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Found 64 results

  1. The system has been tested for three years and is now undergoing a live pilot. Custody sergeants are trialling a system which will aid them in making difficult risk-based judgements. The tool, created by Cambridgeshire University, helps identify detainees who pose a major danger to the community, and whose release should be subject to additional layers of review. “The police officers who make these custody decisions are highly experienced, but all their knowledge and policing skills can’t tell them the one thing they need to know most about the suspect – how likely is it that he or she is going to cause major harm if they are released? “This is a job that really scares people – they are at the front line of risk-based decision-making,” says Dr Geoffrey Barnes. “Imagine a situation where the officer has the benefit of 100,000 or more real previous experiences of custody decisions? No one person can have that number of experiences, but a machine can,” Professor Lawrence Sherman added. In 2016, the researchers installed the world’s first AI tool for helping police make custodial decisions in Durham Constabulary. Called the Harm Assessment Risk Tool (HART), the AI-based technology uses 104,000 histories of people previously arrested and processed in Durham custody suites over the course of five years. Using a method called “random forests”, the tool can create thousands of combinations of predicted outcomes, the majority of which focus on the suspect’s offending history, as well as age, gender and geographical area. “Imagine a human holding this number of variables in their head, and making all of these connections before making a decision. Our minds simply can’t do it,” explains Dr Barnes. The aim of HART is to categorise whether in the next two years an offender is high risk, moderate risk or low risk. “The need for good prediction is not just about identifying the dangerous people,” explains Prof. Sherman. “It’s also about identifying people who definitely are not dangerous. For every case of a suspect on bail who kills someone, there are tens of thousands of non-violent suspects who are locked up longer than necessary.” Durham Constabulary wants to identify the ‘moderate-risk’ group – who account for just under half of all suspects according to the statistics generated by HART. These individuals might benefit from their Checkpoint programme, which aims to tackle the root causes of offending and offer an alternative to prosecution that they hope will turn moderate risks into low risks. However, the system cannot prioritise offences, which often change over time, so it has to be supplied frequently with up-to-date information. An independent study found an overall accuracy of around 63 per cent, but is 98 per cent accurate at detecting a ‘false negative’ – an offender who is predicted to be relatively safe, but then goes on to commit a serious and violent crime. The researchers also stress the technology is not a “silver bullet for law enforcement” and the ultimate decision is that of the officer in charge. Prof. Sherman said: “The police service is under pressure to do more with less, to target resources more efficiently, and to keep the public safe. “The tool helps identify the few ‘needles in the haystack’ who pose a major danger to the community, and whose release should be subject to additional layers of review. At the same time, better triaging can lead to the right offenders receiving release decisions that benefit both them and society.” View on Police Oracle
  2. The study analysed almost 1.5 million tweets. Corporate police twitter accounts should learn from individual officers’ use of social media, researchers say. A study of almost 1.5 million tweets from 48 corporate and 2,450 non-corporate police accounts, encouraged official social media controllers to embrace the techniques used by more personal police accounts. The Knowledge Media Institute analysis of UK Policing Engagement via Social Media, presented this week at the Evidence Based Policing conference described corporate police accounts as a “one way street.” “One of the key elements that can be observed from our manual analysis of tweets is that non-corporate accounts are more interactive than the corporate ones. “Another observation is that although non-corporate accounts may not have a large number of followers, they tend to have some key followers (e.g., local neighbours). “They know their communities better and they manage to engage their community members by participating in discussions and providing direct feedback to users. “Corporate accounts could benefit from identifying highly engaging police staff members and community leaders, and involve them more closely in their social media strategy,” the report said. The most popular tweets for both types of police accounts used sensitive and respectful humour. But researchers acknowledged the tightrope police Twitter users must walk as misjudging the tone of a comic tweet can result in irreversible reputational damage. Popular tweets were more likely to come from corporate accounts which had been established for a long time but personal account tweets were more likely to attract retweets if they followed many other accounts. This sometimes had the opposite effect for official police twitter accounts- users felt “surveyed” if they noticed a centralised police account was “following” them. For both types of accounts tweets attracting high levels of engagement were longer easy to read, avoided jargon, were highly informative and used pictures or videos. But using mentions had a negative impact on a post’s popularity, the paper said. The researchers found users were more likely to engage with tweets which talked about roads and infrastructure, events, missing people, mentioned locations or aimed to raise awareness about issues such domestic violence and modern slavery. On the other hand, tweets receiving