Archive for August, 2008

August 31st, 2008

Nearly There

Posted in The Job - General by 200

Just a lazy quicky today….

nearly reached my 1 post a day for a whole year target, but more importantly, I’m now down to single figures for months left in service – whoppee!!

(and I’ve had my proper pension forecast at last, been walking round like a Cheshire Cat most of the day)

August 30th, 2008

Violent? Us?

Posted in The Job - General by 200

Just a little statistic I noticed in a recent edition of Police Review, it came from a question put in the Houses of Parliament by MP David Taylor who wanted to know how many violent crimes were recorded in England in 1987, 1997 & 2007.

Vernon Coaker, parliamentary under-secretary for the Home Department said, “The figures are not directly comparable as there have been major changes in the way violent crime is recorded. The term “violence against the person” is now used rather than “violent crime”.

There were 132,947 offences recorded by the police in England in 1987, 233,441 offences in 1997 & 967,638 offences in 2006/2006.

Is that really an increase in over 300% in just 10 years? Britain becoming a more violent place, who’d have thought it?

August 29th, 2008

Untold Stories

Posted in The Job - General by 200

I don’t get a newspaper at home; I don’t have to since there are usually papers lying around the Control Room or the ‘rest room’ which I can dip into if I have time. (not always possible on a late shift but usually OK on nights). I may have to read them when they are a few days old but they do serve as a source for items for my blog quite often.

One story I don’t recall reading recently was about the police awards for bravery ceremony.

Sixty four officers throughout the country attended the Dorchester Hotel in London to receive their awards.

PC Ricky Gray received a posthumous award for going to the aid of unarmed colleagues who were being held at gunpoint. He was shot & killed. His partner, PC Mat Crisp, also received an award.

Other awards went to PC Philip Quirk of Merseyside Police, who saved the life of a colleague during a knife attack; PC Mark Thompson of Humberside Police; PC Mick Booth Nottinghamshire & PC Paul Davies of Thames Valley Police.

PCs Stephen Porter, Jane Smith & PS David Thompson received awards for preventing a man plunging to his death.

PC Keith Seagrim of Gwent Police spent 2 hours in ice cold water to save the life of a drowning woman. PC Tony Fitzpatrick & DC Neil Fearn of the Met pursued an armed man despite being unarmed themselves & repeatedly being shot at.

It’s such a shame that stories like this don’t get the airing they deserve. The event was sponsored by one of the National Daily papers & that’s the only one I’ve seen it in. I can only assume that a) the others don’t want to mention one of their rivals by reporting the story & b) tales about how the police cock-up or are afraid to offend anyone seem to sell more papers.

August 28th, 2008

Changes

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

Don’t you just hate it when people who don’t do your job make changes to it in the guise of improvement. It’s all the more frustrating when the changes they make actually do the opposite & make your job more difficult.

Take Command & Control systems. This is a computer software programme with which we manage all the assignments & resources available to us. Us Comms Ops are extremely familiar with our systems. We use them every minute of the day, we know what works well & what doesn’t. From time to time there will some minor tweak here & there, maybe an additional keystroke added to access something a bit quicker, or the addition of some piece of information.

We’ve just had a change to the system. Someone who doesn’t have to work the system day in & day out has come up with a fantastic wheeze which he thought would improve our lives. I can’t go into any detail but the upshot is that it is now far more difficult to access vital information which we do hundreds of times a day. We now have to take two to three times as long to find out the same  information we did before.

The change cost thousands of pounds for an outside software developer to implement. It was implemented without discussion with the end users & I’ve not met one single person who has a good thing to say for the changes. To change it back will presumably cost even more thousands & will be an admission that someone got it wrong.

August 27th, 2008

Ouch!

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

Time for another video.

Alcohol is the cause of a huge proportion of police work, I think the same can be said for all the stuff that goes on down at A & E too.

I don’t think many of the folk in the following clip would be too much problem for the local Old Bill, but I suspect most of them would have made an appearance down at the Accident & Emergency department.

Ouch!

August 26th, 2008

To DNA or not to DNA

Posted in The Job - General by 200

Those that have read this blog for any time will know that I’ve never been afraid of espousing an unpopular view, you just need to take a look at my thoughts on the legalisation of drugs if proof were required.

