Tuesday 30 June 2009

Wanted On Warrant

I'm back in the days of the good old Proactive Unit in Dystopia - a sergeant who had the luxury of patrolling with his officers and laying hands on criminals. We're tasked with arresting a Billy Burglar whose DNA has come back on a docket for an aggravated burglary. It was quite a nasty burglary too. Billy was found in the living room by the elderly victim and delivered a hit to the victim's head with a cosh. That wasn't the nasty bit, however. This elderly gentleman was a veteran of the Kenyan War against the Mau Mau. A hard nut, who later recounted the stories of the battles he fought. The veteran, after being hit, responded with a crack on Billy's head with his walking stick. Billy's blood was everywhere - a SOCO's dream - and he was soon marked as a wanted man.

We'd gone to Billy's address on two prior occassions. The first was at the usual warrant-enquiry time of 6 am. It's a good time to catch a Billy. Either they're in a drug induced sleep after spending the night burglarising homes to pay for their crack cocaine, or they're resting ready to wake at 10am in order to burglarise houses when decent people are at work. This time, there was no reply to our repeated knocking and gentle pushes against his door. I looked at his pre-pay electricity metre and saw that there was about 68 pence left. I lodged this in my memory in the knowledge we'd try again the following day.

Second try - again there is no response from Billy's address. We try to look through the curtains, but can't see a thing. I know Billy's inside. I can feel it. As we're leaving, I remember the electricity metre reading. I open the box and lo and behold, it now has over £20 in credit. Billy is in there, but without our seeing signs of life to suggest he is, we decide against forcing the door to search the premises. If he's not there, he'll know we're onto him and may go underground at a friend's address. We'd also have to spend at least an hour waiting for the boarding-up services to arrive, and we've other ne'er-do-wells to catch that day.

This requires a bit of cunning. Billy thinks he's smart, but he's not. We've dealt with many such low-lifes as him before, and we've caught the lot of them. Back at the station we resort to a tried and tested technique...

One of my officers puts on the luminous Royal Mail jacket and blue baseball cap, and grabs a clip board. He's attached an envelope to it. The plan is self-evident. He'll knock on Billy's door, Billy will see the trademark jacket, will ask what he wants, then open the door to sign for the letter. At that point we'll have our man.

This is what happens, it all goes exactly to plan. My officers handcuff Billy in his hallway and I go outside to radio for a van to take him back to the station. Suddenly I hear Billy shouting and screaming. What the hell is he trying to do? He's handcuffed. There's no way he can escape. I go inside and start calming Billy down.

"What the hell's wrong with you Billy?"

"Your f*cking officer, he's taking the p*ss".

I look at my officer who is in fits of laughter.

"What's going on?"

"Sarge, he asked what's inside the letter, so I showed him."

I see the scrumpled piece of paper on the floor and pick it up. I open it to read what my officer has written.

"You're nicked!"

Hobbesllian Footnote: I feel the need to point out that I severley chastised the officer for displaying his wholly unprofessional attitude towards Billy Burglar. It is imperative that we respect the rights of individuals who break into people's homes and are quite prepared to assault the elderly residents, having no regard to the injury this may cause.
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Sunday 28 June 2009

The Complainant

generally have a great dislike of dealing with complaints. The majority of those I receive are either spurious or malicious, seen by the complainant as a method of getting their process ticket revoked or in the misguided belief that the police will decide it's best we drop criminal charges as a result. I mean, they're evidently innocent if they've gone to the bother of making a complaint. Maybe the police will realise they got it wrong? Maybe the police will realise they got it right, but won't want the embarrassment of the complaint being mentioned at court? The police will say they're sorry and everything will be alright. It's that easy. It must be, or why would there be a complaints process?

Of course, there are occasions when we do get it wrong, and there is very little to do other than offer an apology. It won't change any such recurrence in the future. We still won't get to your call any earlier because we still won't have the officers. There still won't be a sergeant present to advise the young officer who made the wrong decision about how to deal with your matter, because the sergeant would have been back at the police station completing paperwork. I can't make the CPS change their mind about not charging the person who assaulted you, because that person went no comment in interview on the advice of their solicitor - which the CPS was really hoping they wouldn't do. Those damned defence solicitors, they've figured out how to defeat the Crown before the case even gets to court.

