Archive for November, 2011

November 30th, 2011

I’m not here

Posted in Blogging by 200

I’m not posting today as I’m on strike

November 29th, 2011

Just for a change

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

A little light-hearted frippery apparently all gleaned from the reports of medical secretaries  in the Glasgow area (but probably made up).

1. The patient has no previous history of suicide.

2. Patient has left her white blood cells at another hospital.

3. Patient’s medical history has been remarkably insignificant with only a 40 pound weight gain in the past three days.

4. She has no rigors or shaking chills, but her husband states she was very hot in bed last night.

5. Patient has chest pain if she lies on her left side for over a year.

6. On the second day the knee was better and on the third day it disappeared.

7. The patient is tearful and crying constantly. She also appears to be depressed

8. The patient has been depressed since she began seeing me in 1993.

9. Discharge status:- Alive, but without my permission.

10. Healthy appearing decrepit 69-year old male, mentally alert, but forgetful.

11. Patient had waffles for breakfast and anorexia for lunch.

12. She is numb from her toes down.

13. While in ER, she was examined, x-rated and sent home.

14. The skin was moist and dry.

15. Occasional, constant infrequent headaches.

16. Patient was alert and unresponsive.

17. Rectal examination revealed a normal size thyroid.

18. She stated that she had been constipated for most of her life until she got a divorce.

19. I saw your patient today, who is still under our care for physical therapy.

20. Both breasts are equal and reactive to light and accommodation.

21. Examination of genitalia reveals that he is circus sized.

22. The lab test indicated abnormal lover function.

23. Skin: somewhat pale, but present.

24. The pelvic exam will be done later on the floor.

25. Large brown stool ambulating in the hall.

26. Patient has two teenage children, but no other abnormalities.

27. When she fainted, her eyes rolled around the room.

28. The patient was in his usual state of good health until his airplane ran out of fuel and crashed.

29. Between you and me, we ought to be able to get this lady pregnant.

30. She slipped on the ice and apparently her legs went in separate directions in early December.

31. Patient was seen in consultation by Dr. Smith, who felt we should sit on the abdomen and I agree.

32. The patient was to have a bowel resection. However, he took a job as a stock broker instead.

33. By the time he was admitted, his rapid heart had stopped, and he was feeling better.

November 28th, 2011

Another happy customer

Posted in Videos by 200

In the words of my second-born, “LOLs”.

November 27th, 2011

Forked tongues

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

So the new Met Chief, Hogan-Howe, is considering upping the number of Taser-trained officers in London. This was brought to the fore last week when four officers were stabbed. He says he wants a Taser available in every police car. That’s more than we have and we’ve had them since they were first authorised in the UK.

The usual subjects are lining up to criticise the fact that the police might be able to better protect themselves, and others. Amnesty International said: “There are instances when Tasers can be an effective weapon. However, such incidences are rare. There are more than 2,000 Met police officers who are already able to use Tasers, so it’s not clear why these officers weren’t called upon this Saturday.”

I suggest someone from Amnesty sticks on a  blue uniform and works the streets of the UK for a while to see just how rare instances are where Taser can be an effective weapon. Amnesty clearly have absolutely no idea how quickly a dangerous situation can develop nor how long it takes to get one of those ’2,000′ Tasers to an incident. I have no idea how many Met officers are trained to use Taser but someone in Amnesty needs a simple maths lesson.

If there are 2,000 officers and the Met work a 5-shift pattern, that means that on average there are 400 officers available, given that 800 will be on rest days and 800 will be on other shifts. Then factor in those who are training and not available, those on annual leave and sick, and those who are suspended from using it because they have used it and are being investigated for it. Probably something less than 400 officers, to cover the whole area, and be there within the minute or two they’d have been of use. I think Amnesty need a reality check. Still, I don’t suppose sitting on your arse in a comfy office criticising the old bill gives you much real-world experience.

