Saturday, 7 February 2009

What Now?

So. Once again we have not enough officers on parade, once again we have no one to deal with the many outstanding jobs.

Once again we see victims calling for help and not getting it, or getting it too late. Witnesses not located and suspects not arrested.

Once again we see officers hurt, Doctors called to custody, injuries compared, visits to A&E for others.

A normal shift then.

Except I have an admission to make. Maybe I'm getting soft in my old age, or maybe I'm just getting grumpy. But I can't accept that; seeing two female colleagues comparing bruising and cuts from another violent individual whilst typing up their notes in the writing room.
They're not going to report it - why should they? They're off in an hour, and have a set of case papers to do. What would be the point in tracking down a Sergeant then spending up to an hour filling in the appropriate injury on duty forms on top of their paperwork and their trip back to the nick they paraded from.

So once again the figures are adjusted to give the impression that we're not losing the fight for the streets.

Usually, we compare injuries, talk about the incidents and then moan about the frustratingly inadequate punishments at court - eg £50 for hospitalising a Police Officer attacked randomly on the street.

This then inevitably leads on to the "what's the point" conversation. No, we have no answers for that question. But someone (often me) always makes a mildly amusing comment, then we head back out and take the next 'Immediate' graded call.

I've run out of amusing comments though.

I don't think it's acceptable for us to be injured so often. "Police Officer injured in brawl" means little.
When it's your colleague, your boss, your acquaintance, your friend, your travelling companion, your confidente, your lover... suddenly it doesn't seem so palatable.

I don't take insults, calls, crimes, victims or suspects personally anymore. I have dealt with all manner of violent deaths and injuries, come home covered in blood on numerous occasions (some of it mine), delivered death messages and dealt with sobbing traumatised victims.
Then slept like the proverbial log.

But whenever an Officer is assaulted or injured, I take it personally. Every time, and the problem is that it's happening every shift now.

This is a more regular event than most politicians will ever admit.


Unknown said...

Cut their balls off with a pair of pliers and mace the wound...scumbags. I'd wish they'd get cancer if it wouldn't be a waste of NHS resources.

I am referring to the attackers, and not the policemen before anyone assumes that

Area Trace No Search said...

Stuart - I was with you even without your explanation at the end!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Area. I awoke early this morning in a fairly calm state of mind, and am now seething - as usual. You can just see the 'result' of this incident - perhaps a suspended sentence or some harsh community service. After all, doesn't CCTV always appear more brutal than it really is?

You can also hear an American voice in the background though, saying something like, 'For attacking Constable Wayne Kazanitsky and Constable Randy Shallabam, the two suspects received a total of 16 years in a state penitentiary ...'

The attacks on us are certainly on the increase, as we are seen as little more than a mere nuisance to the violent underclass.

If the 'system' does not protect the law enforcers, what the hell does it care about the law abiders?

We're all buggered. Happy days.

Anonymous said...

Or, like last night - I'm a special and was sent home early as we didn't have enough cars for even the regulars to use in the snow/ice......

Anonymous said...

This post makes me angry. I have so many flippant remarks to make about the flawed system, and the deterioration of society as a whole, but am to frustrated to bother. I understand how your well of amusing comments can run dry after a while.

The public attitude to the police is atrocious, and it infuriates me that people trying to hard to protect are treated with so little respect by those who need them. The same MOP's who would shout drunken abuse at you for interferring with their Saturday night "fun", would be the first to complain if you were late to attend their burglary.

You risk your life to keep others safe and yet are not given the same rights as those you are protecting. Apparently wearing a number on your shoulder makes you nothing but that number.

Lola x

PS I blame the Daily Mail.

Anonymous said...

If I hadn't seen these things with my own eyes I wouldn't believe it.

Its the same with the ambualnce service. Incidents of being verbally attacked, spat on, physically assaulted are on the increase.......... what do we do......... call you guys to take the flack instead.

When did respect of our profressions and the aims of our job (service, protect, assist, heal) become a joke to a certain level of society?

PC Plastic Fuzz said...

Thought provoking post ASNT. They played that video in our officer safety training class a few months back. It all made us take learning the moves very seriously. My last assault when I was a PCSO ended in a conditional discharge. Meaning no time inside, no compo, no…no anything really. Feckin disgrace.

Bring on the TASER I say.

PC Plastic Fuzz said...

Sorry "ATNS".

Anonymous said...

