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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Saturday, March 29, 2008

I'm so worried...




Signs of the times...





With yet another teenager charged with the murder of a yet younger teenager, is there really something wrong with society, or are we just hearing about these murders more because they have come to signify "a sign of the times". Or perhaps our more worldly society is just more affected by the death of young black kids than they were say, twenty years ago, when no one bothered to report the murders?

There isn't much gang crime in Blandmore. What there is consists of kids who don't really know what a gang is. This makes it a lot easier to police them.

In general, if an armed robbery is thought to have been committed by either the Blandmore Boys or BBB1 (the postcode for Blandmore doubles as the name of its hardest core gang), we just log onto Facebook and download confessions by all the gang members. Sadly we can't use any of this in court, but it's funny to see their solicitor's face in interview.

I do worry about the state of the world today. I worry that no one seems to have any kind of answer to the rise in gun and knife crime. And I worry that despite decades of experience running one of the busiest airports in the world, no one seems able to launch a new terminal without a typically British fiasco of delays, cancellations and piles of unclaimed baggage.

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

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Crime Rates are like Climate Change

I have a confession: I don't believe in human-induced climate change.















I do think the world is warming up, the ice caps are melting, the weather is more erratic, etc etc. I'm just not sure it's got a great deal to do with us.

If you watch this instead of this of an evening, you will know that ice caps have melted and weather changed back and forth throughout history, long before cars and factories existed. I'm sure it will carry on doing so long after we're gone. There are things we do not control, thank goodness.

Some people's passions are roused at the mere mention of climate change. For others, it is crime rates.

Every few weeks I am subjected to an email or three from the Superintendent in Charge of Statistics. In it, I am told how BCS is up, detections are down, or vice versa. How successful our high visibility reassurance patrols have been in reducing vehicle crime by 4% in a year. How the PCSO that sits in the TV room for most of the shift is entirely responsible for the humungous 2% reduction in antisocial behaviour in his area.








It's not that I don't believe the figures - even though they are haphazardly chosen and fluctuate depending on what policy you use to calculate them. But I accept they probably reflect a rough truth.

I'm just not sure, once you've taken into account the economy, house prices, changes in local benefits, illegal drug prices, world events, politics and the weather, that the antics of the police have much to do with it.














The Superintendent in Charge of Statistics disagrees. In fact, he thinks the ice caps are all my fault.

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

Friday, March 21, 2008

If your child was kidnapped...

It wouldn't be right to pre-judge the Matthews family (sorry, the Matthews, Meehan, Rose, Hooker and Name Unknown family) for any role that may or may not have been played in Shannon's kidnapping.

Instead, I thought I'd hold a quick quiz, so we can all make up our own minds.

1. If your child was kidnapped, would you:
A) Absolutely distraught, keep in close contact with the police and Family Liaison Officer for any news.
B) Give an impassioned on-air plea to the kidnapper to return him/her unharmed.
C) Invite a Channel 4 film crew into your house to make a documentary about your grief.

2. When the child was found alive, would you:
A) Distraught at the ordeal, rush straight to be reunited and anxiously await results of medical examinations and interviews to see whether he/she had been abused.
B) Release a short statement thanking the police and public and asking for privacy to allow the child to readjust.
C) Throw an impromptu party involving copious amounts of Fosters and White Lightning, shredding vast amounts of litter into the street and keeping the neighbourhood awake all night.

3. When told your child could not return straight home would you:
A) Suffer immense distress, unable to comprehend why you couldn't have your child back.
B) Engage a solicitor to sue the police and Social Services.
C) Announce to the media that you "understand" and didn't expect him/her to come straight home.


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

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Breaking News: Politican Expert in Policing!

A Yorkshire MEP thinks that introducing "Amber Alert" in this country would have found Shannon Matthews faster, and more alive. This is because left to their own devices, all police officers are latent child-murderers and would not investigate a missing child on their own.











