This is the official blog of Sgt Ellie Bloggs, a real live police sergeant on the front line of England. It's not the official opinion of my police force, but 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 pay my salary.


(All proceeds from Google Ads will be donated to the Police Roll of Honour Trust)

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Equal Opportunities My Arse!

A prize to the reader who can name one organisation with a worse male/female ratio than the police?

You guessed it - the Equal Opportunities Commission! Just 19% of their staff is male and 6% non-white.

Apart from a few catchy "aims", the EOC has this punchy slogan which pretty much sums up the state of Britain today:

Women. Men. Different. Equal.

Thank goodness they clarified that. I would like to suggest the following new slogans they may like to adopt. They all, I feel, promote down-to-earth, modern thinking about diversity:
  • Black, white. As different as black and white. But the same.
  • Muslim. Sikh. Jew. Quaker. They're all religions.
  • Women. We just deserve more.
  • Just because he's a Man doesn't mean he should be treated like one.
I'll let you know when I am made Blandmore Diversity Rep.

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Want to see more of me...?

As you can see a magical box has appeared on my sidebar allowing email subscriptions to my blog. I have no idea in what format this will arrive, but the idea is that it emails you a notification when I update my blog. It just goes to show I'm a girl who can handle a difficult PC.

(Any disasters for my subscribers eg. spam email or banning notices from your force, drop me a line pceebloggs@yahoo.co.uk. I can do nothing about either, but at least I'll know.)

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Bloggs' Make-Up Tips.

I am shocked and appalled to realise that I have not yet given out any feminine style tips for policewomen out there. It is almost as if I got carried away and have started thinking of myself as a proper police officer!

Too many women nowadays seem to think EQUALITY means being just as good as men. This is a poor interpretation and unnecessary, when we can achieve just as much merely by being GIRLS. Here are my top ten tips for keeping up your girly appeal whilst doing a MAN's job:
  1. Never get up so late for work you can't do your make-up and hair.
  2. Make sure your uniform fits properly, especially following the extra poundage you are likely to accumulate after your probation and final fitness test of your career. There's nothing worse than a policewoman with two waists.
  3. Do not run after people - the sweat thing will frizz up your hair and that just won't do.
  4. Never wear your half-length fluorescent. Everyone will think you have gargantuan boobs.
  5. Do not wear your stab vest as a matter of course - just put it on to go to jobs. Struggling in and out of it in the passenger seat will gain admirers.
  6. Wear your hair just long enough to flick but not so long it can be pinned up. We do not want to fall into the trap of austere dominitrice now, do we?
  7. Try not to be seen doing anything manly like boshing doors or climbing stuff. If you have to, make a hash of it and get caught on the fence by your kit belt. Some girlish kicks and squeals will help at this point.
  8. Drive very slowly on immediates and scrape the panda's bumpers on more than one occasion when your shift are watching you park.
  9. Stick pink hearts all over your docket. This is a signal to all the guys on your shift that you will shag them.
  10. At the first possible opportunity, get yourself off shift and into an office job where you can wear attractive clothing/make-up and sit around chatting with the girls all day.
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Police State?

Can anyone confirm/deny the rumour that the Met has banned its officers from signing up to an online poll about the 3% pay-rise? How about other forces?

I think Blandshire is resigned to the fact that we are all cross and upset, and feels some free expression on the Net is probably the best way to avoid having to ACTUALLY do something.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Off With Stress.

I have often considered going OFF WITH STRESS. In the police, you have to meet certain conditions before you can successfully be signed OFF WITH STRESS. This may be the case for other jobs too, but I believe they especially apply in my arena due to the public scrutiny to which we are subject:

1. You must be from a minority: black, Asian, and/or female.
2. You must be totally unscrupulous, willing to use your family and friends as tools in your self-serving game.
3. You should have a good symbiotic relationship with your doctor, possibly involving money (although I would not like to speculate on this). Alternatively, you must have a lazy, incompetent doctor.
4. You should be a mediocre police officer at best, if not positively useless.

Assuming you satisfy all these condition, the first step is to allow your work ethic to slack. Your jobs should build up until you are being summoned to management meetings over them. You should breach at least one force policy in relation to timely enaction of investigations. You should begin to hear mutterings among your colleagues about what a drain you are on the team. The word “Regulation” followed by almost any number, should begin to feature in your vocabulary (these relate to Disciplinary procedures).

Then you strike. Just as you are about to be “stuck on” for any number of poor working practices, you suddenly fail to turn up for work. You make yourself unreachable for a week although physical visits to your home can be averted by a quick text to your supervisor reading “Off with stress”. He/she will immediately know what this means and will not dare to contact you lest he be accused of bullying/discrimination.

Now will follow months of shillyshallying. Your stack of jobs which have begun to rot and moulder in the bottom of your docket will be farmed out to your disgruntled colleagues. They will then have to deal with the complaints by the victims of these crimes and will be blamed for any subsequent failures to convict anyone. You may come back to work after a month or so, just to put in a few hours a day during which you moon around doing nothing in particular. The purpose of these few hours is merely to build up more jobs which you can then leave in a state of disarray, and also to show everyone how depressed you really are. Once that has been achieved, you can disappear for several months.

At last, just when everyone has almost forgotten your name and is fairly certain you have died, you announce that you have been accepted to the Met as a firearms officer.

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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Human Wrongs.

Thank you to a reader for pointing out the latest sortie in Scotland Yard's crusade against Human Rights.


Among the proposals made by the Yard are laws against flag-burning and the covering of faces during protests. Their timing is impeccable as always. If they push hard enough, they might just get the new laws in before Muslim women decide to stage a demo protesting against their right to wear a veil. Of course, they will have to take the veils off to demonstrate.












(A protest two weeks ago in Blackburn.)

It just goes to show that nothing is so fundamental to someone's way of life that you can't have a law against it. And it also goes to show that the fact that there is a law against something doesn't mean you can't have another one against the same thing.

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Saturday, October 28, 2006

A Blandmore Ram-Raid.



Is it my imagination, or does the cashier shoplift from the store following the incident?

If so, this was probably shot in Blandmore.

The Torture Debate.

