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Category: Sadiq Khan

Canteen Culture This Culture That Culture – Why Policing Is Doomed

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Canteen Culture This Culture That Culture – Why Policing Is Doomed, is it doomed?  Is there an agenda out there to aid its demise?

The problems in Policing go back a very long way.

Institutional Racism

After the tragic murder of Stephen Lawrence the Lord Macpherson labelled the Met Institutionally Racist. That was in 1999.

An awful lot of people interpreted that as meaning that every Metropolitan Police Officer was personally racist, and very little was done to disabuse the general population of that misconception.

Along came Social Media and that misconception spread to the Police Service across the country. If something is stated on Social Media it must be true.

So what is Institutional Racism then? How does it manifest itself in Policing?

Sir William Macpherson, in his report on the Met described it thus “The collective failure of an organization to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture, or ethnic origin. It can be seen or detected in processes, attitudes and behaviour that amount to discrimination through prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness, and racist stereotyping which disadvantage minority ethnic people.

Nothing there about every individual officer being personally racist. Nothing.

Canteen Culture

The next stick that Policing was hit with was the “Canteen Culture”. What’s all that about then?

A “canteen culture” refers to the way in which people working in a particular workplace can develop a shared set of values and prejudices. The workforce in question is the Police Service. A conservative canteen culture is sometimes suggested as an explanation for police discrimination and the lack of fairness sometimes displayed in police discretion.

I freely confess that I don’t have a Degree in Policing, Linguistics or anything else. However to my mind a “culture” within an organisation suggests that it is something widespread within the organisation, the norm, something that new staff members are expected to join up to.

I spent 30 years inside the Metropolitan Police plus a further 3 years as a Forensic Auditor within the Metropolitan Police Authority, the body that was, then, responsible for running the behemoth that was the Met. At no time was I ‘expected’ to partake in racist, sexist, misogynistic or corrupt behaviour.

At no time did the MPA, my employers, request my department to conduct an investigation into such cultures, and I’m totally unaware of any misgivings on the part of the MPA. Neither am I aware of any external enquiry or investigation into such ‘cultures’.

The Scale of the Problem

I’m neither blind, deaf, naive nor incredibly stupid. I have always acknowledged that some officers can be racist, corrupt, misogynistic, perverts or even murderers.

The important question is “but how many”? I don’t really know, and I don’t think there is even a dataset that is publicly accessible that will answer that question. The College of Policing’s Banned Officers List (whatever it’s official title is) would give us an indication of how many officers have been sacked for it, but serving officers? No idea.

1,000, 5,000, all of them? No idea, but I would stick my neck out and say not all of them, not even the majority, and certainly not the norm. There’s almost 140,000 of them, that would still be a small percentage

I shudder when I hear of officers taking selfies at crime scenes, the murder of a poor innocent woman by a serving officer stunned the entire Service, serving and retired officers alike. Not only do we not recognise that behaviour but we don’t condone it either.

Not only that but the Supervisors (Sergeants and Inspectors) wouldn’t condone or tolerate it either. But life was very different in those days, we didn’t have Mobile Phones (except ‘official’ ones), and certainly not Social Media with the dreaded Wassapp etc.

Recruitment and Vetting

Recruitment and vetting are two areas that definitely need looking into. The thought that a person can get all the way through the recruitment process and into being trained without speaking to a single human being is ridiculous. I had hoped that wasn’t true, but I have heard the same from too many different sources now. Vetting, done properly, is very intrusive, time-consuming and resource-heavy, not to mention expensive.

Many candidates simply won’t submit themselves to the appropriate level of vetting because of family skeletons (not necessarily their own), or simply an objection to being probed.

Why do we have so many perverts, rapists, misogynists in the Police Service? Simply because they are ordinary people who happen to wear a uniform and have certain powers.

As the founder of modern policing, Sir Robert Peel, said ‘the police are the public and the public are the police’

They are no different, no better, no worse, than anybody else. They are the Common Man in the street.

Peelian Principles

Indeed, Robert Peel’s 5th Principle of Policing states this

To seek and preserve public favour, not by pandering to public opinion; but by constantly demonstrating absolutely impartial service to law, in complete independence of policy, and without regard to the justice or injustice of the substance of individual laws, by ready offering of individual service and friendship to all members of the public without regard to their wealth or social standing, by ready exercise of courtesy and friendly good humour; and by ready offering of individual sacrifice in protecting and preserving life.

