College Chaos And A Safer London

No, the two aren’t necessarily connected, just two items of insanity floating around Twitter last night.

Firstly the College of Policing (CoP) has announced a national scrutiny into undercover policing;

http://www.college.police.uk/News/College-news/Pages/National-undercover-scrutiny-.aspx

Included in the panel are the Police Action Centre aka Sophie Khan and PCC Sue Mountstevens.

Can CoP really be that naive or are they merely flexing their muscles with an opening kick in the nads for the troops on the (shrinking) Front Line?

Where do I begin? Sophie Khan? Why on earth would any right-minded person or organisation include Sophie Khan on any scrutiny panel into such a vital part of modern day Policing? She is prone to gross over-generalisations and exaggerations, on an almost daily basis.

I fully accept that I’m talking about a couple of years ago but her historical Twitter T/L does not make comfortable reading for CoP surely;

She seems very anti-police, one of her old tweets was “Good Night all. I’m off to bed. Will be dreaming about suing the police as always. Sweet dreams to you all. I love my job so much :) ”

On the 7th of April 2012 she posted the following comment on Twatter: “Met Police aren’t just racist while on duty, they are racist off duty. They’re members of BNP scum. Well done on being the most hated.

This is a suitable person to be engaged by CoP for such an important piece of work? Many of us who have dared to disagree with her and challenge her extreme views merely get ‘blocked’ as she seems unwilling to engage with her critics. This has directly led to the Twitter #hashtag #BlockedBySophieKhan. CoP really believe that this is a suitable person for their panel?

That leads me to Sue Mountstevens, Police and Crime Commissioner for Avon and Somerset Police.

She is not without controversy either;

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bristol-29838505 after a Disciplinary Hearing found that she had committed a Serious Error of Judgement.

In May 2014, Avon and Somerset’s Chief Constable Nick Gargan was suspended over allegations he made inappropriate advances to female staff.

The Police and Crime Panel found Sue Mountstevens breached her own code of conduct by telling Mr Gargan who had made the allegations.

Engaging Ms Mountstevens on such a high-profile panel as this, so soon after her gross faux pas sends a terrible message to Police ‘Whistleblowers’ and the like. Not only are they treated appallingly but those that betray them are seemingly only guilty of an error of judgement, and then deemed worthy to sit on a panel passing scrutiny on Undercover Policing.

Exactly what kind of vetting has/is being conducted on these people? Does anybody at CoP even care?

Fortunately I got out before the inception of CoP, but many of my friends remain and I can only despair, as far as I’m concerned this is the end of the road for any slight credibility that CoP had. For me that has died completely after this charade.


Then we have the nonsense that is Bernie Hogan-Who claiming to be a Can Do Leader and that London will be a safer place with a smaller, reduced Met.

http://content.met.police.uk/News/Commissioner-Transform-British-policing-to-keep-the-public-safe/1400030449171/1257246745756

Sir Bernard said: “If you had any doubt, if my officers had any doubt, then let’s be clear – the Met is a ‘can-do’ organisation, and I am a ‘can-do’ leader. A smaller Met can make London safer.”

“But we need to spell out, like the military has, that we can’t promise to tackle everything the world throws up within a shrinking budget. If we try to fight on all fronts, we’ll fail on some. If we’re not clear what’s beyond our reach, how can others take responsibility?”

I can only agree with a lot of what he said, but make London safer with a smaller Met? Really? I guess we’ll all have our views on that, but I don’t see how that’s doable with the scale of further cuts still to come. His reference to the Armed Forces is valid, they also have been slashed to the point where I fail to see how they could be effective if the wheel truly came off. Not because they are incompetent, I have the highest respect and regard for them, there just aren’t enough of them. The outbreak of war would not be the finest hour to recommence recruiting.

IMG_0220

Or maybe



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Bernard Hogan-Who To Buck The Trend

BHH has apparently predicted that the Met can do something better than any other public sector organisation has managed to do to date.

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe has predicted the force’s deployment of mobile technology will buck the trend of failing public sector IT projects and deliver benefits both to victims of crime and officers.

All frontline officers are supposedly to be issued with data-connected tablets on which they’ll be able to record details of crimes, photograph evidence and issue crime reference numbers without needing to return to base.