I feel that this post won’t be the most popular amongst serving officers, at least not judging by the opinions I’ve heard over the years.

The DNA Database, hmmm.

There is an argument for the collection of DNA from every resident in the country. It comes from certain quarters in the government & law enforcement. There is no doubt that if everyone’s DNA was on record we would solve an awful lot more crimes. The question is whether it is acceptable for the government/police to hold our DNA for purely speculative searching.

Currently, anyone processed for an arrestable offence is liable to have their DNA taken. If they are subsequently released without charge or found innocent at court, they have no rights to have their DNA samples destroyed. There are cases of completely innocent people having their DNA taken, enquiries have revealed, for instance, a case of mistaken identity, and they have been released but their DNA remains on file, for ever.

When the DNA database was first set up, the police were required to destroy samples of anyone found to be innocent, much like fingerprint records. An audit around this time found that 80,000 samples were never destroyed & held illegally. This was changed by legislation and now nobody has the right to have their sample destroyed.

A recent case which appeared in the dailies at the beginning of August featured a Tory MP, Greg Hands, who provided a DNA sample to the police after his uncle was murdered; he was eliminated from suspicion but has failed to get the police to destroy his sample. He said: “It seems to me that the Home Office and police are building up a national, universal DNA database by stealth. They are trying to get all 60million of us on it by hook or by crook. Parliament has never approved a universal DNA database.”

Supporters of a universal system say that if you have done nothing wrong, what have you got to worry about. But they miss the deeper, ethical issues. DNA is not only a record of my identity, it is a complete code which reveals much more than will be of use in a murder trial. My genetic makeup can reveal details of my ethnicity, of family connections & of my propensity for certain diseases.

It is wrong to discriminate on the basis of genetic heritage yet we already see insurance companies  having access to genetic information & refusing to insure people based potential medical conditions.

There have already been cases of the police carrying out medical tests on genetic material without the knowledge of the subject. In one case a witness in court found out he was HIV positive because a sample he had provided in an unrelated matter for which he was not charged, was tested & a lawyer let the cat out of the bag.

With the government’s willingness to either ‘lose’ extremely personal information or give it to foreign countries (USA), or their willingness to flaunt legislation (the 80,000 samples held illegally) who can trust them to keep your genetic information a secret between you & them?

There is a balance to be had between the need to be able to solve crime & the rights & privacy’s of the individual. I think the collection & preservation of DNA from people who are completely innocent tips the balance the wrong way.

August 25th, 2008

Red Letters

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

Convicted criminals owe more than £500 million in unpaid fines.

Figures from the Ministry of Justice reveal that by March this year £500,630,569 was owed to the courts. This was a rise of over £14 million from the same period in the previous year.

Many people found gulty at court receive a fine as an alternative to a prison sentence, so not paying effectively means they escape scott-free. They must be quaking in their boots when they come up in front of the beak.

But no fear, there is a new system where the courts can text the laxed-payers & send them messages reminding them to pay their fines. Records don’t seem to exist on how many people are suddenly prompted to pay when they receive such a message, nor how the courts are able to find out which particular nicked mobile they happen to be using at the time.

I wonder what the country could do with an extra £500 million; it could pay for at least a small percentage of the  monumental waste of money in some NHS computer system or other or maybe fund 23,000 extra police officers.

The Ministry of Justice said clamping down on fine dodgers is a continued priority & the amount unpaid was down more than 10% in many areas.

So that’s all right then.

August 24th, 2008

Dear Sarah Baxter

Posted in The Job - General by 200

I wanted to share an email I received this week. I must be very popular because I get emails like this all the time.

Dear Beloved in Christ,

(oh bloody hell, here comes another rip-off scam email)

It is by the grace of God that I received Christ, having known the truth, I had no choice than to do what is lawful and just in the sight of God for eternal life and in the sight of man for witness of God & is Mercies and glory upon my life.

(What? I take it English isn’t your first language, did they not teach you grammar in con-school?)

