Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Gone in 8 seconds…

January 20, 2010

Kent Online are following the inquiry into the Nationwide Building Society robbery in New Romney on 31st October 2006.

Sadly, one of the robbers armed with a shotgun was shot dead by armed police.  Robert Haines, armed with a shotgun, was trying to make his escape from the building society having just robbed it of £105,000 by threatening the staff at gunpoint – with a shotgun – and wearing a balaclava.  Interestingly, the other two men who were part of the same robbery have since been charged with a string of other armed raids in the apparently beautiful and otherwise scenic Kent.

It never fails to amaze me how the media put a spin on things.  The BBC News article, albeit from February 2007, can’t help but mention the fact that the same police officer who shot Robert Haines – who was armed with a shotgun – was also involved (not sure how tenuously or directly) with the Jean Charles de Menezes shooting in London.  What the heck does that have to do with it?  The facts of this case are that the robbers attempted to steal £105,000 from a building society, using a shotgun as leverage.  One of the robbers, Robert Haines – armed with a shotgun no less – fired at the police.

In a split second, the firearms officer had to make a snap decision.  Do I let the robber get away with his stash and a lethal weapon, which he is quite prepared to use as he’s just demonstrated, or do I protect myself, my colleagues and the public and take him out? The firearms officer estimates it all took 8 seconds – I suspect it may have been slightly less than that when you consider the effects of adrenaline on time perception, but in any case, 8 seconds is nothing when you’re staring at a criminal with a shotgun pointed at you.

Whatever spin you put on it, Robert Haines may well have been a 41-year old father of three as the papers keep pointing out, but he was also a dangerous criminal, with a shotgun (did I mention that?), caught red-handed at the scene of a serious crime.

Firearms Officer

Scary isn't it? Specially if the person aiming at you isn't a police officer, and intends to kill you...

Being a police officer in the UK…

January 13, 2010

It seems all the yahoos, lefties and ‘liberalists’ (read: anarchists) have jumped on the bandwagon with the news that the police use of stop search was illegal.  I was browsing a Guardian blog earlier today at work and, unfortunately, didn’t copy the link to pop it in this blog – I’ve just spent 20 minutes trying to find it at home and I can’t now… Meh.

Note to self: must be more organised with this blogging lark. (And yes, blog more often perhaps!!) 🙂

Anyhow, I was rooting around and found an old e-mail that was doing the rounds about 7 years ago – it seems quite pertinent to the state of public opinion regarding the police at the moment, so I thought I’d post it:

Question:

How do you tell the difference between a British Police officer, an Australian Police officer and an American Police officer?

Answer:

Pose the following question:

You are walking down a deserted street with your wife and two small children when suddenly, a dangerous-looking man with a huge knife comes around the corner, locks eyes with you, screams obscenities, raises the knife and charges.

You are carrying a Glock 17 and you are an expert shot.  You have mere seconds before he reaches you and your family.

What do you do?

Evenin' all

Evenin' all

UK Police officers:

Well, that’s not really enough information to answer the question!

Does the man look poor or oppressed?

Have I ever done anything to him that would inspire him to attack?

Could we run away?

What does my wife think?

What about the kids?

Have I seen the Risk Assessment for this situation?

Should I write one out now?

Could I possibly swing the gun like a club and knock the knife out of his hand?

What happens to my pension if I injure my back doing that?

What does the law say about this situation?

Does the Glock have appropriate safety built into it?

When did I last have refresher training to use it – and is that adequately recorded?

Was the trainer appropriately accredited?

Why am I carrying a loaded gun anyway and what kind of message does this send to society and my children?

Is it possible that he’d be happy with just killing me?

Does he definitely want to kill me or would he be content just to wound me?

If I were to grab his knees and hold on could my family get away while he was stabbing me?

Should I call 999?

Would there be any police patrols available if I did or are they all engaging with the community on foot?

Why is this street so deserted?

Maybe we need to raise taxes, have a ‘paint and weed’ day and make this a healthier, happier street that would discourage such behaviour?

If I raise my gun and he runs away do I get blamed when he falls over running away, knocks his head and kills himself?

If I shoot him and he successfully convinces the jury he was just pleased to see me and waving hello (having forgotten about the knife in his hand he’d been using to carve a pumpkin for his four-year old daughter), does he have the opportunity to sue me, cost me my job, my credibility and my family home?”

Australian Police

Ya nicked, Bruce!

Australian officer:

BANG!

American Police

I'm sorry? He was texting death threats?

American officer:

BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! Click, click, click.

Daughter’s comment:

“Nice grouping, Dad!  Were those the Winchester Silver Tips or the hollow-points I bought you for your birthday?”

