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.

Taser in London – The Numbers

A month or so ago there was heated discussion on Twatter and Farcebook about Taser Usage in London vs Ethnicity and there were differing opinions proffered.

I asked the Met two simple questions;

For the previous rolling 12 month period

How many times have Tasers been drawn, but specifically NOT used?

On those occasions when Taser was drawn but NOT used, what is the Ethnic Breakdown of the “suspects” i.e. The people threatened with Taser usage?

and

For the period July 2015 to June 2016 could you please give me a breakdown by ethnicity of persons actually subjected to Taser usage, i.e. Fired, Arced or a Drive Stun?

Their ressponse to the first can be found here

 

taser-drawn-not-used

But I decided I wanted to kjnow more, hence the second question.

The response to that one is finally in, and here, in a series of simplifed graphs, it is.

taser-drawn-2015-2016

taser-aimed-2015-2016

 

taser-fired-2015-2016

taser-red-dot-2015-2016

taser-arced-2015-2016

taser-angled-stun-2015-2016

taser-drive-stun-2015-2016

The question being so hotly debated was one of racial bias in ‘Taserings’.  Well, the info for a 12 month period in London is there.

What do you think?

 

The Knife Angel

Is it just me, or has there been an absolute explosion of knife crime, particularly in London, over the past 18 months?

Our best response to the problem?  Cut back on Stop and Search.  Theresa May started it, Amber Rudd has dutifully continued it.  Apparently we should not be doing so much Stop and Search.  I really don’t get that, as EVERY SINGLE KNIFE used to stab, slash, kill or injure somebody else has almost invariably been carried through the streets by somebody, somewhere at some time.

Am I alone in thinking that we should make the streets too hot to carry knives? Better detection, more prosecutions, fewer Cautions and better sentencing.

The Police can, and hopefully will, do their bit, but how can we highlight the problem? How do we get the message across to the public that knife crime is at an unacceptable and unsustainable level?

Enter Alfie.  “Who the devil is Alfie?” I hear you ask.

Alfie is Alfie Bradley, an innovative sculptor from Shropshire, possibly better known for making a gorilla out of spoons.  He is currently making an Angel out of knives.  Where does he get all the knives from?  From Police Amnesty Boxes mainly plus donations of ‘family cutlery’ from the Public.

What is the purpose of the Knife Angel? It is a National Monument Against Violence And Aggression.

How can we find out more about the Knife Angel?  Several ways really, you can read about it at it’s Facebook Page here;

You can simply Google “Knife Angel” and see pictures of it and read any one of the many news items concerning it.  You can even read more about Alfie.

How can you help raise the profile of the Knife Angel?  There is a campaign to get the Knife Angel displayed on the 4th plinth in Trafalgar Square. You can sign a petition for this purpose here.

You can write to the Mayor of London and/or your local MP explaining why you think this is such an important project.

If you have had your life blighted by Knife Crime Alfie has told me that you can leave a message on the Facebook page (as above) and your message can be engraved onto the Angel.   Ot only does this send a powerful message it can go a huge way to help the families of Knife Crime victims come to terms with their loss and feel that they are contributing to something useful to turn back the tide of Knife Crime.

I am hoping to have a chat with Alfie over a cup of coffee in the next couple of weeks to see what we, the Twitterati, can do to raise the Angel’s profile and help lift it onto the 4th plinth. There is no doubt in my mind that pride of place in Trafalgar Square for a few weeks will aid the Save A Life, Surrender Your Knife campaign.

If you have any other suggestions how this can be helped by all means leave them for me in the comments below and I will discuss them with Alfie when I see him.

Please, this explosion of Knife Crime just has to STOP and anything we can do can only hasten that process and help safeguard our youth.

Codes Of Conduct – They Are There To Be Complied With

Agreed?

For example PACE (Police And Criminal Evidence Act) is a complex piece of legislation, so there are numerous Codes of Conduct each relating to a different aspect of PACE.  By virtue of these Codes both sides (Police and Public/Persons Detained) knows exactly what to expect in any given situation and (in the Police’s case) how they are expected to behave.

Good idea?  Most people think so, even if they are a right royal pain to remember and put into practice.  Stick to the Codes and you won’t go far wrong.

Great idea. Simple.

Codes of Practice have been brought in all over the shop now, for much the same reasons.  Not just the Police, but all manner of organisations.

Even the mighty Independent Police Complaints Commission has Codes of Praqctice for various things.  As the ‘watchdog’ and final arbiter of all things wrongdoing within the Police it wouldn’t be doing for the IPCC to be in breach of their own Codes of Practice would it?

Excuse me while I laugh because I have just caught them with their very own pants down.

