A Course of Leeches 

If you have been following me on Twitter or reading my blogs you will know that I have raised a few issues with regards Evidence Based Policing (EBP)

To begin with, I would like to clarify that the concept of EBP – actually knowing what works and using it – is something I have absolutely no issue with at all.

In theory it makes total sense – if there is science or evidence which suggests that a certain thing is effective then why on earth would you not adopt it as best practice.

No – it is not the principle of EBP which concerns me.

It is not the theory – but the practice.  Read More…

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Exceptional Circumstances – the Cart Before The Horse

Within the next two months, aspects of the Police and Crime Act 2017 relating to the Mental Health Act will come into force.

These will affect where a police officer can invoke Section 136 (which will increase the places in which it can be used) and it will stipulate that a police officer must, where practicable, consult with a mental health professional before using Section 136.

Both of these amendments are likely to lead to foreseeable issues. It is almost certain that the use of Section 136 will rise given the fact it will be possible to use it in private places other than dwellings. (The removal of the word “finds” is also likely to legalise the “would you mind stepping outside” tactic which has been previously unlawful. I’m not sure this was the Government’s intention but it’s obvious this will happen.)

In order to mitigate against this possible rise comes the stipulation regarding speaking to a mental health professional before using the power. Except there are some problems here as well. Read More…

We Need To Talk About Guns

A few months ago the media in Scotland was full of glaring headlines making an issue about armed police officers being seen, carrying sidearms, in places such as shops or walking from one place to another. Usually focussing on the officers having the audacity to go and buy something to eat or similar.

The outrage seemed to be limited to a few politicians and newspapers as the vast majority of people actually spoken to took a far more pragmatic view.  Read More…

The Man in the Hole – a personal blog on Depression


Depression is a hideous illness. If I had a virus or a fever I could take medication, allow it to do its thing, and expect to get better in a few days time.

I would see the symptoms. I might be hot, cold, shivering – my body would be showing me it was not right. To the rest of the world it would also be pretty obvious that I was poorly. No doubt this would lead to sympathy from those closest to me – even platitudes from acquaintances but either way – someone would feel the need to express their concern for my well-being and hope I “get well soon.” Read More…

Canary in the Mine

I would like to talk to you about the College of Policing.  But part of the reason I want to do this is FOR the College of Policing. Please stick with me because the initial part of this blog could be construed as “negative.” It isn’t meant to be, but I feel the points made are necessary as they illustrate the issues that are coming up more and more in the relationship between the college and the people it has been established for. The cops and the staff. The second part, I hope, leads to the suggestion of something more positive.

At the end of the day The College of Policing is here to stay and so we need to make things work a lot better than they currently are.The relationship between officers and the College is strained. There is a perception that the College is not working in the way that officers might want. This is critical. This is about an organisation ESTABLISHED for officers – about supporting THEIR development, improving fairness and ensuring a more consistent approach, through more effective training. About increasing the evidence base. But – there seems to be a problem….

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The Eagle Has Landed

 

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On Thursday 24th August 2017, the policy think tank Reform published their report on their view of the digital future of policing.  It runs to 46 pages (not including bibliography) and makes 10 recommendations which it claims are “the only way to police in an ever changing world.”

When it was published it attracted a LOT of comment. In this blog – Emma Williams (Deputy Director of Canterbury Christ Church University Police Research Centre) and I take a detailed look at the report and…… raise a few issues. 

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Babel Fish 


Sat outside a Canterbury cafe in the sunshine allows me the opportunity to reflect on the speakers and conversations from the last few days at Canterbury Christchurch Uni’s conference on Evidence Based Policing.

I would like to thank Emma, Jenny, Steve and team at CCCU for organising another amazing event.

I greatly enjoyed the event and the opportunity to speak. I’m not a huge fan of conferences as I often think it’s the same people talking to the same people about the same things. There is a danger of it all becoming very echo-chamber so I was pleased to be invited and have the chance to lob a grenade into proceedings.

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“Look for the Helpers”

The last few months have seen some truly awful events in the United Kingdom. The first incident was the Westminster attack. This was followed by the appalling scenes in Manchester and before anyone had chance to reflect too much on that, London was attacked again at London Bridge and Borough Market.

This morning we have seen terrifying images from the Grenfell Tower fire. Truly the stuff of nightmares.

The country is no doubt feeling traumatised and there are many many questions to be asked and answered. The feeling of turmoil will not be helped by the state of UK politics but it is not my place to comment on any of that.

What I am going to comment on are the two things which have been evident in all of these dreadful tragedies.

Bravery and kindness.

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“Critical” – An explanation to my 11 year old

This morning, I had the unenviable task of explaining the current security situation to my 11 year old daughter. In doing so, I have one advantage – my job.

I work in the world of firearms command. I have been familiar with Operation Temperer for a long time. I understand what the deployment of armed officers means and how they are used.

Some of the reporting, particularly from Sky News, has been hysterical. By which I don’t mean “funny” – I mean panic inducing. If you took everything you’ve seen on TV as fact then you’d never leave the house again and I don’t want my children to live like that.

So here – without hysteria – is roughly how I explained the situation to my daughter. It may help those of you struggling and with less knowledge than those of us who work in this world.

Read More…

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