Sunday, 10 June 2012

Another Daft Idea Doomed to Failure

Eric Pickles

Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary has announced further details of his plan to tackle problem families in this country. Apparently, these families are going to be told it is not everyone else's fault and they are going to have to start taking responsibility for themselves.

The trouble is, I can't see where this responsibility starts taking place. This is because the plan then goes on to say that Councils are going to be responsible for tackling these families. The Councils are going to get bonus payments for keeping the problem kids in education and for getting the adults into work. Why would they spend a fortune trying to that?

I don't see a word about consequences for any of these problem families. I don't see anything about Social Workers, Youth Offending Team, Probation, Magistrates, Judges Etc. discontinuing making excuses for their behaviour. I don't see a word about what will happen if the children don't attend school. Not a word about stopping benefits if adults can't be arsed to get up and go to work. There seems to be a very big carrot and no stick. This is just Government spin of no consequence to anyone. Mr Pickles is a donkey!

Friday, 8 June 2012

Tom Winsor a Step Nearer HMCIC

I blogged recently that Tom Winsor the author of the 'independent' review of policing in this country had applied for the role of Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Constabulary. The previous blog outlined what a disaster this would be for policing in this country. I won't go over that ground again.

We hear today that Winsor has now been put forward as the preferred candidate of the Home Secretary, Theresa May. He now has to go through a couple of hoops before his name being submitted to the Queen for approval (rubber stamping.) It just shows you that you don't need any policing experience for a top job in policing!

He will shortly be interviewed by the Home Affairs Select Committee, chaired by Keith Vaz. The Committee will have to approve Winsor's appointment. A long time ago now I blogged about Keith Vaz. His expense claims and 'flipping' of homes somehow escaped prosecution. I don't know how. It seems we now have to rely on Mr Vaz to keep Winsor out of this role.

Keith Vaz MP

This Government are up against it. They are having to deal with the austerity brought about by the previous incompetents. I suspect however that this Government won't be around for more than one term. Their handling of a number of issues has been amateurish and there is an arrogance about them that is not at all endearing.

Theresa May and Nick Herbert are extremely arrogant and the Police Federation treating 'Kittens' disrespectfully will not have gone down well. I am not suggesting she didn't deserve it. The Federation need to be shouting from the rooftops regarding the end of policing in this country.

Winsor's appointment will simply show the Government's resolve to go ahead with reform and the privatisation of the police service. This is the beginning of the end of traditional policing in this country. The public need to understand what this means. G4S security patrolling your streets and responding to incidents. G4S security investigating your crimes. A small (probably national) paramilitary police force to tackle violent offenders, riots, demonstrations etc.

The public and media need to take on board what is happening to policing in this country and start fighting it. It will soon be too late. 

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Stop and Search - Is It Cos I'm Black?

Assistant Chief Constable, Paul Marshall, of Suffolk has been wringing his hands and attaching a few leeches to his heart. He is 'disappointed' that Ipswich, Suffolk only has a black and Asian population of 2% but 12% of the people searched by his, obviously racist, officers are black and Asian. He would really like to ban his racist officers from searching black and Asian people but that would cause even more of a stink in The Mail and definitely ruin his future career.

There have been many possible theories put forward regarding the disproportional number of Visible Ethnic Minorities (VEM's) being stopped and searched. For example, the resident population may not accurately reflect the numbers of VEM's on the streets of that area. VEM's may offend disproportionately to white offenders. Police officers are more likely to record stop and search of VEM's because there is more likely to be a complaint about the search.

There may be something in all of those theories but the liberal brigade will conclude that even allowing for those reasons there must be racism within the police to account for the figures. It has to be said that figures in the Met show more VEM's being searched than white people but this reflects the large use of S44 Terrorism searches.

The population of my force is approximately 91% white, 6% Asian and 2% Black. The 2010/2011 statistics show that of those stopped and searched by the police in the force, 83% were white, 8.5% Asian, 5.5% Black and 3% Mixed Race. Does this mean that the Force has racist tendencies we need to address? I have no doubt that there are racists in the Force. Plenty is done to tease and weed them out, but at the end of the day police officers are recruited from the general population, some of whom are racists. Any racists in the force don't show themselves up in stop and search. Records are monitored to see if any officers are searching VEM's disproportionately. I have concerns that some officers avoid searching VEM's in case of accusations of racism.

Some stop and searches are spontaneous. For example, if you stop a vehicle or person in the street and there is a smell of cannabis, that may give you grounds to search. In most cases though, there is an incident report to support stop and searches. For example, if a crime is reported by phone and a suspect has recently been seen, a description is taken and passed over the radio to officers. I am not aware that this sort of detailed research has previously been carried out.

I decided to go through the latest incidents in my own force area until I had found 100 with a description that had been circulated to officers to try and trace offenders. By the time I had reached 100, 18 incidents had suspects described as VEM's. This is almost identical to the 17% of VEM's searched by officers in the force, which is almost double the 9% of VEM's resident within the Force.

I do appreciate that this is just one small sample and even if these figures were replicated elsewhere, it may just reflect racism within the public reporting crime. It may however show that the police are simply acting responsibly to what is being reported to them. Perhaps Mr Marshall, you needn't be disappointed with your officers after all.

Friday, 1 June 2012

British Criminal Justice - Indefensible

Sorry, I know this subject is probably getting tedious but now, even criminal defence lawyers are acknowledging our criminal justice system is a joke, with no consequences for poor behaviour.