Archive for September, 2008

September 10th, 2008

Cultural Differences

Posted in The Job - General by 200

How do you tell the difference between a British Police Officer , an Australian Police Officer and an American Police Officer?

Answer:

You’re walking down a deserted street with your wife and two small children. Suddenly, a dangerous looking  man with a huge knife comes around the corner, locks eyes with you, screams obscenities, raises the knife, and charges. You are carrying a Glock 9mm, and you are an expert shot. You have mere seconds before he reaches you and your family.

What do you do?

UK POLICE OFFICERS Answer :
Well, that’s not enough information to answer the question!
Does the man look poor or oppressed?
Have I ever done anything to him that would inspire him to attack?
Could we run away?
What does my wife think?
What about the kids?
Could I possibly swing the gun like a club and knock the knife out of his hand?
What does the law say about this situation?
Does the Glock have appropriate safety built into it?
Why am I carrying a loaded gun anyway, and what kind of message does this send to society and to my children?
Is it possible he’d be happy with just killing me?
Does he definitely want to kill me, or would he be content just to wound me?
If I were to grab his knees and hold on, could my family get away while he was stabbing me?
Should I call 999?
Why is this street so deserted? We need to raise taxes, have a paint and weed day and make this a happier, healthier street that would discourage such behaviour.
If I raise my gun and he turns and runs away, Do I get blamed when he falls over running away, knocks his head and kills himself? .
If I shoot him, and lose the court case. Does he have the opportunity to sue me, cost me my job, my credibility and I will lose my family home?

AUSTRALIAN OFFICERS Answer:
BANG!

AMERICAN OFFICERS Answer:
BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG!
click….(sounds of reloading)
BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG!
click.
Daughter: ‘Nice grouping, Dad! Were those the Winchester Silver Tips?’

September 9th, 2008

Punch & Judy

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

So, the public Punch & Judy match that is the spat between Met Commissioner Sir Ian Blair & Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur has resulted in Ghaffur being suspended from his duties, or put on ‘gardening leave’.

I can’t say I’m surprised since Ghaffur went public with his press conference bleating about being racially & religiously discriminated against. He alleges that he has been treated less favourably than white officers & also that he has not had his contract renewed because he is over 50.

Ghaffur comes as the latest in a line of officers who have tried, sometimes successfully to sue the Met for discrimination. I have no doubt that there have been examples of discrimination within the force. I can honestly say I have never seen or heard any racist behaviour. I have seen several cases of black or Asian officers who have been treated more favourably than white colleagues & I have seen two cases of Asian officers who were totally bloody useless & failed to make their probation who took the force to an industrial tribunal – sometimes known as playing the ‘race’ card, both lost. There was no evidence that they had been discriminated against.

I don’t know the Met Chief personally, but from what I do know, I don’t believe him to be a racist & I find it incredulous that he would behave in any way which could possibly be construed as racist.

The recent industrial tribunal brought by one of the Met’s other senior officers, Commander Shabir Hussain agreed. They found the Met had no case to answer when Shabir brought a similar case against the Met just last week. Shabir, who rose to one of the highest police ranks in the land, complained that he had been overlooked for promotion to a similar rank as Ghaffur 4 times while white colleagues were promoted. Rather than accept that other officers might be better than him, he decided he was being racially discriminated against & brought a case. The tribunal found that there was “no substance” to Shabir’s claim. He had demanded £750,000 compensation.

Ghaffur is seeking £1million compensation at his forthcoming tribunal. I hope the same things happens at his tribunal as Shabir’s. I’m guessing the legal advice the Met is getting is the same; it’s a bold move to suspend an officer who is making racial discrimination claims against you in such a public arena as the police. They have a lot to lose.

Ghaffur must be the victim of his own petulance. Rather than build his case & deal with it through the same channels as everyone else, he decided to take it public, he held a press conference & invited press & TV & publicly made his accusations against the Met chief – he is suing him personally. His publicists, legal team & the Black Police Association are also engaged on a course of publicity of Ghaffur’s plight, almost as if they are getting their retaliation in first. The damage this has done to the Met must be rather great & I think Blair had no choice but to put up or shut up.

Of course, whatever the outcome of the eventual tribunal, whenever that is, Ghaffur & Shabir are on a no lose basis. If they win the case they are quids in, literally many hundreds of thousands of quids. If they lose, they go back to the same job, take their £90,000 & £180,000 respectively & have no penalty for making false or malicious claims. It’s a win, win situation.

