Archive for May, 2007

May 31st, 2007

New Medical Discovery

Posted in The Job - General by 200

I recently noticed a little-known medical condition which I have tentatively named ‘policeman’s ankle’. I wonder how prevalent this condition is?

I’m not sure how long I’ve been suffering from this malady as I’m not a great one for paying much attention to the state of my own body. I’d hazzard a guess that it’s possibly years & years.

I recently found that although averagely hirsuit throughout my rather fine male body, the hair on my legs stops abruptly about six inches above my ankles. There is not a hair in sight from that point south until you reach my toes.

I have no meaningful medical knowledge but I believe the root cause is solely to do with the fact that I have, for in excess of 25 years, worn high ankle boots every day for work. They appear to have had a sandpaper effect & rubbed my lower limbs devoid of hair. I mean it’s as smooth as a baby’s bum down there.

I’m not sure if I can go onto a public beach in the summer now that I have noticed. I’ll be constantly glancing down to check if a follicle has sprung root or looking around wondering whether hordes of people are staring at me.

Does this happen to all wearers of higher-than-ankle boots?

I wonder if I can sue…

 

May 31st, 2007

Check it out

Posted in Blogging by 200

I was just checking out my site stats and found that I’ve had about 240,000 hits since I put up the little stats widget thingy thing in May 2006 which tells me stuff about my visitors, like how many there are and how they found the site.

I noticed a couple of folk have come here via a police blog I haven’t seen before. It’s gotta have a top prize for a brilliant name – Police, Camera, Paperwork!

Go and check it out and while you’re there, scroll down to the "A Disclaimer" article and have a look at the Ali G video where he trains with the US Police. I’ve not seen that one before and it had me in tears.

You can find the blog at: Police, Camera, Paperwork

May 30th, 2007

You can’t have your Cake…

Posted in The Job - Satire by 200

As I stocked up with donuts for another set of shifts yesterday I couldn’t help but be drawn to the newspaper section at my local Tesco, whereupon I happened to glance at the Daily Mail headlines on the front page. Apparently, 90,000 speeding cops have been let off speeding tickets.

I have to agree with the general theme of the article, I mean, who do we think we are exceeding the speed limits whilst trying to catch criminals and save lives? It’s a bloody disgrace, talk about one rule for us & another for the rest of them!

The answer is that we must have speed limiters fitted to each & every police vehicle. And now! That way we will never be able to break the limit ever again. After all, allowing someone such as my good self who has done weeks of highly intensive training to bring my driving skills above 99.5% of the rest of the motoring public and thus allowing me to drive safely at speeds in excess of 30mph is complete madness. This is trust gone crazy.

The benefits to society of limiting the maximum speeds of emergency service vehicles would be manifold; massive decrease in fuel bills and carbon footprint (whatever that is but it seems to be mandatory to quote it as often as possible these days), no police vehicle accidents, increase in work opportunities for criminals as more will get away, shrinkage of the prison population which would in turn save the government and hence the taxpayer millions in associated cost savings and no need to waste multi-millions building new prisons. Everyone’s a winner. 

When I retire (which is looking oh so wonderful these days) I may put in for a job on the soon-to-be-announced Government Highways Officers Scheme whose sole purpose will be to walk in front of every police vehicle waving a red flag. 

May 29th, 2007

Listen to this…

Posted in The Job - Satire by 200

My thanks to WhichEndBites who emailed me a copy of the audio file for the police ansaphone message mntioned in my previous post.

You can listen to the pucker audio version by clicking on one of the links below:
 

Ansaphone wma file – 154k

 
Ansaphone mp3 file – 1.11mb

May 15th, 2007

That Voicemail Message in Full

Posted in The Job - Satire by 200

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find an audio version of this ansaphone message so you’ll have to make do with a text version. – If anyone has a link to the audio file, please let me know!

 

Hello, you have reached the Police Department’s Voice Mail. Pay close attention as we have to update the choices often as new and unusual circumstances arrive. Please select one of the following options:

To whine about us not doing anything to solve a problem that you created yourself, press 1.

To inquire as to whether someone has to die before we’ll do something about a problem, press 2.

To report an officer for bad manners, when in reality the officer is trying to keep your neighborhood safe, press 3.

If you would like us to raise your children, press 4.

