Saturday, 28 June 2008

A sorry episode

What is going on with the greater gods. A race war at the highest levels Read Here. These senior officers are supposed to be our leaders.

Now I'm not a great lover of the commissioner, however I'm sure he's a nice well meaning bloke. He is also the boss so what he says goes, like it or not. There is obviously briefing to the press and political maneuvering going on. I don't know of any specific gripes these three have against the Metropolitan Police, but the commissioner should get to the bottom of it and if need be get rid of them. He is of course pretty much a "dead man walking" and everybody knows it.

Managers should be allowed to manage and Commissioner Blair is finding out the hard way, how things are for managers lower down the chain of command. Welcome to my world Sir Ian, the world you helped to create.

One of the officers has, it is alleged displayed poor judgement in his private life, and still got promoted. Minus points towards women in the diversity section there, me thinks. These are the same people who judge over others in discipline matters. Are they only interested in their own personal careers? You can see why the police service is in such a state with managers like these at the helm. I'm rather embarrassed by it all - Get a grip you morons before you make us even more of a laughing stock

The only inequality I see in the police service is towards white males. If you are a woman you can have a mentor to assist you upwards, the same being true if you are a "visible minority". What about merit? There are some outstanding black officers in the police service and no doubt they all have stories of racism to tell. If they are that good they will make it without the need for special treatment, and will have the respect of all for having done so.

Friday, 27 June 2008

Silent Majority

Every now and again you get involved in something, and the knowledge you’ve done some good out weighs all of the mundane shite that comes your way.

Mrs Cohen is 86 years old. I don’t know what it is with old people – are they so glad to have reached that age that they need to tell everybody? Anyway she lives in a 60’s block and was one of the first tenants to move in. There are only four originals left now. She’s from another age, where there was respect and community spirit.

They didn’t have crack houses in her day. She now found herself living next door to one. I don’t think she knows what one is. Perhaps it’s good she doesn’t understand, she only hears the noise until the early hours and makes sure her door is locked. She’s scared of the murky figures hanging about but won’t call the police, not wanting to bother us.

I know it’s there and know how to deal with it. Day one in my new job, knock on the door and meet Mrs Cohen’s neighbour. She’s a drug addict who’s just had her kid taken away. She’s vulnerable but involved, so this one will take longer to sort out. I lay my cards out, play ball or you lose out in the long run darling. She says all the right things but I know nothing will change.

I start hanging about at the bottom of the block, that’s when I meet Mrs Cohen. We have a nice chat. She says how nice it is to see me. I ask what number she lives at and am surprised she hadn’t mentioned her neighbour to me. So I bring it up, she’s scared, and tells me she’s heard drugs are involved. “Wacky Baccy” is mentioned but that’s probably the only drug she’s heard of. I didn’t educate her in the ways of “licking the pipe”

It took a couple of months of hard paperwork graft and static patrols, but we got there in the end. One crack house closure order and an eviction later, the block was back to some normality. I caught up with Mrs Cohen by chance on a bus a couple of months later, and she was happy and smiling. She looked better and younger than before. She thanked me and this was a genuine thank you, a special one, because she really meant it.

That’s why I’m still walking the streets, for the silent majority.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Nasty Bastards

14 Years for taking a life is not much is it? Another 18 year old convicted of a knife murder on a totally innocent, nice lad. Read Here.

Will prison change him? Well having just been released 3 days earlier from detention I think we know the answer already. There are people who are just downright evil. The murderer in this case has made a decision to go out with the knife. I doubt it was for picking the dirt from under his nails. I know he will be on life licence but the public really does need protection. He will be 32 when no doubt he will be a free man, back to his life of crime because that's all he knows.

There are lads in my area who don't care about anything or anyone. You just would not be surprised if they ended up murdering somebody. I don't have the answers, it's not about diversion or education for some of these lads. They are too far gone and know they are pretty much untouchable until one day they push their luck too far.

I had the pleasure of charging one such lad with murder several years ago. I'd known him since he was 14 and he was always fearless when facing the police on the street. In short he was a nasty bastard. Unfortunately he grew into a big nasty hard bastard. He was a good drug dealer and if I'm honest I was glad he stayed off my patch.

It's quite common for disgruntled villains to say "Wait until I see you alone on the street I'll get you". This particular lad actually carried that out his threat giving an officer a good beating.

