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  1. Brexit deemed 'bad guy' after postponement of news on grant settlement. All-consuming Brexit is being blamed for the government pulling the plug on announcing next year’s round of police funding. And the Home Office came under fire from former Shadow Policing Minister Jack Dromey for the “unacceptable” delay in delivering news on the 2019-20 grant settlement. Forces in England and Wales had been expecting to discover yesterday afternoon whether they would receive a cash boost. But Home Secretary Sajid Javid's much-anticipated Commons statement was postponed – as MPs found themselves stuck in the middle of five days debating whether Britain will finally exit the EU, and under what terms and conditions. Birmingham Erdington MP Mr Dromey told Police Oracle: “This government is abjectly failing to make the big decisions this country needs. "All consumed by its abysmal failure to negotiate a Brexit deal, it has now pulled the announcement of funding for our increasingly stretched police service. “The police desperately need funding to keep the public safe and certainty over how many officers they can recruit going forward. “This delay is simply unacceptable.” The next funding settlement is considered vital for policing, with violent crime rising and many forces saying they are struggling to cope with low officer numbers and scant resources. Policing is set for a “double your money” council tax windfall to fight the rising tide of violent crime as officer number forecasts for Britain’s biggest force predict the lowest level since 2002 – unless funding increases. London mayor Sadiq Khan was due to meet Home Secretary Sajid Javid this week to discuss the police funding settlement for next year, amid reports a provisional agreement has been brokered with Chancellor Philip Hammond and Communities Secretary James Brokenshire to increase the precept charged by local authorities on behalf of forces. The amount police and crime commissioners will be able to impose will rise from £1 a month to £2 a month from April 2019 – an extra £24 per household each year – which could raise around £450 million for forces in England and Wales, according to the report. It is not the first time the government has delayed an issue relating to law and order. In October a Commons debate on banning offensive weapons was pushed back after another Brexit debate dragged on. The latest criticism follows a stand-off earlier this week in the Commons when Policing Minister Nick Hurd deflected questions on police pay and pensions from 16 different MPs – by repeatedly telling them to wait for the “imminent” funding settlement. He told them the government had raised £460 million for the police service this year and chiefs should look forward to the funding announcement soon. Shadow Policing Minister Louise Haigh quizzed him about reported leaks the upcoming settlement will deliver a real terms cut. The government has altered the wording of its claims about police funding since March when UK Statistics Authority chairman Sir David Norgrove rebuked the Prime Minster for making “misleading” comments suggesting central government was providing an "extra £450m for the police". Theresa May was referring to £130 million top sliced from police budgets for national police priorities, £50m in counter-terrorism funding and a potential £270m that could be raised if all police and crime commissioners decide to raise local council tax precepts by £12. Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott has accused Mr Hurd of “blurring the facts” by “deliberately and consistently confusing money raised locally by taxpayers with money from central government". The Home Office was not available for comment when Police Oracle contacted the department. View on Police Oracle
  2. TV stars speaks out to millions of live viewers Nick Knowles has received appreciation from emergency service workers following his passionate exit speech on I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here! DIY SOS host Knowles has become the sixth contestant to face the boot from the show after a public vote. He managed 20 days in the jungle and became the camp's de facto cook - playing a fatherly figure to the group's younger members. After hugging his campmates, Knowles joined Holly Willoughby and Declan Donnelly where he said he hoped the camp's camaraderie could be an example of unity to a UK rife with "division". After taking a long swig of water, Knowles, 56, added: "When I came in here I wanted to see whether a whole bunch of people could get together and make friends. We are having such a hard time in the UK at the moment. There's so much division in the UK. "I thought if we could all get on in here then it would be a bit of a pointer for everyone at home. There's this big split going on in the UK." He then used up the rest of his live airtime to praise the work of emergency services saying: “One last thing – please support our veterans, support the police, support the NHS, support the emergency services. They all do amazing jobs and they have it a lot harder on a day-to-day basis than we do in here.” Thank-you messages began flooding in shortly after from police, veterans and members of the public on social media. Last year, DIY SOS, renovated the home of an officer who was left paralysed after the Westminster Bridge. PC Kris Aves suffered a devastating spinal cord injury when terrorist Khalid Masood hit him with his car. The crew, backed by hundreds of local tradesmen, installed a lift and widened the doors so PC Aves can now move his wheelchair round the house. View on Police Oracle
