Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Random thoughts of a Tuesday afternoon

The nightmare of selling the Hogpen is over. What the system terms `an exchange of contracts` took place last week, whilst we were stood in Aldeburgh High Street licking an ice cream - morello cherry flavour, I believe. Our solicitor gave us the news over a very broken mobile phone signal. He said, "Are those seagulls I can hear in the background"? I said, "If they are, will you charge me extra for this call?" Oh how he laughed. It was Carnival weekend. I tried to get a picture of the band of the Brigade of Gurkhas leading the parade, but these wonderful soldiers just march too darn quickly. Several thousand people thronged into this little town for the weekend. It was noisy, they were out on the beach till very late, you couldn't find a parking place anywhere (we parked on a little back street on Friday and didn't drive anywhere until Tuesday) and yet no shop windows were put in, no one was shot at and the only flames were in the Chinese lanterns parade, which we took part in, and the fireworks on the beach afterwards. What's wrong with these people?

It was almost 2 years to the day that we decided to sell up. We have had two `non-buyer's` who cost us two lots of solicitors fees to move absolutely nowhere. We have had 3 estate agents. The first wasn't technically an estate agent as he did lettings, but he charged us a very small fee to enter us on `Right Move`. He was a bloody good bloke and in different times he would have done really well, but 3 weeks after we signed up with him the economy went on strike. The second agent was true to our past experiences. We got a buyer, she then lost her buyer. We took the house off the market to rest our nerves.

We used the third, successful, agent when we went back into the fray in May. The viewings positively flew through the door. The 14th made the offer we accepted. Turned out she wanted it when we were with the previous agent but was beaten to the post by the one that crashed and burned. Pity that agent didn't retain her details and give her a call as we'd have all saved ourselves 6 months valuable living time. Talk about not thinking outside the box -duh. The third agency was good and the lady who handled it was good, but Judas H Priest does this shitty English conveyancing system need a serious Parliamentary kick in the arse.

We have 6 weeks to move-out day. Packing will be easy. Catching one of our cats will not.

I sold one of my motorbikes (the BMW 1150 GS) to assist in funding Mrs HD a  new car. Its a Fiat 500. I have yet to find out where I check the oil and vinegar. Whilst I was in an Italian frame of mind I checked out the Moto Guzzi website - Oh Glory!! I do believe they've hooked me again. Ciao.


It would seem that all comments have vanished from quite a few of my previous posts. This is currently a mystery to me and I wish to apologise if anyone feels offended by seeing their wise, amusing, thought provoking words eradicated so suddenly. It was nothing you said - honest!

I always appreciate comments and am grateful for folks who take the time to do so. It was not intended and I'm both sorry and rather annoyed to lose them. Anyone bored enough to scroll back and say something on a previous post, perhaps to correct, alter or add anything they may have stated (now where do I remember that phrase from?) will not be mocked - well not by me.


Monday, 22 August 2011

A Glimmer of light?

I always like to pass on inspiring stuff, it being hard to find amongst the upper echelons of the police service - and this one came from Inspector Gadget.

I found it sort of heartwarming yet at the same time a little tragic. Why? Because in the first decade of my police service, the majority of the very senior officers were gutsy when the time came.  I can recall many times on demonstrations and other large, spontaneous public disorder events, where I've stood shoulder to shoulder with my Div Commander or Chief Superintendent, swapping blows with the other violent mob. (We used to win by demonstrating that our lawful violence was best avoided).

It was unusual to find those who weren't prepared to lead from the front and, as a result, most of the lily livered were well known for it. How the tables have turned that we have to herald this sort of leadership as the rare exception when once it was taken for granted.
Can we have a spine replacement unit at Bramshill now?

