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Techie1

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Everything posted by Techie1

  1. Force is set to introduce extra leave for personnel, and head is also determined to help officers' finances as much as he can. CC Bill Skelly spoke to Police Oracle in his office in Nettleham, Lincs Extra days off are set to be introduced at a force in order to keep officers and staff healthy and motivated. Lincolnshire Police Chief Constable Bill Skelly says he is putting wellbeing at the front and centre of his agenda – and may even look to tackle pension issues. In an interview with PoliceOracle.com, he said: “I have two organisational goals I want to achieve: one is around the quality of service I deliver to the public of Lincolnshire, and the other is around wellbeing. I feel that if I have a healthy, a happy and a well organisation, then that supports the first goal.” The chief, who started in his role in February, has immediately set out a number of ideas which he feels could help this – including extra days of paid leave. “I’ve said if you’re involved in a Police Sport UK activity you can have up to three days paid leave per year. “I know the data will tell me individuals who take that up are less likely to be sick so it’s a zero-sum for me.” He added: “This isn’t just about those who are going to want to be active anyway – it’s my intention that every member of staff will have access to two days paid leave per year to be involved in some kind of [non-sporting] activity [as well]. "I’m open-minded about what that could be." He gave examples of charity or youth work, adding: "The idea is that it’s being more active than you would otherwise be." The former HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary in Scotland added that while the financial situation means that he cannot bring more officers into the force at present, he is determined to support those who serve as much as he possibly can. The 27-year-service officer, a keen police volleyball player, is also looking at having a non-mandatory higher standard for the police fitness test for Lincolnshire Police, better access to gym facilities and adopting a goal of trying to make his force the “healthiest in the country”. A new “wellbeing coordinator” has just been appointed in order to help the chief’s ideas become reality. “People who join Lincolnshire Police are here for a long time, if you’re a new starter you could be here for 40 years,” he said, explaining part of why he feels it is so important to boost health and happiness. PoliceOracle.com put it to him that it is often said policing is no longer a job for life, and therefore not something new recruits will be doing for four decades. CC Skelly replied that the things which inspired him to become an officer – a sense of fairness, justice and duty – are the same as why people join today, and those traits do not disappear throughout peoples' careers. “Why is it we’re talking across the service a language that suggests people may come and go? I suggest that’s because it’s difficult to contemplate in the current employment market the incentives which will allow people to stay for that duration. “I personally think much of that is motivated by pensions, and if I’m wrong I’m happy to be corrected, but if it’s not a main driver it is certainly one of the drivers.” He recounted being told about concerns people have about their financial security around their incomings and outgoings, and also police pension schemes changing after they have been signed-up to. “I think there’s a real risk to us as a service that we start locking in or locking out people from a career because of the financial arrangements, in particular because of the pension arrangements. “That’s something I’m keen to explore with financial colleagues, to say - if we start were to start with a blank piece of paper and have some innovative thinking how could we support people? I do see it as part of the wellbeing agenda.” When it was put to him that he is heavily constrained in this area, he replied: “I’ve been told that a couple of times, but you need to tell me that more often before I believe you. There are very strict rules and many complexities to that, but there is still a question in my mind that says – what are the alternatives? What can be explored? “If it is of benefit to the public because I have a happy workforce, a workforce that feels valued, that is of benefit to me. "What are the costs involved? For that I need actuaries, pension advisers, lawyers. But I think accepting a straightforward ‘no’ at this point is not doing my employees any good, and I think I need to be a bit more intrusive around that. “If the answer is legislation and regulation has got you tied, well, then I go to government and say here’s where you can perhaps help.” View on Police Oracle
  2. Techie1

    Volvo cars

    Not just Volvo either. A colleague was saying he'd heard the same in another dealership. Might have been BMW if I remember correctly.
  3. Officer nominated for Police Bravery Award after apprehending suicidal woman doused in lighter fluid. PC Melanie Earnshaw. A Gloucestershire constable who stopped a woman from setting fire to herself on her first day in a new patch has been nominated for a national Police Bravery Award. On her first day she was called to attend an incident in Gloucester – a female had called the suicide helpline. When there was no answer at the address, PC Melanie Earnshaw continued to try and find the woman, before eventually getting her to open the door and talk to her. The woman had discharged herself from hospital and seemed calm, but suddenly then doused herself and PC Earnshaw in lighter fluid as the officer tried to wrestle it from her. The female then took a lighter and was about to ignite it, but despite being significantly smaller in stature, PC Earnshaw was able to grab the lighter from her. The woman then attempted to barricade herself in her bedroom, but quick-thinking PC Earnshaw prevented that by using herself as a doorstop, causing bruising from the top of her shoulder down to her elbow. The woman was later assessed under the mental health act. PC Earnshaw was extremely shaken by what had happened in the two-hour long ordeal. She said afterwards: “I remember thinking this is the scariest scenario I have ever faced at work and couldn’t help but think of my little girl who was at home.” Her line manager, Sgt Paul Cruise, added: “PC Earnshaw, recognising the level of despondency exhibited by a very vulnerable female and realising that time was of the essence, bravely made the decision to engage with her prior to additional units arriving on the scene. “PC Earnshaw acted courageously when she entered into a physical struggle to take the lighter fluid and lighter from the female, inadvertently contaminating herself with lighter fluid and placing her own welfare at considerable risk in a bid to safeguard that of the female. “Bravery of this nature is exhibited by but a few and thoroughly deserves the highest level of recognition." Sarah Johnson, chair of Gloucestershire Police Federation, said: “PC Earnshaw was thrown into a new territory, which in itself is challenging, never mind coming across an incident as severe as this. She dealt with a frightening and unpredictable situation and she should be commended for that – she is thoroughly deserving of this nomination.” View on Police Oracle
  4. Legal protection is not sufficient to carry out any manoeuvre a member of the public cannot and government won't listen, staff association says. The Police Federation of England and Wales has sent a letter to forces warning drivers over the lack of protection the law gives them. The staff association is warning they have barely any legal rights and should not carry out any manoeuvre that a non-police driver would not. Under existing law, emergency service workers are only permitted to ignore traffic signs and speed limits and the Fed has long said these are insufficient safeguards. The traffic sign is void if there is any element of risk to the public, and the speed limit safeguard does not stop charges of careless driving being brought. After years of highlighting the issue to politicians to no avail, the Fed has now written to forces to point out: "Officers have a sworn duty and must uphold that duty. "Officers should drive in a way which is lawful and does not contravene the laws of dangerous or careless driving. "Officers are advised not to undertake any manoeuvre which may well fall outside the standard of the careful and competent non-police driver." It adds: “A typical response or pursuit drive is likely to involve the officer contravening traffic signs and or speed limits. A course of driving involving contravention of traffic signs and speed limits is very likely to fall within the definition of careless or dangerous driving. “Officers are required by law to drive to the standard of the careful and competent driver. Not the careful and competent police driver, the careful and competent (non-police) driver. This is the standard police drivers will be held to. “There are no legal exemptions from the offences of careless or dangerous driving. Any such drives are therefore likely to be unlawful, placing the driver at risk of prosecution and proceedings for gross misconduct.” It points out its advice follows the IPCC recently directing a force to bring proceedings against an officer for gross misconduct for careless driving. The Fed would not clarify to Police Oracle which case or force this referred to, but in April Greater Manchester Police constable Simon Folwell was the subject of a similar case. PC Folwell was pursuing 24-year-old Luke Campbell, who died after crashing into another car. GMP disagreed with the watchdog’s findings but it was nevertheless directed to open proceedings against the officer. In January the Fed revealed more than 100 officers had been pursued over on duty driving matters in the preceding 18 months. In a statement, Tim Rogers, the Police Federation of England and Wales’ (PFEW) lead on roads policing, said: “We are keen to remind our drivers that they should drive within the law. “Legal advice has recently highlighted that police response and pursuit drives 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.” View on Police Oracle