lower engagement talked about crime updates: such as burglary, assault or driving under the influence of alcohol, following requests (#ff) and advice to stay safe. The report said previous research suggests people are more likely to retweet posts about weather conditions, missing people and road problems “since by sharing these messages users feel they are helping others.” The potential for police to engage with the public through social media is being limited as there is often no budget for staff training, the report said. “Nowadays, the public is getting used to seeing companies and organisations using social media 24/7 as communication channels, and have started to expect the same coverage and behaviour from the police. “However, social media is not the main policing communication channel, and the police social media accounts are not active 24/7. “There is therefore a mismatch between what the public expects, and what the police provides.” View on Police Oracle
  3. Jihadi who got classroom of pupils to act out the Westminster terror attack has been convicted thanks to the hard work of detectives and security services. A "high-risk" strategy to arrest a terror suspect before the extent of his crimes were fully known has paid off after the school administrator, who made children re-enact the Westminster terror attack, was convicted. Umar Haque, 25, of Newham, east London, first came to the attention of law enforcement when he tried to travel to Turkey in April 2016. He was stopped and his passport was revoked by the Home Office after research into terrorism was found on his phone. But it was not until almost a year later, according to Commander Dean Haydon, that the first evidence came to light of his plan to radicalise children, after Haque had been arrested for driving without insurance. In May 2017 Haque was arrested on suspicion of terror offences as police established he had been working at a school. Commander Haydon said: "We intervened early, that was probably a high-risk strategy on our part but we needed to fully understand what was happening in the school." It turned out Haque who worked at one school, and had previously been employed by another was also teaching at a mosque's education centre. He had been in contact with 250 children aged 11-14. He was showing them graphic terrorist videos of beheading and other serious violence in a bid to radicalise them towards Islamist extremism. "He made them role play terrorist attacks, part of that was the role of re-enacting attacks on police officers," Cmdr Haydon added. The children were told repeatedly to act out the then recent Westminster terror attack in which PC Keith Palmer and four other innocent people were murdered. He planned to create "an army of children" who would stage a wave of attacks on up to 30 identified targets, mostly in London. It was his aim to teach the youngsters to drive and continue radicalising them until they reached adulthood. The Met says none of those in charge at the institutions – the Lantern of Knowledge school, and the madrassa at the Ripple Road Mosque, in Barking - were aware of what Haque was doing. Nevertheless the radical, employed as an administrator not a teacher, was left alone with groups of children on a regular basis. The Charity Commission is now carrying out its own investigation into the mosque. Some 110 children had been identified as having been shown propaganda by the jihadi, with 35 of those now on a long-term safeguarding programme. Cmdr Haydon said: "They were paralysed by fear in the classroom, he told them he had significant connections into Daesh. "He showed them pretty shocking videos of beheading, involving serious injury, murder, mostly overseas, he threatened them that if they were to talk to their teachers, parents, or allude to anybody outside of that classroom of what was going on that they would meet a similar fate. "It doesn't appear that any of those children raised the alarm bell of what was going on. There was a wall of silence." Six of those children gave evidence during his trial. Umar Ahmed Haque, 25, pleaded guilty to one count of dissemination of terrorist publications and three counts of collection of information useful to terrorists. A jury at the Old Bailey found him guilty of two counts of preparation of terrorism attacks and one of collection of information useful to terrorists. The jury was hung on one count of of dissemination of terrorist publications and he was found not guilty of conspiracy to possess a firearm. Abuthaher Mamun, 19, of Barking, who helped Haque, was convicted of one preparation of a terrorist act. Muhammad Abid, 27, Newham, was found guilty of having information about acts of terrorism. View on Police Oracle
  4. The current criminal justice system 'isn't working', according to the APCC chairman. Police and crime commissioners should be given joint oversight of probation and offender rehabilitation services with the Ministry of Justice, the head of the commissioners' association has said. David Lloyd, chairman and criminal justice lead for the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC), said on Tuesday the current system “stifles innovation” and does not work in its current form. “Although we call the criminal justice system a system - it isn’t. It’s made up of a series of often competing organisations that together manage to forget the needs of the victim and the offender," he said at a Justice Committee meeting. “I really believe this is a moment when we can make a step change in reducing reoffending if we all work together. “The biggest culture change is the lessons that fire can bring to police and that is rather than investing in more fire trucks look at how you reduce fire in the first place. I think it’s exactly the same in criminal justice.” He added: “Frankly there is no one who holds the ring around criminal justice. “What works poorly is for the democratic accountability is to be held centrally at the