Two And A Half Weeks In

Last Updated on January 20, 2021 by RetiredAndAngry

2021 is but 2 and a half weeks old, and the merciless onslaught on our fine, brave bobbies has started up again.

In no particular order

Front Line Police Officers who face some of the worst risks during the Covid Pandemic have been told that, if offered, they must decline ‘spare’ or ‘left over’ vaccinations and wait their turn. In parallel they have NOT been made a priority for receipt of such vaccine. They are expected to deal with all the crap from Lockdown Guidelines/Rules/Laws, confront the angry demonstrators and the law breakers with only a face mask for protection.

Two published articles, one old, one very new, highlight exactly what the Home Office, under Mrs May, thought (and probably still do) of the Police Service.

The first was an item in The Spectator highlighting how racial bias in the art of Stop/Search is a myth. The Home Office knew this and chose to bury the evidence because it did not suit their agenda.

Very recently a blog post by Danny Shaw, not previously known for his support of the Police, provides the second piece of evidence. It highlights his 3 year battle to get the Home Office to release a document under the FOIA. Now that he finally has it, the document proves that the Home Office knew 3 years ago that their cuts to the Police Service were causing damage and crime was rising, but they, obviously, didn’t want that fact to become public knowledge. The relevant document is referenced in Danny’s post.

Remember the 4 Horsemen of the Police Reform Apocalypse? Well the Policing Minister at the time, Baron Nick Herbert, has just been appointed Chief Executive of the College of Policing. I can only imagine why a retiring former Chief Constable would be replaced by a professional politician. Nick Herbert was very much part of the worst excesses of ‘reform’. I look forward to seeing how he performs at CoP.

Today there was a piece in the Grauniad penned by Mike Cunningham, the very recently former Chief Executive of the CoP. He takes the opportunity to have a go about the ‘disproprtionate’ number of BAME youths subjected to Stop and Search, very much intimating that there is some Racial Profiling afoot. He actually describes it as ‘eye watering’. To the best of my recollection he came up with very few answers so his time at CoP could be regarded as a bit of a failure in some respects. Then within days he’s appearing in the National Press criticising hard working Police Officers, saying that things have to change, but offering no suggestions.

Finally, Boris Johnson’s much vaunted 20,000 extra Police Officers have mysteriously morphed into 20,000 ‘new’ Police Officers. Maybe he’s finally realised that his grand gesture was never going to be achievable and had steered in a new direction.

If this is what the first 2-3 weeks of the year has produced I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year will produce.

A Little Bit Of Hypocrisy Here?

Last Updated on December 11, 2020 by RetiredAndAngry

I hear there has been a report published by HMICFRS that is very critical of Greater Manchester Police’s Crime Recording record and the service they have provided to public in general and victims.

My immediate reaction to that is that there more than a little hypocrisy and arrogance involved there.

It is a matter of (controversial) public record that the Tories under Camoron and Cruella set about a series of swingeing cuts to the Police Service under the guise of Austerity.

When the Tories came to power in May 2010 Greater Manchester Police had a total of 8,148 Police Officers, 3,927 Police Staff and 842 PCSOs. Fast Forward to March 2020 and they had 6.866 Police Officers, 3,524 Police Staff and 560 PCSOs.

During this period Tom Winsor undertook a controversial review of the Police Services and published several recommendations, the majority of which were implemented by the then Home Secretary Theresa May. In recognition of his fine work Tom Winsor became SIR Tom Winsor and was appointed as Chief Inspector, Her Majetsy’s Inspectorate of Constabulary.

This is the very same organisation that has published the document referenced above, being critical of the performance of GMP in various functions.

MY VERY PERSONAL take on this is that it smacks very much of hypocrisy when you look back at the history of what has happened in the last 10 and a bit years.

Not once have HMRC/HMRCFRS stood up against government and opposed the cuts. Who is their head honcho? Tom Winsor who was instrumental in much of this carnage,

HMRCFRS really ought to remember what they are called. HER MAJESTY’S INSPECTORATE OF CONSTABULARY. Not the government’s Inspectorate, not Theresa May’s Inspectorate, not David Camoron’s Inspectorate, not even Priti Patel or Boris Johnson’s Inspectorate, but HER MAJESTY’S.

