Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Keeping in touch

It’s good to keep in touch with your local police officer and now you can if you live in Redruth South and the mining villages of Lanner, St Day and Carharrack.

Pc Claire Sheer is the new neighbourhood beat manager for the above areas and a Cornish woman at that! She can be contacted at: claire.sheer@devonandcornwallpolice.pnn.co.uk

Do you know who your neighbourhood police person is? Click here to find out and ask them some questions.

Source: thisiscornwall

Monday, 28 April 2008

Camborne is not just drugs and anti social behaviour!

From the wording of this Devon and Cornwall Constabulary press release it would seem that Camborne is a den of iniquity. The majority of people from Camborne are honest and law abiding despite living in an area with some of the worst social deprivation in Europe.

This press release makes it sound like everyone in Camborne is either a drug dealer or anti social and does not do justice to the good people of the town. Shame on you Devon and Cornwall police!

Saturday, 26 April 2008

More police on frontline duty, but more answers needed

In February 2008 Chief Constable Stephen Otter promised that in exchange for an above inflation rise in the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary share of Council Tax, 200 police officers will be put back on the streets. Then he said that this may not be the case.

However now, after two months, Otter says that only 20 police officers will be returned to the streets. What is going on? Is Otter renegading on his promise?

Devon and Cornwall police say that these officers are returning to frontline duties because of management changes. Devon and Cornwall police say that this will consequently save the force £500 000 in pay and National Insurance costs, but will any of these savings filter down to the tax payer? CPW somehow think not.

On another point how many of these 20 frontline police officers will be in Cornwall?

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Speeding cars

Police in Cornwall want residents of a housing estate in Cornwall to help them catch speeding motorists.

Claiming that the police don’t have the resources to patrol Trelander in Truro more frequently, they have asked residents to undertake their own survey to assess the times when speeding is a problem. Using that information as evidence, the police have promised to send a patrol car to the area at those times to catch the speeders out. The agreement was reached as part of a Partners and Community Together (PACT) initiative between the police and members of the local community.

Meanwhile a member of Devon and Cornwall police in Cornwall has been caught speeding on a public road by a speed camera and then trying to cover it up. PC Richard Holding - from the London Metropolitan police, but transferred to Cornwall - switched on his blue police lights as a rouse to pretend he was chasing a suspicious car and to cover the fact that he was speeding. Holding will be prosecuted next month and he has been told that there is a possibility that he could be sent to jail (although CPW think this very unlikely), but will be certainly asked to resigned or be sacked.

Holding will be added to the list of Devon and Cornwall police officers who have broken the law for speeding.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Flag stolen in Cornwall

As Gordon Brown hoisted his flag of St George over 10 Downing Street yesterday and encouraged all government buildings to follow suit, one flag was being taken down in Cornwall.

A flag of St George was stolen from a meteorological station in Egue Gaberaic Way, Bude between 0900 and 1000 and Devon and Cornwall police have even issued a statement and appealed for witnesses to contact them. If this person is actually caught, s/he could be looking at a hefty fine and a thorough interrogation for his petty theft, if the stories are true about what Tony Leamon was told by police.

CPW are surprised that Brown didn’t follow the example from the private sector (as he is often keen to do), but then again, perhaps nobody told him that Cornwall is not England.

Monday, 21 April 2008

Special Police Constables versus PSCO’s

Special Police Constables give up their time to voluntarily police their local communities on a part time basis.

The Home Office website says:

“Special constables are part-time volunteer officers who have all the same powers as regular police officers.

Volunteering to be a Special gives you the chance to give something back to your community while learning new and useful life skills. You'll provide a vital link between regular police officers and the community at large and enjoy all the same powers. So, if you've got at least four hours a week to spare, why not give it a try?”

PSCO’s have limited police powers and depending on their role may be able to:

• detain someone until a constable arrives
• direct traffic and remove vehicles
• issue fixed penalty notices for anti-social behaviour

So Special Constables are purely voluntary and can only work part time, but have all the powers of a police officer. PSCO’s however, are none of these things.

