Archive for February, 2010

February 28th, 2010

Another day in the office

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

So here I am on another busy late shift. I have one double-crewed car which should be there for the immediate jobs that come in, the 999 people being beaten up (usually domestic-related), crimes in progress (druggies who have stolen another pack of meat from Asda), & 4 single-crewed cars.

There are 25 ‘jobs on the box’ meaning these are jobs which we either haven’t managed to attend yet or the caller has reported something & wants to see police but then isn’t available to actually see the police.

I go through the jobs to try & work out a kind of importance level to see which to send someone to first.

The first phone call of the day is from an officer saying they and one of the other cars won’t be available as they have to do reports from one of the jobs they attended yesterday because, if they don’t get their report in, they’ll get in trouble with the department which checks reports are in on time.

So we’re down to 1 double-crewed unit & 2 single-crewed.

The early shift still have several officers at a cannabis factory in a rented semi, they’ve been there a few hours & aren’t anywhere near finished their search. The liklihood is that the early turn inspector will be after late turn resources to take over, so that’ll be good.

The first immediate of the day comes in & involves a ‘violent’ shoplifter who is playing security staff up at the local shopping precinct. He gets nicked & his accomplice makes off. Units are sent out to search for the ‘getaway’ car while my only double-crewed unit make their way back to the nick with ‘one on board’.

Great, down to 2 single crewed units & still none of the jobs on the box sorted.

Trouble is, while the immediate is being dealt with the 2 single-crewed units are teeing up arrest enquiries. These are usually attempts to show someone in an office that we are trying to fulfill arrest quotas by endlessly knocking on people’s doors to arrest them for failing to appear at court. Hang on sarge, we’ve got 25 jobs on the box, including 2 dwelling burglaries (high priority) who have been waiting several hours already, plus a couple of domestics one of which looks quite nasty (high priority), you say to the late turn patrol sergeant, and you’re organising arrest enquiries?

Ah, he says back, we’ll get our nuts chewed off by divisional management if we don’t meet our arrest quotas. The fact that I’ll get my nuts chewed off by providing a piss-poor service to the public falls on deaf ears.

So we’re down to no units, 25 jobs on the box, make that 29 ‘cos 4 more came in in the last 30 mins. The neighbourhood officers all seem to be on rest day, courses or invisible apart from PC Evans, who takes a couple of jobs off you that are not on his patch but he’s in the area (he’s like that, bless him), and a hand ful of PCSOs who are mostly keen as mustard but can only deal with a limited amount of jobs. Thankfully, if any anti-social youth or parking problems come in, you know you’ll have that covered.

The 2 units on arrest enquiries tee up their enquiry but don’t actually go to it for ages. If you tell them to go to a job in the meantime they’re always ‘just about to carry out an arrest enquiry’. Eventually, after about 90 minutes and another 6 jobs which have come in, they leave the nick & head off for the arrest enquiry.

The double-crewed car is still in custody, they’ve only just got their prisoner booked in because other prisoners have being queueing ahead of them, so you know they’re out of the game for a while.

Mr Nobby calls in, he’s disgusted about the way police are treating him, he’s been waiting 2 hours for someone to sort out his bloody neighbours, if someone doesn’t arrive in 30 minutes he’s going to the national papers. I envisage myself on the front of the Sun “Police Controller fails to send officer to stop neighbour calling man a twat, nobody dies“. He demands to speak to the Chief Constable, we offer the local sergeant & pass the call on to the local sergeant. Whether the local sergeant calls him back I have no idea but the job is still on the box when I finish work.

The cannabis farm is still being dealt with & although a couple of hours into the shift the early turn inspector hasn’t asked the late turn to take over, not that we have anyone to take over.

We’re still on the phone to several of the people still waiting for attendence from the morning. CSI have managed to cover both the burglaries, so although they haven’t had a police officer yet, at least they’ve had some kind of response, so perhaps we can put them behind the woman who is expecting her violent ex to turn up at any time, even though if he does we’ll probably have to send a dog vehicle from the other side of the county or persuade traffic that they are police officers first & traffic officers second & can they take a domestic, please?

The diversity unit inspector from HQ rings & asks us what we’re doing about the Jewish man who has had grafitti on his garage wall. We’re not doing anything at the moment because all our officers are tied up. But it’s a racist incident & force policy says we should get someone there within the hour & it’s been 5 hours already. Force policy also says I should get someone to my burglary victims within an hour not to mention my vulnerable domestic victims so who trumps whom? The diversity inspector harrumphs & says to get someone there ASAP. I guess he has little boxes he needs to tick as well.

