Category: Life

The Police – When Morals & Duty Collide PART 1

Police tape and officer

“The call was passed out over the radio that the security at Morrisons had detained a shop lifter and were asking for assistance from the Police. A call like this is graded as an emergency so we flicked on the blues and flew straight across to the shop. That annoyed me when I arrived because obviously every time you respond with lights and sirens you are putting people at risk. We got there and some bloke in jeans and a t-shirt came running up to us excitedly saying “nice one lads, she’s in here, come on” and scurried off. We had no idea who he was, no badge, ID or anything to suggest he was a part of the security team. I stopped him and asked who he was and he told us he was an ‘Undercover Store Detective’ and it was him that had caught the ‘shoppy’ and that his colleague was sitting with her now. He opened the door to what looked like a broom cupboard with a table and chair crammed into it. There was a a lanky security guard stood with his arms crossed across his chest with a stupid grin on his face. He told us later ‘this is my first catch’, hence the excitement I think.

Sitting in the chair was a woman who looked to be in her late 30’s. She was wearing a trouser suit and had black leather satchel like bag with her. She wouldn’t have looked out of place as the store manager. She was sobbing uncontrollably as soon as she saw me enter the broom cupboard. Before I could even speak she was begging forgiveness. My partner took the security guards out of the office whilst I sat with the suspect. A few minutes later he came back in with 4 items in his hand. He placed them on the table. Two of Morrisons finest microwave meals currently on a 2 for £6 offer and two £3 DVDs. Pepper Pig and Ben 10. The woman howled and began crying even louder.

My colleague told me that the ‘Undercover Store Detective’ had been patrolling the store and had seen the suspect put the items into her satchel. He thought she was using it to carry her shopping to the till at first because he said she didn’t look like a ‘shoppy’ but she walked straight passed to tills and to the exit. There was some discrepancy as to whether she had actually left the store and completed the offence but he was certain she had and would check CCTV for us. I asked the woman her name, date of birth, address and I ran her through the PNC. Nothing at all came back on her. I asked for a check to be done on her address and surely enough it was recorded but under her husband’s name and they were only recorded as being victims of a burglary the previous year.

So this wasn’t your usual shoplifter. I passed her a tissue from the pack I carry in my stab vest and asked her what had happened. Her story was that 8 months previously she had been made redundant from her admin role at a local hospital where she had worked for 15 years. The had 2 kids, a 5 and a 7 year old. They had struggled on for the first couple of months on just her husbands wage as she tried her hardest to get a new job. Then disaster struck when her husband’s firm went into administration and her husband lost his job too. They had lost all income, had fallen behind on bills and mortgage payments, they had not been able to celebrate Christmas properly and although her husband had found a new job which didn’t pay enough, she had been to one failed interview after another and was still out of work. They were still behind on bills and all money was going on feeding her kids and paying the essential utilities.

That day she had been to an interview, hence her dress and appearance, and was very confident when she left. She was on her way home when they called her so she pulled into Morrisons car park to take the call. Sadly, another failed interview. She told us that she couldn’t face going home to her kids and husband again and giving them bad news and so she decided what she needed was to feel like she had provided for her kids and to see a smile on their faces.

She had taken the meals for their tea and the DVDs were to see them smile and so they could sit and watch them in their bedroom whilst her and her husband talked. I don’t mind admitting, her story and her emotions made me choke up a couple of times. Ultimately what we had here was a mother who was desperate that she was willing to cross a line she had never even considered before and break the law to provide a meal and a smile for her kids. She fully understood what she had done and was more than apologetic. She was petrified that now she was going to be arrested for theft she would never find a job….that’s when I made my decision.

I used my discretion. I knew my partner would agree cause we were so much alike. I told the woman not to worry and to try and compose herself and I left the room. The two guards were right outside the door like two puppies awaiting praise and a treat. The uniformed one asked “Have you locked her up?”. I told them that I hadn’t locked her up and that I wasn’t going to either. They froze on the spot, their tales no longer wagging. They told me that I MUST lock her up cause that is their company policy. I told them that their company can’t have a policy that dictates what Police Officers do and that I have ultimate discretion in this situation and I don’t believe that criminalising this woman is the best way forward nor is it in the public interest. I explained her situation.

The ‘undercover’ guard was on my side. He agreed that it’s not the best solution. The uniformed guard was more upset at losing his first catch. I tried several times to get him on side but he wasn’t having it and so in the end I simply told him it was tough. It was my choice and the lady would not be getting arrested today. We all crammed back into the room and I explained to the woman that she would not be getting arrested and that we were going to take her out of the store and have a chat in our car. Lanky, obviously upset we had stolen his catch butted in with ‘But you are barred for life from this store’. She burst into tears again. She begged him to reconsider as she lived just around the corner, had shopped their all her life and couldn’t afford to travel to the next nearest supermarket every time they needed something. The guard was unrelenting and insisted it was ‘company policy’.

My colleague questioned whether he has the authority to do that given that he isn’t actually a Morrisons employee and when he confirmed he did have authority my colleague assured her that he would speak with the manager and let her know (he did do and the manager was fantastic and allowed her back into the store). When we got the woman back to her car I provided her with details of local groups and charities such as the Salvation Army which would be able to help her and her family and she couldn’t thank us enough and promised never to do something so stupid again.

When I spoke to my supervisor to get the call finalised I was shouted at. I was told that I should have arrested her and that it will take some ‘clever wording’ in order write off the call to comply with the National Crime Recording Standard. I was told it was my duty and that I will probably now have to go and arrest her from home. I told him that wasn’t going to happen and that if he thinks that is the best way to deal with somebody in her situation then he can go and drag her out of the house in front of her kids. As it happens the call was finalised and the woman wasn’t arrested. Job well done in my eyes.”

The above is a true story told to me by a serving officer. I use it because I think it demonstrates well the human side of policing. Here we had two officers whose “duty” dictated they arrest the shoplifter but whose morals dictated they help the woman and their morals won. I don’t think any good person can argue or criticise the officers for the way they dealt with the situation. Had it been another officer who attended the call the woman could well have been arrested, charged and walked away with a criminal record which could potentially prevent her finding employment. But this is just one example of many where Police Officers have to fight between their morals and their duty and quite often duty wins for reasons I will go into.

Over the last week I have spoken to many Police Constables who have answered several questions for me to help with my blogs and a project/campaign I am working on. One of those questions was;-

Has there ever been a time when you have been instructed to carry out a duty as a Police Officer which clashed with your personal morals and beliefs and if so, how did it make you feel and how did you deal with it?

The following are some of the answers I received.

“I am dead against fox hunting so when I was told I was policing the hunt to stop hunt saboteurs I objected. I explained to my boss that I didn’t feel I could because I don’t agree with fox hunting but I was pretty much told he doesn’t care what I agree or disagree with, I am a Police Officer and will do my duty. Having to “protect” these sick bastards while they scared and killed foxes made me feel ashamed for the first time in 17 years of being a Police Officer”.

“It drives me mental when people call the Police to say “there are kids playing in the street and being noisy” and then we get sent along to move them on even though they have done nothing wrong. They are just playing in the street and having fun for god sake. It’s not late at night or early in the morning, they are not committing crime, they are not even being anti-social or breaching the peace! The are PLAYING. Yet we get ordered by supervision to ‘move them on’  because we have a ‘duty to the public’ and must ‘maintain public confidence’… Well it might make the person complaining happy when we move harmless kids away but it doesn’t do much for maintaining the confidence of the youths, of their friends and family when they tell them they were chased off by the Police. Obviously if they are being rude, committing any offences, targeting somebody… we would have no issue dealing with them but all this does is make us look like bullies driving around scaring kids and spoiling their fun.”

