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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Thursday, July 08, 2010

To Flatter a Mockingbird

The Guardian reckons that the police strategy to catch madman Raoul Moat is one of flattery. That there's a psychological game being played to oust him.

I am sure some very clever things are going on behind the scenes. That profilers are drawing up lists of Moat's favoured takeaways and what factor suncream he wears. But I can also guarantee you that the statements being released by Northumbria Police are motivated by one thing alone: FEAR.

Fear of saying the wrong thing.

Fear of handling it badly.

Fear of the inevitable IPCC investigation.

This is a nation where, in the face of a nutjob with a gun, police are (reportedly) summoned BACK into their police stations to hide, rather than sent out en masse to detain him. Not because most of us wouldn't be keen to have a go at locating the murderer, or at least reassuring the public that we were the first line of flesh between them and the next bullet. Most likely because of the realisation that the police are utterly ill-equipped to deal with a situation like this. And if you send employees (or even sworn officers) into a situation where death is a certainty, you stand to be prosecuted for Health and Safety abuses.

I used to think I wouldn't want to carry a gun on Britain's streets. That was before I realised that I can't actually do my job without one. That if I rock up at the scene of a gun-toting loon, I am as helpless as the person who called me.

Is that the kind of police force this nation wants?

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

38 Comments:

Anonymous Ben said...

Maybe the person who called you should have a gun too? Then neither of you would be helpless.

If the situation is really so dangerous that you need guns, why don't we also? There are plenty of people in the country who would happily pay for their own training.

08 July, 2010 22:59

 
Blogger John R said...

If it's right for a police officer to be armed because the criminals are then its equally right for the public also to have the right to carry weapons.

The current (utterly stupid and unenforceable) UK gun laws leave the public with the same two options as the police. We can all either be witnesses or victims...how is this the way things should be?

08 July, 2010 23:40

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope there is an investigation into the claims made in Raoult's 49 page letter. They are quite serious allegations that shouldn't be simply dismissed as nothing more than the rantings of a 'roid addict. I think his circumstances might explain his rage as much if not more than any performance enhancing steroids he may have taken in the past. I would like to see an independant enquiry into his claims, not an internal investigation.

In his 49 page letter, he's claimed that:
-He's been harassed and victimized by the police, who have tried to "stitch" him up for various crimes over the years. He also claims they've repeatedly paid and approached his friends to lie in an attempt to frame him for crimes he didn't commit. He says he was charged for offenses that he were false.
-That his neighbor lied about him beating his children, leading to him being jailed for 18 weeks. He maintains that he was wrongly convicted. He says put them on a lie detector.
-Social service interference caused the split between Raoult and his girlfriend of 6 years.
(apparently they were back together, and when a social worker who harbored a grudge against him found out about this, she followed Sam to her Mam's place, and eventually succeeding in talking her into splitting with him.)
-After the split, social services (and Sam possibly?) prevented him from seeing his children
-Once his 18 week sentence had been completed, he'd lost the house (presumably repossessed by the bank), his business, his missus, and of course his children.

The police have been convicted of such antics in other unrelated cases, and social services have been heavily criticised for excessive interference in other cases also (stealing children was also proven against social services recently). So it isn't outside the realms of possibility that what he maintains is actually true. We shall have to wait and see.

If his claims are true, then that would drive anyone to the edge of insanity.

09 July, 2010 00:20

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Rock up"?
"ROCK UP"?!
oh dear oh dear.
The police really are getting younger.

09 July, 2010 04:28

 
Blogger PC Bloggs said...

Why do people seem to think that it stacks up to say that if the police need arming, so does the public? The whole point is to arm the police so the public DON'T have to be.

Anon 00:20: if you believe the rantings of a lunatic who has just tried to kill three people, I'd suggest you need to think again. The contents of this letter sum up the grievances most criminals have against the state: that it won't let them carry on their criminal ways. Shock horror, preventing someone seeing their kids who's been convicted of assaulting one of them?!

09 July, 2010 06:13

 
Blogger Jonny said...

