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


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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

Home Office ordered to pay £224m to e-Borders firm


The Home Office has been told to pay £224m to a major US corporation it sacked for failing to deliver a controversial secure borders programme.

Ministers will pay Raytheon £50m in damages, plus other costs.

The order to make the payments comes from a binding arbitration tribunal.

The e-borders programme launched by Labour ministers in 2003 was a £1bn attempt to reform border controls. In 2007 Raytheon won a nine-year contract for the programme.

BBC story

Surrey Police is one of only two forces with 100% passes in fitness tests

Officers at North Yorkshire Police have the worst fitness levels of 32 forces surveyed in England and Wales, figures show.

The force had a 16.2% test failure rate, with Lancashire coming in second at 6.4% and South Yorkshire with 5.4%, the College of Policing said.

Overall, 352 officers failed in more than 13,000 tests that become compulsory next month.

Humberside and Surrey were the only forces that boasted 100% pass rates.

North Yorkshire’s Assistant Chief Constable Paul Kennedy, said the study did not assess results of all tests officers undertook.

“The actual pass rate for North Yorkshire Police officers who have taken the fitness test is 94.6%, with 1,153 officers passing the test out of 1,219 who have taken it so far,” he explained.

“The results issued by the college today are taken from a small snapshot in time and include the results of only 74 tests.

“Support, advice and encouragement will be provided to any officers who are struggling to reach the required fitness level.”

‘Bleep test’
Rose Bartlett, from the college, said results showed the vast majority of officers tested are fit.

The new tests were brought in after recommendations made by Chief Inspector of Constabulary Tom Winsor.

The endurance test involves a series of shuttle runs between two lines 50ft (15m) apart at a steadily increasing pace controlled by means of a speaker emitting “bleep” signals in decreasing time periods.

Officers will be expected to pass the bleep test on an annual basis.

Surrey taken test 696 Passed 696 = 100%

From there BBC

Greater Manchester police chief faces criminal investigation

Sir Peter Fahy, chief constable of Greater Manchester police. Photograph: Anna Gowthorpe/PA

Sir Peter Fahy, the chief constable of Greater Manchester police, is to be interviewed under criminal caution as part of an investigation into whether his force allowed a teenager to enter the home of an alleged paedophile.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission announced on Tuesday that Fahy and other top officers from GMP had been placed under investigation over a series of allegations. The IPCC has launched three investigations into GMP after hearing claims from a whistleblower, who is a serving officer.

The allegations against GMP included that officers:

• Bugged an office at GMP and allowed armed robbers who were under surveillance to attack a pub instead of stopping them.

• Failed to intervene and detain a suspected sex offender who was under surveillance, but as police tried to gather more evidence, allowed a child to enter the suspect’s home.

• Mishandled the disposal of body parts belonging to victims of the serial killer Dr Harold Shipman.

The IPCC said the investigation into Fahy related to allegations that may breach the criminal law and police discipline regulations. They stem from the allegation that GMP detectives allowed an operation into a suspected paedophile to run on too long, and thus placed a teenager in danger of being attacked. The criminal investigation into Fahy will examine if he had knowledge of the operation into the sex offender and of the strategic decisions it operated within.

The allegations from the whistleblower were first reported by the Manchester Evening News.

Tony Lloyd, police and crime commissioner for Greater Manchester, decided Fahy would not be suspended while the investigations took place. As part of the inquiry, Fahy who is vice-president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, will be interviewed under criminal caution.

In a statement, Fahy said: “As a chief constable you face making complex decisions on a daily basis about many high-risk and challenging situations. It is right that this decision-making is scrutinised and that I am held to account as part of this investigation.”

Two detectives and a retired officer are being investigated by the IPCC over the allegations about the suspected paedophile.

In a statement, the IPCC said: “GMP Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy has been served with a criminal and gross misconduct notice in relation to his alleged support to an allegedly poorly handled investigation into a suspected sex offender.

“A detective superintendent and a detective chief inspector were served with criminal and gross misconduct notices for their roles in the investigation. A retired officer will also be served with a criminal and gross misconduct notice over his role in the investigation.”

The IPCC said GMP’s assistant chief constable, Terry Sweeney, was facing an investigation for gross misconduct “for his oversight role in the disposal of body parts belonging to victims of the serial killer Harold Shipman”.

