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Found 103 results

  1. Ciaran Maxwell, who had a list of targets including police officers, has been jailed for 18 years. Ciaran Maxwell has been jailed for 18 years A "committed" terrorist who infiltrated the British military has been jailed for 18 years for supplying bombs to dissident Irish republicans. Former Royal Marine Ciaran Maxwell stashed anti-personnel mines, mortars, ammunition and 14 pipe bombs - four of which were later used - in 43 purpose-built hides at eight locations in Northern Ireland and England. Bomb-making materials were found in barrels and buckets buried in the ground as well as an adapted Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) pass card, a PSNI uniform and a police stab-proof vest. The 31-year-old, who is originally from Larne in Co Antrim and was with 40 Commando based at Norton Manor Camp in Taunton, Somerset, at the time of the offences, pleaded guilty to preparation of terrorist acts between January 2011 and August last year, possessing images of bank cards for fraud and possessing cannabis with intent to supply. The Old Bailey heard that the father-of-one researched targets and discussed plans to attack police stations and officers. His plot, however, was foiled when members of the public stumbled across his weapons hides by chance. DNA evidence found on parts of the haul led them to Maxwell, who was on the national database due to his alleged involvement in an unrelated assault case. Maxwell's suspected involvement in the violent incident led to his DNA being stored on the database even though he was not prosecuted, and that was how detectives investigating mysterious arms dumps in Northern Ireland linked them to a serving Royal Marine in England. It was not the only piece of good fortune that led to Maxwell's terror plans being foiled. Police say the first two of his 43 weapons hides were discovered by accident in forest parks in Co Antrim - one by a dog walker, the other by a camper. Senior investigating officer Gillian Kearney, a detective chief inspector with the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), said: "I have no doubt the action of the public in this case has saved lives." Det Chief Insp Kearney outlined how DNA traces found on some of the weapons were linked to Maxwell. "He had been involved in an assault previously and his DNA was on the national DNA database," she said. How a terrorist managed to infiltrate the British military has raised questions around the vetting process of the Royal Marines. While Maxwell now faces 18 years behind bars, police fear weapons he constructed may still be in circulation, ready for deployment by dissident republicans. Four of his pipe bombs have already been used by the violent extremists in Northern Ireland - two detonated, without causing injury - but detectives acknowledge others might still be out there. PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Stephen Martin said: "We are quite clear Ciaran Maxwell had a link to a violent dissident republican group in Northern Ireland. "There is a strong likelihood that items associated with Maxwell have made their way into the hands of violent dissident groups in Northern Ireland and four of those items have been used, three in the last year. "There is no doubt that he knew these items were going to be used by violent dissident republican groupings." Detectives believe he essentially operated as a lone wolf, who despite links to the Continuity IRA, acted largely independently of that renegade organisation. Commander Dean Hayden, of the Met's Counter Terrorism Command, said: "There is no evidence to suggest Maxwell himself was directly involved in the deployment of the items but he was the bomb maker. "A significant number of dangerous items were prevented from getting into the hands of terrorists, hence the public relationship in fighting terrorism is crucial." Maxwell denied he joined the Royal Marines with the intention of infiltrating them from the outset, insisting his criminal exploits only started when his friendship deepened with an old acquaintance who was in the Continuity IRA. He claimed things then spiralled out of control and, as his lawyer put it, he got "in above his head". But detectives are not convinced by this explanation. Det Chief Insp Kearney said: "It's hard to say - we don't know that definitely. "Whatever his motivation was in joining the Royal Marines, quickly he became involved in the engineering of devices and very dangerous activity which made him a very dangerous individual." The lead detective said Maxwell used his military know-how to accumulate and construct the devices. "This was reflected in how methodical and organised he was in the way he stockpiled these things," she said. "It also gave him access to munitions and items that he could use to help him stockpile and further his activities. "I think this is very unusual and it is certainly the first case of its kind in recent years." Over five years, Maxwell, 31, stockpiled mortars, anti-personnel mines, pipe bombs, ammunition and handguns in hides as well as an image of an adapted PSNI pass card and uniform. He wrote a "to do" list on which he identified over 300 targets, including police and military buildings as well as named individuals in Northern Ireland and Britain. Maxwell joined up in September 2010 as a signaller and moved on to 40 Commando at Norton Manor Camp in Somerset in 2013, where he not only stole his colleagues' credit card details, but also a large amount of ammunition. He was about to be promoted to corporal when his double life was exposed. His efforts to build bombs began in 2011 and he sourced information and many of the components he needed from the internet. Terrorist documents and bomb-making guides, including the Irish Republican Army "Green Book", were found on Maxwell's media devices, along with potential targets. The Old Bailey heard he did a lot of his construction work while on leave in Northern Ireland in the home of his late grandmother. The finds in two parks near Maxwell's home town of Larne initially perplexed detectives. While they bore all the hallmarks of a dissident republican stash, the locations did not quite add up. Larne is a staunchly loyalist/unionist town and the last place one might expect to find a dissident arms dump. Maxwell grew up in Larne's small minority Catholic community and claimed he suffered sectarianism throughout his early life. In 2002, aged 16, he was subject to a brutal beating at the hands of loyalists - a separate incident to the one that resulted in his DNA being added to the database. While he claimed that left him dealing with post traumatic stress disorder, he denied it pushed him into adopting hard-line republican sympathies. His support for violent republicanism, he claimed, was fake - motivated by fear of dissidents who knew he was British serviceman. The discoveries at Carnfunnock and Capanagh forest parks last year sparked a major operation involving the Counter Terrorism Command (SO15), the South West Counter Terrorism Unit and PSNI. In August 2016, Maxwell was arrested at his base and a search of Powderham plantation in Devon revealed more weapons stashes. The hides, near his home of Exminster, contained more improvised explosive devices, chemicals, tools, electronic storage devices, hand-written notes and a small cannabis factory. He used the drugs to supplement his military income and had copies of bank cards stolen from his comrades to be used in a fraud. In total, police recovered 14 completed pipe bombs, two anti-personnel mines, two explosively formed projectiles (EFPs), 29 firing systems, 33 bomb initiators, two hands guns and a large amount of ammunition. They seized components for many more explosive devices as well as over 100kg of explosives in Northern Ireland and a smaller quantity in the south west of England. View on Police Oracle
  2. Police Now to hold conference today. Participants in a previous Police Now class Confidence in the police has increased by 17 per cent among young people in communities that have a neighbourhood police officer recruited and trained through the Police Now scheme. A survey commissioned by the charity in areas it operates found: a 10 pc increase in young people’s perceptions of how fairly the police treat people; a 13 pc increase in how helpful they are; an 11 pc increase in how friendly and approachable they are; a 10 pc increase of how good an understanding they have of key community issues. Independent survey data for Police Now and comparison wards was compared for the year prior to the posting of Police Now officers, against their first 15 months after training. Around 7,000 people were questioned in total, including around 1,000 youngsters. Police Now, which puts graduates into demanding neighbourhood policing roles, was established as an independent charity by the Met Police in August 2015. It is now a partner of almost half of forces in England and Wales, with more than 200 new officers being placed into wards in deprived communities this summer. At a conference organised by the charity today, Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick will say: “Police Now has been an enormously successful way to bring different people into policing. The people in the places that Police Now participants are working are not just more confident in the police but more trusting of each other.” Home Secretary Amber Rudd says in a report on the programme: “Through Police Now, officers and their local partners are changing the face of community policing in some of the country’s toughest neighbourhoods whilst strengthening the historic British principle of policing by consent. “Police Now continues to develop fresh approaches to police training and leadership development and is having a broader impact on the development of policing as a profession.” David Spencer, chief executive and co-founder of the initiative, said: “Police Now is bringing the best graduates into policing - our participants are changing lives and have an unparalleled opportunity to develop their leadership and problem-solving skills on the policing frontline. "We are incredibly proud of what our participants have achieved over the last two years.” Applications for the next round of Police Now open later this year. Red Snapper Learning, which shares a parent company with Police Oracle, is delivering some of the training for participants in this year’s programme. View on Police Oracle
