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Found 103 results

  1. Ex-Met marksman Tony Long talks exclusively to PoliceOracle.com about life as one of Britain's most high profile armed officers. Mr Long believes more officers will be required to carry firearms in the future For the majority of officers trained to use firearms, pulling the trigger in a live scenario is a remote prospect they hope never to face. But for one now retired officer in particular, not only did this situation occur more than once, it came to define his career and shape his life. Tony Long, 60, was involved in three fatal shootings and received seven commendations during his 33 year career as a specialist firearms officer with the Metropolitan Police Service, a record which carries with it both respect and notoriety. The shooting of Azelle Rodney is undoubtedly the incident most associated with Mr Long and the one which has had the most impact on his life and career, as well as the lives of others. Rodney, Frank Graham and Wesley Lovell were in a hired silver Volkswagen Golf driving across north London to carry out an armed robbery on rival drug dealers on April 30, 2005. Being trailed by several units they were seen collecting three weapons which intelligence suggested were MAC-10 sub-machine guns. As the car passed the Railway Tavern on Hale Lane, Barnet, it was subject to a hard stop by armed officers including Mr Long. At the moment the cars came to a stop, the former marksman has always maintained he saw Rodney duck down and re-emerge with his shoulders hunched as if preparing to open fire on his fellow officers. It was this action which prompted him to shoot the 24 year-old dead and which sparked ten years of investigations, a public inquiry, a murder trial, and the end of Mr Long’s career with the Met. As we sit down for a pint in a grand Victorian pub in east London, a short walk from his old unit HQ at 337 Old Street, Tony tells me Azelle Rodney would still be alive today if he had just put his hands up. He said: “If I could have seen his hands and I could have seen they were empty, I would not have shot him. “If he had ducked down and stayed down without springing back up, I would not have shot him. “If he had behaved in the same way as the other two men in the vehicle and just put his hands up he would have survived.” When asked if, in the moments, months and years since the shooting, he has ever doubted his decision that day he responded: “No. Never.” Previous to the Azelle Rodney incident Tony Long was involved in two other fatal shootings. He shot Errol Walker in 1986 after the 30-year-old had stabbed his sister in law to death, threw her out of a third floor window and stabbed her four-year-old daughter through the neck, as well shooting dead two armed robbers at an abattoir a year later. Walker was later convicted of the murder of Jackie Charles, 22. Candid and full of anecdotes about ‘The Job’ Mr Long held the air of a man weathered by his experiences but not dominated by them. He tells me it was not until years later he realised the impact of his employment on his family. He said: “In truth it’s probably had more of an impact on my family than me. With the first two (shootings) I was a young father with two young kids, I was very ‘job pissed’, I perhaps was not as sensitive as I could have been to the effect it was having on them. “It’s only years later that people admitted they did worry about me. “The trial had a big impact on my wife, we weren't even together at the time of the incident, she is a very strong character and not the type to tell you when something is bothering her. “It was only after the not guilty verdict when she had five minutes of emotion that I realised how much pressure I had put on them.” The 60-year-old maintains the job has not had any real impact on him as he was always “prepared” for what carrying a gun on behalf of the state entails. He said: “In terms of me I would like to think it has not had any real affect as far as I am concerned. “if you take the training seriously you understand what you are being asked to do and when you do have to do it, it shouldn’t be a surprise. “If I wasn’t prepared for that I wouldn’t have taken that career path.” Mr Long, who authored a book about his career Lethal Force following the completion of his trial for murder, believes more officers should be firearms trained and the concept of policing by consent needs to be better understood in terms of firearms. He said: “I think the problem is that we have gone from multi-skilled officers to a situation where all of our authorised shots are now specialists. “In the same way that we have a lot more Taser trained officers now I don’t see why you can’t have officers trained to use a handgun rather than needing to be a specialist trained firearms officer, we have a need for specialists but you also need more general training. “The problem is the whole image of armed police flies in the face of this unarmed image we are obsessed with projecting. “I take exception to ‘policing by consent’ because a lot of people who use that phrase don’t really know what it means. “Saying that you can’t police by consent because you are armed I think is insulting to the Dutch and Swedish police for example, they still go into schools and talk to kids about road safety with a gun in a holster. “There is a perception that we cannot do this job without being unarmed, I think it’s nonsense.” As our pint glasses empty and the conversation winds to a conclusion, Mr Long tells me his future is uncertain following the end of his policing career but that he is not ready for retirement just yet. He is certain of one thing though: “The job will have to give serious consideration to saying to all recruits ‘when you join up it is on the understanding that, if required to do so, you will undergo firearms training and carry a firearm if you are needed to.’ “If the police are here to protect the public, then how can we do that if we cannot protect ourselves?” View on Police Oracle
  2. Ch Supt John Sutherland's book 'Blue' also outlines author's struggle with depression. Ch Supt John Sutherland with his book 'Blue' (image courtesy of Martis Media) Police officers from around the country attended the London launch of Blue: A Memoir this week - a new book outlining the highs and lows of being a British Bobby. The book by Ch Supt John Sutherland – Twitter’s @policecommander – focusses on the positive work of his Met Police colleagues during a 25-year career but also on how policing can take its toll, including its difficult to read pages on John suffering from depression. The strapline for the book is “Keeping the Peace and Falling to Pieces.” Speaking at the event, John said the idea for the book came from the imbalance of predominantly negative reporting about policing in the media. He said: “For the past 25 years, I have had the privilege of doing a job I love – alongside people I truly admire. “In its way, this book is a love letter to each one of them: my family, my city and the women and men of the police force. “Blue tells some of their stories – some of our stories – and in doing so, tries to provide some balance to the wider story being told about policing in this country. “But it is also a very personal story of the toll that life and policing can take. Four years ago, whilst serving as the Borough Commander for Southwark in South London, I broke. I’m still mending.” The book features large chunks on John’s rise through the ranks, his time as a hostage negotiator, as a borough commander and has a real focus on the scourge of knife crime in the capital. Both the speech and book resonated well with the audience in attendance at the launch in London – which also included a number of John’s friends and family. Also there were the Kinsella family. Ben Kinsella was killed in a stabbing incident in Islington in 2008 – and John has remained in touch with them. Blue: A Memoir is available to buy from today (Thursday 25 May). View on Police Oracle
  3. Changes under the Policing and Crime Act are being introduced today. Forces are preparing for pre-charge bail changes set to come into play today under the new Policing and Crime Act. As previously reported, the new law introduces a presumption to release individuals without bail, with bail only proposed when necessary and proportionate. A limit of 28 days will also be placed on pre-charge bail, with an officer only at the rank of superintendent or above able to authorise an extension. Norfolk and Suffolk Police said suspects can now be “released under investigation” instead of on bail before facing possible charges. Although enquiries will continue as normal, changes will mean that suspects are no longer required to return to a police station and will be issued with a notice outlining offences that could lead to further police action. Suffolk Constabulary Deputy Chief Constable Steve Jupp said the quality of enquiries will not be affected by the changes. “We have spent the last few months preparing for these changes and hundreds of officer across both forces have undergone training to ensure that we are totally ready for dealing with the new process of pre-charge bail when it arrives,” he said. “I would stress that if you have reported a crime to us and a suspect has been ‘released under investigation’, this is in no way a reflection on your allegation. “A suspect who is released under these terms remains very much under our investigation until all reasonable enquiries have been completed.” Both the Police Federation, the College of Policing and the NPCC have raised concerns about the plans, stating that the 28-day limit is “unworkable” and time will be taken up applying for extensions rather than investigating crime. “One problem is that the Home Office does not spell out what is ‘proportionate’. It will be a massive change in custody culture and be a considerable challenge,” said the Fed's custody lead Andy Ward. “Cyber-crime, for example, requires computers to be seized and equipment to be interrogated to gain evidence. The results for detailed forensic tests also take some time to come back.” Other changes coming into force today include a new duty for police and emergency services to collaborate and an increase in the maximum penalty for stalking and harassment offences. View on Police Oracle
