A couple of years ago the powers that be introduced random drugs testing within the police service. At any time a crack squad from HQ can descend anywhere in the force & randomly test officers for drugs. We’ve even had situations where we can’t send officers to jobs because the whole shift has been taken in for a test.
As far as I’m aware, nobody I’ve ever worked with has tested positive.
News today at there have been 27 positive tests out of 13,000. Cannabis & cocaine have apparently detected, though, according to some of the forums, some officers have been tested positive for drugs for which they have aÃ‚Â prescription. Tests are usually random but can but can be targeted at individuals as a Ã‚Â result of information laid against them, anonymous or otherwise.
In Britain’s largest force, the Met, they carried out 20 tests on a targeted basis & 11 officers failed the test, presumably that means that just under 50% of the targeted information was wrong?
I’m not sure what this says about the average police officer, other than a miniscule proportion have been found to have traces of Ã‚Â illegal drugs in their system. Ideally, of course, you’d expect 100% to be ‘drug-free’, but given that the police are a force drawn from the public can we ever be truly free of officers who take drugs, steal, abuse power, etc, etc?
The feeling of walking out the door knowing you don’t have to come back for a couple of days is so great. I spend days at work just waiting for the time to pass so I can go home. I never understood those people who say they couldn’t face retirement because they’d be bored.
I’ve just had a brilliant weekend off, so much so that I’m so knackered, I’m off to bed.
I was having a trawl through Facebook the other day. As my kids seem to spend their live son it I thought I better make sure their security settings were up to scratch. As it turned out my one of their accounts was fine, but the other one was at the default settings, so we ticked a few boxes to make sure that only people on their contact list could see any of their stuff.
I then had a quick scout around some of the folk at work. It seems almost everyone has a Facebook account & for police officers & people that work in the police control room arena who know exactly the kind of problems Facebook offers us up on a daily basis, I was surprised how many had their stuff open for any old nosey bastard to have a look.
I found a couple of people whose Facebook entries seemed to consist only how pissed they were the night before or how much they were looking forward to getting pissed the night following. Others just appear to a constant stream of comments about their ex-partners & deep, meaning philosophical quotes about ‘moving on’.
It was all very interesting, for about five minutes.
Official figures out this week show that police officer numbers have dropped nationally by 2,500 in the last year. This is largely as a Ã‚Â result of a freeze on recruitment which took effect in most forces long before the current 20% cuts were even a glint in the government’s eye.
Rather unfortunately – for everyone who previously said the more officers the less crime – crime fell over the same period by 5%. Clearly, current thought is therefore that less officers means less crime, statistically.
It will be interesting to see what the number of officers looks like in a year or two’s time. It’s OK though because the Chief Cionstable of GMP, Peter Fahy, has hisÃ‚Â fingerÃ‚Â on the pulse. He says: “This has to be a debate not about officer numbers but about what officers spend their time doing and the overall impact of funding reductions on public confidence in policing. The way policing is organised and delivered will have to change significantly as this reduction in officers takes hold.” So nicely falling in to line there then.
I predict that we will de less & less (some people already ask if that is possible, the amount of stuff we don’t do any more, like provide any sort of access to open police stations). And the real reason we won’t be able to deal with anti-social behaviour won’t be because we are too scared to go into dark places, but because we haven’t got anyone to send.
When I first became aware of email scams, years ago, I could not believe that people could be so gullible as to give a complete stranger their money on the promise of Ã‚Â receiving massive lottery winnings for a lottery they never entered, nor that they believed a dead millionaire’s lawyer somewhere in Africa would think to contact them out of the blue with the offer of a share of the recently-deceased’s millions, if only they would share their bank account details.
As time went by, I realised that people were actually falling victim to these scams & many others. I’m sure many people reading this will have received many hundreds of similar emails & most, if not all, will have transferred them straight to the junk folder. But some will have been taken in, some too greedy to see beyond the end of their nose & some without the wherewithall to realise that there are evil people out there trying every trick to rob them of every penny they own.
Many of these scams are also perpetrated via normal mail. Estimates run at something over Ã‚Â£3 billion is scammed every year, from UK citizens. That’s an awful lot of hapless victims.
News today that the police have disrupted a scam from Africa in which they haveÃ‚Â seizedÃ‚Â thousands of letters destined for UK residents. Once someone responds to one of these scams, their details are sold on to other scammers who continue to send scam letters & emails. One victim, an 83-year-old was scammed out of Ã‚Â£50,000. The Met have spoken recently to 11 victims who are all receiving in excess of 100 letters a week trying to further scam them.
The result this week is a good one, but appears to be a drop in theÃ‚Â oceanÃ‚Â of this pernicious crime. I
Now if they can only stop some of the emails I get every day, that would be great.
The Sunday Telegraph runs a story today on the police garage recovery scheme, which is drawing in millions of pounds a year from victims of car crime.