Once again Americans can't decide whether it's ok to torture people. The excuse always used is that Jack Bauer couldn't save the world without torture. In reality, it would be interesting to know how many "ticking time-bombs" have been found this way. None, I suspect, as at the very least the country involved would have bragged about their successful thwarting of a plot through "interrogation", following which someone would have leaked the truth in book-form.

Just to show I do have some training, in UK law, a confession is inadmissible if gained by "oppression" or "in consequence of anything said or done which, in the circumstances existing at the time the confession was made, render any confession made unreliable".

I have come to define "Oppression" as anything not specified by the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 Codes of Practice. Eg: not bringing your prisoner enough tea, food, blankets; not giving them a watch or allowing them to know the time; not allowing them eight hours uninterrupted sleep BUT interrupting their sleep if ready to interview... it's a minefield. I must have tortured a few poor souls unintentionally when I forgot to keep them updated of the weather forecast and who would be on Jonathan Ross this week (Borat).

I agree wholeheartedly with PACE and feel that it is right and fair that if I encourage my prisoner to tell the truth, I should be struck down with all the fury of the SMT. I also feel it a positive thing for Human Rights that different rules are applied for a denial: it is not inadmissible for the prisoner's solicitor to say and do things which, in the circumstances existing at the time the denial was made, render the denial made unreliable. This is the tenet on which our nation's justice system works.

I think Blandshire Constabulary's approach is that it isn't so much whether you torture the person or not, but whether there's a Detection at the end of it.

Dostoevsky said famously (quick pause for breath and a cup of tea to recover from my sudden onset of academia), and I paraphrase, "Is it ok to make the world happy and nice if it means torturing some poor innocent baby to death?"

I do not know the answer, but I know that if I can be considered a poor innocent baby, and I think you'll agree I can, Tony McNulty is having a damn good try.

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Friday, October 27, 2006

Just one TIT today.

Terrific Investigating Technique of the week:

Arrange for your local Council to stream their CCTV feeds directly onto the Web. That way crimes can be witnessed as and when they happen by millions worldswide. It worked for North Wales Police this week. Gosh I am envious - North Wales is so Cutting Edge. Not only can their Chief Constable use a computer to type on (or at least get an aide to do so), but they now have a login for YouTube.

It just shows there is always a way around Data Protection laws and it is usually the Internet. Ungoverned by any law whatsoever, there is no such thing as breaching privacy on the Net. Indeed, it is actively encouraged.

As with most excellent investigation tools, the Net is largely prohibited by Blandshire Constabulary. This has its advantages, of course. I jump for joy when I attend a harassment and discover that the abusive emails have originated from a foreign server such as Yahoo or AOL. We just don't seem to have the power or inclination to ask these companies for details of their subscribers. After all, it is a technical and difficult process to trace the sender of an email, rather beyond the abilities of the experts of the Hi-Tech Crime Unit.

There are other things which are hard for the HTCU. These include:
  • reading text messages.
  • viewing mobile phone pictures.
  • viewing mobile phone videos.
I wonder if any of the bods at HTCU actually own mobile phones. If not, that could explain why it takes them eight months to do the above.

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Nottinghamshire Confidential.

I love reading stories about good old-fashioned police corruption. It reassures me that some of us must still be out there in contact with the community, using the old "sneaky beaky" to infiltrate criminal gangs and take "kickbacks". I'm guessing the guys in question got caught because their reward for passing on information was "discounted designer clothing". The last time I saw a police officer wearing designer clothing she had a lot of metal on her shoulders and had her own large office with a comfortable computer chair and a fishtank. She definitely wasn't on reactive shift.

Even if I wanted to become a crooked copper, unfortunately I would have absolutely no idea who to pass on information to, how to get payment in return, and how to set up such a scam without getting caught.

However if you would like to know how best to write off a vicious domestic headbutting as a "verbal argument", I'm your girl.

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To Tea or not to Tea?

This dilemma is faced daily by our intrepid frontline officers. You go to a house and the offer of tea is on the table... do you accept? Here is a handy guide to solving the dilemma, as well as my tips for how to handle the situation where NO TEA IS EVEN OFFERED!

The questions to ask yourself:
  • Are you considering wiping your feet when you leave?
  • Is every available sitting/perching surface covered in uneaten food and rubbish?
  • Is the kettle covered with the results of their last domestic?
  • Is there any dogshit on the floor (believe me, a common occurrence)?
  • Are you about to arrest anyone?
  • Will you be there longer than five minutes? (Think about having to make up snippets of conversation whilst wolfing down a burning hot cup of tea for half an hour.)
If the answer to any of these is yes, DO NOT TAKE TEA.

Now for the best way to elicit an offer of tea without overtly screeching, "Are you out milking the cow? What does it take to get a cup of tea around here?” Here are my top five ways that ACTUALLY WORK:
  1. "What a lovely kitchen."
  2. “No problem coming out this early at all, Mrs Moochocka, although we did miss breakfast...”
  3. Wait until they are out of the room and switch the kettle on. When it boils, they will think of tea.
  4. "This might take a while..."
  5. "I'd love one." This can be in response to almost any question. They will be too embarrassed to put you right and will put the kettle straight on.
If you are cheeky and charming enough to pull it off, "How's about a cuppa?" can also get good results, but this is better used by MALE on FEMALE, especially if FEMALE is older and her husband is away for the weekend.

Just remember, if you are successful in your endeavours and tea is supplied, make sure to time the statement correctly for the number of cups you wish to drink. Even a one page withdrawal statement can be spun out for an hour, longer if biscuits are on offer.

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Pelican Plod.

Having trawled the news this week for something positive to say about the fight for control of our streets, this is the best I could come up with:

Pelican Eats Pigeon.

I think you will agree this is a triumph over antisocial behaviour and should be encouraged. I am currently drafting a Pelican Proposal to submit into my Area Commander's Ideas Box and residents of Blandmore can soon expect to see these feathered Pelican Community Support Officers on patrol in their streets.

In time, Pelicans can replace police officers altogether. Sure, they won't detect crime, nor have any actual powers, but their ability to open their mouths and swallow a pigeon whole will do more to win back respect on Britain's streets than any number of Anti-Terrorism Laws.


