Archive for August, 2010

August 31st, 2010

High speed pursuit syndrome…how long before we hear that over here?

Posted in Videos by 200

This is a case from 2001. The commentary explains all.

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August 30th, 2010

Deadly Distractions

Posted in The Job - General by 200

Thirty-year-old model, Kelly Brook, features in a new advertising campaign for Reebok trainers.

The voluptuous female struts her stuff bereft of clothing – apart from said trainers – on billboards across the country this month.

What has a gorgeous, naked woman got to do with this blog? Not enough, but you may well ask.

It seems the Institute of Advanced Motorists are gravely concerned. They say the adverts are certain to cause serious or possibly even fatal accidents as male drivers crane their necks for a close look.

They appear to disregard the danger to lesbians.

Peter Rodger, head of driving standards at the IAM, said: “Some of these ads will be more distracting than others, and some will be placed where the effect is particularly significant. They all add to the clutter pulling your visual attention away from the road and adding to the information you need to process as you drive along.”

I can think of worse sights to leave the world by.

KellyBrook

August 29th, 2010

STFU

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

I posted a while back about loud people in pubs.

We have the same problem in the control room.

There are ways times when, for various reasons, controllers or call-takers raise their voices the whole room hears everything. Sometimes its simply a case that the caller is in an environment, like a busy pub or club they just cant hear you. Other times its down to the calltakers getting frustrated.

Then there are the ones who are just plain loud. They might be taking a report of a lost cat I can still hear every word despite them being 30 yards away.

As far as Im aware, our telecommunications equipment is good enough to pick up the human voice from a distance of a couple of inches, so why they have to talk like they dont actually have any telecommunications equipment is beyond me.

It can be a source of amusement too especially when the calltakers questions are answered not by the caller but by people all over the control room.

I remember one girl in particular was clearly having a frustrating time with a caller who was probably drunk belligerent. She got louder louder, asking the caller various questions which werent being answered. As is do often the case, everything went quiet just at the time the calltaker, who had by now lost all sense of professionalism, shouted down the phone, “I’M TRYING TO HELP YOU, YOU MORON.”

August 28th, 2010

Happy Birthday to me!

Posted in The Job - General by 200

Today sees the 200 Weeks blog reach its fifth birthday.

Yep, FIVE WHOLE YEARS of blogging. While other police blogs have come & gone, 200 Weeks has stayed the course, bringing you insights & opinions on police & policing in the UK & beyond, together with thoughts on matters not necessarily related to policing.

And to top that, in a couple of weeks I’ll have published a blog entry every single day, rain or shine, work or rest day, for THREE YEARS.

1,294 posts have appeared over the past 5 years.

My thanks to all my regular readers, especially the ones who leave comments on my posts. I hope you fancy staying with me over the next year.

August 27th, 2010

Cops & robbers

Posted in Videos by 200

I have no idea if this guy was a robber or not, to be fair, but he suffered the consequences of firing guns at police officers. The officers were cleared of any wrong-doing.

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August 26th, 2010

Shocking Behaviour

Posted in The Job - General by 200

Police in Nottingham dropped a bit of a bollock this month when an officer accidentally tasered a 14-year-old girl who was standing a few feet away from a man who had just assaulted an officer & was trying to evade arrest.

Police were called to the Stapleford area of Nottingham to reports of males riding mopeds up & down the road.

When officers approached, one of the males became aggressive. A struggle ensued during which an officer was assaulted. The officer discharged his Taser but it missed & hit the girl who was standing behind the offender.

The male was subsequently arrested.

The girl was taken home & examined by a doctor who found she had not suffered any ill effects. Police have apologised to the girl.

To cut to the chase then, is this sufficient reason to deny police the use of Taser? Doubtless certain groups individuals will be using this as yet another example why police should not be trusted with yet another weapon in their arsenal.

Life is a series of risks, police work is no different. I’ve never believed that something should be banned just because the risk of misuse means someone might get hurt or even killed. I think it’s more a question of balancing the potential outcomes & trying to minimise the risks.

If risking the deaths of a certain amount of people to save the lives of many more people is an option open to you then I’d take the risk. But lets be clear, talking about Taser is not talking about life & death, despite what the anti campaigners might say.

Is it worth the risk of Tasering the occasional innocent person in order to protect people who might otherwise be at a far more serious risk? Unquestionably yes, apologise, make reparations, amend training accordingly but don’t ban it because of some errors.

No matter how good the training & equipment, we will always make cock-ups. It’s a question of whether those cock-ups outweigh the good the equipment provides.

August 25th, 2010

Double-Standards Dizaei

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

Poor Ali Dizaei hasn’t had an easy time since being jailed for 4 years for corruption. What with being assaulted &  having excrement poured over his head.

He is now preparing to sue prison authorities for failing to protect him from racist abuse.

He began his sentence in Wandsworth but was transferred to Edmunds Hill Prison in Suffolk. He was sent to Prescoed Open Prison in Wales after being assaulted.

It’s interesting how someone of his previous police ranking found it easy enough to ignore the rules & laws when he saw fit but now chooses to try  & use those laws to obtain financial compensation as a result of someone doing something less serious than his own transgressions.

