Archive for January, 2009

January 31st, 2009

No toppings for me, please

Posted in The Job - General by 200

Time for another video, which saves me having to think something up again..

They don’t always just shoot people in America, check out the SWAT vehicles in this one:

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January 30th, 2009

Not hanging those boots up

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

Things are a bit strange at work at the moment. It’s like being in some kind of state of neither here nor there.

Most people know I’m retiring fairly soon & just about everyone asks me how long I’ve got to go. Whilst I know how many working days I have & how many official employed days, I don’t have a clue how many hours, minutes or seconds that is which seems to surprise some people.

Mind you, they’re not as surprised as when they find out I’m coming back. There are very few, if any, who enjoy working in the control room as much as they did a year or two ago; things have changed so much in such a short time.

I think people expect me to retire & go off & play golf or travel the world. Sadly, real life is somewhat different, whilst that may have been possible with a grown up family, it’s not with a couple of budding university students. At the last count it was about 9 grand a year to get through uni & whilst I like the idea of my kids having to grow up pretty quickly & develop a sense of responsibility with money, I don’t think it’s fair to saddle them with a £27 grand debt by the time they come out the other side (& that’s if they only do 3 years).

A lot of my colleagues have come back over the years, however, I will not be doing what some of them do & that’s walking out as a police officer on the Friday & returning as a civvy on the Monday. I’ll have a few weeks to chill out.

So people can’t understand my need to come back. The usual response when I say I am is words along the lines of “You’re fucking joking”.

Sometimes I wish I was, still the extra money will be nice. By the time I pay off my debts & taking into account I’ll be in the 40 per cent tax bracket, we reckon we’ll have about £1,000 of disposable income per month more than we’re getting now.

At that rate I reckon I can put the pipe & slippers on hold for a few years.

January 29th, 2009

Integrity is Non-negotiable

Posted in Not the Job by 200

The fact that I am able to post something today is testament to my superior IT skills in upgrading my laptop; it’s still alive & able to do laptop-type things, hurrah!

I was reminded this week about a recent posting where an MP was complaining about police officers earning extra money. I entitled the item ‘Standards of a double nature”. The subject has reared its head this week, firstly with the allegations that some of the most privileged people in the land aren’t averse to lining their pockets with even more free cash by offering to accept money to influence legislation.

“We’ve done nothing wrong” they say in the House of Lords, well they would, wouldn’t they? I guess there is a fine line between taking a bribe and offering consultancy.

Then, today we see the case of that other MP, Derek Conway, who was censured last year for paying his youngest son lots of tax payers’ cash for doing work he never actually did. This week he’s been told to repay several grand for overpaying his oldest son for similar ‘work’. His family managed to get quarter of a million quid between them from expenses.

Then there is/was the John  Lewis list where MPs can choose all manner of goodies for their second houses, not to mention all the ‘consultancy fees’ while they have a full-time job as an MP. At least the Lords don’t get paid for being in the House.

And while we’re at it, I might as well throw in the cash for questions debacle & the goverment giving seats in the House of Lords to people who have donated to the party, or offering lordships to disgraced MPs who have had to resign several times due to various indiscretions (Mandelson, among others). And it’s OK to be a convicted criminal & be in the House fo Lords (Archer).

Don’t talk to me about bloody politicians.

(I know, you didn’t)

(And of course I accept that there are lots of MPs & Lords who do the job because they truly want to make life better for us, they’re not all money-grabbing, corrupt, selfish individuals who should be in prison)

January 28th, 2009

I’ve started so I’ll finish

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

Nothing to do with policing, retiring, politics, cock-ups or whingeing today; I haven’t got time.

When I got in from work this evening I rashly decided to upgrade my laptop. Things have been getting a bit sluggish & I’ve almost filled up the hard drive with porn so I ordered a bigger hard drive & some more memory yesterday & it was dropped off to Mrs Weeks – who made a comment about spending money which I haven;t yet got in my hands, and then there was a conversation about it didn’t matter because I was now within the time where I could pay it off the credit card without attracting interest on it & it was only a couple of hundred quid & it really couldn’t wait a few more weeks. I think I got away with it, for now.

