Police told increasingly bizarre gimmicks are undermining job of tackling crime
Officers criticised for garishly painting their nails and posing in bumper cars
Other police forces posed in bear masks and stroked puppies for stress release
Published: 17:00 EDT, 20 October 2017 | Updated: 19:10 EDT, 20 October 2017
Police chiefs were urged last night to abandon ‘silly stunts’ and get officers back on the beat.
They were told their increasingly bizarre gimmicks are undermining the job of tackling crime.
Officers were criticised for garishly painting their nails, posing for photos in bumper cars and stroking puppies for stress relief.
Police were told their increasingly bizarre gimmicks, such as posing in bear masks, are undermining the job of tackling crime
Others posed in bear masks and, in one force, drug squads insisted on asking cannabis growers if they were victims of slavery.
Yet shocking figures out this week showed that almost every type of crime is up, with knife offences alone rising by a quarter. Nine out of ten home burglaries are unsolved.
‘They have forgotten what their purpose is,’ said Mick Neville, a retired senior Scotland Yard detective.
- >Father-of-four, 32, is killed by large rock that... >M40 reopens after workers repair crash barriers destroyed...
- >Georgia woman loses a leg and her one-year-old son has his...
Share this articleShare
‘Too many modern chief constables have got more degrees under their belts than arrests. The people in charge have simply not done the job.
'The reason they do not investigate crime is they have never done it themselves. They are looking for cheap wins.’
Tory MP Peter Bone accused the police of ‘playing games’. He added: ‘Most people think police should be out on the beat catching criminals and deterring crime, not doing silly stunts.
Police in Cardiff wore high heels as part of a campaign to raise awareness of domestic abuse
‘With limited resources I am sure police officers would rather be out catching criminals than taking part in a publicity stunt.’
In Avon and Somerset, police went out on patrol wearing neon nail varnish to raise awareness of modern-day slavery.
The force posted images of officers pampering themselves with the catchline ‘Let’s Nail It’.
When the campaign provoked an angry backlash the force encouraged people who were criticised to report comments as a ‘hate crime’.
The event took place days after 21 Humberside Police officers were pictured enjoying the dodgems at Hull Fair.
Poppy Day? There's no staff
A major Remembrance Day parade is under threat after police said they could no longer afford to marshal it.
Organisers will now have to find £800 to pay for a private traffic management company or cancel the annual march to honour the fallen.
Jock Bryson, 82, who organises the poppy appeal in Melton Mowbray, Leics, said: ‘I feel disgusted that people went to war and gave their lives and now, all of a sudden, as we approach the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, the police are saying they are not going to help us.’
Police insisted budget cuts and reduced numbers meant officers had to be deployed where risk is greatest.
The force spent at least £40,000 in wages to send 40 staff to cover each day of the nine-day event.
Last week the Humberside force’s chief revealed it had been hauling constables out of back offices to man police cars and tackle a surge in 999 calls.
Male officers from South Wales Police – as well as the force’s police and crime commissioner – posed in women’s shoes yesterday to highlight the issue of domestic violence.
It was also revealed this week that stressed-out officers are recovering from tragedies by cuddling puppies.
A clinic in Hackney, East London, is offering support to those who helped tackle the Grenfell inferno and recent terror strikes in the capital.
On Monday, the Metropolitan Police Service admitted that tens of thousands of crimes would no longer be investigated.
The force said cases worth less than £50, or where there is no CCTV, would not be probed unless a suspect is identified.
Earlier this week chief officers met in London to discuss the disturbing increase in crime and the toll it was taking on their staff.
They are desperate to persuade the Government to pump more cash into the front line to tackle violence, complex offences and new threats.
One chief officer said: ‘Many police chiefs feel trapped in a corner. They have no money and a lot to tackle on their patches.
‘In many cases these gimmicky events don’t cost much and are an easy way of showing something is being done.’
Police paint nails 'in fight against slavery'
By Tom Payne for the Daily Mail
Police officers painted their nails in a stunt to highlight the evils of modern-day slavery.
Avon and Somerset Constabulary's campaign Let's Nail It! saw officers wearing nail varnish on patrol
Male and female staff were encouraged to wear garish neon nail varnish while on patrol to raise awareness of people-trafficking in nail bars.
Officers excitedly tweeted about ‘pampering’ themselves before shifts, and posted photos of their lurid nails while they were on patrol.
But the Avon and Somerset Police campaign was roundly criticised by charity bosses, politicians and members of the public via social media as a spectacular waste of time.
