Goodwill

I was prompted to write this by a recent Tweet;

One of our more recent Twitterers, @roman_virtus, reminding me of the importance of Goodwill.

I only have personal, first-hand experience of two of the Public Services, the Health Service and the Police Service. Both were heavily impregnated with a rich stream of Goodwill.

The politicians will not like it, but it’s only Goodwill that makes the Job work sometimes. I have seen officers stay on past the end of their shift to finish what they’re doing. Not for the overtime (minus the first 30 minutes of course, who on earth signed up for that one?), but for a job well done. To give the Public the Personal Touch, the level of service they deserve.

I have seen officers change their Rest Days so that one of their colleagues could have Time Off that they wouldn’t otherwise have been able to have.

I have seen Officers cover for colleagues, without recompense, so that a colleague could take their child to a hospital appointment.

I have seen officers working on beyond their scheduled Tour of Duty without claiming overtime, because they KNOW that money is short.

These things are called Goodwill. The Job wouldn’t work anywhere near as well without it., The government squeeze and slash, in the last 5 years they have got rid of 17,000 full time officers. Just reflect for one moment and think of the effect that withdrawing Goodwill would have.

Officers know the shortcuts. Not because they are lazy, but they know the practicalities of getting the job done. If everything was done by the book, the way the #DoItRight campaign would have things done, it would take twice as long, and the end result would be the same. Withdrawing Goodwill would have exactly the same effect.

Make no mistake, we are about to lose a few thousand MORE officers under the government’s next round of Austerity cuts, destined to last until about 2019 ish.

Can you imagine that?

Some things need numbers. I am not opposed to increasing efficiency in order to reduce numbers slightly, but the final total should be dictated by need not Economics. If you do that, you, The Public, suffer. Police Officers are also The Public. They have your interests at heart, honestly they do.

Never underestimate the true worth of Goodwill.

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Are You Retired?

It’s not necessary to be Angry also.

Were you a Police Officer or Firefighter?

Did you retire between 1998 and 2007?

If the answer to the previous 2 questions is NO, you might as well stop reading now, this is not really for you.

If the answer is YES, or you know somebody it might apply to, then you might want to carry on reading.

It seems that, unbelievable as it might be, the government and their lackeys may have screwed up your pension, more specifically, the commutation element.

I don’t pretend to understand all things pension, but I know a man who does, or at least he seems to. There is already a current campaign to right this particular wrong which I believe is spearheaded by the FBU. It has already resulted in Early Day Motion 768 meaning that the issue might now get debated.

A Facebook Group has been set up for people who may be affected and currently has over 1,000 members and rising rapidly.

What is the basic issue?

Many thousands of police officers and firefighters who took their pension and commuted part of it for cash from 1998 to 2007 had out of date values applied to the calculation of their lump sum. No revision of the commutation factors took place
during that period. The issue is that this resulted in lower payments than should have been the case as longer life expectancy and other factors were increasing ‘actuarial’ values over that period.

In 2008 new tables were announced. These were applied and later backdated to retirement dates in 2006.

For much more, and certainly more comprehensive, information read the FAQ Document here.

I can only emplore you to write to your MP and ask them to support the Early Day Motion.  If they won’t do that, ask them to write to Theresa May or Penny Mordaunt and ask them to rectify this wrong.

If you do Facebook, head on over to the Police and Fire Service Fairer Commutation Campaign Group and ask to be added, or discretely drop me your email address by DM,or whatever, and I will send you an invite to join.

If the campaign is successful it could be worth thousands of £ for those who are affected, and please pass this info on to anyone else you know who might be one of the affected ones.

ADDENDUM

I have been informed that whilst the FBU are representing their retired members the Police Federation of England and Wales are not representing retired Police Officers in this matter, because they are retired, currently paying no subs and are no longer members.  I cannot vouch for this personally, but I would welcome the truth if anyone knows it.

Stop and Search, Armed Police and Sophie

I was going to have a quite day today, but Sophie Khan, amongst others, has put paid to that. Said lady has taken time of from Taser Patrol to enter the argument on Armed Police. See her Timeline, I can’t bring myself to even Copy/Paste that level of rubbish.

In the last week I have seen much discontent about a variety of topics in the Media. RIPA, Armed Police and Stop and Search are the three that occupy me most this morning, and my view is simply that there is nothing wrong with ANY of them.

I’m not living on a nice pink, fluffy cloud thinking that all is well in the world, but neither do I want to see perfectly valuable tools in the Police Toolbox blunted or stolen.

