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Found 121 results

  1. Three out of four fraud cases were not reported to the police, said Barclays. Most people who fall victim to banking fraud do not report the scam to police, often because they are too embarrassed, research has found. A survey of 1,500 victims showed that a third did not tell their bank, even though the average amount stolen is almost £900. Barclays Bank is launching a "fraud clinic" to offer the public advice on how to protect themselves from potential cyber-attacks following its research. Ashok Vaswani, chief executive of Barclays UK, said: "We want to encourage people to talk more openly about scams, so that we can work together to lift the stigma of fraud. "If people are too embarrassed to even tell their friends and family, then how can we expect them to report it to their banks?" The most common frauds include identity theft, fake bank websites and online shopping scams, said the report. Three out of four fraud cases were not reported to the police, said Barclays View on Police Oracle
  2. Mr Justice Mitting says witnesses need to know who was working covertly for police to give evidence to inquiry. One of the officers infiltrated the campaign for justice for Stephen Lawrence The cover names of at least two special operations or special demonstrations squad officers are to be made public. The Undercover Policing Inquiry, now chaired by Sir John Mitting, will release the assumed identities of two officers – despite acknowledging this will increase risks to them. One of the two apparently infiltrated the campaign for justice in the wake of Stephen Lawrence's murder in 1993, the other is someone who may have had sex while undercover. A statement from Sir John, referring to the individuals with coded references, says: "The Inquiry cannot fulfil its terms of reference on a critical issue – the alleged infiltration of the Lawrence family campaign and the intelligence gathered and reported upon it by undercover police officers, in particular HN81– unless the cover name is published. "It is essential that members of the group against which HN81 was deployed and others in the Lawrence family campaign should be able to give evidence about HN81’s actions. "They cannot sensibly be expected to do so unless they know who HN81 was in the name by which HN81 was known to them." He adds that it is likely that the move will have an adverse impact on the individual's mental health but says the public interest outweighs HN81's rights. Elsewhere he says: "Publication of the cover name of HN16 is necessary to afford an opportunity to any individual who may have had an intimate relationship with HN16 under the cover name to provide information and evidence about it to the Inquiry. "This involves a small risk of significant interference with the right to respect for private and family life of HN16, if it leads to the revelation of the real name of HN16." Another officer's cover name is to be released, the judge says, if the Met does not submit an application to stop this. No details have been given yet about what the officer, referred to as HN330, did while undercover. Sir John Mitting has taken over the inquiry from Sir Christopher Pitchford who stood down in June. Last year, it was determined that there would be no automatic anonymity for those who had worked covertly in the past and that applications for secrecy would be decided on a case-by-case basis. View on Police Oracle
  3. Abnormal demand resulted in missed calls for police air support. The National Police Aviation Service has begun the process of requesting extra funding from the Home Office amid public safety concerns following recent events. NPAS strategic board chairman Mark Burns-Williamson and West Yorkshire Police Chief Constable Dee Collins, submitted a letter to the Home Secretary in March highlighting concerns around future fleet strategy and financing. Since then the country has suffered three terrorist incidents, the Grenfell Tower disaster on June 14 and disorder in Stratford on June 25 – leading NPAS to face ‘unprecedented’ demand with a need to provide continuous response. Helicopters carried personnel and did reconnaissance for up to 13 hours during the Westminster Bridge and Borough Market attacks. However, they can only fly for two to three hours at a time, so each major incident uses five or six of the UK fleet of 19. This means other calls for police air support go unanswered. Details of how many requests for air support had to be turned down during the London attacks were redacted from the meeting minutes. The Home Office failed to respond to March’s letter nor the follow up sent in June which Mr Burns-Williamson described as “unacceptable.” However, discussions have since taken place between Mr Burns-Williamson, CC Collins and Policing Minister Nick Hurd on the demand for police air support in the future. “With these plans in place, we hope to demonstrate both the clearly defined requirement to sustain current levels of service to UK policing along with the return on investment to both government, local and national policing bodies.” Mr Burns-Williamson said. “Consideration is currently being given to alternative models for the future provision of other areas of specialist capability in UK policing. The lessons learned through nationally delivering a 24/7 police air support service will no doubt usefully inform these processes and future direction going forwards.” The annual spend on helicopters has been slashed from £53.5 million in 2012 to £38.5 million now with eight out of 23 police airfields shut and the service centralised. A request has now been made by the Home Office for NPAS to submit a fully costed treasury plan for a new fleet by April 2018. A spokesman for NPAS who described the response and demand as ‘unprecedented’ added: “We need to start considering fleet and funding, clearly there’s a need there with an aging fleet. It’s a bit like cars, you can keep old cars running and they can pass their MOT, aircraft are a little like that – at what point will they stop passing their MOT?” NPCC Police Aviation Lead and Cambridgeshire Chief Constable, Alec Wood Combs, has sent a questionnaire to chiefs and PCCs asking their requirements for air services in the future and what NPAS needs to do differently. The results from the questionnaire will be used to support NPAS’s treasury plan. CC Collins, QPM and Air Operations Certificate Holder for NPAS said: “The National Police Air Service is groundbreaking and I’m very proud to be leading it. The men and women in our organisation seek to deliver support across the country to the best of their ability and in doing so, successfully deliver a professional service to every police force throughout England and Wales. “We have had some challenges in this but nothing that I would not expect as the first ‘pathfinder’ national policing capability. “We now have an opportunity to work with the Home Office and our partners to develop what the future needs for police aviation are and the resultant cost of achieving it. “What I am absolutely certain of is the service that NPAS provides is key to challenging some of the risks that our communities face." A Home Office spokesman said: “We want a modern and flexible air service, which meets the operational needs of forces and represents the best possible value for money for taxpayers. “It is for the police themselves to determine what air support they need and we will consider their plans once they are brought forward.” View on Police Oracle
  4. Police Federation calls on chiefs to take action. Cuts have led to a substantial increase in fatigue and stress Senior officers and the government must do more to tackle a crisis in detective policing as morale hits rock bottom, the Police Federation says. It is warning the role is no longer desirable or sought after and victims may be failed as a result of worsening conditions. The staff association’s detective forum has released the results of its annual survey which found that 90 per cent of respondents said they had taken time off due to mental health and wellbeing issues either caused by or exacerbated by their work. Some 56 per cent said service cuts have had a huge impact on their morale while over a quarter of detectives felt their physical and mental health had been affected Half of those who answered also said cuts had led to a substantial increase in fatigue and stress as they battled to keep up with demand. Karen Stephens, secretary of the Police Federation national detective forum, said: “The facts speak for themselves. These results clearly show that detectives are overwhelmed with increased pressures brought on by a lack of resources. “Morale is low, people are exhausted and there is little sign of improvements to come if things stay the way they are.” Three-quarters of detectives said they were not able to provide the service victims need due to their workloads being too high. Mrs Stephens said: “The single aim of every officer, detectives included, is to protect and help others. But what these results show is that despite their best efforts, the demands of the role do not allow them to do this. "This is further emphasised with over half of the respondents saying they did not even have time to stay up to date with the latest training. “Being a detective was always a sought after, desirable role. However this survey shows things have changed and not for the better.” She called on the NPCC, College of Policing and government to act on the warning sounded by her members. Earlier this year HMIC warned that a shortage of detectives is a national crisis for policing in England and Wales. Chiefs have previously asked to be allowed by government to pay detectives bonuses for carrying out their roles, but were told by the pay review body to show evidence for why this would actually help. NPCC lead for detective recruitment and retention, Deputy Chief Constable Matt Jukes said: "Detectives do a vital job investigating crimes, apprehending offenders and protecting people from harm – and I know that all chiefs are proud of the work they do. "Forces have been aware for some time of the challenges that today’s survey describes, and it is always a concern when colleagues feel overworked and undervalued. "The complex nature of investigations and our work to protect vulnerable people has made the role of detectives even more challenging. We are facing a challenge to recruit and retain in these roles, which is adding to the pressure on serving detectives." He added: “We are looking at a range of ways to improve the situation, including reviewing the way detectives are selected and trained, providing improved workplace support to existing detectives which recognises how their work is changing, as well as looking at changes to incentivise more people into these important roles.” View on Police Oracle
