Policing Under Theresa May – Some Undeniable Truths

While I sit and ponder my future I found myself thinking about a couple of ‘Improvements’ that Theresa May has made to Policing.  My experience and knowledge is really linked to the Met, so if I say something which does not extend to your Force please forgive me, unlike Ms Khan, any unfair generalisations are not intention.

Back in 2011 she promised to cut Red Tape, whilst at the same time blaming Police Chiefs for that very same Red Tape

Just two months ago, she stated in the House that she had “cut red tape and freed the Police from Central Government control”  Is that what she calls it?

But, getting down to the Nitty Gritty, one of the most profound statements that she has made on practical policing was in relation to Stop and Search.

Firstly, the changes restrict the controversial “no suspicion” powers, which allow officers to stop and search members of the public even when they do not suspect a crime has been committed. This refers to s60 Stops, which in my experience were seldom used, and then mainly at Public Disorder, or occasionally sporting events. I’m not sure that is going to make a huge difference, but does shine a light on to Imelda’s way of thinking.

In the second measure forces will have to record the outcome of searches in more detail. 

Officers who carry out a stop and search will have to make a note of the outcome– such as whether it led to an arrest, a caution or no further action. 

The Home Office has previously reduced the complexity of paperwork required by stop and search after criticisms that it was overly bureaucratic and officers were being tied up with red tape.

Alex Marshall, chief constable of the College of Policing, said: “Stop and search powers are necessary to help us tackle crime and keep people safe but it is clear that they are being misused too often. 

“Under this scheme search outcomes will be recorded in more detail so we have a greater understanding of how the powers are being used.

Well, in my humble opinion this is just the College and the rest of AVPO (or whatever they’re called today) rolling over to have their bellies rubbed.

There is no doubt that Stop and Search is Intrusive, no doubt whatsoever! but unless someone has rewritten PACE while I’ve been asleep it has always contained the following;

1 Power of constable to stop and search persons, vehicles etc.

(1) A constable may exercise any power conferred by this section—

(a) in any place to which at the time when he proposes to exercise the power the public or any section of the public has access, on payment or otherwise, as of right or by virtue of express or implied permission; or

(b)in any other place to which people have ready access at the time when he proposes to exercise the power but which is not a dwelling.

(2) Subject to subsection (3) to (5) below, a constable—

(a) may search—

(i) any person or vehicle;

(ii) anything which is in or on a vehicle,

for stolen or prohibited articles [F1, any article to which subsection (8A) below applies or any firework to which subsection (8B) below applies; and

(b) may detain a person or vehicle for the purpose of such a search.

(3) This section does not give a constable power to search a person or vehicle or anything in or on a vehicle unless he has reasonable grounds for suspecting that he will find stolen or prohibited articles [F2, any article to which subsection (8A) below applies or any firework to which subsection (8B) below applies

2   Provisions relating to search under section 1 and other powers.

(1) A constable who detains a person or vehicle in the exercise—

(a) of the power conferred by section 1 above; or

(b) of any other power—

(i) to search a person without first arresting him; or

(ii) to search a vehicle without making an arrest,

need not conduct a search if it appears to him subsequently

(i) that no search is required; or

(ii) that a search is impracticable.

3  Duty to make records concerning searches.

(1) Where a constable has carried out a search in the exercise of any such power as is mentioned in section 2(1) above, other than a search—

(a) under section 6 below; or

(b)under section 27(2) of the M1Aviation Security Act 1982, he shall make a record of it in writing unless it is not practicable to do so.

(2) If—

(a) a constable is required by subsection (1) above to make a record of a search; but

(b )it is not practicable to make the record on the spot,

he shall make it as soon as practicable after the completion of the search.

(3) The record of a search of a person shall include a note of his name, if the constable knows it, but a constable may not detain a person to find out his name.

(4) If a constable does not know the name of a person whom he has searched, the record of the search shall include a note otherwise describing that person.

(5) The record of a search of a vehicle shall include a note describing the vehicle.

