Archive for October, 2009

October 11th, 2009

Telling lies

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

I was driving home from my mother’s house once, not on duty, with a mate who subsequently joined the police.

It was something like 10 or 10.30pm & there weren’t many cars on the roads. As I drove around a sweeping right hand bend I could see a car’s rear lights in what appeared to be the middle of the road. I could see the vehicle was stationary. As we got closer I then saw that the vehicle had crashed into a car coming the other way, head on. There was steam or smoke coming from one of the engines. It must have only just happened because the people were still in their vehicles.

I stopped the car & me & my mate got out. He went to the car on travelling in the same direction as us while I ran to the one which was coming from the other direction. As I got closer I could see a man was in the driver’s seat & a woman was in the passenger seat. I couldn’t open the driver’s door so I ran round to the passenger side & pulled open the door.

A woman in her 60s was moaning, which was a good sign, she was obviously still alive. What turned out to be her husband was sat next to her, he was silent. I quickly checked over the woman, I couldn’t see any obvious signs of injury, no blood, & her legs didn’t seem to be trapped. I leaned further in & checked her husband. He wasn’t responding to my voice, wasn’t moving & wasn’t moaning.

I got in the back of the car &  leaned between the two front seats so I could get better access without leaning on his wife. He didn’t look good. I’ve seen tons of dead people, you can’t avoid it in this job, they look a certain way, I don’t really know how to explain it, maybe it’s something to do with the colour of the skin or the way the features look, but you can often tell straight away that someone is dead.

The driver looked dead. I jammed a finger into his neck to try & locate a pulse, which just reinforced what I already knew.

By now some other people arrived. I got a couple of walk back & flag traffic down so they didn’t go piling into us & made sure the emergency services had been called. I think my mate made the call, but I’m not sure. The guy he was dealing with had a back injury & a massive cut across his face.

I went back to the passenger door. I have no idea what the car was, memory dims certain parts, others you remember for ever. She was asking about her husband. She couldn’t move much, I think I encouraged her not to move her head more to stop her seeing him than to protect her spine but that’s the excuse I used. I just told her he’d be fine & not to worry & the ambulance would soon be here. I probably asked their names but have no idea now what they were.

They say time slows down when the adrenaline flows & it always seems longer than it is when you’re waiting for an ambulance. One duly arrived. I explained what I knw about their condition, out of her earshot, & then assisted the ambo crew. Repeating to the lady not to worry about her husband. I assisted one of the crew get her out of the car while the other paramedic attended to the dead driver.

The police arrived. I didn’t know the crew – I’d not worked that division – and we explained what we’d found & what we’d done. In due course the ambulance was ready to leave. I made sure the lady was OK, she asked about her husband again & I said not to worry but he had to go in a different ambulance because they could only take one at a time.

I never saw that lady again. I sometimes wonder whether she ever thought back on our conversation & if she understood why I lied.

October 10th, 2009

What comes around

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

Talking of things that wind you up, as I was a couple of days ago. Don’t you hate impatient motorists, but don’t you love it when they get a comeuppance?

I don’t suppose this kid has ever hung around street corners winding up the elderly residents, but wouldn’t it be nice to think he has…

Would it be too much to hope that this guy was one of those managers who really piss you off?

I wonder if these are the nes who ride up & down the street with no helmets on a Sunday afternoon with those really loud exhausts…

October 9th, 2009

Can I go to the toilet now, Miss?

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

The people who run the control room must have gone to the same management course as those who run junior schools & government.

Not so long ago, they tried out a new & innovative management style called Trust. This was a sea-change in the style which had pertained for many years prior, called Blame.

In the Blame management style it was held that everything was somebody’s fault. If something went wrong, there were consequences & therefore penalties to be paid. For example, if an officer was involved in an RTC, they were suspended from driving automatically, even when the accident was not their fault. Everything had a can & someone had to carry it.

