Red tape not red ribbons are the mark of Theresa May

Our Home Secretary, who had fleeting fame as Gadget’s red-tape slicing paramour, has gone to ground.  One of the last ones fades in memory as supplier of pornography to husband on the tax-payer and routine second-home expenses thief.  Had the News of the Screws still been with us we might now have some dreadful headlines of a very politically uncorrect nature on the international love affair of the former defence secretary.

The Brodie Clark affair isn’t the sort that sells newspapers.  He just doesn’t look the sort to have blue-rinsed and had the misfortune to live next door to a murder.  Our press and sadly our own desires for scandal remain pathetic.  Apart from dire human nature, I wonder whether one of the reasons for this is the general secrecy that pervades our system – pace Heather Brookes.

Even Keith (reformed) Vaz’s parliamentary committee can’t get to see relevant documents in the Border Agency scandal and it seems some of them will be suppressed until January.  Sky News – between ‘Scumbagaloan’ adverts – is saying Brodie did breach his instructions from the Home Secretary by not doing fingerprint checks as this was not spelled out in health and safety drivel.  Far from cutting red tape, the gone to ground Home Secretary (doing the opposite of PACE in relying on not saying anything now or indeed until January if she can get away with it) is relying on it.  The first thing we have to do when queues at our major airport get restive is whip out reams of paperwork on health and safety, ensuring the means to deal with the problem are contained within?

The message, part from the dire ‘falling out’ amongst these gawps, is that you’d better forget any discretion and pay attention to the detail in page 21, paragraph x, clause y.  Or we’ll nail your career if it suit our purposes.  What can we expect such an existential mortgage-payer like Gadget to do under these pressures?

There can be no excuse for keeping the evidence secret whilst what’s in writing is poured over to save Ms May and vilify Brodie Clark.  I’d sack the CEO now on the basis that he wasn’t on the ground himself, given what was happening at the airports.  I believe Ms May has lied but don’t consider that much of an issue given the paucity of our politicians – I  think her mistake is in not sacking a swathe of the management for being so hapless.  Surely it can’t be that the job can’t be done because of cuts!


A Short Introduction To Literature On Police Corruption – full text Home Office – full text Home office Maurice Punch

This article has two themes. Firstly, that police corruption is not an individual aberration of an incidental nature that can be readily combated with temporary, repressive measures. The ‘new realism’ on this maintains that corruption and police misconduct are persistent and constantly recurring hazards generated by the organisation itself. Secondly, there is consensus on effective measures to tackle it and to promote integrity. Ingredients are strong leadership, a multi-faceted organisational strategy, a well-resourced internal affairs unit, proactive techniques of investigation, and persistent efforts to promote professional standards. The essence is a judicious and sophisticated balance between negative and positive social control. Policing is about the rule of law and due process: corruption and other forms of police deviance undermine the legitimacy of the police organisation and by implication the state. A ‘clean’ police is a crucial barometer of a healthy society. One can have few illusions about the difficulty of achieving this but a comparative review of the experience in four societies – USA, Great Britain, Belgium and the Netherlands – provides clear indicators about reform, control and leadership in fostering integrity and in tackling corruption.


The literature on police corruption tends to be dominated by North American studies of widespread “grass-eating”. By contrast, this article examines scandals in three European societies (Belgium, the Netherlands and Great Britain) requiring analysis at the system level. In all of these instances, police deviance was unlike much of that in North America: there was either gross failure in the system to perform adequately or systemic rule-bending to achieve formal or informal institutional ends. The cases reveal that misconduct and/or failure to perform fostered significant scandals that implicated others within the criminal justice system and even beyond it. Understanding such upheavals requires cross-cultural attention to the specific social-political context. In addition, reform of police and justice agencies after major scandal demands proposals at the system level. Institutions often rationalize excesses with the “rotten apple” metaphor (human failure is the cause and can be swiftly rectified by removal). Here, the systemic emphasis is conveyed by the alternative metaphor of “rotten orchards”

Police Corruption: Deviance, Accountability and Reform in Policing – book, Maurice Punch:

The book portrays police corruption as consisting of many deviant and criminal practices in the context of policing that may change character over time. Corruption is defined in a broad, multifaceted way that has the common thread of abuse of policing authority and the trust of the community. Its most serious forms involve criminal conspiracies that use specialized professional knowledge, contacts, and power to both commit crimes and evade detection. Typologies of corruption are identified, along with the forms of corruption that emerge in diverse policing environments. Also discussed are the pathways officers may take into corruption and their rationalizations for their corrupt and criminal behaviors. The book rejects the overarching portrayal of police corruption as caused by a few individual “bad apples” while promoting the metaphor of “bad orchards,” meaning that police corruption stems from corrupting police subcultures and temptations related to institutional failures and the nature of policing. Comparative analyses are made of police corruption, scandal, and reform in the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands. The analyses examine issues of control, accountability, and the new institutions of oversight, such as the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) for England and Wales, at a time when external oversight of police has become a prominent feature of anticorruption efforts. This book is intended as an overview of the topic of police corruption for students, academics, police and criminal justice officials, and members of oversight agencies. Chapter notes, approximately 400 references, and a subject index.