It makes you wonder therefore why, over the last couple of years, there has been criticism that Police Community Support Officer’s (PSCO) have taken over the role of Special Constables in the community. Special Constables are not only more financially viable, but are also from the communities where they live and have more powers than PSCO’s.

Devon and Cornwall Police say that it is more difficult to recruit Special Constables. Supt Barry Frost said :

"They are as valued now as they always have been," he told BBC News.

"The whole make up of society has changed and it's very, very difficult to recruit people of the right ilk to become specials because most people have very busy, professional lives."

CPW don’t think it’s just that Barry, but believe that people have become more disillusioned with the police and want to get paid for meeting targets.


Specials Recruitment

Working in the Police

Police Specials

Specials Forum

Friday, 18 April 2008

Devon and Cornwall Police defend the right of children to carry guns

Devon and Cornwall police have been on the defensive this week following comments made by ‘Mothers Against Violence’ (MAV), who have pointed out that there is in fact no age restriction on the issuing of firearms licences.

MAV have rightly suggested that there should be an age restriction on who can carry firearms, but Supt Steve Swanni, from Devon and Cornwall Police defended the right of children to carry guns. Swanni told the BBC that if a child less than 16 years of age applies for a gun licence, a number of ‘stringent procedures’ are carried out including a criminal record check and a home visit. However, no mention was made of what the ‘procedure’ was for children between the ages of 16 and 18 years of age.

As MAV founder, Pasty McKie, said:

“Guns are fascinating to children, but they're dangerous too.”

“As adults, it's our job to set good examples and that includes meaning people are properly trained.”

CPW believe that the law needs to be changed and that Devon and Cornwall police are wrong to defend the issuing of guns to children.

See: Children Allowed Guns in Cornwall

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

One rule for them…

A cursory glance through the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary’s Freedom of Information Act Disclosure notices will show that the police are not averse to breaking the very laws they are paid to enforce. These notices will also show that even when a police officer breaks the law, how very likely it is that s/he will get away with it in the end. They may be suspended on full pay for 12 months, but in all probability if they don’t resign, they will be reinstated as a Crown officer of the law.

What is surprising is that the adult public often behaves as though police officers today are the same kind of police officers they thought they knew as a child and this is especially true when it comes to the established press. There are no laughing policemen any more or any ‘PC Friend’ and the only thing police officers today have got in common with police officers of the past is that they still have the law on their side.

The article below is an example of this. The CPW team are not saying that all police officers break the law (indeed we know there are some good police officers still out there e.g. Chief Constable Richard Brunstom of the North Wales Police), but that police officers do break the law intentionally and this is a fact and should never come as a surprise. Today public should be as suspicious of police officers as they are of the public.

Source: www.thisiscornwall.co.uk

In the article, Sgt Murray, leader of the neighbourhood policing team in Newquay, said that:

“...all officers have been briefed that the parking laws apply to them as well as the public and they should not be parking on double yellow lines except in emergency operational situations.”

The article goes on to say:

“After searching through incidents logged for that day, however, Sgt Murray said he could find no definitive reason for the patrol vehicle to be on the double yellow lines.”

The CPW suspicion is that there was no ‘emergency operational situation’ and the car was simply parked there, because it was convenient for the officers at the time.


16 April 2008

A SHARP-eyed member of the public has caught the thin blue line parked up on two yellow lines.

Bob Dutton, 66, was on his way to Chester Road market when he spotted the police car parked on St Anne's Road and snapped this picture. The street has been one area targeted by police in a crackdown on illegal parking which has seen hundreds of tickets handed out to motorists.

It is unlikely this patrol car would have been caught up in the parking blitz, however, as it sat for 10 minutes on the double yellows, apparently breaking the rules.

Mr Dutton said: "The police are always out in St Anne's Road ticketing cars, so I couldn't believe it when I saw the patrol car there right on the double yellow lines.

"I had my camera with me, so I took a picture before I went in to Chester Road market, but it was still there unattended 10 minutes later. There weren't any sirens blaring and it was very quiet, so it didn't look like there was anything going on.

"If anyone else was parked there they could get a ticket."

