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Found 16 results

  1. The original target of £250,000 for the family of heroic PC Palmer was smashed inside 24 hours. A fundraising page for the family of fallen police hero PC Keith Palmer has raised more than £500,000 in less than a day. The JustGiving page was set up by the Metropolitan Police Federation on Thursday and quickly received thousands of donations. Originally the target had been to collect £250,000 for the family of PC Keith Palmer, who was killed on Wednesday in a knife attack near Parliament, but within hours that target was smashed. On Friday afternoon, just 24 hours after the page was set up, it had reached £572,838 and counting from almost 27,000 donors. Chairman of the Met fed Ken Marsh described the ten of thousands pouring in as ‘overwhelming’ and was grateful for the public support. He said: “We set it up quickly on Thursday and we are overwhelmed with the generosity of the public and police family but we are not surprised because we have seen how everyone has come together to support the police (since the attack). “I think that is because we police by consent in this country and the public are aware of the danger we face. “Every day, all over London and the rest of the UK, Police Officers risk their lives to protect and defend us. In the wake of this tragedy our thoughts are with Keith’s family and all the people who are injured have lost their lives. “I would not think for one minute that money is the answer for the family of PC Palmer and what they are going through but hopefully it can help in some small way.” View on Police Oracle
  2. Devon and Cornwall Police advertised for a "drone team manager". A police force is to launch a round-the-clock drone unit to help tackle crime. Devon and Cornwall Police advertised for a "drone team manager" to set up and manage an "operational and dynamic drone response" from nine policing centres across the two counties and Dorset. The force began trialling drones in November 2015 to test their operational effectiveness, using four DJI Inspire 1 devices with high-definition cameras to assist officers with police matters such as looking for missing people and taking crime scene photographs. Assistant Chief Constable Steve Barry, National Police Chiefs' Council lead for drones, said forces were "committed to embracing new technologies to deliver high-quality, cost- effective services and protection to the public". "Drones are one of a number of options that can deliver air support both now and in the future. "They have the potential to change the way we police by working with other technologies and updating traditional methods of foot and aerial patrols. "Trials and consultations are ongoing to develop more guidance for how the police service can use drones to help keep people safe." Mr Barry added: "Deploying drones is a decision for individual chief constables who ensure that they are used appropriately in the interest of public safety and efficient allocation of police resources." Around 21 police forces are experimenting with the technology. Chief Superintendent Jim Nye, strategic alliance commander for operations in Devon, Cornwall and Dorset, said the drones would be a "significant piece of kit", which would provide an "opportunity to improve technology available to police to better do what we do". Earlier this year, Labour MP Nick Smith said police should consider using drones to track down off-road bikers who are "vandalising" the mountains of Wales. During Home Office questions in the Commons, he said: "Because off-road bikers often go where the police cannot, can the Home Office look into providing resources, agreement and licencing on the use of drones to help us tackle this problem?" View on Police Oracle
  3. HMIC has raised red flag over the issue. Working as a detective needs to be restored as an attractive proposition again if chiefs want to address the national crisis in investigation skills, the chairman of the Police Federation National Detectives' Forum believes. Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary recently warned that there is a critical shortage of investigators in many forces. Martin Plummer, who is also chairman of Cumbria Police Federation, told PoliceOracle.com: “It’s frustrating when you get the HMIC stating the obvious that we have been saying for a considerable length of time. “[But] it’s a very simple equation, if you have 10 people on a team carrying a workload and you reduce that down to six and you increase that workload and something, somewhere is going to give. “We’re now seeing ridiculous workloads, detectives trying to spin so many plates while everything is combusting around them, there’s no financial backing for protracted inquiries. “We still investigate the most serious crimes, still deal with the worst criminals, the burden of proof in courts rightly remains as high as it ever was. But detectives are increasingly being told 'sorry you haven’t got the time to do that', 'sorry we haven’t got the budget', or 'something else has come up and there’s simply no one else to do it'.” He said the days of most officers wanting to become detectives were long gone, with what he calls “the hardest job in policing” becoming one which people know they will be under increasing pressure from management, as well as CPS, other partners and potentially the IPCC. In its report, HMIC identified the excessive workloads of those remaining in detective roles as a problem for policing. Chiefs have asked the independent remuneration body to allow them to give