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Chatty Moron

Bare with me on this one...i promise your perseverance will pay off.

There is this guy in the bed opposite me, and he loves the sound of his own voice. I was ready for sleeps last night when he piped up on what i thought was his phone. Turns out he was having a 'conversation' with another of the patients but the other guy couldn't get a word in. I thought it was curious that he didn't even try and contribute to the conversation, until i was faced with the same situation this afternoon.

I was already wound up as he started talking at 5am and didn't stop until i marched off the ward in search of a paper and bacon. When he approched me this afternoon i wasn't feeling up for a conversation with him, and it turns out he had no intention of having a conversation with me. What he did intend to do was talk. I'm not sure if he considered it as some sort of dramatic performance, or if he was practising being a brainwashing dictator, but he managed to talk constantly for 30 minutes without me making a sound.

After 30 minutes i managed to jolt myself out of the bore induced coma long enough to say "thanks", put my ear phones in, lie down, and squeeze my eyes closed. It was the conversational equivalent of curling up in a ball to protect your organs from an unnecessary and uncalled for public beating. Any person with any element of social awareness would take pitty on me and end the beating, but he just walked closer and continued. I am ashamed to admit that i buckled under the pressure of the awkwardness, and sat up and sat in silence as he discharged his thoughts all over me.

As i write this a wonderful thing as happened. A fellow patient has taken the grenade on my behalf. The patient has just moved into the bed next to me, and has literally just come back from theatre. The chatty wanker, as he shall be hereafter refereed to, is talking at him. Big respect to the new guy, he is attempting to engage him...and i can feel him become weak under the pressure of the bullshit.

The conversation goes a little something like this;

Wanker: so you've just come back from surgery? yeah i had an operation a few days ago and i have a pancreas and lungs, and a heart and legs etc.
New Guy: yeah i have just come back, i feel terrible
Wanker: You look okay, cause i saw my consultant this morning and i asked him what the worst case scenario is. He told me that the worst case scenario is that the hospital could collapse killing us all in the process.
New Guy: oh rite
Wanker: My daughter lent me her ipod, so i might be asking you for help with it later. I presume because of your age you know how to use it.
New Guy: no...
Wanker: oh rite i just yeah my pancreas grew legs and made its way up my digestive system and laid eggs in my farts so now i have to carry a fishing net with me everywhere to catch the arse spawn everytime i break wind
New Guy: [enters coma]
Wanker: its not too bad look fine...i am a bit worried about the arse spawn because i like big butts and i cannot lie.
New Guy: [coma continues...]
Wanker: Its really interesting how they operate on ME. They did it lapROPEscopically (sic!!!!!!) so they put 3 holes in me and sought out my pancreas. They made the mistake of scaring it, and the local bobbie popped in and cautioned them for "worrying a pancreas". Obviously i didn't know anything about this cause i was asleep. Anyway, they scared the pancreas which is why it did a runner up the digestive tract.  Normally they play dead and you can pick them up by the neck like a newborn kitten...i'm thinking of suing, but anyway....
New Guy: [grunt]
Wanker: 9 hours and i said to the doctor can i have a smoke...i had everything done yesterday you see...i mean fair enough [mumble] and so by next morning tho time 8 hours had gone it didnt make that much difference... (i literally typed that LIVE, as he said it...)

Anyway...i think you get the message, i am going to kick him in his militant pancres if he keeps me awake tonight.

Rant Over.

PS...he just popped his head round my curtains. Thank god i once again had the foresight to have my earphones in so i could pretend i couldn't hear anything. I now feel vulnerable...he may start making his way over. Should i try and play dead again?

Cookie to the person who spots the 
link between these 'seemingly random' pictures.

How successful are police investigations?

I'd like to start by apologising for the length of this article...this may be one limited to the cops amongst you. Anyway; Do you agree with what i've said? Do you disagree? Have i missed something? Have i got it completely wrong? Feel free to comment me to death about it.

As i cast my eyes across the rack of daily papers it becomes obvious that its a slow news day. Almost every paper has a different front page story. My chosen paper for today was The Times...and they have generated a story out of their huge archive of Freedom of Information requests.

Today's Times headline is "Police Admit one in three crimes not investigated". It's a story based on statistics, and as is so often the case with statistics based stories, it is hugely misleading. Despite it being misleading, it does raise an important issue about witness and victim care. I often come across people who say "i'm not reporting anything to the police, they aren't bothered". The view that the police just don't care is endemic, and is born out of the way the police approach the solving of crimes, and the communication surrounding investigations. Maybe something positive can come out of this misleading story after all.

