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  1. Been away from here for a while, lots of things going on but chemotherapy finished in January and apart from a tiny speck that the hospital are keeping an eye on, I'm in remission from Hodgkin lymphoma, back on full duties in June having already returned to work and looking forward to the rest of my life Dave
  2. Right. I have never before supported the view of morale being at rock bottom. It's been rolled out 3 or 4 times since I first joined the 'police family' in 2008 and usually it's led to derisory comments from all corners of society. I'm known as someone who is 'job pi**ed' and I am annoyingly chipper whether it be a dead early 5am start for a door knock or a 12 hour night shift enforced due to a recent outbreak of violence. Morale is inevitably low at the minute but I didn't realise quite how bad until this week. I was scrolling through Force Orders the other day whilst sat on my lunch break of a training course. I had to double take when I read one of the names listed as a resignation - it was a PC who i used to work with often as a special aligned to his response team. Rarely does reading something ever affect me physically but my stomach dropped. I initially thought either he must be ill or some kind of disciplinary. He is one of the most proactive and resilient cops I have worked with and with that comes complaints so I saw that as a distinct possibility. I dug out his number and gave him a text to offer my support with whatever trouble he'd got himself into or support he'd needed.His reply blindsided me. He is of good physiological health and he is not in any trouble; he is leaving with less than 10 years service because he has had enough. This is a copper who used to come into work and go out of his way to look on the briefing system to keep abreast of current events and to seek out those wanted offenders who fell into the 'too much effort' category for most response cops. I didn't pry any further. I didn't need to. In that moment I knew what he was talking about without asking. And that's when I realised that I too am fed up. I've been 'Ostriching'. Every time things are just about to get on top I get a small course to distract me and I take a few days leave and take a trip down south to see friends and family. But somewhere in the past 6-10 months the tone of response policing changed for me. I no longer go to work feeling like I help people. Do I serve justice, or help to serve justice? Rarely. In the main I am used as a tool by one party to get one over on their partner/ex best mate/neighbour/brother/parent/son/business partner. I make an arrest. I seize various CCTV, view it and document it before sending it for processing. I take various statements and I exhibit Body Worn Video footage which I am ordered to use even though it hinders interaction with victims and the courts have no interest in when it shows a suspect threatening to rape my [non-existent] wife and find me when I am off duty and bite my face off (though if I tell the suspect who has just broken his wife's cheekbone to shutup and stop being a knob then suddenly the footage becomes the centre of controversy). Then, predictably, a week later a victim demands a retraction statement be taken from them. No Further Action follows and everybody laughs at the police - even the victim who so 'desperately' needed us just a week before. Occasionally though I come across a member of the public who really needs and wants our help. Just recently this happened. They work long hours. Their address isn't known to us except for a burglary they were a victim of 5 years ago - which we didn't solve. They apologise for calling us out and are sure we have more important things to do. I assure them, with a dead pan face, that there is nothing more important for me to do. What has happened with this member of the public? He has returned from a night shift and as he has got out of the taxi his next door neighbour, of an ASBO/Criminal household well known to us, has proceeded to march out of the house and punch him to the ground multiple times before the victim manages to drag himself across the floor to his front door where his young daughter lets him in having heard the commotion whilst she was getting ready for school. Little does the victim know it but the offenders wife has argued with the victims wife the evening before. The offender has in all likelihood waited in his porch looking out for the victim's return from work. The victim has severe facial injuries. We can't take a statement as the ambulance are concerned that there may be a fractured cheekbone and eyesocket. I duly go next door and arrest the smug offender on suspicion on GBH. He asks to get changed and tries to pass his clothes to his wife. My colleague intercepts and seizes the clothes. The offender has no injuries on him but tries to allude to him being attacked. The offender believes I am being over the top for handcuffing him front stack...Ive seen what he can do I am not sitting in the back of a car with him uncuffed. I explain that I am not willing to discuss any of this with him whatsoever and we sit in silence on the way to the police station. The offender is booked in and immediately sees the custody nurse for some dubious reason - I don't care enough to enquire what for. My colleague attends the hospital where the victim is in the public waiting room on a metal bench (unlike the offender who has already seen a nurse, been made a coffee and given a hot meal to eat whilst lying down on a mattress). He gives a statement where he discloses a long catalogue of petty intimidation and ASB from the offenders family. This had never been reported until the day before. Door to door proved unfruitful for me and there was no CCTV. The victim in the meantime had been xrayed and there were no broken bones. Accordingly I crimed it as an ABH. He still had severe swelling all over his face and the back of his head. He had 2 black eyes and a 2-3 inch long split eyebrow. I complete a weighty handover file and ring the victim to keep him updated that I am going off duty but will be handing over the case for the offender to be interviewed. I readied him for the fact that the charge would likely be lessened to common assault because of CPS Charging Standards. The next morning I came in. Had the case been dropped to a common assault? No. Not at all. The offender had admitted hitting the victim. He claimed the victim in fact started the fight. The fact that the offender has no injuries was not addressed. The offender's reason for being in the street at the time was also unaddressed. The offender said he was sorry for the injuries that had occurred. The charging decision: NFA - no independent witnesses. It shouldn't surprise me after 7 years in the police. But these decisions still do. Everything from the perverse charging standards to the way the offender is treated better than the victim - it deeply bothers me. I am currently off of the cigarettes but that evening I bought ten and smoked them sat in my car. Pondering. Where is policing going? Do I want to be a part of the future? We have had our terms and conditions steadily eroded since the late 80s. We have had our credibility eroded to the point that without video proving what we said we are disbelieved. We are guilty until proven innocent of any complaints made against us. We receive no support from the senior ranks, there is a new 'corporate image' to be protected, regardless of the effect on morale. The media attacks us singing the same tune that the government does. Generally Joe Public can be put into two categories: those who believe the anti-police propoganda and think we are useless OR those who find us a neutered, diluted, ineffective, uber liberal shadow of the great British Police Force. I make the same money as my friend who does unskilled labouring for 7 jours a day Monday to Friday. I can no longer tell people what I do with pride and I am meant to hide who I am in case a crazed militant decides to murder me. This is not rock bottom. However for the first time I have woken up and realised we are on a steep slope down. I'm not yet going to tackle the issues of spurious complaints, targets, overbearing supervision, officer safety, stress, fatigue, resourcing, assaults, lack of respect, budgets, vehicles, ineffective policing policy or any other of the number of individual themes which are slowly grinding down the police force.
  3. At first glance I thought it was a new Special leaving the niton store.
  4. I have two opinions on this. Firstly - this is a police vehicle. Under the law the vehicle its self, as a vehicle used for a policing purpose is exempt from all parking and waiting restrictions at all times, regardless of what it is being used to do at the time. The law says that vehicles used for Police/ambulance/fire purposes are exempt, not that they are exempt when responding to an emergency etc. Second opinion is that these officers are on duty officers. if an immediate call came in whilst they were shopping, they would have had to drop their shopping and jump back into the vehicle as soon as possible. Therefore always having the vehicle close at hand is sensible. I have no issue with where they are parked, and the public should have more respect for the above.
  5. First and foremost, know that your Thin Blue Line family here in the US stands proud with our blue brothers and sisters in the UK. You've been on the minds of myself and my fellow officers here ever since the news broke. You may know or may have seen our tradition where we shroud our badges with a mourning band after the loss of an officer. Today I have shrouded my badge, in honor of PC Keith Palmer and the life he gave today in the fight against the evil in this world. Let us not forget Keith and all those who run towards danger while everyone else is running away. On that note I raise a glass to our fellow officers that ran towards terror today. For those that ended the threat and those that worked to help the injured and restore peace and security, great job. "And maybe remind the few, if ill of us they speak, that we are all that stands, between the monsters and the weak"
  6. Part 3 Monday We convened in the New Year for the second attempt at a Trial. I was told to expect a three day trial. I told the witness care unit that I would take responsibility for warning witnesses: knowing how the defendant's antics can play out I felt that someone who was physically at the court would be able to best make the decisions as to when they were likely to be needed. I made an executive decision not to warn the two witnesses from furthest afield until the second day. One of them was coming from overseas so had to have his flight booked - I felt that it would have been wholly unreasonable for him to arrive, wait all day, and then be told that he wasn't needed. He was booked to fly in early in the morning and he wanted to return that night. The other Crown witnesses were warned to come for the Monday morning but I had forewarned them that there might be quite a bit of a wait. When I arrived I immediately went and found my (new) barrister. We found a quiet little meeting room and had a chat. He was well-briefed on the case but still had a couple of questions to ask so I filled him in with the necessary details. It turned out that a couple of pieces of paperwork were missing from his file so I went off and printed off a couple of new copies. I went into the court with him and met the defence barrister but was informed, again, that as I was going to give evidence I could not remain in the courtroom until I had taken the stand. I took up position in the small seating area directly outside the court. Pretty much as soon as the court sat he started his antics again. The defendant was insisting that he had been given insufficient disclosure, that I was deliberately witholding key evidence etc. The crux of his defence appeared to be that there was a major police conspiracy that was trying to con him out of his home (that he had been evicted from over a year before). He actually accepted that he had boarded up the properties but that he had lawful authority to do so(!). The arguments wore on into the late morning and periodically the barrister would pop out with a question: yes, he had made lots of complaints against police, no, none of them have been upheld, yes, I have disclosed more or less everything he had asked for, no, there are no more reports that need disclosing. Frankly, none of it was relevant. At lunch time we had still not got much further. The witnesses were still all sitting in the witness room twiddling their thumbs. It was, frankly, ridiculous. After lunch there was yet another bombshell. The defendant's own barrister resigned from the case. He said he was professionally embarrassed after a conversation they had during the lunch recess. The case had to be adjourned yet again. The judge said that the defendant's solicitors would have to appoint a new barrister immediately and that the court would sit once more the following afternoon in order to give enough time for the new barrister to take instruction and familiarise himself with the case. I retired to the small meeting room again with my barrister for a quick conference: "Look, bensonby, we're not going to hear evidence tomorrow at this rate. Get the witnesses to return on Wednesday. Hopefully we'll at least get a jury sworn in tomorrow. Also, he's making a big deal about these complaints he's made against you and other police officers - can you get details of all of those complaints so the court can see them if necessary?" I promised I'd do what I could. We exchange mobile numbers so we can keep in touch as necessary. I went back to the witness room and updated the witnesses. It was a depressingly familiar piece of news. They all understood and weren't too surprised to be frank. I told them that I would be at the end of the phone if needed and I would ring them and keep them abreast of developments. I head back to the station and contact the Directorate of Professional Standards and tell them that the details of the numerous complaints made have been requested and I seek permission to disclose them. They are happy to do so and send me a spreadsheet detailing his various complaints. It's a huge document. I also have an issue with the witness coming from abroad: he's due to fly over in the morning but we almost certainly won't get to hearing evidence. I ring him and explain. He can't make it on Wednesday but could on Thursday if we rearrange the flights. I speak to the witness care unit who say that it's too late in the day to organise the flights but if the CPS authorise it then they will make arrangements tomorrow. I have a contact in the CPS who has been dealing with the administrative matters in this case and send him an email: he's gone home for the day. Witness Care cancel the flight for the following morning. I hear back the next day that CPS are prepared to shell out for a new flight on Thursday - when it becomes clear later on on Tuesday that we will be able to get the witness on I make the phone call and an eye-watering sum of money is paid out for new flights. Tuesday Tuesday comes around and I head to the police station in the morning to get on with some admin. I'm not needed at court until 2pm. Whilst I'm having my lunch in the canteen about 12:30 my phone rings. It's the barrister: "I've just been talking to the new defence brief. He wants a plea bargain. They are willing to plead to the breach of restraining order but want the other matters dropped. What do you reckon?" "My instinct says 'no'. I think we can get him on all of it. I think the witnesses want their day in court after all of this" He tried to talk me into it: "Breach of restraining order carries the same sentence as witness intimidation. The breach is pretty clear cut but I think the witness intimidation is a little more problematic: he's clearly a bit of a nutter, if they successfully argue that his intention wasn't to intimidate the witness but, rather, done out of a mis-placed sense of entitlement then he'll get acquitted." "What about the reverse burden of proof" I ask? (Secton 51(8)(b) of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 if you're interested) "True, but if the jury think's he's loopy then he might still not get convicted. Obviously he can't plead insanity as he's been judged fit to stand trial, but I think the defence's tactic is essentially going to be to 'exhibit him' and let the jury make up their minds." I advise him that I'm going to need to speak to the victim's and listen to their wishes, I will also be speaking to my superiors who have quite a bit of knowledge in the case. I promise I'll ring him back in half an hour or so. My gut instinct is completely against the notion of a deal, but I'll be guided by how the victim feels: I know he's nervous about the whole thing, this could spare him the stress of a trial. I go an speak to an inspector in the local professional standards office: he's had a huge amount of dealings with the defendant and has taken a close interest in this case. I tell him what the score is: his reaction is the same as mine - no deal. I ring the victim. He's