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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Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Blandmore Conundrum

Many of my non-police readers will imagine that kidnapping is a rare occurrence, and that it is dealt with by a team of crack plainclothes officers with phone taps and stubble. I invite those readers to take part in a small survey about kidnapping.

Imagine that your ex-partner has pulled up beside you on the street and bundled you into his car, locked all the doors, driven out to a remote spot and told you he is about to kill you. Would you:
A) Scream your head off, throw yourself from the car, run to safety and call the police. Move house, cooperate with every police enquiry, be relieved and grateful when the ex-partner is locked up and do everything you can to go to court and have him sent to prison.
B) Manage to sneak a phone-call to the police expressing your absolute terror and conviction of your imminent death, then get out of the car, go home and forget all about it. When the police keep calling refuse to answer the phone or door, then go on a shopping spree to London, whilst firing off a few abusive texts to some other people you don't like, resulting in them calling the police about YOU. When the police finally do catch up with you three days later, hurl abuse at them and deny anything ever happened, and express horror that your ex-partner has been arrested.

Once or twice a year, somewhere in the country, those who answer B end up dead and the police get held responsible. Which is why every call is investigated to the fullest extent it can be, often requiring half a dozen officers for a few days. No matter what you believe about police accountability, I don't really see any other option.

The rest of society doesn't really care about these hopeless cases that suck in endless supplies of police resources, just as they don't really care about drug gangs, domestic abusers and child trafficking. Instead they prioritise dog-fouling, speeding and youths in the street. And at the moment, we pander to their priorities, instead of telling them about the true filfth festering just out of sight around their street corners.

Now that budgets are tighter than ever, the police will have no choice but to choose where to target their resources, and we simply can't drop these massive, resource-intensive sagas no matter how futile our efforts. There just isn't room for "Neighbourhood Policing" any more. Perhaps communities will have to start taking responsibility for their own problems.

But then, that wouldn't be Twenty-First Century Policing.

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


Anonymous Anonymous said...

1st, hoozah

congrats on perma stripes.

a hard rain is going to fall on the police budget. it is just a shame its meaning carriers disapearing etc. what the pencil necks dont grasp when they look at the mileage spreadsheet is all of the carriers 25k are valid and needed miles, be it violent prisoners or as a psu love bus. (note to pencil necks, we can only use carriers on a psu not rented van not smaller van) and that the 65k done by the dvu four doors with all the trimmings includes shopping, running erands for the area commander and little runs down the river when the weather is nice.

anyway three carriers to one on the area now, or none when a psu commitment is on.

21 June, 2010 07:02

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said.

Of course another option would be to lock up persistent criminals for more than a few months, which would protect the public and reduce crime.

Never happen.

21 June, 2010 09:19

Anonymous ginnersinner said...

Not first!! Oh well!

Ellie, I agree. Unfortunately when you stop spending on Neighbourhood tosh the Ward Panel will cry louder than the scum.

That is why wherever the spending cuts fall, they'll only affect officers and not the public. We'll be expected to provide the same response, just with less money.

21 June, 2010 13:53

Anonymous Dr Melvin 'Banned from most police blogs' Gray said...

How unthinking citizens must strain your well managed resources. What a gross inconvenience to impinge upon your moonlighting or pontifications, WC Bloggs.

21 June, 2010 15:58

Anonymous Dangerous said...

As someone who works at the lowest level of neighbourhood policing, you might expect me to disagree. However, I think you are totally correct, the money is not there to pander to all the ideas which "nice" people in the community have. Sadly, telling people the harsh truth is now out of favour in senior ranks.

21 June, 2010 20:41

Anonymous DBRG said...

Hooray! Melvin's back! Woohoo! The living embodiment of moon-barking bonkerishness (and guardian of a total of five posts on his own blog) returns like last night's cheap cuzza.

I'm just re-reading your book (available from Amazon NOW) Bloggsy. I could be doing my revision for my Police Law and Community exam (a requisite for applying to Suurey), but myeh.

