Blues And Twos - Police Officer's Blog

Blues and Twos - Police & Law Blog is a an amalgamation of thoughts, feelings and observations on news, current affairs and UK policing in general. Our police blog has contributions from officers of the rank of Inspector (Organ Grinder) down to Constable (Monkey). Blues and Twos - The Police Officer's Blog

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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Mayor's power increased

Interesting article in today's Guardian outlining plans to give London's mayor increased powers.

Launching the proposals today, the local government and communities minister, David Miliband, also outlined plans to make the mayor chair of the Metropolitan police authority for the first time, giving him a greater say over policing in the capital.

How long before we see US style mayorial elections in the UK?

This will hopefully include how soft on crime or not a particular candidate is!

Roll on 2008......

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Police Recruitment and Positive Discrimination

On the TV yesterday was a news item titled Force accused of discrimination, today the Telegraph reported the same news item titled Not wanted: white male police.

The thing that surprises me is that it's taken so long for this to be brought to the public's attention.

Postitive descrimination, or as it's known in the UK police service 'Positive Action' (see Positive discrimination? Oh you mean discrimination!) has overtly been the norm since the publication of the 1998 government report into recruitment in the police service and as a response to the Stephen Lawrence Enquiry.

Earlier reports also include

1999 - Police Recruitment Targets

1999 - Who will fit 'The Bill'?

1999 - Police must take 8000 extra from minorities

Further research on the positive discrimination / positive action reveals the following recent reports which at the time of going to press didn't receive a great deal of publicity.

Equal rights take a back seat

We need positive discrimination to meet targets say police chiefs

Positive Discrimination

White Man Waiting List For Met

One in three women favour positive discrimination in the police

Pressure mounts to recruit more ethnic police

Met Police 'Positive Action' team

Police Force Widens Recruitment

Police consider recruitment quotas

Police 'should favour black recruits'

Met to 'fast track' black recruits

Positive Discrimination Press Release - The Police Federation

It is commonly the norm for specialised units / departments recruiting from within the police service to hold 'open days' specifically for female officers or officers from ethnic minorities so they can 'familiarise' themselves with the specific units / departments prior to being called for interview. If you're not from one of the groups being catered for on these special 'open days' you basically have no choice but to 'go in blind' for the interview / selection process.

Generally the vacancy will read along the lines of the specific unit or department being under represented from members of a specific group(s) and that applicants from these groups are especially 'welcomed'.

Obviously they don't mention overtly that applicants from white anglo saxon males aren't wanted - You just kind of get that feeling when reading through the vacancy!

I'm a firm believer in employing people on merit and qualification not on gender, race or religion.

This used to be called the 'right man for the right job' - Now-a-days it is known as the 'right person for the right job'!

But on a serious note I think the public deserve to have suitably qualified officers dealing with / for them, not officers employed in positions just to make up quotas or to meet government targets.

Positive action / positive discrimination has been described in the past as demeaning racism as it sends a condescending message to minorities that they are not capable enough to be considered on their own merits.

If it was me I would hate to feel like I'd only got through the interview / selection process because of my gender or ethnicity. I'm sure the vast majority of the fully capable female officers and officers from ethnic minorites that I have had the pleasure of working with over the last 13 years feel the same way too.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Sir Robert Peel - 'Peelian Principles'

We had a bit of a discussion the other day in the office regarding Sir Ian Blair's Lecture.

A few people mentioned the article in The Telegraph and said they agreed with the comment that Sir Ian Ian Blair need look no further than Charles Clarke's more effective predecessor, Sir Robert Peel, for the answers to many of his 'policing' questions!

The Peelian Principles or Nine Points Of The Law are below.

1 / The basic mission for which the police exist is to prevent crime and disorder.
2 / The ability of the police to perform their duties is dependent upon public approval of police actions.
3 / Police must secure the willing co-operation of the public in voluntary observance of the law to be able to secure and maintain the respect of the public.
4 / The degree of co-operation of the public that can be secured diminishes proportionately to the necessity of the use of physical force.
5 / Police seek and preserve public favour not by catering to public opinion but by constantly demonstrating absolute impartial service to the law.
6 / Police use physical force to the extent necessary to secure observance of the law or to restore order only when the exercise of persuasion, advice and warning is found to be insufficient.
7 / Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.
8 / Police should always direct their action strictly towards their functions and never appear to usurp the powers of the judiciary.
9 / The test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with it.