As such they really ought to keep out of politics, criticise and improve the Police when it is appropriate and stand up to the government cuts when that is appropriate. Her Majesty is supposedly independent when it comes to politics. Well so should any Inspectorate that bears her title in their name. They represent Her Maj, but are actually carrying out Theresa May’s bidding through the side door (not quite out of sight).

Modern Day Policing – This Dinosaur Salutes You

Last Updated on November 16, 2020 by RetiredAndAngry

I originally posted this in a private Facebook Group, but one of my real-life friends (I do have a couple) suggested that it deserved a wider audience. So, if you’re reading this for the first time you can thank Dot.

Just a quickie before the Nurse comes to sedate me again, is it just me?

More and more and more over the past 2(?) years I have seen more PCs on the news, soaked in some poor kid’s blood, whose life they have either just saved, or tried to save before the experts arrived. Never in my service did I see, or even hear about, so many fine acts of compassion and giving. Every day there are maybe 2-3 stabbings, frequently fatal, and most of them statistically involve young BAME kids (can I say Black without being witch hunted?). Frequently the first officers on scene are required to, and do, administer emergency First Aid way beyond the Triangular Bandage that I used to struggle with, or the freshly ironed handkerchief. Those magnificent officers will have to go back to the nick, go home, or whatever, quite often literally covered in someone else’s blood, explain to their families, and pacify them, and probably suffer who knows how many sleepless nights because they failed to save that life or are simply haunted by the trauma of what they have just dealt with. Later that night they will turn on the telly box and have some opinionated t**t spout on about how the whole of the Police Service is corrupt and racist and should be ‘defunded’ or the newspaper they pick up will be full of the negative stories, some of which aren’t even news, and devote maybe a column inch to the fantastic life saving that seems to go on on an almost daily basis. Apart from being totally unfair to the magnificent work being done on the streets by our successors, this does nothing more thatn severely dent the already drained morale, savaged by Theresa May, and, now she’s gone, the MSM seem intent on carrying on her ‘good’ work. Well done to all of you still serving. Seriously, you deserve it, and Thank You.

You ARE appreciated, even by the dinosaurs amongst us.

You’ve Been A Very Naughty Boy

Last Updated on October 30, 2020 by RetiredAndAngry

Just for once I’m not referring to myself but somebody else, honest.

I have been so caught up with COVID-19 and the myriad of other things going on that I took my eye completely off the AB1 ball.

Some of you will no doubt remember that some time ago I post a blog post regarding The Curious Case of Police Car AB1.

Time has passed and the matter has been resolved (pardon me if I laugh). I’m not sure how I missed it, but miss it I did.

Be assured, the West Mercia Police and Crime Panel have given this matter their full attention and have come to a decision. He shouldn’t have done it!!

The West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner, Mr John-Paul Campion, was cleared of acting dishonestly but the panel DID criticise him for failing to achieve ‘Best Value’ for the Number Plate.

You may recall it was withdrawn from auction and sold privately for a lower sum than the highest bid received by the auction house. It was sold for £160,000 despite a higher bid of £305,000 being made to the auction house.

The panel decided that Mr Campion DID have the authority to sell off the number but whether he SHOULD have done is a matter for his conscience.

“There was no evidence it was improper for the PCC to be involved in the sale of AB1 to the purchaser, as there was no evidence the purchaser was a friend of the PCC or closely connected to him.”

So, who the hell did he sell it to then? The answer to that my dear reader is a man called Paul West who is a former Chief Constable of West Mercia Police.

To be scrupulously fair it is right to note the chain events here. The Number Plate AB1 was lodged with the auction house on July 15th 2017, Mr West made his offer privately, outside of the auction process on 17th July, the item was withdrawn from sale on the 18th July and on 19th July an anonymous bidder offered a higher price by e-mail.

“The PCC stated he considered he was legally bound to accept the purchaser’s offer. With hindsight he accepted it would have been better to have continued negotiations with the person offering £305k.”

“The PCC had been somewhat naïve in putting himself in this position and processes should be improved to ensure best value is received for sale of assets in the future,”

In the spirit of fairness and good sport I will let Mr Campion have the final word on this matter, what I think, even as resident of West Mercia, is of little consequence.

“The panel’s report is clear I had the right to sell the registration, that the sale was conducted with integrity and it was sold to the person who made the highest bid while AB1 was on the market. The panel’s recommendations are noted.”

Stop And Search, The Work Of The Devil, Right?