Anyway, after tea I settled down to the laptop with a screwdriver in hand. This is not usually a good sign as I’m something of a cock-up artist when it comes to DIY. I usually get by but either damage myself or some inanimate (& usually expensive) household object in the process.

I managed to find the place where the memory went, unplugged the old & plugged in the new, and it worked, first time. So now I have some more memory.

Next to the hard drive. Now having been burned before, I took the precaution of backing up the entire drive to a portable USB hard drive so everything, in theory, should still be available when I stick in the new drive. Surprisingly, you don’t need a degree in micro engineering to trace & remove the drive, & the new one just slots in too.

It worked!

So I’ve just spent the last couple of hours loading Vista, which went remarkably smoothly. The first thing I did when it was all up & running was connect to the internet, except I didn’t, for about 90 minutes. I don’t have a clue what I did to get it working but I think it involved deleting & loading drivers, lots of times, which has meant that I didn’t really have time for a proper entry tonight.

Except, that I’ve just realised I’ve written more than on a lot of occasions whjich defeated the object of just popping onto the blog to make at least a token effort of a posting, and now I’ve used up another 10 minutes of software reloading times.

I could be here a long time. If tomorrow’s entry is short, you’ll know what I’m still doing…

Oh, and I didn’t injure myself or knock over Mrs Weeks best vase.

January 27th, 2009

Close Shave

Posted in The Job - General by 200

Was it me or did Rav Wilding on tonight’s Crimewatch, whilst voicing over to some video footage of a male being assaulted in some changing rooms, really say “the man was grabbed by the cubicles.”?

Sometimes I’m really glad I never policed in the USA.

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January 26th, 2009

The Lady’s not for turning (oh yes she is)

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

So the government has reclassified cannabis from a Class C back up to a Class B drug. Given that they only declassified it a while ago, you’d have thought that someone might be saying ‘well, we made a mistake & have rectified our error’.

I’ve been listening to the radio today & also seen a few TV news reports & have yet to hear a government minister saying that they cocked up. (that’s if you think they did, of course, when the downgraded it originally)

So what will happen now? The reclassification means that anyone caught in public with cannabis will be subject to a warning (so, no change then). A second possession would mean an £80 ticket & a third would mean an arrest & possible prosecution. The maximum term of imprisonment goes up from two years to five. This is practically meaningless since very few people ever go to prison for possession of cannabis & nobody gets the maximum sentence for anything, let alone possession of weed.

The government are so concerned about the damage to society caused by cannabis that they have neglected to actually put in place the legislation to allow police to issue fixed penalty tickets for cannabis possession, so anyone caught on their second possession can’t be given a ticket yet anyway – talk about joined up legislation; getting the powers to do something in time for a change in the law doesn’t seem like rocket science to me, yet it’s obviously too difficult for the justice department.

The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs recommended leaving the classification as it was (Class C) but Home Secretary Jacqui Spliff – herself an old user – decided the change the law, again.

The sum total of the reclassification will be, er, nothing.

January 25th, 2009

That’s OK, just don’t do it again!

Posted in The Job - General by 200

The Telegraph this week reports on the increase in offenders who are avoiding the court system in favour of a quick & easy caution.

A caution is basically a ‘telling-off’. It’s like being sent to the headmaster’s office.

Back in the day when I joined the job, cautions were almost exclusively for juvenile offenders who had never been in trouble with the law before. It was kind of like a ‘last chance’ before going to court & being saddled with a criminal record. After a caution, the next time you were in trouble it was the juvenile court, no questions.

They then decided that cautions could apply to young adults. I can’t remember the cut-off age but it may have been 21 or 24, so up until that age you had one ‘get out of jail free card’. Probably old age pensioners (as they used to be called) were afforded the same luxury.

