September 11th, 2012

Whilst on the subject

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of pensions, as we are this week, I found this doing the rounds of Facebook. Copied with permission of the writer who suggests sending something similar to your own MP.

Ed Balls MP,

I am writing to you in relation to the Home Secretary Theresa May’s changes that will be made to the Police Pension Scheme 1987. (PPS). The changes are due to be made in 2015.

When I joined this scheme in 2004 I was told that it could not be changed by the Government and I received a booklet which I still have that did not state that the pension could be changed. I signed up to the scheme because of these reasons and due to the fact that I knew I would be able to retire at 55 years old, receive a lump sum and a pension when paying 11% of my salary. I have received yearly statements outlying what I will receive when I retire in 2033. Nowhere on this statement did it say it was subject to change by the Government.

It was confirmed to me that it could not be changed when in 2006 when the Government of the day brought in the New Police Pension Scheme (NPPS) Where members pay 9.5% in and have to work for 35 years. There was an option to stay in the 1987 PPS scheme or change to the NPPS scheme. I chose to remain with the PPS scheme.
This year in 2012 due to the Governments financial hardships caused by poor ongoing Government management of the United Kingdom’s finances my pension payments were increased to 12.25% and this is to rise even further in the coming years, I understood this as people are living longer and I agreed I should pay slightly more to finance this.

The pension I signed up for has been changed which is not recogniseable from what I signed up for and the main points of this are listed as below:

• The pension I signed up for is the exact same as what every Police officer signed up for before 2006. The changes state that I will not get the pension I expected but those over 38 years old and with less than 10 years to do will get the full pension. I am being discriminated against because of my age / level of service and believe I could have a case under The Equality Act 2010,

• I believe I also have a case under S2 of the Police pensions Regulations which states I have the right to a stable pension.

• If my pension could be changed at any time why was I never informed of this and why wasn’t it changed in 2006? I could have easily made the decision then to opt out or stay in the pension scheme knowing what I would receive and knowing that there could be future changes by the Government.

• The pension I signed up for was Mis-sold to me as I was not made aware of the full facts. I was given an illustration presentation of what I would receive when I retire, they never stated that that was subject to drastic changes

• The last pension statement I received from October 2011 stated the benefits payable if I retired on the 29th of November 2033 – £15,516.91 per year with 106,032.10 lump sum (commutation). Without commutation it would be over £20,000 a year. Pensionable service would be 29 years, 163 days. I have put my figures in to the home office calculator and my projected pension on the same figures is £8,200 per year and this is with no lump sum. I pay more and get drastically less than I was told I would receive. I find it hard to believe that the Government can do this when an MP serving 15 years paying 11.9% is entitled to £22,500 a year. An MP’S pension will not be slashed in half with the lump sum removed.

The Home Secretary Theresa May has unnecessarily attacked my pension. It will in no way assist the United Kingdom’s finances with the current deficit as Police Officers retiring in the next 10 years will still get their full pensions. If anything it will damage the economy further as people will opt out of being in the pension all together so retired Officers pensions will have to be paid for by the state alone.

Over the 8 years I have worked in the Police I have seen things that no normal member of the public should ever have to see, been assaulted, injured, I have no rights like the right to strike, I am restricted as to where I can live, I can’t refuse to work if I am told that I am working over then I am. I can’t ignore an incident and just walk away when off duty, I can be brethalysed at any time at work with limits way below the drink drive limit and can be subjected to drug testing. I put my life, physical and mental wellbeing at risk every day to be treated with utter contempt by the Government and Teresa May

What I want is one of 2 things. For my pension to remain as it was and I will get what I am entitled to or all the money I paid into the scheme over the past 8 years returning to me with interest so I can invest my money elsewhere knowing the full facts.

I have also sent a copy of this letter to the Pensions Ombudsman.

I am writing to you as I feel the Government is causing a maladministration as promises have been broken in respect to the pension I signed up for, I was not made aware of the full facts at the time and they are trying to change Section 2 of the Police Pensions regulations so they can do as they wish.

September 10th, 2012

For anyone interested

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If anyone uses Facebook, you might be interested in another angle on police pensions, here.

September 9th, 2012

What next?

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Another milestone gets reached this week.

Only 3 days to go…

 

September 8th, 2012

Just Wow!

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After the job refused to give me any holiday this summer, meaning my family will have to wait two years for their annual holiday, and they declined to allow me any time off to have a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Olympics in my own country, I actually managed to get down to the Paralympics (on a rest day, so up yours everyone in the offices who decline others’ leave but spookily managed to get their own summer holiday to a man, and woman). Bitter, much?

And what an experience it was. A fantastic day of sport. A day filled with awe, respect, humour, emotion, the works.

The sound of 80,000 people all screaming at once is one that won’t leave me for some time. And it all ran so smoothly, the transport was great, lots of people to point you in the right direction. The soldiers on the security gates were friendly, the volunteers were all friendly and helpful. The toilets were clean with no queues.

And the sport was top notch.

I’ll say one thing for this country, well two, can;t run a police force but can put on a wonderful sports event.

The trouble no is that I only have 4 years to save up for Brasil, and I probably won’t get the time off even if I can, if I’m still here.

