Archive for December, 2009

December 11th, 2009

Duck or Grouse!?

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

I have some sympathy for the Nottingham bus driver whose exploits appeared in the national news today.


There you are driving some happy-go-lucky kids on a school trip to a museum when you are met with a low bridge. What do you do? Turn round & go back to school thus disappointing everyone or go for it?

Fortunately, nobody was seriously injured which, when you look at the pictures, is a miracle. I expect he simply forgot he was driving a double-decker. I dealt with one of these years ago, a very similar scene to the one above. The driver just forgot he was in a double-decker having been asked to switch routes & vehicles from his normal routine.

Whilst not wishing to minimise the potential impact of such an incident, I can kind of understand the circumstances which lead to such errors; many years ago I went on holiday with my girlfriend, we took our mountain bikes but the weather was so poor that for the first week we never once took them off the roofrack. On about the 8th day of rain we decided to go into a nearby city centre to stay out of the wet. Imagine my shock when the bikes were taken clean off the roof as I drove into a multi-storey car park, completely oblivious to the fact that I still had cycles attached.

December 10th, 2009

Natural Selection

In a case which should surely make them nominees for this year’s Darwin Awards, two ‘alleged’ burglars were killed last night making off from a £40,000 burglary of an outdoor pursuits store.

In CCTV footage from the raided Cardiff store, the burglars were seen using two quad bikes, one of which had been stolen from Gwent. Four men on two quad bikes made off from the store & decided the best means of escape was to ride down a nearby railway track. It doesn’t appear to have occurred to them that railway tracks aren’t usually the domain of quad bikes, having a somewhat larger & faster use. Both bikes were struck from behind by an empty passenger train travelling at 70mph. Two men were killed, miraculously, two others escaped death.

Four men have been arrested & 200 branded jackets worth £40,000 were found at the side of the track.

Proof, if any were needed, that sometimes nature does clear out the gene pool.

December 9th, 2009

Why I hate my Little Brother

Posted in Other Stuff, Videos by 200

I was pleased to see that the hoteliers mentioned in yesterday’s story have been cleared by the court for a religiously aggravated public order charge against a woman who yesterday was described as ‘traumatised’ but on today’s Times says she was ‘severely traumatised’, as if normal trauma wasn’t serious enough.

Anyway, I received this today which made me smile.

December 8th, 2009

Pass the Collins

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

Today I have a question; is ‘traumatised’ the most overused word in the English dictionary?

This week saw Stuart Manning – whoever the fuck he is – complaining that he was traumatised on seeing Kim Woodburn (whoever the fuck she is) naked in I’m a total loser get me out of here, or whatever that shite ITV programme is that’s just finished.

Today we have a Muslim convert complaining in court that she was traumatised when a hotel-owning couple allegedly asked if she was a murderer & terrorist for wearing a hijab.

In another case a woman is claiming in a civil tribunal that she was traumatised when she declined the advances of a co-worker on a business trip when he came into her hotel room while they both worked at HBoS. Apparently she was so traumatised that she didn’t mention it for 9 years until she decided to sue the company for constructive dismissal.

In November a WHOLE FAMILY were traumatised by a man who smacked their 8-year-old in a MacDonalds car park when the child trampled on a 2-year-old, which was amazing in iteslef, especially as the grandmother concerned was buying burgers & didn’t even see the incident.

Is it me or is anyone else sick of people’s need to use superlatives to describe how they have been affected by something that most ‘normal’ people would just shrug off as a bad experience, OK upsetting, maybe, but traumatised? It’s like you won’t get any money unless you were traumatised. Traumatised? Fuck the hell off!

Traumatised is having your legs blown off in Afghanistan. Traumatised is being told your daughter isn’t coming home. Traumatized is being attacked down a dark alley.

Traumatised isn’t being insulted or affronted. That’s being annoyed.

December 7th, 2009

And the music played

Posted in The Job - General by 200

Back in June 2008, I reported on a story involving the police -v- the Performing Rights Society in which several forces were refusing to py for a licence to broadcast music in the workplace for the benefit of employees. Whenever music is played in the workplace it is classed as a performance & money must be paid.

