Monday, February 27, 2006
World Weary Detective has now closed down as well. Us bloggers are having to take greater steps to ensure our anonymity. For those writing blogs or those thinking of starting one, here's some tips:
1. Don't be specific - this applies to where you work; your rank, role and length of service; names and places of people you have dealt with etc. This should really be common sense
2. Posting immediately after a shift probably isn't the best idea if you then describe the shift you've been on or a job you've attended.
3. Don't use your own e-mail address for the blog
4. Be careful when commenting on new policy - it may be specific to your Force and will give the game away. National stuff is more than fair game!
5. Be careful if you tell colleagues about your blog - you don't know who they may tell, and who is pally with people in C&D...
Going, going, gone...
Brian's Brief Encounters has now been taken down, and I'll be removing the link and adding Blue's and Two's link when I get round to updating the template, which should be tomorrow.
For those who are wandering why these blogs are going, it is because supervision, Complaints & Discipline/Internal Affairs, or both, are catching wind of these blogs and are somehow identifying those behind it. The "catch all" offence of "bringing the force into disreputre" is usually levelled at those involved, in spite of very few of us actually stating which force we work in! How can you bring a force into disrepute if noone knows what force that is?!?!?
Since these blogs reveal what ACTUALLY goes on behind the glossy, PR-friendly corporate image put across by most forces, and threatens to actually inform the public as to what police officers do, the ties that bind us and why we're consequently not always able to respond immediately to a report of youths causing annoyance, the 'unofficial spokespeople' of frontline rank-and-file officers, and of the trials and tribulations being the lowest on a big food chain entails, are 'the enemy' of public relations.
We're also the enemies of performance management, the Key Performance Indicators we're under pressure to meet and the various other bureaucratic instruments implemented to monitor how police 'perform' (in spite of the fact that efforts are then made to meet such indicators purely for the sake of meeting them, whilst other aspects of police work that aren't measured, such as actually patrolling, are neglected in the meantime), since these blogs show such things actually exist and that we are under pressure to meet them. Certain authorities would rather this not be common knowledge, although a couple of pertinently-worded Freedom Of Information Requests by the correct press outlets to the correct institutions could settle that.
These blogs also go against the idea of all officers singing from the same hymn sheet and adhering to the collection of corporate buzzwords, nonsenical management speak and phrases that adhere to their own inner logic which form the various vision statements, mission statements and charters for whatever the theme flavour of the month is. Some of the public, and indeed some authorities, may be horrified that some officers would be so bold as to state why we're not always to do what people think we can do 24/7. I would prefer to think that the public would appreciate knowing the real reasons behind such restrictions.
(c) Bow Street Runner. None of the material contained in this post, or this blog as a whole, may be reproduced without the express and written permission of Bow Street Runner. All rights reserved.
I can't promise the same acerbic wit as Brian, but I'll do my best!
...but I still plan to be around blogging for a while. :) Brian is still blogging - but only about his gardening now. :(
On Friday 3rd March 2006, the Management Board of the Metropolitan Police Service issued the following statement to all members of staff:
'Recently the organisation has become aware of a series of web-logs or blogs - where authors - claiming to be police officers - have offered their views on a number of issues in a highly personalised, often controversial manner.'
This statement is followed by 'guidance' on writing blogs. In summary, this states that although 'blogging' cannot be stopped, the 'impact of expressing views and opinions that are damaging to the organisation or bring the organisation into disrepute' must be considered. Disciplinary proceedings may be considered against posters of material that may be (among other things) defamatory, offensive or otherwise inappropriate.
I have committed no crime. I have compromised no police operations. I have received no payment for anything published on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own.
It is therefore with deep regret and great sadness that I must announce that I will no longer be submitting posts to this blog. I cannot challenge New Scotland Yard. I am weary indeed and cowardice is my bedmate. The protection of my family must take precedence.
To each and every one of you - take note of what has happened here and be afraid.
If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever. - George Orwell
Also good to see the profile of these blogs raised. Posted to Platinax News, etoo.
Like you say, you're describing what REALLY goes on behind the glossy PR stuff - and that's damaging. Describing police operations can be damaging in a different way - though to be honest it's bad for me to comment as I haven't looked through these blogs yet - so I'm not accusing you of this.
I work in an office and it's normal policy not to disclose the clients you work with, or your operations.
You're missing the point. In an office the decisions that your staff don't, on a daily basis, have such a profound effect on society - nor do you have the ability to effect the removal of someone's liberty, which is the most serious duty that a police officer performs.
And, more to the point, your office probably doesn't have to put up with the sort of rubbish that the police has to - with the world and his wife asking them to turn water into wine, in a prompt, effective manner that creates as little fuss for them as possible whilst costing them as little as possible on their Council tax bill.
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