We saw another example of the true colours of this government today when they sacked Professor David Nutt, the government’s chief drugs advisor after he failed to come up with the research results the government wanted on how dangerous cannabis is.
Cannabis was reclassified some years ago from a Class B to a Class C drug with guidance that the police did no more than ‘told people off’ for smoking it. This didn’t go down well in some circles, as the government realised that it might lose a few votes for doing this as clearly cannabis sends everyone mental & leads to society falling over. The government decided to reclassify it back to class B despite the fact that it’s own scientific advisory body found it was no more dangerous than when the government realised it wasn’t so dangerous as to remain a Class B drug & shifted it down the scale. Unsurprisingly, nobody in the government has taken any responsibility for making a mistake in the whole issue.
Professor Nutt said on Radio 4: “He (Gordon Brown) is the first prime minister, this is the first government, that has ever in the history of the Misuse of Drugs Act gone against the advice of its scientific panel.
“And then it did it again with ecstasy and I have to say it’s not about [me] overstepping the line, it’s about the government overstepping the line. They are making scientific decisions before they’ve even consulted with their experts.
“I know that my committee was very, very upset by the attitude the prime minister took over cannabis. We actually formally wrote to him to complain about it,” he said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them stepped down. Maybe all of them will.”
Home Secretary, Alan Johnson said in a letter to Nutt:Ã‚Â “It is important that the government’s messages on drugs are clear and as an adviser you do nothing to undermine the public understanding of them,” Johnson wrote to Nutt.
“As my lead adviser on drugs harm I am afraid the manner in which you have acted runs contrary to your responsibilities.
“I cannot have public confusion between scientific advice and policy and have therefore lost confidence in your ability to advise me as chair of the ACMD.”
I think the only confusion the public will have is if the experts say Cannabis should remain as a Class C drug, why are the government putting it back to Class B? Surely, the idea of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs is to provide independent scientific evidence-based advice, not to cow-tow to whatever the government wants that research to say.
King’s College Centre for Drime & Justice’s director said: “I’m shocked and dismayed that the home secretary appears to believe that political calculation trumps honest and informed scientific opinion.” while Professor Colin Blakemore, ex chief executive of the Medical Research Council said: “If ministers decide to go against the recommendations of their own experts, I really think the public is entitled to know why.”
A regular topic in the policing world is the worth or otherwise of PCSOs & the concept of using what basically are cheaper resources to do what has been historically regarded as police work. Usually the argument goes that PCSOs don’t have sufficient powers or training & aren’t police officers ergo they are a waste of space.
You don’t hear the same discussions about HATOs – Highways Agency Traffic Officers. This was a new concept which came in between 2004 & 2006 & basically civilianisedÃ‚Â any of the road traffic responsibilities on the country’s motorways & major trunk roads. Their responsibilities include assisting police,Ã‚Â damage-only accidents, broken down & abandoned vehicles, clearing debris, sorting out road closures, high visibility patrols & educating road users. In doing so they patrol 2025 miles of motorway, have 152 vehicles, mainly 4x4s & deal with 850 incidents a day.
I’m not sure whether there is little criticism if HATOs because there are less of them & their role is less well known or whether they are more highly thought of than PCSOs (generally) or whether the people who do complain about them aren’t as vocal as those who complain about the PCSO role, or something else.
I guess that less police officers come across HATOs because by the nature of their role most of their work is restricted to the motorways & therefore it’s likely to be only the dying breed of traffic officers that interact with a HATO.
From a personal perspective, as a controller, they have been quite successful in their role & have taken a pretty significant amount of work from the police. They deal with just about all non-injury RTCs on our motorway as well as just about all broken down vehicles, including those that break down in the middle of live carriageways. They also take all the reports of debris in the carriageway; it’s amazing how many times a day various items fall off vehicles, from blown lorry tyres, to luggage & ladders off roof racks, to truck gearboxes & everything in between.
In theory this frees up traffic officers to deal with serious accidents & traffic law enforcement/education. But in practice they’ve just made the traffic departments smaller & moved them on to ANPR-related tasking to get arrest figures & vehicle seizure figures up.
IÃ‚Â know when they first came in there were a few traffic officers who felt they were unprofessional or even dangerous – motorways can be really scary – but I think this could have been because the service was so new a few staff had any experience of motorway ‘policing’.