I am Mrs. Sarah Baxter, the wife of Mr ricky Baxter, (yes, and I’m the late Jehosephat B Fuckwit the Third) my husband worked with the Chevron/Texaco in Jordan for twenty years before he died in the year  2005. We were married for ten years without a child. (damn, then you won’t have anyone to inherit any legacy, if such a legacy were to exist) My Husband died after a  brief illness that lasted for only four days. (blimey, that was a brief illness) Before his death we both got  born again and dedicated christians. (yep, if you’re going to be born again, doing it before you die is often best, I find)

Since his death I decided not to re-marry or get a child outside my  matrimonial home which the Bible is strongly against. (I suspect not having a child outside the matrimonial home is more to do with the fact that you’re a bloke in a shack somewhere outside Nairobi, you cretin) When my late husband was alive  he deposited the sum of US$7.5 Million. (Seven Million Five Hundred  Thousand U.S.Dollars) with a Bank in Europe. (Funnily enough I know what $7.5Million is without you having to spell it out)

Presently, this money is still with the Bank and the management just wrote me as the beneficiary that our account has been DORMANT and if I, as the beneficairy of the funds, do not re-activate the account; the funds will be CONFISCATED (that’s a bit harsh, making the account dormant after just 5 years, you should switch to the Halifax; I’ve had £11.55 in there for 15 years & they’ve never threatened to make it dormant) or I rather issue a letter of authorization to somebody to receive it on my behalf (note that you need to activate this account) (hmm, so it’s your husband’s account of which you are the beneficiary & you can’t ‘reactivate it’? Don’t you guys have solicitors over there?) as I cannot come over. (over where, your husband worked in Jordan for 20 years, you’re in Jordan still, WTF’s the account?) Presently, I’m in a hospital in Jordan where I have been undergoing treatment for esophageal cancer. (nothing trivial I hope)

I have since lost my ability to talk (ah, that might come in handy later) and my doctors have told me that I have only a few weeks to live. (going for the sympathy angle then, eh?) It is my last wish to see this money distributed to charity organizations anywhere in the World. (you’re so kind) Because relatives and friends have plundered so much of my wealth since my illness, I cannot live with the agony of entrusting this huge responsibility to any of them. (but your quite happy to entrust US$7.5Million to some total stranger  you’ve never even met?)

Please, I beg you in the name of God to help me Stand-in as the  beneficiary and collect the Funds from the Bank. (It’s possibly going to be simpler & far less trouble to just get them to transfer the money to your local HSBC) I want a person that is God-fearing who  will use this money to fund churches, orphanages and widows propagating the  word of God and to ensure that the house of God is maintained. (you’ve got the wrong bloke then, I’d probably just keep it & spend it on cheap whores & donuts)

The Bible made us to understand that blessed is the hand that giveth. (yep & if I ever see you my hand will giveth you a fucking good smack in the mouth) I took this decision because I don’t have any child that will inherit this money and my husband’s relatives are not Christians and I  don’t want my husband’s hard earned money to be misused by unbelievers. I don’t want a situation where this money will be used in an ungodly manner. Hence the reason for taking this bold decision. (nothing to do with all the fuckwits who think they’re getting something for nothing & willingly give total strangers access to their bank accounts because they are greedy & brainless)

I am not afraid of death since I know where I am going to. (yep, so do I & it ain’t heaven) I know that I am going to be in the bosom of the Lord. {Exodus14 VS14}says that the lord WILL fight my case and I shall hold  my peace. (The Bible also says “But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” – Revelation 21:8 and you are a sayer of big porkies.)

I don’t need any telephone communication in this regard because of my soundless voice (I thought losing your speech might come in handy, I won’t be able to ring you to confirm the details then?) and presence of my husband’s relatives around me always. I don’t want them to know about this development. (no, because if they have an ounce of morality they’ll cart you off to the local jail, you naughty man)

With God all things are possible. (well even with God’s help you aint gonna get your hands on my bank account details “to facilitate” the transfer of these non existent funds)

If you are interested in help me fullfill this dream, you can email to  my personal email: sbaxter36@rocketmail.com (US$7.5Million in the bank & you’ve still got a poxy rocketmail email address)

Your Sister in Christ,

Mrs. Sarah Baxter

(Dear Sarah, go fuck yourself! – Mr 200 Weeks)

August 23rd, 2008

Smile for the Camera

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

Oh dear, PCSO Bloggs won’t be pleased. Another opportunity – if one were required – to slag off PCSOs again.

The headline read “Photographing thugs is assault” & referred to the story of a resident in London plagued by anti-social behaviour from teenagers at a local school. The headmaster had advised him to identify the offenders so the school could take some action.