Another double-crewed unit books on, good news. They are tasked for specific patrols under an operation to reduce community fear of burglary & increase detection rates. This means they have to drive round the estates not catching burglars. They give it an operational name which means an inspector in charge of local operations can tick some boxes for his PDR & show he is doing something to increase community satisfaction, it also means that unless someone is being murdered, we can’t use those two officers, even to go & see our burglary victims, bad news.

We’re now over 3 hours into the shift. The 2 single-crewed units doing urgent reports are ‘just about to finish’ when a missing person from another police area is located & an immediate domestic comes in. They get turfed out of the office to the domesic & end up arresting a bloke for smacking his wife in the face & pushing her over.

We have to send PC Evans from neighbourhood to babysit the ‘misper’. Between the three of us – 2 controllers & him, we spend about 2 hours on the phone over the course of the evening trying to get someone from the care home in another police area to come & collect him, failing that – it does fail – we try to arrange to meet the other force on the county border to hand him over to them so they can return him, that also fails, in the end we stick him in a police car & PC Evans drives 50 miles to the care home, but that isn’t until much later.

So, where are we, oh yeah, 34 jobs on the box, 1 double-crewed car in custody with a violent shoplifter, 2 single-crewed cars in custody with a  violent wife-beater, 2 single-crewed cars just come free from 2 arrest enquiries (they snuck another one in) both of which were negative (they weren’t at home, like they’re not at home at 90% of arrest enquiries). They are now free so I task one to go to a burglary that came in about 6 or 7 hours previously, and the other to go & reassure the woman who has pushed her kitchen table against her door in case her ex actually carries out his text threats to firebomb her house.

The call-takers keep sending messages from the other force  & the care home who still haven’t sorted out the misper yet, this just interrupts our flow of work & is unproductive for us as we keep having to stop what we’re doing (sending PCSOs to everything) & you sometimes just want to tell them to go & bother someone else.

The late turn inspector, who is now at the cannabis factory, decides to close it up & finish off the search/siezures in daylight hours the next day, this will require 2 officers to scene-guard. We suggest the double-crewed spec ops unit, but we need the inspector’s authority because they are on ‘protected’ duties, driving round estates. It’s fine so we send them. In the mean time & unbeknown to us the two units who are on their way to our burglary victims & domestic victims are scarfed off by the sergeant to do the scene guard & the burglary patrol is told to resume their patrols.

Twenty minutes later one of our single-crewed units arrives at the crack house & reveals the new plan to us. Great. We then have to ring up the lady with the table against her door, who we have spoken to 3 times already, the last to say an officer would be arriving soon, & tell her back to plan B – we have no idea when an officer will get to her, the most we can realistically do, is tell her to stick a couple of sacks of coal on top of the table (we don’t, but it feels like that sometimes).

It’s 2 hours until the end of the shift, amazingly, largely due to PCSOs we have reduced the jobs on the box down to around 24 but we have a new missing person report & an allegation of a sexual assault. We consult with the sexual assault department who advise us to send a unit we haven’t got to take the initial report & pass it on to them later. It’s a historical assault i.e. it didn’t happen today so it’s not quite as bad as it sounds but will be another job to pass on to the night shift.

Another burglary comes in. We persuade the burglary patrol to take it but on the way they stop a car & breath test the driver. Another successful burglary patrol have a prisoner & another victim to pass on to night turn. We have had a couple of immediates in the mix but fortunately, a firearms unit was in the next town & took one of them & a traffic unit took another; they didn’t result in any arrests.

It’s getting towards night shift so we need to go through the jobs to determine which ones we think night shift should go to & which ones can be put off until tomorrow. We make 13 phone calls advising people (some for the second or third day running) that we won’t attend tonight & will put them on the list for tomorrow. We ask 5 people how long they are prepared to wait up & end up keeping 2 of those jobs open & pushing 3 back to tomorrow. We leave 6 other jobs open for night shift.

When I go off duty PC Evans is still on his way back from another force having taken little Jonny back to his care home. Our double-crewed emergency response car is still dealing with their shoplifter. The burglary car is doing reports on their drink-driver who blew 85 (limit 35). Two single-crewed units will wait another 90 minutes before being relieved by night shift. The other two are still dealing with their domestic assault.

