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)

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Let Us Pay

You may be aware that tomorrow is the National Day of Prayer for the Police Service.

Churchgoers nationwide are supposed to pray to keep us safe, direct our Chief Constables wisely and help us to do our job better.

What you are probably not aware is that the Senior Management Team of Blandshire Constabulary actually embraced PRAYER as an official police tactic some years ago. It was around the time when the government introduced seven figure budget cuts for most forces, at the same time as increasing the workload of the average PC. Blandshire's response included:
  • The "roll-out" of Neighbourhood Policing, which is police jargon for getting civilians to do the job of a police officer.
  • Zero-based budgeting. Which means building your budget up from scratch without any of the big expensive things that take up all the money like police officers and training.
  • Reduction of official minimum staffing levels so that PCs could be lost from the frontline without dropping below these Health & Safety limits.
  • Re-assessing whether certain crimes really do need police officers to attend after all.
  • Employing Ricky DeRennaux as the new police vehicle supplier.
  • PRAYER to be the first choice response to all major/critical/serious incidents.
The official policy on Prayer can be found on the Force intranet under "Standard Operating Procedures". These are not generally distributed to the public at large, but I think I am safe enough in quoting a passage verbatim:

"On realising that Blandshire Constabulary do not have sufficient means to respond to an incident whether through lack of staff, equipment or complete and utter systemic failure, the Duty Inspector should immediately attend the scene and begin to PRAY. The Prayer should be directed to the Lord God Almighty, although if the Lord God Almighty is not available then an Archangel can listen to the Prayer, providing the Lord God is informed as soon as reasonably practicable.

"The Prayer may be verbally uttered, but should be followed up in writing within 24 hours. It should contain the words 'we hope everything turns out ok' and 'please cover the arse of Blandshire Constabulary in the event that anything goes wrong'."

Whilst this policy has stood us in good stead for over five years now, we must not be complacent. The Senior Management Team are constantly reviewing the process of Prayer and hope that the Lord Almighty - and the Home Secretary - sends them the wisdom not to get a police officer killed this year. ***

In other news, the government is "not shying away" from another confrontation with the police as they plan to slash the budgets of five forces (to start with). Plans to recruit hundreds of new officers will be abandoned if this goes ahead.

God help us all.

*** Please note: This post was in no way written just to offend Christians. It is in fact supposed to offend all denominations of all religions. And, hopefully, the Home Secretary.

'Diary of an On-Call Girl' is available in all good bookstores and online.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Pursuit of Happyness

There's an interesting debate going on here. It started about moustaches on PCSOs and somehow turned into a serious and upsetting litany of anecdotes on under-staffing, the inadequacies of neighbourhood policing, "ethical" crime recording and number-crunching management.

The dissatisfaction for some reason seems to be aimed at the wondrous inventions of NCRS and Ethical Crime Recording, Neighbourhood Policing and the Drive against ASB.

It isn't possible to sum up in one post just how positive and excellent all these new policies are, but I'll give you an example of how things have changed since their introduction. Bear with me, things to do with NCRS are never short:

Let's imagine that two people call the police in Blandmore. One, a petrol station manager, has just seen a beige jeep fill up with fuel and drive off without paying. The other is Kyra Wilkins. She calls the police most days to complain that brother Donald is harassing her by text, that her kids are out of control in the garden and she wants them arrested, or that she saw her ex-partner down the leisure centre and he glared at her in a racist way.

Police response Pre-NCRS/Neighbourhood: Police deploy to the petrol station. They might catch the jeep as it makes off, they might not. Either way, they seize CCTV, take a quick statment and track down the offender pretty soon through intelligence/computer checks. It turns out the jeep has made off without paying for fuel 5 times before. It is also out committing all kinds of burglary, isn't insured and failed to stop after knocking down a cyclist a month ago. It takes them a while to get to Kyra Wilkins, but eventually they do and listen to her woes, before telling her to change her number, sort her kids out and perhaps just ignore her ex.

