Headlines (front page attention grabbers) do nobody any good. They are not helpful in the slightest.
Her Majesty’s Coroner quite clearly did not apportion blame.
Under the current administration we have seen cuts to Police, Security Service and the National Health Service.
Ultimately the responsibility for what happened that dreadful night rests fairly and squarely with the three terrorists who are now all dead.
The Daily Fail and any other like-minded rags can stop with their criticisms right now. Somebody please give the Editor a stabbie and put him out on patrol, alone, somewhere in London where he can get a large dose of reality. Until then he can keep his lurid headlines to himself.
Context is everything. It can completely change one’s understanding of an event or comment.
Many things have been said over the past few days about the (in)actions of Acting Commissioner Sir Craig Mackey during and after the terrible events on Westminster Bridge and the Palace of Westminster.
Many commentators have called him “Coward”, indeed, initially, I had some sympathy with that argument. Having given it a great deal of thought over the past few days, and listened to the opinions of many others, I find that I have shifted my position somewhat.
The events of that awful day have been recounted many times, and I don’t need to go over them again, but certain actions, or inactions maybe do bear further scrutiny.
Sir Craig Mackey, the Acting Commissioner, was ‘out and about’ without his Personal Protective Equipment and no radio. Really? He may well not have had any PPE but no radio? Really? That must be the only car in the Met’s fleet that doesn’t have a radio hard-wired into it. I’m reasonably certain that he would have had a mobile phone with him too. He might not have been very far away from New Scotland Yard but I’m sure the Commissioner does not go out and is not contactable in case of emergency. That does not make sense.
Sir Craig Mackey was concerned for the well-being of the two other people in his car, both civilians it would seem. Maybe he was, but I’m not convinced that locking themselves in served any truly useful purpose. Why has the inquest not heard from these two persons? If Sir Craig was such a significant witness then surely one or both of them must have seen something? Why not give that evidence to the inquest?
Had Sir Craig Mackey actually got out of his car there was nothing he could have done? Possibly so, but that in itself is not a reason to stay in his car. The main reason that he should have got out of his car, in my humble opinion, is that he had just witnessed one of his officers being violently assaulted. It is entirely possible that Sir Craig was unaware that his officer was indeed mortally wounded. He should have had a First Aid Kit in his car. Human compassion for the fallen officer should have propelled him from the car to assess whether he could assist the officer, or whether he could comfort the officer.
He was told to sit in his car by a PC? No Commissioner in my experience has ever taken orders from a Constable. Had he wanted to get out of his car he could have done.
It was necessary for him to take command/control of events back at NSY? No Commissioner ever takes hands-on control of any incident or operation, they have people to do that for them.
In August 1976 the then Commissioner, Sir Robert Mark, appeared on the Front Line of the carnage following the Notting Hill Carnival. To take control? No, to show solidarity with his troops.
Cowardice? No, probably not. I have changed my opinion on that and the events outlined above probably don’t amount to cowardice. What they do add up to, again, in my humble opinion, is a monumental lack of LEADERSHIP. Sir Craig has only recently bern Knighted, what was that for? Leadership?
In a citation he is commended for reducing stop and search by 70 per cent while doubling the arrest rate and overseeing a dramatic improvement in the recruitment of officers from ethnic minority backgrounds.
Hardly for Leadership.
It could also be interpreted that he did not oppose the government’s cuts to Policing vehemently enough;
The MPS has already made £600 million in savings and faces another £400 million by 2020.
Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey told the Budget and Performance Committee that although the MPS is currently sufficiently resourced, further assessment would be needed should present demand continue.
That’s not Leadership in my book. He could have opposed the cuts, but in my eyes he just rolled over and accepted their inevitability, saying that the Met currently had sufficient resources. Really? I, and the people I talk to, am not seeing that.
The worst example of Leadership since the Charge of the Light Brigade. Well, maybe not exactly, but it’s up there.
Just a quick one today, but I’m still Apoplectic, Incandescent and any other crap descriptions I can think of.