This is where I have to disagree with Nightjack's infamous post on complaints. You know, the one that The Times cited as being one of the few dubious reasons why they felt the need to reveal his identity. You see, the fact of the matter is that as a Detective Constable, he would never have had to take a complaint. The same is true for Detectives of any rank, as all complaints received over the front counter at the police station, or by letter or telephone, will be dealt with by a Uniform Inspector. How far a complaint actually proceeds depends on the Inspector recording it. It needs to be an experienced officer, someone who is able to get to the root cause - and as I said often a malicious or spurious cause - of the complaint, and to politely inform the complainant that the matter won't be proceeded with. Words of advice will always be given to the officer concerned, regardless of the veracity of the evidence provided. Sometimes even this does not occur, and the words of advice are directed back at the complainant, as in the following example.

The Station Reception Officer comes to speak to me in my office. Steve Slag is at the front counter and he wants to make a complaint about an officer. I know Steve Slag. I've dealt with him many times during my time in Utopia. I've seen him progress from being a petty shoplifter selling stolen frozen meat in local pubs for £5 a pop to buy his cannabis, to breaking into people's homes whilst they sleep and stealing their LCD televisions, selling them in local pubs for £50 a pop in order to buy his heroin. I've stopped and searched him a few times myself. He has always complained on those occasions of police harassment, which he bases on the fact that it's been over a week since he was last arrested.

"Hello Steve. I understand you're here to make a complaint about an officer?"

"Too f*cking right I am. It's PC 4422."

"Oh yeah, I know 4422, he's a fine officer. Very proactive."

"Too f*cking proactive. The c*nt's always arresting me."

"Okay, mind your language. I see you're upset, but you don't want to upset me. So he's always arresting you? Is it the manner in which he treats you whilst arresting you that you're complaining about? What is it he does to upset you?"

"Nuffink. It's just whenever I've been arrested the last 8 times, he's always f*cking there."

"It sounds to me like he's doing his job. What's happened when you've been arrested by him? Have the cases been dropped or have you been charged?"

"I've been charged."

"On all 8 occasions?"

"Yeah, but that's not the point. If other officers stop me they get on the radio to him and he'll come down and arrest me, even if he's had nuffink to do with it."

"Sounds to me as though he doesn't like you."

"That's not right. That's harassment and I want to make a complaint against the c*nt."

"It's not harassment and I'm not taking a complaint. However, I would like to offer you some advice if you're willing to listen to it."

"What's that?"

"Best you get out of my station before I call 4422 to come down and arrest you."

Hobbesellian Footnote: I don't want anyone who has read the above to leave with the impression that Inspector's will try their hardest to send a genuine complainant away. We know from what is presented to us in the first instance by the complainant what warrants further investigation, and what is malicious, as in the above semi-fictitional example. Nothing is so frustrating for an Inspector to know that one of his officers has behaved inappropriately - claims of bureaucracy, target-setting, government interference etc have no bearing on how an officer should conduct themself. For further clarification on Police Complaints and what actualy constitutes a complaint, please click on this link.
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Saturday 27 June 2009

For Us

Thursday 25 June 2009

An Explanation for My Epiphany

I have to admit I've had cause to reflect on blogging after reading that one of my fellow police officers described my last post as being one from a 'brave' police officer who is prepared to carry on 'causing trouble with this police blogging lark.' I'm not brave, I've never intended to cause trouble, and this isn't a lark for me. I'm a coward who hides behind anonymity, I am not responsible for the 'trouble' police bloggers cause - the government is - and I take all of this very seriously. If we didn't write about what irks us, the public would think that we are indeed agents of that government, and not servants to the public.

I want to stress at this point that I haven't taken offence by Area Trace No Search's comment, not a bit of it. He writes a great blog and I sincerely hope he continues to do so. What's more, I hope that my last post doesn't lead that fine officer to cease blogging because he's concerned that my declaration of support for the Libertarian Party is unbecoming of a police officer and would therefore lead other unscrupulous journalists to 'out' us. However, I have to say that upon reading the Libertarian manifesto, I finally found a party that reflects my deep-founded political beliefs. In particular, their views on policing. Here is an excerpt from their manifesto on policing:

