West Midlands Police to axe 2,500 jobs in effort to find £130m in savings

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West Midlands Police has admitted it will be axing 2,500 jobs over the next five years in a bid make savings of £130 million across the force. Officers, Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) and civilian staff are set to lose … Continue reading

Man dies and woman seriously injured in London shooting

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A man has died and a woman is in hospital following a suspected double shooting. Emergency services were called to Lordship Lane in Wood Green, north London, at about 5.45pm on Friday. A Metropolitan police spokesman said no arrests had … Continue reading

Dale Cregan & the women he lured to their deaths

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Dale Cregan, in prison for life and apparently now a convert to Christianity, except that his stubborn refusal to apologise to the families of his victims, doesn’t quite square up to any brand of Christian repentance or remorse the general public might recognise. Although I’m certain that given his ‘love for his family’ he mightily regrets the distress and danger his family have become afflicted by as a result of the four murders, including the gun and grenade ­killing of Nicola, 23, and Fiona, 32, plus three attempted murders. 

One of his sisters is considering leaving the country as she and her family are under threat in the UK. Another sister has had her families home trashed and another has had threatening phone calls from some of the acquaintances of his murder victims.

As well as the two police officers, cocaine dealer Cregan also killed gangland rivals Mark Short, 23, and his father David Short, 46.

Mark Short was shot in a pub in Droylsden, east Manchester, as he played pool while his father was shot and finished off with a grenade at his home in nearby Clayton.

Two of his victims, unarmed PCs Nicola Hughes and Fiona Bone were killed by Cregan after being lured to investigate a hoax burglary. They were simply doing their job whereas Mr Cregan was doing what he chose to do for the sheer sadistic thrill of it. Interestingly, the family members baying for his blood, and threatening the lives of his sisters & their families do not belong to either of these police officer’s families. 

Nicola, 23, lived in Diggle, Oldham, with her mother Susan, who said she died “doing the job she loved”.

She had been with Greater Manchester Police for three years. After her death in Mottram, Tameside,on September 18, 2012 Susan said: “We have always been exceedingly proud of Nicola and always will be.

“She wanted to make a difference. She cared about everyone.”

A colleague said: “She was a chatterbox and was always smiling, a lovely friend and a great bobby.”

Fiona, 32, had served with the force for five years, starting out as a special constable.

She lived in Sale with her partner Clare and her five-year-old daughter and was planning a civil partnership. Her family said they had lost “a wonderful daughter, sister, partner and parent”.

Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Sir Peter Fahy described Fiona as a “gentle woman with a great sense of humour”, who was always “calm, collected and professional”.

Funeral services for the officers at Manchester Cathedral brought the city to a standstill pretty much as the hunt for Dale Cregan and his subsequent arrest had. How I wonder, would that manhunt be conducted today? Given the austerity cost cutting measures that are about to be imposed on top of the cost cutting that has already occurred? Cuts have consequences eh?

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Welcome to Gangland, Dealing With It Costs Money

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In 2013 the Daily Mail did a most unusual thing, it published a rogue’s gallery of over one hundred ‘career criminals’ so called because these are the guys who make so much money from crime, that to them, prison is nothing more than a glitch in the time-line.

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Take for example, Terry Adams an Irish Catholic gangster belonging to a family credited with up to twenty-five murders and worth a couple of hundred million. Mr Adams was a part of the Daily Mail’s rogue gallery because the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) had made him subject to special restrictions. These restrictions – which can begin while the convict is behind bars and last for years after release – included travel bans, limits on car use and a prohibition on associating with other known criminals. Many criminal offenders are also required to report all their financial dealings and tell law enforcement officers their mobile phone number so their contacts can be monitored. Breaches are punished with additional prison terms, but you have to catch them at it first, and the surveillancing of just one criminal subject to just one of these orders costs money. Example? Mr Adams was returned to prison for seven weeks in November 2011 for breaching a financial reporting order requiring him to inform Soca regularly about his monetary affairs.