(6) The record of a search of a person or a vehicle—

(a) shall state—

(i) the object of the search;

(ii) the grounds for making it;

(iii) the date and time when it was made;

(iv) the place where it was made;

(v) whether anything, and if so what, was found;

(vi) whether any, and if so what, injury to a person or damage to property appears to the constable to have resulted from the search; and

(b) shall identify the constable making it.

(7) If a constable who conducted a search of a person made a record of it, the person who was searched shall be entitled to a copy of the record if he asks for one before the end of the period specified in subsection (9) below.

(8) If—

(a) the owner of a vehicle which has been searched or the person who was in charge of the vehicle at the time when it was searched asked for a copy of the record of the search before the end of the period specified in subsection (9) below; and

(b) the constable who conducted the search made a record of it,

the person who made the request shall be entitled to a copy.

There’s a whole load more to PACE than that, but in my submission, that is our first Undeniable Truth, Stop and Search under s1 PACE is already regulated sufficiently by statute and if the perception is that this power is being abused then this is surely a Supervision or Training issue, not something for Politicians to meddle in.

My second concern, to the best of my knowledge, only concerns the Met, but if the same practice has happened in the County Forces please let me know, as we would all need t know.

When I last worked on a Borough, I worked in an Intelligence Unit, and it was an important part of my job to produce briefings 5 days out of 7 for the 3 main shifts, Early, Lates and Nights.  These briefings would contain details of recent crimes of note, any Crime Patterns that had been identified by the Analyst, names and/or descriptions of any suspects for those crimes including photos if applicable, and recommendations for where any ‘spare’ officers could be posted to Prevent or Detect Crime (I know there aren’t any Spare officers any more).  It was on the basis of these briefings that many s1 Stop and Searches may have been conducted in ‘Hotspot’ areas.

Word has now reached my ears that these Intelligence Units at Divisional and Borough level have gone, been Winsor’d, labelled as Back Office functions and dissolved.  There is a Service Intelligence Unit staffed by some faceless warriors in Central London, but how effective can they be at preparing meaningful and timely briefings for troops in Croydon, or Barnet?

Time spent chatting with the old ‘Collator’ was seldom wasted for a good Thief-Taker, chats in a cosy over office over a brew were often productive, and, within limits, to be encouraged.  Even the next generation following on from Collators had crowds of enthusiastic young bucks picking brains in the quest for their next ‘body’. I don’t see anything wrong with that, as long as the privilege isn’t abused, but again, Post May/Winsor there probably isn’t the time left for such luxuries.

So, in the era of Smaller, Smarter Policing, how exactly are we supposed to function more Smartly when May and Winsor have taken away our Intelligence Units.  If this is not true PLEASE let me know, it’s important to me to know.

Intelligence-Led Policing With No Intelligence Unit – that would work every time.  Bloody good job Crime Is Down is all I can say.

Our Second Undeniable Truth?  The absence of Intelligence Units at a local level adversely impacts upon our ability to fight crime in an efficient and timely manner?

Lastly, I need to go back to Stop and Search again.  I often hear rumours that Sergeants and Inspectors in the Met (not necessarily only the Met) set their troops numerical targets as a Performance Indicator for their Appraisals.  How can this be right?

As we have seen above before a Stop/Search be conducted there has to be Suspicion and Grounds. I’ve scoured PACE thoroughly but I can’t find performance Indicators listed as suitable grounds to conduct a Stop/Search.

Stop/Search is clearly a very emotive subject and if there are abuses of the powers then these need to be addressed, but NOT by watering down the powers, of course Turkeys are not going to vote for Christmas but I truly believe that if Mr or Mrs Average is subjected to a Stop/Search by an officer who was polite, explained their actions and complied with the provisions above, then they would neither Complain nor Need to Complain.  Do we need to pay undue heed to the Turkeys complaining that Christmas is coming and they don’t want to be slaughtered?

My 3rd and last Undeniable Truth is that Numerical targets have no place in Stop/Search in particular, and quite possibly Front Line Policing in general, it breeds bad habits.  Any Stop/Search conducted in pursuit of such Targets is, at best, Unethical, and at most, arguably Unlawful.

