February 29th, 2008
Blimey, I didn’t think I’d need to have a rant so soon after the last one.
Turned up for work earlier this week & my co-radio operator had gone sick. Oh what fun I had, single-crewed for the whole bloody shift, and it was busier than the day subject of my recent rant. Not only was there the usual array of shite jobs coming in & going out throughout the day, there were a couple of special operations which needed a fair bit of input by me both on the radio & updating the computer. I couldn’t get round to update many more logs than the time when I got the complaint from the office-wallah, so am expecting emails to be hammered out by the time next week comes around complaining about my appalling inattention to important detail.
One helpful sole heard how busy I was on the radio so rang me to update a job with the opening word "Yeah I can hear you’re busy on the radio so I thought I’d ring", der, who the bloody hell are you expecting to answer the phone? I can only be busy on the radio or telephone individually as I don’t have 2 mouths.
And if I ask for the result of a job from you, but get interrupted before I get the chance to update the job on the computer and then get round to doing it 40 minutes later but have to ask you for the result again, it’s not really that helpful to reply with the phrase "I gave you the result half an hour ago" so that I have to ask for it a third time. After all, I didn’t point out to you that I just gave you the number of the house you went to on that job we’re talking about a mere TWO minutes ago AND AGAIN when you got in the bloody street because the pair of you have the bloody memory of a goldfish, at least it took me 40 minutes to forget a whole paragraph on my own; it took 2 of you 90 seconds to forget a two-figure number. TWICE.
And don’t talk to me about Inspectors. If I’m passing you a message about a job in another area, there really isn’t much point in asking me the ins & outs of a cat’s arse about the job; I’ve only been asked to pass a message for you to be aware of it. If you want to know what colour underpants the informant was wearing when they rang in, ask the radio operator for the town where the job is or read the bloody log, you’re sitting on your arse in front of the bloody computer. I’ve got my own bloody workload to deal with without reading 32 pages of a log I have neither interest in or knowledge of.
So there I was for the whole bloody day single-crewed. AGAIN. Because the new department which is supposed to maintain a balance of staff available at all times in the control room couldn’t run a piss up in a brewery & someone seems to think it’s cheaper to have less staff but then have people working overtime every single bloody day at overtime rates.
There are times when I can’t wait for those 200 weeks to finally slip away.
February 28th, 2008
All the current talk of freeing up officers from red tape & bureaucracy is nothing new. We had similar calls under the Conservative government, the Labour party has been saying it off & on for 11 years.
Despite the soundbites, bureaucracy & red tape has just increased. The current government’s obsession with target-setting can only ever increase bureaucracy since you can’t measure target achievement without being able to document it.
What is worryingly different about the current calls for reduction in red tape is evinced by Sir Ronnie Flannaghan’s recent investigation & report into policing, where he says the current level of police officers is "unsustainable". What this means is that under the smokescreen of freeing up officers for "frontline" work, what they in fact mean is a reduction in the total amount of police officers.
I guarantee no politician will actually say this, they will continue with the soundbites about record numbers of police officers & reducing crap so they can do their jobs.
February 27th, 2008
The scourge of Facebook has struck again, according to the BBC News.
Hot on the tail of the officer from Northamptonshire & the Met crash glorifiers comes the following story:
It seems a BTP Inspector who was after a promotion on transfer to Bedfordshire Police has been denied a place because his prospective new force wasn’t too happy with his Facebook entry. Insp Chris Dreyfus, British Transport Police’s head of royalty and government protection, was offered the job with Bedfordshire Police. Their checks revealed that Insp Dreyfus had been cautioned by his force over content on his Facebook entry which allegedly "included graphic details about his gay lifestyle and photographs showing him posing in his uniform at a London tube station."
Oh dear, what, police officers posting personal information on the ‘net & getting into trouble? they’ll be blogging next.
February 26th, 2008
I was reminded of a few jobs I’ve been to when I saw the tackle on Arsenal’s Eduardo this weekend. Fortunately, the footballer has access to the best & fastest medical treatment so won;t have been waiting round for too long before vital first aid treatment.
It’s amazing how time seems to go so slowly when you are waiting for such treatment. I was first on the scene at a motorcyclist whose leg was so badly broken the bottom half including the foot was pointing towards his face while his knee was pointing in the right direction.