  3. Road to new legislation is far from smooth for campaigners The chaos that has engulfed Parliament amid Brexit may hinder the progress of eagerly awaited draft laws which would enhance legal protection for officers who pursue helmetless moped riders. The Police Federation for England and Wales (PFEW) cautiously welcomed the news last May that the Home Office was drafting legislation to ensure skilled police drivers are “protected”. PFEW was awaiting the results of the government’s consultation when it received the news there will no longer be time in the parliamentary diary because Brexit-related work must take priority. Instead, the Home Office hopes the same ends will be achieved through Sir Henry Bellingham’s Emergency Response Drivers private members bill. It was originally introduced as a ten-minute bill in December 2017 but was shelved after government objections in March. The bill was due to have its second reading on November 23 but Sir Christopher Chope, who is notorious for blocking private member’s bill on principle, raised an objection. Sir Christopher invoked the ire of activists earlier this year when he blocked the progress of a bill to make upskirting a separate offence and Finn’s Law, which would increase the penalties for those who injure police animals. This, however, did not stop him submitting several of his own private members bills last month. The Emergency Response Drivers Bill second reading has been rescheduled to March. PFEW Pursuits Lead Tim Rogers, who has been campaigning to change the law for more than seven years, told Police Oracle the government has some concerns the bill will not match the issues covered in the consultation and that it will include ambulance and fire engine drivers, who are not trained to the same standard as police officers. He said: “If you compare officers to the careful and competent drivers standard the techniques they use are illegal. “The deal officers get is 'as long nothing goes wrong that’s fine and we won’t do anything about it but when something does happen you’re on your own'. “Roads policing officers are highly trained professionals who go to work and carry out these manoeuvres every day but that isn’t recognised in law. “It’s just stupid. “Even the IOPC came out and said officers shouldn’t be compared to the careful and competent drivers standard.” Mr Rogers said Policing Minister Nick Hurd had given himself and PFEW chairman John Apter personal assurances last week he remained committed to the issue and will soon issue a ministerial statement confirming this is the case. It is still hoped the bill will gain Royal Assent by 2019/2020, he said. A Home Office spokesman said: “We recognise the difficult job that police drivers do every day to keep road users and the wider public safe. “That’s why we have worked closely with the Police Federation, other government departments and groups representing road users and those advocating road safety to review the law, guidance, procedures and processes surrounding police pursuits. “Ministers are expecting soon to be in a position to announce the next steps following the consultation. This will be subject to final clearance across government.” View on Police Oracle
  4. Disparity in mental health services a 'burning injustice' which must be 'put right', says Theresa May. Demand placed on police picking up pieces of struggling mental health services could be alleviated if the government considers a shake-up in an “outdated” law, an official report said. The review of the Mental Health Act (MHA), commissioned by the Prime Minister, has called for police cells to stop being used as a place of safety by 2023/24, and for detainees in crisis to be transferred to a health care setting via ambulances only. Not only will this ease pressure off police by ensuring mentally-ill people are transferred to healthcare professionals faster, but it will also be less traumatic for the detainee, the report said. However, the government needs to provide more funding for mental health services to make this possible, according to the review. It also recommends an amendment of Section 136 to allow a police officer to end detention in cases where it is clear a full MHA assessment is unnecessary. Health staff must carry out an objective risk assessment process to determine when officers can leave, and where there are disagreements, the escalation process should include the police duty sergeant or inspector and an NHS manager working to reach agreement, it added. A “disproportionate” number of black African or Caribbean detainees dying in custody should also prompt the College of Policing to update its Equality Improvement Model to include a “greater focus” on mental health and ethnic minority issues for forces to “demonstrate progress against equality objectives,” the report said. It is also supporting the move towards custody suites being commissioned by NHS England with oversight and regulation from the Care Quality Commission – recommended