When The Music Stops or #CutsHaveConsequences

#CutsHaveConsequences is a hashtag that’s been used a lot in the past few weeks, and rightly so. It got me to thinking.

Every single Force in the land has suffered cuts since 2010, all in the name of Austerity. Their respective PCC and Chief a Constable have formed plans to cope with the savagely slashed budgets.

In London Boris seems to have made selling off the family silver one his priorities.

The big one that hit all the headlines was the selling off of New Scotland Yard.  Bought for £123.5 million in 2008, it sold last year for £350, a nice little earner.  I suspect there will be some Tax to pay on the profit.  I suspect there will be costs associated with the move out of NSY to Curtis Green Building and I believe that the Met proposes spending between £30 and $50 million pounds to refurb Curtis Green and make it fit for purpose.

The profit margins are receding.

Then there is the fact that the Met has sold off about 35 of its major buildings including nearly 30 Police Stations for about £125 million.and Boris apparently plans to sell off up to 200 properties across London, although admittedly that figure will include Married Quarters and Section Houses.  Ultimately he proposes reducing the number of residential properties from 862 to a mere 200.

Now the thing that gets me about all this frenzied selling off is “where do the people go?”  Has the Met suddenly taken up Hot Desking?  The people displaced from NSY will not all fit into Curtis Green Building.  Other ‘support’ buildings are also threatened with closure.

In any or all of these buildings there will be (not an exhaustive list by any means);

  • People answering telephones
  • People operating computers
  • Desks for people to work at
  • Lockers for the Operational Officers (and hopefully some changing facilities)
  • Rooms set aside for specific Teams/Squads
  • Filing Cabinets (the Met still has a mountain of paper not yet shredded)
  • Garage facilities for the car
  • Car Parking facilities if you’re lucky and a member of the SMT

Am I being thick here, but if you reduce the number of buildings, the people who worked there either have to be displaced elsewhere or ‘got rid of’.

If they’re displaced elsewhere those elsewheres become overcrowded do they not?

If they’re ‘got rid of and join the ‘disappeared’ somebody else has to take up their work and increase their own workload.  I do not believe that there was a mound of spare capacity just waiting for extra work to land.

This here Austerity is due to be with us until at least 2019 allegedly.  Boris’s £125 million won’t last him very long and where will he get the next bundle of cash from once it has run out?  Why should he care? He won’t be Mayor for much longer.

Do not think for one moment that this is anywhere near the End Game, it isn’t, and if Austerity can knock the Met sideways like this, just think what it’s doing for your local Force.

So, when the music stops, grab a chair, grab a locker or grab an office.  They may not be with us much longer, Tesco et al could become the norm.

LeytonstonePolice_McLellan-23.jpg MCILG-police-206.jpgNo, these officers are not taking a sneaky break, they’re there officially to ‘meet the public’ rather than have a Front Counter remain open.  The police officers had no desk, no private area where they could speak to members of the public in confidence, no means of logging on to the police national computer etc, and they appear not to have official forms.

Contact Points, Coffee With A Cop, Chat With A Cop, call them what you may, they’re a pretty poor substitute for going to the local nick, with all the necessary forms and computers at hand, to report whatever is on your mind. AND NOT BEING OVERHEARD BY THE LOUT WAITING FOR A LATTE.

It’s Going To Be A Busy Old Week

It’s only Tuesday, and my quill is already getting blunt.

Yesterday I discussed the (yet again) vindictive reports coming out of HMIC and IPCC, you can find that here if you haven’t already read it.

Today I’m occupied by the proposed cuts looming for the Met.  I know that the Met is not the only Force facing cuts, merely one of 43, but what staggers me is the size of those cuts and what that means for the future of, what is undoubtedly, the largest Force in the land.

With 31,500 warranted officers it is far and away the largest force, and by comparison the second largest is West Midlands Police with 7,155 warranted officers, all the way down to Warwickshire with a mere 788.

