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  1. This year is the fourth installment of the US inspired fundraiser. Applications are open for the fifth annual Policy Unity Tour bike ride in memory of fallen officers. The tour leaves the National Police Memorial in The Mall and makes the 180 mile journey to the National Arboretum in Staffordshire over a three day event. There are also nine other rides which start out at various locations across the country. Police officers of all ranks, police staff and family members of fallen officers all take part and each rider cycles in memory of a police officer killed in the line of duty. The event was inspired by the Police Unity Tour in the United States which has been running since 1997 and runs from New Jersey to Washington DC. Each rider is given an engraved bracelet depicting the officer they are riding for, which they then present to the family of the officer upon completion of the ride. President of Police Unity UK Tour, Rob Atkin MBE, said: “This is a truly humbling experience and one that our colleague’s families truly appreciate. “The memorial service at the National Arboretum is a truly moving event with all of the 43 UK Police Forces represented and offers a chance for our riders to show their respects and meet with the families to show that their loved one will never be forgotten. “This is a great way to ride in memory of fallen officers and raise money for the charity UK COPS. We would like this year to be our biggest ride ever and really show as a policing family our response to tragedies which involve officers losing their lives.” This year’s event leaves various locations across the country on Friday July 28. More information, including how to get involved, can be found here. View on Police Oracle
  2. ACC Berry spoke to PoliceOracle.com prior to latest debates over police access to communications data. The Investigatory Powers Act should be good enough for police forces to use to investigate serious digital crime, the officer who leads in the area believes. Assistant Chief Constable Richard Berry has recently taken over as full time chief officer lead on the digital investigations intelligence programme and communications data portfolio at the NPCC. Speaking to PoliceOracle.com early last week he was asked if the revised version of the Act had done away with the “gaps” which senior personnel had warned would prevent them accessing communications data not directly linked to criminality, when a draft version of the law was unveiled. ACC Berry said: “I think so. Like all things the challenge is for legislation to keep up with the technology and there are provisions within the Act to enable it to do so, so we hopefully we don’t end up in a RIPA situation where it’s kind of patched together just to try and keep pace with things. “For example the provisions around internet connection records and internet protocol address resolution which were key comms data aspects of the IP Act look like they’re going to be resilient but we’ve got a long way to go in terms of being able to deliver the technical capabilities, and it’s very much a dynamic process which reflects the nature of the digital environment. “If we’re not constantly evolving, whether it’s technical terms, legislative terms, operational terms or whatever perspective you want to look at it will become very challenging for us. “I think it will meet our requirements but it’s the need to constantly adapt and the legislation is no different in that.” While the Act has received royal assent, it has still not been implemented, and it faces a legal challenge started by Labour deputy leader Tom Watson and now-Brexit Minister David Davis. Plans for training practitioners to operate under the new legislative framework are being worked out, although are subject to change if the legal challenge alters the review of the law. The challenge has come about after the European Court of Justice (ECJ) found the "general and indiscriminate" retention of communications data was illegal. ACC Berry spoke to PoliceOracle.com following the International Communications Data & Digital Forensics Conference which took place in west London. On Sunday, Home Secretary Amber Rudd criticised the companies for creating encrypted messaging services. Media reports have claimed terrorist Khalid Masood accessed WhatsApp shortly before he carried out his attack in Westminster last week. Ms Rudd told BBC One's Andrew Marr Show: "It is completely unacceptable, there should be no place for terrorists to hide. "We need to make sure that organisations like WhatsApp, and there are plenty of others like that, don't provide a secret place for terrorists to communicate with each other. "It used to be that people would steam-open envelopes or just listen in on phones when they wanted to find out what people were doing, legally, through warrantry. "But on this situation we need to make sure that our intelligence services have the ability to get into situations like encrypted WhatsApp." WhatsApp said in response it had been assisting the police investigation. A spokeswoman said: "We are horrified at the attack carried out in London earlier this week and are co-operating with law enforcement as they continue their investigations." Critics of Ms Rudd’s comments have pointed out that encryption is needed to keep any personal data secure from hackers. Others say individuals can develop their own encrypted messaging services without having to rely on commercial apps, and would be more likely to do so if WhatsApp weakened its privacy settings. ACC Berry said the pace of change in technology is one of the biggest challenges facing digital investigators. View on Police Oracle
  3. The original target of £250,000 for the family of heroic PC Palmer was smashed inside 24 hours. A fundraising page for the family of fallen police hero PC Keith Palmer has raised more than £500,000 in less than a day. The JustGiving page was set up by the Metropolitan Police Federation on Thursday and quickly received thousands of donations. Originally the target had been to collect £250,000 for the family of PC Keith Palmer, who was killed on Wednesday in a knife attack near Parliament, but within hours that target was smashed. On Friday afternoon, just 24 hours after the page was set up, it had reached £572,838 and counting from almost 27,000 donors. Chairman of the Met fed Ken Marsh described the ten of thousands pouring in as ‘overwhelming’ and was grateful for the public support. He said: “We set it up quickly on Thursday and we are overwhelmed with the generosity of the public and police family but we are not surprised because we have seen how everyone has come together to support the police (since the attack). “I think that is because we police by consent in this country and the public are aware of the danger we face. “Every day, all over London and the rest of the UK, Police Officers risk their lives to protect and defend us. In the wake of this tragedy our thoughts are with Keith’s family and all the people who are injured have lost their lives. “I would not think for one minute that money is the answer for the family of PC Palmer and what they are going through but hopefully it can help in some small way.” View on Police Oracle
  4. Devon and Cornwall Police advertised for a "drone team manager". A police force is to launch a round-the-clock drone unit to help tackle crime. Devon and Cornwall Police advertised for a "drone team manager" to set up and manage an "operational and dynamic drone response" from nine policing centres across the two counties and Dorset. The force began trialling drones in November 2015 to test their operational effectiveness, using four DJI Inspire 1 devices with high-definition cameras to assist officers with police matters such as looking for missing people and taking crime scene photographs. Assistant Chief Constable Steve Barry, National Police Chiefs' Council lead for drones, said forces were "committed to embracing new technologies to deliver high-quality, cost- effective services and protection to the public". "Drones are one of a number of options that can deliver air support both now and in the future. "They have the potential to change the way we police by working with other technologies and updating traditional methods of foot and aerial patrols. "Trials and consultations are ongoing to develop more guidance for how the police service can use drones to help keep people safe." Mr Barry added: "Deploying drones is a decision for individual chief constables who ensure that they are used appropriately in the interest of public safety and efficient allocation of police resources." Around 21 police forces are experimenting with the technology. Chief Superintendent Jim Nye, strategic alliance commander for operations in Devon, Cornwall and Dorset, said the drones would be a "significant piece of kit", which would provide an "opportunity to improve technology available to police to better do what we do". Earlier this year, Labour MP Nick Smith said police should consider using drones to track down off-road bikers who are "vandalising" the mountains of Wales. During Home Office questions in the Commons, he said: "Because off-road bikers often go where the police cannot, can the Home Office look into providing resources, agreement and licencing on the use of drones to help us tackle this problem?" View on Police Oracle
