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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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

"Have-a-go" Tories

Apparently the Tories are going to make life easier for people who intervene in crime in good faith.

The Conservatives claim "
there is evidence that the police and prosecutors are too ready to accept allegations made by criminals against people who try to apprehend them". So they want to amend the Crown Prosecution Service's code, as well as Health and Safety laws, to encourage people to "have-a-go".

This all sounds great. Except that there are already plenty of laws protecting people acting in good faith to prevent crime. Certain powers of arrest under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 apply to the general public as well as the police. There is s.3 Criminal Law Act 1967, which enshrines the right to self-defence. There is Common Law: oodles of case law in which people acting in good faith were protected by courts.

So the law/code/H&S isn't the issue.

The fact is, the police are not "ready to accept" allegations made by criminals. We are forced to accept them by the National Crime Recording Standards, which state we must record an allegation as a crime within 24hrs of it being reported. If we then decide to file it without bringing anyone to justice for it, it will count as a negative slice of our violent crime pie chart.

This situation is the same whether the allegation is one by a criminal against someone trying to detain him, a drunk who thinks he might have been assaulted but might have just fallen down, someone trying to claim robbery to swindle the DSS out of more cash, etc. The government doesn't believe the police will investigate these claims unless we are forced to, the idea being that some genuine allegations will get dismissed in the same bundle, hence NCRS.

So it's the rules on crime-recording which need addressing.

But all that said, if the Tories think that Health and Safety law, and the fear of prosecution, are the main reasons why the public won't get involved in street crime, they need to think again:

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


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you seriously saying if a member of the public performs a citizen's arrest, and the scrote complains, it's the pressure over detection rates that will get the scrote's complaint turned into a detection?

Would your inspector seriously push this through and ruin a good person's life for the sake of a statistic?

If the police in Britain are willing to prosecute an innocent member of the public who commits a citizen's arrest because of the crime reporting standards, then they deserve to be utterly detested.

01 October, 2008 01:44

OpenID inspectorgadget said...

I don't think you read the post properly. Bloggs said we HAVE to record it as a crime, not ARE WILLING to record it as a crime.
Also (how many times do we have to say this) the police DO NOT PROSECUTE in the UK. We don't even make the DECISION to prosecute. That is the CPS. An entirely different organisation, outside our control.

01 October, 2008 08:19

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This problem would not exist if the police etc. actually made the streets safe.
Why not give it a go?

01 October, 2008 08:49

Anonymous Dr Melvin T Gray said...

Anon 08:49,
Now that the nail has been perfectly struck on the head, listen to the silence.

01 October, 2008 09:43

Anonymous Talking to a brick wall said...

Anon, Melvin, you've not been paying attention, have you?
It's not that difficult, either.
The police can't make the streets safe because they are all inside the nick filling in reams of forms associated with nonsense 'crimes' reported to them which have to be investigated under NCRS.
Of course, sometimes they do get to arrest proper criminals... and what happens then?
Either someone else (the CPS) decides not to prosecute them or someone else (the courts) sends them back onto the streets. The cops have no involvement in either of these ever so slightly key elements of the process (so the first anon's comment - "If the police in Britain are willing to prosecute an innocent member of the public who commits a citizen's arrest because of the crime reporting standards, then they deserve to be utterly detested." - makes no sense whatsoever.
Beyond the normal laziness and incompetence which some police officers show because they are human beings and some people in all walks of life exhibit these characteristics, this actually isn't the police's fault. Look at the government, not the Old Bill.

01 October, 2008 09:51

Blogger uniform said...

dr melvin ...

remember the rotten borough election in the episode ,Dish and Dishonesty ,Black Adder the third.


Well almost 65 votes (4750 electorate 36 % turnout ) wasn't it ?

That's what the Kirklees council ,ALMONDBURY,electors gave you when you stood on the hustings.

lets remind ourselves of that:

Rather like the running joke in Private Eye, where contributors call for the re-printing of the Andrew Neil and dusky lady pic , surely we can never tire of this electoral tibit.