Now don’t laugh, but he has combined ‘the best Police leaders’ with ‘the best IT leaders to oversee the project.  No danger of anything going wrong there then.  BHH says that he “is confident that our investment will pay off”.

At the same time he sought to reassure that an increase in dependence on IT will not be used as an excuse to reduce officer numbers, despite the recently announced further budget cuts.

All I can say is that they’d better be buying TonkaPads because if something can be broken, Met cops will break it, lose it, run it over or drop it down the toilet.

I can see the need to do something with IT because all the Police Buildings in London seem to be pubs or very expensive flats/apartments. now.  I dread to think where locker space is provided, and I’m pretty certain the Snooker Rooms went years ago along with the Plan Drawer’s Office.  No space for writing Crime Reports up, maybe this is all part of a Master Plan to reduce crime, make it more difficult to record.  Of course the IT on these tablets will be faultless with 100% reliability meaning no down time.

It’s a common sight in DeadBadgerShire to Police Vehicles parked up in a layby with the single-crewed officer tapping away at a keyboard within.  Saves on fuel and wear n tear as well reducing trips back to the Station.

Don’t get me wrong, I love technology, gadgets (not Gadget) but gadgets and gizzmos have to be part of the solution in an area like Policing, not the whole solution.  Is it only me that thinks that chatting to a crusty PC (are there any left?) or a sweaty DS when you go back to record the crime can sometimes have a positive outcome in relation to the crime you’re recording. Not always but sometimes.  Gods knows, clues are few and far between, anything helps.  Hitting SEND at the end of keying it in and giving the victim the corresponding crime number seems a little bit clinical and unsatisfactory to me, but I’m also aware that with dwindling numbers, and far worse to come, extravagances like chatting to the Crime Desk DS are on the way out, or probably already gone in some Forces.

Anyway it’s all going tom paid out of the proceeds of New Scotland Yard being sold off, so it can’t be all bad, can it?

Police Technology

So Just When Will Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe Resign?

I’m sure you don’t need reminding that Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe is the ‘top cop’ in the land, the Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis, Big Cheese, Top Johnny. He is in charge.

Under his stewardship we have seen one of the biggest scandals to rock the Met for decades, (but by no means the only one, where do I start?).  The recording of Crime Statistics for Metropolitan Police District.

It has been known by almost everyone within the Met that Crime Figures have been fiddled, it has been going on for decades and quite probably since the very first year that numerical targets were first introduced.

The then Police Constable James Patrick (amongst others) gave evidence to the Public Administration Select Committee and they eventually reported back that crime figures were being manipulated.

Tom Winsor of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary admitted that the manipulation of crime figures was taking place. The UK Statistics Authority withdrew the Met’s gold standard national statistics status. Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, was forced to admit the numbers were being fiddled and said the issue was a cause for concern.

FOUR eminent authorities all admitting that Crime Stats were being fiddled.

So what happened next? Was it put right?  Is all OK now?

Personally I have no idea whether I can yet trust the Met’s Crime Stats.

What happened next is that Police Constable James Patrick was hounded out of his job for daring to speak up.

Bernard Jenkin, the chair of the parliamentary committee that investigated the manipulation of crime stats, said: “The most depressing part of our inquiry is the way in which the Metropolitan police have treated my constituent, PC James Patrick, who was our key witness.”

The Grauniad went so far as to report this;

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) made repeated attempts to silence a whistleblower who exposed the widespread manipulation of crime statistics, it has emerged.

Documents seen by the Guardian show that senior officers made three separate attempts to stop PC James Patrick speaking out over the course of less than five months.”

Not a very honourable course of conduct in my opinion.

We also have the sorry tale of the TSG6, also on Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe’s watch.  If you missed that story previously you can read the transcript here.

In the last few months two senior people have resigned from Tesco due to ‘an accounting error’.  First we had the Finance Director falling on his sword, and just this week the Chairman.

So isn’t it about time that someone from the Met fell on their ceremonial sword and resigned as a point of honour over the most dishonourable things that appear to have happened, not to mention ‘an accounting error’ i.e. the Crime Stats?

Anyone want to run a book on when this will happen?

Is The End Game Finally In Sight?

