Thursday 20 September 2012

The Shootings and the BBC (2)

I started watching Newsnight tonight. The BBC has taken a new tack which has driven me to switch off the TV before a brick goes through the screen. The allegation now is that the shooting of the two officers is the fault of the police because the 'community' have lost confidence in the police and so they harbored the suspect rather than hand him in.

Apparently the 'community' in Manchester, whatever that is, feel safer being protected by local 'hard men' rather than the police, as they are more effective.

Let's make it clear; the 'community' that harbored this suspect are part of the criminal underworld.  They may have been assisted by a few people on the fringes and who are part of the underclass. They are nothing to do with the vast majority of decent law abiding people in this country, who have little idea about the lives of the underworld and underclass.

Our schools are producing kids who learn that being a 'grass' is worse than being a peadophile. From an early age they learn that outing poor behaviour will result in a beating and our liberal schools, parents and society are completely ineffective addressing the issue. This behaviour continues into adulthood and it is the justice system, not the police, that fails to protect those that would speak out against criminal behaviour.

How can the police gain the confidence of those being victimised by and drawn into criminality when all they can do is place offenders before the courts, who fail to protect victims from persistent offenders. When these victims and witnesses are threatened and beaten by offenders with impunity it is very difficult to persuade them to step up to the mark again.

The Shootings and the BBC

I was sat in my dressing gown this morning watching BBC breakfast. I mention this not to put you off your cornflakes. This is what happens when you work shifts. I cannot provide a link to the program as it is not available on iplayer for some reason.

I shouldn't have watched it, as all it did was raise my blood pressure. Quite rightly, the shooting of the two police officers in Manchester yesterday was the headline news. Inevitably there was mention of whether or not the police generally should be armed. The majority of police officers do not want to be armed, including me. There was also mention of bringing back the death penalty. This isn't going to happen either and nor do I support that. What I do want is for killers such as this to spend the rest of their lives in jail. There are police killers walking free in our society now.

What infuriated me was the line of questioning and the accusatory manner in which comments were made. What the presenters were trying to do was apportion blame. To suggest that the police were partly to blame for the gunning down of two of their officers. Why was this man on police bail? Why had he been released? Why hadn't he been charged and remanded? Why hadn't he been arrested before? Is it normal for two officers to be sent to an area like this? What did the police know about the address? Bill Turnbull even asked Sir Hugh Orde whether two female officers should have been crewed together.

This idea that offenders are not responsible for their actions, or at least not wholly responsible is now endemic in our liberal infested society. The BBC are one of the main proponents of this disgusting attitude.

PS Still looking for someone who might like to take up this blog. Less than 2 weeks to go.

Wednesday 12 September 2012


Sorry this is still not the last post.

The Hillsborough tragedy might be one best left off topic for many but I will say my piece regarding the Bishop of Liverpool's report.

I can understand the demand from the families of victims that they want answers as to how their loved ones died. I can understand that they want to apportion blame. Personally, I don't doubt those that died were totally blameless. They would almost certainly have been in the ground some time before the crush started.

I can understand the concerns about the safety of the ground before the match. I can understand the concerns regarding the emergency response after the crush. To hear that many victims might have survived had they had better medical care must be distressing. I can understand concerns that police officers statements were amended to remove criticism of the police management of the response.

What I do not accept is the key finding of the report that Liverpool fans were not the cause of the disaster. The quest for the truth regarding this incident has now reached Orwellian proportions. It now appears there were no drunken fans: no ticket less fans and the fans have no responsibility for using so much force to push their way into the ground that nearly 100 people were crushed to death.

A society where individuals have no responsibility for their actions and where authorities are now routinely blamed for failing to prevent or manage those actions is a very unhealthy society.

Friday 7 September 2012

IPCC Try Another Tack

I do promise that the last post will be coming soon. In the meantime this story caught my attention.

In August 2010 two Kent police officers were called to detain 52 year old Colin Holt, who had been sectioned under the Mental Health Act. Holt was allegedly restrained by the officers and allegedly died of positional asphyxia.

