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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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PCCs: Public should have power of recall, suggests May

Lizzie Dripping… errmmm, I mean the Wicked Witch… seems to have lost the plot completely (again!) over PCCs. Having dreamed up this farcical and appallingly expensive replacement for police authorities in England and Wales, and brazened out the public fury over the hilarious and shambolic elections for PCCs, during which polling figures set new record lows and at least one polling station dealt with no voters AT ALL, she now seems to see no problem with having to enact new legislation to remedy the consequences of her first attempt, now that it doesn’t suit her political whims. And given that such proposed legislation would irrefutably be nothing but a legislative vehicle to get rid of Shaun Wright, then – bearing in mind that Wright was elected to this post by virtue of legislation that specified unambiguously the sole circumstances under which a PCC could be dismissed – I don’t think that the Courts would need much convincing that it would be wholly unlawful if she tried to make new legislation retrospective.

Whatever any of us might think about Wright’s moral position, he has nevertheless decided to stay put – he now has nothing to lose by doing so. Quite simply, Lizzie Dripping and her Conservative cronies have been well and truly hoist by their own petards! If the child abuse scandal wasn’t such a serious issue, this whole sorry story would be the funniest thing that the Home Secretary has done for many years, and personally, I think this is going to run and run and run… Wright is likely to dig his heels in, and Vazeline and the Wicked Witch are going to have to huff and puff until they can think up a “cunning plan” to wriggle out of the mess that PCCs have become, without looking like the complete pillocks they now appear to be.

Home Secretary Theresa May has indicated that she is in favour of a “power of recall” for Police and Crime Commissioners.

She told the Police Superintendents’ Association conference that there was a “debate to be had” about recall. Currently, voters can get rid of PCCs only every four years at elections.

Mrs May’s comments come amid calls for the South Yorkshire PCC to resign over the controversy surrounding child sexual exploitation in Rotherham. Last month, Mrs May called for the PCC, Shaun Wright, to stand down.

Before being elected as Commissioner, Mr Wright was Rotherham Council’s cabinet member for children’s services between 2005 and 2010.

An inquiry released in August revealed that at least 1,400 children had been sexually abused in the town between 1997 and 2013. Although Mr Wright resigned from Labour – after the party said it would suspend him – he has continued as PCC for South Yorkshire.

South Yorkshire PCC Shaun Wright has resisted calls to step down

He can only be suspended if he is charged with an offence punishable by at least two years in prison.

At a briefing after the PSA conference, Mrs May acknowledged that discussions over the recall of PCCs followed a debate over introducing similar powers in relation to MPs.

Mrs May she said she had been an “early supporter” of the recall of MPs.
 
 

‘Not the answer’

The Home Secretary also rejected calls for the government to merge police forces in England and Wales. On Monday, the president of the Police Superintendents’ Association, Irene Curtis, said it was “increasingly obvious that we do not need 43 forces”.

Mrs May said she would consider a “coherent and comprehensive” plan to merge forces with local support. But she told the conference that no chief constable or police and crime commissioner had come forward in the past four years with a proposal to merge.

“I applaud the efforts of chief constables and police and crime commissioners to work together so far, and urge them to go further – both between forces and with other emergency services. But the evidence is clear – big, top-down restructure is simply not the answer.”

In June, Labour said it was “nonsense” to have 43 forces in England and Wales, calling the system the “enemy of efficiency”.

BBC story

Gay police officers dealt with ‘discriminatory enforcement’

The Police Service has in the past been institutionally prejudiced against gay officers wanting to come out, a senior officer has argued.

Sussex Chief Constable Giles York said that historically those from lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities were “singled out” and discriminated against by officers via “discriminatory enforcement”.

For example, officers targeted public lavatories and “public sex environments” to catch individuals who were trying to keep that part of their life secret.

Addressing delegates at the 61st Police Superintendents’ Association’s annual conference in Kenilworth, Warwickshire, CC York also said the Police Service must adopt a different approach in order to attract people from all sections of the community to the job.

