Archive for November, 2006

November 22nd, 2006

Bothered by Nuisance Callers?

Posted in Not the Job by 200

If you’re bothered by those shysters selling stuff who seem to get your number despite you being ex-directory and removing your details from those online people-register type sites, give this a go. Even if you’re not bothered by them, take a listen anyway. It’s hilarious.

How to Prank a Telemarketer

Kind of police-related…

November 17th, 2006

Another Brain of Britain

Posted in The Job - General by 200

In our force, we decided quite a few years ago, not to attend Road Traffic Accidents/Collisions* if nobody was injured and the road wasn’t blocked. The thinking went that in the vast majority of cases, nobody could prove beyond reasonable doubt any fault/cause of the accident, few people were getting prosecuted & we were basically doing the insurance company’s work free-of-charge.

We quite often get motorists ringing the Old Bill, only to be told over the phone that we’re not really that interested, get your insurance company to sort it out. People do get upset – sometimes understandibly – that we won’t come out, measure the road, fill in a report & agree that the other driver was driving like a tool and should be dragged to the nearest magistrates court. Occasionally, if a caller in such a situation shouts loud enough, the control room sends a unit anyway, despite it being against force policy to attend.

So I had to laugh this week when we dealt with a damage-only RTC (RTA)* to find that we were only being sent on the insistence of one of the parties who had his front wing damaged by another motorist. No, we aren’t recording it and no we’re not going to apportion any blame, and make sure you exchange details, oh and you do have a full licence, don’t you…you don’t, oh dear, provisional only…hmmm, is that the Norwich Union?, we’ve got Mr Arse here, did he say he had a full driving licence when he sorted out his insurance cover with you?, what, he did? Oh dear… hmm sounds like a deception here… taxi for one to the cells, sir?

Some people haven’t got the brains they were born with.

* – Road Traffic Collision (RTC) used to be known as a Road Traffic Accident (RTA) but we can’t say ‘accident’ anymopre because ‘accidents’ don’t just happen; someone is always at fault, therefore it’s not an ‘accident’, apparently.

November 11th, 2006

Some of us remember

Posted in Not the Job by 200

We paid our respects at work today with the two minutes silence at 11am. Those who were able to observed the silence and refrained from and radio calls and any other unnecessary activity.

 

 

All the scum-sucking little shits who didn’t in the town centres and on the estates should be made to watch this video, and watch it again and again until it finally sinks in, wasters.

 

 

 

November 10th, 2006

Er, No Thanks

Posted in The Job - General by 200

The Home Office is currently sending out many thousands of pounds worth of gloddy publications to officers all over the country the majority of which will go straight in the bin (again).

This time it’s information about the New Police Pension Scheme.

The Government changed the Police Pension in April this year. The nuts and bolts of it are basically that they have reduced contributions a little, reduced the pension entitlements and added an extra 5 years’ service before you can retire on a full pension.

For many many years police officers have been entitled to a full pension on completion of 30 years’ service. This is widely acknowledged as a decent pension and one I will be taking full advantage in something under 200 weeks time.

The glossy brochures amount to a lovely 32-page booklet called ‘Understanding your choice’ which gives you all the information about the two schemes, and an 8-page brochure called ‘Making your choice’ both of which will help us decide whether to stay on the old scheme, or move over to the new scheme.

I have to admit, I haven’t got a clue what they say as I’ve not bothered to read them. I can cut the crap by looking at the attached printouts of my entitlements under the current scheme and if I move onto the new scheme. They can be summarised as follows:

Current pension

  • Retire in under 200 weeks
  • Tax Free lump sum of £82,000
  • Pension on £16,500

New Pension

  • Work an extra 5 years so retire in under 450 weeks
  • Tax Free lump sum of £65,300
  • pension of Pension on £16,500

So that’s work an extra 5 years and get 17 grand less, guess which box I ticked?

If you switch pension schemes, everyone’s a winner, except all those who aren’t the Government.

November 5th, 2006

A Day in the Life

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

Just for a change I thought I’d show you a list of typical jobs we deal with. The following is a precis of all the jobs created durting one of our late turn shifts recently.

