Category Archives: Police

In The Hood

A suspect arrest a short while back
has caused the police to get some flack.
The suspect chose to struggle and fight
the officers using all their might
could not contain this fight, this war
they had to take him to the floor.

The struggle went on
and on and on.

An arm swung up, “look out a fist!”
A cuff placed swiftly on a wrist.
Cuffed, restrained nowhere to go
but with a crowd he made a show.

Immobilised legs, arms no use
with nothing else he hurled abuse.
The crowd recorded with their phones
every cry, wail and groan.
Live video and vines on a loop
on YouTube this will be a scoop.

This will be an Internet hit.
The cops had used all their kit.

With arms and legs out of play
and nothing more he could say
he played his final gambit
spit spit spit

He missed but ohh this was not good.
But wait the cops had a spit hood.
This man was a total stranger
infection was a real danger.
Swiftly placed upon the head
his ill intentions were put to bed.
Bystanders and what they saw
caused outrage, shock and uproar.

Foul behaviour cut off mid flow.
The cops knew they had to go.
On his feet they took their man
and lodged him securely in a van.

The suspect may not ever tell
of what he thought whilst in that cell.
Yet despite how spit hoods might appear
causing shock, anger or fear.
The cops who engaged in that fight
went home to loved ones safe that night.

Civilised society to you and me
is often not what we cops see.
The nasty underbelly of life
can cause gentler folk some strife.
This is just what we cops do.
Fight for our safety, me and you.

PokémonGO or PokémonNO?

The new game sweeping the USA and coming here soon. PokemonGO
A rehash of the old game but now the gamer has to navigate around the game in the real world by GPS location and augmented reality. 
Gamers need to be aware of their own surroundings when out in public with a phone in their hand. It will no doubt be great fun but less so if they cross a road or injure themselves because they are not looking where they are going.
Players can lay a lure to attract Pokemon. What if the lure is laid by those intent on subjecting gamers to crime? 
Those playing the game should have fun but must be situationally aware to reduce their chances of becoming victims of crime. 
Sadly, video footage already exists of gamers hunting down Pokemon whilst driving. This is no different to the issues around the #DontStreamAndDrive campaign. Distracted driving kills. In the case of the latter it can only be #PokemonNO

#ProudToProtect

Unlike many of my colleagues around the country, I didn’t grow up always wanting to be a police officer. Policing was just a career option that crossed my radar and looked appealing. Good pay and conditions, promotion opportunities and a huge range of specialisms to diversify into all under one roof. I explored the options and submitted my application form.

On a Monday morning just over 25yrs ago I pulled my car into the Sedgley Park training school at Manchester to begin a job that has been brilliant and bloody awful.

It’s a job where I have cried laughing and a job where I have lost friends and just cried. A job that has occasionally made me hard and insensitive, yet, at other times, filled me with compassion and empathy and pushed me to go that extra mile.

I’ve seen the best that society has to offer and the worst we humans can do to one another.

There really is no job anything like it. It’s been a roller coaster of exhilaration, excitement and fun tempered by frustration, hurt, mundanity and outright “scared to death” fear. Much like every other persons job, there are good days and bad days. There are days when I love the job and other times when I’d gladly walk out of the door and never come back.

So why am I still here? Service? Duty? A calling? The pay, pension and job security? If I’m truly honest it’s a combination of all these factors and many more. Ironically, those of us working in the police service call it ‘the job’. Yet policing is so much more than just a job. It’s a vocation. I don’t really know where it came from but the seeds of my early career grew into patience, wisdom (I hope) and a sense of duty. An honestly held belief that in between the tears, pain, blood, sweat and tears I was making a positive life difference to the person that needed it most at that time. Protecting and offering shelter and support to those people who need it most. Sometimes this has meant stepping well out of our area of responsibility to do something not because we should but because we care. There is no greater feeling of job satisfaction I know. Winning a contract or hitting a sales target just doesn’t come close.

Over the years I’ve worked with some people who have let the side down and made my job all the more difficult. I’ve also worked with people with whom I have put my life in their hands and they in mine. There is an amazing strength in a family and the police service is just that. There is also my own family. A wife and children who support and love me. Without them the whole thing would simply crumble.
I’m proud of myself, I’m proud of my family, I’m proud of my colleagues and for 25yrs I have been #ProudToProtect

For @newkiddswagg

Hugely disappointed that you have blocked me on Periscope because my important message has not yet reached you. 
I’m trying to think of a way I can get your attention and help you to realise how dangerous streaming and driving is. 
I’m sure you are an honest and caring man and would not want to hurt anyone. As a man of faith (as I am) I find it increasingly difficult to reconcile your driving and scoping with a man who loves his neighbour as himself.
If your child or a family member were run down and killed by a driver who was streaming, driving, reading the comments, giving a presentation, not looking at the road ahead and regularly had no hands on the wheel for considerable lengths of time you would be rightly upset. 
You may be able, in time, to forgive but that would not bring your loved one back. How would you feel if you were the driver?
I don’t intend to spam you or troll you. I hope and pray to God that you see sense and stop this dangerous behaviour. I’m sure if you look at this clinically you know it makes sense. No matter how much fun can be had with Periscope it must not be from behind the wheel of a moving car. 
Please please #DontStreamAndDrive

In Pursuit of Drivers

There was a pursuit underway. I was a fortunate passenger in the divisional van as I had no driving authority and would normally be out on foot patrol. Traffic cops were running the pursuit on the VHF car sets they had. We only had our UHF radios but there was a traffic officer somewhere relaying location updates for the car being pursued on our channel.