Two years later, on the 7th September 2012, Rene Barclay of the Crown Prosecution Service announced that the two Kent police officers are to be prosecuted. He said " It is alleged that on 30 August 2010, whilst acting as a police officer, namely as a police constable, PC Leigh and PC Bowdery misconducted themselves in that, without lawful justification or excuse, they wilfully neglected to take reasonable and proper care of Colin Holt, a person in police detention."

This matter will now be going to trial and it is important that nothing more is said about the details of this case which might prejudice any trial.

The case does raise some important issues. Once again these officers, and Holt's family, have had to wait two years before the outcome of the investigation and a prosecution decision. The pace of Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigations is outrageously slow.

The most concerning aspect of this case is the charge. In the case of Tomlinson/Harper the charge was one of manslaughter. In that case a jury acquitted PC Harper. He will face a disciplinary hearing for breaches of force policy and procedure and may lose his job.

If it is believed that officer's are responsible for a death then why isn't the charge manslaughter? Have the IPCC and CPS decided that the public, who make up juries, are too reluctant to convict police officers of manslaughter when carrying out a job in difficult circumstances? Have they now decided to charge this offence for breaches of policy and procedure, that would normally, and in any other role, be dealt with by internal discipline procedures.

The IPCC are anxious to show, a small but vociferous minority,  that they are independent. To do that they are desperate to build a list of convictions of police officers. If you look at the CPS guidance on the prosecution of the offence of Misconduct in Public Office (contrary to common law) it clearly states that the charge should not be preferred if there is evidence of a statutory offence. So the preferring of the charge suggests there is no evidence of manslaughter or any other substantive offence.

The charge of Misconduct in Public office is a serious one and is indictable only and carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. The charge is being used more and more frequently to deal with misconduct issues by police officers. The offence  is committed when:
  • a public officer acting as such
  • wilfully neglects to perform his duty and/or wilfully misconducts himself
  • to such a degree as to amount to an abuse of the public's trust in the office holder
  • without reasonable excuse or justification
It will be interesting to see if the IPCC and CPS new tactic succeeds in increasing their prosecution tally.

In the meantime, Tom Winsor will be taking over as Chief HMIC and he and the Home Secretary will be going ahead with their program of cutting pay and pensions and implementing their perception that the role of a police officer is no different to any other job.  Except, of course, they won't give us the right to take industrial action like any other job. They still expect us turn out for work any time to sort out the latest riot or public event. If there is a whiff of you doing something wrong or making a mistake you can expect the IPCC to pour all over it for two years and prosecute you for Misconduct in Public Office if they think there is half a chance of taking a police officers scalp.

Police officers are now treating the role as just another job. Why shouldn't they? Why would anyone want to go the extra mile or take any risks when there is no support and utter contempt from your masters. When this attitude becomes endemic you will see the difference. I shall be glad to be out of it.

Wednesday 5 September 2012

Nick Herbert Throws His Teddy

Nick Herbert - Former Policing Minister

There has been speculation as to why the Policing Minister, Nick Herbert, resigned yesterday. The reasons are quite obvious.

Herbert, and his boss Theresa May, were given a brief to reform the police at all costs. To reduce pay, pensions and allowances. To bring in private sector management practise's and to privatise large sections of the service. In other words, to totally ruin the only effective part left of our ludicrous justice system.

I have met Herbert. He is an arrogant man who has no time for anyone at the 'coal face.' Views that contradict his own or that of his brief are an irrelevant annoyance. He has no idea what consultation means. He is typical of this Government, who seem to be completely out of touch with the realities of the recession for ordinary people. We are NOT all in this together.

Herbert resigned for two reasons. Firstly, he felt having done the bidding of his masters, and with his arrogance, he deserved a promotion in the latest cabinet reshuffle. Secondly, he knows what a mess policing reform and privatisation is going to make of the police service. He did not want to be left in post to take the blame for his decisions.