  5. Scientists looked at how social media could be used as a source of information during disruptive events. Twitter could have been used to detect serious incidents such as cars being set alight and shops being looted up to an hour earlier than they were reported to police during the 2011 riots, researchers have said. Computer scientists from Cardiff University looked at how social media could be used as a source of information for police during major disruptive events, analysing data from the disturbances six years ago. They found that in all but two reported incidents, a computer system automatically scanning Twitter feeds could have alerted officers earlier. Co-author of the study Dr Pete Burnap, from Cardiff University's School of Computer Science and Informatics, said: "In this research we show that online social media are becoming the go-to place to report observations of everyday occurrences - including social disorder and terrestrial criminal activity. "We will never replace traditional policing resource on the ground but we have demonstrated that this research could augment existing intelligence-gathering and draw on new technologies to support more established policing methods." The study comes after West Midlands Chief Constable Dave Thompson claimed on Friday that police would face "real challenges" tackling a repeat of the 2011 riots following years of budget cuts. It showed that on average the computer systems could pick up on disruptive events several minutes before officials and more than an hour in some cases. The research team, which believes the work could enable police officers to better manage and prepare for both large and small-scale disruptive events, analysed 1.6 million tweets relating to the 2011 riots in England, which were sparked by the police shooting of Mark Duggan in London and started as an isolated incident in Tottenham on August 6 but quickly spread across London and other cities in England. Vandalism and looting spread to Birmingham, Bristol and Manchester over the following few days, with more than 5,000 crimes committed. A total of 16,000 officers were deployed in London on one night alone in a bid to quell the violence. The researchers used machine-learning algorithms to look at each of the tweets, taking into account a number of key features such as the time they were posted, the location where they were posted and the content of the tweet itself. The results showed the system could have alerted police to reports of disorder in Enfield, Greater London, one hour and 23 minutes earlier, they said. Dr Nasser Alsaedi, who recently completed his PhD at Cardiff under the supervision of Dr Burnap, said: "Coming from a policing background myself, I see the need for this type of cutting-edge research every day. "I wanted to develop a thesis that could have a real impact in real-world policing. I would like to see this implemented alongside the established decision-making processes." View on Police Oracle
  6. In the current context Sophie Linden says the Met cannot afford any further savings or spending reductions. Ms Linden believes the Met does not have enough resources to meet its needs The Deputy Mayor says the “safety and security” of Londoners is under threat if budget cuts to the Metropolitan Police Service continue. Sophie Linden warned the “fundamental question” of meeting bare minimum funding requirements is not being met and any further reduction will put people at risk. Addressing London Assembly members at a meeting of the budget and performance committee today, Ms Linden said the force is already bracing itself for several more years of restricted finances. She said: “The Met are facing one of the most fundamental challenges around keeping this city safe with an increase in violent crime. “This on top of really significant budget challenges. The Met took £600m out of the budget over the last four years and is expecting another £400m over the next four years. “On top of that we are facing a funding formula revue which (in its last form) would have cuts of between £184m and £700m. “These are really, really challenging times and we do not think the Met can take anymore budget cuts or savings. “If the fundamental question is ‘does this challenge the safety and security of Londoners?’ we think it will if this continues and we have to take police officer numbers out of the police service. “The position is incredibly challenging, if we continue in this way it is going to be incredibly difficult to keep people safe.” Met Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey was less forthright but told assembly members the force is “stretched” and if the current threat level is “the new normal” then resource needs would have to be reassessed. He said: “Do we have the necessary resources to keep Londoners safe? I think clearly at the moment in terms of work we are doing and work over the last three months we have seen a changing situation in and around London. “We have seen three attacks in the last few weeks and that has put quite a stretch into the system in terms of what we do, that’s not just stretched across counter terrorism command it’s stretched across the policing system. “We have the resources to cope with what we are doing at the moment, as the Commissioner has said, clearly in light of what we are seeing at the moment what we need to work through collectively is ‘is this the new normal? The new normal level of violence?’ and if it is whether we have the resources needed to deal with it.” Deputy Commissioner Mackey also told assembly members officers across the capital are “feeling hard pressed” but continue to work “incredibly hard” in the “true spirit” of London. He added: “If you talk to officers and staff around the boroughs, as I know some of you do, they feel very hard pressed at the moment, there is a lot of work and a lot of demand on the system. “In the true spirit of the Metropolitan Police Service and the true spirit of this city they are coping incredibly well but they are working incredibly hard to keep us in that situation.” View on Police Oracle
  7. Lord Ian Blair warns the Met will be a quarter less in size than when he left the force. Lord Ian Blair A former Metropolitan Police commissioner says it would be "an absurdity" to further cut the force's funding after recent events in London. Lord Ian Blair called for a rethink over plans to cut hundreds of millions of pounds from the force's budget, saying this would leave the Met a quarter of the size it was when he left office in 2008. London Mayor Sadiq Khan has warned the city has lost "thousands of police staff" since 2010, while the current Met Commissioner Cressida Dick said she would "obviously" be seeking extra resources. "I think the crucial point now is to understand the cuts being considered, certainly for the Met, need reconsideration," Lord Blair told BBC Radio 4's Today programme. "As far as I understand it they're supposed to lose a further £400 million by 2021, on top of £600 million in the last few years. "That means the Met must be a quarter less in size than when I left." Lord Blair, now a crossbench peer, went on to call for "no cuts", adding: "Looking at what is happening, the idea of continuously cutting the police service's budget seems an absurdity at this stage." Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackay has said the Westminster and London Bridge attacks had put a "lot of stretch" on the Metropolitan Police. The Metropolitan Police Federation has also warned that officers are fatigued and "stretched beyond belief" after a string of major incidents. Lord Blair said these incidents would put extra pressure on specialist officers such as counter terrorism, adding: "It just seems a very strange time to be reducing the capabilities of a service which is holding the line against some terrible events." The former commissioner said neighbourhood policing is crucial to building trust with communities, but is very difficult to maintain when major incidents happen and officers are needed elsewhere. Lord Blair said it was "no surprise" Monday's attack at Finsbury Park Mosque had happened. "There is this kind of new landscape of terrorism, which the new commissioner Cressida Dick described, where the weapons are knives from kitchens or just hiring a van," he said. "It does create a very difficult problem for the police." View on Police Oracle
  8. Recruitment drive is aimed at individuals inside and outside policing. There are 32 different roles available as part of the initiative The Metropolitan Police Service is set to recruit 100 “change professionals” to help “transform” delivery of service. It says the force is “ever evolving” and needs “talented” people to help it adapt against a “backdrop of ever changing crime patterns and a challenging budget.” As such the force is advertising 100 vacancies across 32 different roles and is looking for people from inside and outside policing. Director of people and change in the Met’s human resources department, Robin Wilkinson, says the type of work being undertaken is unrivalled. He said: “The breadth of work our new Transformation Directorate will undertake is unrivalled in any industry. The work impacts on how the Met safeguards the most vulnerable people in society, how the Met tackles and disrupts crime, through to ensuring we have the right people available to respond quickly and professionally in times of need. "We are looking for change professionals from a variety of disciplines working in Portfolio and Programme Delivery, Integrated Design and Delivery and Business Change roles. Professionals with experience in communications and engagement, risk management, operating model design and project management are just a few of those we need to ensure our team is complete. "In joining the Met you will be part of our Transformation Directorate. You will work in a professional change role which will face the challenge of delivering complex change right across the Met without risking operational delivery." Sam Upton, a blueprint and insight manager at the transformation directorate described the work the department does as ‘hugely rewarding’. He said: “I have always been a passionate problem solver and was initially attracted to the Met by the prospect of tackling some of London's most challenging issues. "That passion has taken me on a hugely varied and rewarding journey over the last 12 years to include supporting operating model design work covering virtually all the Met's local policing services in London. "I can't think of many organisations where you can take that professional journey whilst at the same time having so much fun, making so many lifelong friends and being so regularly humbled by the dedication and professionalism of others." View on Police Oracle
