Retired PC 523 Nigel Rousell:

In November 2010 Nigel Rousell wrote on his blog:

November 2010

Well I really cannot believe that it was over 30 years ago that a fresh and very young faced Rousell walked into Mount Browne in March 1980 aged 17 years to Join the Surrey Constabulary as Cadet 51, just under 30 of us joined on that intake. To date only 3 of us are still serving with Surrey Police.  Being a young man full of confidence I would certainly have not placed money on me being one of them. But with 3 pay cheques to go before I have my 30 years in (cadet apprenticeship’s don’t count). I am gobsmacked to still be here.

Well 30 years ago there was less than 300 people working at HQ’s and in fact from all my attachments to all the offices, ops room, motorway room, registry, printing, photographic and the smelly dog section. It was the 4 weeks spent in the one office that I realised that this one little office seemed to be run the force, it was the HR of its time, It was the font of all knowledge and nothing was done with out the staff in the General Office having some involvement and from what I recall was staffed by 4 members all serving police officers under the command of an Inspector.  I soon found out that when he entered the room no matter what you were doing you stood to attention until told to carry on.

Oh my how times have changed, Inspectors are known by first names only these days. But the cheeky more flippant old timers still on occasions stand, now the new fast flyer’s are unaware of the old rules and are suitable flummoxed and are certainly left speechless and they have no idea what to do when saluted!!!!!!!!

But I digress when as a young 19 year old probationer constable I was posted to a small rural unit full of old sweats and a Sgt who did not like police men younger than his own children. Now the old sweats job it appeared to me would be to drink as much tea as possible, to never make their points (now there’s a whole story waiting to be told) to talk of tales gone by and at every possible opportunity remind us youngest “Hey boy this ain’t the job I joined its crap now” a phrase I promised then never to repeat when I to reached the loft heights of the old sweat and I have upheld that one promise I made all those years ago.

Now it was during this spell that Boss Hog took it upon himself to rid Surrey Constabulary of Constable 523, but I was young and inexperienced and on occasions lacking in maturity, (well humour doesn’t always spread the age gaps, very well).  However, it was not long before I found myself on those dread monthly report thingies… my I had loads of them!!  Boss Hog took it upon himself to make it personal and it was not long before the dreaded call to the big house to see the ACC.  “Well son this doesn’t look like its the job for you does it?” he opened with.

Well to keep the entry brief I performed well producing saved bits of info and gave my best plea in my defence.  It went well and I was duly dispatched back to the outpost. My confirmation in appointment came duly as like all my probationer reports just a month after the previous one!! Constable 523 was out of probation!!  The adventure really began…

And Nigel, the adventure finished today when you ceased to become PC 523 leaving the Dog Section to become a police staff member with photographic.

I have many good memories of working with you, somebody who was always cheerful and would laugh in the face of any adversity and somebody who always worked hard at what he did.

It worries me to see somebody as youthful as you retiring as it starts to make me feel old but may I wish you all the very best in your new assignments as you have two on the horizon, one personal and another in the civilian police field.  And, whilst I am at it, welcome to the Retired Comrades, your energy will do us all good… Laugh

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Puddick cleared of harassing wife’s lover on internet

Plumber Ian Puddick has been cleared of internet harassment after tweeting and blogging details of his wife’s affair.

Mr Puddick, 41, hailed it “a victory for free speech and the small man”, following the verdict at City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court. He had tweeted, blogged and posted videos online after being enraged by his wife’s 10-year relationship with company director Timothy Haynes. Lawyers think the case may help define the limits of free expression online.

There were cheers from the public gallery and Mr Puddick shook his fist and smiled as District Judge Elizabeth Roscoe delivered not-guilty verdicts on two harassment charges at the end of a three-day trial. Accompanied by his wife Leena, he said: “For the last 12 months this has taken over my life. Purely and simply there has been an abuse of power. If this can happen to me it can happen to anyone. “It is absolutely a victory for free speech and the small man. I’m a plumber and drive around in a Transit.”

Mr Haynes, from Billingshurst, West Sussex, had a 10-year affair with Leena Puddick, which was exposed after her husband read a text message on her mobile phone in 2009. The court heard details of e-mails and text messages that Mr Haynes had sent her over the course of their affair. Mrs Puddick told the court she and Mr Haynes first had sex after a Christmas party in 2002 after initially meeting when she had joined reinsurance firm Guy Carpenter in 1997. Mr Haynes was a company director. He would often send her 30 to 40 text messages a day, she told the court, and would doctor expenses to pay for their wining and dining.

