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Police cuts ‘will endanger public’, says Met commissioner

Public safety will be at risk unless radical measures are taken to deal with funding cuts, Britain’s most senior policeman has warned.

Met Police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said forces were facing “years of more austerity and shrinking budgets”, whoever is in power.

He said police forces in England and Wales should merge and share resources with other emergency services.

The prime minister’s spokesman said the current structure was the right one.

Writing in the Guardian, the Scotland Yard commissioner said that unless police and other public services across England and Wales “act fast” and with “courage” to implement far-reaching reforms, the cuts would endanger public safety.

He said local authorities, criminal justice agencies and the police should share support services – and all but core policing functions should be opened up to competition.

He said in urban areas like London police should link more closely with ambulance, fire and other services.

In the first half of Parliament, policing was dominated by the issue of cuts: How would the service cope with having its central government funding reduced by a fifth?

The response from most forces was to chop the number of officers and staff.

The question of cuts is back on the agenda, as forces face a further squeeze to the end of the decade.

There is growing support for the restructuring option favoured by Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe. Sir Hugh Orde, the Association of Chief Police Officers’ president, and Irene Curtis of the Police Superintendents Association are among a number of policing leaders who see the virtue in fewer, bigger forces.

Labour is committed to some kind of re-organisation, but is proceeding cautiously, perhaps scarred by the previous doomed attempt in 2006.

The Conservatives remain opposed, put off by worries that police forces’ local identity and accountability will be threatened.

But tough spending decisions after the next election will keep the issue centre stage.

Sir Bernard also revisited the idea of police force mergers as a way to save money and develop a “common mission” against cyber crime.

“In England and Wales there are 43 forces. The smallest has 600 officers, the largest, the Met, 32,000. They are based on 1974 local government boundaries and in many cases emergency services are now the only county-wide services,” he said.

“Do criminals respect these county boundaries? No, they don’t. They seek markets with high population densities to sell drugs and steal property. They pass local and national borders with ease.

“We need to be as flexible and aggressive as they are. We do not need the boundaries that currently mark out the territory of chief constables or police and crime commissioners.”

Prime Minister David Cameron’s spokesman said there were issues in terms of efficiencies and greater cooperation but the current set-up was the right approach “given the importance of retaining local accountability”.

The prime minister believes there is “more that can be done” on police forces working together and sharing technology and procurement services, the spokesman added.

Last week, the chief constable of Lincolnshire Police said his force could be “unviable” in three years if it had to make further cuts.

Chief Constable Neil Rhodes outlined his concerns in a letter to the home secretary. He said cuts to officer numbers, in response to a reported £10.4m budget shortfall, would mean the force would be unable to police effectively.

BBC Online

Budget cuts ‘are a positive thing’

Before you read the article and start fuming (like I did!) please read this -

Andy – 1 hour ago
Thanks Police Oracle! Budget cuts are not a positive thing – we have no desire to reduce staff and services! What I stressed was that there is no point moaning about what we haven’t got we need to focus on what we can do with the money we have. When forced into reducing budgets you have to be innovative otherwise you will just reduce service, you have to fundamentally redesign the way you deliver policing – this has led to some positive changes. But no one in their right mind would wish for a budget cut! In Warwickshire we have been one of the hardest hit by the austerity measures, we have lost good staff and the spectre of further cuts hangs over our workforce, so budget cuts are not positive and the headline on this article is misleading. Andy Parker

That was a response to the article by CC Andy Parker. I guess even Police Oracle feel the need to “spice up headlines” If the other responses are anything to go by, they were not impressed by the article one bit. – Here it is……..

Outgoing chief believes reduced funding has forced the service to become more innovative and creative.

Cuts to budgets should be seen in a positive light and the policing attitude towards austerity needs to change, a chief constable has said.

CC Andy Parker (pictured), who will have completed almost 32 years’ service by the time he retires at the end of March 2015, said that it is not policing’s “job” to moan about the money given by the government but to try and deliver the best protection with those funds.

In an interview with PoliceOracle.com CC Parker, who has been responsible for overseeing Warwickshire Police’s move into a ground-breaking strategic alliance with neighbouring West Mercia, said that he has focused on what budget he has rather looking at what has been lost.

He said that while the Police Service may not be able to do everything it had done before, it will still be able to give “levels of protection”.

