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Found 37 results

  1. Recruitment drive is aimed at individuals inside and outside policing. There are 32 different roles available as part of the initiative The Metropolitan Police Service is set to recruit 100 “change professionals” to help “transform” delivery of service. It says the force is “ever evolving” and needs “talented” people to help it adapt against a “backdrop of ever changing crime patterns and a challenging budget.” As such the force is advertising 100 vacancies across 32 different roles and is looking for people from inside and outside policing. Director of people and change in the Met’s human resources department, Robin Wilkinson, says the type of work being undertaken is unrivalled. He said: “The breadth of work our new Transformation Directorate will undertake is unrivalled in any industry. The work impacts on how the Met safeguards the most vulnerable people in society, how the Met tackles and disrupts crime, through to ensuring we have the right people available to respond quickly and professionally in times of need. "We are looking for change professionals from a variety of disciplines working in Portfolio and Programme Delivery, Integrated Design and Delivery and Business Change roles. Professionals with experience in communications and engagement, risk management, operating model design and project management are just a few of those we need to ensure our team is complete. "In joining the Met you will be part of our Transformation Directorate. You will work in a professional change role which will face the challenge of delivering complex change right across the Met without risking operational delivery." Sam Upton, a blueprint and insight manager at the transformation directorate described the work the department does as ‘hugely rewarding’. He said: “I have always been a passionate problem solver and was initially attracted to the Met by the prospect of tackling some of London's most challenging issues. "That passion has taken me on a hugely varied and rewarding journey over the last 12 years to include supporting operating model design work covering virtually all the Met's local policing services in London. "I can't think of many organisations where you can take that professional journey whilst at the same time having so much fun, making so many lifelong friends and being so regularly humbled by the dedication and professionalism of others." View on Police Oracle
  2. Scientists looked at how social media could be used as a source of information during disruptive events. Twitter could have been used to detect serious incidents such as cars being set alight and shops being looted up to an hour earlier than they were reported to police during the 2011 riots, researchers have said. Computer scientists from Cardiff University looked at how social media could be used as a source of information for police during major disruptive events, analysing data from the disturbances six years ago. They found that in all but two reported incidents, a computer system automatically scanning Twitter feeds could have alerted officers earlier. Co-author of the study Dr Pete Burnap, from Cardiff University's School of Computer Science and Informatics, said: "In this research we show that online social media are becoming the go-to place to report observations of everyday occurrences - including social disorder and terrestrial criminal activity. "We will never replace traditional policing resource on the ground but we have demonstrated that this research could augment existing intelligence-gathering and draw on new technologies to support more established policing methods." The study comes after West Midlands Chief Constable Dave Thompson claimed on Friday that police would face "real challenges" tackling a repeat of the 2011 riots following years of budget cuts. It showed that on average the computer systems could pick up on disruptive events several minutes before officials and more than an hour in some cases. The research team, which believes the work could enable police officers to better manage and prepare for both large and small-scale disruptive events, analysed 1.6 million tweets relating to the 2011 riots in England, which were sparked by the police shooting of Mark Duggan in London and started as an isolated incident in Tottenham on August 6 but quickly spread across London and other cities in England. Vandalism and looting spread to Birmingham, Bristol and Manchester over the following few days, with more than 5,000 crimes committed. A total of 16,000 officers were deployed in London on one night alone in a bid to quell the violence. The researchers used machine-learning algorithms to look at each of the tweets, taking into account a number of key features such as the time they were posted, the location where they were posted and the content of the tweet itself. The results showed the system could have alerted police to reports of disorder in Enfield, Greater London, one hour and 23 minutes earlier, they said. Dr Nasser Alsaedi, who recently completed his PhD at Cardiff under the supervision of Dr Burnap, said: "Coming from a policing background myself, I see the need for this type of cutting-edge research every day. "I wanted to develop a thesis that could have a real impact in real-world policing. I would like to see this implemented alongside the established decision-making processes." View on Police Oracle
  3. Email addresses and passwords mined from cyber attacks over several years. Much of the data comes from a historical hack of LinkedIn An investigation by a national newspaper claims several thousand police passwords are being advertised for sale on Russian hacking websites. The Times says the list contains more than 7,000 police passwords, including that of former Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood, who led the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. "The three most common passwords associated with police email addresses in one of the lists were 'police', 'password' and 'police1'," the article says. It adds: “Email addresses and passwords used by Justine Greening, the education secretary, and Greg Clark, the business secretary, are among stolen credentials of tens of thousands of government officials that were sold or bartered on Russian-speaking hacking sites.” The data, which includes over 800 Home Office staff and 1,000 Foreign Office staff, comes from an attack on the business networking site LinkedIn back in 2012 as well as a number of smaller websites. The National Cyber Security Agency has reissued its guidance to government departments in light of the story. A spokesman said: “There is no evidence these passwords were linked to any government accounts and we have also told people multiple times not to use the same password on different platforms.” Much of the data appears to be up to a decade old but still presents a threat according to a cyber security expert. Rob Pritchard, a cybersecurity specialist at the Royal United Services Institute, told The Times: “If these people used the same credentials elsewhere, potentially on government systems, that’s not good.” The Home Office said the issue was a matter for the NCSC while the National Police Chiefs' Council had been approached for comment but had not replied as this article went live. View on Police Oracle
  4. Former chief superintendent calls for routine arming of all officers as a greater priority. The newly installed barriers at Westminster Bridge on Monday morning. Photo: Press Association Barriers have appeared on bridges at the request of police following the second vehicle attack on one of the London landmarks this year. But there are differing views on how much safer this makes the public. Manufacturers claim they can reduce the number of officers needing to be deployed, but a former counter terror commander believes they are minor and has renewed his call for routine arming of officers. Met Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley announced the latest installation on Sunday night, and the barriers have been erected to protect pavements in areas including Westminster Bridge and London Bridge. Such barriers can stop a 7.5 tonne vehicle travelling at up to 50 mph. But at a cost of around £675 per metre they do not come cheap. Jonathan Goss, MD of Townscape Products, a company which makes similar devices to the ones installed on the bridges, said: “Terrorism has taken an unforeseen turn over the past year and those that wish to undermine our way of life have begun using vehicles to cause mass harm. “To address this threat head on – we need to keep vehicles and pedestrians separate by using intelligently positioned barriers.” He claimed they are more effective than armed police at keeping pedestrians safe as they will stop vehicles completely. “When it comes to hardening our urban environment to protect us against terrorist attacks, authorities need to start by focussing their efforts on the most at-risk public areas to make best use of any available budget. “Once these locations have been identified, the sole job of blocks, barriers, bollards