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.

Is This A Pattern I See Before Me?

Sorry Mr Shakespeare, but it was quite appropriate and almost right.

According to an article in the Police Federation’s POLICE magazine, morale has hit rock bottom and thousands of cops are thinking of quitting.

Reforms to pay and working conditions have left thousands of officers saying they are planning to leave the service and not recommend policing as a career, revealed in a survey on morale by the Police Federation.

 The poll, which surveyed 32,606 serving officers, found that nearly 5,000 said they were planning to leave the service in the next two years, andhttp://www.policemag.co.uk/editions/nov14_news_morale_plummets.aspx 94 per cent believed morale was either low or very low in the police service.” 

I’m sure that this is not news to any of us, it isn’t even new news, dating from November last year, but it occurred to me that our ‘friends’ in the media don’t seem to like reporting on too many similar stories all at once. People might be able to work out what the wicked government is up to if they did.

You’ll find stories about Nurses, Junior Doctors and Senior Doctors leaving the NHS in droves, but not necessarily on the same day or in the same paper.

Teachers are another profession targeted by Camoron’s Army, and getting ready to quit.

I see no evidence that Fire Fighters are leaving in droves in protest against the reforms but there is plenty of evidence that Fire Fighters are being shoved out of their profession as a result of the government’s swingeing, and reckless, cuts across the whole country.

Finally for today, the Marine and Coastguard Agency. I truly don’t know what to make of what’s happening with them.  About 50% of Coastguard Stations around the country have either been closed, or marked for closure. Yet the remaining stations are reporting that they are under-manned, at levels lower than previously agreed.

Like the majority of the others, the continuance of an efficient Coastguard Service is essential for public safety, but instead the figures below just go to show one more example of how the government are cynically uncaring of public safety in their headlong rush to be voted “the best economy in Europe”.







So it seems that there is a pattern, once the government have got a Public Service in their sights they either make conditions so unbearable that everyone wants to leave, Instil such a lack of confidence that the end result is the same, or they simply get rid of them. Whichever way you look at the Public Services, particularly the Emergency Variety, are cut to the bone and beyond, and make no mistake, whatever happens in May, this cannot be rectified overnight, it will take years, assuming that the damage has not already gone too far.

Camoron, Osborne, May, Winsor, Mordaunt and all the rest, I HOPE YOU CAN SLEEP AT NIGHT

Don’t have nightmares, you’ve got rid of the people who can keep you safe.

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

V For Vendetta, V For Vindictive And V Is For Vengeance

All of the above seemingly apply to you Home Secretary, although you’re not really the Home Secretary are you? You’re just another Tory Puppet trying to make Camoron’s 2006 visions become a reality.

A REAL Home Secretary, of any party, would CARE for his/her Police Service.

I know the Federation upset you, but oh deary me, you’re supposed to be a big girl and rise above all that.  Be PROFESSIONAL FFS.

Theresa-May-addresses-the-011_thumb.jpgSince your ill-fated appearance at the Police Federation Annual Conference a while ago you seem to have it in for the Police. Vengeance seems to be your main priority.  Unlike any of your predecessors that I can think of (and they have not all been perfect have they Jacqui Smith?), you appear to be conducting a Vendetta against a Police Service (Force) once the admiration of the entire world.

Since you and your cronies came to power we have had a constant ‘thinning’ of the ranks, unfailingly blamed on Labour, but in reality Camoron’s dream.

You were quick to jump on the Andrew Mitchell Bandwagon, calling for Police Officers to be disciplined for their part in the ‘conspiracy’ to bring down Mr Mitchell. That all ended well didn’t it?

We, the Police Family, are tired of your constant sniping and criticisms.  Dragging up the past, events from a quarter of a century ago may indeed have been wrong, but had NOTHING to do with the vast majority of today’s generation of Police Officers. That is Vindictive.

Constantly the mighty Police Service is being not only kicked in the face by you and your government, but kicked while it is down.  Anybody still serving who tries to put things right from within gets a right good kicking too. Where the hell is the justice in that?  More Vindictive behaviour, and the Home Office just sits back and lets it happen.