Mr Haynes lost his job as a director at re-insurance firm, Guy Carpenter, as a result of the affair. He admitted he had been “deceitful” but said Mr Puddick should have taken up his anger with him alone rather than launching a “campaign of harassment against him”. But on Friday, defence lawyer Michael Wolkind QC, representing Mr Puddick, said: “All Ian Puddick tried was to be a little nuisance. The little nuisance value of the little man.” Mr Haynes said both he and his wife needed counselling after the “embarrassment and shame” of neighbours and colleagues receiving texts and phone calls.

BBC legal affairs correspondent Clive Coleman said the case “points up the issue of whether someone freely expressing themselves widely online can be guilty of harassment”. He added: “As with jurors using Facebook, and people tweeting details of privacy injunctions, the law and the internet are working out their growing and not especially comfortable relationship.”

BBC story

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Police to have annual fitness test to stop thin blue line getting fat

It’s known as the thin blue line – and proposals to introduce annual fitness tests mean it should stay that way.

Police officers could face the regular hurdle to ensure they are in tip top condition to continue fighting crime and disorder.

Under the current system only new recruits must pass an examination to prove they are fit to go on duty.

Thin blue line: A report has questioned why there is no routine fitness test for police officers after they complete their recruitment and probation Thin blue line: A report has questioned why there is no routine fitness test for police officers after they complete their recruitment and probation 

But a shake-up of pay and conditions for the nation’s constabulary means officers in England and Wales could be forced to undergo a test every year.

He also called for directly-elected police and crime commissioners to be given the power to dock the pay of under-performing chief constables.

Former rail regulator Tom Winsor called yesterday for views on compulsory fitness exams as part of his wide-ranging analysis of how policing operates.

He questioned why there is no routine fitness test for police officers after they complete their recruitment and probation period.

Mr Winsor wants to know whether tests could be justified by an improvement in police officer fitness and the service they provide.

The tests could be modeled on the current test which sees officers run against the clock and prove their strength on a specialist machine.

But the proposals could flounder amid equality laws that make it illegal to discriminate against employees on grounds of sex or age.

Last week Greater Manchester Police inspector Diane Bamber, 51, won an employment tribunal against her employer over a fitness test for riot squad officers.

She claimed she was left humiliated when she could not complete a so-called ‘shield run’ of 500 metres in less than two minutes 45 seconds while wearing protective equipment.

The officer, who continues to serve with the force and has more than 30 years’ experience, is now in line for a substantial compensation pay out.

The landmark case could open the door for thousands of other women officers to claim payouts and has triggered a review of specialist police training.

Some chief constables have already tried introducing fitness tests as part of a drive to modernise the service.

Last year Hampshire Constabulary began a controversial programme to assess the fitness of its serving officers.

Chief Constable Alex Marshall said the annual running test was a way of ensuring he has ‘fit and healthy staff’.

Any officer who failed the test was put on a ‘development re-training’ programme by a fitness instructor for about eight weeks before taking it again.

But Police Federation representatives said they were concerned for those officers in ‘poor health’ that fail to meet the grade.

A series of ‘fat clubs’ set up by Britain’s largest force, the Metropolitan Police, reaped huge rewards with officers losing a combined 1.8 tonnes in a year.

An intensive programme of 12-week Club courses was launched after research showed that five percent of officers were overweight.

Last year South African police officers were told that unless they lost enough weight to squeeze into the uniform they were issued when they started service they face the sack.

The current police fitness test includes an endurance shuttle run in which officers must run to and fro on a 15 metre track in time to a series of beeps over three and a half minutes.

This is intended to mimic foot chases, being on patrol and using force against struggling suspects.

The second stage involves performing five seated chest presses and pulls of around 35 kilos on a specialist piece of equipment.

A spokeswoman for the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) said senior officers must ensure their staff are fit enough to carry out their important duties on behalf of the public.

She said: ‘The police service already uses fitness tests for a range of specialisms.

‘We welcome the opportunity to work with the Winsor review to see how tests can apply to all staff across the service in relation to the particular roles they carry out.’

The Police Federation said representatives were considering the latest proposals and will respond in due course.

Police to have annual fitness test to stop thin blue line getting fat

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Sir Ken a chance for top job, if he wants it

THE resignation of Victoria Police chief commissioner Simon Overland has given a career lifeline to his rival and former deputy Ken Jones, who has flagged his intent to return to Melbourne and continue his law-enforcement career.

Welsh-born Sir Ken, who is on leave in England and under investigation by the Office of Police Integrity following a complaint by Mr Overland, is yet to reveal whether he wants the top job.

He was endorsed yesterday as a strong candidate by the state’s powerful police union, which outlined Sir Ken’s expertise in community policing as an essential quality for moving the force beyond the troubled Overland years.