Bekir-Arif-counterfeiter.jpg.articleAnother name featured on the Daily Mail’s gallery of Soca surveillanced rogues was a Mr Bekir Arif, ever heard of that name? Nope. Neither had I, Mr Bekir it seems, is the head of a notorious family based criminal gang known for drug dealing but who also had a nasty sideline in Securicor van robberies. During one of their robberies, part-time guard David Cross – a father of three who was trying to earn a bit of extra cash to support his family – was blasted at point-blank range. As he lay dying on the floor, the five-man gang – part of the fearsome Arif Family – simply smirked at his desperate cries for help. The Arif family are known for millions of pounds worth of drug dealing in the UK, money laundering and the occasional robbery based murder (shall we count all those indirect drug addiction crimes? I think not). Again Mr Arif had been made subject to special restrictions, which requires surveillance which costs money.

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Abdul Sakhizada, of Northampton,once boasted of being Europe’s biggest people trafficker and was jailed for nine years. Two other gang members, including Sakhizada’s brother, were also jailed.They brought more than 100 immigrants to the UK, mainly from Afghanistan and Pakistan, and put them to work in pizza shops to pay debts of up to £10,000. Having been made subject to SOCA’s ‘special restrictions’ will have quite literally shut down his operations and perhaps even resort to finding employment….in a pizza parlour to pay off his debts.

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Now, some may say that SOCA’s work, with this list of 150 ‘professionalists’ was specialised and some what ‘elite’ and did not require the degree of expense it incurred. The government would agree with you, because in 2013 SOCA was closed down and its duties were taken on by the National Crime Agency and on a smaller budget.

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There’s just one significant problem with that belief & the cost cutting that followed it, almost all organised crime in the UK is bound up in the control and supply of drugs. Police believe this is responsible for more than half of all the illegal activities of these groups. In the North-east and North-west of England the figure jumps to around 80 per cent. In short the drug deals of Messrs Adams & Bekir (and their families) is part of what makes drugs, guns and teenage deaths possible in certain cities throughout England.

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Alongside this, the vast majority of gangs control small patches of the UK with specialist interests. These are the Glasgow drug gangs, the Newcastle protection racketeers, the north London forgers, and the south London crack dealers. However, there is evidence that these small zones of influence are beginning to merge and grow. How do we know this? Because from time to time the police are able to conduct their own research on precisely what is going on, but with austerity? The research grows as patchy and as sparse as their ability to keep tabs on the kinds of endemic & organised criminal activity that can make the lives of ordinary people such a living hell. As much as the government dislikes hearing it said, it is time to cry wolf, because those cuts are having consequences.

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Welcome to HMP Hewell

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A murdered prison inmate predicted his own killing in an unopened letter to jail bosses. Adnan Rafiq, 22, sent the letter shortly before he was attacked in his cell over a row about an alleged theft. But prison chiefs at … Continue reading

Codename Quicksilver?! Feeling Safe On London’s Streets?

I think this has been said before, many times before, but it needs saying again. #CutsHaveConsequences, particularly when it comes to safeguarding the general public in London from the insidious encroachment of gangs wielding all kinds of weaponry on the streets. That’s why Operation Trident was established wasn’t it? To ensure that mums & dads, their kids & aunties & uncles and grand-parents could feel safe (and very much alive) going about their daily affairs on London’s streets.

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Operation Trident emerged in 1998 as a result of sustained community pressure to tackle the disproportionate effects of gun crime on black communities, where both the victim and the assailant are black.The Metropolitan Police Service now has a dedicated Operation Trident police response unit. Has? Shouldn’t we say ‘had’ since the original task force along with its original aims (to tackle gun crime & resulting homicides) has been disbanded. Did I say disbanded? Well, in 2013 it was reformed and renamed the ‘Trident Gang Crime Command’ mostly I suspect because the name sounds impressive. The decision to turn Trident into a broader ‘command’ dealing with gangs was taken without warning two years ago, leaving London without a unit focused on armed crime. Figures suggest that after this, shooting incidents soared. More pointedly the woman who had a hand in establishing the original project-Claudia Webbe, had opposed the changes calling them ‘a backwards step on race’. 

