Archive for March, 2009

March 11th, 2009

Mad as Hatters

Posted in The Job - General by 200

The homecoming of the Royal Anglian Regiment should have been a celebration for friends & families & those who support the troops on their return to the UK after their second tour in Iraq in the last couple of years. To a large extent, it was exactly that, a welcome home. That was until a small group of extremist Muslims were allowed to protest within sight & hearing of the troops & those who wished to support them.

Apparently, it’s OK to wave banners accusing the troops of being the “Butchers of Basra” & proclaiming “Anglian Troops Go To Hell”, and to shout offensive remarks & abuse at the troops as they march past. It’s not, apparently, conduct likely to cause a breach of the peace, or a public order offence. The Anglians were providing advice & training to the Iraqi Army during their tour not bayoneting babies in the back streets.

If you get so wound up by the protest that you shout abuse back but use a term which someone in a office somwhere has deemed to be instantly arrestable – for instance a ‘racist’ comment – then you can find yourself locked up & on a charge of racially aggravated offensive behaviour or simple public order. Two members of the crowd who turned out to support the troops went a little over the top & got themselves arrested for precisely those offences. One has been given an £80 disorder penalty, the other has been charged with a racial offence.

This is the thing about racially aggravated or indeed any ‘hate’ crime. You can be as abusive and offensive as you want and get away with it  but if you add a derogatory racial or gay term or say ‘go back home’ then you are liable to instant arrest & charge. It matters not the slightest jot what the effect on the recipient of the abuse is. I have no doubts that someone who accuses someone else of murdering babies & wanting them to die in the fires of hell isn’t going to be particularly upset if someone shouts some abuse at them, pots & kettles & all that, but only one group gets the extra protection from the law not afforded to everyone else.

If those Muslims, who are members of a group set up as a direct result of their previous group being outlawed by the government, want to protest about the war in Iraq, there is a time & a place, fortunately, we live in a society where we allow them to do that rather than stone them to death or shoot them in the back of the head or gas them much as the country the seek to support. Their time & a place isn’t on a welcome home parade where those of us who wish to show our support would like the freedom to do so without the interference of a small minority group with their own racist agenda.

March 10th, 2009

R.I.P.

Posted in The Job - General by 200

My thoughts & those of all decent people go out to the family & friends of Police Constable Stephen Carroll, aged 48, who was murdered yesterday by scum claiming to be the Continuity IRA. The ‘brave’ boys of the IRA breakaway group shot the officer through the back of the head as he sat in his patrol car in Craigavon, Co Armagh.

The execution follows the shooting of two soldiers, Mark Quinsey, 23, and Patrick Azimkar, 21 as they accepted a pizza delivery at their barracks in Co. Antrim on Sunday.

Two people have been arrested on suspicion of murder. Let’s hope the PSNI nail the bastards. Personally, I’d send in the SAS to assisinate the evil scum.

Constable Carroll is the first officer to be murdered this year & the first from the Police Service of Northern ireland since it was formed in 2001. He served the people of Northern Ireland for 23 years & leaves behind a widow, son & grandchildren.

Rest in peace, brother.

March 9th, 2009

Where do I sign?

Posted in The Job - General by 200

The government’s latest plans to cut crime & solve all our social ills include a new way for people to avoid  paying for their crimes.

Youth Conditional Cautions are to be introduced later this year. They are meant to be for offenders who have committed one or two crimes too serious to be dealt with by reprimand or final warning.

The conditional part of the title would require the offender to take some action, for instance, apologising to the victim, if they comply with the condition then they can have a caution.

The Sun reported last week that the scheme looks set to include some teenage serial offenders if they have an underlying problem, such as a drugs addiction. I guess this is on the lines of they only committed the crime because of a dependancy, it wasn’t really their fault.

Is it just me or does this ‘new’ scheme appear to be quite old in that it is just a rehash of the old scheme of letting offenders off with a caution. Of course, the bonus is that it avoids sending people through the judicial system which costs a nasty amount of cash, so it’s back to tea & medals on the lawns of the Home Office.

March 8th, 2009

Pondlife

Posted in The Job - General by 200

The 200 Weeks’ Scum of the Month award goes to two males from London, one calling himself “Charaf Elmoudden”.

They have tried to sell photographs of the post mortem of murdered Harry Potter actor Robert Knox detailing the horrific knife injuries he sustained when attacked by evil scumbag Karl Bishop. The pair handed pictures, used as evidence in the recent trial which saw Bishop imprisoned for the murder, to a reporter from the People Newspaper & tried to ellicit the sum of £10,000.