  4. Cressida Dick told children in London feel 'naked' if they are not armed with a weapon. Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick Children as young as six are carrying knives and ten-year-olds are arming themselves with weapons out of fear, the country's top police officer has been told. Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick heard children "feel naked" without them, while some are too scared to cross the capital's roads unarmed. Ms Dick vowed to get to the root of knife crime as she visited a youth centre in Putney, south-west London, meeting community leaders, reformed gang members and the family of Lewis Elwin - a 20-year-old trainee electrician stabbed to death in Tooting last year. The Commissioner promised more officers in schools and others in every ward to help build relationships with young people. She was told community groups are "screaming out" for a relationship with police, but the force is "not following up". One woman told Ms Dick knife crime affects children far younger than the teenagers and young men normally associated with it. She said: "On the housing estate, it's six-year-olds that are carrying knives, because they think they won't be stopped. You need to start there, in the primary schools - you need to tell much younger people." Josh Osbourne, a mentor at youth charity Carney's Community, said ten-year-olds live in fear, saying: "They can't even cross the road because they're at odds or in a dispute with somebody else from literally the same postcode but across the road." Andy Smith, from social enterprise The Feel Good Bakery, told Ms Dick young people carry blades for protection, saying: "They say they feel naked if they haven't got their knife with them." The capital has seen a wave of knife attacks in recent weeks, with more than a dozen people killed or seriously injured. Scotland Yard launched the latest phase of Operation Sceptre earlier this month, cracking down on knife crime. But despite more than 70 arrests for possession of offensive weapons and knives, within a week three more people had been fatally stabbed. Speaking to the Press Association after the meeting, Ms Dick said it was "pretty horrifying" to hear of armed six-year-olds. She said: "It's outrageous to hear a six-year-old is carrying a knife, for whatever reason. "That's something a police officer by themselves or even a police force isn't going to be able to have very much impact on. The question there is what are the parents doing? What are the school doing?" Ms Dick said youngsters often carry knives for "some kind of respect, some kind of kudos", but added: "I do accept there are places where some of our young people are scared and they feel it makes sense to carry a knife. "I can say as long as I live that it does not make them safer. They may not hear that message from me... we need to get people in communities, we need to get people in schools, we need to get parents understanding and helping young people to understand... it will end in tragedy, probably, for them." Outlining her plans for early intervention to tackle the epidemic, Ms Dick said: "I want to shift us further into prevention. I want all of us to be working on stopping this before it happens. "Community groups will be an incredibly important part of that. We need to play our part, but it is only a part." The Commissioner still has work to do to reach those communities - Mr Osbourne said the meeting was "about as much use as a chocolate teapot". He added: "We have realised that the things that we need, the Commissioner is unable to provide." View on Police Oracle
  5. Steve White says government is playing 'perverse game of risk with policing'. Police Fed Chairman Steve White The police service needs a five-year funding strategy to take “the politics out of policing” Police Federation Chairman Steve White told Home Secretary Amber Rudd today. In a wide-ranging keynote speech at the Police Federation of England and Wales 2017 annual conference in Birmingham, Mr White also accused the government of playing a “perverse game of risk with policing” by slashing officer numbers and the service’s budget. There was also applause when he jokingly suggested handing over the protection of Parliament to private security firm G4S. He said: “We cannot do it all. So let us make the changes needed. “We either invest or we divest. Put more resources in or take demand out. They are the only options. “Stop dealing with drug use perhaps and decriminalise Class C drugs? Leave policing the roads to Serco? Leave missing people to the experts in missing parcels, the Royal Mail? I know, let’s hand over the protection of parliament to G4S… “In its report, HMIC also said, and I quote ‘We cannot realistically expect the police to meet every possible demand we might make of them’.” Mr White started by reiterating his view that policing was too big an issue to be used by politicians as a way of scoring party political points. He said: “Policing is too important to be a political football and we look to politicians to raise the debate to where it needs to be. Front and centre. Fair and square. Listening to the public. The electorate. “And as the Prime Minister decided to skip the electoral cycle, please do the same. “Take a long term, unpolitical view of policing. “Whilst the world will move on, if you have a five-year parliament, give the police a five year funding strategy. Why not? “After all, politics and politicians will move on, but policing, its officers and people’s safety will always be needed. “No matter who is in government. “Put policing before politics, put the people before politics, and put those who pledge to serve before politics.” Mr White warned the service was in dire need of further support saying it was in ‘intensive care’. He added: “We are a service that wants to deliver what the public want, when they want it and how they want it - 24 hours a day: 365 days a year. “But this is getting impossible. In the last year we have seen a further loss of approximately 3,000 police officers. “Home Secretary, it is like me telling everyone in your own constituency of Hastings and Rye that every single police officer in Sussex is to go. “So, 3,000 is not just a number. “It is much, much more than that. It is 3,000 fewer police officers patrolling and protecting communities, 3,000 fewer cops investigating crimes and supporting vulnerable victims, 3,000 fewer tackling cyber-crime, dealing with historic offences and tackling the atrocities of terrorism. A sorry total of 20,000 police officers over the last four years. “That is not just uniformed officers. In its PEEL report HMIC referred to the shortage of qualified detectives as a ‘crisis’. “A crisis that we don’t have enough police officers to deal with the demands placed upon the service. “On March 22, we lost one of our own as he fought to stop a terrorist at the heart of British democracy. “In the past we used to say ‘Not if, but when’. “The reality now is that it is, ‘Not when, but where next’. “Policing is on its knees. It is in intensive care. It is fighting for its life.” The theme for this year’s conference is Protect the Protectors – the Fed’s recently launched campaign – with Mr White demanding those convicted of assaulting police officers are hit with harder sentences. He said: “Many expressed support for a change to see harsher sentences for those convicted of assaulting officers. “And so, today I ask you and every politician seeking to be elected – can we have a firm commitment to make this happen. “No more excuses about timetabling. No more excuses about process or protocol. “We have clearly seen that when the Prime Minister and your parliamentary colleagues want something – it happens not in months, in weeks. “We want a commitment that you will give the police officers of England and Wales the support and protection needed to do their job. “When she was Home Secretary, the Prime Minister told us we should have a single mission – to fight crime. “We said it then, and I say it again now, policing is so much more than just fighting crime. “Tell the family of a suicidal man with mental health issues making threats to end his life that it’s the NHS they need; it’s not one for the police. “Tell the elderly victim of a burglary seeking comfort and reassurance that time is money and the job of the police is to fight crime and capture an offender, rather than counsel them as a victim. “Home Secretary, you cannot put a price on the value of policing. “And no government can cut tens of thousands of police officers and expect us to pretend that it won’t make a difference.” Mr White said the federation remained “gravely concerned” that, under current legislation, officers are not being afforded adequate protection during police pursuits. He told the audience the current test of what is dangerous driving is outdated, misinterpreted and “downright ridiculous at worst” in the way it applies to police officers. Talking about the criminals, he added: “And they drive off laughing as they kill another innocent bystander or police officer. “We want to ensure that, if a situation arises where an officer, doing their duty, has to engage in a response or pursuit in a police vehicle, that they are not unfairly processed through the court.” On police pay, Mr White outlined how some officers were struggling to survive on their salaries, saying changes were badly needed. “Remove the shackles from the Police Remuneration Review Body,” he told Mrs Rudd. “Allow them to take the evidence we provide – full and detailed analysis – and decide for themselves what pay award officers should receive. “Allow them their independence. “Do not pretend it is an open and transparent process if you are tying their hands by setting a one per cent cap for any public sector increase. “I see some benefits of the pay review body in the detailed recommendations they make on a number of issues. “I see how they listen to what we say. “How they take our evidenced submission and make recommendations in a number of areas, using information we provide. “But I also understand that, for the men and women out there policing today, they just see what their annual pay increment is. “And understandably, they question the point and purpose of the review body if its hands are tied behind its back. “I ask, what is it with politicians and maths? “For every MP last year must have misread the one per cent pay cap. Perhaps they were seeing double, giving themselves 11 per cent instead.” Mr White paid tribute to the six officers who had died in the line of duty in the last year (PC Austin Jackson, Leicestershire Constabulary, PC Paul Briggs, Merseyside Police, Inspector Mark Estall, Essex Police, PC Joe Mabuto, Thames Valley Police, PC Gareth Browning, Metropolitan Police and PC Keith Palmer, Metropolitan Police) before outlining the Federation’s requests. He said: “We want a national system of welfare provision for police officers, we want legal protections for officers doing their job, the right protective equipment for officers, no further budget cuts and an immediate halt in the reduction of officer numbers. “We want a long-term five-year investment to build the numbers up to provide the resilience needed and to allow the service to continue to deliver. A progressive culture and an open environment where the police service learns from its mistakes. “And finally, we want a government that supports the police. “Not just in words. “In actions too. All we ask is that government does its duty too. And protects the protectors.” View on Police Oracle