We were miles from anywhere and, according to the log the ambulance took about 16 minutes to reach us. I’d have sworn in front of a judge that it took well over half an hour. I guess it’s the sense of helplessness which makes time stretch. There must be a similar correlation between moments of pain & moments of pleasure; there have been many occasions when I’d have sworn something took maybe 45 minutes to an hour, when my wife has assured me it really only took two minutes. I don’t know if that’s general or just me though.
It’s bad enough when you are on scene waiting for an ambo, wondering why it’s taking so long, not entirely sure if you’re doing the right thing – first-aid-wise, & praying someone in green will run up & take over ASAP. I can assure you we in the control room feel the same way, we want the ambo there NOW, just like the officers on scene. And we can’t make it arrive any quicker. There’s only so many times you can say, "it’s on it’s way" or "it’ll be there soon".
Usually it is there pretty quickly, even if the 5 or 6 minutes it takes seems like half an hour.
February 25th, 2008
I really believe some officers don’t have a bloody clue what goes on in the control room. They have no idea of the work that goes on in the background. I’m sure they think if we are not transmitting on the radio then we’re sitting round on our big fat arses all day reading the Sun & playing penguin games on the internet.
This is especially true when you are having a particularly busy shift & are on your own.
For instance, they’ll call up for a PNC check (a check on the Police National Computer for vehicle/keeper details or a check to see if someone is wanted or known to police). This can take from a minute to 4 or 5 depending on how complicated the result is.
Someone else will call for a check, so you tell them you’re just doing one & can they stand by. Then a job comes in which you have to read, understand, research the history of & then give it out to another unit. Then the first unit calls up asking if you’ve got the result of their PNC check & you have to stop what you’re doing to answer them to tell them that you would have had the result by now but you keep having to stop to answer the radio to tell people you’re in the middle of a PNC check.
Then someone else calls to ask for the result of the telephone enquiry they asked you to do before the first unit wanted their PNC check & you wonder if anyone is actually listening to the same radio channel you’ve been talking on constantly for the last 5 minutes , before being interrupted by the one you’ve just assigned to that job because they’ve forgotten the street number of the address they’re going to (and sometimes the street name) despite the fact that you gave it out clearly when you assigned them at the start of the transmission & again at the end & they’ve got an officer to drive & one who can write the bloody address down but never does, so you remind them of the address just before the second unit wanting the PNC check calls to ask if you’re ready for their check & you tell them that you’ve only just completed the first check & wonder if they’re listening to the same radio channel & can’t they work out that it’s unlikely that you’re going to be ready for their check yet, and the unit going to the immediate assignment now realises they don’t actually know where the street is & can they have some directions please, so you have to stop what you’re doing on the PNC check front & switch the computer over to the mapping software to give the officers directions because you’ve never worked that town either & have no idea where is where, and while you’re doing this someone else is updating another older job on the computer which flashes across a message which you have to pick up because it might be important but it;s not, it’s just Mrs Miggins ringing again asking when an officer will be round to speak to Kayley because Jody called her a fat bitch again, so you dismiss that job and start your second PNC check, at last, but an immediate job comes in so you have to abandon that, pick up the job on the computer, read it, find a unit to go, so you search on the computer to see who might be free but nobody is so you have to shout across to another radio channel to see if they have someone who can assist, so while they’re doing that you finish your PNC check but before you can give it out the unit is about to arrive at their job & want to know if there’s any descriptions despite being told when you gave them the job that there were no descriptions, and you’ve cancelled the second PNC check by inadvertently pressing the wrong button on the keyboard while swapping between the four different computer applications you’ve used in the last 2 minutes, so you have to do it again but the phone rings because the sergeant wants an update on the job which nobody has arrived at yet but there is no update because updates come after the unit has arrived & come over the same radio system that the sergeant is listening to so if there had been an update he’d have heard it & you can’t ask for an update because the unit isn’t there yet to update you, so if there’d been no update on the radio the chances are that there isn’t an update, and this goes on just like this for the next 3 hours because it’s pretty busy & because the place is like the bloody Marie Celeste there’s nobody to help you and the supervisors are just interested in whether you’ve ticked all the boxes when you close a log. And you manage the second PNC check but the immediate job which is still unassigned flashes up because the other radio channel didn’t have anyone free either so you give out the result of the PNC check to the second unit & tell them to abandon their stop check because Craig & Sharon are still standing in the street shouting at each other for the second time that shift.
