How Safe Do You Feel?

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Quelle Surprise, this may be 2016 data, so it is slightly out of date, but right down the bottom with only Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Hungary having fewer Police Officers per 100,000 head of Population.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

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

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

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.

Murders In Larndarn – Under The Microscope

Following on from last week’s post about Murders in London, I hope that this will be the last time I feel compelled to address the subject.  I promise not to buy any more crayons for a while.  London is a big place so I thought it might be useful (and hopefuly interesting) to break the problem down to a more local level.

Borough Totals

Panic ye not, having looked at the above chart, I’m only going to aim my microscope at the top 3 Boroughs, in order, Lambeth, Newham and Southwark.  Anything more would just take too long and send my loyal reader into a deep coma.  However, if you live or work within the M25 feel free to send me a PM/DM/Carrier Pigeon and I’ll try and give you some perpsective about where you live or work.  All applications for more than one Borough must be wrapped around a bottle of fine single malt.

Lambeth

Between 2003 and end of March 2020 there were 146 offences in Lambeth that were classified as Murder.  Given the complexity (and volume) of the data, I believe it works out like this.

Chart 1
Chart 2

Shocking.  Rest your eyes on Chart 2 for a few moments.  Nearly 40% of the people charged with Murder in the Borough of Lambeth between 2003 and 2020 were in the 13 – 19 age group.  40%!  let that sink in.  That is OUR youth.  All of us.

Chart 3

The Afro Caribbean population is the largest group in both Victims and Accuseds.

Chart 4

65% of the persons charged with Murder in Lambeth between 2003 and end of March 2020 were of Afro Caribbean origin.  65%.  A significant majority.

Newham

Between 2003 and end of March 2020 there were also 146 offences in Lambeth that were classified as Murder.  Broken down they look like this

Chart 5

Chart 5 once again showing a different profile to Lambeth, the majority of the Accuseds are under 34, but covering a fair spread from 13-34.

Chart 6

Chart 6 shows a somewhat different profile of those being charged with Murder compared with Lambeth.  13 to 19 year olds still form the largest single group (30%) , but 25 to 34 year olds are not far behind on 26%.

Chart 7

Again, Chart 7 shows a somewhat different pattern to Lambeth, Black and White more or less evenly represented, and Asians becoming far more prominent

Chart 8

Chart 8 shows that almost twice as many Black people were charged with Murder than Whites, followed closely by Asians

And finally…………

Southwark

Slightly lower than the two Boroughs above at 134, not a huge difference over 17 years though.

Chart 9

Chart 9, sadly, clearly shows that the age group with the biggest problem is 13 to 19 year old, closely followed by 25 to 34 year olds.  However I find the 0 to 12 year olds disturbing.

Chart 10

Chart 10 closely resembles Chart 2 (Lambeth) in that the largest age group for people charged with Murder is once again 13 to 19 year olds.

Chart 11

Chart 11 shows that once again, the Ethnicity group most affected by Murder, either as an Accused or a Victim, are the Afro Caribbeans, followed closely by the Whites, very similar yo both Lambeth and Newham.

Chart 12

Chart 12, clearly showing that just over half of the persons charged with Murder in Southwark Borough were of Afro Caribbean origin, approx twice as many as Whites who were allegedly responsible for just over a quarter of the total offences,

What does all of this tell us?  Quite frankly it scares the crap out of me.  Our (predominantly) young men, and in some cases children, are either killing or getting killed on the streets of London.  These are not Domestic Disputes gone wrong they are Gang Related, Drug Related or even Post Code Related.  Party politics need to be cast aside and ALL parties work together to work out what can be done for Children and Young Persons in London (and elsewhere) such that can stop killing each other.

We have heard a lot in the last few months about Black Lives Matter.  Yes they do, ALL lives matter, but sadly a number of members of the Black population don’t seem to have a problem with taking Black lives.  This is WRONG, all killing is wrong obviously, but how can BLM expect society as a whole to take BLM seriously when the Black population don’t stop killing each other?  Anybody with any kind of suggestion whatsoever should pester the Mayor, the Commissioner, your Local Council, anybody who may have an interest and be able to work together with others to stop the killing.

