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  1. All 43 federations sign open letter to Prime Minister demanding 'a properly funded and well-resourced police service'. Prime Minister Theresa May Those representing rank and file officers across the country have written an open letter to the government describing the recent pay award as 'derisory'. Representatives from all 43 police federations in the country endorsed the letter, saying “members were angry” and forces “had been put in an impossible situation.” Police Federation of England and Wales Vice Chairman Calum Macleod said: “We feel the government has not been truthful and honest about the pay award given to officers, and that is insulting. "The two per cent awarded has to come from existing policing budgets which means forces may have to choose between officer numbers and public safety. That cannot be right." The full letter reads: Dear Prime Minister, On behalf of the hard working officers who are working to the bone to protect our people, who fight to protect our communities and who keep you safe, we demand answers. And we demand that you tell the public the truth. About crime figures. About police numbers. About the ‘extra’ officers you pledge. About ‘extra’ money you say you will pay. No more smoke. No more mirrors. No more double standards. You expect officers to run towards terrorists one minute and then turn your backs when we ask for help so they can afford to feed their families. Families they barely see because of the hours they work to fill the void left by the thousands of officers who are no longer there because of your cuts. Officers who are now broken. Who are unable to cope with the mental and physical demands placed upon them by having to work in depleted environments. With out of date kit .With fewer people. With no support. One chief constable has just this week told you that 40 per cent of his officers have sought professional help for stress. It is the tip of the iceberg. Our officers are committed to serving the public. And we thank the public for their overwhelming support, particularly in light of recent incidents. But with 20,000 fewer police officers than five years ago it is no wonder we have seen crime rise and the service to the public suffer. This is not fair on them. And two per cent pay rise with no extra money to pay for it means it is the public who will yet again suffer and get even less of a service. So hear us when we say: The pay award of on average less than £10 a week is insulting. A two per cent rise is not a rise when it has to come from existing policing budgets. It’s a disgrace you have dressed it up as a pay rise. Funding must come centrally, it is unfair to make the public suffer with fewer officers available to fight crime. It’s a disgrace you have ignored the recommendations from the independent Police Remuneration Review Body – the very body you set up to advise on police pay. Forces cannot cope with any further falls in police numbers. Communities will be further under threat at the very time protection is needed the most. Community policing plays a vital part in intelligence gathering to help combat terrorism and it has been decimated. ‘Extra’ police officers are not ‘extra’ police officers. They are the same officers doing longer hours, being called back in when they are off or being given extra responsibilities. Crime is not falling. And answer our questions: Why was the independent body, which has awarded MPs and ministers a 13 per cent rise over the last three years listened to when the independent police body on pay was not? How can you justify these double standards? Do you think it is acceptable that the derisory pay award is expected to come at a cost of losing more officers? Our members have been failed by: The FAILURE to heed our warnings. The FAILURE to implement the very recommendations of the independent bodies you introduced. The FAILURE to support them and the police service as a whole. The FAILURE to help officers protect the country. The FAILURE to help officers protect the public adequately. We don’t want meaningless platitudes. We want a properly funded and well-resourced police service. The public rightly want and expect this. For the sake of those who put their lives on the line for the public we demand you address these injustices and give us answers. Members of the interim National Council View on Police Oracle
  2. Parsons Green: Injuries after London Tube train blast 15 September 2017 From the section UK Image copyright PA London Underground passengers have been injured following an explosion on a District Line train in south-west London. Police and paramedics were called at 08:20 BST (07:20 GMT) on Friday to Parsons Green station in Fulham. Pictures show a white bucket on fire inside a supermarket bag, but does not appear to show extensive damage to the inside of the Tube train carriage. Witnesses described seeing at least one passenger with facial injuries. Others have spoken of "panic" as alarmed passengers left the train at Parsons Green station. Latest updates: Incident at Parsons Green London Ambulance Service says it has sent a hazardous area response team to the scene. BBC London presenter Riz Lateef, who was at Parsons Green on her way in to work, said: "There was panic as people rushed from the train, hearing what appeared to be an explosion" "People were left with cuts and grazes from trying to flee the scene. There was lots of panic." BBC News presenter Sophie Raworth says she saw a woman on a stretcher with burns to her face and legs. Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionBBC presenter Sophie Raworth was near Parsons Green station minutes after the incident happened Alex Littlefield, 24, a City worker, said: "I was walking around the corner to the Parsons Green Tube station and I saw the raised platform with everyone running and looking upset. "I saw police officers, fire brigade... masses of people and armed police. There were lots of very, very distressed people. We've been pushed right back now." Image copyright Reuters Image copyright Reuters Media technology consultant Richard Aylmer-Hall who was sitting on the "packed" District Line train said he saw several people injured, having apparently been trampled as they tried to escape. The 53-year-old said "suddenly there was panic, lots of people shouting, screaming, lots of screaming. "There was a woman on the platform who said she had seen a bag, a flash and a bang, so obviously something had gone off. "I saw crying women, there was lots of shouting and screaming, there was a bit of a crush on the stairs going down to the streets," he said. Image copyright @emmastevie1 Natasha Wills, assistant director of operations at London Ambulance Service, said: "We were called at 8:20 to reports of an incident at Parsons Green underground station. "We have sent multiple resources to the scene including single responders in cars, ambulance crews, incident response officers and our hazardous area response team, with the first of our medics arriving in under five minutes. "Our initial priority is to assess the level and nature of injuries. More information will follow when we have it." Image copyright Alex Littlefield Image copyright Alex Littlefield Are you at Parsons Green station? Did you witness the events? If it's safe to share your experiences then please email haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk with your stories. Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways: WhatsApp: +44 7525 900971 Send pictures/video to yourpics@bbc.co.uk Or Upload your pictures/video here Tweet: @BBC_HaveYourSay Send an SMS or MMS to 61124 (UK) or +44 7624 800 100 (international) Please read our terms & conditions Or use the form below If you are happy to be contacted by a BBC journalist please leave a telephone number that we can contact you on. In some cases a selection of your comments will be published, displaying your name as you provide it and location, unless you state otherwise. Your contact details will never be published. When sending us pictures, video or eyewitness accounts at no time should you endanger yourself or others, take any unnecessary risks or infringe any laws. Please ensure you have read the terms and conditions. Terms and conditions View the full article
  3. The majority of the budget is spent on supporting outdated systems - according to report. Forces need to stop wasting their budgets on outdated computer systems and invest in new technology. A new report by think tank The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) says many police hours are wasted carrying out basic data management tasks, due to severe deficiencies in the forces’ digital infrastructure. It highlights how the majority of police IT budgets are spent supporting old systems, with little funding available to invest in new technology. The report, compiled after six months research, argues forces are unable to capitalise on the opportunities presented by advance technology, which has already revolutionised many other sectors. RUSI research analyst Alexander Babuta said: “With police hours becoming an increasingly scarce resource, it is more important than ever that valuable time is not wasted carrying out routine administrative tasks.” He added if the budget was spent on new technology the costs will be recovered quickly in the savings made to time. The report also suggests forces should coordinate nationally to overcome challenges by unifying all police data. Mr Babuta said new technology is gradually being introduced, however, they are incompatible on a national level. "Digital infrastructure is compartmentalised because of the highly localised nature of policing procurement, resulting in poor data sharing and little coordination at the national level,” he added. For example, Durham Constabulary uses a new system called the Harm Assessment Risk Tool (HART). The system classifies suspects at a low, medium or high risk of offending and has been tested by the force with 98% accuracy. Mr Babuta, points out the system is significantly better at finding who is at greater risk of reoffending – better than intelligence based assessments. However he stresses that officers’ professional judgement should not be replaced by this and “the idea would be to support officers and enable them to be more effective.” However, Durham only uses local data for