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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Thursday, November 01, 2007

Thank goodness, now the Met has been found guilty of breaching Health and Safety in the de Menezes case, we can have some closure. It's all out in the open and there will be no further ambiguity about who is to blame, as evidenced by the following:

"This case thus provides no evidence at all of systematic failure" - Sir Ian Blair

"The failures were systemic" - David Davis

The most sensible reaction has of course been from a Member of Public who witnessed the incident: "But if he had been a terrorist and that train had been allowed to leave the station, I probably wouldn't be here." And if he'd been born a year later, and never travelled to Britain, it wouldn't have happened at all.

Some people are worried that the verdict will make police officers even more risk-averse than we are already. The point these people are missing is that the reason this happened is because of risk-aversion.

As yet, Blandshire Constabulary have issued no guidance about how we should respond in light of this ruling. I expect a new Suicide Bomber policy and online training package any day now. It will go along the lines of officers making risk assessments and ultimately being responsible for any mistakes made by anyone in the Senior Management Team.

On a sidenote, what exactly constitutes a "systematic" failure (or "systemic", for that matter)? Here are some suggestions:
  • No front-line supervisor on duty across three towns.
  • A force repeatedly being unable to resource emergencies.
  • Police officers frequently stuck in the station due to lack of vehicles.
  • Inability to fire unsatisfactory officers.
  • Incompetent officers being declared fit for independent patrol.
  • Court cases persistently being adjourned or even lost because there isn't enough cover to spare police witnesses from work.
Anyone got any evidence of these?

Copyright of PC Bloggs.


Anonymous Inspector Gadget said...

What do you mean you don't have a 'person borne explosive' policy? pah..... in Ruralshire our policy on seeing a suicide bomber is.... run away! Suicide bombers are unlikely to come here to bomb the barley crop. As for the risks you mention, please add an airwaves radio system which regularly goes off-line and a control room staffed by people with less than a months service at night.

01 November, 2007 20:45

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I seem to recall seeing an email about how to deal with 'Kratos people' [can we still call them that]? Amongst the other helpful and useful tips we were instructed if unlucky enough to see one, to move members of the public away without causing alarm or alerting them [i'e kratos person]. The email didn't actually tell us HOW to do this though!

01 November, 2007 21:07

Anonymous MetPlod said...

ERIONALDO DA SILVA, MENEZES FAMILY FRIEND, said in response to the verdict...... Keeerching!

01 November, 2007 21:34

Anonymous Metplod said...

HARRIET WISTRICH, MENEZES FAMILY SOLICITOR said in response to the verdict...... Keeerching!

01 November, 2007 21:35

Anonymous Metplod said...

CONFUSED MET POLICE OFFICER, wondering how to stop a suicide bomber armed with a 2' aluminium stick and some harsh language said in response to the verdict... does this mean we get rid of Blair? yay!

01 November, 2007 21:40

Anonymous athemax said...

"But if he had been a terrorist and that train had been allowed to leave the station, I probably wouldn't be here."
Yes but he wasn't a terrorist was he?
He was an innocent bystander killed as a result of a series of cockups.
Had he been allowed to get on the train the aforementioned MOP would still be here.
The if he was a terrorist argument is a flawed one, by that logic the officers concerned could have randomly shot commuters or each other and you would still be able to claim that it was justified on the grounds that they could have been terorists

01 November, 2007 22:48

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is great to know many Solicitors/barrister and the jury have had weeks to contemplate what went wrong - and pass judgement.
Perhaps "m'learned friends" will be on hand 24hrs a day 7 days a week to give invaluable assistance in split second decisions in "operations and communications rooms" up and down the country.
Mmmm thought not.
This verdict will cost us all dearly in the long run - I forsee even more forms to complete !!!!

Hamish Macbeth

02 November, 2007 01:15

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Notellin said:

Good post Blogsy :-)

From our training day i understand our Force Policy is to scatter ourselves over wide area, normally it little pieces whilst the Gaffers try and come up with a plan on the day.

Grim i know but it does appear that our policy is that we have no policy, apparently.

Of course it may be that we have been deemed as not needing to know what the Policy is for "security reasons" and only those who need to know erm know. This does not include anyone at least Inspectors or below and if our past plans are anything to go by it also wont include anyone who doesnt work 9-5 monday to friday or in fact anyone actually likely to encounter such an incident.

The plan has been christened the "holding action" by the troops whereby we buy someone somewhere valuable time with out noble sacrifice.

