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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Friday, April 28, 2006

Trust me - I'm a journalist

Well it's the morning after Channel 4's Dispatches and another police officer has sold their soul.

According to popular rumour, scumbag journalist unhappy with the fact that her home force Leicestershire Constabulary wanted her back from her 'well deserved' career break dalliance with the media, decided to waste tens of £1000's of tax payers money in her training etc, before continuing her investigative journalist role for the Undercover Copper programme featured on Dispatches.

I eagerly awaited the start of the programme and due to all the hype on sites such as The Guardian, fully expected the police service to be reeling from the repercussions today...... Tumble weed rolls across the deserted town's high street.......

Even on looking at Undercover Copper's forum on Channel 4, the general response from the public is that this program was completely rubbish! Why not add your comment / thoughts feelings on their forum too?

There's an interesting discussion going on at the police forum concerning the program and I particulary like The Policeman's Blog comment on the whole issue.

The only comment I have to make and looking at said scumbag journalist's CV website - What on earth did Leicestershire Constabulary expect?

Here's Leicestershire Constabulary's press release regarding the Undercover Copper programme.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Police Information

Police information being used by criminals? No....... Never, I can't believe it!

The Independent ran an article the other day on how police information, such as confidential and critical information on details concerning surveillance tactics, forensic techniques, or the steps used to finally trace and apprehend criminals and the like, is being given away to all and sundry under legislation covered in the Freedom of Information Act.

If you didn't know, The Freedom of Information Act came into force on January 1st 2005 and allows the public access to information held by more than 100,000 public bodies.

The article titled criminals using FoI Act to identify informants went on to talk about how one particular force had hundreds of requests from one individual, who then went on to use the information and attempt to gain access to secure police premises and impersonate a police officer.

Speaking to the newspaper, police revealed that over 100 convicted criminals are thought to have requested information from public bodies, including The Home Office. They also stressed that such illicit FOI requests made up only a tiny proportion of the 22,000 applications police dealt with in England and Wales last year.

Yes you read that right, last year the police in the UK, (on top of all the additional paperwork that's recently been generated due to having to fill in forms for even the most mundane of cases in triplicate.) now have to provide anyone who cares to know with what previously would have been classed as confidential information, that actually could seriously hinder the effective investigation of crime, or even worse jeopardize police or public safety.

There are now websites springing up offering courses on fully exploiting the FOI Act - ".....freelance journalists are invited to a practical training course in London, designed to teach users how to best navigate the Act and avoid its potential pitfalls. (the) course covers freelancers working in journalism, research, campaigns and citizens advice, among other sectors."

So what's to stop anyone turning up at these training courses? What kinds of checks are made on the people being taught how to access potentially damaging information?

There's even a few websites that appear to champion the ease in which this information can be gained from public bodies such as the government, local councils etc. With one report trumpeting how journalists provide one in ten FOI requests.

Well that's excellent, a really constructive use of police time which otherwise could have been spent patrolling the streets, reassuring the public, reducing crime etc.

So tell me how can this be in the public's best interest? Yes I agree that as a whole the police service must become more publicly accountable, but how does allowing criminals access to previously confidentially material under the guise of the FOI Act serve the public, or have the public's best interest at heart?

You know, I think this is another example of how bureaucracy has forced us all to become soft on the causes of crime.

PC's Funeral Held At Cathedral

PC Joe Carrol

Northumbria Police Chief Constable Mike Craik said: "Today will be a difficult day for all of us, an emotional day, but a chance to grieve together. What happened was a great shock and will take his family, friends and collegues a long time to come to terms with it. There are some events in policing which happen and you know the risk is high but this didn't seem to be. Joe's death reminds us of the fragility of life."

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Brixton Prison Toilets Offend Muslims

Facilities in Brixton prison are being built so Muslim inmates do not have to face Mecca while sitting on the toilet.

I've just read this on Wonko's World and thought it was a wind-up......
Alas no.