He added: “We have got to be different. There are some fantastic people out there who can make our work a lot easier and we have to become an employer of choice for those sorts of people.

“We are not balanced yet – why are there so many people who are not willing to share their sexuality with us?

“We gain trust through transparency – I think, historically, we prejudiced coming out in discriminatory enforcement behaviours.

“This is an active process and we need to do something positive. This is not a passive process or a responsibility to be delegated.”

During the ‘Taking the Uniform Out of the Closet’ session Ruth Hunt, Chief Executive of equality group Stonewall, revealed that two-in-five LGBT officers are not “out” in their working environment. In addition, she said that there are “acute issues” for male officers.

She said: “There is something about how men in traditional male industries have a barrier about coming out.”

Influential role models

Norfolk Constabulary Inspector Louis Provart criticised the fact that there is no national policing lead on LGBT. He said having senior role models is key.

Insp Provart added: “There are a distinct lack of visible role models in policing. That is a significant problem. There are barriers to progression into the superintendent ranks and above.

“Culturally we should be well ahead of where we are sitting.

“We need to get our houses in order before we can have a more inclusive service in the future.”

As previously reported, a survey of superintendents and chief superintendents revealed that four-in-10 lesbian or gay senior officers claim they have experienced discrimination in the police workplace during their careers.

In addition the study revealed that officers fear the negative impact their sexuality could have on their career prospects in the future.

Delegates heard from several officers who have “come out”, including West Midlands Police Chief Superintendent Sally Bourner, who admitted that before she revealed her sexuality, it was “exhausting to constantly check yourself”.

Chief Superintendent Mike Gallagher, LGBT reserve officer for the Superintendents’ Association’s National Executive Committee, said that when he joined the service in 1987, society’s view on sexuality was significantly different.

“I am very proud of the organisation, but it can do more,” he added.

Police who died in line of duty honoured

Not forgetting our colleagues from Scotland

Tenth anniversary of Scottish Police Memorial at Tulliallan Police College marked by visit from Princess Anne and Chief Constable Sir Stephen House.

Police officers who made the ultimate sacrifice while protecting the public have been honoured at a memorial event in Scotland.

The Princess Royal and Police Scotland’s Chief Constable Sir Stephen House marked the tenth anniversary of the Scottish Police Memorial on September 3, which carries the names of all 255 Scottish police officers who have died in the line of duty and includes the names of officers dating back to 1812.

Names added this year include those of four officers who have died in the last 12 months – Constable Mark Murtagh, Constable Tony Collins, Constable Kirsty Nelis and Captain David Traill.

Christine Fulton, Co-Founder of the Scottish Police Memorial Trust, said: “The memorial is a tangible reminder to the families that their loved ones’ names will never be forgotten and will live on not just for this generation but for every generation to come.

“We are honoured that HRH The Princess Royal was able to join us again. Her support for the families and recognition of their loss is much appreciated.”

Chief Constable Sir Stephen House said: “Police officers are committed to serving their local communities, protecting the public and keeping people safe.

“The officers we are commemorating today made an important contribution to the communities they served. It is right that we should honour them and that their names be added to the Scottish Police Memorial, a fitting reminder to us all of their contribution to the service and to Scotland. Our thoughts are, as always, with their families and friends.”

The memorial is located at Tulliallan Police College, Police Scotland’s national headquarters, near Stirling.

From Police Oracle

Home Sec: ‘Integrate police, fire and ambulance services’

Home Secretary calls for closer working across emergency services during speech in which she also pledges renewed efforts to ‘sort out’ police procurement.

Integration of the police, fire and ambulance services alongside extensive use of body worn video will be integral to a future, cash-strapped policing landscape outlined by the Home Secretary.

Theresa May (pictured) gave scant detail on the proposal in a speech in London to members of think-tank Reform, but reinstated her intention to use the Police Innovation Fund to reward endeavours to merge some functions of the blue light services.