You may guess that i have some lack of confidence and therefore Police Dark Humour Sarcasm issues with this.

As for you list well i got to say i agree with them all and after last night this one has particular resonance:

Incompetent officers being declared fit for independent patrol

The latest batch of baby blues really worry me.

However with:

Inability to fire unsatisfactory officers.

Although fine in principle in practice I would have to disagree as its noble intent would not survive. The gaffers run rough shod over all the rules already and this would just give them more leverage to use against Officers and they DONT need anymore.

Its a fact that the higher they get the more morals are surgicaly removed (notable exceptions IG) and the only protection for your job, wage, house, living , kids, family etc is the fact that its hard to fire bobbies. In our force we have fine tradition of finding them the most boring but least trouble causing potential posts for them, posts that just have to be filled anyway, It frees up a competent officer for front line work and keeps the hold system smooth.

The alternative would see bobbies getting binned and their lives ruined for not meeting their quota of criminalising juveniles for minor offences or not issuing tickets when a good old fashioned lecture would be more appropriate. Making it easier to get rid of bobbies is management tool they would be just salivating to use.

I reckon that if they cant figure out if bobby is any good in their first two years when, particularly these days, its easy to get rid then its tough. Its also a good incentive for keeping up standards for baby blues as mentioned above.

02 November, 2007 02:01

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Notellin Said:

Bloggsy their be clever word play at hand here with the whole systemic, systematic semantics thing.

"The failures were systemic" - David Davis

Well this here politico was saying systemic meaning the whole of them, Job lot, MPS everything.

"This case thus provides no evidence at all of systematic failure" - Sir Ian Blair

Well this here other Polictico (in disguise / uniform) is using the word systematic meaning that the system for this incident was not at fault. He however is careful not to try an suggest that the whole MPS (management) isn't crap as he cant defend that. Basically he is deflecting attention from the whole thing to just this one incident and then denying that as well.

Distract (from the real issue)
Deflect (blame)
Defend (your deflection whilst they are distracted)

I do wonder what happened to the time when our leaders actually took responsibility for things. I am sure i remember people actually resigning for things once upon a time on principle if nothing else. These days it doesn't matter how far they get caught with their hand stuck in the cookie jar they just don't do the decent thing.

If the court didn't find fault with any of the senior types individually but the MPS as a whole then the only logical solution and decent thing to do is that the person responsible for the whole lot should symbolically fall on their sword for the benefit of the whole MPS , the Police in general and dare i say it the country. Of course such selfless action is out of fashion these days.

Sir Ian Blair after all is a modern chap who wouldn't dare think about taking responsibility for his organisation and putting others before himself. Cant blame him really non of his other Policto role models in recent times have either.

02 November, 2007 02:31

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: lack of vehicles - have you got 2 feet and a top hat?

02 November, 2007 03:22

Blogger PC Bloggs said...

Anon, I do have a little round bowler hat... but I haven't yet figured out how to use it to fly to jobs or transport prisoners.

Sadly our area is more than quarter of a mile square and with just the three of us on most days... well, we COULD all walk about all day as long as all the emergencies happened next to the nick or in sync with the bus timetable!

I walked to the sandwich shop recently, does that count?

02 November, 2007 10:20

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Because all sides have "lawyered up" after two and a half years we still dont know what really happend. Was it just "one of those things" that Ken Livingstone was saying this morning or was it a deliberate "if in doubt, take them out" kratos policy. Mistakes do happen but we should always evaluate why they do and not try and sweep it under the carpet which I would suggest is what the Met are doing. However Team JCDM are persisting in trying to pin a murder on individual officers when there clearly wasnt one. (ie. no murder - unlawful killing IMHO) No one comes out smelling of Roses...

02 November, 2007 11:38

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Notellin said:

Maybe Sir Ian could take some of heat of the poor bobbies by resigning.

Maybe ill win the lottery too or bessie the pig will discover a love of aviation.

02 November, 2007 13:01

Blogger alanorei said...

Just a few impressions...

Good to see my old mate and adversary athemax from Mr Chalk's blog.

I think I cautiously agree with your comment.

That said, two things worry me:

1. The vexing question of how to spot an actual suicide bomber, or equivalent, from the multitude of possibilities that must be visible in the capital and other major towns/cities on a daily basis, i.e. how does law enforcement get the balance between being damned if you do and damned if you don't?

(Mayor Ken is convinced that Sir Ian is the right man for the job, according to the Today interview this morning. Others may/may not feel reassured.)