The picture was taken at about 12.30pm on Friday, April 4, and the yellow lines are in force all year round.

Sgt Bob Murray, leader of the neighbourhood policing team in Newquay, said the car was from the town's police station but he did not know why it had been parked there. Police cars are allowed to park on double yellow lines and anywhere else when they are on emergency call-outs or police operations.

After searching through incidents logged for that day, however, Sgt Murray said he could find no definitive reason for the patrol vehicle to be on the double yellow lines.

Sgt Murray said: "It's hard to comment on this without knowing exactly why it was there - it could have been for any number of operational reasons. However, all officers have been briefed that the parking laws apply to them as well as the public and they should not be parking on double yellow lines except in emergency operational situations."

Newquay mayor Pat Lambshead, said:"Unless a police car is on an emergency call it just shouldn't be parked in that way," he said. "To be parking for no apparent reason could set a bad example for everyone else. I suggest the police look into this. There's probably a reasonable explanation."

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

‘Passport to Padstow’ – some points to be considered

An article in ‘The Sunday Times’ magazine on 14th April 2008 made a number of salient points about the attitude and arrests made by Devon and Cornwall police in 2007 of members of the Cornish cultural and political movement. The article ‘Passport to Padstow’, written by freelance journalist Richard Johnson, was probably the only positively balanced article produced by the London press about the Cornish nationalist political scene in the last couple of years.

Johnson was invited to Cornwall by Mike Chappell of the Celtic League last year after being contacted by the journalist who was interested in writing a piece about Cornwall after the CNLA/CRA hit the headlines early in 2007. Johnson promised that he was not looking for sensationalism, but said he wanted to try to show the situation for how it was.

The article generally makes for an interesting read and below I have extracted several short sentences and passages and made comments below each:

“Since the CNLA’s threats, they [Devon and Cornwall police] have pulled in a significant number of suspects for questioning. They have to be seen to take threats of terrorism seriously.”

The police may have thought that they should do something, but their treatment of their ‘suspects’ have left the lives of many of those arrested devastated.

“Hugh Rowe, a member of the Cornish Stannary parliament – the original governing body of Cornwall’s tin-mining community – was taken into custody on suspicion of the illegal possession of a firearm. All because the CNLA talked about having Fifteen Cornwall – Jamie Oliver’s restaurant in Watergate Bay – “in their sights”. As a “stannator”, Rowe is regularly involved in “tackling English cultural aggression in Cornwall”, which can include removing English Heritage signs from tourist destinations. But that involves bolt-cutters. Not a sawn-off shotgun.

The police pulled apart his Camborne home and left with a balaclava (“which I use for fishing or when I’m out with the pigeons,” says Rowe), three flags of St Piran and a book on the commissioning of the twin towers in New York. “I got it in an antique shop in Camborne for £2.” Rowe was released without charge, but the case is still being investigated. He insists his phone is being tapped. “I think the raid was ordered by central government,” he says.”

All charges against Rowe were dropped and not surprisingly either, because he should never have been arrested in the first place. A balaclava? A book? Suspicion of owning a firearm course he didn’t own)? Hardly grounds to arrest someone.

“Dave Eddy, a labourer from Padstow, was taken into custody after allegedly making a threatening call to Fifteen Cornwall, demanding to know how many Cornish people worked there. Eddy told the Western Morning News that, while he is happy to be called a Cornish nationalist, he doesn’t condone violence. And he emphatically denied being a member of the CNLA.”

Again, why should a phone call, asking perfectly legitimate questions, make you a terrorist subject? I mean, the man even gave his name!

“Meibion Glyndwr – or “the sons of Glyndwr” – attacked over 200 properties in Wales, in protest against rural homes being sold as holiday cottages to incomers. But the authorities were too heavy- handed. Aran Jones, Cymuned’s chief executive, remembers the police hauling people out of bed in the early morning just because they’d worn T-shirts saying “Ta Ta Tai Haf” –“Goodbye, Holiday Home”. Meibion Glyndwr were left looking like the champions of the people.