  5. The commissioner says government decided to allow practice so they should pay the bill. The Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire wants the government to foot the bill for policing protests against fracking. Clive Grunshaw says the government's decision to allow fracking to take place means they should bear the cost of protests against it rather than Lancashire Police. Fracking is the process of injecting liquid at high pressure into rock crevices underground in order to extract oil or gas and it has been met with fierce opposition from environmental campaigners. PCC Grunshaw says a force looking to make 25 per cent savings and having lost 800 officers to austerity can scarcely afford the cost of policing the protests. He said: “The decision to allow fracking in Lancashire is a decision made in Westminster, but the people of Lancashire are being asked to pick up the tab of policing the protests that go with it. “Costs are currently running to hundreds of thousands of pounds and likely to reach the millions – these are costs we are having to meet now out of our police budget. “However, the Government’s rules mean that Lancashire residents have to meet at least the first £2.6m. “Only after that threshold has been passed can we apply for additional support and even then, there is no guarantee the government will pay. “The site is off a main trunk road and the campaigners are putting themselves and our police officers at risk by some of the behaviour we have seen so the level of policing required is high. “The officers are caught in the middle, they are local people themselves there to ensure the right to peaceful protest is upheld along with the right of people to go about their daily business. “It’s a very difficult position for everyone to be in and one that is entirely of the Government’s making.” View on Police Oracle
  6. Transport workers union leader accuses railways force of 'turfing staff onto the streets'. British Transport Police PCSOs are considering strike action over changes to their shifts. The TSSA union is balloting the force’s community support officers ahead of the imposition of a 1am shift finish which it says “jeopardises [their] safety” in London. According to a statement from the union, the force is attempting to save money by changing shift patterns – but the workforce wll not be able to get home by public transport as a result. The force employs 330 PCSOs, with half of them London-based, but the union says: “because they can't afford London housing, London PCSOs themselves depend on trains in and out of home counties to the commute to work.”. PCSOs voiced their concerns that the new rosters are not practical during BTP's staff consultation process, but the TSSA says a proposal to finish the shift at midnight to enable members to make the last train home was rejected and PCSOs will now finish at 1am on one in three of their shifts. General Secretary Manuel Cortes said: "BTP have made a sham of their own consultation process by ignoring the valid concerns of their staff who simply can't get home at 1am. Are they supposed to sleep at the station? “No employer should turf their staff out at 1am onto the streets of London with no way to get home. But that's what BTP, the very people charged with ensuring the public travel safely, are now doing to their own staff. Frankly, it beggars belief and it's causing a lot of unnecessary upset." The new rotas will be introduced from April. The union is calling for shifts to be put back to midnight or to end at 7am instead, and will be balloting members over the issue. Mr Cortes added: "Our PCSO members are professional police support staff dedicated to keeping commuters safe. So a failure by their bosses to protect them is insulting as is their unwillingness to negotiate with our reps over this easily resolvable issue.” He added he will be calling on London Mayor Sadiq Khan to intervene to help the PCSOs. BTP Deputy Chief Constable Adrian Hanstock said: “It is disappointing to learn of this proposal by TSSA to ballot our PCSOs on plans for industrial action, which feels somewhat premature and excessive when we are still engaged in discussions with those few employees affected by our planned shift changes. “I must also contradict the suggestion that this is an exercise in cost-cutting by ruthlessly cutting shift allowances.” He added that the shift patterns were last reviewed in 2009 demand on the force has changed, and that staff had asked for a more reliable and consistent shift patterns. “In addition we have sought to ensure fewer officers and staff are working on their own across the national network, as well as build in sufficient capacity to minimise the impact of abstractions when officers are absent through training, court appearances, sickness and annual leave. “As the demand has changed, invariably it means the times of day we must be available to respond to incidents and manage large volumes of people travelling around the country must also change,” he said. There have been claims in the past that warranted police officers in London have resorted to breaking into property because of their shift patterns and inability to get to their homes outside the capital when they have gone off duty. View on Police Oracle
  7. PC Austin Jackson passed away yesterday. Almost £5,000 has been raised for the family of a police officer who was taken ill and died on duty yesterday. PC 2246 Austin Jackson who was a neighbourhood officer at Spinney Hill Police Station in Leicester, passed away aged 38. A fundraising page was soon launched for his wife and four children, and exceeded its £1,000 target in a matter of hours. It is on course to exceed that by five times within a day of being set up. The page says: “Please give as much or as little as you can to his family at this time and show your appreciation for this dedicated Bobby.” St Matthews Police colleagues said on Twitter that they were "blown away with the support, and all the kind donations" received. Chief Constable Simon Cole said: “Austin was always a professional and well-liked police officer who embedded himself in the St Matthew's community.‎ "He will be missed by his colleagues in the force, and I send my deepest condolences to his family." Leicestershire Police Federation chairman Tiff Lynch said: “We were shocked and saddened to hear that Austin had passed away yesterday. “He was a fine officer and our thoughts and sympathy are with his family, his colleagues and his friends.” The Fed is on hand if officers need support following PC Jackson’s death. South Leicestershire MP Alberto Costa said on Twitter: “Sad to hear news of local police officer PC Austin Jackson passing away yesterday. Thoughts with his family and @LPSpinneyWard colleagues.” PC Jackson had served in the force since 2007. To view the fundraising page click here. View on Police Oracle
  8. HMIC has raised red flag over the issue. Working as a detective needs to be restored as an attractive proposition again if chiefs want to address the national crisis in investigation skills, the chairman of the Police Federation National Detectives' Forum believes. Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary recently warned that there is a critical shortage of investigators in many forces. Martin Plummer, who is also chairman of Cumbria Police Federation, told PoliceOracle.com: “It’s frustrating when you get the HMIC stating the obvious that we have been saying for a considerable length of time. “[But] it’s a very simple equation, if you have 10 people on a team carrying a workload and you reduce that down to six and you increase that workload and something, somewhere is going to give. “We’re now seeing ridiculous workloads, detectives trying to spin so many plates while everything is combusting around them, there’s no financial backing for protracted inquiries. “We still investigate the most serious crimes, still deal with the worst criminals, the burden of proof in courts rightly remains as high as it ever was. But detectives are increasingly being told 'sorry you haven’t got the time to do that', 'sorry we haven’t got the budget', or 'something else has come up and there’s simply no one else to do it'.” He said the days of most officers wanting to become detectives were long gone, with what he calls “the hardest job in policing” becoming one which people know they will be under increasing pressure from management, as well as CPS, other partners and potentially the IPCC. In its report, HMIC identified the excessive workloads of those remaining in detective roles as a problem for policing. Chiefs have asked the independent remuneration body to allow them to give specialist bonuses to detectives in order to address the issue. The Met’s submission to the body states: “We know that monetary reward is not the only lever available but