  5. The operation-stalling attack was kept under control by the force's Cyber Crime Unit. Left to right: Special Sergeant and Lead on Cyber Specials, Michael Moore, Nick Carver and Special Constabulary Chief Officer, Mark Kendrew. Special Constables who helped the NHS during the summer’s cyber-attack have been recognised at a ceremony celebrating their work. The group from Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Cyber Crime Unit lent their skills and support to the Lister Hospital in Stevenage. Their work was praised by Chief Constable Charlie Hall and the CEO of the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, Nick Carver. Mr Carver said input from the specials meant patients were not as adversely affected by the cyber-attack in Hertfordshire. Their award was part of a dedicated Employer Supported Policing (ESP) event at Police Headquarters. CC Hall said: “We are focused on protecting vulnerable people and need to adapt our workforce to help investigate such crimes –volunteers with the different skills we require can help. “We want to continue the conversation with you and your organisations to see how we can work to encourage your staff to give up their time to come and help us. The value we give back to you will help your staff, your businesses and society as a result." He added. There are currently 25 organisations signed up to the ESP scheme in Hertfordshire, including Tesco, Which?, McMullen Brewery and Sons and local district and borough councils. View on Police Oracle
  6. The Policing Minister Nick Hurd said he wanted to understand more about demand and capacity within the service ahead of the spending review. Conservative PCCs showing their support for our Protect The Protectors campaign (left to right) Julia Mulligan, David Munro and Katy Bourne. The Police Federation says its Protect The Protectors campaign was top of the agenda at a meeting with the Policing Minister and other MPs during the Conservative Party Conference. Following a similar event at the Labour Party Conference last week, a contingent of national and local PFEW representatives raised issues including the recent one per cent pay award and one per cent force-funded bonus. The Policing Minister Nick Hurd said he wanted to understand more about demand and capacity within the service and is undertaking a review of police funding ahead of the government's Spending Review later this year. The group also discussed the College of Policing's directives to bring in qualifications and accreditation to the service as well as Direct Entry and how the scheme impacts on officers. PFEW Chairman Steve White, who attended the event ahead of a roundtable meeting with Mr Hurd, said: "Of course the Federation isn't always going to agree with government and we had frank exchanges at times but we have to maintain an open dialogue with decision makers and overall it was a positive and productive meeting. "National and local representatives were able to talk and debate issues direct with the Policing Minister and other MPs and PCCs which will undoubtedly help with our work to inform and change policy for the benefit of our members." All attendees stated they are behind the Protect The Protectors campaign which calls for a specific offence to be introduced for assaulting officers or other emergency service worker and harsher sentences for those who do punch, kick or spit at officers to help as a deterrent. Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: "My department is working with the Police Federation on its campaign to Protect The Protectors. We’ve already funded a new police welfare service, we are reviewing the law so the police can pursue the appalling thugs on mopeds who attack people on our streets and we’re also examining whether we need clearer rules so that anyone who assaults an emergency service worker faces a tougher sentence. The police protect us and it’s my job to ensure we protect them." View on Police Oracle
  7. Before the MPS, murderers, thieves and rioters ran amok with citizens taking the law into their own hands. Victorian police uniform complete with high-necked collars for protection again stranglers. (Twitter - @KentOfInglewood) London was a grim place in the 1800s, with poverty prevailing in the backstreet slums of the big smoke it Is not surprising that many turned to petty thieving in order to live. Children used to pick a pocket or two while women engaged in a spot of shoplifting from time to time. But there was a more sinister side to petty thieves, with notorious conmen called ‘sharpers’ who would go to extreme measures by dipping a hanky in chloroform to subdue their victim before robbing them. Sometimes a man's hat might be tipped over his face to facilitate the crime - a trick called bonneting. Another ruse was to lure men down to the riverside using prostitutes as decoys. The dupes would then be beaten up and robbed out of sight of passers-by. Murders were also on the rise along with riots where mobs of unhappy Victorians would gather at Hyde Park and Trafalgar Square to air their grievances. Although there were foot patrols - whose main role it was to protect property - there was no overall organised policing unit. Many prosecutions were not carried out by police and were taken into the hands of the victims. The victim would have to apprehend the criminal themselves or employ a ‘thief-taker’ to drag them by the ears to the parish constable or magistrate. Sir Robert Peel, who was Home Secretary in 1829, decided things were getting a little out of hand so persuaded Parliament to provide a new police force for London, excluding the City and the Thames, who already had their own uniformed patrols. He tasked a committee to investigate the current system of policing. Peel immediately acted upon the committee’s findings and created ‘Peelian principles’ that involved the payment of police officers who were organised along civilian lines. Peel’s ideas for the system of policing were approved by Parliament in the Metropolitan Police Act with Royal Assent being granted on June 19 1829. The 895 constables of the new force, nicknamed ‘Peelers’ or ‘Bobbies’ after their founder, were responsible for law enforcement and public order within a seven-mile radius of Charing Cross. (Twitter - @MarshallGroup) They were overseen by a progressing hierarchy of Sergeants, Inspectors, Superintendents and two Commissioners who reported directly to Peel himself. On September 29 1829 – 188 years ago – the Metropolitan Police Force was officially formed. It would have eight Superintendents paid £200 a year, 20 inspectors paid £100 a year, 88 sergeants paid 3s 6d a day and constables paid 3s a day. There were considerable problems with those recruited, many were drunks, unfit and unruly and in the first six months just over 50 per cent were required to leave the service. Each officer was issued with a warrant number and a divisional letter which denoted where they worked. The first headquarters was 4 Whitehall Place, with a back entrance for special visitors via Scotland Yard. The bobbies were given blue uniforms to distinguish them from the red used by the military and sent out on the beat with only a wooden truncheon and a ratcheted rattle to raise the alarm. (Twitter - @Chindiazindabad) High-necked tunics protected officers from strangulation – it was popular back then to garrotte people from behind - and top hats were reinforced as Peelers were likely to be attacked in the street - and penalties for violent crime were more lenient. After PC Robert Culley was stabbed to death at a riot in Holborn in 1833 a coroner's jury returned a verdict of "justifiable homicide". At first the public did not embrace the new force, it was paid for from local parish monies and some members of the public argued the Met was a threat to civil liberties. Some members however remained hostile, numerous reports say the first traffic police risked being run down and horse-whipped by irate coachmen. Eventually they warmed to the idea of a police force and officers became better skilled at the difficult job they had to do. “The police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.” – Sir Robert Peel. View on Police Oracle
