The State of Policing 2018

Fortuitously there has just been a release of Police Manpower (sorry, I still call it that, no offence intended) and the latest Crime Data for England and Wales.

Much has been made of these latest figures both in the Press and on Social Media.  This Crime has gone up by this percentage and all that sort of stuff.  Very useful, it really is, but if you want to look at more than just the big, bold headlines your head will soon be spinning.

Well, I still have some crayons left, none of the real academics have tried to disable my abacus or nick my pencil box, so I thought I’d try and make sense of the bigger picture and how it affects both Policing and the Populus in 2018.

Firstly, how many Police Officers are there in England and Wales since the disastrous election of 2010?

Not including the British Transport Police (for no particular reason other than they are shown separetely in the stats) it looks like this

It’s all well and good producing a pretty chart I hear you cry, what does that actually LOOK like?  It’s a tad worse after this week’s figures release but basically it looks like all the areas coloured pink having NO Police Officers whatsoever, not a single one.

It doesn’t look very good does it,  but we keep hearing that Crime is Down and Police Reform is working, so how are the much-reduced Police Officers coping with crime and stuff?

My word, it looks to me like a few years after Theresa May’s cuts started to bite, Overall Crime started to increase.

Violent Crime, we’ve heard a lot about that recently, how does that look?

The reason for the bizarre drop in the middle of the graph of that the Home OPffice keep changing exactly which crimes they want to list, and a lot of the lesser asssaults, whilst recorded by the Police, did not feature in the Home Office stats, but now they do again.  And they complain about the Police fudging stats eh?

So, we have had 8 years now of #Austerity and #PoliceReform.  What does that look like? How do the numbers stack up after 8 years?

Apologies if you find the chart above a bit ‘busy’ but basically Police Numbers down, Stop and Search down has resulted in Total Crime and Violent Crime going up.  Where will it all end?  Theresa May and her colleagues must be really proud of themselves. There you have it encapsulated in one chart, the state of (Crime and) Policing in 2018.

How Safe Are Our Streets Exactly?

As you are all aware, I am not an Academic, and I do not possess a degree in anything.  However, spurred on by  this warm weather and an increasing foreboding of doom, I dusted down my crayons, and with a little help from my 4 year old grand-daughter, I managed to produce some nice pretty pictures, based on the premise that the first duty of any government is to protect its citizens.This doesn’t often happen, but I will shut up for a while and let the music and the pictures fill in the story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hmm, it seems as if most of the violent crimes were on their way down prior to about 2011/12 and then started to go up again. I wonder what happened to cause that? I’d better get my crayons out again and see if the whole of England and Wales looks the same.

Before I do there’s a few things about these piccies that you might think I’ve forgotten.  Despite slating the Police for the manner in which they record crime, the Home Office, amazingly, have never published data for Possession of Knives or Firearms prior to 2008, at least not publicly.  They do not publish figures for Assault on a Police Officer causing Injury.  They did not publish data for ANY Assault causing Injury prior to 2012  Why would that be?  Not just the Tories, Labour didn’t do it either.  The stats for 2017/2018 are not yet publicly available.

Anyway, back to my crayons, the pictures for the whole of England and Wales.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking at all of these pretty, colourful pictures it does indeed seem that most, if not all, of the columns start to rise 2012/2013   What on earth could be causing that?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What about England and Wales, does that look any different?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, we can see that the MEt has (to now) been sheltered from the worst of the cuts, but more are coming in the next two years.  They have still ended up with a net loss however.  England and Wales as a whole has seen quite a sharp falling off of officer numbers since 2010.  Could anything else be a factor?

 

 

 

 

 

 

For whatever reason, Stop and Search in London has fallen sharply since 2008, in 2017 the lowest for a decade by far.  How does the rest of the country fare?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One more for luck, how does Total Crime look like against Total Stop/Search?

So, there you have it ladies and gents, girls and boys.  Are the government protecting its citizens?  Are they complying with their ‘First Duty’?  More importantly, how safe are our streets.  Just a wild thought I know, but getting those 21,000 Police Officers back might help, but the only problem there is that there is no Magic Bobby Tree,  Even if the government did the most massive u-turn in their history, they cannot replace the lost skills and experience.  No wonderful Graduate Entry schemes, no Direct Entry Insp.Superintendent/Detective schemes can fix this.  The Police Service is broken.  Can we fix it?  I don’t know.  I hope so, and I will carry on writing posts such as this til  I either stop breathing or the government u-turns.  I can’t change their minds, but YOU can.  Every one of you joined together can lobby your MP.  Send him/her a copy of this post if you haven’t got time to write.  I don’t care how you do it, but the swell of public opinion and support is our best chance (in my humble opinion)

I shall now put my crayons away until at least next week, thank you for your patience.

 

We Were NOT Crying Wolf Prime Minister

I’m sure you can all remember back in 2015 when the then Home Secretary told the Police Federation to “stop crying wolf”.

She said nearly every year the Federation warned that the public was at risk or that the force would be destroyed but it had not happened.

She told officers: “This kind of scare-mongering does no one any good.” And she added: “This crying wolf has to stop.”

Mrs May gave them an ultimatum, telling them: “You can choose protest and continue to shout from the sidelines for the next five years or choose partnership.”

