The Divil Is In The Detail

I have thought long and hard about this one, I know that there are those of you out there who will definitely not agree with me on it, and also, there are those who definitely will. It is a subject that seems to have polarised large sections of the Twatterspere.

Police Now.

There, I said it.

There are so many things about Police Now that bother me, and I don’t even know what order to put them in, so I’ll go for Random.

They are a Registered Charity?  Why? Does this mean that every other Police Training Establishment can register as a Charity? I very much doubt it.

Their registration with the Charity Commission contains some very bold, and to me, bizarre, statements.

Interesting, I thought they only operated in England.  I have asked them what they are doing for PSNI and Police Scotland but as it’s a weekend I haven’t had a reply yet.

Under Classication it mentions Armed Forces.  What on earth are Police Now doing to benefit the Armed Forces and support their status as a charity?

The Beneficiaries of this Charity are The General Public and Mankind.  How crass, glib and arrogant is that statement?  I doubt very much that Billy and Joey living in their South London Council flat will feel any benefits from Police Now.

The Home Office has ‘gifted’ Police Now £5 million in order to fund 250 training places.  My elementary abacus tells me that equates to £20,000 per candidate. £5 million that undoubtedly has its origins in the Top-Sliced Police Budgets.

In 2012 Nottinghamshire Police stated that it cost them £13,000 to recruit and train each Constable.  In this age of Austerity and low inflation and salary increases that figure can’t have increased too much since then. So £20,000 doesn’t really represent  Best Value.

Most charities are exempt from enquiries under the Freedom of Information Act.  Whilst this may not have been a deliberate ploy it doesn’t help to reassure the cynical amongst us. They could embrace the FOIA and answer questions anyway.

One of their original directors appears to have been appointed with about 6 months Police Service, and has now resigned from the board.  What possible skills and exerience of Policing can somebody with so little service bring to the table?  If the skills they bring lie elsewhere then what are they doing in the Police Service? That one has me confused.

Something else that left me confused were TWO entries at Companies House;

Firstly Police Now, he registered charity,

Then we get Police Now Enterprises Ltd, a second and separate company with three directors, who are also directors of Police Now, and one of whom happens to be the Director of HR at the Metropolitan Police Service.  I have absolutely no idea if that is kosher or not, all I know is, in days of old it would not have been appropriate.  Times change, I get that, but it leaves me confused and concerned.

Finally (almost) half a dozen job adverts for positions with Police Now, advertised in LinkedIn.

If you look at the ads, see the Job Description, Person spec etc etc, there is a paragraph hidden away in the Job Descriptions that bothers me.  I have no issue with the salaries offered etc, that is a matter of public record and I don’t need to comment, people can have their own opinions on salaries et al.

More sinister (to me at least) is this paragraph

A great team passionately working to build the next generation of leaders – both in and outside of policing“. What are they saying here?  They are training recruits to be “leaders” who will subsequently leave the Police Family and find recompense elsewhere in the Private Sector?  Is that what they mean?

In the light of that I now have an issue with their logo.  I would love to show you but it’s copyrighted and can’t be reproduced, but what it says is Police Now, and underneath; Influence For Generations.  Hardly that if the recruits/graduates are going to leave after a few years to pastures new.

Or maybe I’ve got it all wrong and someone will point out the errors of my ways.

The Old Black Dog

Some of you may have read this before, some may not. If you have I apologise.

I tell this story not because I want your sympathy, but because I want people to be aware, and the majority of Police Officers will have suffered, or be suffering, but for their own personal reasons will stay quiet.

I was influenced in writing this by a few different conversations I had with various folk over the past few days, and they made me see the problems from a slightly different angle.

Stress, PTSD, Depression.  They come in many forms, for many reasons and affect many people, and it spreads outwards to others like ripples in a pond.