Last Updated on October 30, 2020 by RetiredAndAngry

I wasn’t intending to write anything at all this morning, but this headline from the Grauniad changed my mind.

Met police criticised for multiple errors in stop and search practice

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.

The IOPC made 11 recommendations for the Met, Britain’s biggest force, for reform of its policies. “There is clearly much room for improvement,” it said.

What exactly is this profound statement based on? The answer to that is apparently a mere 5 complaints examined by our friends at the Independent Office for Police Conduct. FIVE, yes 5.

I have absolutely no idea how many complaints the Met receives in a year relating to Stop and Search, never mind how how many get substantiated, but I do know how many Stop/Searches officers from the Met carry out in a year.

To put some context on this alarming revelation from IOPC, let’s look at some other numbers. At this current time there are just under 32,000 (FTE) officers in the Met. These 32,000 officers, between them, carried out a grand total of 303,583 Stop/Searches under all relevant powers in the past 12 months.

32,000 officers have carried out 303,000 Stop/Searches and the IOPC issue their “There is clearly much room for improvement,” statment based on that.

I have no desire to defend unethical or unlawful practices, but really? The IOPC are clearly of the mindset that there are systemic failings at work here. I would say that there are possibly training issues highlighted for a very small number of officers.

To the IOPC I say this. You really do need to up your game. You are making yourselves look petty-minded, vindictive and government puppets. The lurid headlines do nothing but unfairly undermine the confidence of the public in their Police Service, so I will re-write the Guardian’s headline for them, and perhaps you can examine your own policies and when your organisation is 100% without fault and blame you can ask me to examine the situaton again.

Nothing Wrong With 303,578 Stop/Searches in The Met

Addendum

I have just read the IOPC Press Release. Having done so, I’m not at all surprised by their findings

The IOPC recently completed five investigations involving the stop and search of Black men by MPS officers and reviewed the collective evidence gathered to consider disproportionality, legitimacy and how force was used.

If you pick 5 complaints about Stop/Search on black males and your object is to find ‘Disproportionately’ it should come as no surprise if you find it.

So, having studied these FIVE complaints they came up with ELEVEN recommendations

  • taking steps to ensure that their officers better understand how their use of stop and search powers impacts individuals from groups that are disproportionately affected by those powers
  • ensuring there is a structure in place so leaders and supervisors are proactively monitoring and supervising the use of stop and search powers and addressing any concerning trends or patterns/ sharing any identified good practice at; individual, unit or organisational level
  • taking steps to ensure that assumptions, stereotypes and bias (conscious or unconscious) are not informing or affecting officer’s decision making when carrying out stop and searches, especially when using these powers on people from Black communities
  • ensuring officers are not relying on the smell of cannabis alone when deciding to stop and search someone and use grounds based upon multiple objective factors
  • ensuring officers carrying out stop and searches always use the principles of GOWISELY and engage in respectful, meaningful conversations with the persons being stopped
  • ensuring stop and search training incorporates a section on de-escalation, including the roles of supervisors and colleagues in controlling the situation and providing effective challenge
  • ensuring officers exercising stop and search powers are ending the encounters once their suspicion has been allayed, in a manner that minimises impact and dissatisfaction, unless there are further genuine and reasonable grounds for continued suspicion
  • ensuring officers exercising stop and search powers are not using restraint/handcuffs as a matter of routine and are only using these tools when reasonable, proportionate and necessary
  • amending stop and search records to include a question about whether any kind of force has been used. The records should also state where information about the kind of force will be recorded
  • ensuring officers are following APP and MPS policy and switching on their body-worn video camera early enough to capture the entirety of a stop and search interaction
  • supervisors taking a proactive role in monitoring and ensuring compliance with body-worn video APP and MPS policy.

17 Year Old Recruits. Is This What Policing Needs?

Last Updated on October 23, 2020 by RetiredAndAngry

There was an article in The Thunderer, and others, yesterday announcing that recruitment into the Police Service will be opened up to 17 year olds. This seems to have quite literally polarised the world of Social Media.

Personally I’m opposed to it. The main reason that I am opposed to it is one of Life Experience. I was 19 when I joined, and 20 by the time I first hot the mean streets of North West London. with the benefit of hindsight I’m not certain that I was adequately equipped. I had survived 16 weeks at Hendon, none of this Distance Learning, CBT Malarkey, then 2 full days per month local training until I had completed my first two years.

