Friday 29 January 2010

The Phoney War

I love drugs .. or to be more precise being involved in operations to combat their use and supply. My level of expertise centres around the street market drugs mainly crack and heroin, which links into acquisitive crime. I love policing the druggies and putting myself up against whoever is flavour of the month amongst the local so called drug lords. It's a challenge - a game to me - a war that I can never win overall but an opportunity to win a personal head to head. I admit to actually enjoying that feeling when I emerge victorious. There is also a positive kick-back in the knowledge that for a short time the local community will have some respite from having to put up with blatant dealing and all the fears that go with it, but only until somebody else moves in to fill the void.

I don't think we are quite so hot in dealing with the middle class drugs such as cocaine and Ecstasy. I could point you to places where I know that the powder drugs and pills are readily available, but in the whole we ignore it. The past few years we've also been neglecting the street stuff too, all because it's too expensive to tackle properly. Drug offences for reporting purposes are a "victimless" crime and only show on the books for a detection with a prisoner attached.

It's only political pressure that draws a response, be it an explosion in violent crime when a drug related turf war breaks out or a publicised death surrounding a venue such as Leah Betts in Basildon. Central funding might then be forthcoming if you make a good case for it. If this doesn't happen then you'll have to put up with queues of addicts waiting for their fix on your stairwell.

Now I don't have a past involving drugs, apart from being administered an opiate years ago for a broken leg. It definitely hit the spot for me and I still crave that feeling now - I know what to ask for if in severe pain and was extremely disappointed to have been turned down for Pethidine on my last injury.

I understand the street addicts many of whom I really like, and many have a strong moral code even if they are thieves. Most will shoplift to fund their habits and don't see themselves as serious criminals. They hate to be classed the same as burglars and robbers and would class themselves as honest thieves if that makes sense. As I'm on first name terms with many of these still after many years, the extra funding for drugs rehabilitation isn't working as far as I can see.

I like to think I have a feel of what's going on locally where I work. Most of the kids who were committing robberies or burglaries or vehicle crime are moving into dealing where even as a runner they can make 80 pounds a day. Once they make a stake they start up their own operations to keep the cycle going. Their addict customers continue shoplifting almost unabated to feed their habits and also keep the cycle going. I can't remember the last time a prolific shoplifter got sent to prison round my way so the shops lose thousands, the police win as we are not called to report all shoplifting's and benefit from the kids moving into dealing and society loses as the streets become a mess.

I don't understand the other spectrum where the middle classes go out and have a snort or pop a pill or two. Is it the danger of living on the edge? of taking a walk on the wild side? of being - well naughty? I don't discriminate and will nick either if they come into my sights but policing today means it's likely to be the street stuff that gets my attention.

I have done the other side when the political pressure was demanding action against the acid house phase in the early 90's. It was piss easy to cruise round venues that had these promotion nights and stop and turn over people in their cars outside. The percentage hit rate for possession of Ecstasy was high and occasionally we'd hook a bigger fish. I recall nicking one lad and we'd gone back to search his bedroom on a Section 18. He had banknotes piled up and it must have been a 12 inch pile. Thousands of pounds which today would have been seized as proceeds of crime. The circumstances of his case meant it was restored. As they went on all night it was even worth early turn stops on a Saturday or Sunday morning as they drove home. I had a particularly good seizure of LSD from doing this.

I'd even worked plain clothes in one venue when we were going to raid it. A few of us were put in to spot the dealers. Drugs and water were order of the day for most patrons and I was approached several times by people wanting to score. Passing myself off as a prospective buyer myself all you had to do was to ask the eager punter to let you know who had stuff for sale. The naive suckers would come back and tell you who had what and the prices, bloody nice people. I was also complimented on my trendy shirt several times by young ladies who were obviously on it. The raid was a waste of time by the time we'd done it as the dealers we pointed out were sold out. A sweep around the floors showed the extent of the drugs misuse, which was all that was needed to eventually shut it down. Things would be done differently today if we did anything at all. If I am to be totally honest the hundreds of patrons although "on it" big time caused less trouble than if they'd been tanked up on booze. A really chilled raid ...

