• What You Measure is What You Get.

    Einstein : Not everything that can be counted counts. And not everything that counts can be counted.
  • About me.

    I know enough to know that at 04.00am it gets dark out on the streets. It has done this for the last twenty odd years, to my knowledge and will probably continue for the forseeable future. At some stage in this ‘future’ I shall retire and probably won’t give a damn if it still gets dark at 04.00am. Until then I shall be out there, somewhere, lurking in the shadows because someone, somewhere will be doing stuff they shouldn’t and then, well then I will introduce myself. In the meanwhile I shall try to remain sane and remember why I joined in the first place and try to ignore all the people who piss me off by making the job more complicated than it should be.
  • Opinions

    Any opinions contained in posts are mine and mine alone. Many of them will not be those of any Police Force, Police Organisation or Police Service around this country. The opinions are based on many years of working within the field of practical operational Police work and reflect the desire to do things with the minimum of interference by way of duplication for the benefit of others who themselves do not do the same job. I recognise that we all perform a wide range of roles and this is essential to make the system work. If you don’t like what you see remember you are only one click on the mouse away from leaving. I accept no responsibility for the comments left by others.
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  • C.T.C. Constabulary.

    A Strategic Community Diversity Partnership. We are cutting bureaucracy and reducing the recording of target and monitoring related statistics. Our senior leaders will drive small, economical cars from our fleet surplus to save money to invest in better equipment for our frontline response officers. We are investing money to reinstate station canteens for the benefits of those 24/7 response officers. We have a pursuit policy. The message is that if you commit an offence and use a vehicle, we will follow you and stop you if necessary. It is your duty to stop when the lights and sirens are on. We take account of the findings of the Force questionnaire and are reducing the administration and management levels and returning these officers to frontline response duties. We insist on a work-life balance. We have no political masters. We are implimenting selection processes that take account of an individuals skills and proven abilities for the job. Our senior leaders will have one foot in reality and still possess the operational Policing skills they have long forgotton about and seldom used. All ranks are Police Officers first and specialists second. We will impliment career development and performance evaluation monitoring of our leaders by those officers who operate under that leadership. The most important role is that of Constable. All other roles are there to positively support the role and the responsibility of Constable and the duties performed.
  • Whichendbites

    “We trained very hard, but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams we would be reorganised. I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganising. It can be a wonderful method of creating the illusion of progress while creating confusion, inefficiency and demoralisation.”......Petronius
  • Just so.

    Taxation is just a sophisticated way of demanding money with menaces.
  • Reality.

    Only in our dreams are we free. The rest of the time we need wages.
  • Rank V’s Responsibility

    Don't confuse your idea of how important you are with the responsibility of your role.
  • Meetings.

    If you had to identify, in one word, why we will never achieve our full potential, Meetings would be that word.
  • There is always a bigger picture.

    When there is no answer to your problem, there is always deflection from the need to justify giving an answer.

Inspired by the big fella in blue

So its dark, I am cruising quietly and furtively around one of the many trading estates that have sufferred from burglars and petty damagers. I like to do this. Its late as well as dark. Then as I turn a corner I see an glow, I check and again I can confirm, yes its a glow, a glow of a fire. The damagers have returned and set another of the skips alight. We been talking to the beat team who are around during the day. They have visited the units and it seems to be generally accepted. Itis good sense to put the skips inside for the night.

I get closer and see amongst the leaping flames and dark coloured smoke illuminated by the said flames there seems to be a strange form of projection on one side. I continue towards perceived burning skip and as I draw near the transformation in the shape is quite remarkable and at the same time horrifying. The projection turns out to be a leg, other projections appear as parts of arms and up close, real close, there is definately the form of a body, right at the core of the whole thing.

I shout into the radio, there is a definate urgency in my voice, I try to get my poxy little extinguisher out of the ‘secure’ position it is determined tio remain in. We struggle and I fear I am losing the battle but eventually the grip on the sanctuary of the extinguisher bracket is released and I win this one. The extinguisher, not wanting to make it easy pops off and my vehicle is suddenly full of ‘white stuff’. Could this be panic or is everything beginning to get slightly awkward.

I’m out of the vehicle, small metal cannister in hand, move towards to fire. I have remembered to get the vehicle upwind of the smoke. Not by any strategic plan but by luck. That is the way I drove into the estate. If I’d have come the other way I would have surely smelt it well before.

