Posts Tagged ‘Association of Chief Police Officers’

As you’ll have read in the previous two post, police officers are not allowed to join a trade union.  Police support staff are but not officers.

There is no trade union affiliated with the police but there are three bodies who look after their interests as well as having other significant roles.  The first you may have read about was the Police Federation.  If you missed it, just click HERE.  The second was the Superintendents’ Association, which can be found HERE if you missed it.

ACPO LogoSo, whilst constables, sergeants, inspectors and chief inspectors can, if they wish, join the Police Federation and superintendents and chief superintendents can join the Superintendents’ Association, Assistant, Deputy and Chief Constables or Commanders are left with the National Police Chiefs’ Council or NPCC.

Whilst the Police Act of 1919 established the Police Federation and the Superintendents’ Association came into being in 1952, the NPCC didn’t exist until April this year.  Prior to this date, the Association of Chief Police Officers or ACPO was the body representing the upper echelons of the police service in England and Wales.

The Chiefs’ Council has the following functions:

  • Co-ordination of national operations including defining, monitoring and testing force contributions to the Strategic Policing Requirement working with the National Crime Agency where appropriate;
  • Command of counter-terrorism operations and delivery of counter-terrorist policing through the national network;
  • Co-ordination of the national police response to national emergencies and the mobilisation of resources across force borders and internationally;
  • National operational implementation of standards and policy as set by the College of Policing and Government;
  • Working with the College, development of joint national approaches on criminal justice, value for money, service transformation, information management, performance management and technology;
  • Working with the College (where appropriate), development of joint national approaches to staff and human resource issues (including misconduct and discipline) in line with chief constables’ responsibilities as employers.

For more information about the National Police Chief’s Council click HERE or you can view more details of their work HERE

In your story you could have a problem that needs a decision made by a chief officer who is unavailable or not contactable due to their attendance at a National Police Chiefs’ Council meetings, thereby causing a dangerous delay in action being authorised.

If you want to find out about any of the 68 other police organisations check them out in the British Police and Crime Directory for Writers and Researchers by clicking on the picture below:BPCD Cover

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How are you going to use armed police officers in your story?  Read the below and see if any of it helps you get them in there at the right time for the right reason.

One of the most respected aspects of British policing was that in the main, it went about its’ daily business unarmed, unlike many of their international colleagues.  Go back to the 1980s and the sole means of protection police officers in the UK had, was a wooden truncheon.  Men had one of around 16 inches or 40 cm in length, which they slipped into a truncheon pocket stitched into their trouser leg.  Police women had a much smaller one to fit in their handbags.

Over the years, the truncheon became a baton, much stronger and harder to break.  The old truncheons often snapped on impact.  Handcuffs that most criminals knew how to get out of were replaced with rigid style handcuffs that could also be used offensively.  Body armour or stab vests followed and have become lighter, tighter fitting and more resistant to knife attack and some calibre of bullet.  CS or Pepper Spray came along and was issued to all operational officers.  The latest piece of equipment in use now is the Taser, carried by a small number of uniformed patrol and firearms officers.A Taser stun gun is demonstrated.

Since the terrorist attacks in Paris this year, there have been calls to arm all operational officers with a Taser so that they are better able to defend themselves and detain a violent suspect: www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jan/30/frontline-police-tasers-terror-threat-federation-leader

I’m not sure how many officers when confronted by a suspect armed with a pistol or rifle, would choose to stand and confront them with their trusty 50,000 volt side-arm.

On the other hand, there are people such as the former Home Secretary David Blunkett calling for the police to “step back” from using the Taser, especially in the light of reports that they were drawn over 400 time against children in 2013: www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/feb/25/david-blunkett-police-step-back-taser-use

It is important to note the word “drawn” as opposed to “used against,” as it has been found that often the mere production of a Taser has caused violent offenders to become more compliant.  Additionally, the weapon can be “Arced” to show the sparks between the two electrodes i.e. it works: it can also be used in “Drive Stun” mode which is best imagined as how a stun gun would be used rather than the firing of barbs into/onto the body before pulsing the electric charge.

