Monday, June 26, 2006

Final police blog entry

Right, I'm abroad now. It's been beautiful and sunny, even though it's wintertime, and I've already stopped thinking about the job. Things are underway, new career and integration wise, and moving was definately the right thing to do. To fully enjoy myself and make the most of these new opportunities, I'm disassociating myself with continued active involvement with police related stuff in the UK anymore - that includes forum participation etc. I'm on the other side of the world, it doesn't affect me anymore, nor do I care about it.

I may continue this blog in a non-police capacity, for those who are interested to see how things unfold here in terms of making the change, lifestyle, opinions and comparisons on life here versus in the UK. If you want me to do this, please post a comment or e-mail me and let me know. If there's no interest, I won't bother.

On the plane on the way over I was reading 'Dilbert: The Joy Of Work' by Scott Adams. A very funny book. On pages 152-156 is a fantastic section called 'You Are Wrong Because' - a list of 'wrongs' someone commits when airing their unqualified and nonsensical thoughts and opinions on a topic. So, I've decided to write the police version, with full credit to Scott Adams and the book.

Fill in the blanks and circle the errors, then print out and give to the person concerned. Works equally well with either the public, colleagues or management:



For your convenience, I have circled the acts of stupidity that most closely resemble(s) the one(s) you recently made on the topic of: PLACE TOPIC HERE


Example: You can train a dog to fetch a stick. Therefore, you can train a potato to dance.


Example: From what I've seen, more police means less crime.


Example: I didn't get an immediate police response to my report of a burglary that happened yesterday. Therefore, the police don't care about people who are burgled.


Example: People commit crimes because they feel like it - there's no other motivation.


Example: Some police officers prosecute people for speeding. Some police officers speed when going to jobs. Therefore, police officers are hypocrites.


Example: I'm new to management. Therefore I believe you know nothing about the job either.


Example: He's not a criminal. He just does things that are against the law.


Example: We should increase police performance figures because I woke up on the wrong side of bed today.


Example: I don't insure my car. (Generic insurance company) are too expensive.


Example: If you have the right resources, how hard could it be to identify the mugger from a crowd of 3000 with no CCTV, descriptions or witnesses?


Example: Criminals ALWAYS get away with crime because there's not enough police to catch them.


Example: I know making all officers single-crewed increases their personal risk, but it means there's more patrols around!


Example: Remember, 'good things come to those who wait'. So don't bother applying for promotion.


Example: Catching ten street robbers is an excellent result, compared to catching one murderer.


Example: I'm right on this because I'm the senior manager. And I must be the senior manager because I'm right on this.


Example: Your activity monitoring report didn't include how long you spent writing the report, therefore it must all be inaccurate.


Example: Sure, the police advise that you shouldn't leave your Ferrari unlocked, running with keys in the engine and aboandoned in the middle of a dodgy area, but I have my own theory.


Example: The prisoner recommended I don't bother searching him. That's good enough for me!


Example: I was assaulted in a club whilst drunk and on a night out. I'm sure that's because police were targetting speeders.


Example: This estate has houses burgled every week six weeks in a row. Next week, we're focusing everyone on a car crime operation on the other side of the division.


Example: I know you're struggling with someone wielding a knife, but could you tell me where the nearest cash machine is please?


Example: We've spent tens of thousands on this divisional restructure. We can't change it back now or it will all be wasted.


Example: The simplest explanation for an increase in crime is more criminals.


Example: Crime always increases when we introduce new paperwork that ties up officers. But without a scientifically controlled experiment, it's not reliable data. So we continue to introduce new paperwork, since we can't tell if it has an effect on crime.


Example: I was mugged for the mobile phone adorning my neck one reason only: The police weren't patrolling on the street at the time.


Example: Sometimes people arrested by the police haven't done anything wrong. Therefore, it's better if the police don't arrest anyone.


Example: If I stopped drunkenly inviting people to fight me, I might not get assaulted as often.


Example: I bought a burglar alarm but I still got burgled. The burglar alarm must be defective.


Example: I can get the police to solve any problem I may have.


Example: If you don't get officers to document what time they take refs, next thing you know they'll never report anything they're doing!


