Monday, 26 December 2011

`Tis the season to be merrie

From a sunny Norfolk, to anyone who has taken the trouble to log on to find the same old post and wonder where the divvel I've been (Blue and Scott, you are troopers true) a very Happy Christmas to you. May our God Bless us, ev`ry one.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

What's black and tan and looks good on a terrorist?

I try not to plagiarise and always give credit where it is due but this time I can't find the original author. The below photos were sent to me via a much forwarded E mail and I found it so interesting I thought I'd post it up. As an animal lover who worked very closely with the Dog Section during my police career in general duties, tactical firearms and counter-terrorist search, I have a big soft spot for them (which got nipped a few times) and great respect for their handlers.
The below text and photo captions are not mine so cannot be verified. I rarely use the word `awesome` but in this case I'd concur with it's use.
Just a thought, I wonder if anyone from the Home Office has done a cost evaluation and feasibility study to see if a canine can attend a burglary with a cam/corder and take a report from the victim? But then again this is not a good example, as police don't tend to be sent to these jobs as much these days, anyway.  

I ought to add this link on PTSD, with a tip of the hat to Roger Fortier

When President Obama went to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, for a highly publicized, but very private meeting with the commando team that killed Osama bin Laden, only one of the 81 members of the super-secret SEAL DevGru unit was identified by name: Cairo, the war dog.

Cairo, like most canine members of the elite U.S. Navy SEALs, is a Belgian
Malinois. The Malinois breed is similar to German shepherds but smaller and More compact, with an adult male weighing in the 30-kilo range.

(German shepherds are still used as war dogs by the American military but The lighter, stubbier Malinois is considered better for the tandem Parachute jumping and rappelling operations often undertaken by SEAL teams.
Labrador retrievers are also favored by various military organizations around the world

Like their human counterparts, the dog SEALs are highly trained, highly
Skilled, highly motivated special ops experts, able to perform
Extraordinary military missions by SEa, Air and Land (thus the acronym).

The dogs, equipped with video cameras, also enter certain danger zones
First, allowing their handlers to see what’s ahead before humans follow.
As I mentioned before, SEAL dogs are even trained parachutists, jumping Either in tandem with their handlers or solo, if the jump is into water.
Last year canine parachute instructor Mike Forsythe and his dog Cara set The world record for highest man-dog parachute deployment, jumping from more than 30,100 feet up — the altitude transoceanic passenger jets fly at.
Both Forsythe and Cara were wearing oxygen masks and skin protectors for The jump.
Here’s a photo from that jump, taken by Andy Anderson for K9 Storm Inc. (more about those folks shortly).

When the SEAL DevGru team (usually known by its old designation, Team 6) Hit bin Laden’s Pakistan compound on May 2, Cairo ’s feet would have been Four of the first on the ground.
And like the human SEALs, Cairo was wearing super-strong, flexible body Armor and outfitted with high-tech equipment that included “doggles” —
Specially designed and fitted dog goggles with night-vision and infrared Capability that would even allow Cairo to see human heat forms through Concrete walls.
Now where on earth would anyone get that kind of incredibly niche hi-tech Doggie gear?
From Winnipeg , of all places.
Jim and Glori Slater’s Manitoba hi-tech mom-and-pop business, K9 Storm Inc., has a deserved worldwide reputation for designing and manufacturing
Probably the best body Armor available for police and military dogs.
Working dogs in 15 countries around the world are currently protected by Their K9 Storm body Armor.

Jim Slater was a canine handler on the Winnipeg Police Force when he Crafted a Kevlar protective jacket for his own dog, Olaf, in the mid-1990s.
Soon Slater was making body Armor for other cop dogs, then the Canadian Military and soon the world.
The standard K9 Storm vest also has a load-bearing harness system that Makes it ideal for tandem rappelling and parachuting.

And then there are the special hi-tech add-ons that made the K9 Storm Especially appealing to the U.S. Navy SEALs, who bought four of K9 Storm Inc.’s top-end Intruder “canine tactical assault suits” last year for $86,000. You can be sure Cairo was wearing one of those four suits when he
Jumped into bin Laden’s lair.
Here’s an explanation of all the K9 Storm Intruder special features:

The U.S. Military currently has about 2,800 active-duty dogs
Deployed around the world, with roughly 600 now in Afghanistan and Iraq .
Several of the photos I have included here are from Foreign Policy, as you Will see. Other photos are from K9 Storm Inc.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Police Cuts? That's nuthin`

Spike Milligan would have written to The Times and suggested that, if threatened with attack, at a given signal, all the crew should shout "Bang"

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Judgement Day

I've never had a problem with bikers.

Monday, 14 November 2011

November in East Anglia can be very sunny, warm, foggy and cold

Just a little pictorial account of my travels over the last week. Been here 6 weeks and have yet to be stuck in traffic. People around these parts say `good morning` and take the time to chat. The local town has no traffic lights, no pedestrian crossings and no Tesco, but does have two traditional butchers, a great old fashioned `hardware` store, an electrical retailer who also sells bicycles and an Adnams Brewery Shop.

Nothing more serious to comment on just yet but, as promised, the tale of me and Edward Fox starring in the same film will follow shortly.