Police response Post-NCRS/Neighbourhood: As we now have a racist/domestic/child protection incident on our hands, Kyra Wilkins is graded for one-hour response. Three crime reports for harassment, criminal damage and racially aggravated public order have already been created and the relevant parties entered as suspects. If these suspects are not charged, Blandshire Constabulary will see a severe dip in detected crime. Police therefore spend 2-3 hours taking statements from Kyra and the rest of the week arresting the offenders. All the incidents are too trivial even for the CPS, and all prosecutions are dropped. If any do make it to court, they are binned there by frustrated magistrates.

Meanwhile... the theft of fuel is downgraded for slow-time enquiries by the Crime Desk:
  • A pack is sent to the petrol station by a civilian investigator, arriving two weeks later, to be filled in by the witness.
  • It goes into an in-tray and is completed within a couple of weeks. The CCTV may or may not have been erased by that time. The statement may or may not contain evidential points of law vital for a successful prosecution.
  • Now one month since the offence, the civilian investigator receives the pack discovers that the jeep is involved in lots of other crimes.
  • The offences are collated, whilst the jeep continues to burgle, steal and mow people down.
  • 6-8 weeks since the offence, the civilian investigator has identified a suspect, although can't be sure without going to the address - which he/she is not allowed to do in case the suspect is there.
  • The package is allocated to a police officer.
  • Following arrest, the jeep is never recovered having been burnt out a week ago, and the evidence of the petrol thefts is so lousy that the whole thing is dropped.

As you can see, both Kyra Wilkins and the petrol station manager are happy in the Twenty-First Century. Kyra, because she got to see a police officer pretty quickly. The petrol station manager because he didn't have to sit with the police for an hour doing paperwork.

All the people burgled/run over/robbed by the jeep driver...? Well, they'll never know how easily the police could have caught the offender, so they're happy too.

Coming soon: proof of what the government KNEW about NCRS before it happened, and what they did about it.

'Diary of an On-Call Girl' is available in all good bookstores and online.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Is Manslaughter the New Murder?

I think it is time that we, as a society, accept that people can no longer be expected to know right from wrong. Several landmark cases have shown that 21st Century Brits just can't grasp several basic concepts such as Pain, Death and Violence. It is therefore not fair to keep sending people to prison for stuff they didn't mean to do.

I would like to propose the following guidelines to juries to help them in cases where people stand wrongfully accused of murder:
  • If the offenders are under 18, just find them guilty of Manslaughter. No one under 18 ever means to kill anyone.
  • If the offence was done in a group, only one of them can be guilty. Therefore if you don't know which one, just acquit them all.
  • If the offenders were laughing and/or chanting at the time, this indicates a "disturbance of the mind". Ie Manslaughter.
  • If the offenders urinated on the dead person's body, this is irrelevant.
On occasion, we are still seeing injustices done, such as here where two kids of 14 and 17 have been found guilty of murder, when some others in the group only of manslaughter. Clearly the "murderers" were just excitable young rapscallions and this was a childish prank gone wrong. Or what about here, where all the offenders did was a few kicks and punches. How could they have expected their victim to have such weak flesh and bones that he died?

I raise these last two cases to show the inconsistency of today's verdicts in very similar cases. This is very easily rectified. Since Murder requires proof of the intent to kill or seriously injure, whereas Manslaughter can be committed by a much more minor "unlawful act", and since it is impossible to ever know what someone was intending, let's just do away with the offence of Murder altogether. Only some of those released from jail following their shortened Manslaughter sentence will go on to kill again.

The below were all killed by people previously convicted of manslaughter:

Some of their murderers were only convicted of Manslaughter the second time too.

'Diary of an On-Call Girl' is available in all good bookstores and online.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Hall of Fame

Some of you may remember not so long ago, I posted about the antics of jolly old Judge Tim Stead. This blog is not a newspaper, nor am I trying to write exposes. But I do like to google stuff, and today I have been googling Judge Julian Hall.

Here is a not-so-quick chronology of this good man's Crown Court career:

1999: Following the decision to drop a rape case, Judge Julian Hall has these wise words: "I think they brought the prosecution on themselves. if six men think it a good idea to have sex with one woman, they run the risk of being accused of rape." Compare this to his words in 2008 on sending a false victim to jail.