  6. "It was very emotional, something that will be forever on my mind," says officer outside court. PC David Wardell with his now-retired police dog Finn outside Stevenage police station A police officer stabbed as he tried to defend his dog from an armed suspect has described the "harrowing" moment he was compelled to spring to the wounded animal's defence. Stevenage PC David Wardell suffered hand injuries as he sought to apprehend a 16-year-old, who attacked police dog Finn as he tried to make his escape. The dog underwent extensive surgery before retiring to action. The teenage defendant, who cannot be named because of his age, was convicted of attacking the police officer, his dog, and possessing weapons. Speaking after the case, at Stevenage Youth Court this week, PC Wardell said reliving the experience in court had been difficult. "It was very emotional, something that will be forever on my mind - it wasn't difficult to relive those moments. "It's such a huge relief to have actually got into that room and given evidence because I wasn't sure we'd actually get to that point. "It's not a difficult incident for me to relay, it's probably the most harrowing that's ever happened to me. "And to have my faithful friend and partner go through that - if you asked me to relive it in ten years' time I could do it exactly the same." Mr Wardell gave his backing to the introduction of Finn's Law, increasing sentences for criminals who attack working animals such as police dogs and horses. The campaign had been supported by more than 100,000 people before the moves were halted by the announcement of the General Election. He said: "There is a campaign running and it will be down to the government of the day whether they make changes to the laws that currently exist." The teenage boy, from south London, was convicted following a day-long trial. The court heard the 16-year-old plunged the 12-inch (30cm) hunting knife into Finn after being pursued by Mr Wardell. The boy said he was acting in self-defence after fearing for his safety and being "bitten up" by the animal. Mr Wardell broke down in tears as he described the moment he feared for his life, and that of his dog, as the suspect brandished "the largest knife" he had ever seen. The suspect said he only ran from police, through Stevenage in the early hours of October 8, after becoming worried about being caught with the blade. But district judge Jo Matson found the boy guilty of actual bodily harm, as well as criminal damage to the dog, and warned he could face jail when he was sentenced next month. The judge said the defendant's evidence was "not credible or truthful". She added: "His evidence does not add up. I do not accept that he found it necessary to take the actions he did to defend himself. "He put himself in a position where it was necessary for Finn the police dog to stop him from running away with a knife in his hand. "Stabbing a dog you know to be a police dog and lunging a knife at a police officer were not necessary or proportionate and I do not find he (the defendant) believed them to be at the time. "PC Wardell gave very emotional evidence today and was clearly very distressed by what happened that day, and still is." Addressing the youth, who had his mother by his side at court, the district judge said: "All sentencing options remain open, including custody." Finn required a four-hour operation, including having two sections of his lung removed, after being stabbed in the body and head. The court heard the knife narrowly missed the dog's heart. He returned to the force after making a recovery and has subsequently retired from service, Hertfordshire Constabulary said. PC Wardell suffered a cut to the hand after running to the aid of his dog. Recalling the incident, PC Wardell said: "It was the largest knife I've ever seen. "Finn didn't let go at all of the suspect. I was in fear of my life, and in fear of Finn dying in front of me. "Finn is one of the highest trained dogs in the police force, I wished neither Finn nor myself were in that garden, but we were." The youth will be sentenced in Bromley, south London, next month. View on Police Oracle
  7. The new memorial is for the 13 officers killed since the Royal Ulster Constabulary was replaced by the PSNI. Charles and Camilla were at the beginning of a four day tour of Ireland (Credit: PA) The Prince of Wales paid tribute to fallen police officers as he joined bereaved relatives at the opening of a memorial in Belfast. Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall bowed their heads for a minute's silence before laying wreaths at the striking stone roll of honour for the 13 Police Service of Northern Ireland officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty since the organisation was founded in 2001. A piper played a lament after family members watched the royal couple unveil a plaque to commemorate their visit to the memorial garden, which is tucked in a secluded area of PSNI headquarters. In a particularly poignant moment, seven-year-old Victoria Grieves, whose officer father Gary was killed in a road crash in 2010, presented a bouquet of flowers to the Duchess. PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton said: "This is a very special, but also sad day, for the families and PSNI as we remember those who have died." There is already an adjoining memorial garden to the 300 officers from the PSNI's predecessor, the Royal Ulster Constabulary, who were killed during the Troubles. The solemn event, during which the couple also viewed a new book of remembrance, started the couple's second day of their four-day trip to Ireland. In a moment that captured the poignancy of the occasion, seven-year-old Victoria Grieves curtseyed before presenting the Duchess of Cornwall with a vibrant bouquet of flowers. Victoria's father Gary, a police constable in the PSNI, was killed in a road crash in Portglenone, Co Antrim as he travelled home from duty in 2010. His daughter was among family members of fallen officers who gathered at PSNI headquarters to meet the Duchess and Prince of Wales at the official opening of a memorial paying tribute to their sacrifice. It was 14 years since the Prince stood only yards away to open an adjoining garden commemorating the 300 Royal Ulster Constabulary officers killed during the Troubles. Kate Carroll, whose husband Stephen was murdered by dissident republicans in Craigavon, Co Armagh in 2009, spoke with the Duchess. Constable Carroll's name, along with 12 others, is listed on the roll of honour on the striking Irish black limestone memorial wall. "She just told me to keep on smiling and she said I have been brave and I said, 'well, you have to be'," said Mrs Carroll. The police widow described the memorial as a "fitting tribute". "I think it is very comforting that you are able to come and see where your loved ones are being honoured," she said. "It is a nice feeling to know you can go somewhere and that they are appreciated." As well as serving PSNI officers and police staff, former chief constable Matt Baggott and representatives from the Irish Garda attended the ceremony. Current PSNI chief George Hamilton said it was a day of "mixed feelings". "There is the pride and poignancy of the day but also the sadness of it," he said. "We have 13 names on the wall of this memorial garden and that is 13 devastated families and most of those families were able to join with us for this official opening. "We were grateful too that the significance and size of the sacrifice was marked by the attendance of their royal highnesses." PFNI Chairman, Mark Lindsay, represented the staff association at the event and said he was “deeply appreciative” of the remembrance displayed. Afterwards, Mr Lindsay said: “I was honoured to have been there to pay my respects to colleagues who lost their lives in tragic circumstances. “This was a fitting tribute to the officers, and I know the families are deeply appreciative of the way their loved ones are being remembered. “The Memorial Garden is a constant reminder to our wider community of the dangerous work officers do day and daily. It is right and proper that those who served and paid the ultimate price are remembered in this way. “I was delighted The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall could attend and perform the official opening, which I know will be deeply appreciated by the wider police family.” View on Police Oracle