A novel post box

Hope they bought a lottery ticket

That's a real Peacock up there - dumb bird

The `eagle` has landed

A great place for lunch if ever you're in Norwich

Sometimes its obvious that parking won't be a good idea, but you can bet some dumb-arse will try

Ferry, `cross the Wensum

Ferry(back) across the Wensum

This is the alternative route for heavy vehicles!! WTF?

Point man - or `Just when you thought it was safe to eat your fish and chips on the sea wall.....`

....the point man calls in `strike now, strike now`

Leaves are fallin' all around, time I was on my way; Thanks to you, I'm much obliged; such a pleasant stay: But now it's time for me to go, the autumn moon lights my way; but now I smell the rain...and with it pain....and its heading my way`

Monday, 7 November 2011

Reading between the lines at the G20 summit???

By special request from Sparkflash, the following clip should be viewed in the context of the current E.U. financial crisis with Greece. The characters portrayed below (Al Swearengen, villainous entrepreneur extroadinaire and Mr Wu, both residents of Deadwood and both up to their ears in life, death and all things illegal and money-making in between) could well be characters from the various on-going Eu. summit crises debates over how to bail out the Greeks, prevent a similar fiasco with the Italians and safeguard everyone else's arse who has a finger in the pie and stands to lose big time. You decide, because as far as I can make out, Merkel, Sarkosy, Cameron and more than a few others could identify with the following conversation!
 But I warn you, this contains some seriously obscene language, so if you think you'll be offended, stay out of the saloon or take suitable precautions before playing the clip within earshot of others of sensitive dispositions - it could make their eyes water and get you into a lot of trouble.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Greeks bearing graft

When a Greek Prime Minister agrees a deal with the Eu. and then adds a clause of his own once he gets home, is it any wonder that his ministers have to issue statements `backing him`, on the hour, every hour, modifying their definition of the term `backing him` on each our?  They are backing him alright, but it’s into the corner he has backed himself into. Just taking the experience of people I know who’ve bought properties in Greece and Cyprus, a deal is not a deal even if it’s been agreed in writing and drawn up by a lawyer who isn't a cousin – and even then it can all go bent. And if that little lot sounded all Greek, it was. I pay my bills in £££’s not Euro’s, but we’re shelling out on this one regardless.

Friday, 21 October 2011

No regrets

You should have heard the `ashamed to be British` brigade on Vine @ BBC today, arguing that Gadaffi's convoy shouldn’t have been targetted to allow the `mob to murder him`. For me, I hope it was a missile from a British aircraft that stopped him in his tracks (even if it WAS loaned by a reluctant Uncle Sam). I say `thanks Sam for the munitions, the logistial support and everything else you provided`. That bastard had a colleague of mine machine-gunned to death in a London street, his semtex killed and maimed many of my countrymen and women as well as our brethren on Pan Am 103 and those upon whom the debris fell. I saw a flight of RAF Tornados pass over my home this morning. Highly likely having been in Libyan skies. I welcomed them back and said a prayer for Yvonne Fletcher and her colleagues from Bow Street Police Station who watched her die.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Anglian Odyssey

Hi Blogpals, (if anyone is out there). I have been a bit irregular I know (note to self: eat more porridge and green veg), but there are several reasons for this. Firstly we've been swirling about in the vortex of the house move which, as anyone who has done similar will know, throws everything into a big box, shakes it all about and then tips it out in a different location leaving you dozens of things to do and putting your finances in freefall.

Secondly, we still feel like we're on holiday as neither of us have jobs, although I have more experience of this phenomenon as I have quit 4 in the last 5 years (the last in April in a joyous, quietly dignified but swift, exit - never piss off a bloke with a private pension because he can vanish in 7 seconds). Thirdly, blogging or that other thing, twitting, or whatever it's called has never been that high on my list of `must-do-first` things, although I really enjoy the comments my posts get and, strange as it may seem, I get a sort of feel for the people who leave them on a regular basis and really look forward to reading them.

So after 3 weeks and one day of unpacking boxes (lots still in the barn in the back garden), dismantling and chopping up a shed (40 quids worth of kindling), having 5 bar gates fitted to secure the Jack Rascal Terrorist and removing a built in cupboard in the downstairs bathroom to reveal a lovely window, I suddenly felt the urge to get it out in the open  (and will accept a caution from the local plod if anyone spots me doing it). I've added a few pics from a little outing we treated ourselves to today, all within a 12 mile radius of our new gaff.

Coming soon: The Day of the Hog - or The day Edward Fox once appeared in a film I starred in.....

Friday, 14 October 2011

No Mercy in Switzerland

Wipeout: A motorcyclist in Switzerland sets off a speed camera by sliding along the ground without his bike
Sparks are flying from his bike, which he is thought to have lost control of after noticing the traffic camera ahead of him.

