Thursday, 25 June 2009

Nightjack et al - The First Of The Gang To Die

This is only a quick post.
Most people who have an interest in Police blogs will know about The Times outing Nightjack.

I know there will be many opinions about the legal outcome of the court case, but I personally think that The Times choosing to actively pursue Nightjack is a low action - it's also hard to see the reason why they felt the need to do that.

And now of course, many Police bloggers are looking at their blogs in reflection.
So far, we've lost:

Nightjack

Sierra Charlie

Ex-PCSO Blogs

Max

Metcountymounty

All of them have gone, directly due to the decision of the judge, and the persecution by The Times.
I'm in a similar position and still trying to decide whether I should keep posting. To those that have emailed my address in the top right corner, I will email back but I've been keeping my head down here and waiting for the dust to settle.
That includes the questions I've had from various press outlets - I'll reply, but I'm loathe to put myself on offer.

This blog has never been about getting hits, or fame. I've done mini-interviews and commented for various press publications, and everytime I've asked for the comments NOT to be attributed to my blog. Just as another Copper.

I love doing this, and I enjoy most of all when I get comments from people, validation for the time spent in front of the computer. But I also have a mortgage and bills to pay, a car to run, and a job that I mainly love.
I don't have the same political clout as Nightjack, Gadget, or many others - so hopefully I'm not so much of a target and instead am just seen as yet more inane witterings from behind the blue line. But I also don't have a plan 'B.' There's no book deal, no writing career, no trade to fall back on.

I started writing this a couple of years ago for me, to get the stress of a few manic shifts off my chest and because it seemed like a good way to chat about the job to no one in particular. I still have funny and stressful shifts, and I still want to write about them.

At the moment I don't know whether to continue blogging or just delete it all and get on with muttering to myself whilst sitting in patrol cars again. The problem with not doing it, is that I'll quickly become one of those people you see in the street fighting themselves. I have about four or five drafts saved with incidents of note, but am reluctant to post them.

Meanwhile, some brave people carry on causing trouble with this Police blogging lark.

Whatever your opinions of the deleted blogs, of the various blogs on offer about Policing, about this blog, whether you are pro police, anti police, or just undecided - I can't see an argument for losing the non censored, non official view from any industry. Much less Policing, a profession that has been subject to conjecture and attack, a profession that traditionally closes ranks, a profession that often is simply not allowed to explain their actions, thoughts and feelings to the wider public.

Short version - I'm still trying to decide what to do with this blog.

48 comments:

Blue Eyes said...

I think you can probably guess what I think.

I don't think you have ever said anything that would get you in trouble even if you were "outed". I have read a good proportion of your archive and I never though to myself "that puts the police in a bad light".

I will be very interested to hear whether NJ suffers in his career at the hands of the Lancashire SMT. I would have thought that senior officers would be happy for officers lower down the pile to be telling the world about the results of some of the madder policies, because the senior officers probably aren't always in a position to say "no".

There is a world of difference between having a moan and actively slagging off the constabulary.

I for one come back here again and again because you don't spend your whole time bitching. If anything you put the police in a good light.

Fee said...

If you can, without jeapordising your future, please keep on going. Some of your posts have had me crying with laughter, and there isn't enough of that in the world.

Hogday said...

ATNS, if I were still in the job I'd be urging the policy group to accept the blogging concept, run WITH it rather than view it as subversive, embrace it, encourage officers to tell the police story. I'd want the legal dept to issue advice on libel etc so as nobody ran the risk of being shot down and burned. Maybe this is already happening, but frankly I'm still so disillusioned from my own experiences of the upper, upper echelons that I don't actually care to look back into that dark corner anymore!

Like I mentioned elsewhere, this may see the beginnings of the `surrogate police blogger`.

News from Monday Books said...

For what it's worth (not much, I know) I think you should keep going.
best
Dan

Chapati said...

Ah man, I've missed you in your absense and would be really sad to see you go :(

Although obviously I'd completely understand if you do.

I hope you manage to work out some way to continue blogging without feeling like your job is on the line.

Alternative: Send out emails to all of us, and we'll have a mass, reply-all, secret commenting session :D

Bobbi said...

If you think you're in danger, stop, but if you possibly can, please keep blooging. Some of your posts are hilarious, and it's so good to come home after a bad day and read something like this blog, that's so good at cheering me up.

Good Luck

Louise said...

My sentiments follow the other comments. Your blog is great and I enjoy reading it very much.

I don't think you go down the politics route with regard to policing as much as some do and you simply tell stories about the job you do and the reality you deal with.

As you are aware I am in the same boat of decision time. I don't think I'm at as much 'risk' as you but the press up here do like ambulance bashing and I won't give them an excuse to make me their target.

