Sorry, I Just Couldn’t Resist It

I do apologise, I had no intention of writing anything today and then that bloody Boris person went and published his Policing Plan for London and I just had to vent my spleen.

The first thing that grabbed my attention is his statement that he will recruit 5,000 more Constables in the next 3 years.  Very admirable, surely no-one would argue with that.   In March 2012 The Metropolitan Police Service had 24,328 Constables (male and female).  In March 2010 the number was 24,788 and in March 2011 24,595, so it is obvious that the number has slowly been declining over the past few years.  So how the hell, in times of austerity, does Boris think that he can increase the Constables‘ Establishment by 25%?  Completely admirable, but how is this going to be achieved? The Met will NEVER have had so many Constables.  Take note that the Deputy Mayor For Policing (and his special advisor Blair Gibbs no doubt) state that the Met can afford 26,000 Bobbies. What does that really mean?

The headline statement is recruit 5,000 more Constables but the actual report talks of increasing numbers from 24,000 to 26,000.

Boris states that he intends to keep Police Numbers close to 32,000.  So if he’s going to recruit a further 5,000 Constables that must mean bad news for somebody, somewhere.

Front counters in police stations remain a core part of the plan to deliver accessibility. Although front counters will
reduce in number, an approach will be introduced that aims to improve comfort and accessibility and enhance service delivery. Each Borough will have a front counter open all day, every day – 24/7. These will be supplemented with a further 40 front counters with non 24/7 opening hours.”  It is widely quoted today that 63 Front Counters will close completely, that’s approximately HALF the total number, and of the remaining 73 only half of those will be open 24/7.  In addition to the 73 front counters, there will be almost 100 contact points which will be open a minimum of three times each week for the public to talk to their local officers face to face. Most of these will be in Safer Neighbourhood Team bases.

The Mayor’s aim is to drive down crime by at least 20% in the key categories of burglary, vandalism/criminal damage, theft of and from motor vehicles, violence with injury, robbery and theft from the person. This challenge to the police has been accepted by the Commissioner.”  Again, very admirable, but he does he really think that the Police are or have been ignoring these types of crime?

MOPAC will:
ŠŠ “Hold the Commissioner to account for achieving a 20% reduction in the 7 key neighbourhood crime types
by 2016. Progress will be monitored monthly as part of the formal bi-lateral between the Deputy Mayor and the
Commissioner and quarterly at the MOPAC Performance Challenge meetings, which are chaired by the Mayor and held in public”  Oh good, more stats and meetings for the Direct Entry types to attend.

The Mayor is confident he can achieve his aim of improving cutting crime and boosting confidence, as well as finding significant savings. The aim is to cut costs to absorb a reduction in the central grant to the MPS budget of 20%.”  Well, if you work in the Met, there it is, budgets slashed by 20% over the next three years.  Don’t even think about asking for a new pair of uniform trousers, or a shirt.

The MPS net budget currently stands at £2.6bn (i.e. excluding special grants from the Home Office), and the Commissioner has been challenged to deliver savings of £500m – (this represents 20% of the net budget) – by 2016. The focus for these savings will be back office functions – the Mayor’s top priority will be to protect the front line and ensure that every penny is used to support it.”  Define Back Office functions, I’m sure most folk won’t agree what constitutes ‘Back Office’.

Reforming the policing model and the back office

This is being done by introducing the new Local Policing Model, and delivering the highest number of police constables the MPS has ever seen, as well as streamlining the top heavy management structure of the MPS. This will mean nearly a third fewer senior officers at ACPO rank and over 1,000 fewer supervisors (all ranks between sergeant and chief superintendent)”  Well at least the Met won’t need any of those Direct Entry chaps if they’re shedding supervisors, so that’s where the 5,000 Constables are coming from obviously.

The MPS has outsourced some back office functions such as payroll and IT support”  What is he on?  These are not Police functions in any way, they are purely support/admin and I know of no warranted Police Officers engaged in such functions.

There is much, much more to this report, it drones on for over 90 pages, and I certainly haven’t read it all yet.  I’ve just tried to skim and nick a few headline grabbers.

 

ADDENDUM

 

Below is a full list of the police stations that are to close under the plan.