specialist bonuses to detectives in order to address the issue. The Met’s submission to the body states: “We know that monetary reward is not the only lever available but to have no reward options to attract officers into a particular career path remains deeply problematic, particularly as the operational structure becomes flatter with decreased opportunity for rank progression.” Mr Plummer says he would support extra payments, but points out that the issue is not primarily about personal finances. “The way you can solve this is simply that you need a career as a detective to become once again popular and attractive,” he said. “If you look back to the day where we had a mainstream CID that mainstream CID had their specialisms, they weren’t asking for extra payments for added responsibility they loved what they did. They had the time and resources to get the results. “Where we are now is that the good will has been eroded over the years. Detectives saying they’re not prepared to take on extra cases I’ve got the IPCC knocking on the door, victims, witnesses wanting to know how their cases are going, the CPS wanting things done yesterday. The support and backing is not there. “I’m not saying they want a pat on the back, what detectives have always wanted is to bring criminals to justice,” he added. Responding to the HMIC report, the NPCC pointed out that having 32,334 fewer officers and a 22 per cent budget cut had been difficult as crime “changes”. National lead for crime operations CC Mike Barton said: “Difficult decisions are being made between resourcing neighbourhood teams, response units, specialist investigations, and digital and cyber-enabled crime. “Police chiefs around the country will be looking at their local assessment to consider the impact of resourcing decisions, which may have been hidden from view.” View on Police Oracle
  4. Transport workers union leader accuses railways force of 'turfing staff onto the streets'. British Transport Police PCSOs are considering strike action over changes to their shifts. The TSSA union is balloting the force’s community support officers ahead of the imposition of a 1am shift finish which it says “jeopardises [their] safety” in London. According to a statement from the union, the force is attempting to save money by changing shift patterns – but the workforce wll not be able to get home by public transport as a result. The force employs 330 PCSOs, with half of them London-based, but the union says: “because they can't afford London housing, London PCSOs themselves depend on trains in and out of home counties to the commute to work.”. PCSOs voiced their concerns that the new rosters are not practical during BTP's staff consultation process, but the TSSA says a proposal to finish the shift at midnight to enable members to make the last train home was rejected and PCSOs will now finish at 1am on one in three of their shifts. General Secretary Manuel Cortes said: "BTP have made a sham of their own consultation process by ignoring the valid concerns of their staff who simply can't get home at 1am. Are they supposed to sleep at the station? “No employer should turf their staff out at 1am onto the streets of London with no way to get home. But that's what BTP, the very people charged with ensuring the public travel safely, are now doing to their own staff. Frankly, it beggars belief and it's causing a lot of unnecessary upset." The new rotas will be introduced from April. The union is calling for shifts to be put back to midnight or to end at 7am instead, and will be balloting members over the issue. Mr Cortes added: "Our PCSO members are professional police support staff dedicated to keeping commuters safe. So a failure by their bosses to protect them is insulting as is their unwillingness to negotiate with our reps over this easily resolvable issue.” He added he will be calling on London Mayor Sadiq Khan to intervene to help the PCSOs. BTP Deputy Chief Constable Adrian Hanstock said: “It is disappointing to learn of this proposal by TSSA to ballot our PCSOs on plans for industrial action, which feels somewhat premature and excessive when we are still engaged in discussions with those few employees affected by our planned shift changes. “I must also contradict the suggestion that this is an exercise in cost-cutting by ruthlessly cutting shift allowances.” He added that the shift patterns were last reviewed in 2009 demand on the force has changed, and that staff had asked for a more reliable and consistent shift patterns. “In addition we have sought to ensure fewer officers and staff are working on their own across the national network, as well as build in sufficient capacity to minimise the impact of abstractions when officers are absent through training, court appearances, sickness and annual leave. “As the demand has changed, invariably it means the times of day we must be available to respond to incidents and manage large volumes of people travelling around the country must also change,” he said. There have been claims in the past that warranted police officers in London have resorted to breaking into property because of their shift patterns and inability to get to their homes outside the capital when they have gone off duty. View on Police Oracle