Under the system of Trust it was decided that the vast majority of staff weren’t all about creating problems for the management, that they just wanted to do a good day’s work for a good day’s pay & that their intentions were usually benevolent. It also held that anything they did wrong, probably wasn’t done with any malicious intent & that everyone was entitled to make a genuine mistake. So, for instance, we stopped automatically suspending drivers who had been involved in RTCs unless there was evidence that they had been realy careless. Simple mistakes could be dealt with by advice or guidance rather than the discipline procedure. It was great, the bosses were going to treat their staff like adults for a change. It was lauded with fanfares with posters & leaflets plastered everywhere. There was even training.

It did not last long. We appear to have entered the Junior School period of management. This has crept in with much less fanfare.

Now, if someone makes a mistake, this is evidence that everyone is incompetent. So, if someone spills a cup of tea on a keyboard, everyone is banned from drinking tea at their desk. If someone fails to clean the microwave threats are made to everyone else to take it away. If someone trips over an unthoughtfully placed bag, rather than tell the individuals to be more careful, bags are banned from the room. If someone misuses the Internet, everyone gets blocked.If someone gets caught leaving work too early, everyone has to stay on until the precise minute their shift ends.

Instead of treating everyone as individuals, we are all treated as errant children.

It’s an interesting management concept. I wonder which style produces a better product from the workforce.

October 8th, 2009

Cheap at half the price

Posted in The Job - General by 200

In a world where you can get £10,000 cash  for ‘deep offense’ if someone asks you to take off your turban so you can put a riot helmet on to protect you from bricks & petrol bombs, or £11,000 cash for hurt feelings when someone calls you a ‘prat who looks like Bin Laden’, or even £400,000 for cutting your fingers to such an extent you can’t work, you’d have thought a really life-threatening assault might attract a pretty substantial compensation award.

15-year-old Jessica Knight was nearly killed in an unprovoked attack in January 2008. During the assault she received over 20 stab wounds. Her injuries included a perforated upper and lower bowel, a collapsed lung and stab wounds to her face, neck and back. She received a stab wound to the eye which has left her with double vision for which she is still undergoing treatment. She received life-saving treatment necessitating several operations, she also suffered a stroke whilst still in a coma after the attack.

A male was subsequently jailed for life for attempted murder.

Jessica has just received notice of her compensation award from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board. Her total award is for £18,895.

It makes you proud to be British.

October 7th, 2009

What grips yours?

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

I was listening to the radio today. They were talking about thinks which wind you up. I thought that might make for a blog entry so I thought I’d seem the opinions from readers.

Here’s a few things that wind me up, police or not-police related:

  • People you give way to who haven’t got the common courtesy to wave or mouth ‘thankyou’, ignorant bastards & bitches. Especially the woman who my wife gave way to this week even though she had the right of way, who promptly went & parked outside my house  even though she has a drive & a garage on her side of the road rather than use the communal area which means walking an extra 20 yards, lazy cow.
  • Bosses who send round questionnaires/voting forms for potential changes asking for opinions & a vote in the attempt to make it look like our opinions matter & the department is all-inclusive, but who take no notice of the vote & do what they wanted to do all along. What a waste of time & effort & it just makes us realise that actually, you really don’t give a fuck.
  • People who think they need to shout when their mate is standing next to them, this has more effect when done at 3am outside my bedroom.
  • Chavs who think I have the remotest desire to listen to their shite music when they drive past me in the town in their shite Corsas.

I’ll stop now otherwise if I start thinking about stuff that happened before today I’ll be here this time next month.

So, what grips yours?

October 6th, 2009

Held at gunpoint

Posted in The Job - General by 200

I’ve been out tonight trying a new experience & meeting some new people. Nothing to do with the job or people in the job. Sometimes it’s just nice to chill out with people you don’t know.

Anyway, as I’ve just got back, I don’t have time for a deep & meaningful post, so here’s another vid. Luckily, there is no chance of this ever happening in the UK, yeah right.

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October 5th, 2009

The sooner the better

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

emin-bed

It’s not often that I see something in the news which really cheers me up.

At last there are some potentially excellent repercussions from one of Labour’s proposals, and you can’t say that very often!
Gordon Brown is planning to tax those who earn over £150,000 at a rate of 50%.