  • Barking and Dagenham – Marks Gate Police Office
  • Barnet – Whetstone Police Station
  • Barnet – Golders Green Police Station
  • Bexley – Belvedere Police Station
  • Brent – Harlesden Police Station
  • Brent – Willesden Green Police Station
  • Bromley – Main Road 192 and 194 Ground Floor, Biggin Hill
  • Bromley – Orpington Police Station
  • Camden – West Hampstead Police Station
  • Camden – Albany Street Police Station
  • Camden – Hampstead Police Station
  • Croydon – Addington Police Station
  • Croydon – Whytecliffe Road South 9 and 11, Purley
  • Croydon – Kenley Police Station
  • Croydon – Norbury Police Station
  • Croydon – South Norwood Police Station
  • Ealing – Greenford Police Station
  • Enfield – Southgate Police Station
  • Enfield – Winchmore Hill Police Station
  • Greenwich – Greenwich Police Station
  • Greenwich – Joyce Dawson Way 11, Thamesmead
  • Greenwich – Woolwich Police Station
  • Hackney – Hackney Police Station
  • Hammersmith and Fulham – Shepherds Bush Police Station
  • Haringey – Muswell Hill Police Station
  • Harrow – Harrow Central, Kirkland House, Ground Floor
  • Harrow – Pinner Police Station
  • Having – Havering PASC
  • Havering – Hornchurch Police Station
  • Havering – Rainham Police Office
  • Havering – Straight Road 84-86
  • Hillingdon – Ruislip Police Station
  • Hillingdon – Northwood Police Office
  • Hounslow – Feltham Police Station
  • Hounslow – Brentford Police Station
  • Kensington and Chelsea – Chelsea Police Station
  • Kingston upon Thames – Millbank House, Ground Floor North
  • Lambeth – Cavendish Road Police Station
  • Lambeth – Gypsy Hill Police Station
  • Lambeth – Clapham Police Station
  • Lewisham – Brockley Police Station
  • Lewisham – Sydenham Police Station
  • Merton – Morden Police Office, 3 Crown Parade
  • Newham – East Ham Police Station and former section house
  • Newham – North Woolwich Police Station
  • Redbridge – Woodford Police Station
  • Redbridge – Wanstead Police Station
  • Southwark – East Dulwich Police Station
  • Southwark – Camberwell Police Station
  • Southwark – Rotherhithe Police Station
  • Sutton – Crosspoint House, ground and first floors
  • Tower Hamlets – Isle of Dogs Police Station
  • Tower Hamlets – Poplar Police Office
  • Tower Hamlets – Bow Police Station
  • Waltham Forest – Waltham House
  • Waltham Forest – Leyton Police Station
  • Waltham Forest – Walthamstow Police Station
  • Wandsworth – Jubilee House, Putney
  • Wandsworth – Tooting Police Station and former section house
  • Wandsworth – Battersea Police Station
  • Westminster – Harrow Road Police Station
  • Westminster – Marylebone Police Station and former section house
  • Westminster – St John’s Wood Police Station

Losing my religion

Privatisation amongst our legal representatives? Barristers and Solicitors working for Profit and not for Justice. Armageddon will soon be here, this cannot be right, it must not be allowed to happen.

forthedefence

‘Eddie fucking Stobart?’ Barked the Bearded Monogamist.

‘Eddie Stobart, Tescos, the Co0op, G4S, Serco’ I replied.

‘Eddie Stobart is a hauliers’ by now the Bearded Monogamist looked very confused indeed.

‘I don’t get it’ Said another friend

‘Basically, the Government will put criminal legal aid out to contract. Big companies doing the defending for the lowest price possible. For profit of course.’ I explained shortly, ‘in two years time, there will not be an independent criminal bar.’

‘Why do you never hear about this stuff.’  Asked our female friend.

‘Nobody really cares about criminal justice or legal aid,’

‘Until they need it’ we said in chorus.

‘Do you want me to protest for you?’

How it all started…

It started really at Oxford in 2006, before the economic downturn, law, accountancy, management consultancy, banking, were all relatively easy professions to choose.

