Archive for October, 2011

October 11th, 2011

No fairy

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

One would have hoped the person in charge of defence of the nation might be someone you could trust to have impeccable decision-making abilities (if you didn’t realise that person was a politician and therefore exempt from any kind of morally non-corrupt motives).

Liam Fox really must think we fell off a Christmas tree if we are to believe his assertion that taking his best mate on a third of his official government business trips abroad, letting him meet decision-makers and business leaders and allowing his mate to introduce himself as Fox’s personal advisor was nothing more than  seeking out the company of a mate.

As each hour goes by another witness steps up to the plate to say they thought Adam Werritty was acting in an official government capacity.

I trust Fox won’t last much longer.

October 10th, 2011

It’s the Scum of the Week show

Posted in The Job - General by 200

The most recent inductee into the “200weeks Scum of the Week” Hall of fame go to three unnamed people in Gloucestershire who, this week, damaged a war memorial to 41 people killed in the First World War from the village of Prestbury, near Cheltenham.

The attack comes just a few weeks before the annual Remembrance Day services.

Local residents have already raised the £5,000 it will cost to repair the memorial before the 11th November service.

CCTV cameras filmed someone pulling up in a silver car, some distance from the memorial, and dumping part of the masonry from the plinth on the side of the road and then driving off.

What a bunch of scum

October 9th, 2011

Wishing on a star

Posted in The Job - General, Videos by 200

Take a shufty at this clip of a police vehicle overturning and the driver falling out of it. It looks like all his lucky stars came at once.

I guess he wasn’t wearing his seatbelt, which isn’t a surprise. I’ve  had the opportunity to go out with the police in Belarus, where this incident happened, and Russia. I even got a drive of a police vehicle in Russia. It was a Lada, an old Lada. When I pulled up outside a bank and put the handbrake on, the vehicle kept going.

I got the impression that the Gucci boys were the Moscow Traffic Police who rocked around in new Ford Crown Victorias where the rest of the police had old eastern-bloc cars that appear to have been sold to them by Del-Boy.

October 8th, 2011

Another one for the list

Posted in The Job - General by 200

On a busy shift you sometimes hate the little computer messages which flash up on your screen to say you have another job on the list. It could be a case where someone’s life is actually and really in danger or it could be someone who can’t be arsed to block someone from Facebook and wants the police to sort it out for them, and everything in between.

If it’s an emergency, you have to pick the job up on the computer as soon as you can because, though we don’t collect stats any more, yeah right, Mrs May, we are measure don how long it takes to pick up the phone and if it’s a grade one, or emergency job, we have 3 minutes between the time the call is answered and the time a police unit is despatched. And that includes taking the relevant information from the caller, creating a log, filling in all the fields, sending it over to a controller, a controller picking it up and reading it, a controller risk assessing it to decide who, how many and if to send someone straight away while doing background checks on any names mentioned or previous incidents at the location which might tell us whether the last time polcie attended they were attacked with a knife, or something, then finding a free unit to attend. Three minutes.

When the call-taker files the job before sending it over, they should check to see whether we already know about it. On a lot of incidents many people report the same thing within a few minutes, those calls call go to different controllers who all create a job, the first one created goes to the controller, all the others should be matched to it so you don’t have half a dozen open logs for the same incident.

Sometimes the log creator doesn’t do this, or sometimes they do but either don’t realise that the other job of the same nature, at the same time and in the same area is the same job. Confusion can occur when people don’t know exactly where they are, or get the street name wrong.  So we can get several logs, all grade one calls reporting the same thing and while we are picking up each log, we are still trying to deal with the first log, it can be bloody infuriating, especially when it’s blatently bloody obviously the same job but people haven’t checked or put two and two together.


October 7th, 2011

Widening the divide?

Posted in The Job - General by 200

In April 2010 21-year-old, Tohseef Shah was convicted of criminal damage when he desecrated a war memorial in Burton-upon-Trent. He painted, in letters 1 foot high, the words “Islam will dominate the world  -  Osama is on his way” in spray paint. He was arrested after his DNA was found on the discarded spray can.

He walked away from court with a two-year conditional discharge and an order to pay £500 compensation to the local council towards the cost of cleaning his graffiti off the war memorial.

In November 2010 Emdadur Choudhury, aged 26, an unemployed man on £800-a-month benefits, burned a huge poppy during the two-minutes’ silence at an Armistice Parade in London. He and his supporters attended the parade with banners saying “British Soldiers Burn in Hell”. They shouted the same thing during the two-minute silence.

Choudhury is quoted as saying: “I couldn’t care less. I don’t care about soldiers that died.” He was convicted of threatening, abusive, or insulting words or behaviour. After the case he is quoted as saying: “I don’t take any acceptance of the law of this country. I wear it proudly as a badge that I did something for the sake of Allah.”

He was given the lightest possible fine of £50 saying: “It’s only £10 more than a parking ticket.“ He further stated that he wouldn’t be paying the fine, others would pay it for him.

As a result of seeing footage of the case on TV, Anthony Smith, 24, and Steven Vasey, 32 entered the premises of a mosque in Hartlepool and painted a cross on the door and a large poppy on the wall.

They pleaded guilty to conspiracy to comit racially-aggravated criminal damage.

They were both jailed this week for 12 months.

October 6th, 2011

Sorry, we’re out to lunch

Posted in The Job - General by 200

News today about the Scottish Ambulance Service after a woman died a year ago when an Ambulance Technician failed to attend her address because he was having his break.

