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  1. A CSO's account of his struggle with PTSD highlights the trauma police officers face in their daily duties. World Mental Health Day A Community Support Officer has described his struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder as part of a day of action to raise awareness about mental health issues. On World Mental Health Day (October 11) the Gwent CSO wrote anonymously about how the graphic aftermath of a gas explosion in Newport haunted him for years. The CSO was among the first emergency responders on scene after hearing the explosion from Newport Central Police Station. “The give-away was a large hole where the front window used to be and the burning debris strewn across Bridge Street. “Immediately the smell of gas filled my lungs and the sight of a male stood in the debris with his clothes and chunks of skin missing filled my mind. Suddenly I was climbing in through the hole, over the gas pipe and pulling this stranger to the site of the former window. Then along with a colleague we pulled him out and into an ambulance. It was probably less than a minute but would affect me for what is looking like years.” Although it took several months for his problems to start, the CSO was plunged into a downward spiral that almost wrecked his personal and professional life. “I think the biggest issue for me became the words that every Community Support Officer hears almost daily ‘You’re only a CSO.’ It doesn’t bother me when the public say this but it definitely had an effect when it was my own mind. My mind was telling me CSO’s don’t have issues like this. You don’t go to incidents that could possibly have an effect on your mental wellbeing. Your colleagues are going to think you’re an idiot.” Eventually, he felt he had no choice but to explain why he was underperforming and confessed to his sergeant: “So sitting in front of my sergeant with my heart pounding and my mind screaming at me I blurted it out. I imagine I sounded like a blubbering idiot but I had done it. “ After being placed on an "extremely long waiting list" the CSO wrote revealed he will be starting treatment for PTSD tomorrow “This is where the real work begins and this is where I will be getting my life back on track. “My colleagues don’t laugh. I have the most supportive team around me. I am proud I acted. I will get better and I will get back to being me. “My condition does not and will not define me and the rest of my life.” View on Police Oracle
  2. Police Federation calls on chiefs to take action. Cuts have led to a substantial increase in fatigue and stress Senior officers and the government must do more to tackle a crisis in detective policing as morale hits rock bottom, the Police Federation says. It is warning the role is no longer desirable or sought after and victims may be failed as a result of worsening conditions. The staff association’s detective forum has released the results of its annual survey which found that 90 per cent of respondents said they had taken time off due to mental health and wellbeing issues either caused by or exacerbated by their work. Some 56 per cent said service cuts have had a huge impact on their morale while over a quarter of detectives felt their physical and mental health had been affected Half of those who answered also said cuts had led to a substantial increase in fatigue and stress as they battled to keep up with demand. Karen Stephens, secretary of the Police Federation national detective forum, said: “The facts speak for themselves. These results clearly show that detectives are overwhelmed with increased pressures brought on by a lack of resources. “Morale is low, people are exhausted and there is little sign of improvements to come if things stay the way they are.” Three-quarters of detectives said they were not able to provide the service victims need due to their workloads being too high. Mrs Stephens said: “The single aim of every officer, detectives included, is to protect and help others. But what these results show is that despite their best efforts, the demands of the role do not allow them to do this. "This is further emphasised with over half of the respondents saying they did not even have time to stay up to date with the latest training. “Being a detective was always a sought after, desirable role. However this survey shows things have changed and not for the better.” She called on the NPCC, College of Policing and government to act on the warning sounded by her members. Earlier this year HMIC warned that a shortage of detectives is a national crisis for policing in England and Wales. Chiefs have previously asked to be allowed by government to pay detectives bonuses for carrying out their roles, but were told by the pay review body to show evidence for why this would actually help. NPCC lead for detective recruitment and retention, Deputy Chief Constable Matt Jukes said: "Detectives do a vital job investigating crimes, apprehending offenders and protecting people from harm – and I know that all chiefs are proud of the work they do. "Forces have been aware for some time of the challenges that today’s survey describes, and it is always a concern when colleagues feel overworked and undervalued. "The complex nature of investigations and our work to protect vulnerable people has made the role of detectives even more challenging. We are facing a challenge to recruit and retain in these roles, which is adding to the pressure on serving detectives." He added: “We are looking at a range of ways to improve the situation, including reviewing the way detectives are selected and trained, providing improved workplace support to existing detectives which recognises how their work is changing, as well as looking at changes to incentivise more people into these important roles.” View on Police Oracle
  3. The operation-stalling attack was kept under control by the force's Cyber Crime Unit. Left to right: Special Sergeant and Lead on Cyber Specials, Michael Moore, Nick Carver and Special Constabulary Chief Officer, Mark Kendrew. Special Constables who helped the NHS during the summer’s cyber-attack have been recognised at a ceremony celebrating their work. The group from Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Cyber Crime Unit lent their skills and support to the Lister Hospital in Stevenage. Their work was praised by Chief Constable Charlie Hall and the CEO of the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, Nick Carver. Mr Carver said input from the specials meant patients were not as adversely affected by the cyber-attack in Hertfordshire. Their award was part of a dedicated Employer Supported Policing (ESP) event at Police Headquarters. CC Hall said: “We are focused on protecting vulnerable people and need to adapt our workforce to help investigate such crimes –volunteers with the different skills we require can help. “We want to continue the conversation with you and your organisations to see how we can work to encourage your staff to give up their time to come and help us. The value we give back to you will help your staff, your businesses and society as a result." He added. There are currently 25 organisations signed up to the ESP scheme in Hertfordshire, including Tesco, Which?, McMullen Brewery and Sons and local district and borough councils. View on Police Oracle
  4. The Policing Minister Nick Hurd said he wanted to understand more about demand and capacity within the service ahead of the spending review. Conservative PCCs showing their support for our Protect The Protectors campaign (left to right) Julia Mulligan, David Munro and Katy Bourne. The Police Federation says its Protect The Protectors campaign was top of the agenda at a meeting with the Policing Minister and other MPs during the Conservative Party Conference. Following a similar event at the Labour Party Conference last week, a contingent of national and local PFEW representatives raised issues including the recent one per cent pay award and one per cent force-funded bonus. The Policing Minister Nick Hurd said he wanted to understand more about demand and capacity within the service and is undertaking a review of police funding ahead of the government's Spending Review later this year. The group also discussed the College of Policing's directives to bring in qualifications and accreditation to the service as well as Direct Entry and how the scheme impacts on officers. PFEW Chairman Steve White, who attended the event ahead of a roundtable meeting with Mr Hurd, said: "Of course the Federation isn't always going to agree with government and we had frank exchanges at times but we have to maintain an open dialogue with decision makers and overall it was a positive and productive meeting. "National and local representatives were able to talk and debate issues direct with the Policing Minister and other MPs and PCCs which will undoubtedly help with our work to inform and change policy for the benefit of our members." All attendees stated they are behind the Protect The Protectors campaign which calls for a specific offence to be introduced for assaulting officers or other emergency service worker and harsher sentences for those who do punch, kick or spit at officers to help as a deterrent. Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: "My department is working with the Police Federation on its campaign to Protect The Protectors. We’ve already funded a new police welfare service, we are reviewing the law so the police can pursue the appalling thugs on mopeds who attack people on our streets and we’re also examining whether we need clearer rules so that anyone who assaults an emergency service worker faces a tougher sentence. The police protect us and it’s my job to ensure we protect them." View on Police Oracle