  1. Suspicious male hanging around some flats – Area Searched No trace (ASNT)

  2. Dispute between neighbours – crimed criminal damage (arrest to follow)

  3. eBay deal gone wrong – advised civil matter (sue them if eBay doesn’t help)

  4. Nuisance motorcycles – ASNT

  5. Nuisance motorcycles (different area) – ASNT

  6. Neighbour throwing items into neighbour’s garden – both parties advised to grow up

  7. Mini motos made off from police – ASNT

  8. Witness summons for Crown Court – person advised to go to court on the due date

  9. Nuisance motorbikes – ASNT

  10. Male told passer-by they’d been beaten up, blood on face – no trace of this person

  11. Nuisance motorcycles – ASNT

  12. Domestic – no domestic, couple just being loud

  13. Found toolbox, inft thought may be from burglary – property collected

  14. Text messages from ex-boyfriend wanting to be accepted back – Fixed Penalty issued for misuse of communications

  15. Damage to fence – youths mde off, not traced

  16. Suspicious male taking photos of a building – ASNT

  17. Nuisance kids abusing garage staff – left prior to police arrival

  18. Assault – victim refused to assist police or provide details, not crimed

  19. Nuisance motorbikes – ASNT

  20. Fight between males – ASNT

  21. RTC (Road Traffic Collision) – serious injury report taken

  22. Office burglary – crimed

  23. Parking dispute – advised someone to move their car

  24. 12-year-old missing person failed to come home after school – came home 2 hours later before we arrived

  25. Arrest enquiry for previous assault – not home

  26. Mugging, knife used, cash stolen – crimed, no trace of offender

  27. Leak causing flooding to flat below – forced entry, water turned off

  28. Security guard at shop assaulted – 1 arrested for ABH

  29. Arrest enquiry for previous domestic assault – male arrested

  30. Complaint about historical rape 20 years previously – passed to force where it occurred

  31. Broken Down vehicle – assisted traffic control while HGV repaired

  32. Fight – 2 arrested

  33. Theft from vehicle – ASNT for offenders

  34. Broken Down Vehicle – moved prior to our arrival

  35. Customer refusing to leave takeaway – customer advised to leave takeaway & then did

  36. RTC – damage only, no report taken

  37. Neighbours smoking drugs – intelligence submitted, no further action

  38. Concern for Welfare, female with special needs – female conveyed home

  39. Request for backup to Ambulance – backup provided, no incidents

  40. Damage to garages – no damage found (spooky how often no damage is found on these jobs!)

  41. Negative breath test

  42. Son causing problems at home – parties calmed down no further action

The above is a simple outline of what one shift did last week. Some of the jobs lasted merely a few minites, some lasted an hour or more. All the jobs were done by one shift which included 1 double-crewed car and 4 single crewed cars plus a few PCSOs and covered two reasonably sized towns. A double crewed car with Specials assisted for the last 4 hours of the shift. Although I said it was typical, it does vary from day to day, sometimes there is more disorder, sometimes more complaints about motorcycles, sometimes more arrests than this day.

November 4th, 2006

Quick, Quick, Slow

Posted in Not the Job by 200

Speed Cameras. There’s a subject which is always good for a laugh.

I guess you are either a ‘money-making con’ or ‘essential road safety tool’ person. I don’t really agree with the current road safety "Speed Kills" type of policy & think the whole thing could do with a radical makeover.

Speed cameras have few fans among the motoring public. If you can’t get the driver onside it is very difficult to change attitudes with rigid enforcement alone. That’s why drugs enforcement doesn’t work. Mind you, I’ll tell you what does appear to work & that’s average speed cameras.

With normal speed cameras, they just measure your speed at a specific, and very short location. People race along the road until they approach a speed camera. They wang on the brakes just before the camera, tootle through at the correct speed whistling hymns & then slam the accelerator pedal screeching as their arse-end tries to catch up with the front of the car & knocking little old grannies flying in their path just 30 yards after the cameras. With average speed cameras you have to drive at about the speed limit for the entire distance between the cameras.

I was in Scotland for a holiday earlier in the year & they had them on the main dual carriageway in & out of the town. Almost without exception,  everyone slowed down to 40mph through the length of the road covered by the cameras. The only ones who didn’t slow down could be seen half a mile further up the road travelling at 20mph whilst desperately trying to work out how long they had to travel under the limit to bring their overall average back into line with the speed limit.

The Highways Authority just needs to put average speed cameras everywhere and the problems with speeding are solved.