  9. Damian Green given prominent Cabinet post. Brandon Lewis has won promotion The Policing and Fire Minister post is now vacant, following the promotion of Brandon Lewis to a more senior role. The Great Yarmouth MP who fared well in the General Election unlike many of his Conservative Party colleagues – increasing his majority – is now Immigration Minister in the Home Office. During the election campaign he appeared at the Police Federation Conference in Birmingham – where delegates groaned at his claims that crime is down and that police officer numbers are not the Home Office’s responsibility. In an article for The Times today, he writes: "I have worked closely with Mrs May; her steely determination in turbulent times is one of her great strengths and that’s what we need right now. "I believe she needs to stay on as our prime minister." One of his predecessors in the role, Damian Green, has been promoted to First Secretary of State, effectively making him Theresa May’s deputy. Amber Rudd remains Home Secretary, while David Lidington has taken over from Liz Truss as Justice Secretary. It is not yet known when a new Policing Minister will be chosen. View on Police Oracle
  10. Chairman described it as "political interference" in operational decisions. Sarah Johnson reacted furiously to the announcement The chairman of Gloucestershire Police Federation is “beyond angry” with the force after it announced it would not “rush in” to using spit guards. Sarah Johnson accused Gloucestershire Police, as well as the police and crime commissioner, of “interfering in operational policing decisions” following the announcement on Wednesday. Ms Johnson claimed the force breached an agreement already in place when Gloucestershire Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl intervened. She said: “Protecting police officers from being spat at is paramount. We had an agreement in place in force to begin a trial of spit guards in custody suites. And now this had been put on hold following an intervention by PCC Martin Surl. “Our members will rightly be asking why he is getting involved in operational policing decisions, which are a matter for the Chief Constable. “Police officers will also be left feeling that the Police and Crime Commissioner and the force are basically saying it is ok for people to spit at them.” Ms Johnson said she would be taking the matter up urgently with both the force and the office of the PCC as she believes every officer in Gloucestershire should have one. She continued: “Spitting at a police officer is horrible but then there is also the potential that – should the spit go in their mouths – there will be sometimes up to a six month programme whereby officers have to be tested and maybe take drugs to make sure that they haven’t contracted a contagious disease. “This means that the officers may not be able to be intimate with their family, might not be able to cuddle their children or might not be able to visit ill relatives, so it’s not only the impact on that day, it’s for a long time thereafter. “A lot of stress and worry comes with that.” PCC Surl insists he is “yet to be convinced” spit guards are an effective solution. He said: “I know from personal experience that any attack on officers carrying out their duties is completely unacceptable, and that extra protection is sometimes necessary. But the use of spit guards has caused controversy in other parts of the country with claims they breach suspects’ rights and could even be dangerous. “The chief constable and I are in total agreement that the safety of our staff is paramount, but I am yet to be convinced that spit guards are the answer. “This is a highly emotive issue that should not be rushed into without public engagement and any other consultation that may be appropriate.” More than half of Police Federation members across the country are in favour of spit guards, as is the current Home Secretary Amber Rudd. Gloucestershire Chief Constable Rod Hansen says “pause for thought” is the ideal path forward. He said: “This is an issue that divides opinion even within the service. Some regard them as a necessary and an essential restraint; others see them as impractical and maybe even inflammatory. “We already have the power to use reasonable force against citizens when it is deemed appropriate. If we can find a solution that suits everyone, including my officers and staff as well as for suspects, all of whom I have a duty of care towards, then further pause for thought is the right course to take”. View on Police Oracle
  11. Former chief superintendent calls for routine arming of all officers as a greater priority. The newly installed barriers at Westminster Bridge on Monday morning. Photo: Press Association Barriers have appeared on bridges at the request of police following the second vehicle attack on one of the London landmarks this year. But there are differing views on how much safer this makes the public. Manufacturers claim they can reduce the number of officers needing to be deployed, but a former counter terror commander believes they are minor and has renewed his call for routine arming of officers. Met Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley announced the latest installation on Sunday night, and the barriers have been erected to protect pavements in areas including Westminster Bridge and London Bridge. Such barriers can stop a 7.5 tonne vehicle travelling at up to 50 mph. But at a cost of around £675 per metre they do not come cheap. Jonathan Goss, MD of Townscape Products, a company which makes similar devices to the ones installed on the bridges, said: “Terrorism has taken an unforeseen turn over the past year and those that wish to undermine our way of life have begun using vehicles to cause mass harm. “To address this threat head on – we need to keep vehicles and pedestrians separate by using intelligently positioned barriers.” He claimed they are more effective than armed police at keeping pedestrians safe as they will stop vehicles completely. “When it comes to hardening our urban environment to protect us against terrorist attacks, authorities need to start by focussing their efforts on the most at-risk public areas to make best use of any available budget. “Once these locations have been identified, the sole job of blocks, barriers, bollards and planters is to ensure that vehicles cannot access the public area in question,” he added. Designs such as plant pots can make them blend in with their surrounding without being too obvious. Last year Lord Toby Harris’ review of counter-terrorism measures in the capital, commissioned by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, recommended that such barriers in the Westminster area receive more funding from the Home Office. The Labour peer wrote: “Following the lessons of the Nice attacks, these could allow more effective mitigation of similar attacks here than the expensive systems that are currently in place. “A business case for these flexible barriers has previously been considered by the Home Office, but may be revisited. They should review this urgently and move to fund a solution.” The peer told PoliceOracle.com in May that he was yet to receive a government response to his report. He put this down to the purdah period which followed Theresa May’s calling of the snap General Election. But Kevin Hurley, former Surrey PCC and a counter-terror lead in the City of London Police, told Police Oracle: “I think for the prominent and tiny section of our busy roads yes you can protect with those barriers but the reality is terrorists will just run people over any else where there isn’t a barrier. “If you can’t constrain the movements of the attacker they will carry on until the specialist firearms officers get there. “The only way to stop an attack is to shoot them immediately, that means all response officers should carry a side arm. He cited the seriously injured BTP officer who faced the attackers near Borough Market armed just with a baton as an example of the pressing need for this. “Anyone who says otherwise had never personally had to face down someone with a knife wants to stab him to death,” he added. View on Police Oracle
  12. The victim of the hoax complained officers had not properly investigated the matter. (Credit: Stephen Barnes) The Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland has found officers did properly investigate a bogus Facebook page which a man claimed put his family at risk. The finding comes despite the case failing to land a prosecution due to a lack of available evidence. Last year the man contacted the Police Service of Northern Ireland after a fake Facebook profile was created in his name which contained photos, information about his family and his home address. He said allegations posted on the page could put his family at risk. When the following investigation failed to result in prosecution for the person responsible he complained to the Ombudsman’s office alleging officers had failed to properly investigate the incident. However, after examining inquiries made by the force, a Police Ombudsman investigator found “no evidence” of misconduct by officers involved. She found officers had progressed all reasonable lines of enquiry and the Public Prosecution Service had not found any gaps in the file provided by the force. PSNI officers were able to trace the IP address used to upload the information but a number of people had access to it and they were unable to ascertain which of them had published the information. A spokesman for the PONI said: “There was an absence of clear evidence to identify the offender and the PPS could not be satisfied that there was a reasonable prospect of conviction. “They therefore directed ‘no prosecution’, but this was not due to any issues with the police investigation.” View on Police Oracle