Judging by the latest set of figures we are now almost 17,000 officers down on what we had 5 years ago.  Are you proud of that?  We know that Austerity means cuts, but do try to be sensible for once, some things are actually important to the country.  The Health Service is important, and that is finally being recognised and something, hopefully done about it.  The Armed Forces are important but they have been slashed also by your colleagues in Defence.  Education is important and has some of its budget ringfenced.

The main losers in all of this seem to be the Police under YOUR leadership (ha!!)

Some things are too important to be cut.  Even if Austerity ended this weekend it would take generations to get the Police Service back to where it was.  Are you proud of that?

Instead we get Uncle (sorry, Sir) Tom Winsor telling us to ‘work smarter’ and ‘get upstream of the offending behaviour and give proper priority to the need to prevent crime”.  How sanctimonious and condescending is that? Does he think that Police Officers ever forget their Primary Objective which is drilled into them Week 1 of Basic Training.

In 1829 Sir Richard Mayne wrote:
“The primary object of an efficient police is the prevention of crime: the next that of detection and punishment of offenders if crime is committed. To these ends all the efforts of police must be directed…….”

We do NOT need reminding by someone who has NEVER been a Police Officer about the need to prevent crime.  More Vindictive comments.

In recent weeks we have seen the tragic attacks on off-duty officers, thankfully not terrorist-related, but every bit as serious and tragic.  Where have the, admittedly unwanted, words of comfort and respect that are traditional from the Home Secretary at times like these?  Nobody wants to hear insincere platitudes, but that doesn’t mean you’re excused from offering them.

Then we did have threats of Terrorist activity aimed at Police Officers, both on and off duty.  WHAT HAS BEEN DONE, OR IS BEING DONE, TO PROTECT THEM?  I don’t want you to reveal the details but I do demand reassurance that something is being done. YOU HAVE A DUTY OF CARE TO THEM HOME SECRETARY.

The security of our nation is now a real concern, and you and Tom Winsor are not helping.  At a time when we need a physical presence to maintain security, you are slashing numbers to the bone, with promises of more cuts to come.  You can hardly call the Army in to help out thanks to the MOD’s far-sighted Human Resource Policy.

How many officers have been ‘lost’ from the Department that provides your (and others) personal security?  Can we do without them?  Are you somehow more important that ordinary folk?  The answer has to be NO, because you come from the public and are elected by the public. You can be replaced.

How long will it be before the tragic events in Paris over the last 24 hours will be repeated in London, Birmingham, Manchester or Edinburgh? Or even Much Wenlock?  It doesn’t matter where, it is far more likely to happen somewhere than nowhere. What are you doing about that?

One thing is certain, the officers that you so clearly despise will, to a man (and lady) DO THEIR JOB, because that is what they do.

Not that you really care but up until this government came to power I always voted Tory.  I will NEVER vote Tory again, EVER. You and your coalition chums have ruined everything that was ever Great about Britain.  Well, we have seen what has happened, and I for one can never forgive you for it.

We’re not stupid, like you clearly think we are, we know that some cuts are necessary, but making cuts all across the board and then pretending you don’t know why things are failing “it must be Labour’s fault” isn’t going to wash any more. We have seen this government  for what they are.

Vindictive, fuelled by Vengeance, conducting a Vendetta.

Make cuts by all means, but you could start by cutting things that are not going to cripple the country.  There is no use in having the ‘strongest economy’ in Europe if everything else about the country has gone to the dogs to achieve that dubious status.

Here endeth today’s rant.

ruin

Why We Are Hurtling Towards Lawlessness, Courtesy of HMG and The Press

Over the last 24 hours I have read, reread and reread again this article in the Daily Fail;

The first thing (but not the most serious by any means) was the bold assertion that the Police had ‘hacked’ the phones of journalists. We all know what is meant by ‘hacking phones’ thanks to various assorted members of the press themselves.

Is this really what the Police are doing?

NO.

The second thing that peeved me was the assertion that RIPA is an Anti-Terrorist law, it is not. I would imagine that Terrorism forms a small percentage of RIPA applications. If you want to know the TRUTH about the sort of things that RIPA covers look here.

What the Police are doing, whether you think it’s right or wrong, is making an application under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) for an itemised phone bill for a specified phone number.

