Archive for November, 2009

November 11th, 2009

11am

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

afghan-body

poppy

November 10th, 2009

Poor Gordon

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

Poor Gordon Brown, he can’t seem to get anything right. Anyone who has read this blog for longer than a few weeks will know that I don’t have much respect for senior police officers or politicians. On this occasion I do genuinely feel quite sorry for him.

His letter to Jacqui Janes offering condolenses for the loss of her son, soldier Jamie Janes who was killed in Afghanistan, has been used for political gain by a press eager to sieze on every opportunity to turn on a government it once supported, shame on the Sun. I don’t know if this is callous or not but poor Mrs Janes has taken the letter completely out of context & sees insult  & outrage where there is none.  He represents the cause of her son’s death & her take on the letter is clearly one that the person who was repsonsible for his death can do no right. OK, maybe he should have redrafted the letter when he made the spelling error of her son’s name rather than simply overwriting it, as we all do on those rare occasions when we actually use a pen & paper.  But the fact that there may be one or two words misspelled is hardly proof of the man’s callousness.

I have no real idea what a prime minister does for 18 hours a day but I guess there isn’t that much time to sit down & write a personal letter. I would imagine that most other people in that situation would utilise a civil servant & merely sign the letter as one of a whole pile on his in tray.

There are many things you can criticise Mr Brown for, writing a letter to a greiving parent for a son lost in service to the country isn’t one of them.

November 9th, 2009

It’ll be a Winner

Posted in The Job - General by 200

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is released in a few minutes time. It’s expected to be the biggest selling computer game in the history of mankind & is set to earn more than $150 squillion in its first two minutes, or something.

I won’t be queuing up at my local compuer game store as, obviously, I am writing this at home & it’s quite cold out there, but I have ordered it. Being a police officer (or should I say ex-police officer), clearly, I like nothing better than running round the streets of the UK & gunning down anyone I can see, guilty or innocent. The great thing with games like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is that you can do this & you don’t even get suspended & have to face being slagged off by the IPCC before they’ve had an investigation, because there are no investigations, you can shoot whoever you want & blow them up in all sorts of inventive ways.

I used to do a lot of gaming but always seem to be busy doing other things – like writing blog drivel – to get back into it. So I’ve decided to fall for all the hype & get the latest. I blame Radio 5 to be fair, it was only hearing the story about the game’s release tonight on the way home from work that I even knew it existed. I’ve never even played Call of Duty 1, 2, 3 or 4. I was a more Rainbow Six franchise kind of guy.

I often wonder why there hasn’t been a really successful police game, that’s if you don’t include SWAT 1,2,3 or 4 which was basically just Doom in blue suits without the scarey monsters.

I think it could be really cool recreating the whole police world in a computer game. You could spend the first half of the game reading pointless emails, hook up with all your exciting equipment like a pen & a torch & a baton which could inflict some serious damage (on car windows) & you could draw a straw to see if you were the only authorised Taser officer in the division for really violent encounters.

When you found a car that worked & had cleaned up either the vomit or the spilled milk from the previous shift, you could hit the roads looking for trouble. The control room would send you on really shite domestics for most of the game but there would be a chance of a fight occurring in the gaming world & the computer would issue a 1 in 10 chance that you weren’t taking a pointless statement from someone who would withdraw the allegation in part 2 of the game.

When you got to the fight & the really juicy action started you could wait round the corner while the control room inspector gave authorisation to draw your rail-gun (that you haven’t got ‘cos only Firearms have them & they’re not allowed to use them if there is a Y in the day of the week), then you’d be sent into battle with the baddies. If you looked at one in a funny way or used the word ‘fuck’ you’d be instantly hauled out of the arena to spend the rest of the game sitting outside an office in the IPCC building while all your mates drive round the town centre with pump action shotguns shooting chavs & pedophiles.

I’ll call it ‘Constabulary 4: The Reckoning‘. I don’t know if it’ll make $150 squillion, but I reckon it could be a runner.

November 8th, 2009

What exactly do they do?

Posted in The Job - General by 200

You have to wonder sometimes what it is human resource departments do when they recruit people. I expect that ours is no different to any other HR department throughout the land.

You’d kind of think that they might have some kind of expertise in selecting the right people for the job, that they themselves may even have been recruited for this knowledge & expertise. Sadly not. We still get people coming through the doors who, for one reason or another, don’t last five minutes.

We had one girl who burst into tears every time someone rang in with an emotional tale to tell. Bearing in mind the kinds of calls we take from the public, there are some very sad stories come over the 999s. I know it’s sometimes helpful to show empathy for others but it really doesn’t help the quality of the information going on a log if the calltaker has to type on a wet keyboard.

The best one though was a girl who applied for a job in the control room of her local police force – us. She passed the paper-sift & then the interview & was duly offered employment. She attended, & passed, the training course which consisted of a few weeks in a classroom learning the various IT systems.

