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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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IPCC to examine post-prison monitoring of cannibalistic murderer

Cerys Yemm, who was murdered in an act of cannibalism

The government is to examine whether a man reported to have murdered a woman in an act of cannibalism was properly managed following his release from prison.

Cerys Marie Yemm, 22, died from her injuries at Sirhowy Arms hotel, a homeless hostel in Argoed, Blackwood, south Wales, in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Her attacker, Matthew Williams, 34 – who had recently been released from prison – also died at the scene shortly after police Tasered and arrested him.

South Wales police has launched a murder investigation and the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) will also probe the incident.

On Sunday, a spokesman for the Ministry of Justice confirmed a serious further offence review will take place to see if lessons can be learned from the case.

Such reviews are immediately launched if a serious offence is alleged to have happened within 30 days of a person leaving prison or if the person is on licence.

The review will examine the circumstances of Yemm’s death, the management of Williams following his release and whether steps can be taken to improve public protection.

Welsh assembly member William Graham has led calls for an inquiry into reports Williams was not monitored after his release.

“It is now clear that Mr Williams posed a risk to the public and I am extremely concerned that monitoring appears to have been deemed unnecessary,” Graham told the BBC.

“If true, a wider inquiry into the circumstances surrounding his release is urgently required.”

Gwent police said Williams became unresponsive while under arrest and officers and paramedics administered first aid but he was pronounced dead.

A postmortem was due to be carried out on Williams, who lived at the hostel, on Saturday, a spokesman for the IPCC said.

Police are not looking for anyone else in connection with Yemm’s murder. Her family, and officers who attended the incident, are being supported by specialist officers.

Detectives have refused to comment on the specifics of the tragedy but sources confirmed Yemm suffered substantial facial injuries.

Ch Insp Paul Staniforth, of Gwent police, told reporters on Saturday: “The postmortem for Cerys will start today, but will take some time.

“Speculation about what happened at the scene and the cause of death is unhelpful and very upsetting for the family of the deceased.”

Yemm, who worked in sales at Next, is believed to have met Williams through mutual friends.

A friend, described as a key prosecution witness, told the Sunday Times that Williams had taken a cocktail of drugs on Thursday evening, when he met Yemm.

“He had an ounce of meaow meaow [mephedrone] on him and at some stage during the night he injected himself,” the man, who did not wish to be named, told the paper.

“He was also taking large quantities of prescription beta blockers given to him to help overcome his drugs habit.”

The man said Williams was given the prescription upon his release from prison a couple of weeks ago.

Friends and local residents have expressed shock at the news of Yemm’s death at the hostel, which used to be a popular local pub.

It was converted into a B&B and had been used by Caerphilly council over recent years to provide accommodation for homeless people.

Gareth Griffiths, who lives in Argoed, said: “We heard on the news that it has been cannibalism. Nobody wants to hear that, it must be a horrific way to die, it’s horrible, it’s unbearable.”

Another friend, who did not wish to be named, added: “I feel stunned, shocked and sick to my stomach. It’s horrific. She was a lovely person. She didn’t deserve to die like that.”

Widely reported, this from the Guardian website

WHEN YOU JUST CAN’T AFFORD TO DO THE JOB THAT YOU LOVE…

Taken from UK Cop Humour, this is anything but funny. Sadly I suspect it is just one example of many. What makes me shudder is that, post- Winsor, officers are not able to pay into their pensions at all and their pay is so low they need State subsidies to survive.


Hello. I am a serving police officer and I am also a single parent. When I say single parent I really mean single parent. I do not have the luxury of co parenting.

I manage to work normal hours by the help of some fabulous child care.

I rent a house through an estate agent. This house costs me £650 a month and is in a state of such poor repair I am soon required to leave.

I have been looking in the area that I live and in the four years I have been in this area prices have gone up so much a basic two bed flat is around £850 a month with council tax, including discount for single person I am looking at £1000 a month. This is over half my wages.

Last year the government cut backs meant that they lowered the level of earnings required to qualify for tax credits and I was forced to come out of the pension to put food on my table and pay my bills.

With my cut backs at it’s limits I approached the council for help. I am all ready on the housing needs register for my area. The gentleman I spoke to informed me that in order to reach the top of the list for affordable is around a five year wait and I can not be moved on the list as they have to show transparency.

When the time comes, I have to move out of my house and I am homeless with a child they can put me in emergency b&b accommodation in the area where I work with the people I am arresting every day, or in a b&b over 43 miles away.

This means my commute to work and child care is near impossible. Along with the b&b accommodation I will have no facilities to do washing or cooking and possibly that I will not be able to stay there during the day meaning I will have days where i will have no where to sleep after nights. I will also be invoiced for this as I am working.

