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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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Persistant Caller

Last week there was a 999 call in Blandmore area from a woman reporting decades of sexual abuse by her parents and a historical rape by a co-worker. The police responded to it by phoning Social Services, logging the call, and hanging up.

This isn't because this is how we deal with allegations of serious sexual abuse and rape. It is because the woman was Patricia Levy and she calls the police three or four times a month to report the same thing. She usually makes the calls in batches of 30-40 in a day, and she's usually drunk. Patricia Levy was indeed abused as a child - at least that is what her mental health worker believes and he's probably right. She is now an alcoholic with learning difficulties and an obsession with sexual activity. She thinks it's happening to her everywhere, all the time. If that was happening to you, you'd call the police 30-40 times a day too.

The trouble is, Patricia is always drunk, so the mental health team can't/won't treat her. The alcoholics' programme won't take her on because she has mental health problems, and they can't deal with her sex abuse allegations. It used to be the case that the police was the one service who always had to help her, but now even we have a 'Patricia Levy policy'. The policy isn't all-encompassing: if Patricia reports a recent sex offence a detective will be sent to speak to her. She usually shouts abuse at them when they arrive, or denies ever calling the police.

I don't know anything about Fiona Pilkington other than the fact she killed herself two years ago along with her daughter and her rabbit. I suspect she didn't have quite the array of problems that Patricia Levy has. But I also suspect that Patricia will end up meeting a similarly grisly end, and I am sure the police will be blamed when she does. One thing I do know is that anyone who torches themselves and their child to death in a car is mentally ill, and that has nothing to do with kids harassing them (although it probably doesn't help).



Alex Simmons: yob who drove a woman to suicide, or normal kid blamed for someone else' vulnerabilities?






It's not about eschewing responsibility - I'd be horrified if someone I went to visit about harassing antisocial behaviour was found dead the next day, week or month. God forbid they take out their innocent child at the same time. But it's complex. You have to work out whether the antisocial behaviour is really that harassing, or whether it's being perceived that way by someone who is vulnerable. You have to figure out if there's a way to reasonably protect someone from a group of kids they're scared of, when there is no evidence of criminal offences. You have to consider what will happen if you put the kids before the court, how soon they'll be walking free with their fistful of community hours and unenforceable ASBO.


It's all very well calling the police 30 or 40 or 100 times. As long as you realise that only the police will even pick up the phone every time. The rest of society's infrastructure just isn't bothered, until it all goes wrong.

One final point: the coroner asked ,"Why did no one sit and chat to her over a cup of tea about her problems?"

If he's aiming that question at the police, the answer is to be found on this and all other police blogs, as well as here.

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

Monday, September 28, 2009

No more targets for Blandmore

Newsflash: Blandshire Constabulary has officially abolished any target for detecting any type of crime and we've all had face-to-face training from the superintendent telling us so. I will therefore not be posting any more out-of-date whinging moaning diatribes about target culture in the 21st Century police service.

We still have to reduce violent crime by 15% and detect 5% more race hate. But that's because the victims of those crimes want us to, which means it's not a target, it's VICTIM FOCUS.














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

Friday, September 25, 2009

Shock Horror of Police Expenses Revealed Here Now Today

After years of stifled silence, today I can finally reveal the appalling truth of police officers' expenses and how they feather their nests with handouts from the public purse.

DID YOU KNOW police officers claim mileage to attend courses and court?! The full and filthy truth is that they get a few pence more per mile THAN THEY ACTUALLY USE?!

DID YOU KNOW that some officers use the tyre pressure gizmo at work on their own personal cars!!!

DID YOU KNOW police officers can claim for extra food if they have to stay on duty over a certain amount of hours? Their receipt will be reimbursed IN FULL, less than six weeks later!

DID YOU KNOW police officers claim it back if they buy clothing and medication for prisoners, or headlight bulbs for their marked cars!

I was so disgusted when I heard about these claims in light of our poor troops in Iraq that I have reluctantly accepted £110,000 from the media to print these truths.




(Note: all proceeds from this blog go to the Police Roll of Honour Trust. But I claim them back on expenses.)

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

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Not very PC, not very PCSO






Of course, an Acting Sergeant wouldn't find either of the above particularly funny. Or a reflection of any officer's true feelings.