“I got deployed with a team to prevent a breach of the peace whilst bailiffs evicted a man who had not been paying his mortgage. When we got there there was a removal van, about half a dozen bailiffs and removal men and they were waiting for us before they went up to the address. There was already a crowd gathered outside defending the man and who were angry and shouting at the bailiffs. My Sergeant spoke to the fella in charge and made sure the paperwork was above board and legal. We had to move the crowd back which obviously resulted in pushing and shoving and arguing with insults being thrown our way. We stood for about 2 hours separating the crowd from the property. The evictee was crying. Officially we were there to prevent any crime taking place but to the public we were HELPING the bailiffs evict a man. I felt guilty. I felt like stepping aside and letting the crowd through and helping this man get his house and possessions back. I couldn’t because I had a legal duty to prevent breaches of the peace and protect and preserve life and property.”

“Fracking is something I am 100% dead against and so when I took part in training to police protests at fracking sites I began asking myself how I would react when expected to stand guard outside one and prevent protesters gaining access. Truth is, I would WANT to let them in and even help them stop the fracking but I would HAVE to do my job and fulfil my duty and follow lawful orders. That really causes a moral dilemma and conflict”.

So here I have highlighted just a few of the jobs and duties expected from a Police Constable which cause internal battles with their own morals and beliefs. Jobs where their sense of lawful duty takes precedence over their morals. Police Officers may sum it up by saying “We’re just doing our job”. In part 2 of this blog I am going to look at the consequences of them doing the opposite and standing by their beliefs AND ask where exactly a Police Officer would draw the line at simply “doing their job” and following orders.

THE POLICE – Common myths, beliefs and misconceptions

lights

I want to take a moment to look at and address some of the commonly held myths, beliefs and misconceptions held by the public, perpetuated by the media and ingrained within society today in relation to the Police. The idea isn’t to defend the Police and it isn’t to patronise or “prove you wrong”. It is to raise awareness of REAL Policing. To help people see and realise that the Policing you see in the media both the negative stories in papers like the Daily Mail and the action packed scenes in TV shows like Cops With Cameras is NOT a true reflection of the work and duties of Police Officers today. Nor are the many rumours, beliefs and misconceptions you see on social media, hear down the pub or talk about amongst friends. I want to look at how the term “The Police” is used by the media as a cover-all term and how that can have impact upon public opinion. I also am going to look at some of the beliefs the public hold regarding the Police. Comments I have heard time and time again and opinions people have kindly expressed upon request to help me write this blog.

Firstly and most importantly I think it may be best to look at just some of the duties your average Police Constable is expected to deal with. I refer here to the “patrol bobby” you see (or you may argue DON’T see) on a daily basis. A Police Constable is the lowest rank in the service but is also the foundation of the service. As a PC you can move into almost any role within “The Police” providing you have completed two years probation and have the competencies needed for the role. For example, a PC upon completing their probation on patrol/Neighbourhood team (the default position for all Police Constables) can move into the dog section, mounted, roads policing, drugs team, Firearms, CID… The list is very long. Many people think if you work in one of those other roles you must be a different rank from the uniformed bobby. That is not the case. The role of the PC is very diverse but Patrol or Neighbourhood Policing is their default position.

So let’s look now at the duties of a PC on a patrol/Neighbourhood team. The list is below is just a fraction of the duties and jobs a PC is expected to deal with at any given time. They are the first responders to pretty much all 999 calls, non emergency calls and simple public enquiries.

Burglaries both ongoing and historic
Robberies both ongoing and historic
Assaults both new and old, minor (push or slap) and serious (ABH, GBH)
Stabbings
Shootings
Theft both ongoing and historic
Neighbour disputes of varying degrees
Sudden deaths both suspicious and expected
Suicides
Murders
Pub Fights
Anti-Social Behaviour
Nuisance Youths (anything from knocking on doors, being loud, playing football)
Frauds and deceptions
Criminal Damage
Vehicle Crime
Drink/Drug Driving
Road Traffic Collisions
Audible Alarms
Poachers and Wildlife crimes
Drug dealing
Prison crimes (Crimes actually inside prison!)
Found property
Lost property
Missing persons
Death warnings (telling people a loved one is dead)
Preventing breaches of the peace
Harassment warnings
Assessing a scene for CSI
Guarding a crime scene
Protests
Domestic violence both ongoing and historic
Rape
Child Sexual Offences
Racism
Public Order
Shoplifting
Football matches
Music events
Carnivals
Noise Nuisance
Immigration
Assisting ambulance
Transporting for ambulance
Assisting mental health workers
Assisting Doctors
Assisting other law enforcement agencies
Assisting other policing teams (CID, Roads Policing etc)
Assisting door supervisors
Taking alcohol off children
Dealing with public nuisances
Guarding suspects at hospital
Protecting victims at hospital
“Suicide Watch” of suspects in Police custody
Working in the Custody Suit
Bullying
School fights and other school related incidents
Facebook name calling and bullying
Civil disputes (even just to inform people it’s not a police issue)
Ebay purchase disputes
Parenting kids (“My son is refusing to do homework” = true call)
Stray dogs
Aggressive dogs
Stray livestock
Loose Horses
Loose Peacock!! (actual call I attended)
Parking disputes
Forcing entry to property for other agencies (ambulance)
Taking statements
Compiling case files
Speak with CPS
Arrange solicitors to attend
Arrange for an interpretor
Interviewing suspects
Attending court
Seizing property
Completing stop and searches
Gathering intelligence
Submitting intelligence
Attending community meetings
Foot patrol
Youth work
Community involvement
School inputs and talks
Training courses
Control Room duty
Front Desk duty
Vehicle checks prior to mobile patrol
Reporting faults with patrol vehicles
Transporting paperwork, exhibits and colleagues to court

Like I said, this is just a fraction of the jobs a PC is expected to deal with. They are a slave their radio, to the orders of the higher ranks, the demands of the public and anything else they come across in the course of their shift. A lot of these jobs take up a lot of time. For example, it is not uncommon for an Officer to arrest a suspect for a simple offence such as shoplifting (simple in complexity, not seriousness) at the beginning of an 8 hour shift and for that officer to then be tied up dealing with that job for the entire 8 hours. Waiting to get into the custody area, recording the crime, writing a statement for the arrest, obtaining a statement from the victim, seizing property, possibly a house search, arranging CCTV, waiting for a solicitor, possibly arranging an interpreter, interviewing, obtaining charging advice, possibly speaking to CPS, charging, bailing or releasing the suspect, completing a file…. Bet you didn’t realise how much goes into one simple arrest for a straight forward offence did you?

Attending a sudden death can often take several hours as the officer has to wait for life to be pronounced extinct, await the undertakers, possible arrange for the door the officer has forced open to be repaired, replaced or boarded.  Even reassurance call to an vulnerable victim of a crime which occurred weeks previously can take an hour or so if the victim is afraid, upset or simply wants some company for a brew.

Throw all of this in with the fact that despite what you may hear from politicians, frontline services are being massively cut. The number of Police Officers covering your home town, city or village each day and night would shock you if your force’s senior command allowed you to know the truth. The Police Officers know the true extent of the situation but they are ordered not to tell the public by the pseudo-politicians at the top of the command chain in order to “maintain public confidence”. If they disobey and reveal information which could undermine public confidence then the Officer would be disciplined at least, dismissed at worst.