  8. Fed says case is not isolated example. A constable remains confined to his station more than four years after being acquitted of assault while the IPCC’s investigation into him drags on. Met PC Joe Harrington, who describes policing as “all I ever wanted to do” has now been on restricted duties for longer than he served, prior to an accusation was made against him which was dismissed by a jury in a matter of minutes. The Police Federation of England and Wales are highlighting his case as one of dozens they say the slow processes of the Independent Police Complaints Commission have caused. In a statement issued through the staff association, PC Harrington, 33, said: “I am still barred from any contact with the public at work; I can’t be promoted, leave the service or move roles. I was acquitted at a jury trial years ago but I can’t move on with my life because this IPCC investigation is always lurking in the background. “I have been with my partner for 13 years and we have a five-year-old daughter, but we have no stability in our home life; my partner was eight months’ pregnant when this originally happened but we felt we could not get married with this hanging over us. “For a long time there was a fear that I might go to prison, now it’s the fear that we might be left with a single income.” Asked if he would return to policing if the investigation is lifted, PC Harrington, who says he now suffers post-traumatic stress disorder told PoliceOracle.com: “Policing is all I ever wanted to do, but I don't want to put myself in a position where this could happen to me again. “I would have to think very hard about going into a role with any scope for confrontation.” The Newham-based officer restrained a teenager in custody during the 2011 London riots. He had been serving for three years at the time. The 15-year-old accused him of assault and the watchdog was called in. The CPS initially said there was no case to answer, however it reversed its decision and ended up charging him with assault occasioning actual bodily harm. PC Harrington was suspended from work until the trial in March 2013, where a jury took less than half an hour to acquit him. “The IPCC were unhappy with my acquittal and told the press that they would recommend to the Met that I be sacked,” he said. The IPCC Commissioner who directed the case is Jennifer Izekor, who stood down in March while Police Scotland began investigating an unrelated matter she was involved in. PC Harrington has also been the subject of other complaints which the IPCC have spent years investigating, and in 2015 the Court of Appeal ruled that the watchdog was entitled to re-open a case against him, and any other it decides that it had not pursued properly in the first instance if its initial investigations were flawed. “Although my suspension has been lifted, I have spent the four years since my acquittal in a seemingly endless cycle of being investigated and reinvestigated, and confined to a desk in the station," the officer added. “The IPCC have twice been to the High Court to overturn reports that they had written, so that they could have another stab at it.” PC Harrington told PoliceOracle.com he has received support from the Met but they decided not to remove him from restricted duties. He said: “I think they’re concerned about the negative press they would receive if they lifted the restrictions. Several officers have spoken up for me but the decision was they would not be lifting restrictions until the misconduct process is removed.” The Police Federation of England and Wales is holding a special session at its conference next week on the IPCC. The association’s conduct lead Phill Mathews said: “Sadly Joe’s story is not an isolated case and really highlights the effects of such drawn out cases on officers and their families. “We want to work with the IPCC and forces to ensure that officers are treated fairly and complaints investigated expeditiously so that yet more public money doesn't get wasted, our members and their families are no longer made ill, driven out of the service or have unwarranted press intrusion in their lives.” A spokesman for the IPCC said their investigation into the assault case was completed within five months, but the reactions of the force and complainant held up proceedings. As did a move to quash its own findings in a separate matter relating to PC Harrington. She added: "The report was submitted to the Metropolitan Police (MPS) in June 2013 and in August 2014 the force agreed he should face a gross misconduct hearing but requested a delay to setting a hearing date pending the outcome of a linked case involving the same officer. The IPCC accepted this request." The watchdog says it completed the investigation into the linked case in October 2012 but sought to reinvestigate one element of it and the Met’s legal challenge against the plan held it up. “Separately, the 15-year-old male submitted a large number of complaints which were all investigated by the MPS. “The complainant lodged a number of appeals against the force’s findings which resulted in the MPS reinvestigating areas of the complaint. “In October 2016 the MPS reinvestigation did not uphold the complaints against the constable. The complainant appealed in November 2016 and in January 2017 the IPCC upheld the complaint,” she added. The spokesman added that the Met was then directed to hold a gross misconduct hearing into the matters, despite the force disagreeing with the findings. A spokesman for the Met said this direction was received last week and a hearing is “in the process of being arranged”. View on Police Oracle
  9. Firm behind the real-time anti-terror software has begun discussions with forces about introducing the new technology. The software can also provide gender and indicative age for unknown people identified. (Credit: Digital Barriers) A tech company which has developed software to live stream footage incorporating facial recognition says it will bring “Hollywood” into reality for law enforcement. Digitial Barriers, a global tech firm specialising in visual surveillance and security, has developed real time video and integrated surveillance which it is now looking to introduce to UK police forces. The software can pick out and identify hundreds of individual faces at a time, instantly checking them against registered databases or registering unique individuals in seconds. Demonstrating the software at the Forensics Europe Expo 2017, vice president of Digital Barriers Manuel Magalhaes said the company was introducing the technology to UK forces. He said: “For the first time they (law enforcement) can use any surveillance asset including a body worn camera or a smartphone and for the first time they can do real time facial recognition without having the need to control the subject or the environment. “In real time you can spot check persons of interests on their own or in a crowd. “We have sold this as a counter terrorism device initially and we have a contract with one of the major law enforcement agencies in Europe, now it is at the right maturity level for us to go to that (UK) market and we have shown it informally to a few police stakeholders. “If you’re using a HD camera and have a crowd 300 or 400 people we can do a match on people in that crowd and if they are not on the database we can give gender and indicative age. “Now Hollywood is possible with the stuff in terms of what we used to think was not possible.” The software is only limited by the quality of the camera which is providing the images and has already proved popular in the middle with the company winning a massive contract with Careem, a taxi service akin to Uber. Mr Magalhaes continued: “If we can overcome facial recognition issues in the Middle East, we can solve any facial recognition problem here in the United Kingdom. “We are number one in terms of real time cellular network streaming and we are putting this technology in a body worm camera for the first time. “Instead of you having to finish your shift, take your body word worn to a station and upload it, that’s the past, that’s time consuming and expensive. “Instead of that you just press a button and your commander or colleagues can see what you can see wherever you are in the world. “If something happens you need to see it immediately. This will change policing in a big way. We have the facial recognition and the video coding that no one else has. “It isn’t the technology that is going to push this, it’s the cost save for the agencies because for the first time they will be able to do things in real-time. They can do more with less police officers.” View on Police Oracle
  10. Special bond has developed between pair. A young girl born with a problem which meant her legs and arms did not develop properly has formed a special relationship with a puppy she is helping train to become a police dog. Marina, eight, who was born in Russia with congenital limb differences and adopted at the age of two by a family in Devon, adores her "best friend", eight-month-old Tag. Her mother, Jo Pritchard, said the bond between the two had helped improved Marina's confidence. She said: "'Marina has had a special relationship with Tag from day one. "Tag knows when Marina and her brother, Seth, are on their way home from school and waits at the gate to greet them. "Marina has always loved animals, but her relationship with Tag has improved her confidence." Ms Pritchard said Marina loves to tell people she is helping to train a police dog and has become so close to Tag that she has asked to become his main carer. The pair's special bond was noticed during a recent puppy training session at Devon and Cornwall Police headquarters in Exeter when canine development officer Paul Glennon noticed that Tag showed unusual sensitivity and gentleness when interacting with the little girl. He said: "It was clear to me straight away at our police puppy training days that Tag and Marina were very close. "Tag is an intelligent and calm puppy and adores Marina. "He seems to understand her disabilities and limitations and is incredibly gentle with her, which is amazing for a dog of his age. We have high hopes for Tag moving forward to full police dog training when he's old enough." Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Marina said of the day when Tag will have to leave to continue his training: "I'm going to be very sad but I know he is going to be a very cool police dog and he is going to catch loads of baddies." She added: "He is my best friend. He is basically my special BFF." Marina was adopted after Ms Pritchard, a children's physiotherapist, met her while she was working for the charity ThePromise, which works in Russia and neighbouring countries training people in "portage", a pre-school education system designed to support the development of children with disabilities. Marina, who enjoys running, tennis and swimming, wears custom sports prosthetic "running blades" on her legs, which were made by Ossur after a chance meeting with Paralympian Richard Whitehead, who arranged for Marina to go to London and have the blades fitted. Ms Pritchard is currently working to create a new charity to help other children with limb differences in the UK to get access to information and equipment like blades. View on Police Oracle