Scotland Yard have now issued a statement on the (in)actions of ‘Sir’ Craig Mackey, Acting Commissionaire.
“Neither he [Mackey] nor the two civilian members of police staff he was in the car with during the time of the attack had any protective equipment with them … His initial reaction as a police officer was to get out of the vehicle. However, an operational decision was made with a police officer at the scene that the then acting commissioner should not get out and that he and the two police staff should leave New Palace Yard immediately.
“It was evident that there were officers already present with the necessary skills to neutralise the threat and to administer advanced first aid. At this stage, the full extent of the threat was still unknown.
“Mr Mackey then returned immediately to New Scotland Yard, where he carried out his responsibilities as acting commissioner; namely to lead and coordinate the strategic response across the Metropolitan police to protect London during what was an ongoing terrorist incident.”
My initial reactions to this statement are
When was any Commissioner ever needed to run any operation personally? I don’t care what it was (and it was serious obviously) the Commissioner was not needed in person, although it would have been helpful if he had his official-issue mobile phone with him.
Why the fuck could he not remain on scene and as a warm, loving human being (OK I made that bit up) have comforted a dying officer? He was THERE For Fucks Sake. One of his officers had just been savagely attacked and was dead or dying, with a Tory MP of all people trying to save his life. Did Mackey go out without his First Aid Certificate and humanity as well?
I really need to take a couple of Aspirin and study the transcript armed with my trusty quill and papyrus, but I’m not quite sure how well his recollections fit with the accepted timeline of events, but then I am pretty angry at the moment so my judgement might be clouded.
Off to lie down in a darkened room now.
It has been brought to my notice that many posts and comments regarding Mackey have ‘disappeared’ from Farcebook overnight, so if you have posted or commented you may wish to check it’s still there
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.
Ladies and gentlemen you have been treated to a display of Smoke and Mirrors the likes of which is seldom seen in civilised society. The Aurora Borealis is a poor second cousin, it is an illusion that David Copperfield or Penn and Teller would be immensely proud of, and rightly so.
We have lived through a week when the illusions were so polished you might even think some people were actually lying, perish the thought.
First under the floodlights in the ring at Cruella’s Grand Illusion was the government announcement that the Public Sector Pay Cap was being lifted for Police and Prison Officers. Hardly divisive at all.. A variey of Sorceror’s Apprentices queued up or were wheeled out to try out the latest mantra.
We have accepted the recommendations of the Police Remuneration Review Body in full.
To me, this says that the PRRB have made some recommendations and that the govt have accepted and will be implementing them.
The government pay offer to the Police was this
a 1% increase to base pay for all ranks
an additional one-off non-consolidated payment to officers at federated and superintending ranks
a 1% increase to the London Weighting payment
a 1% increase to the Dog Handlers’ Allowance
So that must have been what the PRRB recommended right? Well, let’s take a look
Well that’s not exactly what the government offered was it? What were the other recommendations?
That’s DOUBLE what the government are offering.
Time will tell what happens with 3 & 4 but you can see from 1 & 2 that the Smoke and Mirrors has already begun.
The additional (1%) non-consolidated ‘bonus’ has proved to be quite controversial. Government has decreed that it must be paid from existing (reduced, stretched, unsustainable)!Police Budgets. Many Chief Constables and PCCs have already warned that this could mean the loss of even more Police Officers in order to pay for it.
We didn’t realise it at the time but this was just the beginning of a cynical subterfuge by government. It was about to get worse.
Enter into the ring the grand illusionist, Cruella the Magnificent.
At Prime Minister’s Questions Theresa May had the absolute affrontery to claim that in the 7 years since 2010 Police pay had increased by 32%.
Despite seven years of pay rises at 1% or less, she claimed a new police officer in 2010 would have actually gained £9,000 once progression pay and the rise in the income tax personal allowance was factored in. So even once inflation, now at 2.9%, was factored in, the rise in real-terms take-home pay was still worth 32%, she boldly claimed.