to have no reward options to attract officers into a particular career path remains deeply problematic, particularly as the operational structure becomes flatter with decreased opportunity for rank progression.” Mr Plummer says he would support extra payments, but points out that the issue is not primarily about personal finances. “The way you can solve this is simply that you need a career as a detective to become once again popular and attractive,” he said. “If you look back to the day where we had a mainstream CID that mainstream CID had their specialisms, they weren’t asking for extra payments for added responsibility they loved what they did. They had the time and resources to get the results. “Where we are now is that the good will has been eroded over the years. Detectives saying they’re not prepared to take on extra cases I’ve got the IPCC knocking on the door, victims, witnesses wanting to know how their cases are going, the CPS wanting things done yesterday. The support and backing is not there. “I’m not saying they want a pat on the back, what detectives have always wanted is to bring criminals to justice,” he added. Responding to the HMIC report, the NPCC pointed out that having 32,334 fewer officers and a 22 per cent budget cut had been difficult as crime “changes”. National lead for crime operations CC Mike Barton said: “Difficult decisions are being made between resourcing neighbourhood teams, response units, specialist investigations, and digital and cyber-enabled crime. “Police chiefs around the country will be looking at their local assessment to consider the impact of resourcing decisions, which may have been hidden from view.” View on Police Oracle
  9. Philip Hammond said he will restore public finances to balance. The Fed, unions and the Mayor of London have criticised the Chancellor for not mentioning public sector pay or police funding in his Spring Budget. Philip Hammond sang the praises of unexpectedly strong UK growth figures, and introduced policies in health, education and tax today. He was delivering a statement in which he said his plan is: “To enhance our productivity and protect our living standards, to restore our public finances to balance, and to invest for our future.” But a lack of mention of police finances drew an instant rebuke from Mayor of London Sadiq Khan. A statement from his office said: “Sadiq has warned that government’s refusal to fully fund London’s police service is putting the capital’s safety at risk. “Any further cuts would make it increasingly difficult to maintain the strategic target of 32,000 officers, making it harder to keep Londoners safe from growing security threats.” The government has insisted it is now protecting police funding, if PCCs increase council tax levels. Police Federation of England and Wales chairman Steve White said: "With no specific mention of emergency service finances we expect the government to uphold its promise to protect police budgets. “Leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, made the point today that the economy is not working for neighbourhoods due to the falling number of police officers. "Our officers are stretched beyond reasonable capacity, and we will continue to push this fact back to government. In order to protect the public, the police service must have the right investment.” Elsewhere unions which represent police staff criticised the lack of movement on public sector pay. Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: “The pay boost for Westminster politicians should’ve signalled a decent pay rise for the rest of the public sector, especially with inflation almost double the one per cent cap. “But without a mention from the Chancellor, public service employees will be feeling they’re the forgotten part of the ‘jam’ generation. Most are not managing at all. “There was nothing today to relieve their ongoing pay pain, and as wages rise elsewhere, public sector workers are being left further and further behind.” The PCS union, which represents Met Police staff, expressed a similar view. A statement from the union quoted Theresa May's first speech as Prime Minister in which she said: “If you’re from an ordinary working class family, life is much harder than many people at Westminster realise […]. If you are one of those families, if you are just managing I want to address you directly.” General secretary Mark Serwotka said public sector employees are “just managing” and pledged to “fight to break the one per cent pay cap”. Police officer remuneration is now decided by an independent panel, but it takes note of overall public sector pay levels. View on Police Oracle
  10. Fed says 'no one benefits' from system where demand is high and resource low. More than 60 per cent of police officers believe their workload is too high. The concerning, but not surprising, statistic was revealed in a survey which illustrates how officers face an increase in demand which is affecting the quality of their work. The Police Federation's recent welfare poll also highlighted an issue in proactive policing, with 70 per cent of respondents disagreeing or strongly disagreeing they have enough time to engage in such a thing. Police Oracle is highlighting different elements of the survey as part of its BluePrint campaign. The campaign wants the government to fulfil its duty of protecting officers both in the job, and when they have been forced out of the service due to physical injuries or mental trauma. Police Oracle is calling on the Government to acknowledge and protect our unique service by introducing a Police Covenant. The Fed has also launched Protect The Protectors with the organisation seeking a change in legislation so that officers who are assaulted in the course of their duties are afforded better protection. Jason Kwee, Chairman of the Fed's Health and Safety sub-committee, says one of the Peelian principles of policing is the ‘prevention of crime and disorder’. “One of the most effective ways to do this is with proactive patrols. I remember when there were sufficient staffing levels on the shift, a couple of officers would don their ‘civvy jackets’, take out an unmarked car and target specific areas or individuals. Unfortunately, such opportunities rarely exist anymore, with officers barely managing to cover the stacked calls and incidents that roll in on an average shift.” The survey found more than half the respondents (58 per cent) disagreed or strongly disagreed that they have enough time to do their job to a standard of which they could be proud. Mr Kwee said this was not surprising as officers are frustrated they do not always get the opportunity to give a consistent "gold standard service". “Policing is a proud vocation and officers come to work to give the best service to the community they serve. As with most things in life, if you focus on the quantity element, then the quality may suffer," he added. “With the constant pressure of incoming incidents, and the increasing lack of available resources, officers attending incidents will no doubt feel pressured to complete the current task as quickly as needed and to move on to the next incident. Unfortunately, no one benefits from this, especially the victims of crime.” As reported by Police Oracle last month, other headline figures from the demand survey included: 66 per cent of officers indicated their workload was too high 33 per cent admitted being the victim of an unarmed physical attack at least once per month over the last year 36 per cent reported being attacked with a weapon at least once in the last year 70 per cent disagreed or strongly disagreed that they have enough time to engage in proactive policing 80 per cent acknowledged experiencing feelings of stress, low mood, anxiety, or other mental health and wellbeing difficulties 92 per cent of those indicated their psychological difficulties had been caused or made worse by work View on Police Oracle