Looking at the ludicrous article in The Times about Armed Police attending ‘normal’ incidents, so what? The government has chosen to reduce the number of Police on our streets that are available to respond to the increased demand on them, what are they to do?

Be honest, just for 2 minutes. If you’ve been burgled, had your car stolen off your driveway and your granny has just been mugged and had her pension stole, when you phone the Police and they say “we’ve got nobody to send for then next 2 hours, or we could send you an Armed Officer immediately”, which would you choose? If you tell me you’d rather wait two hours than have an officer with a pistol turn up straight away I’d be tempted not to believe you.

There is NOTHING wrong with Armed Police turning up to deal with your emergency, it’s how they behave when they get there that matters, and they are PROFESSIONALS.

RIPA? I have nothing further to add to yesterday’s post, there’s nothing wrong with the existing legislation it’s the application and supervision that need to be monitored, supervised properly and consistently, each application being properly read at the supervision stage to ensure that it meets the criteria. If it does, what’s the problem? Tying the hands of the Police to suit the baying journos and politicians helps society how?

TASER, briefly, is the same. As long as the officers have received a sufficient level of training, and all the relevant policies and guidelines have been complied with, what on earth is the problem? Are we surrounded by a Nation of Police Officers firing off their TASERs randomly every time they jump out of their cars? Or are they being used only when necessary? Yes, mistakes may occasionally happen, but an honest mistake should be forgiven. Reckless and inappropriate use of TASER is different. Is that really what’s happening out there?

Finally, Stop and Search. It’s quite possible, probable if you prefer, that Stop and Search has been misused and abused by a small number of officers is that a reason to call. For its abolition? I don’t think so. My view is really quite consistent. Train your officers so that they know what they have to do. Monitor the Stop/Search records and make the Supervising Officers SUPERVISE. Every supervisor is a volunteer. They have all applied to be one. It is not compulsory, they take the increased salaries every month, let them earn their corn and bloody supervise at grass roots level. Root out malpractice and develop a body of officers who know the reasons and grounds for Stop/Search, know how to put it in to practice and how to do It without offending the person being Stop/Searched. I always found people to be perfectly reason if they were dealt with respectfully and had things explained to them. The small percentage that will vociferously object to being stopped because they protest their innocence and the Police have only picked on them for whatever reason can be totally silenced by the impending issue of bodycams allied with consistent professionalism. Once again, no reason to scrap the whole system, concentrate on applying the existing system properly

I’m perfectly certain that the vast majority of the Great British public don’t want to see their police hamstrung by being deprived of their ‘tools’. To give in to the baying minority is the weak, lazy option. Strong leadership with effective supervision will solve all these problems without weakening the Police effectiveness. Why on earth are we even bothering to listen to the likes of Sophie Khan and her ilk? (That’s me Blocked then). Even Professional Standards can’t object to that surely?

Armed Police Attending Routine Calls-So What?

There is nothing whatsoever wrong with Armed Police attending routine calls. They are clearly not obliged to draw their weapons every time they get out of their vehicles. As is stated in the post, if the govt hadn’t decimated the 43 Police Forces this might not be necessary, but backup from an Armed Officer is infinitely preferable to NO backup

Steelriverboy

A little bit of uproar from certain members of the press this morning, about armed police officers attending “routine calls”.

This so called “Americanisation” of the police SERVICE, is utter rubbish.

For that to happen, we would ALL have to be armed, and, as everyone knows, we’re not.

If, as reported in the Telegraph, there is “widespread dismay” in Scotland that armed officers are attending various incidents that are not firearms related, then we’d all better get used to it.

The reason is very simple. Cuts to policing.

The service has lost somewhere in the region of 16,000 staff and officers over the past four years or so. And, as a consequence, there are fewer of us to attend roughly the same number of incidents. Something has to give, and this is what we’re seeing.

It’s being done out of necessity, not because someone thought it was brilliant idea.

Firearms…

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Beyond The Reach Of The Law

I told you that this was going to be a busy old week.

I have seen and read much utter crap in recent days about the Police use of RIPA against journalists as a ruse to smoke out their (journalists’) sources.

I can quite easily agree with the comments about ‘Dawn Raids’, I have long since thought they were not always necessary, and I’m absolutely certain that on some occasions it’s a tactic used purely to send a message, under other circumstances they may be vital. A balancing act, but the priority has to be securing the evidence, but Dawn Raids do not need to be the Norm, particularly for historical investigations.

The relationship between Press and Police has always been fragile and not destined to improve any time soon. I fear that this week it has descended to even lower levels with stories from Sean O’Neil (@TimesCrime) and the Beeb’s Danny Shaw (@DannyShawBBC).

