Archive for December, 2010

December 11th, 2010

Lucky to be alive

Posted in Videos by 200

I always wonder why officers speak to drivers through the drivers’ window

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December 10th, 2010

Few Options

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

Bugger me, I’m running out of people to vote for.

I have voted in every election, national & local, since I was 18. I kind of feel that a lot of people paid some high prices for what few rights I have to alter how the country is run so I’d better make good use of it. For 30 years I was a Labour voter but without raking over old, familiar ground, I finally decided I could support them no more, so I switched allegiance to the LibDems.

I was particularly impressed by their opposition to student fees. Being as I am a couple of years into what may be a 10 year or more period of having to support kids through university, it was pretty high on the agenda, given that the reason I am still working is so that I can pay towards their costs so that they are not laden with a debt the size of my first mortgage when I was a few years older than they’ll be when they leave uni.

I have no time for the thugs responsible for the trouble in London & elsewhere over the past few weeks. I fully support the right to demonstrate & protest. But I hope those who stepped way over the mark are rounded up & dealt with appropriately. I have lots of sympathy & support for everyone else there yesterday.

It’s amazing how one’s principles can so easily be cast aside when the smell of power is in the nostrils.

My dalliance with support for the LibDems hasn’t lasted long.

December 9th, 2010

And another one

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

Long-time readers will know of my general dislike & distrust of most senior police officers, borne out of thirty two years of working under them. There are some I respect greatly, but these are the exceptions.

So I rarely pass an opportunity to highlight stories of senior officers making a total arse of themselves. Step forward Superintendent Helen Chamberlain of Nottinghamshire Police who was clocked by one of her junior colleagues doing 79mpg in a 50mph limit.

Unfortunately, the PC who stopped her chose to let her off with a  caution, even though she was doing nearly 30mph over the limit & well over the ACPO guidelines to be summonsed for the offence. One can only assume the officer felt under some pressure not to issue a ticket or summons, whether that pressure was enforced or perceived is anyone’s guess. May be there was some feeling of a need to offer what used to be called ‘professional courtesy’. On being stopped she allegedly said she didn’t realise she was doing 30mph over the limit and anyway that the speed limit was 60. I think anyone with a modicum of common driving sense knows very well when they are doing 30mph over the limit, sure we might drive at that speed deliberate or not but we bloody know it.

Anyway, news of the caution got back to the inspector who decided to review the decision & contacted CPS for advice. The advice was to prosecute so the Superintendent was summonsed.

One would have thought that having been caught by your own force exceeding the speed limit to such an extent would have been enough to embarass her to opt for a quick guilty plea & swallow her medicine with the least publicity. But no.

Supt Chamberlain pleaded not guilty at her first appearance, first sighting faulty speed detection equipment (that old chestnut) & when that failed she also tried the old ‘speed signs weren’t up to scratch’ ploy & finally questioning the process which led her force to reverse the original PC’s decision to caution.

Presumably, she received some sensible advice & changed her plea on the second appearance. She was issued 6 points & £1500 in fines & costs. She avoided a ban citing that it would adversely affect her ability to do her job because of the number of miles she drives.

One wonders what hope the public have got in having any faith in their police if this is the level of officer leading the force.

December 8th, 2010

No Interest

Posted in Not the Job by 200

I have absolutely no idea where I was or what I was doing when John Lennon died.

And neither do I care.

That is all.

December 7th, 2010

Does the punishment fit the crime?

Posted in The Job - General by 200

I posted in April & November about the case of two senior police officers from North Yorkshire up on a disciplinary charge for trying to help relatives get jobs in their own force by leap-frogging thousands of other potential recruits.

The BBC reports today that the Deputy Chief Constable, Adam Briggs, has been found guilty of misconduct. His punishment is ‘management advice’. Though exactly who he’ll get the advice from is unclear since his boss, Chief Constable Grahame Maxwell is also up on the same charge, although his case is still to be heard.

Does the punishment fit the crime, you decide…

December 6th, 2010

Another inductee

Posted in The Job - General by 200

There are few people scummier than those who prey on elderly defenceless victims to line their own lazy, good-for-nothing pockets.

