Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Bent Cops

I can honestly say I've never knowingly met a crooked cop. I obviously don't move in those sort of circles, my level of association is where colleagues have been stupid through alcohol. I don't condone drink driving or drunken behaviour, but every officer knows the score and have only themselves to blame if they choose to throw their career away. It does not register with me the level of really serious criminality within our ranks, and I'm talking about the "ten large for the top man" variety. It is however a reality, and the professional standards units appear to be busy and well resourced.

We should all applaud this recent success in Liverpool, where a young officer was engaging in the worst conduct. Ex constable Sayful Islam was lucky to get 18 months in jail. I assume he pleaded guilty only due to overwhelming evidence, and there was even a little play of the race card when he hinted in interview to being fitted up and that they'd been after him for years. This was before he was read the transcript from the bug in his car I suspect.

Everybody else at his station will be shitting themselves that they will be caught on camera sodding around, or gossiping. It must be great fun reviewing the covert product if you work in complaints.

I don't know Islam but I bet he was a cocky brash sort, who took the piss at every opportunity, and was sick alot. Having the gall to phone into work even when on his drugs run is just treating the service and colleagues with contempt. He deserves to be taken down to the car wash in the yard and ....

The only mitigation was of having to pay off his debts. There was a time when police officers had to be solvent financially within reason, otherwise being subject to discipline. Perhaps getting rid of thousands of police flats and section houses is leaving many open to corrupt approaches as debt becomes part of life - or maybe they were never fit to wear the uniform in the first place. I believe the latter.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Back To Basics

Something really strange happened the other day, when our SMT leader addressed the juniors. He actually stated that alot of the force policy was an absolute waste of time. I couldn't believe it, he was actually agreeing with everything that police bloggers post on, well alot of it. He stated that central dispatch was never going to work, there are too many slackers within our ranks who go unchallenged and alot of performance indicators are crap. I found myself sat there just nodding in agreement, extraordinary stuff.

The common sense indicator is crime reduction meaning less victims and that's what he wants. He was big on personal responsibility and leadership, and I must post that he practices what he preaches. You never know where he is going to pop up, and he has visited the custody suite, prisoner attached on a few occasions. I have not heard the word "leadership" used by a senior manager for several years and have rarely seen it in action. Of course he is an ex squaddie so is used to making decisions the military way. Problem solved - sod the policy.

It really was a Back to Basics sort of address, where we should go back to what we used to do 20 years ago, but with the public/victim as our focus. He expected Joe Slag to be treated properly, but to know who was running the streets. Sgt Major Stressed is all for this - and I returned to impart leadership into my Spartan team of one constable and a couple of police staff. Unfortunately the truth is, they're not like police officers of day's gone by.

I've posted previously about the lack of ex forces coming into the police. Maybe we need to go Back to Basics on recruitment, because I'm not seeing much talent or people with any presence coming in at the moment. Come to think of it, why is it that a large proportion of police bloggers and posters are ex forces or brats? Is it because they have more common sense and ingrained skills and can see where modern policing is often so wrong in it's delivery?

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

A Place In The Sun

Are you not a little bit embarrassed to be British over the disgraceful saga surrounding the 13 year old who is supposed to be the father of a new born? My money is on one of the other two youngsters who have come forwards actually being a Dad at 14 or 16. How has this story hit the press? If the family has contacted a newspaper then I'd be interested to know, as without doubt money has probably changed hands. Was the lure of being a celebrity Chav just too much?

WTF is going on in this country? We have the worst teenage pregnancy rates in Europe and the tax payer is going to be paying for this mess for decades. No doubt Under Age mother Chantelle will soon be settled in to her new council pad paid for by you and me - Her life will be sorted or so she thinks. Would Chantelle be so enthusiastic to be a mother if the state wasn't so willing to foot the bill?

I'm sure that a few changes to housing policy whereby newly pregnant teenage mothers were not entitled to social housing might solve the problem. I'm sure that the mostly single parent grandmothers to be, instead of being onto The Sun newspaper would be marching their daughters down to certain clinics instead.