The police watchdog said relatives of Shipman’s victims would be kept informed of the investigation’s progress.

The IPCC said it had decided not to independently investigate claims that cronyism within GMP led to people being unfairly promoted. It had referred the matter back to GMP.

Fahy is currently charged in his role as chief constable of GMP over the police shooting of an unarmed man. GMP are being prosecuted for breaching health and safety laws when Anthony Grainger was shot dead in 2012. The force has pleaded not guilty.

Senior officers have faced a series of investigations in recent times. Of the top 10 forces in England, two have chiefs that are currently suspended pending investigation. They are the West Yorkshire chief, Mark Gilmore, and Avon and Somerset chief, Nick Gargan.

The Metropolitan police commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, is under investigation for his actions in the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster three decades ago.

From the Guardian

Leslie Frank Curtis

1988 OBE CurtisFellow pensioners

I have received the following email from Norman Lewis. I will forward further details when known.

Tony Forward

“It is with regret that I have to notify you of the death on Monday 11th August 2014, of former Pc 757 Leslie Frank Curtis at the age of 79.

Les had been suffering with Parkinsons and Dementia for many years.

Funeral details etc will be circulated later.

His Wife Eileen has requested that any messages and condolence cards be sent to her. Details available on request.

Tory Foreign Office minister quits over ‘intolerable’ expenses rules

Africa minister Mark Simmonds says he cannot claim enough parliamentary expenses to house his family in Westminster

Proof, if proof were needed, that politicians are out of touch with many ordinary working and retired people of the UK

A Foreign Office minister who resigned on Monday has blamed “intolerable” expenses rules for forcing him to choose between his family and his parliamentary career.

Mark Simmonds, the Africa minister, said he would stand down from government immediately and would leave his Boston and Skegness seat at next year’s general election.

He said that the rental allowance of £27,875 a year plus £2,500 for each of his three children would not be enough to maintain a family home in Westminster and that he would not be prepared to live outside central London.

Simmonds earns £89,435 a year as an MP and minister and employs his wife Lizbeth with up to £25,000 of public money.

His reasons for stepping down have been heavily criticised on Twitter and have exposed the differences in perception of many MPs – who believe that the expenses regime is penalising their ability to live normal family lives – and voters who still believe parliamentarians receive too much public money.

His resignation comes just days after Lady Warsi resigned from her Foreign Office post over the government’s policy on the crisis in Gaza.

Simmonds said he was leaving primarily so he can spend time with his family because he cannot afford to house them in central London.

“The allowances that enable members of parliament to stay in London while they are away from their families – my family lives in Lincolnshire in my constituency – does not allow me to rent a flat that could accommodate my family. So I very rarely see my family and I have to put family life first and every single parent listening to this will hopefully understand,” he told the BBC.

After a spokesman for the expenses watchdog Ipsa pointed out that he has never tried to claim for a flat – he has instead claimed thousands of pounds in hotel fees – Simmonds retorted that there has not been enough support from the parliamentary authorities.

He told the Radio 4’s PM programme: “It is primarily financial support that is needed … It doesn’t stretch anywhere near the cost of renting a flat in Westminster.

“Of course if MPs want to get into the business of travelling extensively from Westminster to the outer reaches of London to rent a flat then that’s up to them but that’s not the lifestyle I want and it’s not the lifestyle I have chosen for myself or I want for my family.”

Last year, Simmonds was named by his local paper as the most expensive MP in Lincolnshire after it was calculated that he had claimed £173,436.96 in expenses for 2013.

Downing Street said Simmonds’ resignation was unrelated to Warsi’s departure. Simmonds had agreed to resign at the time of last month’s reshuffle after deciding not to contest his seat at the next election. But he was allowed to stay on to chair a meeting of the UN security council on the Democratic Republic of the Congo last week. The UK assumed the presidency of the security council on 1 August.

Simmonds is the latest Tory MP to announce stepping down in a seat targeted by Ukip. Laura Sandys is standing down in Thanet South, which is expected to be contested by the Ukip leader, Nigel Farage.

Gawain Towler, a leading Farage ally, tweeted after Simmonds’ announcement: “Mark Simmonds going, nothing to do with the impact of Ukip in his constituency.” The prime minister praised Simmonds, but relations became strained when Simmonds missed a key vote on Syria during last year’s recall of parliament because he was at a meeting to discuss Rwanda with Justine Greening, the international development secretary.

