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!


  1. Quite a few people think I'm daft because I change the car to a winter-grade oil, pop winter tyres on it, and add a couple of extra blankets, the snow chains and a sack of grit to the recovery kit I already carry.

    But when the snow starts to fall—and I live somewhere where we do get serious snow not the few inches experienced down south—those same people ask how I manage to get around so easily, while muttering about how the council should keep the roads clear "all the time". Numpties.

    Mind you, it's about time driver training included compulsory time on a skid pan.

  2. Speaking of the Weather, Lord Christopher Monckton, Lady Thatchers Chief Policy advisor is saying Global warming is a Communist seize and control scam and the UN should be shut dowm Al Gore and Gorder Brown arrested and tried for

    Fraud and Attempted Mass murder Pt 1 of 5

    So why are you just sitting their

  3. I thought the Surrey Ambulance Service had a very pragmatic solution. The fitters would drive LWB Landrovers. However in the event if inclement weather, they could be used for an emergency by 'fitting out' the back of the motor, and using the pre-existing blues and twos.

  4. I wonder if you can help me? Yesterday morning my mobile rang and I answered it as normal. I was really surprised to hear the caller say “Hello Steve, this is Chris Grayling”

    As you probably know, Chris is the potential Home Secretary if the Tories win the election. Contact up to this point had only been by e mail, but the purpose of his call highlighted a pressing need for a bit of help.

    Early in January, I sent an FOI request to each of the 43 police forces asking the questions:

    1. Please provide the total numbers of officers by rank within your force for 2009
    2. How many of those officers were assigned to response duties in 2009
    3. What are the non response administerial departments within your force?
    4. How many police officers are assigned to each of these departments, by rank?

    Inspector Gadget, Copperfield, Bloggs and many others have made frequent reference to the disparity between the resources available for response duties and those assigned to ad ministerial or clerical functions. I wanted to put actual numbers to this problem, to identify the enormity of the issue. I have been pleasantly surprised to receive detailed responses from all but 6 of the 43 forces, accounting for over 120,000 of the 143,000 officers in England & Wales. The results are in and I am sure you won’t be surprised at how dangerously low the response numbers are across the country. (45% across England & Wales, which is an absolute best case scenario, allowing forces the benefit of the doubt when we suspect they have slightly overstated the numbers).

    I am in the process of completing the report and it will be available on our site shortly. I copied Chris Grayling in on the progress. Chris telephoned me to ask if the report would be ready today/tomorrow, as he wants to include it in the Times Online week long feature on crime which starts next week. As you can guess, he has a direct link into their office and assures me that the content will go to print.


    To supplement the report, Chris is very keen to have anonymous input (via us) from frontline officers about the consequences of the response shortages you guys tell us about. I have started trawling the police blog sites looking for relevant articles and comments that will support the statistical report. I have a fair bit of material already, but as you know your own sites best, I hope you might be able to locate particular relevant links from memory. I will NOT be identifying the sites where the articles were sourced to protect the anonymity of the authors (unless you specifically request the URL to be included). I will delete usernames, dates etc unless you advise otherwise As we are all out there in the public domain anyway, I can only envisage increased visits to your sites if you choose to specify the URL, but this is entirely your choice.

    Among our initial observations are that the exceptionally low response numbers are further diminished by:-

    Splitting the officer count across three shifts
    Taking rest days, sickness, annual leave and courses into account
    The British Crime Survey section reflects head of population per full time equivalent officer
    This is massively different when weighed against purely response numbers
    The low response numbers throws serious doubts onto the ability of forces to deliver on projects such as “The Policing Pledge”

    I’m sure you can think of plenty of other implications the numbers will affect, so any views or suggestions are welcome.

    As soon as I have a draft copy I will copy everyone in.

    Hoping you can help.

    Kind Regards
    Steve Bennett (ex PC West Mids)