He smirked when I charged him, and as I went through the representations for bail, made his own jokey plea for bail, promising to turn up. Bail obviously refused, to stop him shooting somebody else in the head. I think his tariff was 30 years, but he should never be allowed out.

This human rights thing confuses me. Capital punishment is outlawed here, yet Tony Blair didn't moan when Saddam Hussein was hanged. Why not a tariff of 50 years for murderers, it's my view Nasty Bastards should hang.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

You're still my Brother

Rogue Gunner has posted about a decline in homeless ex HM forces personnel since 1997 Read Here . It's always annoyed me how ex services people could be allowed to end up on the streets. Obviously each one has his own story to tell.

There's always a bond between ex forces despite inter regiment rivalry. I've had a few come through my custody suites, and I always try to give that little extra. One who came through was an ex para 2 Reg. I'd heard about this chap years ago, rumour had it he was the inspiration for a film script "For Queen and Country", starring Denzil Washington. I don't know if that's true.

The handover stated he was problematic and demanding. I popped to see him, all he wanted was his inhaler and a shower. This had been refused so of course he kicked off. No problem is it for somebody who's served their country. Sorted that out for him and we started chatting. I fronted him as ex forces and he asked what I was in, before calling me a crap hat. Connection made, and no problems for the rest of the shift. I had him out for a fag break and a coffee a few times where he recalled his service. He might have been down in life but the pride of what he had been was evident.

He could of been spinning me a line, but stated he'd been involved in one of the major set backs for the British Army in Northern Ireland, where several troops were lost in action. I asked if he'd sought help from Forces charities. He stated they didn't want to know, but I believe his lifestyle might have prevented him getting help.

I'm glad these men are getting some help. They deserve it in front of others who turn up in the UK. Their circumstances need to be addressed. Most hostels insist on being dry, pretty hard if you are street drinker.

Each and every one of these men, will always be my brother.

CRAP HAT = Anybody who wore a different cap badge

Friday, 20 June 2008

Another pathetic sentence

I think we know about the previous indiscretions of Miss Naomi Campbell and her temper. She pleaded guilty today to a couple of assaults on police when she got upset over her lost luggage. Read Here. She also was dishing out the race card to all and sundry. Her sentence for this, 200 hours of community service. This just about sums up our criminal justice system. The article even has her saying she was disappointed with being charged.

Where is the protection for officers who apparently dealt with this "lady" in a courteous manner and deterrent for offenders. A short sharp shock is required to make others like her think a little bit before lashing out.

A few years back I recall a more sensible dictate coming out that magistrates should consider custodial sentences for all assaults on police. This was obviously not under "New Labour". We were in a little situation on an estate and ended up arresting a youth for something. He began to play up and of course the estate turned out. His mother ended up hitting a PC over the head with her shoe. She got nicked too and charged to court. Oh those were the days.

So we all pitch up for the trial and give evidence. She has her say - racist police - out of order - leave the kids alone etc etc and is found guilty. Mitigation from her brief - no previous convictions - upset over her son etc.

The old Stipendiary magistrate listens intently. These days it would be adjourned for reports. Up she stands and he sends her to prison for 10 days, priceless and well deserved. The look on her face was a sight to behold.

Shame we couldn't have seen that look on Miss Campbell's face eh? 200 hours of community service doing what? No doubt will involve something beneficial to her career.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Golden Age

Boy did we get some bad press on my estate "End our Drugs Hell" "Never see the local officers" "PCSO's a waste of time". Quotes from resident A Resident B can't let my kids play out etc etc etc. Press contacted my boss for a response and we discretely mentioned we had been working very hard on a covert operation for over 6 months. We didn't mention that they hadn't seen me because I'd been nearly crippled trying arrest one of the dealers on the estate.

No worries I'm back I'll set up a community watch in the self same block. I'm aware of their problems. Leaflet drop to over 80 flats outlining my plans. Could call a meeting but I know my punters - The annual tenants association needs at least 10 non committee members to be present and it's an annual tradition to send out search parties to kidnap one or two to make up the numbers.

I therefore don't book a venue in the full knowledge only one or two will turn up. I'll go to them, have a street meet outside their block. I'm there half an hour early. My staff turn up on time and we wait, and wait. We give up after 45 minutes NOT ONE person can be bothered.

It's not a problem I've got a plan B we'll knock on their door another day and ask them direct. They'll say yes of course and probably still won't ring us before they contact the local press.