I agree that it is possible to abuse this process, much like any other regulated procedure, politicians expenses for example, but this is clearly wrong and such cases would, in my opinion, form the absolute minority of applications submitted. All applications are written and the original copy is retained for future accountability purposes.

Not one single itemised phone bill can lawfully be supplied by the phone companies without such an application.

So, in attempt to appease the whiter than white journalists, the whiter than white politicians, led by Imelda May, are now proposing to change RIPA meaning that all such applications would need to be authorised by a Judge.

The sheer volume of such requests that are made across the UK every year means that Judges would be bogged down with RIPA applications.

The likely result of that is that most would be rejected, or not even make it to the Judge in the first place.

These applications currently have to be authorised by a senior officer, they have to be proportionate to the gravity of the offence being investigated and have to be ‘targeted’ i.e. they can’t be part of a ‘fishing expedition’.

So, in order to appease the journos, Imelda will be tying one hand behind the back of every officer who is investigating something. Armed Robbers, Drug Dealers, Terrorists even, must be rubbing their hands in glee as it will now be made more difficult to gain evidence or intelligence on their activities and associates.

Surely it would be better to restrict your interference to ensuring rigidly that the requirements of RIPA are complied with, applications correctly compiled, submitted, authorised and retained for accountability.

Why would you weaken the Police Arsenal at a time like this, you’ve already nicked 16,000 of them, why take their powers away as well?

Be careful what you wish for journos, you might just get it.

May vs Thatcher, A Guest Blog By Chris Hobbs

I don’t often do Guest Blogs, I have, and I do, just not frequently.

Chris sent me this one on Monday before he had seen my own blog on Theresa May, but when I read it (and it’s most certainly different to my normal style of blogging) I couldn’t stop chuckling.  Oh, how I tittered.  It’s more like a little playlet than a blog, would make a fantastic clip on YouTube or Spitting Image.

So, without further ado, here it is, completely like wot he wrote;

Scene. The Home Secretary’s Office in an almost parallel universe that is running about one month behind ours.

 The holder of one of the UK’s great offices of state is sitting at her desk typing on her computer. There is a knock at the door.

Home Secretary: Enter.

Jeremy, a youthful looking civil servant enters.

Home Secretary: Ah Jeremy. I’m working on my speech to the Police Federation tomorrow. I’ve just drafted the nice bits.

Jeremy: Nice bits???

Home Secretary: Yes, you know. Naming dead officers, talking about bravery.

Jeremy: Oh good Home Secretary. You are going to offer an olive branch. The boys and girls have been through a rough time lately….. (Voice tails off as he receives an icy stare from the Home Secretary)

Home Secretary: No Jeremy. After that I want to kick them in the balls, grab a few headlines, teach those plods who’s boss.

Jeremy: But police morale Home Secretary. It’s on the floor already.

Home Secretary: Jeremy, I want a list of every plod transgression that’s hit the headlines over the last few months from Hillsborough to Plebgate and throw in smearing the Lawrence family and oh yes, stop and search is always a good stick to beat them with.

Jeremy: But Home Secretary

Home Secretary: No arguments Jeremy. Ah rigged police crime figures. Add those to the list.

Jeremy: Excuse me Home Secretary, you’ve already included the fact that crime is down in your speech and that’s surely based on those rigged crime figures.

Home Secretary: Jeremy, Jeremy. I’ll just keep them a few paragraphs apart. The British public will never notice and every newspaper has got it in for the old bill so they won’t bother printing anything.

Jeremy: But….

Home Secretary: No buts Jeremy. Tell me what’s the name of that latest lot we’ve just got up and running, you know that organisation that’s even more secretive than MI5.

Jeremy: Oh yes Home Secretary. The National Crime Agency who were set up to be more effective that the Serious Organised Crime Agency who were set up to be more effective than the National Criminal Intelligence Service.

Home Secretary: I want them to obtain the full identities of all those behind those troublesome police blogs. If they’re serving officers get them sacked and if they’re retired, shut them down and get their pensions stopped. There’s no point in emasculating the federation if that lot continue their sedition.