I wonder how many of the jobs from today will still be ‘on the box’ when I come in tomorrow.

February 27th, 2010

Twinkle Toes

Posted in Videos by 200

A couple of vids while I recover from yesterday’s long post. (Thanks for the messages of support!)

Pan’s People:

Pans Person:

February 26th, 2010

Institutionally sexist?

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

I’ve mentioned many times about the levels of stress in the control room. I dont want to over- dramatise it as I guess most jobs have their own very different stresses, but it is there.

One of the indicators is often the sound of a headset or telephone being slammed down swiftly followed by the sound of rapid footsteps as the controller heads for the door. This can be for periods ranging from a few minutes to the whole of the rest of the shift.

Tears & tantrums aren’t strangers to the control room although regarding the tears it’s usually the females who exhibit their over-stresses in that way. I don’t know whether the women are more easily affected by stress or whether the blokes just hide it more. I suspect that men just aren’t comfortable admitting that they have the same vulnerabilities.

I’m generally quite a laid back type of bloke. People I work with describe me as calm & unruffled &  think I’m the last one to get stressed. I put this down to the swan effect; all calm & serene on the surface but under the water the legs are paddling like fuck.

So it was interesting to see people’s reactions when the following happened in the same week:
We were on a busy late shift. Amanda was working one of the busy towns. She’d had to deal with lots of jobs with not lots of people to sort them & had to make a couple of phone calls which, judging by her raised abrupt tones, didn’t go too smoothly. It actually did culminate in a slamming down of a phone & a dash out of the room. When this happens most people know about it, if they don’t see or hear it direct they soon catch on to the comments “did you see Amanda?”, “what’s wrong with Amanda?”

She is followed out of the room by one of her mates & a supervisor. They offer comfort, support & sympathy. Amanda cools down for 40 minutes before coming back into the room & over the next hour she gets visits from other members of the team asking her how she is with consolling hands on shoulders or gently friendly rubs of the arm. She gets told that if she needs a break to let someone know & they’ll sort it.

The very next day I’m on a busy shift. I have calls coming from inside & out which I can’t service. An off-duty officer calls in asking for police attendance. I have nobody to send, he is following someone in his own car. He calls back a few minutes later, I still have nobody to send.
He calls back a few more minutes later & unhappy that there is nobody to send – he is presumably more important than everyone else who wants to see an officer – he asks to be put through to the control room inspector.

A few minutes later the inspector comes over & asks what I’m doing about Pc Bloggs. I reply something along the lines of nothing, I dont have anyone to send. I am busy trying to deal with a major RTC. The inspector suggests I need to send someone to Pc Bloggs. I say something about why should Pc Bloggs – off duty – have a better service than anyone else over a suspected traffic offence anyway I still don’t have anyone to send. I am quite stressed by now, quite short & dismissive of the inspector who is interrupting urgent work I need to be doing. No more is said & the inspector walks off.

Nobody gets sent to Pc Bloggs. For all I know Pc Bloggs might still be following the car who’s rear lights might still not be working.

The next day I get called in to the office by the control room inspector. I have a good relationship with him. I have a good relationship with everyone on the shift, which can’t be said for several shift members. I think its because I am easy-going & don’t hold grudges.

The inspector gives me a bollocking for the way I spoke to him. He openly admits that after the incident, two (female) supervisors who had overheard, come up to him later & say the way I spoke go him was out of order, they say ‘are you going to let him get away with it?’ On reflection he agrees saying that although it is out of character it is unacceptable &  he has to be seen not to tolerate that kind of behaviour on the shift.

I find it strange that he knows how out of character it is, yet fails to ask if there was any reason for it.

I take the bollocking & walk out, only to spend the next couple of hours stewing.

During the second half of the shift I ask to see the inspector in the office. I tell him the reason I was unusually short is because prior to coming to work I am told a close family member has an incurable disease &  has just months to live.

I make the observation that if one of the girls on the shift exhibits stress they get taken out of the room, offered support & comfort & time to de-stress but if one of the blokes does it,  he gets a bollocking.

He has no real answer.

My relative dies 5 weeks later. The time from diagnosis until death is just 2 months.

February 25th, 2010

The Scots are racist – fact

Posted in The Job - General by 200

At least they could be according to Grampian Police, one of whose offiicers had occasion to visit a shop selling T-shirts in Aberdeen.

