Archive for January, 2010

January 31st, 2010

Nothing beats a Rookie’s first day

Posted in Videos by 200

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January 30th, 2010

Smoke & Mirrors?

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

Around two weeks ago many police bloggers reported a story of a single-crewed officer getting beaten unconscious during a stop check in Kent. A photo of the female officer concerned was published on many blogs. Inspector Gadget received some 200 messages of sympathy for the officer. The story was used as evidence that single-crewing is an inherently dangerous practice.

Several police bloggers encouraged others to post the same photo on their blogs. I chose not to, despite a direct request to do so from one or two bloggers.

Last week the story of the attack on the officer disappeared from the Kent Police website. It seems some wool may have been pulled over some eyes.

January 29th, 2010

Just desserts

Posted in The Job - General by 200

Joey Barton, Michael Thomas, Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, Steven Gerrard, Jermain Defoe (twice), Ledley King & Marlon King. What have they all got in common?

They’re all professional footballers who have been charged with criminal or traffic offenses & been mentioned on this blog. I also mentioned Ashley Cole 3 weeks ago when he was convicted of  doing 104mph in a 50 limit. His case was adjourned so he could appear in person & today he didn’t (appear, that is)  but was banned for 4 months anyway.

His solicitor Katherine Hodson, said: “There was no suggestion given by police that there was any cause for concern about Mr Cole’s driving, except for his speed.” Like doing 104 in a 50 isn’t sufficient concern on its own. He also received a £1,000 fine.

January 28th, 2010

When less is more

Posted in The Job - General by 200

So, official figures reveal that 60% of the country’s 43 police forces have cut the number of police officers during 2009. 26 forces saw figures falling in the six months up to September last year.

The decrease in police officers is set to continue for many forces as budget cuts for 2010/2011 start to hit. The only saving factor for the government – in the spin stakes – is that they are still able to say that overall police numbers are increasing; there were some 560 additional numbers last year above the previous year (nearly 145,000 overall), but this is mainly due to the Met taking an additional 700 officers, most other forces are reducing numbers.

Prior to the release of the figures the Government have been happy to say how important it was & how well they were doing to increase numbers, you’d have thought that decreasing numbers would have an equal & opposite effect. Not So. In a master-stroke of spin the Home Secretary has said that ‘it is not all about numbers.’

“Police officer numbers remain historically high and they are doing a great job – crime is down and public confidence is up. But it is not all about numbers, the force must carry on tackling crimes that matter most to the public and that is why the Government has guaranteed funding to maintain front line strength until 2013.”

So that’s alright then.

January 27th, 2010

Policing by public opinion

Posted in The Job - General by 200

North Wales Police are doing their bit to up the public confidence stakes in their area.

They’ve gone over to black polo shirts, baseball caps & combat trousers, much the same as a lot of forces. Generally, this is because the uniforms are more fit for the running after burglars & rolling around the streets with drunks & ne’er-do-wells, which the old helmet, shirt, jacket & tie weren’t.

North Wales are doing a public survey to see what the good folk of North Wales think about the new uniforms. They deny they are seeking approval or that things will change if the public decide they don’t like the new look.

I wonder how quickly things will change if they find that public confidence has dropped as a result of the new uniforms.

January 26th, 2010

About turn, again, or is it again & again?

Posted in The Job - General by 200

Four years ago the government told police forces they had to investigate the possibility of merging. This cost the country millions of pounds while forces set up special units tasked with investigating the costs & benefits, or otherwise, of merging.  They were full of senior officers who make careers of keeping away from front line policing (if you accept that any senior officer is actually ever involved in front line policing).

All the money & work was wasted when the government decided it didn’t want forces to merge. It was probably something to do with having to spend more cash to bring it off.

Since then, some chief constables have been conspiring with each other to bring about mergers anyway, working away at creating joint units, merging a department at a time.