It’s too early to say if the CNLA will come to be seen as the Cornish Meibion Glyndwr. “But the fact of the matter is,” says Jones, “that even if the CNLA is two people in a caravan, it is important that it’s taken seriously.” And, as Jones suggests, the Devon and Cornwall police would be well advised to proceed with caution. “If they are heavy-handed,” says Jones, “the way they were in Gwynedd, they will advance the cause of Cornish nationalism by about 20 years.”

The CNLA/CRA are hardly champions of the people, but I have heard a number of people say that they are the only group who are/were prepared to take direct action against the many causes of social injustice in Cornwall. Jones is right when he said that they should be taken seriously, not because they are a real terrorist threat (if indeed they ever really are/were), but because they highlighted issues in the mass media about Cornwall that have in the passed been largely ignored.

The Devon and Cornwall police did act in an heavy handed way, in response to the CNLA/CRA threat and as such it seems that they have learned very little from the mistakes made in Wales in the 1970’s. In behaving in this way, Devon and Cornwall police have indeed alienated many people in the Cornish political and cultural movement. At the same time the police have unfortunately reinforced the belief that there is little room for peaceful expressions of protest, in a Cornwall gripped by English anti terror legislation.

Monday, 14 April 2008

Police Finance: How does it work?

As Jaqui Smith told the House of Commons in February 2008:

“The Government do not distribute grant to police authorities purely on the basis of population. The police funding formula uses a range of data relating to demographic and social characteristics to reflect the relative needs of each authority. Grant allocations also take into account the relative tax base of each authority. Grant allocations are stabilised by damping to limit year-on-year variations."

Smith, Secretary of State for the Home Department, was responding to a question by David Davies MP about how much was spent on policing per head of the population in each police force in England and Wales in each year since 1997.

This means that Devon and Cornwall Police Authority, in terms of population and budget receive more money than Essex Police and Avon and Somerset Police and a bit less than Kent Police.

It is the Police Authorities who have the legal responsibility to set the police budget. Central Government indicate the level of funding they will provide through grants. Any additional money required for the police service can only be raised through the local council tax. The Police Authority sets the level of the police element of the council tax each year. In the case of Devon and Cornwall Police Authority, the tax for 2008/2009, for a Band D property is £142.19 per household.

The budget incorporates two different types of expenditure; the revenue budget meets all day to day running costs including salaries whilst the capital budget meets the cost of land, building and major equipment.

The revenue budget for 2008/2009, is £268,084,994m and the capital budget is £18.3m.
Information on police authority budgets and resident population since 1997 are set out in the tables here.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Arrest and your rights

Police can now arrest you for any offence, however minor, if they have reasonable grounds for suspecting that you have commited or are about to commit an offence, under the terms of the extended Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (SOCPA).

Police powers of arrest are therefore wide and it is likely that at some point in your life either you or someone you know will be arrested. It is therefore imortant that all of us are aware of our rights and one easily readable document that puts the arrest process and your rights into clear perspective can be found here.

This website provides very useful information for anyone thinking about getting involved in demonstrations of any kind and the organisation respoinsible for it is a not for profit activists legal project collective. Information concerning workshops, how to set up your own legal support group and other general legal resources are provided.

Further information can be found here.

Monday, 7 April 2008

‘Gardening Leave’ with full pay!

It has been revealed that tax payers are shelling out £8million a year to keep suspended police officers on full pay.

A series of Freedom of information Act disclosures of the UK’s 52 police forces has shown that the vast majority of police forces have suspended officers on full annual salaries after being put on long-term "gardening leave" for alleged disciplinary breaches. Only four police forces had no officers suspended.

When it is considered that the average time for suspension is 10 months (although in some cases it can be much longer) and the average police officers wage is £30 000 per annum, this is a lot of wasted money, that could be better spent elsewhere.

Devon and Cornwall Constabulary had 10 officers suspended on full pay as of 1st January 2008 at a cost of many thousands of pounds to the Cornish tax payer. With 10 officers on full pay Devon and Cornwall Constabulary parried with Greater Manchester police force. In March 2004 one Devon and Cornwall police officer was suspended on full pay for almost two years and the investigation that subsequently took place into his suspension cost between £200,000 and £400,000.