  11. Wiltshire Chief Constable Mike Veale said he is 'incredibly proud' of his force. A chief constable has called on the public to “buck the negative trend” towards policing and show gratitude to the officers keeping them safe. Wiltshire Chief Constable Mike Veale, whose force was rated good in last week’s PEEL effectiveness inspection, said his officers are putting themselves at risk every day to protect the public. “Wiltshire Police is a force that is ‘punching above its weight’,” he said. “You may not feel you see officers as much as you used to, we are in the position of having to work with fewer officers than we have had for decades. “These men and women who have sworn to protect and uphold the law continue to do so in times of significantly reduced resources, increased national security threat and against a backdrop of seemingly relentless criticism and negativity towards the service.” CC Veale admitted the demand for officers to help those in crisis is a “significant responsibility” which he did not experience when he joined the service 32 years ago, but said transforming the force was vital to improve its response to victims of crime. “Our change to a new Community Policing Model alongside investment in technology means that officers and staff are more mobile and will spend more time in their communities rather than being stuck behind a desk in a police station,” he said. “To be able to work through such challenges and still provide an independently assessed, high quality of service is testament to the outstanding efforts of the staff, officers and Special Constables who work here.” He also said despite shrinking budgets, his personal philosophy is to aim high and said he made “no apology” for blowing the force’s trumpet. “I am incredibly proud of my force which is made up of officers, staff and volunteers with unwavering dedication, commitment and enthusiasm,” he said. “They are the people who don’t get to see their families for days on end, or get to put their kids to bed, they work extended hours in all weathers, they are the people who run into the face of danger when the instinct is to run away. “I hope that you will help buck the negative trend towards policing and take any opportunity, however small, to show your gratitude to all the emergency services who help keep you safe. Tell me about your experiences, shake the hand of the next officer, PCSO or police staff member you see, tell these hard working people that you appreciate them.” View on Police Oracle
  12. Addicts would be given the drug to inject under supervision. Drug addicts could be given heroin paid for by the police under plans put forward by one police and crime commissioner. Durham PCC Ron Hogg, who along with Chief Constable Mike Barton has spoken out in support of decriminalisation, said he has now asked the region’s public health departments to examine ways to introduce Heroin Assisted Treatment. Although plans for a “fix room” are being developed in Glasgow, this would be the first of its kind in England following similar schemes in a number of European countries. “The aim would be to enable people who have become addicted to heroin to follow a programme that would stabilise their addiction in a controlled environment, and reduce their dependency on heroin until they stop taking it,” said Mr Hogg. “The aim of the initiative is to save the lives of addicts, shut down drug dealers and reduce acquisitive crime. Instead of stealing in order to fund their habit, and money flowing the organised crime gangs, addicts will be helped to recover.” The scheme would focus on the most prolific at-risk offenders who would be provided with pharmaceutical heroin, with Mr Hogg adding that it would save money in the long run through reduced costs to courts, prisons, the police and wider society. The number of reported drug misuse deaths involving opioids including heroin rose by 58 per cent in England over the last four years, with the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs recommending last December that the government should consider the provision of medically supervised drug consumption clinics in locations with a high concentration of injecting drug use. View on Police Oracle
  13. National awareness campaign launched today. Security services and the police have thwarted 13 potential terrorist attacks on the UK in less than four years, Britain's most senior counter-terrorism officer has revealed. Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley disclosed the figures as he launched a major appeal for the public to report any suspicions and act on their instincts, saying their help is critical to foiling atrocities. He said since June 2013, police and intelligence agencies have disrupted 13 terrorist attack plots. The figure is one higher than the last tally given in October. Information from members of the public has contributed to stopping some of those attacks, while figures show it has assisted counter-terrorism police in a third of the most high-risk investigations. AC Rowley said: “It is very encouraging that in a third of cases involving our most serious terrorist suspects we have benefited from information from the public. “The number of calls and online reports we receive is increasing. This is testament to people’s trust in the police - but now we are appealing for even more. “Counter terrorism policing is working hard to keep the public safe. Together, the UK intelligence community [MI5, SIS, GCHQ] and police have disrupted 13 UK terrorist attack plots since June 2013. “However, advances in technology make it more complex and challenging for us to spot would-be terrorists because it's easier for them to be in contact with others and be radicalised in a relatively short space of time. “The threat is becoming more varied and the move towards low-tech attacks on crowded places, like those we have seen in major European cities and beyond, makes it even more important everyone remains vigilant and acts by calling us confidentially if they are concerned about suspicious activity.” Investigators have been making arrests at a rate of close to one a day on average since 2014. The official threat level for international terrorism has stood at severe - meaning an attack is "highly likely" - for more than two years. In the year to March, the anti-terrorist hotline received more than twice the number of calls on the previous 12 months, with 22,000 people making contact. AC Rowley added: "Even though the public are doing a great job, we want more help." The public awareness campaign has been named Action Counters Terrorism, or ACT. A poll of more than 2,000 adults found that most respondents believed it was important for communities to work with police to defeat terrorism. However, a quarter of those surveyed said they might not report their suspicions because of fears over wasting police time and almost two in five were unsure about what suspicious behaviour might look like. Security minister Ben Wallace welcomed the campaign, saying: "Our police and security and intelligence agencies work tirelessly, often unseen, day in and day out to keep families and communities across the country safe. The public also have a vital role to play as they are ideally placed to notice activity which is unusual. “I welcome the police’s ACT campaign which raises awareness about what to look out for and provides people with easy-to-access advice." View on Police Oracle
  14. Policing Minister says officers will have best and most appropriate technology. Police forces have been given approval to use a new taser model rather than the existing obsolete devices. Policing Minister Brandon Lewis announced today the Home Office has authorised use of the X2 model, which forces can replace their old X26 tasers. He said: “This government is committed to giving the police the tools they need to do their job effectively, and where modern specialist equipment like CEDs [conductive energy devices] are used, to ensure our officers have access to the best and most appropriate technology. “The decision to authorise the taser X2 follows stringent consideration of strategic, ethical, operational and societal issues, including an assessment of environmental factors.” While the X26's work sufficiently, they are no longer manufactured or sold. SACMILL, the scientific advisory body which assessed whether the less lethal weapons should be approved for use, have recommended that body worn video cameras should be worn by all officers using the devices. Matt Spencer, managing director of Taser UK, said: “We are confident that the X2 can help to make police officers more effective at dealing with the increased threat that they face on a daily basis. "More than 20 years of science and research has gone into Taser technology to make the X2 the most proven and most tested less-lethal technology available in the UK. “This announcement demonstrates the important contribution our technology is making to help the police keep the public safe. “With the X2’s improved internal accounting logs and ability to work hand-in-hand with body-worn video it can deliver extra layers of accountability that the public and the police rightly expect and deserve. "We’re proud of how we have adapted and improved our technology to meet the needs of the police and those who hold them to account on behalf of the public." The company has previously said that the X2 has a 25 per cent chance of working as intended first time than the X26. A new data collection system for use for any time “significant force” is used by police is also to be introduced from April. This will mean that forces should publish the ethnicity, age, location and outcome of the individual it is used on. Mr Lewis said: “The information should report on the situations when physical restraint is used, as well as the type of equipment, such as handcuffs, batons, sprays and conductive energy devices.” View on Police Oracle
