Archive for October, 2008

October 31st, 2008

Understanding Economics

Posted in Not the Job by 200

After my recent post on economics, I have found something to help me understand both politics & economics at the same time…. (it’s not my own work)

SOCIALISM – You have 2 cows. You give one to your neighbour.

COMMUNISM – You have 2 cows. The State takes both and gives you some milk.

FASCISM - You have 2 cows. The State takes both and sells you some milk.

NAZISM - You have 2 cows. The State takes both and shoots you.

BUREAUCRATISM - You have 2 cows. The State takes both, shoots 1 , milks the other, and then throws the milk away…

TRADITIONAL CAPITALISM – You have 2 cows. You sell 1 and buy a bull. Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows. You sell them and retire on the income.

SURREALISM - You have 2 giraffes. The government requires you to take harmonica lessons .

AN AMERICAN CORPORATION – You have 2 cows. You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of 4 cows. Later, you hire a consultant to analyse why the cow has dropped dead.

ENRON VENTURE CAPITALISM – You have 2 cows. You sell 3 of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all 4 cows back, with a tax exemption for  5 cows. The milk rights of the 6 cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island Company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the rights to all 7 cows back to your listed company. The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on 1 more. You sell 1 cow to buy a new president of the United States, leaving you with 9 cows. No balance sheet provided with the release. The public then buys your bull.

A FRENCH CORPORATION – You have 2 cows. You go on strike, organise a riot, and block the roads, because you want 3 cows.

A JAPANESE CORPORATION – You have 2 cows. You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce 20 times the milk. You then create a clever cow cartoon image called ‘Cowkimon’ and market it worldwide.

A GERMAN CORPORATION – You have 2 cows. You re-engineer them so they live for 100 years, eat once a month, and milk themselves.

AN ITALIAN CORPORATION – You have 2 cows, but you don’t know where they are. You decide to have lunch.

A RUSSIAN CORPORATION – You have 2 cows. You count them and learn you have 5 cows. You count them again and learn you have 42 cows. You count them again and learn you have 2 cows. You stop counting cows and open another bottle of vodka.

A SWISS CORPORATION – You have 5000 cows. None of them belongs to you. You charge the owners for storing them.

A CHINESE CORPORATION – You have 2 cows. You have 300 people milking them. You claim that you have full employment , and high bovine productivity. You arrest the newsman who reported the real situation.

AN INDIAN CORPORATION – You have 2 cows. You worship them.

A BRITISH CORPORATION – You have 2 cows. Both are mad.

AN AUSTRALIAN CORPORATION – You have 2 cows. Business seems pretty good. You close the office and go for a few beers to celebrate.

A NEW ZEALAND CORPORATION – You have 2 cows. The one on the left looks very attractive.

October 30th, 2008

Of Wild Geese

Posted in The Job - General by 200

You got to feel sorry for Norman McKennall, although when you find out he’s an estate agent, maybe not that sorry.

Norman, who runs an office in Dorchester, was on holiday in Scotland when he received a call from her Majesty’s finest down in Dorset. They thoughtfully rang him to advise that the windows of his office had been put in. He was asked to attend so that he could replace the officers who were standing guard by the windows making sure nobody else broke in.

Norman left Dumfries at 1am & commenced a 9 hour drive back to Dorchester. Unfortunately, during the drive he was flashed by a speed camera at 38 in a 30. He was subsequently to plead not guilty figuring that the stress of the call-out & marathon drive was sufficient to mitigate his transgression. Unfortunately for him the magistrates didn’t agree & upheld the £60 fine and stuck a further £395 costs on top.

So, back to the night in question. He eventually arrived back home and duly attended the said premises of business to find all the windows intact. You can imagine his chagrin to find out that the smashed window was not in his office after all but was actually at a tea room in a different street!

October 29th, 2008

Geronimo!

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

So there we were standing around in the sunshine, bored & pissed off. We were a long way from home earning lots of dosh but missing our families & girlfriends.

It was the eighties up on the miners’ strike. We were at some pit on the picket line stopping any trouble. There wasn’t any trouble. Not there.

We did a couple of hours about. There were several transit loads of us. We did a couple of hours on the picket line & a couple of hours R & R. At this particular place the R & R was either sitting in the mine canteen listening to all the walkman’s we’d bought or wandering round the local estate.