Ghaffur is the third highest ranking police officer in the country, has a salary of £180,000 more than any other chief constable, he is an ethnic minority officer who has risen to the highest echelons of the police. When he retires he’s entitled to a payout of over £550,000 & a pension of £80,000. It would take rather a lot of convincing for me to believe he has suffered discrimination.

September 8th, 2008

Gadgets & Guns

Posted in Blogging, The Job - General by 200

I’m glad to see Inspector Gadget has resumed posting, no word about his brief ‘disappearance’, still, seems to have prompted some more book sales. I have to confess, on seeing that his book had been published I ordered a copy from the good folk at Amazon.

I have PC Copperfield’s book & PC Bloggs, but I’ve read neither of them. I’ll have to see if I can start Gadget’s book on my next set of rest days, if they’re not cancelled again.

Meanwhile, isn’t it grand that everything the police do in America is filmed?

Here are two incidents involving members of the public with guns, each has a different oucome.

BLUtube is powered by PoliceOne.com

BLUtube is powered by PoliceOne.com

September 7th, 2008

Pile ’em on

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

Let nobody be in any doubt of Labour’s committment to do something about law & order.

Proof, if If proof were needed, lies in the amount of new laws introduced since the present government came to power. There are now over 3,600 new offences since 1997, an average of 320 a year or nearly one a day! Lots & lots of new laws to help make the country a safer place.

Lib Dem Home Affairs spokesman, Chris Huhne, said: “In what conceivable way can the introduction of a new criminal offence every day help tackle crimes when most crimes that people care about have been illegal for years? This  legislative diarrhoea is not about making us safer because it does not help enforce the laws that we have one jot. It is about the government’s posturing on punishments.”

You might be comforted to learn that it is now officially illegal to cause a nuclear explosion, it seems strange that while it was perfectly legal to cause one, nobody ever has in this country. Let’s hope things don’t go the same way as prohibition of alcohol in the States!

One other law causes me & the Weeks family much angst. We are plagued in the vast rolling landscapes that are the gardens at Weeks Towers with grey squirrels who steal all the food we leave out for the birds. I thought a reasonable measure would be to round the little buggers up & sell them at the local market. Frustratingly, the Labour government have now made it illegal to sell a grey squirrel, bugger.

September 6th, 2008

Institutional Racism?

Posted in The Job - General by 200

In our dealings with society, we encounter many different groups & individuals. All diferent sections & sects, religions & ethnic groups, the weird, the wonderful, the dangerous & the downright strange.

Few groups get as much attention as travellers. Travellers get special attention when they come to the notice of the police.

Suppose someone steals your lawnmower, you follow them to a neighbour’s house. You would rightly expect the police to turn up & at least knock on the door, enquire as the whereabouts of the lawnmower & hopefully arrest the culprit.

If the thief is followed back to a traveller’s site, the chances are that the police won’t go on the site, not without significant backup, by which time the lawnmower has been stripped down, repainted & sold on three times.

If a group of kids are standing at the side of the road chucking bricks at cars, you might expect robust dealings from the old bill. You wouldn’t be too chuffed if a copper turned up & declined to go onto the site to find the little brats because the nearest backup was in custody dealing with a domestic arrest & nobody else can attend.

The fact is that when it comes to going onto travellers’ sites to deal with allegations of crime or disorder, we don’t do it unless there are several of us & possibly mob-handed. It works both ways though. When a traveller calls up from his site saying other travellers from another site have come round & are trashing his home, we don’t go on site until there are sufficient units to secure our own safety, so if they are getting a good kicking, that kicking is going to last a bit longer than they might like; you make your bed, etc, etc.

Why is this? It’s because of our dealings with incidents on travellers’ sites  & with traveller individuals suggests that there is a very high liklihood of violence & disorder towards us. It’s not a pleasant experience trying to stop a group of travellers who’ve just raided a petrol station shop & getting a shotgun pointed at you.

Is this health ‘n’ safety or is it racisim?

I don’t know, but it is acceptable to those who run the police.

If I was sent to write down the number plates of all the cars owned by black people on the Ridgewell Estate, did intelligence checks on them & stuck them on an intelligence database, people might be horrified that I could do this & it would be an acceptable tool in the fight against crime. Yet it’s perfectly acceptable to drive round a travellers’ site at 3 in the morning writing down all the number plates & doing checks on the vehicles; it’s about intelligence led policing & is a useful method of tracking criminals.

