News released last week shows that there are now more police officers than there have been at any time in history.
In March this year numbers in England & Wales reached 143,770, almost 2,000 more than a year prior to that. Doubtless the Labour Party will be trumpeting the fact that there are 15,000 more officers now than there were in 1997, when they came to power.
What they won’t tell you is how many officers are available to deal with the frontline day-to-day nuts & bolts policing. i.e. the service the public cries out for, seeing a copper on their doorstep within a couple of hours of asking for one. On a personal note I have seen no real evidence that there are more frontline officers parading for a shift in the local town. I see jobs on my box (PC) which have not been resourced for 3 days or more & day after day when the calls for resourcing outstrip the speed at which they can be dealt with.
What you also won’t see in the headlines this week & what the politicians will somehow fail to mention is the amount of forces who have a severe budget deficit & are being forced to cut many millions off their budgets in the next 3 or so years. This is already resulting in posts being combined or simply done away with – most often in the civilian support roles – but there will be, I’m sure, forces whose officer numbers will certainly not increase over the next 3 years, some will decrease.
Another example of how society is riven with scum.
A woman, her husband & two young children were out watching the latest Harry Potter movie in Leeds. The lady had cause to ask a group of teenagers to be quiet.
The group verbally abused the family on their way out of the cinema. Nothing particularly unusual there, sadly.
The family then went for a meal in a nearby restaurant. During the meal, two of the group from the cinema came into the restaurant & threw bleach over the woman’s head & back. She was treated at hospital for burns.
Being told to stop talking in a cinema & being abusive in return is one thing, but what have we come to when groups of teenagers think it entirely acceptable to go off, locate a weapon & attack a woman while she is eating in a restaurant with her young family risking permanent injury, for what?
Call me old fashioned but isn’t this the kind of thing which is indicative of a society who for some god-knows-what reason decided that people should no longer have to face consequences for their actions?
They often say that society gets the police force it deserves. I sometimes wonder whether society gets the teenagers it deserves.
As well as blogging every single day I’ve been instrumental in others blogging lately, Hero Police & Tough Judges (a reasonably anti-police blog) was struck to write a post this month based on a comment I made on his website & Twining was so moved to post something in regards to yesterday’s post about Pc Grewel.
Bless Twining, as with some posts over there I read them & I’m still not entirely sure what he’s saying. I’ve read this or two or three times, I think he’s putting a view in support of the officer who has taken the Met to tribunal for compensation & won (partly).
I think Twining is saying that you shouldn’t compare having the piss ripped out of a black person with having an arm blown off in a war zone. Yep, they are certainly different kettles of fish but at the end of the day you start off with a perceived wrong and end up with money to put some right to that wrong. It is therefore entirely probably that people will draw parallels & see that if having your feelings hurt is worth some financial compensation, having a leg blown off should have compensation commensurate with the damage done on a similar scale. Currently, this does not seem to be the case in modern Britain.
I’ve also had some further random thoughts on this level of money-grabbing (and yes, I do see such cases as an easy way for some people to make cash.)
There is no personable responsibility, we all know this, in modern Britain. So if you go for a job which you cannot cope with, the answer is to sue the employer for failing to protect you against your own inability to extend yourself to the requirements of the job. Not everyone can cope with every job or task, yet our blind slavishness to the ideal of equality fails to recognise that actually, we are not all equal. I cannot jump very high. I do not demand that I be given a job to jump over tall objects when there are sufficient people with jumping skills to do the job.
I’m assuming the ‘perpetrators’ in PC Grewel’s case were white. I’d want to know how many black, Asian or other ethnic minority students have ever been in these people’s charge & how long they have been doing the job. If they are racist & religionist, why hasn’t this come to light before now? Surely a racist is a racist & will behave in the alleged way, how have they been hiding it before PC Grewel came on the scene?
It’s interesting to note that the officer brought 17 separate charges against the Met, all but two were dismissed.Ã‚Â You’d wonder at the efficacy of bringing a criminal trial with a result of 15 not guiltys & 2 guiltys. The tribunal found she was subjected to unlawful racial victimisation when she was told others laughed at her behaviour during training. Sorry, but a 5 figure compensation sum for being told others laughed at her is just crazy. It might not be the kindest behaviour but surely asking them to stop would be a whole lot cheaper than a court case & thousands of pounds compensation.