  8. All 43 federations sign open letter to Prime Minister demanding 'a properly funded and well-resourced police service'. Prime Minister Theresa May Those representing rank and file officers across the country have written an open letter to the government describing the recent pay award as 'derisory'. Representatives from all 43 police federations in the country endorsed the letter, saying “members were angry” and forces “had been put in an impossible situation.” Police Federation of England and Wales Vice Chairman Calum Macleod said: “We feel the government has not been truthful and honest about the pay award given to officers, and that is insulting. "The two per cent awarded has to come from existing policing budgets which means forces may have to choose between officer numbers and public safety. That cannot be right." The full letter reads: Dear Prime Minister, On behalf of the hard working officers who are working to the bone to protect our people, who fight to protect our communities and who keep you safe, we demand answers. And we demand that you tell the public the truth. About crime figures. About police numbers. About the ‘extra’ officers you pledge. About ‘extra’ money you say you will pay. No more smoke. No more mirrors. No more double standards. You expect officers to run towards terrorists one minute and then turn your backs when we ask for help so they can afford to feed their families. Families they barely see because of the hours they work to fill the void left by the thousands of officers who are no longer there because of your cuts. Officers who are now broken. Who are unable to cope with the mental and physical demands placed upon them by having to work in depleted environments. With out of date kit .With fewer people. With no support. One chief constable has just this week told you that 40 per cent of his officers have sought professional help for stress. It is the tip of the iceberg. Our officers are committed to serving the public. And we thank the public for their overwhelming support, particularly in light of recent incidents. But with 20,000 fewer police officers than five years ago it is no wonder we have seen crime rise and the service to the public suffer. This is not fair on them. And two per cent pay rise with no extra money to pay for it means it is the public who will yet again suffer and get even less of a service. So hear us when we say: The pay award of on average less than £10 a week is insulting. A two per cent rise is not a rise when it has to come from existing policing budgets. It’s a disgrace you have dressed it up as a pay rise. Funding must come centrally, it is unfair to make the public suffer with fewer officers available to fight crime. It’s a disgrace you have ignored the recommendations from the independent Police Remuneration Review Body – the very body you set up to advise on police pay. Forces cannot cope with any further falls in police numbers. Communities will be further under threat at the very time protection is needed the most. Community policing plays a vital part in intelligence gathering to help combat terrorism and it has been decimated. ‘Extra’ police officers are not ‘extra’ police officers. They are the same officers doing longer hours, being called back in when they are off or being given extra responsibilities. Crime is not falling. And answer our questions: Why was the independent body, which has awarded MPs and ministers a 13 per cent rise over the last three years listened to when the independent police body on pay was not? How can you justify these double standards? Do you think it is acceptable that the derisory pay award is expected to come at a cost of losing more officers? Our members have been failed by: The FAILURE to heed our warnings. The FAILURE to implement the very recommendations of the independent bodies you introduced. The FAILURE to support them and the police service as a whole. The FAILURE to help officers protect the country. The FAILURE to help officers protect the public adequately. We don’t want meaningless platitudes. We want a properly funded and well-resourced police service. The public rightly want and expect this. For the sake of those who put their lives on the line for the public we demand you address these injustices and give us answers. Members of the interim National Council View on Police Oracle
  9. The majority of the budget is spent on supporting outdated systems - according to report. Forces need to stop wasting their budgets on outdated computer systems and invest in new technology. A new report by think tank The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) says many police hours are wasted carrying out basic data management tasks, due to severe deficiencies in the forces’ digital infrastructure. It highlights how the majority of police IT budgets are spent supporting old systems, with little funding available to invest in new technology. The report, compiled after six months research, argues forces are unable to capitalise on the opportunities presented by advance technology, which has already revolutionised many other sectors. RUSI research analyst Alexander Babuta said: “With police hours becoming an increasingly scarce resource, it is more important than ever that valuable time is not wasted carrying out routine administrative tasks.” He added if the budget was spent on new technology the costs will be recovered quickly in the savings made to time. The report also suggests forces should coordinate nationally to overcome challenges by unifying all police data. Mr Babuta said new technology is gradually being introduced, however, they are incompatible on a national level. "Digital infrastructure is compartmentalised because of the highly localised nature of policing procurement, resulting in poor data sharing and little coordination at the national level,” he added. For example, Durham Constabulary uses a new system called the Harm Assessment Risk Tool (HART). The system classifies suspects at a low, medium or high risk of offending and has been tested by the force with 98% accuracy. Mr Babuta, points out the system is significantly better at finding who is at greater risk of reoffending – better than intelligence based assessments. However he stresses that officers’ professional judgement should not be replaced by this and “the idea would be to support officers and enable them to be more effective.” However, Durham only uses local data for this – therefore if a person moves from one county to Durham, they won’t be on the system. If the database was unified they would have this access to this information. “Some forces have started to address the problem locally, but there has been little progress at the national level. Only when a unified national infrastructure is in place for centrally managing all police data will forces be able to make effective use of big data technology,” he added. Mr Babuta told Police Oracle unifying all databases will be difficult as there are 220, but suggested the databases could be combined and then put on a nationwide force search engine. HMIC and Mr Babuta also make future recommendations of implementing Predictive Hotspot Mapping (PHM). PHM can use past crime data to predict where crime could occur, as well as what type of offences may be committed. HMIC teamed up last with the London School of Economics lasy year to build a picture of “predicted demand” on policing in the 181,000 census output areas. The inspectorate warned forces must have a better grasp of what they are likely to face in the years to come as they deal with increasingly limited resources. HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary Sir Thomas Winsor said: “It’s just an enormously valuable instrument, which many of them do not have "At a local level, the inspectors themselves know where the troubled families are; they know where habitual criminals live. “But to have that at force level but also to be able to drill down to small units in a particular area; that is an enormously valuable tool.” HMIC argued police forces need a more effective approach to prevent crime from happening, although it admits understanding future demand is not easy. The RUSI report concludes that introducing new tech is all well and good, but stresses that any investment will be wasted if officers are unable or unwilling to use the software and tools provided to them- therefore there should be sufficient training provided. View on Police Oracle
  10. But less than seven per cent is expected to be recouped. Security Minister Ben Wallace says more money is being collected from crooks Criminals owe the taxpayer more than £1.8 billion - but less than a tenth of the sum is expected to be clawed back, figures show. Outstanding debt from confiscation orders, a key route for stripping offenders of the proceeds of crime, stood at just over £1.8 billion at the end of March. But it is estimated that just £128 million - or 7 per cent - of the total will ultimately be recouped by authorities. Confiscation orders are issued by courts against convicted offenders and can be applied to any offence resulting in financial gain, with the amount based on "criminal benefit". The government and law enforcement agencies have repeatedly come under fire over efforts to recover ill-gotten gains. Last year, MPs hit out at a "spectacular failure" to address concerns about confiscation orders. Labour MP Yvette Cooper, who chairs the Commons Home Affairs Committee, said: "This is an appalling failure by the authorities to recover criminal assets. "Courts are ordering the seizure of assets, but too often criminals are getting away with it. We need to know what action is being taken to turn this around." The figure for confiscation order debt is cumulative and dates back over several years. It includes more than £500 million interest, as well as £12.6 million relating to orders which are subject to appeal. The amounts are detailed in an annual statement published by HM Courts & Tribunals Service in July. It says: "The recoverability of confiscation order debt is affected by the nature of the debt - orders are often imposed on assets which have been hidden by the defendant, or the assets are overseas. "Furthermore, it is not possible to write off confiscation order debt - it can only be cancelled in court (a judicial cancellation) in very specific circumstances, such as on the death of a defendant." A Home Office report published on Tuesday said £201 million of criminal proceeds were confiscated in 2016/17 - a 19pc increase compared with 2011/12 (£170 million). The bulletin also disclosed that, of £490 million being pursued across 131 "priority" cases, £94.3 million, or less than a fifth, has been collected by law enforcement agencies. Priority status can be designated to cases where is a "significant public interest" and where the amount being chased is at least a quarter of a million pounds. Since 2011/12, £174 million has been paid in compensation to victims from the proceeds of confiscation, the paper added. Security minister Ben Wallace said: "We will not stand by and allow criminals to profit from their crimes which is why the government and law enforcement agencies are committed to stripping them of their cash and assets to prevent further criminality. "We are collecting more assets from criminals and we are giving more money back to police and to victims. "But we need to do better. Over the coming months, we will be bringing in new powers for operational partners to seize other criminal assets such as works of art and precious metals. "We want to ensure that criminals do not enjoy a luxurious criminal lifestyle at the expense of law-abiding citizens." The Home Office said the Criminal Finances Act 2017, which will be phased in from this autumn, contains a number of measures to significantly improve the ability to recover criminal assets. They include an expansion of the definition of "cash" - allowing agencies to seize works of art, precious stones and metals, and the creation of orders requiring those suspected of corruption or other serious crime to explain the sources of their wealth. View on Police Oracle