She said police and crime commissioners (PCCs) had “shown their reforming power by sharing core services with other forces, other emergency services and other parts of the public sector.” She added: “In policing in the future, I believe we will need to work towards the integration of the three emergency services.”

Mrs May also pressed the case for in-depth research into what she called “the drivers – not causes, as somebody once called them – of crime” and again defended the controversial reform agenda the Coalition Government has pursued.

But she added that there was still “gritty and unglamorous” work to be done around “sorting out” police procurement and making national digital networks more effective to meet the challenge of borderless internet crime.

“We’ve still got a long way to go,” she said. “The price forces are paying for items like boots and handcuffs still varies enormously and police ICT is going to take a long time to fix – but we are at least on the way.”

‘Hands off’

Though she made few direct references to police and crime commissioners – a reform that has again attracted flak in recent weeks – Mrs May outlined a vision in which the Home Office would maintain its “hands off” approach to local and regional policing while building a stronger relationship with the new National Crime Agency (NCA) and setting the wider, strategic tone.

She said: “The department needs to provide a combination of policy work, operational support such as the provision of legal warrants, and oversight of the NCA.”

The Home Office had also established a “knowledge hub” to identify ways of preventing crime using new technology, she revealed – and she called for closer working with private companies around “designing out” crime.

But her comments came under attack from the Shadow Policing Minister Jack Dromey, who accused the Home Secretary of living in a “fantasy world”.

He added: “Police and crimecCommissioners – seen as her flagship reform – have been roundly rejected by the public with only 10 per cent voting in the recent by election in the West Midlands.

“It is right that the Home Office should do more to cut crime but the Tories have no answers to the explosion of new types of crime, such as fraud and online child abuse.”

Fed’s view

Steve White, Chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “We are pleased to see that the Home Secretary has taken notice of some of the core issues we have been raising for a number of years and we support anything that aims to improve the 999 emergency response services.

“No one is more keen to see the policing service improve than the officers delivering the service on the frontline.

“There is no doubt that more could be done to improve police procurement, IT strategy and collaboration but whichever way you divide it up the most important part of all is the amount of funding available.

“Despite the best efforts of those officers, the public is feeling the effects of the funding cuts of the last four years. If the Home Office is saying it no longer runs policing, it is imperative that ministers identify where that responsibility lies.”

Mr White added: “Protecting the public is the foremost duty of any government and therefore providing the most effective, not necessarily the cheapest, emergency services possible should be top of the government’s priority list.”

From Police Oracle

Police workload and welfare: Officers must take responsibility

Senior officers must take some individual responsibility for their own welfare and workloads – it has been suggested – as a survey reveals forces have a varied approach to managing these issues.

A poll of more than 1,000 superintendents and chief superintendents has highlighted that in some cases, senior operational officers are suffering from unmanageable working hours, high stress levels and anxiety.

Of those that took part in the survey, 77 per cent reported regularly working in excess of 50 hours per week while some regularly work more than 70 hours per week.

The full survey results will be revealed and discussed in a dedicated session at the Police Superintendents’ Association’s annual conference in Warwickshire from September 8-10 called Command Resilience: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

However, Merseyside Chief Superintendent Stephen Richards, who leads on command resilience for the Association, said the survey showed some forces are working hard to improve the way they take care of the welfare of their senior officers.

He hopes the study, the results of which have been placed in a graded matrix system to rank forces that are perceived by senior officers as being either good or bad in managing welfare and workloads, will be used to help chiefs improve practices.

Worsening results

In an interview with PoliceOracle.com Ch Supt Richards said that while forces must ensure they support their personnel, officers must also take responsibility.

He added: “Compared to the last survey we did in 2011, overall the results are worse – this does not come as a big surprise knowing what the service has been through with budget cuts and a 25 per cent reduction in the number of superintendents over the last three years.

“Working hours are a concern for us and we know that many people are working in excess of 40 hours a week. However, we have to take into account that there is a perception element to this.

“People are working rest days and what we are saying to forces is that while we understand and accept that there are times of need and crisis, if it continues week-in and week-out then at some stage it will show on the individual. Not only that but it will negatively impact the force and the wider community.