Maybe we should wait until the dust settles and come back with a triumphantly contraversal post and see if the shit hits!!

What ever you decide, Good Luck.
Louise x

Vetnurse said...

I hope you keep going and those that left blogging restart in the near or slightly further future.
Usually the dust settles down after a short while.
But l do understand why you may feel that you have to stop.

Inspector Leviathan Hobbes said...

ATNS - don't stop. My argument, should I be outed, is that the Police Federation says things that are far more inflammatory that what either of us write. They can't be disciplined, no one would dare. What's good for the goose...

Inspector Leviathan Hobbes said...

Hang on, me? A trouble maker. Neer.

sasquatch said...

Personally I feel your blog is beneficial to the police, and a credit to you.

NJ's 'outing' seems to have come about by his posting of information that could be traced to him. Otherwise I would imagine it would have been far harder to track him down.

Maybe the police need to develop a policy on blogging - add some buzz words to it. It could be you're at the forefront of a new policing initiative and don't even know it :)

But in the meantime I think you're right to keep your head down for the time being and go from there. As it could swing the other way, and if the powers that be decide to go for bloggers, they'll be going via routes unavailable to newspapers. Hell, I make it sound like we're in NK or something...

good luck

TonyF said...

If it's any help, I would rather you carry on. Like NJ, your blogs are to the point and yet totally anonymous. I am with all the other commenteers (Have I just made up a word?). The fact is that honesty in public office seems to have a low value nowadays. I have a fairly regular contact with the Police, and I recognise the pressures/problems you face. I have chatted with a few officers who all agree that things are bad, and getting worse. Why our 'leaders' choose to ignore this beats me.

However, saying this, DO not put your career at risk. We still need scrotes locking up, and it seems there are not too many willing to do this any more.

Anonymous said...

a crusade in the name of justice and free speech is a worthy cause, but you also have to look after yourself and those closest to you, and you can't do that if you haven't got a job.

but if you can manage it, please please please don't stop! you are the voice of truth and sanity in an insane world and we need you.

Anonymous said...

I believe you should continue your blog not only do you entertain or help fellow coppers by your example,but, I believe, your blog helps you as a person to deal with daily challanges. I can tell by your writing that perhaps you don't talk to others about your situations and that if you do not get your feelings and emotions off your chest and not write a blog you will suffer in your own muttering as you put it! At least with the blog you get to share your experiences with others and help not only yourself but others deal with the daily challenging lives of police officers and whoever, not police related, may read this blog. keep at it area you help not only yourself but others! I'm sure I can speak for many of your readers, we love you and your blog! Don't give up!

Anonymous said...

But at the same time if its going to effect your career then you'll have to make the right decision accordingly, goodluck area

Anonymous said...

Keep going if you can. I value very much the view you give. I hate the obvious spin on official announcements.

Whichendbites said...

Yes.

Also, det-ect-ive has also shut up shop from crimedetection.blogspot.com

Another to bite the dust, the blog has been removed.

I wonder why the run on closures ?

Sierra Charlie said...

I am flattered to be included in your list, Area. But I feel like I should set the record straight. I actually deleted myself shortly before I heard about the Night Jack ruling.

I stopped the blog because it had become infested with people who felt that their responsibilities included telling me that I am a tosser for wanting to be a policemanofficer in my spare time. It stopped being a fun place to write about my experience and I seemed to be spending all my time defending myself against personal attacks. I haven't got time for things which aren't enjoyable. Life's too short.

I am still available for interviews, photo ops, autograph signings, etc..

Vetnurse said...

I hope you hang in there l am sure the dust will soon settle and life will return to normal all the scum up the top floors want is to worry the bloggers telling the truth.
As l said before though l understand if you feel you can not carry on.

thoughts running through my head.... said...

just post loads of crap like I do then they'll soon get bored!!!
Seriously,be careful-theres too many anti's out there.

Roses said...

I for one, would be sorry to lose track of you. But you take whatever steps you need to keep safe and well.

Journalist bastards. The world really has gone mad.

Pete said...

You will do what the rest of your equally gutlles buddies do , copper - you will cut and run.

littlebob said...

@pete your post isn't about ATNS, it's about you.

coppers, cutters and runners - in a job where death or serious injury is an occupation hazard, wait hang on, that doesn't add up.

Anonymous said...

Well said Pete... You pillock! This has less to do with the fact that it's a police related blog, and far more to do with the fact that the government (of the day, I don't just mean labour) don't want people to find out what it's really like, standing behind this thin blue line. The Government have their spin doctors, who'll spout the party line all day long, and tell you "how well the police are doing", "more officers on the streets than ever before", where the likes of ATNS & NJ will tell it more like it is. The police are doing ok, but still need X thousand more police officers, and we're still drowning in bloody paper!

