Knife Crime 2016 – Almost The Final Word

As promised (threatened) here is the almost final update on the scale of Knife Crime in England and Wales last year.  I am still arguing with the City of London Police and Avon & Somerset Constabulary over their Refusal Notices, if I ever get final figures from them I’ll update this post. The figure for A&S in the graphic is very much provisional and dependent upon the outcome of the arguments.

Dyfed Powys is late replying (my fault, I didn’t spot a clarification question they sent me)

Cleveland, Kent and Leicestershire are late replying – their fault, reminders sent.

So, the bottom line is that in 2016 there were almost 18,000 deaths or injuries caused by knives, swords or other pointed implements in England and Wales.  Nearly 50 a day, or 2 every single hour of the day and night across the country.

You may not think that is very much, but every single hour a family somewhere has their lives affected to a greater or lesser extent by knives.

What can be done about it?  In my view, and you don’t have to agree with me, there are two possible solutions;

  1.  Increased use of the controversial (but not unlawful) tactic of Stop and Search.
  2.  Education – get back into schools, youth clubs and other such organisations.  Use some hard-hitting facts and images and educate the youths of the consequences of Knife Crime to others (and to themselves)  There are no guarantees of course, but, having been educated, anyone caught carrying a knife has only got themselves to blame for the consequences.

One or 2 ‘hotspots’ immediately hit you when you look at the bland statistics.

London (unsurprisingly), followed by Greater Manchester,  West Yorkshire, West Midlands, Merseyside and Essex are the front-runners.

North Yorkshire are the outright winners of the Low Knife Crime Award, BTP appear to be joint winners but I suspect that some of their crimes will feature in other Forces’ stats.

 

Where are we going with Stop and Search?  Can’t really tell you for the whole of England and Wales, but for London the answer is easy to find, and you may or may not approve.

The Mayor of London routinely publishes the stats for all kind of things.  I ASSUME they are provided by the Met but I can’t actually vouch for that.

Between 2008 and 2016 crime involving weapons generally looked like this;

Not currently as high as it has been, but looks like it’s on the way back up again.

Stop and Search? What does that look like over the same period?

As I said, these are only the figures and trends for London, they may well be similar all over the country.

Can we afford to assume that they are not?

So, back to the Knife Angel.  As of this month Clive Knowles, the chairman of the company that created the Angel stated that the only Forces who were not supporting the project were South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and Sussex.  Sussex have now stated that they WILL support the scheme.  South Yorkshire, in the form of Temporary Superintendent Simon Wanless, have stated that no-one has asked them to support the scheme.  However my attempts to contact Mr Wanless have gone unanswered.

West Yorkshire, and their PCC, also have ignored my heavy-handed hints, despite having one of the larger problems in the country.

I have visited Mr Knowles again, and I can confirm to South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire that the offer of free Knife Amnesty bins is still very much available.  Each Amnesty Bin is made on site and, delivered and installed, costs the company £600-£700, that is the level of his commitment.  Come on South and West Yorks, please get on board and contact Mr Knowles, I know for a fact that he will be delighted to hear from you.

Shropshire Knife Angel’s tragic inspiration is revealed

SAVE A LIFE, SURRENDER YOUR KNIFE

Knife Crime Vs Stop & Search, Some Numbers (London Edition)

In a few days time I should have a set of figures telling us exactly what the size of the Knife Crime problem is across England and Wales.  While I’m waiting for the last few miscreants to remember to send me some data, or protest that they don’t have a Knife Crime problem, I thought I would plunder the Mayor of London’s Data Store and draw some pretty pictures of the scale of weapons generally in our capital.

As the data goes back to 2008 I thought “why not nick it all?” look at the long term situation and how it might have changed.  The categories covered everything from Dog Bites to Murder but I just concentrated on my current hobby horse and guns while I was at it.

As we all know, Sir Bernie Hogan-Who ordered a reduction in Stop and Search in London after the 2011 riots in order to try to build trust between the police and London’s communities.  Did that work?  We shall see.

