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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Thursday, April 02, 2009

The Elusive Form

One of the reasons I joined the police was in order to fill out forms. In fact, I can recall many a happy hour spent as a child sitting at my mini-tea-table with pens strewn around me and pages of dotted lines before me, dreaming of the day I would join the police.

There are basically two kinds of form available to the modern police officer:
  • The personal details form - just containing spaces for name, address, etc
  • The arse-covering form - a form that contains justification for why the personal details form needed to be filled in
The famed "stop & account" form is really a combination of the two, which is why it is so long and important.

But there are some forms so powerful, so legendary, that their role is arcane and mysterious. These Elusive Forms pepper police files, crime investigations, and court documents, and yet if asked, no one is actually able to pinpoint a time when they have been used at any time other than when they were first filled in. One such example is the Bad Kid Form (the BKF).

A BKF is filled out whenever a child under eighteen is arrested. If the child is bailed and later charged, a VBKF follows (Very Bad Kid). The form is submitted to four places via the twenty-first century medium of carbon-copy, and three of those places are the Youth Offending Team (YOT). The government says that Blandshire is not a Strategic Force unless it has a YOT,* because a large part of crime is committed nowadays by youths, and this is unacceptable. Children are our future, plus the little bastards make our figures look bad.

As you can imagine, the BKF is therefore a potent piece of paper. Its very existence prevents a child somewhere from falling into a cycle of crime and violence. It will contain the child's name and address - as copied from the custody record; the parent's name and address - copied from the custody record; the offence arrested - copied from the, uh, custody record; the final decision - copied... Basically it is vital, because without it the officers working in the YOT would have to log onto the custody system to view the record, or the crime management system to look at the crime report, and that just won't do.

Once filed, the BKF has played its part and will never be seen again. I have never yet witnessed the need for the BKF to be exhibited at court, referred to in a future investigation, or indeed ever produced from the file into which it is shoved on its inception.

About 10% of my time is spent filling out elusive forms such as the BKF. And I think you will agree, quite right too.

* In case you can't make out the relevance of the links, if you're not considered a "Strategic Force", you get a smaller budget.

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


Blogger Constable said...

Please don't forget the DOS (Demand On Society) form that absolutely must be filled in for every "domestic" incident we are called to when Shaz and Dean argue over the last can of Stella!
Our latest one even asks if the family pet has ever been smacked...I jest you not. It takes about 30 minutes to fill in once you decide which of the 7 pages are relevant.

02 April, 2009 21:57

Anonymous R/T said...

Love the "BKF"! Here we have 01BKF. Everything is 01 down here. We're the number 01 force, don't you know! :o)

03 April, 2009 07:27

Anonymous Dr Melvin T Gray said...

In 2001, a Home officer survey confirmed what most civilians suspected - less than 1% of an officer's time was spent on foot patrol. In the following year, the Policing Bureaucracy Task Force examined 250 police forms, paying attention to fifteen most commonly used. David Blunkett pledged that eight of those fifteen would be scrapped immediately. Thus was conveyed the qualitative impression of problem resolved.

Surely no politician would think of manipulating public opinion with economies of truth whilst introducing new forms through the back door?

03 April, 2009 11:22

Blogger Constable said...

you surely don't mean we have been hoodwinked by the government do you?

R/T, have you guessed which force I'm with yet? Trying hard to disguise it.


03 April, 2009 14:28

Anonymous Dr Melvin T Gray said...

Let us not be illiberal with our praise Constable C, many past and present Chief Constables attended the Blunkett Academy of Verisimilitude.

03 April, 2009 15:31

Anonymous Retired Sgt said...

Bloggsy-Did you have a toy Post Office set when you were a kid?
If you did and used up all the forms then made up some more yourself you well on the way to promotion!!!

03 April, 2009 16:37

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is that your laundry done, Ellie?

03 April, 2009 17:54

Anonymous RD said...

Let's see in my neck of the world,
we have the:

Investigation Report
Custody Report
Special Report.
Traffic Crash Report
Domestic Violence Report
Use of Force Report
Pursuit Report
Stop Stick Report
Prostitution Report
Gang Report
Driver Re-test Report
Fraud Report
Damage to City Property Report
Drug Test Report
Crime Lab Report
Finger Print Request Report
Firearm Function Check Report

03 April, 2009 23:12

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well that's good news then. I'm very relieved to hear that my BKF from many decades ago has been buried somewhere deep in a dungeon of police files. Is there a form SWF though, for a "naughty" Slightly Wild Female who got caught with cannabis whilst undercover in her 20's???