Wind your neck in Pete, sit back, and if other people like NJ and ATNS are left alone to continue, you might actually learn something.

Von Spreuth said...

The larger question is, why are more and more people having to live/write in an atmosphere of fear that would not be the slightest bit out of place in the 1930s U.S.S.R?

Whilst talking about "the job" was always hazardous, it is the Times that has finaly put the "Beria" into Incapability Browns perverse wet dream of himself as head of a Stalinist Britain.

Who would have ever betted on it being the Times, of ALL "institutions" of the U.K, that would finaly throw Britain onto the communist scrapheap?

Just shows, the scum are everywhere.

Von Brandenburg-Preußen.

TheBinarySurfer said...

Look after yourself first and foremost ATNS - doing all the good in the world by blogging doesn't count for much when you dont have a job.

Blue Eyes - i forsee him being quietly eased out or put into a post that will make him leave. I'd imagine he's already been NDA'ed further up than he was before just to keep his job.

As i think i've said before - this will come back to bite the collective press in the arse, and i especially hope the times never gets another confidential source again...

The ACPO senior home office officials must have had a collective hand-shandy in a closet upon hearing the ruling...

Anonymous said...

Family first! - So if you have to go I will understand.
But I will be deeply disappointed if that is your decision. Some of your posts have made me laugh till I cried (how not to give yourself first aid has to be an all time favourite), some have just made me cry, others make me 'mad' enough to want write strongly worded letters to my local MP, but few, if any, leave me completely unaffected.
Good luck, whichever way this goes.
Terri

loveinvienna said...

It would be a shame to lose you too but we all unterstand if you think it best not to carry on. It's just not worth it. The Times misjudged the public massively, as is shown by the numerous comments on any of their articles to do with NJ.

Liv xxx

Dr Melvin T Gray said...

Certain police blogs, 'well known' to politicians and general public, cause widespread offence and bring UK police into disrepute. A recent topic dismissing a case of police brutality involving Taser, was an affront to all concerned citizens and attempted to discredit and abuse those commentators posting criticism and contrary opinion. The best arbiter on such a matter is Amnesty International and the latter was speedy in its total condemnation of the specific incident.

There will be increasing pressure on those police blogs causing outrage. It is as much in the interest of decent police bloggers as it is in the public interest to identify and remove the long established culprits.

Von Spreuth. said...

Dr Melvin T Gray said...

Certain police blogs, 'well known' to politicians and general public, cause widespread offence and bring UK police into disrepute. A recent topic dismissing a case of police brutality involving Taser, was an affront to all concerned citizens and attempted to discredit and abuse those commentators posting criticism and contrary opinion. The best arbiter on such a matter is Amnesty International and the latter was speedy in its total condemnation of the specific incident....... ETC ETC....


You appear to have problems with your English. Are you a paky or something? Because it reads as if you are.

Von Brandenburg-Preußen

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PC Blogs A Lotte said...

It's a shame that some of the comments have gone off topic.

I often wonder whether or not it's worthwhile continuing a blog. Specially now... But the way I see it is that at any minute someone could step out on to the road and be hit by a car and die.. while I'm alive I want to feel alive. I want to speak my mind (as is my human right!) and I want to let people know what's really going on.

Perhaps sometimes I said close to the wind, in fact there is probably no doubt that I do! But to hell with it. I will refuse any book deals, I will refuse any attempts to comment on anything. If people want to know what I've got to say they can read my blog. And if that's shut down then I'll open another, and another, and another.

As posted in one comment it all smacks of Stalinist Russia. Which is pretty close to the line. I will perhaps consider a post about this when I get the chance.. and believe me, I hate politics but damn, something MUST be done, something MUST be said!

ATNS, Keep up the blog buddy. You know I'm with you mate... but of course if it's too close for comfort then shut it down. But keep me informed mate.. you know how to find me if you want to chat ;-)

PC Blogs A Lotte said...

Oh yeah, I had to comment on Pete.

Firstly Pete. Do you have a job?

If you said something about your job and you told people the truth of what went on behind the closed curtains... and you were threatened with losing your job, your 25 years in pension and everything, would YOU continue?

Believe me when I say that police have a LOT to lose. The public cannot have their pension taken away from them for instance. We can! Right up until the last day of our servitude!!!

If ATNS 'cuts and runs' in your phraseology then it will be for a good reason and he will still have the utmost respect of others for his decision. Because at the end of the day it's that person who has the responsibility for his actions and for putting dinner on the table.

And as aptly put by another comment. Copper, cut and run do not work in the same sentence. How often do YOU run in to the middle of a group of fighting people to break them up and risk your own life trying to save complete strangers?
Oh yeah, you don't!