A Brixton prison officer said: “If they didn’t get locked up for committing crime they would not have this problem. Yet we have to sort out their loos. If we weren’t paying for it as taxpayers I’d laugh my socks off.”

Labour MP Khalid Mahmood said: “As far as I understand this rule only applies in a place of worship.”

Tory MP Ann Widdecombe said: “Some common sense needs to be applied.”

Here's the 'dirt' on the whole 'crappy' issue!

Jail loos turned from East.
Jail toilets face away from Mecca.
Don't 'poo-poo' it there's even more here.

Apology Over Foreign Criminals Not Deported

Just read the below, some of the more cynical amoungst you may think this is an overtime creation ruse..... I assure you it's not!

Apology Over Foreign Criminals Not Deported

More than 1,000 foreign prisoners who should have been considered for deportation at the end of their sentences were freed with no action being taken, Home Secretary Charles Clarke has admitted.

The offenders included three murderers and nine rapists, Home Office figures showed. Mr Clarke apologised for the failure and conceded that some (quantified as 'some', as the criminals concerned I imagine are perfectly happy with the situation!) of the public would be angered by the oversight.

Asked if he believed all of the 1,023 prisoners would be recaptured for possible deportation, Mr Clarke said: "There are a large number of people involved. I can't say hand on heart that we will identify where each one of those is, but we are working on that very energetically."

To read the full report click Apology Over Foreign Criminals Not Deported

For further articles click Now you see me, now you don't......!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Happy St. George's Day!

23rd April - St. George's Day

A very happy St. George's Day to one and all!

We live in a country which seems ashamed to celebrate England's Patron Saint, it's ok to celebrate St. Patrick's, St. David's, St. Andrew etc, but mutter anything in support of the English Patron Saint - St. George, and you're classed as an NF fascist! - See St George Is Definitely Cross.

We even have our loony London mayor funding St. Patrick Day parades, so I'm looking forward to seeing what he's done for St. George's day this year......!

If you, like me, feel this is absolutely outrageous, why not give the Witanagemot Club your support?

I'll close today's post with one of my favourite English poems - Thanks go of course to William Shakesphere!

Imagine the scene, it's the eve of another big battle against the French.......

Henry V - Act III, Scene I.

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o'erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O'erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill'd with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
To his full height. On, on, you noblest English.
Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof!
Fathers that, like so many Alexanders,
Have in these parts from morn till even fought
And sheathed their swords for lack of argument:
Dishonour not your mothers; now attest
That those whom you call'd fathers did beget you.
Be copy now to men of grosser blood,
And teach them how to war. And you, good yeoman,
Whose limbs were made in England, show us here
The mettle of your pasture; let us swear
That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;
For there is none of you so mean and base,
That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game's afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint George!'

Links of note.

History of St. George
Drink Of England
Make St. George's Day A Public Holiday
Campaign for an English Parliament
English Blogs
England, whose England?
English Identity
No English parliament?
Blair rejects England

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Force To Axe 150 Beat Police Officers

The report force is to axe 150 beat police published on BBC News is now being discussed in the police forum.

In a thread titled and so it begins... a number of police forum members are hotly debating whether this was the Government's community policing / PCSO masterplan.

"This government and their targets. It is only recently that forces were compelled to put around 70% of their Officers onto neighbourhood teams; now, within a matter of months, these very same Officers are being re deployed to battle yet another priority of the moment.
It makes you wonder if this wasn't a ploy from the outset - ie, Neighbourhood Policing actually being a platform for more PCSOs."

But Roy Farmer of the Police Federation said they (PCSOs) could not replace police officers.

"They are not equipped to do a police officer's role. They don't have the full training that a police officer has over two years, and then on and on through his career."

Devon and Cornwall Police would not comment on the proposal but said community support officers were proving a success by tackling anti-social behaviour, low-level crime and reducing the fear of crime.

The Case Of The Wrong Trousers

Just read a funny article titled police keen to solve case of the wrong trousers on The Scotsman.

A Scottish police force has sent back thousands of new trousers to the manufacturer because they looked like 1970s-style flares.

