The Dishonest Politician’s Guide To The Police

Nope, nothing to do me this one.   This catchy little title is the brainchild of Professor Tim Hope, Professor of Criminology at the University of Salford, which is a place near Manchester if I’m not mistaken.

Following on from TMIC’s (sic) report on #CrimeStats Prof Tim has written a little blogette with the above title, and I must say it is absolutely SPOT ON, I’ll highlight the best bits for you, but for the full effect you can read it here.  It’s not too long and quite an easy read, give it a go.

Having read Uncle Tom’s latest tome Professor Hope has published a five point plan for governments on how to improve their ratings by destroying the legitimacy of the Police;

1. Give the impression that you know how to reduce crime (but don’t be too specific)
2. Pretend that police recorded crime statistics are a true measure of crime and of victims’ needs (but don’t believe this yourself; use your own surveys)
3. Pretend that the police don’t belong to you any more.
4. Start waving a big stick.
5. Don’t bother to upgrade the skills of the rank and file police officer

Once you have achieved 1-5 just sit back and see what happens.

Once you’re confident that crime is going down long-term, start wondering out loud why we still need all those police officers.

Sit back and wait for the police to start fiddling the figures to make themselves look better, knowing that they have always done this, ever since there were figures to fiddle.

Talk about how the police must also share the pain of austerity cuts, look for efficiencies, etc. like everyone else. Actually abolish all those performance targets and red tape because what police officers really want is to be out there on the front line fighting crime (instead of sheltering from the elements inside a warm, comfortable police station with their workmates).

Selectively shine a torchlight into the affairs of a few police forces in areas where your voters (honest taxpayers) are concentrated; let a few scandals come to light, a few brave whistle-blowers sacrificed (knowing how nastily they treat ‘traitors’, you can then further dramatise the Chiefs’ iniquity at the same time as you leave the whistle-blowers hanging out to dry)

Finally, you’ve left the police without a leg to stand on, so that you can then blame them for their own failings.

Meanwhile, let the real victims of society rot; the inner city poor (who don’t vote) can be left to their own devices; do nothing about the hatred and violence festering away; do not exempt the safeguarding services from the cuts; make it difficult for the police to protect the vulnerable or prosecute those who harm them; and then blame the police for dimming the Blue Lamp in the face of the futility of it all.

Either way, it isn’t YOUR fault, and that’s all that matters….

His very last sentence is one I suspect we would all agree with. Thank you Professor Hope, and thank you also from hundreds if not thousands of my former colleagues for these, your final words on the subject;


For Heaven’s Sake, give us a Royal Commission to sort out this mess

BIO

Tim Hope was appointed to the newly created Chair in Criminology in September 2010. Previously, he worked at the Home Office Research and Planning Unit (latterly as Principal Research Officer), where he also earned a Ph.D. in Sociology through part-time study; and as Senior Consultant, CACI Ltd; Associate Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Missouri-St. Louis, USA; Senior Research Fellow, University of Manchester; and Reader (1994) and Professor of Criminology (1997), Keele University, serving as Head of the Department of Criminology and director of the Keele Community Safety Group.

He has been Director of the ESRC Crime and Social Order Research Programme (1993-1998); honorary research fellow of the Quantitative Criminology Group, Centre for Census and Survey Research, University of Manchester; Visiting Professor, Vauxhall Centre for Criminology, University of Bedfordshire; and Senior Visiting Research Fellow, Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research, University of Edinburgh (2007-2009).

He is Scientific Advisor to the International Centre for the Prevention of Crime, and Editorial Advisor for Safer CommunitiesCriminal Justice Matters and the European Journal of Policing Studies. He has also been an expert consultant to the UK Statistics Commission, the Audit Commission, the National Reassurance and the Neighbourhood Policing programmes, the European Forum for Urban Safety, the Regional Government of Emilia-Romagna (Italy), the Czech Republic, the European Commission evaluation of the European Crime Prevention Network, and given evidence to the parliamentary Science and Technology Committee. He coordinated the Work-package ‘Local public policies of crime prevention’ of the CRIMPREV Co-ordination Action of the European Union Sixth Framework Programme.

He has authored over 100 research publications, (some works appearing in translation) both in the UK and also in the USA, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, The Netherlands, Czech Republic, Poland, and Portugal.