The officer went on to make a complaint at a different training centre against different staff, which formed part of her case at tribunal.
The money paid to the officer does not come from the Metropolitan Police, it comes from the tax-payers of London. If she gets Ã‚Â£10,000 that’s Ã‚Â£10,000Ã‚Â extra the tax payers will have to find, or Ã‚Â£10,000 less value they will get for their hard-earned tax dollars. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful gesture if the recipient said, actually, it’s not about the money & gave it back to London’s tax-payers?
I once worked with an Asian lad. He was fucking useless. How the hell he got through the interview I’ll never know. He could not write a legible English paragraph, he had no bottle & he did not learn despite being taught several times by different people. He was not going to make a copper as long as he had a hole in his arse.
While several white officers in the same division were asked to leave under the failing to make the required standard, this officer was transferred to another division & given further chances, where he was found to be just as useless. Eventually he was asked to resign. He took the force to an industrial tribunal on the grounds of racial discrimination. Fortunately, the tribunal agreed that he was sacked because he was rubbish not because he was Asian.
It cuts both ways. There are some racist officers, there are also some Black & Asian officers who do not deserve free cash during the course of their employment.
Amandeep Kaur Grewal is a female Sikh officer with the Met. She is set to be awarded a five-figure sum (Ã‚Â£10,000 – Ã‚Â£99,000) for hurt to her feelings after the Met were found guilty of racial & religious discrimination during her training period at Hendon. She claimed that some of her fellow recruits behaved in a ‘less than friendly way towards her’.
She is currently serving as a PC in the Met, I therefore assume that this behaviour has not caused her so much stress as to never be able to work again. An arm didn’t fall off as a result of her treatment & clearly she didn’t die.
Compare & contrast with Corporal Anthony Duncan who was shot in Iraq in 2005. He underwent 11 operations, took two years to recuperate & has one leg shorter than the other. He, also, is back working at his old job & is currently serving in Afghanistan. He was awarded a four figure sum (Ã‚Â£9,250) but succeeded at a tribunal in getting his compensation raised to Ã‚Â£46,000.
Working in a call centre where your toilet breaks are recorded on a database, no not some slave labour outsourcedÃ‚Â unit somewhere in Asia, but the Metropolitan Police Control Room in Lambeth.
A recent order states that staff must record all toilet breaks as a “Code Three” (whatever the hell that is) in a bid to minimise the amount of time away from the desk/telephone.
Superintendent Russ Hanson-Coles, said: “Staff in this environment have regular breaks that compare very favourably with outside industry so the need for extra personal breaks should be minimal.” Blimey, he should come & have a look at our control room where the only breaks you do get are toilet breaks.Ã‚Â A couple of toilet breaks in a shift of 10 hours where you don’t get your dinner break until you’ve done 8 hours on some occasions are the only breaks form the stresses & strains of shift.
I expect what they are really saying is, we’ve cut the staff down to the absolute minimum such that we cannot afford to have anyone away from their desk for any amount of time whatsoever, even if the whole shift turn up for work & some aren’t on leave or sick, so if we make them record their toilet breaks it will somehow shame them into not taking them & we can get a few minutes more productivity out of them, which will save us having to employ any more of the menial little buggers.
The phone rings, I glance at the telephone & see it’s the local CCTV operator. I look across at the computer monitor which has the CCTV images on them. As I have several screens, I can’t look at them all so even if something is happening on CCTV, I’m often busy doing something else to notice it.
As I pick up the telephone I can see they have focused on man in his 30s, he is leaning up against a pole in one of these areas you often get in a town centre which is in the middle of the pavement but has been set aside for a few plants & bushes. I can’t quite see what he is doing because of a few strategically placed branches, but as the CCTV operator explains I realise he is trying to relieve himself.