  5. http://www.portsmouth.co.uk/news/crime/meet-the-senior-officer-about-to-lead-portsmouth-police-after-just-a-year-as-a-cop-1-8172882 Senior cop Maggie Blyth is set to take command of all officers in Portsmouth – despite having only put on a uniform a year ago. As the city’s district commander, she will be leading scores of officers who have climbed their way up the ranks and garnered years of experience on the beat Read more at: http://www.portsmouth.co.uk/news/crime/meet-the-senior-officer-about-to-lead-portsmouth-police-after-just-a-year-as-a-cop-1-8172882
  6. Before the MPS, murderers, thieves and rioters ran amok with citizens taking the law into their own hands. Victorian police uniform complete with high-necked collars for protection again stranglers. (Twitter - @KentOfInglewood) London was a grim place in the 1800s, with poverty prevailing in the backstreet slums of the big smoke it Is not surprising that many turned to petty thieving in order to live. Children used to pick a pocket or two while women engaged in a spot of shoplifting from time to time. But there was a more sinister side to petty thieves, with notorious conmen called ‘sharpers’ who would go to extreme measures by dipping a hanky in chloroform to subdue their victim before robbing them. Sometimes a man's hat might be tipped over his face to facilitate the crime - a trick called bonneting. Another ruse was to lure men down to the riverside using prostitutes as decoys. The dupes would then be beaten up and robbed out of sight of passers-by. Murders were also on the rise along with riots where mobs of unhappy Victorians would gather at Hyde Park and Trafalgar Square to air their grievances. Although there were foot patrols - whose main role it was to protect property - there was no overall organised policing unit. Many prosecutions were not carried out by police and were taken into the hands of the victims. The victim would have to apprehend the criminal themselves or employ a ‘thief-taker’ to drag them by the ears to the parish constable or magistrate. Sir Robert Peel, who was Home Secretary in 1829, decided things were getting a little out of hand so persuaded Parliament to provide a new police force for London, excluding the City and the Thames, who already had their own uniformed patrols. He tasked a committee to investigate the current system of policing. Peel immediately acted upon the committee’s findings and created ‘Peelian principles’ that involved the payment of police officers who were organised along civilian lines. Peel’s ideas for the system of policing were approved by Parliament in the Metropolitan Police Act with Royal Assent being granted on June 19 1829. The 895 constables of the new force, nicknamed ‘Peelers’ or ‘Bobbies’ after their founder, were responsible for law enforcement and public order within a seven-mile radius of Charing Cross. (Twitter - @MarshallGroup) They were overseen by a progressing hierarchy of Sergeants, Inspectors, Superintendents and two Commissioners who reported directly to Peel himself. On September 29 1829 – 188 years ago – the Metropolitan Police Force was officially formed. It would have eight Superintendents paid £200 a year, 20 inspectors paid £100 a year, 88 sergeants paid 3s 6d a day and constables paid 3s a day. There were considerable problems with those recruited, many were drunks, unfit and unruly and in the first six months just over 50 per cent were required to leave the service. Each officer was issued with a warrant number and a divisional letter which denoted where they worked. The first headquarters was 4 Whitehall Place, with a back entrance for special visitors via Scotland Yard. The bobbies were given blue uniforms to distinguish them from the red used by the military and sent out on the beat with only a wooden truncheon and a ratcheted rattle to raise the alarm. (Twitter - @Chindiazindabad) High-necked tunics protected officers from strangulation – it was popular back then to garrotte people from behind - and top hats were reinforced as Peelers were likely to be attacked in the street - and penalties for violent crime were more lenient. After PC Robert Culley was stabbed to death at a riot in Holborn in 1833 a coroner's jury returned a verdict of "justifiable homicide". At first the public did not embrace the new force, it was paid for from local parish monies and some members of the public argued the Met was a threat to civil liberties. Some members however remained hostile, numerous reports say the first traffic police risked being run down and horse-whipped by irate coachmen. Eventually they warmed to the idea of a police force and officers became better skilled at the difficult job they had to do. “The police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.” – Sir Robert Peel. View on Police Oracle
  7. Honey, I shrunk the police. 164 primary school children aged between nine and ten are enrolled on the scheme. Northumbria Police has taken on more young recruits as its successful Mini Police scheme is extended. Earlier this year the force’s Mini Police initiative was launched with seven primary schools across the county signing up. Schoolchildren were selected for the scheme - where they work with officers and volunteer police cadets to learn about a host of topics to help keep them and their friends safe. Mini Police, recognisable by their uniform, also carry out work in the community and since the scheme began have attended some of the region’s biggest events such as the Sunderland International Airshow. There they played a vital role and helped hand out wristbands to children their own age and younger, the wristbands included the contact details of the child’s parents or guardian so if got separated they could quickly be reunited with them. Due to the success of the scheme it has been extended with eight more schools now signing up and an extra 88 nine and ten year olds becoming Mini Police - meaning there are now 164 primary school children enrolled on the scheme. Superintendent Sarah Pitt was instrumental in launching Northumbria Police’s Mini Police. She said: “Since we launched the scheme in April we’ve had a lot of interest in our Mini Police with people getting in contact to see how their children or school could get involved. It’s been a great success so far and we’re really pleased we’ve been able to extend it and welcome more children into the police family.” Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Dame Vera Baird QC, said: “This is a brilliant opportunity for children to engage with their local communities and learn more about how our officers tackle crime and help people who need it. It’s great that we have more youngsters signing up – I hope their involvement inspires them and they have lots of fun as new Mini Police recruits.” View on Police Oracle
  8. All 43 federations sign open letter to Prime Minister demanding 'a properly funded and well-resourced police service'. Prime Minister Theresa May Those representing rank and file officers across the country have written an open letter to the government describing the recent pay award as 'derisory'. Representatives from all 43 police federations in the country endorsed the letter, saying “members were angry” and forces “had been put in an impossible situation.” Police Federation of England and Wales Vice Chairman Calum Macleod said: “We feel the government has not been truthful and honest about the pay award given to officers, and that is insulting. "The two per cent awarded has to come from existing policing budgets which means forces may have to choose between officer numbers and public safety. That cannot be right." The full letter reads: Dear Prime Minister, On behalf of the hard working officers who are working to the bone to protect our people, who fight to protect our communities and who keep you safe, we demand answers. And we demand that you tell the public the truth. About crime figures. About police numbers. About the ‘extra’ officers you pledge. About ‘extra’ money you say you will pay. No more smoke. No more mirrors. No more double standards. You expect officers to run towards terrorists one minute and then turn your backs when we ask for help so they can afford to feed their families. Families they barely see because of the hours they work to fill the void left by the thousands of officers who are no longer there because of your cuts. Officers who are now broken. Who are unable to cope with the mental and physical demands placed upon them by having to work in depleted environments. With out of date kit .With fewer people. With no support. One chief constable has just this week told you that 40 per cent of his officers have sought professional help for stress. It is the tip of the iceberg. Our officers are committed to serving the public. And we thank the public for their overwhelming support, particularly in light of recent incidents. But with 20,000 fewer police officers than five years ago it is no wonder we have seen crime rise and the service to the public suffer. This is not fair on them. And two per cent pay rise