I’ve learned a lot about the Met since I retired and I’m no longer certain that I would describe it as the Best Force, but nobody can argue that it’s the largest and probably best-resourced. In retirement I have spent some wonderful hours sharing many cups of coffee with colleagues still serving in Constabulary Forces and been made aware of the ‘Bleeding Obvious’  The Met do it differently.

In all the time I was serving I was blissfully unaware of just how lucky I was.  We used to moan that we didn’t have a widget for so and so, or a gizzmo for this and that, but basically we were incredibly well off compared to our County Cousins.

I don’t know if it is still the case but the Met used to survive on that dirty word ‘Overtime’.  Entire Public Order events were policed by officers on overtime sometimes, almost inevitably a third to half of a PSU would be on overtime.  Rest days being cancelled, with, or without, notice was a frequent occurrence.

In August 2012 I asked the Met how many Rest Days were still outstanding, waiting to be re-rostered and taken, the reply I got was this

“There are 165,624 rest days (as of 5th July 2012) that are currently shown
as either cancelled, outstanding or waiting for officers to re-roster
them.
However please note there are 43,355 rest days that have been re-rostered
to the future.”

I have read elsewhere that this figure is now closer to half a million.

I remember fondly that when overtime restrictions were first brought in (for welfare reasons allegedly) we were not allowed to incur more than 100 hours overtime a month without a supervisor submitting a report supporting it.  The Met truly did run on overtime even though they had even more than 31,500 officers in those days, and considerably less demand.

Which brings me to the point of today’s post.  In the last round of budgetary cuts in the name of Austerity, the Met lost £600 million from its budget.  Even a behemoth like the Met must have felt the pain. In fact I’m sure they did.  In an attempt to ease the pain Police Stations were sold off, Front Counters closed, manpower lost, back office officers moved back onto the Front Line, even Peel Centre hasn’t escaped untouched.

peel centre

No, they’re not carrying out improvements, that bit’s been sold orft.  Training Centres, Feeding Centres – gone.

Now we hear that the Met has to suffer a further £800 million of cuts and my honest question is simply HOW?

I can’t sit here and pretend that cuts are not necessary, I’m not convinced that they’re being applied fairly and evenly (why ring-fence the Overseas Aid budget for example?) but how on earth can the Met survive?  And what hope is there for the rest of the country if the biggest (by far) Force is suffering?

My loyalty (if I have any left) is obviously to the Met, but I am capable of seeing the bigger picture and I’m convinced that it’s not a good one.  I’ve said before that even if we elected a new Government this Thursday, the changes brought about by May, Camoron and Winsor will take decades to reverse, if ever, and now it’s set to get to worse.

Home Office Stats for Policing Strength are already listed under 10 Regions plus BTP so maybe that’s what’s in store for us. Or maybe a National Force under a new Chief

winsor uniform

Commissioner, who knows.

I have previously writ that I’ve heard a rumour that the inner sanctum of the Home Office contains a document predicting a total National Policing Strength of 80,000, may your god help us if we’re ever reduced to those levels, but it would solve the budgetary problems which is the only priority the ConDems seem to have on their list. They don’t seem to care about the strength of the Armed Forces or any of the Emergency Services, who knows what they’re agenda is?

#TJF #CutsHaveConsequences

doomed

Have ACPO Finally Grown A Pair? Or……..

What on earth is going on in the rarified atmosphere occupied by the ACPO types? They’re beginning to sing from the same hymn book as us lesser mortals (or are they?)

The last few days has seen headlines such as

Lincolnshire Police chief says force will go out of business in letter to the Home Secretary

and

Cuts without reform put the public at risk

The first is obviously Neil Rhodes’ voiced opinion that his Force will go out of business if the current unsustainable funding arrangements continue.

The second is Bernie Hogan-Who’s belated entrance into the fray, in which he claims that “The police and other emergency services are looking at years of austerity. We must slash the number of forces and make a host of other radical changes if public safety is to be maintained”

My initial reaction was “About bloody time too, why have they taken nearly 5 years to speak out, we all know that already?”