What the argument falls down to, as ever, is accountability and public safety. I personally do not want a firearm, unless it is required professionally. I also don't want to walk into my local supermarket to find some moron 'carrying' because he's been 'disrespected' by some other moron. You could argue that guns could be licensed to law abiding citizens only, but what is to stop a criminal from breaking into my house and obtaining my legally owned firearm, before committing a crime which results in me being woken up at gunpoint by the friendly neighborhood armed response team. I truly believe that the majority of the public should not be trusted with firearms- just look at knife crime in relation to knife regulations. Being threatened with a knife is a scary experience, and i can only imagine that a gun would be 10 times worse. If the police can prove that ALL armed officers would be trained and regulated to our current standards and regulations, then I as a citizen would fully support that. my nearest police station is 5 minutes on blue lights, nearest armed response is 15 at minimum. If I call for urgent help, I don't want to have to wait 15 minutes for the hard help to arrive. Provided the police continue to use lethal force as a last resort, and all carry tasers and undergo regular psychological screening, this country can become safer. If the public are allowed firearms, I'll just get one and top myself before some trigger happy junkie gets there first.
Keep up the good work PC Bloggs, and if our paths ever cross, please don't prove me wrong by shooting me :)

09 July, 2010 08:04

 
Blogger John R said...

"arm the police so the public DON'T have to be"

But then you would say that. Look at burglarly,, mugging and gun crime rates in Chicago (strict anti-citizen gun laws) and Houston (citizens with carry permits etc) and tell me which city you would prefer to live in.

An armed citizenry is a safer citizenry.

09 July, 2010 08:06

 
Anonymous Josiah Stamp's Ghost said...

I don't trust police with batons and tazers, never mind arming them with guns.

09 July, 2010 08:21

 
Anonymous painauchocolat said...

"Why do people seem to think that it stacks up to say that if the police need arming, so does the public? The whole point is to arm the police so the public DON'T have to be."

Yes....IF the police could guarantee to attend every incident immediately*. In the rural force where I work, it could take up to an hour for an armed unit to attend some of our more out-of-the-way locations.

If some gun-toting psycho was running around my town and I knew it might take 60 long minutes for the professionals to arrive# I'd rather be armed myself and stand a fighting chance.


* I know this is impossible.
# Of course they always got there in a couple of minutes, but Doyle could really shift that Capri.

09 July, 2010 08:58

 
Anonymous Lance Manley said...

I think Stab Proof Scarecrows is ceasing to be a sarcastic comment that I thought up to reflect my own personal frustrations with The Job.

Police should be armed.

We have moved far beyond the Dixon of Dock Green myth into a dangerous world of violence that the police are unable to deal with due to inadequate training.

I recently met a sherrif's deputy from America who said "you guys aren't armed but you have a gun in the car....right?"

09 July, 2010 09:03

 
Blogger Kaela said...

When I first started suggesting Police Officers should be trained in weapon use, and have immediate access to a weapon and ammunition, I was laughed at, and I will be laughed at for some time to come over this. The reason you are NOT trained and have immediate access to a weapon and its ammunition is it would be too expensive!

Further, it would take years to write and agree the Policy, it would take months to employ the right sort of people to police the weapons allocation and availability of ammunition and to form a system that could track and account for every weapon and every round of ammunition.

Sadly, each force would be enabled to purchase their preferred weapon and ammunition and holsters, and slings and safety equipment. The collective bill for this would be astronomical and cross border commanality of equipment would be not maintained. So if you turn up at the edge of your county and run out of ammunition, no one from the adjacent force could bung you a few rounds.

In short, it would be a financial nightmare and a total disaster. The Forces would be seen as a laughing stock and as soon as the first young thing loses his weapon, all hell would break out deciding which criminal faction now had it, and its ammunition and what crime would they commit with it.

The reason you do not have access to guns and ammo, is it would be too expensive.

09 July, 2010 09:17

 
Blogger Kaela said...

When I first started suggesting Police Officers should be trained in weapon use, and have immediate access to a weapon and ammunition, I was laughed at, and I will be laughed at for some time to come over this. The reason you are NOT trained and have immediate access to a weapon and its ammunition is it would be too expensive!

Further, it would take years to write and agree the Policy, it would take months to employ the right sort of people to police the weapons allocation and availability of ammunition and to form a system that could track and account for every weapon and every round of ammunition.

Sadly, each force would be enabled to purchase their preferred weapon and ammunition and holsters, and slings and safety equipment. The collective bill for this would be astronomical and cross border commanality of equipment would be not maintained. So if you turn up at the edge of your county and run out of ammunition, no one from the adjacent force could bung you a few rounds.

In short, it would be a financial nightmare and a total disaster. The Forces would be seen as a laughing stock and as soon as the first young thing loses his weapon, all hell would break out deciding which criminal faction now had it, and its ammunition and what crime would they commit with it.

The reason you do not have access to guns and ammo, is it would be too expensive.

09 July, 2010 09:21

 
Blogger Busy said...