In terms of the law, 80% signed up for…

View original post 1,104 more words

The Way We Were

Sadly, this has absolutely nothing to do with Barbra Streisand.

It occurred to me in a moment of self-pity and reflection the other day, that I will have been retired from the MPS 11 years this summer.  Much has changed in that 11 years, probably a lot more than I could ever imagine.

So I thought I would take a moment to share with some of our colleagues who may be a fair way away from the finishing line (and getting further away every year it seems) that it hasn’t always been thus,  In the good old, bad old days we were allowed to enjoy ourselves and work in an environment that made it a pleasure to come to work, something to be looked forwards to, not dreaded.

So I will regale you with a couple more amusing anecdotes from my none too illustrious career.

One of my first ever Team Sergeants  was called Bob.  Bob had a sense of humour alright and didn’t always see eye to eye with the management.  Sunday, Early Turn, obligatory old lady arrives at front counter carrying a cardboard box.  Bob was Station Officer that day so he put out his fag, and shuffled across to the front counter and asked said old lady what he could do to help her.  She informed him that she had found a pigeon, injured in the road, and that she thought it had a broken wing.  “I want you to look after it properly” she said “I know what you Policemen are like, you’ll take it out the back and run it over as soon as I’m gone”  Anyway Bob assured her that this pigeon would not meet that particular fate and that he would cherish it fondly.  So as soon as she had gone he rummaged around his desk and took out a polythene Prisoners Property bag and some string.  He carefully fashioned a parachute from the bag and attached it to the pigeon’s body with some of the string.  He then ascended in the lift, off to the roof, to teach it to fly again.  Well the first launch didn’t go too well, so he came down, retrieved pigeon and set off for the roof again.  Unfortunately, something that never happened then happened.  The Chief Superintendent came into the nick to check the books.  Just as he was examining the Dogs Found book a perfectly formed pigeon floated past the window on a parachute.  “Bloody Hell” said he “Could have sworn I saw a pigeon on a parachute.  Must be that Sergeant G***** fucking about again”  Not another word on the subject was ever mentioned.

_______________________________________________________________

At the end of the year it was time for my 1 year Probationary Appraisal with the same Chief Superintendent.  I sat down opposite him and he read my report.  I must say that it was not a very good one.  Every time he made an observation about my failure to progress or to take on board what I had been told I felt obliged to challenge him and let him know that I vehemently disagreed with this Appraisal.  After about 20 minutes of this he finally exploded and said “Bloody Hell, you’ll be telling me next that your name isn’t even Smith”  “No Sir, it isn’t” was my immediate response, at which point he leant back in his chair, rested against his filing cabinet and fell on the floor because someone from the Night Duty shift had burgled his office and moved the filing cabinet, knowing that was his practice.  I didn’t laugh, honest.

______________________________________________________________

Finally, in the early 80s our Chief Inspector Ops was talking to one of the PCs on my Team.  He knew that Stuart had family back home in Wiltshire who had a farm.  Always on the lookout for a bargain he said to Stuart “I think I fancy something other than Turkey for Christmas this year, any chance you could get me a goose next time you go back home?” “I should think so” said Stuart “I’ll see what I can do”.  The weeks passed and eventually Stuart went home to Wiltshire for the weekend.  He came back, good as his word, with a goose for the Chief Inspector.  He placed it carefully in the Chief Inspector’s office and closed the door.  Yes, that’s right, it wasn’t dead.  Chief Inspector came in at 9am, opened his office to find one very angry goose and his corres trays filled with goose crap and feathers.  That was the last time he asked for a favour like that.

Stories such as these were 10 a penny in the 80s and 90s.  The Job was FUN.  Don’t get me wrong, the Job got done, but we worked hard and we played hard, and there were nowhere near the demands on our time and services as you get now.  If we handed over 6 incomplete messages at the end of a shift there was all hell to pay, I suspect that it’s different now.

We must never lose sight of the fact that our Police Officers are human beings too, and as such need to let off steam. They have a sense of humour, quite a good one in my opinion, but not necessarily to everyone’s taste. I liken it to taking the top off a bottle of fizzy drink that’s been shaken vigorously, much better to do it in a slow, controlled manner than all in one go. So if you’re reading this DPS/PSD/Policy Makers don’t be too hard on our lads and lasses, they’ll do their job for you, just let them have some fun along the way, and who knows?  You might get less stress-related illnesses.