I'm a response con in the PSNI. We carry Glock 17's everywhere at all times, a side effect of this is that people think twice before assaulting you. Having said that I've only drawn it once in 4 years, it's a massive deterrent to violence being used against you.

Old BE said...

I have seen that one before but it still chills me. The thing which really worries me is that after the first officer escapes to call for backup, the attackers don't run away to avoid being caught, they just gang up even more on the second officer. The attackers have no fear of apprehension or punishment.

I wonder what sentence (if any) they got? The attackers know it is unlikely they will be held to account. When there is no punishment or deterrent...

Old BE said...

The same MOP's who would shout drunken abuse at you for interferring with their Saturday night "fun", would be the first to complain if you were late to attend their burglary.

Spot on!

Anonymous said...

I've been watching "The Shield" (really good stuff!) lately, I would have thought improbable if I didn't know about the Rampart Scandal on which it is based. Anyway, assaulting a US cop looks like a very unfortunate thing to do.

I think the people who decide what happens to those who attack cops should have a prerequisite that they spend time on the front line; not as observers. Maybe you wouldn't be seeing people effectively get away with it.

TonyF said...

Anyone who assaults a member of the services, Police/Fire/Ambulance etc should be summarily executed. No shilly shallying. No excuses.

This may appear to be draconian, but I think not.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if I'm heartened or disheartened to learn that coppers themselves get about the same level of interest from the police (and courts, if it even goes that far) when assaulted as us mere MOPs do, ie HeeHaw.

PS. Just because I am an MOP it doesn't automatically make me an underclass chav or the kind of person whom acts like those in that video, so please don't lump me in with them.

Anonymous said...

It used to be the case that even hard-boiled career scrotes would pause for thought before assaulting a copper; because the consequences were well known and not very nice.

Seems a shame that the Government, Home Office and the court system doesn't take a leaf from our not too distant past. I'm not looking at the past with rose tinted spectacles, but there can be no denying that up to the early 80's this sort of behaviour was VERY rare compared to today.

Of course its no use whinging, because 20+ years of political correctness means any government reversing 20 years of policy is tantamount to an admission that they've screwed up monumentally - so I'm not holding my breath for it to happen!

Constable said...

Not trying to justify the assault it was outrageous but why did they put themselves in that position? The warning signs were already evident in the groups demeanour. They allowed themselves to become separated within the group and became weaker as a result.

The group should never have been allowed the opportunity to launch the attack. They would probably have backed off if the bobbies in question had been next to each other, they were both of large stature and well, with batons and CS drawn, this may have been a different outcome. Not seen this one before but many others.

Not trying to be overly critical and not condoning the scrotes for the attack, they shouldn't lay hands on the cloth, god help them if they do it up here, we act appropriately at all times during such encounters.

Why does the footage skip just before the initial attack?

Will remember to be careful tomorrow on nights during a full moon.

Hope they were both alright following it.

Old BE said...

When I saw this the first time I was told they were back in work the next day!

Bridge said...


Indeed - attacking a police officer on this side of the Atlantic is a very unwise thing to do. This is because they are seen as law enforcement officers, not some kind of public service. Enforcement means just that over here - do as you're told or we'll force you to do it.

In addition, courts hand out proper sentences to people who attack officers over here. Hit a police officer, go to jail. Draw a gun on an officer and you stay in jail until you are dead. Kill a police officer and you can expect a ride on Old Sparky. When the government said that they were considering fixed penalties for assaulting police officers in Britain, I got out. When the government thinks that people assaulting policemen and women is only as serious as dropping a piece of litter or putting your bins out early, it's only a matter of time before the police give up and lawlessness takes over.

The only way an officer in the UK can ensure that their attacker does some serious jail time is to accuse them of committing a hate crime of some sort. Perhaps all police officers should declare themselves as being gay on their recruitment forms to facilitate this happy outcome.

Interestingly, if you watch a news broadcast in Canada, New Zealand or Australia these days, there's a good chance that any policeman or doctor interviewed will have a British accent. It seems that I wasn't the only one to haul my family halfway around the world, rather than watch the UK be destroyed by parliament and special interest groups.

I take my hat off to you and your colleagues, ATNS, how you do what you do every day without losing the plot and shoving your baton through someone's eye is beyond me.

Bridge said...