Pelican Eats Pigeon - video powered by Metacafe

For the cutting edge of police innovation... watch this space! (Can you believe I haven't been promoted yet?)

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Antisocial Watch.

Thanks to Extra Special Copper for drawing my attention to this disgruntled MOP (Member of Public). My favourite post so far is this one.

I am still waiting to see PYO.blogspot.com appear, for the insider's view of life on the streets. The first scrote to achieve this will probably get a book deal out of it. Then he can end up like Michael Carroll.

Of course, the book will need some considerable editing to crect there orfil spelin. I am sure Frank Chalk can help with that.

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Failing Forces.

Hoorah it is Police League Table time again! I think it is so empowering and motivating to name and shame those forces who are failing each year.

Moreover, I completely agree with Blair about threatening failing forces with privatisation. Will the man's genius never end? What a great legacy he could leave New Labour with, if the police goes the way of the health and education systems.

Read the report for the full lowdown on Britains crappiest police forces. I know it will just horrify my learned readers to hear how Humberside is failing to put in place adequate planning and structural arrangments to minimise the impact of any extraordinary demands on its frontline services, nor is it engaging closely with each community to understand their priorities for action and use problem solving to tackle those issues of local concern. The bastards.

I have been shamed into evaluating my own performance as a police officer, which I would now like to share with you:
  • Reducing Crime: POOR.
    • PC Bloggs has consistently failed to implement a community free from drug and alcohol abuse.
    • She has not shared her responsibility with any other agencies at all.
    • Indeed, it appears that through her use of the telephone and police vehicle to attend people's houses and listen to their complaints, she is actually contributing to the reported level of burglaries and robberies by taking the reports in the first place.
  • Investigating Crime: POOR.
    • PC Bloggs has an unacceptable variation in her Detection rate from one week to the next. This shows she just isn't complying with national standards.
    • She does not prioritise and maximise investigative outcomes. You might even say that she is not sure what an "investigative outcome" is supposed to be.
    • PC Bloggs clearly evidences that she does not utilise her training nor does she have the right skills to wring Detections out of the thinnest of evidence. It is almost as if she does not care about her force's Detection Rate!
  • Promoting Safety: POOR.
    • PC Bloggs shows no indication that she is able to protect vulnerable people such as children or victims of domestic violence from the vagaries of their abusive families.
    • On some occasions, it has been noted that PC Bloggs has been busy in the station waiting for solicitors and writing reports, when she could have been rushing to the aid of a missing child. This is a disgrace.
  • Resource Use: POOR.
    • PC Bloggs has not used her female-ness to best advantage. The only thing you can say in her favour is that at least her shift have someone to attend all the rapes.
    • She has also let down her force by falling sick on several days each year whereby she has struggled into the station only to be sent home again. She must learn not to be ill and the old chestnut of "under-resourced / over-tired" simply will not cut it.
  • Providing Assistance: POOR.
    • PC Bloggs has not planned her year well at all to provide assistance when needed. You could go so far as to think that she does not want to give up all her rest days to sit in a wood in another county on behalf of the Home Office.
    • Far from increasing public confidence in the police use of firearms, PC Bloggs has done the opposite. She has been heard to utter of one colleague, "I can't believe they're giving that mad cock a gun". This is not helpful.
    • Hopefully in the next year PC Bloggs will learn how to best respond to civil contingencies. Learning what a civil contingency is and the importance of it to a Twenty-first Century police officer would be a good start.
  • Citizen Focus: POOR.
    • PC Bloggs is yet to submit her "Quality of Service Commitment", but she has made it apparent the level of service her victims and offenders can expect.
    • These include her shocking disregard for human rights as she repeatedly arrests robbers and burglars on a schoolday.
    • She also frequently "Can't be arsed" to phone eight times a day to keep the mad Mrs Mickleberry updated on her filed criminal damage investigation.
  • Local Policing: POOR.
    • Words cannot express how dire is PC Bloggs' performance in this area. Suffice it to say that far from Policing Locally, she spends 90% of her time in a police station custody block which is not even in her local area at all.
Overall Rating: Zero points.

PC Bloggs is not the Twenty-first Century Police Officer she would have you believe.


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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.

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No Restraint.

A man has died and it is all someone else's fault. As when police restrain someone who later dies, a massive enquiry involving politicians and the word "regret" must be launched immediately.

In the case reported today, the man was restrained for seven minutes by staff at his mental health ward. Here is the shocking bit: GUIDELINES STATED THAT THREE MINUTES WAS THE MAXIMUM FOR RESTRAINT TIME! I can hear you all gasping with horror at this murderous act. The staff have clearly flouted these extremely important Health and Safety rules which stress that after three minutes the subject MUST be freed and allowed to assault whomever he/she wishes.

I must reconsider my actions only a fortnight ago when I restrained a girl for half an hour as she kicked, spat and bit us. WHAT WAS I THINKING? Prisoners should never be restrained for more than a few minutes otherwise it is as good as murder.

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Monday, October 23, 2006

Sigh...

This story sums up the police.

Sacrilegious Arrests

A Muslim organisation has hit back at GMP for not wanting to arrest Muslims during prayer times during Ramadan. Apparently this is because Muslims are equal under the law.

I am confused at GMP's attitude. I thought it should be obvious that you would not make an arrest at a time when it might inconvenience the offender. In Blandmore we are constantly criticised for arresting perpetrators at antisocial times. One custody sergeant will actually not accept juvenile prisoners or mothers if arrested before six o'clock in the morning.

This is only common courtesy and I would hope that all police officers out there think about how they might be ruining some poor guy's day simply to drag him into custody to answer questions about ruining some poor guy's day.

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Sunday, October 22, 2006

Security at any cost?

This article has made me think about the vast quantities of money that go into police operations. Basically £1.2million was spent supplying police officers to guard a cordon round a school. I have previously commented on Operation Overt which is currently costing the Met about £1million per week, much of it on overtime for other forces who are guarding their cordon. The cordon is vital for a fingertip search of woodland where nothing has yet been found. Except some stuff found by a member of public nowhere near where the cordon was anyway.

