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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Monday, January 19, 2009

Our Own Worst Enemy

Occasionally a brainstormer at a police headquarters somewhere comes up with a wacky scheme to reduce crime. Gadget describes the campaign, waged by numerous forces over time, to stick notices on cars with valuables on display, just so the thieves know which ones to break into.

As a front-line police officer I spend most of my time trying to respond to schemes like this. I find myself treading a path of compromise between what I'm being told to do and what my commonsense is protesting. But that's always assuming that I'm told about the scheme in the first place. I often fall foul of senior managers by failing to adhere to a new policy that I know nothing about.

For those of you new to the crazy world of British policing, a Crime Reduction scheme is usually brought into being by the following simple process:
  • A Superintendent somewhere identifies a crime wave consisting of two or three similar offences in a month.
  • He or she delegates the problem of solving the wave to an ambitious Chief Inspector.
  • Rather than pointing out that the crime wave does not exist, the C/I instigates a new operation, naming it after a word that no one understands like Adoxography.
  • Resources are diverted to Op Adoxography, front-line PCs are invited to work overtime on rest days, someone devises a ten-page document describing the aims and actions of the operation. These differ in no way from day-to-day policing except for the occasional extra annoyance to members of the public trying to get home/to work/to the pub.
  • A front-line sergeant is put in charge of the operation, and uses all the resources to attend the outstanding domestics, robberies and distraction burglaries that normally get left for a few days until all the evidence has rotted away.
  • All arrests, charges, tickets and cautions resulting from the officers on the operation get flagged as down to Op Adoxography.
  • Meanwhile the officers involved remain blissfully unaware that they were ever involved in an operation to start with, and fail to fill out their overtime forms correctly resulting in delayed payment.
  • The Chief Inspector hails the op a stupendous success.
  • The Superintendent gets promoted.
  • Back on the streets, crime waves that aren't very interesting, or can't be allocated an unusual word, continue unabated.
This really is my life. Occasionally there really is a crime wave that really can be solved by an influx of officers devoted to its cause. More often, there is just crime. If we had these kind of resources everywhere, every day, maybe there wouldn't even be that.

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


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Then get another bloody job, you effing Bimbo

19 January, 2009 23:44

Blogger stuart said...

Anonymous above me must have the worlds most perfect job that never required ranting about. At least telling people about it might make stupid practices like that change.

I did like your use of the word "adoxography" though - gave me a smile

20 January, 2009 00:01

Anonymous Paul said...

Oh very droll.

I was also very amused by your usage of adoxography.

Keep it up.

20 January, 2009 02:10

Blogger joker1972 said...

Anonymous do the world a favour go get a brain then come back and made a comment.

20 January, 2009 02:13

Blogger Hogday said...

There's an old song about that,

"We're Busy Doin' Nothin` Workin` the Whole day Through, Tryin` to Find Lots of Things Not To Do, We're Busy Goin` Nowhere, Isn't it Such a Crime,
(Chorus): We'd Like To Beeee Unhappy but, We Never Do Get The Time".

(From the film, "A Connecticut Yankee in the Court of King Arthur" available on Amazon and LoveFilm I believe).

Try humming that next time you're on Operation `AnotherDickheadsBrightIdea`, it may sooth the troubled brow. Worked for me.

20 January, 2009 08:48

Blogger uniform said...

Not nearly anon enough @ 23:44.

she is an ,accidental,PUBLISHED author as well, proving it's quite easy if you're half interesting , like you ain't.

That's what really gets your goat, no?

20 January, 2009 09:06

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Uniform...don't feed the Trolls (especially the dickless variety)

20 January, 2009 09:35

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, uniform, as in: " ..disgrace to the.." or "..fool in.."?

So, you think she is a successful authoress? Certainly you can't mean fiscal success seeing as she wants to take up additional part-time work to make ends meet.

Perhaps you mean success as being defined by the number of books which have already been pulped?

Don't let the door hit you on the way out, there's a good chap.

20 January, 2009 10:08

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't treat this joke as a job.

20 January, 2009 12:21

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Job is a joke ... and everyone on the Job is a jobby, I suppose?

20 January, 2009 13:54

Anonymous TheBinarySurfer said...

Lets be honest here - if you get beyond Inspector you probably did it by tweaking your PDR and doing what she describes.

Solving crime, preventing crime, or having good ideas about policing - these things are unimportant when it comes down to the great promotion game.

20 January, 2009 15:55

Anonymous Retired Sgt said...

Rewind to late 70s-Inspector rushes into Sgts office shouting
"We have got a problem with..."
Sgt G-exguardsman-standing up to his full height"NO we do not"-Insp slinks out
Next day on parade-Sgt G-"We is hevin a problem go and get it effing sorted"
At the end of the week when all the crims are locked up for whatever the problem was then Sgt G
marches smartly into Insps office salutes and says"Whateverproblem we did not have it is now sorted SAH"andmarches smartly out.No paper no overtime no public money wasted and problem solved.

20 January, 2009 17:29

Anonymous Retired Sgt said...

And Anon-Bimbo is Italian for "kid"-male so really you should have used "bimba"-female.Personally I think Bella would have more apt.look it up!

20 January, 2009 17:33

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I once found out (after the event) that my domestic arrest had been logged under Operation 'PDR'. Apparently I had been on the operation for 3 shifts in a row and I had never even heard of it.

I'm not sure you don't work at my nick Bloggsy because you've described almost every 'crime wave' style operation I've been on to a tee.

The latest fashion round our way is to identify gangs (organised crime groups), although how you can say our yobs have found the motivation to form a 'gang' is beyond me, given it takes them until noon the next day to switch off the x-box.