in Dame Elish Angiolini’s report on serious incidents and deaths in custody. These suggestions are now being considered by the government ahead of the creation of a new Mental Health Bill in the New Year. Changes to legislation which will give mental health patients more control over their care have already been approved. People will be able to nominate a person of their choice to be involved in decisions made about their care and can express their preferences for care and treatment. Prime Minister Theresa May said: “The disparity in our mental health services is one of the burning injustices this country faces that we must put right. “For decades it has somehow been accepted that if you have a mental illness you will not receive the same access to treatment as if you have a physical ailment. Well, that is not acceptable. “I commissioned this review because I am determined to make sure those suffering from mental health issues are treated with dignity and respect, with their liberty and autonomy respected. “By bringing forward this historic legislation – the new Mental Health Bill – we can ensure people are in control of their care, and are receiving the right treatment and support they need." National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for Mental Health, CC Mark Collins said: "We welcome the recommendations in the report following our close work with Sir Simon Wessely. “People experiencing a mental health crisis are not criminals - they're unwell, vulnerable and often frightened. Police cars and police cells are no place for those who need medical support, and forces have worked to halve the number of instances where vulnerable people are kept in custody. “Members of the public rightly want the police out fighting crime, and the recommendations in this report will ensure there is reduced demand on policing to respond to those who need a more appropriate form of care.” Association of Police and Crime Commissioners mental health lead, Matthew Scott , said: “People experiencing mental ill health need the right care from the right person at the right time. That also means the right place. “And whilst police officers will and do always do their best to help, this care is better provided in a health setting not a police cell, and by trained professionals not police officers. “Members of the public rightly want the police out fighting crime, not picking up the pieces for other agencies. “I hope that with these reforms, and the extra investment the government is putting into crisis services, we can get people the care they need and reduce demand on policing.” Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, said: "This outdated legislation has seen thousands of people experience poor, sometimes appalling, treatment, who still live with the consequences to this day. We are pleased to see that many of our concerns – and those of the people we represent and have supported to feed into the review – have been heard.” View on Police Oracle
  5. Met officer numbers forecast to fall to 'lowest level since 2002' without extra funding, warns mayor Sadiq Khan. Policing is set for a “double your money” council tax windfall to fight the rising tide of violent crime as officer number forecasts for Britain’s biggest force predict the lowest level since 2002 – unless funding increases. London mayor Sadiq Khan claims Metropolitan Police numbers could drop to 26,800 if further savings are demanded from the force. Mr Khan is due to meet the Home Secretary Sajid Javid on Tuesday to discuss the police funding settlement for next year, amid reports a provisional agreement has been brokered with Chancellor Philip Hammond and Communities Secretary James Brokenshire to increase the precept charged by local authorities on behalf of forces. The amount police and crime commissioners will be able to impose will rise from £1 a month to £2 a month from April 2019 – an extra £24 per household each year – which could raise around £450 million for forces in England and Wales, according to the report. The government is expected to make an announcement next week. As well as the increase in council tax, it is understood the Home Office and Treasury could also commit another £170 million to general police funding. But the London force is required to make a further £335 million worth of savings by 2022, according to Mr Khan's office, basing its figures on "updated and detailed" calculations by the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime ahead of the Mayor's next budget. The figure is £10 million more than previous forecasts, claiming it could lead to officer numbers falling to their lowest level since 2002. The forecast projects that by 2022, further planned cuts will take Metropolitan Police officer numbers down to 26,800, for a population of more than nine million people. When officer numbers were last that low, London’s population was seven million. Until 2010 officer numbers were broadly holding at around the 30,000 mark or just above. In that year it had 33,367 officers for a population of 8,054,000, meaning it had 4.1 police officers per thousand people. Now it has 29,654 officers for a population of nine million, or 3.3 officers per thousand people, and the number of officers is forecast to fall, despite London’s population growing since the