On the upside - saw a couple of my local youths passing by. One of them informs me that his chum Michael was 18 the day before. Really? Michael get over here - over he trots probably expecting a congrats from me on reaching the golden age. Now give me your gear. He hands over his cannabis and duly signs his warning. I tell him that's for all the times I didn't do him, when he was a juvenile paperwork nightmare. Another easy detection and keeps the local lads on their toes. Amused his mates no end. So not a wasted day after all.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Sick Lame and Lazy

We need some more of this style of management for some

The mail is having a go again at the Police again Read Here. This time it is about time spent on restrictive or recuperative duty. Officially, I suppose that I'm included as one of those tied to a desk. I believe that each case should be treated on their merits. It doesn't really mention how many are recovering from injury on duties.

I don't think the police are any different from any other public service. There are of course those who play the system and occupational health are quite happy to take too much of a lenient view. In my case I could quite easily gone onto 20 hours a week for several months if I'd wanted.

I always wondered why police officers with bad backs were switched to desk duties (restricted) on full hours, yet civilian workers (already doing desk duties) always seemed to come under recuperative duties doing part time hours on full pay. They'd even get their own personal "special" chair. It wouldn't happen elsewhere in the private sector.

My father was injured at work and had to have an operation on his knee. After a short time he was put onto Statutory Sick Pay and eventually as he could not return, his employment was terminated.

Perhaps some cases should be looked at and some "best value" decisions made. We can all name individuals who are always "sick, lame and lazy". As an organisation we should get rid of the dead wood, but of course treat those sympathetically, who find themselves genuinely disabled.

I of course have great sympathy for the genuine stress cases ground down by the system over the years. They are easy to spot, impeccable sickness records, top street cops, until it gets too much.

One of my old officers who'd transferred elsewhere contacted me, telling me he was going to resign the next day. Now this bloke was one of the best officers I'd ever worked with. I got him to come round my house and he was a mess, definitely in Burnout. He was ill and I persuaded him to go sick. In the short term I sorted an OH referral for him.

He got his counselling and I attended his sick case conference. The personnel lady I felt was very unsympathetic. She obviously hadn't read his personal file and had him down as a shirker. I had to point out his previously impeccable sickness record and asked how such an exceptional officer could find himself in this position. The OH lady understood and he got sorted out. He is still serving and still doing more than most, counting down the days till he can go.

There are processes in place, but I can't recall anybody ever being sacked for inefficiency. As a manager I've dealt with some crap officers, but nowadays it's all about development and action plans. What this means is the manager will be forever doing paperwork reports and case conferences, when the organisation hasn't really got the will to go through with it's own policies. I've tried, and it took up so much time that I wasn't getting any normal work done, or concentrating on my more productive officers. Instead massive pressure is brought to bear on individuals to resign. We seem to have lost the art of saying "you're fired".

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Out in Style

Been really busy recently at work trying to fill in due to shortages. I should really be concentrating on some project work I've been tasked with. If I do the projects my constable is left alone and I get a morale drop on team and less performance . I'm not even allowed out the station officially, having been defined as only suitable for restricted duty. I can't come back until my doctor signs me back as fit for contact sports. It's really peeing me off now, I need to get back properly. As I can't run I have to be careful. I actually only lasted two days on restricted duty before I was out on short patrols - medicinal purposes only, just to gauge where I was in my recovery.

Things haven't changed on the core shift, where they only paraded 5 for the streets the other night. Across the Borough they showed 19 which was 5 below minimum. I did ask the question why? A few were warned for court but it's that time in the year when overtime will not be authorised. The greater gods like to be tight and build up a buffer so they can throw it away February and March. I don't think I've seen an improvement in core shift numbers over the last 10 years. You do wonder where all the extra money has gone.

Had some excitement on the way back from a partners meeting. Myself and a fellow sergeant were in plain clothes walking through my estate on the way back to the nick. A drug deal happened right in front of us. What do you do? He looks at me and says "Shall we" I says "rude not to". He grabs the punter and I get the dealer in a quick throat hold before throwing him face down. All this in space of 20 seconds. So there we are, him sitting on one and me on the other. Then we realise no radio, no cuffs.

