Taser in London – The Numbers

A month or so ago there was heated discussion on Twatter and Farcebook about Taser Usage in London vs Ethnicity and there were differing opinions proffered.

I asked the Met two simple questions;

For the previous rolling 12 month period

How many times have Tasers been drawn, but specifically NOT used?

On those occasions when Taser was drawn but NOT used, what is the Ethnic Breakdown of the “suspects” i.e. The people threatened with Taser usage?

and

For the period July 2015 to June 2016 could you please give me a breakdown by ethnicity of persons actually subjected to Taser usage, i.e. Fired, Arced or a Drive Stun?

Their ressponse to the first can be found here

 

taser-drawn-not-used

But I decided I wanted to kjnow more, hence the second question.

The response to that one is finally in, and here, in a series of simplifed graphs, it is.

taser-drawn-2015-2016

taser-aimed-2015-2016

 

taser-fired-2015-2016

taser-red-dot-2015-2016

taser-arced-2015-2016

taser-angled-stun-2015-2016

taser-drive-stun-2015-2016

The question being so hotly debated was one of racial bias in ‘Taserings’.  Well, the info for a 12 month period in London is there.

What do you think?

 

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Put Up Or Shut Up (Sir)

I am indebted to one of our number for bringing the following article to my attention

Met police ‘routinely discriminate against black people,’ Scotland Yard diversity chief warns

Chief Superintendent Victor Olisa has openly claimed that the Metropolitan Police routinely discriminates against ‘black people’.

Police are routinely discriminating against black people in stop and search operations in London as part of a misguided performance culture

Routinely is defined thus;

  • As part of a regular procedure rather than for a special reason
  • Frequently and without proper consideration of the consequences

I am shocked.  To think that this behaviour is going on every day unchallenged shocks me to my very core.  It is unprofessional, unethical and undoubtedly unlawful.  Mr Olisa says that the discrimination was unwitting and driven by performance rather than racism but had led to a negative stereotyping of black people.  “Driven by performance”?  Still unethical etc etc.

Ch Supt Olisa, one of Scotland Yard’s most senior black officers, said police were more likely to stop a car with young black men on the chance of finding drugs than stop a car full of white men in suits, though they could also be in possession of cocaine.  This is possibly true but, let’s remind ourselves what s1 (3) of Police and Criminal Evidence Act has to say on it

This section does not give a constable power to search a person or vehicle or anything in or on a vehicle unless he has reasonable grounds for suspecting that he will find stolen or prohibited articles


More likely to stop a car full of young black men than white men wearing suits?  Possibly, probably BUT whoever they stop they have to have REASONABLE GROUNDS.

Reasonable Grounds are explained thus

Reasonable grounds for suspicion is the legal test which a police officer must satisfy before they can stop and detain individuals or vehicles to search them under powers such as section 1 of PACE (to find stolen or prohibited articles) and section 23 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (to find controlled drugs). This test must be applied to the particular circumstances in each case and is in two parts:

(i) Firstly, the officer must have formed a genuine suspicion in their own mind that they will find the object for which the search power being exercised allows them to search ; and

(ii)  Secondly , the suspicion that the object will be found must be reasonable . This means that there must be an objective basis for that suspicion based on facts, information and/or intelligence which are relevant to the likelihood that the object in question will be found, so that a reasonable person would be entitled to reach the same conclusion based on the same facts and information and/or intelligence.

So, Mr Olisa, you are stating or implying, that Metropolitan Police Officers are routinely breaching these legal standards in pursuit of Performance Indicators (which should have been scrapped years ago).

My challenge to you, Chief Superintendent Olisa, is to find these officers, identify them, identify and specify the nature of their wrong-doing or breach of PACE, or their racism.  ANY officer falling short of the required standards should be retrained, disciplined or maybe even prosecuted if appropriate,   I don’t have a problem with any of that.  I do have a problem with senior officers making scattergun allegations without producing a single shred of evidence.

The morale of the Police Service everywhere, not just the Metropolis, is at rock bottom.  Much of that is due to DPS/PSD/IPCC witch hunts and officers being forced to fear their own shadows.

If an officer complies with the legal requirements for Stop and Search he/she should NOT hesitate to use his/her powers immediately, effectively and professionally.

Mr Olisa continued

The cop on the ground is just doing it because of what he or she thinks is right, they are not doing it because they are racist.

But when you look at the accumulated data you see massive disproportionality. I think that’s where we get lost.

Could it possibly be that the accumulated data might mean something other than your interpretation?  We have had these discussions and arguments before, and the Police Service needs to stop shying away from them.  As a white, hetreosexual male I wouldn’t be in any way offended if statistics showed that white, heterosexual males committed the majority of crimes, or were more likely to get stopped and searched than any other sector of society.