  11. Pilot underway in Hampshire where type of medical emergency 'could include cardiac arrest'. Special constables in Hampshire are now serving as first responders for the ambulance service. A trial has begun which will see six specials, who have been trained by paramedics, deployed to carry out initial lifesaving treatment at medical emergencies where an ambulance would struggle to get there in time. A statement from the South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) says: “The type of medical emergencies the special constables could be sent to include patients in cardiac arrest where every second saved before treatment commences makes a real difference to the patient surviving.” Local Police Federation chairman John Apter said the scheme is covering gaps in the "broken" ambulance service with resources from another overstretched one. Richard Tracey, SCAS community responder manager, said: “Due to the nature of their work, the special constables in Hampshire are often roaming across the more rural parts of the county. “If we get a 999 emergency call saying someone is in cardiac arrest in such areas, they could be the closest medically trained person to the incident by a good few minutes.” The training provided by SCAS enables the specials to carry out basic lifesaving skills, including the use of oxygen and a defibrillator, which can be used to provide a shock to patients in cardiac arrest. Hampshire Special Constabulary Deputy Chief Officer Russell Morrison said: “The partnership has enabled the six special constables to develop and enhance their emergency first aid capabilities. “It is something they are extremely passionate about; being able to offer an additional, potential lifesaving service to the communities and people they help keep safe.” The specials will respond for SCAS to medical emergencies in their patrol vehicles under normal road conditions. This is similar to the service provided by existing community first responders across the ambulance service region. The ambulance service says the specials will be classified as first responders when deployed by them so should the patient they help dies it will not count as a death following police contact for the purposes of an IPCC investigation. Hampshire Police Federation chairman John Apter said: “Any initiative which sees police officers assisting other 999 services such as this and giving first aid to those who need it will be a good thing, however for years police officers have given first aid. “But this initiative is papering over the cracks of a broken ambulance service with scarce police resources, at a time when our officers are struggling to respond to our own 999 calls. “If our special constabulary do have extra capacity then why don’t we deploy them to where they’re needed in some of our busiest areas?” View on Police Oracle
  12. Figures revealed at World Counter Terror Congress in London. More than 3,000 people have contacted police with information about possible terrorist activity in just two months. Forces received the tip-offs after senior officers launched a major campaign calling on members of the public to report any suspicions. The National Police Chiefs' Council said a significant number of the calls were made following the Westminster attack. Most of the concerns raised turned out to be nothing to cause any alarm but a number contained important pieces of information that resulted in further action and might otherwise have been missed. In addition to the 3,000 calls since the Action Counters Terrorism initiative was launched in March, authorities also received 300 referrals regarding online extremist material. Deputy Assistant Commissioner Lucy D'Orsi, the NPCC's lead for protective security, revealed the figures at the World Counter Terror Congress in London. She said: "The increased response from the general public and from professionals whose job it is to keep people safe within crowded places, has been really heartening. "But, as we have seen very recently here in London, we can not afford to stand still. "We need to exploit every possible way of keeping people safe and do all we can to keep everyone vigilant. "We are working very closely with security managers in busy shopping centres, transport hubs and entertainment venues. "Whether it is in business communities or local communities, we need to encourage everyone to keep contributing because, sadly, terrorism is a growing and increasingly complex threat." She also told delegates police are aiming to increase the use of the national barrier asset, temporary protective structures, during short-term summer events that attract large crowds. Senior officers have repeatedly highlighted the importance of the public's role in their efforts to prevent attacks. The official threat level from international terrorism has stood at severe, meaning an attack is "highly likely", for more than two years. Last week counter-terror officers made a number of arrests in two separate operations in London. View on Police Oracle
  13. New ONS stats show more violent crime alongside 5.4 million fraud and computer misuse offences. Posed photo by Katie Collins/PA Wire Knife and gun crime incidents recorded by police rose by more than 10 per cent last year compared with 2015, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has said. Police recorded 32,448 offences involving a knife or sharp instrument in 2016 - a 14pc rise on the year before - bucking a recent trend for falling knife crime. These include rapes, sexual assaults and robberies in which knives or sharp instruments were used. Firearms offences increased by 13pc to 5,864, largely driven by a rise in crimes involving handguns. Overall, police recorded 4.8 million offences in 2016 - a 9pc increase from the year before, which was "thought to reflect changes in recording processes and practices rather than crime". However, the ONS said there had been "smaller but genuine increases" in homicide and knife crime. Overall, there were about 11.5 million incidents of crime in England and Wales after fraud and computer misuse offences were included for the second time. It makes 2016 the first calendar year to include fraud and computer offences, making up 5.4 million of the total, meaning year-on-year comparisons cannot be made. Stripping out the two categories gives a tally of 6.1 million, which the ONS said was not a "statistically significant" change from the previous year. Even though they had "substantially increased" the total, it was still 40pc below the 1995 level when crime figures peaked at 19 million, the ONS said. Rachel Almeida, head of policy for the charity Victim Support, said the figures made "startling reading". She said: "The latest crime survey for England and Wales shows 21pc of the population fell victim to crime last year, that 800,000 of these are children, with more than half suffering violent crime, and that gun and knife crime have seen sharp rises. "More must be done for victims of crime and that is why we are demanding all political parties seize the golden opportunity of the June 8 snap election and put victims at the centre of their policies for crime and policing when they release their manifestos." The National Police Chiefs' Council lead for crime and incident recording said the figures showed crime levels were "broadly stable compared with recent years". Chief Constable Bill Skelly added: "There are some genuine increases that police forces across the country are responding to, particularly with regard to a 14% rise in knife crime and 13% increase in firearms offences. "The trend - which had been declining for many years but has now begun to climb more sharply - is a key priority for the police service. "Forces will continue to target habitual offenders and conduct wide-ranging proactive operations to seize thousands of illegal weapons before they can be used to cause harm." View on Police Oracle
  14. The CPS has insisted snap election will have no impact on the timing of decisions on whether to press charges linked to 2015 General Election. Alex Salmond has warned against the Conservatives being "allowed to buy another" General Election by using officials who "successfully bought" the 2015 contest. The SNP MP questioned if ministers have plans in place to deal with the implications should the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decide to press charges linked to the 2015 General Election expenses of Conservative MPs. He expressed concerns in the Commons over the involvement of political strategist Sir Lynton Crosby, known for using shock tactics to divert attention away from another issue, and others in the Conservative campaign given their previous work in 2015. The Electoral Commission fined the Conservatives a record £70,000 last month after concluding the party failed to report accurately its spending in three 2014 by-elections and at the 2015 general election. Fifteen police forces have also submitted files to the CPS which relate to allegations concerning a candidate and an election agent at the 2015 contest, with the number of people involved totalling at least 30. The CPS has insisted the snap election on June 8 will have no impact on the timing of decisions on whether to press charges. Mr Salmond, raising a point of order in the Commons, said: "Given that the Prime Minister has decided to reappoint all of the campaign team who have already been fined by the Electoral Commission responsible for this boorach, we cannot get ourselves into a position of that campaign team, up to and including Lynton Crosby, having successfully bought one election, allowed to buy another." Speaker John Bercow, in his reply, said: "The rules governing the conduct of elections are not a matter for the chair." He added: "I have no intention of being drawn into this matter, which would be quite improper. What the police and Crown Prosecution Service do and when is a matter for them." Labour MP Dennis Skinner (Bolsover), also raising a point of order, said he had received no answers from Prime Minister Theresa May nor Justice Secretary Liz Truss on the matter. He said of Mrs May: "She didn't get a revelation on the Welsh hills. She called a snap election in order to try and beat the Crown Prosecution Service. "That's what this election is all about." View on Police Oracle