and planters is to ensure that vehicles cannot access the public area in question,” he added. Designs such as plant pots can make them blend in with their surrounding without being too obvious. Last year Lord Toby Harris’ review of counter-terrorism measures in the capital, commissioned by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, recommended that such barriers in the Westminster area receive more funding from the Home Office. The Labour peer wrote: “Following the lessons of the Nice attacks, these could allow more effective mitigation of similar attacks here than the expensive systems that are currently in place. “A business case for these flexible barriers has previously been considered by the Home Office, but may be revisited. They should review this urgently and move to fund a solution.” The peer told PoliceOracle.com in May that he was yet to receive a government response to his report. He put this down to the purdah period which followed Theresa May’s calling of the snap General Election. But Kevin Hurley, former Surrey PCC and a counter-terror lead in the City of London Police, told Police Oracle: “I think for the prominent and tiny section of our busy roads yes you can protect with those barriers but the reality is terrorists will just run people over any else where there isn’t a barrier. “If you can’t constrain the movements of the attacker they will carry on until the specialist firearms officers get there. “The only way to stop an attack is to shoot them immediately, that means all response officers should carry a side arm. He cited the seriously injured BTP officer who faced the attackers near Borough Market armed just with a baton as an example of the pressing need for this. “Anyone who says otherwise had never personally had to face down someone with a knife wants to stab him to death,” he added. View on Police Oracle
  5. Chairman described it as "political interference" in operational decisions. Sarah Johnson reacted furiously to the announcement The chairman of Gloucestershire Police Federation is “beyond angry” with the force after it announced it would not “rush in” to using spit guards. Sarah Johnson accused Gloucestershire Police, as well as the police and crime commissioner, of “interfering in operational policing decisions” following the announcement on Wednesday. Ms Johnson claimed the force breached an agreement already in place when Gloucestershire Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl intervened. She said: “Protecting police officers from being spat at is paramount. We had an agreement in place in force to begin a trial of spit guards in custody suites. And now this had been put on hold following an intervention by PCC Martin Surl. “Our members will rightly be asking why he is getting involved in operational policing decisions, which are a matter for the Chief Constable. “Police officers will also be left feeling that the Police and Crime Commissioner and the force are basically saying it is ok for people to spit at them.” Ms Johnson said she would be taking the matter up urgently with both the force and the office of the PCC as she believes every officer in Gloucestershire should have one. She continued: “Spitting at a police officer is horrible but then there is also the potential that – should the spit go in their mouths – there will be sometimes up to a six month programme whereby officers have to be tested and maybe take drugs to make sure that they haven’t contracted a contagious disease. “This means that the officers may not be able to be intimate with their family, might not be able to cuddle their children or might not be able to visit ill relatives, so it’s not only the impact on that day, it’s for a long time thereafter. “A lot of stress and worry comes with that.” PCC Surl insists he is “yet to be convinced” spit guards are an effective solution. He said: “I know from personal experience that any attack on officers carrying out their duties is completely unacceptable, and that extra protection is sometimes necessary. But the use of spit guards has caused controversy in other parts of the country with claims they breach suspects’ rights and could even be dangerous. “The chief constable and I are in total agreement that the safety of our staff is paramount, but I am yet to be convinced that spit guards are the answer. “This is a highly emotive issue that should not be rushed into without public engagement and any other consultation that may be appropriate.” More than half of Police Federation members across the country are in favour of spit guards, as is the current Home Secretary Amber Rudd. Gloucestershire Chief Constable Rod Hansen says “pause for thought” is the ideal path forward. He said: “This is an issue that divides opinion even within the service. Some regard them as a necessary and an essential restraint; others see them as impractical and maybe even inflammatory. “We already have the power to use reasonable force against citizens when it is deemed appropriate. If we can find a solution that suits everyone, including my officers and staff as well as for suspects, all of whom I have a duty of care towards, then further pause for thought is the right course to take”. View on Police Oracle
  6. Lord Ian Blair warns the Met will be a quarter less in size than when he left the force. Lord Ian Blair A former Metropolitan Police commissioner says it would be "an absurdity" to further cut the force's funding after recent events in London. Lord Ian Blair called for a rethink over plans to cut hundreds of millions of pounds from the force's budget, saying this would leave the Met a quarter of the size it was when he left office in 2008. London Mayor Sadiq Khan has warned the city has lost "thousands of police staff" since 2010, while the current Met Commissioner Cressida Dick said she would "obviously" be seeking extra resources. "I think the crucial point now is to understand the cuts being considered, certainly for the Met, need reconsideration," Lord Blair told BBC Radio 4's Today programme. "As far as I understand it they're supposed to lose a further £400 million by 2021, on top of £600 million in the last few years. "That means the Met must be a quarter less in size than when I left." Lord Blair, now a crossbench peer, went on to call for "no cuts", adding: "Looking at what is happening, the idea of continuously cutting the police service's budget seems an absurdity at this stage." Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackay has said the Westminster and London Bridge attacks had put a "lot of stretch" on the Metropolitan Police. The Metropolitan Police Federation has also warned that officers are fatigued and "stretched beyond belief" after a string of major incidents. Lord Blair said these incidents would put extra pressure on specialist officers such as counter terrorism, adding: "It just seems a very strange time to be reducing the capabilities of a service which is holding the line against some terrible events." The former commissioner said neighbourhood policing is crucial to building trust with communities, but is very difficult to maintain when major incidents happen and officers are needed elsewhere. Lord Blair said it was "no surprise" Monday's attack at Finsbury Park Mosque had happened. "There is this kind of new landscape of terrorism, which the new commissioner Cressida Dick described, where the weapons are knives from kitchens or just hiring a van," he said. "It does create a very difficult problem for the police." View on Police Oracle
  7. In the current context Sophie Linden says the Met cannot afford any further savings or spending reductions. Ms Linden believes the Met does not have enough resources to meet its needs The Deputy Mayor says the “safety and security” of Londoners is under threat if budget cuts to the Metropolitan Police Service continue. Sophie Linden warned the “fundamental question” of meeting bare minimum funding requirements is not being met and any further reduction will put people at risk. Addressing London Assembly members at a meeting of the budget and performance committee today, Ms Linden said the force is already bracing itself for several more years of restricted finances. She said: “The Met are facing one of the most fundamental challenges around keeping this city safe with an increase in violent crime. “This on top of really significant budget challenges. The Met took £600m out of the budget over the last four years and is expecting another £400m over the next four years. “On top of that we are facing a funding formula revue which (in its last form) would have cuts of between £184m and £700m. “These are really, really challenging times and we do not think the Met can take anymore budget cuts or savings. “If the fundamental question is ‘does this challenge the safety and security of Londoners?’ we think it will if this continues and we have to take police officer numbers out of the police service. “The position is incredibly challenging, if we continue in this way it is going to be incredibly difficult to keep people safe.” Met Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey was less forthright but told assembly members the force is “stretched” and if the current threat level is “the new normal” then resource needs would have to be reassessed. He said: “Do we have the necessary resources to keep Londoners safe? I think clearly at the moment in terms of work we are doing and work over the last three months we have seen a changing situation in and around London. “We have seen three attacks in the last few weeks and that has put quite a stretch into the system in terms of what we do, that’s not just stretched across counter terrorism command it’s stretched across the policing system. “We have the resources to cope with what we are doing at the moment, as the Commissioner has said, clearly in light of what we are seeing at the moment what we need to work through collectively is ‘is this the new normal? The new normal level of violence?’ and if it is whether we have the resources needed to deal with it.” Deputy Commissioner Mackey also told assembly members officers across the capital are “feeling hard pressed” but continue to work “incredibly hard” in the “true spirit” of London. He added: “If you talk to officers and staff around the boroughs, as I know some of you do, they feel very hard pressed at the moment, there is a lot of work and a lot of demand on the system. “In the true spirit of the Metropolitan Police Service and the true spirit of this city they are coping incredibly well but they are working incredibly hard to keep us in that situation.” View on Police Oracle
  8. Damian Green given prominent Cabinet post. Brandon Lewis has won promotion The Policing and Fire Minister post is now vacant, following the promotion of Brandon Lewis to a more senior role. The Great Yarmouth MP who fared well in the General Election unlike many of his Conservative Party colleagues – increasing his majority – is now Immigration Minister in the Home Office. During the election campaign he appeared at the Police Federation Conference in Birmingham – where delegates groaned at his claims that crime is down and that police officer numbers are not the Home Office’s responsibility. In an article for The Times today, he writes: "I have worked closely with Mrs May; her steely determination in turbulent times is one of her great strengths and that’s what we need right now. "I believe she needs to stay on as our prime minister." One of his predecessors in the role, Damian Green, has been promoted to First Secretary of State, effectively making him Theresa May’s deputy. Amber Rudd remains Home Secretary, while David Lidington has taken over from Liz Truss as Justice Secretary. It is not yet known when a new Policing Minister will be chosen. View on Police Oracle
  9. The victim of the hoax complained officers had not properly investigated the matter. (Credit: Stephen Barnes) The Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland has found officers did properly investigate a bogus Facebook page which a man claimed put his family at risk. The finding comes despite the case failing to land a prosecution due to a lack of available evidence. Last year the man contacted the Police Service of Northern Ireland after a fake Facebook profile was created in his name which contained photos, information about his family and his home address. He said allegations posted on the page could put his family at risk. When the following investigation failed to result in prosecution for the person responsible he complained to the Ombudsman’s office alleging officers had failed to properly investigate the incident. However, after examining inquiries made by the force, a Police Ombudsman investigator found “no evidence” of misconduct by officers involved. She found officers had progressed all reasonable lines of enquiry and the Public Prosecution Service had not found any gaps in the file provided by the force. PSNI officers were able to trace the IP address used to upload the information but a number of people had access to it and they were unable to ascertain which of them had published the information. A spokesman for the PONI said: “There was an absence of clear evidence to identify the offender and the PPS could not be satisfied that there was a reasonable prospect of conviction. “They therefore directed ‘no prosecution’, but this was not due to any issues with the police investigation.” View on Police Oracle
  10. Pair honoured by force for their actions. PC James McQuaid, Chief Superintendent Mark Holland, PC Simon Williams Constables who saved the life of a woman stabbed 14 times and gathered enough evidence to convict her attacker have been given an award by their force. PC 3777 James McQuaid and PC 3184 Simon Williams of Nottinghamshire Police were the first on the scene to a report of an assault. The woman had been attacked by her partner – who was high on drugs and drunk – and had forced his way in and stabbed her at least 14 times with a hunting knife before fleeing the scene. The duo gave first aid to the victim, and reassured her until paramedics arrived. A statement from the force says: “They gained valuable evidence and recorded compelling first disclosures from the victim, which would assist with the prosecution of the offender, while continuing to act compassionately and sensitively towards the victim.” The offender was subsequently traced and arrested. “A detailed investigation followed, run by another commended and dedicated officer who also liaised with and gave support to the victim and her family. “Due to the quality of the evidence against the offender he pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent and was given a 10-year prison term plus four years on licence,” it adds. The officers, who are based at St Ann's Police Station in Nottingham, were presented with their certificates by Chief Superintendent Mark Holland. They have been used as an example in a PR campaign on why new recruits should join the force. View on Police Oracle
  11. Ch Supt John Sutherland's book 'Blue' also outlines author's struggle with depression. Ch Supt John Sutherland with his book 'Blue' (image courtesy of Martis Media) Police officers from around the country attended the London launch of Blue: A Memoir this week - a new book outlining the highs and lows of being a British Bobby. The book by Ch Supt John Sutherland – Twitter’s @policecommander – focusses on the positive work of his Met Police colleagues during a 25-year career but also on how policing can take its toll, including its difficult to read pages on John suffering from depression. The strapline for the book is “Keeping the Peace and Falling to Pieces.” Speaking at the event, John said the idea for the book came from the imbalance of predominantly negative reporting about policing in the media. He said: “For the past 25 years, I have had the privilege of doing a job I love – alongside people I truly admire. “In its way, this book is a love letter to each one of them: my family, my city and the women and men of the police force. “Blue tells some of their stories – some of our stories – and in doing so, tries to provide some balance to the wider story being told about policing in this country. “But it is also a very personal story of the toll that life and policing can take. Four years ago, whilst serving as the Borough Commander for Southwark in South London, I broke. I’m still mending.” The book features large chunks on John’s rise through the ranks, his time as a hostage negotiator, as a borough commander and has a real focus on the scourge of knife crime in the capital. Both the speech and book resonated well with the audience in attendance at the launch in London – which also included a number of John’s friends and family. Also there were the Kinsella family. Ben Kinsella was killed in a stabbing incident in Islington in 2008 – and John has remained in touch with them. Blue: A Memoir is available to buy from today (Thursday 25 May). View on Police Oracle