with no extra money to pay for it means it is the public who will yet again suffer and get even less of a service. So hear us when we say: The pay award of on average less than £10 a week is insulting. A two per cent rise is not a rise when it has to come from existing policing budgets. It’s a disgrace you have dressed it up as a pay rise. Funding must come centrally, it is unfair to make the public suffer with fewer officers available to fight crime. It’s a disgrace you have ignored the recommendations from the independent Police Remuneration Review Body – the very body you set up to advise on police pay. Forces cannot cope with any further falls in police numbers. Communities will be further under threat at the very time protection is needed the most. Community policing plays a vital part in intelligence gathering to help combat terrorism and it has been decimated. ‘Extra’ police officers are not ‘extra’ police officers. They are the same officers doing longer hours, being called back in when they are off or being given extra responsibilities. Crime is not falling. And answer our questions: Why was the independent body, which has awarded MPs and ministers a 13 per cent rise over the last three years listened to when the independent police body on pay was not? How can you justify these double standards? Do you think it is acceptable that the derisory pay award is expected to come at a cost of losing more officers? Our members have been failed by: The FAILURE to heed our warnings. The FAILURE to implement the very recommendations of the independent bodies you introduced. The FAILURE to support them and the police service as a whole. The FAILURE to help officers protect the country. The FAILURE to help officers protect the public adequately. We don’t want meaningless platitudes. We want a properly funded and well-resourced police service. The public rightly want and expect this. For the sake of those who put their lives on the line for the public we demand you address these injustices and give us answers. Members of the interim National Council View on Police Oracle
  9. The majority of the budget is spent on supporting outdated systems - according to report. Forces need to stop wasting their budgets on outdated computer systems and invest in new technology. A new report by think tank The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) says many police hours are wasted carrying out basic data management tasks, due to severe deficiencies in the forces’ digital infrastructure. It highlights how the majority of police IT budgets are spent supporting old systems, with little funding available to invest in new technology. The report, compiled after six months research, argues forces are unable to capitalise on the opportunities presented by advance technology, which has already revolutionised many other sectors. RUSI research analyst Alexander Babuta said: “With police hours becoming an increasingly scarce resource, it is more important than ever that valuable time is not wasted carrying out routine administrative tasks.” He added if the budget was spent on new technology the costs will be recovered quickly in the savings made to time. The report also suggests forces should coordinate nationally to overcome challenges by unifying all police data. Mr Babuta said new technology is gradually being introduced, however, they are incompatible on a national level. "Digital infrastructure is compartmentalised because of the highly localised nature of policing procurement, resulting in poor data sharing and little coordination at the national level,” he added. For example, Durham Constabulary uses a new system called the Harm Assessment Risk Tool (HART). The system classifies suspects at a low, medium or high risk of offending and has been tested by the force with 98% accuracy. Mr Babuta, points out the system is significantly better at finding who is at greater risk of reoffending – better than intelligence based assessments. However he stresses that officers’ professional judgement should not be replaced by this and “the idea would be to support officers and enable them to be more effective.” However, Durham only uses local data for this – therefore if a person moves from one county to Durham, they won’t be on the system. If the database was unified they would have this access to this information. “Some forces have started to address the problem locally, but there has been little progress at the national level. Only when a unified national infrastructure is in place for centrally managing all police data will forces be able to make effective use of big data technology,” he added. Mr Babuta told Police Oracle unifying all databases will be difficult as there are 220, but suggested the databases could be combined and then put on a nationwide force search engine. HMIC and Mr Babuta also make future recommendations of implementing Predictive Hotspot Mapping (PHM). PHM can use past crime data to predict where crime could occur, as well as what type of offences may be committed. HMIC teamed up last with the London School of Economics lasy year to build a picture of “predicted demand” on policing in the 181,000 census output areas. The inspectorate warned forces must have a better grasp of what they are likely to face in the years to come as they deal with increasingly limited resources. HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary Sir Thomas Winsor said: “It’s just an enormously valuable instrument, which many of them do not have "At a local level, the inspectors themselves know where the troubled families are; they know where habitual criminals live. “But to have that at force level but also to be able to drill down to small units in a particular area; that is an enormously valuable tool.” HMIC argued police forces need a more effective approach to prevent crime from happening, although it admits understanding future demand is not easy. The RUSI report concludes that introducing new tech is all well and good, but stresses that any investment will be wasted if officers are unable or unwilling to use the software and tools provided to them- therefore there should be sufficient training provided. View on Police Oracle
  10. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/police-officer-pins-suspect-floor-9372518 A shocking video has led to the investigation of a police force after it showed an officer allegedly punching a suspect to the floor during an arrest.
  11. Parsons Green: Explosion reported on London Tube train 15 September 2017 From the section UK Image copyright Twitter/@rrigs Emergency services are at the scene of a reported explosion on a District Line Underground train in south-west London. A picture on social media showed a white bucket inside a supermarket bag, but does not appear to show extensive damage in the carriage. Witnesses described seeing at least one passenger with facial injuries. Others have spoken of "panic" as alarmed passengers left the train at Parsons Green station at around 08:20 BST (07:20 GMT) on Friday morning. Latest updates: Incident at Parsons Green London Ambulance Service says it has sent a hazardous area response team to the scene. BBC London presenter Riz Lateef, who was at Parsons Green on her way in to work, said: "There was panic as people rushed from the train, hearing what appeared to be an explosion" "People were left with cuts and grazes from trying to flee the scene. There was lots of panic" BBC News presenter Sophie Raworth says she saw a woman on a stretcher with burns to her face and legs. Alex Littlefield, 24, a City worker, said: "I was walking around the corner to the Parsons Green Tube station and I saw the raised platform with everyone running and looking upset. "I saw police officers, fire brigade... masses of people and armed police. There were lots of very, very distressed people. We've been pushed right back now." Content is not available Media technology consultant Richard Aylmer-Hall who was sitting on the "packed" District Line train said he saw several people injured, having apparently been trampled as they tried to escape. The 53-year-old said "suddenly there was panic, lots of people shouting, screaming, lots of screaming. "There was a woman on the platform who said she had seen a bag, a flash and a bang, so obviously something had gone off. "I saw crying women, there was lots of shouting and screaming, there was a bit of a crush on the stairs going down to the streets," he said. Image copyright Alex Littlefield Natasha Wills, assistant director of operations at London Ambulance Service, said: "We were called at 8:20 to reports of an incident at Parsons Green underground station. "We have sent multiple resources to the scene including single responders in cars, ambulance crews, incident response officers and our hazardous area response team, with the first of our medics arriving in under five minutes. "Our initial priority is to assess the level and nature of injuries. More information will follow when we have it." Image copyright Alex Littlefield Are you at Parsons Green station? Did you witness the events? If it's safe to share your experiences then please email haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk with your stories. Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways: WhatsApp: +44 7525 900971 Send pictures/video to yourpics@bbc.co.uk Or Upload your pictures/video here Tweet: @BBC_HaveYourSay Send an SMS or MMS to 61124 (UK) or +44 7624 800 100 (international) Please read our terms & conditions Or use the form below If you are happy to be contacted by a BBC journalist please leave a telephone number that we can contact you on. In some cases a selection of your comments will be published, displaying your name as you provide it and location, unless you state otherwise. Your contact details will never be published. When sending us pictures, video or eyewitness accounts at no time should you endanger yourself or others, take any unnecessary risks or infringe any laws. Please ensure you have read the terms and conditions. Terms and conditions View the full article