“It is a positive rather than a negative thing,” he said.

“We can moan about having less money but we need to look at what we have got. We have to redesign delivering the service. In Warwickshire we have gone back to basic principles and we will build an organisation to deliver that.

“When you have got significantly reduced budgets you have to be radical and creative and literally re-draw the map.

“We would have not gone into a strategic alliance if we had not suffered budget cuts and it has resulted in innovative ways of working and stronger resilience for both forces.”

However, the chief officer did concede that the alliance had been very difficult for police staff, who suffered redundancies as a result of consolidating and merging certain departments.

The alliance was recently praised in a report by the Police Foundation, which stated that it has provided better value for money than predecessor and that there has been little adverse impact on performance.

‘Be more positive’

CC Parker added that senior leaders need to be more positive about change and that “a lot can be done” with the budgets in place.

He said: “The whole attitude needs to change away from being negative.

“Whatever money we have it is not our job to complain for more money – it is for the public to decide at the election box and the government.

“It is our job not to moan about it but to deliver the best protection.

“We take what we get. Of course we will always make representations for more money but once the government has decided on the money – it is pointless to moan about it.”

He added: “When you have less resources you rely on other partners and the public – crime reduction is a joint endeavour.

“In austerity – these relationships with partners and the public are vital. As well as having to be creative in restructuring so you can provide the best protection – you need to be creative to help the public.”

From Police Oracle

Half of crime commissioners are accused of misconduct: Parliamentary committee set to investigate allegations against 23 of the 41 elected officials

More than half of police and crime commissioners have had misconduct complaints made against them.
The police watchdog has received allegations of wrongdoing against 23 of the 41 officials who were elected in November 2012.
The commissioners replaced police authorities in England and Wales in a bid to make policing more accountable, but as concerns grow over their conduct a parliamentary committee is due to investigate the high level of complaints.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission last night said only six of the 43 complaints had resulted in full investigations.
Yet Keith Vaz, the chairman of the home affairs committee, told the Times newspaper the number of complaints was disappointing, adding: ‘What it shows is that people appear to have lost confidence with the office to such an extent that there is the equivalent of one complaint per police authority.’
The Labour MP said he would write to police and crime panels to see what had been done about the complaints the IPCC had been unable to investigate.
Among the cases referred to the IPCC is the recent resignation of South Yorkshire’s commissioner Shaun Wright. It is due to announce soon whether it will formally investigate allegations about his knowledge of child sexual exploitation while he worked at Rotherham council.
Lancashire’s Clive Grunshaw was investigated by the watchdog over expenses claims he made as a county councillor. The IPCC said the Crown Prosecution Service is again considering material after initially ruling he would not face any further action. Kent’s Ann Barnes is being investigated for an allegation of driving without insurance.
And the IPCC is due to announce whether it will hand prosecutors the case of Durham’s Ron Hogg over allegations about benefits he received while serving with Cleveland police. Allegations of electoral fraud by PCCs in Hampshire and North Wales were investigated but no action was taken.
An IPCC spokesman said 14 of the complaints were not investigated because they were allegations that the watchdogs had not registered with the Information Commissioner as information providers. Unless they are convicted of a crime, PCCs can only be ousted in elections held every four years.
Following Mr Wright’s initial refusal to resign over the Rotherham scandal Home Secretary Theresa May indicated she would back a new law to allow PCCs to be sacked in extreme circumstances.
The Association of Police and Crime Commissioners is also said to be considering the proposals, as well as ‘beefing up’ police and crime panels.

Mail On Line 1/12/14. Also in The Times.

PC sacked for revealing Andrew Mitchell called officers ‘plebs’ says he’d ‘do it again tomorrow’ because the Tory MP thought he was ‘untouchable’