The best thing I’ve heard all week is that as a direct result of this policy Tracey Emin is planning to leave the country to move to France.

Emin  made her name by displaying such shite as an unmade bed & a tent with the names of all the people she’d ever slept with, to a gullible section of society with no appreciation of what art is. Lauded as a pathfinder in  the ‘Brit-art’ movement, and unencumbered by any particular talent, she said : “So much here is simply not working now. The taxes are too high, there aren’t enough incentives to work hard, and our politicians have put me off. I reckon it would mean  me paying 65p in every pound with tax, national insurance and so on.”

Clearly she is quite correct & finds it much easier to get out of bed & display it to the public rather than work.

She said: “This Labour government has no understanding for the arts. At least in France their politicians have always understood the importance of culture and they have traditionally helped out artists with subsidy & some tax advantages.” Not that she’s thinking of herself at all, then.

Hopefully, she is right; if the French do really have an understanding of art & culture, they won’t be bothering Ms Emin.

October 4th, 2009

First hurdles

Almost every time we get a job involving a report that somebody has a knife, our response is an admission that we are inadequately equipped to deal with it.

We get jobs where the ‘k’ word is mentioned every day, on every shift, quite often several times per shift.

These jobs come in a number of forms. Firstly, there are the self-harmers. Often the call will come from the ambulance where they have a report of someone cutting themselves or threatening to cut themselves. Invariably, they don’t have a knife, but you never know.

Secondly, there are the reports of fights, usually in the street or in a pub. You’d be surprised how many people reporting a fight think they have seen a knife, or someone told them that someone had a knife. It’s difficult to know how many of these fights do actually involve a knife because we rarely find one, but you never know.

Then there are the cases where someone says to someone else that they are going round to so-and-so’s to stab them. This usually involves a partner or ex-partner as either the stab-ee or stab-or. If the stab-or gets traced they usually don’t have a knife, but you never know.

The response to all of them is the same. The control room inspector is made aware & takes personal charge. If you are lucky enough to have local Taser-trained officers & they are available, then the control room inspector authorises them to attend & deal. Depending on how true we believe the info about the knife to be, the inspector may also despatch firearms units; the threat level could be so high as to have deadly force available.
‘Unarmed’ units will be told not to approach anyone suspected of having a knife & possibly told not to attend at all or to wait at an RV point some distance from the scene.

The armed units may have to travel from the other side of the force, maybe 20 to 30 minutes, and that’s if they’re not already on some other spurious search for a knife-wielding ghost.

So, by not sending police straight away to a report of someone with a knife – or other weapon – we are in effect saying that we are so inadequately equipped to deal with such a threat that the public are put at further, & probably unnecessary risk, until such time as we can assign someone adequately equipped to deal with a threat which happens several times a shift in every force up & down the country.

The health & safety concerns are obviously what happens if you send an unarmed officer to a job & they end up getting stabbed, hurt or killed. The powers that be apparently see this as more important than the question of what happens if a member of the public gets stabbed, hurt or killed while the only people empowered to protect them – police officers – are waiting round the corner for an armed officer. This appears to be an easier to accept risk than the only solution – arming the police adequately.

October 3rd, 2009

Here comes the cavalry

Posted in Videos by 200

Don’t you feel so releived when some help eventually arrives….

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October 2nd, 2009

All sorts

Posted in Blogging, The Job - General by 200

The last 3 posts have been so weighty I think I need to sit down with a cold glass of something.

Nothing so deep today, although it is closely related.

I check my stats to see where people are coming from & quite often see a little surprise or two. It’s sometimes amazing which people are discussing things they saw on my blog. This week was no surprise.

I have had a few people visit me from the Cable Forums. They have 61,000 members & over 1.5million posts, mostly discussing cable broadband. Someone honed in on the last 3 days’s entries here during a discussion about the Mrs Pilkington case entitled “Suicide pair let down by the system?”.

I usually get a few visits from SafeSpeed & a couple of 4×4-type forums whenever I mention anything to do with driving.

