Friday, April 27, 2007

Brief memoirs from the

The MET have apparently developed a Front Counters Project Team and it is currently advertising an Open day for PCSO's to learn about the new career development opportunities act as Police Station community support officers!

Other Bloggers have commented on this but the Met plan to replace Front office civilian staff with PCSO's.

A decision made by Senior management who have obviously not had the 'if it 'aint broke don't fix it' course at Bramshill.

I have a strong admiration for our Civilian Front office Staff.Even,at its most basic,is the fact that because of them I managed to get away from that forsaken job.

Whilst young in Service and not a driver (and avoiding any CAD courses that would have left me stuck for weeks in the CAD/Control Room) I often found myself posted 'Front office'

During the Day it was 'Death by HORTI ( remember the old 'producers'! in a time when we seemed to actively care if someone had Insurance and an MOT )...and all sorts of other boring stuff
Of a Night it was boredom sustained only by visits from our regular 'people with mental health issues' who were drawn to us mainly by the fact that we were open 24 hours a day and they could usually get a conversation out of you.

I was regaled on all sorts of subjects.One thought that God had an office on the second floor.Another advised me regularly as to the benefits of encasing the TV in tin foil.By and large they were invariably polite and often more erudite than my regular customers.

I think Civilian Front office staff came into the Met around the the early 90's.
I thought they were great.In my particular Borough at the time the two female Front office staff were excellent and it meant I was released back out into the world.

They have managed to revamp most Station Front offices these days.

Though the customers seem to be the same.

In some of my old Boroughs the average queue looked like an audition for 'Lord of the Rings'

Front Office work is a weary old job.You have the basic Bail to returns and their Reps, the Signing ons, the endless 'I've lost my purse/phone it must have been stolen'..Monitoring the Station office property cupboard.. a job in itself!...Is PC/DC in?.. No I didn't have an appointment!..

Hats off to Front office staff!

Whether our PCSO's can fill their shoes remains to be seen.

In my particular neck of the woods,apparently not, as police officers seem to be filling the gaps

Anyway I will leave the last word with the Front Counters Project Team

'Front counters presents a 'Shop window' for the MPS'

Well if that means it shows a bunch of frustrated,bored,grumpy people waiting for someone to listen to them, then they may have a point.

..and that means both sides of the counter!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Take me to your Leader

For some reason I was thinking today what would happen if I was sat in the office and a Ray gun toting Alien appeared and said those immortal words 'Take me to your leader'.. What would I do?

Would I look at the three suckered tentacles twitching around the weapon and think..

Could be time to announce a 'Met-wide Ray gun amnesty'?

Would I be even more forward looking and talk and suggest he might enjoy working for one of the largest employers in London?
You cant trump being behind an application from someone outside the Solar system on your latest PDR.

Back to the question.. Take me to your leader..

Police now have Line Managers previously known as Sergeants and Inspectors.
Most want to lead and the majority still do.. but those above want them to 'manage'.
You don't manage people through difficult situations and lead.

So do I set my sights further up the system.

My Borough boss leads with Stats blazing.I tend to switch off after line two of the E mail.

Lets not bother with the ranks in between.

ACPO. The Association of Chief Police Officers.

I have to stress this is a personal opinion but they do not fill me with confidence.
For instance the latest from the CC of Merseyside

So we have an idea that I cant see being workable. You are going to threaten victims of gun Crime(who have reasonable cause to fear the gunman rather than the mighty sword of the UK Judicial system)
What are you going to do? Threaten them with non-existent Jail places for failing to divulge the person who tried to shoot them or others in the first place.

A bizarre idea and not even original as he quotes previous Australian legislation.

Sergeants Says examines the latest utterances from ACPO on his post

Back to the original question...What would I do...?

I would try the usual. 'Listen fella put that down, we will walk over the road and I'll have a word in your Bugle like..'

Friday, April 13, 2007

The Adventures of 'Admin man'

It was heading towards late afternoon.

