Monday, 14 October 2013

Direct Entry to Madness

Today marks a sad day in history for British policing and will pass us by relatively unnoticed.

Its a day where common sense is over ruled by the need of politicians wanting to get more and more control and say over the way policing is made in this country.

A day where once the police were a force, became a service, will now be a business.
Today marks the end of the policing rule of "rising through the ranks" and instead, recruits from 2014 can, with the "right" qualifications be recruited at direct entry from Inspector and above.

Gone is the rule that a British citizen can be a police chief. From 2014 any former foreign police chief or military officer will be able to apply for the role of Chief Constable or Commissioner.

Since Robert Peel founded the Metropolitan Police in 1829, the only way to enter the force has been to join as a constable.

Those rules have come under pressure in recent years, with critics saying the police need to open up to a wider pool of talent to ensure forces have specialist skills, especially in management and information technology.

Damien Green the Police Minister has stated that this effectively stops the "Closed shop of the police service"

A "Closed Shop" that has been in place in this country for a very good reason.
The Police Force/Service call it what you want, should not and never be treated or run like a business.

From 2014 Graduates will be able to apply directly to become a Senior Manager and for an Inspector this will be achieved in a fast tracked three years.

The Inspector rank has been respected for many years, why? Because we know that whether we like the Inspector or not, that person has been on the factory floor and has got their hands dirty and earned their rank.

Their experience in the Job has allowed them to be capable in that role which we can call upon should the need arise. Whether that be for an important tactical decision or for day to day running of a shift.

It takes two years to become a qualified police constable. From day one, week one at training college to the day you are confirmed.

During this time the constable is monitored, tested, vetted and learning to make sure they fit the grade. Even after two years you are still on a steep upward learning curve and although this does ease off, you never stop learning.

Now they say Police Inspectors can be fast tracked to the rank from recruit in three years?

From 2014 an Oxford University Graduate with little or no life experience can suddenly think "I fancy being a police officer"

They will then be force fed all the necessary training, fast tracked and be expected to make difficult decisions that other officers of that rank who made it through years of experience will have to make.

Could you imagine the situation with the 2011 England riots and important tactical decisions having to be made by someone who had just walked out of Uni?

Would that decision result in the arrests of suspects and successfully contained rioting or potentially the deaths of public and officers?

This is not scare mongering, this is real life.

I wouldn't expect to be able to walk into any job and do theirs without adequate training, supervision and progress through the years before I could take over a role as someone in charge.

I understand that the higher the rank in the police the more they become managers, in charge of budgets and resources but these officers understand the factory floor and know what officers can and cannot do.

These officers are still required to make important tactical decisions and be able to attend incidents to deliver or control them and they can do that calling on their vast experience.

With someone walking in who was director of a business, yes, they can do the budgets etc but policing is not a business, they will not be able to make the same tactical decisions based on experience.

They simply do not have it.

Would a former manager of Tesco be able to make a critical life and death decision when in their previous company the worse that could have happened is you lost a few pounds?

The wrong decision in the police could cost someone their life.

What makes no sense at all is that redundancy is being brought in to remove officers with experience and yet direct entry to the rank is being brought in for those with no experience.

If this is the case you will have people wanting to join the police with no experience policing at management level.

With all the changes to the terms and conditions to the police, gone will be experienced officers who can make split second decisions based on their knowledge gained.

Instead you will have people dipping in and out of The Job because they fancy it and in five years will be gone. These officers will be lead by former managers of companies who also, won't have a clue.

This will create an "Officer Class" amongst the ranks. A division that cannot be crossed where possibly the rank of Inspector will become the equivalent of the Military, Non Commissioned Officer.

What chance has a Private becoming a General? What chance then has a Constable becoming a Superintendent or even Commissioner?

I was told that I was sensationalising on Twitter when I said that an inexperienced cop could end up running a Borough or investigating a major crime.

I don't think it's sensationalising at all.

It could end up with someone who's been fast tracked through their probation and given a rank ending up in charge of officers with many years of experience just brushed over.

