Archive for September, 2008

September 30th, 2008

Spare a Copper for a Train Ticket, Gov’nor?

Posted in The Job - General by 200

We must have pissed off some journalists this week, they keep writing stories about how much tax-payer’s cash we are abusing. The crime editor at the Times is up in arms because the Met pay up to £24million a year to rail companies to provide it’s officers with free travel.

The concession allows 31,000 Met officers to travel to & from work on the trains (within 50 miles of London) & also to make journeys on & off duty. The scheme costs the Met £16million last year but they also have to pay a further £8million to the treasury because the scheme is seen as a taxable perk.

The free travel perk has been vital in attracting officers to the capital, whilst London bobbies get some 5-6 grand above other forces for the London weighting, this could be significantly diminished if they also had to pay transport costs.

Forces which surround London could be forgiven for hoping that the people who hold the purse strings for the Met do tighten up & do away with the scheme; it will do a great deal to stop the Met leaching officers trained by other forces who then transfer to London for the extra dosh.

The free travel scheme was started in 1970 & was designed to get more police officers on the networks who were (and are) expected to step in to any situations they may come across both on & off duty.

As the cash-counters demand more & more costs savings, many within the police service around the capital are watching this one with interest. I suspect several chief constables are hoping the scheme is ended whereupon they can welcome back thousands of officers into their folds, except that their books will be full due to budget constraints & an awful lot of Met officers will be several grand worse off with nowhere to go.

September 29th, 2008

76 Trombones

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

Freedom of Information, don’t ya love it?

The latest release about the police is that we are currently spending squillions of tax-payer’s cash on brass bands.

South Yorkshire are spending about £20,000 a year of their band. GMP have spent over £200,000 in the last 9 years. Apparently, they’re spending all this cash on instruments, travel & refreshments. The authors of the stories suspect that about 1million quid has been spent in the last 8 years.

This is amazing. I’ve been in the job 30 years & never seen a police band. If I’d realised I could have had a new trumpet & some sandwiches courtesy of the chief constable, I’d have joined up years ago. They’ll be telling me I can have time off to bang out the rocking vibes of the Hovis advert to some OAPs at the local Derby & Joan next.

Where do I sign?

September 28th, 2008

Incredible still!

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

Thanks to a heads-up from a reader I can bring you more news of the Swedish twins involved on the maniacal behaviour on the motorway on Traffic Cops this week.

The one in the red coat, remember her? the one who was run over twice, turns out to be one Sabina Ericksson, aged 40, of County Cork, Ireland (I could have sworn her sister had an Irish-ish accent when she was gobbing off whilst lying on the floor with broken legs).

Three days later she is alleged to have stabbed to death a 54-year-old male from Staffordshire. She then self-harmed with a hammer & jumped off a bridge over the A50 breaking both ankles & fracturing her skull.

She’s been under police guard at hospital  until very recently when she was charged with murder & remanded into custody. In the biggest ‘no-shit-Sherlock’ comment since someone said Jacqui Spliff was a two-faced, back-stabbing old bitch, Stuart Muldoon, defending the mad Swedish bint, said a psychiatric assessment of Ericksson would have to be made before any plea.

If you can’t get the original Traffic Cops footage, you can now find it on YouTube.

September 27th, 2008

I’d like to make a complaint

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

If you want your police officers to be polite & efficient, don’t move to Hertfordshire. That’s the conclusion from the latest figures released on the number of complaints against police.

The IPCC has revealed that there were some 48,000 complaints made against officers last year. A quarter of those were for rudeness or incivility. Complaints resulting from people being stop-searched were 560. That seems pretty good considering there were nearly 1 million stop-searches carried out during the same period.

So what’s Hertfordshire got to do with it? I’m glad you asked, they come lowest in the bean-counter charts for the number of complaints per officer. The county comes out at about 475 complaints per 1,000 officers. The best force was Durham with a mere 158 complaints per 1,000 officers.

Doubtless chief officers up & down the country will be studying the stats with interest & you can guarantee that they will be delegating to superintendents who will delegate to chief inspectors to “do something about it“. Chiefs don’t like coming near the bottom of any performance indicators.

