Archive for January, 2009

January 11th, 2009

Incredulous

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

There was an article in the Telegraph this week about the Grey Coat Hospital Church of England Comprehensive School for Girls in London.

Some of the pupils there have got themselves into hot water after creating a group on Facebook called “The Hate Group” whose purpose appears to have been to slag off one of the teachers at the school. For some reason this hasn’t gone down too well with the head who has suspended large numbers of the group’s members for varying amounts of days.

Teachers are up in arms about it too saying that pupils should be expelled for such outrages and not just suspended.

I read the article on the toilet, as I sometimes do, it’s where I get a lot of my inspiration for this blog for some reason. I was shocked to the core with disbelief when I read one sentence from the article. Unfortunately, I no longer have sight of the item as Mrs Weeks appears to have recycled it, so I hope I am getting the quote reasonably close if not word-for-word.

It read along the lines of a school spokesperson said, “The police are not investigating“!

I’ll say that again for those that skimmed over it and may have misconstrued it, “The police are not investigating“.

Sorry, I don’t buy it. Someone – well lots of people actually – slagging off someone else & the police are not investigating it? Surely the world has gone crazy? Is not the true & only real purpose of the police these days to bring to justice people who slag other people off on Facebook & MSN?

January 10th, 2009

Revealed

Posted in The Job - General by 200

When I decided to apply for the role of civilian communications officer, or whatever they’re called these days, I naively thought it would be quite a simple process; current employee (police officer) is retiring, wants to stay on & do exactly the same job but as a civilian. Great, finish one day, start a few days later doing exactly the same job.

Ah, but PC Weeks, you have forgotten to take account of the fact that various departments will have a hand in this, they will have their own protocols which are set in stone and non-negotiable.

So, apparently, I can return to the control room provided I pass the required security checks.

Security checks? but surely 200 you are already security cleared, being a copper and all, you have access to all the force computer systems, you can delve deep into the databases held on every criminal (& quite a few non-criminals) in the United Kingdom? You can walk into someone’s house unannounced and take  their children to give to a soon-to-be-sacked social worker & can deprive people of their liberty?

Yes, you are correct I can. And I am. BUT, during the time I have been a police officer, I may have been a member of an Al Qaeda sleeper cell, waiting 30 years before activation for just such a moment, or perhaps in my spare time I have been taking photographs of children’s bottoms. A quick PNC check will reveal that I have managed to keep these quirks hidden from my bosses and I will be undone, never to be a civilian communications operative.

Honestly, what is going to change between walking out of the office in a  uniform and walking back in a few days later wearing different clothes? I’m all for keeping departments in work but is this really good use of tax-payers’ money?

January 9th, 2009

Free Cash, but not for me

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

It’s just my luck really. If I was a triplet, I’d be the one who was bottle-fed.

Just as I prepare to take receipt of the largest amount of cash I’ve ever seen, we see interest rates go so low that by the time I get my commutation, I’ll be paying the government interest.

I’ve spent 30 years in debt. Someone said to me at school that you don’t get rich digging someone else’s ditch and that’s certainly true being a PC for 30 years in a single-wage family. So it’s been about 28 years that I’ve been looking forward to getting my lump sum. It was made all the more pleasurable in the summer when Jackie Spliff decided to increase the payout to males by about 25 grand to come in line with what females had been getting for donkey’s years, although for some reason this wasn’t discrimination against men, go figure.

Some time last year it was possible to get a deal at the bank where, with £100,000 in the bank you could get between £6,000 & £9,000 on a simple interest account, more if you wanted to invest in other ways. Now, I’ll be lucky to get a 1% return on my heard-earned pension, the banks will have several billion of my English pounds kindly donated by Gordy, will refuse to lend me any at these derisory rates or reduce my mortgage in line with the lowest level of interest this country has ever known, while sharing my tax money out amongst it’s shareholders & fat-cat bosses.

It’s enough to make me want to stamp my foot or something.

January 8th, 2009

Go Down, Moses

Posted in The Job - Satire by 200

Time to chill out for a few minutes.

Gotta love those American Cop Shows…

BLUtube is powered by PoliceOne.com

January 7th, 2009

Help Yourselves, again

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

Another day another law which intrudes into the freedom of everyone in the country.

This one comes right from the top, the EU, whose council of ministers has given European police the right to hack into people’s computers without a warrant. It allows police or MI5 officers who may be hundreds of miles away to examine covertly the hard drive of someone’s PC at his home, office or hotel room. Material gathered would include the text of all your emails, internet conversations & web browsing habits plus all your documents & photographs.

The only rider will be that a senior officer will need to approve on the grounds that suck hacking is proportionate & necessary to prevent or detect a serious offence. A serious offence is defined as one for which you can be imprisoned for 3 years or more, the way this government is going that will soon include putting your bin out on the wrong night.

