Archive for June, 2012
We came on duty on a night shift to find that one of the 5 units available would be written off at the start of the shift to go to a hospital 30 miles away to babysit another person waiting a mental health assessment.
You always get an ‘oh bollocks’ moment when your officers book unavailable straight away because it means that some jobs which need to get done, won;t get done, and someone will be waiting another day to see an officer. Often several units book unavailable right away. Sometimes they are catching up on paperwork from the day before, sometimes they have to make enquiries on previous jobs, often they are tasked to make ‘arrest enquiries’ so the local division can keep the stats up and show those who worry about beans that they are doing their part, regardless of the fact that one bean counted in the arrest department means no beans counted in the victim seen within a reasonable time department (mainly because nobody counts those beans, they’re not important)
The handover from the late shift controller is fairly straighforward. Nothing complicated, most people have been rung back and put off for tomorrow, sorry we didn’t get more jobs cleared but 2 officers (20% of the shift) have been at the hospital since they started the shift.
It turns out that it was actually the early shift who Section 136’d a women threatening to top herself. We get loads of them. They fall into the too difficult box, nobody knows how to deal with them. The only thing we can do is pass them on to mental health professionals. When they’re pulled off a bridge parapet over the motorway, or grabbed down from a tree with a jumper tied round their neck, you can’t really give them a stiff talking to and send them on their way.
The hospitals aren’t geared up to deal with them. They need to arrange a psychiatrist, mental health professional and social workers so they can do an assessment which will say either that their is nothing wrong with them and they should leave the hospital (what happens after they do is no concern of the hospital) or that they should stay atÂ hospitalÂ under a mental health act section for further examination and/orÂ treatment.
In our force area it takes hours and hours. The hospitals refuse to take ownership of the patient until such time as the mental health team are actually there and ready to start their assessment. This means they demand that police officers babysit the patient. On this occasion the early shift took the women in at 11am, handed over to Â late turn officers at 4.30pm who then handed over to night shift officers at 10.30pm.
The examination took place at 2am, lasted 15 minutes and the assessment was that there was nothing wrong with the patient and she was discharged, back into the care of officers who have then to decide what to do with her. On this occasion we were fortunate enough to find a relative who could take her in. Sometimes we just take them home and within an hour they are back out into the town and standing on a railway bridge parapet crying take me now cruel world. We have no way of dealing with them other than to take them to hospital, and the cycle begins again. Two officers, 15 hours at hospital, 3 hours travelling two and fro from hospital, 36 hours of police time, for what?
I dread to think how many man hours are completely wasted with this cycle.
I understand in some other force areas the officers merely convey to hospital, hand them over and drive off again, within an hour.
What is anyone else’s experience?
I wonder whether having taser might have stopped those Met officers from being injured…
I’ve been a member of the International Police Association for many years.
I believe there are some worthy purposes which underpin the Association; their motto is Servo per amikeco which I think is Esperanto for Service through Friendship. Basically, I used it as a source of drinking and tremendous fun in foreign countries.
I used to go abroad on trips under the auspices of the IPA. Mostly before I was married or before we had children. A group of us would go some where in Europe, meet up with a load of foreign coppers and spend the time socialising, drinking and eating amongst some semi official police business. Apart from having a laugh it as quite educational; we learnt much about each other’s methods of policing. We got to check out the gear, drive their vehicles, fire their guns, visit their training centres, all sorts.
I mentioned recently about a trip to Russia. We also visited Germany several times, Holland, Belgium, France, Italy, Germany. We stayed in hotels, police barracks, training schools and officers’ own homes.
Over the last 30 years, I also hosted many foreign police officers, from all over the world. Some of them became long distance friends, others we never heard from again. I’ve never been to the States, at one time I had about 15 different offers for a place to stay from New York to Colorado to New Mexico & California. I even hosted a sheriff from Transylvania County and have the badges and patches to prove it.
I particularly remember one American cop, who came over with his wife. We got in touch with each other via a police chat list on he Internet. I invited him to stay, gave him a tour of the factory and got him a coupalongside ride-alongs. We corresponded for a couple of years until he stopped respondingwhile er some emails and letters unanswered Â I Â heard from his wife. It turned out he had been shot at work, whilst it wasn’t fatal, it was serious enough to end his career, whereupon things had gone downhill, he fell victim to depression and his marriage broke up. It was so sad.
I’ve paid my dues to the IPA every year but for at least 10 years I’ve not done a single IPA related thing. Well, I say I pay my dues, actually my wife does. Back in the mists of time and for reasons I cannot recall, the annual fee got swapped over to my wife’s account. Every January since, when the subs come out of her account, she reminds me to swap it back. I think she’s been paying to for over 25 years. I’ve never swapped it back.
I think I’ll probably just cancel the subscription, if I ever get round to it.
It’s funny how certain numbers hold significance.
When I logged in to the blog tonight, I noticed that the blog contains 1,960 entries. 1960 happens to be the year I was born, so it stuck out straight away.