unsure and wants to be guided by myself. I point out the pros and cons. I explain the risks. After a ten minute chat we agree: there will be no deal. We want a trial. I call the barrister back - the trial is on. I head to court. At court I meet the new defence barrister. Over the coming days I was to gain a great deal of respect for him. He was effortlessly articulate and elegant in the courtroom, he also had the patience of a saint. His performance gave me quite a lot to worry about over the next 72 hours. We get a jury sworn in, finally, but by this time it is already gone 3pm. The opening remarks are made and that's it for the day. No witnesses today - but we are finally moving forward. It's going to start to get very interesting.... Wednesday I'd updated all of the witnesses the night before: we were on for a trial. Again, we all convened in the witness room and I made sure they all had their statements. I assured them that today we should have some momentum. I then excuse myself and head to the court room itself. I meet up with the barristers and we are confident that we are going to get underway shortly: I glance around the courtroom and the public gallery is surprisingly full: not only have the defendant's supporters arrived but other neighbours that he has tormented have also turned up to watch - as the week wore on the gallery gets more and more crowded as witnesses stay to watch proceedings and various other people turn up to watch. It's quite a sight. Shortly after 10 am I get the message: first witness to take the stand. I go and fetch him, I escort him the short walk to the courtroom, wish him luck and cast him off into the court. I wait outside. He's in there for nearly an hour. When he comes out he seems ok.... I ask him if he's alright and he says that he is, we obviously can't discuss the details, he elects to stay and sits in the public gallery alongside his girlfriend who was already sitting there watching. The next witness is called, the defendant's own mother: she's a lovely lady in her mid seventies who has been subjected to a relentless barrage of harassment at her son't hands. She has no idea how he has turned out like this. I feel so sorry for her. She is resigned to giving evidence but clearly the proceedings are causing her a great deal of stress: she tells me that once she has given evidence she's not going to stay. I let her know that I will ring her each day of the trial with updates - she's grateful for this. She goes in and spends about 40 minutes on the stand: when she comes out she looks like she's been hit by a bus. She looks awful and has tears in her eyes. I ask her if she is ok.... "not really" she replies. I ask her how it went and said says "I can't talk about it" and she leaves saying she just wants to go home. It's now lunch time. It's been rather slow going. Over lunch I am asked to do a bit more admin. I just about manage to throw a sandwich down my neck before it's time to head back. They decide, now, at the very last minute that they don't need to hear from the manager of the boarding up company. He has had a wasted journey... they read out his evidence and produce the documents that I seized. It's then my turn to take the stand. I walk in and take stock of my surroundings. It's the first time I have seen the jury and I make eye contact with them as I read out the oath... I have given evidence so many times that I know it by heard but I always hold the card and give it a quick glance just in case the wording has changed. I then introduce myself, giving my name, station role and length of service to the jury without being prompted. The barrister thanks me and gets me to talk through the events of the previous May, I describe getting the call, going to the incident, the actions I took and the enquiries I made. I spoke a bit about my background with the defendant and some of my previous dealings with him. I describe the arrest and how he was dealt with in custody. We then get on to the interview. The tape is played to the whole court and I'm allowed to sit down: the interview is over an hour long. I then stand up and answer a few more questions and the "evidence in chief" is finished. I've now been in the box for about an hour and a half. It's approaching 4 in the afternoon. The judge looks at the time and decides that that will be that for the day. The case is adjourned until half 10 tomorrow morning. The jury is dismissed for the day. Thursday Early in the morning I get a text message from the witness from abroad: he's on his way. I arrive at the court with not much time to spare - I was delayed on the journey in and I'm a bit flustered. I have literally only got 5 minutes before the court is due to sit. I'm a bit annoyed with myself as I wanted to have time to have a chat with the witness, make sure he knew what to expect and so on. In the event I literally only have time to say "hello" and hand him his statement. I get to the courtroom bang on 10:30. Almost immediately I return to the witness box for cross examination. I'm expecting a hard time. In the event it's pretty easy going. I'm only in the box for about 20 minutes. I get asked about the complaints that the defendant has made about me, the conspiracy theories he comes out with an so on. The barrister talks me through a call log where the defendant called police on the day of the incident claiming that he had a right to board up the properties concerned. I admit, through gritted teeth, that, apart from the previous harassment conviction, the defendant is of "good character". I'm then stood down. The prosecution barrister asks me to sit behind him in the well of the court. The witness from abroad then give evidence, he's on the stand for about 45 minutes, he details his long dealings with the defendant and tells a story going back years. The defence try to make it look like he and the defendant had a "normal" civil dispute that got out of hand. It's nonsense. They never had any dispute - the man was targeted by the defendant. The witness sets the record straight. I'm a bit frustrated that this is actually the first witness I've actually seen give evidence. With that, the prosecution case is closed. The defence barrister rises. He calls the defendant to the stand. The prosecution barrister turns to me and says that if I want to raise anything then I should pass him notes. The defendant is unlocked from the dock and escorted by a prison officer to the witness stand. He is carrying a large bundle of paperwork under his arm. The court is silent and all eyes are fixed on him as he takes the short walk across the court. He takes the oath and the defence barrister starts his questioning by getting the defendant to talk us through his life story - where he grew up, where he lived, his education, his career. It's an attempt to make him look like a "normal" and "educated" person. He tells us he has a degree in Law and Philosophy, how he worked overseas and how he ended up in his flat. He then goes on to recount how his neighbours ganged up on him, how he was unlawfully evicted from his flat on false evidence. He recounts how he served a "commercial lien" on the two flats and that he was entitled to board them up. A "Commercial Lien" is a piece of Pseudo-legal nonsense made up by self-styled "Freemen-on-the-land". It has no basis in English Law. I pass a note to my barrister pointing out that if he has legal qualifications as he claims then he must have known that a "Commercial Lien" is a nonsense. His evidence gets increasingly bizarre, he starts alleging that I have caused him injuries amounting to GBH, how I unlawfully arrested him, and starts going on about something to do with Admiralty Courts (another bizarre Freeman-ism). He comes across as arrogant and just a little unhinged: he spends part of the time leaning against the side of the witness box in an arrogant posture. At other times he points vigorously at me. It's quite a spectacle. After an hour or so the defence's questions have ended. We break for lunch and the defendant is lead back to the dock: as he passes me our eyes meet and he smirks. Lunch is quite a convivial affair, I don't have much to do during the lunch break so sit with the witnesses and the various supporters that they have brought along. We have all given evidence now so can chat more freely. They are all nice ordinary people who have been thrown together due to their misfortune to have crossed paths with the defendant. After lunch the defendant is cross examined. At several points it almost ends up in a shouting match with the judge having to stop proceedings. The barrister holds up some of the legal documentation that he has produced himself and waves it above his head..... "what's this?" He quotes a Latin phrase that the defendant has dropped in "It's nonsense isn't it?!" he shouts in a crescendo across the court.....without missing a beat the defendant cries out: "It's Latin your honour". The barrister does quite a good job of winding up the defendant - on two occasions the defence barrister stands up and calls out that he objects to the line of questioning. It's like something out of an American Courtroom Drama: "You may stand there trying to come across as insane but you know exactly what you are doing. The simple fact is this, whoever crosses you, be they neighbours, police officers or your own mother you complain, you threaten them with legal actions, you're relentless. All in an effort to throw as much smoke and mirrors in the way to intimidate others and get what you want." As this is reeled out the defendant keeps shouting "no" with an ever increasing volume...."and this behaviour is made clear by the fact that one third of all complaints against police in this borough are made by you!" The defendant, his barrister and judge all simultaneously call out. There is a stifled snort of laughter from the jury. It's the most dramatic moment I think I've ever seen in an English courtroom. After about an hour of cross examination my barrister is nearing the end. The defence barrister raises to make a point and in the brief pause the barrister turns to me and asks "Is that enough?" I'm quite shocked. I quickly whisper to him: "Timings" he looks confused. "You need to ask him about the timings. It's a witness intimidation case, he did this act three days before the court hearing". "Ah, good point" he whispers back. He turns around and continues his cross examination for another quarter of an hour or so. I'm shocked that it didn't occur to him. It shortly after 3pm by the time the cross examination is complete. The judge speaks to the barristers and ask them how long they will need for closing speeches. It is decided that they only have time for one speech this afternoon and it would be unfair for the prosecution to give his and then the defence to give his the following day. It is decided to send the jury home and conclude the case tomorrow. There is then a brief discussion regarding the relevant law that applies. The defence barrister makes an eloquent case for relying on R V Smith 1974 which holds that if a belief is honestly held, even if it is wholly unreasonable, then the defendant is entitled to an acquittal and if he is acquitted on that charge then it follows that all of the others must be dismissed also. The judge agrees with his interpretation. The prosecution barrister also acquiesces. I'm somewhat dumbfounded and extremely dejected. One of the witnesses has his head in his hands in the public gallery. Essentially, what this means is that if the jury accept that the defendant believes that he had the right to damage the proeprty, even if his belief is borne out, essentially, of being a crank, then he will be acquitted. I feel sick. Friday Overnight I've been reading up on the case law and going back to the Criminal Damage Act 1971. I think the case of Smith is materially different to this one and I tell the barrister so: he doesn't seem to think that we have a case to challenge the directions that the judge is going to give the jury this morning. I'm still feeling pretty depressed. I have a printout of the relevant sections of the Criminal Damage Act on top of my file. As it turned out this was a very prudent move on my part. The witnesses haven't come today - they've had to go back to work. They are expecting my phone call later on. The prosecution barrister gives a speech outlining the case, portraying the defendant as a cynical chancer and a manipulator. It's an eloquent speech. The defence barrister then stands up: "The defendant is a man who sees things differently, he is a man who sees things differently, perhaps, to you and I, but he his beliefs are genuine, and honest. He hasn't tried to cover anything up, he believes that he had the right to do this." He points out that even if that belief is unreasonable he is entitled to an acquittal if it is honestly held. He explains that the judge will shortly explain how the law applies in this case. The defence speech is excellent. I'm still feeling depressed and I have a sinking feeling. The judge then gives his legal direction. He explains that research shows that jurors prefer written directions on the law and the usher then hands out the pre-prepared instructions. The barristers saw them this morning and neither objected to them. I didn't get to look at them. He reads them out to the jury..... The key in relation to the "honest belief" is whether he held this belief and that would be a lawful excuse. The judge reads out the section of the Criminal Damage Act 1971 that applies. He has copied it on his written directions. He wrote: Section 5 (2)A person charged with an offence to which this section applies, shall, whether or not he would be treated for the purposes of this Act as having a lawful excuse apart from this subsection, be treated for those purposes as having a lawful excuse— (b)if he destroyed or damaged or threatened to destroy or damage the property in question or, in the case of a charge of an offence under section 3 above, intended to use or cause or permit the use of something to destroy or damage it, in order to protect property belonging to himself or another or a right or interest in property which was or which he believed to be vested in himself or another, and at the time of the act or acts alleged to constitute the offence he believed— (i)that the property, right or interest was in need of protection; and (ii)that the means of protection adopted or proposed to be adopted were or would be reasonable having regard to all the circumstances. As he reads it out I notice a glaring error..... an absolutely key word was missing.... what s.5(2)(b)(i) actually says is this: that the property, right or interest was in immediate need of protection It's a fundamental word. The whole case can hinge on this word. If the defendant believed that it was in "immediate" need of protection why did he wait months after he was evicted and picked a date three days before a court hearing?! I triple underline the word "Immediate" in my printout, and tap my barrister on the back - handing him the piece of paper. He picks up his Archibald law book and leafs through. The Jury are now being sent out to make the decision. The judge is about to stand up and says "thank you very much gentlemen". My barrister stands up and says that he urgently needs to raise something. He points out the mistake and the judge picks up his Archibald's..... He raises his eyebrows: "I can't believe I missed that". The jury are called back in and the mistake is put right. My barrister acknowledges that it was my spot. The judge makes no further comment. The jury are out for two and a half hours. It feels like an age. We take our seats and the foreman rises. "Have you reached a verdict on all four indictments?" "yes" "Is it the verdict of you all?" "yes" "In relation to indictment one, witness intimidation, do you find the defendant guilty or not guilty?" "Guilty" "In relation to indictment two, breach of restraining order, do you find the defendant guilty or not guilty?" "Guilty" "In relation to indictment three, criminal damage to address 1, do you find the defendant guilty or not guilty?" "Guilty" "In relation to indictment four, criminal damage to address 2, do you find the defendant guilty or not guilty?" "Guilty" I do my best not to show any emotion. I can't see the defendant from where I am sitting without turning around. The judge looks straight at him and says: "These are very serious matters, there is nothing to say now, you will remain in custody until sentencing in 6 weeks, take him down". I manage to steal a look at him as he is lead away. The judge thanks the jury and thanks the barristers. He congratulates them on a reasonably efficient trial which could have descended into a circus. With that the court rises. I can barely contain myself, I shake the barristers hand and congratulate him. He congratulates me. I almost run back to the police room and start making phone calls. I must have made several dozen as so many people were interested in the proceedings. Today, I think I'm the most popular Police Officer in South London. People shriek down the phone in delight at me.... people are relieved. I am relieved. 9 months work has paid off. I go home and have a well deserved drink.
