Monday, 28 February 2011

All together now...."THANK YOU"

Thank you thank you thank you RAF, Royal Navy, Army and the FCO (and no doubt some top cover from the US or other friendlies who still have aircraft carriers or can operate fast jets at long distances from friendly bases).

 Now, can anyone else who needs rescuing from shithole hotspots please make your requests known, now, as there are just 31 days left until the new financial year kicks in.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

A long time ago, in an Oval Office far, far away.....

For those of our younger viewers.........
(there are some compilations on You Tube of this incident, but I prefer this, with just the r/t. fyi "Fox" and "Fox 1"  denotes an air to air missile launch. `Splash` denotes a hit. My ex Harrier pilot chum tells me the growling buzzing sound at the end, is that of a Sidewinder missiles IR seeker telling the crew it's locking on to its target).

3 years earlier.....

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

There IS good in the world

 The last few posts have been a little dour, laden with doom and gloom about inhumanity, violence and my general dispair about the criminal justice system in the UK. So, in order to prove that I really do look for good things, I thought I'd highlight a remarkable young person from the other country that recognises me as a citizen, Canada. This guy, at 10 years old, has done more humanitarian work than most  meandering scroti wastrels will ever achieve in several lifetimes. He also happens to be the nephew of good friends of ours from Nova Scotia and we'll be toasting his achievements when we meet up in Espana next week - yippee!

In other news, closer to home, this didn't exactly cheer me as I'm rarely impressed by `justice`, but `see my face, am I bovvered?`

Monday, 21 February 2011

........Beyond All Recognition

......with an acknowlegment to my pals over at The Thin Blue Line and following on from my previous posting, my optimism and faith in people is still loitering in the  "seek and ye shall find" mindset, where it has been for as long as I can remember. However, my optimism and faith in the British criminal justice system remains as it has been since around the beginning of my 2nd decade in law enforcement,  FUBAR.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Health and Safety in the workplace

I was horrified to read of this journalist's plight at the hands of some of the locals in Cairo last week, horrified and disgusted - but not surprised. I send my most positive of thoughts to her and damn her assailants to hell - but, I reiterate, I am not surprised.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Memento Mori, Chief Superintendent, Memento Mori

Another well observed post from Officer Bloggs. For me this translates into the often denied fact by senior police officers that, as good as they think they are at understanding life on the streets, the more senior they are in rank, the greater their credibility gap.  It is obvious when you think about it.

I recall a conversation with a former chief constable of mine who was considered to be what is often described as a `coppers copper`. My take on this expression in his case was that he was  very good at playing the fatherly figure and gave out the aura of a man with the `common touch`, who took time for a chat with the junior ranks when he encountered any. As a result he had a certain popularity. His operational track record was also pretty good despite scooting up through the ranks, albeit not as quickly as many that I watched disappearing into the smoke and mirrors world of accelerated promotion. The weak link in this will always be the fact that these people just do not perform the day to day job any more and their personal experiences of it are at best a decade or more out of date.

On this occasion, I was out and about in our ballistically protected Land Rover - an armoured car by any other name, the sort of vehicle normally associated with the RUC/PSNI during the more public troubled years.(I said `more public` because we don't hear a lot of what is happening still).  Quite a few forces had one of these vehicles and the bigger forces had several. They were used in firearms operations when the tactical options required it. Ours was a V8 powered beast. Ballistic steel hull and doors with similarly heavy duty ballistic glass. Inside this and you were pretty safe from all but high velocity ball/AP ammunition. It was a bit of a pig to drive and required special training and regular use to keep you up to spec on its very different and unforgiving handling characteristics, especially when trying to stop it, as any ex squaddie or RUC officer will tell you. At over 4,000Kgs before anyone else and their kit gets in, the brakes will only allow you about 4 heavy stops in any one journey before going on strike and leaving Sir Isaac Newton in charge of slowing you down.