The blog contains 10,910 comments, which happens to be an exact multiple of my old warrant number.
I still think of myself as my old warrant number, even though I’ve been out of the game for three years now. Just last week I had to sign for something at work. Automatically I added a scribble after which I appended my old warrant number instead of my civilian number.
Some old habits die really hard.
So the Police Federation are trying to get the government to agree to give us more Tasers.
Apparently there are 12,000 Tasers available to officers but the Fed want this to increase to 36,000, to give all front line officers the chance of protecting themselves and others with the equipment.
Meanwhile the met announce that they are closing 9 police stations in the first of a series of money-saving attempts, doubtless while announcing that the service to the public will be better after the closures.
TheÂ governmentÂ are doing their level best to shaft the police, so the only comment I have for the Federation is ‘good luck with that one’.
I went to Russia some years ago and went out with the Russian Police. It was an experience.
None of the front line troops possessed a car, they simply couldn’t afford one. You had to be about the rank of colonel before you had your own car. Everyone lived in a flat. The job sent a truck round collecting officers from their flats at the start of the shift, and dropping them off at the end. The basic patrol car was the Lada, though the Gucci boys in the Moscow Traffic Police had nice shiny Ford Crown Victorias.
The road safety was somewhat different to the UK. In my time there we came across 2 fatal accidents. The body from one was laying in the central reservation as the traffic filtered through. It remained uncovered. And this was during the incident Â and after the police arrived. No road closures, no scene preservation. Small shrines littered the roads, areas marked by small fences, almost like a personalised grave, they often contained parts of the vehicles, like steering wheels or tyres, presumably driven by the deceased.
Many drivers in Russia are now fitting dashboard cams to capture evidence in case they are involved in an RTC.
Call takers in West Mids must be feeling a little uneasy right now.
The force is planning to cut 118 posts from the current setup of call centres when they change over to a two-call centre system in 2013. The changes form part of the force’s bid to save ÂŁ126million.
Force manages say, don’t they always, that the cuts will lead to an improved service which will deliver a better service. They also say that the number of non emergency calls answered within the target (“what targets?” – Theresa May) of 30 seconds.
So cutting 10% of the staff will lead to a better service? If this is true why hasn;t anyone been sacked for allowing the force to waste so much money by overstaffing for all those years?
So the HMIC has released a report about how police deal with anti social behaviour victims.
The only surprise is how many people are satisfied with the police response. I’d have thought it was far less than two thirds, judging by the amount of ASB jobs we either don’t get to within any meaningful time or don’t get to at all.
It’s all very well trumpeting to anÂ aggrievedÂ public and aÂ frustratedÂ public that anti social behaviour is at the top of the list, but when you want to increase attendance at something without any extra resources – indeed with much fewer judging by how many front line officers are being cut – then you have to decrease something else. With chief constables now promising to see more victims of anything, let alone anti social behaviour, then something has to give.
I wasÂ interestedÂ in a couple of comments the HMIC made regarding his report. Vic Towell, Assistant Inspector of Constabulary, told a press conference that call centre operators were reluctant to ask victims of ASB whether they felt vulnerable or had any long term illnesses or diseases – they two key questions which someone has decided will prevent people from killing their children and themselves due to failures of the police to deal with ASB. He said: â€śOne of the problems with customer relations management systems is they tend to be drop-down menus, tick box and ask these questions. Itâ€™s very easy to forget thereâ€™s a person at the end of the line.Â Iâ€™m sure weâ€™ve all suffered from this with call centres â€“ you want to be treated as a person and theyâ€™re treating you as number 55 in a queue. Weâ€™ve just got to shift that culture now of thinking of people as people at the end of the line, and not as a caller to be dealt with, recorded and then move on to the next one.â€ť
Which is fine, except when you give the call centres targets for answering the phone lines whilst on one hand saying, the needs of the caller are paramount and if you need to spend more than the average amount of time allowed for a call, then so be it, and on the other hand berating staff because they have not met the call handling targets and are spending too much of their time dealing with people’s problems rather than answering the next call.
Further, the trouble with tick box delivery of service is the same as what happened when they decided that anyone subject of a racist incident is a candidate for an enhanced service, people will say they think it happened to them because they are Asian, black or whatever, whether it did or not, the amount of jobs which mention a racial element shot up, and I’m not convinced Â it was just people feeling Ok to report it now when they didn’t before.
So if you say that vulnerable victims or people with long term illnesses will get an enhanced service and someone will actually turn up on their doorstep within a reasonable amount of time, then you can bet everyone suddenly feels vulnerable.
Meanwhile, the real vulnerable victims will slip through the net while we are busy treating everyone who answers the tick box questions correctly the same way.
After waiting six months to find out whether I’ve got any leave in the summer, I’ve just found out that I haven’t. Unfortunately, having kids at school, I can’t take my holidays outside the school breaks. It looks like the Mrs Weeks and the kids will have to go without a break.
