Thursday, December 24, 2009

Season of Goodwill

Like many other suburban or rural forces we have a permanent travellers caravan site. The local water some time ago provided a permanent water supply to the site and provided meters to each plot akin to what you or I would have.

Nearly a third of a million pounds in unpaid bills later they got warrants to have the meters changed to pay as you go ones. The Utility company asked if we would come along to 'prevent a breach of the peace'.

After some umming and aahing by the people in charge of such things on a higher pay grade than I, they agreed to go along on a "neighbourhood style" of policing, i.e. not many officers, and the ones who are there to go round and "engage" with the residents.

Well, about half the meters had been changed and a number of plots were without any water at all when there was a perceptible mood shift and a few characters were noted walking round with various gardening and building tools, but not doing any gardening or building jobs, if you know what I mean. Combine that with a few insults and an increasing array of missiles from the youth element and the water boys decided this was not worth it and left.

Now the Utility Co won't go back in unless we can guarantee their safety. The only way to (probabky) guarantee this would mean a lot of officers to safely contain the residents away from the workers. Probably in riot kit. Effectively barricading women and children in their own homes or corralling them outside. And don't forget another lot manning a roadblock to prevent friends from coming to assist.

The Community Superintendent won't authorise that. It's not proportional. And to be fair, I understand why. Legal aid human rights lawyers would have a field day and in the current circumstances he'd find himself in rather hot water.

So. The Water Company have a court issued warrant to change the meters. The police won't help to implement this warrant despite the Water company following all the correct legal and court procedures.

In the meantime, half a dozen traveller families are without water.

Season of goodwill indeed.


On a cheerier note. Hope you all have a merry and safe christmas, whether working or travelling on these ice rinks masquerading as roads!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Where's Max Clifford when you need him

Just noting the relative absence of outcry and wailing about what's going in Denmark at the moment. Where's all the victims going to publicists about how they were slapped?

Can you imagine if we arrested 968 but only charged 4 or 5 with any offence? We made them sit down in lines with their hands tied behind their backs???! We'd be compared to Guatanamo bay before you could say "You're nicked!". How about if we use tear gas against a crowd? Or even imagine if we sealed off an area and said nobody is allowed in or out?

I can imagine the Guardian and Liberty offices simply self combusting in an wailing outrage.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Two Staffordshire Stories

Saw this splashed over the papers today- the girls in low cut tops with police jackets apparently causing merry mayhem in Staffordshire.

Apparently the officers have been disciplined. The Assistant Chief goes on about how these images could be negatively percieved.
What a 21st Century response. Why were these officers disciplined? The four were brought to the station as victims or witnesses. Okay they're young girls with a few Bacardi Breezers down them and put them in a station with lots of uniformed nice young men around and yes things got a bit silly and flirtatious I'm sure.
But what where the alternatives? Arrest them? Seize the cameras? Put them all in seperate rooms? They would have had no legal power to take the cameras or delete the photos. Yes they should have had a bit more control over them but they are not exactly on the al-quida wanted list are they.
Then, while I was searching through the BBC website trying to find another link to the story, I stumbled across this. Why did the media choose to splash the low cut tops and pouts over this one I wonder.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The Bonus is under threat

No, not the banker kind.

The Superintendent's bonus.

We have experienced a rise in Burglary. A rise significant enough that apparently the absolute top of the police tree is apparently somewhat upset and the rumour machine has it the Superintendent's performance related bonus is on the line.

Well hellfire if things haven't suddenly happened. We have a support squad who generally patrol in unmarked cars, although nothing as decent as the performance motors seen on Road Wars. Well, they have been hoiked out of their normal taskings and are now solely focused on burglary. Somehow from somewhere they have sourced more unmarked cars, somehow blagged from a different force.

They're normally a small unit but not any more. People have been dragged off the core response team to go and assist. I mean dragged. Some of them only a weekend's notice to turn up to a different police station on Monday. The little Support unit now has more officers parading than the entire outfit of core response team officers. Except the support lot only have to deal with burglary.

Now, not only have they taken officers from team but they've taken some of our response cars too!

To be fair to the support boys and girls they're mostly embarrassed. I've worked with them a lot and most of them are thorough and decent cops, with an encylopeadic knowledge of all the bad guys they've arrested or know are up to no good. They dig up some good results with a style of policing occasionally robust enough to make the Community Superintendent choke on his Earl Grey, but when you're talking about youths with loaded firearms there isn't time to introduce yourself and get consent for your search.

They're more than aware that they're being used as little more than a tool by the top brass to tackle one specific thing, and all their previous good work like the above has been swiftly ignored. They're ashamed of how the core teams have been stripped.

In the meantime as far as you're concerned all this is great if you've been burgled. You'll have a flood of officers arriving darn quick.

However. If you've been thumped on the head by some drunken yob; are cowering in fear from a violent partner; or have been crashed into by an uninsured driver; well, you'll have to wait. That'll still be the beleagured response team in our remaining battered Astras, picking up all the slack for every other darn call generated.

We dealt with a particularly sad fatal accident the other day. Load of units tied up for the shift with cordons etc, dealing with traumatised witnesses, furious drivers who don't care about what has happened, etc. It was a job well done by all us lot who turned up.

Next day, we're greeted by an email from the Superintendent who has analyzed the arrest figures for everyone. It is clear as a bell that as far as she is concerned that if you're not arresting people you're not performing and you need to get your act together.

Who said the performance culture is dead?

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Garage Sergeant Please

I'd hate to have been the officer driving this particular motor. The Italian police's Lamborghini has been written off.
He's going to be buying donuts for a hell of a long time.....