The Failings Of Theresa May MP (Continued)

Following on from Theresa May’s announcement of her intention to stand as Leader of the Conservative Party, and by default, Prime Minister I felt it appropriate to repost this addendum to The Failings Of Theresa May MP.

Last year (2014) , you may remember, I highlighted just a few of Theresa May’s failings.  I thought it was about time I revisited the subject and brought it up to date a little.

Where to begin?  She’s just carried on in similar vein, bumbling from failure to glorious failure.

How about the 2015 Police Federation Annual Conference.  Her biggest failure was one of diplomacy with the “Come with me, work with me on this OR ELSE” tone of her speech.  Then we get to the little pearls, the nuggets embedded in her speech that she has failed to deliver on;

“when you look at the reforms I have put in place, what they amount to is a programme to make policing fairer, more efficient, and more effective in cutting crime.”.  Really? I’d say she’s failed to do that and has achieved the exact opposite in reality.

“in this country we have the finest policemen and women in the world, and they deserve a Federation that serves them well.”  Really?  She has failed to allow the Federation to serve their members well with her “work with me or I will reform you” approach.  Possibly accounts for the Federation’s apparent lack of action on occasions.

“where you come to me with serious propositions for the good of policing, I will listen to you, just as I have in the past.”  Really?  Theresa May has consistently failed to listen to ANYONE. More on this later.

“The frontline service has been maintained and the proportion of officers in frontline roles has gone up to 91%”. Really?  That is one of the more outrageous failures, the failure to protect the Front Line.

“I know there are those who say there is no more waste to cut. But I simply do not accept that. It is perfectly possible to make savings without affecting the quality of neighbourhood policing”. Another total failure to LISTEN to practitioners or anybody else who might actually know what they’re talking about.

“And as we move into the next five years and reduce spending, we will need to make sure that the frontline service is protected and crime continues to fall.”  Fail. So far she hasn’t managed either.

” So join me and work with me to change policing. The reward will be a better police – for officers and staff and the public you serve – and a country that will be safer and fairer than ever before.”  Not many officers believe that she has produced a better Police, and nobody believes that the country is a safer place.

“What I offer is a positive vision for policing, one in which it is an exciting time to be a police officer, where you have the freedom to get on with your job, where you are rewarded for your skills and hard work, and where policing is fit for the future.” Total FAIL.  I can’t see where she has delivered any of that, the exact opposite possibly.

So what else has she failed on?  She has failed to stop that ridiculous mantra, Crime Is Down, Reform Is Working.  Even in her own white-collar constituency of Maidenhead crime is UP, how has she failed to notice? I have yet to see any positive evidence that Reform Is Working. Have I missed it?

Her glorious failure to get the CSA enquiry under way would have been laughable if it wasn’t tragic.  She should be more than embarrassed, that was UNFORGIVEABLE at best, cynical at worst.

According to that austere body the National Audit Office she has failed to understand her own cuts and failed to ensure that the government understand them.

“The Home Office is making deep cuts to the police service without understanding their effects, the Government’s spending watchdog has said.

In a critical report the National Audit Office argued that ministers did not have enough information to understand the effects of their own policies.”

Quite a serious failing I would have thought.

Just about every time Theresa May turns her attentions to the thorny subject of Immigration she seems to fail.  The Think-Tank Civitas had this to say about her latest proposals on ‘free movement within the EU;

“How would the already-stretched border force sift a) EU newcomers with solid job offers from b) EU newcomers on holiday and c) EU newcomers saying they were going on holiday but potentially looking for work? There is no clear line between b) and c) since plenty of young holidaymakers find casual work to prolong their stays or fund excursions. This is a typical British backpacker experience, but impossible to predict for a time-pressed border guard.

May’s proposal would also drive up the proportion of migrants with genuine job offers. The UK economy has developed a strong taste for migrant labour in construction, hospitality, domestic and agricultural work. UK employers now have links to recruiters across Europe, both through formal job agencies and through their current employees’ home contacts. As we saw last year in the case of a sandwich firm advertising jobs in Hungary, if British employers want cheap EU labour, they will get it.

For those not looking for work, whom May accuses of coming just ‘to claim benefits’, the policy is equally limp. As she herself points out, migrants cannot claim benefits until they have been working for 3-6 months and this would be extended to four years if Cameron’s explicit renegotiation goals are achieved.

It is very hard to see the logic behind May’s proposal, and this could be why Downing Street issued a muddled retreat the next day.”