October 2004: Judge Julian Hall throws out a historical abuse case despite numerous witnesses, describing it as "stale". He also says of the offenders: "I think the best thing that should happen to people who behave in this way, is that they should get a very brisk elbow in the ribs at the time or be rejected." Perhaps Julian could give advisory talks to children in nursery schools on how best to deliver this elbow.

January 2005: A priest convicted of child porn is spared jail and the Judge concludes, "It is difficult to imagine a more admirable and productive life."

August 2005: No prison for a boy who sexually assaulted several elderly and vulnerable women, including an 84yr old. Apparently it wouldn't have been "productive".

February 2006: A community order for a man who had sex with a 13yr old. Apparently he "should have known better".

March 2006: Two years for a man who falsely imprisoned and assaulted a woman, and let's not forget the two charges of rape that were tagged onto this one.

September 2006: Judge Julian Hall breaks down in tears at the plight of Dr Margaret Davison, then sentences the driver who killed her to four years.

December 2006: The Judge jails a sex attacker for just three years for six offences (unspecified), and describes him as, "...a star in your world. It is quite clear that you have made a most positive contribution to the lives of many children..."

February 2007: A paedophile is fined £250 and told to buy his six-year-old victim a "new bicycle" to "cheer her up". To put this one in context, the offender was interrupted before he could do anything worse to his victim, and was previously jailed for sex attacks on children. Despite this, in Julian Hall's eyes the offence was "mild".

August 2007: Life sentence given out to a truly vicious sex attacker, with a nine year minimum. Perhaps the videos produced in this case tugged at Julian's heart-strings, because his reaction is a bit different to that in some of his other paedophile cases, for example...

August 2007: Two years for a child rapist because she "dressed provocatively". How provocative can a 10yr old really be?

November 2007: Jules gives a man in possession of Level 5 child porn (the worst level) a conditional discharge. I have mixed feelings about the fairness of this one - but either way the Judge certainly seems to have accepted the man's claim that it was accidental.

March 2008: He gives a non-custodial sentence to a 17yr old child abuser, stating he is "not dangerous".

March 2008: He jails a woman for a year who lied about a rape allegation. He also denounces her as "evil" and says she has let down "womankind". Slightly different language than that used to describe the child rapists and pornographers he has discharged from his court on previous occasions, no?

In the interests of fairness, I should point out that Judge Julian Hall has also handed out some healthy sentences, but these are all for murder or GBH - apart from the truly horrific case above, I could not find one where he gave any sensible remarks or sentences to sex attackers.

Fortunately, I'm not alone in worrying about this man.

Update: June 2008, Judge Julian Hall refuses to deport a man found guilty of ten sexual assaults on a 12yr old because he did not find him "dangerous".

'Diary of an On-Call Girl' is available in all good bookstores and online.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Public Disservices

I'm often being told, usually on a Friday or Saturday night in Blandmore town centre, that I am a PUBLIC SERVICE. Believe it or not, it is often hard to explain to my customers on said Friday or Saturday night, that "public" refers to society as a whole and not to each and every person's crazy requests.

No matter how drunk I have become, I cannot remember ever spending every last penny on alcohol, losing my wallet and phone, having no money at home to pay a taxi, not knowing a single friend to call, not having arranged any way to get home, and ending up sitting on the pavement at the feet of some irritated police officers begging them for a lift. Occasionally I take pity on some of these wretches at the end of the night, but only if they haven't vomited on my boots whilst waiting.

As the public expects more and more from their public services, Health & Safety and force policies are giving them less and less. Here are some things I am now advised NOT to do for the public, some more shocking than others:
  • Take people home who are injured/ill/paralytic. If they later die at home, it's my fault. It's also my fault if I leave them where they are and they die in the street.
  • Chase crooks into dangerous positions. if they fall off somewhere and die with me chasing them, it's my fault. If I fall off and die, it's my fault.
  • Force someone to have medical attention.
  • Fail to force someone to have medical attention.
  • Physical contact with victims of crime. No matter how much you need a shoulder to cry on, a hand to hold or an arm supporting you, I'm allowed to taser you if you try.*
  • If someone looks a bit unsanitary, it is acceptable not to do mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
This last one is genuinely true and is the latest First Aid guidance for paramedics and police (unless any passing paramedics would like to correct me). However, there are times when I think people have a right to expect basics from their public services, including:
There are a lot of policies that get us into and out of such situations, but ultimately it comes down to good old-fashioned commonsense. If I'm not happy doing nothing, the chances are I should be doing something.