Now it’s back on the cards as the government find more ways to save cash & avoid the really bad publicity that the inevitable sacking of police officers that comes with the enforced cuts we are now suffering. A committee of MPs is suggesting the exploration of mergers once again, which will probably mean setting up the same boards with the same senior officers as last time & spending the money all over again. This time, the MPs say, the Home Office must fund the mergers properly.

Their figures suggest merging small neighbouring forces such as Bedfordshire & Hertfordshire could cost £20 million, but would result in savings of £15 million per year.

Here we go again…

January 25th, 2010

Police can kill you – fact!

Posted in The Job - General, Videos by 200

Welcome to another in my Police Fact-f’ile series in which I aim to enlighten you as to the inner workings of the modern UK Police Service.

Robert Haines, a 41-year-old armed robber & father of three was shot dead by police in October 2006 when he was part of an armed gang who raided a building society in New Romney.

Whilst running from the scene he had to misfortune to bump into a group of more skillful people with guns, who happened to be from the Met & had the gang under surveillance. CCTV footage showed Haines threatening a security guard with a gun. He had stolen £105,000 cash from the guard.

A police officer told an inquest this week that he heard Haines fire a shotgun so, fearing for his & his colleagues lives, he shot & killed the robber. The inquest ruled that Haines was lawfully killed & an IPCC investigation also found no wrong-doing by police. The IPCC said: “The officer was responding to a clear threat to his and others’ life when he discharged his gun. The decision making and planning during the operation was also subjected to review and it was found to be professional throughout.

“We concluded any arrest before the robbery would more than likely not have gathered sufficient evidence to charge, and the decision to intervene as he entered the car park provided the best opportunity to safely control a dynamic and potentially dangerous situation.

Which is good news for those officers involved, although one wonders why it takes more than three years to come to the conclusion.

Haines’ brother, Burt, wasn’t in agreement with police actions, saying: “I think he could have been wounded. To shoot him dead, I think is completely wrong.”

Perhaps Burt watches too much YouTube.

In the real world, if you take a gun to work, & look like you might use it, be prepared to be shot dead. Best perhaps, to advise the family first, so that they understand what might happen to you.

January 24th, 2010

Close Call

Posted in Videos by 200

The following video shows an armed robbery in San Dimas, California in December 2009.

Whilst he is forced to hand over cash from the till he calmly presses the alarm. In the meantime a Los Angeles Sheriff Deputy enters the store.

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When he was later arrested, the robber said the only reason he didn’t shoot the officer was because she was a woman.

January 23rd, 2010

Satisfaction

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

The government say they have done away with all the targets &  replaced them with just one; public confidence. They want all forces to raise public confidence to 60%. I don’t really know what this means but it doesn’t seem particularly high. I expect the government doesn’t have much confidence that we can get any higher presuming that 60% is achievable. I don’t know about you but if I was wanting to get something on eBay the seller only had a 60% rating, I wouldn’t touch them with a barge pole. I’m not sure what, if anything, that says about that state of British policing.

Anyway, the Home Office have told chiefs not to let ordinary coppers talk openly about crime & anti-social behaviour. They are concerned that if officers talk about the true levels of crime & bad behaviour, the public confidence in the police will plummet & we won’t be able to hit the already abysmally low target, which will cause an equally low opinion of the government, and we can’t have that.

A report, ‘Improving public confidence in the public service‘ concluded that one of the pitfalls to raising public confidence was employees talking negatively about their organisation. It said that officers talking about the apparent pervasiveness of crime could stimulate feelings of threat or fear among those listening and in turn lower opinions of the police service.

I don’t think anyone in the government mentioned this to the Justice Minister who recently announced the police were lazy & preferred staying in warm police stations stringing out the paperwork rather than fighting crime & anti-social behaviour. I’m guessing that he has probably done more to harm public satisfaction than a few local coppers telling it how it really is.

Not much hope for government support of police bloggers, then.

January 22nd, 2010

A Fishy Tale

Posted in The Job - General by 200

I check out the police-related stories in the news most days to seek inspiration for my blog – when you make a post every single day for more than two years, you sometimes need a lot of inspiration!

