Will The Last One Out Please Turn Off The Lights – UK PLC Is Heading For The Badlands

As a devout cynic I shuddered mightily when the announcement, followed by the reality, that we were going to (and have done) lose 17,500 Police Officers under Dave Camoron’s ‘Reforms’.

That was bad enough and I don’t need to go over old ground, we have all seen the reality, the constant ‘Crying Wolf’, Cuts do indeed have Consequences and we are seeing them.  It was brought home to me JUST how bad things are this weekend, the Notting Hill Carnival.  As an established veteran of that event dating back to the most awful events of 1976 I always take an interest in how it’s going.

6,000 officers on Sunday (traditionally Children’s Day) and 7,000 officers on Monday.  Over 300 arrests across the 2 days, 44 arrests for Knife-related offences, and at least one if not two Police Officers stabbed.  I heard a rumour (unsubstantiated I agree, but neither has it been denied) that the Met ran out of Custody space at 10.30 on Monday night.  That is a disgraceful situation,. there must be dozens of redundant Custody Suites dotted around the Met in Stations that have not yet been sold off or closed down, but, oh yes, you need experienced officers to staff them.

Then, to compound my angst, I caught up with the predictions that we are set to lose anything up to 22,000 jobs, and this based on the lowest estimate of a 25% budget cut, it could be as much as 40%.

Several Chief Officers are now coming out of the woodwork to complain about the cuts, with few exceptions, we should have heard from them so much sooner.

In the midst of it all we have whiny, negative Sara Thornton, who I always thought was better than that, banging on about how we can’t cope, we’ll have to stop visiting burglary scenes, etc etc, instead of using her privileged position to properly fight back.  Give them some stick Sara, what have you got to lose?

I should be used to negativity from senior officers by now, but it still doesn’t sit well, how can anybody follow a Chief Constable who is hell-bent on apologising and making excuses for problems caused by government?

 

It’s a good job I’m not a cynical man or I might think that the current furore in the press about Police Cars without sirens being used in a Response mode was designed to deflect public attention away from the bigger problem.  That is a separate, and valid, argument/discussion in its own right, but basically caused solely by Camoron’s savage desire to ‘Reform’ the Police Service.

More and more people are beginning to notice that their politicians are lying to them (allegedly) and it is no duty of a politician of any colour to tell outright porkies.

Camoron, Cruella, Milky Bar – You are NOT Reforming the Police Service, you are ANNIHILATING it.  Stick THAT in your Manifesto’

Surely it is time for ALL Chief Constables, NPCC, PCCs, Federations and PFEW to join forces and totally condemn these evil practices and show a united front for once.  Is that so unreasonable?

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Who Would Be A Cunning Linguist?

Anybody who wants to join the Met apparently.

As from 20th July 2015 anyone considering joining the Met as a Constabule needs to be able to speak one or more of the following languages in addition to Eengleesh;

• Yoruba (Nigeria)
• Hebrew
• Arabic
• Hindi
• Punjabi
• Italian
• German
• Turkish
• Greek
• Spanish
• Polish
• Portuguese
• Sinhali (Sri Lanka)
• Bengali

 

No place there for Fronglais.

I can see how this might increase the number of BME applicants of Asian origin, but as for anybody else?  Who knows.

I shall probably be chastised as racist but when I lived in France I had to talk to the Gendarmes in French.. When I went to an official meeting and handed a leaflet it was in French, if I wanted it in English it was my responsibility to take it away and get it translated at my expense.

How many perfectly competent applicants from BME backgrounds, who would otherwise be an asset to the Met, be put off applying because they don’t speak one of the approved languages as well as English?

An applicant from Greece now, who can speak Greek and English, would now have priority over somebody who is born and bred in this country but can only speak English and Russian for example.

Looking at the article as it is wrote, it seems to me that the indigenous Englishman is well and truly disadvantaged, and that I, along with thousands of others, would no longer be eligible to apply.

I do apologise for two posts in one day, but this one has just kettled my swede as my eldest would say.

Never mind all of the other attributes one might be able to bring to the Met, being a Cunning Linguist is far more important at the moment.

Until, the next stupid policy.

Goodnight all.

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It Is NOT All About Crime Home Secretary

How much longer is it going to take you to get it into your stubborn head that Policing is NOT all about Crime?

