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  1. Police Federation calls on chiefs to take action. Cuts have led to a substantial increase in fatigue and stress Senior officers and the government must do more to tackle a crisis in detective policing as morale hits rock bottom, the Police Federation says. It is warning the role is no longer desirable or sought after and victims may be failed as a result of worsening conditions. The staff association’s detective forum has released the results of its annual survey which found that 90 per cent of respondents said they had taken time off due to mental health and wellbeing issues either caused by or exacerbated by their work. Some 56 per cent said service cuts have had a huge impact on their morale while over a quarter of detectives felt their physical and mental health had been affected Half of those who answered also said cuts had led to a substantial increase in fatigue and stress as they battled to keep up with demand. Karen Stephens, secretary of the Police Federation national detective forum, said: “The facts speak for themselves. These results clearly show that detectives are overwhelmed with increased pressures brought on by a lack of resources. “Morale is low, people are exhausted and there is little sign of improvements to come if things stay the way they are.” Three-quarters of detectives said they were not able to provide the service victims need due to their workloads being too high. Mrs Stephens said: “The single aim of every officer, detectives included, is to protect and help others. But what these results show is that despite their best efforts, the demands of the role do not allow them to do this. "This is further emphasised with over half of the respondents saying they did not even have time to stay up to date with the latest training. “Being a detective was always a sought after, desirable role. However this survey shows things have changed and not for the better.” She called on the NPCC, College of Policing and government to act on the warning sounded by her members. Earlier this year HMIC warned that a shortage of detectives is a national crisis for policing in England and Wales. Chiefs have previously asked to be allowed by government to pay detectives bonuses for carrying out their roles, but were told by the pay review body to show evidence for why this would actually help. NPCC lead for detective recruitment and retention, Deputy Chief Constable Matt Jukes said: "Detectives do a vital job investigating crimes, apprehending offenders and protecting people from harm – and I know that all chiefs are proud of the work they do. "Forces have been aware for some time of the challenges that today’s survey describes, and it is always a concern when colleagues feel overworked and undervalued. "The complex nature of investigations and our work to protect vulnerable people has made the role of detectives even more challenging. We are facing a challenge to recruit and retain in these roles, which is adding to the pressure on serving detectives." He added: “We are looking at a range of ways to improve the situation, including reviewing the way detectives are selected and trained, providing improved workplace support to existing detectives which recognises how their work is changing, as well as looking at changes to incentivise more people into these important roles.” View on Police Oracle
  2. The operation-stalling attack was kept under control by the force's Cyber Crime Unit. Left to right: Special Sergeant and Lead on Cyber Specials, Michael Moore, Nick Carver and Special Constabulary Chief Officer, Mark Kendrew. Special Constables who helped the NHS during the summer’s cyber-attack have been recognised at a ceremony celebrating their work. The group from Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Cyber Crime Unit lent their skills and support to the Lister Hospital in Stevenage. Their work was praised by Chief Constable Charlie Hall and the CEO of the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, Nick Carver. Mr Carver said input from the specials meant patients were not as adversely affected by the cyber-attack in Hertfordshire. Their award was part of a dedicated Employer Supported Policing (ESP) event at Police Headquarters. CC Hall said: “We are focused on protecting vulnerable people and need to adapt our workforce to help investigate such crimes –volunteers with the different skills we require can help. “We want to continue the conversation with you and your organisations to see how we can work to encourage your staff to give up their time to come and help us. The value we give back to you will help your staff, your businesses and society as a result." He added. There are currently 25 organisations signed up to the ESP scheme in Hertfordshire, including Tesco, Which?, McMullen Brewery and Sons and local district and borough councils. View on Police Oracle
  3. The Policing Minister Nick Hurd said he wanted to understand more about demand and capacity within the service ahead of the spending review. Conservative PCCs showing their support for our Protect The Protectors campaign (left to right) Julia Mulligan, David Munro and Katy Bourne. The Police Federation says its Protect The Protectors campaign was top of the agenda at a meeting with the Policing Minister and other MPs during the Conservative Party Conference. Following a similar event at the Labour Party Conference last week, a contingent of national and local PFEW representatives raised issues including the recent one per cent pay award and one per cent force-funded bonus. The Policing Minister Nick Hurd said he wanted to understand more about demand and capacity within the service and is undertaking a review of police funding ahead of the government's Spending Review later this year. The group also discussed the College of Policing's directives to bring in qualifications and accreditation to the service as well as Direct Entry and how the scheme impacts on officers. PFEW Chairman Steve White, who attended the event ahead of a roundtable meeting with Mr Hurd, said: "Of course the Federation isn't always going to agree with government and we had frank exchanges at times but we have to maintain an open dialogue with decision makers and overall it was a positive and productive meeting. "National and local representatives were able to talk and debate issues direct with the Policing Minister and other MPs and PCCs which will undoubtedly help with our work to inform and change policy for the benefit of our members." All attendees stated they are behind the Protect The Protectors campaign which calls for a specific offence to be introduced for assaulting officers or other emergency service worker and harsher sentences for those who do punch, kick or spit at officers to help as a deterrent. Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: "My department is working with the Police Federation on its campaign to Protect The Protectors. We’ve already funded a new police welfare service, we are reviewing the law so the police can pursue the appalling thugs on mopeds who attack people on our streets and we’re also examining whether we need clearer rules so that anyone who assaults an emergency service worker faces a tougher sentence. The police protect us and it’s my job to ensure we protect them." View on Police Oracle
  4. Before the MPS, murderers, thieves and rioters ran amok with citizens taking the law into their own hands. Victorian police uniform complete with high-necked collars for protection again stranglers. (Twitter - @KentOfInglewood) London was a grim place in the 1800s, with poverty prevailing in the backstreet slums of the big smoke it Is not surprising that many turned to petty thieving in order to live. Children used to pick a pocket or two while women engaged in a spot of shoplifting from time to time. But there was a more sinister side to petty thieves, with notorious conmen called ‘sharpers’ who would go to extreme measures by dipping a hanky in chloroform to subdue their victim before robbing them. Sometimes a man's hat might be tipped over his face to facilitate the crime - a trick called bonneting. Another ruse was to lure men down to the riverside using prostitutes as decoys. The dupes would then be beaten up and robbed out of sight of passers-by. Murders were also on the rise along with riots where mobs of unhappy Victorians would gather at Hyde Park and Trafalgar Square to air their grievances. Although there were foot patrols - whose main role it was to protect property - there was no overall organised policing unit. Many prosecutions were not carried out by police and were taken into the hands of the victims. The victim would have to apprehend the criminal themselves or employ a ‘thief-taker’ to drag them by the ears to the parish constable or magistrate. Sir Robert Peel, who was Home Secretary in 1829, decided things were getting a little out of hand so persuaded Parliament to provide a new police force for London, excluding the City and the Thames, who already had their own uniformed patrols. He tasked a committee to investigate the current system of policing. Peel immediately acted upon the committee’s findings and created ‘Peelian principles’ that involved the payment of police officers who were organised along civilian lines. Peel’s ideas for the system of policing were approved by Parliament in the Metropolitan Police Act with Royal Assent being granted on June 19 1829. The 895 constables of the new force, nicknamed ‘Peelers’ or ‘Bobbies’ after their founder, were responsible for law enforcement and public order within a seven-mile radius of Charing Cross. (Twitter - @MarshallGroup) They were overseen by a progressing hierarchy of Sergeants, Inspectors, Superintendents and two Commissioners who reported directly to Peel himself. On September 29 1829 – 188 years ago – the Metropolitan Police Force was officially formed. It would have eight Superintendents paid £200 a year, 20 inspectors paid £100 a year, 88 sergeants paid 3s 6d a day and constables paid 3s a day. There were considerable problems with those recruited, many were drunks, unfit and unruly and in the first six months just over 50 per cent were required to leave the service. Each officer was issued with a warrant number and a divisional letter which denoted where they worked. The first headquarters was 4 Whitehall Place, with a back entrance for special visitors via Scotland Yard. The bobbies were given blue uniforms to distinguish them from the red used by the military and sent out on the beat with only a wooden truncheon and a ratcheted rattle to raise the alarm. (Twitter - @Chindiazindabad) High-necked tunics protected officers from strangulation – it was popular back then to garrotte people from behind - and top hats were reinforced as Peelers were likely to be attacked in the street - and penalties for violent crime were more lenient. After PC Robert Culley was stabbed to death at a riot in Holborn in 1833 a coroner's jury returned a verdict of "justifiable homicide". At first the public did not embrace the new force, it was paid for from local parish monies and some members of the public argued the Met was a threat to civil liberties. Some members however remained hostile, numerous reports say the first traffic police risked being run down and horse-whipped by irate coachmen. Eventually they warmed to the idea of a police force and officers became better skilled at the difficult job they had to do. “The police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.” – Sir Robert Peel. View on Police Oracle