She came into the control room & was assigned a trainer to show her the ropes. The trainer on that occasion happened to be a police officer.

Things didn’t go too well, for either of them. It was probably fair to report that it didn’t look like she had made a wise career choice & that the PC’s attempts to teach her the job was falling on deaf ears.

It then transpired during a ‘management review’ that she didn’t realise – when she applied for the job as a controller in the police control room – that she would be working with police officers much less be trained by one!

Apparently , she had been given a speeding ticket some time before & had a healthy disregard for police officers who were all jumped up little Hitlers.

She decided the best course of action was probably to resign.

November 7th, 2009

I’ll vote for that!

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

A ‘right-leaning’ think tank (whatever the hell that is, I expect I help for it) has come up with an extension to a system similar to one in the US of A where police chief’s are elected by the local community. I’m not to au fait with the American system but I believe that some sheriffs are locally elected.

It’s an extension of the Conservative Party’s suggestion to have elected chief constables. Policy Exchange, the think tank mentioned, is going a stage further by suggesting that area commanders be elected. This would bring control of the local police down to the public who would vote for the police chief in their local division & would, apparently, mean that the local police chief would have to direct their efforts to solving the problems the local communtiy want solving.

I’ve not given the idea too much thought as I only read it 5 minutes ago when thinking of something for today’s blog entry, but it strikes me as a fantastic idea.

How much constabulary (i.e. yours & my cash) would be spent on fatuously pathetic diversity training if the local populace realised we were sending officers to expensive country mansions to be told that not all travellers are thieves & we need to be nice to Romanian beggars. How many government targets could we drop if the local chief realised the public just want us to stop local chavs pissing up their garden fences?

I bet the local chief inspector would think twice if he knew I could get a couple of thousand votes to sack him for trying to transfer  me to Auchtermuchty because I ignore his emails.

Where do I sign?

November 6th, 2009

Thanks for the pics, Bert

Posted in The Job - General by 200

I had never met Albert but I felt I knew him. He only lived a couple of hundred yards from my house, albeit in another street, yet I never had a conversation with him other than to say ‘Hello’ in passing.

He was in his late eighties & used to wait at the end of his garden so he could talk to the children & parents as they walked past his house on the way home from school. He was a genuinely nice bloke. I expect he had little company so the short chats he had at the end of his garden must have been quite welcome to him.

My wife walked past his house every day as she took & collected our  little ones. She started chatting with him a couple of years ago. Soemtimes it was just a nod, a smile & a greeting, other times it was a 15-20 minute conversation. In the course of these chats he revealed he used to be a police officer. When my wife said that her husband was  a police officer he hooked on to the common factor & their chats often revolved around what either he or I had done in our service, where we worked, that kind of thing.

He started giving her photos he had  during his service – he had retired when I was but a wee bairn – she had instructions to ‘take them home & show your husband’ and she duly did. I saw shots of him on traffic duty in the 50s, one of him meeting an important cardinal who visited the force area in the 60s, one of him at a rail crash, the same short of shots I have in my collection only the cars & uniforms are different. Every couple of months Mrs Weeks would come home from school with another photo or a press cutting.

Some of them he insisted I keep, others my wife returned. I kept meaning to pop round & meet him properly for a chat.

My wife told me she hadn’t seen Albert since the half-term break. She learned from a neighbour that sadly he died last week, so I won’t be able to meet him. I’m sure he was a wonderful chap, I hope he passed on his stories to many people.

November 5th, 2009

Not only the blokes

Posted in The Job - General by 200

It must be time for another chase…

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November 4th, 2009

There she blows!

Posted in The Job - General by 200

In my efforts to bring you the best police-related stories from the UK & beyond, I found myself on the website of The Courier, a newspaper in Findlay, Ohio, US of A.

The reason I was there was for a story which lasts the sum total of just one line. The story is reproduced below.

A woman called the police early Saturday morning during an argument with her husband after he claimed that the woman’s daughter performed oral sex on him, and the daughter was better at it.

OK.

There are all sorts of questions which arise from that one. Further investigation revealed that the daughter was not the daughter of the husband & was not under age. I wonder what the woman was told when she rang 911  or whether the call taker was experienced enough to help the caller, say by giving the woman some proper advice on technique?

Personally, I thought the story sucked.

If any of them get prosecuted over the act, or the call to police, I trust they’ll get a stiff sentence!

November 3rd, 2009

If Carlsberg made toilets

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

One of my pet subjects is the problem of toilets. I don’t generally like them, which is a problem since we spend so much time in them, well I do, & not for anything nefarious either.

It’s not all toilets I dislike; I love my own one at home. I should do, I can spend days in there. I have a bookshelf with a selection  of reading material together with a stack of magazines on varying topics. I can well remember my father grabbing a handful of Sunday papers & disappearing into the bathroom for what seemed like eons. I am no different.