  1. The basic mission for which the police exist is to prevent crime and disorder.
  2. The ability of the police to perform their duties is dependent upon the public approval of police actions.
  3. Police must secure the willing co-operation of the public in voluntary observation of the law to be able to secure and maintain the respect of the public.
  4. The degree of co-operation of the public that can be secured diminishes proportionately to the necessity of the use of physical force.
  5. Police seek and preserve public favour not by catering to public opinion, but by constantly demonstrating absolute impartial service to the law.
  6. Police use physical force to the extent necessary to secure observance of the law or to restore order only when the exercise of persuasion, advice, and warning is found to be insufficient.
  7. Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent upon every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.
  8. Police should always direct their action strictly towards their functions, and never appear to usurp the powers of the judiciary.
  9. The test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with it.
This is not the viewpoint of some lunatic-fringe contingent. It actually extols all of the elements of policing that I and my fellow police bloggers write about on a daily basis. It's what we want. It's what you want. More pertinently, the above principles are those laid out by the founding father of the first ever professional police force - the Metropolitan Police Service - and that man is Sir Robert Peel. I should also point out that Mr Peel was a Conservative, and he lived in a time when conservative principles were those that are now reflected in the policies of the Libertarian Party. So, if my identity is exposed and the Chief Constable should decide to hang me for my views, then so be it. Hang me. Hang me high.

On a different but related note, I read an excellent post from Hog Day Afternoon today. Not just for the fact that it was so well written, but for one sentence. It was his desire to get home to Mrs H. I don't know why this hit a chord with me, but it did. So, I am to take a brief respite from blogging, only for a few days, to spend some time with Mrs Hobbes and Baby Hobbes, even though my wife is quick to expose my faults.

Anyway, I hope this encourages Area Trace No Search to continue blogging, he would be a sad loss to the community. Until I return, I'd appreciate your thoughts on this and my previous posts. I've messed around with the settings on my blog, and if anyone cares to comment on previous posts I should get an e-mail alerting me, so I promise I shall respond.

In the meantime, please don't forget to show your support on Armed Forces Day this weekend. It's a time to show appreciation for all of those young men and women - past and present - who are prepared to give their lives in order to protect our liberty.

Kind of brings all of the above into perspective, doesn't it?

Justify Full
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Wednesday 24 June 2009

An Epiphany

Hopefully, my last two posts on The Need for Justice clearly set out my values and principles, together with the reasons (naive reasons perhaps) as to why I joined the Police Service. To date, I've never been affiliated with any politcal party because none of them espouse the philosophical principles I hold. That was until I came across a web-site via Katabasis that is.

Unfortunately, as a serving police officer, it is a disciplinary offence for me to become politically active. Nor should I publically promote the viewpoint of any particular party because this may not represent the views of the Utopian Police Force. What a shame. I strongly discourage any of you from clicking on the links on this page (which I didn't put on here) and, if you do, well, it's nothing to do with me. I don't agree with their views as a serving police officer, even though as a citizen I do agree with them. However, I don't have the same rights as an ordinary citizen.

So, whatever you do, don't join this party and never, ever, stand for selection within that party as a candidate in any of the general, local and European Elections, because I can't say I'd like to see this party win. And I can't say that I would vote for them.

Even though I would.

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Monday 22 June 2009

A Need for Justice: Part 2

John Locke held a slightly rosier view of mankind in his State of Nature than Hobbes did, believing that we are predisposed to reason and tolerance. We have natural rights, which we recognise in each other - these being to life, liberty, health and property (property was an important concept in Locke's philosophy, and I touched on this in one of my previous posts). We moved from this State to civil government because there are those amongst us who are prepared to violate our natural rights. When this did happen in the State of Nature, the victim would ordinarily pass judgement, leading to miscarriages of justice and unduly harsh punishment.

So, according to Mr Locke, this is how civil government came about. Its purpose was to protect those natural rights mentioned above; to prosecute and punish those who violate the rights of others; to pursue the public good even when it could conflict with the rights of individuals; to act as an impartial judge to ascertain the severity of a crime; and to mete out punishment proportionate to that crime.

What is quite pertinent for us, when we look at our current government, is that Locke argued if we are prepared to give up some of our civil liberties in order for protection, and if the government fails to deliver, thus breaking the Social Contract, then that government should be dissolved. A clear message for Gordon Brown. Call a General Election. Do it now. You've failed to deliver in so many ways. All the time requiring us to relinquish our civil liberties, whilst failing to punish those who commit crimes against us.

David Hume didn't agree with the Social Contract theory one bit. He asked at what point in history this contract had ever been made? Even if there was such a time, could we rightly say that every person born into that contract still gave his or her agreement to abide by it? He likened it to being born on a ship in the middle of the sea, where you are subject to the tyranny of its master, even though you were carried on board whilst asleep, and the only option you have is to jump into the sea and perish.