We hear a lot about Mental Health in the Police Service these days.  Some of it good, some of it not so good.  Some used to be good but has now got worse.  The Metropolitan Police had its very own Nursing Home at Hendon with qualified Nurses 24/7, Doctors on call and access to all manner of Consultants, normally at St Thomas’ in London.  I’m reasonably sure that excellent facility has gone.  In fact, I’ve just remembered, there were two, the second being in Denmark Hill, South London, but that one has definitely closed.  I know there is Flint House, but the Met Police Nursing Home was just that, much less of a Rehabilitation Centre.

Returning to the plot,

Way back in 1980 something or other a friend and colleague attempted to take his own life. Unusually the reasons for it had nothing to do with drink or ‘other women’.  He was found in time by his wife, who called an ambulance and he was carted off to hospital.  For some obscure reason he was put in a ward on the 8th floor and attempted to jump out of the window during the night.  The following morning, Saturday, he simply walked out of the hospital wearing nothing but his rather fetching white hospital gown.

The hospital, who had been unable to keep him in, phoned my Police Station to report him as a Missing Person.  As ‘luck’ would have it I was on duty that morning, and I was summoned to see the Duty Inspector. “Shit, what have I done this time?” was all I could think, I wasn’t yet aware of my friend/colleague’s predicament.  

Sitting in the Duty Inspector’s office it soon became apparent that I was not in trouble. This was something much worse. “You’re a friend of Billy [not his real name], he’s walked out of *************** Hospital. Get yourself over there and find out what’s going on.  He’s been recorded as a Missing Person, you’re the only one here who knows him [he worked at a different nick] so I’m allocating the MisPer Enquiry to you”.  Cheers Guv.

To cut a long story short, I went to the hospital and spoke with the nurses, and gained all the background info from the last 24 hours and what had happened.  I was making my way back to the nick when the radio crackled. The station were calling me up to tell me that a train driver had reported seeing a woman’s body on the railway line passing the hospital. *** I thought, but then he did say woman, maybe not.

When I got to the tracks it was immediately obvious that it was not a woman but Billy in his hospital gown, and I didn’t need a doctor to tell me that he was dead. I was then joined by the Section Sergeant and another PC and between us we set about dealing with the grim task ahead of us.  I’ll leave out the gory bits, and next thing I was in the back of an ambulance with what remained of Billy en route to the hospital mortuary.

Hand the body over to the mortuary staff and back to the nick for a cup of strong coffee and try to write this awful mess up.

When I handed my report over to the Duty Inspector he flicked through it and said “OK, see you tomorrow then”.  “Thank You”, “Well Done” or “Can I buy you a pint?” would have been nice, but no, I got the full “See you tomrrow”. 

So I took myself home to a wife who, bless her, said “How’s your day been? Quiet?”

And yes, I went to work the next day.

Then there was the Post Mortem followed some time later by the Coroner’s Inquest with his family there.

I know why he did it, but I’m keeping that to myself.  Suffice to say most people would have regarded his reasons as trivial, but obviously not to him.

I had nightmares for months after, but I don’t get them any more, but I will NEVER forget that awful day.

The point is, just doing my job and dealing with a Missing Person Enquiry ad an effect on me.  Thousands of other officers will have dealt with similar, seen awful sites at Road Traffic Collisions, or even been tasked to a RTC only to find that is a family member involved.  I am far from alone.

These officers will bear the scars.  You cannot see them, but they are there.

Te problem we now face is that the then Home Secretary, Mrs May, set about dismantling the Police Service.  Despite the Tory mantra, crime is NOT down, the number of 999 calls is rising relentlessly and there are fewer and fewer Police Officers to deal with them.  It is the nature of Police Oficers that they don’t like to hand a job back undone, for someone else to deal with.

We are breaking them.

We might not be able to see the injuries, the officer may not have a raging temperature, but many of them are suffering and we have precious little way of knowing how many or who unless they seek help. Some do, and I applaud them.  Some don’t and they survive.  Some just quietly carry the scars, but scarred they most surely are.

In the background the very senior officers seem to do very little to help the situation.  They will sometimes SAY the right things, but what do they actually do?

Invoke the Unsatisfactory Performance Procedure.

Reduce pay, even though it is clearly a problem originating at work.