The t-shirts have been produced in response to Scotland failing to make the world cup while England are through &  show the words “ABE / Anyone But England / South Africa / 2010. The shirts were produced in the context of the historic rivalry between English & Scottish football fans.

An officer visited the store & pointed out that the shop display showcasing the t-shirts, which have been on sale for 3 months, could cause offence & may be ‘inapropriate’ suggesting the store might like to consider removing them.

A spokesman for the company – Slanj – said: “We have been selling this T-shirt for the past three months and we’ve had a great response. Even the English people who come into the store think it’s a laugh and just a bit of tongue-in-cheek football banter. We’re certainly not being racist. We are the same race as the English. It’s just daft to say it’s offensive.”

A spokesman for Grampian Police said: “The primary role of any police force is to preserve the peace and we would be failing in our duty if we did not make people aware of the potential for disturbance such a window display could cause. The Grampian area, in common with the rest of the country, has recorded incidents relating to nationality and we have a responsibility to do our best to ensure that incidents of this nature are kept to a minimum.

“The public expect no less of us.”

Hmmm, I’m not sure the public actually do really expect the police to be dealing with such issues, attending their burglaries the same day & moving on the drunken & abusive chavs from outside their houses might have a priority far higher up the list from a jokey t-shirt, especially as it transpired that the police had not received one single complaint over the t-shirts.

February 24th, 2010

Kismet

Posted in The Job - General by 200

I suspect there won’t be many people in the circles that inhabit the pages of this blog who will be particularly upset about one of the headlines in today’s news.

There can’t be much worse, as an inmate of her majesty’s finest, than being a former police or prison officer amongst all the other lags. But then most people in this situation are masters of their own destiny & probably deserve little sympathy.

So I don’t have much for former Met Commander Ali Dizaei who was was assaulted this week in a attack at Edmunds Hill Prison by an inmate who poured a bucket of excrement over his head & then punched him unconscious.

Violence is rarely right, certainly, unprovoked violence but I can’t help having a grudging admiration for the phrase, ‘what goes around comes around’.

I see the Met still hasn’t sacked him from the police force, I wonder what the delay is.

February 23rd, 2010

Remember your three S’s!

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

I remember back in the day being taken for self-defence training by Sgt Manning. He had a wonderful turn of phrase.

Two or three times a year we had to attend a day’s self-defence training. This variously involved baton, kwikcuff, CS spray &  unarmed defensive tactics. Some basic fitness was sometimes thrown into the mix.

Sgt Manning would stand in front of the assembled group&  spout forth a mini lecture of the day on various related topics. His voice was strong & direct. I heard he was a regimental sergeant major in a previous life, I dont knowhow  true it was but he certainly had that type of air about him.

On this particular occasion he was waxing lyrical on the benefits of a good warm up.

I can’t stress highly enough the benefits of a good warm-up. To that end I rely on my three S’s. I suggest you do the same. In this job you may need to go from a’ hands off cocks’ to an ‘on socks’ state of readiness at a moment’s notice & this is where your three S’s will stand you in good stead.”

He paused for effect before continuing. “Your three S’s will look after you whether you’re chasing a great train robber, arresting a teenage tearaway or battling an escaped tiger. Whatever you do, always have your three S’s in the back of your mind, especially important in today’s training.”

He walks up to a pile of flexible plastic practice batons that we can attack each other with without breaking bones, picks up one & strikes his open palm, planting both feet a yard apart as if to reinforce his next remarks.

Your three S’s, remember them &  remember them well.., Speed… Skill… and Flexibility.”

February 22nd, 2010

Policing by the Script

Posted in The Job - General by 200

It seems that some detectives are annoyed about the happy-go-lucky show, Eastenders. They fear that the public will think that solving murders is as easy as chatting to the regulars of the Queen Vic for a few minutes a week, and that taking bribes & chasing innocent victims off roofs is par for the course.

I refer, of course, to the murder (fictional) of Archie Mitchell which reached its climax last week when the show put out a live episode, the follow up of which has led to the local Old Bill closing the case believing (wrongly) that the murderer has met his death in a swallow dive onto the fruit & veg stall in Albert Square.

Detective Inspector Alan Kalbfell of City of London Police, is a spokesman for the National Detectives Forum, he said: “It is frustrating to see our trade portrayed in such a bad manner.  EastEnders is watched by a broad range of people, from young to old, and they will think this is how detectives operate. It’s not.

