I was only ever involved in two RTCs Ã‚Â as a police driver. In both of them I was stationary when I was struck by drunken drivers.
I did almost get stitched up with another once. Each car has a log book, you sign it when you take it out and sign it when you finish your shift. So if anything happens to the car it must be the fault of the person whose signatures appear either side of the time the problem happened. Except when people take the car out and don’t bother signing for it.
I parked the car up in the back of the nick one evening. The next morning it was found to have some damage to one of the wings. I knew I hadn’t done it but I;d forgotten to sign the book at the end of the shift – it was quite frequent that the log books didn’t get signed either throughÃ‚Â forgetfulnessÃ‚Â or being too busy.
I got called in to see the chief inspector, I denied any knowledge as I genuinely hadn’t had any knowledge of it. It turned out that someone from CID had taken the car out and had a little coming together with a wall. I only found out because the officer’s wife was a uniformed PC and persuaded her husband to fess up because I was getting stuck on for it.
Which is a roundabout way of bringing your attention to a report out today on the cost of police accidents up in DurhamÃ‚Â Constabulary. I’m not one to use the Daily Fail as an example of anything other than bad journalism, but I did find this article quite amusing.
The pay freeze and cutting of some payments and allowances will mean pay cuts for most officers. Theresa May spins it out by saying there will be no cuts in basic salaries, like not increasing wages for a number of years, or increasing it below the cost of inflation isn’t a pay cut. It’s all just semantics really and sounds better than saying police officers will have less money next year than they had this year.
May said of Tom Winsor’s review: “He produced a package that is fair to the police and that is fair to the taxpaying public.” I’m not tooÃ‚Â sure ifÃ‚Â her definition of fair is the same as everyone else’s unless cutting 20% from police budgets so the public have to put up with less police stations, less officers and longer waiting times is regarded as fair to the public.
But it’s OK because our chiefs and leaders will see us right and support us. Chief Constable Peter Fahy (GMP) said: “(the review struck)Ã‚Â a balance between the need to achieve savings given the national economic situation and the financial pressures facing individual police officers.”
I can’t help thinking that the weights on his balance weren’t evenly distributed.
The good old compensation culture is alive and well in British policing.
Reports this week reveal that over Ã‚Â£12 million has been paid out to police employees in the last five years, in sums from a few thousand up to half a million.
Money has been paid out for all sorts of weird and wonderful incidents. Ã‚Â£46,000 to one worker who was bitten by a dog in the police pound. The highest award was paid out by Hertfordshire Police to a woman who suffered chronic pain syndrome after slipping on ice in the car park and breaking her elbow. She got, wait for it, Ã‚Â£550,000. Lucky she didn’t get her arms or legs blown off in Afghanistan ‘cos she’d a have got a bloody sight less.
Personal responsibility, as with everything else on modern UK society, has no place to pay when you can blame someone else for everything, and get lots of money for it too.
In the summer of 2009, the Sunday Times, in a cutting edge example of investigative journalism, revealed the identity of police blogger, Nightjack, having won a court case against an injunction taken out by the officer to out him.
The paper stated that they found out his identity by good old fashioned, foot-slogging, investigation and were able to determine his identity through careful examination of records and internet content which was freely available, if only you knew where to look.
As a result I decided never t buy the paper again, a promise I have kept.
How ironic that the current investigation into the gutter-levels that some journalists have gone to, aka the Levison enquiry, that the truth of the matter has now been revealed that the journalist responsible for the article identified the officer by hacking his email account. Not only that, but the editor, James Harding, has revealed that the journalist in question actually ‘fessed up to his managers prior to the paper going to court to win permission to reveal Nightjack’s name, but the paper chose not to reveal this seemingly irrelevent Ã‚Â nugget. The bosses at the paper said if the article was to go ahead the journalist should use legally accessible sources.
How much easier it must have been to find evidence of his identity once they already knew it.
From time to time various car companies will loan cars to different police forces so they can test them out, they hope officers and fleet managers will be so impressed they’ll place an order.
Often the cars are bog-standard run of the mill cars which manufacturers might want force to go over to instead of the standard Fords and Vauxhalls. Sometimes they are high powered sporty things which everyone wants a shot at driving.
Of course, when you have a car on loan, you want to test it out but you want to make sure it’s looked after. So you might make sure that it only goes to the best drivers the force has to offer, say a traffic or ANPR Intercept officer, such as BBC One Car Wars star, PC Paul Fletcher of the Greater Manchester Police ANPR Intercept Team.
PC Fletcher was given a VW Golf R, a high powered 155mph Ã‚Â£33,000 hot hatch.