  5. All 43 federations sign open letter to Prime Minister demanding 'a properly funded and well-resourced police service'. Prime Minister Theresa May Those representing rank and file officers across the country have written an open letter to the government describing the recent pay award as 'derisory'. Representatives from all 43 police federations in the country endorsed the letter, saying “members were angry” and forces “had been put in an impossible situation.” Police Federation of England and Wales Vice Chairman Calum Macleod said: “We feel the government has not been truthful and honest about the pay award given to officers, and that is insulting. "The two per cent awarded has to come from existing policing budgets which means forces may have to choose between officer numbers and public safety. That cannot be right." The full letter reads: Dear Prime Minister, On behalf of the hard working officers who are working to the bone to protect our people, who fight to protect our communities and who keep you safe, we demand answers. And we demand that you tell the public the truth. About crime figures. About police numbers. About the ‘extra’ officers you pledge. About ‘extra’ money you say you will pay. No more smoke. No more mirrors. No more double standards. You expect officers to run towards terrorists one minute and then turn your backs when we ask for help so they can afford to feed their families. Families they barely see because of the hours they work to fill the void left by the thousands of officers who are no longer there because of your cuts. Officers who are now broken. Who are unable to cope with the mental and physical demands placed upon them by having to work in depleted environments. With out of date kit .With fewer people. With no support. One chief constable has just this week told you that 40 per cent of his officers have sought professional help for stress. It is the tip of the iceberg. Our officers are committed to serving the public. And we thank the public for their overwhelming support, particularly in light of recent incidents. But with 20,000 fewer police officers than five years ago it is no wonder we have seen crime rise and the service to the public suffer. This is not fair on them. And two per cent pay rise with no extra money to pay for it means it is the public who will yet again suffer and get even less of a service. So hear us when we say: The pay award of on average less than £10 a week is insulting. A two per cent rise is not a rise when it has to come from existing policing budgets. It’s a disgrace you have dressed it up as a pay rise. Funding must come centrally, it is unfair to make the public suffer with fewer officers available to fight crime. It’s a disgrace you have ignored the recommendations from the independent Police Remuneration Review Body – the very body you set up to advise on police pay. Forces cannot cope with any further falls in police numbers. Communities will be further under threat at the very time protection is needed the most. Community policing plays a vital part in intelligence gathering to help combat terrorism and it has been decimated. ‘Extra’ police officers are not ‘extra’ police officers. They are the same officers doing longer hours, being called back in when they are off or being given extra responsibilities. Crime is not falling. And answer our questions: Why was the independent body, which has awarded MPs and ministers a 13 per cent rise over the last three years listened to when the independent police body on pay was not? How can you justify these double standards? Do you think it is acceptable that the derisory pay award is expected to come at a cost of losing more officers? Our members have been failed by: The FAILURE to heed our warnings. The FAILURE to implement the very recommendations of the independent bodies you introduced. The FAILURE to support them and the police service as a whole. The FAILURE to help officers protect the country. The FAILURE to help officers protect the public adequately. We don’t want meaningless platitudes. We want a properly funded and well-resourced police service. The public rightly want and expect this. For the sake of those who put their lives on the line for the public we demand you address these injustices and give us answers. Members of the interim National Council View on Police Oracle
  6. Proofreader query on ranks

    I'm not 100% sure about GMP, but I suspect it would be Det Supt. As for verbal, Detective Superintendent Smith - or more likely Sir or Ma'am
  7. The majority of the budget is spent on supporting outdated systems - according to report. Forces need to stop wasting their budgets on outdated computer systems and invest in new technology. A new report by think tank The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) says many police hours are wasted carrying out basic data management tasks, due to severe deficiencies in the forces’ digital infrastructure. It highlights how the majority of police IT budgets are spent supporting old systems, with little funding available to invest in new technology. The report, compiled after six months research, argues forces are unable to capitalise on the opportunities presented by advance technology, which has already revolutionised many other sectors. RUSI research analyst Alexander Babuta said: “With police hours becoming an increasingly scarce resource, it is more important than ever that valuable time is not wasted carrying out routine administrative tasks.” He added if the budget was spent on new technology the costs will be recovered quickly in the savings made to time. The report also suggests forces should coordinate nationally to overcome challenges by unifying all police data. Mr Babuta said new technology is gradually being introduced, however, they are incompatible on a national level. "Digital infrastructure is compartmentalised because of the highly localised nature of policing procurement, resulting in poor data sharing and little coordination at the national level,” he added. For example, Durham Constabulary uses a new system called the Harm Assessment Risk Tool (HART). The system classifies suspects at a low, medium or high risk of offending and has been tested by the force with 98% accuracy. Mr Babuta, points out the system is significantly better at finding who is at greater