 

 

trousersBrowsing ther website I happened to notice that the Gifts and Hospitality Register and the Register of Commissioners’ Interests were seriously out of date, not having been updated, or indeed, reviewed,  since June 2015.  So, being a good citizen I sent them the two following Freedom of Information Requests.

I note from your website that your Gifts and Hospitality Register contains only information for January to June 2015

Could I please be provided with an electronic, up to date, copy of the Commissioners’ Gifts and Hospitality Register

and

I note from your website that the ‘Published Version’ of the Commissioners’ Register of Interests has not been updated since June 2015, nor reviewed since July 2015.

The Commissioners’ Code Of Conduct states that the Commissioners’ Register of Interests should be open to the public and kept up to date.

Could I please be provided with an electronic, up to date, copy of the Commissioners’ Register of Interests?

Well, not surprisingly both requests were ultimately refused, but for slightly different reasons.

With reference to the first one, their refusal stated

ipcc-1

And the second said

ipcc-2

So, it’s good to know that the IPCC adhere to their Commissioners’ Code of Conduct and that their Registers are now up to date and available online.  I truly hope that theu have not had cause to investigate any poor, unfortunate officer for breaching Codes of Conduct between June 2015 and October 2016, that would be a tad naughty wouldn’t it?

This Must NEVER Happen Again, Anywhere

To be honest, it should never have happened once, never mind again.

Police in Gloucester were forced to withdraw from a large-scale brawl at a takeaway because they did not have sufficient officers available to deal with the situation.  I cannot recall a single occasion where this has happened before.

At the risk of stating the obvious this is completely unacceptable.  There are two (at least) important considerations at play here.

Firstly, it is vital that there are sufficient Police Officers available at any time to deal with any spontaneous outbreak of disorder, crimes, terrorist activity etc. As a Member of the Public you are entitled to feel protected against almost any scenario.  Public Safety and the Prevention of Crime are two of the highest priorities for Policing.  If the Police cannot restore Public Tranquility, or worse, have to withdraw without resolving the problem, something has gone seriously wrong.

Secondly, and equally important, there should be sufficient officers available that they can look after and protect each other.  If the officers that turn up at the scene initially are neutralised by suffering violence they might as well never have come in the first place.  The initial officer(s) attending have to assess the situation and be able to call upon the appropriate number of officers to contain the problem, together with other necessary resources e.g. Public Order trained officers, Police Dogs, Police Horses or a Helicopter.

In response to an item in the Mail on Sunday relating to lack of officers on Nights, Chief Constable Simon Cole issued this statement

In response to a Mail on Sunday investigation revealing the number of officers on duty at nights, Chiefs stress that these shifts are considered as part of wider risk assessments, and officers are supported by a range of partners and staff. 
National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead on Local Policing, Chief Constable Simon Cole said:
“Policing is a 24/7 responsibility. The night time economy presents Chief Constables and officers with real challenges policing both large rural areas as well as the thriving and busy environments in towns and cities.
“Police forces make their decisions about night shift staffing in line with dynamic risk assessments which may vary greatly between forces, and sometimes even within a single force. Officers on night shifts are always supported by police community support officers, force staff, special constables, partner agencies and volunteers. They also receive the appropriate equipment and training to ensure that they are not put in a situation without the support that they need.
“In a world where there are 19,000 fewer police officers, all forces have to deal with the realities of their budget when making operational decisions, with the sole intention of allocating officers and staff to most effectively protect the public.”

I can only hope that all of these “Dynamic Risk Assessments” are available and up to date, as I suspect some FOI fans might be asking to see them.

In the good old days we were frequently being told “You don’t get paid for what you do, you get paid for what you might have to do”.  Likewise, sufficient resources should be available 24/7 for what might happen.

This was always more or less the case.  Police got caught out occasionally and had to shout for help from an adjoining Division or by way of Mutual Aid if it was sufficiently serious. One way or another the problem was sorted.

Recently we have had insufficient officers to close down an illegal ‘Rave’ and now, far worse, Police having to withdraw from a large brawl at a takeaway.

It is incumbent upon Force senior management to ensure that sufficient officers are on duty, or available nearby, to reasonably cope with most, if not all, scenarios. It should NOT be a requirement that the number of officers on duty, or available, should fit a particular budget.

If this can’t be done then I would urge very member of the National Police Chiefs Council to bring this to the urgent attention of the Home Secretary.

Alongside this, I would urge every Member of the Public who fears that there are insufficient Police on duty at ANY time of the day, to write to their MP outlining their concerns and asking him/her to raise their concerns with the Home Secretary.

Police and Crime Commissioners everywhere need to sit up and take notice, and work out how they can stop this from ever happening again.