Archive for October, 2007

October 13th, 2007

Me First!

Posted in The Job - General by 200

Anyone who has ever worked on a front-line shift will know the feeling at the start of duty when it comes to dishing out the patrol cars. There is a strict hierarchy. Traffic get all the best motors, area car drivers get the next, longer serving officers who aren’t advanced drivers get the next and probationers or newer drivers get what’s left.

There is usually a selection of varying  standards of performers when it comes to patrol cars. A few work all the time, one or two never work at all & there is always one which constantly breaks down and spends most if its life on the back of a truck between Police HQ & the manufacturer with one saying there’s a problem and the other saying they’ve examined it and there’s nothing wrong with it, every few weeks.

So it’s perhaps understandable that there is sometimes a, er, ‘scrabble’ for the keys after read-up. Everyone wants the best car.

I seems an officer at fairwater Police Station in Cardiff took things a little too far.

It’s alleged that an officer attacked a colleague in a police station during a row over who was going to drive the new patrol van. PC Byron Emmerson-Thomas  wanted first go because the vehicle was unusually fitted with a normal car-style stereo (these are usually removed on delivery to HQ). Another PC, Aled Bartlett was allocated the vehicle so PC Emmerson-Thomas went for him, Cardiff Crown Court was told. It’s alleged the officer pushed the other officer spilling tea on him & then punched him. Emmerson-Thomas denies wounding.

Some people just can’t take a joke.

More here 

October 12th, 2007

Planet Police

Posted in Blogging by 200

PlanetPolice.org is a police blog amalgamation. They trawl through various police blogs and reproduce posts with links back to the individual sites.

I had a few posts from my blog on there, some time ago, then for some reason they stopped posting my blog entries there. I was going to make a blog entry about it something along the lines of thinking it was an online advert for PC Bloggs, the Inspector Blog & David Copperfield, so many of their posts appear there and what have I done for them to lose interest in me, when I visited yesterday, it was the same, lots of entries from the big three, a few from one or two others & none from me.

Imagine my surprise, when I came to write the piece tonight and checked PlanetPolice I found no less than 7, count ’em, seven 200weeks’ entries. Not that I object to having my posts reposted elsewhere, far from it, it’s nice to think someone feels they may be worthy of reporting.

In recognition of my recent re-entry into PlanetPolice‘s blogs, I’ve added a link to them on my blog-roll. If you are PlanetPolice, reading this now, thanks very much, it’s great for us less-visited blogs to get some extra exposure, so don’t be a stranger!

 

October 11th, 2007

Blog Speed – Any Difference?

Posted in Blogging by 200

Thanks to the reader who saw some people were having slow load times on this site & suggested a plugin thingy which is supposed to help improve the speed of the page loads.

I’ve added it.

Is there any difference? 

 

October 10th, 2007

Operation Street-Safe

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

Wiltshire Police are doing their part to rid the streets of the UK of dangerous armed criminals.

According to the This is Wiltshire website, eight-year-old Samuel England was roaming the streets with a Kalashnikov AK-47 ((sorry, typing error, it was a toy plastic gun from the local Woolies)) when an unarmed officer confronted the child. Rather than calling in armed support & the helicopter and taking down the boy in an armed arrest, the officer told his father to break the gun in two so it could no longer be used in any further armed incidents in the county.

A spokesman for Wiltshire Police said, "Wiltshire Police are proud of the work we undertake to rid the county of illegal weapons. Anyone tempted to purchase a replica weapon can expect the full force of the law upon their shoulders in very short shrift. Fortunately, in this case, the weapon was found to be a toy. Whilst officers were, on that occasion, able to tell the difference between a Hechler & Koch MP-5 sub-machine gun and a plastic Batman Starshooter Multiwep, we have some way to go on telling the difference between an armed robber and an 8-year-old child." ((Sorry, another typo, Wiltshire Police didn’t say that, I made it up))

Have you seen this dangerous armed criminal? 

 

October 9th, 2007

Diversity PCSO on Patrol

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

In another victory for wonderfullness a police sergeant from London has complained to the Met’s in-house newspaper "The Job" about a PCSO mascot currently used for publicising the role of PCSOs within the capital.

PCSO Steve, is a mascot for the service based on a real PCSO from Sutton in Surrey and features a PCSO costume with a kiddies’ character-type head, radio & namebadge and visits primary schools & public events.