Example: It should be legal to drink and drive, as long as you don't kill anyone.


Example: I've never seen you arrest anyone, therefore you must be a useless police officer.


(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.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Hi-vis stab vests

Saw some officers in the area I'm currently residing in wearing hi-vis stab vests!!!

Sorry if that sounds strange, but its a complete unique phenomenon to me! We've always worn black overt stab vests, which whilst warm and require a hi vis overlay sometimes, look quite smart and professional. The hi-vis ones, with various bits of kit hanging off it, just look messy and thrown-together, though I'd imagine the officers would be cooler wearing those than black with hi vis over the top.

Is this the way of the future in an effort to make the police more community friendly? I liked the way Strathclyde police went - all black, with polo shirts, combat trousers and flat cap. I tried it once - for the first three hours of foot patrol I went out in white short sleeves, body armour and helmet, and was mithered by the public and got all sorts of passing comments from drunks. After refs, I wore a black fleece under the body armour, with a very high neck which zips up so you can't see the tie or white shit, a flat cap and belt attached to body armour. Was left alone to walk in peace, not even so much as a request for the nearest cash machine! Forgot to attach the epaulettes to the fleece too, which was an added bonus.

I suppose police should be approachable and friendly, but when you can't go more than six steps without being asked stupid questions by three separate members of the public, you wish you could just be left in peace, intimidating enough to not be bothered with trivial rubbish, but not intimidating enough to deter people bringing genuine police business to attention. Also helps if, when dealing with offenders, you don't look to them or the public that you're dressed up to give them a hug straight after the bollocking, which is what I think hi vis achieves.

(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.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Police 'need to be more diverse'...

According to this headline. Not quite sure why it's a headline really, for self-appointed 'leaders' of rent-a-cause who are short of their monthly press release quota need only trot this one out and guarantee a few column inches. In fact I often read the papers and think "Hmmm, it's been at least 6 weeks since there's been a call for more women/minority/Martian/police officers in the press - I wonder what will be in here tomorrow?"

Leaving aside the Met's spectacular ability to generate bad press of Biblical proportions for themselves over the last year, Phillips here is clearly jumping on the back of the bandwagon of negative sentiment against the Met after the Forest Gate raids. I don't know the intel behind the raids, and I wasn't on the raids, so can't comment on them. A look at Philips' article - the gist of which is "more Muslims in cops = less community relations problems", and applying the essence of the Forest Gate raids - triggered by intel, which according to reports was duff, fails to reveal a connection between a change in recruitment and the execution of these raids. How does Philips expect this to have changed Forest Gate?

Would he honestly have expected the line "We've got intel there's a chemical device in an address in North London" to be answered by a Muslim officer with "Don't raid them. They're Muslim. You'll cause community relation issues. Let's risk death instead of publicity" or "I know them. I'm Muslim and thus know every Muslim in London, and it ain't them"? I think not. More Muslim officers does not mean better or more sensitive handling of intel, unless each and every single officer is transferred to Special Branch or put on Counter-Terrorism assignments, in which case it would be their job to handle such intelligence on a regular basis. Unless that happens, more Muslim officers will mean more Muslim officers doing the same as all other police officers - drowning in paperwork, being crapped on from above and leaving after getting cynical and disillusioned. Most officers didn't know about the raids and weren't involved in them. Any increase in recruitment in the last year of Muslim officers would mean they would still be going through training school when the raids took place, and had no knowledge or input whatsoever. What planet does Philips hail from trying to link Forest Gate as a base to launch a campaign for a change in recruitment laws? There'll be more raids, probably with more backlash, in the interm. Is he going to demand that someone who even so much as fills out a preliminary application form be put on active duty to appease people?

If Philips is hoping for more Muslims to enter and then hoping they will be favoured over other candidates for promotion, he'll alienate the rest of the minority groups the un-elected and self-appointed CRE 'exists' for, so if he's in favour of that he'll need to be very careful about how he promotes that in public.