And then I got to thinking……a dangerous pasttime I know

In July this the Uncle Tom’s organisation released a report updating us on how our 43 Forces were meeting the challenges posed by Austerity.  Three Forces were highlighted as needing to do much more to catch up and survive, these were Bedfordshire, Nottinghamshire and Gwent.

The Met, for example, was graded GOOD  on the grounds that

  • HMIC is assured that the MPS is using a range of methods to understand the demand placed on its services and the consequences of that demand, for example the numbers of staff required for prosecution file preparation and for crime investigation.
  • Through the use of a ‘star chamber’, the MPS has an efficient way to align human resources to emerging threats and retain staff in critical posts.
  • The force has maintained its drive on crime reduction and victim satisfaction throughout the spending review period.
  • Within this effort, it is recognised that securing the satisfaction of victims of crime in the capital is challenging.
  • The MPS is introducing ever more innovative means of interacting with the public ranging from greater use of social media to replacing traditional police station front counters with more flexible drop-in centres.

Well that’s all fine and dandy then.  Or is it?  This HMIC report is now yesterday’s chip wrapper. Nobody remembers it.  It was news for about one day in July and then……..nothing.

We had headlines from the Fed such as

More than a third of forces could struggle to provide the same service to the public if cuts continue, says HMIC

And then……….nothing.

So what if the public proclamations of Bernie and Neil Rhodes are nothing more than Cruella May leaking her vision for the future through the ‘trusted’ media of the Police in order to soften us up.  In the main we trust what the Police tell us more than we trust our politicians.

Is it vaguely conceivable that a couple of highly-placed cops could become government mouthpieces?  Surely not?  No place for politics in policing, wouldn’t happen would it? Would we be more receptive to the Home Secretary’s (and Camoron’s) Reform Agenda if it came out of the mouths of our Police Leaders who were seeming to be on ‘our side’ for once.

Or have ACPO finally grown a pair. You decide.

Personally I have been predicting a National Police Force, Fire Brigade policing and a higher level of front-line involvement for PCSOs and Specials for over a year now.  Is this what Bernie is suggesting?   At least the uniforms and vehicles will be cheaper if they’re all the same.

WTF Are You On Boris?

Just as the ink had dried on my last post, and my aged quill was cleaned and dry, one of my erstwhile colleagues enlightened me to something else not quite right with the Met’s Property Portfolio. [Santa, please send new quill and ink for Crimbo, much obliged, I have been good].

According to that unmissable publication Mayor Watch the Met (or Boris) has seemingly blundered again.  Bought NSY for £120 million (if memory serves me well), put it up for sale at £250 million and finally sold it to an offshore investor from UAE for £370 million.

So far so good, although I suspect there may be some Capital Gains Tax liability there somewhere.

So, having sold off the Crown Jewels Boris now finds that the replacement premises that the NSY staff will be relocating to are too f’ing small.

Honestly, you couldn’t make it up.

Proceeds from the sale will kick-start a major investment opportunity to secure the future of the Met Police, with the funds being used to kit out officers across London with mobile technology such as tablets, smartphones and body cameras, enabling them to spend more time out on the streets. It will also allow much-needed investment in the remaining estate along with modern ICT infrastructure and new software platforms.

However the Met are relocating to Curtis Green building on Embankment but have already identified the need for extension works, they are planning the construction of a new rear extension to help create “525 work spaces” for officers and civilian support workers.

At the same time MOPAC has authorised a revamp of Holborn police station to accommodate the Met’s legal department and the refurbishment of three floors at its Marlowe House office block to create a further 616 work stations.

However a briefing document drawn up for Stephen Greenhalgh, London’s deputy mayor for policing and crime, warns that the combined space created by the projects may be insufficient to house all of the Met’s HQ functions.

The document states: “One of the original planning assumptions for the Mayor Buildings Estates Strategy and the exit of NSY was that all teams exiting NSY will be relocated within the remainder of the MOPAC estate.

“Whilst this position can be achieved in terms of available floor space, certain facilities would require further investment to maintain operational performance.”

The document continues:

“Recent developments have necessitated the need to look at the accommodation requirements of specific teams again, and occupational arrangements of key partner agencies.

