Monday, May 22, 2006

Elaboration on previous post

I received a comment from a reader, part of which needs elaborating upon:

"However, once a log has been created (after the helpful call staff has asked) stating injuries have occured, we must produce a crime report. There would be hell to pay if we did a skeleton crime report with no MG11. Even if you have all the evidence and m,ade the right decision it takes a brave (or cocky) officer to stand up to the DVU officer or sgt."

PC Midlands has a point - under NCRS recording standards, we should report a crime if one has occurred, even if nobody wants to proceed. There's several ways of going about this:

1. Crime it and file as 'undetected' - this occurs when there's no witnessess, CCTV, decent evidence (forensic or otherwise) or nobody wants to prosecute but we have victim details - this an absolute no-no in the majority of cases, as it will mean that the crime goes undetected and adversely affects performance figures. If you do this but name an offender, you'll have shot yourself in the foot - you will be expected, if not ordered, to go and arrest the offender anyway, so that at least it can be DNPed. It's still not desirable, but it's better than the crime being undetected.

A skillful update on the crime progress page can often square away crimes that might have ordinarily led to protracted and pointless investigations, without even needing to do Option 2. Stuff like "Victim description minimal, would not recognise offender again. Witness information incorrect and unable to contact them. CCTV camera was pointing wrong way at time of offence." I've become quite adept at this.

With this in mind, officers become far less likely to write down possible named offenders on a crime report as it will hopefully mean the crime can be filed and never mither them again. The evidence burden for the likelihood of the named offender and the actual offender for inclusion into the report becomes 'higher', if you catch my drift.

2. DNP it. DNP stands for 'Detected No Proceedings', and means that we would state that have detected the crime, but would not be proceeding with an investigation or proseuction, which then necessitated a checklist of reasons justifying the decision.

Management hated it, as a lot of crimes were DNPed and it didn't make their overall stats look good, and officers would offer the option of DNP to a victim, explaining the benefits of taking that particular course of action. It was my favourite option as it meant we still got the detection but didn't need to bother with a pointless investigation that even the victim didn't want. Plus there wasn't THAT much to write up once you became savvy about how to write it up. So, now, we're not allowed to do DNPs and we HAVE to proceed with crimes wherever possible. It may not go anywhere, but at least it's been detected and proceeded with.

3. "No offences, please close the log accordingly". In the majority of instances, police officers are still trusted to use this resolution information appropriately. Turning up to a report and there's noone on scene, there's no injuries in spite of the log or call saying there were, and clearly no crime has taken place all warrant this resolution code. This is also used when the victim flatly refuses to give any details or co-operate whatsoever - we can't submit a crime report with no victim! This is how the vast majority of weekend night tiffs are resolved, even if there are injuries, as people would much rather weather the aftermath of such altercations than get the police involved. Personally I'm not going to push someone to push charges in these situations.

4. Hand it over - only applicable if you're on an operation, with a specialist unit or have a 'specific remit' and have come across an assault. It means you just take the initial crime report; statement; arrest and process the prisoner and build the basic file, then hand the investigation elements and full file preparation to someone else. I've tried arguing before that my 'specific remit' is real crime, where victims are innocent, have suffered detriment as a result of the crime and are fully willing to co-operate with police.

Sadly, my one-man 'Real Crime Unit' lasted about half an hour when I was advised that there's not enough real crime to go around and far too many undetected trivialities I could be cracking on with.

Any other ways of dealing with these things, please post in comments or e-mail me at - I like hearing new and creative ideas!

Oh, and no, I wouldn't consider going into police training - the thought of spending ages teaching purely theoretical guidelines, some of which originate from an an unelected and unaccountable body that dictates from on high (ACPO) which have little practical application, forgotten within weeks of finishing training, does not particularly appeal to me.

(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.
Wow I feel famous now! :)

I went to a domestic with our new sgt a few weeks ago, offender had made off, no injuries. Once at the house victim tells me she wanted him "told off". I explained we couldnt do that and the whole domestic policy (if you give us your name he will be arrested). She promptly declined to give us her name so no report, no arrest and no offences. Sgt takes me to one side and tells me not to do that again.

This despite the fact that a: the complaint is made out of anger and b: she would never go to court.

NCRS is a good idea on paper but the practicality of it is ridiculous.

I suggested it on coppersblog a while back and someone else suggested it today. One shift every single officer on duty should do everything by the book and I mean EVERYTHING. How long do you think it would be before it all ground to a halt?

The system expects us not to follow the rules so we can stay afloat and then critises us when we dont.

In my service of five years paperwork and policies have quadrupled. This is done for no other reason than to make people look like they are important and certainly isnt done for the public.

Moving country has never been so appealing.

PC Midlands
PC Midlands... have a medal.. no other idiot in SMT is going to give you one...

oh and pass the S*** sarine over so i can take my own bite :)
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