He doesn’t quite lose the battle against alcohol & gravity but he’s close. It’s a scene repeated in every town centre on a Friday & Saturday night across the land, except it’s about 3pm in the afternoon. As the CCTV operator zooms the camera out I can see women with children in tow walking past the man. You can almost here the children “Mummy, what’s that man doing?”
He’s been there fo three or four minutes & he doesn’t look like he’s anywhere near completing his task.
I send one of the local neighbourhood officers. You can’t possibly hope to deal with everyone who does this on a Saturday night but it is Tuesday afternoon & the town is packed.
CCTV explains they saw him just about fall out of one of the local bars & stagger his way down to the nearest bush. Except the bush area is just 1 yard wide & conceals nothing. I guess he is too drunk for his befuddled mind to remember that pubs have toilets & he only left one 30 seconds ago.
I update the local officer with his description & current state. The drunk finishes & staggers out of the bush to continue his meandering way down the High Street. I tell the officer that he will be easily recognised as he’s the only one I can see with a massive patch of urine down his light coloured trousers.
He gets dealt with.
I can’t help thinking the punishment should be that when he’s sober,Ã‚Â he should be made to watch the CCTV footage in the presence of his family.
Sad news today with the death of the country’s last WWI veteran, Harry Patch.
Harry died peacefully at his care home in Somerset. Harry became the country’s oldest man following the death recently of 113-year-old WWI veteran Henry Allingham. The third last survivor of the conflict, sailor Bill Stone also died earlier this year. Harry was our last living link to the First World War having fought as a machine gunner in the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry. He fought at Ypres & Passchendale. His war ended in September 1917 when he was hit by shrapnel which killed 3 men of his 5-man machine gun team.
Harry never spoke of his experiences until he reached the age of 100, after which he said that all the killing & death had not been worth it.
Whenever I see news like this I can’t help wondering why there are so few people like Harry & so many people who aren’t fit to lick the shoes of men like the three above, & frustrated that no matter what, some people will never be willing to see the likes of Harry, Henry & Bill as role models.
Hertfordshire Police have hit on a new scheme to cut burglaries in the county; they areÃ‚Â engaging the use of security consultants so they can advise householders on how best to minimise the risk of being broken into.
Twelve convictedÃ‚Â burglars have agreed to admit all their crimes & act as consultants for a period of three years while they undergo drugÃ‚Â & alcohol rehabilitation programmes.
The consultants are not paid for their advice but have their prison sentences deferred for six months, if they have not been caught burgling any houses in that time their sentence is reviewed & they can be given a 3-year community sentence instead.
Detective Sergeant Claire Harvey said: “If a particular area is suffering from a lot of burglaries, we would ask one of the guys to come out in a car, asking how can we make particular properties less of a target – which houses they would pick and why,” she said. “They are like evil geniuses. And now they are putting their knowledge to good work.’ A police spokesman added: ‘This is not the easy way out, as the offenders must admit every crime they have committed and if they fall back into offending they face a long prison sentence.”
John, who admitted more than 200 offences, said: “Lock your shed. If you leave a spade or fork in your garden, it is going in the window. I have gone through cat-flaps – I just removed the flap and crawled through. Do not leave your back door key in the door if you have a cat-flap because I can just put my hand through and reach the key.”
Well, that sounds like the level of advice given by security consultants in other spheres so I guess it presents really good value when you compare it to the squillions of pounds a year paid to ex senior officers who ‘consult’ for their old force.
They could, of course, just apply common sense & save on all the bad publicity.
In a few weeks time I’ll have been blogging continuously for four years, for two of those years I’ll have posted a blog entry every single day.
In all this time I have not given any tips to readers who wish to respond to my thoughts & musings, so by absolutely no public demand, here are 200weeks’ top tips for commenting on this blog.
You don’t have to agree with me, if you do that’s great, it reinforces how right I usually am. If you don’t that’s even better as I like a good argument.
There is very little likelihood that I will have the time or the inclination to enter into an email debate with you. If you are concerned about revealing your email address when you post a comment, just make one up, nobody checks.
Related to 3 above, if you want anyone else to read your comment it’s possibly best not to put an email address such as ‘firstname.lastname@example.org‘ or something equally as pathetic.