Police Association secretary Greg Davies said Mr Overland’s exit had opened the door for Victoria Police to go back to the basics of serving the community.

“There has been a clear disengagement with the community in recent times,” he said.

“There’s plenty of merit in saying let’s have a home-grown person or someone with a strong background in community-based policing who understands the way we do it here in Victoria. Sir Ken obviously has a strong background in community policing.”

A 40-year veteran, Sir Ken built his reputation in Britain, where he was president of the Association of Chief Police Officers and a former head of Sussex Police before moving to Victoria.

Of the 10 Victoria Police assistant commissioners, there is rank and file support for Steve Fontana, who heads the state emergencies and security service.

Mr Fontana emerged with his reputation enhanced rather than damaged by Victoria’s Black Saturday bushfires, when he took control while then commissioner Christine Nixon went for dinner.

Gary Jamieson, a rival of Mr Overland’s for chief commissioner two years ago, also shapes as a firm contender.

The 37-year veteran was set to leave the force next month but appeared to deal himself in yesterday, saying it was Mr Overland’s choice rather than his to end his career.

Mr Overland called Mr Jamieson “disloyal” last October after he wrote an opinion piece saying: “Today’s police leadership seems too often to be distracted by silly side-issues related to their own integrity and control rather than focusing on delivering basic police services to the community.”

Despite Mr Overland’s resignation, the inquiries set up to investigate matters surrounding his leadership are set to continue.

The government has declared Jack Rush QC will complete his examination of the force’s command structure, a brief broad enough to include whether Mr Overland acted appropriately in the way he forced Sir Ken to leave.

OPI director Michael Strong would not confirm whether the police watchdog would now scrap its investigation into Sir Ken.

The OPI is conducting a related investigation into former policeman Tristan Weston, currently on leave from his job as adviser to Police Minister Peter Ryan.

Sir Ken a chance for top job, if he wants it

See Also – Sir “Ken” Jones, QPM:

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Nat Fraser faces Arlene murder case retrial

Elgin businessman Nat Fraser has had his conviction for the murder of his estranged wife Arlene overturned but will face a retrial.

Mr Fraser was jailed in 2003 after his wife went missing in Moray five years earlier. Her body was never found. In May, the UK Supreme Court remitted the case to the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh to decide on a retrial and to quash the conviction. Judges at the Appeal Court in Edinburgh granted the application for a retrial. The 52-year-old was remanded in custody following the decision.

The case began on 29 April 1998 when wife Arlene, 33, waved her two young children, Jamie and Natalie, off to primary school and then disappeared. Mr Fraser appealed for her to get in touch but was later tried and jailed for a minimum of 25 years. He lost an appeal against his conviction in 2008 but pursued his case to the UK Supreme Court in London after he exhausted all avenues in Scotland. The Supreme Court found that Mr Fraser’s human rights may have been breached because prosecutors failed to disclose some evidence in the case against him. They returned the case to the Appeal Court in Edinburgh.

After consideration, Scotland’s top judge, the Lord Justice General Lord Hamilton, sitting with Lords Reed and Carloway, formally overturned Mr Fraser’s conviction. The three judges granted authority for a fresh prosecution after being urged to do so by advocate depute Alex Prentice QC.

No date has been set for Mr Fraser to return to court.

BBC Story

Readers wondering why this case is causing so much tension between lawyers in England and Scotland might wish to start off by reading the full decision by the High Court in dismissing Fraser’s appeal* on 6 May 2008, which is here, as it provides a remarkable insight into just how difficult it has become to make a conviction stick!

For more about the growing controversy over the authority of the “UK Supreme Court”, read here.

* The Scottish High Court is a criminal Court, not a civil Court as is the English High Court. In dismissing this appeal, it was constituted under Scots Law as the Court of Criminal Appeal.

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Millgarth Police Station in Leeds burgled

A police station in the centre of Leeds suffered damage after a burglar got into the building during Thursday night.

A spokesman for West Yorkshire Police confirmed the incident at Millgarth Police Station, next to the city’s busy central bus station.

The spokesman said a personal item of clothing had allegedly been taken and there had been some damage.

An 18-year-old man had been arrested on suspicion of burglary.

BBC story

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Guide to public sector pension schemes

Hundreds of thousands of workers in the public sector are threatening to go on strike in opposition to the government’s plans to cut the value of their pension schemes. The coalition government says the rising cost of paying for the pensions of the UK’s public sector employees is a big problem that must be deal with.

An independent commission led by Lord Hutton, the former Labour work and pensions secretary, has outlined proposals for the government to consider. They include higher staff contributions, retiring later and moving staff from their existing final-salary schemes to cheaper, career average schemes.

