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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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Victim vs Customer

I've moaned a bit about victim focus recently. Mainly because the Senior Management have been moaning about it, and they tend to delete my email diatribes without responding - whereas they can't delete this without some serious effort and court injunctions.

The problem is that whenever frontline police officers moan about Victim Focus, it sounds like we hate victims and want them to die.

The truth is, we moan because the language of the government and Senior Management team assumes that the majority of our 'customers' are the same thing as 'victims'. They aren't. Victims of 'volume' crime* are generally bog standard, middle/low income, hardworking taxpayers. For these people, being burgled, having their car broken into, God forbid being mugged or having their kids being beaten up at school, are jaw-aching, heart-crushing blows in their already precarious uphill struggle of life. The chances of getting satisfaction over their burglar/thief/mugger/bully are virtually nil.

So instead, we concentrate on our 'customers'. To identify whether you are a customer of Blandshire Police, please fill out the following questionnaire:

1. A night out clubbing should involve:
A. Beer, kebabs, dancing, and late into work the next day.
B. Beer, kebabs, dancing, being put in a taxi by friends and carried into bed.
C. Beer, kebabs, dancing, begging the police for a ride home whilst vomiting on their boots, then putting in a complaint when they arrest you for punching the guy who looked at your girlfriend funny.

2. Complete the following sentence: "I know where my kids are..."
A. "All the time"
B. "Most of the time"
C. "Never, but the police will find them for me when I want"

3. If you saw a terrible crime that scared and worried you, so that you called the police, would you then:
A. Watch and wait until the police arrive, then tell them what happened.
B. Agree to be seen at a later date to give a statement.
C. Phone fifteen times demanding why the police haven't turned up yet, then just as they're on their way vacate your house to go out drinking and in the morning tell them you really can't be bothered to give a statement as what's the point.

4. What are the key ingredients of a good relationship?
A. Compromise, love, trust.
B. Loud fights and make-up sex.
C. Waking the neighbours; screaming and crying; strings of obscene text messages; 999 calls over who let the dog out; stabbing, punching and throttling each other; and ultimately, the ability to unite together physically against the police officer that both of you asked round to sort the whole thing out.

5. If your child was arrested, and you had to attend the police station for their interview, how would you conduct yourself?
A. Politely but furiously attend and tell your wayward child to cooperate in every possible way, apologise to the police and ground said child for a month.
B. Resign yourself to a long night and quietly get on with it.
C. Down two bottles of wine as soon as you hear the news, then turn up demanding to see your little angel immediately. You'll have a family friend in tow who's just embarking on a law course and expect them to act as your child's solicitor. Every police officer involved in the case will have a complaint made against them, and when you are told firmly that because you have turned up drunk your child will have to be bailed and interviewed another time, you tell the police they are pathetic and throw a brick through the front window on your way out.

And finally...
6. If you went into the police station to ask whether your lost handbag had been handed in, how would you expect the enquiry to go?
A. You leave your name and address at the counter just in case, and thank the clerk.
B. You receive your lost bag, intact with all its contents.
C. You discover it's not there and demand to see someone more senior, then start shouting and swearing in the foyer, insisting that you will make a complaint. When some police arrive, you take off your stilletoes and batter the officers round the face until you are carted off to the cells in leg restraints.

Real victims will answer mainly A. Blandshire Constabulary customers will find themselves answering mainly C. Who do you think takes up more of our time?

Victim Focus, for all it's dressed up to be, is about trying to stop our customers ruining our crime figures without getting their stories printed in the Mail.

* er, that is, crime happening in large volumes and forming the bulk of our crime stats

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


Anonymous Ben R said...

I doubt I will read a funnier, or truer, thing all day.

13 August, 2009 08:38

Anonymous Angry Rozzer said...

never a truer word spoken. *sigh*. it retirement time yet?
Regards, Angry Rozzer.

13 August, 2009 10:11

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have a way with words - keep it up.

An ordinary MOP.

13 August, 2009 13:47

Anonymous Fee said...

Yep, answered mostly 'A'.

Except for question five, which should have read "and ground said child until they are at least 21, having removed their mobile phone and laptop to a secret location".

Point well made.

13 August, 2009 15:02

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is what it is like. I know some of you reading this blog think that this cannot be true,but it is.

It all stems from fear, fear that the filth will `do you`, fear the next door neighbour will call you a tout when the coppers arrive at your door, fear from the 3 week boyfriend who now lives in your flat/house who is not the father of your kids will beat the s--t out of you because you have called the coppers and they have arrived to arrest him for beating the s--t out of you.

I know it sounds hollow in todays new labour enviroment: but trust a copper. It took nearly 12 years to get revenge for the miners strike.

13 August, 2009 20:15

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Absolutely spot on!

We always go the extra mile for the proper victims but so many of our customers are victims one day and suspects the next and they are the ones who take up all our time and resources as they are the ones who will make complaints at the drop of a hat if things dont go exactly as they want.

13 August, 2009 22:12

Blogger blueknight said...

True I worked a beat that consisted of several rough housing estates surrounded by a 'nice' residential area. In the 5 years that I was there I could count the numbers of calls to the 'nice' area on my fingers.
I had more calls to the rough estate in 5 days...

13 August, 2009 23:42

Anonymous denise:) said...