  12. The number of abandoned 999 calls to UK police control rooms has more than doubled in the last year, BBC Freedom of Information requests have shown. The BBC has seen correspondence between police leaders expressing "concern" about high call volumes. A Police Federation spokesman says resources are at a critical level and public safety has been compromised. The Home Office says it expects crimes reported to police to be investigated thoroughly. A document seen by the BBC describes how one force is receiving New Year's Eve call volumes every day, and sets out a longer term intention to recruit more control room staff. Louise Haigh, Labour's shadow police minister, says policing is close to being broken. Terror attacks Across the UK, the number of abandoned 999 calls more than doubled in the 12 months from June 2016 - rising from 8,000 to 16,300 across the 32 forces able to provide information. Police forces that dealt with the terror attacks earlier this year saw a large rise in the number of abandoned calls they experienced. The Met had 5,134 more 999 calls abandoned, while 716 more calls to Greater Manchester Police were abandoned in this period. The number of 101 non-emergency calls abandoned has also risen by 116% June to June, with 230,000 more calls abandoned. The number of 999 calls across the UK overall has risen by 15% in the year to June 2017. What is an abandoned call? 999 - When someone calls 999, they are connected by a BT operator to the police but hangs up before being connected to a police operator. 101 - When someone calls the police via the non-emergency 101 number, but hangs up before being connected to a police operator. Calum Macleod, vice-chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, says there are a number of theories as to why the call numbers have risen. "One, crime is actually rising so you are seeing more crime day-to-day, and two, there's less visibility so the public is feeling less secure in their day-to-day environment," he said. He says resources are at a critical level and that the loss of 40,000 police officers and police staff will have an impact on service delivery. "This is unsustainable. I'm certain the safety and security of the public is compromised." Mr Macleod noted the strain this was placing on police officers. "Officers have to go from call to call to call during their shift. there is no respite," he said. He explained that eight in 10 staff were showing signs of anxiety, stress and some more serious mental health issues. He added: "90% of them are putting it down to the pressures they are under at this moment in time. The police service is on its knees." Forces with the biggest rises in abandoned 999 calls from June 2016 to June 2017 Hertfordshire Constabulary: 62 to 680 Cambridgeshire Constabulary: 26 to 219 Gloucestershire Constabulary: 18 to 145 Merseyside Police: 94 to 411 Greater Manchester Police: 312 to 1,028 Metropolitan Police Service: 2,606 to 7,740 Close to broken Ms Haigh says police are telling her staff cuts have left fewer officers to dispatch to calls. "We need to increase the budget in real terms to deal with the demands the police are facing," she said. "I think policing is very, very close to broken. "It is very difficult for police forces to deliver a professional police service with the budgets they have got and we are very close to the collapse of policing." Image copyrightPA The number of abandoned 999 calls to UK police control rooms has more than doubled in the last year, BBC Freedom of Information requests have shown. The BBC has seen correspondence between police leaders expressing "concern" about high call volumes. A Police Federation spokesman says resources are at a critical level and public safety has been compromised. The Home Office says it expects crimes reported to police to be investigated thoroughly. A document seen by the BBC describes how one force is receiving New Year's Eve call volumes every day, and sets out a longer term intention to recruit more control room staff. Louise Haigh, Labour's shadow police minister, says policing is close to being broken. Terror attacks Across the UK, the number of abandoned 999 calls more than doubled in the 12 months from June 2016 - rising from 8,000 to 16,300 across the 32 forces able to provide information. Police forces that dealt with the terror attacks earlier this year saw a large rise in the number of abandoned calls they experienced. The Met had 5,134 more 999 calls abandoned, while 716 more calls to Greater Manchester Police were abandoned in this period. The number of 101 non-emergency calls abandoned has also risen by 116% June to June, with 230,000 more calls abandoned. The number of 999 calls across the UK overall has risen by 15% in the year to June 2017. What is an abandoned call? 999 - When someone calls 999, they are connected by a BT operator to the police but hangs up before being connected to a police operator. 101 - When someone calls the police via the non-emergency 101 number, but hangs up before being connected to a police operator. Calum Macleod, vice-chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, says there are a number of theories as to why the call numbers have risen. "One, crime is actually rising so you are seeing more crime day-to-day, and two, there's less visibility so the public is feeling less secure in their day-to-day environment," he said. He says resources are at a critical level and that the loss of 40,000 police officers and police staff will have an impact on service delivery. "This is unsustainable. I'm certain the safety and security of the public is compromised." Image captionCalum Macleod of the Police Federation says resources are at a critical level Mr Macleod noted the strain this was placing on police officers. "Officers have to go from call to call to call during their shift. there is no respite," he said. He explained that eight in 10 staff were showing signs of anxiety, stress and some more serious mental health issues. He added: "90% of them are putting it down to the pressures they are under at this moment in time. The police service is on its knees." Forces with the biggest rises in abandoned 999 calls from June 2016 to June 2017 Hertfordshire Constabulary: 62 to 680 Cambridgeshire Constabulary: 26 to 219 Gloucestershire Constabulary: 18 to 145 Merseyside Police: 94 to 411 Greater Manchester Police: 312 to 1,028 Metropolitan Police Service: 2,606 to 7,740 Close to broken Ms Haigh says police are telling her staff cuts have left fewer officers to dispatch to calls. "We need to increase the budget in real terms to deal with the demands the police are facing," she said. "I think policing is very, very close to broken. "It is very difficult for police forces to deliver a professional police service with the budgets they have got and we are very close to the collapse of policing." Image captionAlan Todd of the NPCC says forces have had to make hard choices due to increasing demand Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd, the National Police Chiefs' Council's lead for contact management, said police funding was a political choice for politicians to determine. "We senior police officers are charged with taking the funds that are made available to us and delivering the best service we can to the public," he said. "Against the backdrop of increasing demand, that does prove for some hard choices." He said pressure on police could be reduced if the public made sure they used 999 for emergencies only. The Home Office declined to be interviewed. In a statement, it said: "Every person contacting 999 and 101 deserves a good service from the police and their calls to be handled within a reasonable time. "We expect the crimes reported to them to be taken seriously, investigated thoroughly and, wherever possible, the perpetrators brought to justice." http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-41173745
  13. BBC: North Korea missile tests