this – therefore if a person moves from one county to Durham, they won’t be on the system. If the database was unified they would have this access to this information. “Some forces have started to address the problem locally, but there has been little progress at the national level. Only when a unified national infrastructure is in place for centrally managing all police data will forces be able to make effective use of big data technology,” he added. Mr Babuta told Police Oracle unifying all databases will be difficult as there are 220, but suggested the databases could be combined and then put on a nationwide force search engine. HMIC and Mr Babuta also make future recommendations of implementing Predictive Hotspot Mapping (PHM). PHM can use past crime data to predict where crime could occur, as well as what type of offences may be committed. HMIC teamed up last with the London School of Economics lasy year to build a picture of “predicted demand” on policing in the 181,000 census output areas. The inspectorate warned forces must have a better grasp of what they are likely to face in the years to come as they deal with increasingly limited resources. HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary Sir Thomas Winsor said: “It’s just an enormously valuable instrument, which many of them do not have "At a local level, the inspectors themselves know where the troubled families are; they know where habitual criminals live. “But to have that at force level but also to be able to drill down to small units in a particular area; that is an enormously valuable tool.” HMIC argued police forces need a more effective approach to prevent crime from happening, although it admits understanding future demand is not easy. The RUSI report concludes that introducing new tech is all well and good, but stresses that any investment will be wasted if officers are unable or unwilling to use the software and tools provided to them- therefore there should be sufficient training provided. View on Police Oracle
  4. But less than seven per cent is expected to be recouped. Security Minister Ben Wallace says more money is being collected from crooks Criminals owe the taxpayer more than £1.8 billion - but less than a tenth of the sum is expected to be clawed back, figures show. Outstanding debt from confiscation orders, a key route for stripping offenders of the proceeds of crime, stood at just over £1.8 billion at the end of March. But it is estimated that just £128 million - or 7 per cent - of the total will ultimately be recouped by authorities. Confiscation orders are issued by courts against convicted offenders and can be applied to any offence resulting in financial gain, with the amount based on "criminal benefit". The government and law enforcement agencies have repeatedly come under fire over efforts to recover ill-gotten gains. Last year, MPs hit out at a "spectacular failure" to address concerns about confiscation orders. Labour MP Yvette Cooper, who chairs the Commons Home Affairs Committee, said: "This is an appalling failure by the authorities to recover criminal assets. "Courts are ordering the seizure of assets, but too often criminals are getting away with it. We need to know what action is being taken to turn this around." The figure for confiscation order debt is cumulative and dates back over several years. It includes more than £500 million interest, as well as £12.6 million relating to orders which are subject to appeal. The amounts are detailed in an annual statement published by HM Courts & Tribunals Service in July. It says: "The recoverability of confiscation order debt is affected by the nature of the debt - orders are often imposed on assets which have been hidden by the defendant, or the assets are overseas. "Furthermore, it is not possible to write off confiscation order debt - it can only be cancelled in court (a judicial cancellation) in very specific circumstances, such as on the death of a defendant." A Home Office report published on Tuesday said £201 million of criminal proceeds were confiscated in 2016/17 - a 19pc increase compared with 2011/12 (£170 million). The bulletin also disclosed that, of £490 million being pursued across 131 "priority" cases, £94.3 million, or less than a fifth, has been collected by law enforcement agencies. Priority status can be designated to cases where is a "significant public interest" and where the amount being chased is at least a quarter of a million pounds. Since 2011/12, £174 million has been paid in compensation to victims from the proceeds of confiscation, the paper added. Security minister Ben Wallace said: "We will not stand by and allow criminals to profit from their crimes which is why the government and law enforcement agencies are committed to stripping them of their cash and assets to prevent further criminality. "We are collecting more assets from criminals and we are giving more money back to police and to victims. "But we need to do better. Over the coming months, we will be bringing in new powers for operational partners to seize other criminal assets such as works of art and precious metals. "We want to ensure that criminals do not enjoy a luxurious criminal lifestyle at the expense of law-abiding citizens." The Home Office said the Criminal Finances Act 2017, which will be phased in from this autumn, contains a number of measures to significantly improve the ability to recover criminal assets. They include an expansion of the definition of "cash" - allowing agencies to seize works of art, precious stones and metals, and the creation of orders requiring those suspected of corruption or other serious crime to explain the sources of their wealth. View on Police Oracle
  5. Home Office accused of playing politics with officer remuneration. John Apter pictured speaking at the Police Federation Conference last year Officers should be consulted on whether they want full employment rights, a prominent staff association representative says. Hampshire Police Federation chairman John Apter has labelled the government’s rejection of the police remuneration review body’s recommendation for a two per cent pay rise next year as “shameful”. Instead, the Home Office is giving officers a one per cent rise, and a one-off, unfunded, bonus. Mr Apter said: “They are playing politics with police officer's pay. It's shameful. We need to look at the detail of this announcement but it is clear that there is nothing to celebrate. "Officers will see this for what it is which is an insult considering officers have had in real terms a 15 per cent cut in pay since 2010. "Police officers have no employment rights so are limited in how they react to such a kick in the teeth. The government know this and have taken advantage of it. "With a heavy heart I feel the time has come to ask our members what their views are on police officers having full employment rights. "This is something I will raise with the national Police Federation of England and Wales colleagues in the coming days." Mr Apter intends to stand for election for national chairman of the Fed when rule changes allow him to. Home Secretary Amber Rudd claimed: "This award strikes a fair balance for police forces, officers and taxpayers. "We want to reward and attract the very best police officers within the resources we have, whilst making the right decisions for the economy overall." National Fed chairman Steve White did not rule out a conversation about industrial rights last year when asked what he would do if the government ignored the recommendations of the review body. At the time, he said: “We put a lot of work into our submission but if its recommendations are not taken up and if the system comes into question as an organisation we may have to do things differently.” While Mr White and General Secretary Andy Fittes are both due to leave their posts at the end of the year, the next remuneration review submission is likely to have been completed by then. On Tuesday the Fed says it was looking closely at the PRRB report and would provide further updates soon. In a 2013 ballot, only 42 per cent of Fed members cast a vote on the issue of industrial rights. Of those who did more than 80 per cent said they wanted the organisation to pursue a legal challenge to try to secure workers’ rights – such as the ability to strike. The Fed said it would not act on the issue because the turnout was too low. View on Police Oracle
  6. The 'highly unusual decision' by CPS has sparked debate. A case involving a drug driver has been thrown out of court after the officer in the case was unable to attend proceedings due to his baby being in intensive care. PC Steve Lee, a roads policing officer with Norfolk and Suffolk Roads Policing unit, took to social media to reveal the decision. He tweeted: “Told today a drug drive case of mine was thrown out of court due to me being in intensive care with my baby, rather than giving evidence.” He also tweeted: “I have raised a complaint to @cpsuk via my department's senior management. What are your thoughts on this decision @symondsa?” The tweets generated a lot of debate on social media and have since been taken down. PC Lee tweeted: “Lots of support in relation to this tweet, thank you. For all those who have asked about our daughter she is doing great & making progress.” Andy Symonds, Chairman of Norfolk Police Federation, said: “We are liaising with the constabulary and the court to find out the facts of the incident. “We cannot make any further comment at this stage until we know the facts about why this highly unusual decision was made. “We also have to be cognisant of the fact that this case may still be subject to legal issues which we wouldn’t want to encroach onto.” Norfolk Constabulary said it will not be providing a comment. View on Police Oracle