'Diary of an On-Call Girl' is available in all good bookstores and online.

* This is an exaggeration. I would in fact have to get an Armed Response Vehicle out to administer the taser.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Say it With Flowers

This may surprise you but, sometimes, the police make mistakes. The usual defence raised when this happens is, "we're only human". Occasionally the defence raised is Ronald Thwaites QC, who costs a lot more and clearly isn't very good.

It never ceases to appal me when the police rely on "being human" as some kind of tonic for all wrongs. In my opinion, every time a mistake is made, somebody should be immediately suspended, preferably in a public manner in order that a press release can be sent out promising that "a training need was identified and several officers have been disciplined".

For example, some months ago I was trying to locate a Stephanie Silchurch. She had smashed up her cousin's flat and run off. All we knew is that her parents lived at 20 Newcommon Gardens, Blandmore.

It took me some time to locate the address, as it turns out that Newcommon Gardens is a square, and no.20 is on a fork of the square that makes it look as though it is on Grouch Spur. Anyway, finally I knocked at the door and a bemused couple answered.

"Is Stephanie home?" I asked.

"No, she doesn't live here any more."

I explained, as I usually do, that it was nothing to worry about, but I needed to speak to Stephanie regarding some criminal damage at her cousin's place. This is police speak for "I need to arrest her". The couple, having only ever met a police officer the day their house was broken into, were ultra-polite, ultra-helpful, and told me that their daughter now lived at 11 St. Mary's Walk. They even offered to phone and get her to come home and meet me there.

When I did go round, she wasn't in, and next ensued a week of "arrest attempts", with officers from all shifts going to both addresses at all hours of the day and night trying to catch her. Finally, two weeks later, after nine complaints from her parents and neighbours about our antisocial visits, she was nabbed.

The only problem was, it turned out that the Stephanie I was after actually lived at 20 Grouch Spur, a hundred yards away from the address I had visited. Unhappily for them, and her, the couple at 20 Newcommon Gardens also had a daughter called Stephanie, who was also on bad terms with a cousin.

Fortunately, the Stephanie who got arrested was calm, cooperative and patient with the poor befuddled bobbies who booked her into custody. Had she panicked, struggled, been restrained, suffered a heart attack and died as a result, it would have been tenuous as to whether this was a lawful arrest in the first place. Cue half a dozen police officers up on charges of manslaughter, all because of Britain's lousy house-numbering system.

In such a scenario, I don't think flowers would quite do it.


'Diary of an On-Call Girl' is available in all good bookstores and online.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Ding Ding Ding!


2008's second POLICING PLEDGE has arrived. This time we are promised more "Terror Police". 300 of them, to be precise. Exactly how many will be coming to Blanshire's streets is not pledged, but I would hazard a guess at an approximate estimate of roughly about zero. (The last time anyone was arrested in Blandshire for terrorism it was done by Met officers. Our Special Branch is barely allowed a look in before the subjects are whisked off to Paddington Green with total disregard for their PACE clock.)

Police in the south taken off the streets following Terror raids. Will these extra 300 Terror Police guard their own crime scenes?

The local Blandmore community I police are already writing in to express their joy at the Home Secretary's latest promise:

Mrs Doris Elderflower of Grapevine Parade said, "It is just marvellous. We have been complaining about the yobs on the street corner for years, and now at last the Home Secretary is giving London a few extra police officers to solve the problem."

Mr Graham Bottleberry of Blandmore Community Centre added, "We were burgled four times last year. The local police are in despair because all they get money for is new Police Community Support Officers, who don't work after midnight when the offences are happening. But NOW we can rest easy in our beds."