MoJ. “The positive thing is if you bring PCCs to have responsibly for it there is a very direct democratic oversight.” Mr Lloyd said he would be in favour of adopting the “Manchester model” (a combined local authority in which the mayor has taken on PCC responsibilities). “There isn’t a great amount of parliament time. By allowing the local leaders to get on and do it we can move on and that is the solution for you. “What we need is some leeway -to take on the Manchester model for example. “I think the role of PCC broadly a local leadership," he told the committee. He also claimed UNISON, one of the largest unions in the police and justice system, are in favour of probation and prisons coming under the jurisdiction of PCCs- much to his own surprise. When asked whether he thought disengaged PCCs would pose a risk to such a system he responded: “I believe in the wisdom of the electorate at the end of the day. The electorate shows great wisdom.” In a separate statement on the APCC’s website, Mr Lloyd said: “It is my view that PCCs have a key role in working with partners to ensure an efficient and effective criminal justice system. “That means real oversight and accountability of local criminal justice services, including offender management services, in the first instance, this should include joint oversight of Community Rehabilitation Companies and the National Probation Service with the Ministry of Justice." The APCC also wantS to see funding handed over to PCCs without a ring fence. View on Police Oracle
  5. Confusion over why money has not been spent after three years. One million pounds of government roads policing funding has been gathering dust for three years. Concerns were raised about what had happened to the money, approved in 2015, at a roads policing conference in January as “equipment only gets more expensive”. Delegates were later told the cash had been transferred to Surrey Police. A department for transport spokesman told Police Oracle there had been no delays in handing over the funding to the police and it had been transferred from Sussex to West Mercia Police. The money was intended to fund forensic roads policing equipment. A National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) spokeswoman confirmed there had been no government delay. After repeated Police Oracle requests for clarification to West Mercia, Surrey and Sussex Police a West Mercia spokesman confirmed the cash was still with Sussex Police but could not explain the three-year delay. A comment from Assistant Chief Constable Martin Evans of West Mercia Police last week stated he “updated on the circa £1 million” when he stepped up as NPCC lead for forensic collision investigation in July 2017. "A significant amount of work had taken place to try and secure a national procurement for laser scanners with this money for those forces that required them but unfortunately as is the case in many areas currently this has proved unfeasible due to forces using different systems, some of which still have a number of years to go on their existing contract, differing processes carried being out within different teams etc,” he said. "As a result a national procurement was not possible. “I have therefore recently conducted an audit across all forces to identify those in most need of Laser scanners and my intention is to provide them individually with the funding required from the DFT money to be able to purchase the equipment that they require themselves. “The money has not been transferred but remains with Sussex Police pending the purchase of equipment.” But when Police Oracle asked his office to clarify whether any work had been carried out on the national procurement before July 2017, we were told he did not wish to comment further. Neither would he explain what kind of lasers he was referring to, whether he was replacing old equipment or commissioning new scanners and when it became clear national procurement would not be possible. Police Oracle lodged a second request to speak directly with ACC Evans last week and was told he would not be in the office until Friday. On Friday - three weeks after our first request - a West Mercia Police spokesman said ACC Evans would not be available until next week. View on Police Oracle
  6. Target date for merger has been shelved. The merger of British Transport Police into Police Scotland north of the border will not go ahead in April next year. The merger was due to take place in 2019 despite a recent admission that terms and conditions, third party contracts and ICT would not be ready to transfer from the railways constabulary by the target date. But a statement from the Scottish Government says a revision of the timetable with “allow for enhanced engagement with officers, staff and their representatives on key issues, including pay and conditions”. No new target date has been set. Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said: “The Scottish and UK governments are working together to ensuring the legislation passed by Parliament last year is implemented as effectively as possible. “The benefits of a single command structure and improved access to the full range of capabilities of Police Scotland will be delivered for railway policing, providing an enhanced service to both the rail industry and travelling public. “While much has been achieved so far, we want to ensure a seamless transition which delivers continuity of service for rail users and staff. As I have previously said, any issues raised by the Joint Programme Board in their role as overseeing the project would be given due consideration. “While a later integration date is disappointing, it will provide all partners with the opportunity to enhance the process of engagement, in particular with officers, staff and their representatives on key issues.” Scottish Labour's Justice spokesperson Daniel Johnson called for the whole process to be shelved. He said: “This is a welcome u-turn at the 11th hour by the SNP. “Scottish Labour opposed folding BTP into Police Scotland from the start alongside officers, trade unions and experts – and it is welcome the SNP appears to have finally listened. “This delay reopens the debate about whether this foolish and misguided merger should go ahead at all given the distinctive nature and requirements of policing our railways.” View on Police Oracle