Today I could have gone with a story on some Met Officers accused for fraud, or the news that forces up & down the country ar lauding the good news that recorded crime is down, or experts being drafted in to help a failing force or a similar story that last Christmas’s drink driving figures are down.

But the story that really caught me eye was the one where a prosecution of a woman accused of killing 3 goldfish has failed in Norich. Nineteen-year-old Chantelle Amies was accused of pouring bleach into the fishtank killing a 4-year-olds pet fish after a ‘bitter dispute’ after her fingerprints were found on the bleach bottle & fishtank in a neighbour’s house.

Three witnesses told police they could smell bleach in the tank & water samples were taken. However the sample was not sent off for froensic examination by police who quoted the high costs involved. The defendant denied the charge but was sent to local magistrates who dismissed the case on hearing the water had not been tested.

The Mail isn’t really sure whether to blame the police for not sending the sample off or the CPS for allowing the case to proceed without sufficient evidence.

Important issues are raised by the case. The fish are classed as property & the value of the damage caused to them was £7; their replacement cost – no cruelty charges were brought, the charge was criminal damage. How far do we go to enforce the law. A 4 year old child had his fish killed, should the facdt that the cost of prosecution runs into several thousand pounds mean we don’t prosecute anyone.

Do we say that unless there is a financial loss under a certain amount of money then no prosecution should ensue because of the costs? If so, what message does that send?

January 21st, 2010

About Turn

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

I posted here, here & here about the case of Munir Hussain who was jailed for 30 months for assaulting a burglar he chased from his home after being tied up & threatened with death.

I argued that whilst it was right to prosecute Mr Hussain, on the basis of the level of injury caused, a prison sentence wasn’t the correct result. I’m pleased to see the High Court agrees & yesterday he had his sentence replaced with a one-years suspended sentence. He served five weeks in prison. It’s a shame the court couldn’t have gotten it right in the first place.

January 20th, 2010

Just another Day at the Office

Posted in Videos by 200

The following is a clip from the good ol’ US of A.

A 66 year old woman, who had been drinking before she crashed her car, is pulled from the wreckage by two police officers. She later recovers from her injuries.


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January 19th, 2010

Twitter twat

Posted in The Job - General by 200

I expect there are lots of people cursing the recent snow. none more so that Paul Chambers who got himself arrested as an indirect consequence of the recent weather-related chaos in the UK.

He was due to take a flight from Robin Hood Airport to Ireland when he found out there was a liklihood the flight would be cancelled due to snow. He was arrested & held for seven hours by police after he posted the following entry on Twitter: “C—! Robin Hood airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your shit together, otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high.”

He’s had his PC, laptop & mobile phone siezed, been banned from the airport for life & been suspended from his job. A gross over-reaction by Her Majesty’s finest or actions worthy of a proper & thorough investigation into potential terrorism? Ally Fogg over at the Guardian is very concerned.

January 18th, 2010

Tea & Medals

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

Police Review reports this week that Hampshire Police has been awarded the most gay-friendly police force in Britain.

In Stonewalls 6th annual list of the top 100 lesbian, gay bisexual friendly employers in Britain Hampshire came top among police forces 2nd of any public sector employers.

The overall number of forces in the list fell from 21 to 17.

Other forces on the list were West Midlands (19), Met (21), Cheshire (23), Staffordshire (34), Sussex (34), BTP (39), Lancashire (47), North Wales (50), Suffolk (50), Hertfordshire (60), MOD Police (70), West Mercia (73) Wrst Yorkshire (79).

Well done to all forces concerned.

I checked through the rest of the Police Review but strangely, I couldnt find any awards for detecting crime.

January 17th, 2010

Police make it up – fact!

Posted in The Job - General by 200

The chiefs at Hertfordshire won’t be pleased with some of their officers today; the Independent on Sunday reports that officers have contacted them to blow the gaff on the force’s use of ANPR.

I have reported previously on how ANPR is the new god in policing, often to the extent of other services.