Crime is Crime, everybody understands what a Crime is, the Police know how to deal with it and what priority they should allocate to it, but try as you may, you will never succeed in convincing folk that it’s as simple as that.

Are you seriously suggesting that the Police Services of England and Wales (PSNI & Police Scotland as well if you like) ONLY deal with Crime and some other Agency such as G4$ or $erco should sweep up everything else that isn’t tagged ‘Crime’?

I was shocked but not a little surprised to see the headlines in the Daily Mirror on Saturday

Shocking figures reveal police have no officers available for thousands of 999 calls

Maybe I shouldn’t have been, it’s been coming for a long time, but the sheer scale of the problem did take me by surprise.  If it had only been the Met and maybe GMP or West Mids I wouldn’t have been surprised at all, but it seems like it’s affecting everyone.

A Freedom of Information request by the Mirror revealed some shocking results.

  • No police car was available to answer emergency calls in Surrey on more than 1,200 occasions last year.  (This does not mean that no officers attended but it may mean an emergency response was delayed while a unit became available.)
  • Police in Durham were delayed in responding to emergency calls 261 times last year due to resource availability
  • In Sussex, there were 141 emergency incidents last year where the 999 call was flagged as no resource available (NRA)
  • Wiltshire Police said there were five immediate priority calls it was unable to attend in 2014
  • In Essex, a total of 11,040 999 calls were flagged as having no unit to attend in 2014, however, there is no breakdown by call priority. This was 8% of all 999 calls in 2014, with a similar proportion, 1,627, similarly flagged in the first two months of 2015

But let’s be quite clear, I AM IN NO WAY BLAMING THE POLICE for this failing.  The failing falls well and truly with Winsor, May and Camoron, the Unholiest of TrinitiesBy moronically quoting the mantra Crime Is Down and blindly following Winsor’s Independent Review (ha) we have arrived at a situation where resource allocation is completely and utterly skewed away from reality.  Some enlightened PCCs and Chief Constables have seen through the crap and are trying their very best to manage the little they have left to its best effect, or find innovative ways to actually recruit a few more officers that are sorely needed.  If the few can see through the smoke and mirrors, why can’t the rest?  I suppose the answer to part of that question is the tag “Conservative” after some PCC’s names.  There is no way that they are ever going to disagree with the all-powerful Home Secretary.

In 2013 an investigation found that Police Forces then were taking up to 30% longer to answer calls than they were in 2010, that figure MUST have got worse now;

  • In some forces vital minutes have been added to the time it takes for a squad car to arrive at an accident or crime scene
  • Just under a third of the police forces that collect response time information confirmed they reacted more slowly to emergency calls in 2012 than they did in 2010
  • Some police force 999 emergency response times have increased by over 15%, with one force recording an increase of 30%
  • Five police forces have changed their target times since 2010, giving themselves more time to respond to 999 call-outs
  • A 23% increase between 2010 and 2012 in the number of calls not answered by the closest police force, but instead being bounced on to a neighbouring force

THIS IS SIMPLY NOT ACCEPTABLE

So, Mrs May, when exactly are you going to admit that you might just have got this wrong and try to put it right?

Or is the answer that the Public are simply Collateral Damage in your war with the Police?

Either way, it is NOT all about Crime

Police numbers are down, Backroom Staff are down, overall demand for Police is UP.

Even that revered organisation, the College of Policing, has concluded that demand overall is rising;

The College of Policing analysis indicates there are emerging pressures on police resilience – namely decreased levels of police visibility and increasing requests for mutual aid. It also shows that incidents involving people with mental health issues appear to be increasing.

In some forces, public safety and concern for welfare incidents now represent the largest category of recorded incidents.

Demand UP, Numbers DOWN

You do the Maths Home Secretary.

Finally, at the risk of being boring, I can only repeat that the failure of Tom Winsor, and the Home Office, to carry out ANY Risk and/or Impact Assessments on Winsor’s Independent Reviews tells me everything I need to know about your intentions.  Had such assessments actually been commissioned and carried out, we might not be where we are today, hurtling headlong towards Policing disaster.

It is NOT all about Crime.

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Is Theresa May Completely Out Of Touch With Everybody?

Have her advisers and researchers let her down? Is she poorly briefed?