Basically, the scheme is as follows, when a stolen car gets found the police arrange for it to be recovered by an officially approved local garage. The garage then take the car back to a secure pound while the hapless loser is informed that their car has been recovered. They then turn up at the garage to be met with a bill for Ã‚Â£150 plus Ã‚Â£20 per day storage. In many cases the fee is recoverable from the insurance claim, however, often the fee has to come out of the pocket of the victim, particularly if the value of the car is low or they don’t wish to lose any no claims bonus.
Car crime victims often say it feels like they are being mugged twice, once when their car is stolen & once by the police when they are forced to pay to get their vehicle back. Not all forces operate the scheme the same way. Some forces have an ‘opt out’ policy; they ask the loser when they are reporting their car stolen, whether they want the police to recover it or leave it in situ. This saves them from having to fork out garage recover fees. Other forces will give the owner of the car half an hour to get to it before they recover it. This is fine when the loser is in a position to drop everything, always assuming they are physically within 30 minutes travelling distance of their car.
The scheme has come about because historically, when the police found a car, we would turn up, see it was there & then leave it for the owner to collect, the problem with this is that it leaves the car open to being stolen again, after all, who is to say that the car thief hasn’t just parked it up for a while fully intending to come back to it? Why not just sit up on the car & arrest the theif when they come back? Fine in theory, how long do you wait? Thirty minutes, an hour or two, all afternoon? And what if they do come back, get in the car & then fail to stop & end up killing someone or writing the car off? it’s not gonna look good in Coroner’s Court explaining why you let someone get behind the wheel of a stolen car when you could have just taken it away & prevented any further crime & danger.
So we came up with the garage recovery scheme. And whilst I can see the need for a garage to become involved & be paid for its services, I also have a great deal of sympathy with the victim who gets their car nicked, and then gets stuffed with a bill for getting it back. That’s what insurance is for? Except if your car gets recovered without any further damage & your excess is Ã‚Â£200, it’s coming out of your pocket matey.
In shock news today a woman has spoken about how her husband has betrayed her by deceiving her & living a lie.
Mrs Weeks, who does not wish to reveal her location, has spoken to the Daily Fail about 20 years of deception after discovering recently that her police-officer husband was not a police officer at all but an environmentalist.
“I met that bastard 22 years ago after he stopped me for dropping a Mars Bar wrapper in the town centre. He told me he could fine me but when I agreed to pick it up he said he would let me off. It was love at first sight. I had no idea that he was an undercover environmental campaigner. I mean, he had a hat and everything.”
Mrs Weeks explained that so-called ‘PC’ Weeks became a regular visitor at her flat and hey soon became lovers.
“He was fantastic in bed,” said Mrs Weeks, “I mean he could go for hours and took me to places I’d never been before. And what a package! I miss that part now,” she said after admitting she had left her husband of 19 years.
Their romance led to marriage and soon after two children arrived. “He told me they’d been orphaned in a plane crash & he couldn’t bear seeing them going to the local workhouse.”
Mrs Weeks soon fell into the routine of being a police wife. Mornings were spent ironing uniforms & nights were spent alone. “I thought he was out there patrolling the streets, making it safe for people to sleep in their beds at night when all the time he was crawling around some wood somewhere making sure nobody dug up badgers.”
“I should have realised sooner. He made a point of going round the house every five minutes switching off lights, I thought he was just penny-pinching. I didn’t complain when he sold the cars, even though I had to walk twenty miles to work. When he subscribed to the Tree Protection Society I thought he’d just taken up an interest in the countryside. I feel such a fool.”
PC weeks spent almost twenty years living a lie. He would leave the home in a nice shiny police uniform but spend his days waving banners at power stations or throwing eggs at politicians, before returning to his wife & family with tales of how many little old ladies he had helped across the road.
Meanwhile Mrs Weeks is trying to put the last 17 years behind her. “I’m just gutted he got away with it for 14 years. All I wanted was a nice picture on the wall, free donuts & the occasional ride in a Ã‚Â fast car. I can’t believe the irony that the pig I married isn’t actually a pig after all.”
The more astute amongst you might have noticed that yesterday’s post was late.
That is to say it was late to appear on the blog, not written late. I usually post quite late of an evening (when I’m not at work) but Virgin went down last night so I had no Internet connection.
No worries, I thought. I’ll take advantage of the wonders of technology & post from my new mobile phone.
So I download an app, write my piece & press the save button. Voila, chalk another success up to the techno-geek!
Except when I come to check today whether my Internet connection is back (it’s not, despite being woken up off a night shift twice by some bloke with a jackhammer up the road), I notice that yesterday’s post isn’t up.
So I manage to navigate the WordPress app only to find that that when you press save it saves the entry to your phone, not your blog. You have to unchecked the box that says ‘save locally’ for it to upload.
