IPCC – Fit for Purpose?

I would like your opinion on something. If I told you that the IPCC did not understand the basic concepts of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act would you be shocked? What we are talking about here is the Independent Police Complaints Commission, the organisation tasked with investigating complaints against the police and they don’t even understand the overarching principles by which the police are governed when it comes to dealing with prisoners and investigation of offences. Hard to believe? Read on!

The case I have been informed about and seen documents pertaining to involves an officer involved in an incident where he was convicted of assault. The circumstances are immaterial but suffice to say the officer was sacked but remains upbeat that he will ultimately win an appeal. However, significant mistakes were made by the investigating force which have been subject of a complaint because those serious mistakes formed part of the reason that our former colleague was convicted. One of the mistakes was that, following arrest and interview, the CPS informed the investigating officers that there was enough evidence to charge. What then happened was that our former colleague returned on bail, after this decision was made by the CPS, was further interviewed for a total of four hours and then charged. He was kept in custody for about 6 hours. The content of this interview after a decision to charge had been communicated was used in the trial and ultimate conviction.

Code C of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 states:

11.6 The interview or further interview of a person about an offence with which that person has not been charged or for which they have not been informed they may be prosecuted, must cease when:
(a) the officer in charge of the investigation is satisfied all the questions they consider relevant to obtaining accurate and reliable information about the offence have been put to the suspect, this includes allowing the suspect an opportunity to give an innocent explanation and asking questions to test if the explanation is accurate and reliable, e.g. to clear up ambiguities or clarify what the suspect said;
(b) the officer in charge of the investigation has taken account of any other available evidence; and
(c) the officer in charge of the investigation, or in the case of a detained suspect, the custody officer, see paragraph 16.1, reasonably believes there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction for that offence. See Note 11B.

The important bit is paragraph (c) which means that when “there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of a conviction” a charge should follow.

Paragraph 16.1 of the code further states:

16.1 When the officer in charge of the investigation reasonably believes there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction for the offence (see paragraph 11.6), they shall without delay, and subject to the following qualification, inform the custody officer who will be responsible for considering whether the detainee should be charged. See Notes 11B and 16A. When a person is detained in respect of more than one offence it is permissible to delay informing the custody officer until the above conditions are satisfied in respect of all the offences, but see paragraph 11.6. If the detainee is a juvenile, mentally disordered or otherwise mentally vulnerable, any resulting action shall be taken in the presence of the appropriate adult if they are present at the time.

This is self-explanatory. When there is sufficient evident to obtain a realistic chance of conviction then the question should stop and a charge follow. Correct me if I am wrong but when the CPS state that someone should be charged then clearly there is is enough evidence to convict. So, surely, the interview that followed on the return on bail was a breach of PACE ~ a significant and possibly fatal flaw in the process which would mean our colleague would have his conviction overturned. One more to add to the growing list of failures in this case. He would be allowed another day in court which would allow him to clear his name now a proper investigation by his defence team is presented as evidence.

However, in the world of the IPCC this is not a breach. I will let their investigator explain:

In terms of PACE Code C, I do not consider that the excerpt you have provided indicates a breach of PACE. The general essence of the excerpt provided is that an OIC must feel that they have insufficient evidence to charge or prosecute. I do not feel that possession of CPS advice to charge necessarily indicates that the OIC believed that there was sufficient information to charge; all this indicates is that the CPS felt the was sufficient evidence to charge, and this does not necessarily reflect the belief of the OIC. With regards to whether or not this interview would make your conviction unsafe, this is not something I can comment on. However, I do not feel that PACE Code C has been breached as described.

There you go. According to the IPCC, it doesn’t matter what the CPS thinks, it doesn’t matter what the law says, you can make it up as you go along!