Chart 13

Finally, let’s take a look at the three Boroughs most affected between 2003 and 2020. What werwe the most common methods for killing?  Chart 13 gives us the answer, far and away the most popular are Knives, or similar, followed at some distance by shooting.  Let that sink in for a moment.  Stabbing, slashing or shooting all require a weapon of some kind to be carried through the streets by somebody. Look at the charts again, and then tell me that Stop and Search is bad and should be abandoned.

If you’re still here I thank you

Murders In Larndarn – Some Facts

A few weeks ago I wrote this,

Stops, Knife Crime & BLM. What Is Going On In London?

about murders in London.  I promised to update it when I had the updated info from the Met, well here it is folks.

My question(s) to the Met;

For the years 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 to date could you please supply the following information

1) The total number of murders reported to the MPS for each of the above years.
2) For each year, the total number of Victims and Suspects that were Male
3) For each year, the total number of Victims and Suspects that were under 21
4) For each year, a breakdown of the ethnic origins of Victims and Suspects (totals, not individual offences).
5) For each of the above years, the total number of offences where the weapon used was a knife or similar.

Are you sitting comfortably?  Then I’ll begin.

For 2017-2020 how many murders have there actually been in London?

Reasonably stable, showing a slight increase last year, but seemingly heading for a decrease in 2020, probably an unintended consequence of ‘Lockdown’.

So, who are the victims of these tragedies in London?

Of the total number of Murders reported above, the number of Male victims was as below

It seems that you are disproportionately about 3-4 times more likely to be murdered in London if you are Male, but who are the Murderers, what is the gender bias of those accused of Murder in London?  To be fair I only asked them for data relating to Males, completely forgetting that more than one person can be charged with each Murder.

How many of the Victims and Accused were Under 21?

I find that really quite sad, in a significant percentage of Murders in London the Accused and Victims are under 21.  Our youths are killing each other.  The News Headlines tell us this time and time and time but now we have some long-term stats to demonstrate the reality.

What did they look like? What was the Ethnicity Breakdown of Victims and Accused?  A thorny subject, one traditionally avoided by Politician and Senior Police Officers, but here goes anyway (I’m neither)

No explanation of that diagram needed by me really, more Black than White, and then a smaller section of the other reported Ethnicities.  What about the Accuseds?

Nothing very different there, Black being the largest sector, followed by White.

From the data presented above it is difficult to come to any other conclusion that Black Youths are Killing Black Youths on the streets of London.  That may sound like “Stating the Bleedin’ Obvious” and to a degree it is, but Politicians and Community Leaders need to bite the bullet and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.  The Police already know what the problem is and they are doing something about it, but that is not very popular amongst the Black Lives Matter movement.  To you I say this, Yes, Black Lives Do Matter, All Lives Matter, but if you want to be taken seriously then you need to stop banging on about Police activity (in particular Stop and Search) and DO SOMETHING about young Black men killing young Black men.

We hear a lot of chatter on the news about Knife crime in London (and elsewhere).  How many of these murders were committed using a Knife or Sharp Object as opposed to the numerous other methods one could employ to kill someone?

There you go, quite damning really. AND ALL OF THOSE WEAPONS HAVE BEEN CARRIED THROUGH OUR STRETS and could potentially have been found during a Stop/Search and who knows how many lives could have been saved.

Helpfully(?) the Met pointed me to a different data source that I had not encountered before, the Homicide Dashboard, which has plain stats going back to 2003.  How does that look?

So what does this tells us?  Not a lot really.  The number of Murders in London steadily decreased until 2015 when it started to increase again, but fortunately we have yet to return to the bad old days of 2003.  As for Victims and Accuseds, this data does not really change much, just makes the numbers bigger.  Afro caribbean and White British being far and away the two largest groups, and Under 25s being significantly more likely to commit a murder, although the average age of Victims has recently come down considerably.