Anyway, I trust you enjoyed the amusing anecdotes, I may find some more another day.  Truth or fiction? I’ll leave you to decide.

A Job Like No Other

You will read many blogs and tweets from serving Police Officers, or retired ones like me, telling you about their traumatic experiences.  I am not about to contradict or undermine those stories, each one of them is valid in its own way.  I too, along with just about every Police Officer I have ever known, has experienced something that has traumatised them, and in some instances changed there lives.  It truly is A Job Like No Other.

I want to tell you something about another facet of policing that is seldom publicised.  I have no idea why it is so rarely spoken of because I can’t see how it can do the public perception of the Police anything other than good.

Back in the late 1980s I was at a time in my career when I was what the Met used to call a Home Beat Officer.  I didn’t live on my beat but I had a permanent responsibility for what happened on it.  I liaised with the schools, became a School Governor, had regular meetings with a large multi-discipline hospital and kept up to date with any sporting events which might be taking place.  At the time it contained the Home Ground for a Premiership Rugby Union side who’ve long-since outgrown it and moved away, but it was fun while it lasted.

Hidden away between all of this was a small, Council-run Children’s Home, it used to be a Baranardos Home at one time, but now the Local Authority had the responsibility for it.  As I say, it wasn’t very big, less than a dozen children lived there, with a few live-in staff.  Most, if not all,  of the kids had mental or physical disabilities.  I first got to know them by offering to be their Father Christmas one year.  All went well, plenty of Ho Ho Ho’s, presents were given to the kids, normally donated by local businesses.  They loved it.

But it all got too much for one poor lad, there he was sat upon my lap, Father Christmas asking “and what would you like for Christmas little boy?” or words to that effect.  My answer was a warm wet feeling in my groin area.  Poor little lad had pissed himself all over Father Christmas.

Undeterred, a while later, a large charity (I believe it was the Variety Club, but can’t be certain) ran annual events for kids such as these and would take over Thorpe Park or Chessington World of Adventures for the day so that kids such as these could have the place to themselves, liberally sprinkled with stars of Film and TV.  All I had to do was give up my time and find a way of getting them there.  The Met were brilliant, they laid on a coach and driver for the day at no cost. Health and Safety today would have had a field day.  Anything up to a dozen kids with their associated problems and only me and whatever workers the home could field to look after them. It was exhausting, but once we got there, there would always be sufficient TV stars etc willing to lend a hand and give these kids the day of their lives.

I don’t normally ‘do’ kids but there was something magical about seeing these kids forget their various handicaps for the day and have fun.  One year my wife and our younger children were also invited to come along and join in the fun (not that they’re  handicapped).  I don’t know if they will remember it, but I do believe they also enjoyed their day (and I was glad of a bit of extra help).

At the end of the day we delivered them back to their Home, tired but happy.  I probably appreciate it more now than I did then, but it made those days A Job Like No Other.

Discomfort at MPS Directorate of Professional Standards? Surely Not

On 24th July 2012 I asked the following questions of the MPS;

1) Please supply me with copies of all papers i.e. minutes of
meetings etc relating to the resignation of Sir Paul Stephenson and
Assistant Commissioner John Yates, insomuch as those papers relate
to discussions about any ‘Golden Handshake’ deal in relation to
both or either of them.

2) How many senior officers in the Met, current or resigned/retired
above the rank of Chief Inspector are subject to such, similar,
‘Gagging Orders’ or similar agreements? For the avoidance of doubt
I am specifically NOT requesting names or circumstances, just a
total number, broken down by rank if that is possible.

On 6th August this prompted the following response;

Q1) Could you please clarify the term ‘Golden Handshake’?
Q2) Could you please clarify the term ‘Gagging Order’?
Q2) Over what time period does this question relate to?

Because I’m a helpful, co-operative little soul I answered those 3 questions thus (also on 6th August);

Q1) Could you please clarify the term ‘Golden Handshake’? – Any
amount of money agreed as payment in exchange for Early Retirement
etc

Q2) Could you please clarify the term ‘Gagging Order’? – Any
agreement voluntary or imposed by a Court not to divulge the terms
of any settlement etc

Q3) Over what time period does this question relate to? – How many
are ‘Currently’ in place i.e. effective now.