  5. Addicts would be given the drug to inject under supervision. Drug addicts could be given heroin paid for by the police under plans put forward by one police and crime commissioner. Durham PCC Ron Hogg, who along with Chief Constable Mike Barton has spoken out in support of decriminalisation, said he has now asked the region’s public health departments to examine ways to introduce Heroin Assisted Treatment. Although plans for a “fix room” are being developed in Glasgow, this would be the first of its kind in England following similar schemes in a number of European countries. “The aim would be to enable people who have become addicted to heroin to follow a programme that would stabilise their addiction in a controlled environment, and reduce their dependency on heroin until they stop taking it,” said Mr Hogg. “The aim of the initiative is to save the lives of addicts, shut down drug dealers and reduce acquisitive crime. Instead of stealing in order to fund their habit, and money flowing the organised crime gangs, addicts will be helped to recover.” The scheme would focus on the most prolific at-risk offenders who would be provided with pharmaceutical heroin, with Mr Hogg adding that it would save money in the long run through reduced costs to courts, prisons, the police and wider society. The number of reported drug misuse deaths involving opioids including heroin rose by 58 per cent in England over the last four years, with the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs recommending last December that the government should consider the provision of medically supervised drug consumption clinics in locations with a high concentration of injecting drug use. View on Police Oracle
  6. Idea is not being ruled out at present. Following the appointment of Cressida Dick as the new Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police speculation has turned to which issues take priority in her burgeoning in-tray. One which the government has hinted previously could be removed from the force is national responsibility for coordinating counter-terrorism. The Home Affairs Select Committee has previously called for this change to happen, and although the government said in 2015 it would not imminently change anything, the Home Office is currently not ruling out such a change. Terrorism analyst Dr Dave Sloggett was formerly opposed to the idea of transferring responsibility, but he now thinks there is a “good case” for it. He said: “I was against the idea some time ago when the National Crime Agency was struggling. Since that time it has improved. “When you consider the overlap which exists between terrorism and organised crime, you can see an emerging argument for the idea and that it should be given to ‘Britain’s FBI’. “While Cressida Dick has expertise on terrorism, she actually has a very good understanding of the many challenges the Met faces other than terrorism, which is a national issue dealt with across the entire country, and which it could be better for a Commissioner to do without.” But retired head of the National Counter Terrorism and Security Office Chris Phillips disagrees. He told PoliceOracle.com: “We’ve got an arrangement under which things have worked for many years as they are, I can understand why they might want to change it, it’s a cross-border role, but the system we’ve got is tried and tested, we’ve had it in place for many years and we’ve not had a major terrorist attack for years.” Former Thames Valley deputy chief constable Brian Langston said community relationships must be preserved, whatever the model. He said: “Whilst shifting the responsibility for counter-terrorism to the National Crime Agency is worthy of serious consideration, it must be remembered that the seeds of terrorism often lie within disaffected communities. “Misguided and vulnerable young people are often targeted for radicalisation and groomed to carry out acts of violent extremism. “There would need to remain a strong bond between any national agency charged with this responsibility, and local neighbourhood teams to ensure that community intelligence is not lost. Terrorism is both a local and global issue." When asked if changing the national responsibility for counter-terrorism to the National Crime Agency was on the agenda, a Home Office spokesman simply replied: “This government is committed to do doing everything we can to keep our families, communities and country safe, so will always look to ensure that collaboration between police and the agencies working on counter-terrorism and organised crime is as effective as possible." Last week the NCA announced five new appointments to its leadership team including the hiring of Essex Deputy Chief Constable Matthew Horne as a deputy director and Merseyside Assistant Chief Nikki Holland as director of investigations. Current deputy David Armond has announced his retirement from the organisation. Read on Police Oracle
  7. Sergeant Julia Martin-Jones had just watched her daughter tie the knot. An off-duty officer showed her dedication to her role when she detained a suspected burglar on her daughter’s wedding day. Gloucestershire Sergeant Julia Martin-Jones was returning home after watching her child – who is also an officer with the force – tie the knot when she spotted someone leaving a neighbour’s house acting suspiciously. Without hesitation she leapt into action to apprehend the figure and called colleagues to the scene. “It was around 1am on Sunday morning and I’d just returned home from the wedding with family and friends,” she said. “I saw a youth in dark clothing emerge from a neighbour's driveway and I didn't recognise him. I knew there had been burglaries in the area so went and stopped him. My colleagues later found my neighbour's garage had been broken into. “There I was in my sparkly dress, high heels and all my finery - I think he thought I was some kind of crazy woman!” A 15-year-old boy from Manchester arrested on suspicion of burglary in connection with the case has been bailed to return to police on March 25, pending further inquiries. View on Police Oracle