Taken together, these two datasets really do show the nature and scale of Fatal Violence on the streets of our capital.  It is time for ALL of the appropriate bodies to shift the blame from Police etc and onto those ultimately responsible, those that do the killing.  Parliament, the Mayor of London, Commissioner Dick and Community Leaders need to work together and invest in the future of our young folk before they kill each other completely.

Direct Entry Supernintendos & Inspectorators – An Analysis

This week has seen the publication of an assessment of the College of Policing’s Direct Entry Scheme for Superintendents and Inspectors. Before I go any further it is only fair and reasonable to point out that it was written by Isla Campbell and Sarah Colover.  Isla Campbell is Staff Officer to the CEO of the College of Policing, Mike Cunningham,  and Sarah Colover is a/the Senior Research Officer at the College of Policing, a position she has held for a little over 5 years.

You can find it here

I know absolutely nothing more about either of these two ladies.   It might be a fair and unbiased assessment.

I am endebted to ‘the real Sam Vimes’ for taking the time to wade through the treacle that is the College’s own assessment and extract the nuggets.  It has saved me the time of doing it, and I probably couldn’t have done a better job to be honest. For those of you who do Twatter you can find his thread here

 

For those of you that don’t Twat (or can’t be arsed) I’ll have a go at replicating the (really useful) thread below.

  • So finally the College has released it’s evaluation of Direct Entry and Fast Track. It’s worth analysing some of the facts buried in this report. Shall we take a dive into this headline scheme from the College of Policing….
  • Firstly let me caveat this by saying I have no ill feeling towards the individuals who put themselves forward for these schemes. Some DE are decent, some are awful. They stepped up to join and be counted and that isn’t nothing. This isn’t about whether people have degrees either.
  • It’s also interesting that DE and FT have been lumped together as they are in quite different schemes. But I suspect this is to cover the particular failings of DE by blending it with FT
  • So, this scheme that is supposed to revolutionise Policing, that the College still touts as a success, what has it cost and what have we actually gained? Well the cost is pretty easy to figure. 16 million quid.
  • ‘During 2014/15–2018/19 the spend on the FTDE programmes was almost £16 million. 40 % on DE Superintendent salaries; remaining £9.6 million funded design/delivery of the development programme overall including the core team, recruitment, marketing and business administration’
  • So that’s obviously a fair chunk of money. So what have we got? ‘As of June 2019, 401 individuals had joined a FTDE programme and 196 had successfully completed’ 62 FT External Insp; 98 FT Internal Insp; 25 DE Superintendents, 11 DE Insp) Nationwide, that’s tiny.
  • How about attrition rate? For External FT Insp 18 of 62 quit before completing. So that figure above is actually worse than stated. I haven’t had a chance to fully read the Supt report but I’m told out of 25 only 9 are left. These figures are shocking.
  • So, why is attrition so high? What were the challenges? Well to paraphrase the report. For FT Insp it was the jump to sergeant. Who knew that being a skipper was one of the hardest roles to do without experience. Hint: everyone knew.
  • What else, again, paraphrasing. Candidates were reliant on goodwill of others whilst learning and surviving once in post. Again, who would have thought that the only way many of these people would succeed was with help from people who had done their time. Hint: Everyone
  • What else? ‘Being classed as supernumery (not being on a teams numbers) allowed officers to focus on learning and pursue development opportunities’ Again big shock, not having to do a day job allows you to work on projects and pad your portfolio, WHO KNEW! Hint: well..you know.
  • How about it’s stated aim of increasing diversity? Well as far as I can tell as the figures only show applicants, not numbers who are still in the job (ie they are probably lower) currently 7% of Police are BAME and the much vaunted scheme has raised that to…….9%
 