David Green went out to photograph the youths, one of whom promptly threatened to kill him while another phoned the police on his mobile.

The report claims that a PCSO arrived & warned Mr Green that taking photos of youths without their permission was illegal & could lead to a charge of assault.

I have no idea whether this was actually what the PCSO said & neither, it appears, does the Metropolitan Police who told the newspaper that they had no record of the incident.

If it is true I’m not sure where the PCSO got their information from; there is nothing illegal in taking photos of people without their permission. If to do so could lead to a charge of assault then I’ll be at the front of the queue to bring a violence case against my local council who insist on taking my photo every time I go into town.

I’ve mentioned before similar cases of people being given misleading information & warnings in regards to photography in public places. We all make mistakes, fortunately mine don’t appear in large print in the national newspapers.

August 22nd, 2008

Light & Tunnels

Posted in The Job - General by 200

Another new piece of legislation came into force recently. This one might actually contain something useful & workable, if the guidelines are followed.

The Criminal Justice & Immigration Act 2008 promises to support victims of crime who use ‘reasonable force’ to defend themselves.

It would be nice to think that the public can take encouragement from the news that provided they act within the law, there will be no chance of them being arrested for getting involved.

Justice Secretary Jack Straw said, “The government supports the right of people to defend themselves, their families & property with reasonable force. We do not want to encourage vigilantism but there can be no justice in a system which makes the victim the criminal.”

Let’s hope this is one law which actually night make a difference for a change.

August 21st, 2008

So that’s where my money goes

Posted in The Job - General by 200

After my recent blog about the dangers of working on the streets, it was nice to see a little-reported story about Prince Charles visiting Flint House, the police convalescent home.

Flint House enables injured or ill officers to have a break & receive some medical treatment in the form of physiotherapy. It is paid for from monthly contributions by serving officers. I’ve been paying towards it for 30 nearly years. The time I had cause to use it I didn’t because I felt guilty about swanning off for two weeks leaving my wife & child at home. From the reports of mates who have availed themselves of the services available, I have regretted turning down the opportunity ever since.

The Prince acknowledged during his visit that the police are facing ‘alarming’ levels of violence on the streets. 90% of officers will receive some form of injury due to violence during their career. More than 3000 officers were admitted to Flint House last year & it has running costs of some £3.8 million a year, none of which comes from public funds.

The Prince visited patients & staff at the centre during his visit. He said, “The threat so many officers are facing in the streets day in day out, is really quite remarkable & often alarming, especially with the kind of violence they are having to put up with & the kind of injuries they are receiving in the line of duty.

“I know quite a large number suffer depression. The fact that there are wonderful staff here to put them back together again, even in a fortnight, is one of the great elements of this centre. It emphasises how much we owe to all our policemen & women in all our towns & cities. They are the thin blue line.”

August 20th, 2008

Rules for Life

Posted in The Job - General by 200

Nothing to do with policing really, other thyan a general comment about society, but I happened to like the following item which I came across on the Internet the other day & I think says a lot about today’s younger generation.

Rule No. 1:    Life is not fair. Get used to it. The average teen-ager uses the phrase “It’s not fair” 8.6 times a day. You got it from your parents, who said it so often you decided they must be the most idealistic generation ever. When they started hearing it from their own kids, they realized Rule No. 1.

Rule No. 2:    The real world won’t care as much about your self-esteem as much as your school does. It’ll expect you to accomplish something before you feel good about yourself. This may come as a shock. Usually, when inflated self-esteem meets reality, kids complain that it’s not fair. (See Rule No. 1)

Rule No. 3:    Sorry, you won’t make $40,000 a year right out of high school. And you won’t be a vice president or have a car phone either. You may even have to wear a uniform that doesn’t have a Gap label.

Rule No. 4:    If you think your teacher is tough, wait ’til you get a boss. He doesn’t have tenure, so he tends to be a bit edgier. When you screw up, he’s not going to ask you how you feel about it.

Rule No. 5:    Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping. They called it opportunity. They weren’t embarrassed making minimum wage either. They would have been embarrassed to sit around talking about Kurt Cobain all weekend.

Rule No. 6:    It’s not your parents’ fault. If you screw up, you are responsible. This is the flip side of “It’s my life,” and “You’re not the boss of me,” and other eloquent proclamations of your generation. When you turn 18, it’s on your dime. Don’t whine about it, or you’ll sound like a baby boomer.

