Wednesday, 29 October 2008


Justice for one victim - but no comment from PM as early release prisoners go on to kill

The prime minister no doubt thinks it's so important that naughty Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross are brought to book over their calls to actor Andrew Sachs. Of course naughty Russell has previous for this type of comedy, which went unpunished last time. Don't recall the PM saying too much then. It depends who you dis' I suppose. Following his comments both have been suspended pending a BBC investigation.

Meanwhile in the real world evidence emerges that three murders have been committed by prisoners released early as part of the government proposals to reduce the jail population. I would rather the PM comment on this scandal.

Not all bad news, it was good to see the appeals of youths involved in kicking to death Sophie Lancaster, who was a Goth' have been dismissed. With the exception of one who achieved a 9 month reduction in his life tariff, the appeal court threw the whole lot out. So well done to Lord Judge and the other two appeal judges - It would have been nice to see all four tariffs increased but you can't have it all.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Welcome To The Pleasure Dome

Reading through the police blogs I get the impression that the constabularies appear to suffer most from the performance culture and general management pettiness. Is this because of senior officers having to prove their commitment, just to climb the promotion ladder in an arena of limited opportunity? There must be a reason.

I consider myself fortunate to work in the metropolis and a relatively busy bit too. We have been inundated with refugee police officers that have transferred from apparent madness out in the country. I am talking dozens of them. This must be causing massive problems in their old force areas, as these are top people, experienced and skilled that they can’t afford to lose.

They haven’t come for the money, so they tell me, although that is an added benefit. They have just got so pissed off with the working conditions and lack of bodies on their teams that the metropolis seems more attractive. I know some of the towns they come from, and when told what they were putting out on a night shift I was shocked. They must like what they see here, because a few months later their old work colleagues turn up too.

Although there is always pressure to perform, with a few exceptions most of the metropolis bosses let it be known that the target thing is a load of bollocks. That is until they start to get their backside kicked by upstairs or the centre.

The constabularies are trying to think up incentives to improve retention, but still the losses continue. Of course they are now trapped in a vicious circle of trying to squeeze out more from less. The remaining officers left, might just succumb to the lure of better resourced teams, with £400 extra a month thrown in too.

How much of this has been due to free rail travel paid for by the metropolis? I personally don’t think it’s all down to free travel. This came in years ago, but give credit, somebody played a blinder creating this scheme just as the metropolis was suffering losses itself due to the high cost of living, when housing allowances were cut. I might be wrong. Is there anybody out there in a position to comment?

Perhaps more officers on the response front line would solve their problems. There has been an explosion of niche departments everywhere that monitor and quality control without contributing much. They just create more actions and local directives for the hard-pressed troops on shift to complete. They are not missed at the weekends so I’m sure a few could be disbanded and staff returned to shift.

Why can’t we just go back to massive reliefs where everything is done in house and the job gets done? It used to work didn’t it? In fact I used to rather enjoy it.

* We are somewhat flush when compared to what the constabularies can put out on shift, but we paraded more in years gone by.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

I'm Here .. But I'm Not All There !

I can actually do this .. when fit

I'm back but it's not just my computer that's been on a go slow. I've felt absolutely rinsed out for some reason, and struggling to get anything done.

I'm not the greatest sleeper but a few wide awake nights before early shift has really taken it's toll. Throw a few night shifts into the mix and working three out of four rest days and to tell you what day it is requires some thought. I've actually been fatigued driving into work, feeling the same as after a 12 hour night shift.

I've been snappy and irritated and probably not very nice to be around. My body actually feels tense and my skin feels itchy. Worst I've felt all year and it's come out of nowhere. I had a full on September and actually cleared everything I had to do work wise. I was ready to push on with some new projects and operations but have somewhat stalled on the grid. I think that now my team is back together for the first time this year the body is taking a time out.

The injury has relapsed so still not running. Attempted a posing dive when on holiday in the Summer and my knee gave way causing me to collapse into the pool. Would not have scored straight sixes for that one and swam underwater resurfacing yards away from the scene of the crime hoping that nobody noticed. From the sly smiles everybody obviously did.

A few more days to push then I'll get some leave and put myself back together. It's all self inflicted. I'm a Mug !