An examination of the ‘blue code of silence –  This paper examines the ‘Blue Code of Silence’ and its contribution to police corruption. After offering evidence for the existence of such a code, the paper locates the origins of the code in the work and culture of policing. The paper also examines cases, commission reports and an original case study to understand how the code is reinforced. Based on ‘participant observation’ research of the New York County Prosecutor’s Official Corruption Unit, the paper also illustrates how the code impedes investigations by police overseers. Finally, the paper discusses various measures to address the code of silence.

full text on Australian management changes. – This paper examines issues concerned with police corruption and its control in England and Wales. The topic of defining police corruption is addressed, some current areas of risk are described and anti-corruption strategies, particularly those pursued by the London Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), are examined. What appears qualitatively and quantitatively different in the approach of services such as the MPS and Merseyside Police is the use of an adequately resourced, dedicated anti-corruption unit. This strategy has been buttressed by preventative measures involving management/administration and ethics/training. Dedicated units have been controversial, and preventative measures raise questions concerning evaluation. Nevertheless the approach to corruption bears comparison with that adopted by other major police services in other jurisdictions and represents a break with previous and unsuccessful efforts at corruption control in major police forces in England and Wales. – a recent review with the first page available free.

Procedural Justice, Trust and Institutional Legitimacy by Mike Hough, Jonathan Jackson, Ben Bradford, Andy Myhill and Paul Quinton – a free pdf can be found by hitting the link at –,5 – the IPCC in their ‘half-submission to the Home Secretary state little empirical research on public attitudes towards police corruption.  This paper demonstrates much work has in fact been done in relating empirical experience with explanatory theory.

This post represents half an hour of work by me done without any university access to what turns out to be a massive literature described in parts as ‘an industry’.  The IPCC ‘half-report’can be found at – by clicking the link there.

My own reading has been done as research for a novel.  I don’t believe our cops are substantially corrupt.  I do believe our CJS is and that our police are the best part of this wider system.  What’s wrong is subject to debate and the main problem is we aren’t getting this done in proper public scrutiny.  Any ‘blue code of silence’ is dwarfed by our pathetic secrecy practices (a theme of Heather Brookes) and the medieval ‘superiority’ our ‘authorities gone mad’ exhibit in covering up mistakes whilst blathering about ‘learning lessons’.

The IPCC make some mention of Cheshire detectives getting a felon out of prison to nod various crimes – he ends up with a mobile phone back in jail, drugs and was allowed to see his girlfriend.  I can find no full published report.  What they do say is known ‘gaming’ practice – you can get plenty of information at thinblueline (Steve Bennett).  Such reports need to be published in full and subject to academic scrutiny.  I witnesses much the same more than 30 years ago.  The big question is less about a couple of low-level jacks offering some perks to a chummy and his munter and more about how this is encouraged by more senior culture – we have no idea whether this is even entertained by the force PSD or IPCC worthies.  I’ll admit to having handed a few of my own ‘bodies’ over to this system – but then I can now.

The embarrassing truth is very few crimes are detected a la Jack Regan or though intelligence or detective case work.  Some ‘Plod’ (no derision intended from me) doing his or her job bravely spots some likely criminal and applies arrest – and this asset gets sweated.  Or despite a massive detective case, say, the ‘Black Panther’ or ‘Yorkshire Ripper’ remains free until ‘some Plod’ asks ‘what’s in that bag then’ (a phrase that leaves out much bravery).  Many detective efforts are huge feats of bureaucratic effort – like the Morecambe Cockle Pickers – which makes good examples no less brilliant.  I’d guess detection rates are nearer 4% than claimed figures if we take out TICs and other ‘clear up’ gaming.

When some awful tosser starts up on ‘illiterate cops’ we should remember that Plato himself wouldn’t have had the balls to ask ‘what’s in that bag then?’ – and no lawyers do that kind of asking or face the sawn-off pulled out.  We might get rid of a lot of corruption by making police work easier and doing something genuinely statistical with TICs- matters beyond scope here.  Most people would have no clue about getting nods,coughs and the rest out of a bent bastard.  Does anyone who has ever dealt with one think them likely to do so out of remorse (which they act) or ‘concerned citizenship’?  They do so through inducements.  Cops at the bottom of the scale doing what they do are not different in position to the phone hackers and their bosses no different than the ‘see no evil, hear no evil’ Murdoch-monkey species.  Finding a few who haven’t covered their tracks at the bottom is not a ‘corruption enquiry’ – finding out why they break the rules might be.  And we’ve known about TIC corruption for more than 50 years.