“There is no doubt this is damaging to our profession. There is no way that 99.9 per cent of people doing our job would dream off discussing an ongoing case with people on the street if it could prove detrimental to the case. Yet EastEnders have no problem showing this. It makes us look unprofessional.

I suspect a TV soap making us look unprofessional is the least of our worries, we tend to do a good job of that ourselves, sometimes.

A spokeswoman for the Police Federation said: “We just hope that EastEnders viewers realise the show is completely fictional because real detectives do not act like this.”

Hmmm, not much hope there, then.

February 21st, 2010

Supervisors – what exactly do they do?

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

I sometimes despair of the supervisors in the control room. I often wonder if they actually have a clue about how their staff perform.

What happens on the control room is a 999 call comes in & goes to one of a group of people tasked to answer the phones. They are responsible for taking all the information from the caller, sorting out what’s important what’s irrelevant, condensing it all onto a computer log & sending it over to a controller. The controller’s job is to decide who to send & to provide them with as much information as possible to assist the police units in dealing effectively with whatever the job is.

As a controller you can only present what information is in front of you. This is when you have to rely on the call-taker doing a good job by actually asking the right questions & typing it into the log.

You’d have thought that a suitable period sitting with an experienced call-taker learning the ropes & several months of taking calls for between 8 & 12 hours a day you’d learn what is important what isn’t.

Sadly, this is quite often not the case. There are certain members of staff who, when you see their number on log you instantly know it will be what we in the trade call a ‘crap log’.

A crap log usually fails to contain pretty vital information. Often this includes, but is not limited to, the exact location of the job – in a road that might be 5 miles or more long “London Road” isn’t particularly helpful; details of the offender – it’s amazing how many times basic details like sex, colour or age are missed off when someone is reporting watching someone in the act of a criminal offence or suspicious behaviour, and when they make off, their direction of travel. All details fundamental to trying to catch someone;  vehicle details – ‘offender made off in a vehicle’ isn’t the most helpful of comments, was it an artic, a car or a quad bike?

It all makes my job more difficult than it could be. We often send a little electonic note to the calltaker asking for a description for instance. Quite often you get a reply ‘informant couldn’t give a description’, this is often code for ‘I forgot to ask’ because when you, as a controller, stop what you’re doing to ring the informant back direct, it’s amazine how much detail they can provide, if only they are asked. I often ring people back when I should be concentrating on sorting the job out because one thing in life is a given, no matter how many times you announce on the radio that there is no further information available, some police officer will always call up asking for more information.

So we get the same people sending the same crap logs. We’ve been told not to approach the staff directly about it in case they take it the wrong way so we flag it up for the supervisors, who, judging by the lack of improvement over periods of time, appear to do fuck all.

Worse, the people who are crap at taking logs get promoted, so how the hell the management expect them to spot a crap log much less deal with it is beyond me. We had a new intake of staff into the control room recently, it was down-heartening, if not suprising to see that some of the people training them are the worst offenders.

February 20th, 2010

Head-on

Posted in Videos by 200

It’s amazing what fate has in store when it’s your time to go.

We have a dual carriageway in our area which has a section of about 2 miles with just open fields along it.  In the middle of nowhere there is a solitary oak tree which has been there at least 3 hundred years. The trunk of the tree is littered with scars of cars which have managed to miss the two miles either side of it of wilderness.

BLUtube is powered by PoliceOne.com

February 19th, 2010

Net Givers

Posted in The Job - General by 200

PCSO MarshallSometimes it’s easy to get distracted by the net takers in society, those people who prefer to sit on their arse & take, take, take. They blight our lives & make up a huge proportion of the work we do.

It’s important not to forget the net givers.

Rifelman Mark Marshall, aged 29, was a member of the 6th Battalion, the Rifles who served in Afghanistan. He was killed in a roadside explosion whilst acting as pointman during a patrol north-east of Sangin this week. What makes him remarkable was that he was a member of the Territorial Army, soldiering was not his career, he did it in his spare time & did not have to go to war.

If that wasn’t enough to give back to society, Mark’s full-time job was as a PCSO in Exeter.

Lt Col Nick Kitson said he was, “A policeman by day and talented soldier by night, he epitomised everything that is great about our reserve forces and the men and women who serve in them.”

Mark Marshall gave to his community, he gave to his country & beyond, & he gave his life.

Rest in Peace.