London Assembly member Dee Doocey, has said that equipping more officers with Taser “would do irreparable damage to the reputation of our unarmed police service.” The strange thing is that this doesn’t seem to be borne out in the other forces around the country. I can’t say we’ve taken many calls from people in my force area wringing their hands at the loss of our Dixon of Dock Green-esque reputation since we got all tooled up.

I don’t suppose hard facts and knowledge make for good quotes though.

November 26th, 2011

Part of the team

Posted in The Job - General by 200

I don’t socialise with policemen, not any more.

Fortunately, I have several interests outside the job which mean I get to be with different folk. This hasn’t always been the case. When I was a young police officer I spent all my time with other officers. We worked together, lived together and spent our free time together.

When I got married we spent time with other couples, usually one or both of whom were police officers. I think it’s the uniqueness of the job which draws like to like, you want to be with people who know and empathise with your position and the stuff you have to do, the restrictions placed on you, people who simply understand. When you work on a police shift, you have a very close-knit set of people, who of necessity must rely on each other, often in situations when they might save your skin.

I don’t know what happened, maybe it was moving into the control room where the majority of colleagues are not police officers, but I found I was socialising with them less and less. I can’t remember the last time I went for a few beers with a police colleague.

I still maintain interests which rely on teamwork though.

I’ve spent a whole day today doing something I really love, working with a team, building up to something, putting it all into practice. I won’t say what it is because I’m quite well known for this hobby by people at work. But it involves displaying skills to people generally not known to us. After we’d finished there was a feeling of elation and the conversation in the pub afterwards was electric.

I love the nuts and bolts of my job but I’d have given it up in a heartbeat to do what I was doing today professionally.

November 25th, 2011

Strike three

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

One of my readers asked this week about the forthcoming public sector strike.

My attitude to it is this; I fundamentally believe in the right to withdraw one’s labour. Despite owning a house and sending my kids to university I am a socialist at heart. I have never voted conservative, I am probably just over half way through my life (with a bit of luck and a following wind) and I can foresee no circumstance where I would vote conservative, my roots are deeply ingrained.

I believe that when you sign up to a job and they give you your terms and conditions on paper and in black and white, then they are the terms and conditions which you should enjoy throughout your employment. Should financial conditions of the people who set up and agreed to those conditions change, then it is for them to find a way to fulfil their obligations, not for the employer to forgo their rights in order that the employer can get out of the requirements they signed up to.

Should they wish to change those conditions, they should do so with the full agreement of everyone affected by the changes. If they decide to change them this should apply to  people who join that employment from the day the conditions change.

People should expect to be treated fairly, reneging on an agreement is simply not fair.

Now, as to the strike next week. I fully support it, I will back anyone who wants to go on strike. I won’t be working on the day of the strike so the moral issue of whether I strike or not is a moot point. I am not in a union and I am not part of the civilian pension scheme so I am not affected directly by the proposed changes. I will not be working until I am 67 or whatever it is they want my colleagues to work until whatever happens.

As to how many people are going on strike. Nobody knows. Police officers are being put on twelve hour shifts. Any of them who worked in the control room in the last 5 years are being dragged off the streets and out of offices to come and work in the control room, just in case enough people walk out to make it a problem.

I have not spoken with a single person who has said they are striking but they may be keeping their powder dry. I have met lots of people who say they are not striking.

 

November 24th, 2011

Ouch

Posted in Videos by 200

November 23rd, 2011

200 Weeks top tips for a happy life

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

It may seem sometimes that I whinge all the time about officers I’m controlling. I must say that these are generally the exceptions and most are reasonably hard working, decent officers.

To redress the balance I’d like to point out that I have worked with – and continue to work with – a few controllers who are nightmares too.

So here’s some of 200 Weeks top tips for a happy controlling life.

- being a police officer and dealing with muppets on the street is a difficult enough job without dealing with muppets in the control room.

- most officers do not start their day with the intention of making the controller’s life difficult, you should reciprocate.

