Monday, May 15, 2017

Stop and search ...another post.

The METS figures on knife crime in recent weeks are clearly horrendous.
Daily we are informed of the latest death or serious injury on London's streets. The media are in a frenzy, politicians demand action, family's want answers and results.
Stepping back from the figures the background to this seems clear. There has been a massive drop in stop and search by the Met over recent years. This in short has been led by a significant interference by politicians and other vocal interest groups in the use of stop and search and its perceived overuse on sections of London's communities. The political and media 'furore in days gone by has left the majority of officers stepping back and saying to themselves ....hands in pockets?'s not worth it.
There was certainly never any overt pushing back on this by our upper echelons on the issue. Officers felt isolated and understandably backed off themselves.Politicians talked of discipline for 'incorrect  use ' of stop/search.
They came out with some rollout for ' unconscious bias' training?' Never came to my part of the Metropolis  and I haven't heard if it since.
As things do , the wheels turn  and here we are.Lives are lost, the figures heading to 'out of control' , the Met are on the back foot looking for answers. They have created  a 'Task Force' but with the best will in the world they have a very large patch of ground  to cover. Effective control will ultimately be a more proactive approach on Boroughs by local officers.
However how effective boroughs can be proactively is questionable  based on the demands now placed upon them.
Naturally HMG scoff at the notion this may be their fault.
Mondays Standard quotes a spokesperson ' There is no clear relationship between sensible controls on stop and search and knife crime. When stop and search is misused it wastes police time and undermines public confidence in the police.
A typical and expected 'blah' response lifted from the usual cut and paste soundbite  from the press office of HMG.
I have commented on stop and search a number of times on previous posts
It is not the result that is important. It is the fact that officers will stop and search. The fact they do not get some form of perceived end product is irrelevant. Stop and search is a blunt disruptive tactic and unless the HMG give us X ray powers or ability to see the future we will always rely on 'gut instinct'...but it is effective.
I cant see any significant upsurge of its use by rank and file. The distrust of the ground floor of the media, politicians and SMT support is endemic.
This situation is of no use to anyone, especially the communities affected by the violence.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

An officer down but a hero rises

Constable Keith Palmer paid the ultimate price for doing his job yesterday at the Palace of Westminster. Unarmed, he was fatally wounded as he confronted the crazed maniac who had caused senseless carnage on the bridge moments before.  
I was one of the many officers despatched to assorted parts of the Metropolis as the event unfolded. My team were constantly checking for updates on our mobiles until, sadly, confirmation came through of his death. 
I was watching Prime Minister Questions today and her speech to the House and the assorted back and forth as MPS from both sides tried to catch the Speakers eye. Much, and rightly so, was talk of the bravery of Keith Palmer and the police and emergency services in its aftermath.The event was clearly very close to home for those who work at the Commons.  
Sadly, such is my innate cynicism regarding the political class that as I was watching each honourable member standing up and saying their piece, I was thinking, is this from the heart? or a scripted sound bite to tap into the national mood.There were clear exceptions. MP James Cleverly in particular, who knew Keith Palmer in his previous life in the armed forces.
One MP was present in the chamber but said nothing. He didn't need to.Tobias Ellwood. I would like to sincerely thank you, on behalf of my colleagues, of your help at the scene yesterday.
As the Prime Minister said yesterday, life goes on... we will not allow ourselves to be cowed by these events... we fully support our brave officers..  etc..  .Again my cynicism runs deep and the political machine has short memories.
Another fair weather friend is the media who are playing this line at the moment. I give it under a week and after they have squeezed all they can out of the current view  will spin to the ...'police and security services fail to 'blah blah blah.....'
After all is said and done and the politicians and press have moved onto something else one thing remains...

RIP Constable Keith Palmer, you will not be forgotten.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

MET HR and the new reality blueprint

Well at last they've finally  come out and said it . MET HR admit they no longer see the job as a career. A paper produced by MET HR and presented to a Chief Constables council states that by 2020 'we no longer expect to see policing as a job for life'
In typical MET HR speak it goes on ' We see healthy churn as a positive, creating space to recruit new capabilities which would take many years to develop internally'.
It also talks of officers leaving being able to  join a new 'formal reservist capability' which will be developed internally.
Its an admission at least that all MET HR exists for, in its basic form and in 'non HR blah speak' is to 'produce boots on the street and get bums on the seats'
I doubt any of this 'new concept  going forward' ( as HR would put it) will feature in the glossy multi media recruitment campaigns it put out
I've lamented in my previous posts about the way the METS going and this is just another confirmation of it.
Also the fact that they are so completely out of touch with the grassroots rank and file is the fact the believe they will have hordes of officers leaving the job and then signing up for a reserve list!
I usually send out a pre New Year greeting post but succumbed to this bug going round at the moment and was 'self medding' on assorted over the counter products to get me through the Christmas /New Year shifts. Now my head has finally started to clear....
To my colleagues in the MET and all police officers and emergency services out there ...
All the best for 2017 and take care and look after each other, we are going to need it ....