Just how many more cops would we need to get ‘real detections’ up to the claimed figures?  This might entail a ten-fold increase in on-street police activities.  The crooks I’ve interviewed all claim they get away with 99 out 100 crimes (they are, in part, wrong – as they all get nicked and TICed).  In a straight and naive system we could double street-policing to turn them over more often, triple burglary sweeps and so on.  Some of the corruption arises because we do policing on the cheap.  Where are the figures on detection where there has been a direct arrest and/or a direct evidence case for the offence?

There’s a can of worms here and what I think most unfair is probably decent cops at the bottom copping for discipline and harsh treatment doing what is the bidding of senior people and indeed the public.  The systemic problem needs to be addressed and maybe even something like an amnesty is needed to find out what is really going on.  I was good on TICs and you ca bet I was only smarter or luckier than the two Cheshire detectives.  They got no financial reward – something not true of some bureaucop taking a bonus on the basis of their work.



Real ‘Reason’ For the Riots and Police Cuts?

Part of the routine lying done before our last election ritual was that the Tories would sort out immigration.  One is used to our lying politicians.  I thought Blair was a Labour one until it became obvious he was some kind of CIA stooge planted to get us into war in Iraq.  I wonder what hold they had on him?  Well it turns out, as per Grauniad, that immigration is rising.  This is because enough of us are not now leaving for a bunker in Spain or Bulgaria.  Speculating on why our half-wit poor and those swept along with the crowd rioted is more or less hot air, but could the underlying reason for the riots lie deeper in a Home Office run by Gadget’s presumably former paramour, Ms. May?  With the usual blundering and waiting for some shiny statistic to emerge not working, perhaps she is manipulating police numbers and riot opportunities to make the country even less worth living in to encourage more to follow my lead and get out?  I merely use the kind of reverse non-logic involved in cutting police numbers (sorry – waste – must feel especially good to be made redundant as ‘waste’) just as a section of the public turns to ‘Argentinian shopping’.

Anyone else noticed the ‘eugenics’ going on through immigration?  Our employers seem to be claiming they are importing highly skilled and intelligent foreigners as our lot aren’t up to speed.  I’m not working with any and just notice my taxi drivers seem to have moved from pleasant-chatty to more or less incapable.  What’s the plan?  I had suspected a cull, 1930’s eugenics style – but our own disadvantaged seem to be breeding exponentially.

The ‘logic’ appears to be that even if our economy goes tiger (NO CHANCE) we’d still have to import labour as our own is incompetent  Bernanke – the guy who runs our economy – makes a speech in a couple of hours.  He will blather a bit and then give a lot more money from our pockets (via reactivating the dummy running the BoE to go copycat) to insolvent banks.  Warren Buffet put several billion into the broke Bank Of America yesterday, so he’s confident his preference shares will either receive 6% or he’ll get his money back in a bail out – he’s probably acted on inside information.  So we’re in for another QE launch that Europe will follow – it’s all about printing more Monopoly Money to keep the game going.

The policing issues in this economic twaddle look dire.  In Britain, most cops, like most people, have been able to view politics with disdain and not give a damn about it – at least since WW2.  We are at a point now, perhaps a tipping point, where policing may turn away from dealing with low-level crime (we have almost no sophisticated policing of white-collar crime in the UK) to public order.  Just hear the OT cash register ringing lads!  We may be about to see the job market collapse – governments are pouring money into banks, not job creation (at least not in the West).  The banks are covering their own arses – some of the complex accounting beggars belief – and the public is going to be very short of cash and potentially even food and housing.  A situation not unlike the Scottish Enclosures is with us in some parts of the world (Killing squads in Africa already turfing people off land) as our money (that we never see) seeks assets we are trying to buy (like homes).  In ancient Athens, Solon decided, once his mates had bought land with loans, to cancel debts – and one can see QE like this – massive loans given to cronies based on our collateral that can never be paid back, but could be cancelled in similar fashion – a bit like the last man not standing getting to own all the chairs in musical chairs.  Sky are doing a piece on Greece tonight (7.30 p.m.) which will give the gist of what may be coming here, though they’ll probably make Greece a special case – which it won’t been if bank contagion is a bad as many of us think.

Police may find themselves in almost the same position as the Army in the French Revolution – with that nasty choice of whether to fire on their own.  This may over-egg the pudding, but I’m seriously scared (mostly, admittedly about that bit of my pension linked to stock markets – I’m mostly in gold and commodities).  Nothing at all is being done to sort out what most of us consider the economy – secure jobs.  The riots this month may just be a blip compared with what’s coming.  We all hope it will go away, but this is what we have been doing since the Thatcher days and what’s happened has been class war that has indebted nearly all of us and transferred merely all wealth and liquid assets (cash) to the rich.  We have been too dumb to notice and public argument has been steered away from political consideration of it and still is.

Many of us who work or thought we had earned our retirements through work resent benefit payments, especially to cheating scrote.  Yet the amounts involved in this are trivial in comparison to what the rich have leached out.  This is all utterly clear in GDP and debt figures, but we are generally much to thick to cope with counting, preferring ideology and homily.  Work is beginning to approximate to Premier League soccer and even my beloved Rugby League.  Our own can’t get into the teams because of one-way international competition.  This despite all kinds of academies of sport.  Milk output is only about 30% ‘genetic’ and the rest environmental, but you ain’t gonna start ‘training’ the worst genetically endowed cows.

