Friday, 25 September 2009

Coning and Signing...

So when I arrive at an RTI the first thing I've got to take in to account is my own safety.. I stop my car at a pre-set and pre-specified distance away from the accident scene, this is for my own safety and yours if you are standing near your car in the lane of a live dual carriageway..
I then put on my yellow jacket and try to get out of the car without getting knocked down by the next car to come along and not see the shiny stripy police car covered in flashing blue & red lights that's entirely blocking a lane... and they swerve out of the way (despite having had well over 200 metres to change lanes based on the line of visibility in front of them)..

First things first, IS ANYONE INJURED? DOES ANYONE NEED AN AMBULANCE? check that, if nothing serious I start bunging out traffic cones around the scene of my accident whilst calling the control room for an Ambulance etc.. Reason for this is so that no one else becomes a needless casualty, specially me because I can't help anyone if I'm creamed by some ones Ford Galaxy or similar.

It's a dual carriageway so I have 6 - 8 cones to set out a 100 metre taper.. so I walk off to a 100 metre distance and start putting out cones from the edge of the carriageway to the line at the middle of the two lanes then the last cone or two between my car and the accident scene so that the fire truck or ambulance have a sterile area to pull in to..

What amazes me is that STILL even with a police car blocking a lane 50 metres from the accident (generally) and 100 metres of cones behind that and a clear view of the police car and cones for 100+ metres behind the accident and signs saying "POLICE SLOW" or "POLICE ACCIDENT" out another 50 - 100 metres behind this people STILL wait until the very last minute to merge out in to the other lane causing everyone else to brake hard or take evasive action, or for me to look up and think "OH CRAP" because running through my mind is the fact that someone is going to plough through all my cones, then my car, then me................. see a POLICE sign??? Please SLOW DOWN and LOOK at what is going on!!

WHY don't people read the road a little further than 50 metres in front of their bonnet?

Then when being waved out by another police officer they for some reason decide that means they should just STOP in the MIDDLE of the road bringing EVERYTHING to a halt. OMG how dangerous is that? I've seen it on so many occasions now that it scares me... even when passing through other counties I've been stuck behind someone who decided to do that..

Is it that when the blue lights flash drivers suddenly lose the ability to think? I don't think so because 99% of drivers do just fine and pass around the accident (rubbernecking as they go mostly) and then carry on in their daily lives.. but 1% seem to just lose the ability to pass by without scaring the life out of everyone standing inside of the cones.

Please, DON'T RUBBERNECK, Please MERGE OUT SOONER, Please, Please, Please, DO TAKE NOTICE OF WHAT IS GOING ON.. read the road, it's simpler.

I know however that even with all the precautions it's still one of the most dangerous places for me to be, or anyone else to be.. so for those IN AN ACCIDENT on any road, but most importantly on a dual carriageway, if you CAN get out of your car get out on the NEARSIDE closest to the grass on the side of the road and then STAND BACK AWAY FROM THE CARRIAGEWAY AND THE WRECKAGE!!
I had one person at an accident once say they were going to stay at the side of the car (nearest the LIVE CARRIAGEWAY) because of the animals in the car.. WHAT? NO.. MOVE AWAY FROM THE CAR AND THE ROAD!!
Please think about your own safety as well.. anything IN the car is going to stay there, even if there is someone stuck in the car they are safer there than YOU ARE standing BESIDE the car... so get off the road.

Oh well.. very next accident I go to will probably be exactly the same. I guess it's a problem with having a lot of dual carriageways passing through my patch in every direction. Single lane roads are great because we just shut them down but dual carriageways just scare me every time.

Just when we thought all was right with the world - A complete idiot break it again!

Ok, so usually the police get to sit back, try to do their job, avoid becoming bogged down in controversy and paperwork..
And by and large MOST of the police in the UK do... and we do our jobs very well as well.

And just when everything is looking alright with the world of policing and the public start to gain confidence in us actually getting things done again it all just turns completely to shit due to some complete ass in the MET.

Why is it that it always seems to be someone in the MET?

A PC driving a Response Vehicle who had just been trained to do so goes out and kills an innocent member of the public because he's driving like a complete lunatic!

Does the MET not check people out during the recruitment process to ascertain if they are suitable for the job they are doing? I thought this was why it took 9 - 12 months to get through the recruitment process!!! Do they not monitor new PC's or new Response Drivers? Does no one ever seem to have to be accountable in the MET until someone dies?

Sorry, I don't have the full story of this incident other than whats in the above linked article. I don't know the PC involved, or indeed anyone who works with him (unless one of my friends in the MET does know him, but I'm not aware of that), and I don't know the family of the lady who sadly had to die to bring this to the publics attention.. But what I do know is that one tosser doing something like this puts ALL OF US in a bad light and when I in the very rural Southernshire County manage to get asked if I'd killed any Grandmothers with my Response car I find it absolutely bloody astounding, shocking, and alarming.

FFS. How many people have to die because of someone who should NEVER have gotten through the recruitment process doing something absolutely bloody stupid.

/end rant for today.

PS. Sorry for the absence of posts recently. I've been a little busy at home..