  7. Police Oracle editor Martin Buhagiar says a case highlighted this week illustrates why current legislation leaves police drivers vulnerable. The petrol station cashier opened the door and walked out onto the forecourt with a can in his hands. I assumed a customer had paid for the tin and left it in the shop but the attendant raised his hand in a menacing way. As the car behind me wheel-spun away from the pump, it all became clear. The cashier threw the tin at the VW Golf leaving it with a fair-sized dent. “This is how they deal with fuel thieves in north London these days,” I thought to myself. It is what happened afterwards that got me thinking about a far greater concern, however. Without stopping, the driver sped out of the exit turning left into oncoming traffic and continued to accelerate. This was on Monday afternoon at the Esso Station in Archway Road, north London. The petrol station is on a roundabout and the driver decided to turn into four lanes of rush-hour traffic, rather than simply turn right and go with the flow. Who knows why? Incredibly, he avoided a bus, a lorry and a van and made it to apparent safety as he disappeared out of view. As I headed home, I wondered what a police officer would be expected to do in that situation. The thief has stolen £15 worth of petrol, hardly a priority in these days of cuts and over-stretched forces, but has risked the lives of pedestrians and other motorists afterwards. No doubt the public – and the police – would like to see this person caught and quickly, but officers pursuing could face serious consequences if this madman (or woman) mounted the pavement and hit a child while being followed. Potentially prosecuted if you do, damned if you don’t. Police Oracle has been covering the on-going saga of police pursuits for a while and, thanks to the government continuing to deliver meaningless drivel and little action, specialist police drivers are continuing to pursue criminals with the very realistic threat of criminal charges hanging over their heads. This week a pair of Metropolitan Police officers were the latest to be told they could face criminal charges following the IPCC's investigation of a case which saw the driver jailed for 12 years. I am sure you know the case. Convicted car thief Joshua Dobby, 23, was out on licence when he killed Makayah McDermott, ten, and his auntie Rosie Cooper, 34, as they went for ice cream in south London. Officers fought to save their lives, the same bodies that Dobby stepped over as he made his escape. Following his sentencing it was confirmed Dobby had 53 convictions dating back a decade and was in the process of delivering this stolen car for cash so he could buy more drugs. Some Police Oracle readers have correctly asked who is more culpable for this – the officers who pursued this reckless driver as he accelerated down one-way streets and through red lights, or a system that continued to release this clearly troubled man from custody every time officers arrested him? We can save that argument for another day - needless to say, we agree. This is now an issue facing officers far too often. In April, Greater Manchester PC Simon Folwell found himself in a similar position. PC Folwell was pursuing 24-year-old Luke Campbell, who died after crashing into another car. The IPCC told the force to bring proceedings against the officer for gross misconduct for careless driving. GMP disagreed but was directed to open proceedings against the officer. Try and catch a criminal in a car and potentially lose your job or, even worse, your freedom. I live in an area that recently saw an increase in the number of nuisance motorcyclists - probably like most towns in the UK. Earlier this year neighbours and friends had clearly had enough and were moaning about the apparent lack of action. “Where are the police?” “Why don’t they chase them?” “Knock them off their bikes and lock them up.” They are just the lines I can print. I started by talking about the cuts and the falling number of officers nationally. I then explained why most of these motorcyclists do not wear helmets or removed them at the first sound of a siren and many of those I told were surprised. I was stunned they did not know. Perhaps it suits some that so many members of the public are happy to blame the police for an apparent lack of action. In June, the Police Federation of England and Wales sent a letter to forces warning drivers over the lack of protection the law gives them. The staff association said officers had barely any legal rights and should not carry out any manoeuvre deemed illegal for civilian motorists. The traffic sign safeguard is void if there is any element of risk to the public. The speed limit ‘safeguard’ is anything but as it will not stop charges of careless driving being brought. Earlier this year the Fed also revealed more than 100 officers had been pursued over on duty driving matters during the preceding 18 months. Tim Rogers, PFEW lead on roads policing, told us: “Legal advice has recently highlighted that police response and pursuit drivers are, in most circumstances, highly likely to fall within the definitions of careless and or dangerous driving. “The federation has raised this matter with numerous MPs but to date the difficulties remain with our proposed draft for legislative change not yet having been progressed to a point where officers are appropriately protected.” And last month the government was accused of not properly answering questions on the subject. Halifax MP Holly Lynch wrote to Police Minister Nick Hurd raising concerns the law is not providing proper protection for emergency service drivers. Mr Hurd explained the CPS says it is “very unlikely” to be deemed appropriate to proceed with a prosecution on public interest grounds against a member of the emergency services. That does not stop the IPCC recommending that charges are brought against police drivers though does it and the pressure that places on an officer's shoulders? Then came the usual: “The government fully recognises the risks associated with pursuits,” before the reality: “Officers must be accountable to the public … for the way they reach their decisions, including potentially the prosecution of police officers for careless or dangerous driving.” What clarity does that offer the federation or officers? None. Moped-enabled crime continues to increase at an unprecedented rate - that could not be clearer. However, the protection offered to officers could not be more murky and that brings with it further problems. A freedom of information request revealed that of the Met’s 32,000 police officers, more than 5,000 have been trained to carry out pursuits in the last five years. Of those, 315 had made the tactical pursuit and containment level since 2014. The shortage could be for a number of very obvious reasons, but until clarity is offered and the government commits to new regulations offering officers protection, it would not be a surprise to see the national number of police drivers fall. Officers who engage in pursuits know how dangerous their job can be. The IPCC’s announcement this week illustrates that further obstacles could be waiting just around the corner once the pursuit is completed and the officers have apprehended the criminal. The current legislation leaves them vulnerable and must be changed. Let officers pursue criminals without living in fear of being pursued for doing their job. View on Police Oracle
  8. Integration now brought down further, to below ACC level. Warwickshire Police and West Mercia cars feature both force's badges. Photo: Joe Giddens/PA Wire Two forces who had been discussed as candidates for a merger have scaled back their integration. Warwickshire and West Mercia Police announced a formal “strategic alliance” in 2012 and had been merged at all levels below deputy chief constable in recent years. West Mercia's former PCC Bill Longmore had been sympathetic to the idea of a full-blown merger. But this month further separation has taken place with two assistant chief constables moving back to working for just one force each. Chief Supt Charlie Hill, who serves both forces, told the Police Superintendents' Association of England and Wales Conference on Wednesday: “We've moved away from a strategic alliance, in my view, to a collaboration around protective services, finance and enabling services. “Frankly we need some real leadership from chief officers and PCCs to step up to the mark and say I'm prepared to give up sovereignty and move forward. Two FTSE 100 companies do not merge and have two chairmen, two chief execs, two deputy chief execs.” He was speaking on the morning that Dorset Police along with Devon and Cornwall Police announced they are exploring the possibility of merging. The existence of too many constabularies was a recurring topic throughout the staff association's conference this week, with PSAEW President Chief Supt Gavin Thomas raising it before the Policing Minister said he will listen if there are good arguments for them. Chief Constable Sara Thornton, chairman of the NPCC, said that her working group had ruled out arguing for larger, fewer forces as part of its 2025 policing strategy, despite being in favour, because she didn't think it was widely achievable. “Fewer, larger forces is not going to happen, politically it is just not an option,” she said. She pointed out problems including different council tax levels in neighbouring force areas. In a joint statement, Warwickshire Chief Constable Martin Jelley and West Mercia Chief Constable Anthony Bangham said they remain fully committed to their alliance, and said it is “continually developing”. “Part of any healthy development means continual review of our collaborative arrangements and the introduction of the ACC for each force is to ensure greater focus on local issues, partnerships and performance across the diverse landscape of our alliance. “We are very proud of the fact that our alliance has been and continues to remain one of the leading collaborative working arrangements between police forces in the country which has been commended and recognised by HMIC.” Their statement added that there are still “two clear and differing force identities” and the arrangement is “providing the very best service to our communities”. View on Police Oracle