I’ve done too much teaching to believe in widespread intelligence of the sort our school qualifications indicate.  But the chickens of what’s been going on are coming home to roost and our politics offer no answers – thus we may expect some kind of attempt to change politics through street protests.  This should be a re-taking of the streets and politics by decent people – but we have seen the opposite so far and it seems no attention is drawn until buildings burn and shops are smashed.

I see  a bad time ahead and a big overtime bill.  I hope to be on a beach somewhere, or close-by writing my novel, reading about it three days late.  If there was a glimmer of sorting any of this out by some more work from me I’d stay.  There isn’t.  I can now work anywhere with electricity and broadband.  I may know some Marx (I preferred Veblen), but I’ve always been conservative in my view of national democracy.  I hope I wouldn’t have been as stupid as P.G. Wodehouse with the Nazis, but I did work for the World Bank and this may have been as bad.  I was one of 3,000 cops wondering why we were protecting a ‘fucking Nazi’ to allow him to march through Stockport in the 1970’s.  Now I might wonder that Marx surely didn’t mean for workers of the world to unite in my bloody country whilst keeping the EDL and Muslim fantacists apart!  What has come is madness. and political statements on immigration, jobs and public services as bad as ‘let them eat cake’.  The sad thing is that there are sensible answers.

I hope it’s obvious I don’t thin the Home Secretary engineered riots and police cuts just to get me and others to leave so she could claim a net reduction in immigration.  Yet tell me who is advocating any sensible reversal of wealth accumulation in few hands, decent jobs for all, full employment and a return to national values that you fit in with if you want to live here?  We are turning Japanese – but to understand this you need to understand some economics – and that’s not much of a British national trait.  For coppers, a fine traditional British breed, it’s going to mean bricks flying work, because our politicians are too crooked to tell the truth.

There is a point in policing when the cop has to think about whose side he is on.    We have rather assumed democracy as a given in this and some police feeling of current confusion about ‘what the public expects’.  Blair stated police must expect 100% support from politicians, but clearly all of us have scant regard for politics and politicians – in ‘true democracy’ police are answerable to the people and of the people.

Tottenham Probably Shows No Faith in IPCC

Cops in London shoot some guy.  It maybe a ‘Katrina Bridge’ incident or not.  Now we have riots and arson all over.  One possible reason for the riots is that our supposedly independent police complaints commission isn’t.  It’s hard to find any decent investigation they have done and senior figures should have been sacked long ago.  Internal suggestions include the bosses being warned off proper investigations and nicking bent cops by the Home Office.  The worthies who get these top jobs all seem much the same and pretty useless.  There is not a single decent investigation report on the IPCC website, yet there is a growing list of worthless self-congratulation and performance management piss that should be the tell-tale sign of hapless management by now – the stuff that comes before Baby P, Fiona Pilkington, killing innocent Brazilians (this seems to have done Dick’s career portfolio good) and the dreadful truth.

The initial protest was peaceful and just an airing of concern.  If the IPCC was any good, one can imagine a few people going to make a complaint.  This bunch of bureaucratic tossers would probably have fobbed them off with meaningless crud on confidentiality and other routine insulting behaviour concerned citizens get.

Cops immediately started their backfire campaign of smearing the poor sod they shot.  This theme is widely reported in journal articles and no one ever seems to be sacked.  The lies told around Stockwell helped no one.  Blair should have been removed from office as soon as he blocked IPCC people at the scene (I must admit I’d balk at untrained bunglers on my crime scene) and now excuses about CCTV not working and so on look dire, as does the drivel on 17 civilian witnesses not hearing shouts of ‘armed police’, especially as this should not have been shouted.  I have no truck with blaming armed people under stress – but Stockwell should have produced sackings in clown Gold and the prosecution of Blair for interfering with a lawful investigation.  IPCC investigations do not seem to lead to satisfaction for victims of poor policing or to uncovering corruption.

On a statistical basis, how many of the 40+ forces across England and Wales don’t have problems when they are put under at bit of pressure like the Met on ‘hacking’?  We were told GMP was lucky to have such a fine specimen as ‘Shagger Todd’ – in fact he now looks like a total clown in comparison with Fahey – so where was the IPCC when needed?  Where are they now on the routine favouritism and chief constables able to bully their way out of gross misconduct and stay in office?  Given not a single force has been able to understand its own performance in order to transfer ‘success’, where are both HMIC and IPCC on a corruption enquiry into senior police gaming?  Two Merseyside working stiffs are supposed to have been sacked (no report on IPCC website though) and lost pensions over gaming – so what should be happening to the senior network actually raking in bonus payments?

