Saturday, 24 January 2009
Wonder what happened to him?
Two of Greater Manchester's most senior police officers were caught up in an attempted armed robbery at a McDonald's.
Assistant Chief Constable Dave Thompson and Chief Superintendent Janette McCormick - in charge of the Trafford division - were in the fast food restaurant in Eccles at 7.30am when two men armed with a knife and a machete struck.
Mr Thompson, the joint-third highest ranking officer in GMP, spotted one of the masked pair behind the counter trying to kick in a locked door. He stood up and challenged him shouting `Oi' while Ms McCormick dialled 999.
Mr Thompson said that the raider pointed a knife at him before throwing a chair. The attackers escaped empty-handed. The two officers did not give chase although Mr Thompson got the registration of the getaway car.
Mr Thompson, who was not in uniform and was wearing jogging bottoms because he was later due to attend a self-defence class, said: "We made an assessment of the situation to see if it was safe to disarm them. I let them walk out of the front door, then ran to the door and shouted the vehicle registration to Chief Superintendent McCormick. Our priority then was then to secure a crime scene and gather as much evidence as possible.
"I was stood there in my track suit bottoms with no protective equipment. I would not have expected any of my officers to have intervened."
The devotion to duty of these two is examplary. But just whose example are they following - a senior Manchester officer was in the news recently and, by all accounts, he may have had an early morning meeting or two or three - or even ten. 'Methinks he doth protest too much' comes to mind when we have the repeated explanation of his informal attire. The claimed attendence at a police self-defence class is ironic. My memory is that such instruction included dealing with assailants armed with knives? Why do we have to spend money on such classes when it seems that the measured response is "Oi"? Given Mr Thompson's rank he will have attended any number of self-defence classes; perhaps he was doing an advanced Oi-shouting class?
What would be interesting is a Google map showing the addresses of these two and the Mac. Who knows - he may have left his 'protective equipment' in the bedside locker?
I was frequently involved in legal cases in those countries where the Napoleonic Code was followed. The Examining Magistrate was a very significant figure. In the atmosphere where we citizens fear government involvement in directing legal outcomes, his being abolished must cause concern. Losing her and him is a double blow!!
Friday, 23 January 2009
The government is to be asked to pay £12,000 to the families of all those killed during the Troubles - including members of paramilitary groups.
The families of paramilitary victims, members of the security forces and civilians who were killed will all be entitled to the same amount.
The payment is expected to be recommended by the group set up to advise on how to deal with the past.
So far, this is just a leak from what the report may contain. Of course, this has not deterred the politicians from The Green Latrine rushing in with the outrage volume turned high.
Ulster Unionist MEP Jim Nicholson warned against implementing a proposal he condemned as "immoral".
"The proposal endorses the morally flawed notion that a terrorist killed while undertaking a mission of murder has the same status as an innocent civilian murdered in a bomb attack or a member of the security forces murdered in front of their family," he said.
TUV leader Jim Allister described the recommendation that £12,000 is paid to the families of all those killed during the Troubles - irrespective of how they met their deaths - as "nothing short of outrageous".
If the recommendation is accepted by the government, the cost would be an estimated £40m.
The group, co-chaired by Lord Eames and Denis Bradley, is expected to say there should be no hierarchy of victims and that everyone should be treated in the same way.
That would mean the family of the IRA Shankill bomber Thomas Begley would receive the same for his death as those of the families of the nine civilians he killed.
Likewise, the families of two UVF members killed while they planted a bomb that also killed three members of the Miami Showband in 1975 will be entitled to the same payment as those of the victims.
The Consultative Group on the Past is also expected to recommend the creation of a five year legacy commission, appointed by the British and Irish governments, to deal with the past - and to say there should be no further public inquiries.
The Consultative Group is a Peter Hain initiative and when launched he said,
“The Government cannot tell the people of Northern Ireland how they should deal with the past – only the people themselves can try to answer that question.