Except that it seems cracks are appearing in the way average speed cameras are set up & used. The Daily Mail reports a fiendish & very clever way to avoid getting done for speeding through average speed camera sections of road. Apparently, according to the mail,  you won’t get caught if you…. wait for it…. drum roll….er, change lanes.

I have no idea whether there is any truth in the story at all. I won’t be putting it to the test to see if I get a ticket either. Suffice to say that if the mnaufacturers of the system have specific guidelines for the use of these cameras, it wouldn’t surprise me to find out the cmera safety partnerships have ignored them. 

November 3rd, 2006

Blog Updates

Posted in Blogging by 200

Having mentioned in previous posts about Police Blogs closing down or being forced to close down, it’s now getting like London buses. In my usual trawl of the blogs I’ve come across  a few new ones and also a couple which are older but which I hadn’t heard of before. Here is a list of ones reasonably new to me:

Unfortunately, design-wise, all the above are hosted with Blogspot.com. The last one on the list is a WordPress blog so looks a little different from all the bog-standard looking blogs above.

Does anyone know what the score is with Blues & Twos? I submitted a comment asking whether the blog was independent or part of Police Oracle (a commercial business police oriented website) and they declined to publish the comment or reply to me. Just wondered….

November 3rd, 2006

PCSOs are Human too

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

There has been a lot of discussion in the police blogs recently on the role of PCSOs. I guess this is due to a recent TV series on PCSOs Beat: Life on the Street. I haven’t seen the programme so I can’t comment on its content but I want to make a few points about PCSOs in general, particularly in light of some of the appalling comments made by some police officers in the blogs.

DisgruntledCop slags them off as a complete & utter waste of money, calling them “Dayglo lumps”, but confesses to not knowing what they do. At the time of writing there were 32 comments (hint, hint, see my earlier posts on commenting here), many of which serve merely to slag off PCSOs. One anonymous cop says “don’t get me wrong. I have several friends who are PCSOs, and they do a great job. After all, I didn’t spend 31 weeks at training school up north and then a further 18 months learning to the best police officer I can be just so I can deal with civil disputes and other non crime related dross that the call handlers send us to.” And, “Get used to the notion that some police officers will never trust you or want you at their station. The idea was not welcomed by the majority of proper front line police officers. Get used to the idea that you are not good enough to get into the police force as a proper police officer, even if you have never tried to get into the police force.”

Another says, “I don’t know many PCSOs who want to stay a PCSO, they are all wannabe PCs.

Another complains about name-calling, slags off someone for their spelling & grammatical errors and proceeds to make 11 grammatical & spelling errors in 5 short paragraphs.

PC Plod, talking to a PCSO says, “have you given any thought as to your prospects of advancement, or are you happy with being a PCSO for the rest of your working life?”, er, that’ll be like me and the thousands of other PCs who have wanted to remain as PCs for 30 years then will it, I’d say that was highly commendable, perhaps PC Plod was saying the same, but I doubt it.

What these comments, and the hundreds of others in the police forums, actually do is spread false propaganda about the role of PCSOs and many of them are factually incorrect. I may be in somewhat of a minority, but I wish to attempt to adjust the balance.

One of the blogs complains about the wages of a PCSO, saying that they get more than starting PCs. PCSOs get paid between £13,000 per year and £24,000 depending on which force they work for. Hertfordshire pays the most & Lincolnshire pays the least as salaries were set by individual forces. The higher-paying forces, in hindsight, have realised that they are paying too much and have frozen the salaries so current PCSOs on the top whack will get no pay rise for several years until the salary falls into line with the amended value of the role (which will be somewhat less than current top pay)

PCs start on about £20,000 rising to £22,700 after training. (Met officers get about 6 grand more). There is only one force which starts their PCSOs on a salary greater than a newbie PC; Herts. There are only 3 forces whose maximum PCSO salary is greater than a newbie PC; Kent, Suffolk & the Met (who also have extra allowances for their PCSOs). So the assertion that PCSOs get paid more than new PCs, whilst it is correct in a small minority of cases, is actually very misleading. Also, PCs have a salary structure which increases every year up to £32,000. PCSOs don’t have such a  structure, indeed, some forces will not be giving their PCSOs a rise for years.