  15. Police Federation says it has worked to ensure the form is beneficial for officers and the service. A new form which must be used by all officers will help ensure they are not placed in a difficult position after a use of force incident, the Police Federation says. The Home Office says from April 1 2017, all officers must record any use of force in the same way, regardless of where they work. During the consultation process for the new form the Fed adds it has worked to ensure the burden on members is as minimal as possible. “We also wanted to make sure that once all this data is collected, it will be used as constructively as possible for officers across the country,” said Simon Kempton, the Federation’s lead for operational policing. “For the first time, we will have robust data from all forces demonstrating which techniques and equipment really work and which do not. “We will make sure that this information is used to change things like Officer Safety Training to reflect what we – the members – need to do our job properly. At the same time, if certain equipment isn’t up to the standard we need, we will now have an evidence base to show this.” Changes to the form made by the Federation included ‘were you injured during the incident?’ being amended to ‘do you believe you were injured during the incident?’ which it states protects officers if they subsequently learn they were injured but it wasn’t apparent at the time and they have a potential claim which could be undermined. It also insisted changing ‘was the subject suffering from a mental illness at the time of the incident?’ to ‘do you think the subject may have been suffering from some form of mental illness?’ as officers should not be expected to make such an assessment. The new form asks whether the officer is authorised to carry Taser, whether it was being carried at the time and whether the officer was single crewed, questions which the federation states will provide “invaluable evidence” when they argue that single crewing and a lack of Taser is dangerous for both the public and the officer. “When refuting accusations levelled at us of using excessive force, we will now be able to argue, with solid evidence, that in comparison to the huge numbers of incidents we attend, we rarely have to resort to using force,” said Mr Kempton. “Furthermore, the Federation will be able to use this data to demonstrate that if we are placed in a position when we must use force that we always try to use the lowest level of force available to us.” HMIC will be measuring whether the forms are being completed as part of their inspection schedule. View on Police Oracle
  16. An inquest found the woman, who was found hanged, died before the police were called. A pair of Met PCs have been found to have committed misconduct when they failed to immediately attend a suicide incident. PCs Tony Stephenson and Gavin Bateman were on duty together on April 15, 2015, when a call came in for a vulnerable woman who was classed as a danger to herself and others. The 22-year-old woman had sent suicidal texts to a friend and was not answering her door, the call was graded 'S' for 'significant risk' meaning officers are required to attend as soon as possible and in a maximum of 60 minutes. Instead of going straight to the call, PCs Bateman and Stephenson went to a nearby branch of McDonalds and bought cups of tea before heading to Leamouth Road Roundabout in east London. Whilst there they completed paperwork from an earlier incident and made a call to the informant to obtain more detail about the vulnerable young woman. At a misconduct hearing at the Empress State Building today a panel chaired by Akbar Khan found the officers had committed misconduct, rather than the more serious charge of gross misconduct, increasing their chances of remaining in the service. Mr Khan said: "The officers accepted that they breached standards of professional behaviour. "From the outset the panel wishes to state that it accepts that the late attendance must not be conflated with the sad death (of the vulnerable woman). "Both officers did not adequately or properly asses the information on the CAD in terms of the risk posed to her. "The delay in attending was not justified and was not in accordance with the guidance, you should have proceeded (to the incident) straight away. "It was accepted that the IPCC concluded that the call should have been graded as an 'I' call but the panel noted this has no bearing on its findings in this case. "It was submitted by both representatives that the basis of their clients understanding of the grading was the MDT user manual of guidance policy and their training in it. "Accordingly the panel finds that there was an absence of evidence to find that both officers were trained adequately. "Given the inconsistencies between the NCTS and the MDT guidance the panel finds there was a gap in their knowledge in that they should have understood they should have attended within a maximum of 60 minutes rather than up to 60 minutes. "The panel accepts that the delay was 22 minutes rather than 33 minutes. "The panel has also accepted evidence of good character on behalf of both officers and has taken into account their conscientiousness to their duties since the incident and that this was an isolated incident. "The panel finds on the balance of probabilities that the officers have breached the standards as alleged by the appropriate authority. "In all of the circumstances the panel finds the breaches of standards by both officers amount to misconduct only and not gross misconduct." The panel is due to make a decision on sanctions, if any, against both officers tomorrow. The hearing continues. View on Police Oracle
  17. Sergeant Julia Martin-Jones had just watched her daughter tie the knot. An off-duty officer showed her dedication to her role when she detained a suspected burglar on her daughter’s wedding day. Gloucestershire Sergeant Julia Martin-Jones was returning home after watching her child – who is also an officer with the force – tie the knot when she spotted someone leaving a neighbour’s house acting suspiciously. Without hesitation she leapt into action to apprehend the figure and called colleagues to the scene. “It was around 1am on Sunday morning and I’d just returned home from the wedding with family and friends,” she said. “I saw a youth in dark clothing emerge from a neighbour's driveway and I didn't recognise him. I knew there had been burglaries in the area so went and stopped him. My colleagues later found my neighbour's garage had been broken into. “There I was in my sparkly dress, high heels and all my finery - I think he thought I was some kind of crazy woman!” A 15-year-old boy from Manchester arrested on suspicion of burglary in connection with the case has been bailed to return to police on March 25, pending further inquiries. View on Police Oracle
  18. Idea is not being ruled out at present. Following the appointment of Cressida Dick as the new Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police speculation has turned to which issues take priority in her burgeoning in-tray. One which the government has hinted previously could be removed from the force is national responsibility for coordinating counter-terrorism. The Home Affairs Select Committee has previously called for this change to happen, and although the government said in 2015 it would not imminently change anything, the Home Office is currently not ruling out such a change. Terrorism analyst Dr Dave Sloggett was formerly opposed to the idea of transferring responsibility, but he now thinks there is a “good case” for it. He said: “I was against the idea some time ago when the National Crime Agency was struggling. Since that time it has improved. “When you consider the overlap which exists between terrorism and organised crime, you can see an emerging argument for the idea and that it should be given to ‘Britain’s FBI’. “While Cressida Dick has expertise on terrorism, she actually has a very good understanding of the many challenges the Met faces other than terrorism, which is a national issue dealt with across the entire country, and which it could be better for a Commissioner to do without.” But retired head of the National Counter Terrorism and Security Office Chris Phillips disagrees. He told PoliceOracle.com: “We’ve got an arrangement under which things have worked for many years as they are, I can understand why they might want to change it, it’s a cross-border role, but the system we’ve got is tried and tested, we’ve had it in place for many years and we’ve not had a major terrorist attack for years.” Former Thames Valley deputy chief constable Brian Langston said community relationships must be preserved, whatever the model. He said: “Whilst shifting the responsibility for counter-terrorism to the National Crime Agency is worthy of serious consideration, it must be remembered that the seeds of terrorism often lie within disaffected communities. “Misguided and vulnerable young people are often targeted for radicalisation and groomed to carry out acts of violent extremism. “There would need to remain a strong bond between any national agency charged with this responsibility, and local neighbourhood teams to ensure that community intelligence is not lost. Terrorism is both a local and global issue." When asked if changing the national responsibility for counter-terrorism to the National Crime Agency was on the agenda, a Home Office spokesman simply replied: “This government is committed to do doing everything we can to keep our families, communities and country safe, so will always look to ensure that collaboration between police and the agencies working on counter-terrorism and organised crime is as effective as possible." Last week the NCA announced five new appointments to its leadership team including the hiring of Essex Deputy Chief Constable Matthew Horne as a deputy director and Merseyside Assistant Chief Nikki Holland as director of investigations. Current deputy David Armond has announced his retirement from the organisation. Read on Police Oracle