Don’t call yourself ‘CopKiller’ or some other completely unattainable personal dream nickname. You’re not fooling anyone, you couldn’t kill a light much less a cop. Just shut your bedroom door & do something more productive instead, like having a wank, but make sure mummy’s gone shopping first.
If you want your post to be read by me, that will happen automatically. Since I have yet to reach the levels of replies of certain other police bloggers, I can & do read every comment.
If you want to post a link to illustrate your point, it’s best just to post one link per comment. Any more & my spam filter thinks you’re trying to get me to buy Viagra or visit a porn site. As a married man I might have plenty of use for the latter but absolutely no use for the former. If you have several links, put them in separate comments. (it also makes it look like I get more comments than I do)
Don’t begin your masterpiece with ‘now listen, you prize arsehole…‘ Whilst I have been called much worse in my time, it is my bat & my ball & starting off with an opening phrase like that isn’t likely to get you into my good books.
I don’t generally delete comments, even ones I don’t agree with. If yours doesn’t appear & it hasn’t fallen into the categories mentioned above, you’ve probably tripped my spam filter. I have little control over this as I don’t understand it. If you’re having problems commenting you can always contact me via the email address on my About page & I’ll ask someone who knows about these things, if I can find anyone.
Do post comments. Comments make me feel important & give me a warm feeling inside & they also help you avoid doing something important at home which you’d rather put off anyway.
There are probably one or two lessons to be taken from the following incident & what lesson you take will depend on how you view police use of Tasers against potentially violent (or completely innocent, depending on your viewpoint) people.
Western Australia policeÃ‚Â were called to an incident where a male with a history of violence was sniffing petrol. He was trying to avoid arrest & ran at the police officer with a container of petrol in one hand & a lighter in the other.
Fearing for their safety, the officer Tasered 36-year-old Ronald Mitchell, who promptly burst into flames. He suffered third degree burns to his face arms and chest. It was interesting to note that the police officer threw him to the ground & beat out the flames with his hands.
Interestingly, and something which happens in various countries around the world but rarely in the UK, the police commissioner for Western Australia has come straight out to say his officer was justified in the use of such force, reminding everyone that two years ago – prior to the issue of Taser – the officer would have had the choice of doing nothing or shooting the man.
Over here the chief would say fuck-all in defence of his officers & issue a press statement saying he had voluntarilyÃ‚Â given details of the case to the IPCC.
What were you doing 40 years ago – that is those of you who were born before then.
I don’t remember too much about the build up but I do recall my dad coming into my bedroom to wake me up. He took me & my sister downstairs & we sat in front of the TV to watch Apollo 11 touchdown on the moon. Like many boys, I was in awe of the whole Apollo project. I had Airfix kits of the Apollo space rocket & 1/72 scale astronauts. I devoured science fiction.
I was one of the many millions around the world who watched man land on the moon, live on TV. I’ve had an admiration for men & women who strap themselves onto a massive bomb & blast off into space never really knowing of they’ll make it back.
I saw a recent documentary which said that Neil Armstrong was meant to say ‘One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind’ but missed the ‘a’ out. It makes more sense with the ‘a’ as what he actually said refers to the same thing, man & mankind. Anyway.
On this day, 40 years after man first stepped on the moon, I’d like to take a moment to think of Roger Chaffee, Virgil (Gus) Grissom, Edward White, Gregory Jarvis, Christa McAuliffe, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Judith Resnick, Francis Scobee, Michael Smith, Michael Anderson, David Brown, Kalpana Chawla, Laurel Clark, Rick Husband, William McCool, Llan Ramon, Vladimir Komarov, Georgi Dobrovolsky, Viktor Patsayev, Vladislav Volkov who all died when they strapped themselves to massive bombs.
The accident was what you might call run-of-the-mill. A motorist, on a journey to work he’d taken every day for years, lost control on a bit of ice & crashed into a tree.
When I got there a couple of other cars had stopped & oneÃ‚Â of the drivers was talking to the crashed driver who was still in his vehicle, while another was stood on the verge frantically waving at passing cars in a vain effort to get them to slow down.
