Friday, January 20, 2006

The Law of Averages

The Special Constables Blog starts off its latest post with a mention from the Conservative police reform. I'll reproduce the quotes here:

From BBC News:
Mr Cameron said there was little evidence that police performance had increased in line with increased resources, with each officer making less than 10 arrests on average every year

I read this a couple of times. And then read it again. Each officer making on average 10 arrests a year? Thats absolute nonsense I thought. I happen to know how many arrests I made a year, as our force has a handy piece of software which lets us keep count of arrests and other statistics. Its mainly used by the office based bean-counters to let them create pie charts, but I still use it to see how my stats are looking. My number of arrests is closer to 100 made a year, and I am by no means one of the police officers with the highest tallies at my station. In fact, I am more or less 'average' on our number of arrests.

So why do the conservatives make the claim that each officer makes an average of ten arrests a year? Simple. Because of all the office based monkeys, getting paid our wage for doing our job, whilst they make the aforementioned pie charts. They don't arrest anyone, but still get included in the count, and thanks to that, every other officers 'average arrests' drop. Think of it this way: I said I made 100 arrests a year. Between me and the Domestic Violence Officer at our nick, we both made an average of 50.

I find the comment that each officer makes only ten arrests a year insulting to say the least. I would like to ask whoever wrote this to try getting your statistic again, but only counting the response officers (who aren't permanently sick, or suspended for pathetic reasons), and then lets see the real quota.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

You sure? E Sure?

Many of the blogs on the sidebar have entered into the realms of insurance. Talking specifically, car insurance, and people with the distinct lack of it. I'm not sure of the official figure of the number of uninsured drivers on our roads, but based on my experience I'd put my estimate at 1 in 15 drivers on the roads is uninsured. As a driver who pays their money every year, this is one of the things that really irritates me.

Mostly its due to the way its dealt with by the courts. A few points on the licence (presuming they have one of course) and a fine thats about a tenth of the price it would have cost them to insure their car anyway. I personally feel that there should be a fine on top, equal to a reasonable quote from a car insurance company, paid into a government fund that can then be used to pay out to people hit by uninsured drivers. Thats far too sensible to happen though.

This is why I love the new legislation allowing us to seize unisured vehicles. If I catch you now, you get the court appearence for the pathetic fine as above, but you also lose your vehicle, with a price of around £100 to get it back, plus £20 or so daily. If you don't claim it after seven days, its crushed. Oh, and heres the best bit - YOU CAN'T GET IT BACK WITHOUT INSURING IT.

Finally, some legislation with some sense behind it.

So look out. If you are driving without insurance, I'll find you and take your car. No, I won't give you a lift to the station. No, I won't give you a lift home. Not only do I not care that you live 20 miles away, I see this as a bonus. Yes ok, I'll give you directions to the station. They won't be accurate though. :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

I was only joking officer, honest...

I'd just like to make a quick post to say that when I said "In fact, thats probably it - the reason that no other police blog seems to have mentioned these power changes yet is because they haven't been told about them..." my tongue was firmly in cheek, so you can stop sending the emails confirming that you do know about it! ;)

One quick message also for a new blog, The Bow Street Runner, whose blog regarding SOCAP I did like in particular, as it was probably better training that provided by most forces!

Friday, January 06, 2006

So, to cap it all off...

A new boy blogger, The Special Special spoke briefly on the subject of SOCAP (Serious Organised Crime and Police or something - I forget, I haven't had any training). I was actually surprised that he seems to be pretty much the first UK police based blog to mention it. From 1/1/2006, police powers have changed, as have a few other pegal things, such as swearing out warrants etc. The changes are:

Before 1/1/2006: Police could only arrest you for certain offences, deemed 'arrestable offences', and a couple of other offences for a couple of other reasons. Suffice to say, if you dropped some litter on the floor and refused to pick it up, you (probably) wouldn't find yourself down the station - you could still be summonsed to court, but there was no actual power of arrest*. If you did something naughty enough to be arrested, the police would have to tell you: that you were under arrest (even if it was obvious), what you were under arrest for, and caution you.

After 1/1/2006: Police now have the power to arrest for ANY offence, as long as they can justify the arrest under certain criteria. I won't bore you with the list of criteria, but basically, as with a lot of things in law, you can pretty much make one of the criteria fit if you want it to, so effectively police can now arrest for anything. If they do arrest you, they have to tell you that you are under arrest (even if its obvious), what you are under arrest for, WHY ITS NECESSARY TO ARREST YOU, and caution you.

Its a fairly large change. So then its amazing how many forces seemed to have completely failed to provide any training, let alone decent training to their troops before 1/1/2006! People will obviously start talking about the cost of providing this training, but these changes have been on the cards for a while, and there was plenty of money to print all of those shiny leaflets to hand out around Christmas to the revellers, trying to persuade them not to get to drunk. You know, all of the leaflets which just got chucked on the floor because they were too drunk to read them.

