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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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hateful Hate Crime

Sorry for the absence, it's been intensely busy at work followed by my internet going down.  I can't tell you why it's been busy, or you'd know where I worked, but suffice it to say I've rarely known a more morbid and depressing series of events to strike Blandmore in one month. And we don't even have a proper university in the town.

I was thrilled and excited to see today that hate crime figures for England and Wales have been published. These statistics demonstrate without a doubt that some people who commit crime are actually hostile towards their victims. This most shocking and appalling state of affairs must be addressed.

Unofficially, there are two kinds of hate crime: one that is motivated by hostility based on race/religion/gender/etc, and one that someone THINKS is motivated by those things.  Both are identified as hate crimes in our statistics, but only the first kind are "racially/religiously/homophically aggravated" under the legal definition.  This means that a lot of hate crimes sit on our books where there is no proof that any kind of -ism was involved at all.  This only matters if you are measured and judged on your detection rate for hate-related crime.  Moreover, many of the crimes that are in fact aggravated by these things will have elements that are easy to prove in relation to the crime, but impossible to prove in relation to the motivation. If a person is charged for the non-aggravated version, the police cannot claim to have solved that crime.

These statistics are not, of course, related to any kind of performance target, because targets have been abolished.  But they do relate to victim satisfaction, and we all agree we are allowed to measure that, and that it doesn't count as a target even if the figures are published in green, amber and red.  Funnily enough, last year it seems that victims of hate crime were really devastated by their crimes and felt vulnerable to be targeted in that way.  This year, they're not too bothered, and it appears that victims across the board feel just as aggrieved as everyone else.

Either way, I know that the residents of Blandmore are delighted at the latest transparency in police figures, and are confident that this is a step towards stemming the dreadful tide of serious and violent crime threatening to overwhelm the county's police.*

* Which is not to suggest that Blandshire Constabulary can't cope. Of course we can, coping just involves a lot of overtime payments, which if ACPO has its way will be a thing of the past.

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

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Teeny Weeny Itsy Bitsy Blue Line

David Cameron: "The budget cuts will not affect front line services."

PC Bloggs: "I've yet to hear a convincing argument of how these cuts are NOT going to affect front-line services. Anyone?"

Today Greater Manchester Police has taken a deep breath and admitted that front line posts will go in the latest round of cuts.   Any force that does not follow suit is lying.  The government will no doubt claim that forces are free to decide how to enact the cuts themselves, and it is therefore GMP's choice to cut front line numbers. In fact, from next year, it will be the people of GMP's choice.  Big Society in action.

Blandshire Constabulary itself has frozen recruitment and will not be replacing retiring officers over the next couple of years.  Which means we're bracing ourselves for a repeat of a couple of years ago when shifts were daily being brought up to strength by officers on overtime and rest day working.  Except that overtime is likely to be limited too.  Indeed, if ACPO get its way and sells front line police down the river for the sake of its bottom line, no one will be willing to work on rest days or do overtime, and someone will successfully take their Chief to the European Court of Human Rights for their right to say no to unreasonable work demands.

Meanwhile, down at the sharp end, officers are attending jobs like this, and daily making decisions whereby their own and others lives hang in the balance.

Sir Hugh Orde made a good point last month (after putting down his pen from signing the secret document regarding reform to police pay and conditions). He said, "We are going to have to ask some really hard questions with the public: what is it that you want the police to stop doing?"  

But it's not the public we should be asking, it's Whitehall, and we should not stop asking until we have an answer that adds up.

NB If you announce that you have axed police performance targets, please inform the body responsible for measuring the police against them.

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

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Back to Front Justice

Judge John Rogers has today been added to my legendary Hall of Fame for warped justices.

I frequently post on my blog about the treatment of rape victims by the legal system, and meet generally with two extreme camps: those who think most women are liars and those who think many, if not all men, are rapists (the majority of readers are, of course, somewhere in between).

I will be interested to know what my two camps feel about the case of a woman jailed for perverting the course of justice - not for making up a rape allegation, but for lying when she said the rapes DIDN'T happen.  The implicit assumption within Judge John Rogers' eight month jail sentence for the woman is that she WAS a genuine victim of rape and was therefore a dirty liar for retracting her allegations.

Nobody can argue that it wasn't inconvenient for this woman to chop and change her account.  Nobody can believe that police officers and prosecutors in this case weren't wringing their hands when she changed her story for the third time, nor that thousands of pounds weren't wasted in the rape case that fell apart.  But the perversity of a sentence that accepts their status as victim while the perpetrator of crimes against them has walked free should not be under-estimated.  This is not someone who falsely retracted a statement allowing SOMEONE ELSE's murderer or attacker to walk free, but someone whose only victim of their befuddled evidence was herself - oh, and the man that Judge John Rogers accepts to be a rapist. 

When recidivist, premeditated burglars, thugs and gangsters are daily walking free with suspended sentences and community orders, just what on earth was Judge Rogers thinking?  More to the point, just what substances had the police and CPS consumed the week they decided it was a good idea to prosecute a repeat victim of rape for not wanting to go through with the prosecution of her attacker?

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


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