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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Saturday, February 27, 2016

Facebook Faux Pas

Stories like this, in which a judge recalled two drug dealers for sentencing because they bragged on Facebook and were abusive about her, will bring a smile to most police officers' faces.  In fact, I would hazard a guess it was the officer in the case who highlighted this, unless the judge happened to be friends with the males.
My question is, should your sentence go from two years in jail (a healthy chunk of time for most adults), to zero, just because you told the court you were sorry?  Justice Lunt originally suspended the sentences due to the contrition shown.  She overturned it because that contrition was proved false.
Of all of the factors in an offence, especially one like drug-dealing which requires some forethought, I would have thought contrition would be the least relevant to sentencing.

Daniel and Samuel Sneddon.  Oops.

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

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Uncommon Sense

Since my earliest blogging days, and before, we've been reading about how the police should have more Common Sense.
I've bewailed the loss of commonsense from the start.  But here's why I cringe when I hear police commanders and politicians using the phrase as if it represents some brave new world of policy surrounding the police.
A few years ago, Blandshire Constabulary trained us all in Professional Judgment.  This was the politically correct term for Discretion, something that is inherent in the office of constable.  Discretion is the ability of the uniformed bobby to listen to the individual circumstances of the human being facing them, and take a decision based on their own moral judgment, with regard to the needs of society, rather than based on any performance target or edict from above.  The fact that the management thought we had to be trained in this was disturbing enough, but the training itself was farcical.
I sat for several hours while a trainer and a superintendent told me in exactly what circumstances I was able to use my discretion and when I wasn't.  Not based on the law (as there are some situations where an officer is duty bound to act a certain way), but based on Blandshire's risk assessments and policies.
By the end of the training, it was clear that the purpose of rolling out Professional Judgment, was to make very clear to all officers and the public (as well as the media and the IPCC), that officers of Blandshire Constabulary made their own decisions, and therefore it would not be their sergeant, inspector or commander's fault if they happened to make the wrong one.
PC Kevin Duff and PCSO Andrew Passmore have been jailed for failing to prevent the murder of a vulnerable man.  The judge blamed the wider failings of the police.
Whilst there is no excuse for the sloppy judgment shown by the officers in this case, how many times had they neglected their duty without action from above?  How do we get into a situation where a man's life can depend on the character of the police officer called to help him?  How many lives have been saved because an officer used their judgment to go above and beyond what their manager had required?
It's all very well preaching about commonsense and discretion, I'll endorse it when I see that officers truly are able to do their jobs without "fear or favour", and that is going to take more than fine words.

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

Sunday, February 14, 2016

The Disappearing Reappearing Cop

I haven't blogged for a while.  There are a number of reasons, but I am still here, sort of.
I've been spending some time this week reading back through my blog in the early days, trying to figure out why I stopped writing it.  To my amazement I started the blog nearly TEN YEARS AGO!
It's clear from my early posts that there was a lot of fun to be had at the government's expense.  The Labour government was a delightful source of entertainment for this police blogger, from its wonderful ideas on legalising parenting, to its devil-may-care attitude to spending on operations like Overt and Safeguard, to the all-encompassing Home Office Counting Rules.
Things changed in 2010.  The Coalition (or let's call it the Conservative) Government, added a sinister dimension to what had been, up until then, playful tinkering with the police.  Of course, I had not thought of it as playful, but it seems it in retrospect.  Oh, how I came to long for the days when Tony McNulty would exhort the public to "jump up and down" to deter crime.
The Clegg/Cameron reign gave rise to Tom Winsor and the infamous "reforms".  The Home Office had declared all-out war on the police.  This was not the stuff of comic light reading, but of deep-rooted concern across the board in the police.
It was hard to know how best to tackle it.  The Police Federation were saying some sensible stuff, but also had problems of their own, leading to a number of high profile cock-ups.  The tide of public opinion had changed.  With the 2009 recession, the public did not want to hear coppers whingeing about their pay and conditions, or about whatever piece of legislation was doing what, or even to hear light-hearted stories about officers having far too much fun at work.  The public had their own concerns.  The age of the public sector whistle-blower was drawing to a close.
I still think there's room for measured debate on police reform, and decisions about what kind of police force we want in this country.
I also still think there's room to poke fun at those in power, even if there aren't many left with a sense of humour.
I have sheathed, but not unloaded, my satirical handguns.  (For which, I might add, I would very likely be struck off the Firearms department, had I ever been on it.) 
As for my next move, that's still under review...

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


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