I Am Actually Ashamed

It’s not often you will hear me say that (OK, I know you’re reading it)

Today’s headlines have just stunned me into (almost) silence and left me ashamed that I was ever a member of the same organisation

I locked myself in car as Westminster bridge attacker struck, says Met chief

I could easily swear here, but I won’t.  What made it worse was this one from last year though,

New Year Honours: Officer who witnessed Westminster attack among police recognised

It doesn’t even stop there, whilst one MP, Tobias Ellwood,  was trying in vain to save PC Keith Palmer’s life, another one, Mike Fabricant, had locked himself in his office drinking whisky

MP Tobias Ellwood who tried to save Keith Palmer in Westminster terror attack says murdered Pc ‘was the hero… not me’

I fully accept that it’s a long time since I retired from the Met, and that almost everything has changed, but where has the loyalty to your comrades gone.  If one of our PCs needed help the canteen would empty in an effort to assist.  The Inspector and Sergeants would go and I have even witnessed a Commander administer the Attitude Test.  There is no excuse for an officer of any rank (in my opinion) to lock himself in his car and not assist a man who subsequently died.

Sir Craig, then the Met’s acting commissioner, said his first instinct was to secure his chauffeur-driven car. “I was sitting in the car with two other people, one colleague had clearly seen what was going on,” he told Masood’s inquest at the Old Bailey. “I locked the doors — we had no protective equipment, no radios, we had been in a ministerial meeting and literally came out of that.”

His first instinct was to secure his chauffeur-driven car?  What kind of a moron puts steel and rubber before a human being?

No PPE?  No radio?  Welcome to the world of Policing.  I spent all of the years I patrolled the streets armed with a torch, a whistle and a trucnheon. with a radio to call for backup then hit someone with it.  Why were you on the streets of London without even a truncheon?  Is being a Senior Officer some reason not to carry one out on the streets?  Does it exempt you from Policing in some way?  We had to produce ours on Parade before we were allowed out.

Sorry Mr Mackie, your attitude stinks.  I hate to think what Keith Palmer’s widow will make of this revelation.  I certainly don’t think you deserve a Knightood, even it was for saving the Met £400 Million on paperclips or something.  You COULD have stood up to the government  and contested the cuts, but you chose not to.

I look forward to the days that will now follow to see what the public, the Federation and Keith Palmer’s widow have to say about today’s revelations.  If I were “Sir Craig” I honestly think that my resignation would be on the Commission’s desk first thing tomorrow.  The modern day Police Service needs Leaders not Bean Counters.

Dear Public, I feel I have to apologise for our Leadership, they’re not all the same, honestly.

An Open Letter To @PoliceChiefs

You are, by definition, all senior Police Officers, yet you seem to have lost touch with the fine officers that form the Front Line.

As you are obviously aware, when the Conservative-led coalition came to power in 2010 there were 142,363 Police Officers in England and Wales, excluding BTP, or 145,015 if you include BTP.  The next set of government statistics are due for release on 20th July, but the last set, up to end of September 2016, shows that there were 122,859 Officers, excluding BTP, or 126,252 including BTP. I expect that figure to have fallen again when the latest levels are revealed.

Every one of your members has worked your way up from lowly Constable to Chief Constable or Commissioner. Every last one of you.

Collectively, and individually, you KNOW what the Front Line has gone through in the last seven years, you have been there.

You absolutely KNOW that much of Policing requires Numbers.

Of the 122,859 officers left in England and Wales, 121,167 are what I would call ‘Front Line”‘, Constables, Sergeants and Inspectors. Anybody above the rank of Inspector has really joined “The Management”. NPCC Officers count for a really small percentage of the Police Workforce, 0.15% only.

Yet, for such a small number you have developed a language all of your own and have either forgotten what life is like on the Front Line or, much worse, you are choosing to ignore it.  The Front Line is VITAL to maintaining an ordered and law-abiding (relatively) society.  Who is it that controls the riots, confronts the armed criminals, looks for missing children, reports and investigates the crimes and prosecutes the offenders? The Front Line.

What do you think will happen when the Front Line is no longer there? Lawlessness, Anarchy, Crime Hotspots will become the Norm. Nobody will feel safe in their own homes, never mind on the streets.  Is that what you want?