This is another example of need.  Need for the Police Service to keep accurate, robust records and stand by them, whatever they show.

We didn’t seem to have half these problems when we were a Police Force.

So Mr OIisa, we come back to the beginning, Put Up Or Shut Up.  Produce the evidence and act on it, and I, and many others will support you.  Until then STOP denigrating the reputation of what used to be the finest Police Force in the world, and further demoralising the good, honest, front line cops who are struggling against the odds to do their job to the best of their ability.  That’s why they joined.  That’s why anybody should join the Police, NOT to be part of a measured percentage.

UPDATE

Since writing the above, Mr Olisa has issued a rebuttal/explanation, which can be found here.

However, however much he swerves and wriggles, the Grauniad carried an almost identical article in June and I have not yet seen a rebuttal of that one.

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The Latest Furore – Spit Hoods

I don’t suppose he meant to but Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, sparked off a right shit storm on Twatter last night after reversing the Met’s decision to trial Spit Hoods.

Whilst not entirely ruling them out he said 

Any attack on officers carrying out their duties is completely unacceptable, and the use of protective equipment is sometimes necessary. 

The decision on whether to use intrusive tactics is a highly emotive one and should be informed by public engagement. 

There is nothing wrong with public engagement per se but surely the safety of our Police Officers (and public) is paramount.  Did we ask the public what their opinion was before using handcuffs to restrain violent prisoners? Should we have done?  Should we now revisit that?

Surely the decision to use Protective Equipment, which Spit Hoods are basically, is surely an operational matter for Chief Officers?  The Commissioner has a Duty of Care for the Elf and Safery of his officers.  Who is the Mayor to ride roughshod over that?

Some arguements on the Twattersphere last night really got quite heated. ‘Friends’ were falling out over it.  A surprising number of people were arguing against them. Why?

If Johnny feels it is a little bit degarding to have a Spit Hood put over his head, or has a panic attack or feels a tad claustrophobic, is that worse than the potential consequences for the officer being spat on.  It is most unpleasant to be spat on, vile, but the unpleasantness is not really the issue, it is the potential transmission of diseases, the extended wait for the results of tests, the course of sntiviral treatment. That in itself is unpleasant I believe.

If little Johnny insisted in struggling and punching the officer would we be having this discussion about restraining him and putting him in handcuffs?

Whr the rights of a spitting, hissing prisoner more important than the rights of the officer(s) trying to restrain him?  Do the families of the officers not feature in this arguement?  The fears and worries spitting must bring into the family home are real, should we simply ignore that?

Finally, the simplest option is LITTLE JOHNNY COULD SIMPLY STOP SPITTING.

I’m sure one of you will correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t believe that Spit Hoods are used on compliant, non-spitting prisoners.

Amnesty UK weighed into the arguement with their justification for opposing (partially) the use of Spit Hoods

But they went quiet when it was pointed out that their previous view was at odds with last night’s contribution.

Have trials by all means, compare brand versus brand, design versus design, but DO SOMETHING.

With the government’s culling of the Police Service it is more important than ever to protect this endangered species.  We certainly don’t need political interference in operational policing matters, but I fear we are going to get it.

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An Englishman’s Home Is His Castle

Or is it?

I can’t begin to speak for the County Forces, I have absolutely no idea what their rules are or were. However, back in 1972 when I joined the Met I had no say in it, I simply HAD to live within a 25 mile radius of Central London.  I can’t remember now whether it was Hyde Park Corner or Charing Cross, but there isn’t much difference.

It didn’t end there either.  Once my family and I had found a house we would like to live in I had to submit a report to the Senior Management to obtain permission to live there.  Partly to ensure that my choice of abode was within the dreaded circle, but also in order that the neighbours could be vetted, to ensure that I would not be living next to a drug dealer, murderer or bank robber etc.  I understand why, I understand completely, but it completely rode roughshod over the rights and wishes of my wife and family.

Over the years the rules were relaxed and eventually officers were moving out of London for the more affordable accommdation available just a few miles outside, or maybe even as far away as the South Coast if you were really lucky.

Alongside the private sector there were alays Section Houses and a small number of flats for single officers, and a range of 2,3 or 4 bed Married Quarters for families.

Eventually, along came Boris, and to help the Met achieve its Austerity targets most, if not all, of the Section Houses and Married Quarters were sold off to property developers.

House prices in London, and private rentals, are now sky high, so now more than ever, officers are forced to live further and further away from London in order to find a reasonable house, at an affordable price, in a reasonable area.