In Defence of the Hairies

Here is a post from a contributor who has recently emailed me with a message to convey. He is an ex Met Police Officer and his name is Chris Hobbs. The content is self-explanatory and the words are all his own:

As a former police officer who spent 21 of his 32 year service in Special Branch, I was as shocked as anyone else when the allegations of police attempting to smear the Lawrence family were placed into the public domain by the combined efforts of the Guardian and Channel 4’s Dispatches programme. Going back to 1993 I can remember the anger I felt when I heard of Stephen’s murder which was followed by bewilderment at the apparent failure to ‘nail’ the culprits. I can also remember the apprehension at the time amongst police circles that Stephen’s murder could be the catalyst for serious public order clashes which could become racial in character.

Every officer within Special Branch knew of the existence of the ‘hairies’ as the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) were known. The nickname arose from the dramatic change of appearance these officers had to undergo in order to blend in with their targets. Although we in Special Branch knew of them and their role, it was not something we would speak about outside the branch and even when SDS officers moved back to normal duties they would say very little about their previous activities. There is no doubt that if SDS officers were tasked specifically to ‘dig up the dirt’ on members of the Lawrence family, there could be no justification for that course of action. These instructions were of course allegedly delivered to whistleblower, Peter Francis, some 20 years ago and he needs to be certain that these were his precise instructions. There is no question that, in common with every murder investigation, background intelligence checks would have been carried out on the backgrounds of family members and those close to them. This has been standard practice since the dawn of murder investigations and begs the question as to whether there any chance that this process  through the mists of time, has become misinterpreted.

There is also no doubt that police would have been closely monitoring whether radical groups with a propensity for violence would attempt to attach themselves to the Lawrence family. This is given some credence by the Daily Mail, who have played a major role in supporting the Lawrence’s campaign, stating earlier this week that the Lawrence’s refused to associate themselves with groups such as Panther UK, whose activities could lead to violence. However, mitigating against this are concerns that the Met has ‘previous’ in terms of smearing and mud flinging, against its own employees. Police officers and staff who embark on Fairness at Work (a fluffy term for grievance) or employment tribunal procedures will find that their supervising officers will look to throw mud at the individual complainant.  This of course weakens any argument by the Met that ‘it couldn’t happen now.’ In terms of ascertaining whether the ‘smear’ or similar instructions were given, any enquiry should note that one of the characteristics of Special Branch was its meticulous attention to detail. Reports or SB1’s had to be written, re-written and re-written again until they satisfied the massed ranks of Chief inspectors whose primary role was to ‘carve’ reports.

All reports were sent to the very secure Special Branch registry where they would lie on file. These files would include those marked ‘secret’ and feature matters relevant to the SDS. I cannot believe that all aspects of SDS work would not be accurately recorded on secret files especially if this targeting went on for several years. This should help determine the exact nature of the instructions given to Peter Francis and possibly other officers. Whilst it not inconceivable that a rogue senior officer whispered suggestions about ‘digging the dirt’ is it really being suggested that succesive supervising officers would have been passing on that same instruction? More likely perhaps that monitoring extremist groups who might be attempting to take advantage of the Lawrence’s tragedy would have been the instruction. Hopefully SDS records, because of their sensitivity, remain intact and it is to be hoped there was no cull of such files when Special Branch were amalgamated with the Anti Terrorist Squad in 2006.

Other recent revelations concern the fact that SDS officers had become ‘babyfathers’ and struck up meaningful relationships with their targets or associates of their targets. There can be no excuse for this and hopefully the Met will accept responsibility in terms of financial recompense and not drag its heels as it seems to do in cases that actually merit a payout. Questions asked during any enquiry will surely concern the recruitment, training, suitability and handling of those selected for SDS duties. Even with such elite bodies as the SAS or MI5, the most thorough selection processes will occasionally fail and perhaps this is what happened within the ranks of the SDS. Certainly when I was in Special Branch, there were rumours that one individual had ‘gone rogue’ to the extent that he was having such a great time he decided to leave the police and stick with his ‘new buddies’

There is considerable confidence amongst former SDS officers that the enquiry headed by Mark Ellison QC will be both fair and thorough. He will doubtless also note the achievements of the ‘hairies’ and conclude whether the achievements of the SDS over the years outweigh the much publicised alleged transgressions. It remains to be seen whether infiltration of absolutely all groups targeted was proportionate and necessary but it is clear that some posed a real threat to both public order and public safety. A fact largely ignored in this welter of criticism is the fact that officers, at great risk to themselves, did manage to infiltrate organisations that were, quite simply dangerous and who were prepared to condone or use extreme violence including murder.  These included groups with links to the IRA, extreme anarchists and neo Nazis.