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

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Please Extend Me

As a PC, before going off-duty, I usually had a few bits of paperwork to tie up from the shift. As a shift sergeant, I have to do the following before the next shift come in to take over:
  • Type up a list of incidents/action for the next shift to do.
  • Include all significant incidents that happened during my shift in case the senior management team try to ask the next sergeant about them.
  • Log into a database and list cars and people stopchecked by my team during the shift (this will involve phoning all my officers and ensuring they have done this).
  • List what arrest attempts/arrests have been made during the shift.
  • Log into a system and update all open incidents with reasons why we haven't dealt with them.
  • Record the status of all missing person enquiries on a database (another login).
  • Log into the duty system and record on/off-duty times for all officers. They also need to be booked on and off on another system.
  • Log all car-keys back in.
  • Read through all prisoner handovers to ensure they are in a suitable state for the next shift. If they're not, there's not much that can be done by then as it's the end of the shift, so I'll just update them with an apology.
  • Pass onto the next team all witness summons/arrest and statement requests that have been faxed in from other forces/areas. Most of these have been farmed out to officers who never had a chance to do them, so I'll have to remember to collate them all again. Many will end up in panda cars, officers' lockers/dockets/trousers.
  • Email the duty inspector with overtime requests for anyone still on duty.
  • Email the duty inspector with information for THEIR handover about important incidents that have happened/are happening.
  • I'm sure there's more that I'm not doing at the moment. I'll update you when I get the email from senior management.
I start thinking about the handing over process from the moment I receive the handover from the previous shift, and spend a good proportion of the day in and out of these databases, when I can remember my login. When I can't, I spend the day on the phone to IT services. This is, apparently, how the senior management team want shift sergeants to spend their time.

Things that will NOT get me an email from the senior management if I omit them are:
  • Phoning all my officers individually to find out where they are, if they'll be off on time and if they need anything.
  • Staying on late to tie up bits of paperwork for officers going on leave/rest days/overwhelmed with work.
  • De-briefing officers involved in traumatic or significant incidents during the shift to check they're ok.
  • Submitting safety reports about the low number of resources I had to work with that day.
These things, apparently, are not within the remit of the shift sergeant. Or anyone else.

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

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Eulogy?

If you've tried to get on Coppersblog recently, you've probably been disappointed. Dan at Monday Books explains it's not sinister, although I personally think it would have been more artistic for him to deny knowing the author of Coppersblog at all and to ask people to stop directing enquiries to him.

Coppersblog may not be the first police blog, but it was the first one to get wide acclaim and readership, and to open the floodgates of police books. I'm not just talking about the books you all know and love: I am firmly of the opinion there are dozens of books out there written by serving police officers. I can bet that most of my police readers can name a colleague who's published one - most likely a novel or treatise on butterfly-collecting rather than a vitriolic attack on modern times, although I'd guess there are some of those out there too.

I was on LBC this week (Jeni Barnett) talking about being a blogging police author, or 'media cop' as I rather foolishly blurted out. It was the first interview I've done where the subject matter was more about the writing than the policing, and it made me think about how the two fit together. I've found, more and more, that my blogging is simply something I do, like ordering Chinese on 'quick changeover' shift and cleaning my house on the second of my three rest days (er, usually). It would be hard or almost impossible for me to give up the blog now without feeling that I was somehow less without it. Not just less of a person, but less of a police officer. The two do not conflict, not unless you make them.

I hope PC Copperfield decides to keep blogging, or at least leave the blog up for people to peruse the archives. The Policeman's Blog was not just the diary of a serving copper, a reflection on futility in public service, a rant against bureaucracy. It represents something that police chiefs and authorities have been trying unsuccessfully to instigate for the last ten years: the inaugural spark of a connection once more between the police and the public. The blog that made police officers acceptable again.

Without it, we'd all still be talking about it, but no one would be listening.



PS DC, where was my heads-up? As I've told all my readers that you're on my Christmas card list, you've just made me look bad. It's self, self, self with some people.

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

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Everything is just fine

Good news readers, policing in Blandmore has never looked more rosy!

Not only do we keep locking up baddie after baddie, satisfying victim after victim, but we luxuriate daily in the support of our managers. This week my team has no less than five emails from inspectors in other departments with guidance for the lazier and more moronic officers I work with. These inspectors have had our failings pointed out to them by auditors and validators whose jobs are to make sure the sloppy work of a front-line police officer does not lead in some way to a murder or negative Sun headline. Without these invaluable civilian paper-pushers, who knows how many forms may be left unfilled and boxes unticked.

It's all very reassuring that a brand new Acting Sergeant on the Front Line of Blandmore does not have to worry about supervising or checking their team's work at all, because there's all these people to do it for them. It's not even necessary to be taught management skills, understand the role of a sergeant, get your stripes through the post in time or be given logins to the various systems you will be expected to use on a daily basis.

Indeed, becoming an Acting Sergeant can be done overnight, via voicemail, or even better by an automatic transfer on the personnel system which just drops into your inbox one day without anyone ever having to tell you in person.

Isn't Twenty-First Century Policing grand?


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

 

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