Whatever the experiences a few years ago, I don’t hear many officers complaining about HATOs in anywhere near the numbers who do so about PCSOs.
So it’s 5.30 in the morning & I’ve been at work for over 7 hours. As usual, I’m single crewed & the way the desks are laid out I don’t have anyone to talk to except the disembodied voices on the end of the radio, & there’s less of them since 50% of them are in custody. It’s been so quiet that the boys & girls in blue have been able to try some early morning door-knocks for people who are wanted. They’ve been successful on one of them, wanted for an old undetected theft, the officers have been surprised to find him not only at home, but willing to answer the door to someone who invariably wears a uniform when the doorbell goes at 4.30 in the morning. Mug. Everyone else just rolls over & ignores us – if they’ve got any sense.
50% of the shift seems quite a lot but it’s only 50% of 4 vehicles policing the town & all the surrounding villages.
I’m wishing one of the other two would just spot a vehicle & do a check on it over the radio; sleep tempts me & my eyelids are doing impressions of the York weights I have lying unused in my shed until I can find the impetus to pick them up.
Sounds in the room are muted. Only the sound of computer keys being rapidly pressed from various directions, the occasional “go ahead, over,” sometimes policing is slow & tedious, it’s not all fast cars & blue suits.
The next town has a fight on the go, another is dealing with a high-risk missing person. It’s the 3rd time this month he’s gone missing, we’ll run around checking addresses, searching the parks where the kids who stay out too long hang out. She’ll turn up in her own time when she gets fed up or her mates’ parents refuse to feed her again.
The clock on the wall doesn’t seem to work, it does, it just seems to be in a different space-time continuum. I can’t help checking it out even though I know the more I look at it the slower it will go.
I stand up & rock from side to side trying to get some kind of circulation to kick in & keep me awake. Sarah over on T Division is reading some trashy celeb mag, as usual. Dave is into nodding dog mode. Two or three others are typing on their keyboards.
The next hour & a half eventually slips past. I’ve managed to stay awake which is more than can be said for one or two of the others. Funny how being really quiet can affect the whole force sometimes.
One the way to the car park there are several comments from different people waking up for the journey home. ‘Bloody hell, that dragged.’
When a particular individual applied for a job, he was upset to find out that a conviction for the theft of a 99p packet of meat 25 years ago in 1984, was still on his record.
Five people in similar situation took their case to the High Court arguing that the Data Protection Act stated that any information held on them (by the police on this occasion) must be relevant, up to date & not excessive. Presumably they argued that a minor conviction 25 years earlier was none of the above.
Initially, the court ruled in their favour that such records should be expunged from police databases but the case moved to the Court of Appeal who ruled that police will now be able to keep records of minor convictions for up to 100 years. It’s thought that details of a million convictions which can be disclosed in checks by potential employers will now not be deleted. Judges ruled that the need to keep the information for fighting crime justified the policy despite any distress it might cause.
You might argue that if you can’t do the time don’t do the crime but I think I’d have some sympathy for someone who was denied a job because they stole a packet of bacon 40 years ago.
Hmmm….so who wound up & primed Jack Straw. What a shame he’s not so eloquent & vociferous on his parties recent history of justice cock-ups & mismanagements. I was intrigued by one of his comments when he said which bit of going too far did Hitler do, was it the gassing of the Jews (fair point) or the bombing of British cities. If you’re going to have a go at the BNP/Hitler use one of the very good reasons to do so. I wasn’t around at the time but I seem to recall the British & Americans bombing the hell out of innocent German people relentlessly & not a few Japanese & I suspect that many more were killed by the allies, Straw, you twat. History is written by the victors.
It also made me smile with Griffin said he hadn’t harmed a single Muslim while Straw & his cronies were responsible for the deaths of 800,000 in Iraq.
Overall though, it wasn’t a proper question time. It was a ‘have a go at Nick Griffin/BNP’ opportunity & I’m not surprised he’s making a complaint about his treatment. Not that I have any support for some of his views. The Labour party would have loved the programme, their knight-in-shining-armour carrying forth his single-minded attack on the BNP which should have taken the heat off them for a week. It’s obviously far less acceptable to have distasteful ethical morals in regards to race than it is in regards to theft, fraud & deception.