A PC sacked for revealing that Andrew Mitchell called Downing Street officers ‘f****** plebs’ has said today he would do it again because the MP believed he was ‘untouchable’.
Whistleblower James Glanville, 47, believes the incident two years ago would have been ‘covered up’ because Scotland Yard is ‘more afraid of upsetting politicians than looking after their own’.
Last week Tory MP Mr Mitchell lost his libel battle for calling police officers ‘f****** plebs’ who should ‘know their place’ because they would not let him through the Downing Street gates on his bike.
Mr Glanville, who leaked details of the row in September 2012, was sacked, racked up £13,000 of debt because of spiralling legal costs and the strain also cost him his marriage.
But the diplomatic protection officer, who served for 23 years and received a bravery award for tackling violent burglars, has no regrets about what happened.
‘I’d do it all again tomorrow. I thought the public deserved to know how someone that senior in the Government behaved,’ he told The Sun.
‘I was incensed by what Andrew Mitchell had said and I knew it would get covered up.
‘Mitchell has been allowed to discredit anybody and say whatever he wants. He thought he was untouchable. Now he has been exposed as the bully he is’.
The former Met officer said he was furious because Mr Mitchell had been rude to police officers just days after to PCs were murdered in Manchester by Dale Cregan.
‘We’re stood there 24/7 in all weathers to protect these people. Why should we put our lives on the line if that’s the sort of respect someone like Mitchell has for us?’
Mr Glanville said he had thought it likely no one would take action over the incident, which he heard about a few hours after it happened, so he ‘picked up the phone’ to the newspaper.
But three other officers have also lost their jobs in the aftermath of the incident, which was said to last no more than a minute.
Pc Keith Wallis was jailed and dismissed for emailing his MP pretending to have witnessed the confrontation.
Pc Susan Johnson lost her job after she exchanged text messages and a phone call with Mr Glanville around the time he contacted the tabloid, and for failing to report that Wallis had sent her a copy of his email.
Pc Gillian Weatherley, who was on duty on the day of the confrontation between Mr Mitchell and Mr Rowland, was sacked over leaks to the press. She sent a photograph of an email Mr Rowland had sent to his bosses about the row to Mr Glanville.
Mr Glanville, who now works as a car salesman in Essex, has told The Sun’s Tom Newton Dunn he was sorry Ms Weatherley was dismissed, insisting she had no idea he had been in contact with the press.
He says that Met Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe and other management should have protected their workers.
He said: ‘The hierarchy should have backed their officers from the outset. But they didn’t.’
Last week Mr Justice Mitting reached the ‘firm conclusion’ that the 58-year-old MP used the ‘politically toxic’ word in Downing Street when he was not allowed to cycle through the main vehicle gates.
Mr Mitchell, who resigned as a whip a month after the altercation, denied during his two-week libel action against News Group Newspapers (NGN) that he had said: ‘Best you learn your f****** place – you don’t run this f****** government – you’re f****** plebs.’
He said he would never call a policeman a pleb, ‘let alone a f****** pleb’, although he agreed he muttered under his breath ‘I thought you lot were supposed to f****** help us’ – but not directed at the officer.Mr Mitchell, who faces a hefty legal bill of up to £3million, said he was ‘bitterly disappointed’ with the ruling. His political career is also in tatters over the incident.
In a statement, Scotland Yard said: ‘Mr Glanville was dismissed from the MPS without notice, as it was found that he had breached standards of professional behaviour in relation to honesty and integrity; confidentiality; orders and instructions; duties and responsibilities; and discreditable conduct, this included providing inaccurate statements to the investigation team.
‘There was no attempt to ‘cover up’ anything on the part of the MPS.
‘Both Mr Mitchell and Pc Rowland had agreed the matter to be concluded shortly after it happened.

Daily Mail On Line 1/12/14

We told the police about video game predator who murdered Breck – If they’d acted, our son would be in our arms today.

The parents of a schoolboy murdered by an internet ‘predator’ insisted last night that he would still be alive today if police had listened to their plea for help.

Breck Bednar, 14, was fatally stabbed in the neck by computer engineer Lewis Daynes who ‘groomed’ him through an internet gaming forum.

Yet two months earlier, Breck’s mother Lorin LaFave detailed all her concerns about Daynes to Surrey Police in a 30-minute phone call. Tragically, she wasn’t taken seriously.

‘No one bothered to call me back, which was unforgivable,’ she said. ‘I gave them Daynes’s full name, the fact that he lived in Essex, but they did nothing. If they had acted on my information I have no doubt that this would not have happened.’

According to Surrey Police’s own procedures, the phone call should have triggered an investigation to identify whether there was any ‘immediate or critical risk’.

If none is established within 24 hours, the guidance states that a specialist officer should still arrange a meeting with parents within ten days and then conduct further ‘research into the person you are enquiring about’.

