I bumped into an old colleague this week. He’s managed to wangle his way into an office job. I’m not sure what his new remit will be but it involes looking at figures & charts & then issuing dictats about the way people do their job.
It’s another in a long line of jobs he’d had for the last 26 years or so, none of which have involved doing police work out on the street. It always amazes me the people who spend the first part of their lives wanting to get into a police uniform & almost their entire career wanting to stay out of it. My old colleague passed his probation & within a year spent a couple of years as the town centre officer. This was then regarded as a cushy little number, you worked 9 to 5, squared up the odd shoplifter & networked all the shops & businesses so you could discount on just about anything your family needed.
He then went into the then new crime bureau, telling people how to fill in crime reports & filing them. A few years as a SOCO followed until the then new detective chief superintendent found it was cheaper to employ civilian SOCOs who did the same work as police SOCOs but for less money & rights. Where to go next? Resource management seemed to fit the bill, then some job up at HQ.
Inspector Gadget talks about officers like this, those who spend so much time sitting on their arse at a desk Ă‚Â you could shave in the reflection of their uniform trousers.
As someone who spent just about 27 years in uniform on shifts on the front line, it makes me wonder how so many people get away with it. I recall when they wanted to get rid of a few PCs at one particular nick they decided to introduce a policy of ‘tenure’. This said that if you’d been one one shift for 5 years or longer you had to move. It was touted as being applicable to all departments but was only used at one station, no other department was affected & once they had moved the officers in question was quickly binned as a policy.
Office jobs are like being in the masons, they’re only open to a select few & once you have one, you have one for life. If anyone tells you there is no longer favouritism in the police force, don’t believe them.
We had a couple of burglaries today, well three actually, during my shift. I don’t think they actually happened during the shift, they were just discovered.
We had a few other jobs too. As usual, 30 – 40% of the officers available went off on arrest enquiries making them unavailable to see the three IPs (or ‘injured parties’ as we call victims). All the arrest enquires took 2 minutes – in which to get ‘no reply to repeated knocking’ – as officers put it, like if they say they only knocked once people will think they didn’t make a good enough effort. They took 2 minutes to deal with but they took a good few man hours to get round to dealing with them, which of course makes the officers unavailable because when you task them they always ‘just about to do an arrest enquiry’.
One of the victims lost Ă‚Â their BMW, the keys were taken & the motor scarfed off the drive before anyone woke up, the prime method for stealing good quality cars these days. One had some minor window damage in an attempt to force it & the third was an elderly couple who didn’t lose too much, but they made a bit of a mess in searching for not much.
When the imediates came in through the shift the burglaries kept getting put on hold. It meant we didn’t get to the first until 5 hours after it was reported, the second & third didn’t get dealt with on our shift at all & we passed them on to the next.
Those who pretend to care what people think say we are putting the public first, they are the same ones telling officers to ignore the public to get the arrest figures up. They don;t actually say this but this is the effect of what they are doing. The victims have no influence, it doesn’t matter if they ring up & say they reported a burglary 3 hours earlier & when are we going to get there.
Meanwhile, someone with a bit of influence Ă‚Â had a private letter copied & sent to some journalist, I think someone’s pride was hurt, or something. He managed to get 30 officers turning over the suspect’s offices.
It was instigated in 2004 as a way of remembering & honouring British police officers who have died in the line of duty. Today’s memorial was held in Belfast & was attended by hundreds of friends & relatives of those killed, together with the Home Secretary, Theresa May.
The Police Roll of Honour shows 5 officers who died on duty in 2010, all of whom died in road traffic collisions.
Just as I was bemoaning the Ă‚Â fact that a lot of people turn a blind eye to antisocialĂ‚Â behaviourĂ‚Â either through fear ofĂ‚Â repercussionsĂ‚Â or a belief that it was someone else’s responsibility to do something about it, I read newsĂ‚Â whichĂ‚Â will put off even more people from doing their bit.
