Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Moving on...

So here it is, my new blog which will hopefully be more productive. It will certainly contain more cynicism, bitching and opinions utterly at odds with the company line...

Plod Blog - Version 2

Well what happened there, then?

Six months without an update. Shoddy. Just no excuse for it. But I've come up with a few anyway.

I was getting crapped on from a great height with regard to the seriously tedious amount of paperwork needed to 'evidence' the fact I could police by myself. I knew I could police, my colleagues knew that I could police, my skippers knew I could police, yet I had to write small essays on just about every incident I attended to prove this. It took all my strength to sit down on rest days and wade through the quagmire of National Occupation Standards - a big ring binder full of facinating competencies I had to achieve. I'm now confirmed in rank, so the whole lot got stuck in my loft.

I had a lot going in in my home life, all good things, but it meant I just lost interest in updating the blog.

Finally, with fewer and fewer people on my section, more work, more bureaucracy and less enthusiasm, I started to really value my time off duty (or at least the bits where I wasn't fretting about National Occupational Standards).

However, things I have changed. It's official, I've become cynical and jaded about the job. It only took two years, though I was never naively optimistic at the start.

What started the rot? Where, when and how did it really take take hold? I'll endevour to tell all in my new blog...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Bring back Maggie, even in her current state she'd do a better job...

How did these cretins manage to cling on to power for ten years? Granted, they did a superb job of conning the 33% of the population that voted them in a decade ago. Another glorious triumph for Comrade Brown et al, and a lot more spare public cash now available to spend on PR staff telling what a wonderful job this pathetic excuse for a government is doing, backed up by reams of 'statistics' generated by quangos and vastly over-paid consultants.

Monday, August 06, 2007

The other side of the fence

I received a phone call over the weekend from a good friend of mine. I could tell immediately he was upset. He related to me how he and a couple of his (male) friends had been out enjoying the sunshine in the local park. They were larking about, though not to the extent that they were getting anyone's backs up. Or so they thought. This chap, let's call him Steve, is not a geezer, chav or any other sort of thug. He's a very pleasant bloke who spends his days in an office, on a computer, making sure the world keeps turning. Or something. His two friends I can't vouch for, I've not met them. However if Streve is hanging out with them, I sincerely doubt they are the sort of people you'd cross the street to avoid.

Anyhoo, there they are laughing, chatting, keeping to themselves when a couple of police officers approach them. Apparently five separate calls have been received stating that they'd been taking pictures of young children in the adjacent paddling pool. The three duly hand over their phones, explain that they've been taking pictures of eachother, show the officers these pictures, the officers content themselves that it's harmless, and that's it.

Except it isn't. The officers then insist the harmless photos are deleted, which they are - however even a luddite like me knows pressing 'delete' doesn't do any more than stop the photo being available at the touch of a button. It's still there on the memory card. That's not the worst of it though. One of my friend's companions, we'll call him John, has a knife in his bag, which he'd bought the day before for a camping trip. I don't have a detailed description of the knife, only that it was a 'camping knife' - Steve didn't actually see it clearly.

John gets nicked for possessing an offensive weapon. I presume the arresting officer would have checked if this chap had a good reason for still having the knife in his bag, and then satisfied himself that there wasn't a good reason.

Steve walked away bewildered with his other friend Dave, whilst at least one 'concerned parent' shouts 'THANK F**K, SHOULD OF (sic) LOCKED ALL YOU SICKOS UP'. He then called me for advice to pass on to John. My response was 'Make sure he takes the legal advice offered, and he might get a caution, or if he's lucky an NFA'. John waited in the cells for a few hours, was interviewed and then cautioned. He did get legal advice prior to interview.

This got me thinking. In the same circumstances I would not have asked for the photos to be deleted. There wouldn't be any point. With regard to the knife though, I'm sure I'd have acted in a similar manner. If someone is carrying a blade over 3 inches long and can't adequately account for it, I'd be obliged to bring them in. Steve feels aggrieved about the situation, and I empathise. John was not carrying the knife with any intentions - I'm not sure whether he'd forgotten it was in there. Nevertheless, a bloke with no previous convictions has through his own carelessness now got himself a record.

Knife crime has of course been hitting the headlines, again, and I can't fault the officer who made the arrest - I wasn't there so can't see things exactly as he saw them.

As for those who called the police, did they over-react? Certainly I can picture the foul-mouthed Waynetta Slob who shouted at Steve after John got carted away. Three young blokes having a laugh and minding their own business in the park on a hot day? Not your typical nonces in my experience. For five calls to be made, whether all from Waynetta or from her friends or unconnected parents does seem a little odd. Is it only a matter of time before one of the tabloids calls on El Presidente Brown to appoint a PaedoFinder General? It certainly seems common sense was absent, and I have a strong suspicion that media-driven hysteria played it's part in the trio's unpleasant experience.

Friday, May 25, 2007

A Decline in Personal Standards?