The force said it was ‘disappointed’ about the criticism – and urged anyone who felt ‘victimised’ by such comments to report them as hate crimes.
Cannabis farmers are asked: are you slaves?
Suspected cannabis farmers may be given a ‘get-out-of-jail card’ when police ask them if they are slaves.
Figures show there has been a huge surge in suspected forced labour used to feed the nation’s £1billion cannabis habit.
But anti-drugs campaigners are concerned crime lords could deliberately mislead well-meaning police to get off the hook.
One said that asking ‘anyone here a slave?’ was an open invitation for criminals looking for lenient treatment.
The fact police ask the question emerged during a series of raids by more than 50 officers on cannabis farms in and around Gloucester earlier this week.
They seized drugs worth more than £750,000 in the culmination of an eight-month undercover inquiry.
Investigators, who arrested ten men, suspect the network was overseen by Albanian drug gangs responsible for trafficking victims into the UK.
Inspector Jason Keates, who led the operation, warned colleagues to be alert for signs those involved are slaves.
‘Are they in clothing that doesn’t look appropriate? Are they anxious? Does it appear the things they are saying are scripted? These are signals,’ he said.
‘Anyone found in the cannabis factories will be arrested. In custody they will be given the opportunity to claim they are victims of modern-day slavery.’
But David Raynes, of the National Drug Prevention Alliance, said police must protect victims without helping criminals.
‘It is perfectly proper for police to ask about slavery – but perhaps they could be more circumspect,’ he added. ‘They might want to establish where people are from, how they arrived in the UK and if someone else paid for them.
‘Of course, if they are well briefed they will answer as you might expect.
‘To a certain extent it could be seen as a get-out- of-jail card. But it is also sensible for law enforcement to want to know who they are dealing with.’
Tory MP David Davies said the initiative was unlikely to catch any offenders. Harry Fletcher, of the Voice 4 Victims charity, added: ‘Modern slavery must be eradicated but the way to do that is to put priorities into catching gangmasters and traffickers, rather than engaging in odd gimmicks.’
Defending the initiative, Chief Inspector Mark Edgington said: ‘Some people will disagree with the campaign, which is their prerogative, but the campaign has worked as it’s got people talking.’
The cash-strapped force has recently shut its burglary unit, which solved only 7,623 of 70,522 break-ins between 2011 and 2016.
Chief Constable Andy Marsh last month admitted the force was at a ‘tipping point’. It has had to make £65million of cuts since 2010 and is dealing with large numbers of officers off sick.
The nail campaign was launched by the charity Unseen, which works to tackle modern-day slavery. It encourages people to paint their nails in a bright colour and share a photo of them sticking two fingers up to slavery in nail bars.
Avon and Somerset wrote on its Facebook page: ‘We’re bending our uniform rules today so officers can wear nail varnish in support of #LetsNailIt for Anti-Slavery Day.
Here’s ACC Nikki Watson, PC Joe Iles and PCSO Beth Crowley sporting some colourful claws. We’ll share more pics ... throughout the day. We’d love to see yours too.’
However members of the public were unimpressed.
Jamie de Rooy said: ‘Sorry, but haven’t you anything better to do? Like oh, I don’t know, catching some criminals?’ Lester Solway added: ‘How about nailing some criminals, more PC nonsense.’ Around 13,000 people are thought to be victims of slavery in Britain.
Nail bars are allegedly a hot-spot for victims of trafficking and people are warned to look out for workers who could be there under duress.
Signs include nervousness, poor English and reluctance to handle money. Avon and Somerset has dealt with 60 allegations of modern slavery in the past year.
In its Twitter statement it said: ‘We were disappointed to read some of the comments on our #AntiSlaveryDay tweets yesterday.
'Our aim was to encourage people to look out for signs of modern slavery and understand how to report it.
'Nail bars are at risk of modern slavery so some officers were pictured with painted nails on Anti-Slavery Day to raise awareness of an issue they care about.
‘If anyone found these comments offensive, please report them to Twitter. If you feel you were targeted and the victim of a hate crime, please report this to us. We take this issue extremely seriously.’
Chemist who lost his faith in the police has to hire a security man instead to protect his shop
By Tom Witherow
A chemist's plagued by lawless teenagers is spending £1,200 a month on a former Royal Marine to protect staff.
Here comes The Fuzz... Officers in bear masks
By Andy Dolan
Posing in teddy bear masks in Sainsbury’s, these police support staff are supposed to be on duty.