February 18th, 2010

Worrying times

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

But I’m not sure for whom.

It was so long ago when I joined the job that I can’t actually recall the whole process. I remember visiting HQ for an interview, waiting outside for 15 minutes then going back in to be told I’d got the job. I’m sure there must have been some kind of medical checkup though I dont recall it, & presumably some kind of fitness test.

Since that day until the end of my police service a year ago, I never had another routine fitness test.

I always thought this was a curious omission & never really understood it, after all, the job I was doing was one which, you’d have thought, cried out for some kind if minimum level of fitness, if only to be fit enough to defend yourself in a fight.

Not so. Which is probably why there are so many overweight officers who have difficulty walking up a single flight of stairs, let alone chasing someone. Their only tactical advantage appears to be the ability to sit on a criminal, if they are ever fast enough to catch one.

Time was when most nicks in the force had some kind of multigym where officers could, in their own time, work off some of the beers consumed the night before at the police bars/social clubs which no longer exist either.

Gradually managers realised that they could save a few quid by not buying or maintaining training equipment & that the little rooms used to house the multigyms could be put to far better use as a bean-counting office, so the multigyms began to disappear.

Nowadays you can only count on fitness training if you’re on the firearms squad as its accepted that the gucci boys need to be fit while everyone else can spend their time eating pies.

That was the past.

Now it seems someone has decided things must change. There are rumours of a new broom in the fitness stakes.

Now I can honestly say I have never done something called a bleep test. I believe this is one of the fitness tests for routine applicants to the service. Doubtless some of my younger-in-service correspondents can explain in more detail but I think it involves running back & forth between 2 points before a beep goes off, the timing between the beeps decreases & the amount of runs you can get in before the beep beats you results in a score or ‘level’.

My colleagues in the job tell me that a dark shadow looms on the horizon on the form of a compulsory fitness test for all officers which will involve mainly the bleep test.

This doesn’t present a problem to most front line officers, certainly those with under 10 years in the job, but I believe there is a significant minority who couldn’t catch a cold much less a fleeing criminal.

This presents a problem for them, the bosses or both. Firstly, the officers who are the size of Lichtenstein have no chance of passing the bleep test unless a taxi service is provided. Secondly, what are the bosses going to do with all those who can’t meet the minimum standards? Are they going to provide time training to get people up to the minimum standard? Are they going to take people off frontline policing if they are no longer deemed fit enough for purpose? Where does the liability fall if someone had a heart attack trying a bleep test for the first time in 29 years? Is the rumoured compulsory fitness test just a scare tactic to make people examine their own fitness level?

Are officers who fail to be sacked from the force, surely there aren’t enough desk jobs for all the salad-dodgers?

February 17th, 2010

So sad

Posted in The Job - General by 200

We’ve all heard the awful story of the two kiddies, one of whom died after their vehicle plunged into a river in Worcestershire last week. Their father has been charged with attempted murder.

What we haven’t heard so much about is the actions of two West Mercia police officers who went into the river to save the life of 6-year-old Ryan Grady.

Police chiefs have described the conditions as ‘atrocious’; the car was 12 feet from the bank & submerged in 12 feet of muddy water where visibility was zero. One officer swam into the river to rescue the boy while the other waded in & helped pull the officer & child back to the bank. The officers were unable to reach the boy’s sister, who was eventually pulled from the submerged car some two hours later by a police diving unit from a nearby force.

The officers are said to be traumatised by their inability to save Gabby Grady.

I can’t imagine the mixed feelings of being able to save on child & not the other.

February 16th, 2010

Fond Memories

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

Many years ago we had a training sergeant who used to come out with some corkers.

At that time recruit training was done in regional police training centres. Several forces banded together to send their recruits to a specific training school in their region. Courses were residential, some were single sex, some were mixed. I happened to go to a single sex training school which meant I came out the fittest I’d ever been as extra curicular activity was restricted to studying & sport.

One of our local training sergeants had spent years at training school before coming back to the force as a, er, trainer – its amazing how many officers have built careers out of avoiding front line policing.

Anyway, he was well known for his turn of phrase.

I was on one of his courses at HQ once when he was extolling the virtues of one of the police manuals. I forget which one it was, it could have been ‘Blackstones General Police Duties’ or something like that.

So, we’re sitting in a classroom up at the headquarters training block.

Sgt Manning is pacing up down in front of the class, Blackstones clasped tightly in his hand.