I had a handover package today in which some males had been arrested. Every arrest statement on the package showed an illegal arrest, as they had not been informed why the arrest was necessary. I forget the exact figures, but you can pretty much be guaranteed a four figure sum if you sucessfully challenge the police re an unlawful arrest. I just wish the people in charge of us would let the budgets be handed out by a trained monkey. It could honestly only be an improvement on the way things are now.

In fact, thats probably it - the reason that no other police blog seems to have mentioned these power changes yet is because they haven't been told about them...


* Yes, I am aware of Section 25, but I'm also aware of how much custody sergeants hated it...

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

We really shouldn't be doing this, but...

Further to the previous post, heres another list of things that police do when they really shouldn't...

We should... carefully crime and complete about 5 pages of paperwork on every assault where someone in the street, whether drunk or not, approaches us with an injury and says "He hit me. I don't wanna do nuffink though."
We normally... make sure not to ask them their name, and then let the controllers know that they have 'refused all details' and 'don't want to talk to us'.
We really shouldn't but some do... tell the annoying drunk to "***k off if you don't want to get locked up".

We should... remain neutral, impartial, and not allow our judgement to be changed by the attitude or behaviour of anyone that we are speaking to.
We normally... arrest people who fail the attitude test.
We really shouldn't but some do... have to be held back by their colleagues after taking great offence to being called "a f***ing c***" for the third time in the night.

We should... risk assess every situation carefully before making any decision on how to proceed
We normally... charge in head first
We really shouldn't but some do... risk assess every situation carefully, acknowledge that the correct course of action is to back off, and charge in head first

We should... be happy that we are being supported by unpaid volunteer special constable, giving up their time to help us
We normally... moan hugely when paired with 'another sodding special'
We really shouldn't but some do... moan hugely about the ineptitude of the special whilst being little better

We should... be happy, proffessional and courteous to the person explaining how seriously the text message from her ex are affecting her
We normally... speak courteously whilst secrelty thinking 'oh for f***'s sake"
We really shouldn't but some do... say "oh for f***'k sake get over it and ignore him. Change your phone if its that irritating."

We should... be happy that from all of the government statistics, we are greatly reducing crime
We normally... accept that the statistics are easily aletered and fiddled to appear however you want them to appear
We really shouldn't but some do... enjoy fiddling them to appear as if you are the best copper ever, and then get promoted so you can decide what the next most important statistics are.

We should... be happy that our superiors are intelligent, sensible people, with the best interests... actually forget that one, its bollocks.

Anyone think of any more?

Normal Service is Resumed

Hi. Apologies for the lack of a post over Christmas, but I didn't a) have a computer upon which to make an update and b) have the inclination to spend Christmas thinking about work! Normal service is resumed from now. :)

The Policeman's Blog spoke recently about shoplifters, and how they 'should' be dealt with in the perfect world, and how the are dealt with in reality. This is a common trait that probationers will see, and inevitably adopt the more time they spend doing police work. Training shows you 'best practice', but we all quickly fall into 'accepted practice'.

For example:

The Shoplifting example
We should... arrive at the store, get the security guard to repeat the allegation in the presence and hearing of the suspect, and then inform them that they are under arrest for theft, and give them the full caution. And oh yes, now its past 1/1/2006, WHY their arrest is necessary.
We normally... arrive, ask the store detective what happened as soon as we meet them, regardless of where they are, tell the offender that they are under arrest by saying "Put your hands out like this" while cuffing them.
We really shouldn't but some do... arrive, say "Can you drop the statement and CCTV off for me?" to the guard, slap some cuffs on the person that looks like the suspect, and walk them out chatting about what they stole, why they stole it, whether they had a nice day, how the drug treatment program is going etc...

We should... book the offender into custody, explain their rights re a solicitor and call one if requested, search their house before interview, get the statements, the CCTV, view the CCTV and then interview the suspect.
We normally... book them into custody, saying "You don't want a solicitor do you, I presume you want to go ahead right away? yeah thought so", clear it with the custody sergeant (whose sole goal in life is always to have a cell block free of those irritating prisoner people) to skip the search, and go straight to interview.
We really shouldn't but some do... book the offender into custody, persuading them out of a phone call to a solicitor, threatening them with remand if someone who 'doesn't know them' has to get hold of the case. Persuade them to put down NFA (no fixed abode) for the address to avoid the house search, and go straight for interview.

We should... perform the interview without speaking to the suspect about the case, and making no promises regarding cautions, releasing them on bail or remanding them.
We normally... perform the interview after promising them "you'll be out again within the hour, you won't get remanded as long as you're honest", and ensure that they are going to admit the offence prior to the interview
We really shouldn't but some do... promise the offender that if they 'cough it', they'll get bail, whilst knowing that as you persuaded them to put down "No fixed Abode" for the address, they are going to get remanded. And then when it does happen, you'll simply say "Sorry, its the sarge, there’s nothing I can do mate."

Second part of this post to follow shortly. :)