The sergeant said the male, blond and blue-eyed character failed to represent the communities he served, and could leave Asian and women officers "isolated". Speaking about a recent event, he said: "An Asian member of our team agreed to fulfil the role of Steve, getting inside the suit. "However, he was wearing a short-sleeved shirt and, because the character is a white, blond-haired male – who would not have dark-skinned arms – it became apparent the officer would not be able to perform the role. "Female members of the team also felt isolated, due to the gender issue."

He added, "I understand the concept of using a mascot. However, why wasn’t more thought put into the development of the character?"

The Metropolitan Police spokesman said, "We have now rectified the situation and from now on there will be a representative sample of mascots attending all school talks. We have ordered costumes to fit out Gay PCSO, Lesbian PCSO, PCSO Mohammed, PCSO Igbenikwe, Polish PCSO, Disabled PCSO, Transsexual PCSO, Cross-Dressing PCSO, Chinese PCSO, Tinker-Tailor-Soldier-Sailor PCSO, Armed-Robber PCSO and PCSO PCSO. Unfortunately, there will not be any room in the classroom for the children but at least we will be reflecting society better than we do currently.

 

PCSO Steve
Don’t go near this man, he is a racist

October 8th, 2007

A Word to the Wise

Posted in The Job - General by 200

Would all male motorists please take note of the following advice:

If you are ever followed by a police vehicle or you see an officer ahead of you stepping out into the road to stop you, please make sure you have scratched your balls before switching off the engine and stepping out of the vehicle, ‘cos we ain’t gonna do it for you! 

October 7th, 2007

Some People are their own Worst Enemy

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

I can’t believe people are caught out by fraudsters in the Internet. Apparently, ‘net scams are costing the UK £3.5billion a year! 

Mervyn was one such example. He called in saying that his Russian girlfriend was being held hostage at Moscow Airport and unless he paid £3,000 the kidnappers were going to take her out into the woods and shoot her. Could we contact Russian police and get them to mount some kind of rescue. He could provide her photograph, name and details of her family members.

Hmmmm. I noted the name of his girlfriend on the log and Googled it. It wasn’t much surprise when loads of hits came back, many to discussion forums where hapless victims around the world were discussing how they’d been duped by some Katerina Something-skaya from a little village outside St Petersburg.

I gave Mervyn a call to break the good & bad news but first he gave me the history. Mervyn is 56 years old. ‘Katerina’ is 22 but somehow strangely drawn to Mervyn despite never having seen him and contacting him quite out of the blue by email. They’ve known each other for a few months. As the relationship has blossomed Katerina has needed a few quid to help her out as she prepares to leave Russia and fly to Mervyn for a future of wedded bliss.

Mervyn at first forked out a few hundred quid for a rail journey so she could get to St Petersburg to arrange her visa. Of course she had to stay in a hotel which unexpectedly took her over budget so she needed a few hundred quid extra. Blow me, when she got to the Embassy, the visa cost a few more hundred quid which she could scarely afford being a humble teacher of junior school kids. But at last the visa was arranged for a few months’ time.

Katerina is one of life’s unfortunates, and as she returned to her humble village her mother took ill and needed heart treatment. This, as you will appreciate, is very expensive in Russia, and Katerina, being on meagre wages can’t afford it. For just a few thousand pounds Mummy can have her treatment courtesy of one Dr Vladimir Boskovsky who is kind enough to email Mervyn direct from Hospital 4b, Mosow, to explain the treatment required and, helpfully, provide a full rundown of the costs involved.

Mervyn is deeply gratified to know he has been able to save the life of his future wife’s mother and now that all is well prepares to await the forthcoming arrival of his new love. (having paid the railfare to Moscow and the flight ticket).

Poor Katerina, things go from bad to worse when she has the damnedest luck to be kidnapped at the airport. It seems that Mervyn, whose savings amounted to £12,000 just 4 months ago now number £15.46 & he can’t afford the ransome.

The conversation went something like this;

"Mervyn, you probably won’t like this but it’s a scam"

"But, I’ve been emailing her for months"

"She’s not a she, she’s a big Nigerian bloke"

"I have her photograph"

"So do 26,000 other blokes, it’s not Katerina"

"But her mother, I paid her medical bills"

"She’s a big Nigerian bloke too."

"I have emails from the hospital, Dr Boskovsy."

"Not a doctor…."

"…Big Nigerian bloke?"