Then they decided that it should apply to everyone and not only that, but you could get several cautions, they brought in reprimands, which sounded more serious but were the same, and ‘final warnings’, which weren’t always final. It was possible to get arrested several times without even sniffing the Women’s Royal Voluntary Service tea bar in the court foyer.

Some opposition MP has been getting their staff to research the figures which apparently show that 40% of offenders for ‘serious’ offences are cautioned. They define serious as an crown court offence or one triable by crown court or magistrates (so called ‘either way’) which basically includes everything except walking on the cracks in the pavement.

Eight police forces caution 50% or more of their offenders. Either there’s an awful lot of first time offenders being caught or a significant amount of criminals are going without any form of punishment or retribution. Probably, most of the cautions are for very minor offences, which will be no consolation to any of the victims. But significantly, people are routinely being cautioned for violence; some 56% of violent offenders escape prosecution this way. The paper says that in 2007 205,100 cautions were dished out including 276 woundings, 34 rapes or attempted rapes, 130 cases of sex with a child under 13 & 614 robberies.

Cautions save the country huge sums of cash but I’m not sure the true aims of justice should rest on the figures on a balance sheet. Neither that the policy is demonstration of that much forgotten (by the government) mantra of ‘tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime’.

January 24th, 2009

Bankers are W***ers

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

I’m not usually one given to making sensible plans so it was with something approaching bemusement that I found myself in the local branch of my bank this week.

I hadn’t gone there to have a look at all the money in the vault which has come out of my back pocket courtesy of Gordon Brown & his cronies in the last few months, although perhaps I should have done so, just to get my money’s worth.

No, I’m making plans for my impending changing financial circumstances; in a few weeks, I’ll be receiving more money than I’ve ever had in my life through my pension commutation. I thought it might be a good idea to have a chat with the old bank manager as to where to stick it, so to speak, at least until such time as I’ve sorted out my eventual plans.

So I made the appointment for me & Mrs Weeks & we duly arrived. We sat in the main lobby for our manager to come & get us. Every few seconds a man in a suit would come out of the door, walk across the lobby & disappear in another door. Each time I looked in expectation but they weren’t for us.

“There’s a lot of men in suits in this bank, aren’t there” said Mrs Weeks doing her ‘stating the bleeding obvious’ usual.

Eventually a man came out “Mr Weeks?” “Yes” I said, thankfully. “Can you just bare with me for a few minutes, I need to pop upstairs”, & with that he disappeared as swiftly as he’d arrived. ‘Bloody great!’ I thought as I saw another 10 minutes being knocked off my dinner time pint.

He came back about 7 or 8 minutes later & as he led us into the inner portals of the bank, he said he was being monitored by another member of staff & it was nothing for us to be concerned about.

Oh great, we’re being advised by some incompetent on his last warning before being sacked, I thought, ever the optomist.

So we sit down in an office clearly designed to hold a mop & two brooms & I outline my imminent financial change. I can almost see him rubbing his hands but not quite, he’s had several squillion of my hard-earned taxes already, why not go for a few tens of thousands more? He gives us his business card with a smile which says ‘internal bonus’.

He gets our accounts up on the screen and notices we have a specific account among the others. Apparently, this means that he can’t deal with us & we have to see someone who deals with those specific accounts. I tell him what he already sees in front of him, that the ‘special’ account only has twenty quid in it and doesn’t get used much, only ever has a maximum of a couple of hundred quid and is really unimportant to me, so can’t he just get on & talk about where or what my commutation will be paid into?

At this point, the senior member of staff, who has, until now, been silently typing stuff into a laptop, says that rules is rules and the banks policy is for one a specific department to deal with anyone who has one of their ‘special’ accounts regardless of whether they have much bigger ‘normal’ accounts. BUT, if we closed the ‘special’ account (as we don’t really use it) and transfer the £20 to another ‘normal’ account, then we can be dealt with today. By now we’d been there an hour & I could rapidly see my lunchtime pint turning into a lunchtime half. “Yes, do that”. I said.