And then you get an email three weeks later from someone sitting on their fat arse reading the Sun & playing penguin games on the internet who wants to know why you failed to type a line of text on one of the 60 logs you’ve dealt with 3 weeks ago.
February 24th, 2008
As it’s been a little while since I did a lazy, two-minute post, here’s another vid for your edification.
I just hope they don’t have the equivalent of the IPCC in Georgia, USA!
February 23rd, 2008
As news of a another teenage suicide in Wales broke, the government has announced it is time for a new law.
The amount of teenage suicides in one county is now well into double figures, eclipsing the average 2-3 in the past few years,. The majority have hanged themselves.
I fully expect that a committee in Westminster has been convened to ‘do something’. It’s probably called the Do Something Committee & is made up of government ministers who don’t know their arse from their elbow (that’ll be most of them, then) who understand that the only way to tackle anything is to bring in a new law. These new laws do absolutely nothing to solve anything, usually limit the once enjoyed freedoms of the majority of law-abiding folk, but they don’t half look good in the pages of Hansard & on government propaganda.
I expect the new law to tackle the growing problem of teenage suicide will be something along the lines of "The Sale of Rope & Related Items Act 2008". This will make it an offence for any person to sell, buy, possess or otherwise come into contact with rope. This will have an immediate effect that teenagers will no longer be able to hang themselves & will show that the government is prepared to to take serious action to deal with serious problems. Ropemakers will, unfortunately, have to look for another job & anyone who uses rope will need to source alternative materials.
The sale of string will be licensed and nobody under the age of 40 & over the age of 55 will be able to buy string. It will also be an offence to purchase string on behalf of another, which will stop teenagers ‘hanging’ around outside office supplies shops badgering adults to get them "a couple of meters of white" illicitly.
The sale of cotton will be limited in the same way as the sale of headache tablets. You will not be able to buy more than two reels of cotton at a time in case you are tempted to weave the cotton into a length of string and then turn lengths of string into small rope capable of supporting the weight of the average teenager (18 & a half stone).
This new law will, of course, solve nothing, but it will show we have a government prepared to act.
February 22nd, 2008
Not low enough of you’re a thieving scumbag.
Metal theft has been with us for years. It used to be the old joke of nicking lead off the church roof, but is a real & concerning crime for many victims.
This particular type of offence has long been associated with some members of the ‘travelling’ fraternity who see it as their divine right to not do any work but just steal whatever the hell they want. Metal gets stolen from all sorts of places; building sites, church roofs, schools. The theft of cable is on the increase and we have seen a rise in the risks taken by some criminals to steal cable, they’ve even been known to nick it from electricty sub-stations & pylons.
Have you ever driven down a road & noticed a missing drain or manhole cover? Have you ever driven down an road & noticed all the drains or manhole covers missing? Pound to a pinch they’ve been stolen. Noticed any missing metal railings? Probably pinched. There is clearly absolutely no concern for the safety of others & I’m surprised someone hasn’t been killed by riding into a drain or manhole. They’ve even nicked railings from motorway bridges.
So how low are people going these days in their pursuits of lots of cash for no work? Well, towards the end of last year 600 brass memorial plaques were stolen from a church graveyard in Wales. Over 400 were taken from a crematorium in Tameside. 800 were stolen from another crematorium. Last week brass plaques were taken from a churchyard in east Anglia. Brass plaques were removed from a memorial in Yorkshire to those killed in the two World Wars.
Can you imagine the effect on a family going down to the graveyard to tend the resting place of their loved ones to discover some piece of pond-life has stolen their memorial in order to swap it for a couple of quid?
These people really are scum. I can’t think of another word for them.
February 21st, 2008
Police officers & staff can’t be trusted with access to an email system. We are also delicate little flowers who need protecting. To this end, we have a system in place which does not allow us to accept emails of a certain nature. For instance, we can’t accept anything with a picture in it, in case the picture is "inappropriate". For a while this meant that we couldn’t accept any emails with the force logo in it, until they corrected that. We can’t accept anything with an attachment, in case it contains a virus. So you can’t email anything to use which has, for instance a Word document or a pdf file; well you can, but you have to email someone in an office somewhere & get them to release it individually to you.