I could be like this for a considerable amount of time. So the only other available option is to leave the job. If I do this I can have a two bedroom property on the open rental to paid for by from housing benefit and my council tax paid for.

The crux of the matter is I can no longer afford to work and live in the area I choose to police on my wages.

I am sure that people reading this will question why I don’t just move to a cheaper area. I have considered this but the county I live in, this is the normal house prices and as a single parent and shift worker the friends that stick by you are the best friends and to be isolated by moving areas would be horrific.

It would also mean when I am running late from work, which happens all the time, I will not know any one who can pick my child up from school.

The housing crisis means that rentals are un affordable to single police officers, I also know police officer couples who own their houses and if the interest rates go up they will be forced to sell.

All this pressure has now made me ill and I am currently on sick leave with a Stomach Ulcer, whilst looking after my son who has recently been hospitalised.

My federation and chairman have been very supportive but sadly my local MP doesn’t give a toss. I now may be forced to leave the job i once loved.

It has been mentioned to me that I should consider using the force welfare fund. However I need extra money every single month. This is not something that they can accommodate.

If my pay had increased at the rate that I was promised when I started this job, or my tax credits had remained, I probably wouldn’t be in this situation.

I mentioned earlier the state of the accommodation I am currently living in is poor. When I say poor, I have been to nicer crack houses. Over a year ago I involved environmental health through the local council to help me. Sadly the way the law is in this country the help always is more available for the ‘offender.’ My landlord has lost two appeals now both with the council directly and with a court tribunal. My electrics are so poor I have replaced my oven three times as the electrics cause it to break. I have now given up. If it rains. It rains inside. My child’s bedroom ceiling is covered in mould so badly I now no longer let him sleep in there. He sleeps in my room. Due to the faulty electrics it costs me £15 a day to keep the house warm and provide hot water. My friend who is asthmatic can no longer visit as the damp in the air causes her issues.

The obvious answer would be to have moved ages ago. However having to cover electric bills and replace damaged furniture and electrical items has wiped me out. It cost me just short of two and a half thousand pounds to move into this house with estate agents fees and deposits etc. Plus as outlined I can find no where in my budget to go.

People don’t really understand what it’s like to have no money spare. You stop getting invited out after you have declined a few invites as you are branded anti social. The reality is a baby sitter, petrol, food and drink. It all adds up to probably more than the amount you spend a week on groceries.

It’s embarrassing when you’re proud.

People living in two income homes or without children have no concept of your daily life. When I say I have no money I have no money. I have turned my sofa upside down. Been through my spare handbag and my coat pockets!

I will never be able to get a mortgage. My credit rating has taken a battering and as is evident I have no savings. If I could, it would be considerably cheaper than private renting.

I am reluctant to disclose my location as I know that people assume as I can’t afford rental I must have done something financially wrong and I leave my self open to financial investigation. Any one who has been through any sort of investigation will know what the stress is like and it is not something I could cope with at all at the moment.

This is a real ticking time bomb as I am every thing that this government hates.

From UK Cop Humour

One in five officers will still benefit from 30 year pension, but not in Surrey.

I picked this up on Police Oracle. Just over one in five officers nationally will benefit from the same pension as those of us lucky enough to be retired. Surrey though has the fewest officers in the country with more than 22 years service, just 12%. The figures are shown in the table at the foot of this article. Why does Surrey have so few experienced officers?

‘More than one in five serving officers will be protected from the drastic changes to police pensions in 2015, it can be revealed.

A Freedom of Information request has revealed that 27,280 officers out of 127,329 serving in 42 forces in England and Wales had more than 22 years’ service as of April 1 2014.

Under government rules, they will not be affected by the impending police pension changes and can to retire after 30 years’ with their full pension.

This means that the remaining 100,047 police officers could well be affected – although individual factors such as the age of an officer on 1 April 2012 come into it.

Andy Fittes, General Secretary of the Police Federation, said: “The new pension scheme is due to come into effect on the 1 April 2015. Draft regulations are with the Federation now and the consultation period finishes on 12 December by which time we will have given our response.”

The new “career average” pension scheme for officers will replace the current final salary scheme and a new “normal” pension age of 60 will be introduced. Average member contributions will be 13.7 per cent.

Under the FOI request, the force with the biggest percentage of serving officers who will have their pensions fully protected is Cleveland Police, where 29.1 per cent of officers (406 of 1,393) had more than 22 years’ service as of April this year.

The force with the lowest percentage of officers with full pension protection is West Midlands Police, where 1,062 officers out of 7,294 (14.6 per cent) had more than 22 years’ service.

The average for forces in England and Wales is 21.4 per cent. Dorset Police was the only force that did not reply to the FOI request.

The government has said there will be no change in pension age or amount received at current pension age for those who, on 1 April 2012, were aged 45 or over or who are members of the 1987 police pension scheme and were aged 38 or over and 10 years or less away from being able to retire with a maximum 30 year pension.