I've seen many officers including myself, fail the Sergeants exam by a mere one or two percent and whist I appreciate that a miss is as good as a mile.

I still see brilliant officers fail to meet the grade because they cannot pass an exam. Whilst those who can, some of those make crap senior officers because they were crap Constables.

The public are going to suffer.

This will be policing of the future:

You come home and find you have a burglary. You call 999 sponsored by Thames Water and after numerous options finally get through to a operator run by a contract call centre in Cardiff and ask for police.

After being asked if you want extra insurance or pipe cover you are despatched an officer aged 20 who's been in the job for six months and a recent university graduate.

Because they don't know what to do whilst on scene (as this is their first burglary) they call their Inspector who is a direct entry recruit and a former retail manager but has less time in than the officer they have sent to you.

After looking through a manual they have been given and a look around for an experienced officer to speak to but cannot find one as they have all been made redundant, they send out a scene of crime officer who is employed by G4S.

They will only be there an hour as they are booked for an appointment to go some where else and they will lose money if they are not there on time.

This is all taking too long because the contract CSI has spilt their fingerprint powder all over your carpet and everyone is made to leave by the officer in charge who is now worried about the budget for officer over-time and powder stain removal.

Leaving you wondering why you even bothered.

You make a complaint to the Superintendent a former Argos Executive who invites you in to speak to them.

You wait at the customer service desk with lots of others also making complaints, and take a number and wait for it to be called.

Which is a bit of luck really as the Superintendent in charge of customer service today used to run a chain of butchers last year.

I'm going to apply to become a brain surgeon. I can deal with blood and I fancy the money. I'm sure that someone with experience could make the very difficult decisions for me.

What could possibly go wrong?

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Sunday, 13 October 2013

Death and the Police

Once again the Daily Fail that police hating news paper has criticised police forces and its officers for receiving "macabre bonuses for dealing with dead bodies"

Daily Mail Article Click Here

They state "Families of victims of accidents and crime are likely to be horrified that officers are profiting for dealing with dead bodies"

How the Daily Mail can claim families are likely to be horrified that officers are "profiting" is quite frankly disgusting, speculating and unevidenced.

I can just as easily state that maybe the families are happy that the police force concerned dealt with the death and the delivery of the sad news with utmost professionalism and dignity and that a few extra pounds is worth the shock and horror of dealing with a particularly nasty end. I have no evidence for this just as the Mail will state that families will be horrified but with the experience I have had with families I have the edge.

I can also with justification state with my 10 years experience of dealing with death and destruction that any officer that deals with this would rather not have the money or have the death in the first place.

I have seen aspects of death like many other police officers that would make a desk bound journalist scream and run. So to be told by the Mail that we are profiting from this, is quite frankly, an insult.

I have never had in my numerous incidents involving a death where I have either had to search, fingerprint, collect body parts, discover, remove the body or identify a body, collected any bonus or reward. Nor I will add, have any of my colleagues.

I have heard of this practice but yet to meet any officer who has or indeed, want to collect this "bonus"

The Mail goes on to say that officers dealing with unpleasant crimes can receive £500 totalling an estimated £100,000 a year when all other bonuses are scrapped. It then states that train drivers when they witness suicides do not get bonuses, paramedics nor firefighters get bonuses when they have to handle dead bodies.

Train drivers who witness suicides, as unfortunate as it may be are entitled to claim compensation, its not automatic. However, they are not the person who has to pick up the pieces, identify, sit with, and deal with the family. As tragic as it is for the driver you can say the same for anyone who kills someone whether they be in a train, lorry, car. They are a witness first and foremost. If that is the case what about all the unfortunate witnesses who saw a person jump in front of a train and witnessed the body destroyed?

Police officers are for law enforcement. Yes there is going to be death but if you are a Paramedic or Firefighter, then with no disrespect, you do not go into the job without expecting to deal with a dead and badly disrupted body.

I know a few police officers who are lucky to be in their service and not yet have to deal with a death. These officers have told me that they are worried because they have not dealth with a death and if and when they do, how they will cope.

So to say it is expected for police officers to deal with death is once again arrogantly assuming that the police are becoming a one stop shop for all to deal with.