  7. Staff were bestowed with the 'Sword of Honour'. NPAS staff, who do not wish to be named, alongside Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson (far right) The National Police Air Service (NPAS) was presented with a prestigious national award in recognition of its outstanding contribution to aviation. The ‘Sword of Honour’ was presented by the Honorary Company of Air Pilots (HCAP) at a ceremony at London’s Guildhall on Thursday evening. This award marks the highest achievements and excellence within the aviation industry across the world and is being awarded to NPAS particularly for the part the service played in the emergency response to two of the UK’s terror attacks earlier this year. Chief Constable Dee Collins, QPM of West Yorkshire Police and Air Operations Certificate Holder for NPAS said: “I am delighted that NPAS have been recognised for their outstanding response to two major national incidents, one in Westminster and one in Manchester earlier this year. “The crews, across a number of NPAS bases and within the National Operations Centre, provided an unprecedented response and invaluable command and control of the incidents without which, both colleagues and communities would have been put at much greater risk. “Every day crews carry out remarkable work from a national network of 15 bases to keep communities safe and it is highly fitting that NPAS should receive such a prestigious award.” NPAS crews were recognised for their provision of sustained cover throughout the protracted duration of the incidents at Westminster Bridge, in March, and in Manchester, in June this year. Both of these attacks necessitated a sustained and unprecedented response from UK policing and from NPAS as a part of that to provide a continuous aerial view of the incidents as they unfolded. NPAS strategic board chairman and West Yorkshire Police PCC, Mark Burns-Williamson said: “NPAS winning a highly prestigious award reflects the outstanding efforts and work carried out in response to two major national incidents. “NPAS exists to reduce the risk to communities and during both these incidents an unprecedented response was provided to ensure the safety of the public and colleagues. “The response provided demonstrates the value of borderless air support provision to UK policing.” View on Police Oracle
  8. Three out of four fraud cases were not reported to the police, said Barclays. Most people who fall victim to banking fraud do not report the scam to police, often because they are too embarrassed, research has found. A survey of 1,500 victims showed that a third did not tell their bank, even though the average amount stolen is almost £900. Barclays Bank is launching a "fraud clinic" to offer the public advice on how to protect themselves from potential cyber-attacks following its research. Ashok Vaswani, chief executive of Barclays UK, said: "We want to encourage people to talk more openly about scams, so that we can work together to lift the stigma of fraud. "If people are too embarrassed to even tell their friends and family, then how can we expect them to report it to their banks?" The most common frauds include identity theft, fake bank websites and online shopping scams, said the report. Three out of four fraud cases were not reported to the police, said Barclays View on Police Oracle
  9. Mohibur Rahman was sentenced to 16 years in jail this year for wounding two restaurant workers. Mohibur Rahman Durham Constabulary failed to respond in time to phone calls from a man hours before he launched a frenzied knife attack on two restaurant workers because it did not have the resources, a police watchdog has said. Mohibur Rahman inflicted serious injuries on two restaurant workers in a ‘horrific’ knife attack Darlington on July 21, 2016. Rahman, 43, was given a 16-year sentence after pleading guilty to wounding at Teesside Crown Court on February 7 this year. He had made four 999 calls to Durham Constabulary and spent several hours in detention at Darlington custody suite for possession of a controlled substance in the 43 hours leading up to the attack. During this period, there was also a non-emergency 101 call from his landlady reporting criminal damage. He was on bail for grooming girls in Tyneside at the time. Rahman had called the police describing increasingly violent hallucinations, saying there were about 50 dead bodies inside his house, he could see spirits and a gun gang were after him. In his final 999 call he claimed he could see people with guns, which would have meant officers should have attended within one hour. But Sheila Reay, a priority dispatch centre supervisor at Durham Constabulary, told the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) the target for a priority dispatch is missed regularly "by which I mean during every shift". Another call centre handler told the IPCC very few priority jobs met the arrival target of one hour ‘due to a lack of officers and she was aware of some priority incidents not attended to for three to five hours. She said over 20 outstanding incidents used to be a busy day for the Darlington area but now under 30 was a good day. The call handler explained when there are several priority incidents waiting for officers to attend, part of her role, as a dispatcher, is to decide which priority incident to send officers to first, effectively "prioritising between the priorities”. Durham Constabulary referred the case to the IPCC but the investigator found none of the police call handling staff or police officers involved had a case to answer for misconduct. “Although Durham