  9. Chief constables "feel it is the right time.". CC Debbie Simpson and CC Shaun Sawyer The chief constables of Dorset and Devon & Cornwall Police have announced plans to explore further collaboration and closer working between the two forces. Both chiefs reveal they “feel that now is the right time” to explore whether a full merger between the two forces is possible. The police and crime commissioners from both areas have informed the policing minister of their support. Over the coming weeks a consultation with MPs and councils will begin. In a joint statement CC Shaun Sawyer, Devon & Cornwall, and CC Debbie Simpson, Dorset, said: “The strategic alliance has made significant progress helping us provide a more effective and efficient policing service to the residents of our three counties. “We now see this as a timely opportunity to progress this alliance further, including a potential aim to merge our resources and create a more resilient police force. “Policing has faced some significant funding challenges in recent years and we do not see this landscape changing. To preserve local, neighbourhood policing and deliver safeguarding within our communities, as well as an ability to respond to emergencies and emerging threats as effectively as possible, we view closer working as the only way forward.” Shared leadership is already in place across both forces with two DCCs sharing portfolio areas as well as operational commanders and heads of department in some areas. Police departments such as operations, roads policing and prevention as well as 17 other areas are also operating across three counties with a further 11 departments currently going through changes which will see them aligned. The forces also now share a number of support services such as Administration, Information Technology and Human Resources. The chief constables added: “We have been able to make this progress so far because of our staff’s hard work and conscious effort to work in collaboration. “Our officers across Dorset, Devon and Cornwall have similar policing styles, values and priorities with cultures based on delivering resilient and sustainable services to our communities. “We know working together has increased our resilience, streamlined our leadership and unlocked new capabilities in our support functions allowing us, where we can, to re-invest in our services. We feel that now is the right time to explore whether a full merger between the two forces is possible. “We realise there may be statutory obstacles to overcome and there is a lot of work to be done to understand the benefits and challenges ahead. We will also ensure that the views and feelings of the public are taken account of. "As a result, a decision is unlikely to be made quickly but we are absolutely committed to exploring the possibility of a merger in order to continue to provide a sustainable police service for all of our communities in the future.” View on Police Oracle
  10. Minister hints at better resourcing and pay. The government listens to the service and is keen to help officers, the Policing Minister says. Addressing the Police Superintendents’ Association Conference today, Nick Hurd said pay and resource complaints are being listened to. After beginning his speech apologising for the non-appearance of Home Secretary Amber Rudd, he addressed a number of topics including resourcing. On pay, he said: “We’re not deaf, even if we sometimes give the impression that we are. “The message we have heard very clear and constant is about stretch and strain and the pressure experienced police officers telling me they haven’t worked under these conditions before. “I’m standing here as a representative of the government who’s profoundly aware that police officers and a number of others have had to take their share of the burden […]. “There’s a limit to what we can reasonably ask of people.” But he added that there is “considerable concern being expressed by employers” about “sustainability”, which is why there has been a delay so far. He said there will be an announcement on pay imminently. Candid conversations about budgets will soon be held, he said, and hinted he will make some forces spend their reserves. PSAEW president Chief Supt Gavin Thomas had earlier called for a pay rise and for better resourcing. Mr Hurdalso promised a thorough review of resources and budgets, and other areas such as morale which he wrote to chief constables and police and crime commissioners about today. He said such a body of work had never been done before, and will shape the 2018/19 budget with an evidence base. Elsewhere he promised a total of £60 million funding for several projects, including funding for certain forces. His speech coincided with the announcement of a number of successful bids to the police transformation fund including a pilot to roll out video evidence in courts, £6 million to help digital policing in Cheshire, Essex, Hampshire, Gloucestershire and Merseyside and £23 million over the next three years for the NCA, Regional Organised Crime Units, and some police forces to detect, monitor and disrupt organised crime groups. Responding to the funding announcements, Paddy Tipping, chairman of the Association of PCCs said: "The £60 million funding package announced by the minister will be invested across our regions and in local forces to ensure that our police can respond to the range of threats which pose harm to our communities. "This funding covers programmes that use innovative ways to keep our communities safe, by investing in digital policing methods and effective local partnerships to combat serious and organised crime, whilst protecting the most vulnerable members of our society." View on Police Oracle
  11. Visit from Maggie, 11, whose father was killed on duty prompts announcement. Maggie Henry was made chief constable for a day A force has promised that anyone assaulted on duty will receive contact from a chief officer to check on their welfare. Bedfordshire Police has changed the policy and dubbed it ‘Maggie’s Law’ after the daughter of PC John Henry, killed on duty in Luton in 2007, spent at day at its headquarters. According to a statement from the force, 11-year-old Maggie Henry wants to help the force “look after our police officers, so that they can look after everyone else”. The chief officer team will now take the lead on checking that personnel who have been attacked get the support they need. Bedfordshire Police had already adopted the seven point plan on police assaults, first developed in Hampshire, which commits to treating assaulted officers as victims of crime. Chief Constable Jon Boutcher said: “Without question, an assault of any kind should never be considered ‘part of the job’. “Our workforce walks into danger when others walk away and sadly verbal and physical assaults are becoming commonplace – but that doesn’t mean it is acceptable. “Our officers should be afforded the support they need and deserve. This means they are treated the same way as any other victim of crime, they feel valued and that those who attack police officers are not dealt with lightly.” Bedfordshire Police Federation Chairman, Jim Mallen added: “Looking after officers and staff members who have been assaulted while doing their duty should be a primary consideration for police leaders. “The Police Federation brought into Bedfordshire the seven point plan and Maggie's law seems a natural extension to highlight to those assaulted that we care about them and will do our utmost to support them.” PCC Kathryn Holloway said she has raised the issue of short sentences for people who attack officers with the government. “I never want another family in this county to experience what Maggie Henry and her family have had to go through,” she added. “In my view, an attack on a police officer is not the same as an assault on any other member of the public, since police are standing on the front-line between those who keep the law and those who want to undermine it. “An attack on a single officer is an assault on society itself and should be met with the toughest penalty possible.” View on Police Oracle
  12. Chief inspectors and commander posts will still exist beyond 2018. Commissioner Cressida Dick has cancelled plans to abolish two ranks in the Met. Last year Police Oracle revealed the force planned to do away with chief inspector and commander posts in 2018. But its subsequently-appointed force leader has called a halt to the idea. A spokesman said “removing two ranks is not the best approach to achieve the outcomes we need”. Police Oracle also revealed that the force had already spent more than £27,000 on the promotion process for potential future chief inspectors before deciding to drop the ranks – with more than 229 officers having applied. The force spokesman said: “The commissioner has signalled very clearly that the Met will introduce flatter management structures and that she is increasing the pace of reform. "However, after extensive consultation, and due to the step-change to our operational context in recent weeks, she has concluded that removing two ranks entirely is not the best approach to achieve the outcomes we need at this time. “In the coming months we will see flatter leadership structures that empower officers to use discretion and make decisions in different units across the Met. “We will also continue to work closely with the NPCC lead on reforms to leadership structures and maintain our place at the forefront of this work.” Reducing the number of ranks in policing was a key recommendation from the College of Policing’s leadership review and the UK’s largest force appeared to be leading the way in implementing it. Met Fed branch chairman Ken Marsh welcomed the change of heart. “It wasn’t thought out very well to begin with, now the Commissioner has given it proper thought I think what will happen will be planned far better,” he said. On the potential for inspectors to gain promotion to chief inspector ranks again, he added: “They were in the process when it stopped, I’m pleased for them and inspectors will now be able to become chief inspectors.” View on Police Oracle