I only know a few Muslim officers, all of them as capable as the next officer, but I do know the turnover rate for Muslim officers is quite high. Why this is I cannot authoritatively comment. However, changing the recruitment law to increase the number of Muslim officers will succeed, probably, in nothing more than inflating the turnover numbers even further, as more Muslim candidates are shooed in under false pretences and are not given a realistic job preview, decide it's not for them and resign, going the same way those that joined under other recent 'mass recruitment' campaigns for some forces have gone. You can't force officers to join, nor can you force them to stay in, even if it is in the name of PR. It will result in some shite and unscrupulous candidates getting into the job, knowing they got in because of their ethnicity and then demanding their every whim and desire be catered for lest they play the race/religion card to the press and the Force's minority rep association, which reflects badly on those who are actually good at the job and put up with the rubbish passing itself off as procedure and 'best practice'. They're not excessively vocal or crying injustice every five seconds, and are thus quietly smothered by modern policing (metaphorically speaking) like everyone else. Merely getting on with the job these days is no way to survive!

(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.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Department names

Cheers for everyone's comments and wishes of good luck by the blog and by e-mail. Much appreciated!

Before I left, I noticed the force renamed quite a few of its departments, from a name that provided a vague insight into what the department did, to names that seemed utterly meaningless, excessively multi-syllabic and appeared to be the result of putting a collection of nouns into a hat and drawing two or three at a time to form the new name, often with the nouns bearing no correlation to the work carried out.

I have two theories as to why this is the case - either there's a competition between forces to have departments with the most syllables in their names (each syllable incurs a point); or the vaguer the name of the unit, the wider their remit can be creatively interpreted, and thus more irrelevant work can be shovelled in their direction.

Here's some examples:

Tutor Unit becomes the Professional Development Unit
Accident Investigation Unit becomes the Collision Reconstruction Unit
A new unit set up mainly to deal with intelligence becomes the Operational Tasking Unit and seems to be doing everything now.
What used to be Section and gets shafted with any positive lines crime on the division becomes the Area Policing Team
Volume Crime Unit (shoplifter squad) becomes the Volume Crime Prisoner Processing Unit

Even more ironic was the renaming of some units to sound more paramilitary, at a time when providing a friendly, corporate image seems to be important, such as the Dog Unit becoming the Tactical Dog Unit. I predict the imminent establishment of the Tactical Paperwork Unit, given the mission of strategic insertion of arbitrary forms into the daily routine of police officers everywhere.

Any more for any more?

(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.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Appeal for information

Can whoever 'anonymous' is who says they know me please drop me an e-mail? Quite curious to find out who it is and if they do actually know 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.

I'm free!

That's it. Done. Dusted. Sorted. Over. Whilst it's a strange feeling not having the warrant card on you all the time (it's drilled in at training to always carry it with you), it's also a feeling of liberation in part as well.

Whilst I'll miss my colleagues and some aspects of the job, I won't miss having to walk on eggshells whenever speaking or acting, for fear of offending people. "No it's not because you're black/white/muslim/agnostic, it's because you are being an utter cock and behaving in a criminal manner." Nor will the endless and arbitrary paperwork purely for obtaining statistics be missed. There are some in the job who have become so obssessed and brainwashed that due process has become an end in itself, as opposed to a means to an end. This applies especially to crime recording and resulting.

One of the last things I did was write a 1-9 up for a Burglary Other that occurred last year, was resolved at the scene by the offender paying the money for the stolen item, and was only put on because muppet incarnate complained about myself and another officer after the incident, and PSD insisted the crime be put on. Point 9 asked for the officer's next tour of duty. I took great pleasure in writing "Never, ever, ever again!". When I asked what the point of doing a full write-up for a crime that was resolved at the scene and is over 8 months old was, I was given a look of horror and the words "You can't just ignore that, it's POLICY!" Finished the write up for fear of being hanged for treason if I didn't.

Furthermore, at training people are ingrained with a view that using force is a bad thing, as it could lead to negative PR and a bad image, as well as it being spelt out that it could potentially be the end of their careers. Indeed some probationers come away from training so scared to use force that they were injured in situations where they need not have been, because forces were more concerned about their image than the safety of their officers. I never had a problem using force, and used it wherever I could justify it as being needed. I was more concerned with my human right to life than any conceivable rights of the offenders. It raised eyebrows, but I've emerged after a few years relatively unscathed and in one piece.