Of course, your definition of a serious offence may well be different to that of the average senior officer on the Clapham Omnibus. Wasn’t Thames Valley recently criticised for intrusive surveillance of one of its own detectives & a reporter on the local rag while they discussed matters so serious that the judge who threw out the case described them as completely trivial?

I’ve not been one to agree very often with Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, the human rights group, but on this occasion I can’t help feeling like she does when she says “These are very intrusive powers – as intrusive as someone busting down your door and coming into your home, the public will want this to be controlled by new legislation and judicial authorisation. Without those safeguards it’s a devastating blow to any notion of personal privacy.”

Of course, I have no problem with law enforcement authorities being able to investigate serious crime by hacking into people’s computers, but there should be checks & balances. Even when there are some checks & balances we see senior officers (other investigatory bodies eg the local council) completely abusing their authority & using such laws to investigate trivial matters. I have no faith that this particular power will not be abused.

January 6th, 2009

Here’s the Deal (part two)

Posted in The Job - General by 200

By way of answering some of the comments posted on my ‘Here’s the Deal’ entry about my future choice of new career I thought I’d post an update rather than respond in the comments of the original post (well, it’s one less blog entry I have to think up, right?)

What does Mrs Weeks think of my decision to go back to the control room as a civvy?

Well, she’s as supportive as she’s ever been, particularly as she declined my offer for me to take on the role of house-husband while she got out into the jobs market as the bread-winner.

Why do the same job for less money?

Well, the alternatives would be either to just not retire & continue serving as a police officer on top PC’s wage (which is somewhere around £34,000 or so). But I’d not get my pension commutation (lump sum), or to stay on the 30-plus scheme, whereby you retire for one day, get your commutation, and then resume as a PC. However, this means that you are actually working for less money; you would be getting your £34,000, but had you retired you’d be getting £17,000 for sitting on your arse at home in the form of the pension, so in effect, you’re doing a full time job for half the pay.

So my choice, is to go back as a full-time civilian, get a few grand less than I get now but also get £17,000 pension. The sum total is the equivalent of about a £10,000 pay rise, plus I get the six-figure commutation lump sum. I’ll pay off my debts, no longer pay the hefty police pension & save a few hundred quid a  month on repayments for this that & the other.

Will i continue blogging?

Probably, for a while at least, though I may cut it down from posting every day, I’ll see.

Will you still be working shifts?

Yes, at least to start with, I’m used to it and there is a decent shift allowance as a civvy.

How will I tell MOPs there are no police to send until next Friday?

Oh, I’m well practised at that already.

January 5th, 2009

Flip a Coin

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

How far have we come as a society when everything is someone else’s fault & we take no responsibility for our own actions. Newspapers & blogs are packed full of such stories & another one cropped up this week in the form of one Graham Calvert, a 29-year-old greyhound trainer from the north east.

Up until a while ago, Mr Calvert used to make around £50,000 a year by betting on greyhound races. I have no problem in people spending their money however the hell they want (provided it’s their money & not cash given to them by the likes of me i.e. a tax-payer). As he got more successful betting on greyhounds, Mr calvert turned his attention to golf where his success was a little less forthcoming; in 2006 he bet £347,000 on America winning the Ryder Cup. How gutting is it that in a bet where there are only two outcomes, you chose the wrong one, having put on the equivalent of double the value of the average house?

As I suspect is so often the case (I’m guessing as I don’t actually ever put a bet on anything), he then tried to get his losses back by betting more, and losing more. Until he lost £2 million quid. The obvious solution, other than just not betting any more, was to tell William Hill Bookmakers not to accept any telephone bets from him, which the bookies agreed to do. Sadly, Mr Calvert was still able to put bets on by telephone, the internet & in person.

Calvert tried to take William Hill to court saying they had a duty of care not to accept any of his bets. He lost & judges recently upheld a high court ruling that he couldn’t proceed with his claims. Judges ruled that even though the bookies had agreed not to take any telephone bets, he would have ruined himself anyway via betting in other ways or with other bookies.

In a moment of sublime irony he has been ordered to pay William Hills’ costs starting with an interim payment of £50,000. He should be able to get that back with a bet, there’s some cricket coming up soon I believe.

January 4th, 2009

Married & Happy

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

I’ve been banging on about this for years, well, mainly to myself I have to admit, but I may have mentioned it on this blog before.

A new report by Civitas shows that married couples are being penalised in the tax system compared with single parents. Us married couples are thousands of pounds worse off than parents who chose (or indeed have no choice) not to live together.

The government’s policies on benefits & taxing have done nothing to promote good, solid & stable relationships which involve a mother & father living together as man & wife. Doubtless the people who choose not to get married will now be up in arms about how solid their family relationships can be and that they don’t have to get married to be responsible parents, etc etc yadda yadda yadda, but the simple fact remains that an unmarried couple are more than twice as likely to break up than a married couple and that – on the whole – single parent families are much more likely to have children with social & criminal problems than those with two parents at home.