So my manager says that in order to close that account, we’ll need to see an account specialist, but we can do that in a minute.

After a few more questions & answers, we decide to open a new account into which my commutation will be paid until I decide how I want to spend/invest it. Great. Nearly there.

Or not quite, when he finds out the size of the electronic transfer soon to be making his way he then tells us that he has to pass this on to one of the senior financial advisers because we will have more money than he is allowed to advise on. He then leaves the room to get his senior manager (we all have to stand & pile our chairs in the corner so he can open the door, move the chairs back, sit down, then stand up again & crush into the corner so him & his senior manager can get back in the room.

We get introduced to the senior financial adviser who gives us his business card, explains why he is a senior financial adviser, makes an appointment to see him a week next Tuesday & leaves, after we’ve stood up, moved the chairs & let him out.

Back to manager one, who tells us that we can now open a new account for the electronic transfer, change my ‘special’ account into a normal account & be on our way. Fantastic.

Except that he needs to leave the room to get an account specialist. (more moving of chairs, sitting down, standing up & moving of chairs so he & the account specialist can come back in, followed by moving back of chairs so we can sit down again).

We’re now beginning to understand why there are so many bloody men in suits; they can all only do one thing each.

We get introduced to the accounts specialist who gives us another card, by now we’ve got so many I’m considering drawing hearts, clubs, diamonds & spades on them & amusing myself in the corner of the room until they’ve finished. Mr Accounts Specialist takes us to his office which is marginally larger than the first guy’s so he must be a bit more important, although he has exactly the same three paintings on his wall.

So, we’re closing one account, transferring the money from that into a brand new account, then we’re opening another account into which our kids’ heritage is being paid & why don’t we open a couple of ISAs while we’re at it. Brilliant. Should be enough time in the pub for a couple of peanuts & a piss.

So we close one account. All straightforward. We open another account, going well, we then open our new special joint account only when it comes time to check the paperwork he’s opened it in my name & my mothers’ because I have a joint account with her at the same bank which is nothing to do with my wife who happens to have the same initial.

So we have to amend that so Mrs Weeks can be put on it & my mum taken off but he needs a form (it’s not only policing in which there is a form for everything!). He goes & gets the form which we sign but he has to take it to the specialist in fucked-up opening of accounts ‘cos it’s only the specialist in fucked-up accounts who can unfuck-up an account, so I ask if he can get his business card too, so I can add it to the collection.

He comes back to proudly announce that we are now the proud owners of an unfucked-up account into which we can pay our riches. Now there’s just the matter of the cash ISAs or whatever they’re called. These go remarkably swimmingly. My wife’s goes through, mine can’t because they don’t have my national Insurance number & unlike Mrs Weeks, I haven’t got the bloody faintest idea what it is, but that’s OK, if I sign the forms I can text it through to the bank later, no need to get India to fax it through the the branch, bonus.

Two and a half hours later, we leave the bank. No wonder the banking industry is in the state it is.

I’ve missed my lunchtime pint but our time before school kicking out wasn’t all wasted; we made an appointment at the bank across the road.

January 23rd, 2009

28 – 1

Posted in The Job - General by 200

A man shot at New York State Police 28 times from with an automatic rifle in the back of a taxi. Here’s a short news report. Luckily He was shot by a police marksman before he did any damage.

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Another report can be seen here:

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January 22nd, 2009

Choosing Laws

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

I suspect that an awful lot of police officers will have rejoiced at the news that an illegal traveller settlement has been given the boot by the High Court today, possibly not very loudly, lest the anti-racist brigade pipe up, but there will be many agreeing with Lord Justice Pill.