Being pretty resourceful we soon found the miners’ club. We were made welcome & went in for a pint. Word soon got round & we about doubled the clientelle. We’d have a pint or two on the club & then go on the picket line withy the same guys we were drinking with half hour earlier, only we’d be on different sides of the line.

I went in the club once to find one of our lads, jumper & tie off, sleeves rolled up, behind the bar serving police & miners alike.

So back on the picket line two girls approach us on horses, which we thought was pretty unusual. The only horses I’d seen on the whole strike were Met or GMP & usually not in quite such peaceful surroundings.

I can’t remember how the conversation started but it involved asking the girls for a ride (of the horses) and before I knew it I was on the back of a horse disappearing up the road away from the pit. Strangely, after a short ride the girls actually let me & a mate ride their horses on our own. God know what they were thinking as none of us had ridden before, and I’m sure Brian, who was our shift’s area car driver at the time, was half pissed. I managed to take mine about 400 yards up the road without changing gear or falling off. Turning the bloody thing round, mind, that took a little persuasion, but I eventually made it back to the pit without damaging the poor thing.

One of my prized photographs is sitting outside a coal pit somewhere in the Midlands in full uniform astride a horse. I thought it looked so good I put in a suggestion when I got back that we should restart a mounted section. It never got very far.

October 28th, 2008

As Easy as Crossing the Road

Posted in The Job - General by 200

Not had a video for a while so here’s a quick one to save me all the time of thinking up what to post today (as are all my video links!)

What do they say about most accidents happening within a mile of home?

BLUtube is powered by PoliceOne.com

October 27th, 2008

Slime

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

Firefox 3.1 Beta 1 – you bastard!

I just wrote this article in full and was spell checking it when Firefox crashed, teach me not to use the save function as I go along. Anyway;

Talking of feeling like a criminal, as I was yesterday. I thought that I’d one more to the list of things which are perfectly legal but make me feel like a criminal.; voting Labour.

I’ve always been a Labour supporter as long as I’ve been able to vote. At heart I guess I’m a kind of a socialist. When I was a student I dabbled with a spell in the Young Socialists (or was it the Young Communists, I can’t remember now). The height of my radicalisation was going to see friends on stage in musicals at the local leisure centre & sitting all the way through the National Anthem.

I was a Labiour supporter up until about two years ago when I finally said, enough is enough. I won’t go through all the reasons Labour have pissed me off, I’ve written about many of them in these pages over the last 3 years, & I hate giving people the opportunity to say “I told you so”, and be right.

I reckon if you’re a wavering Labourite then Gordy’s recent stunt has to be the one which will tip you over the edge.

Bringing back the scuzz-ball Peter Mandelson. What the fuck is Brown thinking? What can this man do to possibly turn people back to Labour? Here is a man so slimy he makes a toad in a bucket of syrup look like a piece of sandpaper. A man so self-serving & up his own arse that he can’t take a piss unless there’s something in it for him. Not content with having to resign from one government, Blair brings him back & he has to resign again. In an act which really does prove that labour have no concept of punishing people who do bad things, they give him a highly paid & prestigous job in Europe & promise him a knighthood. How Labour got away with the cash for peerages debacle I’ll never know.

So two minutes in his new government role & we find that the sleaze has already been bubbling. What does a European trade minister have in common with a Russian billionnaire? Nothing, unless they are scratching each other’s back. So Mandy has been taking advantage of lots of free & expensive hospitality aboard a squillion-dollar yacht & curiously signs off on some fantastic tax import cuts for an aluminium company owned by said Russian over & above any other similar company, saving that company millions of pounds of import duty.

Of course, Mandy has nothing to hide, that’s why he refuses to answer questions about what took place at these meetings. He’ll continue to refuse to answer despite having ‘nothing to hide’ until someone reveals all in one of the dailies & he’s forced to go for a hat-trick.

I give it about 6 months.

October 26th, 2008

We’re all Criminals now

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

Do criminals ever feel like criminals?

