Archive for December, 2008

December 11th, 2008

Trusting Solicitors (update)

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

Two solicitors have today been struck off & banned from, er, soliciting, for ripping off thousands and thousands of miners. They were charged with several counts of serious misconduct by the Solicitors’ Disciplinary Tribunal.

I first reported on Jim Beresford & his company back in May 2007. His company handled the compensation claims from nearly 100,000 miners after the government set up a compensation scheme to pay miners for illness & injury suffered during many years of their employment down the mines.

Beresford & his partner went from earning around £180,000 a year in 2002 to  getting £23million a year in 2006. Tricks they employed included creaming off large percentages of miners’ compensation as a ‘success fee’ (despite the fact that the government had agreed to pay claims and all that was required of the solicitors was to fill in forms). They also made claimants take out expensive insurance with a company owned by Beresford’s wife, in the 100 per cent unlikely event that a claim failed and the government charged the claimants. Beresford went from obscurity in a small office in Doncaster to being the country’s richest solicitor.

So good news in that they are now out of a job. Surely, it is only right and proper that they face criminal charges & are forced to repay the millions and millions they have pocketed from the ill health (and often deaths) of nearly 100,000 victims.

December 10th, 2008

The only one professional enough…

Posted in The Job - General by 200

The following video is quite old…

Only in America, right?

Wrong, apparently. A police control room operator is currently suing Thames Valley Police after being shot with a 44 Magnum during a demonstration by firearms officers from the force.

I’ve been to these talks. They are designed to give staff in the control room an insight into guns. Many of them will need to control incidents involving guns and will never even have seen one. Typical of these talks is where the firearms officer gets out an array of weapons and, after checking their safety, hands them round so people can see what they look like, what they feel like, how difficult it is to tell the difference between a real gun, a fake & a toy.

Apparently, a gun went off during the talk & shot one of the audience. Thankfully, he wasn’t killed but is now suing the force for £300,000.

The report says the firearms officers giving the talk didn’t realise the weapon was loaded.

Food for thought….I might stand at the back next time I have to attend one of these talks. (in a different building….far, far away)

December 9th, 2008

200-191=

Posted in The Job - General by 200

Unless my maths is incorrect, that’s single figures.

December 8th, 2008

More Smoke

Posted in The Job - General by 200

It takes a think-tank to get stuff we all know in to the headlines.

Today sees several articles published about the decline in the number of front-line officers available to ‘fight crime’. This comes as a result of a report by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies at King’s College, London. Which found that between 2006 & 2007 the total number of police officers declined from 109,279 in 2006 to 107,819 in 2007, a fall of 1,460.

The press reports go on to talk about the rise of PCSO numbers & how the government is trying to police on the cheap.

None of the reports mentions that even when total police numbers were going up, the number available ‘on the front line’ have been going down for years.

I’ve probably mentioned it before, several times, I dare say, but twenty years ago or less there were probably triple the amount of front-line officers but only 3/4 (or less) of the totals we have today. And we attended a far higher proportion of calls for police than we do now.

Police call centres, as they are these days, have targets for how many calls they can get away with not sending anyone. Whole budgets exist to deal with matters on the phone. I had my ear bashed only this week by someone who had his garage broken into & lost several grand’s worth of equipment. Nobody turned up, the matter was dealt with over the phone & he was asking me whether he should wash the boot prints off the doors as nobody had come out to examine them or fingerprint the place.

In a typical division in my area we might have four or 5 police stations. Time was when every single one was fully manned 24 hours a day with a police officer on the desk, each police station had a full shift of officers who paraded from that nick. Now, you are lucky if 2 of the police stations have officers parading there. None will be open 24 hours. A full shift will now comprise the same amount of officers at just one of the 15 year-ago police stations, but now covering all 4 or 5 towns between them.

It’s all smoke and mirrors. The government think everyone will be placated when they announce record numbers of officers, but then fail to mention the actual amount available to service front line policing, which is all victims of crime are interested in; they want to know when & how quickly an officer will turn up on the doorstep. The fact that the force is winning awards because their diversity department are doing great things to promote gay recruitment utilising officers who would previously have dealt with their burglary, is completely unimportant to most victims.

December 7th, 2008

Tilt!

Posted in The Job - General by 200

You follow a pickup down a country lane as it fails to stop, in the middle of nowhere, without any backup.

Don’t you hate it when this happens…

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December 6th, 2008

Worth the Risk?

Posted in The Job - General by 200

Thinking back to yesterday’s post about the government’s insistence on getting as many people as possible onto the national DNA database, one of the arguments against holding innocent people often runs along the lines of ‘how would you feel if a relative of yours was raped & they could have detected it with DNA’?

