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Found 121 results

  1. A police helicopter base serving Cambridgeshire is closing - but residents will now see fixed wing aircraft chasing criminals for the first time. http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/news/cambridge-news/criminals-chased-police-aeroplanes-cambridgeshire-12758419
  2. The commissioner says government decided to allow practice so they should pay the bill. The Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire wants the government to foot the bill for policing protests against fracking. Clive Grunshaw says the government's decision to allow fracking to take place means they should bear the cost of protests against it rather than Lancashire Police. Fracking is the process of injecting liquid at high pressure into rock crevices underground in order to extract oil or gas and it has been met with fierce opposition from environmental campaigners. PCC Grunshaw says a force looking to make 25 per cent savings and having lost 800 officers to austerity can scarcely afford the cost of policing the protests. He said: “The decision to allow fracking in Lancashire is a decision made in Westminster, but the people of Lancashire are being asked to pick up the tab of policing the protests that go with it. “Costs are currently running to hundreds of thousands of pounds and likely to reach the millions – these are costs we are having to meet now out of our police budget. “However, the Government’s rules mean that Lancashire residents have to meet at least the first £2.6m. “Only after that threshold has been passed can we apply for additional support and even then, there is no guarantee the government will pay. “The site is off a main trunk road and the campaigners are putting themselves and our police officers at risk by some of the behaviour we have seen so the level of policing required is high. “The officers are caught in the middle, they are local people themselves there to ensure the right to peaceful protest is upheld along with the right of people to go about their daily business. “It’s a very difficult position for everyone to be in and one that is entirely of the Government’s making.” View on Police Oracle
  3. Transport workers union leader accuses railways force of 'turfing staff onto the streets'. British Transport Police PCSOs are considering strike action over changes to their shifts. The TSSA union is balloting the force’s community support officers ahead of the imposition of a 1am shift finish which it says “jeopardises [their] safety” in London. According to a statement from the union, the force is attempting to save money by changing shift patterns – but the workforce wll not be able to get home by public transport as a result. The force employs 330 PCSOs, with half of them London-based, but the union says: “because they can't afford London housing, London PCSOs themselves depend on trains in and out of home counties to the commute to work.”. PCSOs voiced their concerns that the new rosters are not practical during BTP's staff consultation process, but the TSSA says a proposal to finish the shift at midnight to enable members to make the last train home was rejected and PCSOs will now finish at 1am on one in three of their shifts. General Secretary Manuel Cortes said: "BTP have made a sham of their own consultation process by ignoring the valid concerns of their staff who simply can't get home at 1am. Are they supposed to sleep at the station? “No employer should turf their staff out at 1am onto the streets of London with no way to get home. But that's what BTP, the very people charged with ensuring the public travel safely, are now doing to their own staff. Frankly, it beggars belief and it's causing a lot of unnecessary upset." The new rotas will be introduced from April. The union is calling for shifts to be put back to midnight or to end at 7am instead, and will be balloting members over the issue. Mr Cortes added: "Our PCSO members are professional police support staff dedicated to keeping commuters safe. So a failure by their bosses to protect them is insulting as is their unwillingness to negotiate with our reps over this easily resolvable issue.” He added he will be calling on London Mayor Sadiq Khan to intervene to help the PCSOs. BTP Deputy Chief Constable Adrian Hanstock said: “It is disappointing to learn of this proposal by TSSA to ballot our PCSOs on plans for industrial action, which feels somewhat premature and excessive when we are still engaged in discussions with those few employees affected by our planned shift changes. “I must also contradict the suggestion that this is an exercise in cost-cutting by ruthlessly cutting shift allowances.” He added that the shift patterns were last reviewed in 2009 demand on the force has changed, and that staff had asked for a more reliable and consistent shift patterns. “In addition we have sought to ensure fewer officers and staff are working on their own across the national network, as well as build in sufficient capacity to minimise the impact of abstractions when officers are absent through training, court appearances, sickness and annual leave. “As the demand has changed, invariably it means the times of day we must be available to respond to incidents and manage large volumes of people travelling around the country must also change,” he said. There have been claims in the past that warranted police officers in London have resorted to breaking into property because of their shift patterns and inability to get to their homes outside the capital when they have gone off duty. View on Police Oracle
  4. PC Austin Jackson passed away yesterday. Almost £5,000 has been raised for the family of a police officer who was taken ill and died on duty yesterday. PC 2246 Austin Jackson who was a neighbourhood officer at Spinney Hill Police Station in Leicester, passed away aged 38. A fundraising page was soon launched for his wife and four children, and exceeded its £1,000 target in a matter of hours. It is on course to exceed that by five times within a day of being set up. The page says: “Please give as much or as little as you can to his family at this time and show your appreciation for this dedicated Bobby.” St Matthews Police colleagues said on Twitter that they were "blown away with the support, and all the kind donations" received. Chief Constable Simon Cole said: “Austin was always a professional and well-liked police officer who embedded himself in the St Matthew's community.‎ "He will be missed by his colleagues in the force, and I send my deepest condolences to his family." Leicestershire Police Federation chairman Tiff Lynch said: “We were shocked and saddened to hear that Austin had passed away yesterday. “He was a fine officer and our thoughts and sympathy are with his family, his colleagues and his friends.” The Fed is on hand if officers need support following PC Jackson’s death. South Leicestershire MP Alberto Costa said on Twitter: “Sad to hear news of local police officer PC Austin Jackson passing away yesterday. Thoughts with his family and @LPSpinneyWard colleagues.” PC Jackson had served in the force since 2007. To view the fundraising page click here. View on Police Oracle
