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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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Official: P**b is not offensive

The results of my poll are conclusive.  Out of 124 votes, 104 people voted for a term of abuse containing the expletive "fuck".  So "fuck" really is offensive, and we can stop debating whether or not the Chief Whip also called them p**bs

Incidentially, the word pleb comes from plebeian. The plebeians/plebes were a separate group, possibly originally immigrants to the Roman empire, forbidden to intermarry with patricians.  Check me out, I should be prime minister. (NB Boris would have known the answers.)

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

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Gate gate

What form of address would make you most angry? free polls 

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

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sense and Senselessness

How do you write a piece about "what it's like to be a female police officer", when what it's like is almost exactly like being a male police officer?  You can see my attempt here.

It's been a while since I wrote for The Telegraph, and the comments make interesting reading.  In particular two comments, one gasping in horror at how a woman could want to take on such a ghastly dangerous career.  (When she could be lunching at Harvey Nicholls or doing the school run, one assumes.)  Another suggests that women who experience unusually high levels of aggression should take up boxing.  Which only goes to show that sometimes it doesn't matter what you actually write.

Personally I think a lot of sense has been talked in the days since the Manchester murders.  Sir Hugh Orde springs to mind.  I don't agree with everything our worthy ACPO president says, but he spoke well on BBC News about why murder suspects sometimes have to be bailed, and how nigh on impossible it is to police when a society is either too frightened or too suspicious to give the authorities information about crime.

It has also reopened the debate about arming the police.  I am not a fan of arming every police officer.  But I do think we should have a lot more trained and armed firearms officers than we do.  There should be a couple of double crews for every five or so unarmed crews, so that the availability of armed officers is not a factor when making decisions about risk and operational tactics.  But if we are going to start arming everyone we will have to take a long look at our recruitment standards.  There are plenty of officers on my team who make fine investigators, or neighbourhood officers, but who I wouldn't want behind me with a gun, or in front of anyone else.  If you want to know why the majority of officers balloted by the Police Federation don't want to carry firearms, just read this story.

That said, if more offenders start laying grenade ambushes for neighbourhood officers, and the climate in this country does start to slide towards a Northern Irish style stand-off between police and society, I don't see what option we will have but to consider wide-scale arming.

In the meantime, I hope the death of these police officers provokes a more thoughtful and researched debate than the "Ooh big scary guns" versus "Kill the scum" that has presided until now.


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

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Billy Goats Gruff

A man has been arrested and bailed following the setting up of an offensive Facebook page hailing the killer of PCs Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes a hero. 

Those of us in the blogosphere are well-accustomed to people who think they can post comments that cause real distress to bereaved families, as well as verging on incitement to murder in some cases.  That said, the best way of handling these people is simply to remove their content, or ignore it.  Nobody has to follow a Twitter thread or log onto a Facebook page if they don't want to.  So I am not sure how I feel about the above arrest, though I did not read the content myself to assess its criminal nature.

At some stage an international manifesto will be laid down, as to how best to deal with those who cause genuine distress or incite real life crime via the internet.  Until then bloggers will deal with the issue of trolls in their own way.  

In the meantime, the IPCC appears to have chosen a particularly bizarre time to publish their report on sexual misdemeanour within the police.  They bemoan the vast figure of 54 cases of "sexual assault or exploitation", but the report was largely swallowed up by the outpouring of grief and sympathy for the two policewomen killed on Tuesday.  

I have a few issues with the report: namely that they lump sexual assault in with exploitation, when by the latter what they mean is officers who have pursued a relationship with someone they met in the course of their work.  The article is very unclear, some of these cases appear clearly inappropriate such as an officer using police systems to check up on nearly 200 women - one assumes with a view to some sort of move on them.  But it may also include single officers who happen to meet someone they deal with as a burglary victim.  I am definitely NOT advocating that officers try to date anyone they have dealt with in this way, but it's far from exploitation in every case.  The IPCC is also unclear on how many of the allegations were proven unfounded, or how many were undecided either way, and whether this figure includes those (I can only imagine not).  In any event, I hardly think that 54 cases in five years can be considered an endemic problem, and if it were so important, why bring this out on a day when not a single paper has given it more than a passing nod?  This will only serve to bolster feeling by both police and public alike, that the IPCC has completely lost its credibility.

PS Avid followers of this blog might want to buy The Sunday Telegraph this weekend. They could do with selling an extra copy.

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

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

An empty house in Hattersley

Two policewomen were killed today attending what was described as a "routine" incident.

We don't yet know their identities, whether they had children, partners.  Whether they were bright young probationers embarking on the vocation of their dreams, or seasoned beat officers looking back on decades of long service.  We don't know if they had been decorated for bravery, or disciplined for mistakes.  We don't know how often they had worked together, or how many officers can tell anecdotes about the time they did this, or someone said that to them.

We don't know the number of other crews on duty in Manchester today, listening to the same Airwave channel.  How many earpierces resounded with the sound of ricochets, how many throats choked to hear the emergency button activation followed by cries, or silence.  We don't know how many traffic laws were broken as units flooded to the scene; whether unarmed colleagues ran to their rescue or waited round the corner; how quickly armed officers were on scene and whether they could tell it was over immediately, or if there was hope. 

"The police officers have been shot", said by a neighbour to the window cleaner, is what we know.  It's enough to feel grief and dismay, and more information can only cause these feelings to grow.

The inevitable comments will follow, degrading and diminishing the deaths of these women. For some, it will have something to do with Hilsborough, or Ian Tomlinson.  For others, it will matter less because they wore a uniform.

But most people understand that the blood pressure of the nation is linked to the pulse of the police.  Love us, hate us, our hearts beat in time. 

Strength to their loved ones, and to their colleagues.  Rest in peace. 

Update: PC Fiona Bone and PC Nicola Hughes:


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

Friday, September 14, 2012

Do not go gentle

I have not given up my blog, just a bit busy right now. I plan to re-launch this site next month when I have a bit more time.

Things are looking pretty dire for police officers now.  Whereas the last government prompted blogs about bureaucracy, target culture and risk aversion, this one has prompted posts of outrage and shock at the attack on bobbies' purses - with less interest from the general public in the latter than the former.  And why should the police expect sympathy?  Years of apathy allowing the Home Office to turn policing into performance-driven stat-chasing, has done for whatever affection remained towards our kind.  That's not an accusation, more a lament.

I do not blame my colleagues, or I would have to blame myself.  It isn't the job of the worker to turn up and run the company.  And what employer would or should tolerate insubordination on a wide scale from its staff?

What is the way forward for front-line cops?  How do we fight for fair pay without further alienating the public?  How do you fight the system without breaking the law, or policy, or undermining your boss?

Tell me: what do you do, to police as you see fit, and not to meet a target or tick a risk assessment?

Thoughts below, I will be back soon.

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


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