We are keepers of the peace, social workers, truant officers, marriage guidance, bouncers, undertakers, firefighters, life savers and targets for abuse when all is wrong with the country.

Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, vowed to quiz Home Secretary Theresa May over the issue this week.
He said: ‘I would have thought that dealing with these matters were part of the job and did not require additional payments.’

Yet, today, on Twitter, Mr Vaz tweeted a reply to me and said

@ResponsePlod. An element for this should be in basic pay not in a bonus. Police pay has been in effect reduced in the last 5 years.

If this is "Part of the job and did not require additional payments" why should it be added as part of the salary?

Why should officers who work behind the scenes (in equally important roles) be paid the additional in their basic pay and not have to deal with the trauma that the officers attending a scene have dealt with?

Criminal justice expert Harry Fletcher added: ‘It’s traumatic for anybody to deal with a fatality and the best way forward is to provide counselling rather than a pot of money. Most victims’ relatives would rather emergency services were given counselling than paid extra.’

I have to agree with this. As stated before, I have not received any extra money so if it goes into a pot to assist people I would not miss it. With the number of deaths I have dealt with, some very nasty I can safely state that I have only been "debriefed" twice.

In case anyone has forgotten, especially the Daily Mail. Police Officers are HUMAN with feelings and emotions like anyone else! Death effects us all. We put on a professional face but deep inside we are hurting, especially if it involves a child.

How do you know that the officer delivering your death message or picking up the pieces of a road crash, explosion, train suicide hasn't themself just returned from a tragedy of their own.

For an MP to call upon the Home Secretary to review this practice is laughable and an insult when MPs live in a different world to the rest of us, a world of 15% voted in pay rises, low pension contributions, second houses and crazy claims for expenses such as toilet seats, cleaning for moats etc.

However, it's easier and easier these days to attack those that cannot defend themselves or claim to know or judge something you cannot or will not do yourself.

And as for the Daily Mail to say that police are "simply handling dead bodies" I say this:

Police.....Could you?

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Sunday, 15 September 2013

Makes My Blood Boil!

This weeks "Total Prat" award goes to Daily Mail journalist Peter Hitchens for his article on Sunday 15th September 2013 titled

Get rid of the guns, cars and Tasers and we might just end up with real policemen

I must admit that I don't expect anything else from the Daily Mail when it comes to police bashing which they seem to do in the most derogatory, holier than thou manner but Hitchens has sunk to new lows even for the Daily Mail.

Published three days short of a year since Greater Manchester Police lost two of its finest, PC Bone and PC Hughes (18 Sept 2012) Hitchens goes all out in an ill educated and insensitive way.

For those who can't and won't read the Daily Mail because it makes you feel physically sick, I shall sum up Hitchens words for you.

Hitchens says:

What use are the police these days? We know they have a pretty ambiguous attitude towards us, the public, avoiding us where possible by staying indoors or racing about in cars, and seldom going out alone in case one of us actually approaches them.

He then waffles on about the incident at Buckingham Palace with the Duke of York and drags up the incident with Andrew Mitchell which he conveniently fails to ask the question which we all want to know the answer:

"We know, what you claim you didn't say Mr Mitchell, but what did you say?"

Water off a ducks back, but what really angered me was Hitchens stating:
Call them all back in. Take away their guns and their Tasers and their stab vests, sell their helicopters and their fast cars with the go-faster stripes. Give them proper British police uniforms, which mark them out as the people’s servants, not their masters.

And send them out on solitary foot patrol, yes, even in the rain, where they might once more meet those they are supposed to serve.

What planet does this idiot live on?

I would love to see Hitchens join us on a late or night shift when we have to deal with call after call to fights, drunks, drug addicts threatening us with knives and needles.

When those we arrest are kicking, punching us and spitting in our faces and the calls are mounting and mounting because there are so few officers on such a massive patch.

This man calls to "take away their stab vests and their Tasers"

We all don't live in gated communities and the particular area I police is one of the roughest areas I've ever covered. I've got ten years in and I had a wake up call!