‘Encourage’ an early return to work.

Welfare visits – yeah, right.

All the while, a Police Officer who is off sick is no use to his nick, and he’s no use to the public.  Do we invest sufficient resources to get them fit and back to work in a timely manner?  I’ll let my colleagues still serving answer that one.

I have every sympathy with them, and I am certainly not advocating that they return to duty before they are in full health, I am advocating that Police and government invest sufficient resources to get them back to work fit and healthy. Mend them, not Bin them.  None of us knows what horrors we will encounter when we leave home for work.  Things such as I have described could happen to any of our Police Officers at any time. I can still picture that day when I allow myself to.

It is entirely possible that somewhere out there is a Force that is really good at it.  Nothing would please me more.  I am informed (if anyone of you is ołd enough to remember) that after the Bradford City FC  Fire in 1985, officers on duty were all offered counselling.  Not my Force so it may not be true, but I really hope that it is.

You, Yes You, The Big Boss

Do you care, do you really care, about the service you provide for the public? Do you?

The only reason I ask is that I saw something that made me wonder.

I saw a Tweet sent by the good Police of Chester showing their Night Duty Briefing.  I don’t suppose for one moment that the ‘tweeter’ meant anything bad by it, I’m sure he or she was just trying to engage with their public and be informative.

The only problem is that crusty old gits like me read Twatter and haunt the interweb and we tend to see things like that and think of them somewhat differently, or is it just me?

There’s something like twice as many empty chairs as there are occupied ones.

It brings me back to something that has been bugging me for a long time, what ratio of Police Officers per thousand head of population does it need to keep the population safe?

It wasn’t just me that was worried either

There was some slight reassurance

But when asked searching questions the account fell silent

But seriously, Chester and its environs has a population of about 80,000.  Chester covers about 180 square miles.

Are 8 officers really sufficient to keep the population safe?

I have nothing against Chester, it’s quite a nice city, although I could do without racedays personally.  It’s simply that it was there waiting to be commented on.  I feel exactly the same about any area where the Police strength has been slashed, so that’s everywhere really I suppose.

Bosses everywhere, I implore you.  I am not anti, I am a retired officer.  It really is time to rise up and oppose the cuts. We can’t do it by ourselves.

Dear Media, Why Do You Hate Us So?

Are you really the right hand men of an incompetent government, intent to bring the Police Service, and others, to their knees? Or is it just that it looks that way?

Newpaper headlines are almost always slanted to make our Police Service look incompetent, violent or corrupt.  Even when the events being reported occur abroad, that fact is omitted from the banner headlines, so that the reader might reasonably assume that was in uk

Shooting of unarmed white man shown in police body camera videoCALIFORNIA

White female police officer charged with manslaughter after shooting unarmed black man Tulsa

Death of unarmed black man Terence Crutcher, shot by police with his hands up, sparks protests and official investigationTulsa

The list goes on.

Even when relaying the news from this country the headlines don’t always describe the reality, or omit an alternative scenario.

Snapchat video captures moment ‘a police officer repeatedly punches a suspect in the head five times’ – when one reads the whole article it is actually mentioned that the suspect was actually biting the officer’s leg and that was why he was being punched.  The article also contained the information that the whole incident had been investigated by the Aforce’s Professional Standards Department who adjuged that the amount of force used was in fact reasonable.  Not the impression given by the banner headline though is it?

Then there’s our old friend corruption. ALL cops are corrupt, didn’t you know?  Well at least that’s what the press would have us believe.

Scotland Yard launches ‘bent cop’ probe after 13 unsolved murder files lost – except that when one reads the whole article it includes this

The Met said they have no evidence the files, all dating back to the 1980s, have been destroyed by corrupt police officers, but added: “This is kept under constant review.”

Not quite such a strong story now is it?  The Met is a HUGE organisation and storage of its paper files must be a total nightmare. It is more probable that they have simply been lost/mislaid/misfiled.

The Met can’t find 13 files, who knows where they are?”  is not such an attention grabbing headline is it?