  15. 'Fair, robust and transparent' model which was proposed in 2015 has not been introduced but officer who would have felt biggest impact says he doesn't lose sleep over issue. The outgoing chief constable of the force which was set to gain the most from the botched reform of the police funding formula, says he wonders if its effects will ever be felt. Derbyshire Chief Constable Mick Creedon, who retires next week after almost ten years in charge of the force, was asked by Police Oracle if he felt his constabulary had been affected by the abandoned changes. In November 2015 the Home Office withdrew changes which it had earlier said would make central government funding “fair, robust and transparent”. Under the first departmental proposal Derbyshire Constabulary would have been around £20 million a year better off, under the second they would have had a £7 million boost. CC Creedon said: “It doesn’t cause me sleepless nights but if you’re going to have a funding formula, implement it. “Do I worry about it? If I’m cynical it’s not going to ever happen, so let’s get on and not try to have a spending profile based on ‘it might happen’. “If it ever gets done and Derbyshire comes out to the positive it will take so many years and it will be damped over about a decade that the benefits will be marginal. “I think the problem with the police funding formula is that it’s a reduced cake, and there’s always going to be people who are winners and losers.” He pointed out many parts of “critical infrastructure” which are done on a cross-force basis through collaboration don’t have secure funding, unlike forces and national agencies and that this is lacking in discussions around the formula. CC Creedon also highlighted the contradiction between the government’s introduction of police and crime commissioners, and a cap on the amount they can raise local taxes by. He said that in force areas like Derbyshire a 2 per cent increase on council tax counts for far less than in force areas where house prices are higher. “I think it’s a nonsense for national government to give freedom to PCCs who are elected democratically by local people but they are not given freedom about what they can do with their budget. “The model as described to me was: that they are elected, they are accountable and the ballot box will be their sanction. So if they raise the precept [by more than 2 per cent] and the public don’t like it they’re held to account through the ballot box, and by the police and crime panel. “I think the truth is that there are some forces better funded than others and that’s not acceptable to me. It can’t be right that if you’re in Essex you have a certain level of policing, in Hertfordshire you have another and Bedfordshire you have another.” In a separate interview Derbyshire PCC Hardyal Dhindsa told PoliceOracle.com: “I hope under the new government the funding formula is delivered and we do get a better deal for Derbyshire. “We haven’t historically. The last funding review we’ve still not had the full dampening effect of that done away with, and we’re still underfunded.” In January Policing Minister Brandon Lewis told Parliament that PCCs and chief constables were “very happy with the process we are undertaking and the timescale we are working on and I don’t intend to rush something, I want to make sure we get right”. But Mr Dhindsa said: “That is not true. He certainly wasn’t talking about me, for a start. There are winners and losers, so I’m sure there are certain police and crime commissioners who would not want it to be rushed because whichever permutation they look at they may lose out.” He added that all PCCs in the East Midlands are keen to have the changes “progressed as speedily as possible”. Mr Lewis also said in January: “The Home Office is undertaking a process of engagement with the policing sector and independent experts on reform of the Police Core Grant Distribution Formula. “No decisions will be taken until Ministers have considered the outcome of the Review. Any new formula will be subject to public consultation before implementation.” View on Police Oracle
  16. Yes, policing has seen stability in this parliament – if your idea of stability is to be left constantly questioning what is going to happen and when things are going to get done, writes Ian Weinfass. Less than a year after becoming Prime Minister, the politician who had been the longest serving Home Secretary of modern times has called a general election in order to “guarantee certainty and stability for the years ahead”. "Last summer, after the country voted to leave the European Union, Britain needed certainty, stability and strong leadership, and since I became prime minister the government has delivered precisely that,” she proclaimed. The 2015-2017 Parliament will be the shortest since 1974 – but what certainty has it given to the country’s police officers? About the only one I can think of is that next to no one expects a pay rise of more than one per cent ever again. On so many other issues, nothing but questions remain. Former Chancellor George Osborne’s announcement that police funding will be protected in this parliament now reaches its expiry date in seven weeks. Will it now be discarded, preserved or, like new chocolate bars, made even smaller while pretending its the same size? Police funding rises to the top of the political agenda following terror attacks but then always disappears from view faster than an NPCC discussion about compulsory severance. So, will it even get a look-in during the campaign as Brexit, the NHS and education take centre stage? The waiting game Around three times as long has now been spent revising the police funding formula to try to remove the errors from it than was spent consulting on its first draft. “Demographics and demands on policing have dramatically changed in parts of the country and policing in general is completely different” since the formula was last revised – the then-Policing Minister told me in early 2015. His job has since been expanded to cover the fire service - and taken from him and given to someone else. Yet the wait for fair funding based on the modern world goes on. I’ve previously drawn a comparison between the failure to negotiate a funding formula from a budget entirely controlled by government (responsibility of T May), and the forthcoming Brexit negotiations. And those will need a higher level of technical knowledge in discussions with 27 other countries (responsibility of T May). If the latter goes as well as the former, we may as well quit the negotiations before they begin. After all there is only a 24-month time limit for Brexit, whereas at this rate the police funding formula consultation will probably be retired after 30 years. Elsewhere, former Prime Minister David Cameron’s review of protections for firearms officers was ordered in December 2015 after fears that those who used their weapons in order to protect the public would face increasingly face criminal investigations. He departed a few months later, but we have been told that the review continues. The recent heated-debates-via-public-statement between the IPCC and the NPCC, Police Federation and others about post incident procedures may have overshadowed the fact that we are still waiting for clarity from the top on the central issues. A national armed police force was mooted in 2015, producing uncertainty at the Civil Nuclear Constabulary, MOD Police and British Transport Police. While quietly advising that no full-blown merger would take place this parliament, the government said it would continue to work across Whitehall to “integrate infrastructure policing”. What now? There are many other issues which we simply do not know the likely trajectory of beyond the next couple of weeks (direct entry for chief officers, counter-extremist legislation and potential electoral fraud prosecutions among them). So yes, policing has seen stability in this parliament – if your idea of stability is to be left constantly questioning what is going to happen and when things are going to get done. View on Police Oracle
  17. Oversight of second emergency service will transfer to the politicians if approved by Home Office Nine police and crime commissioners have been given a share of £1 million to help with their proposals to take over local fire services. The money comes from the Home Office, which will also have the final say on whether the hoped-for takeovers can go ahead. PCCs for Sussex, West Mercia, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire, Hertfordshire, Gloucestershire, Staffordshire and North Yorkshire have been granted a slice of the cash. Minister for Policing and the Fire Service Brandon Lewis said: “PCCs taking on responsibility for fire and rescue services will lead to the same level of public accountability for both services. “I am pleased to support those PCCs who are developing proposals to take on governance of local fire and rescue services.” The Home Office says the money “will ensure that the work and knowledge gained is properly disseminated amongst the policing community”. But not all of the PCCs who are being granted the cash are fully committed to taking on fire service governance. Gloucestershire’s Martin Surl has previously told PoliceOracle.com that he has a “genuinely open mind” and wants to commission research on the issue. Others such as Essex’s Roger Hirst and Hertfordshire’s David Lloyd have said they want to take over from fire authorities, and have already set out their plans to do so. View on Police Oracle