The IPCC has failed – we need a new way to renew faith in our policing.  The resources could be found by abolishing ACPO and other nitwit bodies and combining police complaints and HMIC in a quality body.  The new body should be responsive to communities and ordinary people and responsible to the public.  But on this last matter the question is how?  We need new ideas now we have discovered voting is almost useless.

We want our cops nicking the looters, druggies and other thugs rather than see them cashing in on protests and we want cops to be able to tell the truth on crime, not listen to ACPO-types telling us the opposite of what we witness every day.  We simply can’t trust that proper investigations will take place.

Nothing excuses this kind of riot and one wishes officers hurt a speedy recovery, as well as the innocent victims who have lost their homes.  It doesn’t feel good that we have areas as tinderbox as this.  It could be the people involved are beyond any rational appeal – I remember a similar issue over a worthless toerag 30 years ago in Manchester.  That one resolved when a good proportion of the protesters realised chummy had been nicking from them and was not innocent.  One can’t base arguments on the twits with firebombs, but if this can kick off over what looks like a police return of fire, one has to wonder about the wider issue of investigative credibility. The IPCC seem to have been intimate with the dead person’s relatives and this wasn’t enough.

Crime Figures

Our national crime figures often make little sense.  How, for instance, does domestic violence rise by 35% in the course of 12 months?  It doesn’t seem likely that spouses start weiighing into each other a third more often (though even stuff like the local soccer team losing can put up the number of incidents).

The local crime map for my area shows around 330 incidents in May this year – half being antisocial behaviour.  There are 32 officers including the PCSOs – so that’s about 10 incidents each per month.  The ‘map’ is no map at all as no details beyond a set of types of crime and ASB is given.

It would be interesting to know how many of the 330 incidents is actually attended by these local team officers.  Nearly all response I’m aware of is via Response – the poor sods flying around like blue-assed flies.

The average length of police work done would be useful.  If these 330 incidents take an average on an hour, then our local plods are only doing 10 hours each a month.  I know it’s not this simple, but this figure could be accurately defined.

Steve Bennett at thinblueline has written extensively on the gaming involved in police statistics.  The BCS has shown a steady drop in crime across the UK – this survey evades senior officer juking because it’s generated directly from the public.  It generally runs at twice the police recorded level and sensibly it would.  Not all crime is reported to police.

What always gets me about these figures is what I’d do with them if they crossed my desk and were from my area of concern.  I’d toss them in the bin and see if I could get the costs of producing them off my budget.  I expect stats to help me run things – and these just don’t.  They reek of expensive PR and bonus-rigging.

One assumes none of the senior cops who were covering up the phone hacking and dubious police earners now droning 24/7 recorded the crimes they were doing nothing about.  If we could open up stuff being written off as ASB we might well find many more crimes.  The actual number doesn’t matter much – what we need to know is how they are being dealt with and the costs of this execution.  This can be done statistically and it’s precisely not what the public gets.

Most cops don’t believe ‘crime’ is falling.  It has in my parochial world because a criminal family finally moved on after 7 years of the authorities failing to deal with them.  We have hardly seen a police car since.  They went to prison, but are now active in new premises.

With only 330 incidents a month, it would be useful to know who is responsible for those incidents – 10 lousy bastards like our former neighbours or 330?  How many perpetrators are identified?  What happens to them?  What does a fair sample of victims think about police action and final outcomes?  What do those dissatisfied identify as the problem?  What would a research team looking in detail at one month discover?

The whole point of practical statistics is not the numbers, but patterns, correlation and help in control.

If the 330 incidents in May in my neighhood is all our 32 officers are doing, then it seems a very expensive solution.  With on-costs 32 times £30K  then £960K or about £3K per incident is being spent just in the local budget, probably to ‘contain’ a dozen highly dud families.  I’m doing guesstimate – but with some real stats I wouldn’t have to.  What is the actual police cost for a recorded incident?  How much of this is the burden of really serious incidents?

In comparison with any harm from phone hacking, the way lives are wrecked around anti-social criminals is far more damaging.  One would expect police statistics to identify and quantify this.  The point of statistical analysis ion organisations is quality in the broad sense.  If we take a guesstimate on each of my local officers working ten incidents a month, there seems room for substantial focus and prevention of the same people perpetrating.  Yet, as Response (rather than local) turn up, one hears the perps are well known.

I could easily database 330 incidents a month in a manner that would allow reporting to identify repeat victims and offenders, crime concentrations and so on.  Such effort is wasted if it doesn’t lead to better, different actions.  This is what we should expect to hear on police statistics.  In part we do – and the message is that we aren’t stopping the same, sad, druggie prats.

One can understand ‘scrap’ metal thefts going up as commodity prices rise – crime tends to move with other trends and what cops are targeting.  That domestic violence can leap by 35% suggests some change in reporting and classification has occurred.  The ASB rate has been going up – but is this a new set of problems or just a new bin for crime?  The point is that we don’t know.  Where is the statistic on who any of these statistics have actually led to changes other than in the wallets of some senior cops?