  13. Labour says visibility has rarely been lower and 'blame lies squarely at the government's door'. The number of people who believe police are "highly visible" in their community has fallen by almost half, statistics show. Just one in five (22 per cent) people said they feel officers are highly visible, according to the latest Crime Survey for England and Wales, which looks at the period from April last year to March this year. This compared with 39 per cent in April 2010 to March 2011, while the percentage of the public who said they "never" see police foot patrols has risen by more than half, from 25 per cent to 39 per cent. It follows a survey last year, which found that one in three people in England and Wales has not seen a bobby on the beat in their local area in the past year. The poll carried out for HMIC found 36 per cent of people had not seen a police officer or PCSO on foot in their areas in the past year - while just under a quarter (23 per cent) had seen uniformed personnel "once or twice". The watchdog warned of the "erosion" of neighbourhood policing as forces are forced to make further financial cuts. Labour's Shadow Policing Minister Louise Haigh said: "Bobbies on the beat don't just reassure the public they collect vital community intelligence and help to keep us safe. Savage cuts mean this tried and tested bedrock of British policing is being chipped away as police withdraw from neighbourhood policing altogether. "Police visibility has rarely been lower and the blame lies squarely at the Government's door. "The Tories shamefully accused the police of crying wolf over police cuts, but now the public are seeing the brutal reality; crime rising and fewer officers on hand to keep them safe." A Home Office spokeswoman said: "Effective policing is not just about the number of officers on the street but about accessibility - having a presence where people now live their lives and are at risk, for example online. "The latest data from the independent Crime Survey for England and Wales shows that nearly two-thirds of the public believe that the police are doing a good or excellent job, and we encourage forces to be innovative, including making best use of technology in the way in which they engage so they meet the needs of all sectors of the community." Last month a number of anonymous former senior Met officers stressed the importance of Safer Neighbourhood Teams, the force’s “eyes and ears” on the ground. The officers claim the teams have been key to detecting signs of radicalisation and gang-related activity in the past. They explained that in 2007 every ward in every London borough boasted a team made up of a sergeant, two police constables and three community support officers. Now there are just three officers in each team, with each unit covering three or four wards. View on Police Oracle
  14. Five officers and a nurse were all attacked by pair in one evening. Five officers and a nurse were assaulted by the men throughout the course of the night. Northumbria Police has appealed for witnesses after an officer was knocked unconscious and four of her colleagues attacked by a pair of thugs. Police were called to Newcastle City Centre shortly after 3am on Monday August 14 to reports two men had punched and kicked members of the public and ran off. Two officers attended and a violent struggle ensued in which both officers were assaulted with one knocked unconscious. The pair were eventually detained and taken to Forth Banks station where a nurse and three detention officers were also assaulted. The force believes a number of people will have seen the attack on the officers and are appealing for witnesses. Four men in particular stopped to help the officers during the struggle but then left the scene without providing their details. Acting Chief Inspector Steve Wykes, of Northumbria Police said: “I’d like to thank the four men who came to our officer’s aid - it was brave of them to do so but they left before our officers could get their details. “I’d ask them to come forward and speak to us so we can thank them for their actions. The offender’s behaviour is wholly unacceptable and will not be tolerated by Northumbria police. “While I am pleased to report that the officers are not seriously injured this was an awful incident and the officers are receiving support. “I’d also appeal for anyone who was in the area of St Nicholas Street and Castle Stairs who may have witnessed the incident to contact police.” The officer who was knocked out was taken to hospital for her injuries but later released. Two men aged 25 and 36 years were arrested on suspicion of assaulting an officer in the execution of their duty and are detained in custody helping police with their enquiries. View on Police Oracle
  15. UCL project exploring evidence recreation working on veracity of 3D modelling. Dr Morgan is enthusiastic about the changes to evidence preservation the PhD work may be able to facilitate. Exact 3D printed replicas of evidence artefacts may hold the key to the way crimes are investigated and prosecuted in the near future. A project at University College London, conducted by PhD student Rachel Carew, is exploring the possibilities around recreating exact copies of pieces of evidence to prevent decay over time. This could help detectives working on cold cases in which the original piece of evidence has deteriorated. Dr Ruth Morgan, director of the centre for forensic sciences at University College London who is overseeing the project, says there may be a number of advantages in preserving evidence in this way. She said: “One of the benefits is being able to preserve an exhibit in its original state meaning we can look at it in ten or 20 years time and evaluate it with new technologies in a way that may not previously been possible. “We are trying to work out the best ways of creating really accurate 3D models which can then be used… we have a lot of people working on this and the work that’s going is aimed at getting the accuracy part of the process spot on. “Cold cases is an area with real potential benefits because often you are going back to exhibits collected many, many years ago. “It can be difficult to evaluate them in the way you would have at the time as there are a lot of factors that can impact features of evidence.” The technique may also enable evidence to be used in a different way in courtrooms, potentially bringing juries closer to pieces of evidence which would previously have remained untouched. However, Dr Morgan warned of the possible ethical and practical limitations, adding: “It is interesting how we will be able to explain to a jury what has been done with the models and there are interesting considerations which need to be taken into account. “For example, how do we preserve exhibits that may be from an individual? Say you were recreating somebody’s skull, you need to have a robust system in place to preserve integrity and the rights of the individual and it needs to be done appropriately.” In terms of how far away this technology is from being deployed in the field, Dr Morgan says the technology already exists but the study is about demonstrating its worth and veracity in practical use. She said: “The technology is there and it’s a case of ‘can we demonstrate the value’. “The quicker and more accurately it be done the better, I think we are talking about a year or two rather than ten or 20 years (for widespread use). “It’s a cool area for this PhD, which has literally just started, but there is a lot of good potential.” Dr Morgan has previously warned about the “knowledge gaps” around what forensic evidence means or is able to tell us and the work she is overseeing around 3D modelling may help create a wider understanding in this regard. View on Police Oracle
  16. Force is pressing ahead with scheme which some officers say is turning them away from the job. The mergers have already pushed control room staff to threaten strike action. A Metropolitan Police pilot scheme to merge London boroughs into single command units will continue despite it causing some officers to “hate” going to work. Towards the end of last year Barking and Dagenham, Redbridge and Havering all merged into one with Camden and Islington also combining. These Basic Command Units (BCUs) are overseen by a chief superintendent, with four superintendents each working under them. Vehicles, technology, personnel and buildings are shared between the boroughs within the units in an attempt to save the Met money. Back in November last year before the scheme was launched Deputy Assistant Commissioner Mark Simmons, who is in charge of the pilot, said: “Change is important for the Met to remain operationally effective in the changing policing landscape.” The chairman of the London Assembly police and crime committee expressed concerns about the mergers and insisted the measure should not be “driven by cost cutting”. Now a number of officers working under the new arrangements appear to be unhappy about their new working conditions, voicing their concerns via social media. At the beginning of July a leaked paper appeared to imply the full programme of the controversial mergers will go ahead despite the pilots not yet being fully assessed. Later the same month control room staff threatened to go on strike during the Notting Hill Carnival over the stresses Pathfinder was putting them under and dangers it posed to the public. The PCS union said at the time: “We have been pushing for months for improvements to new ways of working that we feared would compromise the safety of staff and members of the public. “Members had been telling us about the increased stress of working the new ‘Pathfinder’ system and the risks they posed to the public.” The strike was eventually avoided after the Met provided “assurances” to increase the amount of staff by 135 and invest in new computer systems. Despite the issues and controversy caused by the pilot the force is determined to press ahead and denied rumours they were rolling back any of the units. A spokesman said: “The Basic Command Unit pathfinders, or test sites, in Camden and Islington (North Central Area Command Unit) and Barking & Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge (East Area Command Unit) are ongoing, after going fully live at the end of April 2017. “The pathfinders are a genuine test and the Met continues to learn from the way they are operating. “Each of the pathfinders have thrown up different challenges, and the Met are adapting the model to overcome these challenges. “Neither pathfinder site is being rolled back but we are making changes to make the model more efficient. “The purpose of the pathfinder sites is to test the model and make changes as necessary before we roll it out more widely. “The Mayor and the Commissioner will together, towards the end of 2017, consider the evidence from the Pathfinders and the views of stakeholders, before determining the manner of any further roll-out across London.” View on Police Oracle
