OldAfricaHand

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OldAfricaHand last won the day on March 22

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About OldAfricaHand

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  • Birthday 15/10/48

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  1. But I am sure you would still be a "key witness"- not least because you continue to be in the policing environment?
  2. RM I'm sure you had the makings of a reasonable man when you were 18 and this was noted! If you know what you are looking for, you can see the seeds of maturity in an 18 year-old and make a judgement based on a range of information gained during a selection process. My worry today is that many interviewers are not hard-nosed - they are too afraid of "upsetting" candidates. But that'sjust a view based on seeing some folk in action and trying to teach effective interviewing skills.
  3. Zulu' To be frank, I think references are worthless unless they are properly examined - in the case of candidates for entry to any Police position (warranted or not), all referees should be visited and examined on their assessment of the individual (I wouldn't do this until the final stage when someone is seriously being considered for appointment). This used to happen - I know for certain that when I joined the Met Specials my three referees were personally interviewed by the then Manchester City Police. One was my former school headmaster who said I was unlikely to stick at it as my attention was quickly diverted - I saw this and the other referees' comments just after I received the first bar to my LS&GC medal (our Regular Liaison Inspector had a sense of the ironic in showing me the headmaster's comments). To get back to the references issue - no-one gives a person as a referee unless they think they will give a good reference. I have done maybe 20+ referee visits and only once did someone suggest that the subject individual might be unsuitable. A lot of background checking these days is done on-line - social-media is a potential mine of information about attitudes, opinions, acquaintances etc but you cannot beat a face-to-face interview with someone who knows the candidate! One way or another, these individuals were either very lucky or "love" made them irrational .............. I'm a cynic - so I think the seeds of dishonesty and poor character were there all the time - they just weren't identified for whatever reason!
  4. When I read this I was amazed at the ridiculously light sentence they both received. Apart from the multiple offences they both committed, their victim lost his job and his driving licence for two months - and I dare say, he has had to suffer a lot of trauma in just dealing with what these two characters have put him through. So, to me, a custodial sentence more akin to a minimum of 5 years would have been appropriate with an associated order to pay compensation to the victim. On the wider issue, how the hell did these two get through the selection process; they do not appear to have any countervailing qualifications or attributes ffor the job; so presumably they must have reached some reasonable standard - or did they?
  5. From the information that is now coming to light - no assessment made of his mental health, suppressed evidence of the environment and the situation in his particular duty location, barring a senior RM officer who was critical of the local command and supervision, and a trial by his "peers" who were not actually anything like his peers - three of the panel being HQ RN officers not operational RM officers - suggests to me that justice could not have been at the forefront of the mind of the Military Prosecuting Authority. Perhaps they do training attachments with the CPS. It is difficult to defend someone who is intent on murder but all the circumstances suggest that any other service person might have done the same in those circumstances when they were under extreme pressure and had been badly let-down by their superiors - having seen pictures of the checkpoint that C/Sgt Blackman commanded, it was almost undefendable - low walls, no cover except sweltering hot metal containers, no toilet facilities and no defences again mortars, RPGs, not grenades / IEDs. I am with Frederick Forsyth when he suggests that someone needs to investigate not just the court process but also the chain-of-command. I was amused to see the PM say that the MoD have been supporting the Blackmans throughout the trial and appeal - what an absolute load of b#ll#cks. I rarely use this sort of profanity but this case is definitely an exception where only such a word can describe what was said! :-(
  6. It seems from reports in the media that ACC Sutcliffe has been "seconded" to Oldham council to participate in a project looking at inter-agency working across the public sector. Apparently, she brings "enormous experience" to her new role, which could, of course, be effectively undertaken by a much more junior officer with inter-agency working experience and who might benefit from the exposure to a "strategic project". I wouldn't be at all surprised if at the end of the six months project, should she meet all the necessary conditions, she will retire on a decent pension.
  7. I suspect that any news stories / comments about her will always bring up the Stockwell shooting. It certainly is a lot of baggage/
  8. Soapyw I can understand your line of thinking but you might find that your skills and experience are not universally welcomed by those who make magistrates appointments. A friend of mine, a former senior RAF officer was turned down for a magistrate position because they felt he would not be "balanced" enough in dealing with criminals. The fact that he was born and brought up in a very working-class family (his dad a bus-driver and his mother a cleaner), lived in the back streets of Manchester, and earned his pocket-money delivering newspapers, meant nothing - he had reached his position through his own merit; so he wasn't adequate to be a magistrate. So, you might want to think of something else. Having said all that - I hope you have a go! Cheers
  9. Apparently the appointment has been announced this afternoon. She has certainly done well for herself. I think it was a shoe-in really - she had been sent to The Foreign Office to "widen" her experience. We live in interesting times!