It is little wonder that Devon and Cornwall Constabulary are increasing their share of the Council tax way above the rate of inflation!

Saturday, 5 April 2008

Getting serious on the roads

Devon and Cornwall Police Constabulary took part in a joint police campaign with other police forces last week to target road crime.

The campaign made use of fairly new technology called Automatic number plate recognition (ANPR), which is able to determine if drivers hold a licence, insurance and tax for their vehicles. Devon and Cornwall police reported that the week long exercise was successful and put to good use the ANPR technology.

Supt Tim Swarbrick of Devon and Cornwall Police told BBC news that ANPR is “…probably one of the best bits of technology we've had for the past 20 or 30 years.”

Last month a quarterly newsletter was launched by the Police Federation called ‘Roads Ahead’ and will feature news about roads policing. The newsletter states:

“Our aim is to use this publication to open up informative channels of communication between all roads policing officers and associated bodies. We intend to focus on key issues that influence the delivery and professionalism of traffic officers around the country.”

The newsletter calls for “a national and consistent standard of competence qualification recognised” for police. Shouldn’t they be qualified to a consistent standard of competence anyway?

Friday, 4 April 2008

Police criminalise young people to meet their targets

The police may have met their criminal detection rate target, which required them to boost the number of officially “sanctioned” detections from 1.02m offences in 2002 to 1.25m by 2007/8, but the charity Nacro argues that one reason for this is that the police are criminalizing young people.

A report published by the charity Nacro says that police are processing low level crime by young people through the criminal justice system that would have previously been dismissed with a telling off. However under pressure to meet their targets police have been dealing formally with minor and summary offences by young people, which could be dealt with in different ways.

Commenting on the report, Paul Cavadino, Chief Executive of Nacro, said:

“For some time we have suspected that the police have been targeting younger children and less serious crimes in order to reach their targets of ‘offences brought to justice’. Our analysis now shows that this is the case.

“Nacro is deeply concerned that while the Government pledges to reduce the number of children coming into the criminal justice system, in practice more and more children are being given formal sanctions that result in a criminal record. This can be counter-productive as children labelled as offenders can try to live up to that image.

“Often the most effective response in the early stages of minor offending is either an informal warning or to work with children in positive ways which do not give them a criminal record.”

The report ‘Some facts about children and young people who offend’ is available as a pdf from Nacro’s media office. Please call 020 7840 7216.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Cornwall’s own parking police

Parking in Cornwall is to be ‘policed’ by Cornwall County Council from May 2008, as the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary ‘relinquish responsibility’ in this area.

A leaflet has been produced by Cornwall Council to explain how Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) powers will be implemented. CPW are happy to see Cornwall’s authorities taking more of an active enforcement role in our communities, even if it is only for parking offences for now.

Our only question is, what will happen to the profits Cornwall Council will make from the staggeringly high fines that will be imposed on drivers who fall foul of the parking rules? Maybe they could reinvest the money and reduce some of their astronomical car parking charges!

Further information can be found on the Cornwall County Council website, including a pdf leaflet here.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

“Devolution of policing is important” George Bush

In a St Patrick’s Day address with the Taoiseach/ Prime Minister of the Republic of Ireland, Bertie Ahern, in the USA in March, the President of the United States, George Bush said:

Taoiseach; as you said, the devolution of policing is important, and we support that.”

Policing is devolved in Scotland and will no doubt soon be devolved in the north of Ireland. There is little reason why, along with political devolution for Cornwall, devolution of the police and other services to Cornwall should not be specifically campaigned for.

The Cornwall Constabulary was amalgamated with constabularies in England on 1st April 1967 and since this time there are been amalgamation of services in almost every sphere. The reason for this is that the London Government wants to hammer out an artificial south west region of England and include Cornwall along with it. Rather than services being devolved therefore, the police, fire brigade, ambulance are being more centralized, with the loss of jobs for Cornwall and technical know how.

Bush (and the London Government) supports the devolution of policing to the north of Ireland, so why not to Cornwall?