  19. Push-to-talk functionality on the London Underground has been a hard won police radio capability, but its future on the new LTE network faces serious hurdles. Gary Mason reports. It is somewhat ironic that in a multi-billion pound public safety communication project investing in cutting edge long-term evolution (LTE) technology, a major sticking point is the reliability of push-to-talk voice messages – a capability that has been around since the days of analogue police radios. This is just the latest problem facing the Emergency Services Network (ESN) project, which at least two recent reports have predicted would not be ready on time. This means the existing system, Airwave, is expected to be maintained for an unknown period after its expensive contract with the Home Office and the UK’s blue light first-responder services expires. Police concerns about the voice function on the new LTE handsets, whenever they emerge, have been highlighted in the latest Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report, published in January. Push-to-talk allows users to contact their colleagues with only the press of one button. The function must be reliable and work in remote areas – not just rural environments, but also the underground tunnels of the metro systems in London and Glasgow. Devices with the appropriate levels of robustness, voice and dual-mode capabilities are currently under development. The Home Office told the PAC it had already received prototype devices and was confident a good selection would be available for users to choose from by next year. But the devil, as usual, is in the detail. Some of the technical challenges in developing mission critical push-to-talk capability on LTE handsets were spelled out in oral evidence to the committee. Under the terms of the ESN contract with the Home Office, Motorola Solutions is responsible for delivering user services, such as data centres, help desks and SIM card management. While the scope of its contract does not include devices, Vincent Kennedy, vice-president and general manager of Motorola Solutions UK, gave the committee an insight into some of the technical challenges that had emerged with prototype LTE handsets. Push-to-talk latency The ESN envisages two types of device that will run on the network: 4G data devices and voice devices. The 4G handsets can attach to the new network relatively easily, but voice handling is more complex. “When you move the voice service on to a commercial mobile phone network, the device has to act in a specialised way,” Kennedy told the committee. “If I picked up my phone and dialled your number, it would take a few seconds to ring. It might take six seconds to you or five seconds [to someone else]. In this world, when I am the commander of a team at a firearms incident and I press the button on the device and say, “Don’t fire”, you instantly all have to hear the same thing. It is a big problem if you hear, “Don’t fire”, and another person hears, “Fire.” That is just an example, but the voice piece makes the device more specialised, and it has to work in a special way.” The technical term for this issue is push-to-talk latency. Police using the system need to be confident that the latency can be low enough with 4G that it won’t be a problem, and that the voice message received by everyone during an incident will be as near to instantaneous as possible, which it isn’t right now. Kennedy said Motorola been investing in the research and development of mobile LTE technology for public safety since 2010. He said: “It [LTE] is where the public safety market is going. They will eventually all be using mobile broadband, mobile data and voice. If it works to design, the latency can be solved, but that is why the design is so strict around the devices and the network.” He told the committee that the latency issue can currently be proved in a lab environment, but it needed to be tested in the field under extreme conditions. A testing regime will continue all through the spring and summer. Operational trials could commence in the autumn of 2017 and will go on for several months. “These are big technology projects, but they are not like regular IT projects. The people who use this technology – their lives depend on the technology working,” he added. The example Kennedy gave during the committee hearings bears a chilling reminder of the shooting of electrician Jean Charles de Menezes by Met firearms officers in July 2005 at Stockwell underground station after he was mistaken for a terrorist suspect. At the inquest into the killing, a firearms officer told the court he could have missed important messages over the radio and told the inquest that the signal was weak, faint and fuzzy and would sometimes cut out altogether. Given such real life examples, why has the Home Office chosen to go with unproven technology? In a previous report published last year outlining problems with the ESN project the National Audit Office said that it is ambitious and the first of its kind in the world. A world first Other countries are pursuing solutions either fully or partly based on older terrestrial trunked radio (TETRA) technology and dedicated networks, such as Airwave. The Home Office told the PAC that, in an ideal world, it would not want to be first to adopt unproven technology. But it considered that the other options it had for replacing Airwave, such as a hybrid system that uses radio for voice communications and 4G mobile for data, were “equally risky” and that it had to consider a wide range of financial, operational, technological and legal factors when making its decision. The programme also faces a number of other technical challenges. The new system will operate across a commercial 4G network requiring new software to allow emergency services users priority over commercial customers. EE, who have been awarded the network contract, told the committee it had completed system testing to prove the prioritisation technology would work and that during an emergency its network would be able to prioritise all 300,000 emergency service users, if necessary. Meanwhile, Motorola has responsibility for setting the specifications and approving devices for use on the ESN. Since it is also a supplier of devices, the Home Office told the PAC committee it had “been very careful to make sure the specifications do not exclude other providers and are not bespoke. It is a standards-based process”. One of the biggest risks with the new system is ensuring coverage in remote areas and in hard to reach places, such as the London Underground. The Home Office says that using 4G mobile data technology instead of radio opens up more options for plugging gaps in coverage, such as by using temporary masts. Time is a factor Discussions are still ongoing between the Home Office and Transport for London (TfL) on how best to extend coverage into the Underground, as well as contingencies and options for the transition process. The Home Office hopes to make an announcement in the next couple of months on this issue. Time is a factor, since the rollout of the ESN is just two years away. If TfL cannot roll-out the technology in that time, the Home Office would need to agree an alternative solution with TfL. This is a crucial issue for the police and fire service in London in particular, as a fully functioning emergency services communications system was a hard fought and long awaited upgrade. The lack of such a system was first highlighted by the inquiry into the response to the King’s Cross fire in 1987. These concerns were then reiterated after the 7 July 2005 terrorist attacks, which centred on London’s transport system. Airwave was eventually rolled out fully in January 2009 to all 125 below ground London Underground stations. This meant that British Transport Police (BTP), the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) and the City of London Police are able to use the same radios underground. The rollout linked the emergency services network to London Underground’s Connect digital radio system, part of the Transport for London’s £10bn investment programme. Natural disasters The vulnerability of city subway systems not just to terrorist attack, but also to natural disasters is well documented. The need for a robust emergency services communications system that links into the network operated by the transport authority is also well recognised. When Hurricane Sandy swept through the New York metropolitan area in October 2012, it left behind extensive damage to New York City Transit facilities throughout the subway system. A record storm surge inundated tunnels, filling critical operations rooms that housed electric equipment for signals, relays and communications with highly corrosive saltwater. The storm also exposed a need for a better and faster way for supervisors to communicate with crew members and customers in times of emergency. Even after three years and thousands of hours of labour spent repairing and restoring service to pre-Sandy levels, the subway system has yet to fully recover, with many related repairs still to be made. In 2015, MTA New York City Transit received two Federal Transit Administration grants totaling $57.1m (£45.7m) for two major storm resiliency projects in subway stations: a new emergency communications system and a hardening project to protect station rooms critical to service delivery. Until March 2016 police officers in the transit system could only communicate with each other underground because police were on two different radio frequencies. Using a $100m grant, mostly spent upgrading existing technology, all officers’ radios were reprogrammed to allow them to communicate over ultra-high frequencies on the street and in the subway. Their use was delayed for years, mainly for reasons that had nothing to do with technology, but bureaucratic inertia. Read on Police Oracle