A spokesman for the Home Office said they are currently consulting on draft regulations.

It was announced earlier this year that officers in the new 2015 police pension scheme will be able to retire from the service aged 55 with actuarial reduction.

As previously reported, the government dropped proposals to set the minimum age for which officers could claim a pension as 57.

A survey of 32,000 front line officers by the Federation earlier this year found the pension age increase had led to 87.2 per cent of respondents feeling their morale had dropped as a result.

In a recent interview, Chairman Steve White said it was “no surprise that wherever I go the burning questions are around police pensions and to a certain extent police pay.”

He added: “Whilst I would say that the Federation has done absolutely everything in its power to try and get the best deal for our members, it is still high on [officers’] agenda of concerns and something that we need to keep taking back to the government so they know the strength of feeling.

“I get the impression that the government perhaps didn’t realise quite how complex that would be and clearly in our discussions with government we are still trying very hard to make sure that the very best out of what the government is offering is available to our members.”

Force Officer Numbers Percentage with more than 22 years service.

Avon and Somerset  22.6%

Bedfordshire  20.1%

Cambs  20.9%

Cheshire  23.9%

City  28.6%

Cleveland  29.1%

Cumbria  22.1%

Derbyshire  26.3%

Devon and Cornwall  21.1%

Dorset no answer

Durham  28.9%

Dyfed Powys  25.4%

Essex  22.5%

Gloucestershire  23.7%

GMP  25.5%

Gwent  20.6%

Hampshire  17.1%

Herts  17.7%

Humberside  22.8%

Kent  21.2%

Lancs  25.0%

Leics  22.7%

Lincs  17.1%

Merseyside  25.7%

Met 20.5%

Norfolk  19.5%

North Wales  21.7%

Northumbria  24.7%

Northamptonshire  19.1%

North Yorks  25.5%

Nottinghamshire  26.1%

Staffs  27.1%

South Wales  25.9%

South Yorks  20.2%

Suffolk  24.8%

Sussex  18.2%

Surrey  12.0% (235 officers with more than 22 years service)

TVP  18.9%

Warks  24.0%

West Mercia  21.4%

West Mids  14.6%

West Yorks  18.1%

Wiltshire  22.3%

Total England and Wales  21.4%

‘Wasteful’ IT contracts ‘unacceptable in modern policing’

Police and crime commissioners need to take control of dormant Police ICT Company to improve “chaotic” system of buying IT.

The “gritty and unglamorous” reform of police IT is an absolute necessity to stop wasting money on chaotic contracts and wasting officer time with inadequate technology, the Home Secretary has said.

Theresa May (pictured) said the scale of “duplication and inefficiency” across police IT is “frankly unacceptable in the 21st century” and that transforming this crucial area is a necessity.

In a recent speech Mrs May called on police and crime commissioners (PCCs) to take on the dormant Police ICT Company, which was created in 2012. She said it is now ready to start operational trading and has the ability to “transform the way police buy and use technology”.

She said that when the coalition government came to power in 2010, forces were spending £1 billion annually on IT – which included 2,000 different IT systems across the 43 forces of England and Wales. A survey in 211/12 indicated that these systems were supported by 4,000 staff.

Currently, 36 separate contracts exist for command and control systems across forces in England and Wales as well as the British Transport Police.

She said: “It is chaotic. It is extremely wasteful. And while the report also found that some forces are sharing contracts, and others have plans to, we know that by acting alone forces fail to get the economy of scale necessary to deliver value for money.

“The scale of duplication and inefficiency across the police IT landscape is frankly unacceptable in the 21st century. It is even more unacceptable at a time of austerity, when the public rightly expects police forces to deliver best value for every pound of taxpayer funding.

“I have said before that reform often requires gritty and unglamorous work. Police IT is one of those things, but reform has the potential to improve policing dramatically, and deliver the savings that we know will be necessary in the future.”

Whilst accepting that there is a role for the Home Office in managing the six national police systems, PCCs need to take responsibility for ensuring significantly better contract management and rationalisation of the IT estate and the market, Mrs May said.

“For too long police IT has lagged woefully behind the modern advances in technology that are available.

“We owe it not just to police officers to make technology work better, but to victims of crime, and the taxpaying public that your police forces serve.”

‘Haphazard’ approach

As previously reported, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary criticised the haphazard approach to IT procurement in their Core Business report in September.

Essex Police and Crime Commissioner Nick Alston, who is also chair of the Police IT Board, told PoliceOracle.com that delivering efficient and effective computer systems both nationally and locally has historically “eluded” several governments and law enforcement organisations such as the Police Information Technology Organisation and the National Policing Improvement Agency.

