7 Apr 2012

Could You?

I have been gone for about a month due to my job... Could you? Maybe if you watch this video you may understand...

Police Could You?

Happy Easter

10 Mar 2012

Rights and Wrongs

The country is broken. No beating around the bush there is no respect left between strangers anymore, no trust or good samaritans, bar the army kind. We live in a society these days where it OK to swear and hurl abuse at Police Officers. When did the respect for the local bobby disappear? I think I can map a path from our destruction and the route cause was USA.

I know you may be thinking this is a big leap but hear me out. Back in the late 90's a craze hit the UK from The States which was the culture of suing. If you have been sold an item a day past the use by date then sue the supermarket. Someone crash into you and it's their fault, Sue them! You have a right!!

People may have a right to seek financial renumeration when they are severely at loss but the Suing Culture became ridiculous. Councils being sued for wonky paving slabs that people fall over, Companies being sued when someone slips on a wet floor which didn't have a sign! People were suing innocent people when they did nothing or very little wrong. Apologies seemed to no longer be accepted as enough. Unfortunately this culture brought about changes to prevent these companies ever having to payout at court cases or settle for large amounts prior to cases. These changes are what we know now to be Health and Safety.

Health and safety came about due to No Win No Fee solicitors taking up any case of mishap which occurred where someone might be to blame. Which is where the disrespect started to appear. Blame. Police officers started to get the blame for arresting "the wrong person" and always get called "useless" and this disrespect for the police has filtered down thought the generations. This coupled with the rise in drink and drug consumption has brought us to where we are today. So the only further thing I wish to say is thank you United States, respect everyone as you wish to be respected and lay off the drink!

5 Mar 2012

Loss of a Hero

A lot of things going on this week so wasn't able to do a new post this week so I thought I would dedicate this weeks post to a fallen hero...

RIP PC David Rathband

PC Rathband was the survivor of two gunshots to the head by the mad gunman Raoul Moat. From the word go PC Rathband showed his bravery by telling his family to release a picture of him with his injuries to the press to help in the capture of the fleeing criminal.

PC Rathband was the worse victim of Raoul Moat's rampage as he was the only one still alive and having to live with the mental torment. A lot of things were publicised as a result of what his brother thought was PTSD including PC Rathband splitting his marriage to his wife.

It is thought that PC Rathband took his own life and we can only speculate but I for one would not be able to say that I could have faired better than that man in the circumstances and pressure he had been under.

My thoughts are with the family of PC Rathband and I implore you to look at his charity PC David Rathbands Blue Lamp Foundation which help injured officers and their family's...

Rest in peace fallen hero...

25 Feb 2012

One branch against another

Some criminals are really clever in their crime leaving no trace of who they are at a scene. Some rare few are clever enough to make it look like a crime never even happened to the point where it takes us to get a confession from them or someone to actually realise something was missing. These are not the only rare few criminals, with those clever ones are those who are insanely stupid. This weeks post is all about one such insanely stupid male.

This incident in particular was all to do with a male who attended a well known pawn brokers in our local town, this well known pawn brokers has branches all across the country. The incident occurred when the male in question attended the pawn brokers in an attempt to trade in a PS3 for cash. This was all ok, the guy got his cash and left the store. It was only after it quietened down alf hour later that the staff checked the box the PS3 was in to find that inside the box was merely a brick wrapped up in newspaper. The staff thought they had been done over by the perfect crime, that was until they checked the CCTV. They got good footage of the male at the counter handing over the box and the male looked straight at the camera but they also caught the male take a laptop of the counter top and put it under his top. It seemed like the CCTV was going to be the only way to trace the male. We circulated the CCTV footage and thought that we may find him somehow as the details he gave at the counter turned out to be false like the ID he presented.

A stroke of luck happened 2 days after the original offence when the male returned to the scene of the crime by taking the laptop he had stolen of the counter top at the pawn brokers to the other branch they have at the other end of our local town. The reason this greedy criminal was stupid was that the laptop he had stolen from the pawn brokers had a sticker of the company's logo on the inside below the keyboard. The idiot obviously didn't open the laptop or try and use it at all, he simply just brought it in to the other branch 2 days later and attempted to trade it in for cash. The staff, clued up to what had happened at the branch up the road decided to continue with the transaction as normal whilst the manager called 999. A 2 minute response run later the male was in handcuffs and arrested for Theft.