The incident happened between the towns of Cibourg and La Chaux-de-fonds, close to Bern and the French border, on October 2.
A police spokesman said: ‘It appears that he suddenly saw the traffic control measure ahead and lost control as he tried to slow down.
Police say the motorcyclist, who was wearing protective leathers, was unhurt apart from minor cuts and bruises, as well as a degree of shock.
He confirmed that the man was still facing a fine and the withdrawal of his driving licence for up to three months.
The officer said some 18 motorists had been caught speeding on the same stretch of mountain road on the same Sunday morning.
Its a moot point, but I’d be on to any old defence solicitor I've known if I was him! I can hear the glorious bullshit as I type this: 
“Your worships, it was the bike that was speeding, not my client. My client was actually travelling at 3 Kmph below the limit as he had a jammed throttle and, not wishing to break the law, threw himself onto the road in order to prevent a crime from being committed. His bike, being on it’s side, picked up speed due to less friction and so exceeded the limit – oh and his mother dropped him on his head when he was two, so he should be acquitted”.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

East Anglia Adventure

Hello Chums,
Just a quick message from the eastern front. Successfully struck camp a couple of weeks ago and relocated
A couple of things were necessary upon arrival; 1. Setting one’s watch back 20 years in order to blend in with the locals.
2. Adding an extra `o` to any words containing that fourth vowel eg: “Norfolk” becomes “NOOfolk”. “Hotel” becomes “hootel”, “Cromer” = “Croomer”, “Lifeboat” = “Lifeboot”, etc. 
3. Removing certain other consonents to remove unnecessary syllables eg; “Norwich” is pronounced “Norge”. 3(counting is difficult at the moment). Learning other bits of useful lingo. The other night we were having a mardle, oover the 5 bar gate. (no photos I'm afraid).

Local produce is for sale at the end of quite a few front gardens so we are treating ourselves to fresh, free range eggs, jams, chutneys and fresh veg. We'll be growing our own soon as we're getting an allotment that seems to be half the size of the Isle of Wight. I'll need to get a tractor (no jokes about my Harley Davidson please)
We live near the hill. It doesn’t need a name as it’s the only one in the county which means RAF pilots are narrowly avoiding it all the time, in fact now I think about it, it's actually in Suffolk. On that RAF subject, I saw the RAF Tornado the other day. It took off from what I presumed was RAF Marham (pron. Marm), batted low and fast due south, turned left at the hill and after a couple of top-ups, delivered some munitions onto a suburb of Sirte, Libya, before returning to UK at about 1530 and taking up air defence duties until it got dark at 7pm and they had to conserve energy and turn out the runway lights and approach radar.
Anyway old chums, that’s all for the moment. Must get back to erecting the peat wall defences – south facing - as we’re only 100 meters from the Suffolk border (haven’t yet mentioned to the neighbours that I come from 300+ years worth of the Suffolk Hogday's of Wickham Market, apparently that sort of thing can stop a conversation round these ‘ere marshes.
Yours etc,

Friday, 7 October 2011


Thanks to everyone for posting the messages on the previous re my move. We're still unpacking, so for your entertainment and enjoyment, please accept the below as a little interlude while I work up to write something. Can't believe I actually rode some of those roads in 2003. Time to do it again, methinks.Hasta la vista, baby.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Goodbye to all that

  3 years ago this very month, having returned from Nova Scotia for the 4th time in 3 years, we put the hogpen up for sale with high hopes. Whatever we decided, we realised we could do nothing unless we had the equity in the bank, so we decided to sell and rent. Previously we'd sold our homes within weeks of putting them on the market, but not this time. Its a lovely property, a barn conversion, local stone with some walls 2 feet thick. It's sturdy, in a village that wins awards every year in the Yorkshire in Bloom contests. I always chipped in and my designated week of watering the hanging baskets along the main streets of the village clearly swung the judges this time around, as we got the elusive Gold Award. But in our hearts we knew we were not destined to live here. It was lovely, but somehow it wasn't home.

We moved up here when I was offered an `out of the blue` job that my CV could have been written for, but working for it full time was different to the previous 14 months as a `consultant` and after 6 months I walked. I'd promised myself that after leaving the po-lice, I'd never stay in a job that woke me up at 2am, either from worry or phone calls and my promise was called to action. The 7/7 bombings didn't help but there was more to it than that. (Note to employers: Never piss off a guy with a private pension because he can clear his desk and vanish in under a minute).

3 years down the line and apart from a few extra greys, we have 3 grandchildren - amazing when I don't look a day over 33. We are not moving in to their neighbourhood, not even into the same county, but we'll have half the travelling time and our beloved London will be a mere 90 minutes train ride away when we need an urban fix. I have no job now as all the `hobby jobs` I did over the last 5 years, after quitting the aforementioned stressor, have come and gone, serving their purpose. I enjoyed them all and made lots of acquaintences and a few friends. A bonus, however you look at it.

Mrs HD did similar. She had a `leaving dinner` last night and had a blast with her boss and workmates, great people, some of whom we'll continue to see. As a result of her work, we are now great friends with a Japanese lady and her New Zealander husband, living and working nearby. We know her parents, lovely gentle people, whose home was cracked by the awful, devastating earthquake. They were far enough inland to be spared the tsunami that followed. They have visited us several times, on the last occasion he treated us to 3 verses of `Amazing Grace`, followed by `The Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond`, played on a harmonica, one of the most surreal moments this old house has experienced in its 160 year history. We have another female friend, who is Russian, studying in the UK to be an accountant but who is currently assigned a modelling contract and is in China for 3 months. People who are enriching our lives.

My final Pilates class was yesterday. I was `Man Thursday`, the only guy in the group, although they never made me feel as if I was, something I doubt would have happened were the situation reversed. The coach was a star and the class were all delightful ladies and were very considerate of my shy and retiring nature, forcing me into their coffee and cake sessions after class ;) Star coach even got me a bottle of Jack Daniel's - must have associated that with me riding a big Harley. I never mentioned the moisturiser I use - a man must have his secrets.

