• 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.

Not a great deal has happened ?

Well this was the New Labour new initiative that was really going to set the world on fire, reduce the fear of crime and deal with some of the real issues that the population was concerned about.

Significant new investment in police, courts and prisons, as well as in local crime reduction activity and action against illegal drugs, will be delivered over the next three years as a result of the Spending Review, so they said.

It followed recommendations from cross-departmental reviews of the Criminal Justice System, crime reduction and illegal drugs.

Welcoming the Spending Review plans, Jack Straw, the then Home Secretary said:

“Crime reduction is my overriding priority. I therefore welcome the outcome of these reviews. Offending is too often associated with abuse of drugs and alcohol, having truanted from school or having been in care. By getting Whitehall departments working together, we can win the war on crime.”

David Blunkett, the then Education Secretary said:

“There are clear links between crime, truancy and illiteracy. The more we can do to cut failure at school, the more we will contribute to the fight against crime. That is why the Government is committed to raising standards across the board and for those at most risk.”

The then Health Secretary, Alan Milburn, said:

“Crime is associated with substance abuse. Better health education for young people and effective treatment regimes can and will make a difference. My department is committed to playing its part in this cross-Government drive.”

 Crime Reduction was one of the 15 cross-cutting reviews established as part of the 2000 Spending Review.

I will remind you of the above words……………..cross cutting reviews, and definately no cost cutting reviews, all as part of the 2000 spending review.

A spending review normally relates to ways of saving money but at the same time selectively show how you are spending more than you have ever spent.

Has it all worked ?  You decide.

The 2007 budget stated that by 2007-08, compared with 1997-98: spending on the police will have increased by 39 per cent in real terms to over £11 billion, and overall spending on crime, justice and security in the Home Office will be 75 per cent higher in real terms, delivering 14,000 more police officers and 10,000 more Police Community Support Officers. One thing is certain. The National Audit Office will continue to measure the efficiency of the public services and find ever increasing ways that they believe there is more value for money savings to be had from from every small nook & cranny they can find. Public Sector pay will remain the focus of efficiency savings to prop up the Government’s preferred spending plans.  Efficiency savings to do what ?

In simple Budget speak, from 2007, The first responsibility of government is to protect its citizens and ensure their security – safeguarding the nation against terrorist attacks, cutting crime, bringing offenders to justice and managing them effectively to reduce re-offending.

As part of the Home Office’s long-term objective to ensure that more offenders are caught, punished and prevented from re-offending, the Home Secretary announced in July 2006 plans to expand prision capacity by 8,000 places by 2012, with an extra 2,500 places on stream by the end of 2007. Resources provided to the Home Office over the SR04 and 2007 CSR periods provide the investment and long-term funding needed to drive forward this building programme.

I hope you are now reassured.

Tough on Crime

A woman is to stand trial at crown court for allegedly throwing an apple core out of her car window. Kate Badger, from Cornwall Road in Tettenhall, Wolverhampton, refused to pay a £60 on-the-spot fine after the alleged incident in March last year.

The 25-year-old appeared before magistrates in the city where she elected to stand trial at crown court.

The case was adjourned until 12 March. If Ms Badger is found guilty she could be sent to prison.

She denies a charge of “knowingly causing the deposit of controlled waste, namely an apple core, on land which did not have a waste management licence”.

Devil’s Advocate

I THOUGHT long and hard before I bought the baseball bat and tucked it away beneath the carpet in the car boot.

The machete under the bed I can justify to myself: anyone coming up those stairs in the dark is clearly up to no good and is therefore going to get it. Similarly, the sawn-off pool cue tucked away in the hall near the front door. Both are defensive weapons, for use only against significant intruders, and while their use might not necessarily be deemed as “reasonable force”, at least I’d have a fighting chance in court.

Not so the baseball bat in the car. That might well also be for protection in these dysfunctional days, but its very location leaves me open to a charge of possessing an offensive weapon. So what to do?

After several weeks of pondering, I drove into the local sports shop on the way home from work and purchased a 32-inch Louisville Slugger in white ash for a very reasonable £31.99. But that wasn’t all. A further £6.99 bought me an authentic leather-bound baseball, and the master plan was put into action.

For the next week I took the dog out every evening, as well as the bat and ball. The bat I dragged along the dry stone walls and generally dented; the ball I threw for the dog until it was suitably chewed up. The bat then went into the car boot and, crucially, so did the ball.

