Sunday, 31 January 2010

And a Happy New Year to all.

Well of course it's long gone now but I felt that it was about time that I said Happy New Year to all my readers.

I'm sorry but things have been a little busy what with New Year and the good fun weather and all that sort of stuff but it brings to mind an interesting thought about just how UNPREPARED the UK really is to deal with adverse weather conditions.

I remember last winter (you know, the coldest one the UK had seen for 20 years) when the Highways Authority said that it was "well prepared" for winter and then promptly the entire UK seemed to run out of road grit (that horrible stuff they put on the roads to stop them freezing up) and grit had to be purchased from Germany or somewhere like that.
The roads stopped up, people were stranded on motorways for hours at a time and no one could even get a bus to them to get them out of their cars...
People sit in cars freezing because they've got nothing prepared for themselves...

Good god people, if you are going out and there is a possibility of adverse weather (and get real, it's Europe, it happens all the time, rain, wind, floods, snow, etc etc) then you should be prepared. Perhaps that means a couple of blankets in the boot, a couple of cans of those self warming meals (you'll find them in Tesco or a camping shop) and a couple of sealed bottles of water (which keep for a longtime unlike refilling bottles which don't keep for as long).

But what shocked me more was just how unprepared we were, the police. We had very few 4WD vehicles available to us and even fewer people who were allowed to drive them. The 4WD vehicles that we did have didn't have sirens so couldn't be used to respond to anything or get around other traffic etc.. I complained to my supervisors but of course it falls on deaf ears. Guess what? It all happened again.

I think that we should all wake up, the weather is NOT predictable and it has a nasty habit of doing what it likes and when it likes. As such we should be prepared, no matter what the cost - because people's lives are at stake.

Oh well, see what happens next winter!

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

The season of good-will

So with the festive season comes a fair amount of good-will, generally combined with the Christmas Drink-Drive campaigns.

So it brings to mind a few people that I stopped on the roads on Christmas eve 2007...

One guy was driving through a little country village way too fast, I wasn't in a position to get him for speeding but figured that he could be educated the hard way. I stopped the car and told him that I'd stopped him because of the excessive speed that he was travelling at through the last village. (It was about 6pm so it was quite dark of course and he hadn't seen me behind him).

The guy immediately protested and I explained that because it was Christmas I wasn't going to give him a ticket for speeding, just a bit of a friendly warning (this is while he's standing beside the car shivering as I talk to him - I'm cold as well but don't let it show) and I explain that as I had stopped him for a moving traffic offence I was also going to require him to provide me with a specimen of breath (to perform a roadside breath test) to which the guy looked a little shocked so I explained that as it was Christmas eve every car stopped was being breath tested anyway...

Of course the breath test was negative (no alcohol in his breath) but I dragged out our meeting a little longer by explaining why I didn't want him speeding around on Christmas Eve or any other evening and after spending a good 10 or more minutes with the driver I said to him "If you had been doing the proper speed through the village of ******* I wouldn't have wasted 10 minutes of your time - it just goes to show that speeding will end up with you losing more time than if you'd been driving properly in the first place..." to which the guy nodded and smiled, wished me a merry christmas and he went on his way a little more sedately...

I don't know exactly how that driver felt with how he was treated by Southernshire Constabulary on that evening - what I do know is that I might have prevented another accident which would destroy someones Christmas entirely and I may have saved a life.. I did the nicest thing possible and gave the guy a warning for his speed instead of points on his licence and a large loss of money.. I sometimes wonder if it had the desired effect over the longer term or just that one instance but by and large it made ME feel better being as it was Christmas.

I hope that you have ALL have a wonderful, safe, and Merry Christmas and that you will all remain safe and have a Fantastic New Year.. Stay away from the roads if you are drinking, enjoy the time you have with your family and try not to create another time consuming domestic dispute, if you feel like arguing with your partner then go for a walk for 20 minutes then go back and talk with a level head.

Stay Safe.

Happy New Year!

Monday, 14 December 2009

And onwards and upwards with Holiday Cheer... etc, et-al.

So while I'm off on my annual vacation, sunning it up in much warmer climes I thought I'd pop in to an internet cafe, see if there was any publisher emails saying hey, write a book about something weird for us etc, and see if there were any comments (I had a few to publish and a few to delete)...

But as I'm off for several more weeks I figured I'd take this opportunity to say... (and stuff those who think it's inappropriate because I don't give a damn!)


HO! HO! HO! (damnit)

(What do you think of my Santa suit? Sadly it's not stab proof (or water proof))


Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Quick, someone's altered the Matrix!!!

Tank: - "OPERATOR"
Neo: - "Tank, someone's altered the Matrix... find us an exit............ and quickly..................>"

I am 100% positive we've seen this and heard this before...

Ok, so it's nothing new. People get promoted on coming up with hairbrained schemes like this though.. so let's let them "think-tank" it out and come up with the schemes.

You can see it happening anyway, you can SEE that the Home Office and Central Govt are slowly FORCING it to happen. Eventually they WILL win.

At the present you can see it happening because slowly but surely the government is squeezing the budgets of ALL forces. By 2010 when a new government comes in to power it's hardly likely to change a great deal as the money has to be found somewhere to pay for everything else the government has done (like publically funding the banks - sod the banks, let them sack their over paid management and put them in receivership like every other poorly run and top heavy business - why should I be paying for a dead bank?)