    North Korea missiles: Projectile flies over Japan 28 August 2017 From the section Asia Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The latest missile test follows a similar launch on Saturday North Korea has fired a missile that flew over northern Japan before crashing into the sea. No effort was made by the Japanese to shoot down the missile, which was launched early in the morning local time, triggering safety warnings. The missile broke into three pieces before it landed, local media reported. There has a been a wave of North Korean missile tests but it is the first time in eight years that one has flown over Japan. On Friday and Saturday North Korea fired three short-range missiles into the sea off its eastern coast. Have North Korea's missile tests paid off? What can the outside world do? Can the US defend itself against North Korea? As this latest missile flew towards Japan warning alarms went off across northern Japan but public broadcaster NHK said there was no sign of any damage. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said afterwards the government was doing its utmost to protect people's lives. Skip Twitter post by @Chihokomoriya Report End of Twitter post by @Chihokomoriya Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga described the latest test as an "unprecedented" threat. He said that Japan would take "appropriate steps" in response. Japan is likely to see the test as a serious escalation of tensions given the missile's flight path, the BBC's Yogita Limaye in Seoul says. The Pentagon said that Tuesday's test did not represent a threat to the US and the military was now working to gather more intelligence about it. Earlier this month North Korea threatened to fire missiles towards the US Pacific territory of Guam, while US President Donald Trump warned Pyongyang would face "fire and fury" if it threatened the US. Image copyright Reuters Image caption North Korea recently threatened to target the US territory of Guam The US and South Korea are currently engaged in joint military exercises and the North's missile tests are often in response to them. Thousands of troops from both countries are participating in the drills, which are mainly computer-simulated exercises. View the full article
  14. BBC: Hurricane Irma

    Hurricane Irma: Residents prepare for 'potentially catastrophic' storm 6 September 2017 From the section Latin America & Caribbean Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionThe view inside Hurricane Irma Islands in the Caribbean have made last-minute preparations for Hurricane Irma, the most powerful Atlantic storm in a decade, with officials warning of its "potentially catastrophic" effects. The category five hurricane, the highest possible level, has sustained wind speeds reaching 295km/h (185mph). It is starting to hit the Leeward Islands and will move on towards Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. In the US, Florida's Key West area has ordered a mandatory evacuation. Visitors will be required to leave on Wednesday morning, with residents due to follow in the evening, and the international airport will halt all flights. "We're emphatically telling people you must evacuate. You cannot afford to stay on an island with a category five hurricane coming at you," said Martin Senterfitt, the emergency operations centre director in Monroe County in Florida. Image copyright EPA Image caption Water is delivered to a shelter in San Juan, Puerto Rico Closer to the storm, thousands of people have been evacuated from at-risk areas. Residents have flocked to shops for food, water, and emergency supplies, and in several locations goods were already in short supply. Airports have closed on several islands, popular holiday destinations, and authorities have urged people to go to public shelters. US President Donald Trump has declared a state of emergency for Florida, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, mobilizing federal disaster relief efforts for those areas. In Puerto Rico, a 75-year-old man died during preparations for the storm, which has been described by Governor Ricardo Rossello as "something without precedent". Flights cancelled as Irma approaches Nasa shares video of Hurrican Irma viewed from space Image copyright Reuters Image caption Residents of San Juan rushed with their preparations Storm surges, life-threatening winds and torrential rainfall are expected along the Leeward Islands, which include Antigua, Barbuda and Anguilla. Alison Strand, originally from Staffordshire in the UK, is on the island of Anguilla. She said her family had spent the last several hours fortifying her home on the coast, which "will be the first house hit by the storm". "Our house is 5m (15ft) above sea level and we're expecting 8m swells, so we're just crossing our fingers," she said. "We are expecting to lose our wooden roof." Gary Randall, head of the Blue Waters Resort on Antigua's north coast, said: "I wasn't that nervous yesterday, but today I'm nervous." Staff had boarded up windows, stripped trees of coconuts to stop them damaging property and secured anything that could become a hazard. Predicted path of Hurricane Irma Carolyne Coleby, in Montserrat, said: "Irma is about to hit us full force." "I am a goat farmer and have to consider my livestock. Last night I moved 20 goats to a backhouse at a hostel I manage which is on slightly higher ground," she said. "I am hoping the galvanised roof of the backhouse doesn't fly off. I can't go to the shelter because I can't leave my animals." Texas recovery from Harvey 'could cost $180bn' Uninsured and anxious, victims return home Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionBBC Weather's Stav Danaos has the latest on 'dangerous' Hurricane Irma The US National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said Irma was moving at a speed of 24km/h (15mph), saying that the storm was "potentially catastrophic", There are hurricane warnings for: Antigua, Barbuda, Anguilla, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis Saba, St Eustatius and Sint Maarten Saint Martin and Saint Barthelemy The British Virgin Islands The US Virgin Islands Puerto Rico, Vieques and Culebra Dominican Republic, for the northern region Guadeloupe Haiti, the Turks and Caicos Islands and the south-eastern Bahamas are on hurricane watch. How hard has Harvey hit the local economy? Parts of Texas and Louisiana are dealing with the damage done by Hurricane Harvey in late August. But it is not yet clear what impact Hurricane Irma might have on the US mainland. The mainland has not been hit by two category four hurricanes in one season since the storms were first recorded in 1851. A third tropical storm, Jose, has formed further out in the Atlantic behind Irma, and is expected to become a hurricane later on in the week. Are you in the region? If you are a holidaymaker unable to get a flight home or a resident who has been preparing for Hurricane Irma share your experiences by emailing haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk. Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways: WhatsApp: +447555 173285 Tweet: @BBC_HaveYourSay Send pictures/video to yourpics@bbc.co.uk Upload your pictures / video here Send an SMS or MMS to 61124 or +44 7624 800 100 View the full article
  15. BBC: North Korea missile tests

    North Korea: Tremor detected in sign of possible nuclear test 3 September 2017 From the section Asia A large earth tremor has been detected in North Korea, raising speculation that the country has carried out its sixth nuclear test. US seismologists said the 5.6 magnitude quake was recorded at a depth of 10km (six miles). South Korea immediately convened a national security council meeting. The tremor comes hours after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was pictured with what state media said was a new type of hydrogen bomb. State media said the device could be loaded on to a ballistic missile. Neither claim could be independently verified. View the full article
  16. But less than seven per cent is expected to be recouped. Security Minister Ben Wallace says more money is being collected from crooks Criminals owe the taxpayer more than £1.8 billion - but less than a tenth of the sum is expected to be clawed back, figures show. Outstanding debt from confiscation orders, a key route for stripping offenders of the proceeds of crime, stood at just over £1.8 billion at the end of March. But it is estimated that just £128 million - or 7 per cent - of the total will ultimately be recouped by authorities. Confiscation orders are issued by courts against convicted offenders and can be applied to any offence resulting in financial gain, with the amount based on "criminal benefit". The government and law enforcement agencies have repeatedly come under fire over efforts to recover ill-gotten gains. Last year, MPs hit out at a "spectacular failure" to address concerns about confiscation orders. Labour MP Yvette Cooper, who chairs the Commons Home Affairs Committee, said: "This is an appalling failure by the authorities to recover criminal assets. "Courts are ordering the seizure of assets, but too often criminals are getting away with it. We need to know what action is being taken to turn this around." The figure for confiscation order debt is cumulative and dates back over several years. It includes more than £500 million interest, as well as £12.6 million relating to orders which are subject to appeal. The amounts are detailed in an annual statement published by HM Courts & Tribunals Service in July. It says: "The recoverability of confiscation order debt is affected by the nature of the debt - orders are often imposed on assets which have been hidden by the defendant, or the assets are overseas. "Furthermore, it is not possible to write off confiscation order debt - it can only be cancelled in court (a judicial cancellation) in very specific circumstances, such as on the death of a defendant." A Home Office report published on Tuesday said £201 million of criminal proceeds were confiscated in 2016/17 - a 19pc increase compared with 2011/12 (£170 million). The bulletin also disclosed that, of £490 million being pursued across 131 "priority" cases, £94.3 million, or less than a fifth, has been