  3. More than 250 officers and support staff will be cycling for 180-miles. A previous ride Officers from across the country are preparing for a charity cycle ride in memory of police officers who have died in the line of duty. Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick will give a contingent a send-off as they embark on the Police Unity Tour on Friday. Many will start the journey to the Police Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire by laying flowers in memory of fallen hero PC Keith Palmer in Westminster. The ride will then carry on to the National Police Memorial on the Mall where floral tributes will be laid. Riders will be joined by the families of the fallen officers, law enforcement officials from the USA as well as crew members. Cyclists will ride approximately 180 miles over three days to the National Arboretum, for a special ceremony on Sunday. Comm Dick said: "This is an important event in the police calendar and I am honoured to be involved. This year will be particularly poignant as we remember PC Keith Palmer who was killed in the Westminster Bridge terrorist attack. “Remembering all of those who have lost their lives in the line of duty reminds us of the dangers police officers face when doing their jobs and ensures those who have paid the ultimate price are not forgotten.” Riders all cycle for an individual officer depicted on an engraved bracelet, which at the conclusion of the ride they will have the opportunity to present to that officer’s family. The Police Unity Tour raises money for the charity UK Care of Police Survivors (UKCOPS), which directly supports the families and loved ones of officers killed in the line of duty. Watch the video below to see footage and interviews from the end of the 2015 edition of the tour. View on Police Oracle
  4. Roger Hirst will have oversight of two emergency services. Essex PCC Roger Hirst will be police and fire commissioner Essex PCC Roger Hirst has been granted responsibility for his county’s fire and rescue service. The Home Office announced the move, a first in England hailing it as “an important step” in its collaboration drive. The department also claimed that the change will bring greater accountability to the fire service. Conservative Mr Hirst, a former cabinet holder at Essex County Council, said: “By ensuring a more joined-up response to incidents, providing crime and fire prevention advice, creating community safety hubs, and sharing buildings we can improve how we work and generate significant savings which can then be reinvested back into front line services. “Essex has always been an innovative and forward thinking county as shown by the support we have received for this proposal. Together we can do more to improve the service we give to the public and help keep people safe.” He will take on the extra responsibility from October. The current Essex Fire Authority, which oversees the service, will be abolished. Policing and Fire Minister Nick Hurd praised the move. He said: “I want to see our emergency services continue to drive closer collaboration to encourage joint working, the sharing of best practice and more innovative thinking. “Having a directly accountable leader overseeing policing and fire will help both services enhance their effectiveness, maximise available resources, boost local resilience and improve the services delivered to the public. “I’m really looking forward to seeing the benefits this will bring to the local area." Several other PCCs have applied to take on similar responsibilities. View on Police Oracle
  5. He was rescued with only seconds to spare. Sergeant Mark Shepherd on duty Three police officers entered a house and faced down an aggressive Alsatian to save a man's life are to receive awards. Sgt Mark Shepherd and PC Michael LeFevre were first on the scene after being called to a house where the man who was believed to want to take his own life had locked himself in. The officers managed to barge their way into the home and within seconds they heard the man jump from a stool with a cord around his neck. Sgt Shepherd acted quickly and picked up the man's body to take the pressure off his neck. PC LeFevre took over supporting the man’s weight and Sgt Shepherd ran to the kitchen, grabbing a knife so the man could be cut down. But Sgt Shepherd was confronted by a very large and aggressive Alsatian so had to use a kitchen stool to create distance between them. They managed to get the man breathing and put him in the recovery position until an ambulance arrived. He was later detained under the Mental Health Act. Sgt Shepherd is now set to receive a Royal Humane Society Testimonial on parchment, and PC LeFevre, along with their colleague PC Steve Godden are to receive a certificates of commendation from the organisation. Sgt Shepherd told Police Oracle: “We experience a lot of attempted suicides but this is the first one where we’ve had to act in seconds. The adrenaline kicks in and you have to act fast.” The officers were sent a letter afterwards by the man’s wife thanking them, Sgt Shepherd added: “In a weird way I felt a bit embarrassed when I heard I received the award, but it’s nice to be recognised. “We never expect awards, we’re just doing the job and it’s what we signed up for. It feels good and I would do it all over again if I had the chance.” Dick Wilkinson, secretary of the Royal Humane Society, said: “There is little doubt that, but for the swift action of these three officers, the man would have died. “They were on the scene rapidly, they broke in, found him. It was made even more difficult by the presence of the dog. Thankfully though they managed and he survived. “They richly deserve the awards that have been made to them.” The Royal Humane Society is a 200-year-old charity that grants awards for acts of bravery in the saving of human life and, also, for the restoration of life by resuscitation. View on Police Oracle
  6. New scheme launched by Prince Harry. Prince Harry being shown the work of the Headway charity A new scheme helping brain injury survivors is to be promoted in the custody arena by the Police Federation of England and Wales. The successful initiative launched by the Headway charity and HRH Prince Harry, will see people who have suffered brain injuries carry special ID cards - to help police identify who they are. Andrew Ward, custody lead for the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “This is an excellent initiative which will particularly help custody officers and other operational police officers to identify those who might have had a brain injury. “It will enable them to give particular support and assistance to members of the public affected by this type of injury and act as a cue to seek an appropriate adult or further medical advice for those who have been detained. The Federation is proud to support this valuable and important scheme.” The Brain Injury Identity Card is supported by the National Police Chiefs’ Council, Police Scotland, the Police Service of Northern Ireland, NAAN and the NHS. Mr Ward, who also represents the police service on the National Appropriate Adult Network (NAAN), added: “The scheme may also assist some of the thousands of police officers who are injured every year in the line of duty, many of them seriously.” Speaking at the launch to brain injury survivors, Prince Harry said: “This surely is a life-changing moment for people with a traumatic brain injury, whether or not they ever get arrested. This card is a saving grace for you guys and for the police as well. ” Headway chief executive Peter McCabe said: “The hidden effects of brain injury can often lead to misunderstandings and difficulties. Many people are assumed to be drunk as a result of having slurred speech or an unsteady gait, with attempts to explain the effects of their brain injury often being ignored. “The card is designed to help the police to identify survivors at the earliest opportunity, ensuring they receive suitable support and are diverted away from the criminal justice system where appropriate. It’s a simple solution to a tricky conversation.” View on Police Oracle
