Archive for June, 2008

June 11th, 2008

Memories

Posted in The Job - General by 200

With the death of Pc Ian Terry in Manchester this week in a firearms training incident, I was reminded about those police officers who have died on duty.

Today was the anniversary of the death of PC Jon Henry stabbed to death in Luton on June 11th 2007.

The Police Roll of Honour contains 4 names for 2008, pop by if you want to spend a moment thinking about them.

Each year, at Christmas I put up a display of blue christmas lights in a tree in the garden, that’s my own private remembrance to police officers over the world. Two or three times a year I also pay a visit to the Officer Down Memorial Page which lists those killed in America. I defy anyone not to be touched by the messages of friends, family, colleagues & complete strangers left on every officer’s personal memorial page. I still think it’s a travesty that we don’t have something like that here.

June 10th, 2008

Oops…

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

We’re forever getting emails at work warning us about the dangers of the Internet; using & abusing it. Never try to download anything because if you do, the computer will burst into flames, your bank account will go up in smoke & someone will run off with your children.

We daren’t open an email if it contains a picture lest we get sacked for looking at something we didn’t have a bloody clue what it was until we opened it. We shouldn’t leave ourselves logged on the computers in case lest  Freddy Fraudster slips into our chair while our back is turned and downloads the entire contents of the world onto a USB disk. 

In short, computer security is everyone’s concern!

I wonder, therefore, what will happen to the department which has allowed this to happen:

website 

Yep, that’s the new, improved Bedfordshire Police website, or at least the one which has met visitors to it today after it was hacked by someone claiming to be a teenage lad from Algeria or somewhere distant.

You’d have thought that internet security might be somewhat important to an organisation involved in security & law & order.

I can recommend the IT Security Consultants at Bedfordshire Police pop down to PC World and get some software to prevent children fucking up their whole internet presence.

June 9th, 2008

Not for all the tea…

Posted in The Job - General by 200

A police officer from Greater Manchester Police has been shot & killed in a tragic training accident today.

PC Ian Terry, 32, was shot in the chest by a colleague with a shotgun whilst undertaking a training exercise in a factory in Manchester. He is believed to be the first officer to be killed by a firearm during training since 1941.

Firearms officers often get the piss taken out of them by the rest of us for a number of reasons, often brought on, I have to say at their own hands; they’re never there when you want them, they get in on arrests & bugger off to leave the plebs with all the paperwork, they’re forever in the gym or the sun bed & wear shirts 2 sizes too small to show off the rippling biceps.

But given all that, they have to go onto the streets with a firearm knowing that if they ever have to use it they may get little support, be suspended for months or years, be the butt of endless damnation & vitriol  & face calls for them to be tried for murder. Then to top it all if something goes wrong they might end up, like PC Terry, not going home to the wife & two kids.

There’s lots of things I could do in this job, but being a firearms officer probably isn’t one of them.

June 8th, 2008

Stand & Deliver

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

Whether you agree with what they do or what they think, I reckon a lot of people have a soft spot for anyone who can make a monkey our of a government minister.

Fathers 4 Justice have gone & done it again, this time in the guise of "Captain Conception" & "Cash Gordon", who are currently sitting on the roof of the home of one government minister, Harriet Harmon who is apparently the Secretary of State for Equalities and Minister for Women. There’s something pleasurable in seeing grown men wearing their pants over their trousers surrounded by police officers.

Ms Harman has moved out of her house for the duration of the occupation. I think F 4 J have a strong case to put. It seems to me that a government which puts so much importance on the rights of women, ethnic minorities, homosexuals, children, old people and any number of other groups, is completely hypocritical when it comes to the rights of men. For goodness’ sake, they’ve only just this month done something to equalise the massive difference in pension rights for male police officers as against the far more favourable rights of women (which some of us have been complaining about for decades).

I found this quote priceless: ‘Mr Harris said: "All we did was push open the gate which wasn’t even locked, put a ladder up and climbed up. In this time of heightened terror alerts, I can’t believe Harriet Harman has such lax security. My house is more secure than this."’

What really amuses me about this particular protest isn’t that they want the release of hardened male rights campaigners from prison, or even a fast jet out of London (though who could blame them if they did?), all they want is for Ms Harman to read a copy of their book, "Family Court Hell" by F 4 J member Mark Harris. And just in case you think the government would be so crafty as to just tell them she’s read the book & they can come down now, they’re going to ask her some questions on the content to prove she’s read it.

Only in Britain…

June 7th, 2008

Non-knife Crime

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

A PCSO was stabbed in Grays, Essex last night. The story says it happened around 12.15am when the PCSO was stabbed several times, the weapon used wasn’t a knife.

a man & 3 teenage girls have been arrested, the man for GHB, an 18-year-old girl on suspicion of assisting an offender, a 16-year-old girl on suspicion of obstructing an officer in the lawful execution of his duty and a 17-year-old girl on suspicion of violent disorder. The story doesn’t say whether the PCSO was on duty or not.

Time was when all the disorder was down to boys ‘n’ men but it seems females want to get in on all the fun too these days. More & more I see girls fighting on CCTV. A large percentage of our disorder, threats & violence is committed by females. I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised, after all, it is clearly sxist & immoral to call them the ‘fairer sex’ these days, I suppose they’re just making up for all the years of downtrodden treatment.