Fast Forward 3 years and where are we?  I think almost everyone apart from the most hardened lunatic Tories will admit that crimes of all types have risen by various degrees.  More importantly though, Murders in the capital, and beyond, are rocketing.  Knife Attacks, Acid Attacks, they are all getting out of control.

Even the Tories’ favourite newspaper is carrying unprecedented headlines

Shire towns face unprecedented 140 per cent surge in robberies and violent crime with rise blamed on police cuts and ‘county lines’ drug gangs

Since Theresa May first came to ‘power’ in 2010 she has stedfastly refused to listen to us old codgers, the Police Lobbyists, she has ignored Academics, Pracademics, the Federation and that species the NPCC officer who dares to speak out.  She very recently managed to stick in a leopard-print boot to the majority of Public Services by promising the NHS £20 billiom.  Yes, they do deserve it, but they are not alone in that.   She has chosen the NHS to be the sole beneficiary.  The #MagicMoneyTree only bore a few fruits obviously. Wait a moment, maybe this was just a cynical vote-winner.  What other Public Service is likely to provide as many votes as rescuing a floundering NHS?

Well Mrs May, let me tell yo now that the #MagicBobbyTree is dead, killed off by some over-zealous pruning by a ‘lady’ gardener.

Sadly though, it doesn’t even end there.  The skills and experience that have been lost over the past 10 years, frivolously discarded in some arrogant crusade, will take decades to replace, EVEN IF, the cuts were reversed tomorrow.  The damage has been done.  It can NOT be simply reversed, not even by some fancy-pants Graduate Entrry Folly dreamt up by the College.  That scheme, flawed as it is, does not touch the problem of dwindling PCSOs and Specials, alongsisde the Regulars.

Mrs May you have broken the morale, fibre and being of the Police Service.  You personally are responsible with your flawed policies and abject refusal to listen to reasoned argument.  This is YOUR legacy, young kids’ blood on your hands.  Oh no, you must stop that wicked Stop and Search immediately, it does no good and it is racist.  Really?  Ask the families oif the dead children (yes, children) that you pretend to care about.  What have YOU actually DONE to stem the tide of knife-related murders, attmpted murders and assaults on our streets in broad daylight?

NOTHING

We were NOT crying Wolf (and at the end of that fable there was actually a wolf)

#DegreeGate

Much has been said already about degree-level entry into the Police Service, and I’m pretty sure that much more will be said in the months and years to come.

I had a ‘conversation’ yesterday with some faceless, nameless Rupert from the College of Policing as I wanted to be clear in my mind exactly what was being introduced.

I’m still a tad unclear as to exactly when the three prescribed routes into the Police Service (at Constable level) will come into play but essentially, taken from the College’s own documentation, they will be:-

  • Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA): you will be a police constable on a three-year degree apprenticeship programme, therefore you will be paid a salary from your start date. We anticipate that some forces will start the PCDA programme from April 2018, while others will phase it in during 2018/19.
  • Professionally focused undergraduate degree in policing: you will be on a university programme to achieve a pre-join undergraduate degree in policing, therefore this will be at your own expense. We anticipate that universities will start to offer the pre-join undergraduate degree in policing from September 2018.
  • Degree Holder Entry Programme: you will already have a degree (it doesn’t have to be police-related) and you will join as a police officer on a learning programme, therefore you will be paid a salary from your start date. We anticipate forces will start the Degree Holder Entry Programme from September 2018.

In fairness to the College they have stated that they intend to publish something soon that will clarify any misunderstandings about the above scheme.

So, unless I’ve misunderstood something, somewhere, serving officers can, BUT DO NOT HAVE TO, further their career and promotion prospects by studying for a degree.  ALL new recruits into the Police Service of England and Wales will either have to possess a degree already, or join the Degree Apprenticeship scheme and obtain one whilst serving (at no cost to themselves)

As has been stated by the College in their 3rd Tweet above all new recruits, regardless of how they entered, will have obtained a degree (or already possessed one) by the time they have finished their training.

Fast Forward a few years, all the old thickos like me without a degree will either have retired or left in disgust, and the Police Service will be comprised of 100% Graduates.  We know the College want this, we know that Sir Tom Winsor wants this, I suspect that the government are behind it and they want it, so once again political influence wil be insidiously shaping the face and body of the Police Service.

At the moment I have three main concerns about this scheme, but I’m sure I’ll think of more over the next year or so.