  7. Cressida Dick said a 'very large number of plots' have been foiled in recent years. Ms Dick suggested some attacks were minutes away from being executed by terrorists. Photo: Photo Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire Police have thwarted five terror attacks in the last few weeks including some which were "very close" to being carried out, Britain's most senior officer has said. This year alone, the UK has been targeted by four terror attacks - three of which happened in London in busy and popular areas - which killed and injured scores of people. Speaking on Nick Ferrari's show on LBC on Friday Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said a "very large number of plots" have been foiled over the last few years. Pressed on exactly how many attacks have been thwarted, she said that in "just the last few weeks", five have been averted. "Overall I think it is well into the teens in the last couple of years, where we know people were intent on attacking and that has been stopped," she said. "In addition, hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of arrests of people who are radicalised, and are either spreading hatred or supporting terrorism, or want to carry out a terrorist attack. "We have had a huge number of successful operations, together with the intelligence agencies and we work very closely with them and with colleagues overseas." Quizzed on how far-progressed the thwarted attacks were, Ms Dick suggested some of them were within minutes of being executed by terrorists. "Some of them were very close, we would say, to an attack - very close," she said. When asked if they were "within minutes" of being carried out, Ms Dick replied: "Yes." The Commissioner later clarified the five attacks which had been thwarted were done so over the last "three to four months". Branding the recent terrorist outrages as "horrific", Ms Dick said the police and authorities need people to talk to them about what is happening in their communities. She said violent extremism comes in "many forms" and there are "undoubtedly" examples of people who have carried out attacks who are "home-grown" or who may have travelled or been influenced by people overseas. "They are living in our communities and that is a problem for all of us," Ms Dick said. "The government has said they are going to review their strategy and I think there is going to be a huge focus in that on what we do to prevent people becoming radicalised, and what we do to prevent radicalised people becoming violent." View on Police Oracle
  8. Firm argues that the devices are not necessary or proportionate. Solicitors are seeking a complete ban on spit guard use by police in England and Wales. Police Oracle can reveal lawyers from Irwin Mitchell have launched an application for judicial review against all deployment of the equipment. They argue the National Police Chiefs’ Council should have halted use of the devices following the review of a 2012 case in which a disabled 11-year-old girl was hooded and put in leg restraints by Sussex Police. The IPCC criticised the force in a report about her treatment last year. Yogi Amin, an expert civil liberties solicitor at Irwin Mitchell, said: “A number of police forces in the UK, including large forces such as the Merseyside Police and West Midlands Police, do not allow officers to use spit hoods on adults, let alone children with significant disabilities. “The IPCC’s findings following its investigation into the treatment our young client received at the hands of Sussex Police indicate a clear need for improvements in the way the force responds to disabled children and a full exploration of the policy on spit hood use – including the risks and alternatives – within all forces by the National Police Chiefs’ Council. “The police, of course, do a difficult and important job and it is right that they should have the equipment they need, but hooding someone is a serious decision. “Hooding children is a step too far, particularly in the absence of clear evidence that these devices are necessary or a proportionate means of protecting officers bearing in mind the alternative safe strategies available.” The solicitors want alternatives to be introduced which "protect officers rather than restrict detainees" a spokeswoman added. West Midlands Police is currently exploring whether to introduce the equipment, Chief Constable Dave Thomson told the Police Federation Conference in May. Chief constables were informed of the application for judicial review a few weeks ago and a QC from the Met Police’s legal team was assigned to provide an initial response. This website understands that the NPCC intends to fight the case, and expect the Police Federation and College of Policing, as well as spit guard manufacturers to become interested parties in the proceedings. In May, NPCC chairman Chief Constable Sara Thornton told PoliceOracle.com evidence was being gathered to support the guards’ deployment. Che Donald from the Police Federation said: “It is not right that officers get assaulted. Over half of police forces in the UK are now utilising spit guards in one way or another and there isn’t anything else that protects officers in the same way. “If you don’t spit you won’t have to wear one. And if there is not a spit guard and someone is spitting at a police officer, the officer is going to have to use physical force - which is more than likely to be on the head - and causes far more risk." He added nothing else is as effective and practical as using a spit guard. The case has emerged just after the Met, the biggest force in the UK, rolled-out the use of spit guards in all of its custody suites. The force said that an earlier, limited, trial of the equipment had been “successful” although it did not explain how it arrived at this conclusion. In a statement on the extension of its use, a Met Police spokesman said: “The Met has a duty of care to its officers and staff - the issue of spitting and biting is a real problem and a particularly unpleasant form of assault which rightly generates a lot of concern amongst officers. “Aside from the fact that as an employer the Met cannot expect its staff to be spat at, or think this is acceptable, some of the follow-up treatment required after such an assault can be prolonged and unpleasant.” View on Police Oracle
  9. Footage from the force of the cutting edge drone in flight. Devon & Cornwall and Dorset Police’s 24-hour drone unit, the first in the UK, has finally taken off. The latest in drone technology has been trialed since November 2015 and now the operational unit has been created. Chief Superintendent Jim Nye said: “This is an historic step for the Alliance [of the two forces] and policing in the UK; Drone capability is a cutting edge way to support operational policing across Devon, Cornwall and Dorset. “This technology offers a highly cost effective approach in supporting our officers on the ground in operational policing. “Drones will aid officers as part of missing person searches; crime scene photography; responding to major road traffic collisions; coastal and woodland searches and to combat wildlife crime. “Drones can even help police track and monitor suspects during a firearm or terrorist incident, as it will allow officers to gain vital information, quickly, safely, and allow us to respond effectively at the scene. “Being the first police forces in the country to have a stand-alone, fully operational drone unit is a great source of pride for the Alliance, and proves that we continue to work hard to find innovative ways to adapt to the ever-changing policing landscape.” Drone Team Manager, Andy Hamilton, added: “It is fantastic to see both forces working together to lead the way in utilising new, cutting-edge technology. Having previously been a police officer for 30 years, I have seen how technology has changed and can help us become more efficient in what we are trying to achieve. “An example of this is historically, any aerial photos or videos have been captured by The National Police Air Service (NPAS) helicopter; this is not always the best use of resources. Instead of always sending a helicopter on an hour’s flight to take a few photos of a crime scene, we can now use a drone to carry out the same task. “Whilst drones will enhancing our roads policing function, I also see this technology being able to complement NPAS by allowing helicopters to be available for more serious incidents across the South West.” The Drone Unit is currently using a DJI Inspire drone equipped with a zoom camera and a thermal imaging to allow for operational use 24 hours a day. Thermal imaging in action The camera is HD/4K quality and can capture both video and still images. We have also purchased a smaller DJI Mavic to test its portability as it is smaller and lighter in weight. Chief Supt Nye said: “At present we have five officers trained across both forces. Over the next twelve months we are aiming to have a further 40 officers having completed their Civil Aviation (CAA) training, allow them to be fully accredited and enable them to operate the drone. “We will also be adding to the number of drones we have as the number of trained officer’s increases.” View on Police Oracle
