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Police: On Mopeds

Written by RSS Poster policecommander

A couple of days ago, the Met Police released a brief series of film clips that showed officers targeting moped criminals. In several instances, suspects were seen being deliberately knocked off their bikes by the police vehicles that were pursuing them. Predictably, the footage went viral. In the accompanying press release, the police had this to say:

“It is hoped that by demonstrating the full range of tactics that officers are prepared to use against moped and motorcycle criminals, potential offenders will think twice about their actions.” 

Overwhelmingly, the response – from police colleagues and public alike – was positive. At last, people said, something was being done about the violent criminals who had previously been operating with apparent impunity. But there were some who disagreed.

From January to October last year, there were more than 19,000 crimes committed in London by suspects on mopeds. That’s a heck of a lot of very serious offences. The first (though far from only) duty of the police is the prevention and detection of crime. And...

Continues, Read More...



Police: Damage Done

Written by RSS Poster policecommander

Another week.

Another round of depressing headlines about Chief Constables stating that their Forces no longer have the resources they need to do all that is being asked and expected of them.

Another round of deeply disturbing headlines about police officers being attacked in the street. The accompanying film footage is too much for me to watch.

I have never known times remotely like these – and it set me thinking about all that has disappeared from policing in the last eight years. 

The list is staggering:

I. The loss of 44,000 police officers and staff in England & Wales.

Say that number out loud a couple of times and let it sink in.

II. The loss of neighbourhood policing.

  • London has more 600 local council wards. In 2010, each of those had its own dedicated Safer Neighbourhoods Team.
  • That meant a minimum of 1 Sergeant, 2 PCs and 3 PCSOs for every single ward.
  • Safer Neighbourhoods Teams don’t exist in London any more.
  • In many other parts of the country, local Neighbourhood Policing Teams have all but vanished – and with them, critical relationships...

    Continues, Read More...


Police: Criminal Neglect

Written by RSS Poster policecommander

Policing in England & Wales is at breaking point. 

Fewer officers with fewer resources are being asked to do a job that it more difficult, more demanding and – frequently – more dangerous than it has been at any previous point in my lifetime. And the responsibility for that reality rests squarely with the government of the day. 

On October 25th, a report published by the Home Affairs Select Committee suggested that Forces are “struggling to cope” with current levels of demand and warned of “dire consequences” for public safety if policing is denied the additional funding it so desperately needs. The HASC report went further still, accusing the Home Office of a “complete failure of leadership” when it comes to policing.

This damning accusation mirrored one of the observations made in last month’s National Audit Office Report on police funding. The NAO suggested that the Home Office “has no overarching strategy for policing” and suggested that there are “significant gaps in (the Home Office’s) understanding of demand and of...

Continues, Read More...



Police: Without a Vision

Written by RSS Poster policecommander

There’s an old line from the Good Book that’s been on my mind of late. It goes something like this:

“Without a vision, the people perish.”

It comes from the Old Testament book of Proverbs (known also as ‘The Book of Wisdom’) and it has particular resonance as I scan the current police-related news headlines.

First there is the National Audit Office report into police funding. Amongst a series of damning conclusions, you can read the following:

  • ‘The Home Office has no overarching strategy for policing, limiting its ability to plan investments and programmes of work over the longer term.’
  • ‘The formula for funding police forces does not take into account the full range of demands on police time.’
  • ‘There are no common standards for measuring all demands for police services and their costs, and therefore no national picture of what forces need.’

Extraordinary. Just extraordinary.

And, without a vision, the people perish.

The NAO point out that there has been a 30% real terms reduction in central Government funding for policing...

Continues, Read More...



Police: Rising Crime

Written by RSS Poster policecommander
The headlines are telling us that crime is rising.
So here are ten brief suggestions from a retired police officer to suggest why that might be so:
(1) Falling Police Officer Numbers
There is an absolute connection between the number of police officers in England & Wales and the number of crimes committed in England & Wales. Whilst it is impossible to set out detailed cause and effect (crime is affected by a thousand different things), to deny the connection would be to abandon both common sense and professional experience.
There are 20,000+ fewer police officers in England & Wales now, compared with just eight years ago. That’s a heck of a reduction.
(2) Falling Police Community Support Officer Numbers
It’s not just the reduction in warranted officers. PCSO numbers have been decimated – with inevitable consequences for street visibility and local community engagement.
(3) Falling Police Staff Numbers
It’s not just the reduction in warranted officers and PCSOs. Police Staff numbers have also fallen very significantly – with inevitable...

Continues, Read More...


Police: Remembering

Written by RSS Poster policecommander

It was the grandest of adventures – my life in blue. 

