Welcome to the Surrey Constabulary Blog.

The forum for members of the Surrey Constabulary Retired Comrades’ Association:

The picture on the right is a Surrey Constabulary view of Chertsey Road, Woking taken in November 1962.  It shows a smiling 19 year old PC Colin White on patrol and was taken by colleague Paul Holt.  Is it not a frightening thought that this picture is now over fifty, yes 50, years old?

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Hampshire DCC Craig Denholm Announces Retirement

DenholmThe deputy chief constable of Hampshire Constabulary is retiring a year after transferring from Surrey Police, his force has confirmed.

DCC Craig Denholm (pictured) will leave the role towards the end of 2014. He was appointed in April last year following the promotion of Andy Marsh to chief constable.

Hampshire Constabulary has now advertised for DCC Denholm’s replacement on its website – the role has a salary of £128,520 and is a five-year fixed-term appointment.

In a letter to prospective candidates in the application pack, CC Marsh said: “I am looking for someone who can work alongside me to lead an exciting and challenging phase of change while maintaining and building upon the excellent services and public confidence for which Hampshire has such a strong reputation.”

The selection process for the shortlisted officers is due to take place on August 28.

DCC Denholm, who is retiring after 32 years of service, had hit the headlines shortly before his Hampshire appointment following an Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation into his conduct and that of a Surrey Police colleague.

The probe focused on knowledge and subsequent actions concerning an allegation that the now defunct News of the World tabloid hacked the voicemail of murdered teenager Milly Dowler in 2002. He was given words of advice following the probe.

The experienced officer started his policing career in 1984 with the Metropolitan Police before moving to Hampshire and finally settling at Surrey Police in 2001.

He took up the deputy chief role at the force seven years later.

At the time of DCC Denholm’s Hampshire appointment CC Marsh said: “Craig is a very capable deputy chief constable with a good track record of leadership and delivery of excellent policing services.”

Fracking Myths and the political lies that result.

There are four main myths associated with Fracking

1. Fracking is over 60 years old and has been conducted without any real problems

2. Use of multi-well pads and clusters reduces surface impact

3. Fluid migration (leaking wells) is rare

4. Natural Gas is a clean fossil fuel (This one was used by the Rt Hon Matthew Hancock MP our new Energy Minister on BBC this morning.

Number one is a lie. Drilling has been around a long time but the technology that allows fracking has not been around for more that 15 years, some of it less than six. This is the difference between Conventional and Unconventional drilling. Without these “new” innovations fracking would be technically and financially inadvisable if not impossible.

Firstly directional drilling is where you drill down directly to where you think gas and oil will be found. You drill down only. Fracking requires turning/directional drilling. It is possible to drill for miles after turning the drill. In the USA 1-2 miles horizontally is common, 2-4 miles is feasible.

Secondly, as the gas in shale is in all the rock and not just a large pocket this leads to the use of cluster drilling and Pads. One well head but with multiple wells drilled down. A typical Pad will have ten wells over a square mile clearing (Five one mile horizontal drillings in each direction = 2 miles, across a half mile stretch assuming a uniform rectangle which is unlikely) Multiple wells on one pad is new technology. Conventional pads are one pad, one well.

Thirdly, slickwater. Sounds odd but water in pipes causes friction and it slows down. Without this ability to make water “slick” the depth and length of fracked wells would make the required pressure (10,000 pounds per square inch) to facilitate fracking almost impossible and probably too expensive. That is why chemicals are added so that less power is required to attain the pressure needed and the water has less friction.

Fourthly, the water itself. Conventional wells typically use 80-100,000 gallons of water. Fracking requires millions of gallons of water and in the USA they are only just discovering the effects that is having on safe drinking water and the environment.