In interview the male went no comment in relation to all the questions asked by the interviewing officers and it was decided to charge him with Theft of the laptop, 2 counts of Fraud by selling the brick in a box as a PS3 and by trying to sell the laptop, and possession of a fraudulent passport found at his home address after a search. The male pleaded guilty at court after his solicitor stated that the CCTV was damning enough evidence and he received 6 months imprisonment and ordered to pay the £150.00 he got from the pawn brokers back. The real sting in the tail for the male was that he was actually wanted on a recall to prison as well so had 12 months added to his sentancce for breaching the terms of his early release!!

18 Feb 2012

Nothing to talk about

This week I have no stories to tell you, mainly because I am being overworked by the establishment, and my wife, and have not had an iota of spare time in order to write for you. Instead this week I bring you all a stark warning. It was announced this week by Essex Police Authority that they would be rising their council tax by 3.45%. The reasons behind this will become clear when I explain.

Police forces in the UK are funded mostly by government grants. I say mostly as the remainder is made up from Council Taxes. Essex is one of the forces that relied the most on its government grants so when they were cut by 20% the force needed to find it elsewhere. There are forces on the other end of the spectrum, for example Surrey Police who rely heavily on council tax but take little from the grants. These forces will fair better during the turbulent climates as the cuts will have less of an impact on them.

Essex Police Authority announced that they were given an ultimatum, freeze council tax increases for the next 3 years and you can have a 3% instant bonus!! Great for the people of Essex who wouldn't see their council tax go up but bad for Essex Police as they wouldn't be able to increase it by a further 1-3% the following year. So, Essex Police Authority chose to rise the rate. As will most forces who rely upon government grants in this way. The only issue being that the council tax will rise and rise to the point where it is taking the same cut amount, or nearer to, out of the peoples pockets. Great for the governments pockets but not for their electorates...

11 Feb 2012

Dutch Courage

If the majority of crimes are committed intoxicated then I guess what we are saying is that criminals need an element of increased courage from a bottle of drink or a taste of their prefered contraband. The saying Dutch Courage has been around for a long time and has always insinuated that a quick drink will help settle nervous before an event. I have dealt with one incident where Dutch Courage became the unsticking of one theif in particular when he decided that he would steal booze from one of our local public houses. He formualted the plan that he would sneak into the cellar of the public house one night whilst the pub was still open as nobody would suspect noise in the beer garden. He broke in and laid in wait in the cellar until closing time. When everyone had left his plan was to open up the loft hatch and escape with a rucksack full of booze. Last orders came and as the pub started to close up, the staff began to secure all of the exits and entrances. Including the Cellar door. As the staff admitted the loft hatch in the beer garden had been faulty for some time and the way that they had secured it during the night was to chain and padlock it shut. The theif was unknowning to this and didnt seem to hear the massive chain and padlock being shackled around the cellar door. This was because the theif had already started. He had already helped himself to two bottles of beer to calm his nerves and then began to load his bag. Once his bag was full the theif tried to make his escape only to find his exit blocked. His thoughts then turned to the trapdoor into the pub which was also locked from the outside. The theif was trapped. When staff returned to the pub the following morning to open up for breakfast they were astonished to find that the theif was still in the cellar, his bag was still full and that even though he was trapped he had continued to drink to the point where the staff tried to wake him up but failed. They then called the police but before we could arrive the theif had become aware and had ran out through the now unlocked cellar door. The only sticking point was he left his bag behind which he had left his wallet in with his prisoner card. He was swiftly arrested and sent back to prison.

4 Feb 2012

Bricking it!

I know police custody can be a daunting place to be but sometimes people take it a bit too far. I can accept the odd bit of nervousness, shaking hands, sweaty palms etc but I recall one ocassion where I attended a location in our town where a male had been seen outside one of the shops slumped on the ground.

On my way there our town centre CCTV operators had seen the male get up and kick a window of a well known supermarket. Evidently the window smashed and I was informed. It was at this point I knew that this male was going to be spending a night in one of our ensuites.

I arrived and the male was slumped on the floor again outside the supermarket right next to the small window that he had smashed. I arrested him on suspicion of smashing the window and soon realised he had been asleep through it all. We picked him up, and walked him to the car. He began to wake up over the journey back to the nick and we managed to get a name out of him and found out he had never been arrested before and that this was his 18th birthday.