Knife and Gun Crime between 2008 and 2016 looks like this.Reasonably constant over 8-9 years, not a huge increase but certainly hasn’t gone down much.

Contrast this with Stop and Search over the same period.

That has MOST DEFINITELY gone down

Because we can, why don’t we have a look at staffing levels within the Met over that period.

Police Officers down a little bit, but noticeable drops in Specials, PCSOs and Police Staff.

Finally, total recorded crime, how much has that reduced?

A slight dip around 2012-2013 but most definitely on the way back up would you say?

Don’t have nightmares, do sleep well.

Back soon with England and Wales Knife Crime figures.  I bet you can hardly wait.

 

Mixed Messages From @NPCC, @Police_Now @MetropolitanPolice and @CollegeOfPolicing?

I’m old, I’m confused and my brain hurts.

Firstly, the much-revered College of Policing has proposed completely shaking up the entry route into the Police Service;

The three proposals are

Proposal 1. Establish a qualifications framework for policing so that individuals can gain recognition that has meaning and credibility

Proposal 2. Opportunities for existing officers and staff to gain accredited and publicly recognised qualifications for their existing skills, if they wish to do so

Proposal 3. Develop three entry routes for new constables

undergraduate degree in policing

graduate conversion programme

higher level apprenticeships 

Hardly confusing at all, all about improving the professional image and status of Police Officers.  No bad thing per se but it fails to recognise that Police Officers already have a good, professional status but it does need to be formalised and recognised.

Then we have the Gold Service from much-vaunted Police Now.

To get with the Police Now programme, In brief, you will need to:

be between the ages of 18-57 on application

have lived in the UK for the last three years

have indefinite leave to remain and work in the UK

be working towards or have achieved a 2:1 at undergraduate degree level or non-UK equivalent

have received a GCSE grade C or above in English language and be fluent in the written and spoken word.

So, sign up to the flagship Police Now programme to fast track to tomorrow’s leaders.

The Metropolitan Police contributes to my eternal confusion by offering Direct Entry to the CID for Specials, and this is where I need some help.

Will the successful applicants from the ranks of the Specials become part-time detectives, as and when their main job permits?  Is this a back door into the Met and they will become warranted, Regular Tecs? 

If they remain as Specials will they need to be graduates first?  How do they fit in Detective Training School with their ‘proper’ jobs? If they don’t achieve some formal accreditation in Investigating Stuff their work will be torn up,for **** paper the first time they appear in Crown Court.

If this is actually back door DE entry as a Tec, this is surely demeaning the role of the traditional Constable.  He/She needs a Degree or equivalent, a Tec needs to be a Special with who knows what academic qualifications.

I am not against Specials, I knew some very good ones and counted them amongst my friends, but this is really worrying and confusing and urgently needs clarification.  The government has already tried bolstering the Armed Forces with Reservists and that did not go well.  Policing is too important to risk getting it wrong.

Not for nothing are some Tecs in the Met labelled Cops In Disguise.

Sort yourselves out please, all of the above, work together, openly, and come up with a sensible solution that is acceptable to current and future officers alike.

It cannot be impossibe.

Unreasonable? Critical? Me?

I have been ‘accused’ on another forum of being unreasonable in my criticism of Theresa May.

Initially I, along with others, had an issue with her £1,000 pair of leather trousers worn for a press interview.  Her trousers, and jumper, were by Amanda Wakely, and her trainers by Mulberry.  Not one piece of this attire was cheap, or reasonably priced.


Yesterday she was wearing a jacket by Vivienne Westwood.  I have no idea of its worth, but again, I doubt it was cheap.  It was not new, she has worn it before, but not cheap

This is not the first, or only, time that Mrs May has been seen sporting Vivienne Westwood, she appears to be somewhat of a favourite.

I have not defected to the Fashion Police, nor would I normally take any notice whatsoever of what somebody is wearing.  I am completely oblivious to fashion labels, just ask Mrs Angry, she can confirm this.

What I do object to most vigourously is this.

Mrs May now heads a party that has waged a ruthless war on ordinary people.  If you are not a toff, investment banker, CEO of a security company or private healthcare provider you are not worthy.  Ordinary people have not seen a meaningful pay rise for 5 years or more, or worse, many have even seen their pay reduced.