2. The list of PC Bloggs's concerns, given that I am a vulnerable MOP who needs protecting - though the PC and PCSO responsible for our patch seem to have the situation under control. (We are a low-crime area fortunately, apart from a recent major drug bust elsewhere in the town.)

However, the Car Wars response team from Greater Manchester Police was doing a sterling job in last night's BBC1 episode.

Jerome Caminada would have been justifiably proud.

I can't help still being anxious about our lad at university in London, though.

02 November, 2007 13:04

Anonymous athemax said...

I've been away Alan and I've noticed that Mr Chalk has given up blogging for now more's the pity.
I have no idea how to tell the difference between a real suicide bomber and an electrician on his way to work, it's not as obvious as one might think it seems.

I remember seeing it on the news at the times and thinking to myself that I hope they actually have shot a real terrorist otherwise there will be a major fandango about it. I take no pleasure in being proved right.

Personally I'm convinced that it's a tragic accident caused by a mixture of poorly defined policy, bad command decisions from start to finish and armed psyched up cops caught up in what they believed (honestly if wrongly) to be a life or death situation.
A recipe for disaster really, It's amazing only one person got killed.
That said an innocent man was killed and his family have every right in the world to feel angry and aggrieved, they and their lost son are the true victims of this tragedy not the guy who pulled the trigger, not his supervisors and certainly not Sir Ian Blair.
They have every right to compensation just as much as the families of the 52 innocents killed on 7/7 have. Nor can they be blamed for making accusations for a cover-up, it certainly looks that way to me though being the cynic I am I suspect it's motivated more by a desire to protect politicians, senior officers and Gov't policy rather than the lowly erk who pulled the trigger.
I do think Sir Ian Blair should do the decent thing and fall on his sword, if we accept that the actual shooter made a tragic mistake then the principle of the buck stops here should apply.

Hamish Macbeth
It is great to know many Solicitors/barrister and the jury have had weeks to contemplate what went wrong - and pass judgement.

Isn't this what they're supposed to do ? or do you think the police should be exempt from having to justify any of their actions?

02 November, 2007 16:23

Blogger alanorei said...

Hi athemax,

Again, agreed.

DM readers are voting 60-40 in favour of Sir Ian's resignation.

No doubt the media pressure will continue.

Sir Ian gave his views on policing London here.

5 days before 7/7 atrocity.

He appears to be still unrepentant.

As indicated, the issue is out of my depth.

Concerning Michael, our trust is here (verse 7).

Remoteness of probability isn't good enough.

02 November, 2007 17:57

Blogger alanorei said...

OT but our thoughts and prayers must be with DC Corbett and her family at this time.

02 November, 2007 19:34

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aw, Pffft. Swop the chap with the unfortunate name of Blair for someone else for target practice? Honsetly, some of the commenter's are so Monty Python.

Will it really matter who's in the post? What a load of quasi-intellectual cobblers. No. Really. Let the chap complete his term, move onwards and upwards to somewhere else unelected and unheard, where all he's achieved in his lifetime boils down a piccy on a wall somewhere, and he makes his money in his immediate circle and orf to parish council fame eternal,
into the dizzying heights the fame of newspaper notoriety. Look, grab what you can for you and yours. Or you.

Won't be long.....

Bless 'is cotton socks.

02 November, 2007 20:41

Anonymous Anonymous said...

""Hamish Macbeth
It is great to know many Solicitors/barrister and the jury have had weeks to contemplate what went wrong - and pass judgement.

Isn't this what they're supposed to do ? or do you think the police should be exempt from having to justify any of their actions?"

No - the Police are not above the law.
But I'd like to see barrister s and solicitors having to make their decision in seconds - and then suffer the indignation of others with the benefit of hindsight criticise them repeatedly over the course of many days.

Hamish Macbeth

03 November, 2007 01:07

Blogger totallyun-pc said...

I wonder if the officers on the ground were as confused as Cressida Dick was about what she actually said and what she actually thought?

That must have been one piss poor briefing, if when she uttered the words "stop him", the officers conjured up the meaning from thin air to shoot him in the cranial vacuum to ensure immediate death so that no device could be triggered... just a thaught... but they may have covered that instruction in the briefeng? do you think? maybe?....

but no it appears not. Faced with what we all now know, regardless of the outcome, was what everybody was convinced was a suicide bomber on his way to kill and maim... she wanted him maybe possibly stopped and spoken too? ahhh I see... those bloody firearms monkeys weren't listening again!

