The real CID.

Posted: May 22, 2012 in Uncategorized

If YOU become a victim of crime who do you expect to investigate? Who is responsible for identifying and arresting the criminals so that they may be brought to court and, hopefully, to justice?  On television we are used to seeing a dedicated team of detectives working day and night on ONE JOB. In reality many detectives are SINGULARLY responsible for resolving over 20 investigations, with limited time and resources for each one.

With the current cuts threatening our jobs and safety we have heard a lot about the everyday risks and dangerous situations that uniformed police officers deal with on a daily basis. Too right, because we put ourselves out there every shift. We carry on in the face of adversity, even though we feel mostly unappreciated by society.  Upon catching the bad guys (yes… this happens VERY often, contrary to what you are led to believe by SOME) we hand them over to the men in suits and trust that our initial hard work will be continued in interview and beyond. When we say ‘See you in court,’ we are actually hoping that we will.

How will the cuts in budget and numbers of police officers affect the investigation of crime? CID are feeling the pinch, leaving them with more jobs to investigate and less detectives to deal.

‘Well, so what?’ I hear you say. We’re all dealing with the economic downturn, why should the everyday public care about cuts in policing? I’ll tell you why.

What happens if the detective responsible for investigating YOUR case already has over 20 crimes to deal with? What happens if they are so overworked that they can’t give each job the time and attention it deserves, prioritising instead the ‘larger’ jobs and putting yours to the bottom of the pile? I’ve been talking to a good friend and respected colleague of mine to try to bring you a picture of ‘the real CID’. Under Winsor’s thumb and being slowly strangled by increased budget cuts and decreased levels of morale. Let’s call him DC Busy.

DC Busy works for a London borough. Here’s what he currently has on his books. Twenty crimes in total, all of which he is solely responsible for investigating:

6 x possession with intent to supply (Drug Dealing)

1 x Production of Class A (making drugs)

4 x fraud offences (including one to a value of over £100,000!)

1 x Attempted murder (multiple stab wounds to female victim – not domestic)

3 x Grievous Bodily Harm

1 x possession firearm

1 x computer misuse

2 x drugs into prison (visitor or staff smuggling drugs into prison)

1 x sexual assault.

Ok, you may think, so 20 is not that many! Maybe you’re right…..but now have a look at what he has to do for EACH CRIME.

Victims:

Contact victims

Update victims

Obtain written statements (average 2 – 3 hours)

Witnesses:

Canvass area for witnesses, door to door, etc.

Locate witnesses

Statements from witnesses

Suspects:

Obtain suspect descriptions

Identify suspects

Locate suspects

Research suspects (multiple intelligence checks)

If suspect can’t be found circulate him/her as wanted (more forms to fill in)

Arrest suspects (arrange a full arrest team which varies in size depending on risk the suspect poses)

Interview suspects (including contacting and arranging solicitors, appropriate adults, interpreters, etc)

Prosecute suspects (see below)

Write up full case files for court

Obtain CPS advice

Present all the evidence

Arrange identification procedures

Arrange search of suspects address if necessary (then seize, package and exhibit any further evidence found)

Bail or remand suspects

Scene:

Visit scene

Seize evidence

Package all evidence

Send evidence to forensic labs (fill out paperwork for each exhibit)

CCTV:

Locate all possible sources of CCTV near scene (visit on foot)

Attempt to contact owners of possible CCTV evidence

Arrange to visit, view and seize any CCTV evidence.

View ALL CCTV (for a large scene this could be hours and hours of footage)

Obtain stills of any suspects and circulate them for identification.

I will stop there. I think you have the picture. There’s probably much that I have missed and the time that it takes to actually carry out each of these actions simply cannot be appreciated by reading them alone.

Now, lets take a look at one of the victim’s in these cases. What if YOU were the lady who was brutally attacked and stabbed over 15 times with such force that the handle of the knife broke off? I think you would expect that your case was investigated fully by a dedicated DC using all resources that the Metropolitan Police Service has to offer, so you should. Now, I know for a FACT that DC Busy is a hard-working and diligent officer who cares greatly about his victims. He found it difficult to arrange time to visit the victim on the day after her attack because the Senior Management Team wanted him to arrest the suspect wanted for Computer Misuse. There are certain ‘targets’ to meet once a suspect has been identified and a quick arrest means a good result for the Borough. So, back to you, sitting in hospital after suffering a horrific attack. How do you feel when no one turns up to explain to you what is happening? Luckily for you, DC Busy arranged to visit you ON HIS WAY HOME, unpaid and in his own time, so that you could be updated and reassured that the police were doing the best they could to bring your assailant to justice. Not every DC would do this. They shouldn’t have to.