“This consultative group provides a platform for people to express their own views on how to address the violent legacy of the Troubles which impacted on so many across all sections of society.
“I know that this will not be easy. I understand that many do not want to discuss the past. It is too painful and personal and I respect those views. But I believe that with the historic political agreement that was implemented only last month, it is time to pause and ask how a society that went through a violent and long conflict wants to deal with its past.
“The question is how Northern Ireland might approach its past in a way that heals rather than poisons, that enables everyone to focus on building a shared future, not looking constantly over shoulders to a divided past.
“Only the people of Northern Ireland can answer, I hope with the help of the consultative group headed by Lord Eames and Denis Bradley – who are highly respected across both communities.”
Given the initial response, it seems that a significant portion of the Irish Psychos do not have a view shared with those happy to hold out their hands for the proceeds of murder. I cannot see just what good these Truth & Justice-type activities achieve. There is a good essay from a researcher which details the background to such iniatives in NI. Pages 100 and 101 are especially relevant. This posits that the Bloody Sunday was the first such process related to The Troubles. If that be the case, it only adds to the condemnation due to the Hain Effort. Costly - over £400 million so far and delayed "Maybe late 2009" and already with absolutely no credence from the Republisan side before a single page of the report is released.
Whilsy I do not like (no - really I don't) hitting a man when he is down, Hain seems to have problems in his abilities and honesty.
Thursday, 22 January 2009
Thus when, on Sunday morning the Viking armoured personnel carrier was caught in an explosion outside the town of Lashkar Gah injuring three and disabling the vehicle, Cpl Deering dismounted from his own Viking and approached the stricken vehicle to assess the damage. A second device went off killing him instantly..
The tactic, writes Harding, shows that the Taliban are now capable of not only defeating the armour of the Vikings but are also aware of the British tactics in dealing with disabled vehicles. It appears that the second device was deliberately planted to target troops who would have to deal with the damaged vehicle
As it is, when the Army and the MoD have allowed a few more men to die and are casting around for a replacement for the Bronco, we can only hope that Force Protection, which produces our current range of mine protected vehicles, will have been able to design a tracked vehicle which will keep our men safe.
Of one thing we can be sure though. Our geniuses will not do it. It appears they would rather see men die than use their brains. They would sooner kill than cure.
Don’t let the Home Secretary ‘blind you’ by talking nonsense. On one hand she makes grand claims regarding ’stop and account’ and how she is reducing the burden of paperwork on operational policing by removing this burden in a trial 10 forces - oh don’t rush there are 43 forces you know. Lets not forget that this is the same Government of which this would be minister belongs that introduced ‘Stop and Account’ in the first place. As is usual with ‘Nu Labour’ this was contrary to the fears of the service (or as I preferred to call it in it’s heyday ‘Force’). Why did they introduce this process initially? It was to appease some unproved belief that the police were somehow institutionally racist. Do me a favor; nobody other than the author of that ‘famous report’ even knows what that term means.
The fears about the introduction of this ‘paper form’ were well founded. Stop and search encounters reduced and knife crime increased. A coincidence? - I don’t believe in coincidences. Now I am sure that if I was a ’spin doctor’ I could produce some correlation between the two but I think even common sense must say that the two may be related. We now have a situation whereby individuals feel they can carry weapons with abandon without fear of being bothered by the police. The loony liberals have taken over the asylum and seem more intent on worrying about how policing is done than the actual criminal acts that we are trying to prevent.
Read on however… There is clearly not a problem with stop and search but headlines portray ‘Stop and Search Complaints Increase’. Is this headline deliberately chosen to somehow justify the Governments ‘concerns’ about police constables using the powers bestowed upon them by the Crown and the forms introduction. I think so to, so I looked closely at these figures, 955,000 stop and searches in 2006/2007 - a good ‘turn out’ despite Government Interference, maybe it would be higher if we weren’t filling in lots of forms. The interesting thing is that of the stop and search ‘grievances’ only 169 needed to be investigated and 88% of these were shown to be unfounded. Why then are we producing a mass of paperwork that is clearly unnecessary whose only purpose is to keep a few bean counters employed. Answers on a postcard please, Good old ‘Liberty’ think the figure is low because the ‘young and vulnerable’ lack the confidence to complain - wrong , come out with me on a Friday and Saturday and I will show you how ‘timid’ this group of people really is.
