• 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.
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    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
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    If you had to identify, in one word, why we will never achieve our full potential, Meetings would be that word.
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    When there is no answer to your problem, there is always deflection from the need to justify giving an answer.

M & S support.

Having been patrolling the school grounds that border the edge of the Britannia Estate I have managed to find where the high security fencing has been breached but replaced to look like it is intact.

This fencing is an effort to prevent the bad guys getting in but is a big handicap to prevent the good guys getting in when they need to try to catch the bad guys. I hear that there is a bit of a follow going on and the district response involved regularly turn up stuff because they are good at what they do. I head back to my van and head towards the locations given, following events as they unfold. These guys are good, very good, they think on their feet and ask for supporting units to move around in support. In times gone by comms would do this because they had that kind of knowledge one needed to do it, but not any more it seems.

The update comes over the radio and it appears that 5 of the 7  have had it away on their toes and legged it. The follow went out of town but managed to stop it whilst heading back in. Response have caught one and another is unable to get out of the car in time to evade capture. The one they have got is wanted, the one who was unable to get out of the car, or was prevented from getting out by the self preservation of his alleged mates, has calmed down but is still gobbing off in trusted belligerent Britannia fashion. We think the car is pinched and other units are doing their best to find out.

Upon my arrival I find out the relevant updates and ignore the shouts of the idiot who somehow assumes that I need a dog to kick his handcuffed arse already in a nearby Police car.

As I harness up my friend to begin tracking the ones who have gone the dog tries to pull me towards the road side hedge. Despite the efforts I finish buckling up and in seconds and only a matter of a few yards the low guttural growl breaks into a loud and spontaneous bark the heralds the invitation to come out before the dog comes in to visit, all less than 10 yards from the vehicle and to the surprise of the officers stood surprisingly close.

After the official handing over we are off along the road side verge back the way we came until crossing over and entering the steep wooded hillside that was the chosen escape route with a nice panoramic view of the goings on less than 300 yards away. With all the flashing lights it must have looked like the fair had rolled into this small deserted place in the middle of nowhere.

The outstanding 4 had been watching the proceedings and had not expected what they had not seen, the low black shadowy figure moving purposely towards them. At about 25 yards it was simply too close for comfort so the crashing about in total darkness, in a heavily wooded and steep hillside, meant that there would be no subtle and furtive evasion.

The whine of excitement gave way to a shouted challenge before my small dark friend took off up the hillside through the woods and the darkness with me in pursuit of the noises. As I pushed my way through the face slapping branches, in the distance, I could hear the reassuring barks that told me that someone had been found. The quarry had been hunted and captured.

I simply had to follow the noise until I could get to the sound. Then I realise that I had lost my torch. I moved around to behind my friend and could then see the horizon light above the bouncing and barking madness. I grabbed my friend and identified myself as well as offering a friendly message of what not to do to avoid some rather impressive canine dentistry.

With my friend now on a collar by my side the quarry slowly stood up, silhouetted against the horizon.

Not one, not two, not three, but four. Four figures like thieves in the night. None wanting to make the first mistaken move. None wanting to be the one with the back up escape plan.

We escorted them back towards the wooded hillside to be joined by the troops who were, as is the norm, eternally grateful for that special type of support that only four legs can supply.

This was not just any specialist dog support, this was M & S specialist dog  support.

23 Responses

  1. Whooo well done for that to M & S specialist dog support was that one of the best group grabs?

  2. I forgot to add l like the new picture :-D

  3. Great! Well done to all six legs of you.

  4. Congratulations to you and your friend, must make for a pleasant change to be out and about doing what you do best rather than trying to decipher the latest bureaucratic bullshit from your SLT!

  5. Top Call, and dito on the new header pic.

  6. top notch post.

  7. I think it was definitely an M & S moment. What a brilliant collar!

    Good land shark! Good Boy!

  8. I take it PC K9 got a special supper?

  9. Another nice one.

  10. A simple question:

    Given that dogs are so effing effective at police work – which they obviously are – why are they not used in greater numbers than at present? Their capabilities are obvious, and surely they have to be very cost-effective (even taking into account vet costs, training of staff, etc). So why are they not used more & why do districts only have one or two furry exocets each?