Any complaints I may have attracted will remain permanently unresolved, indeed my lack of concern for incivility complaints may not have done me any favours in keeping the numbers low. C'est la vie.

The ridiculous and quaint policies that cover every offence from assault to murder, which lead officers step-by-step through everything that must always be done in all circumstances, has killed what little discretion was left to be afforded by officers. Now, street level decisions made at an incident will often be in breach of force policy if not illegal. I've lost count of the number of cannabis joints I've put down the drain rather than confisicating and going through the bureaucratic rigmarole, wasting my time and everyone else's for the sake of one sanctioned detection. It's often accompanied with a lecture to the smoker, often a young asian lad, in which case it is centred around them being a disgrace to whichever religion they'll claim we are discriminating against.

So, why have I jacked it in?

Several reasons:

1. The job is shite - as any officer with more than a few years in will tell you. I'm naturally cynical anyway, and realised this after just two and a half years. It's run and determined at all levels by people more concerned about advancing and protecting their own careers than the utter mess they leave behind for everyone else to cope with. This runs from the top level of government down. Fighting crime is not a priority, something freely acknowledged by certain members of the force, preferring the achievement of sanctioned detections instead to keep the figures healthy. Real crime is a distraction, and any prevention or solving thereof is an incidental by-product of the main aim of the police - PR and performance management. If we tell everyone crime is lower, people will feel safer.

A good example is Manchester. An insider there e-mailed me recently pointing out that gun crime has exploded (so to speak) in recent months, often with at least one or two firearms incidents a week (indeed there was one today), yet senior officers will go on record to say that it's down, which considering there was the second double fatal shooting this year, in the same division as the last one, is somewhat rich. It's certainly down compared to the Gang Wars of 80s and 90s, but compared to most other places its a worry. At least Nottingham admitted they had a murder problem!

2. I'm emigrating - I've got the chance to move out to a country with a far better quality of life. I'm young, am not affected by pension worries having left the job and am taking this chance whilst I have it. Whether I join the cops or not out there depends on the culture, lifestyle and whatever opportunities present themselves out there.

3. I passionately don't care about the public anymore - having been abused, assaulted, complained about by and generally snubbed by the very people we supposedly swear an oath to uphold and protect, I've sometimes identified more with the offender of a crime than a victim. When you get to this stage you know it's probably time to finish.

More often than not, the victim is rarely innocent to a crime and is often as much to blame for it. They're the 'victim' only because they dialled 999 faster than the 'offender'.

Once every year someone will come up and say we are doing a good job and they appreciate and respect the police. They are becoming an increasingly smaller minority and their compliments no longer balance out the abuse and ungratefulness of the Great Unwashed I had the misfortune to encounter on a regular basis. The GU demand that police succumb to their every whim and desire; that police dare not close roads, redirect traffic or inconvenience them with such trivial things as crime scenes (which are, of course, there purely for them to walk through); that each crime be investigated with a full team of detectives, and summary justice be dispensed against whoever happens to be standing with a 50 yard radius at the time of the call, for they are 'clearly the one who did it'. Failure to comply with any or all of the above leads to an unleashing of cliches, threats of complaints and the kind of abuse you'd expect from a drugged-up and tooled-up lunatic you've just restrained and prevented from committing a bank robbery, even if you've just said "I'm sorry, the road is closed for 2 minutes whilst this parade passes by". They have, however, carte blanche to put themselves in harms way and in exceedingly dangerous situations, demanding that we get them out of it.

At the same time, the Great Unwashed are the first ones to complain if we arrest them for any offence under the sun, for in their own mind they have the equivalent of diplomatic immunity. If we dare reprimand them for their behvaiour or conduct, they take on a demeanour akin to genuine surprise and offence, as if the police should be out policing everyone except them. Any intervention of any nature, including terorrist ops, result in the demand that we be catching muderers, rapists and muggers. When we say we've caught them all, they won't have it. Tossers.