Unfortunately if a Prime Minister says something many will accept it as a fact, after all politicians don’t lie do they? The Police Federation went so far as to accuse her of telling an outright lie.
Mrs May’s ludicrous, and highly selective, claim only just holds true for a hypothetical Constable joining in 2010 and making normal progression with increased seniority, nothing to do with pay rises in the traditional sense. A full explanation can be read here.
Just when things were beginning to settle down, the smoke was thinning and drifting away, we suffered our 5th terrorist attack of 2017. Fortunately nobody was killed or very seriously injured but it could easily have been very much worse.
In a period of rising crime, increasing terrorist activity and who-knows-what other, increasing, demands on the Police Service Prime Minister, Theresa May, is recklessly continuing with her agenda of Police Reform and slashing the numbers that do not matter. 20,000 fewer Police Officers than there were in 2010. What does that really look like?
I’ve used this graphic before, but I like it. I think it shows the loss of 20,000 Police Officers brilliantly. If you imagine the areas of England and Wales shaded pink, that’s what 20,000 fewer officers looks like. Not one single Police Officer in any of the pink areas, not one. Does anybody outside Conservative HQ really think that is a good idea, or sustainable in the face of the threats we now encounter?
So, as we now have 20,000 fewer, like it not, it’s the reality, we were told after Friday’s latest terrorist attack that “extra”armed Police would be patrolling the streets, the Threat Level has been raised to Critical, and extra officers generally would be on duty, assisted by armed soldiers where appropriate.
Let us be very clear. There are NO extra Armed Police Officers. There are NO extra Police Officers available of any kind. We cannot just open another box of Police Officers and deploy them. Mrs May and her policies have emptied all the boxes. So where are all these “extra” officers coming from then?
The answer is incredibly simple. They are the very same officers that have always been there. They will be working longer shifts, they will be working on what should be their Rest Days, but have been cancelled. They may even be working on what should have been their Annual Leave but it may have been cancelled in extreme circumstances.
The only officers that could conceivably be described as ‘extra’ are those from the Civil Nuclear Constabulary and Ministry of Defence Police. They are not really extra, they’re always there, they’re just not counted in the 43 Constabularies, and their numbers are really quite small. Mrs May’s 20,000 will, inevitably, have included some Armed officers. I don’t know the exact numbers but there are fewer armed officers now than 7 years. Surely there should be more?
Oh well that’s alright then, everything is covered.
No it isn’t. The consequences of the 20,000 shortfall and May’s policies doesn’t stop here.
Those officers will rapidly suffer ‘burn out’. They cannot be expected to work 12-16 hour shifts, work their days off and still be as bright as a button, it doesn’t work like that. They will be tired, possibly grumpy, their reactions and judgement will not be at their optimum. I have already seen officers claiming that all Rest Days have been cancelled in London this weekend. This could have been avoided if not for May’s policies.
The officers will be incurring overtime. They have the option of taking Time Off in Lieu or being paid for it. Time Off in Lieu just creates a problem further down the line, either there will be a shortage of officers available on some date in the future as officers begin to take the time they are owed, or they will find themselves unable to take Time Off that they are rightfully owed, further adding to their stress and fatigue. Or they could opt to be paid for their overtime, only we are constantly being told that there is no money. Police Stations are being closed and sold off, numbers of Poli e Dogs and Horses are being reduced in an attempt to save money. 20,000 officers have disappeared. Yet we still think officers can be paid for their overtime.
I can only assume that Theresa May must be incredibly proud of her achievements as she shows no sign of admitting that she was wrong or attempting to rectify the situation. I have never before heard a Prime Minister sound quite so insincere when she speaks.
Mrs May and a small number of collaborators will soon have completed the destruction of Policing as we know it in this country. All behind a display of Smoke and Mirrors, the like of which we very seldom see.
Finally, whilst this post has concentrated on the Police, I wish to make it crystal clear that I support ALL of our Public Sector and that they should ALL get a fair deal from the government, although I am not holding my breath on that one.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you, The Tories, Masters of Illusion.