The matter is complicated by Mr Drug Dealer telling me his van is nearby and he's left his 11 month old baby in the front. My colleague has to call 999 on his mobile. Not good, now you'd think we'd get preferential treatment wouldn't you? He was speaking to the operator who didn't have a clue where we were despite very accurate locations from the community sergeant. (don't forget we've done away with local knowledge and this new way is great). I think he was getting a bit pissed off when she put him on hold.

We sat on our detainees for about ten minutes, couldn't hear any sirens. Concerned members of the public ask me if I'm aware there's a baby sat in a van around the corner all alone. They kindly agree to wait by it. He rings the station direct this time, the Integrated Borough Operations (IBO). They haven't heard the call go out and I think it pings to them at about the same time they're speaking to him. A couple of minutes later the lovely sound of sirens.

Already found a wrap of heroin under my man and can see two crack wraps on the pavement where he was standing. Once cuffed another wrap of heroin found on the floor. We'd hit them just as the handover was about to be made. So only 4 wraps and not the expected bundle of notes elsewhere on him or stash of gear.

Both get nicked. Other officers deal with the baby. Mr Dealer offers up the mother being relatively nearby so a quick phone call brings her to scene to take charge of the baby. Wish I'd done that new training re kids coming to notice but suspect this child might involve a report and lots of writing.

Eventually get them booked in and compile the evidential notes. Despite us seeing everything this one will require CPS advice and decision. The punter had his money in his hands to give over prior to us hitting them, but we'll see what CPS say. Mr dealer in interview offered up some cock and bull explanation. See how fair we are, drugs don't bounce nowadays.

This wiped me out for the rest of my shift. If case progression unit hadn't taken it I would have been on for an 18 hour day. My colleague only has 20 shifts left before he retires, he's not impressed by

1. His call to 999
2. Time to book in prisoners

This is not the job he joined, but he's a policeman alright, getting straight in there by instinct. I wonder if that's going to be his last arrest. I'm rather honoured to have been involved if it is.

Friday, 13 June 2008

Greggs Bakers - Help Yourself

So Targets Targets it's what we are about. We are getting measured on how much crime we clear up as a force so a sanction detection clear up is all the rage.

A sanction detection is basically a case disposal Charge, Caution or Penalty Notice for Disorder (PND). So if you had say, three burglary reports unsolved and a person charged for a minor public order offence, your clear up rate would be 25%. Simple isn't it.

It's down to local management how they measure and motivate their staff. We run a points system, where you get a whole point for a cannabis warning or a PND. If you arrest somebody and the case progression unit deal with the arrest, which leads to charge you share the point getting half a point each. Each officer in my area has a target of 21 points for the year. If everybody reaches this target the bosses are happy and we are performing.

So you arrest a murderer who is charged and you get half a point. You seize some cannabis you get one point and no paperwork. Now in years gone by on a busy Friday night you would arrest your drunken idiot for being drunk and disorderly. A quick incident book, night in the cells to sober up and unless he had annoyed everyone, he would be booted out in the morning with a drunkenness warning.

There is no sanction detection for drunk and disorderly, so nowadays if there is evidence of Public Order the arrest is for Disorderly Conduct. As long as there was a member of the public present who was caused distress the same conduct is a recordable crime, and the case disposal means you get a sanction detection and your valued point. Still with me.

So by concentrating on the minor offences you increase the overall detection rate. The problem for the officers is if you don't get the points you are seen as under performing. You get no points for dealing with missing persons, taking statements for a colleague, hospital guard, being gaoler, doing endless worthy tasks that don't end in arrests.

The bosses actually worry about this on some Divisions. The area I work now, I personally believe you don't have to put yourself out too much to get your 21 points. It's an inner city area and as long as you're a working copper you will get your fair share of cannabis and other points to be OK. In quieter areas it may be different.

At one previous nick I was in on the strategic meeting for the week. The Supt was discussing sanction detections and how to increase them. There then followed a lengthy discussion about Greggs the Bakers. For those of you unfamiliar with the branded establishment. This is a Sandwich and Pie emporium where you go in and select your fancy from a very open display range before queuing up to pay for it. The Chief Inspector had noticed that alot of customers actually just walked out without paying. They wanted a plan written and officers deployed to target this minor theft problem, when it was decided Fixed Penalties could be used as a case disposal. He wanted observation points, directed surveillance the whole lot.