It’s also worth noting that the use of a Taser is seen as less lethal than a baton strike which can cause far more serious and lasting bodily injury than a Taser, which why some members of the public ask why resort to a Taser so early on or even at all?  Isn’t it a last resort?  The answer is very much – NO.

A comprehensive Q&A with the Association of Chief Police Officers can be found at: www.acpo.police.uk/ThePoliceChiefsBlog/201302TaserBlog.aspx

However, along with the call to equip more officers with Taser, there has been an increase in the number of times that trained firearms officers have been deployed to non – life threatening incidents.  This isn’t because more officers are armed.  Greater Manchester Police only recently intended to reduce the number of armed officers they employed.  This decision has since been rescinded: www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/plans-cut-armed-police-officers-8409209

The Metropolitan Police by contrast have decided to increase their number of trained firearms officers to combat the threat of terror attacks in London: www.standard.co.uk/news/london/hundreds-more-gun-police-to-be-trained-to-combat-london-terror-threat-10010568.html

But along with the austerity cuts in Police budgets, there has been a reduction in total officer numbers which has led to fewer staff doing more work, hence armed officers are now being deployed to incidents more frequently than being held back awaiting incidents specifically needing their specialist skills in attendance.  Examples provided by the Daily Mail, include Thames Valley Police deploying armed officers to 8700 routine calls last year: www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2943516/Police-carrying-guns-routine-call-outs-including-tens-thousands-minor-incidents-burglaries-car-crashes.html

How will you factor authorised firearms officers and Taser deployment and use into your stories?

Coming very soon – the most comprehensive policing directory for writers and researchers in the world.

The police in England and Wales have to work to a piece of legislation called the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) 1984. This basically sets out how the police are to treat those suspected of committing crimes. There are also a set of codes of practice to guide the police on how to conduct themselves. Any breaches of the codes or the act can render any evidence inadmissible in court.  PACE Code E covers the conduct of interviews.

In order to provide a framework for officers to follow and help improve the quality of police interviews the PEACE Model was introduced first of all in 1993 and further promoted in 2001 with the publication of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) Investigative Interview Strategy.

PEACE stands for –

Planning and preparation

Engaging and explaining

obtaining an Account from the subject

Closing the interview and

Evaluating the interview to see what you have got.

Police interview

There is a 5 tiered approach to interview training. All police officers are taught to tier 1 level in their initial police training. Those going on to investigate criminal matter such as burglary and robbery would then be trained to tier 2 level. Tier 3 is for those involved in the interviews of both suspects and witnesses in major crimes such as rape and murder. Tier 4 is for those that supervise interviewers and tier 5 is for those that give tactical interviewing advice to investigators and interviewers of complex and serious crime.

Those staff not PEACE trained will not, in many police forces in England and Wales, be allowed to conduct interviews with suspects of crime.  This doesn’t mean that every interviewing officer follows the model as they should and any evidence they uncover will not necessarily be inadmissible as a result but their skills and methods may be attacked in court in an attempt to discredit the officer and their evidence.

What about your interviewing officer?  What training has he or she had and do they follow the model?  Would you know whether they had or not?

Don’t forget to buy the updated and expanded British Police and Crime Directory for Writers and Researchers 2016, which you can acquire by clicking on the link above or the image below.

BPCD 2016 Cover on Amazon

 

 

West Midlands Police OPS17

Image by kenjonbro via Flickr

Assuming that you do already or want to base your crime novels on real life policing methods and procedures, it may be of benefit to consider how a cut of around 25% in police budgets may affect the structure of a police force and how they work.

Naturally, as most of a police budget is spent paying wages, most of the cuts will mean job losses. Some forces have already let many civilian members of the force go. The West Midlands police have actually forced police officers with over 30 years service to retire. Many of these will have been very experienced and in some cases senior officers. What could they turn their hands to now in the fictional world – especially if they already had a lavish life style and wanted to maintain that? Would they become crime consultants for the good guys or the bad guys?

If civilians were first employed to free the police officers up to rejoin the front-line, who will do the job the civilians were doing before they were dispensed with?

Could we now have police officers acting as scene of crime officers? Will they be any better or worse that their civilian colleagues?

With the freeze on recruitment, will there be any young naive constables available to muck up a crime scene or will there be more “old lags”?