In all the years of policing & at all the police stations I’ve been at, I can’t honestly recall hordes of police officers huddled round the radiogram listening to the pumping vibes. The only places I can ever recall hearing a radio that wasn’t telling me to be somewhere would have been the garage workshops where the civvy mechanics listened to Radio One & the occasional canteen (but they don’t exist anymore & all the divisional garages have gone), so I’m at a loss to understand why UK police forces are forking out  around £825,000 a year in Performing Rights payments. The Telegraph quipped that we were paying for iPlod licences, oh how I laughed.

The campiagn I reported on last year must have been successful since most forces are now paying. The differences between forces is quite staggering. Notts pay £325 a year to have music in its main dining room while Merseyside paid £47,752 to cover all force premises. Last year Thames Valley paid £48,073 compared with £124 in 2007.

It’s just as well we’re not facing a big squeeze.

December 6th, 2009

Good Job

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

We may not be available to see everyone within a reasonable amount of time but we do pull out the stops with certain crimes.

Distraction burglaries cover a range of crimes but are basically where someone pretends to be someone they’re not in order to gain the trust of an elderly victim, get into their house & steal their cash.

These used to be almost exclusively water board distractions. The scum would knock on an elderly resident’s door & give some cock & bull story about a water leak in the street or at a neighbour’s house which would require the occupant to turn their taps on, while they were doing this a second offender would enter the house & while the resident was ‘distracted’ sorting out the taps, the scumbags were in her bedroom nicking her life savings.

I’ve been to jobs where the victim has lost anything between twenty quid & twenty thousand quid. Property stolen has included bank cards to war medals.

We do detect these from time to time. The offenders are, in the vast majority of cases, travellers who may cross several police districts to carry out their ’employment’. Most detections come from behind the scenes police work which leads to an arrest with the hope of further confessions.

Catching a distraction burglar in the act is high on many officers target lists.

We had a job recently where the travellers in question had done away with the distraction element, favouring just barging in, threatening the terrified lady with violence if  she got off her chair while they ransacked the place before making off with a fist full of cash.

Unusually, a neighbour had seen the pond life jumping into a car & disappearing out of the cul-de-sac.

Units were despatched, one to go straight to the address & others to look for the car.

I like to think it was skill, experience & good judgement that one of the police cars I tasked to a specific area picked up the offenders, but whether it was that or simply luck, the getaway vehicle was spotted. Fortunately it was just a standard hatchback & not a nicked Imprezza or Audi.

A short pursuit followed which wasn’t called off for health & safety reasons & two scumbag distraction burglars were snared. I believe several more offences were detected as a direct result & the offenders are awaiting sentencing.

Doubtless, the penalty won’t fit the crime despite the previous similar convictions & the devastating impact on the victims.

But, for a nice change, several people went home pleased after that shift.

December 5th, 2009

Not as thunk as drink’ll peep I am

Posted in Videos by 200

December 4th, 2009

A simple procedure

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

I love a good ‘elf ‘n safety story.

Until five weeks ago the kids at a school in Totnes, Devon, could walk to school in perfect safety knowing that their friendly local lollipop man would see them safely across the road. All this changed when the lollipop person went on extended sick leave.

A father of one of the kids at the school stepped into the breach & for the last 5 weeks he has given up his own free time, twice a day, to see the children across the road. He even had a reflective jacket. Sadly for the kids at the school, someone complained to the council & Craig Hodge, 38, a father of three, was told by the local police that he had to stop helping the children across the road because he was acting illegally & hadn’t been checked, vetted or trained.

In fact, Mr Hodge is a  football coach for kids & has already been checked & vetted for his role in youth football. Presumably, it is less dangerous to have nobody helping the kids cross the road than it is to have a guy in a flourescent jacket who appears to have survived 38 years crossing roads & has recent experience helping his own kids cross roads, because he is not a trained lollipop man.

Wouldn’t it have made a better story if the local old bill had whisked the man  up to County Hall for an hour to undertake the requisite training. A spokesman for the council said they had to put a stop to Mr Hodge’s help because procedures hadn’t been followed.

