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Police: Guest Blog: A Copper’s Tale

Written by RSS Poster policecommander

Allow me to introduce you to a colleague of mine, PC Ben Forbes. He’s a remarkable man.

A couple of weeks back, he emailed me his story and asked what I thought of it.

I told him it was powerful stuff – and that people should read it.

He asked me if I’d be willing to publish it.

So here it is. Have a read.

(You can find Ben on Twitter – @BLF090)


 

A Copper’s Tale

ben-forbes

Every police officer has their story – one that is unique and special to them. I wanted to take this opportunity to tell my story – and to explain how it has an impact on everything I do as a Police Officer. I also want to take this opportunity to talk about the vital importance of Partnership work in reducing crime and diverting young people away from damaging lifestyles.

The Beginning

We all have our stories – of lives lived and choices made; of choices made and paths taken; of the people we meet and the impact they have on us.

My story began in the East End of London 27 years ago. I was born to good parents in a difficult neighbourhood – an only child of mixed...

Continues, Read More...



Police: Misconduct & Mistakes

Written by RSS Poster policecommander

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It occurs to me that, from time to time, police officers make mistakes.

It also occurs to me that we live in a world that is increasingly unforgiving of them when they do.

There are, of course, any number of reasons why police officers might get it wrong:

(1) Because they are human

Though my wife comes close, I’ve yet to encounter an entirely perfect human being.

I’ve certainly never met a perfect police officer.

But I have known officers who make mistakes. I look at one in the mirror every morning before I go to work.

They make mistakes because they are tired; because they are stretched; because they are under pressure; because they aren’t in possession of all the facts; because their instincts have let them down on this occasion; because hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Because they are human.

(2) Because they operate in the hurting places

As I have observed before, police officers go where most wouldn’t and do what most couldn’t. It is a big part of what makes them so extraordinary.

And the places where they so often find...

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Police: What Coppers Want

Written by RSS Poster policecommander

pd-trust-report

On Tuesday 22nd November 2016, a Met police officer was stabbed three times in the stomach. He was one of four officers injured in separate incidents on the same day. One PC had their hand broken, one was attacked with a hypodermic needle and another was punched in the face.

They were just doing their jobs.

Just doing their duty.

On the same day, a leading national charity – the Police Dependents’ Trust – released the results of their wide-ranging ‘Injury on Duty’ research. The headlines look like this:

– 10,987 serving UK officers and staff took part

– 81% stated that they had suffered at least one physical injury or mental health issue as a consequence of their police work

– 76% stated that this was in the past 5 years

– 45% stated they needed to take a week or more off work as a consequence

Let those numbers sink in.

The Police Federation for England & Wales estimates that there are more than 23,000 assaults on police officers every year. That’s one every 12 minutes.

Earlier in the year (during June and July 2016), the Federation ran...

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Police: Meet the Press

Written by RSS Poster policecommander

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I know some brilliant journalists. I’m proud to count some of them as friends. And dealing with the media is an important part of my job – something, believe it or not, that I actually enjoy.

As a police officer, I have a professional responsibility to engage, to respond, to explain – and, dare I say, to offer an insight into the person behind the uniform.

But, truth be told, these are challenging times for relationships between the police and the press – with each seeming to nurse and nurture a set of grievances about the other that sets the tone for so many of our dealings.

The potential causes for this are well documented, but I don’t think anyone benefits from the current state of play: police, press or public.

The fact is that the police service needs the media:

To help us in protecting the vulnerable.

To assist us in catching the dangerous.

To support us in getting critical messages out to the wider community.

To inquire. To hold us to account. On occasions, to ask deeply uncomfortable questions.

We do our job better when journalists do...

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Police: Two Sides

Written by RSS Poster policecommander

There are two sides to every story.

Every conversation.

Every meeting.

And there are two sides to every encounter between a police officer and a member of the public.

Somewhere out there today, an officer will be dealing with a victim; a suspect; a witness; a protestor; a passer by; a young person being stopped & searched; an agitator with a camera phone; a drunk; an addict; a survivor of domestic violence; a journalist; someone seriously injured in a collision; a local politician; the family of someone who has been stabbed; an innocent in the midst of a mental health crisis; a tourist asking for directions; a parent whose child is missing; an elderly person whose life savings have been stolen; someone like you or me.

In many cases, the encounter will be marked by tension. Or anger. Or violence. Or bewilderment. Or sadness. Or distress. In most cases, it will be far from simple or straightforward. But, in every case, we will have higher expectations of the police officer than we will of the person they are dealing with.