  13. Over-worked detective sergeants will be given help in bringing new investigators through. The Met is drafting in a team of retired detectives as police staff to take some of the load off its stretched workforce. The force is recruiting “investigative coaches” whose job will be to help trainee detectives get to grips with the role. Scotland Yard has a serious shortage of investigators at its disposal with an ever increasing workload for those that remain. The new recruitment coincides with a push to bring in direct entry detectives. Det Chief Supt Stephen Clayman told PoliceOracle.com: “We’re hiring investigators at the moment, these are ex-cops who are retiring and coming back as police staff. "Their only role is to support TDCs [trainee detective constables], not just these [direct entry] TDCs, all TDCs. “That's us listening to the workforce – detective sergeants said they haven’t got time to supervise them or push them through and help them, so they'll have these coaches.” The force says the coaches will work on borough teams and have responsibility for coaching and advising trainees. Detective sergeants will not be fully taken away from their responsibility for helping constables, according to information released by the force, which states that the new coaches will "provide support to detective sergeants" in this respect. Retired detective Jackie Malton, who now works as a consultant for crime dramas, said: “I think it’s a great idea. There are many retired detectives who are quite young, committed and interested. “People who have 30-years expertise as a detective can teach new people a lot and they can give something back. Also being around young people will benefit them too, they will learn things themselves.” View on Police Oracle
  14. Charity currently developing mental health support for emergency services workers. A survey by mental health charity Mind has revealed workplace wellbeing support is worse in police forces and other public sector work places than in the private sector. The charity surveyed over 12,000 employees across the public and private sectors and found a higher prevalence of mental health problems in the public sector, as well as a lack of support available when people do speak up. Mind’s survey found that public sector workers, including police officers, were over a third more likely to say their mental health was poor than their peers in the private sector and far more likely to say they have felt anxious at work in the last month. The charity is calling on the next government to make mental health in the workplace a key priority. Mind was awarded LIBOR funding to develop and deliver a major programme of mental health support for emergency services staff and volunteers from police, fire, ambulance and search and rescue services across England from April 2015. Additional funding has meant services can now be rolled out across Wales. A number of organisations have signed the Blue Light pledge to develop action plans to support their staff and volunteers. Mind’s General Election 2017 manifesto Making it Happen sets out six key priorities for the next government, to help ensure people with mental health problems can access the services and support they need to live full independent lives. Police Oracle's BluePrint campaign calls on the government to meet its obligation of protecting our officers both in the job and when they have been forced out of the service because of physical injuries or mental trauma. In March we revealed 60 per cent of police officers believe their workload is too high. The statistic was revealed in a survey which illustrates how officers face an increase in demand which is affecting the quality of their work. Eighty per cent of respondents acknowledged experiencing feelings of stress, low mood, anxiety, or other mental health and wellbeing difficulties. At the Police Federation's conference last month, the staff association outlined further aspects of its Protect the Protectors initiative with Vice Chairman Calum Macleod stating the campaign "shows the human cost to policing". He said: "We all have family, feelings and frailty and we are all breakable. Yet every day, police officers put themselves in harm’s way.” Also at the conference former North Yorkshire Police sergeant Ed Simpson, who has medically retired from the force on mental health grounds,insisted more attention should be paid to the number of officers and ex-officers who suffer. Mr Simpson said there was an imbalance between what chiefs say and the reality of mental health issues in the force. He also claimed officer suicide numbers would receive greater attention if they were deaths in the line of duty. .In April we called for a review of sentences for those convicted of assaulting an officer. An anecdote of a chief constable telling officers at a shift briefing he "did not want to hear" about mental health also raised eyebrows during the conference. NPCC head Sara Thornton said she was "surprised and disappointed" by the news while Matthew Scott, Police and Crime Commissioner for Kent, insisted this type of matter was an area in which PCCs could be of use. Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, said: “Mental health is one of the biggest domestic issues facing the next government. More people than ever are speaking out about mental health and demanding change. As a nation our expectations for better mental health for all are higher than ever and the next government must rise to this challenge. “A vital part of changing the lives of people with mental health problems is to tackle the culture of fear and silence in the workplace that stops people opening up about what they are experiencing. This data shows that the public sector in particular is making progress here. But it’s also vital that when people do speak out they get the right help and support at the right time. It’s clear there is still a long way to go in both the public and private sector to address the gap between people asking for support and actually getting what they need. “By promoting wellbeing for all staff, tackling the causes of work-related mental health problems and supporting staff who are experiencing mental health problems, organisations can help keep people at work and create mentally healthy workplaces where people are supported to perform at their best. “The current government funded Mind to put in place support for emergency services staff, through our Blue Light programme, but it is clear that workplace wellbeing needs to be a priority throughout the public sector. We must see the next government commit to making change, as government and also as an employer themselves.” Via its BluePrint campaign, Police Oracle accuses the government of failing to meet its obligation of protecting our officers both in the job and, particularly, when they have been forced out of the service because of physical injuries or mental trauma. We call on the Government to acknowledge and protect our unique service, the best in the world as stated by politicians themselves, by introducing a Police Covenant. After the General Election Police Oracle will provide further details highlighting how police officers can get involved. For more on our campaign click here: BluePrint View on Police Oracle
  15. Pension schemes also at risk from incoming reforms to police recruitment, it is feared. Joan Donnelly from the Police Federation says she finds it 'shocking' that chiefs do not yet know what apprentices will be paid Chiefs have been criticised for not having decided what apprentices are going to be paid a year before the introduction of the new route into the job. Forces have already had an effective per cent budget cut as they are now paying 0.5 per cent of the cost of their total salaries towards the government’s apprenticeship levy. The College of Policing and NPCC have previously said that they want policing apprenticeships to be up and running in 2018. The reform is one of a myriad being planned by senior officers, including making having a degree a requirement for non-apprentices, and making most existing allowances part of pay. Proposals drawn up so far suggest that apprentices could be paid 20 per cent less than current probationer constables. Joan Donnelly, a researcher for the Police Federation of England and Wales, calculates that the average officer currently has a disposable income - after housing and bills are taken into account - of about £35 a month, and that the average starting age of an officer is 28. “We are concerned that an unintended consequence of reducing apprentices' wages so much is that policing will become a profession for 18-year-olds and no one else. “The unintended consequence will be on how policing is seen – a lack of life experience and a big change to the culture of policing,” she said. Mike Brown, also from the Fed, warned that the result could be further changes to existing and future pensions too. “There is a danger that less people will join police pension scheme, making it less sustainable. “And I don’t think anyone wants to see further changes in the police pension scheme,” he said. Chief Constable Francis Habgood, NPCC lead for pay issues, told the discussion which took place at the Police Federation Conference that the current police regulations make it difficult to design a new pay level for apprenticeships. He said: “Please don’t go out and think this is about a 20 per cent reduction, because that is something that was an option. “We do need to make sure that this is an attractive offer for everyone at any stage of their lives because that life experience is fantastic.” He added: “One of the things we do need to think about is […] in the future we’re going to have police officers coming in who have a degree and probably £50,000 plus of debt, or we’re going to have people coming in as an apprentice who will have zero debt because everything will be paid for and they will earn. “I don’t know what the right answer is […]. I think we need to look at what the market is doing in other sectors on high level apprenticeships.” But Ms Donnelly said: “I find it really shocking that you’re saying you don’t know what the pay will be for apprentices yet, and your saying you don’t know whether it will be a 20 per cent reduction – because this is going to be introduced, you’ve said it’s going to get lots of bright new talent in, but you don’t know what the offer is. These things are fundamental.” View on Police Oracle
