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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Friday, October 15, 2010

Assault is Our Number One Priority

Blandshire Constabulary's priorities are hard to keep up with.  If you visit our website from one month to the next, you may be confused as to whether we are Together, Driving Car Crime Down (notice clever pun on drive/car), or if we are in fact Working As One Against Antisocial Behaviour (no clever pun this time - budget cuts in the media department).  

This month, we are Number One Focus on Assault.  No pun, not even proper English.

If you think these ever-changing priorities have little to do with the job of a front-line response officer in Blandmore, you'd be utterly wrong.  Our working lives are entirely governed by the force's priorities.  Teams and squads emerge in their name, inspectors are promoted off the back of them, emails are sent and spreadsheets drawn up.  Every action from every morning meeting, every audit by every civilian scrutineer, starts and ends with the priority of the month.

Right now, my officers Must Investigate Assault Thoroughly.  This means scribing lengthy statements, taking swabs and seizing clothing, promptly arresting any named offender and on no account bailing them before the full twenty-four hours of their PACE clock has been well and truly used up, whether or not there are realistically enquiries going on that justify it.  At the end of all this, the CPS will be consulted and in about 30% of cases, a charge or caution for assault may materialise.  This astonishingly low percentage - astonishing when you take into account that most assault victims know the name of the assailant - is largely due to the fact that having phoned the police and named their attacker, most assault victims want nothing further to do with the investigation.

A good proportion of cases are of course domestic violence, and in those cases the prosecutions are pushed forwards just in case one or other party kills the other next time.  But an equally large number of cases involve squabbling schoolchildren, immature neighbours and drunken scuffles.  No matter how many swabs we take, or how much we spend on DNA analysis of hoodies and tracksuit trousers, regardless of reams of CCTV we have viewed or statements taken from passing witnesses, if the victim does not want a prosecution it is highly unlikely that one will occur.  Call me an old-fashioned relic, but I say, quite rightly.  If you don't give a damn that someone's lamped you whilst bickering over the yellow line outside your house, why should I?

Now Lord Justice Leveson has announced that assault charges will rarely result in prison sentences.  Which is the same thing as saying that assault will not be punished at all - when you consider that alternative sentences now more and more consist of writing letters of apology and attending a couple of meetings further iterating how apologetic you are.  Oh and the fact that breaching these alternative orders will not result in prison either.

We in the police service are not surprised at this news. Indeed, we are only surprised that Lord Justice Leveson thinks that anyone is sent to prison for assault at the moment.  And we are cynical about the claim that the announcement has nothing to do with budget cuts.

None of the above has affected Blandshire Constabulary's website, or the emails coming out daily pushing Assault down our throats.  Because the drive to investigate and detect more assaults has nothing to do with suffering victims or bringing people to justice, it is based in its entirety on the fact that our current detection rates for assault are worse than some other forces.

In a few months, the laws of fluctuating crime rates will determine that assaults fall back in line with the rest of England and Wales.  At that point, you may well find Blandshire Constabulary Locking Down Burglary or Saying No to Sex Crime.

Which is why no force priority will stop me spending the time I want on the investigations I choose, where the victims are deserving and the offenders scum.  The day they turn that into a strap-line, I'll close this blog.

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


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe you need "Blandshire says no to bad food" month and you can all stake out a cafe all day... instead of yes to bad food when your all in that canteen.. That only serves meals when you’re off duty…e.g. 9 - 5

15 October, 2010 13:51

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Call me an old-fashioned relic, but I say, quite rightly. If you don't give a damn that someone's lamped you whilst bickering over the yellow line outside your house, why should I?"

Reminds me of Geofry Bernard. ' If you can't hit a friend who can you hit?'

15 October, 2010 13:53

Anonymous Serpico said...

PC Bloggs, its looks like you and I may be on the same police force. We cannot crime s20 assaults anymore without it being authorised by a Detective Inspector.

15 October, 2010 14:57

Blogger PC Bloggs said...

Serpico - no we're not quite that bad yet!

15 October, 2010 22:48

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am increasingly annoyed by the fact that everyone in modern society is accountable for their decisions and actions (Obviously this does not apply to wayne & waynetta) for example.
1.Police failed to investigate Pilkington case thoroughly etc
2.Social workers allowed baby P to die.....

When will the Magistrates & Judges be held accountable for their poor sentencing. Also when will the Government be held accountable for the lack of prison places.

Answers on a postcard please!!!

16 October, 2010 11:38

Anonymous Serpico said...

PC Bloggs, you have definitely got those management decisions coming your way then. We are just sugercoating crimes, whereby crime has gone down, but detections have risen!!

16 October, 2010 19:53

Blogger Peter Reynolds said...

The British police are out of control

17 October, 2010 08:52

Anonymous DBRG said...