For months and even years now, ex PC James Patrick fought the law, and the law won.  Whistleblower Extraordinaire, he exposed an undeniable truth, that CrimeStats were being routinely fiddled by a variety of people within the Met, and for a variety of different reasons, no doubt.  Undeniable because 100s and thousands of us KNEW that he was telling the truth because we have lived through it, it was the ‘norm’.

At the end of the day it cost him his livelihood, it cost him his tranquillity, it cost him (in a manner of speaking) his reputation, because he now has a Disciplinary Finding of Guilt, which won’t exactly act as a reference if he ever decided that he wanted to rejoin the Police Service.  In all the ways that matter, though, it has enhanced his personal and professional reputation immensely.

So, after a while Parliament conducted and enquiry/investigation into #CrimeStatsGate which culminated in yesterday’s news headline criticising the Met for its treatment of James.  Bernard Jenkin MP told parliament ex-Met PC James Patrick was the victim of “monstrous injustice” and was “hounded” from his job..  Quite strong words really, don’t you think?  Just because they are uttered with the benefit of Parliamentary Privilege doesn’t make them any less true.

“Mr Patrick had said crime figures had been manipulated and sexual offences were under-reported by 22-25%.”    Errrrmm and how much have reports of Sexual Offences gone up by now?  Surely there can’t be a connection?  Can there?

 

To illustrate the enormity of James’ actions I will reproduce a selection of verbatim quotes from the transcript of PASC’s meeting yesterday;

Mrs Cheryl Gillan (Chesham and Amersham) (Con): Although I am now a proud member of the Public Administration Committee, I was not a member when the report was done. Does my hon. Friend agree that PC James Patrick’s actions were both courageous and in the public interest, and that he has done a great service to this country in ensuring that this matter is highlighted, as the Committee has done?

Mr Jenkin: My right hon. Friend is absolutely right. It is worth emphasising that under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998, PC Patrick should have been afforded some protection. I will come to the position of whistleblowers later in my remarks………………………………….We found strong evidence that the police have under-recorded crime, particularly sexual crime such as rape, in many police areas. There remain wide disparities in no-crime rates—that is, where police decide that a crime did not take place—following reports of rape, for example. In January 2014, Her Majesty’s inspectorate of constabulary, on behalf of the Rape Monitoring Group, released a compendium of statistics on recorded rapes in each force over the previous five years. I invite right hon. and hon. Friends and colleagues to look at the table showing how wide the variation is among different forces across England and Wales in their no-criming of rape. According to the figures, in Lincolnshire, for example, 26% of all reported rapes were no crimed in 2012-13; by contrast, in Merseyside, only 4% were. The national average was 11.9%…………………………….The main reason for misrecording was the continued prevalence of numerical targets………………

Our official police witnesses, most notably the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, were somewhat defensive and seemed unready to acknowledge that their statistics were inherently flawed. Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe told us that the accuracy of data on rape and sexual offences was

“a lot better than it was, if we took it back five to 10 years.”  [Well that’s alright then]……………..

even the Metropolitan Police Commissioner agrees that

“there is clearly something that PC Patrick raises that we need to get to the bottom of.”

Despite that, I can only describe the treatment of my constituent James Patrick as shameful. By doing his duty and raising the issues, he showed the highest commitment to the core policing values, but as a result he became the victim of the most monstrous injustice. He was in effect hounded out of his job, following a long period of harassment by the Metropolitan police command chain, which, I dare say, used and abused the disciplinary process to get rid of him. It does the police no credit that a whistleblower should be treated in such a way. He was, for example, accused of a conflict of interest for publishing a book about the misuse of police recorded crime statistics, even though the proceeds were paid to a police charity. In an LBC radio programme in December last year, Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said that he would meet PC Patrick. He never did so.

There is much, much more in the PASC document, but I think the above will suffice.  I had never encountered Bernard Jenkin before James’ problems, but in the limited contact I have had with him he strikes me as being one of a rare breed, a decent and honourable politician.  I just hope that I am not proved wrong.

So, Dear Reader, if you’re still with me at this point, just how despicable was James’ treatment at the hands of the Met?  You decide.

This should make you smile James:-  A new entry in Oxford English Dictionary perhaps; INTEGRITY – James Patrick, The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles:

Just a thought

 

Without brave whistleblowers, Ali Dizaei would be running the Met police

I almost never have any time for Richard Littlejohn, so this is probably a first for me, and maybe for you.This is an old article from the Daily Fail dating back to December 2012, prophetic in parts, and probably not too inaccurate.