  16. Pair honoured by force for their actions. PC James McQuaid, Chief Superintendent Mark Holland, PC Simon Williams Constables who saved the life of a woman stabbed 14 times and gathered enough evidence to convict her attacker have been given an award by their force. PC 3777 James McQuaid and PC 3184 Simon Williams of Nottinghamshire Police were the first on the scene to a report of an assault. The woman had been attacked by her partner – who was high on drugs and drunk – and had forced his way in and stabbed her at least 14 times with a hunting knife before fleeing the scene. The duo gave first aid to the victim, and reassured her until paramedics arrived. A statement from the force says: “They gained valuable evidence and recorded compelling first disclosures from the victim, which would assist with the prosecution of the offender, while continuing to act compassionately and sensitively towards the victim.” The offender was subsequently traced and arrested. “A detailed investigation followed, run by another commended and dedicated officer who also liaised with and gave support to the victim and her family. “Due to the quality of the evidence against the offender he pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent and was given a 10-year prison term plus four years on licence,” it adds. The officers, who are based at St Ann's Police Station in Nottingham, were presented with their certificates by Chief Superintendent Mark Holland. They have been used as an example in a PR campaign on why new recruits should join the force. View on Police Oracle
  17. Ex-Met marksman Tony Long talks exclusively to PoliceOracle.com about life as one of Britain's most high profile armed officers. Mr Long believes more officers will be required to carry firearms in the future For the majority of officers trained to use firearms, pulling the trigger in a live scenario is a remote prospect they hope never to face. But for one now retired officer in particular, not only did this situation occur more than once, it came to define his career and shape his life. Tony Long, 60, was involved in three fatal shootings and received seven commendations during his 33 year career as a specialist firearms officer with the Metropolitan Police Service, a record which carries with it both respect and notoriety. The shooting of Azelle Rodney is undoubtedly the incident most associated with Mr Long and the one which has had the most impact on his life and career, as well as the lives of others. Rodney, Frank Graham and Wesley Lovell were in a hired silver Volkswagen Golf driving across north London to carry out an armed robbery on rival drug dealers on April 30, 2005. Being trailed by several units they were seen collecting three weapons which intelligence suggested were MAC-10 sub-machine guns. As the car passed the Railway Tavern on Hale Lane, Barnet, it was subject to a hard stop by armed officers including Mr Long. At the moment the cars came to a stop, the former marksman has always maintained he saw Rodney duck down and re-emerge with his shoulders hunched as if preparing to open fire on his fellow officers. It was this action which prompted him to shoot the 24 year-old dead and which sparked ten years of investigations, a public inquiry, a murder trial, and the end of Mr Long’s career with the Met. As we sit down for a pint in a grand Victorian pub in east London, a short walk from his old unit HQ at 337 Old Street, Tony tells me Azelle Rodney would still be alive today if he had just put his hands up. He said: “If I could have seen his hands and I could have seen they were empty, I would not have shot him. “If he had ducked down and stayed down without springing back up, I would not have shot him. “If he had behaved in the same way as the other two men in the vehicle and just put his hands up he would have survived.” When asked if, in the moments, months and years since the shooting, he has ever doubted his decision that day he responded: “No. Never.” Previous to the Azelle Rodney incident Tony Long was involved in two other fatal shootings. He shot Errol Walker in 1986 after the 30-year-old had stabbed his sister in law to death, threw her out of a third floor window and stabbed her four-year-old daughter through the neck, as well shooting dead two armed robbers at an abattoir a year later. Walker was later convicted of the murder of Jackie Charles, 22. Candid and full of anecdotes about ‘The Job’ Mr Long held the air of a man weathered by his experiences but not dominated by them. He tells me it was not until years later he realised the impact of his employment on his family. He said: “In truth it’s probably had more of an impact on my family than me. With the first two (shootings) I was a young father with two young kids, I was very ‘job pissed’, I perhaps was not as sensitive as I could have been to the effect it was having on them. “It’s only years later that people admitted they did worry about me. “The trial had a big impact on my wife, we weren't even together at the time of the incident, she is a very strong character and not the type to tell you when something is bothering her. “It was only after the not guilty verdict when she had five minutes of emotion that I realised how much pressure I had put on them.” The 60-year-old maintains the job has not had any real impact on him as he was always “prepared” for what carrying a gun on behalf of the state entails. He said: “In terms of me I would like to think it has not had any real affect as far as I am concerned. “if you take the training seriously you understand what you are being asked to do and when you do have to do it, it shouldn’t be a surprise. “If I wasn’t prepared for that I wouldn’t have taken that career path.” Mr Long, who authored a book about his career Lethal Force following the completion of his trial for murder, believes more officers should be firearms trained and the concept of policing by consent needs to be better understood in terms of firearms. He said: “I think the problem is that we have gone from multi-skilled officers to a situation where all of our authorised shots are now specialists. “In the same way that we have a lot more Taser trained officers now I don’t see why you can’t have officers trained to use a handgun rather than needing to be a specialist trained firearms officer, we have a need for specialists but you also need more general training. “The problem is the whole image of armed police flies in the face of this unarmed image we are obsessed with projecting. “I take exception to ‘policing by consent’ because a lot of people who use that phrase don’t really know what it means. “Saying that you can’t police by consent because you are armed I think is insulting to the Dutch and Swedish police for example, they still go into schools and talk to kids about road safety with a gun in a holster. “There is a perception that we cannot do this job without being unarmed, I think it’s nonsense.” As our pint glasses empty and the conversation winds to a conclusion, Mr Long tells me his future is uncertain following the end of his policing career but that he is not ready for retirement just yet. He is certain of one thing though: “The job will have to give serious consideration to saying to all recruits ‘when you join up it is on the understanding that, if required to do so, you will undergo firearms training and carry a firearm if you are needed to.’ “If the police are here to protect the public, then how can we do that if we cannot protect ourselves?” View on Police Oracle
  18. Ch Supt John Sutherland's book 'Blue' also outlines author's struggle with depression. Ch Supt John Sutherland with his book 'Blue' (image courtesy of Martis Media) Police officers from around the country attended the London launch of Blue: A Memoir this week - a new book outlining the highs and lows of being a British Bobby. The book by Ch Supt John Sutherland – Twitter’s @policecommander – focusses on the positive work of his Met Police colleagues during a 25-year career but also on how policing can take its toll, including its difficult to read pages on John suffering from depression. The strapline for the book is “Keeping the Peace and Falling to Pieces.” Speaking at the event, John said the idea for the book came from the imbalance of predominantly negative reporting about policing in the media. He said: “For the past 25 years, I have had the privilege of doing a job I love – alongside people I truly admire. “In its way, this book is a love letter to each one of them: my family, my city and the women and men of the police force. “Blue tells some of their stories – some of our stories – and in doing so, tries to provide some balance to the wider story being told about policing in this country. “But it is also a very personal story of the toll that life and policing can take. Four years ago, whilst serving as the Borough Commander for Southwark in South London, I broke. I’m still mending.” The book features large chunks on John’s rise through the ranks, his time as a hostage negotiator, as a borough commander and has a real focus on the scourge of knife crime in the capital. Both the speech and book resonated well with the audience in attendance at the launch in London – which also included a number of John’s friends and family. Also there were the Kinsella family. Ben Kinsella was killed in a stabbing incident in Islington in 2008 – and John has remained in touch with them. Blue: A Memoir is available to buy from today (Thursday 25 May). View on Police Oracle
  19. Changes under the Policing and Crime Act are being introduced today. Forces are preparing for pre-charge bail changes set to come into play today under the new Policing and Crime Act. As previously reported, the new law introduces a presumption to release individuals without bail, with bail only proposed when necessary and proportionate. A limit of 28 days will also be placed on pre-charge bail, with an officer only at the rank of superintendent or above able to authorise an extension. Norfolk and Suffolk Police said suspects can now be “released under investigation” instead of on bail before facing possible charges. Although enquiries will continue as normal, changes will mean that suspects are no longer required to return to a police station and will be issued with a notice outlining offences that could lead to further police action. Suffolk Constabulary Deputy Chief Constable Steve Jupp said the quality of enquiries will not be affected by the changes. “We have spent the last few months preparing for these changes and hundreds of officer across both forces have undergone training to ensure that we are totally ready for dealing with the new process of pre-charge bail when it arrives,” he said. “I would stress that if you have reported a crime to us and a suspect has been ‘released under investigation’, this is in no way a reflection on your allegation. “A suspect who is released under these terms remains very much under our investigation until all reasonable enquiries have been completed.” Both the Police Federation, the College of Policing and the NPCC have raised concerns about the plans, stating that the 28-day limit is “unworkable” and time will be taken up applying for extensions rather than investigating crime. “One problem is that the Home Office does not spell out what is ‘proportionate’. It will be a massive change in custody culture and be a considerable challenge,” said the Fed's custody lead Andy Ward. “Cyber-crime, for example, requires computers to be seized and equipment to be interrogated to gain evidence. The results for detailed forensic tests also take some time to come back.” Other changes coming into force today include a new duty for police and emergency services to collaborate and an increase in the maximum penalty for stalking and harassment offences. View on Police Oracle
