Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Police Numbers "Record High" except on my district.

This is a post in response to this story on the Police Oracle website;
Police numbers reach Record Levels Yay! But where are they?

I think that it's interesting to see posts like the above on the Police Oracle website. Specifically considering that a lot of forces have a long term freeze on recruiting (ours has, so have a few others according to comments left on this very blog!!). I know that my force loses quite a few officers a year due to natural wastage/retirements etc.. as such with a freeze on recruiting our officer levels are dropping again!!

Now I see that apparently we've got loads more police running around.. But no where near us.
So perhaps with budgets being cut everywhere and more and more red-tape/paperwork those extra police officers and even PCSOs are now tied to a desk or seconded to some useless shiny arse team or department as well..

I'd really like to know what the public think of the current levels of officer numbers v the current levels of actual officers on the street v the current levels of officers seconded to stupid ineffectual teams.

I think I will ask my local MP (if he's not too busy fiddling the expenses system) what he proposes to do in my division to even up the numbers! And if he doesn't do anything I might just write to the Health and Safety Executive to ask them how the current levels of policing in my district are "SAFE" for anyone, officers or the public!!

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Detection figures

Well after the last post I made I thought I'd better do some research..
So I went to see the performance people..

No. Detections aren't going anywhere. They are still being used and abused to monitor the performance of the police in our Farce.


Bunch of [insert expletive of your choice here]

Friday, 17 July 2009

Targets? Gone?

Ok so I read other blogs and realise that perhaps I've been out of the loop this week...

Detection Targets are being scrapped??? WTF? Oh, some of my learned colleagues and others have written about this so this is certainly nothing new.. but it is new to me!!!
After all - we have a "detections policy". Detection Targets still appear to be in place in my farce..

We also have "PERFORMANCE MANAGERS" who are generally Sgts and above who are there to make sure we "PERFORM". OMG it just winds me up.. I perform just fine without you counting how many HOME OFFICE APPROVED DETECTIONS I have got this month thank you! And if we don't have Detection Targets to worry about then those Sgts etc may have to actually go back out on to the street.

In this job you can go out every day and drag in all the bad people off the streets, charge etc... and you can do that all day every day and NEVER be thanked by any of the Performance Managers, or by the public, or by anyone else..
Yet if you fail to reach your 'target figure' for the month then you soon find out because the big boss wants to talk to you as soon as you bat an eyelid.

Anyway, I was reading the blog from Sam at Monday Books, it's interesting, it has a great point of view on things - and has some more words of wisdom from the great Inspector Gadget, and of course, as you would expect it's well researched...

As stated by the Inspector - Public Satisfaction isn't going to work when there are gatso's and speed camera vans, and increase of fines for seatbelts or anything else the public doesn't like, or when the courts let the scumbag thief or burglar back out on to the streets... it all just makes the Police look bad and the public blame us as we are the ones they see as responsible.

So back to the point....... if we now don't have to worry about DETECTIONS then can I get back to just arresting the people who NEED to be arrested instead of prosecuting an 11 year old for stealing £1.18 pence worth of items from the local Co Op? (it's a detectable crime - please forgive me kiddo!)

Hmmm, so now I can go out and attempt to be proactive then?

I doubt it as I'll still be ringing my victims of crime to update them. Being deployed to numerous accidents and non-crime domestics then doing all the paperwork for those (check here in the State of Anarchy II post) and then I'll be catching up on trying to actually investigate some of the other dozen or so crimes on my computer account.. Oh yeah, and making up 2 files from the last two people I charged, doing a full file upgrade for the numpty who pleaded "not guilty" at court because he thinks he can get away with it when the CCTV is clear as a bell and shows him without a doubt!
Argggh! When will it end?

Can we not just get on with our job for once and let them hire secretaries to take care of the paperwork, publicity managers to get us good street cred and endear us to the public and a common sense merchant to get rid of the senior management waffle and take us back to the principles of policing - and actually get to patrol the streets.

Sunday, 12 July 2009


Just a completely off-topic type post while I am enjoying a rare day off..

I find it interesting how when you ring people up and you are going to visit someone you haven't visited before (at their house etc) and you explain that all you need is a postcode and street number because you have a satellite navigation device...

