PENETRATION – Fact, Fiction or Theory.

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

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

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

That is shocking.

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

Then a chance Tweet got me thinking.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’ll let Chris have the last word

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The State Of The Nation

The American President gets to give a State of the Nation speech so, in an Election Year, I thought I’d give it a go.

Unaccustomed as I am to Public Speaking here are the Highlights

Police – Threat levels rising, the threat from International Terrorism is at unprecedented levels and what are we doing about it? At the last count we’ve got rid of nearly 17,000 fully trained and experienced Police Officers and we’re promising to shed more over the next 5 years. An unconfirmed rumour circulating is that Camoron and co want to cull the total down to about 80,000. Can you imagine that? 135,000 a few years ago, down to 80,000, cracking idea.

How many Police Stations or Front Counters have closed across the country? Too many.

The Armed Forces, they’re very important right now. In my humble opinion they deserve the best kit, and basically the best of everything because I’ve always been immensely proud of our fighting heroes, they’re well-trained, do a fantastic job, often in the worst conditions, and are regularly shat upon by successive governments. Having already been decimated to nothing much more than a decent-sized Defence Force rumours abound that they too are to be cut further, to as little as 60,000. Under the Government’s current Army reforms, the number of regular soldiers is already being cut from 102,000 to 82,000, and the number of Territorials is meant to increase to help take up the slack, only it isn’t, they’re actually getting smaller too, not by a huge amount but over 10,000 short of the government’s target of 30,000.  At the end of 2014 our Army consisted of 14,080 Officers and 80,101 Other Ranks. Current plans appear to call for an Army of 112,000 by 2020. This would result in a Regular Army strength of 82,000 and a Reserve strength of 30,000. Figures include 2,790 Gurkhas and 1,240 Full Time Reserves. (FTRS).

The National Health Service – despite Camoron’s constant reassurances that the NHS is safe in Tory hands, there appears to be a shortage of approx 20,000+ Doctors and Nurses, whilst the pay of NHS Chief Executives is climbing so much that one of them now earns more than the Prime Minister (allegedly).

Social Care cuts for Local Authorities have resulted in NHS Bed Blocking as Councils no longer have the funding and resources necessary to care for many patients on their discharge from hospital. This results in the patients failing to be discharged even though though there is no medical reason for them to remain and blocking a bed needed by somebody else.  Government blames Local Authorities, but in reality it is Government Cuts that have brought this about.

The Fire and Rescue Service. I don’t know what the figures are nationally, but almost every region has seen Fire Stations closed, Fire Engines sold off or scrapped. Jobs lost or at risk this is another example of an area we can’t take risks with.

Her Majesty’s Coastguard Service (or Marine & Coastguard Agency). There’s another Emergency Service that’s been decimated Camoron and Co. I’ve blogged about them numerous times before and I make no apology for including them here. We don’t think about them enough. The one thing I will repeat is this, if you swim in the sea, scuba dive, surf, let your kids on the water on inflatables, take a ferry to France, Ireland or anywhere else for your holidays then you absolutely NEED the Coastguards when this go wrong. According to Ordnance Survey the UK coastline is a smidgen over 11,000 miles long. Other agencies, however, have the coastline as anywhere up to 24,000 miles http://coastguardsos.com/how-long-is-a-piece-of-string/ After Camoron and co have had their way there will be just NINE Coastguard Stations left open.

The new National Maritime Operations Centre plus

Stornoway
Shetland
Aberdeen
Belfast
Humber
Holyhead
Milford Haven
Falmouth
Dover
Plus a 1 man station in London Port Authority (which so far failed to be manned at least once)

Do you REALLY, HONESTLY think that’s enough? Human lives are at stake daily. How many major incidents at sea have we heard about just since Christmas?

The last one I shall mention today is the Border Force and the monumental cock-up by the Home Office there (remind me someone, who’s in charge of the Home Office? Anyone we know?)

The Home Office has managed to come up with its own version of an IT catastrophe. Having hired Raytheon, a US company, to put in place “e-borders”, a computer system to log every person who crosses the UK border, it now turns out that Britain will not only be without the e-borders system, we will also have to pay more than £220 million for not having it. That’s in addition to the hundreds of millions of pounds that have already been spent on a system that does not work as intended. Thousands of people are slipping into Britain illegally and in-noticed. How many of them are returning Jihadists?

So there we are. The State of the Nation? Comprehensively ‘Cattled’ would be my assessment. In addition to posts lost, both the Police and the Armed Forces are ‘losing’ experienced personnel and replacing them with cheaper, untrained personnel. The loss of experience to this country is staggering, and cannot be replaced or reversed quickly.

Camoron and Co think that it’s all about saving money, well it isn’t. We can’t go on haemorrhaging skills and experience yet still expect our response to assorted threats to remain the same. That doesn’t work. Those that are left behind are disenchanted, having seen their pensions and terms of employment turned on their heads. Work Longer, Pay More, Less Pension seems to be the Mantra these days, unless you’re an MP That is. They claim that the Law does not allow them to decline their over-generous pay and pensions package. Well I’ve got a suggestion for you there Dave; change the bloody law like you did for hundreds of thousands of decent, hard working folk in order to make your unlawful pension reforms lawful. There’s a challenge for you.