Bloggs,
We were all recalled. Feelings went from shock, to trepidation to 'bored now, lets get the c*nt and crack on.'
That's the one that still prevails.

09 July, 2010 10:02

 
Anonymous R/T said...

Anon - I'm sure if that's what he says then it must be true.

09 July, 2010 10:24

 
Blogger jerym said...

Bloody hell Bloggs you do seem to be attracting the the nutters lately.
Is it something you said?

09 July, 2010 11:51

 
Blogger English Pensioner said...

There are very strong arguments for some form of armed militia to deal with situations like this. Most countries in the west seem to have some form of armed backup for the police short of calling in the military.
Personally,I think this could be good training for the SAS or Commandos, the trouble is that they wouldn't be allowed to use real guns, only ones that fire paint balls1

09 July, 2010 12:50

 
Anonymous ParkiePlod1980 said...

At the end of the day we need to be armed to do our jobs effectively I lose track of the number of firearms incidents I hear over the radio nearly every shift working in Central London. Given that we seem to be shifting towards solo patrol I'm convinced that solo patrol will be used as an excuse not to arm us as it would then fail to comply with ACPO policy re firearms officers. PCs on team do the most important job in the police yet get the worst conditions, kit and spoken to like five year olds by everyone even other PCs just because they happen to have gone onto some Gucci squad, the public want officers on the streets not swanning around on gucci squads and its time we got the resources, respect, equipment and appropriate training to do our job effectively in protecting the public which is why I joined

09 July, 2010 13:51

 
Anonymous ParkiePlod1980 said...

And furthermore given that Moat is a steroid addled bully who has been imprisoned for violence I wouldn't believe a word of his rantings, completely agree PC Bloggs

09 July, 2010 13:52

 
Anonymous Member of the Public said...

If I, as a member of the public am attacked with a weapon, I have a right, in law to defend myself with (if necessary) lethal force (the necessity will of course later be examined, in detailed retrospect by a criminal investigation). I do not however have the right to carry anything with which to defend myself; even a rolled-up magazine is, if carried for personal defence, an "offensive weapon".
And of course, if I am attacked (when I have been attacked) the Police are not there to defend me; that is not your job (and never has been). The job of the police is to investigate after the fact to catch the criminal and gather the evidence.
That is why, if the Police need to be armed because it is SO violent out there, then so does the REST (sic) of the law-abiding public.

09 July, 2010 14:27

 
Anonymous Drugsblogger said...

Hallo Elli,

It's me again after a long break - was very poorly but better now.

Some thoughts and one question.

a) Steroids tend to exacerbate underlying psychiatric disorders. In this case I would venture that Mr Moat has an underlying personality disorder, probably a psycho/socio-path. Symptoms include inability to feel remorse or guilt. Tendency to blame others for the situations they find themselves in and are unable to put themselves in other people's place, to see other's points of view. Very, very difficult to treat and potentially very dangerous in a few cases. So steroids make existing conditons worse, don't usually cause the problems. Besides in the latest pics of Moaty-boy taken last Friday he doesn't look very buffed up. I'd say he's one very, very angry psychopath. With guns. Not good.

b) Lots of countries have armed police but don't suffer the sort of Columbine massacres that places like the US do, or not as many. What are they doing right? Is an armed society/police service a better, safer one? Beside aren't there loads of tooled up UK cops cruising around in Trojans these days? Maybe not as they're all in Northumbria.

Here's the question. Police Authorities - good or bad? I'm researching in to them and wondered what the ordinary officer makes of them.

Cheers.

09 July, 2010 15:09

 
Anonymous NottsSarge said...

The utterly juvenile content of Moat's 49-page letter tells you all you need to know about this individual.
A complete lack of personal responsibility - THEY did it all to HIM, society (or in this case, oce again, the Police) are to blame. He never wanted to hurt his ex-girlfriend, so pledged his undying love to her with a shotgun. The same 'if I can't have her, no-one can' attitude that we see at more domestics than I care to count.
Moat is just a child in a man's body, having a massive temper tantrum. No doubt it's always worked for him before, because he's big. The sooner we take his toys off him and lock him in his room, the better.

09 July, 2010 15:52

 
Anonymous Rain23 said...

For heaven's sake, the police in the UK face the same dangers as ours here in the US, but ours are allowed, nay required, to carry weapons somewhat equal to those of the criminals. When I dial 911 here, I am not sending good men and women to act as human shields. That is thoroughly shameful.