But the happy pair weren’t the only officers who found time to relax at work – their colleagues were taking part in more than a dozen community tea parties.
Images of staff tucking into cupcakes at supermarkets and community centres were shared on Twitter by Warwickshire Police chiefs.
The photo of the two members of Nuneaton’s safer neighbourhood team wearing the bear masks, had the caption: ‘Police community support officers enjoy a teddy bears picnic on their own in Sainsbury’s.’
Chiefs later insisted that the pair were on duty and not taking part in the tea and cake sessions to mark National Hate Crime Awareness Week.
Officers tweeted the hashtag ‘CakeNotHate’ alongside their images of what a spokesman said had been ‘an opportunity to talk to the public about hate crime in an informal setting’.
Chief Inspector Daf Goddard said: ‘We encourage our officers to use social media to engage with the public. This can sometimes be used for serious issues and it can sometimes be used in a more lighthearted way.
‘We fully support the use of social media as a tool to break down some of the barriers that exist between the police and the public and involve them in day-to-day policing.
‘Building these relationships is central to community policing and a vital tool in helping us to protect our communities from harm.’
The force has lost 138 officers to budget cuts since 2010.
The manager of Pharmacy World took the drastic action after his workers endured three months of abuse and attacks.
Richard Lyness lost faith in the police because officers took ten days to respond to one incident when the youths shouted racist abuse, exposed themselves and stole from his shop.
On the occasions the yobs were arrested, he said they were back on the streets of Stockton-on-Tees, Co Durham, within hours.
The long-running battle came to a head after his staff were blockaded in their shop in daylight and, in a separate incident, fireworks were thrown at a family.
‘I’ve lost faith in the police to protect my customers and my staff,’ he said.
‘People are scared to come in and get their flu vaccination. I was threatened by one of the lads who said that he was going to smash my car up while my wife and young son were in it.
‘He then pulled his trousers down and exposed himself. When it was particularly bad I rang 999 three times and they didn’t come out at all. It took ten days.
‘A lot of people in the area are scared to come forward in case they get targeted.’ Mr Lyness said the 25-strong gang of eight to 18-year-olds was notorious for harassing residents, smashing windows and taking drugs.
He said police failed to take adequate action: ‘These are crimes. All they did was take a statement and say we take this very seriously, blah, blah, blah.
‘I’ve had people coming into the shop telling me they’ve been throwing fireworks at them, including a woman with a child. The police are arresting them and as soon as they get released they come back and do it all again.’ The security guard, who gave his name as Scott, works at the pharmacy seven days a week, in the afternoons and evenings. The 30-year-old said: ‘You can chase the youths off and shout at them but they keep coming back.
‘I served in the Royal Marines for nine years. Last year I was at Royal Ascot protecting the Queen, I never thought I would be called in to protect a chemist.’
Chief Inspector Marc Anderson, of the Stockton neighbourhood policing team, said his team met Mr Lyness yesterday to discuss his concerns.
He added: ‘A number of targeted patrols has been deployed to this area over the last few weeks to deal with the issues highlighted.’
High heels 'to highlight domestic violence'
When chasing a crook, they would not be much use. But policemen pulled on high heels yesterday to highlight the issue of domestic violence.
Dozens of officers strutted their stuff across Cardiff city centre with the traditional uniform rounded off with colourful footwear.
A pair of officers were pictured proudly displaying their unorthodox shoes with one opting for a white open-toed wedge and the other going for a kitten heel.
Even the police and crime commissioner for South Wales Police donned a pair of pink stilettos. Alun Michael’s walk was slightly unsteady as he posed for a short video which was posted to his official Twitter account.
A spokesman for South Wales Police said some of their colleagues would be seen out in Cardiff Castle yesterday to take part in the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes campaign.
The international campaign was borne out of the belief that ‘You can’t really understand another person’s experience until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes’.
Shoes in all shapes and sizes made the journey – from glamourous glittery pairs to more practical options.
Chief Inspector Jason Redrup said: ‘Our precarious styles of heels certainly turned heads as we walked through the busy streets and lots of people took photographs along the way.
'And that’s what it’s all about really – unfortunately as police officers we see first-hand the impact of violence against women, and it’s a way for us to encourage others to make a stand against that.’
Mr Redrup, assistant police and crime commissioner Mark Brace, officers Dan Michel and James Dowler, and support staff Adam Like and Richard Watkins took part.
Source : http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5002328/Officers-parade-costumes-paint-nails.html