Sunday, 29 January 2012

Cuts To Police Budgets Will Not Affect Front Line Policing - Yeah Right

Nick Herbert

    'falling police numbers will not necessarily lead to a worse front line service.'

The Telegraph has reported that troops are being trained in riot control in anticipation of further disturbances on the streets of this country during the summer.

There doesn't appear to be any formal response from the Government yet. Defence and military commentators have suggested that this is a sensible contingency for the Olympics and lessons learned from the riots last August. I am sure that is part of the reason. The other part is that following the cuts to police budgets there are 6000 less police officers than last August and numbers are likely to drop further.

If it all goes pear shaped this summer there may not be the police officer numbers to deal with it.

Watch the 'swampie' brigade and Saint Shami howling with protest if they see squaddies wielding batons on the streets. They will be demanding those nice police officers back.

Friday, 27 January 2012


Tony Melville

Following on from my last post, the Chief Constable of Gloucester, Tony Melville, has put his head over the parapet and publicly stated that the force are on a cliff edge regarding cuts to the budget. This is highly unusual for a Chief Constable and would normally be the end of a career.

Policing Minister, Nick Herbert, has come out with the usual rhetoric that cuts can be made without affecting front line services. Rubbish, Mr Herbert! Just count the number of police officers. 6000 less now than six months ago and still falling.

At first, this may seem a brave move by the Chief Constable and then you notice that he has 34 years service. Gloucester will be electing a new Police Commissioner in November (could be Katie Price or John Prescott, God help us!) and with it they will be getting a new Chief Constable. So this is just a parting shot from Mr Melville. I suppose it may cost him his QPM or other award.

Here is a letter dated May 2011 signed by 53 Chief Officers, including Mr Melville, telling the Police Federation that their concerns over cuts to the policing budget were legitimate but suggesting that the focus should be on the service to the communities we serve.

Let's see if some other senior officers, whose careers are on the line, step up and join, the retiring, Mr Melville. That will deserve some respect.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Senior Officers - He Who Pays The Piper?

Lord Stevens - Police morale is worryingly low

You may be aware that the Labour party commissioned a review of policing by Lord Stevens, (former Met Police Commissioner) Dr Tim Brain (former Chief Constable Gloucester) and Kathleen O'Toole (former Police Commissioner, Boston.) This claims to be a comprehensive review and the full report will not be produced until early in 2013.

Lord Stevens has been interviewed recently regarding his findings and has stated that he has found the morale of officers to be worryingly low. So much so that he believes this should be of serious public concern with major events such as the Jubilee and Olympics coming up.

If I was being cynical, and I am, I wonder if Lord Stevens would have reached such a conclusion or been so forthright were he still the Metropolitan Police Commissioner. Labour, amongst others, are his paymasters for now and so perhaps it suits him to make an honest statement at this time. The Government will state that he is the piper and Labour are paying for the tune.

Police morale is the worst I have ever known it and it will continue to decline when cuts to pay, increased pension contributions and reduced numbers of officers come into effect. Will we ever hear a serving Chief Officer say this? The only one I ever remember speaking out was Sir Robert Mark, for which he never got his peerage.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Put The Kettle Back On

Back in April 2010 you couldn't pick up a paper without reading about the High Court deciding that the police use of kettling at the G20 protest in 2009 was unlawful. You could read about it here, here, here, and here, for example.

You may be forgiven if you were not aware that a few days ago the Court of Appeal overturned the High Courts decision and ruled that the kettling had been lawful after all. It was covered in the Grauniad but elsewhere you would be hard pushed to find the story.

Protesters and their lawyers have vowed to take the case to the Supreme Court next and, if they lose there, I suspect the case will end up at the European Court. (Who is paying for all this?! The taxpayer I suspect.) If the case goes against the Metropolitan Police expect to read lots more on the subject. If the police case is upheld you may not hear so much as a whisper.

                              Police to Sue For Being Kettled?

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Stupid Coppers!

I can't help watching cop programs on the TV. My favourite is Police Interceptors. Mostly, the officers are highly motivated and they know the law and arrest lots of bad guys, and that is how it should be. I get depressed when I see what the rest of the justice system does with these offenders but then that is another story.

Last night I watched Coppers on Channel 4. I cringed with embarrassment watching some officers behaviour. We saw a female officer referring to criminals as 'shits.' We saw a male officer pushing a drunk away and telling him to go away. The drunk just wouldn't go. The policeman pushed the man hard four times causing him to fall over and then eventually arrested him. There was no justification for pushing him in that manner.