The argument I've heard is that there is less crime in the UK. It's not the quantity, it's the type. Heads up something other than a dark orofice, policy makers: It only takes ONE gunman ONE TIME to kill a lot of innocent people unless someone shows up to stop them quickly and effectively. In the course of a typical day most of our offices never use a weapon, but they have it when needed.

When you ask someone to put their life on the line for yours, you really should arm them with more than a stick and a ticket book. It's amazing and perhaps a bit heroic that there are any street level LEO's left in the UK at all.

09 July, 2010 17:54

 
Anonymous Skeptik MOP said...

I cannot believe some of the comments above. Whether Moat was "fitted up" or not does not give him the right to kill one person, and attempt to kill two others.

The police are actually a pretty easy target here - not just because they're not routinely armed, but because if the public are threatened, then we can be told to wait indoors where we are safe. The Police can't do that. We expect them to go out and sort out the situation as it unfolds.

Oh, and we can't have it both ways - either we want the police to have the tools that they need to protect us and our property, or not. And not to rely on the police to protect life, limb and property would be to drown in anarchy.

09 July, 2010 18:04

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In my opinion routinely arming the police is a very bad idea. It has been quite clearly demonstrated by the shooting of the innocent Jean Charles De Menezes that police firearms training is exceptionally poor. Not only did they shoot an innocent man but of the eleven rounds fired at point blank range only seven hit him. Not only this but the police attempted to hide their incompetence by lying about way happened. Not only do I believe the training is inadequate but it is also clear that armed response teams attract the 'wrong sort' of individual, more than likely the fantasist that thinks he is in the SAS, with a gun ho attitude and no respect for firearms, desperate to prove themselves by shooting someone. Herein lies the problem. Prospective special forces soldiers are at the peak of physical fitness, are psychologically profiled, have years of prior military and firearms experience an then undergo over a year of further intensive training which is then continued throughout their careers. Police firearms units have only a few weeks training and then 'refreshers' every so often, but you can guarantee that every officer that carries a gun vehemently believes that they are more than an equal of any SAS soldier.

09 July, 2010 18:18

 
Blogger PC Bloggs said...

painauchocolat: armed units take 60min to reach you, but if all units were armed they'd only take 10-15...

09 July, 2010 18:43

 
OpenID inspectorgadget said...

Inspector Gadget supports the immediate routine arming of all UK police officers.

Just like the MOD Police, the Civil Nuclear Constabulary and the PSNI are already armed without incident, so should the metropolitan/ non geographic and county forces be.

There was a fuss about CS gas, a fuss about body armour, a fuss about TASER and even a fuss about what kind of shirts we wear (oooh, the black ones are so threatening)

Every other country in the world with possibly two exceptions, arms it's police. Time to grow up.

09 July, 2010 19:04

 
Anonymous painauchocolat said...

Bloggs: That's still a bit long if you're staring down a barrel.

09 July, 2010 19:22

 
Blogger Kimpatsu said...

I don't midn the police beign armed, provided everyone can be armed. That way, we can defend ourselves against both gun-toting nutters like Raoul Moat and thuggish police like those who wrongly detain photographers and beer drinkers on the Brighton sea front. But by all means, let's start small: restore the right for qualified budoka to carry kubotan, shuriken and other defensive tools, and I'll take your claims about wanting the public to be safe seriously. Otherwise, you sound just to much like a uniformed authoritarian who wants a cannon in order to play Dirty Harry.

10 July, 2010 07:09

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kimpatsu well said


I wouldent trust most police with a peashooter or a spud gun.


when iv seen armed police with gun
they look down right dangerous with handering them

and if they did that in the army they get a butt of a rifle in the face

let alone a semi automatic wepon

iv seen a lot of armed robbers that are safe handerling a gun than alot of police are.

I dont belive he shot him self
if the police had nothing to hid why dident they record the incident
on video

what did they want to remove the press way back

The shot that was on the news sounded nothing like a sawn off shot gun unless he been in the river with it and soaked the cartrages.

it sounded more like a suppresed rifle round to me.

10 July, 2010 10:56

 
Anonymous NottsSarge said...

I call into question some of the comments above (Anon, Kimpatsu [to a point]). I am not an AFO, but I have been involved in many firearms incidents, including a manhunt for two murderers holed up in the same stretch of countryside. Believe me, it is not a nice position to be in, knowing that the subject may be somewhere outside the firearms cordon but inside the unarmed containment. Police firearms ops are run on very strict guidelines, rules of engagement if you like, and from my experiences in live situations everyone gets serious and professional very quickly. Dirty Harry it is not.