SOME officers are corrupt, but not very many.  Decent officers won’t and don’t tolerate corruption.  I am absolutely convinced that the Met, along with every other Force, would absolutely love to rid themselves of corrupt officers.  A little thing called EVIDENCE is what keeps getting in the way.  Many Forces have prosecuted and/or sacked corrupt officers when they have the EVIDENCE, but it’s a bit tricky without.

So, members of the press, if you have any EVIDENCE of Police corruption produce it and I’m 100% confident that it will be investigated and the appropriate action taken, if not, please stop labelling cops as Corrupt when you can’t prove it.

It’s no better than me saying that all journos are bunging Police Officers and Prison Officers for information.  I’m sure it goes on but do you ALL do it?  No, probably not.

Stop acting like the government’s paid bullies and try employing more accurate and responsible headlines.

Some while ago I wrote this,  it seems that the Press are playing their part very well.

Reform Is Down, Crime Is Working

Well, honestly, it makes much more sense than the Crime Is Down, Reform Is Working mantra that we’re used to getting rammed down our throats doesn’t it?

On the matter of “REFORM” my view is clear, I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll have to say it again, but ‘Reform’ is simply NOT working, and it is not working on so many levels.

The Oxford Dictionary defines Reform:-

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

Please tell me in which areas the Police Service has been improved because I’m struggling to think of one this morning.  Which other Public Service has been improved by Tory Reforms?  Again I’m struggling.  NHS, Fire & Rescue Service, Coastguard, Education, Justice have all been hugely improved by the Tories since 2010.  Armed Forces?  Don’t get me going on that one, suffice to say I don’t believe that successive governments have invested sufficiently in the Armed Forces.

There are some things in life that the government (of any hue) simply has to afford.

For as long as I can remember we have been subjected to politician after politician, PCC after PCC telling us that Crime Is Down.

Is it?

The government’s current favourite, the Crime Survey for England and Wales has this to say about Police Recorded Crime

The police recorded 4.5 million offences in the year ending March 2016, an annual rise of 8%. However, this series is not considered a reliable indicator of trends in crime; most of the latest rise is thought to be due to improved crime recording practices and processes leading to a greater proportion of reports of crime being recorded in the last year than in the previous year.

So, Front Line Police say that Crime Is Up, but we don’t like that so we’ll go with the CSEW version

Latest estimates from the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW), the best measure of crime trends for the population and offences it covers, showed a 6% fall in the number of incidents against adults for the survey year ending March 2016 (6.3 million, compared with 6.8 million in the previous survey year).

So, let me get this straight, the CSEW figures show that crime is at a level approx 50% higher than Police Recorded Crime but because it shows a small dip, and Police Stats can’t be trusted, the CSEW version suits their soundbites better.

How does “Crime is down but it’s much higher than the Police think it is” sound?

My final Gripe Of The Day is violent crime in London and the Police & Government response to it.

The charts below relate to the last 12 months, see what you think




In response to such awful gun and knife crime figures, what do we do?  We reduce Stop and Search by about 70% is what we do.

The blue line looks better, we’ve improved our arrest rate from 8.3% to 19%, well done everyone.  By my lack of a degree reckoning 8.3% of 533 thousand is about 44,000.  Whereas 19% of 160 thousand is about 30,000.  Not looking so impressive now is it?  Contrary to how the chart looks, arrests are actually DOWN by about HALF.

What do the government have to say about that?  Absolutely NOTHING.  They have a vision for how the Police Service should look and what it should do and they’re not going to deviate from that, and heaven forbid that should actually listen to the practitioners.

So, YES, Reform IS Down and Crime IS Working, particularly gun and knife crime.  How on earth can they just sit quietly and ignore all those shattered or damaged lives?

This tweet just about says it all for me

To Double-Crew Or Not To Double-Crew?

That is, indeed, the question. 

To me the answer is an unequivocal YES.  In my mind there is no option, it doesn’t need thinking about, it’s a No Brainer.

But then, my mind doesn’t always sync with everybody else’s.