Nevertheless, whilst Hume goes against this theory, I feel it applies for those who choose to settle here from abroad. You know the rules before you come, you know what this country has to offer you if you abide by its laws, and if you break them, you should expect to first be punished and secondly deported (depending on the severity of the crime). This isn't a statement against immigration, far from it. What I'm arguing here, and what I have argued in my post on immigration, is that such people who don't abide by our laws aren't sufficiently punished or deported. The greater injustice I highlight in that posting is that there are those who do abide by our laws, who work, pay taxes, have lived here for over 9 years, conformed to reporting conditions, and yet they are the ones who get sent home.

Hume also felt that if there was an abundance of resources and if man was not so selfish in attempting to hoard it for himself, then there would be no need for justice. But this is not how things are, men have different abilities and the right to private property is the first principle of justice. To check the unequal distribution of property would be counterproductive, there may be inequality in wealth, but not unfairness in how it is obtained (I'd like to know a time when this has ever been the case). It was an unavoidable consequence of our natural and different degrees of art and industry.

Where justice is an artificial utility created by us to protect our rights, virtues such as benevolence are natural, being more or less unchangeable and which form part of our character or trait. So it follows that a propensity toward theft, murder or rape are negative natural virtues that cannot be removed from the character of an individual. We do, however, have the ability to control our natural negative desires or impulses, and those who choose not to do so must be punished.

For Hobbes then, it was imperative that there be a sovereign who oversaw the defence and enforcement of the Social Contract. Without the fear of punishment, men would continue with their tendency towards betrayal, which is inherent in our ultimate drive towards living well with the minimum of effort. For Locke, we have natural rights, and it's the duty of the government to protect them and give punishments appropriate to the crime. If the government fails, the contract is broken, and that government no longer has legitimacy. Hume's conclusion was not much different, only the way he arrived at it is.

Throughout all three theories, there is an acknowledgement that those who choose not to comply with the laws we all should adhere to must be subjected to necessary punishment. This is the only way in which justice can prevail. But if the punishment is less than appropriate, the government only serves to tacitly encourage that behaviour. In a modern context, all of this is evident in the early release schemes and the lack of foresight to build prisons, and I have already written much on these and other failings of our current government.

Anyway, it was my belief in the concept of justice that led me to join the police.

To date, I've been largely disappointed to see criminals very rarely receive the justice they deserve.
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Saturday 20 June 2009

Hypocritical Oafs

Before I post Part 2 of the Need for Justice...

After reading through the comments decrying the behaviour of Dan Winkledick and his little pleb Pindick Foreskin, I came across the following introduction in the Crime Central section of The Times. This was posted on May the 28th, (just a couple of weeks before their notorious 'scoop' ) and preceded their list of worthwhile posts made by notable police bloggers (not me though, I'm thankfully insignificant).

'A quick whizz around the wonderful world of police and law 'n' order blogs - invaluable in these days of spin and news management for finding out what real coppers (and others in criminal justice) really think.'

The duplicity and hypocrisy of it. Contrary to their claims, they evidently do consider police bloggers to be a 'source' of information for 'finding out what real coppers really think'. That must be why the twats closed Nightjack and exposed the officer's identity then.

At this point, I would like to point out that 'The Thinking Policeman: An Officer's Blog' is protected by copyright and the content therein the intellectual property of Inspector Leviathan Hobbes. None of it is to be used without my express permission, although anyone can use any of it for any purpose whatsoever, but never, ever, is the Times allowed to do so. If they do, please let me know so I can sue them.

If I can be bothered.

Which I probably won't be.

I promise I won't reveal my source and your anonymity will be guaranteed, because unlike Winkledick and Foreskin, I've better things to do.
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Thursday 18 June 2009

A Need for Justice: Part One

On the off-chance that Dan Winkledick or Pindick Foster from The Times are reading this posting, I would like to assure them that I am not in fact a 17th Century Philosopher. I am indeed a serving police officer. Should they wish to meet me in person in order for me to prove this fact, I will be more than happy to do so. However, I will be accompanied by my close friends, left and right fists, who are eager to meet them also.

Am I concerned about the possibility that some hack, noting the interest the 'scoop' in The Times generated, may decide to identify little old me? Well, maybe not concerned, but definitely perturbed. What purpose has it served in the case of DC Horton? None, save to stifle any further career development for the poor man. I am sure Judge Eady did not forget the officer's scathing analysis of the quality of Judges since New Labour has been in power. Unfortunately I can no longer refer to Nightjack's blog to remind myself of exactly what he said. It has been deleted. Consigned to history and the memory of so many people who gained so much enjoyment from what he had written.

