Sunday, September 24, 2006

Last Respects?


I urge you all to visit Inspector Gadget. He has recently posted about the Professional Standards Unit in his force want to speak to him.

It is probably about his blog.

Read it now for the most enlightenment you will get regarding senior police positions. I feel it may soon be curtains for it, as the ultimatum he will probably get is: its the blog or your job.

A reminder for the rest of you reading these police blogs. Every time we type we are running the risk of discipline, sanctions, and even sacking.

Saying "you've got freedom of speech, you can write what you like" doesn't cut it with Professional Standards. Being faced with the choice of facing discipline, loss of rank, and the sack means blogging quickly loses its shine. At the end of the day when we take the uniform off we have mortgages. Families. Our radiators leak every so often and gardens don't garden themselves. We pay council tax and are just as hacked off at the price of petrol as everyone else.

I have not yet seen a police blog that puts lives at risk, that would render anything more susceptible to terrorist attack. I have seen plenty that tell of the frustration of this job, of how we want to do more, but are held back; or how we are expected to do so much and get grief from all comers when we don't achieve what other people feel we should achieve.

But Senior Management don't like to be posed awkward questions. They hate it when some hack quotes a police blog that contradicts whatever official line currently is en vogue. Occasionally, the internet can force senior management to deal with issues from their rank and file (see the Police Oracle Essex Police thread) but that is the exception to the rule. The easier option is to search through every single last detail of every single post and at some point, somewhere, there will be a technicality breached. Even if it is that great catch all in police regulations: Conduct Unbecoming of a Police Officer.

So my thoughts are with Inspector Gadget as he meets the Police police on tuesday. One day, a scared little voice keeps telling me, it'll be me.