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SGT Harry Tangye “Break a window or stab a police dog?” the law is the same

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SGT Harry Tangye Storm is a 3-year-old German Shepherd Police dog, who his owner Jim adores.  They have  spent those 3 hard years nurturing each other through 13 initial weeks hard training and numerous courses and training sessions since.  They are always at each others side, can wholeheartedly trust each other, and will gladly put themselves in harm’s way to protect the other from evil.  The bond is unequivocal.

It’s a Saturday afternoon, and Jim is steering his Police Ford Focus Estate through the back streets towards the report of the burglary.  It’s been called in by a neighbour and it sounds like a good one.  A man in his late teens has been seen dropping down from a flat roof at the rear of a rather affluent looking detached house which backs on to some fields.  He’s been seen running with a small clutch of items towards the  hedge of the rear garden when the witness sensibly decides to give up the view in priority for phoning the police.

Storm is in the back of the Focus in his cage.  A beautiful glossy chestnut perfect specimen of a German Shepherd.  He’s in his prime. He’s spent years of anticipating his masters driving, every swerve and tight turn, ensuring he leans heavily on the opposing foreleg to keep himself balanced.  Jim knows his best friend is holding on for dear life so tries to drive more smoothly, more than impossible in these back alleyways. Blue lights on this sunny day, but no sirens as we don’t want to alert the burglar to our imminent arrival, the payback is the angry stares from the elderly couple walking on the side of the road who glance over to see which boy racer is disturbing their peace.  “Ah those cops again, not like in our day dear” he mutters to his wife, “Where’s their sirens then?  We should complain”

His wife ignores him like she has for the past 45 years and continues walking with her stick and her arm linked to her husband,  watching the rear of the police car disappear around the next corner, the blue light extinguishing any wish she has herself, to make a complaint.

Jim is nearing the scene now and runs his checklist in his mind.  Tracking equipment just where it should be and best have Storm’s toy with me for when he finds the burglar, after all, that’s what he thinks he is looking for!

The car grinds to a halt slightly scuffing the kerb on the alloy.  He winces knowing that that one will show no doubt, and he will have to report it later.  He’s out of the car and the neighbour is immediately pacing towards him with an excited urgency on her face.  The car rocks even with Jim out of it as Storm knows what’s coming next.  He delights in the hunt that is to follow, and he can’t wait to get started.  Jim fixes his harness and tracking lead, a sign to Storm he isn’t going for a gentle stroll, but this is a business.  The information is gathered as to where the suspect was last seen and having updated control room on the radio, Jim is off, being dragged by storm through the rear privet hedge.  A thorn catches Jim’s hand and scratches a deep gouge.  He curses and half-heartedly apologises to the smiling neighbour waving him off like a teenage son going off to college.  Storm is pulling steadily at the lead, trying to drag him at a pace he would rather go if left to his own devices, but Jim knows he has to keep him at just the right pace.  Fast enough to make ground but not too fast so he runs past the scent which may have turned direction.

It’s only a matter of minutes before he sees a track leading from the main road to a ramshackle shed at the far side of the field he is now in.  Between him and the shed, Storm is lapping up the scent.  He is transfixed on it and it is leading directly to it.  He wonders if there is a getaway car parked there, or whether that is where he will find his quarry hiding.  He has to hurry, radioing for backup as he nears.  He can hear the Police helicopter in the far distance, the thumping of the rotor blades breaking through the pounding of his heart in his chest.  His heart beating from not only the stress it’s been under on the track, but also charged by the adrenaline preparing him for what they may face ahead.

Up to the corner of the shed and no car has left yet, so maybe there is none. Storm rounds the corner as Jim shortens the lead for more control, and he hears barking.  Storm is telling him he has found his quarry and now wants his toy reward.  He’s bouncing off his front paws throwing his head forward with a full row of deadly sharp and powerful teeth in the fullest view Storm can parade to the terrified victim. It’s quick but Storm has lunged forward, Jim’s confused for a second as he’s meant to stand his ground unless threatened, but then he sees the flash of a silver blade streaking across the darkened shade of the shed wall, a yelp but the fight Storm has started now continues relentlessly, growling with a fixed jaw clamped heavily and stubbornly onto the victim’s thigh, shaking his head like a terrier on a rag doll, but the blade reigns down again and the cries from Storms victim and from Storm continue.

