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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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.


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

21 Comments:

Anonymous MTG said...

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

Whooops, a little tipple on duty? Obviously the penny has not dropped that the game is up for UK police. Your 'gang' culture has been uncovered, dissected and justly branded as dishonest, immoral, lazy and corrupt.

'As YOU see fit' will include the bizarre and preposterous. For example, rather than admit to tampering with statements (this entrenched police habit is even rife on police blogs) you would sooner claim the silicon ink used in statement preparation, was responsible for forming different words on paper as the former dried.

The most senior of police will lie to further their own cause or readily stoop to blame and frame the dead in order to save their own skins. When those ploys fail, you will wriggle, plead or adopt the indignity of genuflect grovelling.

That the image of UK police is tarnished beyond redemption, is a shared shame. There is nothing you can do but await a practical and radical solution from central government.

15 September, 2012 07:39

 
Anonymous Marc said...

I think perhaps you are confusing two quite different things with that comment. Hillsborough was horrific and so have this weeks revelations too been but that is not representative of the police today.

To conflate the two would be like branding me a criminal because someone a hundred miles away nicks a tv.

I would suggest walking a mile in a PC's shoes before passing judgement

15 September, 2012 08:14

 
Anonymous Joseph said...

Spot on MTG. The conduct of the police at and during the 23 years since Hillsborough isn't an isolated incident no more than the Harwood incident was. These incidents happen every day up and down the country on a much smaller but equally criminal scale. And heres why; the police are still being allowed to police themselves behind closed doors; a gang mentallity is tolerated where collegues are encouraged to and will lie for one another whenever a ligitamate complaint is made by one of the "unwashed". Officers who have been caught out lying for another never face any action.
This happens all the time - behind closed doors. Its high time we had a truly independant investigative body watching the police. I also believe that police disciplinaries should be held in public. Having one national police force and therefore a set standard for discipline would be a step foward.
Increasing the educational requirements for applicants from nil couldn't hurt either.
Transparency, accountability, responsibility, education. These are the basic qualities the rest of us need to survive in the workplace.
Hopefully the revelations this week re Hillsborough will be another nail in the coffin for these uniformed gangsters and we'll be a step closer to real change.

15 September, 2012 11:19

 
Anonymous NottsSarge said...

At the risk of troll-feeding...

Joseph and MTG - do you not see that the timing of these matters has been carefully managed to destroy any public sympathy for the sweeping reforms? You may be 'haters' anyway but you've swallowed the bait nevertheless.

Police pension reform announced on the same day as a major cabinet reshuffle.
Full disclosure of what really happened at Hillsborough a week later.
It's no coincidence.

Yes - pensions needed reforming. Yes - the Hillsborough disclosure looks like a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
Yes - both of those were last reviewed under an administration which sought to politicise the Police and bring them all onside while doing so, and interestingly enough those whose pensions won't be touched are the last of those from that era.

25 years later, good men and women do their utmost to serve you, the public, to the best of their ability, in the face of a sustained attack on their role, conditions of service and supposedly unbreakable deals.

Save your vitriol for those who deserve it, and realise when you've been suckered by media spin.

15 September, 2012 12:10

 
Anonymous painauchocolat said...

Well said, NottsSarge. The haters are too ignorant or blind to see what Bloggs is asking.

15 September, 2012 17:46

 
Blogger PC Bloggs said...

"ligitamate".

Says it all really.

15 September, 2012 18:56

 
Anonymous Joseph said...

Any decent counter argument anyone. Given your good english Bloggs I thought you might have more to offer. Perhaps, with regards to my previous post, your childish response, actually does say it all.

15 September, 2012 19:36

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look after yourself, don't get ill or injured.

Look after your colleagues, make sure they don't get ill or injured.

Look after the public, if you don't do the first two, you will not be able to do the third.

Make sure every action you take is, legal, decent and honest. If it is then no-one can accuse you of any wrong doing.

Document what you do and why you did it. If it's not written down it didn't happen.

If you are forced to follow a policy that you feel is suspect, retain a copy of the original document, and make a note on any statement and in your PNB that you acted in accordance with the policy. See 5 above.

Telling your Boss that you are concerned about factors that effect your teams ability to perform is not undermining Him/Her. You are alerting them to a changing situation. If you say nothing, it gives them an excuse, "nobody told me" they will say, and shunt the blame onto you.

Again if it is not written down etc. Keep copies of any document that will show you warned them before it all went wrong.

If you are going to raise a problem with your boss, it's all in the phrasing, don't say it directly, they will take it as an affront to their status. Unless you have got them cold, with plenty of evidence and witnesses, then go straight to their boss instead.

So start your sentence with 'I'm concerned that X is Y'

'I'm concerned that Bill being on annual leave next week, will leave us short-handed, will you authorise extra overtime or staff'.