  17. A Police Oracle analysis reveals the amount of money being paid to private companies for agreements made by old force leaderships in the years before austerity hit. Many facilities, including Derbyshire's HQ and West Yorkshire's Carr Gate training centre, were built using the system, but several forces have had to shut police stations due to austerity Police forces are paying more than £135 million a year for debt taken out for buildings bought before austerity hit. An analysis by PoliceOracle.com has found that across 20 forces in England and Wales, some 31 individual private finance initiative projects are costing forces an average of £6.6 million each. While under the last Labour Government use of the schemes was the only way some could invest, the austerity years have left them with big bills often based on outdated policing plans. Private finance initiatives (PFI), first introduced under the Major Government, were a means of using private money to invest in public sector projects. They typically involve lengthy contracts which see the investors secure huge returns. No new schemes have been created since 2012, meaning that no current chiefs whose forces use them were in post when the contracts were being drawn up. Defunct police authorities signed-off the deals, which cost £135.3 million in the last financial year. In 2015/16 they cost £134.7 million. The Treasury estimates that due to the nature of the contracts the costs will continue to rise annually, but the Home Office supplied only £73 million in the latest police grant settlement towards them – exactly the same amount it has for the last three years. The money invested in the initiatives equates to more than twice the amount that is given to the Independent Police Complaints Commission. Chiefs have recently started appealing to the government to curb the watchdog’s budget expansion and give it to them instead. Changing demand Greater Manchester Police built more premises than any other using the system, and is still paying for 16 police stations commissioned under former Chief Constable Mike Todd. Ian Wiggett, who was assistant chief of GMP until late 2015, told PoliceOracle.com: “The problem was that at that stage GMP was aspiring to have 8,000 cops, then all of a sudden austerity hit and a few years later, in quite a few of these buildings, you didn’t have the people to go into them. “Now they’re down to 6,000 [officers] and there was a big drop in police staff as well.” As an example of changing demand, he pointed to Stockport borough where a central police station was closed, and a new one opened on the outskirts of the town, but with officers then moving back into council offices in the centre. But he added: “I was in Cheshire when we did a new HQ there, that was a better bit of business as the estate was in a bit of a mess at the time and getting a PFI scheme was the only way to move, and there was a strong business case for it.” That scheme is forecast to cost £7 million in this financial year. Most of the deals are subject to extra, sometimes unforeseen, charges for things such as maintenance. Taking advantage In his recently released memoir Blue, Met Police Chief Superintendent John Sutherland recalls being charged £90 for a sink plug by a private contractor during his time as Camden borough commander. He calculated that to be an 8,900 per cent mark-up. Although the police station mentioned is not one of the Met’s PFI projects, Chief Supt Sutherland adds: “I could tell you endless tales of the same sort: hundreds of thousands and millions of pounds spent on plugs and things right across policing and beyond. “I don’t doubt there’s a dose of public sector cluelessness in the negotiation of these contracts. And I suspect that there’s no shortage of switched-on business people waiting to take advantage.” In 2013 Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill publicly lambasted his force’s PFI arrangements as “white elephants”, complaining that an empty custody suite and police station were being paid for to the tune of £2.1 million a year. He attempted to renegotiate the contracts and called for the government to intervene, failing on both counts. In 2016/17, the force paid £7.8 million in PFI contract costs. Asked about the issue now, a spokesman for Mr Underhill said: “The PCC was unable to renegotiate the contracts he inherited from the police authority, however, changes have been made to better utilise the buildings Dorset Police has across the geography. “He has asked the questions around re-negotiation but he is not able to change commercial contracts that he inherited. This is the case for police forces nationally.” Whether forces should adapt to their contracts or the changing nature of policing challenges is a question which could be asked by the public in 20 areas where PFI debts are being paid today. Success story One politician had more success than Mr Underhill in abolishing his force’s debt. In 2015 the then-Dyfed-Powys PCC Christopher Salmon was able to buy out a “stinking bad deal” on the barely used Ammanford Police Station, which was opened in 2001. He told Police Oracle this week that the building cost £3 million to construct and the force would have ended up paying £21 million for it, with the site eating 20 per cent of Dyfed-Powys' estate budget. “No sooner had they built the station than the policing model changed and it was the wrong station in the wrong place so it was only partly-used,” he said. “The problem with PFI contracts is that, in theory, you’re laying all the risk on the private sector and saying ‘here’s a payment that pays my mortgage and the maintenance cost of my house and I don’t have to pay anything for the next 30 years’, but in practice the private sector just prices up the risk and you end up paying an enormous amount for what you get.” Mr Salmon drafted in specialist consultants, and was able to announce in 2015 that he was saving more than £3 million by ending the contract. Tim Brain, who was ACPO finance lead and Gloucestershire chief constable in the early part of this century, said that under the previous system his force could have had to wait a decade for Home Office approval, whereas under PFI its new HQ could be built much more quickly. He said many schemes were sensible and necessary but some may have chosen bad deals. “For most forces they were the only show in town – if they wanted to get a capital project they had to get PFI,” he added. Asked whether the increasing cost and level Home Office grant shows that the government is not really protecting police budgets, he replied: “Police budgets aren’t being protected, it’s not true, they do themselves no service by claiming they are [but] PFI costs would always have increased over time so it may be yet another example.” The NPCC was approached to speak about PFI debt but a spokesman said they were unable to comment. A Home Office spokesman said: “The government has a duty to honour its long-term contractual commitments and support investments by police forces. There have been no Home Office-backed police PFI schemes since 2012.” Forces still paying PFI debt Force Cost in 2016/17 Schemes Met £29.9m Gravesend training centre and three south east London stations. GMP £13.9m 16 police stations. Sussex £11.2m Police custody provision. Norfolk £10.3m Operations and communications centre and Police Investigation Centres at Martlesham, Bury St Edmunds and Gt Yarmouth. Avon and Somerset £9.3m Black Rock, Valley Road, Portishead; Keynsham Police Centre, Ashmead Trading Estate, Ashmead Road, Keynsham, Bristol; Patchway Police Centre, Gloucester Road, Bristol; Bridgwater Police Centre, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater. Kent £9.1m Medway Police Station and North Kent Police Station. Dorset £7.8m Western Division HQ + joint fire and police station Cleveland £6.9m Urlay Nook Tactical Training centre and Custody facility Notts £4.4m Buildings costs and vehicle costs for 25 years. W Yorks £4m Wakefield and Leeds District Headquarters and the Force Training School at Carr Gate Suffolk £3.8m Police Investigation Centres at Martlesham, Bury St Edmunds and Gt Yarmouth. Derbyshire £3.6m Divisional HQ in Derby and Ilkeston Police Station. Glos £3.5m HQ and firearms centre. Wilts £3.4m Gablecross Police Station, Swindon. N Wales £2.9m St Asaph Divisional Headquarters and Custody Suite. TVP £1.8m Headquarters. Cumbria £1.2m Workington Police Station. Gwent £941k Ystrad Mynach Police Station. Durham £384k Urlay Nook tactical training centre. Total £135.3m (all info provided by forces/PCCs under FOI) Govt grant £73m View on Police Oracle
  18. PC attacked just weeks into the job urges offenders to consider the consequences of their actions. Officer Clifford had to undergo surgery twice following the incident. A constable who was viciously attacked just weeks into the job has urged offenders to think on the ramifications of what they do. PC Sherry Clifford, a patrol officer in Evesham, Worcestershire, was assaulted only five weeks after completing her initial training. Her case has been highlighted by West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner, John Campion, as part of a drive to reduce violence against officers. After being called to a fight in Evesham City Centre a man kicked PC Clifford in the face fracturing her jaw and causing her to lose two teeth. She also had to undergo two bouts of surgery. At first the constable was unaware of the severity of her injuries but six weeks of repeated trips to the dentist soon brought home the reality to her. She said: “I began to feel worried about being in the same situation again, I also felt frustration that it had happened to me so early in my career.” PC Clifford chose not to take any sick leave and says she would have been “frightened” to return the role had it not been for the support of her tutor and inspector throughout the recovery process. Her tutor referred her to the Police Federation who were able to provide additional support and in one-to-one sessions with her sergeant and inspector. They all agreed for her to attend further public order incidents in Worcester to relatively soon after the incident to “stop the fear setting in”. Now PC Clifford “wants the public to realise that every officer and member of staff has a family, a private life and wants to go back home safe.” She added: “I want offenders to think about the wider consequences, what if this was their sister or girlfriend? I want offenders to consider the person outside of the uniform. “It’s not okay to grab or push police officers, it’s not part of their job. “Police officers are often called upon in times of desperation so deserve more respect.” PC Clifford said that by sharing he story she hoped to promote an understanding that officers are “human not machines.” She added: “Hitting a police officer is a really shameful act, these are the people who are there to help." Earlier this year Police Oracle launched our BluePrint campaign which calls on the government to meet its obligation of protecting officers both in the job and when they have been forced out of the service because of physical injuries or mental trauma. View on Police Oracle
