Monday, March 26, 2007

Keys to the Kingdom

I have become somewhat numbed by the stories emerging from the Home Office and its agencies.
More often, reality overtakes parody with what the 'think tanks' and 'blue skies thinking' policy units come up with.

However even I was a little taken aback by this

I always thought that within HMP, the procedure of 'Lock Up' was not optional.
Sadly, another misbegotten belief of mine falls by the wayside.

The decision to issue keys to certain inmates is around 'respect' and a need to protect their personal space and belongings.

Unfortunately if their behaviour outside the walls of HMP had been so considered then they may not have been so 'unfortunate' as to find themselves inside.

I wasn't intending to pop into my local this evening but....needs must.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


I have been away for a break and on return due to shifts,courses and prisoners have had little time to do much other than dip into my regular route of favourite blogs.

One that stopped me in my tracks was that of Totally Un PC."I've seen death" A powerful piece of writing.
In part,this recollection of tragic events he has encountered,dealt with and still pitches up at the start of his shift reminds me of why..despite our assorted critics...I think this job is so important.

Big Fella also had a particularly bad weekend.

Any disillusionment or cynicism I may display in my posts relate to the system,the Job and the way the country and its institutions have become such a shambles.

However, it is the company of the people I work with that have generated the best memories over the years. The situations we have dealt into and got out of ..mostly in one piece..talked and laughed about.

They make it bearable.

Inspector Gadget has generated much comment recently on the Dan Coffill case.

The experiences of an Anonymous juror in the original trial as posted on the

Praguetory site has caused even further heated debate.

That persons experiences from that perspective of a Juror at Crown Court are sadly not new to me or other officers who spend their time wandering the Court complexes(be it Crown or Magistrates) with a blue case file.

Public areas are often no more than a zoo.

The differences between them and the occupants of an actual Zoo are that the actual Zoos have better behaved occupants (and actually do spend time behind bars.)

Bystander has been subject to some vilification.

However(whilst having on a number of occasions been at the back of a court, clutching my case file and glaring balefully at the Bench over some decision they have made) his responses have always been measured.

Bystander says 'police officers have a fierce, almost Tribal loyalty'

Yes we do.

I know, having done this job for the years I have, that when I am out on a job..when it all goes wrong...the only people I can RELY on for back up are those carrying the badge and wearing the same uniform as me.

Finally,like Bystander, I will be sending my cheque to the family of Dan Coffill.

Details on the Inspector Gadget post.

Whatever the rights..wrongs..decisions or small print of the legislation or guidelines...they are still living with the consequences of that night.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Premium service

Well the Big Brother investigation is over,it barely made page 29 of the Mail.

It was decided the behaviour was 'offensive not racist'. A sensible conclusion but sensible does not sell papers.

On the issue of trying to sell

The Mail On Sunday did decide to put a double page spread on the latest 'innocent' alleging poor treatment by the police down in Norwich.
This is more of a news editor stoking the fire of an old story with whatever fresh kindling they can find.. anywhere.
Again a carefully sanitized story in terms of the victim.Lets see how this one develops. It certainly doesn't tick the Race card, so the usual following pack might be short of a few numbers.

Sorry back to the point I was trying to make.

At its height,the Big Brother furore was mentioned in the House. I understand the latest matter of national importance to be debated was the 'abuse' regarding the premium phone line call-ins to so called Quiz shows on TV

I mean the country is going to hell in a bucket in so many different ways and this is all they can talk about!

Sorry wandering again...

You know the type of Shows I mean
They usually start by pitching a Question to gain access to the show. Its hardly a 'filtering exercise' with questions like

An hour is divided into 60 parts. What is each part called?
b Minime
c Minnie Mouse

Actually I might have set the bar a bit too high with that one... but you get the idea.

Its purpose is to sucker as many people as possible,to call premium rate lines and keep them on the 'hook' for as long as possible to gain maximum revenue.
The chances of winning, whilst vaguely there, is slight and the prizes not exactly life enhancing.

The whole edifice of these type of shows is now crumbling.. hurrah you might think. Sadly for the police there is a possibility we might have to step in and try and establish if there was some form of 'criminal intent/fraudulent intent/conspiracy...

On the off-chance I find myself caught up in dealing with the potential rush of aggrieved punters.... as a contingency.... I am developing my own strategy to deal with a Premium rate Quiz line allegation.

In the interests of making them feel at ease with the complaint I am drafting my own screening Question.

One of the 'proper' functions of the Police is to
1. Prevent and detect crime
2. Be a 24 hour 'life coach'
3. Be an on call relationship counsellor

That should filter out quite a few.

Those that remain will be invited in to the Station.

I will then greet them, take them to a side room and promptly ask for their name address and a day/evening phone number.

I would then go up to the canteen and have a cup of tea and wait for twenty minutes.

I would then return, take a very brief statement and offer a cheery, positive opinion that they have every chance of getting through to the next round.

After enquiries, I then call them in two weeks and say that they have been unsuccessful. The Editors (CPS ) decision is final.

Customer focused.. its the way forward.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Its got Form.

I have come to the conclusion that observations of the apparently insignificant,small,whirrings of the machine throws more light on its health than the big flashing lights on its front.

The Police service like any other 'arm' of Government has become gorged,to a point of obesity,with targets, monitoring and statistics.

Lip service is paid by politicians/senior officers when this issue periodically hits the headlines.The need to cut red tape,free front line staff from the burden of paperwork..mooting the creation of some form of Bureaucracy Tzar.

Actually what really happens, when the soundbites are forgotten, is ...approved by the Home office, ACPO. and the Police Federation....let me introduce... drum roll.. lights...the National Bureaucracy Awards Scheme.

This baby has the potential to cut huge swathes through the fields of bureaucracy like a possessed Combine Harvester....Bean counters in little offices will feel its mighty hand...faceless 'auditors' will quake in their...

Yeah ok...its only in its third year but,like anything else in an organisation like this, the thought is in there somewhere.

Its aim is to BEAT bureaucracy, SOLVE national problems.

And....if your idea wins, not only do you win the lifelong admiration of colleagues by unburdening them of the yoke of paperwork... you also get a FRAMED certificate!! and a cheque for £1000 to be sent to a charity of your choice.

With the Pot on the table raised so high I am working on my own 'Big Idea'.

The problem is that nearly every week when I check my E mails I find that someone, somewhere has introduced a new 'Pilot scheme' or compulsory E form covering our everyday activities.

The worst hit area seems to be the 'booking in' procedure. The number of boxes you now have to tick after bringing in your prisoner through the back door seems to get longer and longer.

In fact my 'Big idea' may be an introduction of another award..'Please let the Left hand know what the Right hand is doing Award'.. those coordinating policies efficiently without contradicting each other get the prize!

It has got to be in with a chance

My certificate could then be proudly displayed on the wall and I would send my cheque to the little known research group calling themselves LOB (an independent review of the more unusual reasons why the public call police and make reports)

I also now understand that we have an Anti-Bureaucracy Unit!

Though its rumoured that to get a response requires two Proformas and a confirmation Fax.

Sadly my 'hunches' on awards such as these do not seem to bear fruition.

In a previous post .. 'And the winner is'.. my favourite,Bromleys offering, did not even get into the top three!

This does not bode well for my long odds double, at around the same time, on Britney Spears becoming the face of Wella 2007 and Bernard Matthews and Jamie Oliver fronting a cable TV programme on Food preparation.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

A land fit for ..lawyers?

If you haven't already,please read this post from the Blog of Inspector Gadget