Quite some years ago, travellers set up an illegal encampment in Crays Essex.  They did this because they don’t give a shit for the law of the land and do whatever the hell they please knowing that threats or acts of violence to anyone who opposes them often work & whilst defying the laws they choose, they call on the full force of certain laws (human rights, for instance) to get their way. They proceeded to develop the land, lay roads, build houses on the protected Green Belt land. The local council issued enforcement notices to clear the site four years ago.

The High Court blocked the council’s proceedings ordering a judicial review of the council’s decision. Today three law lords agreed that the council’s actions & decision were pefectly lawful leavng the way open for the travellers to be evicted & the site demolished.

Several of the Irish travellers, when interviewed after today’s decision, stated their intention to remain on site saying it would take the Army to get them out.

What an excellent idea!

January 21st, 2009

It’s only a flesh wound

Posted in The Job - General by 200

I’ve always said that we are our own worst enemy when it comes to the press & good news about the job.

For many years we treated the press with suspicion, often with damn good cause, to be fair. We always feared the worst when it came to press reporting of incidents we were involved in and refused to discuss matters, so the press made it up (some of the time).

Mind you, even when we did talk to the press they still make it up. I used to liaise with the press quite often in my old division. I lost count of the amount of times I’d read “PC Weeks said…..” and I’d said nothing of the kind, they’d made the complete quote up. Fortunately, it was never an important issue & often was just some kind of crime prevention message which the editor thought the readers ought to hear.

There was some news of a good job today in the press. I heard it on the radio. PC John Nash chased & captured a suspect in Rochdale.

Unfortunately, as he did so he slipped on some wet grass & slid into a bush. A branch of the bush pierced his eye & went so far into the socket it was touching his brain. Go and have a look at the X-ray on the Telegraph’s website, if you’re not of a nervous disposition, to see how lucky the officer was to actually survive.

Apparently he didn’t realise the seriousness of the slip until his suspect looked at him & told him he needed to go to hospital.

The officer was fresh out of training in his first week on the streets. They must breed them tough up in Rochdale. Professional footballers would do well to take an example out of PC Nash’s books, they don’t know what being injured at work is.

January 20th, 2009

Memories

Posted in The Job - General by 200

In a few weeks I’ll still be a police officer, the next day I won’t. It’s a strange thought.

I’ll have to hand back all my uniform & kit. There’s a form for it. There’s a form for everything in the modern police force. (mind, to be fair, there’s always been a form for everything. The job would grind to a halt without forms). It lists stuff on there that I haven’t even got a clue what the hell it is much less whether I’ve got one or not.

I was wondering whether I wanted to keep anything for posterity or whether I just wanted rid of it all. I thought it might be nice to keep my epaulettes, I’ve been known as a number for the last 30 years. It might be nice to put them in a frame with the medals I’ve never worn & maybe a cap badge or helmet plate, but where would I display it? Probably get it nicely mounted, so to speak, and shove it in the loft.

I wonder whether my grandchildren will one day go through a box of stuff belonging to granddad, trying on a cap or helmet.Other than this blog I’ve never written anything down about my police career. I think this is a real shame because there is so much that happens throughout 30 years and the memory, well mine, is not that good. I’ve forgotten far, far more than I’ll ever remember. If there was one thing I’d advise someone just joining the job to do, it would be to write it down (well the funny bits & stuff that won’t get you into trouble!). I wish I’d done that.

Knowing my luck I’ll keep hold of my cap and three weeks later the door will get put in by a squad, the house’ll get searched & my pension will be stopped.

January 19th, 2009

Speaking of Turncoats

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

So, the Equalities and Human Rights Commission chief, Trevor Phillips says the police are no longer  institutionally racist.

They did an article on Victoria Derbyshire’s phone in on Radio 5 today. There was some professor of racism or something who disagreed, an ex Met Fed person who agreed, and that distasteful man Met Commander Ali Dizaei who also disagreed, mind, he is suing the Met for racial & religious discrimination.