  10. I am an MOP with a bit of (now rapidly ageing) Police perspective. So, here's my view: A warranted officer is a warranted officer - all the same, irrespective of rank, when the sh#t hits the fan, I expect them all to do the same thing - take action! I once patrolled with the then Chief Superintendent George Rushbrook, on a Sunday morning along the Bayswater Road. George Rushbrook retired as a Commander and was rated in a book, "The Signs of Crime", as one of the most practical detectives in the Met. He was also a really nice bloke. During that Sunday patrol, one of the many things he said was " it doesn't matter who you are in The Job, what matters is what you do". I think that about sums up how I see policing - rank really isn't the issue but what an individual actually achieves is what is important. So Response / CID / Specialist Squads are not so important (particularly to the end-user - Joe & Josephine Public); they would like to see more blue suits with shiny buttons and pointed hats on the streets (with body armour but probably without lime-green or similar hued jackets etc). That's really what policing is about - and has been since 1829 when "the first objective to be obtained is the prevention of crime"! For what it's worth, this is just a view from a man who once rode on The Clapham Omnibus
  11. I recall reading (a few years ago) a research report that showed that former CID officers lived much shorter lives in retirement than former uniformed officers. The conclusion was that the major step-change in the ex-CID officers' lives was the relatively placid life in retirement and, unless their former level of stress was replicated in some form of retirement activity, it could cause problems that had physical manifestations. I cannot remember where this report came from but I can well imagine that there is some truth in what it concluded. That suggests to me that HMS' comments are very near the mark.
  12. HMS You are right, the SC would know what he/she didn't know and, if they had the right attitude, this would help them through the assimilation process. I also think the SC would have a much better understanding of the relationships and interaction that happen in Policing where, often times, rank is not an indicator of deep / specialist experience nor competence. I recall many, many times when the "Reserve PC" in a Central London nick would be the real relief supervisor, with the Duty Officer relying on him to manage resources, and on the old Met D Division, a major inquiry wasn't really "live" until a particular PC got into the task manager's slot. Neither of these guys were interested in advancement but The Job needed them in order to be effective. Looking at it from an MOP perspective, I sometimes wonder if the rank system is not adequate to recognise the specialist skills that many PCs and PSs possess - but, then, such recognition seems to have been kicked into touch by his Lordship Sir Winsor?
  13. Cheese' I always thought 30 countries was well-travelled until one of my primary-school friends counted up the 84 countries he has visited on business - so i guess we are both "relatively well-travelled" in comparison to some other folk? Again, like you I have seen some really bad police forces - including in Europe. The issue of effectiveness is questionable I agree - I think the the politicians have had a de-motivating effect on policing, including removing some clearly useful powers but that is outside the control of Police officers (although I sometimes wonder if more energetic lobbying by senior police leaders might have had some impact?). I do agree about the level of scruffiness - I think that comes from spending cuts that mean that uniform clothing is often pretty shoddy, doesn't inculcate a sense of pride in appearance, and supervisors are not as particular as in the past. (That might be a generational thing?) I agree there is a need to adapt to the changing environment and, if we look at the Armed Forces, the question of direct-entry at "officer" level is relatively successful if we accept that, particularly in the Army, a new entrant officer will lean on his NCOs for quite some time until he gets the experience necessary to become more confident. So, I am not against the principle, I just worry that the complexity of policing and the often instantaneous judgements that have to be based on tacit knowledge and experience, are not ones easily faced by direct-entrants - however good they might be. But, as you say, we won't know until we try - I just don't want the College of Policing et al to go down the road of making sure they gather only evidence that proves their case and that means a sort of 360 degree assessment of direct-entrants. Give it 5 years and maybe we will all be more informed. Cheers
  14. Well, cheese', I have to ask the question "how far do you travel outside the UK?" Because I have worked in more than 30 countries, lived in some of them for extended periods and I can say with authority (just my level of modesty I guess) that in saying "virtually everywhere" is better than UK, you are talking tosh! I say this in a spirit of banter not insult because I respect your right to hold your view. There may be a lot wrong with the institutions of policing but, overwhelmingly, British coppers are way above anything that I have seen anywhere else in the world - and that includes Europe, parts of Asia, Africa, and North America. I have both a MOP perspective and one born of some association with operational policing albeit a long time ago now.
  15. Cheese_puff I am not suggesting you are proposing change for change sake but I think the government wanted that - direct-entry being another device to drive "reform" - which if I was a cynic, I might think was more to do with having senior officers, at all levels, who are more "biddable" to politicians. This might lead to the system whereby if a politician gets into trouble, a word in the ear of the more politically-sensitive senior officer would sort matters out. (You know how it goes, the local drunken bank manager when stopped from getting into his car tells the PC "Do you know who I am, I know your Chief Superintendent") Do not be in doubt that the direct-entry officers would be aware that their role is to drive "reform" and, without experience on the streets, their perception of "reform" will be that they get from on-high. As far as there being a problem in the process of promoting people through the ranks, I would say that there are plenty of people in the lower ranks who would merit promotion but the system to identify and develop such people has been lacking (perhaps along with the incentives to actually take on greater responsibility?). Again, just my thoughts - I my well be totally off-beam but, as I said, I wouldn't want to take the chance!