Maybe she just knows better than everybody else and we have yet to realise that.

Maybe she is rigidly toeing the Party Line and doing & saying just what Mr Camoron tells her to do and say.

One thing that is for certain is that she is hell-bent on taking no notice whatsoever of what the Front Line are telling her.  Apparently we are all just “Scaremongering”. I’m sure you all heard her speech at the PFEW Conference or have read the headlines.  Crime is down and those that say otherwise are just Scaremongering.

So please – for your sake and for the thousands of police officers who work so hard every day – this crying wolf has to stop

 

Today, you’ve said that neighbourhood police officers are an “endangered species”. I have to tell you that this kind of scaremongering does nobody any good – it doesn’t serve you, it doesn’t serve the officers you represent, and it doesn’t serve the public.

 

So that is my offer to you: more reform to make your lives better, to save police time, and to give you more discretion so that you can get on with the jobs you are trained to do.

You can choose to work with me. Or you can choose to shout from the sidelines. 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.

 

So, we’ve established that she’s out of touch with the Police.

IMG_0387.JPG

She said the next phase of her police reform programme would include technological changes such as transforming police cars into police stations and the wider adoption of body-worn video cameras. But it would also include moves to reduce demand on policing at a time when crime is falling.

She accused the Police Federation of scaremongering and repeatedly “crying wolf” over the impact of the previous round of cuts in police funding as part of the government’s austerity programme – and rejected their claims that further cuts would force them to adopt “paramilitary styles of policing” in Britain.

 

The home secretary said that a new policing bill in next week’s Queen’s speech would “allow us to go further and faster with reform freeing up police time and putting policing back in the hands of professionals”.

 

Is that really what is necessary or wanted?  Not wanted by the Police, not considered necessary by the Police and I’m reasonably sure that huge chunks of the Public don’t want it or believe that such swingeing cuts are necessary or good for the Country.

So there you have it, I already think that the Home Secretary has lost touch with the reality of what the people on the ground, the practitioners, are saying.   The only organisation she takes notice of is HMIC apparently, need I say more on that subject?

Is she ignoring everybody or is she being worked by a Puppetmaster?

But Mrs May is an elected Member of Parliament and has Constituency matters to occupy her time as well as being Home Secretary.  Surely she would have her ear to the ground and know what was going on in leafy Maidenhead, wouldn’t she?

The town of Maidenhead has a population of about 80,000 and Wiki describes it thus;

Maidenhead is a large affluent town and unparished area in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, in Berkshire,

Not too shabby.  There are approx 75,000 voters in the constituency.

A few, short days ago I wrote a post challenging the idea that Crime is Down.  I haven’t heard anything from the Home Secretary so I presume she hasn’t read it yet, but I’m sure she will.  So, we’ve now established that she’s out of touch with the various bodies that publish Crime Stats.

So how is crime doing in leafy Maidenhead? Down or Up?

Surely Mrs May would know what was happening with Crime in her constituency wouldn’t she? After all, Crime Is Falling.

http://www.ukcrimestats.com/Subdivisions/WMC/65901/ tells us what the crime situation is in the parliamentary Constituency of Maidenhead.

Crime in the Parliamentary Constituency of Maidenhead
Crime in the Parliamentary Constituency of Maidenhead

It gets slightly easier to read if you click on it.

Sadly I can’t extract the whole data table from the website but it it’s clear from the data above that overall, after a dip last year, total crime is now on the increase in Maidenhead.

Graphs of Crime, both with and without Anti-Social Behaviour over the last 12 months show that crime is once again on the increase in Maidenhead, not significantly I grant you, and it peaks and troughs throughout the year, but I see NOTHING in the crime data for Mrs May’s constituency to convince me that CRIME IS DOWN.  You would think that she would know what was going on in her own constituency wouldn’t you?

Crime without ASB Maidenhead

 

Crime including ASB Maidenhead
Crime including ASB Maidenhead

So maybe she’s out of touch with her public as well.

Just to rub salt into her wounds I suppose I should remind us all that she remains only the second serving Home Secretary to have a conviction for Contempt of Court, so I guess she’s out of touch with the judicial system as well.  On the first occasion, in 1991, Kenneth Baker ignored an instruction from a judge in an asylum case and the ruling against him was backed up by five law lords in a landmark judgement.

