Archive for November, 2010

November 30th, 2010

A Sad Anniversary

Posted in The Job - General by 200

A year ago yesterday, four American officers were gunned down in a cafe in Lakewood, Washington.

This video tells the story of that incident. (You’ll need about 20 minutes to watch it in full)

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You can read more about the case over at PoliceOne.com

November 29th, 2010

Fit for purpose

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

Some years ago I nicked one of the local lads who was always in trouble. He would have been about 18. I can’t remember what I nicked him for on that particular occasion, but it was usually something to do with his drink & drug habit. He used to burgle people in his own road, he robbed his mother, he even beat her up to get her PIN number on more than one occasion.

She never pressed charges & whenever you nicked him & went round to tell her, her first question was usually, “what evidence have you got?”.

Anyway, he got nicked & put in the back of the car. At the last nick I worked at a major proportion of my time was single-crewed. We had to learn to police with our mouths rather than our muscles most of the time as backup was usually 20 minutes away.

I drove the 15 miles or so to custody & must have been in a benevolent mood because I let him out of the car for a smoke before we went into custody. He must have been waiting for his chance because suddenly he was on his toes like a bloody jack rabbit, straight out the rear yard & off across the road.

I ran as fast as I could but he was 18 & I was forty-something. Luckily for me he wasn’t the fittest teenager I ever nicked & his sprint lasted about 200 yards before he was completely ****ed. He found a parked car & ran round the other side just as I reached it. To be honest I was pretty puffed out by now. The way I policed didn’t involve sprinting; if they got away you just made an appointment with their dad & saw them later.

Anyway, the next minute or two was like something out of Benny Hill. I went one way round the car as did he. If I stopped & went the other way so did he. My assertion that he wouldn’t get away fell on deaf ears & we went round & round & back again until both of has had recovered a little & then he took off again, inexplicably back towards the police station.

He tried to jump the fence into the police station yard & that’s when I decided to go for broke & launched myself at him, rugby style.

I was around 16-17 stone & he didn’t get up for a while, which gave me enough time to recover my dignity before dragging him back to the cell block.

This episode has no relevance really & is not really cutting edge policing. I was simply reminded of it tonight when I took my sister’s dog for a walk & thought it might be a good idea to run it round the block.

Sitting on your arse in the control room for 8-10 hours a day does something to your fitness levels that I’m not too proud about. Still, January the first just round the corner, a good time for a new start.

November 28th, 2010

Winter numpties

Posted in The Job - General by 200

It makes me laugh sometimes how people go out in the freezing cold without a coat. It must be a generational thing, possibly the same thing that makes people think they look cool smoking a fag. Maybe I just have an inbuilt leaning towards comfort having suffered many childhood & teenage years being told to make sure I wore wear a vest when I went out any time after August & before July.

We spent a couple of hours searching round for some guys who went out for a few beers to the town centre & thought it would be a good idea to rob an iPhone off someone on their way home. They were seen on CCTV getting into a taxi. We happened to have officers round the corner who picked up the taxi. It was stopped between 2 towns out in a fairly rural area.

The occupants decided to leg it as soon as the taxi stopped, the officers caught one each but the other two got away.

We got a dog on scene who managed to pick up a track which lead to a motorway. They’d probably run across the motorway to escape.

Half an hour later we caught a third male. Then about 90 minutes after that one of the patrols came across someone walking along a remote road wearing just a white short sleeved t-shirt. It must have been about minus 4. It would have served him right just to drive past him & let him walk for another hour or two, but he was strangely thankful when he got nicked, and so were we when we found the stolen iPhone in his back pocket.

November 27th, 2010

Hidden Agendas?

Posted in The Job - General by 200

So how many people have heard of or seen this?

It’s a Private Members’ Bill which had its first reading recently & appears to be an attempt to ban the burka in England & Wales. I say recently, it was summer this year.  As such, I suppose it’s no longer news are there is little chance that Tory MP, Philip Holborne, will ever get it passed into law. But as I only just came across the details I’ll give it an airing.

The proposed law would make it an offence to wear in public, with a few exceptions such as health & safety equipment, a face covering the main purpose for which is to hide the face. It seems the only exceptions on the grounds of religion would be at a place of worship, rather than anywhere else in public.

I guess it’s similar to the changes made to the laws in France.

Anyone have any thoughts on the matter?

November 26th, 2010

I want to report some lost property

Posted in The Job - General by 200

On night I was driving my patrol car around an estate in the town. I’d just done a stop check on a vehicle, checked out the driver & car & then let it go on its way.

I got a call over the radio, “Are you currently driving up London Road?”

“Yes, over.”

“Well can you slow down very carefully because your clipboard, hat & torch are on the roof.”

I did slow down very carefully & sure enough my gear was still on the roof of the car.