If you would like us to take control of your life due to your chemical dependency or alcohol, press 5.

If you would like us to instantly restore order to a situation that took years to deteriorate, press 6.

To provide a list of officers you personally know so we will not take enforcement action against you, press 7.

To sue us, or tell us you pay our salary and you’ll have our badge, or to proclaim our career is over, press 8.

To whine about a ticket and/or complain about the many other uses for police rather than keeping your dumb ass in line, press 9.

Please note your call may be monitored to assure proper customer support and remember…..we’re here to save your ass, NOT kiss it!

Thanks for calling your local police department and have a nice day

Priceless, & so apt! 

 

May 14th, 2007

Mixed Messages

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

I was in the newsagents today and I saw one of the headlines which went along the lines of ’9 day’s later the Police still haven’t got a clue who took her’ or words to that effect. I’m referring to the awful situation in Portugal of the missing child, Madeleine.

I was instantly reminded of that spoof American Police Department voicemail message which starts off "Please select one of the following options: To whine about us not doing anything to solve a problem that you created yourself, press 1." *; It’s often easier to blame the police than the real cause of the problem, that being the parents of 3 children under 4 who thought it acceptable to leave the children unattended in a hotel room in a foreign country while went off to share a meal at a nearby restaurant. So they returned every half hour to check on them, as if that makes leaving the kids unattended somehow OK. I’m a parent, a lot can change in two minutes let alone 30, especially with toddlers.

Am I the only one getting fed up with all the hand-wringing in the media about how brave the parents are being and how caring they are? Is it, I wonder, anything to do with their ‘middle class’ social & financial standing that they are not being criticised more for what, had it happened down the street in one of our own towns, have probably have led to an arrest for child neglect? (oh yes, I can quote several jobs where parents have been nicked for leavig their kids unattended) I wonder if a single mother from the local scum estate had left her kids alone while she went up the road for a swift  few halfs of white cider would be subject to quite the same amount of support.

I can’t believe any parent would think it OK to do this, even at home, let alone in a holiday home in a foreign country where you haven’t got the first clue about who might have access to your flat while you’re out. If you’re thinking I’m being harsh just ask yourself this, how much cash would it take for you to not want to leave it unattended in a hotel bedroom? £100, £500, £10,000? And how much is a child worth?

It’s like those people who wouldn’t dream of driving home with a brand new 8 piece crockery set costing £150 loose on the back seat of the car but think nothing of allowing the kids to jump around without a seatbelt.

Isn’t it about time we learned what is really important in life?

 

* I’ll post the full version of this voicemail message later, for those who haven’t come across it.

May 13th, 2007

‘Ear, ‘Ear

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

I won’t let it be said that this once great nation is truly on its knees, not when shining examples such as that demonstrated this week by Sussex Police can still be found.

Showing their determination to be the best amongst the best, Sussex claim a UK record… for giving away tax payers’ cash.

This particular story relates to an incident in 2002 when police dog Bruce & handler PC Pete Tattum were called to a disturbance involving youths with knives & bottles in Brighton.

On their arrival, one youth, then 14, made off, refused to stop at the dog handler’s request & was then caught by police dog Bruce, who managed to bite off part of his ear. There may be some who say that the lad in question should be compensated for losing a small part of his anatomy but I suspect many more who say ‘tough, that’s what happens when you choose to flea from the scene of a crime & ignore requests to stop from a dog handler.

Fast forward to 2007 where the Sussex Police legal services department deliver a wheelbarrow full of cash to the hapless 19-year-old with something less than two full ears. £42,500′s worth of cash, to be precise, in an out-of-court settlement.

Get raped, stabbed or put in a coma & you’re lucky to be awarded 50 pence out the poor box but flea a knife fight & get captured by a police dog & the world’s your oyster, who said Britain doesn’t look after its own?

Police Dog Bruce was put down as a result of the incident after then Assistant Chief Constable Nigel Yeo described the animal as a defective piece of equipment which should be disposed of if it goes wrong.

In a crushing irony Yeo left the job to take up a highly-paid position as a regional director with… the RSPCA!

I think the recipient of all that lovely tax payer’s lolly was lucky just to lose part of his ear. I think the dog should have gone for the bollocks. It may have ended up costing us a bit more but would have reduced the amount of future yobs by a few.