  • Obviously this depends on what your goal is. My view is that if you get the same % of people joining as reaching senior rank this shows a level of equality, obviously for some they think an over representation at senior ranks rather than on the shop floor is better. TBH…
  • What is clear in the Met at least is that this aim of increasing diversity with FT at least has failed. I have worked for/with 6 FT Insp. All but 1 were middle class, well educated, white guys in their late 20s to early 30s. Sandhurst types one and all. Not bad ppl at all but…
  • f you took a photo of them you wouldn’t know they weren’t family. Clipped pronunciation, officer class with an eye on SLT, with an average of 2 years experience. Is this who we want in the most critical roles dealing with the gritty realities of UK crime? Is this diversity?
  • At the end, this gem ‘While there is not sufficient interest from forces to offer the programme in 2020, 10 forces have indicated they are likely to participate beyond 2020.’ Translation: oh mate, I’d love to but, would you believe it, I’ve forgotten my wallet. Next time deffo.
  • So out of 30+ only 10 want to continue? That’s near on 70% think your scheme is not worth having? How is that a success? In what possible light is that anything other than a failure?
  • I also think there is an issue with the sample size in drawing conclusions about how good the programme is. Out of more than 30 forces that ran the programme only 10 Chiefs wanted to be interviewed about it. If it created such brilliant talent why so much distancing?
  • So if we split the scheme into DE and FT the DE has certainly not been a storming success and Fast Track? Well what has that shown? That if we improve training, mentoring and opportunities we can develop our people. That’s just cost us 16 million quid to find out?!
  • 16 million quid to get an answer you could have found by asking any skipper or Guvnor up and down the country.
  • Last point. I AM NOT BASHING THE PEOPLE WHO SIGNED UP. Anyone who puts on the blue is a decent individual taking risk to try and serve their communties, however no amount of management speak and cherry picking figures from CoP can cover up that this was utter waste.

Many thanks to ‘Sam’, an almost Forensic dissection of the Direct Entry Scheme to date.  Please feel free to leave your own comments below.

Trial By Media

It doesn’t seem to matter whether it’s Social Media or Main Stream Media, they seem to have taken the place of Courtrooms and Tribunals in our judicial system.  Self-appointed Judge, Jurors and Executioners.

More and more recently both Social Media and MSM have circulated heavily edited, out of context clips of mobile phone footage which claim to show some form of wrong-doing by random Police Officers.

Let me be clear, this is NOT the US of A and I have no problem with, and indeed encourage, Police Officers to be accountable for their actions, but let’s be clear they ARE allowed to use Force in order to restrain, arrest or prevent someone from doing something unlawful  If they stood idly by and watched whilst an armed suspect stabbed an innocent bystander they would be rightly criticised.  However, if they intervene and use a degree of Physical Force to disarm the person and prevent the stabbing there is most certainly someone out there who will film it on their phones (when they could be assisting the officers perhaps), edit the footage, circulate it on Social Media in pursuit of ‘Likes’ and ‘Retweets’ and, increasingly, in an attempt to get the officers to release their suspect and/or get them in trouble with their Professional Standards or Independent Office for Police Conduct.

If they have done something wrong and overstepped the mark, used possibly more force than the minimum required there is an established process for dealing with that.  Take your unedited mobile phone footage and make an official complaint.  It WILL be taken seriously but you shouldn’t expect immediate sanctions of the officer(s).  Your complaint WILL be investigated.  If it is available the officers’ Body Worn Video footage WILL be examined and compared to your complaint.  You WILL be given the opportunity to make an evidential statement formalising what you are alleging, and the officers WILL be given the opportunity to respond to that.

What is NOT acceptable is uploading and circulating heavily edited, and often out of context, video clips to the Court of Twitter, showing offcers struggling with a violent person and trying to incite hatred of the officers.  They are doing their job.  No officer goes to work thinking “I wonder how many necks I can kneel on today”

For the benefit of those few who still do not seem to know, the officers ARE allowed to use force.  It all depends on the circumstances at the time and there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution or response but it IS permissable to shoot somebody dead who is carrying a knife.  That would certainly not be their first option, it would most definitely only arise when every other option had either failed or been deemed inappropriate, but it can be lawful.