Monday 25 January 2010

The Season Ahead

I can feel Spring in the air and the remnants of my Winter gloom being blown gently away. This is approaching my favourite time of year when we can all look forward more positively to what's ahead. Already the first demonstration has taken place involving the English Defence League and predictably it kicked off.

I don't think anybody has quite sussed this lot out yet. The extreme left have bracketed them as fascist right wing extremists and turn out en masse to confront them. This I assume is due to factions within the EDL being made up of mainly football supporters - their traditional enemies, where the most extreme fans were directly linked to Combat 18 and BNP. The EDL also has a Jewish wing, Muslim wing and Black members who purport their aims are solely to confront extremist Islamic groups who have been too long indulged in this country. I do wonder why these anti-fascist groups don't also go and demonstrate against Islam4UK whose views are very much fascist by definition.

It will I suspect boil down to Right versus Left with a 21st Century slant to it. Alot of today's football fans are quite happy to integrate with different cultures as long as those individuals can kiss the flag and see themselves as British. So this year we could well see anti-fascist groups confronting the EDL who are made up of some non white faces. Couldn't see too many black faces in the video below from the disturbances in Stoke though, but I can assure you some football firms have black members. It could just be an excuse for these football fans to indulge their tribal passion for fighting and lets be honest they are not particularly bothered who they have a go at including police. Personally I've always found them full of shite who only go on the rampage when numbers are stacked in their favour, but at least they don't whine when order is restored.

Who knows what the year holds for the EDL, but unless they fragment and become more overtly racist they might just become stronger and attract more popular support than the BNP. I don't think they are that smart and the Nazi salutes just show them up to be the same Nationalists who used to turn up countering the "Troops Out" of Ulster marches. The left meanwhile will quite happily take to the streets when the Tories regain power, so this year could actually be problematic.

I don't know how the new police "Hands off - We've Surrendered" public order tactics will fit into this, all I know is a boot from a Anti-fascist hurts as much as one from a Right winger.

Tactical Point - Shouldn't the exit doors be on the side away from the crowd?

Thursday 21 January 2010

My Favourite Judge

He has previously shown himself to be a man of common sense so Well Done to Judge Judge and two other's sitting who sensibly heard the appeal of Munir HUSSAIN and gave him a suspended sentence for inflicting GBH on the burglar who entered his home. As the law stands this was all they could do and it is a fair judgement, and that's all anybody could ask for.

I've already posted on similar cases and as always the law throws up exceptional cases such as this one where the burglar was chased down the road and beaten, receiving injuries . I do have sympathy for Tokeer HUSSAIN who remains in jail but he too got his sentence reduced and will be out soon. I don't know the medical evidence of the injuries received by Walid Salem, but as he has been arrested for a crime since can assume his recovery is going well.

I do wonder if Mr Salem would be due compensation from the CICA or even have the gall to sue millionaire businessman Munir HUSSAIN for civil damages. If he does I hope whoever sits in judgement gives him short shrift.

Sunday 17 January 2010

Doing It To Ourselves

This post is in support of colleagues who have single vehicle crewing imposed in rural areas. We don't do it where I work for response cars probably because we are more sensible*. I therefore suspect this could be a self imposed policy by police management. I understand each Division has their own patrolling policy which is up to them to draft. We do have a default position for single foot patrol, which as I've stated before I don't really have a problem with as help is never that far away. We never have sufficient officers to patrol on foot so this only really affects community teams. Regular readers will be aware I was nearly crippled whilst on lone foot patrol attempting an arrest and it still hurts, but that's part of the job and down to bad luck rather than a single patrol policy.

The centre has got rather anal about the single patrol policy wanting to measure who is complying or not. They have of course created a department to cover this and it will include spot checks. The only thing I've noticed is the demise of the policy where officers from HQ used to come out for a few hours of patrol to "keep in touch" once a month or so, pairing up with a local officer. This might well reappear once the weather warms up and I await to see if a lone patrol is order of the day.