August 24th, 2010

With friends like these…

Posted in Videos by 200

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August 23rd, 2010

So-long Fellar

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

We said goodbye to David today.

As funerals go it was a nice funeral, if you know what I mean. Personal.

We walked in to ‘Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring’ which was a little poignant since Mrs Weeks & I had someone sing that at our wedding. It’s funny how you only learn certain things about people at their funerals, things you hadn’t gleaned over many years of meetings & chats.

Mrs Weeks is very down, she’s the last of her immediate family now. Can you be orphaned in your forties?

The kids looked gorgeous in their bright colours.

Tears mixed with yellow roses & the cake was nice.

August 22nd, 2010

Don’t drink & drive

Posted in Videos by 200

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August 21st, 2010

Knickers to you

Posted in The Job - General by 200

One wonders what is going on in the turnout of officers in West Midlands that the force feels the need to advise on the correct form of underwear to be worn on duty.

A recent message on the force intranet has advised that officers must wear pants of an “appropriate” colour & design. So it’s no thongs or boxer shorts that can be seen above trousers that drag round the arse like a chavved up teenager, then?

The item as sparked responses in the latest issue of Police Review. One correspeondent said, “Any chance they could run a piece on tying shoelaces, or how to use toilet paper?” Another said, “Rather than spending time on sending pointless messages out concerning the way we look when doing the job, the force should concentrate more on letting us do the job of a police officer trying to catch criminals.”

Assistant Chief Constable, who clealry didn;t have anything better to do said, “All supervisors, at whatever level they are in the organisation, have a clear mandate to challenge inappropriate dress.”

August 20th, 2010

Cheap Flights

Posted in Videos by 200

This is for anyone who ever flew Ryanair, & has absolutely nothing to do with police or policing.

August 19th, 2010

Closing the cases

Posted in The Job - General by 200

Police are trying to identify people who have been killed by trains over the last 35 years. A forensic artist has made portrait drawings from old mortuary photographs in an effort to try & identify the people whose families will, presumably, never have found out what happened to their loved ones.

The item was on the BBC News tonight & featured a mother who had recently been told that her son was killed on the railway line after years of not knowing what happened to him.

I imagine there will be  more than those 20 who remain unidentified whose bodies were not in a fit state to have a photo taken of their face. The first dead body I saw was on a railway line. One of my early night shifts as a probabtioner PC. He had laid on the track & got his head run over.

As the youngest in service, I had to walk the line with the black bin liner.

August 18th, 2010

Sting in the tail

Posted in The Job - General by 200

I’ve been to some weird & wonderful jobs in my time. I had a period as a wildlife liaison officer & got sent to various jobs involving  members of the animal kingdom, usually as a result of an injury or some cruelty.

I’ve never been attacked by a swarm of bees.

The below photo is the aftermath of an incident in which a North Carolina deputy got sent to an RTC involving a truck which was carrying 60 boxes of bees. The insects escaped at swarmed on the officer who retreated to his patrol vehicle, whereupon the bees massed over the police car. Local police were forced to call backup in the form of two local bee-keepers who managed to remove the bees after calming them down with smoke & sugar water spray.

copcarbees

August 17th, 2010

Another recruit

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

I see yet another top medical chap has come out in support of the 200Weeks stance on the decriminalisation of drugs.

No less an authority than Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, former president of the Royal College of Physicians, has said that current drugs laws should be  ”reconsidered with a view to decriminalising illicit drugs use”. He says that the ‘war against drugs’ has not worked for forty years & shows no sign of ever working. “We cannot stop production from overseas and we cannot stop importation, but we can start treating heroin addiction as a medical condition. We see people in hospitals every day who are suffering not from heroin but from dirty needles, from impure supplies of the drug.

“There has been some really successful projects providing, not every addict, but the hard end of the spectrum – so to speak – with clean heroin under controlled conditions. “It improves health, it gets them off of heroin and it stops the crime, it stops them stealing to feed the habit.”

Sir Ian says that there is evidence which shows that decriminalising heroin or other drugs doesn’t increase the number of drugs users.

Nicholas Green QC, chairman of the UK Bar Council, said: “A growing body of comparative evidence suggests that decriminalising personal use can have positive consequences. It can free up huge amounts of police resources, reduce crime and recidivism and improve public health.

August 16th, 2010

There goes my baby

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

News today that will surprise nobody in the police, in the UK at least.

Officers from Greater Manchester had to watch thieves ride off on 3 motorbikes worth Ă‚ÂŁ20,000 because they were not allowed to pursue them as the thieves didn’t have crash helmets on.

Take a look at the news clip on the BBC website to see the owner’s dismay. Clearly the reason for the policy is in case the riders come off & hurt or kill themselves, obviously, this will be the fault of the police & everyone will be calling for officers to be suspended, prosecuted & sacked, unless it is their bike, apparently.

The news story glosses over the fact that actually, it doesn’t have much to do with the thieves riding off into the sunset on their ill-gotten goodies without safety equipment, the chances are that even if they did have helmets & leathers, the officers would have been told not to pursue.

