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Everything posted by OldAfricaHand

  1. OldAfricaHand

    How times have changed!

    I assume they will be PCSOs not sworn officers? It seems unlikely that foreign nationals can be expected to take the constable's oath of office. Having said this, I remember as a young air cadet in Manchester in the 60s meeting many Polish ex-RAF pilots and ground crew who'd escaped from Poland and, after the war, stayed in UK because they'd not be welcomed by their Russian "liberators". I suspect that there are quite a number of existing British Police Officeres of Polish descent.
  2. OldAfricaHand

    "Corruption" arrests and officer's suicide

    I find it difficult to understand why "dawn raids" are necessary to arrest suspects who are police officers when in many cases involving real villians (eg some politicians, lawyers, accountants and the like), appointments are made for them to attend a nick with their liar (ooops, sorry - lawyer) in tow to be arrested. It is necessary to have someone to investigate alleged breaches of "professional standards" but the "dawn raid" approach seems only to be a way the "rubber-heels" can feel like real police officers with adrenalin pumping and the "thrill-of-the-chase" in their nostrils ................
  3. OldAfricaHand

    DC Stephen Oake

    To answer stefcurran, PC Trevor Lock did receive a gallantry award - I think the George Medal. No-one would diminish Trevor Lock's actions by posthumously awarding the GC to Stephen Oake - who put himself in harm's way to protect his colleagues and, in preventing Bourgass's escape, protecting ordinary citizens who might have become targets for Bourgasss. Fingers' is right to pursue the petition to Bliar; we ordinary people - be we police officers or the public have the right to require recognition to be given to Stephen Oake.
  4. OldAfricaHand

    DC Stephen Oake - Sign The Petition

    Fingers Good on yer'. I hope this will redress a very sad affair. I am currently doing some work in southern Africa where I have to say, the British Bobbie is held in high regard. A South African friend of mine - an old lady now, told me the story of how when she arrived in London "in exile" from the former regime, she was at Victoria Station totally bewildered and the only person she felt safe to go to was a British Bobby ............ as she told the story she had a lump in her throat because when she explained her predicament, the PC took her to the right bus and told the conductor where to put her off the bus. This was the first time, she said, that a white person in uniform had been kind to her in her entire life. If she were a British Citizen I can assure you she'd be signing Stephen Oake's petition, Old Bill can't do anything wrong in her eyes! Take care.
  5. OldAfricaHand

    DC Stephen Oake

    Stephen Oake gave his life for his colleagues and the public he served. By any standard he was a hero insofar as heroes rarely set out to be such and "are just doing their jobs". I was shocked and embarassed that this country declined to recognise his heroism - not just for him but for his family, who lost so much more than we can understand, and for his colleagues. I wonder if, on the back of the Dorset Federation Chairman's action, now is the time for the Police Federation to initiate a petiton supporting a public request for an award to DC Oake. I think there might be influential people around who would support this. Perhaps there might be other ways of shaming the government - a mass return of long service medals (I'm an ex-Met special and I would be happy to join any mass medal return). I really do feel strongly about this - particularly as I now live in Manchester and, as such, Stephen Oake was discharging his sworn duty for the people of this city. I will be happy to support any action and seek support for a petition if this is considered an appropriate way forward.
  6. OldAfricaHand

    Police Shoot Man Dead

    In this morning's Times, the officer concerned is described by an unnamed senior officer as "a very brave man". Speaking as a MOP, that seems to me a perfectly correct statement - the guy is brave, he put himself in harms way to protect the public; thank God he was armed and could respond otherwise someone may have been injured or killed. Sadly, we the public seem to have short memories - one officer murdered and one injured in Bradford such a short time ago. Finally, why it is necessary for the media to seek reactions from the de Menezes family I don't know - have they suddenly become experts on gun crime? I hope the officer concerned is supported adequately. All the best to him.
  7. TV and website media (and apparently The Sun) are today reporting that a Muslim PC in the Met has been excused from guarding the Israeli embassy on moral grounds because he is against the bombing of Lebanon. I seem to recall that a constable's oath of office included the phrase "without favour or affection" in relationship to the excution of duty; does this report confound that? How do forum members view this situation? Thanks Brian
  8. OldAfricaHand

    Specialist Crime Directorate Success!