Next hing we know we have Policy Exchange recommending that officers should live within the communities they Police. Forgetting the price of housing just for one second, why does the officer’s wife/husband/partner have no say in where they live? Why do their rights and expectations get absolutely squashed by the Police Service?

Police Officers and their families living on a Council Estate that they patrol during their working hours?  What could possibly go wrong?

Today we have the press running a total non-story about Met Officers living in Cornwall, or even the South of France.  So what?  They don’t commute that journey every day.

Officers could,and probably would, live much closer to Londn if they could afford it.  House prices have risen, officers’ take-home pay has decreased thanks to the May/Winsor coalition ‘Reforms’. Section Houses and Married Quarters are no longer an option.  They have been sold off to the highest bidder.

The basic reasons for all of this can be traced back to Central Government, Boris and no doubt Police and Crime Commissioners across the land.  Short-sighted, stupid, sucking up to May and Winsor?  Who knows, but a disastrous policy that would have prevented mischievous headlines lke we saw today.

Met terror warning as report reveals ‘commuter cops’ live as far away as Cornwall and the South of France

Police Officers’ partners, wives, husbands have rights. Ignore that at your peril

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London Knife Crime – The Facts

I don’t know about you but I was getting quite depressed hearing all the stories in the media about stabbings in Greater London, so I asked the Met two simple questions, which they answered (that was a surprise);

1. How many black males under the age of 20 have been killed or injured by knife crime in the first 3 months of 2016?

2. How many white males under the age of 20 have been killed or injured by knife crime in the first 3 months of 2016?

The Met cheekily granted themselves a small extension, but to be fair they did supply with some data, which is easy to digest.

The answer to question 1 was 2 fatalities and 113 injuries, of which 77 were Moderate to Serious.

The answer to qurestion 2 was 0 fatalities and 51 injuries of which 28 were Moderate to Serious.

Knife Crime 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

They then went further than I had asked them to and broke the figures down even more for me, apologies for the corruption in the image, that wass how I was sent it.

Knife Crime 2

It is reasonably self-evident where the problem lies, what can’t speak can’t fudge.

What does scream loudly from the page is that in the first 3 months of this year 166 young people were injured by Knife Crime in London.

166 young lives affected in some way by knives and violence.

2 young people never went home.

I know that London isn’t mirrored everywhere in the UK but surely it is indicative of just what is hapopening on our streets?

How do we tackle Knife Crime?  How can we reduce these awful figures?

 

  1.  EDUCATION – teach the young of the dangers of carrying knives, what they can do, what knioves can do to them.
  2.  Stop and Search – most, if not all, knives are carried through the streets at some point, and most, if not all, of the above offences were committed in the street.
  3. I can’t actually think of a #3, perhaps you could fill me in.

 

 

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Hello Darkness My Old Friend

Nope, nothing to do with Messrs Simon and Garfunkel, but a return to the Dark Ages brought about solely by the media, quelle surprise.

The very same media that love to bleat about Police Forces and Police Officers not doing their jobs are excelling at preventing them from doing so.

In league with Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) a number of Freedom of Information requests have been made to establish the number of prosecutions or Fixed Penalties there have been for smoking in a vehicle in the presence of a child.

Now this is most definitely illegal, quite clearly wrong and I most certainly don’t condone it (neither do I smoke, anywhere) but I do believe that following on from the government onslaughts, aided and abetted by Sir Tom, the Police Service of our land has much better things to do than chase offenders for smoking in their cars.  If they happen upon it hen of course I would expect them to deal with it appropriately, but I certainly won’t lose too much sleep worrying about why they are not being proactive on the problem.

Having (allegedly) dispensed with Targets and League Tables the Telegraph and ASH are seeking to compile them once more by tying up resources with FOI requests that would be better deemed Vexatious.

Catch someone smoking in their car or catch (or even deter) someone carrying a knife, a burglar, someone driving dangerously, the list goes on.  Which is prefeable given restricted resources.  Which should be our priority, as prioritise we must?

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I Seem To Be Errrrm……..Confused

It only seems like a moment ago that the Police were being criticised for the manner in which they investigated and recorded crimes and how they treated or regarded the victims of those crimes.

There are any manner of ‘anti’ articles in the press, disclosures by officers, dodgy recording practices, unrealistic targets.  The whole thing was a mess.

A review was conducted by our good friends at HMIC, which led to Chief Inspector of Constabulary, Uncle Tom Cobblers,  telling the BBC that the under-recording of sexual offences was of particular concern and more sex crimes would be reported if victims felt they could trust the police.