It occurs to me that it’s nearly half a century since my boots hit the streets of North West London for the very first time and things were most definitely very different in those days.  We had Reliefs, at first 3,  later 4 and for a crazy while 5 (but that didn’t really work). Each Relief comprised one Inspector, probably 3 Sergeants, maybe 4, and about 20ish Constables. The Division covered maybe 10-12 square miles, and in an ideal world we would aim to field one Area Car (double-crewed possibly with a 3rd officer as ‘Observer’), one Van (normally double-crewed), five Pandas (notionally single-crewed but often seen double-crewed), one unmarked General Purpose car (single-crewed), one Section Sergeant and one Inspector, all patrolling.  Anybody left over was posted to a Foot Patrol and cadged a lift when the Inspector wasn’t looking. And we were busy, although nowhere near as busy as the troops are today.

If we ever needed help (and we did often) it was never far away. Whilst we frequently moaned that we were ‘short’ we were NEVER as short as things are today.

We had more cops, we had more vehicles, we had more overtime, and we just about kept afloat, and we undoubtedly had fewer jobs.  It was a matter of personal and professional pride to get all your jobs done.  Handing too many over to the following shift frequently resulted in raised eyebrows.

Now I know that there’s a balance to be struck here, but more jobs, fewer cops, fewer vehicles and less overtime makes the officers more vulnerable. Yes, there is better PPE available but use it at your peril, particularly Taser, you’ll have Sophie and IPCC on your case. However, an officer off sick, or worse, in hospital, due to being assaulted and injured on duty is no use to man nor beast.  What little officers we have left need to be fit, available and on duty.  Assaults on Police Officers are escalating all the time.

The mere sight of a double-crewed vehicle will deter some idiots from taking on the officers.

I fully understand that numbers are down, but is that a valid reason NOT to double-crew?  The safety (and thereby availability) of the officers MUST be paramount surely?  Like many other public services the NHS, for example, has a Zero Tolerance policy on violence (or even threats) towards staff.  When will the Police Chiefs adopt this policy?

Going back to the beginning, my old Division was only 10-12 square miles.  Bronwen’s boyfriend Dai tells me that on Night Duty he (single-crewed) is frequently the only Police Vehicle to cover 400 square miles.  One of my Twatter contacts told me last night that they were frequently the only DC to cover a large, busy county on nights.  How can that be right?  Either case, not right, reckless.  What about Elf n Safety?

The population at large is increasing.  Police numbers are still reducing.  Just how low will the Populace/Police ratio go before it is unsafe?  Has it already reached that stage?  Is anybody from the NPCC or various Staff Associations ever going to stand up to the Home Secretary and demonstrate how unsafe this lunacy is?

We may not have sufficient officers to routinely double-crew, but that doesn’t mean “Double-Crewing Bad”.  It means the bosses should be finding their voices and fighting back.  What was that old expression? Acquiescing by silence.  That’s exactly what is going on.

I know from last night’s conversations that there are Police Officers out there who don’t agree with routine double-crewing, all I can say is that I hope you never experience the need first hand before you become convinced.

In this day and age, nearly half a century later, the world has moved on. Double-Crewing or Single? Double every time in my book, and NPCC can fight for the resources to sustain it.

Put Up Or Shut Up (Sir)

I am indebted to one of our number for bringing the following article to my attention

Met police ‘routinely discriminate against black people,’ Scotland Yard diversity chief warns

Chief Superintendent Victor Olisa has openly claimed that the Metropolitan Police routinely discriminates against ‘black people’.

Police are routinely discriminating against black people in stop and search operations in London as part of a misguided performance culture

Routinely is defined thus;

  • As part of a regular procedure rather than for a special reason
  • Frequently and without proper consideration of the consequences

I am shocked.  To think that this behaviour is going on every day unchallenged shocks me to my very core.  It is unprofessional, unethical and undoubtedly unlawful.  Mr Olisa says that the discrimination was unwitting and driven by performance rather than racism but had led to a negative stereotyping of black people.  “Driven by performance”?  Still unethical etc etc.