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Big Fish Little Fish …. Cardboard Box

I got grabbed literally to deal with a shoplifter detained as I walked down the road. Only too happy to oblige and I asked immediately what had been taken. A chocolate shake drink to the value £1.35 as it turns out.

The shop detective (obviously new) had to be prompted to provide some evidence, and the miscreant threw his hands up. Then I ask what is the policy of the store in cases like this. The manager was already holding a banning notice and was eager to serve it. He doesn’t want to waste our time or his over £1.35. I ask him to hold on whilst I do some checks. The shoplifter was a drug addict with lots of previous, living in a hostel. I think he was a genuine “help yourself” case if there can be such a thing.

I could have issued a ticket for £80 if I’d had one on me. You really do need a personal “Sherpa” to carry all the forms and paperwork required. The bloke was OK, safe in the knowledge he was walking, so a stern talking to was administered before he was kicked on his way. Years ago this would have been shown as a “Clear Up”, as the guilt of the offender was clear. We got them to sign a little slip, which was handy for old people nicking a bit of cheese etc. Clear Ups used to be all the rage until replaced by the new religion detections.

So there it was one undetected crime report created - naughty me!

I had a good chat with the manager. The stock loss at this store was 10% or £3500 a week. I was surprised – it’s only a little mini market for a national chain. They’ve also got a security guard. We had a walk round and he tells me that much of the loss is meat. He was losing packets of sliced meat and joints by the shelf full. This was happening from opening time at 8am mainly through till 11am, when the guard starts work.

This is a typical junkie crime where the goods are sold on to feed a habit. They had static CCTV, which didn’t really cover the counters very well. This could be a nice little operation to deal with the stolen meat. There is already talk of the store closing down due to the losses. Now call me a cynic, but a lot of this will also be down to theft employee by staff. He thought that perhaps 3 or 4 individuals were targeting them and I tend to agree.

So what is required for me to help them out? Officially:

Problem Solving Proforma - long form several parts
Proactive and Tasking Proforma - long form to justify resources
Risk Assessment Form - long form re Health and Safety and Human Rights
Attend Weekly Intelligence Meeting - for bosses blessing
Directed Surveillance application -as a pre planned operation
Deployment update reports - daily
Closure Reports

It would probably be authorised, as we would be expected to issue loads of fixed penalties for the petty stuff. Then again, I could just deploy some plain-clothes patrols in the area and when I see a junkie enter with a large bag take it from there. I like fishing but only for the bigger fish. We’ll see …

Computer has gone again and needs serious work so limited posting until further notice. I'm sat in one of those internet cafes surrounded by strange people.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Roll Over Roll Over .. So They All Rolled Over AND !

Wise or Toothless?

2.65% and tied into a three year deal with less the next two years. The Federation are pleased with this as they appear to have saved the PNB (Police Negotiating Board). They also have a binding agreement to renegotiate should recruitment levels fall.

OK times are hard but the Federation has given in again. I think we did the same in 1995 and kept to the Tory governments 1.5% pay freeze accepting 3% and losing alot of conditions. The dental allowance went then - good business for them as I've just paid £425 for a new crown !!

I said in August don't fight battles you can't win and we would not have won. The government will be pleased as WE will be on the front line when everybody else exercises their industrial rights.

I would have least insisted on having our "stolen" £200 paid on top. We wait with baited breath to see if the right for industrial action continues

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Running Away From Justice

One of the things that bugs me most is people running away from police. It might be exciting on all the cop shows, but in reality there is little deterrent for the suspect or offender. You just "might" get an obstruction under the misuse of drugs act if you'd managed to start exercising that power. However in most cases there is no charge. So you might as well go for it.

How often have you seen on TV the decamp from the stolen car, with all occupants bomb bursting. Any passengers caught after the chase always seem to have no charges laid. The old "offered a lift and didn't know it was stolen" defence.

You would have thought that this government, which likes making laws - What is it 3500 and counting? could have covered this loophole.

Don't forget I sustained my injury chasing after an offender and am still below par despite being back on full duty. I am still somewhat pissed off and bitter. OK I know I had him for supply already but if I hadn't he would have had no penalty.

Danny was a prolific burglar and was well wanted. A few enquiries gave me his signing on day and times at the dole office. I got permission from the office to conduct the arrest and agreed to do it in the foyer, where I was observing from a side office with a young constable.