In an astute U-turn, the Home Secretary has also shown that she understands the intricacies of modern day policing: the new 300 police officers will not be there to catch and lock up terrorists, but instead to "persuade" them not to do it in the first place.

Jacqui Smith: "We can't arrest our way out of the terrorist threat."

At least she's consistent. Ms Smith seems to think that we can't arrest and imprison our way out of burglary, robbery or sex crimes either.

Update: Oh dear, it seems the latest pledge is illegal. Don't worry, Jacqui, there's always arbitration.

'Diary of an On-Call Girl' is available in all good bookstores and online.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Personal Location Location Location

Over on Gadget, they're talking about Personal Location Systems. The Met can now locate every officer at all times, which is entirely for safety and has nothing to do with keeping track of people having sex in public toilets.

Blandshire Constabulary too claims to be able to locate all its police vehicles on demand. As a result, you have to swipe your fob when you book out a vehicle, and this triggers the location system.

The idea is genius. For example, when there is an emergency incident, the control room can now send the nearest unit rather than calling up for "any unit", or asking somebody a million miles away to start making their way.

Of course, the nearest unit may well be taking a statement, dealing with another emergency, or otherwise engaged, but then it is a simple matter to call up the next nearest unit and ask them to go. The chances are, that unit has forgotten to switch on their in-car location chip and is in fact about as far away as they could get. By this point, a unit that is reasonably near and actually available will probably have arrived on scene, making this a super-efficient service to the public.

Some people complain about the reliability. For example, only last week I got accused of being on Bramble Lane when I was in fact five miles away and going in the opposite direction on Taylor Way. But on the 1 in 10 occasion that you ARE where the system says you are, it's a valuable tool.

As such, there is a Superintendent In Charge of Locating Police Officers Who Don't Want To Be Located, and dashed good at it he is too. Two months ago I was in court when I called up on the radio to ask for assistance in dealing with a crazed prisoner trying to flee the dock. As I was pinning one leg to the floor and flailing for handcuffs I had not brought with me, my mobile rang. Hoping it might be assistance trying to find me, I answered and the Superintendent In Charge of LPOWDWTBL demanded,

"PC Bloggs, you are showing on duty today."

"Er... yes, sir?"

"There is no vehicle showing against your name."

"No, sir, I suppose there isn't."

"As you well know, you are supposed to swipe your fob to activate your vehicle location device, every time you book on duty WITHOUT FAIL. I will not tolerate this lackadaisical attitude towards force policy ." His tone could not have been smugger had he walked in on me smoking skunk and downloading child porn in the men's locker room.

"Well, sir-" I paused to receive handcuffs from a colleague and apply them. "I drove to court in my own car today, and my car isn't fitted with a fob. At least, not as far as I know."

"Ah. I see."

A week after that, a girl on my team got attacked by a bodybuilding coke user with a metal bar. Unable to free a hand up to transmit on her personal radio, she activated her emergency button and the whole team got sent to an address two miles away to assist her. Call me old-fashioned, but ever since then I just call up and tell the controller where I am, if I want them to know.

'Diary of an On-Call Girl' is available in all good bookstores and online.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Scoop

In a first ever for this blog, today I will be revealing a SCANDAL from inside Blandshire Constabulary in a manner that could indubitably get me FIRED.

I hereby announce that on the 1st February 2008, Blandshire Constabulary LOST the names, addresses and contact details of over 130,000 people.

The data was left in a bag, in the back of an unmarked police vehicle, on display despite the force's own campaign against auto-crime, when thieves broke the rear passenger window and made off with it. The local Area Commander was informed and it was declared a Critical Incident, but this scandal was hidden from the media until today, as I feel it is in the public interest to let you all know the casual disregard my force holds for your privacy.

Victims of the breach need not take any action, but the publuic can assist by being vigilant:

If you do see a laptop bag containing a purple and white manual bearing the words "Blandmore" and "Phone Book" on the front, immediately dial 999. The data is OUT THERE and it could be used to PHONE you fraudulently at any moment!

'Diary of an On-Call Girl' is available in all good bookstores and online.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Coming soon...

I reveal a Blandshire Constabulary scandal that could get me FIRED.