“To forces, we are saying don’t work people into the ground. To individuals we are saying they should take some responsibility and manage their time as best they can and try and work reasonable hours to balance their work and home life.”

Matrix system

Analysts took data from 30 questions and assigned the answers with a score, which was used to determine a single figure for the force.

Occupational Therapist Emma Donaldson-Feilder, who analysed the data, will discuss the matrix system and the analysis during the session at the conference on September 9.

In addition, Deputy Chief Constable Andrew Rhodes will also detail the good practices at Lancashire Constabulary, which were praised by some participants in the survey.

Ch Supt Richards added: “People are the most precious resource in policing. Some forces in England and Wales are good when it comes to looking after their officers, whilst others are not.

“We need to focus on what forces are doing to improve the resilience, health and well-being of their superintendents so that best practice can be shared.

“Almost all of our members look upon policing as a vocation. The survey shows that the vast majority of superintendents and chief superintendents get a ‘buzz’ from coming to work.

“They love their jobs but this does not mean that they should not be able to enjoy a proper work/life balance. This is in everyone’s best interests.”

From Police Oracle

CSOs ‘replacing officers in crime investigation’

PCSOs are being used to carry out the duties of warranted police officers and pressed into action to investigate crimes such as assaults and burglaries – resulting in no further action being taken.

A report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary found that in 17 of the 43 forces in England and Wales, PCSOs were being used “inappropriately” for response and investigative policing.

In these forces, the staff were being used daily to not only respond to the initial report of a crime but take on the case and, in effect, investigate it.

In addition to being asked to deal with “volume” crime, HMIs found evidence that PCSOs are being asked to deal with house burglaries and assaults – which should be dealt with by warranted officers.

In an interview with PoliceOracle.com HMI Roger Baker said PCSOs were being inappropriately used because leaders do not have a basic understanding of their demand and the capability of their staff in terms of ability and their physical output.

He said: “Why are you using untrained staff to go and try and do their best when you have got lots of police officers?

“If you are going to use them then they need additional training in investigations and they need their powers extended.

PCSOs are being used well beyond their powers and their roles – they are being asked to be detectives, but they are not trained or skilled to carry out the role.

“I don’t see that demand is outstripping supply for warranted officers – so why are they not being used?”

The report found that PCSOs were still being sent out regularly to certain incidents relating to antisocial behaviour and other neighbourhood problems – in keeping with their role, profile and training.

The report recommends that all forces, by the end of December, should not be using PCSOs to respond to incidents and crimes beyond their role profiles, where they have no powers, or for which they have not received appropriate levels of training.

Mr Baker said: “Local policing should include both staff and warranted officers.”

HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary Tom Winsor said: “England and Wales has 43 police forces. There are not, and never have been, 43 best ways of doing something.”

Chief Superintendent Irene Curtis, President of the Superintendents’ Association of England and Wales, said that the report makes for uncomfortable reading.

She added: “Forces have made significant efforts to save money and have continued to reduce crime as well as doing their best to protect the frontline.

“But the report indicates that while this has been going on, some of the basic functions of policing appear to be slipping through the cracks in some areas.”

Widely reported, this from Police Oracle

See Also Victims ‘are being told to investigate crimes’

Victims ‘are being told to investigate crimes’

Some crimes are on the verge of being “decriminalised” – it has emerged – after an inspection report revealed that call handlers are encouraging victims to carry out initial investigations themselves.

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary’s report into crime prevention, police attendance and the use of police time found that when crimes such as house burglaries and robberies were reported there was clear evidence of police investigative activity and supervision.

But crimes reported over the phone in some force areas showed little evidence of investigation, the report stated.

Some call handling staff were observed by HMIs encouraging victims to conduct their own initial investigations – including suggesting they ask their neighbours if they had seen anything, that they check CCTV in the area and research second hand shops to see if their stolen property was being sold on.

Victims were given a crime reference number and asked to contact the force again if they discovered new evidence.

