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)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Stealth Tax-Dodging

Hamilton saying he is going to live in Switzerland to avoid media attention would be like me claiming I'm going to the Met becasue there's less paperwork.

He's doing it for the dosh, naturally.

For anyone who's interested, Met officers get a healthy weighting for working in London, despite the fact that a large number don't actually live in London at all, and get free travel into it.

However, I am also led to believe that there is actually less paperwork too in the Met. This could of course be a rumour put about to entice officers across the nation to move to the Capital. I am told that Domestic Violence officers in the Met actually ATTEND DOMESTICS! And Detectives do house searches! Can anyone confirm or deny these rumours?

I am shocked that the most prestigious of our nation's police forces should have highly trained officers carrying out these menial tasks. Who on earth does all the risk-assessing and arse-covering?

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Monday, October 29, 2007

Police murder spree:

After I dramatically broke the news last month that police had malevolently murdered an old woman in her home, you would think police forces would buck up their ideas.

But no, this week alone I read of two further police murders. They were not reported as "murders" as such, nonetheless, can it just be a coincidence that the police were involved with the following people prior to their unexpected ends?

One man was terrified into running onto a motorway where he was killed, and a woman has died following reporting a rape*. On the face of it, police have not caused these incidents. In the first case, the guy was not being chased when he got hit by a van and in the second, someone had already been arrested and charged with rape. It is almost as if we are expected to believe that the police deal with the more vulnerable members of our society, who are more likely than others to come to untimely ends in this way.

However, I am sure that by spending enough money and dredging up enough old disciplinary records, we will find out that police officers are responsible for both deaths.

* For my feminist readers, I am interested by this use of the word "Claim". Indeed, I will be following the outcome of this case with interest, in order that I may publish research on whether committing suicide following your rape allegation makes you more or less credible.

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Sunday, October 28, 2007

But I loves him!

Victims of domestic violence are often criticised for staying with their partners. The police are then criticised for bringing prosecutions where the victim is unlikely to attend court and unlikely to be summoned against their will (for example where the assault is minor). If they don't bring these prosecutions, they are criticised.

It is common knowledge that most police officers joined the force thinking everyone would be happy and smiling with them and that no one would ever criticise anything they did. Therefore to avoid the horror of upsetting people, they weave a web of lies and deception to play down the seriousness of the domestics they attend. It is obviously in the police officer's interests to ensure that all victims they visit get murdered later on.

To this end, an array of auditing and checking mechanisms is in place to save the officer from their destructive desires. Any domestic I attend will mean a four page questionnaire. The first "check" occurs when I ask the victim to sign it, to confirm I didn't take it away and make up the answers.

Next my sergeant checks and signs it.

Now the form is split in two directions. The "virtual" version (which is where the same information was recorded on the Crime Management System in the first place), goes one way and the paper copy another.

In the Domestic Violence Unit, the paper version is checked by a civilian. Any blanks, obvious lies or failures and it will be sent back to the officer.

Next the civilian or pregnant officer carries out a telephone follow-up. This is a five page questionnaire with many more questions. Depending on the outcome, it goes into one of three different colour folders.

Meanwhile, the virtual version is at the Crime Desk being checked by the Investigation Supervisor. This is a PC who can check the work of patrol sergeants and override it.

Before long, a Scrutineer will have glanced over the virtual version. This time it's a civilian who monitors all crime reports to make sure we aren't missing the chance to arrest someone or solve a crime.

The supervisors of both DVU and the Crime Desk then check the work of the civilians and constables to make sure it is up to standard.

Several months later, an Auditor at Headquarters (I have no idea if this is a civilian or police officer or both) will check everything that has gone before.

All of this checking and re-checking is done whether or not there has been any previous problem with the original officer's work. Whether or not they have ever been accused of lying or laziness. Whether or not they have ever made a single mistake. And it's all in place to prevent victims of Domestic Violence from dying at the hands of their partner.

