right)
September 1st, 2006
There’s a lovely post over at Police999.com which is a prime candidate for the Dogberry column.
For those who don’t know, Dogberry is a regular column in the Police Federation monthly journal ‘Police‘ in which coppers’ stupidity is highlighted. A bit like America’s Dumbest Criminals, except for Plod.
Anyway, to fully appreciate it you need to take a look at the Police Acronym Database over at Police999. They use some internal URL thingy and I can’t post a direct link but if you visit this link you can then choose the Acronym Database from the list of items.
It contains such helpful things as:
ANPR – Automatic Number Plate Reader
BTP – British Transport Police
CID - Criminal Investigation Department
NCIS - National Criminal Intelligence Service
You know, the helpful stuff which a new probationer or a non-police person might find useful to know when watching the latest edition of The Bill.
Well the story goes that a person from a certain police force (not named) saw the acronym database and thought it would be useful information for members of the local Independent Advisory Group (no, I don’t know what they do either but it’s something to do with respected members of the community getting involved in police meetings, or something).
Unfortunately, said officer didn’t actually read the whole thing before they transmitted it to all the fine upstanding members of their community. I can imagine he or she will be suffering some, er, embarassment at discovering, after circulating it, that it contains such gems as:
LoB - Load of Bollocks
NFI - Not Fucking Interested
FSQ – Fucking Stupid Question