Archive for June, 2011

June 10th, 2011

Told ya so

Posted in The Job - General by 200

An update on a story I reported on in August last year.

You may recall the public outcry when officers ‘attacked’ the car of a pensioner in leafy Wales after he drove off following an incident in Gwent.  In a classic ‘trial by YouTube’ two officers were seen trying to smash the window of a vehicle which had just been ‘stung’ after failing to stop & a 17-minute pursuit.

The driver in the case has been found guilty of various traffic offences. Now that the case has concluded the disciplinary matters could be finalised.

The officers were investigated by senior officers from another force. After a 3-day hearing they have been found not guilty of any discipline matter.

A spokesman for the force said: “Gwent Police expects the highest professional standards of its officers and staff at all times and following a hearing where evidence of the whole incident, not just the isolated CCTV footage, was heard and the panel concluded that the actions of the officers were justified and did not breach the standards of professional behaviour expected of police officers.”

It seems my initial conclusion wasn’t that far from the truth, then.

 

June 9th, 2011

U-turn on standards?

Posted in The Job - General by 200

An interesting news release today from the GMP chief, Peter Fahy, who says that the relentless following of policy & procedure is wasting time and money & sometimes is contrary to what victims intend.

This will come as a shock to those people tasked with making sure every policy and procedure is followed to the nth degree, such as supervisors in police control rooms who are usually non-police, have no experience of policing other than from within the confines of a call-taking centre, and are too often promoted beyond their ability. But they are good at making sure everyone sticks rigidly to policy and procedure.

Fahy says he has the backing of the Home Office when he assures officers in Greater Manchester that they will have his support if they fail to follow strict policy but apply common sense, act with integrity & a sense of ‘doing the right thing’.

He cites a particular case, one which we deal with several times a shift in one form or another, and which policies dictate should be recorded and investigated as a full-on crime taking up hours of officers’ time investigating, interviewing, recording and form filling;  he gives the example of a punch up in the school playground which results in  all of the above procedures and often involves getting other bodies such as social services involved.

He said: “You have to ask – is that what the victim wanted? Would it have been better for the officer to talk to those involved instead and visit the school to talk to the head teacher?”

It might also save us many hours chasing up people who initially report an incident, often through sudden anger, but then spend days avoiding us because they don’t really want anything done but get harassed by the local police saying they have to be seen to report the incident because that’s our policy.

It will be interesting to see whether he follows up on his stance and whether any other chiefs fall in line with him, and also what the NCRS (National Crime Recording Standards) and those charged with implementing and tick-boxing them, make of it.

June 8th, 2011

On the line

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

The trial has begun of a Spanish rioter who lives in Northern Ireland, after he threw a concrete block from the roof of shop onto the head of a police officer below. This was a riot in July 2010 in Belfast following an Orange parade.

The female officer was seriously injured and has only recently returned to work. Rodger Jarro Costa was told to apologise to the officer in open court. He had previously denied the charge but changed his plea the the last moment. The charge was attempted GBH.

The injured officer was one of 48 injured over a three-day period of rioting. The same officers whose wages are being cut, whose pension contributions are rising while the benefits fall, and whose colleagues are being retired early or whose jobs are being done away with despite government protestations to the contrary. The same officers who will be expected to put their own safety on the line every day in every town in the nation.

June 7th, 2011

Tango six-four on radar

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

I have no idea what it’s like to work as an air traffic controller, other than what I’ve seen on the TV. It sometimes feels like I’m working in a control tower only the software is crappier. You get lots of thinks coming onto the radar screen & have to sort them all out before they crash into each other or someone dies. A busy late shift is like juggling all those little icons around the radar trying to prevent them bumping into each other.Sometimes you get a police unit to intercept all the icons before anything bad happens, other days they’re just floating around aimlessly. If you’re lucky the best you can get away with is that it just upsets a member of the public who has to wait much longer than they deserve, other times things get worse, they or their property get damaged, bad guys get away, or someone risks real bad stuff happening to them.

Either way, it’s me that ends up with the stress & guilt of not being able to sort out situations that need sorting.

So it’s always a downer when the internal machinations of the control room continue on a seemingly never-ending downward spiral to more stress & less joy. We used to have such fun in the control room, and that’s legitimate, good working relationship,  hard-working, sense of achievement type fun, not the lazy, fun is more important than what actually gets done type fun.

You could have a real hard shift but still be relaxed, chilled or laid back, and come out the other side with a sense of a job well done. Now it’s just stress, bitterness & backbiting.

Our conditions of service have been changed. Basically this means less pay for a harder job. We have a choice in the matter, of course, we can either agree to the new conditions and sign on the dotted line, or we can refuse to sign & get told to fuck off elsewhere for a job. Is that what they call a Hobson’s Choice? (I’m not a very literary man). As much as we all complain about the job, and in that regard I expect we are no different to an awful lot of other jobs out there, at the end of the day, we have a mortgage & families to look out for. So nobody I know has refused to sign the new contract & I feel like I’m selling my principles down the river because I can’t get twenty five grand a year elsewhere.

