Monday, 28 June 2010

ACPO support, Trading Standards and a funeral

I've just read Crime Analysts latest post about the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO). Bizarre though this may seem,  it immediately put me in mind of the traveller git and his ilk who, several times a year, parks his tranny van and deluxe caravan on a pristine roadside verge a couple of miles up the road from here, for about 10 days at a time.

The white Ford Transit van disappears before dawn and doesn't reappear until after dark. Sometimes its gone for a couple of days. A female-type thing remains on site, in the caravan, dining outside on a picnic table if weather permits. They seem to live quite well as it is a very nice caravan and the tranny van seems brand new. I presume the bloke nips back from time to time to feed her. As the days drift by, several piles of shite appear adjacent to his `campsite` that include broken up lumps of concrete, smaller pieces of rubble, piles of topsoil, old washing machines and other domestic human detritus. Then these people suddenly vanish, leaving the verge looking like a scene of post apocalyptic earth, the sort of scene you'd see in films like `Terminator`. Then, after a few days, the Borough Council come along and remove it, making a very good effort at returning the verge to its natural, green and pleasant state.

For anyone unfamiliar with this sort of  entrepreneurial activity I'll explain. The git in the van has been knocking on doors in the area offering all sorts of `services` that would have included removing unwanted rubbish and laying a new, hastily mixed and seriously sub-standard tarmac driveway. The victims are usually, but not always, the elderly or vulnerable. For those who have been taken in by his blarney, there would have been a fee for this service that is always way in excess of the shabby job done.  He doesn't take the rubble and crap he's dug out to the local amenity dump like a registered trader would, because he'd be charged for the use thereof, so he dumps it on the side of the road to let the council foot the bill. Its brilliantly simple. He effectively gets paid twice for doing a crap job, has no responsibility to the locality or the poor customer he has duped and, when he moves on, the locals pick up the bill for cleaning up the crap he has left in his wake and the poor punter who paid for the `service` in the first place is well and truly shafted.

During my latter years in the police, I would occasionally ponder on my mortality. It happens as one gets older and nothing tends to focus one's mind more sharply that when one attends the funeral service of a colleague. As in every such event, the younger the late departed was, the harder the slap in the face it gives you. It came to a point where I just didn't want to go to any more, but I did, taking the view that funerals are really for the living and I wanted to be there to show the loved ones of the person I served with that I respected them. Strange as this might seem, but I once said to Mrs Hogday that in the event of my death, in service, it was my strong desire to have no one from the ACPO (SMT) group of my force present - and I meant absolutely none. My reasons were simple; they meant nothing to me, they did nothing for me and the only time I really could have done with their support, it wasn't there - in bucketloads.

So there you have it. I still find it a little odd that Analyst's article on ACPO should flash up the image of the traveller up the road and my thoughts on my own service funeral, but it did.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Keep it simple, stoopid

Today is my birthday. I started it late last night when I rode home from work on my beloved Harley Davidson (having had lunch provided by a gracious  Lord of the Realm) to find a bottle of Jim Beam waiting for me on the table, courtesy of the sexydelicious Mrs Hogday. That's the way I like to warm up for a birthday. This morning I'm having mushrooms on toast watching a DVD of John Fogerty live the The Royal Albrt Hall. Later we scoot off into the wilds of Northumbria and will hear some live Irish Folk music near "Hogwarts"  tonight. Deep joy. Every day should be like this.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Rally to the Colours

Must dash. I'm off to meet HRH Prince Andrew, Duke of York, ceremonial Head of The Yorkshire Regiment.  I will be wearing my Help for Heroes badge with pride.