'I'm concerned that the change in policy is causing us to be delayed at X'

'I'm concerned about the effect of X, what would you advise?'

Never ever say 'I'm worried about X' they will brand you as weak or incompetent.

Or start with 'Can you advise me how I should do X in light of the new policy'.

Or 'I thought I should bring this to your attention'

Or 'Members of the team are concerned about X affecting Y'

Bosses are responsible for the health and welfare of their staff, it is up to them to make sure every body has enough rest and refreshment on each shift. And each member of staff is properly trained and equipped. They are also responsible for ensuring there is adequate staff to cover the workload.

If they cannot do that then they are a failure and are harmful to the smooth running of the enterprise. They will soon not only have there normal workload, but all the fallout from their incompetence as well. This will just mount up until they get found out, or they have to admit failure to their boss. Just remember the first four points.

End of Part One

15 September, 2012 22:52

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Part Two

If a failure of leadership or lack of training or equipment leads to an accident or a near miss, there are policies in place for this, and you are obliged by these policies to report it. Keep a copy because if it isn't documented etc. In any other workplace copies would go to equivalent of the Fed and HMIC.

You don't have to “Smash the System” it is so ramshackle if you just do what you are told, it will just fall to bits on its own. Just remember the first four points.

Questions go up the chain, and answers should flow down. If the answer that comes down is not clear, legal or honest, send it back up the chain with a question, until someone puts their name on it.
'Chief Inspector Brown says you should do it this way', once it is in writing, follow the policy as written. Unless it breaks one of the first four rules.

In case anyone is unsure, I'm a 'Member of the Public'.

The Public, the majority, the ones you seldom meet unless they have become victims, are not disaffected with the Police. They like the Police, and are fascinated by what the Police do. Look at the popularity of Police reality documentaries.

The Public are unwittingly unaware of what is going on. If they really knew what was going on they would be shocked and horrified. The problem seems to be a lack of communication.

All the cards seem to be stacked against the Federated ranks, first there is stoic attitude of individual officers, plus the [incorrect] feeling that the public don't care. But the big problem is the offence of causing disaffection, which is stifling reasonable debate.

That is the big problem, and it should be tackled first. Someone has to define exactly what comprises causing disaffection. Probably a panel of Judges, but I'll have a stab:

If it is true, and therefore not libellous or slanderous, and not sub-judice, likely to hinder an investigation or liable to pervert the cause of justice, it cannot be classified as causing disaffection.

It should be allowed under the HRA as the rights apply to all humans. So if someone wants to say that my town only has 4 officers on duty on a Friday night they should be allowed to say it.

Members of the public would welcome it, we have now a chance to write to the Council, the Chief Constable and the local MP.


Moppy the mop

15 September, 2012 22:53

 
Anonymous MTG said...

Dear noble Moppy,

I doubt you can appreciate the generalised nature of corruption within the police. This public service is badly infected at every level. And the corrupt have the greatest interest in new procedures with a superficial value. Procedures which can be undermined and infected out of sight. These 'veneer procedures' placate the masses at the cost of clogging up the system - an evergreen with the ruling lawyer class, for obvious reasons.

The policy equips corrupt police with new mining machinery; allowing deeper underground penetration, where only the most careless can be caught.

A new generation of citizens will be happier with thicker blindfolds but that will be the only difference separating them from the old Losers.

The salient question is hard to acknowledge. 'Should we save a couple of good examples somewhere in the middle of a barrel of rotten apples?' It invites us to teeter on the verge of civil disobedience or worse.

16 September, 2012 09:37

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Melvin,you have sunk to new depths.To criticise someone for pointing an error in grammar actually made me laugh out loud.You have built your internet career on doing exactly the same.In fact I expect you post immediately below me doing exactly the same.
Where's your other idiot mate "mendacious" Broxted/Rehill etc.Is it his turn to use the laptop?
Jaded

16 September, 2012 11:40

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gosh, the middal class and educatid have risen.

16 September, 2012 13:27

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Took a bit longer than I thought.
Jaded.

16 September, 2012 14:14

 
OpenID inspectorgadget said...

Dr Harold Shipman.

All doctors are murderers.

John Worboys.

All taxi drivers are rapists.

Despite Harwood being acquitted, all police are brutes.

Silly, redundant arguments.

16 September, 2012 19:31

 
Anonymous NottsSarge said...

Moppy - thank you for an intelligent contribution from outside looking in.

For years we have argued for a bottom-up organisation, sadly questions go up but few answers come back down. That may be changing, certainly my senior management are accessible, although the replies tend to be exactly what you'd expect, more politics than policing.

My own view is that no policy will ever supercede prime directive number one - to protect life and property.

Some well-considered Freedom of Information requests might get around the disaffection trap, it's knowing what to ask...