  20. The interviewer noted the "strong smell" of alcohol from the man in his late 40s. A thirsty motorist who turned up for an IT job with Greater Manchester Police ended up getting arrested and losing his licence. Andrew Jackson, 48, attended GMP Sedgely Park in Sedgely Park Road, Manchester, hoping to land an IT management position only to end up in court. Two senior GMP members of staff were holding the interviews and described the “overwhelming” smell of alcohol as soon as he opened his mouth. The interviewer said: “I asked if he had any trouble in finding us, as soon as he began to speak I could smell something on his breath which I was thought was stale alcohol. “He mentioned that he did have a little trouble in finding somewhere to park, which immediately raised concerns. “Shortly after he arrived in the small office, the smell of alcohol became overpowering. “I decided to continue with the interview, which lasted for about an hour, but throughout the whole time I was sure that the candidate smelt strongly of drink and was considering what to do next. “I didn’t want the man returning to his vehicle, given the obvious smell of alcohol. I couldn’t live with myself if there had been a collision and someone ended up seriously hurt.” A traffic officer was sent for who asked the interviewee if he had been drinking, to which the man said he and his wife had shared a bottle of wine with dinner the night before. The man was subsequently breathalysed showing him to be over the drink drive limit, he was then taken to Bury Police station where he was tested again to confirm the reading and charged with drink driving. On February 10, 2017, at Bury and Rochdale magistrates court Jackson pleaded guilty to being in control of a vehicle while over the legal drink driving limit. He was disqualified from driving for one year and fined £235. His driving ban will be reduced to seven months if he successfully completes a drink driving awareness course within a given time. Inspector Tony Allt, of GMP’s Roads Policing Unit, said: “Although the circumstances surrounding this particular incident are unusual, this case highlights the fact that there are a number of motorists who think they are fine to drive after drinking the night before. “There are a number of factors that can determine how alcohol is absorbed and processed in the body, but for the individual in this case to give a reading of 46 micrograms, remembering that the legal limit is 35, clearly shows that a significant amount of drink must have been consumed the previous evening. “If in doubt of your alcohol level, seek alternative travel arrangements. Never drive while over the limit and risk losing your licence, livelihood or possibly your or someone else’s life. Always make it none for the road.” View on Police Oracle
  21. Northumbria Chief Constable Steve Ashman wants to scrap some of the bureaucracy that comes with the job. A chief constable plans to release sergeants from their desks and move away from what he calls a “tick box mentality”. Northumbria Chief Constable Steve Ashman says the current system where “sergeants sit in front of a computer and check the checking of the checkers” is “nonsense”. He plans to arm frontline operational sergeants with laptops enabling them to access incident data away from police stations so they can work remotely. CC Ashman told Police Oracle: “You can put a lot of barriers in place in policing and a lot of constraints. For example, we are looking at something that will remove the strict requirement for sergeants to supervise every single crime that comes through. “Why? Because it is not adding any value at all and we should start trusting PCs. With the training and development we have given them, they are well-paid individuals who can do their jobs on most occasions. “If you free them up, the sergeant is free to do his or her job and focus their supervisory effort where it is needed most likes complex crimes or with officers who are struggling. You cannot do that if you have got to supervise every single theft or burglary.” Earlier this week Police Oracle reported on CC Ashman’s plans to look beyond Northumbria’s borders when promoting because forces can “stagnate” if they do not recruit from outside. He also spoke of his eagerness to see senior officers leading rather than simply checking or being “supervisory managers”. It is a forward thinking move brought about by a determination on CC Ashman’s part to allow officers to do their jobs - and also the harsh reality of extreme budget cuts. “I want us to get away from that tick box mentality when it comes to policing. What we want to say is ‘you have actually got to get out there and lead’ even though we are the hardest hit in terms of funding,” he says. “We receive the lowest amount of money in terms of our total budget from the public by way of our tax precept by a mile. “Therefore we are the force most reliant on the government’s grant in this country. So, when that grant is cut we are the worst hit – that is a reality for me and us as a force. “We are squeezing and squeezing and squeezing and if we carry on working like we have in the past it just won’t work.” Such cuts financially – while never welcome – could bring about a cultural change many officers would surely relish. “There is a tick box mentally,” says CC Ashman. “For example, with property lists, the sergeant will supervise the PCs and then the inspectors will supervise the sergeants’ supervision and then you will have a remote team who will do the checking of the inspectors – it is nonsense. What we want to do is to say actually you have to get out lead. “We have actually come to the realisation that we have got to fundamentally reengineer the way we do front line policing. We have got sergeants whose daily job it is to sit in front of a computer and check the checking of the checkers and it is nonsense. “So whether it is looking at our resource management system and some of the bureaucracy associated and scrapping all of that. Whether it is looking at property lists and a slavish adherence to that, we will be looking at all of that. Whether it is the requirement to supervise every crime that comes in - we are going to scrap all of that too.” The system would work with officers, particularly sergeants, being given the choice of where to focus their efforts and with more responsibility and more work away from their desks. CC Ashman adds: “We will say you choose where your effort is needed most and to the best effect because we trust you otherwise we would not have made you a sergeant. “Now you need to get off your backside and get out there and lead which is what they signed up to do. We, the leadership of the service, certainly here in Northumbria, have made it impossible for them to leave the station in the past so I want to address that now. “You cannot cut it all loose – they will have laptops, certainly frontline operational sergeants will, so they can access incident data outside the station without having to come back. ”But we will trust them to get out and get on with their jobs to the best of their ability.” View on Police Oracle