“My recommendation to you, & one I suggest you take seriously, is that each & every one of you goes out & gets a copy of Blackstones. This is the bible of policing. It contains all your powers, police powers of arrest, police powers of search, all your legislation, your criminal laws, your points to prove, everything you’ll ever need as an operational police officer is contained somewhere within the pages of this book.”

He slaps the cover of the book as if adding gravitas to his words.

“Once you leave here today, get down to your local Waterstones, Dillons or Smiths & get a copy or place an order. Use this book as your bible.” He slaps the cover again then quickly flips through the pages. “I can’t stress enough, get this book, if there’s one thing you take away from this course this week, its the importance of getting Blackstones. Use it, refer to it, learn from it. Keep it on your locker or oin your case. It will be your best friend.”

He pauses, turns to the class & holds Blackstones high like a triumphant Trojan father holding up his first-born before the masses.

“People,” he pauses for effect, “get out there buy this book, or another one.”

February 15th, 2010

Easy peasy

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

We had 3 of the easiest arrests this week. I don’t know whether they came about because the recipients were arrogant, stupid or just didn’t give a fuck.

Three guys out on the town for a good night, what better way to enhance the evening’s entertainment than a good snort of cocaine?

Cocaine being illegal & all that can’t be taken just anywhere, after all, walls have ears & all.

So what better place to take it than out in the street in the middle of the town centre, just under a CCTV camera?

The pictures come through of the three twats, one of whom proceeds to lay out the tools of the trade on top of an ornamental wall. A white powder is produced from a small bag liberally sprinkled onto an opened wallet. They then take turns to sniff the powder up what looks like a plastic tampon applicator. All captured in glorious technicolor. They were so close to the CCTV camera they must have been able to hear the focusing gears tracking them, but clearly didn’t.

It was a simple procedure to guide the two bobbies who were just outside the club the dorks were gearing up to go on to. It took the officers all of 30 seconds to catch them in flagrante delicto, so to speak.

Chalk 3 up for the outstanding local arrest figures.

February 14th, 2010

Something else to ban

Posted in The Job - General by 200

It occurred to me today that perhaps pedestrians should be banned from using their mobile phones whilst on public roads too.

There I was, driving along the road minding my own business when I spied a woman walking down the path towards me on my nearside. There was a Vauxhall Corsa ahead of me travelling in the same direction. I could see the woman had a dog by the lead in one hand & was talking into her mobile phone in the other while her child, who could have been no more than 3 was riding a bike with stabilisers.

I don;t know whether she put any thought into it or not but she was walking along the path with her dog between the bushes & her & her son between the road & her. Bearing in mind this was a country lane & the path was no more than 3 feet wide with no escape on the non-road side due to high hedges, I didn’t think it was perhaps the safest of combinations.

Sure enough just as the Corsa was approaching her, & with the woman engaged in some conversation in her mobile, the toddler suddenly veered towards the road. I didn’t have a stop watch but I’m betting her reaction times were severly limited by using her mobile phone. She just managed to grab the kid before he plunged headlong into the front grill of the Corsa, who didn’t seem to react at all judging by his constant speed & direction as it passed the gang on the footpath.

Not the best circumstances I’ve ever known in which to chat to your mate.

Oh & Happy Valentine’s Day to my wife (not that she reads this but when she calms down from not receiving a card from me today, at least I can prove the thought was there, even if there’s only 2 hours to go)

February 13th, 2010

Respect

Posted in The Job - General by 200

Back in November I posted about the shocking case of four Lakewood, Washington Police Officers who were gunned down as they prepared to start their duty.

With reference to yesterday’s post about the funeral of an American police officer, I was contacted by a retired Candian cop (Thanks, Art) who pointed me in the direction of some footage of the funeral service for those 4 Lakewood officers.

Yesterday’s post was entitled ‘It takes 7 minutes’ & was in relation to the length of time it took for all the vehicles in the funeral procession to pass the camera. Art tells me it took 3 hours for the 3,000 police vehicles to pass.  20,000 police officers from 275 cities attended, including 1,000 Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

I thought the event deserved a post on its own rather than remaining within the comments section of yesterday’s post.

You can see further footage here, here, here & here.

February 12th, 2010

It takes 7 minutes…

Posted in Videos by 200

…just for the vehicles to pass. I’m a sucker for remembrance videos.