I no longer care which party or parties form a government in May, but I do care about TWO things. They should have the good of the country in their hearts and all of their policies should be for the benefit of the country, not themselves or their fat cat business associates.

The State of the Nation is perilously poised.

I Heard a Rumour, And I Didn’t Like It One Bit

In my state of euphoria yesterday following on from the #Plebgate findings I stumbled across a piece of “information”.

I must first assure that I cannot verify this information but it is certainly plausible, and if I were still a serving warranted Police Officer I would be banging on my Fed Rep’ s door, and my boss’s door demanding some reassurance.

It has been alleged that there is a policy residing somewhere within the Home Office to continue whittling away at the number of warranted officers until you are reduced to 80,000. The additional numbers that are required to be made up of PCSOs and Specials.

Quite shocking but hardly surprising.

The ConDems already have a similar policy with the Armed Forces. They have slashed the numbers of all three Armed Forces to below the level required to defend our country. The policy is to make up the deficit with Reservists. The flaw in their grand plan is that they’re not getting enough Reservists to make it work. You can read it here if you missed it.

As I have posted before, about half of the 43 Forces of England and Wales have already lost more warranted officers than they are required to to reach their 2015 Austerity Target set by HMIC. It’ s a good job that HMIC is independent and has no connection with government is all I can say.

As I said at the beginning I cannot corroborate this rumour at all, and I vehemently hope that it is false, but it sounds like the sort of garbage the Home Office could come up with.

If any of you have contacts within the HO I would love to hear their response.

Blood On Their Hands

I wasn’t really intending to write a post today, but hey ho, one formed in my mind.

In a week that has seen the shocking revelation that there was an alleged plot to assassinate Her Majesty The Queen, I revisited old thoughts.

It was less than a month ago that I posted Buffoonery Without Equal outlying the cuts of nearly 17,000 warranted Police Officers since 2010. PCSOs have also been slashed by this reckless government.

The Army alone has been cut by about. 19.000 with the RAF and Royal Navy also suffering, albeit by less. Police Forces have shed more posts than they are required to. All 3 Armed Forces are at less than their required strength by over 7,000 in total. In whose world does that make sense?

All of these people are people who have sworn their allegiance to The Queen. They didn’t swear allegiance to any Prime Minister or Home Secretary. Does she really want them to go? Did she ever get any realistic say in the matter? No, of course not.

So Cameron, May, Hammond and Winsor, if the unthinkable were to happen and our Queen was murdered/assassinated/topped by these fanatics it may well be because we can no longer defend her and her family adequately from modern-day threats, but you didn’t care about that. After all, no Risk Assessment whatsoever was conducted by Winsor into his his Reviews and recommendations and none were required by the Home Office either. I suspect the MOD are equally rash and incompetent.

In short, Camoron, May, Hammond and Winsor may well end up with blood on their hands, just as much as any terrorist, home-grown or foreign.

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Yes, I know it’s Bliar, but I couldn’t find a Camoron.

MPs raise fears over cuts to Army

No Shit Sherlock.

Who do they think we are?  Do they think we’re really stupid? Don’t answer that, of course they do.

Plans to cut soldiers could leave the Army “short of personnel” and unable to meet future national security needs, a report by MPs has warned.

The Commons Defence Select Committee has also expressed its concern over the “the lack of consultation over the Army 2020 plan.”   That’s not an unfamiliar story either.

Under the Future Army 202 plan personnel numbers will be cut from 102,000 to 82,000 by 2018, with a doubling of reservist numbers. (Still sounding familiar).  The number of part-time soldiers, or reservists, is to be doubled from 15,000 to 30,000, but the Army is still a long way off from meeting its targets and the MPs’ report says there is scepticism that it will be able to recruit the numbers it needs.

Overall, the report echoes a familiar theme: the cuts to the armed forces have been driven by the need to save money, rather than any strategic vision of Britain’s place in the world.

So here we have it, a government hell-bent on doing whatever they think fit just to try and balance the books and make themselves look good, scoring a few points off the Opposition as they go.

Is that what we, the taxpayer, the voters, really want?

I, for one, want an Army (Navy/Air Force) that is fit for purpose.  I don’t want an Army that’s Second-Rate, poor relation to the rest of the world.

But it isn’t just the Armed Forces is it?  Police numbers cut by 16,000 so far, with more to come.  Coastguard Stations closing all around our coast. If you think you don’t need them then I assume you never go swimming in the sea on holiday, never go surfing, never take a Cross Channel Ferry. Why else would you not need them?

The NHS is in crisis with 145 Hospital Trusts forecasting that they will end the year in the red.

