• 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.
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Piggies in the middle………..

With minimum ‘staffing’ levels over the festive break, all resources have been pushed to the limit on many occasions. The SLT see the festive break as exactly that.  They expect each and every officer who is working have a bit of a double time holiday whilst they laze around the various stations doing nowt, waiting for that call to uphold the tradition of supplying a high level of Policing intervention on occasions where it is deemed necessary.

There will be none of that sitting around on your arse chatting over anything topical, mainly because the calls still arrive and there are a lot less officers to go around.

We have one dog to cover the City Division and one dog to cover the County Division. Where the two meet across the series of small to medium sized towns, well we will see who is nearer and not committed.

The morning shifts are relatively quiet with some mopping up of crime visits, lost property and the aftermath of the festive family fisticuffs. Festive cheer and alcohol only appear to vent the simmering hostilities and subdued bad feelings of the previous 12 months. All this without the added anger factor of receiving a present they simply did not believe santa would get them.  Some families are just like being locked into a pressure cooker. Everyone can hear it madly hissing away as the pressure continues to build and no-one wants to try to calm things because they are either worried about offending someone or just can’t be bothered, preferring to wait to call in the Police family mentoring team when it all kicks off. After all, that’s what the Police are there for, isn’t it ?

How is it that it is never anyone else’s fault ?

It is always because someone was nicked, or someone got pushed, or someone didn’t like being grabbed, spoken to firmly or told simply to go away before things got out of hand.

Stuck firmly in the middle, piggies in the middle if you like, are the unlucky poor response officer or anyone else who is uncommitted and is available to attend or get dispatched because the resources are thinner on the ground than normal. Everyone is a Police Officer first.

With Christmas Day and Boxing Day having passed there is that eternal New Year’s Eve general love-in, where for at least 15 minutes everyone loves everyone else until old habits return and any feelings of fondness for the fellow man deteriorates into drink fuelled hatred and violence because someone looks at someone else a bit odd, someone else was just asking for it or someone disses someone else and they just couldn’t let it pass.

As we take the last weary steps of 2008 into 2009 things are unlikely to change. I await, with interest, on how the Politicians and the SLT will spin everything to appear somehow better.


Festive message.

Please accept my warmest wishes for the Xmas period and the new year.

For those of us who have to work during this time of minimum staffing levels, the demands are different and I hope you join your families, friends or partners safely at the end of your shift.

We all know that some of our more dysfunctional families do not mix well with Xmas, New Year celebrations and alcohol combined.  To all those who operate within our emergency services who will be trying their best to sort out the misfortunes and bad attitudes of the masses…………….. Be careful out there.

Also spare one small thought for the members of our Armed Forces who are serving away from their loved ones.

Whatever God you choose, or not, as the case may be, hope that 2009 will bring less death, destruction, wrecked lives, victims of crime and perhaps a little more guilt, remorse, consequences for actions, much better tolerance of others within our society and a few less statistical targets to how well every is supposed to be doing.

Don’t hold your breath.

Best wishes.


Ghost of Christmas past.

Its a few days before Christmas.

Dave, as I’ll call him, an only son has come back on home leave. He’s in the Army. Its dangerous and stressful. He has been looking forward to coming home for months. 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, catch up what they have been up to and 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 its 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 some of us 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. They knew 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, or perhaps 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. You know that deep down inside they know what you know, not the exact details but that you hold a horrible secret.  But they still hope that you have somehow made a mistake, a terrible,terrible mistake.  Perhaps they have not heard you properly, in their personal moment of momentary denial 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. Their eyes ask you the questions that they simply do not know how to begin to ask you out loud. Someone has to go with them, luckily not me. No awkward questions or even more awkward silences.

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. Another case of mistaken identity or the wrong crowd he had got in with.

There had been no conspiracy. No wrong crowd. Not this time.

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 December 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 for them. But they would probably enjoy their Christmas. They would be the lucky ones. I never slept for 3 days, never slept properly for weeks but I did have a Christmas, of sorts.

Like the birth of your child, the laugh of your loved one or the thoughts that make you smile, somethings you never, ever forget.  There are darker, helpless moments when you realise just how insignificant and useless you really are and how little you are able to change.

We never found out who was driving or who was pillion.

We only knew that two families would have a miserable Christmas. Lots of friends of the two families would be full of sadness. This would be a Christmas to remember, but for all the wrong reasons.

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 bosses say to you, ‘be professional’.  But they never tell you about this. Nobody tells you about this but the voices in your head remind you, every year, without fail. It becomes one of the many special annual anniversaries we carry with us.

Like the birthdays and anniversaries of the special people in our lives, we remember.  We always remember.

New broom, same debris.

There are changes afoot at the CTCC with a new line in branding and efforts to promote the new and revised corporate image, ideology and publicised strategies. We may even have a new logo to show how we are moving forward.