The Home Secretary will no doubt be thrilled to learn that she has earned the dubious distinction of being this year’s worst Islamophobe.  Well, she would be wouldn’t she?  She beat her ex-cabinet Tory Party colleague Michael Gove to the prize, because she has been a driving force behind the introduction of yet more repressive legislation targeting the Muslim community. This includes the new Counter Terrorism and Security Act which obligates professionals such as teachers and doctors to spy on Muslims and allows border officials to seize passports of people (read Muslims) suspected of travelling for ‘terrorist’ purposes.  In a political world that just has to be a #FAIL.

She has a Policing Minister under her wing who, by his own admission, doesn’t know what’s going on:-

 

He has ‘no idea’ if the proposed cuts are unsustainable?  It’s his job to know and it’s Theresa May’s job to make sure that he knows.  Another failure.

Finally, regardless of who is Home Secretary, never mind which Party, isn’t an important part of the role to “look after the Police”?  Not in a fawning, give them everything they want sort of way, but to make sure that they are kept in good order, efficient and capable of performing their duties for the safety and protection of the public.  Well, she’s certainly failed there.  Surely her biggest and most serious fail of all is lying to the electorate?  We’re not stupid, we know we’ve been lied to.  As a voter I simply want to hear THE TRUTH, whatever that truth may be, then I can make informed assessments.  Politicians who repeatedly lie to their electorate have no place in government

Mid-Term assessment?  C-, Could Do Better, Must Try Harder

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My Crystal Balls Could Use A Little Polishing

Just under 2 years ago I had a go at predicting the future.

In What Does Your Future Hold? I predicted that G4$, supported by PCSOs and Specials, would be carrying out routine patrolling, together with fixed posts of low sensitivity, protection of insecure or vulnerable premises, reporting and recording of crimes etc. leaving sworn officers to investigate the crimes that have previously been recorded, arresting suspects, armed protection etc and all other duties which require a sworn officer to carry them out.

 Well, the good news is that neither G4$, $ERCO nor the new boys on the block, TSG Policing, have stepped in there,  YET. I still wouldn’t rule it out though.

 Instead, we have forces across the land that are actually reducing their PCSOs, in some cases, possibly ALL of them.

Dozens, possibly 100s, of Police Buildings have been sold off, normally to

 ever-vigilant Property Developers, ready to make a tidy profit from this shameful situation.  I don’t need to tell anybody that once they’re sold off and the proceeds spent/invested, they are NOT ever going to be replaced, ever.

Around the UK we are losing Police Dogs, Mounted Sections, Underwater Search or Marine Units, helicopter resources have been ‘rationalised’ under the NPAS and that doesn’t seem to be a roaring success.  In their place we have ‘volunteers’ on horseback

 patrolling rural areas on a Neighbourhood Watch type basis, at least one Police Force has a Special Dog Handler and in London, possibly elsewhere, some  Specials have received Level 2 Public Order Training, although I understand that this, and Response Driving Courses, is currently on hold.

Finally (I hope) Policing Strength.  At least one Force has predicted that in 4 years time they will down to 50% of their 2009 establishment.  Devon and Cornwall have just predicted the loss of 500 of their 3,000 surviving officers, and who knows how many in the years to come?

Just take a long, slow slurp of your morning coffee and think for a minute.  What if all the Forces in England and Wales lost 50% of their warranted officers together with their PCSOs.  Could we live with that? Could Society survive?  Certainly not in the shape we currently know it.

I have been predicting for a long time now that the Home Office has an ultimate target of 80,000.  Nobody in the know has ever contradicted that, told me that I’m wrong.  Somebody in NPCC/ACPO must have the ear of the Home Office and know the truth.  If I’m wrong TELL US, #Simples.

Buildings cannot quickly be rebuilt, officers cannot quickly be recruited and trained.  Make no mistake, the carnage wrought by this psycophantic government will be with us for years or even generations to come. IT WILL NOT END IN 2020.


Just click on any of the images above. All images courtesy of Police Federation #CutsHaveConsequences.

David Cameron, Theresa May, Sir Thomas Winsor, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, not one of them has taken the slightest bit of notice of me or any other Police blogger that I’m aware of. The government have demonstrated their total arrogance when it comes to ignoring the opinion and advice of experts and practitioners. The Police Chiefs, in the main, have come to the party far too late, and in my eyes, at least, most of them lack credibility.  They should have fought for their corner a long time ago, presenting a united front right from the start.  Instead many just kept quiet until very recently, and some NPCC Chiefs even appear to support the government sometimes.

The public voted the Tories in, back in May. Camoron and his Cabinet Office have done the legs of Plan A, although I don’t suppose they realise that. Just as well there’s a Plan B.  