Which it doesn't.

Victims of Domestic Violence stay with their partners because it's DOMESTIC violence. That's what the word means. No amount of auditing and checking is going to stop that happening. Bureaucracy isn't the way to save someone who won't save themselves.

The day they do want saving, we'll be there. If we aren't too busy filling in the questionnaire at someone else's house.

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Friday, October 26, 2007

The Unreal Criminals

As a reader has kindly pointed out, I spend most of my time dealing not with The Mob, but the mob.




The "real" mob.







In the Twenty-First Century, there are now more ways than ever to become a criminal. Whereas a 'criminal record' used to be the sacred preserve of those who actually stole, damaged things, hurt people or used illegal drugs, you can now become a crook by just carrying out some everyday activities:

In this way the police nowadays can crack down on criminal behaviour before it actually becomes criminal. I therefore support any new law that makes something illegal.

One of the reasons for the successful criminalisation of the bulk of society is the National Crime Recording Standards. I go on about these from time to time, so at the risk of boring my regular readers, these are a set of rules that dictate how and when the police must record and detect crime. Under these rules, as soon as someone phones the police to report some kind of problem, a crime report is recorded and someone will then have to be held accountable for it. You will hear a lot of bloggers bemoaning this fact, because it puts pressure on front-line officers to make arrests and prosecute people in order to "clear up" the crime reports that have been created.

I think it is time that front-line officers recognised the good done by the NCRS. We used to have to accept that there was a small group of people who would constantly call the police without so much as the mention of a criminal offence. Whereas now, we can now dissuade EVERYONE from calling the police with the threat that if they do, there is a good chance they will come out of it with a criminal record. I'm sure THAT will stop them.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Me and the Mob

It isn't often I get to arrest Real Criminals, like James J Bulger. In fact, I am not sure I have ever actually arrested a Real Criminal at all.

Real Criminals can be identified by the following signs:
  • They have attractive children at good schools.
  • They are polite and cooperative with the police.
  • You won't ever attend a "domestic" at their house. That's not because they don't have them.
  • They never "kick off" when arrested.
  • If an incident is reported involving them, front-line response officers like me won't even be told about it.
  • They always have an alibi.
  • If they are going to run, you'll need a passport, fake identity, hidden surveillance and a crack international squad to find them again.
  • They don't "threaten" people. If they're going to do it, there won't be a warning.
As you will have gathered, my day-to-day work has absolutely nothing to do with Real Criminals. I can safely say that I have never once disrupted their activities, and they have never once disrupted mine.

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Monday, October 22, 2007

In Search of Our Four Fathers

It appears that for about £100 you can now send off your DNA to trace your ancestry.

I do wonder sometimes why it therefore costs Blandshire Constabulary up to £2000 to send off a DNA swab for comparison against one collected at a crime scene. I am accustomed to hearing from Scenes of Crime Officers (SOCO) the rebuff, "too expensive", when I present them with the missing link in my flawless investigation and ask them to send my suspect to prison please.

When SOCO do agree to analyse my samples, therefore, I am often girlishly thrilled. Sometimes I even throw my hair about, and jump up and down on my cute little toesies. Never more so than when the results actually come back positive. For anyone who doesn't know how this process works, it's something like this:
  • SOCO visit a burglary/robbery and collect an amorphous substance from a wall/door/item of clothing.
  • The amorphous substance is analysed for DNA.
  • If a full DNA profile is obtained, it can then be sent for comparison against the national database. This has the DNA of anyone who's been arrested, plus other samples from other crime scenes that haven't been identified yet.
  • If there's a match, I receive instructions to arrest the suspect (by now it is 2 months later, unless it's a murder in which case it miraculously happens in 2 hours).
  • Once arrested, I take more DNA from the suspect which goes back off to the lab for comparison with the sample collected from the crime scene. Yes, this does mean doing the very expensive test TWICE, just so no one can argue that the sample we compared the first time belonged to someone who used the defendant's name when they were arrested. Fair enough I suppose.
  • All of which means that it will be about 4 months to charge someone with an offence based on DNA.
Surprisingly, I have arrested a fair few burglars who accidentally bled at their crime scenes. In fact, I once arrested a guy who had bled whilst committing three different crimes (years apart) and was identified from his DNA on each occasion. You'd think he'd learn to take bandages with him.