If anyone is interested, a source tells me that the current cordon in the woods is running on the basis that a few trees are sealed off and guarded while expert fingertippers search it. Then it is unsealed and a new bit of wood which was previously unguarded is given the same treatment. For those of you uninitiated in Scenes of Crime, this means that should anything be found in those bits of wood left unsealed prior to the search, the defendant could claim in court that someone put the stuff there after the incident in question. In layman's terms, this search is a WASTE OF TIME.

"WASTE OF TIME", police definition:
  • A vital element of a modern day police service.
  • It includes work involving vast amounts of manpower for the likelihood of little result.
  • The work is undertaken primarily for the sake of public image.
  • In general it means a PC somewhere not seeing his or her family for three or four months but getting several thousand pounds from Sir Ian Blair's pocket.
As a non-Met officer, I propose scrapping any operation funded by the Met and using the money to make my life better. This could include giving me a panda car that does not stall if the revs go above 3000. Or, Blandshire could spend the money encouraging people who do not want to be police officers to join up.

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Saturday, October 21, 2006

Forgiveness.

Thank you to a reader for this link to The Forgiveness Project. The founders of this project believe that we should forgive those who vandalise our cars and steal from our houses.

On the site you can read about the amazing power of forgiveness, such as the woman who met her husband's killer and just wanted to give him a big hug. Or the woman who was abused as a child and never forgave anyone at all but wishes she had.

As a WOMAN, I am sensitive and think about puppies all the time. Therefore I would like to propose Forgiveness in Blandmore. It could be a low maintenance solution if anyone who is willing to meet with his/her victim and say sorry could be kept out of jail and the courts. It's not as if we'd just be doing it to save lots of money and get in the national papers.

PS Anyone else think it's odd that The Forgiveness Project's logo is a burning heart?

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History Matters.

On 17th October 2006 a load of blogs were collected and bunged on a website. This was in order to MAKE HISTORY by getting random members of public to write about their day.

You can read my contribution HERE. Personally I am not that interested in what random members of public have to say. I hear a lot of that at work and what they usually have to say is "F**K off" and "Are you a stripper". Usually my answer to both is "No", but if I am in a good mood I will say, "I am arresting you for Section Five Public Order".

This is my favourite entry on History Matters:
I woke up at about ruffly 7:00 today.I also went bowling today and I am so glad that I had won with 107 points in bowling and my big sis had 60 something and my little bro had 60 something as well.After that I had a Yorkie choc bar and a jam doughnut.So I went back home and changed into pj's and started typing this in.It was a fantastic day.

I can't remember ruffly the last time I had a day as good as Daniel Lewis.

A close second favourite entry is this:
HELLO
I GO TO SCHOOL AND THE MIGHTY ZULU NATION DANCERS CAME TO VISIT TODAY.
MY NAME IS LOUIS AND I AM 12.

Anyway, in my entry I made the following five predictions about how the rest of my night would turn out.
1. The prisoner I arrested last night will still be in custody and I will have to go back and finish dealing with him. This will mean that the two statements I planned to take will be put off and will begin to generate Unhappy Members of Public.
2. I will have twenty-eight new emails and will delete twenty-seven of them without reading them. The twenty-eighth will contain porn.
3. Someone will have left me a voicemail complaining that I failed to trap the 12yr old vandal who threw a pebble at their car two years ago.
4. I will not have slept nor eaten enough.
5. I will attend a domestic where the man has hit the woman but she loves him and won't make a complaint.

The reality was:
1. True, the prisoner was still in custody, but 24hrs having passed, he had been charged already.
2. True to within five (except two were porn-based).
3. True - I had eight messages from the same guy complaining that I have not returned his calls and am giving him the "run-around". He never leaves a number. He has also been into a police station where I do not work on six occasions when I am not on duty. He will now be making a complaint to the gov'nor.
4. True.
5. True.

Life is just too predictable.

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Friday, October 20, 2006

Scrabble for the Rabble.

What a brilliant idea from the prison service. If people have poor social skills, exhibit criminal behaviour and laze around all day watching TV, just pay them to play scrabble for 30 minutes and all your troubles will be solved.

We could introduce this kind of reward scheme in Blandmore. Our local PYOs (Persistent Young Offenders) could be paid to read words out of a dictionary for thirty minutes a day. At least they would not be stealing for those thirty minutes. We have seen the disregard paid by these misguided young fellows towards bail conditions and court orders, but payment seems a certain way to gain compliance. Plus they could learn some new words to swear at us with, or at least spell the ones used already correctly.

In fact, why not go further and merely pay offenders to keep to their bail conditions and sentences? That way a hardened criminal with a couple of ASBOs, two curfews and a "signing-on" restriction could actually earn enough to feed his/her crack habit for a month.

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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Blame the Pigs.

For once I must come out totally in support of a newspaper article. Millions are being wasted in the courts and it is all the police's fault. 900,000 out of 3 million cases went down the tubes because of us and the CPS ballsing it up.

When will we learn that to successfully prosecute a case, we must conjure up all our witnesses on the day of the court no matter how little notice they were given, or how unwilling they were to attend from the start? We should even be producing witnesses that we did not know existed. Moreover, those witnesses just aren't providing the quality of evidence required. Instead of browbeaten girls with four children under the age of three by different fathers, who never went to school and say "dunno" in answer to every question, our witnesses must be articulate and well-educated ladies who will convince any magistrate they are telling the truth. Rather than jewellery-adorned lads who use vocabulary like "Innit" and "fucking feds", we must ensure that all assaults are witnessed by middle class working men wearing suits.

But our failings go further than these. We must provide photographs and CCTV for every offence, even those that happened indoors. We must analyse all mobile phones connected to the incident and despite the eight-month turnaround from the Hi-tech Crime Unit, these must be ready on the day of court. DNA and fingerprints should be found at every crime scene and we must prove beyond a doubt that the story produced by the defendant in interview, that he "never saw the guy before and doesn't know his name, but got into his car and drove away" is completely untrue, no matter how impossible a task this is. We must make sure that police officers who had a passing contact with the investigation, albeit they merely signed a piece of paper to confirm they searched the prisoner, or they said "hi, mate" to him in custody, turn up on the day of court even though they have no idea they will be needed. Last but not least, we must make sure that members of public do not lie to us and that we arrest the correct person every time and can reproduce a Columbo-type reconstruction of who did what when how and why, for every case.

