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Everything posted by OldAfricaHand

  1. OldAfricaHand

    Any New Direct Entry Detective Trainees on here

    I wonder what your motivation is for joining the Police if you are turned down for a Detective position , are offered a uniformed position instead but are now uncertain whether uniform is an option you want to pursue. Being a Police Officer - in whatever position - is an all-encompassing life not just a job that works regular hours. Perhaps like my icon, I am a bit of a dinosaur but some time / experience in uniform could only make you a better detective.
  2. OldAfricaHand

    GMP V MET (I am a currently serving officer)

    As an outside observer and a Mancunian, I would suggest that there are parts of Manchester and Salford, particularly, that are as rough and ready as any part of the Met. Having served in Paddington and Kilburn (albeit many years ago), they are certainly no different - very diverse populations and related crime - to inner city and peri-urban areas in Manchester in terms of diversity, general attitudes of population etc. Gun and knife crime is very prevalent and drugs abound and some of the worse cases of sexual grooming appear to have happened in Rochdale and surrounding areas. In Salford, there is a core of scallywags who think themselves "gangsters" and even a few middle-aged dickheads who think they are "Mister Big" - they are neither smart nor agile enough to be ahead in their game. Sadly (and Zulu' will hopefully forgive my comment) long gone are the days when if you were a scallywag in Manchester or Salford, you might meet a real "Mister Big" a 6 foot copper who would give you a pasting if you stepped out of line. The old ways were often the best As far as Manchester is concerned as a city - it is vibrant, the people are down-to-earth and generally friendly (even to Southern Jessies) and there is so much close at hand - great coastlines - west and east, amazing countryside, and Londoners can even get to the city in about 2 hours by train. If you're a sports fan, there's a lot of football and rugby around and cricket in the summer. I live 6,000 miles away but have to come home once a year to get my fill of Manchester - it's never enough but keeps me going. I hope you have a successful career whatever route you decide. Cheers (and Happy New Year to everyone on the Forum)
  3. OldAfricaHand


    In this part of the world it is almost unheard of for drivers to follow the practice - gear in neutral, hand-brake on at traffic lights (called "robots" in most southern African countries). Drivers tend to keep their foot on the brake but, even then, when the lights change there are always delays - simply because they are not observant and do not watch for the signals changing. Very frustrating but not much that can be done as driving "instructors" teach this way of driving (many driving instructors are "combi" (12 seat mini-bus taxis that ply a particular route) drivers and their driving is generally atrocious and many people are killed each year in combi accidents.
  4. OldAfricaHand

    Hillsborough Verdict

    It appears from the Sky News report that the jury in the Hillsborough Inquest have returned a verdict of "Unlawful Killing". They also ruled that the supporters behaviour did not contribute to the disaster. I think this is the verdict that he government wanted ......................No doubt they will now be looking for scapegoats! Sad
  5. OldAfricaHand

    Hillsborough Verdict

    Not at all surprised. As we all know, the Liverpool supporters were not in any way responsible for the events that happened that day. There was no drunkeness nor rowdy behaviour and the responsibility must fall on one man - the Police Officer in command. Someone has to be hung out to dry to appease the families and justify more than UKP 90 millions being spent on investigations. It seems Mr Dukinfield was acquitted after a private prosecution some years ago. If he is acquitted of these new charges, will the CPS (in the tradition of that paragon of justice Tony Bliar) just re-frame the charges until some jury or other finds him guilty to satisfy the baying masses of Liverpudlians!
  6. OldAfricaHand

    Manchester attack

    I am posting a second message because I did not want to tarnish Elaine's memory with any other remarks. However, I think the time has come for firm action to be taken against the threat-within that exists in many of our big cities. In the short term, all immigration of young men, that is anyone who claims to be from 12 to 35, from Muslim countries must be halted until we can get a grip on the situation. Those on the watch-lists need to be dealt with - if they are not born in UK, they should be removed to their home country immediately - no appeals, no false-flag human rights crap. Remember, this current suicide scrote was born in UK of a Libyan father who himself was an Al Qaeda activist who got UK refugee status on the basis that he opposed Qaddafi; he's now back there working for the police in one of the Islamist stronghold (but even they don't trust him as he has been arrested by them along with his other son). Those born in UK should be removed if they are of foreign parentage. If they are not they must be screened, tagged and subject to tight curfews and restrictions on travel outside their home. At the same time, all mosques must be subject to review - any that have even a hint of extremist views needs to be told that they must remove the extremists or be closed. This isn't an attack on Islam because the perversion of extremism isn't found in the normal interpretation of the Koran nor the teachings of their prophet. This sounds draconian and "not the British way" - well, so be it, It isn't the British way to allow our children to be murdered because of a perverted ideology and idly standby whilst the perpetrators look for more opportunities to harm the country and its people. This situation has been developing for some time; now is the time to stamp down very hard and remove the rot. this can be followed by more efforts to integrate all children into a non-religious education system where rights go along side-by-side with responsibilities and loyalty.
  7. OldAfricaHand