Anon at 10.56 - What firearms experience do you have? How often have you 'handerled' a pistol or a carbine? What armed robbers have you seen? When have you discharged a sawn-off shotgun to know what the report sounds like?
The incident probably was filmed - do you really think that footage should be in the public domain at this point? And the press were moved back for their own safety and so as not to provide Moat with any distraction. I don't know what films you've been watching but get real.

10 July, 2010 12:16

 
Anonymous painauchocolat said...

Thank goodness we have Anonymous to do the post-incident analysis!

If only Northumbria Police had been able to prise him from behind his keyboard and put him as Gold Command, everything would have been just fine...

10 July, 2010 12:17

 
Anonymous NottsSarge said...

painauchocolat - Anon's comments have been posted from the structured debrief which has already been carried out, based on a full analysis of all the facts available, not just those disclosed to the media. I for one am glad that he or she has been able to sum up the whole incident in succinct fashion based on empirical fact.

I'm surprised the enquiries into Bloody Sunday and the second Gulf War weren't been passed to them...

10 July, 2010 12:41

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NottsSarge

yes i have discharged a few swornoff in my time

depending on what there loaded with not a very afective wepon

and i yes I have known a few old blagers in my time

as you know they dont do it for the money in my time it more the

buzz when they are foot on the pavment with a shooter and the life style they do it for.


the money in the white collar stuff

it may well have been

i hear know that they tazered or rather tryed to

want there so i dont know weather they done it because they thort he was a bout to top his so had a try

or just got sick of waiting

but as they probly found out in a tazor will rarlel stop you pulling a triger

then may be again when they attemted a tazering he aimed for then

as like i said may have been sound it was a carp recording

but did sound more like a suppressed rifle than a sawnoff to me

10 July, 2010 18:08

 
Blogger PC Bloggs said...

To the commenter who thinks the public should be armed to defend themselves from the police: it's thinking like that that means the police should be armed!

10 July, 2010 22:34

 
Anonymous Z. Constantine said...

Writing from the United States: Given that our Supreme Court has ruled that it is not the duty of law enforcement to protect individuals, I keep a gun - even if I had a police officer on hand, there's no guarantee he'd be of any use.

I would be surprised if the UK courts saw it differently - making police legally responsible for the safety of individual citizens opens the door to a host of civil suits.

Is there any legislation to suggest that police must protect citizens out there?

If so, how are they supposed to do that without the right tools for the job ... and, if not, is there anything in particular that citizens are expected to do when attacked with a firearm? (Besides run/pray/bleed out)

11 July, 2010 10:53

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Z. Constantine,
Yes the Human rights act - right to life, has been interpreted by courts to mean that where the police become aware of a threat to specific individual or individuals they have a duty to take action to minimise that risk.

Tang0

11 July, 2010 18:54

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is not weapons that kill, people that use weapons kill.
A car kills more people than a gun,
Cars are not banned, they are needed to keep the economy going, but before using this potential weapon of death and maiming, training and vigilant testing and licensing is used and for this people pay the necessary fees.
As long as guns are available for use by those that never obey the law then the fully trained, educated and duly tested and licensed should have the means to defend themselves from being victims. Unfortunately most victims of violence are those that seek peace.
For driving and gun license, a psychological profile should done, to help weed out those that have use violence as a means to solve problems.
All weapons should have their idiosyncrasies on file i,e. DNA of ammo and weapon.
All Police members should be tested and duly licensed, [failure means no job?], 1: so that they can in an emergency be drafted and 2: know the feeling of looking into whites of eyes of a crazed person [via computer simulation]., along with a taszer ,it too can kill all it takes is 10 micro amps to kill a person, tis why we need large voltages but then the amount varies to the resistance of the skin and body, flabby wet perspiring versus dry and weather beaten of crocodile skinned 'uman.
just the "opines" of an AOP, who has hunted Terrorists [guerrillas, defenders of the homeland etc.]in the Trudos mountains, long long ago.
dungbeetle

12 July, 2010 19:17

 
Anonymous MarkUK said...

I wish the pro-gun lobby would think for a moment.

If guns were allowed to be carried by all citizens, how many murders would there be in a town on a Friday or Saturday night? Take the U25 drinking population, divide by (say) 20, and you'd have it.

Yes, I'd like to see more (possibly all)police officers firearms trained. I'd like to see every police station have a supply of weapons for issue should the circumstances demand it.

However, arming every police officer? I've met some who I wouldn't arm with a plastic sword, let alone a firearm.

25 July, 2010 22:39

 

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