Posts Tagged ‘police’

Police don’t get prosecuted for speeding SHOCK!!

February 18, 2010

This news article is a few days old, so the blog is a little late, but that’s what you get for working shifts in the thick of it.

Good old Police Oracle (via The Sun) have run an article based on a Freedom of Information request to the police forces of the UK asking how many police officers have been prosecuted for speeding.  The results are, apparently, shocking and indicate some kind of endemic corruption in the police as we don’t prosecute our drivers for exceeding the speed limit.

I don’t know about you but, last time I checked, emergency services have an exemption from sticking to the speed limit if doing so would impinge or otherwise affect the performance of their duties. What this means in layman’s terms is that if some idiot is wandering around a school armed with a machine gun taking pot-shots at kids, or some idiot is using a machete to rearrange his wife’s face, or someone else is bleeding to death at the scene of a road traffic crash, we NEED to get to the scene as quickly as humanly possible.

If we pootled about at 30mph, we’d still get there, but instead of catching offenders and calming down shocked witnesses and would-be victims, we’d be counting the dead, helping paramedics hold someone together or sealing off the scene of a fatal RTC.

Gitso Camera

Gitsos - Catching the unobservant since 1991.

Just one in every 1,800 police drivers who trigger speed cameras on duty gets punished at Britain’s biggest police force, it has been revealed.

Fair enough.  Sounds about right to me as the only police you’ll see speeding on duty are those with blues ‘n’ twos running, for the most part.  Where’s the shocker?

The Met Police stats are among the highest in the UK.

That’ll be because the Met are the biggest Force in the UK, with (on average) about 10 times the number of police officers than any of the rural Forces.

Of 17 areas where figures are kept, 88,536 Gatso incidents involving an on-duty officer were detected last year. But just 158 were convicted – most getting a £60 fine and three points.

I’d be worried that as many as 158 were convicted, not just 158.  100% of Gatso activations should be because the police car is on its way to an emergency.  So there should, ideally, be a 0% conviction rate.  As for the penalty, it’s the standard penalty that any member of the public would receive so they can’t claim unfairness there.

The law allows 999 cars to ignore limits if obeying them would “hinder” duties. Cases are probed by top brass who decide if the officer needed to speed. But the high number of let-offs has raised eyebrows.

It’s only raised eyebrows in the media – the bound-by-no-morals champion of whatever cause raises the most sales this week. Let’s just clarify the reason why so many police aren’t prosecuted for speeding:  It’s because they haven’t broken any laws.

It’s about time the media stopped misquoting and misrepresenting the facts.  I for one am getting sick of it.

Police Pursuit Car

Here's your new pursuit car, but you can't go faster than 30 in it...

P.S.:

Road safety charity Brake said “Speed is the biggest killer on our roads. Offenders need to be held accountable for their behaviour.”

Don’t even get me started on this… I’ve already had to delete three paragraphs of text that I wrote in response to this quote, I’ve decided to leave it for another blog post.

Are the police too scary for you?

February 13, 2010

I stumbled across this piece of news the other day.  It was reflected in Police Oracle too and seems to be a rather pertinent piece of writing from someone whose field of expertise is poker, of all things.

There are, apparently, more armed officers wandering the streets of London these days, and Victoria Coren seems to be more worried about this than ever before.  I don’t know what your take on armed police is, but this is mine:

You don’t tend to see armed police officers hanging around on street corners, or down dark alleyways wearing hoodies, talking ‘street’ and pimping their girls while keeping an eye out for competitive drug dealers moving in on their turf or looking for some rich and easy pickings to walk past.

Perhaps my perspective on life, the universe and everything is poles apart from Victoria’s, but I don’t get scared when I see armed police about.  At worst I might think, “Get your bloody hat on!”  Or perhaps, “What’s going on ‘ere then?”  One thing I can say for sure is that I don’t get scared.  I feel safer, if anything.  Despite what the press would like the public to believe, police officers that routinely carry firearms are highly trained and highly unlikely to randomly shoot innocent people.  (Braces himself for the tide of ‘what about de Menezes’ comments.)