And to rub salt into the wound, the only tickets we got for the f***ing olympics I can’t get the day off to go to that either.
But my shifts have been changed at the end of the summer so someone who hasn’t got kids can get some leave, so that’s nice.
12-year-old Cory Green of Flora, Indiana, was a Cub Scout who loved and admired the US Marines.
He never had a chance of enlisting, though. Cory was diagnosed with leukemia as a baby. He fought his way to three remissions, but was finally struck with a deadly infection he couldnâ€™t beat. Some Marines who knew Cory decided that for the way heâ€™d fought for his life with such courage, strength, honor and humility, he deserved to be part of the Corps. So they presented him with navigator wings, and made him an honorary Marine. But the story doesnâ€™t stop there.
When the end was near, Coryâ€™s dad called Sgt. Mark Dolfini, to let him know. Sgt. Dolfini said he didnâ€™t know what he would say or do, he just had to go to the hospital. He found Cory unconscious, and decided that as long as Cory remained alive, he would stand honor guard outside his room. And there he stood for eight straight hours until the little Marine passed away.
We are so moved by the courage of Cory Green, and the honor, decency and immense hearts of the incredible people who wear the uniform of the United States Marines.
I think this is a couple of years old but I’ve not come across it before.
and the guy was spoken to after the event…
So a cop pulls over a car for speeding with two North American Indians on board, they attack him and get shot. Apparently both were imprisoned and the cop found to have acted lawfully.
A female police officer has been praised after putting her own life at risk to rescue a woman who had fallen into a river while trying to save her dog.
The officer from Greater Manchester Police jumped into the River Irwell in Salford and clung on to the woman for ten minutes until Â other emergency services arrived.
A spokesman for GMP said:Â â€śThe officer herself has been very modest about the whole incident, which is typically the attitude of police officers, but it is important to say that it is individuals like this who make not just us, but all of our communities feel proud.â€ť
Meanwhile, the officer has had her wages cut and pension raped and will be expected to put her life on the line should the occasion arise in the future.
Watching CCTV, that is.
As a controller, I have access to all the towns’ CCTV. Â We use it a lot. One thing I’ve learned from CCTV is that no matter how prominent the cameras are, many people forget they are there and do the most insane things on camera. From beating each other up to smashing shop windows to having full sex on a bench in the middle of the town centre at 4 in the morning.
If it’s really quiet we can waste a bit of time flicking through all the different towns to see what’s going on, or if there is something interesting or juicy going down it’s good to get a front row seat sometimes.
It can be really frustrating though. It’s like when I watch those cop shows and police chases on the TV. You half wish you were there and youÂ fantasiseÂ about getting involved again, just for a a few minutes, so you could nick some dickhead like you used to do on a daily basis a few years back.
The most frustrating thing is when there is some kind of disturbance going on and your colleagues are out there rolling around the floor with someone. There’s not a thing you can physically do to help them. I once saw on officer challenging a couple of drunk thugs in the High Street. It ended up in a full blown scrap and the officer had his arm broken. We did all we could to get someone to assist him even before it started kicking off. But we couldn’t get them there quick enough to prevent a serious injury to the officer. It wasn’t a very pleasant experience.
On another occasion we watched a group of drunken thugs attack a lone male. It wasn’t long before the guy was on the floor curled up in a ball, having taken a battering already. Someone walked up to him and stamped on his head. It was one of the most violent things I’d witnessed since moving to the control room. The brave thug who did it ran off leaving the victim sprawled on the street, unconscious. For all we knew he could have been dead; it looked that bad on CCTV.
As it turned out the thugs got arrested getting into a taxi a few streets away, they were followed by the CCTV controllers. The victim came round and thankfully wasn’t seriously injured. he spent the night in the local A&E and for some reason I never found out, refused press charges.
Funny old world.
The latest entry into the “200weeks Scum of the Week Hall of Fame” are two males in the Surrey area who prey on the most vulnerable of society, presumably because they haven’t got the bottle to try it on with anyone remotely capable of fighting back.
Their latestÂ victimÂ was a 99-year-old lady who answered the door to two men claiming to be police officers asking the victim about two men allegedly seen in the area. They entered the lady’s house and stole ÂŁ300 cash from her purse.
We get lots of cases like this, whether they pretend to be police officers or water board officials, the common factor is the scum-sucking pondlife’s desperation to get money as easily as possible with as little risk as possible.
It’s hard to think of words to describe such scum.
As regards yesterday’s post, it seems I’m not the only one questioning the rationale (other than offering rewards for doing what the government wants) behind wanting lawyer Tom Winsor as the new Inspector of Constabulary.
For those saying he won’t do a worse job as an HMIC than previous police jobs, I don’t recall many HMICs raping the service as thoroughly as Winsor is doing right now, what’s he gonna be like if he has full control? You can only judge than on what he’s done so far. I woudn’t have thought thatÂ criticismÂ of the decision to try and appoint him in the role would be that hard to find.