When we got to the station we opened the door and tried to help him out to which he replied "Dont touch me, I aint no invalid" to which replied "So you are some invalid then?" Which is funny trying to see a drunk person trying to work out that you were commending them on their poor use of the double negative.I then pointed to the custody entrance and asked the male to make his own way to the door but as he casually strolled over to door he lost his footing or balance or both and fell straight forward and smashed his forehead on the doorhandle. If it wasnt enough that he now had an injury and would need to go to hospital. I noticed, whilst applying a bandage to the cut on his head a distict smell of faeces. It was what you would expect, to put it politely, he had soiled himself. The descision was made quite quickly that as the male had no previous convictios we would bail him to the next day and drop him off at A&E to prevent the smell coming anywhere near our custody block. The male returned the following day and admitted smashing the window and received a police caution.

28 Jan 2012

Health and Safety Brigade

Its often you hear me mention other emergency services but I have a couple of stories to share with you, one of which is about each of our fellow emergency services, but as with most of my blogs they only shine a beacon on the negatives as the stories come from my perspective so bear with me.

Firstly we will speak about the Fire Brigade, regular heroes, or as I like to think of them, boys with a love for their toys and that is all. One day I was driving on a response run to a domestic at a regular location of ours when a female jumped out infront of my car and started pointing at a bush. As it was just around the corner I thought it must be something to do with the domestic. I spoke with the woman whose first words to me we're "Ther is an old guy here who has fallen into a bush" I though to myself "You stood infront of a police car going on blues for a man in a bush?" It was after speaking to the man it seemed he was deep in the undergrowth as he had fallen down about a metre from the pavement also. We tried to cut the bush apart as the paramedics arrived but the male was complaining of pain in his neck. It was decided we call out Fire as they may have cutting tools. 5 minutes later two Fire engines arrived and one man got off the engine with a chain saw, cut most of the bush apart and then went "OK, we're done, well leave YOU to clean up" At me, knowing full well that if anyone would get a complaint it would be the police. The man was alright in the end and the bush hasn't recovered still.

Next Fire story is a simple one, One of a report of a fire in a tower block at which Fire called us as they thought they would need assistance with evacuations. Fair enough, on arrival we were met by 3 firefighters who were on the way up with what is widely known as "The Big Red Key" which is, in simple terms, a battering ram. We got there and couldn't see any signs of Fire bar a Fire alarm going off and Fire smashed the door in. We searched the premises as they couldn't be arsed and when we returned to the doorway they said "We will leve it in your hands then" and strolled off knowing full well we would get a call not them if anyone found a premises insecure.

Enough about Fire, how about Ambulance? Well when the Ambulance crew have to deal with a violent person or someone having a psychotic episode they always call us to assist another agency and usually hide around the corner. I recall one time when we got a similar call from them for an assault incident where a 5year old girl had been hit with a stone at school and they asked us to attend... Why? Are they afraid that they would come under stone fire?? When we attended, we were the first there as Ambulance were waiting around the corner for us to call them back and say we were there!! Seriously getting paranoid of children now!

Final story about Ambulance comes on the same basis as above, Ambulance called us to attend with them as a male had stated he had been assaulted and asked for us to attend with them as they had a marker on the address for violence. We called and said we were on our way and would meet the crew there. We turned up, Spoke to the male and waited 30 minutes for the Ambulance before I got our control to call them and the reply was "I would just take them to hospital yourself as we had another incident where a male had a bleed on the brain and ambulance said they were ging to be 2 hours" It was then decided to take the guy to hospital in our car. I have since found out that our local Ambulance station has a shortage of paramedics not Ambulances due to budget cuts and there are currently 16 vacancies in that one station alone!!

21 Jan 2012

Suspects in Gardens

It's only human that when thinking of police officers jumping garden fences the first thing that springs to mind is the scene from Hot Fuzz. Even police officers think of it! This is why most of the time you will find that we opt for the safer method of lifting up fence panels. Saves the force shelling out for broken panels!

Sometimes though these Suspects in gardens or garden hopping jobs aren't all they are cracked up to be. I recall one in particular which was in one of our local streets that has two terraces of houses that back onto one another so their gardens are parallel. We had a call from one of the neighbours saying that they witnessed a male in a dark hoody walking along the wall that ran down the middle of the gardens of both terraces, looking in gardens with a torch. The male eventually stopped at one house and jumped into the garden and the neighbour could hear him trying to break into the shed.