It never stopped him denying he did it, mind you. Right now, the science-sceptics will not convict anyone based SOLELY on DNA evidence. They make you dance through ridiculous circles like proving your suspect wasn't elsewhere on the night in question, or has an identical twin. This kind of nit-picking undermines our glorious legal system and I welcome the day we can convict on the basis that if the person has been arrested before, they must be guilty this time too.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Beach Front

It's official. There is No Problem.

According to an online poll *, a staggering 36% of people are happy with the service they are receiving from the police.** This massive percentage is a boon to many forces in the wake of the numerous disasters of the annual Police Performance Assessments, which saw some forces sliding down the table from nearly top to nearly bottom.

Since you asked, Blandshire has done fine thank you very much. And anyway it's not our fault.

The government is responding to the pleas of floundering forces by cutting their budgets for the next few years. Thank goodness.

As for me, I'm off to the beach for a dirty weekend. Which means that for the first time in the history of this blog, it will neither be updated or checked for five days. Roll on, my anonymous friends.

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* Actual percentage may vary by the minute.
** Warning: statistics can be misleading and pointless.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Strrrrrrike!

Why is that however many strikes there are among crucial workers in this country, we know the strike will come to an end at some point? It seems that once the relevant strikers have had a couple of weeks off, they are happy to come back to work for less than they originally demanded.

I sometimes wonder what it would be like to strike. Would I go and stand on a picket line somewhere, or just click onto lastminute.com? Police officers "can't" strike, whatever that is supposed to mean, so the biggest threat we can offer is to "work-to-rule", whatever THAT is supposed to mean.

According to the Federation, we police do a lot of things voluntarily at the moment, such as carrying firearms and riot shields, and driving over the speed limit (ie all the things that most of us joined up for). Working to rule means not doing anything that we don't have to (a policy by which I have survived a good few years in the police so far). Only joking.

Here are some things I currently do voluntarily:
  • Arrive half an hour early for work so the shift before me can go off on time.
  • Drive in my own car to court.
  • Attend incidents that force policy says other departments should be attending.
  • Go out single-crewed on a Friday night because there aren't enough of us.
  • Receive telephone calls from the Duties or Finance departments, or the CPS, when I'm at home, without claiming four hours overtime for them.
  • Use my own pen to sign things.
  • Buy my own boots.
  • Get prisoners in early for their bail just so we can count the detections towards this week's target.
  • Check my email.
Sadly I don't think the public would notice if I stopped doing those things. Nor do I think they'd notice if we stopped carrying guns and speeding.

They might notice if we stopped coming out to arrest their children for throwing meringues at each other, or refused to charge their ex-partner with harassment for sending two text messages calling them a meanie. The bosses might notice that too.

Just on the subject of "can't" strike: we most certainly can - in a literal sense anyway. I wonder what they'd do if we all just didn't come into work one day. Probably nothing.

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Patience please...

Have you ever called the police and they never came?
Yes
No
Frequently*
They did come but much later than I had hoped

I recently attended a burglary-in-progress at a police officer's house. Of course we all broke every traffic law we could think of on the way once we realised who lived there. On arrival the first words out of her mouth were,

"It bloody took you long enough."

Not exactly how I expected to be greeted by a colleague.