"Er, yes. Sorry"

"Oh." 

 

 

October 6th, 2007

Bean Counting for Beginners

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

I spend half my time as a controller ringing people up apologising on behalf of the chief constable that nobody has been to see them yet.

On a late shift we usually try and ring people before the night shift come on duty to explain that nobody has been free all day to see them so the night shift have less jobs to deal with and people aren’t in bed when they ring them to tell them what they already know; that we didn’t turn up.

I think the chief constable should ring a few people up & explain why his policies mean there are lots of people every single day who only want to speak to a police officer the same day as they call but can’t. Maybe after the chief had been given ear-bashing after ear-bashing he might want to think about the effect this has on the perception of the public and why so many think they are let down by a crap service.

The trouble is that getting an officer to see someone isn’t a government target so nobody gives a rat’s arse that I have to ring Mrs Miggins sometimes 3 or 4 days running saying sorry we’ve let you down again but we haven’t had time to see you. Ironically, answering their telephone call asking to speak to an officer is a government target.

We have lists and tables which would clear a town-sized area of the Amazon Rain Forest detailing exactly in minute detail how many calls per squillionth of a second we take and how many milliseconds it took to answer them. They have tables on who answered how many calls, how long it took, what their average time to answer was, how many times they pressed the button to send the call to another operator because they were busy or lazy, all with wonderful colour charts saying we answer 97.657788432% of 999 calls within 7.625 seconds and 82.9986219% of all other calls within 19.356 seconds. We’ve employed lots of people to reach these targets. Lots of telephone answerers, we’ve given them minimal training so 76.45% of the calls they take and the jobs they create as a result of the calls they take are shite and need a controller to call the person back to take the correct & actually useful information. And 42.876% ((I made all these figures up as I have no actual knowledge of the specifics, nor am I interested in them)) of all people who ring the police have to wait a day or more before they see  a glimpse of an officer.

So nobody cares how long someone has to wait to see the police. As long as their call is answered within a few seconds they can go and swivel if they actually want a proper service.

 

October 5th, 2007

New Police Video Site

Posted in The Job - General by 200

I just found out about a new website which features police-type videos.

It’s run by the guys at PoliceOne.com – an American Police website – and is called "BluTube"

This is one of the old chestnuts and you probably shouldn’t laugh but if you’ve not seen it check out the DEA Offficer doing a safety talk on guns, note the bit just after where he says "I’m the only one professional enough to handle a gun like this". Classic.

 
 

 
Oh, some of the videos on the site are a bit graphic so be careful which ones you watch!

October 4th, 2007

Smoke & Mirrors

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

The general public, gotta love ’em, eh?

I had an incident recently which occurred off duty. I’m not one to normally get too involved but there are times when you see something you just can’t ignore.

One evening I was coming home from the cinema, walking along a quiet residential street when I happened upon that quaint old English village scene of a group of hoodies trying to chop down a young tree with an axe. There were 4 lads and 2 girls all aged 14-16, the tallest of whom was setting about the base of the tree with youthful vigour.

I shouted at them and walked over enquiring as to the current pursuits of said hoodied band whereupon the 16-year old lad with the carving tool fronted me up exalting something about me attending to matters of a diverse nature including sex & travel.

15 seconds later the youth in question was in a good old fashioned hammer-lock & bar (I don’t think they teach this anymore but always worked for me) and his axe was safely within my own grasp.

Two of Master Hoody’s chums didn’t take too kindly to their pal being detained and approached with some menace in their eyes, this was quickly allayed with a well aimed kick and a reading of their fortune to which they backed off and spouted forth poetry of a rather adult nature, from a respectable distance.

I happened perchance to have left my mobile on charge within my domicile, so, knowing the local shops were but a short walk round the next block I cajoled my erstwhile lumberjack to tarry a while as I dragged him towards the phonebox there but to speak with some like-minded individuals via the fine 999 service.

Enter Joe Soap, or rather enter he not, but that he call 999 from his own phone within the safety of his own walls to report that a middle-aged male with an axe was currently assaulting an innocent youth.

Oh the pleasant sound of sirens was not too long in coming and fortunately for me my explanation of events to attending boys in blue was rather nearer the truth than the ‘witness’, lest I find myself incarcerated within the bare and dank walls of some old English gaol.