  5. HMIC has raised red flag over the issue. Working as a detective needs to be restored as an attractive proposition again if chiefs want to address the national crisis in investigation skills, the chairman of the Police Federation National Detectives' Forum believes. Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary recently warned that there is a critical shortage of investigators in many forces. Martin Plummer, who is also chairman of Cumbria Police Federation, told PoliceOracle.com: “It’s frustrating when you get the HMIC stating the obvious that we have been saying for a considerable length of time. “[But] it’s a very simple equation, if you have 10 people on a team carrying a workload and you reduce that down to six and you increase that workload and something, somewhere is going to give. “We’re now seeing ridiculous workloads, detectives trying to spin so many plates while everything is combusting around them, there’s no financial backing for protracted inquiries. “We still investigate the most serious crimes, still deal with the worst criminals, the burden of proof in courts rightly remains as high as it ever was. But detectives are increasingly being told 'sorry you haven’t got the time to do that', 'sorry we haven’t got the budget', or 'something else has come up and there’s simply no one else to do it'.” He said the days of most officers wanting to become detectives were long gone, with what he calls “the hardest job in policing” becoming one which people know they will be under increasing pressure from management, as well as CPS, other partners and potentially the IPCC. In its report, HMIC identified the excessive workloads of those remaining in detective roles as a problem for policing. Chiefs have asked the independent remuneration body to allow them to give specialist bonuses to detectives in order to address the issue. The Met’s submission to the body states: “We know that monetary reward is not the only lever available but to have no reward options to attract officers into a particular career path remains deeply problematic, particularly as the operational structure becomes flatter with decreased opportunity for rank progression.” Mr Plummer says he would support extra payments, but points out that the issue is not primarily about personal finances. “The way you can solve this is simply that you need a career as a detective to become once again popular and attractive,” he said. “If you look back to the day where we had a mainstream CID that mainstream CID had their specialisms, they weren’t asking for extra payments for added responsibility they loved what they did. They had the time and resources to get the results. “Where we are now is that the good will has been eroded over the years. Detectives saying they’re not prepared to take on extra cases I’ve got the IPCC knocking on the door, victims, witnesses wanting to know how their cases are going, the CPS wanting things done yesterday. The support and backing is not there. “I’m not saying they want a pat on the back, what detectives have always wanted is to bring criminals to justice,” he added. Responding to the HMIC report, the NPCC pointed out that having 32,334 fewer officers and a 22 per cent budget cut had been difficult as crime “changes”. National lead for crime operations CC Mike Barton said: “Difficult decisions are being made between resourcing neighbourhood teams, response units, specialist investigations, and digital and cyber-enabled crime. “Police chiefs around the country will be looking at their local assessment to consider the impact of resourcing decisions, which may have been hidden from view.” View on Police Oracle
  6. PC Kelly Ellis is one of an increasing number of UK police officers who are undertaking firearms training. Her friends have dubbed her Lara Croft - after the Tomb Raider action hero - but she says the training is the hardest thing she has ever done. Over three months, Dominic Casciani - reporting for the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme - had unique access to some of the new recruits being assessed in Cheshire. Watch the Victoria Derbyshire programme on weekdays between 09:00 and 11:00 on BBC Two and the BBC News Channel. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-39260906
  7. Spanish Police have released striking pictures of a huge weapons haul seized from an organised crime group. It includes over 10,000 assault rifles, machine guns, pistols, revolvers, and 400 shells and grenades. The guns and ammunition were seized in January during an operation against firearms trafficking. Investigators also found an illegal workshop with machinery to manipulate and reactivate weapons, near Bilbao. Five people were arrested. Cash amounting to 80,000 euros (£70,000 / $85,000) was seized. The operation involved counter-terror police from Madrid, Bilbao, Valencia and Gerona. Europol, which supported the investigation, said the firearms were sold in Spain, France and Belgium. It said some of the weapons were deactivated, but did not comply with established standards. Criminals acquired the arsenal largely through auctions and other legal channels before reactivating it. The gang had been using a sports shop as a front for its distribution centre - which in reality sold firearms, weapon components and ammunition. A look inside Europol How Japan has almost eradicated gun crime Why US liberals are now buying guns too Police said the weapons would have had an easy journey onto the black market, and into the hands of terrorists or organised crime groups. Europol said firearms traffickers exploit legal loopholes and legislative differences between EU countries to divert guns from legal suppliers. Reactivating deactivated weapons is one of Europe's main sources of illegal guns. The agency said it had seen a significant increase in the number being supplied to criminals since 2014. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-39264664 Impressive haul! Good work there.