The simple fact of the matter is, if there were more DC’s available that day then both jobs could have been achieved without DC Busy having to work unpaid. The current cuts will reduce the number of DC’s even further meaning that more victims WILL be left feeling like the police just don’t care. It is unavoidable.  On speaking to DC Busy I can clearly see that it’s not just uniformed police who are feeling overworked, under appreciated and trapped in a job that seems to be constantly changing for the worst. Most police officers want to do right by the public, they want to bring criminals to justice and they want to go home to their families every night without the overwhelming burden of disappointed victims on their shoulders. We are all working towards a common goal. A goal which is being dragged off into the distance by Winsor whilst May throws insults at us from the sidelines.

I hope that you NEVER become a victim of crime. If you do, I hope that enough people will have stood up against the police cuts to affect a change and that the DC Busy’s out there can again feel proud to be detectives.

Thank you for reading.

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Comments
  1. G A says:

    Very good article, and well written,. (I’m uniformed btw). Can’t disagree with any of what you’ve written. Have you sent this to all the papers? Just a thought.

    • Not sure where to start? Twitter? I will see who I can locate and send it on. Thanks for taking the time to comment, it makes it worthwhile to know someone is reading my ramblings!

  2. G A says:

    Hardly ramblings. Very typical of stations up and down the country, I would think. The general public NEED to be made aware of articles like this, and not just swallow what the govt dishes out to them. It can only help to make them understand that it’s not all about pay and pensions. We all joined to give the public a service. A service we cannot deliver, through no fault of our own!

  3. G A says:

    You never know. Something might turn up. Stay safe.

  4. Bob says:

    Interesting read.

    I think the case may be better presented, though, with reference to a wider group than just DC Busy. DC Busy could just be poor at managing their time and workload or their sergeant poor at managing their team’s workload. The simple truth is that, if anywhere, there are more than enough cops in London to manage the workload – it boils down to a poor system (or poor management) that allows one person to carry so many jobs. DC Busy could be the best cop in the World – but frankly 20 crimes is too many for anyone to properly manage. Someone, somewhere, has to give.

    I’d be keen to see to how this picture is replicated across the country. In my own force, CID are being effectively broken up at a Borough level and being placed onto neighbourhood teams. Naturally, they are all up in arms about this and are fighting to protect their office space. Which – essentially – is all they are fighting for: their own special office. They will still be detectives, investigating crime. But will have the ignimony of working alongside PCs, PCSO and PSs.

    The truth behind the re-structure is that comprehensive data was gathered and analysed – and I mean comprehensive (toilet breaks, chatting to colleagues etc was factored in) – and the results were fairly shocking. The numbers of jobs DC Busy has ongoing is more than the average for DCs on one Borough dealt with in a YEAR. There were other reasons involved but fundamentally, the CID were seen as an expensive luxury. Granted, looking at DC Busy’s jobs, they are dealing with things that our CID wouldn’t deal with – which comes back to the issues around systems design. We have teams to look at and deal with a vast array of niche crimes – murder, fraud, sexual offences etc which left very little for local CID to deal with. I am amazed that this isn’t replicated in the Met. It was also accepted that borough CID did little to affect volume crime figures – the figures that matter to most of the public and certainly all of the bosses. People don’t generally fear being murdered – they do fear being assualted once they leave their house or coming back to their house to find it broken into.

    The bottom line is this – you are not born a detective. It is not a rank. It is a specialism, the same as firearms, dogs etc. Detectives aquire their status through passing a course and subsequent probation/portfolio. It is not hard, let’s be honest. Will the service cope with fewer DCs? Undoubtedly. Does the service need DCs? Again, undoubtedly. It is about finding a balance though and – crucially – changing a culture that has existed for far too long whereby detectives consider themselves too important to investigate a lesser assault or a burglary.

    If I was DC Busy, I would urge my command team to look at the current system in place which dictates their workload is such that they struggle to cope. A lot of what is listed for them to do is work which should have been completed by the first responder. I would also consider the fact that as good as they may be, DC Busy can’t possibly be the best person to manage each of those investigations – squads are often the bane of the police force but where detailed investigation is required (for example the misuse of computer job) it is riddiculous to expect a borough DC to manage that well, alongside their other work. Similarly with fraud.