  8. Push-to-talk functionality on the London Underground has been a hard won police radio capability, but its future on the new LTE network faces serious hurdles. Gary Mason reports. It is somewhat ironic that in a multi-billion pound public safety communication project investing in cutting edge long-term evolution (LTE) technology, a major sticking point is the reliability of push-to-talk voice messages – a capability that has been around since the days of analogue police radios. This is just the latest problem facing the Emergency Services Network (ESN) project, which at least two recent reports have predicted would not be ready on time. This means the existing system, Airwave, is expected to be maintained for an unknown period after its expensive contract with the Home Office and the UK’s blue light first-responder services expires. Police concerns about the voice function on the new LTE handsets, whenever they emerge, have been highlighted in the latest Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report, published in January. Push-to-talk allows users to contact their colleagues with only the press of one button. The function must be reliable and work in remote areas – not just rural environments, but also the underground tunnels of the metro systems in London and Glasgow. Devices with the appropriate levels of robustness, voice and dual-mode capabilities are currently under development. The Home Office told the PAC it had already received prototype devices and was confident a good selection would be available for users to choose from by next year. But the devil, as usual, is in the detail. Some of the technical challenges in developing mission critical push-to-talk capability on LTE handsets were spelled out in oral evidence to the committee. Under the terms of the ESN contract with the Home Office, Motorola Solutions is responsible for delivering user services, such as data centres, help desks and SIM card management. While the scope of its contract does not include devices, Vincent Kennedy, vice-president and general manager of Motorola Solutions UK, gave the committee an insight into some of the technical challenges that had emerged with prototype LTE handsets. Push-to-talk latency The ESN envisages two types of device that will run on the network: 4G data devices and voice devices. The 4G handsets can attach to the new network relatively easily, but voice handling is more complex. “When you move the voice service on to a commercial mobile phone network, the device has to act in a specialised way,” Kennedy told the committee. “If I picked up my phone and dialled your number, it would take a few seconds to ring. It might take six seconds to you or five seconds [to someone else]. In this world, when I am the commander of a team at a firearms incident and I press the button on the device and say, “Don’t fire”, you instantly all have to hear the same thing. It is a big problem if you hear, “Don’t fire”, and another person hears, “Fire.” That is just an example, but the voice piece makes the device more specialised, and it has to work in a special way.” The technical term for this issue is push-to-talk latency. Police using the system need to be confident that the latency can be low enough with 4G that it won’t be a problem, and that the voice message received by everyone during an incident will be as near to instantaneous as possible, which it isn’t right now. Kennedy said Motorola been investing in the research and development of mobile LTE technology for public safety since 2010. He said: “It [LTE] is where the public safety market is going. They will eventually all be using mobile broadband, mobile data and voice. If it works to design, the latency can be solved, but that is why the design is so strict around the devices and the network.” He told the committee that the latency issue can currently be proved in a lab environment, but it needed to be tested in the field under extreme conditions. A testing regime will continue all through the spring and summer. Operational trials could commence in the autumn of 2017 and will go on for several months. “These are big technology projects, but they are not like regular IT projects. The people who use this technology – their lives depend on the technology working,” he added. The example Kennedy gave during the committee hearings bears a chilling reminder of the shooting of electrician Jean Charles de Menezes by Met firearms officers in July 2005 at Stockwell underground station after he was mistaken for a terrorist suspect. At the inquest into the killing, a firearms officer told the court he could have missed important messages over the radio and told the inquest that the signal was weak, faint and fuzzy and would sometimes cut out altogether. Given such real life examples, why has the Home Office chosen to go with unproven technology? In a previous report published last year outlining problems with the ESN project the National Audit Office said that it is ambitious and the first of its kind in the world. A world first Other countries are pursuing solutions either fully or partly based on older terrestrial trunked radio (TETRA) technology and dedicated networks, such as Airwave. The Home Office told the PAC that, in an ideal world, it would not want to be first to adopt unproven technology. But it considered that the other options it had