Posts Tagged ‘Thames Valley Police’

I’m not talking or writing here about cruelty to children or even some sub-branch of the said society.

What NPCC stands for is the National Police Chiefs’ Council.  It belongs in the United Kingdom and whilst the name is new and the Council not yet operational, it is coming on 1st April 2015.

The NPCC is the body being created to take the place of the Association of Chief Police Officers or ACPO which has been around since 1948.

“Why should I care,” you may ask?

Well, every police officer of and above the rank of Assistant Chief Constable/Commander was a member of ACPO, which not only represented its members when it came to their roles and responsibilities but also directed the way the police should operate in this country and advise the government on the way it should tackle issue of national significance.

If you are wanting to cast an ACPO ranked officer in one of your stories, such as a corrupt or heroic Chief Constable (this IS NOT aimed at Sara Thornton or Hugh Orde- see below), you may wish to demonstrate your knowledge through reference to their role within ACPO e.g. the Lead on Organised Crime. This would be ok if your story was to be set in the past.  If however, it is due to be set post 31st March 2015, ACPO will be replaced by the NPCC and will need referring to as such.

Sir Hugh Orde stepped down as the President of ACPO and (the current) Thames Valley Police Chief Constable Sara Thornton has taken over as the lead for the National Police Chiefs’ Council.  She was formerly the Vice-President of ACPO.  Sara ThorntonThe new President of the NPCC is elected for two years with a maximum appointment of four years, subject to satisfactory performance.

The ACPO press release assures us that:

“The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) will help police cut crime and keep the public safe, by joining up the operational response to the most serious and strategic threats. Focussing on operational delivery and developing national approaches on issues such as finance, technology and human resources, it will work closely with the College of Policing, which is responsible for developing professional standards.

ACPO’s core role of bringing together the expertise of police leadership to coordinate operational policing and agree national approaches in the public interest will be transferred into the NPCC. The aim is to develop a modernised and improved coordinating body that will be sustainable and effective in supporting policing in delivering at the national level for the public.”

According to the Police Federation, nothing but the name has changed, oh and the fact that the Metropolitan Police will “host” the new body, which will remain independent of the Force.  Parliament by contrast are pleased that there will now become a clear distinction as to the NPCC’s role of coordinating operational policing, whilst the College of Policing is now solely responsible for policy-making and best practice.

However, be careful not to confuse the NPCC with the NPoCC which is the National Police Coordination Centre (NPoCC).  This is a unit opened last year to coordinate police officers and staff from across UK policing to support forces during large scale events and operations and in times of national crisis.

So, will you be using ACPO, NPCC or will you not bother?

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

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:

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:

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:

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:

The Metropolitan Police by contrast have decided to increase their number of trained firearms officers to combat the threat of terror attacks in London:

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:

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.


You want to hide your suspect from the reader for as long as possible but how can you do it?

In the news recently, West Yorkshire Police announced that it was doing away with the traditional helmets in favour of peaked caps as they are now more practicable and in keeping than the helmets.  Thames Valley Police got rid of their five-years ago.West Yorkshire-Police-Helmet

There is no clarification as to what is meant by peaked caps but in all probability, they will be the flat caps that can be seen worn in the main by Traffic cops (with or without the slashed peak).  There are however many officers around the country that are now wearing baseball style caps with “Police” embroidered across the front and maybe a checked band around the back.  Often, they belong to some plain clothed team.

Believe it or not, you can buy a Police style baseball cap on e-bay for around £5 or from stores such as for around £10.  At least Police Supplies ask that the buyer furnish a Force name and Collar Number with each purchase.  Just what checks they put in place to verify the authenticity of this information, I am unsure but I am certain that those on e-bay will be sold to anyone with money to pay in some form or another.

So it is easy to see how a suspect could get hold of a Police baseball cap.  Black trousers and black tee shirts aren’t hard to find and along with a nice pair of black boots, the look is almost complete, especially to the untrained eye of a traumatised victim or witness.

But how about the helmet or flat/peaked cap?  Well, believe it or not, even police buildings are burgled (more times than you would expect) and police cars are often broken into.  Some folk merely like to collect police uniform by any means, whilst others have a more nefarious use for it.

Could your suspect get hold of some police uniform?  How would they get hold of it and what are they going to do with it?  How long could they hide from the investigator?  Could they mingle at the scene or be helping in some way, say with the fingertip searching or even gathering information about the progress of the investigation or identifying their next victim.  Would any other cops at the scene notice the suspect?

Choices, choices.

A comprehensive shake-up of the police promotions process means that the OSPRE II Assessment process will be scrapped and replaced with work-based assessments.

The new National Police Promotion Framework (NPPF) for promotions to sergeant and inspector is to be adopted after this years OSPRE II assessments have been run.  This follows the successful trials and evaluations conducted by 7 police forces – Avon & Somerset Constabulary, Bedfordshire Police, Hertfordshire Constabulary, Merseyside Police, the Metropolitan Police Service, Sussex Police and Thames Valley Police.

Under the NPPF, officers who have completed their probation and are signed off as competent will be put forward for the OSPRE I written law exam (which is being retained) followed by an in-force assessment of their performance. This replaces the current OSPRE II (one-day behavioural) assessment.

Those officers who pass OSPRE I and the initial assessment will be promoted on a temporary basis and undergo a 12-month programme to evaluate their performance. If successful, their promotion will be made permanent.College of Polcing Badge

The College of Policing has endorsed the change after a recommendation by the Police Promotion Examinations Board (PPEB).

The College of Policing’s Chief Executive Alex Marshall said: “The introduction of the NPPF is the first significant change to the promotion process for many years. It will provide newly-promoted sergeants and inspectors with the necessary operational and leadership skills, developed in their local environments, to deliver a high quality service to the public.”

Further information about the National Police Promotions Framework will be posted on its website and in a series of regional meetings.

Think about the above when creating the biography of your supervisory officers (pre- 2014 they will have taken both OSPRE parts and post 2013 only part 1).  Could the mentoring and assessment that takes the place of OSPRE II lead to conflict or challenges in your stories?  I BET IT COULD