On the second myth this is also a lie. Conventional drilling as shown above is one pad one well. With shale, and the fact that the gas is everywhere in the rock but needs to be tracked, multiple wells will be drilled in multiple locations. They then have to have space to build pumping stations to achieve the pressure, again in the USA this typically involves numerous huge diesel powered pumps running day and night – for the life of the well. Of the millions of gallons of water , sand and chemicals used, 25% to 50% will stay in the rock. That still leaves millions of gallons to come back up. This will need huge storage areas for contaminated waste. In the USA they have cleverly demanded that this contaminated waste is not to be called toxic waste, but it is. Salts, heavy metals, poisons and radiation sounds pretty toxic to me! As there is no drilling in many of these areas they are to explore then the environmental impact currently is zero. How can they reduce it further?

On the third myth the industry cleverly stopped referring to leaking wells long ago. Research therefore becomes problematic. That is until you realise they call it “fluid migration” It has been shown that 1 in 20 (5%) NEW wells fail. With age this rises to 50% of wells. Fluid migration is a common and chronic problem the industry does not want us to know about. It results in contaminated water supplies and an increase in methane gas in our atmosphere. This brings us to the last myth.

Natural gas is a greener fuel. Well it is if you only take burning of the fuel into account. Methane in a far more potent greenhouse gas that an any other. 105 times more over 20 years and 33 times more over 100years. This gas leaks from well heads during the initial and normal fluid flow.It will escape routinely and continuously during the extraction process at well heads throughout the life of the well. It occurs during liquid unloading, during gas processing and during transportation, storage and distribution. The end result is worse than coal or oil for damaging our atmosphere.

Add into this mix the increase in HGV movement, deforestation, noise and light pollution together with all the above, it makes the governments £100,000 bribe seem insulting to say the least.

With only two of the hundreds of USA energy companies currently making a profit from fracking it also appears to be short lived. Is the price we will pay too much?

Nice to know the government cares though!!!

See also More Holes Than A Gruyère Cheese

Scottish Independence: The policing debate

Scottish Independence: The policing debate

Two former officers set out the case for or against Scottish Independence.

The future of Scotland hangs in the balance as the country approaches a referendum over whether or not to become independent on September 18. While the country already has devolved government when it comes to law and order, the vote would still potentially have an impact on policing, and societal, issues.

Allan Burnett

FOR INDEPENDENCE

Allan Burnett QPM is a former police officer who served in both Strathclyde Police and Fife Constabulary. He retired in 2010 in the rank of Assistant Chief Constable as ACPOS Coordinator of Counter Terrorism. He writes about why he believes independence is the way forward:

On September 18 Scotland goes to the polls to decide whether to become independent. The No campaign have been operating what they themselves termed ‘Project Fear’.

The real evidence is that Scotland is a wealthier economy per head than the rest of the United Kingdom (rUK), and France and Japan. With a Yes vote we can unlock the talent and energy which I regret is unable to flourish under the Westminster system, where the establishment elite tend to help themselves rather than the people.

Policing in Scotland is already a devolved issue, and provides an internationally admired effective and efficient service supported by the Scottish public.

In the UK the gap between rich and poor is ever widening. This trend leads to disadvantage – an underlying factor in criminality, which the police have to deal with. An independent Scotland plans to close that gap, sharing the wealth of the country more fairly.

The Scottish Government, unlike the UK Government, values its police. This is reflected in its commitment to collective bargaining and a Police Negotiating Board in Scotland. A police officer in England and Wales will earn £20k less during the first 10 years of service than one in Scotland, and potentially £250k less over their career. Police officer numbers have also been increased and then preserved in Scotland.

The Scottish Parliament is very accessible, allowing a spectrum of police views to be heard and influence legislation. A current example is shared support for minimum pricing of alcohol, designed to improve health and reduce crime. Meantime, the UK Government, in bed with corporate interests, refuses to protect its people.

Scots Law has always been different from that in the UK. Dealing across the different legislatures will be no different, and Scotland’s commitment to working with colleagues from rUK, and further afield, will be undiminished. The border with  rUK will be open as always and we will be solid partners in shared policing priorities, from countering terrorism to missing persons.

We have no plans to introduce police and crime commissioners, and expect a massive turnout of the electorate on September 18!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AGAINST INDEPENDENCE

Graeme PearsonFormer police officer Graeme Pearson MSP is Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Member for Justice. He served as Assistant Chief Constable of Strathclyde Police and Director General of the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency.