There’s a few points in the Police Oracle version of the story I’d like to address, however:

• 2 January: Armed police and helicopter scrambled to a home in Weymouth where people were preparing for a Fancy dress party.

Slightly misreported, this.  A member of public called saying that a firearm had been seen.  The fact that it turned out to be a fancy-dress prop is neither here nor there – ALL reported firearm incidents have to be dealt with as such until its established that the weapon isn’t a real one, capable of wiping out a school full of children.

• 30 December 2009: Armed police attend comedy show at Bristol’s Colston Hall.

If you can’t laugh, what can you do?

• 21 December 2009: Police admit armed officers stormed into a young family’s home in Oldham, pinned down a father of two and wrongly accuse him of drug dealing.

Don’t know the story behind this one – sounds interesting though.

• 16 December 2009: Armed police swoop on Enid Penny and her seven-year-old spaniel Toby as helicopter hovers overhead. Penny has a dangerous heart condition.

Two thoughts – what the hell does her having a heart condition have to do with anything (did the police know about this BEFOREHAND?!) and secondly, since when has having a heart condition been an offence worthy of armed police and a helicopter?  There must be more to this story.

• 26 November 2009: Armed police and helicopter mobilised in Staffordshire to arrest member of the band Thirst when a man monitoring CCTV mistakes jump leads for a gun.

Well, this is another non-story blown out of proportion.  When will the media realise that if someone reports something they THINK is a firearm, then the police HAVE TO DEAL WITH IT AS IF IT IS A REAL FIREARM?!?!?!  My Force-issue crystal ball hasn’t arrived yet and until it does I will treat ANYTHING that is reported as a firearm as a firearm until it turns out it’s a table leg, banana or Airsoft replica Desert Eagle .45.   The hacks who pump this kind of crap out really are exposing their single-fingle IQ’s with these kind of stories.

• 13 October 2009: Pest controller Graham Simmonds was arrested by six armed officers at a shopping centre in Havant, after he had already informed the police of his contract to cull pigeons.

Communications issue, methinks?  Who did he notify, and how?

• 27 September 2009: A 63-year-old musician has DNA removed from the national database after police arrested him at gunpoint in the street for being a terrorist, stripped him and forced him to put on a “Guantánamo Bay-style paper suit”.

It’s the Guantánamo Bay-style paper suit I take offence at here.  Paper suits are paper suits.  We have them so that we don’t leave suspects NAKED when we seize their clothes.  What would the press rather we do?  Dish out Armani suits to them instead?  Comparing a bog-standard paper suit with what they wore in Guantánamo Bay is a purile attempt at sensationalising the story.

• 25 September 2009: Leslie May’s home in Surrey is raided by several armed officers for a second time after hoax call.

Again – without our crystal balls, how the hell can we tell a hoax call from a real one? What if someone rings up saying there’s a madman with a Kalashnikov running around the local primary school taking pot shots at toddlers?  Are we just going to send a single-crewed Panda round to pop in, do a bit of neighbourhood engagement and apologise for disrupting the kids lessons (“Look! A poweeceman!”) or are we going to take it damn seriously until we know otherwise?  Which would you rather we do – especially if YOUR kids were at the school?

• 25 July 2009: Armed police break into the Poole flat of school dinner lady, 29-year-old single mother Rachel Whitmarsh, as she bathes her six-year-old son.

Sounds like police brutality to me.  Or perhaps the call they received wasn’t that she was bathing her son, but perhaps that something far less innocent was going on, involving a firearm?

• 13 July 2009: Armed police arrest Kenneth Wilson while he is shooting pigeons legally on farmland in Wiltshire.

He may well have been legally shooting pigeons, but until the police can establish that he may also be one bird short of a game pie and, having topped the farmer and his family, is now out taking pot-shots at the wildlife while the police arrive so that he can commit suicide by cop.

I’m not trying to defend the indefensible – there are times when the police do things that are hard to defend, but fortunately these are few and far between.  But it would be nice if the public, generally speaking of course, were not so prone to accepting the drivel the news feed them with – without questioning the facts and having a think about it before they jump on the anti-police bandwagon.

