Archive for March, 2011

March 11th, 2011

Two for the front row please

Posted in The Job - General by 200

As tickets for the Olympics go on sale & excitement reaches fever pitch, possibly, I’m kind of underwhelmed.

The thought of going to an Olympics is really exciting, I’d never be able to see them abroad (we don’t take foreign holidays) & the chance of seeing them in the UK will probably occur just once before I die.

Unfortunately, like many forces up & down the country, I’m not able to book any holiday for the Olympics. Due to the ‘exigencies of the service’ (a phrase used by people who want to fuck your private life about) all leave for the period of the Olympics is currently banned. This means no holiday can be booked for the summer of 2012 until some unspecified time in the future. There seems to be little point in applying for tickets because I probably won’t be able to go to anything worth while & if I try to flog them on, I’ll doubtless end up with a twenty grand fine.

It  doesn’t seem to matter whether we are hosting the bloody thing whole (we’re not) or are just looking after the Vanuatu table tennis team. We’re not allowed to book any holiday next summer.

You’d have thought with years to plan the policing of the Olympics, they might know by now how many people they are going to require to work, but no. So I can’t book any holiday next year, not for a few months at least.

If you get any tickets, I hope you enjoy it, I’ll probably watch it on my Sky plus box after work.

March 10th, 2011

It’s an important operation

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

Sometimes it’s easy for people to forget we’re all in the same job.

Two officers have been disciplined for declining to attend a 999 call which turned out to be a report of a woman stabbed to death by her partner last year. He has just been sentenced for her murder.

The reports today, both press & national TV, say the officers were on a special anti-prostitution operation & were found to be the officers nearest to the scene. They told their control room they could not leave their operation.

This happens most days round these parts. What normally happens is that a particular area is found to have a particular problem which shows crime figures rising & detection rates falling. It could be prostitution, burglaries, anti-social behaviour or graffitti, indeed anything which can be measured & which the local DI doesn’t like in terms of rising undetected crime.

Whatever it is, the solution is to be seen to be doing something. It matters not how effective the ‘something’ is, as long as the DI can report to the DCI in ‘morning prayers’ that they are ‘doing something’ about it.

So two officers are taken off front-line policing – it matters not how much work needs to be done nor how busy the front line actually is –  their brief is to drive around the estate ‘doing something’ about that particular problem. They may even give it an operational name. So ‘Operation Bollox’ involves two officers driving round for 8 hours trying to catch burglars.

In all the time Operation Bollox has been implemented, I have never known them to catch a single burglar. I have known them to stop people smoking cannabis (another detection), or to get their grub breaks, or to assist other members on their team with random stuff not related to Operation Bollox, when their team mates radio them up & ask them to do something. I have known 3 or 4 burglaries to be reported during the times that Operation Bollox has been on.

To be fair, most of the people doing Operation Bollox will attend an immediate assignment if you tell them. But that kind of depends on the personalities & how helpful they want to be. Some refuse to do anything not related to Operation Bollox citing their instructions from the DI not to deviate from anything which might bring his crime figures down.

Because 2 officers off the shift are on the Op, people who have actually been burgled are made to wait even longer than they would have had to wait if the officers were actually on the shift attending jobs.

Still, the DI can report that he’s doing everything in his power to address the amount of gang tags sprayed onto garage walls, or whatever the current subject of Operation Bollox happens to be.

 

March 9th, 2011

Way to take him down

Posted in Videos by 200

Always room for another chase…

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March 8th, 2011

So there it is

Posted in The Job - General by 200

There we have it, the Winsor Report, or part one, anyway. It’s a weighty tome, I haven’t read, it.

Some of the salient points are abolition of the Competency Related Pay scheme. This was something of a pay-rise for competent officers with more than five years’ service, in another name. All you had to do to get it was copy someone else’s reasons why you’re good at your job & Bob’s your uncle, an extra Ă‚ÂŁ800 a year. It made up for some of the other things we lost but was no great shakes.

Special Priority Payments are to be abolished. this was a completely divisive payment which chief constables could decide which departments merited extra cash. So different people got it in different forces. It went to departments like detectives, firearms officers, neighbourhood policing, all of which I’d argue had an easier job than that of a front line 24/7 officer on a day-to-day basis. The rules were that the force could only ever give it to a certain percentage of its officers.