Jeremy: (puzzled) Sedition? Forgive me Home Secretary, haven’t we got other problems. You must have seen that report I left on your desk which shows cocaine and heroin seizures at ports are down by 76%. Customs officers are complaining that they are kept on passport controls stamping passports.

Home Secretary: Now now Jeremy, there’s no such thing as customs officers. They are all now one effective, efficient and flexible UK Border Force in nice uniforms that make them look more like police officers than police officers. And I have the perfect statement ready if this gets out.

Jeremy: Yes Home Secretary.

Home Secretary: We simply say that seizures are down because our border controls have become so effective that the drugs networks have given up. Oh Jeremy, can you get me another bottle of water. I don’t want to drink any of that stuff which comes out of the taps that’s contaminated with cocaine.

Jeremy leaves returning with a bottle of Evian.

Home Secretary: Anyway Jeremy, you know the maxim of government. If your department is in trouble create a separate firestorm that attracts everyone’s attention and diverts them from other er….little difficulties. So an attack on the Police Federation followed up perhaps by a spat with a Cabinet rival …..

Jeremy: Isn’t that what General Galtieri did with the Falklands; (mutters) that worked well.

Home Secretary: Pardon Jeremy.

Jeremy: That must have been hell Home Secretary, the war that is.

Home Secretary: Quite so. But such strong leadership from a great leader; the one and only Iron Lady. (Looks wistfully at a photo of Margaret Thatcher that adorns her desk). None of this hug a husky or I’m greener than you rubbish. Strong leadership Jeremy, to stop this UKIP nonsense.

Jeremy: But Home Secretary, Mrs Thatcher loved the police. She used to make the DPG officers tea and invite them in for a chat. She got very upset whenever a police officer died in the line of duty.

Home Secretary: Even great leaders have faults Jeremy. She thought the miners were the enemy but little did she know it was the police.

The Home Secretary goes back to her computer while Jeremy shakes his head sadly and leaves.

After spending five minutes typing, she leans back in her chair and rehearses some of her speech;

Home Secretary:(loudly) That’s why, if there is anybody in this hall who doubts that our model of policing is at risk, if there is anybody who underestimates the damage recent events and revelations have done to the relationship between the public and the police, if anybody here questions the need for the police to change, I am here to tell you that it’s time to face up to reality. (pauses, yawns, leans back in her chair, shuts her eyes and dozes off).

Home Secretary; Snores, snorts and opens her eyes staring at the blank wall opposite her which is becoming shrouded in mist.

Emerging through the wall into the mist is a translucent, wispy ghostly image of what appears to be a female. As the figure floats across the room towards the Home Secretary’s desk, the form becomes clearer and the image can be seen sporting a royal blue outfit and hat and carrying a large handbag.

Home Secretary:(gasps) Margaret. Margaret Thatcher. How wonderful.

Mrs T: (sharply) Prime Minister to you. I’ve always said just like the US Presidents we former Prime Ministers should retain our titles.

Home Secretary: Yes Prime Minister.

Another shadowy figure smartly dressed in a three piece pinstripe suit emerges from the mist and stands just behind Mrs Thatcher. It becomes clear that he is distinguished educated man.

Home Secretary: Who’s this Marg….er Prime Minister?

Mrs T; This is Lord Edmund-Davies who, back in 1978, under a Labour yes Labour government reviewed police pay and conditions which we all, yes all, Labour and Conservative, accepted. You have just trashed that beyond all recognition. (Turns to the distinguished figure)

Mrs T: Thank you Herbert. You can go back to writing the History of Wales now and I look forward to reading it.

Edmund-Davies; My pleasure Prime Minister. (Turns away and then turns back) Just try and talk some sense into this Muppet.

Distinguished figure turns and vanishes into the mist.

Mrs T: So Home Secretary, you’ve managed to turn an entire police force against my Conservative party and in four years have completely destroyed their morale.

Home Secretary: Well, the corruption, the deaths in police custody, the racism, the mistakes.

Mrs T: (icily). Do you know how many 999 calls police deal with a year.

Home Secretary: No Prime Minister.

Mrs T: More than four million and of those one million are real, nasty emergencies.

Home Secretary: I didn’t realise.