  20. Cressida Dick told children in London feel 'naked' if they are not armed with a weapon. Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick Children as young as six are carrying knives and ten-year-olds are arming themselves with weapons out of fear, the country's top police officer has been told. Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick heard children "feel naked" without them, while some are too scared to cross the capital's roads unarmed. Ms Dick vowed to get to the root of knife crime as she visited a youth centre in Putney, south-west London, meeting community leaders, reformed gang members and the family of Lewis Elwin - a 20-year-old trainee electrician stabbed to death in Tooting last year. The Commissioner promised more officers in schools and others in every ward to help build relationships with young people. She was told community groups are "screaming out" for a relationship with police, but the force is "not following up". One woman told Ms Dick knife crime affects children far younger than the teenagers and young men normally associated with it. She said: "On the housing estate, it's six-year-olds that are carrying knives, because they think they won't be stopped. You need to start there, in the primary schools - you need to tell much younger people." Josh Osbourne, a mentor at youth charity Carney's Community, said ten-year-olds live in fear, saying: "They can't even cross the road because they're at odds or in a dispute with somebody else from literally the same postcode but across the road." Andy Smith, from social enterprise The Feel Good Bakery, told Ms Dick young people carry blades for protection, saying: "They say they feel naked if they haven't got their knife with them." The capital has seen a wave of knife attacks in recent weeks, with more than a dozen people killed or seriously injured. Scotland Yard launched the latest phase of Operation Sceptre earlier this month, cracking down on knife crime. But despite more than 70 arrests for possession of offensive weapons and knives, within a week three more people had been fatally stabbed. Speaking to the Press Association after the meeting, Ms Dick said it was "pretty horrifying" to hear of armed six-year-olds. She said: "It's outrageous to hear a six-year-old is carrying a knife, for whatever reason. "That's something a police officer by themselves or even a police force isn't going to be able to have very much impact on. The question there is what are the parents doing? What are the school doing?" Ms Dick said youngsters often carry knives for "some kind of respect, some kind of kudos", but added: "I do accept there are places where some of our young people are scared and they feel it makes sense to carry a knife. "I can say as long as I live that it does not make them safer. They may not hear that message from me... we need to get people in communities, we need to get people in schools, we need to get parents understanding and helping young people to understand... it will end in tragedy, probably, for them." Outlining her plans for early intervention to tackle the epidemic, Ms Dick said: "I want to shift us further into prevention. I want all of us to be working on stopping this before it happens. "Community groups will be an incredibly important part of that. We need to play our part, but it is only a part." The Commissioner still has work to do to reach those communities - Mr Osbourne said the meeting was "about as much use as a chocolate teapot". He added: "We have realised that the things that we need, the Commissioner is unable to provide." View on Police Oracle
  21. Steve White says government is playing 'perverse game of risk with policing'. Police Fed Chairman Steve White The police service needs a five-year funding strategy to take “the politics out of policing” Police Federation Chairman Steve White told Home Secretary Amber Rudd today. In a wide-ranging keynote speech at the Police Federation of England and Wales 2017 annual conference in Birmingham, Mr White also accused the government of playing a “perverse game of risk with policing” by slashing officer numbers and the service’s budget. There was also applause when he jokingly suggested handing over the protection of Parliament to private security firm G4S. He said: “We cannot do it all. So let us make the changes needed. “We either invest or we divest. Put more resources in or take demand out. They are the only options. “Stop dealing with drug use perhaps and decriminalise Class C drugs? Leave policing the roads to Serco? Leave missing people to the experts in missing parcels, the Royal Mail? I know, let’s hand over the protection of parliament to G4S… “In its report, HMIC also said, and I quote ‘We cannot realistically expect the police to meet every possible demand we might make of them’.” Mr White started by reiterating his view that policing was too big an issue to be used by politicians as a way of scoring party political points. He said: “Policing is too important to be a political football and we look to politicians to raise the debate to where it needs to be. Front and centre. Fair and square. Listening to the public. The electorate. “And as the Prime Minister decided to skip the electoral cycle, please do the same. “Take a long term, unpolitical view of policing. “Whilst the world will move on, if you have a five-year parliament, give the police a five year funding strategy. Why not? “After all, politics and politicians will move on, but policing, its officers and people’s safety will always be needed. “No matter who is in government. “Put policing before politics, put the people before politics, and put those who pledge to serve before politics.” Mr White warned the service was in dire need of further support saying it was in ‘intensive care’. He added: “We are a service that wants to deliver what the public want, when they want it and how they want it - 24 hours a day: 365 days a year. “But this is getting impossible. In the last year we have seen a further loss of approximately 3,000 police officers. “Home Secretary, it is like me telling everyone in your own constituency of Hastings and Rye that every single police officer in Sussex is to go. “So, 3,000 is not just a number. “It is much, much more than that. It is 3,000 fewer police officers patrolling and protecting communities, 3,000 fewer cops investigating crimes and supporting vulnerable victims, 3,000 fewer tackling cyber-crime, dealing with historic offences and tackling the atrocities of terrorism. A sorry total of 20,000 police officers over the last four years. “That is not just uniformed officers. In its PEEL report HMIC referred to the shortage of qualified detectives as a ‘crisis’. “A crisis that we don’t have enough police officers to deal with the demands placed upon the service. “On March 22, we lost one of our own as he fought to stop a terrorist at the heart of British democracy. “In the past we used to say ‘Not if, but when’. “The reality now is that it is, ‘Not when, but where next’. “Policing is on its knees. It is in intensive care. It is fighting for its life.” The theme for this year’s conference is Protect the Protectors – the Fed’s recently launched campaign – with Mr White demanding those convicted of assaulting police officers are hit with harder sentences. He said: “Many expressed support for a change to see harsher sentences for those convicted of assaulting officers. “And so, today I ask you and every politician seeking to be elected – can we have a firm commitment to make this happen. “No more excuses about timetabling. No more excuses about process or protocol. “We have clearly seen that when the Prime Minister and your parliamentary colleagues want something – it happens not in months, in weeks. “We want a commitment that you will give the police officers of England and Wales the support and protection needed to do their job. “When she was Home Secretary, the Prime Minister told us we should have a single mission – to fight crime. “We said it then, and I say it again now, policing is so much more than just fighting crime. “Tell the family of a suicidal man with mental health issues making threats to end his life that it’s the NHS they need; it’s not one for the police. “Tell the elderly victim of a burglary seeking comfort and reassurance that time is money and the job of the police is to fight crime and capture an offender, rather than counsel them as a victim. “Home Secretary, you cannot put a price on the value of policing. “And no government can cut tens of thousands of police officers and expect us to pretend that it won’t make a difference.” Mr White said the federation remained “gravely concerned” that, under current legislation, officers are not being afforded adequate protection during police pursuits. He told the audience the current test of what is dangerous driving is outdated, misinterpreted and “downright ridiculous at worst” in the way it applies to police officers. Talking about the criminals, he added: “And they drive off laughing as they kill another innocent bystander or police officer. “We want to ensure that, if a situation arises where an officer, doing their duty, has to engage in a response or pursuit in a police vehicle, that they are not unfairly processed through the court.” On police pay, Mr White outlined how some officers were struggling to survive on their salaries, saying changes were badly needed. “Remove the shackles from the Police Remuneration Review Body,” he told