Danny asks the question “Do Police Believe They Are Above The Law?”

Let me answer that, “No, I don’t believe that they do, nor are they and neither should they be”

My headline would be “Journalists and Politicians believe they should be above the law”

Let me be clear on this, NOBODY should be above the law or immune from investigation and prosecution.

Each Police Officer swears an oath similar to this;:

I (name) do solemnly and sincerely declare and affirm that I will well and truly serve our Sovereign Lady the Queen in the office of Constable, without favour or affection, malice or ill will; and that I will, to the best of my power, cause the peace to be kept and preserved, and prevent all offences against the persons and properties of Her Majesty’s subjects and that while I continue to hold the said office I will, to the best of my skill and knowledge, discharge all the duties thereof faithfully according to law.

Nowhere in this oath does it mention journalists and politicians being exempt from investigation.

Each sworn constable is an independent legal official; they are not agents of the police force, PCC or government. Each police officer has personal liability for their actions or inaction.
Sir Richard Mayne’s 9 Principles include this one;
“5. To seek and preserve public favour, not by pandering to public opinion; but by constantly demonstrating absolutely
impartial service to law, in complete independence of policy, and without regard to the justice or injustice of the substance of individual laws, by ready offering of individual service and friendship to all members of the public without regard to their wealth or social standing, by ready exercise of courtesy and friendly good humour; and by ready offering of individual sacrifice in protecting and preserving life.”
To the best of my knowledge the modern Police Service still follows these nine principles, which do not seem to include an exemption for Press and Politicians.

RIPA applies to a wide-range of investigations in which private information might be obtained. Cases in which it applies include:

terrorism
crime
public safety
emergency services

In a nutshell, broadly speaking, RIPA can be used by Police Officers investigating a CRIME

EVERY application for an authority under RIPA has to be recorded, submitted via Supervising Officers who will ensure that there are sufficient grounds for the authority to be granted.

RIPA does not give the Police, or any other Authority, powers to go on a ‘Fishing Expedition’ I.e. Let’s have a look at these journalists’ telephone records so that we can work out who their sources are. It MAY give Police powers to examine defined journalists’ telephone records in an attempt to identify who had unlawfully passed information to them. This must be an integral part of a criminal investigation.

The relevant Codes of Practice already contain these words of wisdom;

Collateral intrusion

3.8 Before authorising applications for directed or intrusive surveillance, the authorising officer should also take into account the risk of obtaining private information about persons who are not subjects of the surveillance or property interference activity (collateral intrusion).

3.9 Measures should be taken, wherever practicable, to avoid or minimise unnecessary intrusion into the privacy of those who are not the intended subjects of the surveillance activity. Where such collateral intrusion is unavoidable, the activities may still be authorised, provided this intrusion is considered proportionate to what is sought to be achieved. The same proportionality tests apply to the likelihood of collateral intrusion as to intrusion into the privacy of the intended subject of the surveillance.

3.10 All applications should therefore include an assessment of the risk of collateral intrusion and details of any measures taken to limit this, to enable the authorising officer fully to consider the proportionality of the proposed actions.

If the Police Officers conducting such criminal investigation are prevented from doing so if a journalist or politician are involved, a side-effect of this could possibly be that Police Officers unlawfully selling information to the media would escape detection and prosecution. What would the Press make of that?

A suitable analogy might be the relationship between a Police Officer and a Registered Informant (CHIS). If there were suspicions that they were enjoying a corrupt relationship would it be acceptable to say “we can’t investigate that, there’s an Informant involved. We can’t compromise the identity of the Informant”? I’m pretty sure that The Times and the Beeb would be all over that like a rash.

Surely the sensible approach would be that Police Officers should be allowed to investigate allegations of crime, regardless of who may be involved and if that results in journalists, politicians or Police Officers being arrested then so be it. Of the utmost importance in this process is that such investigations are necessary, proportionate, recorded and authorised at the appropriate level. WITHOUT FEAR OR FAVOUR.

Nobody should be beyond the reach of the law and immune from investigation, but those investigations must be carried out lawfully.

I hope that answers your question Danny.

Who You Gonna Call? Ghostbusters?

Sorry, my take on a serious question. Just who are you going to call when you need the Police? Even if you get through, your friendly Despatcher will assign a Priority to your call and somebody should turn up within the allotted time.

But that’s just the beginning of a bigger problem.