I ask this because people often say they feel like criminals when they’ve done nothing wrong. I have a certain sympathy for this view. Standing in the queue at Tesco this morning I was behind the lady being served. She put her bank card into the little payment machine thingy & then covered up the whole keypad with her purse to such an extent that she couldn’t see the keys, she proceeded to tap in the PIN by feel, or memory, or some second sight.

I suddenly felt all indignant, like, why are you doing that, I have absolutely no interest in your PIN; I felt like a criminal, people needed protection from me stealing their credit card details.

Of course, a lot of people, myself included, feel guilty when going through Customs. Whenever I go through the ‘nothing to declare’ channel I feel like I’m being watched. I suppose this is natural, after all, I am being watched. But I feel guilty & I know the Customs Officers can feel my discomfort & this makes them more likely to stop me & go through all my unmentionables, which will cause even more consternation & embarrassment.

Whenever I pay for something at the shops with cash, am I the only one to feel like a criminal when the assistant takes my hard-earned spondoolicks & proceeds to hold them up to the light to check for Her Majesty & the silver strip? You mean you think I might have just taken that off my money printing machine at home or need to launder twenty quid through the same Asda checkout I’ve been using for years?

I don;t visit the doctor much but I do feel agreived trying to get my case past the secret police on reception. I’m made to feel like a bloody criminal because I’m ill. “You do realise the doctor is very busy?”

“Yes, I’m so sorry but if you could tell me how to retrieve my bollocks from the mincing machine, reconstitute them & attach them back to my scrotum I’ll not take any of the good doctor’s time.”

I think we should get our own back. Next time you go to the bank for some cash, make sure you carefully & deliberately check every single individual note by holding it up to the nearest light & when you’ve done that make out you’re not quite convinced it’s genuine, tear the top of each note near the silver strip, draw across it with a UV pen & then examine it under a handy pocket-sized microscope you just happen to have in your pocket.

October 25th, 2008

Dizzy, My Head is Spinning

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

Another late turn another mental breakdown.

Bugger me but this week has been busy! late turn in chav-central. I sat down at the start of the shift & checked out the number of Jobs on the box. It was pretty high, much higher than the average the week before.

It started about 20 minutes after I sat down. Non bloody stop. Jobs coming in what seemed like every two minutes, the constant chatter on the radio trying to give jobs out, getting updates in plus all the general requests for this that & the other that I have to do while the broom is well & truly wedged up the rear end.

It was OK though, as I was (unusually) double-crewed. Except for the first 3 hours my partner was  answering 999 calls every few minutes. – Answering 999s is measured in the control room, working on the radio & providing a good service to the officers isn’t, so guess where the communal efforts of the room are channeled?

I had more jobs than I had officers & the first three jobs I sent a unit to ended up being quite complicated. Two of them took up the whole shift so that was a large wedge of my resources gone right at the start. Another one for some reason required the officer to take 5 witness statements, so that was another unit out the game.

The computer system send automatic messages when nothing has happened on a job for a particular time. So if absolutely nothing happened all shift & you had 30 jobs, you’d get a message every 2 minutes reminding you that you’ve not typed any info on the log. Those messages have to be accepted, the log opened & glanced at to remind you what it was, then you have to type on the log the reason nothing has happened, such as “no unit available yet” & then the log gets closed down again. It can take 30 seconds or more just to deal with an automated message. So that’s 25% of every free 2 minutes.

When your’re busy, you also have to pick up all the messages sent by the call takers on every log they update, you have to type on information from the officers on everything they do on each job, all their decisions they make, all their requests.

So when it’s busy, it’s really busy. You are literally non-stop from start to finish. It must be like working in an Air Traffic Control centre.

And two hours into the shift I get told I’m not getting a break for 8 hours! 8 Hours? thanks a bunch! I think I got told sometime that working at a computer screen entitled you to health & safety breaks, I can’t remember what the law says but I think you’re supposed to take a ‘screen break’ of a couple of minutes every so often & a break of 5 minutes from your station every so often. I’m not sure of the legalities of it because I think my force has adopted the one screen break every month & a station break once a year, if they’re not short. Whatever, the only break you get is when you go to the loo (after you’ve put your hand up).