  11. Home Office accused of playing politics with officer remuneration. John Apter pictured speaking at the Police Federation Conference last year Officers should be consulted on whether they want full employment rights, a prominent staff association representative says. Hampshire Police Federation chairman John Apter has labelled the government’s rejection of the police remuneration review body’s recommendation for a two per cent pay rise next year as “shameful”. Instead, the Home Office is giving officers a one per cent rise, and a one-off, unfunded, bonus. Mr Apter said: “They are playing politics with police officer's pay. It's shameful. We need to look at the detail of this announcement but it is clear that there is nothing to celebrate. "Officers will see this for what it is which is an insult considering officers have had in real terms a 15 per cent cut in pay since 2010. "Police officers have no employment rights so are limited in how they react to such a kick in the teeth. The government know this and have taken advantage of it. "With a heavy heart I feel the time has come to ask our members what their views are on police officers having full employment rights. "This is something I will raise with the national Police Federation of England and Wales colleagues in the coming days." Mr Apter intends to stand for election for national chairman of the Fed when rule changes allow him to. Home Secretary Amber Rudd claimed: "This award strikes a fair balance for police forces, officers and taxpayers. "We want to reward and attract the very best police officers within the resources we have, whilst making the right decisions for the economy overall." National Fed chairman Steve White did not rule out a conversation about industrial rights last year when asked what he would do if the government ignored the recommendations of the review body. At the time, he said: “We put a lot of work into our submission but if its recommendations are not taken up and if the system comes into question as an organisation we may have to do things differently.” While Mr White and General Secretary Andy Fittes are both due to leave their posts at the end of the year, the next remuneration review submission is likely to have been completed by then. On Tuesday the Fed says it was looking closely at the PRRB report and would provide further updates soon. In a 2013 ballot, only 42 per cent of Fed members cast a vote on the issue of industrial rights. Of those who did more than 80 per cent said they wanted the organisation to pursue a legal challenge to try to secure workers’ rights – such as the ability to strike. The Fed said it would not act on the issue because the turnout was too low. View on Police Oracle
  12. The 'highly unusual decision' by CPS has sparked debate. A case involving a drug driver has been thrown out of court after the officer in the case was unable to attend proceedings due to his baby being in intensive care. PC Steve Lee, a roads policing officer with Norfolk and Suffolk Roads Policing unit, took to social media to reveal the decision. He tweeted: “Told today a drug drive case of mine was thrown out of court due to me being in intensive care with my baby, rather than giving evidence.” He also tweeted: “I have raised a complaint to @cpsuk via my department's senior management. What are your thoughts on this decision @symondsa?” The tweets generated a lot of debate on social media and have since been taken down. PC Lee tweeted: “Lots of support in relation to this tweet, thank you. For all those who have asked about our daughter she is doing great & making progress.” Andy Symonds, Chairman of Norfolk Police Federation, said: “We are liaising with the constabulary and the court to find out the facts of the incident. “We cannot make any further comment at this stage until we know the facts about why this highly unusual decision was made. “We also have to be cognisant of the fact that this case may still be subject to legal issues which we wouldn’t want to encroach onto.” Norfolk Constabulary said it will not be providing a comment. View on Police Oracle
  13. Police Oracle editor Martin Buhagiar says a case highlighted this week illustrates why current legislation leaves police drivers vulnerable. The petrol station cashier opened the door and walked out onto the forecourt with a can in his hands. I assumed a customer had paid for the tin and left it in the shop but the attendant raised his hand in a menacing way. As the car behind me wheel-spun away from the pump, it all became clear. The cashier threw the tin at the VW Golf leaving it with a fair-sized dent. “This is how they deal with fuel thieves in north London these days,” I thought to myself. It is what happened afterwards that got me thinking about a far greater concern, however. Without stopping, the driver sped out of the exit turning left into oncoming traffic and continued to accelerate. This was on Monday afternoon at the Esso Station in Archway Road, north London. The petrol station is on a roundabout and the driver decided to turn into four lanes of rush-hour traffic, rather than simply turn right and go with the flow. Who knows why? Incredibly, he avoided a bus, a lorry and a van and made it to apparent safety as he disappeared out of view. As I headed home, I wondered what a police officer would be expected to do in that situation. The thief has stolen £15 worth of petrol, hardly a priority in these days of cuts and over-stretched forces, but has risked the lives of pedestrians and other motorists afterwards. No doubt the public – and the police – would like to see this person caught and quickly, but officers pursuing could face serious consequences if this madman (or woman) mounted the pavement and hit a child while being followed. Potentially prosecuted if you do, damned if you don’t. Police Oracle has been covering the on-going saga of police pursuits for a while and, thanks to the government continuing to deliver meaningless drivel and little action, specialist police drivers are continuing to pursue criminals with the very realistic threat of criminal charges hanging over their heads. This week a pair of Metropolitan Police officers were the latest to be told they could face criminal charges following the IPCC's investigation of a case which saw the driver jailed for 12 years. I am sure you know the case. Convicted car thief Joshua Dobby, 23, was out on licence when he killed Makayah McDermott, ten, and his auntie Rosie Cooper, 34, as they went for ice cream in south London. Officers fought to save their lives, the same bodies that Dobby stepped over as he made his escape. Following his sentencing it was confirmed Dobby had 53 convictions dating back a decade and was in the process of delivering this stolen car for cash so he could buy more drugs. Some Police Oracle readers have correctly asked who is more culpable for this – the officers who pursued this reckless driver as he accelerated down one-way streets and through red lights, or a system that continued to release this clearly troubled man from custody every time officers arrested him? We can save that argument for another day - needless to say, we agree. This is now an issue facing officers far too often. In April, Greater Manchester PC Simon Folwell found himself in a similar position. PC Folwell was pursuing 24-year-old Luke Campbell, who died after crashing into another car. The IPCC told the force to bring proceedings against the officer for gross misconduct for careless driving. GMP disagreed but was directed to open proceedings against the officer. Try and catch a criminal in a car and potentially lose your job or, even worse, your freedom. I live in an area that recently saw an increase in the number of nuisance motorcyclists - probably like most towns in the UK. Earlier this year neighbours and friends had clearly had enough and were moaning about the apparent lack of action. “Where are the police?” “Why don’t they chase them?” “Knock them off their bikes and lock them up.” They are just the lines I can print. I started by talking about the cuts and the falling number of officers nationally. I then explained why most of these motorcyclists do not wear helmets or removed them at the first sound of a siren and many of those I told were surprised. I was stunned they did not know. Perhaps it suits some that so many members of the public are happy to blame the police for an apparent lack of action. In June, the Police Federation of England and Wales sent a letter to forces warning drivers over the lack of protection the law gives them. The staff association said officers had barely any