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.


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Sunday, February 03, 2008

It isn't easy being blue

In Blandmore, there are two families that HATE the police. I'll call them the Alfers and the O'Meegahs.

Last year the youngest Alfer had some problems at school. He was bullied, subjected to racist language, followed home and had a couple of iPods taken off him. The school excluded a couple of the offenders for a few days, then excluded little Alfie Alfer - for his own safety. The police were called in.

The police liaised with the Alfers, who liaised with the school, who liaised with the bullies. The school suggested this and that, the police liaison officer tried that and this. None of it made Alfie any safer at school and none of it satisfied the Alfers. They demanded further action. Finally crime reports of assault, racist public order, harassment and robbery were created. The 12 and 13yr old offenders were arrested. They had never been in trouble before, they admitted parts of what they had done and denied others. They were given youth warnings and released. Several weeks later, the Alfers took their youngest son out of the school and now he's being home-tutored. When John Alfer came to the local nick to complain, the inspector reasoned that there was little more the police could do. John Alfer went to the media, who ran a few stories, and the Area Commander of Blandmore huffed and puffed in a few meetings. Now the Alfers hate the police, and the police aren't too keen on the Alfers.

Meet the O'Meegahs. William and Barney O'Meegah are 12 and 13, not evil boys but loud, pushy and confident. Last year they fell out with a class-mate and had a scrap in the playground. The school suggested they take a few days out. After returning to school, nothing was said for a few weeks. Then, suddenly, the police battered on the O'Meegahs door at 5am, waking the family's disabled grandmother and giving her an angina attack. The boys were arrested, had their shoes and watches removed, were shoved in a cell for hours and then grilled over their conduct in the playground. Bewildered, they explained what had happened and were given youth warnings. No one told them that these could prevent them getting a job before they turned 18, and would be held forever in local police files along with their fingerprints and DNA (albeit deleted from national databases).

Their father, Dave O'Meegah, made a complaint to the inspector that the process of children maturing had been criminalised. He might have raised his voice a bit. Finally he got arrested for public order, and now he has a criminal record too. The O'Meegahs hate the police, and the police take witnesses when they go to see the O'Meegahs.

The Alfers and O'Meegahs are the victims of National Crime Recording Standards, Youth Justice, the schools' system, Social Services and nationally set police targets. Should the police officer who turns up at the door, with all his life experience, values, prejudices and biases, be the one to decide who is right? Or should the decision be taken by a Parliament that is objective, distanced, dispassionate and inhuman?

When does the recording of a trivial crime cease being the police's fault, and become the fault of the person who reported it? When does the failure to stand up to low-level persistent crime cease being the public's fault, and become the police's failing? Where does a police officer become "the police"? Can you blame the police officer at your door for this state of affairs? Or this? Or this?

It's all one great big mess. Someone do something.

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

30 Comments:

Anonymous jerym said...

Brilliant!!!Nothing else needs to be added

03 February, 2008 19:47

 
Anonymous Angry Rozzer said...

Bloggsy,

We are indeed Friar-Tucked.

No help is coming, we are stuck with this un-holy mess.

03 February, 2008 20:46

 
Blogger IanP said...

We do indeed sympathise with the copper on the streets (or shut in the station to play with the computers) in not being able to do the job that they signed up for.

Some of us have now done something, and formed a new Party specifically to put an end to the stupidity that we see being enacted in all walks of life.

http://tinyurl.com/3xheer

03 February, 2008 21:51

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Only two families - that is a suprise.
Remember it is you that carry out the deeds - you are responsible for your actions in the same way that soldiers are.

04 February, 2008 00:23

 
Anonymous notellin said...

Perfect Post Bloggsy!

I hate NCRS with a passion. They define it as ethical crime recording system, my arse it is. Its figure generating blunt sledgehammer designed to smash the public into the ground, remove common sense and any sort of solution that doesn't involve criminalising large parts of the populace.

NCRS forces a crime onto the system and once a crime is recorded we are duty bound to follow the evidence and complete the investigation to its logical conclusion even if said conclusion is completely counter-productive. We don't have choice in this, its how it is!