  19. More than £100,000 was raised for the Care of Police Survivors charity. Officers laying wreaths at The Beat memorial Hundreds of people gathered at the National Memorial Arboretum on Sunday to pay tribute to officers who died on duty. The Annual Service of Remembrance was held by charity Care of Police Survivors (COPS). More than 200 officers and staff rode into the event, having cycled hundreds of miles from various locations across the UK, on the Police Unity Tour. Riders arriving at the National Memorial Arboretum (COPS) Tour organiser Chief Superintendent Rob Atkins with other officers and supporters, started their journey at 6.30am on Friday in London. The cyclists stopped at various locations during the 180-mile journey, including Luton and Bedford, to pay tribute to fallen heroes. These included Bedfordshire officer, PC Jonathan Henry, who was murdered on shift in 2007 responding to reports of a stabbing in Luton town centre, and PC Daniel Gibb, from Bedford, who served in the Metropolitan Police. In 2010 on the way to work, his motorbike collided with a minibus. The riders met with more than 200 others in Tamworth, Staffordshire. The journey to the arboretum concluded with a memorial bracelet being presented to the families of fallen officers by each rider. More than £100,000 was raised for COPS, which supports the surviving families of lost officers. Chief Supt Atkins said: “The ride went really well and the weather was on our side. “Once we safely arrived at Tamworth in Staffordshire we were met by an impressive 200 plus riders. It was a good weekend and we’ve had some fantastic support.” He added that next year he hopes every force will be represented. View on Police Oracle
  20. Ciaran Maxwell, who had a list of targets including police officers, has been jailed for 18 years. Ciaran Maxwell has been jailed for 18 years A "committed" terrorist who infiltrated the British military has been jailed for 18 years for supplying bombs to dissident Irish republicans. Former Royal Marine Ciaran Maxwell stashed anti-personnel mines, mortars, ammunition and 14 pipe bombs - four of which were later used - in 43 purpose-built hides at eight locations in Northern Ireland and England. Bomb-making materials were found in barrels and buckets buried in the ground as well as an adapted Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) pass card, a PSNI uniform and a police stab-proof vest. The 31-year-old, who is originally from Larne in Co Antrim and was with 40 Commando based at Norton Manor Camp in Taunton, Somerset, at the time of the offences, pleaded guilty to preparation of terrorist acts between January 2011 and August last year, possessing images of bank cards for fraud and possessing cannabis with intent to supply. The Old Bailey heard that the father-of-one researched targets and discussed plans to attack police stations and officers. His plot, however, was foiled when members of the public stumbled across his weapons hides by chance. DNA evidence found on parts of the haul led them to Maxwell, who was on the national database due to his alleged involvement in an unrelated assault case. Maxwell's suspected involvement in the violent incident led to his DNA being stored on the database even though he was not prosecuted, and that was how detectives investigating mysterious arms dumps in Northern Ireland linked them to a serving Royal Marine in England. It was not the only piece of good fortune that led to Maxwell's terror plans being foiled. Police say the first two of his 43 weapons hides were discovered by accident in forest parks in Co Antrim - one by a dog walker, the other by a camper. Senior investigating officer Gillian Kearney, a detective chief inspector with the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), said: "I have no doubt the action of the public in this case has saved lives." Det Chief Insp Kearney outlined how DNA traces found on some of the weapons were linked to Maxwell. "He had been involved in an assault previously and his DNA was on the national DNA database," she said. How a terrorist managed to infiltrate the British military has raised questions around the vetting process of the Royal Marines. While Maxwell now faces 18 years behind bars, police fear weapons he constructed may still be in circulation, ready for deployment by dissident republicans. Four of his pipe bombs have already been used by the violent extremists in Northern Ireland - two detonated, without causing injury - but detectives acknowledge others might still be out there. PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Stephen Martin said: "We are quite clear Ciaran Maxwell had a link to a violent dissident republican group in Northern Ireland. "There is a strong likelihood that items associated with Maxwell have made their way into the hands of violent dissident groups in Northern Ireland and four of those items have been used, three in the last year. "There is no doubt that he knew these items were going to be used by violent dissident republican groupings." Detectives believe he essentially operated as a lone wolf, who despite links to the Continuity IRA, acted largely independently of that renegade organisation. Commander Dean Hayden, of the Met's Counter Terrorism Command, said: "There is no evidence to suggest Maxwell himself was directly involved in the deployment of the items but he was the bomb maker. "A significant number of dangerous items were prevented from getting into the hands of terrorists, hence the public relationship in fighting terrorism is crucial." Maxwell denied he joined the Royal Marines with the intention of infiltrating them from the outset, insisting his criminal exploits only started when his friendship deepened with an old acquaintance who was in the Continuity IRA. He claimed things then spiralled out of control and, as his lawyer put it, he got "in above his head". But detectives are not convinced by this explanation. Det Chief Insp Kearney said: "It's hard to say - we don't know that definitely. "Whatever his motivation was in joining the Royal Marines, quickly he became involved in the engineering of devices and very dangerous activity which made him a very dangerous individual." The lead detective said Maxwell used his military know-how to accumulate and construct the devices. "This was reflected in how methodical and organised he was in the way he stockpiled these things," she said. "It also gave him access to munitions and items that he could use to help him stockpile and further his activities. "I think this is very unusual and it is certainly the first case of its kind in recent years." Over five years, Maxwell, 31, stockpiled mortars, anti-personnel mines, pipe bombs, ammunition and handguns in hides as well as an image of an adapted PSNI pass card and uniform. He wrote a "to do" list on which he identified over 300 targets, including police and military buildings as well as named individuals in Northern Ireland and Britain. Maxwell joined up in September 2010 as a signaller and moved on to 40 Commando at Norton Manor Camp in Somerset in 2013, where he not only stole his colleagues' credit card details, but also a large amount of ammunition. He was about to be promoted to corporal when his double life was exposed. His efforts to build bombs began in 2011 and he sourced information and many of the components he needed from the internet. Terrorist documents and bomb-making guides, including the Irish Republican Army "Green Book", were found on Maxwell's media devices, along with potential targets. The Old Bailey heard he did a lot of his construction work while on leave in Northern Ireland in the home of his late grandmother. The finds in two parks near Maxwell's home town of Larne initially perplexed detectives. While they bore all the hallmarks of a dissident republican stash, the locations did not quite add up. Larne is a staunchly loyalist/unionist town and the last place one might expect to find a dissident arms dump. Maxwell grew up in Larne's small minority Catholic community and claimed he suffered sectarianism throughout his early life. In 2002, aged 16, he was subject to a brutal beating at the hands of loyalists - a separate incident to the one that resulted in his DNA being added to the database. While he claimed that left him dealing with post traumatic stress disorder, he denied it pushed him into adopting hard-line republican sympathies. His support for violent republicanism, he claimed, was fake - motivated by fear of dissidents who knew he was British serviceman. The discoveries at Carnfunnock and Capanagh forest parks last year sparked a major operation involving the Counter Terrorism Command (SO15), the South West Counter Terrorism Unit and PSNI. In August 2016, Maxwell was arrested at his base and a search of Powderham plantation in Devon revealed more weapons stashes. The hides, near his home of Exminster, contained more improvised explosive devices, chemicals, tools, electronic storage devices, hand-written notes and a small cannabis factory. He used the drugs to supplement his military income and had copies of bank cards stolen from his comrades to be used in a fraud. In total, police recovered 14 completed pipe bombs, two anti-personnel mines, two explosively formed projectiles (EFPs), 29 firing systems, 33 bomb initiators, two hands guns and a large amount of ammunition. They seized components for many more explosive devices as well as over 100kg of explosives in Northern Ireland and a smaller quantity in the south west of England. View on Police Oracle
