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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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Ides of March

Someone call the police, there's a gang of yobs outside my house in baseball caps.

Well we didn't fly, but over 22,000 police marched through the Capital today. I am pleased to hear that the protest was extremely orderly, with most of the marchers tiptoeing and whispering in order not to disturb anyone in Westminster with their problems.

The march went off without a hitch, apart from one woman staging an aggressive counter protest... but
Jacqui Smith was quickly arrested and escorted out of the way.

You can read some highly intelligent quotes from a top police blogger here, and it might be worth buying The Telegraph tomorrow (Thursday) for the Comment pages.

Copyright of PC Bloggs.


Blogger Noddy said...

Nice one Ellie (p.s. that's my dug's name!) Such devotion... actually that is remarkably how most police officers genuinely feel about there job or more properly their, I'll use the word, vocation. It's high time our devotion to duty, despite all that confounds us, was recognised. I wish you loons and quines well with the pay thingy, but somehow I think the other lady (hang on that's too complementary) is too embarrassed to 'U' turn - to paraphrase another fair maiden.

24 January, 2008 01:42

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funnily enough I was one of the off duty officers who detained the mad woman who thought it wise to take on a large portion of the march. She was suitably and firmly detained but if the blonde female officer who she slapped in Victoria Street reads this karma wasn't far away today.

24 January, 2008 02:05

Blogger staghounds said...

Boy, are

the white hat people

going to be irritated that you stole their deal...

Go, police. I can't believe the mildness of the requested pay rise, either.

24 January, 2008 02:25

Anonymous TheBinarySurfer said...

I wonder how many of your colleagues will be voting labour at the next election Ms Bloggs...

Not many i suspect!

24 January, 2008 08:27

Blogger uphilldowndale said...

How come you've have all got your baseball caps on the right way round?
Or has some one already asked that question

24 January, 2008 09:59

Anonymous Sue said...

I liked the response of the guy who was talking to a BBC reporter live during the march - when told by the reporter that the Govt says it has no more money to give, the chap replied -they could find money for Northern Rock!!!! A true point well made.

24 January, 2008 10:00

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anything that embarasses this governement of showers is good by me.

However, I can't help noticing that you lot are out protesting about your pay (and it has risen a lot in the last 10 years, with apparently no recruitment problems) when all the measures that have made your job difficult, and about which one reads on this blog, and have contributed to the low regard from the public you also complain about, do not warrant your indignation to the powers that be.

I would be more impressed if you had said something in the last 10 years.

As it is, I see that as another lot of public servants asking for more money.

24 January, 2008 10:34

Anonymous andrew kirkham said...

I read your item in the Telegraph with interest and have some sympathy for it but regret to say I have some negative feelings about the Police although my background as a middle class , retired , happily married grandparent would suggest I shouldnt have. Why then
1) Our son who is coloured when he was in his mid twenties owned a BMW , in the space of 18 months he was hauled over by Police on no less than 9 times( on 2 occasions I was with him )in Worcester where we both live , he was breathalysed every time ( although he does not drink) and his car was thoroughly searched 3 times , he has no criminal record and no charges were ever made. Eventually I contacted our Chief Constable whom I was/am acquainted with , naturally he defended his Officers' actions but interestingly my son has never been stopped again.
2) On Sunday 13th Jan this year my wife and I returned to an NCP car park in London where we had left our car overnight whilst on a city break in London. We found as did 7 other motorists that our cars had been broken into. The NCP attendant gave us the phone number of the local police station in spite of repeated attempts to contact the police no one answered the phone ( incorrect twice it was picked up and immediately replaced ) no messages were returned, an alternative number was found no response, one of the ladies waved down a police car and was advised they were on their way to a more important crime but said they would advise their colleagues.Nothing happened !!!
Nobody because we were responsible citizens phoned 999 because it wasnt an emergency. Having cominjg back to the car at 9.a.m we left for home at 1 p.m and still no contact with the Police had been made though the RAC,AA and Autoglass had all responded.