  7. Well folks it looks like I will need a new user name soon PatPCSO Yes after 30 years of working for the service for free I have passed the interview to be a part time PCSO !!! I'm just waiting for my conditional offer then medical , vetting etc if all goes according to plan I will start in March
  8. Really the austerity cuts were a huge opportunity for us to legitimately redraw the boundaries and set sensible parameters for what we would deal with and how. Some forces have gone further than others but I still think we have not gone far enough. Mental Health - quite reasonably it could be questioned why police attend the vast majority of mental health concern calls. Where there is a real risk of harm the police will always be in attendance - to 'make safe' the scene. However, that should be where the police job ends. Crisis teams should be going out and seeing people who are in crisis. Not sending the police to spend hours trying to get advice over the phone and then attend A&E with the patient. There are very few mental health patients who want a police officer when they are on crisis - and there are a number who (through no direct fault of the attending officers) have a more traumatic experience due to police involvement. Sudden death of seriously ill patients on end of life plans - the general guidance states that GPs / out of hours doctors should attend these calls and issue a death certificate. This would provide a better service to the family, cut police demand and also prevent unnecessary coroner actions. Social services - we all know the trend of social service departments nationwide of sending police to social services jobs and having police act as proxy social workers commanded by the on duty social worker by telephone. Low level social media crime - Internet providers are making millions of pounds from their social media platforms and yet police are launching criminal investigations which cost time and money. For low level trolling/abuse the onus should be on such providers to police their platforms and the police should only become involved in more serious offences. Harassment - the police have become the architects of their own demise in this area. Since 1997 we have made many people believe that they can dictate on the spot who has the right to contact them and when...with minor transgressions achieving a criminal label of harassment involving lengthy investigation which ultimately ends in no further action. Harassment warnings have been given out like confetti leading to a dilution of their utility and the state.of affairs where people demand a harassment warning be given. Statutory nuisance/ASB - councils and social landlords have managed to avoid their responsibilities in many areas. Police officers attend these incidents and then pass on the information to these departments, receive the correspondence before passing it back to the person reporting - why do police need to be involved at all? Petrol driveoffs - there are lots of safeguards the petrol station businesses can put in place to tackle drive offs yet we don't put any onus on them. We conduct police investigations only for petrol stations to decline to assist once they recieve the 20 quid owed from the offender. Shoplifting - with commerical retailers running their own security, loss prevention and civil recovery schemes we could easily tweak the shoplifting response plans to put more responsibility on private security (this runs in several force areas to good effect). Retail crime packs (proforma witness statements, CCTV production instructions etc) mean that police officers attending have their evidence ready at point of attendance and they can quickly conduct their investigation. The amount of stores reporting very low level shopliftings which take the OIC several weeks to progress due to staff unavailability or CCTV unavailability is leading to huge demand pressures in some areas. I would go further and suggest that in shoplifting cases where the offender is located at scene and the goods recovered in a saleable condition then stores should conduct their civil recovery process and the police should merely record a crime for recording purposes - only becoming involved with prolific/violent/uncooperative offenders in these circumstances. Appointment systems - many forces have officers bending over backwards attending mulťiple appointments to see victims of crime who fail to keep the appointments and in many cases we can chase people for weeks. In my area alone these diary appointments take up around 1/4 of the response capability on early and late shifts. It's not an efficient way of dealing with low level incidents. The default option could be that persons will attend the police station to report/discuss such low level matters with officer attendance saved for only the more serious/needed incidents. RTCs - of course there is a place for police in attending RTCs but the system for recording them is archaic. For low level RTCs why can they not be reported online via a step by step dummy guide completed by the drivers with a freephone helpline for any issues. Statements - whilst there are circumstances whereby it might be beneficial for police to take a statement, why can purely routine continuity/factual statements not be completed by witnesses themselves? It happens in other legal jurisdictions without huge fanfare. A quick dummies guide attached to an online proforma would do the job quite well for CCTV statements etc. MisPers/Concerns - just as we have minimum concerns we expect from colleagues...why not from persons reporting? I'd be expecting at minimum that persons reporting would have already made hospital enquiries, visits to known associates addresses and partners addresses before picking up the phone. Probably 1 in 10 of my elderly misperceptions/concerns calls have been successfully completed by me without ever attending an address. It's not uncommon now for adult children to report concern at not hearing from their parent for a few days when they live an hour away and they haven't made the effort to attend the address themselves and use their key! That's just a snippet of my views on where we should be going, there's a huge discussion to be had.
  9. Just catching up on this folks after a short break so I apologise in advance if I go over old ground. But before I start, I will try to avoid direct criticism of those involved because at the end of the day they tried to do thier best in a frightening, stressful and very dynamic situation. However there is no way of avoiding some actions that the officers took which clearly could have been done better. Secondly to put this issue to bed once and for all (as some members clearly seem to have an issue with this), could leathal force have been used in these circumstances, the simple answer is YES!!! Would I personally have drawn my firearm yes, would I have considered using deadly force yes, as I would never draw unless I was prepared to do so, would have I shot the subject yes without any doubt, if the escalation of force have failed and a colleague's life was in danger. Of course this doesn't mean I want to use leathal force, I like to think given my experience and knowledge I would have dealt with this situation slightly differently and perhaps avoided the need for leathal force but who knows that for sure we are always responding to the actions of the subject in a fast moving incident such as this. As for what happened during this actual incident yes there are 2 armed ARV officers carrying both conventional firearms and Taser. I suspect they have not been deployed as firearms officers but are there to support unarmed colleagues. However I would expect better control and drills from ARV officers given thier training. Time and space in these situations are our best defence, the initial set up is good, ARV Taser drawn good view of door and subject not too close but within effective range for Taser and with dog support out of firing line. At this point I would also have expected or hoped for more decisive action from the dog handler. However were it all starts to go wrong is when the second ARV closes the subject down and effectively blocks his colleagues shot with the Taser.... why he gained absolutely no tactical advantage in doing so. But we all do daft things from time to time I hope he reflects and learns from the incident. The situation still could have been recovered but as is often the case once things start going pear-shaped it becomes harder to recover. There is nothing wrong with withdrawing at this point but in a controlled manner and most importantly if it's safe to do so. Clearly turning your backs and running and leaving an unarmed colleague trapped in a confined space with a subject who armed and clearly dangerous is probably not the best way of doing that. I would hope for the ARV'S to consider all the tactical options at thier disposal at this point and perhaps see the dog being deployed to allow a safe withdrawal or for the threat to be neutralised or reduced to a safe level. I found this video very distressing to watch and found it very frustrating to see the situation being allowed to develop to the point it did. As I said at the start these things happen and the important thing is we all learn from these incidents. Taser isn't the solution to all threats we face it has its limitations, neither is a convenient firearm but it's essential that both are quickly available to all officers facing such a threat.
  10. This week marks a significant milestone in the history of Police Community, one which we are very excited about but brings with it some significant challenges. Many of our membership will recall the day on the 31st October 2014 when we, as a Management and Moderation Team walked away from three other forum sites to create Police Community. We left behind; www.policespecials.com www.ukpoliceonline.co.uk www.policeuk.com This was a decision that we did not take lightly but at the time felt we had to do the right thing for us and for the membership. Thankfully the majority of the membership believed in the team and embarked on that journey with us resulting in Police Community being born. This brought together Regulars, Specials, Police Staff, PCSO's and Volunteers under one umbrella and a forum for the wider policing family grew. Since that time the Managing Director at Red Snapper Media, the owners of the other forums have been in touch and after some recent negotiations Police Community have now taken ownership of all three of their forums. This means that as of today the management and ownership of all of the forums has transferred to Police Community. Clearly this is a welcomed position that we are very pleased with and now need to work out our strategy to take all four forums forwards. Decisions around the future of all the forums will be made in the fullness of time but for the time being the intention is that all forums will continue to exist as separate sites with my Moderation Team taking over the moderation across all forums. Out of this acquisition, a professional business relationship with Red Snapper Media has been formed and we will look to develop an advertising strategy to help promote some of Red Snapper's products whilst they mutually promote all four of the forums across their extensive media network. This is a mutually agreeable position that brings benefits to all concerned and we are delighted with the partnership we have formed with Red Snapper Media to allow this to happen. What does this mean for our membership? In simple terms it means there is no change for anyone, all forums will continue to exist at this time and you will be able to continue to use whichever forum you feel most comfortable being apart of. We will be looking to upgrade Police Specials, UKPoliceOnline and Police UK to the latest version of the forum software to ensure their future viability. We may alter the structure of a few areas etc but in the main they will be largely unchanged apart from the Police Community Team now Moderating across all four forums. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Martin Jerrold at Red Snapper Media who has made clear that he wants the forums to continue and took very seriously his responsibility to agree the best possible home for the forums moving forwards. We would also like to thank the membership across all four forums for their continued support. Over the coming weeks there will be some periods of downtime for Police Specials, UKPoliceOnline and Police UK whilst we transfer the sites fully to our servers, upgrade the software and hardware arrangements and get them fit for the future. I would personally like to thank you in advance for your anticipated support. Police Community Forum will remain online throughout. As many of you will know Chief Rat and myself have been at the helm of all the forums at one point in time or another historically, and more recently here on Police Community. We have been supported by a fantastic team of Moderators both past and present who commit their own time to moderating and managing the forum. This team has been led by Cheetah who was promoted to "Lead Moderator" when Police Community was incepted. He has done a fantastic job and has supported the Management Team so much so that he was promoted to a junior Management Role in 2016. His commitment and dedication has been invaluable and with the new challenges that now lie ahead in managing four forums I would like to formally welcome Cheetah to the full Management Team here at Police Community. Cheetah will be changing his name to Chief Cheetah in recognition of his full management role and will have an equal role to that of Chief Rat and myself across all four forums. If you have any questions please feel free to ask but this is most definitely going to be an exciting time for the future of the Police Community group of forums. Chief Bakes Co-Founder of Police Community *UPDATE* Please see this statement from our Strategic Partner Martin Jerrold, Managing Director of Red Snapper Media http://www.rawdigitalmedia.co.uk/statement-from-martin-jerrold/
  11. At the end of the day it's not an argument I often offer or support but when it comes to use of force: if you've not done it it is ridiculously hard to offer an informed opinion. This isn't personalised to you Dash: judges, barristers, journalists and politicians are some of the most naive. I recently policed a protest and in no uncertain terms a crowd was told that if they grabbed hold of me again then I would punch the culprit as hard as I could to prevent me being pulled in to the crowd of anarchists. Luckily the threat worked and I wasn't forced to follow through with force. Further, you must consider that in trying to breach a cordon in itself requires violence - you can't breach an enforced cordon without using force against the police officer standing there. Pushing somebody forcefully with a shield is a basic and very low level use of force - the fact the students tooth was damaged is neither here nor there as long as the force used was proportionate - which it seems (in the absence of video/testament) it could have been. I am also surprised at the overzealous charging here - I was pinned to the floor and punched repeatedly in the face by somebody I was trying to arrest with my hands trapped to my body. The offender was only charged with assault police (summary) even though my injuries included a broken tooth, split lip, bloody nose, bruised cheek, black eye and a lump on my head. I was arresting him for a nasty assault on somebody who was on the floor (charge dropped due to victim disappearing whilst I got filled in). Already had one non violence conviction. His sentence? A community order, £100 fine and £100 compensation which I got after a year (quite for my tooth was over £200). So shall we talk of justice? Seems we'd be better off not using force - would make life alot easier and no doubt it would allow you to level your next barrage of criticism at us for not doing anything or neglecting our duty etc.