If you really must read the whole article you can find it here, but the potted highlights include:-

“Of course it was ‘disproportionate’. [The arrest of a Police Officer under #Plebgate] Disproportionate is what Hyphen-Howe does these days, ever since he became Commissioner.”

“On Merseyside, he was the ‘Hail Fellow Well Met’ chief constable, always happy to share a drink and a meal with reporters. After arriving at the Yard, he now sees himself as a true and perfect knight in shining riot gear”

“Seasoned crime correspondents have received menacing phone calls from anti-corruption officers demanding to know where they got their information. The Met even used the Official Secrets Act in an attempt to force a Guardian reporter to disclose her sources.”

“Within the Yard, officers speak of a reign of terror as the professional standards unit, under Deputy Assistant Commissioner Pat Gallan…….”

Gallan is a ferociously ambitious, former Merseyside colleague of Hyphen-Howe, said to fancy her chances of becoming the first black, female Met Commissioner. The aim is to stop any information getting out, except through rigorously  controlled official channels.”

“A Met constable, PC James Patrick, [December 2012 don’t forget] is also being investigated for gross misconduct for criticising police practice and reforms in a book based on his Twitter postings.

Compare and contrast his treatment with the book published by bent copper Ali Dizaei, which was serialised in The Times and featured as Radio 4’s Book Of The Week. [Book of the Week? FFS]

Far from being disciplined, Dizaei was subsequently promoted, even though his book was fiercely critical of the Met and he was forced to pay libel damages to two senior officers.”

I apologise for the lazy copy/paste style blog but on this occasion Littlejohn says everything that we’ve been saying, so why paraphrase it?

Littlejohn has encapsulated everything that is wrong with the Met at the moment. Normally I would actively avoid him and his articles, but on this occasion seems he has been practicing with tea leaves etc.

One thing I will agree on is that the Met and NSY are not happy places to be right now, and, yes, Ali Dizaei could easily have ended up as Commish.

Has The Apocalyptic Horseman Risen Like The Phoenix?

Is that a Mixed Metaphor?

Is Anarchy breaking out within MOPAC and/or the Met?

So many questions for a Monday morning, and I am aware that I am far from being the only person asking them.

BoJo’s Policing SPAD has been suspiciously quiet since his notorious and ill-judged Four Horseman of the Apocalypse Tweet (sorry Mr Gibbs, I won’t forget it and why should I?), but recently we have seen two absolute crackers come out of BoJo Towers and/or BHH.

Firstly, in a fine display of unilateralism, the likes of which I have seldom seen, we have Boris announcing the purchase of two Water Cannon for the people of London.  They still haven’t been signed off by Cruella as far as I know, but you Londoners can have them anyway.  As a major strategic resource it is unthinkable that BoJo’s SPAD will not have been involved in that decision.

Now today we have the ground-breaking announcement that recruitment of Constables into the Met will be open only to the residents of Greater London (within the M25 basically).

Now this causes me several problems really.

1,  Why only Constables?  If this is really such a good idea why not apply it to ALL ranks.

2.  The Metropolitan Police Farce proudly declares itself as an Equal Opportunities Employer.  Really?  Bernie Hogan-Who has previously admitted that his in favour of Positive Discrimination, but this just takes the argument to a whole new level.   Can the genuine needs of the Met be realised from recruiting solely from the Greater London Area.  Neither Bernie the Ostrich nor BoJo are Londoners themselves I believe.  What is it that Londoners bring to the party that is so important at Constable level (absolutely no offence intended)

Boris says “Every police officer is always and will always be selected on merit, but there is more than enough talent in this great city to give the Met all the devoted and skilled new recruits they need to go on keeping Londoners safe.”  Really?  Then the Met should have never suffered any recruitment problems and all the excellent members from outside the M25 were really never needed then?

3. The policy change will not affect serving officers, existing MPS police staff, members of the Special Constabulary, or existing police officers seeking to transfer from other UK forces.  Not that I have a problem with transfers in from another Force, but why are they an exception?  Is this an indication that the policy might not actually be lawful?  Conservatives are, after all, renowned for their unlawful policies.