Rule No. 7:    Before you were born your parents weren’t as boring as they are now. They got that way paying your bills, cleaning up your room and listening to you tell them how idealistic you are. And by the way, before you save the rain forest from the blood-sucking parasites of your parents’ generation, try delousing the closet in your bedroom.

Rule No. 8:    Your school may have done away with winners and losers. Life hasn’t. In some schools, they’ll give you as many times as you want to get the right answer. Failing grades have been abolished and class valedictorians scrapped, lest anyone’s feelings be hurt. Effort is as important as results. This, of course, bears not the slightest resemblance to anything in real life. (See Rule No. 1, Rule No. 2 and Rule No. 4.)

Rule No. 9:    Life is not divided into semesters, and you don’t get summers off. Not even Easter break. They expect you to show up every day. For eight hours. And you don’t get a new life every 10 weeks. It just goes on and on. While we’re at it, very few jobs are interested in fostering your self-expression or helping you find yourself. Fewer still lead to self-realization. (See Rules No. 1 and No. 2.)

Rule No. 10:    Television is not real life. Your life is not a sitcom. Your problems will not all be solved in 30 minutes, minus time for commercials. In real life, people actually have to leave the coffee shop to go to jobs. Your friends will not be as perky or pliable as Jennifer Aniston.

Rule No. 11:    Be nice to nerds. You may end up working for them. We all could.

Rule No. 12:    Smoking (or drug use) does not make you look cool. It makes you look moronic. Next time you’re out cruising, watch an 11-year-old with a butt in his mouth. That’s what you look like to anyone over 20. Ditto for “expressing yourself” with purple hair and/or pierced body parts.

Rule No. 13:    You are not immortal. (See Rule No. 12.) If you are under the impression that living fast, dying young and leaving a beautiful corpse is romantic, you obviously haven’t seen one of your peers at room temperature lately.

Rule No. 14: Enjoy this while you can. Sure parents are a pain, school’s a bother, and life is depressing. But someday you’ll realize how wonderful it was to be a kid. Maybe you should start now. You’re welcome.

I have no idea who this chap is but a quick look on Google revealed he is a writer & broadcaster for some American radio station in Wisconsin.

August 19th, 2008

Life on the Street

Posted in The Job - General by 200

Did anyone see ITV’s Beat: Life on the Street, a TV programme about neighbourhood policing?

No, neither did I, but apparently it showed the PCSO scheme in quite a favourable light.

Media regulator Ofcom has announced that it is to investigate as the programme was commissioned by none other than the Home Office who provided £800,000 towards the costs of producing the series.

Leo McKinstry, writing in the Daily Excess said: “Such behaviour by the state belong to totalitarianist socialism, not a supposed democracy. It is hard to imagine a more outrageous misuse of public funds.”

I don’t agree, I think the list of outrageous misuse of public funds is very long indeed, but that’s another story.

August 18th, 2008

An Inspector Calls

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

It must be refreshing for the prison officers at Bullingham Prison in Oxfordshire that the people at the top of the prison-tree are so switched on to the way the prison system should be run.

The prison was recently visited by Her Majesty’s Inspector of Prisons, which is a bit like the dreaded Ofsted visits for schools.

HM Inspector has drawn up a list of 200 recommendations for improvement in the treatment of the 950 inmates. Among them were:

  • Prisoners should be addressed by their first name or surname & title, which ever they preferred
  • Evening meals should be served later to stop prisoners getting hungry during the night
  • Prisoners should spend more time out of their cell
  • Prisoner should be given gym inductions & free condoms

Glynn Travis of the Prison Officer’s Association responded: “I don’t think we can keep control of violent prisoners by calling them by their first name.”

An audit carried out recently on the orders of Justice Secretary Jack Straw, showed that the Prison Service has spent £221,726 on Playstations, X-Boxs & Nintendo game systems & related software & that the prison system has 12,948 game consoles between its 83,600 prisoners, or 1 console between each 6.45 prisoners.

August 17th, 2008

Hello, Police…

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

South Wales Police says it has seen a 10% drop in the amount of unnecessary 999 calls after it changed the way its call-takers answered the phone.