She had a point though. For those of you who have never dialled 999 and asked for someone to come and turn your iron off, here is how it works when you do:
  • You get through to the joint emergency services operator who will ask which service you want (ie police, fire, ambulance, coastguard, meals on wheels etc).
  • They will put you through, but you will have to wait on the line while they relay your phone number across. You might think this would be electronically transmitted immediately. You might well think this.
  • You get through to a call-taker. THIS IS NOT A POLICE OFFICER. He or she will try to grasp why you have called and start recording it into a typed log. Once some basic details are typed in, if they deem your call an emergency, the call-taker can "ping" it across to the control room. By now it will be about one minute since you dialled.
  • A controller reads the log. They CAN dispatch a police officer now, but in all probability there are some checks they need to do first, such as whether your number or address has called the police before and the outcome. They will do police national computer checks on any names you give them. All of this will take 3-5 minutes.
  • Now they will "grade" your call. Which means decide whether police will go with blue lights on, without, or quite frankly whether we'll bother at all.
  • If you get the top grading, they will search for a resource. This can take the form of an electronic search for units who have booked themselves "available". They can also use the in-car radio sets to track the nearest unit (if the driver's turned it on and it's working - unlikely). Usually, they will call up on the air asking for a unit to volunteer.
  • After a suitable pause to see if anyone else is going to volunteer, someone will. They then set off.
  • By now it is 8-10 minutes since you called. How long you wait from this point depends on how close you were to the available police officer.
If you aren't graded with top priority, you will sink to the unlucky status of being able to wait, which means you wait. You will become no more important that the statement I desperately need for the guy I have on bail, or the arrest I really have to make before the offender flees the country or kills someone. In Blandmore at present, this will mean a fairly long wait, because I have a lot of people on bail and there are a lot of people out there I should be arresting.

I sometimes wonder if Amazon.co.uk uses the same call-taking system when you place an order for a book. Although if you haven't received the book you are waiting for, there might be another reason.

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* If you have answered "Frequently" to the above poll, please stop calling us.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Post Secret

I have just discovered this blog. Possibly a bit belatedly as it seems to be doing rather well without my patronage - believe it or not.

I hope they don't mind me reproducing a post here, but this one reminded me of my readers (the bit below is part of the post):
















-----Email Message-----
Sent: Sunday, October 07, 2007 6:28 PM

Subject: rape secret

I often think about what I would say in the trial that never happened for the rape that did.



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Thursday, October 11, 2007

By Gordon!

Our new Prime Minister is a GENIUS!

Apart from single-handedly coming up with some super tax reforms, this is also the man who gave us "hand-held computers" to keep the police on the streets. This brand new concept will revolutionise the work we do.

Instead of having to come back to the police station to fill in forms - which apparently we do now - we can park up in a quiet location and fill out the forms at the roadside. This will obviously cause us to attend far more incidents and capture a lot more criminals. What's more, there will be no need to get rid of any of the forms, because we will be able to fill them out as we walk or drive along.

I am looking forwards to the chance to claim my detections from the roadside and expect to see my performance figures shoot up as a result.

What a relief that Gordon Brown is there to tell us police how to spend our money and what new technology we need to do our jobs. Perhaps in future he can hold my Chief Constable's hand as he climbs into his bath, and scrub his back while he's in there.

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Carly is Mad

Carly Kerson is Mad. She is a bipolar schizophrenic paranoid delusional... look - she's MAD.

As Inspector Gadget will tell you, it is the police's job to look after Carly. It is our job to ferry her to and from mental institutes, to stand at the doors of said institutes to bounce her back in when she escapes. To scour the streets and rivers for her when we don't get to the doors in time. To bind her arms and legs and watch her constantly for twelve hours in the cells when she has one of her "episodes".

In fact, we police need to buck up our ideas. Do you know that there are custody sergeants up and down the country who refuse to have Carly in the cells? Who actually seem to think that being MAD is not a crime! Who suggest that if she is undergoing treatment in a psychiatric unit for people who are dangerous to themselves or others, that unit should take some responsibility for her welfare.

