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Techie1

Two officers who went to McDonalds instead of attending emergency call set to keep their jobs

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Techie1

An inquest found the woman, who was found hanged, died before the police were called.

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A pair of Met PCs have been found to have committed misconduct when they failed to immediately attend a suicide incident.

PCs Tony Stephenson and Gavin Bateman were on duty together on April 15, 2015, when a call came in for a vulnerable woman who was classed as a danger to herself and others. 

The 22-year-old woman had sent suicidal texts to a friend and was not answering her door, the call was graded 'S' for 'significant risk' meaning officers are required to attend as soon as possible and in a maximum of 60 minutes. 

Instead of going straight to the call, PCs Bateman and Stephenson went to a nearby branch of McDonalds and bought cups of tea before heading to Leamouth Road Roundabout in east London. 

Whilst there they completed paperwork from an earlier incident and made a call to the informant to obtain more detail about the vulnerable young woman. 

At a misconduct hearing at the Empress State Building today a panel chaired by Akbar Khan found the officers had committed misconduct, rather than the more serious charge of gross misconduct, increasing their chances of remaining in the service.

Mr Khan said: "The officers accepted that they breached standards of professional behaviour.

"From the outset the panel wishes to state that it accepts that the late attendance must not be conflated with the sad death (of the vulnerable woman).

"Both officers did not adequately or properly asses the information on the CAD in terms of the risk posed to her.

"The delay in attending was not justified and was not in accordance with the guidance, you should have proceeded (to the incident) straight away.

"It was accepted that the IPCC concluded that the call should have been graded as an 'I' call but the panel noted this has no bearing on its findings in this case.

"It was submitted by both representatives that the basis of their clients understanding of the grading was the MDT user manual of guidance policy and their training in it.

"Accordingly the panel finds that there was an absence of evidence to find that both officers were trained adequately.

"Given the inconsistencies between the NCTS and the MDT guidance the panel finds there was a gap in their knowledge in that they should have understood they should have attended within a maximum of 60 minutes rather than up to 60 minutes.

"The panel accepts that the delay was 22 minutes rather than 33 minutes.

"The panel has also accepted evidence of good character on behalf of both officers and has taken into account their conscientiousness to their duties since the incident and that this was an isolated incident. 

"The panel finds on the balance of probabilities that the officers have breached the standards as alleged by the appropriate authority.

"In all of the circumstances the panel finds the breaches of standards by both officers amount to misconduct only and not gross misconduct."

The panel is due to make a decision on sanctions, if any, against both officers tomorrow. 

The hearing continues.

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Cathedral Bobby

I think they have been lucky

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Growley
Just now, Cathedral Bobby said:

I think they have been lucky

Really? I think on the facts we have they may have been treated rather harshly.

Response teams in the Met (and most places I'm sure) rarely get a refs break; the only chance you get to grab refreshments and have a comfort break are on the way to non-emergency calls.

As always I'm sure there was more to it, and I don't consider myself qualified on the facts to make any kind of conclusive judgement, but it does seem like two cops may have ended up in the brown stuff for trying to make the system work.

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NCFPA
I think they have been lucky


You mean you think they should've been sacked?


Sent from my iPhone using Police Community

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Cathedral Bobby

Sorry I must have deleted the end of my post which should have read 'I think they have been lucky to have had a sensible panel, a nice change'.

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Policey_Man
2 hours ago, Growley said:

Really? I think on the facts we have they may have been treated rather harshly.

Response teams in the Met (and most places I'm sure) rarely get a refs break; the only chance you get to grab refreshments and have a comfort break are on the way to non-emergency calls.

As always I'm sure there was more to it, and I don't consider myself qualified on the facts to make any kind of conclusive judgement, but it does seem like two cops may have ended up in the brown stuff for trying to make the system work.

I saw the hearing notice for this a few weeks back, and like you, I thought that this was a bit harsh. I can't count the number of times when I've accepted ASB S grades en route to other calls, just to get them off the list because I can pass them on the way or when I've been asked by the skippers to get assigned to an outstanding call whilst doing paperwork or having refs. Officers do a lot to make the system work but then aren't backed up.

Based on the information available to us that these officers are in the wrong for not going straight to a call as soon as it was assigned to them, because they got refs and did some admin (that's what the official hearing notice says), I for one won't be accepting or allowing myself to be assigned to calls in the future when I'm doing other things beforehand.

I would also suggest that CCC needs to take some responsibility here too, because they are really bad at times. A suicidal female with risk attached should always have been an I grade. I was assigned to an S grade robbery some time back, where the CAD stated the victim had seen a knife and items were taken. It was only once we got there that we discovered the victim had actually been stabbed... LAS of course, had not been called as the stabbing wasn't on the CAD. We considered getting a coffee on the way to that.... fortunately we didn't and given that we were so close, we arrived within about 3 minutes of the call coming out. That was very lucky for all concerned!

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Growley
10 hours ago, Policey_Man said:

I for one won't be accepting or allowing myself to be assigned to calls in the future when I'm doing other things beforehand.