He writes about why he believes a ‘no’ vote would be better for Scotland:

In a world as complex, fast moving and at times dangerous in terms of transnational threats it seems to me the United Kingdom is better protected as a single entity in terms of our external relations.

Scotland has best of all worlds now in that we control our domestic issues of law and order, health and education services (amongst other things) whilst linking directly with Westminster in respect of international relations, defence, economy and pensions to deliver the best results in terms of making our voices heard across the world.

In respect of security an independent Scotland would require to negotiate relationships with not only the United Nations, The European Community, Europol but also with the remainder of the United Kingdom in terms of access to intelligence, links with security services and the opportunity to share services and the likes.

The membership of the Five Eyes community relies heavily on not solely alliances but also what each nation can bring to the table. In Scotland’s case it would not be certain an independent Scotland would be part of that arrangement. Particularly given the Scottish Government’s approach to nuclear weapons, the Lockerbie bomber, Defence Forces and our declared ambitions to introduce different approaches to issues such as immigration. All these issues and more would be brought into the mix when deciding partnerships in the future.

The knock on impacts for the police will be significant. Currently through ACPOTAM, Crime committee and many other ACPO committees Scotland feeds into the British debates on law and order and Security matters.

As part of the UK we have first order links to the Security Services, GCHQ, the NCA, UK databases, criminal records, DVLA, the Firearms database and many more sources of information and intelligence. Again post-independence there will be no guarantee that such links could be effectively maintained between nation states and the implications for data protection and security in respect of the authorised use of intelligence would on occasions face compromise.

The challenges for separate administration to resolve these new arrangements will be significant, time consuming and costly. I believe we face more important challenges together reducing the opportunities for international organised crime and terrorism to impact on our communities.

Scottish Independence: The policing debate

Government scraps increase to police officers’ pension age

The government has “listened to reason” after scrapping plans to increase the minimum retirement age by two years by acknowledging the “unique nature” of policing.

Following a consultation on wide ranging pension proposals HM Treasury, ministers took the decision to exclude the fire service, Police Service and armed forces from the blanket increase in minimum pension age from 55 to 57.

In recognising the unique nature of policing, the Treasury’s response said: “The government received strong representations against applying the change to some public service pension schemes, in particular for those schemes that will not link their normal pension age with the state pension.

“Instead, these schemes’ normal pension ages reflect the unique nature of these occupations.
“Increasing the minimum pension age to 57 would have a more significant impact on these schemes. Therefore, the government does not intend to apply the minimum pension age increase to those public service schemes for firefighters, police and the armed forces.”

The changes would have applied to officers joining the new 2015 police pension scheme.

Speaking to PoliceOracle.com, Police Federation for Northern Ireland Chairman Terry Spence, said: “This is a major development.

“It is clear that they have listened to reason. The staff side of the Police Negotiating Board made some very strong representation.

“Police officers are special and they do a special and difficult job and the fact they were going to raise the retirement age would have produced an additional burden on those doing extraordinary commitments.

“This was a financially driven proposal but this decision shows respect for the duties they perform. Officers are on duty even when they are supposed to be off duty.”

CARE pension

Under the CARE scheme, the normal pension age will be 60, however officers wishing to retire aged 55 will be able to with an actuarial reduction.

The Police Federation of England and Wales will provide more detail to local federations when more information is provided by the Home Office, including eligibility criteria.

As previously reported, the government announced in 2012 that a new “career average” scheme will replace the current final salary scheme in 2015. The new scheme will see an increase in average member contributions to 13.7 per cent.

The then general secretary of the Federation, Ian Rennie, said at the time that even though the staff association does not welcome the pension reform, they will work hard to make it as beneficial as possible for members.

General Secretary Andy Fittes said: “The staff side of the PNB put together a strong, well-reasoned case as to why this would not be in the interests of officers of the public and it is gratifying to see all that hard work pay off.

“Policing cannot be viewed in the same way as other professions, officers must be properly rewarded and recognised for the difficult and dangerous work they do.”