Of course, I wouldn’t feel very good and when you reduce it down to a personal level it is difficult to argue against things. But decisions should rarely be made on personal levels. How would you feel if a relative committed suicide because an illegally held DNA sample was used to reveal to all his family & friends that he had AIDS? Probably not good.

An article this week – a perennial subject – talks about how many people are killed in police pursuits. How would you feel if your relative was killed while a vehicle was fleeing police? Again, not very good. They rarely ask how you would feel if your wife was raped & stabbed to death & the police let the killer go because he jumped into a motor & they didn’t want to take any risks?

The thing is, there is no easy way and everything is a balance. Of course you must minimise risk but hard fact of life is that whatever you do, someone will die, or suffer. It’s part of the balancing act.

I’ve never been one of these ‘better 10 guilty men go free than one innocent man be jailed’. Life is not so simple, having an innocent man jailed is worth the price provided you take steps to minimise the chances.

I don’t hold, either, with the view that it’s better not to go to war because no cause is worth innocent people dying for. I think there are causes worth people dying for, you have to balance sometimes which course of action will cause less deaths.

I don’t think you can make laws based on how I would feel if my wife was affected one way or another by its implications. There has to be a greater good to be had.

December 5th, 2008

Thumbs Up for Europe

Posted in The Job - General by 200

I’m generally no fan of the European Court of Human Rights, indeed, I’m not a big fan of human rights legislation per se. I am pleased, however, about their decision that to keep the DNA records of innocent people is wrong.

I’ve been saying this for years. I was one of the few officers who refused to give their DNA sample to the job. In August this year I blogged about it. I’m pleased to see the Court of Human Rights agrees with me.

Basically, everyone arrested gets their DNA taken and stored on the national database. If they are found to be uninvolved in the case, there is insufficient evidence to proceed against them or they are found not guilty at court, they have no right to have their DNA sample removed from the database. That was until yesterday.

The court found that keeping samples from innocent people breached their right to a private life. The judges also said that keeping the samples stigmatised individuals.

Britain has the largest DNA database in the world, over 4.6 million people are recorded, of those, some 1.6 million have never been convicted of an offence.

The argument usually goes that of you’ve got nothing to hide why should you care whether your DNA is on record, and that if everyone was on the database we would solve more crimes. The counter-argument goes that if you have done nothing wrong why should the state store details so personal as DNA & given that the government has demonstrated time & time & time again that they can’t be trusted to keep highly personal & sensitive information safe, why should they be trusted to keep your DNA safe from abuse.

It is probably true that we would solve more crimes with everyone on the database. But if that is the major case for collecting it, then we perhaps should look to microchip everyone with a GPS chip and then we could monitor everyone’s movements throughout their whole life, that way we would know exactly who was at every single crime scene ever recorded whether they left DNA or not, surely a much more effective anti-crime tool, since most crimes aren’t solved with the use of DNA.

Given that the vast majority of people never commit a crime for which DNA would be useful, why should they provide their DNA in the slim chance that at some unspecified time in the future, they just might.

Good on the European Court of Human Rights, I say. I wonder how the government will weedle it’s way round the requirement to remove the 1.6million records by March 2009. They’ll probably just do it illegally.

December 4th, 2008

Welcome, one and all!

Posted in Blogging by 200

Welcome to members of the Mud Club who have been visiting this blog this week! The Mud Club is sadly nothing to do with semi-naked females & wrestling but is a 4 by 4 vehicle forum. Visitors from there & a couple of other similar sites have popped by to check out the Snow Shoes Supplied video a couple of days ago.

Unfortunately, and grateful as I am to the person who posted my link, they fell at the first hurdle as they entitled their link ‘Only in America‘, I suspect they missed the ‘Canadian Police Chase‘ stamped at the bottom of the entire video, but anyway, thanks all the same.

There was some debate as to whether the video was real or a setup. I have no idea ,but heaven help the Canadians if it was real footage!

Which nonsense prompted me to check out other links to the blog this week & how people have found the site.

Here are some random search engine queries this week which have led people to 200 Weeks:

  • 200 weeks (hurrah, some people have heard of me!)
  • tinker tailor soldier sailor (I have no idea)
  • drink driving videos
  • jim beresford solicitor (previous entry)
  • met pcso salary /do pcsos get paid ? /how much do pcso’s get paid (not enough or too much depending on who you ask, thinking of joining?)
  • grievance with the prosecutor (like about 120,000 police officers, amongst others)
  • rubs himself against the car (??????????????)
  • to let the punishment fit the crime (if only)
  • what school did sharon shoesmith attend (no idea but I bet they had a great Department for Arrogance)
  • night watch+itv
  • police action saves life form drowning (not sure which life form was saved from drowning, a fish maybe?)

and my favourite

  • steve scott night watch prostitution (is there a breaking story about to unfold?)

