More than 550 police officers on sick leave due to stress

Police_sagar simkhada shutterstock_333009221-2

Photo: Sagar Simkhada ┃

There as been a big rise in the number of police officers off work with stress over the last 10 years.  In the most recent financial year to March 2015, 557 officers were signed off work with stress, an increase from 405 in 2004-05.

The data, revealed by the Metropolitan Police in response to a Freedom of Information request, has 3 categories– stress, stress-related illness, and post traumatic stress disorder.

The largest category of absence through stress has risen by an average of 5% per year over a 10 year period.

Stress related absence-2

The numbers are lowest for post traumatic stress disorder, though it is the category which has seen the most significant increase, rising from 5 to 29 cases last year, perhaps due to greater recognition of the condition.

PTSD is caused by witnessing stressful, frightening or distressing events and sufferers may relive the traumatic events through flashback and nightmares.

While 557 is just 1.7% of the Met’s 31,780 officers their absence does have an impact. Previous information released by the Met reveals that in 2014, 24,000 working days were lost due to illness caused by stress.

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The Met fails to reflect the face of people it’s policing

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The Met fails to reflect the face of people it’s policing

© 1000words |

Photo: © 1000words |

The ethnic make up of the Metropolitan Police is hugely out of line with the people it is policing. 3,729 of the Met’s 31,877 officers are classified as BME. That is 11.7% but the population of the capital is 40% black and ethnic.

Broken down by rank the numbers show an even more serious lack of representation at some levels. At Constable level 13% of officers are BME. But at senior level it is half that rate. Just 2 of the 29 Chief Officers, that’s the most senior people above the rank of Chief Superintendent, are black or minority ethnic by origin.

And there appears to be an even more serious problem among middle ranking officers. Only 2.7% of Chief Inspectors and 5.9% of Inspectors in the Met are black or other minority ethnic, according to the latest figures from the Home Office.

Police BME

The Metropolitan Police has the highest proportion of officers who identify themselves as Black or other Minority Ethnic of any force in England and Wales.

The rates are worse for the much smaller City of London force. 43 of its 739 officers are BME, that’s 5.8%. And there are none above the rank of Chief Inspector.  They are pollicing an areas where the resident population is is 22% black and other minority ethnic.

4 forces in England and Wales, Cheshire, Durham, North Yorkshire and Dyfed-Powys, have no black officers.

The Met has been trying to address the problem since the Macpherson Report into the investigation of the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence branded it as “institutionally racist”.

The proportion of BME officers has been increasing steadily but missing targets. In 2005 the proportion of BME officers was half the current rate at 6.9%. And recruitment of black officers has improved. In 2014 more than 500 recruits, or 16% of the total, were BME.

The Labour candidate for Mayor, Sadiq Khan, says that he would introduce a quota system to try to address the disparity.

Much more will need to be done before that faces of the Met and the City of London force reflect the populations that they are policing.

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Met reveals record on race discrimination: 245 complaints, no misconduct

Police Taser some young and elderly, and firing is up steeply in some areas

Police say violent crime is up, but it may be the way it’s recorded

Met reveals record on race discrimination: 245 complaints, no misconduct

dreamstimesmall_48892827The Metropolitan Police examined 245 complaints of racial discrimination by its officers in the 12-month period to the end of February this year. In 240 cases no action was taken, with complaints dismissed or officers judged to have no case to answer.

In 5 cases the complaint did lead to “management action”, usually after some form of local resolution that may have included an apology or acceptance that an incident could have been better handled. The Met says that this does not amount to formal misconduct and management action can include pointing out to an officer how his/her behavior fell short of expected standards.

The information was revealed in response to a Freedom of Information request. According to the data some officers were subject of several complaints and 5 officers had 4 complaints against them.

The largest number of incidents took place in Lewisham with 22. Other boroughs with a high number of complaints were Greenwich, 17, and Enfield and Wandsworth with 16. The rest were spread across the boroughs although none was recorded in Hackney.

In addition to these 245 racial discrimination complaints that have been dealt with there were a further 152 during the period March 1st 2014 to February 28th 2015 that are still being investigated.

In making the data available the Met said: “Where the conduct of staff is proven to have fallen below the standards of behavior expected, the MPS will take robust action to ensure that its staff are appropriately disciplined and that lessons are learnt from each case.

The Commissioner has stated publicly that there is no place for racism and prejudice within the MPS.”