So money in the form of staff to come up with a strategy, staff to implement it (who will be different) & staff to monitor it & create Exel spreadsheets (different again), will be diverted from front-line policing so that the force gets a better ranking next year.

This will probably mean that more people will have to wait for a police response – probably several days – and thus more people will make complaints, and the force will come lower down the rankings next year until the whole cycle begins again.

September 26th, 2008

Bullied Lesbian wants lots of Dosh

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

Another week another compensation story. This one is about lesbian soldier Kerry Fletcher who has just won an industrial tribunal which agreed that she had been harassed by a sergeant who asked her for a threesome & sent her lewd text messages. She went sick from the Royal Artillery stables in North Yorkshire & complained that the MOD had not taken her complaints of harassment seriously.

She is claiming compensation for stress, hurt feelings & loss of earnings. The sum required? £400,000.  She’s 32, probably has under 30 years working life left even if she chooses to work for the the maximum amount of time, so either she’s saying she’ll never be able to work again or that’s one hell of an amount of stress & hurt feelings.

Bugger me, but if you get your arms & legs blown off in Afghanistan, you only get £161,000. How the fuck can anyone justify £400,000? I get fed up to the back teeth with people who are somewhat hard done by & want hundreds of thousands of pounds compo while people who deserve that amount are left with derisery settlements. I think she wants £400,000 for stress, hurt feelings, loss of earnings & greed.

Judging by previous settlements, she’ll probably get it too.

September 25th, 2008

Incredible!

Posted in The Job - General by 200

Just when I’m sitting on the couch looking for inspiration, Traffic Cops comes on.

Did you see those Swedish women on the motorway? If you hadn’t seen it you wouldn’t believe it.

HATOs & Police get a call to 2 females walking down the central reservation. The motorway cameras pick them up, it’s during the day, traffic is busy both directions. Inexplicably, they climb over the central res barrier & walk into lane 3, one gets hit & knocked over almost straight away, the other runs across in front of heavily braking cars.

HATO officers arrive and stop them on the hard shoulder, the traffic cops arrive & speak to one of the HATOs while the second one stands beside the women, who are both now standing on the hard shoulder as if nothing has happened.

While the police are getting the S/P on what’s gone on, one of the women runs into the carriageway, the HATO tries to grab her but gets her coat which thankfully comes off & thus not dragging him into the carriageway too, she runs across lane one straight into the side of a 44ton artic which then runs over her dragging her underneath. The second female (the one who was knocked down previously) then runs into the carriageway too and gets hit by a car smashing & denting the windscreen & roof.

The officers are clearly stunned at all this but aid is given to both females.

The one under the truck then comes round & appears to have a compound fracture to a leg, she starts swearing at the police, spitting & trying to hit out as well as get up.

The second one (the one who’s been knocked over twice) comes round & gets up, she tries to run off & is grabbed by a female traffic officer who is promptly pushed onto her arse while the female runs across the other carriageway, dodging cars to avoid a third knockdown. She then fights with the officers & members of the public join in, it takes 6 of them to grab her & carry her back across the motorway where they cuff her. All the while she is shouting & screaming & – unbelievably – calling for the police.

I have no idea what they were on & how they weren’t killed. But next time you see or hear about it taking half a dozen officers to detain one person & hear the shouts of police brutality, take a look at this episode of Traffic Cops, it might open your eyes a bit.

It should be in BBC’s iPlayer for the next week.

September 24th, 2008

I’m Tired

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

It’s been a long set of shifts, I’ve worked hard & I’m tired.

I’d normally stay up and chill out on the computer or catch up on some of the stuff on the Sky Box, but I just want to go to bed.

Here’s something which made me smile…

BLUtube is powered by PoliceOne.com

September 23rd, 2008

It’s for the Children

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

I bumped into an old work friend of mine this week. I haven’t seen her for about 8 years, she was one of my old probationers back in the day when they thought I might have something useful to pass on to the new recruits.

She’d popped up to get the results of an interview for the Youth Team.

I’m not sure what the Youth Team do exactly. They don’t appear to wear uniforms & they work with kids, probably they just take them to Sri Lanka or Butlins or somewhere & try to persuade them not to be naughty.

