Anyone For A Class Action?

I saw a very welcome headline yesterday;

Police force threatens to sue Theresa May over funding plans

“What a fantastic idea” I thought.

The article, if true, gives an intriguing insight into the inequality of Cuts and Funding by Central Government. The Met seems set to suffer an unbelievable level of cuts (up to 43%) while some rural Forces seem set to receive an increase in funding. If the Met were truly to suffer a 43% cutback in funding next year I really can’t work out in what shape it might survive, if at all.

Following on from the theme of yesterday’s post, what a fantastic opportunity.  If all of the other Police a Forces in England and Wales joined together with West Midlands Pilice and launched a Class Action against the Home Secretary she would be forced to justify her policy in the Courts. Who knows, she might even pick up a second conviction for Contempt of Court, two would definitely be a first and put her in a class of her own.

Sadly, I can’t realistically expect the Tory PCCs to support the idea, but it’s certainly one that appeals to me.

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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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Roll Up, Roll Up, Enjoy The Show

Well Twatter was awash with condemnation yesterday, and I have to say I’m hardly surprised.  It’s been a while since I saw such a ridiculous management decision, at least a week.

The Twattersphere was rent asunder by this headline in the Birmingham Mail

We hope you enjoy the show! Outrage as events company offers ticket to police misconduct hearing.

 

A West Midlands PC had fallen foul of his management and was due to appear on a Discipline Board for an offence of Gross Misconduct.  He deserved to be there, of that there is no doubt, and ultimately he was found Guilty and summarily sacked, no problem with that.

What attracted the ire of the Twitterati was the fact that West Midlands Police has taken the decision to ‘sell’ tickets for the ‘event’.  Actually they were free, but how can allocating tickets through a 3rd party Events Company ever be right for a Disciplinary Hearing??

Chief Inspector Darren Walsh, from the force’s Public Protection Department, said:

 

“Eventbrite is a free event hosting website that is used by many organisations, including West Midlands Police.

“The site provides members of the public with a self-service facility to manage attendance at meetings and other events. As such the site incorporates standard text which is designed to fit numerous world-wide events.

“While we recognise that the text in the email confirmations may not always be appropriate in cases such as disciplinary hearings, the alternative could involve creating a new hosting website at the taxpayers’ expense.”

And what was that email confirmation that Chief Inspector Walsh was referring to?

“We hope you enjoy West Midlands Misconduct hearing.”

 

events1

 

Events2

I know that Cruella has decreed that Discipline Hearings must be held in public to ensure openness and transparency, although that does not seem to apply to certain senior officers who still enjoyed the privileges of as closed hearing, but nobody ever said that it should be a ticketed event.

Whoever was operating West Midlands Police Twitter Account yesterday had clearly lost the plot and tweeted

  Clearly missing the point that allocating, I believe 20, tickets for a disciplinary hearing is insensitive, demeaning and undignified.,  Whatever the officer is alleged to have done he is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect, not hauled in front of a 3 Ring Circus.

3 ring circus

 

To his credit DCC Dave Tnompson later got involved and tweeted the following;

So I think it’s fair to say that the message has been received by West Midlands Police, a minor triumph for Social Media and Policing, but whoever thought that dishing out tickets was a good idea has obviously got their knitting out and reserved a front row seat in front of Madame Guillotine.  The result of the disciplinary has been completed overshadowed by the surrounding furore. PSDs everywhere please take note, that despite what you may thing even Police Officers have rights. At the heart of human rights is the belief that everybody should be treated equally and with dignity – no matter what their circumstances. This means that nobody should be tortured or treated in an inhuman or degrading way.

Hopefully West Midlands Police and PSDs everywhere have now got that message and we won’t be seeing such an awful treatment of a Police Officer ever again.

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