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  1. Lord Ian Blair warns the Met will be a quarter less in size than when he left the force. Lord Ian Blair A former Metropolitan Police commissioner says it would be "an absurdity" to further cut the force's funding after recent events in London. Lord Ian Blair called for a rethink over plans to cut hundreds of millions of pounds from the force's budget, saying this would leave the Met a quarter of the size it was when he left office in 2008. London Mayor Sadiq Khan has warned the city has lost "thousands of police staff" since 2010, while the current Met Commissioner Cressida Dick said she would "obviously" be seeking extra resources. "I think the crucial point now is to understand the cuts being considered, certainly for the Met, need reconsideration," Lord Blair told BBC Radio 4's Today programme. "As far as I understand it they're supposed to lose a further £400 million by 2021, on top of £600 million in the last few years. "That means the Met must be a quarter less in size than when I left." Lord Blair, now a crossbench peer, went on to call for "no cuts", adding: "Looking at what is happening, the idea of continuously cutting the police service's budget seems an absurdity at this stage." Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackay has said the Westminster and London Bridge attacks had put a "lot of stretch" on the Metropolitan Police. The Metropolitan Police Federation has also warned that officers are fatigued and "stretched beyond belief" after a string of major incidents. Lord Blair said these incidents would put extra pressure on specialist officers such as counter terrorism, adding: "It just seems a very strange time to be reducing the capabilities of a service which is holding the line against some terrible events." The former commissioner said neighbourhood policing is crucial to building trust with communities, but is very difficult to maintain when major incidents happen and officers are needed elsewhere. Lord Blair said it was "no surprise" Monday's attack at Finsbury Park Mosque had happened. "There is this kind of new landscape of terrorism, which the new commissioner Cressida Dick described, where the weapons are knives from kitchens or just hiring a van," he said. "It does create a very difficult problem for the police." View on Police Oracle
  2. Recruitment drive is aimed at individuals inside and outside policing. There are 32 different roles available as part of the initiative The Metropolitan Police Service is set to recruit 100 “change professionals” to help “transform” delivery of service. It says the force is “ever evolving” and needs “talented” people to help it adapt against a “backdrop of ever changing crime patterns and a challenging budget.” As such the force is advertising 100 vacancies across 32 different roles and is looking for people from inside and outside policing. Director of people and change in the Met’s human resources department, Robin Wilkinson, says the type of work being undertaken is unrivalled. He said: “The breadth of work our new Transformation Directorate will undertake is unrivalled in any industry. The work impacts on how the Met safeguards the most vulnerable people in society, how the Met tackles and disrupts crime, through to ensuring we have the right people available to respond quickly and professionally in times of need. "We are looking for change professionals from a variety of disciplines working in Portfolio and Programme Delivery, Integrated Design and Delivery and Business Change roles. Professionals with experience in communications and engagement, risk management, operating model design and project management are just a few of those we need to ensure our team is complete. "In joining the Met you will be part of our Transformation Directorate. You will work in a professional change role which will face the challenge of delivering complex change right across the Met without risking operational delivery." Sam Upton, a blueprint and insight manager at the transformation directorate described the work the department does as ‘hugely rewarding’. He said: “I have always been a passionate problem solver and was initially attracted to the Met by the prospect of tackling some of London's most challenging issues. "That passion has taken me on a hugely varied and rewarding journey over the last 12 years to include supporting operating model design work covering virtually all the Met's local policing services in London. "I can't think of many organisations where you can take that professional journey whilst at the same time having so much fun, making so many lifelong friends and being so regularly humbled by the dedication and professionalism of others." View on Police Oracle