My inkwell has dried up, The Quill rests.

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Anybody Else Think This Is A Bit Odd?

Shared Services Connected Limited is a new company set up by French company Steria Ltd, who own 75% of the company and the British Government own the remaining 25%.

The government has outsourced a number of its administrative functions to Shared Services Connected Ltd, and about 1200 staff from DWP and DEFRA amongst others are now employed by Shared Sevices Connected Ltd which hasn’t pleased the PCS Union.

The Ministry of Justice also has an outsourcing contract with Shared Services a Connected Ltd which the PCS Union anticipate will result in redundancies and office closures.

Shared Services Connected Ltd has already taken over back offices across the country for the Department for Work and Pensions, the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and the Environment Agency. It is now looking at taking over work at the Ministry of Justice and the Home Office.

Within a year, it started a closure programme of sites affecting more than 500 jobs in Sheffield, Cardiff, Newport and Leeds and is looking to relocate the work to India. Other centres such as Blackpool, Newcastle, Peterborough and York will also lose staff.

So it seems as though the Cabinet Office, headed by David Camoron has a 25% stake in a company closing down government offices and making civil service staff redundant.

As I pointed out yesterday, the  Metropolitan Police has formally made the decision to outsource finance, procurement and HR to Shared Services Connected Limited (SSCL), the majority of which is owned by Sopra Steria.

But it’s not all bad news, at least they haven’t got any contracts with our beloved NHS have they?

Oh yes.

NHS Shared Business Services is the largest provider of business support services to the NHS in England.

NHS SBS is a unique joint venture between the Department of Health and Sopra Steria.

Our mission is delivering savings of £224 million for the NHS by 2015; which was achieved 15 months ahead of schedule.

And Sopra Steria is the company that owns 75% of Shared Services Connected Ltd.

So, everywhere you look is this French company Sopra Steria, fan of zero hours contracts, and majority shareholder of Shared Servives Conncted Ltd. The remaining 25% is owned by the Cabinet Office, headed by David Camoron.

This is a partnership engineered by Francis Maude MP.  Remember him? He was also the architect of the MPs’ new Pension Scheme.

A cynical person might think that following on from the glorious failure of G4$ to come up to scratch at the 2012 Olympics, a new company had to be found.  What better option than to create your own company with a 25% stake in every contract won.

After the axing of over 200 jobs in Sheffield, one of our own MPs,  Paul Blomfield, had the following thoughts on the whole sham

“Just weeks after David Cameron said Britain should become the ‘re-shore nation’, Ministers have let a private company take an axe to publically funded civil service jobs from Sheffield and look set to let them move the jobs offshore. The hypocrisy is breathtaking. 

“Last year I asked the Government how many jobs would be moved offshore under this privatisation contract. The Minister refused to give a straight answer and said ‘the future delivery model’ hadn’t been decided. Now it’s very clear they knew exactly what the model was and it shamefully involves all of the civil servants in Sheffield losing their jobs. I’ll be writing to Ministers to find out when they first knew about these plans and to call on them to think again.

“This is another example of the Government’s using the cover of austerity to scrap public sector jobs in Sheffield, while at the same time handing out lucrative contracts to private firms”. 

–Ends—

Notes for Editors

1. In November 2013 the Government handed a lucrative contract ‘worth in excess of £1bn over 10 years’ to a new private company Shared Services Connected Ltd (SCCL). SCCL is 75% owned by the private firm Steria and 25% owned by the Government. http://www.steria.com/uk/media-centre/press-releases/press-releases/article/steria-awarded-major-uk-government-contract-to-transform-shared-services-and-help-drive-civil-servic/ 

2. SCCL handles the sensitive personal and confidential data of tens of thousands of civil servants in the Department for Work and Pensions, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Environment Agency.

3. SCCL has confirmed that three of its sites – Cardiff, Leeds and Sheffield – will close later this year with a loss of over 500 jobs. They have refused to rule out further cuts and office closures in future.

4. In December 2013 Paul Blomfield asked Ministers how many jobs would be moved offshore under the contract with Shared Services Connected Limited. His question and the answer from Cabinet Office Francis Maude can be read at http://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2013-12-05a.179463.h&s= %28shared%29+speaker%3A24943#g179463.q0 

5. In January David Cameron made a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos on the opportunities of re-shoring jobs back to the UK. The Prime Minister said “there is a chance for Britain to become the “Re-Shore Nation” and that we must “act now to seize the opportunities of re-shoring”. https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/world-economic-forum-davos-2014-speech-by-david-cameron–2   

We have Policy Exchange, the U.K. Government and quite possibly Tom Winsor all advocating outsourcing as the way forward, then the Cabinet a Office owns 25% of the company that is now picking up outsourced contracts all over the shop.