- when the mind is occupied with digesting the details of the job you just gave them, driving like a looney and wondering what fate might meet them on arrival, it is easy to forget the address. So, when they ask for the third time what address theyre going to, just tell them. It takes twice as much effort and time to say “as already stated, 10 High Street”, or “for the third time, 10 High Street”,  as it does to say “10 High Street” and causes much less stress, to both parties.

- the job of a controller is to make police officer’s work easier, not the other way around.

- is it more important to stick slavishly to protocol and decline to do something which might take you 30 seconds rather than refuse and take a unit off the road for twenty?

- officers don’t generally call up to make your life a misery. Before you answer them try not to say “oh what the fuck does he want now?” because after the twentieth time it gets a bit wearing on the other controllers who have to put up with it all day.

- if someone asks a stupid question, it’s probably best just to answer it than to speak in a manner which makes you sound superior and cleverer than they are.

- we all moan and whinge from time to time but doing it non-stop from the start of the shift until the end just pisses your colleagues off.

- if you say to an officer you’ll do something, then try to do it rather than just say ‘oh bollocks, I’m not doing that’ and leave the officer with the impression it’s being done.

- if you make a mistake or forget something, just admit it and say sorry, bullshit rarely succeeds.

- try to get into work at least 5 minutes before the hour because the people you’re reliving did a minimum of that and probably double that, and the people who relieve you will do it also, if that means getting in and taking over before making your cup of tea then bloody-well wait for the tea!

So there we have it, some top tips to some of my control room colleagues. Most of us might do one of the above from time to time but some controllers have made an art of doing them all, at the same time, and it’s a bloody nightmare working with them.

If any readers would like to add a few more (and get your own back) feel free.

 

November 22nd, 2011

There’s always one

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

A police officer with attitude, that is. One of those ones you think if he talks to me like that, and I’m a colleague, how does he talk to members of the public?

PC Samms is just one such officer. He talks down to you, he demands things that others politely request. He speaks like the world owes him a favour and you should be lucky that he even graces the airwaves with his response.

Everyone is entitled to a bad day, there are things which go on in everyone’s lives which might cause us to be a little short with one another. By that example PC Samms must get divorced, have a relative die and be told he has cancer every day.

I’ve never met the bloke. From what I’ve heard so far I don’t want to. He starts the conversation the same way an exasperated teacher might when they’ve explained what 1+1 equals a hundred times and the child is still getting the answer wrong.

I think he may have been turned down for firearms or traffic or something and has been taken off his shift and given a role he really hates, at least that’s the way it sounds any time you have to send him to a job.

He’s not on my shift so I don’t talk to him very often, which is just as well since he’s one of the few people I’ve ever been short on the radio to, as in a ‘will you just shut up and do what you’re told’ kind of short.

Apparently it’s not just me he winds up. Within 15 minutes of our little on air tete-a-tete I had 3 phone calls saying it was about time someone spoke to him like that. Trouble was that it didn’t feel all that good, to be honest. I kind of like having the reputation of being laid back and calm, and I am, generally. My radio partner took a call from an officer last week and they were discussing who was the controller on the next night shift. I heard her tell the officer it was going to be 200, then she said, ‘Oh, I’ll tell him that’. When the call ended she said to me that the officer had said she really liked it when I was on the radio because I never flustered and it made them feel much calmer about the jobs they were involved in.

Then an officer called up and just said: ‘Will you get someone down here now, I need a bit of assistance’. It wasn’t one of those calls where an officer is in trouble, you tend to know when someone is shouting for help, but rather the sound of an impatient man who was frustrated with whatever he was dealing with and wanted to let everyone know.

I looked at the radio console to see who was calling and didn’t recognise the number which was that of a special constable. I enquired where he was and what it was he was dealing with so that I knew who to send, how many to send and to where I had to send them. I got an exasperated reply with the street name only. It turned out he was doing a drugs search on a car full of lads and wanted another pair of hands to assist. But I didn’t find that out until I’d asked another two times.

Now I imagine this works at both ends of the radio, officers about us and us about officers, but when the on air transmissions finished, I sat back and said to nobody in particular “What an arse.”