So I’m writing this entry from my mobile again having been assured by some Virgin in India that my Internet connection will be back this evening. Hopefully, I’ll press the right button this time.
Apparently, the average time off sick for a police officer is something like 7 or 8 days a year, while fight support staff is a day or two more. I’ve never understood why civvies have more time off work than officers unless they fear the consequences less.
All of which means the job must owe me a few months in unaccrued sick leave.
Meanwhile, back at the factory, people are dropping like flies. The condescending emails are being circulated again telling everyone to wash their hands regularly, blow their noses in tissues & put their hand in front of their mouths when they cough.
When staffing levels are so it causes a real problem for everyone else when people go sick. I think they call it resilience. We even have staff responsible for resilience. I’m buggered if I know what they do 8 hours a day (Monday to Friday).
Day in, day out in my force, we cannot get to see people who deserve to be seen because we have so much crap to deal with. People looking at people in a funny way, slagging each other off on Facebook, failing to return a borrowed PS3 game on time, I could go on and on and bloody on with tales of the utter shite police officers are expected to deal with where the real solution is just for people to ‘fucking grow up’.
So an item I heard on Radio Five today about police involvement because someone was offended by a painting comes as no surprise. Kent Police sent two officers to a gallery in Folkestone because someone had complained about an item on display which depicts David Beckham being crucified.
I have no idea on what grounds the complainant felt it was good use of the time of Her Majesty’s finest & I don’t suppose it really matters. What matters is that there was probably a burglary victim somewhere in Folkestone who had to wait an extra hour or two while officers investigated this non-police-incident.
If you don’t like the picture, don’t visit the bloody gallery, boycott the artist, tell any of your friends who will listen, create an internetÃ‚Â campaignÃ‚Â against paintings which depict famous people being crucified, but don’t waste time trying to make it out to be the crime of the century.
A Kent Police spokesman said: “Two officers visited the art gallery and explained there had been a complaint.Ã‚Â When the owner said the work in question was due to be taken down at the end of the week it was decided no further action would be taken.” The implication being that if the ‘offending item’ was not due to be taken down by the end of the week that action would be taken? What the police spokesman should have said was: “We received a complaint about a painting in a local gallery. The complainant was told this was not a police matter & they should speak to the director of the gallery in question.”
So one MP is currently languishing at Her Majesty’s Pleasure (Labour MP David Chaytor, 18 months) while another awaits sentencing later this month (Barnsley Central MP Eric Illsley) and four more are awaiting trial, all over theÃ‚Â scandalousÃ‚Â expenses fiasco as brought to light by the daily Telegraph last year.
What really isÃ‚Â surprisingÃ‚Â is not that some MPs are starting to get their just desserts, but that so few are.
Don’t worry though, one MP furious at being investigated himself, has decided to grass up six colleagues he accuses of doing the same as himself. So that will be two found guilty at court, four set for trial & potentially six more for a trial.
I am somewhat bemused as to what detail the MP has over and above everything that was already in the public domain which would prompt a criminal investigation, given that the sheer scale of the behaviour of Ã‚Â significant numbers of MPs claiming for duckhouses & second homes that were really their first homes, was so obviously fraudulent. It always felt something of a whitewash that nothing happened to all but the selected six (so far).
One can just imagine what name the northern MP who grassed his mates up currently has in the Houses of P.
I was quite touched at the footage of George Psaradakis on the BBC news this week.
George was the driver of the number 30 bus which was blown up by a terrorist on the 7th July 2005. He appears to have embraced life in the UK with a spirit which could show many people the way. I was struck when he mention, in his prepared statement, ‘this great capital of ours’ (or words to that effect).
He has been thrust into the public consciousness through a set of circumstances none of us would wish on anyone, and is still loyal to the country which produced the scumÃ‚Â capableÃ‚Â of such a devastating act.
Unfortunately, over many years, the type of person I normally come into contact with who hail fromÃ‚Â foreignÃ‚Â climes, are more likely to be those who come to plunder, both the nation & the people who live here. That is not a general viewpoint on life, merely a consequence of being a police officer & dealing with the worst in society, day-in, day-out. We see, too many times, when they get caught out, rather than get sent back fromÃ‚Â whenceÃ‚Â they came, they are allowed, under the guise of human rights, to stay here to continue their greed and/or violence unabated.
I would prefer to think that there are far more people like George Psaradakis than there are like the people I mention above. And I’m sure there are, it’s just that they don’t normally make many headlines.
I posted in May 2008 band March 2010 about the Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe, and his attempts to get out of jail having served 30 years for murder & attempted murder.
The High Court has finally decided that in his case life does mean life & he should never be released. He had appealed against a decision two years ago that he should never be released having attempted to murder 2o women between 1975 & 1980 (he succeeded 13 times).
I expect the European Court of Human Rights will probably have something to say on the matter when his legal team take the case there later this year.