He said: “In some cases, the scale of the challenge was compounded by the former police authorities allowing police forces to invest in highly localised systems in a disparate way.

“PCCs bring a clearer focus to the challenge. We are here to ensure that police IT is as efficient and effective as it can be. In truth, it can’t be efficient when expensive and out-dated procurement contracts can be found across the country, and it can’t be effective when information often cannot be rapidly shared between police forces.

“The police national ICT company will create a much more commercially driven and efficient procurement process, working to identify and develop a range of products which can be purchased by a number of forces according to their specific local needs, but which have common agreed standards.

“Most crucial of these standards is the need for those systems to ‘speak with each other’, to enable rather than hinder the effective flow of information between police forces.”

From Police Oracle

The Failings Of Theresa May MP

Mrs May likes a list, she particularly likes to list the collective failings of the Police Service and thinks that it’s fair to go back 25 years or more when doing so, despite the obvious fact that most of today’s serving officers weren’t serving 25 years ago, but somehow it’s still their fault.

So I thought I might draw up a little list of my own, please feel free to add any that I’ve forgotten in the Comments section at the bottom, and I’m sure I will forget some, there have been so many.

May was appointed the first female Chairman of the Conservative Party in July 2002. During her speech at the 2002 Conservative Party Conference while illustrating the reason why her Party must change, May naïvely coined the phrase that the Conservatives were then perceived as the “Nasty Party”, later to be sacked from this post by Michael Howard.

In August 2013 Mrs May was accused by Lord Macdonald of an “extremely ugly and unhelpful” attempt to implicate opponents of David Miranda’s detention in condoning terrorism. She had suggested that anyone opposed to using controversial anti-terrorism laws against journalists was condoning terrorism. [quite ironic given the current controversy about the Met investigating journalists using so called Terror Laws]

The Home Office refused to release a mentally ill Nigerian man Isa Muazu on hunger-strike living in an asylum centre. In order to strengthen the Home Office’s tough stance an “end of life’ plan was offered to the individual. [an end of life plan? How considerate] Immigration minister Mark Harper said Mr Muazu had “no right” to be in the UK and had been “successfully removed” “Halting the removal of Mr Muazu because of his protest would undermine our asylum and immigration system – and provide a dangerous incentive for others to follow suit,” he said.

In June 2012, May was found to be in contempt of court by Judge Barry Cotter QC, standing accused of “totally unacceptable and regrettable behaviour” having said to have shown complete disregard to a legal agreement to free an Algerian from a UK Immigration Detention Centre. As she eventually allowed the prisoner to be freed, May avoided further sanctions including fines or imprisonment [Correct me if I’m wrong but Mrs May holds the unenviable record of being the ONLY Home Secretary to have been found guilty of Contempt of Court. Miraculously she still has her job, many would have have been sacked. Why not her?]

My thanks to @Badger1202 for reminding me of the £220 million wasted on the UK Border Agency IT system. New rules requiring foreign nationals from outside the EU to have a biometric residents permit had left the IT system unable to cope. The system that was brought in was not ‘Fit For Purpose’ and collapsed under the strain of the extra work it was required to handle. [Hoe many Police Officers or Border Guards would £220 million pay for?]

Under her tenure at the Home Office, Ugandan lesbian, Jackie Nanyonjo was deported. On 10 January 2013 the UK Border Agency told her she was to be deported on an EgyptAir flight, despite having applied for a judicial review of her case. She was accompanied on the flight by four security escorts from Reliance Security who, her friends claimed, beat her throughout the flight forcing her head down between her legs, and attempted to strangle her. [Similar allegations have been made against G4S staff under similar circumstances I believe]

In November 2013, May removed the passport of Hilal Al Jedda, although he had won an appeal in the Supreme Court in November 2013. The Supreme Court had ruled that rescinding Al Jedda’s passport was unlawful. Having entered the UK under the guise of an asylum seeker in 1992, he first lost his British passport in 2007 after serving three years at a military detention centre in Iraq for suspected terrorism offences. Al Jedda became the first person to be stripped twice of British citizenship. [Yet again May shows her total arrogance and disregard for the rulings of the Courts].

May came under criticism by Labour and human rights organizations over her comments about a deportation case involving a man who fought deportation by providing details of his relationship with a woman from the UK, including the fact they had a pet cat. Human Rights campaigners criticised the comment and said May “urgently needs to get her facts straight“, while Amnesty International said May’s comments only fuelled “myths and misconceptions” about the Human Rights Act and the fact “that someone in Theresa May’s position can be so misinformed as to parade out a story about someone being allowed to stay in Britain because of a cat is nothing short of alarming.”