Ch Supt Olisa, one of Scotland Yard’s most senior black officers, said police were more likely to stop a car with young black men on the chance of finding drugs than stop a car full of white men in suits, though they could also be in possession of cocaine.  This is possibly true but, let’s remind ourselves what s1 (3) of Police and Criminal Evidence Act has to say on it

This section does not give a constable power to search a person or vehicle or anything in or on a vehicle unless he has reasonable grounds for suspecting that he will find stolen or prohibited articles

More likely to stop a car full of young black men than white men wearing suits?  Possibly, probably BUT whoever they stop they have to have REASONABLE GROUNDS.

Reasonable Grounds are explained thus

Reasonable grounds for suspicion is the legal test which a police officer must satisfy before they can stop and detain individuals or vehicles to search them under powers such as section 1 of PACE (to find stolen or prohibited articles) and section 23 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (to find controlled drugs). This test must be applied to the particular circumstances in each case and is in two parts:

(i) Firstly, the officer must have formed a genuine suspicion in their own mind that they will find the object for which the search power being exercised allows them to search ; and

(ii)  Secondly , the suspicion that the object will be found must be reasonable . This means that there must be an objective basis for that suspicion based on facts, information and/or intelligence which are relevant to the likelihood that the object in question will be found, so that a reasonable person would be entitled to reach the same conclusion based on the same facts and information and/or intelligence.

So, Mr Olisa, you are stating or implying, that Metropolitan Police Officers are routinely breaching these legal standards in pursuit of Performance Indicators (which should have been scrapped years ago).

My challenge to you, Chief Superintendent Olisa, is to find these officers, identify them, identify and specify the nature of their wrong-doing or breach of PACE, or their racism.  ANY officer falling short of the required standards should be retrained, disciplined or maybe even prosecuted if appropriate,   I don’t have a problem with any of that.  I do have a problem with senior officers making scattergun allegations without producing a single shred of evidence.

The morale of the Police Service everywhere, not just the Metropolis, is at rock bottom.  Much of that is due to DPS/PSD/IPCC witch hunts and officers being forced to fear their own shadows.

If an officer complies with the legal requirements for Stop and Search he/she should NOT hesitate to use his/her powers immediately, effectively and professionally.

Mr Olisa continued

The cop on the ground is just doing it because of what he or she thinks is right, they are not doing it because they are racist.

But when you look at the accumulated data you see massive disproportionality. I think that’s where we get lost.

Could it possibly be that the accumulated data might mean something other than your interpretation?  We have had these discussions and arguments before, and the Police Service needs to stop shying away from them.  As a white, hetreosexual male I wouldn’t be in any way offended if statistics showed that white, heterosexual males committed the majority of crimes, or were more likely to get stopped and searched than any other sector of society.

This is another example of need.  Need for the Police Service to keep accurate, robust records and stand by them, whatever they show.

We didn’t seem to have half these problems when we were a Police Force.

So Mr OIisa, we come back to the beginning, Put Up Or Shut Up.  Produce the evidence and act on it, and I, and many others will support you.  Until then STOP denigrating the reputation of what used to be the finest Police Force in the world, and further demoralising the good, honest, front line cops who are struggling against the odds to do their job to the best of their ability.  That’s why they joined.  That’s why anybody should join the Police, NOT to be part of a measured percentage.


Since writing the above, Mr Olisa has issued a rebuttal/explanation, which can be found here.

However, however much he swerves and wriggles, the Grauniad carried an almost identical article in June and I have not yet seen a rebuttal of that one.

The Latest Furore – Spit Hoods

I don’t suppose he meant to but Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, sparked off a right shit storm on Twatter last night after reversing the Met’s decision to trial Spit Hoods.

Whilst not entirely ruling them out he said 

Any attack on officers carrying out their duties is completely unacceptable, and the use of protective equipment is sometimes necessary. 

The decision on whether to use intrusive tactics is a highly emotive one and should be informed by public engagement. 

There is nothing wrong with public engagement per se but surely the safety of our Police Officers (and public) is paramount.  Did we ask the public what their opinion was before using handcuffs to restrain violent prisoners? Should we have done?  Should we now revisit that?

