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, October 21, 2009

Let me hear you all say HBV

No, not a sexually transmitted disease, but Honour Based Violence. It is important that this vile type of crime is given its proper name, in case of offending people's religious sensibilities. Whilst HBV is horrific, it would be far worse if people felt they could not hold extreme murderous views loosely based on religion without attracting criticism.

Cases as drastic as that of Tulay Goren are pretty rare, but cases stopping just short of it are not. For a father to disapprove of his 15-year-old daughter's 30-year-old boyfriend probably makes him a good father. If he deals with it by murdering her,* you have to wonder just exactly who he was protecting by disapproving to start with.

With the modern-day awareness of this kind of crime, you might imagine that the Criminal Justice System is well-equipped to deal with it. You might imagine immediate and thorough police protection for victims, swift procedures for dealing with perpetrators, and powerful deterrent sentences for those found guilty.

You would be right. Blandshire Constabulary has no less than a FOUR PAGE form JUST for cases of HBV. This is on top of the yearly-expanding six page form for all domestic incidents. When attending an incident of HBV, the attending officer fills out these ten pages, making sure to duplicate the information enough times to reflect the seriousness of this kind of offence. Any action taken by the officer to safeguard the victim should be highlighted in red and underlined two or three times, just to make sure that the later Inquiry picks it out. The form should then be placed in a suitably brightly-coloured folder and signed by two or three different sergeants. If all goes to plan, no one will be fired when the victim is found dead, without the need for anyone to work any overtime whatsoever.

All joking aside, it has long been accepted that the more pages filled out by the front-line PC, the safer victims will be. Indeed, it might be possible to phase out the need for specialist departments altogether, if only uniformed response officers were willing to fill out longer forms.

Whatever you make of the above, I think we are all agreed that at no point should the police or anyone speak out condeming the extreme views held within divisions of certain religious or ethnic groups. That might upset somebody, and THAT would be a real tragedy.

* Pending the outcome of the trial, I did say 'IF'.

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

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Hiatus

Apologies for the recent absence. During the lull in your life which must be occurring in such period when I do not post on my blog, perhaps entertain yourself by perusing my archives. If you can't be bothered, or haven't yet figured out how to use the Scroll function on a web-page, read on.

As domestic violence is a subject likely to rear its head again in the near future, and I am likely to write something scathing and sarcastic about the police approach to it, instigating dozens of comments along the lines of "If you don't like it, leave" and "You murderer, you hate victims!", I have decided to reflect back on how domestic violence was dealt with two years ago, to see if we have moved on.

See below, first posted on 28th October, 2007.

But I loves him!

Victims of domestic violence are often criticised for staying with their partners. The police are then criticised for bringing prosecutions where the victim is unlikely to attend court and unlikely to be summoned against their will (for example where the assault is minor). If they don't bring these prosecutions, they are criticised.

It is common knowledge that most police officers joined the force thinking everyone would be happy and smiling with them and that no one would ever criticise anything they did. Therefore to avoid the horror of upsetting people, they weave a web of lies and deception to play down the seriousness of the domestics they attend. It is obviously in the police officer's interests to ensure that all victims they visit get murdered later on.

To this end, an array of auditing and checking mechanisms is in place to save the officer from their destructive desires. Any domestic I attend will mean a four page questionnaire. The first "check" occurs when I ask the victim to sign it, to confirm I didn't take it away and make up the answers.

Next my sergeant checks and signs it.

Now the form is split in two directions. The "virtual" version (which is where the same information was recorded on the Crime Management System in the first place), goes one way and the paper copy another.

In the Domestic Violence Unit, the paper version is checked by a civilian. Any blanks, obvious lies or failures and it will be sent back to the officer.

Next the civilian or pregnant officer carries out a telephone follow-up. This is a five page questionnaire with many more questions. Depending on the outcome, it goes into one of three different colour folders.

Meanwhile, the virtual version is at the Crime Desk being checked by the Investigation Supervisor. This is a PC who can check the work of patrol sergeants and override it.

Before long, a Scrutineer will have glanced over the virtual version. This time it's a civilian who monitors all crime reports to make sure we aren't missing the chance to arrest someone or solve a crime.

The supervisors of both DVU and the Crime Desk then check the work of the civilians and constables to make sure it is up to standard.

Several months later, an Auditor at Headquarters (I have no idea if this is a civilian or police officer or both) will check everything that has gone before.

All of this checking and re-checking is done whether or not there has been any previous problem with the original officer's work. Whether or not they have ever been accused of lying or laziness. Whether or not they have ever made a single mistake. And it's all in place to prevent victims of Domestic Violence from dying at the hands of their partner.

Which it doesn't.

Victims of Domestic Violence stay with their partners because it's DOMESTIC violence. That's what the word means. No amount of auditing and checking is going to stop that happening. Bureaucracy isn't the way to save someone who won't save themselves.

The day they do want saving, we'll be there. If we aren't too busy filling in the questionnaire at someone else's house.

Come back soon for the updated approach. Or just re-read the above.

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

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

She won't get any special treatment...

Like many of us, my heart sang a little song at the news of Harriet Harman's sidelong crash into a parked vehicle, whilst on her mobile phone. There are few enough truly joyous stories in the news these days and this must surely be one of them.

Scotland Yard sources say she will receive "no special treatment", which means we can expect the following:
  • A crime report to be created for something vaguely relevant and notifiable, perhaps criminal damage.
  • Her inconvenient arrest at 5am.
  • Her detention in custody for 7-8hours.
  • DNA, photograph and fingerprints to be taken and kept forever.
  • Harman to be banned from driving for about a year.
  • Her immediate resignation in shame.
The incident happened back in July and we're still waiting for even one of the above, but I'm sure she'll be hauled into the nick any day now.

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


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