  18. The 11-year-old police-mad boy managed to raise £150,000 for Brain Tumour Research before he died. The force surprised the family of Finlay Church at his old school with the pooch A new West Midlands Police dog has been named in memory of a boy who dreamed of becoming a police officer. German Shepherd Finn is named after 11-year-old Finlay Church who managed to raise over £150,000 for Brain Tumour Research and Birmingham Children’s Hospital before he died from brain cancer in November 2015. The boy, who had a passion for policing, organised a series of fundraisers after his diagnosis including achieving a world record for the longest line of teddies. After making an “unforgettable” impression on staff when he achieved a long held ambition to spend a couple of days with the force, they decided to name one of their latest crime fighting hounds in his honour. Police staff surprised Finlay’s family by arriving at his old Alvechurch Middle School with the 12-week-old pup last Friday while they were organising a fundraising Wear A Hat Day in aid of brain tumour research. Finlay’s mum Penny said: "This is the most wonderful gesture to have a police dog named in honour of Fin. "West Midlands Police has always been incredibly supportive of us and our fundraising work and to keep Fin’s legacy alive in this way is very humbling. “He loved dogs and desperately wanted to be an armed response officer so this really is a fitting tribute. “We can’t thank the Dogs Unit enough for enabling police dog Finn to live out Fin’s aspirations." Family, friends and the force have carried on raising money for Brain Tumour Research and last year West Midlands Police hats helped to set an unusual record relating to headwear placed in a row as part of their efforts. Sergeant Phil McMullen, who took part in some of the charity events, said: "Finlay was an aspiring police officer and we were all deeply saddened when he passed away. "He wanted to help others which is one of the greatest qualities a PC can have "We had discussed the idea of naming a police dog after Finlay and this seemed a nice time to surprise his family. "Finn the dog struck up an instant bond with them and we hope he will soon be out on the beat to help the public - just like his namesake." Read on Police Oracle
  19. In response to the stats, the Home Office claims its reforms are working. Britain's largest police force has recorded a surge in violent, gun and knife crime in what officers warned is a national phenomenon. Scotland Yard registered annual rises across a number of serious offence categories in the last 12 months, following several years of falls. There were jumps in robbery, theft, violence, gun and knife crime in 2016/17 in London and police say the pattern is being replicated around the country. The disclosures will reignite the debate over resources following warnings from a string of senior figures over the impacts of further budget squeezes on forces. They also come weeks after watchdogs issued a stark warning over the "potentially perilous" state of British policing, and lay bare the challenges facing new Scotland Yard chief Cressida Dick. Statistics published by the Metropolitan Police show that: Gun crime increased by more than two fifths (42%) year-on-year with 2,544 offences recorded in 2016/17 Knife crime jumped by almost a quarter (24%), with more than 4,000 offences involving blades resulting in an injury The total number of offences recorded by the force rose by nearly 4.6% from 740,933 to 774,737 Violence against the person crimes were up by 4.7% while there were also increases in robberies (12%), sex offences (9%) and theft (7%) There were 110 homicides - one more than the previous year Sanction detection rates - the proportion of cases where action is taken against a suspect such as a charge or caution - were down across a number of categories As the figures were released, officers raised the alarm over a shift in knife crime which has seen the proportion of youngsters carrying blades who are affiliated with gangs fall from around a third to approximately a quarter. Officers reported an increasing trend for youths in the capital to keep blades on them for protection rather than in order to carry out crime. Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt said: "Young people carrying knives are doing so for a variety of reasons including status, criminality and self-protection but only around a quarter are affiliated with gangs. "There is a phenomenon of people feeling that you need to carry a knife to be safe. There is a lot greater sense that 'I need this to protect myself'. The problem comes when you then get a confrontation." The Met has launched investigations into three separate fatal stabbings in the capital since the start of the week. On the overall crime figures, Mr Hewitt insisted that London is "one of the safest global cities in the world". He said: "Similar to the rest of England and Wales, crime rates in London are rising, but many of these are still at a much lower level than five years ago and are against the backdrop of significant reductions in resources." The force has closed dozens of police stations and lost hundreds of staff as it made savings totalling hundreds of millions of pounds since 2010, although officer numbers have remained broadly steady at around 31,000. Deputy London Mayor for Policing Sophie Linden, said: "These figures are deeply disturbing, and a stark reminder of the enormous pressure our police are under every day as they work so tirelessly to protect us." In response to the worrying figures the Home Office highlighted improvements in violent crime rates elsewhere but acknowledged more had to be done. A spokeswoman said: "Police reform is working, with the latest ONS figures showing crimes traditionally measured by the (British Crime) Survey have fallen by a third since 2010 to a record low, with over 370,000 fewer violent crimes a year. "Every violent crime is a significant concern and this Government is taking action to tackle it and keep our communities safe, including through actions set out in our Modern Crime Prevention Strategy. "Last year, we banned zombie knives, extended our work with retailers to prevent underage sales of knives and supported police in a week of action where they seized more than 1,200 weapons and made 300 arrests. "We know there is more to be done. We will continue to work with the police, retailers and voluntary groups to tackle knife crime and ensure support is available for victims of gang violence and exploitation." View on Police Oracle
  20. A mental health practitioner will accompany police officers to incidents involving mental health issues under the scheme. A previously successful trial where nurses pair with officers responding to calls involving mental issues is returning to Kent. The pilot by Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust (KMPT) and Kent Police will run in Thanet over the next few months when demand for attendance at mental health related incidents is high. Kent Police detained 1,256 people under section 136 of the Mental Health Act in 2016 and chief superintendent Rachel Curtis hopes the triage team will help officers make “informed decisions”. She said: “The street triage scheme will mean a qualified medical professional attending mental health related incidents in Thanet that have been reported to the police. “Our police officers receive mental health training the same way they receive first aid training but they are not medical experts. “The pilot will mean those in crisis will receive qualified medical help and the officers will have on-the-scene advice from an expert to make informed decisions. “The number one priority here is making sure those suffering a mental health crisis get the most appropriate care and treatment.” The street triage scheme is the latest in a number measures KMPT and Kent Police have put in place to address mental health in police incidents in the county. KMPT’s Director of Transformation, Vincent Badu, said: “We are delighted to be involved in the delivery of this pilot scheme, which will offer a local response to anyone in crisis. “The scheme demonstrates the importance of partnership working and, through the Concordat, we have agreed joint outcomes and measures which will enable us to capture all the improvements achieved.” Kent Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott says he will be “keeping a close eye” on the progress of the initiative. He said: “Cases involving mental health now amount for around a third of Kent Police time. “I am pleased to see the return of a street triage scheme. “I will be keeping a close eye on the scheme to see whether it helps deliver against the priorities set out within my Safer in Kent Plan. “I also continue to welcome bids to my Mental Health and Policing Fund from projects which free up police officers’ time while also ensuring that people in mental health crisis get the right support from the right person. “The increased time police spend dealing with mental health is unsustainable nationally so I will be discussing the triage outcomes with my fellow PCCs and Government so that other force areas can decide whether they wish to replicate this scheme in their own communities.” View on Police Oracle
  21. Chairman of the Scottish Police Federation described the payments a "significant issue" for members The Scottish Police Federation is challenging Police Scotland over special payments to armed officers who protect the royal family on holiday. Police Scotland stopped enhanced payments to officers for the previous two summers for protecting Her Majesty The Queen and the Royals while they holidayed in the Highlands. In the past the force made the payments due to officers being far away from friends and family and remained “on call”. However, the “held in reserve” payments have been ditched as Police Scotland attempts to close a £190 million funding gap by 2021, according to the Sunday Post. The situation has resulted in an officer, backed by the fed, initiating a judicial review of the decision at the highest civil court in Scotland, the Court of Session. The officer bringing the case is one of many who provide protection for the Royals costing an estimated £100 million per year. Prior to the unification of Scottish forces providing protection for the Royals was the responsibility of the eight regional forces dependent on where the Windsors were. This meant officers were able to return home after being on duty and, as such, did not qualify for the payments. Police Scotland argue the officers based at Balmoral do not qualify for the payments despite them being enshrined in rules by the Police Negotiating Board. A decision on the matter is expected in the next few weeks and general secretary of the Scottish Police Federation Calum Steele says they had “little option” but to pursue the matter legally. He said: “This is a significant issue for our officers. “The force has changed its approach to the reimbursement of officers and we are challenging it. “We have tried to resolve this long before the Court of Sessions action but feel little option but to go down the legal route.” A spokesman for Police Scotland said: “We will not comment on this as it involves an active legal case.” View on Police Oracle