Surely the decision to use Protective Equipment, which Spit Hoods are basically, is surely an operational matter for Chief Officers?  The Commissioner has a Duty of Care for the Elf and Safery of his officers.  Who is the Mayor to ride roughshod over that?

Some arguements on the Twattersphere last night really got quite heated. ‘Friends’ were falling out over it.  A surprising number of people were arguing against them. Why?

If Johnny feels it is a little bit degarding to have a Spit Hood put over his head, or has a panic attack or feels a tad claustrophobic, is that worse than the potential consequences for the officer being spat on.  It is most unpleasant to be spat on, vile, but the unpleasantness is not really the issue, it is the potential transmission of diseases, the extended wait for the results of tests, the course of sntiviral treatment. That in itself is unpleasant I believe.

If little Johnny insisted in struggling and punching the officer would we be having this discussion about restraining him and putting him in handcuffs?

Whr the rights of a spitting, hissing prisoner more important than the rights of the officer(s) trying to restrain him?  Do the families of the officers not feature in this arguement?  The fears and worries spitting must bring into the family home are real, should we simply ignore that?

Finally, the simplest option is LITTLE JOHNNY COULD SIMPLY STOP SPITTING.

I’m sure one of you will correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t believe that Spit Hoods are used on compliant, non-spitting prisoners.

Amnesty UK weighed into the arguement with their justification for opposing (partially) the use of Spit Hoods

But they went quiet when it was pointed out that their previous view was at odds with last night’s contribution.

Have trials by all means, compare brand versus brand, design versus design, but DO SOMETHING.

With the government’s culling of the Police Service it is more important than ever to protect this endangered species.  We certainly don’t need political interference in operational policing matters, but I fear we are going to get it.

An Arrogance Like No Other

There cannot be a single person here who hasn’t heard the allegations surrounding the alleged activitis of Mr Keith Vaz MP allegedly.

I make no comment on the subject and content of those allegations as it is not within my personal xperience to know whether they are true or not.


The attitude and behaviour of Mr Vaz since the allegations broke leave something to be desired.

He apparently pitched up for work yesterday and got stuck in, adking questions, as though nothing has happened.

He has referred the matter to his solictor, as it is right to do.  He has cmplained vociferously about the actions of the media, but not much that would constitute a denial or rebuttal of the allegations.

I have read varying accounts but as  I understand it he initially declined to stand down as Chair of HASC.  This is where I find his arrogance comes into play.  He is the Chair of a powerful Parliamentary committee, one that holds people to account, and pronounces judgement on ethics, legality and so on and so forth.  Be he Guilty or Not Guilty, surely the moral and ethical thing to do would be to stand down, at least temporarily while these allegations are investigated.

I find it incomprehensible that he hasn’t already been suspended from the Labour Party and/or HASC.  In his current situation there is no way he would pass vetting for access to confidential and sensitive material. No way at all.  Another reason why he should stand down.

As I type I have just seen that he has resigned as Chair of HASC.  I think that is the right and proper course of action and the very least he could do, but why did he not do ityesterday?

He is an elected public official.  If a Police Officer, of any rank, was similarly accused I would expect that officer to be suspended from duty until the allegations were proven or otherwise. Should the allegations be proven, I would expect Bye Bye, end of career.  Why should Mr Vaz not face similar sanctions?  It has been said by some senior politicians that is a ‘Private’ matter.  I disagree he is/was the Chair of an influential public government committee, often in the public eye.  The public are entitled to expect certain standards from such a person, and if those standards are called into question then maybe a spot of Gardening Leave while they are being investigated might be appropriate.

You can try and bluff it out Mr Vaz, and you may well be Not Guilty or you may have been Set Up’ but never ignore the rights, wishes and expectations of the voting public and taxpayers. 

They Walk Among Us

It cannot have escaped your notice that over the last few days there have been at least two serious Road Traffic Collisions in London caused by cars being ‘pursued’ by Police crashing and injuring or killing totally innocent pedestrians.