risk of reoffending – better than intelligence based assessments. However he stresses that officers’ professional judgement should not be replaced by this and “the idea would be to support officers and enable them to be more effective.” However, Durham only uses local data for this – therefore if a person moves from one county to Durham, they won’t be on the system. If the database was unified they would have this access to this information. “Some forces have started to address the problem locally, but there has been little progress at the national level. Only when a unified national infrastructure is in place for centrally managing all police data will forces be able to make effective use of big data technology,” he added. Mr Babuta told Police Oracle unifying all databases will be difficult as there are 220, but suggested the databases could be combined and then put on a nationwide force search engine. HMIC and Mr Babuta also make future recommendations of implementing Predictive Hotspot Mapping (PHM). PHM can use past crime data to predict where crime could occur, as well as what type of offences may be committed. HMIC teamed up last with the London School of Economics lasy year to build a picture of “predicted demand” on policing in the 181,000 census output areas. The inspectorate warned forces must have a better grasp of what they are likely to face in the years to come as they deal with increasingly limited resources. HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary Sir Thomas Winsor said: “It’s just an enormously valuable instrument, which many of them do not have "At a local level, the inspectors themselves know where the troubled families are; they know where habitual criminals live. “But to have that at force level but also to be able to drill down to small units in a particular area; that is an enormously valuable tool.” HMIC argued police forces need a more effective approach to prevent crime from happening, although it admits understanding future demand is not easy. The RUSI report concludes that introducing new tech is all well and good, but stresses that any investment will be wasted if officers are unable or unwilling to use the software and tools provided to them- therefore there should be sufficient training provided. View on Police Oracle
  8. But less than seven per cent is expected to be recouped. Security Minister Ben Wallace says more money is being collected from crooks Criminals owe the taxpayer more than £1.8 billion - but less than a tenth of the sum is expected to be clawed back, figures show. Outstanding debt from confiscation orders, a key route for stripping offenders of the proceeds of crime, stood at just over £1.8 billion at the end of March. But it is estimated that just £128 million - or 7 per cent - of the total will ultimately be recouped by authorities. Confiscation orders are issued by courts against convicted offenders and can be applied to any offence resulting in financial gain, with the amount based on "criminal benefit". The government and law enforcement agencies have repeatedly come under fire over efforts to recover ill-gotten gains. Last year, MPs hit out at a "spectacular failure" to address concerns about confiscation orders. Labour MP Yvette Cooper, who chairs the Commons Home Affairs Committee, said: "This is an appalling failure by the authorities to recover criminal assets. "Courts are ordering the seizure of assets, but too often criminals are getting away with it. We need to know what action is being taken to turn this around." The figure for confiscation order debt is cumulative and dates back over several years. It includes more than £500 million interest, as well as £12.6 million relating to orders which are subject to appeal. The amounts are detailed in an annual statement published by HM Courts & Tribunals Service in July. It says: "The recoverability of confiscation order debt is affected by the nature of the debt - orders are often imposed on assets which have been hidden by the defendant, or the assets are overseas. "Furthermore, it is not possible to write off confiscation order debt - it can only be cancelled in court (a judicial cancellation) in very specific circumstances, such as on the death of a defendant." A Home Office report published on Tuesday said £201 million of criminal proceeds were confiscated in 2016/17 - a 19pc increase compared with 2011/12 (£170 million). The bulletin also disclosed that, of £490 million being pursued across 131 "priority" cases, £94.3 million, or less than a fifth, has been collected by law enforcement agencies. Priority status can be designated to cases where is a "significant public interest" and where the amount being chased is at least a quarter of a million pounds. Since 2011/12, £174 million has been paid in compensation to victims from the proceeds of confiscation, the paper added. Security minister Ben Wallace said: "We will not stand by and allow criminals to profit from their crimes which is why the government and law enforcement agencies are committed to stripping them of their cash and assets to prevent further criminality. "We are collecting more assets from criminals and we are giving more money back to police and to victims. "But we need to do better. Over the coming months, we will be bringing in new powers for operational partners to seize other criminal assets such as works of art and precious metals. "We want to ensure that criminals do not enjoy a luxurious criminal lifestyle at the expense of law-abiding citizens." The Home Office said the Criminal Finances Act 2017, which will be phased in from this autumn, contains a number of measures to significantly improve the ability to recover criminal assets. They include an expansion of the definition of "cash" - allowing agencies to seize works of art, precious stones and metals, and the creation of orders requiring those suspected of corruption or other serious crime to explain the sources of their wealth. View on Police Oracle