Has nothing improved in Blandmore over these years? Have not the Perrils either died, improved or moved on? What did happen with 'Luke'?

In other news, and reffing back to IG, I actually think things will improve with elected police chiefs. Populist measures? Probably. Less focus on strategies? Sure. Fewer burglars and louts? Maybe.

Will any of it interest the tattooed pondlife? Erm, no.

Perhaps they could all kidnap one another.

22 June, 2010 10:31

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As someone whom, on the whole, loves reading your blog and the getting an insight into the front line of the police service, this article has irked me somewhat.

First, you put across that men are the only perpetrators of kidnap, which is false. Maybe more, but then many sections of society don't see a woman kidnapping the kids as anything more than "bringing the kids back to the mother".

Secondly, you seem to think Joe Bloggs on the street *actually* cares about dog-fouling and speeding. That's the council there. And if you'd ever lived on a street with rowdy youths whose idea of fun is to smash car windows and throw eggs at houses, you'd realise why it's a priority for many.

Trust me, communities would love to take responsibility, but if you defend yourself, you get hauled up. If you try to intervene in problems, you get attacked. Even our friends in the council seem "out to get" any kind of community anything.

Maybe if the old community bobby made a reappearance, maybe even some of the problems would begin to be solved?

22 June, 2010 22:08

Blogger Hogday said...

When the cracks are covering the wallpaper, where do you paper over?

23 June, 2010 06:43

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Off topic but.......

Today on the BBC about youth gangs:

"Police officers had the best understanding of the problems, said the report, but they were focused on catching criminals rather than worrying about their welfare"

Yeah! Now that's more like it - doing our job instead of being social workers! I LOVE this new government.

23 June, 2010 07:31

Blogger PC Bloggs said...

Anon 22:08 - the example of kidnapping I give was just an example. Child kidnap is a totally different issue, but when it comes to adult victims, I'm sorry but I have never dealt with a case of a woman or gang of women bundling a man into a car and driving off with him. Am not saying women don't commit other heinous crimes, just not that one!

And no, it's not the Council, it is locals at neighbourhood meetings who raise these concerns. Let me re-phrase, it's a small group of locals who have time and inclination to go to neighbourhood meetings...

23 June, 2010 15:26

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a small (ok, fairly large) axe to grind about our local 'safe neighbourhood team' A premises local to me has been having thefts of milk since January. The usual promises to contact the complainant with a crime number failed of course to materialise as did any action to stop the thefts which were occurring prior tp 0600hrs when the SNP do not start until 0800hrs. I contacted the SNP in mid March and was assured that a PCSO (named) had been allocated the enquiry. I gave him a certain amount of information on a potential witness and two weeks later he had still failed to contact that witness. following further thefts including cash from the milk float and of course more milk. a week later he informed me that he had spoken to the complainant who thought that thefts would stop with the lighter mornings. (I have my doubts of the total accuracy of this reported conversation)On 25th May further thefts took place and the only response to me not the complainant was to suggest stopping having milk delivered and go to the shop every day to buy it. the PCSO stated he would speak to the complainant but in 3 weeks up to yesterday had failed to do so. Today after a further nudge from me he has stated he will visit the complainant tomorrow meanwhile thefts are continuing. The sooner budget restraints lead to the disbanding of SNT, and the sacking of PCSOs who in my experience achieve little or nothing and return to fully staffed patrol shifts able to set up a little observation exercise without filling in 2 dozen forms first to get authorisation the better. I made the error of attending a Safe Neighbourhood meeting the other day. I can only say, what a waste of time. there was not one councillor there as I was informed later they also considered it a waste of time. Milk thefts were mentioned but only because I was there. There was no mention of doing anything about it. Life on Mars used some rather dubious methods but at least something happened rather than soft talk and form filling.

23 June, 2010 20:23

Anonymous NottsSarge said...