collected by law enforcement agencies. Priority status can be designated to cases where is a "significant public interest" and where the amount being chased is at least a quarter of a million pounds. Since 2011/12, £174 million has been paid in compensation to victims from the proceeds of confiscation, the paper added. Security minister Ben Wallace said: "We will not stand by and allow criminals to profit from their crimes which is why the government and law enforcement agencies are committed to stripping them of their cash and assets to prevent further criminality. "We are collecting more assets from criminals and we are giving more money back to police and to victims. "But we need to do better. Over the coming months, we will be bringing in new powers for operational partners to seize other criminal assets such as works of art and precious metals. "We want to ensure that criminals do not enjoy a luxurious criminal lifestyle at the expense of law-abiding citizens." The Home Office said the Criminal Finances Act 2017, which will be phased in from this autumn, contains a number of measures to significantly improve the ability to recover criminal assets. They include an expansion of the definition of "cash" - allowing agencies to seize works of art, precious stones and metals, and the creation of orders requiring those suspected of corruption or other serious crime to explain the sources of their wealth. View on Police Oracle
  17. Officer was handed a suspended jail sentence earlier this year. An officer who crashed into another motorist when he went through a red light at a junction has been given a final written warning. PC Peter Mcall, of Northumbria Police, hit the woman’s car at 74mph in what was a 40mph zone on August 18, 2015. PC Mcall had been responding to a report of a fire at a hotel when the incident occurred in North Tyneside. The victim was hospitalised for three weeks and left with seven fractured ribs, a collapsed lung, lacerations to her liver and spleen and a broken knee. PC Mcall admitted causing serious injury as a result of dangerous driving. In April, PC Mcall was given a 15 month jail sentence- suspended for two years - disqualified from driving for three years and ordered to pay more than £6,000 court costs. However the woman said she did not wish PC Mcall to lose his liberty or his job with the force, views that The Recorder of Middlesbrough, Judge Simon Bourne-Arton said “weighed heavily” in his decision on sentence. It was claimed the officer may have confused the red lights with lights further down the road which were green. The 30-year-old said he genuinely believed he was responding to an emergency. PC Mcall was said to have shown considerable remorse and had penned a letter to the victim. He received praise from senior officers who gave references, describing him as an honest, caring, reliable individual with a genuine desire to help people. An investigation by the IPCC found evidence of gross misconduct and as a result he was given a final written warning last week. View on Police Oracle
  18. Home Office accused of playing politics with officer remuneration. John Apter pictured speaking at the Police Federation Conference last year Officers should be consulted on whether they want full employment rights, a prominent staff association representative says. Hampshire Police Federation chairman John Apter has labelled the government’s rejection of the police remuneration review body’s recommendation for a two per cent pay rise next year as “shameful”. Instead, the Home Office is giving officers a one per cent rise, and a one-off, unfunded, bonus. Mr Apter said: “They are playing politics with police officer's pay. It's shameful. We need to look at the detail of this announcement but it is clear that there is nothing to celebrate. "Officers will see this for what it is which is an insult considering officers have had in real terms a 15 per cent cut in pay since 2010. "Police officers have no employment rights so are limited in how they react to such a kick in the teeth. The government know this and have taken advantage of it. "With a heavy heart I feel the time has come to ask our members what their views are on police officers having full employment rights. "This is something I will raise with the national Police Federation of England and Wales colleagues in the coming days." Mr Apter intends to stand for election for national chairman of the Fed when rule changes allow him to. Home Secretary Amber Rudd claimed: "This award strikes a fair balance for police forces, officers and taxpayers. "We want to reward and attract the very best police officers within the resources we have, whilst making the right decisions for the economy overall." National Fed chairman Steve White did not rule out a conversation about industrial rights last year when asked what he would do if the government ignored the recommendations of the review body. At the time, he said: “We put a lot of work into our submission but if its recommendations are not taken up and if the system comes into question as an organisation we may have to do things differently.” While Mr White and General Secretary Andy Fittes are both due to leave their posts at the end of the year, the next remuneration review submission is likely to have been completed by then. On Tuesday the Fed says it was looking closely at the PRRB report and would provide further updates soon. In a 2013 ballot, only 42 per cent of Fed members cast a vote on the issue of industrial rights. Of those who did more than 80 per cent said they wanted the organisation to pursue a legal challenge to try to secure workers’ rights – such as the ability to strike. The Fed said it would not act on the issue because the turnout was too low. View on Police Oracle
  19. Integration now brought down further, to below ACC level. Warwickshire Police and West Mercia cars feature both force's badges. Photo: Joe Giddens/PA Wire Two forces who had been discussed as candidates for a merger have scaled back their integration. Warwickshire and West Mercia Police announced a formal “strategic alliance” in 2012 and had been merged at all levels below deputy chief constable in recent years. West Mercia's former PCC Bill Longmore had been sympathetic to the idea of a full-blown merger. But this month further separation has taken place with two assistant chief constables moving back to working for just one force each. Chief Supt Charlie Hill, who serves both forces, told the Police Superintendents' Association of England and Wales Conference on Wednesday: “We've moved away from a strategic alliance, in my view, to a collaboration around protective services, finance and enabling services. “Frankly we need some real leadership from chief officers and PCCs to step up to the mark and say I'm prepared to give up sovereignty and move forward. Two FTSE 100 companies do not merge and have two chairmen, two chief execs, two deputy chief execs.” He was speaking on the morning that Dorset Police along with Devon and Cornwall Police announced they are exploring the possibility of merging. The existence of too many constabularies was a recurring topic throughout the staff association's conference this week, with PSAEW President Chief Supt Gavin Thomas raising it before the Policing Minister said he will listen if there are good arguments for them. Chief Constable Sara Thornton, chairman of the NPCC, said that her working group had ruled out arguing for larger, fewer forces as part of its 2025 policing strategy, despite being in favour, because she didn't think it was widely achievable. “Fewer, larger forces is not going to happen, politically it is just not an option,” she said. She pointed out problems including different council tax levels in neighbouring force areas. In a joint statement, Warwickshire Chief Constable Martin Jelley and West Mercia Chief Constable Anthony Bangham said they remain fully committed to their alliance, and said it is “continually developing”. “Part of any healthy development means continual review of our collaborative arrangements and the introduction of the ACC for each force is to ensure greater focus on local issues, partnerships and performance across the diverse landscape of our alliance. “We are very proud of the fact that our alliance has been and continues to remain one of the leading collaborative working arrangements between police forces in the country which has been commended and recognised by HMIC.” Their statement added that there are still “two clear and differing force identities” and the arrangement is “providing the very best service to our communities”. View on Police Oracle