Friday, November 25, 2016

The IPCC tries again

The determination of the IPCC to nail a police firearms officer continues unabated.

They have referred the shooting of Jermaine Baker to the  CPS. An incident well covered by the media following an incident in Wood Green last year

I can understand the concept of a referral. A male has been shot and has died and a police officer fired the shot.

However the use of the words 'an indication' a criminal offence has been committed'  is somewhat vague.

As a police officer I would be given short shrift if I submitted a file to the CPS stating there was an 'indication ' an offence was committed. They want a WHOLE lot more than that.

Reading into this it seems the IPCC want to pass the buck upstairs to the CPS and not make a decision themselves.

As I have made clear in my previous posts about this organisation I don't believe the I stands for Independent and it certainly isn't for Impartial 

Friday, October 28, 2016

I was sitting there ...!

As the MET tries to cram more and more people into fewer and fewer buildings its 'Hot Desking' concept leads to desperate measures .

Friday, October 21, 2016

Stop now you crazy Diamond

A DIAMOND group has been formed in the upper reaches of the MET. I am not sure where they get the names. Clearly the old BRONZE, SILVER , GOLD is so last year.

One of its aims is to explore the possibilities of bumping up the Detective ranks ( of which the MET is severely short ) by using Specials and pushing new entrants straight through to DC pathways without, it would seem, the implied inconvenience of spending a couple of years learning the basics in a uniform role.Frankly I am not surprised that senior management think this is workable. There is much discussion in other police forums as to how desperate this idea is and I wont waste any more columns adding my 10 pence worth to it.

I then read we have an entity called MET Enterprises ( a nice consultancy fee somewhere coming up with this baby!) which aims to explore and utilise the MET brand. One of its aims is to sell the MET's worldwide reputation and in particular its world class training.

At around this point I had to stop and think WTF!

I am then convinced the brains behind this idea hasn't really thought though the business plan.
What have we to sell? I can understand, years back, a sharp suited MET Enterprise individual leading a mixed bunch of foreign  government officials around Hendon. They let them absorb the acres of well kept buildings, playing fields, the Driving school, The Detective Wing, the assorted specialised learning areas of the Peel Centre. Then to take in the discipline of the smart, uniformed cadres of the intakes marching around its grounds.


'Excuse me can you tell me what actually is the MET training school?
'Er......'its that new, not particularly imposing building surrounded by the new blocks of flats being built'.

I went past Hendon a few days back, The Detective training school site is now rubble. You can barely see our new 'Training block' for the flats being put up. The rest of the Estate will follow suit.
NSY in Victoria is now a shell. The jewels in the Crown have been well and truly sold on. The only people making money out of the MET are the sharp suited Estate agents flogging stuff ' off plan' for the Hendon and NSY sites.

And then the Mayor gets a wiff of MET Enterprise and demands it does no business with 'rogue regimes' What are we going to peddle to them. NCALT packages? Breaching human rights by boring people into submission.

We have hit the buffers and there is no wriggle room left. The MET has been squeezed to its limits.
I await management to form a PLATINUM group to sort things out. 


Monday, September 12, 2016

What do you expectorate?

I was reading the Evening standard on the commute home last week and saw a small article saying the Met had decide to trial the so called spit hoods on a selection of Boroughs.
The discussion on  use of spit hoods has been bouncing around the Met, off and on, for years. As expected the SLT at the higher levels huffed and puffed. Anecdotally its rumoured one of the SLT asked if we were expected to wear the hoods!!!!
Any way it came as no surprise that the usual suspects  came out bleating with weapons grade handwringing angst.
Leading the pack were Liberty ( as ever )
Apparently Martha Spurrier is quoted as saying 'A spit hood is a  primitive cruel and degrading tool  that inspires fear and anguish'
So is being gobbed on.
Frankly it came as NOOOOO! surprise there was a U turn as our new mayor and MOPAC threw the usual politics into this and our Management ( sorry.... Leadership) rolled over as only they can.
Usual excuses made.
'The Metropolitan Police service has listened to concerns and will consult further before starting any pilot'
I bet the listening wasn't to officers having  to deal with  our saliva driven customer base.
We should have a concerted media outreach to allay fears
Keep it simple, the message ' No Spitty Hoody'
No excuses for subsequent offenders