for replacing Airwave, such as a hybrid system that uses radio for voice communications and 4G mobile for data, were “equally risky” and that it had to consider a wide range of financial, operational, technological and legal factors when making its decision. The programme also faces a number of other technical challenges. The new system will operate across a commercial 4G network requiring new software to allow emergency services users priority over commercial customers. EE, who have been awarded the network contract, told the committee it had completed system testing to prove the prioritisation technology would work and that during an emergency its network would be able to prioritise all 300,000 emergency service users, if necessary. Meanwhile, Motorola has responsibility for setting the specifications and approving devices for use on the ESN. Since it is also a supplier of devices, the Home Office told the PAC committee it had “been very careful to make sure the specifications do not exclude other providers and are not bespoke. It is a standards-based process”. One of the biggest risks with the new system is ensuring coverage in remote areas and in hard to reach places, such as the London Underground. The Home Office says that using 4G mobile data technology instead of radio opens up more options for plugging gaps in coverage, such as by using temporary masts. Time is a factor Discussions are still ongoing between the Home Office and Transport for London (TfL) on how best to extend coverage into the Underground, as well as contingencies and options for the transition process. The Home Office hopes to make an announcement in the next couple of months on this issue. Time is a factor, since the rollout of the ESN is just two years away. If TfL cannot roll-out the technology in that time, the Home Office would need to agree an alternative solution with TfL. This is a crucial issue for the police and fire service in London in particular, as a fully functioning emergency services communications system was a hard fought and long awaited upgrade. The lack of such a system was first highlighted by the inquiry into the response to the King’s Cross fire in 1987. These concerns were then reiterated after the 7 July 2005 terrorist attacks, which centred on London’s transport system. Airwave was eventually rolled out fully in January 2009 to all 125 below ground London Underground stations. This meant that British Transport Police (BTP), the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) and the City of London Police are able to use the same radios underground. The rollout linked the emergency services network to London Underground’s Connect digital radio system, part of the Transport for London’s £10bn investment programme. Natural disasters The vulnerability of city subway systems not just to terrorist attack, but also to natural disasters is well documented. The need for a robust emergency services communications system that links into the network operated by the transport authority is also well recognised. When Hurricane Sandy swept through the New York metropolitan area in October 2012, it left behind extensive damage to New York City Transit facilities throughout the subway system. A record storm surge inundated tunnels, filling critical operations rooms that housed electric equipment for signals, relays and communications with highly corrosive saltwater. The storm also exposed a need for a better and faster way for supervisors to communicate with crew members and customers in times of emergency. Even after three years and thousands of hours of labour spent repairing and restoring service to pre-Sandy levels, the subway system has yet to fully recover, with many related repairs still to be made. In 2015, MTA New York City Transit received two Federal Transit Administration grants totaling $57.1m (£45.7m) for two major storm resiliency projects in subway stations: a new emergency communications system and a hardening project to protect station rooms critical to service delivery. Until March 2016 police officers in the transit system could only communicate with each other underground because police were on two different radio frequencies. Using a $100m grant, mostly spent upgrading existing technology, all officers’ radios were reprogrammed to allow them to communicate over ultra-high frequencies on the street and in the subway. Their use was delayed for years, mainly for reasons that had nothing to do with technology, but bureaucratic inertia. Read on Police Oracle
  9. An inquest found the woman, who was found hanged, died before the police were called. A pair of Met PCs have been found to have committed misconduct when they failed to immediately attend a suicide incident. PCs Tony Stephenson and Gavin Bateman were on duty together on April 15, 2015, when a call came in for a vulnerable woman who was classed as a danger to herself and others. The 22-year-old woman had sent suicidal texts to a friend and was not answering her door, the call was graded 'S' for 'significant risk' meaning officers are required to attend as soon as possible and in a maximum of 60 minutes. Instead of going straight to the call, PCs Bateman and Stephenson went to a nearby branch of McDonalds and bought cups of tea before heading to Leamouth Road Roundabout in east London. Whilst there they completed paperwork from an earlier incident and made a call to the informant to obtain more detail about the vulnerable young woman. At a misconduct hearing at the Empress State Building today a panel chaired by Akbar Khan found the officers