Or for that matter on the cost-benefits of taking 100,000 crap families out of our system by putting them in curfewed trailer parks away from the environment they mess up and commit anti-social and other crimes in?  For 500 towns that would be an estate of 200 mobile homes each.  One pilot might be enough to send the message.  Say ten places were reserved for my neighbourhood and the number of incidents dropped from 330 to 200 a month.  This is the kind of statistic I’m interested in.

If we cut policing back to 1973 levels, how much money might be available to give back to ‘deserving welfare’?  I’d like to know this – though I don’t approve of the idea.  Would the amount, for instance, be more than that available from a cull of scroungers?  Or cutting legal bills in half?  One needs some numerate grasp of spending – preferably the scum who get nicked need costing in terms of all the money they put into other people’s pockets and thus for us to know how much they are really stealing from ours as tax-payers and who has interests in maintaining the problems.

Half our neighbourhood team is PCSO.  If they can really do the job, why are we paying for ‘expensive police officers’?  A cruel statement in many ways – but unlike many parts of the private sector, wage costs are not under such easy control.  One also has to wonder at higher-level costs – could we not get decent judges and advocates at much lower cost through specialist training for criminal matters (say undergrad plus one year law school or experience plus same).  Why no statistics on this kind of efficiency gain?  If a cop is paid twice the market rate, she’s costing us as much as some delinquent families if a PCSO can really deliver or could given the powers of arrest.  Once into this kind of economic thinking, a lot of nasty savings crop up.  Everyone wants to be a special case.  What would be the wage spreadsheet on police pay if ‘marked to market’?

The likely means to curbing police pay will be cuts and inflation through other wage rises or the dumping of electronic money as quantitative easing or in exchange markets and tricks like the PCSOs.  They are only the flick of a pen away from ‘full status’.  A recruitment and promotion freeze on other ranks will help swell their numbers.  The history on this isn’t pleasant – the last real police strike led to a big cut in pay (1919-21ish).  Has your force issued real stats on what the cuts mean and how they intend to cope?

These are issues that the public should know about in order to make informed decisions on policing and no great numeracy is now required once spreadsheets are established.  This could be achieved by scrapping the police reported system and putting these resources into a costing system on incident response, actual police activities and some sampling scrutiny on what turns up in the BCS.

Police might well want to start recording more crime now – something that happened in CID years ago when the number of crimes became more important than the fudged detection rate in terms of promoted ranks that could be claimed.  Expect HMG to try to dodge this with some new criteria.  Certainly the stuff put in front of us over many years would only get short-shrift by any executive trying to run the firm.  Does ACPO have another set it works from?

They Are Feeding Us Lies On Police Corruption

Two police worthies are promising to chase police malpractice to the ends of the earth.  Orde and Stephenson should be sacked immediately for trying this one on!

“Police recorded crime and detections have been wickedly and deliberately manipulated for many years, resulting in millions being paid in performance bonuses to Chief Officers, gross misallocation and direction of fiscal and operational resources and perhaps the worst crime of all, the scurrilous conspiratorial deception of the tax paying public, perpetrated by Chief Officers and previous Home Office ministers that crime fell and detections rose dramatically under their watch.” from thinblueline.

We don’t see any ‘Untouchables-style’ attitudes towards policing in the UK (though in reality Eliot Ness wrote his own myth).  Policing and our wider CJS are corrupt in ways that many of the people working in them can’t see.  The very people making these ‘moral high ground’ statements should be culpable (I don’t mean these two specifically).

What we have is increasing anti-social crime from evil poor sprogs driving disabled people to their deaths to bankers carving us all up.  There is no decrease in crime.  The serious miscarriages going on look as bad as ever, as does the whole structure of police complaints.

We need a great deal off the backs of our cops – not least the management burden and managers who seek to cover up even when there is clear evidence.  There are ways forward, but the current culture allows no change and hasn’t learned any of the real lessons under its rhetoric of the same.

I can find no reports on any of the areas where police have claimed to ‘learn lessons’ or any useful statistics that give us a proper idea of what they are doing and for whom.

I’d like to see much of the involvement of lawyers and courts stripped away from summary offences and replaced by much quicker processes and new forms of case presentation and investigation.  I doubt that civil rights considerations are a block to this, just current vested interests and problems in trusting prosecutions.

Deep lying in the problem is the system of ‘credibility’ we are stuck with in general argument and the courts.  There is no consistency in this and it flies in the face of scientific findings.  The real arguments are quickly lost in a variety of posturing as people take offence.

The Soviet system was notoriously corrupt and there are many similarities in what has been going on here.  Performance management has become a dramaturgical performance and much like banking the actors are allowed to ‘mark to model’ (targets) and not to reality.  One might compare the money we’ve had to find to bail out the banks with the ‘off-balance-sheet’ of anti-social crime in police statistics, and police gaming with bent bank and company accounting.