4.  And this really is my biggest problem with it.  The Metropolitan Police Service intends to recruit 5,000 new Police Constables before 2016.  Boris Johnson wants to keep police numbers around 32,000.  In March 2013 there were 30,398 Constables in the Met.  This is approx 3,000 fewer than March 2010.  The Home Office have ‘helpfully’ changed the format for their twice-yearly Policing Strength stats and no longer include the breakdown by rank (oh, I wonder why), all I can tell you is that by September 2013 the TOTAL strength of the Met was down to 30,631.  Under it’s plans for dealing with ‘Austerity’ the MPS has a plan in place to reduce its TOTAL strength to 31,960 by March 2015.

So, I come back to the point I have made several times before, and the the Met, MOPAC and the government have taken absolutely no notice;  if the 2015 target is 31,960, why are we now at 30,631, a level lower than is targeted. Why are senior Police Officers and politicians, once again, playing games with the figures/  They did it with #CrimeStats and now they’re doing it with Policing Strength.  London presumably needs a certain number of Poilice Officers to keep it safe. So why would you deliberately go below that level and announce it was your intention to recruit 5,000 more?  Not that 5,000 is a realistic figure because the difference between current and planned establishments is much less than 5,000 and we all know that more cuts are planned for post 2015.  MOPAC’s latest TOTAL establishment figure for the Met is May 2014 and showed  30,945.

Cynical, risky, reckless, downright criminal.  They are playing with the safety of their residents and Tax Payers?  If you cut Blair Gibbs in half I suspect you would find Policy Exchange running all the way through.  Another major policy that I find inconceivable that he was not involved with.  Are we now witnessing the rising of Phoenix Gibbs from the Bonfire of the Vanities?

This tells me everything I need to know about MOPAC and the Met.  They have changed into a team of game-players.  Maybe BHH, BoJo and Blair will be appearing on Big Brother sometime soon.

A Very Peculiar Practice

In the early hours of this morning I read that the nice Andrew Mitchell MP  has ‘challenged’ Sir Bernard Hogan-Who to release all of the #Plebgate evidence into the public domain.

According to an article in today’s Torygraph Mitchell has written to BHH and told Sir Bernard that he must publish transcripts and records from the Met’s private hearings relating to the officers involved in the Plebgate row.

It is claimed in this Torygraph article that nice Mr Mitchell has been allowed to attend the private disciplinary hearings, and take notes of the evidence heard there.  WTF?

Following the end of the hearings, Mr Mitchell wrote to Sir Bernard challenging him to release full transcripts of all the hearings.

In his letter, Mr Mitchell said that he had heard evidence in the hearings that should be put in the public domain, including that the Met’s own investigation had established that: “one of the PCs who obstructed my exit from Downing Street on 19th September 2012 was texting [their] involvement in the affair as it became public (21st September 2012) and claiming “I can topple the Tory Government”, and that the hearings had produced evidence of exchanges between officers suggesting that they were “colluding with the Police Federation to fan the flames for political reasons”.

Mr Mitchell included in his letter  “While I wish to say that the way these hearings were run was undoubtedly fair and proper I am deeply concerned that they were held in private and were not open to public and journalistic scrutiny”, and, “I am deeply concerned that if any of the information is withheld, and any hint of a cover-up is left in the public mind, a signal will be sent that the police can get away with doing this to people who would have no chance to fight back and public confidence will be yet further undermined.”

Serious allegations Mr M, very serious indeed.

I’m not privileged to those hearings,I have no idea if Mr Mitchell’s claims float or not, but what the f*** was he doing there?  When did it become acceptable practice to have a serving (tarnished) MP sit in on Disciplinary hearings that he was involved in?

More to the point, when did it become even vaguely acceptable to have ANYBODY sit in on a Disciplinary hearing that is embroiled in unresolved legal proceedings concerning the very same issue?

‘Private Disciplinary Hearings’, there’s a clue there, PRIVATE (except to the privileged few)

I do hope that PFEW will challenge this when they’ve finished their conference.  I’m sure that the release of this new twist was entirely coincidental and NOT aimed to coincide with Conference, Mitchell wouldn’t do that, would he?

In the meantime I shall leave you with this;

 

TJF FUBAR