Over the same period complaints were also received for discrimination on other grounds, this includes: age;2, disabililty;7, gender;15, homophobic;10, mental health;14, religion;14, and 17 others that are not defined. None of these complaints was upheld.

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See also

Police say violent crime is up, but it may be the way it’s recorded

Police Taser some young and elderly, and firing is up steeply in some areas

Time to celebrate but there’s no pride in a rise in homophobic attacks

Met earns millions for policing football but costs are higher still

policeThe Metropolitan Police was paid more that £10 million for policing matches in the Premier League and Football League from 2010 to 2014.

And more than a third of that money came from Arsenal, who paid more than double their north London rival Tottenham and nearly 3 times as much as Chelsea.

The figures on income from policing fooball were revealed by the Metropolitan Police in response to a freedom on information request. It shows that income from all clubs in the 2013/14 season was £1.9 million, down from almost £2.5 million the season before.

Metropolitan Police, Income from Premier League and Football League clubs
2010/11 2011/12 2012/13 2013/14 Total
All Clubs £2,637,621 £3,112,736 £2,482,180 £1,908,954 £10,141,491
Arsenal £923,462 £943,136 £923,462 £767,075 £3,557,135
Chelsea £318,350 £328,897 £318,350 £237,235 £1,202,832
Crystal Palace 188,705 £219,204 £174,120 £62,945 £644,974
Fulham £155,671 £190,771 £157,671 £99,136 £603,249
QPR £109,101 £138,674 £87,901 £51,556 £387,232
Tottenham £404,265 £423,486 £404,265 £283,587 £1,515,603
West Ham £189,694 £537,934 £189,694 187,303 £1,104,625

Arsenal’s Emirates stadium has the largest capacity in London after Wembley with seating for more than 60,000, but taking the charges as a cost per seat still show Arsenal paying a much bigger bill. On the basis of the 2013/14 season Arsenal paid £12.69 per seat, Chelsea £5,67 and Tottenham £7.81.

Policing of matches has been a contentious issue with the football authorities arguing that part of the cost should be met within the regular police budget and that is it unfair to charge all costs to the clubs.

A legal ruling in 2008 said the clubs could only be held liable for costs incurred for policing in their ‘footprint’, meaning inside a stadium or in the area immediately surrounding it.. That means a substantial shortfall for the police for the cost of officers on the routes to and from the grounds.

Information previously released by the Met shows that it estimates that the cost of policing Premier League matches in the 2012/13 season was £3.25 million. The most recent data release shows that the income from the 6 clubs in the league that season was £2.08 million.

The bill for the Met has gone up since. In response to a question from Labour London Assembly member Andrew Dinsmore the Mayor has revealed that the cost to the force for policing outside club ‘footprints’ was £1.9 million in the last season, 2014/15.

Guidelines issued by the Association of Chief Police Officers in 2014 says that all the costs of policing a football match should be recovered. But the arrangements between forces and clubs are subject to individual agreements and the debate about who pays the bill is likely to continue.

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See also

A poor day out in the Prem is away fans’ verdict on most London grounds

Footy fans get a great deal in London – on the tea, at least


Limehouse Link is the ultimate trap for speeding drivers

Photo: Limehouse tunnel entrance 1 by Fin Fahey ┃Wikimedia Commons

Photo: Limehouse tunnel entrance 1 by Fin Fahey ┃Wikimedia Commons

The Limehouse Link Tunnel has the worst record in London for speeding. In the 12 months to May this year speed cameras in the tunnel captured more than 21,000 drivers breaking the 30 miles per hour limit.

The tunnel accounts for over 20% of the 97,122 speeding offences captured by cameras operated by the Metropolitan Police from June 2014 to May 2015. The data was revealed by the Met in response to a Freedom of Information request.

The Limehouse Link Tunnel is just 1.1 miles long and connects the north approach to Tower Bridge with a point just north of Canary Wharf in Docklands. The majority of the camera flashes were seen on the westbound carriageway.

The camera on Cromwell Road by Kenway Road SW5 recorded the second highest number of offences. And the route westbound along the Cromwell Road is proving a speed trap for drivers in a hurry with the cameras near North End Road and Warwick Road in W14 catching thousands more.

Most active speed camera May 2014 – June 2015
Location Number of incidents
Limehouse Link Tunnel E14, westbound 17,110
Cromwell Road, by Kenway Road SW5 5,700
Chelsea Embankment by Cheyne Walk SW3 4,059
Limehouse Link Tunnel E14, eastbound 4,029
Cromwell Road, junction of North End Road W14 3,842

When caught by a speed camera a driver receives what is called a Notice of Intended Prosecution. The minimum penalty for speeding is a £100 fine and 3 points on your licence. This means that the cameras at the Limehouse Link netted more than £2 million in the 12 months.