Getting pregnant is the easy way onto the council housing list. A young person even working is never going to get into social housing unless they've got issues. With open migration into this country people on the estates are seeing foreign families being housed and therefore see no problem with their kids getting pregnant to beat the system. I feel sorry for the hard working with no kids who have no chance of getting their own place. I can assure you that living next door to Chantelle would involve constant nuisance from youths who would use it as a social base. I've seen it too often.

I'd much rather the likes of Chantelle took the sensible option and the tax payer paid her to have a week in Magaluf to get over it. It would be cheaper in the long run. Of course only two holidays allowed before age of 21. They might even meet a nice waiter and end up staying there.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

For Lovers

For Mrs Stressed - who loves me sometimes, despite my flaws!

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Unhappy Snaps

In a couple of days another new law will be imposed, under the Counter Terrorism Act 2008. It covers all sorts but there is a section about gathering information about armed forces personnel, security agents and police officers likely to be useful to terrorists. One would assume this is in response to the thwarted terrorist conspiracy to kidnap and behead a serving Muslim soldier the other year.

Photo journalists who have been mightily peeved in the last couple of years at getting stopped all the time by police are now worried that they are going to be carted off to clink for taking a photograph of her majesties finest. There is a defence written in, if you can show your conduct was reasonable.

Of course there has been no training and no guidance to the front line. I'm sure most people have seen by now the video of the PCSO in London approaching a film maker and not doing the best stop and account. I can't defend the indefensible and do hope that sensible guidance is forthcoming to avoid unnecessary conflict like this.

It is rather scary however that there is a need for this section of the legislation. I've been threatened by drug dealers and also a crustie type who stated he would hunt me down to my home address over the Internet and shoot me. It amused me no end and we both ended up laughing when he realised how ridiculous he sounded. Getting kidnapped and beheaded by terrorists is a different ball game, I'd be happy if the security services just prevented my demise.

Hostile reconnaissance including photography is conducted by terrorists in pre-planning atrocities. It is a fact - and sensible policing is required, using politeness and tolerance as most people will be totally innocent. I do understand how the journalists get annoyed if they are stopped constantly for doing their job.

Stressedoutcop is still approached for photo opportunities by the public and has perfected a left sided pose to please. Polite requests will still be considered despite this new law.

Unslaveme created the following video - I don't think you'll get 10 years for taking my photo, but a few "might" get arrested if the training isn't right.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Time Served

He did beat the system - It happens

Ronnie BIGGS is likely to be released this year on parole. He is nearly 80 years old and by all accounts suffering dementia. He would have served nearly a third of his 30 year sentence, since he returned in 2001.

As much as I go by the adage "Did the crime now do the time", I do have some sympathy with this bloke. He was on the run for 35 years and was I believe the holder of the "at large" record for an escapee in modern times.

Unfortunately for him legally he has to serve his sentence, and only a humanitarian gesture by the home secretary could have secured his release. As he has not been diagnosed with a terminal illness it appears he doesn't fall into that criteria either. Put aside the celebrity gangster campaigns and objectively it is clear this old man is no longer a threat to society. He beat the system - we should accept it.

Under today's criminal justice farce there are worse threats to public safety released early onto our streets every day. It is clearly not in the public interest to keep this bloke in jail in that state given the circumstances of his case. He should be released with parole conditions to maintain a low profile for a set period. Of course if he suddenly crops up on celebrity come dancing it will have to be looked at again.

Am I going soft? or should there be some compassion here?

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Mad World - with thanks to Bluewheel

I found this video on YouTube which questions why police officers don't smile much today. As a well known miserable git I possibly fall into this category. My sense of humour failings seem to be kept for drunken idiots who are just not very funny, and feel the need to approach and often abuse me. I'm sorry but I find it hard to even raise a sarcastic smile. I've taken to just turning my back on them and looking the other way in silence.