What a condescending cow that playwright & British Museum director was.
Baroness Warsi (don’t get me started on handing out favours to cronies with peerages). “There’s no such thing as a bogus asylum seeker, asylum seeker is a legal term.” Now, is she trying to be educationally superior on the symantics of words or is she displaying the kind of arrogance which seeks to shift blame for failing to deal with the many people who come to the UK with no legal right. Oh that’s right, the UK is happy to accept criminals & murderers. If you criticise immigration you are apparently de facto criticising all the folk who have a genuine need & right to apply to come here, let’s not mention all the others.
It’s such a shame that the likes of Straw & Peter HainÃ‚Â can’t accept that the rise of the BNP is squarely on the shoulders of governments who have failed to address issues which lead people to think that the BNP & it’s policies are a way out of a situation governments have foisted upon them.
It was interesting that Warsi refused to answer the question about whether she agreed with homosexual partnerships when Dimbleby mentione d her previous comments about homosexuality undermining family values. She gave the typical politician’s answer that she agreed with their right to civil partnerships. Well since their ‘right’ is a legal term she can’t say otherwise really.Ã‚Â In her election attempt leaflets in 2005 she claimed that Labour’s lowering of the age of consent for homosexuals from 18 to 16 was “allowing schoolchildren to be propositioned for homosexual relationships.”Ã‚Â So it’s Ok to be ‘homophobic’ but not racist, now I’m getting it. Interesting that she was allowed to duck questions of homophibia while Griffin was repeatedly asked to ‘answer the question’. Ah, but that wasn’t the point of the programme, was it? In 2007 she is quoted as saying that people who voted for the BNPÃ‚Â “have some very legitimate views. People who say Ã¢â‚¬Ëœwe are concerned about crime and justice in our communities Ã¢â‚¬â€œ we are concerned about immigration in our communities.” Perhaps she forgot that bit on Thursday.
You may not like Nick Griffin nor what he believes in but he is & should have the right to hold whatever views he wants. I think there are ways to demolish his beliefs in a sensible & grown up way. I don’t think the Question Time panel were a good example of the way to do that.
Regular readers will know of my objections to the DNA database, at least in its current form, which may seem strange coming from a career police officer & not one with the widest support amongst my old colleagues. I won’t rehash my views – you can use the search box on the right if you want to see previous entries concerning DNA.
I was interested in a report earlier in the week which tells of a government climb-down over the way it retains DNA records.
The current database holds the samples of anyone who has given a sample whether or not they are subsequently convicted, you don’t even have to be charged with an offence to remain on the database for life.
This supposedly changed earlier this year when the European Court ruled that keeping the DNA records of innocent people indefinitely was unlawful.
The Labour Government decided that they would make up their own interpretation of the ruling & keep the records of people who were not convicted for 12 years. Their revised policy was to be ratified in an amendment to the Policing & Crime Bill, which is before the House of Lords. But they have dropped it at the last moment.
I wonder if they realised it would cause further embarrassment to them when the European Court ruled they were still acting unlawfully.
The government plans to announce a new bill to cover DNA retention in the Queen’s Speech in November.
Interestingly, the 2009 report on the DNA database shows a record 5.6 million samples are recorded but the number of crimes solved using it has fallen by a fifth. Over the last 2 years the crimes solved via genetic match fell by 16,000.
Well I won’t be watching Question Time tonight, you know the one, with BNP leader Nick Griffin.
I won’t be watching it not because I want to make some kind of protest but because I’m off out for the evening, hopefully having some fun.
I do make a point of watching Question Time, I like to be fairly well up on current affairs & I love seeing politicians squirm, so I shall watch itÃ‚Â another day. It should be interesting. I’ve not seen any news today but will be interested to see if the free speech Nazis manage to create trouble for the BBC in their hypocritic attemptsÃ‚Â promote truth, freedom & the British way but only on their terms.
I do get fed up with all the people & politicians spouting off about banning their appearance on the BBC, particularly Peter Hain who threatens to bring the full force of the law against the BBC if they allow Griffin a platform. Firstly, if he wants to talk about using the law to promote decency & good order I’ll hear his list of politicians who should be prosecuted for fraud & secondly, either the BNP is a lawful organisation or it isn’t & since his party which has a creative history of banning things it doesn’t think the people are grown up enough to deal with, they haven’t banned it, yet, so until they do, it should have the same opportunities as any other lawful group.