A very small number of crimes just aren't solvable. Some crimes require passive investigation. Some crimes require active investigation. Some crimes require an emergency response, followed by an active investigation. There is a proportion of crimes that are solvable, but aren't solved for whatever reason. So what are the factors that contribute to a successful investigation?

Evidence: There is always evidence, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Locard's Exchange Principle tells us that a person will both bring something into the scene and leave with something from the scene. To quote Kirk "Physical evidence cannot be wrong, it cannot perjure itself, it cannot be wholly absent. Only human failure to find it, study and understand it, can diminish its value." The question is, how much are we willing to invest in searching for that evidence? For a 'serious crime', we will invest a lot in locating evidence. For a 'minor crime', we may not be willing to invest very much at all. 

The way the police present evidence can be the difference between charge and not charge. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) will not charge an offender if the presented evidence is so lacking that it is unlikely to lead to a successful prosecution.

The method the police seeks evidence can be both active and passive. 'Active seeking' requires substantial investment, whereas 'passive seeking' requires less investment. For some crimes, when evidence is being sought, we may choose 'passive seeking' as it has the widest reach, and is cheaper. Examples of 'passive seeking' could be; appeals through the media, intelligence gathering, 'flagging' evidence such as ANPR, PNC and Borders alerts. Examples of 'active seeking' could be; witness evidence and scientific evidence, as per Locard. I suggest it is unlikely that the police completely drop a case, they may be taking a passive approach in order to gathering evidence. Such a method could appear to the public, or the victim, that nothing is being done. This is when communication, and managing expectations, becomes so important.

Public Interest: Public Interest is the second factor, after evidence, that the CPS look at to decide if they will progress to charging. It is based on a now legendary speech by Sir Hartley Shawcross in 1951 when he was the Attorney General; "
“It has never been the rule in this country – I hope it never will be – that suspected criminal offences must automatically be the subject of prosecution. Indeed, the very first regulations under which the Director of Public Prosecutions worked provided that he should intervene to prosecute, amongst other cases: wherever it appears that the offence or the circumstances of its commission is or are of such a character that a prosecution in respect therefore is required in the public interest. That is still the dominant consideration." For more info on this, see this paper (PDF) written by the current DPP Keir Starmer

She can investigate me any time
Investigator: Kirk, as above, said that the value of evidence is diminished due to human failure to find it, study it, and understand it. A good investigator will make the most efficient and effective use of evidence. A competent investigator would have the following skills; writing ability, knowledge, experience, training and attention to detail. Honesty, integrity, and lack of corruptibility are also essential and can be safeguarded by strict initial selection and good pay and conditions

The investigator should be a specialist, rather than a jack of all trades. There must either be; investment in training those officers charged with immediate response equipping them with more specialist skills, Or a quicker handover of investigations from these response officers to specialists. 

Finally, a good investigator will have authority. Authority comes from law, and from competence. If the investigator has mastered the skills mentioned, he will have a natural authority and inspire confidence in the victim and other officers. This is what the police must be striving for.

Management: Managers should be facilitative rather than supervisory. If the investigator requires direct supervision, they are not right to be leading an investigation. A manager will exist to ensure the investigator has everything he needs in order to achieve the best result. This will include effective systems of work, technology, support staff, and time. Time is where a manager can offer the most support. An investigator will achieve the most if they can focus on the most important investigations without distraction. The manager will work with the investigator to manage their workload which may involve transferring investigations to other colleagues, or giving the investigator more support in terms of staff.

Incentive to solve: This was inspired by a bit of research into the origins of detection and investigation. Many moons ago 'thief takers' were rewarded financially by the state. This led to a proactive body of men who sought out thieves and brought them before the court (a la Garrow's Law). Lack of regulation, and a 'dont ask don't tell' style from the courts, meant that they often collaborated with 'victims' to frame an innocent person in order to win the bounty. It also meant that only particular types of serious and acquisitive crimes were solved. 

In a modern context the pride of solving a crime itself is often enough of a reward. However there are occasions where individuals receive little praise and support meaning they do not feel valued. This can lead to lower detection rates, low motivation, resentment and inefficiency. The incentive could be financial (bonus scheme), or it could just be public recognition of a job well done. The latter is often more than enough.