  3. In the current context Sophie Linden says the Met cannot afford any further savings or spending reductions. Ms Linden believes the Met does not have enough resources to meet its needs The Deputy Mayor says the “safety and security” of Londoners is under threat if budget cuts to the Metropolitan Police Service continue. Sophie Linden warned the “fundamental question” of meeting bare minimum funding requirements is not being met and any further reduction will put people at risk. Addressing London Assembly members at a meeting of the budget and performance committee today, Ms Linden said the force is already bracing itself for several more years of restricted finances. She said: “The Met are facing one of the most fundamental challenges around keeping this city safe with an increase in violent crime. “This on top of really significant budget challenges. The Met took £600m out of the budget over the last four years and is expecting another £400m over the next four years. “On top of that we are facing a funding formula revue which (in its last form) would have cuts of between £184m and £700m. “These are really, really challenging times and we do not think the Met can take anymore budget cuts or savings. “If the fundamental question is ‘does this challenge the safety and security of Londoners?’ we think it will if this continues and we have to take police officer numbers out of the police service. “The position is incredibly challenging, if we continue in this way it is going to be incredibly difficult to keep people safe.” Met Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey was less forthright but told assembly members the force is “stretched” and if the current threat level is “the new normal” then resource needs would have to be reassessed. He said: “Do we have the necessary resources to keep Londoners safe? I think clearly at the moment in terms of work we are doing and work over the last three months we have seen a changing situation in and around London. “We have seen three attacks in the last few weeks and that has put quite a stretch into the system in terms of what we do, that’s not just stretched across counter terrorism command it’s stretched across the policing system. “We have the resources to cope with what we are doing at the moment, as the Commissioner has said, clearly in light of what we are seeing at the moment what we need to work through collectively is ‘is this the new normal? The new normal level of violence?’ and if it is whether we have the resources needed to deal with it.” Deputy Commissioner Mackey also told assembly members officers across the capital are “feeling hard pressed” but continue to work “incredibly hard” in the “true spirit” of London. He added: “If you talk to officers and staff around the boroughs, as I know some of you do, they feel very hard pressed at the moment, there is a lot of work and a lot of demand on the system. “In the true spirit of the Metropolitan Police Service and the true spirit of this city they are coping incredibly well but they are working incredibly hard to keep us in that situation.” View on Police Oracle
  4. Damian Green given prominent Cabinet post. Brandon Lewis has won promotion The Policing and Fire Minister post is now vacant, following the promotion of Brandon Lewis to a more senior role. The Great Yarmouth MP who fared well in the General Election unlike many of his Conservative Party colleagues – increasing his majority – is now Immigration Minister in the Home Office. During the election campaign he appeared at the Police Federation Conference in Birmingham – where delegates groaned at his claims that crime is down and that police officer numbers are not the Home Office’s responsibility. In an article for The Times today, he writes: "I have worked closely with Mrs May; her steely determination in turbulent times is one of her great strengths and that’s what we need right now. "I believe she needs to stay on as our prime minister." One of his predecessors in the role, Damian Green, has been promoted to First Secretary of State, effectively making him Theresa May’s deputy. Amber Rudd remains Home Secretary, while David Lidington has taken over from Liz Truss as Justice Secretary. It is not yet known when a new Policing Minister will be chosen. View on Police Oracle
  5. Chairman described it as "political interference" in operational decisions. Sarah Johnson reacted furiously to the announcement The chairman of Gloucestershire Police Federation is “beyond angry” with the force after it announced it would not “rush in” to using spit guards. Sarah Johnson accused Gloucestershire Police, as well as the police and crime commissioner, of “interfering in operational policing decisions” following the announcement on Wednesday. Ms Johnson claimed the force breached an agreement already in place when Gloucestershire Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl intervened. She said: “Protecting police officers from being spat at is paramount. We had an agreement in place in force to begin a trial of spit guards in custody suites. And now this had been put on hold following an intervention by PCC Martin Surl. “Our members will rightly be asking why he is getting involved in operational policing decisions, which are a matter for the Chief Constable. “Police officers will also be left feeling that the Police and Crime Commissioner and the force are basically saying it is ok for people to spit at them.” Ms Johnson said she would be taking the matter up urgently with both the force and the office of the PCC as she believes every officer in Gloucestershire should have one. She continued: “Spitting