Constabulary did not send officers to Rahman’s address within their one hour target time in response to his final 999 call, in the investigator’s opinion, this was as a result of a lack of resources rather than any individual failure to follow policy,” the IPCC report stated. IPCC Operations Manager Lauren Collins said:“I’d like to offer our sympathies to everyone affected by this horrific attack on innocent people and to reassure the families involved and the public that we carried out a very thorough and detailed investigation. “Our investigators examined all of Durham Constabulary’s contact with Mohibur Rahman in the days prior to his attack. We reviewed the content of the calls made by him and his landlady and the CCTV footage from the custody suite. We also interviewed police officers and staff, and considered whether local and national policies were complied with. “Although there were no identifiable conduct issues, we have identified learning for Durham’s control room staff about how they handle calls concerning firearms. We have also reiterated the importance of accurately recording information received from callers and accurately recording actions taken as a result of those calls.” View on Police Oracle
  10. Mr Justice Mitting says witnesses need to know who was working covertly for police to give evidence to inquiry. One of the officers infiltrated the campaign for justice for Stephen Lawrence The cover names of at least two special operations or special demonstrations squad officers are to be made public. The Undercover Policing Inquiry, now chaired by Sir John Mitting, will release the assumed identities of two officers – despite acknowledging this will increase risks to them. One of the two apparently infiltrated the campaign for justice in the wake of Stephen Lawrence's murder in 1993, the other is someone who may have had sex while undercover. A statement from Sir John, referring to the individuals with coded references, says: "The Inquiry cannot fulfil its terms of reference on a critical issue – the alleged infiltration of the Lawrence family campaign and the intelligence gathered and reported upon it by undercover police officers, in particular HN81– unless the cover name is published. "It is essential that members of the group against which HN81 was deployed and others in the Lawrence family campaign should be able to give evidence about HN81’s actions. "They cannot sensibly be expected to do so unless they know who HN81 was in the name by which HN81 was known to them." He adds that it is likely that the move will have an adverse impact on the individual's mental health but says the public interest outweighs HN81's rights. Elsewhere he says: "Publication of the cover name of HN16 is necessary to afford an opportunity to any individual who may have had an intimate relationship with HN16 under the cover name to provide information and evidence about it to the Inquiry. "This involves a small risk of significant interference with the right to respect for private and family life of HN16, if it leads to the revelation of the real name of HN16." Another officer's cover name is to be released, the judge says, if the Met does not submit an application to stop this. No details have been given yet about what the officer, referred to as HN330, did while undercover. Sir John Mitting has taken over the inquiry from Sir Christopher Pitchford who stood down in June. Last year, it was determined that there would be no automatic anonymity for those who had worked covertly in the past and that applications for secrecy would be decided on a case-by-case basis. View on Police Oracle
  11. Abnormal demand resulted in missed calls for police air support. The National Police Aviation Service has begun the process of requesting extra funding from the Home Office amid public safety concerns following recent events. NPAS strategic board chairman Mark Burns-Williamson and West Yorkshire Police Chief Constable Dee Collins, submitted a letter to the Home Secretary in March highlighting concerns around future fleet strategy and financing. Since then the country has suffered three terrorist incidents, the Grenfell Tower disaster on June 14 and disorder in Stratford on June 25 – leading NPAS to face ‘unprecedented’ demand with a need to provide continuous response. Helicopters carried personnel and did reconnaissance for up to 13 hours during the Westminster Bridge and Borough Market attacks. However, they can only fly for two to three hours at a time, so each major incident uses five or six of the UK fleet of 19. This means other calls for police air support go unanswered. Details of how many requests for air support had to be turned down during the London attacks were redacted from the meeting minutes. The Home Office failed to respond to March’s letter nor the follow up sent in June which Mr Burns-Williamson described as “unacceptable.” However, discussions have since taken place between Mr Burns-Williamson, CC Collins and Policing Minister Nick Hurd on the demand for police air support in the future. “With these plans in place, we hope to demonstrate both the clearly defined requirement to sustain current levels of service to UK policing along with the return on investment to both government, local and national policing bodies.” Mr Burns-Williamson said. “Consideration is currently being given to alternative models for the future provision of other areas of specialist capability in UK policing. The lessons learned through nationally delivering a 24/7 police air support service will no doubt usefully inform these processes and future direction going forwards.” The annual spend on helicopters has been slashed from £53.5 million in 2012 to £38.5 million now with eight out of 23 police airfields shut and the service centralised. A request has now been made by the Home Office for NPAS to submit a fully costed treasury plan for a new fleet by April 2018. A spokesman for NPAS who described the response and