“A growth bid for the specific team will require the provision of further accommodation. Studies are underway to model whether the existing MOPAC estate can meet these requirements or whether third party accommodation is needed.”

So, forward planning not high on MOPAC’s skillset then.  Green party AM Baroness Jenny Jones commented: “It does seem a bit ridiculous that the Mayor in his rush to sell off police buildings has left the Met with a headquarters that is too small.

Curtis Green, or Scotland Yard as it will soon be known, may not even be operational until October 2016.

And then, hold your breath dear reader, there’s the Met’s other White Elephant, Empress State Building which presently provides nearly 4,000 desk spaces for the Met.

ESB

This one is only leased, but is also on ‘the list’.

If I may quote from an article in the Grauniad last year…….

“Anyone as enmeshed in London government as Boris Johnson’s policing deputy Stephen Greenhalgh makes connections in overlapping fields. These can be valuable but also trigger unhelpful suspicions. Greenhalgh’s energetic history as a Conservative politician and company director illustrates how such problems might arise.

His present job as head of MOPAC – the mayor’s office for policing and crime – involves lots of complex maths about where Metropolitan Police Service personnel should be based. The objective is to save money in the context of big pressures on budgets. Several police stations are to be sold, along with New Scotland Yard, the Met’s famous HQ since 1967. And then there’s the Empress State Building (ESB), a 31-floor, 117 metre tall tower, which presently provides nearly 4,000 desk spaces for the Met.

The ESB is leased by MOPAC on the Met’s behalf from the property developer Capital and Counties (Capco), which bought a 50% share of it in 2008 and announced in May that it had bought the other half. The building’s location is significant. It stands within the 77 acres of prime west London land Capco intends to clear and replace with four high-priced urban “villages”, destroying in the process the historic Earls Court exhibition centre and the homes of around 2000 people, most of whom would sooner be left alone despite a promised offer of replacement dwellings nearby, if their responses to the council’s consultation on the issue are any guide.


This
widely-opposed redevelopment, known as the Earls Court Project, is dear to Greenhalgh’s heart. Most of the territory it covers lies within the borough of Hammersmith and Fulham (H&F), which Greenhalgh led for six years from May 2006. Greenhalgh championed the scheme when at H&F. Shortly before leaving for his new job at City Hall described it to the Guardian as “the best deal in the history of redevelopment in London.” Johnson too is a big fan, hailing it as a “landmark project” in one of his London Plan Opportunity Areas.”

My apologies to the Grauniad for such a large quote, but it seemed fairer and more effective than paraphrasing it.

Is it just cynical, suspicious me, or is there a potential conflict of interests here?

It certainly does nothing to help resolve the Met’s almost critical shortage of desk space.

Never mind, it will sort itself out and all become clear in the fullness of time. It’s probably just me.

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

 

The Balance Of Probabilities

Balance of probabilities is the standard of proof required in all civil cases (and Disciplinary Hearings). It basically means that to win you need to convince the judge/Chairperson that your case is 51% likely to be true. i.e. your story only has to be slightly more plausible than the other side’s story.

This can be contrasted with a criminal case where the standard is beyond reasonable doubt, which is very near to 100% certainty before the defendant can be found guilty.

What the hell is he blathering on about? I hear you ask.

Well he’s blathering on about Ex PC James Patrick’s series of ‘Cathartic Blogs’.  James has had a bit of ‘Unfinished Business’ and he’s now taken the opportunity to dump all that baggage, free himself from the shackles, and hopefully move on, rebuilding the lives of himself and his family.

But allow me to be mischievous for a minute and take a peek at James’ blogs;

The first one was

Withholding Evidence From Parliament

In this blog James alleges that a Senior Police Officer Suppressed Evidence On Crime Figures
The Commander of the Directorate of Professional Standards refused permission to present Parliament with evidence of the manipulation of police statistics.  Commander Gibson apparently refused James’ request to appear before the Home Affairs Select Committee to provide evidence of ‘number fudging’.  Why was that do you think?