  8. Philip Hammond said he will restore public finances to balance. The Fed, unions and the Mayor of London have criticised the Chancellor for not mentioning public sector pay or police funding in his Spring Budget. Philip Hammond sang the praises of unexpectedly strong UK growth figures, and introduced policies in health, education and tax today. He was delivering a statement in which he said his plan is: “To enhance our productivity and protect our living standards, to restore our public finances to balance, and to invest for our future.” But a lack of mention of police finances drew an instant rebuke from Mayor of London Sadiq Khan. A statement from his office said: “Sadiq has warned that government’s refusal to fully fund London’s police service is putting the capital’s safety at risk. “Any further cuts would make it increasingly difficult to maintain the strategic target of 32,000 officers, making it harder to keep Londoners safe from growing security threats.” The government has insisted it is now protecting police funding, if PCCs increase council tax levels. Police Federation of England and Wales chairman Steve White said: "With no specific mention of emergency service finances we expect the government to uphold its promise to protect police budgets. “Leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, made the point today that the economy is not working for neighbourhoods due to the falling number of police officers. "Our officers are stretched beyond reasonable capacity, and we will continue to push this fact back to government. In order to protect the public, the police service must have the right investment.” Elsewhere unions which represent police staff criticised the lack of movement on public sector pay. Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: “The pay boost for Westminster politicians should’ve signalled a decent pay rise for the rest of the public sector, especially with inflation almost double the one per cent cap. “But without a mention from the Chancellor, public service employees will be feeling they’re the forgotten part of the ‘jam’ generation. Most are not managing at all. “There was nothing today to relieve their ongoing pay pain, and as wages rise elsewhere, public sector workers are being left further and further behind.” The PCS union, which represents Met Police staff, expressed a similar view. A statement from the union quoted Theresa May's first speech as Prime Minister in which she said: “If you’re from an ordinary working class family, life is much harder than many people at Westminster realise […]. If you are one of those families, if you are just managing I want to address you directly.” General secretary Mark Serwotka said public sector employees are “just managing” and pledged to “fight to break the one per cent pay cap”. Police officer remuneration is now decided by an independent panel, but it takes note of overall public sector pay levels. View on Police Oracle
  9. Fed says 'no one benefits' from system where demand is high and resource low. More than 60 per cent of police officers believe their workload is too high. The concerning, but not surprising, statistic was revealed in a survey which illustrates how officers face an increase in demand which is affecting the quality of their work. The Police Federation's recent welfare poll also highlighted an issue in proactive policing, with 70 per cent of respondents disagreeing or strongly disagreeing they have enough time to engage in such a thing. Police Oracle is highlighting different elements of the survey as part of its BluePrint campaign. The campaign wants the government to fulfil its duty of protecting officers both in the job, and when they have been forced out of the service due to physical injuries or mental trauma. Police Oracle is calling on the Government to acknowledge and protect our unique service by introducing a Police Covenant. The Fed has also launched Protect The Protectors with the organisation seeking a change in legislation so that officers who are assaulted in the course of their duties are afforded better protection. Jason Kwee, Chairman of the Fed's Health and Safety sub-committee, says one of the Peelian principles of policing is the ‘prevention of crime and disorder’. “One of the most effective ways to do this is with proactive patrols. I remember when there were sufficient staffing levels on the shift, a couple of officers would don their ‘civvy jackets’, take out an unmarked car and target specific areas or individuals. Unfortunately, such opportunities rarely exist anymore, with officers barely managing to cover the stacked calls and incidents that roll in on an average shift.” The survey found more than half the respondents (58 per cent) disagreed or strongly disagreed that they have enough time to do their job to a standard of which they could be proud. Mr Kwee said this was not surprising as officers are frustrated they do not always get the opportunity to give a consistent "gold standard service". “Policing is a proud vocation and officers come to work to give the best service to the community they serve. As with most things in life, if you focus on the quantity element, then the quality may suffer," he added. “With the constant pressure of incoming incidents, and the increasing lack of available resources, officers attending incidents will no doubt feel pressured to complete the current task as quickly as needed and to move on to the next incident. Unfortunately, no one benefits from this, especially the victims of crime.” As reported by Police Oracle last month, other headline figures from the demand survey included: 66 per cent of officers indicated their workload was too high 33 per cent admitted being the victim of an unarmed physical attack at least once per month over the last year 36 per cent reported being attacked with a weapon at least once in the last year 70 per cent disagreed or strongly disagreed that they have enough time to engage in proactive policing 80 per cent acknowledged experiencing feelings of stress, low mood, anxiety, or other mental health and wellbeing difficulties 92 per cent of those indicated their psychological difficulties had been caused or made worse by work View on Police Oracle