    This is obviously a tremendous success but I wonder if the public would be happier if the resources were used on tackling burglary and street crime and drugs offences. Perhaps if these more common offences were dealt with and a greater emphasis given to zero-tolerance of anti-social behaviour, we would all be a little happier. I understand the challenges Police Officers face and the resource / time constraints brought about by the Government's desire for "headline" policing and policing by statistical outputs that aim to give the impression that the Queen's Peace is being kept. So my comments are not designed to minimise the efforts made by ordinary coppers.
  9. OldAfricaHand

    PC Beshenivsky

    The thing that puzzles me about this case is that the "guilty" plea was witheld from the press by the judge. My understanding is that pleas are taken after a jury has been sworn - perhaps I have this wrong but if it is the case, what purpose would be served by not allowing the "guilty" plea to be reported? Such reporting is important as the news of captures increases public confidence in the Police at a time when this is a challenging issue and, maybe, it might prove some deterrent to other criminals. Whatever happens, however, it wont bring back Sharon Beshinivsky to her family. Their pain will last for ever. To all of you who put on the blue uniform and seek to preserve "The Queen's Peace", do not doubt that the silent majority of the public are behind you - we recognise that it requires pride, integrity and guts to do the job. All the very best for each day you protect the public. .
  10. OldAfricaHand

    University to a job with the police?

    After many years in UK and international management, I am now researching (for a PhD at at a major UK university) methods of building skills and capacity amongst professionals (and the police service is a professional organisation as far as sworn officers and many support staff are concerned). My findings are indicating very strongly that whilst a good formal grounding is important, the real skills development comes "on the job". There are some very clear theories that support this (Kolb's Learning Cycle and Double / triple Loop Learning). Based on both my research, my own profession (human resource development/management) and, in a police context, my many years as a Met Special involved in incidents and observing Regular Officers, I am convinced that in the Police Service that, whilst a degree is not a bar to good performance, competent performance comes from learning through experience. My feeling is that a couple of years on the streets is not adequate time for a future leader to learn the complexities of law, human nature / inter-action that will enable them to provide effective leadership to their officers. One thing I would like to see is a greater recognition of the experience of PCs, PSs; I wonder whether there should be a reduction in the number of "officer" ranks and the introduction of a number of "grades" within the PC/PS ranks that reward increasing levels of mastery of street and other specialist policing skills. In the Met there used to be a Station PS rank (three stripes surmounted by a crown), who was virtually equal to an Inspector. With the introduction of posts like PCSOs, it is important that the status of sworn Police Officers is enhanced (and for the public that means there is a need for some visible recognition). Anyhow, just a few thoughts that hopefully will attract some views in return. Take care All
  11. OldAfricaHand

    Dick on the way up!

    One point to bear in mind is that the current DAC promotions have been conducted by the Met Police Authority - so one might speculate whether making this announcement (as distinct from the decision) about Cressida Dick now is a "political" statement designed to show support for the Met as it enters the arena of potential criticism over the duty of care to the public required in the H&S legislation. I am not a serving Police Officer (I served as a Met Special for 26 years in inner divisions) but I am amazed at the crass remarks made by "Sir Robert Peel" - anyone with half a brain must realise that Police everywhere in UK - be they in urban, peri-urban or rural areas - face the same dangers - a quick look at the Police memorial websites proves that more than adequately. As far as workloads are concerned, I'm sure many Met stations have quiet times too!
  12. OldAfricaHand

    Music to Police By

    Apropos of not a lot - Engelbert Humperdinck figured quite large in The Balcombe Street Siege that took place in December 1975 in Marylebone, London NW1. Four members of a PIRA "Active Service Unit" took John & Sheila Matthews hostage in their flat at 22 Balcombe Street after an attack on Scott's Restaurant in Mayfair was foiled by a major police undercover operation. The ASU was chased by two unarmed MP units - one with a Sweeney DI and a PS from Paddington Green who cornered the terrorists is a mews at the rear of Balcombe Street - although shot at, the two officers maintained their positions and the ASU were forced to break into a nearby apartment - the Matthews' place. The siege lasted for six days during which Sheila Matthews kept up her spirits by playing Englebert's songs - I'm not sure if it was that or the message that the SAS had arrived on scene that provoked the terrorists to surrender. A week or so after the end of the siege, Engelbert was a surprise guest at a party in the Matthews' flat - I was on a fixed point with a (W) PC when he arrived and she wouldn't let him enter until she searched him thoroughly and he was only too happy to oblige! "Those were the days" (Mary Hopkin)
  13. OldAfricaHand

    Police Threaten Action Over Pay

    As a former Met special and having worked around the world, I realise just how fortunate we are in UK to have a Police Service that is, with a very few exceptions, a body of people with a high level of integrity and professionalism. I also recognise that the men and women in the front line put their lives on-the-line every day. To go back on a long-standing pay agreement demonstrates that the Government are not being honest in their commitment to law and order. I suspect that the Government's commitment is to having the appearance of concern for law and order - hence their efforts to recruit PCSOs (in reality probably not much cheaper than a PC) - whose role seems to be eroding the professionalism in the Police service. I believe that the current acrimony between Bliar and Brown will mean that the agreement does go ahead but it will only be after a lot of public wrangling to demonstrate Bliar's support for the Police. I guess I am being cynical and, particularly at this time when the Police Service is under such enormous pressure due to the threat of terrorism, I cannot understand the attitude of politicians who under-value the efforts being made - efforts which can only be undertaken by police officersand others in the security services. A professional Police Service is the last bastion for civilisation - I hope this will be recognised. To all those guys and girls patrolling the streets - take care, the silent majority are behind you - maybe the Federation should seek to stimulate the silence into noise!
  14. OldAfricaHand

    Should have got 10!

