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.
METROPOLITAN POLICE OFFICERS FEEL LIKE THEY “ARE DROWNING UNDER AN AVALANCHE” DUE TO STAFF SHORTAGE, INCREASED WORKLOADS AND POLICE “REFORMS”
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.
They say there are only two certainties in life. Death and taxes. However it now seems that both are equally as extortionate and bias towards the wealthy.
A recent report from RT News reported that the costs of funerals in the UK are higher than ever before. They report that the cost is up by 50-80% for even the most basic of services.
But why? We all die. We all have to be disposed of in one way or another whether that is burial or cremation. Obviously the more elaborate a funeral service the more expensive it will be but with minimum costs of between £3,750 to £5000 and the average cost within the UK is reported to be £8000 (the average cost in France is only £2200) then how on earth can we afford to have our loved ones laid to rest?
According to the Centre for Death and Society one in five people now struggle or fail to afford a funeral when they lose a loved one. According to the DWP they and the Government do their fair share to help people who can not afford to pay a high street undertaker and “meet the costs in full”. They state that “successful applicants” receive a contribution towards the fee levied by funeral directors and this fee currently £700. They say other costs such as Doctors certificates and fees and add ons sold by directors are also met in full. Sounds brilliant. Those of us (one in five) who can not afford to get help to give their loved ones a service after death can get help from the Government. However, the average Government payment last year was only £1,225 which means then that those applying have to find several thousand pounds extra. On top of this, the report conducted by RT found that the scheme run by DWP is “insufficient, overly complex and outdated” with people having to commit to funeral cost prior to applying for a payment.
The cost of a single grave plot for a coffin can range from £750 to £2500 but if you are burying a casket rather than coffin the cost rises to £1100 to £3500! Add to that the cost of the church or chapel for a service which can range from £50 to in some places £200 then you are already way out of most people’s budgets. Then lets consider the price of a coffin or casket which range from several hundred to tens of thousands of pounds. Personally I do not see the point in expensive coffins or caskets to simply bury underground never to be seen again but each to their own. When you choose your coffin or casket you are then bombarded with a choice of handles, trimmings, plaques, decoration etc etc etc. the list is endless and costs keep mounting.
We all know the nation is in a financial mire and welfare is being stripped back to the bare bones for those in need of support. We also know that big corporations, banks and other people and companies tucked up in bed with Government ministers seem to be receiving tax cuts and favours along with generous suggestions by “independent think tanks”. So is the ever increasing rise in funeral costs and lack of support from Government a ploy to force people into taking out life insurance policies? Why are the costs of dying so rapidly rising? What has changed to justify a rise of almost 80% in cost? Surely the cost of caskets hasn’t increased that much? Is it the cost of land to extend cemeteries? Is it the increase in energy prices making it more expensive to fire up the oven for cremation? Or is it simple greed from high street funeral directors who often deploy pushy, seemingly sympathetic emotionally charged sales techniques to talk families into paying for little but expensive extras?
This is not something which only impacts upon a few. Whether you like it or not we are all going to die one day. It is one of the few things that every single person on the planet has in common. We should not be restricted by class or wealth when it comes to death and I think it is time the Government step up and take control of this situation. A cap on the rising costs. A restriction on life insurance sales pitches. A basic fixed fee national funeral package. An affordable and fair repayment package… There are a number of things which Government, Life Insurance companies and Funeral Directors could do to make death much more affordable for all so why are they not doing it?
I don’t have the answer. Yet. If you can explain then please do let me know.
So long as this unmanageable rise in costs continues we will inevitably see a rise in debt or “paupers funerals”.
The Government like us to believe their statistics when it comes to crime levels & number of Police Officers on “Frontline” duties and insist they are accurate. Many dispute their statistics and suggest they are “fiddled”.
Then we have reporters such as Peter Hitchens complain about the number of Officers on foot beat, accusing Police of hiding indoors and comparing the policing of Britain today with the way it was done pre 1966. He states that there is no excuse and the Police are to blame because the Police have much more officers and much less work and responsibilities. He believes that the Police no longer do such tasks as checking commercial premises…not true. He claims the numbers matter not and that there is no shortage of frontline officers.
So Peter says the numbers matter not and Government say their stats are correct. Lets take a look at these stats then shall we…
UK population 2013 – Approx 56,000,000
Number of Police Officers March 2013 – 129,584
Between 1965 and now there has been an increase of 115,042 Police Officers (not all frontline) in the UK but population has increased 14,000,000. So we have only 115,042 extra officers to deal with an extra 14,000,000 members of the public.
Out of that 129,584 only 99,779 (77%) work on what the Government define as “Frontline” duties.
Residential premises have also increased by 9.2 million (estimate in 2011 so more now) making it 25,000,000 residential premises.
Commercial premises today are estimated at around 1,800,000.
So we have;-
99,779 – Police Officers
56,000,000+ – Members of the Public
25,000,000+ – Residential Premises
1,800,000+ – Commercial Premises
99,779 Police Officers to look after 82,800,000+ People/Properties. That’s around 829.83 per officer.
Now obviously those 99,779 cops do not work at the same time. Shifts come into play which mean that a rough estimate would be around 30,000-35,000 Police officers at any one time to cover 82,800,000+ people/property.
If every bobby was working at the same time they would still be outnumbered around 561 to 1. Take into consideration shifts and it would be more like 1650(ish) to 1.
Then on top of shifts we can deduct from that 99,779 to consider numbers on annual leave, sickness, extractions such as courses and secondments, dealing with prisoners, file building, community meetings and events, council meetings, scene guards…. The list goes on and the number of cops deployable at any one time gets lower whilst population increases.
Peter also likes to say that the Police have fewer responsibilities today than in the 60’s as Police no longer guard court building, no longer check commercial premises (which is false), no longer prisoner escort (again not completely true). He gives no consideration to the following list of further/increased responsibilities police officers have these days;
Partner agency meetings
School visits and engagement
School Liaison work (crime in school)
Domestic Violence intervention
Rape and other sexual offences
PREVENT strand of Counter Terrorism
Road Safety (34.5 million vehicles on the road not included above. That’s around 28million more vehicles since the 60’s)
Harassment and Stalking
Increase in Drugs and associated crime
Adhering to PACE for stop searches etc and associated paperwork
File preparation in greater detail
The increasing number of non-police matters (civil disputes) we have to mediate or attend in order to maintain public confidence.
Much more accountable and closely scrutinised (A GOOD THING)
I know Peter will be upset to hear it but in the last 53 years Great Britain has changed. Society has hugely increased, become more diverse and as such crime trends and types have developed. On paper, we may have a lot more Police Officers than we did 53 years ago but in reality it is not really many more in comparison to population and increased workload and responsibilities.
Peter won’t admit he is wrong because he has convinced himself he is right with his one sided research which has clearly been nothing more than a scratch of the surface but he IS wrong.
Increased foot beat WILL make a big difference but not without the numbers to enable Officers to cover smaller areas and enough back at the nick to deal with processing and charging when somebody is arrested. All that would happen is Officer’s would be accused by Peter and his ilk of “standing around talking to people” (engaging with the public) whilst a crime occurred several streets away on his/her beat. And although not ideal we WOULD still need reactive investigators and policing because unless we had a Bobby on every corner, crime would STILL occur.
In an ideal world we would still be able to Police like Sir Robert Peel wanted all those years ago but as is blatantly obvious, we do not live in an ideal world.