17 September, 2012 12:20

 
OpenID officerfriendly said...

I am a civilian, employed by a constabulary to carry out a role usually performed by "the citizenry". Strangely, the people who complain most about the police are those who encounter them the most, criminals, the socially inept & those who can not function in normal society.

I went to a red brick universsity, got an above average education & earn less than many of my clients who remain on benefits.

The government are attempting to incentive-ise the more "pro-social" services, like the one I work for, by giving the local authority we work in £10,000.00 for each client household we engage & prevent from reoffending, re-entering the realms of Safeguarding & Specialist Services, prevent mental illness issues, re-engage young people in their educational placements. This is to prevent the hundreds of thousands of pounds these families will cost the taxpayer in the immediate future & further down the line.

These are the same issues that the police face in a daily basis, with the additional risk of assaults, just for being in a specific uniform. I do not have to carry out a lone home visit if I feel uncomfortable with the address or occupants, not something my police colleagues can not refuse to do.

Only once the combined forces of the country have been reduced to the bare bones, officers unwilling to perform frontline duties & we have the army on the streets will people appreciate how good our police are. Yes, there will always be the minority spoiling it for all, but if you really did down, there will only be one or two bad apples in the barrel, & they are being isolated & weaned out.

Until the police are offered the same kind of respect as the military covenant gives other serving defenders of the realm, there will continue to be a denegration of the police & society in general.

17 September, 2012 13:13

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Off friendly,

Feeling excited and partisan are perfectly normal experiences in a first job, particularly when it took a while coming.

17 September, 2012 19:37

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Anon above who I think accused me of being Middle Class and Educated, thanks for the best laugh of the day.

Nottssarge thanks for taking the time to read through my rather epic novella and your kind remarks.

I'll try and keep this short [doomed to fail that is].

I'm not qualified to comment on purely policing matters, but as your leaders are modelling themselves on 'Managers'. Then it comes into my area of experience and the advice above, such as it is, was a short guide on how to 'manage' your managers.

I think I get your point about “bottom up organisations”, but they don't work. It's a nice idea but it always falls to bits. An organisation has to work like a body, lots of different bits, that all have a specific purpose, know their purpose and carry it out.

Your legs carry you about, your hands let you pick things up, eyes see, ears hear etc. If one bit stops doing its job or bizarrely tries to do another's job, nothing gets done. Try moving across a room by wiggling your ears.

Every part has to do it's thing, and for managers that means getting and keeping enough staff, training them and making sure they are fully equipped. Having got them, then next job is to guide them toward the goal, support them when it gets difficult, rein them in if they get over enthusiastic and discipline them if they behave badly. While the workers work, the managers should be looking out over the top, making sure there is nothing on the horizon that is going to disrupt the workers. And that is it, no profit or shareholders to worry about.

The inter-departmental politics is indicative of weak management, either someone doesn't know what they should be doing or they have decided to do something they shouldn't be doing. And the responsibility for this falls on the Chief, if he/she has not got an eye on the whole process, then they are not doing their job. It tends to suggest there are too many layers to control, and that's when this sort of thing breaks out. Takes a decent leader to spot it and crush it.

Politics, with a big 'P', is a bigger problem and stems from the greed for gongs, furry robes and tea with Her Mag. No easy solution, make the QPM automatic after 25 years service to all ranks? And leave the gallantry award as is. Not sure about the Sir/Lord thing, either make it automatic at CC level or reserve it for truly exceptionable cases?

“Protect Life and Property” goes without saying, so I didn't say it, you are absolutely right. I'll only say the life you have is just as valuable as anyone else's.

FOI's might work, those on the inside will know what the real issues are, the real sticker is who do you pass the results onto? National Press are generally hostile, Local Press might be interested, the new would be PCC's might, if they weren't a waste of time and money. Though if all 43 Forces suddenly all got a carefully organised stream, might wake them up a bit. There might be a way, but it would be need to be deftly handled, you could use your enemies tactics against them, have to look that up though.

Moppy the mop

18 September, 2012 00:04

 
OpenID officerfriendly said...

"Feeling excited and partisan are perfectly normal experiences in a first job, particularly when it took a while coming."

Indeed, the fact I'm 40, took a huge detour from my initial chosen career to go & be a mature student, was working in the field as a volunteer for 15 years prior to doing the job I do now all aside, I completely agree.

18 September, 2012 10:42

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

don't waste time reading troll rubbish.
Missed you bloggsy welcome back.
very sad day today though, especially in GMP.

18 September, 2012 20:25

 
Blogger jerym said...

Yes,very much welcome back but please encourage your intelligent contributers not to encourage the trolls, just let them post but ignore them completely,thats what they dont want.

19 September, 2012 23:31

 

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