You close logs off with Home Office-approved result codes, this is so they can create their stats. Sometimes you might tick the wrong box in error usually because you’re in a hurry. So it winds the fuck out of me when the supervisors send the bloody logs back for some poxy stupid little amendment which they could have done in 3 seconds just by ticking the right box. Instead, they have to cancel your closing of the log, type a message on it about what’s wrong with it then send it back to my PC, when I’m just trying to stay afloat in a  sea of shit & derision.

I’m thinking about taking my computer & shoving it piece by piece up some bloody supervisors arse on my last day.

October 24th, 2008

Ready, Steady, Cook!

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

I don’t know about all this fuss over the police ‘cooking the books‘ on violent crime. I didn’t realise there was any story in it, to be honest; we’ve been classifying crime to the government’s best advantage for 30 years, I have no reason to believe it’s not much longer than that.

What I don’t understand is that we’ve actually done anything wrong. The nuts & bolts of it are that we’ve apparently been under-recording violent crime & classifying stuff less serious than it actually was.

The example I’ve seen on TV all seem to revolve this around the GBH with Intent offence. GBH (grievous bodily harm) is a serious injury usually involving some kind of serious wound or broken bone, so a black eye would be ABH (actual bodily harm), a fractured eye-socket would be GBH. A more serious offence than straight GBH would be GBH with Intent, so not only did you cause a grievous injury, you actually meant to injure him.

The example the reports are giving is that someone who, for instance, tries to hit someone with a broken bottle but misses should be charged with GBH with intent, because they obviously meant to injure someone.

Maybe we have a lot of failed violent thugs. You can picture the scene. “I’m a failure officer, I really meant to do him some damage but I only managed to cause a little love-bite sized bruise, please record this as a GBH with intent, it’ll go down much better on the litter-clearing community service I’ll get.

I guess, ultimately, it is part of the government’s modern ethos of recording ‘everything’ in the biggest arse-covering exercise we’ve been through which means we now criminalise people for throwing cream buns & pushing each other in the playground.

October 23rd, 2008

Constitutional Committments

Posted in The Job - General by 200

I don’t normally turn my replies to visitors’ comments into their own blog entries but as I’m having a bit of a downer on the Met Black Police Association at the moment, what the hell, and it saves me thinking up a brand new topic to blog about.

In my entry Speaking Out about a black DC’s criticisms of the Met BPA, someone replied that the primary purpose for the association was to tackle racism as a support network & not to encourage recruitment.

I thought I’d see if I could check the facts. The National BPA’s constitution says of its aim:

The objects of the National Black police Association are to promote good race relations and equality of opportunity within the police services of the United Kingdom and the wider community.

Like the National BPA, the Met BPA seems to have only one aim; Article 3.1 of its constitution says:

The Association shall seek to improve the working environment of black personnel within the Metropolitan Police Service, with a view to enhancing the quality of service to the public.

It will do this by six specific means:

  1. providing a support network
  2. providing a social network
  3. working more closely with staff associations
  4. working towards improved relations between the police and black people
  5. being instrumental in improving recruitment and reducing wastage
  6. assisting in the development of new and existing policies where necessary

One has to wonder what the Met BPA is doing now that it has dropped 3, 4 & 5.

While researching this blog entry I also came across the Met BPA’s Code of Conduct. I was interested to see that it rightly expects high standards of its members, in particular:

  1. Members are expected at all times to represent a high standard of personal integrity and conduct which will not reflect adversely upon the Association or its aims and objectives.

One (i.e. me) also wonders whether those who have taken the decision to declare open war on the Met can still meet the above requirement and further – maybe someone will have to submit a freedom of information request to find out, unless a kind reader knows – how many Met BPA members (or presidents) have been held to account by the association for breach of the code of conduct?

If, given the code expects such high standards, how have they gotten away with voting in their current president?

All in all they might like to take up my suggestion to check out Article 11 of their constitution:

  • Winding Up Procedure

October 22nd, 2008

Complex Sums

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

I don’t really understand all this business about the ‘credit crunch’. Funnily enough, I studied A-level economics. I have forgotten most of what I learned, unfortunately, this was before the exam over 30 years ago, which was a little worrying.

It does seem strange to me that the government has to give billions of taxpayer’s cash to institutions who have made a pretty healthy cash profit from charging me £30 every time a transaction goes through my account when I’ve overdrawn, & paying all that cash to a few individuals in the ‘city’, who earn more money than I’ll be paid in a lifetime, in one year’s bonuses.