‘We have almost given up’

The report states: “Placing the responsibility for the investigation entirely on the victim is completely inappropriate.

“In addition to not providing an adequate service to the victim, opportunities are being lost to establish characteristics of these crimes that could contribute to a comprehensive picture and better understanding of crime in an area, enabling a more informed crime prevention response to be devised.”

In addition, when crimes were dealt with over the phone in this manner, there were examples of crimes being recorded, closed and filed the same day – sometimes within minutes of the initial report. In most cases, no further contact with the victim was made.

HMI Roger Baker said: “There seems to be a mindset of not dealing with it. A number of crimes are on the verge of being decriminalised.

“It is not the fault of the staff – it is a mindset that has crept in to say we have almost given up.

“Leadership is key in this. This issue pre-dates the Comprehensive Spending Review budget cuts – it has evolved over the years.

“Leaders need to establish who is doing what – basic management and leadership underpinned by simple process can help.”

Elsewhere, HMIs found that the appointment system for victims of crime was being exploited and that appointments were being made for the convenience of the police – or when an incident should have been dealt with immediately.

“The use of appointment systems in these ways is neither appropriate nor acceptable”, the report stated.

Recommendations

One of the 40 recommendations in the report was that by September 2015 all forces should ensure that their officers and staff involved in the investigation of crime over the phone have received the appropriate investigative training.

By the end of this year forces must have produced clear guidance on the types of crime and incidents that are not appropriate for resolution by way of appointment.

Many of the recommendations in the report seek to strengthen, improve and create systems for recording aspects of policing to allow senior leaders to make informed decisions over the allocation and deployment of their resources.

HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary Tom Winsor (pictured) said: “The oxygen of effective policing is intelligence. Information is useless if it cannot be found and used at the time and in the circumstances in which it is needed.

“And in policing, if it is inaccessible to those who need it, great harm may occur which could and should have been prevented.”

Widely reported, this from Police Oracle

See Also PCSOs ‘replacing officers in crime investigation’

PCC’s Being Scapegoated

Police and crime commissioners (PCCs) are being allowed to be used as scapegoats by national politicians to deflect failings in their own actions, it has been claimed.

Jeffrey Harris, the deputy PCC for Surrey, has hit out at the negative headlines around the position – claiming they are “missing the point”.

Mr Harris, a former chief superintendent in the Metropolitan Police, who serves under PCC Kevin Hurley, responded to PoliceOracle.com’s story on August 29 in which analysts called for reform of the newly created roles.

Legislation surrounding the office has been called into question, most recently in light of two cases where PCCs have left or been suspended from their political parties.

The Prime Minister, Home Secretary and many members of the public have called on South Yorkshire’s Shaun Wright to stand down in light of his previous responsibility for children’s services in Rotherham for five years, during a longer period which was heavily criticised in the Rotherham report last week.

Mr Harris would not defend Mr Wright, but said: “I think it’s too early to say whether the legislation needs reform.”

He said that the legislation for PCCs was the same as for MPs and the Mayor of London – who oversees policing in the city.

Domestic abuse offence could cover emotional as well as physical harm

Government launches consultation on strengthening law by explicitly stating that domestic abuse covers coercive behaviour

Domestic violence. A new criminal offence could protect abuse victims whose partners cause psychological harm. Photograph: Pekka Sakki/REX

A new criminal offence of domestic abuse could be introduced to include emotional and psychological harm inflicted by a partner within a relationship.

The government launched a consultation on Wednesday to look at strengthening the law by explicitly stating that domestic abuse covers coercive and controlling behaviour as well as physical harm.

The move comes after the way that police respond to domestic abuse in England and Wales was condemned as “alarming and unacceptable” in a report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) in March.

The consultation document says that police fail to see abuse, particularly in its nonviolent form, as a serious crime, adding: “Creating a specific offence of domestic abuse may send a clear, consistent message to frontline agencies that nonviolent control in an intimate relationship is criminal.