  12. Ex-Met marksman Tony Long talks exclusively to PoliceOracle.com about life as one of Britain's most high profile armed officers. Mr Long believes more officers will be required to carry firearms in the future For the majority of officers trained to use firearms, pulling the trigger in a live scenario is a remote prospect they hope never to face. But for one now retired officer in particular, not only did this situation occur more than once, it came to define his career and shape his life. Tony Long, 60, was involved in three fatal shootings and received seven commendations during his 33 year career as a specialist firearms officer with the Metropolitan Police Service, a record which carries with it both respect and notoriety. The shooting of Azelle Rodney is undoubtedly the incident most associated with Mr Long and the one which has had the most impact on his life and career, as well as the lives of others. Rodney, Frank Graham and Wesley Lovell were in a hired silver Volkswagen Golf driving across north London to carry out an armed robbery on rival drug dealers on April 30, 2005. Being trailed by several units they were seen collecting three weapons which intelligence suggested were MAC-10 sub-machine guns. As the car passed the Railway Tavern on Hale Lane, Barnet, it was subject to a hard stop by armed officers including Mr Long. At the moment the cars came to a stop, the former marksman has always maintained he saw Rodney duck down and re-emerge with his shoulders hunched as if preparing to open fire on his fellow officers. It was this action which prompted him to shoot the 24 year-old dead and which sparked ten years of investigations, a public inquiry, a murder trial, and the end of Mr Long’s career with the Met. As we sit down for a pint in a grand Victorian pub in east London, a short walk from his old unit HQ at 337 Old Street, Tony tells me Azelle Rodney would still be alive today if he had just put his hands up. He said: “If I could have seen his hands and I could have seen they were empty, I would not have shot him. “If he had ducked down and stayed down without springing back up, I would not have shot him. “If he had behaved in the same way as the other two men in the vehicle and just put his hands up he would have survived.” When asked if, in the moments, months and years since the shooting, he has ever doubted his decision that day he responded: “No. Never.” Previous to the Azelle Rodney incident Tony Long was involved in two other fatal shootings. He shot Errol Walker in 1986 after the 30-year-old had stabbed his sister in law to death, threw her out of a third floor window and stabbed her four-year-old daughter through the neck, as well shooting dead two armed robbers at an abattoir a year later. Walker was later convicted of the murder of Jackie Charles, 22. Candid and full of anecdotes about ‘The Job’ Mr Long held the air of a man weathered by his experiences but not dominated by them. He tells me it was not until years later he realised the impact of his employment on his family. He said: “In truth it’s probably had more of an impact on my family than me. With the first two (shootings) I was a young father with two young kids, I was very ‘job pissed’, I perhaps was not as sensitive as I could have been to the effect it was having on them. “It’s only years later that people admitted they did worry about me. “The trial had a big impact on my wife, we weren't even together at the time of the incident, she is a very strong character and not the type to tell you when something is bothering her. “It was only after the not guilty verdict when she had five minutes of emotion that I realised how much pressure I had put on them.” The 60-year-old maintains the job has not had any real impact on him as he was always “prepared” for what carrying a gun on behalf of the state entails. He said: “In terms of me I would like to think it has not had any real affect as far as I am concerned. “if you take the training seriously you understand what you are being asked to do and when you do have to do it, it shouldn’t be a surprise. “If I wasn’t prepared for that I wouldn’t have taken that career path.” Mr Long, who authored a book about his career Lethal Force following the completion of his trial for murder, believes more officers should be firearms trained and the concept of policing by consent needs to be better understood in terms of firearms. He said: “I think the problem is that we have gone from multi-skilled officers to a situation where all of our authorised shots are now specialists. “In the same way that we have a lot more Taser trained officers now I don’t see why you can’t have officers trained to use a handgun rather than needing to be a specialist trained firearms officer, we have a need for specialists but you also need more general training. “The problem is the whole image of armed police flies in the face of this unarmed image we are obsessed with projecting. “I take exception to ‘policing by consent’ because a lot of people who use that phrase don’t really know what it means. “Saying that you can’t police by consent because you are armed I think is insulting to the Dutch and Swedish police for example, they still go into schools and talk to kids about road safety with a gun in a holster. “There is a perception that we cannot do this job without being unarmed, I think it’s nonsense.” As our pint glasses empty and the conversation winds to a conclusion, Mr Long tells me his future is uncertain following the end of his policing career but that he is not ready for retirement just yet. He is certain of one thing though: “The job will have to give serious consideration to saying to all recruits ‘when you join up it is on the understanding that, if required to do so, you will undergo firearms training and carry a firearm if you are needed to.’ “If the police are here to protect the public, then how can we do that if we cannot protect ourselves?” View on Police Oracle
  13. Cressida Dick told children in London feel 'naked' if they are not armed with a weapon. Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick Children as young as six are carrying knives and ten-year-olds are arming themselves with weapons out of fear, the country's top police officer has been told. Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick heard children "feel naked" without them, while some are too scared to cross the capital's roads unarmed. Ms Dick vowed to get to the root of knife crime as she visited a youth centre in Putney, south-west London, meeting community leaders, reformed gang members and the family of Lewis Elwin - a 20-year-old trainee electrician stabbed to death in Tooting last year. The Commissioner promised more officers in schools and others in every ward to help build relationships with young people. She was told community groups are "screaming out" for a relationship with police, but the force is "not following up". One woman told Ms Dick knife crime affects children far younger than the teenagers and young men normally associated with it. She said: "On the housing estate, it's six-year-olds that are carrying knives, because they think they won't be stopped. You need to start there, in the primary schools - you need to tell much younger people." Josh Osbourne, a mentor at youth charity Carney's Community, said ten-year-olds live in fear, saying: "They can't even cross the road because they're at odds or in a dispute with somebody else from literally the same postcode but across the road." Andy Smith, from social enterprise The Feel Good Bakery, told Ms Dick young people carry blades for protection, saying: "They say they feel naked if they haven't got their knife with them." The capital has seen a wave of knife attacks in recent weeks, with more than a dozen people killed or seriously injured. Scotland Yard launched the latest phase of Operation Sceptre earlier this month, cracking down on knife crime. But despite more than 70 arrests for possession of offensive weapons and knives, within a week three more people had been fatally stabbed. Speaking to the Press Association after the meeting, Ms Dick said it was "pretty horrifying" to hear of armed six-year-olds. She said: "It's outrageous to hear a six-year-old is carrying a knife, for whatever reason. "That's something a police officer by themselves or even a police force isn't going to be able to have very much impact on. The question there is what are the parents doing? What are the school doing?" Ms Dick said youngsters often carry knives for "some kind of respect, some kind of kudos", but added: "I do accept there are places where some of our young people are scared and they feel it makes sense to carry a knife. "I can say as long as I live that it does not make them safer. They may not hear that message from me... we need to get people in communities, we need to get people in schools, we need to get parents understanding and helping young people to understand... it will end in tragedy, probably, for them." Outlining her plans for early intervention to tackle the epidemic, Ms Dick said: "I want to shift us further into prevention. I want all of us to be working on stopping this before it happens. "Community groups will be an incredibly important part of that. We need to play our part, but it is only a part." The Commissioner still has work to do to reach those communities - Mr Osbourne said the meeting was "about as much use as a chocolate teapot". He added: "We have realised that the things that we need, the Commissioner is unable to provide." View on Police Oracle