From Police Oracle

More Holes Than A Gruyère Cheese

Half of Britain to be opened up to fracking

The Department for Energy and Climate Change is expected to launch the “14th onshore licensing round”, inviting companies to bid for fracking rights in previously untouched areas of the UK

GruyereMichael Fallon, the former energy secretary, has described shale as an “exciting prospect”

Ministers are this week expected to offer up vast swathes of Britain for fracking in an attempt to lure energy companies to explore shale oil and gas reserves.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change is expected to launch the so-called “14th onshore licensing round”, which will invite companies to bid for the rights to explore in as-yet untouched parts of the country.

The move is expected to be hugely controversial because it could potentially result in fracking taking place across more than half of Britain. Industry sources said the plans could be announced at a press conference tomorrow.

The Government is a big proponent of fracking and last year revealed that it would “step up the search” for shale gas and oil.

Ministers said they would offer energy companies the chance for rights to drill across more than 37,000 square miles, stretching from central Scotland to the south coast.

Michael Fallon, the former energy minister, has previously described shale as “an exciting prospect, which could bring growth, jobs and energy security”.

A previous government-commissioned report said as many as 2,880 wells could be drilled in the new licence areas, generating up to a fifth of the country’s annual gas demand at peak and creating as many as 32,000 jobs.

However, the report warned that communities close to drilling sites could see a large increase in traffic. Residents could face as many as 51 lorry journeys each day for three years, the study said.

It also warned of potential strain on facilities for handling the waste water generated by hydraulic fracturing, the process known as fracking, which involves pumping water, sand and chemicals into rocks at high pressure to extract gas.

There were also concerns over the potential environmental impact on the countryside.

Controversies include plans to offer land within national parks, despite National Trust opposition.

The areas expected to attract the most interest are the Bowland basin in the north of England, where it is estimated there could be enough gas to supply the UK for 40 years.

Ministers also anticipate strong interest in the South East and the central belt of Scotland.

moronic-quote-by-energy-minister-michael-fallonKeithpp’s Blog

Oh it is worse than you think
See Fracking Myths and the political lies that result.

Citizen petition to White House: Make members of Congress wear logos of corporate donors – like NASCAR drivers

Nearly missed this one but what a great idea.

With the government apparently seeking “openness and transparency” and revelations of Russian Oligarch’s funding of the Tories (all in the rules of course!) The idea reported in the Mail that US politicians are being petitioned to wear sponsors/supporters logos like racing drivers sounds a great one to me.

I have no idea if the PM has accepted any financial support from the companies concerned and the photo is a complete falicy – or is it? Perhaps the only way to know for certain would be if he and the rest of his money grabbing cronies in the Palace of Westminster were “Open and transparent” about where their funding came from.

DC

Sealed investigations proposal is ‘sledgehammer to crack nut’

Secret probes proposal by Theresa May criticised by analysts and Fed officials.

Secret investigations into allegedly corrupt officers would amount to “using a rather large sledgehammer to crack a rather small nut,” a senior Police Federation official has said.

Fed Vice-Chairman Steve Evans made his remarks as experts in police discipline queued up to pour scorn on Home Secretary Theresa May’s launch of a review into the creation of new secret probes.

The so-called sealed investigations could be carried out without the officer concerned ever finding out what they were suspected of, who their accusers were, or that they were under investigation at all.

Mr Evans told PoliceOracle.com: “Nobody likes corrupt police officers, and the people who hate them most are other police officers, so we have no issue with dealing with corruption – but the thing is we think we deal with it rather effectively.

“A lot more police officers are dismissed as a result of internal investigations than as a result of public complaints. Professional standards investigations are far more successful at having officers dismissed than are Independent Police Complaints Commission ones.”

He said secret investigations may be warranted in exceptional circumstances involving “a threat to the realm” – but he added that extremely few cases were “of that ilk.”