Boggle-eyed shouters from the sidelines are out of control.
It's time people without tinfoil hats stood up to curb the spread of these moon-barkers.
Peter - you're a loon and I claim my five pounds.
In other news I spent Friday afternoon whizzing round south Metroland doing nothing but sort out aberrant behaviour.

In a bizarre twist of irony, the most anti-social example was perpetrated by a confused middle-aged male who, having lost his bearings (in so many ways) decided the best course of action was to drive into oncoming traffic up a one-way street.

Police - coming to make your life safer. After refs.

17 October, 2010 10:25

Blogger River said...

You managed to find a terrible truth. It can be worrisome.

17 October, 2010 15:40

Blogger Peter Reynolds said...

"It's time" that the police started listening to the public and that it was possible for us to criticise the service we pay for without being subject to abuse and insults.

In fact, you do my job for me perfectly by displaying exactly the attitude that is the problem.

The police have lost the respect and goodwill of the public at all levels. Not just yobbos and the young but even pensioners and pillars of society. We just don't trust you any more.

I count myself as a supporter of the police. You are essential but there are many, many problems at the moment and you need to change your attitude and start listening.

17 October, 2010 16:24

Anonymous DBRG said...

I'm all for clearing out bad apples wherever they may be. But I'm also for informed discourse, cogent argument and rationality.
Your blog reads like what it is - a person who was probably too drunk on the excitement of pressing 'Send to site' to actually think through his words.
Perhaps a little less polemic, a little more thought, a dash more sense and a heap less confusion and you'd have a point worth proving.
Conflating policing standards with Nazi uniforms is bonkers, for instance - sensibilities are uniformly (did you see what I did there?) drowned is a sea of absurdities.
I could drone on about Sgt Smellie's trial - how Home Office-approved techniques were used in a wholly valid fashion (on mad cash-hungry female, who failed to show up for the court case she so craved), but I don't think you'd notice.
*Blah, blah, white noise, evil police, rotten to the core, blah, blah*
My friend, you have simply no idea of whose side we're on, what we're defending, who is attacking it or why you're wrong.
Keep up the shambles.

17 October, 2010 18:46

Blogger Peter Reynolds said...

Your patronising, aggressive and personally insulting rant is just a hotheaded and all too typical reaction from someone who won't accept that others have a legitimate point of view. Yes. You just want to be in charge all the time. I've met your sort before.

You're a bully and a real cocky type who was born in need of a uniform and has an enormously inflated opinion of himself. In my opinion, you're psychologically completely unsuitable to be a police officer. You need to go work out your anger and arrogance in a strictly controlled environment. I don't know where but you're too dangerous to be let near the public.

17 October, 2010 19:12

Anonymous DBRG said...

You're right. So right. It's my inner rage - it just won't leave me. My Sergeant tells me it's the binding effect of so many biscuits.

The fact is, my old china, is that no-one can tell if you have a valid point as it's so intertwined with nonsense. Try sifting through your printed toot with a critical eye and I'm sure you'll see where I'm coming from.

In the meantime - keep up the shambles, Pedro.

17 October, 2010 20:48

Blogger Peter Reynolds said...

I see, so now it really is just insults. Not a mention or even a reference to content or substance. Just abuse and repetition.

The fear is that when people like you run out of words you resort to baser forms of argument.

You make my case for me.

17 October, 2010 20:52

Anonymous painauchocolate said...

Peter Reynolds:

You should clarify what on your blog is opinion, and what is fact (that you can evidence). To me, it looks like a lot of opinion.

17 October, 2010 21:09

Anonymous DBRG said...

Pete - and you think simply posting "The British police are out of control" and bunging up a link to your blog constitutes reasonable argument?

Is that really the action of a person who wishes to be taken seriously?

Your blog's a rant, a silly polemic, a silly blither. Ask anyone.

Incidentally, I was always taught that repetition was a valid rhetorical device. C'mon Pete, you know: "We shall fight them on the beaches, we shall fight them...etc etc".


17 October, 2010 21:43

Blogger Peter Reynolds said...

My article is my argument. It's my opinion based on my experience,what I read and what I see.

It's a forcefully argued opinion and I'm more than ready to listen to opposing points of view. I won't be shouted down.

Debate often leads to better understanding. I really care about the subjects I write about. I wish you'd engage with the points I make rather than just try to smother everything with abuse.

What do you think about elected police commisssioners, the spending review, the TSG, crowd control techniques, "canteen culture", underage drinking, etc, etc, etc?

It may sound pious but I really do think the police and the people need to reconnect. We need to work out a new understanding.