What I really don’t understand is, if the government can’t find £30million to fund last year’s back-pay, how can they find 150squillion to give to banks?

It’s probably no wonder I failed my economics.

October 21st, 2008

Speaking Out

Posted in The Job - General by 200

In the 17 October issue of the Police Review, DC Rod Austin, a detective with the Met’s Specialist Crime Directorate, speaks out against the Black Police Association. He describes the Met Black Police’s recent rants as ‘ongoing rhetoric’ and says that someone has to take a stance on behalf of the Met & black & ethnic officers who do not share the association’s views of racism within the force.

DC Austin, himself black, says he has seen great changes within the Met which don’t support the BPA’s current viewpoint. He says: “Today’s Met BPA, I believe, is a power-hungry ‘political’ group operating within the Met, whose members appear to be focused on personal success by continually browbeating the force under the banner of racism.

It seems that whenever one of their members finds themselves under scrutiny, the racist banner seems to get dragged out of the cupboard and hoisted high. This is followed by irresponsible and unjustified comments being made to the media, warning ethnic minority people not to join the Met because racism will prevent them from achieving success.

In my view, these comments are made without qualification or any credible evidence to support them and are simply not true.”

DC Austin had previously been approached to join the BPA but declined believing the Association’s aims did not truly support finding ways to break down the cultural differences that had deterred ethnic minority people from joining the police.

DC Austin says he doesn’t believe the BPA speaks for the majority of black or ethnic minority officers within the Met.

He ends his letter by saying of the BPA: “It was not created to cry ‘racism’ every time one of its members is alleged to have acted inappropriately or has failed to gain promotion. It was started to help the Met recruit black and ethnic minority officers by breaking down barriers – not building them.”

Well said, that man!

October 20th, 2008

Uninteresting Stats

Posted in Blogging by 200

Sometimes I’m fascinated by who reads this blog & where they come from. In the 3 years I’ve been writing it I can honestly say I have never, ever heard anyone at work discussing or even mentioning it. I’ve had one or two comments posted which I think have come from people in the same force as me so there must be one or two.

When I log in, I can see a list of links from other sites where people have clicked a link somewhere else & ended up here. It will be no surprise that I get most visitors from Inspector Gadget & (the original police blog) David Copperfield’s. Then comes Planet Police & Nightjack.

Sometimes my posts are being discussed on varied websites. I can understand some of them, Police999 & Police-Specials, for instance, but some are a little more strange.

For instance, this month I’ve had links from Wow-Shameless, a World of Warcraft website, Wholesome Socks (I have no idea), the Alamy Photo Library forums, The Landy Owners Club forums, the Mud Club forums, Safe Speed forums, London Meetups, the Focus ST Owners Club, the Psych (mental health support) forums, Atomic Maximum Power Computing forums, the East Dulwich forum, Civic Type R forum, the Peterborough forums, SodaHead (no idea), the interestingly named Argue With Anyone forums.

Sometimes I visit the links to see what they’re saying about me. Last might I was being discussed on a runners forum. It seems someone in another control room has taken a look here & said it mirrors their experiences (I wonder if it’s someone I work with). They seemed to be suggesting that I’d been banned from a website & was using this blog as a means of spouting off. If you’re reading this, as far as I’m aware I’ve never been banned from any website so I think your guess at my ID is probably wrong, and whilst I am a member of Police999, I don’t post there very often.

So far this month I’ve had 3,500 unique visitors & 35,000 page loads. I get most visits on a Thursday or Friday. Surprisingly, the vast majority of visits appear to be from the USA, almost 10 times as many as the UK, with Europe, Israel, Argentina & Canada next, in order. Other countries include Greece, Germany, Australia, Spain, France, China, Hong Kong, Panama, Switzerland, Netherlands, Japan, Finland, Norway, South Africa, Yugoslavia, Ireland, & 25 other countries.

Anyway, enough of the meaningless drivel, it’s juts an excuse for another post to keep up the count & maybe attract some more really obscure weblinks.

October 19th, 2008

Scary Times

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

Things are getting a little scary round at 200 Towers about now.