I’m big enough, ugly enough & grown up enough to make my own mind up, I don’t need a group who think their views trump all others telling me what I can or can’t listen to.
It’s good to seeÃ‚Â in these times when the country is often quoted as going down the tubes, that we are world leaders in at least one field.
Which reminded me of my own steady decline.
Since being in the control room, my life has taken a definite turn for the sedentary. I have to say that sitting on my arse all day telling other people what to do is a pleasant change from running around like a blue-arsed fly & ducking people’s spit & punches all day, but it does have consequences.
The trouble is that I think life outside the job has also become a little less ‘active’ & I’ve noticed the onset of a little more ‘middle-aged spread’ than I’ve been hitherto used to.
The thing with working in the control room is that cakes seem to form a major part of the working week. There are birthday cakes, special occasion cakes, winning the local lottery cakes, cakes on Children in Need day, other charity day/event cakes, cakes when you make a cock-up, cakes when you’re late for work. In short, there’s a lot of the less healthy temptations in the room. I suggested bringing in a packet of carrots on your birthday but it hasn’t gone down to well so far.
Outside work, my lifestyle has changed too. Whereas until I retired, we’d stay at home eating bread & dripping, now we go out much more for big slap up meals & we can afford the occasional take-away too.Ã‚Â And I’ve noticed that I’m not doing as much jogging as before I retired. Well, actually that last bit is a lie as I’m doing exactly the same amount of jogging I did when I was in the job; bugger-all.
So I’ve resolved to do something about my weight. I’m going to think about it for a few months & see how it goes.
Watching BBC’s Panorama last night was like watching an episode of Traffic Cops, I sit there hoping the bad guys are gonna get it & swearing at them under my breath & gettign wound up by their actions.
Last night was the same, I just wanted to reach into the TV screen & grab the little shits by the throat.
“Hate on the Doorstep” was an undercover revelation about life as an Asian on an estate in Bristol. Two BBC journos posing as husband & wife were fitted with hidden cameras & filmed local youths racially abusing & assaulting them as they went about their business on the estate.
Residents of the Southmead estate are now up in arms complaining that the BBC has branded the whole estate as racist, when the truth was that the people responsible for the despicable behaviour shown to the participants were a small number of local chav-scum ranging from 11 years of age up to early twenties.The complainers probably missed the bits where the reporters pointed out the decent people they came into contact with including the man who intervened from his own house & stopped the 11-year-old robbing her.
I have dealt with pondlife like this as has every police officer in the country, for years, but it was no less shokcing seeing the kind of behaviour the journos were subjected to by people with nothing better to do that stand around street corners abusing members of the public. I have no doubt non ethnic folk in the area are target of similar behaviour, chavs like that know no better. Doubtless there are armies of hand-wringing, slipper-wearing liberals lining up the excuses for the poor dears as I type, but the bottom line was that the streets are full of evil scum, in just about every estate in the land. And the blame probably lies in more wide reaching parts of society & has done for decades.
ou can catch this issue of Panorama on the BBC iPlayer for the next 7 days
It must have been interesting to be a fly on the wall in Ian McPherson’s house this week.
Mr McPherson is the chief constable of Norfolk who may have been a little annoyed at the actions of his 17-year-old son Jack recently.
Jack and several of his school mates were recently recruited to form part of a hostile crowd during as police riot training exercise. They were told to taunt the officers who would presumably implement various riot techniques in a practice senario without the risk of appearing on YouTube or the BBC News.
Young Jack took to the role quite keenly; he made some banners for him & his mates to carry during the pretend riot. One of them read “I’m McPherson’s son” and another read “All policewomen are dykes“.
Jack was removed from the training exercise & his father was informed. He promptly attended the night exercise where he & his son made an apology to those officers present. Norfolk police are keen to point out that Jack doesn’t actually believe that all police women are dykes but that he thought the comment was within the brief to tease officers.
One might have thought that if any action was necessary to protect the sensibilities of officers during riot training, then an apology at the time might have been appropriate. Not so for the person who made an official complaint later which apparently lead to the IPCC being consulted. Presumably the person who made the complaint was some kind of staff since the report states that the site where the training took place was secure & no members of the public were present.