My wife is understandably concerned. We have a young family and my career is going well. Do I really want to jeopardise all that I have achieved thus far for something that cannot provide any alternative employment or income for me? What if I received the ultimate discipline sanction - dismissal? What would, what could I do instead? Being a police officer isn't a job, it's a vocation, it's part of you. I would hate to no longer be in a position to help people who need my help. I would hate not being able to arrest the bad guys; to experience that deep sense of satisfaction I gain when I see them convicted and sentenced to a lengthy stay at Her Majesty's Pleasure. And so, over the next couple of days, I am to give some consideration about whether to continue blogging or not.

In the event that I do decide to call it a day, I wanted to go back to my original purpose set out in my first ever posting, which was to consider the nature of policing in a philosophical context...

Let me begin by apologising for making no apologies that it will indeed be philosophy oriented. I did say at the beginning of my blogging career that it would involve philosophy, but apart from just the one posting I have very rarely mentioned it. The daily barrage of criticism that the media directs at the police service compels me to respond, as much of it is without foundation or justification. My need to respond is also indicative of the pride I feel from being a police officer, of the utmost respect I have for my colleagues - some of whom perform extremely dangerous roles, but for smaller money than I am paid - but all of whom share the same burning desire to provide a high quality of service to the public. Not that my opinion makes a jot of difference, but it does mean my wife has to hear less and less about what irks me as I vent spleen in cyberspace.

If we ever are to arrive at a conclusion about how the nation should be policed, we first need to understand the different theories surrounding the role of the state. After all, as Plato once said, "There's no use complaining that one toga feels more comfortable over another, without first understanding the different materials that went into the making of those togas." This isn't actually written down in any of his works, but I imagine that he could have said it to his friends over a glass of wine in the Taverna one evening.

To answer this question, I shall briefly explain the metaphysical theories of Hobbes and Locke, who imagined what life would have been like in a hypothetical state of nature, and the development of a Social Contract that came about to provide protection to the nation's citizens. I'll also explain the Empirical theory of David Hume, who looked at the world around him as it was, and arrived at his own conclusions. Whereas I don't agree with the Social Contract theories, Hobbes and Locke evidently did better at school than I, and are therefore worthy of consideration. Regardless of the manner in which all three philosophers approached the function of the state, they all arrived at the same conclusion: there is a need for justice.

For Hobbes, the original state of nature saw mankind in a constant state of war, where the life of man was, 'nasty, brutish and short'. The implicitly predatory, avaricious and self-destructive nature of mankind led Hobbes to be extremely pessimistic about our future. Our indifference to one another and the use of force by men to secure what they desired would continue to the extent that they would not rest until there was no other power great enough to endanger them in their quest. This sounds remarkably prophetic when you consider the nature of the criminals we deal with today, doesn't it? Only a ruthless ruler - a Leviathan - could secure the peace we crave. Only the toughest state with a supreme sovereign in power could control our instinctual urges. No room for Human Rights here. Not for criminals at least. This was the Social Contract in Hobbes' world, where we gave up many rights in order for protection. Justice would be harsh, and if the Leviathan failed to deliver, the Social Contract would be broken and the Leviathan removed. Something Gordon Brown should bear in mind.

I'll leave you to think on the above, and will post the second part over the next two day's or so.

I hope I have the fortitude and stubbornness to determine that it won't be my last post.
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Wednesday 17 June 2009

They Seek Him Here, They Seek Him There...

...that damned elusive Nightjack.

We now know who he is.

All thanks to Daniel Finklestein, and his little trainee journalist Patrick Foster who both write for what I had believed to be the only truly reputable newspaper one could refer to for accurate and impartial opinion. No longer do I hold this view.

Mr Foster revealed the true identity of Nightjack, a detective in Lancashire Constabulary, as a result of his 'investigation' to provide assurances that the author of the blog was in fact a police officer, or that it was not actually written by Sir Ian Blair (who many had cause to doubt was a police officer). Subsequently, DC Nightjack has received a written warning from his Force, which is actually of little to no consequence for the officer. It appears to merely be a token gesture from his Senior Management to show that they have dealt with the matter, just in case the content of his blog caused offence to anyone.