...they still want to explain exactly how to get there, turn by turn.

I just thought it was something quite novel. I've noticed it a few times... (Don't get me wrong, it's nice that people still explain how to get to their houses - just an interesting thing of note.)

Friday, 10 July 2009

Roadblocks - what's the point in arguing with me about it?

I just love going to block off the road and deliberately inconvenience everyone who uses that road by telling them to take another way home because [insert inane reason here].

Actually no. I loathe blocking off roads. Specially big / busy ones because to be honest I don't like having every second motorist abuse the living crap out of me or people come up and tell me I'm some jumped up little N*zi or something like that. I hate it. But in the interests of the safety of the public at large and more importantly the safety of my colleagues kneeling in the middle of the road attempting to preserve the life of a knocked down pedestrian I will gladly block ANY road for as long as is necessary no matter how much of an inconvenience it is...

Why do the motorists using the road 'think' that I have blocked off the road? I don't know to be perfectly honest but I think they are 110% convinced I've done it to personally spite THEM! and to personally inconvenience THEM! and of course no one else, it is all about them!

None too long back I raced out on a Friday late shift at about 4 minutes past the starting point of my shift and about 30 minutes after peak hour had set in... I knew before I left the station that I wasn't the only unit being deployed but it was only lates turning out, day shift was going off duty. I know that the area car was going out along the most direct route to the accident scene. I yelled at the area car driver that I'd turn up on the other side of the accident and block the road. I then turned out and took the long drive on blues to the far side of the accident (it's about another 5 - 10 miles to get around all-be-it on bigger roads).

I arrived at the village where I needed to block the road. I know the area car had arrived at the scene and called "all services" which means that it's likely to be a Fatal RTI. A MoP had been hit by something fairly big and was dying in the middle of the road in the next village along.. so I prepared for a long wait and deployed what little resources I had available to me to assist with my roadblock. This involved a probationer and a local PCSO who just happened to be on my side of the accident scene and who came up to help out knowing that I would need it on arrival.

So I had set up my roadblock at the main intersection leaving the village (this is a large village - almost a small town) and I was re-directing traffic back up through another road in the village and back on to the main A road which runs around the back and which will get everyone where they need to go... But of course every second driver stops in the MIDDLE of the intersection to say "I just need to get through...." and they get told politely to drive on as they can't stop there... I've got a probationer with me who walks out and tells them to move then starts answering their questions thus exacerbating the problem. So after a few words of advice the the probationer stands back and waves people through then yells at the ones stopping and tells them to stop up the road and walk back. I eventually send them to walk up the lines of stopped traffic and start telling people that they will be diverted.

Some smart drivers think they can go through the little housing estate and come out half a mile behind me through the roadblock.. needless to say I've thought of that and I've got the local PCSO standing there sending them all back up to me where I smile as I let them back out in to the traffic mayhem to work it out again. The only people who get through the roadblock are those who can PROVE they live in the bit of the road I can see.. so as such live within the first half a mile of the closed road - because after that is a bit of open road before the next village and I'm not letting anyone up there at all.

Then we've got one numpty in a big black SUV (I think it was a stupid Porsche thing) who stops in the middle of the junction and starts to get out of his vehicle and of course brings all 4 roads to a halt!!! My blood pressure begins to rise as does the stress level as everyone tries to drive around him (they did this because the stupid SUV was blocking their view of the police officer directing traffic so they started to move by themselves because they didn't think it would hurt of course).

I manage to make him move a few feet and then he stops and begins abusing me saying "I only live just up there..>" pointing of course through my roadblock.

I very politely say "The road is closed sir. Sorry but you will need to move your vehicle" to which I receive a load of verbal abuse and the same "But I only live just up there..>" with the same pointing motion.

After about the third repeat of his statement and pointing and abuse I walk over to him leaving the probby to direct some traffic (I worry though he's not done that before on a junction/road THIS busy). I walk up to numpty and say "Just where is 'just up there'?" and the numpty starts off by saying "just up there" with nothing further than that! (Well that helped a lot didn't it..)