Later in the program we saw a number of police officers attend a disturbance on a social housing estate. It is fair to say we had about ten drunk men, women and children as young as 14. All those involved were of very limited intelligence and were probably inter related. There was no reasoning with them. They wouldn't heed any instructions or warnings and some were abusive. Arrests started being made. A woman shouted abuse at one of the officers and was taken hold of and thrown on the ground causing more mayhem as those present protested about her treatment. I understand this was a difficult situation but there was no justification for the way this woman was thrown to the ground.

The above video has just popped up on Youtube. The police officer is on a bike and has stopped another cyclist who he says he has seen ride through a red traffic light. This offence is an increasing problem and pedestrians and the cyclists themselves are being injured or worse by this behaviour. The alleged offending cyclist is an arrogant barrack room lawyer who is one of those pedantic idiots I actually like to deal with. But it must be done properly. The problem is this officer doesn't know what he is doing and makes a complete arse of himself. He even stupidly tries to grab the cyclists camera.

I guess the point is the police are having to deal with more and more awkward and difficult people. The days of almost anyone doing what they are told by anyone apparently in authority are almost over. To effectively deal with these people you need to be calm, composed and in control of yourself at all times. You also need to have a good knowledge of the law.

From what I have seen over the last few days some police officers are failing miserably when it comes to these qualities. Supervisors need to get hold of these officers and get them shaped up or shipped out!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Police Shafted! 2

                                      Winsor -  Bothered?

I wrote back in March last year regarding the Winsor report and how this might affect police officers remuneration and working conditions. This was always going to be a difficult subject and I am certainly not expecting the public to be queueing up supporting the police cause.

The Police Arbitration Tribunal (PAT) have now decided that the Government can go ahead and impose most of the changes to our pay and conditions. You can read the full PAT report here. The summary of decisions is on pages 44 and 45.

Without going into detail, the PAT decision confirms that police officers will receive no pay increase for at least two years. A number of allowances and overtime payments will disappear or be cut. In addition to this you need to understand that officers pension contributions are being increased by up to three and a half percent. At a time of high inflation and economical difficulty, police officers face an average pay cut of around 10%.

Historically police officers have not been financially motivated. The job was largely vocational and officers were happy to work hard and answer all the demands of the role secure in the knowledge that they were reasonably rewarded. This used to be the case in other public sector occupations such as health. Nurses were always the saints who had the time and motivation to take care of patients. Over the last 20 years this has changed. Public servants are often portrayed as expensive and inefficient. The bottom line of the private sector has been seen as the panacea to solve these inefficient organisations. Cleaning is contracted out. Auxiliary nurses were brought in to do the menial tasks that we were paying nurses too much to do. Targets and qualifications with rewards for achieving them were seen as the answer to the perceived inefficiency. Private sector management understand little regarding the service the public sector provides.

The same management has now infiltrated the police service. We have seen the introduction of PCSO's to replace 'expensive' police officers. But they cannot carry out many of the tasks that police officers on patrol are required to. We have a target driven culture (despite what the government say) with senior managers being rewarded for achieving them. The myriad of tasks we carry out that don't appear on the target list are neglected. The culture has seen policing becoming less of a vocation and more and more officers are now treating it as just a job. The problem with this has already compounded itself in nursing. A recent inquiry has come to the conclusion that many nurses lack the compassion and ability to do the job.

What has happened in health will manifest itself in the police service. The remuneration package the police will now receive combined with the target culture and attack on conditions, such as shift patterns and on call, will result in fewer capable people joining the police and a lack of care and compassion for the law abiding public we try to do our best for.

I am seriously concerned regarding the future of policing in this country.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Diane Abbott MP

As one might expect, the white supremacist groups are crying for blood regarding the stupid comments tweeted by Diane Abbott. If you missed it she tweeted 'White people love 'Divide and rule' We should not play their game.'

What annoys me is that Abbott has tried to defend the indefensible. In an interview, (shown above) that was clearly uncomfortable for her, she said. "Some people have interpreted it maliciously." (For some people insert racists. Diane's defence usually labels critics with this tag.) She claims she was referring in the tweet to 19th Century colonialism. If you read the thread of the tweet, this is not true. During the interview she got a call from Ed Milliband who was hopefully trying to show some leadership and tell her to apologise.

Here is Diane, looking very uncomfortable, being questioned by Andrew Neil regarding more stupid comments.

There are calls for the police to get involved in this. I have no doubt they would be champing at the bit to do so if the circumstances were different. Arguably the police could be looking at investigating the statement under Sections 17 to 29 of the Public Order Act 1986.

It now appears that Ed has given her a dressing down and told her to apologise. It is a pity she did not do this immediately. She has now issued a statement saying “I understand people have interpreted my comments as making generalisations about white people. I do not believe in doing that. I apologise for any offence caused.” I hope that is the end of the matter now and that the police do not become embroiled in investigating these stupid remarks.