The Telegraph reports today on a story where Staffordshire Police have awarded a woman Ă‚ÂŁ99,000 in compensation after they negligently provided her details to neighbours who she had informed on regarding their antisocial behaviour & drugs use. After being promised anonymity she provided evidence to police which assisted in a Ă‚Â prosecution resulting in a nuisance family being Ă‚Â removed from her estate.
Clerical staff left the woman’s name on paperwork which was sent to the family concerned, her name was also read out in court. She had to move from her house over 2 years ago for fear of problems & has been staying in hotels, guesthouses & rentedĂ‚Â accommodationĂ‚Â since. Her son is a police officer.
For goodness’ sake, is it any wonder we have such a struggle?
The normal career progression in the control room is for staff to join as a calltaker. Here they spend a couple of years answering calls from the public, either via 999 or non-emergency lines. This is where they learn about the job, our internal procedures & policies & how we deal with stuff.
Then a good number of calltakers will come over for radio work. It’s not a promotion, just different work.
Rob has been a calltaker for 2 or 3 years, so I asked when he was coming over to the dark side.
I was surprised to hear that he wasn’t considering such a move & furthermore, that he enjoyed his work as a calltaker.
To me this was the equivalent of someone without a toothache admitting they enjoy home dentistry.
Now I make no bones about it, I bloody hate calltaking. Fortunately I don’t do it too often, which is just as well. I fail to see what enjoyment people get from spending half the shift or more either talking to numpties, being abused, shouted Ă‚Â & sworn at or banging your head on the desk from the frustrations of speaking to people who don’t understand the concept of answering simple questions. Of course, not every caller is like that, there are someĂ‚Â perfectlyĂ‚Â reasonable & pleasant callers.
A good calltaker is like gold, they get all the information, filter out the crap & never get annoyed or upset by the callers. It’s a job I hate.
So it was a real surprise to hear that Rob didn’t want to leave calltaking behind & move onto the radios.
So the HMIC has come to the conclusion that police have lost the battle against anti-social behaviour. Well no shit, Sherlock. Some of us have been saying this for years, I wonder Ă‚Â how much it cost the HMIC’s department to come up with that amazing conclusion.
Of course people will be jumping on the bandwagon to blame the police for this catastrophic fall in the standards of public behaviour. The blame lies in a multitude of sectors, all of whom have conspired through neglect & a wanton slavish dedication to an ethos which failed to alert them to the real consequences of a policy which put do-goodism ahead of the rights & needs of a wider society.
It starts at home where a culture of Ă‚Â gimme, gimme, gimme sees children brought up to believe that society owes them everything & they owe nothing. It continues in school when they are taught there are no consequences for their actions as teachers have been increasingly limited powers to deal with poor behaviour, reinforced by tribes of parents who refuse to accept any responsibility for the actions of their children.
It continues through the legal system & the courts with a CPS which encourages, through lack of consequences, yobs to punch police officers by an acceptance that assault in the line of duty is notĂ‚Â somethingĂ‚Â to be aghast about but merely an inconvenience to put up with. The legal system shows people that no matter what they do they’ll always get a second chance, a third chance, or a 2oth, 3oth or 40th chance because it costs too much to do anything of real consequence to divert people from crime & anti-social behaviour.
We have a government which places the rights of criminals above the rest of the law-abiding community, where the first phrase anĂ‚Â abhorrentĂ‚Â teenage scumbag issues on being challenged is ‘you can’t do that, I know my rights.’
We have a generation or more Ă‚Â of adults too scared to intervene when they see unacceptable behaviour, or who just turn their heads because nothing is their problem & it’s always someone else who should be doing something.
We have a police system run by a government which used to have coppers in every community but did away with them & sold all the police houses & thought everything could be measured, which knew the price of everything & the value of nothing, which suddenly realised that actually it was good to have local officers on their beats & has tried to bring them back well after the genie shot out of the bottle & uses it for vote-winning propaganda rather than a committed attempt to retrieve long-lost core values.
I love a good compensation story, it usually just shows you what is wrong in current society. It seems the done thing to blame your own limitations on someone else these days. Personal liability has been pushed out the window tied to a very heavy anvil.