The SMT have been the first to strike and they have been re-marketed as the new and improved Force Leadership Team. I think you will agree that FLT rolls off the tongue and far more cutting edge than SMT. This is surely out with the ark. FLT sounds far more strategic and tactical but, as one person put it, it does sound a bit like a new sandwich and free drink offer from Subway.

There has been a bit of a problem with the way in which the way the old SMT got their message across to the masses. You know the ones, those who actually have to be on the streets delivering all of the goodies.

It appears that their message has not been clearly understood. As we are all part of their ‘bigger picture’ it is deemed that we need to be told, yet again, of the aims of the really big plan, what the corporate message is that they are trying to get across and we need to know what our responsibilities are.

The log jam at the top of the CTCC promotional escalator has again been caused by those who have been unfortunate enough to get some ‘lateral development’ instead of the next rung on the golden ladder. They have to be seen to be supporting and promoting the brand so they will need some useful evidence for the next time the escalator moves.

Add this to the ones who have already got their feet onto the golden ladder and who will want to be seen to be decisive, full of innovative and original ideas and all done in a way that is capable of measuring what they decide they need to measure to get the right level of success perception.

As a result the forward movers, the lateral developmenters and the wannabees all vie for that little extra in the career development stakes that will give them the tactical and strategic edge ready in time for when the escalator movement possibilities are in the pipeline. None of this career enhancing evidence is important, of course. What is important, really important,  is delivering the message of how we are hitting our mission statement aims and objectives, the Holy Grail of Policing efforts.  This is more important than retrospective decision making after a glance through the hindsight spectacles. 

At the bottom of the food chain, some of us want to do the stuff that operational officers do, in the real world, without the constant interference of those who see their progression as a means of constantly changing the rules those below them have play by.

It is always necessary, so it seems, to change things to make your mark so you can be seen to be decisive, original and possessing the ability to convince those who do not do the dirty work that your ideas are sound, will provide benefit to the organisation, hit one target or another and support one of the Force’s mission aims. If you can do that you really are holding all the best cards.

The small problem of implementation never really seems to be given as much consideration as the strategy of putting decisions into practice. Such is this thing called leadership.

As the numbers of phantom officers are moved around the imaginary battle fields it is a relatively easy task to achieve success with no effort at all. When the predicted targets are not obtained, the heads must roll and the failure of front-line officers to understand the corporate plan, to know the latest mission statement and the weekly/monthly/quarterly/yearly ongoing revues show that we have hit or missed something or other.

Most of the statistical information that the desk drivers gorge their egos over is supplied by those who are least suited to waste time on providing information for other peoples benefit. They carry a large enough workload without utilising potentially productive time for the unproductive means to someone else’s goal.

This allows for someone in the new leadership ‘team’ to form their own judgements and opinions about the world within their remit by the comfort allowed by being behind a computer terminal dissecting information others have supplied for them to evaluate. From this desktop utopia they can decide who is moving forward and who is lagging behind. Although someone has to finish last, last is never good enough when the final tables are sent out to the respective notice boards.

In the old days, as they say, if a senior officer wanted to know anything he spoke to the sergeants.  They did not need the wide plethora of spreadsheets, multi-coloured pie charts and bar charts to get a finger on the pulse of who did what. The sergeants new what was going on, knew the difference between the workers and shirkers and knew who could deal with anything that took place. Nowadays the sergeants appear to be stuck in a gap between ensuring that statistical information is submitted in time for the next tactical meeting as well as promote downwards the corporate strategy that everyone except the leaders have to implement. Presumably because they are leaders now and not managers.  With our new leaders instead of managers in place, the masses are expected to follow, without questions or conscience. The masses are no longer resources but are followers. Followers of our new band of leaders.

Anyone other than a Constable with any rank is now a leader, no longer just a manager. We have junior leaders, corporate leaders, senior leaders and the senior leadership team. To go with all of these leaders, we have individual, unit, department and Force objectives, missions and targets. We are all on the same side, in the same team working towards the really big plan.

It would be nice if they kept the same kit for a few seasons instead of changing it every few months.

Learning curve.

As with life, you learn by your mistakes.

Sometimes the lesson is short, sweet and provides only a minor deviation from the rest of the ills that life throws into your face. Sometimes, some other times, the lesson comes on a bit of a sudden and sharp curve with a bit of a kick in the proverbials.

The next time you stop a car to speak to the driver and you decide to place them into your car, for a bit of a chat, make sure you take the keys out or you could be in for a bit of a shock and be the Liam Buttle of some good natured piss taking.

“Attention all units, one of our cars is missing. “

What credit crunch ?

The Ministry of Justice has been accused of wasting a “colossal” amount of taxpayers’ money after spending more than £130 million refurbishing an old office block for its new headquarters.  This is the cost of the project to create a new home for Justice Secretary Jack Straw and his staff.