What cheered me up most was appearing on Swingers Heaven, yep a discussion forum for  ‘all liberated adults, swingers and doggers in the UK’ who are also discussing the same case. Fantastic!

I suppose it takes all sorts.

October 1st, 2009

Part the third…

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

… of the story of the failure of the UK police to meet the needs of society.

So, where were we, oh yeah, they took away all the bobbies on the beat, increased the force by many thousands & put all the extra plus lots that were already there off the street & into little units.

They realised that  taking officers off front line policing did nothing to the amount of calls the public were making which increase year on year. So there’s one hell of a big mismatch in the demand for service & the police’s ability to meet that demand. Same number or more calls, less officers, mathematics again, it just won’t work.

The genius plan to get rid of this is to reduce the amount of calls we get. How can we stop the public ringing us & asking for a police officer on their doorstep? Well we could prevent crime which would lower the need for people to call us, but this is a very long & complicated process, no overnight fixes here.

But there is one overnight fix, tell the public we’re not interested & they should either go elsewhere or put up with it. There’s the genius. So at a stroke we told the public that we are, for instance, not going to attend alarms which are not connected to a central station. After all, over 99% of house & car alarms are false, why bother going when there is less than 1% chance that it will be genuine & a fraction of that percent that we will catch someone & get a detection.

Road traffic accidents – or should that be ‘collisions in PC-speak?’ – the vast majority of accidents we attend don’t end up with a prosecution; it’s awfully difficult to persuade the CPS to prosecute cases where we have evidence let alone when it’s one driver’s word against the other. So we’re attending all these accidents, making reports, submitting them to CPS or non-actioning them because there are never any independent witnesses (yeah, right) & basically just doing all the work of the insurance companies for a nominal fee charged to the insurance companies for our report. So unless the road is blocked or there is an injury, we decline to attend, ring your insurance company, sir.

Crime, what about crime, how can we reduce the burden on the front line? Simple, don’t attend anything if the victim doesn’t know who did it. There’s no chance of a detection. We have a duty to record crime, but who said anything about a duty to investigate it? Get the mugs to ring in, we’ll give them a crime number. No need to send officers to thefts of hanging baskets or grafitti (unless it’s racist, of course). Get your car stolen or your shed broken into, get on the phone, we don’t deal with minor crime anymore. Millions of front line man-hours a year saved, simples.

Noisy parties? Ring the environmental health department, frees up thousands of calls up & down the land every weekend. It doesn’t matter that the environmental health department are tucked up in their beds, it’s noise sir, not our problem, not our remit (that phrase again).

Suddenly the mathematics are coming back in our favour, we have less front line officers, more calls for front line attendences but an order of magnitude less of jobs we’ll respond to. We still can’t attend everything on the same day, but that’s because we’ve not yet found a way to get out of attending to jobs  which are being recorded as ‘get a life’ crimes. (jobs where people should be just told to grow up, rather than having a crime recorded – & a detection, mind).

Just about the biggest & most frequent complaint people have about the police is that we are not bothered. We didn’t attend, we’re not interested, we gave them a crime number & that was it. I told the police & they did fuck-all. We don’t even tell them face to face that we’re doing fuck-all, we do it from some call-centre. It’s no bloody wonder the public have such little faith in us these days.

Is it really so much to ask for someone to expect to see a police officer within an hiour or two of ringing, or even on the same day. How much are missing as a society because people don’t talk to use because they think we don’t care? Hell, I don’t bother reporting things to the local police not because I think they don’t care, because I KNOW they don’t care. (I mean the organisation rather than individual officers, of course) And I’ve been a police officer for thirty years, if that’s how I feel, how does Mrs Miggins who won’t take her dog out at night because she’s scared of the chavs on the corner?

So, there we have it, over 3 days, the 200weeks guide to the complete history of why the police service has gone to hell in a hand-basket & why Mrs Pilkington & hundreds of thousands of other Mrs Pilkington’s who will never make the news but will just put up with it & moan to their neighbours & friends, won’t get the service the need, want or deserve.