Friday, 19 August 2011

Recalled to Life

Just got back from my hols and found this urgent message. I missed the date to report for duty, do you think they'll miss me?
Dear Colleague,
You will be aware that there have been serious outbreaks of disorder across the UK, resulting in widespread looting, arson, criminal damage, burglary etc.
 In response HM Government has issued a decree that all retired Police Officers who have served in a UK police force will be required to report to the HQ of the force they previously served with.
  Here they will be issued with appropriate uniform and equipment to enable them to join serving officers on the front line, dealing with the current situation. According to their physical condition they will be issued with specially designed Zimmer frames, walking sticks, walking frames, wheelchairs & mobility scooters. Where possible such items will be marked with Force insignia and black & white chequered tape.
In addtion, mobility scooters will be fitted with blue lights and wailers.
Airwave radios have been adapted to accept a connection to hearing aids.
The Government accepts that there will be a need to provide additional specialist equipment, and incontinence pads will be available at a reasonable cost.
There will not be sufficient time to issue new warrant cards, but bus passes will be accepted instead.
SAGA have agreed to provide specialist Public Order vans equipped with ramps and tail-lifts. These will be appropriately marked as "OAP Police Unit"  (an abbreviation of 'Old And Past It") and they will be limited to 20mph so as not to alarm the passengers.
For those who are visually impaired, Guide Dogs will be accepted as Police Dogs.
Asthma inhalers can be used instead of CS spray.
Walking sticks are an acceptable alternative to batons.
In acknowledgement of the years of  experience such a group will have, all OAP officers will automatically be given the rank  that they retired with.
In recognition of the tremendous boost to the Police Service that your involvement will provide, your Pension will be increased by 40p per month during the current situation.
In order to comply with the Government Order, YOU ARE HEREBY COMMANDED to report to New Scotland Yard at 9a.m on Friday 12th August 2011. This is an intentional date, as of course you will be aware, it is the date known as the Glorious 12th.
By Order
Theresa May, Home Secretary
This Order is also available in large print.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

"Society Won't Stand For It" - Well, actually, it does.

I've heard a lot of tough words from political leaders of both national and local government over the last 24 hours. Heard a few from the Scottish National leadership too. I thought I ought to make that distinction as I wouldn't want to leave them tarred with the same brush as us south-of-the-border barbarians, after all they have their own reputations to preserve and protect - no offence Alex.

The general gist reaching my ears was that `the community won't stand for it`. Well I beg to differ, the community does stand for it and has stood for it for a couple of decades or more. In my police career I watched as social controls that me and my colleagues took for granted were dissolved in a series of stealthy moves. Just how this was affecting me and my officers was made very apparent just before I was promoted to inspector when I was the community beat sergeant for what was one of the largest concentrations in Europe of people receiving some form of housing, social and other benefits. The majority were good folks, struggling to make ends meet, as indeed I was albeit on my slightly different socio/economic stratum, but at least I had a secure job and the means within it, and myself, to improve my position when I chose to do so. As it turned out I was worse off once I got promoted to inspector and beyond, but thats another lesson I might go into some other time.

My reasoning behind saying that the community does stand for this disorder, theft and destruction has its origins, from my perspective, in the period of time when I was suddenly faced by the fact that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) would no longer take to court the cases that me and my officers were trying to prosecute and these were the cases that made a difference to the ordinary people living in my area. There were occasions that we reported people for what,from the macro view, would be considered minor matters. But working on those estates amongst the residents meant we were a recognisable face of the law that they could actually put a name to (it wasn't always a polite name, but hey, thats the way it goes). Having a brew with them, being seen daily, sharing their concerns and, most importantly, taking action on the things that blighted their little bit of life was what the majority wanted and I believe that goes for most of us.

But gradually the things that we were taking action over, things that our community wouldn't stand for, like disorderly words and behaviour outside the `7-11`, criminal damage, nicking bikes, not maintaining their vehicles and countless other `petty` matters, started to get rejected by the CPS. This creeping paralysis followed me up through the next two ranks to the point that on one occasion, in order to support one of my officers, I actually went to the court where his case was being heard and asked to speak to the bench in order to urge them to see through the `minor` charge and to explain to the magistrates about the hidden part of the iceberg that was sinking peoples dreams of a tolerable life. It was a total waste of my time as `the system` wouldn't, couldn't, wasn't even allowed to see it.

This erosion of the small stuff had the effect of `racheting up` the tension on the streets. It was a gradual process because what we were dealing with here was the subtle manipulation of society's behavioural patterns, but it most definitely was happening. More and more cases that my officers put before the CPS would be watered down or even rejected as `not being worthy` or `too costly`. One prosecuting solicitor actually said to me that a particular case was one that would really be suitable for `a clip round the ear`! I told him that this was now a myth and I was asking for a judicial clip round the ear in this case. Classic short term, short sighted economy. You buy a dirt cheap motor and it dies on you, quickly draining your bank account as it falls apart. It is a big hole into which you pour money.