    Manchester attack

    The murdered officer has been named as DC Elaine McIver, a Cheshire officer. Her husband has been critically injured and their two children also injured - although it seems not critically. There are really no words that can adequately express the sorrow and despair that will be felt by so many at this loss and the family's situation. May Elaine's soul Rest In Peace and let us hope that her husband and children recover. My sympathy to all their family, their friends and Elaine's colleagues.
  8. OldAfricaHand

    Manchester attack

    I just got back last weekend from two weeks at home in Manchester. The area around the Arena is very familiar to me and i was round and about there a few times during my stay. I spent much of yesterday making sure my family and friends were safe; fortunately, they were. As Zulu' said, Manchester is a strong city; it is also a very diverse city and i am always heartened when I hear a broad Manc' accent spoken by someone who looks Asian, Chinese, African or from some other part of the globe - somehow, it seems to show the city we are - very international with historic ties to many places and a deep history of social justice and innovation - Emmeline Pankhust (a great x 4 relation) - a great emancipator, Tom Kilburn, Tommy Flowers and Alan Turing - the three leading lights in the development of the world's first computers; Messrs Rolls and Royce, A V Roe and many engineers who led the world; not forgetting our sport - Man United and Man City (not forgetting our most heroic foreign player - Bert Trautmann, a German former PoW who played the last 20 minutes of the 1956 Cup Final with a broken neck). That's the city we Mancs are proud to call home. To the families and friends of those killed or injured no words will ever put right their loss and hurt. How unfair that they should suffer because of the warped ideology of a few. For a family to be injured and also lose their Mum, an off-duty Police Officer, and for two Polish sisters to lose their parents seems incomprehensible. May they all Rest In Peace and families eventually be able to remember only the good times with their loved ones. GMP seem to be on top of the situation - arrests have also been made in Libya (the suicide bomber's brother and father). perhaps this atrocity could have been prevented if adequate resources were available - we will probably never know. What was obvious to me was that however slim the resources, on the night as people fled from the scene, men and women from GMP were running towards the unknown to provide whatever aid they could and uphold their oath of office.For that we can be very thankful and for the ambulance and fire crews and the NHS teams who are still working on some of the worst injuries. Manchester aand UK are at their best when backs are against the wall.
  9. I guess it is a nice gesture but, if the team is three officers covering four hospitals, it seems nothing more than a gesture. A lot of the aggravation particularly in A&E departments comes out-of-hours; so such a small team can really do little unless they are on-duty at the time. In the past, a number of Met divisions put Specials' patrols at hospitals during critical times - late Friday and Saturday evenings when drunkenness, assaults etc caused A&E staff particular problems. This was useful and ensured a dedicated presence that provided reassurance - that happens when action is taken as problems arise!
  10. Zulu 'The theory is that you only pay for the time you actually use the vehicle although, inevitably, the overhead costs are embedded in the hourly usage rate. Also, the cost per mile should be significantly cheaper than the mileage rate that is paid to casual car-users who use their own vehicles for business purposes. However, the down side might be that cars may not always be available when you want them. Maybe it will catch-on but I certainly feel uncomfortable about it unless it can be shown to save money which can then be spent on additional policing resources!
  11. Apparently the appointment has been announced this afternoon. She has certainly done well for herself. I think it was a shoe-in really - she had been sent to The Foreign Office to "widen" her experience. We live in interesting times!
  12. OldAfricaHand

    UK Police: When to intervene whilst you're off duty

    But I am sure you would still be a "key witness"- not least because you continue to be in the policing environment?
  13. OldAfricaHand

    Beggars Belief

    RM I'm sure you had the makings of a reasonable man when you were 18 and this was noted! If you know what you are looking for, you can see the seeds of maturity in an 18 year-old and make a judgement based on a range of information gained during a selection process. My worry today is that many interviewers are not hard-nosed - they are too afraid of "upsetting" candidates. But that'sjust a view based on seeing some folk in action and trying to teach effective interviewing skills.
  14. OldAfricaHand