I am Old School, a Traditionalist, and I make no apology for that.
In my heart we would be policed in the old-fashioned way, a truncheon, a whistle and a cape. However, in my head I know that is no longer possible.
I detest the idea of arming the Police, it’s not how things should be, not how the British Police operate, but life is not that simple any more.
My head is telling me that ALL Front Line officers should be routinely armed, and a defined percentage of Middle Office and Back Office offices should be trained and authorised. The world has changed, nothing we can do about that in the short-term. We are about 21,000 officers short on what we did have in 2010, the population is growing and terrorism has returned to the streets of Britain. Mainly England I agree but certainly not restricted to London alone. It could strike literally anywhere.
Faced with a knife or machete wielding terrorist or a suicide bomber we must rely on “Can you hang on a minute till the ARV gets here please?”
If the government or NPCC or College of Policing, Police Federation do not want a routinely armed Police Service the only other visble option is to MASSIVELY INCREASE the number of ARVs on our streets, giving all Forces, Boroughs, OCUs sufficient armed officers to provide a meaningful response to any armed situation from hostage-taking, bank robberies through to terrorism in any form. Not sharing resources like the NPAS fiasco, each Force MUST have its own dedicated resources. My own Force (where I live in DeadBadgerShire) consists of 3 large counties, I wouldn’t want to dilute our meagre resources further.
The choice is simple to me, we MUST accept that the world has changed and can’t be reversed quickly, if at all. Arm the Police or increase the ARVs. Either option would benefit hugely from reducing some, or preferably all, of the 21,000 losses incurred by the Tories.
I actually, and honestly, believe that the majority of the British public would support either of these proposals.
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.
My point was, and still is, that we should take a serious look at the policy of Single Crewing. I absolutely know that times are tough and numbers are down, but times are also changing and I question whether or not single crewing is appropriate in the current era.
Peter Kirkham was of the view that single crewing CAN be appropriate some times. What we did absolutely agree on though is that IF officers are to be sent out single crewed then a supervising officer (I haven’t given much thought to the appropriate rank yet) should conduct a comprehensive Risk Assessment. I absolutely know that this is a bureaucratic nightmare and it will change from day to day, but now, more than ever, Officer Safety is paramount. When the numbers have been so recklessly slashed we can’t afford to lose too many to acts of violence on duty.
When it all goes wrong and a single crewed officer is incapacitated in some way, through violence, then the Police Federation should be proactive and aggressive in challenging the relevant Risk Assessment and properly advising and representing their member. The Police have always claimed to be big on Elf n Safety, now they need to prove it and abide by it, make the officers’ working environment as safe as they can.
As I said previously I’m fiercely in favour of scrapping single crewing and I’m quite aware that the proposal of Risk Assessments will not be popular with some, but Officer Safety is far more important surely? If the officers get incapacitated in some way they simply can’t do their job.
Returning to London last night, my first thoughts were based around “what if that had been a gun and not a knife?” If the “terrorist” had been armed with a gun (of any kind) how well would we have dealt with it? Were we ready/prepared for this incident, or worse? I sat back and read, without joining in, last night, but the debate went on again about routine arming of the Police, and the arguments and counter-arguments went back and forth.
Me, myself and I have never been in favour of routine arming of the British Police, but I think it’s clear to all that times have changed since Dixon of Dock Green. The world is a much different place.
I don’t pretend to have the answer, there are many out there far better qualified than I to contribute to that debate, but I am qualified to say that it is a debate that we should have. The Police, the Public and the government all have a view and a part to play in this debate, and, just for once, it’s a debate we should have gloves off without any side trying to score cheap points off another side. The subject is far too serious for that.
I suspect that the government already have sizeable stockpiles of weapons ready for the day when the public finally revolt, but regardless of that, cost should not be a factor here, keeping Britain safe should be the most important factor by far, Party Politics can wait outside the door.
Best wishes to all, and a speedy recovery to some.