1-day-gangsterYou might naively ask what a unit focused on murderous black gangs, operating in predominately black neighbourhoods, could possibly have to do with the rest of London. I say naively, because as the shooting of Mark Duggan proved, events which affect one sector of society, can impact adversely on everybody. We have had riots before, but never has the death of one victim triggered off the kind of mayhem that occurred during the 2011 riots. People’s livelihoods and homes were obliterated, lives were lost and the conduct of many of the rioters gave rise to alot of questions none of which have been satisfactorily answered. Questions such as how long had the police known about the (then) potent effectiveness of the Blackberry messenger gang grapevine?

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Other questions have since been thrown up, such as what possessed the Crown Prosecution Service to drop the court case being brought against the man who later went on to allegedly supply Mark Duggan with a gun. Today, both the police and the Crown Prosecution Service refuse to explain why; even more strangely, the CPS says it ‘cannot locate’ the paperwork which set out the reasons for this decision. Furthermore, the same gun supplier – gangland figure Kevin Hutchinson-Foster – used the BBM Bruni Model 92 handgun he allegedly gave to Duggan, to shoot one man in the back at a supermarket and later to ‘pistol-whip’ another man a week before Duggan died.

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Given those facts, he should have been in prison, at least on remand, and not roaming freely around the streets of London. Could this be another instance of a nasty, psychotic gangster being left at large in the midst of peaceful, law abiding, black communities, because he is useful to the police? Perhaps if he hadn’t been quite so ‘useful’ Mark Duggan would still be alive today, as would the two sons of the Birmingham businessman who had the great misfortune to get caught up in the madness of the riots.

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Finally, Quicksilver (the name of a character from the film ‘The Avengers: Age of Ultron’) was the code name of the place where police officers met in order to be briefed, prior to intercepting Mark Duggan. One wonders at the mindset of the officers involved in the shooting of Mark Duggan, a family man with six children. #CutsHaveConsequences, it takes money to fund the kind of research and investigatory operations that make the use of psychotic informants redundant. It takes investment to create the kind of oversight committee that can genuinely and convincingly hold England’s police to account. It takes increased funding to create the kind of day-to-day supervisory body, that can zone in on operations such as these, and query and challenge suspect behaviour on the part of certain police officers. But increased investment isn’t what either the police or the communities they serve have seen and who is to blame for that?

Credit to the Daily Mail for some of the details in this article

#CutsHaveConsequences to the policing of London

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Do you feel safe walking the streets of London? Do you feel that your police service is nearby, ready to attend if you need us? Nearly half of you said you do not see enough police officers on the beat where you live.

This is according to data from the Neighbourhood Confidence Comparator, a rolling survey of more than 12,000 Londoners by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime, which showed that 47% of people do not believe that the force “Met’ has a visible presence in their area.

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63 local police stations have closed, with officers having to work out of coffee stores and a health food outlet to try and remain accessible to members of the public. Recently, an editorial in The Mail on Sunday said that in cases such as these, police officers had no desks, or a private area in which to discuss issues with people requiring help.

£1.4 billion less is now being spent on keeping London safe which is a huge threat to public safety. Nationally 17,000 police officers and 16,000 police staff members have been lost. To put this in perspective, this is enough people to make seven whole police forces!

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It is now a month since the launch of the continuation of the #CutsHaveConsequences Campaign successfully launched by Essex Police Federation. A campaign aimed at highlighting the impact of cuts being imposed on the Metropolitan Police Service, and in turn how this will affect the communities of London. In real terms, cuts to policing budgets means less money, which in turn results in less policing with fewer warranted police officers available to deal with the ever increasing number of incidents (very strange, because did the Prime Minister not tell us that crime is falling?).

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There are now 4,333 fewer uniformed officers on our streets since the Coalition Government came to power, so is it little wonder that many do not feel that they have a visible police presence in their area? Unfortunately the government remains determined to do away with a further 16,000 officers – 35,000 in total, which will have a dramatic effect on the service’s ability to combat this and other problems.

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Stephen Greenhalgh, London’s Deputy Mayor, has gone on record saying that the Metropolitan Police has had to make £600m worth of cuts over the past four years and is expected to be forced to make a further £3.5bn by 2020.This would make it “difficult to maintain frontline officer numbers” and “very hard to manage by 2020”, he said.

Alongside this, the Met’s Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey has told the London Assembly’s Budget and Performance Committee that “the police were struggling with budget cuts and that morale in the force was not good”. 

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Budget bribe anybody?