Simmonds is replaced by the highly Eurosceptic former whip James Duddridge, who said last year that Britain should tell the EU to “sod off” rather than pay benefits to Romanians and Bulgarians.

Widely reported, this from the Guardian

See also Mark Simmonds: Expenses system gave Foreign Office minister a £500,000 lift in the Telegraph where it shows that he bought a house for £650,000 in Putney (not Westminster) during 2001 which he was quite happy to own whilst UK taxpayers paid his mortgage interest until 2009. He then sold it for a profit of £537,500. It also details his “Other earnings” but I am going to stop now as I am getting very angry!!

Police widows: ‘Pension rules condemn us to loneliness’

Spouses of officers who died in service have ‘widow’s pensions’ cancelled if they remarry or live with a new partner.

Widows of murdered police officers are calling on the government to allow them to keep their spouse’s pension if they remarry or live with a new partner – claiming current rules condemn them to a future life of loneliness.

Christine Fulton (pictured), whose husband PC Lewis Fulton was stabbed to death while on duty in Glasgow in 1994, is among those forced to chose between “love or money” under rules which mean her husband’s pension is cancelled if she now marries or cohabits with her new partner.

Ms Fulton, who co-founded charity Care of Police Survivors, has been in a relationship for eight years.

She said: “Lewis paid into his pension for our future. Just because he didn’t have a future does not mean that I don’t.”

She describes the police pension she receives as “his last gift to me, and to part with it is to part with him.”

Pension changes

In 2006 all serving police officers were given the chance to sign up to a new pension that allowed “pensions for life” for loved ones left behind should the worst happen.

Many officers chose not to switch and stuck with the old pension, which was in some respects more generous.

Ms Fulton acknowledged that many officers had not joined the new scheme, but she added: “The point is that they had the choice.”

Earlier this year Northern Ireland reinstated pensions for those whose “widow’s pension” had, under the Royal Ulster Constabulary Pension Regulations 1988, ceased upon their remarriage.

The change applies to widows whose late husband died in service from January 1, 1989, as well as those who retired on or after January 1, 1989 and subsequently died. It also covers widowers.

Ms Fulton said in an interview with “The UK government was adamant that pension rules could not be made retrospectively. They have done it in Northern Ireland. If they can do it there, why can’t we do it here?”

Difficult decisions

Cathryn Hall – whose West Midlands Police dog handler husband Colin died from a heart attack at the scene of an incident in 1987 – said she was faced with a “very difficult decision” in 2001: to keep her widow’s pension or move in with her new partner. She chose the latter.

She said: “Our financial lives have been a roller coaster ride since then but we have been happy.”

A Home Office spokesman said: “The government is committed to ensuring that public service pensions are affordable, sustainable and fair, both for the members of those schemes and other taxpayers.

“Officers who join the 2006 police pension scheme do benefit from life-long pensions for widows and widowers. All serving officers were offered the opportunity to transfer to this scheme when it was introduced.

“In common with most other public service pension schemes of the time, the 1987 pension was not designed or funded to provide such benefits. Attempting to back-date this or any pension of this type, would have serious implications across the whole public sector.”

From Police Oracle

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Police officer numbers show sharpest fall in Europe

The number of police officers in England and Wales has fallen more sharply than in any other country in Europe, new figures have disclosed.
Data compiled by Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics unit, compared police numbers across Europe and found a decline of 9,934 officers in England and Wales from 2010 to 2012.
The next largest fall was in France with a drop of 7,280 to 203,982 over the same period, followed by the Czech Republic with a 4,809 fall.
Spain saw a rise from 241,000 to 249,000 despite its economic woes.
Greece recorded a decline from 59,497 officers in 2010 to 54,657 in 2012, a fall of more than 4,800.