True to form he arrives with a friend and goes in to sign on. The friend remained in the foyer possibly as a look out. As he came to leave, we appeared and the friend shouts a warning. Danny boy comes running at full pelt and I grab him and we fall heavily. His head smashes into the lower panel of the front door, which has thickened glass reinforced with wire. It must have hurt as it left an indentation in the panel but Danny bounces up and is away with me giving chase. He runs straight across the main road, and I follow with the "red mist blinkers" on. I hear the screech of tyres and stop transfixed like a bunny in the headlights. I'm going to get wiped out, and close my eyes waiting for the impact.

I love black taxi drivers. The front bumper stops about 6 inches from me - shit! very close one. I continue the chase but Danny is now well away. I traipse back to the dole office and take solace in nicking the friend for obstructing police. He saw my near death and pleads to the charge. This was obviously Pre CPS charging. The dole office were not best pleased about their glass panel and I think that involved some paperwork from me too.

Danny eventually got caught a couple of weeks later after another chase. This time he ran into somebody's house and kicked his way through the roof tiles, before getting arrested. He was charged in custody but of course was bailed by the court.

I was chatting to him a few years later and we had a good laugh about this. I made a comment about the police always being on the receiving end. He pulled up his top and showed me his back which was badly scarred. He'd been chased by police during a commercial burglary and fell through glass getting badly speared by shards. He nearly died and it was only first aid by his police pursuers that saved his life.

So on my wishy wanty list for new legislation is, "Running away from a police officer when told to stop " carrying the maximum sentence of 6 months. Sometimes evading police is a death sentence.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Road To Nowhere

This road rarely leads to jail

A result in court recently. I only had to wait around for three and a half hours. An hour of this was waiting for the defendant to bother turning up. I think there is some ingrained arrogance in them, that means if they turn up on time they are somehow weak and bowing to the system.

This was a not guilty trial date. Said youth had been photographed by a member of the public in the drivers seat of a stolen car outside in the street. It was a great shot of head and shoulders. When it appeared on our daily briefing I recognised the culprit immediately. Slightly gutted as well, I'd only spoken to him the day before so missed out on an easy collar.

One of my team arrested him the following week and he was charged and bailed. At the same time he was charged with a theft from vehicle, where he'd screwed a police sting car. There was fingerprint evidence and video of this offence. That was listed for a different not guilty trial the following week.

He was obviously bang to on all these charges. As I see him on a near daily basis, I asked him why the "not guilty" pleas. All on the advice of his solicitor it seems.

Anyway as all prosecution witnesses have turned up, including the victim, person who took the photograph and three police officers the defence solicitor now indicates his client will be pleading guilty. He is even copping a plea to screwing the sting car. So we can all leave after he's done his bit in court. This is all a game - he will get credit for pleading guilty - but if one of the prosecution witnesses had failed to turn up - he would be "not guilty" and apply for a case dismissed.

He won't get jail despite a lengthy list of previous convictions. He knows it and we know it. I had the opportunity to speak to the sergeant from the vehicle crime squad. He tells me of one youth who has been caught four times in a year screwing their sting cars. He is still to serve a custodial sentence.

So if your car is screwed when you leave your Sat Nav in view, and you blame the police as car crime's out of control, and you rarely see a police officer in your street you know why!

Friday, 10 October 2008

What's In A Name

You know of my dislike of Dogs from when I posted the other week. Imagine my rage reading this on the Sun newspaper site.

A Cross Pit Bull called "ASBO" ran amok in Mitcham dragging a child fifty yards across a green before members of the public bravely intervened. One got badly bitten and had to jump in the back of a passing lorry to get away. ASBO was not going to give up and chased after the lorry. Luckily no really serious injuries.

It then continued to run wild before getting cornered and shot. ** Not for Liberal dog lovers **(Click this video link). This could have had more serious implications. Not only could the child have been killed, but there is a rumoured previous report to police about ASBO biting someone. How would the police have come out of that one. Lawsuits all round I guess.

ASBO's owner has been rightly arrested and the Social Housing Landlords are not best pleased. No doubt endless excuses will be offered up as to how ASBO escaped from her garden. I wonder if she'll blame the landlords for not maintaining her fence?

These people are just downright anti-social through their existence. They want you to be scared of them and having an illegal dog called ASBO just reinforces that.