The Tories, in coalition guise, came to power in 2010, and you don’t need me to remind you of all the various ‘reforms’ they have put in place since.  Most of us have an opinion on those reforms.

What has this got to do with Cruella’s Dress Sense I hear you ask.

The answer is this

Since 2012 the number of people/families using Food Banks has increased by a factor of very nearly FIVE.

For the WHOLE of 2011-2012 the figure was 128,697.

In April to September 2012 113,264 people were using Food Banks.

In April to September 2016 this number had increased to 519,343

So I ask you, next time I find Mrs May’s choice of outfit inappropriate, am I really being so unreasonable?

Seems Like A Reasonable Question To Me

There was a time, I agree, when Police Officers were paid handsomely. I don’t think many would dispute that. They were paid handsomely BECAUSE OF WHAT THEY DO AND WHAT THEY MIGHT HAVE TO DO. They accepted that and were, in the main, happy with the balance. Contrary to what Mrs May and others think, they went about their duties professionally, and carried them out to the very best of their abilities. Untold numbers of meals went uneaten. Untold numbers of social engagements were cancelled. Untold numbers of marriages broke up. Collateral Damage at the hands of Policing. Untold numbers of Police Officers just pitched up for work the next day and did it all over again, soaking up more of the same, willingly. It is what they did.
Then along came Camoron, Cruella and Winsor and destroyed all that.

Now they get paid much less in real terms. Their pensions have been slaughtered. They will be as old as Methusalah before they can retire. And the government, the NPCC, IPCC, HMIC and Uncle Tom Cobley expect more and more and more, and offer less and less and less in return.  Don’t forget that there is also 20,000 fewer of them too.

It isn’t even all about money. They cannot pursue a car, draw a Taser or even use force in the act of arrest or restraint without picturing themselves as The Defendant. The scales have swung too far the other way, and weak management is allowing or even encouraging it. We are very much in danger of losing Policing as we know it.

To the detriment of many things, I loved my 30 years. The best job ever.

Would I do it all again?

Never.

Do I miss it?

Not any longer, but I still miss the people I worked with immensely.

Look around, the NHS, the Police Service, the Armed Forces.  We used to have the finest Health Service in the world, now we are recruiting from foreign climes to get cheap nursing cover.  We used to have the finest Police Service in the world, now a mere shadow of its former self, and running round in ever decreasing circles till they disappear up their own fundament trying to do all the jobs that every other service thinks they can lumber the Police with and save a few bob along the way.  Nearly every nation in the world feared our Armed Forces, now our Army is not much bigger than a Defence Force, our carrier borne aircraft are a bit of a joke thanks to successive government cuts and U turns.

The nurses, the doctors, the Police officers, the soldiers, sailors and aircrew (and their relative support staff) etc are all some of the finest people availabe, but they are hamstrung beyond belief by ‘The Cuts’.  They WANT to do their best but can’t.

“Do More With Less” is the same mantra we hear for all of the Public Sector, except, of course, the politicians, they are getting more now. Austerity does not apply to them.

All of these cuts and the associated ‘wastage’ will take years to put right, if ever. “Work Smarter” then.  Don’t be ridiculous, there is only so much that can be achieved with reduced resources.  Many of the functions carried out by the NHS, Police, Armed Forces (and many other, comparable services) simply need PEOPLE to carry them out, and a certain number of people at minimum.  Below that and we are in the mire.

So Home Secretary, Mrs May, Sir Tom, Sara Thornton “What does your Strategic Risk Assessment tell you is the absolute minimum number of Police Officers needed to provide an efficient PolicecService for England and Wales, and maintain Public Safety and Tranquility?”