Several people have emailed the Echo where this story appeared. Some of them voicing their outrage at such an incident but the usual suspects are there with comments like that of ‘who cares‘ from Billericay who says:

"so the police is gonna stop working until they find and charge the culprit because they have stabbed one of their own, what about all the young teenagers who have died from attacks and nobody gets caught for it.
This makes me so mad that you have to be in the force to get results, but being just a member of the public, you have to wait for an officer to be bothered to turn up for an attack and then look for a culprit."

Free speech, it’s what made this country great.

June 6th, 2008

Don’t do it again, sonny

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

Following on nicely from yesterday’s entry, there was an interesting letter in the Telegraph’s pages this week which kind of sums up what is a very common opinion of the UK police today. By way of filling up the space for today’s entry, I’ll reproduce it here:

Sir,

My 21-year-old stepson was travelling by train to Leamington Spa recently when a man sat next to him and engaged him in apparently innocent conversation. A few minutes later the stranger suddenly pulled a knife out and held it to my stepson’s chest. Acting on instinct, he managed to scramble free and call the police. Four officers met the train at the next station and found the assailant, who was still armed and hiding elsewhere on the train. He was duly arrested.

A few days later, members of the Transport Police called on my stepson at home. He cancelled a job interview to see them and expected that he would give a statement and later be called upon to give evidence in court; the right and courageous thing to do. However, when the police arrived they said the attacker had been let off with a caution.

It is now my stepson’s view that the law will pursue an unpaid parking ticket but they will not deal with a man who threatened him with a knife. Is it really true that the forces of law and order are more concerned about government debt collection than with violent crime?

The government announced some time ago its intention to be tough on violent crime and only this week we see them doing it again. Is the the lady from Yorkshire who penned the above letter reasonable in her assessment? I think she probably is. If it was my child who’d been threatened with a knife I’d be bloody angry if the thug who did it was cautioned.

Why has it come to this? It’s time we stopped fannying around with people who think it’s not only acceptable to carry a knife, but who actually use one to threaten someone.

June 5th, 2008

More Forked Tongues

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

Knife Crime 

So the government’s answer to the continuing upward spiral of knife-crime, is to make sure that people who carry knives under the age of 18 should be prosecuted.

I mentioned before about the forked tongue the government speaks with in relation to talking tough on knife crime & then doing absolutely nothing about it. So on current performance we’ll have lots of extra people to prosecute (under 18s) who we’ll then let off with cautions, community service & other such ribald sanctions, but it won’t matter because we’ll have loads of new detections.

There currently is NO deterrent to carrying a knife. The legal system can’t imprison people who carry knives because for the last 20 years the government has done nothing about prison places so they have to let those that are there out early, how could they possibly put more in there?

As usual, the way they deal with problems is to talk loud and act very, very quietly.

June 4th, 2008

Somnus Awake

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

Every so often we have a training day. We’re supposed to learn things which help us to do our job better such as new legislation & procedures. We often just have repetitious, condescending training on diversity. We’re paid a full wage for training but we waste it with meaningless drivel which the social engineering department of the government say we must have. Everyone knows it’s complete shite & is not helping to break down social barriers or increase social cohesion, it just breeds resentment from almost everyone who has to sit through the drivel & gains a tick in the chief constable’s ‘I’ve done my bit’ box.

We once spent a whole afternoon designing a poster on the subject "What does diversity mean to us?" We couldn’t actually say what diversity meant to us as we’d get in trouble, we just had to say what we thought the ‘facilitators’ wanted us to say.

Sometimes we get to question the bosses. It makes no difference when re raise points of concern. We just get told to bear in mind ‘the larger picture’. You can tell the superintendent has no intention of actually answering the question you put to him, he keeps repeating the first semi-syllable of the first word of his sentence until he gets to give his speil which answers nothing except what’s on his agenda. It’s a battle of wills, he keeps waiting for the gap to interject his response & you keep talking knowing that it you pause before you get to the end of the point you’re making he will spout forth on a filibustering reply guaranteed to bore you totally shitless into either forgetting the point you set out to make or losing the will to live, whichever comes first.

I think they must go on the same course that politicians appearing on on ‘Any Questions’ go on.

The second half of training is the worst, it’s the time when you’re most susceptible to catatonic states of sleep & they always send in Ms Boring-voice 2007 to send you deeper into a state of somnambulance.

When you’ve been off for a week or so, the first day back you want isn’t a training day.

June 3rd, 2008

Weapons of Mass Destruction

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

You never know whether to put the root cause of stories like this at the foot of the government, the training of the organisation or the individual concerned.

Airport guards at the countries biggest joke of the new millennium so far – Heathrow’s terminal 5 – have stopped a man boarding a train because he was wearing a T-shirt depicting a childrens TV & film character from the ‘Transformers’ franchise.

Brad Jayakody was told he couldn’t get on a plane because security staff said the t-shirt had a gun on it. He says he changed his shirt & the security supervisor came over to tell him if he put the shirt on again he’d be arrested. (although it’s not entirely clear what he would have been arrested for).

