Friday, November 23, 2007

This will take years off you..!

Oil of Ulay?...Yoga?...Ginseng?...No its the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 and its associated Codes of Practice.(known in short as PACE)

In my humble patch of vibrant Cosmopolitanism, the open Europe policy has provided a significant success story.The emergence of a young, bright,keen and articulate wave of Police listed interpreters.
They are very good and help me and my colleagues ever so much. Some are such regular visitor's they are on first name terms with most of the staff and know their way around the station better than I do.
A fairly common ploy at the moment is to arrive through the back door of the nick and announce to the Custody sergeant that you are a Juvenile despite every visual appearance to the contrary.
Sadly our hands are tied and if he/she in fact persists with this nonsense then PACE says we treat them as Juveniles until proven otherwise.

There are various Codes of Practice to PACE to say which way we should deal with things. The codes run from A to H.
Unfortunately there is, as yet, no code P. This would set out the requirements for not taking the P**S.

As we treat him/her as a Juvenile we tick into the weary world of appropriate adults.
Strangely,the extended families of those detained do not seem keen to attend the police station and assist and addresses are always vague.So its Social services.. blah blah blah.
If they want representation it adds a further layer of problems because the appropriate adult supplied will not turn up unless the other is there or on their way and vice versa.The interpreter is invariably the only consistent part in this merry go round and turns up when requested.

Eventually we all sit in a small room and I look across at our 'Juvenile' with a voice deeper than mine and a bristling 'nine o'clock shadow' and ask my questions.
We have got to the stage where we now seek professional opinion as to their age. This usually involves calling out someone and the examination of the teeth.

The whole charade is a senseless waste of resources.
But we have to be seen to be fair.

When PACE was brought in,it was to set and maintain a balance between the powers of the police and the rights of the public.
Now we employ people who may offer an opinion on dental age, just to be fair and balanced.
I always feel the need to wash my hands before I leave the station after a shift and this is one of the reasons why.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Complaints R Us

Things like this and this

I have to admit I am old fashioned. Probably a bit set in my ways but despite this still willing to live and learn.
With regards to the complaints procedure against police my advice always was ..if you wish to complain and are not satisfied with the way I or another officer has dealt with this matter then my advice would be to go to a police station and request the attendance of the duty officer, who will log your complaint and pass it on to the necessary department.

Not unsurprisingly, I have had little urge to delve into the PCC website (Police Complaints Commission) but have recently ( on a quest for knowledge) tapped in their Dets on Google.

It has to be said its informative.

If you want to complain against someone, this is a top site. Not only the old bill but also HM Revenue and Excise and SOCA. There is even a side link on how to complain against the PCC itself(although its not exactly clear if the said complaint can be heard in a public forum)

What I now know is that you don't even have to leave the comfort of your own seat. There is an online form to fill in and send....

It is a site that says ... 'feed me'....

As an organisation that exists to process complaints, would it be cynical to suggest the design/layout might tempt more people to complain?

The majority of the complaints would appear to be those for rudeness and incivility.
Sadly there is no equivalent for police officers to complain against rude uncivil members of the public who come into contact with the police (and fail to tick a box under Statute or Common law..) I fear it would be inundated.

This, at no point, is a rambling rant that suggests Police should not be subject to scrutiny in the job we do.
But the majority of allegations against the police are found to be unproven.
However I suppose if you increase the volume of complaints then statistically you will 'up your average'

Its a Stats driven world.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

It must be us then.

I read this article the other day and despite every intention of ignoring it for the nonsense that it is, I had to comment.

What is the Archbish on?

This 'lets raise the age of Criminal Responsibility' pops up every now and then and thankfully has been ignored.
Basically as I read would appear to be our fault for arresting them and putting them in the system, thereby criminalising them.

It's not their fault!

If we left them alone they would revert to be polite, well mannered, respectful little citizens and a blessing to the society that surrounds them.


They know exactly what they are doing. The difference between right and wrong is not Rocket Science. They choose to ignore it.
OK you can say poor parenting, lack of cohesive family life, exposure to violent imagery be it music or video, general lack of values in me.. not good enough.

We need sanctions.I know that sanctions are laughable for juveniles and it can be a merry go round of this that and the other.For a juvenile to be placed in some form of proper Custodial is only at the end of a track history that would make your eyes water.

So to raise the age of Criminal Responsibility to say 14 or 16.. Will it make Society a safer place?.....will it ****!

I know as Law enforcement our hands are tied in dealing with our misunderstood youth but at least we can actively deal with them and get them in the system.

Being a fully paid up,card carrying cynic does this argument have any benefits for Government. They have naturally distanced themselves from these comments.

But...juveniles are responsible for a good chunk of countable Recorded Crime.... if you raise the bar at which they are allowed to affect the Figures...?

Surely not.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

A view from the Basement.

The finding at the recent trial would appear to have generated further media vitriol at the incumbent Commissioner.

As the person keen on the notion of the brand TEAM MET he finds himself in that unfortunate position of Team manager.That following adverse results he has the the 'open' support of the Board. But for how long?

Some of the media footage has been quite personal such as the Daily Mails 'a man without honour' front page.

I find it wryly amusing that there are politicians calling for his resignation.
A breed who have to be prized away like a clam when their Departments are found at fault.
The media play on this 'Crisis of confidence'. Certainly internally I do not know of any officer who believes that the Commissioner is lacking integrity or is dragging the service down in that respect.
Realistically at my level in the organisation it does not matter who is at the head of the Table. It does not affect my daily work.The tide of the MET may rise and fall but I know I am still going to be in the rock pool at low tide and getting on with my job and scratching a living.

We are in a world were someone,ultimately has to be blamed.The Commissioner is at that level were Politics take over.He must surely know the risks playing at that altitude.
The smart money seems to be awaiting the report from the PCC(I have dropped the word Independent as I believe that it might contravene some form of Descriptions Act)
A severe thumbs down might just make that 'wall of support' wither away.

That's Politics.

The decision in this Trial brought under Health and Safety Regs has major ramifications on all Emergency Services and how they deal with incidents.
There will be a cascading down of Standard Operating Procedures,checklists etc.. This ultimately will be a musical chairs as to who takes the blame when the music stops.

Tragically we have Fire fighters losing their lives dealing with major fires,we have officers mowed down by vehicles attempting to make arrests.
Are we to be subject to Health and safety 'inquests' at the highest level in months to come when that gorged corpulent beast of Hindsight blusters into the court arena

Despite all this,I know the Emergency Services at front line level will still turn up and get on with the job despite the Politics at the top.

We make it work.