It's strange how something written in all the way back in 1829 still rings true.

Perhaps we'll come full circle again soon and some 'shiny arse' will win a 'Blueprint' award for making the suggestion!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Sir Ian Blair

I've just read a very interesting article written by Melanie Phillips on Sir Ian Blair's Dimbleby Lecture, in which she says the underlying message of his address seemed to be:

‘Help, I haven’t got a clue what the police are supposed to be doing, and if anyone out there has got any bright ideas then for Pete’s sake will they please tell me!’

The article ran in the Daily Mail on the 18th of November 2005.

The article is definitely worth a read and I've added Melanie Phillips' web blog to my bookmarks. If you have a few minutes spare check out her site out by clicking here.

A serving Met Police Inspector replied direct to Melanie Phillips in response to her article, Melanie descriped this response as a deeply alarming 'cri de coeur'.

Being a bit of a 'thickie' I had to look up the meaning of cri de coeur! According to the Hutchinson Encyclopaedia it means a 'cry of heart'; deeply-felt, passionate request or complaint.

If you'd like to read this 'cry of the heart' please click here. Don't read it however if you don't want a blunt, honest, grass root view of the Met Police's management!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

PC Sharon Beshenivsky

PC Sharon Beshenivsky
Two Minute Silence

It's just been announced that there will be a two minute silence on friday in memory of Pc Sharon Beshenivsky.

The civic memorial service will be held exactly a week after the 38-year-old mother-of-three was gunned down in Bradford as she and a colleague responded to an armed raid in the city.

The service, which will begin at 3.15pm in Bradford's Centenary Square, will be led by the Bishop of Bradford, the Right Rev David James.

For further details please click here

I will also be observing two minutes silence - Perhaps we could all spread the word and get our family, friends and colleagues to show their respects.

To keep up to date with the murder enquiry click here.

To make a donation to the trust fund being set up for the benefit of PC Sharon Beshenivsky's young family click here.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Labour Party Soft On Crime

Just received the below press release - I'm proud to have been involved!

Labour Party ‘Soft On Crime’ – The Thin Blue Line Fights Back

Following some recent articles in the National Press regarding issues of Crime and Punishment, members of the UK’s police forum have taken it upon themselves to show their displeasure at the Labour party by ‘Google Bombing’ them. The instigator was member ‘Truncheon’.

They have been so successful over the past month, that if you put ‘Soft On Crime’ in as a search page in Google, who should come up as number one? The Labour Party!

See below…

Number 1
Number 2
Number 1
Number 2

Further information can be obtained from the Police Oracle office on 01737 222958

Monday, November 21, 2005

Police Officer Killed in the Line of Duty

Care of Police Survivors (otherwise known as COPS) is a UK registered charity dedicated to helping the families of police officers, who have lost their lives in the line of duty, rebuild their lives. It aims to ensure that survivors have all the help they need to cope with such a tragedy, and that they remain part of the police family.

Care Of Police Survivors (COPS) would like to see every police officer in the UK wearing a COPS lapel pin, in remembrance of a fallen colleague.

Please visit COPS.

36 police officers have died in the line of duty in England, Scotland and Wales in the past 20 years - 11 shot, 10 stabbed and three beaten to death, while 12 were killed by vehicles.

PC Sharon Beshenivsky was the sixth woman out of 1,600 officers to die in Britain since the formation of the modern police service in 1829. The last female officer shot dead was PC Yvonne Fletcher, 25, outside the Libyan embassy in London in 1984. Women make up 21% of the 43 English and Welsh forces.


Police Memorial

Police Roll of Honour Trust

PC Sharon Beshenivsky Murdered On Duty

PC Sharon Beshenivsky

To keep up to date with the progress of West Yorkshire's investigation into the murder of Pc Sharon Beshenivsky click here

To sign an online book of condolence click here

To make a donation for PC Sharon Beshenivsky's trust fund, help provide for her five children's future please click here

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Are We A Nation Of Victor Meldrews?

According to a report in the Daily Telegraph, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Brian Paddick, (who is in charge of youth crime for the Metropolitan Police.) believes that the young are no more disrespectful now than they were 30 years ago - It's older people who are grumpier and more intolerant of them!

Brian Paddick went on to say that young people are frequently demonised by older men suffering from a "Victor Meldrew syndrome"- a reference to the killjoy character played by Richard Wilson in the BBC's One Foot in the Grave.