Can that be right? Doesn’t sound very ethical to me and most certainly does not keep politics out of Policing.  Takes the government right to the very heart of the major back room functions of who knows how many Police Forces.

Is $$CL the new G4$/$ERCO

We have an MP complaining, quite rightly, about Camoron’s astounding hypocrisy.

Maybe I’m just an old crusty and there’s nothing wrong with this arrangement, but it all seems way too incstuous to me. I’m sure somebody will point me in the right direction.

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Yet Again This Government Treats Thousands Of Voters With Contempt

Way back in the dim and distant I signed one of these on-line Government Petition thingies.  It was to debate a Vote of No Confidence in Jeremy Hunt (NOT Rhyming Slang)?  You can imagine how I excited I felt when I heard that the government was actually going to debate this, and then I received an email informing me that IT HAD BEEN DEBATED.

Almost a quarter of a million people had signed this petition, no small number by anybody’s standards.

So I followed the link to the transcript of the debate, went straight to the bottom to discover what had been resolved.

Question put and agreed to.

Resolved,

That this House has considered the e-petition relating to contracts and conditions in the NHS.

6.55 pm

Sitting adjourned.

WTF?   thought I.  That’s not what they were supposed to be debating, so I went back to the very beginning, a very good place to start.

4.31 pm

Valerie Vaz (in the Chair): A digital debate took place on Twitter, ahead of today’s debate. Mr Speaker has agreed that for this debate members of the public can use handheld electronic devices in the Public Gallery, provided that they are silent. Photos, however, must not be taken.

Helen Jones (Warrington North) (Lab): I beg to move,

That this House has considered the e-petition relating to contracts and conditions in the NHS

 

So, correct me if I’m wrong but the Committee have debated something completely different to the petition and then had the gall to send out an email telling hundreds of thousands of people who had signed the petition that it had been debated, when the reality was something completely different.

One more example, if any more were needed for this government’s total contempt for the Electorate. Man Electorate that for some reason voted for them in May, as this how they are treated.

Totally beyond DESPICABLE.

 

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Policing UK – The Analogy

it occurred to me this morning, while munching on my CocoPops (I don’t do muesli), just exactly what is happening to British Policing in the name of Reform.

Take the instance of a brave Gladiator, struck down in combat with one arm severed, and a leg barely hanging on.  What is going to happen to that brave Gladiator?  In the absence of the wherewithal to heal his wounds he will surely die.

Policing is such a Gladiator.  We have seen Central Government hack at our limbs until we are now, surely, mortally wounded. Is there anybody out there willing or able to stitch or cauterise our wounds?

If the answer is “NO” then our life-blood will surely ebb away, just as certainly as that of our brave Gladiator, and the end result must surely be the same, a certain death.

Is this what Government intended? If not, they must have surely been Reckless in the extreme in their actions.

The blood is already flowing, our life-blood is ebbing into the barren soil, the NHS are also struggling so it’s not certain if the Ambulance and Doctors etc will arrive in time.

Only one course of action left, put AMIP and the Coroner on standby, looks like there’s a Murder Enquiry on the horizon.

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Has Theresa May Been Kidnapped?

Well, you never know your luck, but she has certainly gone surprisingly quiet.

Not a politician afraid to speak her mind.  Never known to be slow to take the opportunity of criticising the Police or Border Force, but where is she?  We haven’t been treated to any bile for ages?

If we’re really lucky she’ll be sunning herself on a foreign beach somewhere prior to returning to Britain via Calais where she can witness the shambles there for herself.

Maybe the Summer Sales have started at Christian Laboutin and she will emerge eventually.

I haven’t heard anything from Mrs May since the end of last month (some may say thankfully).  Not that anything significant has happened recently at home of course.

Two males have been convicted of the Manslaughter of PC Neil Doyle, whilst he was enjoying a night out with some colleagues.  In response to their convictions the Home Secretary said…………………..NOTHING.

Police in East London came under attack from 400 Party-goers pelting them with bottles.  It was reported on Social Media and numerous Media outlets  e.g.