I remember the moment I first knew that I wanted to be a Copper. The PC walking down the other side of Hammersmith Broadway won’t have seen the tentative schoolboy standing at the bus stop. But I saw him. And, from that moment on, I never seriously considered doing anything else.

I remember being driven through the gates at Hendon for the first time, all nerves and expectation. Sergeant Parkes was at the wheel of the minibus, with half a dozen of us sitting in the back, wide-eyed and wondering.

I remember the marching and polishing and running and revising.

I remember my first day on patrol and my first vehicle stop. I remember being terrified. I remember catching my reflection in tall shop windows and that unmistakeable sense of pride at who I was becoming.

I remember my first armed incident.

I remember my first nickname: Tarquin or, more often, Tarkers. Apparently, I talked a bit posh.

I remember my first arrest, my first dead body, my first car crash, my first pub fight, my first murder scene....

Continues, Read More...



Police: Against Hope, Believing in Hope

Written by RSS Poster policecommander

This is a short tale about two football teams.

The first are a group of grown men who carried the hopes of a watching nation. The second are a group of young boys who carried the hopes of a watching world.

In Russia, the England men’s football team made it to a World Cup Semi-Final for the first time in twenty-eight years. In Thailand, against seemingly impossible odds, the Wild Boars football team were rescued from an underground cave system where they had been trapped by rising flood waters.

The story told in Thailand was a true matter of life and death. If Bill Shankly – the late, great Liverpool manager – was still with us, he might have suggested that the story told in Russia was not a matter of life and death – that it was more important than that.  But, whilst Shanks might have been guilty of overstating things just a little, the two footballing stories do have something important in common.

That thing is hope.

In Thailand, the situation facing the twelve boys and their coach was desperate; the likelihood of rescue slim;...

Continues, Read More...



Police: Tense

Written by RSS Poster policecommander

Policing Future

Much talk at the moment about the future of policing.

Amongst the headlines and proposals:

  • New recruitment processes
  • New entry routes (three of them – and much animated talk about degrees)
  • New approaches to assessment and professional development
  • New role profiles
  • New Licences to Practice
  • New ideas about pay and reward – including the introduction of Accredited Practitioners
  • New submissions to the Pay Review Body

And then there are the ever-new challenges of technology, of cross border criminality, of international terrorism – and of the complete unknown. All the while, police officers of the immediate future will be expected to deal with the long term costs to society of short term cuts to frontline services.

But there is a danger that all this talk of ‘policing future’ sidelines the very pressing concerns of ‘policing present’.

Policing Present

It’s been said before, but it bears repeating:

  • Crime is rising – particularly crime of the most serious kinds
  • Demand is rising – not least as a consequence of the gaping holes that have...

    Continues, Read More...


Police: The Violence Disease

Written by RSS Poster policecommander

Just over 11 years ago, in March 2007, I stood quietly on Hammersmith Grove in West London. I was dressed in full police uniform.

It was a beautiful spring morning and we had just closed the local roads to allow the friends and family of an innocent young boy to come and pay their respects at the scene of his killing. His name was Kodjo Yenga and, though I had never had the privilege of meeting him, I will never forget him.

I stood at a respectful distance and watched, as crowds began to gather at the place where the flowers were laid and the grief graffiti covered the walls and pavement. And I listened as the wailing and the hymn-singing began, cries of deepest despair and defiant hope filling the air.

images

There are places and moments that you never forget.

In the years that followed, I found myself standing in far too many of the haunted places, where young men had lost their lives to unfathomable violence.

And still it goes on.

And I find that I cannot sit silently as the madness of history continues to repeat itself.

If we want anything to...

Continues, Read More...



Police: A Message for the new Home Secretary

Written by RSS Poster policecommander

Dear Home Secretary,

I suspect that this is a heck of a time to be taking on what must be a heck of a job.

But if one lesson has stood out in recent days, it’s a reminder of that most basic truth: people always matter more than numbers. 

Infinitely more.

And, as you start in your new role, I wanted to make a handful of observations about the people who are policing.

An Extraordinary Job

Policing is an extraordinary job. 

People call it ‘a job like no other’. Police Officers call it simply ‘The Job’. For more than 25 years – until I retired at the end of February this year – it was my breathtaking privilege to stand on the thin blue line. 

My duty & my joy.

Because, when you strip away all that really isn’t important, the job is to:

  • Save lives
  • Find the lost
  • Comfort those who are grieving and broken
  • Reassure those who are afraid
  • Protect the vulnerable
  • Confront the dangerous
  • Sometimes… to risk it all

Pause and think about it for a moment: these are the things that we ask and expect of our police officers. And I...

Continues, Read More...





Latest Policecommander Stories

On Mopeds
Damage Done
Criminal Neglect
Without a Vision
Rising Crime

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