At most jobs, nobody is innocent, the distinction is the degree to which they are guilty. Yes we police officer shouldn't pass such judgements, but do the job even for a few weeks and you won't be able to help yourself. Even the occasional purely innocent victim of crime, usually a member of the Chattering Classes, can turn on a dime to a nasty, snarling, hostile animal for even so much as the faintest whiff of something not going in their favour. How dare we say there's no way of catching the offender - we should be arresting everyone in the city and bringing them in for questioning. Damnit, they are the victim of a crime and we should be doing absolutely everything in our power to solve it. Never mind that it's the fifteenth theft from person we've had that day, they are better than everyone else and should get priority treatment. Sorry, if it's not a key crime it doesn't matter who you are, you'll just have to wait in line. Next time report it as a robbery or something.

Blue light runs to urgent jobs often involved braking at the last minute because some idiot decided that safety be damned, they were going to run right across the road in front of us, because the two seconds saved by doing so as opposed to waiting for us to pass, in spite of the risk of injury or death, would make a profound difference in their lives. I've often been tempted to get such people run over just to teach them a lesson. There's absolutely no excuse for it.

What gets me the most is when we're doing our job and are suddenly interrupted with "Listen to me", followed by a rant of how the utterly ill-informed and often poorly-educated fool with ideas above their station thinks we should do their job. I used a Life on Mars line on one to great effect, with "Shut up. I'll listen to the snot in my hanky before I listen to you" stopping them in their tracks.

The Public - wanting 100% of their rights, 100% of the time, 100% perfectly delivered and always 100% by everyone else. I'm sick of saving them from themselves and receiving nothing but hostility in return, and think they should just be left to kill themselves through stupidity without intervention. That's what most of them want anyway. They're not worth risking your personal safety or life for, and I no longer care what happens to them.

4. Erm - I think the above three and the previous blog entries explain it.

This isn't the end of the blog just yet though, final a post as this may seem!

(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.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Unable to organise a pissup in a brewery - why you should stay home to watch the World Cup

If today was anything to go by, the World Cup this summer will be a nightmare for England.

It's a nice idea, showing crucial matches on a big screen in a busy city centre, but since people love to combine drink, football and violence, any attempt to stage something along those lines will ALWAYS end in tears.

Tempting as it may be to watch it outside in the sunshine with a big group of mates, it's not worth it!

You'd have thought the police and council, on a nice sunny Saturday, with England's first World Cup game due to be played in the afternoon, and the game being shown on a big screen, would have a decent operation in place to keep crowds under control; ensure everyone enjoyed themselves; uphold the law and stop people from being killed. Aside from a lack of deaths, which was quite frankly surprising, everyone involved failed to achieve any of these goals.

There is a law against consumption of alcohol in the city centre, with powers for police to confiscate alcohol which we assume will be drunk, by the way.

Here's what happened:

By 11am, there were already 1000 people in the area drinking. There were not enough cops on to do anything about this - most came on at half 12. Why didn't anyone launch the operation earlier?

The Council came up with the bright idea of erecting construction mesh fencing around an area of the big screen. That fencing didn't go up until near enough 12pm, resulting in it being built around people as they were streaming in.

Stewards were on to search bags for alcohol and control entry. Within half an hour we'd seized a lock blade, which had been thrown at one of the stewards by someone who ran in and disappeared into the crowd. There were so many people coming in so quickly that it became impossible to control flow and search everyone. Many point blank ignored the stewards or refused to surrender alcohol when requested.

By 2pm the fencing had to be removed entirely, as there were far too many people in the area, and the fencing would have been torn down, resulting in injuries.

The BBC ignored a request not to publicise that the match would be broadcast on the big screen.
We were expecting 8000. Partly due to the BBC, at least 12-13,000 turned up, and the relatively small number of officers on was very quickly overwhelmed. Enforcing the alcohol law or maintaining any sort of crowd control became both futile and dangerous for us officers. Most if not all of the division was sent down, and reinforcements called in from no less than three other divisions and two specialist units.

By kick-off (for the game, at least), we had clearly lost what little control we had of the situation in the screening area and withdrew, resorting to keeping any more people from coming in. We pretty much locked down the entire area - noone came in, and if you went out you weren't allowed back. People weren't happy.

Shopping centres and shops had to close to prevent people circumventing the cordons to get to the screening area, and to prevent widespread theft and/or crushing. They lost a lot of money today.