"When kids used to play football in the street and hit a car people used not to be particularly concerned about it. Now it would probably result in a heated argument in the street between the car owner and the young person."

He added: "We are in danger, as we have been with other particular groups in society, of negatively stereotyping young people as hooligans whereas the vast majority of young people are decent, law-abiding citizens who want to do the right thing."

His controversial views have angered some social commentators. Robert Whelan, the deputy director of Civitas, the Institute for the Study of Civil Society, said: "What world is Mr Paddick living in? Youth crime is a very serious issue nowadays and crimes committed by young people, including children, represent a significant volume of the total crimes committed.

If you 'don't believe it' and would like to read the full report click here!

Met Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair

I was very impressed with Sir Ian Blair's call for a fresh national debate on policing in his Dimbleby Lecture last night.

Transcript of Sir Ian Blair's speech

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair believes he and the other chief constables are now in charge of public bodies that are expected to be everything from social services to special forces.

Britons have to say what kind of policing they want, says Sir Ian

Sir Ian argued in his Dimbleby lecture that there was a very particular reason for this. The decline in other forms of social authority. The loss of influence by the church, trade unions and voluntary clubs.

This he couples with the disappearance of what he describes as "agents of social enforcement" such as park keepers, caretakers and bus conductors.

The result is that the police are now the centre of attention and Sir Ian is arguing that there needs to be a more mature debate about their role and how society intends to cope with problems ranging from binge drinking to suicide bombing.

He has been critical of both politicians and the media for being obsessed with police numbers as the core of the crime debate.

Senior officers have made it clear that they were livid at what they regarded as perfectly normal police advice being regarded as political lobbying.

Sir Ian says that the citizens of Britain now have to say what kind of police service they want.

Further reports on this subject include.

Middle classes too posh to join us, says Met chief
Police seen as 'social guardians'
Ian Blair makes his mark

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

New Police Blog

A recent addition to my daily police blog reading list is the World Weary Detective

I've just finished A Day In The Life Of A Robbery Report it made me smile - I'm sure it'll tickle you too!

Kent Police Amalgamation News

Published on the Kent Police website.

The Home Office has announced that police forces in the south east must consider five options for the future. Two of these include Kent remaining a stand-alone strategic force.

The move follows the publication in September of HM Inspectorate of Constabulary’s Closing the Gap report, recommending that smaller forces should merge where they cannot provide effective and efficient ‘protective services’, such as major, serious and organised crime, roads policing and counter-terrorism.

Kent’s preferred option is to become a single strategic force and its submission to the Home Office presented a strong case for it to remain independent.

However, the Home Office response is that Kent and its neighbours must still look at other options, including mergers.

Click here to read the rest of the article - Kent Police Amalgamation News

I wonder how many forces 'preferred option' won't be to remain a 'single strategic force'?
'Yes, we'd very much like to amalgamate with our neighbouring forces......'

Can't see it, can you?

Monday, November 14, 2005

Race Hate Crimes Up 29%

A report published in The Guardian last friday told us that the number of reported Race Hate Crimes in England and Wales had increased by 29%.

Of 5,788 cases handed over to the CPS, 81% went to court.

Today a report in The Sun tells us about Janet Thomas.

Janet has been arrested and bailed for racially aggravated harassment and a file sent to the Crown Prosecution Service for their consideration.

Her offence?

Placing a poster printed by The Sun in a window of her house which is viewable by the public.

The poster showed her support for British Troops.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Police Versus Politics

This last 24 hours there has been a tremendous backlash between the press, police and politicians regarding the police service being used as lobbyists for the government.

Probe urged over police 'lobby' row.

Neutrality 'compromised'

Chief constables have charges to answer

Police turned into New Labour lobbyists

MPs probe police 'politicisation'

What ever your point of view on this, why are we surprised when Chief Officer positions are subject to Home Office approval, that Chief Officers are called upon to support the government when things begin to look dicey?

Especially as it would appear that the number of police forces in the UK are set to be drastically reduced - There's bound to be loads of competition for the senior posts in the newly restructured UK police service.

Police Banned From Smoking

Police officers in north Wales have been warned to stamp out cigarettes at work, or face disciplinary action.

In a report featured by the BBC, smoking ban for police officers, Chief Constable Richard Brunstrom defended the decision, saying smokers had more time off work and that smoking "is a nasty and dangerous habit".