So ask me, officer, what I’m doing with a baseball bat in my car and I’ll happily tell you. I use it to hit a ball around and exercise the dog. Look, there are the teeth marks.

Of course, instead of quizzing me over why I’m transporting a potentially offensive weapon, the cops might be better off asking themselves why an ordinary, middle-aged, middle class, white male should feel the need to carry a hefty club in the first place. But that’s a far more complicated argument, and one no-one seems to want to tackle at the moment.

THE REASON I mention this dilemma is that the Association of Chief Police Officers appears to have given up on the idea of having coppers patrolling our streets and is now suggesting that we might like to do it ourselves.

The idea is that teams of Neighbourhood Watch members could spy on villains, patrol crime-hit areas and check cars for out-of-date tax discs. There is even a suggestion that “secret” teams might get together to gather intelligence on possible wrongdoers.

I can see several problems with this frankly idiotic plan. Firstly, anyone who has ever lived in a rural village will know how they are riven with snobbery, jealousy and petty feuds. The idea of letting the deranged curtain-twitcher at Snout’s Cottage gather “intelligence” about her neighbours reminds me of East Germany before the Berlin Wall came down.

Yobs forced me to move home

Well the Telegraph just about says it all, almost

I thought I might have been reading an April 1st edition but no, this is still February so I am a little early.

A Police Superintendent has admitted that he was forced to move house by youths hanging around outside his home. He has allegedly said that he decided to leave because he did not want to confront the teenagers sitting on the wall of his home. The youths had made him nervous about returning from work so he has given in to them and decided to move house. It was either that or start challenging them.

His quality of life has improved massively since then, apparently, as well as saving his Force a fortune in targetted patrols costs and wasted patrolling hours that can be utilised elsewhere.

I expect he is now able to resume his challenging policy making role and showing leadership of the highest quality. There is no problem as he was clearly off duty at the time so what is all the fuss about. 

 This follows on from the Home Secretary’s claims that she just doesn’t think it’s a thing that people do to walk around at midnight. She is fortunate, of course, that she doesn’t have to do so. She also insists that in truth, people are safer, in terms of crime, than 10 years ago. How blatantly and blindingly reassuring. No, its still not April 1st.

Clearly there is one Police Superintendent who would disagree with that view.

I also suspect that the views of quite a lot of the people who make the relevant laws and policies do not normally inhabit the anti-social behaviour zone that the majority of the real world have to occupy because they have neither the means or the finances to move to a different area where they just ring up the Police and expect them to sort out all their perceived problems for them.

Perhaps sitting on someones wall could become a sanctioned detectable crackdown type of tick in the box statistical target sort of thing.

Our Superintendent could then set up a working party to have meetings about it to decide on a strategic plan to combat the problem. After sorting out the terms of reference there would be a three month review after liaison with the crime analyst etc etc to allocate ownership of the problem to some already overworked individual(s) who will be committed to the problem and will be working harder than ever to make our communities be safer and feel safer. Things will be moving forward on the ground in real terms and they will be making real progress.

But what about all those removal lorries in the street. They are causing an obstruction.

We could set up a working party to have a series of meetings to agree on a strategy to combat the problem. Someone will be allocated to take ownership of the problem………….

PC Geoff King

A price worth paying?  care of Stan Still.

Like the vast majority of us, PC Geoff King joined West Midlands Police “to reduce crime and disorder and make our communities feel safer”

PC King was patrolling an area of Wolverhampton that had been hit by a spate of car thefts. He was doing his duty and being the diligent officer that he is, he approached a man who he believed was acting suspiciously.

This man, not wanting to be troubled by an officer doing what the public expects of its police force, pulled out a handgun and shot PC King twice at point blank range. PC King lost over six pints of blood. He was minutes from death. He still hasn’t returned to full duties.

The man responsible for attempting to murder PC King was found, tried, convicted and sentenced.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority has put a price on this traumatic incident, which has left PC King with permanent scars and ongoing psychological problems.

The value of having a couple of bullets pumped into you while doing your duty? £4,000. I’ll put that in words, in case you think some zeros might have dropped off. That’s Four Thousand Pounds.

Let’s put that into perspective. If you watch the ads for those ambulance chasing compensation grabbing legal firms, you will have seen the woman who can’t walk over a slightly damp floor without crashing to the ground. She got £4,000. Some bloke who was too busy eyeing up schoolgirls at a bus stop to notice a car pulling out of a drive got several thousand pounds. Another woman who wasn’t looking where she was going tripped up over some parcel binding and gets a huge payout.