Unbeknown to me and my driving school instructor, my check run through the town was spotted by the chief who was out in his staff car. A couple of days later he strolled into my department, en route to a meeting, and was obviously going to tackle me about something. "Ah, Mr Hogday, can you tell me what you were doing in that bloody horrible armoured Land Rover monstrosity the other day"? I explained that it was a re-authorisation check run and also the mileage on it was so low that I was advised by workshops to put more miles on it to keep the systems active as it was better for the overall maintenance of the vehicle. He replied, with that steely edge to his voice that was rarely heard outside of ACPO group meetings or disciplinary hearings and hence the rest of the Force who only got the kindly father treatment. "Keep it off the bloody roads, it's a PR disaster". I didn't go into details about advice contained in the ACPO manual of guidance on the police use of firearms or any of the other perfectly good reasons why his predecessor had purchased it and why we had to train with it. Nor did I mention that the reason his Tactical Firearms Unit were so good at their job was precisely because of the hard, regular and realistic training we performed. I didn't mention that because I could read his mood and his attitude and it just wasn't worth it. I thought about it for a while, discussed it with the team and we decided to ditch the white paint and dayglo police stripes of our bullet stopping Landy and had it painted a dark, non descript colour with no police markings or signs on it. I never told the chief.

A similar tale to make my point about being `out of touch` relates to a major security event involving many visiting foreign heads of state. Our  plan, discussed with the advance liaison security teams of the foreign visitors, included the deployment of our snipers (since re-named `riflemen`, presumably to make them sound less ruthless). Anyway, I stated my intention to include this in the plan which I was presenting to the assistant chief (Operations) but not before being told by a very senior Special Branch officer, "Oh the snipers won't be allowed to take their rifles, he's never authorised that, so good luck". I was a little surprised to hear this as my predecessor had many previous jobs where the tactics would have benefited from a sniper team, but then I recalled that in all my years as a PC and sergeant on the Tac team I'd never actually seen our snipers deployed, other than on the ranges. Still, off I went to see the assistant chief, a man who I had great respect for and who I rated.

Sure enough, as soon as the sniper team was mentioned he said that he assumed they would just be used as `spotters` and would not have their rifles. I strongly disagreed, to which he said that there was no way he would authorise a sniper because `shooting at someone in a crowd, even a would be assassin, was totally unacceptable because of the great power of the rifles`. I told him I totally agreed with him and that his judgment on this issue was sound, but insisted that my snipers have their rifles and went on to explain exactly why. This included the fact that close protection was not part of the snipers duty because of the reasons he'd already cited, but that they would be invaluable to counter a criminal/terrorist sniper who would have no such regard for hitting other people beyond his intended target. If such a threat was spotted, it would only be another sniper who could have any chance of stopping the shot and that to this end my officers would, as likely as not, be looking away from the VIP's to where such a threat might come from - and they were good at finding those positions, because they were snipers QED. Taking on a gun or knife in the crowd was the job of the close protection officer, not a police sniper. After a few moments he said, "Approved, Mr Hogday. You know, it's never been explained to me in that way before". Frankly, I was amazed to hear this and wondered just how many other jobs had been denied this option but for a proper explanation to the man at the top who had to sign it off.

I just do not believe that sufficient of the current police high command have a sufficient grasp of the reality of the difficulties faced by the systemic bog that they and their predecessors have created over the decades. Those that say they do understand have a duty to do something about it and prove that they are not thinking a decade or more behind the real thing. Perhaps we should take a leaf out of the wisdom of the Roman Emporers and ensure that a junior officer be on hand to whisper in the emporer's ear, "Memento Mori" - `Remember your mortality (Sir or Ma`am)`

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

The Heroine of Northamptonshire

I'm sure this sort of thing happens in Los Angeles (or maybe even Liverpool?) all the time - ie  ladies of much mature years intervening in raids on jewellers shops. Looks like they didn't know what hit them - it certainly wasn't Santa, thats for sure. I'm sure exemplary sentences will be metered out to the robbers. I do hope the press give the trial as much coverage as this remarkable footage. Her statement, which can be found in a separate clip accessed just below the video clip, is also worth a read, especially between some of the lines. As for the lady of the moment,  Res Ipsa Loquitur and Ave, Caesar, morituri te salutant

