It's SOOOOCAP confusing!
For those of you who are unaware of this surreptitious little act, the government snuck it in last year without much of a fanfare. This was appropriate as all it really did was radically overhaul police powers to arrest, search and enter people and premises, and pave the way for a civilianised police force which will gradually dissolve back into one similar to what we have now.
This might be a bit of a technical post, but I feel it is important. If you are a non-police reader, please flit to the end where I have composed a little ditty, just for you.
The only bits of SOCAP I have noticed are:
While these have been around since one of other of the Police Reforms Acts (try 2002 but I'm just a PC so you can't expect me to know the law), the last year has seen a spate of them. PCSOs should be useful for patrolling under-age drinking hotspots, stopping unroadworthy vehicles, guarding scenes and cordons and carrying out high visibility patrol (walking about) following major crimes. Currently in Blandmore they only do the first and last, however they are also adept at talking for many minutes on the radio and summoning police officers to their aid because they have no legal training.
Notably, every arrest I make now has to be justified, whereas before I could do it for happies. This should reduce the number of "disproportionate" arrests and will therefore encourage the public to think that when we do make an arrest, it is a jolly good one. In Blandmore this has meant that we now arrest for anything and everything and all the prisoners are rejected in custody because three of our five custody sergeants disagree on what the new law means. The other two are unaware that there is a new law.
It used to be simple. If I could arrest someone for something, I was nearly always allowed to bosh down their door to do so. Now I have to stop and ask myself whether the offence is triable in Crown Court. If it is, I can bosh away. If not, I must sing a serenade and hope they come out on their own. The best part about this change is that when I went to training school they did not really bother to teach us what offences were triable in Crown Court or not. What a great opportunity for some self-development.
Process of Prisoners
Whereas before I used to only take fingerprints and DNA from criminals who had been charged, now I take it from everyone. This means that the police can detect some rapes and murders from the 1970s and say things like: "We now hold the DNA of xxx million people. Muhahahaha." I have yet to detect a murder from the 1970s by arresting someone for common assault, but that doesn't mean I can't keep trying.
We can now take imprints of people's shoes by force. This is fabulous, as I can forcibly remove Charlene Burglar's Reebok Classics and create a beautiful indent of them on a piece of paper. I can then take the paper to expert Scenes of Crime Officers who look on a database of shoeprints and announce the remarkable news that "This came from a Reebok Classic". Seriously.
Abolition of Royal Parks Constabulary
This has had no effect on Blandmore or me, but I just think it's sad.
The point of all the above is that a third of the force has no idea that anything has changed, a third is struggling to comply with dozens of new regulations, and the final third, like me, is so confused that we have just stopped arresting people altogether.
Somebody help us, please!
Copyright of PC Bloggs.
PS Did you really think I would write a little ditty?