I Thought It Was Only Me

I saw a tweet recently that made me think;

For over 30 years I came home from work and answered the question “How was your day?” with “oh pretty quiet, nothing much, you know”. This was clearly a lie. The only day I didn’t get away with it was when I was delivered home by my friends, colleagues, workmates having been overcome by smoke whilst searching a burning flat during the Firemen’s Strike one Boxing Day morning. To say that I was pissed off missing out on that Double Time overtime was an understatement. 
I suspect that Mrs Angry already knew, but it was obvious that day, that things weren’t always “pretty quiet, you know”. I had taken the decision NOT to share my daily experiences with my family as I thought I was doing them a favour not burdening them with the knowledge of how my day had really been.

I genuinely thought that it was only me that did that.  My colleagues’ wives and families always seemed to know stuff, although who knows what they were told.

The downside to this was that I didn’t get the benefit of talking stuff over with loved ones, partly so they could understand the stresses of my job better, and partly just to chat, chill out and wind down.  Even a ‘quiet’ day can be stressful.

It’s obvious to me now that I wasn’t the only one.

We each have to make our own choices in this life, and looking back it feels like I made a bad choice.

So next time your loved one says “How was your day?”  think very carefully before you say “Nothing much, pretty quiet, you know”, it’s possible that isn’t the best answer.  No medals, cerificates or prizes are handed out for bottling things up.  

Sometimes, it’s good to talk.

Is It Any Wonder That The Government Has You By The Sphericals?

I have oft times wondered how exactly the government get away with their aggressive tactics whilst ‘reforming’ the Police Service.

Personally, I don’t see much ‘Reform’ going on, just lots of things where the government gets its way over the Police.  No compromise, little, if any, consultation.  JFDI.

The arguments will rattle on for years about whether the Federation has done sufficient for its members.  I have been out of the game for too long now, 14 years, so I’m probably not best qualified to express an opinion here.  I have one, but I shall keep it to myself for a change.

Last night, over a cheeky Lambrini, I discovered that I had a set of stats that I was completely oblivious to having; the length of service for officers in the Police Service.

For all of the Forces in England and Wales (including BTP) the graph looks like this, with a clear spike in mid-service.

 

I suspect that officers with 0-5 years might be more likely to leave if things don’t please them greatly, and with the latest proposals coming out of the College and NPCC might actually be unofficially ‘encouraged’ to leave.

Officers in the 25-30+ category may well leave early as the loss of pension is not so great after tax, and may be deemed to be a price worth paying.

Those in the middle, the clear majority, are those who might be deemed to be ‘stuck’.  A huge spike in the 10-15 year category.  For years we have had all kinds of agencies telling us that we have untold ‘transferrable skills’, now we get the NPCC and College of Policing telling us that we don’t possess transferrable skills at all, so we have to do it their way.

Many of you will, quite reasonably, have been convinced that the only way forward is to knuckle down and do it their way. 10-15 years service, mortgage, family, kids at university, maintenance payments, suddenly staying in The Job and toeing the line doesn’t look quite so bad compared with the alternative.  Who could blame you if that’s how you think?  It was only the {expensive} pension that kept me (relatively) sane for 30 years.  It is factors such as this that allow NPCC, College and Home Secretary to get away with their, sometimes, outrageous ‘reforms’.  I make absolutely no apology for repeating that Reform means Improvement, and I’m far from convinced that the Police Service is being ‘Improved’.

reform

 verb

[WITH OBJECT]

  • 1Make changes in (something, especially an institution or practice) in order to improve it:

    ‘the Bill will reform the tax system’

A Happy New Year to you all, wherever you sit on the above graph, retired, or interested onlooker.

I have the stats for all of the individual forces, so if you are interested to know what the spread is closer to home, by all means DM or email me and I’ll let you have a copy, complete with a nice coloured graph.

A Heartfelt Plea – Please Read, Share, Whatever

Ladies and Gentlemen, unaccustomed as I am to grovelling, please bear with me just this once.  You may, or may not, know that I have taken a keen interest in the Knife Angel project (or National Monument Against Violence And Aggression) Briefly, this is a 25 foot statue of an Angel made from knives supplied from Knife Amnesty bins across the UK.  To date, about 100,000 knives have been supplied and incorporated into the Angel.  If you are unaware you can find out the basics of the Knife Angel project here, or just Google “Knife Angel”,  She even has her own Facebook Page here

I have been fortunate enough to have been invited to meet the Chairman, Managing Director and the sculptor who created the Angel.  Their passion is immediately evident.  The Angel is HUGE and a very powerful piece of work.  It will be finished next year and their ultimate ambition is to get it displayed on the 4th Plinth in Trafalgar Square, an aim I whole-heartedly agree with, and so, apparently do thousands of others who have signed an online petition.  I think it would send a wonderful message to the public about knife crime.  Some of the individual blades are engraved with messages from the families of knife crime victims.