I do not go out without my stab vest, I have had many occasions when a knife has been pulled or a knife has been found on a person I've arrested and or searched.

There has been many occasions where a Taser would have finished a dangerous situation safely for everyone, especially the public but instead, people and officers have been hurt.

A year in three days time we lost two officers to a man with a gun who were tricked whilst they were attending a routine call.

Without the fast cars, helicopters, Tasers etc that Hitchens wants to remove from us this man could have and would have carried on killing officers.

Hitchens has never had to deal with a violent person day after day, week after week, race to a call that may affect someones life with the outcome.

He's never had to pick up the pieces after a road crash, literally in some cases.

He's never had a malicious complaint made against him and still has to carry on, still having to deal with the violence, the sadness of delivering death messages.

Never helped endless lost pensioners, children, adults, or dealt with mental health patients.

Never spent hours on paper work in order to send someone you know is guilty of a serious crime and if you get it wrong you're in serious trouble,

He's never seen the tears and the anguish of a rape victim.

I bet he's never heard the last words and seen the last breath of someone fatally injured.

What angers me even more about this lazy style of abusive journalism from Hitchens is that if he was ever burgled, he would expect the police to turn up with their fast cars and their helicopter and if the suspect was found on his property and was violent towards him, he would want them tasered and if we wasn't there in five minutes, he would be the first to complain.

Yes Hitchens you and I may go home to our families at the end of the day, but I treasure mine the most.

....and lets face it, the public needs the police far more than they need journalists.

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Monday, 22 October 2012

Responder RF/1 Boots Test Drive

First of all let me inform you that I have not been paid to write this or given a free pair of boots to test. This has been written independently, by me, to give you a run down of these new boots on the market as Twitter does not have enough characters to give a review of these boots to @Responder_Boots

First Impressions Straight From The Box:

The box is a stealthy black emblazoned with the Responder logo on the lid. I liked the look as it gave me a secure feeling, almost déjà vu, as if I had bought these before.

The boots were better than I expected. Instantly I was reminded of top end Magnum boots. Similar to the Stealth series.

Unlike some other boots out of the box, there was no mucking about lacing them up, they were already laced up and ready to go, providing I remembered to take out the balls of paper first!

They also have a lovely leather upper for shining. Something I miss on my Lowa's.

The boots went on a treat. I love the side zipper! I've had several boots in the past where I've struggled to either get them on, or get them off. These went on and came off in seconds. The great thing is, you don't have to untie the laces, just unzip and off they came.

On The Feet:

They felt like I had worn them for years, as if they were already broken in. Many boots I've bought in the past take a while to feel right but these felt light and didn't look like cross channel ferries on the end of my legs. I suffer from plantar so I am really picky when it comes to boots especially being in this job which can involve a lot of standing around.

I have an expensive pair of Lowa's but because of feet ache I've had to buy a set of inserts. The shank on the outside arch of the RF/1's give nice support where I need it. Lifting and moving them around feel light, almost training shoe like and nothing like a divers boot.

Test Walk:

The two mile to and from walk to my daughters school to collect her gave me the chance to test these out and see how they perform.

I wore trainers on the way to the school this morning and these felt no different. As stated above, they felt light weight and very comfortable. It was a mlld Autumn day and on the way I walked quickly due to running behind. Arriving at the school, my feet didn't ache and I actually forgot I was wearing boots. Arriving back home, removing them was a synch, in fact 5 seconds per boot. No sweat on my feet, cool to the touch and dry inside. Exactly what is needed. The collar gave excellent ankle support. Just enough, with no over bearing squashing of your ankle, which constantly reminds you that you're in a boot.


I've yet to put these to long term test but for first impressions these are excellent boots. They are well worth the price of £29.99. I would have happily paid at least another £20 for these as they compete, in my opinion with the likes of some models of Lowa and many of the Magnum series boots.

A great price for us budget cut emergency service personnel from Responder Footwear

Looks 5/5
Comfort 4/5 (based on first test walk)
Ease of use 5/5
Value for money 5/5
Overall 5/5

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Sunday, 23 September 2012

You Won't Hear The Last Of This!