Bottles and bricks thrown at police from balconies as 400-strong mob clash with officers amid Hackney party chaos

Stamford Hill party attack: Metropolitan police officers attacked by 400 people wearing masks and throwing bricks in Hackney

EVEN the BBC

Police attacked by masked revellers at Hackney party

And the Home Secretary said………….NOTHING. I have absolutely lost track of the number of knives that have been taken off the streets in the last month, how many stabbings there have been, and the constants presence of a few shootings.  According to the Office of National Statistics, Violent Crime rose by 21% in 2014 across England and Wales.  21%!!!!!  2,030 Violent Crimes recorded by Police EVERY DAY.    Overall crime recorded by police in the 2014 calendar year increased by 2 per cent to 3.8 million, and still nobody in government contradicts the stupid #CrimeIsDown mantra.  Crime is NOT down, it is UP, and what does the Home Secretary say about it?……………….NOTHING Finally, I must thank my reader for bringing the following article from the Grauniad to my attention;

The mother who defends stop and frisk: ‘What about my dead son’s civil rights?’

For the benefit of the Home Secretary, Lee Jasper and all other do-gooders, there is clearly another side to Stop and Search.  I don’t propose to repeat what I have already written about it, but consider this, from the Grauniad; Akeal Christopher was a 12 year old black youth, shot dead in 2012.  Three years later, the shooter, who most likely still lives in the neighbourhood, remains at large. The failure of the police to find justice for Akeal and others like him has led his mother to one firm and yet seemingly counter-intuitive conviction: stop and frisk should be reinstated to save lives in the black community.

Young black men, who make up 23% of the city’s [New York] population accounted for more than 50% of the stops. And yet the police kept stopping and frisking, until last year. On 12 August 2013, stop and frisk was ruled to be unconstitutional, and was officially banned from the city. A recent article found that shootings in New York are up 9% since last year and homicides are up by almost 20%. But could stop and frisk have lowered those numbers? While she acknowledges stop and frisk engaged in racial profiling and should be modified, to her it was still working – and guns were being removed. “The number seems low, but 6,000 less guns equals hundreds of saved lives,” she says. “Until the black community stops killing each other, some people will have to be stopped and frisked. Everyone talks about civil rights, but what about my son’s civil rights? What about my civil rights?”

Please read the article in its entirety.  I fully accept that I have merely quoted some of a much longer article, but who can argue against Ms Christopher’s plea?  Sometimes we have to infringe the Human Rights of some to protect others.  It IS a difficult balancing act and sometimes impossible to get right.  Next time you hear someone going on about Stop and Search just remember the recent stabbings, the outbreak of Zombie Killer knives on the streets of London and elsewhere.  How else can we tackle those problems WITHOUT Stop and Search.  If you want to criticise PLEASE provide a viable alternative to consider. Here is just one example of a Zombie Killer knife available to buy online http://www.ecrater.co.uk/p/21841520/zombie-killer-deterrent-full-tang? Are the streets of London so overrun by Zombies that this is the weapon of last resort?  Finally I give you this from just today, search Twitter, there are MANY others, just look at the picture please;

And what has our Stop and Search Queen, Theresa May, had to say on this subject?……………..NOTHING

 

For those of you who don’t remember what she looks like, here she is

If found please inform your local Police asap
If found please inform your local Police asap

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Never Seen A Police Officer On Your Street?

Then maybe this is why.

It’s old news but slow old me has only just caught up with it.

Our dear friends the NPoCC in the form of @CmdrChrisGreany has issued a paper following on from a study following on from a nonsense.

Apparently/allegedly in the first 3 months of this financial year Mutual Aid shifts across England and Wales increased by 87%. For anybody interested in the numbers they rose from 1383 to 2576.

For those of you non-Police persons unsure what a Mutual Aid shift is, it’s where your officers are sent to Police in somebody else’s County to help out in a (normally) Public Order scenario, e.g.  Strikes, Sporting Event, Civil Disorder.  This is nothing new, it has been going on for years, but the size of the increase this year disturbs me.

Only last week we learnt how, admittedly only 2, officers have been sent to Spain to assist with drunken British yobs, now I stumble across this which is much more disturbing.

Am I being thick here?

We are suffering the most brutal onslaught on Policing in living memory from our own bloody government.  17,000+ losses in 5 years with the same to come.

I have to confess that I’m not familiar with the current size of a PSU (Police Support Unit) is but it used to be 1 Inspector, 2 Sergeants and 20 PCs, or 1 Sgt and 10 PCs depending upon the scale of the event and the Aid requested.

Again, possibly I’m being thick and missing the point but that’s a MINIMUM of 1 and 10 missing from your Police Area.  Your depleted Police Force is now losing more men and women (temporarily) to another Force, EVEN LESS Police Officers on YOUR street.

