Saturday, 25 August 2012

Now Recruiting

I promised that I will be leaving the police and that the time has also come to give up this blog. If there are any serving officers out there who might like to take over this established blog with a significant readership then I would happily consider this if you would like to submit a contribution.
The below article is from a reader in Australia. I thought it appropriate, as I am leaving, that I should  try and recruit my replacement in the police. For anyone wishing to become a social proctologist, my Force is one of the few still recruiting.
Do you feel lucky?
Are You Set to Become a Policeman? How to Know If You Will Be a Good One

If you want a career where you will face challenges every day while making a positive difference in your community, becoming a policeman might be for you – but do you have what it takes?

As a policeman, you’re helping to maintain law and order, which can be very rewarding. You’ll help ensure the safety of the public, return stolen goods, prevent and investigate crimes – but of course, these things are not without significant danger to you, and there are many other challenges along the way.

Can you deliver bad news?

Unfortunately, it often comes with the job. You may have to tell a mother that her child is injured or a newlywed that her spouse has been killed. Often that can mean being a shoulder to cry on – or someone to yell at. Either way, you have to be able to deal with it on a moment’s notice, and that will take an emotional toll on you over time.

Are you physically fit?

You have to be in good shape to be hired for the job – you can’t be under- or overweight for your height. Also, certain health issues may disqualify you completely, so make sure to read over the paperwork before wasting your time. Being able to move effectively is also a major part of the job, because if you can’t, it can place yourself or someone else in danger.

Do you have good character?

If you have a criminal record, that won’t necessarily disqualify you depending on the offence – but either way, it will be a significant detriment to your application. You may have to provide good references, so at the very least you need to have people who are willing to speak up on your behalf.

 Do you react well under stress?

You may face situations where you have to make life-changing choices in a matter of seconds. You need to have strong decision-making skills in high-pressure situations.
 How are your communication skills?

Could you deal with this person?

An important part of your job is being a liaison with the public. You need to have the ability to relate to people of all different backgrounds, religions, races, and ages. You will also be expected to exercise good judgement, be courteous, and resolve conflict in an effective manner.

What about your observation skills?

The details you notice at the scene of a crime can make the difference between putting someone behind bars or letting them get away. You need to have a keen attention to detail to do the job well.

Have you brushed up on your test-taking skills?

There are no academic requirements for becoming a policeman, but you will be given an exam to assess your command of the English language, ability to think logically, and basic math skills.

Still think you have what it takes?

One great way to get your foot in the door is to become a Special Constable, also known as a “Special.” These volunteer officers work for 8 to 16 hours each month without pay, providing support to sworn officers. This can prove your ability to interact with the public and display conflict resolution skills and leadership qualities in order to help you in your application for a full-time paid position later.

When you’re ready to apply, you’ll have to decide which of the over 50 police forces you want to try to join. Smaller forces often only accept a few recruits annually, but larger forces often search for hundreds of new recruits on a monthly basis.

Once accepted, you’ll enter a basic 15-week training programme at a National Police Training Centre where you’ll learn everything from police procedures and the law to communication skills and understanding the criminal mind, as well as taking part in exercise and self-defence training. Then you will undergo more training on the job under the guidance of an experienced tutor constable, as you are on probation for the first two years.

After satisfactory completion of this process, you’ll be a full-fledged sworn police officer, helping to protect your community!

 About the Author:

 Patrick Del Rosario is part of the team behind Open Colleges, one of Australia’s pioneers and leading providers of Management Courses for Businesses and Degrees in Human resource training. When not working, Patrick enjoys blogging about career and business. Patrick is also a photography enthusiast and is currently running a photography studio in the Philippines. If you have a blog and would like free content.  You can find him on Google+.



Thursday, 23 August 2012

Police Responsible for More Deaths

David Oakes - Murderer

The police have been blamed for the deaths of Christine Chambers and her daughter Shania. The pair were shot by Christine Chambers boyfriend David Oakes, who has been sentenced to two terms of life imprisonment. I am very disappointed that senior officers in Essex Police have simply rolled over and apologised for the alleged failings of the police and promised that lessons will be learnt.

