Thursday, 21 February 2013

Twelve Good men and True?

Notes to a judge?

Dear your judgeship, can you anser a couple of points for us yeah only we can't find anything on Wiki`. Like how come that lady with the specs is sat in that big box every day? like does she have a vip pass or something cos she always gets the best seat and has it all to herself. And like is the pervert that got lost, like a pervert in porn, like, you know, bondage and stuff and where was Justice actually going before the pervert altered his course cos we can't work out how his course got messed up if he had like TomTom or a Google Maps app.   And Teagan wants to know if she can find that lady in the big box guilty because she looks like Mr. Bean and I know you said we had to consider the fax but there isn't even a photocopier in the jury room.

Thanx and stuff

Saturday, 9 February 2013

I Smell Horseshit

During my career as a police officer I never became a dective, to be honest I couldn't even spell the word, but it never stopped me from arresting law breakers and I could always spot a crime pattern.

Now I think I'm on to something with this latest food industry debacle as a result of a letter of resignation from The Conservative Party I caught sight of recently, `penned` by an old pal of mine, so hear me out because I see a pattern here. It was the below extract that got me thinking:
"We are closing Police Stations but opening up Police Offices in Supermarkets. People
such as supermarket managers will be encouraged to join the Police on accelerated
promotion to Inspector rank. This makes perfect sense as obviously there will be no
difference between running a supermarket and running a Police Station. They will be the

Brief enquiries reveal that police mounted sections are being disbanded all over the place
Furthermore, it appears that the new policing commissioners, elected on a turnout of less than 15% of the electorate are appointing unelected deputies all over the place, at a pretty decent salary. Why?

Now it might just be me doing a rising trot in the wrong direction (my canter needed work), but when I see the Winsor report suggesting police offices be relocated in supermarkets, when I see police horses being `sold off`, when I see newly appointed policing commissioners employing deputies who weren't even elected (although I can see their logic in not bothering on the grounds of cost/pointless/waste of time etc) and then, finally, when I see Findus lasagne (or was it "Frozen Fish Fetlocks"?) in the news........... well, if it waddles and it quacks and it says `beef` on the package, it all makes perfect sense.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

M.P. Person Specification - `Flair and originality?`

What is it about Eastleigh in Hampshire that results in a history of scandal involving their elected representatives? Surely they deserve better than this? but then again the constituents are the ones who cast the votes. Democracy works like that. But why poor old Eastleigh? I would demand that someone checks the water supply.

Pete Seeger said something about all this many, many moons ago....

Friday, 1 February 2013

Starting half way up the ladder

There's a couple of posts over at Gadgets gaff that I couldn't help but agree with, in part. I'm not a regular visitor, as I feel my 11 years of retirement after 30 years of service puts me well and truly into the `dinosaur` category, plus I feel I had nineteen excellent years of police service and actually enjoyed it. However, the final eleven taking me to my `30 years and goodbye` were somewhat strained because by then, as a senior officer, I don't think I actually fitted the required `mould de jour` and couldn't turn my mind to all the budget trimming number crunching policy political stuff. It just wasn't my style and I felt punished for making that known to my new peer group and the chief officers above me who, in turn, gave me the impression that they felt they'd promoted a bit of a traiter. I felt a bit like Groucho Marx who wouldn't want to join a club that would allow him in as a member - my treatment for paranoia is almost complete and I'm feeling a lot better these days.

Where I would offer a challenge to Gadget's view is on his stance of being against direct entry for inspector ranks. I'm not actually against it, I just question whether it would be worth the bother. As part of my foray into academia, I spent some time in The Netherlands where such a system did exist and as far as I am aware still does. My research was on other matters within their criminal justice system so I only have anecdotal evidence on their `officer class`. The following observations should be viewed with that in mind.

After a couple of years full time study at the Dutch police college the new inspectors would find themselves at an operational police station. As per the system in the British military, oft used as a comparison by politicians favouring such a change, there would be experienced sergeants overseeing constables who generally make most of the day to day operational decisions without resort to higher ranks, but there I feel we should be cautious, for one should not make like for like comparisons as police and army organisations' operational doctrines are very different. However, as per the military, there were inspectors with lots of experience, who had come up through the ranks, as well as those who joined up and immediately went to the police college for 2 years to graduate as an inspector without having to earn sergeant stripes on the way up. In Amsterdam I spoke to my peers of that time, operational sergeants with up to 20 years experience, and I asked them specifically about how they found the direct entry inspectors. Their views I summarise and paraphrase thus;

`Some rookie inspectors were poor managers of people and put a lot of junior police officers' backs up by clumsy decisions and poor empathy skills and showed a marked lack of understanding of what makes ordinary people in all their guises (the main commodity of the police) tick. On the other hand, there were some who very quickly endeared themselves to the junior ranks, were open and willing to learn and had their feet firmly planted on the ground and who grasped the most important principle that just because they out-ranked their team, they didn't `out-experience` them and therefore did not automatically have all the right answers`.

That short summary happened to be true for me, too. I worked with newly promoted inspectors who variously displayed those self same characteristics identified by my Dutch colleages, yet my British police colleagues had all started off as constables and some had actually been in the job for over ten years, some twenty years, before making it to inspector. To my mind, the fact that an officer may think that fifteen years experience makes them better than one who has only three years has always been prevalent. I would always caution that attitude with the question, `is that fifteen years experience or just one year that has been repeated fifteen times?`

I would not close my mind to direct entry to the inspector rank without first seeing how it might be managed. Perhaps there is a blueprint in existence that I haven't seen. However, having seen that the Dutch experienced the same good, bad and average human traits in their organisation with its direct entry system as I did in mine without one, I question whether it is actually worth it, as the end product in The Netherlands appeared little different from the British equivalent.

My own weary observations have consistently confirmed to me that traditional policing has been progressively ditched and rubbished. It was never perfect but it was not rubbish and did not deserve to be dismantled as part of some huge academic social experiment. Senior officers have been steered, nay, encouraged away from doing what was, and still remains, the number one priority, that of clearing obstructions from the path of those who are trying to fight the alligators. We should start at the desired end result and work backwards from that, not try to impose the perfect world as seen from the top and work down to where it happens, because no one appears to be there anymore. So I guess on that final point me and Gadget agree!

POST SCRIPT: This link may be of interest