Tayside Police officers rejected the new trousers as they looked too much like bell bottoms.

Senior management immediately stepped in to prevent officers going on the beat wearing the 'faulty' trousers and contacted the manufacturers to ensure the problem is solved.

One Western Division officer said: "For a uniform that's supposed to bring us into the 21st century, the trousers are more 1970s. Maybe some of the older boys would have liked them as it would have reminded them of their formative years on the beat. But to be honest we would have looked like something out of The Sweeney or Dixon of Dock Green."

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Laws On Policing

Just read the laws on policing post on the police forum if you've got a few minutes it's worth a read.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Police Officer Murdered - Man Arrested

A man has been arrested today on suspicion of murdering a policeman after the vehicle they were travelling in crashed near Corbridge in Northumberland in the early hours of the morning.

In a statement, Northumbria Chief Constable Mike Craik said: "He was the finest kind of local police officer that any community and colleague would wish to have and he will be greatly missed."

PC Murdered - Man Held
Murder inquiry after Pc's death
PC Murdered In Northumbria

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Union Jack

Union Jack or Union Flag?

Union Jack or Union Flag? Whatever you prefer, but did you know that the Union Jack is 400 years old? Yep, the Union Flag celebrates 400 years of being the visual representation of all things British on 12th April 2006.

According to HM The Queen's website, (so who am I to argue?) The Union Flag, or Union Jack is so called because it combines the emblems of the three countries united under one Sovereign - the kingdoms of England and Wales, of Scotland and of Ireland (although since 1921 only Northern Ireland has been part of the United Kingdom).

The term Union Jack possibly dates from Queen Anne's time (reigned 1702-14), but its origin is uncertain. It may come from the 'jack-et' of the English or Scottish soldiers; or from the name of James I who originated the first union in 1603, in either its Latin or French form Jacobus or Jacques; or, as 'jack' once meant small, the name may be derived from a royal proclamation issued by Charles II that the Union Flag should be flown only by ships of the Royal Navy as a jack, a small flag at the bowsprit.

The flag consists of three heraldic crosses.

The cross of St George, patron saint of England since the 1270's, is a red cross on a white ground. After James I succeeded to the throne, it was combined with the cross of St. Andrew in 1606.

The cross saltire of St Andrew, patron saint of Scotland, is a diagonal white cross on a blue ground.

The cross saltire of St Patrick, patron saint of Ireland, is a diagonal red cross on a white ground. This was combined with the previous Union Flag of St George and St Andrew, after the Act of Union of Ireland with England (and Wales) and Scotland on 1 January 1801, to create the Union Flag that has been flown ever since.

The Welsh dragon does not appear on the Union Flag. This is because when the first Union Flag was created in 1606, the Principality of Wales by that time was already united with England and was no longer a separate principality.

According to United Kingdom - History of the Flag, when King James VI of Scotland ascended to the English throne, thereby becoming James I of England, the national flags of England and Scotland on land continued to be, respectively, the red St George's cross and the white St Andrew's cross. Confusion arose, however, as to what flag would be appropriate at sea. On 12 April 1606 a proclamation was issued:

"All our subjects in this our isle and kingdom of Great Britain and the members thereof, shall bear in their main top the red cross commonly called St George's Cross and the white cross commonly called St. Andrew's Cross joined together according to a form made by our heralds and sent to our Admiral to be published to our said subjects."

This is the first known reference to the Union Flag. Although the original design referred to has been lost, it is presumed that it was the flag which, with the addition of the St Patrick's cross, forms the basic design of the British Union Flag today.

So let's wait and see, maybe tomorrow this fantastic anniversary will be splashed across the front pages of all newspapers. Maybe I'll be surprised at our nation's newspapers new found patriotism. Or perhaps as I expect, this 400th birthday will go by unmarked.

I'm ashamed sometimes at my lack of knowledge of our great nation's history, if you feel the same way, why not check out The Pocket Book of Patriotism

George Courtauld the author of The Pocket Book of Patriotism wrote an interesting article in the Daily Mail the other day on the 400th Birthday of the Union Flag.