  11. Top Hole!

  12. Cause a furry exocet can not fill in paperwork.
    Cause a furry exocet will ignore initiatives.
    Cause a furry exocet won’t recognise the power of the idiots at the top and may piss on their car tyres.

    How about some of those as reasons. Also l am guessing the amount of people applying to be handlers and the supply of suitable dogs.

  13. Vetnurse – LOL at your first three reasons. Guess those of us in public service don’t have to worry about being replaced by canines, then. Although the top desk-pilots could be replaced by monkeys. Come to think of it, I think many have been…

    As to your serious answers, I can’t see there being a lack of suitable dogs, though. If we, as a nation, can breed feckless scrotes by the thousand, it must be dead easy to breed dogs. Plus, dog-handling has to be one of the most satisfying specialisations in policing – I would have thought.

    I’d be interested in Mr W-E-B’s take on the question.

  14. One of your best post’s to date! Just excellant! Keep it coming.

  15. Hope this will answer some of the question and l am sure W. E. B will add or detract as needs (or another handler will)

    Breeding dogs is dead easy, any dog can do it. Some things to take into consideration as the police use GSD (German Shepherd Dogs) for the genral day to day work.

    All GSD have hip displasia to some degree and a lot of other problems so they need to be very choosy. Check out German Shepherds on the link.

    http://server.vet.cam.ac.uk/FMPro?-db=breeddb&-lay=alldata&-format=search.html&-view

    No point paying thousands to train a dog/human and the dog is withdrawn in a few months or years crippled or HD with another hereditary disease.
    They do try and get round it with their own breeding program but occasionally will take dogs from outside sources if it looks promising or in-house breed dogs are in short supply.

    You need a dog that is intelligent enough to train and learn when to bite and when not, where is also useful. While it is great in theory if they rip a good chunk of flesh out of a throat or backside it would (probably) be an instant death for that dog.
    A handler l know nearly died trying to recall his dog (l will call the dog R.).
    R. set out to bring down 2 scroats that hit his handler him with their car. The handler went down and R. took matters into his own “paws” when 2 scroats ran from the car.
    Had R. got the scroats he would have been deemed “out of control of his handler” and been put down.
    The 3rd scroat, seeing the PC was distracted and injured tried to reverse over the PC’s chest he just rolled clear in time and the b***ard got his legs (both off them). The handler is now retired on health grounds.

    Police dogs have to learn to track, go in noisy vehicles (helicopters etc) go over obstacles, track, hold, hunt, be polite at the right time, and all manner of jobs.
    Take all the general police daily stress, put it into a dog (minus paperwork) and it is a very stressful job for a dog If the wrong one is chosen that is wasted money and a new home for a dog. And often a disillusioned handler, especially if it is his first dog.

    Then there is finding the handler who until he starts does not realise the commitment involved. The handler has to be prepared to do a lot of work off duty. Grooming daily and cleaning of the kennel. Handlers are given an outside kennel and run but l do know that not all make use of them!

    If they have family’s and perhaps other pets it is a big commitment. A lot of times a wife/husband agrees to it without realising the commitment.
    A police officer has a lot of stress in their lives and a police dog is one they can not leave behind “at work” and will compete with the rest of the family.

    The kids want one so they can have games, only it is not a pet and this can cause problems with kids lack of understanding.

    Not all police dogs are family friendly. R. tolerated one person, his handler. Luckily the family were used to police dogs and they (family were well trained) as this was his 3 dog, the other 2 were sweethearts.

    So yes there is 100, 000 of dogs around but the CORRECT one is a special gem to find.

  16. Vetnurse, great reply.

    Merlin……..Dog handling is, I believe, the most satisfying and rewarding specialist role within the Police, others may have a differing view but this is mine.

    The Home Office and ACPO have various recommendations concerning Police Dogs from selection of dogs, selection of handlers, training and deployment. These are applied in differing ways by differing Forces and each has to justify their own choices. Whether this is good or bad is down to personal views. These views are based on differing experiences and responsibilities.

