Archive for September, 2010

September 10th, 2010

Not enough exercise

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

Whilst we, especially civilian workers, in the police are currently wondering whether we will have a job next year or be put out to seed to pay for bankers’ bonuses, police have been spending nearly Ă‚ÂŁ1million on an exercise to deal with a major earthquake.

No, that’s not as in how to send teams abroad to assist in major disasters elsewhere in the world, that’s dealing with major earthquakes in the UK. I think the last time we had a major earthquake round these parts there was only one landmass & we were part of Australasia, or something.

Hampshire Fire & Rescue said they had chosen an earthquake as the scenario for Exercise Orion, which was held this week in four force areas in England. He said: “That is why we have chosen the unlikely scenario of an earthquake, because the UK is not accustomed to such incidents and it is therefore outside all normal planning assumptions.”

Other senior officials said it was important  to be able to deal with such an event, even if the chance of it occurring is extremely slim.

I’m not complaining, it was probably money well spent & gave senior officers the chance to fuck it all up in a scenario where it doesn’t actually matter, rather than fuck it up in real life.

Anyway, I won’t have much time to post this week as I’m being abstracted for some training scenarios viz Operation Tsunami, Exercise Massive Comet hits Ipswich & Operation HQ gets sucked off  by a Black Hole & the Chief disappears up his own Arse.

September 9th, 2010

How I met the Pope

Posted in The Job - General by 200

So the Pope  comes to the UK next week & ACPO are saying the visit will cost the UK police Ă‚ÂŁ1million to Ă‚ÂŁ1.5million. I think that’s probably quite cheap or a huge understimate. It must have cost much more than that when the last Pope visited, judging by the amount of police officers drafted in from all over the country who had to travel to Coventry & be accomodated for 2 days.

I’m not a Catholic but I have no problem with him visiting the UK & somebody has to foot the bill, but since he is not a guest of Strathclyde, Lothian & Borders, West Mids or the Met police I think the government ought to cough up the cash. It will probably come out of the force budgets & they’ll have to sack even more staff to cover the cost.

I won’t be seeing the Pope this time, I’ve already seen him, twice. Well, to be fair I’ve seen two Popes, once each.

Back in 2006, almost to the week, I posted my name-dropping Pope story, when I met the Pope in 1982. Then I managed to have an audience with his Eminence in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican earlier this year. Well, me & a few thousand other people. It was quite a special moment even for a heathen such as myself. I have another Pope-related story but I might save that until next week.

In the meantime, I was pleased to see that the England Cricket team beat Pakistan by an innings & 3 wickets next Sunday.

September 8th, 2010

Foot in (river)mouth syndrome

Posted in The Job - General by 200

What is it with feet?

They’ve always played quite a big part in my life, literally, size 13s don’t go unnoticed & not to mention the troubles I’ve had in my life finding shoes & trainers. My daughter has followed in her father’s footsteps, unluckily for her she has size 10s & she’s not yet finished growing.

Feet seem to be playing a large part in some others’ lives recently, what with one washed up on the Lincolnshire coast a few weeks ago. Humberside Police are still trying to find the loser. As if one foot washed ashore isn’t enough, another one appeared this week, only 20 miles from the first but the really wierd thing is that Humberside Police are saying that the two feet don’t appear to be linked, presumably they’e not from the same loser which begs the question as to why are people in the Humberside area losing their feet?

I did a little digging and the loss of a foot or two doesn’t seem to be that uncommon. Only this week two legs, two arms & a torso were found inside shark caught by fishermen in the Bahamas.

This is nothing compared to Washington State in American where, on Friday, another foot was found washed up on the shore, making a total of nine feet in the last three years.

There seem to be some careless people about.

September 7th, 2010

Kharma

Posted in The Job - General by 200

An update on one of my previous stories from August where police officers from Greater Manchester were forced to watch offenders ride off into the sunset on 3 stolen motorcycles because of  a policy not to pursue motorcyclists incase they fall off & hurt themselves; the thieves were not wearing helmets or safety equipment.

24-year-old Bobby Carl Hodgkins was later arrested on suspicion of being involved in the theft of the motorcycles. He was bailed to appear back at the police station on September 10th.

In a classic case of what goes around comes around Hodgkins was killed this week when a Kawasaki 450 he was riding collided with a van in Wythenshawe. The bike had been stolen during a similar raid on  premises to the one he was on bail for on 26th August in Audenshaw. Hodgkins was not wearing a helmet, again, and died of head injuries, well there’s a thing.

September 6th, 2010

Gotta dance

Posted in The Job - General by 200

dancingcop

I love the old Gene Kelly movies. I think there is something in this old 6’3, eighteen stone monolith which wishes I could have had those dance moves somewhere in me, I know Mrs Weeks does.