at a police officer is horrible but then there is also the potential that – should the spit go in their mouths – there will be sometimes up to a six month programme whereby officers have to be tested and maybe take drugs to make sure that they haven’t contracted a contagious disease. “This means that the officers may not be able to be intimate with their family, might not be able to cuddle their children or might not be able to visit ill relatives, so it’s not only the impact on that day, it’s for a long time thereafter. “A lot of stress and worry comes with that.” PCC Surl insists he is “yet to be convinced” spit guards are an effective solution. He said: “I know from personal experience that any attack on officers carrying out their duties is completely unacceptable, and that extra protection is sometimes necessary. But the use of spit guards has caused controversy in other parts of the country with claims they breach suspects’ rights and could even be dangerous. “The chief constable and I are in total agreement that the safety of our staff is paramount, but I am yet to be convinced that spit guards are the answer. “This is a highly emotive issue that should not be rushed into without public engagement and any other consultation that may be appropriate.” More than half of Police Federation members across the country are in favour of spit guards, as is the current Home Secretary Amber Rudd. Gloucestershire Chief Constable Rod Hansen says “pause for thought” is the ideal path forward. He said: “This is an issue that divides opinion even within the service. Some regard them as a necessary and an essential restraint; others see them as impractical and maybe even inflammatory. “We already have the power to use reasonable force against citizens when it is deemed appropriate. If we can find a solution that suits everyone, including my officers and staff as well as for suspects, all of whom I have a duty of care towards, then further pause for thought is the right course to take”. View on Police Oracle
  6. Former chief superintendent calls for routine arming of all officers as a greater priority. The newly installed barriers at Westminster Bridge on Monday morning. Photo: Press Association Barriers have appeared on bridges at the request of police following the second vehicle attack on one of the London landmarks this year. But there are differing views on how much safer this makes the public. Manufacturers claim they can reduce the number of officers needing to be deployed, but a former counter terror commander believes they are minor and has renewed his call for routine arming of officers. Met Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley announced the latest installation on Sunday night, and the barriers have been erected to protect pavements in areas including Westminster Bridge and London Bridge. Such barriers can stop a 7.5 tonne vehicle travelling at up to 50 mph. But at a cost of around £675 per metre they do not come cheap. Jonathan Goss, MD of Townscape Products, a company which makes similar devices to the ones installed on the bridges, said: “Terrorism has taken an unforeseen turn over the past year and those that wish to undermine our way of life have begun using vehicles to cause mass harm. “To address this threat head on – we need to keep vehicles and pedestrians separate by using intelligently positioned barriers.” He claimed they are more effective than armed police at keeping pedestrians safe as they will stop vehicles completely. “When it comes to hardening our urban environment to protect us against terrorist attacks, authorities need to start by focussing their efforts on the most at-risk public areas to make best use of any available budget. “Once these locations have been identified, the sole job of blocks, barriers, bollards and planters is to ensure that vehicles cannot access the public area in question,” he added. Designs such as plant pots can make them blend in with their surrounding without being too obvious. Last year Lord Toby Harris’ review of counter-terrorism measures in the capital, commissioned by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, recommended that such barriers in the Westminster area receive more funding from the Home Office. The Labour peer wrote: “Following the lessons of the Nice attacks, these could allow more effective mitigation of similar attacks here than the expensive systems that are currently in place. “A business case for these flexible barriers has previously been considered by the Home Office, but may be revisited. They should review this urgently and move to fund a solution.” The peer told PoliceOracle.com in May that he was yet to receive a government response to his report. He put this down to the purdah period which followed Theresa May’s calling of the snap General Election. But Kevin Hurley, former Surrey PCC and a counter-terror lead in the City of London Police, told Police Oracle: “I think for the prominent and tiny section of our busy roads yes you can protect with those barriers but the reality is terrorists will just run people over any else where there isn’t a barrier. “If you can’t constrain the movements of the attacker they will carry on until the specialist firearms officers get there. “The only way to stop an attack is to shoot them immediately, that means all response officers should carry a side arm. He cited the seriously injured BTP officer who faced the attackers near Borough Market armed just with a baton as an example of the pressing need for this. “Anyone who says otherwise had never personally had to face down someone with a knife wants to stab him to death,” he added. View on Police Oracle