If I approached you with the expectation that you were going to punch me, I might give off an entriely different vibe that I would if I thought you were going to invite me in for a cup of tea, but it’s OK to believe that if you’re a traveller.

I have no idea what proportion of travellers have criminal records as compared to the average chap on the Ridgwell Estate. I have an idea but if I express it that makes me racist against travellers because I’m going to say that I believe there is a higher percentage of violent criminals amongst that group than most others, yet I’ve only ever dealt with a couple of thousand individuals out of a population of many thousands.

On one of our diversity training days we had to stand in the middle of the room. The trainer read out certain comments & we had to stand in the room according to how much we agreed with the statement. If you agreed strongly you stood by the wall, if you disagreed strongly you stood by the windows, if you agreed a bit you stood somewhere near the middle.

One of the questions was ‘Travellers are more likelty to nick stuff than the average citizen’, or words to that effect.  Most people hovered around the middle of the room, there were a few by the ‘disgaree wall’ but only 1 by the windows. When we discussed it away from the trainer over lunch, most people said they thought the correct answer was by the window but they didn’t want to stand there for fear of being labelled as a racist.

I’d really like to find out the figures, it would be nice to know whether I’m a racist or a realist. I wouldn’t mind knowing whether my bosses who sanction or even demand this special treatment are racist too.

September 5th, 2008

Brian

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

Brian rings up several times a day, when he’s going through one of his ‘episodes’. Sometimes he doesn’t ring for a week or two, others he rings every day for a week or two.

We’ve been to Brian’s house over 600 times in the last 10 years or so. He’s in his 50s and lives alone, although he does have various visitors.  I don’t know anything about Brian other than what I read on all the logs of his calls; I’ve never met him but I’ve spoken to him quite a few times.

Invariably what will happen is that Brian rings 999 & asks for the police, he then tells the call taker that he:

a) has slashed his arm

b) has a knife in his hand & is about to slash his arm

c) wants to slash his arm.

The worst I’ve heard Brian do is a slightly nick his arm causing a minor cut, not much more serious than a bad paper cut or caught fingernail.

The ambulance control are invariably called by our call-taker who have warnings on their system not to go to Brian’s without the police because he is a dangerous man & plays with knives.

The log is then sent across to the radio operator (me) for despatch. This sometimes means sending a unit, depending on what the call taker types on the log. (Sometimes it means typing something on the log about Brian being a regular caller & regrading it as high, so I don’t send anyone initially) As a result of that, sometimes the ambo get there first and, knowing how ‘dangerous’ Brian is, they go in alone & cart him off the A & E, or call back saying Brian’s calmed down & they’re leaving. This also means I don’t have to send anyone.

Sometimes ambo won’t go in & call us & I have to send someone, we get there & help the ambo persuade Brian to go to A & E for a check-up. If we are successful, between us (police & ambo) then we can hand him over to someone else to deal with (A & E). A & E can’t do much for Brian. I’m not sure what he wants or needs but I suspect it doesn’t lie in a bandage, some painkillers & a smiling nurse. So A & E release him a couple of hours later. He makes his way home…and dials 999.

The last few times this cycle has started I have waited ten minutes or so and then rung Brian up. He knows my voice now. I have no idea why but I seem to have a calming influence on him. I know this because he tells me. He says that whenever I speak to him it has a calming influence on him & he doesn’t want to slash his wrists anymore. He feels better, something about me having humanity or kindness, or something. In fact he is quite happy to make a cup of tea & watch the TV before going to bed.

I have no idea why he does this, perhaps he just wants someone to talk to & his social skills make him believe the only way to get some social interaction is to dial 999. I do know that whatever he requires, it can’t be provided by two hairy-arsed coppers blue-lighting it through the town to reach him.

It can’t be provided by two green-clad paramedics shoving him in the back of an ambo & neither can it be provided by a smiling nurse in a curtained cubicle at the local hospital (actually, maybe it can, but I’m not sure that’s on the national Health Service).

So, when he threatens to slash his wrists & I happen to pick up the log, the chances are we won’t attend. The problem will lie when, on the 601st call, he does slash his wrists. No matter who has or hasn’t done what or not provided what it is Brain needs, for the last 10 years, the time he does will be entirely my fault.

September 4th, 2008

Curiouser & curiouser

Posted in Blogging by 200

Inspector Gadget's Book Inspector Gadget’s new book “Perverting the Course of Justice” is out, published on 2nd September.

There’s a little bit of concern over at the Inspector’s blog at the moment. The last post is a reference to not trusting Professional Standards Departments and a previous entry about the book has been deleted from the blog.