Jim’s utter horror seeps to the surface and he’s trying to pull his beloved friend to safety whilst kicking out at the assailant.  The knife flashes across again, and catches Jim’s hand, but he doesn’t feel it, he knows that now he is fighting for not only his dog’s life, but his own.  He realises they are alone with a frenzied attacker who will do anything to get away from this situation.  Jim now kicks hard between the legs of the offender and immediately the knife is flung to the side and the surrendered assailant shouts, “Alright, alright, no more”.

He pulls Storm away in a standoff position and Storm shouts his displeasure at his quarry.  Jim leaves the lead just a little longer than usual to ensure the burglar doesn’t think of running, and maybe if there is another accidental nip, then so be it.  Jim is angry, very angry, but he’s proud of his little boy, his best friend and as the helicopter swings around at low level drowning out the sounds of the barking, Jim glances down the side of Storm and sees blood, then quickly up to his shoulder, blood, and then his head, blood, and it’s too fresh, too much to be the burglar, no,  please let it not be, but it’s dripping, and dripping fast.  Jim shouts on the radio for a car fast, he needs to get help for his friend.  Storm slumps to his haunches, and then he lays gently down on his side, he shouldn’t do that, he should still be barking until called off, but he’s lost interest.  Jim glares at the burglar lying down leaning against the shed wall holding his wounds, shouting at him, “Move one inch and I will kill you myself”

Jim cradles his friend.  He’s just 3 years old not even half way through his working life, so much time, so much effort, so much training, and so much love, so much care, so much trust, and loyalty.  And then it’s no more as Storm ebbs away.  He’s replaced by a calm and peaceful tranquillity, a peace that is still only in Jim’s head as he is distracted for a second by the helicopter dipping it’s imaginary wing and swinging off to the side as if a gannet saying goodbye to a dying gull caught in a gale.   He stands over Storm whose chest has stopped rising, and weeps, placing the toy next to his beloved friends head.  “You caught him Storm, you caught him, my friend”.

Officers take away the burglar, but one remains to put a hand on the shoulder of Jim.  He watches a broken window of the shed reflecting the light of the sun against the chrome name tag of Storm, and a cloud moves across the sun, snuffing the last sparkle from Storm.

This is an account that is not based on any particular incident but is similar to a very large number over the years.  Currently in the UK, the injuries to Storm which caused his death are the equivalent of breaking the window in the shed.  It’s considered criminal damage according to the law.  In the USA and Canada, dogs are considered Police Officers and protected in law as such.  Please sign this petition to support having any assault on a police dog or horse be treated in a way fitting for the offence itself.  To be treated as what they are, living and breathing animals which are constantly put in harm’s way, to protect ourselves and others.  I think we owe that to them.

Please support #FinsLaw and support over 73K people by adding your name to the petition here.

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Policing & Tweeting the rise and fall

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Policing & Tweeting in recent months has been subjected to lots of debate, There are four types of policing and tweeting accounts.

  1. The Corporate accounts with the big followings and the blue ticks
  2. The individual officers who have worked hard to build up accounts up by engaging with the public
  3. The anonymous officers behind the smoke screens, without these we’d not see every coin of policing.
  4. The divisional accounts and team accounts.

We’ll make our views a little clear when it comes to Tweeting and Policing, We don’t usually comment on the politics of things, But we feel we need to make the public aware that accounts are being shut down daily.

Corporate tweeting builds the foundations, But Officers turn them into homes and welcome us in. 

Corporate tweeting is also a good start for policing and tweeting, it allows the forces media teams to send out one clear message, Launch appeals and reduce the prospect of fake news, they can speak directly to followers but lack that human to human contact.

The individual officer accounts, are loved by many and show members of the public the human side of policing they enable communities to break down the barriers that the corporate accounts offer, on a scale that cannot be achieved anywhere else.

The Anonymous accounts, Well we know these accounts are well respected but don’t want to be publically named they can say the things the individual officer accounts would not really get away with and expose some of the more trending policing topics across social media while offering great support and context for the thin blue line. We have a lot to learn from these accounts and often a lot to fear.

The Divisional accounts are not a new thing, many have been going for years, but mainly set up by officers who did not want to put their name to the social media accounts, cops who wanted to tweet but from the screen of the divisional team or unit. There are many fantastic divisional and team accounts engaging in such a brilliant way but these are manned by as little as one or two people.

Personally, Police Hour is looking for positive social media, social media that shines a good light on the great communities the police officers work in and the great work that the officers are doing. After all, not everyone is bad, We don’t want to see the negative tweets we want to celebrate policing and work together in a light that is supportive of the thin blue line.