I have previously written about the difficulties of prosecuting domestic abuse cases and about the apparent unwillingness of domestic abuse victims to press charges. There are also links between this case and my last post concerning Tia Sharp. If you read the first article you cannot miss the similarities between that case and this latest one. No lessons were learnt. I am not sure that there are any to be learnt.

Victims - Christine Chambers with daughters Shania and Chelsea

If the police failed in some way then I agree that we must look at our strategy and processes and see if we can do anything better. When I see the IPCC stating that not enough resources are placed in domestic abuse then alarm bells begin to ring. When I see that this offender has been in front of a judge and given a non molestation order and breached it I am not surprised as most breaches of such orders usually result in a ticking off by the judge and further bail. Every incident of domestic abuse is investigated. Invariably the victim will not press charges. I think we understand that victims are frightened of their attackers and perhaps we need to look more carefully at why.

Huge resources are spent trying to persuade victims to press charges. Every case is risk assessed using a 16 page form. Alarms, refuges and all sorts of support are offered but in most cases victims fail to support prosecutions. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) are not easily persuaded to go ahead with victimless prosecutions, quite rightly, when few of them are successful.

There are more and more demands made by various inspection authorities for the police to put more resources into domestic abuse, child abuse, anti terrorism, vulnerable adults, anti social behaviour. Etc. No thought seems to be given as to where these resources will come from. Police Officer numbers have been cut 16,000 in the last year. Most of these resources have come from the front line. Response officer numbers are pared to dangerous levels. Neighbourhood officers are becoming local crime investigators and prisoner handlers. Less than 50% of all crime reported is investigated at all. More resources placed in specialist departments will mean even fewer victims crimes being investigated.

What I think I would like to have heard the Essex ACC was this;

Appropriate resources are allocated to investigate domestic abuse. All incidents of domestic abuse are risk assessed and investigated. We do everything we can to persuade victims of domestic abuse to press charges but unfortunately they do not feel that the justice system offers them the protection they want. When offenders are charged they are invariably bailed by the courts and regularly breach bail conditions and re offend. Occasionally those on bail go on to commit very serious offences including murder. The courts are not investigated for their responsibility in these cases.

Sometimes we have to accept that the way some individuals chose to live their lives puts themselves and their children at greater risk. The police and other authorities should do all they can to protect vulnerable victims, including victims of domestic abuse. Sometimes it has to be accepted that because of peoples life choices and the constraints of our present justice system, not every victim can receive the protection that society would like them to have.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Tia Sharp - Victim of the Underclass?

Tia Sharp

Tonight the body of a person, believed to be the missing 12 year old, Tia Sharp, was found at her grandmother's house in New Addington. The grandmother's boyfriend, Stuart Hazell aged 37, has been arrested on suspicion of murder. He has not been charged or convicted and we need to remember that.

Tia was reported missing last Friday. When she was reported missing a cursory search would have been carried out for clues to her whereabouts. When she had not been found within another 24 hours a further detailed search should have been carried out, followed by forensic searches. The fact that a body has been found at the address a week later will demand some answers. It is possible, but unlikely, that the body may have been moved into the house. The search carried out today was obviously pursued for a reason. It may be that searches were carried out under floorboards or in loft cavities or places not readily accessible which had not been searched before.

I have written previously about the growing underclass in our society. Police officers will not be unfamiliar with Tia's family set up. Unfortunately, this is all too common nowadays. Grandmother, Christine Sharp, aged 46, living in social housing, unkempt garden, broken gas/electric meter box. Mother, Natalie Sharp, aged 31 (you do the maths.) Natalie was Stuart Hazell's girlfriend before he moved on and began a relationship with her mother.

Stuart Hazell

Stuart Hazell is a persistent offender with more than 30 convictions including for theft, burglary, handling stolen property, dealing crack cocaine and an attack with a machete.

We have a growing population of young women who lack any ambition and who have role models whose aim in life appears to be to have a child, gain social housing and avoid work. (Christine Sharp was working.) These women seem to be attracted to the most feckless and irresponsible men. They seem to be unable to exist without a man in their lives. There appears to be a large group of men who invariably have drug and/or alcohol issues, commit crime and often seem to be perpetrators of domestic abuse. These men are often homeless and just 'do the rounds' moving in with these needy and vulnerable women.