Mrs Rudd. “Allow them to take the evidence we provide – full and detailed analysis – and decide for themselves what pay award officers should receive. “Allow them their independence. “Do not pretend it is an open and transparent process if you are tying their hands by setting a one per cent cap for any public sector increase. “I see some benefits of the pay review body in the detailed recommendations they make on a number of issues. “I see how they listen to what we say. “How they take our evidenced submission and make recommendations in a number of areas, using information we provide. “But I also understand that, for the men and women out there policing today, they just see what their annual pay increment is. “And understandably, they question the point and purpose of the review body if its hands are tied behind its back. “I ask, what is it with politicians and maths? “For every MP last year must have misread the one per cent pay cap. Perhaps they were seeing double, giving themselves 11 per cent instead.” Mr White paid tribute to the six officers who had died in the line of duty in the last year (PC Austin Jackson, Leicestershire Constabulary, PC Paul Briggs, Merseyside Police, Inspector Mark Estall, Essex Police, PC Joe Mabuto, Thames Valley Police, PC Gareth Browning, Metropolitan Police and PC Keith Palmer, Metropolitan Police) before outlining the Federation’s requests. He said: “We want a national system of welfare provision for police officers, we want legal protections for officers doing their job, the right protective equipment for officers, no further budget cuts and an immediate halt in the reduction of officer numbers. “We want a long-term five-year investment to build the numbers up to provide the resilience needed and to allow the service to continue to deliver. A progressive culture and an open environment where the police service learns from its mistakes. “And finally, we want a government that supports the police. “Not just in words. “In actions too. All we ask is that government does its duty too. And protects the protectors.” View on Police Oracle
  22. "It was very emotional, something that will be forever on my mind," says officer outside court. PC David Wardell with his now-retired police dog Finn outside Stevenage police station A police officer stabbed as he tried to defend his dog from an armed suspect has described the "harrowing" moment he was compelled to spring to the wounded animal's defence. Stevenage PC David Wardell suffered hand injuries as he sought to apprehend a 16-year-old, who attacked police dog Finn as he tried to make his escape. The dog underwent extensive surgery before retiring to action. The teenage defendant, who cannot be named because of his age, was convicted of attacking the police officer, his dog, and possessing weapons. Speaking after the case, at Stevenage Youth Court this week, PC Wardell said reliving the experience in court had been difficult. "It was very emotional, something that will be forever on my mind - it wasn't difficult to relive those moments. "It's such a huge relief to have actually got into that room and given evidence because I wasn't sure we'd actually get to that point. "It's not a difficult incident for me to relay, it's probably the most harrowing that's ever happened to me. "And to have my faithful friend and partner go through that - if you asked me to relive it in ten years' time I could do it exactly the same." Mr Wardell gave his backing to the introduction of Finn's Law, increasing sentences for criminals who attack working animals such as police dogs and horses. The campaign had been supported by more than 100,000 people before the moves were halted by the announcement of the General Election. He said: "There is a campaign running and it will be down to the government of the day whether they make changes to the laws that currently exist." The teenage boy, from south London, was convicted following a day-long trial. The court heard the 16-year-old plunged the 12-inch (30cm) hunting knife into Finn after being pursued by Mr Wardell. The boy said he was acting in self-defence after fearing for his safety and being "bitten up" by the animal. Mr Wardell broke down in tears as he described the moment he feared for his life, and that of his dog, as the suspect brandished "the largest knife" he had ever seen. The suspect said he only ran from police, through Stevenage in the early hours of October 8, after becoming worried about being caught with the blade. But district judge Jo Matson found the boy guilty of actual bodily harm, as well as criminal damage to the dog, and warned he could face jail when he was sentenced next month. The judge said the defendant's evidence was "not credible or truthful". She added: "His evidence does not add up. I do not accept that he found it necessary to take the actions he did to defend himself. "He put himself in a position where it was necessary for Finn the police dog to stop him from running away with a knife in his hand. "Stabbing a dog you know to be a police dog and lunging a knife at a police officer were not necessary or proportionate and I do not find he (the defendant) believed them to be at the time. "PC Wardell gave very emotional evidence today and was clearly very distressed by what happened that day, and still is." Addressing the youth, who had his mother by his side at court, the district judge said: "All sentencing options remain open, including custody." Finn required a four-hour operation, including having two sections of his lung removed, after being stabbed in the body and head. The court heard the knife narrowly missed the dog's heart. He returned to the force after making a recovery and has subsequently retired from service, Hertfordshire Constabulary said. PC Wardell suffered a cut to the hand after running to the aid of his dog. Recalling the incident, PC Wardell said: "It was the largest knife I've ever seen. "Finn didn't let go at all of the suspect. I was in fear of my life, and in fear of Finn dying in front of me. "Finn is one of the highest trained dogs in the police force, I wished neither Finn nor myself were in that garden, but we were." The youth will be sentenced in Bromley, south London, next month. View on Police Oracle
  23. Most powerful group's officials say they question the continued benefit of being part of the staff association. The Met Police Federation is considering splitting from the national staff association The largest and most powerful branch in the Police Federation of England and Wales is looking at breaking away from the rest of the staff association, Police Oracle can reveal. The Metropolitan Police Federation is examining its options after reps became increasingly frustrated with how the national organisation is run. The issue has come to the fore just days before the association’s annual conference takes place in Birmingham. Met Fed Chairman Ken Marsh confirmed to Police Oracle the branch has been carrying out scoping work on the possibility. Among the issues he says have prompted the move are the pace of the Normington reforms – especially in relation to finance - and the associated costs of spending on consultants. He also said the negotiating power of the Met might be greater if it was its own entity, arguing for things such as an increase in London Weighting. “All I’ve ever wanted since I took over is to provide a good service to cops. I think we have done that locally in the Met, I don’t think we get that from the PFEW,” he said. The branch is by far the largest within the Police Federation and generates a significant proportion of its income. On Thursday afternoon chairman Steve White sent an email to reps at its national board and national council telling them rumours have been circulating about a Met Fed breakaway. With it, he attached a letter he had sent to Met Fed officials requesting they clarify their position. In the email Mr White said: “I did not want a situation going into conference where we were distracted from the important business of protecting the protectors by unsubstantiated rumour. “I have asked the question on behalf of the organisation and we will get a reply.” After the email was forwarded to Police Oracle, our reporter contacted Mr Marsh who said he had now been put in a position where he may as well speak about the issue. “We’ve been scoping it for quite a while. Twelve sergeants sat at a [meeting] and asked Paul [Deller, general secretary] and I to scope it,” he said. “The Met Police Federation is a bigger organisation than Scotland and Northern Ireland. They are not part of PFEW, Wales might not be when they get devolution, and we’re bigger than them.” Among his frustrations is the money held in local branch accounts, or so-called “number two” accounts, which Sir David Normington identified in 2014 as needing to be published. A recent checklist published by the national Fed describes this reform as “complete”, however the regulation is yet to be updated by the Home Office. Mr Marsh said: “We want to be in a position where it’s all for one and one for all, but we are not going to be part of something where we hand over £8 million from our reserves when there’s little forces keeping millions in reserves and carparks and everything else.” Mr White’s email also says: “I understand discussions have included ways to circumvent the current position that this would not be supported by the Home Secretary. I know that you will be aware of how damaging rumour can be.” Mr Marsh says while he would prefer for the changes to be made via regulations through the Home Office, other methods may be possible – such as withholding payment from the national body, and said he thinks the plan might have political supporters. “We haven’t got anything to lose from this, unlike the rest of the country if they lost the Met,” he said. In his letter to the Met officials, which was forwarded to Police Oracle on Friday morning, Mr White said the branch is important to him. “As we near the completion of the review and as we get to grips with a new way of managing our collective finance, to provide best value for our members, I know that the Metropolitan Federation view is one shared by many in relation to “number 2” accounts and the like. I am certain that by working together we can resolve these issues. “The Metropolitan Federation is hugely important and influential and should be front and centre in helping the organisation change for the better. I want to know how I can help to give you confidence that this is the case, and reassure you of the importance that attach to every constituent part of the Police Federation of England and Wales,” he said. In a recent interview with Police Oracle, national general secretary Andy Fittes said he was happy with the work done so far but stressed the “complicated process” cannot be rushed. He was hitting back at sentiments from Greater Manchester and Hampshire Fed chairmen who criticised the time the process was taking, and the money being spent on consultants. View on Police Oracle