The figures were highlighted by Labour but a Home Office spokesman pointed out that Eurostat warns there are problems making direct comparisons between the number of officers in different countries.
The information only covers up to 2012 and the number of police officers in England and Wales has since fallen even further, but no EU comparisons are available for the more recent period.
According to latest Home Office figures there were 127,909 police officers at the end of March in England and Wales, 4,289 lower than the number recorded by Eurostat.
Despite the decrease in the number of officers crime levels have continued to fall, but critics say the true picture is impossible to know because of serious reservations about the accuracy of crime recording by the police.
Theresa May, the Home Secretary, has praised the police for achieving what she said were excellent results at a time of public spending austerity.
She has said forces are “doing more with less” and described the police as “the model public service in the era of budget cuts”.
Jack Dromey, the shadow police minister, said: “Theresa May tops the European League, cutting more Police Officers than any other country in Europe.
“The thin blue line is being stretched ever thinner with ever more serious consequences.”
He added: “Neighbourhood policing is being hollowed out with growing complaints from the public that they just don’t see their bobbies on the beat any longer.
“Victims of crime are being let down with violent and sexual crime going up and prosecutions going down.”
A Home Office spokesman said: “These figures are not comparable between European countries and Eurostat, the official body, warns against doing so.
“Police reform is working and crime is down by more than 10 per cent since 2010. Under this government the proportion of officers in front line roles has increased from 89% to 91%.
“Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary’s latest Valuing the Police report shows forces are balancing their books while protecting the frontline and delivering reductions in crime. What matters is how officers are deployed, not how many of them there are.
“Police and crime commissioners and chief constables are best placed to make decisions about the most effective use of resources and to ensure forces are delivering on the issues that matter in their areas.”

From the Telegraph

National PCC association suffers ‘substaintial loss’

The Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) continues to operate at a substantial loss despite having cut its deficit to just over £80,000.

The APCC’s total loss before tax was £81,258 for the last financial year – a reduction from the previous 12 months, when its deficit totalled just under a quarter of a million pounds.

The organisation cited “corporate changes,” including its move into new offices in the heart of Westminster, as well as capital spending on technological gear which it says will help achieve future savings. The spending on technology was met from the association’s reserves.

A spokesman for the APCC stressed that the association – a company limited by guarantee – always sought to achieve best value in its spending.

However, commercial sensitivity means the precise details of spending decisions may never be released for public scrutiny.

‘Doesn’t sound cheap’

Some commentators have questioned why the APCC needs to be based in relatively expensive offices in The Sanctuary, Westminster Abbey – a prime central London spot – rather than at a cheaper location in the provinces.

Sam Chapman, who edits the TopOfTheCops blog, said: “In the modern world, do we really need to have everything based in London? Even the BBC has moved to Salford. The shift in responsibility for police and crime commissioners is more towards a local rather than a national focus.”

He said that having offices at Westminster Abbey “sounds nice, but I’m sure it isn’t cheap”.

The APCC had previously shared offices with the Association of Chief Police Officers.

The organisation’s outlays last year included spending on video conferencing equipment to allow police and crime commissioners (PCCs) to meet with each other without having to shell out on travel expenses.

A “closed” area of the organisation’s website where PCCs can privately share advice around best practice in areas such as media management has also been set up.

Nick Alston (pictured), the APCC’s recently elected new chairman, said: “One of the reasons the APCC moved was because members wanted an office that was independent of any police stakeholder. Moving to our new offices we have saved 20 per cent a square foot, therefore achieving better value for money for the space we have.”

He added: “Government departments and the majority of police stakeholders are based in London, including the College of Policing, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and the National Crime Agency. The directors agreed that PCCs needed a London office to ensure they can influence at a national level effectively.

“Our new office also offers facilities for PCCs to use when visiting London to attend the many meetings held there.”

He said the annual report that the deficit figures came from was released in line with the association’s commitment to transparency.

Uncertain future

Analyst Bernard Rix, Chief Executive of CoPaCC – a body that monitors PCCs – said that the APCC would “ideally” not be spending in excess of its total income through subscriptions.

He said: “The key challenge for the APCC is to cut its costs according to its means. If PCCs are not willing to pay enough to cover all the activities it is doing, it can only run on reserves for so far.

“If PCCs want the APCC to do more, at some point you cannot do more for less. I know it’s the thinking currently that you should do more for less, but at some point you cannot.”

In the 2012/13 financial year the APCC received a £155,943 Home Office grant. But its income is mostly generated through subscriptions from its members.

Mr Rix criticised the APCC’s “lack of transparency,” saying it used to regularly post official correspondence from individual PCCs on its website but has not done so since May.

He added: “It’s a great shame, because these are things the general public would be interested in. This is a public body, it’s publically funded.”

Within the Labour Party senior figures are thought to be sympathetic to the idea of abolishing police and crime commissioners – and with an election coming up, a question mark hangs over the future of the office.