I digress but I could not let the stop and search issue pass after today’s ‘report’, and it is related to the topic that I wanted to blog about, that old favorite, unnecessary paperwork and stop and account was a good start. It’s only purpose after all is to provide statistics. I was really ‘heartened’ by the claims that the burden of paperwork was being reduced when I first heard it and thought Jacqui actually had a brainwave, but alas as you can see from the above, hollow words.
There is no real commitment to reducing paperwork, and I know this because the dreaded spectre of activity sampling rears its head again this year - what an absolute waste of police time, effort, resources and tax payer’s money. Two weeks of recording my every move, every fifteen minutes of the day. It’s been blogged about ad-infinitum but the only effect there seems to have been is that a smaller number of staff are being sampled, not insignificantly small, and too many in an operational role whose core task is to protect you - the public. The anger I felt when this ‘tosh’ arrived in my work tray prompted me to blog again as we seem to be making no progress in returning policing to the police.
If you only take one message from this post, then that should be ‘don’t believe anything that this Government tells you about reducing paperwork’. For each form taken away two seem to take their place. It’s about time ACPO actually earned their rather inflated salaries and stopped sitting on the fence and supported the front line staff by actually saying no in the dying months of this Government
A 16-year-old girl with a mental age of eight is lured to an empty house in London by an 18-year-old man.
Once in the flat, the man calls his mates and a group of them turn up.
Then three of them rape her, giggling and filming the attack on their mobile phones.
When they are finished, they pour caustic soda over her body in an attempt to destroy forensic evidence.
The girl screams with pain - later, on some of the mobile phone footage, the attackers can be heard laughing at this - and eventually lapses into a coma.
For a while, doctors think she will die.
She survives, but the skin has 'sloughed off' her face and body, and has permanent scarring to 50% of her body. A year on, she cannot control her own temperature and suffers from depression, flashbacks and suicidal thoughts.
When arrested, her attackers plead not guilty, so she has to sit, trembling, in the witness box to relive her ordeal for a jury.
When the three men are found guilty, Judge Shaun Lyons talks mighty tough.
"The victim has been left with severe post traumatic stress disorder and many, many physical difficulties," he says. "It is doubtful what form her life will take and whether she can operate fully as a young woman in the future."
According to press reports, at least one of them Muaimba can 'be seen smirking in the dock'.
Then Lyons hands down the sentences.
Rogel McMorris, 18, from Tottenham, North London, is jailed for nine years for rape and grievous bodily harm.
Jason Brew, 19, from Haringey, North London, and Hector Muaimba, 20, from Waltham Forest, East London, receive six years for rape.
Has there ever been a more disgraceful set of sentences than these?
If you live in London, you could find yourself standing next to Brew and Muaimba on the Tube in three years, and next to McMorris in four.
Does anyone think this is remotely akin to justice?
Wednesday, 21 January 2009
Graze is a sort of up-market Meals on Wheels. One can identify one's favourite foods and also specify when you wish to have these sent to you by Royal Mail. One needs to read through the site to see why I say 'up market'
I got my first, free, box yesterday and was gob-smacked. Great attention has been paid to presentation; the packaging and the food itself.
I do not know who the target audience was. From my time as a worker, I see it as ideal for those days when the M & S sandwich palls. It would come right to your desk. I would have pushed it to be used for catering for meetings. I was in charge (roughly) of about 80 people making sure that the Corporate HQ in London was fit for purpose and that the staff had all they needed to do their work without any problem from the services or the building fabric. I used to reward any especially good work by any of my people by ordering them up one of the three course meals that were delivered to offices. The 'done good' individual had the main course. Tradition was that the starter and pudding went to their colleagues. Graze would have taken over from that idea. A healthier alternative and, I suspect, less food miles.