Do I think I was adequately prepared? No, but not because I hadn’t been sufficiently trained, but because I didn’t have sufficient life skills and experience to back it up. All the time I was paired up with a senior Constable all was well. The senior Constables and some of the Sergeants and Inspectors were brilliant, they also patrolled the streets, they knew what me and the (very few) other recruits needed and we were properly tutored and mentored. I get the distinct impression that would not be feasible today.

In the other corner is a group that I assume includes a number of serving officers who are ex military. They quite reasonably point out that we recruit 16 year olds into the military, train them, then send them off to foreign parts to fight and possibly die. That is absolutely correct and I can understand why it is used as an argument against me. The difference, in my view, is that they fight as a unit, under close supervision on the battlefield, and in company with soldiers, sailors, airmen, far more experienced than they are. Police Officers can find themselves either alone, or part of a team of only 2, who are faced with anything from a difficult domestic dispute to a rampant, machete-wielding murderer, at close quarters. Once again it’s just my opinion, and I accept that there will be contrary opinions out there.

Also lining up against me, unsurprisingly, is the Collage (sic) of Policing. They most definitely think it’s a good idea, but they would wouldn’t they, they have to help Boris reach his target of 20,000 extra officers. At 17 years old they can’t possibly be Graduates but I can see the attraction of the Apprenticeship root, hopefully leading to a degree but without the Student Loan. I can’t help but wonder how many of them will hang around once they’ve got their Degree, as we all know that a Degree does not have to be relevant to a particular profession to get you a job.

The College of Policing said: “Reducing the age you can apply to be a police officer from 18 to 17 means the police service is able to recruit from the biggest possible pool of people at a time when it is looking for an unprecedented number of new officers.

“The restriction on 17-year-olds applying, particularly through the police apprenticeship route, meant the service could potentially have been losing good candidates to other careers.”

I’m not sure about that last sentence but it will certainly make it easier for Boris to reach his 20,000. I’m not convinced that the Collage should be a positive part of that, smacks of getting involved with Politics to me. I’d rather they came up with some innovative ways to improve grass roots Policing than made Boris’ life a little more comfortable.

Apart from anything else, these 17 year old recruits won’t even be old enough to get a round in at the bar. A minor issue I agree, but it makes one think.

Finally, this scheme does nothing to address the problem of mid service officers leaving the serving early. Retention is rapidly becoming a huge problem and one that does not appear to be being adeqately addressed.

I refer you back to a recent piece wot I wrote. https://retiredandangry.co.uk/the-ever-thinning-blue-line

The number of Voluntary Resignations as a percentage of all Leavers is rising. The 5 worst affected Forces individually, and I have no idea why, were Bedfordshire at 65%, Kent at 53%, Surrey at 52%, Northamptonshire at 49% and Cambridgeshire at 45%.

Those are stunning figures, and whilst they represent the 5 worst affected Forces, it does not make comfortable reading for anyone with an interest in Policing.

So, I leave you with this thought. Which ‘solution’ would be better for Policing? 17 year old recruits or solving the Retention problem?

How Safe Do You Feel?

Last Updated on September 21, 2020 by RetiredAndAngry

It all started with a Tweet. Someone posted a chart of how violent crime had spiralled under the Tories.

Well, I couldn’t leave it at that could I? I couldn’t resist comparing those figures with comparable stats for Police Officer numbers

Then somebody else posed the question of how these figures correspond to similar figures in Europe. To be honest I had no idea. I had read that following on from the Gilets Jaunes protest across France Gendarmerie morale was in the toilet, but as for numbers, not a clue.

So, here we go, hopefully more pictures than words for once.  How do we here in the UK compare with our European equivalents?  The stats are not up to the moment but I believe that they are the most recent available, and probably won’t be updated any time soon as we have now, effectively, left the EU.

Murder

In terms of outright offences we seem to be 4th in Europe, judged by Offences per 100,000 Population we are on a par with the majority of EU countries.

Assaults

Way more Assaults than any other EU in terms of outright offences. Unfortunately there is no comparable data of Offences per 100,000 Population, plus different countries will have very different recording criteria, so it is difficult to make a direct comparison.

Robbery

Whichever way you look at it England and Wales are pretty dire for Reported Robberies.

Autocrime

Once again, England and Wales are up there, amomgst the highest, however you count it.

