So the Inspector of Constabulary has come out with this year’s police league tables. Chief officers up & down the country will be either slapping each other on the back & toasting the performance-related bonuses or looking for who to blame for their force’s poor performance (hint, it won’t be the chief officers who are at fault).
The forces regarded as performing well will have met the target set by the government. Unfortunately, those targets don’t appears toÃ‚Â be aimed at actually doing what the public want, i.e. sorting out the anti-social chavs & getting to their burglary in the same century. But at least we’ll have knocked on thousands of criminals doors to arrest them (who are out) & will have crimed loads of teenagers calling each other slags on Facebook.
As a victim of ant-social behaviour myself, IÃ‚Â have experience of the way the local police deal with it, as a controller in a police control room not sending officers to such reports, I have my own part to play, but in my defence, it’s not because I don’t think anti-social behaviour is important, it’s because the only officers tasked by the chief to be able to actually attend such reports can’t because they are too busy making sure the force meets its targets.
It will be interesting to see whether all the furore today about police not dealing with anti-social behaviour results in some new policies to attend these all such reports say, within 30 mins, & what other assignments they decide we need not deal with any more.
Talking, as I was yesterday, of people using the latest technology for their own anti-social or illegal purposes, news today of two people arrested for one of the latest crazes for people without a brain.
Laser pens are generally sold for people to use in displays, they are the modern equivalent of the old school stick (what are they called)? used by teachers to point out items on the blackboard. Now you can shine a laser at the board to point out items of interest or importance. They are pretty powerful beams of light & don’t just stop at the classroom wall. Astronomers use them to point out items of interest in the sky. You can buy one off eBay for a few quid.
Idiots have discovered a new sport, shining them in the eyes of other people. It is, apparently, even more fun if you shine it in the eyes of someone who is in charge of a mode of transport, preferably with lots of people on board to cause maximum danger. So we get people in their bedrooms shining them in the eyes of motorists as they drive down the street, people targeting train drivers & evenÃ‚Â aeroplanes.
Police helicopters are targeted. The pilots risk becoming distracted at best & temporarily blinded at worst.
Two people were arrested this week for shining a laser at the Bedfordshire Police helicopter as it flew over Luton. They have been released on bail.
Oh dear, Facebook are in the news again. It seems the world is starting to realise what we in the police have known for a few years, that people will use whatever modern technology or innovations they can to get their own little seedy way.
As I posted recently, complaints about behaviour posted on Facebook makes up for a significantly disproportionate amount of police time. Two stories emerege this week of Facebook being a significant factor in two murders. In the first, Peter Chapman, 33, was jailed for a minimum of 35 years on Monday after confessing to the kidnap, rape and murder of 17-year-old Ashleigh Hall. He targeted the female via Facebook while pretending to be a teenage lad interested in meeting her.
Police are criticising Facebook for failing to add a ‘panic’ button to its site where children can alert the authorities to suspected cases of grooming, despite many other social networking sites adopting the policy.
A quick trawl thrugh recent Facebook-related problems in the news this week comes up with:
A Facebook page set up to accuse an innocent man of being Jamie Bulger’s child-killer, John Venables.
Australian Schools calling for police to deal with cyber-bullies who often use Facebook to bully their victims.
The arrest of a 23-year-old teaching assistant alleged to have have sex with a 12-year-old pupil after he posted messages about it on Facebook.
Riot police being called to deal with gatecrashers after a teenager’s party was adveryised on Facebook, again.
These are just the stories which reach the national news, there are thousands of complaints about Facebook-related behaviour every day.
Notwithstanding that many Facebook-related complainants probably actually just need to ignore it & get on with their lives, there are lots of more serious matters. I’ve not had to investigate any complaints so I don’t know how receptive & quick they are to assist. Perhaps some of my readers could update me as to howÃ‚Â they generally get on. But I can’t help thinking that Facebook really doesn’t do enough to stamp down on unacceptable, dangerous or illegal behaviour.
A story grabbed my eye today, particularly because I posted a related article recently.
The Telegraph reports “Fat police could put World Cup fans ‘at risk“, which talks about the level of obesity in the South African police, specifically at Port Elizabeth which is due to host England fans during the World cup this summer.
A study of Metro officer at Port Elizabeth has found that 54% of them are ‘medically obese’. ‘Experts’ are concerned that the local old bill won’t be able to cope with any potential violence, won’t be able to chase criminals or react quickly in aÃ‚Â crisis. I wonder how much of their worry is based on the fact that it is England fans & therefore are they expecteing a higher chance of trouble, per chance?
World Cup organisers have faith in the South African Police’s ability to keep order. Meanwhile, a Port Elizabeth councillor sums the whole thing up quite succinctly, “The solution is simple Ã¢â‚¬â€œ the police should eat less and do more exercise.”