Northumbria Police are investigating several cases where some pondlife is going round stealing cash from old age pensioners. He must be one of the few people who are currently celebrating the current snow & cold weather.

His MO is to knock on his victim’s door & offer to do them a good turn, maybe go to the shops for them to save them going out in the cold & snow & risking a possible serious injury of they fell. He takes some money for shopping & is never seen again. He has also asked to use the toilet & stolen a pensioner’s handbag.

What a scuzz-ball.

December 5th, 2010

Halcyon Days

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

We were talking at work this week & someone said something that rang very true. It was one of those things that you kind of know but don’t verbalise it. She said, ‘nobody is happy at work any more’.

This comes as no surprise given everything that’s taken place in the control room, and further afield, in the last couple of years. I have known for some time that I’m not as happy at work as I used to be & I am reminded every day by others whose faces haven’t seen a smile for many a long month. And I notice all the stress round the room, usually in the form of raised voices, slammed down headsets or tears in the corridor. Two weeks ago I saw three different women crying in one shift, I have no idea whether it was caused by work-related problems or private/home life, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was work-related.

On nights, when it was quiet, we used to crack jokes, or have mini quizzes, people joining in or dropping out as the radio traffic on their channels allowed. You might find a few people chucking some kind of rubber stress ball or spongy advertising model from the Police Mutual Assurance Society, or Tracker or  NPIA (National Policing Improvement Agency) at each other. Somebody might be singing to themself. People looked forward to coming to work.

It struck me that none of us have been out for a drink together for over two years. Times were, not that long ago, where maybe 30-40% of the shift would pick a town & go out for the night. We’ve been known to meet up for an Indian, or to go to a comedy club. People’s birthdays usually found us in some restaurant or pub.

The Christmas ‘do’ was always something we looked forward to; a chance to let your hair down, get pissed with your mates, dress up & have a laugh. This will be the third Christmas running we’ve not had a group do.

I don’t suppose there is any chance whatsoever of things improving.

December 4th, 2010

It’s a question of trust

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

I’ve got around 32 years in the job. All but the last few years of it was on the front line, dealing with calls very similar to those I send you to now, every day.

When I send you to a job, I trust you to get there & deal with it professionally. I am there to help you should you need my help, in many ways, some of which I don’t need to do but I do it anyway because I know it makes your job easier. I trust you to deal with the job & I’ll give you sufficient time to deal with it. I won’t question your judgement & will allow you to make your calls without interference.

In return I expect you to trust me to do my job. If I think you need specific information, I will try to find out that information before you ask for it. I agree that some of this information should be available before I send you & in an ideal world it would be. But if I send you & tell you straight off the bat that the information isn’t available & I will update you as & when it becomes available, I expect you to trust me that I will do exactly that, and to know that not telling you within 20 seconds is an acknowledgement that the information isn’t yet available.

For sake of illustration, let’s say I’m sending you to a job with a suspect but I don’t yet know what the suspect’s description is, though it could be any specific piece of info that makes your job easier. There is no benefit to anyone (except a few seconds of my time & saving my voice for said time) for me in keeping the description a secret. It won’t help the victim if I keep the description a secret, it won’t help you find him if I keep his description secret & it won’t make me look very efficient or even competent of I keep it a secret. So I won’t keep it a secret. If I don’t tell you it’s because I don’t know.

If I don’t know the description, I will be asking the call-taker whether one is available or not (sadly, though I am asking for your trust in me, experience shows that I cannot have the same trust in some call-takers as I have had many experiences where a description was available but either it was not typed on the log or the call-taker did not ask for it).

There may be good reasons why a description is not available; it might not be the eye-witness who is calling the job in, they may not have seen the offender, the telephone line may have cut out during the call, the caller may have hung up, they may be too upset or traumatised, they may not be able to speak because the offender has returned, and yes, they may not have been asked. However, I will have asked the call-taker & to do so might take a little time because they are not sitting next to me.

So if I tell you there is no description yet & if one becomes available, please trust me that I will tell you as soon as I know, either way.