The article concludes : The flag under which all our gallant Welsh, Irish, Scottish and English servicemen and women are laid to rest. The flag that symbolises our ancient freedoms and traditions; the Crown in Parliament, trial by jury, habeas corpus, the presumption of innocence and freedom of speech, our defence of the weak and our defiance of the mighty. The flag of those who have gone before and those yet to come. The flag of glory and the flag of hope.

24-7 Response Policing

Just bumped into a mate who was babbling on about this fantastic report on 24/7 Response Policing. It made me smile as I'd posted about this a while back after reading an article on The Policeman's Blog.

So for all you who've missed it, please if you've never ever downloaded or checked a link on this site before click here and do so. (24/7 Response Policing is a downloadable report from The Police Federation.)

Better still, once you've read the report, download it, print it off and leave a copy in your station!

Politically Correct Police

A retired north Wales policeman has been cleared of a public order offence by Flintshire magistrates for allegedly calling a senior officer a "dyke".

After he was charged, Mr Atkinson allegedly told officers: "The chief constable used the word queers and he didn't get prosecuted."

The court heard how the force's chief constable, Richard Brunstrom, escaped prosecution recently after referring to homosexuals as "queers" during a meeting.

Euros Jones, defending, said "dyke" was defined in the dictionary as "a slang word for lesbian" and was commonly used by the gay community.

In interview, Mr Atkinson also said: "As experienced police officers they probably hear foul language any time of the day. It is so trivial in my book, I thought it would be water off a duck's back."

The court heard that Mr Atkinson apologised during interview, adding: "You might have got away with that off the cuff remark three or four years ago but in this day and age you can't."

"I realise that in this politically correct wilderness of a world it wasn't politically correct."

To read the full article click 'dyke' claim ex-sergeant cleared.

For other politically correct police capers click nitty gritty lets get down to it.

As a side issue, did you know that comedian Billy Connolly, in one of his performance videos (Live 1994), called Politically Correct "the language of cowardice"?

Monday, April 10, 2006

Speed Cameras

Speed camera scams.

Wasn't going to post this one, but I saw a post on Yor Nicked along the speed camera theme so I thought I might as well.

Police are attempting to close a loop hole in prosecuting motorists who use 'drop' addresses to register their vehicles.

If you want to find out how these naughty people are getting out of paying their speeding fines when they're flashed click speed camera scam.

There's several other posts listed on the same subject here.
Speed camera fines.

Ex Police Chief To Advise The Tories

According to ICWales, Alison Halford, a former police chief and Labour Assembly Member is to advise the Conservative Party on the proposed merger of police forces.

Alison Halford served as Labour AM for Delyn between 1999 and 2003 but today said she had left the party after becoming disillusion with Tony Blair’s leadership. (Soft On Crime)

She spent 30 years as a police officer and was the first woman in the country to rise to the rank of assistant chief constable.

Click for news of police mergers in Wales.

Police Recruitment

According to the BBC and several other news sites, Scotland's police service is struggling to meet recruitment targets and is therefore looking at filling the gap with police recruits from Eastern Europe!

The article goes on to say that it is hoped forces could recruit trained police officers directly from countries such as Poland and Latvia to help address a recruitment shortfall.

Currently only UK and Irish citizens can join Scotland's police forces.

The Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland said it would investigate new employment protocols.

The age profile of officers throughout Scotland means many will retire in the next few years and chief constables are planning to step up recruitment to keep numbers steady.

I'm sure this won't present any language barriers for scottish members of the public and that the Dixon of Dock Green would've been happy with the whole idea!

Police Reveal Officer Convictions

According to a report on The BBC website, the Met have been forced to reveal the number of serving officers with criminal convictions, following a request made under the Freedom of Information Act by the Independent newspaper.

The Independent have followed this up with an article today convicted police officers still on the force, Met chief reveals.

Obviously another round of police bashing is on the way!

