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…

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…

And Yet So Much To Say

Last night, terror encroached on childhood. 

Last night, evil robbed innocence. 

Last night, cowardice struck the defenceless. 

Those watching the early report of events in Manchester would no doubt have hoped that this was a small scale technical problem or an inconsequential structural failure at the Arena but as time went by, the images of ambulances racing to the scene, the sight of armed officers and then the arrival of the Bomb Squad began to confirm the worst fears. 

Confirmation was a while coming but when it came, via a briefing from Ian Hopkins, Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, hearts sank and words seemed impossible to find. 

The images being broadcast – the brief video clips from inside – began to take on a new context. Now we knew what that noise was. Now we know why those people were running and screaming.

It is perhaps unfair to draw any comparisons between any terrorist atrocity. In any and all of them, innocent people have lost their lives terribly and for no good reason – but this one is different.

Once again innocent people have lost their lives. Once again the method was indiscriminate and appalling but the individual behind it has not just targeted joy – they have targeted our children. 

This has happened in other countries for sure and it is not the first time in the U.K. that children have been the victims but to walk in to a venue full of happiness and innocent young lives and do this…. deliberately …. is simply incalculable.

Against this backdrop of misery and the very worst of humankind we saw the best. The emergency services rushing to the scene, the police, ambulances, fire service, bomb squad. We knew that hospitals across Manchester were going to be inundated with young people with terrible injuries and the staff would do whatever magic they could to save life. The staff at the Arena; the taxi drivers who offered lifts; the hotels who opened doors and rooms; gig goers who rallied to help and support one another and a local community who sent out messages and displays of love and kindness to those who had visited their city. 

The usual press circus has arrived and whilst there is huge public interest in this terrible event we have seen journalists hounding desperately worried families and even interviewing young children and making them re-tell events to cameras without any apparent thought for their long term wellbeing. 

Claims of responsibility have been made but we don’t care who you were. We don’t care what you believed. We know that you were worthless and we know you were wrong. That’s all we ever need to know about you. 

The press would do well to ignore you completely and focus solely on the lives that do matter – those taken away at a time when they should have been on an all time high.

It is actually very easy and hugely upsetting to consider the happiness in that place moments before this happened. 

And now there is this – a nation struck again by something completely against human nature and without rational explanation. 

At times like this it is often hard to find words to comment on anything – but there is so much to say.

To those injured and killed – we are so very sorry.

To those involved and who witnessed events – we feel for you.

To the families – we can offer little but distant love but a lot of it.

To the emergency services and first responders – thank you.

To the people and city of Manchester – we stand with you. 

To Ariana Grande – an artist whose show was so mercilessly targeted – this was not your fault. You brought joy and music to these poor people before this happened.

Above all else – to our children – we love you. 

A Country Mile

My esteemed colleague Michael Brown OBE, recently posted this blog called missing the point as a response to the comments of Sir Thomas Winsor, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary, in relation to police managing mental health crises.

My blog Ever Decreasing Vicious Circles was posted very soon after the report was published and covers a lot of the same territory.

Both of us have attempted, in our own ways, to consider the issue of whether we actually want the police dealing with such incidents and how we have ended up in this position. Not just looking at the how we do it or the where we do it – but asking the more fundamental question of how it got to a position where the police are a first resort response to mental health issues? Read More…

Ever Decreasing Vicious Circles 

This is a short and immediate response to the publication of HMIC’s state of policing report.

The top headline is that the police can no longer continue to plug the gaps of other agencies and the primary example of this is around the provision of mental health crisis care.

Sir Tom Winsor identifies that the police have become the first resort of MH crisis management and that this is not right for anyone involved – least of all the person who is unwell.  Read More…

Back to School (Part 4)

Its in – its done and I am now waiting for Emma to read it and give me feedback. Except she is on holiday! This is my fault of course as I should have submitted it on the 24th March but a series of life-events has had to take priority these last few weeks.

I am talking about my literature review. The first piece of academic work I have ever written and the first formal “essay” I have written since 1992. Read More…

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