The Metropolitan Police says that it has 989 fixed camera locations and 324 of these are fitted with cameras. 204 of these were operational at the time the request for information was made.

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See also

Police identify the most ignored red light with 1,500 drivers caught on camera

Do fewer offences mean better bike behaviour or laxer policing?

London leads the way in declining car use but the East is bucking the trend

Supermarket shoplifting is up by a fifth since 2012

supermarket-2Shoplifting from supermarkets in London has gone up by more than 20% in 2 years to a rate of 260 incidents a week, according to the latest full year data.

In 2014, the police recorded 13,674 thefts from supermarkets compared to 11,293 in 2011 and 12,267 in 2013. The Metropolitan Police released the data in response to a Freedom of Information request.

A separate breakdown of the items stolen in 2013 shows alcohol is the most popular but food accounted for almost the same number of stolen items and was a quarter of all thefts.

The latest British Crime Survey shows that shoplifting was up by 3% across the UK last year and 4% the year before, while overall levels of crime were falling.

Estimates from the Centre for Retail Research say that customers stole goods valued at £2.2 billion from all shops in the UK in the financial year 2012-13.

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Police Taser some young and elderly, and firing is up steeply in some areas

Photo: © Mediaimagephotography |

The Metropolitan Police says that its officers have fired Tasers at 2 children aged 14, and 11 elderly people in the past 2 years.

The details were revealed in a response to a Freedom of Information request from the leader of the Conservatives on the Greater London Assembly, Andrew Boff.   The details from the Met also show it aimed but did not fire Tasers in 29 other incidents involving people over 60, including 2 people who were 85.

Andrew Boff called the use of the electronic stun guns on the young and elderly “questionable” and has suggested that Tasers be linked to body-worn camera to record incidents.

Despite some controversy about the ages of people involved in these incidents Taser use by the Met has gone down. In 2013 Tasers were fired 248 times. In 2014 it was 216. But data from the Met shows a change in the pattern of use across the capital.

In 2013 the spread of firing incidents was broadly even. In 2014 Lambeth had almost twice the number of firing incidents of any other borough. There have been steep rises in use in Barnet, (1 in 2013 to 14 in 2014) and Redbridge (7 in 2013, 13 in 2014). Harrow and Richmond had no Taser firings.

Taser map

Tasers were first introduced by the Met in 2004 and 2,000 officers are trained and equipped to use them. The devices fire 2 darts carrying an electrical charge of up to 50,000 volts, which temporarily incapacitates its victim. The Met says that every use of a Taser is reported and scrutinised and officers are individually accountable under law for the level of force they use.

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Police say violent crime is up, but it may be the way it’s recorded

police hi viz jacketsViolent assault in London jumped by a fifth in the past year, according to data from the Metropolitan Police. There were nearly 70,000 recorded assaults causing injury, or in the more serious cases, grievous bodily harm in the year to March.

Harassment and common assault, which covers the threat of being hurt, were up by 38%. And sexual offences rose by a third to 15,000.

The overall crime rate in London has remained static at 700,000 offences.  While crimes against people went up there was better news for crimes against property with theft down 7%, burglary down 14% and a 22% fall in robbery.

Crime chart March 2015

But the rising figures that give a frightening picture of life on the streets of London may be a product of the way crime is being recorded by the police.

The Met, along with other police services, was criticised last year by HM Inspector of Constabulary for under-recording many serious offences.  As a result, recording procedures have  improved.  In evidence to the Greater London Authority Police and Crime Committee last autumn the Met said that the number of reports of violent incidents recorded as crimes has risen from 40% in 2012 to 75%.  Assistant Commissioner Helen Knight also said that a third of assault cases were the result of domestic abuse, which is now much better recorded.

Figures from the London Ambulance Service, reported by Urbs, give a different picture of violent crime.  Its records show that crews attended 20% fewer incidents that they believed to be assaults in the last year. The difference in levels may indicate that they attend only the more serious incidents.

Crime Assault comparison

Many experts are sceptical of the ability of police recording to accurately reflect true levels of crime and prefer to use the Crime Survey of England and Wales, which interviews 50,000 people about their experience. It finds that violent crime is on a downward trend.

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