I got some signs out of the boot and set them up to give myself some protection and started dealing with the RTA – as we called it before someone in an office somewhere decided thatÃ‚Â ‘accidents’ didn’t happen, it was always someone’s fault so let’s call them collisions instead.
I took details, arranged a garage & retired to my patrol car to fill in the accident – sorry – collision report.
While I waited for the garage someone who clearly didn’t realise that the roads are sometimes icy in the winter, & apparently had no concept of what a ‘Police Slow’ sign actually means, came up the road, didn’t see the police car with blue lights or the recovery truck with amber lights, applied a liberal handful of brake & duly slid across the road, head on, into a car coming the other way.
The sound of these things is often worse than the results. Metal compressing, bending & breaking has its own unique sound.
I ran over to the new RTA whilst simultaneously summoning some assistance on the radio.
Fortunately, it didn’t seem very serious. The guy who had caused it was just about uninjured. As is so often the case, the innocent party came off worse; the law of just desserts doesn’t seem to work very well on the highways & byways of the UK.
I can’t remember his name so I’ll just call him John.
John hadn’t been wearing his seatbelt. His chest had taken the full force of the steering wheel & his face had followed on. He had a nasty cut along the bottom of his chin.
I’d grabbed the first aid kit & managed to apply a dressing while assuring him that he was fine, an ambo was on route & he needed to stay in his car until the paramedics arrived.
I sat next to him in the car a detailed his name, address & contact details for his wife. I said that once the paramedics had taken him to hospital, I’d make sure his wife was told what had happened.
Apart from his cut chin & some pains from the steering wheel, he didn’t look too bad.
The ambo & a couple of traffic cars arrived & while the paramedics sorted John out, I relayed the circumstances to my colleagues.
It was then that a paramedic shouted over to us. I went up to them, John was now on a board in a neck brace. He looked much worse; his face was grey & he was no longer speaking. It was clear the ambo crew were starting to get worried about John’s condition.
I jumped in the back of the ambo for the 5 mile journey. This is usually a bad sign, it means there is a chance that someone might die & the officer is there to provide continuity from the scene to the hospital.
John did get worse, it wasn’t clear why. By the time we got to the hospital he had drips in him, was unconscious & hardly breathing.
He was rushed into the A & E department, put on a bed & a team of medical staff worked round him like a formula one pit crew; everyone with a purpose. Clothes were cut off. I heard terms shouted out which I recognised from the comfort of the sofa on a Saturday night when we watched Casualty, but wasn’t really sure what they meant.
John was now hooked up to some technology & someone injected something into his inner thigh, I don’t know why.
Twenty minutes ago I was assuring him he’d be fine & saying how I’d get his Mrs to pop up the hospital to collect him, & here he was, in a different world, dying.
John died a few minutes later, though the record would show the official time of death as sometime after that when the medical team eventually gave up.
I can’t remember how old he was but I would guess at early 30s.
I had seen hundreds of dead people but John was the first person I actually saw die.
It was a strange experience of mixed feelings. I was in awe of a team working as a group of professionals dedicated but ultimately failing to bring him through it. I found it difficult to accept that he could be speaking to me normally one minute & dying the next. There was frustration that aÃ‚Â man had died for want of doing up a simple little clasp on a seatbelt, & anger that, once again, the innocent party was the victim paying the ultimate price for someone else’s stupidity.
If it had been the movies, I’d have left the hospital, driven round to John’s house & broken the news to John’s wife. Someone else did that.
A post mortem followed a couple of days later. It turned out that when he hit the steering wheel a rib had broken & sliced through his liver. He didn’t stand a chance.
Incidentally, blogs which have closed due to the Times which I didn’t link to include Fighting the Good Fight, No Offences Disclosed, Sheep Dogs & Wolves. Some blogs have gone but it’s not clear if they were because of the Times or not; CSI UK, Totally Un-PC, A Proper Cuppa.