Friday, April 07, 2006

Police Blog Added

Just added The Sleepy Policeman to my police blog list.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Loads of Ex-Police Jobs Listed

Wanted: Playful and Outgoing Male!

Nope it has nothing to do with Uniform Dating this time!

North Yorkshire Police Dog Section are making an urgent recruitment appeal.

We are looking to recruit a Cocker Spaniel, Springer Spaniel or Labrador to be trained in drugs detection. The new member of the team must be male and aged 8 to 18 months, be very outgoing, playful, inquisitive, energetic, bold and friendly.

Dog Handler, PC Chris Walker said “I am willing to travel across the county to visit any dog that is offered, where I will make an initial assessment at the owner’s home and if suitable will take the dog away with me. I will then work with the dog for 3 to 4 days during which time a final assessment will be made. If the dog proves unsuitable, he will be returned to his owner, we must stress that we cannot re-home the dogs.”

For the successful dog the rewards are substantial, they will live with their handler, usually in a family environment, be part of a working team and receive the best care, diet and exercise. For any dog that relishes being active, it offers a great life.

Anyone who has a dog to offer for assessment is asked to call PC Chris Walker on 0845 60 60 247.

Derbyshire Police Reject Merger Plans

Derbyshire Police Authority have refused to bow to Government pressure and merge voluntarily with four other police forces in the East Midlands.

Derbyshire Police Authority Chairman Janet Birkin said members were concerned that there was a shortfall in funding and the Government's offer was totally insufficient to meet the needs of the new Force.

She said: "After close examination of the merger proposals set out by Mr Clarke we remain unconvinced that they are financially viable and feel unable to commit to a voluntary merger by the Government's deadline of April 7."

To read the full article click Derbyshire Police Merger Plans

Police Blog Posts In The Press

Just doing a round of stuff I should have added previously.

World Weary Detective packed his blog up in response to a 'management' memo sent out to all staff.

Although they declined an interview request, in an e-mailed response to a BBC inquiry, a spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police stressed that it has not banned blogging.

The BBC reported that the new Met blogging rules have sparked anger.

Bishop Criticises Use of Fear

An Anglican Bishop has suggested a "state of fear and anxiety" after terrorist attacks is being used to push through major changes in the security services.

The Bishop of Shrewsbury said that the fear of terrorism was being used to justify "all sorts of radical changes" in the police forces as well as in the law, but this is challenging long held freedoms.

His comments came as he criticised plans to merge West Mercia Police with three neighbours.

The Rt Revd Dr Alan Smith was speaking at St George's Church, Telford, in front of senior members of the legal and criminal justice system, reports the BBC.

He said: "One of the surprising and yet unmistakable features of our present age is fear." The bishop added: "Our grandparents lived through two world wars under threat of invasion. They lived at a time when there was no state pension or no National Health Service, and when to have cancer was an automatic death sentence. In comparison with them we enjoy unparalleled levels of security and support. And yet we live in a state of fear and anxiety."

To read the full article click Bishop Criticises Use Of Fear.

Surrey Rejects Merger Proposal

Lack of Government funding remains the major obstacle to a successful merger between Surrey and Sussex police forces, a public meeting heard recently.

The Extraordinary Meeting, held at Surrey Police headquarters in Guildford, was called by Surrey Police Authority to consider whether to support the proposal by the Home Secretary to voluntarily merge with Sussex. A letter will be sent to the Home Secretary, advising him of the decision to decline a voluntary merger.

To read the full article click Surrey Police Merger

Research Contradicts Stop and Search Stats

Kent police have published research that contradicts Home Office statistics that a disproportionate number of Black and Asian people are stopped by the police.

The latest race statistics published by the Home Office suggest that Black people are between five and six times more likely to be stopped and searched in Kent than White people, while Asian people are less likely to be searched than White people. This is inline with other areas of the country.

But research conducted for Kent Police in the North Kent and Medway policing areas shows that Black, Asian and people from other minority ethnic communities are no more likely or are less likely to be searched than White people.

To read the full article click Stop and Search Stats.