Now the drip who would have had to write this plan would have been me. Luckily I wanted to discuss drugs supply and a test purchase operation. We had a target of 40 Class A supply offences for the year, each receiving a sanction detection. I think the boss saw the possibly of killing two birds with one stone and by the skin of my teeth I managed to persuade him to go down the drugs route. At the conclusion he got 60 detections and the impact was massive locally with over a dozen dealers arrested.

By chance I was working elsewhere a few weeks later in plain clothes on a covert operation. I was stood with my mate outside a Greggs Bakers and recounted this ridiculous situation I found myself in at this meeting. You wouldn't believe it, we saw two different punters just stroll in over a 15 minute period, have a shifty look before snaffling a baguette and leaving without paying.

So obviously that's why I'm not a Chief Inspector but where do you think the resources should go. No doubt there are places where they wouldn't go for the drugs option.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Stressed Out Cop Stabs Himself

No not me but a Japanese colleague Read Here who has had enougth. The thing with this story is that they widely acknowledge that this officer has a problem due to being overworked, yet they'll going to prosecute him. I didn't realise that they had sanction detections out in the Far East too, it must be catching.

Surely a little bit of common sense should be used here, the guy has had a drastic wobble. I'm not condoning the waste of police time, but there's a big culture thing out there re personal weakness. Prosecution and obvious loss of his job isn't going to make him better is it?

Case Solved?

Anthony was a prolific burglar with a drug habit. He was the sort of offender who would really make your crime figures spike. The problem was he was all over the borough hitting the area, nearest to which ever crack house was his latest abode. He would get caught eventually as they all do, and was one of the one's who would get a custodial. So he MUST have been bad.

In years gone by you would have had a surveillance team up his arse as soon as possible. You didn't need an expensive analyst to tell you he was always at it. The human rights act changed all that - can't have fishing exercises you know. I noted on the briefing a couple of months back that Anthony was due release.

A death message was being dished out on parade. Anthony was found dead in the South of the City. This often happens with addicts who are released from jail and get back to their old ways. I suppose their bodies can't take it any more. I could have taken the message as I don't know his father, but some of the family I do know so it wouldn't be appropriate. It fell to a colleague who told me the father wasn't shocked to see the police at his door, thinking Anthony had been arrested again. I'm sure it wasn't the news he was expecting.

It didn't take long for news to spread. I came across "Jill" 4 O'clock in the morning pissed out of her head shouting through someones letter box. She drunkenly informs me that Anthony her good friend is dead. I know I told her, trying to sound sympathetic. She got a text apparently. They were good mates she wailed. I know I told her, you were arrested last week together were you not? I kept a straight professional face throughout. I think Anthony was a scumbag who didn't give a shit for his victims. I don't care that he is dead. I walked Jill home and opened the front door for her to fall through.

No doubt we'll get called to Anthony's last drink up. I'll be checking up to see if the car's stolen in my burglaries turn up in same part of the city where he was found dead. Case Solved?

Monday, 9 June 2008

Chocolate Muffin with my Cappuccino

Not the cafe culture I deal with

Had the usual busy week-end dealing with this Governments "cafe culture" in my area. Everybody drinking too much then doing as they want. On the plus side this blog must be chilling me out.

Dealt with one particular incident where two sorts decided to attack the door staff at a bar, because one of them had been thrown out for harassing woman. Had to step in as sort 1 was "going to kill the bouncer" and "I should watch out because he was a boxer". Yeah right amigo - He couldn't be that good as he was missing one of his front teeth, that had been there at the start of the fracas. His companion sort 2 was also sporting a lovely bump on his forehead with nick obviously from a ringed hand. Of course the sorts wanted the bouncers nicked for attacking them. Tricky one that could end up with everybody getting arrested, sorts and bouncers.

Luckily an independent stated the the two sorts were out of order. The one I had hold of was working himself up and would have received the vulcan throat grip, but thought I'd better sort out the obvious counter allegation. Both bouncers gave their version and denied hitting the sorts, which didn't really explain what I saw before me. Grabs the manager for CCTV.

He couldn't get it working in my presence, which usually means, I want to view it in private to see if anything incriminating against my staff. 5 mins later there's a technical miracle and I can view it. Starts at the point after both have been thrown out and both sorts just come steaming in throwing loads of punches. That's enougth for me - Both arrested for ABH. We'll put their injuries down to reasonable force by bouncers later.

So that was me for the night. Actually ends up the next day with two charges but only for common assault. Oh I wish I could get excited, but absolutely nothing will happen to the two blokes. I predict 2 x £200 fines if convicted at best.