Our SNT have had the rug pulled out from under them lately. They are now expected to work a shift which finishes at 1am, not at 3pm! Can you imagine? The switchboards are jammed with calls from concerned local residents who wouuld like a word with their local cop about pressing neighbourhood issues between the hours of 11pm and 1am. Or is it more likely that the neighbour dispute which got visted by the SNT earlier in the day has now turned into an alcohol-fuelled slanging match which requires one or two people to get a slap and/or be arrested before it is resolved for the evening?
SNT have their place but they are 'protected' by Home Office policy from being utilised as warranted Police Officers should be.
It boils down to the same old thing - there's no point doing engagement if you can't do enforcement

26 June, 2010 00:58

Blogger Wibblebobby said...

Sadly we have never been able to be all things to everyone, fortunately 'back in the day' when we were called upon to walk on water and carry out other unachievable miracles we had the gumption to explain people that we were not there to look after their children, mend their broken relationships or simply undo problems which they themselves have caused!!.

Nowadays we do not, we routinely say yes Miss Benfit-Cheat we will gladly investigate your facebook threats complaint and "what do you mean your friend texted you and was rude after you stole her boyfriend/money/car etc.. I will glady waste weeks of investigation time only for you and her to be friends again before the ink on your statement has dried"

Until we re-grow our testes and begin to stand up to the critics and refuse to take responsibility for not being able to watch every single person in the country 24 hours a day 7 days a week and turn the accountability back onto the people who commit the actual crimes instead of us we will forever be chasing our tails.

Bring in managers who will challenge the critics, a CPS who will run cases and charge those wasting our time like your kidnap victim and actually go through with the case in court, bring in a judicial system who actually punish instead of wagging their fingers and saying naughty naughty to burglars and peadophiles and then you may have a chance.

We are all more worried about upsetting people including the criminals than we are about doing the job. Ask any bobby why they do things right and it isn't to ensure the conviction or make sure the victim gets the level of service but it is to stop a complaint and to make sure they are not on the wrong end of PSD.

We used to be a Police Force we weren't cuddly and approachable we were respected and seen as actually able to do things, now we are a Police Service who base our decisions on non policing 'partners' instructions and are led not by common sense but by who can shout the loudest and longest about their problem normally the least important.

Slowly things are coming round but until we start to ease off on the whole nanny state and start telling people to get a grip, grow up and sort it out it will only get worse and with less money it will become harder and harder for us to sustain.

Anyway I just found your blog and want to say thankyou as I feel sooooo much better for getting that off my chest.

27 June, 2010 21:47

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is one reason why blogs such as yours are important: because they "tell it like it is" about police work.

I suspect that most members of the public are unaware of (or don't care about) the difficulties caused by people who are wasteful of police time and abusive and obstructive to boot. They only see the picture from the outside and expect as swift and smooth a response to their problems as they would get on visiting their bank.

Police blogs are therefore useful but they are probably not enough because their readers tend to be self-selected. I think there is a need to let the wider public know what the problems are, though such an idea is probably taboo as far as the upper echelons are concerned.

I only hope you can continue casting a little light where it is needed.

29 June, 2010 18:22

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As there is quite clearly a "social worker" element within the public's need from those tasked with keeping the Queen's peace....WHY all the moaning on certain police blogs about PCSO's?

Their role within the force may well have been created to fill the public's "need" for a uniformed "official", with authority, to negotiate between people/neighbours causing problems, and to deal with them, keep the peace, whilst the "proper coppers" deal with the more serious stuff.

PCSO's who deal with all the low level stuff ARE the "social workers" of the force, and should be dealing with all the nonsense jobs that irritate many coppers.

02 July, 2010 06:27

Blogger Taurus said...

I have suffered greatly from low level ASB, drunken "yoofs" and being kept awake by Wayne & Waynetta, having a slanging match at 2 o/c in the morning and I have to be up at 5.00, and I don't expect "Blue's & Two's to respond every time a dog poo's outside my gate. But where do we draw the line, I tried to move some drunken "yoofs" from my driveway to move my car onto the road, but all I got was "don't you touch me I know my right's, you cant do that", and I have to stand there impotent with rage until they decide (choose) to move. There has to be a better way.

03 July, 2010 09:50


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