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.

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

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Blackberry Picking

Inspector Gadget has reminded me of a piece of local police incompetence and I feel it my duty to pass it on to my loyal readers.

It may amaze you to know that Blandshire Constabulary invested in some Blackberries a few years back. I occasionally come across a colleague who received one of the "Pilot" Blackberries and am always flabbergasted to see them studiously logging in and checking emails on their days off. The one advantage of being able to do this is to discover when your court cases have been cancelled, so you can take the day off and go in the next day claiming you had no idea the case had been cancelled and you spent eight hours sitting in the waiting room. If they bother to audit your inbox to find out that you read the email, you can just claim that the Blackberry crashed.

It may further boggle and bamboozle your mind to hear that Blandshire did not buy state-of-the-art, reliable, versatile, expensive pieces of equipment. This would have been pointless, as even though there would be budgetary savings from not having to replace them in two years, within two years you can bet the superintendent who dreamt up the scheme will have been seconded to the Met and the one who has taken over will think they are a waste of time and scrap them.

The result of this economy is that the Blackberries appear to have a slight downside. Namely that if the battery goes flat while you are logged into your email, you lose all the current emails on the screen. No, you don't just have to log in again at work, nor do you make a quick phone-call to IT Services to sort the problem. They are just gone. Forever.

Unripe blackberries: unpalatable, but free.

You might think there's a simple solution - just don't ever let the battery go flat, ie turn the thing off when you're not using it. WRONG! These genius pieces of equipment CANNOT BE TURNED OFF. They are on, whirring away, sucking power from their lifeline, the entire time.

My colleagues in possession of these delicate creatures have learned to time their use with infinite precision, judging just when to unplug the charger and rush away with a good few hours of email-checking time, and when to drop everything and run home to plug it back in.

As a result of this endearing foible, I have developed a master-plan: whenever I take charge of a particularly irritating, futile or unpleasant crime report, I will log into the crime report system on one of these Blackberries, open said crime report and wait for the battery to run down and expunge it for good. Not only will I never again have to arrest Melinda Hodge for Harassment, but it won't do Blandmore's crime figures any harm either.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Copyright of PC Bloggs.


Blogger Paradise Driver said...

Ah! "Creative Crime Stopping". I love it. :)

09 September, 2007 22:25

Anonymous Twining said...

Bloggs, thank you for re-instating my link....Logging into emails on days off is a recipe for disaster! So, tell us again how crimes can be expunged please...Hmm battery runs out, crime is deleted! What will the HMIC make of that I wonder?

10 September, 2007 09:26

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's a very good reason why these devices are collectively known as "palm pilots".

10 September, 2007 09:50

Blogger alanorei said...

I guess these devices are or will be issued to the police as standard kit, so whatever you do with them, or however you regard them, make sure that they are always secured against loss or theft.

I say this because I guess any device that is 'mislaid' will come out of your salary.

Thieves are getting bolder in this part of the country (noth east England) and no doubt this is true nationwide.

On Saturday last, thieves climbed an eight-foot wall into the 'secure' compound at South Bank Police office (Middlesbrough) and nicked four expensive mountain bikes - used by PCs and PCSOs for community patrols (back to skateboards, then, sadly, at least temporarily).

You couldn't fit those in your palm, though the police have admitted that the bikes were not chained up.


Just goes to show, you can't really afford to drop your guard (or your Blackberry) for an instant these days.

Back in the 1950s, US detective Dick Tracey (Warren Beatty starred in the film) and his colleagues used 2-way wrist radios. Obviously, these weren't as versatile as today's communication/recording devices but they did the job.

The crooks got caught and sent down (or gunned down), the law-abiding public had great confidence in the police and (in the comic strip) DT was hardly ever seen seated at a desk filling in forms.

That must have been 'the golden age' of policing.

10 September, 2007 14:42

Anonymous Biggidy Bong said...

Aaah, Inspector Flame makes a welcome return to policing.

11 September, 2007 07:48

Anonymous Anonymous said...

West Yorkshire uses the Blackberry system.. Basically, most people have them for show.. they were designed to help PC's on the street, pulling up criminal pictures etc...
But now they stay in draws, as you rightly pointed out, they bought the bottom of the barrel.. i didn't think they make black and white screens (maybe special order!)
If DHL can tell you your package has been delivered, Hilary blinds can measure up, take payment and order from a palm pilot and the local comedy club uses such technology.. why are the police the last to use it correctly or have the kit to do it correctly.
How much time would be saved by having a working unit, that can scan a fingerprint, access a log/crime report, look up the nominal your talking to or send a message whilst your out of the office? .. Oh sorry, that cost money up front!

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