  12. I want to keep this brief, as everything is still quite raw at the minute, but Sophie Khan has blocked me on Twitter. It all started when she tweeted: Exclusive report @DefenceHQ police spend £360k on #Tasers - but have used one just ONCE http://t.co/oU8U51cogm via @MailOnline @danbloom1 — Sophie Khan (@khan_sophie) January 17, 2015 So, of course, I shared her concerns, tweeting back: @khan_sophie That's ridiculous! As a taxpayer I demand they Tase more people. How many people do you think they should Tase? One per day? — Jackisback (@JackisbackComps) January 17, 2015 And that was it. She blocked me. I didn't even get to suggest she volunteer as Tasee to boost the numbers.
  13. Part 2 After 2 hours sleep I get up and my mum has made me a nice cup of tea.... I don't get that service from the wife at home! I've arranged for my colleague to come and pick me up and we'll go to the court directly. I think he feels a little guilty that I've taken the lead with this one. At about 9am he pulls up and I jump in. It's a short drive to the court. Our defendant is appearing by video link so won't be able to see us in the courtroom. The first thing I do is find the CPS solicitor dealing with the "in custody" cases. Luckily as he is in custody his case will be one of the priority ones so we shouldn't have to wait too long. I buttonhole our solicitor: whilst in theory my submission of an MG7 (remand application) should be enough to give the court all the information it needs in order to make a decision on whether or not he will be bailed in practice the solicitor will only have been able to have the most cursory glance at the circumstances. The presence of a police officer waving his arms about opposing bail can, genuinely, make the difference between a charge and remand in my experience. I explain to the brief that this man appears fixated on the properties concerned, therefore will be likely to continue to re-offend, he has intimidated a witness in the run up to a court case and we need to protect the witnesses. She seems satisfied and asks us to sit at the back of the court. A few cases come and go: brief hearings to decide bail, then it's our turn. The defendant walks into the small room in the police station and shouts out to confirm his name. The chair of the bench of magistrates explains to him what is going to happen and then invites his solicitor to make a bail application. "The defendant has a very deep respect for the law. Although he is accused of a serious crime a respect for the law runs core to his being. It is an unusual interpretation of the law that he believes in but nevertheless he respects it deeply." The chairman of the bench is thumbing through the charges. "He didn't have much respect on this occasion did he?" "Any strict conditions that the court see fit to impose my client will agree to. Because although his interpretation of the law may be somewhat eccentric nevertheless he respects the law of this land." The chair of the bench looks over to the Crown's solicitor. She stands: "The facts speak for themselves your Worships. This man poses a real and continuing threat to other people and their property. He has attempted to interfere with proceedings taking place only two days hence. I think he must be kept in custody." "Agreed, bail denied" responds the chair with only the most cursory glance to his compatriots either side, and with that, the defendant is sent to Belmarsh. I'm elated. I can barely contain a Cheshire Cat grin even though I'm physically an emotionally exhausted. In the past 48 hours I've been working for about 40 of them solidly. But it's paid off. Straight out of the court I get on my phone and ring around the victims and witnesses to update them, they are delighted but naturally have questions of "what next". I'll meet them at the appeal in a few days and I'll talk through the next steps. I ring my sergeant who, on hearing the news, shrieks and apparently starts running around the canteen. I ring officers from the local authority that have had many dealings with him and they are as pleased as punch. About a quarter of an hour later, during the drive to the station, I look on my phone and see half a dozen notifications of Facebook congratulating me: people that I didn't even know had dealings with him. This is the first time anyone has had a meaningful result through the courts system.... but he's not even been convicted yet. Back at the station the mood is electric. However, although I'm elated I am well aware that the hard work has only jut begun. There are still more statements to collect, more evidence to process and disclosure to do. Not to mention that a trial at a Crown Court will be a busy time. But, for now, I'm happy to accept the slaps on the back. Although I'm exhausted I still have other work to do: because I've been "off the scene" for a few days my other work is stacking up. I spend the next few hours dealing with my other jobs before going home - having completed a full 8 hour shift. These three days were the most intense part of the job until the trial. However, excitement and farce still popped up periodically over the coming months. I went to the appeal hearing to meet with the victims and witnesses (most of whom were the same). He lost his appeal and in his summing up the judge, angry, bewigged and red-faced, bellowed across the court: "This is one of the worse cases of harassment I think I've ever seen. Clerk, what's the maximum sentence I can impose on this man?!" As it turned out it was only two months.... After he had served his two months he applied for bail in my case. Again, I attended the Crown Court in order to oppose bail. I button-holed the barrister as he was walking into court. He almost seemed irritated: "oh, right, well, what are we doing? Opposing bail?" I was flabbergasted. "Of course we are. Vehemently." I said. "Alright, why?" he replied. I then explained the outline of the case as best as I could in about 20 seconds before he waved me away with his hand. I was rather annoyed and bemused. I sat at the back of the court next to a DC who I vaguely recognised. "Hi bensonby" she said: I always find it disconcerting when someone who you have never worked with knows your name and you don't know theirs. "It's a bit unusual for a uniformed officer to be at one of these isn't it?" She was right, it is unusual to see a PC doing this sort of work - let alone one in his tunic - but I am a uniformed officer, proudly so, and perfectly capable of doing the job. I see no reason why I should try and pretend I'm a CID officer so at all of these appearances I wore my tunic. I do, however, wonder, whether certain parts of the judicial process do secretly think you're a bit of an idiot if you are a uniformed PC. The judge walked in and our barrister made a half-hearted speech as to why he shouldn't have bail. I was mortified and my head was in my hands. I felt like jumping up and calling out to the judge: a feeling that became somewhat familiar during the trial. Thankfully, I never had this barrister again but it did strike me as a weakness in the process that in the myriad hearings I went to I was the only constant in the room - at virtually every hearing a different barrister on each side and a different judge presiding. After the Crown's lackluster speech I was depressed. However, the judge then surprised me. Whilst scratching his head he turned to the defence barrister and asked: "I'm familiar with this case. I've read all the documents. What is his defence going to be?" "I've not been instructed in that your honour" "Well, I can't see one at all. Looking at the sort of person he is I think he'll try and string this process out as long as possible with nonsense. I think keeping him in custody will serve to focus his mind. Therefore I will not be granting bail unless you have compelling and overwhelming reasons to convince me to the contrary." I was gobsmacked. I didn't think "focusing one's mind" was grounds to oppose bail. The defence brief merely shrugged and sat down. That was it. It was incredible. With that I was away. A trial date had been set for September....meaning that he would have been in custody for over four months. I was prepared for the trial but confused that I had not received a defence statement - normally the defence issues a statement to the prosecution outlining what form their defence would take and requesting further disclosure. I chased up the CPS, thinking that it might have got lost in the system but they didn't have one either. A week before the trial, though, I did hear from the defence: they wanted to conduct their own psychiatric report. They had left it too late. The trial had to be vacated. We had a new date booked for November - but that would have put them over the custody time limit (the 6 months that someone is allowed to spend on remand without conviction). They did not object to an application to extend it though. I went to the hearing to make sure it all went smoothly and enabling me to update the witnesses. We convened in November for the trial. I had witnesses from far and wide (of all of the people who lived in the estate where the offences took place only one had continued to live there - the rest had moved out because of the defendant's behaviour.) I had a room full of them and explained what was going to happen, how court worked and so on. It was rather unusual in that although I was OIC I was also a material witness in the case. As such, I couldn't sit in the court until I had given evidence. It put me at something of a disadvantage. The whole morning was spend running around: finally I was given a defence statement which asked for huge amount of disclosure - relating to all the bogus complaints he had made and so on. I was asked if I could obtain that information from the court. I said I would try but I wouldn't be able to get all of it. The morning progressed slowly with various legal arguments, grandstanding and shouting from the box on the part of the defendant and general filibustering. We hadn't even got a jury sworn in by the time we broke for lunch. Then something really unexpected happened. Upon the return from the lunch break we learned that the defendant had sacked his defence team. Not only his barrister - but his solicitors too. I really didn't know what was going to happen next. The judge sent him away for 30 minutes for him to think through what he had done. The court rose again in a further break. However, 30 minutes later the defendant was insistent that he was sacking his representation. With that his barrister got up and strode out: a palpable look of relief on his face. The judge explained to the defendant that he had the right to be represented and would be given one chance to sort out his representation. This did not, however, mean that he was getting out. He set a new trial date in the New Year and extended the custody time limit accordingly. He told the defendant to find new counsel. I retired to the witnesses' room and apologised profusely, they'd had a wasted day. They were philosophical about the whole affair. They had come to expect antics on the part of the defendant. One of the pointed out that at least they should have a peaceful Christmas. I think I''ll leave that there for part 2. I will write up a third, and final, part shortly describing the actual trial..... I hope you're still interested.