I'd come in early to tackle a particularly important job. I say important as it meant I scored another detection this month, so obviously it was vital. I'd done what I needed to do in terms of dealing with the client, i.e. charging the reprobate and had returned to the office to crew up with a colleague. There was a file to be built before the end of the shift, so that the courts would know why said reprobate was appearing before them.

File-building is a tedious administrative task that merely involves replicating information on a multitude of different forms. For the really big files we do have a team of civvies to do the job, but for the initial hearings we have to do them ourselves. This takes me, a sworn constable, off the streets and puts me firmly behind a desk for an hour or two. It's part of my job, and I find admin. tasks fairly easy to deal with so I get on with it with the same enthusiasm as the rest of my job, but it is at odds with what the media leads me to believe the public wants - more police on the streets, not behind a desk.

I agree wholeheartedly with that sentiment. Shuffling bits of paper about and dealing with 'red tape' is not what I want to be doing, I'd rather be out there catching scumbags. Employing some efficient police staff to handle this type of admin which is essential each time a person in charged would surely be cost-efficient. Perhaps this happens in other forces, but mine is too poor I think.

So anyway, I picked up a couple of jobs with my colleague, as they were piling in thick and fast, there was no time to sit in the office completing the file. I return to the office with a new job to write up, plus the file to build. It would be tight, but I might just get everything dealt with before I was due to book off. I had a very decent reason to book off on time, I needed to get home for something important.

As I'm sat there tapping away at my next MG form for the file build, an immediate response job comes in over the radio. There are four or five of my colleagues sitting in the office, probably a couple more smoking outside, and a couple watching football in the kitchen. No one offers up for it. A few more details are passed. It a shoplifting, and the offender has left the scene. Granted, it shouldn't be a top priority job, but still no-one calls up for it. Something similar happened last week, and I turned out after five minutes while my colleagues carried on chatting. A further radio broadcast gave a direction of travel and description of the offender.

I would have been up and out the door in a second had it not been for the mound of paperwork that had to be completed before the end of the shift. One of my colleagues, who was surfing Ebay turned round and asked me if I was going. I replied I had a bunch of stuff to complete and I was pushed for time as it was.

I felt guilty at not getting out the door immediately, but surely one of the sergeants would turf some of my colleagues out? Eventually, after 10 minutes someone assigned themselves.

With such laziness no wonder our detection rate is so poor. It's also the first time I've not been running out the door when a prioroty shout has come through. I resolved not to let my standards slip again, but it's hard to tip the work/life balance in favour of work every day when those around me have already settled into a lower standard. As it was I still finish an hour late.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

How Not To Get Your Ass Kicked By The Police in the US

For those of you planning on a holiday to the USA this summer, Chris ROCK provides this short educational lecture on how to avoid any 'issues' with local law enforcement officers...

Monday, May 14, 2007

Hot Fuzz

If you missed this quality flick at the cinema, get the DVD that's due for release next month. And watch out for my cameo.

A night on the town

Ahh, Saturday night in Sandford. The bars, pubs and clubs; going out for a few drinks with your mates, getting a bit wobbly; grabbing a kebab made of god-knows-what ahd heading for the taxi rank at 2am; getting into a fight over nothing, knocking some hapless bloke to the ground and kicking his face to a pulp before getting nicked and fighting four coppers all the way down to the cells. What fun!

I actually quite enjoy policing the town centre on Friday and Saturday nights - it's always varied and usually involves dashing from one urgent call to the next. I get to be just as mouthy back to the punters with little chance of a complaint and on the whole there's not a great deal of paperwork. Plus with my new-found love of detections I can hand out the odd £80 FPN for those that just won't listen when I tell them to stop squaring up to innocent revellers and piss off home. Basically it feels like proper policing, which dealing with yet another non-crime domestic or text-based 'harrassment' doesn't.

With a decent number of officers around (extra staff are drafted in for these peak times) there's also a fair chance we'll get to the incidents in time and with enough pairs of hands to arrest the culprits. Bring on next weekend...

Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Numbers Game

Bugger. Earlier this week in briefing my skipper dropped a bit of a bombshell. The top brass have decided my crew aren't getting enough detections. My new guv (more on him later) has put a lot of pressure on my skippers to get results. Threats of 'sticking them on' were apparently waved about - this is a discipline procedure, a warning system. Everybody thinks the new guv is a numpty, including his peers, who have raised concerns with the brass.

So, all is not well, morale is affected and we were told that the worst performing two would be shipped off to dreary admin roles.

Where does this leave me? Pissed right off, I can tell you. Rather than concentrating on learning the job, dealing with each incident on it's merits and employing best practice as I go, I now have to chase the detections along with all my colleagues. We're in effect in competition with eachother, which further affects morale. I left my previous career to escape the targets culture - I thought the police service was there to provide just that, a service.

I hope common sense will prevail, but it's not much hope.