Anyway, so government starts tightening the purse strings. Bordering forces start sharing resources such as Southernshire sharing a helicopter with Ruralshire etc.. or Ruralshire sharing their Roads Policing Unit with MoreRuralshire or similar..

Eventually what happens is that because we've shared so many resources already - in an effort to save another 1 million pounds or 5 million pounds or whatever then we might as well bloody well merge because we can save another £20M. What will happen then is that the forces will merge and the govt will slash that 20M off the budget anyway....

Personally speaking I think we have a good point here:

Too many police forces.
Too much beaurocracy.
Too many inconsistencies between neighbouring forces.
Not enough information sharing between forces.
Inconsistency in dealing with or managing offenders.

etc, etc... you could keep going.

So let's merge. Who cares anyway? It's only the BOSSES who will become superfluous when the forces Merge who care.. the rest of us will still have the same streets to patrol as we did the day before.

I propose that we merge in to the following force areas:

North Wales
South Wales
Northern (from Hull up to the Scottish borders)
Eastern (from the M1 across)
Western (from M1 across to the Welsh borders)
Metropolitan (everything within and INCLUDING the M25 (because no one else wants a big circular car park))
South Western (from Wiltshire/Hampshire borders across and all the way down)
South Eastern (from Wiltshire/Hampshire borders across)

The Eastern and Western forces would go as far south as the M4. Everything below that would be either SW or SE forces.

Now basically I've given this a lot of thought. I've managed to divde the country in to 8 (yep, read it and weep Mr ACPO man - I beat your 9 force idea) force areas which in my reckoning will save around about a billion pounds a year. So does this make me ACPO material or what?

The way I see it - it is quite easy. The Home Office simply gets a map of the UK and draws lines on it.. says to the forces "right, here's where the dividing lines are.. now get organised.. Staff/Officers on the wrong side of dividing lines will go to other forces etc but hey.. they are still employed! Or perhaps the dividing lines could be run down a county boundary but hey, let's make it easy, a straight line!

There is too much discussion and crapping on about this getting done and they need to just DO IT and get it over with. For those of us on the street it won't matter on iota as we will still be going out catching criminals the day after it all comes in to effect.

Friday, 20 November 2009

PC dies.

The body of a man found after a bridge collapsed over a flooded river is Pc Bill Barker, police have confirmed.

Pc Barker, 44, was directing motorists off the bridge in Workington "saving lives" when it caved in as Cumbria was hit by record rainfall, police said.

Gordon Brown called Pc Barker "very heroic" and the Queen said she was "deeply concerned" about the flooding.

Cumbria Assistant Chief Constable Jerry Graham said both the flooding and the incident involving Pc Barker had left him "devastated".

He said the constable, a father of four whose 45th birthday would have been on Saturday, was a roads policing officer in Workington.

His body was found on a beach in Allonby, almost 10 miles up the coast.

Pc Barker's wife Hazel said her husband was "my best friend, my forever friend, and an amazing dad".

** Our hearts and minds go out to those who are suffering at the loss of a Colleague, a friend, a loved one, most importantly to his 4 children now without a much loved father **

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Watching you watching me (uh-huh)

So generally speaking it's rare that I do constant obs, it's something that the probationers tend to do because either they can't drive around on blues & twos or they are the ones who are just sent to all of these sorts of things, it's constants or scene guards.. so today my topic is constants.

When police detain a person under S136 of the Mental Health Act we are obliged to take that person to a "place of safety". Unfortunately however if they've even sniffed some alcohol within the last 24 hours then no hospital (read hospital for people being treated under the MHA) will touch them and they simply repeat time and time again that it's "OUR" problem. (OH yeah, as Alcohol is a major depressant you can GUESS what the likelihood is that our 136's HAVEN'T been drinking, it's such a slim chance that it's really not funny).

(I don't see how it IS our problem as WE aren't a Hospital!!)

So when you detain someone S136 the first thing you hope is that they haven't been drinking (so sometimes they are even breath tested) but if they have you write off the rest of your shift doing constat obs on this person.

Most Custody Sgts won't allow a 136 in their cell block without a PC doing constant observations on this person. Now this brings to mind the following thoughts:

This person has been searched on ENTRY to custody and all items that could be use to harm themselves or us is removed from everyone. The person is also checked with a metal detector and a few other things yet STILL.. despite no way of doing anything and the available camera cell I'm still stuck on constants.

I sit for 8 hours of my shift twiddling my thumbs, reading a magazine, playing with the internet over my phone and WATCHING a person who's just spent the last 7 hours 45 minutes sleeping! Great use of Police time.. and no wonder my crimes on my account aren't being investigated.

I beg to know why this person who needs help for mental health problems is deemed unfit to be taken a hospital if they've had a drink. I also beg to know just how a CELL BLOCK is seen as a SAFE PLACE for someone who may have mental health issues, surely the hospital is far better equipped to help them and besides that the mental health assessment team then takes 10 - 20 hours to turn up to assess the person in Custody.

It just takes the piss.


Police Get 93-Page Guide To Cycling
ACPO consider new 2-volume, 93 page, manual to tell officers how to ride a bike...

I agree wholeheartedly with the Taxpayers Alliance.

THIS should not be allowed to happen full stop. What a waste of all our money!

Wake up ACPO. You think up all these daft things, do you think that the rank and file PC is a toddler or what?
Even Boris Johnson can cycle himself around without a 93 page guide!!!!!!!