BLUtube is powered by PoliceOne.com

Can anyone imagine something like this happening in the UK?

February 11th, 2010

Shocking Decision

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

Blimey, the people who run the IPCC must be turning in their graves, if they were dead. Another lengthy iunvestigation into police brutality comes up in support of the police, wonders will never cease.

Back in June 2009, I posted about a case which reached trial by YouTube when a taxi driver filmed officers in Nottingham arresting a violent, drunken thug & tasering several times. Naturally, on a blog dedicated to policing in the UK, the officers involved received more understanding from visitors to 200Weeks than from the wider community. The wider response – see the comments by ‘Sam’ on the original blog entry – was uproar about police brutality & abuse of power.

The IPCC doesn’t appear to agree. They have announced, after a full investigation,  that: “The overall evidence suggests that it was necessary for the officer to activate his Taser several times due to the continued and escalating resistance being demonstrated.

Officers have a right to protect themselves and deal robustly with unruly behaviour while policing a busy city centre at night.”

It concluded that the officers’ actions were lawful and proportionate and there was no evidence of any criminal offence being committed.

Yet again, it’s a shame it took 8 months to investigate. It doesn’t take this long elsewhere.

February 10th, 2010

Worthy Causes

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

I’ve long been a critic of the current UK compensation culture which sees it as acceptable to get a squillion pounds for being called a rude name in an office in London but only 50 pence for getting your leg blown off in a battlefield in Afghanistan.

So it was good to hear that the government want more votes, er, are redressing a tiny part of the balance, by awarding our injured troops with a bit more cash.

Extra compensation awards for injured soldiers would be backdated to all those injured since 2005 & could mean a payout of some £30million in backdated compo, or about 60 people’s worth of having your tits groped by the photocopier.

The Defence Secretary announced that it was merely instituting a system to offer “fair & just” compensation. Strange that until now it had to be taken to court or subjected to intense media criticism before upping previous offers of compensation to make them a little more ‘fair & just’.

Nothing to do with an up-coming election & the need for as many votes as it can get, I’m sure.

February 9th, 2010

That Dizaei Fallout in Full

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

I guess over the next days & weeks we will hear more of the Ali Dizaei problem, I managed to catch a few snippets on the TV & radio today. It was interesting to hear some members of the Black Police Association falling over each other to sit on the fence. I’ve not heard any current reps of the organisation calling for him to be ejected from the association, though I would hope there are rules in place to protect the ethics of the organisation by not allowing convicted criminals within the ranks of its members.

There are many people within & without the ‘extended police family’ – a phrase so often used by senior management these days – who are now saying what goes around comes around & the man has got his just deserts, despite the Met’s PSD being unable to nail him over so many allegations & even with the full might of their extensive investigations which previously led to just about nought, save for some handy free dosh Dizaei’s in the form of compensation & another step-up the promotional ladder by those who feared yet another accusation of racisim against the odious little man.

Whilst, thankfully, there can be few who agree with much the BNP has to say, I suspect there will be many who agree with at least some of their comment on the matters in hand. They have called for an investigation into the role of the Black Police Association – of which Dizaei was it’s chairman until a year ago. So says their website: “Such an inquiry must focus on whether that group is able to influence the police service through the threat of calling any critic a racist. It seems to observers that the police service were so frightened of attack by the NBPA that they effectively gave Iranian-born Mr Dizaei a license to do as he wished.” I can’t say that question is not a valid one & deserving of some comment.

Critics of the Met’s behaviour towards Dizaei have accused them of a witch hunt. However, what is wrong with a witch hunt if you catch a witch, surely none bigger than a man who sees it as acceptable to stitch up a member of the public in an attempt to convict him of a made up crime?

Former Met Commissioner, Andy hayman, has some interesting comment over at the Telegraph. Personal knowledge & experience of Dizaei informs his article & is worth a read, not least to find out some of the other stuff Dizaei got away with during his last 10 years with the Met.

The reputation of the Black Police Association could rest on such a case. They’ve gone on record as saying they were ‘surprised’ at the result of the case. Presumably the same kind of  surprise I myself experienced when I found out that bears really did shit in the woods.  They’ve said it would be inapropriate to comment because of the ‘possibility of appeal’, like that ever stopped them commenting on some of their members winning tribunals for racist behaviour against them.

Come on BPA, you’ve protected the man long enough, do the decent thing.

[Update 10th Feb: I got a link here from the BBC News website]