Ms LaFave said that because she and her ex-husband heard nothing back ‘we assumed Daynes didn’t pose the threat we feared’.

The Mail on Sunday can reveal that in another disturbing aspect of the case, 19-year-old Daynes sent photographs of Breck’s dead body to two of the schoolboy’s friends within hours of the ‘sexually or sadistically motivated’ attack.

At the time, Breck’s parents were frantic because he had not returned home, but they had not yet been told he was dead.

During a phone call to another friend of her son, who had heard about the pictures, Ms LaFave was told: ‘Breck’s really unwell… he’s with Lewis.’

The photographs led to news of Breck’s death circulating on the internet before his father was able to break the news to his brother and two sisters: 12-year-old triplets Carly, Chloe and Sebastian. In fact, they heard by text message.

In a moving interview that will strike a chill into parents’ hearts, Ms LaFave, 47, and her ex-husband, Barry Bednar, 49, recalled their anguish as their ‘beautiful, loving’ son became locked under Daynes’s Svengali-like spell – and spoke of their torment at the thought of his final hours.

The day before, February 16, Breck told his father he was going to visit a schoolfriend. Instead he travelled by taxi from his Surrey home to Daynes’s flat in Grays, Essex, because the engineer had apparently promised to upgrade his computer. Daynes paid the taxi fare.

Beyond the fact that they ordered takeaway pizza, his parents know little about what happened next, and, indeed, may never know why Breck was murdered.

‘I can’t begin to explain my feeling of helplessness and terror when I think of what Breck must have felt when the penny finally dropped and he realised he was in grave danger,’ said Mr Bednar.

‘I hope that that was for a very short period of time. This is one of my most recurring nightmares.’

Last week, having previously denied murder, Daynes pleaded guilty just as his trial was about to start at Chelmsford Crown Court. He is due to be sentenced in January. Breck’s parents also spoke of how:

Daynes ‘controlled’ an exclusive internet gaming group made up of six boys – and used the threat of expulsion ‘to keep them in line’

Breck was introduced to the group by friends at a church youth club.

They had concerns about Daynes from the outset and wanted to meet him – but he refused saying Ms LaFave was ‘too judgmental’.

Ms LaFave confronted Daynes online to try to stop him manipulating Breck only to be told by the killer that she should grant her son more computer time – and stop making him do chores.

They eventually banned their son from playing games and communicating with Daynes online.

Daynes peddled ludicrous stories of how he had previously worked for the US Defense Department – and made £2.5million on an investment in Bitcoin which he gave away to Syrian rebels.

After the murder Breck’s parents were upset to see their son portrayed publicly as socially awkward. They insist the opposite was true and that in many ways he was a model son – confident, bright, well-mannered, conscientious – who had many friends.

‘If it could happen to Breck, it could happen to anyone’s son,’ said Mr Bednar, a financier and former chairman of a Baltic Exchange advisory body.

‘He didn’t fit the computer-geek stereotype of a troubled, uncommunicative boy, locked away in his room. It just wasn’t like that. And that’s one of the reasons why what happened is so shocking.’

The couple, who divorced in 2006, moved to London from the United States 17 years ago when Mr Bednar got a new job as an oil futures trader.

They had struggled for years to have children and after they underwent fertility treatment, Breck was born in 1999 at the Portland Hospital in Central London.

‘It was a joyful, very special time. I was such a proud mother, as happy as could be, and Breck was a beautiful boy and such a good baby,’ said Ms LaFave.

After the US, ‘the absence of a gun culture’ in their adopted country made Ms LaFave feel secure. ‘I adored London and I took Breck out every day in his pram.’

Two-and-a-half years later she gave birth to triplets and the family moved to Weybridge, Surrey.

‘Breck was never jealous of the triplets, he loved them, and he was a great little helper for me, always wanting to do little jobs like fetching nappies,’ said Ms LaFave.

‘And he was always taking things apart and putting them back together. Our gardener said he was a boy genius. It was clear he was technically minded and we could see him growing up to be an architect or an engineer, like his two grandfathers.’

Though her life was chaotic, Ms LaFave relished being a mother. But her husband was under intense pressure at work and he admits that it meant he was not always the easiest person to live with.