legal rights and should not carry out any manoeuvre deemed illegal for civilian motorists. The traffic sign safeguard is void if there is any element of risk to the public. The speed limit ‘safeguard’ is anything but as it will not stop charges of careless driving being brought. Earlier this year the Fed also revealed more than 100 officers had been pursued over on duty driving matters during the preceding 18 months. Tim Rogers, PFEW lead on roads policing, told us: “Legal advice has recently highlighted that police response and pursuit drivers are, in most circumstances, highly likely to fall within the definitions of careless and or dangerous driving. “The federation has raised this matter with numerous MPs but to date the difficulties remain with our proposed draft for legislative change not yet having been progressed to a point where officers are appropriately protected.” And last month the government was accused of not properly answering questions on the subject. Halifax MP Holly Lynch wrote to Police Minister Nick Hurd raising concerns the law is not providing proper protection for emergency service drivers. Mr Hurd explained the CPS says it is “very unlikely” to be deemed appropriate to proceed with a prosecution on public interest grounds against a member of the emergency services. That does not stop the IPCC recommending that charges are brought against police drivers though does it and the pressure that places on an officer's shoulders? Then came the usual: “The government fully recognises the risks associated with pursuits,” before the reality: “Officers must be accountable to the public … for the way they reach their decisions, including potentially the prosecution of police officers for careless or dangerous driving.” What clarity does that offer the federation or officers? None. Moped-enabled crime continues to increase at an unprecedented rate - that could not be clearer. However, the protection offered to officers could not be more murky and that brings with it further problems. A freedom of information request revealed that of the Met’s 32,000 police officers, more than 5,000 have been trained to carry out pursuits in the last five years. Of those, 315 had made the tactical pursuit and containment level since 2014. The shortage could be for a number of very obvious reasons, but until clarity is offered and the government commits to new regulations offering officers protection, it would not be a surprise to see the national number of police drivers fall. Officers who engage in pursuits know how dangerous their job can be. The IPCC’s announcement this week illustrates that further obstacles could be waiting just around the corner once the pursuit is completed and the officers have apprehended the criminal. The current legislation leaves them vulnerable and must be changed. Let officers pursue criminals without living in fear of being pursued for doing their job. View on Police Oracle
  14. Integration now brought down further, to below ACC level. Warwickshire Police and West Mercia cars feature both force's badges. Photo: Joe Giddens/PA Wire Two forces who had been discussed as candidates for a merger have scaled back their integration. Warwickshire and West Mercia Police announced a formal “strategic alliance” in 2012 and had been merged at all levels below deputy chief constable in recent years. West Mercia's former PCC Bill Longmore had been sympathetic to the idea of a full-blown merger. But this month further separation has taken place with two assistant chief constables moving back to working for just one force each. Chief Supt Charlie Hill, who serves both forces, told the Police Superintendents' Association of England and Wales Conference on Wednesday: “We've moved away from a strategic alliance, in my view, to a collaboration around protective services, finance and enabling services. “Frankly we need some real leadership from chief officers and PCCs to step up to the mark and say I'm prepared to give up sovereignty and move forward. Two FTSE 100 companies do not merge and have two chairmen, two chief execs, two deputy chief execs.” He was speaking on the morning that Dorset Police along with Devon and Cornwall Police announced they are exploring the possibility of merging. The existence of too many constabularies was a recurring topic throughout the staff association's conference this week, with PSAEW President Chief Supt Gavin Thomas raising it before the Policing Minister said he will listen if there are good arguments for them. Chief Constable Sara Thornton, chairman of the NPCC, said that her working group had ruled out arguing for larger, fewer forces as part of its 2025 policing strategy, despite being in favour, because she didn't think it was widely achievable. “Fewer, larger forces is not going to happen, politically it is just not an option,” she said. She pointed out problems including different council tax levels in neighbouring force areas. In a joint statement, Warwickshire Chief Constable Martin Jelley and West Mercia Chief Constable Anthony Bangham said they remain fully committed to their alliance, and said it is “continually developing”. “Part of any healthy development means continual review of our collaborative arrangements and the introduction of the ACC for each force is to ensure greater focus on local issues, partnerships and performance across the diverse landscape of our alliance. “We are very proud of the fact that our alliance has been and continues to remain one of the leading collaborative working arrangements between police forces in the country which has been commended and recognised by HMIC.” Their statement added that there are still “two clear and differing force identities” and the arrangement is “providing the very best service to our communities”. View on Police Oracle
  15. Chief constables "feel it is the right time.". CC Debbie Simpson and CC Shaun Sawyer The chief constables of Dorset and Devon & Cornwall Police have announced plans to explore further collaboration and closer working between the two forces. Both chiefs reveal they “feel that now is the right time” to explore whether a full merger between the two forces is possible. The police and crime commissioners from both areas have informed the policing minister of their support. Over the coming weeks a consultation with MPs and councils will begin. In a joint statement CC Shaun Sawyer, Devon & Cornwall, and CC Debbie Simpson, Dorset, said: “The strategic alliance has made significant progress helping us provide a more effective and efficient policing service to the residents of our three counties. “We now see this as a timely opportunity to progress this alliance further, including a potential aim to merge our resources and create a more resilient police force. “Policing has faced some significant funding challenges in recent years and we do not see this landscape changing. To preserve local, neighbourhood policing and deliver safeguarding within our communities, as well as an ability to respond to emergencies and emerging threats as effectively as possible, we view closer working as the only way forward.” Shared leadership is already in place across both forces with two DCCs sharing portfolio areas as well as operational commanders and heads of department in some areas. Police departments such as operations, roads policing and prevention as well as 17 other areas are also operating across three counties with a further 11 departments currently going through changes which will see them aligned. The forces also now share a number of support services such as Administration, Information Technology and Human Resources. The chief constables added: “We have been able to make this progress so far because of our staff’s hard work and conscious effort to work in collaboration. “Our officers across Dorset, Devon and Cornwall have similar policing styles, values and priorities with cultures based on delivering resilient and sustainable services to our communities. “We know working together has increased our resilience, streamlined our leadership and unlocked new capabilities in our support functions allowing us, where we can, to re-invest in our services. We feel that now is the right time to explore whether a full merger between the two forces is possible. “We realise there may be statutory obstacles to overcome and there is a lot of work to be done to understand the benefits and challenges ahead. We will also ensure that the views and feelings of the public are taken account of. "As a result, a decision is unlikely to be made quickly but we are absolutely committed to exploring the possibility of a merger in order to continue to provide a sustainable police service for all of our communities in the future.” View on Police Oracle