The Rise 

In 2006, Policing Professional Standards teams would hunt out officers, they’d arrest them and discipline them they’d be forced to remove the account and we are talking about accounts with over 35K followers, for those that remember Das Beard.

This happened because simply the police had no idea about the power of Twitter and how good it could be as a force for good.

Then one day Twitter was a thing, Twitter within policing meant something, the corporate accounts began piling on to Twitter launching and opening their own Twitter Accounts.

Tweeting and Policing was suddenly something that worked, and all of a sudden hundreds of officers were encouraged to open accounts, Tweeting was trendy and we think that was down to the hard work of the Police Twitter Awards team.

The Fall

At some point towards the end of 2017, the powers that be within Policing believed that knocking off one account at a time would go unnoticed, The official standpoint would be ‘We are not banning officers from Twitter, We are changing the way we tweet’ so, in a nutshell, they are forcing policy in the faces of policing and tweeting accounts and saying they must stop tweeting on their personal accounts which have in some cases earned followings of up to 30K people to be switched to a shared account with no followers so they can start again and build everything up from nothing for the good of the ‘corprate teams’

It sounds more professional doesn’t it, of course, it does in fact if you are a bit of a pen pusher the idea is fantastic. Let’s crush thousands of established twitter accounts and force the officers to simply switch to ours that does not yet work,

Honestly, if you think these officers are going to want to keep tweeting after being banned from using their own accounts you’d really need to think again.

The truth is the public love the individual officer accounts, they’ve done such a fantastic job at engaging the public and providing the online world has no barriers when it comes to human to human contact, without the corporate side of things.

We all know these anonymous and named accounts pose no risk to policing and tweeting and are actually the accounts that restore and maintain the public faith in policing, these are the people we support, laugh with and cry with along the way.

Policing voices are being silenced under new social media policy

Somewhere in policing someone hates social media and does not like the way in which it is increasing confidence within policing and breaking barriers because policing voices are being silenced and shut down.

Policing and Twitter has enabled police officers to communicate with their communities like never before, increasing engagement, building bridges and ensuring members of the community can see highlights of what is happening within their local community, adding a personality to the local policing team and simply making people smile.

They enable members of the public to see that our police officers are just like us and that they are actually human with a sense of humour, But Professional Standards and force policy are putting a stop and attempting to kill the strong policing tweeting community they are silencing a large number of accounts.

Many Police Inspectors, Police Officers and Special Constables are finding they are being called into the offices with senior management teams and being forced to hand over the passwords of their accounts, or shut down their twitter policing accounts.

In a time of police cuts, POLICE HOUR believes this is the real reason that officers are having their voices taken away, they simply do not want the public to see the real picture. The once highly supported accounts who have been fully approved via the internal forces processes are now in certain forces being shut down.

Despite this officers are even being forced to lock down their own accounts or close them completely, controlling the way officers are using social media.

Very few forces actually get the benefit of social media 

Some police officers out there who tweet are very lucky and find themselves supported by their police force, because these forces have truly grasped technology with the right guidelines in place to encourage tweeting in the right way.

It’s all about learning what you can and can’t say on social media and when it all goes wrong it’s simply a mistake, a simple tweet and these should be supported by senior officers in forces.

Many forces do support these because when they get it right the power of Twitter can be amazing and engage communities and people across the world like never before in creative ways and in ways the public can relate too.

How can a police officer become a police tweeter?

Police Staff and Police Officers can apply to run their own Twitter account, but they must follow forces internal policy and submit a business needs request in order to run an official account, and they must then face the senior management team and a decision will then be made by the chief constable based on the reasoning for wanting to open a policing twitter account. It’s not an easy road.

Connecting all the cogs. 

Why fix something if it’s not broken. There is a need for the corporate divisional accounts, but why not let the officers still keep their private accounts tweeting they way they tweet and then achieve the vision of the new divisional accounts all the cogs need to keep working otherwise the wheel is going to fall off.

The good work of these tweeting accounts need to continue and we need to ensure we get behind and continue to support the very quickly disappearing popular accounts going daily.

Tweeting on an individual level also has a weight of personal responsibility attached that can only be limited to that named officer which would be limited to a few comments about the force whereas tweeting on corporate account risks the reputation of the force rather than just the name officer.

Do let us know your views on Tweeting and Police by dropping @PoliceHour a tweet.

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Police Hour has hit over 2 million readers a week every week for over six months

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Police Hour has grown from a small startup to something that really means something. We’d just really like to take a moment to thank you and let you know what has been happening behind the screens on the amazing journey you’ve supported us down.