  10. Home Office to make money available to help officers' mental health and wellbeing needs. Amber Rudd and Steve White at the Police Federation Conference in May A National Police Welfare Service will be launched with Home Office funds to provide dedicated welfare support for officers. Some £7.5 million will be given to a pilot for the service, to be run by the College of Policing, “working very closely” with the Police Federation of England and Wales. Home Secretary Amber Rudd announced the move today in an editorial for Police Oracle. She wrote: “I’ve seen first-hand the commitment shown by you, our police officers. I am very aware that your uniquely challenging work can easily place stressful demands on you. The things you see, the dreadful stories you hear, the frightening situations in which you can find yourself must, in some cases, have an impact on someone’s personal wellbeing and their mental health. “It’s only right that policing does all it can to provide high quality support for officers and staff. I welcome the work already being done by forces and chief officers to promote officer health and wellbeing, but we also want to enhance the safety net of support available to you.” She added: “Today, I am awarding £7.5 million from the Police Transformation Fund over three years to pilot and - if it is successful - fund a dedicated national service to help provide enhanced welfare support, for any officer or member of staff who needs it.” Subject to it being successful, it will be rolled out to all 43 forces between 2018 and 2020. In January Police Oracle accused the government of failing to meet its obligation of protecting our officers both in the job and, particularly, when they have been forced out of the service because of physical injuries or mental trauma. Via our BluePrint campaign we called on the Government to acknowledge and protect our unique service, the best in the world as stated by politicians themselves, by introducing a Police Covenant. Much in the way the £10 million per annum Armed Forces Covenant accepts applications to support the armed forces community, we suggested a covenant could work in a similar way. Officers forced to retire, in need of modifications at home, physiotherapy, mental health assistance or families left with no father or mother would all be able to apply to the trust for grants. Police Federation of England and Wales chairman Steve White, said: “This is fantastic news for all officers and particularly our members whose work in high-stress situations has been exacerbated over the years because policing numbers have been cut to the bone. “Now they will have access to a properly funded welfare service offering specialist help which the Federation has been calling for for years. “While forces have tried hard to provide support, it has been very difficult in the current austerity climate to ensure good provision across the board.” The Fed’s welfare survey has highlighted many issues in this area, with 65 per cent telling it last year that they still went to work even though they felt they shouldn’t because of the state of their mental wellbeing. Mr White added: “We took proactive steps to better understand the issues that exist, but realised that our findings were likely to only be the tip of the iceberg. Nonetheless, it was important evidence which we used to push leaders to improve the support given to their staff. “We will continue to work with the College of Policing and the National Police Chiefs’ Council to ensure that the scheme is a success and provides the support that is needed for the service.” View on Police Oracle
  11. Force is set to introduce extra leave for personnel, and head is also determined to help officers' finances as much as he can. CC Bill Skelly spoke to Police Oracle in his office in Nettleham, Lincs Extra days off are set to be introduced at a force in order to keep officers and staff healthy and motivated. Lincolnshire Police Chief Constable Bill Skelly says he is putting wellbeing at the front and centre of his agenda – and may even look to tackle pension issues. In an interview with PoliceOracle.com, he said: “I have two organisational goals I want to achieve: one is around the quality of service I deliver to the public of Lincolnshire, and the other is around wellbeing. I feel that if I have a healthy, a happy and a well organisation, then that supports the first goal.” The chief, who started in his role in February, has immediately set out a number of ideas which he feels could help this – including extra days of paid leave. “I’ve said if you’re involved in a Police Sport UK activity you can have up to three days paid leave per year. “I know the data will tell me individuals who take that up are less likely to be sick so it’s a zero-sum for me.” He added: “This isn’t just about those who are going to want to be active anyway – it’s my intention that every member of staff will have access to two days paid leave per year to be involved in some kind of [non-sporting] activity [as well]. "I’m open-minded about what that could be." He gave examples of charity or youth work, adding: "The idea is that it’s being more active than you would otherwise be." The former HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary in Scotland added that while the financial situation means that he cannot bring more officers into the force at present, he is determined to support those who serve as much as he possibly can. The 27-year-service officer, a keen police volleyball player, is also looking at having a non-mandatory higher standard for the police fitness test for Lincolnshire Police, better access to gym facilities and adopting a goal of trying to make his force the “healthiest in the country”. A new “wellbeing coordinator” has just been appointed in order to help the chief’s ideas become reality. “People who join Lincolnshire Police are here for a long time, if you’re a new starter you could be here for 40 years,” he said, explaining part of why he feels it is so important to boost health and happiness. PoliceOracle.com put it to him that it is often said policing is no longer a job for life, and therefore not something new recruits will be doing for four decades. CC Skelly replied that the things which inspired him to become an officer – a sense of fairness, justice and duty – are the same as why people join today, and those traits do not disappear throughout peoples' careers. “Why is it we’re talking across the service a language that suggests people may come and go? I suggest that’s because it’s difficult to contemplate in the current employment market the incentives which will allow people to stay for that duration. “I personally think much of that is motivated by pensions, and if I’m wrong I’m happy to be corrected, but if it’s not a main driver it is certainly one of the drivers.” He recounted being told about concerns people have about their financial security around their incomings and outgoings, and also police pension schemes changing after they have been signed-up to. “I think there’s a real risk to us as a service that we start locking in or locking out people from a career because of the financial arrangements, in particular because of the pension arrangements. “That’s something I’m keen to explore with financial colleagues, to say - if we start were to start with a blank piece of paper and have some innovative thinking how could we support people? I do see it as part of the wellbeing agenda.” When it was put to him that he is heavily constrained in this area, he replied: “I’ve been told that a couple of times, but you need to tell me that more often before I believe you. There are very strict rules and many complexities to that, but there is still a question in my mind that says – what are the alternatives? What can be explored? “If it is of benefit to the public because I have a happy workforce, a workforce that feels valued, that is of benefit to me. "What are the costs involved? For that I need actuaries, pension advisers, lawyers. But I think accepting a straightforward ‘no’ at this point is not doing my employees any good, and I think I need to be a bit more intrusive around that. “If the answer is legislation and regulation has got you tied, well, then I go to government and say here’s where you can perhaps help.” View on Police Oracle