Tory Chief Whip, Andrew "Thrasher" Mitchell has certainly realised that this week, now his alleged words have echoed through the press after his confrontation with Police officers at the gates of Downing Street!

He denies calling the officer an "F***ing pleb" and a "moron" but doesn't deny having a confrontation with Diplomatic Protection Group officers after they refused to open the main gates for him to cycle through, stating they could not be opened for security reasons.

Thrasher has then allegedly gone on to shout "You don't run this f***ing government!" And "I'll have your jobs for this"

This is the usual jumped up snobby public school crap that we have to put up with many a Friday night when pissed up Suit wearing snobs say to us when they've been told to wind their necks in after becoming gobby.

What angers me more, is that, this is the Chief Whip who is meant to be in charge of discipline in the Tory Party. If he's like this, what are the rest like?

This not only shows total lack of respect and a holier than thou attitude towards "lesser mortals" but comes at very bad timing considering the day before two officers were shot dead in Manchester doing their job on a salary considerably less than his.

Just how out of touch are they? They have been silver spoon fed all their lives and live in gated communities so out of touch with reality they believe that they can genuinely speak the way they want to people and get away with it.

These are the people that make key decisions in our lives. And we in the police usually have to pick up the pieces when these decisions go wrong.

The constant attacks on us, cuts, pensions and Winsor reforms without even a buy your leave means that they are only after one thing. Money.

A literal smash and grab.

Then the words said by David Cameron and Theresa May after the deaths of PC Nicola Hughes and PC Fiona Bone.

Many officers including myself believe these words to be nothing but hollow rhetoric. They may have said what was politically correct and, as some have stated to me on Twitter, we would have been angry if they said nothing.

Part of me wishes they had just remained quiet or said the bare minimum. Stating to the press that officers face danger every day and its a reminder of what we do for safety of communities stinks of pure two faced cheek.

They are cutting front line numbers which will weaken community safety, pushing officers to the limit and making us work longer, for less. Bone and Hughes would have more than likely been discussing the cuts and how it could affect them.

We all know what shifts we have to do, last minute changes, extensions, cancelled rest days/leave, missing family celebrations, putting up with abuse and violence from people who hate us, want to fight us and in some cases, kill us.

To have two senior politicians take more away from us, make our job harder for us, then state how hard our job is, is an insult.

Then to have the Chief Whip verbally abuse us, shows just what they really think of us.

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Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Officer Down

Today we lost two of our colleagues from Greater Manchester Police.

PC Nicola Hughes, 23 and PC Fiona Bone, 32.

These unarmed officers died doing their job with what should have been a routine call.

It is believed that the suspect, Dale Cregan, 29, allegedly lured them to a false report of a burglary in Abbey Gardens, Mottram where they were attacked with a gun and a grenade.

It is reported that after the two officers went into the property which had stood empty for some time, witnesses heard approx 12 shots fired then an explosion.

One officer died at the scene, the other died in hospital after the emergency teams battled to save her.

It is shocking the number of officers that are killed or seriously injured whilst attending "routine" calls.

If an officer is sent to attend reports of gunfire then that officer will be equipped and trained to deal. They will also know what to expect when they get there.

My mate lost his team colleague PC Phillip Walters, from a handgun blast to the chest when he was attending reports of a domestic. He wasn't wearing a vest but even if he was, chances are, at that range it would not have been any good as the vests are designed more against knives.

PC David Rathband, shot, whilst sitting in his patrol car.

PC Sharan Beshenivsky shot attending an attack alarm at a jewellers.

PC Ian Dibell, off duty, shot outside his home whilst confronting a neighbour who was threatening to shoot people.

PC Ian Broadhurst shot whilst dealing with a traffic stop

PC Alison Armitage run down by a car thief in a stolen vehicle.

All of these officers died or in the case of PC Rathband, seriously maimed as a result of attending routine calls.

The debate has been raised again about routine arming of police officers. At this time of austerity it is a difficult choice to make.