Everybody knew that the British police were pretty damn good at dealing with major crime. Our training establishments up and down the country always had officers from all over the world on the various courses, coming here because we were a centre of excellence as were our procedures and strategies. If you were a foreign officer on a British police training course you had been selected for greater things by your home force. But as our legal system has abandoned the small stuff, taking the macro economic view, so they have taken their eye not only off the micro societal ball in order to save money in their own particular sphere of operation, but they have taken their eyes off the entire game.

Now, the game that is being played out is fuelled by the notion bred into the generation that grew up in the recent couple of decades, that society does in fact `stand for it`, that there's nothing anyone wants to do about it and that nothing will happen even if they get caught.  I refer to the paraphrased words I cited in my previous post, words from the mouth of the thieving looting scum who I heard on BBC Radio news yesterday morning, recorded by a plucky BBC reporter in Manchester:

“Reporter: `Why are you doing this?
Scum teen looter: ` Cos I can get away wiv it man. I ain’t bothered. If I’m caught, this is my 1st offence, so what happens if I’m caught? Nothing. I'm gonna keep doin it till I'm caught`.
Reporter: "But what happens when you get home with new goods that you've stolen. What will your parents do?"
Scum teen looter: "Nuffink man. What are they going to do to me? If I'm caught I'm a first offender. So I get an ASBO"

So for any political leader who is tempted to make a rallying cry of, `society won't stand for it` I say they should take a good long look over their shoulders, because the succession of social and criminal justice policies that have seeped into our society is precisely what they and their predecessors have sanctioned and have, by their acquiescence, deemed we should `put up with`, `stand for` or just pinch our noses and swallow down whole.

I think most of them should now realise what `society` does and doesn't want to stand for. Now get on and give us what the majority really want - but don't let it take a couple of decades to take hold.
NB: See Maslo's triangle, 2nd tier.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Why we loot

I have just heard it from the mouth of the scum on this local radio station BBC LEEDS . One of their reporters had managed to get hold of a piece of scum, looting goods from a shop in a town/city somewhere. I didn't get the entire interview but I can paraphrase it here:

“Reporter: `Why are you doing this? 
Scum teen looter: ` Cos I can get away wiv it man. I ain’t bothered. If I’m caught, this is my 1st offence, so what happens if I’m caught? Nothing`.
Reporter: "But what happens when you get home with new goods that you've stolen. What will your parents do?"
STL: "Nuffink man. What are they going to do to me? If I'm caught I'm a first offender. So I get an ASBO".

There was more and my above is by no means accurate, but I urge anyone who feels so inclined to go to the BBC Leeds website and find the interview, which followed the 8am news this morning. If anything summed it all up, this interview was IT. 

Addendum: I thought I'd add this. It came in a message elsewhere from an American serving alongside our guys in Afghan.:

“This is as it should be, for our Nation is founded on the principle that observance of the law is the eternal safeguard of liberty and defiance of the law is the surest road to tyranny. The law which we obey includes the final rulings of the courts, as well as the enactments of our legislative bodies. Even among law-abiding men few laws are universally loved, but they are uniformly respected and not resisted.

Americans are free, in short, to disagree with the law but not to disobey it. For in a government of laws and not of men, no man, however prominent or powerful, and no mob however unruly or boisterous, is entitled to defy a court of law. If this country should ever reach the point where any man or group of men by force or threat of force could long defy the commands of our court and our Constitution, then no law would stand free from doubt, no judge would be sure of his writ, and no citizen would be safe from his neighbors.”

President John F. Kennedy – Sept. 30, 1962 in a speech on civil rights and referring to mob mentality.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

The Random, Angry Shot

Whether it was planned subterfuge, a deliberate action or the odd angry shot that brought down the aircraft and took the lives of so many of our allies, some very special warriors lost their lives in this incident. Family and friends of mine have fought in Afghanistan and Iraq. Their experiences of the randomness of death and survival is almost impossible to comprehend. A movement made a split second too early, or too late, can quite literally be the difference between a rush of passing air and an impact from a bullet, RPG, IED, mortar or SAM - the microscopic difference between oblivion and the euphoria of surviving a firefight. It is often beyond rational analysis as to why one survives and another takes a hit and yesterday our American allies took a big hit. It would appear that the majority were `Special Forces`. The last time this country lost so many such forces in a single incident was in the Falklands War when 21 lost their lives in a Sea King helicopter crash.
The following is a tribute from a blogpal of mine that I felt moved to share. With acknowledgment to Neptunus Lex.