Who are the Police going to call when they need backup? With the single-crewing madness still in place despite the obvious risks, backup could be 15 minutes, or more, away. My good friend Dai ( you remember, Bronwyn’s boyfriend) can be the only warranted officer on duty in HUNDREDS of square miles at night time. Over 17,000 Police Officers have now GONE across England and Wales. Whoever wins the next election it seems inevitable that more will follow, perhaps even more than we’ve already lost.

You’d have to hope that the Police Officer who attended your call didn’t need help from a Dog Handler. Almost all of the 43 Forces in England and Wales have reduced the size of their Dog Sections, and you might even have to wait for one to arrive from a neighbouring Force, particularly at night when they become really useful. It might not sound like many but over 200 Police Dogs have already gone. Next time you spot a passing Constable just stop him/her (because he/she will be patrolling singly) how valuable they think a Police Dog is to day to day Policing. I bet I can predict their answer.

If the lone PC and his/her Dog Handler mate haven’t been able to solve your problem, you’d better hope that they don’t need to call for a helicopter. Following on from the 23% budgetary cuts which gave birth to the current ‘system’, they are now facing a further 14% cut which is likely to lead to the closure of a quarter of the existing Air Support bases. Having already been reduced from 30 to 20’bases, budgetary restraints are likely to reduce that number to 15, to cover the whole of England and Wales.

It wasn’t that long ago that calling up a dog unit and/or a helicopter in the middle of the night was a perfectly viable option, but now you’ll be lucky to get either, never mind both.

5 Forces have completely disbanded their Mounted Sections and some have now resorted to recruiting unpaid volunteers to don a Hi Viz jacket and ride their own horses like a mounted Neighbourhood Watch. I’m all in favour of Neighbourhood Watch, but personally this is not a scheme for me, not least because I would require a Clydesdale or Suffolk Punch before I could ride it.

Finally, should you need an Ambulance, put the kettle on and make the officers a cup of tea as Ambulances are stacked up outside A&E waiting for the Bed Blocking, which this government has created, to clear. By cutting Social Care budgets at the far end of the chain beds become blocked because patients can’t be discharged as Local Authorities can’t provide sufficient support for their role. Again, all caused by ConDem coalition cutting local Authority budgets without regard for the consequences.

I fully accept that you are highly unlikely to encounter the full scenario I have described above, but it is not impossible to encounter any combination of those factors, and if you are that unfortunate you’d be as well to call Ghostbusters as the Emergency Services, as cuts are here, they have started, they are already having an effect on everyday life. It isn’t that your local Police Station (if you’re lucky enough to still have one) can’t be arsed to send someone, it’s far more likely that they have absolutely nobody they can send. An extreme example maybe, but an example nevertheless of how the cuts of Camoron/May/Winsor and all can affect the lives of ordinary folk. Every one of your Emergency Service personnel do the job they do because they care.

Let us not forget that Fire Stations have been closed across the country, Fire Engines sold off or taken out of service and Fire Fighters are also losing their jobs. I have mentioned previously the plight of the Coastguard service also. All of the Emergency Services are suffering at the hands of this unelected coalition, and destined to get worse.

I’m not going to presume to tell you who to vote for in May, but I am going to emplore you to think very carefully before you do vote, and to remember that #CutsHaveConsequences, and those consequences are only going to get worse before they get better.

734 – A Funny Old Number

Not quite a Jumbo Jet, but the number of Expenses Claims fraudulently made by Bob Blackman MP (allegedly).

You can find the story here.

Now there may be those amongst you who think I’m being mean-spirited and petty minded, and turning a claim for 2 miles into a claim for 10 miles is not a big deal. Well I happen to think that it IS a big deal. Not due to the amount of money that seems to have been over claimed, but the cynical method that seems to have been applied to a large number of claims.

If this was a Police Officer members of the public (and politicians, you can be certain of that) would be calling for heads to roll. People, quite rightly, expect and demand, the highest levels of integrity from their Police Officers, and, in the main, they get it.

Well I demand the highest levels of integrity from our politicians.

Why? Because, if for no other reason, THEY ARE THE LAW MAKERS.

I am sick to the back teeth of hearing Theresa May, amongst others, running our Police Officers into the ground, while other members of her party are still systematically screwing the expenses system.

The question was asked on Twitter this morning “has this been reported to the Police?” Well it certainly should be. There seems to be more than enough grounds to warrant a criminal investigation, yet IPSA seem to think that a slapped wrist is the appropriate sanction without referring it it onwards to the appropriate authority. How arrogant is that? One more example of the inappropriate use of the word Independent

Rant over, off to B&Q now to buy some Magnolia emulsion for Angry Towers, #Vanilla service will be resumed as soon as possible.

Or maybe not..