ANPR is basically a camera system linked to a police & DVLA databases. They have been used in police cars for a while & major cities & towns have them stuck on poles on major roads. They film all the cars passing & within a second or two check the  number plate against various databases. They can tell whether the car has tax, is insured (possibly) or is suspected of being driven by a wanted person. If they get a ‘hit’ an alarm flashes up in the police control room & the vehicle can be stopped & dealt with.

This was lauded as a vital tool in the fight against crime. Now, instead of doing all the manual work involved in tracking someone down, we can just wait until his vehicle drives past an ANPR equipped police car or static point.

The Independent’s slant on the use or misuse, as it says, of ANPR is that it is not targetting the people it was designed to target, hardened criminals, it’s “penalising the mostly law-abiding middle class, while diverting enforcement resources from more serious, but hard-to-prosecute criminals.

The paper alleges that ANPR is being used in a “burgeoning target culture among enforcement agencies and local authorities seeking to bolster figures and income with so-called soft arrests and fines on otherwise law-abiding members of the public”.

Apparently, officers have contacted the paper to warn that up to 30% of the information held on ANPR databases is either incorrect or out of date which has lead to the incorrect arrest & siezing of vehicles. Further, they say that they are under  pressure to hit targets, “So fixated had officers become on their pursuit of arrests and ticket quotas that, until recently, the most successful vied for a prize known as the Bang It Out Cup. The officer with fewest results received the booby prize of an Underperforming Pig.

The paper alleges that officers or so led by the target culture that they sieize vehicles & issue tickets first & ask questions later. This is alienating huge swathes of otherwise law-abiding motorists. It further says that officers are making up reasons to arrest or ticket people just to keep up with quotas.

I’m not sure how many wrongly uninsured vehicles get siezed where I work. Officers know the databases can be incorrect or out of date & some insurance companies are quicker than others in getting insured vehicles onto the database, usually, if there is some issue of whether a car is insured or not, we give the officers the 24-hour telephone number for the insurance company & they can check with the horse’s mouth, so to speak.

I do know that road traffic policing is suffering as a result of the target culture (which the government says, incidentally, it has done away with – chief constables might think somewhat differently). I spoke with an old mate last week & asked how he was getting on in the traffic department. He’s been in it for 6 or 7 years. He says he hates it & can’t wait to leave the department. He  spends more time trying to keep up with his ticket & arrest figures that he is doing non-traffic related arrest warrants & being sent by the traffic sergeant to shoplifters. While he’s doing this he’s not sorting out dangerous drivers.

It really does seem like the government & chief constables are handing over the polcing of the roads & the education of motorists to a few thousand camera lenses & I’m not sure that will add anything to the improvement in road safety throughout the UK.

January 16th, 2010

Of the fairer sex

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

There are some things you just dont want to see on CCTV.

Sharon is an alcoholic. She’s in her early 30s has been like it for nigh on 10 years.

She has had so many ASBOs keeping her out of licensed premises that even the magistrates have given up in the knowledge there is absolutely no point, the trouble is they’ve run out of alternatives.

The CCTV staff know her so well they can identify her by her walk, or more precisely, her non-walk since she spends so much time being incapable of walking.

It’s usually safe to assume that if a call comes in reporting a female lying on the ground within a mile of the town centre, it will be Sharon until proven otherwise.

She loses her keys on a regular basis. Her answer is to ring the police where she will make up a story in the hope that the police will attend & get her in the house. This often involves alleging that her partner or some other random friend is in her house threatening suicide. She does this knowing we will have to check inside just in case the sky has fallen in & Sharon has told the truth. Nobody has ever been found in her house.

She also makes up stories when she’s in the town. Usually it involves being assaulted or sexually molested. This is done in the hope that officers will take her home since she spends her bus or taxi fares on booze.

So when CCTV patch through footage of a female rolling around the ground in the High Street, I know instantly its Sharon. She is helped to her feet by a couple of drunks who are not quite as legless as she is. I comment to my colleague that she will be back on the floor with a minute or two, and she is.