Whilst I can't say that I believe the law should be relied upon to protect my anonymity, the reasons Mr Finklestein gave for this exposure is duplicitous at its core and reveals, in my opinion, nothing short of professional jealousy. Once Mr Finklestein had satisfied his own curiosity that Mr Nightjack was indeed a bona fide police officer, which he alleges was his intention, why did he then feel the need to publish his details?

He goes on to say further that whilst a journalist has a duty to protect the identity of their sources, a person publishing via a blog is quite different and will naturally lead the inquisitive journalist to seek the identity of the author. The point is, police bloggers do and have provided a 'source' for journalists over the past 4 years or so, educating them and the public on the pressures officers are under due to the intrusive direction of the government. We don't feel good about not being able to provide you with the service you expect, but the politicians won't listen to us. They won't listen to you either, but it's better than saying nothing.

Look at PC Ellie Bloggs, an exceptional writer whose postings have been used as material in all aspects of the media. Do we really want her, Inspector Gadget, Twining, Constable Confused, Hog Day, Disgruntled, PCSO Blog, Police Officer's Blog, ATNS, PC Pinkstone, Stressed Out Cop, Toy Town and all of the others who have contributed so much to blogging to have their identities revealed, discipline procedures instigated, and their blogs deleted?

Nightjack won the Orwell Prize for the quality of his blog and the exquisite manner in which it was written. He is evidently an outstanding officer with a flair for literary writing, and I am sure that he will succeed beyond measure once he writes the novel he dreams of. He has the respect of the public, colleagues and critics.

The same will never be said of Mr Finklestein or Foster.

Will I continue blogging? Yes, of course. Am I concerned that other journalists will try to ascertain and reveal my identity to the world?

Not really, my private life isn't really that interesting...
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Tuesday 16 June 2009

Virtual Courts

Last week Jack Straw announced the introduction of a pilot scheme for Virtual Courts. This involves the trial of video links direct from the police station to a magistrate's court in order to speed up the judicial process. It is anticipated that when rolled out across England and Wales next year it will save the tax-payer £10 million pounds per year.

There will be a further announcement from Mr Straw that those Virtual Defendants who receive custodial sentences will be sent directly to any one of the many hundreds of Virtual Prisons the government has built in the last 15 minutes or so.

The rise in Virtual Defendants attending Virtual Courts and becoming Virtual Prisoners will increase significantly over the next 24 hours, as Mr Straw is also to reveal that at 10 o'clock this morning 200,000 Virtual Police Officers were recruited and, after intensive Virtual training, will be patrolling the streets later this afternoon.

They will all strive to increase arrest-rates for Virtually Any Old Tosh in order to achieve more Sanctioned Detections.
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Wednesday 10 June 2009

A New Hope

Recently in a land very, very close...

It is a period of turmoil, the government is in disarray and the judicial system has lost all credibility. Sensing that the Emperor is losing influence over his Imperial subjects, three Chief Constables begin a rebellion. Other Chief Constables from around the Empire watch intently, waiting to see the outcome, waiting for their opportunity to overthrow the tyranny of Darth Brown.

One Chief Constable to directly challenge the authority of Lord Brown and his minions in the Imperial Home Office is Peter Fahy of Greater Manchester Police who said, "The performance regime of the last few years has produced a style of performance management which is focused on the figures themselves as the outcome and sees compliance with processes as the best way to produce that outcome. At its worse it becomes and inquest on what has already happened in an attempt to catch someone out. It does not lift the soul." Will he succeed? Will he keep his job? Whatever happens to him, I have no doubt that his officers admire him, as do I.

The next Chief Constable to attack Emperor Brown's weakened regime is Mark Rowley. He was not pleased to learn that his budget will be slashed by £1.6 million pounds, effectively meaning that he will have to lose 50 police officers and staff next year. The cost of re-billing the Surrey tax-payer will cost £1.2 million, meaning that any potential saving will be negated. He has decided to seek a judicial review over the matter in a direct challenge to the authority of the government. Again, will he succeed? Will he keep his job? Regardless, along with his officers I am sure that the people of Surrey are relieved to see a senior police officer challenging the lunacy of our masters.

Finally, we have Colin Port the Chief Constable of Avon and Somerset. I won't say much on this matter here, as this is the subject of my next posting on Police Oracle, which you can either link to here or on the Inspector Leviathan icon below. In short, he's refusing to return hard drives containing 2,500 indecent images to a discredited 'expert' and risks going to jail. It's a risk he's prepared to take. If he can identify just one child from these images and rescue them, he will have fulfilled his duty as a police officer. What a man. The law is an ass, we all know it, and sometimes what is morally right has to take precedence.