I move in low and fire off the extinguisher at the base of the fire. Bollocks. It doesn’t go off. Could it be I have left the contents inside my vehicle ? Squeeze again, this time I am greeted by the sound and feel of this small piece of apparatus that is going to perform a miracle. As the contents squirt I continue to move slightly closer, keeping the spray directed low and in a slight fan type arc and eventually its out, the flames have gone. The smoke is choking and I realise my hands and arms are bloody hot. Hotter than my face anyway.

Then, despite my other emotions, I realise by the condition of what is before me that I was too late. How could this be. I go for the tried and tested measures of locating a pulse etc etc and feel only the heat and listen to a variety of popping, crackling, hissing and get my first whiff of that smell. The kind of smell that you cannot easily explain. No one ever told me about his.

Oh yes, I’ve smelt death before. From fresh, wet, crumpled and red to old, stale, stiff and musty. But never, ever, quite like this.

I make various checks with comms to ensure that the ambulance and brigade are on their way. I begin to think of all sorts of things connected with death and its companions but only in an effort to distract myself from the real issue.

I try to reassure myself that nothing I could do would have made any difference, what so ever, at all. My mind begins to ask me all sorts of questions. How could anyone in their right mind even consider this ? I look around for something that might shed some light on the matter and answer some of the questions I have.

Then I begin to see the picture. This was not an accident or a crime. The only crime was that this was allowed to happen in the first place.

This could be where ‘big fella in blue’s’ mad lady with the hammer could progress. Needless to say, that blog had inspired and resurrected the memory.

I am knelt on the ground, staring, hoping, my thoughts racing and I begin to look around. I can feel my pulse in my head, in my neck and in my chest, like someone is inside, drumming.

Close by, on the ground, neatly lain out are various personal effects, money all piled up in neat little piles, what remains of the petrol can melted in the heat. Lighters. Remains of those last smoked cigarettes.

Again my mind asks some other questions. How could such a tidy, prepared sort of mind stray from such order to such devastating & catastrophic finality.

The ambulance and brigade turn up, the district Sgt comes to survey the scene, I’ve got it protected as well as I can until someone else (hopefully) gets to take over that unpleasant chore.

Section Inspector comes to survey so comms can show someone is a responsible position has visited the scene. He thanks me for my help, they are short again and everyone is committed. We are unable to get anyone there to photograph the scene so strike a deal with brigade. They get one of their investigators to do the job for us, I keep my log of events going, just in case and eventually that is it. We can exchange photos later if necessary. The unfortunate remnants of the body are removed, I make my final checks and resume. I need a walk with my companion. To clear my head, my lungs and get my stuff together. I tell him about it, he understands, as he always does on such occasions and then I go off to begin to write about it. But that smell, its still there. At least the drummer has stopped.

I go back to the nick, wash, change my uniform and begin the written part of the task. But that smell, its still there. I see that the hairs have gone from my hands and arms.

Later on, whilst I am writing, I am joined briefly by those that came for a look or have heard and come to offer support. This ranges from genuine to those who cannot bring themselves to be openly sympathetic but resort to the humour that some of us, at times like this, use to cover how we really, and I mean really, feel. But that smell.

I ignore the remarks and continue to write and slowly, but surely, everyone else has pissed off and then I am alone, with my pen, my thoughts, my doubts and that bloody smell.

After several different phone calls with the sector Inspector I am informed that we know who this unfortunate person was and briefly some of the case history. I still have that smell, close and unwelcome. Then, from the corner of my eye I see someone who I hadn’t noticed before. Soemone who I had known reasonable well for some years but who seemed to have changed and become temporarily unrecogniseable, camoflaged cleverly with the background in a discreet yet obviously uncomfortable way.

This person approached and spoke, very quietly and softly and thanked me for all I had done.

I was confused. I hadn’t done anything, really, nothing that any other frontline officer would not have tried to do if the roles had been reversed.

I must have look confused, or awfully stupid, but couldn’t speak. They repeated their thanks again and added that this unfortunate soul was a relation. Then they walked slowly away.

I simply stood there, like some form of crazy fool trying to work it all out. It was not what I had expected. My ability to speak seemed to have gone into stand-by mode.

That smell, it lasted for weeks. In my hair, in my clothes, up my nose and in my memory.