The police have powers to detain someone who is mentally ill, for their own or others' safety, and take them somewhere to be mentally assessed. In practice, the process works as follows:
  1. PC Bloggs identifies Carly Kerson eating toilet paper at the side of the road.
  2. PC Bloggs removes Carly to hospital.
  3. It's the wrong hospital. Not in the right postcode, you see. PC Bloggs takes her to the next hospital.
  4. This hospital only treats juveniles. And anyway the first hospital is always trying to spam their loonies off on the second one and they have Had Enough. PC Bloggs takes Carly back to the first hospital and refuses to leave.
  5. PC Bloggs must remain with the lunatic. There are only mental health nurses, padded cells and syringes of sedatives available, none of which hold a candle to a poorly-trained, tired and narky policewoman as a method of restraint.
  6. Seven hours later, Carly is sectioned.
  7. Twenty-eight days later, she has been miraculously cured and is released.
  8. Twenty-nine days later, PC Bloggs identifies Carly Kerson eating toilet paper at the side of the road.
And that's if the hospital bother to shut or lock the doors for the twenty-eight days Carly is there.

Carly Kerson is an intelligent woman. She has A-levels. She has a family that once loved her but now have no idea what to do with her. Carly is also extremely ill and maybe always will be. She deserves more than the police holding her arms and legs to the tarmac until she is screaming and terrified. She deserves more than a one-bedroom flat in a block of other ill people, with a "carer" whose job it isn't to put milk in the fridge, and who just calls the police if Carly isn't in when he arrives.

God help the people who are merely depressed. Who aren't violent or manic or seen wandering the streets dressed in a bath-robe.

Not even the police are there for them.

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Did it, Didn't it?

David Cameron is being accused of making up a story to impress his audience. The story is a tale of a schoolboy who has attacked a teacher, trashed a classroom and remains undisciplined.

The school in question has got up on its high horse claiming the incident never happened and demanding an apology. Cameron insists he was told this story and spoke to the boy. In reality, we'll never know. This kind of thing does happen, just read Frank Chalk's frighteningly good book to see for yourself.

Of course, unless Cameron gives us the name of the boy and the dates of the incident in question, he can't ever prove that what he said is true. Just as PC Copperfield can't prove he was ever the only police officer on duty in Burton, without coughing up the dates (and possibly a witness who can confirm the other fifty officers who might possibly have been on duty were actually committed full-time to detectioning and emailing).

When are people going to wake up and recognise that unless you provide comprehensive audit trails of every phone-call you make, every conversation you have and every step you take, then YOU DIDN'T DO IT? If possible, witness testimonies should be recorded every time you arrive for work and from every member of public you speak with. This is in accordance with the 21st Century Police Rule of Self-Monitoring which states that despite numerous departments created solely for the purpose of monitoring your every move, you are also required to document your own movements if you wish to have any proof that they occurred.

How can anyone expect to be taken seriously based on the evidence of their memory and integrity? It's almost as if police officers expect to be TRUSTED nowadays!

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Saturday, October 06, 2007

Snap!

There is to be no election.

It's a shame really, as I had just put my yellow jacket in the wash to be sure it was gleaming brightly for the big day. No, I don't dress up to vote, the jacket is for Operation Sandwich, launched in glory across town every General Election.

The duties of the Op Sandwich team are fourfold:
  • Arrest anyone wearing an illegal rosette outside a polling booth.
  • Arrest anyone trying to influence people's vote.
  • Switch off speed cameras between Sunderland South and Westminster.
  • Eat a lot of free sandwiches.
To fulfill these duties, four transit vans of six officers plus a sergeant are deployed across town working twelve hours for double bubble. (We get double-time if we're given less than five days notice of working a rest day. As these Elections are usually last minute, it's impossible to give us any more notice.)

The task of the transit teams is to visit all the polling stations two or three times and ensure "fair play". Oh yes, and there's a form to fill in about what we found at each station - so we can plan the next Op Sandwich.