The Scottish Parliament have announced details of an interim agreement with the Scottish Ambulance Service while negotiations continue on the issue. Scottish Health Secretary, Nicola Sturgeon, said that the interim agreement would mean that ambulance staff would be required to attend “category A” calls if they were on their break.

As compensation for the emergency service staff to provide an emergency service during their breaks they will be  given an annual payment of £250, a guaranteed rest break and payment of £100 if the rest break was disturbed.

I was a little surprised that ambulance crews don’t have to turn out from their break, we do it all the time, and that’s even if we are lucky to get a break. (actually, that just refers to the first 26 or 27 years of my career, the last few I have had a break every day and I don’t get turned out from it, but then there has to be some benefit of working in a busy control room). I’m guessing, that if the ambulance service is willing to pay £100 a time for a disturbed break that it doesn’t actually happen that much, or surely they couldn;t afford it? But I don’t know anything about ambulance working practices.

I have noticed just in the last few months that we are getting more and more cases where officers are waiting for an ambulance that doesn’t get despatched for ages.  can;t honestly recall any times it’s happened in the past but just this year it seems to be happening more and more. You call the ambo control room from your control room asking for an ETA only t be told they haven’t got an ambo crew to despatch. Usually it;s the other way round and it’s the ambulance crews waiting for a police officer.

Maybe they are suffering similar cuts to the police, either that or everyone is enjoying an uninterrupted break.


October 5th, 2011

Not quite the lottery

Posted in The Job - General by 200

They must have thought all their Christmases had come at once, they being seven members of the same family who have just been arrested for money laundering after South Tyneside Council mistakenly paid £118,000 into the bank account of one of their elderly relatives.

In, what the council are calling, a case of ‘human error’ council staff mistakenly paid £118,000 into a 69-year old widow with dementia’s bank account and a further £48,000 into another account.

The £48,000 was returned by the honest account holder but the £118,000 was largely spent by members of the bank account holder’s family. The daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren are on bail to the courts after money and a car was seized from their home earlier this year.

The money was meant to have been paid into the accounts of the Northumberland County Council but found itself in two random accounts.

Meanwhile, I’m off to check my Euromillions lottery numbers to see if I’ve won another £2.90.

October 4th, 2011

…in the wind

Posted in The Job - General by 200

So the Daily Fail is reporting that police officers up and down the c0untry will be working to rule in protest against the government’s 20% cuts to police funding.

Federation sources say that officers will decline to do many of the duties they perform voluntarily thus forcing their chiefs to pay more cash to get cover. For instance, officers will stop arriving for work 30 minutes before their duty starts, will stop volunteering for public order or firearms units and decline to provide other goodwill services for which they are not paid.

Police officers are subject to a two-year pay freeze on top of being forced to pay an additional 3.2% into their pension schemes. They are also undergoing a pay review which could see their cash reduced by a further 8%.

A recent survey by the Police Federation found that 98% of respondents in the police service felt morale was lower now than when the Coalition Government came into power.

Personally, I have not heard a single one of  the officers I know talking about this. I feel the Federation have a little way to go before anything remotely meaningful takes place.

October 3rd, 2011

Walking home

Posted in Videos by 200

Wouldn’t you just love to have seen the look on his face…

October 2nd, 2011

What is the point of security guards?

Posted in The Job - General by 200

Clearly the point of security guards round my way is to sit on their arse in an office or portakabin watching CCTV screens while downloading porn off the internet.

Well, it might as well be.

Any hint of a problem with a patient at the local hospital and they are straight on the phone to the police. “Why can’t your security staff eject that drunken trouble-maker?”, “Er, they’re not allowed to.”

“What, someone on a section is trying to leave the ward? What about locking the doors or getting the security staff to stop them?”, “They’re not allowed to.”

Or the security guards on an industrial estate who discovered an insecure door in one of the units. “Can you send police in case it’s been broken into?” “Well, have you checked if it’s been broken into?” “No, there might be someone inside.”

Or the security staff who call the police to eject some kids from the land they are supposed to be providing security for.

It seems that security staff can’t actually do anything, except pick up the phone.

October 1st, 2011

Take another layer off

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

Sometimes working in the control room is like working in a submarine – it’s full of people who sooner or later smell – no (actually it is in some people’s regard), it’s like working in a little box, like a nuclear bunker. You leave the joys of the outside world and go into a room where most of the blinds are pulled down to keep unwanted light off the computer screens and people’s eyes, breathing what some architect somewhere euphemistically calls ‘air-conditioned air, then you emerge 10 hours later into the light and fresh air.

It’s been like that this week. The hottest days of the year, in bloody autumn for goodness sake – why can’t it have been like on my summer holiday? – I’ve walked into the control room and come at the end of the shift with no conception of what the weather’s been like.

Sometimes the only time you realise it’s pouring down with rain is when you notice it on the town centre CCTV.

We work in a strange atmosphere, it is usually the opposite of whatever you want it to be, and can be so at the same time for different people. I have never worn anything more than a shirt in the whole time I have been there, not once, ever, yet I sit next to people have been known to wear two fleeces on top of a jumper or cardi and we’re only a few feet apart.

It seems to have its very own micro-climates, which is very strange since I thought the whole idea of having an air conditioning system was that it was the same everywhere.

It really is a place where you can’t please everyone, and don’t the ones who can’t be pleased make it known?