    The fact is that there will never be enough dog handlers for the exact same reasons that there will never be enough response officers, traffic officers, CID officers etc etc etc. This is down to how they will be financed, budgetary constraints, business plans and forecasts to name a few things. There are simply just not enough officers to go around.

    Contrary to the picture is painted by those who see positive media as successfully promoting the brand, there is a different perspective by those who deliver the frontline response Policing. Bear in mind that every specialist, irrespective of what they do, originates from response groups based at the real Police Stations (ones that have not been closed) and the 24/7 response capabilities there experience constant loss of response levels that seem to never get replaced. There are streams of officers who want to get away from response to perform other roles, some of these specialist roles or what are deemed to be more attractive roles. Response always suffers because they feed everything else as far as putting people into spaces. Hence the increases in PCSO support to bolster the numbers and try to fill some of the spaces with what is deemed to be a visible presense but at a far more financially viable alternative. From there on it all get a bit political and the sense of Policing gets clouded with perspectives as different as chalk and cheese.

    Dog handlers are part of that 24/7 response in real terms offering speciliast support to divisional/district response officers and are one of the most active, committed and widely travelled response units.

    Some Forces who have monitored the amount of calls responded to have dog handlers as one of their highest level of responders and the bottom line is that there are simply not enough to go around. All I know is that we are highly valued and appreciated by our district/divisional response colleagues and as a result enjoy a productive working relationship. I feel that I have experienced this and I am better for it. We do not get involved with the same level of workload but we understand what life is like out there in the real world.

    Response is where everything starts and it should get more consideration, priority and recognition than it does. This is where everyone learns their trade and begins to build their skills base. Without this we have nothing and with it we could have anything we decided to do properly if only we had the resouces to do so. Sadly this is a dream.

  17. vetnurse,would crossing german shepherds with another good breed cancel out the hd gene and still provide a good police dog.

  18. W-E-B / Vetnurse: thanks for taking the time to answer my question in detail; appreciated. A combination, then, of “technical” factors (the breeding) & organisational stuff (under-resourcing, how this impacts on response & the knock-on effect); obviously a lot more complex than getting more growly enforcers & detailing off more handlers for them.

  19. Spot On Explanation WEB. We do a good job but never ever forget our street level friends.

  20. DMC it is not just the HD gene although that is a big factor Poor GSD are too popular and top the league in all Genetic problems. (breeders grrrrrr)
    HD and other genetic problems are so deeply ingrained and widespread there is now worry about what the fancy crosses coming out (labradoodle and such) will produce and how it will impact. People buy these animals for the stupid names not the health.

    There is the known. You know when you breed GSD to GSD or Labs to Labs etc and looks, temprement and health wise is known. There is no way of knowing if the cross would be able to stand up to what is asked and it is to big a risk cost wise in money or possibly to the animals themselves. It would take more than one or 2 to find out you were wrong.

    Other countries use different breeds. I think Japan is big on Akitas, Russia uses Korolian Bear Dogs (spelling?) but again they have their own problems.

    Check out the genetic link in my earlier post it has the most popular breeds not all the breeds there is a big difference. Just cause the breed may not appear does not mean there is not major problems with it.

    Only way to get rid of a problem is to id all those animals with it and never breed from them and you hopefully would resolve it. As that is impossible you should only breed to minimum of that problem.

    Even the most crossed cross breeds can throw back to a problem. Although l am a mongrel person, give me a good mix any day.

  21. Thanks Vetnurse,I had wondered if it was more the training than the breed.I do hope they can sort out the GSD as its my favourite breed.I suppose it will be the vested interests that hold it back.The show breeders only go by looks.

  22. I remember reading (last year?) that some force(s) were now using Belgian Shepherds as they were less prone to the disease than their German cousins.

    Interesting & informative discussion.

  23. some crazy belgian shepherds in this vid, french special forces training I think:

    Alternatively, to quote from Wrong Door, “What you want mate is polar bears – they’re f***ing psychos.”

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