Any email which has bad language in it is blocked also. They send you an email to say that someone has sent you an email with ‘bad language’ in it. This is the fantastic part. They have classified all swear words on a scale of badness. You’ll get an email which says something along the lines of "you have been sent an email containing offensive or inappropriate language. The language contained is of a value of 60 points. The word was either one of the following or a derivative of: fuck, fucking, fuckers, mother-fucker, fuck-off". You can apply to have the email unblocked if you think you need to have access to it, which is handy if it’s a statement or a description of an incident which happens to have bad language in it.
Fantastic, so if you were going to be offended by the original email which they blocked, how offended are you going to be that they’ve used a really bad word AND all it’s variations?
And the other thing which intrigues me, is that somewhere in the Home Office a committee has sat around a table wondering how many points to give swear words. You can imagine it. A whole afternoon, or more, debating how many points to give ‘bollocks’. "OK, we’ll give ‘bollocks’ 50 points, agreed?" "No, if we give ‘bollocks’ 50 then we have to give ‘arsehole’ 65, surely", "Yes, but if we give ‘arsehole’ 65 then we have to reduce ‘wanker’ to 63." "OK, let’s give ‘bollocks’ 45." "No we can’t do that because ‘balls’ is 45."
Can I have a discount for saying the whole concept is about 250 points’ worth.
February 20th, 2008
I can’ listen to ‘Nimrod’ from Elgar’s Enigma Variations without thinking about dead police officers.
I’ve been to about 10 funerals of friends & colleagues which have been ‘official’ funerals. These are usually reserved for officers who have died on duty. One or two were murdered, a couple had heart attacks & the rest were killed in road traffic incidents.
The pall bearers are usually police colleagues in full uniform. The coffin is draped with the force flag & the officer’s hat sits on top The chief is usually there & one of the senior officers usually speaks of the life & career of the fallen officer.
Nimrod is such a moving evocative piece of music. Even heard in isolation it sends a tingle up my spine. Played at a funeral it can’t help but bring a lump to the throat.
There is something surreal about watching a coffin making its way up the aisle towards the altar & all the family & friends. It’s a bit like watching a ship traverse the Suez Canal, you can see it moving but you can’t see how.
I spoke at the funeral of a colleague a while back. It was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. He had a wife & teenage kids, they wept during my words which only made it harder to continue. It’s far easier facing an angry crowd of bottle-throwing thugs than standing in a church next to a dead colleague in a box.
I’m in two minds about police funerals. Whilst the grief from friends & colleagues is genuine I can’t help thinking about the falseness of a senior police officer – who wouldn’t have known the officer if he’d jumped out of the chief’s porridge – telling everyone what a great job he did & how valued he was.
I think if I die on duty I’ll get my wife to ban senior officers.
It’s be pretty cool to have my cap on the coffin, & maybe the force flag if only to cover the biodegradeable wicker coffin, and Elgar’s Enigma variations playing on the organ.
February 19th, 2008
"Tough on Crime, tough on the causes of crime".
Wasn’t this the trumpet-blast of the nu-Labour Government a while ago. What a great soundbite, it’s shame that evidence in the actuality of the theory seems somewhat lacking.
Apparently, there is a knife-crime every 24 minutes in the UK. In a recent three-month period there were 55 knife-related murders, over 2,000 stabbings & 2,500 knifepoint muggings.
You can’t switch on the TV these days without there being another teenage knife murder.
In answer to this appalling situation the government changed the law & doubled the maximum sentence for knife possession to 4 years. More than 6,000 people have been sentenced under the new guidelines but just TWO people have received the maximum sentence (presumably they only served 50% of this sentence like most other people)
Of the 6,284 people sentenced for carrying a knife in public, 2,970 received community work.
Well that sends out a message that possession of a knife in public will not be tolerated, eh?
February 18th, 2008
So it’s 4.15in the morning & I’m reduced to watching the CCTV.
I could be chatting about who’s shagging who, which staff member has gone off with stress or what I did with the family over rest days, but the bosses don’t think it’s important to double-crew radio channels so I’ve got no-one to talk to.
Looking across the control room is like a view into history, a specific point in history just before the sinking of a famous ship, what was its name again? Oh yeah, that’s it, the Marie Celeste; 90% of the radio channels are single-crewed. It’s like the police service took a delivery of really bad deodorant, either that or Health & Safety have decided our individual workspace must be increased by four times. Nobody is near enough for a conversation.