A female officer is trying to take her former employers to court after she lost her job from the force during her two years’ training period. She claims age & sex discrimination citing an occasion when one of her trainers told her to remove make-up & another asked her if she had brought her crayons to work. A judge is due to decide whether she can go ahead with her case later in the year.
I was reminded of an Asian PC who was moved from shift to shift because nobody wanted him, people were too scared to get him sacked fearing retribution through the civil court. Eventually someone realised that just moving him to a different shift every time was doing no favours to him, his shift, or the public. Moves were put in place to sack him, this is done by making sure every ‘i’ is triple dotted & every ‘t’ has more crosses than a spot-the-ball competition – nobody wants to be on the wrong end of a law suit.
The PC was duly sacked, not fit for purpose. He sued citing racial discrimination. He lost. It seemed everyone except him realised he was not sacked because people didn;t like him, he was sacked because he was bloody useless at the job.
We had a really good job this week.
We caught some burglars. Its always good when you catch someone in the act or making off, especially the scum distraction burglars who prey on the most vulnerable members of society.
We had a call come in from an elderly female who had just had a visit from a couple of low-lifes. They had knocked on her door given some bullshit about a neighbour having problems with a washing machine flood they were from the water board needed to come in check her plumbing.
Once in the house the first one had told the lady to check her taps turn the water on. While she was doing this a second low-life had entered via the front door, gone straight upstairs ransacked the bedroom stealing some cash from a handbag in a cupboard, some rings some medals belonging to the victims late husband.
It was at this time that the lady son had arrived.
The scum had run out the house pushing the son over legging it out of the cul-de-sac round the corner to their car.
The son had yd presence of mind to follow them while ringing us on his mobile so we had a good description of them their vehicle.
I despatched units made the decision to send a couple of them to specific points in the town.
In most cases like this we never see them again unless they are arrested somewhere down the line – which most arent. But on this occasion we must have been lucky because one of the units picked up the burglars car.
A short pursuit ensued following some tactical contact with their vehicle we had 2 distraction burglars in the bin. It was back to the nick for tea medals.
It still gives me a buzz when we get a job like that, even though I dont get to lay my hands on the bad guys, I get pleasure knowing I have done my best to make sure someone els can get the nick.
I mentioned a week or so ago that I had another story after my ‘How I met the Pope‘ blog entry.
Well, as coincidences go, it comes nicely at the time we hear six road sweepers have been arrested (& now released) on suspicion of plotting to harm the Pope.
I can exclusively reveal that this is not the first time this has happened on British soil, kind of.
Back in 1982 I disappeared off for a couple of days up to Coventry to guard Pope John Paul. It all went off extremely well, he came, kissed the tarmac, did his Pope-mobile thing & some other stuff & went home.
A couple of months later after a late shift at work, the shift went down to the police bar & ended up getting pissed. We persuaded one of the non-drinkers to give us a lift to Dover, whereupon we jumped on a ferry & spent 2 days pissed in France.
One of the lads was engaged to be married & on arrival back in good old Blighty he was met with something of a frosty reception, his better-looking half having been completely clueless as to the whereabouts of her precious man for 2 whole days. Such ‘oversights’ demand a high level of poetic licence to recover from & my mate’s was genius. According to his future wife, if she ever tells the story, her hero husband was on duty in Coventry protecting the Pope when an un-named lunatic dived out of the crowd hell-bent on harming his Holiness.
Apparently, my mate & some of the shift, I think even me included, bravely disarmed the would-be assassin & wrestled him to the ground. The court case took exactly two days but was so secretive that the officers involved were warned not to reveal details, not even to their nearest & dearest, lest the wider world learned of the apparent dangers to foreign heads of state whilst on British soil which had the potential for incalculable damage to our foreign interests. Hence he could make no contact with his beloved while he was incommunicado in a secret court somewhere in the Midlands.
When my mate got married a few months later, not one of the shift was invited, just in case the truth of what really happened leaked out to any new brides that day.
S0me people take an interesting approach to the idea of crime & punishment.