So here we are, all our worldly goods in cardboard boxes awaiting Mr Shifter next week. But all the really important stuff doesn't come or go in any box. Cheerio and see you later.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Sics munce ago i cudnt even spel `dective`, now i are wun!

Over at Gadget's place, his latest post (probably one of the last typed on his Sinclair Spectrum, until his new public sponsored computer gets delivered!) drew attention to comments made by Tom Winsor about the poor literary and grammatical skills of police officers. There were the usual hundreds of comments in response, many of which give concurring examples of what Mr Winsor was referring to after chatting to his barrister chums, so what can one conclude from this?

I worked alongside an officer who was so bad at spelling that I doubted he could get his name right without first checking his warrant card. He had GCE O and A levels coming out of his ears. I asked him how he managed such great exam results. His reply was simple, "At school they weren't bothered about the spelling, as long as the meaning was there". He made DCI eventually. At another station I worked alongside a Pc who had a doctorate, a former Royal Navy submariner officer who could have probably made it as a concert pianist and, in my firearms team days, former SAS troopers, paramedics, schoolteachers and bank clerks who had formed into a formidable team that were truly awe inspiring.  I once received details of a Met Pc's initial written statement made after he had been involved in a police vehicle accident. It read, "The black fella stepped out in front of me. I hit the brakes. Skidded. Bosh".  That was it. Not a whole lot of information there. Yet someone had passed that as suitable to be presented as evidence. I've also worked on the shop floor of a major supermarket where the workforce consisted of a similarly varied cross section of society, with intellects ranging from doctorate to Cro-Magnon . I have worked for a self made millionaire who could not write a single sentence that made sense - and as for spelling, wotz that?

I heard that the C/I who replaced me when I retired had two probationary officers posted to the division whose English grammar and spelling was so bad that he paid for evening classes for them, out of the divisional budget! Lucky them. In my day the C/I would have had a friendly chat and `let them go`, except in the 1970's we called it getting the sack, in fact I doubt they'd have been accepted in the first place and if they were, the recruiting officer would have been disciplined.

What do Winsor's comments prove? That anyone can get in? That there are no common minimum requirements? That the common minimum requirements are too low or that no one is bothering to uphold them? That the suitable gene/recruit pool is shrinking or the content is corrupted with mutations? I don't think the police are alone in this, yet Winsor (shouldn't there be a `d` in Win sor?) would  have us think otherwise.

(Please ignore any typo's, spelling, grammaticals etc)

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Liar Liar

At last, the police will soon be able to use a passive, non-intrusive, non-threatening, non-intimidating method of detecting when someone might be lying during an will work on on, can we conduct this interview somewhere in France maybe?

We are all someone's `weird acquaintance`

Prince Charles caught some more flak the other day.

A lot of people think he is eccentric, well from my perspective that all depends on what you classify as `normal` and in my 30 years as a police officer, including  my other life experiences, I learnt not to use that word.
I can tell you that they are not at all eccentric. Why, even when Her Maj refused to allow the police to install mains vhf radios in the Royal automobiles `the Met` just shrugged and went along with it, which meant me and my chums in blue had to go along with it as well – until some nut tried to kidnap The Princess Royal and her personal protection officer took several incoming rounds without being able to radio for assistance on his out of range, 50/50 iffy uhf, hand held radio – that and because he had bullet holes in him (no body armour then), he was bleeding into unconsciousness and unable to return fire due to a stoppage (thats a weapon `jam`). Fortunately my colleague Mick was nearby and put in the call before he too was shot. When I last enquired I heard that Mick still has the bullet, nicely quarterised, nestling next to his liver - safer than the op to remove it. They fitted radios to the cars after that little scare. Eccentric? Nah! This is eccentric

Monday, 12 September 2011

Today is yesterday's tomorrow

For me, yesterday was not an anniversary.

At some moment, every day, I remember something about 9/11 and how it has re-shaped me and my world. I am not over it. I am in no frame of mind to forgive and I know I never will.

Some might argue that this nil-forgiveness diminishes my humanity somewhat but frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.

Salaam, Shalom, Pax

Monday, 5 September 2011

In a think-tank... in a galaxy... far, far away.....

"Hey guys, I've got one. Why don't we make it so the cops all have to go to and from work in their uniforms?!!"

"That's great Hugo, God knows why no one has thought of this before. I mean, like, with all the too`ing and frow`ing from their homes to work and back again, there'll be like thousands of extra uniforms on buses, tube trains, pedal cycles, cars and stuff and the proles will see all these extra police uniforms about and be like totally fooled and SO-not-scared any more!

Yah, and, like, all the bad shit about the police staff cuts and stuff will look like it's so not happening - it'll be, like, a bullshitfest! Awesome!"

"And when the cops are going home after a 12 hour shift with no radio, no protective equipment, no defensive weapons and no anti stab protective vests and see bad shit going down, they can get off their bike or out of their car and just wade in and, bingo, it all stops! Have to decide whether they'll get paid overtime for going back on duty though - no, wait, they're never off duty ha ha ha ha ha. And the great thing is that this can happen before they even get to work as well, its just brill!"

"And if they have to arrest someone they can put them in their car and drive them to the nearest police station or just use their mobile and diall 999 and won't have to wait too long for another cop to arrive with a radio, baton, CS gas, cuffs and stuff oh yeah and a stab resistant vest thing - this is, like sooo cool. And if a mob decides to smash up their car whilst they're dealing with the bad guys, they can get a ride back to work in the cop car - it's too simple."