  12. Officer nominated for Police Bravery Award after apprehending suicidal woman doused in lighter fluid. PC Melanie Earnshaw. A Gloucestershire constable who stopped a woman from setting fire to herself on her first day in a new patch has been nominated for a national Police Bravery Award. On her first day she was called to attend an incident in Gloucester – a female had called the suicide helpline. When there was no answer at the address, PC Melanie Earnshaw continued to try and find the woman, before eventually getting her to open the door and talk to her. The woman had discharged herself from hospital and seemed calm, but suddenly then doused herself and PC Earnshaw in lighter fluid as the officer tried to wrestle it from her. The female then took a lighter and was about to ignite it, but despite being significantly smaller in stature, PC Earnshaw was able to grab the lighter from her. The woman then attempted to barricade herself in her bedroom, but quick-thinking PC Earnshaw prevented that by using herself as a doorstop, causing bruising from the top of her shoulder down to her elbow. The woman was later assessed under the mental health act. PC Earnshaw was extremely shaken by what had happened in the two-hour long ordeal. She said afterwards: “I remember thinking this is the scariest scenario I have ever faced at work and couldn’t help but think of my little girl who was at home.” Her line manager, Sgt Paul Cruise, added: “PC Earnshaw, recognising the level of despondency exhibited by a very vulnerable female and realising that time was of the essence, bravely made the decision to engage with her prior to additional units arriving on the scene. “PC Earnshaw acted courageously when she entered into a physical struggle to take the lighter fluid and lighter from the female, inadvertently contaminating herself with lighter fluid and placing her own welfare at considerable risk in a bid to safeguard that of the female. “Bravery of this nature is exhibited by but a few and thoroughly deserves the highest level of recognition." Sarah Johnson, chair of Gloucestershire Police Federation, said: “PC Earnshaw was thrown into a new territory, which in itself is challenging, never mind coming across an incident as severe as this. She dealt with a frightening and unpredictable situation and she should be commended for that – she is thoroughly deserving of this nomination.” View on Police Oracle
  13. Legal protection is not sufficient to carry out any manoeuvre a member of the public cannot and government won't listen, staff association says. The Police Federation of England and Wales has sent a letter to forces warning drivers over the lack of protection the law gives them. The staff association is warning they have barely any legal rights and should not carry out any manoeuvre that a non-police driver would not. Under existing law, emergency service workers are only permitted to ignore traffic signs and speed limits and the Fed has long said these are insufficient safeguards. The traffic sign is void if there is any element of risk to the public, and the speed limit safeguard does not stop charges of careless driving being brought. After years of highlighting the issue to politicians to no avail, the Fed has now written to forces to point out: "Officers have a sworn duty and must uphold that duty. "Officers should drive in a way which is lawful and does not contravene the laws of dangerous or careless driving. "Officers are advised not to undertake any manoeuvre which may well fall outside the standard of the careful and competent non-police driver." It adds: “A typical response or pursuit drive is likely to involve the officer contravening traffic signs and or speed limits. A course of driving involving contravention of traffic signs and speed limits is very likely to fall within the definition of careless or dangerous driving. “Officers are required by law to drive to the standard of the careful and competent driver. Not the careful and competent police driver, the careful and competent (non-police) driver. This is the standard police drivers will be held to. “There are no legal exemptions from the offences of careless or dangerous driving. Any such drives are therefore likely to be unlawful, placing the driver at risk of prosecution and proceedings for gross misconduct.” It points out its advice follows the IPCC recently directing a force to bring proceedings against an officer for gross misconduct for careless driving. The Fed would not clarify to Police Oracle which case or force this referred to, but in April Greater Manchester Police constable Simon Folwell was the subject of a similar case. PC Folwell was pursuing 24-year-old Luke Campbell, who died after crashing into another car. GMP disagreed with the watchdog’s findings but it was nevertheless directed to open proceedings against the officer. In January the Fed revealed more than 100 officers had been pursued over on duty driving matters in the preceding 18 months. In a statement, Tim Rogers, the Police Federation of England and Wales’ (PFEW) lead on roads policing, said: “We are keen to remind our drivers that they should drive within the law. “Legal advice has recently highlighted that police response and pursuit drives 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.” View on Police Oracle
  14. Scientists looked at how social media could be used as a source of information during disruptive events. Twitter could have been used to detect serious incidents such as cars being set alight and shops being looted up to an hour earlier than they were reported to police during the 2011 riots, researchers have said. Computer scientists from Cardiff University looked at how social media could be used as a source of information for police during major disruptive events, analysing data from the disturbances six years ago. They found that in all but two reported incidents, a computer system automatically scanning Twitter feeds could have alerted officers earlier. Co-author of the study Dr Pete Burnap, from Cardiff University's School of Computer Science and Informatics, said: "In this research we show that online social media are becoming the go-to place to report observations of everyday occurrences - including social disorder and terrestrial criminal activity. "We will never replace traditional policing resource on the ground but we have demonstrated that this research could augment existing intelligence-gathering and draw on new technologies to support more established policing methods." The study comes after West Midlands Chief Constable Dave Thompson claimed on Friday that police would face "real challenges" tackling a repeat of the 2011 riots following years of budget cuts. It showed that on average the computer systems could pick up on disruptive events several minutes before officials and more than an hour in some cases. The research team, which believes the work could enable police officers to better manage and prepare for both large and small-scale disruptive events, analysed 1.6 million tweets relating to the 2011 riots in England, which were sparked by the police shooting of Mark Duggan in London and started as an isolated incident in Tottenham on August 6 but quickly spread across London and other cities in England. Vandalism and looting spread to Birmingham, Bristol and Manchester over the following few days, with more than 5,000 crimes committed. A total of 16,000 officers were deployed in London on one night alone in a bid to quell the violence. The researchers used machine-learning algorithms to look at each of the tweets, taking into account a number of key features such as the time they were posted, the location where they were posted and the content of the tweet itself. The results showed the system could have alerted police to reports of disorder in Enfield, Greater London, one hour and 23 minutes earlier, they said. Dr Nasser Alsaedi, who recently completed his PhD at Cardiff under the supervision of Dr Burnap, said: "Coming from a policing background myself, I see the need for this type of cutting-edge research every day. "I wanted to develop a thesis that could have a real impact in real-world policing. I would like to see this implemented alongside the established decision-making processes." View on Police Oracle
  15. In the current context Sophie Linden says the Met cannot afford any further savings or spending reductions. Ms Linden believes the Met does not have enough resources to meet its needs The Deputy Mayor says the “safety and security” of Londoners is under threat if budget cuts to the Metropolitan Police Service continue. Sophie Linden warned the “fundamental question” of meeting bare minimum funding requirements is not being met and any further reduction will put people at risk. Addressing London Assembly members at a meeting of the budget and performance committee today, Ms Linden said the force is already bracing itself for several more years of restricted finances. She said: “The Met are facing one of the most fundamental challenges around keeping this city safe with an increase in violent crime. “This on top of really significant budget challenges. The Met took £600m out of the budget over the last four years and is expecting another £400m over the next four years. “On top of that we are facing a funding formula revue which (in its last form) would have cuts of between £184m and £700m. “These are really, really challenging times and we do not think the Met can take anymore budget cuts or savings. “If the fundamental question is ‘does this challenge the safety and security of Londoners?’ we think it will if this continues and we have to take police officer numbers out of the police service. “The position is incredibly challenging, if we continue in this way it is going to be incredibly difficult to keep people safe.” Met Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey was less forthright but told assembly members the force is “stretched” and if the current threat level is “the new normal” then resource needs would have to be reassessed. He said: “Do we have the necessary resources to keep Londoners safe? I think clearly at the moment in terms of work we are doing and work over the last three months we have seen a changing situation in and around London. “We have seen three attacks in the last few weeks and that has put quite a stretch into the system in terms of what we do, that’s not just stretched across counter terrorism command it’s stretched across the policing system. “We have the resources to cope with what we are doing at the moment, as the Commissioner has said, clearly in light of what we are seeing at the moment what we need to work through collectively is ‘is this the new normal? The new normal level of violence?’ and if it is whether we have the resources needed to deal with it.” Deputy Commissioner Mackey also told assembly members officers across the capital are “feeling hard pressed” but continue to work “incredibly hard” in the “true spirit” of London. He added: “If you talk to officers and staff around the boroughs, as I know some of you do, they feel very hard pressed at the moment, there is a lot of work and a lot of demand on the system. “In the true spirit of the Metropolitan Police Service and the true spirit of this city they are coping incredibly well but they are working incredibly hard to keep us in that situation.” View on Police Oracle