It goes without saying that these are tragic events, and my thoughts are with everyone involved, in any way.  I do not wish to minimise the seriousness of these events or trivialise them in any way, but it is immediately apparent that the media, and others, have jumped upon a bandwagon and are calling for such pursuits to be stopped because they are dangerous.

Yes they are dangerous, I  don’t dispute that.

However, behind every pursuit lies a hell of a lot of skill and experience. They don’t just happen in a random, uncontrolled manner.  There are rules concerning which drivers can, and can’t, engage in a pursuit. How many cars can be involved. How long it can be allowed to continue before it is abandoned or the ‘bandit’ is forced to stop.

The drivers involved have undergone weeks, if not months, of intensive theory and practical training.  If they don’t meet the required standard they are failed.  It is NOT a “Turn Up And Pass” course.

There are experienced supervisors in Police Control Rooms who will be constantly monitoring the pursuit and communicating advice or instructions to the pursuing vehicles.  In the Met, at least, those communications are recorded in case they are needed later.

There is nowhere to hide from the responsibility of being involved in, or supervising, a pursuit.

But still things can go wrong, as we have seen this week.

NOBODY can anticipate, or prevent, the driver being pursued, exceeding his/her abilities and crashing. Nobody.

Tragically that can, and will, happen, and it WILL happen again in the future, of that I have no doubt.  The drivers and controllers are highly trained, the risks are being constantly assessed in Real Time within, and away from, the Police cars.  Drivers and Controllers have aborted pursuits that they think have become too dangerous, and they will continue to do so.  Nobody, however, knows the fate of the ‘bandit’.  It cannot be anticipated 100%.  Sometimes they will crash and there is nothing anyone can have done to prevent that, as long as the rules and guidelines have all been followed.

Have they been followed in these two incidences?  I don’t know and I’m not going to prejudge it, the subsequent investigations will establish that, but I hope that they were.

Public reaction to such an awful event has been swift and I have seem all manner of comments and opinions, but my hat goes off to a lady who has launched an online petition calling for such Police pursuits to be banned.

I want the government to stop the police chasing stolen vehicles. More people have lost their lives today when a stolen vehicle ploughed into pedestrians after being chased through busy streets by the police.
Why is this important?
It’s important because the police are too gung-ho when they are chasing thieves in cars and too many innocent people have lost their lives. More will lose their lives if this isn’t stopped.
A car is not worth the price of lives that can be lost.

This, I find to be naive in the extreme.

  • Not all cars pursued by Police have been stolen.
  • People have been killed or injured by stolen cars that were NOT being pursued by the Police.
  • Frequently the officers do not know why the ‘bandit’ makes off at high speed when he/she sees the Police, are they supposed to just shrug their shoulders and wonder why?
  • The driver may be drunk, a danger to themselves, and other road users, and need to be stopped for Public Safety.
  • There may be firearms in the car, are we supposed to just let it go?
  • There may be the victim of a Child Abduction in the car.
  • There may a Kidnap or Rape victim in the car.
  • The driver may be on the way to or from a Burglary, or other crime, and not want to be stopped for obvious reasons.
  • The driver may be Disqualified or have No Insurance.

There are many, many reasons why a driver may make off when he/she sees a Police vehicle and in many instances the officer won’t know what those reasons are until the vehicle is stopped and the driver questioned.

Never forget that the ‘bandit’ ALWAYS has the option to stop and bring things to a safe conclusion.  The moment they choose not to, whatever happens after that is largely down to them. Their responsibility.

The officers didn’t leave home that day intent on being involved in such a tragic event.  They will be feeling absolutely bloody awful, even if/when it is shown they were within the rules. They are human too, with human feelings and emotions.

Yes there has to be rules and guidelines, and yes they have to be followed, but please, petitions like the one above are a knee-jerk reaction, they are not what is required. Tie the officers’ hands behind their backs, prevent them from doing their jobs in a responsible manner and we may all just give up and go home, the criminals will have won.

Is that what we want?