So by encouraging a system where it actually pays you not to get married & to be a single parent family you immediately create more opportunity for the breakdown of social cohesion and guess who pays to put it right, yep married couples who pay the taxes which go to support the policies creating the problems in the first place & pay for the benefits of all the people who can earn more claiming than they can getting married & going out to work. Wasn’t there a headline just before Christmas saying how there were now squillions of people in this country getting more money in benefits than the average wage?

Gordon Brown abolished the married couples’ tax allowance in 1999 & replaced it with tax credits which itself encourages single mothers over married couples; great forward thinking there, Gordy.

It may seem too simplistic, but it appears to me that there is more encouragement from my government for me to not work, have loads of kids, let other people pay for them & bring them up & risk them being involved in crime at worst or best just being a drain on other people’s resources than there is for me to bring up socially aware & educated kids who will be net givers to society rather than net takers.

And I’m bloody fed up with it!

January 3rd, 2009

Here’s the Deal

Posted in The Job - General by 200

People have been asking if I’ve decided what to do when I hang up my helmet & I thought I’d just give you a quick update.

I’ve decided that when I retire I’m going to have some time off and then I’m going back as a civvie. Yep, you did read that correctly. Despite everything my heart tells me my common sense is saying that it’s a job I know, it’s a regular, no risk wage and, when put together with my pension, it’s a substantial increase in my monthly income.

So I’ve put the process on track to come back to the control room but wearing different clothes.

At least they won’t be able to cancel any more rest days and I’ll get to join a union which is a actually prepared to take some action in defence of its members.

So there you have it. I’ll have to see whether or not I continue blogging nearer the time. I’ve been doing it now for over 3 years, the last year & a third every single day, I’m not sure how much is left in me or whether the thoughts of a jaded old has-been copper will go down as well as they have up until now, we’ll see.

January 2nd, 2009

I’ll take the Sauna & Brunch

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

I can’t say I’ve suffered any stresses at work, but I have had a few strains. I managed to injure my back once which gave me a bout of sciatica, I think I was off work for 3 weeks. The job didn’t do anything for me, come to that neither did the doctor. I ended up lying on a bed in a sparsely decorated office, semi naked, while a young blond jumped on my bones, and not in a good way.

I’m not sure whether I preferred the sciatica or having my neck twisted off my torso in a kind of surprised, unannounced way. And to make matters worse, I was actually paying for the privilege.

Which brings me to the subject of today’s blog; head massages. It appears that I may be in the wrong force. The BBC reports that Sussex Police are paying for their call centre staff to have head massages. Apparently, they’ve been doing it for 3 years but their current contract for head massagers has run out & they’re advertising for a new contract.

Some people are criticising spending some ten grand on massages for staff out of the police budget, but the Sussex chief says it’s money well spent. “This is nothing new in organisations where staff are employed in call handling work.

“We recognise that our hard working staff can be sitting in set positions at their desks for long periods, taking calls and dealing with a wide variety of challenging issues.

“This service is a way of relieving the pressure.”

Nothing new? nothing new?? Someone needs to speak to the people that run our control room!

January 1st, 2009

New Beginnings

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

So, the first of January 2009, first day of the new year; the year I retire from a 30 year career in the police force.

I’m currently in negotiations with the HR department to sort out my last working day. Ordinarily, it would be on the day which marks 30 years in the job, but I have some leave owed to me together with some cancelled rest days which will mean I finish work a couple of weeks earlier than my retirement date. I think we’ve got the right week to finish but there is some debate on the amount of cancelled rest days I have, HR seem to think I have less than I think. Doubtless, it will be solved with a set of rounds of emails.

I had New Year’s Eve off this year, which made a really nice change, at least it would have made a nice change had I not been ill. I ended up making a token gesture of seeing the New Year in on the couch with Jules Holland & managed half a glass of Bucks Fizz. It hardly seems fair working so many New Years and when you get the chance to have a good old fashioned piss-up, you’re taken out of the game by some bloody sickness. And I can’t even claim the day back as it’s a rest day.

A few years ago, we were working New Year’s Eve so the shift decided to just postpone it. We had a party on our next rest days which would have been around the 4th of January. We’d recorded the BBC’s TV show and had a proper countdown to midnight as if it was the actual event. Ironically, it was one of the best New Year’s Eve celebrations I’ve ever had, only it wasn’t New Year’s Eve.

Back to feeling sorry for myself; I’m actually lying in bed with my laptop propped up against my knees writing this, there is not a whiff of alcohol anywhere to be had, and there hasn’t been all day, mind you there hasn’t been any food all day either.

Part of me is hoping it clears up tomorrow while another part is hoping it lasts until the next shift so I can go sick & rerun New Year’s Eve again.