From the outside, the Ministry of Justice offices look no different from when the Home Office moved out of the same building in 2005.  But before the Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary Jack Straw took residence three months ago, extensive modifications were made inside the structure.

The former open air car park in a central courtyard was given a high-level glass roof to form an atrium with meeting spaces and a canteen. The headquarters also boast an outdoor picnic area with contemporary hardwood furniture.

Harry Fletcher assistant general secretary of the probation union NAPO, condemned the expense.  “This is a colossal waste of taxpayers’ money. This is an extraordinary sense of priorities,” he said.

“At the same time as they are spending a huge amount of money on refurbishing this building, they are about to cut the probation budget by £120m and shed 3,000 prison jobs, all of which will lead to more reoffending and more victims.

“Lavish refurbishment seems more important to ministers than reducing crime.”

In October this year leaked documents revealed secret plans to cut 10,000 jobs over the next three years at the Ministry of Justice and its agencies.

Official documents indicated that 3,000 jobs would go from the Prison Service, more than 3,100 in the courts and more than 1,300 in probation.

“The new headquarters brings together staff from several sites across London and enables the organisation to work much more efficiently,” he said.

“Where possible office furniture has been reused but where necessary furniture has been replaced for logistical reasons.”

Integrated art had been included in the project as recommended by guidelines on better public buildings, he added.

The Ministry of Justice’s offices were designed by architect Sir Basil Spence and opened in 1976. When occupied by the Home Office it was known as 50 Queen Anne’s Gate. It has now been renamed 102 Petty France on reopening.

The Home Office’s new building in nearby Marsham Street, which houses 3,000 staff including some Ministry of Justice workers, cost £311 million to build from scratch.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said the “rationalisation” of its estate would bring “substantial future savings”.

I expect a letter of thanks from Mr Straw anyday now, as should every tax payer in the country.  

With all the forced budget cuts at the CTCC because of the state of the economy I find I am unable to get a seat at the money trough where all the seats are taken by MP’s and committees who make decisions to ‘invest’ huge amounts of taxpayers money whilst expecting everyone else to put up with the constant, and I mean constant, reasons why we should expect reductions in just about everything connected with the provision of public services. From schools, local services like refuse collection and libraries, care for the elderly, hospital and fire services, armed forces support, prison service and the Police.

If I have missed any worthy causes out then I apologise.

But in real terms they will tell you that they are investing more than ever before on everything, or so the endless and patronising political promotion statements go.

Pensioner P.

Pensioner P lives alone. Pensioner P’s wife died several years ago. They have no children. He is almost alone but states he is alright and not as bad off as some others. He does not want to go into a care home as this is his life.

Pensioner P has been burgled 5 times in less than one year.

Pensioner P has absolutely nothing of any value to steal yet, because he is an easy target, he is still visited by scum who will steal what little he has.

If Pensioner P  were a younger man he would sort the scum out.

If Pensioner P was a younger man the scum would almost certainly not visit him. He would then be too hard a target, not east to take advantage of.

The scum prefer those who cannot easily defend themselves, cannot see or hear properly and those who are likely to be judged as being a little unreliable if ever they got to court. The scum prefer easy and soft targets. Pensioner P will not be a reliable witness for the CPS unless there is more damning and reliable evidence.

The home help of pensioner P has bought him another small stove so he can warm his soup, toast his bread and warm his hands. He has a new mattress for his bed. He even had new slippers recently. She does as much as she can and more than she should, because she is someone who cares about Pensioner P.  He has contributed in more than enough ways since he was 14 years of age, when most modern kids were at school he was working and earning a few pounds for his mum. He joined the Armed Forces when he was 16 years old man and spent most of his life travelling around the world. He felt sorry for his mum. His father was killed in the great war.

He passes the time with the postman, when ever he gets mail. They have a chat over a cuppa, especially when it rains. 

Pensioner P does not complain.

Most of the mail received by Pensioner P wants him to have car insurance for a car he doesn’t have, offers him finance for holidays he doesn’t want or loans for the little extra something he cannot use. He has been entered into competitions he does not understand and did not ask to be entered into. Someone must know who he is to get all this post, after all how do they know his name and address ?

Pensioner P still wears his war medals underneath his jumper and keeps his beret rolled up under the button down lapel on his threadbare jacket.

Pensioner P  is still a proud man, even though he is old, frail and weak. He has a stick that he believes will protect him but he cannot even lift it let alone swing it around. 

Not many people look  out for Pensioner P.

Pensioner P has several cats. He leaves a window open for them, so they can come and go as they please, especially if it is cold or wet and because he cares. He is a gentle man who has seen more than I will ever see in my life.

The cats are not the only ones who come and go through the open windows.

Who will look out for Pensioner P ?