Those few discreet words said in a moment of deep personal despair were all that needed to be said. I felt, at that moment in time, that it was I who should be saying thank you.

Wonders of modern technology

Its got an ology on the end so it must be good. So goes the developments in radio communications technology we have experienced since our saviour ‘airwave’ come to pass.

This is not the chewy stuff that clears your sinus blockage in the event of a bit of a sniffle, but that new wonder communications solution that will make our lives safe, secure and part of the communications family. Itis claimed that it does what it says on the tin, so to speak.

Well how come that mine keeps on beeping as the signal is, yet again, lost ? For no obvious reason ? Even when I am completely still ? One second full strength on the signalometer and suddenly down to zilch and that infernal beep beep.

Why are we told that because we are sat down the signal reception is decreased ? Even when sat down on a chair, on the 6th floor.

Why is it that areas are famously bad for reception quality yet itis supposed to almost 100% total coverage ?

Add to this the times that people get through and either transmit or receive quality is awful.

Some times people are either on transmit or receive but not both at the same time, they like to talk about it but they just simply don’t listen.

Plus the times people are told to stand-by because there is only a single operator. This definately does not help you know.

Also the times that the excited assistance call is not registered, “last unit please say again” and the learned ear of someone who has existed out on the streets and become atuned to those half heard garbled calls for help comes up with the location and nature of the call. One does learn to recognise the tone of urgency in the voice and respond accordingly.

We are unable to use this modern wonder-technology whilst driving now.

Lets see………..’Can you attend blah blah, immediate response.’

‘OK en route’ as long as you are stopped, or stop before you answer.

Begin to drive off, pull over. ‘Can you geo-base that for me?’
We used to have maps. Geo-base does sound more exiting than a map.

Wait for instructions and drive off we go again.

‘zed victor 2 I have an update, description of offenders’

Pull over, stop and call up for an update before continuing.
Now the real poser. Do you sit and wait or take the chance and drive a little closer to the scene ?

‘zed victor 2 I have an update, offenders may have a vehicle’

Pull over, stop and acknowledge this fact, ask for details of the vehicle, not on the log yet.

Continue towards the scene.

‘zed victor 2, better description of the offenders and no confirmation of a vehicle’

Pull over & stop, ask for or listen to details of offenders, ask any other relevant questions in the hope that the person taking the call has obtained relevant information. Digest info and drive off again.

There is a pattern emerging here, police officers and radios don’t mix. Responding to an incident and stopping every time you wish to get an update or pass information is simply not workable yet we have the ass guarding message that says we were told. Are officers going to follow this instruction ? That is what itis, an instruction. Does this assist in any way ? Are you going to stop the car every time to talk on the radio when the essence is swift response. I think not.

But rest assured that the management have told you and if it all goes wrong itis most definately your ass on the line, not theirs, and you will become the shiny example of all that is bad and yet somehow safe in the knowledge that we are all working together.

Drive, stop, chat. Sounds like a new road safety campaign buzz phrase.

How the law works

Well this time its the turn of the Police to get the devil’s advocate treatment.

http://barrybeelzebub.blogspot.com/

We must be doing something wrong somewhere.

Tough on crime

Someone sent me this and I almost wet my pants.
I don’t think its anything to do with age.

Gurka’s Rights

Here is a link from rogue gunner worthy of at least a view.

http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/gurkhas-rights/

To read about it go here.

http://rogue-gunner.blogspot.com/

Dog dies left in car for 8 hours.

Well this is the headline you normally see in the media but I was absolutely horrified to see a report from Halle, Belgium, of a mother who forgot to drop her baby of 5 months off at the nursery on the way to work, went to work, allegedly for 8 hours, then returned to find that her baby had died of dehydration whilst she has gone.

This is not a dog but a 5 month old baby.
She could still have been at home or have employed a childminder or simply remembered that she had her baby in the car with her.

A stress specialist believes that itis not unusual for people to do silly things in a moment of forgetfulness.

What ???? Like leave a window open or something ????

You wouldn’t treat a dog like that, would you ?

Just wait until the summer and it really warms up, someone will.

Police plan to cut bureaucracy creates red tape

I was absolutely amazed to see this article http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/05/20/npolice20.xml about reducing red tape etc etc etc.