It is not known what will happen to all the kit the APCC has acquired if PCCs are abolished.

Nick Alston, Essex’s PCC, replaced Greater Manchester’s PCC Tony Lloyd as chairman of the APCC’s board in July.

From Police Oracle

‘On A Mote Of Dust, Suspended In A Sunbeam’

The most distant photograph of the Earth (about 2/3 of the way down the image in the light brown band) taken from beyond the planet Neptune – about 3.7 billion miles – by the Voyager 1 spacecraft ….

Pale Blue Dot“From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it’s different. Consider again that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity – in all this vastness – there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known, so far, to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate.

Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment, the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”

Carl Sagan, ‘Pale Blue Dot’ 1994

(With thanks to Dave Powell who sent me this and who has been an arch supporter.  It does make you think that we are on the cusp when it comes to the future of mankind.  On that note I really must stop fiddling with the blog as our impending move is now getting to be an imminent move.  If I am not careful I will be having more comebacks than Frank Sinatra) ….   Smile

New ‘direct entry’ police superintendents will break 180 years of tradition

Candidates are poised to become first officers to enter police at senior rank rather than working their way up from constable

SuptA civil servant, a bank worker and a member of the armed forces are among the first ever fast-track recruits into senior police ranks.

The College of Policing said 13 candidates had passed a rigorous assessment process to become superintendents.

If, as expected, they complete the final stages the nine men and four women will become the first recruits will break more than 180 years of tradition by entering the police at a rank higher than constable.

The College said 13 out of 40 candidates who took the assessment for “direct entry” were successful, a lower number than anticipated, and their ages range between 30 and 48.  At a time when the ethnic breakdown of the police is under continuing scrutiny, the College said two of the applicants going forward to the next stages are black or Asian.

“The successful candidates come from a wide range of professions including finance, media and creative industries, the armed forces and civil service,” said a spokesman.

“They include four women and two people from a black and minority ethnic background.”

Ten were referred by the Metropolitan Police and one each from the Avon and Somerset, Sussex and North Yorkshire forces.

The 10 Met candidates are due to undergo one-to-one interviews with Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Commissioner, later this month

Those who are offered jobs will start 18 months’ training in November.

Chief Constable Alex Marshall, the chief executive of the College of Policing, said: “We have always maintained that this would be a tough programme to be accepted onto because the development programme and the superintendent role is so demanding.

“The assessment centres have identified some exceptional performers who we believe will be able to rise to that challenge over the course of their training.”

Chief Constable Sara Thornton, the director of Police National Assessment Centres , said: “We’re looking for outstanding leaders to come into the service through this programme and we have seen some excellent applicants perform well in these tough and testing four day assessment centres.

“The process was deliberately demanding so that we could find the candidates with both leadership qualities and the ability to bring in new ideas around efficiency, effectiveness and make a positive impact on the culture in policing.

“A total of 13 applicants passed the national assessment centre and while this is a lower number than hoped I am confident that they all have the potential to make a tangible impact on policing and ultimately, the service delivered to the public.”

The decision to open up the police to direct entry, abolishing the traditional system of all officers working their way up from constable rank, has been controversial.

It was opposed by the Police Federation, which represents 125,000 frontline officers, as “elitist” and potentially damaging.

Some officers said it had been a point of principle established by Sir Robert Peel, the founder of modern British policing in 1829, that all officers began as constables.

But Mike Penning, the police minister, said: “The future success of the police is dependent on attracting the brightest and best to careers in the force.

“The government introduced direct entry to open up the senior ranks of the police to people with new perspectives and expertise.

“Direct entry is a demanding challenge and it is right that applicants should go through a robust selection process to make sure only those who can meet the high standards required to complete the training programme and become excellent police leaders are appointed.”

Chief Superintendent Gavin Thomas, vice-president of the Police Superintendents’ Association, welcomed the announcement and said the process had been a “rigorous examination of the candidates’ abilities and potential”.

New ‘direct entry’ police superintendents will break 180 years of tradition

See - Direct Entry Superintendents

Updates On Surrey Officer Jailed for Fraud

There have been a few developments since the story of former Chief Inspector Tanya Brookes being jailed for two and a half years for fraud in May.


Firstly the sentence has been appealed and reduced to 18 months. The appeal judges thinking around this was that there was no need for a deterrent element when the officer had already lost their job and had not actively used her role as a police officer to assist with her offending. There is more about it here.