Von Spreuth. said...

In the days before blogs, it was always made perfectly clear what the penalty was for talking to the media. BUT can anyone ever remember anyone being sacked for going to the papers?

Or DID any one ever "sell their story"?

I can not remember any.

Von Brandenburg-Preußen

Pete said...

Hey PC BAL @00:39...

...or should that be: "PC No BALls" ?

By your sprawl, you are demonstrably ignorant and stupid.

And cowardly.


Just like the majority of your fellow "constables" out there.

Your attempts to rationalise your gutless, double-digit IQ, self-obsessed view of the world is truly risible.

You Oaf

Anonymous said...

Hope you do keep going, but understandable if you don't.

Goodnight Vienna said...

For God's sake, have the courage of your convictions: we need you!

The Blue Light Run said...

Hope you stick around, even if only for the odd comment or two. Understand if you do decide to move on though, we all had the 'facebook' speech at work last week. Everyone is getting a little paranoid, the head of MI-6 hasn't helped. He really should know better!
Like me, your blog steers away from policies and bureacratic shennanigans. It is entertaining and must help you get thru some tough times. Provided you can keep your head below the parapits I'm sure you will be fine.

Good luck ATNS.

Pete said...

Bluelightdunce... learn to spell, eh?

David Davis said...

If you decide you have to stop, then The Libertarian Alliance, on...

http://libertarianalliance.wordpress.com

...will be happy to have you as a writer, under any byline you care to take up. We privately offered this to Nightjack also, but he felt he ought to decline for current professional reasons.

If absolute deletion of your blog is suggested to you, then please feel free to export your entire blog output to-date as an archive, to be placed at The Libertarian Alliance online, to remian available if you would like that.

The Blue Light Run said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I won't comment on the rest, though it seems crazy to me that the Times could just out an innocent blogger, knowingly putting his job at risk, for no apparent reason.

What caught my eye was what you said about pro- or anti-police, because I'm really not sure that's the way most people think. Almost everyone I know is very glad to have safe streets and an authority to turn to when things go wrong. But that doesn't mean they support the cops in everything they do, or even like them particularly.

Equally, apart from a couple of anarchist nutjobs, I don't know anyone who's truly anti-police. They might dislike the justice system or the type of person they think the job attracts, but they still want to have a police service.

It's not always a case of us or them.

Anonymous said...

You have my complete support ATNS. What is half an hour of entertainment every few weeks compared to your career, your family, your life. If you continue to blog I will, as always enjoy your skill and I hope you can share it peacefully without threat. If you don't carry on, good luck in all that you do, despite the odd, rough shift, you genuinely seem to enjoy your job.

I wish you all the best and secretly hope you will be back with us soon! ;-)

Blue Eyes said...

I've been thinking a bit more about this and I reckon that the better blogs should be actively condoned or even supported by the police services. I think that ATNS is actually a good advertisement for whichever service it is you work for! Unlike expensive PR departments you give an honest and realistic impression of what policing is all about.

While glossy adverts tell a story that everything can be sorted with a few new tiers of management and some snappy slogans, bloggers such as yourself are telling us why not everything is perfect: because a system run and staffed by humans can never be perfect.

More importantly: beer?

Marjorie said...

I'm late to the party having been out of the country. I hope that you feel able to continue, but couldn't blame you if you decide not to.

I regulalrly read this and other police blogs (and other emergency service blos, too) I don't always agree with what is said - in some cases I very strongly disagree, but I do not belive that blogs such as this one, or NightJack's, 'bring the police into disrepute' or lead to people not suppotring the police.

I think that they are extraordinarily helpful in giving people such as myself, who do not have day to day experience of frontline policing, some idea of what the job entails.

I don't think that most people are pro-police or anti-police. I think a lot of people do have concerns about specific incidents and specific actions or about the perceived attitudes of the police, and blogs such as this which can help to explain those actions, and clarify or challenge perceptions about the police are vary valuable. Not least becasue they show that you, and other police officers, are individuals, not some faceless, generic mass.

I dio think that the NightJack ruling was a blow to free speech, and that saddens me greatly.

Whatever you decide (and you must of course put your own needs and wellbeing first) you have my support.

Defunctymetrunty said...

I was going to be a squaddie.

But then I got beaten up at the bus-stop by a bunch of 14 year old girls from on my way back working as a life guard in a swimming baths . ( It was a revenge attack.... you know.)

Then I joined the Met.

Then I read Peter Hitchens and plagiarised him mercilessly in order to start my blog and get my book off the ground.

Then with my mate DC Richard, "Dick", Horton being outed and all , I ran scared and battened down the hatches.

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