“WAIT!”  I hear, being cried from Duties Offices across the UK.  “It isn’t like that, we’re only sending officers who are on their Rest Days”  Maybe that’s true, I doubt it, but it might be.  If it is true those officers are entitled to recompense either by being paid overtime in real money, or given a day off in lieu at some other time, another day when they won’t be available to patrol YOUR streets.  If they are paid overtime, even if that overtime is reclaimed from the Host Force, someone’s budget is suffering.  Why is it suffering? #Simples. Not enough cops available to meet the demand on Policing. As simple as that.  Why aren’t there enough?

Ask Mrs Bloody May or Uncle Tom Winsor. They started all this off, let them tell us why.

Before anybody remoinds me that the majority of these deployments might not actually be to another Force but merely to another town or city within your Force artea, the basic principle still holds true.. It represents an overall loss to the Policing of your streets, in one way or another.

#ReverseTheCuts before it’s too late

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Was It April Fools Day Yesterday?

I was absolutely stunned at the amount of total bolleaux in the British Press yesterday in relation to Policing.

It was so bad that I actually find it difficult to put it in an order of “badness”.

a) We have the two bold headlines in The Independent;

Black people still far more likely to be stopped and searched by Police than other ethnic groups

and

Stop and Search – Can transparency end this ABUSE of Police Powers

The first article even goes on to point out that a black person is SEVENTEEN times more likely to be stopped and searched in Dorset than a white person. What this lazy, biased piece of journalism doesn’t tell you is that according to the last National Census Dorset is a predominantly white county.  97.9% of Dorset residents describe themselves as ‘white’.

When I was a-coppering I was encouraged to stop and challenge anybody or anything that looked “out of place”! are The Independent encouraging our Police Officers to abandon their duty and ignore something that doesn’t look right because of the person’s ethnicity? Really?

I have said it many times before, EVERY Stop/Search has to have sufficient GROUNDS.  What analysis of the GROUNDS was conducted by The Independent?   None I’m guessing, lazy, provocative journalism, generalisation of the worst kind.

Every Stop/Search record has to be SUPERVISED.  What analysis of the supervision was conducted by the Independent?  None I’m guessing.

EVERYBODY who is Stop/Searched is entitled under PACE to request a hard copy of the Stop/Search record from the Police Station.  Did the Independent conduct any research/analysis of how many hard copies were requested and supplied?  Probably not would be my guess.

Independent – Please give me your responses to the 3 questions above, you are quick enough to allege that Police are ABUSING (your word) their powers, presumably you have the evidence to substantiate it.  To make matters worse, other newspapers have picked up on your story and run with it.

The Grauniad represented your article like this

Stop and search is a disgrace across the UK – not just in our cities

Stop siding with the government and take up the cause of Law and Order.   Stop and Search is NOT a disgrace across the country, pure statistics prove nothing.  Do some actual work and look at the story behind your lurid headlines BEFORE you publish.

b)  we have the BBC’s decision to produce a ‘Documentary Drama’ about the ‘shooting of Mark Duggan’.

BBC to make drama documentary about the Mark Duggan shooting

The film, Lawfully Killed, will tell story of the Tottenham man who was shot by a police marksman in 2011, triggering riots.  Exactly, the events (not helped by the IPCC it should be added) did indeed lead to riots.  What possible good can come from making this film?  The wounds are not yet healed but the BBC think it is appropriate to pour salt in large measure into those wounds?  We have had the investigations, we have had the inquest it was established that Duggan was lawfully killed by an authorised Police marksman.  Where is the story?  What are you trying to achieve?

c) The Grauniads 3rd contribution to mayhem and mischief this week was

British police to patrol Magaluf and Ibiza

Although to be fair to the Grauniad, on this occasion they WERE only reporting the news and seem to have done so reasonably accurately even if they did withhold one vital piece of the story.

Twitter was awash with incredulity yesterday at this bizarre headline.  However both West Midlands Police and NPCC have confirmed that it is a true story.

 

Neither DCC Thompson nor NPCC responded when it was pointed out that the cost of this exercise was not the issue, but the fact that officers were even being considered for deployment abroad in the face of the savage cuts already imposed by the Home Secretary.

Fiddling While Policing Burns
Fiddling While Policing Burns

Two officers for 2 weeks does not cost a fortune and will allegedly be funded in total by the Foreign Office (we shall see shall we) but the residents of West Midlands undoubtedly expect their Police to be policing the West Midlands. In an age when the public seldom see a warranted Police Officer patrolling, how do they feel about two of them patrolling the streets and beaches of Ibiza and Magaluf?

None too happy I suspect, but once again, that doesn’t seem to matter.

I must adjust my calendar, it does seem clear that yesterday was April Fools Day and we are all invited to the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.