Members of the North Wales Police Federation have said they are seeking legal advice over the ban.

Next on the list no doubt will be 'fat boy' fried breakfasts!

Why stop there? How about a ban on dealing with members of the public? They do after all cause officers to take numerous days off work due to assaults in the line of duty.

For The Fallen

11/11/05 11.00 hrs

by Laurence Binyon

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted:
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,To the end, to the end they remain.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Police Forces Merge - Amalgamation News

Just finished reading this article Police Merger: Forces Could Be Cut.

The number of police forces in England and Wales could be slashed from 43 to as few as 12 under outlines published by Home Secretary Charles Clarke. A dozen "strategic forces" would see all the traditional county forces merged with at least one neighbour. Mr Clarke has written to chief constables to identify his preferred options after they submitted their own plans for mergers.

This comes hours after the report on Police Amalgamation telling us about the development of a single strategic police force to be created from the North East's three existing forces - Northumbria, Durham and Cleveland.

The Police Federation's view of this is :

'We believe it is vital if reform is to take place that it is carried out on a basis of service effectiveness not just financial efficiency. The public must be left with an improved, more effective force that is able to provide a better service.
We do not want to see large remote police forces that become separated from the community they serve. It is also vital that the welfare of both police officers and police staff is taken into consideration.'

Unfortunately the restructuring of the police service can only result in the police becoming further removed from the public they serve - Something which is obviously not in the public's best interest.

Police Federation

Interesting press release from the Police Federation today regarding the fact that hindsight is useless with terrorists.

Jan Berry, Federation Chairman has said.

“It seems absurd that other European countries, which arguably face a lesser threat, have tougher powers to detain suspects. With rights come responsibilities. The police service acknowledges this. Terrorists do not,” she said. “The law needs to be changed to safeguard society."

Here, here Jan.

Unfortunately the Government and vast majority of MP's have been too busy prooving a point to Tony Blair this last week to care about the safety of our nation!

Soft on crime or what!

Police Amalgamation

UK Police Force Amalgamation News

So the first reports seem to have come in rather quietly......!

The Home Office has given the go-ahead for the development of a single strategic police force to be created from the North East's three existing forces - Northumbria, Durham and Cleveland.

Check Home Office approves development of strategic force for further details.

Wonder why this hasn't had a huge amount of press exposure?

Saving Lives - Why Bother?

In The Times today there is a report about a Police officer being rebuked for saving the life of a suicidal man.

A young police constable who saved a suicidal man from plunging to his death has been reprimanded for using excessive force.

PC Amerjit Singh, 26, one of the first Sikhs to be recruited by Cambridgeshire police, was in his first year in uniform when he and two colleagues were called to a disturbance at a house in Peterborough in September last year.

They found a man under the influence of drink and drugs, acting aggressively and threatening to jump from the second-floor window. The constable grabbed him despite being assaulted and kicked. But during the struggle the man’s father arrived as the officer held down his son.

Despite being told of events leading to his son being restrained, the father made an official complaint, which the Cambridgeshire force rejected. He appealed to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). The officer, a probationer, was given “words of advice” when police watchdogs ruled that he should not have used a headlock but applied a method of holding the man approved by the Home Office.

Their admonishment will go on PC Singh’s record. A father of two who gave up a career as a legal executive to join the force, he was not available for comment last night. But his father, Manjit, said: “It’s absolutely ridiculous. It’s the father who should be reprimanded.”

The IPCC’s ruling was described as “barking mad” by Stewart Jackson, PC Singh’s Conservative MP. “We should be applauding the bravery and commitment of this young man rather than pillorying him.”

Tony Laud, secretary of the Cambridgeshire branch of the Police Federation, said that the officer was baffled and upset by the IPCC decision. He said: “It is unbelievable. We’ve got concerns that the IPCC seem to be quite happy to appease the public rather than look at things in a fair manner.

“This was a young officer doing what he believed was the best thing and, rather than receiving a pat on the back, he effectively found himself being told off. Having spoken to him, he feels really disappointed because he felt he should have been given some praise.”

Cambridgeshire police continued to defend the officer. A spokesman said: “When there is a risk of serious injury, the priority must be to minimise that risk and ensure the safety of those involved.”

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Extra Terror Victim Cash Rejected

The home secretary has rejected calls to increase the compensation payments given to the victims of terror attacks. Charles Clarke told the Daily Telegraph they should be treated the same way as other victims of crime.