So with my stress levels rising I say "Where is 'just up there'?" (followed immediately by) "and please be a little more specific, 100 yards, half a mile, 4 miles?" and I try like hell not to sound overly sarcastic. He tells me it's "just the other side of the roundabout" with his very impertinent and impatient tone as he sits in this big shiny poor excuse for a vehicle - I know that the roundabout is the OTHER SIDE of the RTI and it's also quite a number of miles off.. So I remain as calm as I can while at this point about every third car is honking their horn and becoming more and more irate and I just want this idiot to leave... I've now got a queue of around 300 cars on the 4 roads coming to this junction!
I say "That's the other side of the blockage sir, you will have to drive around another way.." and he abuses me a bit more and says he will drive through. He then starts off by asking how to get around so I asked how long he'd lived there (apparently only 25 years and he didn't know another road home - idiot). By this point I've got a bit pissed off with his attitude, his abuse, and his disregard for anything other than himself, oh and of course his insistence that he be allowed through my roadblock which was obviously there just to annoy him, of course with lots of cars now blocking up everywhere that I can see I want him moved and say something vaguely along the lines of "Sir, I am sure that the person laying in the middle of the road dying would appreciate your driving through this road block and past him as he takes his last breath in the middle of the road... Drive on, follow the traffic and move out of the intersection.. Good day sir."

(While I was majorly pissed off I was of course still polite!)
I waited weeks to be hauled in to the Inspectors office for a chat about this incident but strangely it didn't happen.

Oh yeah, traffic turned up after a long while and while some of their units went to the accident scene another came and took over from me - thankfully!! and I went off and stood somewhere quiet for a few minutes just to calm down.

Of course I don't block off roads for the fun of it. It is ridiculous but a lot of motorists seem to feel that it's done just to annoy and inconvenience them. Of course it's not. We do it for YOUR safety and OUR safety. We know how much it inconveniences you so we don't like to do it for longer than is needed but please, have some patience, courtesy, and just keep moving in the direction you are being waved. Please, DO NOT block up the intersection to ask if the road is closed "OF COURSE IT IS CLOSED, THAT'S WHY I AM HERE!!!" And NEVER try to cut through a residential street to come out the other side of a police roadblock. We can't be everywhere but YOU could kill someone by doing that, the road is blocked for a VERY GOOD REASON and sometimes I cannot tell you why that is but believe me when I say it's best if you don't know right at that time...

It was the posts by various and sundry about Cordons that made me think of this particular roadblock. It's frustrating for all, remember however that for the one person standing in the middle of the intersection in a yellow jacket it's even more frustrating when you stop and stuff it all up or vent your frustrations on him/her - we are just trying to do our job as well so please just drive on, slowly and safely because of course everyone else is frustrated and confused as well...

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Why, oh why...?

Why have I created this blog?
Am I that dissatisfied with my job?
If I am so dissatisfied why don't I quit? (this one is just for Pete (read the comments of the last post dear readers!))

I get a great deal of satisfaction from my job. It's still is the best job in the world. It is also the worst job in the world. After all, where do you get to drive fast cars with blue lights and sirens.. but then you have to leave the accident scene and visit a family and tell them their loved one is not coming home?
Where do you get to go out and arrest really bad people and take them off the streets out of circulation of the general public so that they can sleep safely in their beds at night? But on the other hand you have to spend 16 hours (on a 9 hour shift?) putting together the file so that it can go to court at 0930 in the morning!!

For me, I'm a straight forward kind of person. I am plain spoken and tell it like it is. When I think the system is wrong I tell my colleagues and supervisors, but even they do not have the power to change things that the Home Office put in place. The only people who do are the voting public who can take what they learn to their member of parliament and have the system changed for if they don't learn of the wrongs then they cannot be righted.

The modern British Police are not so very much removed from the ideals put in place by Sir Robert Peel so very long ago:-

  1. The basic mission for which the police exist is to prevent crime and disorder.
  2. The ability of the police to perform their duties is dependent upon public approval of police actions.
  3. Police must secure the willing co-operation of the public in voluntary observance of the law to be able to secure and maintain the respect of the public.
  4. The degree of co-operation of the public that can be secured diminishes proportionately to the necessity of the use of physical force.
  5. Police seek and preserve public favour not by catering to public opinion but by constantly demonstrating absolute impartial service to the law.
  6. Police use physical force to the extent necessary to secure observance of the law or to restore order only when the exercise of persuasion, advice and warning is found to be insufficient.
  7. Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence
  8. Police should always direct their action strictly towards their functions and never appear to usurp the powers of the judiciary.
  9. The test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with it.