This guide offers some basic information on the biggest schemes, outlining how much they cost to fund and the main benefits they offer to their members.

They are, in order of size:

• the local government scheme for England and Wales

• the NHS scheme for England and Wales

• the teachers’ scheme for England and Wales

• the civil service scheme

• the armed forces scheme

• the police scheme for England and Wales

• the universities’ scheme

• and the firefighters’ scheme for England and Wales.

Of these, the universities scheme is not included in the scope of Lord Hutton review.

In Scotland, the Scottish Public Pensions Agency oversees a number of public sector schemes, five of which provide similar benefits to their counterparts in England and Wales. They are the NHS and teachers’ pension schemes, and those for local government staff, firefighters and the police in Scotland.

In Northern Ireland there are separate but similar schemes for the civil service, health and personal social services, teachers, local government, police and firefighters.

Most of the schemes have undergone some significant changes in the past decade to reduce the cost to the employers. The general trend has been to introduce a higher pension age, usually 65, but usually for new recruits. In the civil service, new joiners are no longer offered a traditional final-salary scheme but a cheaper type of arrangement known as a career-average scheme.

BBC story

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Police to use A&E data to cut violent crime

A police scheme which uses anonymised data to work out crime hotspots in Cardiff has been so successful it is to be rolled out across the country.

Officers have cut the number of violent incidents, from fist fights to stabbings, by over 40 per cent by counting where they occur according to the records of those admitted to hospital. The police then focused resources on those areas. The results were compared with 14 similar cities and showed that targeting police intervention reduced incidents by 42 per cent.

Hospital admissions for injuries caused by violence in the city fell from seven to five a month, while in the comparison cities, admissions rose from five to eight a month.

The researchers, led by Jonathan Shepherd, professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery at the University of Cardiff – whose findings are published in the British Medical Journal – say that while rates of woundings fell significantly there was an increase in common assaults which did not cause injury.

“One plausible explanation for these findings is that more accurate targeting of hotspots, earlier and more frequent police [investigation], and better deployment of CCTV led to faster and more frequent police intervention in assaults and their precursors (such as arguments),” the research said.

“The increased presence of police at hotspots could also have led to increased reporting of common assaults by witnesses and victims and subsequent recording by police.”

The scheme is being rolled out across the UK following a pledge by the Coalition government to promote the sharing of information on violence between hospitals and the police.

In 2008-9, police recorded over 900,000 violent incidents in England and Wales. It is estimated that violence resulted in medical and lost productivity costs of over £2bn.

The precise location, time and weapons used were recorded in the study over four years.

The information has to be anonymised to protect the identity of the injured who might otherwise be deterred from seeking medical help. Much violence is often not known to the police because victims do not report it or fear reprisals.

Police to use A&E data to cut violent crime

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Quarter of UK population will be on new police database

The personal details of 15 million people, a quarter of the population of Britain, will be held on a new police database which will include information about victims of crime, it has emerged.

Forensic expert using a database

The new database will hold the records up to six million apparently innocent people, including every victim of sexual assault and domestic violence

The Police National Database, which will be launched by ministers next week, will hold the records up to six million apparently innocent people, including every victim of sexual assault and domestic violence.

All 43 police forces in England and Wales and other law enforcement agencies will be able to access the database, which is intended to help detectives track criminals and their associates.

Civil liberties groups and senior MPs yesterday expressed concern at the scale of the database and the number of people who will be able to access it.

Jennie Cronin, a director at the National Police Improvement Agency (NPIA), the body in charge of the database, estimated yesterday that the records of between 10 and 15 million people would be held.

According to official figures a total of 9.2 million people in the UK have criminal records, which means the new database will hold information about up to six million people who have not committed an offence.

Advocates of the database claim that it is the nature of police intelligence that the records of people without convictions would be held. More than 12,000 approved police officers and staff will be able to access the database when it is launched next week.

David Davis, the former Conservative shadow home secretary, said: “Ten to 15 million people seems like an awful lot, but the more concerning thing is that this is extremely dangerous information and we need to be certain that any access to this database is carefully monitored.

“Historically police databases have sometimes been made available to people outside of law enforcement agencies. This cannot be afforded for the PND to work properly.”

Isabella Sankey, the director of policy for the human rights group Liberty, questioned why it was necessary to include victims of crime on the database.

She said: “We regularly see inappropriate and inaccurate disclosures blighting lives and this may only be made worse by centralising sensitive information about vulnerable victims.

“The amount and type of information that is to be uploaded on this database must be reviewed to ensure the police can see the wood for the trees.