Here's a tip ,when looking for a populist vote; actually take the time to cultivate a popular personality.

01 October, 2008 10:22

Blogger PC Bloggs said...

It's a nonsense to say that it is the police's fault if they mindlessly go after government targets. If your "employer" - ie the person in control of your money (in this case the government) - gives you targets and you get more funding/money if you meet them, this is not a simple pressure to ignore. The government made a decision some time ago about what kind of police force they wanted, and they are gradually getting it.

01 October, 2008 10:29

Anonymous Dr Melvin T Gray said...

I can swiftly hold my hand up in acknowledgment of error on my part.

My statement should have read 'listen to the excuses' and not 'listen to the silence'.

01 October, 2008 10:33

Anonymous Charles said...

What are these 'excuses', Melvin?
The CPS prosecutes, not the police. It's quite simple. And so are you.

Ps I LOVE that link, Uniform, and to make it easier still here it is with html so people can click through and see what the good burgers of Kirklees think of our loopy friend, 'Dr' Gray.

I'm amazed that Melv found even 65 people who would vote for him. Perhaps just to get him to go away...? Ha ha ha ha ha ha.

01 October, 2008 10:46

Anonymous Dr Melvin T Gray said...

Dear Uniform (aka Peeping Tone),
A good police officer needs the protection of anonymity on a blog such as this, in order to safely post honest thoughts and an officer with integrity will not abuse the privilege. I cannot justify anonymity for my own views and that is a self imposed rule; the price for doing so being known to me at the outset.

Yobs throw stones for reaction and mindless cowards throw insults in lieu of reasoned argument. This does not surprise me. What does surprise me is to find you here so early when you are normally hiding in the village with a couple of bottles of 'free' Marks and Spencer wine.

01 October, 2008 11:21

Anonymous Retired Sgt said...

Calm down now calm down....
The problem is that once a crime is recorded then many "Guvnors" (90% I would say) expect to see a detection and it is here where the problem lies- Many Inspectors and above hate to make decisions-they might get criticised-and that would never do would it- so all these nonsense crimes that are recorded could be knocked on the head straight away by a guvnor with a bit of ability-
that of course is another problem.
When my team recorded nonsense crimes I would make it clear on the crime that in my opinion it should be "No Crimed" and produce a reasoned arguement as to why and
on the vast majority of times it would be knocked on the head-sometimes it wasnt but I always ensured that the Insp responsible for time wasting was kept fully in the picture-with everything copied to his or her supervisor by mistake.They loved me working for them....not the guvnors the public that is...

01 October, 2008 15:30

Anonymous PC Michael Pinkstone said...

The saddest part of the NCRS is the letter 'S'.

In bygone days we would hold the standard high. It was tangible, visible, and gave heart to the troops on the battlefield.

Nowadays I look at this so-called 'standard' and shake my head in despair at how shambolic it has all become.

Our 'standards' have been set by politicians who know nothing of anything, and who would give anything for nothing.

02 October, 2008 00:38

Anonymous The Windsor Swindler said...

Hmm, and what actually leads the detested Tories to even consider that they might be in the position to form a government at some (any?) time in the near future?

If I don't vote Labour, I don't vote. I would never give my vote to a bunch of over-privileged upper middle class twats. Except the ones in the Labour Party, of course...

02 October, 2008 09:40

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually didn't SOCA rather reduce the citizen's power of arrest?

02 October, 2008 15:49

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, the Tory policy is ellected police chiefs....

Reminds me of a story a Texan friend told of a lady in his home town who had shot a burglar the week before (neighbours). The police chief came round and explained that he would have to take the gun for evidence. There was quite a bit of muttering from the assembled crowd about that. So, he ducked out to his patrol car, and came back with his *personal* handgun - a Casull. For those who don´t know it, it´s twice as powerful as a .44 and costs alot of money. Lending it would be like lending your Ferrari. Guess who everyone in that street votes for now....

Now that it is a clear message from the forces of law and order.

03 October, 2008 02:18

Anonymous mac said...