The impending retirement is starting to loom much larger on the horizon. This Christmas will see my last one as a police officer. Being as it seems like I’ve been one since God was in short trousers, the thought of applying for jobs is somewhat, er, frightening, yep, if I’m honest, frightening.

I’ve not applied for anything in my entire adult life, certainly not anything I’ve been required to provide a CV for. I can’t remember anything about applying for a job as a police officer. So I don’t know whether I had to put anything down on paper about my capabilities. All I know is I think I applied during the school holidays after I left the sixth form, had an interview & started  a few weeks later, 30 years ago.  I’ve started to compile my CV. The tricky thing is finding anything to actually put in it. I’ve read CV-writing websites until all the advice has merged into one and it still only has a paragraph in it. Being a hairy-arsed copper for 30 years must give you some skills but finding them & putting them on paper isn’t as easy as I thought.

I’m also developing this strange desire to read the job adverts in my local papers. I honestly haven’t decided what to do. I’m thinking about just having a few months of chilling which will give me more time to put off applying for a job. The choices I have appear to be;

  • apply to come back as a civvy in the control room (safe but not particularly happy)
  • apply to come back in some other civvy role within the police organisation (safe but are other departments any better than mine – can they be any worse!)
  • apply for some, as yet, unknown job outside the force.
  • have a few months off, go abroad, chill out & then back to the 3 choices above.

hmm…..

October 18th, 2008

Saving the Bacon

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

I used to love my job. There really is nothing better than front-line policing. It’s not a job that most people could do, and there is a certain buzz when you’re actually out there, making a difference.

I enjoy my current role. It’s removed from the front-line but I like to think much less removed than most of the other policing roles. I also like to think I make a difference here too, helping those on the front-line where I worked for so long.

As much as I loved the role of a front-line officer, I would not do it for free. The remuneration for being a cop is reasonably good. OK, you’ll never get rich, but you don’t join the job to make a wad of cash. Plus the pension is was really great (as I am shortly to discover).

Special Constables are front-line volunteers who do the job for nothing, zilch, bugger all, well, apart from the occasional expenses. They don’t get paid. They give up their free time to come in, put the uniform on and go out there. Depending on their role they can face exactly the same hazards & danger as the rest of us. OK, they have the same equipment, but their training is not as thorough as us regulars & they can still end up on the wrong end of an assault or injury.

Sometimes, I’m amazed how much we rely on them. Specials work an awful lot of weekends, just when we are at our busiest. Some work late turns finishing well into the wee small hours, some work whole night shifts. Some come in for a few hours & lots come in and do a whole 8 or 10 hour shift.

Sure, there are lots of things they can’t do. Of necessity, due to their training, they can’t deal with everything but they’ll take most things.

Last weekend was just such an example. We had 4 teams of specials on, and had it not been for them we’d have been in some serious trouble.

You get weekends when, for some unknown reason, the wheel comes off & we are rushed off our feet. Violence & disorder just seems to rocket, call it full moon, call it mob mentality, I don’t know. There are just days when unrelated incidents all involve disorder, all over the place.

The specials took the lions share of the jobs, this was because we had a major job where the shift made some arrests and 80% of our front-line resources were then tucked up & off the road for the whole shift. Unfortunately, this doesn’t stop everyone else fighting. You can’t tell the 999 operators just to tell folk we haven’t got anyone & can they ring back tomorrow; the calls still keep coming.

We had about 10 specials working, this was almost as many as the whole night shift that paraded. 8 of them had to stay on past their 2am shift, 3 of them didn’t get off until 7 in the morning. One of them was assaulted during the shift. It’s not unusual for them to be kept on shift after their duty time; we rely on it, often.

They worked really hard last weekend. Most of them have full-time jobs.

I enjoyed the job but, nah, I wouldn’t do it for nothing.

October 17th, 2008

New Police Pay Deal

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

So, a new three-year pay deal.

2.65% this year, 0.05% less each year thereafter.

October 16th, 2008

The Writing’s on the Wall

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

Thanks to a heads-up from a reader for this story.

Council chiefs in Wadebridge, Cornwall have built a 6ft high by 30ft long wall in a park so that local vandals have somewhere other than railway bridges & people’s garages to practice their artistic talents.