Indeed. The Fed have been pushing their 'Do it right' campaign for a while now, and whilst most people ignore it, it's times like this where doing things properly and not trying to make the system work for the job would've kept the officers concerned out of trouble.

 

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Policey_Man
2 hours ago, Growley said:

Indeed. The Fed have been pushing their 'Do it right' campaign for a while now, and whilst most people ignore it, it's times like this where doing things properly and not trying to make the system work for the job would've kept the officers concerned out of trouble.

I thought the 'Do It Now' had ended a while back... the website is dead for it. Shame really as it was a good campaign and there was a lot of useful stuff on there that could have guided young in service officers.

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Cathedral Bobby

I don't think there is any question these officers were in the wrong, but I am pleased it hasn't ended up being a career ending disciplinary process. There are lessons for us all here. Urgent means urgent.

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Remmy
45 minutes ago, Cathedral Bobby said:

I don't think there is any question these officers were in the wrong, but I am pleased it hasn't ended up being a career ending disciplinary process. There are lessons for us all here. Urgent means urgent.

Yes lessons for the organisation I suspect calls are purposely misgraded to avoid embarrassing performance figures.  

If it is an it is an incident that requires an urgent response, which this clearly was, then within an hour is not an urgent response by any definition I know of.

If the incident had been graded correctly, I have no doubt that the officers would have responded appropriately avoiding this little witch hunt.

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Cathedral Bobby
9 minutes ago, Remmy said:

Yes lessons for the organisation I suspect calls are purposely misgraded to avoid embarrassing performance figures.  

If it is an it is an incident that requires an urgent response, which this clearly was, then within an hour is not an urgent response by any definition I know of.

If the incident had been graded correctly, I have no doubt that the officers would have responded appropriately avoiding this little witch hunt.

Totally agree Remmy an dc one of the reasons it is always best when a dispatcher is/has been a cop. One of the reasons I was against the civilianisation of control rooms.

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HazRat

There have been issues for as long as I can remember about inappropriate grading of calls. I'm not going to say officers should fight back because often their trying to make the job work. However, based in this incident I would suggest officers become a bit more militant and if they are dealing with something then tell the controller that they are dealing. If they are assigned a second incident, either reject it or make an entry that they are dealing with incident X and not available. If they don't get time to take a refs or get a drink raise a near miss. 

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Cathedral Bobby
3 minutes ago, HazRat said:

There have been issues for as long as I can remember about inappropriate grading of calls. I'm not going to say officers should fight back because often their trying to make the job work. However, based in this incident I would suggest officers become a bit more militant and if they are dealing with something then tell the controller that they are dealing. If they are assigned a second incident, either reject it or make an entry that they are dealing with incident X and not available. If they don't get time to take a refs or get a drink raise a near miss. 

Don't know how long you have been in the job HazRat, but in 1985 and up until the early 2000s the quality of grading was better when police officers were dispatchers. Having an understanding about the job on the street gave police dispatchers a far better judgment of risk or the issues an officer may be facing, which civilian dispatchers don't have and will have difficulty gaining such experience. I remember seeing a petrol bomb being thrown in front of me, a single officer on foot. I called for urgent assistance and swore in doing so (these b*****s are have petrol bombs), to which a civilian dispatcher's response was to warn me to maintain correct radio procedure before directing support to my location. I didn't feel my welfare was high up on their list of priorities.

 

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ForceHQ
18 minutes ago, Cathedral Bobby said:

Don't know how long you have been in the job HazRat, but in 1985 and up until the early 2000s the quality of grading was better when police officers were dispatchers. Having an understanding about the job on the street gave police dispatchers a far better judgment of risk or the issues an officer may be facing, which civilian dispatchers don't have and will have difficulty gaining such experience. I remember seeing a petrol bomb being thrown in front of me, a single officer on foot. I called for urgent assistance and swore in doing so (these b*****s are have petrol bombs), to which a civilian dispatcher's response was to warn me to maintain correct radio procedure before directing support to my location. I didn't feel my welfare was high up on their list of priorities.

 

I agree with your point entirely, however in this day and ag£, it wont happen. The only cops we have in the control room are specials and cops who are sent back for a shift or two to keep there hand in, in case of workforce issues. Having said that, there are some very good very capable dispatchers that get it. I think they get it because the invest in a relationship ship with those on the other end of the raido. speaking to them and knowing how it works there end. 

As a stop gap I think it would be beneficial for dispatchers to come out on ride along type days, id also counter that with the idea that cops should go and observer what the control room staff are dealing with so cops understand why a phone call might take a bit of time to arrange and why the control room ask for an email for a long job update etc...

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Cathedral Bobby
24 minutes ago, ForceHQ said:

As a stop gap I think it would be beneficial for dispatchers to come out on ride along type days, id also counter that with the idea that cops should go and observer what the control room staff are dealing with so cops understand why a phone call might take a bit of time to arrange and why the control room ask for an email for a long job update etc...

I think you make a valid point, but with retirement age extensions there could also be a prioritisation for older officers who are coming toward the end of their service to end it by bringing their experience/expertise into the control room. Wishful thinking me thinks

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