  7. The victim of the hoax complained officers had not properly investigated the matter. (Credit: Stephen Barnes) The Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland has found officers did properly investigate a bogus Facebook page which a man claimed put his family at risk. The finding comes despite the case failing to land a prosecution due to a lack of available evidence. Last year the man contacted the Police Service of Northern Ireland after a fake Facebook profile was created in his name which contained photos, information about his family and his home address. He said allegations posted on the page could put his family at risk. When the following investigation failed to result in prosecution for the person responsible he complained to the Ombudsman’s office alleging officers had failed to properly investigate the incident. However, after examining inquiries made by the force, a Police Ombudsman investigator found “no evidence” of misconduct by officers involved. She found officers had progressed all reasonable lines of enquiry and the Public Prosecution Service had not found any gaps in the file provided by the force. PSNI officers were able to trace the IP address used to upload the information but a number of people had access to it and they were unable to ascertain which of them had published the information. A spokesman for the PONI said: “There was an absence of clear evidence to identify the offender and the PPS could not be satisfied that there was a reasonable prospect of conviction. “They therefore directed ‘no prosecution’, but this was not due to any issues with the police investigation.” View on Police Oracle
  8. Over-worked detective sergeants will be given help in bringing new investigators through. The Met is drafting in a team of retired detectives as police staff to take some of the load off its stretched workforce. The force is recruiting “investigative coaches” whose job will be to help trainee detectives get to grips with the role. Scotland Yard has a serious shortage of investigators at its disposal with an ever increasing workload for those that remain. The new recruitment coincides with a push to bring in direct entry detectives. Det Chief Supt Stephen Clayman told PoliceOracle.com: “We’re hiring investigators at the moment, these are ex-cops who are retiring and coming back as police staff. "Their only role is to support TDCs [trainee detective constables], not just these [direct entry] TDCs, all TDCs. “That's us listening to the workforce – detective sergeants said they haven’t got time to supervise them or push them through and help them, so they'll have these coaches.” The force says the coaches will work on borough teams and have responsibility for coaching and advising trainees. Detective sergeants will not be fully taken away from their responsibility for helping constables, according to information released by the force, which states that the new coaches will "provide support to detective sergeants" in this respect. Retired detective Jackie Malton, who now works as a consultant for crime dramas, said: “I think it’s a great idea. There are many retired detectives who are quite young, committed and interested. “People who have 30-years expertise as a detective can teach new people a lot and they can give something back. Also being around young people will benefit them too, they will learn things themselves.” View on Police Oracle
  9. Charity currently developing mental health support for emergency services workers. A survey by mental health charity Mind has revealed workplace wellbeing support is worse in police forces and other public sector work places than in the private sector. The charity surveyed over 12,000 employees across the public and private sectors and found a higher prevalence of mental health problems in the public sector, as well as a lack of support available when people do speak up. Mind’s survey found that public sector workers, including police officers, were over a third more likely to say their mental health was poor than their peers in the private sector and far more likely to say they have felt anxious at work in the last month. The charity is calling on the next government to make mental health in the workplace a key priority. Mind was awarded LIBOR funding to develop and deliver a major programme of mental health support for emergency services staff and volunteers from police, fire, ambulance and search and rescue services across England from April 2015. Additional funding has meant services can now be rolled out across Wales. A number of organisations have signed the Blue Light pledge to develop action plans to support their staff and volunteers. Mind’s General Election 2017 manifesto Making it