The bottom line is, as well as turning the TV on, turn your brain on too.  As well as opening the paper, open your mind.  Don’t accept the limited viewpoints of the vocal minority such as Victoria who are scared of their own shadows.

Perhaps we should stop pussy-footing around...

Perhaps we should stop pussy-footing around...?

Do you have confidence in the police? How should we measure it?

February 7, 2010

I’ve finally secured enough time in front of a computer to put some thoughts to press, as it were.  Unfortunately this isn’t the blog post I promised earlier in the week – that’s still to come as I need more time to work that one out.

This one, however, is about work and how bloody stupid it can be at times (well, okay, all the time!)

I’ve been running around like a blue-arsed fly this last week (and next week too) because a spurious measure of police performance for our Farce has dropped by a miniscule amount (less than 1 percent.)  This measure is, of course, taken over the last quarter from a sample of the population so small as to be statistically insignificant and not representative of the whole population of Ruralshire*.  I can say that because I have an A-level in Maths and went on to study statistics (amongst other more interesting things) at university.  Then I joined the police, but that’s a story for another day.

Statistical mathematics - FUN!

Statistical mathematics - FUN!

So, 200 people (approximately, based on percentage drop vs total population) have said they’re not happy with our service.  The senior ranks are stomping around like headless chickens discovering KFC are rolling out a boneless bucket happy hour (or their bonuses are on the line) and issuing edicts and directives left, right and centre.  I was unfortunate enough not to duck down into the trench quickly enough and caught an underarm howler right in the chest.  I cannot be any more specific than that, I’m afraid, but basically I’ve been told my next promotion hangs in the balance if I’m not able to complete x within y weeks, producing a z increase in public confidence. Fun!

What alarms me the most about this isn’t the fact that we have this ‘public confidence measure’, or we have specific drives to increase it, but it’s the almost terminal fascination I have with the way ACPO and SMT seem to get in such a huge flap about a measure they genuinely do not have very much control over, at all.  Yet they can’t see that.

PCSO

Working hard - for what return?

Yes, of course, if 20 PCSO’s go out on their beats and do marvellous jobs, deliver excellent customer service, identify a few offenders, prevent offences and perhaps even catch a few criminals in the act, they will still have only had a direct influence over a handful of people who might think they’ve done a good job and be prepared to say that.  Of course, they might hate the police whether or not they do a good job – depends who they are.

Conversely, over the last quarter we have had one of the coldest winters in 30 years or so.  This is has caused chaos on the roads, leading to a number of ‘incidents’ where regular, law-abiding motorists (who’ve clearly been lobotomised at a young age) have done things which has led to police action against them.  Said motorists have then spent nearly a week on the radio complaining and getting fired up by the anti-police radio presenters to the point that a Tier 2 critical incident was on the verge of being called, due to the public outrage being stirred up by the press.

Of course – 20 PCSO’s can do their bit to show their community what a great job the police try and do.

The media, however, can spin a story to millions in front of the gogglebox, radio, newspapers and t’internet – and let’s face it, it’s never going to be a good story about the police really, is it?  Won’t sell.

So who has the most influence on public confidence?  Perhaps ACPO & SMT should think on that before they started wanging off howlers to overworked staff about pointless crusades to try and improve confidence…

* I have to put a disclaimer in here, as kKop’s Ruralshire may or may not be the same one as Inspector Gadget’s.  We’re neither too sure.

Bringing new meaning to, “We’re short of resources!”

January 16, 2010

Okay, so at 4’10”, PC Sue Day clinches the title of shortest copper in Britain, according to the Daily Mail.  There was an interesting piece on Laptop, the shortest male copper, the other day but as a result it seems they’ve dug deep and found someone even shorter. But they’ve had to think about a new nickname as ‘Laptop’ was already taken, so – sticking with the PC theme – they’ve opted on ‘Mouse’, it being small and a PC peripheral, apparently…

Shortest PC

Little 'n' Large?

This sort of article does raise some interesting arguments about whether the height of a police officer is something that people should concern themselves about, but I have to say, if she can do the job then I wouldn’t mind being crewed up with her.

It’d make me feel taller, for a start. 🙂

P.S.: Is that her pocket notebook attached to her shoulder?