The usual suspects phoned in, police officers who said they’d never witnessed any racism and black & Asian men who said they got stopped 27 times a night because they were black (or Asian).

One such caller called in to say he was stopped for no reason, didn’t have any ID on him and was then taken to a police station for no reason where the police tried to prove his identity  for no reason and after 3 weeks or something he was finally let out. He gave sufficient detail that anyone knowing about the case would have recognised it, indeed someone claiming to be a police officer with some knowledge emailed in to say the reason he was  stopped and taken to the police station was that he had been breaking the law & had no way of proving who he was, which sounded like standard fare really, whether you’re black or white.

One of his complaints was that the officer asked him to take his hands out of his pockets. When he asked why, he was told that people sometimes had weapons in their pockets and the officer wanted to satisfy himself that he was as safe as possible while dealing with someone. Obviously, this was racist because he was black. I recognise this as being pretty standard procedure, particularly in an area of high knife crime.

Dizaei chipped in at this point to say that he’d been a police officer for 24 years (or something) & could count on one hand the amount of times he’d asked people to take their hands out of their pockets, that was completely unnecessary & therefore this was clearly racist behaviour.

I don’t know the man (Dizaei) nor his working practices but I wouldn’t mind hazarding a guess that someone who has reached the heights of a Met Commander can count on the fingers of a half eaten Twix bar the amount of times he’s done a stop check on the streets of London late at night (or any other time) in the last few years.

He did, however, accept that the racism within the police force was not generally at the street & PC level, but on the top floors of the senior officers, much like himself, really.

January 18th, 2009

What if there is?

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

I’m not a religious man but my wife is, well she’s religious, she’s not a man, obviously (although I suppose in this day & age that’s not so obvious).

So it’s in something of a quandary that I feel a little strange seeing buses driving round with the anti-religious message “There’s probably no God so stop worrying & enjoy your life”. I kind of feel funny on behalf of my wife.

For a start, why is it assumed that people who believe in God worry, and that they don’t enjoy their life?

I guess, this message, which comes from the atheist lobby, at least is offensive to pretty much all religions (well those that have a belief in a god). Thankfully, we’ve not seen any calls for the people who made the message to be killed, nor have we seen any burning flags in the streets.

I wonder what would have happened had the message said “There’s probably no Allah….”

It was refreshing to read this week that a Christians bus driver who refused to drive the buses with this message all down the side, has not been sacked, and that there are no reports of him or his bus company suing each other. What has happened is that the company have made suitable adjustments so that he can drive buses which don’t have the message thereon.

Life could be so much easier if more people adopted the same policy.

January 17th, 2009

Turning Worms?

Posted in The Job - General by 200

Is the worm turning in terms of sentencing guidelines, specifically in relation to burglary?

The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, has ordered courts to dish out more prison sentences for burglars, particularly those who transgress new guidelines.

His Judgeship has said that courts should recognise the serious consequences on victims who suffer intrusion in their homes no matter how little is stolen as the home should be “our safest refuge“. He said “The principle which must be grasped is that when we speak of dwelling house burglary we are considering not only an offence against property, which it is, but also, and often more alarmingly and distressingly, an offence against the person.”

In 2007, of the 25,547 burglars sentenced by courts, only 9,237 received a prison sentence & one in six received just a caution.

Of course we’ve heard all this before but we’ve never really see anyone doing anything about it. It will be interesting to see if the courts take any notice. They’ve been told that if any of the following factors are present in a burglary offence then a prison sentence should be expected.

  • Force used on, or threatened against the victim
  • Trauma to the victim beyond the normal consequences of intrusion and theft
  • Premeditation, professional planning and organisation
  • Vandalism of the premises
  • Deliberate targeting of any vulnerable victim
  • The presence of the occupier at home
  • Theft of, or damage to property of high economic or sentimental value

So there we have it.