It always amused me that contrary to their image as right wing protectors of the state, the most common news paper on view each morning in the Special Branch offices at Scotland Yard was the Guardian. When I was interviewed by my vetting officer, a necessary prerequisite for joining Special Branch, I confessed that I had been on anti-fascist and anti-American protest marches in my youth. I was surprised when I was informed that most potential Special Branch and MI5 officers he had interviewed has also participated in demonstrations of the left. One aspect of the recent revelations that is surprising is the fact that much of the information concerning the SDS that has just been revealed was already in the public domain. In 2002 Peter Taylor produced a three part TV documentary series ‘True Spies’ part of which featured the work of the SDS and featured interviews with officers albeit under pseudonyms. These were the subject of a Guardian article by Peter Taylor just days before the TV series which was broadly sympathetic to SDS officers although the series itself was critical of the ‘surveillance state.’

In March 2010, an article in the Observer featured and named Peter Black, the alias of Peter Francis and again it wasn’t unsympathetic to the trials, tribulations and sacrifices made by undercover SDS officers. This 2010 article again covered some of the contentious issues that have grabbed the headline over the last few days. The historic 2010 allegations that have just re-surfaced again in 2013 with such dramatic effect included the fact that SDS officers, including Peter, had slept with those involved in target organisations.  The 2010 articles also referred to the use of the identities of dead children by SDS officers which was again an issue repeated in the Dispatches programme. It would appear that the practice ceased when linked government secure IT systems ensured that identities could be established without the use of what was a less than savoury practice but one that was deemed necessary as there was no viable alternative.

The Operation Herne enquiry may well find that it was not just SDS officers who adopted this practice but officers and individuals from other government agencies and that will pose an issue for both investigators and the government. The suggestion by Derbyshire Chief Constable Mick Creedon in charge of Operation Herne that generations of undercover police and their supervisors could find themselves in the dock is patently ludicrous. The original senior police officer who originated the idea is probably in his grave right now and other officers merely followed what was established practice. Has Mick made sure his own house is in order and looked at undercover operations by both Derbyshire and his previous force Leicestershire? Whilst utilising identities in this way may be undersirable, perhaps of equal concern should be the use of deceased children’s identities to obtain UK passports for foreign nationals. The issue of fraudulently obtained UK passports is for another forum; suffice it to say that the abandonment of techniques developed by a handful of officers from the Met and UKBA to detect fraudulently obtained UK passports is, to say the least, a questionable decision by the powers that be from both organisations.

Another significant aspect of the 2010 article is Peter’s infiltration of left wing anti racist organisations in the 1990’s.  It’s clear from the article that his efforts enabled the Met to have sufficient resources available to deal with the now notorious anti-BNP demonstration at Welling in October 1993. The objective of some of the organisers was to set fire to the BNP Office in Welling trapping and killing any BNP activist inside and Peter’s intelligence enabled the Met to prevent what would have been a truly disastrous situation. There is no doubt that Doreen and Neville Lawrence would regard as totally abhorrent the death of  any person  in an incident that would in some way be linked to Stephen, even if those individuals held extreme right wing views.

The Commissioner of the Met, Sir Paul Condon did visit the SDS offices after Welling to congratulate the undercover officers whose intelligence prevented carnage on the day. There is no doubt that prior to this meeting he would have been fully briefed on the work of the SDS. Whilst this might not have included details of every operation, it should perhaps have been enough to excite his curiousity. Perhaps he should have been curious enough to ask where the officers he so fulsomely praised obtained their identities. The assertion by the current commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, that some senior officers at the time were not aware of the existence of the SDS is meaningless. The Commissioner Paul Condon clearly did as did the Assistant Commissioner responsible for Specialist Operations, the legendary Sir David Veness and others of ACPO rank who needed to know. It wasn’t a great secret but equally would the senior officer in charge of traffic matters need to be briefed on the existence of the SDS?