Bystanders shouting “Get off his neck” when nothing of the sort is happening serve only to inflame an already tense situation.  People being struggled with shouting “I can’t breathe” can be misleading.  If they can shout “I can’t breathe”, then they can probably breathe.

If you really MUST film these situations then do the honourable thing.  Do not edit the footage and if you feel impelled to do so submit the unedited footage as evidence, for or against the officers.  Or you could consider putting your phone back in your pocket and asking the officers if there is anything you can do to help, but if that isn’t realistic then you could consider getting your phone back out of your pocket and dialling 999, telling them that an officer is struggling with a violent, and possibly armed person, and could do do with some assistance.

The Police in this country are, and must always be, accountable for their actions, but it is becoming far more difficult for them to do they job they are expected, and paid, to do, when they have at least one hand tied behind their backs for fear of appearing in the Court of Twitter.  In the event of a complaint they will ALWAYS be called upon to explain, and hopefully, justify their actions.  If they are deemed to have gone ‘over the top’ there are a variety of sanctions available to be imposed.  If in any doubt scan your newspapers, or wherever else you get your news from, and you will easily find examples of officers either being disciplined or prosecuted for use of excessive force.  It is not a widespread problem, but when it occurs, and is substantiated, then appropriate action IS taken.

Don’t let you and your phone be part of the problem, be part of the solution.  Report the officers’ use of force if you genuinely think it’s OTT, film it if you must, but don’t edit the footage, and don’t circulate on SM just for a few ‘Likes’.

Available Population And Racial Profiling

What on earth is he talking about?  I hear you ask.  WTF is Available Population and what does it have to do with me?  Pour yourself a glass of your favourite tipple, sit back, give me 5 minutes of your time and I will hope to explain it to you.

A couple of high profile incidents recently have vexed me beyond measure, not because they happened but because of the totally negative spin put on them, which is not helped (in my opinion) by certain academics who just love to tread the party line and possibly ignore realities.

Available Population

Dry, numerical analysis of practices such as Stop and Search will always throw up an imbalance.  For example, Many academics will try and convince you that being Black means that your are 6,7 or 8 times more likely to be Stopped and Searched than if you were White.  These claims are predominantly based on the Ethnic Makeup of England and Wales, or sometimes individual cosmopolitan cities like London.  Is that fair?  It could be argued that it is, but as a former Practitioner, rather than Academic, I prefer to say that it is neither fair nor truly representative.

One eminent piece of writing that I urge you to read is The stop and search race myth by Alasdair Palmer which eloquently tells the back story to Theresa May’s infamous condemnation of Stop and Search.  It is a shocking story if true (and I have no reason to doubt it) and shines a light on politicians, their sychophants and the shenanigans of Government.

Alasdair references Available Population in his piece both he and I would make the argument that it is a far more relevant comparison to a local problem than the population of England and Wales.

For example, if you are a Police Officer tasked with tackling, and reducing, a string of Street Robberies committed in the High Street between 3pm and 5pm by 2 or 3 ginger people, 15-17 years old and wearing kilts, why on earth would you Stop and Search a 75 year old Grandma wearing a Packamac (showing my age now)?

The majority of the population of England and Wales is NOT 15-17 ginger kids wearing kilts, so they would appear at face value to be discriminated against.

However, if you look at the High Street between 3pm and 5pm and take a note of the people hanging around, you might just find that 60-70% of them are ginger teenagers wearing kilts and not many 75 year old Grandmas in Packamacs.

THAT is the Available Population, those people who were Available to be stopped in that location at that time.

Is that not a more reasonable comparator?

The police, the Home Office research showed, did not target particular areas for stop and search because they wanted to stop and search people of a particular ethnic group. They chose those areas because that’s where the highest amount of street crime was reported – and stop and search’s primary purpose is to diminish street crimes such as mugging and robbery.

https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/the-stop-and-search-race-myth

Home Office research that the then Home Secretary (Theresa May) seemingly chose to ignore in favour of her “Stop/Search is bad” speech and accompanying threat to legislate and ‘reform’ it.