  16. Lord Ian Blair warns the Met will be a quarter less in size than when he left the force. Lord Ian Blair A former Metropolitan Police commissioner says it would be "an absurdity" to further cut the force's funding after recent events in London. Lord Ian Blair called for a rethink over plans to cut hundreds of millions of pounds from the force's budget, saying this would leave the Met a quarter of the size it was when he left office in 2008. London Mayor Sadiq Khan has warned the city has lost "thousands of police staff" since 2010, while the current Met Commissioner Cressida Dick said she would "obviously" be seeking extra resources. "I think the crucial point now is to understand the cuts being considered, certainly for the Met, need reconsideration," Lord Blair told BBC Radio 4's Today programme. "As far as I understand it they're supposed to lose a further £400 million by 2021, on top of £600 million in the last few years. "That means the Met must be a quarter less in size than when I left." Lord Blair, now a crossbench peer, went on to call for "no cuts", adding: "Looking at what is happening, the idea of continuously cutting the police service's budget seems an absurdity at this stage." Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackay has said the Westminster and London Bridge attacks had put a "lot of stretch" on the Metropolitan Police. The Metropolitan Police Federation has also warned that officers are fatigued and "stretched beyond belief" after a string of major incidents. Lord Blair said these incidents would put extra pressure on specialist officers such as counter terrorism, adding: "It just seems a very strange time to be reducing the capabilities of a service which is holding the line against some terrible events." The former commissioner said neighbourhood policing is crucial to building trust with communities, but is very difficult to maintain when major incidents happen and officers are needed elsewhere. Lord Blair said it was "no surprise" Monday's attack at Finsbury Park Mosque had happened. "There is this kind of new landscape of terrorism, which the new commissioner Cressida Dick described, where the weapons are knives from kitchens or just hiring a van," he said. "It does create a very difficult problem for the police." View on Police Oracle
  17. Recruitment drive is aimed at individuals inside and outside policing. There are 32 different roles available as part of the initiative The Metropolitan Police Service is set to recruit 100 “change professionals” to help “transform” delivery of service. It says the force is “ever evolving” and needs “talented” people to help it adapt against a “backdrop of ever changing crime patterns and a challenging budget.” As such the force is advertising 100 vacancies across 32 different roles and is looking for people from inside and outside policing. Director of people and change in the Met’s human resources department, Robin Wilkinson, says the type of work being undertaken is unrivalled. He said: “The breadth of work our new Transformation Directorate will undertake is unrivalled in any industry. The work impacts on how the Met safeguards the most vulnerable people in society, how the Met tackles and disrupts crime, through to ensuring we have the right people available to respond quickly and professionally in times of need. "We are looking for change professionals from a variety of disciplines working in Portfolio and Programme Delivery, Integrated Design and Delivery and Business Change roles. Professionals with experience in communications and engagement, risk management, operating model design and project management are just a few of those we need to ensure our team is complete. "In joining the Met you will be part of our Transformation Directorate. You will work in a professional change role which will face the challenge of delivering complex change right across the Met without risking operational delivery." Sam Upton, a blueprint and insight manager at the transformation directorate described the work the department does as ‘hugely rewarding’. He said: “I have always been a passionate problem solver and was initially attracted to the Met by the prospect of tackling some of London's most challenging issues. "That passion has taken me on a hugely varied and rewarding journey over the last 12 years to include supporting operating model design work covering virtually all the Met's local policing services in London. "I can't think of many organisations where you can take that professional journey whilst at the same time having so much fun, making so many lifelong friends and being so regularly humbled by the dedication and professionalism of others." View on Police Oracle
  18. Damian Green given prominent Cabinet post. Brandon Lewis has won promotion The Policing and Fire Minister post is now vacant, following the promotion of Brandon Lewis to a more senior role. The Great Yarmouth MP who fared well in the General Election unlike many of his Conservative Party colleagues – increasing his majority – is now Immigration Minister in the Home Office. During the election campaign he appeared at the Police Federation Conference in Birmingham – where delegates groaned at his claims that crime is down and that police officer numbers are not the Home Office’s responsibility. In an article for The Times today, he writes: "I have worked closely with Mrs May; her steely determination in turbulent times is one of her great strengths and that’s what we need right now. "I believe she needs to stay on as our prime minister." One of his predecessors in the role, Damian Green, has been promoted to First Secretary of State, effectively making him Theresa May’s deputy. Amber Rudd remains Home Secretary, while David Lidington has taken over from Liz Truss as Justice Secretary. It is not yet known when a new Policing Minister will be chosen. View on Police Oracle
  19. Chairman described it as "political interference" in operational decisions. Sarah Johnson reacted furiously to the announcement The chairman of Gloucestershire Police Federation is “beyond angry” with the force after it announced it would not “rush in” to using spit guards. Sarah Johnson accused Gloucestershire Police, as well as the police and crime commissioner, of “interfering in operational policing decisions” following the announcement on Wednesday. Ms Johnson claimed the force breached an agreement already in place when Gloucestershire Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl intervened. She said: “Protecting police officers from being spat at is paramount. We had an agreement in place in force to begin a trial of spit guards in custody suites. And now this had been put on hold following an intervention by PCC Martin Surl. “Our members will rightly be asking why he is getting involved in operational policing decisions, which are a matter for the Chief Constable. “Police officers will also be left feeling that the Police and Crime Commissioner and the force are basically saying it is ok for people to spit at them.” Ms Johnson said she would be taking the matter up urgently with both the force and the office of the PCC as she believes every officer in Gloucestershire should have one. She continued: “Spitting at a police officer is horrible but then there is also the potential that – should the spit go in their mouths – there will be sometimes up to a six month programme whereby officers have to be tested and maybe take drugs to make sure that they haven’t contracted a contagious disease. “This means that the officers may not be able to be intimate with their family, might not be able to cuddle their children or might not be able to visit ill relatives, so it’s not only the impact on that day, it’s for a long time thereafter. “A lot of stress and worry comes with that.” PCC Surl insists he is “yet to be convinced” spit guards are an effective solution. He said: “I know from personal experience that any attack on officers carrying out their duties is completely unacceptable, and that extra protection is sometimes necessary. But the use of spit guards has caused controversy in other parts of the country with claims they breach suspects’ rights and could even be dangerous. “The chief constable and I are in total agreement that the safety of our staff is paramount, but I am yet to be convinced that spit guards are the answer. “This is a highly emotive issue that should not be rushed into without public engagement and any other consultation that may be appropriate.” More than half of Police Federation members across the country are in favour of spit guards, as is the current Home Secretary Amber Rudd. Gloucestershire Chief Constable Rod Hansen says “pause for thought” is the ideal path forward. He said: “This is an issue that divides opinion even within the service. Some regard them as a necessary and an essential restraint; others see them as impractical and maybe even inflammatory. “We already have the power to use reasonable force against citizens when it is deemed appropriate. If we can find a solution that suits everyone, including my officers and staff as well as for suspects, all of whom I have a duty of care towards, then further pause for thought is the right course to take”. View on Police Oracle