    I sympathise with DC Busy, as I do all other PCs and DCs. Everyone is busy and will get busier. But it is folly to argue that Winsor has caused this – he simply hasn’t – or indeed that it will get worse with his reccomendations. Borough CID are not the target of Winsor – his targets are PCs and DCs in roles that quite simply DO NOT require warranted powers. We all know of cops sat driving a desk, working 8-4 Mon-Fri whilst DC Busy can’t get a break and has to work OT to see a victim. So DC Busy should welcome change on this front.

    The systems and culture already entrenched have caused the problems DC Busy currently faces and have probably stopped them raising their hand and admitting they can’t cope with the time they have.

    • Wow, thanks for taking the time to write such a comprehensive and well presented comment! If you don’t already have a blog you should get one!

      I agree with you on a lot of the points, I found myself cutting this blog post down a lot before I published it. I really was going on and on and I know that people don’t read long blogs!

      We too have specialist teams, murder squad only deal if person is actually murdered and sexual offences have to be very serious to be dealt with off borough.

      I agree that there are many fundamental organisational errors currently in the Met, I definitely agree that a re-structure is called for and your force seems to be stepping in the right direction.

      I guess it just angers me that we live in a country where, when cuts need to be made, its the front line public sector workers that get hit first and worst (police, paramedics, teachers, etc) People get more respect and money for kicking a ball than they do for saving a life.

      As you may have seen on the rest of my blog, I generally stick to sharing my experiences rather then political statements. Just thought that DC Busy’s point of view would be an interesting one to explore. I hope you enjoyed it, even if you didn’t particularly agree?

      Thanks again for taking the time to interact, much appreciated.

  5. A great blog. I’m not in the police but am dealing with an officer over a fraud case of £100k+ including some nasty violent crimes and my officer is dedicated , keen to sort this and ultra orofessional…..nice and humorous as well despite having stacks of cases, pressures from his boss etc etc. sounds like you are writing about him. Top guy as have all the officers I have dealt with over the years.
    Sad to see the way our govt is treating our boys and girls in blue. They are are top class and too good to lose or take for granted.
    Keep up the great blogging.

    • That’s lovely to hear, thank you. Are you in London or elsewhere?

      Thank you for taking the time to comment.

      • Gargine says:

        Blimey! Just found this when I was having a re read of your blogs. This was done by me and I’m @gargine on twitter. Forgotten I’d done it! I’m from London originally though I’m Welsh but live in the Midlands now. my fraud case is still ongoing and ‘my’ officer is still a star along with some PCs from neighbouring forces who are also involved. am I allowed to think of him as ‘mine’? Not in a pervy or stalking way though I hasten to add!
        I know there will be some bad coppers, some will be thick, some fat and all that sh*te but 99% of them are decent people and 100% of the cops I’ve met are great.
        Keep up the good work.

      • Glad to hear it! I agree, unfortunately there’s always a few bad apples on every tree!

        I’d be very pleased if you’d like to follow my blog, it’s great to get feedback. Thanks again.

  6. PC clitoris says:

    What a right mess.This is all a result of the miriad of laws and reg/procedures brought in by gov. over the years.The’ve got the police tied up in total chaos I’m suprised any one gets arrested never mind convicted politicians have totally ruined the job but think plod should just get on with it for less and with less.The only way I’m afraid is to do the job by the book untill it becomes obvious their system is not working then they will be glad to listen.

    • Ah yes, work to rule and do it right. DO you know how popular this is with the everyday PC? Any responses?

      Most of the PC’s on my team are too scared to pop their head over the parapet.

      Thanks for talking the time to comment.

      • G A says:

        Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as working to rule. No officer I know would be prepared to just “down tools” as it were, at their scheduled knocking off time. It simply can’t be done when in the middle of a serious/delicate situation. It’s not so much as being as being too scared, it’s more like we are, all of us, much too professional for that sort of thing. Hope this goes some way to answering your last question.

  7. aset36@live.com says:

    Harsh…..i can sympathies. I have a 160 to deal, 6 is only the murders…….yeah i’m not from around there. I will be bored as hell. But whether it be 6 or my case load, you still going to suffer if you cut detectives. The population is increasing in your country and they still make cuts???? I am South African by the way.

    • Hi thanks for your comment, apologies for the delay in replying as I’ve only just seen it. Sounds like you know exactly what it is like to be very busy! Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.

  8. […] The Real CID ~ PoliceManMusing […]

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