Casual overtime will be paid at basic rate & the series of increments based on years of service will be done away with.

On a positive note, officers who work unsocial hours will be compensated with a 10% increase. I have never understood why someone who sits on his arse typing emails & making phone calls 9-5 with weekends off gets exactly the same as a copper rolling around the streets in the rain with a drunken yob at 3 in the morning. This change will go some way to redressing that & is long overdue.

The first part of the report doesn’t seem as bad as it could have been. Let’s see what part 2 has in store.

March 7th, 2011

Its logical, really

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

So police officers have blagged Ă‚ÂŁumpty squillion in overtime in the last 10 years.

This has meant officers working on Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day, Easter & a few other bank holidays have been paid a commensurate sum for forgoing these special days that most of the population get given off.

It has meant that officers have been paid the going rate when their days off have been cancelled & they have to cover events such as demonstrations, public sporting & social events, concerts & festivals, that the vast majority of the population will have had an opportunity to attend but the officers wouldn’t, so that everyone can pick & choose how to spend their leisure time.

It has also meant that officers who are forced to stay on when their tour of duty should have ended for the simple reason of doing their job professionally & not avoiding attending  jobs 0r arresting people just because they are near to going home, have been suitably recompensed over and above the usual 30 minutes extra-time for which they receive no pay. It has paid for work done while those officers have had to give up their family time.

The only reason overtime is required is because there are not enough officers to deal with whatever it is needs to be dealt with.

Some people just don’t get it.

The answer? Reduce the overtime bill by reducing the amount of police officers available to do the job, but don’t do anything to reduce the requirement for those officers. I’m just a simple front-line grunt but it seems like some weird kind of twisted logic.

What a fucking coincidence that this huge multi-squillion bill for overtime is announced in the same week that the Home Secretary says police pay has to be cut & the review on police pay & conditions is due out. Who’d have believed these pieces of information would come out in the same week?

March 6th, 2011

More chickens

Posted in The Job - General by 200

I posted a couple of weeks ago about some misgivings I had over the British arming & training certain middle eastern countries & what was going on out there.

News this week that even now over 100 Libyan police  officers are studying in the UK & being trained in leadership & forensics by institutions & companies in a deal worth £4million.

The Telegraph reports today that 200 Libyans are currently in the UK as 103 are taking a masters degree at Huddersfield uni. One only has to look at what the Libyan police are doing to their own people out in Libya right now under the authorship of their leader.

So who would profit from such a deal (apart from Huddersfield University)?

Step forward one Lord John Stevens of Kirkwhelpington, ex commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, 2000-2005, who now runs his own training company.

Talk about jobs for the boys.

 

March 5th, 2011

Here we go

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

Four years ago the chief constable said in an internal memo to all staff words along the lines ‘there will be no occasion when any radio channel is single crewed’. This was because the troops were complaining that when the channels were single crewed they got a much diminished service because  one person can only do one thing, and if they are doing something other than answering the radio, they can’t answer the radio. Most front line officers seem to forget that though we are not talking on the radio, that does not mean we are sitting on our arses surfing the ‘net & hanging on every crackle the radio makes. Double crewing means enhanced officer safety; there is always someone available to assist on this end of the radio if they get into trouble.

Within a year, they decided that single crewing radio channels was completely acceptable. We thus provided a piss poor service to officers on the street & the people out there who are relying on us to provide some kind of assistance in the form of a fully briefed police officer arriving on their doorstep. The chief constable’s support for double-crewed radio channels was strangely absent, apparently officers can be just as safe while the radio operator is having a piss & someone in a different part of the county is covering your channel & their own, or you’re engaged in a conversation  on the telephone.

Someone in the money-saving department decided it would be a good idea to save even more money by cutting down on the number of radio channels. So where you would have had two towns with 4 radio operators, it was considered safe to have double the amount of officers & workload on one channel with 3 radio operators; one less staff. It worked OK during the trial  between 3 & 6 in the morning when many fewer people dialled 999, half the officers were inside dealing with everyone they’d arrested throughout the night & fewer people needed radio coverage.

By some twisted logic, the money-saver department ruled that if it works OK at 4 in the morning it must work equally well at 1 in the afternoon or 9 or 11 at night.