  10. Wiltshire Chief Constable Mike Veale said he is 'incredibly proud' of his force. A chief constable has called on the public to “buck the negative trend” towards policing and show gratitude to the officers keeping them safe. Wiltshire Chief Constable Mike Veale, whose force was rated good in last week’s PEEL effectiveness inspection, said his officers are putting themselves at risk every day to protect the public. “Wiltshire Police is a force that is ‘punching above its weight’,” he said. “You may not feel you see officers as much as you used to, we are in the position of having to work with fewer officers than we have had for decades. “These men and women who have sworn to protect and uphold the law continue to do so in times of significantly reduced resources, increased national security threat and against a backdrop of seemingly relentless criticism and negativity towards the service.” CC Veale admitted the demand for officers to help those in crisis is a “significant responsibility” which he did not experience when he joined the service 32 years ago, but said transforming the force was vital to improve its response to victims of crime. “Our change to a new Community Policing Model alongside investment in technology means that officers and staff are more mobile and will spend more time in their communities rather than being stuck behind a desk in a police station,” he said. “To be able to work through such challenges and still provide an independently assessed, high quality of service is testament to the outstanding efforts of the staff, officers and Special Constables who work here.” He also said despite shrinking budgets, his personal philosophy is to aim high and said he made “no apology” for blowing the force’s trumpet. “I am incredibly proud of my force which is made up of officers, staff and volunteers with unwavering dedication, commitment and enthusiasm,” he said. “They are the people who don’t get to see their families for days on end, or get to put their kids to bed, they work extended hours in all weathers, they are the people who run into the face of danger when the instinct is to run away. “I hope that you will help buck the negative trend towards policing and take any opportunity, however small, to show your gratitude to all the emergency services who help keep you safe. Tell me about your experiences, shake the hand of the next officer, PCSO or police staff member you see, tell these hard working people that you appreciate them.” View on Police Oracle
  11. Addicts would be given the drug to inject under supervision. Drug addicts could be given heroin paid for by the police under plans put forward by one police and crime commissioner. Durham PCC Ron Hogg, who along with Chief Constable Mike Barton has spoken out in support of decriminalisation, said he has now asked the region’s public health departments to examine ways to introduce Heroin Assisted Treatment. Although plans for a “fix room” are being developed in Glasgow, this would be the first of its kind in England following similar schemes in a number of European countries. “The aim would be to enable people who have become addicted to heroin to follow a programme that would stabilise their addiction in a controlled environment, and reduce their dependency on heroin until they stop taking it,” said Mr Hogg. “The aim of the initiative is to save the lives of addicts, shut down drug dealers and reduce acquisitive crime. Instead of stealing in order to fund their habit, and money flowing the organised crime gangs, addicts will be helped to recover.” The scheme would focus on the most prolific at-risk offenders who would be provided with pharmaceutical heroin, with Mr Hogg adding that it would save money in the long run through reduced costs to courts, prisons, the police and wider society. The number of reported drug misuse deaths involving opioids including heroin rose by 58 per cent in England over the last four years, with the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs recommending last December that the government should consider the provision of medically supervised drug consumption clinics in locations with a high concentration of injecting drug use. View on Police Oracle
  12. National awareness campaign launched today. Security services and the police have thwarted 13 potential terrorist attacks on the UK in less than four years, Britain's most senior counter-terrorism officer has revealed. Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley disclosed the figures as he launched a major appeal for the public to report any suspicions and act on their instincts, saying their help is critical to foiling atrocities. He said since June 2013, police and intelligence agencies have disrupted 13 terrorist attack plots. The figure is one higher than the last tally given in October. Information from members of the public has contributed to stopping some of those attacks, while figures show it has assisted counter-terrorism police in a third of the most high-risk investigations. AC Rowley said: “It is very encouraging that in a third of cases involving our most serious terrorist suspects we have benefited from information from the public. “The number of calls and online reports we receive is increasing. This is testament to people’s trust in the police - but now we are appealing for even more. “Counter terrorism policing is working hard to keep the public safe. Together, the UK intelligence community [MI5, SIS, GCHQ] and police have disrupted 13 UK terrorist attack plots since June 2013. “However, advances in technology make it more complex and challenging for us to spot would-be terrorists because it's easier for them to be in contact with others and be radicalised in a relatively short space of time. “The threat is becoming more varied and the move towards low-tech attacks on crowded places, like those we have seen in major European cities and beyond, makes it even more important everyone remains vigilant and acts by calling us confidentially if they are concerned about suspicious activity.” Investigators have been making arrests at a rate of close to one a day on average since 2014. The official threat level for international terrorism has stood at severe - meaning an attack is "highly likely" - for more than two years. In the year to March, the anti-terrorist hotline received more than twice the number of calls on the previous 12 months, with 22,000 people making contact. AC Rowley added: "Even though the public are doing a great job, we want more help." The public awareness campaign has been named Action Counters Terrorism, or ACT. A poll of more than 2,000 adults found that most respondents believed it was important for communities to work with police to defeat terrorism. However, a quarter of those surveyed said they might not report their suspicions because of fears over wasting police time and almost two in five were unsure about what suspicious behaviour might look like. Security minister Ben Wallace welcomed the campaign, saying: "Our police and security and intelligence agencies work tirelessly, often unseen, day in and day out to keep families and communities across the country safe. The public also have a vital role to play as they are ideally placed to notice activity which is unusual. “I welcome the police’s ACT campaign which raises awareness about what to look out for and provides people with easy-to-access advice." View on Police Oracle