UK Crime

Overall, total crimes per 100,000 head of population is definitely on its way back up. Strangely enough it started to go back up again in 2010, no idea what might have happened in 2010 to kickstart that pattern.

Just because it’s topical, how does Stop/Search activity correlate with Total Crime Levels? The latest data that I have is from 2018, but you can see the pattern.

Just for good measure, what happens to Crime when you reduce Police Numbers? Again 2018 is the latest data that I have but the pattern is clear to me.

Finally, Policing Across Europe

Infographic: The EU's Most Heavily Policed Countries  | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista

Quelle Surprise, this may be 2016 data, so it is slightly out of date, but right down the bottom with only Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Hungary having fewer Police Officers per 100,000 head of Population. Sadly only our ineffective government can change this

The Ever-Thinning Blue Line

Last Updated on September 13, 2020 by RetiredAndAngry

I recently read some of an interesting piece by Ian Wiggett regarding the shrinking Police Service of England and Wales. I suppose I should declare that I know Ian Wiggett, we served at the same station in a previous life. Unfortunately I could not access the entire article as it lives behind a paywall, but what I could see sparked my interest. I don’t want to replicate Ian’s work, that would be almost pointless, and I don’t want to unnecessarily repeat my own work because that would be boring, but some crossovers will inevitably occur.

By combining some of Ian’s work, that many will not have seen, and some of my work, that I don’t believe Ian has addressed, I can maybe have one final push to illustrate what the Tory governments, NPCC and College of Police have either done, or allowed to be done, to our once fine Police Service. After this I really am done, I cannot think of a single further angle to pursue. My earlier musings can be found here.

The graphic that immediately grabbed my attention was the one immediately below.  It is most definitely Ian’s work, not mine, so I hope he and Policing Insight won’t mind me referencing it.

Fig 1

It would appear that the Home Counties and adjacent Forces are having a torrid time retaining experienced officers, the Forces shaded the darkest blue experiencing Voluntary Resignation levels at over 40% of their Total Leavers. Why?

The 5 worst affected Forces individually, and I have no idea why, were Bedfordshire at 65%, Kent at 53%, Surrey at 52%, Northamptonshire at 49% and Cambridgeshire at 45%.

65% of all Leavers (not incluing Transfers) were Voluntary Resignations. Let that sink in.

This provoked me to go seek out the raw data that Ian’s article, and accompanying graphics, were based on. That is where I found this little gem, in the Home Office’s regular 6 monthly updates on Police manpower levels.

Fig 2

It clearly states that in the past year the percentage of Voluntary Resignations of Total Leavers (excluding transfers) has risen from 29% to 33%, a fact that has gone largely unreported. Why?

At March 2020 the Police Service Profile for the whole of England and Wales looked like this.

Fig 3

Cuts under the Tory government and coalition, since 2010, led to a dip in recruitment as Forces across the country came to terms with their slashed budgets. This currently leaves a visible and obvious dip at the 5-10 year service mark

Assuming for just one moment that Chairman Boris’s magical 20,000 extra officers programme is a success, in 5 years time the Police Service MIGHT look something like this.

Fig 4

At first glance they may not look very different, however, thanks to Boris, the numbers on the left will have increased, but the culling of the May and Camoron years means that there is now a significant lack of officers in the 7-17 years of service band. Arguably you could say that officers at that stage of their service are at their peak efficiency. They will have moved on from the bravado of youth, they will have earnt their spurs at the coalface, and, most importantly, they will still be young enough to do their job efficiently and promptly. Most worryingly, officers at the 10-15 year mark will be at a level comparable to brand new recruits and those about to receive their pensions.

There is nothing that I am aware of that we can do to resolve this problem, but one thing we can do to make it less disastrous, is to hang on to the officers that we do have.

This takes me back to the very beginning. Why are we seeing 33% of officers leaving doing so voluntarily and prematurely? There are many factors at work here, some we can address and some we can not. There is anecdotal evidence that officers are leaving due to the constant onslaught of vitriol and criticism on Social Media, and in some of the Mainstream Media, of everything they do. I do not agree with Steve House when he rejects the idea of routinely releasing body worn video footage in rebuttal of criticism. NOBODY seeks to stop the tide of heavily edited videos on Social Media showing some supposedly outrageous behaviour of officers, edited to show them in the worst possible light. Why on earth should we shy away from releasing BWV footage showing officers using patience and Home Office Approved tactics for dealing with whatever it is they are facing? If that looks ‘ugly’ and unpleasant, so what? If they are approved moves officially taught in Officer Safety Training why are we ashamed of showing them? If the Brigade of Armchair Experts are not happy with those moves let them take the matter up in the appropriate forum, intead we get morale decimated and Officer Safety compromised by the Snowflake Party, which includes some of our elected politicians who should most definitely know better.