demand as ‘unprecedented’ added: “We need to start considering fleet and funding, clearly there’s a need there with an aging fleet. It’s a bit like cars, you can keep old cars running and they can pass their MOT, aircraft are a little like that – at what point will they stop passing their MOT?” NPCC Police Aviation Lead and Cambridgeshire Chief Constable, Alec Wood Combs, has sent a questionnaire to chiefs and PCCs asking their requirements for air services in the future and what NPAS needs to do differently. The results from the questionnaire will be used to support NPAS’s treasury plan. CC Collins, QPM and Air Operations Certificate Holder for NPAS said: “The National Police Air Service is groundbreaking and I’m very proud to be leading it. The men and women in our organisation seek to deliver support across the country to the best of their ability and in doing so, successfully deliver a professional service to every police force throughout England and Wales. “We have had some challenges in this but nothing that I would not expect as the first ‘pathfinder’ national policing capability. “We now have an opportunity to work with the Home Office and our partners to develop what the future needs for police aviation are and the resultant cost of achieving it. “What I am absolutely certain of is the service that NPAS provides is key to challenging some of the risks that our communities face." A Home Office spokesman said: “We want a modern and flexible air service, which meets the operational needs of forces and represents the best possible value for money for taxpayers. “It is for the police themselves to determine what air support they need and we will consider their plans once they are brought forward.” View on Police Oracle
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. 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
  20. Visit from Maggie, 11, whose father was killed on duty prompts announcement. Maggie Henry was made chief constable for a day A force has promised that anyone assaulted on duty will receive contact from a chief officer to check on their welfare. Bedfordshire Police has changed the policy and dubbed it ‘Maggie’s Law’ after the daughter of PC John Henry, killed on duty in Luton in 2007, spent at day at its headquarters. According to a statement from the force, 11-year-old Maggie Henry wants to help the force “look after our police officers, so that they can look after everyone else”. The chief officer team will now take the lead on checking that personnel who have been attacked get the support they need. Bedfordshire Police had already adopted the seven point plan on police assaults, first developed in Hampshire, which commits to treating assaulted officers as victims of crime. Chief Constable Jon Boutcher said: “Without question, an assault of any kind should never be considered ‘part of the job’. “Our workforce walks into danger when others walk away and sadly verbal and physical assaults are becoming commonplace – but that doesn’t mean it is acceptable. “Our officers should be afforded the support they need and deserve. This means they are treated the same way as any other victim of crime, they feel valued and that those who attack police officers are not dealt with lightly.” Bedfordshire Police Federation Chairman, Jim Mallen added: “Looking after officers and staff members who have been assaulted while doing their duty should be a primary consideration for police leaders. “The Police Federation brought into Bedfordshire the seven point plan and Maggie's law seems a natural extension to highlight to those assaulted that we care about them and will do our utmost to support them.” PCC Kathryn Holloway said she has raised the issue of short sentences for people who attack officers with the government. “I never want another family in this county to experience what Maggie Henry and her family have had to go through,” she added. “In my view, an attack on a police officer is not the same as an assault on any other member of the public, since police are standing on the front-line between those who keep the law and those who want to undermine it. “An attack on a single officer is an assault on society itself and should be met with the toughest penalty possible.” View on Police Oracle
  21. Labour says visibility has rarely been lower and 'blame lies squarely at the government's door'. The number of people who believe police are "highly visible" in their community has fallen by almost half, statistics show. Just one in five (22 per cent) people said they feel officers are highly visible, according to the latest Crime Survey for England and Wales, which looks at the period from April last year to March this year. This compared with 39 per cent in April 2010 to March 2011, while the percentage of the public who said they "never" see police foot patrols has risen by more than half, from 25 per cent to 39 per cent. It follows a survey last year, which found that one in three people in England and Wales has not seen a bobby on the beat in their local area in the past year. The poll carried out for HMIC found 36 per cent of people had not seen a police officer or PCSO on foot in their areas in the past year - while just under a quarter (23 per cent) had seen uniformed personnel "once or twice". The watchdog warned of the "erosion" of neighbourhood policing as forces are forced to make further financial cuts. Labour's Shadow Policing Minister Louise Haigh said: "Bobbies on the beat don't just reassure the public they collect vital community intelligence and help to keep us safe. Savage cuts mean this tried and tested bedrock of British policing is being chipped away as police withdraw from neighbourhood policing altogether. "Police visibility has rarely been lower and the blame lies squarely at the Government's door. "The Tories shamefully accused the police of crying wolf over police cuts, but now the public are seeing the brutal reality; crime rising and fewer officers on