Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Essex Police

The Policeman posted on Saturday about Roger Baker, the new Chief Constable of Essex, who started in the job by saying :

"if people wanted to commit crime in Essex then they really ought to bring their toothbrush because they wouldn’t be going home. He even managed to persuade his own officers that he was on their side and that they would at last be going after real criminals.

It didn’t stop there. People were writing to The Sun saying, “His tough-talking, no-nonsense and old-fashioned approach to tackling crime has proved to be real winner.” And “With more like him in charge of our police forces around Britain, the criminals would have nowhere to run.”

Alas it appeared that the policy amounted in practice to 'arrests at all costs'. The front line aren't happy, and the thread saying so is now 30 pages long (it was 15 on Saturday). Chief Constable Baker has banned officers from using the internet.

What was it Peter Hitchens said ? The criminal justice system now enforces 'the letter of a bureaucratic law rather then the spirit of an agreed and respected moral code'. You can certainly see Essex Police being frighteningly neutral between the villain and the law-abiding here.

Page 1

Yes, Rog, arrest rates are up, detection rates are up, but the quality of them reeks. Take for example the old boy of 78 who got lifted for cuffing a lad who gave him some abuse round the ear(No injuries even). Poor old fella (No previous)was kept in the bin for 12 hours and cautioned. Still Rog, another arrest and blinding detection eh ? That regrettably is a typical arrest under Rog. And pitifully there are crims out there who we know are burgling, and have not got the poers to deal because all the troops are number crunching instead of doing real police work.

I was ordered to arrest a deaf and dumb man at 11pm for a minor assault (he obviously stayed in all night as we needed a signer for interview etc), and on the way back to the nick i had to arrest a 65 year old lady for a neighbour dispute (harassment). She refused to get dressed so she came in her slippers and dressing gown. I finished my shift feeling great, like i'd really made a difference!!

Page 2 : "A funeral cortege en route to the Crem, 25 vehicles, first 17 get through lights on green, last eight get FPN (fixed penalty notices) for jumping a red light. All other traffic did stop to allow cortege through."

Page 5

In the meantime, we have got victims of crime, genuine victims of crime who are not being seen by Police for ages, just like the burglary victim who had to wait 36 hours, and the man whose window was shot in by a firearm who waited...wait for it 3 days.

Page 8

Rog must remember that not all good police work is measurable. Looking after family members after their young son has died meant no ticks in the box for me that day . Breaking into the old ladies house who had fallen , walking round sniffing for the corpse and finding her seriously unwell , carrying out first aid awaiting paramedics....none of this measurable but all very important to her. Demand for arrests last week meant that most of the response teams were split into arrest teams leaving no cover for emergency calls. Consequently when the daytime burglar was disturbed twice in ten minutes in adjoining roads there was nobody avaliable to look for him and he got away. The only saving grace was that someone was arrested nearby on a warrant for NPF in relation to non payment of TV Licence. Still a tick in the box though.

Page 11

We arrest the ‘easy’ targets. The kids who have a fight at school in the playground, get arrested for common assault, interviewed and reprimanded. Still it’s another detection. Never mind that we are alienating the public.
What about the elderly lady that was arrested for common assault at 0430. (It was reported in the press.) She was 79 years of age. The schoolboy arrested at 0630 on the day he was doing his GCSE’s for a relatively minor offence. What are we doing? Who are we trying to kid that we are detecting crime? We are detecting crap. We are wasting time dealing with so much petty stuff (taking statements for every crime) that we don’t have the time to deal with the bigger fish.

Page 12

... massaging the figures to fit the bill at the end of the year. Officers ringing the public who reported threats to kill, asking them if they really feared for their safety and reclassifying the offence. Making off without paying, motorcyclist in Thurrock in a balaclava fills up bike, drops hose and rides off at speed, explanation well it was a cold night and he forgot to pay, reclassify.

Page 14

... we all want to get out and catch the true criminals and play hard ball confident in the knowledge that our own CC is supporting our actions to the hilt. What we dont want to be doing is making up arrest targets with kids fighting in playgrounds and single mums not paying their Tv licence.

Page 23

As for the massaging of crime figures, thats a very big topic. A brief explanation is as follows: Rog wants recorded crime to fall. He also wants detection to rise. So recently when operations were run to police town centres, officers were instructed to not to arrest people for Section 5 public order (swearing in public and the like), which is a recordable crime, but instead to arrest for drunk and disorderly. D&D is according to national crime recording standards, a NON-recordable crime....get the idea, your arrests are going up, but crime technically isnt....cause you dont have to record it. The situation gets somewhat worse though...I personally know of situations where a recorded crime (common assault) was re-crimed as assault ABH. This was done under the ACTION scheme and was pre the new Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 and the change in arrest powers. The suspect was then arrested even though the offence of ABH never existed. Me thinks that might be just a little illegal !!!!! Hmmmmmm. Also once in custody suspects are asked if they want to disclose any other offences they may have been party to. These can then be taken into consideration when he goes to court, rather than being re-arrested again. Called TIC's. However under the new "management" and figure massaging, only TIC's which are already crimed would even be listened to. Heres what I mean. If the suspect made an admission to burgling Mrs. Jones and Mrs. Smith (but only Mrs. Jones burglary had been crimed, then lets forget about the admission to Mrs. Smiths crime cause it aint been recorded yet. Therefore you are detecting old crimes, but you dont want to increase the amount of recorded crimes.

