Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Meet the new Boss, much the same as the old one.

Contrary to what Sky's Martin Brunt thought when he said that Sir Ian Blair's resignation would cause a drop in morale throughout the Met, on the afternoon he announced he was leaving I've never seen so many people in the canteen talking about him with smiles on their faces. The next day a skipper I know said "it's great news isn't it, if the Met canteens had a laugh-o-meter in them, they would have blown up yesterday afternoon"

So now that the "PC PC" has finally gone, Sir Paul Stephenson is going to be the new Commissioner of the Metropolis. I've never met him and I probably never will, unless something goes horribly wrong somewhere, and the most I'll see of his new direction and 'leadership' will be a weekly podcast on the Intranet that I won't watch. We may get some policy directions that will be changed by countless levels of chinese whispers, so by the time they get to us they will do nothing but serve the needs of the borough Commander or the divisional Superintendent to make sure they get their year end bonus for meeting targets and budgets.

Sir Ian Blair set the direction of the Met as Commissioner but it was Sir Paul Stephenson who actually ran things from an operational perspective. Whilst I'm well aware that there are things Sir Ian wanted and everyone was required to do, here's a few things I am certain that we won't get in the immediate to near future -

(1) a doubling of the number of response officers actually deployable for every team, on every division and borough in the Met.

(2) a doubling of the number of response vehicles and vans (that actually work and don't break down all the bloody time) to accommodate the influx of officers back to response and the significant increase in prisoners that will result.

(3) the opportunity for response officers to actually proactively patrol and engage with the public because the vast majority of the bullshit calls we are sent to have been cancelled because we shouldn't even be going to them, or they are significantly downgraded to the level they should be in comparison to an actual emergency.

(4) Taser.

(5) someone with any substantial rank standing in front of the news cameras immediately after a substantial event to give the people the information that WE had at the time, even if we are being criticised by people (including family) who have no idea what actually happened.

(6) someone who will tell the Home office to get rid of the National Crime Recording Standards and to stop trying to micromanage how we work.

(7) the complete return of discretion, in line with the office of Constable, instead of directed policy.

(8) specific targeting and extreme harassment of each divisions top 50 criminals until they are locked away, move out of London, or kill themselves.

(9) the return of local knowledge to control rooms by basing them in divisions and alongside teams instead of in 3 remote bases staffed by people who rotate daily, haven't got a scooby which road is where, who is who, where our borders end or what specialist teams exist to deal with specific things. This won't mean much to anyone outside of the Met, but to those in, it will mean everything.

I'll be more than happy if I'm proved wrong on any of those points, but after yet another knackering nights weekend of mayhem, close calls and not enough people to deal with it, I'm a tad pessimistic that anything will change for the better.


Update - some quotes from the Boss -

“Ian Blair did it his way. I was a loyal deputy. Now I am going to do it my way”

“One of the key issues is keeping the communities on board to give us a mandate to go in there and use some pretty intrusive tactics to stop kids killing kids.”

"We have to be intolerant of violence, no matter where that violence comes from"

"It is my aim to be a top-class police leader of the biggest police force in the UK and one of the best in the world." Interesting he used the words Police force instead of Police service, it's not something Sir Ian Blair ever said, which is a good start.


Area Trace No Search said...

Metcountymounty for Commish?

ESPECIALLY number eight.

And the cars... God we need to sort out our motors, we don't have enough to actually get out and deal with the bloody calls.

But especially number eight.

Anonymous said...

Nice post...

I agree with most of it (apart from the last part of point 8!)

Can't say I'm thrilled at the news. I was hoping for Sir Hugh from the beginning. I thought he would be the breath of fresh air that we desperately need. I'm afraid this is going to be more of the same and a missed opportunity....

Blue Eyes said...

You have pretended to miss one salient point: the Commissioner has virtually no power whatsoever. Influence, yes, power, no. Sir Paul has to run everything by Ms Smith. Sir Ian may have been thrilled by neighbourhood policing and PCSOs (for example) but it wasn't him who gave them the go-ahead.