Happen sets out six key priorities for the next government, to help ensure people with mental health problems can access the services and support they need to live full independent lives. Police Oracle's BluePrint campaign calls on the government to meet its obligation of protecting our officers both in the job and when they have been forced out of the service because of physical injuries or mental trauma. In March we revealed 60 per cent of police officers believe their workload is too high. The statistic was revealed in a survey which illustrates how officers face an increase in demand which is affecting the quality of their work. Eighty per cent of respondents acknowledged experiencing feelings of stress, low mood, anxiety, or other mental health and wellbeing difficulties. At the Police Federation's conference last month, the staff association outlined further aspects of its Protect the Protectors initiative with Vice Chairman Calum Macleod stating the campaign "shows the human cost to policing". He said: "We all have family, feelings and frailty and we are all breakable. Yet every day, police officers put themselves in harm’s way.” Also at the conference former North Yorkshire Police sergeant Ed Simpson, who has medically retired from the force on mental health grounds,insisted more attention should be paid to the number of officers and ex-officers who suffer. Mr Simpson said there was an imbalance between what chiefs say and the reality of mental health issues in the force. He also claimed officer suicide numbers would receive greater attention if they were deaths in the line of duty. .In April we called for a review of sentences for those convicted of assaulting an officer. An anecdote of a chief constable telling officers at a shift briefing he "did not want to hear" about mental health also raised eyebrows during the conference. NPCC head Sara Thornton said she was "surprised and disappointed" by the news while Matthew Scott, Police and Crime Commissioner for Kent, insisted this type of matter was an area in which PCCs could be of use. Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, said: “Mental health is one of the biggest domestic issues facing the next government. More people than ever are speaking out about mental health and demanding change. As a nation our expectations for better mental health for all are higher than ever and the next government must rise to this challenge. “A vital part of changing the lives of people with mental health problems is to tackle the culture of fear and silence in the workplace that stops people opening up about what they are experiencing. This data shows that the public sector in particular is making progress here. But it’s also vital that when people do speak out they get the right help and support at the right time. It’s clear there is still a long way to go in both the public and private sector to address the gap between people asking for support and actually getting what they need. “By promoting wellbeing for all staff, tackling the causes of work-related mental health problems and supporting staff who are experiencing mental health problems, organisations can help keep people at work and create mentally healthy workplaces where people are supported to perform at their best. “The current government funded Mind to put in place support for emergency services staff, through our Blue Light programme, but it is clear that workplace wellbeing needs to be a priority throughout the public sector. We must see the next government commit to making change, as government and also as an employer themselves.” Via its BluePrint campaign, Police Oracle accuses the government of failing to meet its obligation of protecting our officers both in the job and, particularly, when they have been forced out of the service because of physical injuries or mental trauma. We call on the Government to acknowledge and protect our unique service, the best in the world as stated by politicians themselves, by introducing a Police Covenant. After the General Election Police Oracle will provide further details highlighting how police officers can get involved. For more on our campaign click here: BluePrint View on Police Oracle
  10. Pension schemes also at risk from incoming reforms to police recruitment, it is feared. Joan Donnelly from the Police Federation says she finds it 'shocking' that chiefs do not yet know what apprentices will be paid Chiefs have been criticised for not having decided what apprentices are going to be paid a year before the introduction of the new route into the job. Forces have already had an effective per cent budget cut as they are now paying 0.5 per cent of the cost of their total salaries towards the government’s apprenticeship levy. The College of Policing and NPCC have previously said that they want policing apprenticeships to be up and running in 2018. The reform is one of a myriad being planned by senior officers, including making having a degree a requirement for non-apprentices, and making most existing allowances part of pay. Proposals drawn up so far suggest that apprentices could be paid 20 per cent less than current probationer constables. Joan Donnelly, a researcher for