Would you be prepared to go to jail over this matter? Think about it. You'll lose your job, you won't be able to pay your mortgage, no one will give you a job when you leave prison even though they will be singing your praises as you're led away to your prison cell, and you still have your own family to support.

Or should Mr Port accept the ruling of the High Court Judges? They have applied their interpretation of the law to this matter. The law stands. It can only be appealed against and should this fail, well it's just something you have to accept. Injustice is served upon many people daily. What makes Mr Port any different?

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Tuesday 9 June 2009

The Promised Land

After two years of periodically suggesting to my wife that we should leave Blighty and settle in the Oldish-New World, she has finally warmed to the idea. Over the past two weeks she has been actively pressurising me into making the dream a reality. I have already e-mailed the New Zealand Police Service but they are not currently recruiting, although they will retain my name on file and contact me in the future should the situation change.

Following further discussion and an increasing desperation to leave for a better life, my wife has also suggested doing the same with the Police Services in Canada and Australia. She, like me, and the majority of the population, have had enough. We have a child, and we do have genuine concerns over what the future holds for her should we remain. Something really is rotten in the State of England, and I doubt it will ever change for the better. Certainly not in my daughter's lifetime or mine.

I don't know if the Canadian or Australian Police Services are recruiting at the moment, but it would be a wonderful quandary for us to have to make a decision about which country would be most suitable. My wife asked me to draw up a list of pros and cons for each, and I have listed these below.

I must stress that I have never visited any of these countries, but have watched Neighbours, Home and Away, Due South and looked at photographs on the internet. My list is therefore based upon the most extreme bias, prejudice and discriminatory views of those countries, and I can only apologise for my ignorance.

New Zealand

Pros: It has a lovely climate, cool in the winter and warm in the summer. The cost of living is good. They're good at rugby. The police officers have guns. The women look nice. I am led to believe that the warm climate and surrounding waters is conducive to water-related sports.

Cons: I can't swim. As they're good at rugby I won't achieve hero status or a pivotal role in the first team, and will only ever be asked to referee the toddler's side.


Pros: It's warm all-year-round. The cost of living is good. They're good at rugby. The police officers have guns. They like beer and drink lots of it. The women look nice.

Cons: As they're good at rugby, they'll quickly realise that I am not. I've heard that the insects are large and vicious, and some have arms the size of an Olympic wrestler's. The spiders have 'Love' and 'Hate' tattooed on their knuckles. Prisoner Cell Block H is no longer in production, which is a terrible shame. I used to spend my drunken hours considering which of the women I would have sex with. Bea Smith would invariably triumph.


Pros: Nice summers and bloody cold winters. The cost of living is good. The police officers have guns. They'e not very good at rugby, which means I could play for the first fifteen and have numerous female admirers. They also have vast swathes of forest and woods.

Cons: I've read that a hairy bear really does sh*t in the woods, and that their sh*t consists of unwitting and ignorant foreigners such as I. I don't know of any television programmes that have attractive (or not) women who I could consider having sex with whilst sat in a drunken stupor before retiring to bed.

It's all very early days yet, but I hope that within two years we could resettle. If you're an ex-pat in any of these countries serving as a police officer, or if you're a national who is serving, or even if you have a particular view of the respective services as a citizen, I'd be interested to learn of your thoughts and experiences. I'm sure there are many other British police officers in a similar position to me who would like to know.

Please tell me it's better than here.
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Friday 5 June 2009

The Mental Health Patient

I'm on patrol with one of my PC's on the Utopian Proactive Unit. There's just the two of us but there should be eight. The other six have been sent on aid to facilitate a conference in which well-to-do members of the local business community will be attending. It's funny how the police service 'facilitates' events for rich people, but will 'police' festivals and events for the remainder of the community, the likes of which you and I attend. A call comes through that a black male has been seen acting suspiciously in one of the affluent enclaves of Dystopia. He's walking in and out of gardens and looking in windows. It seems like a decent call to go to, considering that many of the occupants will be at the business event my officers are 'facilitating'.