Mrs T: So isn’t it inevitable Home Secretary that amongst those one million calls there are going be a few cock ups, excuse the phrase, and very occasionally will not be dealt with well by those few poor performing police officers or even by good officers rushing from call to call who make mistakes because of the pressure they’re under. .

Home Secretary: Well yes.

Mrs T; And do you accept that most of those one million calls are dealt with capably and professionally.

Home Secretary: Yes Prime Minister but I’m only trying to improve….

Mrs T: If you were, you’d be offering a lot more carrot and much less stick. There are those who are saying you are trying to emulate me.

(Leans across table and puts her face menacingly within inches of the Home Secretary’s now pale features).

Mrs T; Love me or hate me, and I can see why people may hate me, there will only ever be one me. Do you understand?

Home Secretary: Yes Prime Minister.

Mrs T: Look at this (stands away from the desk and points to the blank wall as a picture slowly emerges). This is London four years from now.

Picture forms of Parliament Square. A riot is in progress. Police are being pelted with missiles and petrol bombs as they struggle to keep the rioters out of the square. The picture changes to the House of Commons which shows Parliament is in session. The scene reverts back to outside and police lines are broken. Police retreat to the railings outside Parliament as rioters swarm into the square.

Mrs T: Just look at what happens now.

Police lines now have their backs against the railings and they desperately use their shields to fend off a hail of missiles. Groups of rioters armed with staves repeatedly rush the police line, deliver a series of blows and retreat. Numerous officers are going down injured are being helped towards Westminster Bridge where lines of police carriers and ambulances are waiting. The scene switches to the House of Commons chamber where the Home Secretary can be seen talking to the house. It is not clear what post she holds but she is on the front bench.

Home Secretary: What am I? Have I made it?

Mrs T: Watch carefully.

The scene is back outside and the shot closes in on two police officers crouching behind their shields. Their conversation can just about be heard.

PC 1: I’m beginning to think I’d rather be doing something else Reginald. We are even less popular than Millwall supporters as far as that lot(points behind him to Parliament with non shield holding hand) are concerned.

PC 2: I couldn’t agree more Rodney. I was quite happy as manager of the Gravesend Branch of Tesco’s but they told me I’d be a Chief Superintendent in two years if I transferred.

PC 1: If we were defending something worth defending then I wouldn’t (pauses as concrete slab hits his shield) mind but defending this corrupt shower who all hate us (voice tails off).

PC 1: Reginald, there’s looting in Brixton and the EDL are marching in that direction. If we stay here we’ll have to baton charge and then we’ll all be accused by that lot in there of police brutality.

PC 2: Rodney, lets bugger off and look after Brixton. Pass the word along.

Camera pans out and the message can be seen being passed from officer to officer to both the right and left of the police lines. Officers begin moving slowly behind their shields to their right towards Westminster Bridge. A couple of Chief Superintendents make a half hearted attempt to stop them. The scene again focuses on the two police officers.

PC 1. Hey up. Listen to that. (PC2 leans towards his Radio)

Police Radio; (in a voice displaying a distinct lack of enthusiasm) All units from GT. Remain where you are. Repeat all units outside Parliament remain where you are.

PC1; That’s old Jason who use to work with us. He’s as pissed off as we all are.

Scene pans out to show police still moving towards Westminster Bridge then zooms in on the two officers.

PC1; (ear inclined to radio) Wait for it, wait for it.

Police Radio: All units from Gold Commander. All units from Gold Commander. You are to remain exactly where you are. Repeat you are to remain exactly where you are. This is a direct order. You vill oops sorry, will obey this order,

PC2: Who’s that?

PC1: That’s Flashman, the Commissioner’s hatchet man. You know, the Assistant Commissioner who goes around shouting, swearing and sacking Borough Chief Superintendents who don’t bring their crime figures down.

PC2: Which is why everyone lower down the ladder is still fiddling them. Am I not correct Rodney?

PC1: You are Reginald. At least this’ll put paid to his chances of a knighthood.

As the officers withdraw, the missiles stop and the mob begins cheering. Hundreds of police congregate on Westminster Bridge and form up behind their carriers. The carriers reverse and slowly cross Westminster Bridge protecting the officers retreating behind them.

Home Secretary: My God. They’re deserting us. They can’t. We’re their leaders.