These people, who are apparently genuine, get paid out despite the fact that their own lack of attention contributed to their downfall. PC King was doing his job and probably had no expectation or anticipation that he would be shot at, yet he receives less compensation than people who were victims of their own lack of awareness.

There is a limit to how much the CICA can pay out. After all, it’s funded by tax-payers. PC King is one of those tax-payers.  It does not appear that there is any limit to how much comfort and how many perks his attacker will get in prison. The man responsible for putting PC King in this position will never have to pay a penny in compensation.

I don’t know PC King personally, but I do know officers like him who have been injured in the course of their duty. Each one of them will say that they were doing the job they love and would do the same again in the circumstances. None of them demand or expect financial compensation for injuries received, but they deserve some recognition for the unique nature of the job that they do.

I don’t think the price that PC King has paid has been anywhere near reimbursed.

I do wonder how much would have been paid in compensation if the roles had been reversed and the man had been shot by Police. You can bet your ass it would have been a lot more than £4,000.

 

PC Ray Bradley.

In June 2007 PC Ray Bradley was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service to Avon and Somerset Constabulary in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list. He was one of only two PCs in the country to receive this award. Ray is not your average PC as he operates from a police house. Hishouse is nestled at the foot of the Mendip Hills and only a short walk from Blagdon Lake. Not only is this his home but it is also his place of work.

ray_primary_school.jpg

He is not based at any of the force’s police stations but he operates from a residential beat station – a police house – in Blagdon in North Somerset.The house came with the job and Ray is one of the few officers left in the force to serve his community in this way.

Congratulations Ray. It-is nice to hear of an award for a dedicated bit of Policing that is not linked to any high rank but remains at the grassroots service delivery. This reflects the qualities that reflect the service of Policing a community that has almost vanished from the country because of the way the management and target driven culture have been dictated by those who put everything into a business comparison framework and forget that the Police provide a service for which, for the most part, cannot be measured in the same way that profit making entities operate. There are always costs that can be attributed to the various things we do but you simply cannot put a price on a quality service provision, Police, Hospital, Schools, Fire Brigade, Armed Forces and local services to the pensioners who have contributed for most of their adult life. All these things are essential.

When I joined the Police most of the uniformed officer performed their duty exactly in the same fashion as PC Ray Bradley. They were career beat officers, Community Constables. Some diversified and specialised in other areas, CID, Dogs Section, Traffic and the like. The main role was unifomed patrol, usually within the same beat area or from varying beats within a small sub-division of a larger division. Most stations also had canteens and divisional HQs had a club or bar.

How things have changed.

2-0 Home win.

The cars that get stolen on a regular basis in our area seem to turn up discarded around the Britannia Estate with an alarming and monotonous regularity. Most of them damaged, some of them torched. Almost every  STOVEC that is seen ends up at one of the strategically placed decamp spots where lanes, footpaths or cycleways offer the increasingly irritating young vehicle thieves the ease of concealment and invisibility within the myriad of hidey holes on offer. Despite our efforts to plug some of the gaps we simply haven’t got enough available resources to cover every spot.

Unless, they f+#* up big time and prang someones pride & joy, get forced into an area they cannot get out of or we get lucky, or perhaps make our own luck.

One thing is for certain. We have to play exactly by the rules and they can ignore every rule as if it never, ever existed. So you can see who has all the aces up their sleeves. In times when it goes wrong it-is always the fault of the Police and never, ever of the scroats who steal the cars to drive them and their mates about. They are being cool and performing to acceptable standards. In their eyes at least. They have the support and backing of their scroat comrades who see the Police as merely an interference and also the growth industry that has spawned from community spokespersons who err on the side of the lawless (at least some of them) the limp wristed liberalists, those who despise the Police and hide behind the perceived respectability of some organisation and lastly, the Police managers who make policy and seem to be happy to berate the efforts of those who try to remove the scroats from the streets when the machinery is designed to return them as quickly as they left. Sometimes this seems like an unfair contest and we are always the underdog.

I digress.

The ears of the minions prick up when they hear that the dark coloured astra circulated earlier is being followed by a marked unit through the town. Speed, direction of travel given and heard by those who depend on this type of info. Several single crewed units begin to make before comms ask the last unit for their call-sign, again, details of the vehicle again, and any other unit to respond, again, apparently unaware that the three other units are already making.