start of this century – and forecast to hit 10 million by 2030. Historically, London has had more officers per hundred thousand population than other big urban forces because the capital is seen as having more complex needs. The budget forecast also takes account of a change in police pensions which will require Scotland Yard to meet an increase in its annual pension bill of £104 million from 2020, equivalent to more than 1,700 officers, the Mayor's office added. It said the calculations were made on the basis that Mr Khan will increase the policing element of the council tax precept by 5.1 per cent, or £12 per household – half the reported future rise. This would raise an additional £49 million which is equivalent to 800 police officers, the office added. Mr Khan said: "The causes of violent crime are extremely complex, but there is no doubt it has been made far worse by huge government cuts to the police and youth services. "Even the Home Secretary has finally admitted that the Met won't be able to tackle violent crime without more funding from the Government. "Now we urgently need to see action to avoid officer numbers falling even further. "Government cuts have led to London losing 3,000 police officers and more than 3,000 PCSOs and 5,000 police staff and I'm genuinely concerned about how we keep Londoners safe with officer numbers as low as 26,800. "Ministers need to reverse the £1 billion savings forced on the Met and reverse their cuts on youth services and other preventative services so that we can keep our city safe." Police chiefs nationally are threatening to sue the government unless it relieves the new financial burden placed on forces by the government’s decision on police pensions. View on Police Oracle
  6. But EU is yet to make any promises. The Home Secretary is maintaining claims a “very good” security deal has been reached with the EU post-Brexit despite a draft paper published last month giving no such assurances. The Prime Minister and Home Office officials have repeatedly stated the EU is keen to forge a close security partnership after Brexit. Chiefs have been clear close co-operation on security and policing benefits the entire European Union and losing Europol membership would also threaten the safety of citizens on the other side of the Channel. But EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier made it clear earlier this year Theresa May's "red lines" would mean it was impossible to remain in the European Arrest Warrant. And Prime Minister Theresa May’s draft Brexit agreement, published in November, gave no guaranteed access to crucial databases or confirmation agreements will continue after an initial transition period. The 585-page document states the UK will only be able to use the vital Schengen Information System for a maximum of three months after the transition period and Europol’s SIENA platform for one year. Article 8 says the UK will cease “to be entitled to access any network, any information system and any database established on the basis of Union law”. But this afternoon Home Secretary Sajid Javid told MPs at the House of Commons he is “sure we can reach an agreement”. Labour MP Nick Thomas-Symonds asked: “When will the government actually act to stop this diminishing of our ability to tackle crime?" He said: “Tackling online crime has to of course be cross border and yet the government has failed to get the Schengen Information System or SIS2 and European Criminal Record Information System included in their political declaration. “It hasn’t identified exactly what our relationship with Europol or Eurojust is going to be going forward and we only have vague promises on the benefits of maintaining the European Arrest Warrant.” Mr Javid responded: “The honourable gentleman will know from the information we’ve already published that we have reached a good agreement on future security cooperations so for example on things like passenger name records on DNA and other important databases. “That is something we will continue to work together on.” He went further when MP David Hanson demanded: “Are we to be members of Europol in this brave new world or simply shadowing and incorporating with them?” Mr Javid hinted full-blown Europol membership is still on the cards. He said: “We have an agreement with the EU. A draft agreement that gives us a very close relationship with the EU on security and cooperation and it includes considering membership of Europol.” View on Police Oracle
  7. Force says new officer brings with him a 'raft of strategic management and leadership experience'. A former Home Office civil servant is now a superintendent at Hertfordshire Constabulary. Marc Attwell has joined the force through the Home Office-backed direct entry scheme. He is one of four recruits who started through the programme across forces in England this month. The former official who spent time in both the department’s immigration office and policy office is Hertfordshire’s first ever person hired through the scheme which brings people with no prior policing experience to upper ranks of the service. Earlier this year, Sir Philip Rutnam, the most senior Home Office civil servant said he was “delighted” by the progression of his former “close colleague” through the scheme. The department has been instrumental in the