"Hey Giles, how about we also make it so they have to live in one of those....what are they called? oh yeah, estates, yeah, housing estates - not the sort of estate that you live on Hugo (laughs). No, these estates don't have long drives, a paddock, cctv monitors and remote controlled gates, these have things called terraced and semi-detached houses, 7 till 11 shops and drop in centres and things - other people live there.
 Then, when all the bad guys know that we've put a copper and his wife and kids next to their crack house, they'll think twice before getting up to no good - it will make a huge difference to crime prevention - wow this is getting better by the minute." Anyone else got any ideas? Tamsin, your hand's up"

"Well, guys (still, small voice of reason), just a thought, when we move the cops and their families onto these problem `estates` to warn off the bad guys and make them, like, behave, what happens if they become the targets for vandalism, have their cars damaged, kids threatened, pets poisoned and have dog crap and fish and chip wrappers and stuff put over their garden fences or through their letter boxes and generally have their lives made hellish.......just saying."

"Well that's easy, we won't have to send a copper round to report it, will we. Save us a fortune. Nice one Tamsin"

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Random thoughts of a Tuesday afternoon

The nightmare of selling the Hogpen is over. What the system terms `an exchange of contracts` took place last week, whilst we were stood in Aldeburgh High Street licking an ice cream - morello cherry flavour, I believe. Our solicitor gave us the news over a very broken mobile phone signal. He said, "Are those seagulls I can hear in the background"? I said, "If they are, will you charge me extra for this call?" Oh how he laughed. It was Carnival weekend. I tried to get a picture of the band of the Brigade of Gurkhas leading the parade, but these wonderful soldiers just march too darn quickly. Several thousand people thronged into this little town for the weekend. It was noisy, they were out on the beach till very late, you couldn't find a parking place anywhere (we parked on a little back street on Friday and didn't drive anywhere until Tuesday) and yet no shop windows were put in, no one was shot at and the only flames were in the Chinese lanterns parade, which we took part in, and the fireworks on the beach afterwards. What's wrong with these people?

It was almost 2 years to the day that we decided to sell up. We have had two `non-buyer's` who cost us two lots of solicitors fees to move absolutely nowhere. We have had 3 estate agents. The first wasn't technically an estate agent as he did lettings, but he charged us a very small fee to enter us on `Right Move`. He was a bloody good bloke and in different times he would have done really well, but 3 weeks after we signed up with him the economy went on strike. The second agent was true to our past experiences. We got a buyer, she then lost her buyer. We took the house off the market to rest our nerves.

We used the third, successful, agent when we went back into the fray in May. The viewings positively flew through the door. The 14th made the offer we accepted. Turned out she wanted it when we were with the previous agent but was beaten to the post by the one that crashed and burned. Pity that agent didn't retain her details and give her a call as we'd have all saved ourselves 6 months valuable living time. Talk about not thinking outside the box -duh. The third agency was good and the lady who handled it was good, but Judas H Priest does this shitty English conveyancing system need a serious Parliamentary kick in the arse.

We have 6 weeks to move-out day. Packing will be easy. Catching one of our cats will not.

I sold one of my motorbikes (the BMW 1150 GS) to assist in funding Mrs HD a  new car. Its a Fiat 500. I have yet to find out where I check the oil and vinegar. Whilst I was in an Italian frame of mind I checked out the Moto Guzzi website - Oh Glory!! I do believe they've hooked me again. Ciao.


It would seem that all comments have vanished from quite a few of my previous posts. This is currently a mystery to me and I wish to apologise if anyone feels offended by seeing their wise, amusing, thought provoking words eradicated so suddenly. It was nothing you said - honest!

I always appreciate comments and am grateful for folks who take the time to do so. It was not intended and I'm both sorry and rather annoyed to lose them. Anyone bored enough to scroll back and say something on a previous post, perhaps to correct, alter or add anything they may have stated (now where do I remember that phrase from?) will not be mocked - well not by me.


Monday, 22 August 2011

A Glimmer of light?

I always like to pass on inspiring stuff, it being hard to find amongst the upper echelons of the police service - and this one came from Inspector Gadget.

I found it sort of heartwarming yet at the same time a little tragic. Why? Because in the first decade of my police service, the majority of the very senior officers were gutsy when the time came.  I can recall many times on demonstrations and other large, spontaneous public disorder events, where I've stood shoulder to shoulder with my Div Commander or Chief Superintendent, swapping blows with the other violent mob. (We used to win by demonstrating that our lawful violence was best avoided).

It was unusual to find those who weren't prepared to lead from the front and, as a result, most of the lily livered were well known for it. How the tables have turned that we have to herald this sort of leadership as the rare exception when once it was taken for granted.
Can we have a spine replacement unit at Bramshill now?