In June 2014, an inflamed public argument arose between Home Office and Education Ministers about responsibility for alleged extremism in Birmingham schools. Prime Minister David Cameron’s intervened to resolve the row, insisting that May sack her Special Advisor Fiona Cunningham for releasing on May’s website a confidential letter to May’s colleagues, and that Gove, the Education Secretary, apologise to the Home Office’s head of Security and Counter-Terrorism, Charles Farr, for uncomplimentary briefings of him appearing on the front page of The Times [clearly a Home Secretary not in control of her Department].

By mid 2014, American company 3M which makes the RFID microchips hidden in new passports, and their client, the Passport Office, revealed allegations of a large backlog in developing processing passport applications appeared. David Cameron suggested that this had come about due to the Passport Office’s receiving an “above normal” 300,000-rise in applications. It was revealed, however, that May had been warned the year before, in July 2013, that a surge of 350,000 extra applications could occur owing to the closure of processing overseas under Chancellor Osborne’s programme of cuts. Well over £600,000 were paid to staff who helped clear the backlog [A total farce which could easily have been avoided]

Abu Hamza and Theresa May, between them, reduced the Extradition System to a total farce. He used every trick in the book to avoid extradition and she (along with previous Home Secretaries it must be said) failed to effectively counter them, taking many years to finally get him extradited to America. Her shortcomings notably included getting the dates wrong and all owing him to remain due an oversight by her Department. Shabby.

In 2011 she was embroiled in a controversy over the UK Border Agency, leading to the resignation of Brodie Clark despite Mrs May’s eventual admission to Parliament that “she had not told the Cabinet of her decision to allow officials to relax checks on some European travellers arriving in the UK.” [Personally I feel that our Borders have never been less secure, and times of jihad that is not a good thing]

I have no need to comment about Cruella and Call Me Dave Camoron’s reforms of the Police Service. Much has already been said and We’re All Doomed. And I still can’t work out why Tom Winsor never claimed his fee for producing the Winsor Reviews, very odd. And all these reforms brought in without a single Impact Assessment or Risk Assessment!!

Of course, May and her cohorts will never admit that criminal investigations in the UK are severely hampered by the lack of real resources – not enough police officers – not enough cash to conduct investigations – police morale at an all-time low – and so on – all a DIRECT result of the policies of the Conservatives in government

My thanks are due to @30OnFrontLine for reminding (how could I possibly have forgotten) of the travesty they call Police and Crime Commissioners. Nobody wanted them, nobody understood them and nobody voted for them. And now we find that the system nobody wanted seems to cost more than the old system of Police Authorities. Not to mention the alleged dubious activities of one or two.

Most recently we have the sad but somewhat ridiculous situation with the Child Abuse enquiries where she has taken heaven knows how long to find somebody suitably qualified to chair the enquiry and has spectacularly failed, twice now appointing someone who appears to be less than ‘Independent’.

It really is time for her to go. She feels that she has the right to castigate successive generations of Police Officers, but all of her failings have occurred within a single career!!

The time is right to bring back #NoConfidenceInTheresaMay.

The time is right for Theresa May to resign.

If I have omitted any howlers please add them to the comments below or email them to me and I’ll include them in the body of the ‘list’ together with a suitable acknowledgement.

From Retired and Angry Blog

Home Secretary: Reforms ‘prove more for less is possible’

Theresa May claims that Coalition Government has “proved critics wrong” and that reform programme has improved policing.

The Coalition Government has proved that it is possible to deliver more for less through its radical police reform programme and has proved its critics wrong, according to the Home Secretary.

Theresa May (pictured) has said that in the face of significant criticism from the Police Federation, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and the Labour Party, the current government has proved that “change is possible” through its reform programme.

In a recent speech Mrs May reiterated that police reform is working and that crime continues to fall.

She said: “When I first launched my programme of police reform, many denied the need for change. When I announced that central government police budgets would be cut by 20 per cent in real terms over four years – they said it couldn’t be done.

“The Police Federation, ACPO and the Labour Party were united: the frontline service would be ruined and crime would go shooting up. Labour called it “the perfect storm”, the Police Federation said it would be “Christmas for criminals”.

“But in all these areas, we are delivering better value for money, more effectiveness and greater accountability. And we have proved – against all the critics – that change is possible.”

Speaking at the Police IT Suppliers Summit Mrs May highlighted how police reforms have “cut excessive and unnecessary bureaucracy” in addition to scrapping national targets in a bid to free up police time.

We have proved that most important of lessons – this it is possible to deliver more for less
She added: “So central government funding to the police has reduced by £1.2 billion over the Spending Review period even as crime has fallen by more than a fifth, according to the independent Crime Survey for England and Wales.

“And that isn’t some abstract number, it’s 962,000 fewer criminal damage incidents, 413,000 fewer violent incidents and 160,000 fewer domestic burglaries in England and Wales in the past year compared with 2010.