“Sharing relevant information between police forces is essential for public safety but large, unwieldy databases can never replace the professional judgment of officers.”

The PND was set up following recommendations from a report into the Soham murders in 2002, when Ian Huntley murdered Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman in 2002.

His name had featured in intelligence eight times between 1995 and 1999 in connection with sexual offences, but because they were unproven the allegations were only recorded on a local police database in Humberside.

A report by Lord Bichard recommended that police intelligence be centralised.

Ms Cronin’s comments came in an article she wrote for Police Review magazine. She said: “Each force has individual crime and intelligence databases and systems containing millions of records, none of which ‘talk’ to each other or join up.

“We had to bring all that information together. We estimate that once data load is complete we will have information relating to about 10 to 15 million individuals.

“These are all suspects or those who have criminal connections logged in existing force intelligence databases. So for example, if a force has intelligence that an individual is supplying vehicles to a criminal gang, or hanging around with drug dealers, or is suspected of domestic violence, that would be included.”

She said that victims of sexual assault and domestic violence would have their information added to the database to make it easier for forces to identify repeat victims.

Ms Cronin added: “To share intelligence carries some risks, but choosing not to share poses a far greater risk to public protection and it is not one the service should be prepared to live with any longer.”

A spokesman for the NPIA said that some of the six million people without a criminal record may have committed offences which are too minor to be recorded on the current system.

Quarter of UK population will be on new police database

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Public-sector workers warned: strike, and pensions will suffer

Public-sector workers risk even bigger cuts in their gold-plated pensions if they strike and reject government plans for reform, Cabinet minister Danny Alexander warns.

Public-sector workers warned: strike, and pensions will suffer

More than 600,000 teachers, civil servants and other public sector staff plan to strike on June 30 in what would be one of the biggest co-ordinated one-day actions for a generation

Danny Alexander, the Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury, tells millions of trade union members that only by agreeing to the Coalition’s new terms will they be able to keep “the best pensions available”.

Writing in The Daily Telegraph, he warns that opposition to the change – that will require many in the public sector to work longer and pay more into their retirement funds – will mean a worse deal in future. “The history of reform is littered with examples of people simply denying the facts,” he writes. “Eventually reality bites. And when it does, change is urgent and uncompromising.”

The Government’s offer, he says, is “by far the best that is likely to be on the table for years to come”. It will still leave them with retirement deals that are more generous and more certain than most in the private sector, he says.

More than 600,000 teachers, civil servants and other public sector staff plan to strike on June 30 in what would be one of the biggest co-ordinated one-day actions for a generation. Union leaders have so far flatly rejected the plans to make public sector workers pay more to replace their final salary deals with “career average” schemes.

Ministers want staff to put in around an extra 3 per cent of their salaries. The lowest-paid will not face any increase.

Low turnouts in strike ballots mean that the majority of union members did not vote for industrial action, and ministers are seeking to drive a wedge between union leaders and rank-and-file.

“A strike now might be in the interests of the union’s boss, but it is not in the interests of its members,” Mr Alexander writes. “Don’t let them sacrifice your pension for their political platform.”

Gold-plated public sector pensions are often far more generous than those now offered in the private sector. Equalising the two is part of the Coalition’s attempt to save money when the rest of the country is facing a squeeze.

Yet in trying to sell the current deal, Mr Alexander risks antagonising private sector workers who think state schemes will still be too generous. Mr Alexander says: “Reform must ensure that those in the public sector continue to receive among the best, if not the best, pensions available … the pension they receive will be broadly as generous for low and middle income earners as it is now.”

Ministers want to use proposals from Lord Hutton, the former Labour cabinet minister, as a blueprint for reform.

There are five million public sector workers in pension schemes. Around 750,000 earn less than £15,000 a year and will not pay increased contributions.

Those earning £18,000 or less will have contributions capped at 1.5 per cent, Mr Alexander will say in a speech today. Increased contributions will not come in fully until 2014. However, public sector staff, many of whom used to be able to retire at 60, will have to work longer. They will have to wait until 66 to reach pensionable age, bringing them in line with workers in the private sector. There are expected to be exemptions for some occupations, like firefighters and the military.

The Chief Secretary will insist that the Coalition will not be deterred from cutting the public sector pension bill. Its annual cost has been forecast to double in the next five years from £4 billion to £9 billion – almost £400 per household.

Last night Dr Neil Bentley, the CBI’s deputy director-general, said the Government looked as though it had “lost its way” over public sector reform. It had allowed reform, particularly in health but also elsewhere, to be derailed by “forces of inertia”, he said at a CBI dinner.

Public-sector workers warned:

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