If we cannot even do the above, how do we expect Magistrates to convict? It isn't as if they have the power to say, "If you can't be bothered to show up for your own court case, we'll convict you in your absence or have you arrested immediately". Do we really expect them to say, "I am fed up of the Defence persistently adjourning and adjourning this case then going guilty at the last hour for a reduced sentence. I am sick to the back teeth of the police giving up rest days at short notice and paying officers for eight hours' duty to sit still and be sent away early, only for the Defence to moan that some remote sergeant who once said Boo to the defendant is not there. I have therefore decided to give you no more chances. The case WILL go ahead today and you WILL be convicted." Poor Magistrates can hardly be asked to ACCUSE people of playing the system for extra legal fees, or dragging their victims through hell in the hope of the case falling apart on a technicality.

We MUST stop blaming criminals for committing crime. It is time the police took responsibility for all systemic failures that cost the nation billions of pounds. After all, we are the only law-enforcement agency out there.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Muzzling the Police.

I am sure other bloggers have picked up on the fact that Welsh Chief Constable Brunstrom has decreed the muzzling of all police dogs to stop them biting people. Here is North Wales Constabulary's dog section's own website. When you click on the link you will see one of their muzzled dogs.

Personally I don't think we go far enough in protecting the public from our mindless brutality. I am shocked that the Chief Constable has instead trained these dogs to deliver a "flying head-butt" to the suspect's midriff. This is cruel and instead police puppies should be used to lick the offenders into submission.

Furthermore, I propose the following changes to Personal Protective Equipment:
  • Sponge to be glued to all batons to prevent injury to those struck.
  • CS/Parva to be exchanged for the scent of poppies swaying in a lovely meadow. Poppies will send them to sleep...
  • Police cars to be equipped with rubber cages so they bounce off subject vehicles and fleeing suspects.
  • Police firearms should be loaded with rose petals.
  • Tazers will become pink fluffy tickling arms.
  • Handcuffs should be the soft leopard-skin type, if they really must be used.
  • Police cells to be coated in fluff.
  • All police officers to wear cornerless clothing and cotton boots.
  • Offenders shall be dressed in a big bouncy castle before any fighting commences.
  • On no account are offenders under eighteen to be arrested at all, it is just too dangerous for the poor dears.
  • In time, the whole world will become a big fluffy meadow of lilies and bouncing balls with everyone laughing and happy.
Click on movie.


Alternatively, we could police the real world.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Escapers!

Terror Suspects on the run!!! Major Police Investigation!!!

An absolute disaster has occurred. Two terror suspects are fleeing. One of them escaped through the window of a mental health unit. His crime was "wanting to go to Iraq to fight". The other guy might have disappeared a few months ago, we're not sure. Either way they must be caught urgently and the Tories told why they escaped.

Reading further into the story, it turns out one of the suspects was on a Control Order, which means instead of being in prison he was allowed to wear a tag so that the authorities would know exactly where he was at the time he potentatially detonated his bomb. These conditions were relaxed and hey presto, overnight at some point in the last few months, he "disappeared" (or at least moved out of the immediate area, probably to Bournemouth).

I think we should make more extensive use of Control Orders. They would be especially useful for those who have not yet committed a crime but whom we know are going to as they just can't help themselves. We could tag them with a GPS/Tazer bracelet and at the precise moment they are about to murder their victim, Tom Cruise could administer a shock that will incapacitate them while the Thought Police strike. They would then be bundled off to the courts who could tell them not to do it again and agree to remove the tag because their lawyer says they have "changed".

Of course it is against Human Rights to suggest the concept of the Thought Police, where we lock murderers and criminals up the moment before they commit the crime. It is far more appropriate to envisage a future where not only do we not lock people up BEFORE they commit any crimes, but even AFTERWARDS, we either cannot find them or do nothing with them when we do.

Tom Cruise, Blandmore Needs You!

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Monday, October 16, 2006

A Recent Blandmore ID Parade.









"It was Number 5, Officer!"

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Sunday, October 15, 2006

Poor Codie.

The national press this week reported on the case of a 14yr old schoolgirl arrested for "racism" and kept in the cells for three-and-a-half hours. The story goes that poor Codie Stott was forced to study in a group with non-English speaking Asians and when she "politely" asked to switch groups, her teacher screamed at her, called the police and she was arrested for "racism". Poor Codie also had her jewellery (of which there was a lot) and shoelaces removed while in the cells.

As an experienced Detector of Crime, I identify the following clues as to the real turn of events:
  • The child is called "Codie" and her brother "Ashley".
  • She was told to sit with five Asian pupils.
  • The teacher screamed at her for no reason.
  • Codie went outside "to calm down" following the incident.
  • "Racism" on its own is not an offence.
My final clue is this picture:











The Chav Alert is ringing.

I suggest that what really happened was that dear Codie, hooped earrings and all, objected to having to sit with five Asians and lacked the "communication" skills to ask them to speak in English to her. When told she could not change groups, she disrupted the lesson by screaming racist abuse and stormed out. She was particularly upset at being kept in the cells for four hours as it meant she could not pick up her toddler from nursery.

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Pretty Serious Dudes.

With all the talk of PSD on other blogs, I thought I would share something that happened to me about a year ago, before I began to dice with my career the way Julian Clary dices with masculinity.

We have a couple of "satellite" stations in Blandmore which are occupied solely by Beat Officers, by which I mean office-based old-timers who never wear their stab vests and do not even know what a Domestic Violence Risk Assessment is. These stations play a vital role in keeping further out villages in touch with their local police force, in the sense that their doors display a banner with the address to write to in order to complain about the front counter always being shut.

I find these stations play a vital role in my sanity. When it is quiet or the only jobs going sound a bit too griefy, I will tuck myself away in one of these hidey holes, content in the knowledge that no one would ever imagine that someone is there tapping away at the computer in the dead of night (after all, it is a police station). This gives me the opportunity to catch up on my paperwork, otherwise known as emailing my pals.