So I’m impressed by NPYD cop Wilbert Castillo who has been directing traffic in New York for 10 years.

The 47 year old dances his way through an eight hour shift. Not as flamboyant as some of the dancing traffic cops I’ve seen over the years but one to brighten the day none-the-less.

Check out the video report over at the Daily Fail.

September 5th, 2010

Whoops!

Posted in The Job - General by 200

evortc

The above photo wasn’t the result of the usual kind of driving often associated with vehicles of the ilk of the Mitsubishi Evo.

Rather embarrassingly, it was the result of a couple of Greater Manchester Police officers who had recently stopped the driver on suspicion of drink-driving. It seems that the driver was taken away by traffic officers & the hapless officers were left with the Evo.

Why what happened next happened is explained differently depending which report you read. Some say the officers called a garage to take the vehicle away but decided to take it for a quick joy-ride, while others say the officers drove the vehicle themselves back to the police station, either way, they ended up in someone’s garden.

The local senior officers & Professional Standards Units are not impressed.

September 4th, 2010

Free bikes for criminals

Posted in The Job - General by 200

Suffolk Police are planning to give free bicycles to prolific offenders as part if a scheme to help former offenders get jobs.

The force will give stolen bikes to crooks who wil be expected to use them as transport so they can go off find work.

Detective Inspector Richard Crabtree said the bikes would be on loan would only be given to prolific priority offenders who could be helped.

So they won’t be giving many out, then?

September 3rd, 2010

Basics

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

Our call-takers are a constant source of amusement & frustration.

They are responsible for taking the calls from the public then filtering & distilling the information into a computer log which leads the way Me & my officers deal with an incident.

There are some pretty essential constants we, as controllers & subsequently officers, need to know with almost every job; the location we need to send the officer to is pretty key, who we need to see when we get there & where they are is also important, we also like descriptions of the offenders, what they look like,  where they are or where they are heading.

If the call-takers took these simple bits of info on every call our lives would be easier.

If only.

The problem is that this type of information is omitted so often that it is not surprising or unusual to have basic detail missed off a log.

This means we either have to send an electronic message back to the call-taker asking for the missing info, or we have to ring the informant back ourselves – which, quite often, is faster &  simpler but takes us away from what we should be doing.

Quite often it’s the same people who make the same omissions, time & time again. One wonders what their supervisors do when they are made aware of continuing problems because sorting it out doesn’t appear to be on the list.

And some of them have several years’ service, you’d have thought they’d have grasped the principle by now.

I had a job today where someone called in to say their house had been burgled & their car had been stolen.

Name, telephone number &  address of informant – check. Location of burglary informant – check. Details of car – er…

When a car is nicked, we need to put a stolen report on the Police National Computer so that if it is seen or goes through an ANPR camera it comes up as stolen  & we have a fighting chance of getting it back  & arresting someone. It might even be driving off from the burglary while officers are driving to the scene, but if we don’t know the registration plate let alone what type of car it is what chance have they got of spotting it?

As it turned out I couldn’t assign the burglary for a while as we had all our officers tied up at domestics, so a quick message to the call-taker asking if she took vehicle details was met, 15 minutes later, with the response that they’d tried to call the victim back  to get the details (because they forgot to ask the first time) but couldnt get a reply. The car could be driving up &  down the police station car park for the next 2 hours & nobody would know it was nicked.

I had another call this week. A gamekeeper was reporting youths setting fire to a car out in the rural area. The location was a forest, not one of the proportions of the New Forest or something out on the wilds of Yorkshire, but the forest was actually bigger than the town it was outside.

I kid you not, the location the call-takers had given for where the offenders were setting light to the car was “in the forest, near some trees”.

September 2nd, 2010

Fence-jump fail

Posted in The Job - General by 200

It’s only a tiny bit of the film, but gave me a chuckle.

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September 1st, 2010

Charity

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

Writing, as I did recently, about the Gardas recent attempts to break the world handcuff record for charity, reminded me of my own charitable exploits.

I recall a while back popping up to the local A &  E asking to borrow a nurses uniform. We decided it would be a good idea to do a fun run dressed as nurses. While I was in the bowels of the hospital trying to locate an NHS dress that would fit a 17 stone 6′ 3″ bloke, we stupidly asked to borrow a stretcher too.

After about a quarter of a mile of running whilst transporting an over-sized teddy on a stretcher, we quickly realised that the fun part of fun-run was something of a misnomer. Why do these ideas seem so good at the time?

Five miles later fun was about as far from my mind as shoving half a ton of broken bottles up my backside. Still, it was all for charideee.