“By getting rid of government imposed targets and unnecessary bureaucracy we have saved 4.5 million police hours – the equivalent of 2,100 full-time officers. And Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary has shown that the proportion of officers on the frontline has risen from 89 per cent to 91 per cent.

“So police reform is working: crime is falling, and we have proved that most important of lessons – this it is possible to deliver more for less.”

Officer professionalism

However, Steve Evans, Vice-Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said that the quality performance achieved in policing is down to the “sheer professionalism” of the police officers that remain.

In an interview with PoliceOracle.com Mr Evans said: “The improvement or performance that the Home Secretary refers to is in our view, down to the sheer professionalism of the police officers who still remain in post, rather than police reforms.

“Our officers have gone the extra mile despite the effects of the cuts.

“What needs to be considered is that the policing world is much more complex – so even if a crime is going down in one area, each incident is more complex and takes more time because people’s expectations of policing are higher.

“In order to satisfy the high demand expected of us – each crime is more complicated to follow up. The demand on officers is still rising.

“There is absolutely nothing wrong with trying to get the very best out of the resources you have – it is the definition of professionalism. But police numbers have a critical mass and it can get to a stage where the public will not get the service they need if there are not enough officers.”

John Apter, Chairman of Hampshire Police Federation, said of the Home Secretary’s speech: “The rhetoric that comes from the Home Office is typcial of a government who are out of touch with the reality of policing.

“I know that police officers have never felt so under-valued, unsupported and demoralised. If that is success then congratulations the government have succeeded.”

From Police Oracle

Punitive drug law enforcement failing, says Home Office study

Home Office study finds no evidence that harsh sentencing curbs illegal use and documents success of Portugal’s decriminalisation
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There is no evidence that tough enforcement of the drug laws on personal possession leads to lower levels of drug use, according to the government’s first evidence-based study.

Examining international drug laws, the groundbreaking Home Office document published brings to an end 40 years of almost unbroken official political rhetoric that only harsher penalties can tackle the problem caused by the likes of heroin, cocaine or cannabis.

It is signed off by the Conservative home secretary, Theresa May, and the Liberal Democrat minister Norman Baker and will be published alongside an official expert report calling for a general ban on the sale and trade in legal highs.

Baker said the international comparisons demonstrated that “banging people up and increasing sentences does not stop drug use”. He said the last 40 years had seen a drugs debate in Britain based on the “lazy assumption in the rightwing press that if you have harsher penalties it will reduce drug use, but there is no evidence for that at all”.

Baker added: “If anything the evidence is to the contrary.”

The minister added that wider societal factors, such as a more risk-averse generation of young people, who suffered fewer alcohol problems and were healthier, contributed to the general downward trend in drug use.

It documents in detail the successes of the health-led approach in Portugal combining decriminalisation with other policies, and shows reductions in all types of drug use alongside falls in drug-related HIV and Aids cases.

The Home Office international research paper on the use of illegal drugs, which redeems a Lib Dem 2010 election pledge for a royal commission to examine the alternatives to the current drug laws, also leaves the door open on the legalisation experiments in the American states of Washington and Colorado, and in Uruguay. It says that “it is too early to know how they will play out but we will monitor the impacts of these new policies in the years to come”.

Regarding legal highs, Baker said the government would look at the feasibility of a blanket ban on new compounds of psychoactive drugs that focused on dealers and the “head shops” that sell tobacco paraphernalia rather than users.

“The head shops could be left with nothing to sell but Rizla papers,” Baker said. “The approach of a general ban had a dramatic effect on their availability when it was introduced in Ireland, but we must ensure that it will work here.”

A ban would apply to head shops and websites. Legal highs are currently banned on a temporary 12-month basis as each new substance arrives on the market. Legislation is possible before the election but not certain.

The new blanket or “generic” ban would not be accompanied by a ban on the possession or use of the new psychoactive substances, which often mimic the effects of traditional drugs. This would remain legal.

It is expected the expert report on legal highs will recommend a threshold for substances to be banned so that those with minimal psychoactive effects such as alcohol, tobacco, tea and coffee would not be caught by the proposed new ban.

The report firmly rejects a New Zealand style-approach of regulating head shops and other sales outlets for legal highs.

Publication of both reports has been held up for months as interminable negotiations between the two coalition parties have gone on over every detailed issue.

Baker has repeatedly warned of the dangers of legal highs, citing evidence that some cannabinoids synthesised in chemical labs are 100 times more powerful than traditional strains of cannabis.

The expert report says there were 60 deaths related to new psychoactive substances in 2013 – up from 52 the year before.

It also considers basing future controls of the effect on the brain rather than the current test of their chemical structure.

Frontline health staff are also urged to receive strengthened training to deal with their effects.

Danny Kushlik, of the Transform drugs charity – which campaigns for drug legalisation, said the international report represented a landmark in British drugs policy since the introduction of the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act that is still in force today.