On one occasion I spent a good two hours downloading comical videos and stories about police officers and cartoon characters breaching the new Sexual Offences Act. I should add that these videos and stories were sent to me, of course I did not surf the Net and locate them myself. Suffice it to say that the videos and stories were all forwarded to the relevant parties and I then decided that a couple of the stories deserved to be printed out and brought home with me. Using my skilled computer knowledge, I located the local printer which I BELIEVED was entitled PSDO (P being the inital of the station and SDO denoting the Station Duty Office or front counter). Half an hour later I logged off and went to collect my treasures from the SDO printer. Nada. There was paper, the printer was online, just nothing had printed.

I was now being summonsed to a critical incident involving two neighbours and a bag of sugar, so I shrugged this off as typical of our useless printers and forgot all about it.

Two days later I received all my emails and stories printed out in the post, along with the following note:

"PC Bloggs, These items were discovered on the printer of the Professional Standards Department. Perhaps you would like to dispose of them yourself in the relevant way?"

D'oh!

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More on Hats...

Did anyone see Aishah Azmi speaking on television about why she chose to wear her veil in class? I couldn't understand a word she said.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Spot the Double Standard

Whilst many prominent voices have come out in support of Jack Straw’s remarks on wearing veils and in agreement with a school's decision to prevent a teacher from teaching if she will not remove hers, there has been an equal outcry AGAINST British Airway’s decision to prevent an employee displaying a crucifix.

Naturally this is just because we are a nation of broad-minded devout Christians who love our Church. As Ann Widdecombe says, it is the Christians who are obviously being persecuted. Veils are therefore fair game for sarcasm and vitriole, as anyone will know who saw this Friday's Mock the Week. In time, I believe the great British public will come to accept that there is nothing wrong with making fun of Jewish hats and Sikh turbans and requiring that they be removed, especially in cinemas and theatres where they are just plain antisocial. The day we are unable to laugh at minorities is the day we lose our identity as Brits.

Still, it cannot be denied that the situation of one standard for one religious emblem and another for another, is not simple. As a police officer, I am something of an expert in double standards and I think the police should be the agency to solve this crisis. The solution will probably involve a checklist and some kind of mass sending of emails.

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Show me the Money!

As the Blandshire overtime ban continues, my force is falling further and further into depression. Unless all other police bloggers work for Blandshire, it is not the only one. Many of my colleagues rely on overtime to make up inadequacies in their paychecks, but this is not the worst effect of the ban.

We now have to hand over all work as soon as we hit home-time, with exceptions only when it is IMPOSSIBLE not to. This means where I used to arrest a shoplifter, return to the shop and take a statement and seize CCTV, I now arrest the shoplifter, transfer him or her into another panda so they can take them into custody, then go back to the nick and do my arrest statement - if I have time. The next shift will do all the chasing of evidence. If they have time. If not, the prisoner will be bailed back to me.

Still, in these dark days we can count on the Home Office to make up for Blandshire's failings. Two government-funded Operations are now providing overtime to us beleaguered PCs. God Bless Operation Safeguard, which will mean I can volunteer to transfer myself into a custody suite for twelve hour shifts any time over the next month or so. It is best not to volunteer, but to wait until a few days before a crisis when the Duties department will ring me at 10am when I worked nights the night before, to order me into work on a rest day which will therefore mean double pay. I have also started claiming for four hours overtime simply when I hear the voice of a member of police staff on a rest day.

We must also give thanks for Operation Overt. I have not been involved, but I know colleagues from many forces who have been delighted to spend fourteen hours sitting in the woods, especially in light of recent weather, for a few hundred quid courtesy of the Home Office. Modern policing is truly stupendous, that we can comb a forest by finger-tip for two months, at a mere cost of £150,000/day. I estimate that the overtime bill alone for officers sitting in the woods comes to about £40,000 a week.

I wonder if Mrs Mitchell of Blandmore who is being plagued by nuisance kids and vandalism would rather we found another minuscule scrap of a bomb to add to already overwhelming evidence, or that we trained and put another seventy police officers on the streets for a year.

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Friday, October 13, 2006

School Offences.

I think far too much of our time is spent dealing with incidents in schools. I am proud to see that Kent Police has put their foot down and decided not to attend any calls to schools whatsoever, including those reporting armed intruders. After all, when did an armed intruder ever do any schoolchildren any harm?

Actually this question arises every other day in Blandmore as I open the "box" (computer terminal) to see at least one incident described as:

"Caller's 12yr old son has been assaulted by 13yr old at school. This has been reported to the school."

This is a prime example of a "multi-agency approach". This method takes the following form:

Step One
A minor offence is committed against a child.

Step Two
The victim tells their parents.

Step Three
The parents tell the school.

Step Four
The school tells the parents they do not plan to do anything.

Step Five
The parents tell the police.

Step Six
PC Bloggs tells the parents she does not plan to do anything.

Step Seven
The parents tell Social Services, who tell the Inspector.

Step Eight
The Inspector tells PC Bloggs she WILL do something.

Step Nine
PC Bloggs arrests the offender and charges him.

Step Ten
The offender apologises to the victim and the victim withdraws the complaint.

The multi-agency approach of school, Social Services and police has here come together for a satisfactory result taking only a few days of police time. Not only has the police force obtained a Detection, but the victim's parents have managed to solve the crisis without ever having to be civil or diplomatic to another family, and the school has managed to stay out of its pupils' lives completely. A success all round.

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Call me a Panda.

Two o'clock, Monday afternoon. I am tucking into a free latte provided by the friendly local garage and trying to finish a statement which should be hand-written in an irritating booklet that is hard to photocopy, but which I have decided to type as no one in the entire legal system apart from my sergeant actually cares which way I do it.

Then:
"PC Bloggs, can you attend the High Street. Ambulance asking for assistance with a violent male."

I do not know about other areas, but I imagine that, like in Blandmore, police generally try to provide speedy attendance for other emergency services especially if they are in trouble. It is partly camaraderie and partly a hope that the same will be returned (particularly when it comes to waiting in A&E).

I consider waiting to scoop the chocolate off the top of the latte, but duty calls and I race to the scene with all the blue kit fired up. I see two paramedics (both considerably bigger and maler than me, I might add - yes, yes I know it isn't their job), and TD (the Town Drunk). TD is sitting on a bench with his head in his hands, the paramedics are stood either side of him peering at a minuscule cut on his temple.