 

mad hatter

 

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#DoingItRight

It sounds boring.  “What has it got to do with me?”

Doing it right is an excellent piece of advice and becomes more relevant by the day.

Policing is under attack from any number of directions. High Profile cases are being lost at Court that really should have been won.

Cruella and friends are constantly chiselling away at Stop and Search.

Our new best friend Sophie Khan is constantly waiting in the wings to sue us when someone gets Tasered.

Doing it right doesn’t even stop at the Front Line. Every aspect of everything we do should be done right. The Home Secretary would love to cut back on Stop and Search, even in the face of the seemingly rising volume of Knife Crime. If Stop and Search is Done Right and properly checked and supervised after the event we can robustly defend a) the individual Stop/Searches and b) the practice as a legitimate tactic. WE know it’s vital, but we have a better chance of retaining it if we Do It Right.  I’m in no way saying that you don’t, just putting my thoughts together.

When the evidence stacked up against a suspect is so very overwhelming it’s easy to take your eye off the ball and assume that the quantity and quality of the evidence will see it through the Courts.  When the evidence is all-conquering it’s time to challenge the procedure. How galling is it to get a case thrown out at Court because there has been a slip up in procedure or something has been forgotten?  It’s becoming more and more important to make sure the procedure and paperwork are 100% as well as the evidence.

It’s absolutely VITAL that Professional Standards Departments Do It Right.  Morale is at an all time low, we don’t need to be fitted up by our own.  If wrong-doing is found or suspected it’s perfectly right and appropriate for PSD/DPS to investigate that wrong doing, and prosecute if appropriate, but they too need to Do It Right. We’ve heard too many instances where PSD/DPS have not done it right, particularly in relation to Disclosure.  This does no good for anybody, is unprofessional, unethical and quite possibly unlawful. #DoItRight PSD and you’ll have much more credibility, support and possibly more satisfaction.  If it is possible to DISPROVE an allegation why would you not do that?  What possible satisfaction can you get from stitching up your own? #DoItRight and everybody benefits. Stop chasing targets and chase the truth for every allegation.  I have no problem hearing the truth, however unsavoury, but it gives me no satisfaction hearing stories of malpractice within PSD/DPS.

Authorising Officers, you Inspectors and Superintendents, you also have a duty to #DoItRight.  Every application from anything from a simple Subscriber Check to intrusive surveillance, don’t just sign it. Read it. Make sure it’s appropriate, make sure all the boxes have been ticked. Don’t just automatically sign it and move on, then we might not be where we are today, appearing in front of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal and even if we do we can defend it robustly and confidently.

Finally, it is only by Doing It Right that we can demonstrate, with confidence, how time consuming certain activities (like prisoner processing, report writing, Crime reporting etc) are and the true effects of budgetary cuts are having on routine Policing.  I know how tempting it is to cut corners. I know what it’s like to have the Duty Inspector bellowing at you to get back out on the streets, but sometimes that’s the wrong thing to do.  Sometimes it’s vital to finish what you’re doing before you move on to the next call.

Nobody likes “No Unit To Deal” but we didn’t ask to be put in this situation.  A call only becomes your responsibility once you’ve accepted it. You’re assigned, from that very second you are responsible for its outcome.  Once you are free to accept the next assignment, fine you’re in play. Let “No Unit To Deal” become the Management’s problem. It can become one of the statistics they’re so fond of to help show that we actually need more Bobbies, more Tecs, more Dogs, more Horses, more Cars.

I know it’s a pain in the arse. I know it doesn’t sit easily with the Police desire to get the Job done at any cost, however difficult. I know it doesn’t sit well with our desire to serve the Public well, but maybe by #DoingItRight we are actually serving the Public well, if that helps to justify the demand for More Not Less.  We all KNOW that all you get for Less is Less. The only thing you can achieve with Less is Less.

Work Smart, be Efficient, do your very best, but Policing still needs more Cops, not less.

In my humble opinion #DoingItRight in EVERYTHING may just help us to achieve that long term.

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I Now See CoP In A Whole New Light

Not necessarily a good one.

Way back in March (4 months if my grey matter still functions) I posed a few questions of the College of Policing under the Freedom of Information Act.  You may remember that these were sparked off by the inclusion of a certain solicitor and a certain PCC on their National Undercover Policing Scrutiny Panel.  The FOI gives them 20 days to respond, NOT 4 months!!

To be fair they wrote me a letter on 30th April and 1st of May which included

 

As there are 12 points to your request we need some time to gather this information. This process has been started but we have yet to gather all the answers for you.