Lets take the piss out of the disabled guy

 I'm still steaming about the `honourable` members of parliament who thought it would be funny to take the piss out of their colleague with cerebral palsy,. It's not helped by the fact that Prime Ministers Question Time is on in the background as I type this. Even after trying to vent my feelings in the below `Speechless in Parliament` post I was still riled, until I found the below. I'm OK now.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Speechless in Parliament

I've just read the full story in todays "Times" of this Member of Parliament's experience at the hands of his fellow `honourable` members that reminded me of how I've hated bullies for as long as I can remember and made me wonder why no one had the guts to stand up in the chamber and put the finger on these odious morons? I also heard the Prime Minister speaking on TV about the failure of multi-culturalism (is his specialist subject the bloody obvious?). I then read this story (Minority Rules) over at PC Bloggs' place. Oh the shame of it all.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Its a Gloucestershire thang - if you have to ask, you just wouldn't get it

But these misunderstandings are so common:

Last week, a 60+ year old woman checked into the Four Seasons in Palm Beach and was a bit lonely. She thought, "I'll call one of those men you see advertised in phone books for escorts and sensual massages."

She looked through the phone book, found a full page ad for a guy calling himself Damon - a very handsome man with assorted physical skills flexing in the photo. He had all the right muscles in all the right places, thick wavy hair, long powerful legs, dazzling smile, six pack abs and she felt quite certain she could bounce a quarter off his well oiled butt.... You get the picture.

She figured, what the heck, she'll give him a call.

"Hello, ma'am, how may I help you?" . . . Oh my, she thought he sounded sooo sexy!

Afraid she would lose her nerve if she hesitated, she said, "Hi, I hear you give a great massage, I'd like you to come to my room number 420 at the Four Seasons Hotel and give me one. No, wait, I should be straight with you. I'm in town all alone and what I really want is sex. I want it hard, I want it hot, and I want it now. Bring implements, toys, rubber, leather, whips, everything you've got in your bag of tricks. We'll go hot and heavy all night - tie me up, cover me in chocolate syrup and whipped cream, anything and everything baby. Now how does that sound?"

He says, "Oh my... That sounds absolutely fantastic, but you need to press 9 for an outside line..."

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

The truth is out there, at thats all right then.

This new gizmo has only been public for half a day and already the denials are flooding in behind the initial wave of enquiries. "Not realistic", "Not a true reflection of the reality", "It also includes retail crime so doesn't necessarily portray the real picture", "This street isn't really a no-go area"...... are no doubt some of the responses we shall read about in the coming days as this `research tool` gets a good going over by the media and others.

 From my perspective, all I can say is that I spotted one of the top whatever-the-number-was notorious `streets of fear` that I used to patrol in my days on the streets. My first taste of what life would be like for me, after I'd transferred from the Metropolitan Police, is easy to recall now. As the guy showing me the ground drove slowly down the `naughty road` in the van, he said, "This pub on the left can get a bit lively" and as if on cue as the words left his lips a chair came through the plate glass window and almost landed in my lap. Out we jumped and emerged a few minutes later with two struggling, kicking, scratching, biting, spitting whores. Nice. That's the way it was then and thats the way it was when I took the pension and ran, 25 years later. Twas ever thus.

So after reading all the smoothing, soothing sound bites from  the senior officers and local councils crime and disorder spokespersons (who also appear to be wearing the Emporers New Clothes) I forgave myself for my cynicism and disparaging thoughts and the odd, sad out-loud comment. One of the quotes was from a guy I used to teach when he was a probationer and I know for a fact he copped a few beatings down that street when he was drawing a coppers pay. He knows its always been like that, but he sure as hell wasn't saying it now he was in the upper ranks of the tin gods.
 I read his platitudinous quote and quietly chuckled to myself. I wished him a healthy retirement, somewhere that he doesn't have to bullshit anymore. By my reckoning he must be due in about 2 years, unless he's been done over by the tinkering with the retirement age and has a few more years of truth manipulation ahead of him.