This is what I deal with every night shift, drunken idiots from 11pm till 3am. Meanwhile on the rest of my beat houses are getting burgled for electricals and car keys, with the houseowners motors being used to transport the stolen gear. Heinous offence being robbed, whilst sleeping in your bed. I could sort these burglaries but the assaults and drunkenness needs to "be seen" to be dealt with. No doubt when the burglaries get too bad the burglary squad will be working nights on loads of overtime. This isn't right is it?

A couple of days later I managed a skulking foot patrol for an hour in the burglary zone, but too little too late. Follow up to bouncers re use of reasonable force and of course as they are "victims" buttered them up for quality call back.

Saturday, 7 June 2008

Help For Heroes

Do you remember last year when injured soldiers were banned from the public swimming pool in Leatherhead. Read Here.

Well I have it on good authority that Headley Court have been offered use of the pool facility at the new Federation Headquarters, also in Leatherhead. I am proud that my Federation is doing the right thing in standing up our injured troops.

Having used the Police Rehabilitation centre in Goring, I for one would be happy for some troops to receive treatment there too. Our people would make them more than welcome. I'll mention it to my Federation Rep.

Friday, 6 June 2008

The Good The Bad and the Ugly

Interesting article today about the pay of our Armed Forces when compared to local authority traffic wardens. Read Here. Once again a great institution being taken for granted.

Well some interesting points made in that the wardens generate revenue, so in a way finance themselves. They have targets and have incentives to dish out more tickets. Compare the wages of both to Police Community Support Officers. They are on 25K if they have the full shift allowance in the metropolis.

I'm not going to go on a rant about PCSO's, just post a few views. I remember when they first came in. They did security patrols in Central London around Whitehall replacing foot patrolling officers. This nobody would disagree was anything but sensible. It freed up police officers to get back on the beat. If you think of the 9/11 events and how New York coped, then again there is a need for a contingency in having uniformed officials to cordon off what could be a large area for quite some time.

I must also give some praise to the greater gods. They delivered a project in fast time, despite the poor training given to the first recruits. They also increased diversity of recruits and have a pool of "policey" type people to dip into when they need to swell the Real Police ranks. The money was made available just for this project by government, so of course you would grab it to increase visibility.

So all of the above is sensible. The politicians can claim credit for increasing "police" presence on the street, and benefit from public satisfaction. Don't forget there was NO or very limited community policing at the turn of the last century. They ran a few pilot projects and saw it was a vote winner and that's why this Safer Neighbourhoods thing started. Let's face it if there was nothing there before - and then you get a small team of officers to listen to your problems, you can't really complain.

Now from a project point of view I've always had issues with the pay for PCSO's. They don't produce much and generate very little. They can issue tickets for small offences, riding on the footway etc. The amount of administration in processing the ticket negates the fine collected, if the person actually bothers to pay it.

In my experience I've come across some fantastic PCSO's who interact with the community, run community projects and are all round good eggs. These are in the minority. Where else could you get paid £25 for doing very little.

I actually had an ex local authority parking warden under my supervision as a new PCSO. She told me she was doing me a favour in patrolling without body armour. It hadn't arrived by the time she started at my station. I asked if she'd had body armour as a parking warden. Of course I had to run around to find her some. Now parking warden must be a shitty job full of confrontation but she increased her pay by thousands to do what, walk about doing nothing. I'm glad to say she left of her own accord, there are loads like her still creaming it.

So army pay is a disgrace. I believe they are still paid on a daily rate depending on skills. Pay them a tax free bonus on top of their normal pay for each tour of duty. It's only fair. Don't even get me started on care for those injured on operations. If PCSO pay is going to stay so high then perhaps we can have some direct entrants from HM forces - with a free rein to deal with gobby kids as they see fit.

The future? I think that after the Olympics in 2012 we will see PCSO's scaled back as they don't provide Best Value in their present format.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Health and Safety

No it's not the latest brainwave from those greater gods about making PCSO's more visible. These mobility scooters do however stress me out. I was in Tesco's the other day loitering between the coco pops and hobnobs when I was almost wiped out by one of these. It must have been doing about 4mph down the central aisle. I've had similar experiences out on foot patrol where the elderly or very obese punters hurtle down the pavements at excessive speeds. Woman and young kids have to hurl themselves out of the way. I don't suppose it will be long before these get even faster and we have PCSO's or worse PC's being told to dish out tickets.