The above 9 principles of Policing were the cornerstone of the British Police. So where did we go so wrong? We allowed MANAGERS and shiny arses to take control of the police. To Bureaucratize it. To govern it. To control it and put it under the control of politicians who only want to win votes!

1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 7 are all still pretty much as they should be.
5 is completely wrong as the governing bodies set targets for police to achieve so instead of remaining impartial we chase targets which is completely wrong...
8 is still as it should be however the judiciary are also being interfered with by government, as such they are becoming ineffectual and a joke.
9 is the one that gets to me the very most.. Why are we chasing targets? Just let us go out and arrest the bad guys and put them before a just, effectual and efficient judiciary who can give appropriate sentences for appropriate crimes...

To answer the first three questions at the very top of this post..

Yes, I love my job...

But grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference;
and for the other things I can but blog!

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Stats yet again!

So this time the Home Office has been accused of manipulating the stats which show how much time we ACTUALLY spend out policing the streets instead of doing Home Office paperwork.

I'll tell you straight forward, right now.. Home Office Stats usually are bound to be wrong..

For instance. If I stop you on the street at 2am and ask you what you are doing near an industrial building (and you say walking the dog and then it comes trotting out of the undergrowth) I have to fill in a form (great use of police time there when there is no crime!)
So I duly fill in my form with 42 odd questions on it, several of which are related to YOUR ETHNICITY. What the F*&K has your ethnicity got to do with me or anyone else?

I first have to select your IC code which says what "I" think your ethnicity is. Who am I to be able to say that. After all, what I say is Asian is apparently Oriental, etc.. odd really.

I then have to ask you to define your own ethnicity.. Personally I find this demeaning and belittling to ask people and I always apologise for it. If I can possibly avoid asking you your own ethnicity I will do so. Why should I ask? It makes no difference at all as to how I deal with you as a criminal, or a victim of crime... These are called the 16+1 codes and believe me when I've had a lot of people who didn't understand what the hell I was on about when I asked them to define their own ethnicity.

I will then ask you what your Nationality is!! Holy Crap, it's the Spanish Inquisition!!!!
You haven't committed any crime, you were walking your dog right?? You aren't even suspected of a crime.

So why do we ask all these questions?
To add to H.O. statistics on how many people are stopped and of what ethnicity they are. Hmmm.... such a great topic I could start here which would open a can of worms like you wouldn't believe!!

As for me - I refuse to define my ethnicity. After all. Why should I? It's got nothing to do with ANYONE other than ME! - I do NOT like the option of "Not Stated" as it sounds wishy-washy, tell the police officer to write that you "refuse to define".

Tomorrow I'm going to write about the new possible Pay Freeze on Police, Nurses and Teachers... stay tuned...

Friday, 3 July 2009

Heat Stroke & Body Armour

Just a quick intermission break post. I put this as a comment on Inspector Gadgets blog

Just a tip for anyone reading through all the comments. Don’t drink ICE COLD water when the temperature is way up high (30’s) as it will only shock your body.. The water should be cool but not ice cold.

And be sure to stay out of the sun if you can. If you are directing traffic in the sun you should have someone come and replace you after 30 – 45 minutes, if they say they cannot have you replaced then you run a VERY, VERY high risk of getting Heat Stroke (Which can KILL!)

Heat Stoke is caused by the body not being able to dissipate heat fast enough. Of course wearing body armour and a stupid yellow thing standing in the sun works wonders for the body and it's efficient cooling systems! Either take off your body armour and direct traffic or keep drinking LOTS of fluids, attempt to stand in the shade..
Information about Heat Stroke can be found here:


Or if you’d prefer the NHS word on it:


It’s serious. So take care out there..

Thursday, 2 July 2009

A little experiment for you to try.