Not too much scope for ambiguity surely?

On 17th September I received the following response;

In Q1 you ask
Please supply me with copies of all papers i.e. minutes of meetings etc
relating to the resignation of Sir Paul Stephenson and Assistant
Commissioner John Yates, insomuch as those papers relate to discussions
about any ‘Golden Handshake’ deal in relation to both or either of them.
NB ‘ Golden Handshake’ any amount of money agreed as payment in exchange
for Early Retirement etc.
The MPS response is:
The searches failed to locate any information relevant to your request,
therefore the information you have requested is not held by the MPS.
Upon leaving the MPS, individuals may have entered into discussions with
the Metropolitan Police Authority regarding their contractual position and
recompense.
The MPA has been replaced by Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime
(MOPAC).

In Q2 you ask
How many senior officers in the Met, current or resigned/retired above the
rank of Chief Inspector are currently subject to such, similar, ‘Gagging
Orders’ or similar agreements?
NB ‘Gagging Order’ any agreement voluntary or imposed by a Court not to
divulge the terms of any settlement etc.
The MPS response is:
In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act), this
response represents a Refusal Notice for this particular question under
Section 17(1).

Please see the legal annex for the sections of the Act that are referred
to in this letter.

The Metropolitan Police Service neither confirms nor denies that it holds
the information you requested as the duty in Section 1(1)(a) of the Act
does not apply by virtue of the following exemption:

Section 40(5) – Personal Information / Absolute Exemption

A Freedom of Information Act request is not a private transaction.
Both the request itself and any information disclosed, are considered
suitable for open publication.
This is because under Freedom of Information any information disclosed is
released into the wider public domain, effectively to the world, not just
to an individual.

To confirm or deny whether personal information exists in response to your
request could publicly reveal information about an individual or
individuals, thereby breaching the right to privacy afforded to persons
under the Data Protection Act 1998.
When confirming or denying that information is held would breach an
individual’s rights under the Data Protection Act 1998, Section 40(5)
becomes an absolute exemption, and there is no requirement for me to
provide evidence of the prejudice that would occur, or to conduct a public
interest test.

Please note this notice does not confirm or deny that the MPS holds the
information that you have requested.

So, armed with this very helpful reply I requested that the Met carried out a Review of their decision not to even answer the questions.  That was on 17th September, and the Met has 20 Working Days under FOI legislation to conduct that Review.

It’s now Mid-Late March and guess what?  I’m still waiting for the result of the Review.

You will not be surprised to learn that the matter is now residing with the Information Commissioner.  Let’s hope he’s more communicative than the Met.  Can one assume from their lack of action that they have something to hide?  Are there senior officers subject to Gagging Orders?  What is a Gagging Order?  Who knows but I think we now have the absolute right to draw whatever assumptions we choose to from their woefully inadequate response.

It’s Not All Guinness and Skittles

Something has been brought to my attention by one of our number, and it is something that had completely and utterly escaped my attention until now.

This wonderful coalition government has caused all sorts of people all sorts of hardship, to Police, NHS, Armed Forces to name just a few.  But I think we can top that people.

This story doesn’t involve the 43, the PSNI or even the Jocks.

In November last year it was reported that;

Gardaí are angry that a payment due next month [December] will not be made until the New Year, and say many members will suffer financial hardship over Christmas because of the delay. The Garda Representative Association is also concerned that problems created by the late payment will be compounded by budget changes being applied to money earned this year.

“Garda management definitively stated that gardaí will not receive unsocial hours’ pay due on Dec 20 — a move that will cause great hardship to many of our members over the Christmas period,” said GRA president John Parker.

“Payments for some night duty and weekend work will have been already deferred for up to six and a half weeks; now we are told our pay will be delayed for a further two weeks and will be paid in January 2013.”

That was in November last year, fast forward to February 2013;

The largest group representing Garda members has said it is “extremely annoyed” at suggestions by the Government that it had ever been included in talks on extending the Cork Park agreement.