You seem to have finally noticed that the Front Line is suffering. I can only assume that you have finally woken up and realised that the Front Line is burning out, mental and physical fatigue is spreading like a bushfire on a windy day.

What do you propose to help heal these fine, brave and hard-working officers? Accoding to your Head Fred, Sara Thornton, they should ‘decompress’ and ‘feel supported by the structures’.  Decompress?  What on earth is wrong with saying ‘Unwind”, “Unload”, “Let Off Steam” or simply “Talk”?  Structures?  Surely “Resources” or “Facilities” or dare I say “Support Systems” might be better worded?  You can’t even purport to be supporting the Front Line without phrasing it in gobbledygook Management Speak.

The Front Line comprises approximately 98% of the Police Workforce, why not use the language of the Front Line?  The NPCC constitutes less than 1/4% of the Police Workforce.

I would be horrified if you do not know exactly the stresses and strains that the Front Line are enduring.  Insufficient Detectives, too many cancelled Rest Days, too many extended tours of duty simply to cover for the Police Officers that are no longer part of the Police Workforce, culled by David Cameron and Theresa May. Too many officers off Sick with Stress or Depression.

If you are serious in your attempts to deal with the Mental Health issues creeping through the Service, put an end to physically and emotionally drained officers, restore the CID to an effective level, then, in my humble opinion, the answer is simple.

100% of the National Police Chiefs Council membership should stand united and point out, forcefully if necessary, to Theresa May and Amber Rudd, that the current situation is not tenable, not viable,  and is leading to the total collapse of an effective Police Service.

Some of your number have spoken out individually, but your entire membership, starting with Sara Thornton, needs to stand four-square and oppose the cuts. There is currently a Crisis In Policing and all the time that the NPCC adopt the ostrich stance it will only get worse. Just imagine how formidable it would be if the NPCC, The Superintendents Association and the Police Federation of England and Wales stood shoulder-to-shoulder and said to Theresa May “You are wrong, this cannot work, it does not work”. At the moment “Divide and Conquer” is winning.

Solidarity, Unity, remembering why you joined the Police Force are what is currently required. Maybe then fewer officers would need to “decompress”.

What possible excuse can you have not to?

Thank You

RetiredAndAngry

Ex Met

You’re Having A Laugh

On 22nd March, a brave Constable was murdered by a cowardly terrorist within the grounds of the Palace of Westminster. His name was Keith Palmer and he died protecting public and politicians alike from said terrorist.

On 3rd June 3 terrorists ran amok on London Bridge, and Borough Market.  A young nurse ran towards the casualties and was brutally murdered by the terrorists. Her name was Kirsty Boden.

On 14th June many exceedingly brave Firefighters faced overwhelming odds and entered the inferno that was Grenfell Tower in an attempt to rescue survivors.

On 28th June a group of politicians cheered when they defeated a motion to lift the cap on pay rises for Nurses, Police Officers and Firefighters.  They were led by someone called Theresa May.

That tells you everything you need to know about this current government.

To express your opinions you could write to your MP www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/

Enough Is Enough

Since 2010 we have lost approx 20,000 Police Officers from our streets.





The point has  been (fairly) made that those numbers would not have prevented recent terrorist attacks.  This is true.  BUT those numbers give us hugely increased resilience and flexibility to deal with intelligence gathering, monitoring of suspects and dealing with the aftermath of an attack.  Those EXTRA officers I have heard about are not extra at all. They are officers who have had their leaves cancelled or brought in from other boroughs, leaving them depleted.

The majority of our front line officers are unarmed, traditionally so. However the world is changing. Maybe it’s time to turn our backs on tradition and arm all Response Officers? Fortunately that’s not my decision.

It’s time to end the folly known known as Single Crewing, or Single Manning.  All Response Vehicles should be Double Crewed (and Armed) in order to better deal with unexpected and fast-developing incidents such as London Bridge etc.

Chief Officers should stop trying to appease Theresa May and the Home Secretary. Policing is something that requires numbers in order to be done properly and effectively.  Making your officers work 16 hour shifts just to cover up the lack of numbers is despicable. The officers will burn out and the public are being hoodwinked. Just tell the TRUTH. I am a member of the public, and I would much rather be told the reality in my neighbourhood, or Force area, than be fobbed off with lies and illusions.