Apparently, when callers are greeted with the phrase, “South Wale Police, what is your emergency?” it encourages callers to realise that they haven’t actually got an emergency & stops them dialling 999 in future.

I think we should do the same in my force. A 10% cut in wasted calls would be very handy, how many extra doughnuts can you fit in when you do 10% less work?

I’d refine the opening phrase even more though to get an even bigger drop in calls. “Hello, police emergency, if you haven’t got an emergency this call is going to cost you £10 which will automatically be charged to your telephone bill, thank you for calling, we’re here to help make your community safer in partnership.”

I bet we’d get a significantly bigger drop in wasted 999 calls than South Wales’ piffly little 10%!

August 16th, 2008

Knife Solution

Posted in The Job - General by 200

Not had a vid in a little while so I thought I’d post a quick one, so to speak.

This links to a nice little bit of kit, perhaps this is how we should deal with knife crime. I’m sure after a few of these the little ****s would be thinking twice about taking out a knife in public.

BLUtube is powered by PoliceOne.com

August 15th, 2008

Privileged Knowledge

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

Working in the Control Room, you’re always first to know just about anything which goes on in the force; it’s the rumour-monger’s dream.

The first time I did a stint in there a few years ago I was amazed at what was going on around the area, stuff I never got to hear being on a shift somewhere.

You get to know about most of the complaints about people; they invariably come in over the phone & before they get directed to a supervisor or Professional Standards Dept, everyone gets to have a look at the log to see who’s been doing what.

An awful lot of complaints are total rubbish. They’re made by people who don’t like being caught out or humiliated when they’ve been dealt with for doing something stupid or for not getting their way. I guess it’s the old attack being the best form of defence thing. There are lots of serial complainers.

Then there are the complaints where you look at it and suck your teeth in that mechanic giving you a quote kind of way & you think, hmm, probably shouldn’t have done that.

I suppose, to balance the books back in favour of the ‘customers’ there are also police officers whose names regularly appear on the complaint logs. The ones who always get complaints about they way they talk to people, for instance.

I’m surprised some of the staff in the Control Room don’t get more complaints, having said that I;m trying to think of any that have had complaints made against them, which surprises me somewhat givent he propensity of some people to make complaints against officers out there. I mean, the conversations on the phone you overhear, I’m not sure how some people get away with it. When the stress levels rise, so does the voice & the patience drops leading to some very animated remarks.

Some of the complaints that come in you’d really rather not know. I’ve seen people ringing in giving pretty intimate detail about officers’ private lives, allegations of criminal behaviour, stuff you really hope is just made up, but sometimes isn’t.

You also get to know all the jobs about the ‘celebrities’ in the area. As soon as a log comes in involving someone famous, word spreads round & everyone wants to know who it is & what they’re doing. You’d be amazed at some of the stuff that goes on, well I am.

There’s not really much point to this entry. I didn’t have an idea for today’s entry so I just started with a thought and saw where it took me. It’s taken me here so I’m off to watch the Olympics.

August 14th, 2008

One out, all out

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

Apparently we’re going on a work to rule, the police that is. I’ve read it in 3 papers today so it must be true.

Of course, we can’t actually work-to-rule because we are banned from industrial action. The press reckon that because we’re being shafted again over pay, we’re going to stop doing the job all the favours & good will that is required to keep the machine rolling.

All the unpaid extra work, voluntary rest day working, all that kind of thing.

They printed an extract of a letter from the Federation to all its members which reminded officers of their duties & requirements & hinted that there were also a lot of things which we do as a given that we’re not required to do.

I’ve not seen anything which recommends any kind of withdrawal of good will, and to be honest, I don’t think it would work. There are too many people who will see some people withdrawing their overtime as a wonderful opportunity to grab some extra OTs. An awful lot of people rely on extra cash each month either just to get by or to keep them in the lifestyle they have grown accustomed to.

I expect that nothing will happen and we’ll get shafted either way.

August 13th, 2008

More Free Money

Posted in The Job - General by 200

I’ve had sight of the new forumla for working out my pension commutation.

I don’t know how widespread the ability to commute your pension is, maybe you can do this in every job, I have no idea. Basically, what it means is that when you retire & your pension is due, you get a set amount of money in the form of the pension. You can convert part of the pension to a cash lump sum but get a reduced pension.