the Police Federation of England and Wales, calculates that the average officer currently has a disposable income - after housing and bills are taken into account - of about £35 a month, and that the average starting age of an officer is 28. “We are concerned that an unintended consequence of reducing apprentices' wages so much is that policing will become a profession for 18-year-olds and no one else. “The unintended consequence will be on how policing is seen – a lack of life experience and a big change to the culture of policing,” she said. Mike Brown, also from the Fed, warned that the result could be further changes to existing and future pensions too. “There is a danger that less people will join police pension scheme, making it less sustainable. “And I don’t think anyone wants to see further changes in the police pension scheme,” he said. Chief Constable Francis Habgood, NPCC lead for pay issues, told the discussion which took place at the Police Federation Conference that the current police regulations make it difficult to design a new pay level for apprenticeships. He said: “Please don’t go out and think this is about a 20 per cent reduction, because that is something that was an option. “We do need to make sure that this is an attractive offer for everyone at any stage of their lives because that life experience is fantastic.” He added: “One of the things we do need to think about is […] in the future we’re going to have police officers coming in who have a degree and probably £50,000 plus of debt, or we’re going to have people coming in as an apprentice who will have zero debt because everything will be paid for and they will earn. “I don’t know what the right answer is […]. I think we need to look at what the market is doing in other sectors on high level apprenticeships.” But Ms Donnelly said: “I find it really shocking that you’re saying you don’t know what the pay will be for apprentices yet, and your saying you don’t know whether it will be a 20 per cent reduction – because this is going to be introduced, you’ve said it’s going to get lots of bright new talent in, but you don’t know what the offer is. These things are fundamental.” View on Police Oracle
  11. Pair honoured by force for their actions. PC James McQuaid, Chief Superintendent Mark Holland, PC Simon Williams Constables who saved the life of a woman stabbed 14 times and gathered enough evidence to convict her attacker have been given an award by their force. PC 3777 James McQuaid and PC 3184 Simon Williams of Nottinghamshire Police were the first on the scene to a report of an assault. The woman had been attacked by her partner – who was high on drugs and drunk – and had forced his way in and stabbed her at least 14 times with a hunting knife before fleeing the scene. The duo gave first aid to the victim, and reassured her until paramedics arrived. A statement from the force says: “They gained valuable evidence and recorded compelling first disclosures from the victim, which would assist with the prosecution of the offender, while continuing to act compassionately and sensitively towards the victim.” The offender was subsequently traced and arrested. “A detailed investigation followed, run by another commended and dedicated officer who also liaised with and gave support to the victim and her family. “Due to the quality of the evidence against the offender he pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent and was given a 10-year prison term plus four years on licence,” it adds. The officers, who are based at St Ann's Police Station in Nottingham, were presented with their certificates by Chief Superintendent Mark Holland. They have been used as an example in a PR campaign on why new recruits should join the force. View on Police Oracle
  12. Ex-Met marksman Tony Long talks exclusively to PoliceOracle.com about life as one of Britain's most high profile armed officers. Mr Long believes more officers will be required to carry firearms in the future For the majority of officers trained to use firearms, pulling the trigger in a live scenario is a remote prospect they hope never to face. But for one now retired officer in particular, not only did this situation occur more than once, it came to define his career and shape his life. Tony Long, 60, was involved in three fatal shootings and received seven commendations during his 33 year career as a specialist firearms officer with the Metropolitan Police Service, a record which carries with it both respect and notoriety. The shooting of Azelle Rodney is undoubtedly the incident most associated with Mr Long and the one which has had the most impact on his life and career, as well as the lives of others. Rodney, Frank Graham and Wesley Lovell were in a hired silver Volkswagen Golf driving across north London to carry out an armed robbery on rival drug dealers on April 30, 2005. Being trailed by several units they were seen collecting three weapons which intelligence suggested were MAC-10 sub-machine guns. As the car passed the Railway Tavern on Hale Lane, Barnet, it was subject to a hard stop by armed officers including Mr Long. At the moment the cars came to a stop, the former marksman has always maintained