I want to live in a safe community - I don't want criminals roaming free - I want the same as every other decent person. But having knowledge of the internal workings and politics of the force at this time, I'm disgusted. Nearly every day I think to myself, "If only the public knew about this?"

Page 24

Just when we thought it could get no worse, I discovered today, of a senior citizen who reported someone attempting to break into her house by trying to force a window at just gone midnight recently. The victim called police immediately and banged on her window which made the perpetrator flee. Police had NOT ATTENDED the area for a few hours, so she went to bed. Someone on her behalf called the following day and were told, wait for it.....This incident has been recorded as a suspicious person (Hence no crime), thus keeping the reported crime figures down. This one incident epitomises not only the pitiful service we are giving, but additionally the massaging of the figures. That is clearly an attempted burglary and should be recorded and investigated as such. But, of course in doing that we would have created another crime. How on earth no one attended, at least a car and dog unit I will never know. So, all you members of the press out there, this is what we mean...this incident is not a rumour I have heard on the grapevine, I have been personally told of it by somebody in the know - and have seen documentation to support it. I am more ashamed and embarrassed than ever.

I was contacted recently about an elderly lady, sadly suffering the onset of dementia, who had been burgled in January. She had contacted Police about the man who had gone to her home and asked if he could park his car at the rear, and was told it was not a Police matter. Twice! Is this because attendence at such an incident would not assist in hitting any targets? What ever happened to the defination of a constable - protection of life and property - the lady was frightened to say the least.

Page 27

I am a resident of Essex. I pay my council tax. Recently I am thinking why in Gods name am I paying for a service which I see that blatently is not being provided to the public. A service which is putting both the public and the officers that serve them in harms way. How many members of the public out there reading this are aware that if you live in some rural areas, you may have only 2 pc's covering a massive area. What happens if you woke up one night and heard someone trying to break in, rang 999 only to be told that there are no officers available as they are all committed with other incidents. Read back in this forum.....this has already happened.

Page 28

Bad as it sounds, its actually comforting to know that there are many other officers who are as demoralised as my husband at the state of Essex Police.

Whew. I'll leave with this thought from page 31.

This is not like most jobs - how many of you risk your lives at fights, stand the risk of being seriously wounded, take abuse day in - day out, attend car accidents where families have died tragically- how many of you have had to tell families that somebody has died???

It's not glam - we didn't expect that - we want to do a good job - not play stats games.


Anonymous said...

I note that while bitching about it, the loyal stormtroopers of Essex VolksPolizei are still blindly obeying orders and arresting children and pensioners.

This is the attitude that filled the death trains of the Third Reich and the Soviet Gulags. Just where would our boys in blue-black draw the line?

JuliaM said...

"Nearly every day I think to myself, "If only the public knew about this?""

They do, that's the sad thing. Each person (often like these examples, normal, law-abiding, not the criminal element) that is dealt with unfairly tells their friends, neighbours, relatives. The distrust & dislike of the police then spreads. They are no longer seen to be working for 'us', but rather for 'them'. Or seen as useless in the fight against crime....

I live in a middle class neighbourhood, with middle class friends and relatives. We should be the police force's natural allies, yet we are slowly being turned into their enemy by publicity and experience. Take the report this morning of the mum who wanted to report a crime that had just happened, flagged down a police car, and was told she'd have to phone it in. She couldn't get through on the phone when she tried....

I am now more likely to hear someone from my social circle condemning the police as 'pigs' than from the so-called 'underclass'!

Alex Zeka said...

The most perspicacious view of the reality of modern policing cn be found in the Private Eye. In their Neasden column, they satirise the police as utterly beholden to anti-racism, busy-bodniness and various health and safety fads, at the expense of the prevention of real crimes. Constitiuted as they are now, the police are the enemies of all free-born Englishmen, and the friends of all deracinated petty despots.

AntiCitizenOne said...

The public should ignore the police and become more vigilant(e).

The police are the opposite of Peels' principles.

Stuart said...

"The public should ignore the police and become more vigilant(e)."

Too late. All that would do is provide more soft/easy targets for the plod to get their arrest rates back in line with the Five Year plan.

I am didgusted about the lack of reportage - MSM or otherwise - on this subject though.