  22. NPCC Chairman, writing exclusively for Police Oracle, says balance between full investigation and fair treatment of armed police officers must be found. Police officers who serve as part of firearms units are volunteering themselves for an immensely difficult and dangerous role that will put them in harm’s way. While the rest of us take cover, armed officers rush into the face of danger. They deserve more than just our thanks and respect. To do their job, armed officers need our active support. At Chief Constables Council which I chaired last week, we discussed current draft statutory guidance submitted by the IPCC for handling incidents when a weapon is discharged causing death or serious harm, all ‘key policing witnesses’ – including officers themselves – should be separated from one another. While we understand that in some circumstances this might be required, this will frequently be unnecessary. DCC Simon Chesterman, our national firearms lead, has been working with the IPCC on these draft procedures. He has publicly raised our concerns about the draft guidance on our behalf. He does so with my full support and the total confidence of all chief constables. Post-incident procedures must strike a balance between robust investigation by independent bodies and fair treatment of officers involved. It is not necessary to always separate officers from their team during what is a traumatic experience. Under existing College of Policing guidance, the officers are under constant supervision by an appointed senior officer and their sole purpose is to prevent any conferring. The IPCC also has the right to be present and observe all the post-incident procedures to verify their integrity. The Court of Appeal has recognised this guidance as providing reasonable safeguards against collusion. I wrote to the Home Secretary about these concerns last year and cited a survey conducted by the Mayor of London’s Office for Policing and Crime in which 82 per cent of surveyed armed officers were not comfortable with these proposed changes. These changes could make it more difficult to recruit more volunteers to take up an armed role. In this uncertain climate and severe risk level we need more trained armed police officers to tackle the threats we face. We intend to keep working with the IPCC and Government to find the right balance and ensure that our processes reflect the support that our officers deserve. View on Police Oracle
  23. Thousands of officers pay respect to their fallen colleague. Tributes have been paid to PC Palmer across the United Kingdom Heroic PC Keith Palmer has been laid to rest following a full force funeral in central London. A black horse escort, fronted by the Met’s Mounted Branch led the procession along a ceremonial route through the capital from the Palace of Westminster to Southwark Cathedral. Thousands of officers lined the route, the National Police Air Service staged a helicopter flyover and a two minute silence was held at 2pm. Colleagues and friends of PC Palmer acted as pall bearers and conveyed his coffin into the cathedral once the procession had arrived. Officers and police forces across the country shared their tributes to PC Palmer earlier today. PC Barry Calder of the Royal Protection command posted photos of his formal dress, including shined boots, white gloves and service medals, on Twitter. "It's going to be a very emotional day but I'll be proud that I wear the same uniform as Keith did," he wrote. PC Calder, who has served with the Metropolitan Police for 25 years, told Press Association he arrived at Westminster just ten minutes after the attack on March 23. As he gathered with other officers on the streets of south London, he said: "I've never seen so many police officers in smart dress as there are here today". PC Steve Richardson, a senior section officer with West Yorkshire Police, travelled down from Leeds to attend the service with 35 other officers. He shared photos of his preparations and pictures of himself with PC Molly Carnall when they arrived in London. "It's a sense of pride to support your colleagues at this sad time," PC Richardson told Press Association. "It's quite difficult stuck up north when this happens in London. You feel powerless and want to help but you can't, so coming down means a lot. "The thin blue line may be slightly thinner, but it certainly can't be broken." Police forces around the country also shared their tributes. In Gloucester, the city community policing team published an image of an officer lighting a candle at Gloucester Cathedral in memory of PC Palmer. "Taking a moment to remember" while out on patrol, the accompanying text read. The Horncastle Neighbourhood Policing Team posted a picture of a rose left outside Horncastle police station with a hand-written note saying "In memory of PC Palmer". "A fitting tribute at Horncastle Station for #PCKeithPalmerRIP #StandForKeith by a member of the local community," wrote a member of the team to accompany the photo. The official account for the Cheshire Special Constabulary published an image of scores of officers in formal attire lining Southwark Bridge Road, a few blocks from Southwark Cathedral, where the funeral took place. "Standing Ready to #StandForKeith," read the tribute. View on Police Oracle
  24. Tool has been removed for officers in England and Wales. The Home Office is considering bringing back a pensions calculator to demonstrate to officers in England and Wales the outcomes of paying in. Earlier this week PoliceOracle.com reported the Scottish Public Pensions Agency is to launch such a tool following the revelation that ten per cent of officers in the country are not part of the scheme. Scottish Police Federation chairman Andrea MacDonald revealed the statistic regarding the 1,600 officers not paying in for a pension. She said UK Government changes in 2015 had put people off, but encouraged them to sign up for “the best investment you will ever make”. A spokesman for the Police Federation of England and Wales told PoliceOracle.com yesterday: “We are aware a calculator is going to be available for officers in Scotland. We are actively encouraging the Home Office to look at providing a pensions calculator for use by officers in England and Wales.” Figures for the current scheme take-up in England and Wales are harder to obtain as they are held by each of the individual forces. The Home Office, which previously had such a tool on its website, says it is weighing up whether to do so again. A Home Office spokesman said: “This government is committed to ensuring that public service pensions are affordable, sustainable and fair. “We are considering the merits of and options for a benefits calculator for police pension scheme members in England and Wales, but no decisions have been taken at this stage.” He added the government is working with the England and Wales Scheme Advisory board on the issue. A Police Federation for Northern Ireland spokesman said the staff association is not aware that the PSNI has experienced a similar drop-off in those taking up pensions since 2015. View on Police Oracle
  25. Scottish pensions authority is introducing a calculator to help demonstrate benefits. Nearly ten per cent of police officers in Scotland are no longer paying into the force’s pension scheme, in a move which has been blamed on recent negative changes to the package. Similar negative alterations were made to more than 14,000 young in service officers’ pensions across the whole of the UK at the same time. As a result of the drop in numbers, authorities in Scotland are creating a new pensions calculator in the hope it will encourage people to continue to pay in. Andrea MacDonald, chairman of the Scottish Police Federation, revealed the statistic at the staff association’s annual conference. She said: “Like others, our pensions were dramatically changed in 2015 when the UK Government changed the law so that police officers would work longer and pay more for their pension. “We warned at the time that if the cut was too deep, our members would vote with their feet and either leave the pension scheme, or not join it when they were recruited. “In only a couple of years we have moved from a situation where virtually everyone was in the pension scheme to one where hundreds of officers are not.” Mrs MacDonald added that there are now around 1,600 officers who are not in the pension scheme, and that she believes this is because of the expense incurred and a lack of information about the benefits of signing up. She said: “I worry about these young officers and their families. Pensions are not just about retirement on completion of service. The schemes cover ill-health, injury, death in service, spouse and dependant cover. “Doing our job without this cover seems far too much of a risk to me and I urge every officer not in the pension scheme to think again. “The in-service protections and the significant employer's contribution plus financial security for you and your dependants, mean the police pension is the best investment you will ever make. "I know recruits can often be under financial pressure but my advice to them is that whatever they do, join the pension scheme and stay in it.” Responding to her at the conference, Scottish Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said that he agrees that the pensions are still hugely important. He added: “I urge the service and staff associations to continue highlighting the benefits to every officer. “To help officers understand what the new scheme will mean in the future the Scottish Public Pensions Agency has commissioned the scheme actuary to produce a specialised pensions calculator, this has been developed to give individuals a clear idea of the value of the scheme and has been produced in consultation with the police pension board which has senior SPF representation on it.” This will be available to officers by the summer, he said. A pension reform calculator produced by the Home Office in 2015 has been marked as “withdrawn” on the UK Government website. Figures for how many officers have left pension schemes in England, Wales and Northern Ireland were not available before this article went live. Thousands of officers are taking legal action to challenge the imposition of the CARE scheme and the manner in which it was imposed, but it is not backed by staff associations. View on Police Oracle