Mr Mcmillan-Scott has obviously been spending far too much time in the European Parliament discussing the shape and texture of Euro-approved grapes. In 2006 the Child Rescue Alert was launched nationwide, although it was actually in use back in 2003 by a few forces. It is a procedure that kicks in when a police force deems a kidnapped child could benefit from it, and involves rolling out information across media outlets to try and get the child back.

As you will see, this system has radically changed the police's approach to missing children. Prior to 2003, it was handled by drawing up a press release and giving a press conference. Since 2003, it is handled by drawing up a press release and giving a press conference. Only now it's called Child Rescue Alert, which makes all the difference.

I don't blame MEP Mcmillan-Scott from trying to make a few political brownie points up north with his facile remarks. I do blame media outlets across the nation for being unaware that the Child Rescue Alert already exists. Makes you wonder just how anyone broadcast that Shannon Matthews was missing in the first place.

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

Monday, March 17, 2008

Self-Harm is this year's black

There is an organisation in Blandmore called Brite Eyes*. It consists of a block of forty brand new bedsit-sized flats, 24/7 warden, secure gated entrance and off-road parking, and is only open to 16-24-year-olds. 90% of the occupants are just 16 or 17. Their rooms are cleaned and furnished for them, and there is a communal area offering free refreshments, so most of the kids at Brite Eyes have little to do with their day. Suffice it to say, we are called there several times a month.

I once went there to arrest a couple of teenaged robbers. I disturbed their sleep at 11am to discover 5 fellow robbers bunked down on their floor. As I cuffed 17yr old Jay, I noticed a fresh wound to his right forearm.

"What happened, Jay?"

"I cut myself, innit."

Inwardly, I'm thinking Cell Watch. Outwardly, I finish cuffing him and search his flat. Two of the five guests on Jay's floor have bandaged forearms. As I reach the window, I see an ambulance pulling up outside and a teenaged girl being led out to it with white gauze pressed to both wrists.

"That's Selica," Jay tells me, "She's trying to get admitted to Brook Hospice cos her friend Kylie got put in there last month and it's well safe." **

A small crowd of sobbing blond girls follows Selica to the ambulance. Another looks on enviously from the sidelines, scratching frantically at her own forearms with bitten nails.

I turn around, and robber number two, Patrick, has taken a knife out of the kitchen drawer and is carving little slivers in a neat line down the outside of one arm. He makes a disappointed whine as my crew-mate takes the knife away and handcuffs him.

For some, self-harm is a serious business.

Not for the kids in Brite Eyes. For them, self-harm is just the latest fashion.

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

* OK, it's not called Brite Eyes. But the real name is just as sickening and inappropriate.
** For those of you who don't work in the public sector, 'safe' is vernacular for 'sweet', 'bad' and 'waxa', which all mean the same thing. But you knew that anyway.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Together in Spirit

One of my most valued sources of information on the police, apart from actually BEING in the police, is that most insightful and unbiassed show 'Road Wars'. This week they showed footage of some US cops pulling over a speeding car, whereupon the teenaged driver pulled out a handgun and shot one of the cops, before being shot 3 or 4 times by other police.

'For shooting the cop and dangerous driving,' intoned the narrator, 'this youth was sentenced to ONE HUNDRED AND SEVEN YEARS in prison.' Just to be clear, the police officer was not seriously injured despite being shot. The shooters of PC Sharon Beshenivsky (who actually died), despite being hardened criminals engaged in a robbery at the time, were sentenced to 35 years. Let's wait and see what this guy gets in England for a case similar to the Road Wars one.

Last year the teenager Adam Swellings assaulted a police officer. He was freed on bail because the magistrate accepted a non-custodial sentence would be imposed (which meant they HAD to bail him). Also on bail for other assaults, Swellings murdered Gary Newlove just hours later. It is safe to say that in America, he would have been locked up for some months just for raising a fist to a police officer.

But what I find interesting is that the other three lads in the car were also sentenced to between 5-12 years each, just for being there when it happened.

In England, a group of lads attacked a couple in a park last August. The woman died, the man was seriously hurt. Yet just one of the group stands trial for murder (another has pleaded guilty already). The others have pleaded to GBH on the male but are apparently not accountable for the woman's death despite being involved in the attack. Also in August, five youths stoned a pensioner to death but were acquitted because the judge couldn't be sure which of them threw the stone that killed him.

