Wednesday, 17 June 2009


When I started writing this blog it was never meant to be more than a personal catharsis, in that aim I think it succeeded as I've managed to get a few things off my chest which some of you guys have read and commented on. I haven't posted much over the last 6 months due to work, I've been getting a lot more into stuff I can't talk about and have hardly worked on team, and public order duties have lost all appeal. They say a change is as good as a rest and I'm liking how things are going even if it has meant I've been absolutely knackered, it just means I get to enjoy doing the family stuff and enjoying my rest days all the more.

Due to a combination of my work role changing, getting lots of cancelled rest days, and now more importantly because of the Times, I'm going to be calling it a day. I won't be posting anything new on here for the foreseeable future.

The Times decided for whatever reason to expose NightJack's real identity. After a written warning, the deletion of his blog and now a lost case in the high court, NJ has been well and truly burned by the media and I've no doubt his career prospects are going to be extremely limited for some time, and I have no intention of putting myself on offer for that one now that a judge has ruled on it. Personally I hope the ruling on anonymity in a public forum comes back to bite them in the arse with regard to anonymous sources, especially as the law of unintended consequences seems to favour anything to do with the Police or media.

For the 100k or so site hits in a the last year I'd like to say thanks for your support again, I'll probably speak to some of you on some of the other blogs but in the meantime, I'm out.


Friday, 5 June 2009

Point Number Eight

Back in January I wrote this post about the appointment of our new boss. In the list of things I very much doubt we'd get (and thus far we haven't) was number eight's "specific targeting and extreme harassment of each divisions top 50 criminals until they are locked away, move out of London, or kill themselves." Now, the last bit may seem harsh to some people, but as I and all of my colleagues know how much pain and misery someone would have to have caused over a number of years to get into the top set of criminals for a given area, few of us would shed a tear if they were to turn up swollen and bloated after a couple of days at the bottom of the Thames.

When I was a probationer in my old force we had a new divisional commander who moved to us from a neighbouring force, and at one of his meet and greet sessions he outlined his strategies for winding a few of the local criminal necks in. Aside from more 'encouragement' for the local CPS prosecutors to actually work at putting some of them to court for the right offences (and not busting the offence down to get an easy guilty plea) he wanted us to harass our top twenty or so criminals. By harass he meant executing arrest warrants at the most inconvenient times possible like Christmas or their birthday, searching them when and where possible - but especially in public - if there was even the slightest grounds, and getting in touch with all known members of their family to trace them if they were named as suspects in a crime allegation.

The most encouraging bit was that in ordering us to assertively target people he knew that we'd be subject to complaints from the suspects as well as family members, and possibly members of the public. "That's my problem, not yours" he said "and besides, if they are complaining, then it's working"

This type of Policing is extremely labour intensive, it's not just a case of putting one or two officers on the suspect, you need dozens to get proper 24 hour cover for just one person. Overt surveillance is not as difficult as covert as you need many more, but you still need resources to put into it and you have to sustain pressure for some time before you actually see any effect, but as Essex Police have shown the time and effort IS worth it. By targeting known burglars and basically making their lives a misery for a change, they have drastically reduced the number of residential burglaries compared to the year before.

As a preventative measure - in lieu of burglars actually getting any meaningful prison sentences - harassing them works. They're not going to be able or willing to go out in the dead of night and screw someone's house or garage over if they know that outside their own house are a couple of Police officers ready to follow them. Their thieving burglar mates aren't going to want to hang around them, and other people will know that they are a criminal if they constantly see them walking down the street with a couple of Police officers a couple of steps behind.

There are inevitably going to be ECHR issues and some could (and probably will) argue that we are breaching their right to privacy, free assembly, family life etc but to be honest I don't care about that. My personal belief is that if you breach someone else's human rights by committing crime against them, then your protection under the human rights act should be forfeit.

There is also the cost factor involved and eventually justifying that cost. If we harass our most prolific criminals enough then they will either stop committing crime or move out of the area. This drop in crime is great for you and me, but not so great for those holding the purse strings. How can you justify spending a fortune on a crime reduction tactic when there is no crime to speak of? That paradox of proactive policing is one that the government have failed to grasp for so long, and it's the main reason for the removal of beat officers - a Police officer walking around is going to reduce both crime and the fear of crime but how do you measure prevention?

Annoyingly we can't say "well Billy burglar used to commit 1 burglary a day, so over the last year we've prevented 365 burglaries" because someone will just say "prove it" and we can't.