Ok, let me clarify.. I know that not every idiot police officer who does something wrong is from the MET. I know that my farce like every other one out there has it's fair share of them... But damn... it seems to be the MET at the top of the news polls every 3 or 4 weeks. It's a shame, but I know that's cos there are 35,000 officers, it's the biggest so it'll have the biggest proportion of screw ups... Its part of the territory for having the largest force in the country - or the equivalent of say 7 - 10 larger County forces all in one small space...

NO, I'm not bagging the MET itself or trying to generalise but is it possible that because they recruit so many people they aren't checking them all out properly, or perhaps not watching what they do properly??? I dunno, it might be that it's impossible to do that in such a large organisation so occasionally some unstable idiot slips through (point in case - that undercover reporter..)

I just felt that I had to vent because in my backwards neck of the woods I got asked by a MoP if I had killed any grannies lately whilst blue lighting to the nick to have a cup of tea.. and that annoyed me because as someone in the MET had done it every other Police Officer in the country got tarred with that big wide brush by the public...

I am also adult enough to realise that 99% of Police in the UK are all damned fine officers who go out every day and who do their level best to carry out the office of Constable putting their lives on the line in order to carry out their duties... but because I get generalised I thought I'd see how it worked the other way, and I get some great reactions by doing that..............

By the way, I do value the comments that are given back because it's nice to hear what others think.
No, I am not anti-MET.. I may just end up there some day soon.. and I know some very, very fine MET officers who love what they do and they do it very well... but that force just seem to be the ones in the media constantly.... when will WE the POLICE do something Positive in the media instead of letting the media slaughter us??? I think it's about time that we had some positive media coverage for once... the media coverage that shows us doing something GOOD, something BRILLIANT, saving lives, stopping criminals, putting bad people in prison, foiling big, nasty crimes... but no, that's just not going to happen is it? It's only when something exceptional happens that it hits the media.. and no one remembers the good things we do, only the bad.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

And it's about time!!

As I was reading this story I was thinking that it's about high time that this sort of event happens more often..

The crux of the story in short is that a yob and his buddy went in to a phone shop and tried to rob them using a soldering iron that one of the employees had just been using.. as the yob tried to escape employees grabbed his leg as he ran out the door, they then slammed the door shut on the same leg leaving the knob there stuck in the door furiously trying to escape. (there is a great photograph of said overweight - non-working scum stuck in the door which was taken by a member of the public).

So my thought on this is to ask why more shops don't actually take a proactive approach towads their own security?

Is it because they are just scared of repercussions? Is it because they are scared of being hurt? Or what?

I had a report of an elderly shoplifter at a local "high quality" supermarchet in one of our local towns, on arrival a couple of minutes afterwards (after detaining someone who matched the description and then was found to not actually be the right person and so was subsequently let go with apologies) I spoke with the manager..

What followed was the information that at least once a week an elderly male - probably around 70 years old, walked through the shop dressed in the same clothes.. he would select items from the shelves and then walk out of the front door (having entered through the back door of the store). No one EVER attempted to stop or challenge the male!

CCTV was seized.
CCTV from the town cameras was seized and viewed... and showed the male going to one of the banks shortly afterwards.. (thus it may have been possible to identify the male from that).
Descriptions circulated amongst my colleagues, particularly the local PCSOs who are always out in the High Street and may spot the man.

Advice was given to the shop manager as follows, if the male comes in to the store again then whoever sees him should inform the manager who can call the police, a couple of the larger lads who work up at the cash registers should then approach the male together and ask him politely if he "wouldn't mind remaining with them please..." - and of course the police would already be on the way.
Of course the caveats were given - DO NOT PUT YOURSELVES IN ANY DANGER - DO NOT BLOCK THE EXIT (thus putting the suspect in fear and making him lash out to get out of the exit) - DO NOT OFFER OR USE ANY VIOLENCE - Simply be Calm and Polite but Firm.

As you might guess I asked the manager why no one had EVER done this before.. and the reply shocked me.. they are advised 'not to' by their head office!

So less than a week later I hear on the radio that this "high quality" supermarchet has detained 1 for suspected shoplifting. But I was committed on something else so another officer from late shift was deployed and went to arrest the shoplifter.. that officer also arrested him for my shoplifting job the week previous (thus stealing my detection).. On their arrival at custody I looked in to the holding cell and was shocked to see that this elderly male was wearing the same clothes as the week before - but this wasn't as shocking as the look of complete total and utter abject "failure" on his face. He knew his game was up....

So after all of the above.. this store now challenges people it believes to be shoplifting......... So do a few others that I've dealt with recently. So thankfully we are now catching more shoplifters... and it's a shame that ALL shops don't do the same.
You do NOT have to put yourself in any danger, just simply state to the person that you want them to remain with you. Explain that the police have been called, their face is on CCTV etc, etc.. as such, there is no point running and it's easier to get dealt with straight away than to be running for a long time and looking over their shoulders.

Every person should do their part and assist in the prevention and detection of crime. It would make this country a lot nicer to live in. All too often though people just ignore everything going on around them and as such crime rates go up as police become more and more embroiled in petty things that should NEVER have reached the police (like the neighbours barbeque smoke going through someone's washing on the line - you can imagine what I said right?).

As I've said to a couple of our local herberts of late.. There is ONE of them.. 145,000 of us!