Well to say we had lots of shed burglaries over the recent weeks was an understatement and we thought this was it! We would catch the man responsible!! We scrambled the helicopter, firearms officers, dog units and us. Obviously we were there first as we were local anyway. We put on a containment and gradually worked towards the target address one by one. We got to at least one garden away in every direction when a colleague decided to knock on the target address and see if the residents could let us into their garden. When my colleague knocked we were met with a spotty faced teen with parents looking over his shoulder asking "What's the matter officers"

We asked to be let into the garden over fears their shed may have a suspect inside when the young boy piped up saying "hang on I was in the garden about 20 minutes ago" to which the worlds biggest light bulb then sparked the answer to the whole situation. The result? The young man was out in the garden looking for his lost rabbit with a torch. It apparently liked to garden hop between neighbours and so when the neighbour saw him he was getting back into his own garden and found the bunny in the shed. Case closed and a good use of all the resources. Safe to say the helicopter never arrived, too much weather!

14 Jan 2012

Too much weather

Don't take this the wrong way but if police forces want to save money I say scrap all helicopters. They are useless. Don't get me wrong there is one time in about 5,000 incidents the helicopter is called to when it plays an invaluable role but can the forces seriously justify the cost implications against all those times it can't even take off.

The helicopter itself costs a fortune to buy and maintain including fuel bills. A cheap helicopter costs £260,000 at its lowest, then there is costs in modification, costs in repairs. Then there is the task of actually flying it. This falls to ex military, Yes two ex military helicopter pilots are employed to fly and co pilot the helicopter, Per SHIFT. So you are looking at about 6 ex military pilots due to flying times. This itself is a lot of money and then finally you have the cost of an observer from Essex Police with all his technology and kit! I personally would estimate it must cost my force, without seeing any figures I hasten to add, about £150,000 a month to run the helicopter!

That is all fine but the one bug beat I have is the fact that when as officers on the ground we ask for eyes in the sky we regularly get told "they are offline" which means one of the two helicopters is in for repairs and they won't lift off incase it breaks the only helicopter they have. Otherwise we get told that they won't lift as there is "too much weather" which happens every time other than in the summer sun. Frost, can't lift, fog, can't lift, snow, can't lift, rain, can't lift, low cloud cover, can't lift, little windy, can't lift. The fact that we are in Britain makes having a helicopter that cannot take off because of the aforementioned weather conditions utterly useless! The worst of it all is the fact that if the weather is looking like it may be anything less than blissful sunshine then we as a force still pay the ex military pilots to sit in the hanger! Figure that one out! Get the helicopters gone and save to police a lot of money!

7 Jan 2012

Angry Drivers

In terms of policing, Road Traffic matters take up about 10% of a response officers time. It is one of the times that you come into contact with the wider public rather than the criminals, victims and witnesses. Even though the wider public is largely law abiding it is strange about the mentality of people who would never think of committing a criminal act but they would happily drive around with no insurance or the vehicle in a dangerous state.
I can think of one such case where I stopped a middle aged man at this stage we will call him Mr Hated, all will become clear soon as to why. He was driving his nice Aston Martin in town and passed me at a T junction not wearing his seat belt. I drove after him and stopped him, which he didn't like, he was adamant he was wearing his belt. It was at his point whilst writing out a ticket I wrote down his registration wrong. I wrote it as "H4TED" with all the letters bunched up I started to get a 7 day rectification slip out when I realised the last letter was actually an O but. He had asked for it to be doctored to look like a D. I then told him I was going to issue a ticket for that too. Two tickets, both not incurring points, one £60 one £30. £90 in total for his errors but he refused to take it. "I'm not accepting that!" his reply was "I'll see you in court" to which I reported him for the offence and seized his licence plates as evidence. Now he would have to get new ones.
It came to court, I his infinite wisdom Mr Hated had entered a plea via post of 'Not Guilty' which meant we would hear a trial at traffic court. 3 police officers turned up to offer witness evidence but Mr Hated did not so it was heard in his absence. 3 magistrates heard the evidence and agreed that he was guilty of the offence and as such he had to pay £185 for his dodgy plate, £110 for the seatbelt and £20 court fees totaling £315. All because he was being difficult!