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Have Your Say, Tell Me What You Think–The Results Are In

A while ago I posed the question – Would you be willing to pay a small amount more each month to help safeguard our Public Services? I posted a short online survey for you to tell me your views, and the results are in.

Shown below are the actual responses received, minus names and email address etc, apart from that untouched.

I’m not certain that the volume of respondents constitutes a statistically significant sample (I’m sure it doesn’t), but most folk who replied would be willing to pay SOMETHING extra on their taxes, NI contributions etc to help keep our Public Services afloat.

Just a shame that the government never thought of asking the question really, they might have got a bigger response.

Would you be willing to pay a small amount more each month to help safeguard our Public Services? Police NHS Armed Forces Education Coastguard What is the Max amount PER MONTH you would be willing to pay on top of your current taxes?
yes yes yes yes yes yes 10
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 100
Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes 10
Yes Yes Yes Yes No No £1
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 5
Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes £50
Yes Yes No No Depends which sector No 10
Yes. Already paying extra via CT to POLICE Yes Yes No Yes Yes 10
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 100
yes yes yes yes yes yes 10
No No No No No No 0
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 25
no no no no no no 9
yes yes yes yes yes yes £10
yes yes yes yes yes yes 5
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 50
yes yes yes yes yes yes 6
no yes yes yes no no £40
yes yes yes yes yes yes 20
Yes Yes No Yes No Yes 10
yes yes no yes no yes 2
yes yes YES yes yes yes 2
yes yes yes yes no yes 10
no no no no no no 0
Yes Yes def Yes def Yes defs No Yes £5
Yes Yes No Yes No No 5
no no yes no no no 10
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What On Earth Has Happened To Professional Standards?

It’s a question I’ve posed before, but I’ve just read a book, The Crocodile Court, which is basically about a West Midlands Police Sergeant who falls foul of the discipline system and what happens after that.  I’ll not spoil it too much in case you want to read it.

Let’s be honest, Professional Standards, or whatever you want to call them, have never been popular in any of their incarnations, but they are a necessary evil.

My point is this, (and once again my experience is restricted to the Met so if any of you ‘Crunchers’ want to tell me how it is in your Force I’d be pleased to hear it), in the good old days, at least up to the beginning of the 2000s, in my opinion and experience, Professional Standards were at least reasonably fair and I’ve known several Complaints Officers who would look hard for an informal resolution rather than go the whole hog.

In Complaints and Discipline, as in Policing in general, it is important to be able prove or disprove any allegation.  No Man’s Land is a result that doesn’t really satisfy anybody.

There are those out there who won’t like this but it is a fact that spurious and vexatious allegations ARE made for a variety of reasons.

If, for example, an allegation of assault or incivility is made against an officer or group of officers and that/those officer(s) vehemently deny the allegation, it is possible that it’s a false allegation.  If it is possible to prove or demonstrate that the allegation is, or is likely to be, false, then why should we not do it?

In the early 90s I was asked by our Complaints Unit to do a Timeline for an allegation of assault made by a group of people against a DC and a DI.  So I read all of the ‘witness’ statements and produced a Timeline that completely covered a very large table, and when I presented my Timeline to the Complaints Unit they had no alternative but to concede that whether these officers had or hadn’t assaulted anybody, the evidence of the ‘witnesses’ could not be relied upon because they clearly weren’t all where they claimed to be in their statements, and could not possibly have seen what they claimed to have seen.  Result – Complaint Discontinued due to lack of evidence.

Fast Forward to 2015 and what do we have now?

Professional Standards Departments who seem to be hell-bent on prosecuting or disciplining officers at the drop of a hat.  It seems to me (my opinion only) that they’re not too interested in finding any evidence which would assist the accused or undermine their own case, or maybe even, just establishing the TRUTH.