hand to keep them safe." A Home Office spokeswoman said: "Effective policing is not just about the number of officers on the street but about accessibility - having a presence where people now live their lives and are at risk, for example online. "The latest data from the independent Crime Survey for England and Wales shows that nearly two-thirds of the public believe that the police are doing a good or excellent job, and we encourage forces to be innovative, including making best use of technology in the way in which they engage so they meet the needs of all sectors of the community." Last month a number of anonymous former senior Met officers stressed the importance of Safer Neighbourhood Teams, the force’s “eyes and ears” on the ground. The officers claim the teams have been key to detecting signs of radicalisation and gang-related activity in the past. They explained that in 2007 every ward in every London borough boasted a team made up of a sergeant, two police constables and three community support officers. Now there are just three officers in each team, with each unit covering three or four wards. View on Police Oracle
  22. Five officers and a nurse were all attacked by pair in one evening. Five officers and a nurse were assaulted by the men throughout the course of the night. Northumbria Police has appealed for witnesses after an officer was knocked unconscious and four of her colleagues attacked by a pair of thugs. Police were called to Newcastle City Centre shortly after 3am on Monday August 14 to reports two men had punched and kicked members of the public and ran off. Two officers attended and a violent struggle ensued in which both officers were assaulted with one knocked unconscious. The pair were eventually detained and taken to Forth Banks station where a nurse and three detention officers were also assaulted. The force believes a number of people will have seen the attack on the officers and are appealing for witnesses. Four men in particular stopped to help the officers during the struggle but then left the scene without providing their details. Acting Chief Inspector Steve Wykes, of Northumbria Police said: “I’d like to thank the four men who came to our officer’s aid - it was brave of them to do so but they left before our officers could get their details. “I’d ask them to come forward and speak to us so we can thank them for their actions. The offender’s behaviour is wholly unacceptable and will not be tolerated by Northumbria police. “While I am pleased to report that the officers are not seriously injured this was an awful incident and the officers are receiving support. “I’d also appeal for anyone who was in the area of St Nicholas Street and Castle Stairs who may have witnessed the incident to contact police.” The officer who was knocked out was taken to hospital for her injuries but later released. Two men aged 25 and 36 years were arrested on suspicion of assaulting an officer in the execution of their duty and are detained in custody helping police with their enquiries. View on Police Oracle
  23. UCL project exploring evidence recreation working on veracity of 3D modelling. Dr Morgan is enthusiastic about the changes to evidence preservation the PhD work may be able to facilitate. Exact 3D printed replicas of evidence artefacts may hold the key to the way crimes are investigated and prosecuted in the near future. A project at University College London, conducted by PhD student Rachel Carew, is exploring the possibilities around recreating exact copies of pieces of evidence to prevent decay over time. This could help detectives working on cold cases in which the original piece of evidence has deteriorated. Dr Ruth Morgan, director of the centre for forensic sciences at University College London who is overseeing the project, says there may be a number of advantages in preserving evidence in this way. She said: “One of the benefits is being able to preserve an exhibit in its original state meaning we can look at it in ten or 20 years time and evaluate it with new technologies in a way that may not previously been possible. “We are trying to work out the best ways of creating really accurate 3D models which can then be used… we have a lot of people working on this and the work that’s going is aimed at getting the accuracy part of the process spot on. “Cold cases is an area with real potential benefits because often you are going back to exhibits collected many, many years ago. “It can be difficult to evaluate them in the way you would have at the time as there are a lot of factors that can impact features of evidence.” The technique may also enable evidence to be used in a different way in courtrooms, potentially bringing juries closer to pieces of evidence which would previously have remained untouched. However, Dr Morgan warned of the possible ethical and practical limitations, adding: “It is interesting how we will be able to explain to a jury what has been done with the models and there are interesting considerations which need to be taken into account. “For example, how do we preserve exhibits that may be from an individual? Say you were recreating somebody’s skull, you need to have a robust system in place to preserve integrity and the rights of the individual and it needs to be done appropriately.” In terms of how far away this technology is from being deployed in the field, Dr Morgan says the technology already exists but the study is about demonstrating its worth and veracity in practical use. She said: “The technology is there and it’s a case of ‘can we demonstrate the value’. “The quicker and more accurately it be done the better, I think we are talking about a year or two rather than ten or 20 years (for widespread use). “It’s a cool area for this PhD, which has literally just started, but there is a lot of good potential.” Dr Morgan has previously warned about the “knowledge gaps” around what forensic evidence means or is able to tell us and the work she is overseeing around 3D modelling may help create a wider understanding in this regard. View on Police Oracle