Theresa May is quite right, enough is enough. I have had enough of these savage cuts to Policing.  The problem is nowhere near as straightforward as Theresa May and her party would have us believe.  They will only ever tell us part of the story. Backfilling and Abstractions are dirty words for them.

Finally, it is appropriate to pay tribute to the Police Officers of London, the other Emergency Services, and assorted Members of the Public who all showed immense bravery last night.  Police Officers are hard-wired to run towards the danger and protect their community.  Theresa May might not like it, but Policing is NOT a job, it is still, just about, a vocation.  Like it or not, politicians cannot continue to treat them like footballs.

There IS a Crisis In Policing and it has been brought about by the policies and prejudices of David Cameron and Theresa May.  It is time for all the psycophants to stand up to her and get this crisis reversed.  It will take years to recruit and train the required number of officers, but you cannot Police on the cheap Mrs May.

Enough is Enough

The Government Has Most Definitely Forgotten

Not being subject to the rules of Purdah, I can have a moan.

The term ‘purdah’ is in use across central and local government to describe the period of time immediately before elections or referendums when specific restrictions on the activity of civil servants are in place. The terms ‘pre-election period’ and ‘period of sensitivity’ are also used.

Being neither politician nor Civil Servant **** you!!

What is it that the government has forgotten?

The first duty of any government is to protect the public.

How do they do this?

Well not by reducing the numbers of Police Officers available for duty at any one time that’s for sure.
The picture doesn’t look much better when you look at the TOTAL Police Workforce

Where are all these officers (or not)?

Sadl some areas are much better served proportionately than others, but ALL have seen a reduction in Policing levels.

Somewhere in the region of FIVE Polices have been culled since 2010.  What might that look like?

This is one I made earlier when there were only 17,000 fewer officers, you’ll have to imagine the rest.  Colour Avon and Somerset black also and you’re almost there.

this Is What 17,000 Fewer Cops LOOKS Like

Just imagine driving round the black area, not seeing a single PoliceOfficer and KNOWING THERE WERE NONE anyway.

In the background, relentlessly bubbling away, is a population constantly growing


So, THIS is how our government are complying with their first duty.  THIS is how we are being protected.  Or NOT

It’s Not About The Numbers

OH YES IT IS

Last night Home Secretary Amber Rudd, appearing on BBC Question Time, repeated Theresa May’s mantra “it’s not  about the numbers”. Well, as political campaigning for the General Election resumes today, I will have the temerity to challenge that concept.
You cannot Police this (or any 1st world country) on the cheap.

You cannot defend this country on the cheap, and

You cannot ‘heal’ this country on the cheap.

I will avoid getting involved in the argument about how much our Police Officers, Armed Forces and Healthcare professionals should be paid, that is for others to decide. However, I will say that their skills, professionalism and dedication deserve better than pay freezes, pension ‘reforms’ for members already in their particular scheme, often resulting in members havingto pay  more for a reduced pension and work more years to qualify.  That is not what they signed up for, they formed reasonable expectations for their ‘old age’ and retirement and then all those plans were torn asunder by this and the previous administrations.  At its most simplistic this is disrespectful. 

There must be, hidden away someone, a number.  A number below which we should not go when policing this country.  Surely there is a definitive minimum number of Police Officers that are required to provide an effective Police Service for the UK. Nobody is in a hurry to tell me what that number is.

There must be a minimum number of soldiers, sailors and airmen that are necessary to defend our country against the multitude of modern-day threats, and their deployment in foreign climes.  Anybody know what that number is?

The NHS needs a minimum number of staff to look after our various health needs;

GPs, Nurses, Nursing Assistants, Hospital doctors and Consultants, ever more expensive equipment for radio-therapy etc, secretarial and clerical support, physiotherapists, Speech Therapists etc etc, and their associated buildings.

Even the most efficient health service, operating at 100% efficiency, cannot continue to do so on reduced resources and funding.

This administration, and the previous one, seem to be more concerned in ensuring that the mega-rich pay less taxes.  The bankers that caused this “Austerity” are once more receiving their obscene bonuses.  What is happening to the Public Secor?  Is any of this tair?

The last couple of days have seen soldiers taking to the streets in order to free up armed Police Officers for other duties.  This is most definitely about the numbers.