Take County Donegal judge Seamus Hughes, who recently sat on a case of a drunken man who swore at two officers of the Garda. He told one of the officers to ‘go back to County Mayo’. I have no idea if this is an Irish euphamism or just some inter-county banter.
The judge told 38-year-old Patrick McElwee to go & climb a mountain in County Mayo. He said: “I want you to come back in a month’s time with evidence that you did the four stations of Croagh Patrick, and say a few prayers.”
Speaking on the defendant’s behalf, his solicitor told the judge that whilst people in the public gallery found the judge’s directions amusing, they were taking it seriously. He asked how the defendant would be able to prove he had climbed the mountain. The judge, clearly ahead of the game, advised he had some questions to ask of the defendant Ă‚Â which he should be able to answer once he had completed the feat.
Judge Hughes said: “You better have the answers, and I will know whether you are telling the truth or not.”
The latest protection the human rights lot are spouting for the protection of criminals comes today from Northern Ireland.
Following the Belfast riots this summer the Police Service of Northern Ireland published photos of 23 people they wanted to identify in their investigations to pursue those responsible for violent behaviour.
The Policing Board of Northern Ireland has taken legal advice in relation to the tactic & told the police not to do it again if there is any prospect that the those pictured are under the age of 18, because “it would breach their human rights”. Presumably that’s the right to lob bricks at people’s heads & get away with it.
In another case, police issued over 200 photos of people wanted for public order & violence offences. As a result they made 150 arrests & of those 145 were either charged or reported. 40 of those were found to be under 18. The PSNI have been told not to use this method of investigation unless there are exceptional circumstances.
Ten months ago, 21-year-old Hannah Orpin was standing in a queue at a burger van when her life changed.
She had been taken with some friends to the Log Cabin burger van in Woodford, Essex, after a night out.
She was served by a 21-year-old female who, Hannah alleges, became sarcastic to her her friends when they asked where their order was.
She is alleged to have said: “If you want a burger, have a burger”, & threw a burger at one of Hannah’s friends. Hannah says she herself then picked up a cup of garlic sauce & threw it at the burger girl.
What happened next almost beggars belief. The unnamed burger girl then picked up the chip pan full of hot fat & Ă‚Â threw it in Hannah’s face.
Hannah’s father rushed across from his car, as Hannah desperately tried to splash water on her face from a puddle, to find the burger girl emerging from behind the counter with another pot of boiling oil ready to throw it at Hannah. He managed to knock it out of her hands.
Two RAC patrolmen doused Hannah in water from their vans. She was rushed to hospital by her father.
A photograph of her injuries appeared in the Sunday Mirror this week & was quite horrendous so I’m not reproducing it here.
The attacker appeared at Snaresbrook Crown Court recently where she suffered the full weight of the law; she was handed a prison sentence of 12 months for GBH Ă‚Â & other offences – the sentence was suspended.
Hannah said: “I can’t believe she got off so lightly.”
I wish I could say I agree with her, sadly its not as surprising as the offender’s actions.
Today marks the ninth anniversary of the mass murder at the World Trade Center. Is it really 9 years?
How the world has changed as a direct result of that one incident.
I heard on the radio today some ex Secret Service guy saying how, in the years before 9/11, the Yanks had 10 chances to take out Bin Laden, but the president declined to authorise action fearing collateral damage or bad publicity.
I was off on the 9th September that year along with millions of others watched events unfold in real time.
I was in close contact with several American Officers within a couple of days was able to listen to some of the recordings from officers on their radios from within the World Trade Center before it collapsed.
I recall one particular recording of a female officer trapped struggling to breathe. It was gut-wrenching listening knowing she died along with so many others.
There were 341 New York City Firefighters killed plus 2 NYFDĂ‚Â paramedics, 37 Port Authority police officers, 23 NYPD officers plus 8 EMTs & paramedics from private companies who were killed that day.
I think today should be a day when people reflect on the fact that no matter what happens, there are a small group of people, mainly in the emergency services, who, when everyone else is running away from something, will run towards it.