    Beggars Belief

    Zulu' To be frank, I think references are worthless unless they are properly examined - in the case of candidates for entry to any Police position (warranted or not), all referees should be visited and examined on their assessment of the individual (I wouldn't do this until the final stage when someone is seriously being considered for appointment). This used to happen - I know for certain that when I joined the Met Specials my three referees were personally interviewed by the then Manchester City Police. One was my former school headmaster who said I was unlikely to stick at it as my attention was quickly diverted - I saw this and the other referees' comments just after I received the first bar to my LS&GC medal (our Regular Liaison Inspector had a sense of the ironic in showing me the headmaster's comments). To get back to the references issue - no-one gives a person as a referee unless they think they will give a good reference. I have done maybe 20+ referee visits and only once did someone suggest that the subject individual might be unsuitable. A lot of background checking these days is done on-line - social-media is a potential mine of information about attitudes, opinions, acquaintances etc but you cannot beat a face-to-face interview with someone who knows the candidate! One way or another, these individuals were either very lucky or "love" made them irrational .............. I'm a cynic - so I think the seeds of dishonesty and poor character were there all the time - they just weren't identified for whatever reason!
  15. OldAfricaHand

    Beggars Belief

    When I read this I was amazed at the ridiculously light sentence they both received. Apart from the multiple offences they both committed, their victim lost his job and his driving licence for two months - and I dare say, he has had to suffer a lot of trauma in just dealing with what these two characters have put him through. So, to me, a custodial sentence more akin to a minimum of 5 years would have been appropriate with an associated order to pay compensation to the victim. On the wider issue, how the hell did these two get through the selection process; they do not appear to have any countervailing qualifications or attributes ffor the job; so presumably they must have reached some reasonable standard - or did they?
  16. OldAfricaHand

    Marine conviction overturned.

    From the information that is now coming to light - no assessment made of his mental health, suppressed evidence of the environment and the situation in his particular duty location, barring a senior RM officer who was critical of the local command and supervision, and a trial by his "peers" who were not actually anything like his peers - three of the panel being HQ RN officers not operational RM officers - suggests to me that justice could not have been at the forefront of the mind of the Military Prosecuting Authority. Perhaps they do training attachments with the CPS. It is difficult to defend someone who is intent on murder but all the circumstances suggest that any other service person might have done the same in those circumstances when they were under extreme pressure and had been badly let-down by their superiors - having seen pictures of the checkpoint that C/Sgt Blackman commanded, it was almost undefendable - low walls, no cover except sweltering hot metal containers, no toilet facilities and no defences again mortars, RPGs, not grenades / IEDs. I am with Frederick Forsyth when he suggests that someone needs to investigate not just the court process but also the chain-of-command. I was amused to see the PM say that the MoD have been supporting the Blackmans throughout the trial and appeal - what an absolute load of b#ll#cks. I rarely use this sort of profanity but this case is definitely an exception where only such a word can describe what was said! :-(
  17. OldAfricaHand

    Senior Police Woman Suspended

    It seems from reports in the media that ACC Sutcliffe has been "seconded" to Oldham council to participate in a project looking at inter-agency working across the public sector. Apparently, she brings "enormous experience" to her new role, which could, of course, be effectively undertaken by a much more junior officer with inter-agency working experience and who might benefit from the exposure to a "strategic project". I wouldn't be at all surprised if at the end of the six months project, should she meet all the necessary conditions, she will retire on a decent pension.
  18. OldAfricaHand

    Cressida Dick to be new Met Commissioner

    I suspect that any news stories / comments about her will always bring up the Stockwell shooting. It certainly is a lot of baggage/
  19. OldAfricaHand

    Police to magistrate.

    Soapyw I can understand your line of thinking but you might find that your skills and experience are not universally welcomed by those who make magistrates appointments. A friend of mine, a former senior RAF officer was turned down for a magistrate position because they felt he would not be "balanced" enough in dealing with criminals. The fact that he was born and brought up in a very working-class family (his dad a bus-driver and his mother a cleaner), lived in the back streets of Manchester, and earned his pocket-money delivering newspapers, meant nothing - he had reached his position through his own merit; so he wasn't adequate to be a magistrate. So, you might want to think of something else. Having said all that - I hope you have a go! Cheers
  20. OldAfricaHand

    Direct entry as Inspector.

    I am an MOP with a bit of (now rapidly ageing) Police perspective. So, here's my view: A warranted officer is a warranted officer - all the same, irrespective of rank, when the sh#t hits the fan, I expect them all to do the same thing - take action! I once patrolled with the then Chief Superintendent George Rushbrook, on a Sunday morning along the Bayswater Road. George Rushbrook retired as a Commander and was rated in a book, "The Signs of Crime", as one of the most practical detectives in the Met. He was also a really nice bloke. During that Sunday patrol, one of the many things he said was " it doesn't matter who you are in The Job, what matters is what you do". I think that about sums up how I see policing - rank really isn't the issue but what an individual actually achieves is what is important. So Response / CID / Specialist Squads are not so important (particularly to the end-user - Joe & Josephine Public); they would like to see more blue suits with shiny buttons and pointed hats on the streets (with body armour but probably without lime-green or similar hued jackets etc). That's really what policing is about - and has been since 1829 when "the first objective to be obtained is the prevention of crime"! For what it's worth, this is just a view from a man who once rode on The Clapham Omnibus
  21. OldAfricaHand

    Direct entry as Inspector.