Let me give you some examples of what I mean. I spoke to a friend still serving in one of our countries largest forces yesterday. He covers an area over 200 square miles in size. A rural area with a population of around 61,000 people. Normally there are 4 Police Officers covering this area. The “ward” as it is referred to, consists of miles of country side, forests, nature reserves etc and requires vehicles to be able to respond to emergencies in the many residential areas at any given moment. The 4 officers are banned from “double crewing”, that is they MUST work alone and not in pairs. They have 2 marked Police vehicles. The day I spoke to my friend he told me that of the 4 officers there was now only 2 covering the ward because the bosses had seen fit to take one of them to police a different part of force area. That left 3. Then one of the officers was sent to assist a GP gain access to a house. The Doctor was meant to be meeting a patient with mental health issues but was getting no reply to knocking. The Officer attended and was told to force entry on welfare grounds (to protect life and limb) and upon gaining entry found the man was just sleeping on the sofa. The Doctor took the patient to hospital for an assessment and the Officer was left behind to wait for the house to be secured by the council. He had been waiting over 3 hours at the time of my call which left my friend and his colleague with one vehicle and 200 square miles to cover. This meant that these 2 officers would have to prioritise any call that came in for their area. It meant longer response times. It meant 4 people’s work now split between 2. It meant that the public were not receiving the service they probably thought and expected they were. This isn’t a one off example. It is especially a problem for the rural forces or forces with rural areas. My home town is no different with contacts within telling me there are regularly not enough Officers to cover the area properly.

So a huge list of duties and expectations (some of which should not be dealt with by police officers such as ebay disputes, facebook issues, parenting difficulties, transporting people and things….) coupled with ever dwindling resources is the TRUE reason you do not see so many Police Officers on patrol anymore whether that is in a car or on foot. I will admit and agree that many Officers probably do not want to be patrolling on foot these days but that is not through laziness (although I admit there will be the odd one who is lazy) it is more because with such vast areas to cover and the enormous range of duties they are responsible for with such small numbers, walking around in one town is not practicable.

For example, when I used to walk around on foot in the town of Wetherby I was useless if a call came in at Boston Spa or if a colleague in Aberford, a 10minute drive away but part of my ward, needed assistance. If you want more foot patrols you need more police. If you want more police you need to get behind them, stand up for them and fight the Government. It is their austerity measures causing this problem. The 20% cuts to Police budgets with an impending 25-40% FURTHER CUTS to follow this November! It is not “The Police” that make the choice not to patrol or to take their time getting to your call, it is the GOVERNMENT forcing this problem onto society through drastic austerity measures. Forcing senior ranks to make difficult and possibly dangerous choices over policing priorities.

I blame the Government and the media for a lot of the myths and bad opinions of our bobbies. I agree those bad apples in the Police Service do not help in any way and if you read my other blogs you will see my opinion of those who disgrace the office of Constable. However, it seems to have become the norm now to just report negative Police stories and to link anything to do with law, order, legislation and everything crime related with the cover-all term “The Police”.

We see “The Police” and images of Police related items such as the blue and white Police tape, being used by mainstream media when reporting on things which if we were to be fair, are not the fault of the Police. For example, when a particularly horrible suspect is released from custody on bail or without charge it is reported that “THE POLICE HAVE LET DANGEROUS SUSPECT “JO BLOGS” WALK FREE TODAY…”. In actual fact, if a suspect has “walked free” on bail or without charge, that is down to the law and legal system, neither of which “The Police” wrote or has any control over. There are very strict rules regarding the bailing and remanding of suspects which the Police simply abide by, not write. The decision to charge a suspect is made by the CPS in most cases or a trained Crime Evaluator in other matters. Decisions are based on evidence, threat to victims, witnesses or even the suspect and other factors. Although it is a custody Sergeant who authorises the release of suspects, it is done by following very strict rules which leave no room for ifs or buts or any personal opinion or preference, so how can they be blamed? Unless of course the release has been caused by a failure, malpractice or mistake by “The Police”, in which case you could blame the Officer responsible, but not the entire Police Service of England and Wales, your entire force or “The Police”.

When the Government introduce controversial new laws such as their snooping charter, the media often state to the public that it is “The Police” who want to have these powers. It is NOT the Police who request these powers. It is the Security Service and the Government but because it will be the Police who are forced to enforce the laws whether they agree or not, it is “The Police” that get the blame.

When it was discovered that the national crime statistics were wrong, fiddled and manipulated it was blamed on “The Police”. That resulted in many people thinking the bobby they see patrolling, attending their calls etc is a liar and fiddles the crime stats. The Police all over the country were labelled as liars and trying to cover things up when in actual fact the crime stats were fiddled by the senior command, the pseudo-politicians and the Home Office. Why label and tarnish an entire section of society, a vital public service, based on the actions of people who are so far removed from real life and the daily good the Police do? My guess would be to keep the wedge between the public and the public servants firmly in place so that they are less likely to stand together, shoulder to shoulder against the Government. But that is just my opinion.

This desire to blame “The Police” for everything, even it is not the fault of the Police subsequently bleeds into society. We have all heard the criticisms, opinions and myths surrounding policing. Let me elaborate and start with this one…

It’s lunch time, you hear sirens in the distance, you see a Police car with blues and twos on heading into town in the direction of shops and you say/hear “There they go, off to get their lunch” or something similar along those lines. We have all heard it. The comment has been uttered since I was a young child and even before then I am sure. I can not comment on whether that actually ever happened back in the “olden days”. Perhaps in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s when Policing and life was completely different from today. However, I can guarantee you that it does not happen today and if it ever did then the Officer(s) would be disciplined and most likely sacked along with charged with any traffic offences they committed.

The reason being is that in all Police vehicles these days there is a “black box” device. This device requires the Officer to either scan their warrant card or security pass or type in a unique code in order to start the car. So long as the engine is running this device records EVERYTHING that vehicle does. It records, speed, breaking, gear, mileage and every time the sirens or lights are turned on. So if an officer has a collision in the vehicle the data is automatically looked at. If he is found to have been speeding, didnt break, using lights and sirens when he shouldn’t have been etc, then the officer is facing one hell of a problem. The control room supervisors and senior management can and do conduct spot checks on the vehicles. They can check what speed Officers are driving, they can make sure light and siren use coincides with an emergency call or other relevant and permitted incident. They are notified if the car goes over a certain speed and Officers are often called in to account for it. They can even check how long a car has been parked up with the engine running to ensure Officers are not wasting time. So the myth that Police use blue lights to get home on time, get their meal or for anything other than a lawful and permitted reason is absolutely untrue.

Another common complaint and frustration as a member of the public is that “The Police” attended a burglary, damage, theft etc and “were useless, they did nothing at all”. When the Police attend any crime scene where the suspect(s) have left they have to look for clues or evidence. They will check if there is CCTV covering the scene. Were there any witnesses to the offence? Has the suspect left any items behind? Has the suspect left any forensic evidence such as fingerprints or blood etc. Unfortunately, criminals these days are switched on and quite often do not leave any evidence behind. So if the Police Officer is unable to investigate your crime further it is NOT because they are useless or can’t be arsed, it is because there is no evidence to lead to a suspect. You can not logically or fairly call “The Police” useless for not being able to magic evidence out of thin air I’m afraid…. And if you want to use the argument that if they were patrolling more they may deter these crimes, please read the beginning of this blog again then complain to our Government.

“I told ‘The Police’ that that bloke down the road was dealing drugs last week and they’ve done nothing about it!”… This is a common complaint I hear from people or see on social media. It is so frustrating for us as members of the public that criminals in our society seemingly get away with their crimes without any Police action being taken. It is very frustrating for Police Officers that they can’t just go and search a property or a person who has been pointed out as committing crime such as drug dealing. It is THE LAW that prohibits the Police taking quicker action against suspected drug dealers. If a member of the public tells a Police Officer that “Joe Bloggs” is dealing drugs from his home address they will take that information and submit it as intelligence. They will check the Police system and if there are other recent reports of the same nature then they can look at swearing out a warrant, organising a raid at a time when they have enough resources and then searching the address….If there are no other reports or only a couple then I am afraid the information will sit there until futher intelligence gathering can be done. The courts will NOT issue the Police a warrant on one or two intel reports. They will not issue a warrant until the Officer can satisfy them that the information is viable, reliable and they know as much as possible about the address and it’s residents. This all takes time. It takes Surveillance, intelligence gathering and an operational order. These all take time. Some operations can take months to put together, especially if the suspect is switched on and smart. A lot of this information will not be passed to the member of the public who reported it and so to the unaware it WILL seem like “The Police” are doing nothing. They are doing something, just have some patience. It is hard to do all of these essential things to get a warrant when they are also doing the duties in the huge list above.

