Saturday 24 July 2010

Are These Senior Officers Corrupt?

Two Surrey Police senior officers have stood trial recently for misconduct in public office. The trials were held separately at Winchester Crown Court and there was a ban on reporting. Both officers have been found not guilty and so there has been very little subsequent press coverage. A little bit here.

Superintendent Johnny Johncox was caught by a speed camera and put a report in suggesting that he was attending an important meeting at HQ. His line manager, Chief Superintendent Adrian Harper, exempted him from any fine and points. It turns out, he was actually going to see his girlfriend.

Chief Superintendent Adrian Harper was also caught going through a speed camera. He claimed he was attending an important meeting at Epsom and was late. The person he was supposedly meeting at Epsom had no record of any such meeting and the meeting was put in Mr Harper's electronic diary after the date. Assistant Chief Constable Ian Dyson exempted Mr Harper from any fine and points on the basis that he was attending this important meeting.

A Court has decided that these officers have not committed any criminal offences. They remain suspended from duty and will undoubtedly face internal discipline proceedings. They are likely to be sacked.

Dismissal is a severe punishment, but I find it very intriguing that if we assumed their original excuses for speeding were correct, why were they ever given exemptions? I can assure you that junior officers would not be given an exemption for attending a meeting. It appears that the rules are different when you reach the dizzy heights of the senior officer's dining club. Next time you get done for speeding tell the police you were attending an important meeting. I am sure they will let you off too.

Monday 19 July 2010

Is This How we Should Treat Volunteers?

I have never been the biggest fan of Specials in the police. Most are well meaning but incompetent. Some get off on the uniform and power thing. None are properly trained.

The new Government is focused on volunteering. This is seen as the way forward in all areas of society. It seems likely that in future all recruits to the police will first have to have been a Special for up to two years. I sincerely hope that along with this policy we improve the training for Specials.

I noticed this story on the web. A criminal is being chased, by police, in a stolen car. A Special sergeant is nearby and wants to get involved. Perhaps injudiciously, he does a three point turn in the road. The stolen car ploughs into the side of him seriously injuring the passenger in the police car. The IPCC supervise an investigation and the Special sergeant is prosecuted and fined, with costs, £1300 and banned from driving for 6 months.

If Mrs Miggins was manoeuvring in the road and a stolen car being driven at excessive speed crashed into her would she have been prosecuted? What happened to the driver of the stolen car? Was his punishment as severe as this? I have my doubts.

The loss of this mans licence might have cost him his paid job. If I was this Special sergeant, volunteering my services for free and doing the best I could with the training I had received and I lost my licence for 6 months and had to pay £1300, I think I would tell the police to stick their volunteering.

Saturday 3 July 2010

All Change for Targets?

North Korea Celebrate Winning the World Cup

Like other bloggers, I was pleased to hear Teresa May announce that the Policing Pledge and Public Confidence and Satisfaction targets were going and we would just be measured on crime levels.

I have said before that senior managers will fiddle the figures and focus resources to get quick results rather than work properly and ethically towards achieving real results. For example, in my quite small Force, we have 35 communications officers; and that is after we have just got rid of some following a review. Their job is to take every opportunity, internally and externally, to convince the public that crime is low and we are doing a good job. We also have 57 administrators in CID and another 35 working with the Neighbourhood Teams. Part of their job is to allocate tasks but a large part is to contact victims of crime and disorder and to convince them that we are doing our best to detect their crime, even if we do just detect 22% of them.
Why do we need 35 communications officers and 92 administrators? Because the ACPO team want to increase our levels of public confidence and satisfaction to meet targets and they have introduced a propaganda machine, that the North Koreans would be proud of, in order to achieve it, rather than do the job properly and invest in front line policing.

Our Chief Constable has announced to the Force that we are going to ignore Teresa May's wish to abandon the Policing Pledge and Public Confidence and Satisfaction targets. This is very worrying because, with the budget cuts coming, the next thing I can see the Chief doing is cutting police officers and keeping his propaganda machine. What we should be doing is cutting all these back room police staff roles that actually produce nothing tangible and in fact increase the bureaucracy that infests the police officers role, and concentrate on real policing.

I am all for being measured on levels of crime, but don't measure Forces own levels of recorded crime. We can think of a hundred and one ways to keep those down. Forces should be measured using the British Crime Survey, an independent survey they cannot influence other than by doing the job we should be doing, reducing crime and disorder in the short, medium and long term.