Rightio, now for a little bit of fun... sad that this is for kicks huh~?

Of course we all work in horrible buildings. Police stations were built long ago. They were not fit for purpose when they were built, nor are they now. They are old, poorly designed, have no cross ventilation or air conditioning or even fans. We need purpose built police stations with proper offices, proper lighting, proper ventilation and purpose designed and built!

What I'd like to know is......

What temperature is it in your police station (versus outside temp)?

While we are at it... Do you have air-con anywhere in the police station?

I find it interesting that if our buildings were private business premises we would be given air-con or at least some form of air circulation equipment... or we could walk out and refuse to work in them due to health and safety issues. But of course not for us!

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Where ARE all the police?

Well it may come as a surprise, it may not.

I work as a response officer. I've seen my shift butchered for just about everything.. the area we cover used to have shifts of about 15 or more officers and today barely has 5 if we are very lucky!!

Nationwide though....
Ok, we've got a bunch of cops off on sick. A bunch on annual leave. A bunch on maternity leave. Oh yeah, let's not forget the bunch on "light duties" because they apparently have stubbed their toe or are frightened to work nights or they have some issue around childcare or something that apparently precludes them from doing real police work.
You'd think that'd be about it wouldn't you? That PROBABLY makes up for around 15-20% of cops who aren't on the streets... This is normal. It's accounted for (mostly) and it's a part of operating ANY business/organisation in Britain today.

Then you get the next bit..
You've got PC's abstracted from shift to cover Gaoler positions. We, like most other forces in the country have CIVILIANISED many positions, this is one of them... so WHY are PC's covering for Gaolers? Then you've got PC's covering for front desk staff in the station! Again, another Civvie position.. so why is a warranted officer covering that?
The above officers who aren't on shift, aren't deployable, aren't available for jobs are NOT an abstraction from shift strength (so apparently we don't need more people on the street on a Friday late shift???)

Add to the above the officer out doing a half day course that she asked for 18 months before. She's not abstracted either. But she isn't deployable!
And perhaps the other officer with a bail return.

Oh, we've now got 1, maybe 2 officers available for jobs... come the first RTI with anything complicated and we are all stuffed.

Oh yeah, that's not what we were discussing though.

So the rest of the officers.. considering that we've got more police in this country than ever before in the history of policing.

Where are they?

You guessed it.
They'll be sitting in some cushy little office somewhere adding notes to your case files telling you how you did something wrong, or telling you to go and do something because THEIR department doesn't have the time to do it (or simply don't want to leave their air conditioned office to do it).. or tasking you to do other complete loads of nonsense. And generally just creating more work and more confusion for everyone (empire building, it's great isn't it?)

And we've got the OTHER initiatives which are created thanks to the Home Office saying "Let's create this and it'll make the police more efficient because there aren't enough police on the streets!!!" Like F*&k, we aren't on the streets because of the mountains of paperwork created by stupid empire building wankers!

Here's one... like bringing back Beat officers so they can sit in their office and ignore the radio.. then get up, drive through where you are struggling as a lone officer directing traffic at a busy 4 way intersection on their way to a VERY IMPORTANT MEETING (thus why they couldn't help you). Most other countries that I've visited have only ONE type of police officer.. they are out on the streets no matter what!

Oh yeah, there are millions of these. I could name dozens of little things that were invented in just the last 3 or 4 years which have taken front line police officers off the front line!

Why can't we just have POLICE. All police can be deployed to a job, no matter what you are doing unless you are busy in custody. WHY do we need a specific officer to "apparently" walk along your streets? I'll tell you what the ONLY officer who walks along MY street is a Community Support Officer!!! I've NEVER seen the police in my street otherwise.. (Despite calling them to the louts down the road who never seem to quit being noisy).

I'm appalled by it all. I pay my tax and I say we should have less bureaucracy and more police back out on the streets, doing things that are useful and right.

Oh it just pisses me right off! I could rant for days on this subject... and of course I could dig up figures if I had to.. actual proper percentages for where the police are and why they aren't on the streets but hey.. I'm sure you can use your imagination and picture the shiny arses writing manuals and printing out guidelines on how the real police should do their job!