“I TOLD “THE POLICE” THAT MY DAUGHTER WAS BEING LED ASTRAY BY A BOY AND THEY SAID THEY CAN’T DO ANYTHING”… The same applies to parents worrying about the friends their kids have. The Police do not have the legal powers to instruct people, including children, who they can and can’t associate with. The law allows people to socialise with whomever they wish. This boils down to simple parenting. So long as no criminal offences are being committed or there is no immediate risk or threat to life and limb, the Police will not and can not act. It is down to parents to handle their children and there are other services around to assist if they can not. The Police will be there to deal with any crime or risk to life and limb only.

“I SAW “THE POLICE” LOCK SOMEBODY UP JUST FOR WALKING DOWN THE STREET WITH A BRITISH FLAG”… Well that simply isn’t true. I’ve seen a recent video which starts just as the Police are arresting somebody carrying a Union Flag. You do not see any of the incident before this. The title of the video is purely designed to cause unrest as it claims the Police arrested the person because the flag offended somebody. There is no law against carrying the Union Flag or any other for that matter and so it is only possible that the person was arrested for their conduct. Words or actions used whilst walking down the street with the flag. The Police can only arrest for what the LAW allows them to and no law will allow them to arrest for this. Simple as that.

“THEY ARE POLICE OFFICERS THEY SHOULD BE ABLE TO CONTROL THEIR ANGER BETTER”… Sadly there are many reports of Police using excessive force and I will never try and justify it. I will however just try and explain why a Police officer is no more able to control their temper, adrenaline and reactions in a violent situation. It is believed and expected (and rightly so) that The Police are highly trained in dealing with violent situations. That they are trained in self defence and are skilled in controlling their adrenaline. They are not. A Police Officer will still suffer the same adrenaline rush, the “fight or flight”, reaction as anybody else. They are of course more like to choose the FIGHT reaction. This doesn’t mean they will scrap with somebody, it means they will stand their ground and deal with the situation. In training all role plays of violent situations are far too Health and Safety controlled and so they can never be realistic and officers can never really be trained for real life until they hit the streets and encounter live situations. The level of self defence training they receive is no more than a few strikes to “pressure points” on the forearm if somebody grabs you or your kit or to press the mandibular angle to try and “gain control” of a suspect. All of this impractical Unarmed Defensive Tactics training mixed with pushing back with their hand held infront of them saying “Get Back”. I studied martial arts throughout my childhood and teens and also read a lot of self defence books too. I learned more from those books than the Police taught me. There were always requests from Officers for more realistic training but it was never permitted due to “Health & Safety”. So when an Officer gets involved in a violent situation his/her natural animal instincts kick in and unless they have had sufficient training OUTSIDE of the service they simply do their very best to survive and control the situation. Unfortunately, that sometimes leads to excessive force being used or mistakes being made.

These are just a few of the gripes, misconceptions and opinions expressed to me from members of the public and friends. I am sure there will be more. I am not for one second trying to say that the Police are perfect, don’t make mistakes or that all issues are down to cuts and being under resourced. There are problems in the Police Service which are caused by individuals whether that be corruption, racism or other criminality or malpractice but on that issue I would add that again, the actions of these individuals is not reflecting or representative of “The Police”.

I hope this blog has gone some way to increase some awareness of the situation within the Police Service of England and Wales and has come across as intended.

 

**In my next blog I am going to look at some of the duties Police Officers deal with which clash with their morals and beliefs but which they are legally obliged to fulfil and ask where would that obligation to duty over personal morals would end.

 

 

WHAT IF THE POLICE AND PUBLIC UNITED?

police-protesters

This blog is more me thinking aloud.

I am writing this blog for the public. For the people wanting to rise up and make a stand against the UK Government. For the people who plan to attend one of the many anti-austerity marches this year.

I am also writing this for the Police Officers who are tasked with Policing these marches. Police Officers who can relate to many of those marching having spent the last 5 years seeing their own pay, working conditions, pensions and living conditions being hacked away by the Tories. Police Officers who have nothing more than their strong sense of duty preventing them opening the cordon and letting the crowd through the gates of Downing Street. Officers who are doing their duty but some of whom I know for a fact want to be part of the march but would face certain dismissal and possible criminal charges if they did so.

Both sides are against the austerity being inflicted upon the nation. Both sides are suffering various levels of pain at the hands of this tyrannical government. Both sides (with perhaps a few exceptions) did not want the Tories back in power. Both side have a common enemy but will, over the course of the year, end up going head to head in battle on the streets of London and dare I say other major cities.

The protesters will march. The Police will march and contain.
The protesters will increase their numbers and try and break containment. The Police will increase their cordons.
The protesters will begin to venture off track. The Police will begin to kettle.
The protesters will begin pushing and shoving. The Police will begin pushing and shoving too.
Things will get thrown, batons will get drawn. Police will get hit, protesters will get hit.
The Police will use the media to claim the protesters were thugs and violent. The protesters will use social media to claim the Police were thugs and violent.
Protesters will be caught on camera breaking the law and face justice. Police will be caught on camera breaking the law and they too will face justice.
Both sides will take casualties. Public property will get damaged. Innocents will get caught in the fracas and they too will get injured by either side.

And whilst all of this goes on and the public pick a side and begin condemning the other, the common enemy, the people responsible for this uprising, the people who hide behind the Police Officers’ strong sense of duty whilst simultaneously attacking both warring factions will sit in their fortresses laughing at the chaos in the streets below but vehemently condemn in front of the camera.

The Government will condemn the protesters and deny they were responsible in any way for the public dissent. The Government will criticise the Police for their slow response time, their lack of resources, their lack of equipment and the actions they took. They set the two sides against each other then sit back and attack them both again and again….and we let it happen time and time again.

These protest which we are seeing and will continue to see in increasing numbers and strength are directed toward the same Government, the same enemy that the Police have faced for the last 5 years but have been prevented by law from doing anything about it or to protest in any way.

The difficulty is that the Police are sworn to protect ALL person and ALL property without showing any favour to either side. You may argue that by stopping the protesters reaching their targets and by using force against the protesters that they are showing favour towards the enemy. However, I assure you that if the Tories were to suddenly man up and come outside of their fortresses and try to get at the protesters, if they decided to stop hiding behind their fences and the duty of the Police and try to fight back, the Police would 100% absolutely stop them too. They would use force where necessary and would make arrests for any crimes they committed. That is because although I am sure the vast majority would love to see David Cameron or George Osborne get given a slap or a bit of a beating, they MUST act without fear or favour and protect each person (even their own enemy) from danger…That is the nature of Police work and that is what they are duty bound to do. To do any different, to step aside and us gain access to Downing St, Westminster Palace, Tory HQ or any other Government building would guarantee they got the sack and faced criminal charges for neglect of duty and misconduct. They would absolutely face greater convictions than any single protester.

So why not box clever and rather than play the games of our enemy, rather than go to war with each other, rather than protesting against austerity, cuts and the Tory tyranny but then attacking physically and verbally other victims of this regime, co-operate and protest in an alternative manner?