Cracks in the couple’s relationship later proved irreparable and the marriage foundered.

Ms LaFave moved to Caterham, Surrey, with the children who, despite the break-up, continued to excel at school, none more so than Breck.

Ms LaFave moved to Caterham, Surrey, with the children who, despite the break-up, continued to excel at school, none more so than Breck.

‘We never had any problems with him, he was in all the top groups and he was happy,’ said his mother. ‘While he wasn’t naturally sporty he was an excellent swimmer and a good hockey player.

‘And as I was now a single mother, he became my right-hand man.’

When his father lost his job, Breck was taken out of his fee-paying school and moved to a Church of England comprehensive, where he continued to shine academically. Outside of school, Breck joined the Army Air Corps, which he was ‘passionate about as he wanted to be a pilot’. He also enjoyed a Sunday evening church youth group called Pulse Plus.

Like many boys his age, Breck was already keen on video games and computers and through two friends from Pulse was introduced to an internet forum called TeamSpeak.

It allowed users to speak on a ‘chat channel’, much like a telephone conference call, and play games at the same time.

The server that the group played and communicated on was owned and controlled by Lewis Daynes.

‘Breck always kept his bedroom door open and I would often go in to see him, which he was fine about,’ said his mother.

‘At first there was no cause for alarm. You could hear the voices of his friends coming out of the speaker and they were shouting instructions to each other as they played. I’d have preferred him to be out on his bike, and see his friends face to face.

‘But Breck said they saw each other at school. He said: “This is the way we like to socialise.”’

Ms LaFave added: ‘I never let Breck play for more than two hours a night and he was rarely, if ever, allowed TV during the week.

‘We installed parental controls which meant he couldn’t use the internet after 9pm.’

It soon became clear that the boys in the group looked up to Daynes, largely because of his computer skills.

‘If I went into the room, Breck would announce to the group that his mum was in the room and Lewis – as we called him then – would always say “Hi, Mum, how are you?” and we’d have a pleasant little chat.’

But something soon began to concern her: Daynes’s avatar, or profile picture, was a good-looking teenager in pink bow tie. ‘It didn’t quite fit in with the macho war game they played,’ she said.

‘In the back of my mind was this fear that he wasn’t 17, as he said, but a fat 40-year-old paedophile.

‘He said he was from Essex but lived in New York, which I learned later was a lie.

‘Sometimes I would speak to him about New York and once asked jokingly why, as it was a Friday night, he wasn’t on a hot date. But he simply didn’t reveal anything personal about himself.’

Breck’s parents grew even more concerned when Daynes started telling obvious lies about his work. He also tried to convince Breck and the other boys in the group that they didn’t need to finish school as he would arrange £100,000-a-year computer technology jobs for them.

‘We told Breck that this couldn’t possibly be true,’ said his father. ‘I said that he might turn out to be a terrific guy but the fact was we simply didn’t know who he was.

‘By now Daynes was claiming to be back in London so we suggested, and Breck agreed, that he should ask him if we could all meet up for a coffee. Daynes refused.’

Ms LaFave added: ‘Daynes was anti-government, anti-church, anti-everything and was filling the boys’ heads with this stuff.

‘Another fear we had was that he might be a terrorist and was preparing the boys for some kind of mission. Breck did what he was told and never answered back, and was such a great son, but it was becoming clear that Daynes was manipulating him.’

Once, he stopped him going to Army Air Corps because another boy in the group, who also went to AAC, had disagreed with Daynes about something.

‘He was playing them off against each other and using the threat of being frozen out of the group to keep them in line.’

Breck’s parents believe that Daynes might have become obsessed with their son because he saw him as a ‘challenge’.

Ms LaFave said: ‘Unlike the other boys, Breck shared all that was going on with us and Dayne was well aware of this.’

By late 2013, Ms LaFave had decided to confront Daynes online using the forum’s messaging facility. ‘I tried to be reasonable and started off by saying: “It’s difficult when you try to tell me how to raise Breck.”

‘He [Daynes] asked why I made Breck go to church because he said Breck didn’t believe in God.

‘I said we go to church as a family, we do things as a family; it was important to us. But he wrote back, “How can you force your beliefs down someone else’s throat?”

‘He also said I should let Breck play on the computer as much as he wants because he gets good grades, doesn’t drink, doesn’t do drugs. He said, “You should be happy that you have a son doing so well.”