How the pair, who claimed to be friends of the killer, obtained the photographs is as yet a mystery but they appear to have been copies of photos given to the defence team. Elmouden is quoted, when asked about the effects the photo would have on the victim’s family, as saying “I don’t really care about the family.”

Killer Bishop had stabbed 5 people during the attack in London last year & was sentenced to four life sentences with a direction he serve at least 20 years. He has previously served two years of a four-year sentence for slashing two men across the face with a knife. Police described him as ‘a habitual knife carrier’.

The Sunday Times today reports that Bishop was named as a suspect in a knife-point robbery two months prior to the murder, but alleges police did not arrest him & thus potentially prevent the murder of Robert Knox by locking him up.

I’ve posted before on the government’s posturing over knife crime, here, here, here, here & here. As usual with this government, words are far more important than action, their unwillingness to actually do something to rid the streets of scum who carry & use knives will only mean more victims like Robert Knox.

March 7th, 2009

Hidden Dangers

Posted in The Job - General by 200

It may come as a surprise to some but just about the most dangerous thing about being a police officer – in terms of fatalities – is the journey to and from work.

In January this year three police officers were killed in the space of two days on their journey into or home from work in road traffic collisions. DC Diane Donald, 40, of Strathclyde police died following a crash on 21st of January. PC George Small, 29, of the Met was killed later the same day in Bromley. PC James Drew, 27, of Hampshire was killed the following day.

A Met Police Federation spokesman said, “It is ironic, as people just assume the most dangerous time is when officers are at work doing a very dangerous occupation. But these deaths are happening when officers should be safe.”

Some forces are working to reduce the potential for an officer to be involved in an RTC. West Midlands has introduced a scheme where they will supply a taxi home for an officer after night shift if they feel too tired to drive. Shift work can be a huge problem; many people find it difficult to sleep during the day & consequently start work very tired, this is increased after an 8 or 10 hour night shift & sometimes  a long journey home.

I used to work at a station 25 miles from home. A journey up a long, boring motorway can send you to sleep at the best of times, let alone when you’re dog tired after a long & exhausting shift. I lost count of the number of times I had arrived home with absolutely no recollection of the journey.

The figures since 2000 show that 50 of the 130 officers who have died on duty were killed in RTCs travelling to work or back home.

An accident whilst travelling to & from work has always been considered as an accident on duty for UK police. I’m not entirely sure why this is the case but it does affect claims & benefits available. The Home Office, in considering how best to support those involved in such horrors is currently considering whether officers who are on their way to or from work should be reclaissified as ‘off duty’. I guess this is for no other reason than it would reduce the amount of benefit payments made to their families when they are killed.

You can see details of officers killed at the Police Roll of Honour Trust.

March 6th, 2009

Blogging Along

Posted in Blogging by 200

In a week for so I’ll have blogged every single day for 18 months.

It started as a little test to see if I could post an entry every day for a month, I did, that became 3 months, then 6 months & then a year. The problem with blogging every day is that you are content to post quantity rather than quality. I don’t necessarily see that as a problem, some of the posts I’ve been most proud of have largely ignored by those who choose to comment on them. So I’ve been quite happy to post little & often with the occasional more weighty entry every so often.

I don’t have the same following as some of the more well-read blogs, so my stats may seem somewhat insignificant. When I started measuring them in October 2007, I was getting some 4,000 visitors a month, this rose quite steeply for some reason over the next 4 months up to about 9,000 a month. In September 2008 it reached 11,000 a month and has been declining ever since. In February I was down to 8,500.

It struck me that the biggest decline in number of visits appears to have coincided with the fact that I retired from the Police. I wonder if that is just a coincidence or whether some of the previous visitors were no longer interested in the views of someone who is, after all, now just a plain old Joe Soap.

In a little while I’ll be back in the hub of the Control Room, strutting my stuff as a civilian controller, so well within the environment which will give me plenty of material with which to continue blogging. It’s all very depressing. (thinking of going back to work, not blogging).

March 5th, 2009

Once a Scab…

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

Today sees the twenty-fifth anniversary of the start of the miners’ strike.

Middle-age has dimmed my memory somewhat (I can’t remember what I did last week, half the time, let alone 25 years ago) but I remember when the shout went up from the forces up around Nottinghamshire & Yorkshire. Our riots squads were mobilised within hours & off we went on the motorway in a convoy of personnel carriers, all tooled up with our riot gear. There was so much of it we had to take a couple of small removal trucks.

I seem to recall we went straight to a pit and were stood at the entrance to the pit while the striking miners tried to stop those who still wanted to work. We were there, on duty, for about 36 hours before we got home with instructions to get some rest, pack a suitcase because we were going back the day after for a week.