  9. When is a pay rise not a pay rise?

    Good call from the NHS unions - they're asking for a 3.9% raise and £800 to make up for 7 years of cuts. Wonder if the government will give them what they want or let them go on strike. I suspect they'll give them 1% and maybe a one off bonus too and say that they're open for discussion on next year's pay deal.
  10. When is a pay rise not a pay rise?

    32% is pretty impressive I reckon my take home pay has gone up 14%, over that time, after accounting for inflation. Thats a combination of cost of living rises (when paid!), increments and a promotion. Not bad, but it doesn't help the person that takes my old role - they will be worse off, compared to me when I was on that pay scale point. That might impact on recruitment and retention.
  11. When is a pay rise not a pay rise?

    And if they had met the required performance and attendance requirements for those increments? So her facts are based on a very small proportion of officers?
  12. Home Office accused of playing politics with officer remuneration. John Apter pictured speaking at the Police Federation Conference last year Officers should be consulted on whether they want full employment rights, a prominent staff association representative says. Hampshire Police Federation chairman John Apter has labelled the government’s rejection of the police remuneration review body’s recommendation for a two per cent pay rise next year as “shameful”. Instead, the Home Office is giving officers a one per cent rise, and a one-off, unfunded, bonus. Mr Apter said: “They are playing politics with police officer's pay. It's shameful. We need to look at the detail of this announcement but it is clear that there is nothing to celebrate. "Officers will see this for what it is which is an insult considering officers have had in real terms a 15 per cent cut in pay since 2010. "Police officers have no employment rights so are limited in how they react to such a kick in the teeth. The government know this and have taken advantage of it. "With a heavy heart I feel the time has come to ask our members what their views are on police officers having full employment rights. "This is something I will raise with the national Police Federation of England and Wales colleagues in the coming days." Mr Apter intends to stand for election for national chairman of the Fed when rule changes allow him to. Home Secretary Amber Rudd claimed: "This award strikes a fair balance for police forces, officers and taxpayers. "We want to reward and attract the very best police officers within the resources we have, whilst making the right decisions for the economy overall." National Fed chairman Steve White did not rule out a conversation about industrial rights last year when asked what he would do if the government ignored the recommendations of the review body. At the time, he said: “We put a lot of work into our submission but if its recommendations are not taken up and if the system comes into question as an organisation we may have to do things differently.” While Mr White and General Secretary Andy Fittes are both due to leave their posts at the end of the year, the next remuneration review submission is likely to have been completed by then. On Tuesday the Fed says it was looking closely at the PRRB report and would provide further updates soon. In a 2013 ballot, only 42 per cent of Fed members cast a vote on the issue of industrial rights. Of those who did more than 80 per cent said they wanted the organisation to pursue a legal challenge to try to secure workers’ rights – such as the ability to strike. The Fed said it would not act on the issue because the turnout was too low. View on Police Oracle
  13. The 'highly unusual decision' by CPS has sparked debate. A case involving a drug driver has been thrown out of court after the officer in the case was unable to attend proceedings due to his baby being in intensive care. PC Steve Lee, a roads policing officer with Norfolk and Suffolk Roads Policing unit, took to social media to reveal the decision. He tweeted: “Told today a drug drive case of mine was thrown out of court due to me being in intensive care with my baby, rather than giving evidence.” He also tweeted: “I have raised a complaint to @cpsuk via my department's senior management. What are your thoughts on this decision @symondsa?” The tweets generated a lot of debate on social media and have since been taken down. PC Lee tweeted: “Lots of support in relation to this tweet, thank you. For all those who have asked about our daughter she is doing great & making progress.” Andy Symonds, Chairman of Norfolk Police Federation, said: “We are liaising with the constabulary and the court to find out the facts of the incident. “We cannot make any further comment at this stage until we know the facts about why this highly unusual decision was made. “We also have to be cognisant of the fact that this case may still be subject to legal issues which we wouldn’t want to encroach onto.” Norfolk Constabulary said it will not be providing a comment. View on Police Oracle