December 3rd, 2008

Duplicitous, Moi?

Posted in The Job - General by 200

How can Gordon Brown look at himself in the mirror in the morning? Or, the government have got a fucking cheek, haven’t they?

A party who relied on leaks during all the wilderness years in opposition, & even boasted about it on TV (Mr Brown) now can’t thin of a bad word to say abut the way the police have handled the arrest of an opposition MP & civil servant who leaked information which made them look like a bunch of numpties.

Does anyone really believe that the Labour Party/government had absolutely nothing to do with the whole affair, nor any knowledge of it? They must, for sure, think that the public are a bunch of numpties & can’t see through their duplicity.

We haven’t fared particularly well this week when it comes to dealing with cases of leakage of information. Detective Sergeant Mark Kearney & a journalist, Sally Murrer were found not guilty for ‘misconduct in a public office’ after they were charged with the offence relating to Ms Murrer writing stories in the press supplied to her by the detective.

You may remember DS Kearney, he was the officer who questioned the authority to bug a conversation in prison between an MP & a suspected terrorist. He found himself on the wrong end of an investigation for leaking stories to the local press in the Thames Valley Police area. As a result the police bugged his car to record conversations between him & the journalist. Twenty hours of recordings were made & Mr Kearney’s son was also charged after telling the press that Thames Valley Police had lost the keys to one of its stations. Hardly the stuff of espionage. The police raided Kearney’s house & those of his friends & seized their belongings.

The judge at the trial described the information leaked as completely trivial & criticised the police for their intrusive surveillance into what was basically a trivial matter. The case, estimated to have cost £1million, was thrown out at court. The relevant stories were revealed at the appeal hearing as local news which posed no threat to national security and in some cases was already in the public domain.

Certain similarities are developing. The information leaked to Damian Green was nothing to do with national security or terrorism; it was stuff which the public probably has the right to know & which would cause the government nothing more than embarrassment.

The police, or the people who make decisions within the police, need to learn that not everything reported to them is a police matter and it is quite proper to advise people to deal with incidents like this within their own discipline regulations and not through the criminal law. That cuts from government right down to front line, every day, policing.

December 2nd, 2008

Snow Shoes Supplied

Posted in The Job - General by 200

A bit busy at the moment, got a couple of celebrations to sort out which will probably involve some inebriation. This is by way of an excuse for another video post. I have to get in a couple of events before Xmas, but am really looking forward to this being my last Christmas at work.

The below vid reminds me of those days, long ago, when we actually used to get meaningful amounts of snow & used to go off on nights & practice our ‘car handling skills’. Happy days.

This one is a real quicky. The perils of chasing people in the snow.

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December 1st, 2008

Those leaked arrest details in full

Posted in The Job - Satire by 200

The world of politics was thrown into confusion & uproar today when information about a recent police operation was leaked.

It was alleged that a certain individual has, for many years, been receiving ostensibly secret information from a number of sources & acting on that information.

Details remain sketchy but my sources reveal that a high-level male was arrested earlier this week & taken to the Metropolitan Police’s top security custody suite at a secret location in London. Nine officers from the anti-terrorist squad attended a location in the North to make the arrest which involved a search of the male’s private quarters & a number of workshops situated behind massive security facilities on his property.

Jack Shit, Opposition Spokesman on Home Affairs said “This is outrageous, since time immemorial, we have relied on the passing of information at this time of year, it’s both in the public interest and the interests of almost every decent family in the country. I shall be demanding to know who form the government sanctioned this operation.”

Few details are known about the male said to have received the information, but it is understood that details were passed to him in a series of letters. He is being referred to, among police circles simply as “Mr S”.

Home Secretary Jacqui Spliff said “I deny knowing anything about anything. The police acted on their own volition after I told them to sort it out, I mean, I didn’t tell them to arrest Mr S, if indeed, that is who they arrested, on my instructions.”

A male was seen leaving Paddington Green police station by the back door, covered by a blanket. He was described as a ‘rotund gentleman’ & was wearing a red suit.

A spokesperson for David Cameroon said “Every year, millions of citizens send information via various routes to a completely made up address which doesn’t even exist. If this information was not leaked, how the fuck would Santa find out what the kids want, if indeed the person arrested was Father Christmas, which of course, it wasn’t.”

In a leaked email to the acting head of the Metropolitan Police, Treasury Spokesman Alistair Useless said “For fuck’s sake get him out by the 24th or the economy is going down the pan, if it hasn’t already. Which of course it hasn’t. Possibly.”