What does/has attacking Police with barriers, cones, bricks, rocks, sticks and smoke bombs achieved for the cause?

What has punching, kicking, elbowing, headbutting, baton striking or spraying protesters achieved for the Police?

Both sets of actions have simply brought both parties into disrepute and seen them facing public criticism and legal action. Counter productive and does nothing to alter the course we are heading. Nor does it have any impact upon the common enemy, David Cameron and the Tory party.

The Police are absolutely NOT going to engage in violent protest. But imagine the impact it would have on WORLD media and the Government if the Police stood amongst or side by side with rather then surrounding or kettling the protesters.

If the protests remained friendly and non-violent with nothing being thrown, nothing being burned, nothing being damaged and no reason or excuse given for the Police to draw their batons or begin cordoning or kettling then the exact same message could be expressed without the enemy and it’s media being able to criticise anybody at all.

It isn’t only the protesters who would need to make a change in their actions and attitudes. The Police would need to recognise that these men and women are marching and protesting against something they too have been victim of for half a decade. They would need to be a little more tolerant and understanding and recognise that these people represent them and their grievances too. That these people are doing what the Police have been wanting to do for 5yrs but have been prevented from doing so by law. To remain calm and use alternative methods of policing the marches and dare I say, question orders given to the contrary.

A simple gesture such as standing together facing the Government Buildings rather than the crowd would show a participation, a protest without actually “protesting”. A sign of defiance against the Government and solidarity with the community NOT the enemy.

The Police Officers policing these events would need to stand together as one in their actions. They can’t sack or discipline everybody after all.

John Lennon said

“When it gets down to having to use violence the you are playing the system’s game. The establishment will irritate you; pull your beard, flick your face to make you fight [they will use the presence of the Police to do this that is what you all need to recognise] Because once they’ve got you violent, then they know how to handle you. The only thing they don’t know how to handle is non-violence and humour”

These protests would have so much more impact if the public recognise the restraints placed upon the Police and the fact that THEY CAN NOT ALLOW THE LAW TO BE BROKEN NO MATTER HOW MUCH THEY MAY DESPISE THE GOVERNMENT. The Police also need to recognise that the public partaking in these protests only want the same as you. Fairness, Equality and the Tory scum out of power. BOTH sides need to accept that those responsible for the austerity are the ones fuelling the violence and the moment either side resort to aggression the Government has won again.

The Public is the Police and the Police is the Public. Uniting as one would have unquestionable impact.

A LOOK AT FALSE FLAG OPERATIONS

OPERATION NORTHWOODS

OPERATION NORTHWOODS

I think it is time we took a closer look at a term some of you may not have even heard before despite the fact they occur with an ever increasing frequency.

This report will no doubt attract unwanted attention, criticism, insult and maybe worse. It is however, I believe, an important subject to look at in this day and age when all the general public want from our Governments is honesty and fairness.

Many people throughout history have sought to highlight matters such as this one and unfortunately ended up being killed in “freak attacks” or “accidents”.

The subject I am talking about is FALSE FLAG OPERATIONS (FFO).

A FFO is a military and political operation, usually a terrorist attack or similar, which is perpetrated by the Government on their own soil or establishments abroad and subsequently made to look as though they have been committed by a foreign Government or extremist organisation.

Some well known alleged FFOs include;-

Lockerbie
9/11
7/7
Charlie Hebdo attack

When I say “well known” I do not mean that it is well known that these were FFOs, I simply mean that people all around the world are well aware that these attacks took place.

Many have alleged over the years that the western Governments were heavily involved in the 9/11 attacks, some even suggest that they were completely planned and orchestrated by the US Government or a joint operation by US and other Governments such as UK and/or Israel.

At this point you may already be switching off and thinking this is another “conspiracy theory” but please read on. I will be looking at each of the above incidents in a little more detail and pointing out some of the theories circulating about them but the idea behind this report is to look more at the FACTS and the aspects of each incident which make them less conspiracy THEORY and more of a plausible possibility.

For this who have no idea what a FFO is you may mistakingly think that they themsleves are conspiracy theories. However, they are unfortunately very real.

We are going to look at one below which was presented to President John F Kennedy in the 1960’s by the Department of Defence. Quite frighteningly this FFO was signed off on by all except the President which is the only reason it did not go ahead. When we look at it you will see why so many people believe that the incidents listed above could well have been FFOs.

OPERATION NORTHWOODS

Op Northwoods was put together by the US Department of Defence (DoD) in the 60’s to address a problem faced by the then Government.

Kennedy and his administration were becoming increasingly concerned about Fidel Castro and also his relationship to Russia. Kennedy was under increasing pressure from his Government to take action against Castro and Cuba, however they lacked the support from the American public to invade and go to war and also the rest of the world. Op Northwoods was the DoD’s answer to that problem.

(you can view the entire now declassified document here but I will be looking at the vital sections below)

It is described in it’s first paragraph as a description of “pretexts which could justify US military intervention in Cuba”. In otherwords, idea that would make the rest of the world and US public support a US invasion.

Throughout the document are recommendations that the document is kept away from certain aspects of US Government, military and the rest of the world, including the UN. This is because the suggestions put forward, if carried out and discovered to be a FFO, would no doubt trigger another world war and destroy the US.

The first page outlines the document contents and reasons for it and shows that it was signed off by the US Joint Chief of Staff.

Section 5 of the Operation states

“The suggested courses of action…are based on the premise that US military intervention will result from a period of hightened US-Cuba tensions which place the United States in the position of suffering justifiable grievances. World opinion and the United Nations forum should be favourably affected by developing the international image of the Cuban government being rash and irresponsible and as an alarming and unpredictable threat to the peace of the Western Hemisphere”

KENNEDY COULD NOT APPROVE NORTHWOODS

KENNEDY COULD NOT APPROVE NORTHWOODS

What we are hearing here is a plan for the US Government, through a series of events and incidents which we shall examine shortly, planning to falsify and concoct an image and opinion which misrepresents the Cuban government and it’s leader. They basically plan on “spreading rumours” and making the rest of the world believe Cuba is a huge threat not only to the US but to the rest of the UN too. Sound familiar yet?

Section 6 goes on to explain how it would need be rushed and a short time scale would be forced upon the rest of the world to agree by telling them that AT THE MOMENT there is no threat from Russia as there is no pact between Cuba and Russia BUT if they hold back that threat could become real.

The conclusion in Section 7 states that the plan is a suitable response to the problem of gaining and increasing public support for war with Cuba and should be carried forward to the planning stage.

It is also recommended that the overseeing of the operation, both overt and covert actions, should stay with the Joint Chief of Staffs.

The report then goes on to discuss how the Operation should be put together. It states;-

“…Such a plan would enable a logical build up of incidents to be combined with a number of other seemingly unrelated events to camoflage the ultimate objective and create the neccersary impression of rashness and irresponsibility on a large scale directed at other countries as well as the United States”

It talks of choosing plans from the attached list of suggestions which we will look at later and again emphasises the importance of making the rest of the world believe Cuba is a threat to national security of the entire western hemisphere.

So let us now look at the list of proposed actions the US Government put together to take to the President which if he had signed off on would have resulted in the US proceeding to lie to the world in order to invade another country and start a war all for their own means.

Suggestion number 1 starts by saying;-

“Since it would seem desirable to use legitimate provocation as the basis for US military intervention in Cuba, a cover a deception plan…could be executed as an initial effort to provoke Cuban response. Harassment plus deceptive actions to convince the Cubans of imminent invasion would be emphasized.”

So in a nutshell, because a “legitimate provocation” would be preferred, the US would try and orchestrate a provocation by harassing and provoking Cuba themselves until Cuba reacted.

However, knowing that suggestion 1 would most likely not work they move in quickly to the following suggestion.