January 16th, 2009

Standards of a double nature

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

Oh dear, the conservatives, who are likely to be the next government, aren’t making themselves fans among some police officers this week, well, one conservative in particular. Step forward one David Ruffley who happens to be the shadow police spokesman.

He is annoyed that some police officers have business interests or second jobs. And has demanded a ban on officers earning income from anyone but the government. He must be annoyed that the police can actually earn more than the government decree.

Some of the jobs highlighted in the news reports this week include letting property, building, driving, lecturing & sports coaching. Rather than working every hour of their rest days & time off, what this means in an awful lot of cases is earning a few quid extra. I had a mate who used to build computers for friends. He probably did no more than twenty to thirty a year, hardly a serious risk to PC World or Dell. Another one delivered the occasional car for a mate in the motor trade. They probably make less than a couple of thousand a year, and, by the way, have to register their business interest with the chief constable, who must satisfy himself that such an interest is not in conflict with the role of a constable.

Now Mr Ruffley, on the other hand, is paid a pretty reasonable wage & outrageous allowances to be a full-time MP, one of the most important roles you might think of, possibly. Yet he manages to earn £25,000-£30,000 a year as an adviser to Partnership Group Holdings Limited, giving strategic business advice.

He also gets £25,000-£30,000 a year as an adviser to Dentons Pension Management Ltd, giving general strategic business advice. Clearly, two extra jobs over & above his MP’s role is not enough because he also gets £15,000-£20,000 a year as an adviser on economic affairs to Lotus Asset Management.

Now where did I put that black kettle?

January 15th, 2009

Cutting Crime at a Stroke

Posted in The Job - General by 200

I have a plan which could cut youth crime at a stroke & also help to save one of this country’s greatest traditions.

I would like to see the following added to the statute books ASAP & to see magistrates & judges implementing it forthwith.

Anyone under the age of, say, 35, on conviction for any offence for which a custodial sentence is not issued, would be tagged, but not in the traditional electronic-monitoring-over-the-phone type tag, but with a much cheaper & more obvious tag. They would have, affixed to their lower legs, both, a set of small musical bells, such that every pace they took would ring out loud & clear in a jingly announcement of their presence. They would be made to wear an easily identifiable uniform, similar to the orange-clad inmates on the chain gangs of Texas, but in the case of the UK, they would be white. A hat would also be provided thus making it clear to everyone within sight or sound of the perp, that they were a convicted criminal carrying out their dues.

They would be required, every Saturday & Sunday for a pre-determined period of not less than six months, to attend their local town centre & a selection of village greens, whereupon they would be made to ‘parade’ for the delight of such local populace who chose to view them. The ‘parade’ would be in the form of a quaint old English dance, performed to the accompaniment of an accordion played by a middle-aged man with a beard and a funny hat.

During said dance they would be required to wave small white handkerchiefs around while prancing up and down in time to the music, to the clapping of any such members of the public pre-notified to attend the spectacle.

Thus a favourite age-old tradition would be preserved & after a maximum of two performances the aforementioned perps would vow never to enter the judicial system ever again; crime  figures would fall through the floor, everyone’s a winner.

For more, check here.

January 14th, 2009

Stop! Thief!

Posted in The Job - General by 200

Back in the day, when someone reported a crime, we went along & took details. If we thought it was probably a crime we crimed it & it joined the statistic, if we didn’t think there had been a crime we ‘no crimed’ it & it didn’t make the stats.

Doubtless, there were officers who couldn’t be arsed to investigate & no crimed stuff but on the whole it was a common sense approach. Lost purses was an example, if there was no evidence to suggest that someone might have picket it from your pocket then the chances were that it fell out on the way home & was recorded as lost property rather than a theft.

Then someone thought that this wasn’t fair & lots of crimes were going unrecorded. The system was changed so that if someone thought they were subject of a crime then they were, unless there was pretty strong evidence to the contrary, so now we have the situation of instead of being under-reported, crime is now over-reported, there being countless incidents recorded as crimes which probably aren’t.