As these men move around more and more progeny are added. The police and other services spend huge resources dealing with the domestic abuse, crime, drugs and alcohol issues. Eventually, the man moves on to another partner and it all starts again.

The risk to the children that these men bring cannot be overstated. Many are violent and drugs and alcohol are usually serious issues. Some will be sexual predators. The women don't seem to consider this when they move the next boyfriend in. It seems anyone is better than being on your own for these women.

This underclass behaviour has increased as liberalism has prevented criticism of the 'lifestyle choice' of these women and men and they have become adept at using the welfare state to ensure we all pay for their lifestyle. Peer pressure to deter this sort of behaviour has all but disappeared and is encouraged in the underclass world. We will find out soon whether or not Tia was a victim of this underclass way of life.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Time I Retired

I can, and will, leave the police before very long. I can still remember the old sweats from 25 plus years ago talking about how the job was finished. Changes in the law, such as the Police and Criminal Evidence Act, were predicted to be the end of policing as we know it. Young officers like me just got on with it and didn't really know what these older retiring officers meant.

When I joined the police you knew that you would spend the first two years of your probationary career walking the beat and learning the craft of policing. How to communicate with people; to identify offenders and how to deal with them; to get information. Etc. Once you had proved you could do that, you could think about working on the crime car and perhaps moving to CID.

Teamwork - Still there?

Most of all, I remember a team of officers who worked together, supported one another and whose role was simple and basic. Catch bad people. The job then was a vocation. There was never any problem finding officers to work late or come in on a day off to get something done if it meant catching a bad guy, or girl.

For years now I have seen the job change. Legislation has, of course, made things more complex but this is used as an excuse to set up more and more specialist teams whose purpose, in some cases, seems to be no more than covering the backsides of senior management. This has meant fewer and fewer officers on the front line and more pressures on those officers left.

Constant changes and tinkering with the set up of policing has been more about senior officers CV's than real, long term improvements. Winsor is bringing about detrimental changes to both pay and conditions but, more importantly, will lead to more privatisation in the service. This will destroy even further the team work and dedication of officers.

I have had several experiences of the health service recently and I don't like what I see. Years ago I saw a team. I saw vocation. With some exceptions, what I now see are demotivated, demoralised doctors and nurses fed up with targets and constant interference in what should generally be a straightforward and basic role. Private enterprise within the service has ruined it.

This is now what has happened to the police. Vocation has almost disappeared. I see officers joining the police who just want to catch bad people and make the country a better place for the decent law abiding majority. Before they have completed their first 2 years probationary period, I see frustrated, disillusioned officers who believe they cannot beat the system that thwarts them at every turn. Trying to get officers to work late or on rest days now is almost impossible. There used to be rewards for this i.e. results. Now it is just means more frustration. They don't want it. Time to get back to basics.

Rowing is more exciting

A couple of recent cases caught my eye regarding officers being disciplined. The first was a sergeant who tried to destroy a mobile phone belonging to a colleague who was killed in a road traffic accident. He knew his colleague was having an affair and there would be evidence of it on the phone. He wanted to get rid of it so as not to cause the colleagues wife/partner unnecessary additional trauma. The sergeant was sacked.

I have done similar things many times. For example, I dealt with a 14 year old girl run down and killed by a drunk driver. In her bag she had condoms. When it came to handing her family her property I made sure the condoms disappeared. I don't know if the girl was sexually active. I don't know if the family had any idea. It was irrelevant to the death and why cause further unnecessary upset to the family? Should I be sacked for that?

Another case that caught my eye was of the Met officer who was investigated for putting 'I've met the Met' stickers' on vehicles from another Force. I was pleased to note that after investigation it was dealt with by words of advice. This practice has been going on to my knowledge, since we went on the miners' strike in 1984. Yes it's juvenile and yes it can be a bloody nuisance getting the stickers off but is this what we have come to? The job used to be fun. Not anymore.

So, I am now definitely the grumpy old git who needs to retire. Last post coming soon.