PC Bloggs: Er... you called?
Paramedic: TD's fallen down again.
PC Bloggs: Is he ok?
Paramedic: He's fine, just a bump. We're not taking him in.
PC Bloggs: Good... Um... you called?
Paramedic: We took him home last night.
PC Bloggs: Good show. Well done.
Paramedic: He can't walk.
PC Bloggs: Terrible. The perils of alcoholism.
Paramedic: He'll fall again.
PC Bloggs: I imagine that is a strong possibility.
Paramedic: Well... we'll leave you to it.

I approach TD and establish he is beyond sozzled, in that he thinks I am his brother. I also establish that he wants to go home more than anything in the big wide world.

PC Bloggs: Shall I call you a cab, TD?
TD: I got no money, broth.
PC Bloggs: I am female.
TD: Take us home, broth.
PC Bloggs: No.
TD: Please.
PC Bloggs: No.
TD: I'm about to be sick.
PC Bloggs: You're not selling me.

The paramedics are still lurking and exchange shrugs with me, as if to say, "You aren't just going to leave the poor man there, are you?"

PC Bloggs: I'm not a taxi, you know.
Paramedic: Nor are we.
PC Bloggs: Why did you call us, by the way? Something about violence?
Paramedic: It's your turn to take him home. We've had enough.

And they drive off. I leave TD sitting there, but he is wobbling backwards and forth like a skittle. In the end I fear he will fall, hit his head and die, and I will be suspended and have all my clothing seized. I take him home. On the way to the car, he falls from my shoulder and hits his head. Hoorah, I call the ambulance back and leave them to it.

There are ways to get a lift home from the police, by the way. Here are some of the phrases that work:
  1. My girlfriend's just kicked me out following a fight. I'm just going to hang around here and wait until you've gone, then go back in there and smack her.
  2. I've just been abducted and dumped in a country lane.
  3. It's dark and I think someone is following me.
  4. I've just been raped (if you don't mind going via the medical suite).
  5. Ooh, Mr Policeman you have such a shiny car. Please may I get in it with my long non-Chav-like legs and mini-skirt?
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Custody Query.

As hundreds of prisoners prepare to move into police stations nationwide to "solve" the prison crisis and ministers everywhere are proposing less custodial sentences, I find myself asking which system of weighing up evidence is the worst - police custody or the courts?

Here is a comparison to help you decide:

Length of time spent on one case:
Custody: up to 24 hours.
Courts: frequently up to 2 years or more.

Number of cases dealt with in one day:
Custody: at Blandmore, between ten and twenty.
Courts: three, if you are lucky.

Number of staff required for each case:
Custody: three - based on custody sergeant, gaoler and officer in the case.
Courts: over ten - three magistrates, one usher, two prosecutors, two defence lawyers, probation officer, clerk, witness care officer, security guard, etc.

Likelihood of bringing an offender to justice:
Custody: I would say well over half my prisoners are charged, cautioned or ticketed.
Courts: I have yet to see someone convicted at court without pleading guilty. If convicted, a sensible sentence is virtually unheard of.

Availability of tea while you wait:
Custody: On tap.
Courts: Highly unlikely.

A resounding victory for the Courts on the scale of crapness. I don't know why I asked, really.

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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Womental.

There is apparently only one taboo left for society to overcome and then we are hunky dory. The Beeb reports how a woman with depression was forced out of work due to become apathetic and crying all day. Being a Woman myself, I am outraged. We are naturally a more psychotic gender and should therefore be given leeway to sit at our desks and do no work through depressive lethargy. The idea that these sufferers should be retired through stress or denied promotion to an even more stressful position is just sexist.

Why do employers not do more to accommodate our hysterical needs? I urge the police to take the lead in this and supply stress-balls attachable to the tops of female officers' batons, to save us from madness. If they do not, they are failing to recognise the basic differences between men and women.

Men just have more get-up and go, They will not struggle on quietly, punishing society by drawing out the pain of their obviously incurable ailment. Instead they do the fair thing and either top themselves at the first sign of sadness or tell someone about their suffering with a demonstrative display. I cannot recall the last time I read about a female attacking someone in a brutal stabbing frenzy. And yet we go on and on about EQUALITY.

We're mental.

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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Me no speaka de Englishe.

Following on from the furore over veils, Gordon Brown now thinks immigrants "should speak the language of English". I do hope this is not a direct quote, as it suggests that Gordon Brown should possibly learn to speak the English language too.

I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment. There is nothing worse than dealing with foreigners, whether as victims, offenders or witnesses. No, I am not racist, I am time-ist. I hate anything that takes an unreasonable length of time and waiting for interpreters, making appointments with witnesses, then waiting while the interpreter alters the victim's detailed account into his or her own words, writes it out again and then does his or her own statement promising that the translation is accurate, takes an incredible amount of TIME.

Dealing with offenders is slightly better, but where both victim and offender speak the same obscure language and there is only one interpreter from that nation in the south of England, it can cause a problem (you cannot really use the same interpreter for both as they could pass messages/contaminate the account).

We have a couple of excellent interpreters in the Blandmore area, and some less good ones. Here are some real life experiences I have had:

I once found the best Somalian interpreter in the world. We sat and took the statement for about two hours and every three minutes the interpreter read what he had written back to me, simultaneously translating it into English so I could check we were heading the right way. At least, so I thought. When I finally said, "Are you really translating so quickly as you go along?" he said, "No, the statement is in English." I viewed it and sure enough, he had written in English. "But how is the victim going to read it and sign it?" I asked. "I will translate it into Somalian now." "But... shouldn't it be the other way around?" "I always do it this way." Hey ho, as long as I end up with two statements I am happy.