The problem is you get cases like this. Someone lost thousands of pounds’ worth of expensive koi carp. They were in the pond one day and not in the pond the next, ergo they must have been stolen. Suffolk police duly took the report and even appealed for witnesses ton track down the fate of the 27 hapless fish.

Following further investigation & observations the thief was found to be a heron taking its lunch. That’s a coincidence; I can’t count the amount of times I’ve seen a magpie rifling through the contents of an old lady’s purse over the years.

January 13th, 2009

Not again

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

There I was, minding my own business in my town centre (off duty). I wandered into my local branch of what used to be John Menzies but changes it’s name every six weeks, or so it seems.

I was with my kid in a pushchair & as we walked round the end of an aisle I saw an elderly gent tucking a box of Terry’s All Gold into his shopping bag. Something inside said, just ignore it but as he walked past me I just couldn’t help myself. I said “I hope you’re going to pay for that” in a voice loud enough for the staff to hear.

If he’d been 15 I’d have said he gave me a dose of the ‘evils’, muttered something and removed the chocolates from his bag, dumped them among the Lincolnshire pork sausages & left the shop.

Ten minutes later I was elsewhere in the town when I saw the chap walking towards me. I had actually met this man a few years before when he was the victim of an assault by a teenager. He was a tall man, fairly thick set, upright. He used to be a Para, I’m not sure if it was in the war or just after. I’ve seen him around the town in a blazer with the Para badge.

He muttered something abusive to me as he drew level. I probably said something about how disgusted I was that a man who was proud of his service to his country could stoop so low as to reduce himself to petty shoplifting, whereupon he took a swing at me. I was pretty upset by this being as I had my young child with me, but to cut a longer story short, he ended up with a fixed penalty fine, courtesy of the local constabulary.

This was a few years ago and I’ve not paid it much thought since, it was one of those minor, transient experiences of no real consequence. I’ve seen him about the town a few times over the years & as far as I can make out he doesn’t remember me.

I saw him today in town for the first time in maybe three years or more. He was heading to the same shop I was. I decided to shop elsewhere, not because I fear for any trouble with him, more because I probably won’t be able to bite my tongue if he does it again.

Sometimes you just yearn for a quiet life.

January 12th, 2009

Not Moaning

Posted in The Job - General by 200

Hello to two groups of new visitors to 200weeks. Firstly, all the folk at the Police Community Support  Officer forums. I’m guessing someone posted a link to my PCSOs are Human too blog entry and I’ve had lots of visits to it from the forums. I’m assuming this is the case as I can’t actually see because the Police Community Support Forum thread in question is visible to members only.

Secondly to all the good folk on the Shetland Isles. There are forums for all kinds of groups and why should the residents of the Shetlands be any different. Someone posted a recommendation on their forums to take a look here too, and a lot of them have.

Someone moaned this week that I moan & complain too much, so by way of a change, here’s a joke;

While she was ‘flying’ down the road yesterday, a woman passed over a bridge only to find a cop with a radar gun on the other side, lying in wait

The cop pulled her over, walked up to the car, with that classic patronizing smirk we all know and love, and asked, ‘What’s your hurry?’

To which she replied, ‘I’m late for work’

‘Oh yeah,’ said the cop, ‘what do you do?’

I’m a rectum stretcher,’ she responded

The cop stammered, ‘A what? A rectum stretcher? And just what does a rectum stretcher do?’

‘Well,’ she said, ‘I start by inserting one finger, then work my way up to two fingers, then three, then four, then with my whole hand in. I work from side to side until I can get both hands in, and then I slowly but surely stretch it, until it’s about 6 feet wide’

‘And just what the hell do you do with a 6-foot asshole? ‘ he asked

‘You give him a radar gun and park him behind a bridge …..’

Traffic Ticket – $60.00

Court Costs – $245.00

Look on the Cop’s Face  ……………..  PRICELESS!