  1. I have asked myself several times “Could I have done my job any better than I did over 30 years if I had a degree?” and the honest answer was NO.  I have no problem with Graduates in the Police whatosever, but I do not understand why it is suddenly compulsory for new recruits.  Somebody with a degree will no doubt be able to tell me how long it will take to replace the dinosaurs with graduates, my abacus isn’t up to it.  Just so long as Quentin can come along with his 2nd Class Degree in Classical Greek from Huddersfield (sorry Huddersfield) University, wave it at the Recruitment Officers and get accepted for the Police that’s OK.  That is EXACTLY what is wanted for the future.
  2. Secondly, it has long been a thorn in the side of the government, and others, that ethnic minorities are under-rerepresented within the Police Service.  Universities across the land are currently admitting that their own students do not fully represent the ethnic makeup oif the population.  Ethnic minority students are under-represented within Universities. So how exactly is this scheme going to help address the balance within the Police Service?  Maybe ethnic minority students will all join via the Degree Apprenticeship route then.  Yes?  Possibly not.
  3. Finally, and one that I’m convinced that the College haven’t taken into account, is CORRUPTION.  Joining via the Degree Apprenticeship Scheme means that the recruit is paid a salary during training, not a great one, but a salary nevertheless.  If a recruit joins via Professionally Focused Undergraduate Degree in Policing, or Degree Holder Entry Programme their degrees are obtained at their own expense.  According to the Institute of Fiscal Studies in 2017, the average student in England will graduate with debts of over £50,000 – those from poorer backgrounds will incur more, with more loans available to them.  So, Rookie Constable John Smith joins the Police Service with a Student Loan Debt of £50,000 (or possibly more), he goes out onto the streets of London, or anywhere else really, and is somehow miraculously immune from temptation.  We all know that those tempations are there, fortunately very few succumb to them.  Over the last few years Married Quarters and Section House accommodation have disappeared, Housing Allowance is in its Death Throes if it hasn’t gone completely.  The Met, amazingly, will only take recruits who live in London.  Who can afford to live there on circa £23,000 or less?  But somehow temptation and corruption will not be a problem with these Graduate Entry officers up to £50,000 in debt, not including mortgage if they have one.

I genuinely do look forward to the College’s clarification of this scheme, because I can’t see ANY benefits for the General Public.  I can certainly see the benefits of having a degree if one wants to climb the greasy pole of promotion and career advancement, but sorting out a pub fight on a Saturday night, or telling Mrs Smith that her son/daughter/husband won’t be coming home because they’ve been in an RTC?  I don’t think so.  Please, anybody, add a comment to this post and inform me, how will Front Line Officers (or the Public) benefit from everyone having a degree? I really do want to know.

Sir Tom Winsor

Who is Sir Tom Winsor? Well, most people know by now that he was the lead author of the infamous Independent Review of Police Officers’ & Staff Remuneration and Conditions, first published in 2011.

The ‘highlights’ include

  • Tom Winsor provided the government with recommendations as to how a modern police pay structure could be achieved. Changes to pay that would lower police officer starting salaries but allow officers to progress more quickly to higher pay.
  • A stronger link between pay and skills – in the short term, a £600 allowance for officers who use certain skills (those required for neighbourhood policing, public order, investigation and firearms), and in the longer term, for the highest pays to be limited to those officers who develop, maintain and use professional skills, and who are carrying out roles that require the powers or expertise of a police officer.
  • A stronger link between pay and performance, with annual pay increase limited to those who have performed satisfactorily or better, and those identified as poor performers receiving no rise.
  • Proposals on fitness testing to ensure that all officers are fit enough to be deployed to the front line, with continued support for those injured on duty.
  • A requirement for applicants to have a policing qualification, A-levels, or relevant experience before becoming a police officer. {This recommendation has now been extended and requires a degree, or equivalent, for new recruits as of 2019 I believe}
  • A direct entry scheme to enable individuals of considerable achievement and capacity to join at the rank of superintendent, with appropriately rigorous training and development.
  • The introduction of a system of compulsory severance for police officers, as is currently the case for other public sector workers.
  • An increase in the pension age to 60 (compared to a pension age of 65 rising to 68 in line with state pension age for most other public service workers).
  • Tom Winsor has recommended that an annual fitness test should be implemented in September 2013 based on the entry standard for new recruits. In total, officers would be expected to run 540 metres in 3 minutes 29 seconds. The level of fitness required to be able to complete this test is not an unreasonable expectation for police officers, and someone of only average fitness should be able to pass the test well into their 60s.

I’m sure there are others, but the above seem to be the main features coming out of the Independent Reviews. Controversial, many of them, unsympathetic some would day, and others would claim that they very closely resembled David Cameron’s speech on Police Reform in 2006. I don’t know if Sir Tom even read that article, but he might have done..

The bizarre thing to me is that Sir Tom did not claim his fee (£300 per day) for the Reviews from the Home Office. I know that’s true because the Home Office told me.

Sir Tom has been a controversial character ever since. In no particular order, as they say,

Apart from his outspoken views on unfit cops, he has not been shy about upsetting the fine men and women of our Police Service.

He stated that the Police Service was currently “unfairly perceived” as a blue-collar occupation with a “clock-in and clock-out” mentality, whereas it should be regarded as one of the professions. I know many former and serving officers, and not one of them has ever displayed a “clock in, clock out mentality’ so I have no idea where he got that one from. I have never even heard or read that description from anybody other than Sir Tom Winsor, so I have no idea where it originated.

He was appointed as Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary despite never having served a single day as a Police Officer, totally unprecedented. If that wasn’t bad enough he pitched up at a National Police Memorial Day service in what purported to be a Police Uniform, many took that as a sleight on their profession.

Last year he upset and offended serving and former officers alike by claiming that Response Officers “take nothing home with them” implying that Response Officers left the stresses and experiences in their locker at the end of the day, and that tecs took their work home with them and worried about it at home. This was blatantly wrong, in my opinion, and showed Response Officers no respect or understanding at all.

Sir Tom apologised the very next day. Sir Tom said: “Yesterday, on Sky News, I made a mistake, for which I apologise.

I said that, in contrast to detectives, response officers “take nothing home” at the end of their shifts. That is plainly wrong, it is not what I meant, and I realise it has caused anger and offence. I am sorry about this.”