Oh, by the way, I have no idea what Sophie Khan thinks of last night’s tasering as I’m still blocked by both her accounts.
I have just read Peter Kirkham’s most excellent post, and rather than paraphrase or précis it, I recommend that you read it here.
All I can say in response is that the government have not made me feel any safer at all. We’re going to keep both of our new Aircraft Carriers. Oh goody. The Typhoons are staying with us for another 25 years. Great. We’re getting a shed load of Stealth Fighters, fantastic.
The government has pledged BILLIONS of ££££ for these things, and that is good.
What bothers me is that the current threat is from Terrorists and it is NOW, not in 10 years or so when the increased funding for the military etc will begin to reap its benefits.
If we are unfortunate enough to have a Paris style attack in London in the next few months, who will face it?
Will a Trident submarine surface in the Pool of London and flatten the terrorists? A squadron of Typhoons fly over the capital and demonstrate their skills at Air Strikes? No.
It will be the Police who are the first resort. POSSIBLY supported by the Army, but with the best will in the world that can’t be guaranteed.
I remain to see what Gorgeous George says tomorrow, but it’s highly likely that the very group of people who would be in the Front Line of any reply to an ISIS attack will be the biggest losers in tomorrow’s speech.
If that turns out to be true, and if we do indeed suffer an ISIS attack here, hundreds of thousands of people will never forgive, never forget and will hold the whole of Camoron’s Cabinet petsonally responsible.
If you choose to ignore the advice from professionals you do so at your own risk.
As ordinary citizens we have to listen to our politicians misleading Parliament EVERY SINGLE DAY, yet there is no retribution whatsoever. When they do it nobody within Parliament, any Party, takes any notice whatsoever. It’s just accepted as the Norm, part of The Game.
Well, it’s not a bloody game when people’s lives are at risk. Public Safety should be right up there with the principal objectives of government, but it clearly isn’t.
I am absolutely sick to the back teeth with Tory MPs of assorted levels spouting the tired old mantra “Reform is working”. Reform is defined in the dictionary thus
make changes in (something, especially an institution or practice) in order to improve it.
We are not witnessing Reform, we are witnessing wholesale destruction of the Police Service in a manner, and at a pace, never before witnessed in this country. YOU CANNOT MAKE SOMETHING BETTER by slashing the resources that you pour into it and simply sit back and say “Deal with it”. That in no way fits the definition of Reform.
The Prime Minister, Home Secretary and someone called Penning keep telling us, and Parliament, that “Crime is Down”. It is NOT.
I will go so far Dave, Theresa, to accuse you both of LYING to us the Public and your contemporaries in Parliament. I challenge you both you demonstrate to us a) how the Police Service is being ‘Reformed’ and not destroyed and b) that these ‘Reforms’ are working. How has the Police Service been ‘Improved’?
If you repeatedly make these false claims in your official speeches and addresses in Parliament, then surely you are Misleading Parliament and presumably vulnerable to a charge of Contempt of Parliament as were our three Police Officers? Oh no, of course, silly me. You can hide behind Parliamentary Privilege. You can spout whatever spin and alternative version of the truth that you want to with complete immunity.
As forDemocracy, I don’t believe that we are currently seeing policies from our Tory party that in any way reflect what the majority of the electorate wish for. Do the public that elect you want the Police Service to be cut beyond recognition? In this age of heightened Terrorist Threat, do the public that elect you want FEWER armed officers on our streets, fewer Border Force officers, indeed many fewer Police Officers generally?
I am now hearing about a potential threat of chemical or biological attack, maybe in France, maybe elsewhere. Our government think that we can best proceed by cutting the number of officers on our streets and, by extension, our ability to prevent or react to any such attack.
In the long term I think it would be infinitely better for the government to admit they got it wrong and urgently set about putting things right again. I don’t suppose for one second that Camoron gives a tuppenny toss what I think but I for one will never forgive him, or any of his government, if anything happens on UK mainland that could have been made less serious without their ‘Reforms’.