(Can't hang about as I am charging £10 an hour and want to give the maximum VFM)

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Gulf of Mexico Environmental Disaster - Perspective

For anyone who needs to get their heads around the size of the BP oil disaster and has `Google Earth`, take a look at this... It made my eyes water,

Monday, 7 June 2010

We've been here before...and before....and the time before that

The good people of UK Plc have had a few days to mull over the Cumbria tragedy. For 99.999% of them, it has left their consciousness, only to be jerked back by sporadic news items that may contain a bit of `drama` to nudge it past the news sub-editors desk as the post incident investigation proceeds on its labourious path. There will, of course, be no trial of the perpetrator but there will be inquests and enquiries to bring it all back. This may lead to trials of a different nature, for we need answers and someone or something to blame beyond the lunatic who pulled the trigger. Only for those with intimate connections will life never be the same again. The 99.999% of us can count ourselves lucky.

 I've scanned a few of my favourite police-flavoured blogs and left a few comments here and there over the Cumbria homicides. Because of my background in police firearms training and operations I've tended to comment where I've found questions about the police response to such incidents. One comment I spotted just a short while ago prompted me to jot these thoughts down. It was from `Notts Sarge` over at PC Ellie Bloggs's place. It was particularly poignant for me, as a few years ago, in a previous job, I viewed a short, jerky piece of cctv footage of a foot chase that resulted in a young policewoman being shot in the stomach by a young man armed with a 9mm pistol, of the type I used to be issued with. It happened in the blink of an eye, even when run in slow-motion and it was shocking in its simplicity. Practically no one reading this will know about it or what happened to that brave officer. This is what `Notts Sarge` said:

Here, all incidents involving weapons are automatically referred to 'Top Desk' i.e. the Control Room Insp and/or a civilian manager.
Firstly, I don't want tactical decisions making by someone who is not a cop, has never been a cop and only knows vicariously, through the power of CCTV, policy and, of course, hindsight, just what we might be going into.
I'm equally uncomfortable putting my welfare, and that of the public, in the hands of an Insp who may or may not have previous firearms experience, may be in a non-combatant post for any number of reasons and who may or may not be more worried about what damage it would do to their career if they dropped a bollock over a firearms incident.
The Gold/Silver/Bronze heirarchy is fine, but if you accept that Police Officers are trained professionals, they need to allowed to exercise that professional judgement.
I'm with Ellie on this - keep ARVs out there with at least a sidearm at all times. Keep a locked gun safe in the cars so there is always the option available.
As we travel further down the road of risk aversion, we expose the public and ourselves to greater danger while someone makes a decision in the Force Control Room (or not as the case may be).
If you want me to protect life and property, I'd like the tools to do the job please.

If Pc Bloggs permits, my comment will be seen after this very apt and totally relevant comment from a frontline leader of police officers. 

The debate about arming all UK police officers routinely will continue to rumble on. There will never be a 100% agreement, because whatever happens will never provide a 100%  solution, such are the vagaries of life, the universe and everything.  I have written about this before, some 16 months ago. Here is what I said. The weapons described are different from those used in Cumbria, but believe me when I say that the problems faced and the potential options proffered are precisely the same.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010


Just a thought:

Stop Press: Earlier today a deranged man, armed with a large chef's meat knife, went berserk in a small county town and killed and injured many innocent people, including small children at play in the playground of a local infants school. The first police units on the scene were not firearms officers but never the less valiantly attempted to corner the knifeman as he jogged along the High Street. Several attempts were made to bring him down with TASER but he proved difficult to hit as he kept running and dodging pursuing officers as he moved from person to person slashing and thrusting his knife at anyone near enough. One officer, who attempted to fire a Taser into him but missed his target, was slashed across the throat and was later pronounced dead. An Armed Response Vehicle eventually located the knifeman as he emerged from a local primary school having attacked staff and pupils. After a further pursuit on foot he was eventually shot and wounded by an armed officer, but not before he had stabbed and killed a police dog that was sent after him to bring him down. Police searched the man and removed several knives concealed about his person. They were described by an officer as being the sort you'd see in `a chef's knife kit`. Calls are being made for the banning of all.....chef's knives......?

This didn't happen in Cumbria today, but something equally horrific did.