 

If I had been forced to leave my well paid job due to budget cuts and I had three ex-wives and 5 children to support as well as a lavish lifestyle, I think I could convince myself that being as the Police weren’t looking after me, then why should I look after them?
I may already have been in the pay of the underworld before my forced retirement.

I may think that I can encourage criminals to adopt a less violent and kinder approach only targeting corporate bodies.

I may have enemies (that I made whilst in the Force) that I need to protect myself from. So if I hook up with a rival gang, I could eliminate the threat and bring into prominence a “lesser” evil.

Obviously, I am using me as a hypothetical character.

These are just a few foods for thought.

Criminals are increasingly choosing illegally-acquired stun guns as their weapon of choice, a Sky News investigation has revealed.

The devices are sold openly on market stalls in the Far East – and some appear to be smuggled into the UK.

Assistant Chief Constable Sue Fish, of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), said there was anecdotal evidence that some criminals may be turning to stun guns in the belief they might escape a jail term if caught.

She said: “I think our concern is that we could see an increase around the use of stun guns, because there does seem to be a misguided perception that they are seen as less serious than conventional firearms, when in fact the law views them exactly the same as an illegal gun.”

Stun Guns: Criminals' New Weapon Of Choice

ACPO is to embark on a detailed study of stun gun use by criminals, but at present there are no national statistics on the numbers of such weapons seized by the authorities.

England’s four biggest police forces, who do record stun gun seizures, have recovered around 900 of them since 2008.

Last year, the number of crimes which involved the use of a stun gun in England and Wales stood at 128, an increase of 33% but still only a tiny proportion of overall firearms offences.

However, many crimes involving stun guns may go unreported. There is evidence drug dealers are using the weapons as an enforcement tool and many of their victims – habitual drug users – are reluctant to report their attackers.

Although touted as a weapon of self defence, they are terrifying and potentially deadly in the hands of criminals.

Staff at the West Midlands Air Ambulance charity near Birmingham have faced that horror.

They were recently robbed by masked men carrying stun guns who broke into their head office. They were tied up, held hostage and threatened for almost an hour before the raiders escaped with £12,000.

One of the charity’s managers Jason Levy said: “There were around five or 10 people that were here for a meeting that day and they rounded a number of people up and we were pretty much held hostage here.

“We were put to the floor and at that point we realised there was a Taser gun. We were all pretty calm but pretty concerned about what was happening and what would happen next.”

No-one has yet been arrested in connection with that robbery.

The vast majority of illegally-held stun guns in the UK have been bought overseas.

Asst Ch Con Fish said: “The main source for stun guns is from websites and illegally importing them into this country is a significant criminal offence for the importation as well as the subsequent possession.

“There are two clear criminal offences there. The other way that we are also seeing some weapons being brought in is by people literally bringing them in when they’ve travelled abroad and purchased them and then, either coming in by air, or by vehicle across our borders.”

On a market stall in central Bangkok, they were only too happy to demonstrate for Sky News an array of dangerous weapons, including numerous stun guns.

We were able to buy one for around £15. It was disguised to look like a mobile phone, but the ring tone on this phone came with a 50,000 volt electric shock.

The weapon was disposed of a short time later. However, many are being smuggled into the UK, it seems.

The most recent figures from HM Revenue and Customs estimated around 1,000 such weapons a year are recovered at UK ports and airports.

Keith Vaz, chairman of the Commons’ Home Affairs Select Committee, said: “One of the things we’ve got now is a border police force and therefore it is vital that there is proper monitoring and surveillance of what comes into the country.

“When it concerns a weapon of this kind, that has the potential to kill as well as to stun, it is important that we find out exactly how it’s getting in… who’s able to order this over the internet… and how we can stop it happening.”

Devon and Cornwall police seized 60 mobile phone-type stun guns in two separate operations recently. Detectives believe the weapons originated in the Far East.

They were the exact same type as those we were able to buy legally in Thailand. – Thu, 13 October 2011Courtesy of: ANANOVA

Do you have a criminal that thinks it’s O.K to carry a stun gun as opposed to a firearm?  Do you know which police officers do or can carry and use Tasers?  Could your antagonist use a stun gun to intimidate his victims and enemies?  Let me help you with your dilemmas – drop me a line.