“A series of well coordinated incidents will be planned to take place in and around Guantanamo to give the genuine appearance of being done by hostile Cuban forces”

The DoD then lists their proposed “well coordinated incidents” as

1) Start rumours (many). Use clandestine radio
2) Land friendly Cubans [those either on the CIA payroll or trained as guerilla fighters by the CIA] in uniform over the fence to stage attack on base.
3) Capture Cuban (friendly) saboteurs inside the base.
4) Start a riot near the base main gate (friendly Cubans)
5) Blow up ammunition on the base. Start fires.
6) Burn aircraft on airbase (sabotage)
7) Lob mortar shells from outside of base into base. Some damage to installations.
8) Capture assault teams approaching from the sea or direction of Guantanamo Bay.
9) Capture malitia group which storms the base
10) Sabotage ship in harbour. Start large fires – napthalene
11) Sink ship near harbour entrance. conduct funerals for mock victims (may be lieu of 10)

MOCK VICTIMS – this is something that will crop up again and we will look at closer later!

The DoD advise that in response to these incidents which would be conducted by the US and made to look like Cuba were responsible, the US military would then launch offensive operations against Cuba!

The 3rd suggestion was referred to as a “remember the Maine” operation. The Maine was a US battleship which funnily enough in the late 1890’s was sunk off of the coast of Havana following a huge explosion on board which tore a hole in the hull. There was, believe it or not, no evidence to suggest an attack but the incident was blamed on the Spanish and the US public, angry and upset at the death of 260 soldiers, demanded a declaration of war.

The following is an extract from the website ushistory.org;-

“REMEMBER THE MAINE, TO HELL WITH SPAIN!” was the cry. On April 11, 1898, McKinley asked the Congress for permission to use force in Cuba. To send a message to the rest of the world that the United States was interested in Cuban independence instead of American colonization, Congress passed the TELLER AMENDMENT, which promised that America would not annex the precious islands. After that conscience-clearing measure, American leaders threw caution to the wind and declared open warfare on the Spanish throne.”

Could this have been an early FFO?

So what would a “Remember the Maine” operation look like? Well the first suggestion by the DoD was…

“a) We could blow up a US ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba”

part B of suggestion 3 is to blow up a drone vessel anywhere in Cuban waters, potentially close to Havana so that it was seen a would be a spectacle. When Cuban planes flew over to see what was happening footage would be used to emphasise that Cuba attacked the vessel. The US would then stage a rescue mission to “evacuate remaining members of a non-existent crew”

Again, MOCK VICTIMS being “rescued” from a faked attack!

Suggestion 4;-

“We could develop a communist Cuban terror campaign in the Miami area, other Florida cities and even in Washington.The terror campaign could be pointed at Cuban refugees seeking haven in the United States. We could sink a boatload of Cubans enroute to Florida (real or simulated). We could foster attempts on lives of Cubans refugees in the United States, even to the extent of wounding in instances to be highly publicised….”

Here we see the US Government actually suggesting killing or wounding Cuban refugees in fabricated “terrorist attacks” in US cities! It continues…

“…exploding a few plastic bombs in carefully chosen spots, the arrest of Cuban agents and the release of prepared documents substantiating Cuban involvement also would be helpful in projecting the idea of an irresponsible government”

The US Government planned to paint the Cuban Government as “irresponsible” by acting irresponsible themselves.

Suggestion 5 was to cause tension between Cuba and other Caribbean nations by staging attacks on sugar cane fields and ensuring Soviet incendiaries were found along with the discovery of “Cuban” messages and weapons shipments on that nation’s beaches etc.

Suggestion 6 involved disguising a US plane as a Cuban plane and conducting attacks on US drone vessels and other US instillations.

Suggestion 7 was to stage hijackings of US “civil air and surface crafts” and make it appear to be backed by Cuba.

Suggestion number 8 is one that sets alarm bells ringing especially when you hold Lockerbie and 9/11 in mind.

“It is possible to create an incident which will demonstrate convincingly that a Cuban aircraft has attacked and shot down a chartered civil airliner enroute from the United States to Jamaica, Guatemala, Panama or Venezuela. The destination would be chosen only to cause the flight plan route to cross Cuba. The passengers would be a group of “College students” [CIA officers] off on a holiday or any grouping of persons with a common interest to support chartering a non-scheduled flight.

[This is where the plan gets crafty and alarm bells begin to ring]

a) An air craft at Eglin AFB would be painted and numbered as an exact duplicate for a civil registered aircraft belonging to a CIA propriety organisation in the Miami area. At a designated time the duplicate would be substituted for the actual civil aircraft and would be loaded with the selected passengers, all loaded under carefully selected aliases. The actual registered air craft would be converted to a drone.

b) Take off times of the drone air craft and the actual air craft will be scheduled to allow a rendezvous south of Florida. From the rendezvous point the passenger [CIA] carrying air craft will descend to minimum altitude and go directly into and auxilary field at Eglin AFB where arrangement will have been made to evacuate the passengers and return the aircraft to it’s original status. The drone aircraft meanwhile will continue to fly the filed flight plan. When over Cuba the plane will begin transmitting on the international distress frequency a “MAY DAY” message stating he is under attack from a Cuban MIG aircraft. The transmission will be disrupted by destruction of the air craft which will be triggered by radio signal. This will allow ICAO radio stations in the Western Hemisphere to tell the US what has happened to the aircraft instead of the US trying to “sell” the incident.

Can you believe what you have just read? Read it again. An elaborate plan to stage the shooting down of a passenger aircraft which would then be broadcast to the entire world. Names and faces of the “passengers” would be released. Mock funerals as discussed above would take place and the world would condemn Cuba for an act actually conducted by the US government!

It has long been suggested that the planes involved in Lockerby and in the 9/11 attacks were simply drones and that the passengers and families of passengers were in fact US military and government personnel. This allegation is always understandably met with outrage and disgust but can we blame the “conspiracy theorists” for believing this when that is EXACTLY what the US government planned in 1962?

Suggestion 9 was a plan to have a CIA pilot posing as an Air Force pilot engaged on a training exercise with other legitimate fighters. He would be briefed to fly at the back of the formation, some distance behind the rest where he would then let out a distress call to say he had been attacked by Cuban MIG planes. He would then descend to low altitude and fly to Eglin AFB where the plane would be re-numbered and the CIA agent would return to his normal duty. The pilot would never be found and would be reported as shot down by Cubans. At the same time a submarine would be used to release plane parts including parachute which would then be recovered from the sea and the coast of Cuba. Presumably another mock funeral would take place.

So now we have seen just how devious, deceitful and manipulative the US Government can be and it was only due to the honesty (the US government called it “softness”) of President John F Kennedy that Operation Northwoods did not go ahead at that time.

It raises the legitimate question though of whether a Northwoods style plan was taken to Bush as a way of increasing public support for the Iraq invasion. It was no big secret that Bush wanted to go into Iraq and take down Sadam and we now know that the story of WMD was a load of rubbish. We know Iraq played no part in 9/11 but were lead to believe Sadam and Osama were both up to no good and posed a “potential risk to the western hemisphere”.

In actual fact is well known and documented that it was the Bush family who were close friends of the Bin Laden family. The presidents father was entertaining Osama’s brother the morning of the attacks!

Did Blair use a FFO on 7/7 due to the increasing demands from the pubic and others in Parliament to stop being America’s lap-dog and to withdraw our troops from Iraq and Afghanistan?

Did Cameron authorise a FFO in Paris to create support and understanding from Parliament, the EU and the public for his plans to increase surveillance and snooping laws in the UK? The same morning of the attacks in Paris the head of Mi5 was quoted in the media as saying they can not protect us from all terrorist attacks and that terrorists are using complicated communication methods such as Whatsapp, iMessage and Snapchat… by complicated he meant encrypted.