Loved the story I heard the other day of an Inspector who was out on foot patrol at 3am with a probationer to do a few stops. A car pulls up with the on call Superintendo who then enquires why they weren't on lone patrol. Despite the Inspector's best efforts to point out he was developing his young charge he still had a lecture about single patrol. The Superintendo was of course being driven by a PC. Great for morale and the Superintendo obviously destined for the very top. This was a first hand account by the way.

Get Well Soon Fran Croucher - (whatever's wrong with you) * Did I title this post correctly or what?

* Update * We are stupid and are bringing it in too - orders from the centre, not from those who are responsible locally.

Saturday 16 January 2010

What Is It About Croydon?

** Beware Elderly Behaving Badly - I'm not allowed to be offended you might be **

Croydon - Wonderful area in South London and self proclaimed Chav capital brings us the above video, to show that all those disrespectful binge drinkers frequenting your Town Centre will possibly not mellow with age. You might just be having a glimpse of the future here.

My first thoughts were how much writing would be involved if you came across this in the street. A domestic assault and racially aggravated public order offence along with a potential death in custody to boot x 2. Perhaps the most sensible thing to do is let them get on with it, but the system doesn't allow that. I hear a rumour that somewhere has been trialling a new form similar to the domestic violence risk assessment that has to be filled out for racial incidents. If anybody has heard of this, what's it like and what questions are in there?

It would appear the saddest thing here is that poor old Margaret has passed on and this is posted as a tribute to her. I think she was actually dead well before leaving this life.

Wednesday 13 January 2010

Bring Out Our Girls

Myleene Klass appears to be a nice down to earth girl and as vulnerable to crime just like the rest of us. When she disturbed youths burgling her garage she waved a knife at them from inside her house thus scaring them away. What follows due to Myleene being a fitty is the police looking stupid again, when somebody is reported to have told her she could be arrested for having an offensive weapon.

Now this didn't exactly ring true at the time with me, because even the dimmest officer knows that you can't be arrested for possession of an offensive weapon in your house, unless you're stupid enough to admit having a "made one" which you had in public before it reached your house. I think that the CPS would call that a weak case and in most circumstances decline a charge. Now this all came out at the launch of a new TV show that Myleene was promoting so call me a cynic ............ but why aren't Hertfordshire police putting up more of a rebuttal? Maybe if we rolled out our own fitty press person we could get some coverage.

Myleene has back tracked somewhat and it's spun as a defence of property thing as Herts deny any warning was made to her. As long as Myleene doesn't chase her burglars away and stab them she could in certain circumstances use a knife to defend herself. People just need to know where they stand with this. It's pretty clear in law but again what is reasonable in the circumstances rears it's head.

Now all own up. Who keeps something handy just in case you are confronted in your own house by felons? I've got a lovely little wooden ornament that somebody brought back from holiday for me. I keep it behind my bed and if need be could use it effectively and correctly. I wouldn't hit somebody around the head with it unless the threat to me warranted it. I am in effect trained to use it and more importantly trained to justify it's use. My old man prefers a length of 2 be 2 hard wood and I have heard of people who sleep with a knife nearby just in case.

My personal opinion is that anybody in your house unlawfully who stands their ground offering aggression and gets whacked should lose their rights to protection from the law. The law should favour the householder who did nothing to bring about the confrontation. Of course shooting them in the back as they flee is hardly self defence, but the law needs to understand the flight or fight process. You would have to be pretty centred as a MOP to avoid a little bit of retribution.

So for any MOP out there here is the law:

Section 3 Criminal Law Act 1967

A person may use such force as is reasonable in the circumstances in the prevention of crime, or in effecting or assisting in the lawful arrest of offenders or suspected offenders or of persons unlawfully at large.

Common Law

A person who is attacked or who believes that he is about to be attacked may use such force as is reasonably necessary to defend himself or another. In this situation a person is acting in lawful self defence. What does acting in lawful self defence mean? The law is that a person only acts in lawful self defence if in the circumstances he believes that it is necessary for him to defend himself or another and the amount of force which he uses in doing so is reasonable. Two questions arise. Firstly, did the person believe, or may he honestly have believed that it was necessary to defend himself. If the person did not believe that it was necessary to defend himself, then self defence simply does not arise. The second question is, taking the circumstances, as the person believed them to be, was the amount of force which he used reasonable? The law is that force used in self defence is unreasonable and unlawful if it is out of proportion to the nature of the attack or if it is in excess of what is really required of the person to defend himself.