  20. Former chief superintendent calls for routine arming of all officers as a greater priority. The newly installed barriers at Westminster Bridge on Monday morning. Photo: Press Association Barriers have appeared on bridges at the request of police following the second vehicle attack on one of the London landmarks this year. But there are differing views on how much safer this makes the public. Manufacturers claim they can reduce the number of officers needing to be deployed, but a former counter terror commander believes they are minor and has renewed his call for routine arming of officers. Met Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley announced the latest installation on Sunday night, and the barriers have been erected to protect pavements in areas including Westminster Bridge and London Bridge. Such barriers can stop a 7.5 tonne vehicle travelling at up to 50 mph. But at a cost of around £675 per metre they do not come cheap. Jonathan Goss, MD of Townscape Products, a company which makes similar devices to the ones installed on the bridges, said: “Terrorism has taken an unforeseen turn over the past year and those that wish to undermine our way of life have begun using vehicles to cause mass harm. “To address this threat head on – we need to keep vehicles and pedestrians separate by using intelligently positioned barriers.” He claimed they are more effective than armed police at keeping pedestrians safe as they will stop vehicles completely. “When it comes to hardening our urban environment to protect us against terrorist attacks, authorities need to start by focussing their efforts on the most at-risk public areas to make best use of any available budget. “Once these locations have been identified, the sole job of blocks, barriers, bollards and planters is to ensure that vehicles cannot access the public area in question,” he added. Designs such as plant pots can make them blend in with their surrounding without being too obvious. Last year Lord Toby Harris’ review of counter-terrorism measures in the capital, commissioned by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, recommended that such barriers in the Westminster area receive more funding from the Home Office. The Labour peer wrote: “Following the lessons of the Nice attacks, these could allow more effective mitigation of similar attacks here than the expensive systems that are currently in place. “A business case for these flexible barriers has previously been considered by the Home Office, but may be revisited. They should review this urgently and move to fund a solution.” The peer told PoliceOracle.com in May that he was yet to receive a government response to his report. He put this down to the purdah period which followed Theresa May’s calling of the snap General Election. But Kevin Hurley, former Surrey PCC and a counter-terror lead in the City of London Police, told Police Oracle: “I think for the prominent and tiny section of our busy roads yes you can protect with those barriers but the reality is terrorists will just run people over any else where there isn’t a barrier. “If you can’t constrain the movements of the attacker they will carry on until the specialist firearms officers get there. “The only way to stop an attack is to shoot them immediately, that means all response officers should carry a side arm. He cited the seriously injured BTP officer who faced the attackers near Borough Market armed just with a baton as an example of the pressing need for this. “Anyone who says otherwise had never personally had to face down someone with a knife wants to stab him to death,” he added. View on Police Oracle
  21. The victim of the hoax complained officers had not properly investigated the matter. (Credit: Stephen Barnes) The Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland has found officers did properly investigate a bogus Facebook page which a man claimed put his family at risk. The finding comes despite the case failing to land a prosecution due to a lack of available evidence. Last year the man contacted the Police Service of Northern Ireland after a fake Facebook profile was created in his name which contained photos, information about his family and his home address. He said allegations posted on the page could put his family at risk. When the following investigation failed to result in prosecution for the person responsible he complained to the Ombudsman’s office alleging officers had failed to properly investigate the incident. However, after examining inquiries made by the force, a Police Ombudsman investigator found “no evidence” of misconduct by officers involved. She found officers had progressed all reasonable lines of enquiry and the Public Prosecution Service had not found any gaps in the file provided by the force. PSNI officers were able to trace the IP address used to upload the information but a number of people had access to it and they were unable to ascertain which of them had published the information. A spokesman for the PONI said: “There was an absence of clear evidence to identify the offender and the PPS could not be satisfied that there was a reasonable prospect of conviction. “They therefore directed ‘no prosecution’, but this was not due to any issues with the police investigation.” View on Police Oracle
  22. Over-worked detective sergeants will be given help in bringing new investigators through. The Met is drafting in a team of retired detectives as police staff to take some of the load off its stretched workforce. The force is recruiting “investigative coaches” whose job will be to help trainee detectives get to grips with the role. Scotland Yard has a serious shortage of investigators at its disposal with an ever increasing workload for those that remain. The new recruitment coincides with a push to bring in direct entry detectives. Det Chief Supt Stephen Clayman told PoliceOracle.com: “We’re hiring investigators at the moment, these are ex-cops who are retiring and coming back as police staff. "Their only role is to support TDCs [trainee detective constables], not just these [direct entry] TDCs, all TDCs. “That's us listening to the workforce – detective sergeants said they haven’t got time to supervise them or push them through and help them, so they'll have these coaches.” The force says the coaches will work on borough teams and have responsibility for coaching and advising trainees. Detective sergeants will not be fully taken away from their responsibility for helping constables, according to information released by the force, which states that the new coaches will "provide support to detective sergeants" in this respect. Retired detective Jackie Malton, who now works as a consultant for crime dramas, said: “I think it’s a great idea. There are many retired detectives who are quite young, committed and interested. “People who have 30-years expertise as a detective can teach new people a lot and they can give something back. Also being around young people will benefit them too, they will learn things themselves.” View on Police Oracle