  20. The mobile app is the first of its kind in UK policing. Stop and searches are set to become quicker and more efficient with the launch of a new app for officers. The mobile app, the first of its kind in UK policing, is being used by West Midlands Police and allows officers to record details of street encounters on their smart phones without the need to call contact centre staff. The new piece of kit also has GPS which automatically records the location of each search. The force believes the app will cut demand on force contact staff by almost 1,000 calls a month. Project lead, Temporary Inspector Dave Whordley, said the development will reduce delays and cut the length of time needed to carry out a street stop. He added: “Officers will be able to input details directly via their phones and instantly receive a unique reference number. It means doing away with having to wait on the phone for contact centre staff to record details of the search. “It’s been developed as part of our WMP2020 Mobility project which has already seen the rollout of more than 3,700 hand held devices to frontline officers. “This app is the first of many which will be rolled out to help cut bureaucracy and help officers spend more time investigating crime and on the beat." West Midlands Police has one of the highest stop and search recording accuracy rates in the country with a recent HMIC inspection finding that 93 per cent of all encounters had been noted correctly. Assistant Chief Constable Marcus Beale, who leads on WMP’s Mobility project, expects the new technology to further improve recording accuracy. He added: “We’ve listened to operational officers about what apps will allow them to do their job more efficiently and effectively and allow them to remain out in the community where they should be, rather than having to keep returning to the station. “We are reviewing a wide range of requests for apps and products, with a view to delivering some new apps to benefit frontline officers in the near future." Assistant Police and Crime Commissioner Ashley Bertie said: “This new app will mean that officers are able to record important information on the move. "We have ensured that stop and search is intelligence-led and have increased the number of arrests that it has produced, at the same time as reducing its overall usage. “This has improved public confidence and will be boosted further by this new app. “This is an important development that will continue to ensure that West Midlands Police remains at the forefront of reforming stop and search.” View on Police Oracle
  21. The 'highly unusual decision' by CPS has sparked debate. A case involving a drug driver has been thrown out of court after the officer in the case was unable to attend proceedings due to his baby being in intensive care. PC Steve Lee, a roads policing officer with Norfolk and Suffolk Roads Policing unit, took to social media to reveal the decision. He tweeted: “Told today a drug drive case of mine was thrown out of court due to me being in intensive care with my baby, rather than giving evidence.” He also tweeted: “I have raised a complaint to @cpsuk via my department's senior management. What are your thoughts on this decision @symondsa?” The tweets generated a lot of debate on social media and have since been taken down. PC Lee tweeted: “Lots of support in relation to this tweet, thank you. For all those who have asked about our daughter she is doing great & making progress.” Andy Symonds, Chairman of Norfolk Police Federation, said: “We are liaising with the constabulary and the court to find out the facts of the incident. “We cannot make any further comment at this stage until we know the facts about why this highly unusual decision was made. “We also have to be cognisant of the fact that this case may still be subject to legal issues which we wouldn’t want to encroach onto.” Norfolk Constabulary said it will not be providing a comment. View on Police Oracle
  22. Police Oracle editor Martin Buhagiar says a case highlighted this week illustrates why current legislation leaves police drivers vulnerable. The petrol station cashier opened the door and walked out onto the forecourt with a can in his hands. I assumed a customer had paid for the tin and left it in the shop but the attendant raised his hand in a menacing way. As the car behind me wheel-spun away from the pump, it all became clear. The cashier threw the tin at the VW Golf leaving it with a fair-sized dent. “This is how they deal with fuel thieves in north London these days,” I thought to myself. It is what happened afterwards that got me thinking about a far greater concern, however. Without stopping, the driver sped out of the exit turning left into oncoming traffic and continued to accelerate. This was on Monday afternoon at the Esso Station in Archway Road, north London. The petrol station is on a roundabout and the driver decided to turn into four lanes of rush-hour traffic, rather than simply turn right and go with the flow. Who knows why? Incredibly, he avoided a bus, a lorry and a van and made it to apparent safety as he disappeared out of view. As I headed home, I wondered what a police officer would be expected to do in that situation. The thief has stolen £15 worth of petrol, hardly a priority in these days of cuts and over-stretched forces, but has risked the lives of pedestrians and other motorists afterwards. No doubt the public – and the police – would like to see this person caught and quickly, but officers pursuing could face serious consequences if this madman (or woman) mounted the pavement and hit a child while being followed. Potentially prosecuted if you do, damned if you don’t. Police Oracle has been covering the on-going saga of police pursuits for a while and, thanks to the government continuing to deliver meaningless drivel and little action, specialist police drivers are continuing to pursue criminals with the very realistic threat of criminal charges hanging over their heads. This week a pair of Metropolitan Police officers were the latest to be told they could face criminal charges following the IPCC's investigation of a case which saw the driver jailed for 12 years. I am sure you know the case. Convicted car thief Joshua Dobby, 23, was out on licence when he killed Makayah McDermott, ten, and his auntie Rosie Cooper, 34, as they went for ice cream in south London. Officers fought to save their lives, the same bodies that Dobby stepped over as he made his escape. Following his sentencing it was confirmed Dobby had 53 convictions dating back a decade and was in the process of delivering this stolen car for cash so he could buy more drugs. Some Police Oracle readers have correctly asked who is more culpable for this – the officers who pursued this reckless driver as he accelerated down one-way streets and through red lights, or a system that continued to release this clearly troubled man from custody every time officers arrested him? We can save that argument for another day - needless to say, we agree. This is now an issue facing officers far too often. In April, Greater Manchester PC Simon Folwell found himself in a similar position. PC Folwell was pursuing 24-year-old Luke Campbell, who died after crashing into another car. The IPCC told the force to bring proceedings against the officer for gross misconduct for careless driving. GMP disagreed but was directed to open proceedings against the officer. Try and catch a criminal in a car and potentially lose your job or, even worse, your freedom. I live in an area that recently saw an increase in the number of nuisance motorcyclists - probably like most towns in the UK. Earlier this year neighbours and friends had clearly had enough and were moaning about the apparent lack of action. “Where are the police?” “Why don’t they chase them?” “Knock them off their bikes and lock them up.” They are just the lines I can print. I started by talking about the cuts and the falling number of officers nationally. I then explained why most of these motorcyclists do not wear helmets or removed them at the first sound of a siren and many of those I told were surprised. I was stunned they did not know. Perhaps it suits some that so many members of the public are happy to blame the police for an apparent lack of action. In June, the Police Federation of England and Wales sent a letter to forces warning drivers over the lack of protection the law gives them. The staff association said officers had barely any legal rights and should not carry out any manoeuvre deemed illegal for civilian motorists. The traffic sign safeguard is void if there is any element of risk to the public. The speed limit ‘safeguard’ is anything but as it will not stop charges of careless driving being brought. Earlier this year the Fed also revealed more than 100 officers had been pursued over on duty driving matters during the preceding 18 months. Tim Rogers, PFEW lead on roads policing, told us: “Legal advice has recently highlighted that police response and pursuit drivers are, in most circumstances, highly likely to fall within the definitions of careless and or dangerous driving. “The federation has raised this matter with numerous MPs but to date the difficulties remain with our proposed draft for legislative change not yet having been progressed to a point where officers are appropriately protected.” And last month the government was accused of not properly answering questions on the subject. Halifax MP Holly Lynch wrote to Police Minister Nick Hurd raising concerns the law is not providing proper protection for emergency service drivers. Mr Hurd explained the CPS says it is “very unlikely” to be deemed appropriate to proceed with a prosecution on public interest grounds against a member of the emergency services. That does not stop the IPCC recommending that charges are brought against police drivers though does it and the pressure that places on an officer's shoulders? Then came the usual: “The government fully recognises the risks associated with pursuits,” before the reality: “Officers must be accountable to the public … for the way they reach their decisions, including potentially the prosecution of police officers for careless or dangerous driving.” What clarity does that offer the federation or officers? None. Moped-enabled crime continues to increase at an unprecedented rate - that could not be clearer. However, the protection offered to officers could not be more murky and that brings with it further problems. A freedom of information request revealed that of the Met’s 32,000 police officers, more than 5,000 have been trained to carry out pursuits in the last five years. Of those, 315 had made the tactical pursuit and containment level since 2014. The shortage could be for a number of very obvious reasons, but until clarity is offered and the government commits to new regulations offering officers protection, it would not be a surprise to see the national number of police drivers fall. Officers who engage in pursuits know how dangerous their job can be. The IPCC’s announcement this week illustrates that further obstacles could be waiting just around the corner once the pursuit is completed and the officers have apprehended the criminal. The current legislation leaves them vulnerable and must be changed. Let officers pursue criminals without living in fear of being pursued for doing their job. View on Police Oracle