For now...
Keep the comments coming.
Do we believe that:
(A) It was a botched attempt to leave Matthews' partner
(B) It was a botched attempt by Donovan to hurt Matthews
(C) It was a botched attempt by the whole family to screw money out of the Sun-reading British public?

'Diary of an On-Call Girl' is available in all good bookstores and online.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Told you so...

Update 9th April: Karen Matthews has now been charged, and we now know that she broke down and confessed all to the Family Liaison Officer. Bit of a shock for the FLO, who probably plumped for that job because he/she knew it would mean no arrests, no files and no statements.

I wonder who the source could be for the Mail story linked to above? Just three options I guess, and I doubt it's Karen Matthews.

Believe it or not, there are some people who think Shannon Matthews' family are somehow to blame for her disappearance!

This poor family. Not only has Karen Matthews been unable to claim that crucial seventh child benefit for over three weeks, but now she is ignominiously being held in a police cell where no doubt her shoelaces have been stripped from her in an act of twenty-first century brutality...

I think their mistake here was using a nine-year-old child as the subject of the plot. Surely if the kidnappee had been younger, she would have been too young to tell the police exactly what happened. Or perhaps it was leaving her alive and unharmed - who was ever going to believe that a kidnapper would risk a few months in prison just to have a kid living in his divan?

Or was the real mistake being naive enough to think that they could somehow cover up what kind of family they really were.

Those of you who commented here that the police are all snobs and cynics and should have been reaching out with our hearts to the poor Matthews-Hooker-Rose-Meehan family, what say ye...?

'Diary of an On-Call Girl' is available in all good bookstores and online.

Friday, April 04, 2008

A Tale of No Intelligence

In the old days... (circa 2000)

It is a dark Blandmore night. At 2am, on Green Lane, Billy-Bob Jojo, the local car thief, is cruising for likely targets. He spots a BMW with a mobile phone abandoned on the dashboard. He breaks the window, grabs the phone, makes good his escape. Nobody hears the glass break. Seeing a police car approaching, Billy-Bob hides the phone under a wheelie bin.

Around the corner, PC Bloggs is cruising round for some burglars. At 2am, she spots Billy-Bob Jojo sauntering along Green Lane and stops him. He is searched, she gives him a piece of paper telling him why, and finding nothing, lets him go on his way.

The piece of paper is logged on the local intelligence system and PC Bloggs sends out an email telling everyone that Billy-Bob Jojo is back in the area lurking around the estate at night.

The following day, a BMW owner reports a break-in to his car on Green Lane. Police attend and an officer is allocated to investigate. He finds a neighbour who saw someone running away from the car at 2am. Receiving PC Bloggs' email, the officer retrieves her piece of paper and uses it as evidence to put Billy-Bob at the scene of the crime. He is arrested, his house searched, and there is a small chance that the stolen phone and some glass fragments are recovered from his house or clothing, identifying him as the thief.

Circa 2008...

It is a dark Blandmore night. At 2am, on Green Lane, Billy-Bob Jojo, the local car thief, is cruising for likely targets. He spots a BMW with a mobile phone abandoned on the dashboard. He breaks the window, grabs the phone, makes good his escape. Nobody hears the glass break. Seeing a police car approaching, Billy-Bob hides the phone under a wheelie bin.

Around the corner, PC Bloggs is cruising round for some burglars. At 2am, she spots Billy-Bob Jojo sauntering along Green Lane and stops him. He is searched, she gives him a piece of paper telling him why, and finding nothing, lets him go on his way.

The piece of paper enters the Area Intelligence office, now based at Charl nick due to centralisation. The Charl local intelligence officer quality-assures the piece of paper and finds that PC Bloggs has left out the box designating whether it was dark or light at 2am. The piece of paper goes back in the internal mail to PC Bloggs.

PC Bloggs, meanwhile, is not allowed to send out an email warning everyone of Billy-Bob's arrival in Blandmore, as it would be in breach of data-handling rules. She has to wait for Area Intelligence to decide whether or not to circulate the information to all officers. Three days later, she receives her erroneous piece of paper and corrects the shocking mistake, re-submitting it to Intelligence.