Idiots were turning up and completely ignoring the police tape or officers standing by it, ducking under and trying to get in. They looked genuinely offended that we dared to challenge them for crossing the line.

I gave up trying to explain that we couldn't let people past because there were too many in the area; people were getting crushed and injured and it was too dangerous for them. Towards the end of the match I was strongly tempted to let people through with the words "Fine, get seriously injured. I'm really not arsed". The police don't protect the public from criminals, we protect the public from themselves, and it is often an exasperating and futile exercise for which many are singularly ungrateful.

At half-time there were at least 30 people fighting in the crowd, 1 person stabbed and several people glassed. Ambulances could not get in and bottles were being thrown everywhere. We were witnessing mob rule, with the general throng of the crowd determining the actions and strategy of the police, instead of the other way around - an unfortunate phenomenon that is becoming increasingly common in this country.

People complained we weren't doing anything about it. They were right. There weren't enough of us to do anything. It was plainly apparent to even the most casual observer that we were reacting to what was happening as opposed to having anticipated it with plans in action, did not have it under control and were overwhelmed. I cared far more for my personal safety than for the safety of the general public, so did not risk myself.

The force helicopter was unavailable throughout.

We had to request voluntary closure of several stores that people were buying booze from and then drinking in nearby public arenas, in contravention of the law and creating serious risks of further violence. Luckily the stores complied.

I was kept on from 11am-6pm without a single rest break, after which we were told to get 'a quick bite to eat'.

The prisoners we locked up were treated better than us - at least they got food and water on demand. There were no lunch packs, the shops we were stood outside ended up getting us water, when it should have been supplied by the force, and a request by one officer for water bottles was met with The officer distributing them is on point and can't leave it". Bear in mind this is one of the hottest days of the year so far.

I got sunburnt on my arms, mild heatstroke and felt very ill.

We then had spots of fights at several different venues across the city after the game. A few were arrested. Many more could have been but it would most likely have exasperated things and resulted in officers getting hurt.

Today could have been far, far worse than it was, and it is only be sheer luck, as opposed to careful planning, that a major riot did not start. Next time, either public screenings should be banned entirely, or an early operation, involving a large number of officers at strategic points maintaing road closures, crowd control and rigid search policies should be implemented. When the area gets full, it gets closed off and this is communicated to the general crowd further away from the screening area. There should be a rotation of officers in place and enough food and water supplies to ensure officers do not become physically ill through lack of refreshments. The course of events and management of the day by the authorities involved was a disgrace. I know for a fact that things have been communicated to very senior level.

It wasn't a carnival atmosphere so much as a dangerous atmosphere. And this is when England WON!

For officers reading this - if you are offered overtime for World Cup related duties, trust me - do NOT take it!

(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.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Soon-to-be an ex-cop

Sorted it so my final shift is on Sunday now, not next week - from 0300 hours on Monday June 12th I will no longer be a police officer. Woo hoo! Since these sorts of things come around full circle, I'm getting the same adrenaline rush and feeling of elation that I had when I joined the police.

Now I won't have to worry about wasting time getting KFC for people, arresting World Cup fans for racism or apologising for doing our job of protecting people.

"Why didn't you arrest the terror suspect who was about to blow himself up?"
"I didn't want to cause disruption to the community"
"No, you let him do a damn fine job of that himself didn't you!"

You'll be pleased to know, however, that I've used my initiative and have already implemented Liverpool's Trivial Crime Squad tactics myself - I'm often telling people that the pile of crap trying to pass itself off for something we should gave a damn about won't be investigated, and why. Since being on notice period, if they really start to annoy me I tell them the real reasons rather than trotting out the polite and rehearsed corporate spiel about lack of evidence - it is because they are wasting our time with one-upmanship allegations against whoever happens to have offended them this week, and really should get a life. Surprisingly, they don't kick up as much of a fuss about that as I'd have thought - maybe they appreciate being given a reality check? Nothing's come back to me yet anyway, and I don't care now because most of PSD don't work weekends.