Whilst Peter felt uneasy about his role in targeting left wing anti-racist protest groups it shouldn’t be forgotten that Special Branch also targeted those on the right. I was a Special Branch officer during the 90’s and as such, a year before Stephen’s murder, was fully aware that Combat 18, the extreme right group populated by football hooligans was in existence. Combat 18 became an additional responsibility of the Special Branch right wing section who also had their hands full with the BNP. Even before Stephen’s tragic death, racial tensions were high and Special Branch mounted similar operations against neo-Nazi groups as they did against those on the left that unquestionably saved lives. The 2010 Observer  article was clearly driven by Peter’s involvement and it also mentioned another issue that has caused concern namely that someone senior within the Met had decided not to disclose the involvement of undercover officers to the Macpherson enquiry  set up to investigate Stephen’s death and the subsequent police murder investigation.  The question puzzling former SDS officers who were fully aware of the 2002 and 2010 articles is why the issue of smearing the Lawrence family was not mentioned at this time in company with the other revelations. Peter Francis aka Peter Black was clearly talking to journalists back in 2010. Did he sit on the Lawrence family smear story for three years or did the journalists?

Peter Francis has also expressed concern as to his involvement in protests concerning the deaths of black males who have come into contact with police notably Brian Douglas. Curtailing the efforts of peaceful protests may well be an anathema to him and perhaps again the extent and the proportionality of his directed involvement will be found in the SDS files. Instructions to ensure that peaceful protest doesn’t escalate into dangerous violence might be considered proportionate but clearly there is a line to be drawn.  It could be that any newly formed protest group would need to be closely monitored until its propensity for violence or lack of it could be established.

The drip drip of disturbing allegations may well continue over the next few days, weeks and months and some could well be proven. The alleged  police bugging of Stephen’s best friend Duwayne Brooks  during meeting between Duwayne, his solicitor and two police officers makes little sense as the police were actually  present and it is hard to see as to how that could be authorised. Certainly if such authorisation were given then the officer authorising would have some explaining to do. It could well be therefore that certain actions were not proportionate. Individuals and groups may well have been targeted that did not deserve to be. The SDS balance sheet in relation to deaths and violence that have been prevented weighed against intrusions into privacy and democratic rights has yet to be determined.

None of the above should create the impression that I am an apologist for the Met. Their treatment of those officers and staff who dare to expose wrongdoing or poor operational decision making is appalling. Police parlance that speaks of ‘doing an officers legs’ if he or she ‘rocks the Met police boat’ is as apposite now as it ever was. If there were mistakes made during Peter’s time then the current situation means that officers are even more likely to keep silent when they should be speaking out in a similar scenario emerges in the future. In May 2011, after exhausting every conceivable avenue, I returned my Good Conduct and Long Service to the Commissioner in protest against operational decisions that I and others believed adversely impacted on the black communities in London and other cities. It was deemed not worthy of the commissioners’ attention and an attempt was made some weeks later to return it to me. The return was attempted by the same Chief Superintendent who had been responsible for those decisions and minutes later informed me that I was being forcibly retired after 32 years exemplary service.  No I am no apologist but feel that some degree of balance needs to be applied to the current situation.

I’m Back!

I have been away for a while but it is good to be back. The reason for my disappearance is entirely due to the fact that I got bored with all things related to the job but I just cannot give it up so I will be around for a bit, hopefully. My reasons for this website is to highlight the fact that the ordinary copper on the street is honest, hardworking and reliable. Not one of them goes on duty to commit an act which will get them the sack or send them to prison. They do their best every day of their service and sometime pay with the ultimate sacrifice. The problem is that, in a disciplined service, there has to be a watch kept to ensure that the standards are maintained but the problem is that those people in these departments find wrongdoing in everything they see and are not prepared to consider alternatives. The wrong people investigate the police officers standards. Sorry, I used a swear word there! Of course, they don’t investigate, they simply prosecute.