This is the law as written in the US of A regarding homeowner's rights to defend their property:

"...any occupant of a dwelling is justified in using any degree of physical force, including deadly physical force, against another person when that other person has made an unlawful entry into the dwelling, and when the occupant has a reasonable belief that such other person has committed a crime in the dwelling in addition to the uninvited entry, or is committing or intends to commit a crime against a person or property in addition to the uninvited entry, and when the occupant reasonably believes that such other person might use any physical force, no matter how slight, against any occupant.
(3) Any occupant of a dwelling using physical force, including deadly physical force, in accordance with the provisions of subsection (2) of this section shall be immune from criminal prosecution for the use of such force.
(4) Any occupant of a dwelling using physical force, including deadly physical force, in accordance with the provisions of subsection (2) of this section shall be immune from any civil liability for injuries or death resulting from the use of such force."

You can see why attacking armed police officers is such a bad idea over here.

Anonymous said...

I can't speak for every part of the US, but in California certainly (despite our rep as looney liberalville) assaulting a cop is serious business. The penalties are much higher than a standard assault. Standard policy (at least in my county District Attorney's offices) is that assault on a police officer does not get pled down to standard assault. The crook has to plead guilty to the full charge, or there will be a trial. (Officers generally show up, after all, unlike a large number of other witnesses.)

Hogdayafternoon said...

To Bridge and the last anon contributor: Thanks for posting up what you did. I've not been that long on pension (still young and relatively undamaged to enjoy it and my hobby jobs). Certainly my experiences of working on attachment in the US totally concurs. I've said somewhere else in blogland that I felt safer in Detroit,Flint and smaller places in Mi. than I would often feel in my own home cities, despite the higher incidence of guns. At that time I put it down to attitude and expectation of both public and police. In the UK it seems we are expected to `mix it`, even with potentially aggressive groups, whereas when we arrived at a dust up in the US anyone who wanted to push their luck with police was either a serious tosser or on illegal chemicals and was quickly `readjusted` into reality. In my early time in London, anyone who assaulted one of us usually resisted arrest, even en route to the station in the van, and had to be restrained using `reasonable force`(please read between these lines). In those days if you hit police or ran from them without authority, you inevitably resisted arrest as well. Surrender was always on our terms. Even as a retiree, glad to be doing something else, I hurt inside when I see my former colleagues taking a beating, and the pain is more because of what the system won't do to the attackers. I'm glad ATNS posted that video. It is not a rarity and the silent majority of Joe public ought to know that.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, the courts couldn't give a crap what happens to the police.

The government doesn't either (it's seen as part of the job now, comparable to wearing a hairnet in a bakery...), and I reluctantly predict in a few years time that the government will make an effort to push the penalty bar for injuring a police officer even lower.

Now that we've managed to breed these 2-3 generations of scrotes who've never known consequence the problem can only worsen as they in turn breed and make the 3rd and 4th generation of scrotes etc.

Even if the political will was there, i'm not sure a U-turn on policy would make that much of a difference now.

The only practical solution I can see now is to beef up the body armor - add a lightweight version of PSU gear (greaves,shanks,bracers,throat-guard,pauldrons et al) to the standard uniform so it's harder to injure you.

That will also never happen though, as that 1) costs money (i think i've brought up the above gear before on this blog?), and 2) would change the image of the police in a way the government doesn't want.

Anonymous said...

Additional: I know you can't, but i was just praying for the 2nd copper that came in towards the end of the video to go knee-ribs-arm with the asp and break a few bones.

I'm not advocating baton'ing innocent or just non-compliant people, but in this case it's deserved royally.

Nothing quite like the sight of a seriously hurt scrote squealing like a stuck pig to make his friends take a few steps back and (for once!) contemplate the consequences of their actions.
(I speak from experience!)

Anonymous said...

as others have said playing games with u.s. cops is a bad idea, we expect our cops to defend us and themselves, "whatever it takes", and if you pull a gun on a cop no one will weep for your demise. british police once enjoyed world wide respect, and still deserve it though they may no longer get it at home. i could wonder what the cop haters will say when the day comes that no one will any longer be willing to do the thankless job of a policeman.

Anonymous said...

ATNS and colleagues - I urge you to report all and any injuries. At least for the sake of the statistics, and the potential for compensation if it happens to be a bad enough one. It is never acceptable to attack the police, but having worked as a nurse in A&E and a prison nurse (before "retiring" to occie health!) it happens. I have to agree with constable confused that you guys may benefit from additional training not just in de-escalation techniques but in active self defence (e.g. stand together, CS spray and asps (extendable batons) drawn (the sound of an asp locking into place can be a deterrent in itself!). Reporting even the minor injuries adds weight to the business case to supply such training.