If I complain about the gas board to the electricty board and they tell me they have no control over the gas board's actions, is that an 'excuse' or a statement of the bleedin' obvious?

Over the months/years you have been told the difference between the CPS, courts and the police so many times on the various police blogs that the fact you still don't seem to get it means either a)you are thick, b) just like the sound of your own voice,c)are just plain arguementative or d)lazy and rather than take up your issues with the relevant organisations, you just post on police blogs.

Either way, what use are you for the greater good of society?

Retired Sgt,

I'll tell you what, if you stop generalising about Inspectors I won't tar every Constable and Sergeant with the same brush as the (extremely few) lazy ones who know enough about the system to prevent me doing their legs.

I am perfectly capable of making c**p go away and 90% of my working life is spent trying to keep all the rubbish IG so eloquently describes off the backs of my officers so they can do what they joined to do.

In the 'citizen's arrest' scenario I can and have made these 'go away' but when I have, I am actually sticking my nose in the process where it shouldn't be. Between arresting officer, Custody Officer, Gateway officer and CPS, I actually don't actually have any status. The conributors above who mentions the NCRS hit the nail on it's head. However even when good sense prevails, the 'Good Citizen' gets a raw deal. Unfortunately 99% of arrests in these cases take place at the scene with two people making counter allegations. Therefore arrests are made with the intention of sorting things out quickly at the nick. That then means under NCRS a crime report is created. The 'good citizen' is now officially a 'suspect'. Also, under NuLabour's back door way of getting everyones DNA and fingerprints the 'good citizen' now has them on record forever regardless of the outcome. When'no longer a good citizen and will never get involved again' is released after good sense prevails the crime report will say 'undetected' (which I can live with) not 'load of crap in the first place, give the man a medal. Also, because of the afrementioned number of people involved in the decision making process, the 'good citizen' will have spent a good few hours in the cells for their trouble.

The only part of that scenario I find acceptable is the 'undetected' but even that is wrong.

BTW, as IG and Bloggs have pointed out numerous times, most of the bureaucratic nightmare and removal of discretion that comtemporary PCs and Sgts have to put up with came about because of the dodgy practices of their (now mostly retired) predecessors. Did you retire before or after the implementation of NCRS? It makes a difference.

(I have 20 years in - 18 as PC and Sgt. Long enough to have heard all the war stories going back 50 years and having a few of my own). Current officers pay for the 'sins of the fathers' every day.

06 October, 2008 11:59

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, most public services are riddled with MAC men.

07 October, 2008 08:39

Anonymous Dr Melvin T Gray said...

Dear 'Mac':

Thick is a specific insult and an adjective used by the imprecise. Conclusions can be drawn about those using the word in either context, particularly when additional information is offered in the form of 'tells' as to education and reasoning power.

You rant that no matter how many times you repeats yourself, others cannot understand you or will not accept your argument. How vindicated you are to insist that constant play backs add not an atom's width to reason.

If MAC can foresee a future criminal offence committed when a citizen is deliberately insulted by a public servant, he might just be smart enough to deduce his own style made such legislation inevitable.

07 October, 2008 12:52

Anonymous MAC said...


It's not me repeating myself. You have been told by many different posters about the different functions of different organisations.

As you only object to being called thick, you have no quarrel with the other 3 options?

Anon @ 08.39,

Why the insult? I explained why I always try and stop the prosecution of 'good citizens' and then explained why even if I do they still get shafted by the system.

07 October, 2008 21:06

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Mac,
We have now concluded our psychometric tests and provide the following results herewith :-

1. By the time you reached 9yrs, lots of children had mistakenly called you 'bully'.

2. You would have done far better at school if at least one of your Teachers had not been a moron.

3. You enjoy unsupervised work and detest being told what to do at other times.

4. You would have secured promotion had anyone been capable of recognizing real talent.

We are currently recruiting folk matching your profile for important overseas work. Have you previously considered a police appointment in Iraq?

EPQ Labs

08 October, 2008 19:18

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