I expect a certain man in Essex is wishing that he’d only left a bit of paperwork & uniform on the roof of his car. The BBC is reporting that he managed to leave Ă‚ÂŁ80,000 on his car roof when he drove off. Needless to say by the time he realised & went back to check there was no sign of the money.

The story does not advise why he happened to have eighty grand to put on his car roof.

November 25th, 2010

Spaghetti hypocrisy

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

Over the last few weeks I’ve mentioned several times the dual standards involved in senior officers commenting, or not, on alleged & actual transgressions by officers in their own force, dependant on what rank the ‘transgressor’ is.

Another occasion  rears its head today with news that the Chief Constable of North Yorkshire, Graham Maxwell and his deputy Adam Briggs, will be up on a charge of gross misconduct. It’s alleged that they used their position to circumvent normal recruitment procedures for relatives applying for jobs within their force. Two other members of staff have been dismissed.

Last winter the force advertised 60 jobs & were swamped with 300,000 applications. The officers were investigated by another force & the IPCC who have recommended the gross misconduct charges.

North Yorkshire Police have said: “The individuals in question have a right of appeal. For that reason, it would not be appropriate to make any further comment at this time.”

Hmm, I recall that Sgt Mark Andrews had the right of appeal when he was convicted of assaulting a female down the cell block, this didn’t stop his force calling him a “disgrace” to the uniform.

One rule for one the plebs & another for the top brass.

November 24th, 2010

Oh goodie

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

So we’re due a bit of bad weather, whoopy-fucking-do. Doubtless I’ll come off worse than most people again. I think over the last 10 years of really bad snow, I’ve been at work for most of them & had problems getting home.

I know years ago I was covering in the control room for a few days as someone was on leave. The area got snowed in. I started work at 6 in the morning. I was still there at 6 in the evening. In fact when I looked round at 11.30 at night, I suddenly realised the rest of my shift had gone home & it was just me & the night shift, even the late shift were starting to go home.

It took me an hour to get out of the car park & onto the main road, the roads were so chogged up. I coudn’t get out of the town & spent the night 2 miles from HQ at someone else’s house. I had 3 hours sleep & then g0t up for another shift at work in the same clothes I’d slept in. Meanwhile, the night shift had the bare-faced cheek to ring my wife at 4 in the morning to tell me to get up in plenty of time so I could get in to relieve the night shift.

Two years ago I was on lates again, it took me 3 hours to get home.

Last year I was on lates, it took me an hour to get to the town next to mine & 2 hours to drive  a mile or so across it. I ended up leaving the car & walking 3 miles home. Then to add insult to injury, I fell over on the way home & hurt my shoulder & then had to get up early the next day to walk to my car & drive it to back to work.

So excuse me if I don’t get excited about the impending snow. Whenever it comes I guarantee it won’t be on one of my rest days.

November 23rd, 2010

Unusual Scum of the Week

Posted in The Job - General by 200

The latest entry into the 200Weeks Scum of the Week Hall of Fame comes from an unusual source.

Twenty-nine-year-old Simon Rogers is an ex-paratrooper. He left his position as a corporal in the Second Battalion Parachute Regiment in 2008 after a suspected heart attack made him unfit for duties. Prior to leaving he was left back at base while his mates went off to fight in Afghanistan. While they were away Rogers stole their Iraq & Afghanistan medals & flogged them on eBay for a few hundred quid each. He also stole explosives, detonators, ammunition & equipment which was found when his home was searched  by Ministry of Defence Police.

He was jailed at Northampton Crown Court for three years.

When I read the story today I was reminded of the excellent ‘Accused‘ series which featured  the tale of a group of Soldiers in Afghanistan & was on the BBC only last night, how good was McKenzie Crook, one can only imagine how he’d have dealt with Mr Rogers.

November 22nd, 2010

Mind the truck

Posted in Videos by 200

must be time for an American police chase…

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November 21st, 2010

Of book cooking

Posted in The Job - General by 200

When various politicians & chief police officers said of the reduction in police funding, “this will not affect front line policing”, what they actually meant to say was. “Police officer numbers will go down by up to 6,000 across the country for each of the next four years.”

The simple statistic behind the mouthwash that says that police officers won’t lose their jobs as a result of the massive 20% cut in funding is that 39 of the 43 police forces will not recruit a single new officer. As 6,000 officers retire or leave the police every year, this means that this time next year there will be 6,000 less officers.

The funding cuts are set for a four year life, which suggests that by 2015 there will be at least 24,000 less officers unless forces start recruiting again.

But don’t worry about the effects this will have on crime in your area.

Policing Minister Nick Herbert said: “I don’t think anyone – and no respected academic – would make a simple link between the increase in police officers and what has happened to crime. There is no such link.”

Which kind of makes you wonder why we had so many officers in the first place.