I cannot tell you how often I've tried to come up with the words to describe what I call "true victims" and (in italics) "victims". You have summed it up completely and hilariously.

13 August, 2009 23:49

Anonymous Retired Sgt said...

Senior officers are of course just taking on the latest buzzwords-they dont actually give a crap about victims customers or anything else including their staff as long as they get a big fat bonus at the end of the month.

14 August, 2009 14:44

Anonymous Retired Sgt said...

A customer is someone who pays you to do your job-so for example if I was aplumber and fixed a boiler the boiler is not a customer-therefore an offender is not a

14 August, 2009 14:47

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good craic Ellie.

I've always thought that we should operate on a NI contribution points basis. The more you contribute the better service you get. That way we would spend our time in the nice areas looking after decent folk. Leaving the free loaders to wallow in their broken toy strewn slums harrassing each other to death via text message.


14 August, 2009 16:44

Blogger Louise said...

I've always thought that we should operate on a NI contribution points basis. The more you contribute the better service you get.

That would exclude many who are unemployed through no fault of their own - i.e. people who have mental/physical health problems - from justice. Should we be funding their trips to Dignitas too?

It would also mean that people in low paid but undeniably valuable occupations (for example those who served in the lower ranks of the armed forces) would be denied appropriate legal redress.

So, all in all, not a terribly good idea.

15 August, 2009 09:27

Blogger PCDC-Copper Bottom said...

do not feed the trolls...

15 August, 2009 22:00

Blogger Hibbo said...

Q) You are a serving police officer, you need as many easy detections as you can muster. Upon which group of people do you lavish your resources?

A) Those who've answered a.
B) Those who've answered b.
C) Those who've answered c.

Until the police stop chasing the easy detections and ignoring the very people who deserve the police's time, we are in for a very tough time.

16 August, 2009 01:19

Anonymous Anonymous said...

lol... no-its a play on words...

16 August, 2009 08:49

Anonymous Anonymous said...

and what is the proportion of the population to have criminal convictions? if it's less than 0.7% then yes, there's a problem. If it's higher than 0.7% then what? The police are more honest than the rest of us? like the should be?

16 August, 2009 22:00

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Home office estimate that 30% of the whole UK population have one or more criminal convictions or reprimands/cautions, and 20% of the UK working population. 0.7% is SUCH A HUGE AND SCARY PROPORTION ISN'T IT!!

16 August, 2009 23:46

Blogger Virtual Supply said...

Nice Writing Again.

16 August, 2009 23:48

Blogger phatboy said...

C's all the way!! lol

17 August, 2009 14:04

Anonymous Anonymous said...

defunct/pete/cuddles/tosspot/whateveryournameisthisweek - 1100 out of 135000+ is a tiny proportion of a very specific group. If you were to get a group of ANY OTHER people together from this country (including Doctors, MP's, Solicitors, engineers, architects etc) there is absolutely no doubt you will get a higher proportion of criminal convictions/cautions, especially as a third of the country have precons. By the way, when you say 'serious criminal convictions' you're suggesting indictable offences such as aggravated burglary, sexual assault, GBH, Manslaughter and Murder which virtually NONE of those officers will have as they cannot serve with convictions for indictable offences except in unfathomably extreme circumstances. The offences you've described as 'serious' include cautions/convictions for shoplifting, drunk and disorderly, common assault and careless driving which are right at the bottom end of the criminal scale. If you're going to start talking about legal points, do try and get it right, there's a good boy.

17 August, 2009 19:16

Anonymous TheBinarySurfer said...

Name-changing-troll: So less than 1% of police officers have a criminal conviction, and you think they are all "hypocrites"?

Ok, by that statistical logic since 99% so trolls are unimaginative, no-life, mentally unhinged, paranoid, attention-seeking bedwetters don't you have some rubber sheets, a tin-foil hat and wikipedia to frantically surf to find a reply?

I await your flaming / impersonating / baiting / insulting / sexuality questioning / allegation making / grammar or spelling questioning reply, but shan't waste my time of effort with you further. I'd suggest other posters follow suit.

(if there are any posts after this one in this thread with my name on it, it isn't me - the troll has taken to impersonating me).

17 August, 2009 22:12

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the smell of napalm in the morning. So much more envigorating than the bi-bullsh*t that piles up so fast around here, you need wings to stay above it.

18 August, 2009 09:30

Blogger PC Bloggs said...

Deleted this comment by accident sorry.
Anonymous said: defunct - i suppose you'd include in your list the caution for criminal damage i got fourteen years ago (as a schoolboy). Does that REALLY affect my judgement as i turn thirty? If anything it gives me a bloody good idea of how a normal person feels to be arrested and taken to a police station for the first time. Scared shitless. That fear of having my life fall apart over something totally pointless insured i never did anything so stupid again. And yes, it was all fully admitted and explained at my board for the job. So naff off.

Back to the point, if we go to Glenda Slags address and her latest partner and her have been rowing, it would be great to do a check and be able to say, "You've not paid any tax or National Insurance since.......well you've not paid any, this is not an essential police service, we will therefore be taking no action. Good night."

It'll never happen but the thought of it makes me chuckle as i stand emotionless while some mongrel rants about how unfair their life is and the the police should sort it out for them.

18 August, 2009 16:01


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