Finally, on this topic, another article entitled Disproportionate and Discriminatory: Reviewing the Evidence on Police Stop and Search by Ben Bowling and Coretta Phillips helpfully includes this opinion:-

The advantage of this measure is that it recognises that some demographic groups distinguished on the basis of age, ethnic origin, gender, etc are more likely than others to spend their time at home, at work or are otherwise in private spacewhere they are ‘unavailable’ to be stopped by the police, while others, conversely,are more likely to be ‘available’ by virtue of their demographic characteristics andlifestyle. The Home O⁄ffice research study exploring this comparator concluded that resident populations give a poor indication of the populations available to be searched. Within ‘available populations’, white people tend to be stopped and searched at a higher rate, Asian people tend to be under-represented and black people are sometimes under- and sometimes over-represented.

https://www.stop-watch.org/uploads/documents/modern_law_review.pdf

I’ll leave it here, but I’m convinced that Available Population is a much fairer comparison when it comes to analysising statistics such as Stop and Search etc.

Racial Profiling

Racial Profiling is another habit the Police are frequently, and unfairly, accused of doing.  I refer to my previous comments above, if you were tasked with tackling a string of Street Robberies in the High Street by ginger teenagers wearing kilts, you could rightly be criticised for stopping any 75 year old Packamac wearing Grannies.  They don’t fit the profile of the robbery suspects at all.

However, it becomes far more complex with the occupants of motor vehicles.  My car is most certainly not a ‘Prestige’ brand.  However, as standard from new, it came fitted with ‘Privacy Glass’ in all of the back windows.  This would mean that if I was following my car (from behind obv) I would be completely unable to tell whether the occupants were kilt wearing ginger lads until the vehicle was stopped and the occupants asked to get out.  It would be totally unfair to accuse me of targeting gingers under those circumastances.

In short, it would be impossible to racially profile the occupants of my car, or 100s of thousands of others similarly equipped, fom the rear, be it daylight or night time.  From the front or side you have a good chance but definitely not from the rear if you were following me.

Maybe some folk should consider that before they make outspoken comments about officers trying to do their job.

Without Fear Or Favour

Just a short post today, and then I’m off to take my meds and lie in a darkened room.

Two athletes that I have never heard of got stopped by some TSG officers apparently due to the manner of driving of the car that they were in.  For whatever reason (I wasn’t there) it didn’t go at all well and the two athletes ended up being quite stressed by the whole experience.

As is normal (or maybe compulsory) in these circumatnces, heavily edited footage was circulated on Social Media, but quite why they were filming events before they had even been stopped is a mystery to me.

Eventually they were allowed on their way, and they, together with another former athlete who wsn’t there either, excercised their right to complain across Social Media.

The actions of the officers, the evidence from their Body Worn Video and the footage from Social Media were reviewed by officers from the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards – TWICE.

Twice they formed the opinion that there had been no Misconduct by the officers.  TWICE.

Now we have the situation where Dame Dick has referred the Force (i.e. the officers involved) to the Independent Office for Polce Conduct for an investigation, even though it has twice been decided that the officers did nothing wrong.

IOPC Regional Director Sal Naseem said the IOPC would look at whether the use of stop and search was appropriate and proportionate in line with approved police policies, adding: “We will also investigate if racial profiling or discrimination played a part in the incident.”

Dame Dick, either personally or via another Senior Officer, then offered a grovelling apology to the athletes for the distress and hurt feelings they had endured at the hands of those poor TSG Officers.

Policing WITHOUT FEAR OR FAVOUR is now effectively dead, certainly in London.  No matter how professionally, patiently and courteously the officers on the streets conduct their duties, hanging over their head is the prospect of a Senior Officer somewhere saying “Our officers did nothing wrong, but we’re frightfully sorry and we will have them investigated.”

How does Policing the streets continue like that?