Extra Terror Victim Cash Rejected

"It's not actually the way you are injured that is the key thing - provided it is a criminal act - but the extent of the injuries," he said.

His comments will anger families of victims of the 7 July bombings and survivors calling for better payouts.

"Whether you are stabbed outside a pub or maimed by an explosion on a Tube train, it's not actually the way in which you are injured that is the key thing," he said.

Unfortunately another problem facing victims injured and the families of victims killed as a result of the 7 July bombings is the time it actually takes for compensation to reach them.

A good friend of mine was medically retired from the police service as a result of recieving a thorough beating at the hands of a criminal wanted for rape.

The officer in question has undergone four operations since this assault, been medically retired from the police service and still hasn't received any compensation from the CICA.

I only hope the victims of the 7th July bombings are dealt with expeditiously and receive the compensation they so rightly deserve.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Nitty Gritty - Let's get down to it!

I've been doing a bit of research on being politically correct in today's modern police service.

I've just came across this article - Nitty Gritty - which caused a bit of a stir a while back.

This then resulted in further discussion at the Gritty Nitty site!

Namby-Pamby , Itsy-Bitsy as well as Picnic are all words which have come under scrutiny recently for reasons along the same lines.

I think therefore I should be a good egg and stop using these terms in future - Whoops, just realised that good egg is also on the banned list because of a possible connection to the cockney rhyming slang, "egg and spoon".

Spanish Practices is also a phrase which is on the 'no-no' list as per an article on The Telegraph.

The Met have said that no officers had faced disciplinary charges for using nitty gritty or good egg, but confirmed it urged staff to "make sure the language they use would not cause offence."

Well that's alright then......!

Law Changes

Interesting article in The Observer on Sunday concerning The Serious Organised Crime and Police Act which comes into play Janurary 1st 2006.

Basically the new act makes every offence potentially arrestable.

Rather than trumpet the fact that this new act offers increased protection for the public, The Observer concentrates on the possibility of the public being targetted by officious or malevolently motivated police constables.

'There are specific tests of necessity a police officer must satisfy, yet at the end of the list come two paragraphs which give the officers complete freedom. The first stipulates that an arrest may be carried out to allow the prompt and 'effective investigation of the offence or of the conduct of the person in question'. The second says that an arrest may take place 'to prevent any prosecution of the offence from being hindered by the disappearance of the person in question'.

In my opinion this new act clears up the doubt that some officers have surrounding exercising powers of arrest under 25 Police and criminal evidence act 1984.

Anything which means that more 'bad guys' are brought in and dealt with has got to be good for the public, hasn't it?

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Police Bashing Continues

It would appear that the current round of 'police bashing' in the press is only just warming up.

This is undoubtedly timed with some or other government planned reform of the police service.

Racism still blights police despite post-Lawrence improvements

Police forces 'hobbled by bad leadership'

Poor education 'makes police look incompetent'

Police lack ability to fight crime on the beat

Pledge on police reform

Does the government think we're stupid - It's the same old story.

They want to make changes so they start leaking negative press reports.

I can feel another fed organised conference at wembley coming on! Trouble being is that virtually everthing they planned with the Sheehy report was brought in through the back door anyway.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Led By Donkeys?

According to a report published on the 31st of October 2005 Britain's police forces are being hampered by poor leadership and under-qualified recruits.

'Government targets, resulting in more paperwork and fewer patrols, have made matters worse, while also deflecting local forces from the main areas on which the public wants police to focus: fighting crime on the beat.'

'The public wants priority given to tackling burglary, mugging, hard drugs, violence, sexual crime and racial attacks,'' the report says. But it cites recent surveys showing that almost half of people are dissatisfied with ''the way crime is dealt with'', though a Home Office study last week said 78 per cent of those polled were happy with the police. According to Politeia, many people were simply put off from reporting crimes by the ''sheer difficulty of cutting through the bureaucracy and getting the police quickly to the scene'.

Now this is somewhat confusing as only a few days ago the government published a report telling us that the police are doing well and improving.

One thing that should concern rank and file is the reference in this new report 'leadership has been hobbled by an antiquated ''one-entry'' hiring system and no effort to attract managerial talent from outside.'

Only a few days ago I posted an article on Supercops which detailed a plan to recruit 'managers' with no previous policing experience in at up to superintendent level.

Methinks that the government has radical changes planned for the police service in the UK and is currently testing the water of public opinion.