I've decided to keep this blog going after I leave - will update it every so often with more inside info on policing as most of what i know won't be going out of practice within weeks of leaving, as well as little tidbits about life as an ex-cop and what I'm up to. There's a few things I'll miss:

1 - Collegaues - hard-working, dedicated, and put up with a world of crap. But I can stay in touch every so often via the Internet.
2 - Free travel on public transport - has saved me an absolute fortune over the years!
3 - Scrapping with people in such a way that no marks are left on them (hint - pressure points), the force is fully justified and they don't complain afterwards because they have something to hide/are drunk.
4 - Telling pain in the arse prisoners a few home truths in the old custody suites before CCTV and sound recording.
5 - Erm...
6 - That's it.

Will reveal my reasons for leaving after I've left, when I'm no longer under control of the force.

(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.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Leaving dos

Have put the posters up for my leaving do. It will be one of many the station has had of late, as loads of people have transferred, retired or jacked the job in altogether.

A quick scan of Divisional Orders each week shows loads of officers doing any of the above. It's also interesting to note the amount of probationers who are resigning before they've completed their two years. Makes you wonder - did they decide the job wasn't for them, or is the job so difficult on new probationers that it takes superhuman levels of patience and perseverance to survive the initial period?

Either way, we're at the stage now where if there were ever to be an overtime ban or restrictions, we wouldn't be able to carry out all of our roles and responsibilities. Of that you can be sure. It's partly down to lack of officers and pisspoor management of officers that are there.

Yet at the same time there exists a list of officers who earn in excess of £1000-£2000 per month in overtime. I don't know if anything is done about this list. Certainly if bossess ask staff to cut down on the overtime they'd cause some major problems, since initiatives and obligations would go unfulfilled, and the bosses in charge of making sure these are met would face some tough questions. On second thoughts, if it's likely to affect a managerial career, nothing will be done that is adverse to the advancement or protection of that career.

Maybe I should ask the bosses how much they earn each month, and keep a list? It's the same principle, and they do less than half the actual work we do!

"There's been a murder! We need to investigate it!"
"Sorry, we haven't got the staff - they're all tied up on performance management evaluations, specifically with regards to meeting budget savings targets"
"Right well let's get people in on overtime - the killer has left a note saying he'll strike again within two weeks."
"Oooh, bad news on that one too..."

(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.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Police at gigs

Worked a large-venue gig today. I won't say who or where for obvious reasons.

Off-duty, I prefer gigs in small venues, where you can get relatively close to the performers, and enjoy a more intimate atmosphere. Maybe it's just me, but the music seems more 'personal', that way. When I was a student, and even now when I'm not, I liked/like gigs in the Student Union's various venues for those very reasons.

Admittedly you get the 'wow' feeling stemming from the awe-inspiring scale of the concert when held in a large venue, but it's never really been my preferred choice to hear a group. Thus I've not attended one for many years. You either have to queue up for many hours to get a decent view, or you get stuck at the back and are reduced to watching the concert on a large screen, with all the atmosphere up the front. May as well stay home and watch it on DVD.

Maybe it was because I had an ear defender stuck in one ear and an earpiece in the other, but all I could hear was a general 'noise' which followed a vaguely familiar pattern (as I'd heard all the songs before). It was hard to discern between instruments, the vocals were too loud and all I heard was a vaguely recognisable tune, accompanied by the slow murmuring of the crowd as they 'sang' along. Then again, people don't attend gigs to hear a crystal-clear song. That's what high-quality recordings are for. People attend gigs for the experience of seeing and hearing that song performed.

At most gigs, we work outside the venue, on traffic point; crowd control; enforcing drinking bans and the like. Very few work inside, and those who are will be Public Order trained (proficient in 'riot' tactics). The same goes for football matches. It's primarily a safety issue - a small number of officers inside a venue against far more attendees is not conducive to a safe working environment if something goes wrong. The more cynical would argue that bossess don't want officers skiving off and watching the gig.

Today was a very rare occasion, as I was able to work inside, in plain clothes, on an operation to tackle incidents of drunkeness, which had marred previous gigs in the area. Once everyone was inside the venue, there wasn't much for us to do, so I was able to enjoy the concert. I remained professional, however, as I still found time to eject a few drunken idiots. See - I can balance work and play!