He added: “Response and neighbourhood policing are undoubtedly stressful.

“Police officers and staff who deal with the many dreadful things which people do to others, or which happen to them, most certainly do not leave them behind; they take them home, and in many cases they stay with them forever. This was illustrated by some of the harrowing examples on Twitter yesterday.”

Most recently he has displayed, again, in my opinion, a total lack of understanding how the Police Service works. He said the “shortcomings” of police chiefs who did not plan or use resources effectively were masked by the “get the job done” attitude of front-line officers. If he had ever been a Police Officer he would know full well that the default attitude of Police Officers is exactly that, get the job done. It is not done that way out of loyalty to the bosses, nor to cover up for the shortcomings of the bosses, but because your average Police Officer just wants to get the job done and achieve the desired outcome, frequently in unorthodox ways.

I am firmly of the opinion that Sir Tom Winsor is being a bit naughty in his criticisms of certain aspects of Policing. The way I understand it, he was the lead author of the ‘Winsor Reviews’ that directly led to Theresa May’s Police Reforms. He knows full well the troubles and problems that have been forced upon the Police Service of England and Wales. He absolutely understands the consequences of losing 21,000 officers and the budgetary restraints imposed upon them. He has been at the very core of the cuts prior to his appointment to HMIC (as was). Now he is the Chief Inspector he really should understand what the problems are before criticising how the modern Police Service is operating. I’m pretty certain that most Forces could operate better at 2010 staffing levels, PLUS, some features of Policing, like serious Public Disorder, most definitely requires numbers. Maybe he should be making that argument back up the chain. There are only so many ‘Efficiency Savings’ that can be made. Increased use of technology is not always the answer. As somebody said a few years ago you can’t solve all those problems by chucking a few iPads at them.

So, there you have it, a potted history of Sir Tom Winsor for the benefit of anyone who may have missed him.

Who Gives A Toss About #KnifeCrime?

Well, I do, but I’m not sure that our politicians really do care.

It will come as no surprise to most of you that I care about it, and my chosen vehicle for heightening awareness is the Knife Angel. I ‘dug’ into it, found out what it was all about, went to see it (stunning) and met the ‘owner’ and creator of the Knife Angel. I spoke to both of them at length over many cups of coffee, and their passion and belief in the project is absolutely blindingly clear.

Clive Knowles, the ‘owner’ has invested thousands (probably 10s of thousands, I was too polite to ask him) of pounds in creating the Angel. He has fabricated secure Knife Bins, more than enough for each Force to conduct a Knife Amnesty and securely store the knives surrendered. He has footed the bill for delivering the Knife Banks and collecting them when full and transportation back to his business premises.

Nobody can say that Clive is not fully committed to tackling the epidemic of Knife Crime across the country. Once the Angel was made he started a campaign to get the Knife Angel installed on the 4th Plinth of Trafalgar Square. He has even named the Knife Angel the National Monument Against Violence And Aggression.

Clive Knowles is the gent on the right.

I have also spent some time with Alfie Bradley, the brilliant young sculptor who created the Knife Angel. In order to do this he had to take 100,000 knives, and other bladed instruments, blunt each and every one of them and then form them into the Knife Angel. Some of the blades even have personal messages engraved on them from victims of Knife Crime or their families. His passion and commitment are blindingly apparent, but he is possibly better known for making a huge gorilla out of spoons for Uri Geller, but that’s another story.

Alfie is the chap on the ladder.

Then we come to our politicians. At various times, in an assortment of ways, the following politicians have proclaimed their abhorrence of the current flood of Knife Crimes and their desire to do something about it.

Theresa May

Amber Rudd

Sajid Javid

Louise Haigh

Jeremy Corbyn

Holly Lynch

Nick Hurd

Sadiq Khan.

There may be others that I have overlooked, if that is the case please forgive me.

I have tweeted to Theresa May and Amber Rudd, and emailed both of them personally. No response from either except for an ‘Out of Office’ response from Amber Rudd that if I was not a constituent of hers I would not get a reply, and I didn’t.

Sajid Javid has only recently joined the Home Office but he has still failed to respond in any way to tweets to him about Knife Crime and the #KnifeAngel.

Louise Haigh, Holly Lynch and Jeremy Corbyn have not once responded in any way to numerous tweets addressed to them on the matter.

Nick Hurd has failed to respond to tweets or emails.

Finally, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. I have tweeted him dozens of times, to both his official and personal accounts. I have sent him emails. No reply to anything. Sadiq Khan is also responsible for deciding what exactly is shown on top of the 4th Plinth in Trafalgar Square. I have emailed the 4th Plinth Commissioning Group. No reply, but I have seen a photo of Sadiq Khan posing in front of the latest piece of art atop the 4th Plinth.

A big ‘Thumbs Up’. London is in the grip of an immense wave of Knife Crime and a ‘Thumbs Up’ is more appropriate than the Knife Angel.

I also emailed the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Cressida Dick, but all I got back from them was a bland rejection by ‘James’ her Staff Officer, whoever ‘James’ may be.