It reminds me of a photo I once saw on an exercise for public order training. It was an infamous black & white photograph of a riot in London where a Met officer is kicking out at a protestor, it may have been one lying on the ground, I can’t recall now. I remember it being printed in the papers at the time. We were shown a sequence of photos including those immediately before and after the kick which revealed that the officer wasn’t kicking out but he had been struck by a missile thrown from the crowd and was in the process of falling backwards, as he fell his foot lifted off the floor. The single frame, shown out of context gave the impression the officer was aiming a kick at someone. The wider context showed this not to be the case.

I wonder how many cases have been won and lost because a wtiness wasn’t questioned on whether they saw or revealed the whole event. 

 

October 3rd, 2007

Blog Probs?

Posted in Blogging by 200

A few people have mentioned that this blog is slow to load and the comments system takes even longer which might be a clue as to why I get very few comments.

I’d be really grateful if you could let me know whether the site is slow or slower than usual for you because I really have no problems loading it or replying to comments, it seems fine from my end, but enough people have mentioned it that it must be an issue for some. Is it the same for everyone else? Doe sit really take so long for the comments screen to open that you give up waiting?

Please let me know. In the meantime I;ve contacted the people who provide the blog space to ask for assistance in speeding it up. 

October 2nd, 2007

Home is the Warrior

Posted in The Job - General by 200

I love CCTV.

It’s like watching Police, Camera, Action only it’s live.

Saturday night. It has its usual show of punchups, girls in unfeasibly short skirts and drunks bouncing off walls trying to reach somewhere to sleep.

It started with an elbow to the face, delivered with force by some paunchy bloke in his mid to late 40s. The victim, a younger salad dodger was floored first time. Mr Brave then stands over him playing on his early triumph & rains blows down on the victim’s head as he curls up hedgehog-like.

This is now the cue for all the rest of the bave warriors nearby to join in.

Aaron Shite is there, he usually is. He wouldn’t have the balls to front up a wet lemon on a one-to-one but give him some defenceless lump of lard lying on the pavenment and Shite is well up for it. He looks left & right perhaps checking that Old Bill isn’t making their way and then flips his hoody up over his head & joins the queue to kick the victim.

And now there’s seven or eight of them like flies round shit, kicking & hitting.

Jason Asbo is careful oly to kick the man in the back;there’s less chance of him reaching out, grabbing his leg or foot & fighting back if you attack him from behind, when he’s curled up in a ball, on the ground.

Two nearby bouncers, removed from the safety of their doorway try to step in. They can pull one or two from the swarm but each one dragged off is quickly replaced by another brave soul who kick and lash out & then run off to stand nearby lest someone try to seek retribution on them.

Somehow Fat Bloke is now on his feet. Someone else tried to help him and now he becomes the new victim. He too ends u0p curled on the floor trying to protect his head while anyone who wants a bit of excitement joins the queue to punch him for something nobody knows about, nor cares.

CCTV flickers from one viewpoint to another capturing the same scene from multiple angles, the operator in his comfy office playing the roll of Speilberg. This is how murders happen, This is how lives are ruined. If one of those kicks connects just so, someone’s going home in a box. Nobody cares, there’s fun to be had.

Eventually the fun wears off, they step away. The looks on their faces & the body language tell a story of conquering heroes, triumphant warriors. Mutual back-slapping as they walk off swapping tales of well-aimed kicks and derring-do. So brave.

The girls kneel & crouch round fat Boy in shock & concern, their matriarchal role.

Tonight nobody died.

But I can watch the repeats next week.

 

October 1st, 2007

No problem

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

PC Cross is a rare breed. It’s a pleasure to work on the channel when he’s on duty. He makes your life that little bit easier, that bit more pleasant & less stressful.

When you give a job to PC Cross he just accepts it. He doesn’t argue the toss, he doesn’t ask if anyone else is free, he doesn’t suddenly realise he has got an urgent enquiry which must be completed now & he doesn’t start his reply on the radio with "Oh, sorry, I forgot to tell you I’m….". Ever.

What’s more, he goes & does the job & he does it properly. He works, he works hard. Much harder than most or at least much more pleasantly than most. His most common reply is "No problem".

You have to be careful not to take advantage. When you get a job come in the temptation is go take the line of least resistance & give it to someone who won’t debate the ins & outs of a cat’s arse on the reason we have to attend, to someone who won’t take longer arguing about going than it would take to actually deal with the incident.

I like working with PC Cross. And every so often I email his inspector to let him know too.