I need to get back to Another Summer of Hate. Filing this news report as relevant to one of the possible threads.
I wrote a novel, ‘Solstice’, partly inspired by the claims about VIP child abuse rings. Finding out they were all lies led to me unpublishing the book. It’s taken the Metropolitan Police two more years to investigate some of the liars.
I’m back to kicking around ideas for Another Summer of Hate, my next novel. One possible plot thread would involve the death of a kid on an e-bike, so I’m following the news about the incidents so far this year. (And one of them happened close to where I used to live, so there’s that as well.)
I don’t like the repeated suggestions in this article that it would somehow be perfectly safe to chase riders who wore helmets. Protective headgear, bike helmets in particular, provide limited protection against a limited range of injuries. They are not the magical lifesavers some people think they are (see also the zombie Helmet Debate, recently returned to eat the brains of politicians).
Criminal gangs, and reckless kids, use e-bikes. There is no straightforward way to deal with them, and I hope Police are deciding how, and whether, to pursue them based on more than just what’s on their heads.
Two stories that caught my eye yesterday. First, the worrying news that Police are taking days to respond to 999 calls as budget cuts bite.
Second, the report about a bunch of Manchester students who became (briefly) successful drug dealers on the dark web.
Filing these away for future reference.
There’s a story in the Police’s problems with properly handling digital evidence. I don’t know what it is, but I’m linking to a couple of stories from today’s Guardian for future reference.
Public faith in the fairness of trials is being eroded and the justice system is approaching “breaking point” due to failures to disclose key digital evidence, the head of the criminal bar has said. The comments from Angela Rafferty QC come as a leading forensic scientist, Dr Jan Collie, exposes the difficulties defence experts have in obtaining downloaded material from police and prosecutors, including dealing with “games” officers play in pursuit of convictions.
The Guardian has learned that:
At least 15 police forces, including Greater Manchester police and the Metropolitan police, have outsourced digital forensics work – typically the analysis of mobile phones and computers – to unaccredited private companies, some of which are subject to no regulatory oversight.
One private company that holds a major contract covering more than a dozen forces had its accreditation revoked last year after failing its first audit, but continued to perform forensic work for the prosecution.
Just 15 out of 43 police forces met a government deadline in October to bring their in-house laboratories in line with minimum quality standards for analysing mobile phone, computer and CCTV data.
I’ve heard of people being told that the crime against them won’t be investigated because the sum stolen was too low. Even though the criminal had cleared out their bank account. If they were wealthier, perhaps the Police would have investigated, but poor folks aren’t covered because the return is too low.
Something to remember when I get started on the next Rain and Bullets story.
Crime is rising in the region as crooks ‘take advantage’ of policing cuts, force insiders and fed-up victims have told the Manchester Evening News.
Home Office figures show that crime rose by 31 per cent – an additional 70,000 crimes – in the year up to June 2017.
The statistic represents a crime report every two minutes.
Component parts of what could be the UK’s first-ever 3D gun were seized in Greater Manchester’s biggest-ever crackdown on gangs.
Police and other agencies have been involved in around 100 raids during a week of hush-hush operations, with more expected this morning. Fifty people have been arrested so far.
This news makes me worry about crime in Manchester. But, as my priorities are skewed that way, I find myself devoting more time to pondering how it will affect future Irwin tales.
Greater Manchester Police will lose a quarter of its staff, including front-line officers, as it faces a £134m budget cut in the next four years.
Greater Manchester Police Authority (GMPA) said nearly 3,000 posts would have to be cut from its 12,000 staff.
Greater Manchester Police had a blimp they used for surveillance. Sadly it didn’t work so well in bad weather, so now all the equipment has been scrapped or repurposed. I wish I’d known about it whilst they were still using it.
The report is structured to make us angry at the waste of money, but I can’t help thinking they’re trying too hard. Certainly, GMP lost some money on it, but they managed to recoup some of the blimp’s £80,000 cost when they sold it, and bits of the equipment are still being used. Without the proper figures we don’t know how much money was wasted on the idea, but it may well be less than the £4,400 per flight the M.E.N. claims.
This is a Mercedes parked on double yellow lines and well up onto the pavement. Nothing so strange about that. But it’s parked right in front of the entrance to the Bootle Street Police station in the centre of Manchester. I’ve blanked out the number plate, because anyone who can get away with this obviously has a bit of clout, but if the Police would like to actually do their job…….
I know that parking on double yellows down a little used side street isn’t much of a crime, but doing it right outside the Police station shows a bit much arrogance and contempt for the law for my liking.
The Police are planning to create a force of unmanned drones for surveillance and, possibly, intervention. Small hovering robots with tasers and guns. I’m getting visions of The Bill meets The Terminator.
Police in Devon sent a helicopter and riot vans to break up a family barbecue because the description on Facebook was that it would be an “all night party”. If you’ve listed an event on Facebook, go back and change the title or description so that it says it’s a rave.
Last Friday’s naked bike ride was fun, even though the Police stopped us and claimed that no-one had told them that Naked meant we’d have no clothes on. More pictures in the Manchester World Naked Bike Ride set
Or even don’t not photograph infrastructure, as the guy in this video was arrested twice despite not taking the pictures the Police accused him of. I was stopped at the Labour conference last year because I was walking around the G-Mex taking pictures of the security perimeter. I don’t know what it is about me that kept me safe from further harassment, mybe my jovial nature.
It’s also not a very good manual on making explosives, according to one of the reader reviews-
This book is very informative as to how to get yourself killed. Being a student of chemistry i can safely say that THE RECIPIES IN THIS BOOK ARE VERY INACCURATE. It’s more of a good read than an explosives manual, if you want to make a bomb, look elsewhere.
On the whole a very good read, but don’t take it seriously.
Somebody buy a copy and send it to West Yorkshire Police as a gift. Maybe then they’ll get a clue.