David J. Farley of Plympton, Plymouth, United Kingdom

David J. Farley of Plympton, Plymouth, United Kingdom

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Ukraine Air Disaster

Like millions of others worldwide, I have been deeply shocked by the pictures on television of the catastrophic air disaster over eastern Ukraine last Thursday 17th July, involving the apparent shooting down by one or more surface to air missiles, of the Malaysian Airways Boeing 777 passenger aircraft flight number MH17 with the total loss of all 298 innocent passengers and crew including 80 children.

I would like to add my personal condolences to all the many tributes posted on the Internet to the families and friends of those, of whatever nationality, who perished in such unimaginable circumstances.

Such an evil act must not go unpunished by whomsoever was responsible for this appalling act of treachery. The vast family of law abiding and free nations must pull together to establish the full truth of what happened and to hold the guilty to account.

To the deceased, may their souls rest in peace, and to their families and friends, may you find some strength from the knowledge that millions of people worldwide share your grief and sorrow.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Shift patterns 'force police to sleep on the streets'

Claims officers are bedding down on benches, under bridges and in train stations due to lack of facilities.

Changes to working patterns mean some officers are resorting to sleeping on the streets because they have no means of getting home to bed after finishing late shifts, a Police Federation official has warned.

Deputy General Secretary of the Metropolitan Police Federation Dennis Weeks said officers were bedding down on benches, under bridges and in train stations after finishing shifts in the early hours of the morning after trains had stopped running.

“Officers are not allowed to sleep in police stations, so they are going to train stations and sleeping there or on benches near the station so that as soon as the first train leaves they can go home,” he said. “It makes them vulnerable to being criminally assaulted, the impact on their health is extremely bad and bad weather can make it difficult.

“An officer might end up finishing at 1am and missing the late train, meaning they cannot get home because night buses only go within London. There used to be police section houses with accommodation for officers all over London, but now there is just one.”

No accommodation

The peak time when officers are needed in London boroughs is between around 7pm and 1am, but after this time crime tails off, meaning keeping officers on overnight would be inefficient.

Met officers who live outside of London often commute dozens of miles to work by train even if they are motorists because of a scarcity of spaces caused by sell offs of police car parks and strict restrictions on parking in some areas.

Westminster, Camden and Kensington and Chelsea are among the boroughs where the problem is most acute, Mr Weeks said – but he stressed officers who were sleeping on the streets did so on a “sporadic” basis and not for long periods of time.

He added: “During the Olympics we had officers sleeping under bridges. The organisational ability to house people in emergency situations has been depleted.”

Asked whether any off duty officers found sleeping rough had been moved on by their on duty colleagues, Mr Weeks said: “Our people can be moved on from places the same as anyone else.”

He also highlighted “anti-homeless” metal spokes which prevented people – potentially including sleeping policemen - from catching forty winks.

‘Heard stories’

At a London Assembly Police and Crime Panel meeting this week, panel member Len Duvall told Met Police Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey he had heard about police sleeping on the streets of London.

“I have heard those stories as well,” the Deputy Commissioner replied, “but certainly (I have heard about) sleeping in police stations and all those things that we do not want.”

DC Mackey said the Met faced a tension because “work demand” meant officers “finishing at 2am or 3am” and the fact that in some London boroughs “for anyone who does not live in that borough finishing at 3am (poses) real practical things like they cannot get home if they have not got their own transport.”

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe added: “A lot of our people live outside of London and have to travel a distance. If the transport stops and they cannot bring a car in, it causes a tension. We realise that and are doing our best to resolve it, but it is not straightforward.”

Article courtesy of Josh Loeb of www.policeoracle.com