  14. I thought it was about time for another one of these. This is not a story of a specific shift, moreover it is a tale of what it's like to be the Officer in the Case (OIC) for quite a big Crown Court Job. Seeing the job through from the street all the way through to the court. Hopefully some of you will find it interesting and just a little bit unusual. Rank PC Length of service 6 Years Force Met May 2014 - Jan 2015 There had been a "problematic" chap living on my area for quite some time. He had been a nuisance towards his neighbours, his own family and virtually anyone he came across for quite some time. He was conspiracy-theory obsessed and it seemed that anything that went wrong in his life, or that he had perceived to have gone wrong, was down to some wrongdoing or other on the part of pretty much anyone else. He was also a relentless complainant against police: pretty much any police officer that had the misfortune to come in contact with him would receive numerous bogus, and often downright bizarre, complaints. His complaints were made to all and sundry, not just the local police, but to the DPS, the IPCC, MPs, the Commissioner's private office - whoever he could get an email address for he would use it. Furthermore, his complaining did not stop with the police: anyone that crossed him (or he perceived to cross him) would have various vexatious threats of litigation made against them - this behaviour was also aimed at his own elderly parents. The background story is a long one so I wont go into all of it. However, the result of it was that he was ultimately evicted from the flat he occupied due to his behaviour and also convicted of harassment against his neighbours. He was given a restraining order prohibiting him from returning to the road and contacting, directly or indirectly, several named neighbours. He would never accept that he had done anything wrong though: in his world everyone else is to blame and part of a conspiracy against him. He was therefore appealing his conviction for harassment at the Crown Court at the end of the month. One would think he was possibly suffering from some kind of serious mental illness. However, he has been assessed several times and always found to be sane. It was a fine Spring day when I came in for a particular late turn. I didn't have much on and was looking forward to wandering about in the sunshine and generally pottering about when I sat down and logged on. At that moment the Inspector strode into the room saying: "you'll never guess what he's done!" He didn't even have to name him I knew, we all knew, who he'd be talking about. "He's boarded up several of the f***ing flats up there". "He's what" about three of us said in unison. "The basterward has hired up contractors and boarded up some of the flats at the estate". I'd personally only had a few dealings with him. Another officer had been leading on all the actions that had taken place and I could see him sink in his chair and clutch his head. He was relentless. Nothing we seemed to do would make him stop and now he's done something really rather spectacular. I said to the Inspector, "I'll have this one guv, let me have a go." So my colleague and I popped on our hats and took the short walk up to the estate. Sure enough, when we got there there was a dejected looking former neighbour of our man standing outside the front door of his flat which was covered by a metal security door. "I couldn't believe it" he said, "I got a call from the upstairs neighbour saying there were workmen at my front door boarding the place up. I came straight home and this is what I see". The downstairs flat, our suspect's former flat, has also got a metal security door attached. We immediately know who is responsible. We immediately get on the phone to the security company and ask them what is going on. It turns out that he has called them up, paid on his own card, and said that he has two properties and he wants them boarded up. They just cracked on and done it for him. I tell them that they come straight back and remove the doors. However, there's quite a bit of damage to the door frames. "It's about the case on Friday isn't it?" Says the resident. "I'm giving evidence". It's rather more sinister than an eccentric playing silly billies. This is witness intimidation: he has been evicted for several months by now. He has chosen to pull this little stunt three days before his appeal. In my mind this is a cynical and sinister move. Like a hound with a scent I'm not going to let this one go. He's going to meet his come-uppance. I spend the rest of the day trying to work out where the suspect is and gathering my evidence. I make an appointment to see the manager of the boarding up company the following morning. I take statements off of neighbours who witnessed the events. I speak to the landlords of the two properties and get statements from them. I don't know where our suspect lives now that he has moved out. He has come into repeated contact with the police since he moved out but always seems to give a different adddress. Late in the day I manage to get through to him on the phone. He hangs up on me. There's little more I can do that day. The following morning I get into work early. My colleague and I head down into Kent to the HQ of the boarding up company to meet the manager. A nicer chap you couldn't have met. He says that in 25 years in the business he has never seen anything like it. "Don't you check the legal paperwork?" I query. "Well, no" he says with some embarrassment. "This has never happened before though. What sort of person boards up a house that he doesn't own though?" I see his point. He shows me the paperwork corresponding to the job. The emails the suspect has sent from his account to organise the boarding up - significantly he emailed the request several months before hand but insisted it was done this particular week - the week of the appeal. He also shows me invoices which show the card details used to pay for the job. I take a full statement and these documents as exhibits. I then set about hunting for my man. I know he has a friend in a neighbouring borough. I thought I'd pay him a visit. I take a couple of colleagues with me and we get to the house: it has a metal gate fixed over the front door. I knock and it is opened by a man who I don't recognise. "Good afternoon, I'm PC Bensonby from the police is [my suspect] here?" I enquire. "let me check" he says and closes the door. Well, that's a 'yes' then isn't it? I think to myself. A few seconds pass and then, sure enough, my suspect opens the door and immediately starts shouting a tirade at me. He is something of a "freeman" which many of the readers of this website will be familiar with. He starts ranting about my oath and how I am corrupt and how is doesn't consent to my policing. His friend is also filming by now. I instruct him to open the gate and he refuses. I appeal to the other people inside the house: "I'm here to arrest him for an indictable offence, I have the authority to force entry if necessary. I don't want to do that as it will ruin your lovely gate but I will if I have to." One of the more reasonable members of the household comes forward and says: "look sir, I am the householder and I don't want my property damaged. I'll open the gate but can we just let him say his piece first?" I tell him that I am calling up for a "hoolie-bar" 9a large crowbar-like instrument) to be delivered and it will take a few minutes to arrive. When it does that's the ultimatum, but he can rant on for a bit in the meantime. Further officer arrive with the hoolie bar and the ultimatum is repeated: open up or have your gate ripped off. When faced with this stark choice the gate swiftly opens and our suspect steps out. "I don't stand under your authority. I'm arresting you for misconducted in a public office" he bellows and touches me on the shoulder. "Don't touch me, that could be considered an assault" I warn him as I take his hands and place them in handcuffs. He continues to warble over me as I inform him that he's under arrest for witness intimidation, breach of a restraining order and criminal damage times two. I fluff up the caution so have to start again from scratch. It's hard concentrating when someone is ranting inches from your face. I place him in the back of a van and take him to my police station. In custody he refuses to answer any of the sergeant's questions, continues warbling nonsensically and is raising any complaint he can think of. I search him and, significantly, find a bank card on his person which number matches the number on the invoices. Result! The custody procedure is long-winded as he is so objectionable. As I take his fingerprints he tells me that I'm going to lose my job.... I'm sure I've heard that one before. It's a relief to stick him in a cell. Everything with this chap takes much longer than it should do. We don't get into interview until after 11pm. We don't come out until after midnight. I then go to the CPS. After a couple of hours of deliberation and reading up the details they decide to charge him on all counts. Result! I apply for a remand to which the custody sergeant agrees. It's about half 3 in the morning when he is charged. I bring him from his cell and he almost has tears in his eyes as the charge is read out..... "I don't understand! Why isn't PC Bensonby being charged with Misconduct in a Public Office?! I arrested him first!!!" I can never really tell if he really is that delusional, just a chancer or cynically playing the system. At this particular moment I do wonder if he is just a very very lost and misguided soul. He gets taken back to his cell and I have to complete the file. I'm done by about half 5. I need to be in court in four hours in order to oppose his bail. This man is a menace to anyone that lives on that estate and needs keeping incarcerated. I head to my parent's house who happen to live relatively near the court. I also have a fresh uniform there. I let myself in and sleep in their spare room for about two hours before it's time to get up again and head off to court...... I'll leave that there for the time being. If you're still interested I'll finish the story with another update shortly.
  15. I'd disagree. I understand why people might say that - but despite a thorough investigation, which cleared Pc Toby Rowland of any wrong-doing Mitchell went on national TV, despite the inquiries findings, and basically called the Officer a liar. This was reported in all the national newspapers - and Pc Rowland, notwithstanding the foolish and misguided actions of some of his colleagues, was subject to a campaign led by Mitchell and his poodle David Davis which sought to discredit the Officer as dishonest from the outset. Pc Rowland has now emerged from court, with his integrity restored. Mitchell on the other hand deserves everything coming to him. Pc Rowland won and Mitchell lost. So in that sense there are very much winners and losers here - and I think to say otherwise deflects from the fact that if Mitchell had had the humility to admit what he said and apologise then none of this would have happened. Notwithstanding that there were two distinct, albeit linked, issues here. What actually happened at the gates. And the actions of other Officers, who were not there. For the purposes of this court case, and outcome, both should be considered separately. Pc Rowland always maintained that, although he made a note of the incident, he did not wish it to go further. Of course, some of the wider issues are lost also - and that is the sheer contempt those who supposedly govern us have for the common man. During the hearing, for example, it emerged that this wasn't the first time that Mitchell had allegedly been rude and insulting towards Police Officers and Security staff, apparently telling one Officer "I'm too important to stop for you". There were numerous other instances put to the court. I accept that there are others, who got involved, who shouldn't have got involved. I don't excuse their behaviour but they have paid dearly for their actions. Actions have consequences, as we all know, and Mr Mitchell has now learnt that also. But, as I have always said on this matter, I think what happened in the aftermath of this incident was largely indicative of just how toxic the relationship between the Police and government had become. Sadly. But it should not be allowed to overshadow, though I accept it will, what actually happened on that day and the question of who was telling the truth. That's the bottom line here.
  16. Tell you what grinds my gears:   Forums that don't work Forums that appear to work but when I try to post something I've spent ages crafting then crashes Forums that have odd random adverts for payday loans that I have no interest in Forums where the owners don't give a fig about the members and won't re-invest in it Forums where the owners wont even speak to the people who are trying to maintain it despite them doing it for free Forums that are no longer fit for purpose and yet the owners do nothing to help Forums that have become just a stream of revenue that no one cares about   Can't think of any more right now, I appear to be focussing on just one thing.
  17. This is a cringeworthy comment that always comes up when this sort of thing is discussed. Every single day we trust police officers with wide ranging skills and abilities to protect people. If YOU as a retired police officer openly says that you dont think you could trust a police officer with a firearm, having been trained and assessed in it's carriage, then what kind of impression does that give to the public? It's embarrassing, and I honestly don't think it's in any way an accurate reflection of the current police service - certainly not in my experience. Sure, there are some who are less capable than others, but they don't go around batoning people in the head every day, and I can't see why they would go around shooting people unnecessarily either.
  18. A CID officer outside of the station.
  19. ​"What a lovely tractor you have Sir and that boiler suit with wellies combo is fantastic".
  20. On a different note from the taser conversation that will inevitably come from this thread, can I say that both those PCSO's were extremely brave and are a testament to themselves and the force. That they confronted a knife man who looked seriously deranged (and looking like he would actually stab someone) from the video with nothing but their stab vest which takes enormous amounts of bravery. I honestly believe that they prevented someone being seriously hurt that day. Some official recognition is well in order here
  21.   Dash - I am sorry but if you are going to rely on documentation to add weight to your side of the debate then you must be prepared to confirm the source of said information or what that documentation relates to ie existing complaint etc. I personally think that the information requested by Cockney_Doris is a reasonable request.   Clearly if you do not want to introduce that then it is not really appropriate to rely on that to support your argument. If that's the case, which I suspect it is, then I would suggest you taking no further part in this discussion and allowing the rest of the membership to discuss the original subject matter.   Thank you.
  22. Nick him for possession of an offensive weapon.
  23. As officers we have a obligation to accommodate everyones religious needs. A comment like that is obnoxious, ignorant and totally out of order.
  24. I've stopped worrying about it. I'm not going to keep working progressively harder and harder as there are more and more cuts to make up for it when my workload was already crippling before. I'll deal with what I can and deal with it properly and if there's 50 outstanding emergency calls with nobody to go to them as there often is on the area I work, then there is. Not my fault. If the country they want is one infested with crime and antisocial behaviour and a police force with two hands tied behind their back then that's what they'll get. It's just a shame it won't be the MPs that suffer, it will be the public.
  25. Not seen the video at this stage, but my initial feeling is that if the police deliberately hit a motorbike and riders that had been involved in a crime (and so long as it was properly considered and sanctioned), then - good. Spare me the bleeding heart do-gooding whining; perhaps this will make others think twice instead of now possibly deliberately choosing such a mode of transport because they think they're untouchable.
  26. BTP and MOD will likely be told to carry at all times because to exercise the powers of a constable not under BTP jurisdiction they must either be in uniform or provide warrant card ie. Even ON duty they must have their warrant card to use their powers if extended jurisdiction under ATSA. I carry mine all the time. Its personal preference if I need to ID myself, holds my debit card and is my free travel pass. As for being off duty, having a drink and getting involved...it's a massive judgement call but I've done it probably a dozen times, to assist on duty officers, in 8 years. That was only to prevent serious injury to the officers involved. I was 'in drink' but not paralytic. Those who say you should never do it had better hope they never require help from an off duty colleague on a night out. I was pinned to the floor and beaten on duty in full uniform whilst working the City Centre 4 years ago. A crowd of 50, including uniformed council enforcement officers, stood looking on. It was an off duty BTP copper on a night out who came and dragged the offender off of me and helped get him cuffed. If he had adopted the attitude displayed on here I might have been very seriously injured or even dead. I nominated him, and he was presented, with a commendation for his efforts and I remain grateful to him to this day. Food for thought.
  27. In 8 years of Policing I can say the trait I find that gets cops most into bother or injured is indecisiveness. The inability to make a proactive decision or make any kind of decision at all will usually lead to a situation escalating or allow a suspect to start taking the mick. When it comes to dealing with people I have a fairly low tolerance for abusive, threatening behaviour. I will usually end up ejecting/reporting people for summons or yes arresting when the need arises to... I really cannot stand people making a mockery of the justice system or our society in general and I generally will deal with things when called to them. I'm not tall and I'm not built, I'm certainly not intimidating but I lay down the rules and take action when needed... It hasn't led me wrong yet... I also never threaten something I'm not willing to actually carry out, countless times I've seen cops in person and on social media say "if you do xyz one more time I'm going to arrest you..." 10 chances later the same warning is still being given. My advice to new starters is: 1. Know your powers and necessity to arrest like the back of your hand, byelaws are important on the railway and are very useful. 2. Never be afraid to take positive action against someone, be it ejection, report or arrest. 3. Never threaten an action you aren't actually willing to undertake.