And that is exactly as it should...

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Police: Knife Crime

Written by RSS Poster policecommander

I’ve written about this before.

But it keeps happening.

And at what point are we going to accept that current approaches to tackling Knife Crime in England & Wales just aren’t working?

How many more young lives is it going to take?

In 2007, I stood at the scene of the murder of Kodjo Yenga and listened as his family and loved ones wailed and sang hymns. Kodjo was 16 years old when he was hunted down in the street and stabbed to death by a group of teenagers. Some of the suspects were just 13 years of age. Not young adults. Children.

In 2008, I stood with the packed congregation at the funeral of Ben Kinsella. He was 16 years old when he was stabbed to death by three other teenagers.

In 2011, I stood at the scene of the murder of Milad Golmakani – a children’s playground in North London. Milad was 22 years old when he was stabbed to death by a group of four teenagers. His 17 year old companion survived the brutal attack.

In 2012, I stood at the scene of the murder of Dogan Ismael. He was 17 years old when he was stabbed to death. The person wielding...

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Police: Heroes

Written by RSS Poster policecommander

Soldiering and Coppering are not the same thing – though there are certain common threads that might be drawn from the lives of police officers and military personnel. Beginning with the courage, compassion and simple humanity that characterises the best of them.

Soldiers (and sailors and the men and women of the RAF) are heroes – regarded as such by the vast majority of decent, law-abiding people.

They are recognised and celebrated as men and women who are prepared to risk their lives in the service of their country – and who, on far too many occasions, pay that greatest price.

Those who make it home from foreign fields are honoured and admired as men and women who carry their scars – seen and unseen – and to whom we owe a very considerable debt of gratitude.

We roar our support for injured veterans at the Invictus Games and we understand better than ever before that the incomprehensible trauma of the battlefield can leave wounds of a kind that won’t be fixed with bandages and surgery.

In the last decade or so, visible and vocal support for...

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Police: When I was a PC

Written by RSS Poster policecommander

 

When I started out as a PC in the early 1990s, things were a little different to the way they are now.

I handwrote my first crime reports on large sheets of colour-coded paper and filed them in binders in the CID office.

I prepared my warrant applications on an antique typewriter – one of those dusty old machines with raised keys and a carriage return lever.

I had a pair of chain link handcuffs.

There were fewer specialists and more officers on response teams.

There was less driving and more walking. I learned my beats and discovered where the best tea holes were.

There was a lot more overtime – with many more people willing and available to work it. In fact, it was names in the hat pretty much every time.

There was less bureaucracy and, outside of the Control Room, not a computer in sight.

Cybercrime was just a made up word.

I wasn’t faced with a succession of performance targets that made little sense – and almost no difference to the lives of those we served. I was simply expected to work hard.

Whilst the IRA was still active on the...

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Police: Spitting Feathers

Written by RSS Poster policecommander

I’m not an expert on Spit Hoods.

In fact, even as a serving officer, I was completely unaware of them until relatively recently.

If I’m honest – and this is very much a personal view – I think they look pretty alarming. And so do a lot of other people if the debate of the last couple of days is anything to go by.

I understand that. And I understand any desire on the part of the Mayor’s Office to seek a wider set of views.

But I also understand the strength of feeling expressed by many frontline officers about the issue.

I guess it’s important to try to understand what spit hoods are designed for – why on earth they might be required in the first place – and the exceptional circumstances in which they might be used.

I have been a police officer for twenty-four years and, in that time, have worked alongside some fairly extraordinary people.

I have served with officers who have disarmed gunmen and those wielding swords and knives. I have worked alongside a PC who, a couple of years before, had been shot and left for dead by a drug...

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Police: Somewhere Out There Today

Written by RSS Poster policecommander

Somewhere out there today, a police officer will tell you that there’s no other job that comes close to this one.

Somewhere out there today, a police officer will save the life of a complete stranger. And they will risk their own life to do so.

Somewhere out there today, a police officer will talk someone back from the edge. They will find the missing woman, they will confront the knife-wielding man and they will defend the vulnerable child. They will go where most wouldn’t and do what most couldn’t.

And they will show uncommon bravery.

Somewhere out there today, a police officer will deal with the consequences of society’s addiction to violence. They will tell you that domestic violence is a disease of pandemic proportions – and that violent crime involving young people is one of the most urgent issues of our time.

Somewhere out there today, the call will come too late and a police officer will become the bearer of unbearable news.

Somewhere out there a police officer will suggest that people don’t often call us to say that...

Continues, Read More...





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Emergency Shorts:
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