The only way to prevent this sort of things is not to record the crime in the first place and leave it as a recorded incident. Discretion was the most flexible, useful and effective tool in a Police Officers armoury, crime was only recorded when it was appropriate, there was evidence of a crime and when no other solution was available. It wasn't any more open to abuse either, there were still recorded incidents, audit trails and oversight

The only end to this is to abandon NCRS and NCIS or change them beyond recognition.

NCRS is actually one of the greatest reasons why things have started going from bad to worse. It has soured our relationship with the public and worst of all, unlike bureaucracy or target culture its hard to explain its real impact to the MOPS.

Take our word for it, the first politico to tackle NCRS and put most, if not all, of it back in its box the better the whole country will be.

04 February, 2008 00:57

 
Blogger IanP said...

Noted.

04 February, 2008 01:52

 
Blogger Mosher said...

Here's a thought. Write both families a letter explaining why everything was done. Point to the Parliamentary-imposed decisions made and how the police simply didn't have a choice.

At the end of the letter apologise for all the inconveniences and provide contact details of the local MP and recommend that they get in touch with him as you're all as mad about the situation as he is.

Repeat for *every* pointless arrest.

You're not allowed to strike, but nobody says you can't explain your routine actions to concerned members of the public, do they? I confess that this *does* mean more "desk time" and less proper work - but, hey, that's par for the course these days anyway.

04 February, 2008 11:15

 
Anonymous TheBinarySurfer said...

Have to say Ms Bloggs - some of those links depress me.

More specifically the one about that animal that beat Gary Newlove to death.

What enraged me even more is that the Judicial Communications Office defended the actions of those magistrates responsible for his release:

What was unclear about this person's (i hesitate to use the word teenager or human being here) history? Clear history of breach of bail conditions. Clear history of casual violence, Clear history of witness intimdation.

What do they have to do to get denied bail - still have their victims blood dripping from their hands onto the courtroom floor?

Doctors / Architects / Construction Managers and other professionals working in life or death situations get sued for negligence if they miss obvious signs and someone dies.

I pray for a change in the law to allow this to apply to magistrates.

04 February, 2008 13:48

 
Anonymous Captain Slow said...

It is actually a preposterous situation. The other day I spent my entire shift dealing with just 2incidents, one a crime, the other not a crime. For the crime (that was similar to the one in the Daily Mail link Bloggsy provided) I will get a "tick in the box" if the offender is finally charged. For the other matter which was no less important but not recordable, no-one in the upper echalons of our command will give a monkey's. That is the reality of our performance driven Police Service. The bottom line is detections.

04 February, 2008 17:12

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

May I just ask why did 'Alfie Alfer' have a COUPLE of iPods on him anyway? Surely you only need one!!! Was the title meant to be 'Its not that easy being blue' like on the advert for recycling or the one sung by Kermit the Frog?!?!

04 February, 2008 20:30

 
Blogger PC Bloggs said...

A couple over a period of time, sorry.

04 February, 2008 20:34

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Alfers and O' Meegahs" ?

Aren't you clever?

...the A to Z of pseudo erudition?

I suppose most of the mob reading this think that the the coffee time crossword in the "Sun" is a bit of a work out

So, Madame Author are you really an apologist for recidivist juvenile thugs or is just that your experimenting with attempts to improve your repertoire of rhetorical devices?

BTW: how's the cut an paste coming of Latin Phrases along now? - not still missing bits out I hope.

04 February, 2008 21:01

 
Anonymous Inspector Gadget said...

Is it just Ruralshire Constabulary, or has the pace of change (introducing more and more ludicrous ideas every week) actually increased over the last few months? I know they are getting moist over the end of year targets, but it is getting silly, even for the police. Great post, so true of everywhere.

04 February, 2008 21:55

 
Anonymous Martin said...

To Anon 21:01,

'BTW: how's the cut an paste coming of Latin Phrases along now?'

That should be "cut and paste", and this does not make sense.

'..juvenile thugs or is just that your experimenting with attempts..'

'your' is used as in "this is your bag"

'you're' is used as in "you're experimenting".

Also, I think you missed out the word 'it'

I suggest you might find even the Sun crossword a bit of a challenge.

04 February, 2008 22:34

 
Anonymous Jacques LeFavre said...

Hey Martin! - try to improve your word power with "abstract", as in "abstract noun" (Hint: experimenting)

"..That should be "cut and paste", and this does not make sense..." well it must have made sense if you recognised it. Just talking all colloquial an gor blimey, innit?