The only way is to look at what happened in the previous year, but if you are that successful and continue to reduce crime there comes a point where there is no crime year on year and someone is going to suggest that you don't need the money to continue policing that way any more. Harassing criminals, getting in their faces, ruining their weekends or parties and generally making their lives a misery is a proven method of reducing crime, not only from them but from other people who see what will happen to them if they get on the list. How about a bit of consequence to their actions for once?


PS, I will be revisiting the other points on that list but as Essex have proven the point so well I thought it only right to acknowledge it!

Tuesday, 2 June 2009


So, today has been another interesting day in the world of policing and general politics. It's taken long enough, but finally the evil wicked bitch - sorry, witch - of the east has decided to quit. Not because she has admitted that she has been the worst, most hostile , most anti-Police and generally incompetent Home Secretary in recent memory, but because she got caught milking the taxpayer (me and you) for money by calling a spare room in her sisters house "her main home" and the house where her family lives as a second house. That, and she claimed for some porn so her husband could knock one out a couple of times. I can't really blame him because his wife is pig ugly, but there is enough free porn on the internet if that's your thing, and there's considerably less chance of getting humiliated by a curious and diligent reporter.

I wonder if he was thinking the same as me? "don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out..."

On that last point about reporters, I have said many times that I'm no fan of the main stream press but I must admit that I think they have done rather well of late, what with exposing parliament for the hive of vulturous swine that they are, and the Met hierarchy for the S.44 stop searching debacle. If ever there was proof that we are no where near a Police state, the fact that we have a free and independent press proves that, no matter what the Daily Wail and their numerous misguided armchair experts suggest. I've never been an advocate of stopping and searching people who are soooo not a terrorist (as I discussed in this post) just because someone in SO15 thinks it's a valid tactic, and if I used any S.44 ops I've been on to target criminals instead then so be it. You can accuse me of being complicit by carrying out lawful orders and searching people at choke points, but as I've always tried to specifically target people who fit my own personal profile of "scroaty bastard" I make no apologies for making crime arrests during counter-terrorism stop searches, of which I have had many.

Now on to separate matters. A combination of work and FANTASTIC sunshine has made me inadvertently miss a rather large milestone on this blog - 100k site hits.


The old stat counter at the top gives me a bit more than just the number of hits the page gets, I get lots of other info such as what countries my visitors come from, what sites direct them here and who links to me etc. Aside from every country on the European continent I've had visits from all over North America and most of Australasia too which is rather nice. I've had links from left and right wing sites, news sites, Police sites, random blogs and even a World of WarCraft forum, which is odd, but again, Thanks!

I know I haven't had many posts on recently but as most followers know the world of response policing, public order and other stuff I can't talk about has been the cause of many a cancelled rest day as well as the occasional splat of overtime, and when I haven't been at work I've been trying to make as much Vitamin D as I can!!

We've been absolutely hammered for aid recently which has lead to teams being left unjustifiably and dangerously short. Thanks in no small part to the Tamil protests (or Op Mirandy as my various overtime sheets have known it) we've had loads of people abstracted from teams just because they proved at the very beginning that they could actually get a few thousand people on site in next to no time (unlike swampy) which has caused a massive headache - and bill - for policing it.

Contrary to popular belief we don't have huge reserves of public order teams on duty "just in case" and aside from the TSG units on Commisioners reserve (a few PSU's to provide emergency cover for public order, backing up response or life threatening/large scale incidents) if something kicks off our resilience is tested to the full as we have to scratch around for anyone currently on duty to don kit and make their way there. If you have all your units on all the time you'll have no one left within 24 hours as we're not robots and need breaks and sleep, so trying to plan for appropriate resources has been an absolute nightmare for the public order branch and relevant duties offices. It's also cost a fortune to the tune of over £8 million, and that was a couple of weeks ago.

I've no doubt that a huge part of the hesitation to kick them out of the square has been fall out from G20 (and yes, officers HAVE refused to use force to move people because of the threat of media witch hunts and suspensions even though it's EXACTLY what we are trained for) and the threat of their community rallying to swamp Westminster with tens of thousands of people in a very short period of time. If anything it shows that a determined group of people can bring central London to a standstill in protest with very little actual violence. Surely another sign that we aren't as much of a Police state as some think?

I will try and get some more posts up soon but to be honest if the sun stays as it is (thanks to El Nino no doubt) then I'll be out there in the garden, on the beach or on the water like everyone else when I'm not wearing a polyester shirt with body armour or a couple of stone's worth of riot kit. In the mean time, thanks again for visiting, thanks for the comments and thanks for the support when some jobs have made me question why I actually do it, and others why I should carry on doing it.

Now, get off the bloody computer and go and get some sun while you can!!