A lone police officer was tapping away at his computer anxious to finish the paperwork before the end of his shift.

He glanced at the clock..nearly there. The long weekend was coming.

Then the noise.The Red alert E mail from CJU central at Haventgothem City.
He groaned and opened the attachment. A memo from the CPS forwarded by the case clerk. He checked,it was dated two weeks ago.A demand made today to be completed ...Today.

He groaned and held his head in his hands. He knew that these requests had been done or covered ages ago.Was it worth trying to E mail and phone around to ask people to check the files again? was a good job.He didn't want to jeopardise it by arguing the point.Anyway the buck always stops with the officer.
He sighed.It was the sigh of the Weary but also of the Just.

He walked to the quiet dark corner by the Photocopying machine. A place he knew so well. He glanced around. With one twirl he was 'Admin man'.
He strode purposefully back to his desk pulled out the file. His fingers were a blur as he typed out the Exhibit list again (30 items).He had checked but it hadn't been saved from that time so many months before.

He reprinted the Disclosure schedules and added a further Information Report covering those same old questions. He photocopied (again) the three Witness statements that he had personally delivered to the clerk last month.

He glanced at the clock, getting close to that time.With one bound he leaped from his desk and made his way to CJU Central.

He walked into the office, glancing to left and right, a slight bead of sweat on his furrowed brow.
'Is .. here I have some urgent paperwork for the Case of....'

One glanced up from his desk.'He is around somewhere just leave it on his desk'.
Admin man had been in this situation before.
From his utility belt he produced the bright Post-it Note of 'Attention please' and the Red 'pen of urgency'.
Placing the file and the note in a carefully judged position on the desk he smiled. He looked around again, and said 'Sorry can't wait, I have a meeting with Dr Guinness.We need to discuss saving the World'

Square of jaw and Steely of eye he swept from the room.

As he left he heard one of the Clerks say.
'Who was that masked stranger?'

As the door closed I heard another say ..

'I am not sure..anyway he will probably get an E mail next week when we lose this paperwork under some other pile'

Admin man didn't break step as he strode away.He knew his place in the Universe.
He answered the incoming call 'Dr Guinness.. I am on my way.. same place and time'

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Bereft of anything, even remotely interesting, passing before my eyes when I log on at the start of my shift I sought sanctuary elsewhere.

We MUST be up to something..thinking outside the box..going into places no Service has feared to tread, forward looking..politically correct.. Health and Safety conscious.. anxious 'not to offend anyone' type of organisation that we are.

I Googled 'the Met' and came up with this

Mmmmmm..Personnel News.I did check to make sure it wasnt dated 1st April.

As a dip into any police blog will tell the world of UK law enforcement Truth is nearly always more bizarre than Fiction

According to the Journalists beavering away at this particular magazine, parts of Basic training at that Hallowed ground in Hendon is being hived off to?...Asda..Tesco..Waitrose..

So those skills and knowledge that will come to so much use later on the street are being developed and honed between Tills 1-30 at whatever venue gets the bid.

So when I wander into the custody, nursing my first cup of tea of the day and ask the probationer what have you got for me?... and then read the very sparse handover package.. what do I do? Say something or give them a bit of leeway because they could tell me which aisle has the Frozen Peas or the best of the 'Buy one Get one free' offers.

In my humblest opinion this is likely to be just the start of privatising Police training away from established and respected training centres.

Neurotic?.. well maybe I am... but Hendon occupies a prime site covering many acres in a reasonable area.. close to all amenities and transport links.. blah blah blah.

Why not come out with it? Just admit at some stage they are going to carve,if not all, large chunks of it off.

Will it come to the stage were we are reduced to training our upcoming Police officers by Correspondence.. notes and DVDs by post?.. very family friendly.

Perhaps a Tutorial day, every two weeks, with your Tutor constable. Bit like the 'Open University' but with High Viz jackets.

Policing in this country is being farmed out.

Its now just a matter of who runs the Farm.