Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Something that I think will be the case in any police force ("service") across the country is our outstanding ability to moan.

No matter where you are, ask a room full of coppers about what is wrong with their particular employer and/or the role they are currently doing and you will be met with a cacophony of wails, whinges, a wall of swear words and a general environment of grump.

I don't know whether it is I have finally managed to have two undisturbed days off or whether there were was a particularly special mix of additives and chemicals in the chinese we had this evening but I figured there must be some good stuff going on somewhere. Senior types would call this identifying good practice but I think I just felt swimming against the general flow of police blogger malaise for once.

I think what makes the whole police system "work" overall is the people on the front line - and not necessarily old bill- who are dedicated and work around the tape and frustrations. The station I used to work was one of the few left that had a garage hand, whose general job was to look after the fleet.

This bloke was absolutely worth his weight in gold. You'd come in to write a report or have grub or whatever. He'd come and hunt you down, and have your keys off you. When you came back, your car would be sparkling. It'd be vacuumed. Mechanical checks had been done. He was trusted implicitly by all the teams- nobody doubted him when he said something was wrong with a car. He'd sort out all the boot equipment and had fully stocked first aid kits waiting in standby for you to swap if you had to use yours.

All the teams bought him real good stuff for christmas- full meals at decent restaurants for his whole family, flight tickets- not a box of highland shortbreads in sight!

When I moved divisions, I was shocked to find the state of the fleet when there wasn't someone as dedicated as him looking after it. I am still trying to think of ways I can persuade him to move...

There must be some others around who can dredge up a tale where something works right in this otherwise over-politicised, top heavy bonkers system that is 21st Century British policing....

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Irrelevant time

It is often with a sense of concealed ironic amusement I book someone in, and the officer tells me his 'Socpa' reason for arrest is for a prompt and effective investigation.

If only. The only thing prompt about anyone in custody is the hurry of all the various squads to think of reasons why it wouldn't be in their remit. The battles I have had with the burglary squad who will stop at nothing to argue that someone who has been arrested for burglary and booked in for burglary has not actually committed burglary before they've even read the officers notes or interviewed the bloke.

I have had it argued that someone who gained access to a roof to steal lead, via someone letting him in through a communal entrance, is not burglary. He entered the building by consent you see, and therefore could not be a trespasser.

Or, how I once caught someone, still inside a flat, having smashed the door in. I was literally on top of this call when it came out and was inside and grabbed him (I'm not sure who was more surprised to see each other) before he had moved anything outside. That wasn't burglary, according to the burglary squad, because he had only committed criminal damage and we couldn't prove the intention to steal!

That last one was the only time I've ever lost my temper at work- with the DC who was trying to tell me I should deal with this prisoner as criminal damage.

The bunfights that go on about who should deal with a prisoner can go on for hours. Meanwhile of course Chummy is sat twiddling his thumbs in the cell whilst clock ticks slowly down. My job as the custody sergeant is to make sure he is dealt with promptly and the entries on some custody logs are simply a procession of calls by me to the various gatekeepers (i.e. those who decide whose unit should deal with what prisoner) haranguing them for someone to come down and actually get on with it.

Of course, prior to any of the specialist squads actually taking a prisoner on the Response jockeys have to do an ever increasing list of minimum requirements before they'll accept the handover- i.e. statements from witnesses, victims, photos, seizure and evidencing. Basically, they're only happy if the only thing they have to do is interview.

It's odd. Every so often we get a really juicy prisoner which one of the super central based squads come out and deal with- the murderers, shootings type prisoners. The contrast is stark compared to our local suit department- they offer to help the response team boys with exhibiting stuff, even volunteer to take statements from witnesses. Meanwhile, just getting our local CID out of their office I normally consider to be an achievement....

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Not a good week for the Chiefs

Oh dear. It hasn't been a good week for those higher up the food chain.

Commander Dizaei is off to face Westminster Magistrates.

A Chief Inspector Jones is looking like he's in a great deal of bother.

Meanwhile double trouble in Surrey as both the Chief Super and Superintendent are on gardening leave.

The thing which got me about these three reports is that I have no doubt that each individual is stressing their innocence. Each one is hoping that the criminal justice system is come to the right conclusion. Yet there is a distinctly different tone between one of these reports and the other two.

The fact that Commander Dizaei is president of the NBPA is neither here nor there in relation to the allegations he has been charged with. Yet the NBPA are mentioned no less than 5 times. The Metropolitan Police Authority call on the Met to ensure that he has all necessary support in place and reminds them they have a duty of care to him.

Where was this sentiment at G20? Why does Commander Dizaei get such overt support from the MPA? I understand the TSG sergeant involved in the G20 allegations (i.e. not charged) is a black officer. Where was the NBPA there offering its full support then?

Feel free to try and explain this to me.....!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Highway to.....

Now that the weather has warmed up a bit, I'm getting to really enjoy the rides home on the bike now.

I've been doing some completely daft hours for a while now (not exactly by choice, I might add) which means quite often when I'm either going to or from - or on a really bad day, both- I'm the only soul on the road.

After a long, frustrating, sweaty day I find myself really looking forward to the ride home. There's the familiarity of the bike, and the fact it does exactly what I tell it to do. It it isn't ordered what to do and doesn't ignore criminality for the sake of public opinion. Our senior management are so paranoid in the post G20 climate that in a potential public order situation we have to be facing virtual armageddon before we are actually told to go and deal with something, even when it is blatantly and clearly illegal.

I'd dearly love to divulge more but I can't for the usual reasons.

So yes after a sweaty day I find myself looking forward to the ride, the familiar v-twin thump and buzz through the footpegs, the cool night air rushing through the flip top. I don't scream home, just pootle along, having some wind down time.

I note with irony the recent media hoohah about overtime payments. Already, my neighbours are giving me wry looks when I talk about the most recent debacle of a 16 hour day. Thing is, I'm not interested in the money. Overtime is for young single people, or those who aren't young but want to be single. I have a family and I'd much rather spend time with them. I'm fed up of being told about the latest first thing the little one has done by text message, or watching a video of it when I get home.

I'm earning nowhere £52k! That sergeant clearly didn't have a day off in a year. Crazy fool.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The politician's policeman

If I was a policeman who policed in the way the government do, not as the government say:

I'd work in County A. I'd live in County B, but of course that'd mean I'd have my proper home as my second home, so I can buy some decent furniture, paint, televisions etc etc...
I'd then suggest paying myself to turn up to work in County A, on top of my salary.
I'd only speak to members of the public on a once weekly basis, and then spend the rest of my time speaking to my colleagues about what I think is best for the public, in a grand building the public can't visit the most part of.
I'd vote myself a pay rise every year.
I'd claim charity giving, gardening, cat food and christmas decorations on expenses.
I'd vote myself a bigger summer holiday.

All the while, I'd orate at great length...

"The issue of accountability. This is vital for public confidence"
"People pay taxes and want to know their money is making a difference"
"As a government, we have always been clear that the rights we exercise as individuals must be balanced against the responsibilities towards others"

All the above direct quotes from Hazel Blears, January 2005.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Va va vroom

Happened upon this in the Telegraph Motoring section the other day. Despite all the Subara WRX's, Evo 9's etc floating around in various forces, check out the one they used to showcase the British Police.

It's a comparison between in-service police cars across the world.

The German entrant- a 225mph Brabus V12

The Italian- Lamborghini Gallardo.....

The Austrians have a fairly tame (in this company!) 911

The Americans have some custom made beast with integrated shotgun mounts

And holding up the union jack proudly......

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Briefly back on G20..........

A quick youtube special of one of the lesser publicised G20 events