Many people say things like, ‘for every 3 PCSOs we could have 2 PCs’. They base this on the fact that a PC costs a few grand a year more than a PCSO. This is also misleading and does not take into account that many of their PCs are paid in excess of £35,000 year, they have an excellent pension which can be paid at 2/3 their salary for longer than they were actually a PC, and it costs many many more times to train a PC and maintain career training than it does for a PCSO.

Many police officers fail to understand the role of the PCSO. Criticisms about not being sworn officers, unable to investigate crimes, where are they all on a Friday & Saturday night when it’s all kicking off, if they find a crime they have to call the police, etc etc etc.

PC Southwest said on one of the blogs that they have, “no crimes to carry & investigate, no heavy workload, if there is a crime they can call a PC, no serious confrontation, no night shifts or working past midnight, not accountable for the amount of force used, no having to respond to code one calls, no stress.”

Well no shit Sherlock. That’s like slagging off a nurse because they don’t have to go out in an ambulance on a Saturday night; they are different jobs!

The role of a PCSO includes:

  • Providing a visible & reassuring presence in the community
  • Attending disorder, nuisance & anti-social behaviour
  • Dealing with community issues
  • Gathering evidence through observation
  • Helping with missing person enquiries
  • Assisting with house to house enquiries
  • Crowd control
  • Directing traffic at accidents and roadblocks

Exactly the kind of stuff which many of the cops who slag them off moan like fuck when they get tasked to do it. Our PCSOs do a whole lot more. They often offer up to do jobs which they’re not really supposed to do but we let them anyway, they back up officers, take crime reports, assist with prisoners, all sorts.  

    There was a joke in one of the daily papers last week which showed a big bastard burglar coming out of a doorway carrying a crowbar & a PCSO who says “Can you wait until I get a proper copper”. It gives a completely false impression of the role of a PCSO. Something like a PC opening the same door, water pours out onto the street & the copper gets slagged off for saying “Can you wait until I get a proper plumber”. Maybe the joke should have showed nobody at the door & the burglar walking off into the sunset with his bag of goodies because that is the alternative to not having the PCSO there. At least they can call an officer.

    I’m a tax-payer as well as a police officer and I pay rather a lot. Do you think I’d get more value for money paying someone 35 grand a year to stand outside my kids’ school asking people not to park on the zig-zags when someone will do it for 15 or 17 grand? There are many other roles which exactly the same applies. PCSOs free up police resources to attend to many more ‘serious’ matters (and we can’t even do that properly).

    If PCSOs aren’t carrying out the roles they are recruited for, that is the fault of those who manage them. In my experience they have been a valuable addition to the ‘policing community’ and provide resources for stuff which would otherwise be left ignored.

    Yes, we might be able to do a bit more with more officers, we could have one on every street if we had enough, but it ain’t gonna happen.

    We have, what is it, 141,000 police officers. Numbers increase year on year and mostly have done and will continue to do so. As police (mis)management takes officers away from their core responsibilities a huge gap is being left in the market and PCSOs are filling this gap.

    Maybe if managers sorted out internal problems with their ‘human resource management’ and got back to proper policing, we could have more officers tasked to ‘proper policing’ instead of being in ‘not my remit’ roles. Then we could have the best of both worlds.

    If you’re gonna slag off PCSOs, and there are things which aren’t right about the system, you might at least attempt to find out what they are supposed to do.
     

    November 2nd, 2006

    You were Lucky…

    Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

    Recently there has been talk in the forums about the possible reclassification of Taser so that ordinary cops can carry them. Currently only authorised firearms officers can be armed with taser but popular opinion would have you believe that everyone wants it.

    When I’m performing my ‘boring old fart’ routine I like to remind my younger colleagues – those who weren’t even born when I started the job – that they should be lucky they’ve got batons, cuffs, spray & protective vests.

    Back in the day the only things I had to protect myself was a razor-like tongue & a twelve inch piece of ornamental rosewood in the form of a truncheon.

    We didn’t even have handcuffs. Or rather we did but not individual issue; there was a set in the glovebox but if we were out on foot we had to book out a set of cuffs at the start of the shift and hand them back in at the end.

    One of the lads on the shift saw them on sale at the local market so he purchased 10 sets for three quid a set & our shift was the first shift in the division with personal handcuffs.