“The police need to institutionalise a culture of believing the victim. Every time,” he said.

Believe the victim

So we did, our Police Forces did what (sarcasm alert) the nice man in the fancy uniform told them and believed the victims.  This led to an immense number of fresh and historical allegations, mainly in relation to sexual abuse, being reported.  The man at the top said “believe the victims” so they all got investigated.

At this point I would like to make it quite clear, that I am not saying “believe the victims” is the wrong policy.  That is up to the people at the top of the greasy pole to decide.

Every allegation provoked an investigation, or so it seemed.  Some could be conducted quickly and simply, some others took months, a year, or more. Some involved suspects who were dead, or dying.  Is that wrong?  Believing the victims necessitates an investigation, so no, I guess it wasn’t wrong.

Now we get to the bit that, quite honestly, confuses me.

Any of you who have been reading this pile of crap for a while will know that I am no fan of Sir Bernard Hogan-Who, but I do think he’s between the rock and the hard place at the moment.

Fast-Forward a couple of years and the media seems to be full of predictions concerning his future, or lack of one, at the Met.

Why?

Because his Force believed the victims and investigated crimes, much to the concern of certain journalists and revered publications.

A series of articles with particularly lurid and ugly headlines have been emerging, such as;

The rotten apple at the Metropolitan Police is right at the top

I would have preferred to see the policeman in the Village People in charge

And

The man who shames the Met: A General called him ‘that wretched man’ but that’s just the start of the charge sheet against top cop behind bungled prosecutions of Leon Brittan and Lord Bramall

And

DAILY MAIL COMMENT: An ugly chapter in the history of the police

I shall no doubt be struck down by a bolt of lightning for saying this, but the media should butt out and leave Hogan-Who to get on with with contending with May’s Mayhem.  Regarding the first article above, I didn’t realise Paul Gambaccini was a respected journalist and commentator, I thought he was someone from over the water who had a contract with the Beeb to play music on the radio. I don’t suppose his arrest under Operation Yewtree, the subsequent investigation and the fact that it was discontinued due to insufficient evidence has clouded his opinion of the Met one iota, do you?

If I have an opinion at all (that I would like to share) it is this:-  instead of playing Where’s Wally, the elusive Sir Tom Winsor should come out fighting and remind the world that the Police in ANY Force are believing the victims and investigating the allegations because he told them to.  It is not for me, or the media, to question or disagree with that.

The final item on the list above, which is far from complete, is an absolute outrage, a vile piece of filth that completely rubbishes victim ‘Nick’.  I have no idea if ‘Nick”s allegations are true but they sure as hell don’t need to be rubbished in a national newspaper in that fashion.  Can you imagine the outcry that the Mail would stir up if a Police Officer made the equivalent statements?

Gambaccini and the Mail can crawl away back into the dark, dank, putrid hole they came from and in a day or two I shall return to slagging off Hogan-Who, but just for today I feel a bit sorry for him, but I’m sure it will soon pass.
ADDENDUM
It just gets better and better

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Crikey, Surely The Met Hasn’t Grown A Pair

In 1993 a young lad, Stephen Lawrence, was tragically murdered by a gang of racists.  That much we know and we have known it for a long time.  It seems clear to most that the investigation into that murder was flawed and almost certainly derailed by the corrupt actions of one or two officers. However, I have never experienced a Murder Squad that did not want to solve whatever murder they happened to be investigating, whoever the victim was. Race, gender or Social Standing did not come into it.  There was a body in the morgue and their job is to identify the killer(s) and prosecute them.  I have never experienced anything different to that.

Just less than two years ago (some 20 years after the murder) it was alleged by a former undercover officer that the Met had been involved in ‘spying’ on the Lawrence family.

In the late 1990s it is alleged that (then) DI Richard Walton used undercover officers to facilitate this ‘spying’ in an effort to gain intelligence to help the Met defend itself against allegations that they had failed to properly investigate the initial murder.  The illustrious IPCC mounted an investigation into the involvement of Mr Walton.

After 19 months of rigourous investigation they deemed that there was ‘a case to answer’ against (now) Commander Richard Walton.  19 months. 

When it became clear that Commander Walton was on the verge of retiring, which he is perfectly entitled to do, before neither the IPCC nor the Met had actually instigated disciplinary proceedings then Stephen’s father Neville leapt up demanding that Mr Walton’s retirement be blocked.

To the Met’s eternal credit they declined to follow this course of action.  Commander Ealton has now, I believe, retired after completing his 30 years service.  He says that the IPCC always knew of his retirement plans but still took nearly two years to conduct their investigation.  I’m quite certain that they would be highly critical of an officer who took almost two years to conduct an investigation.