So, sadly, the answer seems to be that I give a toss, Clive Knowles and Alfie Bradley give a toss. Not one of the above-mentioned politicians has demonstrated any positive action towards the Knife Angel campaign. However, I do believe that Sadiq Khan has contacted Clive Knowles direct and informed him why the Knife Angel is not a suitable exhibit for the 4th plinth. In my opinion he offered a pathetic, jobsworth, reason, but that is entirely his affair, I have the right to reject it.

If the politicians want to convince us that they do actually give a toss then it’s time for them to adopt more than snappy soundbites. Get behind the Knife Angel. If not Trafalgar Square then suggest somewhere else that’s suitable. Make it happen. This is not about me. It isn’t even about Clive and Alfie. It’s about the thousands of people being stabbed and murdered on our streets every year, and Clive’s campaign to draw attention to it, and begin a reduction in Knife Crime. Don’t support me, #SupportTheKnifeAngel. Especially if you want people to vote for you next time round, whichever party you are. This is not about politics, it’s about young people dying on our streets.

PLEASE take the time to watch all three videos below, particularly the second one.  The Knife Angel suddenly becomes very real.

SAVE A LIFE – Surrender Your Knife

Knife And Gun Crime On The Streets Of Almost Anywhere

I don’t need telling, I know I’m a dinosaur, but 30 years pounding the mean streets of London, locking people up for doing bad things, qualifies me to know a bad thing when I see it. The current rate of Knife and Gun Crime almost anywhere in England and Wales is a bad thing. Even counties where it is not particularly high, or even low, the trend is still seemingly increasing year upon year.

I recently pestered every single Force in England and Wales and asked them how many deaths and injuries could be attributed to the illegal use of Knives (or other sharp, pointy stabby things) or any kind of firearm.

Most, but not all, have responded. A small number claimed that their crime recording systems could not give me an answer to my questions within the financial cost limit (£450). One large Force close to London but not the Met even referred me to the Coroner for an answer. As an aside, it’s quite shabby that not all Forces can readily pull out the kind of figures I was asking for without a manual search of the records.

After the latest tragedy in South London the mother of the 17 year old victim is even blaming the Police for not protecting her son. Why would she do that? The poor lady was clearly, and understandably, exceedingly distraught. However, it remains a fact, regardless of your politics, that we have lost more than 21,000 Police Officers in England and Wales since 2010. More are scheduled to be lost in the coming years to 2020 unless policy is reversed.

21,000 Police Officers, what does that look like? It looks exactly like the areas shaded pink below not having a single Police Officer at any time of the day or night. Not one single officer

Just let that sink in a moment.

Back in 19 hundred and frozen to death we had Juvenile Bureaux, Schools Involvement Officers, Home Beats (SNT etc in modern parlance). All things that got Police Officers and young kids talking. I honestly believe that I am responsible for saving more than one young person’s life. Nothing to do with Knife and Gun Crime but the same principle applies. I was sent on a week’s course in Norf Larndarn to teach me how to interact with young kids, of a variety of ages, in the classroom environment. This was followed by a short attachment to a school, full days, can’t remember how many. I then engaged with kids (mainly Secondary School) and persuaded them that it was a very bad idea to play on the railway tracks, swim in quarries or gravel pits, take drugs etc etc. Surely it is far from impossible to do the same with Knives and Guns. Only it isn’t possible is it? Cruella has seen to that. 21,000 fewer officers mean that proactivity is a thing of the past, consigned to the museums. Front Line Response Teams do not have the capacity to mount proactive operations any more, no matter how good the intelligence is. London’s Intelligence Units are rapidly being centralised, or it may already have happened. Local Knowledge is a thing of the past.

There is absolutely NO WAY that dedicated offers will be reintroduced into schools to educate them. We used to show them films, sometimes hard-hitting, uncomfortable films, to educate them of the risks associated with the fashionable behaviours of the day. That would not be possible now. I’m sure there is adequate material to show, demonstrate or talk about, but nobody left to do it. Even the PCSOs are being decimated, they couldn’t take it on either. It might not be a rufty tufty front line role but it saves lives.

So, back to the beginning, regardless of one’s politics there are, at least, two irrefutable facts.

1)  Police Numbers in England and Wales are steadily dropping and will continue to do so

2) Knife and Gun Crime in England and Wales is steadily rising

I totally content to leave it to others, more highly qualified than I, to tell me if there is any correlation, but my Copper’s Instinct tells me that there might be.

Wether they are fashionable and popular or not, there are ways to tackle this onslaught on our streets, but none of them will work with 21,000 fewer officers. It is time that ALL Chief Officers spoke out about the cuts. I’m sure the public would prefer to hear unadulterated truth than Smoke and Mirrors. It also time that Central Government put aside their vendetta and complied with their 1st Duty of Government – To protect the Public. That also cannot happen with 21,000 fewer officers.

I will not be holding my breath waiting for either of the above suggestions to be implemented.

This Is EXACTLY How This Government Views A True Hero

A week or two ago Mrs May, our beloved Prime Minister, announced that forever more there would be a Stephen Lawrence Memorial Day. She may well think that’s appropriate, but surely it opens the doors for other victims. There are surely other people, victims of violence, who deserve their own Memorial Day.

One of these, in my opinion, was the late PC Keith Palmer, murdered by a Terrorist whilst protecting Parliament.

To recognise his valiant sacrifice I started a government petition to commemorate PC Palmer in a similar way to Stephen Lawrence.