Let’s hope that the officers training to deal with unruly crowds don’t face anything so nasty in a real riot, lest they drop their shields & all run off to the IPCC.
A little break from all the whinging, moaning & criticism. Sometimes you just want to smile & feel good, so have a look at the following video which has absolutely nothing to do with policing, but it makes me smile & think about the good things & good people in life.
Whinging, moaning & criticism will be resumed in due course, no doubt.
The Crown Prosecution Service usually come in for a lot of flak from police officers. Forget all the cases which go through smoothly, end up at court where the evidence is presented perfectly & a just outcome results, we don’t talk about those, we talk about all the cock-ups, the unreasonable expectations placed on us by the service, the jumping through unnecessary hoops, the refusal to prosecute & the poor performance in court.
Sadly, there is usually a lot to talk about with the CPS.
Five men from Walsall will be feeling quite grateful to the CPS for all the wrong reasons. They were arrested over a pub brawl back in April. The CPS were preparing papers to take them to the Crown Court.
When the case arose at a magistrates court in the West Midlands, CPS lawyers had to admit that they had not gotten round to making sufficient photocopies of the case papers to give to the defence.
Their excuse for not preparing the case properly in the six months since the offenders were arrested was that the person responsible for photocopying hasd been off sick. They asked for a further adjournment (the case had already been adjourned five times) but the magistrates declined the application & discharged the defendants.
At work we have a little lottery running each week. No, it’s not about who will come up with another shite idea for the department it’s actually aÃ‚Â real money lottery based on the national lottery where the winner can gain the princely sum of a couple of tens of quid, or if it’s a rollover, 2 or 3 times that amount. It doesn’t make much of a dent in the budget especially as the winner is expetced to buy the rest of the shift cakes, donuts or chocolates out of the winnings.
Occasionally, we’ll do the Euromillions & spend the day before fantasising about all turning up for work on Monday, marching into the superintedents office & telling him to shove his job up his arse before dumping the uniforms on his desk & rushing down to the nearest Aston Martin garage.
So there is a great deal of envy about a group of Hungarian police officers who won their national lottery this week. The group of 15 officersÃ‚Â from the town of Budaors scooped around Ã‚Â£10,000,000 between them & promptly resigned on the spot. The prize was the 6th largest lottery prize in Hungarian history.
Understandibly, this has caused some consternation among local police chiefs who are drafting in officers from other areas until new ones can be recruited & trained.
You wouldn’t think working two different divisions could be so different. After all, it’s the same job with the same types of call. Both divisions are similar in size, with similar population makeup.
When I get rostered to work one I look forward to it but when I find out I’m working the other I feel a sense of depressing foreboding.
The reason they are so different is down to the personnel; the officers & staff who work those divisions.
I’m not sure how to explain the difference between the shiftsÃ‚Â other than perhaps there are a few dominant personalities whose work ethos rubs off on the rest.
I don’t enjoy working S-Division because the dominant ethic seems to be to question anything you send them to. Questions range from ‘haven’t you got anyone else?’ to ‘why are we being sent to that?’ Sometimes they spend more time arguing the toss about whether they should deal with something than it would to actually just go & deal with it. Not everyone at S-Division is like this, but when the experienced officers are like this you can understand why the newer ones might be emulating it.
A shift on S-Div sometimes feels like a battle of wits, almost a competition to see who gets their way. I like a good head to head but that battle provides no pleasure.
B-Division is totally different. You get no arguments, in fact you usually get volunteers. Working B-Div is a pleasure & you can leave work satisfied that you’ve actuallyÃ‚Â made a difference.
I’m not sure the differences are much to do with supervision; the strange thing is that the S-Div sergeant is reasonably keen & helpful, while the B-Div sergeant appears to sit on his arse in the office all day picking holes in things.
Being a regular user of the Internet & a long-time email user, I’ve probably come across most of the online scams. The common ones are that someone very rich who was usually some kind of government minister for oil has died & left untold millions to a daughter who will, for some strange reason, share her new-found fortune with a complete stranger such as myself, if only I will give her my bank details so she can transfer the cash out of her country -it does seem an awful lot of effort when a couple of suitcases would do the trick.