Secondly, two men have been charged with harassment of Tanya Brookes. This is sub- judice but I understand that it relates to an allegation that some written material was sent to her address and to neighbours while she was on bail.—two-7543432

Thirdly, the Surrey PCC, Kevin Hurley, has been admonished by Surrey’s Police and Crime Panel Complaints Sub-committee for remarks he made following Tanya Brookes sentencing. Following the original sentence of 30 months in May, Mr Hurley said ” Ms Brookes had “lost the respect of her family, friends and public” and added: “She will not have a nice time in prison. That seems appropriate to me.”
A complaint was made regarding the comments, which were regarded as “inaccurate and upsetting” by Ms Brookes’ family and friends. The complaint was upheld by the Committee.

Tanya Brookes’ family said in a statement: “We are pleased with the findings of the police and crime panel complaints sub-committee meeting, which ruled that Kevin Hurley’s comments were inappropriate and unacceptable for someone who holds the public office of police and crime commissioner.”

Mr Hurley confirmed he would write to the complainants.

He said: “[Ms Brookes’] actions had disappointed and saddened me, and more importantly let down the public of Surrey. I made reference to the distress that this would have caused her family. I was, of course, thinking how I would have reacted if a member of my family had behaved quite so criminally.

“It’s unfortunate if the words I used to describe how the family feels about Tanya Brookes did not accurately represent their feelings.”

But he stood by his comments about her treatment in prison.

“That still is a correct comment,” he said. “Prison is about punishment and she should not enjoy the experience.

“However, it would be wrong for anyone to believe that I would condone any form of bullying or victimisation to any serving criminals. People in prison should not have a nice time. I stand by that comment.

“But I don’t condone any type of mistreatment.”

And don’t come back

Some 5m Britons live abroad. The country could do far more to exploit its high-flying expats

Don't come back

WHEN British politicians talk about winning the “global economic race” (as they often do) they have athletes like Gregor Wilson in mind. Mr Wilson taught himself to code as a child. He started and built his first company while at university and sold it on graduating. His second venture, a software firm, is booming and will soon be ready to take on more staff. He is also preparing to leave Britain for good.

In the popular imagination, British expats are leathery retirees in the Mediterranean. But from 2006 onwards the weak pound, the bursting of Spain’s property bubble and rising taxes in France made the costas less attractive. The number of old Britons emigrating annually has more than halved since then. Dean Blackburn, head of HSBC Expat, part of the high-street bank, says that a different breed of emigrant is now on the march: the ambitious graduate bound for North America or Asia.

The sharpest rise has been among those moving to the glittering East (see chart). Mr Wilson will build his business in Hong Kong. The web, along with the reach of the English language and the cachet of a British degree, gives young people like him opportunities undreamed-of by their parents’ generation. They are also untethered for longer: on average, they buy a house and form a family later in life than did previous generations. Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that, since the eve of the economic crisis, emigration is down by 19% overall but up by 8% among 15- to 24-year-olds.

High housing costs help to drive young folk abroad. For the monthly rent on a rabbit hutch anywhere near central London, graduates live grandly elsewhere. “We can afford to travel around Australia, rent an apartment with a sea view and save some money,” explains Emma, a publisher and recent Oxford graduate who moved to Melbourne last year. Those with advanced degrees are especially likely to leave for countries where pay and research facilities are better. Emigrant Chart

This is regrettable. Britain’s productivity rate is puny; firms and factories badly need such skilled employees. But it is also an opportunity—which the country is squandering.

According to the World Bank, the British diaspora (at nearly 5m people, roughly the size of Scotland) is the largest of any rich country and the eighth biggest overall. Britain’s many expats could strengthen its trading links, channel investment into its economy and generally burnish the national brand. But Britain’s government seems to have “no coherent strategy” for engaging with them, says Alan Gamlen of the Oxford Diasporas Programme, a research unit at Oxford University.

Of 193 UN member states, 110 have formal programmes to build links with citizens abroad. Britain is not one of them. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s database of Britons abroad is patchy. Of all the high-flying expats with British passports your correspondent asks, only one—Danny Sriskandarajah, a migration expert based in South Africa—has had any contact with local embassies or with UKTI, Britain’s trade-promotion body. And his Indian friend has received much more attention from his consulate.