You may not agree that is still current or valid but I can assure you that even up to this day I have seen or heard of many examples of ready offering of individual sacrifice in protecting and preserving life. Those racist cops in London are frequently going home soaked in someone else’s blood because they have tried, with varying degrees of success, to save the life of some poor kid, often black, who has been stabbed on the streets of London.

No banter there. no standing back saying “it’s not my job, let the Ambulance do it”, they get stuck in while they wait for the Ambulance/Paramedic. Their reward for that? To be labelled racist and thugs, perverts or murderers.

Supervision

Let’s get back to Supervision. In March 2010, before Theresa May’s onslaught on Policing, the Police Service of England and Wales had 107,873 Constables with 22,852 Sergeants and 7,222 Inspectors to Supervise them. Then we had the cuts, and we all know how that ended. Boris’s Police Uplift Programme is attempting to restore the numbers by recruiting and ‘extra’ 20,000 officers. So how does the Service look now?

The latest Home Office figures are for March 2021 and they show that the Service had clawed its way back up to 106,790 Constables supervised by 19,211 Sergeants and 5,941 Inspectors. 3,641 fewer Sergeants and 1,281 fewer Inspectors.

Since March 2021 the Police Uplift Programme claims to have recruited a further 2,286 Trainee Constables, but won’t have recruited a single additional Sergeant or Inspector, it isn’t their remit.

Add in the secretive nature of Wassapp Group chats, and the like, is it any wonder that supervision is lacking?

Morale

Morale is going through the floor and I’m hearing of many officers, who, if they’re not in the Pension Trap, are seriously considering leaving. You may think ‘Good’, but I don’t.

Adding to the plummeting morale, or even accelerating it is the constant criticism of Police by Newspapers, BBC, ITV (can’t speak for Sky, I never watch Sky News), politicians of all sides, athletes, footballers and the like.

Before you openly brand all Police Officers as being as bad as the worst, ask your local, or any other, Police Station if you can spend a few shifts seeing what it is they have to contend with, how they deal with it, and what they really say to each other. See first hand how much support they get (or not) from their senior officers. Then write an honest piece on how it went, and whether you still feel the same.

I have no idea who the next Commissioner of the Metropolis will be, but one thing is for certain, it won’t be anybody who is popular with troops he or she commands.

Add it all together and it just means that the whole fabric of Policing is destroyed, or rapidly heading that way. You may think ‘Good’ and that is your right, but that opinion should be based on actual reality and not the witch-hunt that certain high profile politicians, both local and central, have been conducting, ably aided and abetted by the Media, but, interestingly, not so much the local media. I wonder why that could be?

Where Are We Now?

I apologise for this long-winded rebuttal of some perceived truths but I couldn’t sit by and see the profession I was proud to be a part of be destroyed on the back of half-truths, innuendo and exaggerations. Policing is not perfect, it never has been, and the day it becomes perfect will actually be a sad day.

Those little bits that aren’t perfect are what keeps it going, Stop officers from throwing in the towel, allows them to go home at the end of their shift feeling that it has all been worthwhile.

Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, wants a Service full of Racists, Sexists, Misogynists or Murders. But before you hound me out of town, take a dispassionate look at where you work, Pete the Nerd in the corner looking at topless women in his lunch break. The bunch of ‘lads’ who go out to a certain type of club and whistle at the women, or try to cop a feel. I could go on but I’m sure you get my point. How is YOUR workplace and what do YOU do about it?

I will leave you with the prospect that this may well be my very last piece for a long time (what do you mean “thank ****”?), I can’t change anything, and I certainly can’t divert what is coming down the pipe, but I do beseech you to be careful what you wish for because you might just get it.

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Musings Of An Angry Dinosaur

Reading Time: 4 minutes

This Angry Dinosaur has been Musing.  I don’t know about anybody else but I am reaching the point of no return with our current brand of politicians. It doesn’t seem to matter very much which party they represent , they’re all as bad as each other.

In recent months we have seen, what appears to me, a huge increase of really rather violent assaults (and worse) on our Police Officers. But what has that got to do with politicians? You may well ask.