In the main, we opt for discretion over intervention, as most events will have their own stewards and marshals responsible for the majority of the grunt work involved in queue management, admission etc. We just hang around in case something goes wrong or traffic levels (human and vehicle) reach stupid levels. It's an easy shift!

(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.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Something in the water?

Have been quite busy on shift so haven't had the chance to update.

Last night I swear there must have been something in the water, because there were more fights than usual in the town centre.

For some, a good night out is not complete if it is not accompanied by a punch-up, for any reason whatsoever. This perhaps stems from Industrial Britain, when thousands flocked from the farms to the cities for employment, overpopulation crippled the water supply, and the general populace resorted to drinking ale more than water, which was far cheaper to produce; cleaner and safer, as the heating of the hops killed bacteria, which was endemic in the water supply. The raucous and near-perpetual state of drunkenness enjoyed by the people of that time, with the oft violent atmosphere brought about by the circumstances people found themselves in, has perhaps been the breeding ground for generational inheritance of this predisposition towards violence as a nominal objective when intoxicated. I have no sources to prove my theory, so feel free to disprove it!

Anyway, within the space of an hour there were seven or eight reported fights, half of which turned out to be the usual phantoms. For the remainder we managed to neatly circumvent the force assault policy, send the parties on their separate ways and result if as 'no offences'.

Sadly in one particular incident, a MoP (member of the public, or in this case a NoB, an idiot) was unhappy with how we resulted a taxi fare dispute in which both parties alleged the other had demanded a mobile phone with threats. His unhappiness was manifested by every cliche about the police under the sun and threats to "come and get us all". I don't see why he was so upset, we merely adopted Standard Operating Procedure and told everyone involved that it was a civil dispute to be sorted out amongst themselves. As a form of pithy, drunken protest, he decided to stand in front of our van and prevent us from leaving the scene. Not in the best of moods, I alighted and shoved him on to the pavement. He ran back and stood in front of the van again. Were it not for CCTV and potential witnessess, I had half a mind to transfer him into the nearby canal. Instead I settled for arresting him for obstruction and taking him a reasonable distance away. I tried to spin him around so he could face me for one of my lectures, but as he was drunk, he lost his balance and fell to the floor. This was not what I intended, but a fortunate bonus nonetheless. He was then dearrested (because, of course, the grounds for arrest were no more). That seemed to do it. I might get a complaint for some of what I said to him - by the time an incivility complaint is actioned I'll be long gone!

Next two idiots were fighting in the corridor of a tacky hotel. We separated them and used our area's tactic of sheer numbers to overpower. I arrested one of the men involved, as I was due off later than the others. He kept slipping in and out of consciousness. Concerned that he may have taken something else other than his body weight in spirits, I asked a question to that effect, otherwise he'd be leaving in an ambulance rather than a van. No reply. Needed to know before bringing him in, so slapped him hard across the face with the back of my palm. That woke him, then whilst repeating the question he fell asleep again. The same palm slap didn't work, so in a scene reminiscient of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, he was slapped across the cheek with one of my force-issue leather gloves several times. This time it worked and he snapped back awake, to mumble something incomprehensible. His mate threw up all over one of my colleague's boots. Delightful. Somehow the glove tactic seemed to get around the nick very quickly. Not Home Office approved, but fully justifiable nonetheless. Better than risking him becoming ill en route to custody because we didn't know he'd taken something.

Finished just as two confirmed thieves-ons came in. I always miss the good jobs and get lumbered with the low-level drunken shite. Does my head in sometimes!

As an amusing aside, we were reading through the major incident list for the force, and saw a log titled "Attempted Suicide - May Prove", with the text of the (not particularly interesting) job below it. My colleague exclaimed: "I know that person"!

Me: "Who, the attempted victim?"
Colleague: "No, May Prove! She's on our area. Sure I've seen her before"
I looked blankly at him for a second, then it clicked what he was on about, and I had to slowly explain that "May Prove" is a tactful, shorthand way of saying "May Prove Fatal", not the name of the person involved!

Finally, we've got ten whole knives in our amnesty bin. So clearly that's the end of knife crime in our area. And my Gerber is going nowhere near that thankyou very much!

(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.

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