What bothers me about toilets that aren’t in my house is two-fold. Firstly, I don’t like laying my arse somewhere that a close family members’ backside hasn’t been & secondly, I hate the interminable problem of splashback, which you invariably get when using that god-awful invention, the public urinal.

So it was with a deep sense of surprise & contentment that I encountered a public urinal this week which suffered from none of the hazards of such systems.

The design was simple but very effective. Basically someone had taken a normal toilet bowl, miniaturised it & stuck it to a wall rather than the floor. It was small & round with little in the way of a back wall which is one of the main causes of the splashback phenomenon. The other main cause – a metal ‘drain cover’ had also been eliminated with just a mini toilet bowl affair with a small resevoir of water in the bottom. The third cause of splashback had also been removed. This is when the urinal decides to flush itself at seemingly completely random moments. You get a double whammy when the overhead tank decides to release its load just as you’re into mid flow. I defy anyone to pee against a waterfall & not get their trousers soaked when water meets water & then you have the added risk of flooding when a plug hole designed to take the average flow of liquid from a man’s willy suddenly has to deal with two or three times the water flow. Getting away with that situation requires slide-rule precision mathematics; you have to work out the willy to urinal flow, take into account the header tank to urinal flow, divide by the cubic capacity of the urinal drain hole & then adjust your shooting pressure such that the rapidly filling urinal doesn’t overflow It’s an art that few men triumph over especially after a couple of pints.

The porcelain art with which I had communed this week had solved this by having a willy sensor. Just over the bowl, which jutted out from the wall just under willy height (marvelous positioning less journey from willy to splash) was a small rectangular sensor. It senses when someone is standing in front of it & keeps the flush water shut off, as soon as you move away from the urinal the sensor knows you’ve gone & your business is concluded & then sends a mini flush which rinses away the pee & replenishes the receptacle with fresh water. No unannounced gushing causing extra splashbacks – genius.

I was so impressed with the system at one of our inner city tourist information centres, it has to have been designed by the boffins at Carlsberg.

November 2nd, 2009

Whoops, there goes another one

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

Lovers of data storage (DNA Database, long-passed petty offences, personal & private information etc., etc., etc.) will be shocked & dismayed (or more probably not) to hear of a little-reported recent loss of private data by another government department.

The Rural Payments Agency is responsible for handing out new 4X4s & lots of cash for not growing anything – i.e. £1.6 billion of EU subsidy money -  to  UK farmers.

A CD & 38 backup tapes containing details of said 100,000 farmers, including bank details, addresses & security passwords went missing back in May but was only discovered last month during an audit by the department. The matter was reported to officials at DEFRA but ministers were not informed until last week when whistle-blowers within the department were increasingly frustrated about the Agency’s lack of action on the matter.

Farmers were not advised of the loss of their data until very recently.

You’d have thought that the government might have got its house in order with the protection of private & sensitive data & maybe started conforming with the requirements of legislation it brought in with the Data Protection Act to actually safeguard sensitive information, especially in view of all the other higher profile data losses in the last 2 or 3 years.

Sadly not, but the government still continues its march towards even greater storage of information.  And people wonder why some, like me,  are against data collection?

November 1st, 2009

Foul Behaviour

Posted in The Job - General by 200

Regular readers will know of my disregard for millionaire footballers, so I’m always pleased to see them getting their come-uppances.

The behaviour of one Marlon King sums up the attiutude of too many professional footballers these days. The arrogant f***er was jailed for 18 months last week for sexual assault & ABH after he groped a female in a bar because he thought his fame & fortune entitled him to behave however the fuck he wanted regardless of any one else’s rights or opinions.

King, a £35,000-a-week player for Wigan Athletic was out celebrating his wife’s pregnancy & scoring a goal that day when he decided to sexually assault a female unknown to him by grabbing her backside. He had previosuly been seen on CCTV hugging a woman who completely ignored him. After his advances were spurned by the 20-year-old Law Student he used the phrase so typical of people like him “Don’t you know who I am, I’m a millionnaire” as if that gives him any kind of authority whatsoever. The woman said “Take your multi-millions and leave – no one cares. Just get away from the table’… I felt really embarrassed“.  King turned his attention to 2 of her friends. Marlon was said to have gotten annoyed at being rejected & grabbing the woman’s wrist & pulling her down whereupon she pushed him in the chest. He then punched her so hard in the face that she was felled & two other people were sent flying. He has done permanent damage to the woman’s face.

King has previously served five months for driving a stolen BMW & has 13 previous convictions including dishonesty, drink driving & violence. His offences for violence were exclusively against women. In 2003 he assualted two women after chasing them through Soho with a belt warpped round his wrist. In 2006 he was convicted of slapping a woman’s bottom & slapping her face then spitting on her when police arrived.

The one saving grace in the story was that Wigan sacked him within an hour of his conviction.

The victim in the case has called for his permanent exlcusion from professional football.