  14. Fed says case is not isolated example. A constable remains confined to his station more than four years after being acquitted of assault while the IPCC’s investigation into him drags on. Met PC Joe Harrington, who describes policing as “all I ever wanted to do” has now been on restricted duties for longer than he served, prior to an accusation was made against him which was dismissed by a jury in a matter of minutes. The Police Federation of England and Wales are highlighting his case as one of dozens they say the slow processes of the Independent Police Complaints Commission have caused. In a statement issued through the staff association, PC Harrington, 33, said: “I am still barred from any contact with the public at work; I can’t be promoted, leave the service or move roles. I was acquitted at a jury trial years ago but I can’t move on with my life because this IPCC investigation is always lurking in the background. “I have been with my partner for 13 years and we have a five-year-old daughter, but we have no stability in our home life; my partner was eight months’ pregnant when this originally happened but we felt we could not get married with this hanging over us. “For a long time there was a fear that I might go to prison, now it’s the fear that we might be left with a single income.” Asked if he would return to policing if the investigation is lifted, PC Harrington, who says he now suffers post-traumatic stress disorder told PoliceOracle.com: “Policing is all I ever wanted to do, but I don't want to put myself in a position where this could happen to me again. “I would have to think very hard about going into a role with any scope for confrontation.” The Newham-based officer restrained a teenager in custody during the 2011 London riots. He had been serving for three years at the time. The 15-year-old accused him of assault and the watchdog was called in. The CPS initially said there was no case to answer, however it reversed its decision and ended up charging him with assault occasioning actual bodily harm. PC Harrington was suspended from work until the trial in March 2013, where a jury took less than half an hour to acquit him. “The IPCC were unhappy with my acquittal and told the press that they would recommend to the Met that I be sacked,” he said. The IPCC Commissioner who directed the case is Jennifer Izekor, who stood down in March while Police Scotland began investigating an unrelated matter she was involved in. PC Harrington has also been the subject of other complaints which the IPCC have spent years investigating, and in 2015 the Court of Appeal ruled that the watchdog was entitled to re-open a case against him, and any other it decides that it had not pursued properly in the first instance if its initial investigations were flawed. “Although my suspension has been lifted, I have spent the four years since my acquittal in a seemingly endless cycle of being investigated and reinvestigated, and confined to a desk in the station," the officer added. “The IPCC have twice been to the High Court to overturn reports that they had written, so that they could have another stab at it.” PC Harrington told PoliceOracle.com he has received support from the Met but they decided not to remove him from restricted duties. He said: “I think they’re concerned about the negative press they would receive if they lifted the restrictions. Several officers have spoken up for me but the decision was they would not be lifting restrictions until the misconduct process is removed.” The Police Federation of England and Wales is holding a special session at its conference next week on the IPCC. The association’s conduct lead Phill Mathews said: “Sadly Joe’s story is not an isolated case and really highlights the effects of such drawn out cases on officers and their families. “We want to work with the IPCC and forces to ensure that officers are treated fairly and complaints investigated expeditiously so that yet more public money doesn't get wasted, our members and their families are no longer made ill, driven out of the service or have unwarranted press intrusion in their lives.” A spokesman for the IPCC said their investigation into the assault case was completed within five months, but the reactions of the force and complainant held up proceedings. As did a move to quash its own findings in a separate matter relating to PC Harrington. She added: "The report was submitted to the Metropolitan Police (MPS) in June 2013 and in August 2014 the force agreed he should face a gross misconduct hearing but requested a delay to setting a hearing date pending the outcome of a linked case involving the same officer. The IPCC accepted this request." The watchdog says it completed the investigation into the linked case in October 2012 but sought to reinvestigate one element of it and the Met’s legal challenge against the plan held it up. “Separately, the 15-year-old male submitted a large number of complaints which were all investigated by the MPS. “The complainant lodged a number of appeals against the force’s findings which resulted in the MPS reinvestigating areas of the complaint. “In October 2016 the MPS reinvestigation did not uphold the complaints against the constable. The complainant appealed in November 2016 and in January 2017 the IPCC upheld the complaint,” she added. The spokesman added that the Met was then directed to hold a gross misconduct hearing into the matters, despite the force disagreeing with the findings. A spokesman for the Met said this direction was received last week and a hearing is “in the process of being arranged”. View on Police Oracle
  15. Figures revealed at World Counter Terror Congress in London. More than 3,000 people have contacted police with information about possible terrorist activity in just two months. Forces received the tip-offs after senior officers launched a major campaign calling on members of the public to report any suspicions. The National Police Chiefs' Council said a significant number of the calls were made following the Westminster attack. Most of the concerns raised turned out to be nothing to cause any alarm but a number contained important pieces of information that resulted in further action and might otherwise have been missed. In addition to the 3,000 calls since the Action Counters Terrorism initiative was launched in March, authorities also received 300 referrals regarding online extremist material. Deputy Assistant Commissioner Lucy D'Orsi, the NPCC's lead for protective security, revealed the figures at the World Counter Terror Congress in London. She said: "The increased response from the general public and from professionals whose job it is to keep people safe within crowded places, has been really heartening. "But, as we have seen very recently here in London, we can not afford to stand still. "We need to exploit every possible way of keeping people safe and do all we can to keep everyone vigilant. "We are working very closely with security managers in busy shopping centres, transport hubs and entertainment venues. "Whether it is in business communities or local communities, we need to encourage everyone to keep contributing because, sadly, terrorism is a growing and increasingly complex threat." She also told delegates police are aiming to increase the use of the national barrier asset, temporary protective structures, during short-term summer events that attract large crowds. Senior officers have repeatedly highlighted the importance of the public's role in their efforts to prevent attacks. The official threat level from international terrorism has stood at severe, meaning an attack is "highly likely", for more than two years. Last week counter-terror officers made a number of arrests in two separate operations in London. View on Police Oracle
  16. The CPS has insisted snap election will have no impact on the timing of decisions on whether to press charges linked to 2015 General Election. Alex Salmond has warned against the Conservatives being "allowed to buy another" General Election by using officials who "successfully bought" the 2015 contest. The SNP MP questioned if ministers have plans in place to deal with the implications should the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decide to press charges linked to the 2015 General Election expenses of Conservative MPs. He expressed concerns in the Commons over the involvement of political strategist Sir Lynton Crosby, known for using shock tactics to divert attention away from another issue, and others in the Conservative campaign given their previous work in 2015. The Electoral Commission fined the Conservatives a record £70,000 last month after concluding the party failed to report accurately its spending in three 2014 by-elections and at the 2015 general election. Fifteen police forces have also submitted files to the CPS which relate to allegations concerning a candidate and an election agent at the 2015 contest, with the number of people involved totalling at least 30. The CPS has insisted the snap election on June 8 will have no impact on the timing of decisions on whether to press charges. Mr Salmond, raising a point of order in the Commons, said: "Given that the Prime Minister has decided to reappoint all of the campaign team who have already been fined by the Electoral Commission responsible for this boorach, we cannot get ourselves into a position of that campaign team, up to and including Lynton Crosby, having successfully bought one election, allowed to buy another." Speaker John Bercow, in his reply, said: "The rules governing the conduct of elections are not a matter for the chair." He added: "I have no intention of being drawn into this matter, which would be quite improper. What the police and Crown Prosecution Service do and when is a matter for them." Labour MP Dennis Skinner (Bolsover), also raising a point of order, said he had received no answers from Prime Minister Theresa May nor Justice Secretary Liz Truss on the matter. He said of Mrs May: "She didn't get a revelation on the Welsh hills. She called a snap election in order to try and beat the Crown Prosecution Service. "That's what this election is all about." View on Police Oracle