The meeting was arranged so the association could outline the financial hardship already being experienced by gardaí nationwide.

Gardaí will refuse to use their personal phones, laptops and cars and some are expected to refuse to work overtime on non-public duties at events such as music concerts and sporting fixtures.

While it was illegal for any Garda member to induce another into industrial action, Mr Stone said he was “not afraid” of leading his members, who were at their “wits’ end”, down a path of protest action.

In other news

HUNDREDS of rank and file gardai across Limerick are likely to participate in industrial action over proposed pay cuts if, as is expected, such a move is approved by the executive council of the Garda Representative Association (GRA).

The proposed cuts include reductions in overtime, premium payments as well as weekend and holiday payments.

Gardaí are facing great financial hardship while continuing to provide great dedication and commitment to the community. Our members cannot pay their loans and mortgages. Pay cuts are not an option,” it said in response to the proposed cuts.

It would appear that #TheyAreAllInItTogether in Eire also, as I also found the following little titbit;

“A senator is in receipt of €65,612. That gentleman or woman, through this agreement, will lose €612. A member of An Garda Siochana on €40,000 , who is obliged to work Sundays and nights, will lose €2,500. If that is fair then obviously I have a very bad mathematical brain.”

And TODAY‘s story is;

Nurses facing 11pc cut under pay deal as senators suffer just 1pc hit – unions

Unions and government officials are at loggerheads over claims that the Croke Park II deal will slash public sector workers’ wages by up to 11pc.

The Government insists there will be a much lower impact on staff than unions are claiming as a result of the plan to slash the state payroll by €1bn over three years.

A new report commissioned by frontline staff shows that a staff nurse will suffer a 11.4pc loss in pay compared with a cut of just 1pc to a senator’s wages.

The figures, commissioned by unions opposing the agreement, show huge differences in the impact of the deal on various public servants.

Compiled by an actuary, it says staff nurses would suffer a €5,662 loss to their €49,501-a-year pay, compared with a €621 loss for a senator on €65,621.

It says gardai would be hit by a 5pc reduction in wages, while firefighters would be down 3pc.

Paramedics and care assistants would suffer deeper cuts of over 9pc, while mid-ranking civil servants face reductions in the region of 7pc.

Now I wouldn’t dream of defending the unethical actions of our government one little bit, but these stories bring home that the misery and grief is shared by others, whilst other governments appear to be just as selfish and unethical when it comes to allocating pain.

Please share this story with others and maybe we can demonstrate to the Garda and Nurses of Eire that their brothers and sisters in the UK stand side by side with them.

Nice One Mr Winsor, Nice

I’m going to do something now that I don’t normally do, and that is speak my mind.  I know, a bit of a shock, and I shall probably lose a few ‘friends’ along the way, but I’ve carried out the obligatory Risk Assessment and it’s a risk I’m prepared to take.

HMIC released its long-awaited report into the Savile scandal and the predictable failings of certain agencies.  It was released into the wild at midnight last night/this morning, and intriguingly entitled Mistakes Were Made.  I could probably have predicted that weeks or months ago.

Now I’m no lover of the late Mr Savile, I in no way stick up for him or condone his behaviour, nor that of those associated with him.  However, to quote the HMIC Press release;

“HMIC found that the police made mistakes in their handling of the five allegations and two pieces of intelligence information. While there were systems and processes available that could have enabled the three forces involved to ‘join the dots’ and spot patterns”

I’ll accept that as factually accurate, because it undoubtedly is, but I personally (prepare to abandon ship all those who side with Mr Winsor) think that the findings of this report should be taken in context.

OF COURSE Children and Young Persons should be, and feel, safe from predatory paedophiles.

OF COURSE Children, Young Persons, Adults, Males and Females should feel that they are able to report such wrong-doing and be taken seriously.

OF COURSE all of the above should be able to EXPECT their allegations to be investigated.

BUT, the first (and possibly the 2nd) of these 5 allegations were made to the Police 50 years ago.  It was reported on the news this morning that the first allegation was made by a young male to an officer in Cheshire 50 years ago and no trace of a subsequent investigation could be found.