Not only do we have to keep all sorts of irrelevant and duplicated stats, reproduced on a myriad of invented forms, almost always by ‘electronic’ submission so we can be monitored, judged and put into tables, we are constantly told what to do and where to do it to justify the existence of the army of officers taken off the streets or formed into intel cells to duplicate the information between themselves and produce instructions on where to patrol and what to patrol for.

What ever happened to our Policing skills ?

What ever happened to our Policing skills ?????

Yes it needs asking twice because the management appear to think that every front line officer is either incompetent or lazy & workshy.

In my experience, officers have access to the relevant information to allow them to do this without being told.

Why else would thet set up all this effort to identify what we do and how we do it.

In our downtime we can direct our patrols towards identified problems.

What the bloody hell is ‘downtime’ ? I’ve never seen it, don’t what it looks like or tastes like.

The officers are able to work out where the problems are and will be able to direct their patrols accordingly. Trouble is there are so many things that seem to get in the way (form filling not included at the moment).

Perhaps I’ll set up a working group to research it, get a couple of people interested in promotion to research it for me, I will then submit my recommendations taking the credit for those who did the research and create an illusion that this is somehow beneficial for the organisation as it re-directs our efforts towards various targets that are linked to strategic aims within the relevant plan for the next review period. Pick one of the topics like reassuring the public, diversity or other ‘key’ phrases and before you know it there will a member of the SMT spouting how this revolutionary idea is supporting various things and everything is better. Show that we really do care. Then I will sort out a series of meetings to discuss exactly how we care and other strategic issues that may be relevant or otherwise. Wheel reinvented but in a new and radical way.

I’ve seen it when beats were changed from beat a, b, & c to beats 1, 2, & 3. Now there is real progress for you. I told you, new and radical and different.

If we take away all of the Police canteens we can use the space created for housing extra officers to deal with all of this. Trouble is that where do all these ‘extra’ officers come from. For the intel units, for the target squads, for vehicle crime, burglary units, tactical units etc etc etc ?

They all come from front line Police resources that are stretched to the max anyway.

Add all this reduced form filling on computers (if you can get on a computer sometimes) and the daily form we keep to enable us to fill out the monthly sheet, the arrest/property or deployment forms, the daily task sheets, including the negative ones, then wonder why we are spending more and more time off the streets. Look for computer that if free, that works, that has a printer assigned to it, that doesn’t crash when you use it, that gets slower and slower the farther away you are from the hub of the world, unusally at HQ.

(Heard an interesting story at a regional PSU recently about ASDA. Anyone know what it means. Didn’t want to ask and be seen to be a bit of an idiot, especially as some of the combatants pissed themselves when someone else asked because they never knew either).

More and more of our time is spent on accounting ourselves to the time & motion accountants that appear to set out the stall for what do and how we do it. I’m bloody well fed up with it.

I’m not going to be able to change it but I can have a damn good moan about it.

Too many people want to fit into the mould and to do that they have to play by the rules and not question or offer an iota of dissent else they find the door shut in their face. Too much operational and not enough strategic.

Now I’m off to try to find a spare computer. Just like the guinness, I’m not bitter, really.

The wooden bowl

A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and four-year old grandson.
The old man’s hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and his step
faltered. The family ate together at the table. But the elderly grandfather’s shaky hands and failing sight made eating difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor. When he grasped the glass, milk spilled on the tablecloth.

The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess. “We must do
something about father,” said the son.

“I’ve had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating, and food on the floor.”
So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner. There, Grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner.

Since Grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl!
When the family glanced in Grandfather’s direction, sometime he had a tear in his eye as he sat alone. Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food.

The four-year-old watched it all in silence. One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor.

He asked the child sweetly, “What are you making?”
Just as sweetly, the boy responded, “Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and Mum to eat your food in when I grow up.”

The four-year-old smiled and went back to work.
The words so struck the parents so that they were speechless.
Then tears started to stream down their cheeks.
Though no word was spoken, both knew what must be done.

That evening the husband took Grandfather’s hand and gently led him back to the family table.
For the remainder of his days he ate every meal with the family.

And for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the tablecloth soiled.

On a positive note, I’ve learned that, no matter what happens, how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.

I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles four things:
a rainy day, the elderly, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.

I’ve learned that, regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life.

I’ve learned that making a “living” is not the same thing as making a “life”
I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance if you are not too blind to see the signs.
I’ve learned that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you.