“If we are going to have sealed investigations we would need to know what the criteria are,” he said. “In effect this is saying to officers that we are not going to be open, we are not going to be transparent with you and we are going to do an investigation behind your back. If you are going to come for someone, face them. Don’t sneak around behind their back.”

‘Cack-handed’

Peter Neyroud, an academic and retired chief constable who was a member of the Independent Commission on Policing, branded Mrs May’s speech to Parliament “a muddle” and said the appointment of former Army officer Major General Clive Chapman to lead the review was ironic.

“It is an odd thing to do given the state of the court martial system and things that have come out about the military and their discipline,” Mr Neyroud said. “Theresa May is putting the focus on a very small number – and it is very small – who are committing very serious misconduct.

“The vast majority are not anything like that. All they might have is the odd moment where their skills weren’t up to scratch.”

He added: “I have lost track of how many reviews Theresa May has actually kicked off. It is a rash of reviews being conducted by different people for different purposes. As far as individual officers are concerned, I’m sure it just looks like another series of kicks.”

Bob Quick, an ex-Surrey chief, said that in cases involving serious crime and corruption within the police, investigations were already done covertly.

He added: “To transfer that into the disciplinary process is a big step. I think we need to see the justification for it, but my initial response is that it seems like another cack-handed government response.”

However, he added it was currently too difficult to remove officers found to “lack integrity” or to be consistently underperforming, adding that the cost of doing so was also “extremely high.”

Mr Quick, Mr Neyroud and the Police Federation have all welcomed proposals for police disciplinary hearings to be heard in public – calls backed both by Theresa May and the Labour opposition.

Theresa May has said she wants to introduce a more robust system for dealing with police misconduct, and in March she announced she would be creating a new offence of police corruption.

No apology

In the House of Lords on July 22 Lord Taylor of Holbeach defended the Home Secretary’s launch of her latest reviews.

He said the reviews were seeking “to find ways of making sure that the pattern of accountability we set for the police and the ability to enquire into police misconduct effectively can be set in place promptly.”

He said he made “no apology” on behalf of the Home Secretary for the reviews, saying they would help ensure police standards were driven up.

He added: “The reinforcement of the professionalism of the police by having proper measures for probity as part and parcel of this package is a very important thing… It is remarkable the transformation that a College of Policing has made to policing, and indeed the leadership that it is providing through a code of ethics.”

And he attacked what he called “the notion that only the police know how to manage the police. The degree to which the police have seen themselves and their problems as something for them alone is something the public is no longer willing to tolerate.”

From Police Oracle

M3 ‘smart motorway’ £129m contract awarded

The scheme will see part of the M3 changed to four lanes, with the hard shoulder used as a permanent lane

A £129m contract to convert part of the M3 in Surrey and Hampshire to a “smart motorway” has been awarded by the Highways Agency to Balfour Beatty.

The project will see the M3 between the M25 in Surrey and Fleet in Hampshire changed to a four-lane road, with the hard shoulder used as a permanent lane.

Electronic signs will be installed to manage traffic flow.

The company said preparation would begin next month with building work due to begin in the autumn.

Smart motorways use technology to vary speed limits in response to driving conditions. There are different types of smart motorway, with some making use of the hard shoulder.

‘Air quality concerns’
The scheme, which covers 13.4 miles from junction 2 to junction 4a, is due to be finished by spring 2017.

Balfour Beatty said the upgrade would increase capacity, reduce congestion and shorten journey times for the 120,000 motorists using that part of the network each day.

Project director Julian Lamb said traffic management during the work would include 50mph speed restrictions, contraflows and narrow-lane running.

But he said lower speed limits helped traffic flow, with lane closures limited to night-time and dual three-lane running for daytime and peak flows.

The M3 passes through Chobham Common – an area of heathland in Surrey.

Balfour Beatty said it would be using a sustainable design which took ecology into account, and natural habitats would be reinstated and enhanced.

Earlier this month, a plan to impose a 60mph speed limit on that part of the M3 to cut air pollution was put on hold by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, with the Highways Agency asked to look at other ways of tackling pollution.

The government has said the M3 smart motorway will improve journey times by 15%, but the Highways Agency has raised concerns extra traffic will cause EU air quality rules to be broken.