had committed misconduct, rather than the more serious charge of gross misconduct, increasing their chances of remaining in the service. Mr Khan said: "The officers accepted that they breached standards of professional behaviour. "From the outset the panel wishes to state that it accepts that the late attendance must not be conflated with the sad death (of the vulnerable woman). "Both officers did not adequately or properly asses the information on the CAD in terms of the risk posed to her. "The delay in attending was not justified and was not in accordance with the guidance, you should have proceeded (to the incident) straight away. "It was accepted that the IPCC concluded that the call should have been graded as an 'I' call but the panel noted this has no bearing on its findings in this case. "It was submitted by both representatives that the basis of their clients understanding of the grading was the MDT user manual of guidance policy and their training in it. "Accordingly the panel finds that there was an absence of evidence to find that both officers were trained adequately. "Given the inconsistencies between the NCTS and the MDT guidance the panel finds there was a gap in their knowledge in that they should have understood they should have attended within a maximum of 60 minutes rather than up to 60 minutes. "The panel accepts that the delay was 22 minutes rather than 33 minutes. "The panel has also accepted evidence of good character on behalf of both officers and has taken into account their conscientiousness to their duties since the incident and that this was an isolated incident. "The panel finds on the balance of probabilities that the officers have breached the standards as alleged by the appropriate authority. "In all of the circumstances the panel finds the breaches of standards by both officers amount to misconduct only and not gross misconduct." The panel is due to make a decision on sanctions, if any, against both officers tomorrow. The hearing continues. View on Police Oracle
  10. Police Federation says it has worked to ensure the form is beneficial for officers and the service. A new form which must be used by all officers will help ensure they are not placed in a difficult position after a use of force incident, the Police Federation says. The Home Office says from April 1 2017, all officers must record any use of force in the same way, regardless of where they work. During the consultation process for the new form the Fed adds it has worked to ensure the burden on members is as minimal as possible. “We also wanted to make sure that once all this data is collected, it will be used as constructively as possible for officers across the country,” said Simon Kempton, the Federation’s lead for operational policing. “For the first time, we will have robust data from all forces demonstrating which techniques and equipment really work and which do not. “We will make sure that this information is used to change things like Officer Safety Training to reflect what we – the members – need to do our job properly. At the same time, if certain equipment isn’t up to the standard we need, we will now have an evidence base to show this.” Changes to the form made by the Federation included ‘were you injured during the incident?’ being amended to ‘do you believe you were injured during the incident?’ which it states protects officers if they subsequently learn they were injured but it wasn’t apparent at the time and they have a potential claim which could be undermined. It also insisted changing ‘was the subject suffering from a mental illness at the time of the incident?’ to ‘do you think the subject may have been suffering from some form of mental illness?’ as officers should not be expected to make such an assessment. The new form asks whether the officer is authorised to carry Taser, whether it was being carried at the time and whether the officer was single crewed, questions which the federation states will provide “invaluable evidence” when they argue that single crewing and a lack of Taser is dangerous for both the public and the officer. “When refuting accusations levelled at us of using excessive force, we will now be able to argue, with solid evidence, that in comparison to the huge numbers of incidents we attend, we rarely have to resort to using force,” said Mr Kempton. “Furthermore, the Federation will be able to use this data to demonstrate that if we are placed in a position when we must use force that we always try to use the lowest level of force available to us.” HMIC will be measuring whether the forms are being completed as part of their inspection schedule. View on Police Oracle
  11. Northumbria Chief Constable Steve Ashman wants to scrap some of the bureaucracy that comes with the job. A chief constable plans to release sergeants from their desks and move away from what he calls a “tick box mentality”. Northumbria Chief Constable Steve Ashman says the current system where “sergeants sit in front of a computer and check the checking of the checkers” is “nonsense”. He plans to arm frontline operational sergeants with laptops enabling them to access incident data away from police stations so they can work remotely. CC Ashman told Police Oracle: “You can put a lot of barriers in place in policing and a lot of constraints. For example, we are looking at something that will remove the strict requirement for sergeants to supervise every single crime that comes through. “Why? Because it is not adding any value at all and we should start trusting PCs. With the training and development we have