“It’s coming this way” said my colleague. We parked up in a quiet side street along the main road and waited. “Here it is. Here it is!” my partner shouted. Excitement filled his voice and he wasn’t alone. My heart was racing and was full of adrenalin. The “bandit car” flew past us at well over 70mph in a 30 but we didn’t turn a tyre. Why? Because it was rapidly followed by a fully liveried traffic car with everything on. Then another, and another and another and a plain unmarked car with a Kojak lamp and another traffic car, a dog van and more. It seemed to last forever. A whole daisy chain of vehicles at least 10.. probably closer to 15 .. were officially “behind” it. That’s before counting all the local pandas that were not behind it but positioning themselves in places in anticipation of the vehicle being abandoned.

The pursuit ended in a crash. Not a bad one if I recall correctly and the two lads in the car were locked up. There were many smiling traffic cops and much back patting and recounting of some of the more exciting moments of the pursuit. There was definitely a feel good factor. Stolen car recovered. Baddies locked up. Primary policing duty complete.

Cops 1:0 Baddies

It took several more years for me to find myself behind the wheel of a traffic car. A post I held for 7 years and, if not for transferring forces, would probably still be there now.

At this time we didn’t have a helicopter and we didn’t have advanced TPAC tactics. We chased. We chased until we lost them, they crashed or they abandoned the car and tried to make off on foot.

Gradually, over the years, the whole way pursuits were managed and run began to change. They have continued to change and be modified ever since. It was fairly obvious that things had to change. A local car thief was, at one point, stealing cars with one purpose in mind. To get into a chase with the police. He loved it. It was a drug to him. The cops loved it too though. We were chasing down a villain but we were having a good time doing it. We chased him all over the division and beyond. Looking back he took ridiculous risks and in many ways deserved to be dead. As the pursuits continued his risks increased. It was a very unpopular, but sensible Inspector who asked one day, “Is it definitely person A driving the car?” The replies came back “Yes Boss. Definitely him”. What came next was not what the traffic cops were expecting but was the most sensible thing to do based against the risks this young man was taking. “Ok. We know who he is. We can get him to court other ways. Call off the pursuit.”

So began the change in the way we started to deal with pursuits.

This week I undertook pursuit training. Not to sit in the driving seat again but to oversee, authorise (or not) and manage any pursuits in my area from the control room. It brought back many happy memories and I could have easily spent the whole day talking war stories! During the course we were shown a number of videos. Two in particular stood out.

The first one was footage about this incident from 2001. Burglars were pursued and eventually went the wrong way down a dual carriageway at speeds in excess of 100mph. The police officers followed them. The fleeing burglars were involved in a head on crash with an innocent motorist. The burglars car burst into flames and all 3 died. The driver of the other vehicle also lost his life. The video concluded with a spokesperson outside of a court saying the officers actions had been proportionate and had done nothing wrong.

Then there was this one from Hampshire Police. I remember this case well and observe a text book drive. The officer, PC Holden, was taken to court for dangerous driving. After a long drawn out process the matter went before a jury who concluded he had done nothing wrong. Sadly, after all the pressure and stress of the case PC Holden then left the force. The local police federation said he had been ‘prosecuted for doing his job’.

The two cases are quite stark. I was a traffic officer in 2001 and would never EVER have gone on the wrong carriageway of a dual carriageway. I would have done my best to keep with it by being on the correct one. The decision the officers made though was seen to be correct and they faced no prosecution. Yet jump forward 11yrs and how PC Holden was prosecuted and it stands to reason that the change in mindset would have those officers from 2001 in the big house for manslaughter.

The one thing that was fairly obvious from the two videos was that as time goes on the actions of the fleeing vehicle become more dangerous. Bursting a red light at 70 and getting away with instils a confidence in the mind of the driver that it was ok. They run another and another.

The driver in Hampshire increases speed, runs red lights, goes the wrong side of bollards, navigates a roundabout the wrong way and eventually bursts through a level crossing. The consequences of that could have been enormous.

The early video shows the drivers increasing speed and risks and then continuing those speeds on the wrong carriageway of a dual carriageway in the dark.

My observations of these driver’s behaviour drew me to my #DontStreamAndDrive campaign . I have watched many broadcasts by streaming drivers since I began looking at this issue in earnest. Some have been repeat offenders. Yet with each driver, they stream once and if they don’t crash then the assumption is that it must be ok. They stream again and nothing happens…  their confidence grows and increases and the risks increase with that. Eyes are off the road longer. More comments are read. Drivers ‘perform’ a little more. The phone is adjusted and the camera flipped. All the time adding more elements into the mix of driving that shouldn’t be there. Actions that put them and every other road user at risk. Yet they don’t see it because nothing has happened. Until…..

This is why #DontStreamAndDrive is so important. Screen Shot 2016-02-28 at 20.41.52Many streaming drivers if presented with footage of another driver streaming would readily accept it was dangerous. Yet when they get behind the wheel of their car it’s ok. This disconnect needs to be addressed. This is why I need your help. This is why I need you to sign up to the Thunderclap and get behind the campaign. If you already have thank you. If you haven’t yet then please do. You might just save a life.

In the meantime I will continue to identify and challenge those drivers I see who are livestreaming. So oddly, although my advanced ticket has expired and I drive a desk in the control room instead of a high powered car, I am still in pursuit of drivers.

Please help me drive this message home. Join the Thunderclap, spread the word and get involved with me on April 8th.