New Links added:
Welcome to Toy Town – not sure how I’ve not linked to this before, perhaps I have & it got deleted accidentally
After a particularly busy & stressful shift, I like nothing better than driving home & rehearsing all the evil things I’d do to the sergeant who has spent all day winding me up, then arriving home to find some bloody neighbour has parked their bloody car in front of my bloody house.
Another 15 yards & they could park in the open parking area which the street kind of uses as an overspill, but clearly the answer to not being able to find a space outside their own house, is to save themselves the bother of walking the extra 15 yards by parking so that I have to park further away; instead of just one family being inconvenienced, two are.
What is so frustrating about it is you can’t do anything about it; their vehicle is taxed & insured so they’ve as much right to park outside my house as they have.Ã‚Â But it’s sooo bloody un-neighbourly.
This is just about swallowable when it is neighbours on the same side of the road as me, none of us have a garage so we have to park in the road, but it’s bloody infuriating when it’s the people on the opposite side of the road who have both a garage & a drive & could choose to park two vehicles off the road but choose to park outside my bloody house because their garage is filled with shite & they can’t be arsed to walk either.
The thing is, I just have to swallow it & imagine sneaking out in the middle of the night to stick a tactical nuclear missile up their exhaust, much as the imaginary torturings I’ve had of theÃ‚Â sergeant who sits on his arse all day finding fault with my logs & the way I do my job.
Police should have the power to temporarily confiscate antisocial youths’ mobiles phones & bikes.
Chris Grayling, the shadow Home Secretary said: “If we are to deter potential troublemakers, the consequences they face have to be relevant to the lives they lead, and to be immediate. Otherwise why would they stop what they are doing?
“I’d like to see police given the power to confiscate, temporarily, a young troublemaker’s mobile phone, removing their sim card, with all their mobile numbers and text messages on it, for a fortnight or a month; not permanently, but long enough to make a point.”
Grayling said that punishing antisocial behaviour in this way was the equivalent of the “21st century clip round the ear”.
I think this one has legs. I’ve long thought that there should be more to dealing with ferral youths than looking at hem sternly & threatening to tell their mother. Personally, if I caught someone damaging something, I’d go round his bedroom, take his most prized possession & stamp it into dust in front of him. If he was caught nicking, I’d grab stuff to triple the value & flog it on eBay & give the proceeds to the victim.
One thing’s for sure, if we confiscate their mobile phones it will cut the level of ‘threats by text’ crimes at a stroke as nobody would be able to send threats & nobody would be able to receive them & report it to the old bill.
Well, that shot a warning across my bows! No sooner than I post about being too quiet than I return to earth with a bump rushing around like a blue-arsed fly with double to triple the normal amount of jobs and less than half the normal amount of officers.
And don’t get me talking about sergeants who sit on their fat arse in the police station going through logs & demanding this, that & the other without once offering any solution to who I can actually get to do their bidding, much less getting their fat arse from behind the desk & into the expensive police car allocated them which doesn’t get a key in its ignition once in the entire shift & going out there to do the occasional job. I could be actually dealing with some of these jobs if I didn’t have to pick up the bloody phone for you every ten minutes!
And, just for the record, I was so busy sorting out my own stuff that I dodn’t hear anyone else, in the whole control room, all shift.
I reported back on 17th July, that I no longer intended to purchase the Sunday Times. To save you flipping back to find out why, it was because they thought it was acceptable to expose Nightjack, something I had fundamental objections to some of which not even to do with the fact that I am, or rather was,Ã‚Â a police blogger.
Almost a month later I’m happy to report that the folk who run the newspaper haven’t had a single penny from my hard earned wages, nor will they in future.
There are so many things in life we can’t do anything about & a whole bunch of other stuff we probably can do something about but choose not to. I like to think if someome has pissed me off to such a degree that it’s worth doing something about it, then whatever I can do, however small, is probably worth it.
I don’t suppose my Ã‚Â£100 a year for a copy of the Sunday times, means a great deal to the publishers in the great scheme of things. But, with any luck & a following wind, I’m planning on being around for another 40 years or so. Ã‚Â£4,000 is an extra lovely little holiday in Europe I can have, courtesy of the Sunday Times.