Just a thought but, if some of the lefties in this country lived in America, I think they’d die of a heart attack in a couple of seconds as the above joke is worryingly close to the truth these days.

Challenge for the readers:

Feel free to add further comments/considerations for the British Police Officers. 🙂

Run silent, run deep.

January 4, 2010
The Swamp Thing

What horrors lurk beneath that fetid water?

So it has begun. The stench from the political swamp suddenly intensifies as even more MP’s crawl out from the murky depths on their yellow bellies, their forked tongues flicking in and out as they dip-test public opinion and gear up for some major shouting and posing before the next election.

In fact, the only thing noisier than the MP’s is the ever present whine, like a jet turbine steadily increasing in pitch, as the spin machines spew out untruth after twisted untruth in an effort to make the other party look like the worst option to the voters.

What does this mean for the custodians of society?  It means we get to practice avoidance; we’re not allowed to speak to the media without following extremely strict guidelines, designed so as to prevent accidental photos of us being taken with MP’s or prospective MP’s from any party or from giving an opinion as to which party is best, or doing or saying anything that may prejudice our impartiality or could be used by the media to imply that we are siding with any particular group.

The fact that we have opinions of our own (strictly not representative of the Force as a whole, all rights reserved, no semblance to persons living or dead implied, etc) is, naturally, not something that we’re allowed to talk about whilst on duty.  Visit any police blog site, however, and you’ll find any number of reasons why the current government are perhaps not favoured by any sane, thinking person.

Our Force, amongst others, is currently saddled with the task of shaving millions off its budget as, over the next couple of years, we’re facing something like a 10-15% cut in our budget.  Don’t let the spin doctors tell you otherwise – with £70m being taken out of our overtime budgets (how else do you think special operations like Op Stack are funded?) and departments being told they’ve got to save 5% before April and another 10% for the next financial year, courses are being cut, operations are under-funded and under-staffed and recruitment has all but dried up.  That’s right – where we’d usually be recruiting between 200-300 PC’s a year, this next year we’re looking at 30-100.

PCSOs, originally funded by the government when they were first introduced as the cure-all panacea, will shortly have to be funded by police authorities.  Naturally, recruitment for them is drying up too.  In fact, it doesn’t take a genius to start working out that numbers will start falling due to natural wastage.

So whatever the spin doctors try to tell you, don’t believe the hype – police numbers are being directly and negatively affected by the government.  Will a different government be any… different?  Who knows?

But I can’t express an opinion, really – all the while we’re in ‘purdah’, we’ve got to run silent, run deep…

Submarine

Don't express an opinion, don't even make a noise...

Note: ‘Purdah‘ is a term used to refer to social exclusion/isolation – for the police it is a time from when an election is announced to when it takes place.  It’s the time of party sabre-rattling, exchanges of insults, mud-slinging and general ‘point-scoring’ against the opposition in an attempt to get the voters on their side (whichever side that may be.)  For the police, it’s a time to keep shtum, be drawn on nothing political, express no preferences either way, for fear of appearing to favour one side over the other and thus lose our impartiality.  It feels like a gagging order and perhaps not accidentally also refers to the practice in Muslim and Hindu communities of keeping women in seclusion, usually via certain clothing (veils, etc.)
N.B.:  I found out today that our projected recruitment figures for the next two years have now dropped to less than 10% of our normal recruitment figures.  This is partly to do with staff who are reaching retirement age wanting to stay on thanks to the recession, but you can guarantee that budget cuts have a huge part to play too.

Where’s the Christmas Cheer?!?

December 29, 2009

Crikey.

Well, I’m back. It’s been busy for myself, the Boss and mini-kop over the last few days – probably something to do with it being Christmas.

I can’t help feeling as though Christmas should be the time to be of festive spirit, full of joy and love for everyone else and having the grace to be pleasant to strangers.

Quite how I survived the foray into Slumtown today I’ll never know. We were off into town to have a chuckle at the “sales” – I have to paranthesise the word ‘sale’ now as I believe they’re a complete misnomer. I didn’t find a single thing that had actually gone down in price. Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of offers of ‘up to 50% off’, but surely I’m not the only one who realises that to qualify to legally put up that sign, the shop only has to offer one line of products at 50% off marked price. And that’s 50% off the highest price that item has been offered at over the last 6 months by some store, somewhere. Ever wondered why some things are ridiculously overpriced in one particular (low-footfall) store, somewhere? It’s so that they can offer those same items elsewhere at ‘50% off’.

“Sales”, my @rse.

And the Christmas cheer of which I speak?

You won't find this one in the Highway Code!

That was aptly demonstrated by someone from the shallow-end of the gene pool in his car today. He’d decided that the Highway Code was written by cretins (his relatives, perhaps?) and he was going to force his way across the two lanes of opposing traffic and stop across my path in lane 1 so that he could give me the finger on his way through.