Create a Permanent National Memorial Day for PC Keith Palmer

The precedent was recently set by the Prime Minister in creating a permanent Stephen Lawrence Memorial Day. Whilst Stephen Lawrence did not deserve to die and the circumstances of his death were quite awful, so were the circumstances surrounding PC Keith Palmer’s death.

He died violently with no regard for his personal safety, protecting the politicians and staff present within the Houses of Parliament. If it is important to remember the death of Stephen Lawrence in this way, then surely it is important to remember the death of a Police Officer protecting Parliament from a ‘live’ Terrorist Attack The creation of a permanent PC Keith Palmer Memorial Day will properly reflect a true act of selfless bravery, keeping our politicians safe from harm. A true Hero.

It seemed reasonable to me, people signed it. People said they wanted to sign it but it had been taken off line whilst it was ‘checked’. Then today I got my email in response to my petition. REJECTED. Why? I thought. What could possibly be wrong with it, it was polite etc. Then I read the test of my email.

Dear Alan Wright,

We rejected the petition you created – “Create a Permanent National Memorial Day for PC Keith Palmer”.

It included confidential, libellous, false or defamatory information, or a reference to a case which is active in the UK courts.

We’ve marked your petition as confidential to avoid the risk of causing distress to the family and friends of PC Keith Palmer. Parliament has been working to find the most appropriate way to honour and remember PC Palmer, in consultation with his family.

We only reject petitions that don’t meet the petition standards:

https://petition.parliament.uk/help#standards

If you want to try again, click here to start a petition:

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/check

Thanks,

The Petitions team

UK Government and Parliament

Confidential, libellous, false or defamatory information? Really? Where?

A reference to a case which is active in the UK courts. That can only relate to a Coroner’s Inquest surely, but why not be precise so that I, and the others who signed or supported it , can understand?

We’ve marked your petition as confidential to avoid the risk of causing distress to the family and friends of PC Keith Palmer. Personally i find that comment highly offensive. I would not do anything that I thought would cause distress to PC Palmer’s family and friends and I’m mortified at the suggestion that this petition might do that.

I am sadly left with only one conclusion, that this government really doesn’t care about the Police Officers that, every day, protect them and the Public to the very best of their ability. Further than that I really don’t wish to say.

ADDENDUM

I emailed the Petitions Committee querying their precise reasons for binning my petition and received this very prompt response

Dear Mr Wright,

Thank you for your message.

As we explained, we marked your petition as “confidential” to avoid the risk of causing distress.

I absolutely understand that it was not your intention to cause distress to the family and friends of PC Keith Palmer. However, I hope you will understand that we can only accept petitions of this kind with the consent of those close to the person who has lost their life.

A petition campaign can be very high profile. If your petition were successful, it could be seen by hundreds of thousands of people and would be likely to make the headlines. A debate in Parliament (if it reached that stage) would also be very high profile. That would be good for your campaign, but it might not be what someone’s family and friends want to happen.

If a campaign is run without the involvement of the person’s family, it is very hard to know how they might feel about it. There is a risk that people might not welcome having so much public and media attention, which might be intrusive. They might also prefer to remember the person they have lost in a different way.

As we explained, Parliament has been working to find the most appropriate way to honour and remember PC Palmer, in consultation with his family. I’m sure you would agree that their wishes should be paramount in any decisions that are made.

Best wishes,

Anne-Marie

I can’t be bothered to email them further, but it does seem to me that there is more than one interpretation of their response.

Knife Crime, Stop/Search – Some Facts, Some Figures And Some Fictions, Plus Anything Else I Can Think Of

Knife Crime is very much current and on the rise, both in the capital, London, and across the country generally.  For the purposes of this post I shall be relying on figures that relate to London, but I have no doubt that they will be mirrored elsewhere, just with smaller numbers.  In this context Knife Crime = Any Crime enabled by use of a Knife, not just assaults and homicides etc.

Ethnicity in this context is Self Defined Ethnicity.

In 2012 there were 12,454 recorded victims of Knife Crime in London, 2,489 (20%) were female and 9,960 (80%) were male.  1,566 (12.6%) were Asian, 1,208 (9.7%) were Black (any origin), 185 (1.5%) were Mixed Race, 86 (0.01%) were Chinese, 3,123 (25.1%) were White, 181 (1.5%) were from Any Other Ethnic Group,  and 6,105 (49%) were Unrecorded (including Refused)  for whatever reason.

Fast Forward to 2016 and we see a slight reduction in the total number off victims of Knife Crime

In 2016 there were a total of 11,707 recorded victims of Knife Crime in London, 2,360 (20.2%) were female and 9342 (79.8%) were male.  So not really very much has changed here. 986 (8.4%) were Asian, 968 (8.3%) were Black (any origin), 125 (1.1%) were Mixed Race, 36 (0.3%) were Chinese, 2,110 (18%) were White, 121 (1%) were from Any Other Ethnic Group and 7,361 (63%) were Unrecorded/Refused for whatever reason.  A HUGE rise in Unrecorded/Refused.  Is this indicative of a lack of supervision, insufficient time to fill in all the boxes, or just sloppy crime recording generally?  Small reductions in the number of Asian, Black and White victimes but this is absolutely meaningless due to the ridiculously high Unrecorded/Refused figure.  Not very much you can do with any of these figures except insert the words ‘At Least’ in front of them.