“This is a historic moment in the development of UK drug policy. For the first time in over 40 years the Home Office has admitted that enforcing tough drug laws doesn’t necessarily reduce levels of drug use,” said Kushlik.

“It has also acknowledged that decriminalising the possession of drugs doesn’t increase levels of use. Even more, the department in charge of drugs prohibition says it will take account of the experiments in the legal regulation of cannabis in Washington, Colorado and Uruguay.

“Pragmatic reform will only happen if there is crossparty support for change and we can assume now that the Labour party can engage constructively on this previously toxic issue.”

A Home Office spokesperson, responding to the evidence of the international report, said: “This government has absolutely no intention of decriminalising drugs. Our drugs strategy is working and there is a long-term downward trend in drug misuse in the UK.

“It is right that we look at drugs policies in other countries and today’s report summarises a number of these international approaches.”

Earlier this year the deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, pledged to abolish prison sentences for the possession of drugs for personal use – including class-A substances such as heroin and cocaine. He urged David Cameron to look at issues such as decriminalisation or legalisation of drugs.

From the Guardian but widely reported

Surrey Police apology over John Lowe double gun murders

Dog breeder John Lowe told police officers he wanted the women put down

Surrey Police has apologised over its “flawed” decision to return guns to an 82-year-old man who went on to murder his partner and her daughter.

Christine Lee, 66, and 40-year-old Lucy Lee were shot by John Lowe at his puppy farm in Farnham in February.

His shotguns and licence had been seized by the police in March 2013 but were returned to him four months later.

After the hearing, Christine Lee’s daughter, Stacy Banner, said Surrey Police had “put the gun in his hands”.

“The shotgun was one of seven that had been returned to him by the police only months before he used it to kill,” she said.

“John Lowe pulled the trigger but it was the Surrey Police who put the gun in his hands.”
Assistant Chief Constable Stuart Cundy from Surrey Police, said two reports by other forces had found the decision to return the guns was “flawed”.

He said: “Whilst the full investigation into this matter remains ongoing, in light of these early findings Surrey Police has spoken with members of Christine and Lucy Lee’s family to apologise for this.”

Three Surrey Police employees were now subject to a gross misconduct investigation, he added.

“As a result of the two independent reports, the IPCC have decided this will now be an independent investigation,” he said.
Outside court, Mrs Banner said Lowe “brutally and deliberately murdered my mum and my sister by shooting each of them at close range with a shotgun”.

“They did not stand a chance,” she said.

Mrs Banner called for the way gun licensing decisions are made to be changed.

“Licensing cannot be left entirely up to the police,” she said.

“There needs to be thorough and regular multi-agency assessments for would-be gun-holders.

“And the cost of a shotgun licence needs to be significantly increased.”

IPCC commissioner Jennifer Izekor said: “Two women have tragically lost their lives, and their family and friends deserve to know the circumstances in which the guns were returned to Mr Lowe.

“It also is in the interests of the wider public that Surrey Police’s decision-making in these circumstances is independently scrutinised.”
The jury heard a 999 call by victim Lucy Lee: “He’s just shot my mum”
Surrey Police said it had taken steps to ensure its firearms licensing policy and procedures were in line with national best practice.

The force is also reviewing other cases in which firearms have been returned to people.
Kevin Hurley, Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner, insisted it was “very difficult” to get a firearms licence.

When asked for his reaction to the family’s statement, he told BBC Radio 4’s PM programme: “I understand that when someone has lost family members they want to apportion blame and they will make statements they think are appropriate.

“I have no issue with family members making that kind of statement because they are upset, they are grieving and it is clear that police failed in this case.”

From the BBC

Positive discrimination employment changes branded ‘politically correct’

The Chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation has branded Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe’s remarks about positive discrimination “drivel” – accusing the Commissioner of pandering to the “politically correct brigade”.

Met Commissioner Sir Bernard has said he wants employment law altered to enable the force to practice a form of positive discrimination.

Sir Bernard wants to copy a practice in Northern Ireland designed to achieve diversity in the ranks and “create a ‘critical mass’ of black and minority ethnic officers within the service which we believe would then help encourage even more to join”.

The Met already undertakes “positive action” recruitment advertising campaigns targeted at specific communities considered underrepresented in the force, and the commissioner has in the past stated his commitment to get his force “looking like London”.

The force would now like to recruit people from minorities in equal numbers to those from the white majority “for a set period of time”, said a spokesman for the Met.

However, Federation Chairman John Tully said he did not agree with the idea.

He told PoliceOracle.com: “I’ve gone on record saying I don’t support it at all. I am against any discrimination whatsoever, and that includes positive discrimination.”