given them, they are well-paid individuals who can do their jobs on most occasions. “If you free them up, the sergeant is free to do his or her job and focus their supervisory effort where it is needed most likes complex crimes or with officers who are struggling. You cannot do that if you have got to supervise every single theft or burglary.” Earlier this week Police Oracle reported on CC Ashman’s plans to look beyond Northumbria’s borders when promoting because forces can “stagnate” if they do not recruit from outside. He also spoke of his eagerness to see senior officers leading rather than simply checking or being “supervisory managers”. It is a forward thinking move brought about by a determination on CC Ashman’s part to allow officers to do their jobs - and also the harsh reality of extreme budget cuts. “I want us to get away from that tick box mentality when it comes to policing. What we want to say is ‘you have actually got to get out there and lead’ even though we are the hardest hit in terms of funding,” he says. “We receive the lowest amount of money in terms of our total budget from the public by way of our tax precept by a mile. “Therefore we are the force most reliant on the government’s grant in this country. So, when that grant is cut we are the worst hit – that is a reality for me and us as a force. “We are squeezing and squeezing and squeezing and if we carry on working like we have in the past it just won’t work.” Such cuts financially – while never welcome – could bring about a cultural change many officers would surely relish. “There is a tick box mentally,” says CC Ashman. “For example, with property lists, the sergeant will supervise the PCs and then the inspectors will supervise the sergeants’ supervision and then you will have a remote team who will do the checking of the inspectors – it is nonsense. What we want to do is to say actually you have to get out lead. “We have actually come to the realisation that we have got to fundamentally reengineer the way we do front line policing. We have got sergeants whose daily job it is to sit in front of a computer and check the checking of the checkers and it is nonsense. “So whether it is looking at our resource management system and some of the bureaucracy associated and scrapping all of that. Whether it is looking at property lists and a slavish adherence to that, we will be looking at all of that. Whether it is the requirement to supervise every crime that comes in - we are going to scrap all of that too.” The system would work with officers, particularly sergeants, being given the choice of where to focus their efforts and with more responsibility and more work away from their desks. CC Ashman adds: “We will say you choose where your effort is needed most and to the best effect because we trust you otherwise we would not have made you a sergeant. “Now you need to get off your backside and get out there and lead which is what they signed up to do. We, the leadership of the service, certainly here in Northumbria, have made it impossible for them to leave the station in the past so I want to address that now. “You cannot cut it all loose – they will have laptops, certainly frontline operational sergeants will, so they can access incident data outside the station without having to come back. ”But we will trust them to get out and get on with their jobs to the best of their ability.” View on Police Oracle
  12. Scanner will now be installed in every Met custody suite. An officer, whose groundbreaking work has the capacity to “change policing”, has been honoured with an international award. Met Detective Inspector Julie Henderson created a digitised footprint system – the equivalent of the fingerprint system – after becoming frustrated that offenders were getting away with crimes because of the antiquated system of storing footwear prints on paper. The out-of-date system meant only three per cent of officers would take footwear prints from suspects, resulting in evidence being lost. As a result, DI Henderson researched how to make digital footwear prints the same as the national fingerprint system, so officers could take a scan of the footwear as part of the custody process which could then be downloaded and searched nationally. After finding no other force in the world had developed such a system, she contacted a Chinese company that had developed a footwear scanner which gave her two free of charge. She approached her senior leadership team and management board at the Met and the Home Office, securing funding for the project and a national trial. After being seconded to the force’s Capability and Support team to work on the scheme full time, a trial was launched in Colindale which proved a success. Within 12 months there were 117 detections with an 80 per cent conviction rate, an increase in compliance from three per cent to 70 per cent, a 98 per cent improvement in the speed of results and a 92 per cent decrease in cost per print. There will soon be a footwear scanner in every Met custody suite and the project is now one of the Commissioner’s Commitments. She has been given an award for her efforts from the International Association for Women in Policing, with one of her colleagues saying: “This will change policing as we currently know it.” View on Police Oracle