David Cameron jumped straight on the bandwagon with plans to push his already quashed plans for his “snoopers charter” and a promise to ban all encrypted communications because he states he does not think the public should be able to communicate in a way which the government can not listen in. He made sure he highlighted the fact that the Charlie Hebdo attacks MAY have been avoided if the Government had the ability and freedom to listen in to all communications.

The attacks in Paris were almost instantly examined and numerous discrepancies were discovered paving the way for more “conspiracy theories” and allegations it was a FFO. (see my previous blog the Charlie Hebdo attack for details of the discrepancies and theories)

Northwoods suggests using MOCK VICTIMS in their attacks. Using serving covert agents as pilots and civilians aswel as the “terrorists” themselves. One of the theories surrounding the Paris attack was that the attackers were agents and that the Police Officer shot was actually a serving agent from MOSAD. Hard to believe I know, until you look at Northwoods and see that it is not as outrageous as you may think.

Many aspects of Northwoods can be seen in these incidents and because we KNOW that Northwoods was a legitimate US government plan and that the DoD was more than willing to sacrifice US lives and fabricate evidence and cover up their actions people can not be blamed or criticised for believing that 9/11, 7/7, Lockerbie, Pearl HArbour and the Charlie Hebdo attacks were the works of Western Governments.

President John F Kennedy had the decency and integrity which no other leader prior or since had. He turned down Northwoods and was deemed “weak”. He made a speech about secrecy and lies at a Government level and higher and insisted that his administration would NOT tolerate such activity and behaviour and called upon the US media to help him advise and inform the American public whilst vowing to expose the sinister secrecy at the highest levels of power…. several days later JFK was shot and killed.

WORLD'S FIRST AND LAST HONEST LEADER?

WORLD’S FIRST AND LAST HONEST LEADER?

But that is another “Conspiracy Theory” altogether.

*In writing this blog I am not endorsing any theory about any incident which has taken place. I happen to hold my own opinions on each incident. I simply believe that more people should be aware of the existence of Operation Northwoods and the extent to which the US Government HISTORICALLY planned to take matters simply to fabricate public support for war. Read the document in full at the link I have supplied. Look deeper into attacks which have happened both historically and recently and make you own minds up. But don’t dismiss those who think outside the box and consider all possibilities rather than simply excepting what the media, controlled by the Government, tell us.

If anything happens to me any time soon after writing this then it’s no conspiracy theory, DIG DEEPER! 😉

conspiracy

METROPOLITAN POLICE OFFICERS FEEL THEY ARE “DROWNING UNDER AN AVALANCHE”

METROPOLITAN POLICE OFFICERS FEEL LIKE THEY “ARE DROWNING UNDER AN AVALANCHE” DUE TO STAFF SHORTAGE, INCREASED WORKLOADS AND POLICE “REFORMS”

Avalanches-sfSpan

Front line Officers working within the Metropolitan Police Service feel like they are drowning with the immense pressure they facing on a daily basis due to “Police Reforms”.

Constables working in Neighbourhood Policing or “SAFER NEIGHBOURHOODS” as it used to be called once worked in teams of 6 covering a reasonably sized electoral ward or area.

The six person team would be made up of 1 Police Sergeant, 2 Police Constables and 3 Police Community Support Officers.

Now they have moved to a new system rebranded “LOCAL POLICING TEAMS” which now comprises 1 PC and 1 PCSO dedicated to the ward. Each pair then has as backup a team of 4 Police Constables and 1 Police Sergeant who [are supposed to] police a cluster of EIGHT wards.

From that little back up team however, one will be responsible for what they call “appointments car” whose role it is to attend those calls from the public which are not deemed as urgent and so they are allotted a time when a Police Officer will attend and speak to them regarding whatever it is they felt the need to call the Police about. This may or may not lead to recording crimes but never the less can be a time consuming roll for one Officer.

Another from the group will be responsible for investigating all Crime Reports handed to them at the start of the shift. Making contact with the victim as per the “Victims Code” which requires a Police Officer to make contact on a regular basis agreed to by the victim. Arranging a visit to the victim and/witness to obtain statements, gathering information and evidence perhaps missed out in the intitial report. Again, a very time consuming yet important role.

So that leaves just 2 PCs and a Sgt to patrol the 8 wards, conduct arrest enquiries and any other tasking the Senior Management requires. So in effect the work of the Neighbourhood Police Officer which used to be completed by 2 PCs and 4 PCSO which still caused the public to complain of a low Police presence, has now been chopped down to 1 PC and 1 PCSO!

My source within one such Policing team said

“Combined with the no recruitment for a number of years and the Local Policing team system we’ve just changed to, we feel like we’re drowning under an avalanche!”

External Police recruitment within the Metropolitan Police has been frozen for some time now for both PCs and PCSOs. There is a shortage of PCSOs on many teams due to them becoming PCs and the force not recruiting others to replace them.

Due to the increase in the responsibilities of a PCSO it often means the streets are left un-patrolled. PCSOs walking to calls and enquiries under pressure to get there and complete certain tasks is now the Met’s idea of patrolling.

The Police Community Support Officers are sent to “re-visit” burglary victims and conduct house to house enquiries along the street which itself can take several hours at times. They will also be deployed to make contact with “vulnerable victims” and spend time reassuring them. They have ward and council meetings to attend. Crime prevention leaflets to deliver. Targeted patrols of shopping centres to deter shop lifters and purse dippers. They deal with long term neighbour disputes acting as mediators and go betweens as well as referring people to external partner agencies…. All of this is expected on a daily basis and it does not take a genius to see that there is far too much work for the numbers deployed.

Another source has told me

I’m a dedicated ward PCSO. My work load just gets larger each day. I have to do an analyst’s job with figures for my Inspector as well as dealing with the normal PCSO duties of visiting burglary victims and neighbours and vulnerable victims etc. I stayed nearly two hours late last night doing figures and updating our website… Saying that I often stay an hour or two longer to try and keep up. But it’s never ending!

So where does it end? This isn’t an isolated case. This problem is reflected in almost every single force around the country yet the public are expected to swallow the lies that frontline policing is not being effected by the Governments excessive cuts.

The Police Service of England & Wales is on the verge of collapse. Morale is at the lowest it has EVER been. Numbers are at a 12year low. Crime stats (when reported correctly) are increasing. The public are NOT receiving the same high level of service they once were and still deserve.

Where this ends and what it will take to open the eyes of those in charge, nobody knows.

 

 

The Rise of Depression Within The Police Service

In recent months whenever I speak with my friends within the Police Service I have been hearing the same thing repeated by many an officer from different forces. That is that Police Officers are at their wits end, sickness is increasing and why more and more are taking time off due to depression. Many Officers are “jumping ship” and seeking alternative employment to escape the Police Service and move on to new ventures.

I contacted the below forces to ask about their Officer sickness record, the number of Officers off with depressive illness and how many Officers they have lost between the time period shown.

All forces were asked about the number of Police Officers of all ranks who have taken sick leave between January and July 2014 and the same period in 2013. They were also asked how many of those Officers were off with depressive illness.

West Yorkshire Police

WYP has seen an increase in the number of Officers off work due to ill health with 1330 in the first 6 months of 2013 and 1414 in the first 6 months of 2014.

Between those same two periods West Yorkshire Police have had an increase of 86% off work with anxiety, depression or stress (Depressive Illness). They point out that “Low Mood” is not a recognised or recorded reason for sickness despite this having been used by GPs on “sick notes”.

South Yorkshire Police

SYP have seen a decrease in the number of Officers off work due to ill health with 1335 in the first 6 months of 2013 and 1176 in the first 6 months of 2014.