The most you can say about our youths is that they gather.

Still somebody (much cleavererer than I) in a beat team has managed to get a promotion off gathering intel on the local street gang.

20 January, 2009 18:08

Anonymous Anonymous said...

FFS I found out I was the car dedicated to Op Grimbold, Goldtree, Gaslink and God knows how many more today. I was the only driver and with a whole 4 foot soldiers (2 who were actually out on foot, the other 2 dealing with overnight prisoners) managed all this apparently without even realising it! How did they account for the calls for service plus the 2 warrants that I locked up?
Amazing eh, the dedicated neighbourhood officers were once again re-assuringly non deployable.
I work in a REALLY busy Northwest city which shall remain nameless but CI Numbnutts got his stats which is all that matters.

For F8cks sake!

20 January, 2009 19:30

Anonymous Retired Sgt said...

OOOOOOH-I think I might detect a touch of stress from anonymous-I find a natural product works wonders-its from the Solanacae family and its common name is Italian for beautiful woman.A glass of this will make the world a better place

21 January, 2009 14:13

Anonymous R/T said...

Vino tinto collapso usually cures all ills!

21 January, 2009 17:07

Anonymous Sgt Custerd said...

It's not just 'Operations' - try 'Forcewide Initiatives', 'Days of Action' (as opposed to days of inaction..?), seasonal 'clampdowns' - the list goes on. The press release to the local media will happily report that the most recent campaign against crime and disorder resulted in X number of arrests (Where X is the usual number of arrests for that perid of time...)

21 January, 2009 18:07

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So real...

21 January, 2009 21:32

Anonymous nichevo said...

Not so anonymous...
Brillant and scary cause it' s the same in our country, with the same
A virtual police in fact...

21 January, 2009 21:36

Anonymous PC Michael Pinkstone said...

"There's a sad sort of clanging from the clock in the hall, and the bells in the steeple too. And up in the nursery an absurd little bird is popping out to say cuckoo".

Welcome to British policing.

21 January, 2009 21:56

Blogger Virtual Supply said...

You forgot to mention about the project that would be needed to run the operation, so that gold command could be kept abreast of the operation in case anything goes wrong, and the team writing the risk assessment. And the four civilians hired at £450 a day to devise an interface for the IT department to gather the intelligence and identify the best new products to be issued to the coppers on the job. You forgot to mention the three months of trials and purchases of new bits of kit to test and try out before selecting the best for the job, for the operation to be a success.

You forgot the tenders being requested to find suppliers of the best selected products, and the selection team being used to define which tenders are apt and which are to be shelved. Then they have to be negotiated with to ensure that the products are registered and insured and supported and have a redundancy chain, have a life, have a path for disposal, have a resource in case of loss or damage when a bobby on the prowl loses one.

You also have to factor in the cost of the purchasing department ( arranging the tender, purchase and storage of the new product), the I.T. resourcing department ( To obtain, test, code up, interface with, allocate to, get contracts for, prove insurance losses are written off as technical depreciation and get batteries for), the documentation department (to write the assessments, to promulgate the process, to initiate the documentation trails) and then there is scales ( Seconding an officer to control the migration of officers onto and off of their normal duties to run on the pre operation trials, the discovery assessment, the validity investigation and the down time and losses attributable to the trials and therefore impactful of the operation), then you have the PR people, designing a logo and crests, and reports for the snooze papers and man from the telly, and HR get involved with a new team to manage the costing of the operation, the funding and coordination of financial resources to pay for the trials and the counter balance checks (done by the same people so that we can save man power and lose about 7% of the latest Council Tax Price Hike)

About this time some Chief will leave for another constabulary nearby and the new guy will shelve the operation due to its staggering cost. The 1.8 £M already spent is written off, crime types get renamed and appear to drop off the books as they are suddenly counted differently, then, the operation s declared a success and the whole thing is wound up until next time. No one gets arrested, but three officers get fired for miss use of equipment, one IT guy jumps under a train due to the stress of it all, and a HR manager get fired for allegedly fiddling her time sheet because that is the only way they can get her office back and pull down its wall to expand the store that keeps the records of senior operations...

Can I prove any of the above? Join me at our constabulary for three months and watch the drama unfold relentlessly as our senior admin play a game of self perpetuated income ad security.

23 January, 2009 07:03

Anonymous xoggoth said...

Where do they get the money for such schemes, as if we don't know? What's wrong with much cheaper warning signs in problem areas? Maybe people can't read anymore.

24 January, 2009 11:17

Anonymous Anonymous said...

All the above is wonderful.
'umans must live on 2000 calories per day, must keep their body temperature at 98.5 Deg C and have a place to kip,so every one must find means to do just that, so how ?????, take thy bow and arrow and find some game and send others to shop for berries, but it be better to con others to go and fetch thy daily bread while you use thy intellect and not dirty thy mitts and freeze or boil thy proverbial's and sit under thy papyrus telling the world that you are not that idiot guy that every one is talking about.

24 January, 2009 19:28

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Police are scum.

They seek easy "detections" and BS non crimes.

They may whinge and whine and carp on public fora such as this one... but when it comes to it, they are willing accomplices in the process.

Pieces of shit, all of them

24 January, 2009 21:36

Blogger PC Plastic Fuzz said...

That troll of a first commenter is everywhere. He really has no life. How sad.

25 January, 2009 14:55

Blogger adrian said...

The New World Order for Dummies.

What Jaq boots Smithy is really up to with her ID card scheme.

25 January, 2009 19:48

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