So there’s this guy on CCTV who’s doing a great impression of an ex-human being, flat out on his back beside a bench in the town centre. His girlfriend is cradling him in her arms. He must be drunk because there’s no logs on the box about anyone dying.
Two female paramedics arrive. They stand sufficiently far away from the ‘body’ to be out of reach. Arms folded, they look inquisitively at the body on the ground. I have no idea what they’re saying but they have that look about them of a headmaster who’s just caught Blessington-Smythe minor playing with his bogies during Latin Literature. I suspect this isn’t their first call to a helpless drunk tonight.
Plod arrives & completes a pedestrian circuit of the body. He squats down somewhere near the head & is presumably doing his best biblical impressions but Lazarus isn’t rising. After a minute it’s the copper who goes hands-on & tries to get the body up onto the bench. At least if he rolls off that there will be more laughs in it. It looks like something off a Marx Brothers film. As soon the copper gets one leg on the bench the other falls off. There is so much loss of muscle control that he’s making the rubber man look like a Coldstream Guard. he’s on the bench, no he’s off. he’s back on again, no he’s off.
Nobody wants to do much with a drunk. Everyone knows that as soon as the vehicle door closes it triggers the vomit button & you don’t have many friends when you hand over a vehicle in the morning which stinks of urine, vomit, or worse.
The ambo crew disappear while I’m attending to matters on my radio channel & when I look back the officer is also exiting stage right. The body still looks like the victim of an unsuccessful bungee jump off the Town hall, splattered half on the bench & half in a discarded kebab on the pavement.
He’s still there half an hour later. His girlfriend is leaning against the wall of a charity shop talking into a mobile phone.
I have no idea what happened to him as the CCTV operator got bored & is now watching someone pissing into a traffic cone.
February 17th, 2008
What I don’t get is why ambulance crews never break into someone’s house to save their life.
The amount of times we get a call from ambo control to say they’re attending the report of a "collapse behind locked doors" (describing any time they can’t get in to treat someone) is unbelievable.
As these things go it’s usually OK if there is a police unit available at the time our services are required by the paramedics; we can attend & if we’ve got suitable MOE (method of entry) equipment to gain access without causing damage we will, if not we’ll just smash a window or kick the door in. However, things being more akin to reality we often don’t have anyone free to send. Yes, surprisingly, there are occasions when I can’t even get a free unit to take an immediate report of a 23-year-old naked blonde female running up the High Street shouting ‘take me, take me’.
I often wonder how many dead people whose houses we break into wouldn’t have died if the ambo crew had just smashed a window.
I know of at least one. A guy rang 999 & said he was lying on his living room floor, he thought he was having a heart attack. This went, naturally enough, through to ambo control who despatched an ambulance. When they got there they couldn’t get a reply so called us to break in. We didn’t have a free unit in the town so I got called to attend from another division. In the meantime the guy rang 999 again to say he’d called an ambulance, nobody had come & he was feeling pretty bad. We told the ambulance control who said that their crew was sitting outside but they wouldn’t break in without police. The man called a third time some minutes later.
By the time we got there & broke a window the guy was dead. The paramedics did all they could to revive him but it was to no avail.
I don’t know the reasons why ambo crews don’t break in, no doubt it has something to do with one policy or another, insurance or health & safety (although it sure ain’t for the health & safety of the person inside the house who is dying).
Wouldn’t it be good sometimes if common sense ruled instead of policies. sadly there are people employed to say thigs like "yes, saved a life, but did you know you broke rule 3 sub-section b?"
February 16th, 2008
I bumped into a guy I used to know the other day in a town centre I used to frequent.
I’d heard rumours that Paul’s luck had gone on a downward spiral for a number of years. He’d always been a drinker but now was apparently almost on a par with the drunks who sit around the war memorial with their plastic bottles of White Lightning cider.
When I knew him, he’d gone through 2 wives & was well on his way to being binned by the third. I believe alcohol was a contributory factor in all 3 disintegrating marriages.
I say ‘I bumped into him’ but this isn’t strictly true. I actually deftly avoided him on the grounds that I saw him first & managed to change my course through the town centre crowds such that our paths didn’t cross. I felt quite guilty about it.
He looked rough. For a start he looked about 10 years older than I expected he would look like, given that I haven’t seen him for a good 8 years. His once, reasonably fresh features were deep red, the red of an alcoholic with a face & nose full of burst blood vessels. He hadn’t shaved in a while, he looked like that was situation normal. His clothes looked like they’d been wrapped up in a plastic bin liner outside the local branch of the Oxfam Society. I couldn’t imagine anyone being proud enough of him to take him home to mother.