November 20th, 2010

Creative accounting

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

Anyone else’s force coming up with ever more creative ways to save cash.

Our latest is to say that, despite 32 years to my knowledge, Christmas Day & Boxing Days being regarded as bank holidays when the fall on a weekend, apparently they are no longer bank holidays. So the conditions of service that you signed up to all those years ago are no longer valid & the usual rights you would get for working a shift system which includes bank holidays no longer apply.

In order to save cash, we already know that the police force runs with a skeleton crew on a bank holiday, now even though shift numbers are around the skeleton crew numbers anyway, they are forcing people to take bank holiday leave. Except Christmas Day & Boxing Day are no longer bank holidays, so how can they force you to take bank holiday leave.

Gotta love the way they ride roughshod over their most precious commodity.

November 19th, 2010

That’s gonna hurt in the morning

Posted in The Job - General by 200

Through almost 3 decades of work on the streets, one constant I learnt from very early service was to stay out of the way of police dogs. I’ve always had distrust of the rear end & a healthy respect for the front end; they don’t call them land sharks for nothing.

I’ve seen them in action many times, from football riots to town centre brawls to taking on an individual either too drunk, drugged or stupid to realise he’s on a short trip to a loss.

News caught my eye today in my regular trawl through the interweb, of an American officer who probably regrets not paying as much attention to police dogs as perhaps was wise. A police officer from Tumwater in Washington was one of several searching for a burglar in a brewery. You kind of hope that the words, burglary, brewery & police dog are only goint to end up one way. They did, but not for the burglar.

Sadly, the officer will be off work for at least six weeks after getting between the police dog & the burglar inside the brewery. The officer received a set of gnashing white canines to the groin.

Ouch!

The sheriff said: “It wasn’t the dog’s fault.”

November 18th, 2010

You’ll be waiting ’til hell freezes over for an apology

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

You’ll remember Sgt Mark Andrews, of  Wiltshire Police. He was the one shown on police CCTV manhandling a drunken recalcitrant female into a cell. He was jailed for six months for assault & freed pending his appeal.

The appeal concluded this week & the court have quashed the conviction. The judge in the case was satisfied that Sgt Andrews did not intend throw her into the cell & that her injuries were due to her drunkeness caused when she let go of the cell door.

Assistant Chief Constable Patrick Geenty was the spokesman back then & today. Remember he is of an ilk who, when an allegation is made against a senior officer or their own decisions, procedures & policies, hide behind a cloak which dictates that it is always ‘inappropriate to comment at this time’, but when the shit rolls downhill & stops at a front line officer will heap opprobrium to garner maximum ‘public confidence’. Geenty said the officer was a disgrace.

Now that the officer has been found innocent, Geenty has not withdrawn his original comment. Instead he continues his mealy-mouthed drivel in the hope of creaming and last crumb of ‘public confidence’. He basically says that even though the court has ruled otherwise, the officer is still guilty. Read his words on the Guardian website, they make me too sick to reproduce them here.

November 17th, 2010

Well, that worked

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

So the Met got the Fitwatch website taken down. That was a resounding success, not.

Fitwatch are an organisation dedicated to exposing what they say is intrusive police surveillance of protesters by the Metropolitan Police’s Forward Intelligence Teams. Fitwatch send representatives of their own to various protests & film the police filming them or protestors. Watching one of their films must be like looking into a mirror which is being held up to a mirror looking into the reflection of the reflection of the reflection, ad infinitum.

They posted the violent thug protester’s guide to avoiding arrest after a protest this week, following the police search for the offenders who broke various laws & property at the recent student demo in London.

Such gems as ‘don’t hand yourself in’, ‘throw away any clothes you were wearing’ & ‘grow a beard & wear dark glasses’, were posted on their website.

The Met took exception to this & contacted the website’s service provider asking them to take the website down on the grounds that the advice being given could be seen as an attempt to pervert the course of justice. The hosting provider duly took the website down.

I’m not sure the Met really understood the implications of this. As a result, Fitwatch have got more publicity than they’ve ever had, thousands of people all over the ‘net have reposted the information they had posted & Fitwatch merely went to another service provider & reloaded their website which is up & running in exactly the same format with the same information. The story appeared on the main TV news today garnering much publicity for a previously little-known  outfit which must be lapping up all the attention.

It seems to have had quite the opposite effect to that intended by the Met.

November 16th, 2010

One good turn deserves another

Posted in The Job - General by 200

as you’ll see in this clip…

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November 15th, 2010

You heard it here first folks

Posted in The Job - General by 200

I reported back in May how the police were suffering the big Airwave ripoff & it’s finally hit the press this week, well the Daily Mail, anyway.