  13. The claim: Failing police forces have "no excuse" because their budgets have been protected. Reality Check verdict: Overall the police budget in England and Wales has been protected in real terms, but not every individual force will feel the benefit because the money is being targeted at specialist areas of policing. This relatively small funding boost comes off the back of five years of deep cuts. In 2015, the government announced that overall police budgets would be protected. This meant the amount of money the police receive from the government would increase each year in line with inflation for the following five years. The Minister for Policing, Brandon Lewis, flagged this in response to a report by the independent inspector of police forces, which found a "worrying" variation in the quality of policing across England and Wales, despite improvements overall. Police funding in Scotland is devolved and Northern Ireland has different funding arrangements so they were not included in the report. 'No excuse' The report was compiled by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) and Mr Lewis said: "This Government has protected police funding, through the 2015 Spending Review. "There can be no excuse for any force that fails to deliver on its obligations - those identified as inadequate or requiring improvement must take HMIC's findings very seriously and I expect to see rapid improvements." The inspectorate had warned that some police forces were "struggling to respond to shrinking resources". It is true to say that the overall policing budget was protected in real terms in 2015 but this figure disguises some regional variation. Part of the £900m extra funding over the following five years is going on specific areas of policing like cybercrime and tackling child sexual exploitation which are often dealt with regionally, so not every individual force will see the benefit of this uplift. Austerity cuts A Home Office statement at the time of the announcement said that it would provide funding to maintain individual police force budgets at current cash levels. Not every police force will necessarily receive enough money to keep up with inflation. Spending on policing had been rising steadily for at least 15 years until austerity cuts began to kick in from 2010. It rose particularly rapidly in the 10 years to this date, going up by more than 30%. Following the 2008 crash and the swathe of cuts to public spending that followed, the part of police forces' budgets that are paid for by central government shrunk by 22% on average. Click to see content: Police_funding Before the 2015 announcement there was already regional variation. This is in large part because of the two main ways policing is funded: through a grant from central government and council tax. Different areas rely to different extents on the central government grant; for example last year Northumbria and the West Midlands police forces raised 12% of their revenue through council tax while Surrey raised almost half (49%) of its revenue in this way. This often corresponds to how well-off an area is - generally poorer areas have lower tax takes and rely more on government grants. As these grants have reduced, a larger proportion of budgets is coming from council tax. Since the grant was cut by the same percentage around the country, areas that lean most heavily on central government money, and are the least able to raise money through council tax, will have felt those cuts most sharply. Lean years You can see this in the real-term reductions to funding in different police forces. Between 2010 and 2016 Northumbria suffered a 23% cut while in Surrey it was only 12%. The areas that raised funding by the smallest amount during the previous good years have also experienced the biggest cuts in the lean years. However, it is also worth noting that the variation in quality raised in the HMIC report does not correspond directly to how much budgets have been cut. Bedfordshire, the only force to be rated inadequate, experienced a cut over the last five years that was about average for the country - a 17% fall compared with a fall of 18% across England and Wales. Durham, the only force to be rated outstanding, suffered an above average 20% cut. Demographic differences Of course, simply comparing budget cuts to performance does not take account of demographic differences and crime levels. So while it is true to say that policing is being protected at least to some extent, this comes off the back of five years of deep cuts - cuts which feel larger relative to large increases in spending in the preceding years. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-39144620
  14. Policing Minister says officers will have best and most appropriate technology. Police forces have been given approval to use a new taser model rather than the existing obsolete devices. Policing Minister Brandon Lewis announced today the Home Office has authorised use of the X2 model, which forces can replace their old X26 tasers. He said: “This government is committed to giving the police the tools they need to do their job effectively, and where modern specialist equipment like CEDs [conductive energy devices] are used, to ensure our officers have access to the best and most appropriate technology. “The decision to authorise the taser X2 follows stringent consideration of strategic, ethical, operational and societal issues, including an assessment of environmental factors.” While the X26's work sufficiently, they are no longer manufactured or sold. SACMILL, the scientific advisory body which assessed whether the less lethal weapons should be approved for use, have recommended that body worn video cameras should be worn by all officers using the devices. Matt Spencer, managing director of Taser UK, said: “We are confident that the X2 can help to make police officers more effective at dealing with the increased threat that they face on a daily basis. "More than 20 years of science and research has gone into Taser technology to make the X2 the most proven and most tested less-lethal technology available in the UK. “This announcement demonstrates the important contribution our technology is making to help the police keep the public safe. “With the X2’s improved internal accounting logs and ability to work hand-in-hand with body-worn video it can deliver extra layers of accountability that the public and the police rightly expect and deserve. "We’re proud of how we have adapted and improved our technology to meet the needs of the police and those who hold them to account on behalf of the public." The company has previously said that the X2 has a 25 per cent chance of working as intended first time than the X26. A new data collection system for use for any time “significant force” is used by police is also to be introduced from April. This will mean that forces should publish the ethnicity, age, location and outcome of the individual it is used on. Mr Lewis said: “The information should report on the situations when physical restraint is used, as well as the type of equipment, such as handcuffs, batons, sprays and conductive energy devices.” View on Police Oracle
