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Tail wags dog

March 26, 2006
Folks – believe it or not, there are some very positive aspects of being a police officer. Unfortunately, I am struggling to think of any at the moment, but as soon as one appears, I’ll let you know about it.
Readers of all my posts may get the impression that I’m a moaning, whingeing old git who sits in the canteen complaining to all that listen. This is not the case, mainly because all the canteens in our force have been closed and turned into nice offices for people to sit in and come up with new policies.
There are people who moan and groan about the job, who sit there and do nothing to put it right. On the other hand, if I find something which I think is wrong, bureaucratic, unnecessary or plain stupid, I will challenge it. There are of course ways to challenge. My personal approach is to say “I think this is wrong and here is what I suggest you do about it” So instead of being seen as negative, I come across as being a problem solver.
There is one very large problem that I am struggling to come up with a solution for. That is reason for the title of this post. Anyone who has been in the police for any length of time will tell you that the core functions of the police are performed by the officers who respond to jobs 24/7/365. They are supported by other officers who undertake the neighbourhood policing type roles.
If you like, these officers are the dogs. (you could add another word, which would also describe the attitude and commitment of these fine officers)
In his most recent post Another Constable discusses a recent drink drive case and talks about some of the procedures that have to be adhered to. Most of them are set down in law and cannot be avoided, however, some of them are just plain ridiculous. You can read my comments to see what I mean.
In today’s policing environment, the dogs have many tails (No, not the Alsatians or spaniels, I’m talking metaphorically – go back to the beginning and read it properly)
These include:
Community Groups
Neighbourhood Watch
CPS
Home Office
Myriad Internal Departments
Senior Officers
All of these groups have their own agendas, the only thing they seem to have in common is that it requires a front-line officer to put the agenda into practice. None of these groups seem to want to make our lives easier.
The CPS is a case in point. Originally they were set up to support the police in making prosecutions, to remove the necessity for officers to attend court and prosecute the offenders. A fine idea, until they decided that it was too much like hard work to actually put the file together themselves. So now, they send the file back to the officer with memos that make it abundantly clear that the prosecutor hasn’t even opened the file, let alone read it. We have to fill out Witness Availability forms, so that the CPS can arrange the court case at the most inconvenient time for all concerned (apart from the prosecutor). Now, the CPS give 24/7 advice in order to decide on the right charges before the file even appears on their desk, to make it even easier for themselves. If the CPS were really there to support the police, then all we would need to do is arrest, interview and complete a statement and leave them to fill out the rest of the case papers.
Now we spend loads of time chasing up pointless lines of inquiry – a classic example of tail wagging dog.
Of course the solution would be to remove the tail, but there is a law in this country preventing people from docking the tails off dogs.
Anyone got any good ideas?
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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Lennie Briscoe permalink
    March 26, 2006 21:35

    A CPS liason officer who works 24/7 on shifts and is always available at the station. Its like CPS direct+. Maybe its been done already…at least that way they can be reasoned with face to face.

  2. XooX permalink
    March 27, 2006 08:26

    I had a job recently that a CPS lawyer advised to charge based on evidence of bad character. She said we will let the court decide and test this new piece of legislation. Good I thought a CPS lawyer prepared to take a job to court that isn’t a 100% stone bonker. I duly arrived at Crown Court to be greeted by the prosecution lawyer who after faffing around for about an hour announced that he was going to offer no evidence and suggest the case was dropped. Why I asked? His reply, “Oh I can’t be bothered to argue this bad character evidence to the court, they probably won’t go with it anyway”. Me, “So why did your CPS lawyer colleague bother to advise a charge then? I’ve just had to take a whole shift off from section who are running short right now to come here and be told by you that you can’t be bothered!”. Him (desperately back tracking after realising he’s a prat), “Oh no no, you misunderstand me…..blah de blah excuse, blah blah legal bullshit etc etc”, me, “Yeah whatever mate, thanks for wasting my time, goodbye!”. So ven when CPS are available to give advice it doesn’t guarantee to get a job home!

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