I don't know how to word out the thieving slag deserved it in the above but I'm sure some legal eagle could try.

Friday 8 January 2010

Every Snowy Cloud ...

The boiler breakdown I can put down to cold weather but I'm not too sure about the loss of Broadband and even my mobile phone. Everything is now working just fine. Most of my people made it into early turn the other day, but we did escape most of the snow that has gripped the rest of the UK. A few who live miles away had already taken the day off anticipating not being able to get in. We only tend to suffer when the public transport falls down.

It was rather nice not to be inundated with the usual day in day out stuff, especially after Xmas. Social services have however decided that we have become the easy option for them, with numerous requests to conduct welfare checks on their clients.

I would say the closure of schools has impacted on absence more than staff not being able to get in due to the snow. Mrs Stressed had to take a day off to look after Little Stressed which was somewhat annoying as the main roads were OK to drive on. I don't think this weather is any worse than what we had when I was at school and I don't ever recall missing a day through closure. We would have adapted and doubled up classes. I saw one headteacher on TV going on about how they would be criticised and possibly sued if there was an accident involving a pupil en route to school. Nice to see they suffer from weak leadership and management too.

This is exactly the weather I lived with every year in Northern Germany. As the temperature dropped below a certain level we would get called out to start all of our vehicles so they wouldn't freeze up. It was COLDER than this and unbearable especially if you copped a 6 hour guard duty stag over the week-end. Everything went on as normal out there with the residents ensuring their pavements were cleared, all it takes is a bit of preparation. I think we could be trusted as householders to help out if the council dumped a bit of salt at the end of each road.

More snow to come on Monday by the looks of the forecast and the bosses are loving the low crime rates. If this continues big reductions due before the year end in March. All down to their policing methods of course !! or that's what the promotion application will say.

Tuesday 5 January 2010

I'm Breathing ... Very Deeply This Week

This is a stress post so some of you might want to skip this or read on if you want to see how open you can be. I hopefully haven't banged on about my stress issues too much but since last year I have been indulging in meditation. This has been in the news again today where there are plans to pay for stress monkey's to go on meditation courses. I feel able to comment on this as I paid some of my hard earned cash to go on a mindfulness meditation course last year.

I could go on all day trying to explain it but I think if you watch the video below where Jon Kabat Zinn takes a session at Goggle you will understand better. Those of you who think it's bull - fine I respect that as I scoffed at all this deep breathing stuff that gets pumped out myself. It is I believe about looking deeper at your thoughts and just being aware that what's happened in the past is history and the future hasn't happened so why worry about that too. I really try to live in the present and my battle is against acting in an automotive reactive way at work. I've at times really been in the zone since taking this up and the meditation practices have really helped. There have been occasional lapses where I've had a chomp at people but these moments have only made me more determined to carry on meditating. I would like to just add that there are no substances involved in this either - just in case any of you are thinking that.

My patience has been really tested this week by these idiots Islam4Britain or their real name Al Muhajiroun who pulled everybody's chains with plans to demonstrate through Wootton Bassett, and I'm sure they got the reaction they wanted. I could spread negative vibes about this and really need to suppress my disgust and anger.

So I'll go positive as I believe what we are really seeing is the silent majority rising again, this time in the form of Jo Cleary who is just a normal non political person who loves her country. The politicians can only offer words but no actions as their hands are tied by the Human Rights Act they all love.

What would I like to see happen to some of these people? For a start those on benefits who seem very able to attend these gatherings should have them stopped straight away. Those who are not British citizens should be deported, and those who have been granted citizenship should have it stripped as their presence is not conducive to the public good. All it takes is the politicians to make a new law as nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it. That includes a referendum on Europe that the silent majority were promised.

I think I need to be doing some more of this .... It's long but stay with it