‘Every point I made he countered. He even asked why Breck should have to do chores when he never made a mess.

‘He said he shouldn’t have to clear up after the triplets.

‘So finally I said, “Listen I am his mum, I know what is right for Breck, you need to stop telling me and him what to do and that is that!”. I thought why the heck am I arguing with someone I don’t even know – that none of us knew. It was really bizarre.’

On December 17, Ms LaFave called Surrey Police with her strong fears that Breck was being groomed. ‘The woman listened but seemed detached,’ she said.

Two day later, Ms LaFave and Mr Bednar arranged a meeting with the parents of another one of the boys and it was agreed that they should leave the internet group and cut all ties to Daynes

For a while it appeared to work – ‘we listened but could no longer hear any mention of Daynes while they were playing’ – yet the reality was, unbeknown to the parents, they were all still in contact.

In the week before he was killed, Breck went on a Spanish exchange trip through his school and returned ‘happier than ever because he got a Spanish girlfriend’.

But the following day, a Sunday, he told his father that he was visiting a schoolfriend.

‘I was pleased to see him getting out and seeing his friends face to face rather than online,’ recalled Mr Bednar.

‘He texted me later to ask if he could stay the night and I agreed.’

Ms LaFave said: ‘He was killed on my birthday. I can’t even go out in public on my own now.

‘I can only manage to do one or two things a day now – my brain has been so damaged by the shock.

‘It’s not me any more – it’s just a shell of me.

‘When I got the call confirming he was dead, I just screamed uncontrollably for quite a long time and doctors had to sedate me.

‘My ear was buzzing. It still buzzes now and my hearing has totally deteriorated in that ear – the ear that I heard the bad news in.’

Now, everywhere she goes, Ms LaFave carries a book of photographs of Breck. In one, Breck, aged three months, is sitting outside the large front door of their home near Sloane Square in Chelsea.

‘It was taken at such a happy time. I went back there a few months after the murder and sat at the spot where Breck sat and cried my eyes out, utterly destroyed,’ she said.

‘A kind man stopped and asked me if I was OK, if he could help. And I told him about the murder and by the end he was in tears too.’

Both Surrey and Essex police forces are now facing a legal claim from Breck’s family and an investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Surrey’s Assistant Chief Constable Gavin Stephens said: ‘This has been a tragic case and our thoughts remain with Breck’s friends and family. A review of practices in our call-handling centre has since been carried out and changes have been implemented to improve the way information is handled and shared.’

Mail on Sunday On Line 30/11/14

Mentally ill teenager held in police cell found care

A teenage girl with mental health problems who was kept in police cells for two days because of a lack of care beds has been found a place to stay.

Concerns for her welfare were raised by Paul Netherton, assistant chief constable at Devon and Cornwall Police.

He spoke out on Twitter on behalf of the girl, who had been held in a cell since Thursday because, he said, no beds were available anywhere in the UK.

NHS England said the 16-year-old would be moved on Saturday night.

A spokesman said: “After details were provided to NHS England about the girl and her condition, a place was found locally within a few hours.

“We are grateful for the help of the NHS in the area in identifying the place.

“It is worth noting that mental health crisis services have been expanding so that the number of people ending up in police cells is in fact down – but clearly more needs to be done.”

‘Unacceptable’

Earlier on Twitter, Mr Netherton had described the situation as “unacceptable”.

He tweeted: “We have a 16yr old girl suffering from mental health issues held in police custody. There are no beds available in the uk!

“The 16yr old was detained on Thursday night, sectioned Friday lunchtime and still no place of safety available. This can’t be right!

“Custody on a Fri & Sat night is no place for a child suffering mental health issues. Nurses being sourced to look after her in custody !?!”

He later tweeted: “Just heard that a place of care has been found for our 16yr old. Good result.”

Mr Netherton told BBC News the girl had been arrested at Torbay Hospital on Thursday after a breach of the peace and sectioned under the Mental Health Act on Friday because she was “obviously very unwell”.

“We shouldn’t have children, a schoolgirl, staying overnight in a custody block,” he said.

According to the officer, 750 mental health patients had been placed in police cells across Devon and Cornwall so far this year.
‘Costing lives’

Shadow health minister Luciana Berger described the teenager’s predicament as “an appalling reflection of the crisis in mental health services”.