We can also scrap the College of Policing’s bizarre policy of ‘helping officers to leave’.

Fig 5

We as a community have invested a lot of money in recruiting, training and equipping our officers.  Why on earth would we want them to leave?

Vanity Projects such as Direct Entry (Supt, Insp and now Detective), together with Police Now and Graduate/Apprenticeship Entry have led to a paucity of experience in favour of a quick fix (just my opinion). In th meantime what have these supposedly successful initiatives done for Diversity? Personally I’m not seeing it.

Finally, one last graphic before I go off for my Sunday Lunch. The long term situation. Finally, Joiners are beginning to outnumber Leavers. But the trend of officers with more than 5 years service is progressively downwards, reducing from 90% at its peak to a more modest 75% this current year. That may not seem too bad to you, but is still currently in decline and who knows where it will end? Based on the projections in Fig 4 the year 2025 would see a Police Service that has 73% of its officers having 5 years or more service. Not, in itself, terrible, but still in decline.

Fig 6

I leave the rest to you and your elected representatives. I can do more than state the bleedin’ obvious. However, in my humble opinion, this situation is far from acceptable, and COULD have been avoided.

An Open Response To Dawn Butler MP

Last Updated on September 11, 2020 by RetiredAndAngry

On this occasion I write solely in response to Dawn Butler’s recent article in the Guardian.

I have no way of knowing whether the picture below is anything to do with your or if the Guardian have inexplicably added it for dramatic effect, but, in my opinion, it does your case no favours.

You have made much in recent days about your unfortunate experience at the hands of the Metropolitan Police and how you were allegedly Racially Profiled.  Well I have a few things to say on that matter, some of which have been covered already by Sir Steve House, and some, as far as I am aware, have not.

Having viewed your footage where the rather polite and patient officer was trying to explain to you why you had been stopped, you would not let him speak, he couldn’t get a word in edgeways.  If you had listened more than you spoke you may have understood why you had been stopped.

You claim that you were Racially Profiled and that is the only reason that you were stopped.  Well I have to say that it was the vehicle that was stopped, and predominantly the driver.   Despite your protestations and assurances that the driver was Black, the man in the video definitely appears to be white.  So how was he Racially Profiled?

As has certainly been referenced to by Sir Steve House, it is impossible to see who, or how many, was in the car due to the tinted windows in the back, commonly known as Privacy Glass.  I wonder why they call it that?  From behind it would not have been possible to come to ANY conclusions about the occupants of the vehicle.

You have stated on numerous occasions that you and your friend were stopped because the car was erroneously believed to be registered in Yorkshire, and you have made much of that being an insufficient reason for stopping somebody.  Under normal circumstances I would agree with you, stopping a car in London merely because it was registered in Yorkshire would normally be very weak grounds for stopping the vehicle and its occupants without any other mitigating factors. BUT.  Consider this.  It has been explained to you, and the Met has apologised, that a simple error was made by somebody when the car was checked on the PNC and either the officer on the street supplied an index number that was wrong by one digit, or the officer conducting the check made a simple typo. This resulted in a response indicating (erroneously) that the vehicle you were travelling in was registered in Yorkshire.  However, if you were travelling in a purple VW Golf for instance, it is highly unlikely that the ‘wrong’ vehicle in Yorkshire was also a purple VW Golf.  It is highly likely that the vehicle in Yorkshire was anything but a purple VW Golf, and this alone would have given the officers ample grounds to stop the vehicle and speak to the occupants.  It may have been stolen and on false plates.  As an elected MP you must surely support the Police in their attempts to combat crime of any kind‘  The vast majority of officers are truly colour blind when it comes to their dealings with suspects, victims or any other sector of the public they encounter during their duties.  You are obviously one of the MPs for Brent, well I was a Police officer in Brent from 19272 until the early 90s and we had a variety of BAME officers at my station and on my Relief during that time, I got to work with some of them very closely, and I can honestly say that the only Racism I witnessed towards them was not from their colloeagues but from some of the residents of Brent, or vile, hostile criticisms from BAME residents, not in themselves racist by highly derrogatory.  Not once did I hear any comment from a fellow officer that made me feel uncomfortable.  Some were very good at their job, some less som that had nothing to do with race and the very same thing could be applied to the white officers there.  A wide and varied range of personalities and abilities.