The stupid thing is, and I’ve said this many times before over the last 5 years’ blogging, I really like the nuts & bolts of what I do, providing a professional and helpful service to my officers and the public who deserve a decent service. It’s just all the ancillary bollocks surrounding the job which makes me long for rest days, annual leave, and sick days, in that order.

And I started this blog off meaning to say something totally different to what I ended up talking about.

June 6th, 2011

Omaha Police Chase

Posted in Videos by 200

Time for another chase, this one is from 2006. Watch out for the patrol car that takes an early bath.

June 5th, 2011

Under the microscope

Posted in Blogging, The Job - General by 200

From time to time, for some strange reason, people email me via this blog. Surprisingly, most of the emails aren’t insulting or derogatory.

I had one this week from someone at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen. Apparently, a team of three doctors & a research assistant have a new project looking at police blogs. They want to know the how, what, when, where & why on police bloggers, and some generic info on the who.

It’s quite exciting; I’ve never been the topic of academic research before, at least nothing that my doctors have made me aware of.

You can find out what they are doing over at their own blog at policeblogresearch.blogspot.com

June 4th, 2011

Horrid place

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

I went into the city this week. Whenever I do, and I try to avoid it wherever possible, I am reminded of why I try to steer clear of it. Horrible, loathsome place that it is.

How the hell people can drive in that place every day is beyond me. It took me 90 minutes to drive about 60 miles to get to the outskirts and then 90 minutes to go 5 miles. Roadworks, traffic lights with programme that seemed to be 30 seconds green on my lane & 5 minutes on every one else’s. Pig ignorant motorists who think of only themselves with no concept of courtesy or a simple grasp of the rules of the road.

And some people actually commute there every day.

God it must be fun blue lighting it  round that place. Sometimes I am so glad I’m a yokel.

June 3rd, 2011

Support from the top

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

So ACPO have released a report recommending that officers policing the 2012 Olympics should dress smartly & wear a smile on their face.

In light of the current climate for the police an amendment to the report advised that all officers should stand to attention, bend over having lowered the tacky uniform trousers they are now being provided with, and ‘grin & bare it like a man.’ Due to financial restraints placed upon ACPO by the government, lubrication will not be provided.

June 2nd, 2011

Stiff sentence required

Posted in The Job - General by 200

When a police spokesman says; “It is quite an unusual incident. As far as I am aware, this is the first time that a woman has brought a severed penis to the police station as evidence”, you know it’s going to be a rather unusual story.

Police in Bangladesh said that a women reported to them that one of her male neighbours had forced his way into her home in an attempt to rape her. She said he had been harassing her for months. During the assault, she cut off his penis with a knife & took it to the local police station in a ploythene bag to prove that he tried to rape her.

The offender has denied the allegation stating that the woman concerned took revenge on him after he refused to leave his wife for her. Either way he is currently sans-tackle. The surgeon looking after the man said it had not been possible to reattach the organ & they “treating him so that he can urinate normally without the penis.”

Ouch!

June 1st, 2011

I like driving in my car

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

I went to a museum  recently which had some police vehicles. One of them was an old Mk II Ford Escort. If you remember back as far as the late 70’s you’ll remember them, they came in navy blue or light blue.

The first patrol car I ever drove was an light blue Mk II Escort. I came back from my driving course ready for my first ever patrol driving a panda car. Unfortunately, my sergeant had other ideas; I was tasked with a week of single foot patrol. He said something about not wanting people coming back from their driving courses & going off full of excitement at being unleashed on the motoring public & having an accident.

For the next few years I drove the Escorts. The Cortinas were reserved for area car drivers; those with a bit longer in service. I had to wait a few years before I was allowed near one. The Mk IIs were gradually replaced by the hatchback MkIIIs.

I got stitched up once by a CID officer who took my panda out without filling in the log book & pranged it. As I was the last one named in the log book as using it, I got hauled in to the chief inspector when someone found it sitting in the rear yard at the nick with a damaged wing. In those days, damaging your police car was like the greatest sin. I’ve known people damage the car & take it to a friendly garage where they’d knock out the dent & give it a little respray before it was taken back at the end of a shift rather than own up to having a dink.

On another occasion I was sent out to get the milk for the shift tea club. It was the height of summer & I slung two bottles of milk on the back seat. I can’t remember exactly what happened, maybe one of them broke or maybe the lid just came off, but either way milk ended up all over the back seat.

I mopped it up as best I could & left it in the rear yard. Obviously, being a bloke, my attempts at cleaning the milk up were pretty poor. The next day, after sitting in the 80 degree heat for a while, I went to use the car to find out that you couldn’t even sit in the car, the smell was absolutely rank, you gagged just being near the open windows. I had the task of sorting it which weren’t great. It smelled awful for weeks.

Standing there at the motor museum I was completely taken back & lost in memories of my times driving those old Escorts. The only thing I missed when I came off the streets into the control room was driving.