Anyway, she got the job so she had a grin like a Cheshire Cat & that wasn’t just at seeing me suffering behind a radio terminal, although I couldn’t help thinking she was getting some glee at my obviously suffering demeanour.

We talked about her new job & how she got on in her interview. I was somewhat surprised to learn that although she was starting on the unit, she couldn’t actually work unsupervised with any of the little dears until she had undergone a CRB check.

That’s as in Criminal Records Bureau check, the same one that teachers & social workers & paedophiles take to stop them working with children.

So my colleague, who prior to going on the Youth Team could walk into someone’s house, deem that the child was at risk & pick them up & walk out placing a Police Protection Order on them, couldn’t work with a recidivist 16-year old career criminal in case she’d somehow been convicted of a child sex offence during her previous exemplary employment with Her Majesty’s finest.

Strange.

September 22nd, 2008

Don’t mention the ‘Q’ word

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

I know I go on about how busy & stressful working in a police control room can be. And remember, I did well over 25 years on the front line. But sometimes it can be very, very Q.

When I first went into the control room, on one night shift I quite innocently said “It’s a bit quiet isn’t it?”. It was like I’d just announced that the Pope was a devil-worshipping baby-eater. “My God, he said the ‘Q’ word”, “That’s done it!” Word spread round the whole room that someone had mentioned the ‘Q’ word. It’s so sacrosanct that they don’t even allow themselves to say the full word, such is the power.

Once the word is mentioned it doesn’t matter how long you’ve sat on your arse not giving out jobs, or  notdoing PNC checks for officers, the next person walking down the High Street will get GBH’d or murdered, a petrol tanker will crash into a coach load of schoolkids on the motorway & a Jumbo Jet will overshoot the runway & crash into a hospital.

On my last day I’m going to run round the room like that little old fellar in ‘The Life of Brian’ who is released from a life in chains, shouts out “I’m free, I’m free” & promptly falls into a bottomless pit. Except I’m going to shout out repeatedly “IT’S QUIET IN HERE”.

September 21st, 2008

Scum of the Week

Posted in The Job - General by 200

This week’s award goes to three examples of lower pond-life Alan Stevens, 17, Spencer Pettifog, 17 & Daniel Fawcett, 21.

They’ve just been jailed for three & three years youth detention & four years prison respectively for a particularly vicious GBH. The three scumbags from Weston-Super-Mare, having consumed copious quantities of alcohol thought it acceptable to urinate on a parked car in the street. A 48-year-old remonstrated with them & received a bloody good kicking. Gareth Avery was also kicked in the head as he lay unconscious in the street outside his house. He needed several operations as a result of his injuries & is probably very lucky he wasn’t killed.

Three years youth detention? That’ll learn ‘em.

September 20th, 2008

No Place for Heroes

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

There are times when you just know the government have got things arse-about face. Unfortunately, this government seems to work this way more or less permanently.

Take the case of the Ghurkas going through the courts at the moment. Up to two thousand Ghurkas want to come & live in Britiain. They have served the Queen & this country in all fields of warfare throughout the 20th & 21st century. Thirteen of them have won the Victoria Cross for action in battle. They have been members of the British Army for almost 200 years & 50,000 of these Nepalese men have died for this country.

Their base, up until 1997 was in Hong Kong. When we gace Hong Kong back to China the Ghurkas were based in Kent. Under current guidelines, any Ghurka who retired after 1997 has the right to remain in the UK. Those who retired before do not & have been denied permission.

Some of those who wish to live in the UK served in WWII, such as 86 year old Tul Bahadur Pun, VC winner, who was denied the right to live in the UK until  a big publicity campaign last year made the government change its mind. Many of the Gurkhas wish to take advantage of our health system in many cases to treat illnesses & conditions brought on through their military service.

It seems strange that wanted terrorists can come to the UK, have us pay for their homes, dole, family allowances & education. We’ll let Somalians come & live here & murder people. We have no problem with eastern Europeans popping by & remaining here  to steal, rob & murder. And we don’t care a jot about anyone who wants to come to the shores & take advantage of our generous money-handing-out policies despite never lifting a finger in the service of this land.