  16. Minister hints at better resourcing and pay. The government listens to the service and is keen to help officers, the Policing Minister says. Addressing the Police Superintendents’ Association Conference today, Nick Hurd said pay and resource complaints are being listened to. After beginning his speech apologising for the non-appearance of Home Secretary Amber Rudd, he addressed a number of topics including resourcing. On pay, he said: “We’re not deaf, even if we sometimes give the impression that we are. “The message we have heard very clear and constant is about stretch and strain and the pressure experienced police officers telling me they haven’t worked under these conditions before. “I’m standing here as a representative of the government who’s profoundly aware that police officers and a number of others have had to take their share of the burden […]. “There’s a limit to what we can reasonably ask of people.” But he added that there is “considerable concern being expressed by employers” about “sustainability”, which is why there has been a delay so far. He said there will be an announcement on pay imminently. Candid conversations about budgets will soon be held, he said, and hinted he will make some forces spend their reserves. PSAEW president Chief Supt Gavin Thomas had earlier called for a pay rise and for better resourcing. Mr Hurdalso promised a thorough review of resources and budgets, and other areas such as morale which he wrote to chief constables and police and crime commissioners about today. He said such a body of work had never been done before, and will shape the 2018/19 budget with an evidence base. Elsewhere he promised a total of £60 million funding for several projects, including funding for certain forces. His speech coincided with the announcement of a number of successful bids to the police transformation fund including a pilot to roll out video evidence in courts, £6 million to help digital policing in Cheshire, Essex, Hampshire, Gloucestershire and Merseyside and £23 million over the next three years for the NCA, Regional Organised Crime Units, and some police forces to detect, monitor and disrupt organised crime groups. Responding to the funding announcements, Paddy Tipping, chairman of the Association of PCCs said: "The £60 million funding package announced by the minister will be invested across our regions and in local forces to ensure that our police can respond to the range of threats which pose harm to our communities. "This funding covers programmes that use innovative ways to keep our communities safe, by investing in digital policing methods and effective local partnerships to combat serious and organised crime, whilst protecting the most vulnerable members of our society." View on Police Oracle
  17. Visit from Maggie, 11, whose father was killed on duty prompts announcement. Maggie Henry was made chief constable for a day A force has promised that anyone assaulted on duty will receive contact from a chief officer to check on their welfare. Bedfordshire Police has changed the policy and dubbed it ‘Maggie’s Law’ after the daughter of PC John Henry, killed on duty in Luton in 2007, spent at day at its headquarters. According to a statement from the force, 11-year-old Maggie Henry wants to help the force “look after our police officers, so that they can look after everyone else”. The chief officer team will now take the lead on checking that personnel who have been attacked get the support they need. Bedfordshire Police had already adopted the seven point plan on police assaults, first developed in Hampshire, which commits to treating assaulted officers as victims of crime. Chief Constable Jon Boutcher said: “Without question, an assault of any kind should never be considered ‘part of the job’. “Our workforce walks into danger when others walk away and sadly verbal and physical assaults are becoming commonplace – but that doesn’t mean it is acceptable. “Our officers should be afforded the support they need and deserve. This means they are treated the same way as any other victim of crime, they feel valued and that those who attack police officers are not dealt with lightly.” Bedfordshire Police Federation Chairman, Jim Mallen added: “Looking after officers and staff members who have been assaulted while doing their duty should be a primary consideration for police leaders. “The Police Federation brought into Bedfordshire the seven point plan and Maggie's law seems a natural extension to highlight to those assaulted that we care about them and will do our utmost to support them.” PCC Kathryn Holloway said she has raised the issue of short sentences for people who attack officers with the government. “I never want another family in this county to experience what Maggie Henry and her family have had to go through,” she added. “In my view, an attack on a police officer is not the same as an assault on any other member of the public, since police are standing on the front-line between those who keep the law and those who want to undermine it. “An attack on a single officer is an assault on society itself and should be met with the toughest penalty possible.” View on Police Oracle
  18. Chief inspectors and commander posts will still exist beyond 2018. Commissioner Cressida Dick has cancelled plans to abolish two ranks in the Met. Last year Police Oracle revealed the force planned to do away with chief inspector and commander posts in 2018. But its subsequently-appointed force leader has called a halt to the idea. A spokesman said “removing two ranks is not the best approach to achieve the outcomes we need”. Police Oracle also revealed that the force had already spent more than £27,000 on the promotion process for potential future chief inspectors before deciding to drop the ranks – with more than 229 officers having applied. The force spokesman said: “The commissioner has signalled very clearly that the Met will introduce flatter management structures and that she is increasing the pace of reform. "However, after extensive consultation, and due to the step-change to our operational context in recent weeks, she has concluded that removing two ranks entirely is not the best approach to achieve the outcomes we need at this time. “In the coming months we will see flatter leadership structures that empower officers to use discretion and make decisions in different units across the Met. “We will also continue to work closely with the NPCC lead on reforms to leadership structures and maintain our place at the forefront of this work.” Reducing the number of ranks in policing was a key recommendation from the College of Policing’s leadership review and the UK’s largest force appeared to be leading the way in implementing it. Met Fed branch chairman Ken Marsh welcomed the change of heart. “It wasn’t thought out very well to begin with, now the Commissioner has given it proper thought I think what will happen will be planned far better,” he said. On the potential for inspectors to gain promotion to chief inspector ranks again, he added: “They were in the process when it stopped, I’m pleased for them and inspectors will now be able to become chief inspectors.” View on Police Oracle
  19. Labour says visibility has rarely been lower and 'blame lies squarely at the government's door'. The number of people who believe police are "highly visible" in their community has fallen by almost half, statistics show. Just one in five (22 per cent) people said they feel officers are highly visible, according to the latest Crime Survey for England and Wales, which looks at the period from April last year to March this year. This compared with 39 per cent in April 2010 to March 2011, while the percentage of the public who said they "never" see police foot patrols has risen by more than half, from 25 per cent to 39 per cent. It follows a survey last year, which found that one in three people in England and Wales has not seen a bobby on the beat in their local area in the past year. The poll carried out for HMIC found 36 per cent of people had not seen a police officer or PCSO on foot in their areas in the past year - while just under a quarter (23 per cent) had seen uniformed personnel "once or twice". The watchdog warned of the "erosion" of neighbourhood policing as forces are forced to make further financial cuts. Labour's Shadow Policing Minister Louise Haigh said: "Bobbies on the beat don't just reassure the public they collect vital community intelligence and help to keep us safe. Savage cuts mean this tried and tested bedrock of British policing is being chipped away as police withdraw from neighbourhood policing altogether. "Police visibility has rarely been lower and the blame lies squarely at the Government's door. "The Tories shamefully accused the police of crying wolf over police cuts, but now the public are seeing the brutal reality; crime rising and fewer officers on hand to keep them safe." A Home Office spokeswoman said: "Effective policing is not just about the number of officers on the street but about accessibility - having a presence where people now live their lives and are at risk, for example online. "The latest data from the independent Crime Survey for England and Wales shows that nearly two-thirds of the public believe that the police are doing a good or excellent job, and we encourage forces to be innovative, including making best use of technology in the way in which they engage so they meet the needs of all sectors of the community." Last month a number of anonymous former senior Met officers stressed the importance of Safer Neighbourhood Teams, the force’s “eyes and ears” on the ground. The officers claim the teams have been key to detecting signs of radicalisation and gang-related activity in the past. They explained that in 2007 every ward in every London borough boasted a team made up of a sergeant, two police constables and three community support officers. Now there are just three officers in each team, with each unit covering three or four wards. View on Police Oracle
  20. Five officers and a nurse were all attacked by pair in one evening. Five officers and a nurse were assaulted by the men throughout the course of the night. Northumbria Police has appealed for witnesses after an officer was knocked unconscious and four of her colleagues attacked by a pair of thugs. Police were called to Newcastle City Centre shortly after 3am on Monday August 14 to reports two men had punched and kicked members of the public and ran off. Two officers attended and a violent struggle ensued in which both officers were assaulted with one knocked unconscious. The pair were eventually detained and taken to Forth Banks station where a nurse and three detention officers were also assaulted. The force believes a number of people will have seen the attack on the officers and are appealing for witnesses. Four men in particular stopped to help the officers during the struggle but then left the scene without providing their details. Acting Chief Inspector Steve Wykes, of Northumbria Police said: “I’d like to thank the four men who came to our officer’s aid - it was brave of them to do so but they left before our officers could get their details. “I’d ask them to come forward and speak to us so we can thank them for their actions. The offender’s behaviour is wholly unacceptable and will not be tolerated by Northumbria police. “While I am pleased to report that the officers are not seriously injured this was an awful incident and the officers are receiving support. “I’d also appeal for anyone who was in the area of St Nicholas Street and Castle Stairs who may have witnessed the incident to contact police.” The officer who was knocked out was taken to hospital for her injuries but later released. Two men aged 25 and 36 years were arrested on suspicion of assaulting an officer in the execution of their duty and are detained in custody helping police with their enquiries. View on Police Oracle