Given the highly publicised driving expertise of the officers on that specialist unit one might be forgiven for wondering what he did around 2am in the morning at a roundabout in Manchester to result in this…..
My god, does nobody in the Metropolitan Police Service possess a watch?
According to the BBC this week, the Met have spent Ã‚Â£35,000 on calling the speaking clock 110,000 times. I didn’t realise we actually still had the speaking clock, assuming that it died off years ago. But apparently we do and it costs 31 of our English pence to call it.
Ã‚Â£35,000? They could have bought every officer a cheap watch for that.
They spent a further Ã‚Â£200,000 calling directory enquiries. Working in the control room we’re always looking for telephone numbers to ring people during jobs we’re dealing with. I usually use the BT website or Google. How many people really don’t have access to a computer, a watch or a clock during their working day?
My dad earns around Ã‚Â£26,000 a year. He has worked all his life since the age of 18 and has never claimed any benefits. He has paid tax every month since August 1978, he has paid National Insurance for the same amount of time. Our Mum gave up work when we were born so our Mum and Dad could give us the best start in life, nurture us and bring us up to be loving and giving. We, too, intend to get jobs and spend our lives paying taxes and National Insurance.
As a result of our parents’ decisions, they spent 2o years in debt. We never had a foreign holiday, our cars were always between 8 and 15 years old. We did not qualify for the free money that the government gave for staying at school to our friends whose parent’s were claiming benefits even though they had cars which were only 2 or 3 years old and went abroad 3 times a year.
Out of our Dad’s Ã‚Â£26,000, or whatever is left after all his taxes are paid, he has to pay for our house because our parents thought buying a house was the best thing for the future, even though they were ripped off by greedy men who told them to pay something called an endowment which would pay off their mortgage after 30 years and leave them with a nest egg. They won’t have a nest egg and will have to find many thousands of pounds because their endowments were worthless despite what the greedy men told them. They were told this was what was called ‘tough shit’ and they couldn’t do anything about it.
What is left from this Ã‚Â£26,000, minus the taxes, and the mortgage is what we have to live on. Our parents are paying towards our university education because they want us to have a good job to be able to pay our taxes and they don’t want us to have as much debt as the government wants us to have. They said this was the responsible thing to do, though we have been told that if we do not want to do this and want to get pregnant and not work we can have even more than Ã‚Â£26,000 if you have your way.
We heard on the radio that if the government stop all the families who claim all this free money which is the equivalent of Ã‚Â£35,000 for anyone who pays taxes, then this will mean children will starve because it penalises children. We were sad about this but wondered whether not working penalised children even more. We know some friends at school who earn more than our dad but lots of them earn less and we have never seen any of the children at school whose families earn as much as Ã‚Â£26,000 begging for food. We aren’t the best mathematicians but we do find it strange that most people who work get about Ã‚Â£25,000 a year but families who don’t work can get Ã‚Â£35,000 or more if they ‘bang a few sprogs out’, as dad likes to say.
It is really good that you want to give more free money away because you feel that families cannot survive on such meagre rations, so if that is the case can you please see your way clear to stop the government making my Dad’s Ã‚Â£26,000 – minus taxes – stretch even less with inflation, wage cuts and pay freezes, and once you have done that, can he have some free money to put his income on a par with families who don’t work. Because it seems a bit unfair to say that familes who don’t work have starving children on Ã‚Â£26,000 but families who do work’s children aren’t starving.
I guess most readers will have seen the recent ad from the British Heart Foundation featuring ex-footballer and actor Vinnie Jones demonstrating how to do ‘hands-only’ CPR?
It seems that people have been dying because people who may have been able to keep them alive until paramedics arrived were reticent to do mouth-to-mouth, either because they didn’t really know what to do or they didn’t like the thought of giving mouth-to-mouth to someone they weren’t in the process of shagging.
I’m glad they have come up with this angle which may encourage more people to give CPR, especially in the light of Ã‚Â one experience I had.
One day I was at home when one of my neighbours knocked on the door saying they were concerned for another neighbour who wasn’t responding. I climbed over the garden fence and saw her slumped in her chair in the living room. I banged on the window trying to attract her attention wondering whether she was asleep, collapsed or dead. I couldn’t be sure whether or not I saw some movement in one of her hands or whether I was imagining it.
I went round to the front of the house and got my neighbour to ring 999 whilst I broke in through the front door. When I found the lady in her chair, she was clearly dead, there was no pulse but she was still warm. She was in her late 70s or early 80s and I weighed up in my mind whether I should do CPR. I convinced myself that I hadn’t seen her move at all and I didn’t really know what to do though I had done it on that Annie dummy years ago.
I waited for the ambulance and the lady was eventually taken off to the mortuary.