Removing clown red-tape in the police

One has to welcome Home Office prognostications on saving police man hours through such “new” devices as charging people through the post.  Sadly, all this could have been done by proceeding by summons except in special circumstances, as was once the recommendation.  Sick of the injustice of having to arrest pensioners who had nicked food – meaning a court appearance – I asked if we could write them up by summons which gave the chance of a caution.  This was adopted in my force, but soon swept away – these were the amalgamation days.

We need new forms of summary justice.  Copperfield has outlined the Canadian system.  The issues are deeper than form-filling.  Gadget has revealed that much cancelled drivel was merely re-badged locally.  One can only expect other procedures to be put in place – if only that this kind of paper-work is how the chiefs protect themselves.   They like being able to say they have procedures in place.

The culture that developed the ‘Spanish practices’ is still in place and nothing seems to being done to change that.  The gaming with crime statistics continues, and what should be simple investigations into matters like ‘Harwood’ and others burgeon into extended cover-ups that bury the evidence in time.  There seems little address of the massive problems in case presentation involving police, prosecution and the courts.  I have yet to see one example of follow-through on the cock-ups where the ‘we are learning the lessons’ is claimed – not a single example of how victims’ issues have really been taken on board and satisfactorily addressed, leading to the eradication of the problems.  The same problems regularly occur again and again along with the same inabilities to deal with them.

Farewell to the ASBO and Welcome to the ‘New ASBO’

The Home Secretary sounded rather good when she spoke of ‘making antisocial behaviour non-routine’.  The ZanuPFNulabour legislation was hopeless, but I find the notion that these problems can be sorted out by legislation stupid and something of a pointer that we have a ZanuPFCountrillition in place (one can drop the ‘o’ – but they do have a horsey, county-set feel).

What’s good in this legislation is that eviction has been brought in, but one wonders whether it has been in practice.  The ‘reason’ this obvious sanction was not available in the past was that it was thought people would start making false complaints just to get rid of people they didn’t like (some clown cross-party group of MPs – JUSTICE).  The real issues have never been addressed, and we continue now with statements that we should be making earlier intervention (true, but how without real resources and training) and simplifying legal processes, engaging communities and other blather that flies in the face of real practice.  What of ACPO and other high ranking local authority and other jerks who lied to us for so long that the system was improving things to satisfy political masters and their highly inflated pay?

I see nothing that addresses the real problems.

Decriminalising the police (to let them get on with preventing crime)

A happy New Year to all the decent officers we can’t do without.  All our lives would be better if we could find a way for these excellent people to get on with keeping the peace.  I’d like to see a lot of policing decriminalised, from the odd bent cop who turns up to a lot of what makes up day-to-day coppering.  The aim would be to find a way to value police work and officers in a different way.  All very challenging, with a need to better understand the challenges on the street good officers put themselves in the way of far more than some.  The system will never be immaculate (except on HMIC visits), but it could be easier to work with, and both more democratic and effective.  What analysis there is tends to be managerial-financial, and needs to start with the street-level even for any of this to work.  My suspicion is that the discipline society needs cannot be enforced or encouraged by criminalisation.  This need not be some kind of ‘leftie liberal whinge’ as we could proceed with a view to coming down harder on disorder and dire behaviour.  We need something radical because our CJS is a busted flush.  We lack a real public dialogue on this and what really affects most of our lives.  In the meantime, brave men and women get it in the neck in a system that is ‘criminal’ in all the wrong ways.  Good luck to them.

The most discussed decriminalisation concerns drugs.  I’m generally in favour, because the ‘war on drugs’ doesn’t work, and is part of the creation of a wide criminal industry.  This, of course, can’t be the end of the story.  Apart from treating the issues through a medical model, there remain severe nuisance problems (not coped with well now) and criminal adaptivity (what rackets might be created and where would the criminality transfer).  Questions remain about how much of the bulk of current minor crime and violence could be subject to alternatives to police action if we could understand them differently and how new procedures could be effective and tough, rather than wet.  There are clues in the average IQ of people passing through police hands (dumb), the welfare sponsored, sub-minimum wage economies exploited by wealthy criminals and lack of alternatives in legal employment.

There seems little doubt that we have created a monster in our public services generally.  There is a fatal nexus of managerial over-staffing, over-payment and bent performance management that suits politicians in power.  I suspect even the financial drain of this exceeds all criminal industries put together, and that the real costs on moral and lack of necessary change exceed this in real, personal terms.  We end up with an excuse culture that is hostile to fair criticism and shuns responsibility.

There is a general tendency to set up an ‘evil poor’ as the problem, perhaps as minority groups have always been set up.  Yet it is other interest groups that grow richer.  We have an over-populated managerial-political class that interferes with everything, yet under-manages and creates systems that suit its needs, not the problems we face.  ACPO is a classic example, but only an example.

The decriminalisation process needs to replace current IPCC, HMIC and PSDs with a single body taking account of local public concerns (no elected police chiefs), victims’ representation and civilian organisation of complaints.  The rest is about getting a great deal of effective power to street officers through decriminalised processes as far as possible, in order to release our forces into work that is real policing, to break the cycle of hopeless, recidivist cases and drunken mile regulation.  It would be interesting to know more about who and what actually causes the need for so much expenditure on wasted cycles of recidivism in the tide of petty crime and antisocial behaviour, even to the extent of protest movements of those who feel there is no alternative to turning out on the streets, or into shops and businesses perceived as not playing fair.