Indeed, India is a trailblazer in this field. It has an entire ministry for its emigrants. Mr Gamlen says it partly has this to thank for the success of its IT industry, built by Indians lured home from Silicon Valley and Europe. Other countries are similarly welcoming. Italy and France even reserve parliamentary seats for their diasporas.

The British government would probably have to work harder than most to sustain ties with the country’s expats. Britons are relatively good at melting into other countries without trace. They are a individualistic bunch, have Commonwealth links and a native language that often makes it easy to integrate.

Kiwi seeds

New Zealand offers a good model for Britain’s hands-off diplomats to emulate. Wellington has spent 30 years encouraging firms and philanthropists to root out Kiwis abroad. Its proudest achievement is the Kiwi Expat Association, a public-private partnership that supports and connects overseas New Zealanders through social media and networking events, and helps them return home if they so wish. Britain might also make it easier to bring spouses into the country. Expats who want to move back with their non-British partners often collide with their home country’s ever-tougher immigration regime.

If Britain does not want its talented globetrotters, others do. Germany actively recruits Britons to take apprenticeships there. Middle Eastern governments tour British universities doling out visas. Mr Wilson was contacted out of the blue by the Chinese authorities, who invited him to relocate his firm and offered to pay for his flight. “America and China seem really keen to attract us,” he says. “Britain just doesn’t seem that interested.”

From The Economist

Dumb And Dumber

Cuts plan: Neighbourhood officers ‘will not investigate crime’

Leicestershire outlines measures to cope with a shrinking budget including home working and outsourcing.

A force has announced that its neighbourhood police officers will no longer investigate any crime.

Leicestershire Police has outlined plans to cope with £15 million of cuts before March 2017 in a wide ranging blueprint.

A document jointly drawn up by Police and Crime Commissioner Sir Clive Loader and Chief Constable Simon Cole states that the force will introduce measures including having neighbourhood teams focused only on “community problem solving, engagement, proactive patrol, tackling anti-social behaviour and managing offenders”.

By removing any investigative element from the teams, which have seen reductions in the number of police officers within them, the document estimates that an extra 42,000 officer-hours can be dedicated to their “core functions”.

Elsewhere the document promises an increase in outsourcing, 251 more PCSOs, the closure of some “large” stations and encouraging more people to work from home.

The plan states: “Between 2010 and 2013 the force has already removed £20 million from the budget. By March 2017 we need to save a further £15.4 million from our current budget of £172.6 million.

“Over 80 per cent of costs are ‘people’ so we have tried to reduce non-staff costs as much as possible. We have made significant savings through collaborative working, major crime, HR and legal services.

“We cannot make the necessary additional savings without transforming how we (will be) delivering policing in the future.”

Further reductions

The force will also cut its number of local policing units from 15 to eight, and crime will be investigated through [sic] only by detectives, police officers and investigative support assistants through three investigation hubs under the force’s crime directorate.

It is setting up a new Investigation Management Unit to allocate reports of crime or anti-social behaviour to the right department.

Tiffany Lynch, Chair of the Leicestershire Police Federation, said: “We do not want to see any changes that have an impact on the ability of our members to meet the needs of their communities.

“Of course, we fear police officers could be under increased pressure as they try to deliver the same service with reduced numbers of sworn officers and less support from police staff whose numbers have also been cut in recent years.

“However, we all have to be realistic. The funding is not there and the force has to provide the best service it can with the resources it can afford.

“We will continue to work with the force so that it can balance the books, provide savings and deliver effective policing services to the public.

“We appreciate that the force has announced its outline plans and we await more detailed proposals as the force continues to work on this project.”

The lamps go out all over Britain as nation recalls debt to the dead in a candlelit vigil

Lights out++++++++++++++



Soldiers are citizens of death’s gray land,
Drawing no dividend from time’s tomorrows.
In the great hour of destiny they stand,
Each with his feuds, and jealousies, and sorrows
Soldiers are sworn to action; they must win
Some flaming, fatal climax with their lives.
Soldiers are dreamers; when the guns begin
They think of firelit homes, clean beds, and wives.

I see them in foul dugouts, gnawed by rats,
And in the ruined trenches, lashed with rain,
Dreaming of things they did with balls and bats,
And mocked by hopeless longing to regain
Bank holidays, and picture shows, and spats,
And going to the office in the train.

Siegfried Sassoon



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