It isn't within the gift of Sir Paul to say "all SNTs to re-join the core teams". I see this as the main problem.

R/T said...

Yep - unfortunately, none of these will happen.
Our Astras seem to be not too bad but our R/T cars are shocking!
That's all I'm worried about, really.
Mind you - it would be really nice if all the other 7 came to pass.

Metcountymounty said...

Area - er, no thanks!! and re number 8, I think making their lives hell would be fun, a bit of payback for years of taking the piss and making everyone else's lives a misery. Once they're gone we just keep adding the next to the list until we get to people with more than 3 indictable convictions so they get the message that their behaviour won't be tolerated any more. Draconian? yes. Effective? Yes.

Anon 0800, ditto, but we'll see how he goes. Brian paddick doesn't like him, too macho apparently, which is better than nothing I suppose.

Blue Eyes - After the school teacher said last year that SNT's should be answering 999's I just wonder if the message is getting through that the systems doesn't work as it is in which case he can lead in that direction, either that or they're playing the vote game which wouldn't surprise me in the slightest. We'll find out in the coming days which direction Sir Paul is planning to take us, I'm not expecting miracles of common sense but there are some internal things he could change to ramp up our efficiency which should make a bit of a difference. But we'll see.

R/T - rumour mill up at Hendon is that the Astras might be getting replaced with BMW 1 series hatchbacks (much better handling and bigger in the back too) and we've got one of the new 3 series RT's at our nick - very very fun in the rain, especially with the seemingly random traction control.

HappyMetCopper said...

When the top job came up for grabs I heard that Stephenson was popular among the rank and file coppers. Having never met him or even heard anything from him, or knowing anyone who has, I didn't know whether this was true or not.

One day whilst conducting a traffic stop I was sitting in the car doing some writing when a copper appeared at the door and asked if I needed any help. "Nah you're alright mate" was my reply. I then looked up and saw the name badge and all the scrambled egg on his shoulders and looked at our now boss.

He smiled when I mumbled my apologies and said that I was ok. He then asked if there was anything else I needed before leaving. As he left in his job car I had to explain to the man I was giving the ticket to who it was and why he had parked his car on the pavement.
Is this why he is supposedly popular among those of us lower down the food chain? He stops an seems to take an interest in us.

This was before Sir Ian resigned and if only I knew then what I know now. If I knew he was going to have the top job when he asked me if there was anything else I needed I could have just said "Yeah, when are we going to get taser?"

Anonymous said...

Met the man once when he delivered a pompous, unctuous and condescending talk at us before escaping with his entourage...dreadful man and all decent coppers should shoot the HS and Mayor for dropping this person upon us.

Anonymous said...

Tasers.. MPA prefers dead and or injured cops to paying for tasers and having the spine to fight when they are used. i suppose only after the next PC is killed on duty will the Fed or someone sue them and then they will bring them in.

R/T said...

MCM - we heard teh "1" series rumour as well but the lowest BHP diesel has 145BHP! Just can't see HR3(4) going for that with the extra training it would entail. Nice thought, though.

Re: the taser posts - anybody shed any true light on why the MPA are so against them please?

Metcountymounty said...

R/T - IRV is up to 2.0 litre, and with the 118 being below that I don't see why not, with the better handling there should be less stacks... you would hope!!

Re Taser and the MPA I was talking to couple of the instructors at gravesend and now they've changed the violent man and search to contact scenarios to accommodate taser, they are expecting it to come in reasonably soon. There have apparently been over 800 deployments of taser (red dot as well as fired) in the Met since giving it to TSG and zero complaints and the MPA are well happy about it, the issue at the moment is the public perception. With amnesty bleating that cattle prods are the same as taser because they use electricity and some of our cousins over the pond have killed people with them, and that the Police over there can use it as a non compliance tool instead of as a use of force option as planned over here, they are going to leave it for a few more months to see how the role out goes across the UK before going on the publicity march about it. Gravesend reckon the next step is RT drivers first for the next role out (old sweats.....) then L2's a few months after that.