  15. Police Scotland has outlined plans to cut officer numbers by 400 as part of its 10-year policing plan. Chief Constable Phil Gormley said recruitment levels would remain unchanged in the current year, but would begin to slow between 2018-20. He said resources would be re-directed to frontline operations, amid big financial challenges. Last December, the spending watchdog said Scotland's police service was facing a £188m funding gap by 2020-21. Mr Gormley said officer numbers had been at historic highs but said some staff had been used for corporate, rather than community roles. As part of a new strategy, Policing 2026, he said police officers would be released from corporate and backroom roles, with priority given to frontline operations and a more visible community presence. Some corporate roles will also be cut. Mr Gormley said that changing technology meant that not everyone involved in fighting crime would be a serving police officer. And he added that the workforce would be given new training to fight cybercrime. Fighting cybercrime Andrew Flanagan, chairman of the Scottish Police Authority, said action must be taken but said police officer recruitment would only be cut if approved by the SPA. He told a press conference at the launch of the new strategy: "We are anticipating a small reduction in police officer numbers through to 2020. "It would be around 400, but that would come towards the end of the period, rather than early on. "We expect police officer numbers to remain at their current level through the coming year and only gradually reduce thereafter." He added: "I must stress - we will not reduce police officer numbers until we see these productivity gains coming through. "So, actually, we are anticipating the amount of operational policing will actually increase through the period through to 2020." As part of the new strategy, people across Scotland are being invited to give their views on how Police Scotland should be shaped over the next 10 years in a 10-week consultation. Police Scotland has pointed out that patterns of crime are changing - often enabled by new technologies. The population profile is also ageing and becoming more diverse and the duty to protect the vulnerable is becoming ever more complex. It said the police service must adapt and develop its capacity and capability to maximise public safety and remain operationally and financially sustainable. Add most value The force said the new strategy would create a workforce of police officers and staff who are focused on where they can add most value to protecting and serving the public. It suggested that technology and new ways of working would lead to greater productivity and more time tackling crime and addressing issues around vulnerability. The workforce mix would also evolve as new skills and capabilities were developed. The strategy would recognise that police are dealing increasingly with vulnerable people who need medical or social care rather than law enforcement officers. Key areas in the new strategy: Prevention - tackling crime, inequality and critical problems facing communities Protection - based on threat, risk and harm Communities - focused on localism, diversity and the virtual world Knowledge - informing the development of better services Innovation - becoming a dynamic, adaptable and sustainable service Mr Flanagan and Mr Gormley announced the consultation in Edinburgh. Mr Flanagan said: "The SPA and Police Scotland have spent many months assessing the changing nature of communities and their demands on policing as well as analysing the changing nature of crime. "From a position of strength, we need to ensure that Police Scotland adapts to these changes and has the range of skills and capacity to deal with growing demand and that we do so in a financially-sustainable way." 'Must transform' He added: "Policing is a vital public service and it is essential that we listen to those we wish to serve to ensure we meet their expectations. "Through this consultation we are asking for everyone to provide their views on the approach outlined today and I would urge as many people as possible to take part." Mr Gormley said: "Policing in Scotland has gone through significant transition; it is proudly one of the oldest public services in the world. "Now the service must transform to realise and release the full benefits of being a single organisation. "Local policing will remain at the heart of what we do, supported by a wide range of specialist capabilities. "In an ever-changing world, people will continue to turn to the police service for a myriad of reasons, which means it's never been more important to understand our demand, both current and future, in order to be able deliver a service which is relevant, has legitimacy and above all maintains the trust and confidence of the public." Officers on the beat Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said Police Scotland must "embrace new approaches" and said the Scottish government had provided an enhanced £61m reform budget for 2017-18 to support the changes. "While our Programme for Government is clear about the need to consider the right mix of skills and not just overall numbers, the public will always be interested in the number of police officers on the beat," he said. "We will pay particular attention to these issues before approval of the final strategy. In all circumstances, I would expect to see the number of police officers remaining significantly above the number we inherited in 2007. "Indeed, our enhanced funding gives police the platform to invest in the wider workforce, technology and other resources to keep communities safe." He added: " I urge all those with an interest to have their say on this next phase of policing in Scotland." Anyone who wants to contribute to the consultation should submit their comments by 8 May. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-39097972
  16. Police Federation says it has worked to ensure the form is beneficial for officers and the service. A new form which must be used by all officers will help ensure they are not placed in a difficult position after a use of force incident, the Police Federation says. The Home Office says from April 1 2017, all officers must record any use of force in the same way, regardless of where they work. During the consultation process for the new form the Fed adds it has worked to ensure the burden on members is as minimal as possible. “We also wanted to make sure that once all this data is collected, it will be used as constructively as possible for officers across the country,” said Simon Kempton, the Federation’s lead for operational policing. “For the first time, we will have robust data from all forces demonstrating which techniques and equipment really work and which do not. “We will make sure that this information is used to change things like Officer Safety Training to reflect what we – the members – need to do our job properly. At the same time, if certain equipment isn’t up to the standard we need, we will now have an evidence base to show this.” Changes to the form made by the Federation included ‘were you injured during the incident?’ being amended to ‘do you believe you were injured during the incident?’ which it states protects officers if they subsequently learn they were injured but it wasn’t apparent at the time and they have a potential claim which could be undermined. It also insisted changing ‘was the subject suffering from a mental illness at the time of the incident?’ to ‘do you think the subject may have been suffering from some form of mental illness?’ as officers should not be expected to make such an assessment. The new form asks whether the officer is authorised to carry Taser, whether it was being carried at the time and whether the officer was single crewed, questions which the federation states will provide “invaluable evidence” when they argue that single crewing and a lack of Taser is dangerous for both the public and the officer. “When refuting accusations levelled at us of using excessive force, we will now be able to argue, with solid evidence, that in comparison to the huge numbers of incidents we attend, we rarely have to resort to using force,” said Mr Kempton. “Furthermore, the Federation will be able to use this data to demonstrate that if we are placed in a position when we must use force that we always try to use the lowest level of force available to us.” HMIC will be measuring whether the forms are being completed as part of their inspection schedule. View on Police Oracle