I felt dreadfully guilty about this for ages after. I was one of those people who this current advert is targeting. After much soul searching I booked myself on a first-aid refresher and resolved that if ever the situation presented itself again, I would take positive action.
Some years later I was sitting just outside the town centre in my patrol car. It was a regular layby next to a dual carriageway where we could sit up for any unsuspecting transgressors of the traffic laws.
My attention was grabbed by someone banging on my passenger window who told me that a man had collapsed on the path not 100 yards away. I quickly drove round to see a small crown gathered around a male who was lying on the pavement.
A man in his sixties had collapsed as he was walking back from town. I couldn’t find any pulse so I put him onto his back and took a deep breath, tilting his head up and pinching his nose I blew into his mouth. I could hear gurgling in his throat of a liquid nature. As I pulled my mouth away from his the lungful of air I had just blown down his throat came back at me faster than I expected and vomit from his airways spurted into my mouth.
I was surrounded by people who were all staring at me waiting for action, nobody else was stepping forward, I was spitting someone else’s vomit onto the pavement. I wanted to say, ‘bollocks, sorry folks, he’s dead’ and leave it at that. If I hadn;t had an audience, perhaps I might have done just that and waited for the ambo crew to try their magic.
I tipped him on his side and fingered around his throat trying to remove any debris by a combination of shaking his head and the same sort of action you have when trying to remove jelly from a bowl with your fingers.
I didn’t have one of those resuci-aids mouth masks that you can use to give you some protection so I used the next best thing. I took out my hanky, placed it over his mouth and tried again. The chest compressions seemed to dislodge more vomit and soon I was into a rythym. A couple of breaths and some chest compressions.
I have no idea how long I was doing it for. It was probably only a few minutes but it seemed like hours and boy was I knackered by the the time the ambo crew got there.
There was no coughing and spluttering from the guy followed by him sitting up, asking where he was and then wandering offÃ‚Â homeÃ‚Â to read his paper. No Eureka moment, he was still dead when the ambo crew arrived.
They shocked him a couple of times and loaded him on board. One of the crew said they had gotten some signs of life so were going to work on him before blue lighting it to the hospital. They must have worked on him for a good 30 to 40 minutes. In all my time in the job I’ve never seen an ambo crew trying to revive someone for longer.
They got him going again and we raced off to the local A&E.
The guy died the following day.
The first thing I did when I got back to the nick was get one of those little resuci-aids mouth masks which I carried on my belt at all times.
I had occasion to use it once more before I came off the streets. How lucky was I, most officers never have to try and revive anyone, I’ve done it three times.
Maybe if I’d seen the Vinny Jones ad I’d have done it four times.
I’m not sure about the message in the text at the start and end of the video, but this little tribute compilation shows stuff the police deal with on a day to day basis. Although it’s clearly American, you could replace the uniforms and cars for British and pretty much have a similar vid (if there are any I haven’t previously featured, let me know).
(Also, not sure that the song is the most appropriate, either)
The website Planet Police is up for sale. Planet Police is an amalgamation site which re-posts selected police blogs. Nothing on the site is original but it does gather together many police blogs and reposts daily entries. To that end I find it very useful; I rarely visit other police blogs but I do visit Planet Police almost daily to check out what’s going down with my fellow police bloggers. It saves visiting them all individually.
Apparently, if it’s not sold it will die off from February. This will be a shame as I think it provides a decent service. I have no idea how popular it is.
I fear that it will die off as I can’t see someone wanting to spend their hard-earned on something which is basically a non-earner.
If you are interested, follow the second link above.
PC Nick Manning is up on charges under police disciplinary procedures for tweeting about the job. Ã‚Â PC Manning is a Police Federation rep in Dorset and has been tweeting for the last year.
He appears to have been doing what we police bloggers have been doing for years, telling the truth about the way police and policing in this country works, and criticising the people who run policing. He recently revealed that on a night shift there were 3 police officers to cover the whole of North Dorset, and apparently hasn’t been too supportive of all the cuts in policing.
The problem is that telling the public some of these truths can be construed in the minds of police bosses and professional standards services as either ‘bringing the force into disrepute’ or ‘undermining public confidence’. The corollary of this must be that it is OK to fool the public into thinking there is sufficient police coverage, or to leave them in ignorance or worse, to lie to them. And this isn’t bringing the force into disrepute?
I’m longing for someone to take the chief constable to court for breach of human rights in freedom of expression for a police officer who writes something in their own time, off duty, and merely tells the truth about policing.