  21. UCL project exploring evidence recreation working on veracity of 3D modelling. Dr Morgan is enthusiastic about the changes to evidence preservation the PhD work may be able to facilitate. Exact 3D printed replicas of evidence artefacts may hold the key to the way crimes are investigated and prosecuted in the near future. A project at University College London, conducted by PhD student Rachel Carew, is exploring the possibilities around recreating exact copies of pieces of evidence to prevent decay over time. This could help detectives working on cold cases in which the original piece of evidence has deteriorated. Dr Ruth Morgan, director of the centre for forensic sciences at University College London who is overseeing the project, says there may be a number of advantages in preserving evidence in this way. She said: “One of the benefits is being able to preserve an exhibit in its original state meaning we can look at it in ten or 20 years time and evaluate it with new technologies in a way that may not previously been possible. “We are trying to work out the best ways of creating really accurate 3D models which can then be used… we have a lot of people working on this and the work that’s going is aimed at getting the accuracy part of the process spot on. “Cold cases is an area with real potential benefits because often you are going back to exhibits collected many, many years ago. “It can be difficult to evaluate them in the way you would have at the time as there are a lot of factors that can impact features of evidence.” The technique may also enable evidence to be used in a different way in courtrooms, potentially bringing juries closer to pieces of evidence which would previously have remained untouched. However, Dr Morgan warned of the possible ethical and practical limitations, adding: “It is interesting how we will be able to explain to a jury what has been done with the models and there are interesting considerations which need to be taken into account. “For example, how do we preserve exhibits that may be from an individual? Say you were recreating somebody’s skull, you need to have a robust system in place to preserve integrity and the rights of the individual and it needs to be done appropriately.” In terms of how far away this technology is from being deployed in the field, Dr Morgan says the technology already exists but the study is about demonstrating its worth and veracity in practical use. She said: “The technology is there and it’s a case of ‘can we demonstrate the value’. “The quicker and more accurately it be done the better, I think we are talking about a year or two rather than ten or 20 years (for widespread use). “It’s a cool area for this PhD, which has literally just started, but there is a lot of good potential.” Dr Morgan has previously warned about the “knowledge gaps” around what forensic evidence means or is able to tell us and the work she is overseeing around 3D modelling may help create a wider understanding in this regard. View on Police Oracle
  22. Force is pressing ahead with scheme which some officers say is turning them away from the job. The mergers have already pushed control room staff to threaten strike action. A Metropolitan Police pilot scheme to merge London boroughs into single command units will continue despite it causing some officers to “hate” going to work. Towards the end of last year Barking and Dagenham, Redbridge and Havering all merged into one with Camden and Islington also combining. These Basic Command Units (BCUs) are overseen by a chief superintendent, with four superintendents each working under them. Vehicles, technology, personnel and buildings are shared between the boroughs within the units in an attempt to save the Met money. Back in November last year before the scheme was launched Deputy Assistant Commissioner Mark Simmons, who is in charge of the pilot, said: “Change is important for the Met to remain operationally effective in the changing policing landscape.” The chairman of the London Assembly police and crime committee expressed concerns about the mergers and insisted the measure should not be “driven by cost cutting”. Now a number of officers working under the new arrangements appear to be unhappy about their new working conditions, voicing their concerns via social media. At the beginning of July a leaked paper appeared to imply the full programme of the controversial mergers will go ahead despite the pilots not yet being fully assessed. Later the same month control room staff threatened to go on strike during the Notting Hill Carnival over the stresses Pathfinder was putting them under and dangers it posed to the public. The PCS union said at the time: “We have been pushing for months for improvements to new ways of working that we feared would compromise the safety of staff and members of the public. “Members had been telling us about the increased stress of working the new ‘Pathfinder’ system and the risks they posed to the public.” The strike was eventually avoided after the Met provided “assurances” to increase the amount of staff by 135 and invest in new computer systems. Despite the issues and controversy caused by the pilot the force is determined to press ahead and denied rumours they were rolling back any of the units. A spokesman said: “The Basic Command Unit pathfinders, or test sites, in Camden and Islington (North Central Area Command Unit) and Barking & Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge (East Area Command Unit) are ongoing, after going fully live at the end of April 2017. “The pathfinders are a genuine test and the Met continues to learn from the way they are operating. “Each of the pathfinders have thrown up different challenges, and the Met are adapting the model to overcome these challenges. “Neither pathfinder site is being rolled back but we are making changes to make the model more efficient. “The purpose of the pathfinder sites is to test the model and make changes as necessary before we roll it out more widely. “The Mayor and the Commissioner will together, towards the end of 2017, consider the evidence from the Pathfinders and the views of stakeholders, before determining the manner of any further roll-out across London.” View on Police Oracle
  23. PC attacked just weeks into the job urges offenders to consider the consequences of their actions. Officer Clifford had to undergo surgery twice following the incident. A constable who was viciously attacked just weeks into the job has urged offenders to think on the ramifications of what they do. PC Sherry Clifford, a patrol officer in Evesham, Worcestershire, was assaulted only five weeks after completing her initial training. Her case has been highlighted by West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner, John Campion, as part of a drive to reduce violence against officers. After being called to a fight in Evesham City Centre a man kicked PC Clifford in the face fracturing her jaw and causing her to lose two teeth. She also had to undergo two bouts of surgery. At first the constable was unaware of the severity of her injuries but six weeks of repeated trips to the dentist soon brought home the reality to her. She said: “I began to feel worried about being in the same situation again, I also felt frustration that it had happened to me so early in my career.” PC Clifford chose not to take any sick leave and says she would have been “frightened” to return the role had it not been for the support of her tutor and inspector throughout the recovery process. Her tutor referred her to the Police Federation who were able to provide additional support and in one-to-one sessions with her sergeant and inspector. They all agreed for her to attend further public order incidents in Worcester to relatively soon after the incident to “stop the fear setting in”. Now PC Clifford “wants the public to realise that every officer and member of staff has a family, a private life and wants to go back home safe.” She added: “I want offenders to think about the wider consequences, what if this was their sister or girlfriend? I want offenders to consider the person outside of the uniform. “It’s not okay to grab or push police officers, it’s not part of their job. “Police officers are often called upon in times of desperation so deserve more respect.” PC Clifford said that by sharing he story she hoped to promote an understanding that officers are “human not machines.” She added: “Hitting a police officer is a really shameful act, these are the people who are there to help." Earlier this year Police Oracle launched our BluePrint campaign which calls on the government to meet its obligation of protecting officers both in the job and when they have been forced out of the service because of physical injuries or mental trauma. View on Police Oracle