Back in May we secretly established office space in Hartlepool and spent more time focusing on Police Hour, and since may our weekly readers have never dropped below 2.2 million unique readers, That is all thanks to you for staying with us or joining us.

We’ve been building our servers and increasing the speed in which you can access our site, we silently launched a new look website and focused on technology and working closely with Facebook, Twitter & Google to establish some connections and contacts. Along the way, we have met some fantastic people who offered us some great advice.

Our aim back in 2014 was to provide balanced non-sensationalised policing news that was reported in a positive way for Police Officers nearly four years later we have outgrown our original aim, with many members of the community who support our front line police officers jumping in a supporting us.

We don’t share fake news and we ensure we do not publish in a way to encourage shares, clicks or clickbait and ensure we still provide a voice for front-line police officers, but due to our expanding demand and rapid growth have gone beyond these areas to offer content for those of you out there who are not police officers.

Over the past 12 months, We’ve been to many award ceremonies and even spoken at conferences about Police Hour something we did not think would ever happen.

The support we also get from the policing community is also amazing and we cannot thank all of these individual officers enough not only for the hard and challenging job they are doing but the warmth in the way they have welcomed police hour in to their hearts, We see the real side of policing the side that many do not get to see and we can promise you they are working non stop around the clock to make a difference for you and not for their own gain.

Supporting the thin blue line 

In the last six months alone we have together raised 20K for the families and officers injuries in major incidents in the line of duty, We have all stood up together shoulder to shoulder and supported these families, offering them some fantastic support.

This money has helped police officers get home and paid for rehabilitation to get them back to work, we are ever so proud of this and can only thank our readers for digging deep and supporting the thin blue line.

Keeping content free

As many news outlets within the policing world look to charge monthly and yearly subscriptions we’ll simply be keeping our content free and won’t be charging you or restricting our content, Although a lot of time and money is spent behind the scenes bringing our news to your screens we believe content should be free and you should not be faced with a paywall.

We’ll be ensuring that Police Hour will remain free, and it always will be.

What we are offering Police Officers. 

We’re really getting behind and supporting those of you out there who want to become police officers, and for the first time Police Hour will be offering all of you out there who aspire to become police officers free content and tools that we believe will help you pass the police recruitment process and stand you in good stead for the future.

We will start releasing further details about this in March when we hope everything will be ready to go.

Police Promotion

We’ve established some fantastic networking opportunities that enable us to support the front line in terms of police promotion, we now have a Steve Cooper on hand to offer you free promotion content that we believe will invest in your future or the way you think and approach things.

Developing digital content

Police Hour has invested thousands of pounds in technology that will enable us to release professionally produced video content, although we cannot say much about this at the moment we have been out and about filming in Hartlepool and other areas of Teesside.

News and content 

We believe that our news and content should remain fresh and remain supportive of the thin blue line, we believe it is so important to continue sharing missing people appeals of many which never reach the local media or national media.

We believe we should only produce content that we believe you will read, that we believe will add value.

We want to share news and write news that matters to you and your community. There is many more things happening behind the scenes that we can’t tell you about just yet but we do look forward in sharing them.

Simply to you and our 2.2 Million readers we’d simply love to say thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

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Leadership Grounded in Service Delivery by Steve Cooper

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We have teamed up with Steve Cooper Police Promotion coach to bring you free tools and resources to help with your Police Promotion prep, Steve Cooper is one of the leading police promotion coaches in the United Kingdom.

Thanks to Steve and his company Rank Success is able to offer Police Hour readers free promotion tools that other coaches would charge you for, thanks to our great relation with Steve we are able to offer you this advice, information and valuable police promotion information and advice absolutely free of charge for the Police Hour readers looking for Police Promotion.

The focus of this exclusive editorial feature written by Steve Cooper is the ‘7 Things interview boards also look for in promotion candidates’ is knowledge of the policing environment you aspire to lead in.  Here are the 7 key traits which police promotion boards inherently value:

  1. Good awareness and understanding of vision or mission
  2. Self-aware, understanding personal values and development areas
  3. Demonstrates awareness of the current policing context
  4. A response that goes beyond the theoretical
  5. Able to evidence leadership impact in & beyond your team
  6. Well-structured and considered responses
  7. Demonstrate strong leadership skills grounded in service delivery

Thing 7: Demonstrating Strong Leadership Skills, Grounded in Service Delivery

“Know what it is you are trying to accomplish and ensure others involved know the same.” – Patrick D. McGowan

All Bound for Mu Mu Land…

Leadership and Service Delivery are concepts featuring in all UK police promotion frameworks; the Competency and Values Framework (CVF), Police Promotion Framework (PPF) and the Metropolitan Leadership Framework (MLF). You can read a summary of CVF/PPF/MLF here, where you will learn they are not to be confused with the ‘Justified Ancients of Mu Mu Framework’ (KLF). I digress… These frameworks are key expectations of both Sergeant and Inspector roles.