Without going over old ground too much it all started back in 2010 when the Conservatives won the General Election, albeit in a coaltion with the Lib Dems and a rather dodgy deal with the DUP. Prime Minister David Camoron (sic) and Home Secretary Theresa May seized upon the opportunity to degrade, demoralise and radically reduce the size and effectiveness of the Police Service of England and Wales. Camoron had long since held such ambitions, his views were laid out in a speech many years before, which spookily foretold the ‘reforms’ that were to come.

(Sir) Tom Winsor was tasked to review and reform the Police, changing Conditions of Service, Pensions and who knows what else, the list seemed to go on for that. He was so successful at this task that he was awarded a Knighthood, was made Chief Inspector of Constabulary and got a fancy uniform (god knows why, unless it was to piss the Police off)

Musings Of An Angry Dinosaur
Sir Tom Winsor

The demoralisation of the Police Service was complete, or so we thought. Even Nostradamus would have struggled to predict that more pestilence was gathering over the horizon.

In no particular order, we now find that the Police Service is facing many other factors which combine together to lower, even further, morale amongst our fine officers, and make this country (or certain parts of it) much less safe to live in.

Soft sentencing in the Courts. Many offenders never come anywhere close to receiving the maximum punishment for their crimes. So many times they don’t even receive a short custodial sentence for what are really quite serious crimes.

Main Stream Media are having a field day. One day they will be criticising the Police for standing around and doing nothing while statues are getting toppled, the next day they will run a front pagecarticle about how ‘heavy handed’ the Police have been in policing a demo.

Many bodies and individuals will join in the mantra that Stop and Search must be radically scaled back, and that it is infringing the rights of people walking the streets. They conveniently forget that children and young people are being maimed and killed on our streets, often by other children and young people carrying a variety of often quite wicked-looking knives, like the so-called zombie knives.

Musings Of An Angry Dinosaur
Zombie Knives

There have been a number of instances where athletes, politicians and others have been stopped and searched. Strangely these instances have often been filmed, commencing magically before the ‘stop’ then suitably edited. If there is a complaint to be made about how the Stop/Search was carried out (or why) then I respectfully suggest that the media is not the place to do it. There is a well established process for dealing with such complaints. Chief Officers issuing a public apology, sometimes before the matter is concluded, just reduce morale deeper and quicker. If an apology is warranted then fine, issue the apology at an appropriate time, and appropriately worded.

Officers at what have the potential to be violent demonstrations are frequently pictured wearing inappropriate kit for the situation they are in. Flat caps and baseball caps offer little protection to the head. Your officers are a valuable resource, protect them properly. If this offends a few snowflakes then surely this is a price worth paying.

We have people like the Mayor of London etc criticisng Police actions, or lack of action, in relation to the absolute epidemic of Knife. Rime in London. More than 700 people were injured by knives in the first 3 months of 2021 alone. What has the Mayor DONE? Nothing that I can see. I, and others, have written to him many times about the magnificent Knife Angel. I don’t know about any of the others but I have never even had the courtesy of a reply from him.

Musings Of An Angry Dinosaur
Knife Angel

Graduate Entry, Direct Entry Detectives, Aprenticehip Entry, I could go on. All of these schemes do little more than generate an illusion of elitism. There is a place in the Service for Degrees and Graduates, but are they really essential for day to day Policing? Can you really picture a couple of Oxbridge Graduates having a roll around on a pub floor on a Saturday night? I am already hearing of Graduate entrants leaving because they didn’t realise that ‘Policing’ involved a degree of confrontation with some sections of the public.

I’m sure I have left some out, feel free to highlight them in the Comments below, but to me, a retired and angry dinosaur, it seems that a combination of factors have the Police Service on its knees, and much of it has every appearance of having been deliberate. I’m not going to repeat myself here, you can read it elsewhere, if you haven’t already, but even the Police Uplift Programme seems to be nothing more than a cynical Vote Winner and yet more Smoke and Mirrors.

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Who Gives A Toss About #KnifeCrime?

Reading Time: 3 minutesWho Gives A Toss About #KnifeCrime?  Well, I do, but I’m not sure that our politicians really do care.