Urgency: Procrastination is my biggest weakness. I always leave my university assignments to the last minute, and don't really achieve anything until the matter becomes urgent. In the same way, investigations without a deadline/action plan will stagnate and slow down. Some aspects of an investigation are naturally urgent, like gathering physical evidence, securing a crime scene, arresting someone to prevent them from 'doing a runner', or interviewing within the PACE time frames. A general lack of urgency, maybe from a institutional lack of interest in a particular type of crime, will lead to less efficient investigations.

Secrecy: It is important that techniques are protected in order to prevent the criminal fraternity from countering our methods. The careful selection of a team, proper management of paperwork, and consistent use of the Government Protective Marking Scheme (GPMS) will ensure this. Where techniques and information starts to become public knowledge, the less likely it will be for the police to secure the evidence they need. This is the ongoing battle by the police to stay one step ahead of the criminals.

By way of contrast to my selected factors, Tyska and Fennelly (1999, p. 96) suggest the following as benchmarks of a successful investigation.
  • A logical sequence is followed.
  • All available physical evidence is legally obtained
  • All witnesses are effectively interviewed.
  • All suspects are legally and effectively interrogated.
  • All leads are thoroughly developed.
  • All details of the case are accurately and completely recorded and reported.

When we are planning an investigation we tend to know in our head what a successful investigation looks like...a conviction. More forward thinking investigators may measure success in a similar manner to Tyska and Fennelly, or using the sorts of factors i have discussed. I learned recently that it is important to know, before you start, what a failed investigation looks like. This may sound strange, and pessimistic but failure can be detected way before success can, so knowing what failure looks like is essential for early identification that things are drifting off track, allowing you to make corrections, and ensure success. According to Gunter and Hertig, "An Introduction to Theory, Practice and Career Development for Public and Private Investigators", Aug 2005, International Foundation for Protection Officers), these are the most common 'failure factors';
  • Failure to be systemic
  • Failure to be thorough
  • Failure to present the case effectively.
  • Failure to manage time and other resources.
  • Failure to be humble
  • Lack of expertise in a certain area.
  • Prejudice.

It is clear that there are many factors that effect the success of an investigation. They can be narrowed down to financial factors, and competence factors. Financial issues are out of our control. In the coming years it is likely that resources won't be so flexible so as to allow proper investigation of all crimes reported to us. On the other hand, investment in competance could produce more efficient investigators who are able to solve more crimes in a shorter amount of time. This is why i support the proposed creation of a professional body for police officers

Investigation is the core of what the police do, and i would like to see the professional body focus on delivering training and accreditation on investigation only. With limited resources we can't afford to create a body that qualifies officers in all policing disciplines, so we must focus on the one that is shown to be our biggest weakness, and the one that is most important to the public; investigation.

Police Reform...Theresa to the rescue

I have just been leaked some CCTV footage of Theresa May attending a burglary in progress...enjoy!

Policing Principles Series: Introduction

Sir Robert Peel

The role of the police in society, and the method by which that role is executed, has changed hugely since the days of Sir Robert Peel's formation of the Metropolitan Police Force. Police reform has often been both a bone of contention between parties, and a political axe wielded with inexperience by many a politician. This almost always leaves those charged with the Office of Constable playing piggy in the middle while their future role is sculpted with often no reference to the principles that underpin what they do.

Police reform is essential, and i don't think you will find any police officer deny that. For example, the development of technology has provided the police with more sophisticated methods of detection, which has then been matched with even more sophisticated methods of committing crime...and this forms the basis of the never ending battle by the police to find themselves one step ahead of the criminal. The changing political climate, civil liberties breakthroughs, and changing expectations from the public are all good reasons to reform...but they must be undertaken with a keen eye on our policing principles.

The principles that guide the police are both numerous, and scant. Law, policy, guidance and accepted practice change almost weekly...this is influenced by politics, emerging threats, technological advances, and world changing crimes like 9/11. These changes are essential, but it is the reactive changes that cause the policing community to lose sight. The first principles of policing are difficult to pin down. It is clear that those set down by Sir Robert Peel are the natural starting point for any discussion of this kind. However, it would be sort sighted of the policing community to consider these the only principles.

I am no criminologist, and have no intention of attempting to put the complex issue of police reform to bed in one blog post. I do, however, want to start a discussion by looking at 3 theories.
  • Fathers of Policing (initial principles)
  • Patrol Experiments
  • Broken Windows Theory
 I will be working on the next article over the next couple of the days...i can tell you're all excited.