I have met Richard Walton a couple of times when he was a D.I.  He struck me as a decent, conciencious and efficient officer, but @obbsie knows him much better than I do.

The Lawrence murder has proved to be tragedy and a travesty on so many different levels.  There are lessons that we need to learn most definitely, but I’m not happy being branded Institutionally Racist by somebody who doesn’t know me.  That label has been aplied to every single Met officer for years now, and the majority of people outside the Police Service don’t even understand the significance of it.

I have sympathy with the Lawrence family for their loss, the same as I would have sympathy for anybody else in their situation, but this constant witch hunt just has to end.  SOME of the offenders HAVE now been brought to justice. There have been Reviews and Reviews into the Reviews, surely in 2016 it is time to draw a line and build for the future?

Surely there are also lessons to be learnt by the IPCC also?

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Farewell Old Friend

Who’s that you might ask?

On Christmas Eve I came upon the news that the Met Police Catering Service was being outsourced, in other words, privatised.

Boris has already sold off Buckingham Gate, the main ‘feeding centre’ in Central London, and canteens-a-plenty are closed or will be closed.

Let’s be honest, in the main, the food was shit, but that is not the issue here.  When sent to another part of London, or held centrally ‘on reserve’ the catering service were the backbone of the Force.  Who else would give you a frozen pork pie, a sandwich, an apple and a cup of hot, grey water at 4 o’clock in the morning, and do it all with a smile?

It’s an important part of Police history and in my opinion just one more nibble at breaking up the Police ‘culture’.  I have lost track of the number of times my serial have been sent for ‘Snacks’ or a full meal and I’ve bumped into Smudge or Smiler who I hadn’t seen for years sometimes.  You were always guaranteed to bump into somebody from your past.  It may just have been a quiet chuckle seeing how far your old muckers had progressed up the greasy pole, but it was fun, equally as important, if not more so, than the actual food and drink we were being provided with.

When we were first sent to Greenham Common the catering was at Newbury Racecourse, far superior to anything the Met could provide, but it was missing that ‘something’.  Eventually the Met Police Catering Service took over at Newbury and normality was restored, crap food but a fantastic atmosphere.

When things happened at short notice, e.g. a riot or similar, it took a while for the catering to roll out, but you could could always rely on a man witha smile and a battered old Tranny van, Teapot One.

Teapot One
Teapot One
So for 3 years, with the possibility of a 2 year extension, you too could tender for the MPS Catering contract.  It may be cheaper, I doubt that it will be as efficient, and it’s almost certain that the ‘Service with a smile’ ethos will be missing.  The knock-on effcts too are not to be underestimated.  What wil all those cardiac surgeons do now with the legendary Met 999 breakfast being consigned to the bin?

As I said at the beginning, it may have been shit but it was our shit.  For all the dodgy meals and frozen snacks I was ever given I wouldn’t have wanted to be without it.

All Boris, Dave and Cruella will succeed in doing is to santise a piece of MPS folklore, and consign it to the history books. Crap as it might have been, privatising it will certainly not be an improvement.

You can’t improve upon perfection. 

RIP Force Feeding

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I’m Sorry, I Didn’t Mean To Do This

Good morning, I was going to leave you all alone this morning, but when I went to bed last night there the first few tweets surfacing about a Public Order situation in Lambeth, South London.

When I woke up this morning and was getting ready to go to Church (well, it might happen) it had only just finished, and video footage was beginning to circulate too.

 

In general support from the public this morning has been fantastic, and I thank you all on behalf of my former colleagues. A particular tweet that caught my eye was this one  

A senior officer from another Force, who I happen to know from his time in the Met, pointed out that the Salvation Army do a good job of providing tea and succour to Firefighters, Police etc in times of disorder etc etc.  I do not, for one moment, want to criticise anything the Salvation Army do in times such as these, but for God’s sake. the once finest Police Service in the world relying on charity to give the trops tea/  Is this what you have reduced us to Home Secretary.  Go home and hang your head in shame. Speaking of the Home Secretary.  If you have viewed the video above, you will be impressed by the Home Secretary’s comments on the subject on this morning’s Andrew Marr show.  Oh, hang on a moment, wrong, she was too busy telling us what a wonderful Home Secretary she is, she obviously forgot to mention the problems overnight. Why should we expect our Police to face the challenges they do, just to be ignored by the government? I don’t know who you are trying to imitate Mrs May, but we’re not buying it. Margaret Thatcher Spitting Image puppet Very well done to everybody involved last night, you deserve our gratitude and appreciation.

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