NEWSFLASH: POLICE ARE HUMAN TOO!!

January 14, 2010

After complaining about the police constantly for chasing targets, having no heart, acting like robots and generally being inhuman automatons, a PC from the TeleVision Police – sorry – Thames Valley Police, goes and proves that coppers are…. well…. human.  And gets into trouble for it.

Can you believe that the idiot in charge of the division where this happened actually criticised the police officers involved?  Whatever your thoughts are about their use of police time (how do we know they weren’t actually on a break? Being human, police officers have them too), resources and equipment, you have to admit that this sort of event does nothing but prove that there is a human (and maybe a bit of a child) behind the uniform.

Whatever the superintendent’s motives were for reprimanding this behaviour, you can guarantee that despite his or her misgivings, it will have helped public confidence and made the other members of public in that particular area feel a little more at ease knowing :

a) the hill was being well-policed

b) that coppers are human too

c) that riot shields make damn good tobbogans!

If you can’t laugh, what can you do? Take up politics, perhaps…

December 19, 2009

So Boris Johnson is unhappy with the way the Met is managed? Get in line, Mr Johnson, because I’m sure as hell you’re not the only one who wants to politicise the management of policing.

Boris holding his hair down

Boris checks his hair isn't MIA

As we all know, Boris is the bleeding edge of Mayorship, and his diamond-edged wit and decision-making ability is rivalled only by his hairstyle.  The fact he’s backed banker’s bonuses is a key indicator of where his morals, and perhaps assets, lie.

However, from behind all this bluster, confusion and windswept hair comes a rather worrying comment from our Boris.  Whilst talking about the disjointed nature of the MPA, it seems our Boris wants more political control of the police.

I couldn’t think of anything scarier or more counterproductive.

When I took the oath, I swore allegiance to the Queen, not some randomly-elected, flavour-of-the-moment scrote in a suit whose only interest is fiddling the taxpayer for all they can get whilst swapping houses and allowances like Top Trumps cards in a school playground.

Politicise policing and you’ll end up with the same problem the French have – the police won’t do anything about the farmers/fishermen striking and blocking the ports, causing chaos in the UK thanks to Op Stack, because their commissioner (or préfet or whoever it is – not sure of the exact terminology as my French isn’t that hot!) won’t get re-elected as they’ll have lost the votes of vast numbers of militant onion sellers (the worst kind – militant onions play havoc with your tear ducts when you’re slicing them.)

Note: Unfortunately I couldn’t link to the actual news article that sparked this post as it is in a members-only area of Janes Police Review website.  I have, instead, tried to find other relevant news articles, although they’re a bit older, that get the same message across.

Another ‘ard day at t’mill…

December 16, 2009

Funny as hell, but utterly demotivating, is my superintendent’s ability to both make a mountain out of a molehill, but also to get two teams of moles working on it from different sides so neither knows the other is there until they start to notice that its raining soil on their heads.

Still, it keeps me busy and I like to get home and unwind by cooking a nice dinner for the boss and, if I have the time, a quick go on the PS3. Blimey, is it me or do some people really get irate about violence in games?

Car runs over pedestrian (in a game!)

Carmageddon - no, that's not a real pedestrian!

For better or worse (I guess I’ve got a good career lined up if I ever leave the police) I’ve spent too much time with computers since I was a nipper.  As a result, I’ve grown up playing games like Carmageddon, where you get more time on the race clock by running over pedestrians, and Grand Theft Auto (most variations) where you get to steal cars, take ‘ladies of the night’ for one-way rides and gun down other gangsters in gory, bullet-ridden shoot outs.

And guess what?

Nope – haven’t once had the urge to ‘go postal’ and start up a massacre, or drive around at lunatic speeds trying to run people over (unless I’ve got the blues ‘n’ twos on.)

My personal thoughts? If kids/adults are easily affected by violence in games, then they’re going to be easily affected by violence in films and far more affected by violence in their childhood/family/environment.  As a result, they’re going to be unstable anyway and have a tendency to violence more so than the average Joe who has all their marbles present and accounted-for; trying to blame a safe stress-valve like a game is madness, perpetuated by those who know nothing of games.