The last bastion of police corruption still exists in the higher ranks and unProfessional Standards Departments (and those organisations affiliated to such departments) but I feel it is difficult to make the public or the press understand. What with police chiefs pulling strings to try and get relatives employed or police authority chiefs also committing heinous crimes, it now falls upon the IPCC to continue the mantle of Noble Cause Corruption. I note the disappearance of Inspector Gadget and acknowledge his ability to reach the masses and expose the anomalies of higher ranks! Thanks you for your efforts and commitment.

GMP BadgeIn this report of high level incompetence, I have to state that it has taken 16 months for two Greater Manchester Police Officers to clear their name following an IPCC investigation into a protest march against the EDL. The two officers named as Inspector Bob Cantrell and PC Alan Glover faced a trial over their involvement of the arrest of a protestor. During that arrest, it appears that Inspector Cantrell used reasonable force to assist in the arrest of the protestor but, because the IPCC relied solely on the two-dimensional images of a CCTV camera and that they interpreted the images differently to how the officers did, with a three dimensional viewpoint plus sound and context, the IPCC  not only decided the officers were guilty they insisted and continue to do so that the officers are guilty of something. The case is, was and always has been an absolute shambles. Don’t take my word for it! Apparently the Judge and the CPS decided the same. The CPS offered no evidence against PC Glover when they realised that the statement which the IPCC thought was false was actually true. The Judge threw out the subsequent IPCC bolleaux at the trial of Inspector Cantrell when he stated that the “evidence did not support it!” If you want to read the Manchester Evening News reports just click on the links attached to the officers’ names above.

So what now for the officers? The IPCC, still clutching at straws, gratify themselves that the officers may still face internal disciplinary proceedings. What for????????? Apparently, in the case of PC Glover he committed the crime of telling the truth in a witness statement contrary to the IPCC Utter Bolleaux Interpretation Act 2011. Apparently, Inspector Cantrell committed the dreadful offence – lawful use of self-defence offence contrary to the IPCC Incapability to Understand Legislation Act 2011. The annoying thing about this case is that the evidence which showed the officers to be innocent was on the CCTV itself only the IPCC couldn’t be arsed looking for it! They even admit as much in the Manchester Evening News report. I know of a number of officers who have been disciplined for exactly the same actions. I hope the GMP Federation are complaining to the IPCC about this and I look forward to the inevitable IPCC sackings. I mean, what is good for the goose……. and so on!

However, this is not a joke. This is serious. If the incompetent IPCC investigation had been successful then both these officers would have gone to prison, lost their jobs, pensions and any credibility. The IPCC have no credibility. It is clear from the outset of any investigation that if they decide that an officer is guilty, then they refuse to consider any such alternative view which can be put to them. Unfortunately, this is also a major requirement in the job description of many uPSD employees. This story was national press when it broke. The officers faced a trial by media at the outset. Isn’t it funny how the officers are innocent story is not as public.

If you have a newspaper story involving similar high level misnomers, feel free to email me a link to the story and I might pass comment (or water) on the affair. The email address is below and you don’t need to ID yourself if you don’t want to.

And So It Is Told…!

daily_mailAnd so it seems that the Daily Bog Roll Mail story, as predicted, was a pre-cursor for another kick in the teeth and here it is.

The Country’s Cops look set to take another financial hit with news that the Home Office wants pension contribution rises to 13.5 and 11.5% from 1 April 2013. The Majority of English and Welsh officers – on the 30 year pension scheme (PPS) – face a 1.25% rise to their monthly contributions – up to 13.5%. If Police officers are on the newer 35 year scheme (NPPS), they face a 1% increase to a monthly contribution rate of 11.5%. In July 2011, the Home Secretary Theresa May consulted the Police Negotiating Board (PNB) on her proposals to increase the amount paid by police officers into the police pension scheme (PPS) and new police pension scheme (NPPS) by an average of 3.2 % over a three year-period beginning in April 2012.