  13. One force took an average of 109 days to turnaround checks compared to 1.8 days elsewhere. The amount of time police forces take to carry out DBS checks varies hugely across the country, latest figures have revealed. Data from January to October 2016 shows the Metropolitan Police took an average of 109 days to process a DBS check from start to finish compared to just 1.8 days in Norfolk, according to company uCheck which gathered the figures. The issue has prompted concerns with some employers including Mayday Healthcare PLC – a nursing agency which provides medical and healthcare jobs in London – which says four members have been awaiting their certificates for six months while one applicant withdrew his application completely due to the long turnaround time. The Government says 100 per cent of checks must be completed in 60 days, but data for the Met shows that between Jan and September 2016, this was only achieved in July and September. In February, only 31 per cent of checks were completed by the force in 60 days. The Met said part of the reason for the delays has been a “significant increase” in the number of applications being sent to the MPS disclosure unit and difficulties in recruiting and retaining staff in the unit which deals with the checks. “To resolve this, we have recruited both police and agency staff to the MPS Disclosure Unit including non front-line police officers (on restricted/recuperative duties). Staff have also been seconded from Transport for London to work specifically on the applications from Black Cab Drivers,” it said in response to an FOI request in November 2016. “Looking forward, we have put in place a robust resourcing plan that includes on-going training, recruitment and productivity measures to ensure we build a resilient, sustainable team. “MPS staff are currently working incredibly hard and we are committed to reducing the number of outstanding cases as quickly as possible.” Dorset has the second longest turnaround time after the Met at 58.3 days, followed by North Yorkshire Police (28.3), South Yorkshire Police (24.5) and Thames Valley Police (22.6). View on Police Oracle
  14. Chief says attacks on officers should attract appropriate sanction from the criminal justice system. A chief constable has said he is increasingly concerned about the “terrifying circumstances” officers are finding themselves in. Wiltshire Chief Constable Mike Veale said that those who put their own safety on the line to protect the public should not have to deal with unacceptable assaults or attacks. Latest figures by the Police Federation of England and Wales suggest there are potentially more than two million unarmed physical assaults on officers over a 12 month period and that an assault happens every four minutes. Data for Wiltshire revealed that 72 per cent of respondents to the Police Federation's Welfare survey had been a victim of unarmed physical violence at least once in the last year, while 36 per cent said someone had used a deadly weapon against at least once in the same time period. “Every day, brave and dedicated officers and staff face difficult, demanding and sometimes dangerous situations that the majority of the public thankfully may never have to witness or deal with,” said cc Veale. “While those in public services may run towards danger when others run away, that is no reason to believe that assaults are an accepted part of the job, or an occupational hazard of being a police officer or police staff member. “They are criminal assaults which should attract appropriate sanction from the criminal justice system which should be delivered swiftly and commensurately with not just the injuries sustained, but the incredible fear my colleagues can sometimes face.” CC Veale said that he personally speaks to any officers and staff who have been assaulted or inured on duty and that at the time of writing he had six emails in his inbox notifying him of officers and staff injured in recent days. He added during his time as chief, resources and capacity within occupational health facilities has increased and he delivers compensation directly to any officer who is awarded it by the courts following an assault, instead of them waiting months to receive it from the attacker. “I have also made a commitment to increase officers and staff protective equipment so they can protect themselves better. I now have 800 body worn cameras which will be deployed to my operational officers and staff so that we can more accurately capture evidence of criminality, which includes abuse and threats to my officers and staff,” he said. View on Police Oracle
  15. Officer's wife had told Court of Protection that her husband should be allowed to die. Doctors should stop providing life support treatment to a policeman who was left in a coma after a road accident, a judge has ruled. Merseyside PC Paul Briggs, who also served as a soldier in the Gulf War, suffered a severe brain injury in a motorcycle crash while on duty in July last year. At a hearing in the Court of Protection earlier this month, PC Briggs’ wife Lindsey had told Mr Justice Charles that he should be allowed to die – and wanted life-sustaining treatment to end. But doctors said the judge should be cautious and that there was “potential” for Mr Briggs to emerge from a minimally conscious state. Mr Justice Charles announced his decision on Tuesday and said Mr Briggs would go on to a palliative care regime at a hospice. Mrs Briggs said: “The court case was the hardest thing we have ever had to do but we did it for Paul, to honour his wishes. “We are grateful that Mr Justice Charles has shown compassion towards Paul, has respected his wishes and values and has understood what Paul would have wanted. “He has been able to place himself in Paul's situation, and for that we will be forever thankful.” View on Police Oracle