There is a top-notch Urdu interpreter who travels many miles to tend our prisoners. A typical interview with her will go something like:
PC Bloggs: When I turn on the tape you will hear a bleep.
Interpreter: [speaks for three minutes without pause, exchanging nods and confirmations with the prisoner].
PC Bloggs: What were you saying?
Interpreter: I was explaining the tape procedure and legal aspects.
PC Bloggs: But... I do that on the tape, and how do you know what I'm going to say?
Interpreter: It's the same every time.
PC Bloggs: OK, but we'll have to do it on the tape again.
[Later]
PC Bloggs: Did you hit the other guy?
Interpreter translates.
Suspect speaks for at least a minute.
Interpreter: No.
PC Bloggs: Is that all he said?
Interpreter: Yes.
PC Bloggs: OK... how did the other guy get injured then?
Interpreter translates.
Suspect speaks.
Interpreter speaks.
Suspect speaks.
Interpreter: I don't know.
PC Bloggs: What did you just ask him?
Interpreter: I said I don't believe him.
PC Bloggs: Can you just say what I ask, please?
Interpreter: Fine.
PC Bloggs: And tell me what he says?
Interpreter: You are fussy.
Suspect speaks.
PC Bloggs: Well?
Interpreter: I don't know what he said. We speak different dialects.
PC Bloggs: Then how have you been interpreting for the last hour?
Interpreter: Largely guesswork. I can make out a few words.
PC Bloggs: Interview terminated!
Suspect: Why are we stopping?
PC Bloggs: You speak English?
Suspect: Yes, I am bilingual. They only asked me what my first language was.
PC Bloggs: Please kill me now.

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Trust the "Experts".

Since training school, I have been fascinated by the concept of an "expert" witness. This tag is applied to anyone who is likely to be believed by a court on a certain topic.

Within the police and fellow agencies, common examples are:
Traffic accident investigators.
Drugs officers.
Scenes of crime officer.
Forensic pathologist/psychiatrist.
Doctor.
Dog-handler (expertise restricted solely to the "run-time" of his/her dog's nose).
Bomb disposer.
Hi-tech crime technician.
Scientist.
Firearms officer.
Me: when it comes to "drunkenness", we police are experts in the court's eyes.

I am always smug with superiority when I get to put an "expert" statement on one of my files. It immediately emits the signal that you have done a kick-ass investigation.

These expert witnesses are generated by filling in a form and sending it somewhere. The statements arrive anytime from eight weeks to eight months later and vary in quality from "The evidence is inconclusive" to "He's the guy wot did it." Occasionally they say, "It was actually the 'victim' who stole it". If they arrive before the court case is over you should be congratulated.

My last experience of an expert witness was an attempt to convict a drug dealer of possessing a kilo of Heroin. Being a lowly PC, I virtually promoted myself when I was put in charge of this job and went around telling everyone I met about it. The drug dealers mobile phone was seized and a form submitted asking the Hi-tech Crime Unit to have a look. This was in August 2005.

In February 2006 I thought it was a little odd I had not heard back, so I wrote and received the response, "We have a prioritising system in place. You will be informed when we are ready to receive your item." Staggered to imagine a police department with a prioritising system, I accepted this.

In May 2006 I had prepared the case file and told the court that the mobile phone evidence was "pending". I told the Hi-tech Crime guys that the court date was set for August (it was actually September).

In July I started to panic. I wrote again and phoned. This won me a telling off from the Inspector for "annoying" a Detective. I told the CPS I had no idea if we would have the evidence for trial. I forgot about the phone completely.

In August I received an email - "We are ready to receive your item". I came in on a day off to go to another station where the item was stored, where the property store guy only worked five hours a day and only when I was not on duty. I collected the item, dispatched it, received the result in two weeks: Hoorah! A video clip of the defendant wrapping up white powder in little bags.

Unfortunately this came in DVD form which the courts cannot view, so I had videos made (another week) and forwarded them to court.

September 2006. Court arrived and I even put on my tie to attend. I went straight to the CPS office - "Did you get the video?" "No." It took three phonecalls to establish that the video was in transit between two places and could not arrive until the next day. Never mind, we had the printout from the Hi-tech Crime officer describing the clip.

Unfortunately this expert had forgotten to sign the exhibit label or do a statement linking the video clip seen to the phone. In a fit of genius, the CPS suggested taking out the mobile phone itself and viewing it. We did so and found that the screen was broken (by the Hi-tech Crime Unit). Without this evidence, it seemed probable that the defendant had merely found the Heroin in the street and was keeping it to hand it into the police. As a dealer with previous convictions for possessing such substances, he well knew the dangerous possibilities should he leave the package in the street.

This was when I realised that an "expert" witness is merely someone like me who has had a few hours of dubious training, most likely done via an automated online workbook.


Alas.

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A Lament.

Today spells the end of the era in which I could say to victims of crime: "Your suffering is important to the police force." This is because PC Dave Copperfield's book is out.

Perhaps we should add it to one of the rights you get in custody along with reading the Codes of Practice. There would be less head-banging on the walls and more laughter.


Monday, October 09, 2006

Thank Goodness for Operation Safeguard!

With prisons set to overflow by the end of the week, someone needs to think outside the box, or cell in this case. Options on the cards are:

Move prisoners in secure prisons to "open prisons".
Last week I arrested someone for Failing to Appear in court who told me brightly that he gave up his tenancy of a flat in anticipation that if he had no fixed address when arrested, he would have to be kept in jail (an open prison). This was a good thing.

Move prisoners into police cells.
If we want to kill our offenders off with boredom, this is the way to go.

More community sentences in lieu of prison.
Don't worry, "This is not a soft option." You really will get a good telling off if you refuse to paint the wall assigned to you.

Here is the Bloggs solution to the crisis:
  • Take every case before the Crown Prosecution Service, even ones where the person has admitted it or is obviously guilty. Their exacting charging standards which require ludicrous things like doctor's statements and scenes of crime reports BEFORE charge, will reduce our charging rate to virtually nil, or at least delay it by 6 months while we wait for these things to come through. Some will never come through.
  • Give out Fixed Penalty Notices for a wider range of offences such as Failing to appear in court and Burglary. No one will ever pay them, but that isn't the point.
  • Stop doing Area Searches (driving about looking for the offender following an offence). As this is the only way to ever catch an offender who has not been named, this will massively reduce the number of people convicted. Some police in my area have begun this already, in kindness to the prison system.
  • Rather than initially halving the sentence and increasing it for bad behaviour, it could be divided by three, or four.
  • Sentence no one to more than two years in prison. Actually forget that, they're already doing it.
  • If someone pleads guilty at court, just let them go. They are obviously sorry. Dammit, they're doing that already too.
This is harder than it seemed...

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