Some of the worst are;

Barts Health trust £50m

University Hospitals of Leicester trust £40m

University Hospital of North Staffordshire trust £28m

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals trust £24m

Mid Essex Hospital Services trust £20m

Mid Yorkshire Hospitals trust £20m

North West London Hospitals trust £20m

South London Healthcare trust (dissolved) £20m

East Sussex Healthcare trust £19m

Croydon Health Services trust £18m

Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals trust £17m

The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS trust (West Midlands) £17m

United Lincolnshire Hospitals trust £17m

Plymouth Hospitals trust £13m

North Cumbria University Hospitals trust £12m

Wye Valley trust £11m

Is yours there?

And then we have the banks.

RBS have recently announced losses of £8.2 Billion this financial year, with a staggering total of £46 BILLION lost over the last 6 years.  Are the bosses in prison, on bail awaiting trial, queuing up at the dole office, P40 in hand? NO they are not.  Instead they are paying themselves slightly smaller bonuses.

RBS set aside £576m for staff bonuses in 2013, of which £237m went to investment bankers; the bonus pot is down 15% on the previous year.

The bonuses for RBS alone would completely wipe out the £500 million savings that the Met (the largest Force in England & Wales) are having to make.  Pick on a few more banks, confiscate their bonuses (unless they actually deserve them of course) and UK Policing would start to look a bit more viable again.

I don’t have a degree in Advanced International Economics, but Vince Cable said

“But British taxpayers are still paying for the terrible mistakes of the past and I see no sign yet of a turnaround in the continuing decline of net lending to small business.

The public will simply not understand why big bonuses and large salaries continue to be paid out by a loss-making public enterprise, still underperforming in many areas.” and he’s quite right, I don’t bloody understand it.

If savings really have to be made then they have to be made, but I have seen some really reckless, foolhardy decisions over the last year or so, and it really winds me up to see the bankers seemingly immune to it all when it was them, globally, wot started this whole mess.

May I refer you back to one of my blogs from January?

Policing In Austerity Two And A Half Years On

42% (YES nearly HALF, not a trypo) of the 43 Forces in England and Wales are already reporting that their establishment is currently LOWER than their planned March 2015 Target.  That’s not about Austerity, it’s gone beyond that. What are ACPO doing about that statistic?  Are ACPO driving that statistic? Or is it Cruella, the driving force.

One thing is for certain, it’s not over yet. We have yet to see the end game. What will UK Policing look like in 2015? No dogs, no horses, a few water cannons to make up for pitifully low manpower levels?.  Who knows, but I truly fear that it will get worse before it gets better.

ConDem – The Government That Just Keeps Giving (And Taking)

In the week when MPs get an 11% pay rise and a brand spanking new pension scheme, (have I mentioned those before?) just so long as they stop claiming for tea and biscuits for the office, we get the disastrous (some may say criminally so) waste of millions/billions of pounds by Government.

I’ve mentioned before the odious Iain Duncan Smith’s Department for Work and Pensions and their ridiculous Universal Credit Scheme.  By anybody’s best estimate it is due to WASTE at least £34,000,000 and possibly anything up to £130,000,000 because the IT system won’t work. Back to the Drawing Board there then.

Phillip Hammond’s Ministry of Defence is set to waste £7.4 million because he tried to privatise (that P word again) their procurement system and all but one of the bidders withdrew. I wonder why that could be? Maybe there’s not so much profit in procurement as the private side thought.

This is on top of my old friend “Aircraft Carriers” that I’ve ranted about before.

The Government changed Labour’s plans to buy jump jets. But after delays and more costs emerged, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond announced a U-turn costing at least £74million, the National Audit Office has revealed.

Margaret Hodge said: “We were supposed to get two aircraft carriers, available from 2016 and 2018, at a cost of £3.65billion. We are now on course to spend £5.5billion and have no aircraft carrier capability for nearly a decade.

“Officials also made incredibly basic errors such as forgetting to include the costs of VAT and inflation.” Now that one’s an absolute classic. I do hope someone got sacked for that.

Hammond’s department was also responsible for a trifling £40,000 bill over the last two years for ringing the Speaking Clock. Speechless.

And then today we get the news that a totally disgraceful £55 BILLION is being wasted through Fraud and Unclaimed Taxes according to the Public Accounts Committee who described this figure as “worryingly high“. The Public Accounts Committee obviously employ masters of understatement amongst their staff.

Total government accounts drawn up by the Treasury show that in 2011-12 some £13.2 billion had to be written off due to fraud and error. Margaret Hodge (again) said: “Taxpayer losses due to fraud and error are worryingly high. It is staggering that, in one year, the public sector was defrauded of over £20 billion and the tax gap rose to £35 billion.”

But it’s OK, we are in times of Austerity. Your pay has been frozen, your pension eroded, but HMG can continue to waster staggering amounts of money and still qualify for an 11% pay rise. When’s the next election? Might just stand, seems like a good number to me.

But one serious question. What could you do with all that money if you added it up and used it for fixing the Police, NHS, Armed Forces. Someone, somewhere wouldn’t be losing their job, folks could have the right kit, we might have a usable aircraft carrier somewhere, hospital waiting times reduced, who knows what you could do with it all. A Bean Counter somewhere could tell us I’m sure.