I don’t believe I ever met any of the fallen heroes from DevGru. I don’t know their names, have not seen their faces. They shun recognition from anyone not of their tribe, knowing that no one not of them can appreciate what they have gone through, what they have accomplished, what they have been forced to do. But I have met them, or men like them.
I also know fighter pilots, know them well. They give pride of place to few, their arrogance is legendary, even if overblown by those who envy their accomplishments. I’ve known fighter pilots who can make an airplane sing, who can turn the turbulent world of air combat into an operatic ballet, with themselves as the conductor. Knowing every beat and stanza, placidly certain of the denouement. But I never knew a fighter pilot who in his most private self would not tip his head to those few, those noble few, who are qualified to bring death to our nation’s foes by sea, air and land.
I never knew an admiral I respected more as a man than a second class petty officer SEAL.
I believed that if I had played the game the way it was meant to be played, and caught a few lucky breaks, I might have made flag rank. I know that I do not have now, and never did have, what it takes to be a Navy SEAL.
The selection process is rigorous, the training syllabus withering. You may think you have what it makes to be a member of the teams. But if the instructional staff has doubts about your intelligence, your dedication, your ability to work as a member of a team, your physical stamina and endurance, you are done. There is no court of secondary appeal. And when they have decided that you do not have what it takes to make the grade, to fight alongside their beloved brothers in arms, you will leave thinking it was your decision. You will ring the bell and be grateful.
For those few who make the cut, those who get to wear the Budweiser, the real challenges are yet to come. The challenge now is not to make the cut, it is not to grasp the intricacies of advanced training. The challenge is to go to places so utterly foreign, and fight foes so thoroughly implacable that to take the mission is to willingly part with all that you have, and all that you love, and place everything in the balance in a desperate gamble.
You will be expensively and thoroughly trained, of course. You will have practiced until your motions seem involuntary. You will have in your company men who know, trust and love you in their own rough way. You will have certain knowledge of the justice of your cause, and the depravity of your enemy. But you will also know that fate plays its own games as you feel the beat of your own heart in your breast, knowing – as young men should never have to know – that when you’re on a mission, the next beat is not promised. Knowing that the fog of war is ineluctable, no matter your training, experience and skill.
Knowing that things can and will go wrong.
And you go anyway. Night after night, week after week, taunting fate.
You go knowing that it is not merely your own life that trembles in the balance, but the lives of those you love, and who depend upon you. You go knowing that there is something more important even than those things: It is the idea we as a nation represent, whose best exemplification is those you fight alongside. You do not dwell on it, nor do you wear it on your sleeve. But it is there nonetheless.
I know this because I have met them.
They are as humble in their public presentation as fighter pilots are ostentatiously obnoxious. A fighter pilot may feel that he has something to prove, a SEAL knows that he does not. At least not before mere mortals. The only beings that a SEAL feels obligated to prove himself to are his God and his teammates. And in the places that they insert themselves, God is rarely in the room.
Privation instead, and hardship. Monastic devotion to fitness, warrior prowess and to each other. Long days of preparation and rehearsal. Slow, creeping hours of approach to contact and moments of fierce combat. Expecting no quarter, and giving little. Living in each moment while knowing that each could be the last. Buttressed by the man to your left or right. Face forward to the foe.
Fight and win, or fight and die. No ejection seats.
We had a tradition at TOPGUN of instructor staff leaving something for those they leave behind. One officer left a plaque which read, “For those who know, no explanation is necessary. For those who don’t, no explanation is possible.”
In the face of all this, it’s natural to ask, what can I do?
This: Donations to the NavySEALFoundation.org will go directly to defray the costs associated with bringing families to the East Coast and continue support to the families of the fallen.
They gave all for you.
What will you give for them?

Saturday, 6 August 2011

There's something wrong with our bloody senior officers

"It is sad that an unarmed officer has been shot whilst performing his duty to the public".

That was a quote from the divisional commander of a Metropolitan Police officer who was shot a couple of weeks ago, whilst pursuing a suspect on foot.