  22. Dame Anne Owers attacked the commissioner after he asked for greater public support for armed firearms officers. The head of the IPCC has accused the Met commissioner of falsely claiming armed officers are “increasingly” treated as suspects. Dame Anne Owers responded to Bernard Hogan-Howe’s calls for greater public support for by saying “facts don’t support” the feeling that AFOs are treated as suspects as soon as they use their weapons. The chairman of the Independent Police Complaints Commission had an article published in The Times which insisted the body “doesn’t treat police witnesses as suspects”. She said: “The debate over police use of firearms has generated a number of myths and selective facts. “This week Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the outgoing Metropolitan Police commissioner, called for greater public support of firearms officers who, he said, were increasingly treated as suspects in investigations by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), which I chair. “The facts don’t support this. “Since 2010 we’ve completed 24 firearms investigations, eight of which related to fatalities. “In all but three of them, including six of the fatal shootings, no firearms officer was ever treated as a suspect; they were all treated as witnesses. “Sir Bernard also complains about the length of time it takes to investigate shootings. This is something about which the police and the public are rightly concerned. But it is too easy to blame the IPCC alone. “When police witnesses co-operate fully and early, we can complete our investigations much more quickly. By contrast, when they don’t, for example giving statements that simply say when they came on and off duty or refusing to answer questions at interview, it takes much longer. “No one benefits, whether they are police officers or bereaved families.” Ms Owers went on to defend “rigorous independent scrutiny” adding: “We have proposed fresh guidance to get the best evidence when someone dies or is seriously injured. “It doesn’t treat police witnesses as suspects. It does aim to separate officers while they give their first accounts, to prevent conferring or contamination by other evidence. “Doing it early ensures that we can secure necessary evidence. Of course in a major terrorist incident we would not expect to do this until the risk had passed. “We will do our bit to make sure that our investigations are both robust and timely and the proposed guidance will help to ensure this. “Rigorous independent scrutiny is not a threat: it is a protection. If the police appear to shy away from this, there is a real risk to public trust. “As Sir Bernard has said, our police officers rarely discharge firearms, and even more rarely with fatal effect. When they do, it is in everyone’s interest that this is thoroughly investigated, with early and full co-operation from those involved.” View on Police Oracle
  23. One force took an average of 109 days to turnaround checks compared to 1.8 days elsewhere. The amount of time police forces take to carry out DBS checks varies hugely across the country, latest figures have revealed. Data from January to October 2016 shows the Metropolitan Police took an average of 109 days to process a DBS check from start to finish compared to just 1.8 days in Norfolk, according to company uCheck which gathered the figures. The issue has prompted concerns with some employers including Mayday Healthcare PLC – a nursing agency which provides medical and healthcare jobs in London – which says four members have been awaiting their certificates for six months while one applicant withdrew his application completely due to the long turnaround time. The Government says 100 per cent of checks must be completed in 60 days, but data for the Met shows that between Jan and September 2016, this was only achieved in July and September. In February, only 31 per cent of checks were completed by the force in 60 days. The Met said part of the reason for the delays has been a “significant increase” in the number of applications being sent to the MPS disclosure unit and difficulties in recruiting and retaining staff in the unit which deals with the checks. “To resolve this, we have recruited both police and agency staff to the MPS Disclosure Unit including non front-line police officers (on restricted/recuperative duties). Staff have also been seconded from Transport for London to work specifically on the applications from Black Cab Drivers,” it said in response to an FOI request in November 2016. “Looking forward, we have put in place a robust resourcing plan that includes on-going training, recruitment and productivity measures to ensure we build a resilient, sustainable team. “MPS staff are currently working incredibly hard and we are committed to reducing the number of outstanding cases as quickly as possible.” Dorset has the second longest turnaround time after the Met at 58.3 days, followed by North Yorkshire Police (28.3), South Yorkshire Police (24.5) and Thames Valley Police (22.6). View on Police Oracle
  24. Volunteer officers group asks about new policies which College says is still being drawn up. The widespread and longstanding practice of people becoming specials with the hope of then joining the regulars could come to a halt with the introduction of the College of Policing’s new routes into policing. While much attention has been given to debating the concept that future police officers will either need to have degrees or be hired as apprentices, one less considered side effect is that the attraction of joining the special constabulary may decrease. Chief Officer Nigel Green, chairman of the Association of Special Constabulary Chief Officers, told PoliceOracle.com that it has recently been confirmed that specials will not be able to be counted as apprentices. This would mean those who serve as specials with the hope of becoming regulars would have to be taking a degree at the same time, or they would be unable to make the transfer. He said: “This will disadvantage a lot of professionals and we believe it's an unintended consequence of the way the rules have been written. “We’ve asked the Home Office and Department for Education [who are in charge of the national apprenticeship levy] to look at it and the College have also agreed to look and see if there needs to be some support arrangements for those people who are specials of the more traditional entry type rather than having to be a graduate.” The College of Policing says its future entry plans are still being worked out. A spokesman said: “The College is currently reviewing the implications of the policing education qualifications framework, in particular the new entry routes into policing at constable level, in the context of training for the special constabulary. “We will continue to work closely with colleagues in the specials and other policing communities to ensure future learning and assessment will enable the special constabulary to maintain, develop and enhance its professional practice alongside that of the regular service. “This work is in the early stages and further details will be published in due course.” It is anticipated that those on new police training degrees may have to serve as specials while they take the course. View on Police Oracle
  25. Chief says attacks on officers should attract appropriate sanction from the criminal justice system. A chief constable has said he is increasingly concerned about the “terrifying circumstances” officers are finding themselves in. Wiltshire Chief Constable Mike Veale said that those who put their own safety on the line to protect the public should not have to deal with unacceptable assaults or attacks. Latest figures by the Police Federation of England and Wales suggest there are potentially more than two million unarmed physical assaults on officers over a 12 month period and that an assault happens every four minutes. Data for Wiltshire revealed that 72 per cent of respondents to the Police Federation's Welfare survey had been a victim of unarmed physical violence at least once in the last year, while 36 per cent said someone had used a deadly weapon against at least once in the same time period. “Every day, brave and dedicated officers and staff face difficult, demanding and sometimes dangerous situations that the majority of the public thankfully may never have to witness or deal with,” said cc Veale. “While those in public services may run towards danger when others run away, that is no reason to believe that assaults are an accepted part of the job, or an occupational hazard of being a police officer or police staff member. “They are criminal assaults which should attract appropriate sanction from the criminal justice system which should be delivered swiftly and commensurately with not just the injuries sustained, but the incredible fear my colleagues can sometimes face.” CC Veale said that he personally speaks to any officers and staff who have been assaulted or inured on duty and that at the time of writing he had six emails in his inbox notifying him of officers and staff injured in recent days. He added during his time as chief, resources and capacity within occupational health facilities has increased and he delivers compensation directly to any officer who is awarded it by the courts following an assault, instead of them waiting months to receive it from the attacker. “I have also made a commitment to increase officers and staff protective equipment so they can protect themselves better. I now have 800 body worn cameras which will be deployed to my operational officers and staff so that we can more accurately capture evidence of criminality, which includes abuse and threats to my officers and staff,” he said. View on Police Oracle