However Mr Sun Crossword - lets be kind and say that perhaps WPC Bloggs is trying to get by without her spell checker and being the product of a modern educational system, does what I noticed a lot of you geniuses do here: spell things out phonetically.

Alfer and O'Meegah as opposed to Alpha and Omega... what, you missed that rather clumsy, plodding, obvious writing device of hers did you, Martin mate?

Then there's another word that might now have even extra special relevance for you...irony

04 February, 2008 23:34

 
Anonymous A N Other said...

I do wish some people would learn the difference between irony and sarcasm before commenting. Tsk, tsk.

Notwithstanding, I thought the 'Alpha and Omega' pun was mildly amusing and quite evocative under the circumstances. More posts like this please, Officer Bloggs.

05 February, 2008 00:17

 
Anonymous Jaques said...

"..I do wish some people would learn the difference between irony and sarcasm ..."

The ironic thing is, that you obviously don't understand the difference either.

This is priceless.

05 February, 2008 00:39

 
Anonymous Richard, Nottingham said...

You're on your own girl. There's nothing that I can do short of voting and lobbying my local MP - who incidently thinks the future of policing looks just fine. I suppose that I could take to the streets and cause a bit of aggro (break a coppers nose,etc) but then I'd be the bad guy. How ironic would that be ?

At least you're on the inside. And things have to change from there. It has to be yourself, your colleagues, and senior officers who highlite the crap legislation and simply refuse to implement it. As Martin Samuel said in his excellent piece about Gary Newlove "We're done. We're finished. They've got us licked". Society isn't going to come to your rescue, it's coppers. Take heart from that if you can. But don't build your hopes up.

05 February, 2008 09:07

 
Anonymous solly said...

would that be the34 exzcellent martin samuel piece where he suggested the police should just 'hang around' on street corners?

like, ALL street corners?

thanks martin.

will rupert murdoch be paying the bill for the extra million cops, then?

and the legal bill for defending all the human rights challenges?

05 February, 2008 09:12

 
Anonymous Richard, Nottingham said...

Yes Solly that's the one. The same Martin Samuel who asked *the* question. Where are all the coppers ? I reckon putting 60% of the coppers on the 0.1% of the streets where all of the action is sounds like a pretty fair balance to me.

*For me* it raised other questions. Like, How commited are our police officers ? Is their policy now simply to maintain the peace ? Are they turning into a mere criminal detection agency rather than a police *force* ? I've talked to, and read of, so many people impressed by Samuel's article. Read it again. It isn't emotional claptrap. It asks WHERE IS THE ENFORCEMENT OF LAW ON OUR *UNSAFE* STREETS. Where are the all the coppers ?

I take it you're a copper. If so, I wonder where you've been today. Stop hiding behind your uniform.

05 February, 2008 13:14

 
Anonymous Inspector Gadget said...

The human rights obsessed, socially engineered, soft and useless criminal justice system demands such a huge and complicated amount of written evidence for the simplest of case-files. That is where the police are, that and in offices slaving away at mundane systems and processes which satisfy Home Office performance indicators. 'On the street' means not achieving targets. Same in the NHS.

05 February, 2008 19:47

 
Blogger blueknight said...

Jacques
The plural of genius is genii.

05 February, 2008 22:06

 
Anonymous Jaques Lefavre said...

only if you're talking about ancient Roman Guardian Spriits

06 February, 2008 00:38

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"A couple over a period of time, sorry."
Oh! No, I'm sorry for reading it the wrong way! I'm always reading things wrong/ not noticing sarcasm! I'm so stupid!

06 February, 2008 11:31

 
Anonymous were doomed said...

I finished the Sun crossword today, and finished reading the Daily Mail, bar the sport pages, bet that pi77ed you off, Mr Anon

06 February, 2008 20:03

 
Blogger blueknight said...

GE''NII, n. [L. plu.] Imaginary intermediate beings, between men and angels; some good and some bad.
- An accurate definition of a Police Officer? It summed my team up quite well.

06 February, 2008 20:43

 
Anonymous Chief Superintendent said...

Oh Bloggs - you really are missing the point aren't you?

Think of the detections woman!! My career depends on them!

11 February, 2008 12:16

 
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