  17. An inquest found the woman, who was found hanged, died before the police were called. A pair of Met PCs have been found to have committed misconduct when they failed to immediately attend a suicide incident. PCs Tony Stephenson and Gavin Bateman were on duty together on April 15, 2015, when a call came in for a vulnerable woman who was classed as a danger to herself and others. The 22-year-old woman had sent suicidal texts to a friend and was not answering her door, the call was graded 'S' for 'significant risk' meaning officers are required to attend as soon as possible and in a maximum of 60 minutes. Instead of going straight to the call, PCs Bateman and Stephenson went to a nearby branch of McDonalds and bought cups of tea before heading to Leamouth Road Roundabout in east London. Whilst there they completed paperwork from an earlier incident and made a call to the informant to obtain more detail about the vulnerable young woman. At a misconduct hearing at the Empress State Building today a panel chaired by Akbar Khan found the officers had committed misconduct, rather than the more serious charge of gross misconduct, increasing their chances of remaining in the service. Mr Khan said: "The officers accepted that they breached standards of professional behaviour. "From the outset the panel wishes to state that it accepts that the late attendance must not be conflated with the sad death (of the vulnerable woman). "Both officers did not adequately or properly asses the information on the CAD in terms of the risk posed to her. "The delay in attending was not justified and was not in accordance with the guidance, you should have proceeded (to the incident) straight away. "It was accepted that the IPCC concluded that the call should have been graded as an 'I' call but the panel noted this has no bearing on its findings in this case. "It was submitted by both representatives that the basis of their clients understanding of the grading was the MDT user manual of guidance policy and their training in it. "Accordingly the panel finds that there was an absence of evidence to find that both officers were trained adequately. "Given the inconsistencies between the NCTS and the MDT guidance the panel finds there was a gap in their knowledge in that they should have understood they should have attended within a maximum of 60 minutes rather than up to 60 minutes. "The panel accepts that the delay was 22 minutes rather than 33 minutes. "The panel has also accepted evidence of good character on behalf of both officers and has taken into account their conscientiousness to their duties since the incident and that this was an isolated incident. "The panel finds on the balance of probabilities that the officers have breached the standards as alleged by the appropriate authority. "In all of the circumstances the panel finds the breaches of standards by both officers amount to misconduct only and not gross misconduct." The panel is due to make a decision on sanctions, if any, against both officers tomorrow. The hearing continues. View on Police Oracle
  18. Push-to-talk functionality on the London Underground has been a hard won police radio capability, but its future on the new LTE network faces serious hurdles. Gary Mason reports. It is somewhat ironic that in a multi-billion pound public safety communication project investing in cutting edge long-term evolution (LTE) technology, a major sticking point is the reliability of push-to-talk voice messages – a capability that has been around since the days of analogue police radios. This is just the latest problem facing the Emergency Services Network (ESN) project, which at least two recent reports have predicted would not be ready on time. This means the existing system, Airwave, is expected to be maintained for an unknown period after its expensive contract with the Home Office and the UK’s blue light first-responder services expires. Police concerns about the voice function on the new LTE handsets, whenever they emerge, have been highlighted in the latest Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report, published in January. Push-to-talk allows users to contact their colleagues with only the press of one button. The function must be reliable and work in remote areas – not just rural environments, but also the underground tunnels of the metro systems in London and Glasgow. Devices with the appropriate levels of robustness, voice and dual-mode capabilities are currently under development. The Home Office told the PAC it had already received prototype devices and was confident a good selection would be available for users to choose from by next year. But the devil, as usual, is in the detail. Some of the technical challenges in developing mission critical push-to-talk capability on LTE handsets were spelled out in oral evidence to the committee. Under the terms of the ESN contract with the Home Office, Motorola Solutions is responsible for delivering user services, such as data centres, help desks and SIM card management. While the scope of its contract does not include devices, Vincent Kennedy, vice-president and general manager of Motorola Solutions UK, gave the committee an insight into some of the technical challenges that had emerged with prototype LTE handsets. Push-to-talk latency The ESN envisages two types of device that will run on the network: 4G data devices and voice devices. The 4G handsets can attach to the new network relatively easily, but voice handling is more complex. “When you move the voice service on to a commercial mobile phone network, the device has to act in a specialised way,” Kennedy told the committee. “If I picked up my phone and dialled your number, it would take a few seconds to ring. It might take six seconds to you or five seconds [to someone else]. In this world, when I am the commander of a team at a firearms incident and I press the button on the device and say, “Don’t fire”, you instantly all have to hear the same thing. It is a big problem if you hear, “Don’t fire”, and another person hears, “Fire.” That is just an example, but the voice piece makes the device more specialised, and it has to work in a special way.” The technical term for this issue is push-to-talk latency. Police using the system need to be confident that the latency can be low enough with 4G that it won’t be a problem, and that the voice message received by everyone during an incident will be as near to instantaneous as possible, which it isn’t right now. Kennedy said Motorola been investing in the research and development of mobile LTE technology for public safety since 2010. He said: “It [LTE] is where the public safety market is going. They will eventually all be using mobile broadband, mobile data and voice. If it works to design, the latency can be solved, but that is why the design is so strict around the devices and the network.” He told the committee that the latency issue can currently be proved in a lab environment, but