Anonymous said...

I'm just a special but the amount of I graded calls I've attended to on foot (not just because I've happened to of been there) but because all the units are tucked up is staggering.

Blue Eyes said...

MCM, my comment should have been a bit more succinct. I didn't mean there is nothing the chief can change, just that some of the big obstacles seem to have been placed by the government not the Met as such.

Fee said...

As a poor, deluded, MOP, I have no idea why they can't issue Taser across the board. So it's like a cattle prod? Yeah, too bad, don't argue with the guy holding it and he won't zap you.

Metcountymounty said...

Fee - Taser is nothing like a cattle prod, that was the point, the only thing they have in common is electricity. It's like saying that a bright green BB gun is the same as a .50 calibre sniper rifle because something comes out of the end of it when you pull the trigger.

R/T said...

MCM - I am an "old sweat" (unfortch!) and - ahem - an R/T driver. Looks like Gravesend for me then. Hope we don't have to run too far!

Cato said...

Re No 8. I was employed at a well known South London nick during my 30 years.

We used to target the toerags by any and all means possible, process, arrest, getting traffic to run the rule over their vehicles etc. etc. If anyone had a problem with a particular toerag then an entry was made in the 'Parade Book' (are they still extant?) and all three reliefs would join in....problem solved!!

Anonymous said...

PS Comment

Oi, MCM , Lets wind up Fiwatch on their blog......They bite soooo easy!

Anonymous said...

Metcountymounty - what a great post. Agree with every point.

We certainly need more PCs on response teams. Apparently our Ch/I went out recently and was surprised how run-ragged we actually are. No shit! We only deal with the number of calls we do because we all work our nutts off and pull together. Jobs are winged and corners are cut so we can go out and respond to the next call! Some days, in fact make that MOST days, are just completely mental.

As you say, more PCs would allow us to pro-actively patrol and pull in some decent bodies. A few hours on early turn (when no-one is about) is never that productive. Ok, you might do a bit of traffic, but your hardcore crims are still in bed. When the slags are out plying their trade after lunch, the entire shift are tied up with domestics ("he took my phone and won't give it back" etc etc), neighbour disputes and MISPERS (seldom high risk and almost always giving parents/careers the run around).

Totally agree with the points on Metcall - don't you just love it when they say "I've only just sat down, what CAD are you talking about". Bless them with their breaks every 20 mintues. If only we had the same luxuries. Any don't get me started with "have you got a result yet" just five minutes after sending you the griefiest call on earth!

I've heard rumours about getting the BMW 1 series before. Be good if we did get them, the Astras and Vectras are awful! We should have three RT cars, three vans and countless Astras on our borough. For a good part of Nov/Dec/Jan we had one RT car (some days none) one working van and loads of Astras off the road. What makes me laugh is when a car is taken away for repairs, nothing is brought in to replace it. One week we had six Astras away for repairs! Why is there not a central pool of cars to replace those taken away? It's madness.

And finall Taser, wouldn't that be nice :-) To be honest I can't say Id use it all that often, but nice to know it's there if it all goes bent. What makes me laugh is the confidence instilled in the TSG, as if they are somewhat superior at using it. If everyone has the same trainning there should no issues.

SNT's are also worth a mention. Ours never answer any calls. Ok,'I' calls are a bit difficult since they're on foot. But they could help out with some 'S' grades. Do they? Not very often. Whenever they're called up on the radio it's always the quietest and reluctant "go ahead". Imagine if each SNT did two 'S' grades on their patch each day....a couple of CRIS's wouldn't take them that long but would free up SO much time for the teams to chase round after the hard core scum bags.

Anyways, nice to known the troops are all on the same wavelength!