I have no idea whether this story is true, whether it’s an April Fool joke or embellished so far beyond the reality as to make it as laughable as it is. 

I somehow have my doubts that this is really what anti-terror legislation & intelligence is really about what’s depicted on a kids tv character. If it’s legal to walk down the street with it, then why is not acceptable to wear it on a plane?

T-shirt 

Beware this weapon of terror

June 2nd, 2008

Awful Decisions

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

There can’t be many things worse for a mother than finding out your own child is a violent thug who has almost killed someone in an unprovoked, vicious attack which left a man blinded & hospitalised. To find out that both your sons have done this must be awful.

The dilemma of what to do about your own flesh & blood, whether to protect them from the law either by deliberate act or merely failing to tell someone or whether to shop them to the police must be dreadful.

So Mrs Carol Saldinack has been rightfully acknowledged for her actions in reporting her sons Luke Newman, 27, and Oliver Clark, 24, played in the violent attack on 36-year-old Marc Parkinson after a night out drinking. Not an easy decision for a mother to make.

Most mothers I’ve had experience with tend not to do this. Mrs Alexander was one. I first met her son when he was around 12. By then he was well on the road to being an out of control teenager on the path to the revolving door of the local custody suite.

Mrs Alexander was a teacher, she possibly still is, in the local primary school on the estate where she lived. Robbie went to the school when he was a junior. His father left years earlier, I don’t know what the story was. Robbie started with the usual petty thefts from the local shop or neighbours’ sheds.

Mrs Alxander was always protective of her Robby. I guess, to a degree, it was understandable; her other child, Robbie’s elder brother, had committed suicide.

I was stationed in the town for about 10 years so I saw Robbie develop from a silly teenage boy who nicked Mars Bars to a violent drug-fuelled thug who mugged old ladies in their own homes (true) & beat up his mother, regularly.

Mrs Alexander always believed Robbie when he told her he never did it each time we came to call. I must have personally arrested him 9 or 10 times & my colleagues all did the same. I remember one particular incident when an elderly lady had woken to find Robbie in her kitchen & he had pushed her over in his escape, he was caught outside garden hopping to get away. We turned up at his house & explained what had happened. Mrs Alexander’s first response to us wasn’t "how is the lady" but "what evidence have you got that it was Robbie". She knew that when we knocked we usually had evidence, we didn’t just arrest Robbie on spec. But she always refused to believe it.

Robbie wasn’t a clever criminal. On one occasion he torched a car. He cut his arm on the window reaching to pour the petrol inside leaving blood all over the glass. He then went to the local all-night petrol station to buy a bandage with the loose change from the car’s ashtray. On another night he burgled a neighbour, stole £200 ash & went round to the same petrol station where he bought 200 lottery scratch-cards. The trail of torn tickets led almost to his front door.

After the first couple of years we gave up telling Mrs Alexander that unless she started to accept that her son was no angel and started doing something about it his petty crimes would develop into something more serious. He turned to drugs. He could never pay his bills; he was too thick to understand the technical business side of paying for something he had purchased so it wasn’t unusual to see him with black eyes or worse. He started to get fed up of his regular beatings so the easy way out was to rob his mother (or anyone else he could find). He beat her  up if she didn’t have cash in her handbag. He smashed his way round the house. Every time we went round there was a different hole in the plaster or doors or a different pane of glass smashed.

He once strangled her until she told him her PIN number. No matter how many times she called us for help, she never once supported a prosecution or made a statement against him. I think she blamed herself for her first son’s suicide & couldn’t bring herself to do anything to ‘harm’ her surviving child. Whilst I understood it, I didn’t like her for it. As unfair as it sounds, her inaction helped in the creation of many more victims in the town.

He soon served his first custodial sentence as he left his teens behind. It changed nothing, the only difference when he came out was that he could run faster & needed more force to detain him.

I was speaking to one of my old mates & he tells me Robbie is still around. He still gets nicked but he doesn’t live with his mother any more. I think he genuinely doesn’t give a monkey’s about her.

June 1st, 2008

Visionary Thinking

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

So, some police forces are going to allow their officers to use "common sense" to make their decisions and not base them around whether there will be a tick in the box for an easy detection. 

The BBC News article on the matter says, "Four police forces are to abandon government targets and allow officers to decide whether to make arrests. The "common-sense approach" being tried by the Surrey, Leicestershire, West Midlands and Staffordshire forces has been welcomed by the Home Office".

Doubtless, if any good does come of this trial the government will hail it as a fresh, new, creative approach to law & order & policing & will want to retire to the lawns of Whitehall for tea & medals all round. What they won’t do is admit that the policies & procedures implemented by them have been a complete & abject failure. They won’t say either that this is exactly the way we used to police until they came in & f***ed it all up (as usual).

Has anyone noticed any similarity between their announcement of a new, visionary style of policing called ‘neighbourhood policing’ & this latest effort to claw back any shred of popularity & votes which may exist out there, somewhere (far away, presumably)?

Surely, to welcome this ‘common sense approach’ is an admission of the failure of the ‘non common sense approach’?