One assumes he knows what he’s talking about then.

The Insidious Culture Of Fear

Fear is a powerful emotion. Let’s be honest, in the main, we tend to take notice of our fears, and for good, sensible reasons.

Large organisations suffer corporate fear too. They tend to have a serious fear of Whistleblowers, and any groups that are trying to assist Whistleblowers. So what do they do about it? They tend to get their retaliation in first and ‘Control’ their workforce with a Culture of Fear.

I have just been watching an article on my telly box, and it was stated, as though it were fact, that ALMOST NO Whistleblowers went on to keep their jobs. Now that’s a frightening statement for a start.

I’m not going to bore you with yet another blog about James, his story is now very well known. Although I do believe that the Met were uncomfortable with the level of support that James enjoyed and went on the offensive.

Instead, I would ask you to spend a few minutes reading the story of Dr Raj Mattu, an NHS Whistleblower, and see what comparisons you can draw from that. Is this a course of conduct that sounds familiar?

This is totally despicable behaviour and sadly just what we have come to expect.

Some of our friends and colleagues in the West of England have already experienced the Culture of Fear, first hand.

There is a Group on Facebook where members who are serving officers are constantly being reminded “don’t forget that DPS monitor this Group, don’t get caught posting something you shouldn’t “. Or “officers are being disciplined for “Liking” inappropriate posts, maybe serving officers should all leave the group rather than get themselves into trouble for ‘Liking’ someone else’s post”.

I’m absolutely certain that even the Mighty Met don’t have the resources to monitor every ‘Like’ and check out who liked it and find out if they are a serving officer, so they get the Culture of Fear to do their job for them.

Whether it was done malevolently, or with the best of intentions by former colleagues, the insidious Culture of Fear is alive and well in the Met.

It’s not my intention to encourage you all to ignore it as such, but to be aware of the tactics, acknowledge them and conduct yourselves accordingly. I also think that it’s about time that the Fed and other relevant professional bodies tackled the management that is encouraging, and using, this Culture of Fear,

HMIC No Crime The Whistleblowers’ Allegations

Yesterday saw the publication of the HMIC report into allegations that Police Forces across England and Wales have been systematically under-recording crimes.

They conclude that Police Forces have failed to record about 800,000 crimes a year, including 25% of Sex Crimes. An astounding figure, no wonder Crime is down across the UK.

The chief inspector of HMIC, nice Mr Winsor, said that a national crime recording rate of 81% was inexcusably poor: “This is not about numbers and dry statistics – it is about victims and the protection of the public.”

The investigation was based on reviewing 10,267 reports of crime by the public and 3,240 “no-crime” decisions as well as surveying the views of 17,000 police officers and staff.

The report rejects claims that the practice of under-recording is due to “fiddled figures” or dishonest manipulation, saying that although the staff survey and interviews with whistleblowers produced many such allegations, no one came forward with firm evidence.

The report says “that the police must record an incident as a crime when a victim reports circumstances that amount to an offence as defined by the law and there is no credible evidence to the contrary.”

Is this paragraph not at odds with the previous one? Despite surveying 17,000 officers and staff there was no “evidence” so it didn’t happen.

Apparently every allegation of Crime should be ‘Crime’d’. Surely every allegation should be recorded and No Crime’d if that is appropriate after investigation. Maybe Uncle Tom is showing his lack of relevant experience, I don’t believe that he could be that naive. Or maybe we’re simply taking a step back into the past and there will no initial investigation at the scene, just Crime Reporting with a follow-on investigation by the suits?

The inspectors say that a number of police forces accepted that “undue performance pressures had adversely affected crime recording in the past, and the culture of chasing targets as ends in themselves had distorted crime-recording decisions”.

If an allegation of Attempted Burglary is classified as Criminal Damage but contains a Point of Entry within the body of the Crime Report, this has probably been fiddled.

If an allegation of Grievous Bodily Harm has been recorded as Actual Bodily Harm or Common Assault but contains the fact that injuries were “Serious” then this has probably/possibly been fiddled. Need I go on?

I have mentioned this before, but when I last worked on Division (1999) the Met routinely ran an Ethical Audit (a small programme designed to hunt down anomalies such as these) on the CRIS database and bring the results to the attention of the relevant DCI. Does this no longer happen?