 

This brings us to the persons carrying out these offences, which in this instance are the people ‘Arrested’, or Persons Proceeded Against as the Met quaintly calls them.

In 2012 a Grand Total of 3,067 people were ‘Proceeded Against’, 302 (9.9%) of them were Female and 2,765 (90.1%) were Male.  319 (0.1%) were Asian, 1,288 (42%) were Black (any origin), 200 (6.5%) were Mixed Race, 10 (0.3%) were Chinese, 1,070 (34.9%) were White, 86 (2.8%) were from Any Other Ethnic Group and 94 (3.1%) were Unrecorded/Refused.

 

Fast Forward to 2016 once more, what, if anything has changed here?

In 2016 a Grand Total of 2,546 people were Proceeded Against for Knife Crime.  341 (13.4%) were Female and 2,205 (86.6%) were Male.  288 (11.3%) were Asian, 1,040 (40.1%) were Black (any origin), 174 (6.8%) were of Mixed Race, 7 (0.3%) were Chinese, 850 (33.4%) were White, 97 (3.8%) were from Any Other Ethnic Group, and 90 were Unrecorded/Refused

 

So, what does Stop and Search look like?

In Calendar Year 2012, in London, there were 390,231 recorded Stop and Searches. Of the Persons stopped 60,696 (15.5%) were Asian, 106,303 (27.2%) were Black (any origin), 16,547 (4.2%) were Mixed Race, 1,051 (0.3%) were Chinese, 175,036 (44.9%) were White, 8,266 (2.1%) were from Any Other Ethnic Group and the remainder being Not Recorded or Refused.

 

 

 

In 2016 the situation was this; there were a total of 135,968 of which 15,940 were Asian, 43,599 were Black (any origin), 5,889 were of Mixed Race, 49,322 were White, 272 were Chinese,  3,182 were Any Other Ethnic Group.  An incredible 17,764 were Unrecorded/Refused.

So, what does all of this show?  It shows that you can demonstrate almost anything depending upon how you present the statistics.  Almost every set of data above is rendered unreliable by the incredible number of Unrecorded or Refused entries.  However, merely looking at the entries where ethnicity was self-defined, it would appear that white people were the major victims of Knife Crime. Black people formed the majority of the Persons Proceeded against.  In both years White people formed the majority of persons Stopped and Searched.  Right?  Got that?  If only life were that simple.

The Academics (thankfully I’m a mere faux-Academic) would have you believe that Black people form the majority of people stopped because they are being stopped disproportionately.  This is how it works.

For the Rolling Year in London, this is how Stop/Searches look

Black people have crept slightly ahead of White people in the Rolling Year (to today’s date), but nothing to be alarmed about.  Not until the Academics get hold of it and tell us that on the basis of these figures Black people are SEVEN times more likely to be stopped and searched than white people.  How does that work then?  It works by measuring the totals against the percentages of the ethnic population of London.  using exactly the same figures the graph now looks like this

It makes it appear that MANY more Black people are being stopped than White people, but that is merely one interpretation of the same data.  Certainly not the much-vaunted SEVEN times that we keep getting fed. Personally I prefer to deal in simple numbers as the true picture is immediately obvious, the Academics love to deal in percentages because they can ‘prove’ that something has improved that has, in reality, got much worse, such as the Stop to Arrest ‘hit’ rate.  That is much worse, but the percentages would tend to suggest that it is much better.  A higher percentage of a smaller number frequently produces a much smaller result.

To demonstate the folly of this within the context of Stop and Search, one of our Northern Constabularies was criticised for stopping too many Black people.  The numbers being stopped were disproportionate to the ethnic makeup of the County.  Well I have to say this was true, Black people made up approx 0.3% of the County, but approx 0.7% of the people stopped were Black.  Twice as many as you should expect perhaps.

Strip away all the smoke and mirrors and reveal the reality

In  2015/16 Out of 3,879 s1 Stop Searches 3,381 were White, 22 black, 43 Asian, 6 Chinese, 12 Mixed Race, 110 unknown and 305 were Vehicle Only.

In 2016/17 Out of 1,962 s1 Stop Searches 1,705 were white, 14 were Black, 21 were Asian, No Chinese lol, 9 were Mixed Race, 86 Unknown and 127 were Vehicle Only

One Black person stopped by the entire Force every 2-3 weeks.  If that is excessive I’ll go back to knitting.

Does The Home Secretary, Sorry, Prime Minister, Have Blood On Her Hands?

The answer to this, I think, very much depends on your opinion of Stop and Search. It is controversial, undoubtedly, but is it legitimate? Is it effective? Is it necessary?

Once upon a time, in 2014, Theresa May, as Home Secretary, instructed the Police Service of England and Wales to reduce their use of Stop and Search stating that it was disproportionate towards certain sectors of the community.

Home Secretary Theresa May said:

  • Nobody wins when stop and search is misapplied. It is a waste of police time. It is unfair, especially to young black men. It is bad for public confidence in the police.

  • The proposals I have outlined today amount to a comprehensive package of reform. I believe that they should contribute to a significant reduction in the overall use of stop and search, better and more intelligence-led stop and search and improved stop-to-arrest ratios.