There’s a forumla where you can work out what your pension will be if you convert varying amounts of it to the lump sum & what the lump sum is likely to be. It’s based on your age at retirment.

The Federation had a little Exell spreadsheet in which you could enter your rank & age & it would give you a pension forcast.

Unfortunately, it became defunct when the Home Secretary announced the pension changes a couple of months ago. As far as I’m aware, a new calculator thingy hasn’t been released yet.

There’s some new charts floating around at work. You can look up a calculation figure based on your age, rank, inside leg measurement double it, add 27, half it and divide by the amount of complaints received in the last five years.

The calculator on my mobile almost caused my sim card to fry but after a few beeps, squeaks and some smoke it finally came out with a figure, which is over twenty grand more than it would have been prior to the change.

I made the mistake of informing Mrs Weeks of the new-found joy. Ever since I keep finding little post-it notes around the house; “needs replacing” is appearing on all the kitchen appliances, bedroom furniture & bathroom suite items.

I have a feeling that whatever I do when I retire, DIY will form an increasing part of it.

August 12th, 2008

Find me a Cash Cow

Posted in The Job - General by 200

I came across the below set of figures recently. Just have a quick scan through & see if you can guess what the figures represent. Notice that most forces’ figure has risen in the last 10 years (that figures were available) while only a small number have gone down.

Force 1997 2006
Avon & Somerset £291,760 £3,156,360
Bedfordshire £348,000 £2,904,420
Cambridgeshire £593,480 £1,230,120
Cheshire £431,400 £1,714,200
Cleveland £129,560 £1,142,640
Cumbria £195,280 £1,921,380
Derbyshire £697,520 1,187,840
Devon & Cornwall £2,446,000 £2,549,220
Dorset £446,880 £3,095,940
Durham £128,520 £169,020
Essex £1,844,920 £3,642,300
Gloucestershire £250,400 £804,360
Greater Manchester £2,195,760 £3,616,920
Hampshire £1,098,400 £2,964,240
Hertfordshire £704,160 £4,908,300
Humberside £389,400 £2,203,080
Kent £1,148,240 £2,830,740
Lancashire £952,520 £3,471,480
Leicestershire £232,480 £1,476,360
Lincolnshire £263,520 £1,545,000
City of London £20,800 £365,340
Merseyside £472,320 £1,982,400
Metropolitan £1,807,520 £6,148,920
Norfolk £192,200 £1,499,100
Northamptonshire £148,880 £2,534,520
Northumbria £1,024,120 £3,112,800
North Yorkshire £475,160 £375,480
Nottinghamshire £185,000 £2,574,960
South Yorkshire £1,562,480 £3,088,920
Staffordshire £902,080 £3,049,380
Suffolk £290,840 £2,066,520
Surrey £213,600 £2,371,200
Sussex £1,004.960 £2,881,620
Thames Valley £2,131,400 £8,238,720
Warwickshire £74,280 £1,818,960
West Mercia £615,680 £2,772,780
West Midlands £375,120 £2,669,820
West Yorkshire £964,120 £2,791,680
Wiltshire ££453,200 £3,087,480
Dyfed Powys £268,320 £63,240
Gwent £210,520 £31,860
North Wales £365,840 £3,569,460
South Wales £889,080 £1,992,480
Total £28,510,120 £106,404,720

I suppose a lot of you have you guessed & it won’t be surprise to those who didn’t that the figures represent the amount of income generated by speed cameras.

Note that some ‘incomes’ have gone up by ten times or more. Only North Yorkshire, Dyfed Powys & Gwent have gone down.

This is all grist to the mill of those who criticise speed cameras. i.e. most motorists. The debate continues on how much use speed cameras are for increasing safety & reducing road deaths.

I remain smug in the knowledge that I’ve not contributed a single penny to the above coffers (in direct fines, I accept that my taxes go to provide & maintain the equipment & adminsitrative staff & processes to run the things).

One thing is sure, whether you think it’s good or bad that so much money is now being raised through speed fines, it’s the police who will get the rough end of the criticism stick. “Haven’t you got anything better to do,?” “picking on the motorist again”, despite the fact that the police officers have little or nothing to do with speed cameras, the people who maintain & administrate them just happen to live in the same building.

If I get some time I’ll try & find out how many people have been saved & not injured because we are fining more motorists. It might make a good project for a winter’s evening some time.