If you recall some of my earlier posts about what happens on a busy late shift, or two, then imagine what it’s like doing double the work with 75% of the staff.

I spoke to 2 radio operators today who are now looking for other employment & three, who officially hate coming to work & that was just amongst the six staff who sit nearest to me.

And rumours abound that they are looking to cut more staff which means an increase in workload that most people are having a real struggle to cope with. Two people walked out this week, unable to cope with the pressure & stress. I found out this week that at least two forces not far from us give their radio operators a break every two hours. We regularly sit for 7 or 8 hours before getting our one break in a 10 hour shift.

So, any officers out there happy with the service their control room is providing?

March 4th, 2011

if at first…

Posted in The Job - General by 200

We haven’t had a Taser video for a while…

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March 3rd, 2011

Like the corner of my mind

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

When I was on the streets, I was a member of the International Police Association, an international brotherhood of officers in almost every part of the world. It’s a bit like the Masons without the funny handshakes & odd trousers; you can go to any country in the world & find friendship through mutual membership.

I was fortunate enough to go on many visits to foreign climes & experience many systems of policing. Whilst undoubtedly the focus of membership was on the social side & the chance to share a few beers with brothers & sisters across Europe & beyond, there was the educational side. I have patrolled, in uniform, the streets of many nations.

I remember on one occasion in the old city of Warsaw, an amazing place completely rebuilt after the war using original plans of buildings often hundreds of years old. I was with a Polish officer as we walked along a set of tram stops. A guy came up to me  who turned out to be from England. Ignoring the Polish officer & speaking directly to be, dressed as a traditional British bobby, without batting an eyelid he asked me which tram he needed to catch to get to the Mostowski Palace. It was like he fully expected a British copper to be patrolling the streets if every nation in Europe.

I learned that policing in Poland is pretty much like Policing Britain, except we don’t have to remove the sub-machine guns from the boot of the car every time we go to grub. We had a meeting with the local police chief at the British Embassy country club. We had a meal, much vodka was drunk & as was the tradition, after the meal we exchanged gifts & mementos. He sent his driver out to the car to collect some gifts from Poland to the UK only to find his police car had been nicked, I kid you not.

March 2nd, 2011

Doing the same with less

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

So Theresa May has announced that police officers pay needs to be cut. What an opportune moment to make this announcement one week ahead of a supposed independent enquiry into police pay.

One could be forgiven for thinking that Tom Winsor, former rail regulator, who is due to publish an interim report on his findings has been told to cut the pay bill & find a way to do it & the government are merely softening the blow & showing how determined they are to cut the public deficit.

It will be interesting to see what the report comes up with & what we will lose.

My wages have been cut already, and that’s not cut as in I’m not getting a rise, not cut as in I’m paying more tax & VAT,  & not cut as in I’m losing those child allowances. No cut as in last year I my salary was, for argument’s sake, Ă‚ÂŁ25,000 & this year my salary will be a little over Ă‚ÂŁ24,000, same hours, same job. And that’s before my force finishes its own review on how it can cut more cash from my salary.

I’m OK , as much as I dislike signing a contract for a job with a specific wage & then being told that contract is null & void & I either accept a pay cut or look for another job, I can afford to lose a few grand because I have a police pension. But I work with lots of young people with big mortgages. Some of them are already worrying whether they will be able to pay their mortgages.

I think lots of us are waiting for this new pay review with more than a little interest.

March 1st, 2011

We’re all family

Posted in The Job - General by 200

I often post about police officers from America who are killed on duty, thankfully, I post less often about UK police officers in similar situations. I rarely post about our brothers & sisters closer to home, so thoughts this week to the family, friends & colleagues of two Greek police officers who were murdered on duty this week.

Following a call from a kiosk owner that he had been robbed by the occupants of a jeep, two motorcycle officers spotted the vehicle & gave chase. Reports say that the offenders opened fire from the vehicle on the officers with an Kalashnikov rifle & pistol killing one of the officers instantly. The other died as a result of his injuries in hospital.

I have travelled to many European countries over my time & patrolled the streets in several different countries with officers from different nations. The one thing which has always struck me as that we are ordinary people doing an extraordinary job which is basically the same no matter where you are.