  28. I wrote this diary some time ago when the older forums were still active, hope you all enjoy. My life as a special started when I was at university. At the time I was studying Public Services. A friend who is now also a police officer was applying for the specials and kept telling me to apply as he thought I'd be good for the job. So without giving it any thought I applied, once I'd hit send that was it, I felt a stone sink to my stomach. Around two months later I received some correspondence from a police email address, at first I wondered what I'd done but it turned out to be a recruitment officer telling me that I'd passed the paper sift. The email warned me that the real application would come through. A couple of days later I received a fully packed A4 envelope re-confirming everything that the email had said and also my paper application forms. I was being asked everything: Health, Financial, References etc. Honestly, 101 questions has nothing on these applications. I was quite concerned with the Health as I'd previously had a very serious health condition. However I completed the forms and hoped for the best. Again around a couple of months later I got a phone call from the same recruitment officer stating that the service were happy with my application and that they'd like to offer me to come to an assessment day. I'd heard that these days were notoriously difficult to pass, so was starting to worry. All this from someone who originally wasn't too bothered about joining. I was now starting to really get into it. I think Road Wars and Traffic cops were a lot to do with it though. The day came round, so I put on my best and only suit and went with high hopes. I arrived at the testing centre, gave my name at reception and was told to sit in the corner. As I looked around the room I saw 7 other faces all looking as worried as I was. All of a sudden the reception door opened and a tall figure in a police uniform called us all in. We were taken into a room and sat down on individual tables. Before us were some papers, a clock beeped and we began. After the test was done we were told to go wait in the reception again, to await our interview. Interview!? I wasn't told I'd be doing an interview, my heart raced and my brain froze trying to think of what to say. I was led into a dark, boxy room with two officers already sat there. I felt like I was on a murder charge or something, one officer greeted me and asked me the basic questions of name and such. As the interview got underway I was asked questions about all my life and also how I felt I could meet the force competencies. I made sure I followed the other officer's body language and thought about my answers before saying them. About 30-45 minutes passed and I was told thank you for coming and we'll be in touch. As you do, I left the building thinking my police career had come to an end. I wasn't prepared, there was no way I could have passed the tests. I later found out a couple of weeks after that I passed my assessment and interview. It seemed I was the only one out of the 7 other people. Quite some time passed before I got my date for the medical, however when it came I was very nervous due to having a previous medical complaint. Again I put on my lovely suit and arrived at the medical testing centre. At first I was asked about my health and such, then I had the lovely drugs test whereby they took some of my DNA and my lovely yellow urine. I was then asked to sit in a small box and place some headphones on, very low frequencies were played to me and I had to push a button when I could hear them. It was a very strange feeling; however one I managed to pass. During the end of the test I was asked to go speak to the force doctor just to confirm whether he thought it would be ok for me to work, he wasn't sure so wrote to my consultant. That was it, I had passed everything they'd thrown at me and was now awaiting a training course date. I couldn't wait, nor could I believe that I'd got this far. A lot of time passed and at one point I had thought of applying to another force as they were taking applications for regulars however on the day I was going to phone them, I received a call from my recruitment officer telling me he had a date for me. I couldn't tell you how pleased I was when I heard that. Me, a special constable... it was really going to happen. Training was a lot of fun, it was based over six months worth of weekends, we learnt about the core basics of law and mainly things we'd be dealing with once we got out on those mean streets. The trainers were fantastic, always there to lend a hand whether you were at training or at home, they were nice enough to give you their personal mobile numbers for help. The group that I was in was quite a diverse group of some old and some young, but we all got along and are still friends to date. During the training we had a couple of tests to contend with, which you should make sure you revise for! I think the day to look most forward to is going for your uniform fitting, It really makes it feel like it's becoming a reality! A couple of the days to watch out for are your defensive tactics (yes it's true you do get sprayed with CS and yes it hurts) your pre-patrol day (such good fun, and informative too) and your attestation day (start polishing your boots as soon as you get them and learn how to march). So that's it. I'm now a fully fledged Special Constable, of course I'm still a probationer and I know the work starts here. Be prepared for about 35-40% of things you've learned to mean something. Since I've been patrolling I've realised that they don't teach you quite a lot of things, but I guess that's for you to learn. Now that I'm based at my station I'm mainly tasked with NPT duties. This can range from patrolling events, scene guarding, to going out with Response. The new teams I'm working with are lovely and all are very helpful. I don't think you seem to get the officers that don't respond well to Specials anymore, I haven't yet found anyone like that anyway. (Part 2) Hi Guys, So thought I'd add some more to my diary as I can see a lot of people seem to what to know what you do once you've completed training. Hope this helps. So once I'd completed training I was extremely excited but nervous too, no more playing anymore, what I do now actually means something. The day after my attestation I was straight on the phone to my senior section officer asking for shifts, he was quoting me 3 weeks before I could come in. Pfft I thought, I wanted to get out with my new uniform and use everything I'd learnt. About 2 minutes after I put the phone down I had a sergeant phoning me asking if I could come in on Friday night and he'll show me round and put me out on shift. Well I thought, of course I'll accept, you couldn't stop me. Friday came around, and I went to my station I nervously got my things out of my car and walked over to the help-desk asking for my sergeant. I was greeted by him and got told to put on my uniform including stabvest. I was then shown to our main hub and invited into a team briefing. The sergeant announced I was the new special, everyone said Hi and that was that. I was tasked with another special and we went out on active duty. This was it, I was a real police officer and I was doing real Police things. The officer 'Tom' told me we'd have to make a quick trip up to another station and I'd be given all my admin stuff like Fixed Penalty Notices, Stop & Search forms etc. I was also given my CS and Pocketbook. That was it for that night, I only did a couple of hours but already I could see that I was going to like this. Just driving past people in a police van gave me such a feeling of power and responsibility. In that these people were relying on us to go and help them in there hour of need. When I was a young boy I used to try and listen to the police radio's through our all tape machine, every so often you'd hear a crackle of police officers talking to the Comms, but now, I was listening to it through my earpiece. My second shift was fantastic was very different, My sergeant told me it would be very beneficial for me to come in as we did drugs raids on various pubs around our force area. (I was very lucky to be allowed this, but it was a great experience and real 'eye' opener.) I had to use my airwaves terminal and my pocket book which was great. My sergeant was pushing me into situations I wasn't used to, like searching people and doing 117 checks. After we did the raids, we then went out on proactive patrol. It was fantastic! I got my first blue light run, it really is as great as it sounds. We did lots more stop and searches and went to some real jobs. I saw my first domestic (it's quite tough to deal with), car chases, pub fights and nuisance youths. So I'm now around 2 months in and I can honestly the best thing I've ever done. If you're considering don't give it a second thought. I got my first arrest which was awesome, it was for a warrant. As hard as you try I'm sure you'll forget your caution. A lot of the teams are very helpful and they'll help you obtain your first arrest, after that your on your own and it can get quite competitive. It really is true what your trainers say, the more you put into it, the more you'll get out of it. If you get a chance to take part in things, don't hesitate, it'll probably be fantastic for your training and your competencies, which you've to meet within 2 years. (Part 3) Now, where do I begin! I decided to do 2 8 hour shifts to make up my hours, to think I wasn't bothered about the shifts I was wrong. My first night I was paired up with a new constable from another force, it was nice as it was somebody new to talk to (make sure you get to know everyone, they're going to be your new family) Our first call, we blue lighted it to the call, it was a dropped 999 call so we blued and two'd it to the destination, it still puts a huge grin on my face even though I'm only 3 months in service. As we got there in turned out to be a domestic where a woman had beaten her husband nearly to death. I don't care what anyone says short of going to a scene where somebody has died, domestics are probably the worst jobs you can go to. This is where your resilience will definitely come in handy. We arrested the female and took her to the station, she was laughing and joking about what she'd done. It later turned out that she'd split his skull open and broke 4 of his ribs. My colleague was finishing so I stayed on, until the finish. As there was no-one in the station I could go out with, it was organised for me to go on Response again but with a sister station to us. I love response, I've only done it twice but if you get the chance take it, you'll really learn stuff. We went to a few calls of fights and underage drinking, however it was an hour before we were both finishing and we got an emergency call to go to a burglary in progress, I'd been to places which had been broken into but not one in progress, my heart started pounding as I could feel the adrenaline starting to kick in. I replied over our radio and that was it, fast driving, blues and two's were on and we were gone. When we arrived we could hear glass breaking inside the house, I drew my baton and reached for my CS just in case we slowly entered the building. As both me and my colleague searched downstairs a floorboard twisted indicating that there was movement upstairs we both shouted POLICE at the tops of our voices, at that point I saw someone land on the grass in the garden, I was gone off the chase was on. My colleague called for the dogs and then was after the other person. I felt like my heart was going to explode, I was running faster than I'd ever run before through gardens and driveways. As a keen rugby player, I caught him and made one of the best tackles of my life. Before he could utter a word he was handcuffed and cautioned. His friend got away meaning we had both the dogs and a helicopter out. He was later found around 30 minutes after. I finished 2 hours after I should have, but I wasn't bothered I'd got another arrest and a damn good one at that. My second shift was spent with a traffic officer, this was just as fun as I have a keen interest in cars. If you get offered to do this, take it, you will learn more in a shift with traffic than in 5-10 shifts dealing with traffic. Our night was mainly spent checking cars and taking response calls when not busy. Hope this entertains you all, and if you have any questions regarding being a special or recruitment, I'll try and answer them as best I can. Adz
  29. Response is rubbish. You are nothing to nobody. The bosses don't care about you. The public dislike you. The specialist units think you're a pleb...............I could go on. I like others will give you a brief overview of a typical day for me in the world of LPT (Local Policing Team) a rubbish amalgamation of what was Response (when it was good) and NPT (which was and always will be bunk). We brief, some days with 30 officers, others with 6-10. This is where the first shafting of the day occurs. Crews are detailed out, you're almost guaranteed to get stuck with someone you don't get on with. The second shafting occurs when you are met with a number of outstanding tasks to do for the proceeding section, house to house, interviews, court runs etc etc etc. The third shafting occurs before you have even had a chance to log on and check your crimes/emails/roster when the controllers dish out 'outstanding' (something deeply ironic about that) calls that the other sections haven't got to. These calls can be hours, days or even weeks old. When you eventually get out the door, its in an under powered Vauxhall Astra that the previous officer left with fumes in the tank, is far too small for a bloke wearing ballistic armor and a gun-belt and is horribly dirty inside. You arrive up at the door of the person who called the police hours/days/weeks ago and are met with abuse, because they have had to wait for a police response. You take a statement for what is most likely somebody calling somebody names over Facebook and 'file' it away in your 'never to be looked at again' pile and promise the caller you will speak to the 'offender' about their actions. You warn the 'offender' about their behavior, only to be told it was the caller who started it all. Once you have eventually dealt with all the stuff you've been asked to do, you finally get a chance to traipse back to the station, get a brew and work your way through an endless list of emails, tasks and logs. You find you wish you hadn't. You head back out after a quick pit stop, which was actually more detrimental to you in the hope of dishing out a few tickets or getting a drugs detection. You head to the usual spots and there's nobody about, you drive around aimlessly for a bit, but the motorists are behaving. Then the calls start............for the next few hours, you're run ragged, from one end of your division to the other. RTCs, domestics, thefts, civil disputes, suicidal people, you name it! Eventually, its time for a refs break, you carefully select a sandwich or other delightful treat (or if you're like me start to think about what you brought from home) and tootle back in to the station, with the hope of getting a bit of respite. As soon as the microwave bings or you begin to unwrap your sandwich, the radio goes again and you get tipped out to another call. And there goes your refs break, by the time the call is dealt with, another call-sign has put themselves on a break and the controller says "No, sorry, you'll have to hold off for a while, you're my only car" And the calls start again................. The end is in sight, you've had no break, no food and nothing but water has passed your lips since that brew in the morning. Your callsign gets shouted on the radio, a nice simple one to finish the day off. You arrive at the call, its not simple, its all gone wrong, you have to arrest somebody. There's a 2 hour wait to get into the custody suite, they're having their change over. Eventually, a good few hours after you were meant to finish you're stood staring into your locker, taking your vest off, undoing your gun-belt and throwing it in to the bottom of your locker. You get home and you sit down and think to yourself, "what a day!!" and realise you can't see yourself doing any other job.