But fight for this country in one of the most respected military units in the world, sometimes for 30 years or more & the Home Secretary’s solicitor will say that you don’t have “strong enough ties with Britain to live here”. Like all those people who live here examples given above have strong ties with the UK.

I don’t like paying taxes as much as anyone else but I’m bloody sure I’d rather my taxes went to a couple of thousand ex Gurkhas than some of the hundreds of thousands who currently have access to it.

September 19th, 2008

Make That Two Pairs

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

I can’t be the only one drawing up the deckchair & preparing the knitting (or was it crocheting) at the spectacle of the Met Police’s ongoing battle between the top ranking officers & the public executions about to take place.

It seems Met chief Ian Blair has taken my advice & suspended Commander Ali Dizaei over the various allegations of not doing police-type stuff.

The Guardian described affairs as Scotland Yard’s race row ‘erupting’ again. I wouldn’t say it’erupted so much as being bubbling away furiously for the last few weeks. The end game is going to be fantastic. I wonder how many will end up shot down in flames.

I suspect that no matter what happens. The ordinary copper will lose out with everyone slagging ‘the police’ off again. The Black Police Association will up it’s campaign against ‘the police’, and ethnic minority groups will continue to be underrepresented within the ranks of the force, er, service.

September 18th, 2008

You couldn’t make it up

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

The binmen are coming tomorrow. I’m glad I don’t live in Stockport though, I’d be risking a fine because I’ve out my bin out the night before I should, according to Stockport council.

Victoria Clarke, 21, was fined £700 last week for putting out rubbish before the due date. Well, not quite £700 to be fair; a £350 fine, £350.12 in costs & a £15 victim surcharge.

Ms Clarke really only has herself to blame though. She was served a notice bot to do it again after a previous incident, the next time she did it she was given a £100 fixed penalty notice. When she failed to pay the fine she was taken to court.

And quite right too, we can’t have people being given fines & waltzing off into the sunset never to pay the money. It’s just such a pity that the courts don’t follow up all the criminals who fail to pay their fines & even when they do, how many end up having to fork out £700?

Meanwhile, over in Wisbech Joshua Knight was fined £85 for his offence. Being £15 less than the fine for putting your bin out too early it must have been a pretty low-level offence, yes?

No. Knight was driving his car when he ‘lost concentration’ and strayed into the path of another vehicle resulting in the death of a Mr Ashfaq Choudhry. Still, we should all be comforted by the fact that Knight was disqualified from driving for a year also. So that’s alright.

You couldn’t make it up.

September 17th, 2008

Feelings

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

I don’t cry.

The last time I cried was nearly 30 years ago. I was helping my Dad move all his stuff out of our home into a small flat somewhere.

I joined the police force & haven’t cried since. I think it has something to do with the job. Not having much psychology training I don’t really know, but I’m bloody sure that seeing all the stuff you have to see can make you hard.

It’s not really the done thing to burst into tears when you’re delivering a death message, or picking up pieces of brain from a railway track, or telling a mother she can’t pick up her dead baby – preserving evidence & all that. Six foot, hairy-arsed coppers don’t have feelings.

To be honest I can’t think of a single occasion when I’ve seen any of my male colleagues cry either. Perhaps they go off & do it somewhere private, or perhaps they sit over a pint, tears mixing with the Guinness, or maybe they do it at home, down the bottom of the garden. Maybe they’re just like me. It’s not something I’ve discussed much.

In the earlier years there was certainly no appreciation that officers had feelings, you just had to get on with it. I guess now it’s more touchy-feely & maybe group hugs are encouraged.

It’s not that I don’t want to cry. I get a lump in my throat at Remembrance Service each year or at some soppy film, just like the next man.

A relative died last year, it was the first time I attended the funeral of anyone reasonably close, family-wise, at least. I had  a lump in my throat, sure, but that was about it. No more.

Sometimes, I sit back & wonder what being a police officer for 30 years does to you. I wonder how I would have turned out had I gone into IT or manufacturing or something. As a society we seem to always want to put the blame on someone else. I wonder whether I should be blaming the police because I don’t cry.