    I wonder if such a case had been prosecuted in the days before the CPS whether the Hampshire Constabulary's lawyer might have been able to secure a more appropriate sentence. Based on no evidence whatsoever - except a "gut" instinct - I often wonder whether there was greater commitment, on the part of Police prosecuting officers and those they briefed, to obtaining justice for victims than there is from the CPS. I hope there will be someone waiting to talk to Mr Hewitt when he is eventually released; they will, perhaps, be able to explain to him the error of his ways. I hope PC Parsonage gets back to full fitness again - she sounds like the sort of person that the Police Service - and its ungrateful public - cannot do without!
  15. OldAfricaHand

    Russia recruits Women only for RTD

    You are spot-on Tony, all the forces you mentioned had good reputations. Even 10 years ago, the Zimbabwe Police were still quite a good bunch of guys - fairly honest & competent. The South African Police Service has also diminished in effectiveness as many experienced officers - both black and white - left after the change in government in the mid-1990s. (Black officers had particular problems because sadly they were seen as "traitors" by many South Africans). About the only reputable Police force left in Africa is the Botswana Police (the Bechuanaland Mounted Police prior to independence in 1966) - their traffic police are particularly competent as they are much busier because crime is relatively low. Corruption is almost unheard of, there's no "negotiation" over traffic tickets and every FPN / ticket payment is receipted. I worked alongside some Kenya Police in Nairobi in the late 80s - quite a number of the senior officers had been trained at the West Yorkshire Training School - including their then Commissioner, who'd done a stint as a PC in (I think) Leeds!
  16. OldAfricaHand

    Russia recruits Women only for RTD

    I've done a lot of work in Zambia, it's the same there - don't try to talk your way out of a traffic ticket from a female traffic officer it wont happen! Now with a male Traffpol, there's always a good chance of reaching some form of accommodation - even if it's only giving him a lift back to his "nick"!
  17. OldAfricaHand

    Confused of London

    I suspect the matter hinges upon the different between "wilful obstruction" and "blind incompetence" - those guilty of wilful obstruction may be arrested; those guilty of "blind incompetence" will probably get promoted .................. Sorry, shouldn't be a cynic but it's the same in many public sector organisations not just the Police Force ...oops sorry ........... Service! I seem to recall reading that British troops in the First World war were characterised as "Lions led by Donkeys" .......... I wonder if it's an appropriate thing to say about policing today (except there are some good guv'nors - and I'm sure they do their best to support & lead their teams)?
  18. GMP's Assistant Chief Constable responsible for criminal justice and diversity is heralding the increasing number of police officers due to march in the Manchester (Gay) Pride festival this weekend. I am wondering whether it is really appropriate for police officers in uniform to be involved in a public display. Any views? Brian
  19. OldAfricaHand

    PC Rick Gostage

    A very sad loss. I am sure that the Police "family" will rally round PC Gostage's family - they will need all the support that can be given - I hope his Force will deal with the associated bureacracy in a sensitive and caring way. When I hear of a Police death, I'm reminded of the words of Binyon: "They grow not old, as we that are left grow old; Age shall not weary them nor the years condemn; At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them" May He Rest In Peace
  20. OldAfricaHand

    Malaga passenger defends actions

    I saw these two guys interviewed on GM-TV (as was one of the passengers); they certainly appeared the sort who might try to be "funny" and one of them was quite firm about wanting to get compensation from someone for their treatment. What makes me very cynical about them is that they admitted that they had only flown to Malaga earlier the same day - they were "checking it out" to see if it was a suitable place to go on holiday after they had finished their upcoming exams ..... interesting, in almost all UK universities, the only exams coming up are the re-sits for those who failed their exams in June/July....... so maybe they are just "not the sharpest pencils in the box"?
  21. OldAfricaHand

    the BBC engaging in a spot of dredging!