The promotion board will of course have a marking guide and six or so questions for you, based on the rank competencies.  Adhering to the relevant competencies of the rank you aspire to in your verbal responses is a good strategy. This is almost always based on a sound understanding of your force promotion framework and aligning your own evidence to it.

So when it comes to service delivery, what indicators could a promotion panel consider when deciding whether to promote YOU instead of ‘A. N. Other’ candidate they may interview? This blog will take you through some of the human considerations of these supposedly ‘objective’ competencies.

Focus on Delivery

“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” – William James

Who why what

A ‘focus on delivery’ (internally and externally) is one indicator of potential. In raising your awareness around this, it may be helpful as part of your wider preparation to think through and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you someone who consistently sees things through to completion, delivering against challenging deadlines? 
  • Do you go above and beyond what is expected to get the job done? 
  • Do you take opportunities? 
  • Do you step out of your comfort zone to try new ways of doing things? 

I suspect the answer to all of these is a resounding yes. In the interests of preparing yourself ahead of a promotion opportunity however, you might want to delve a little deeper by asking yourself these further structured questions against the ones outlined above:

  • When did I do this? (CONTEXT)
  • What did I do? (SPECIFICS)
  • How did I do it? (ALIGNED TO COMPETENCIES)
  • Say to yourself “So what?” (RESULT / OUTCOME)

Spending some time reflecting like this can help you think through and develop some considered responses. You will be delivering these responses, to help the board see and hear that you are a candidate who considers and understands wider aspects. Someone who understands the role.

The Role

“When we all play our part the world will run as designed. Do your part, do it now!” – Temitope Ibrahim

What do you know about the role of Sergeant/Inspector? Everything or nothing? In truth it’s likely to be somewhere in between. Clearly, the more you know and understand about it the better. But both the Sergeant and Inspector role have expectations and responsibilities around managing resources, e.g. time, money, people and equipment linked to how service is delivered or provided.

Ask yourself – When have I managed resources to deliver, improve or recover service? 

What did you do? How did you do it? Then say to yourself “So what?” 

That might sound a little blunt, but it’s a good way of holding yourself accountable in formulating your evidence; it’s of limited use offering examples without a result or outcome. By limited use of course, I mean scoring 2 or 3 rather than 4 or 5 (out of 5). Remember that ‘good, better, BEST‘ mantra??

Promotion to Inspector

Service Delivery – Internal

“Within the context of reducing budgets and changing demand, the police service can continue to provide service but it will have to be delivered in different ways. We are determined to be as innovative as possible in meeting these challenges.” – From Reshaping Policing for the Public.

It is the Sergeant who, based on job knowledge and experience, directs the daily work of their team. With this in mind, what is your responsibility to deliver service internally? You’ll be expected to impart shared values, standards and culture to those under your supervision and as an aspiring promotion candidate, you’ll have a good idea of the kind of working environment you want to foster for your team. One in which people feel supported and where they are free to innovate, thrive and excel. Why is this important?

To ascertain your focus around this, the board might want to hear about your leadership and how you will set, communicate and reinforce standards to ensure service delivery and promote ethical behaviour.

Service Delivery – External

“The police service is under unprecedented pressure, having to deal simultaneously with financial austerity and changing patterns of crime. The police need to better understand the changing nature of demand on their services.” – Rick Muir

The effective investigation of crime, alleviating anti-social behaviour in communities and keeping the public informed all drive and maintain public confidence.

As an Inspector your role will include delivering and implementing plans in addition to allocating and monitoring the quality and progress of work relating to these and other aspects of service delivery.

  • So what do you know about wider challenges the service faces, particularly relating to understanding and/or managing demand?
  • What is your force doing well at the moment?
  • What is not being done so well? Why?
  • How can things be done more effectively and/or efficiently?
  • What will you do as a new Inspector to help the organisation move forward?

Addressing some or all of the above points and questions will help to elevate your awareness and increase your focus around service delivery. The name of the game.

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