 

May 11th, 2007

You Can Always Trust a Solicitor

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

Solicitors don’t usually have a very high level of respect amongst most police officers. Tales of defence solicitors using every trick in the book to get guilty people off & poor quality prosecution solicitors failing to secure convictions are as old and abundant as the hills (in the Lake District, not Lincolnshire, obviously).

Not one who easily passes up the opportunity to have a pop at a solicitor, I bring you this story which featured in the national press and various websites last week;

Jim Beresford runs a firm of solicitors in the Doncaster area. Just 4 years ago Beresford was a ‘small town lawyer’ working out of an office in Doncaster. Today he has a £1.8million private jet, 2 Aston martins, a Ferrari & several racehorses. Last year he took home nearly £17million & operates from a plush 38,000 sq ft office complex & employs 200 staff.

What happened in the last four years to rocket this man to his current wealth? He hit gold when his company took advantage of a government scheme to compensate miners for ill health suffered as a result of poor working conditions over many years.

Basically, a solicitor acting on behalf of a miner to claim compensation from a fund of £7.5billion set aside by the government, gets paid a set fee of £2000, by the government, for what often amounts to little more than filling in a few forms.

It is alleged by the Daily Mail, among others, that Beresford’s firm also creamed off fees and various ‘expenses’ from the compensation amount over and above their £2000.

It is alleged that many miners were encouraged to take out insurance should their compensation claims fail and the DTI sought to recover legal expenses in defending the claims. In order to fund the insurance, miners were encouraged to take out loans for which Beresford earned commission. The DTI claims that it does not claim costs back from failed claimants so the insurance, and thus the loans were a complete waste of money.

One miner signed with Beresford was hoping to seek compensation to fund a digital hearing aid which costs £2000. Beresford opened an account for the claimant with the Bank of Scotland, they then debited this account with charges for £358 for ‘case investigation’ £171 referral fee when Beresford passed the case on to another firm, £1,522 insurance premium, £120 disbursements, £320 unidentified costs, £672 interest. Then there was a £400 cost of a hearing loss medial arranged by a company called Melox Ltd, 90% of which is owned by Beresford’s wife.

In December 2005 the miner was awarded £3,750 compensation but by this time his costs amounted to £3,591 which left him just £158 to fund his £2000 hearing aid.

Beresford’s firm represented between 58,000 & 90,000 (depending on which report you read), That’s an awful lot of Two grands & other ‘expenses’.
17 miners represented by the company were finally awarded between 1p & 99p, 65 between £1 & £2, 81 between £3 & £4, 68 between £5 & £6.

Beresford is described as the country’s richest solicitor, he & several other solicitors’ firms are currently under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office.

May 6th, 2007

What’s Good for the Goose…

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

I suppose every job has sits own stresses. The Control Room is no different.

Now don’t get me wrong, I know there will be little sympathy for those of us with shiny arses sitting round on the internet all day & ignoring the radio, but I have to speak as I find.

I know there’s stress up here; I keep seeing female comms ops bursting into tears.

You can see it happening as it builds up. usually after a telephone call or radio message you hear a well known term or phrase, usually goes somelike like "wanker!" or "lazy wanker!" You hear the unmistakable sound of phones being slammed into cradles. Snorting through the nose, comments like "I fucking said ‘stand by!" said to no-one in particular. Then comes the sound of swivel chairs being pushed away from desks, headsets being slammed down on desks swiftly followed by the sounds of women running out the door in tears.

You can tell a woman has run out because queues of other women including women supervisors, start to form desperate to follow them out to make sure they’re OK, make them a cup of tea, give them 15 minutes to ‘cool off’. Suddenly hald the desks are bereft of staff and those that aren’t assisting are talking about it.

One of my male colleagues was under some pressure two weeks ago during a high speed pursuit on the motorway involving another force, helicopters, dogs and traffic. The Ops Room Sergeant (female) was butting in to try and talk about an unrelated matter and was given a terse response but the operator who was clearly under a little stress at the time. Two civilian supervisors (female) commented that the male op shouldn’t be allowed to get away with talking to the Sgt like that and he was hauled into the Inspector’s office for a bollocking.

Perhaps he should just have burst into tears instead.

May 5th, 2007

Like a Circle in a Circle

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

Self-harmers can be a real pain in the arse, to the police, obviously, I’ve met a variety of them but I’ve not yet met one who harms themselves in that particular part of their anatomy.