  14. Police Oracle editor Martin Buhagiar says a case highlighted this week illustrates why current legislation leaves police drivers vulnerable. The petrol station cashier opened the door and walked out onto the forecourt with a can in his hands. I assumed a customer had paid for the tin and left it in the shop but the attendant raised his hand in a menacing way. As the car behind me wheel-spun away from the pump, it all became clear. The cashier threw the tin at the VW Golf leaving it with a fair-sized dent. “This is how they deal with fuel thieves in north London these days,” I thought to myself. It is what happened afterwards that got me thinking about a far greater concern, however. Without stopping, the driver sped out of the exit turning left into oncoming traffic and continued to accelerate. This was on Monday afternoon at the Esso Station in Archway Road, north London. The petrol station is on a roundabout and the driver decided to turn into four lanes of rush-hour traffic, rather than simply turn right and go with the flow. Who knows why? Incredibly, he avoided a bus, a lorry and a van and made it to apparent safety as he disappeared out of view. As I headed home, I wondered what a police officer would be expected to do in that situation. The thief has stolen £15 worth of petrol, hardly a priority in these days of cuts and over-stretched forces, but has risked the lives of pedestrians and other motorists afterwards. No doubt the public – and the police – would like to see this person caught and quickly, but officers pursuing could face serious consequences if this madman (or woman) mounted the pavement and hit a child while being followed. Potentially prosecuted if you do, damned if you don’t. Police Oracle has been covering the on-going saga of police pursuits for a while and, thanks to the government continuing to deliver meaningless drivel and little action, specialist police drivers are continuing to pursue criminals with the very realistic threat of criminal charges hanging over their heads. This week a pair of Metropolitan Police officers were the latest to be told they could face criminal charges following the IPCC's investigation of a case which saw the driver jailed for 12 years. I am sure you know the case. Convicted car thief Joshua Dobby, 23, was out on licence when he killed Makayah McDermott, ten, and his auntie Rosie Cooper, 34, as they went for ice cream in south London. Officers fought to save their lives, the same bodies that Dobby stepped over as he made his escape. Following his sentencing it was confirmed Dobby had 53 convictions dating back a decade and was in the process of delivering this stolen car for cash so he could buy more drugs. Some Police Oracle readers have correctly asked who is more culpable for this – the officers who pursued this reckless driver as he accelerated down one-way streets and through red lights, or a system that continued to release this clearly troubled man from custody every time officers arrested him? We can save that argument for another day - needless to say, we agree. This is now an issue facing officers far too often. In April, Greater Manchester PC Simon Folwell found himself in a similar position. PC Folwell was pursuing 24-year-old Luke Campbell, who died after crashing into another car. The IPCC told the force to bring proceedings against the officer for gross misconduct for careless driving. GMP disagreed but was directed to open proceedings against the officer. Try and catch a criminal in a car and potentially lose your job or, even worse, your freedom. I live in an area that recently saw an increase in the number of nuisance motorcyclists - probably like most towns in the UK. Earlier this year neighbours and friends had clearly had enough and were moaning about the apparent lack of action. “Where are the police?” “Why don’t they chase them?” “Knock them off their bikes and lock them up.” They are just the lines I can print. I started by talking about the cuts and the falling number of officers nationally. I then explained why most of these motorcyclists do not wear helmets or removed them at the first sound of a siren and many of those I told were surprised. I was stunned they did not know. Perhaps it suits some that so many members of the public are happy to blame the police for an apparent lack of action. In June, the Police Federation of England and Wales sent a letter to forces warning drivers over the lack of protection the law gives them. The staff association said officers had barely any legal rights and should not carry out any manoeuvre deemed illegal for civilian motorists. The traffic sign safeguard is void if there is any element of risk to the public. The speed limit ‘safeguard’ is anything but as it will not stop charges of careless driving being brought. Earlier this year the Fed also revealed more than 100 officers had been pursued over on duty driving matters during the preceding 18 months. Tim Rogers, PFEW lead on roads policing, told us: “Legal advice has recently highlighted that police response and pursuit drivers are, in most circumstances, highly likely to fall within the definitions of careless and or dangerous driving. “The