The daily Mail readers shouldn’t be surprised, since it is their actions over recent times which have caused bosses to create policies which won;t have their asses on the line.

August 15th, 2010

Unmarked vehicles, it would never be allowed over here

Posted in Videos by 200

Time for another video.

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August 14th, 2010

Thinking about David

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

Nobody said life was fair. Thirty years as a police officer has taught me that much.

When Mrs Weeks’ mother went in to hospital for a minor hernia operation, we never thought in our worst moments that she would never come out again. She caught an infection which led to pneumonia. Mrs W was called to the hospital when it was thought her mum was on the way out. They said their goodbyes. Her mum was a fighter  & over the next 2 weeks we got called on 4 times. Each time the parting was more painful than the time before. She died. She went into hospital to be made better, it was bitterly sad.

Mrs Ws’ dad wasnt good at looking after himself. He had never cooked a meal or ironed a shirt. He deteriorated after his wife died &  found himself in the same hospital as his wife. He was in &  out over a year or more. He got taken in by ambo one night after neighbours found him in a confused state. He died completely unexpectedly. We didnt get the chance to see him before he went.

Earlier this year Mrs Ws’ brother was diagnosed with liver cancer. He went through chemotherapy & various other treatments. We were due to meet him  & his wife 2 weeks ago for a pub lunch. We don’t live near my wife’s family, we see them once or twice a year.

His wife called us on the day we were due to travel to them to say David was feeling too weak to make lunch.

A week later he was taken into hospital with an infection, they treated him with intravenous antibiotics.

We had a phone call completely out of the blue to say that his kidneys &  liver were failing, they thought he might die that night or the next day. It was 10 o’clock at night. We explained to the children who had no idea their uncle David was so Ill – neither did we – we set off on the 2 hour journey to the hospital.

We got there around midnight & made our way to the oncology ward.

David was in a sideroom, a small light was on over his bed, he was asleep. We were completely shocked with what we saw; I’m a big bloke, over 6 feet & 18 stone. David was easily bigger than me. He has very large features, hands like tractor buckets.

I went to Auschwitz a few years ago, what I saw in the hospital bed reminded me of the photos I had seen at Auschwitz. It was like looking at a ghost. His face was totally drained of colour, skin taught over cheekbones I had only ever imagined were actually present. I could see his pulse in the veins on his neck. His eyes were globes protruding from sunken sockets. It was nobody I knew.

“Oh my god, he looks just like grandad when he was 85″, was all Mrs W could muster. David is much younger than 85, he’s not even at retirement age, though he was made redundant last year.

We watched him sleep. Time went slowly. The nurse brought tissues &  offered a bed to us.

Some time later David stirred, woke &  opened his eyes. He was surprised to see us & asked what time we got there. We said we were just there to give his wife a break &  that late at night was a good time to drive as there was no traffic &  that as I was going onto night shift I’d have been up late anyway, anything to avoid the truth that we wanted to see him before he died.

Over the next hours John dozed & woke. We had little snippets of conversation. It broke our hearts when he started talking about the possibility of getting an orthopaedic bed for home.
He was so weak it was difficult to make out the words, it seemed such an effort to talk or to lift his hand to rub his face.

Mrs W went out to talk to a nurse. I heard her burst into tears & when I looked out she was in the arms of a nurse. She was going through it all again &  there was nothing I could do to ease her pain.

We watched David doze & snore, this once big, powerful man with a big voice, reduced by some dint of fate to a weak & wasted shadow, being taken before our eyes much too soon.

We couldn’t stop so decided to give him 10 more minutes then we’d wake him to say goodbye. Nine minutes later David woke & apologised again for dozing off. We said our emotional goodbyes &  left, it was the first time I ever heard them say they loved each other.

Our journey home was subdued. In the sky above the motorway the occasional asteroid shot a blazing path across the sky. I wondered whether perhaps one of them was coming for David.

There was no news from the hospital by the time we woke up. Who knows how long he’ll last?

It rained today. I went for a walk with my iPod. I Iistened to one of the Palestrina masses. The most beautiful music in the world. It struck me that David will never see his nieces marry – they don’t have kids – he’ll never hear Palestrina, not that he would ever choose to listen to it, but everyone should hear Palestrina, at least once.

I have only cried twice as an adult, once when my dad left home when I was 18 & again when we found out one of our children had a particular condition. I’m not proud of that fact, I blame the job to a certain extent, it robs you of your ability to show emotion. I have come close a couple of times. I am bitterly sorry for my wife who will have lost her entire immediate family in just a few short years when I’ve only lost a grandparent & step-mother.

I didn’t cry today, I probably won’t when David does die, but I will have that straining feeling at the top of the throat when you feel like crying but don’t quite know how.

August 13th, 2010

Back soon

Posted in Blogging by 200

Things are a little difficult at the moment. Hope to resume normal service soon…

August 12th, 2010

Cancer sucks

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

Blogging seems so insignificant right now. Someone in the family is dying.

Life is just so unfair.