I used to know Paul really well. I felt awful about avoiding him but in the maybe half a second I had to see him, recognise him, take in what I could see, evaluate it, remmeber happier times & decide whether I wanted to stop & speak, he didn’t actually look like someone I wanted to spend time with, any time.
It was a real change from the days when we used to double-crew the area car. Paul had been kicked out of the job for drink-driving quite a few years ago. If he’d stayed on the rails he would have been retiring about now.
The years don’t appear to have been particularly kind to him. I guess we all have choices in life.
February 15th, 2008
I really love my job sometimes.
I was on one of the main radio channels, the one which covers the motorway. It can be really boring but it can be extremely intense at times.
We had a pursuit start up. A marked unit is following a car, does a check on the number plate which shows it to be one nicked two days before from the adjoining county, and one which has been involved in some of those scummy burglaries I refer to from time to time.
Most pursuits last a few minutes before either the car crashes into another motorist who then sues the police for ‘causing’ it to happen, or it is lost, never to be seen again. Occasionally you get a pursuit which goes on for a good while. These are the ones which end up on some TV programme somewhere with Jamie Theakston spouting forth in serious monotones about this ‘perp on a one way ticket to jail’, or is that Sheriff John Bunning?
Anyway, as the control you are really the conduit of all the communication which goes on, a hub between all the police resources both on the ground & in the air in the case where the helicopter is deployed.
It’s great when the chopper arrives on scene & the pursuit is still going on because pound to a pinch of something unsavoury, once the chopper is above the car ain’t going to lose us.
So the scene was set, down the motorway, one or two traffic cars behind it. There’s me trying to get other units to head them off at the pass, as it were. It goes off the motorway and through the countryside. Then it goes into a different force area, but coppers being coppers don’t want anyone else to have all the fun so we keep the pursuit control until it heads back into our force area, by which time I’ve managed to gather the troops together at a motorway junction and sure enough, bright-spark-scumbag heads back onto the motorway.
Even better for the old excitement stakes is the helicopter has it’s TV downlink on and I’m watching it all on the screens (as is everyone else – normal work does tend to slow down when there’s a good chase going on). It’s like something out of a training manual when the Tactical Pursuit & Containment tactics work like a dream and the bandit car is brought to a safe halt at the side of the motorway. Two scumbags are nicked. They will probably get bail & do a runner, but that doesn’t dampen our spirits for a good result.
It’s a great feeling. I guess, deep down, that’s what the job is all about; nicking bad people. I don’t do that anymore, my circumstances have changed & my role doesn’t involve face-to-face contact with shite any more (well outside the job, anyway). It’s a kind of vicarious excitement these days, a real feeling of ‘go on son’ when you’re playing your little part in the great scheme of things. It’s made all the better when everyone in the control room who is either watching it on the screens, listening to it on the radio, or just reading the updated logs all cheers & claps at the end when the car comes to a halt & you see those little heat sources gathering round two guys prone on the floor.
You can’t beat it.
February 14th, 2008
It struck me yesterday that I have now been blogging for 5 months with a post every single day. I can tell you that’s no mean feat. There are times, like today, as I write this at 23.45hrs, that I have nearly missed the deadline.
I took the opportunity to have the web stats emailed to me by the host who provides the webspace for this blog. I have to admit, this was somewhat inspired by Inspector Gadget reaching a massive 1 million hits – well done to him!
In September 2005 I had a total of 60 visitors who visited a total of 176 times and loaded 483 pages. A year later there were 1,347 visitors who visited 5,736 times with a total of over 10,000 pages. By September 2007 I was getting 1,800 unique visitors loading nearly 20,000 pages.
Things are looking even better for 2008; in 2007 I had a total of 220,000 hits (page loads). We’re only one & half months into the year and already I’ve got 53,000 hits. I can’t even blame this meteoric rise on my friends, colleagues & family since none of them know I do this thing called blogging.
If things go as they have been I’ll be well on my way to 1 million hits some time in 2009, not bad for a little blog which doesn’t have anywhere near the following of the ‘Big Three’. Maybe I should aim for 1 million hits before the 200 weeks is up (which will be in the first half of 2009).
It would be great if more of you ‘quiet’ readers would join in.