From the BBC

Home Secretary Promises Radical Changes to Police Discilpline System/Whistleblowers/Leadership Etc.

 

Theresa may 2

A top-down review of the entire police disciplinary system “to ensure that processes to deal with misconduct by officers are robust” has been announced by the Home Secretary.

Theresa May announced that the far-reaching review would be chaired by former Army officer Major General Clive Chapman, and there would be a consultation on the findings later in the year.

It will include an examination of the powers and funding of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) and role of police and crime commissioners within the process, she said.

The announcement came as the Home Secretary outlined a further package of police reform to MPs – including a review of police leadership – which will start immediately.

Mrs May also suggested that there would be greater protections for police whistleblowers – with the creation of a single, national policy across the entire service.

Addressing the disciplinary system issues, Mrs May said that the current process “lacks transparency, is bureaucratic and lacks independence”.

She said: “We will be reviewing the system from beginning to end – I have asked Maj Gen Chapman to look for ways to ensure the system is clearer, public focused and more independent.

“The review will look at the complaints system from end-to-end, examining the process every step of the way for all complainants, from the minor to the most serious.”

It would report back in the autumn and there would be a consultation, she added.

The stronger protections for whistleblowers will allow those that exposing wrongdoing to forward in confidence, she said.

The Home Secretary added: “The government will create a single national policy for police forces on whistleblowing to replace the current patchwork approach.

“And, following the publication of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary’s integrity inspection, I am prepared to consider putting the whistleblower’s code on a statutory basis.”

Mrs May added that there would be a public consultation on the whistleblowing issue in the autumn – adding that she wanted to consider “sealed investigations”, which would prevent the force and suspects knowing that a probe was taking place.

Elsewhere, she added that the review of police leadership would be carried out by the College of Policing and would examine issues including opening up direct entry and “how we can open up senior ranks to candidates of different backgrounds”.

Quote Of The Week

PatersonFormer Environment Secretary Owen Paterson among a number of sacked ministers to react to ‘male and pale’ reshuffle with fury

According to a well-placed source, Mr Paterson launched a passionate defence of his record, saying: ‘I have been every bit as radical in environment as Michael Gove has been at education and Iain Duncan Smith with welfare.

‘I have not been afraid to take on the greens on everything, from fracking to GM foods, the badger cull, even bees!’

Mr Paterson resisted EU moves to ban pesticides blamed for hitting the bee population, claiming it could hit food production.

2011211-bee-300x215See - What Honey Bees Do For Us

Did You Know……

* 1/3 of all vegetables and fruits produced are pollinated by honey bees. Depending on the crop, some fruits would not develop without pollination from honey bees. With other crops, we might get fruit, just not the same amount or quality we desire. Ever see a lopsided apple or pumpkin? That is a sign of improper or a lack of, pollination. Without the honey bee, many things in nature would be “lopsided”.

* Some estimates range from 50-80% of the world’s food supply being directly or indirectly affected by honey bee pollination. Whether it’s pollination of apples, or pollination of the seeds used to produce grain for livestock, the food chain is linked to honey bees. The world’s production of food is dependant on pollination provided by honey bees.

* Einstein did NOT say the world would end in four years without honey bees. However, we certainly would have to change farming practices if that happened. Food prices would soar without the industrious honey bee. Be grateful the honey bees work so hard, and can be managed. We need to respect that, and be good stewards of not just the honey bee, but the entire environment.

private-eye-cartoon

IFA-00006629-001

Man’s Inhumanity To Man

Three of the eighty children lost on the Malyasian flight

Three of the eighty children lost on the Malyasian flight

This Is What War Looks Like

Gaza – This Is What War Looks Like

Man was made to mourn: A Dirge

Many and sharp the num’rous ills
Inwoven with our frame!
More pointed still we make ourselves
Regret, remorse, and shame!
And man, whose heav’n-erected face
The smiles of love adorn, -
Man’s inhumanity to man
Makes countless thousands mourn!

Robert Burns

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