When you blog every single day for more than two years it can sometimes be a real problem coming up with material. Occasionally, in a period of creativity, I might write up a couple of entries & save one for another time, but 95% of the time I write the entry on the day it gets posted, often at around quarter to midnight. I have used the same procedure for my Christmas shopping for many years; I leave it until Christmas Eve because if I do it earlier, I know I don’t have to actually buy anything as there’s always another day, if I leave it until the day before Christmas I know I have to get a present.
Today I’m making this entry at 9.30pm, I know I really have another two & a half hours to come up with something. I’ve spent 15 minutes checking out the news headlines for the day, this is where I get a fair proportion of my inspiration, & nothing has struck me as particularly worthy of comment. I’ve looked so far down the entries at Google that I’m back to yesterday’s story.
I’ve dipped back into the memory banks for a story to tell but my mind’s a blank.
I can’t even recount much from work, believe it or not, despite stories to the contrary recently, we had a really quiet day, boy did it drag, which is probably just as well as we were so short staffed out on division we had to get a couple of officers from a neighbouring division to come over for the shift. They only ended up going to 2 jobs & one of those was in yet another division because they were so short they asked us to attend one of their immediate assignments.
The day really dragged.
I got into my chair around 15 minutes before the shift started & didn’t get up for my first wee until 4 hours later, not because I couldn’t, because I was so lethargic through inaction.
It was one of those days you look forward to for a break, but when it happens you just spend the day moaning how quiet it is because it drags so much, you can’t win. Of course, you can’t say the ‘Q’ word lest you have to buy everyone donuts. Any mention of the ‘Q’ word is a sure-fire forerunner toÃ‚Â a fully laden Jumbo jet crashing into a petro-chemical plant next to the biggest school in the area.
Regular readers will know I’ve not been the biggest fan of senior officers. There have beenÃ‚Â only a few I have had deep, honest respect for, ones who I know I could have relied on to back me up in a tight spot & ones who I honestly believed weren’t in it for their own benfit.
Embarassing news for Thames Valley Police this week as one of their Chief Superintendents has been arrested on suspicion of arson, fraud & perverting the course of justice.
The case stems over an incident where Chief Superintendent Jim Trotman reported that his police hire car had been set alight. He was arrested at work at Chad Valley’s (in-joke) HQ when he arrived for work last month. He reported he had been the victim of an arson attack & named a barrister who he alleged was having an affair with his wife as the main suspect. The investigation centred over an insurance claim he made in relationÃ‚Â to the ‘arson’.
It will be interesting to see how this one pans out.
Canadian cop, David Bratzer, is instrumental in that organisation. He speaks on the subject in Canada & has testfied as a Senate Committee in Ottawa.
He has been gagged this week by the Victoria Police chief who has stopped him speaking at a harm reduction meeting in Victoria. They say the public would be ‘confused’ by his private views & would not be able to tell the difference between his personal views & those of the police department.
The British Columbia Civil Rights Association has filed a complaint against the department accusing them of gagging free speech. What a pity no such organisation has come out in support of UK cops’ free speech & freedomÃ‚Â to belong to any legal political party, for instance.
There is a petition supporting cops’ freedom of speech at the LEAP website.
So the Yorkshire Ripper is up at court trying to find out a date when he will be elligible for parole & subsequent release.
Back in May 2008, I reported that Peter Sutcliffe would be seeking his release once he had served 30 years. Sutcliffe, the country’s third most prolific serial killer of the 20th century, was given TWENTY life sentences for 13 murders & 7 attempted murders back in 1981.
I can remember, as a young probationer, like everyone else in the country,Ã‚Â devouring information in the daily papers on the hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper. We used to share papers around the canteen as we chomped our egg, bacon, sausage, mushroom, tomato, peas & chips on an early turn in the days when every nick had a canteen.
Sutcliffe’s legal team are pushing to get a parole date, doubtless the ‘Human Rights’ words will be used. It seems strange that even in the most humane of societies that anyone can believe someone who savagely murders 13 people could ever again be considered for release. If ever there was a case where life should mena life, surely this is it?
Richard Ford, of the Times, isn’t convinced Sutcliffe is any nearer to release, opining that he has several barriers in his way, not least of which is convincing a mental health tribunal that he is no longer ‘mental’. It would be hard to believe that someone who is driven to murder or try to murder 20 people could ever be ‘right in the head’. And then he will have to convince the parole board that he is no longer a risk to the public. Given the amount of people they have found to be ‘of no further risk’ who they’ve released only to see them murder again, I’m not convinced this one will pose such a difficult barrier.
I suspect there is more news to come on this story. I, for one, hope Mr Ford is correct.