My colleague turned to me and said: “You know who that was, don’t you?” I should have twigged but didn’t. It was PC Samms using someone else’s radio.

I might have known. That was the rest of my shift spoiled.

November 21st, 2011

Close to the wind

Posted in Videos by 200

This guy has a knife, I think the officer show great restraint, I suspect he was a whisker from getting shot.

November 20th, 2011

…like a woman scorned

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

The police cannot investigate everything.

There are not enough police officers nor hours in the day to investigate all the crimes reported to us and that doesn’t even touch all the things which aren’t crimes which we are forced to deal with because they are flavour of the day.

There is nothing so vocal as a journalist who doesn’t get her way.

Nabila Ramdani is a freelance journo who today writes in the Observer about her  victimisation by the police who won’t investigate her ‘crime’.

Her complaint is that two tweeters called her a whore on her Twitter feed. She complains that the full force of the law was not brought into effect when she reported the crime comparing the recent cases where footballers have been racially abused and the police have investigated and even made arrests.

Of course, Ms Ramdani has a privileged position in that she can use her position as a journo in a national newspaper to make her complaint public.

Her complaint is symptomatic of society in general and the demand that it is always someone else’s fault and someone else’s responsibility to sort out, usually the police. I can’t count the number of people who have a run in with someone else which amounts to no more than rudeness but expect the police to interview them and ‘take action’ against the rude person. When they are dissatisfied with the professionalism of, say, a security guard at Tesco, the first port of call seems to be the police, rather than Tesco. If they cut someone up on a roundabout and get told that they are a wanker, it is the job of the police to apprehend the other driver.

Whatever happened to ‘sticks and stones’?

So next time you report a burglary and have to wait 2 days, have your Porsche stolen and just get a crime number over the phone or have you wallet pick-pocketed and expect to see an officer, we’re probably dealing with someone who was called a whore on Twitter.

November 19th, 2011

Sue the bastards

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

Four officers have been stabbed during an incident in London this morning.

A 32-year old man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder. It follows an incident in which a man threatened officers with a broken light strip before making off. He was chased in and out of shops, threw objects at the officers and smashed a police car window with a brick. He then ran into a butcher’s shop where he grabbed a 12-inch knife and stabbed one officer in the stomach, another in the arm, a third in the leg and inflicted slash wounds to a fourth.

The officers were unarmed. I’m guessing they didn’t have a Taser between them either since the previous Met Commissioner refused to issue non-firearms officers, despite most other forces in the country issuing them to at least a proportion of each front line shift.

Personally, I think that whether they had Taser or not is a moot point. The violent scum that did this should have been shot the moment he picked up a knife. Of course, the chances of that happening are pretty remote in most areas of the country who have to wait for tens of minutes at the barest minimum for a firearms officer to arrive. When incidents of this happen you want a firearm within a couple of seconds not one that is 40 miles across the other side of the county.

The new Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Bernard Hogan-Howe said: “It was shocking that on a hopefully quiet Saturday morning in a London residential area we had such a terrible incident. It just shows the difficult job that police officers do.”

Let’s see if Hogan-Howe puts his money with his mouth is and does something to give Met officers the protection they deserve. Personally, I hope the injured officers use the Federation sue the arse off him and his predecessor for refusing to supply a suitable level of personal protection equipment.

I hope the officers make a full and speedy recovery.

November 18th, 2011

Man up

Posted in The Job - General by 200

Apparently, it’s Movember.

For the last two or three years different departments at work compete with each other to grow a moustache for prostate cancer. Or rather to raise money and awareness of men’s health issues and fight prostate cancer.

The control room has not escaped. Where ever you look there is someone with a wild rodent trying to escape their top lips, and some of the blokes are growing one too. It’s getting that you don’t know who to sponsor next. I’ve run out of money this month already from the allowance Mrs Weeks gives me, and the begging emails are still coming in.

Some of the younger, more fresh-faced members of staff seem to be struggling, while some people seem to have a full old English waxed-tipped affair within two days, we’re 18 days into the month and some others barely have a shadow, bless.