17 October, 2010 22:12

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Every coin, every organism has minimum of three sides in order to exist, along opinions , yours, mine and the other 7B and one.
The justice system is not just Police, like all teams they get blamed for a bad result, just like the spin bowler on a cricket team gets it in the neck for not winning the game never the team captain who should have put in Larwood with his body liners. The collapse of civilized behaviour is result of letting bad behaviour getting well rewarded. Until the system realises that everybody does what they do, it is for pleasure, and as long it the perps get pleasure in what they do nowt changes.
Think back, why did you take the path you did rather than take what is not yours to take, life, wife, goods.
You do what is pleasant if not pleasant, you react, give pain to others.

17 October, 2010 22:27

Anonymous DBRG said...

Fair go then:

Elected police commissioners - could go any which way: a) increased politicisation of the management = more/less fiddling, depending on whether crime is going up or down, b) capable, honest people like Ray Mallon bubble up and things change for the better c) political parties hijack the whole thing and vested interests are served at the expense of appropriate policing.

Spending review: see Naomi Klein's "Shock Doctrine" for a partial reflection of my own view on what's going down. Completed by the idea that this is the inevitable hangover after the traditional Labour piss-up. If the savings are targeted properly things make actually get better...experience dictates that this is unlikely.

TSG: As a unit it's excellent; robust, disciplined, versatile and motivated. Commenting on individuals is like commenting on individual teachers: for every Mr Chips there's a Lizzie Borden lurking.

Crowd control techniques: I've been in six riots, including Trafalgar Square in 1990. If you're on the right side of lawful protest then kettling is a pain in the arse (and bladder), let alone an infringement on human rights. However, if you've seen someone try and kill another human being by spearing him through the head with a length of scaffold you might take the time to entertain another view.

Canteen culture: My wife's a teacher in an inner London school. My 'canteen' is more respectful (or terrified of being reported - take your pick) than her 'common room'. Trust me - it's not the place to be a racist, homophobe or misogynist. Misanthropists are generously welcomed.

Underage drinking: Illegal. Did I drink underage? Yes. Did I smash a stranger's face in, terrorise my neighbours, tie fireworks to animals, batter my ex, steal cars, casually thieve or gob off to the police? No. Do I have any sympathy for disaffected yoof? I did once. For about an hour.

Do I think that we've alienated that fabulous fantasy middle England? Probably. But then again, if they put down the Daily Mail for five minutes, pulled their head out of their collective arse and saw what they have to smile about, they'd thank their lucky stars we keep them as safe as possible from the scum-suckers.

That's my honesty. Now, honestly, Pete - are we really out of control? I'd suggest we're the most firmly controlled police in the modern world.

17 October, 2010 22:58

Anonymous DBRG said...

Woo! I stuttered! How'd that happen???

17 October, 2010 22:59

Blogger Peter Reynolds said...

Well there you go. I'd say we're in about 80% agreement so that's not a bad start. I'll respond in detail later in tha day.

18 October, 2010 08:17

Blogger Peter Reynolds said...

I appreciate your response.

I agree with your analysis about elected police commissioners. There are real dangers but anything has got to be better than where we are at present. The standard of senior police management is abysmal. We desperately need an infusion of both intellect and talent,

You are so right that properly targeted cuts will improve things. So much of the investment that the Labour plonkers made was wasted by jobsworths. See my regular commenter's site:

We'll have to agree to disagree on the TSG. In my view, with its 30 years antecedents, any citizen approached by a TSG officer is justified in launching a pre-emptive strike using any and all weapons available.

I sympathise with your point of view on crowd control but you are fundamentally misdirected by your senior management. The police's role is to FACILITATE peaceful demonstration and be extremely restrained in the use of force.

I agree with you about the yoof of today.

You and I aren't so far apart at all. The trouble is you're so stressed out by the scum that you have a tendency to treat us all the same. You forget that our freedoms are your raison d'etre.

It very definitely is a management problem.

Good talking with you.

18 October, 2010 20:09

Anonymous DBRG said...

Pete - it was going so well until...

"We'll have to agree to disagree on the TSG. In my view, with its 30 years antecedents, any citizen approached by a TSG officer is justified in launching a pre-emptive strike using any and all weapons available."

I take it you're joking.

19 October, 2010 11:02

Blogger Peter Reynolds said...

Well allow me a little poetic licence, please!

I would never advocate violence of any sort.

Redundancy? Yes and a couple of years each in Brixton for conspiracy.

22 October, 2010 18:12

Blogger Peter Reynolds said...

Well, yes, a little poetic licence. I would never encourage violence.

The TSG though, is exactly the opposite. It's a concentration of violent thugs who use and promote brutality. It should be disbanded immediately.

It's a festering, pus-filled sore on the reputation of the British police and should be cut out with radical surgery.

23 October, 2010 13:48

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not just tsg, excessive force is on the increase with the new breed of officer with bum-fluff and a bee in their bonnet. Deliberatly cuffing someone too tightly and throwing them around so that they recieve nerve damage is abhorent, malicious and tantamount to torture. Handcuff neuropathy is on the increase and is physical assult, plain and simple.

31 October, 2010 01:17


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