A Coppers Rant

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The victims code. Wasn't I doing this anyway!?!

I am having so much fun at the moment with the Victims Code. We started out having to complete an e-learning package, which you had to do at work, interupted by being turned out to one emergency school child fight or the other. It had to be completed by a certain date or you had to go and see the Chief Inspector with a copy of the yellow pages down the back of your trousers. I managed to finish it at 04.30 hours whilst feeling as bright as a button and more than a little sore at missing out on the poker and DVD's!!! Then we were told off for not giving out victim code leaflets to victims, 'Why not!?' I hear you cry! because we hadn't been given any that's why and when I printed one from the internet I was told not to waste photocoping paper.

A few days later I dealt with a criminal damage where I tracked down 3 juvenile offenders, over the next 5 days I interviewed all 3 with parents, had them all cautioned and had a nice letter written to the Chief Super about how pleased the victim was with the service they had received. Boy, was I feeling like I had done a good job. Obviously the morale meter at the nick had gone off and a team of thousands was put to the task of making me feel rubbish again.

And so after a couple of rest days, unsuspectingly, I went to work and was met by the Sergeant, who on seeing my smug grin proceeded to chew me a new rectal passage, because the audit team at headquarters had returned my crime report as I hadn't put a **VC** box in the log and I hadn't informed the victim what had happened with the investigation. As I tried to explain that I had kept the victim informed the skipper stalked off down the corridor with steam pouring out of his ears muttering to himself.

I was perplexed as i hadn't got a clue what a **VC** box was, and only having completed my extensive training an few days before, I returned to the computer and re-did the learning package looking for the fabled **VC** box. I couldn't find the thing anywhere and as luck would have it got sent to a emergency domestic violence incident which turned out to be a neighbour dispute over children playing in their own back garden. Disgusting I know, where were the parents? I called the local paper but they were covering a boot fair at a golf club.

I asked colleagues about the **VC** box and was met with blank faces, which made me feel slightly better as I thought it was just me. Luckily I got an email from an officer in the crime management unit, who wouldn't be able to tie shoelaces without a 3 week course at headquarters and a weeks annual leave after, that boiled down to the fact that I hadn't done my job properly, that was a nice touch by the morale team.

Thankfully I was put out of my misery by an ad hoc training session at the late turn parade, by a employee whose job wasn't to give ad hoc training sessions and was a little out of his depth, bless him. The reason you have to put the **VC** box is so that the audit team don't have to actually read the crime report, just scan it for the **VC** box. So as long as you put**VC** box you can write stuff about pixies and chocolate steam engines as no ones going to read it anyway!!
It appears that whoever got paid more than me per year to write the e-learning package had forgotten to put it that it was imperative that you typed **VC** on the crime report whenever you made contact with the victim or it would be returned to the officer and any first born children would now be the property of the force control room ( it's the only way they can get any staff!). I'm sure that he/she will still get a Chief Constables commendation, so don't panic!
Mistery solved I hear you cry and boy did it make me feel better knowing I got ranted at for not doing something I didn't even have a clue existed. I have been reliably informed that It was my fault and I haven't the will or energy to argue it any more. I have now got to complete the 'How to apply oral suction to a chicken's foetal protective covering' e-learning package, hopefully whilst having a chinese for a quid!

Have I had an apology or the Chief Super waving the victims letter under my nose, inviting me into his office for a cuppa and a pat on the back?

What do you think!?!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Performance Targets

We have just had a change of management on my area, as the supernintendo, after spending considerable time and effort persuading us not to go to the Met for more money, claiming we should think of the quality of life we have in our lovely county and not the extra money, went to the Met for more money.

After some indepth looking at figures and polling staff etc etc the management have decided that sections should have 30+ arrests , 60+ Intelligence reports and 20+ PND's per month. Not too terrible I thought at the time, but as is my want, I started to think about it a bit more and got me gander up. So it's time to get it off me pidgeon chest!

Why is it that some sections are seen by the management to be better performing than others, when if you look at the quailty of some of the arrests you would be able to find 5 juveniles brought in for theft of 1 mars bar or something similar. Still that's 5 crime arrests to add to the list, not sure how you would justify it under SOCAP though. I have always had the opinion that as a holder of the rank of Constable I should excercise my powers fairly and without bias and that the taking of someones liberty is the last resort. What with the constant erosion of our powers of discrection and the nightmare of the sanctioned detected crime report game, the job that I joined to help people and detect criminals now seems to be... ' For Gods sake keep the Home office happy.'

I have one arrest this month, a drink driver who gave false details as she had no insurance and was a Provisional licence holder only. In my opinion that's what good policing is about, removing a danger from the public. She was twice over the limit and I like to think that I stopped her from killing or harming someone or herself. Are the powers that be interested in this bit of proactive policing? Simple answer, no, it's not a crime arrest.

I watched as my Sgt asked us at the end of an early turn how many arrests had we each had and a colleague replied " None, but I've given out a load of tickets." to which the instantaneous reply was " I'm not interested in tickets!"
Last month we had 54 arrests and the Inspector came over and thanked us for our hard work, what has changed this month, have we all become a bunch of lazy sloths or could it be that we have been sent to piles of rubbish that shouldn't get past the telephone operator, reporting offenders for offences, issuing fixed penalty notices and god forbid, using discretion! I decided not to point out to the skipper that 1 officer was on a 3 week driving course, 1 was on an attachment to another dept and 5 others had all been given the same annual leave and rest days in lieu, as there was steam coming out of the back of his neck.

I was led to believe that the Human rights act (God bless it) had put a stop to performance indicators. Then I stared thinking about performance related pay. If the job starts saying that you will be paid more for beating your performance targets and you haven't at the end of the month and a five 11 year olds fail to pay for a sherbert Did Dab, would you bring them in? Tempting isn't it? cause it's worth money in your back pocket! How fair and unbiased is would that be?

Now I'm in a bit of a quandry. Do I issue a PND for a shoplifting or do I arrest them to get me figures up? Do I submit quality intel reports or do I put any old rubbish down to get the figures up? Do I carry on policing the way I feel it should be done or should I bow down and play the numbers game? I feel like i'm losing the will and am already wishing for the next 20 years to go quick so that I can retire and rant about how my pension has been mislaid down the back of a filing cabinet somewhere.