    I recall reading (a few years ago) a research report that showed that former CID officers lived much shorter lives in retirement than former uniformed officers. The conclusion was that the major step-change in the ex-CID officers' lives was the relatively placid life in retirement and, unless their former level of stress was replicated in some form of retirement activity, it could cause problems that had physical manifestations. I cannot remember where this report came from but I can well imagine that there is some truth in what it concluded. That suggests to me that HMS' comments are very near the mark.
  22. OldAfricaHand

    Direct entry as Inspector.

    HMS You are right, the SC would know what he/she didn't know and, if they had the right attitude, this would help them through the assimilation process. I also think the SC would have a much better understanding of the relationships and interaction that happen in Policing where, often times, rank is not an indicator of deep / specialist experience nor competence. I recall many, many times when the "Reserve PC" in a Central London nick would be the real relief supervisor, with the Duty Officer relying on him to manage resources, and on the old Met D Division, a major inquiry wasn't really "live" until a particular PC got into the task manager's slot. Neither of these guys were interested in advancement but The Job needed them in order to be effective. Looking at it from an MOP perspective, I sometimes wonder if the rank system is not adequate to recognise the specialist skills that many PCs and PSs possess - but, then, such recognition seems to have been kicked into touch by his Lordship Sir Winsor?
  23. OldAfricaHand

    Direct entry as Inspector.

    Cheese' I always thought 30 countries was well-travelled until one of my primary-school friends counted up the 84 countries he has visited on business - so i guess we are both "relatively well-travelled" in comparison to some other folk? Again, like you I have seen some really bad police forces - including in Europe. The issue of effectiveness is questionable I agree - I think the the politicians have had a de-motivating effect on policing, including removing some clearly useful powers but that is outside the control of Police officers (although I sometimes wonder if more energetic lobbying by senior police leaders might have had some impact?). I do agree about the level of scruffiness - I think that comes from spending cuts that mean that uniform clothing is often pretty shoddy, doesn't inculcate a sense of pride in appearance, and supervisors are not as particular as in the past. (That might be a generational thing?) I agree there is a need to adapt to the changing environment and, if we look at the Armed Forces, the question of direct-entry at "officer" level is relatively successful if we accept that, particularly in the Army, a new entrant officer will lean on his NCOs for quite some time until he gets the experience necessary to become more confident. So, I am not against the principle, I just worry that the complexity of policing and the often instantaneous judgements that have to be based on tacit knowledge and experience, are not ones easily faced by direct-entrants - however good they might be. But, as you say, we won't know until we try - I just don't want the College of Policing et al to go down the road of making sure they gather only evidence that proves their case and that means a sort of 360 degree assessment of direct-entrants. Give it 5 years and maybe we will all be more informed. Cheers
  24. OldAfricaHand

    Direct entry as Inspector.

    Well, cheese', I have to ask the question "how far do you travel outside the UK?" Because I have worked in more than 30 countries, lived in some of them for extended periods and I can say with authority (just my level of modesty I guess) that in saying "virtually everywhere" is better than UK, you are talking tosh! I say this in a spirit of banter not insult because I respect your right to hold your view. There may be a lot wrong with the institutions of policing but, overwhelmingly, British coppers are way above anything that I have seen anywhere else in the world - and that includes Europe, parts of Asia, Africa, and North America. I have both a MOP perspective and one born of some association with operational policing albeit a long time ago now.
  25. OldAfricaHand

    Direct entry as Inspector.

    Cheese_puff I am not suggesting you are proposing change for change sake but I think the government wanted that - direct-entry being another device to drive "reform" - which if I was a cynic, I might think was more to do with having senior officers, at all levels, who are more "biddable" to politicians. This might lead to the system whereby if a politician gets into trouble, a word in the ear of the more politically-sensitive senior officer would sort matters out. (You know how it goes, the local drunken bank manager when stopped from getting into his car tells the PC "Do you know who I am, I know your Chief Superintendent") Do not be in doubt that the direct-entry officers would be aware that their role is to drive "reform" and, without experience on the streets, their perception of "reform" will be that they get from on-high. As far as there being a problem in the process of promoting people through the ranks, I would say that there are plenty of people in the lower ranks who would merit promotion but the system to identify and develop such people has been lacking (perhaps along with the incentives to actually take on greater responsibility?). Again, just my thoughts - I my well be totally off-beam but, as I said, I wouldn't want to take the chance!