When it comes to Crime (and allegations of assault etc against Police Officers are exactly that) the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996 tells us exactly what our roles and responsibilities re Disclosure are,

The Code of Practice requires the police to record and retain material obtained in a criminal investigation which may be relevant to the investigation. In particular:

all police officers have a responsibility to record and retain relevant material obtained or generated by them during the course of the investigation. Material may be photographed, video-recorded, captured digitally or otherwise retained in the form of a copy rather than the original, if the original is perishable, or the retention of a copy rather than the original is reasonable in all the circumstances

  • the officer in charge of the investigation has special responsibility to ensure that the duties under the Code of Practice are carried out by all those involved in the investigation, and for ensuring that all reasonable lines of enquiry are pursued, irrespective of whether the resultant evidence is more likely to assist the prosecution or the accused
  • the Code of Practice creates the roles of disclosure officer and deputy disclosure officer, with specific responsibilities for examining material, revealing it to the prosecutor, disclosing it to the accused where appropriate, and certifying to the prosecutor that action has been taken in accordance with the Code of Practice.
  • the disclosure officer is required to create schedules of relevant unused material retained during an investigation and submit them to the prosecutor together with certain categories of material
  • non-sensitive material should be described on form MG6C and sensitive material should be described on form MG6D.

Most of the ‘Time Bombs’ sit within the Unused Material, i.e. material that the Police possess that they do not seek to use during their proceedings.  The most obvious, and recent example might be tha case of the TSG 6 where hours of CCTV were not disclosed to the Defence, CCTV evidence which ultimately helped clear those officers of any wrongdoing.

Their Judgeships feel so strongly about it they have issued a Judicial protocol explicitly for Unused Material.

“Disclosure remains one of the most important – as well as one of the most misunderstood and abused – of the procedures relating to criminal trials. Lord Justice Gross’ review has re-emphasised the need for all those involved to understand the statutory requirements and to undertake their roles with rigour, in a timely manner.”

Even the Attorney General’s Guidelines bangs on about it “The amendments in the Criminal Justice Act 2003 abolished the concept of “primary” and “secondary” disclosure, and introduced an amalgamated test for disclosure of material that “might reasonably be considered capable of undermining the prosecution case or assisting the case for accused“.”.

You can’t just ignore evidence you don’t like.

So what the hell is going on?  I have heard way too many instances in the past year or so where Professional Standards Officers stand accused of playing fast and loose with the requirements of Disclosure and Unused Material.  Why?

I have, occasionally, been described as an Organisational Terrorist (thank you for that SIB), god knows why, maybe it’s to do with the number of times I challenge the establishment and try to tease the truth out.  Now, I’m more in danger of being described as a Conspiracy Theorist.

It can be no coincidence surely that in the last decade or so, the number of occasions where we have heard about alleged abuse of process by Professional Standards offices has increased alarmingly?

Is this mass incompetence?

Is this a positive act to try and reduce the number of serving police officers cheaply?

Is this a vendetta against certain officers.

Is it lack of appropriate training (although I’d be horrified if it was)?

Have ACPO (or whatever they’re called today) had a National Meeting and decided upon a protocol to keep the plebs in their place?

Whatever the answer is, I find it absolutely frightening that this is not just one Force doing things somewhat differently to the others.  This is a Method.

I’m not going to rake them all up again, but in the last year or so we have heard several instances whereby Professional Standards appear to be operating to a different set of rules to everybody else, and if you read The Crocodile Court you’ll be familiar with one more, and the terrible consequences of incompetence.

I’m absolutely certain that if asked we could all name one, if not two or more, cases of DPS/PSD abusing the system and bullying the officer into submission, whatever the reason for that behaviour might be.

So what exactly HAS happened to Professional Standards?

Why has it happened?

Is it just in London or does it happen elsewhere (I know the answer to that one).

Any examples gratefully received.

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Have Your Say, Tell Me What You Think

Good morning one and all.

I’ve been giving some thought to the awful Draconian cuts that this government has inflicted upon many if not all of our Public Sector Services.

I have written a short, online survey, which should take no longer than 2 minutes to complete.

You can remain anonymous or you can put your name to it, I don’t mind either.

It doesn’t ask your occupation, previous occupation or current employment status and makes no mention of any political parties whatsoever.

Time will tell whether sufficient people respond to make the results meaningful, but if you could spare 2 minutes of your time, at the very least we’ll have some answers to questions that I haven’t actually seen any government ask the population before.

I will leave it open until the day before Election Day and then analyse and publish the results.

Some folk have already taken the survey, some left names, some didn’t. I thank you all.

 It doesn’t matter to me, it’s the answers that count.