Or the ones where I have been fortunate enough to win a lottery I never even entered, usually in Spain, where, for a few of my English pounds I can oil the wheels of money transference.
Or the beautiful Russian virgins who have fallen in love with me through seeing a photo or profile of me which doesn’t exist, who will leave her family behind in some little village in rural Russia to spend the rest of her life in my arms if I will only send her enough cash for the train journey to Moscow, oh & the plane ticket money, & the visa & the hotel bill for a few nights before the flight, & some cash for mother’s heart surgery.
Etc, etc, etc.
I came across a new one this week, reported by a couple of our residents.
What happens is you are sitting at home when the phone rings, you answer & a pleasantly helpful male tells you he is calling from Microsoft because the guys at Silicon Valley in California are receiving error messages from your computer (please note: you don’t have to have registered your Windows Software but somehow they can tell your phone number, you don’t have to be running Windows either & spookily, you don’t even have to own a computer to get these phone calls).
All you have to do for the helpful support assistant on the other end of the line to solve a problem you don’t actually have is to go to your PC, switch it on & follow a few simple instructions. These instructions involve being guided into downloading a helpful piece of software which will cure your Ã¢â‚¬Ëœerror messagesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ and also helpfully go through your system looking for credit card details and all your passwords in the form of a Trojan virus.
Then theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll have the cheek to flog you software to get rid of the virus they put there, presumably also giving them access to your credit card details if their virus couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t find it the first time round.
So beware. Microshaft never rings anyone offering to sort out a problem, hell, their whole industry revolves in them creating problems so you keep having to upgrade & make them even richer.
The Queensland Police in Australia issued a warning about this scam back in April, it’s reached the UK. Don’t forget to tell your granny who hasn’t got a PC not to log on to it & follow the instructions of some scummy fraudster pretending to fix what she ain’t got.
Whatever it is can be applied to the latest money-making ventures for the pondlife who don’t have the morals of a piece of shite.
Pretending to be from the water board so they can trick their way into someone’s house & steal whatever they can get their hands on is getting to be too much like hard work for a certain section of society. Their latest ruse is to ring old people up & pretend to be police officers. They tell their helpless victims that their bank accounts have been defrauded & the victim needs to give them their PIN numbers & leave all their bank cards out to be collected by an officer later.
Most people would, quite rightly smell a rat – nobody legitimate asks for your PIN number, not even your bank. The only reason for knowing a PIN number is to get cash from a cashpoint or pay for an item you’re buying when you are present. Sadly, a lot of our older folk are not crime-aware & can be too trusting & they reveal their PIN. Thinking they are helping the police, they also leave their bank cards to be collected by the scum.
This week, an 80-year-old woman from Essex had Ã‚Â£28,000 removed from her accounts following this scam.
Now might be a good time to remind elderly relatives never to give out their PINs or any other personal information, come to that.
Welcome to visiting readers from the Airgun BBS forums who are visiting the blog to look at my Can I go to the toilet now, Miss? entry, though they’re not really discussing it as such, one person kind of agreed with the article, & the other just slagged off the police, but over 120 of them have visited. Hi!, I take it none of your members were involved in this incident at all? Airgun users, what a bunch of tossers.*
Anyway, back to today’s entry.
You see some sights in this job, some are wonderful, some amazing, some shocking, some unbelievable. Catching people having sex in public was usually game for a laugh, if only to see them squirming in embarassment, especially when you point out the CCTV cameras & let them know they’ve been on candid camera for the last 15 minutes & that they need to keep an eye out for forthcoming episodes of Nightwatch or Cops with Cameras. There must be millions of places you can have sex in public where others aren’t going to see you, though I suppose if your into dogging that fact isn’t particularly helpful.
Leanne Richardson & Ross Welsh would have done well to have thought about before they engaged in a good old fashioned bunk up. The fact that they did it in broad daylight was possibly risky enough but their choice of prime sex location wasn’t the best choice in the world; the couple chose to get their bits out in the rear car park of Portobello police station in Edinburgh. They had met for the first time in a nearby pub prior to their performance. Officers were alerted by members of the public. The couple was fined Ã‚Â£200 for their troubles this week.
* I don’t actually think this, just using the same reasoning as the guy over at the Airgun Forums.