  17. 'Fair, robust and transparent' model which was proposed in 2015 has not been introduced but officer who would have felt biggest impact says he doesn't lose sleep over issue. The outgoing chief constable of the force which was set to gain the most from the botched reform of the police funding formula, says he wonders if its effects will ever be felt. Derbyshire Chief Constable Mick Creedon, who retires next week after almost ten years in charge of the force, was asked by Police Oracle if he felt his constabulary had been affected by the abandoned changes. In November 2015 the Home Office withdrew changes which it had earlier said would make central government funding “fair, robust and transparent”. Under the first departmental proposal Derbyshire Constabulary would have been around £20 million a year better off, under the second they would have had a £7 million boost. CC Creedon said: “It doesn’t cause me sleepless nights but if you’re going to have a funding formula, implement it. “Do I worry about it? If I’m cynical it’s not going to ever happen, so let’s get on and not try to have a spending profile based on ‘it might happen’. “If it ever gets done and Derbyshire comes out to the positive it will take so many years and it will be damped over about a decade that the benefits will be marginal. “I think the problem with the police funding formula is that it’s a reduced cake, and there’s always going to be people who are winners and losers.” He pointed out many parts of “critical infrastructure” which are done on a cross-force basis through collaboration don’t have secure funding, unlike forces and national agencies and that this is lacking in discussions around the formula. CC Creedon also highlighted the contradiction between the government’s introduction of police and crime commissioners, and a cap on the amount they can raise local taxes by. He said that in force areas like Derbyshire a 2 per cent increase on council tax counts for far less than in force areas where house prices are higher. “I think it’s a nonsense for national government to give freedom to PCCs who are elected democratically by local people but they are not given freedom about what they can do with their budget. “The model as described to me was: that they are elected, they are accountable and the ballot box will be their sanction. So if they raise the precept [by more than 2 per cent] and the public don’t like it they’re held to account through the ballot box, and by the police and crime panel. “I think the truth is that there are some forces better funded than others and that’s not acceptable to me. It can’t be right that if you’re in Essex you have a certain level of policing, in Hertfordshire you have another and Bedfordshire you have another.” In a separate interview Derbyshire PCC Hardyal Dhindsa told PoliceOracle.com: “I hope under the new government the funding formula is delivered and we do get a better deal for Derbyshire. “We haven’t historically. The last funding review we’ve still not had the full dampening effect of that done away with, and we’re still underfunded.” In January Policing Minister Brandon Lewis told Parliament that PCCs and chief constables were “very happy with the process we are undertaking and the timescale we are working on and I don’t intend to rush something, I want to make sure we get right”. But Mr Dhindsa said: “That is not true. He certainly wasn’t talking about me, for a start. There are winners and losers, so I’m sure there are certain police and crime commissioners who would not want it to be rushed because whichever permutation they look at they may lose out.” He added that all PCCs in the East Midlands are keen to have the changes “progressed as speedily as possible”. Mr Lewis also said in January: “The Home Office is undertaking a process of engagement with the policing sector and independent experts on reform of the Police Core Grant Distribution Formula. “No decisions will be taken until Ministers have considered the outcome of the Review. Any new formula will be subject to public consultation before implementation.” View on Police Oracle
  18. New ONS stats show more violent crime alongside 5.4 million fraud and computer misuse offences. Posed photo by Katie Collins/PA Wire Knife and gun crime incidents recorded by police rose by more than 10 per cent last year compared with 2015, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has said. Police recorded 32,448 offences involving a knife or sharp instrument in 2016 - a 14pc rise on the year before - bucking a recent trend for falling knife crime. These include rapes, sexual assaults and robberies in which knives or sharp instruments were used. Firearms offences increased by 13pc to 5,864, largely driven by a rise in crimes involving handguns. Overall, police recorded 4.8 million offences in 2016 - a 9pc increase from the year before, which was "thought to reflect changes in recording processes and practices rather than crime". However, the ONS said there had been "smaller but genuine increases" in homicide and knife crime. Overall, there were about 11.5 million incidents of crime in England and Wales after fraud and computer misuse offences were included for the second time. It makes 2016 the first calendar year to include fraud and computer offences, making up 5.4 million of the total, meaning year-on-year comparisons cannot be made. Stripping out the two categories gives a tally of 6.1 million, which the ONS said was not a "statistically significant" change from the previous year. Even though they had "substantially increased" the total, it was still 40pc below the 1995 level when crime figures peaked at 19 million, the ONS said. Rachel Almeida, head of policy for the charity Victim Support, said the figures made "startling reading". She said: "The latest crime survey for England and Wales shows 21pc of the population fell victim to crime last year, that 800,000 of these are children, with more than half suffering violent crime, and that gun and knife crime have seen sharp rises. "More must be done for victims of crime and that is why we are demanding all political parties seize the golden opportunity of the June 8 snap election and put victims at the centre of their policies for crime and policing when they release their manifestos." The National Police Chiefs' Council lead for crime and incident recording said the figures showed crime levels were "broadly stable compared with recent years". Chief Constable Bill Skelly added: "There are some genuine increases that police forces across the country are responding to, particularly with regard to a 14% rise in knife crime and 13% increase in firearms offences. "The trend - which had been declining for many years but has now begun to climb more sharply - is a key priority for the police service. "Forces will continue to target habitual offenders and conduct wide-ranging proactive operations to seize thousands of illegal weapons before they can be used to cause harm." View on Police Oracle
  19. In response to the stats, the Home Office claims its reforms are working. Britain's largest police force has recorded a surge in violent, gun and knife crime in what officers warned is a national phenomenon. Scotland Yard registered annual rises across a number of serious offence categories in the last 12 months, following several years of falls. There were jumps in robbery, theft, violence, gun and knife crime in 2016/17 in London and police say the pattern is being replicated around the country. The disclosures will reignite the debate over resources following warnings from a string of senior figures over the impacts of further budget squeezes on forces. They also come weeks after watchdogs issued a stark warning over the "potentially perilous" state of British policing, and lay bare the challenges facing new Scotland Yard chief Cressida Dick. Statistics published by the Metropolitan Police show that: Gun crime increased by more than two fifths (42%) year-on-year with 2,544 offences recorded in 2016/17 Knife crime jumped by almost a quarter (24%), with more than 4,000 offences involving blades resulting in an injury The total number of offences recorded by the force rose by nearly 4.6% from 740,933 to 774,737 Violence against the person crimes were up by 4.7% while there were also increases in robberies (12%), sex offences (9%) and theft (7%) There were 110 homicides - one more than the previous year Sanction detection rates - the proportion of cases where action is taken against a suspect such as a charge or caution - were down across a number of categories As the figures were released, officers raised the alarm over a shift in knife crime which has seen the proportion of youngsters carrying blades who are affiliated with gangs fall from around a third to approximately a quarter. Officers reported an increasing trend for youths in the capital to keep blades on them for protection rather than in order to carry out crime. Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt said: "Young people carrying knives are doing so for a variety of reasons including status, criminality and self-protection but only around a quarter are affiliated with gangs. "There is a phenomenon of people feeling that you need to carry a knife to be safe. There is a lot greater sense that 'I need this to protect myself'. The problem comes when you then get a confrontation." The Met has launched investigations into three separate fatal stabbings in the capital since the start of the week. On the overall crime figures, Mr Hewitt insisted that London is "one of the safest global cities in the world". He said: "Similar to the rest of England and Wales, crime rates in London are rising, but many of these are still at a much lower level than five years ago and are against the backdrop of significant reductions in resources." The force has closed dozens of police stations and lost hundreds of staff as it made savings totalling hundreds of millions of pounds since 2010, although officer numbers have remained broadly steady at around 31,000. Deputy London Mayor for Policing Sophie Linden, said: "These figures are deeply disturbing, and a stark reminder of the enormous pressure our police are under every day as they work so tirelessly to protect us." In response to the worrying figures the Home Office highlighted improvements in violent crime rates elsewhere but acknowledged more had to be done. A spokeswoman said: "Police reform is working, with the latest ONS figures showing crimes traditionally measured by the (British Crime) Survey have fallen by a third since 2010 to a record low, with over 370,000 fewer violent crimes a year. "Every violent crime is a significant concern and this Government is taking action to tackle it and keep our communities safe, including through actions set out in our Modern Crime Prevention Strategy. "Last year, we banned zombie knives, extended our work with retailers to prevent underage sales of knives and supported police in a week of action where they seized more than 1,200 weapons and made 300 arrests. "We know there is more to be done. We will continue to work with the police, retailers and voluntary groups to tackle knife crime and ensure support is available for victims of gang violence and exploitation." View on Police Oracle
  20. The 11-year-old police-mad boy managed to raise £150,000 for Brain Tumour Research before he died. The force surprised the family of Finlay Church at his old school with the pooch A new West Midlands Police dog has been named in memory of a boy who dreamed of becoming a police officer. German Shepherd Finn is named after 11-year-old Finlay Church who managed to raise over £150,000 for Brain Tumour Research and Birmingham Children’s Hospital before he died from brain cancer in November 2015. The boy, who had a passion for policing, organised a series of fundraisers after his diagnosis including achieving a world record for the longest line of teddies. After making an “unforgettable” impression on staff when he achieved a long held ambition to spend a couple of days with the force, they decided to name one of their latest crime fighting hounds in his honour. Police staff surprised Finlay’s family by arriving at his old Alvechurch Middle School with the 12-week-old pup last Friday while they were organising a fundraising Wear A Hat Day in aid of brain tumour research. Finlay’s mum Penny said: "This is the most wonderful gesture to have a police dog named in honour of Fin. "West Midlands Police has always been incredibly supportive of us and our fundraising work and to keep Fin’s legacy alive in this way is very humbling. “He loved dogs and desperately wanted to be an armed response officer so this really is a fitting tribute. “We can’t thank the Dogs Unit enough for enabling police dog Finn to live out Fin’s aspirations." Family, friends and the force have carried on raising money for Brain Tumour Research and last year West Midlands Police hats helped to set an unusual record relating to headwear placed in a row as part of their efforts. Sergeant Phil McMullen, who took part in some of the charity events, said: "Finlay was an aspiring police officer and we were all deeply saddened when he passed away. "He wanted to help others which is one of the greatest qualities a PC can have "We had discussed the idea of naming a police dog after Finlay and this seemed a nice time to surprise his family. "Finn the dog struck up an instant bond with them and we hope he will soon be out on the beat to help the public - just like his namesake." Read on Police Oracle
  21. A mental health practitioner will accompany police officers to incidents involving mental health issues under the scheme. A previously successful trial where nurses pair with officers responding to calls involving mental issues is returning to Kent. The pilot by Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust (KMPT) and Kent Police will run in Thanet over the next few months when demand for attendance at mental health related incidents is high. Kent Police detained 1,256 people under section 136 of the Mental Health Act in 2016 and chief superintendent Rachel Curtis hopes the triage team will help officers make “informed decisions”. She said: “The street triage scheme will mean a qualified medical professional attending mental health related incidents in Thanet that have been reported to the police. “Our police officers receive mental health training the same way they receive first aid training but they are not medical experts. “The pilot will mean those in crisis will receive qualified medical help and the officers will have on-the-scene advice from an expert to make informed decisions. “The number one priority here is making sure those suffering a mental health crisis get the most appropriate care and treatment.” The street triage scheme is the latest in a number measures KMPT and Kent Police have put in place to address mental health in police incidents in the county. KMPT’s Director of Transformation, Vincent Badu, said: “We are delighted to be involved in the delivery of this pilot scheme, which will offer a local response to anyone in crisis. “The scheme demonstrates the importance of partnership working and, through the Concordat, we have agreed joint outcomes and measures which will enable us to capture all the improvements achieved.” Kent Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott says he will be “keeping a close eye” on the progress of the initiative. He said: “Cases involving mental health now amount for around a third of Kent Police time. “I am pleased to see the return of a street triage scheme. “I will be keeping a close eye on the scheme to see whether it helps deliver against the priorities set out within my Safer in Kent Plan. “I also continue to welcome bids to my Mental Health and Policing Fund from projects which free up police officers’ time while also ensuring that people in mental health crisis get the right support from the right person. “The increased time police spend dealing with mental health is unsustainable nationally so I will be discussing the triage outcomes with my fellow PCCs and Government so that other force areas can decide whether they wish to replicate this scheme in their own communities.” View on Police Oracle
  22. Changes under the Policing and Crime Act are being introduced today. Forces are preparing for pre-charge bail changes set to come into play today under the new Policing and Crime Act. As previously reported, the new law introduces a presumption to release individuals without bail, with bail only proposed when necessary and proportionate. A limit of 28 days will also be placed on pre-charge bail, with an officer only at the rank of superintendent or above able to authorise an extension. Norfolk and Suffolk Police said suspects can now be “released under investigation” instead of on bail before facing possible charges. Although enquiries will continue as normal, changes will mean that suspects are no longer required to return to a police station and will be issued with a notice outlining offences that could lead to further police action. Suffolk Constabulary Deputy Chief Constable Steve Jupp said the quality of enquiries will not be affected by the changes. “We have spent the last few months preparing for these changes and hundreds of officer across both forces have undergone training to ensure that we are totally ready for dealing with the new process of pre-charge bail when it arrives,” he said. “I would stress that if you have reported a crime to us and a suspect has been ‘released under investigation’, this is in no way a reflection on your allegation. “A suspect who is released under these terms remains very much under our investigation until all reasonable enquiries have been completed.” Both the Police Federation, the College of Policing and the NPCC have raised concerns about the plans, stating that the 28-day limit is “unworkable” and time will be taken up applying for extensions rather than investigating crime. “One problem is that the Home Office does not spell out what is ‘proportionate’. It will be a massive change in custody culture and be a considerable challenge,” said the Fed's custody lead Andy Ward. “Cyber-crime, for example, requires computers to be seized and equipment to be interrogated to gain evidence. The results for detailed forensic tests also take some time to come back.” Other changes coming into force today include a new duty for police and emergency services to collaborate and an increase in the maximum penalty for stalking and harassment offences. View on Police Oracle