Two Faced Politicians

Two Faced Politicians

Following representations by the Police Federation of England and Wales and Staff Side, the Home Secretary decided only to implement the proposed increase for the year 2012-13, with contribution rates for most officers rising by 1.25% for those in the PPS and by 1% for those in the NPPS. In making this decision, the Home Secretary did state that the Government was still committed to increasing police officers’ pension contributions in the following two years, but that she would consult the PNB on any further increases.
On Thursday (24 January) Police Minister Damian Green wrote to the Independent Chair of the PNB asking the Board to consider an increase in contribution rates for 2013-14, which would take effect from 1 April 2013.

The consultation on these increases will close on 20 February. The Police Federation of England and Wales stated it “will work with Staff Side colleagues to formulate a response to these proposals.”

Sex and Drugs and Rock n Roll

cunninghamA missive from a new candidate for the Talking Bollocks Trophy is the Staffordshire Police Chief Constable Mike Cunningham. His emanation has been reported most prominently in the Daily Bog Roll Mail and outlines his belief that there will be an increase in officers taking steroids which they purchase from criminals when they go to the gym. Just in case you did not know what Mike Cunningham looks like here is his picture.

This top cop is the lead on Police professional standards and was addressing other Association of Chief Police Officer wallers in respect of risks and threats for the future in respect of corruption. As I have outlined consistently on this blog the main issue is, as always, curbing the amorous advances of the male officer. Any officer who should meet someone on duty, arrange to meet them after work and then have any subsequent form of relationship with them is, by ACPO definition, corrupt. Despite this, remember there was a Chief Constable of a major force who subsequently committed suicide, when it became common knowledge he was just as much a shagger when a Chief Constable as he was when he was an Assistant Commissioner (and throughout his service and ranks) he was not corrupt. Wasn’t he just a bit of a lad?

You are only corrupt if you have sex with someone when you are below the rank of Chief Inspector if you have told them you are a cop to impress them. Unfortunately ACPO are obsessed with this subject.

ACPO BETRAYALGetting back to the drug riddled steroidal officers coursing through our forces. Perhaps Mr Cunningham could outline why there has not been a consequential upsurge in the number of drug test failures of officers despite there being random drug testing for well over four years now. In fact, there is also a “with cause drugs test” which his officers and other buffoonery ranks could impose on any officer they wish, the parameters of which are so wide that anybody is open to a “with cause” test. What we actually have is a non-problem invented by ACPO as a precursor to something else which they need to impose on our police.

As a sport loving person, I regularly trained and visited gyms and other sporting establishments and drugs flowed freely in the form of Bitter, Lager and Guinness. Yet I was still able to achieve Adonis stature through hard graft and exercise. Cunningham does look a bit of a lardy so maybe he and his ACPO colleagues are just jealous of the honed officer. ACPO were convinced when they brought in drug testing that they would be able to reduce their workforces considerably in these times of lower budgets and reductions in funding. Perhaps, they could sack officers now for looking like they train in a gym

I once worked with someone called Cunningham but he was a bit of a prat. I wonder if they are related.

Bloody Ridiculous!!

I have been extremely busy over the past couple of days which has meant that I have had my thunder stolen in respect to the latest plebgate events. Having said that, the Chair of the Metropolitan Police federation is only saying what I was going to say. What a complete and utter waste of everyone’s time the investigation into the incident involving Andrew Mitchell on Downing Street whereby 30 officers from the Metropolitan Police’s Professional Standards Department are to interview 800 Diplomatic Protection Officers. In case you missed it, Andrew Mitchell was reported by Police Officers as having sworn at them when they refused to open a gate on Downing Street asking him to use the pedestrian access. His response in swearing was the old I pay your wages type comment and also that the officers were plebs.