The bosses don’t like when the truth doesn’t meet with their smoke and mirrors versions on how things run, you’re not towing the party line and they can’t have people singing of different hymn sheets. They hate it and they take it personally. Their corporate bullying can be vengeful and effective, even if they don’t win. Career avenues can inexplicably narrow. There is always room for a transfer when your station suddenly becomes overmanned and another 30 miles away needs an extra body. Going from paying nothing to get to work – because you walk or cycle – to paying Ã‚Â£200 a month in fuel for the next 6 years or more is a very effective and completely masked fine on someone who has pissed you off.
I’m not posting today in solidarity with people concerned about the USA government and their attempts to run the internet via their proposed SOPA & PIPA Bills which will see the introduction of the right of large corporations to shut down access to free and legal content under the guise of protection of copyright.
This will have far-reaching consequences to anyone using the internet and not just US citizens.
There’s a new TV Cop show which aired tonight on BBC One; Crime Scene Forensics follows Scenes of Crime Officers (SOCOs) as they investigate crime scenes in Bedfordshire over the period of one year.
The programme isn’t over yet but the one thing that strikes me is that a lot of the public are going to be completely underwhelmed. When you’re brought up on a diet of hi-tech CSI: Miami and associated dramas with all their whizzy gadgets and technical gizzmos, it must be really surprising to find that we still rely on dusting aluminium powder to lift finger prints. And no computers in sight.
I wonder who it was that discovered that heated superglue can cause its fumes to adhere to fingerprints and what they were doing when they found out.
Strange, with all the other developments in policing, that the best techniques available are ones that were taking place when I joined 33 years ago.
Regular readers will know I’m a sucker for a tribute video.
Officer Shawn Schneider was a police officer with the Lake City PD in Minnesota. He was shot in the head and died 11 days later after responding to a domestic incident on the 19thÃ‚Â DecemberÃ‚Â last year. He was 32. His killer was later found dead within his house.
You know those simple everyday frustrations which people put in your way, sometimes for good reasons, which stack up to make your day more difficult than it could be?
Like phoning the local hospital to find out if a road crash victim is improving, stable or getting worse. You set up a codeword with the ICU staff so that they know it’s the police calling so when you call them, you quote the codeword, they know it’s you and give you an update on the patient’s condition.
Then you get the numpty who seems to be out of the loop on working practices and refuses to divulge any information over the phone. They tell you they won’t release any info over the phone but if you send an officer they’ll let you know (that there’s no change). So a police officer gets Ã‚Â to do the hospital run which diverts them from dealing with someone else who wants to be seen, has to do a round mile trip of 20 miles, just to be told there is no change.
And this is the same ICU department who dealt with a stab victim who managed to tell his mother, as he collapsed across the doorstep, that his girlfriend had stabbed him, was rushed to ICU, let Ã‚Â ’his mother’ in to see him after life-saving surgery, who had a 2 minute word in his ear and walked out without enquiring with staff about his condition. When his real mother arrived she was refused access on the basis that his mother had already been, whereupon it wasÃ‚Â revealedÃ‚Â the women who had visited first was the mother of the offender who offered a few words of wisdom to the critical victim along the lines that if he wanted to actually walk out of the hospital alive he might want to rethink what happened to him.
When staff realised that the had failed to check the ID of the first woman, and let the real mother in, she found out that her son had miraculously managed to stab himself a few millimetres from his heart and no partner was involved at all. No crime was ever recorded.
Regular readers will know of my contempt for Metropolitan Police Commander, Ali Dizaei and the damage he has done to the reputation of the British Police during the last few years.
You’ll remember he was released from prison after being convicted of corruption and the unlawful arrest of someone who had worked on his web site after the two met at a restaurant in London. His conviction was quashed and he was ordered to stand trial again for the matter.
Well, the trial began today and is expected to last 5 weeks.
I haven’t issued a ‘Scum of the Week’ award for a little while so here’s one to the thick fuck-wit in Wincanton, Somerset, who attacked 37-year-old Martin Henderson, who was out celebrating his birthday in the Ã‚Â town last October.
Martin was picked up by the thug and thrown onto the ground landing on his back. He was hospitalised and released the following day but has since developed partial paralysis and spends much of his time in a wheel chair, he now needs a zimmer frame to walk.
Martin has dwarfism and one can only imagine the reason he was attacked was because his attacker thought it would be funny, and that Martin would be unable to give him a thoroughly-deserved kicking.
It makes me so sad, when your whole ethos is to protect the rights of people who can’t protect themselves, when I hear Martin’s words: “I guess I was an easy target and the only reason I was picked on was because I am small. People’s attitudes to me when I go out can be pretty cruel. Most are OK but you get the odd idiot who will make fun and start laughing at me.
“You just have to ignore it but this is the first time I have been picked up and thrown about.”