Friday, 19 August 2011

Recalled to Life

Just got back from my hols and found this urgent message. I missed the date to report for duty, do you think they'll miss me?
Dear Colleague,
You will be aware that there have been serious outbreaks of disorder across the UK, resulting in widespread looting, arson, criminal damage, burglary etc.
 In response HM Government has issued a decree that all retired Police Officers who have served in a UK police force will be required to report to the HQ of the force they previously served with.
  Here they will be issued with appropriate uniform and equipment to enable them to join serving officers on the front line, dealing with the current situation. According to their physical condition they will be issued with specially designed Zimmer frames, walking sticks, walking frames, wheelchairs & mobility scooters. Where possible such items will be marked with Force insignia and black & white chequered tape.
In addtion, mobility scooters will be fitted with blue lights and wailers.
Airwave radios have been adapted to accept a connection to hearing aids.
The Government accepts that there will be a need to provide additional specialist equipment, and incontinence pads will be available at a reasonable cost.
There will not be sufficient time to issue new warrant cards, but bus passes will be accepted instead.
SAGA have agreed to provide specialist Public Order vans equipped with ramps and tail-lifts. These will be appropriately marked as "OAP Police Unit"  (an abbreviation of 'Old And Past It") and they will be limited to 20mph so as not to alarm the passengers.
For those who are visually impaired, Guide Dogs will be accepted as Police Dogs.
Asthma inhalers can be used instead of CS spray.
Walking sticks are an acceptable alternative to batons.
In acknowledgement of the years of  experience such a group will have, all OAP officers will automatically be given the rank  that they retired with.
In recognition of the tremendous boost to the Police Service that your involvement will provide, your Pension will be increased by 40p per month during the current situation.
In order to comply with the Government Order, YOU ARE HEREBY COMMANDED to report to New Scotland Yard at 9a.m on Friday 12th August 2011. This is an intentional date, as of course you will be aware, it is the date known as the Glorious 12th.
By Order
Theresa May, Home Secretary
This Order is also available in large print.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

"Society Won't Stand For It" - Well, actually, it does.

I've heard a lot of tough words from political leaders of both national and local government over the last 24 hours. Heard a few from the Scottish National leadership too. I thought I ought to make that distinction as I wouldn't want to leave them tarred with the same brush as us south-of-the-border barbarians, after all they have their own reputations to preserve and protect - no offence Alex.

The general gist reaching my ears was that `the community won't stand for it`. Well I beg to differ, the community does stand for it and has stood for it for a couple of decades or more. In my police career I watched as social controls that me and my colleagues took for granted were dissolved in a series of stealthy moves. Just how this was affecting me and my officers was made very apparent just before I was promoted to inspector when I was the community beat sergeant for what was one of the largest concentrations in Europe of people receiving some form of housing, social and other benefits. The majority were good folks, struggling to make ends meet, as indeed I was albeit on my slightly different socio/economic stratum, but at least I had a secure job and the means within it, and myself, to improve my position when I chose to do so. As it turned out I was worse off once I got promoted to inspector and beyond, but thats another lesson I might go into some other time.

My reasoning behind saying that the community does stand for this disorder, theft and destruction has its origins, from my perspective, in the period of time when I was suddenly faced by the fact that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) would no longer take to court the cases that me and my officers were trying to prosecute and these were the cases that made a difference to the ordinary people living in my area. There were occasions that we reported people for what,from the macro view, would be considered minor matters. But working on those estates amongst the residents meant we were a recognisable face of the law that they could actually put a name to (it wasn't always a polite name, but hey, thats the way it goes). Having a brew with them, being seen daily, sharing their concerns and, most importantly, taking action on the things that blighted their little bit of life was what the majority wanted and I believe that goes for most of us.

But gradually the things that we were taking action over, things that our community wouldn't stand for, like disorderly words and behaviour outside the `7-11`, criminal damage, nicking bikes, not maintaining their vehicles and countless other `petty` matters, started to get rejected by the CPS. This creeping paralysis followed me up through the next two ranks to the point that on one occasion, in order to support one of my officers, I actually went to the court where his case was being heard and asked to speak to the bench in order to urge them to see through the `minor` charge and to explain to the magistrates about the hidden part of the iceberg that was sinking peoples dreams of a tolerable life. It was a total waste of my time as `the system` wouldn't, couldn't, wasn't even allowed to see it.

This erosion of the small stuff had the effect of `racheting up` the tension on the streets. It was a gradual process because what we were dealing with here was the subtle manipulation of society's behavioural patterns, but it most definitely was happening. More and more cases that my officers put before the CPS would be watered down or even rejected as `not being worthy` or `too costly`. One prosecuting solicitor actually said to me that a particular case was one that would really be suitable for `a clip round the ear`! I told him that this was now a myth and I was asking for a judicial clip round the ear in this case. Classic short term, short sighted economy. You buy a dirt cheap motor and it dies on you, quickly draining your bank account as it falls apart. It is a big hole into which you pour money.

Everybody knew that the British police were pretty damn good at dealing with major crime. Our training establishments up and down the country always had officers from all over the world on the various courses, coming here because we were a centre of excellence as were our procedures and strategies. If you were a foreign officer on a British police training course you had been selected for greater things by your home force. But as our legal system has abandoned the small stuff, taking the macro economic view, so they have taken their eye not only off the micro societal ball in order to save money in their own particular sphere of operation, but they have taken their eyes off the entire game.