Why can't all these "ASBO'S" , "TYSON'S" and "KILLER'S" be shot on sight?

Lot's of form filling on this one - I hope they didn't forget the property damage form for "ASBO".

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Nothing To Celebrate Week

Why do we have to celebrate something different every week? It's stressing me, just at that lower niggling level to keep receiving e-mails about politically correct things. Black History month is upon us - All of October. Nice to see the Black Police Association are "celebrating" this by declining to assist the Met with recruitment drives.

OK I recognise and respect this event but why do I have to celebrate it as part of my job? Plenty of government money goes into these awareness campaigns, money that could be better spent elsewhere.

I've not even heard about alot of these things. Most of the e-mails are just forwarded for distribution by senior managers. Usually there is a comment attached -

"Are we doing anything re this ?"

This assumes we already know about it, and should reply along the lines of :

"It just so happens we have been working on an event for months to celebrate this, please read the attachment"

In fact they get the reply, "What a shame it's at such short notice - maybe next year"

What you really dread is " Good Neighbours or whatever week is coming up in two months time I want you to organise an event to celebrate it".

Damn and drat expletives emanate from the office as it dawns, that you've got to plan an event so the organisation can be seen to be inclusive. The planning all takes time and that's patrolling time folks. Great for those looking for Diversity evidence for promotion, but not really my cup of tea. I have done some though, but it goes with the job.

I don't mind if it's something I'm into, but if I'm not it's a right turn off. However as I recognised Roma Traveller Month with the Gypsy Kings, it's only right and fitting for Bob Marley to be added to the Music Wall.

Did I mention my uncle was from Jamaica? It doesn't matter they still patronise me.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

We Need YOU !!

Great image of Phil Armitage returning home from Afghanistan to be met by his daughters. With all the doom and gloom going on I found it rather uplifting to see and read about this soldier. He left school with no qualifications and got married young, but has purpose in his life serving the country well, achieving a career to boot.

It throws up the question of National Service, especially with forces recruitment suffering at present. Army life is not for everyone but there are benefits in being part of a disciplined service.

Since the police forces did away with saluting and proper parades, standards have slipped. Perhaps they both need to come back.

Where are the squaddies coming into the police? I can't remember seeing an ex forces probationer at my station in several years. We've got loads of ex PCSO's and students but are rather lacking in Phil Armitages. He looks like he could cope with life on my estates and be effective in the fight against crime .

I would have thought that people with their life skills and aptitude would be most sought after. Of course they would receive no favouritism and would have to "prove" their commitment to diversity. There are recruitment quotas for everything else - I'd have a quota for ex forces.

Come on Squaddies - We Need You Too

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Dear Diary - What a Day !!

Legs Taken - by whom ??

I do feel sorry for Sir Ian Blair as I don't like to see anybody get their legs done. He has been correct and honourable in offering his resignation today. I was somewhat shocked how quickly this came about, but not totally surprised. It was only a matter of time in light of the drip drip bad press and poison at the top table.

You can't blame the mayor who has made a decision, that he couldn't work with the commissioner. It's just a shame that Sir Ian couldn't do the same with his management team. Something had to give and unfortunately the top man has paid the price. Somebody at the yard has blood on their hands.

Let's hope somebody gets a grip and a few more from the top table are moved on too. Whoever get's the job and I hope it's Sir Hugh ORDE (Top Bloke), they should be allowed to build their own team around them.

Respected - Sir Hugh

Out Of Nowhere

Bugger Me !!

Don't Mention The War

I have resisted the temptation to post on the Race War saga at the Met, other than the obvious damage this is having on public satisfaction levels. This is because I don't know the facts, and the leaks and half truths were just both sides lining up for battle.

Well informed rumour control doesn't paint Commander Dizaei in a favourable light, however he deserves to receive a fair hearing, now he's been suspended.

It would appear this subject is now off limits within the force, and any enquiries and comment meet with the "get on with the job" response. It has been stated that the suspension of Commander Dizaei has nothing to do with the pending Employment Tribunal of Assistant Commissioner Ghaffur.

I should imagine the fact that he gave a character reference to Mr Dizaei at a previous criminal trial, put the Senior Met management in an uncomfortable position.

I suspect this is the calm before the storm.