You can access the survey HERE

Thank you for your time

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SILENCE

Sshhhhh, can you hear it?………………….Neither can I.

That is EXACTLY the reaction to my survey, and its results.

I have received a few comments, both public and private, from my readers, and I’ve been amazed, and occasionally humbled, by the support I have had from some of my non-Police readers, the main protagonists will know who you are and I sincerely thank you.

I have forwarded a copy of the results to the Home Office, HMIC,  various politicians, Boris and his Deputy, the Association of PCCs, various offices of the Police Federation inc Head Office, an assortment of journalists, newspapers and News Channels, Trade Unions, Uncle Tom Cobley and all.

SILENCE

Many on that list are not subject to the ‘rules’ of Purdah (See Cate Moore’s excellent piece Purdah (she wrote)). Almost all are at Liberty to communicate with me privately.

SILENCE

Everybody on that list, when ‘off duty’ is a citizen, and as such will require and depend upon the Police at some time. It is no use waiting until it’s too late, the time to speak out is NOW. One of our colleagues is currently busy pointing out that cuts to Policing form no part of any party’s pre-election agenda.

SILENCE

Indeed, the reverse is true. Some people following a Slash and Burn Policy are only too quick to blame the Police when things go ‘wrong’.  Who was it who tried to short-cut the system in an attempt to get a ‘Rave’ closed down, then complain when it wasn’t?

Amusingly, this attracted an appropriate response;

We are in a period of Purdah, it’s Easter Weekend but the facts speak for themselves. Much less than half of the people who read my original blog completed the survey for me. As at now, approx 500 people have viewed the results of the survey. It has been forwarded to the list above and what was the result of all that?

SILENCE

If nothing else Journalists and Newsdesks do not sleep. If they felt that there was a newsworthy story to be followed they would be all over it, Bank Holiday or not. So what do I read into their SILENCE? They clearly think that there’s no story there. I can be Twatted, emailed, comment left on blog – SILENCE.

The number of people here, and on Twatter, who regularly engage can definitely be measured in double figures. From the rest – SILENCE.

The solution seems simple, stop banging head on brick wall, and stop annoying folk. 

Camoron, May, Hogan-Who, Milky Bar Kid et al can all relax.

 The Quill rests

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PENETRATION – Fact, Fiction or Theory.

Now that I’ve got your attention I have to confess that word should have been INFILTRATION.

I’m not very experienced at a Fiction writing, hardly any at all compared to some others in much higher office and their Expenses Claims.  The utter drivel I am about to reveal to the world might be fact, it might be fiction or maybe just a plausible theory. I’ll leave you, my reader, to decide which it is.

I retired from the Met in 2002 so, quite rightly, I’m completely out of touch with the current goings-on and shenanigans, but before I left there was at least one successful infiltration (I say successful because it was more than a mere attempt) by a criminal enterprise. A member of said enterprise, who had no convictions, had applied, been accepted, undergone training, and been posted to a Police Station in uniform.  That person was nothing less than a ‘Sleeper’ waiting to be activated and presumably pass on information to his/her associates outside of the Force.

That is shocking.

Fortunately, it was rumbled before any damage was done but I HOPE that it served as a Wake-Up call to the organisation and alerted them to what is possible.

Then a chance Tweet got me thinking.

My old mate Obbsie may have been joking when he tweeted but what if he is right?   What if…… What if our government has been infiltrated?  Depletion of our Armed Forces, that’s certainly happening.  Would it benefit a foreign power?  Putin and ISIS are the two that come easiest to mind, but yes it would/could.

Depletion of the Police Service – that’s most definitely happening.  Would that benefit a malevolent foreign power?  In certain aspects yes. Our ability to contain Civil Disorder is almost certainly already impaired.  If Police numbers are reduced too far it cannot help but impact upon the Police’s Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism responsibilities.

The Fire and Rescue Service has been watered down by this coalition? Is this a benefit to a foreign power? In the modern era I’m not actually certain, but their attendance at a major Terrorist Incident would most certainly impact upon others elsewhere with appliances and crews being out of place with less cover available.