Built at a cost of £3000, the wall is designed to be a home to all the town’s grafitti. It is the brainchild of Police Sergeant Robin Moorcroft.

Prior to the official opening of the wall at the end of October, someone has sneaked under the fence & sprayed “I paid my tax & all I got was this lousy wall!!” Ironically, the wall was apparently built with donations of materials & labour from local people & businesses but will now have to be repainted at tax-payers’ expense.

Sgt Moorcroft isn’t happy & says he will be criming & fully investigating the matter, which is rather strange given that police fail to investigate the vast majority of petty vandalism. (see my blog entry yesterday) I suppose that’s unless it’s a pet project of the local police which gets damaged.

Time will tell whether acts of grafitti vandalism go down when the wall is ‘opened’ & whether this is money well spent. I recall a similar project somewhere else in the country was blighted by grafitti panels being pulled down by vandals before anyone got a chance to spray them with sub-standard scribblings.

I don’t know, we’ll have NHS trusts spending £400,000 on yachts to treat unemployed youngsters next…

October 15th, 2008

Blog Updates

Posted in Blogging by 200

I’ve removed some of the links as they are now either inactive or deleted:

I’ve added a couple of new ones:

If you have a police blog & you want to trade links, please let me know (my email address is on my ‘About‘ page.

October 14th, 2008

Excellent Service

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

The Telegraph reports today that Norfolk Police are refusing to investigate one in four crimes. Unless there is a realistic prospect of catching someone, they will now decline to attend reports. The reports says that car crime, vandalism & thefts from outhouses will go largely uninvestigated.

I’m surprised this is news, I thought it was standard practice, to be honest. We stopped attending all crimes years ago. Most crime investigation goes along the lines of;

  • crime is reported
  • police officer turns up at some stage
  • police officer asks if victim knows who did it, victim usually says no
  • police officer asks neighbours if they know who did it, they normally say no.
  • police officer notes that the incident wasn’t recorded on CCTV anywhere
  • police officer makes report of crime & says he doesn’t know who did it either
  • nothing else happens

We now don’t attend most crimes. There are some we always attend, even if it is several days later (as it often is). We attend all burglaries & assaults. We won’t attend thefts where there isn’t a named offender; you could lose some seriously expensive stuff – many, many thousands of pounds worth & we ain’t interested (but if you tell an ethnic minority to go back home, we’ll be round like a shot.)

We don’t attend damage or graffiti (unless it’s racist), we don’t attend most credit card fraud (we get the banks to report it, they rarely do, the stats must look really good these days).

We don’t do all this despite the fact that we have more police officers than we’ve had in history & in theory could attend every report of a crime within 15 minutes, guaranteed, if only all those officers were working on the front line.

In all the thousands & thousands of times I’ve done house to house enquiries after the fact, I can’t think of a single occasion where someone said, “Oh yeah, I saw it all, Jimmy Shit from down the road did it”.

Personally, even though most crime investigation is really a waste of time, I think it’s shocking that we don’t attend most crimes. If there is one thing we could do to boost the image of the police & make people feel a little better about their loss, it would be to actually turn up.

I think the reason we don’t attend is to make the crime figures better, after all, how many people must there be who have had a crime & said ‘well I don’t bother reporting it because the police never do anything, there’s no point’? There must be millions. (Actually, I have no idea, but it supports my argument better if we accept there are loads of unreported crimes)

October 13th, 2008

Hear No Evil

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

Apparently, PC Andrews is causing more angst on his shift.

I was working with one of the girls on his shift recently & talk got round to what’s happening on each other’s shifts; catching up on the goss, as it were.

Apart from the usual comparisons as to which shift has the least amount of staff & the most sickness, most of the conversation was about PC Andrews.

It seems there aren’t many people who are prepared to work with him.

As usual, the people who shout the loudest get what they want & that’s to sit anywhere not with said numpty. The people who are either too timid or indifferent to rock the boat get shafted.

Hannah is one of the timid types. She doesn’t want to say too much on her shift & especially to the supervisors; she doesn’t want to be seen as a complainer & if she did get her way not to work with him she’d feel guilty that someone else would have to.