Mrs T: They obviously have a greater regard for the people of London than for politicians who have rubbished them for years. The worm has turned after you shot their morale to pieces.

Back outside Parliament the rioters are swarming over the fence while others are battering their way through the doors. The view switches to the House of Commons chamber. The Home Secretary is still speaking but stops as shouting can be heard from outside the chamber. Suddenly behind the speaker’s chair masked youths appear pushing their way inside the chamber before pausing as if to take in their surroundings. For a moment everything seems frozen in time as MP’s stare in horror at the mob. Suddenly there is a roar from the rioters who swarm into the chamber. The Home Secretary can be seen screaming and placing her hands across her face as if to shut out the sight of the rioters rushing towards her.

The scene fades.

At her desk the Home Secretary awakes with a start as Jeremy enters.

Jeremy; Home Secretary are you OK? You’ve gone very pale.

Home Secretary; (in a trembling voice) I’m fine Jeremy.

Jeremy; I have that list of transgressions Home Secretary.

Home Secretary: No need for that now Jeremy. Tell me is there a police officer on duty outside today?

Jeremy; I believe there is a DPG officer stationed outside.

Home Secretary walks across to the window, opens it and leans out shouting.

Home Secretary: Officer, officer. Yes you. Would you like to pop up here for a cup of tea?

Jeremy watches as the Home Secretary turns away from the window and returns to her desk now looking a little pink.

Jeremy: Home Secretary?

Home Secretary: He told me to piss off.

Jeremy: Ah

Home Secretary: No matter. Leave me now Jeremy. It’s time to rewrite my speech.

Scene: The Police Federation Conference.

The Home Secretary makes her way on to the stage to a smattering of half hearted applause. She begins:

Home Secretary: I stand before you knowing how easy it would be and indeed what a cheap shot it would be, to denigrate you all by listing all the blips that have been alleged and in many cases just alleged, over the last few months. But I know that is just a very tiny fraction of the truly outstanding work that is carried out by you and your colleagues on a daily basis. I am truly proud that every day you and your colleagues undertake thousands of daunting tasks on behalf of your public and are rarely found wanting.

There is murmur of surprise from the delegates who can be seen looking at each other somewhat bewildered. Older officers remove their hearing aids and tap them vigorously.

Fifteen minutes later:

The speech is drawing to a close and the atmosphere has lightened to the despair of the various TV news producers.

Home Secretary: And I promise you this. I want to sit down with you all, with all the rank and file. I want to listen and I want to learn. I want to hear the truth from the sharp end, from the front line. If anyone attempts to impede me from hearing the truth from you then believe me the consequences will be grave. I will set up mechanisms in consultation with yourselves to ensure the protection of sharp end officers from those who may not wish to hear the truth or who may wish to cover up poor operational decisions or wrongdoing. On this you have my word.

Pauses.

Finally may I, on behalf of the British public pay tribute to you and your colleagues who do such a magnificent job with professionalism, restraint, kindness and compassion. I salute you all.

She steps to the front of the rostrum and begins applauding the delegates. There is a stunned silence and then a roar of approval as the delegates leap to their feet and begin cheering her to the echo.

Scene: The Pearly Gates.

Mrs Thatcher stands just outside looking down at the scenes at the Federation conference. Husband Denis waits just inside the gates a few yards away from St Peter.

Denis: Everything alright old girl?

Mrs Thatcher: (turns around) It seems to be Denis, thank goodness.

Denis: Excellent. Fancy a nice cup of tea.

Mrs Thatcher: (entering the gates with a smile and a nod to St Peter). I think a snifter or two after that Denis don’t you.

Denis: Oh rather.

Mrs Thatcher: Sadly the job may well be a lot harder in the other universe Denis. I’m afraid that woman has already made that speech. Even I might not be able to fix that.

Denis: Damn that bloody woman.

Mrs T: My goodness Denis, I made some awful mistakes but destroying the police is just beyond belief. (pauses for thought) If she doesn’t change, I’ll make sure that she’s got as much chance of passing through these Pearly Gates as the Argies had of holding on to the Falklands.

Slips her arm through Denis’s and the two walk off towards a spectacular sunset.