September 7th, 2012

And I quote

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85% of the Police Federation of England and Wales members are Constables.

As your Constables Committee we have a clear duty to ensure our voice is heard. This means managing politics at the top and ensuring the clear leadership we are mandated to deliver is delivered affectively.

Our Members are angry about pensions and the apparent final nature of negotiations which in turn has magnified calls for the Federation to get on with the promised ballot on full industrial rights.

We hear you and we are listening – this is why we need to urgently engage more.

It has long been a point of contention that existing protocols mean we on the national Constables Committee do not have access to the contact details of the people we represent – a protocol dating back to 1919.

But this is not 1919. In 2012, the Office of Constable has been eroded, and is teetering on the cusp of total destruction, falling in status and respect still further.

The time for niceties and archaic protocols are over.

We need urgently to communicate directly with the 103,000 Constables of the Police Federation of England and Wales so we can make important and lasting decisions together and deliver those policies in the interests of efficiency, welfare and conditions.

It is as important now to work with our regional Branch Boards as it has ever been – but there is growing criticism and concern among our Membership about the inability to communicate directly with Constables. This is plainly ridiculous and cannot continue.

This is why we are asking you to register at www.policeconstables.org , in doing so we are able to capture your details, enabling us to contact you directly as well as giving you a free forum to share views.

Many major decisions will need to be made over the coming days, weeks and months – We want to involve every Police Constable in England and Wales in this.

This is a call to arms, circulate this and discuss it with your colleagues.

From the Chairman’s Office of the Constables of England and Wales.

Julie Nesbit, Chairman
Will Riches, Vice Chairman

September 6th, 2012

Fortunately, he didn’t Die Hard

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September 5th, 2012

You could do worse…

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…than sign a petition of no confidence in the Police Federation.

One of the constants among police officers is how the Federation are a bunch of toothless tigers who appear to stand up to the government with a vigour inversely proportionate to that needed to attend the annual conference and get all the relevent expenses.

Fortunately, there is a new petition over at the Petition Online website.

It won’t do any good what so ever, and nobody will take any notice, bu it might keep you off Facebook for 2 minutes.

September 4th, 2012

So here it is

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So the decision on police pension reform is out today.

From April 2015, the pension contributions rise from 11% for old pension members and 9% for the newer scheme which came in around 2006, to 13.7%, a rise of between nearly 3 and 5%.

The final pension will be based on  ‘career average’ rather than a ‘final salary’ earnings.

The normal pension age will be 60 but officers aged 55 will no be able to draw their full pension amount until they reach that age. The two reports I read today don’t make it clear how long an officer must serve to get the full pension. It used to be 30 years but rose to 35 in 2006.

I’m glad I retired when I did.

September 3rd, 2012

There’s only one side who are wrong

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

I’ve been saying for years that one of the biggest reasons this country is in such a shite state is because people do not fear consequences.

When I was growing up, I was taught that whatever I did had consequences. If I did something wrong, not only would I meet those consequences from my parents, I would also meet consequences from my neighbours, or anyone else with a vested interest in a peaceful and stress free life. It was the old saying along the lines of it takes a woman to have a child but a village to raise it.

These days, there are no consequences, therefore a certain section of society feel it is their right to do whatever the hell the please, whether that is keeping their neighbours awake at night with loud music and parties, helping themselves to anything they don’t want to save up for, or breaking into someone’s house and stealing what they themselves wouldn’t have the ethics to obtain legally.

Consequences don’t have to be massive or life-changing. A simple ‘please don’t do that’ might have the desired effect, if told young enough and often enough. Other consequences might include having personal items removed, being fined, or even being punched in the mouth.

If burglars thought that one of the consequences of breaking into someo0ne’s house in the middle of the night might include being shot, I’d guess there might be many fewer burglars.

I hope these people don’t get prosecuted.

September 1st, 2012

Man tries to sell stolen gun on national TV

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Gotta be a candidate in the World’s Dumbest Criminals competition…

August 31st, 2012

Opps

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We’ve not had a data breach story for a while, so here’s one from this week.

Hertfordshire Police’s website appears to have been hacked and details from a  database connected to the website have been published.

Hackers alleged to be supportive of Julian Assange have posted the names and email addresses of police officers and civilian staff. The list also appears to show the officers’ log-in details, presumably to police computer systems.

Hertfordshire have taken part of their website off line while they investigate the matter.

August 30th, 2012

Who left the raw onions out?

Posted in Other Stuff, Videos by 200

I don’t normally peruse the website of the Sun, but I picked this one up on a link so0meone sent me in an email and thought it worth sharing.

Corporal Luke Tamata, 31, Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker, 26, and Private Richard Harris, 21, of the Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment were killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. Two hundred soldiers of the 1st and 2nd battalions greeted the coffins when the dead soldiers were repatriated.

This is what happened.

August 29th, 2012

More of the same please

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I’ve just settled down in front of the TV with a cool one, watching the opening of the Paralympic Games. Apart from looking out for someone I know to lead out one of the teams, I’m really looking forward to some more cracking sport.
And guess what, I even managed to get tickets. After being refused times off to utilise the tickets I managed to get for the Olympics, the events I’m going to re on my rest days so the job can fuck right off.