  23. Charity currently developing mental health support for emergency services workers. A survey by mental health charity Mind has revealed workplace wellbeing support is worse in police forces and other public sector work places than in the private sector. The charity surveyed over 12,000 employees across the public and private sectors and found a higher prevalence of mental health problems in the public sector, as well as a lack of support available when people do speak up. Mind’s survey found that public sector workers, including police officers, were over a third more likely to say their mental health was poor than their peers in the private sector and far more likely to say they have felt anxious at work in the last month. The charity is calling on the next government to make mental health in the workplace a key priority. Mind was awarded LIBOR funding to develop and deliver a major programme of mental health support for emergency services staff and volunteers from police, fire, ambulance and search and rescue services across England from April 2015. Additional funding has meant services can now be rolled out across Wales. A number of organisations have signed the Blue Light pledge to develop action plans to support their staff and volunteers. Mind’s General Election 2017 manifesto Making it Happen sets out six key priorities for the next government, to help ensure people with mental health problems can access the services and support they need to live full independent lives. Police Oracle's BluePrint campaign calls on the government to meet its obligation of protecting our officers both in the job and when they have been forced out of the service because of physical injuries or mental trauma. In March we revealed 60 per cent of police officers believe their workload is too high. The statistic was revealed in a survey which illustrates how officers face an increase in demand which is affecting the quality of their work. Eighty per cent of respondents acknowledged experiencing feelings of stress, low mood, anxiety, or other mental health and wellbeing difficulties. At the Police Federation's conference last month, the staff association outlined further aspects of its Protect the Protectors initiative with Vice Chairman Calum Macleod stating the campaign "shows the human cost to policing". He said: "We all have family, feelings and frailty and we are all breakable. Yet every day, police officers put themselves in harm’s way.” Also at the conference former North Yorkshire Police sergeant Ed Simpson, who has medically retired from the force on mental health grounds,insisted more attention should be paid to the number of officers and ex-officers who suffer. Mr Simpson said there was an imbalance between what chiefs say and the reality of mental health issues in the force. He also claimed officer suicide numbers would receive greater attention if they were deaths in the line of duty. .In April we called for a review of sentences for those convicted of assaulting an officer. An anecdote of a chief constable telling officers at a shift briefing he "did not want to hear" about mental health also raised eyebrows during the conference. NPCC head Sara Thornton said she was "surprised and disappointed" by the news while Matthew Scott, Police and Crime Commissioner for Kent, insisted this type of matter was an area in which PCCs could be of use. Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, said: “Mental health is one of the biggest domestic issues facing the next government. More people than ever are speaking out about mental health and demanding change. As a nation our expectations for better mental health for all are higher than ever and the next government must rise to this challenge. “A vital part of changing the lives of people with mental health problems is to tackle the culture of fear and silence in the workplace that stops people opening up about what they are experiencing. This data shows that the public sector in particular is making progress here. But it’s also vital that when people do speak out they get the right help and support at the right time. It’s clear there is still a long way to go in both the public and private sector to address the gap between people asking for support and actually getting what they need. “By promoting wellbeing for all staff, tackling the causes of work-related mental health problems and supporting staff who are experiencing mental health problems, organisations can help keep people at work and create mentally healthy workplaces where people are supported to perform at their best. “The current government funded Mind to put in place support for emergency services staff, through our Blue Light programme, but it is clear that workplace wellbeing needs to be a priority throughout the public sector. We must see the next government commit to making change, as government and also as an employer themselves.” Via its BluePrint campaign, Police Oracle accuses the government of failing to meet its obligation of protecting our officers both in the job and, particularly, when they have been forced out of the service because of physical injuries or mental trauma. We call on the Government to acknowledge and protect our unique service, the best in the world as stated by politicians themselves, by introducing a Police Covenant. After the General Election Police Oracle will provide further details highlighting how police officers can get involved. For more on our campaign click here: BluePrint View on Police Oracle
  24. Pension schemes also at risk from incoming reforms to police recruitment, it is feared. Joan Donnelly from the Police Federation says she finds it 'shocking' that chiefs do not yet know what apprentices will be paid Chiefs have been criticised for not having decided what apprentices are going to be paid a year before the introduction of the new route into the job. Forces have already had an effective per cent budget cut as they are now paying 0.5 per cent of the cost of their total salaries towards the government’s apprenticeship levy. The College of Policing and NPCC have previously said that they want policing apprenticeships to be up and running in 2018. The reform is one of a myriad being planned by senior officers, including making having a degree a requirement for non-apprentices, and making most existing allowances part of pay. Proposals drawn up so far suggest that apprentices could be paid 20 per cent less than current probationer constables. Joan Donnelly, a researcher for the Police Federation of England and Wales, calculates that the average officer currently has a disposable income - after housing and bills are taken into account - of about £35 a month, and that the average starting age of an officer is 28. “We are concerned that an unintended consequence of reducing apprentices' wages so much is that policing will become a profession for 18-year-olds and no one else. “The unintended consequence will be on how policing is seen – a lack of life experience and a big change to the culture of policing,” she said. Mike Brown, also from the Fed, warned that the result could be further changes to existing and future pensions too. “There is a danger that less people will join police pension scheme, making it less sustainable. “And I don’t think anyone wants to see further changes in the police pension scheme,” he said. Chief Constable Francis Habgood, NPCC lead for pay issues, told the discussion which took place at the Police Federation Conference that the current police regulations make it difficult to design a new pay level for apprenticeships. He said: “Please don’t go out and think this is about a 20 per cent reduction, because that is something that was an option. “We do need to make sure that this is an attractive offer for everyone at any stage of their lives because that life experience is fantastic.” He added: “One of the things we do need to think about is […] in the future we’re going to have police officers coming in who have a degree and probably £50,000 plus of debt, or we’re going to have people coming in as an apprentice who will have zero debt because everything will be paid for and they will earn. “I don’t know what the right answer is […]. I think we need to look at what the market is doing in other sectors on high level apprenticeships.” But Ms Donnelly said: “I find it really shocking that you’re saying you don’t know what the pay will be for apprentices yet, and your saying you don’t know whether it will be a 20 per cent reduction – because this is going to be introduced, you’ve said it’s going to get lots of bright new talent in, but you don’t know what the offer is. These things are fundamental.” View on Police Oracle
  25. Pair honoured by force for their actions. PC James McQuaid, Chief Superintendent Mark Holland, PC Simon Williams Constables who saved the life of a woman stabbed 14 times and gathered enough evidence to convict her attacker have been given an award by their force. PC 3777 James McQuaid and PC 3184 Simon Williams of Nottinghamshire Police were the first on the scene to a report of an assault. The woman had been attacked by her partner – who was high on drugs and drunk – and had forced his way in and stabbed her at least 14 times with a hunting knife before fleeing the scene. The duo gave first aid to the victim, and reassured her until paramedics arrived. A statement from the force says: “They gained valuable evidence and recorded compelling first disclosures from the victim, which would assist with the prosecution of the offender, while continuing to act compassionately and sensitively towards the victim.” The offender was subsequently traced and arrested. “A detailed investigation followed, run by another commended and dedicated officer who also liaised with and gave support to the victim and her family. “Due to the quality of the evidence against the offender he pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent and was given a 10-year prison term plus four years on licence,” it adds. The officers, who are based at St Ann's Police Station in Nottingham, were presented with their certificates by Chief Superintendent Mark Holland. They have been used as an example in a PR campaign on why new recruits should join the force. View on Police Oracle