federation has raised this matter with numerous MPs but to date the difficulties remain with our proposed draft for legislative change not yet having been progressed to a point where officers are appropriately protected.” And last month the government was accused of not properly answering questions on the subject. Halifax MP Holly Lynch wrote to Police Minister Nick Hurd raising concerns the law is not providing proper protection for emergency service drivers. Mr Hurd explained the CPS says it is “very unlikely” to be deemed appropriate to proceed with a prosecution on public interest grounds against a member of the emergency services. That does not stop the IPCC recommending that charges are brought against police drivers though does it and the pressure that places on an officer's shoulders? Then came the usual: “The government fully recognises the risks associated with pursuits,” before the reality: “Officers must be accountable to the public … for the way they reach their decisions, including potentially the prosecution of police officers for careless or dangerous driving.” What clarity does that offer the federation or officers? None. Moped-enabled crime continues to increase at an unprecedented rate - that could not be clearer. However, the protection offered to officers could not be more murky and that brings with it further problems. A freedom of information request revealed that of the Met’s 32,000 police officers, more than 5,000 have been trained to carry out pursuits in the last five years. Of those, 315 had made the tactical pursuit and containment level since 2014. The shortage could be for a number of very obvious reasons, but until clarity is offered and the government commits to new regulations offering officers protection, it would not be a surprise to see the national number of police drivers fall. Officers who engage in pursuits know how dangerous their job can be. The IPCC’s announcement this week illustrates that further obstacles could be waiting just around the corner once the pursuit is completed and the officers have apprehended the criminal. The current legislation leaves them vulnerable and must be changed. Let officers pursue criminals without living in fear of being pursued for doing their job. View on Police Oracle
  15. Integration now brought down further, to below ACC level. Warwickshire Police and West Mercia cars feature both force's badges. Photo: Joe Giddens/PA Wire Two forces who had been discussed as candidates for a merger have scaled back their integration. Warwickshire and West Mercia Police announced a formal “strategic alliance” in 2012 and had been merged at all levels below deputy chief constable in recent years. West Mercia's former PCC Bill Longmore had been sympathetic to the idea of a full-blown merger. But this month further separation has taken place with two assistant chief constables moving back to working for just one force each. Chief Supt Charlie Hill, who serves both forces, told the Police Superintendents' Association of England and Wales Conference on Wednesday: “We've moved away from a strategic alliance, in my view, to a collaboration around protective services, finance and enabling services. “Frankly we need some real leadership from chief officers and PCCs to step up to the mark and say I'm prepared to give up sovereignty and move forward. Two FTSE 100 companies do not merge and have two chairmen, two chief execs, two deputy chief execs.” He was speaking on the morning that Dorset Police along with Devon and Cornwall Police announced they are exploring the possibility of merging. The existence of too many constabularies was a recurring topic throughout the staff association's conference this week, with PSAEW President Chief Supt Gavin Thomas raising it before the Policing Minister said he will listen if there are good arguments for them. Chief Constable Sara Thornton, chairman of the NPCC, said that her working group had ruled out arguing for larger, fewer forces as part of its 2025 policing strategy, despite being in favour, because she didn't think it was widely achievable. “Fewer, larger forces is not going to happen, politically it is just not an option,” she said. She pointed out problems including different council tax levels in neighbouring force areas. In a joint statement, Warwickshire Chief Constable Martin Jelley and West Mercia Chief Constable Anthony Bangham said they remain fully committed to their alliance, and said it is “continually developing”. “Part of any healthy development means continual review of our collaborative arrangements and the introduction of the ACC for each force is to ensure greater focus on local issues, partnerships and performance across the diverse landscape of our alliance. “We are very proud of the fact that our alliance has been and continues to remain one of the leading collaborative working arrangements between police forces in the country which has been commended and recognised by HMIC.” Their statement added that there are still “two clear and differing force identities” and the arrangement is “providing the very best service to our communities”. View on Police Oracle