Now, the game that is being played out is fuelled by the notion bred into the generation that grew up in the recent couple of decades, that society does in fact `stand for it`, that there's nothing anyone wants to do about it and that nothing will happen even if they get caught.  I refer to the paraphrased words I cited in my previous post, words from the mouth of the thieving looting scum who I heard on BBC Radio news yesterday morning, recorded by a plucky BBC reporter in Manchester:

“Reporter: `Why are you doing this?
Scum teen looter: ` Cos I can get away wiv it man. I ain’t bothered. If I’m caught, this is my 1st offence, so what happens if I’m caught? Nothing. I'm gonna keep doin it till I'm caught`.
Reporter: "But what happens when you get home with new goods that you've stolen. What will your parents do?"
Scum teen looter: "Nuffink man. What are they going to do to me? If I'm caught I'm a first offender. So I get an ASBO"

So for any political leader who is tempted to make a rallying cry of, `society won't stand for it` I say they should take a good long look over their shoulders, because the succession of social and criminal justice policies that have seeped into our society is precisely what they and their predecessors have sanctioned and have, by their acquiescence, deemed we should `put up with`, `stand for` or just pinch our noses and swallow down whole.

I think most of them should now realise what `society` does and doesn't want to stand for. Now get on and give us what the majority really want - but don't let it take a couple of decades to take hold.
NB: See Maslo's triangle, 2nd tier.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Why we loot

I have just heard it from the mouth of the scum on this local radio station BBC LEEDS . One of their reporters had managed to get hold of a piece of scum, looting goods from a shop in a town/city somewhere. I didn't get the entire interview but I can paraphrase it here:

“Reporter: `Why are you doing this? 
Scum teen looter: ` Cos I can get away wiv it man. I ain’t bothered. If I’m caught, this is my 1st offence, so what happens if I’m caught? Nothing`.
Reporter: "But what happens when you get home with new goods that you've stolen. What will your parents do?"
STL: "Nuffink man. What are they going to do to me? If I'm caught I'm a first offender. So I get an ASBO".

There was more and my above is by no means accurate, but I urge anyone who feels so inclined to go to the BBC Leeds website and find the interview, which followed the 8am news this morning. If anything summed it all up, this interview was IT. 

Addendum: I thought I'd add this. It came in a message elsewhere from an American serving alongside our guys in Afghan.:

“This is as it should be, for our Nation is founded on the principle that observance of the law is the eternal safeguard of liberty and defiance of the law is the surest road to tyranny. The law which we obey includes the final rulings of the courts, as well as the enactments of our legislative bodies. Even among law-abiding men few laws are universally loved, but they are uniformly respected and not resisted.

Americans are free, in short, to disagree with the law but not to disobey it. For in a government of laws and not of men, no man, however prominent or powerful, and no mob however unruly or boisterous, is entitled to defy a court of law. If this country should ever reach the point where any man or group of men by force or threat of force could long defy the commands of our court and our Constitution, then no law would stand free from doubt, no judge would be sure of his writ, and no citizen would be safe from his neighbors.”

President John F. Kennedy – Sept. 30, 1962 in a speech on civil rights and referring to mob mentality.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

The Random, Angry Shot

Whether it was planned subterfuge, a deliberate action or the odd angry shot that brought down the aircraft and took the lives of so many of our allies, some very special warriors lost their lives in this incident. Family and friends of mine have fought in Afghanistan and Iraq. Their experiences of the randomness of death and survival is almost impossible to comprehend. A movement made a split second too early, or too late, can quite literally be the difference between a rush of passing air and an impact from a bullet, RPG, IED, mortar or SAM - the microscopic difference between oblivion and the euphoria of surviving a firefight. It is often beyond rational analysis as to why one survives and another takes a hit and yesterday our American allies took a big hit. It would appear that the majority were `Special Forces`. The last time this country lost so many such forces in a single incident was in the Falklands War when 21 lost their lives in a Sea King helicopter crash.
The following is a tribute from a blogpal of mine that I felt moved to share. With acknowledgment to Neptunus Lex.