he saw Rodney duck down and re-emerge with his shoulders hunched as if preparing to open fire on his fellow officers. It was this action which prompted him to shoot the 24 year-old dead and which sparked ten years of investigations, a public inquiry, a murder trial, and the end of Mr Long’s career with the Met. As we sit down for a pint in a grand Victorian pub in east London, a short walk from his old unit HQ at 337 Old Street, Tony tells me Azelle Rodney would still be alive today if he had just put his hands up. He said: “If I could have seen his hands and I could have seen they were empty, I would not have shot him. “If he had ducked down and stayed down without springing back up, I would not have shot him. “If he had behaved in the same way as the other two men in the vehicle and just put his hands up he would have survived.” When asked if, in the moments, months and years since the shooting, he has ever doubted his decision that day he responded: “No. Never.” Previous to the Azelle Rodney incident Tony Long was involved in two other fatal shootings. He shot Errol Walker in 1986 after the 30-year-old had stabbed his sister in law to death, threw her out of a third floor window and stabbed her four-year-old daughter through the neck, as well shooting dead two armed robbers at an abattoir a year later. Walker was later convicted of the murder of Jackie Charles, 22. Candid and full of anecdotes about ‘The Job’ Mr Long held the air of a man weathered by his experiences but not dominated by them. He tells me it was not until years later he realised the impact of his employment on his family. He said: “In truth it’s probably had more of an impact on my family than me. With the first two (shootings) I was a young father with two young kids, I was very ‘job pissed’, I perhaps was not as sensitive as I could have been to the effect it was having on them. “It’s only years later that people admitted they did worry about me. “The trial had a big impact on my wife, we weren't even together at the time of the incident, she is a very strong character and not the type to tell you when something is bothering her. “It was only after the not guilty verdict when she had five minutes of emotion that I realised how much pressure I had put on them.” The 60-year-old maintains the job has not had any real impact on him as he was always “prepared” for what carrying a gun on behalf of the state entails. He said: “In terms of me I would like to think it has not had any real affect as far as I am concerned. “if you take the training seriously you understand what you are being asked to do and when you do have to do it, it shouldn’t be a surprise. “If I wasn’t prepared for that I wouldn’t have taken that career path.” Mr Long, who authored a book about his career Lethal Force following the completion of his trial for murder, believes more officers should be firearms trained and the concept of policing by consent needs to be better understood in terms of firearms. He said: “I think the problem is that we have gone from multi-skilled officers to a situation where all of our authorised shots are now specialists. “In the same way that we have a lot more Taser trained officers now I don’t see why you can’t have officers trained to use a handgun rather than needing to be a specialist trained firearms officer, we have a need for specialists but you also need more general training. “The problem is the whole image of armed police flies in the face of this unarmed image we are obsessed with projecting. “I take exception to ‘policing by consent’ because a lot of people who use that phrase don’t really know what it means. “Saying that you can’t police by consent because you are armed I think is insulting to the Dutch and Swedish police for example, they still go into schools and talk to kids about road safety with a gun in a holster. “There is a perception that we cannot do this job without being unarmed, I think it’s nonsense.” As our pint glasses empty and the conversation winds to a conclusion, Mr Long tells me his future is uncertain following the end of his policing career but that he is not ready for retirement just yet. He is certain of one thing though: “The job will have to give serious consideration to saying to all recruits ‘when you join up it is on the understanding that, if required to do so, you will undergo firearms training and carry a firearm if you are needed to.’ “If the police are here to protect the public, then how can we do that if we cannot protect ourselves?” View on Police Oracle