I am sorry but I dont think the Police are actually doing the job we expect any more.

24 January, 2008 10:39

Blogger Wulfstan Crumble said...

Congratulations on successful march. I hope you are all successful. You guys deserve it. Glad you got that counter-protest underwraps though, i got this feeling that like a bad curry, she'll be back.

24 January, 2008 11:16

Blogger Bill Sticker said...

Good one in the Telegraph, Ellie. Now don't you let the bastards blow your cover.



24 January, 2008 13:05

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr Kirkham if you really believe that following a meeting with the CC every officer in the force was suddenly given your sons details and warned off stopping him you have a truly unjustified faith in the ability of police officers to remember anything past the previous shifts briefing.
I'm sorry to say there's nothing more involved than coincidence, to think that every police officer in the force has memorised your sons face, name and vehicle details and have studiously avoided him in the subsequent years is just daft, personally speaking if I remember a vehicles details for more than a couple of hours it's a miracle.
Sorry to say, though I imagine you won't believe me as it's far easier to believe the police are a slightly more presentable version of the Borg, there's no way anyone could guarantee any given car wouldn't be stopped in perpetuity.

24 January, 2008 13:30

Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ Andrew Kirkham:

I wonder why you think that having a word with Chief Constable had any effect on whether your son was stopped. I can guarantee that no Chief in their right mind would suggest even informally that a friends son should not get stopped regardless of how upstanding a member of the public he is. Even if a Chief did suggest it, apart from loosing all respect, it would have no effect as Officers simply would forget in a very short space of time. We are simply too busy worrying about who to stop rather than who not to. In fact i may have been more likely to stop the car to protect the Chief from such accusations and to make it clear that the reach of the old boys network doesn't extend as far as the old boys would wish. I am not bound to follow unlawful orders and that Sir would be an unlawful order and were all a bit anti authoritarian at heart. A little ironic I know but its why half the detectives i know would have given a months pay to interview Tony Blair over the Cash for Honours issue. We just like sticking it to the man, just to remind him we aren't his footpads.

Regarding why your son got stopped and why he ceased getting stopped perhaps I could suggest a simpler alternative using the principle of Occam's razor where "All other things being equal, the simplest solution is the best".

Your son, whilst still a young man was driving a relatively expensive car, which the majority of young men cant afford. Therefore you have something which stands out from the norm, something that incongruous is what we are trained to look for that because more often than not its a sign of something we should be looking for. Three of the main things you look for when patrolling are person, place and what they are doing. If two or more of those seem to be at odds with the norm it gets our interest.

You also make no allowance for the fact that young men in fast cars drive fast (statistically speaking) and this also gets the attention of the Police. I doubt very much if you were in all occasions regaled with the full reasons your son was stopped, I certainly didn't always tell my parents why i got a road side lecture. I also doubt you would have been complaining if on an occasion we stopped a young male in a car that car happened to be your sons stolen car or your stolen car.

For you not to accept that or to insinuate that his ethnicity had anything to do with it in any meaningful way is disingenuous and a false alternative. I can honestly say in all my service i have never encountered a Police Officer who by action, inaction, words or behaviour could be described as racist. I know they must be a few, there was that documentary after all and the Police are the public and the public are the Police. However i have never met one and if i did well we would have "Issues" of the sort of me venting my venting my righteously indignant spleen at them expressed in a very clear way.

As to why he stopped getting stopped well i guess this has probably more to do with the fact that all the Police were busy filling out forms in the Police Station, too busy being forced to lock up for minor offences or more likely they had all stopped your son and realised that in his case a young man in an expensive car was not a sign not of something else. If i stop someone who gets my attention and find that attention was not justified then i don't stop them again, i am just too busy for that, unless of course they give me reason such as poor driving. That wont however prevent my colleague from making the same stop at another time only to come to same conclusion.