Let me recite a sorry tale of when I tutored a young constable a few years back. We were walking along the road when coming towards us was a black fella and his girlfriend. It was Spring and even Stressedoutcop was full of goodwill, so as we passed I smiled and said Good Morning. I carried on walking only to hear "Who the f@%king hell are you talking to?". We turned and the bloke was in my face offering to fight me. Didn't know him and never seen him before, but my friendly smile and greeting had somehow offended him. He didn't calm down and eventually got himself nicked.

This went to court and you would think was a no brainer. Wrong - the magistrate kicks it out at half-time and lectures me about greeting others who might not appreciate it from police officers due to years of oppression. At least she mentioned my friendly greeting was well intentioned.

Of course having a laugh at work is almost outlawed as there is always somebody who might be offended in some way. Oh how we laughed at training school when we moved Spike's entire room into the boy's toilet and hours were spent arranging everything until it was perfect, bed made, books lined up and slippers neatly by the urinal. He dished it out and it was only fair he took some back. It bonded us into a team and yes it was inappropriate by today's standards.

The after work drink is a thing of the past, especially for supervisors who are in the firing line should any staff say or do anything naughty. It's a discipline offence not to challenge improper conduct, obviously drawn up as a catch all. Be careful what you say or you go the same way as Carol Thatcher. Is it just me or did the Thatcher name seem too much of a temptation for those at the BBC?, and we don't even know what was said.

No such recriminations or career harm though to Supt Rickett at Limehouse in the Met for displaying the Rainbow flag in place of the Union standard. It is indeed a Mad World.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

New Religions

I have taken the pledge recently - not a New Year's resolution to forsake my favourite tipple of Beck's Bier (Positive result from BAOR posting), but the National Policing Pledge. We have the Home Office and Louise Casey to thank for this stating the obvious policy.

I've recently been taken away from operational duties to have this new religion preached at me. I am not going to get too stressed about it, because it is just another Government bit of spin. I would have hoped that we "try" to achieve these standards as a matter of course. A few line graphs were flashed up to show how public satisfaction is improving in certain areas. Particularly loved the improvement in how we are answering the phone within charter times, to the satisfaction of the public. Everybody in the room allowed themselves a little smile as WE KNOW the new call handling dispatch system is not delivering on the front line.

They can promise to answer your 999 call within 10 seconds but without more troops on the front line things are not going to improve on delivery. No I'm wrong things have improved under the new system. People are now choking as more graphs show the success of call dispatch. A brave soul points out that targets are there to be skewed and we ain't buying it. We used to run the old system and would not jiggle call dispatch indicators. If we ran out of police officers the calls stacked up and we used common sense to call back the public ourselves to explain and seek other options. They are somewhat missing the point and again procedures will be put in place to measure how we are keeping to the pledge.

I've also learnt that I'm to become a Human Resources manager. I have no training in this and have no real interest in it either but apparently this is a positive thing for me as a line manager. To save a sum of monies there will be a move towards call centre advice to enable me to provide a "quality" HR service to my staff. On the plus side I'll be able to advertise posts and run the whole interview process to select staff. No chance of nepotism then? I see trouble ahead with this system, and can't see how the inevitable increase in office time contributes to the policing pledge promise to spend 80% of my time visibly working the streets.

I recall going to a community meeting a few years back and getting a right hard time from community representatives. I was blamed for all sorts of ills that were nothing to do with what I was delivering. You know the stuff, "Where were you when my car was broken into?" "When was this Sir?" "About three years ago". It's hard to answer these questions when you're working your nuts off and they don't want to listen to what you have achieved. It was not a constructive meeting and the punters were not satisfied. I rather took it to heart. A wily Chief Inspector told me to promise the world to everyone and if it was something you couldn't solve - do nothing. By the time of the next meeting things would have moved onto another subject. He was right and I feel the Home Office is pulling the same trick.

I was doing much of this already. Do the public want it? only 12 people turned out for my last public meeting out of hundreds of households invited. I'd think they'd prefer more police on the response to answer their calls.