Returning to my opening comments about the image associated with your Guardian article, you are probably unaware that I have a keen interest in Knife Crime in general and certaily in the capital.  I have campaigned vociferously, without any support from politicians of any party, to have Knife Angel installed on the 4th Plinth of Trafalgar Square for a month to raise the profile of Knife Crime, but not one politician has run with the idea and promoted it.  Becuse of my interest I have recently conducted a study of Murders in the capital.  My original work did not include Brent because I concentrated on the ‘top 3’ Boroughs in London.  Well it may surprise and alarm you that Brent is Number 4 in the List.  Hackney, where you were stopped, is Number 5.

Chart 1

If it will assist you I will do for Brent what I did for the top 3 Boroughs and highlight some potentially uncomfortable facts.

Chart 2

Chart 2, clearly shows that the predominant age group for both Victims and Accused Persons is the 25 to 34 year old group. Not Children as was apparent in the South London Boroughs, seemingly a totally different problem.  It is maybe relevant that a total of 179 persons were charged with murdering a total of 119 persons.

Chart 3

Looking solely at those persons charged with an offence of Murder, the majority have been in the 20 to 24 Age Group (31%) followed closely by the 25 to 34 year old and then the 13 to 19 year olds.  Children are clearly a problem in Brent, but again, unlike the South London Boroughs, the 20 to 34 year olds are far bigger problem in Brent.

Chart 4

Chart 4 gives us a clear indication that the Afro Community is by far and away the predominant ethnicity in both Victims and Accused Persons, leading me to the inevitable conclusion that, in Brent, Black People are killing other Black People.  This is most definitely an urgent problem, but is Race a factor?  I would have to say probably not.

Chart 5

Chart 5, tells us quite clearly that 59% of Persons charged with Murder between 2003 and end of March 2020 have been Black.  I have no idea why that is, that is for other people to identify the reasons and address them, but is is staggering statistic that needs to be addressed as a priority.

Chart 6

Finally, analysis of the 119 offences reveals that 91 of them were committed using some form of weapon (not including a motor vehicle), Blunt Instrument 4, Knife or Sharp Implement 54 and Shooting 33.  I refer back to the image at the top of this post.  s1 PACE Stop/Search would leave all of these weapons vulnerable to being found by Police prior to an offence being committed, thus, potentially saving lives.  s60 PACE likewise,  Potential savings of life can never be quantified, but is it really appropriate to shackle the hands of Police Officers and remove or restrict a valuable tactic thet they can use to detect weapons and prevent killings?  Do you really think that stopping or restricting Stop/Search is more important or valuable than the possibility tht even just ONE life might be saved, and a killing preventing (and family upheavals) prevented?

As far as TASER is concerned it is a valuable alternative to the use of Lethal Force.  Faced with a suspect armed with a knife, it is entirely possible, dependant upon circumstances, that person might end up being shot dead, quite justifiably, by a Police Firearms Officer.  TASER provides options to make that less likely.  Getting ‘zapped’ I’m sure is preferable to most people than getting killed.

If the image above is in no way associated with you, then maybe you could point that out to the Guardian, ask them to remove it and maybe even post a retraction statement.  If the image is associated with you, maybe you could just consider my arguments above and possibly reconsider?

I thank you’

Trial By Social Media Or RIP Without Fear Or Favour? You Decide

Last Updated on September 11, 2020 by RetiredAndAngry

It can’t have escaped your notice that, over the past few months or longer, a practice has really taken off of filming the Police going about their lawful duties, and then circulating a heavily edited version of the footage on Social Media accompanied by some seriously biased comments.

In the past few months alone we have seen footage which purports to show people who have been stopped ‘for no apparent reason’ and therefore there must have been an element of Racial Profiling going on. What twaddle, in both instances the vehicles had tinted windows making it difficult to establish who was in the car. One car was seemingly being driven by a white male, despite the passenger claiming he was black. This video was seemingly altered in a highly unsatisfactory manner, ‘flipping ‘ the video making it look as though the black female was the driver, and, presumably the subject of the stop, when in fact it was the white male who was driving. I have no idea how this happened, who was responsible, or whether it was a genuine but unfortunate mistake, but it puts the whole, edited, incident in a completely different light.