03 November, 2007 09:46

Anonymous Anonymous said...


TUPC, you speak as one who knows .. but at the first opportunity they granted you your real career ambition of being able to scurry behind a custody desk to fill your time and to cower until retirement

Any genuine police out there?

03 November, 2007 13:23

Blogger Metcountymounty said...

Is that you Cuddles?

03 November, 2007 14:03

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah. PC Pipsqueak - it seems that this blog's author is protecting you from posts that may hurt your feelings and delicate disposition.

Complain to her did you?

Hiding behind a womens' skirts Just about sums you up.

04 November, 2007 17:23

Blogger Metcountymounty said...

I didn't get to read your last one unfortunately Cuddles, I was eating a rather delicious roast chicken. Good to see you're on top form though, please keep it up!

04 November, 2007 20:14

Blogger PC Bloggs said...

Anon, actually it was the language. Plus it's my blog and I'll print what I like!

04 November, 2007 20:40

Anonymous Anonymous said...

".. Anon, actually it was the language. Plus it's my blog and I'll print what I like!.."

You forgot to say: "innit"

By the way, how are the book sales coming along?

04 November, 2007 21:29

Blogger totallyun-pc said...

hey, Anon... I haven't done custody for over a year.... don't you listen/read proper like?

If it needed to defend my carrer in anyway... it certainly wouldn't be to you! is the office quiet today? all the girls stopped picking on you yet?

04 November, 2007 21:48

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Metcountymounty - glad to hear you enjoyed your roast chicken mate ...

..I do remember reading your comments on these boards before about how good a cook your boyfriend was.

04 November, 2007 21:49

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fact that you feel the need to post here and mention it, very much means that you feel the need to defend your (sorry "you're" ) career

Why would someone as pretentious and as insecure as you,respond in the first place?

"TUPC" You are a living caricature... reminiscent of the portentous plodding and pompous fools that they always portrayed as typical police sergeants back in those black and white Ealing comedy films. Or Gilbert and Sullivan come to that.

Great hulking, plodding,common oafs who (to great comic affect)used to try to ape their betters and attempt to use posh vocabulary and ways of speaking that were obviously beyond them in order to appear to be more than they were.

Newsflash: you are not a crack police marksman who deals every day in life and death decisions... whatever circuitous path you followed to get there these past 17 years, you settled into your natural niche: you are a custody officer who failed to get into catering college. Remember?

04 November, 2007 21:55

Blogger totallyun-pc said...

anon..ha ha.... you left this on my site... all that typing for naught, is that it? you have a cut and paste perversion?

Almost as much feverish exitement as spotting typing errors isn't it? we are sooooo not worthy... how claver you are....!(sic)

04 November, 2007 22:22

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Careful there custard officer.

People might think that I was getting to you.

04 November, 2007 23:18

Blogger thinblueline said...

Im still waiting for the act section and paragraph of the ACTUAL LAW that was broken.....

05 November, 2007 12:03

Blogger totallyun-pc said...

yeah... I bet thats exactly what they are thinking....

05 November, 2007 14:27

Anonymous Anonymous said...

People, please! can't we keep the sniping off here please? It's a little disappointing to say the least. A few of you have some history here, huh?
Bloggsy - re: my top hat etc comment - apologies. I was having an "In my day you had to walk for 27 years before you even got a Basic car permit" moment. I'm alright now (I think).

05 November, 2007 14:36

Blogger PC Bloggs said...

It's OK Anon, I was having one of my "I'm a woman so can't walk more than a metre without getting out of breath" moments... I'm all right now too. No wait, I'd better sit down.

05 November, 2007 19:11

Blogger Drugsblogger said...

There are number of things going on here from a - ahem, dare I say it, civilian point of view.

1. Blair (Sir I) wanted to introduce reforms on equality and so on - very politically correct, which went down like a lead balloon in many ranks of the Met. Remember the whispering campaign in his early months?
2. As a result of all the in-fighting I wonder if the collective eye was taken off the ball with regard to procedures, intelligence gathering and communications which might have resulted in a less of an own-goal concerning Di Menezes? And please don't forget that we, the public as a whole do hold the police in high regard and are grateful for the heroism which got the second lot of bombers bang to rights. This is a clandestine war, democracy against terrorism and sometimes, horribly, innocents are killed. Thus it ever was. I hate the way the police are being vilified over the awful mistake that wes Di Menezes by the media when they should be getting the gongs for other succesful ops. Stuff happens.

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15 April, 2009 09:51


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