Personally I don't think the Operation goes nearly far enough, and will be putting my suggestion into the box that next time we install CCTV in each booth and have officers on standby to carry out immediate computer checks on anyone voting Labour. The chances are we'll nab a lot of people wanted on warrant. Except that they don't vote.

Plan B: visit every home in Blandmore and carry out computer checks on anyone who hasn't gone to vote.

An Area Commander in the making, I hear you mutter.



Suspicions flare as Brown announces that Opera Interactive Technology will be counting the votes at the next general election.







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Friday, October 05, 2007


Some news.


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Part Three of my Solicitor's Guide:

I have previously described the Consultation and the Interview Process. And now, after a prolonged absence due to forgetfulness, my award-winning* Solicitor's Guide returns.

If you have been unfortunate enough to be presented with a guilty client, a police officer who can string a sentence together AND a smidgen of prosecution evidence, you may find yourself and your hapless client in Court one day. Believe it or not, there is a high chance that your client will not show up at this stage, less than confident in your ability to quote the law better than the Magistrates' Clerk.

What to do if your client doesn't appear:
  • Tell the Court he'll be here "in a few minutes". If you can use the word "presently", do.
  • Find out whether any prosecution witnesses haven't shown up. If they haven't the case can be discontinued.
  • Scour the file for a query you had asked the police to do six months ago and which has only been answered yesterday. No matter how irrelevant the query may be to your case, you can now claim an adjournment because you "haven't had time to prepare".
  • Claim an abuse of process. If they ask exactly what process has been abused, just keep shouting "Abuse! Abuse!" and jabbing your finger down onto the desk.
  • If at any stage someone suggests hearing the case in your client's absence, immediately demand that a warrant is issued for their arrest instead. Once arrested on warrant, your client will be released on bail and given another chance not to show up later in the year.
  • If all else fails, wait until the Magistrates are out of the room discussing their options, grab your briefcase and leave the building. They will be unable to go ahead with neither client nor advocate and the case must be adjourned.
There is the tiniest of possibilities that you WILL have to defend the case in the absence of the defendant. The good news here is that you will be permitted to put across his ludicrous story in far more lucid terms than he would have managed.

Next time on my Solicitor's Guide: the Juvenile Client.

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*Readers should not be misled by the term "award-winning". This Guide has never and will never win an award, the phrase is merely used figuratively.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Softly, softly:

Why can't the Attorney General just mind her own business?

Today she's interfering in the sentences handed out to a child-rapist. Apparently, two years is too lenient a sentence for someone who has sex with a ten-year-old. Never mind that the ten-year-old "consented", or that he thought she was sixteen. I mean, honestly, Baroness Scotland may as well say that people who accidentally trip and knock someone else off a cliff should be done for murder.

Sentencing Guidelines suggest 8-13 years for raping a ten-year-old. But then again when did Sentencing Guidelines ever mean anything to judges?

The law allows up to life imprisonment for rape of any age victim. What on earth do you have to do to get it, I wonder?

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Faking It: Blandmore

A reader has drawn my attention to Derbyshire Police's cunning use of a cardboard cut-out police officer to deter shoplifters.

I would like to point out that Blandshire Constabulary has been using this ploy for years. In Blandshire, we make the cut-out police out of crepe paper. They don't last as long and they dissolve in bad weather, but as they tend to migrate to the Met within a year of their creation we've found it cheaper this way.

As always in Blandshire, we have gone far further than merely cutting fake bobbies out of pulp-derived material. Indeed, we have also introduced plastic key-rings in lieu of prosecutions, and criminal-justice-shaped wallpaper. All of which we firmly believe has prevented a raft of criminal activity this year.

We hope soon to launch a range of punishments made from soft-bake cookie dough.

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Easy Targets

This may startle some of my police readers, but there are people within Blandshire Constabulary who are prepared to stand up for their beliefs. Who defy the petty policies and regimes we are forced to obey. Who hold fast to their integrity while the world goes mad around them.