I’ve blogged about the strike a few times in the last three years. My memories of it are a bit different to the headlines in the Telegraph who describe it as a ‘civil war’; The vast majority of my time on the picket lines was very peaceful. I did get a day at Orgreave, where the horses strutted their stuff, but even there I never baton-charged anyone, didn’t get punched or spat on & the vast majority of police & miners walked away without a stain on our characters.

I had a look in the loft the other day for the photos I took whilst up there. I still hope to post the one of me riding a passing girl’s horse outside the entrance to one of the pits.

March 4th, 2009

Eye Test

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

This one has absolutely nothing to do with the police or policing, or anything else I normally blog about, I just thought it was funny.

PS: Yesterday’s post was a little delayed, schoolboy error, when I did it I pressed the ‘Save‘ button rather that the ‘Publish‘ button & didn’t notice.

March 3rd, 2009

Just a Cop

Posted in The Job - General by 200

Another ad hoc poem today. Again, I don’t know who the author was, so if you do, please let me know.

Just a Cop

The funeral line was long,
There’s an awful lot of cars,
Folks came out of the restaurants,
They came out of the bars.
The workers at the construction sites
All let their hammers drop.
Someone asked. “What is this all for?”
And they said, “Aw, just a cop.”

Some chuckled at the passing cars.
Some shed a silent tear
Some people said, “It’s stupid,”
“all these dumb policemen here.”
“How come they are not out fighting crime?”
“Or in a doughnut shop?”
Sure is a lot of trouble,
For someone who’s just a cop.”

They blocked the intersections,
They blocked the interstate.
People yelled and cursed,
“Damn, it’s gonna make me late!”
“This is really ridiculous!”
“They’re makin’ us all stop!”
“It seems they are sure wastin’ time,
On someone who’s just a cop.”

Into the cemetery now,
The slow procession comes,
The woeful Taps are slowly played.
There’s loud salutes from guns.
The graveyard workers shake their heads
“This service is a flop.”
“There’s lots of good words wasted,
On someone who’s just a cop”

Yeah, just a cop to most folks.
Did his duty every day.
Trying to protect us,
Till they took his life away.
And when he got to heaven,
St. Peter put him at the top.
An angel asked him,
“Who was that?”
And he said, “Aw, just a cop.”

March 2nd, 2009

12 Good Men & True

Posted in Not the Job by 200

I’ve decided that if ever I am suspected of a crime or a moral faux par, I want to be tried by the Court of Public Opinion rather than a court of law. I have more faith that said court would act on what is right & proper rather than what is the favoured polictically correct motive of the day, and if I had done it, at least I’d get a decent sentence.

Harriet Harman, Deputy Labour Leader – and therefore someone you’d expect to be singing from the same hymn sheet as the rest of the party aparatchiks – stated yesterday that Sir Fred Shyster, some bank executive who presided over the bank’s loss of a million, trillion, quintilion squidly-diddlies, was not going to get his pension, not no-how, not if the government has anything to do with it.

Not that the government will have anything to do with it, since he probably got his pension quite legally according to the laws & constituitions of said money-swallowing operation.

Even Gordy appears to be talking down Ms Harman’s blethoring rhetoric. It really does beggar belief that such a high-ranking member of the government can talk such utter bloody nonsense (actually, cancel that, it’s situation normal), and believe the public will swallow it hook, line & sinker.

If the Court of Public Opinion is such an important arbiter of government policy, how come we went to war in Iraq? Why are so many foreigners allowed into the country & why was capital punishment abolished?

I don’t suppose for a moment it would have anything to do with saying what they think the public wants to hear & cashing in on the short term capital, at all?

March 1st, 2009

Shattered Dreams

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

Just to shake me from the dreamlike world that is not having to get up & go to work for a while, I had a phone call from our HR Department. I say ‘our’ actually, it’s not mine at all, not at the moment at least, what with me being retired & all that (on a temporary basis only, sadly).

Apparently, all my security checks have gone through OK & they need to know the exact date of my return to the control room. Bloody hell, that was depressing. I’m just getting used to my new-found freedom & here I am already making the plans to go back. I bet the next few weeks will be the quickest few weeks of my entire life to date.

So I chose the date & now have to get some forms & papers from HR which I need to sign & return, I guess it’s going to be a contract of employment.

If my actual return goes without a hitch, I’ll eat the helmet I kept as a souvenir!

I’ve still not heard from NARPO, so I expect HR have not bothered to pass on my details.