    You have to realise that there are plenty of people in the BBC who are antagonistic towards established institutions and, using the guise that their audience have a right to know what is going on, or in this case, to be remided about what went on, will dredge up anything they can to discredit established institutions - of which the Police is truly the one always in the frontline. Personally, I don't want a BBC that is a "poodle" of the Government but, similarly, I would like them to be an organisation that highlights the good things in our society - after all, we pay for their services; so we might expect they make some effort at achieving a balanced view of UK.
  22. OldAfricaHand

    London’s terror scare looks from Beirut

    From any standpoint, the terror visited on Beiruit and other parts of Lebanon and on a number of towns and villages in Israel is unacceptable - and clearly the work of "politicians" (elected or not) who seek to assert their power over ordinary people and maintain their position for whatever reason. There are reasonable arguments on both sides of the Israel - Palestine situation and, in the end, only negotiation will lead to any resolution. My feeling is that it is time for the Israeli's (as the ones in the most powerful position) to make some concessions - such as evacuating all the land they acquired by conquest - this will leave their opponents with no credible argument and, hopefully, allow moderate Palestinians (and there are very many who simply want peace and to be able to get on with life, raise their kids etc) to prevail and will deny Iran & Syria the reason for being involved through Hezbollah-proxies. As far as Fisk's comments about the Met and the Deputy Commissioner are concerned, I 'd ignore him - I assume he's a journalist and, I guess, he had to deliver a piece to meet his contractual requirements to his paper and the Deputy Commissioner was a suitably high-profile figure to have a go at - amazing how often journalists are destructive rather than constructive in their comments. Undoubtedly, the Met are doing a great job. Yes, it is sad about the Brazilian who was shot but that's life - I believe the officers concerned took action in good faith - we cannot ask more than that and, after all, we need to recognise that they took that action on behalf of society as a whole not in their personal capacity. I am cynical enough to wonder now if the incident isn't being milked for all it's worth - including a pay-out to his family (but maybe I am being unkind?). My real concern is for the ordinary people on all sides who have little or no influence on events but are the ones who actually suffer. I am always mindful that "One man's terrorist is another man's freedom-fighter"; I guess it will ever be thus! It is interesting to speculate how history will view the current situation a 100 years from now.
  23. I was surprised to read in today's "Times" that Sir Ian Blair believes that London is returning to an era of neighbourliness and low crime in which people are happy to leave their front doors open. Whilst I am sure that there are many instances of the "new" neighbourhood policing teams having an impact on crime in their areas, perhaps Sir Ian is being a little optimistic. If so, perhaps it suggests a return to "old"-style Dixon of Dock Green policing might be long overdue! My policing experience is limited to 26 years as a Met Special on the old "D" division / district / 8 Area - at Paddington Green, Harrow Road & Marylebone - where the neighbourhoods are relatively small and there always seemed to be home beat officers who knew what was going on almost before it happened ........... but maybe I'm guilty of only remembering the good bits - when a team of specials actively patrolled (3 times a week) the Mozart & Queen's Park estates to relieve regulars to deal with the blood and guts on the rest of the ground. Am I being cynical or are locksmith's soon to be out of a job in London? Brian
  24. OldAfricaHand

    More Police march in Manchester Pride

    That's my view - seems a bit out of place really
  25. OldAfricaHand

    Does UK Foreign Policy Cause Terrorism?

    Whatever the rights and wrongs of any of the arguments on this topic, the one thing you can be certain about is that Islamic (and other religions') fundamentalists (terrorists or not) would not allow such debate to take place. The fundamentalists believe in only one interpretation - THEIRS - which, of course, can be "adapted" to suit their evolving needs. I was in the Gulf during the Gulf War and an ageing Arab (the head of his country's interior ministry) I worked with hit the nail on the head when he said he couldn't understand the philosophical differences betweem Moslems, Jews and Christians because they all had more in common than they had differences; so he just assumed the problems were caused by individuals seeking to gain personal power and using disaffected youths to achieve their aims. I have some sympathy with this view - and extend it beyond the Moslems to the other religions as well. Truth to tell, religion as a route to power has been the seed of war and discontent for so long - if the current situation every gets resolved, I suspect that other "disputes" will occur that find their roots in religious differences. Having said that, I still believe it right for people to have religious freedom but with the caveat that it should not interfere with other peoples' way of life - an over-optimistic idea, I know! Who really knows what the impact of our foreign policy might be - the politicians? Well, they should know because in reaching decisions they should be making strategic and tactical evaluations of the consequences - or am I being unrealistic? One thing that worries me about our present Prime Minister is his readiness to portray himself as religious - I think it's a "qualification" best kept out of politics. My final (& most important point) is that we should be grateful to the men and women of our Police and Armed Forces who are on the front-line every day in the battle to ensure, amongst many other things, that we have the freedom to continue to have fora like this one in which we can agree / disagree depending on our personal views, experience and, maybe sometimes, plain pigheaded-ness!