We arrive in the area and sure enough see the male walking out of a garden. What unbelievable luck, to actually come across a Billy Burglar whilst he's in the process of checking out what property to enter. We get out of our vehicle and speak to him. "Hello mate, do you live in that house you've just walked away from?" He says nothing. "Mate, do you live there?" No response. His eyes dart between us. He's looking our uniform up and down, eyes quickly scanning our equipment belts, flat caps, I already feel uneasy. I can see he's sweating profusely. It's hot, but not that hot. Why is he sweating? He wasn't sweating that much when we stopped him. It's something to do with us.

My colleague tells the man that he's going to search him and takes hold of his arm. With that, the man wails and strikes my colleague in the nose with the back of his hand. Instinctively I dive towards him, rugby-tackling him around the waist and forcing him to the ground. My colleague appears over my shoulder and applies one handcuff. I've hold of his other arm but he breaks free and grabs me by the throat. There's no officer safety training anymore, just a natural instinct to survive. His grip forces the last breath from my lungs and I can hear myself gasping. I hate him now. I hate that this man wants to do me harm, serious harm. I hit his arm at the elbow with my fist, it bends, and I head butt him in the face. Stunned, this allows enough time for my colleague to fully handcuff him. I look at my colleague, my friend, and see that he's bleeding from his nose. Now I really hate this man.

We arrest him and call for a van. We take him to the station and open the van doors. He's shaking uncontrollably. It's genuine fear. Real, deep, petrifying fear, the like of which I've never seen before. My feelings towards him change and I begin to feel some sort of sympathy rising in me, but I don't know why. Slowly he stands and leaves the van. From the darkness of the cage and into the daylight, I now see that amongst the sweat streaming down his face there are tears. We take his arms, my friend with the broken nose, I with the impression of his fingers around my neck. "Come on mate, we'll sort you out. Come on, there's nothing to worry about." The custody sergeant assesses him, or tries to, but he won't speak. He just stands there, shaking, sweating and crying.

The Force Surgeon decides that a mental health assessment is required, so we telephone for the local NHS Assessment Team to come and speak to him. We find his passport on him. They have checked their records, and he is known to them.

A doctor, social worker and nurse arrive. They want to go into the interview room to speak to him alone, but the Custody Sergeant will have none of it due to the violence he meted out to us. I volunteer to sit in whilst my colleague gets his nose treated. The doctor stops me as I follow, and asks me to take off my protective vest and epaulettes. Please could I also leave my equipment belt, "You know, to try and not look like a police officer." There is evidently a reason for this request, and so I agree.

I sit in the interview and listen intently. The man says nothing but listens as intently as I. "Do you still get flashbacks Cesar?" "Do you think you're back in prison?" "Are you having another episode? You seemed to be getting better the last time we spoke." "Cesar, can I see your back? Will you take your t-shirt of for me?" I'm really intrigued now. It's like nearing the end of a murder-mystery novel. I'm skim-reading the words, wanting to know the outcome, but losing the detail in the process of doing so. Cesar undresses. His chest is covered in scars. Deep pits cover his upper arms and stomach. Only gouging by a sharp instrument could have caused those injuries. And those burns? They're cigarette burns. I think, "He has serious mental health problems, how can someone self-harm like that?" They ask Cesar to turn around, and I can see his back. More scars, different scars. Scars where the flesh has been ripped in long strips from his back, caused by, caused by...a whip? He's been whipped. The doctor tells Cesar they will take him back with them. They'll help him.

They tell the Custody Sergeant of their decision. Cesar doesn't have mental health issues. He suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He was a political prisoner back in his home country, imprisoned for dissenting against the government. He was arrested and tortured - done by men in uniform. He's been at the hospital before to receive therapy, but it doesn't work. They know it doesn't work and never will. They'll say he has mental health issues so the Trust's Directors won't query his presence. It's safer for him to be at the hospital. It'll be a couple of months before they run out of reasons to keep him there. It's an act of kindness that touches me and one that I will never forget. It's quite at odds with the perception that the NHS has lost its soul.

I wanted to visit him during the days soon after. I don't know why. I guess I could see that there wasn't an ounce of badness in him, and I am sure that there never was prior to what happened to him in his homeland. A brave man broken.

I never did go and see him and I have never seen him since. Five years on and I still think about him now and then, hoping that his life somehow got better, but knowing it never did.
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Thursday 4 June 2009

The State of the Police

My weekly posting is out on Police Oracle today where I look at comments made by Judge Bray and Mr Sinclair of The Tax Payers Alliance. They believe that the public do not bother to call the police for minor crimes because they have no confidence officers will attend, and so take matters into their own hands. Can this be true?
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