Hogdayafternoon said...

Re last. Well put, but I happened to be involved in the introduction of the ASP in my force and, as you say, it was like firing up the Jedi sword when it first appeared. But I always recall a Q&A session I had with the chief officers group when I was pushing for OC to be rolled out at the same time as the ASP.

"But if you spray someone who has asthma or use an ASP on someone with a weak heart, it could kill them". My reply, "People with asthma or dickie hearts shouldn't attack police" was met with a deafening silence. The `enemy` I most feared was right there, sitting all around me.

Anonymous said...

My observations for what it is worth is that police training seems to be to much about restraint, as opposed to using equal or greater force to that faced by means of unarmed combat.

If you see the actions of both officers they are trying to restrain a person each, but it is pointless because they are outnumbered. When the officer who has the asp drawn is struggling he is still holding to the asp for grim death. If these drunken scum had known what they were doing then one would have grabbed the officers wrist with one hand and the asp with the other and then used the asp as leverage to rotate the wrist round to snap it. I guess it is human nature to hold on for fear of losing the asp and being attacked with it, but at close quarters it just loses you an arm to fight with. Unfortunately for Police officers you cannot really gouge someone in the eye, or use a forearm smash/chop to the throat/face.

Regarding comments about drawing the asp in my view this would be good news because you know that all the force is going to be put into making a strike using the asp and therefore you know what attack is going to be launched and the way the weight balance of the attacker will be transferred and therefore how to defend against it. Also unless the strike is to a knee cap or the head the blows are not really that painful for someone of a muscular build who is used to physical contact sports. I know not everyone is built like this but the same could be said of drunks who do no feel pain.

Anonymous said...

I'm a Special and we also had this shown to us in Officer Safety Training. I'd seen it before and after a bit of nervous laughter it all went quiet. It was after the first OST session that a few people decided that policing just wasn't for them, (or our instructors pointed out that if you're going to whisper your instructions at people perhaps you should reconsider this line of work). I've been assaulted a few times now, nothing too serious, a boot here and there, the odd punch and being spat on a bit.

I'd gotten to a point where I can't be arsed to further arrest for assault on police anymore. It just means another CRIS report and more writing. The only place where I have seen assault on police reflected as slightly more important is in the youth charging standards for reprimands/final warnings/charge where Common Assault comes in at 2 on a 4 point scale with 1 and 2 being reprimand, 3 is final warning and 4 is charge for a first offence. I had one recently that went straight to a final warning because he'd spat on us too.

Hogdayafternoon said...

The real administration of `justice` for assault police took place out of court. It was wrong but when you get a system that doesn't do sh1t for you, this sort of thing will happen. I guess I was lucky, but if someone swung a fist at me I would draw my stick, if it was a knife I'd be using seriously dangerous force in my defence. If I'd had a gun, I'd use it for a knife attack or the threat thereof. Perhaps this just sounds like armchair big talk and bravado now I've finished, but many times I used the aforementioned force, with the fortunate exception of the use of a firearm and felt sure I would have gone the extra distance had I perceived a threat to life. I marvel at some of the restraint I've recently seen shown by police.

Anonymous said...

Gastank - i wasn't talking about disabling/pain compliance blows. I'm talking about a good hard swing that breaks the kneecap, followed by one to smash the lower ribs on the left side, followed by one that breaks the clavicle.

Given the choice between an injured copper and an injured scumbag, i'll take the injured scumbag every time.

Sorry, but in the opinion of this MoP at the point you're trying to incapacitate a copper by punching him in the head you've earned a long stay in A&E.

The Blue Light Run said...

I remember watching this at training school on how NOT to approach an angry mob. Wise words from the training school but they have either never been on the streets or have short memories. This is how things can and do turn out. This is shocking because it is caught on CCTV. Unfortunately having a group of drunken louts turn on you is more regular than the Govt would like you to think.

McNoddy said...

Paraded yesterday....roll call...Present...1 (me). Absent...9. Today things improved to 4 out of 10! Hence my latest offering.

anon said...

That video brings tears to my eye's. That is horrifically wrong on every level, the thugs deserve to be terminated. There's something very wrong with the world we live in.

Old BE said...

No such victory for the English language though, unfortunately.

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