    I used my truncheon only once in all the years I carried it. It was my first year of service. I picked up a stolen vehicle whilst on patrol & it failed to stop. We had a shortish pursuit & the driver ended up decamping into a local housing estate. I gave chase though I didn’t have a clue where I was.

    The guy who nicked the car was a tall skinhead. I’m over six feet tall and he was taller than me & built like a brick outhouse. As I chased on foot, having abandoned my patrol car in the middle of the road,  I gave no thought as to exactly what I was going to do when I caught him.

    Catch him I did & he wasn’t happy about it. We ended up rolling around on the ground.

    At one stage I thought it might be a good idea if I take out my truncheon & utilise a bit of self defence. Mistake. It just made him angrier

    A local resident put her head out the window to complain about the noise & I managed to persuade her that I was an officer of the law in need of some urgent help & could she ring the local nick.

    One of the best sights I ever saw was my mate appearing round the corner running full tilt to my rescue. After an ‘old style’ arrest, I finally got my man.

    The only time I ever used a truncheon after that was to smash windows. Officers today, with all the equipment & health & safety measures don’t know they’re born. 

     

    November 1st, 2006

    Now that’s Value!

    Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

    The Daily Mail reported this week that the Met have spent £450 million in the last three years on “Equality & Diversity”.

    This includes all the training every employee has been made to attend. It won’t cover the national bill for diversity training which will obviously run into many millions more. I’ve mentioned previously how, in the last few years, I have had more diversity training than law training. In one set of training I had to take a small exam at the end to prove I knew the legislation which covers the people who build police stations and their rerquirement to include disabled facilities such as ramps and lifts. This has come in very useful to me as I go from job to job telling people they shouldn’t call each other rude names, which makes up a significant proportion of my job these days.

    Much of this several hundred million of tax-payers cash will have been totally wasted in provision of training seen by a large proportion of those who undertake it as demeaning, irrelavent & condescending, consequently officers failed to take in anything which might actually have been important (if there was anything). We have several thousand employees in our force, all of whom had to attend the same 2-day course (supervisors had a 3-day course), much of which was spent by drawing Blue Peter-type posters outlining what ‘diversity’ means for us. If I wasn’t getting paid £15 an hour to do it, I’d have laughed. Actually, I think I laughed anyway.

    The joke of the whole article was that despite the masses of money spent on diversity & equality; the number of complaints of a racial discrimination nature made against officers by other officers & the public rose by 24per cent.

     I expect the Met’s Social Engineering Directorate will all be sitting round congratulating themselves over money well spent.

     

    November 1st, 2006

    We’re all By-passers

    Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

    With regards to my earlier comments on people not wanting to get involved, you know, it’s not just in situations which some perceive it may be ‘risky’. People won’t get involved when there is little chance of any problems occuring.

    I was in the CCTV control centre recently. Using the excuse of picking up some more CCTV footage for other cases going nowhere, I stopped for a cuppa.

    Whilst putting society to rights the CCTV operator picked up a guy lying flat out on his back across the whole width of the footpath in the town centre.

    I passed it through to our control via my radio & they arranged an ambulance. We watched on the screens for 7 or 8 minutes until the ambo arrived. In all that time not one single person stopped to see if the guy was OK or even still alive. They walked round him, some ignoring him totally, others staring as they passed. Some even stopped further up the road & watched him. Eventually paramedics roused him, he was worse the wear for drink but was taken in for a checkup none-the-less. He could have been dying, nobody cared enough to see.

    Then the CCTV operator was called by police control reporting a missing 3 year old kiddie in the town centre who had wandered off from mum in a busy department store.

    Within a couple of minutes CCTV picked up the child crawling across the footpath about 50 yards down from the shop in which his frantic mother was being calmed by store security staff.

    Police control, who were also watching the CCTV directed an officer to go straight to the kid, which was just as well because not one person stopped. It was fairly obvious the child was on their own as it wandered along the path, sometimes walking, sometimes crawling & chasing the pigeons. Yet nobody went to the child to see where its mother or father was. As far as I could tell nobody even called in to report a 3yr old wandering through the town.

    It just goes against the grain of everything I have devoted my entire adult life as a police officer towards. I can’t believe so many people decline to offer help where help is so obviously required.

    I guess people just like to think about number one & put stuff like this in the ‘not my problem’ category. They say what goes around comes around. I think there may be quite a few people who will need assistance in the future and all they’ll get is blank looks and passers-by.