The message is clear to those who participate in violent attacks: as long as you make the situation confusing enough and back off before the fatal blow is struck, you'll be all right.


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

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Newsflash:

Chief Constable Michael Todd has been found dead on a mountain, having written letters to his family.
















We'll wait to hear the formal verdict, and it was awfully windy, but I'm guessing on a list of reasons for Mr Todd to stay alive, this was not.

Update (12th March): My post is not meant in any way to offend Mr Todd's family. From all accounts he appears to have been one of the better respected CCs. But the job of Chief Constable must be ever more frustrating nowadays. We're already talking this month about the sad suicide of PC Ian Hardwick which has been squarely blamed on Home Office targets by his wife, hence the post.

We don't even know if Michael Todd did commit suicide yet, but either way I doubt the Home Office helped.

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

On the Road to Nowhere

News today is that nine illegal immigrants have "vanished" on a train after being given tickets by the police and told to make their way to the immigration centre at Croydon. The police say Immigration told them to do it. Immigration say the police were told to hold the illegals in custody.













Illegals are a bit of a nightmare in Blandmore. Occasionally we get sent to jobs where 15 or so of them come pouring out of a lorry and starburst into the night. Assuming we do manage to capture the bulk of them, the new policy is to transport them directly to a nearby "holding" centre. This functions between the hours of about 10-11am and if we arrive any other time it is likely to be shut or full. In that eventuality, we are to take them to Blandmore custody and await the arrival of Immigration officers.

If Blandmore custody is shut or full, there is a dilemma. Regardless of the BIA's protests in the above case, they have and do advise police officers to stick illegals on a train to Croydon. I've seen and heard them do it.

Either way, it's quite a magic trick. Are we sure the immigrants have "vanished" and aren't just lost in the British rail network somewhere?

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

Saturday, March 08, 2008

On 14th February I posted: '"It's ALL QUIET in Blandmore at the moment. I'm not supposed to use the Q-word, but I do so in the hope that it will prompt a flurry of rapes, murders and kidnappings."

It did.

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

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Insecurity

Last week Inspector Gadget discussed the difficulties of getting people sectioned or treated for mental illness. This isn't just a Ruralshire issue.

In Blandmore, the difficulty is not getting the person sectioned (well, that is difficult, but not as hard as the next stage). The difficulty is once they have been certified as crazy/in need of help, actually getting them held in a psychiatric unit in any kind of effective way. For the sake of non-police readers, usual psychiatric units are wards in hospitals and are the place people are taken when FORCIBLY "sectioned" by doctors.

This suggests they are equipped in some way to deal with serious mental illness. They are not. Among the many things that local psychiatric units are NOT able to do, are:
  • Accept patients with the wrong postcode. If you turn up at the door with a patient from another vicinity, you will have to remove them to their local hospital. Of course, once you arrive there, the local hospital will advise you to take them to the hospital closest to where you detained them. The best thing to do at this point is to start banging your head against a nearby wall until you are sectioned yourself.
  • They can't transport violent mad people to secure units. Believe it or not, most of these units rely on normal ambulances for this and as paramedics won't take violent patients, who know what happens to them.
  • They won't restrain violent mad people and forcibly sedate them without police help (which the law forbids us from giving, at least until after someone's been assaulted).
  • They seem unable to close the door to the unit.
  • Or lock said door once it is closed.
  • Or close windows to the secure wing.
  • Nine times out of ten they will not allow the police in with a mad person found wandering on the street, even though local policy designates these wards as the best place for them.
  • They cannot provide a nurse/guard/padded room for the mad person whilst awaiting assessment by a team of doctors (two police officers will have to remain for up to 8 hours to do this).
  • Psychiatric wards will not treat people who are "incurable". Basically, if you are so mad you are incurable, you will never get accepted into a psychiatric ward no matter how dangerous you are to the public. The prisons won't take you either, nor will police custody, so you are free to do as you please. I recommend mass murder. Lots of it.
I spend maybe a fifth of my time dealing with problems caused by the incompetence of this country's mental health services. If anyone knows of a ward where they DO do any of the above, please let me know and I will transfer to that force area immediately.