I’m sorry to keep banging on about it, but when Thersa May and David Cameron set about their infamous ‘Reform’ of policing, incorporating Tom Winsor’s ‘independent’ reviews, NO Risk Assessments or Impact Assessments were undertaken, or the Home Office have lied to me.

As I said earlier, it is not for me to say how much our Emergency and Armed Services should be paid, but I am perfectly entitled to have my say on Public Safety.  I am not trying to say that more numbers would have prevented recent tragedies, but they may have helped, and they would certainly have given us resilience in the aftermath.

So next time you hear a politician state glibly that it’s not about the numbers you’ll know differently.  The Great British Public is being hoodwinked. No party deserves to be elected or re-elected on the basis of untruths and subterfuge.

I Have Seen The Future – TJF, Very F

TJF, that was one of the very first things I was told when I left the cocoon that was Hendon Training School and appeared at my very first nick.

I suspect that it has been common parlance for generations.

Looking at various Tweets and Facebook posts over the past week.  Thinking about the tragic events of last week, and the response and reaction to them.  It troubles my aged brain.

Before you waste your time telling me, I know, I’m Old School, a Dinosaur even.  However, this does not mean that my opinions are not valid, my ideas out-dated and useless.  Some may be, some might be excellent.  Who knows?  I do still have Freedom of Thought, and this is what I think.

When Theresa May, either of her own volition, or doing the bidding of one David Camoron, set about the destruction, sorry Reform, of the Police Service, myself and others questioned her intentions.  We questioned the intentions and acts of (then) Mr Tom Winsor.  We questioned the intent and activities of certain Think Tanks.  Most unhealthy in my opinion.  Sadly the majority of the public were hoodwinked by it all. Some of Winsor’s ‘facts’ were completely unscientific is the best way to describe them.

Chief Police Officers were either hoodwinked also (unlikely) or were working to a totally different agenda.  Almost none of them came out into the open and stood up for the Front Line.

What does that matter?  So we’ve trimmed down the excesses of the Police Service.  That must be a good thing surely?  The Canteen Culture has effectively been smashed by the simple act of closing and selling off the canteens.

  • Approx 21,000 (or so) Police Officers have been lost since 2010.  The government can assure you if they want that the Front Line has been protected, but where do you think these 21,000 have come from?  Almost entirely Constables and Sergeants, who are, incidentally, very important to the Front Line.
  • Approximately 18,000 Police Staff too.  It got do bad that a certain Police Station in DeadBadgerShire had to put a PC into an office job because the last remaining civvie had been moved or dispensed with.  How crazy is that?
  • Over 600 Police Stations sold off or closed to the public.

And now we get to the worst of my vexations, for I am surely vexed;

  • Policing Degrees (or equivalent) as a pre-requisite to join the Police Service as a Probationary Constable.
  • Direct Entry Superintendents

  • Direct Entry Inspectors
  • Direct Entry to Detective for Specials
  • Politically aligned Police and Crime Commissioners
  • Appointment of a civilian Commissioner for the Met.  She MAY have BEEN a Police Officer, and I’m not disputing that she is suitable, but the precedent has been set. Stand by for more.
  • Proposals for Direct Entry as Chief Constable
  • Police Now and their willingness to assist and support officers seeking alternative employment outside the Police Service after a handful of years, and their infamous ‘Healthy Churn’
  • College of Policing, there are just so many things there that I can’t bring myself to begin.
  • The PoliceFederation – I’m not totally convinced that they’ve been very good at identifying the threats and playing the Long Game.
  • An increase for the budget of HMIC
  • An increase for the budget of IPCC

Where does this bring us?

The Perfect Storm.  Everything is now in place to support the government’s dismantling (some prefer the term destruction) of the Police Service as we knew it.  The Front Line will doubtless cease regarding it as a Job For Life (I much prefer Vocation).  Five years then offski, take the experience learnt into the Private Sector for more money, better prospects, a company car and  weekends at home.


So there we have it, TJF – Very F, very possibly Terminally F.  And it is most certainly NOT the fault of the officers wueueing up to buy a sandwich in a supermarket, a coffee in Starbucks or Costa, or the officers taking too long to get through their lists of outstanding calls.  The substance and appearance of the modern day Police Service has changed substantially, and with crime and demands on the PolicecService rising steadily, is it really a good idea to cull 40,000+ posts?