  24. The new memorial is for the 13 officers killed since the Royal Ulster Constabulary was replaced by the PSNI. Charles and Camilla were at the beginning of a four day tour of Ireland (Credit: PA) The Prince of Wales paid tribute to fallen police officers as he joined bereaved relatives at the opening of a memorial in Belfast. Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall bowed their heads for a minute's silence before laying wreaths at the striking stone roll of honour for the 13 Police Service of Northern Ireland officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty since the organisation was founded in 2001. A piper played a lament after family members watched the royal couple unveil a plaque to commemorate their visit to the memorial garden, which is tucked in a secluded area of PSNI headquarters. In a particularly poignant moment, seven-year-old Victoria Grieves, whose officer father Gary was killed in a road crash in 2010, presented a bouquet of flowers to the Duchess. PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton said: "This is a very special, but also sad day, for the families and PSNI as we remember those who have died." There is already an adjoining memorial garden to the 300 officers from the PSNI's predecessor, the Royal Ulster Constabulary, who were killed during the Troubles. The solemn event, during which the couple also viewed a new book of remembrance, started the couple's second day of their four-day trip to Ireland. In a moment that captured the poignancy of the occasion, seven-year-old Victoria Grieves curtseyed before presenting the Duchess of Cornwall with a vibrant bouquet of flowers. Victoria's father Gary, a police constable in the PSNI, was killed in a road crash in Portglenone, Co Antrim as he travelled home from duty in 2010. His daughter was among family members of fallen officers who gathered at PSNI headquarters to meet the Duchess and Prince of Wales at the official opening of a memorial paying tribute to their sacrifice. It was 14 years since the Prince stood only yards away to open an adjoining garden commemorating the 300 Royal Ulster Constabulary officers killed during the Troubles. Kate Carroll, whose husband Stephen was murdered by dissident republicans in Craigavon, Co Armagh in 2009, spoke with the Duchess. Constable Carroll's name, along with 12 others, is listed on the roll of honour on the striking Irish black limestone memorial wall. "She just told me to keep on smiling and she said I have been brave and I said, 'well, you have to be'," said Mrs Carroll. The police widow described the memorial as a "fitting tribute". "I think it is very comforting that you are able to come and see where your loved ones are being honoured," she said. "It is a nice feeling to know you can go somewhere and that they are appreciated." As well as serving PSNI officers and police staff, former chief constable Matt Baggott and representatives from the Irish Garda attended the ceremony. Current PSNI chief George Hamilton said it was a day of "mixed feelings". "There is the pride and poignancy of the day but also the sadness of it," he said. "We have 13 names on the wall of this memorial garden and that is 13 devastated families and most of those families were able to join with us for this official opening. "We were grateful too that the significance and size of the sacrifice was marked by the attendance of their royal highnesses." PFNI Chairman, Mark Lindsay, represented the staff association at the event and said he was “deeply appreciative” of the remembrance displayed. Afterwards, Mr Lindsay said: “I was honoured to have been there to pay my respects to colleagues who lost their lives in tragic circumstances. “This was a fitting tribute to the officers, and I know the families are deeply appreciative of the way their loved ones are being remembered. “The Memorial Garden is a constant reminder to our wider community of the dangerous work officers do day and daily. It is right and proper that those who served and paid the ultimate price are remembered in this way. “I was delighted The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall could attend and perform the official opening, which I know will be deeply appreciated by the wider police family.” View on Police Oracle
  25. Fed says case is not isolated example. A constable remains confined to his station more than four years after being acquitted of assault while the IPCC’s investigation into him drags on. Met PC Joe Harrington, who describes policing as “all I ever wanted to do” has now been on restricted duties for longer than he served, prior to an accusation was made against him which was dismissed by a jury in a matter of minutes. The Police Federation of England and Wales are highlighting his case as one of dozens they say the slow processes of the Independent Police Complaints Commission have caused. In a statement issued through the staff association, PC Harrington, 33, said: “I am still barred from any contact with the public at work; I can’t be promoted, leave the service or move roles. I was acquitted at a jury trial years ago but I can’t move on with my life because this IPCC investigation is always lurking in the background. “I have been with my partner for 13 years and we have a five-year-old daughter, but we have no stability in our home life; my partner was eight months’ pregnant when this originally happened but we felt we could not get married with this hanging over us. “For a long time there was a fear that I might go to prison, now it’s the fear that we might be left with a single income.” Asked if he would return to policing if the investigation is lifted, PC Harrington, who says he now suffers post-traumatic stress disorder told PoliceOracle.com: “Policing is all I ever wanted to do, but I don't want to put myself in a position where this could happen to me again. “I would have to think very hard about going into a role with any scope for confrontation.” The Newham-based officer restrained a teenager in custody during the 2011 London riots. He had been serving for three years at the time. The 15-year-old accused him of assault and the watchdog was called in. The CPS initially said there was no case to answer, however it reversed its decision and ended up charging him with assault occasioning actual bodily harm. PC Harrington was suspended from work until the trial in March 2013, where a jury took less than half an hour to acquit him. “The IPCC were unhappy with my acquittal and told the press that they would recommend to the Met that I be sacked,” he said. The IPCC Commissioner who directed the case is Jennifer Izekor, who stood down in March while Police Scotland began investigating an unrelated matter she was involved in. PC Harrington has also been the subject of other complaints which the IPCC have spent years investigating, and in 2015 the Court of Appeal ruled that the watchdog was entitled to re-open a case against him, and any other it decides that it had not pursued properly in the first instance if its initial investigations were flawed. “Although my suspension has been lifted, I have spent the four years since my acquittal in a seemingly endless cycle of being investigated and reinvestigated, and confined to a desk in the station," the officer added. “The IPCC have twice been to the High Court to overturn reports that they had written, so that they could have another stab at it.” PC Harrington told PoliceOracle.com he has received support from the Met but they decided not to remove him from restricted duties. He said: “I think they’re concerned about the negative press they would receive if they lifted the restrictions. Several officers have spoken up for me but the decision was they would not be lifting restrictions until the misconduct process is removed.” The Police Federation of England and Wales is holding a special session at its conference next week on the IPCC. The association’s conduct lead Phill Mathews said: “Sadly Joe’s story is not an isolated case and really highlights the effects of such drawn out cases on officers and their families. “We want to work with the IPCC and forces to ensure that officers are treated fairly and complaints investigated expeditiously so that yet more public money doesn't get wasted, our members and their families are no longer made ill, driven out of the service or have unwarranted press intrusion in their lives.” A spokesman for the IPCC said their investigation into the assault case was completed within five months, but the reactions of the force and complainant held up proceedings. As did a move to quash its own findings in a separate matter relating to PC Harrington. She added: "The report was submitted to the Metropolitan Police (MPS) in June 2013 and in August 2014 the force agreed he should face a gross misconduct hearing but requested a delay to setting a hearing date pending the outcome of a linked case involving the same officer. The IPCC accepted this request." The watchdog says it completed the investigation into the linked case in October 2012 but sought to reinvestigate one element of it and the Met’s legal challenge against the plan held it up. “Separately, the 15-year-old male submitted a large number of complaints which were all investigated by the MPS. “The complainant lodged a number of appeals against the force’s findings which resulted in the MPS reinvestigating areas of the complaint. “In October 2016 the MPS reinvestigation did not uphold the complaints against the constable. The complainant appealed in November 2016 and in January 2017 the IPCC upheld the complaint,” she added. The spokesman added that the Met was then directed to hold a gross misconduct hearing into the matters, despite the force disagreeing with the findings. A spokesman for the Met said this direction was received last week and a hearing is “in the process of being arranged”. View on Police Oracle