I have no particular issue with Police Officers being filmed, apart from the fact that it invades their privacy, something that the ‘filmers’ are frequently very hot about. Sharing that footage on Social Media could also constitute a security risk for the officers. Can you imagine the outrage if officers went round filming members of the public and then posting that video on Social Media for a laugh, with a sarcastic comment attached?

Officers are expected to carry out their duties to certain standards, and I for one expect that of them. That is not my reason for opposing them being filmed in the streets. If you want to film them behaving in a way you find less than acceptable, do so by all means, but then hand the full, unedited, version of the video over to Professional Standards or IOPC to deal with. They will be able to tell if it has been edited or not.

My point in all this is this. If this practice continues, edited footage being gleefully broadcast by National News Media and widely shared on Social Media, then I predict grave consequences. There are those amongst us who seek to curtail the lawful activities of our Police Service. Only yesterday I heard of a certain Labour MP in consultation with Dame Dick about the manner in which Stop and Search is used.

Stop and Search is regulated by Statute nationally and is not up for modification by an MP who doesn’t like it. s1 PACE clearly requires sufficient ‘grounds’ and individual officers need to be able to demonstrate and justify grounds. s60 PACE is valid only within clearly defined times and geographic areas, and for a specific reason, authorised by a senior Police Officer for a Policing purpose. Other Acts, such as the Road Traffic Act, allow persons to be stopped without searching them, for defined reasons e.g. to ensure that a car driver has a valid Driving Licence etc.

A large section of the public supported the call for Police Officers to be kitted out with Body Worn Video. This is now quite commonplace. Most, if not all, are equipped with audio. Again, I have no issue with this. It is on a par with Tape Recorded Interviews or CCTV in Custody Areas etc. It is a fact of modern life and if the officers do nothing wrong then that facility will actually support them, or be evidence against them if they transgress.

However, now that we have BWV, when instances arise like recently when seemingly edited video footage is broadcast on the National News to suit one person’s agenda, if BWV footage exists that can either corroborate or rebut that agenda then it should also be released and given equivalent prominence on the National News, but all know that’s never going to happen.

If this continues the way the vociferous minority want it to then our Police, nationally, will be totally emasculated.  Reluctant, in many cases, to do their duty for fear of being posted all over the internet on pursuit of ‘Likes’ or other malicious agenda.

Policing Without Fear or Favour means this.  It means yes, you will breathalyse John from the Cricket Club even though you are also a member there and know him well, because that is the right thing to do.  It does not mean “I’m not going to Stop/Search that person there because they are a Public Figure and I don’t want to be a meme, or ‘go viral'”‘  It means ‘Doing the right thing, in the right manner’ no matter who the subject is.

We have seen SOME senior officers come out and defend their officers, when it has been appropriate to do so.  We have seen SOME senior officers publicly criticise their officers, or apologise,  prior to the conclusion of any enquiry.  On one memorable ocasion the officers’ actions had been scrutised twice and held to have been lawful and appropriate and there had been no Misconduct, yet Dame Dick still felt it appropriate to apologise.  She apparently apopologised for the ‘distress’ caused.  Well, if the officers actions had been lawful and appropriate and there was no Misconduct, and there were no allegations of incivility etc, there should have been no distress to apologise for.  I’m sure many of us have been at the wrong end of an interaction with a Police Officer even though we have done no wrong, I certainly have.  I definitely did not receive or expect an apology for it though.

I have heard anecdotal evidence, on Social Media ironically, that a number of officers are actually considering leaving the profession due solely to Trial by Social Media and a perceived lack of support from above.  There you have it, the death knell of Policing Without Fear or Favour.

I’m not sure how much good it will do with the current government but many of us have written to our MP pointing out what is happening.  If the public don’t like what is happening then they have the right to reply (politely) via Social Media or direct to the person concerned.  Either way the the future is very much in the Court of Public Opinion.  The odd video may seem amusing in the short term, but the long damage they do, undermining our over-stretched officers is immense.  Yes, they will inevitablymake mistakes, but if it is a genuine mistake, addressed as such, and hopefully rectified, that should really be the end of the matter, not 40 seconds of infamy on YouTube.