Some officers don't want to carry guns. Some, are incapable of carrying guns. And sadly in some cases, there are some I don't trust with a ball point pen let alone a gun.

Psychometric testing is expensive. Kit is expensive and law suits are expensive. If an officer pulls the trigger immediately in the eyes of the all seeing media the officer over reacted and the person shot was an "angel"

Would anyone want to be routinely armed and then find themselves in this scenario?

The question that will be asked is "Would guns have helped PC Bone and Hughes in the attack?"

It looks like they were ambushed and sadly, probably shot before they would have had a chance to draw their weapons.

This is not the USA, remember, where officers regularly unclip their weapon or ready it when attending calls and I hope that day here never comes.

Confusion, fear, anger, disbelief, tactics, training, muscle memory, adrenaline, all take place to an officer during a serious incident.

These can either hamper your response or help it.

A colleague of mine who served in the Cayman Islands Police told me that his colleague attended a routine incident. As he pushed open the door of a house he was confronted with a male pointing a gun at him.

There was a split second shock from both sides but the officers instinct told him to turn and run.

He lived, the bullets cracked against the wood frame and pierced the air around where he had just stood.

However, If he had gone for training and drawn his weapon. He would have been killed.

Those extra couple of seconds to draw the gun would have been too late.

It's a difficult debate. If I'm handed a weapon, it'll go on the kit belt with the other "offensive weapons" I carry. They are tools of the job, it'll just be another one. Many members of the public I speak to, already believe we carry guns and are surprised when I tell them, there isn't one

Remember, the public didn't want us to carry batons, spray and Taser either.

Rest in Peace PC Bone and PC Hughes. You did your duty well.

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Wednesday, 12 September 2012


I saw this today quoted by someone on Facebook who I'm glad to say is not a friend of mine and the only reason I saw this is because a mutual "friend" a former PCSO replied. There was a lot more involved with the quote but this is the part that actually made my blood boil and considering earlier today I had a message sent by a friend who is not Job stating that:

"South Yorkshire Police have done a lot of damage to police image"

this just made me even angrier.

The excert is as follows:

Shame on you every member of every police force in this great nation, for you should all now be ashamed of your chosen profession. As you now go about your daily duties, I hope every one of you will feel the distaste that we, the people you are supposed to protect, will have for you as we see you on our streets.

What a positively disgusting and ill educated sweeping statement to make!

I am NOT ashamed of my profession because of the totally inept, corrupt actions of those made over TWENTY YEARS AGO!

I was FIFTEEN YEARS OLD in 1989!

I have officers on my shift who weren't even born when this disaster happened! So, are you saying they should feel shame too?

I chose my profession, to serve, to make a difference and to lock up bad guys!

If the sight of me on the street makes you feel sick, then take your Daily Mail reading behind, back in doors and don't come out!

What sickens me more, is that you will only too quickly pick up the phone to call us and want us to your house in five minutes if you discover a burglary! Of course, yours will be the only crime being committed at the time and it'll be our fault we have no officers to come to your aid as soon as you want!

The dreadful, disgusting actions and lies that were made 23 years ago DO NOT reflect the work of the good men and women who put themselves on the front line day in, day out with little regard from YOU and the public. We face cut after cut, after cut, yet we still, every day, turn up for work to protect YOU!

I am shocked and appalled at the disgusting cover up by those who worked on the Hillsborough disaster. Those that did this should be brought to task no matter who they were. Those families deserved justice and they finally got it. To claim their loved ones stole, obstructed emergency services, urinated on the dead and helpers and to find out that was all a lie, is utterly absymal!

Your attack on the police as a whole is disgusting and is not helpful in anyway to those who are trying to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives. It is hurtful and tasteless. You are tarring all police officers with the same brush. We are not robots in uniform, we are human. This is the same problem I get trying to put across to other people who still stare at us as if we have two heads.

You are probably one of these people who sneers at us, where others smile.

I and many officers had great fun with the public over the London games.

You cannot spoil that for me and I refuse to believe that every member of the public has disdain for us.

How dare you speak for all of them.

I still enjoy my job, even if it means one day I may have to come to your unthankful aid.

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