It has to be said that the Gucci boys of the firearms department usually put in a display winning the prize for the group most looking like a bunch of out-of-work 70′s porn actors, usually going the whole hog with the full tache down the sides to the chin.

The best has to be one of the guys who now looks like he should be wearing a red jacket and pith helmet and should be picking spears off the ground and chucking them back at the Zulus. Not bad for 3 week’s effort.

November 17th, 2011

Who commits the most crime, you decide

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

I wonder how much crime is committed by our foreign guests and what proportion of it is attributable to people from other shores.

I was flicking through  the ‘most wanted’ section of our website and couldn’t fail to notice that around 70% of the names appeared to be of people from other countries. I don’t think our area has any greater proportion of foreign residents than anywhere else. We have nothing like the proportions of immigrants that some of the big city forces have, we probably have much less than many forces.

It is a totally unscientific approach, of course, without looking at the individuals concerned it is impossible to know whether they were born in the UK, are long term immigrants or short term ‘economic’ visitors, but the most wanted list appears to have been biased towards non British names for months. And whilst you tend to get to know the names of the local criminals working in the force for so many years, there was only one name I recognised.

I wonder if there are any statistics available and whether any conclusions drawn are being discussed in the right places or whether you just get labelled as a racist for suggesting such horrors.

November 16th, 2011

Sleepy bo-bo’s

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

When I joined the job we used to work a four week/seven-day shift pattern. In other words we worked for seven days on lates, then two days off, seven earlies, three days off and seven nights, two days off.

We worked 8 hour shifts. I did this for many years. we got one weekend every 4 weeks but the beauty was that we finished work at 2pm on the Thursday and weren’t back until 10pm on the Monday.

Now we work a pattern of 5 week/3 & 4 day pattern. We work longer hours but we only work three or four days at a time. We get two weekends off every five but they are much shorter. Our short weekend starts at 4pm on the Friday and ends at 10pm on the Monday, while our long weekend starts at 7am on Friday straight after night shift then back at midday on Monday. It means we lose most of the Friday off because we have to sleep after nights. It completely mucks up your sleep pattern for your weekend.

The consequence is that I spend my entire life tired. They used to reckon doing the 7 day shift pattern for 25 years took 5 years off the average life expectancy, God knows what the current pattern does, but I can’t see it is much of an improvement.

The rest days after weekend nights are even worse; you finish at 7am Monday morning and go to bed, get up Monday afternoon and spend the rest of the day knackered because you had to get up early so you could sleep Monday night, then you spend Tuesday knackered trying to recover before going to work at 8am on the Wednesday for a day in the lecture room listening to pointless powerpoint shows while people with monotonous voices read what’s on the screen.

No wonder half the people fall asleep during training days, as I did this week. (not for the first time!)

Now they’re talking about changing our shift pattern again. I can’t wait.

November 15th, 2011

If you are in the police or support the police

Posted in The Job - General by 200

then please read, inwardly digest and sign the petition:

Police Officers cannot strike in protest about serious changes to their pay, pensions & conditions, unlike many public sector workers who plan to strike over attacks on their pensions. We are being told to expect an increase in our pension contributions from 11% to 14.2% of our salaries! We already pay a huge amount into our pension schemes! Not only that, but we are being told we must work longer before we can claim our pension, and that when we do, it will be worth less! On top of that, we are experiencing a two-year pay freeze together with cuts to our pay and conditions under the Winsor Review. We call on Government to recognise the absolute uniqueness of the role of Police Officer and to Protect Police Pensions from an unfair attack by retaining the current level of contributions, not extending the time needed to work before claiming and to retain the current conditions of the Police Pension Scheme.

You can find the petition on the Government website.

You can find more info on Police Sergeant Nigel Tompsett’s website or, if you are so inclined, on Facebook.

November 14th, 2011

This week we have been mostly…

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

…acting as a taxi service for social workers who can’t be arsed.