The National Health Service has suffered really badly at the hands of this government, even though the Tories lie through their teeth and try to deny it.  Would this be a benefit to a foreign power? Quite possibly in at least two ways.  Firstly our response capabilities (Ambulance, Paramedics, A&E Doctors & Nurses) have been diluted so we would possibly deal less well with the results of a major Terrorist Incident, their would also be knock-on consequences further down the chain.  Secondly the ever-present spectre of Privatisation would be an attractive proposition to a foreign government to pick up contracts in the UK Health sector.

Other Public Sector areas have also been affected; Courts, Probation, Education, Coastguards etc etc.  to be perfectly honest I have no idea if or how these would be of benefit to a foreign government, but the Public Sector as a whole has been CONSIDERABLY weakened by this coalition.

It may well be considered ludicrous to suggest that there could be infiltration at the very top of government but the incontrovertible fact is that our nations enemies, be they ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Argentina or Putin (maybe even the SNP???) , will have viewed the havoc wreaked upon our police, fire and ambulance services, the NHS and indeed our armed forces with a mixture of incredulity and delight.

I implore you, do not be complacent.  Unlikely and fanciful as you might find it, Infiltration can happen, it has happened and COULD happen again, either in Government, Police or the Civil Service.  Will it happen again?  I have absolutely no idea, but I wouldn’t rule it out.  If I was a foreign power I would certainly have considered it years ago.  Look at some of the recent defectors to Syria; Humanitarian or Infiltrator/Sympathiser?  Again, I have no idea, but we should be open to all possibilities.

Infiltration – Fact, Fiction or (Conspiracy) Theory?  All I will say is that I truly hope it is not Fact.

I’ll let Chris have the last word

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I Hear The Sound Of  Distant Shredders

With apologies to the song of a similar name.

There can’t be a single person in the land that has not heard the monumental news that the Met will be investigated over (I think) 14 allegations relating to the alleged covering up of Child Abuse enquiries in the 70s. In particular, much has been made of allegations relating to Cyril Smith.

As an officer in London in the 70s I welcome such an investigation, but I’m far from confident about what the outcome will be.

On a personal level my conscience is clear.  I don’t remember having any involvement with any Child Abuse allegations whatsoever, not even as the initial Reporting Officer. My corporate conscience is far less clear though.

Am I aware of any such enquiries being binned?  Most definitely NO.

Could such enquiries get binned?

Almost certainly.

I have read allegations that officers were threatened with the Official Secrets Act and at least one allegation that an Investigating Officer was threatened by a Special Branch officer with a firearm.  Allegations like those fill me with dread and shame.  I have never heard the like of that before, but as for the general principle of binning certain enquiries, that DID happen.

It didn’t take very long before the edict was watered down but the end result was the same. Instead of being told to desist and stop all operations and enquiries the instruction quickly morphed into “if you want to conduct an operation against ‘cottagers’ etc you must display notices at the venues and inform the local press”. Guess what happened? Nobody was caught and other areas experienced an increase in complaints from the public as the problem was merely displaced.  I am in no doubt whatsoever as to the reason for this ban – solely to do with WHO WE MIGHT CATCH, nothing else at all.

If any of you are members of a certain group on Facebook you can see examples of this happening all over the Met, and for basically the same reasons.

I have already seen one well-established tweeter comment this morning that if he were told to halt an enquiry he most definitely would not follow that instruction.  I can’t argue with that because it’s absolutely the right approach, but London in the 70s was a much different place. The Police Force of the 70s was vastly different to the Police Service of 2015.  As a Constable with maybe 5 years service, to be told by a faceless boss from Scotland Yard to discontinue an operation, that’s exactly what happened. None of us liked it, it’s just how it was, and I suppose you never really understand unless you lived through it. Much like the corruption of the 60s, I’ve only ever heard the anecdotes of that, and they make me shiver.

So, for all those reasons I welcome this investigation, but I fear, like many others, it is destined never to achieve its full potential.  Many times the officers on the Front Line never knew the names of those at NSY issuing their edicts, just informed by local management that Scotland Yard has blocked it.

40 something years later I doubt there’s any paper records left. If they didn’t disappear without trace in the 70s, they may well have been disposed of by now under the Met’s own Retention Policy.  Back-Record Conversion onto computer would be highly unlikely.

If there is anything left, I suspect that grinding sort of noise that I can hear may well be the hopper-fed cross-cut shredders being fired up, and ready for action.

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