If your wondering whether i am qualified to make the comments above. I can tell you that I am clearly younger than you, did have a flash car (briefly as the insurance was a killer)when i was your sons age which is only a few years ago, i am now a Police Officer and i also have plenty of friends who aren't white and who also drove equally flash cars when when we were in our mid twenties. I can tell you your sons experience is a familiar one to those ALL those young men who drive flash cars and once every 2 MONTHS is NOT anything to whinge about. Try two or three times a month for and then you will be qualified to sympathise with some of my friends. In fact during my twenties, in my flash car days (3rd hand Alfa Romero), i got stopped more that your son.

By the way the remote breath testing kit that allows me to know that your son isnt drink driving, read his mind and establish that he doesn't drink without ever meeting him before, stopping him, talking to him has not yet been invented.

Although statistically speaking i would be more likely to stop you on the way home from the Golf Club because statistically speaking your more likely to be drink driving!

Think of that next time your at the 19th hole and maybe we can avoid some paperwork.

Sorry for the rant but this is just the sort of myopic world view that annoys me about certain class bound people.

I am truly sorry about your experience with NCP car park, i too have had to wait and i am Police Officer who in theory should know all the right buuttons to press, so i sympathise. The simple fact is that your goverment which you may or may not have voted for have for a period of a decade pushed ever increasing amounts of shite at the Polcie and corrupted our purpose to suit there own Political Needs but not without considerable resistance. If you are looking for someone to blame, blame them and their centrally imposed target culture, the beaurocracy, the stripping of the front line strength, the substitution of fully sworn officer with PCSO's the budget cuts etc.

We are still your Police Force we just spend the majority of our time trying to cope with crap that comes from Whitehall rather than with people who need us or just want us around.

24 January, 2008 14:55

Anonymous andrew kirkham said...

Thank you for the various points you make.
I find it rather a coincidence re son not only the regular checks but also why it stopped when it did but I hear what you say

24 January, 2008 15:54

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have very conservative views on law and order. For instance I mourn the departure from the local Bobby being able to clip a young offender round the ear without causing some kind of civil rights ruccus. I long for the return of capital punisment - I'm sorry but there are certain scum who populate our country that should just be taken out. I regret that our police are so terribly handcuffed (pun definitely intended) that they are unable to police as the majority of the public would wish. They are badly let down by our liberal judiciary and by the setting of these ridiculous targets which make the police force seem like a corporation trying to achieve its annual bottom line forecast.

24 January, 2008 16:13

Anonymous Inspector Gadget said...

Well, at least Kirkham junior won't be complaining that 'there is never a policeman around any more' will he? The general public, pah! damned if you do......

24 January, 2008 17:58

Anonymous us detective sergeant said...

The protest march by UK police officers yesterday received some US television coverage.

Hope you receive your just rewards. There is truth in "the squeaky wheel gets the grease". You just have to be willing to squeak long enough.

24 January, 2008 18:43

Anonymous Anonymous said...

nice article in the Telegraph Ellie. On the vexing subject of people being nicked for stupid reasons (the lady who smacked her daughter for instance), who is it that decides an arrest has to be made? Surely not the bobbie who does the dirty job. i would love to know which pratt is responsible.
Keep up the good work.

25 January, 2008 10:07

Blogger Howard Wilson said...

".....Ever since the Home Office have made us go round recording statistics we have started lodging crimes like the throwing of cream buns at buses... and of course the public start to lose respect for you when you log crimes like that....." <--quoted from the Newspaper article.

Perhaps if you were to march against reasons such as this, then you would find sympathy and regain some of that respect from the public, though I suspect that us 'mops' are just an irritation.

25 January, 2008 14:49

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"but over 22,000 police marched through the Capital today"
Who counted? Usually the organisers of a demo quote one figure, and the police a considerably smaller one....

25 January, 2008 19:26

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That stuck-up cow needs to get her priorities right. She deserves less money than you, would she take a bullet to protect the public?

26 January, 2008 17:10

Anonymous pcr said...

Yeah, if you don't give us our money, we'll walk down the street wearing white baseball caps.

Is that REALLY the best we can do?

27 January, 2008 22:18

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reference the caption beside the photograph - why is your house in baseball caps??

30 January, 2008 21:43

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