  23. Tool has been removed for officers in England and Wales. The Home Office is considering bringing back a pensions calculator to demonstrate to officers in England and Wales the outcomes of paying in. Earlier this week PoliceOracle.com reported the Scottish Public Pensions Agency is to launch such a tool following the revelation that ten per cent of officers in the country are not part of the scheme. Scottish Police Federation chairman Andrea MacDonald revealed the statistic regarding the 1,600 officers not paying in for a pension. She said UK Government changes in 2015 had put people off, but encouraged them to sign up for “the best investment you will ever make”. A spokesman for the Police Federation of England and Wales told PoliceOracle.com yesterday: “We are aware a calculator is going to be available for officers in Scotland. We are actively encouraging the Home Office to look at providing a pensions calculator for use by officers in England and Wales.” Figures for the current scheme take-up in England and Wales are harder to obtain as they are held by each of the individual forces. The Home Office, which previously had such a tool on its website, says it is weighing up whether to do so again. A Home Office spokesman said: “This government is committed to ensuring that public service pensions are affordable, sustainable and fair. “We are considering the merits of and options for a benefits calculator for police pension scheme members in England and Wales, but no decisions have been taken at this stage.” He added the government is working with the England and Wales Scheme Advisory board on the issue. A Police Federation for Northern Ireland spokesman said the staff association is not aware that the PSNI has experienced a similar drop-off in those taking up pensions since 2015. View on Police Oracle
  24. Scottish pensions authority is introducing a calculator to help demonstrate benefits. Nearly ten per cent of police officers in Scotland are no longer paying into the force’s pension scheme, in a move which has been blamed on recent negative changes to the package. Similar negative alterations were made to more than 14,000 young in service officers’ pensions across the whole of the UK at the same time. As a result of the drop in numbers, authorities in Scotland are creating a new pensions calculator in the hope it will encourage people to continue to pay in. Andrea MacDonald, chairman of the Scottish Police Federation, revealed the statistic at the staff association’s annual conference. She said: “Like others, our pensions were dramatically changed in 2015 when the UK Government changed the law so that police officers would work longer and pay more for their pension. “We warned at the time that if the cut was too deep, our members would vote with their feet and either leave the pension scheme, or not join it when they were recruited. “In only a couple of years we have moved from a situation where virtually everyone was in the pension scheme to one where hundreds of officers are not.” Mrs MacDonald added that there are now around 1,600 officers who are not in the pension scheme, and that she believes this is because of the expense incurred and a lack of information about the benefits of signing up. She said: “I worry about these young officers and their families. Pensions are not just about retirement on completion of service. The schemes cover ill-health, injury, death in service, spouse and dependant cover. “Doing our job without this cover seems far too much of a risk to me and I urge every officer not in the pension scheme to think again. “The in-service protections and the significant employer's contribution plus financial security for you and your dependants, mean the police pension is the best investment you will ever make. "I know recruits can often be under financial pressure but my advice to them is that whatever they do, join the pension scheme and stay in it.” Responding to her at the conference, Scottish Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said that he agrees that the pensions are still hugely important. He added: “I urge the service and staff associations to continue highlighting the benefits to every officer. “To help officers understand what the new scheme will mean in the future the Scottish Public Pensions Agency has commissioned the scheme actuary to produce a specialised pensions calculator, this has been developed to give individuals a clear idea of the value of the scheme and has been produced in consultation with the police pension board which has senior SPF representation on it.” This will be available to officers by the summer, he said. A pension reform calculator produced by the Home Office in 2015 has been marked as “withdrawn” on the UK Government website. Figures for how many officers have left pension schemes in England, Wales and Northern Ireland were not available before this article went live. Thousands of officers are taking legal action to challenge the imposition of the CARE scheme and the manner in which it was imposed, but it is not backed by staff associations. View on Police Oracle
  25. Transport workers union leader accuses railways force of 'turfing staff onto the streets'. British Transport Police PCSOs are considering strike action over changes to their shifts. The TSSA union is balloting the force’s community support officers ahead of the imposition of a 1am shift finish which it says “jeopardises [their] safety” in London. According to a statement from the union, the force is attempting to save money by changing shift patterns – but the workforce wll not be able to get home by public transport as a result. The force employs 330 PCSOs, with half of them London-based, but the union says: “because they can't afford London housing, London PCSOs themselves depend on trains in and out of home counties to the commute to work.”. PCSOs voiced their concerns that the new rosters are not practical during BTP's staff consultation process, but the TSSA says a proposal to finish the shift at midnight to enable members to make the last train home was rejected and PCSOs will now finish at 1am on one in three of their shifts. General Secretary Manuel Cortes said: "BTP have made a sham of their own consultation process by ignoring the valid concerns of their staff who simply can't get home at 1am. Are they supposed to sleep at the station? “No employer should turf their staff out at 1am onto the streets of London with no way to get home. But that's what BTP, the very people charged with ensuring the public travel safely, are now doing to their own staff. Frankly, it beggars belief and it's causing a lot of unnecessary upset." The new rotas will be introduced from April. The union is calling for shifts to be put back to midnight or to end at 7am instead, and will be balloting members over the issue. Mr Cortes added: "Our PCSO members are professional police support staff dedicated to keeping commuters safe. So a failure by their bosses to protect them is insulting as is their unwillingness to negotiate with our reps over this easily resolvable issue.” He added he will be calling on London Mayor Sadiq Khan to intervene to help the PCSOs. BTP Deputy Chief Constable Adrian Hanstock said: “It is disappointing to learn of this proposal by TSSA to ballot our PCSOs on plans for industrial action, which feels somewhat premature and excessive when we are still engaged in discussions with those few employees affected by our planned shift changes. “I must also contradict the suggestion that this is an exercise in cost-cutting by ruthlessly cutting shift allowances.” He added that the shift patterns were last reviewed in 2009 demand on the force has changed, and that staff had asked for a more reliable and consistent shift patterns. “In addition we have sought to ensure fewer officers and staff are working on their own across the national network, as well as build in sufficient capacity to minimise the impact of abstractions when officers are absent through training, court appearances, sickness and annual leave. “As the demand has changed, invariably it means the times of day we must be available to respond to incidents and manage large volumes of people travelling around the country must also change,” he said. There have been claims in the past that warranted police officers in London have resorted to breaking into property because of their shift patterns and inability to get to their homes outside the capital when they have gone off duty. View on Police Oracle