I don’t believe I ever met any of the fallen heroes from DevGru. I don’t know their names, have not seen their faces. They shun recognition from anyone not of their tribe, knowing that no one not of them can appreciate what they have gone through, what they have accomplished, what they have been forced to do. But I have met them, or men like them.
I also know fighter pilots, know them well. They give pride of place to few, their arrogance is legendary, even if overblown by those who envy their accomplishments. I’ve known fighter pilots who can make an airplane sing, who can turn the turbulent world of air combat into an operatic ballet, with themselves as the conductor. Knowing every beat and stanza, placidly certain of the denouement. But I never knew a fighter pilot who in his most private self would not tip his head to those few, those noble few, who are qualified to bring death to our nation’s foes by sea, air and land.
I never knew an admiral I respected more as a man than a second class petty officer SEAL.
I believed that if I had played the game the way it was meant to be played, and caught a few lucky breaks, I might have made flag rank. I know that I do not have now, and never did have, what it takes to be a Navy SEAL.
The selection process is rigorous, the training syllabus withering. You may think you have what it makes to be a member of the teams. But if the instructional staff has doubts about your intelligence, your dedication, your ability to work as a member of a team, your physical stamina and endurance, you are done. There is no court of secondary appeal. And when they have decided that you do not have what it takes to make the grade, to fight alongside their beloved brothers in arms, you will leave thinking it was your decision. You will ring the bell and be grateful.
For those few who make the cut, those who get to wear the Budweiser, the real challenges are yet to come. The challenge now is not to make the cut, it is not to grasp the intricacies of advanced training. The challenge is to go to places so utterly foreign, and fight foes so thoroughly implacable that to take the mission is to willingly part with all that you have, and all that you love, and place everything in the balance in a desperate gamble.
You will be expensively and thoroughly trained, of course. You will have practiced until your motions seem involuntary. You will have in your company men who know, trust and love you in their own rough way. You will have certain knowledge of the justice of your cause, and the depravity of your enemy. But you will also know that fate plays its own games as you feel the beat of your own heart in your breast, knowing – as young men should never have to know – that when you’re on a mission, the next beat is not promised. Knowing that the fog of war is ineluctable, no matter your training, experience and skill.
Knowing that things can and will go wrong.
And you go anyway. Night after night, week after week, taunting fate.
You go knowing that it is not merely your own life that trembles in the balance, but the lives of those you love, and who depend upon you. You go knowing that there is something more important even than those things: It is the idea we as a nation represent, whose best exemplification is those you fight alongside. You do not dwell on it, nor do you wear it on your sleeve. But it is there nonetheless.
I know this because I have met them.
They are as humble in their public presentation as fighter pilots are ostentatiously obnoxious. A fighter pilot may feel that he has something to prove, a SEAL knows that he does not. At least not before mere mortals. The only beings that a SEAL feels obligated to prove himself to are his God and his teammates. And in the places that they insert themselves, God is rarely in the room.
Privation instead, and hardship. Monastic devotion to fitness, warrior prowess and to each other. Long days of preparation and rehearsal. Slow, creeping hours of approach to contact and moments of fierce combat. Expecting no quarter, and giving little. Living in each moment while knowing that each could be the last. Buttressed by the man to your left or right. Face forward to the foe.
Fight and win, or fight and die. No ejection seats.
We had a tradition at TOPGUN of instructor staff leaving something for those they leave behind. One officer left a plaque which read, “For those who know, no explanation is necessary. For those who don’t, no explanation is possible.”
In the face of all this, it’s natural to ask, what can I do?
This: Donations to the will go directly to defray the costs associated with bringing families to the East Coast and continue support to the families of the fallen.
They gave all for you.
What will you give for them?

Saturday, 6 August 2011

There's something wrong with our bloody senior officers

"It is sad that an unarmed officer has been shot whilst performing his duty to the public".

That was a quote from the divisional commander of a Metropolitan Police officer who was shot a couple of weeks ago, whilst pursuing a suspect on foot.



THIS is a senior officer: 

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Obamacare Beware! The McDougall's are coming

These are sentences exactly as typed by medical secretaries
in NHS Greater Glasgow

1. The patient has no previous history of suicide.

2. Patient has left her white blood cells at another hospital.

3. Patient's medical history has been remarkably insignificant with only a 40 pound weight gain in the past three days.

4. She has no rigors or shaking chills, but her husband states she was very hot in bed last night.

5. Patient has chest pain if she lies on her left side for over a year.

6. On the second day the knee was better and on the third day it disappeared.

7. The patient is tearful and crying constantly. She also appears to be depressed.

8. The patient has been depressed since she began seeing me in 1993.

9. Discharge status:-      Alive, but without my permission.

10. Healthy appearing decrepit 69-year old male, mentally alert, but forgetful.

11. Patient had waffles for breakfast and anorexia for lunch.

12. She is numb from her toes down.

13. While in ER, she was examined, x-rated and sent home.

14. The skin was moist and dry.

15. Occasional, constant infrequent headaches.

16. Patient was alert and unresponsive.

17. Rectal examination revealed a normal size thyroid.

18. She stated that she had been constipated for most of her life until she got a divorce.

19. I saw your patient today, who is still under our care for physical therapy.

20. Both breasts are equal and reactive to light and accommodation.

21. Examination of genitalia reveals that he is circus sized.

22. The lab test indicated abnormal lover function.

23. Skin: somewhat pale, but present.

24. The pelvic exam will be done later on the floor.

25. Large brown stool ambulating in the hall.

26. Patient has two teenage children, but no other abnormalities.

27. When she fainted, her eyes rolled around the room.

28. The patient was in his usual state of good health until his airplane ran out of fuel and crashed.

29. Between you and me, we ought to be able to get this lady pregnant.

30. She slipped on the ice and apparently her legs went in separate directions in early December.

31.. Patient was seen in consultation by Dr. Smith, who felt we should sit on the abdomen and I agree.

32. The patient was to have a bowel resection..  However, he took a job as a stock broker instead.

33. By the time he was admitted, his rapid heart had stopped, and he was feeling better.

For the sake of your health - stay away from hospital 

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Mysterious jump and fall of crime figures - again

Here in the land of sheep, moors and rolling dales there has been, for this quiet patch, a big leap in crime judging by the latest bulletin sent to me by the neighbourhood watch co-ordinator.

The same type of metal theft, artifice crime and cowboy roofing and tarmac`ing always seems to happen when a local patch of lovely land is turned into a site of hazardous waste, coinciding with the arrival of white transit vans, caravans and assorted horses. The land, once vacated, has a council refuse cart sized pile of rubbish and human detritus scattered about it, that the local council come and scoop up. The big spike in the crime figures suddenly drops back to zero/normal after said vans, horses etc vanish. This spike and plummet happens every year this happens to this patch of land, yet the police don't seem to be able to make any connection.

I think there must be something wrong with their crime pattern analysis computer, or perhaps the analyst (if they still employ one) is just not reading it right? Perhaps the locals have an idea who might be responsible?