  21. Police Now to hold conference today. Participants in a previous Police Now class Confidence in the police has increased by 17 per cent among young people in communities that have a neighbourhood police officer recruited and trained through the Police Now scheme. A survey commissioned by the charity in areas it operates found: a 10 pc increase in young people’s perceptions of how fairly the police treat people; a 13 pc increase in how helpful they are; an 11 pc increase in how friendly and approachable they are; a 10 pc increase of how good an understanding they have of key community issues. Independent survey data for Police Now and comparison wards was compared for the year prior to the posting of Police Now officers, against their first 15 months after training. Around 7,000 people were questioned in total, including around 1,000 youngsters. Police Now, which puts graduates into demanding neighbourhood policing roles, was established as an independent charity by the Met Police in August 2015. It is now a partner of almost half of forces in England and Wales, with more than 200 new officers being placed into wards in deprived communities this summer. At a conference organised by the charity today, Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick will say: “Police Now has been an enormously successful way to bring different people into policing. The people in the places that Police Now participants are working are not just more confident in the police but more trusting of each other.” Home Secretary Amber Rudd says in a report on the programme: “Through Police Now, officers and their local partners are changing the face of community policing in some of the country’s toughest neighbourhoods whilst strengthening the historic British principle of policing by consent. “Police Now continues to develop fresh approaches to police training and leadership development and is having a broader impact on the development of policing as a profession.” David Spencer, chief executive and co-founder of the initiative, said: “Police Now is bringing the best graduates into policing - our participants are changing lives and have an unparalleled opportunity to develop their leadership and problem-solving skills on the policing frontline. "We are incredibly proud of what our participants have achieved over the last two years.” Applications for the next round of Police Now open later this year. Red Snapper Learning, which shares a parent company with Police Oracle, is delivering some of the training for participants in this year’s programme. View on Police Oracle
  22. More than 250 officers and support staff will be cycling for 180-miles. A previous ride Officers from across the country are preparing for a charity cycle ride in memory of police officers who have died in the line of duty. Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick will give a contingent a send-off as they embark on the Police Unity Tour on Friday. Many will start the journey to the Police Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire by laying flowers in memory of fallen hero PC Keith Palmer in Westminster. The ride will then carry on to the National Police Memorial on the Mall where floral tributes will be laid. Riders will be joined by the families of the fallen officers, law enforcement officials from the USA as well as crew members. Cyclists will ride approximately 180 miles over three days to the National Arboretum, for a special ceremony on Sunday. Comm Dick said: "This is an important event in the police calendar and I am honoured to be involved. This year will be particularly poignant as we remember PC Keith Palmer who was killed in the Westminster Bridge terrorist attack. “Remembering all of those who have lost their lives in the line of duty reminds us of the dangers police officers face when doing their jobs and ensures those who have paid the ultimate price are not forgotten.” Riders all cycle for an individual officer depicted on an engraved bracelet, which at the conclusion of the ride they will have the opportunity to present to that officer’s family. The Police Unity Tour raises money for the charity UK Care of Police Survivors (UKCOPS), which directly supports the families and loved ones of officers killed in the line of duty. Watch the video below to see footage and interviews from the end of the 2015 edition of the tour. View on Police Oracle
  23. Roger Hirst will have oversight of two emergency services. Essex PCC Roger Hirst will be police and fire commissioner Essex PCC Roger Hirst has been granted responsibility for his county’s fire and rescue service. The Home Office announced the move, a first in England hailing it as “an important step” in its collaboration drive. The department also claimed that the change will bring greater accountability to the fire service. Conservative Mr Hirst, a former cabinet holder at Essex County Council, said: “By ensuring a more joined-up response to incidents, providing crime and fire prevention advice, creating community safety hubs, and sharing buildings we can improve how we work and generate significant savings which can then be reinvested back into front line services. “Essex has always been an innovative and forward thinking county as shown by the support we have received for this proposal. Together we can do more to improve the service we give to the public and help keep people safe.” He will take on the extra responsibility from October. The current Essex Fire Authority, which oversees the service, will be abolished. Policing and Fire Minister Nick Hurd praised the move. He said: “I want to see our emergency services continue to drive closer collaboration to encourage joint working, the sharing of best practice and more innovative thinking. “Having a directly accountable leader overseeing policing and fire will help both services enhance their effectiveness, maximise available resources, boost local resilience and improve the services delivered to the public. “I’m really looking forward to seeing the benefits this will bring to the local area." Several other PCCs have applied to take on similar responsibilities. View on Police Oracle
  24. He was rescued with only seconds to spare. Sergeant Mark Shepherd on duty Three police officers entered a house and faced down an aggressive Alsatian to save a man's life are to receive awards. Sgt Mark Shepherd and PC Michael LeFevre were first on the scene after being called to a house where the man who was believed to want to take his own life had locked himself in. The officers managed to barge their way into the home and within seconds they heard the man jump from a stool with a cord around his neck. Sgt Shepherd acted quickly and picked up the man's body to take the pressure off his neck. PC LeFevre took over supporting the man’s weight and Sgt Shepherd ran to the kitchen, grabbing a knife so the man could be cut down. But Sgt Shepherd was confronted by a very large and aggressive Alsatian so had to use a kitchen stool to create distance between them. They managed to get the man breathing and put him in the recovery position until an ambulance arrived. He was later detained under the Mental Health Act. Sgt Shepherd is now set to receive a Royal Humane Society Testimonial on parchment, and PC LeFevre, along with their colleague PC Steve Godden are to receive a certificates of commendation from the organisation. Sgt Shepherd told Police Oracle: “We experience a lot of attempted suicides but this is the first one where we’ve had to act in seconds. The adrenaline kicks in and you have to act fast.” The officers were sent a letter afterwards by the man’s wife thanking them, Sgt Shepherd added: “In a weird way I felt a bit embarrassed when I heard I received the award, but it’s nice to be recognised. “We never expect awards, we’re just doing the job and it’s what we signed up for. It feels good and I would do it all over again if I had the chance.” Dick Wilkinson, secretary of the Royal Humane Society, said: “There is little doubt that, but for the swift action of these three officers, the man would have died. “They were on the scene rapidly, they broke in, found him. It was made even more difficult by the presence of the dog. Thankfully though they managed and he survived. “They richly deserve the awards that have been made to them.” The Royal Humane Society is a 200-year-old charity that grants awards for acts of bravery in the saving of human life and, also, for the restoration of life by resuscitation. View on Police Oracle
  25. New scheme launched by Prince Harry. Prince Harry being shown the work of the Headway charity A new scheme helping brain injury survivors is to be promoted in the custody arena by the Police Federation of England and Wales. The successful initiative launched by the Headway charity and HRH Prince Harry, will see people who have suffered brain injuries carry special ID cards - to help police identify who they are. Andrew Ward, custody lead for the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “This is an excellent initiative which will particularly help custody officers and other operational police officers to identify those who might have had a brain injury. “It will enable them to give particular support and assistance to members of the public affected by this type of injury and act as a cue to seek an appropriate adult or further medical advice for those who have been detained. The Federation is proud to support this valuable and important scheme.” The Brain Injury Identity Card is supported by the National Police Chiefs’ Council, Police Scotland, the Police Service of Northern Ireland, NAAN and the NHS. Mr Ward, who also represents the police service on the National Appropriate Adult Network (NAAN), added: “The scheme may also assist some of the thousands of police officers who are injured every year in the line of duty, many of them seriously.” Speaking at the launch to brain injury survivors, Prince Harry said: “This surely is a life-changing moment for people with a traumatic brain injury, whether or not they ever get arrested. This card is a saving grace for you guys and for the police as well. ” Headway chief executive Peter McCabe said: “The hidden effects of brain injury can often lead to misunderstandings and difficulties. Many people are assumed to be drunk as a result of having slurred speech or an unsteady gait, with attempts to explain the effects of their brain injury often being ignored. “The card is designed to help the police to identify survivors at the earliest opportunity, ensuring they receive suitable support and are diverted away from the criminal justice system where appropriate. It’s a simple solution to a tricky conversation.” View on Police Oracle