Maybe, when things slow down a bit after my retirement, I can go & get some acting lessons, I believe they have some great techniques to make actors cry at will.

September 16th, 2008

The Human Factor

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

You can spend millions on software security. You can design the most robust industrial grade anti-hacking systems. You can utilise the toughest encryption protocols available. None of this means a thing once you introduce the Mark 1 human numpty.

The police service is the latest in what is becoming a very long & never-ending list of holders of seceret information to lost it all.

West Midlands Police have lost a data stick reported to contain information of terror suspects’ vehicles & movements.

As far as I can recall, the loss of all this data, including 25 million child benefit claimants, personal details of NHS staff, prison officers, military applicants, convicted criminals, bank account details left in bin bags outside banks, etc etc etc, has never been down to a failure of a computer system or hacking attempt. All of it has been lost because some numpty mislaid it or used insecure methods of sending it somewhere.

Given that at some stage all the data ever recorded in the past or potentially recorded in the future wil be handled at some point by an actual person somewhere, can anyone have any confidence that the government or any other body can really keep it secure?

It’s no wonder more & more of us are against any further recording of our personal information.

September 15th, 2008

Trouble at t’ Mill

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

How has this man still got a job?

Commander Ali Dizaei has been a controversial figure in the Metropolitan Police for some years.

Iranian-born Dizaei, was acquitted of corruption charges several years ago following a multi-million pound investigation.

He is currently under investigation by the Met again, this time for allegedly misusing Met credit cards. Coincidentally, he heads the Black Police Association which itself has had some financial ‘controversy’ having mislaid thousands of pounds of it’s government/charity funding & failing to file accounts for years in a row.

Last week the Daily Mail accused Dizaei of colluding with a fellow Iranian, millionaire solicitor Shahrokh Mireskandari, himself a controversial character, in undermining the police case against a female client of Mireskandari whom he is defending for killing a cyclist in a hit & run accident in London. The 4×4 used in the crime was later found. The female owner of the vehicle awaits trial over the incident. She was invited with 2 members of her family to Dizaei’s 3rd wedding reception & Dizaei is accused of attending meetings at the lawyers office with the express purpose of pointing out flaws in the police investigation to maximise the defendant’s chances of being found not guilty, not the kind of behaviour you might expect of one of the country’s top ranking officers.

Mireskandari is under investigation by the Solicitors Regulation Authority for his claim to have won his law degree from a university in Hawaii which appears to be a mailing address office closed down by the US authorities. He was convicted in the States of a telemarketing scam & moved to the UK. His firm has been subject of investigations into overcharging clients including a case where a fixed fee of £1000 was agreed for work but the final bill came to £19,000. In another case they charged an airline company £500,000 for work which a specialist judge found was worth just a fifth of that amount.

Mireskandari is legal advisor to the Black Police Association.

Back to Dizaei, his recent problems don’t stop there, he is now also under investigation accused of making up evidence after arresting a man during an incident at an Iranian restaurant. Dizaei says he was hit with part of a hubble-bubble pipe after a bust up with a male. He arrested the man.

The CPS has said that after examination of CCTV footage & ‘other evidence’ it has found ” ‘a number of significant factual conflicts” & dismissed any criminal case against the man. The Metropolitan Police Authority have passed the investigation to the IPCC.

Amanda Platell, writing in the Daily Mail this week, describes Dizaei as “a disgrace to the uniform”.

Dizaei & the Black Police Association are now threatening to start a publicity campaign advising ethnic minorities not to join the police because of racism within the force.

I heard someone say on hearing that Sir Ian Blair had suspended Tarique Ghaffur that Blair had finally “grown a pair”. It seems that he may need to grow another pair; I see no way he can let Dizaei remain in his post under the current circumstances.

Time will tell.

September 14th, 2008

If I had any hair left

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

I feel it’s time for another moan.

There are times I really love my job. The thought that I’m actually helping my colleagues still out on the streets, assisting them in any way I can, being friendly & helpful. And sometimes aiding them to catch baddies. There’s no greater feeling than playing an integral part in a job which ends up with people being locked up.