She doesn’t like him, actually that’s pretty much an understatement. She hates working with him. He’s been in the control room five minutes but thinks he knows it all. She hates the way he ‘controls’. She hates the way he speaks to officers. She hates the way he winds everyone up with his rude, brash & arrogant manner. He does this to such an extent that officers refuse to answer their radio to him. This makes both their jobs difficult. She hates his mannerisms.

As she regaled me with the various stories of his incompetence & arrogance it was clear how much it affected her. I was sure I could see tears in her eyes. She hates it so much that she has almost phoned in sick when she’s rostered to work with him.

Some people of his ilk et dealt with speedily & effectively. Others seem to drift around never getting sorted & inflicting misery on anyone unfortunate enough to be around them. PC Andrews is just such an example of the second type. Shunted from one department to the next because nobody is prepared to grasp the nettle, it’s easier to move him on somewhere else to become someone else’s problem. Job done.

I hope I’ve persuaded Hannah to speak with someone about it, there are various avenues she can take. There’s no reason people like her should suffer, it’s bad enough under the current working practices in the room without tossers like him making it worse.

October 12th, 2008

They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

They say we’re a nation of animal lovers. Sometimes it’s easier to deal with people, after all, we are usually masters of our own actions, effects & therefore destiny, we have choices.

I was on patrol one night shift when I got a call to a report of a horse running down the road. This was not unusual, particularly in the more rural areas. Horses get out of their fields all the time either through gates left open by irresponsible walkers, or through holes in fences the owners are too busy, lazy or tight to repair.

The particular horse got out onto the main road. This road is unlit & carries traffic across the whole police force area. It’s not unusual for cars to be travelling at 90mph or faster, particularly at night when most of us bobbies are tucked up in some lay-by somewhere.

As I got into the area where the horse had been reported I could see ahead that all was not well.

There were a couple of cars stationary in the middle of the road with their hazards on. Another car had left the road & was perched precariously on a ledge at the side of the road.

As I got closer I saw the horse lying down on all fours, I say lying, lying in the same way that a horse would end up if you kicked all it’s legs away from it. It was trying to get up, its feet scrabbling around on the tarmac like it was on an ice rink.

The reason it couldn’t get up was because one of its front legs had snapped in two, the lower leg hanging on to the upper leg by some tendons & skin.

There was an almighty gash from its neck down to it’s stomach, not dissimilar to the incision you’d see down some one’s chest if they were lying on a mortuary slab.

The car, now on the ledge, had struck the horse & swerved off the road. The driover’s door was hanging over a 20 foot drop to a river bed below. If the driver had exited the car by that door he’d have dropped like a stone.

As the car mounted the offside verge, before coming to a stop, it had somehow struck a metal sign pole. The sign had disappeared into the night but the pole had come through the grill, missed the engine block & come up through the bulkhead into the space where the passenger – if there’d been one – would have been sitting. I breathed a sigh of praise that there wasn’t a passenger, I’ve seen people with long hard things sticking out of them in RTCs and it’s not very pleasant.

The driver was still in the car. He was fine, all things considered. Had he not been in shock I;m sure he’d have gotten out of the car & not been found for a while. He owned a local restaurant & I recognised him straight away. Fortunately for his wife, she’d been taken ill & hadn’t come to the restaurant that day, otherwise she’d have been killed.

The horse must have been in absolute agony. I never know whether they feel pain the same way as we do nor whether they understand what has happened to them & why they can’t get up, maybe everything is just instinct. It wasn’t nice to watch & there was nothing anyone could do, save whacking it round the head with a shovel. If it had been a rabbit or a fox then maybe, but a horse?

I called up on the radio & asked them to send the firearms unit down to put it out of its misery. This, apparently, didn’t fit any profiles so was declined after a few minutes of control room enquiries.

What abut one of the local game keepers, can’t we get one of them down with a rifle or shotgun? No.

We had to wait for a vet to attend from the other side of the nearest town. It was a long 40 minutes but thankfully the horse passed away before the vet arrived.

It was eventually dragged by a metal cable onto the back of a car recovery truck & taken away. I have no idea where the garage took it, I wasn’t that interested by then.

Every time I saw the restaurant owner after that he commented on how thankful he was for the British weather which had goven his wife a cold that day.

I never met the owner of the horse.