“People shouldn’t face the indignity of being kept in police cells when they are at their most vulnerable,” she said.

Mark Winstanley, chief executive of mental health charity Rethink, said: “Each year thousands of people with serious mental health problems are being held in police cells, including many children and teenagers, because the right services either don’t exist in their community or are completely overstretched.

“Many people are being turned away from places of safety, because of staff shortages or lack of spaces.

“In some parts of the country, there are no health-based places of safety full-stop.

“As a result, people end up being held in police stations, or are simply left to fend for themselves. This has to change, as it’s costing lives.

“Someone going through a physical health emergency would never be treated this way, so why should it be acceptable for people experiencing a mental health crisis?”

BBC On Line 30/11/14

Seven Metropolitan Police officers arrested after stag party brawl in Lithuanian capital

Seven Metropolitan Police officers were arrested while on one of the men’s stag party in Vilnius, Lithuania, after brawling in the street.
The officers, who have not been named, are under investigation after footage of the incident emerged.
Photographs of the men alleged to have been involved with bloodied lips and scruffy clothes were published as it was claimed they were forced to spend £1,000 to be let out of jail.
A spokesman for Metropolitan Police said investigations were underway but that it was too early to say whether the men will face disciplinary action.
Footage obtained by the Sun shows the men being dragged away by Lithuanian authorities outside a nightclub.
A local prosecutor later told the newspaper he granted them bail so they could return to the UK.

It is not known whether the men will face charges yet.
‘I personally gave them bail after they paid 5,000 Lithuanian Lita which is about £1,000,’ said Marius Zupkauskas.
‘If we decide to charge them they will have to return to Lithuania for a trial.’
A spokesman for the police force today said the incident was being investigated by the Department for Professional Standards.
The Directorate of Professional Standards is aware seven police constables from Territorial Policing were arrested on Saturday November 22 whilst on leave in Vilnius, Lithuania.
‘Inquiries into what has taken place are ongoing but are at an early stage. The DPS will liaise with Lithuanian authorities.’
The officers have not been suspended, though the situation may change if the men are charged.
‘We will obviously evaluate that decision,’ the spokesman added, describing the DPS investigation and foreign authorities’ efforts as ‘independent’ from each other

Daily Mail On Line 29 November 2014

Andrew Mitchell ‘probably called police plebs’, judge rules

Ex-chief whip Andrew Mitchell probably did call police officers “plebs”, a judge has said as he ruled against the Tory MP in a High Court libel action.

Mr Justice Mitting described Mr Mitchell’s behaviour as “childish” and said he found the MP’s version of events inconsistent with CCTV footage of the row in Downing Street in 2012.

Mr Mitchell, who may face costs of £2m, said he was “bitterly disappointed”.

The officer involved, PC Toby Rowland, said he hoped a “line can be drawn”.

Mr Mitchell sued News Group Newspapers over a story that appeared in the Sun in September 2012 which claimed he called PC Toby Rowland a “pleb”.

Mr Mitchell acknowledged that he had used bad language but maintained he had not used that word.

The altercation took place as Mr Mitchell, who was government chief whip at the time, attempted to leave Downing Street via the main gate on his bicycle.

‘Politically toxic’

Mr Justice Mitting gave his verdict after listening to two weeks of evidence from 26 witnesses and considering volumes of documents concerning a 15-second exchange.

Weighing up the competing claims, the judge said PC Rowland was “not the sort of man who would have had the wit, imagination or inclination to invent on the spur of the moment an account of what a senior politician had said to him in temper”.

He added that gaps and inconsistencies in PC Rowland’s account did not demonstrate he fabricated his account, as Mr Mitchell’s lawyers had claimed.

If he was making up his account, PC Rowland would have had to have come up with the words within seconds, according to the judge.

Giving his ruling, Mr Justice Mitting said: “For the reasons given I am satisfied at least on the balance of probabilities that Mr Mitchell did speak the words alleged or something so close to them as to amount to the same including the politically toxic word pleb.”

Outside court, the BBC’s legal correspondent Clive Coleman said the ruling would be “devastating” for Mr Mitchell’s reputation.

Widely reported. This from the BBC On Line Service

Join the Forum discussion on this post

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

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