  24. A Police Oracle analysis reveals the amount of money being paid to private companies for agreements made by old force leaderships in the years before austerity hit. Many facilities, including Derbyshire's HQ and West Yorkshire's Carr Gate training centre, were built using the system, but several forces have had to shut police stations due to austerity Police forces are paying more than £135 million a year for debt taken out for buildings bought before austerity hit. An analysis by PoliceOracle.com has found that across 20 forces in England and Wales, some 31 individual private finance initiative projects are costing forces an average of £6.6 million each. While under the last Labour Government use of the schemes was the only way some could invest, the austerity years have left them with big bills often based on outdated policing plans. Private finance initiatives (PFI), first introduced under the Major Government, were a means of using private money to invest in public sector projects. They typically involve lengthy contracts which see the investors secure huge returns. No new schemes have been created since 2012, meaning that no current chiefs whose forces use them were in post when the contracts were being drawn up. Defunct police authorities signed-off the deals, which cost £135.3 million in the last financial year. In 2015/16 they cost £134.7 million. The Treasury estimates that due to the nature of the contracts the costs will continue to rise annually, but the Home Office supplied only £73 million in the latest police grant settlement towards them – exactly the same amount it has for the last three years. The money invested in the initiatives equates to more than twice the amount that is given to the Independent Police Complaints Commission. Chiefs have recently started appealing to the government to curb the watchdog’s budget expansion and give it to them instead. Changing demand Greater Manchester Police built more premises than any other using the system, and is still paying for 16 police stations commissioned under former Chief Constable Mike Todd. Ian Wiggett, who was assistant chief of GMP until late 2015, told PoliceOracle.com: “The problem was that at that stage GMP was aspiring to have 8,000 cops, then all of a sudden austerity hit and a few years later, in quite a few of these buildings, you didn’t have the people to go into them. “Now they’re down to 6,000 [officers] and there was a big drop in police staff as well.” As an example of changing demand, he pointed to Stockport borough where a central police station was closed, and a new one opened on the outskirts of the town, but with officers then moving back into council offices in the centre. But he added: “I was in Cheshire when we did a new HQ there, that was a better bit of business as the estate was in a bit of a mess at the time and getting a PFI scheme was the only way to move, and there was a strong business case for it.” That scheme is forecast to cost £7 million in this financial year. Most of the deals are subject to extra, sometimes unforeseen, charges for things such as maintenance. Taking advantage In his recently released memoir Blue, Met Police Chief Superintendent John Sutherland recalls being charged £90 for a sink plug by a private contractor during his time as Camden borough commander. He calculated that to be an 8,900 per cent mark-up. Although the police station mentioned is not one of the Met’s PFI projects, Chief Supt Sutherland adds: “I could tell you endless tales of the same sort: hundreds of thousands and millions of pounds spent on plugs and things right across policing and beyond. “I don’t doubt there’s a dose of public sector cluelessness in the negotiation of these contracts. And I suspect that there’s no shortage of switched-on business people waiting to take advantage.” In 2013 Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill publicly lambasted his force’s PFI arrangements as “white elephants”, complaining that an empty custody suite and police station were being paid for to the tune of £2.1 million a year. He attempted to renegotiate the contracts and called for the government to intervene, failing on both counts. In 2016/17, the force paid £7.8 million in PFI contract costs. Asked about the issue now, a spokesman for Mr Underhill said: “The PCC was unable to renegotiate the contracts he inherited from the police authority, however, changes have been made to better utilise the buildings Dorset Police has across the geography. “He has asked the questions around re-negotiation but he is not able to change commercial contracts that he inherited. This is the case for police forces nationally.” Whether forces should adapt to their contracts or the changing nature of policing challenges is a question which could be asked by the public in 20 areas where PFI debts are being paid today. Success story One politician had more success than Mr Underhill in abolishing his force’s debt. In 2015 the then-Dyfed-Powys PCC Christopher Salmon was able to buy out a “stinking bad deal” on the barely used Ammanford Police Station, which was opened in 2001. He told Police Oracle this week that the building cost £3 million to construct and the force would have ended up paying £21 million for it, with the site eating 20 per cent of Dyfed-Powys' estate budget. “No sooner had they built the station than the policing model changed and it was the wrong station in the wrong place so it was only partly-used,” he said. “The problem with PFI contracts is that, in theory, you’re laying all the risk on the private sector and saying ‘here’s a payment that pays my mortgage and the maintenance cost of my house and I don’t have to pay anything for the next 30 years’, but in practice the private sector just prices up the risk and you end up paying an enormous amount for what you get.” Mr Salmon drafted in specialist consultants, and was able to announce in 2015 that he was saving more than £3 million by ending the contract. Tim Brain, who was ACPO finance lead and Gloucestershire chief constable in the early part of this century, said that under the previous system his force could have had to wait a decade for Home Office approval, whereas under PFI its new HQ could be built much more quickly. He said many schemes were sensible and necessary but some may have chosen bad deals. “For most forces they were the only show in town – if they wanted to get a capital project they had to get PFI,” he added. Asked whether the increasing cost and level Home Office grant shows that the government is not really protecting police budgets, he replied: “Police budgets aren’t being protected, it’s not true, they do themselves no service by claiming they are [but] PFI costs would always have increased over time so it may be yet another example.” The NPCC was approached to speak about PFI debt but a spokesman said they were unable to comment. A Home Office spokesman said: “The government has a duty to honour its long-term contractual commitments and support investments by police forces. There have been no Home Office-backed police PFI schemes since 2012.” Forces still paying PFI debt Force Cost in 2016/17 Schemes Met £29.9m Gravesend training centre and three south east London stations. GMP £13.9m 16 police stations. Sussex £11.2m Police custody provision. Norfolk £10.3m Operations and communications centre and Police Investigation Centres at Martlesham, Bury St Edmunds and Gt Yarmouth. Avon and Somerset £9.3m Black Rock, Valley Road, Portishead; Keynsham Police Centre, Ashmead Trading Estate, Ashmead Road, Keynsham, Bristol; Patchway Police Centre, Gloucester Road, Bristol; Bridgwater Police Centre, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater. Kent £9.1m Medway Police Station and North Kent Police Station. Dorset £7.8m Western Division HQ + joint fire and police station Cleveland £6.9m Urlay Nook Tactical Training centre and Custody facility Notts £4.4m Buildings costs and vehicle costs for 25 years. W Yorks £4m Wakefield and Leeds District Headquarters and the Force Training School at Carr Gate Suffolk £3.8m Police Investigation Centres at Martlesham, Bury St Edmunds and Gt Yarmouth. Derbyshire £3.6m Divisional HQ in Derby and Ilkeston Police Station. Glos £3.5m HQ and firearms centre. Wilts £3.4m Gablecross Police Station, Swindon. N Wales £2.9m St Asaph Divisional Headquarters and Custody Suite. TVP £1.8m Headquarters. Cumbria £1.2m Workington Police Station. Gwent £941k Ystrad Mynach Police Station. Durham £384k Urlay Nook tactical training centre. Total £135.3m (all info provided by forces/PCCs under FOI) Govt grant £73m View on Police Oracle
  25. More than £100,000 was raised for the Care of Police Survivors charity. Officers laying wreaths at The Beat memorial Hundreds of people gathered at the National Memorial Arboretum on Sunday to pay tribute to officers who died on duty. The Annual Service of Remembrance was held by charity Care of Police Survivors (COPS). More than 200 officers and staff rode into the event, having cycled hundreds of miles from various locations across the UK, on the Police Unity Tour. Riders arriving at the National Memorial Arboretum (COPS) Tour organiser Chief Superintendent Rob Atkins with other officers and supporters, started their journey at 6.30am on Friday in London. The cyclists stopped at various locations during the 180-mile journey, including Luton and Bedford, to pay tribute to fallen heroes. These included Bedfordshire officer, PC Jonathan Henry, who was murdered on shift in 2007 responding to reports of a stabbing in Luton town centre, and PC Daniel Gibb, from Bedford, who served in the Metropolitan Police. In 2010 on the way to work, his motorbike collided with a minibus. The riders met with more than 200 others in Tamworth, Staffordshire. The journey to the arboretum concluded with a memorial bracelet being presented to the families of fallen officers by each rider. More than £100,000 was raised for COPS, which supports the surviving families of lost officers. Chief Supt Atkins said: “The ride went really well and the weather was on our side. “Once we safely arrived at Tamworth in Staffordshire we were met by an impressive 200 plus riders. It was a good weekend and we’ve had some fantastic support.” He added that next year he hopes every force will be represented. View on Police Oracle