  30. Literally none of this impacts the fact that the article is adapted to be a weapon, and as such is illegal. So again, this is not a 'fully legal baton'. If I made the decision to arrest in these circumstances, then I would tell you that your arrest is necessary for the prompt and effective investigation of the offence; this is because special warnings, which can be given in interview, require the person to be under arrest. Additionally, and I stand by this point, there is a good case for arresting to prevent harm. I'm not going to interview you about it on the street to fully establish your intentions, and as far as I'm concerned, whether you're carrying that weapon for defensive use or not, you're still carrying it to hurt people. If I think there's a risk to the public of harm by you not being arrested, then I'm entitled to believe that your arrest is necessary to prevent that harm. The likelihood of a charge isn't particularly relevant to the decision to arrest. The investigation should be carried out regardless. The only question is whether you'd be locked up in the first place, because the weapon is not necessarily an obvious one. That being said, with the way you've behaved in this thread so far, I have little doubt you'd say something revealing and get yourself nicked anyway. I've had a couple of people with disguised knuckle dusters say "they're legal" or something to that effect, without denying it's a weapon.. funnily enough they were arrested, and then charged... and then convicted. Irrelevant to the decision to arrest. If you were carrying a load of keys for locks you don't own, and were stupid enough to tell me that, I'd probably be more concerned about you being equipped to steal than them being used as weapons. As for the tyre iron, why would I be concerned? If it's in the boot where it's supposed to be, there's no problem. If it was in the front of your car and quickly accessible however, I may begin to question it. No, we're not in danger of everything being illegal, we're in danger of pseudo-intellectuals carrying weapons because they think they've found a loophole in the law.
  31. I think this is an awesome idea. We should make it really short and really easy to remember, so something with about three digits perhaps? 999?
  32. They are designed to be inadvertently left on for half the shift thereby leaving you wondering why motorists behind you are driving so erratically.
  33. It's not just the police who suffer from Freemen as retold by a prosecuting lawyer acting for the Fire & Rescue Authority on two fire safety legislation breaches: Both of these men had similar beliefs to the so-called ‘Freemen of the land’, a loosely constituted group whose understanding of the law seems to be based upon a misunderstanding of Maritime Law, and who choose to comply with some man-made laws with the caveat that no laws, nor their enforcers have any authority over them. In both cases the relevant ‘man-made’ law was the Fire Safety Order. Neither man believed himself to be a ‘person’ when such term was defined in any statute. So when, at Blackpool Magistrates Court, the defendant was asked if he was Peter Metcalf, he replied that he was not, he was in fact Peter, of the Metcalf family. And when the defendant at Workington Magistrates Court was asked if he was Stephen Michael Welch, he replied that he was not. In fact, he was Lord Master Steve: Michael, and natural freeborn sovereign, a man, non-citizen, and non-individual. Now this was a problem, because Stephen Michael Welch had been bailed to appear at Court following his non-appearance a month earlier. All Court officials and fire officers present recognised Stephen Michael (Welch) from their previous dealings with him, but he refused to accept the identity that he said society had placed upon him. After seven failed attempts at confirming his name, I asked for a warrant without bail to be issued on the basis that the Court could not be satisfied that Stephen Michael Welch had turned up. After an hour’s wait for a policeman to arrive, ‘Steve’ was arrested and taken to the cells, from where he refused to acknowledge the jurisdiction of the Court and not guilty pleas and the Crown Court trial had to be assumed. Peter Metcalf received the longest sentence ever issued in Fire Safety Order history after a trial. (18 months imprisonment) Stephen Michael attended Carlisle Crown Court for his trial. When he was called into Court he stood in the doorway of the Court room, raised his right hand and stated that he was bound only by the Common Law, that he did not recognise the sovereignty of the Queen, required proof that the Crown Court was a Court of Record and stated that he would only be tried in the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court. He asked if there were any rebutters. There weren’t any. That was because we hadn’t started yet, and the Judge was still in his chambers. ‘Steve’ was asked if he wanted to come in and take a seat. He told us that we couldn’t call him Mr Michael because that was disrespectful. (He had already entirely dismissed the notion that he should be called by his birth name – Welch) Another man followed him and stood next to him. When the Judge did come in, he enquired as to who the other man was. The exchange between Judge and defendant went like this: Judge: Mr Michael, who is the man stood next to you? Steve: This is my next friend. He is to assist me with my defence. Judge: We do not have ‘next friends’ in criminal proceedings – if you are unrepresented, you could apply for him to become your McKenzie friend, to assist you with your defence? Steve: Yes, that is what I want. Judge: Well then, I will need full details. (To the other man) What is your name? Hector: Hector. Judge: What is your full name? Hector: I am known to my friends, as Hector. Judge: Are you known as any other name? Hector: Some of my friends call me Mo. Judge: What is your address? Hector: I’m of no fixed abode. Judge: Well, where did you sleep last night? Hector: Steve’s house. Judge: And where will you sleep tonight and tomorrow night? Hector: Steve’s house. Judge: Have you stayed anywhere else in the last few months? Hector: Wherever I rest my head that is my home. Judge: Very well, what is your date of birth? Hector: Birth? Birth? There was no birth. I was born. To a good woman. And she was a good woman. Steve’s application for a McKenzie friend to assist him was not granted. Hector was asked to sit in the public gallery, but not before all the microphones made a strange sound. Hector had forgotten to switch off his recording device. A clear contempt of Court. Steve then asked the Judge to recuse himself on the basis that he had a conflict of interests. The Judge inquired as to why he had a conflict of interest. Steve replied that as the Judge had sworn an oath of allegiance to the Queen, and as counsel for the prosecution was acting technically on behalf of the Queen, there was a clear conflict of interest. The Judge couldn’t be independent. (Actually, I have to confess – this argument nearly convinced me). The Judge was having none of it. He refused to recuse himself. The trial continued. Steve became increasingly irate and concerned that the Judge was not doing his job properly. I think he wanted the Judge to discharge the jury. Steve: You are Judge John Hughes are you not? Judge: I am not. Steve: You are. You are Judge John Hughes. Judge: I am not. (The Judge’s name was in fact, Peter Hughes, but the defendant was mistaken) Steve: Well then who are you? I demand that you tell me your full name. Judge: I will not. Steve: You must. I demand that you tell me your full name. Judge: I will not. You see Mr Michael, this can work two ways. On day three Steve wilted. He demanded to seek legal advice. The legal advice was that he plead guilty. And that he did. He received 250 hours community service (the irony that he repay the society that he was not part of, was not lost on me) and ordered to pay £6000 towards prosecution costs for failing to provide a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment.
  34. I personally only look for rapists and murders. Anything less than that isn't worth my time.
  35. Oh dear where do I start with this Okay for starters it's not a 'little revolver', it's a self loading pistol most likely a Glock 17. Yes we can and do carry this type of firearm discreetly or covertly based on the nature of the operation and risk. However in this role the self loading pistol is a secondary weapon not the officers primary weapon. That may not appear to be important but if your primary weapon fails quick and easy access may save theirs or another's life. So on routine overt patrol that is the MOST important consideration and not some idiots sensibilities. Quite a simple answer really And yes once I gun up at a start of the shift my sidearm stays on, which is normal for most forces. Not only am I responsible for the weapons and munitions carried in my vehicle, you just never know when you may encounter a lethal threat..... possibly even whilst buying some doughnuts in Tescos?
  36. I know this officer personally. He is by no means a shrinking violet nor by any means naïve. Rory does have a government policy background and part of his rationale is that he feels better able to contribute to affecting change via exiting the organisation as a DWO and returning as an SC while simultaneously contributing to the policy debate in a bone fide, open and honest way. Rory has and still does contribute to a number of programmes that are "extra curricular" and thus is playing the long and holistic game. So, to the point "suck it up son", I would say that not only has he sucked it, he plans to do more sucking and I'm guessing plans to do the sucking so you don't have to. He is on your side. He's done your job. And did it in Lambeth, hardly a sleepy backwater!
  37. 10 likes
    Rank: S/Sgt Region: Metland Length of Service: 2 years Planned Hours: 1600-0200 assisting response After reading so much about them on this forum (mainly from bensonby!) I recently had the pleasure of meeting a "freeman of the land" so thought I'd write it up... 1530 - Arrive at the station with 2 MSC colleagues. Kit up, grab a callsign and a panda and out we go. 1630 - An I-graded call comes out of a man wielding a knife. We're on the same road (that never happens) so I use the full extent of my basic driver exemptions to carry out an area search. With other units involved, questionable intel coming back from the informant and no trace 10 minutes later, we come to the aid of a fist-waving cyclist who points out a van driver who allegedly just tried side-swiping him. 1650 - We get the van stopped near the forecourt of a petrol station and the fun begins. I introduce myself and go through normal proceedings. He's refusing to get out the van, turn the engine off or provide any sort of documention, pointing out that as a human he is not obliged to comply to any of these statute laws. I weep a little at where I can see this going, holding nothing but distain for the cyclist for pointing out this van (I joke). 1710 - 20 minutes later and having recited half of the Road Traffic Act - to be questioned in return about my own religious beliefs and whether I am acting under my oath - he finally concedes and provides his driving licence. A check with PNC and the MIB reveals he is uninsured (another weep on my part). He greets the news that his van will be seized by winding up the window and ensuring the doors are already locked. Well played, Sir. I was mindful that until this point he wasn't obliged to exit the vehicle, and vaguely recalling a thread I read on here debating powers to enter the vehicle. 1750 - My colleague plays "good cop" (at this point, guess which one I am) to try and coerce him out while I seek advice from the duty traffic Sergeant around powers to remove him for the purpose of a seizure. After deliberation I'm told that this would constitute an offence of obstruction, therefore necessary force could be used to effect the arrest. I was already picturing myself on YouTube smashing the window of a parked van with a "compliant" driver inside. 1800 - Moments after I requested recovery, and with my colleague still trying to talk him down, the driver decides he's had enough and simply drives off down the main road. Excellent. I shout it up and an IRV is behind him 30 seconds later, confirming it as a Fail To Stop and reporting the pursuit speed as fluctuating between the public-endangering speeds of 10 and 15mph. A couple of other units (including the area car) are now involved and after a few minutes of commotion, it's reported that he's been stopped and detained. 1810 - Having been making our way from afar in slow(ish) time, we arrive at the van to find the passenger window smashed in and the driver detained on the pavement - even less happy than before but making sure to ask everyone if they are acting under their oath. I take great pleasure in arresting for obstruct police, fail to stop, driving with no insurance and theft of motor vehicle (based on his resistance, being uninsured and not being able to speak to the owner) and off we head in a Met taxi. 1820 - The custody Sergeant enjoys this gentleman as much as I have, and after 45 minutes of to-ing and fro-ing and him refusing any details (reminding us we're breaching his human rights) he is escorted into a cell. 1900 - Paperwork 2000 - Paperwork 2030 - I inform CID for the case to be picked up by CPU on early turn - I don't envy them 2100 - We're asked to turn out to an RTC - moped vs lamppost. Second on scene we help the ambulance crew and one of my colleagues heads off to hospital for continuity (the joys of being a Special at the bottom of the food chain). 2200 - Resume patrol and we precariously help half the borough with an area search at a firearms/shots fired call. I circulate the sighting of a male who is possibly ident and leave the ARV's to do their business. 0000 - We pick up our colleague from hospital and head towards a report of several hundred teenagers congregating/causing a nuisance on a playing field next to a large residential block. We arrive with a couple of other units and wade through the cloud of cannabis smoke and mouthy (drunk) teenagers to disperse the group. All of a sudden they all start sprinting towards a nearby empty warehouse which they've managed to gain entry to. The next hour is spent inside this warehouse facing off against a huge group of kids. 0100 - After a few occasions of the atmosphere feeling like it was going to turn nasty they all left voluntarily, citing us all as fun sponges. Moments later a couple of TSG serials turned up - good timing. 0200 - Home time I'm keen to hear how any of you would have dealt with the traffic stop differently - like I say it was a first for me and having it escalate into a "pursuit" clearly wasn't ideal. I'll post the outcome once the case is closed. Will
  38. There aren't any buildings left to sell in my force - all of the space in the few buildings we haven't sold yet is in use... There aren't enough police officers to go to serious jobs, either. Then there are jokers like mr smith who literally don't have the first clue what theyre talking about. Do you even know how little has been saved by all the police cuts when compared to the budgets of some other areas of government?! The Policing budget is miniscule. Cuts to policing are not financially motivated, they're ideological.