The problems that need taking into account extend well beyond anything police officers do, and what we want them to be able to do and they cannot.  Glib phrases like ‘tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime’ need to be treated as dire lies, unless they are costed and worked through in terms of how they are to be effective other than as political salesmanship.  What we have is complex problems that feed many vested interests and wallets.  We need a grip on what the costs of the vicious circle are and who is bearing them, who is retaining the money and whether any of the actions being taken are likely to reduce the costs or change any behaviour or quality of life.  I suspect the police fail so much of the time because they are dealing with symptoms not the disease and the real problems that should not, in the first place, be in their remit.

There is no point in doing projects that have massive and obvious costs we can’t afford so politicians can point to ‘success stories’.  We need to take the whole bag on and accept a change in balance on civil rights towards the maintenance of a right to quiet peace.  Things are so bad, we can’t even get this in many classrooms, let alone the drunken mile or next door to drug addicts.  The answers are complex, but we can’t even seriously talk and debate the problems.

Costs of Crime

Crime is estimated to cost the UK economy about £78 billion every year.  This is a Home Office estimate.  Mine is higher, but let’s avoid the trap of throwing figures about only to discover we were all making them up in the first place like bankers on heat over junk bonds.

What I want to know is how much crime happens around me, and whether I want to stop it.  I know my former neighbours were committing crime more or less all the time, and that because they were next-door-neighbours sharing a party wall with us, they inflicted massive damage on us that was never recorded, and that cops and local authority agencies were even worse.  In the last month, someone over the road has rented to a notorious burglar and druggie via his buggie-pushing companion.  The landlord didn’t know, apparently, and has just taken a lot of property out of the house having been told.  ‘Burglar Bill’ is now a ‘borrower-from-shops’ and has stated he means to reform, though he is visited by unworthy scum and one has doubts.

It’s hard to get crime figures right – – but I can’t really believe as a researcher that the stuff police and the BCS produce is any good.  It all starts in the wrong place.

I’m really only playing with Zemanta at this stage, but comments welcome.  Probably safe to say this guy’s ‘crimes’ mostly went unrecorded either as crimes or in terms of the amounts involved!

Michael Milken

Image via Wikipedia

Looks like a fairly standard corner-boy from round here!  Crime is very difficult to pin down.  Miserable druggies shooting up and then making neighbours’ lives a misery with blaring music, almost constant domestic violence, thieving, corrupting others and kids is a crime, organised gangs of insurance muggers, even the general white collar crime of high fees as a ‘professional’.

I’m watching ‘Johnny Come Lately’ as I write this morning, an old Cagney vehicle with a delightful old lady standing up against small-town corruption.  He’s more or less one of the ‘evil poor’ and she’s taken him on at her newspaper.  I could do with the job!  Probably overqualified!  Life is sadly not so simple.  The crooks in the film are the rich bastards who build crappy houses and don’t sort the water supplies out.  They want the old dear to publish their ZPFNulabour editorials – she’s less of a pushover, broke, than our current lot.  We mostly have clean water here now, though I can’t use my hosepipe after three successive cricket wash-outs.

There are ways, even using ‘statistics’, to work out what crime is as it affects me, you and everyone, in terms of what it is and how it affects us.  We won’t get to that through some cub reporter on the Notlob Evening News of course.  I don’t have a black maid to clean up my clothes.  I guess I have relevant experience as a cop, detective and academic.  Maybe our blogs are the equivalent of the ‘Hicksville Argus’ – at least until we find a way to make them bothersome?  Cagney keeps bumping into decent people, but our lives are amongst the vile middle classes of the Australian novel ‘The Slap’.  Something in today’s Observer on that – see – something of the dull liberalism that seems to prevent us saying anything, prevents us getting at crime.  Cagney’s only had his job a few days, has a better suit than me and an offer of ‘riches’ from the crooks.  Where do I go wrong!  I like to think I would accept this offer,  but I’m too weak.

We can build the ‘statistics of crime’ from the ground up, using some fairly standard modern sociology and business estimating.  There’s a bit of an example – – in the BCS experiment on crime affecting children.  We aren’t showing much willing for the larger debate though.  Even this Zemanta thing throws up quite a lot of relevant material, amongst loads of irrelevance.

I know what many of the stories would be.  In principle, we could go from Dawkin’s notion of ‘religion as a crime against humanity’, through Wall Street to the kid bullied in the playground.  Big task, and bigger for me as I believe we need a ‘New Enlightenment’.  I’m not talking about talking either – when it comes to a lot of very obvious, drug-related, thieving crime, we can’t rely on being able to report it safely and see it dealt with.  Translate ‘The Slap’ to someone trying to report a vile family of drug dealers and you might well find the same story.