THIS is a senior officer: 

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Obamacare Beware! The McDougall's are coming

These are sentences exactly as typed by medical secretaries
in NHS Greater Glasgow

1. The patient has no previous history of suicide.

2. Patient has left her white blood cells at another hospital.

3. Patient's medical history has been remarkably insignificant with only a 40 pound weight gain in the past three days.

4. She has no rigors or shaking chills, but her husband states she was very hot in bed last night.

5. Patient has chest pain if she lies on her left side for over a year.

6. On the second day the knee was better and on the third day it disappeared.

7. The patient is tearful and crying constantly. She also appears to be depressed.

8. The patient has been depressed since she began seeing me in 1993.

9. Discharge status:-      Alive, but without my permission.

10. Healthy appearing decrepit 69-year old male, mentally alert, but forgetful.

11. Patient had waffles for breakfast and anorexia for lunch.

12. She is numb from her toes down.

13. While in ER, she was examined, x-rated and sent home.

14. The skin was moist and dry.

15. Occasional, constant infrequent headaches.

16. Patient was alert and unresponsive.

17. Rectal examination revealed a normal size thyroid.

18. She stated that she had been constipated for most of her life until she got a divorce.

19. I saw your patient today, who is still under our care for physical therapy.

20. Both breasts are equal and reactive to light and accommodation.

21. Examination of genitalia reveals that he is circus sized.

22. The lab test indicated abnormal lover function.

23. Skin: somewhat pale, but present.

24. The pelvic exam will be done later on the floor.

25. Large brown stool ambulating in the hall.

26. Patient has two teenage children, but no other abnormalities.

27. When she fainted, her eyes rolled around the room.

28. The patient was in his usual state of good health until his airplane ran out of fuel and crashed.

29. Between you and me, we ought to be able to get this lady pregnant.

30. She slipped on the ice and apparently her legs went in separate directions in early December.

31.. Patient was seen in consultation by Dr. Smith, who felt we should sit on the abdomen and I agree.

32. The patient was to have a bowel resection..  However, he took a job as a stock broker instead.

33. By the time he was admitted, his rapid heart had stopped, and he was feeling better.

For the sake of your health - stay away from hospital 

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Mysterious jump and fall of crime figures - again

Here in the land of sheep, moors and rolling dales there has been, for this quiet patch, a big leap in crime judging by the latest bulletin sent to me by the neighbourhood watch co-ordinator.

The same type of metal theft, artifice crime and cowboy roofing and tarmac`ing always seems to happen when a local patch of lovely land is turned into a site of hazardous waste, coinciding with the arrival of white transit vans, caravans and assorted horses. The land, once vacated, has a council refuse cart sized pile of rubbish and human detritus scattered about it, that the local council come and scoop up. The big spike in the crime figures suddenly drops back to zero/normal after said vans, horses etc vanish. This spike and plummet happens every year this happens to this patch of land, yet the police don't seem to be able to make any connection.

I think there must be something wrong with their crime pattern analysis computer, or perhaps the analyst (if they still employ one) is just not reading it right? Perhaps the locals have an idea who might be responsible?

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the press (not)

With everything else that the individual officers of the Metropolitan Police have to contend with, especially of late, including taking lots of flak that the vast majority of officers had nothing whatsoever to do with, I thought I'd post up something I discovered whilst searching for something completely different, but having the same initials `ATAC`.

I've never heard of the Association of Tartan Army Clubs, although I am aware of any number of groups who like to give themselves the suffix of "Army" for some reason, doubtless connected with a primeval male macho bonding thing.  Anyway, I suddenly found myself reading a letter and knowing that most of my former colleagues in The Met and elsewhere rarely see such things, I thought I'd share with the tiny few who occasionally drop by this blog. Nice one guys.

Association of Tartan Army Clubs
Address protected on websites

29 March 2011

Derek Kirkwood
Security Officer
Scottish Football Association
Hampden Park

Dear Derek,

Brazil –v- Scotland, The Emirates, Sunday 27 March 2011
Metropolitan Police & The Stewards

I write on behalf of the Association of Tartan Army Clubs (ATAC) and the many thousands of Scottish football supporters who attended the above match.

We would be grateful if you could extend our gratitude and thanks to those officers from the Metropolitan Police who were on duty at the above match. Indeed throughout the city both before and after the match. We know that they had a number of issues to deal with in the city over the weekend, but it was clear that they were willing to offer assistance and a smile.

We found them to be extremely professional, pleasant and in good humour when dealing with the many Scottish supporters who attended the match. It was a pleasure to be treated with respect and courtesy, which no doubt assisted in the overall carnival like atmosphere both in and outside the stadium.

Praise also has to go to the Stewards supplied by Arsenal Football Club; they were highly professional and helpful.

There’s no doubt that you had briefed them well on what to expect Derek - good job, well done.

We appreciate that policing and stewarding a football match can be a thankless task. However can we simply say to them THANK YOU.

Yours sincerely

Jim Brown
ATAC – SFA Liaison.