  39. Hi all Thought i would write about my role as a Police Support Volunteer, how I got the role and what exactly i do. Well, back in May this year I had decided that, as I only worked 3 evenings a week I would like to do some volunteering in my spare time during the days (especially as there is only so much housework and daytime TV one can put up with) . I searched a local volunteering website which had tons of things on offer. I came across things like helping an old person to do their shopping, helping a disabled lady at the gym, charity shop workers' etc, etc and although these seemed ok it wasn't really me and I wanted something a little bit different that I thought I'd really enjoy doing with maybe a little bit of a challenge. I then read that you could become a volunteer with the Police. This was just my cup of tea I thought. My 17 year old son has been in the Police Cadets for 2 and a half years and at college doing Public Uniformed Services. He wants to eventually join the Police force and because of his passion all he ever talks about is joining, also Police/Cop shows is all we ever seem to have on our TV! Because of my sons cadets I already knew a couple of the local coppers and I've always had great admiration for the Police, so that was decided - I'd look at the various volunteering roles with my local Police force. I was getting a bit disheartened at first as most roles seemed to be in admin - and although I would have loved to do any of that, most stated that you needed to have experience in Microsoft Office, Word, Excel, etc which I don't have ..... However, I then came across a role as a Vehicle Equipment Controller - this was asking for someone with just a basic interest/knowledge of cars and confidence at manoeuvring them with a full driving licence. This sounded perfect - I have no mechanical qualifications whatsoever but I have always had a passion for anything car related since I was little. I have been driving since I turned 17, had countless numbers of cars and always enjoyed doing the little bits on my cars like changing bulbs, etc. So that day (May 19th) I wrote an email to the Assistant Volunteer Co-Ordinator at our Lincs Police Headquarters telling them of my interest in the role. I received an email back less than half an hour later saying that my details had been forwarded on to the supervisor for the role who would be in touch shortly. 10 days later I received a phone call from a Sergeant at my local station (Boston) asking if I would like to have a chat/interview with him later that day about the role. I attended the interview with the Sergeant I spoke to (and a female Sergeant) and was told all about the requirements of the role as well as asked questions about myself and what I wanted out of the role, etc. I left feeling excited - but also nervous wondering if they liked me and if really they would prefer a male ex-mechanic rather than a bored housewife, haha. Anyway I must have impressed enough as 4 days later I received a letter saying that they would very much like to offer me the role! Now all I had to do was fill in the numerous vetting and medical forms and send them off asap. I took no time in filling them all out straight away and sending them off that evening. Over 6 weeks later I still hadn't heard anything back and was wondering which part of the vetting procedure or medical I must have failed on. I didn't want to pester anyone but I thought after 6 weeks I'd just ask if they knew anything either good or bad so I knew either way. The volunteer co-ordinator at HQ said that they had received everything from me but was still waiting for one of my referees to send them a reference. As this referee hadn't sent their forms off they said I could get someone else to give another reference instead and email it across. Luckily I got someone else to do this and sent off the next day. 2 days later I received both an email confirming the reference had been received and a phone call from my supervisor (the Sergeant) saying everything had all been cleared and would I like to start my induction 5 days later! So from application date to starting date took 10 weeks altogether but I was told my vetting all got cleared in only 2 weeks and the other 4 weeks they were just waiting for my final reference so it would have been a lot sooner. Well I started my first day on Monday July 27th and (13 weeks later) can honestly say that I am loving every minute of it. I was given a Lincolnshire Police Volunteer polo shirt and a pair of Police combat trousers - I am still waiting for a hi-vis jacket I have just requested ready for the winter weather we may get. I also got a Volunteers pack/folder with lots of information including how to book my hours I've worked on the internet via Duty Sheet. I was also given my own pnn email address to access the Intranet and to email my check sheets after each shift. I use to do 3 days a week (anywhere from 2 to 5 hours a day) but then I started to get the cars done a lot quicker the more I got use to them so now I only need to go in 2 days a week to get them all done. I have 9 marked Police cars/vans to check each week as well as the Inspectors unmarked car and 3 pool cars. As well as vehicle checks I also clean and wash the cars if needed and I sometimes drive them to a local garage if they need tyres, etc and I have also taken cars to HQ 35 miles away. I had to take a basic driving assessment test at HQ in Lincoln so that I could manoeuvre the vehicles around the station and drive them when needed - it was very nerve-wrecking but luckily I passed. I have a vehicle check sheet I have to fill in for each vehicle and I have to write down the mileage, when its due for servicing, are all the emergency devices working (lights, sirens, etc), I have to write down the tyre treads, check seatbelts, oil. water, windscreen washers, wipers, etc and all the inventory kit eg: cones, stingers, frames, first aid kits, accident signs, etc, etc. It took me a little time to get use to it all but now I know everything that's needed off the top of my head I can also name every vehicles full registration number and know which ones have the stingers, ANPR, alcometers, etc - in fact I know the cars that well they are all affectionately now called my babies, haha. For the last 5 weeks I had also been doing another 10 Police car checks/washes at Spalding - another station 15 miles away but due to me having to work an extra night shift on the same day that I was doing 8 hours at that station it was too long and tiring to do both so unfortunately I had to give up that which is a shame as it was a lovely station and all the Police and staff there were so lovely. However I must say that the same goes for my station - every person from the admin to the Chief Inspectors, PCSO's, PCs, caretaker/maintenance team, front desk, CID and visitors to the station everyone is so helpful and friendly. I get thanked countless times a week for what I'm doing which is lovely. Was quite surreal spotting all the 'Police Interceptors' and 'Rookies' off the TV programmes which were both filmed at Boston but now I see them all the time and chat with them etc its nice to know them all in person now. I've also had a couple of the ones off Police Interceptors asking if I can do the checks on their BMW's as we keep 2 or 3 of them in a garage at our station - I wouldn't be allowed to drive them around but I could do the checks - this is something I would love to do and apparently they are now inquiring about me doing them! I have also been shown how to go and put out speed check signs if I want to fill in any hours and I've been asked countless times why don't I join the PCSO's or Specials which does sound tempting but I'll stick with the cars for now, haha. So, like I said so far I am enjoying every minute of my volunteering. Best things about my role are : meeting all the new people, knowing I am helping both the public and all the wonderful coppers who do a great job themselves, proudly seeing 'my' Police cars driving around town safely, fully kitted and looking nice and clean (knowing that I'm responsible for all that). The first time I drove one myself (both around the yard and in the street) was a wow moment and the first time I tested the sirens was cool - now after 150 car checks later its just all in a days work, lol. Haven't had any bad experiences - had a couple of security alerts and some people that are brought into custody can make you feel a little wary but on the whole I would recommend my role to anyone thinking about it!! In my 13 weeks I've volunteered over 130 hours so far - and still wish I co do more!! Hope I have covered most things and haven't bored anyone too much any questions feel free to ask - Malita (PSV206)
  40. It is finally over. For 18 months, I have been subject to an independent IPCC investigation, where allegations were made regarding my conduct as a police officer. Today, following a misconduct meeting, it was finally found that there was no case to answer. This investigation forms the basis of my application to transfer to Avon and Somerset being rejected, and having moved to Somerset in June last year, I am relieved that I should now be able to finish what I started so long ago. The circumstances leading up to this investigation are tragic and I will never publicly discuss them - allow me to simply state that I am utterly relieved that this investigation is over. To those of you who left messages of support, you have my thanks. Here's to the next four years of service, the end of an era and the start of the next.
  41. You don't know what case law is do you? Not that it really matters anyway as drink driving is a summary offence so how do you propose case law can be made for an offence which is tried without a jury if we were to accept your argument that juries make case law? If I were you, I'd probably stop trying to pretend you are Sir William Blackstone and cease making a fool of yourself.
  42. I'm sorry but it's down to arrogance, laziness and a sense of entitlement a lot of the time (there are of a course a good number genuinely struggling): No washing machine? Neither did I for 2 years so I used a launderette. Can't afford a TV? Get one for free from freecycle etc. it's not a 72'' flat screen but it does the job and again - did me fine for 2 years. Toiletries? Shop around! I currently buy branded deodorant/shower gel from bargain stores/B&M etc for cheaper than some supermarket own brands. Can't afford to eat? rubbish - you can't afford everything to be ready made/convenience. You can eat a good variety of food on a very low budget you just need to take the effort of shopping around and cooking. Meat too expensive? Supermarket butchers can be INCREDIBLY expensive for some items and cheap for others. Often local but butchers can be cheaper for chicken breast. Fresh veg? Stop buying packs of veg without checking the prices! You can pay £1 for a pre-packed bag of carrots/parsnips which are 80p if you got the same weight from the loose baskets. Heating bills high? Probably the most difficult to change but I won't be the only cop who walks into 'benefits' houses and breaks into a sweat from the 30 degree heat being blasted out constantly. Put a jumper on and turn the heating down. Turn it off overnight. No disposable income? Stop buying booze and fags! 10 cigarettes a day is £120 a month. These are things working people have known and been doing for 40-50 years and beyond. Why are the benefit dependent exempt?
  43. I've seen a couple of dashcam confessions before but this one has to be seen to be believed.   There is definitely a confession to be made with this   Sourced: http://www.ukcophumour.co.uk/dover-police-posted-a-dash-cam-confessional-video/  
  44. The one I tell my probationers to have in their pocket is R on the Application of Rutherford Vs the IPCC [2010]: it states that officers don't need to quote act and section. If anyone asks them they can just say "as per the rutherford decision in 2010 I don't need to quote the law at you". The last "freeman" I dealt with, who tried to use a "commercial lien" ended up in Belmarsh and that is where he remains.
  45. Numerous points to take into consideration here: 1. A typical Youtuber is not going to upload a video which shows them on the back foot, many videos involving police are edited in ways which only tell half the story (a common tactic is the use of slides with text as a means of breaking the footage up without an inattentive viewer noticing.) 2. If a person is under suspicion of committing an offence (ANY offence) a police constable can request their name and address - if that person refuses to provide their details or those details cannot be verified that forms a specific necessity to arrest that individual, this is where the whole FotL concept falls to pieces, it has absolutely no standing in law at all. 3. It has to be said that many cops on Youtube don't cope well when on camera, many will threaten an action (such as arrest) and then have their bluff called by a Youtuber - the cop will more often than not retreat with their tail between their legs. The lesson to be learnt here is don't EVER threaten an action you are not willing to undertake.
  46. It'd be an utter massacre until AFOs and SF got a grip of the situation. One very unhinged bloke in Cumbria held an entire county to ransom with a .22 bolt action rifle and a double barrelled shotgun, killing 12 innocent people and wounding many more. Just think of the carnage that could be caused with two highly motivated, trained in warfare and well equipped terrorists armed with an automatic (or even semi-automatic) military calibre rifle... Like the two brothers in France. We wouldn't stand a chance, anyone thinking otherwise is frankly deluded.
  47. Gents, would it be ok to jump in here and give a serving PSNI Officers view? or would you rather just shout at each other and not really get any where, except up each others noses? :huh:
  48. I'm as single as a 25ml of vodka