There are times I don’t like my job, putting up with all the moaning, work-dodging, sarcasm & downright rudeness of some of the people I actually just want to help (police officers, my colleagues on the street)

Then there are times that I just can’t wait to get the hell out of the place. These are usually brought about by the people whose sole aim appears to fuck my job up & make it more stressful & demanding than it needs to be.

Three years ago was probably the last time I enjoyed my job in 2 out of the 3 aspects mentioned above (you’ll never get every officer to be helpful & courteous). Then the ‘management’ started to fuck my job up.

Three years ago we had several tens of people on the shift, now we have under two. You’d have thought that depleting the shift of controllers by more than 50%, they might have lessened the workload. No.

Not only have they not lessened the workload, they’ve actually (unbelievably) increased it. We now have to cover all the extra radio/controlling work brought in by the ANPR-worship-be-all-an-end-all now taking place on the roads. We have to provide staff – from our depleted numbers – to cover all the extra intelligence functions required.

Three years ago complaints were made by officers that their radio channels were being single-crewed & the service was suffering. Radio calls were being missed, logs were not being updated with important information & officer safety was compromised because the single controller, who has to spend a significant time on the phone also, was unable to answer the radio sufficiently speedily.

The ‘management’ went on record to say that radio channels would never be routinely single-crewed. Since then they have allowed over 50% of the controllers on my shift to leave & replaced 2. We now have, routinely, 80% of our radio channels single-crewed.

There are two main repurcussions; one, you simply cannot get annual leave & days off approved. There are people on my shift, with children, who have been declined a summer holiday this year. One has been told they cannot go to their own daughter’s wedding. Someone wasn’t allowed to move house on the day his sale/purchase went through. There are many examples of people not being able to get time off for things they feel are really important. Time was when you had a problem getting a day off when you went to your sergeant or inspector, explained the need for the day & ‘things happened’ to allow you to take it. What does the job do now? Fuck all.

You want a day off in 13 months time to attend your parents’ golden wedding.? No chance, do a late shift. What they’ve only got over a year to sort out cover for you? Go swivel.

You need a certain level of staff to man all the positions? Tough, we have to save £200,000 off the budget, let the staff we don’t let go pick up all the extra work & stress.

Oh, stress, it seems more people are going off with stress, so everyone else will just have to cover their work too. And just to make sure nobody else goes off sick with stress, we’ll visit you all in your homes to make sure you’re not shirking & we’ll stick up notices threatening to stick anyone on who takes a day off on sick for a day they’ve previously applied for leave.

I have to go in to work again tomorrow. For the 3rd week in a row I will be single crewed, on a late turn & by 10pm I won’t know whether my arsehole is drawn, bored or counter-sunk. I’ll probably get told there aren’t enough staff to have a full break & will have to put my hand up if I want to go to the toilet.

And I’ll have another application to use up the leave I’m still owed turned down.

September 13th, 2008

Revenge

Posted in Not the Job by 200

Thank you for your messages of support regarding my ‘post every day for a year’ feat. I appreciate it.

Today, just a bit of light entertainment. Don’t try this at home, it’s not big & it’s not clever – but it is fun.

September 12th, 2008

Whoopie!!!!

Posted in Blogging by 200

This post is totally pointless & contains neither wit, wisdom or senseless ramblings.

It just celebrates reaching my target of a whole, complete year with a post every single day.

200weeks – triumph of quantity over quality!!!!

Thanks to all those who have kept up

September 11th, 2008

Signing the Register

Posted in Blogging by 200

I must be going up in the world.

I logged in last night to do my usual posting & checked out my blog stats to see how many people don’t visit this blog. I thought I’d logged in to someone else’s site because the number of visitors were four times the usual average.

It turns out that someone has written an article at the Register which links back to my blog entry about the wheelie bin police. The graph of my visitor stats must look like a police blogger doing paperwork when PSD knock on the door; all little peaks & troughs with a massive big spike.

So hello if you’ve found your way here via the Register, although, judging by today’s stats, you’ve probably buggered off back to the Register for some proper reading material.

A Post a Day for One Year update

If I don’t have a heart attack & Professional Standards don’t knock on the door, tomorrow’s the day!!!