“Explicitly capturing this in legislation may also help victims identify the behaviour they are suffering as wrong and encourage them to report it, and cause perpetrators to rethink their controlling behaviour.”

The latest statistics reported in the Crime Survey for England and Wales suggest that 30% of women and 16% of men will experience domestic abuse during their lifetime.

The Home Office said the type of behaviour a new law could cover included threatening a partner with violence, cutting them off from friends and family or refusing them access to money in order to limit their freedom. Under existing law, nonviolent coercive and controlling behaviour is captured by the legislation that covers stalking and harassment but it does not explicitly apply to intimate relationships.

The home secretary, Theresa May, said: “Tackling domestic abuse is one of this government’s top priorities. The government is clear that abuse is not just physical. Victims who are subjected to a living hell by their partners must have the confidence to come forward. Meanwhile, I want perpetrators to be in no doubt that their cruel and controlling behaviour is criminal.”

In the introduction to the consultation document, May acknowledges that changing the law cannot be a substitute for improving the police response – HMIC found that arrest rates varied from 45% to 90% across the 43 police forces in England and Wales – but says officers must have the best possible tools to do their job.

Polly Neate, chief executive of the charity Women’s Aid, said the change, if implemented, could help give victims greater confidence to speak out sooner. “This is a vital step forward for victims of domestic violence,” she said.

“Two women a week are killed by domestic violence, and in our experience of working with survivors, coercive controlling behaviour is at the heart of the most dangerous abuse. This move demonstrates a strong commitment from the Home Office to listening to victims of abuse in framing the law that serves them.”

The shadow home secretary, Yvette Cooper, welcomed the move but said the coalition had presided over a “backwards slide” in action against domestic violence and support for victims. “Under this government, refuges across the country are cutting services and many are threatened with closure,” said Cooper.

“Prosecutions and convictions as a proportion of recorded domestic crime are falling. And over the last four years over 10,000 perpetrators of domestic violence have been handed only community resolutions, with many simply being asked to apologise to their victim.”

From the Guardian

Sleeping lion created for Surrey Police memorial garden

Sculptor Tom Kenrick said the sleeping lion represents peace and tranquillity

A stone sculpture of a sleeping lion has been created as a centrepiece for Surrey Police’s memorial garden.

Somerset sculptor Tom Kenrick, 32, spent nine weeks carving the life-size artwork, which weighs about two tonnes, out of Bath stone.

The force commissioned the lion for a memorial garden being created at its Guildford headquarters, in honour of colleagues who died.

The project has been funded entirely by voluntary contributions.

Surrey Police said the garden was designed to provide a space for staff to remember colleagues who have contributed to policing in Surrey or to take a quiet moment of reflection.

The idea came from officers and staff who wanted a central place for a memorial.

Donations have come from Surrey Police Federation members, members of the union Unison, Chief Constable Lynne Owens, the Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner Kevin Hurley, an external sponsor and retired staff.

Mr Kenrick, who describes his work as inspired by nature, said the lion was intended to represent peace and tranquillity.

He has not revealed how much the commission cost but said the stone was worth several thousand pounds alone.

The plaque by the sculpture reads: “In memory of all those who have contributed to policing in Surrey.”

Surrey Police said volunteers were still working on planting the garden, and its official opening would take place next spring.

From the BBC

The Tories and the Police: The End Of The Affair

Click the picture or here – The Tories and the Police: The End Of The Affair

BBC+++++++++++++++++

See also -

Reporter who outed police blogger cautioned

What the job desperately needs now is Leaders NOT managers. The service doesn’t seem to know the difference. Sadly, Leadership is not the only element lacking at the top. Public confidence and that of the troops will never fully return until there is distinct evidence that the Chief Officer standards and qualities are beyond reproach. Over as many months, 18 Chiefs and SMT ranks either disciplined, arrested, or dismissed for unprofessional and even criminal conduct is an indictment of how so many clearly feel they are above the law they are meant to uphold.

How do you instil moral compass values in a hierarchy that doesn’t seem to know the difference between crooked and straight?

The Thin Blue Line Blog

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