This is the official blog of ex-Sgt Ellie Bloggs. I was a real live police constable then sergeant for twelve years, on the real live front line of England. I'm now a real live non-police person. All the facts I recount are true, and are not secrets. If they don't want me blogging about it, they shouldn't do it. PS If you don't pay tax, you don't (or didn't) pay my salary.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Are we doomed?

This thread on PC Copperfield's book is an interesting one. There is a lot of talk about cooking the crime books and police not caring about crime.

In my experience it is the Home Office, not police forces, who cook the books. We are all now governed by the National Crime Reporting Standards which is supposed to standardise figures across all forces. They have not standardised anything, however, as some forces count "administrative" detections towards their overall rate and others do not (these are Detections where no crime has actually been detected).

As for police not caring about crime, here is the process that occurs when you ring up to report a crime in Blandmore. For simplicity's sake, this is one where the victim knows the name of the offender:
  1. Crime report is created.
  2. Police attend and take statements. If there are a couple of witnesses, this can take up to ten hours spread over a week or so as the police officer runs around trying to catch up with the witnesses.
  3. Offender arrested - can take many attempts to locate them and is usually done by ringing them up and asking them to come to the police station to be arrested.
  4. Offender interviewed, bailed for CPS advice or further work to be done.
  5. Assuming there is enough evidence to go ahead, several weeks later the offender answers bail. If they fail to answer, a massive file must be created to label them as "wanted". If they do attend, a massive file must be done for court.
This whole process can have taken up to thirty or more hours spread over weeks or months. If the victim nor witnesses were able to name the offender, there is really no way to trace them unless it is a murder (murders are solved very successfully in the UK).

Your average police officer is not lazy. But he/she does feel a bit daunted at the thought of the months ahead in which he/she will receive snotty emails from the Inspector and Head of Critical Emailing. He/she worries about finding the time to take the necessary statements, and feels constantly stressed at the ten other similar cases piling up in his/her docket. He/she also worries about the court file. He/she worries a lot about that. Plus the fact that having done all that work, the courts will wait twelve months before having the trial and then bin the whole thing because a witness who was not told about the trial in time has failed to show up. This is demoralising, to say the least.

Hence, very often, the following course of action is taken as a way out:
  1. Crime report is created.
  2. Police officers attend and persuade the victim that there is nothing they can do. By the time they leave, what was reported as an "assault" is now a "verbal argument", the "harassment" is a "civil dispute", the "robbery" a "misunderstanding".
  3. The victim has now fallen into the category of people who are dissatisfied with the police.
Sadly, we have a choice between playing under a demoralising and stressful system, or lying.

Copyright of PC Bloggs.


Blogger PC South West said...

Not to mention the evidence of bad character, two copies of any CCTV evidence, I don't know about other forces but our ASU don't do any of the unused schedules, we have to squeeze that particular pleasure in among everything else. No wonder jobs get cuffed!

24 October, 2006 15:46

Blogger omnicans said...

After being attacked by youths earlier this year i knwo what you mean. Attended the Local station and the copper on duty basically did his besy to convince me not to make a complaint - saying that as there was no CCTV and no witnesses then there was not really any point.
After examining my smashed up face the next morning i disagreed and two cops eventually arrived at mine to take a statement. The policewoman ( being coz she was) Was helpful, sympathetic and good looking as well:)
The bloke spent his time prowling around my house looking on my bookshelves before asking me why i had loads of books on drugs!
Thought Police!!

24 October, 2006 15:55

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a recently retired PC I despair at what the profession I proudly joined all those years ago has now become. It was usual to have Sgts who had done at least 8 years service before being promoted and Inspectors with about 12 years in before receiving their pips. They were dedicated thief taking coppers who we trusted and respected. Now, it seems that senior officers joined straight from University, usually with an 'ology' degree and proceeded to seek promotion to the next rank as quickly as possible (how would those planning and project teams based at HQ have done without them. More politicians than Police officers, they now find themselves willingly incorporating the most stupid guidelines ever imagined into their Policing plans. They know that if they follow Government policies, they will have lots of ticked boxes on their personal profiles and we all know that ticks mean promotion. Sir Ian Blair is a prime example - I wouldn't have employed his a Commissionaire at the Mets never mind Commissioner. The PCs and Sgts I worked with in my last couple of years tried their best but found they were doing their jobs with one hand tied behind their back. Praise from on high was very slow in coming but criticism fell with the speed of light. Demoralisation was the order of the day - I once likened them to the workers at the end of their shift in that silent SF film Metropolis and was taken to one side by a 23 year old Inspector who tried to give me a bollocking. He was not very successful. I still keep in touch with the guys (that includes the ladies) and many look at me with envy. I miss the job like mad and believe there is no profession more honourable than the Police service with, in the lower ranks, an esprit de corps difficult to find anywhere else, but I am so glad I'm out of it.

24 October, 2006 22:32

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03 April, 2009 18:34


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