The force has also seen an increase in the number of Officers off work with Depressive Illness however of 70%.

Humberside Police

Humber seem in good shape with only 751 Officers off sick in the first 6 months of 2013 and a reduction to 684 for the same period of 2014.

When it comes to Depressive Illness Humberside Police have seen only a small increase of 6%

Greater Manchester Police

GMP have also seen a reduction in sickness levels with 3318 in the first 6 month of 2013 and 3272 in the first 6 month of 2014.

However they too have had an increase in Officers suffering Depressive Illness (they also do not record “low mood”) by 26%

So it seems that whilst the levels of sickness differs between forces with some seeing an increase and others a decrease, there is one thing in common amongst all 4 forces questioned…

Depression amongst Police Officers is increasing.

Whilst some of the forces were keen to highlight that this could be for any number of reasons including personal, home life, financial and [lastly] work life, there is no escaping the fact that our Police Officers are feeling the strain.

My timeline was narrow and I have only obtained results from 4 forces (North Yorkshire and Cleveland are yet to respond to my FOI requests) but the figures still make interesting reading.

I KNOW that depression is on the rise within the Police because my friends and colleagues talk to me either personally or via SIREN (@SirenSupport) which I set up initially to look at the issue of depressive illness within the Police and the absolute lack of knowledge, understanding and awareness training given to Officers. I KNOW that depression is on the rise because I witnessed it first hand prior to resigning in February and experienced it myself whilst serving. And now I KNOW that depression is on the rise because the numbers say so.

The sad and worrying thing is there are many many others suffering out there who have not taken time off, who are worried about admitting they are suffering and who do so in silence due to the stigma, the reputation and the fear of what people will say and what will happen to their careers. The complete absence of knowledge and awareness both within the Police Service and the wider general public is a huge barrier when it comes to recognising and managing Depressive Illness and is something that MUST be addressed.

Sadly, to date, I have yet to make any leeway with any force and although the College of Policing initially showed an interest and ACPO assured me that this would be looked at in 2014, nothing has progressed and people are still suffering both openly and in silence.

Next Blog:- Why West Yorkshire Police Senior Management desperately need to address staff welfare before it’s too late

“FROM THE DAY WE SAILED THE TITANIC WAS ON FIRE”

A Channel 4 documentary aired on Sunday evening shed a fascinating light on the tragic circumstances surrounding the sinking of the Titanic and the death of 1503 people on that fateful night.

“Titanic – The New Evidence” follows Senan Malony, author of a number of books on the Titanic, as he examined evidence that seems to have been brushed aside for many years which proves that the sinking and the tragic loss of life could have been avoided had the ship’s owners at White Star not been more concerned about financial loss than they were about the lives of all on board.

A raging inferno lasting weeks in the boiler room weakened the hull and the bulkhead which led to the ship sinking after coming into contact with the iceberg. That fire was discovered BEFORE the ship set sale.

The enquiry began after the discovery of a photo album discovered at an auction house. The album contained photographs taken by the ships chief electrical engineer charting the building process and launch of the vessel. On two photographs a distinct mark on the ship’s hull measuring around 30ft long can been seen and this sparked the enquiry.

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Official records from the time show that the day the ship prepared to leave Belfast for Southampton a fire was discovered in a 3 storey high coal bunker in boiler room 6. Dr Guillermo Rein of the Imperial College of London an expert on coal fuelled fires stated the the fire would most likely have been burning for weeks before being discovered. Records show that the bunker had been filled 3 weeks prior to the fire’s discovery and so could well have been burning for that length of time. Fire fighters on board the ship reported that even after 4 days of 11 men fighting the fire it was simply out of control. The ship was launched to set sail for Southampton whilst it was still on fire.

Official reports and accounts from the men on board the ship reveal startling information. They state that White Star top brass told them to “keep your mouths shut” about the fire. Fire fighters and engine room workers report seeing the bulk head, the main safety feature which prevents water flooding the ship in the event of a breach in the hull, glowing red and warping. The black mark on the hull in the image lies directly in front of where boiler room 6 is situated. It seems the heat weakened the steel structure of the hull. One of the survivors, John Dilly, who worked as a stoker on board the ship told a reporter in New York “From the day we sailed, the Titanic was on fire”. Dilly stated that there was “hundreds of tons of coal stored in there… we made no headway against it”. Four days later and the fire was getting worse.

The fire fighters fought the fire on the journey from Belfast to Southampton and were warned by bosses not to utter a word. It seems they were pressured into keeping the fire a secret to avoid people refusing to travel or the journey being delayed. However once the ship was at Southampton only 8 of a crew of over 160 decided to get back aboard Titanic and continue the journey to New York. All but 8 people had to be quickly replaced.

On the 10th April 1912 the Titanic set sail with it passengers from Southampton. Many on board the upper decks were millionaires and members of British aristocracy. The investigation suggests that the owners of the vessel had already suffered delays in the Titanic’s maiden voyage and were fearful of losing money and reputation if they delayed any further to extinguish the fire and repair any damage. They would also have expected passengers to refuse to board had they known about the inferno in the boiler room and so White Star permitted the journey to go ahead regardless. Further reports suggest that substandard steel was used in the construction of the hull when building the Titanic to save money which may also have contributed to the fate of the passengers.

The fire was mentioned in the official inquiry conducted in 1912 by Lord Mersey but wasn’t deemed significant with Lord Mersey dismissing the evidence a number of times and trying to refocus the inquiry towards the excessive speed and iceberg theory we have all been lead to believe.

One fire fighter, Charles Hendrickson, who boarded the Titanic at Southampton to replace one of those who abandoned ship, give evidence to the inquiry and stressed the importance of the fire. He admitted that they didn’t actually start removing coal from the bunker until the day it left Southampton. The only way to deal with the fire was to shovel the already burning coal from the bunker into the engine furnaces. Until this point the fire had simply been burning away causing devastating damage to the ship. It took them a further 3 days to get the fire out. Once the fire was out Hendrickson also claimed that he discovered the metal of the bulkhead was “red hot” and he was instructed to cover the “dented” and “warped” bulkhead with a black oil to make it appear ordinary. Despite these facts Lord Mersey kept trying to move the inquiry along to what he called “the real, serious issues of the inquiry” and he instructed that the fire had nothing to do with it.

The documentary then reveals even more dramatic evidence of a SECOND fire in the neighbouring coal bunker caused by the red hot metal. The fire fighters then had to begin emptying the coal from a second bunker and throw it into the furnace. Malony’s investigation suggests that this could be the reason behind why Captain Smith ploughed on at full speed into the ice field ignoring all warnings. With the UK suffering a minor’s strike and the ship carrying just enough to get them to New York, was Captain Smith worried about running out of coal if he slowed down through the ice field and then loaded up the furnaces again once safely through? If he ran out of coal and became stranded at sea due to insufficient coal reserves what damage would that to do to both the ship company and his own career and reputation? Again, it seems risks were taken to avoid financial loss and damage to reputation.

The evidence uncovered by Malony is indisputable. The Titanic sank due to the fire. Another witness quoted in the programme was Lead Fire Fighter Fred Barrett. He was in boiler room 6 at the time the Titanic struck the ice. He reported afterwards that he had seen the fire damaged bulkhead give way and the sea water came flooding into the ship. That would never have happened had the bulkhead and the hull not been subjected to such intense heat for such a prolonged period of time. Experts using scientific evidence and computer generated reconstructions suggest that had the bulkhead of boiler room 6 held tight the Titanic could have stayed afloat long enough for the rescue ship to reach them. The loss of 1503 lives could have been prevented if the owners of the ship had not valued money more than life.

Titanic – The New Evidence can be seen again on channel 4seven on Thursday at 12:40am or Sunday at 7:00pm