There are numerous people who could have told Uncle Tom what was happening and how it is done, but he seems to have chosen not to hear their voices.

Are we to assume then that there are 800,000 genuine “mistakes” across the country, every year, when crimes are recorded? 25% of Sexual Offence crimes contain genuine errors resulting in them being incorrectly recorded.

Or have HMIC just, ironically, classified the Whistleblowers’ allegations as No Crime in contradiction to their own guidelines?

Image Over Integrity

Are you a retired or serving or otherwise Ex Police Officer? Maybe your career was terminated prematurely by order of the Discipline Panel?

Do you have a story to tell? Do you want that story to be told?

Do you feel that you were unfairly or unlawfully treated by The Job?

Do you honestly believe that they were more concerned about their corporate image than establishing and publishing the facts, the truth?

If you have answered YES to all of the above then this could be just the place for you.

Some of you will already have read an earlier blog, Image Or Loyalty? Who Would Be A Whistleblower?

Now I want to turn things on their head.

The challenge I issued before was for Police Whistleblowers who had enjoyed a positive experience to tell me their stories. I didn’t get a single positive reply, but I did attract a few negative ones.

If you would like your story to be told, or you think that it’s about time that folk were reminded of your story, already told, then maybe I can help you. What I have in mind is a mini-series of Themed Blogs, using the Image Over Integrity theme, plus your story, told by you.

If you would like me to tell your story, or just remind folk of it, then why don’t you email me your story to retiredandangryATyahooDOTcom. Tell me what pseudonym you’d like me to use, roughly whereabouts in the country your Force is located, or maybe you’ll want to use your real name and Force, entirely up to you. I can’t make any promises except that a couple of hundred people might read it, and that your anonymity will be respected, after that who knows?

While we’re at it, why don’t we throw the doors open?

Maybe you’re an ex Serviceman or NHS employee or professional, and you also feel that your employer put Image over Integrity. Let me know if you want, and I will do my very best to accommodate you if at all possible and I don’t get swamped with replies.

Who knows? I’ve never tried this before and it may flop spectacularly, but the offer is there if you want to take it up.

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?

Image Or Loyalty? Who Would Be A Whistleblower?

Who Would be a Whistleblower?  Not many, it takes a particular type of person.

Who would be a Whistleblower in the Met?  Not very many at all, and after the recent shenanigans I would be entirely surprised if anybody at all within the Met thought it it was worth the risk and aggravation.

After James Patrick’s stirling efforts in exposing the sham that is called Crime Statistics (amongst other things) the end result was that he felt that he had no other alternatives, so he resigned.  Baroness Jenny Jones asked Boris and The Met questions about their Whitsleblowing policies, all of which were met with wishy washy (if any) answers.  Requests to the Met under the Freedom of Information Act were either refused or responded to with confusing and contradictory answers.

Then Jenny Jones asked Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey if he could provide ONE single example of a Whistleblower in the Met feeling that it had been a ‘positive experience’.  Not one single person who exposed wrongdoing  does not feel their career was negatively impacted or that they were treated fairly despite 1,121 reports being made through its internal reporting system ‘Rightline’ in the last four years.  NOT ONE out of over 1,100 cases.

That is a damning indictment of the Met and its Management.

The Metropolitan Police is quite clearly more concerned about its image than it is with being loyal to its officers and staff, particularly those 1,121 people who put their heads above the parapet.

Craig Mackey, told the Assembly’s Police and Crime Committee that rewarding whistleblowers “is to effectively inculcate them and to provide some support around them in terms of the process around it.”  Well that all sounds a bit pink and fluffy to me.  Thick old me didn’t have a clue what ‘inculcate’ meant so I went away and looked it up.  The Oxford Dictionary defines it thus ;”Instil (an idea, attitude, or habit) by persistent instruction:“, so there you have it.

So, I ask you again, “Who would want to be a Whistleblower in the Met?”

Come to think of it, can anyone provide me with a single example where anyone in the Police Service ANYWHERE has had a ‘positive experience’ whistleblowing?

Can anyone provide me with a single experience of anybody in the Public Sector (NHS, Local Govt etc etc) that has had a ‘positive experience?

I’m here all week to take our replies, I thank you.

image

PLEASE FORM AN ORDERLY QUEUE

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.