introduction of the programme to a sometimes reluctant police service. A spokesman for Hertfordshire Constabulary said this week: “The programme opens up the police service to professionals who bring different experience and professional perspective from other sectors into the police family. “With a significant service in the Home Office and someone who has seen active service as an army reservist in Iraq, Marc Attwell brings a raft of strategic management and leadership experience into Hertfordshire Constabulary. “He will be working alongside highly experienced senior officers and police staff as we continue our drive to improve the services we provide to the public.” When Police Oracle revealed Sir Philip’s colleague was on the scheme, the then Hampshire Police Federation chairman John Apter pointed out that direct entry was originally sold as a way to bring leading business people into the service. He added: “It now sounds almost like the Home Office want to get the people into it […]. “It could turn out to be good thing in a way, because they may report back to their friends about how badly policing is being treated.” The College of Policing said all applicants are assessed to the same standard, regardless of background and that as police officers they would always act independently. View on Police Oracle
  8. It's a different form of public service without the politics'. What does a former police and crime commissioner do with their spare time when they are no longer in office? The answer for Olly Martins involved getting a warrant card. That’s because the former Bedfordshire PCC, who governed from 2012-2016, is now a special constable on Merseyside. By day a local government officer, the ex-politician now serves law enforcement in an area he represented as a councillor in Liverpool from 1995-2003. SC Martins did not approach this website to promote what he is doing, but after our reporter had heard about his service and made contact with him, he agreed to speak. So, why did he decide to join the special constabulary? “I spent quite a lot of my time as PCC promoting the specials because I saw specials are the epitome of that Peelian principle: the public are the police and the police are the public,” he said. “I know that Merseyside values the sort of outside experience that the specials can bring, that kind of link back into communities that people who are doing it part time and on a voluntary basis can bring to the force. “I used to ride along with our specials in Bedfordshire and I said if I ever lost office I would want to be a special. Even though there’s probably no one who remembers me making that promise I still feel like I’m keeping a promise.” He was attested in March after six months of training, and now serves in the Speke area on a community team – which carries out a combination of preventative and engagement work. “In a way I’m a little bit envious because that’s the kind of capacity that Beds really struggles to have. Although Merseyside has lost 1,000 officers it’s still better resourced than I was used to in Bedfordshire, but only just,” he said. Has anything surprised him about the role? “If anything the challenges are even greater than I was able to observe before – the resources and the risks that police officers face on behalf of the public.” On how he is treated by regular officers in the force, he praised the way in which specials are fully integrated into local policing on Merseyside. He added: “I, and I think it’s the same for other specials, we get nothing but respect from regulars when we turn up after our day job to help them police Merseyside. “Historically I’m not sure that’s always been the case […] but particularly in the current climate where people are going to be single-crewed and they’ve got a special working with them they’re not single-crewed.” But the role is not the only one the former PCC does for free – he is a longstanding member of the army reserve, but says the two roles are quite different, with the special service involving a lot more application of the training he has received. In our interview, SC Martins made repeated reference to his time in office, noting he enjoys his new day job though he would “prefer to have been re-elected” and also that serving as a special has confirmed some of the theories he had about the nature of offending and how to stop it occurring. So, if the opportunity arises would he want to be a PCC again? “Never say never, but at the moment I’m enjoying being out of the political cut and thrust. “I was deeply immersed in politics for over 20 years so I kind of feel like I’ve done my time. I’m a local government officer so I’m not party political. […] I am quite enjoying that. “And it’s a different form of public service without the politics." View on Police Oracle
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. 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
  20. 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
  21. 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
  22. 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
  23. 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
  24. 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
  25. 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

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