In the meantime, if you're mad, depressed, suicidal or murderous, just go on calling the police as we're the only people who can't hang up on you. Not without an IPCC investigation, anyway.

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

Monday, March 03, 2008

The Truth About (Rape)

On Tuesday The Guardian will publish yet another article about how the police are failing rape victims. It is likely to state that 5% of rape allegations result in a conviction, that x% of victims withdraw their complaint, and a number of other statistics.

This will prompt the usual flurry of commentary from people who think that this means 95% of accused rapists are "innocent". That x% of victims are liars and that all streets containing police stations are filled with queues of women pointing at men they don't like and begging doctors to shove swabs inside them.

I don't know how many allegations of rape are false. I do know that I am more likely - I would dare to say FAR more likely - to attend an allegation of burglary or robbery that I have my doubts about, than I am to attend a "dodgy" rape. I also know that I am FAR more likely to attend an allegation of burglary or robbery that involves one of the following forms of persuasive evidence:
  • CCTV
  • Witnesses
  • Injuries
  • Missing items
  • Broken stuff
  • Supportive family
  • An unembarrassed victim
  • No links or past history between victim and offender
  • A victim who is visibly upset and traumatised
Rapes rarely produce this "gold standard" of evidence. When they do, they are often "stranger" rapes which will be solved fairly quickly, and a hefty prison sentence given out when they are.

A seasoned detective said to me recently, "Most 'rape' victims just shagged someone and regretted it later. They haven't been 'raped' at all." This is an honestly held belief by most detectives I know. As if women who regret sex immediately tell their husbands, then ring up the police, rather than just keeping quiet. Sadly, there is a handful of women who do do this, for whatever reason.

Unfortunately, most police officers lump together the above with the unbelievably drunk, those with learning difficulties/mental illness, those accusing a friend/ex/partner, those who are uninjured, those who didn't scream, those who aren't sobbing and clinging to the officer's arm.

I'll never forget speaking to a colleague who worked in a Sexual Crimes Unit for many years. The victim of one rape was a young student who had been raped whilst drunk one night. There had been no injuries, little in the way of struggling, witnesses who had seen her kissing the guy earlier in the night. She was absolutely calm and composed throughout the investigation and prosecution. Not a soul in the police force or court believed her. The night after she gave her evidence and was called a slut and a liar in front of her family, she hanged herself.

It doesn't mean she had been telling the truth. But now only one person will ever know, and THAT is the truth about rape.



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

Rape Crisis is a charity that provides support and information for rape victims, and assistance to Rape Crisis Centres across the UK.
A proportion of proceeds from my book are donated to it.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

It's my blog!

Occasionally I get abuse from commenters who have had their comments deleted. Occasionally I get polite emails asking why, but it's usually abuse.

The answer is normally that it's my blog and if I don't want to see something on it, I'll delete it. This is why I have a blog and, let's be realistic, is really the point of a personal blog. If I wanted to read inappropriate and idiotic ramblings about the police, I would be on Facebook (I'm not). Or Wikipedia. The latter linked article was sent to me by a reader and relates to a police chief who has a posse of staff to edit his Wikipedia entry to make sure words like "greedy" and "moron" are removed. If you want to see Sir Norman Bettison's Wikipedia entry, you can't, because it's been disabled due to the fact that "The creator of this article, or someone who has substantially contributed to it, may have a conflict of interest regarding its subject matter". And also "Vandalism" - whatever that means online.

It seems even the most senior police officers are struggling to cope with New Age vandalism and are running scared nationwide.

Incidentally, I am not on Wikipedia. Anyone wishing to rectify that fact CAN. But be aware I WILL be hiring a small taskforce of highly-paid civilians to contribute daily compliments about me to the page. It's just that important to me.

Update 15th March: Yippee I AM now on Wiki!

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