I didn’t recognise him, but I was a little confused as to why I’d been singled out. He could have kept going and been out of my way before I got near him, but no, he had to stop to block me specifically to give me the finger.

Christmas cheer? Something tells me he won’t be getting his Spot The Dog books next Christmas.

A call that I attended with a probationer on Boxing Day was an eye opener too. The usual domestic – Wayne had spent all the fag money on White Lightning and left Waynetta with Chasnay, Reece and some of her other spawn that she couldn’t be bothered to remember the names of, let alone who the fathers were.

Slumtown's latest 'opportunity' developments left a little to be desired.

They were the typical bottom-dwellers and yet they had a decent, 4-bedroom house. Well, it was decent before they moved in and let the kids scrawl crayon all over the walls (Wayne probably did half of it too.)

And the next day, during a chat with the in-laws, I find out that the Boss’s sister and her boyfriend can’t get a house through the council. It turns out that despite both living in Slumtown since birth, paying their dues, not having criminal records or drug habits, a retinue of offspring towing behind with snot rags and dirty faces, and the fact they’ve both got jobs means that the council won’t help them.

Never mind the fact that they’re doing everything right, they’re working, they’re paying taxes, they’re not criminals, etc. The council won’t help them, even though they can’t afford to rent and certainly not to buy. And the best thing of all was?

The advisor who told them the council wouldn’t help them suggested that if they had a kid, they’d get a house.

Happy New Year.

Merry Christmas Everyone!!

December 24, 2009
Police car chasing Santa

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to everyone!

Special thanks to everyone who’s stopped by my new blog (it’s still in its infancy, so thanks for all your comments) and an extra special Merry Christmas to everyone who has to work over the holiday; police, ambulance service, fire brigade, coast guard, NHS and everyone else.

Chinook taking off with soldier in foreground

Yep, it's even Christmas in Afghanistan for some.

And let’s not forget the brave lads and lasses over in Afghanistan – I hope you have a safe and merry time, if that’s possible.

I’ll be wishing them all a Merry Christmas from the relative safety of my patrol car tomorrow.

And to the rest of you – have a good one.  Remember, everything in moderation, unless it’s chocolate!!! 😛

Merry Christmas!!!

Keeping abreast of the situation…

December 22, 2009

Okay, so perhaps this is somewhat offensive to various groups on many different levels, but by ‘eck is it funny!!!

I had something similar to this happen to me once when I was doing a speed check in coastal Slumtown in Ruralshire.  Well, okay, I’m not retarded and I didn’t attempt to shoot a hobo, but the response of the driver was the same when I started filling out a ticket.

I clocked a car exceeding the limit by a significant amount – fast enough to not even consider letting them off.  Funnily enough, the driver was female.  I’ve lost count of the number of speeding tickets I’ve had to issue in my time (thanks to the drive to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on the roads), but I can say hand on heart that more than half have been to women drivers.  What is it with them rushing around?!  According to the insurance adverts, they’re the safer drivers!

Anyway, when she saw me get the ticket book out she did something very similar to the video above.

I had to laugh – I thought this kind of thing only happened in movies and that no-one was really stupid enough to think it actually works!  Needless to say, she got her speeding ticket despite her best efforts.

Makes you wonder, though, how many are able to pull the ‘short-skirt discount’ during their driving test or in other times of need!

Boobies!!! 😛

Note: I laughed so hard I nearly choked when I watched the video above.  Do a search on YouTube for ‘retarded policeman’ and you’ll find a treasure-trove of videos featuring the challenged cop.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it….

December 18, 2009

Okay, so the forecasters got it right for a change and it snowed a bit this morning.

No problem, thought I.  I have nearly two decades of driving experience, including a number of police driving courses (and a standard course which coincided with some of the worst snow we’ve had for quite a while), and a stable and highly dependable vehicle equipped with flourescent jacket, first aid kit, food supplies (well, some dextrose tabs and chewing gum) and I was prepared for the journey.

I forgot about other motorists, though.

You know the weather’s been bad when you see people driving past in their people carriers, their driving experience limited to doing the school run through the spring/summer months, with no headlights on and the tiniest slit carved through the snow and ice across their windscreen to peer out of like some WW2 armoured scout vehicle.  And when they finally summon the courage to exceed 10 mph on a dual carriageway with nothing more offensive than salty water on it, their vehicle turns into a mobile blizzard as the 6″ of snow caked onto the roof gets blown off in intermittant avalanches of visibility-impairing snow.

And best of all, they still think their headlights and indicators work, despite the fact they couldn’t be bothered to scrape a foot of snow off them, either.