Don’t spend the next 10 minutes while you should be concentrating on getting to the job, asking me the same fucking question 4 times because while I am busy giving you the same answer I gave on the previous 3 times, I’m not reading the log for further info, I’m not talking to other units to task them where to go & search, I’m not asking the call-taker to get a description, I’m not checking the location on the mapping system to work out potential escape routes, I’m not trying to get specialist officers to you (dogs, firearms, scenes of crime, CID) & I’m not ringing any other witnesses to try & get info to help you when you arrive.

It’s a question of trust.

December 3rd, 2010

You couldn’t make it up

Posted in The Job - General by 200

December 2nd, 2010

Over the Pond-Life

Posted in The Job - General by 200

schultzThis week sees another American entry into the 200 Weeks ‘Scum of the Week’.

In Gloucester Township, New Jersey, this week police tracked down a robbery suspect. He was chased by Police Dog Schultz who tried to apprehend him.

Schultz, a 3 1/2 year old German Shepherd, latched on to the suspects arm after tracking him for half a mile from a robbery at a restaurant. He was found hiding in bushes next to a highway. The suspect then  threw the dog into the path of oncoming traffic on the highway where it was struck & killed. The suspect then made off, he was subsequently arrested & charged with a robbery & inflicting harm on a law enforcement animal.

Cpl Mark Pickard’s wife said of the K-9 officer: “He’s a mess. I wouldn’t expect him not to be,” she said. “Everyone knows my husband as the guy out in his yard playing with his dog.”

Police began mourning Schultz Tuesday night when they lined up outside the veterinary clinic waiting for Pickard to carry him in.

A memorial service has been scheduled for next Thursday.

December 1st, 2010

Here comes another policy change

Posted in The Job - General by 200

‘Concern for Welfare’ is one of those dreaded calls. This is generally where someone calls up worried about someone they know or are related to. They fall into many categories, the most regular calls are to people threatening suicide. They usually call us (or the ambulance) themselves. These are the people who generally will never commit suicide but just crave attention. People who commit suicide or with the real intention of committing suicide just go & do it without focusing attention on themselves. They might leave a message, but they generally go off & do it without fanfare.

Another other common concern for welfare are the teenagers who decide not to stick to their parents’ rules & just fuck off out for the evening. Usually the parent/s ring the police & expect the local constabulary to drop what they’re doing to go & find their offspring.

The other main category is people who can’t get a reply from a house they expect someone to be inside. Usually older folk, it’s often a carer or neighbour who calls us. They have gone round to see the person as usually, who, for whatever reason, doesn’t answer the door. The police are called.

The other, similar, call we get is to abandoned 999 calls. We get many abandoned 999 calls each day. Most are either children playing with the phone, usually babies & toddlers who are allowed to play with a live telephone & end up pressing the 9’s until they make a call. The operator is duty bound to pass the call through to the police id the call comes from a residential property & we are duty bound to do something about it, often we just ring back & speak to an embarrassed parent who apologies profusely & promises not to let their kid play with the phone again.

Other 999 calls are kids who think it’s a good idea to dial 999, shout ‘cock’ down the line & hung up. We also get calls from people who are embroiled in some kind of domestic with their kids or partner & threaten to dial 999 in an effort to gain some advantage, they then dial the number & hang up not realising the call will be connected.

The other one is silent calls. These are a pain when you ring it back & nobody answers or the phone is engaged. Even more so when you can’t get through after several tries. It means you have to send an officer round.

The pain arises when you get round there & can’t get a reply & find no signs of life. You have to make a judgement about whether it is like 99.999% of all similar calls & perfectly explainable or whether someone is lying inside the house, either dead or dying.

Which houses to you break into & leave the householder with a large bill, or the taxpayer, & which ones do you write off as just another ‘line fault’, child playing or mistake (it’s amazing how many women dial 999 while dusting their phone).

Wiltshire Police will, no doubt, be changing their policy after a man died following several 999 calls. He had called 999 threatening to self-harm. Ambulance crew attended, presumably with police, and it was felt no further action was required. He then dialled 999 3 more times, the first 2 he said nothing & police were not despatched. After a 3rd silent call police attended & found him collapsed. He died some days later.

The IPCC have recommended changes to the way Wiltshire deal with abandoned 999 calls.

I’m guessing that from now if you dial 999 & fail to speak, expect to have your windows put in by the old bill.