  • But I want to make myself absolutely clear: if the numbers do not come down, if stop and search does not become more targeted, if those stop-to-arrest ratios do not improve considerably, the government will return with primary legislation to make these things happen.

No such instruction was issued to Police Scotland, or Police Service of Northern Ireland.

As early as 2013 Mrs May had decided upon a reform of Stop and Search, and most definitely let everybody know her intentions.

She had been ‘informed’ that young black men were seven times more likely to be ‘targeted’ than whites.

Mrs May launched a consultation on her proposals in July 2013 and told MPs she wanted to make sure stop-and-search was used fairly and only when it is needed.

In answer to a couple of points in the last paragraph in the extract above, have the numbers come down?

Have they ever.

The above pretty chart is based on figures obtained by me from the 43 Forces in England and Wales, and may not align with figures quoted by our beloved media.

So, the first answer is an unambiguous YES.

Has the stops-to-arrest ratio improved?

The chart below represents the stops-to-arrest ratio for a rolling 12 month period in London in about 2016

At the beginning of his graph 8.3% of 533,427 people stopped were getting arrested.  This means that 44,274 people stopped were getting arrested.  Fast Forward to 19% of 160,694 people arrested as a result of “better”, “more intelligence led” application of Stop and Search.  It seems like we’re doing SOOOOOOO much better.

In a 12 month period the stops-to-arrest rate has increased from 8.3% to an impressive 19%, by doing fewer Stop/Searches more effectively.

Really?

In reality those figures show that the Met arrested only 30,532 people, almost 33% FEWER. The total number of people paying a visit to Custody Suites across London as a direct result of being Stopped and Searched was about one third less.

In the meantime, Knife Crime in London soared. Once again, don’t be bamboozled by some of the huge figures quoted by our media, they include Knife-Enabled Crime, a Robbery for example where a knife was produced but not used to injure anybody. I am referring to Deaths and Non-Fatal stabbings.

Sadly I don’t have Knife Crime data dating back to 2012 as this is not the post I anticipated writing and events have overtaken me.

 

What can’t speak can’t lie.  Force figures provided under FOIA and replicated without ‘massage’.  As Stop and Search declined over the three years, Knife Crime rose.

In London the pretty chart looks like this

The increase in Knife Crime is very much of the same order as nationally, but the reduction in Stop and Search has been much steeper.

As a faux-academic I am not qualified to proclaim that there is a relationship between decreased Stop and Search and increased Knife Crime, although a) It looks like there might be and b) Every weapon is carried through the streets at some point and the deterrent effect diminishes with reduced Stop and Search.

If you are a regular reader you will know that I strongly support the lawful use of Stop and Search i.e.  complying with the requirements of s1 of PACE and not conducting random searches for the hell of it.  Nothing here changes my view on that, but in my opinion it should be considered as a perfectly valid tactic if used properly againt the surge in Knife Crime.

Ordinarily that would have been the end of it.  Here’s the problem, this is what I think of it, you might like to try this……the end.

Oh no, nothing so simple this time.  Since writing my previous articles on Knife Crime and/or Stop and Search I have found this article in The Spectator.

Written by Alasdair Palmer, a former speech writer at the Home Office, one assumes that he writes with a degree of authority.

He was allegedly informed by one of Theresa May’s Special Advisers that stop and search was  a policy which consistently alienates members of the black community. He was told, allegedly,  that it would help the Home Secretary’s standing with Afro-Caribbeans if she made a statement that was critical of the police’s use of stop and search.

Her statement would include the fact that the Police’s use of Stop and Search was racist and that one was 7 times more likely to be stopped and searched if one was from an ethnic background.  The reality was that the Home Office had conducted research in the reent past and that the statistics produced did not actually support this proposal.

If you want to know if the police are stopping and searching members of particular ethnic groups in a biased and possibly racist way, then what you need to know is who is available to be stopped and searched on the streets at the times that the police are stopping and searching people.……….

The team of Home Office researchers felt it was important to know the ethnic composition of the population available to be stopped and searched in the places and at the times the police were implementing that tactic. So they went out and counted it: they identified the percentage of the street population made up by each ethnic group. They then compared that with the percentage of stop and searches that were made up by each ethnic group. They discovered that, when you looked at who was available to be stopped and searched when the police were actually stopping and searching on the streets, the ethnic bias disappeared.

The Home Office research actually indicated to them that the Police did NOT seemingly target any section of the community in particular, but actually conducted their Stops and Searches in areas of high crime.

Many years later it appears as though that piece of research has been ‘buried’.  Nobody at the Home Office knows about it or can find any trace of it.

Much has been made of Disclosure recently, but it seems that at least one piece of work was totally ignored when Thersa May made her politically inspired diktat on Stop and Search.  SOMEBODY within the Home Office knew the truth (allegedly).  Was it her SPAD?  Did she herself know and choose to ignore this inconvenient piece of research?

My last quote for The Spectator (I hope they don’t mind, all acknowledgemnts given) is this

The special adviser re-wrote the statement in the way he wanted it, with the misleading statistic, and she gave the statement to parliament as he had written it on 2 July 2013. And the rest is history.

At the time in question I am informed that she only had two SPADs, one was female, the other was (allegedly) Nick Timothy.  I presume the female was Fiona Hill.

All of this leaves me with one question really. Does Theresa May have the blood of untold youths on her hands, or is she totally innocent of all blame?