OldAfricaHand

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OldAfricaHand last won the day on February 21

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About OldAfricaHand

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  • Birthday 15/10/48

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  1. I suspect that any news stories / comments about her will always bring up the Stockwell shooting. It certainly is a lot of baggage/
  2. 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
  3. 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!
  4. 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
  5. 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.
  6. 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?
  7. 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
  8. 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.
  9. 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!
  10. Mark 101 I am not sure if your "ïs he going to war or what" comment is about me personally? I said I was a direct-entry manager in the public service - and I didn't have peoples' lives & futures in my hands - I am not quite sure how that implies I am going to war. I work in Africa, the Arabian Gulf and SE Asia and I am not a CC but I often work at very senior government levels - so I have a view of wide range of things. For example, I have seen the deterioration in the crime and security situation in South Africa - brought about by having a dysfunctional Police Service in which anyone can join at any rank and be catapulted into situations for which they are unprepared - the current suspended National Police Commissioner was a project manager in a government department before she was appointed to the Commissioner post. Not long after her appointment, in a place called Marikana, her officers lost control of a situation, fired directly into a crowd of striking miners and murdered 30+men; she subsequently applauded her officers for being steadfast and professional. Her suspension has nothing to do with her poor operational leadership but rather her not being able to control the financial shenanigans in the Police procurement process - which you might have thought would be a no-brainer for a project manager. Now, I am not suggesting such a scenario could happen in UK - if only because the PCs and PSs would not follow such orders as they would clearly be illegal. For me, a much smaller scale action - if it affected the public or Police - would be bad. My perspective is that policing requires experienced people when dealing with operational issues. Direct-entry to admin jobs - fine - but warranted powers are not required. This is just my view - based on dealing with people at all levels in UK, USA, Africa, th Gulf & SE Asia. I could be wrong but I wouldn't take a chance!
  11. As a former Hobby Bobby (but it seems a long time ago - 27 years service that ended 20 years ago in another era) I understand Zulu's perspective but then we are both Mancunians; so we are a bit blunt by nature. I think that the quite lengthy suspension of the site's activities has had significant impact on members' feelings towards whether it is worth contributing - people find other things to do / other sites to visit. Certainly the interaction over the past 12 months has diminished but, perhaps, it will return to its former level of debate, banter, information and fun. I hope so! As far as the Met is concerned, I recall a friend of mine (an Amercian State Department staffer) saying "You can always tell an American....... but not very much!" I guess that syndrome might exist in parts of the Met (which continues a Force close to my heart)
  12. HMS I think you have aptly encapsulated the situation. Change for the sake of change is never wise. As an MOP, I do not think it is right for the government to impose a system that might well impact on the safety of officers and public. I joined the public service as a direct-entry manager but I didn't have the lives and futures of people in my hands; had I done so, I might well have been one of those Ruperts you referred to.
  13. I am not biased against direct entry because I have no right to be. However, as a fairly experienced senior manager across a number of public service-type organisations and 27 years as a Special, I have a view that the complexities and challenges of Policing are such that it would be dangerous to put relatively inexperienced individuals into command positions in potentially difficult situations. I know I need not tell you that the consequences of mistakes in such situations are significant - not just for the individual making the mistake but also others involved in the situation. I do not think that the marginal benefit that some might see from direct entry is worth the trauma and cost that would ensue from an inexperienced direct-entry Inspector making a cock-up simply because they did not have the depth of experience they would have gained if they had joined as a PC and progressed to Inspector through time as a PS.
  14. I am not a Police officer but have enough experience of policing and as a junior, middle & senior manager in a number of structured organisations, to know that Direct entry to Police above the level of Constable would be very dangerous. There are very few non-Police managers who will have the breadth of experience that will enable them to take both a strategic and tactical view of policing situations and, at the same time, have the tacit knowledge gained from personal experience, that is essential when making decisions within split-seconds and under pressure. I have a pretty open mind (RM please note ) when it comes to developing people and moving them up in organisations depending on their skills and capabilities. However, a Policing environment is different - the "stakeholders" (sorry about that word) in a policing situation are not just Police Officers but the vast array of the public as individuals or organisations with varying levels of interest. To be able to deal with such interests, a Police Supervisor needs experience in dealing with people often in traumatic / pressured situations. That doesn't often happen in office environments nor even in the retail trade. What might be appropriate is for some senior level Police jobs that do not require warranted powers to be done by non-Police officers but the essence of the British Police Officer on-the-streets is that he/she is experienced, can exercise split-second judgement, can be compassionate and well-versed in the rights and wrongs of the Law and what actions they must take or can exercise with discretion. There might be small numbers of former Armed Forces SNCOs and officers who might be able to bring the necessary tactical / strategic skills & experience but run-of-the-mill civilian managers - sorry, not on!
  15. "Despite being absolutely appalled at the behaviour and all too aware of the damage to public confidence, I do not think I can reasonably take a different view without any significant reason to do so.” The above are the words of the DCC Ian Pilling in giving his decision that the ACC in question will be allowed to keep her job. Frankly, I think it is outrageous - if her behaviour was such that it appalls a more senior officer and he is aware that it has damaged public confidence in the Police, what more reason does he require to remove her from GMP? Isn't appalling behaviour and damafing the public's confidence significant enough?