  13. Ch Supt John Sutherland's book 'Blue' also outlines author's struggle with depression. Ch Supt John Sutherland with his book 'Blue' (image courtesy of Martis Media) Police officers from around the country attended the London launch of Blue: A Memoir this week - a new book outlining the highs and lows of being a British Bobby. The book by Ch Supt John Sutherland – Twitter’s @policecommander – focusses on the positive work of his Met Police colleagues during a 25-year career but also on how policing can take its toll, including its difficult to read pages on John suffering from depression. The strapline for the book is “Keeping the Peace and Falling to Pieces.” Speaking at the event, John said the idea for the book came from the imbalance of predominantly negative reporting about policing in the media. He said: “For the past 25 years, I have had the privilege of doing a job I love – alongside people I truly admire. “In its way, this book is a love letter to each one of them: my family, my city and the women and men of the police force. “Blue tells some of their stories – some of our stories – and in doing so, tries to provide some balance to the wider story being told about policing in this country. “But it is also a very personal story of the toll that life and policing can take. Four years ago, whilst serving as the Borough Commander for Southwark in South London, I broke. I’m still mending.” The book features large chunks on John’s rise through the ranks, his time as a hostage negotiator, as a borough commander and has a real focus on the scourge of knife crime in the capital. Both the speech and book resonated well with the audience in attendance at the launch in London – which also included a number of John’s friends and family. Also there were the Kinsella family. Ben Kinsella was killed in a stabbing incident in Islington in 2008 – and John has remained in touch with them. Blue: A Memoir is available to buy from today (Thursday 25 May). View on Police Oracle
  14. My town had 18 officers on the beat 10 years ago. Now there are four. The service we provide is woefully inadequate - but not for the want of trying... https://www.theguardian.com/public-leaders-network/2017/may/20/police-cuts-fewer-officers-unrelenting-pressure
  15. Cressida Dick told children in London feel 'naked' if they are not armed with a weapon. Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick Children as young as six are carrying knives and ten-year-olds are arming themselves with weapons out of fear, the country's top police officer has been told. Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick heard children "feel naked" without them, while some are too scared to cross the capital's roads unarmed. Ms Dick vowed to get to the root of knife crime as she visited a youth centre in Putney, south-west London, meeting community leaders, reformed gang members and the family of Lewis Elwin - a 20-year-old trainee electrician stabbed to death in Tooting last year. The Commissioner promised more officers in schools and others in every ward to help build relationships with young people. She was told community groups are "screaming out" for a relationship with police, but the force is "not following up". One woman told Ms Dick knife crime affects children far younger than the teenagers and young men normally associated with it. She said: "On the housing estate, it's six-year-olds that are carrying knives, because they think they won't be stopped. You need to start there, in the primary schools - you need to tell much younger people." Josh Osbourne, a mentor at youth charity Carney's Community, said ten-year-olds live in fear, saying: "They can't even cross the road because they're at odds or in a dispute with somebody else from literally the same postcode but across the road." Andy Smith, from social enterprise The Feel Good Bakery, told Ms Dick young people carry blades for protection, saying: "They say they feel naked if they haven't got their knife with them." The capital has seen a wave of knife attacks in recent weeks, with more than a dozen people killed or seriously injured. Scotland Yard launched the latest phase of Operation Sceptre earlier this month, cracking down on knife crime. But despite more than 70 arrests for possession of offensive weapons and knives, within a week three more people had been fatally stabbed. Speaking to the Press Association after the meeting, Ms Dick said it was "pretty horrifying" to hear of armed six-year-olds. She said: "It's outrageous to hear a six-year-old is carrying a knife, for whatever reason. "That's something a police officer by themselves or even a police force isn't going to be able to have very much impact on. The question there is what are the parents doing? What are the school doing?" Ms Dick said youngsters often carry knives for "some kind of respect, some kind of kudos", but added: "I do accept there are places where some of our young people are scared and they feel it makes sense to carry a knife. "I can say as long as I live that it does not make them safer. They may not hear that message from me... we need to get people in communities, we need to get people in schools, we need to get parents understanding and helping young people to understand... it will end in tragedy, probably, for them." Outlining her plans for early intervention to tackle the epidemic, Ms Dick said: "I want to shift us further into prevention. I want all of us to be working on stopping this before it happens. "Community groups will be an incredibly important part of that. We need to play our part, but it is only a part." The Commissioner still has work to do to reach those communities - Mr Osbourne said the meeting was "about as much use as a chocolate teapot". He added: "We have realised that the things that we need, the Commissioner is unable to provide." View on Police Oracle