August 28th, 2012

Meeow

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When I worked in a rural part of the county, we used to get reports of big cats quite frequently. A puma was reputed to wander the area over one particular summer. Investigations used to revolve around a phone call to the nearest zoo or animal sanctuary to see if any had escaped, followed by a quick drive round the nearest village. There were lots of reports but never a puma was found.

Essex Police seem to have called off their search for a lion.

 

August 27th, 2012

Always a sucker for these

Posted in The Job - General, Videos by 200

On the 13th August this year Constable Brain Bachman, a 20-year-veteran of the Brazos County Constable’s Office, was sot and killed whilst serving an eviction notice.

The murderer continued to fire his weapon from his home killing a civilian and wounding another. Three other officers who responded to the initial call were injured before the murderer was shot and killed.

The following video was shot depicting Constable Bachman’s funeral procession.

You can see Constable Bachman’s entry in the Officer Down Memorial Page.

August 26th, 2012

That’s how much some people value their kids

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This guy, who was drunk, led police on a chase of speeds up to 100mph. The vehicle contained his wife and four young children.

August 25th, 2012

Farewell Gentle Traveller

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Astronaut, Neil Armstrong, died today aged 82.

I was 9 years old when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon. It was my sister’s sixth birthday and we were allowed to stay up and watch the moon landing.

I was a big science fiction fan, I built space rockets, read stories and looked at the skies at night. It has stayed with me my whole life, only today I bought the third issue of the new magazine All About Space and I’m 52. Neil Armstrong played a big part in all that.

August 24th, 2012

I laughed until I stopped

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Believe it or not, there are times of levity in the control room.

One of my colleagues is trawling through the open lots to see what’s going on around the force.

She finds one and starts laughing. That’s usually a cue for everyone near by to glance over to try and see the log that’s being looked at.

A woman has called in all of a panic saying she thinks the police ought to know. She’s received a text from her husband. It says that one of the lads at work has just received a call from someone saying that a bomb has been planted in the local Asda, in the Alphabetti Spaghetti display, and if it goes off it could spell disaster.

August 23rd, 2012

Send him down

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This one has been on the BBC News channel most of the day.

Car dealer Ben Westwood, 33, has the single distinction of being the driver prosecuted for the highest speed on a UK road after trying to escape from a raid in a stolen Audi RS5. The vehicle had previously been modified with a Lamborghini engine and was capable of speeds up to 200mph.

Westwood reached speeds of 180mph on the M6 in January.

Thankfully, Westwood has just been sent down for 9 years. Though we know he won;t serve anywhere near that.

August 22nd, 2012

There are no targets

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The public voice of the control room will tell you there are no targets. Calls into the control room are dealt with on merit, to the best of the call-taker’s ability and are resolved at the point of source, if at all possible, by the call-taker resolving the problem. If they can’t, they pass the matter on to someone who can, often in the form of a job which gets sent to the controllers for a police unit to be assigned to deal with it.

Being able to deal with the call when it comes in, from start to finish is good; it satisfies the needs of the caller, and it means less calls come in because the caller has to call back again, and again because their problem isn’t resolved. It also takes time; call-takers can only deal with one call at a time, this means when they are resolving someone’s issues,. they are not dealing with someone else’s.

It might be as simple as finding out a piece of information. Often the call-taker will be able to pass this information straight away, sometimes they have to go and find out. This might involve looking it up or speaking with someone else who knows. While they are doing this they are not answering calls.

If you go for several years in a row without replacing any staff in the control room, there comes a time when you haven’t got enough staff. The result, apart from finding it impossible to get a  summer holiday (bitter, much?) is that people have to wait longer for the phone to be answered, because call-takers are trying to deal with each call to the best of their ability to give the best service possible.

Answering the calls in a longer time is fine, as long as you don’t have targets for answering calls.

What actually happens, when the figures go below the target level is the supervisors get nervous, it might be their butt on the line come the management meeting in the morning when the people who say they prefer quality service to a slavish desire to reach targets, ask why the figures are too low. Once the percentage dips below the desired level, what to do? Go with the quality service maxim and let the figures fall or go for target acquisition and try to rescue the figures.

The answer is easy, people who work in the control room know that the public face is complete bollocks and the figures matter. The only way to retrieve the figures is to get more people to answer lots  more calls but there aren’t any more call-takers. Simples, get the controllers to answer the phones.

But surely if the controllers are answering the telephones, they can’t answer the radios? I’m glad you asked that. Of course, but who gives a fuck. the people that run the control room sure don’t. The executive at their armchair quarterback meetings each morning don’t care, as long as they can tell the Home Office that the ‘non existent’ targets are being met.

Of course, the only way to get controllers to swap over to call-taking is to close a radio channel and get all the officers from one area to share the radio system of another area, thus doubling the workload of the other controllers while having the radio space available to all the officers in two areas. The service to the officers and members of the public they need to deal with drops through the floor.

But at least more calls are being answered within 10 seconds. (regardless that the ensuing dealing of that call might take 3 days).