It will come as no surprise to most of you that I care about it, and my chosen vehicle for heightening awareness is the Knife Angel. I ‘dug’ into it, found out what it was all about, went to see it (stunning) and met the ‘owner’ and creator of the Knife Angel. I spoke to both of them at length over many cups of coffee, and their passion and belief in the project is absolutely blindingly clear.

Clive Knowles, the ‘owner’ has invested thousands (probably 10s of thousands, I was too polite to ask him) of pounds in creating the Angel. He has fabricated secure Knife Bins, more than enough for each Force to conduct a Knife Amnesty and securely store the knives surrendered. He has footed the bill for delivering the Knife Banks and collecting them when full and transportation back to his business premises.

Nobody can say that Clive is not fully committed to tackling the epidemic of Knife Crime across the country. Once the Angel was made he started a campaign to get the Knife Angel installed on the 4th Plinth of Trafalgar Square. He has even named the Knife Angel the National Monument Against Violence And Aggression.

Clive Knowles is the gent on the right.

I have also spent some time with Alfie Bradley, the brilliant young sculptor who created the Knife Angel. In order to do this he had to take 100,000 knives, and other bladed instruments, blunt each and every one of them and then form them into the Knife Angel. Some of the blades even have personal messages engraved on them from victims of Knife Crime or their families. His passion and commitment are blindingly apparent, but he is possibly better known for making a huge gorilla out of spoons for Uri Geller, but that’s another story.

Alfie is the chap on the ladder.

Then we come to our politicians. At various times, in an assortment of ways, the following politicians have proclaimed their abhorrence of the current flood of Knife Crimes and their desire to do something about it.

Theresa May

Amber Rudd

Sajid Javid

Louise Haigh

Jeremy Corbyn

Holly Lynch

Nick Hurd

Sadiq Khan.

There may be others that I have overlooked, if that is the case please forgive me.

I have tweeted to Theresa May and Amber Rudd, and emailed both of them personally. No response from either except for an ‘Out of Office’ response from Amber Rudd that if I was not a constituent of hers I would not get a reply, and I didn’t.

Sajid Javid has only recently joined the Home Office but he has still failed to respond in any way to tweets to him about Knife Crime and the #KnifeAngel.

Louise Haigh, Holly Lynch and Jeremy Corbyn have not once responded in any way to numerous tweets addressed to them on the matter.

Nick Hurd has failed to respond to tweets or emails.

Finally, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. I have tweeted him dozens of times, to both his official and personal accounts. I have sent him emails. No reply to anything. Sadiq Khan is also responsible for deciding what exactly is shown on top of the 4th Plinth in Trafalgar Square. I have emailed the 4th Plinth Commissioning Group. No reply, but I have seen a photo of Sadiq Khan posing in front of the latest piece of art atop the 4th Plinth.

A big ‘Thumbs Up’. London is in the grip of an immense wave of Knife Crime and a ‘Thumbs Up’ is more appropriate than the Knife Angel.

I also emailed the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Cressida Dick, but all I got back from them was a bland rejection by ‘James’ her Staff Officer, whoever ‘James’ may be.

So, sadly, the answer seems to be that I give a toss, Clive Knowles and Alfie Bradley give a toss. Not one of the above-mentioned politicians has demonstrated any positive action towards the Knife Angel campaign. However, I do believe that Sadiq Khan has contacted Clive Knowles direct and informed him why the Knife Angel is not a suitable exhibit for the 4th plinth. In my opinion he offered a pathetic, jobsworth, reason, but that is entirely his affair, I have the right to reject it.

If the politicians want to convince us that they do actually give a toss then it’s time for them to adopt more than snappy soundbites. Get behind the Knife Angel. If not Trafalgar Square then suggest somewhere else that’s suitable. Make it happen. This is not about me. It isn’t even about Clive and Alfie. It’s about the thousands of people being stabbed and murdered on our streets every year, and Clive’s campaign to draw attention to it, and begin a reduction in Knife Crime. Don’t support me, #SupportTheKnifeAngel. Especially if you want people to vote for you next time round, whichever party you are. This is not about politics, it’s about young people dying on our streets.

PLEASE take the time to watch all three videos below, particularly the second one.  The Knife Angel suddenly becomes very real.

SAVE A LIFE – Surrender Your Knife

Who Gives A Toss About #KnifeCrime?

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