Yes, I am talking about the brave souls who submit items to the Suggestion Box.













In the Box, the heroes of the force speak up for all of us, and demonstrate that our leaders can and will implement changes.

Let me salute here a few of the intrepid folk who have made a stand for what is right:
  • I salute the person who introduced timer switches for the lights in the police station. Now the stairwell is plunged into an economic blackness at 5pm, after which time the lights are hardly needed, after all.
  • I salute the person who integrated two obscure forms into one, saving precious minutes for a handful of chaps in a department I've never heard of.
  • I salute the person who got them to turn off the heating in the facilities manager's office.
  • I salute the person who suggested we count our detections on a Wednesday night, instead of a Monday.
  • I salute the person who ordered a new chair for the inspector, enabling response officers to use the old one.
These suggestions and more are published weekly with news of their implementation, to show that we really do have an open and constructive communication channel with the powers that be.

You don't see many suggestions up there to "shut down the auditors", "stop counting detections", "hire more police officers", "please, please, please let me die now".

Which must mean everything's fine.

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Station Stereotypes: The "Crap" Officer

Lorraine has been a police officer for twenty odd years. Very odd years. She's had her babies, she's done her time "on response". Which all elevates her to the grand status of being able to do my sergeant's job for him.




Lorraine is no longer expected to hold her teacup AND her helmet at the same time.





We have a whole department in Blandshire Constabulary devoted to sending police officers to incidents where police officers should not be sent. This, the Crap Department, otherwise known as Victim Quality Service, is Lorraine's land. In the World of Crap, there are no detections. There are no arrest targets. There are no victims, no offenders, even. There are only parking disputes and dangerous dogs. Antisocial streetlights and children playing in play areas. Pre-teen siblings squabbling over biscuits.



"You're under arrest."





It used to be the job of the duty sergeant to vet applicants to Quality Service and paper-sift the very worst. Persistance would earn some applicants a telephone interview, others would merely be told they hadn't made the grade and would have to re-train before earning a visit from a police officer.

Now, however, this duty falls to Lorraine. Her only target is to send a police officer to each incident before the inspector has discovered its existence. Or worse still, the AUDITORS.

Lorraine doesn't really care how many other jobs the response officers have, or the fact that there are oustanding emergencies that have not been attended. Lorraine used to be a response officer in the 1980s, which means she knows the "games we play" to avoid work. She is allowed to give us five jobs a shift, and woe betide the officer who dithers around arresting criminals or assisting colleagues instead of rushing to inspect the scratch on eight-year-old Ryan's cheek, caused by seven-year-old Chardonnay.

My sergeant is grateful for Lorraine's presence. He spends a large part of the day fielding calls from her asking him why his officers have been working all day instead of attending her jobs. He is grateful, because without Lorraine, he would be unable to evidence his competence at managing conflict with colleagues. Every phone-call is an entry in his Performance Development Review.

It isn't Lorraine's fault. Somebody in Blandshire Constabulary pays her to do my sergeant's job for him and you can't blame her for taking the money.

How, how did we come to this?

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Monday, October 01, 2007

About as clear as...

The trial of the Metropolitan Police has started. Interspersed with what we already know about fundamental failings in the police, some real gems have come out of today's opening speech.

Such as: "One armed officer put a gun into a colleague's chest and a Tube driver was chased down a tunnel." The addition of a monkey playing the cymbals and the picture would be complete.

It makes you wonder if we'll ever really know what happened that day. Which makes ME wonder why, if events that are witnessed by ten police officers and twenty commuters can still be as clear as mud, I had Mr Barndon on the phone for an hour today asking me why I haven't caught the be-hoodied youth who stole his bicycle.

I think we should all give the Met a break. It must be hard enough to keep up their detection and arrest rates in such a big city, without us expecting them not to gun down random citizens as they go.

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