This is not a dig at comms but the two groups I work with have differing amounts of interest, reaction time and motivation. This is a shame, for the response units, but so is the difference between sh*t and sugar.

The vehicle is followed around the town, into and out of the Britannia Estate on several occasions because of forward thinking response who understand the right things. The lively “chase me round the town” has now become “I must find one of the decamp spots to get away”. For many minutes, collectively, we have managed to prevent this by careful repositioning and by a great deal of common sense. We even manage to get the vehicle to abandon the area where the driver is most comfortable and get the car off the estate and around a different area of the town. By more astute reaction we have got the car into the better off areas around the large cemetery where the amount of junctions has reduce and we can block or guide the route. I would say that this is the dead centre of town but would not wish to cause offence.

Traffic are all committed with yet another multi-pile up and the helicopter is having sweet dreams on its concrete mattress. Itis beyond the hour after which guilded carriages turn into pumpkins.

Then come the words that we dread, but might give us a chance at some redress.

The vehicle has lost control and hit a wall, no one appears injured, 4 persons have decamped and are off on foot. The blockers now become the extra eyes and close in on the area, still hearing the radio location updates. For some reason the four remain together and are lost after 3 or 4 roads in a series of gardens. We are lucky. We have Marvelous Marvin the marathon man in pursuit. Not very speedy but very fit and possessing the stamina levels of someone with an awful lot of stamina, far too much for the normal man but easily sufficient to chase the likes of the twockers relay team. He is able to keep within 50 or so yards of the twockers relay team as they fumble the batten change, lose any sensible evasion plan in their panic at being off their familiar turf and all pile into gardens, then after the first crash and a bit of ruffling…………………..nothing.  Not a sound.  They have gone to ground. Suddenly my emotions leap from excited to bloody game on. I have a chance.

Within a minute I arrive. Marvelous Marvin is stood on a garden wall, about three gardens in, surveying the scene. Two more gardens on, there is another response up on a stair case at the back of another house that is split into flats. He has a far better oversight. we have one more back on the junction and another fifty yards down the road in case they come out further along the road. And we have me. And I have my friend. That makes six of us. This is a luxury we simply cannot afford to waste.

I find out from Marvin exactly where they relay team have crossed the start line and I begin. No one wants to come out after my shout so I release the boy. He begins to ferret around, his urgency is clear and he takes off towards Marvin. Upon his arrival he suddenly veers away and down the garden towards………..nowhere. A shed with a padlock, a greenhouse with all the glass intact. A gap of no more than a sveral inches. Both are tight against the garden fencing.

There is someone there, somewhere, his deep guttural growling tells me this, he does not make mistakes. The aggressive barks that accompany the growling leave me in no doubt. They are there.  As I join him, I tell him he is a good boy. He knows this but continues to growl and bark in a fashion that many people find a bit uncomfortable.

In my torch light, in the gap between the shed and the greenhouse I see the reason for his discontent. Two forlorn and pathetic shapes huddled down with terror, and I mean real terror, in their eyes.

They might not be afraid of incarceration, they may not fear or respect the legal process, but now, at this instant I know that my boy has their complete and utter attention and respect. They have no-where to go, there is no way out, except for the way they went in. they do not want to come out to try to evade capture because they are afraid, for one of the few times in their lives, that the consequences of their action will face something unpleasant. They cannot reason with my boy like they can reason, threaten or intimidate another weaker easy target.

I tell them what will happen if they try to escape, threaten or assault anyone or foolishly try to kick the dog. I suspect they already know this.

The troops converge. Out come one then two, the at the back of the small hiding place there are two more and one of them, pinch me, is Schumacher. I have written about him before.

I don’t want to paint the wrong picture that we have regular and repeat offenders…………but we do………..and itis Schumacher, again.  We have met before. The legal processes fail to deal with people like Schumacher.

Schumacher comes out eventually, last, funny how the bravest and hardest can be the first to hit the hidey hole. Suddenly my night has really warmed up. This cowardly pathetic figure who claims he would have done me or my boy serious injury under the bravado that existed simply because he was cuffed last time.

He fails to live up to his earlier claims and I know that he will only begin this again when he is safe in the knowledge that the quickcuff shield of invincibility protects him and he can resume the petulant ramblings that endear him to us so much.

WEB 2      Schumacher 0

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