He said he had no objections to positive action campaigns, but added: “If you relate that to the Northern Ireland example, they can only recruit one protestant if they recruit one Catholic. We would be able to recruit one white person only if we also recruited someone that isn’t white.

“Actually we agree with Tom Winsor that we should be recruiting the best person for the job. It doesn’t matter what colour or sexual orientation they are, so long as they are up to the job and are competent.”

He said Sir Bernard’s idea was “akin to pandering to those sections of society who think they know best, and on this occasion I don’t think they do know best […] this drivel about the Met looking like the city it polices is just nonsense. It’s a headline grabbing snippet. We don’t police by headlines, we police by consent.

“I’m sorry if it doesn’t suit the politically correct brigade but that’s the way it is.”

‘Pushing the limit’

Others, including Greater Manchester Police’s Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy – Vice President of the Association of Chief Police Officers – have come out in support of Sir Bernard’s view.

Sir Peter said: “A service that represents the communities we serve is imperative in tackling crime and terrorism.

“When you are dealing with difficult community issues, undercover operations or gathering intelligence there is an operational need for officers who understand different national or ethnic groups, can identify with their culture and build relationships to work with them effectively.

“Despite police efforts, the service still does not reflect the diversity of our communities, particularly in big towns and cities.

“We are pushing the existing law to its limit so that chief officers can take positive action in the recruitment process to choose candidates that are most able to engage with a particular group or tackle certain issues in their force area.

“As the size of forces reduces and there is more competition for promotion opportunities, this becomes a more challenging issue and there is a danger that progress slows.

“Chief officers have been clear that they would like to see a change in employment law to allow the rights of the individual to be balanced with the needs of the organisation and the expectations of the local community.”

Police Killer Harry Roberts to be Released

Police killer Harry Roberts is to be released from prison after serving more than 45 years behind bars.

He was jailed for life for the murder of three policemen in Shepherd’s Bush, west London, in 1966 and told he would never be released.

Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, Steve White says he is appalled at the decision.

“Let’s not forget, this menace murdered three unarmed police officers in cold blood and it is abhorrent news,” he said.

“This decision by the parole board is a slap in the face for the families of the three police officers he brutally murdered who, once again, are forced to re-live their pain and loss. It will spark fury among everyone in the police family who will feel badly let down.

The officers were shot, in what was later called the massacre of Braybrook Street, after they pulled over
a van containing Roberts and two others.

PC Geoffrey Fox, 41, Sergeant Christopher Head, 30, and Detective Constable David Wombwell, 25, had approached the van after seeing it parked near Wormwood Scrubs prison.

The officers were in plain clothes and had approached the van after suspecting a prison break. In fact the men were preparing to commit an armed robbery.

Roberts shot dead Mr Wombwell and Mr Head, while Mr Fox was killed by another member of the gang.

Roberts was given three life sentences for the murders and his 30 year minimum tariff expired 18 years ago.

When he was finally brought to justice, Mr Justice Glyn-Jones said it was a “heinous” crime and told him: “I think it likely that no Home Secretary regarding the enormity of your crime will ever think fit to show mercy by releasing you on licence.”

He would have faced the death penalty but it was abolished eight months prior to his sentence.

The 78-year-old has now been approved for release by the Parole Board.

We Don’t Have Enough Resources.

Well done to Keith Bristow, head of the National Crime Agency, for stepping up and stating that there are insufficient resources to tackle all the online paedophiles viewing indecent images.

Mr Bristow said it was an “uncomfortable” reality that some of the 50,000 people who accessed indecent images of children each year would not end up in the criminal justice system.

Mr Bristow said the police and NCA needed to focus their efforts on apprehending the most high risk offenders who may go on to sexually abuse children.

But he admitted that this meant some lower risk offenders who only viewed images online would inevitably escape justice.

You can read a bit more here.  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/11174715/Thousands-of-paedophiles-will-escape-justice-crime-chief-admits.html

Conservatives Cutting Crime

I received the following email from Theresa May today. Apparently, their strategy of screwing up the police service and focussing on cutting crime is working!

‘People who work hard and do the right thing deserve to feel safe in their homes and in their communities.

Under Labour, that wasn’t the case. Police officers were wrapped in red tape, unable to do their job – and people didn’t feel safe on the streets.

So since the last election, we’ve been working through our action plan to tackle crime: freeing the police to do their job, giving them the powers they need, and protecting communities with tougher sentences for criminals.

And our plan is working, with crime down by more than a fifth since the election:

Graphic – safer, more secure communities: 2.3 million fewer crimes than 09/10; 160.000 fewer home burglaries; 290.000 fewer vehicle crimes; 413,000 fewer violent crimes.

But we need to keep going – and we need everyone to get behind our plan. So Paul – please add your name today to show you’re backing our plan.

With your support, we can keep making our streets and our communities safer. So please sign your name today

Theresa May

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