In the meantime, the morning after the theft, the BMW owner reports his crime. It is "screened" by a civilian call-taker, who designates it a "C-crime". This means there is no hope of ever finding an offender. The caller is given his crime reference number, no officer is ever sent, and the job is filed.

Now a week since the night, the Area Intelligence officer quality-assures PC Bloggs' piece of paper for a second time. Having been in prison, Billy-Bob Jojo is not on the list of priority offenders. Nor is Green Lane a particularly problem area for auto crime. As nothing was found on Billy-Bob, this makes it a poor quality and pathetic effort by PC Bloggs, possibly even illegal, and the piece of paper goes in a file in case Billy-Bob makes a complaint. It is never logged on the system, and may even be thrown in the bin.

Two weeks following the theft, the Area C-Crime Collator discovers a trend of auto-crime emerging in the Green Lane area. He applies to Area Intelligence to have an email sent out to officers, and another week after that, officers are advised to step up their patrols on Green Lane.

Billy-Bob Jojo turns his attentions to Blue Lane, and the BMW owner buys a CCTV camera for the outside of his house.

We really are our own worst enemy sometimes.

'Diary of an On-Call Girl' is available in all good bookstores and online.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

I vow to thee...

Yet again, the government is "pledging" stuff about the police. This time Gordon Brown has decided to give out the mobile number of every neighbourhood police officer so that the public can contact them directly.

I am always confused by the term NEIGHBOURHOOD OFFICER. In Blandmore, neighbourhood officers get a bonus of £1500, an office with a coded door-lock to prevent people stealing their one marked vehicle and they attend a lot of town meetings. I do feel for them in this regard, for despite the meetings being advertised as taking place between 10-11am, they require a lot of preparation beginning at 8am and always drag on until at least 4pm (or whenever the officer's off-duty time is), thereby preventing the long-suffering neighbourhood officers from attending any reports of crime all day!

According to the government, NEIGHBOURHOOD OFFICERS reduce the fear of crime, are able to tackle persistent problems in areas such as antisocial behaviour, car crime or burglary, and are WHAT THE PUBLIC WANTS.

When our neighbourhood officers aren't attending their savage all-day meetings, they generally get roped into attending emergencies between their antisocial behaviour, car crime and burglary commitments. If motivated, they might make as many arrests as I do, although they only have one car to share between them to transport the villains in. As a result, most of them are restricted to walking around in yellow jackets smiling at people and disseminating to the rest of us which hotels give free tea to police and which ones spit in it first.

As a mere RESPONSE OFFICER, I am not WHAT THE PUBLIC WANTS. My duties entail attending constant reports of antisocial behaviour, car crime and burglary, as well as all the emergencies in-between. I take on investigations into things that have happened to members of my neighbourhood - Blandmore - and I try to resolve them the best way I can. I have a mobile number which I am supposed to give out to my victims. This means they can contact me whenever they want and I only get two or three angry messages a week demanding to know why I am not on duty for twenty-four hours a day and why my phone isn't switched on when I'm not.

I suppose the point I'm making is: aren't we ALL neighbourhood officers? If you're in uniform, and you have contact with the public, you are the face of policing whether you get a £1500 bonus or not. Which begs the question, is pledging to improve neighbourhood policing really a pledge at all?

When will Labour pledge to lock up people like Herbert and Harris BEFORE they do this?

'Diary of an On-Call Girl' is available in all good bookstores and online.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

I am sorry to say that public opinion of the police has never been lower than it is today. Crime statistics are floundering up and down depending on what crimes you count and who you ask. The police are in deadlock with the Home Office over a pay rise that is never going to happen. Antisocial behaviour is rife and the south of England is threatened by a flood of baggage that cannot be attributed to climate change.

If you bought all that...

April Fool's!!!

I apologise for my frivolity. The first day of the new Detection Year for Blandshire Constabulary is hardly a time for jokes. A concept Gordon Brown does not seem to understand as he embraces April Fool's Day whole-heartedly.

'Diary of an On-Call Girl' is available in all good bookstores and online.


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