I think we can all see where this started. Even a Dinosaur.

POLICE REFORM 2017

The Chickens Have Come Home To Roost

Following on from this week’s tragic events, the pressures on the Metropolitan Police have possibly never been greater since WWII.  I don’t mean that to sound dramatic, but I happen to believe that it’s true.

Quite rightly, the Met has increased Policing levels in London in order to reassure residents and visitors alike, and in an attempt to deter any further terrorist activity in the aftermath of the events at Westminster.

In the main this has been achieved by use of extended tours of duty often ending at 2 or 3 am.  Numerous officers are apparently finding themselves dismissed from duty and unable to find public transport to get home.  This has apparently led to officers sleeping on the floors of their Police Stations so that they will be available for duty the following day.

This is less than desirable for any number of reasons.  In the last 12 hours I have seen appeals circulating on Twitter and Facebook seeking reasonably priced (or free) hotel rooms for officers to get their heads down for a few hours.  To be fair, I don’t know how successful those appeals have been.

Apart from accommodation, those hundreds or thousands of extra officers drafted in to Central London need feeding.  There was a time when the Met was RESILIENT, Self-Sufficient.  It had an enormous feeding centre at Buckingham Gate, capable of feeding officers 24/7/365.  SOLD OFF by the (previous) Mayor of London.

Accommodation?  The Central London Section Houses may just possibly have had some empty rooms, or a room large enough to take some camp beds.  SOLD OFF.

I have no idea what steps the Met hierarchy are taking to secure feeding and accommodation for their fine troops, but I suspect the answer is “not a lot”.  I have seen at least one well onown name suggesting Westminster Hall as a suitable location.  Yes, it would be a magnificent gesture by Parliament to allow its use, but in reality that venue is not available 24/7/365, it has a life of its own. 

I know events such as these, fortunately, don’t happen every day or week, but the Met has lost its legendary resilience, instead officers (or people acting for them) going cap in hand looking for a cheap bed for the night.  Is that really what we want for our chaps and chapesses?

I’m not naive, I know the clock can’t be magically turned back, but surely the events of the last few days have tragically highlighted the folly behind some of the savage cuts?  There has to be some wriggle room to sensibly restore some of the worst excesses of the cuts and go some way towards restoring the resilience and operational self-sufficiency, not only of the Met, but all the Police Forces.

Or are the chickens here to stay?

Where Has The Police Force Gone?

When I joined the Met in 72 it was a very different animal to what it has become today.  Some of the changes have been an improvement, many, in my opinion, have not.

The first thing I noticed was that the instructors were SCARY, especially that Drill Sergeant, Sid Butcher, who seemed to think that I couldn’t march properly.  He was right of course.  He threatened me all kinds of dire consequences but he succeeded in getting me to closely resemble a march.

Out to Division, my reporting Sergeant was an old sweat from the Palestinian Police with a metal plate in his head.  Never upset him I was told.  I saw what happened to people who upset him, but we just seemed to click, chalk and cheese.  “You’re an enigma son” was the best ‘compliment’ I ever got out of him, but he was good.  All kinds of ‘wickedness’  was waiting for new probationers, including (allegedly) the Station Stamp for WPCs. Yes I did say WPC, I was never renowned for Political Correctness.  I would like to think that I was polite and respectful, but Politically Correct?  Possibly not.

Some of the very first Inspectors I met were brilliant, I won’t repeat some of things they said to me, but it was character building and exactly what every fledgling Police Officer needs to hear, for any number of reasons.  I had a Chief Inspector who delighted in reducing people to tears, but I came to learn that (in his way) he wasn’t a bully.  What he wanted was for the officer to turn round and tell him to F*** Off. No bollockings, no discipline, for that one won his everlasting respect. Old School, right or wrong, it was right for me.

Some of you who knew me then might remember a Welsh Indian Chief Superintendent.  All kinds of crap was rained on him by the lower ranks because he was the worst example of an officer promoted beyond his ability, several times.  I could tell you many tales of life with him at the helm, but most of them you probably wouldn’t believe.