If you agree, I would ask you to do three, not very onerous, things to help the ‘Angel team’;


1). Please sign and share the petition  supporting the Angel going on to the 4th plinth.

http://surrenderyourknife.co.uk/support/government-petition-to-see-capital-exposure/

 

2). Please consider writing to your MP asking him/her to support the proposal

 

3). Please write to the Mayor of London suggesting and supporting this powerful work of art to sit atop the 4th Plinth in Trafalgar Square.

 

If you, your family, or anyone else you know has been the victim of Knife Crime it is not too late to get a message engraved upon a blade, just contact the British Ironworks Centre for more info.

 

Finally, please feel free to share this plea anywhere on SM you might wish to.

 

I thank you, as do the creators.

 

angel

It’s The Cuts, That’s All

The Armed Forces are at their lowest strength since before the Second World War.  Successive Strategic Defence Reviews have seen to that.  Only this week we waved goodbye to HMS Illustrious, off to a scrapyard somewhere.  Heaven knows when her replacement will be in situ with some fast jets aboard.  It’s the cuts you know, damned Armed Forces trying to save money, don’t they realise our country is at risk NOW?

Hospitals are closing their Maternity Units, A&E Departments etc etc.  Patients are inconsiderately cluttering up the corridors for hours before taking up a bed somewhere.  Surely they could be a bit more thoughtful. Oh? It’s the cuts you say?  Tight National Health Service trying to save some money while patients die eh?

The Prison Service have gone off piste and have decided to recruit some new Prison Officers.  They got told about the cuts but the prisoners weren’t having any of that so they started a few riots, prisoners and Prison Officers got injured so the soft Prison Service decided to recruit a few more to keep the prisoners happy.

Local Councils across the land have got the message.  They are moving books OUT of libraries to make space for staff and desks and computers etc.  It’s the cuts, stingy councils trying to save themselves some money.  Meals on Wheels? Remember them? Care for the elderly?  Leave them in hospital blocking the beds, that will save us a few thousand.

The Coastguards, they’ve done their bit too.  Shut a few of their coastal stations, outsourced their heliborne rescue service and shed a few coastguards.  That will help.  Who needs safety on our waters, a smaller bill is all we need.

20,000 fewer Police Officers, about 650 fewer Police Stations, savaged Pension Schemes.  The Police are doing their bit.  The only problem there is that crime is going UP. With fewer officers to deal with it, prevent it or solve it that’s a tad problematical, but never mind it will sort itself out, it’s only the cuts after all.  Now, apparently, the Police are somehow responsible for monitoring, or caring for, everyone who is released from Police Custody back into Society.  Where on earth are the resources for that coming from.  Never mind, the cuts will sort it out, they can stop doing something else instead.

As I got to the end of this far-from-exhaustive ‘list’ it occurred to me that there is in fact a Common Denominator.  Her Majesty’s Government.  Now led by Theresa May she has continued with all the old policies of Camoron, and her own as Home Secretary, and it is actually THE GOVERNMENT that are responsible for all these failings.  The BBC and The Mail have been criticising individual organisations for years, but it has now become crystal clear to me, the Government did it. Not the Prison Service, not the NHS, Not the Armed Forces, not the Coastguard Service, not the Police.  It was the government all along.  How did the BBC and The Mail not notice this? Crikey, it seems so simple now.

Maybe if we ask Cruella of the £1000 trousers nicely she’ll put it all back the way it was, except I fear that it’s far too late for that. The damage is done and the damage is deep.

Well done Mrs May. You must be very proud of what you and your party have achieved.