Next we have

Use of Temperature in Interviews

in which James relates how  Met Police Using Degrading Interview Techniques:
The Directorate of Professional Standards are using high temperatures and dishonesty to pressurise police officers under investigation.

“In an interview room on the 21st floor, adjacent to the entrance of the male changing rooms, me and my Federation Representative found ourselves in a box room, where the temperature exceeded 28 degrees.”  “The interviewing officers, a Constable and Sergeant from the Directorate of Professional Standards told me that there was a “heating fault which had been reported”, ”  There is a witness to this, the Federation Representative.

“Later in the year, a family member made a Freedom of Information Act request to the Met police, asking what heating faults had been reported and resolved in that room, a month either side of my interview. The Met responded, after an internal review – first having missed the statutory deadline for reply – stating that no heating faults had been reported or recorded during the entire period. This was confirmed a second time, to my legal representatives, in December 2013.”

I have read the relevant Freedom of Information request, and the Met’s response.  James’ account is accurate, they recorded no heating fault despite the assurances of the DPS officers conducting the interview.

#3 goes like this

Deliberately Witheld Disclosure

Police Whistleblower Accused Of Fraud After Discovering Witheld Documents:

Written records of management meetings, which the Met denied had taken place, were discovered and spurious accusations of dishonesty were made by officers involved after the alarm was raised.  The events contained within this blog just left me speechless, a rare occurrence I can assure you.  Did James offer to repay the money at the first opportunity having been asked so to do. Yes!!  Did he commit any wilful, dishonest act in order to bring about this over-payment?  Seemingly not.

#4

‘Pissing Off’ Superiors

Police Officer Put ‘Noses Out Of Joint’ By Exposing Sham Crime Figures:
Crime statistics whistleblower went to Parliament after a meeting in Scotland Yard in which he was told that he risked ‘pissing off’ superiors by continuing to report his concerns about the recording of sexual offences. So James risked pissing off ‘superiors’ by exposing the truth? How does that work then? Surely these so-called ‘superiors’ should be big enough and ugly enough to survive the TRUTH? Wouldn’t you think?

#5

Procurement Fraud

 Metropolitan Police Covered Up Smartwater Procurement Fraud:
Scotland Yard breached its own procurement procedures yet found itself innocent, while senior officers delivered briefings saying they were covering up potential offences by the force.  With James’ consent I have discussed this with a retired Auditor of some note. He/She more or less agrees with James’ take on the situation and points out that at the very least there is a clear Conflict of Interests, and that it is not the first time that the Met has had similar issues.

Finally;

Conflict and Intimidation

Met Police Used Scare Tactics Against Whistleblower And Family:
After he had given evidence to a Parliamentary Select Committee about the manipulation of police crime figures, uniformed officers were sent to the family home to ‘rattle their cages’.  Having lodged grievances against one or more members of the DPS staff, James received this text one day “Can you let me know whether you are both ok and that you have received the email I sent you? James R and I have both tried to call you but got no reply. Simon Laurence has asked me to set up a welfare check to your home address if I don’t hear from you shortly”.

  “The Met requested that Essex officers attended my home, stating that they had tried to contact me several times, and were concerned about my welfare as there had been ‘developments’ in my working arrangements which may ‘have caused him some distress’. Uniformed officers, in a marked police vehicle, attended my home at quarter to nine in the evening, while my wife and I were watching television and our children were asleep upstairs”.

My reaction to this is short and blunt.  Please fill the Comments section below with any other instances where an officer facing Disciplinary Proceedings has been ‘fortunate’ enough to receive a Welfare Visit at his Home Address from a neighbouring Force at 9 o’clock in the evening?  Plenty of space available, fill your boots.

So, on the Balance of Probabilities, have the Met been Bang Out Of Order?  Have they pursued a Disciplinary matter diligently, or have they tried to use their power and might to wield the sledgehammer that would crack the walnut?  Don’t forget, Balance of Probabilities, not Beyond A reasonable Doubt.

I find the case proved and order that the Met pays ex PC James Patrick substantial financial compensation.

Court adjourned.