My first two years were hard. No sitting at the Drivers’ Table in the Canteen (yes, we had a good one), day duty invariably meant School Crossings, Shoplifters, Reserve Room duties, but most importantly learning one’s craft.  Fast cars and glamorous postings were for after the magical 2 year period, where if you passed, you were trusted with all manner of important jobs, Driving Courses, Specialist postings, looking down on Probationers and “Wind Ups”.  Instead of being the butt of Wind Ups one was allowed to participate at other Probationers’ expense.  But it was fun but the Job most definitely got done first, that was always the main priority.  Nowadays there’s seldom time to down a pork pie never mind have fun between assignments.  If we handed 6 jobs over to the following shift there was a shit-storm to follow, unforgivable.  Nowadays I can imagine dozens of jobs being handed over to the next shift.  Too many calls and not enough cops.

I had a serious wobble at about the 15 years and told my Inspector that I wasn’t coming in to work and he could do whatever he ******* pleased about that.  Don his name was.  He was brilliant, he appeared at my house, alone, and sorted me out in the best possible way.  He got me to see that it was ‘just’ a wobble and what could we do about it?  A change of direction within my career, a hilarious application to work at Buckingham Palace that didn’t go very well, and I was back on track again, different role, different responsibilities and fully re-energised.  After that point I never looked back.  If I ever meet up with Don again I shall surely buy him a large pint or two.  I owe him a lot.

We had our Gene Hunts, Jack Reagans, a few Jack Frosts and even fewer Barnabys.  Dixon of Dock Green existed but he really wasn’t very well.  Did I like working for Hunt and Reagan?  You bet I did.  I knew exactly where all the lines were drawn, I knew what was expected of me, and I knew what I had to deliver and how to deliver it. In the 90s I was introduced to the newest breed of DIs and DCIs.  Not for me I’m afraid, and those people were destined to be the Senior Management Team of the future.

It was about the same time that the Met started universally going down the pan.  PCs started calling their Sergeants John (or whatever their given name was), things became too pink and fluffy.  Having been given an assignment some officers were heard to say “I’d rather not do that, can’t you give it to somebody else?”, ‘bosses’ would surround themselves with their friends rather than take who they were offered, or choose the best people for the job, Chumocracy had arrived in the Met and it made me uncomfortable, calls would go unanswered and (Once) I even witnessed officers finishing their meal rather than turn out for an Urgent Assistance call.

Slowly and almost imperceptibly, the really senior officers changed from being proper cops to academics and weasels.  Not all, but very many.

From the late 80s to the present time the Met has tragically gone from being the envy of the world to (almost) a laughing stock.  Who do I blame for that?  May, Camoron and Winsor most definitely.  Hogan-Who must shoulder a large part of the blame too.  Too late speaking up in his last month before retirement,  the Winsor ‘reforms’ was the time when any true leaders needed to be heard.  I certainly didn’t need to turn the volume down there.

I do need to get my glasses out.  Where exactly has the Metropolitan Police Force gone and what is this thing that has replaced it? How did that happen?

Knife Crime Vs Stop & Search, Some Numbers (London Edition)

In a few days time I should have a set of figures telling us exactly what the size of the Knife Crime problem is across England and Wales.  While I’m waiting for the last few miscreants to remember to send me some data, or protest that they don’t have a Knife Crime problem, I thought I would plunder the Mayor of London’s Data Store and draw some pretty pictures of the scale of weapons generally in our capital.

As the data goes back to 2008 I thought “why not nick it all?” look at the long term situation and how it might have changed.  The categories covered everything from Dog Bites to Murder but I just concentrated on my current hobby horse and guns while I was at it.

As we all know, Sir Bernie Hogan-Who ordered a reduction in Stop and Search in London after the 2011 riots in order to try to build trust between the police and London’s communities.  Did that work?  We shall see.

Knife and Gun Crime between 2008 and 2016 looks like this.Reasonably constant over 8-9 years, not a huge increase but certainly hasn’t gone down much.

Contrast this with Stop and Search over the same period.

That has MOST DEFINITELY gone down

Because we can, why don’t we have a look at staffing levels within the Met over that period.

Police Officers down a little bit, but noticeable drops in Specials, PCSOs and Police Staff.

Finally, total recorded crime, how much has that reduced?

A slight dip around 2012-2013 but most definitely on the way back up would you say?

Don’t have nightmares, do sleep well.

Back soon with England and Wales Knife Crime figures.  I bet you can hardly wait.