  24. Force is pressing ahead with scheme which some officers say is turning them away from the job. The mergers have already pushed control room staff to threaten strike action. A Metropolitan Police pilot scheme to merge London boroughs into single command units will continue despite it causing some officers to “hate” going to work. Towards the end of last year Barking and Dagenham, Redbridge and Havering all merged into one with Camden and Islington also combining. These Basic Command Units (BCUs) are overseen by a chief superintendent, with four superintendents each working under them. Vehicles, technology, personnel and buildings are shared between the boroughs within the units in an attempt to save the Met money. Back in November last year before the scheme was launched Deputy Assistant Commissioner Mark Simmons, who is in charge of the pilot, said: “Change is important for the Met to remain operationally effective in the changing policing landscape.” The chairman of the London Assembly police and crime committee expressed concerns about the mergers and insisted the measure should not be “driven by cost cutting”. Now a number of officers working under the new arrangements appear to be unhappy about their new working conditions, voicing their concerns via social media. At the beginning of July a leaked paper appeared to imply the full programme of the controversial mergers will go ahead despite the pilots not yet being fully assessed. Later the same month control room staff threatened to go on strike during the Notting Hill Carnival over the stresses Pathfinder was putting them under and dangers it posed to the public. The PCS union said at the time: “We have been pushing for months for improvements to new ways of working that we feared would compromise the safety of staff and members of the public. “Members had been telling us about the increased stress of working the new ‘Pathfinder’ system and the risks they posed to the public.” The strike was eventually avoided after the Met provided “assurances” to increase the amount of staff by 135 and invest in new computer systems. Despite the issues and controversy caused by the pilot the force is determined to press ahead and denied rumours they were rolling back any of the units. A spokesman said: “The Basic Command Unit pathfinders, or test sites, in Camden and Islington (North Central Area Command Unit) and Barking & Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge (East Area Command Unit) are ongoing, after going fully live at the end of April 2017. “The pathfinders are a genuine test and the Met continues to learn from the way they are operating. “Each of the pathfinders have thrown up different challenges, and the Met are adapting the model to overcome these challenges. “Neither pathfinder site is being rolled back but we are making changes to make the model more efficient. “The purpose of the pathfinder sites is to test the model and make changes as necessary before we roll it out more widely. “The Mayor and the Commissioner will together, towards the end of 2017, consider the evidence from the Pathfinders and the views of stakeholders, before determining the manner of any further roll-out across London.” View on Police Oracle
  25. PC attacked just weeks into the job urges offenders to consider the consequences of their actions. Officer Clifford had to undergo surgery twice following the incident. A constable who was viciously attacked just weeks into the job has urged offenders to think on the ramifications of what they do. PC Sherry Clifford, a patrol officer in Evesham, Worcestershire, was assaulted only five weeks after completing her initial training. Her case has been highlighted by West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner, John Campion, as part of a drive to reduce violence against officers. After being called to a fight in Evesham City Centre a man kicked PC Clifford in the face fracturing her jaw and causing her to lose two teeth. She also had to undergo two bouts of surgery. At first the constable was unaware of the severity of her injuries but six weeks of repeated trips to the dentist soon brought home the reality to her. She said: “I began to feel worried about being in the same situation again, I also felt frustration that it had happened to me so early in my career.” PC Clifford chose not to take any sick leave and says she would have been “frightened” to return the role had it not been for the support of her tutor and inspector throughout the recovery process. Her tutor referred her to the Police Federation who were able to provide additional support and in one-to-one sessions with her sergeant and inspector. They all agreed for her to attend further public order incidents in Worcester to relatively soon after the incident to “stop the fear setting in”. Now PC Clifford “wants the public to realise that every officer and member of staff has a family, a private life and wants to go back home safe.” She added: “I want offenders to think about the wider consequences, what if this was their sister or girlfriend? I want offenders to consider the person outside of the uniform. “It’s not okay to grab or push police officers, it’s not part of their job. “Police officers are often called upon in times of desperation so deserve more respect.” PC Clifford said that by sharing he story she hoped to promote an understanding that officers are “human not machines.” She added: “Hitting a police officer is a really shameful act, these are the people who are there to help." Earlier this year Police Oracle launched our BluePrint campaign which calls on the government to meet its obligation of protecting officers both in the job and when they have been forced out of the service because of physical injuries or mental trauma. View on Police Oracle

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