This time an ambulance is called, whether it’s Sharon or one of her cronies, I have no idea. The Ambo have it as ‘female assaulted’. We know this isn’t true since we saw her fall over in her stupour. I send an officer, both him the ambo decline to take Sharon home, which is the reason the ambo was called in the first place, so she is left sitting at the bus stop, the emergency services leave.

Sharons piece de resistance is to unbutton her jeans & attempt to pull them down from the rear. She fails at this, the next thing I notice is the stream of urine hitting the street as she pisses through her jeans between the slats of the bus stop onto the ground below. She walks off the dark patch in her jeans now reaching her knees.

My attention is drawn away by a fight in a nearby town when I check CCTV again  a bouncer is chucking Sharon out of a bar.

January 15th, 2010

Prostitution

Posted in The Job - General by 200

A word of warning to all my readers who use the services of a professional lady of the night.

The recently enacted Police and Crime Act 2009 has introduced a new law which may be of concern; Section 14 of the new act introduces an amendment to the Sexual Offences Act 2003 – Section 53a – Paying for sexual services of a prostitute subjected to force, etc.

To cut a long story short, if you are going to pay for sex you need to ensure that your prostitute of choice is not being subjected to force or coersion on order to sell her wares.

Designed to protect females against exploitation, there is no defence if you, as a client, dont know that the prostitute is being encouraged by coersion, into her trade by a third party – or pimp.

So make sure you’re happy she’s selling her body of her own free will otherwise you will be subject to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale (I have no idea how much that is either).

January 14th, 2010

Fair or Foul, you decide

Posted in Videos by 200

The following clip was on TV today. The reporter said the local police chief wasn’t amused.

It’s interesting to see that most of the comments on YouTube are actually very supportive, for a change.

January 13th, 2010

Same old same old

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

No sooner has Islam4UK gotten their publicity for the proposed march through Wootton Bassett, than the government have banned them. We’re led to believe that the timing is coincidental & that the government have been preparing the ban for months but the timing does appear striking.

As usual, the government’s answer to a problem is to ban it. Banning rarely works but it does grab headlines & it does fool a few people into thinking the government are actually doing something.

Banning drugs hasn’t stopped any of the problems associated with drugs use, banning dangerous dogs hasn’t stopped dangerous dogs attacking & killing people, banning handguns hasn’t stopped criminals using them, banning alcohol from under-18s doesn’t stop them maruading drunkenly through every town in the country. The only thing which has worked is banning nuclear explosions. Since Nu-Labour made it an offence to cause a nuclear explosion a few years ago, there hasn’t been a single case in the UK, mind you there wasn’t a single case prior to that but why let that spoil a success story.

So, banning Islam4UK will do precisely bugger-all. They were banned under previous names al-Ghurabaa and The Saved Sect & fuck-all good that did. Anjem Choudary will do exactly what he’s been doing for the last few years under a different guise.

The government could, in one simple act, do more to make society better than banning some randomly-named organisation with few members. They could stop giving the leader of those groups £25,000 every year of free cash.

I would normally link to the subject’s website, but it seems to have been banned.

January 12th, 2010

And the verdict is…

Posted in The Job - General by 200

At last Met Commander Ali Dizaei is having his day in court. As reported back in May last year, Dizaei – he of the chequered police career – is up in court on charges of assault, false arrest, misconduct in public office and perverting the course of justice.

He was charged after an incident at a London restaurant when he had an ‘incident’ with someone he had engaged to work on his private website who demanded payment. He arrested the man (whilst off duty) & alleged the man had stabbed him in the stomach with part of a pipe. The police surgeon who examined him was of the opinion that the injury suffered by Dizaei may have been self-inflicted & the CPS found significant differences between his evidence & that provided by CCTV & other witnesses.

The case is set to run for a few weeks. I wonder what the outcome will be, guilty or innocent & if guilty, what the penalty will be. Cash prizes await the winner.*

*provided that winner is me.