Thanks to everyone who told me where they found this blog & how long they’ve been reading it, that post alone got me a record comments list. There’s still time to help me with it, just visit the Home Work post.
February 13th, 2008
Hot on the heels of my recent story of travelling scum comes another fine example of the genre.
Prize for scum-sucking pond-life of the week goes to traveller Robert Cole, 32, who has been jailed for life for the murder of Arthur Gregg, a frail pensioner who had been conned out of £25,000 for "shoddy workmanship" by "builder" Cole, who was part of a group of "unscrupulous travellers" who ripped off vulnerable pensioners by cold-calling them at home and then demanding huge sums of cash for small jobs.
Mr Gregg suffered 41 injuries including 24 wounds to his head & neck, 2 skull fractures & 8 broken bones in his face. He was last seen alive by staff at his local building society when he told them the builder was waiting for him outside & needed paying. The building society told him he had only £10 in his account & so he left. he was found dead at his home 3 days later. His telephone had been ripped out to stop him calling for help. Cole also stole his car & sold it for £102.
The attack happened after Mr Gregg’s family found out he was being conned by the bogus builder & took control of his bank account so he could no longer give money to Cole.
Cole denied the murder blaming it on 2 other travellers but was convicted after his DNA was found in Mr Gregg’s house & his the victim’s blood found on Cole’s shoes.
More info here.
February 12th, 2008
Sloppy reporting is often cause for complaint with us coppers. It happens at every level. I can recall many occasions when I’ve been mentioned in the local rag for dealing with one incident or another & they have said "PC 200 said… blah, blah, blah…" They’ve then gone on to not only misquote me but print something which was totally made up from start to finish.
So I bring you news of another case of twisted reporting, this time by the Sun – no change there then – in their Feb 9 issue.
"Neglect Cop Jailed" said the headline. It appears that a custody assistant faked entries to cover up failures to check on a prisoner who later died. This happened in Chingford in North London. The guy has been jailed for six months, according to the story.
The article clearly states he was a ‘civilian police worker’ & therefore not a police officer. I understand that the male concerned had retired from the police and taken a job as a civvy custody assistant. Nearer the truth would have been "Retired Cop Jailed", but that wouldn’t fit as well with the Sun’s agenda.
February 11th, 2008
I notice a certain similarity between the most recent post on The Policeman’s Blog, posted 11th February 2008, and one posted here on 19th September 2007.
I’ve not posted about Sir Ronnie Flannel’s recent report on the state of British policing, mainly because everyone else is doing it and partly because there’s not an awful lot to add that I didn’t say last September except, ‘no surprise there, then’. (plus, whilst I have downloaded his full report, I haven’t actually read it yet)
February 10th, 2008
In 2006, Gloucestershire Police were taken to tribunal by an applicant who wanted to join their ranks when the police deselected all white males from the application process in favour of ethnic minorities & females. They were advised the practise was illegal & made to pay the individual £2,500 compensation.
Positive discrimination has been illegal for as long as (negative) discrimination. Police recruiting policies are clear to point out that their efforts to recruit higher proportions of ethnic, female & homosexual groups are ‘positive action‘ not positive discrimination; they know the score & the risk of being taken to court by unsatisfied ‘customers’.
It is all the more surprising then, that the Met appear to be continuing the practice of positive discrimination this week. A soldier, Ben Mayer, has been declined an application pack by the Met on the grounds that they are not recruiting white males currently.
The get-out clause for the Met appears in a statement to the press that they are not recruiting anyone right now, which would be fair enough & equal all round had not the reply to Lance Corporal Mayer, a regimental police officer with the Royal Anglians, said "The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) is actively seeking to raise interest from black & minority ethnic communities & females who seek a career with the policing family. For further details please contact…"
So they’re actively seeking interest but not recruiting? Yeah, right. I’ve not seen many posts in the police recruiting forums from ethnic or female groups complaining that the Met are refusing to send them application forms.
The approach of this news story comes from the angle of a British war hero who has seen 9 mates killed in Afghanistan, who just wants to serve his country further in the police. The truth is that although Lance Cpl Mayer may be just the right sort of person to make a successful career in the police, this isn’t reason enough why he should be treated any different to someone from the checkouts at Asda.
The reality is that if the checkout operator at Asda happens to be a black female lesbian, she will get preferential treatment over Ben Mayer.