We are dealing with your request for information under the Freedom of Information Act and I’m sorry for the delay in replying to you. It’s a complex request and it’s taking longer than anticipated to process.

Complex you say?  We’ll let my reader decide on that one shall we?  12 points?  Remember that number.

Part one of my request was

  • Could you please provide me with copies of any advertisements that were published seeking volunteers to participate in this panel?

Their response was this;

  • No Information held. I can advise you under s16 (Duty to Assist) that as the professional body for policing, the College is committed to promoting equality and allowing everyone to have a voice. Providing routes to enable victims and the public to give feedback on policing practice is an important aspect of our work.
  • The College accepts and welcomes the need for challenge and we encourage it by inviting critics of policing to engage with those who work within the service and share their views with us.

So, no adverts were placed seeking volunteers, therefore the Panel Members seem to  have been selected by the College.

Part 2 of my request was

  • Could you please provide me with copies of any documents that outline/specify the desired qualities and/or qualifications for participants in this panel with particular reference to participants that are neither Police Officers nor former Police Officers.

The response from the College was

  • The panel is the first time we have brought together a group of unpaid volunteers for this purpose. Those invited to join were identified for their experience, expertise or record of challenging policing practices. The make-up of the group continues to be shaped and those initially involved were asked as part of an informal process.
  • I attach the documentation that we have located which are relevant to your request. Please note that some information has been removed under the following exemptions:
    s23 Information supplied by, or relating to, bodies dealing with security matters s40(2)(a)(b) and (3)(a)(i) Personal Information
  • Your attention is therefore drawn to the enclosed refusal notice.

Part 3 went like this;

  • Could you please provide me with copies of any minutes of any meetings where the selection of participants in this panel was discussed?

The Response?

  • No information held.

Part 4 followed;

  • Could you please provide me with a copy of any policy that exists in relation to the vetting of participants in this panel?

A slightly more comprehensive response followed;

  • No information held. However, under s16 (Duty to Assist), I can confirm that the Undercover Oversight Group held on Tuesday 1 July 2014, discussed the vetting required for access to certain materials and background information. There it was established that the Group may wish to discuss in future how the vetting rules are set, what it means in practice and for the scrutiny we wish to apply to this area of policing.

So, no Vetting as yet then.

Part Five (nearly there) was;

  • Could you please inform me if ANY of the current panel members have any relevant operational experience in Undercover Policing?

And the Part Five Response was;

  • The College of Policing neither confirms nor denies that it holds any of the information requested. To give a statement of reasons why neither confirming nor denying is appropriate in this case would itself involve the disclosure of exempt information, therefore, under s17(4), no explanation can be given.

And finally, Part 6 (NOT 12, just 6);

  • I understand that the unpaid volunteers are not subject to the Code of Ethics, could you please supply me copies of any restrictions that they are subject to e.g. Rules & Regulations etc?

The College’s Response to this was;

  • No information held. However, under s16 (Duty to Assist) I can advise you that our unpaid volunteers who support the work of the College (such as those on the National Undercover Scrutiny Panel), do not represent the College and are not bound by the Code of Ethics. However, the panel met in April and discussed (amongst other matters) the panel’s terms of reference with the view to considering the adoption of a ‘terms of membership’, which could draw on codes of conduct used by police forces for similar external advisory groups. Such terms would be published and could apply to any external scrutiny panels created in future.

So, they are ‘discussing’ Terms Of Membership but no enforcible Code of Conduct for their first year at least.  Bearing in mind the subject matter I would suggest that, and a lack of Vetting, are simply not acceptable.  I have no issue with the Police Officers on the Panel but the non-Police Members could have any number of issues in their backgrounds.

Complex?  I don’t think so. 12 Elements? Definitely not.

Contained within the bundle of supporting papers they supplied was a little pearl.  When you consider the number of F*** Off Tablets I have been given by numerous Police Forces whenever I ask a question based around RIPA, on 5th February the Panel met in a London Novotel hotel and were given a presentation on the application of RIPA by ‘a practitioner’.  Maybe that bit should have been redacted and they forgot.  Makes a slight nonsense of all my previous Refusals when Non-Police Panel members can sit in on a presentation.

Anyway, this request has been a first for me.  It’s the first time that I have received a Disclosure, a Refusal and a Neither Confirm Nor Deny all in the same request.

Excellent.

As for the College, does it really take 4 months to get that out to me? Was it really complex? Was it really 12 elements?

Do I feel reassured?  No.  I see only lax procedures by the College i.e. no Vetting, no Code of Conduct or equivalent.  A recipe for disaster.

What think you my reader?

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