But if you focus on your family, your friends, the needs of others, your work and doing the very best you can, happiness will find you. I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.

I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.!

Christmas past.

Merry Christmas
Picture the scene. Its 3 days before Christmas. Dave, as I’ll call him, their only son has come back on home leave. He’s in the Army. He’s 18 years old and is looking forward to time with his family after a tour abroad and some beer with his mates.He meets up with his best friend who I will call Steve. They go out for a couple of bevvies, meet up with some more friends and over the night and the talk of foreign places, keep no count of what they drink, why should they ? Steve plans on leaving his motor bike in the pub car-park and walk home with Dave, who will be at his parents nearby.It gets late, too late and somehow the decision is made for the both of them to ride home on the bike. Don’t know who made it but too late to change it.

The tree at the roadside, on the bend, never even flinched. The bike ? Well that was left in bits all across the road. Amongst the bits were two dials that held some secrets. They gave the road speed and the engine revs at the time the bike, Dave and Steve met the tree. The people who can work these things out gave about 70 mph. Some of us tried to help them, to help the bendy-toy like bodies and the mess inside the helmets. They still groaned for help but nobody could have helped. Some of us preserved the scene but we were unable to preserve their lives whilst the ambulance crew told us what we already knew. Others busied themselves with directing the passers by out of the way and towards the detours around the scene.

Then someone had to go to visit the homes of these unfortunate lads, just young boys out for a great time. The parents of Dave knew exactly that we brought bad news, even before their doorbell rang. Parents can sense things, read your body language. Just exactly how do you tell someone that their only son was not coming home for christmas ? How on earth do you try to share their dread to try to make it easier for them and easier for yourself.You can’t, no training can prepare you for this moment. Are you the parents of Dave ? etc etc etc. You know and they know, but hope that you have made a mistake, that they have not heard you correctly, that this is some sort of a nasty dream. But it is not. Your mouth is dry, you got that funny thing fluttering in your stomach, you try not to stutter or mumble and get your message across clearly, concisely, as humbly and respectfully as possible.

The parents of Steve wondered what trouble he had got himself into this time and couldn’t see the signs, too quick defending their son against all comers and thought there had been some form of conspiracy. There had been no conspiracy. Only some terrible, terrible news. Then they were quiet. We leave them to their grief. Here we are necessary trespassers but only for a short time.

Whilst we were left with protecting the scene for a closer examination the following day it dawned on me. At 3 o’clock in early hours of a cold and frosty night a new picture emerged that no-one had seen before. A tyre mark, illuminated by the frost that ran for an awful distance around the bend, that bend, nearer and nearer towards that damned tree. Clear and vivid as though it had been painted onto the road. No-one else had seen it, just me. Closer and closer until it also met the same tree. Again the tree never even flinched. It all came back again, more vivid than before.

People moaned because the road was closed, how inconvenient. But they probably enjoyed their Christmas. I never slept for 3 days, never slept properly for weeks but I did have a Christmas. Like the birth of your child, the laugh of your loved one or the thoughts that make you smile, somethings you never forget, even the darker, helpless moments when you realise just how insignificant you really are. We never found out who was driving or pillion. We only knew that two families would have a miserable Christmas. Lots of friends of the two families would be full of sadness. We just put it down to another life experience that helps us to deal with the next life experience in the hope we make a better job of it next time.

The miracle of fried eggs.

After the miracle of toilet paper we have one for the lads.

A wife was making a breakfast of fried eggs for her husband.

Suddenly, her husband burst into the kitchen. “Careful,” he said, “CAREFUL! Put in some more butter! Oh my GOD! You’re cooking too many at once. TOO MANY! Turn them! TURN THEM NOW! We need more butter. Oh my GOD! WHERE are we going to get MORE BUTTER?

They’re going to STICK! Careful . CAREFUL! I said be CAREFUL! You NEVER listen to me when you’re cooking! Never! Turn them! Hurry up! Are you CRAZY? Have you LOST your mind? Don’t forget to salt them. You know you always forget to salt them. Use the salt. USE THE SALT! THE SALT!”

The wife stared at him. “What in the world is wrong with you? You think I don’t know how to fry a couple of eggs?”

The husband calmly replied, “I just wanted to show you what it feels like when I’m driving.”

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