What was the Police Force like 50 years ago?  Messages received at the station were recorded on pieces of paper on a spiked pad and when the pad overflowed the completed messages were taken off the spikes, put into a box and a new set of pieces of paper took their place.  Where are those boxes now?

Investigations were recorded on big pieces of paper (A3 if I recall) and kept in a loose leaf binder.  If you were important enough you had your own ‘binder winder’ so that you could insert or remove pieces of paper as required.  When the investigation was concluded, or discontinued, those large pieces of paper were put into a large cardboard box and stored.  Where are those cardboard boxes 50 years on?

I suspect that messages and investigations, indexes (or should that be indices?) of investigations and all other associated pieces of paper have long since been destroyed due to the expense and impracticability of long-term storage of same.

When I joined the Met in the early 70s people reporting crimes such as these would probably have been dealt with by the Women Police, an almost separate Police Force, even had their own set of Divisional Numbers.  Don’t shout at me, that’s just how it was.  My point is, that apart from Murder I can’t think of a single crime that had its own Specialist Squad, and apart from whoever was at Scotland Yard, even Murder Squad detectives were drawn from the ranks when required and returned to their stations when the investigation was over.

Allegations such as those made against Savile are exceedingly unlikely to have come to the attention of ANY specialised investigators 50 years ago.

When I was trained we were taught that if a child under the age of 14 years (I think it was 14, but someone will correct me I’m sure) made any sort of allegation, it wasn’t worth very much without some corroborating evidence.  Well in the absence of any DNA evidence (DNA testing/evidence was not born until 1985) there’s not likely to be any corroborating evidence because of the nature of the offence.  Yes, we can go back now, but only if the samples still exist, if they ever did.

The report also highlights that Police did not SHARE INTELLIGENCE.

I don’t have a clue how intelligence was handled in the 60s, but when I joined it was recorded on different coloured cards and stayed in a metal box in the Collator’s Office.  You were lucky if your adjoining Station sent you some intelligence, never mind a nick 100s of miles away in a different force area.

I’m not saying that any of these practices is right, but it’s what was happening AT THAT TIME.  All Polices have evolved in the last 50 years, allegations such as these should be taken seriously, they should be investigated and links, where they exist, should be made.  Forces have invested a lot of money in training Analysts to do exactly that, but they didn’t exist then.

Even the PNC didn’t exist before 1968.  In 1969 the Met established the Serious Crime Squad and before that came C10 in 1960 to deal with Stolen Motor Vehicles, Sexual Offences didn’t get much of a look-in.

HM Inspector of Constabulary, Drusilla Sharpling, said:

“The findings in this report are of deep concern, and clearly there were mistakes in how the police handled the allegations made against Savile during his lifetime. However, an equally profound problem is that victims felt unable to come forward and report crimes of sexual abuse. It is imperative that all those charged with protecting these victims do more to encourage reporting, taking the right action to bring perpetrators to justice. We welcome the new measures announced recently by the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Association of Chief Police Officers. But more needs to be done, and it is neither enough nor correct to say ‘This couldn’t happen now’.”

HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary, Tom Winsor, said:

“It is imperative that children and other victims of sexual crimes have the knowledge, the means and the confidence to report what has happened to them. HMIC’s report identifies policies and practices which the police must reassess and improve in order to be better able to deal with historical allegations, and to keep our children safe. Building on this examination of Savile, HMIC’s programme for 2013/14 will take this work deeper and wider.”

So I take your point Mr Winsor. However, I believe that this is the first major piece of work published since you took the helm of HMIC (or at least it’s the 1st I can think of) and you seem to have used it as an opportunity to Bash The Police NOW.

Mistakes were made, let’s hope they won’t be made again, but in the case of the earliest allegations it isn’t the fault of any currently serving officer or system.  Beat the Police up if they deserve it, I can be very critical of mistakes that are made, and I will voice that criticism, but it all smacks of Let’s All Blame The Police once more without considering what working practices were like at the time in question.  Policing has moved on, it has evolved, it has improved already.  Why not acknowledge that and build on it?  Instead we’ll just slag off a Police Force that’s already been demoralised by……….now who was it again?  I forget.

End of rant, and if you haven’t already Unfollowed me, I thank you.