Andrew Mitchell pictured on CCTV leaving Downing StreetIn fairness to him, he denied it. There is no independent recording of the actual conversation so you made your own mind up. It intrigues me that Mitchell did not deny the abusive language but seriously denied the use of the word pleb. I often apply the missive, having been accused of making up stories in my own career, that if the officers on the gate really wanted to stitch him up would they use an innocuous word such as pleb? Of course not, so my opinion of the incident for what its worth sides with the officers at the gate.

Then came the cctv footage which showed that Mitchell was forced to use the pedestrian gate. Somehow, even experienced journalists managed to infer that from a silent video the words attributed to Mitchell could not have been used! However, it did call into question the evidence of one person who happened to be an off duty cop posing as a member of the public and present at the scene. Unfortunately for him, the cctv does not appear to show him there. Of course, the utter b*llocks being spouted now is that because he is accused of lying it must be the case that all the cops are lying. The reality of it is that the behaviour which Mitchell admitted should have led to his resignation not just the use of the word pleb.

mitchellIf it is true that now 800 officers are to be interviewed in this case then it is an expensive joke. However, we know that this witch hunt fishing for information over a poxy dispute instigated by a pompous MP will cost hundreds of thousands of pounds and will demoralise all those involved. Why doesn’t Andrew Mitchell do the decent thing and insist to Hogan-Howe that the Met Police Professional Standards Department should wind their necks in and get on with law enforcement. That way he gets a bit of credibility back – far more than a pathetically posed snog of an Inspector in his local constituency

Guilty as Charged

Today I probably committed a disciplinary offence for which I could be sacked but, you know what, I couldn’t be arsed. I have had an experience which is seriously making me consider my future. I have a partner who has set up her own business with a friend where she goes to certain types of markets and sells often 3 days per week. These markets seem to be popular as my partner has indicated that she is doing very well at it. This morning, her friend who was to help her on the market rang, very early, to say she was ill. My partner was gutted because this particular event was one which was always well attended. So, what the hell, I decided that, because it was almost 40 miles from home and no-one who knows me would likely be there, I would go with her and help on the stall.

On the way we passed through a City centre. We stopped for some cash at a cash machine and I noticed broken glass and blood on the pavement a few feet away. I also saw a silver button with a Crown on it, probably an epaulette button rather than a tunic button but I picked it up to stop it being collected like a trophy. My mind wandered and I thought that some cop must have been involved in a fracas near this location overnight. I just hoped that the blood wasn’t his/hers.

We got to the venue and I was amazed throughout the day just how busy we were so it came as no surprise when the tally up at the end of it revealed that we had taken a substantial amount of money. A profit of just over £1000 to be split 70% to my partner and 30% to her mate due to their initial outlay. 5 hours work for £700 – not bad in my opinion but an average day according to her indoors. Considering that on the 16th November 2012 Greater Manchester Police Federation reported national Federation findings that 56% of the police in this country are considering whether they want to remain in the police. Well now, make that 56% + 1. What a great time I had speaking with people without worrying whether I was saying the wrong thing. I did not have to have eyes in the back of my head.

In January this year a Metropolitan Police survey revealed that only 47% of the Met were satisfied with their job. Another more damning statistic was that only 34% of the Met Police believe that they provide a good service. Yet still we need to cut and chop the service to bits. The Manchester Evening News uncover that road deaths are soaring following a significant reduction in Road Traffic Cops in the force, yet still Sir Pete cuts deeper.

I felt the silver button in my coat pocket and thought of my times dealing with drunken idiots, the blood and gore, the violence and the sheer stupidity that often symbolises an average weekend in the city. Then I thought of the great time I had had committing a misconduct offence and earning £700 in the process. No nights, three days a week, no blood, vomit or drunken dickheads, no pain, just early mornings and a great deal of hard work for two grand a week. On the other hand, I could stay as I am and have to work longer for less, have my pension reduced whilst I pay more for it, work for butterfly senior officers who constantly spout the ACPO mantra. Decisions, decisions?