30 May 2007

Mythbusters: blues 'n' twos & teabreaks

Popular misconceptions of policing: when a police car goes through a red traffic light on blue lights and 2-tone "audible warning signal" only to stop both immediately upon getting to the other side of the junction, the officers within that car are late for their dinners, and are just trying to make better progress towards the holy kebab.
Truth: when a call comes through on the radio, different units volunteer for that call if they are free, often several units per call, especially if it is an "I" call (I="immediate", ie get there quickly - someone is in danger or some offence is in progress and there is a realistic chance of doing some good by getting there asap). This is called "putting up" for a call. The radio controller assigns the several units and whoever gets there first assesses whether other units (officers OR cars are counted as "units") are still needed to attend. The radio communication might go, "Cancel any further to Letsbe Avenue", "Full cancellation" or, occasionally, the slightly less professional addition, "it's L.O.B."*
The marked police unit, now having no need or justification for speeding through junctions, treating red traffic lights as Give Way, proceed-with-caution signs any more, cancels the blue lights and 2-tones and reduces to the regular level of speed and driving proficiency of the rest of the driving public (ie probably too fast, on their mobiles, no seat-belts and up the car in front's bum-hole).
And if there happens to be a nice cup of tea and a kebab at the end of that journey, all's well and good, but the officers you've just slagged off were probably diverting from the highlight of the day - REFS! - in order to take the emergency call in the first place, so leave them alone! Grr...
* LOB = silliness, inconsequential trifle.

26 May 2007

Integrity is non-negotiable!

This is the mantra of the Met Police.

From the first day you step through the gates at Hendon, this is the message you get; your first few weeks of training are based around hammering in this message; and it's part of the gateway to every daily on-line briefing.

We're also increasingly accountable: our Safer Neighbourhood Teams are contactable by mobile 'phone by members of the public (usually known as MOPs), they meet with the public once a month to listen to their concerns, they spend their patrolling lives checking with people and talking in the street. Our pay is transparent, published, auditable and accountable*; the powers that be are now talking about conducting disciplinary proceedings in public (not their best idea, IMHO, but no doubt it'll keep some bloody civvie in the MPA or IPCC happy so no doubt at all it'll happen).

Politicians, however, for whom WE vote (or don't, as poor turnouts for elections and spoiled ballot papers attest), as well as voting in their own pay deals and expenses, have now decided that this is too much scrutiny on them. They have decided that this information is too much for the UK public to take in. We are not to be trusted with such things as how much our MPs earn, how much they fiddle their postage stamp and wives=secretaries expenses, and how they spend their days. You see we, the British public in public roles, are accountable to anyone who asks.

But politicians? EXEMPT!

If I were a person of rank, which I'm not, I might be tempted to suggest that a revolution is required to tell these grasping power-crazed, nest-feathering mysanthropic morons exactly who their bosses are (a la then-Commander, now DAC Brian Paddick). However, I am not a person of rank, so I shall not. I shall just think it VERY LOUD to myself.

[if anyone does want to have a revolution, can you please do it with less than 5 days' notice on a couple of my rest days? I have a wife and cats to support and the prospect of a 1% pay deal this year].

* By the way, "Gripper" Reid is already trying to deny us this autumn's pay deal, as predicted by PC Bitseach some months ago.
My views are my own and would probably not endear me to my dear employers.