They say it’s a ‘cry for help’. I’m not entirely sure what that means but whatever it is I know that the police are not the ones who can provide it, yet we’re the ones who have to deal with it, again & again.

The ones who do it in public are usually fairly straightforward although some take longer than others; if they’re in a public place you can ‘section’ them under terms of the Mental Health Act, cart them off to hospital & leave the problem for someone else (granted the hospital rarely has a problem as while we’re taking them in the front door some overworked psychy nurse is opening the back door). Mind you, some take hours & hours & we’re often sitting in A & E while the hospital finds a psychiatrist  – who more often than not is more mental than the people we take in to them – willing to get out of bed.

Self-harmers rarely do anything drastic like jump off a multi-storey. When they do they’re not usually called self-harmers, they’re normally known as ‘dead’.

Ones in public are simple, you talk to them for a bit & either just grab them – they don’t usually put up much of a fight – or bore them into going to hospital as a voluntary patient, which is great ‘cos you don’t have to baby-sit them. And they are great for getting commendations when you selflessly drag them from some precipice somewhere.

The real pains are the ones who self-harm at home. Trying to section someone at home is like trying to get the goverment to reduce its target-led statistics, impossible. They can take a whole shift. They usually cut themselves & with the same severity as the injuries I sustain while putting a crown court file together & getting serious paper cuts.

I made the mistake of being sympathetic to one of our regulars once. Her name was Susan & her speciality was chewing razor-blades.Typically her mother would phone saying Susan had locked herself in the bathroom & was threatening suicide, again. If mum was really pissed off she’d just ignore it & then Susan would ring in herself, saying she’d locked herself in the bathroom and was threatening suicide.

We’d go, spend an hour or more persuading her to take the blades out of her mouth and watching her baring her teeth to show the slivers of the blade and the red of her dribbling blood. An ambo would take her away and she’d be home within two hours ready for the next shift. I never found out what it was Susan wanted or why she felt the need for this particular form of attention. As I said, I was sympathetic, the whole shift were on first name temrs with her. I think I mustn’t have told her to grow up & fuck off once and she cottoned on to me. She’d ring to find out when I was on duty and wait until then before performing.

Her method was quite effective to officers who’d never met her. She’d cut the insides of her cheeks & let the blood dribble down her face onto her clothes and onto the floor, sometimes she’d wipe it or spit it up the walls for extra effect. She used to write poems for me and give them to officers who attended to give to me, or put them in the post to the nick. Some of them were quite good. She illustrated them with quite arty doodles.

I never found out the root cause of Susan’s problems, I wasn’t that interested to be honest.

I first knew Susan 15 or more years ago. I checked up on her recently. She’s stopped using razor-blades. Life has moved on.

She uses prescription drugs now.

 

May 1st, 2007

Common Sense – on the other side of the Pond

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

In a case dated 30th April 2007 the United States Supreme Court has reversed a decision by the Appeal Court which judged a police officer guilty of excessive force when he terminated a police pursuit by nudging a fleeing car off the road. The car crashed, overturned and rendered the driver a quadraplegic. The Driver, Harris, won his case against the Georgia county deputy.

In the decision, which will be seen by many law enforcement supporters worldwide as sensible & just, the Supreme Court judged that the owness of the consequences to fleeing the police must be placed sqaurely on the person fleeing and not on the police. It further stated that by simply ending the chase by calling the officers off would not necessarily end the danger and that the police had every right and duty to bring the pursuit to an end by using tactics which may place the fleeing driver in danger himself. It has enshrined in case law the right of the police not to call off a pursuit simple because the driver of the fleeing vehicle drives too dangerously citing the right of other users of the road to safety regardless of whether the vehicle is being followed by police or not, with the assertion that just because the police may stop pursuing it does not follow that the fleeing driver will drive more sensibly.

The above case is surely a victory for law enforcement and acknowledges what I have believed that it is the toerag who flees who should be held responsible for the consequences of a pursuit and not the people who are trying to bring it to an end.

I doubt we will see such a case in the UK, however.

You can read the 28 page pdf file on the court’s ruling here: Scott -v- Harris

You can download the police in-car footage from the perspective of two police cars here: Police Video it’s a 15min long, 95mb realplayer file