I hope that their business plan was flexible enough to deal with the possible reduction in demand due to staff losses and pressure on personal finances. I hope this does not harm what is a most innovative enterprise.
I'm convinced and have made a regular order. This may seem strange given that I am retired and now live in the centre of a well-serviced village and just a totter from a well-stocked fridge. Truth is, my self-appointed carer goes off regularly to her Quilt or embroidery groups. On those days, I shall Graze at midday.
Tuesday, 20 January 2009
An orang-utan who rose to become a leading City banker is compelling evidence that low social class is not a bar to success in Britain, claims Piers Farquharson (Rugby and Trinity, Cantab.) a leading expert on social mobility: ‘Over the past few days it has been suggested that inequality in Britain has worsened and that people from poor backgrounds can’t easily succeed in the bastions of the British establishment. But there are few countries where an orang-utan could rise to become a leading derivatives trader.’
I kinda wonder what some of the rest of the world thinks about the hype and hoopla and hysteria surrounding BO’s inauguration. It’s far and away more grand, more publicized, more covered, and more costly than any other we’ve had so far, more like coronation of a royal sovereign than the smooth transfer of power in a free republic.
Even worse, what message will be sent by the security measures being arranged and amount of muscle and firepower employed for crowd control and terrorist suppression (both foreign and domestic)? If I saw something like this being arranged in Italy or France or Spain or Canada or Mexico or Japan, I’d assume the incoming executive to be somehow seriously threatened, or doomed, fatally flawed, deathly unpopular, marked for murder.
Hell, the security forces allotted to this folderol fiesta are greater than what we have in Afghanistan. Total price of this shindig (salaries, vehicles, equipment, overtime, printing, communications, and what-not) are already into 9 figures, and this in a nation which has taken a routine market correction, mismanaged it into a recession, magnified that into a disaster, and allowed that to grow into an economic catastrophe of global import.
WTF, O? I mean, WTFF, dammit! Is this all necessary? Will the people footing the bill (the taxpayers) be able to participate, witness, observe, understand, hear, or see any friggin part of it except via TV? And couldn’t that be done just as effectively today as it was 50 years ago? Frankly, I think we’ve lost it.
“At Last” my ass. More like The Last.
Inarguably we have morphed into a society characterized by excess. Everything has to be bigger, noisier, flashier, more complex, and certainly more expensive than related precedents. Movies have to have more violence, more spectacle, more explosions, faster chases, and higher body counts. Music videos have to have more bump and grind, more controversial lyrics, more glitter, and definitely more bling. Political campaigns have to have more accusations, more innuendo, more scandal, and more polarization.
And now it appears that inauguration ceremonies have to resemble carnivals, side shows, self-congratulatory awards presentations, and compare favorably to the cast of Roots. We’re on a rusting ship whose boilers have salted up, whose rudder has lodged at hard left, whose moral compass has fallen into the bilge, and whose crew got their hands-on training from The Keystone Cops and their degrees from The Three Stooges.
The problem is that all considered, this is still the best port that ship can drop anchor in. I can only shudder when I imagine what life will be like in other places when this country stops coming up with new ideas, finding new applications for old technologies, and growing food for export to places which can’t grow their own.
Sadly, considering the decay of our educational system, the decline in the quality of our leadership, and the demise of personal ethics and accountability, I think we may be not far from that point.
Sandy G, I couldn't agree more. In fact, I will not be watching any television at all for the next several days.
My school district called letting parents know that they will be broadcasting the inauguration to the elementary school. I called my son's and daughter's teachers (4th grade and kindergarten) and told them that my children would not be attending school that day. The teachers called me back and said that it was up their discretion and that they would not be broadcasting the inauguration and for me not to worry. I guess I lucked out with two really good teachers. God bless teachers (some of them)