  23. Minister hints at better resourcing and pay. The government listens to the service and is keen to help officers, the Policing Minister says. Addressing the Police Superintendents’ Association Conference today, Nick Hurd said pay and resource complaints are being listened to. After beginning his speech apologising for the non-appearance of Home Secretary Amber Rudd, he addressed a number of topics including resourcing. On pay, he said: “We’re not deaf, even if we sometimes give the impression that we are. “The message we have heard very clear and constant is about stretch and strain and the pressure experienced police officers telling me they haven’t worked under these conditions before. “I’m standing here as a representative of the government who’s profoundly aware that police officers and a number of others have had to take their share of the burden […]. “There’s a limit to what we can reasonably ask of people.” But he added that there is “considerable concern being expressed by employers” about “sustainability”, which is why there has been a delay so far. He said there will be an announcement on pay imminently. Candid conversations about budgets will soon be held, he said, and hinted he will make some forces spend their reserves. PSAEW president Chief Supt Gavin Thomas had earlier called for a pay rise and for better resourcing. Mr Hurdalso promised a thorough review of resources and budgets, and other areas such as morale which he wrote to chief constables and police and crime commissioners about today. He said such a body of work had never been done before, and will shape the 2018/19 budget with an evidence base. Elsewhere he promised a total of £60 million funding for several projects, including funding for certain forces. His speech coincided with the announcement of a number of successful bids to the police transformation fund including a pilot to roll out video evidence in courts, £6 million to help digital policing in Cheshire, Essex, Hampshire, Gloucestershire and Merseyside and £23 million over the next three years for the NCA, Regional Organised Crime Units, and some police forces to detect, monitor and disrupt organised crime groups. Responding to the funding announcements, Paddy Tipping, chairman of the Association of PCCs said: "The £60 million funding package announced by the minister will be invested across our regions and in local forces to ensure that our police can respond to the range of threats which pose harm to our communities. "This funding covers programmes that use innovative ways to keep our communities safe, by investing in digital policing methods and effective local partnerships to combat serious and organised crime, whilst protecting the most vulnerable members of our society." View on Police Oracle
  24. Chief constables "feel it is the right time.". CC Debbie Simpson and CC Shaun Sawyer The chief constables of Dorset and Devon & Cornwall Police have announced plans to explore further collaboration and closer working between the two forces. Both chiefs reveal they “feel that now is the right time” to explore whether a full merger between the two forces is possible. The police and crime commissioners from both areas have informed the policing minister of their support. Over the coming weeks a consultation with MPs and councils will begin. In a joint statement CC Shaun Sawyer, Devon & Cornwall, and CC Debbie Simpson, Dorset, said: “The strategic alliance has made significant progress helping us provide a more effective and efficient policing service to the residents of our three counties. “We now see this as a timely opportunity to progress this alliance further, including a potential aim to merge our resources and create a more resilient police force. “Policing has faced some significant funding challenges in recent years and we do not see this landscape changing. To preserve local, neighbourhood policing and deliver safeguarding within our communities, as well as an ability to respond to emergencies and emerging threats as effectively as possible, we view closer working as the only way forward.” Shared leadership is already in place across both forces with two DCCs sharing portfolio areas as well as operational commanders and heads of department in some areas. Police departments such as operations, roads policing and prevention as well as 17 other areas are also operating across three counties with a further 11 departments currently going through changes which will see them aligned. The forces also now share a number of support services such as Administration, Information Technology and Human Resources. The chief constables added: “We have been able to make this progress so far because of our staff’s hard work and conscious effort to work in collaboration. “Our officers across Dorset, Devon and Cornwall have similar policing styles, values and priorities with cultures based on delivering resilient and sustainable services to our communities. “We know working together has increased our resilience, streamlined our leadership and unlocked new capabilities in our support functions allowing us, where we can, to re-invest in our services. We feel that now is the right time to explore whether a full merger between the two forces is possible. “We realise there may be statutory obstacles to overcome and there is a lot of work to be done to understand the benefits and challenges ahead. We will also ensure that the views and feelings of the public are taken account of. "As a result, a decision is unlikely to be made quickly but we are absolutely committed to exploring the possibility of a merger in order to continue to provide a sustainable police service for all of our communities in the future.” View on Police Oracle
  25. Amber Rudd accepted public invitation in front of audience of hundreds but has not visited frontline officers. The Home Secretary has been accused of going back on her word by dodging an invitation she had accepted from West Yorkshire Police Federation to see the demands placed on frontline officers. Nick Smart, chairman of West Yorkshire Police Federation, said it was "nothing short of a disgrace" that Amber Rudd visited the county for two days last week but did not speak to officers about the pressures they are under and the level of demand they face. At the Police Federation Conference in May the politician faced down heavy criticism from Mr Smart about the unacceptable pressure officers are under by telling him that if re-elected she would visit the force to spend time with frontline officers. But the staff association says that the Home Office has still not responded to a written invitation sent in May. Last week Ms Rudd visited the county for two days but did not see any officers, or visit a single police station. Mr Smart said: “Whenever there’s a major disaster or whenever officers deal with a terrorist incident, or run towards danger, are badly injured or sadly make the ultimate sacrifice, we hear plenty of plaudits and platitudes from the governing politicians who make the decisions on police funding and pay. “But they can save the fake plaudits and platitudes on behalf of the government, because if they really cared about what police officers did, they would actually go and visit them, and keep their promises, and just listen to them about what the demand is like.” A statement from the Fed branch pointed out that there are now 1,038 fewer officers in West Yorkshire than there had been in 2010 and 87 per cent of those remaining say they suffer from low morale. He added: “Amber Rudd has not seen it fit to go and speak to any police officers or visit any police stations within West Yorkshire to look at demand, workloads, and listen to officers and see at first-hand what we face - as she promised to do at conference when I challenged her. She has reneged on her promise to come and see for herself. “They simply don’t want to hear it. They don’t want to hear that there’s a national crisis in policing. “It’s see no evil, hear no evil. We’re not crying wolf, we’re telling them how it is and they simply want to avoid these difficult home truths.” The Home Office did not respond to a request for comment before this article was set live. View on Police Oracle

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