Over 100 comments on the latest entry express concern, worry & support & much hand-wringing over whether the Rubber Heel Squad have finally nailed the good Inspector.

Gadget himself has made no response to all to the comments & his publisher, Monday Books, has made two two tantalising comments about not being able to contact him & then a very hurried call.

 

It’s all very strange.

Update: The publisher has heard from Gadget & is not so worried, Gadget advises of hectic 24 hours, more to follow…

 

 

 

September 3rd, 2008

Undercover Agents

Posted in The Job - General by 200

Following on from my previous post in May regarding the sneaky way some road safety cash generating departments are fielding speed cameras, comes the latest wheeze from Derbyshire Road Safety Partnership who are extending the use of ‘undercover’ speed detectors.

A camera van mocked up as a scruffy blue worman’s van has been used in the area since March to trap, er catch speeders in the Peak District. The council is doubling the amount of unmarked camera vans (OK, done for effect as doubling sounds more impressive than increasing by one).

They state that they want to give motorists the idea that any vehicle out in the area could be a speed detector & thus deter more motorists from speeding. The fact that this is an area with a very large percentage of visitor & holiday traffic most of whom won’t have a clue that undercover speed detector vans are even legal, (leaving aside that they are against Dept of Transport & ACPO guidelines which say they should be clearly marked & the roads they’re used on clearly signed) seems immaterial to the Partnership. I’m not sure, under the circumstances that it will deter a great many people from speeding, but am bloody sure the revenue will increase.

Of course, it will be the police who cop the flack on this again.

Maybe a greater deterrent would be to have more traffic patrols on the roads of the Peak District as a visible deterrent & a reminder that you may get stopped, not only for speeding, but all the other numpty-ways of (dangerous) driving which speed cameras do nothing to detect.

 

 

September 2nd, 2008

We’re Doomed

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

Well I’m not as I’ll not be here but lots are.

Thousands of coppers are going to be out of a job if Lib Dems get their way. The latest idea to reclaim the streets, cure crime & generally solve the nation’s problems is for police officers to undergo yearly fitness tests. They want beat bobbies to pass an annual fitness check or get a desk job.

Lib Dem Home Affairs spokesman Chris Huhne said: “Frontline policemen (that’ll annoy lots of people) must be fit enough to do their job properly. Free gyms for officers & fitness tests will help ensure our police are a match for the yobs & criminals who blight our neighbourhoods.”

To be fair, I think they have a point. But I suspect that a great many officers, particularly those with longer service, would struggle to pass any kind of meaningful fitness test which would mean queues forming to cover all the desk jobs that aren’t available or re-employment at pie testing factories or somewhere.

It’s a shame that the chief officers haven’t had the same opinion. I can remember when most police stations had some form of mini-gym with multi-gyms & weights available. I even used to use one myself at my last but one, two & three nicks. The bosses decided they needed the space for filing police complaint forms or other such importance & have taken most of them away.

We used to get time off for representing the force at sports events, this was also taken away. There is little to no encouragement from the employers to keep their staff fit unless you happen to be on a firearms squad.

I haven’t had a fitness test since I left training school 30 years ago & the fitness training we did a couple of times a year during riot squad training was a pain for a day, but most people never did anything in between & still managed to pass the shield run 6 months later.

It’s a great idea in theory, I’ll be interested to watch developments from the luxury of my settee & a bag of chips if the Lib Dems ever get it implemented. (labour will probably steal the idea, spend millions advertising what a fantastic idea it is & then do bugger-all about it, anyway)

September 1st, 2008

In the wrong job

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

Did anyone see ‘Dragons’ Den’ this week?

I saw it last evening on the repeat show. There was a woman on the show pitching for £70,000 for her French furniture business.

Juliette Thomas is a single mother with 4 children under 8. At the time of filming she was running a limited company (or PLC whatever they’re called these days) as the sole director with a turnover of over £140,000 a year, she’d just sold a nanny business for £11,000 & stated that she was currently on state benefits & wasn’t taking any salary from her businesses.

This raised a few eyebrows amongst the Dragons & I confess both mine disappeared off the front of my head for a while.

She said that in order to cover the future loss of state benefits she would need to take £60,000 in wages as soon as the company started to make a profit. I don’t know if I;m interpreting that correctly, can a single woman with 4 kids actually get 60 grand from the state a year?

You can see an excerpt of her in the show at the Dragons’ Den home page, but I guess it will only be there for a few days.