December 3rd, 2009

On no, it’s the Met, again

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

There have been a couple of stories this week about police misusing their powers  to stop & harass check photographers using legislation designed to thwart terrorism. The country’s photographers are up in arms about it. (funny, being up in arms over terrorism accusations).

A few days ago a photographer, who happens to work for the BBC, was stopped & questioned while taking photographs of the sunset over St Paul’s Cathedral. An officer is alleged to have used the grounds that he could have been taking recce photos for a terrorist mission. He appeared on Sunday’s Andrew Marr Show. This is not the first time, in fact, the photography press & forums are full of complaints about similar incidents up & down the country.

Photographers have been stopped, searched & even arrested & made to delete their photos by police officers whilst taking photos of the Christmas lights, buses & trains. The Independent highlights the issue in a major article today. Most of the complaints stem from the Met Police area which is understandable when you realise that 96% of all Section 44 Stop & Searches are carried out by the Met & British Transport Police.

It seems that the one common factor in all these cases is that the photographer in question has a big camera & lens. It seems that terrorists only use big cameras which make them look like professional photographers, they also draw attention to themselves by having lots of camera gear in their bags & a tripod. Meanwhile, everyone else with their little compact cameras which they can slip in a pocket or handbag & everyone with a mobile phone who are often standing next to all the potential terrorist suspects takign their own photos get completely ignored by the police.

I have to say that in my time I’ve not known any of my officers checking someone under terrorism legislation. I’ve certainly never sent any to a potential terror suspect. If we have had complaints about photographers it’s generally come from adults who don’t like people taking pictures near their children.

We did have a an incident earlier in the year where a man complained about someone taking photos of the children in the snow at a local park. An officer attended & apparently threatened the photographer with arrest unless he deleted the photos. This, I believe was wrong, the officer had no power to do so & despite what the PC world might like to think, it is not against the law to take photos of people in a public place, even if they are children. Officers sometimes try to appease people who complain when in fact they should be saying ‘if you don’t want your kids in his photos, take your kids elsewhere, he’s not breaking any laws’.

There are various conspiracy theories floating about. Comparisons with East Germany, 1984 & the Soviet Union are often banded about. Police State is often shouted. Arresting photographers, a great way to get even more people on the DNA database.  Whatever the truth is I can’t believe that the police in London really do suspect that most of their S44 searches are on potential terrorists.

December 2nd, 2009

£140,000 Oops

Posted in The Job - General by 200

I reported back in September about the Italian Traffic Police’s Lamborghini Gallardo.

Petrol heads everywhere will be wincing at the following photograph which shows said Lamborghini completely totalled after an RTC when a Seat pulled out into its path from a petrol station forecourt near Cremona. The Seat clipped the Lambo sending it into a row of parked cars, one which you can see perched daintily on its roof. The 200mph supercar has been written off.

Sadly, this leaves the Italian Police with only one remaining Lamborghini Gallardo on the fleet.


December 1st, 2009

Some Good USA News

Posted in The Job - General by 200

Seattle Police in Washington have shot & killed the fugitive who gunned down 4 Lakewood Police, officers 2 days ago. Officers Tina Griswold, Ronald Owens, Greg Richards & Sgt Mark Renninger were shot & killed as they sat in a cafe.

A seatlle police officer investigating an unattended stolen vehicle  became aware of a man nbehind him, turning he immediately recognised wanted killer Maurice Clemmons who made off. Clemmons was ordered to stop but when he didn’t the officer shot & killed him.

Assistant Police Chief Pugel told a press conference that Clemmons was found in possession of  the officers firearms. He had a bullet injury to his stomach believed to be inflicted by one of the dying officers who shot at Clemmons as he fled the scene.

Apparently it’s not only the UK that releases dangerous criminals; Clemmons was previously sentenced to 95 years in prison for violence but the sentence was commuted in 2000 & he was released, soon reverting to crime.

Interestingly, when speaking to the press about the shooting of Cremons the following words don’t appear to have been used, “officer suspended” & “IPCC investigating