The Mail reports that Dorset Police officers have been told to do all non-essential communications between officers & the control room by text message as talking is becoming prohibitively expensive. The system is nationwide & used by all the emergency services. It provides secure transmission facilities  was trumpeted as being the panacea to the flaky VH & UHF systems used for many years.

The truth was somewhat different to the hype; Airwave has plenty of problems, radio communication still falls out, officers cannot get through or be understood on occasions. The infrastructure is not infallable & radio masts often drop out of the system creating problems where nobody in a particular town whose radio fails to work can talk to the control room.

Airwave managed to get a deal where they are paid by how much the system is used, so the more people use it the more they earn. Figures suggest that a 30 second transmission such as those where an officer is doing a PNC check on a vehicle could cost as much as 80 pence a pop, when you are doing hundreds of thousands of checks a year, you can see how the bills mount up.

Dorset Police are apparently telling officers to text as much as possible to save money because texting on the system is cheaper than speaking. They have confirmed that get charged a fixed price for provision of the service & a set amount of radio traffic with variable charges after they go above their ‘minutes’.

We’re being told that all unnecessary chatter should be cut, all messages should be accurate, brief & clear. I’m surprised we’re allowed to use the radio at all, what with the huge budget cuts we’re all facing.

What with all the problems Airwave has, it won’t be long before we’re not allowed to use it at all  have to go to the roof of HQ & shout to officers, in some respects it would be just as effective as using the radio.

November 14th, 2010

Not something you say often

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

So Mr Bush has admitted he have the go ahead for Al-Qaeda suspects to be waterboarded.

I think theres probably lots of things you can criticise him for but, speaking personally, I say bloody good job, Georgie Boy.

It’s nice to see someone with the balls to stand up say bollocks to the human rights of people whose goal is the destruction of innocent lives.

If someone had a bomb strapped to one of my children  & I thought someone had the code to turn it off, I’d be right at the front of the queue to use whatever method I thought would work to save their life.

Don’t talk to me about their human rights, they gave up their human rights the moment they started plans to kill.

So good on ya George.

I would, would you?

November 13th, 2010

Contrast & Compare II

Posted in The Job - General by 200

Police in New South Wales, Australia, shot & killed a man who was armed with a tyre lever in an incident on Thursday night.

Police attended a report of someone injured with a knife. On arrival, 44-year-old Mark Mason, fled the scene & was pursued in his vehicle. During the chase he rammed two police cars injuring the officers inside.

Some time later police found Mason at his girlfriend’s house, concerned for the safety of the other officers, they entered the house & were confronted by Mason who was armed with a tyre level. Attempts to subdue him with less elthal options failed & police officers shot him twice. He died.

What followed would make senior officers in the UK poop their pants with incredulity.

NSW Police Acting Deputy Commissioner, Alan Clarke, said: “It would appear they have exhausted all their options, prior to resorting to lethal force, and on the information before me I certainly believe that officer had no other option, and resorted to the only remaining option they had to protect their own lives.”

The title of the piece in ‘The Australian‘ is “Police had ‘no option’ but to shoot.”

Can you imagine a headline like that in the UK, or a comment from a senior officer, just one day after the event?

November 12th, 2010

Rent-a-mob strike again

Posted in The Job - General by 200

My children spent the day up in London this week watching the usual suspects trashing the Conservative Party HQ, spreading the anarchy love trying to injure police officers.

How many of the usual suspects turn out go be students genuinely concerned about the prospect of being forced to take on fifty or sixty grand debts at the age of 22 is yet to be established, but I suspect it wasn’t that many, at least judging by the representatives of the anarchist groups I’ve seen on TV & heard on the radio. Mind you, there was at least one student of politics & philosophy who did the reputation of students no good on Radio 5 yesterday.

One of the kids is at uni, so she won’t have to suffer the ravages of a government policy which forces the many to pay for the mistakes of the few, but the other will suffer the full force when tuition fees treble.

She went with mine & Mrs Weeks’ full blessing; we paid for the coach fares & bought material to make banners for her  & her friends to carry through the streets of the capital. We even got up in the early hours to ferry her to the pickup point for the journey into London.

Our other child went from uni with 200 fellow students.

On the whole their day went well, until a group of brainless thugs took over. The rest was played out on the rolling news broadcasts.

When the younger one got home  & was regaling us with tales from the demo-lition, as she called it, I noticed she had writing on her arm. I took a closer look  & in thick marker pen on the back of her hand she had number with an arrow pointing up her arm. Higher up she had Mrs Weeks mobile number in big lettering.

I asked her why. She said they had been advised to write an emergency contact number in a prominent place in case they were knocked unconscious by the police.

It would have been more realistic to have been told they needed it in case they were hit on the head with a brick thrown by the mindless thugs who were guaranteed to be present.

With guidance like that it’s no wonder were fighting a losing battle with the youth of today.

November 11th, 2010

Rest in Peace

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

poppy