Kiera is fifteen and in care. She’s in care because she doesn’t like being told what to do. She’s living in one of those care homes where staff are employed to live in for two weeks at a time and where the teenage residents get to do whatever the fuck they want without consequences. It’s an ordinary house in an ordinary street just like the one you don’t want next door to you.

When they put her in care the social workers decided to move her to a different town, twenty miles from her friends. This is so she can start afresh and not be subject to the bad influences which ’caused’ her to go off the rails. You know, those influences like never having any consequences.

Kiera doesn’t like being told what to do, so when they tell her to be back at the home by 9.30, she isn’t. Most nights.

Her carers all appear to be ethnic minority ladies with names like Honesty, Charity and Lovely.

Their role appears to be to call the police whenever Kiera doesn’t want to come home and then go to bed.

Everyone knows where Kiera is when she’s not at the home. She is back in her home town 20 miles away with her old mates. When she gets bored or when the alcohol has worn off her friends and they’ve gone home, Kiera calls 999 and says she’s a missing person and is standing by the railway station waiting for police.

Because it is the police’s fault if anything happens, the daily battle of wills between the two divisions involved, that where she lives and that where she frequents, ensues until it is decided whether one division will pop down the road, collect her and bring her all the way across the county to her home, or whether the division where she lives will send someone half way across the county to collect her. Or whether one will collect and meet the other half way and pass her on.

One thing is certain, Lovely will not get out of bed and drive across, neither will any of her colleagues in the out of hours emergency social services department (which seems to consist of someone on the end of the phone who gets woken up by the police several times a night but doesn’t actually do anything). Neither will Lovely employ the services of a taxi to collect her.

So this week we’ve been having a lottery each night for the time the Kiera call will come in. One night I got within three minutes and won first pick from the chocolates brought up by the front line shift a few days ago. So far we have collected her twice, the other division has collected her once, we’ve met half way once and spent one night telling the care home that as we know where she is, she isn’t missing and they should collect her themselves. This went on for over 4 hours between calls from the home, to the home, from Kiera and to Kiera and it all looked like it was going good and we had declined to have anything to do with collecting her until someone caved in and we collected her, again.

November 13th, 2011

Cruel Scum

Posted in The Job - General by 200

The latest inductee into the 200 Weeks Scum of the Week Hall of Fame goes to the wicked piece of scum shown on the national news this week being filmed on CCTV while walking round the street swinging a cat around by the tail. At one stage the male involved appears to swing the cat hitting one of his mates who stands by watching.

Although the cat, Mowgli, suffered no physical injuries, its owner says the cat now refuses to leave the house.

The only tiny, sliver of redemption is that the 20-year old male involved has apparently handed himself in to Margate police having seen himself on the national news.

November 12th, 2011

Sounds like a plan

Posted in The Job - General by 200

You’ve got to admire the audacity of some coppers.

Officers from Derbyshire Police came up with an idea to make their job a little bit easier.

Instead of sending front line officers on pointless arrest enquiries when they spend half the shift knocking on doors in a fruitless search for easy arrests of wanted people (thus getting the arrest figures up), they sent them all letters saying they had been selected for a promotional offer. All they had to do was ring a marketing company (i.e. a little office at the local nick) and they would be entitled to some free beer provided they could supply a date, time and location for the beer to be dropped off.

Nineteen hapless twats from the area fell for the sting and were arrested, saving hours of police time and meaning more burglary victims could be dealt with in under 3 days.

November 11th, 2011

In Remembrance

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

My favourite war poem, quite apt in view of the recent sad death of two Red Arrows…

High Flight

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth

And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;

Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth

Of sun-split clouds – and done a hundred things

You have not dreamed of – wheeled and soared and swung

High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there

I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung

My eager craft through footless halls of air.

Up, up the long delirious, burning blue,

I’ve topped the windswept heights with easy grace

Where never lark, or even eagle flew -

And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod

The high untresspassed sanctity of space,

Put out my hand and touched the face of God.

Pilot Officer Gillespie Magee
No 412 squadron, RCAF
Killed 11 December 1941