it needed to be tested in the field under extreme conditions. A testing regime will continue all through the spring and summer. Operational trials could commence in the autumn of 2017 and will go on for several months. “These are big technology projects, but they are not like regular IT projects. The people who use this technology – their lives depend on the technology working,” he added. The example Kennedy gave during the committee hearings bears a chilling reminder of the shooting of electrician Jean Charles de Menezes by Met firearms officers in July 2005 at Stockwell underground station after he was mistaken for a terrorist suspect. At the inquest into the killing, a firearms officer told the court he could have missed important messages over the radio and told the inquest that the signal was weak, faint and fuzzy and would sometimes cut out altogether. Given such real life examples, why has the Home Office chosen to go with unproven technology? In a previous report published last year outlining problems with the ESN project the National Audit Office said that it is ambitious and the first of its kind in the world. A world first Other countries are pursuing solutions either fully or partly based on older terrestrial trunked radio (TETRA) technology and dedicated networks, such as Airwave. The Home Office told the PAC that, in an ideal world, it would not want to be first to adopt unproven technology. But it considered that the other options it had for replacing Airwave, such as a hybrid system that uses radio for voice communications and 4G mobile for data, were “equally risky” and that it had to consider a wide range of financial, operational, technological and legal factors when making its decision. The programme also faces a number of other technical challenges. The new system will operate across a commercial 4G network requiring new software to allow emergency services users priority over commercial customers. EE, who have been awarded the network contract, told the committee it had completed system testing to prove the prioritisation technology would work and that during an emergency its network would be able to prioritise all 300,000 emergency service users, if necessary. Meanwhile, Motorola has responsibility for setting the specifications and approving devices for use on the ESN. Since it is also a supplier of devices, the Home Office told the PAC committee it had “been very careful to make sure the specifications do not exclude other providers and are not bespoke. It is a standards-based process”. One of the biggest risks with the new system is ensuring coverage in remote areas and in hard to reach places, such as the London Underground. The Home Office says that using 4G mobile data technology instead of radio opens up more options for plugging gaps in coverage, such as by using temporary masts. Time is a factor Discussions are still ongoing between the Home Office and Transport for London (TfL) on how best to extend coverage into the Underground, as well as contingencies and options for the transition process. The Home Office hopes to make an announcement in the next couple of months on this issue. Time is a factor, since the rollout of the ESN is just two years away. If TfL cannot roll-out the technology in that time, the Home Office would need to agree an alternative solution with TfL. This is a crucial issue for the police and fire service in London in particular, as a fully functioning emergency services communications system was a hard fought and long awaited upgrade. The lack of such a system was first highlighted by the inquiry into the response to the King’s Cross fire in 1987. These concerns were then reiterated after the 7 July 2005 terrorist attacks, which centred on London’s transport system. Airwave was eventually rolled out fully in January 2009 to all 125 below ground London Underground stations. This meant that British Transport Police (BTP), the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) and the City of London Police are able to use the same radios underground. The rollout linked the emergency services network to London Underground’s Connect digital radio system, part of the Transport for London’s £10bn investment programme. Natural disasters The vulnerability of city subway systems not just to terrorist attack, but also to natural disasters is well documented. The need for a robust emergency services communications system that links into the network operated by the transport authority is also well recognised. When Hurricane Sandy swept through the New York metropolitan area in October 2012, it left behind extensive damage to New York City Transit facilities throughout the subway system. A record storm surge inundated tunnels, filling critical operations rooms that housed electric equipment for signals, relays and communications with highly corrosive saltwater. The storm also exposed a need for a better and faster way for supervisors to communicate with crew members and customers in times of emergency. Even after three years and thousands of hours of labour spent repairing and restoring service to pre-Sandy levels, the subway system has yet to fully recover, with many related repairs still to be made. In 2015, MTA New York City Transit received two Federal Transit Administration grants totaling $57.1m (£45.7m) for two major storm resiliency projects in subway stations: a new emergency communications system and a hardening project to protect station rooms critical to service delivery. Until March 2016 police officers in the transit system could only communicate with each other underground because police were on two different radio frequencies. Using a $100m grant, mostly spent upgrading existing technology, all officers’ radios were reprogrammed to allow them to communicate over ultra-high frequencies on the street and in the subway. Their use was delayed for years, mainly for reasons that had nothing to do with technology, but bureaucratic inertia. Read on Police Oracle
  19. An Austrian football fan has been fined 100 Euros (£85) for calling a police officer “dude”. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/02/12/football-fan-fined-calling-police-officer-dude
  20. Source:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-38904430?intlink_from_url=http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/uk-england-hereford-worcester-38302430&link_location=live-reporting-story Image copyright Google Maps Image caption A silver Honda estate failed to stop after the collision on the junction of Oat Street and Cowl Street (generic junction photo above) A man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after a hit-and-run in which a police officer was injured. A silver Honda estate failed to stop after the collision on the junction of Oat Street and Cowl Street, Evesham, Worcestershire, at 13:20 GMT on Tuesday. The officer was taken to hospital with minor leg and head injuries and the abandoned vehicle was found in Longford Close, Bidford-on-Avon, Warwickshire. A 46-year-old Evesham man was arrested. Read more news for Herefordshire and Worcestershire A 49-year-old woman from the Evesham area was later arrested on suspicion of obstructing police, a spokesman said
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