I need therapy Dr Melv. Have you got any?

M.T.Minx ;0)

03 April, 2009 23:13

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention. The police may not ever bother with a BKF, or a VBKF again in the future.
However, if that kid then becomes a victim of a very serious attempt to harm which turns them into a nervous wreck, and they then get bullied into seeing a shrink.........Who promptly IGNORES the reason why that person is there in his surgery, [one of his patients convicted of manslaughter, at it again, or at least trying to] but insists on getting the abused person to confess about any naughty behaviour they are thoroughly ashamed of, committed in their silly youth. The Bastard then writes it all down for the NHS to gossip about and smear that persons name FOREVER! This is the Alice in Wonderland System, and it is definitely NOT the Police's fault.

03 April, 2009 23:25

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where is the #MIDTWH1212snfu* , the report that asks you tick off the list of reports /forms you have used, to sign in and book out during thy spell of ticking off the correct report that requires you type in, not scan in, the repetitive answers to ensure that you have filled in the appropriate unnecessary duplicitous Intel.
Where be thy stop watch that you use to start and finish the report thereby showing the time enjoyed it takes to match all those little squares.
PS: are you allowed to erase blots or squiggles that may cause the scanner to be interpreted as a foreign bad word.

* Ministry of Information daily tally Whitehall 1212.snfu

03 April, 2009 23:38

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our force has done away with the footlong Stop & Account forms. We all have PDAs and the electronic form only asks for 6 pieces of information: Time, date, division, section, officer-defined ethinicity and self-defined ethnicity. I'm still amazed that they've managed to redesign something into a better format!

04 April, 2009 04:08

Blogger The TEFL Tradesman said...

Is this related to what the criminal classes refer to as 'got form' when somebody has a criminal record? Does it mean they have to spend all their days locked up in Butlins filling out forms?

If so, it's a shameful state of affairs when those who are driven to commit crime in these economically-depressed days have to slave away over sheets of paper and pretend they know how to write. How inhumane! What a rotten society we live in!! Vote SFLP at the next election!!!

Only the Science Fiction Loony Party can help to bring us back from the abyss of a form-dominated hell-on-Earth fascist capitalist, erm, whatver it is ... I think.

04 April, 2009 09:17

Blogger Area Trace No Search said...

But without forms, how would we keep the legions of office bound wallahs in employment?

You have to remember we have a duty of care for these poor 9-5 colleagues.

04 April, 2009 14:38

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought that the SFLP [Science Fiction Loony Party] were already in government, but using the title of NuLabour and the CONservatives - not much difference between them. In fact the SFLP have already infiltrated government in the form of Alister Campbell and his "Spin Machine". It churns out nonsense day after day, to fool the public into thinking that the government do know what they are doing.

There would be quite a few in government, and its' agencies with "form", IF the cops could only catch them, and make it stick.

05 April, 2009 00:41

Blogger Hogday said...

In defence of the Home Office, I do believe that Metropolitan Police officers no longer have to carry Form 12, which absolutely had to be completed if one had called out a vet to destroy a horse. I kept my original Form 12 for my entire service, even after I transferred out of the Met, in the vain hope that one day I might be able to proudly set it free and enter it into the admin system, but no bastard ever asked for it. So `well done` to the bright young things at the Home Office - I do hope they don't read this as these bright ideas do seem to go round on the ideas re-invention circuit.

06 April, 2009 15:01

Anonymous Retired Sgt said...

How many times did I ask you to put that form 12 in..and I am STILL
waiting.Report to my office at once.

06 April, 2009 15:04

Blogger Dr Zen said...

You should just clip them round the ear and send them on their way?

You do realise that most people have to do paperwork? It's dull, but people need records because memories are imperfect (and people lie). In fact, get this: we say that criminals have records. Isn't that mad? If you never filled in a form, they wouldn't. No one would ever know that the youth offender had been in contact with the police.

Still, I suppose you'd be okay with that. Just smack them up with the batons and send them on their way. No need to bother with the CPS or the courts, evidence and proof, or any of that liberal palaver. We all know who the scum are, right?

26 April, 2009 05:45

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13 November, 2009 07:05


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