Lucky job Health and Safety didn't see this. I bet she hasn't had a mobility scooter course or filled out the forms for liability insurance. If this had been down my way the punters would have been throwing themselves under the wheels to make a claim.

We've just received a memo reminding us that when we use non police premises for meetings or events to comply with policy. It appears that we have to fill out a risk assessment form plus then one of two other forms which we have to send off to admin land. This could be for just a 30 minute meeting. Still imagine the reports to write if it all went wrong and somebody fell off their chair. Something else to keep me busy.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Coping Mechanisms

So here's an interesting article from Max Hastings Read Here about keeping a stiff upper lip and how sometimes it's better for you in the long run. He was embedded with The British Army during the Falklands War so should know about the stresses and traumas of conflict. I have linked to Rogue Gunner who was out there, do pay him a visit it's a great blog dedicated to HM Forces.

I think trauma and work related stresses are not necessarily one and the same, but one on top of the other could tip you over the edge. I've seen some horrible sights and still been able to eat my breakfast, because it's how you cope with it that matters. If you are in the police you are going to see murdered people or deaths in car crashes, just as, if you're in the army in conflict you will have to deal with the loss of comrades. (in fact that is highly likely with the police too but can't be compared).

Black Humour is hard to explain, but often after a horrible sight I've ended up joking about it with colleagues. This is not very Politically Correct in today's climate, but it is a coping mechanism. I recall a quote from the Falklands war when somebody had their leg blown off and was screaming "I've lost my leg", only for mate to reply "No you haven't it's over here". It's a way of getting on with it, instead of flapping.

How we pissed ourselves at the sight of the old man who had been dead for well over 6 months in his flat and was melting into the floor. Unbelievable sight but we had to deal with it. You can dwell on the loneliness he must have felt and lack of good neighbours afterwards.

We used to have a drink after work if there'd been a major incident. After the poll tax riots nobody went home and we all stayed for a few beers and worked through it together. I was on the riot squad then and believe me we were wiped out. I'll save that story for a 20th anniversary post. It's a form of critical incident debriefing, but what with different shift patterns the after work drink appears to have died off.

My blogging on here is itself a coping mechanism. Before this I would have been out running a few times a week, healthy body healthy mind scenario. See, even being held together by a few screws needs an outlet to deal with it, otherwise I'd be on that slippery slope downwards again.

What I got from counselling was you need to deal with it (stress) in whatever way works for you. Understand that what you are feeling or displaying is a natural reaction to events. I've put a Burnout document in the sidebar - it's worth reading just to help you recognise behaviours in others.

It makes sense. I was obsessed with cleaning the toilets in my house. Harpic really does work on those difficult limescale deposits. It's all in the list. So if stiff upper lip works for you great but I suggest if you are at the Flashing Red stage you need to try something else.

Monday, 2 June 2008

Genius and Madness - it's a fine line

Very sad to hear about Gazza getting sectioned again. I met him at Kings Cross a couple of years ago with my daughter. He was getting loads of people approaching him for photos. We got an autograph and he was a lovely humble nice man saying it was no trouble at all. This bloke is truly loved by everyone, despite his problems, yet seems so alone.

I hope this true icon finds the help he needs. He is a genius, play the video if you don't believe me.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Hard Love

Pleas for parents to take more responsibility for their kids behaviour has been in the news this week. No doubt prompting the Mirror to seek out this lady, who gave her sons up when they'd attacked a man, causing him to lose an eye. Read Here .

This is rare indeed and she should be applauded for her actions. She has done them the biggest favour, and I bet they learn their lesson. Of course they don't feel that at present.

In reality, most of the parents to be seen in custody (if they can be bothered to turn up) are more upset that their kids have been stupid enough to get caught. If they imposed a little more "hard love" I believe it would make a difference. Kids need boundaries and I believe actually respond quite well to a little firm but fair behaviour towards them. The best youth projects have the workers imposing discipline and telling the kids to get lost if they don't want to play by the rules. They tend to moderate their behaviour accordingly.

I wonder if this type of assault is what the government envisaged for it's cafe culture 24/7 drinking extravaganza. Of course most of us idiots on the front line could see it coming, just like the cannabis balls up, but who listens to us? Will the next government reverse or moderate the drinking culture? I do hope so.