Update on my most recent NHS woe

and we thought after MRSA it couldn't get any worse
I recently wrote two articles about changes at my local NHS trust. The first one was outlining the great successes of a particular ward, and my concerns over proposed changes. The second one was written in sheer frustration at the lack of response to an email i sent detailing my concerns.

It appears that the NHS are institutionally inept at communication. This we know. However once you get to see one of the managers they are very pleasant, competent and well meaning. The person who came to see me, on the ward, seemed to genuinely care about improving quality of service and took a long time to explain what the changes would consist of and what effect she intended them to have.

The information i received from the ward staff was more a summary of staff concerns, rather than a full explanation. I can understand why staff might feel vulnerable while facing the prospect of change, and undervalued at apparently not being given a chance to be part of the decision making process. I can't blame them for their worries.

Anyway, the result of that meeting has brought me on board with the changes, although i will reserve judgement on their effectiveness until the changes have actually been made. Many a good and well intentioned idea has crashed and burned. I hope that this is not the case, but will be ready to pipe up if i see the iceberg on the horizon.

A win for foresight


Heard another patient on the ward talking about how he doesn't have anyone to talk to. Could see where this conversation was going, so put ear phones music on. A few seconds later a nurse suggested he speak to me. I'm very proud of my expressionless face and fake typing i did to convince them i had loud music on and couldn't hear them...and very proud that my foresight saved me from an unwanted relationship which would have no doubt started with an overly graphical explanation of his medical condition.

In no other walk of life is it appropriate to talk about ones bloody stools...yet people seem to think its appropriate to talk to me about it in hospital.

I literally hate the other patients on this ward....

The circle of life

The ultimate oxymoron is that death is just as much a part of life as living is.

You don't realise it until someone close to you dies, and that moment can come to define your memories of that person. When my grandma died it was a slow, but dignified process. She was not in pain, and we were able to be by her bedside as she drifted away. I count myself lucky, as her death didn't overshadow my memories of her life. Some people have a much less dignified death that can have a life long effect on their friends and family.

I am writing this after listening to the doctors and nurses on my ward desperately try to save the life of another patient. The apparent ease at which the patient's heart stopped and started made me realise that the line between life and death is so fine, and this patient was straddling that line for about 40 minutes before he passed away. Although his family didn't have the honour, like i did with my grandma, of being around his bedside as he peacefully passed away, i hope they take comfort in the fact that he was surrounded by a team of nurses and doctors who were working hard to save him. I hope they also take comfort in the fact that the process of hospital resuscitation isn't as traumatic and lacking in dignity as we are led to believe on shows like ER or Casualty.

It is also interesting to observe how the staff react. I overheard a clearly upset porter who had brought the patient back to the ward from x-ray moments before the patient 'crashed'. Clearly this was her first experience of death, and she was being counselled by a colleague. His advice to her was "if you're not upset by the death of a patient, you're in the wrong job". What a very telling sentence, he is clearly the right person to be working in a hospital.

When a patient dies i can imagine that those involved in that persons care will begin to analyse their contact with them. Did I do everything right? Is there anything more i could have done? Did i let my patient down? These are normal reactions, but how we deal with them can determine to what extent we experience Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a complex topic, and i do not intend to go into it in detail here. However, what i have learned from experience, and from some training, is that the difference between someone who does experience PTSD and someone who doesn't, is the level of support their receive, and the amount they talk about the incident. Bottling feelings up is a sure fire way to end up in PTSD-town. I hope the doctors and nurses involved in this patients care have someone they can talk to about it.

The family have a long period of bereavement ahead of them. The only way to get through it is by taking it one day at a time.

Ode to a cannula

Something strange has happened to me over the past few days. I put it in the same league as an unhealthy obsession with Sir Alan of Partridge (no offence Lynn...), or the saving of wee until you get in the shower. Yes you guessed it, i have become unhealthily attached to my cannula...thanks to a durable and reliable vein. The vein wraps around the small plastic splinter without asking for anything more than a fresh plaster every few days. These veins are the civil service of the medical world. What makes this cannula/vein marriage different from all the others? This one is in it for the long haul.

Most of my veins are pathetic. They see the blue scrubs coming towards me, the alarm goes up, and panic ensues. No amount of hot water, fist squeezing, skin slapping or rubbing will encourage one brave vein to volunteer itself for national service. Eventually the junior doctor digs a vein up from the deep, and it reluctantly accepts its new profession..but its heart isn't in it.

Once they are joined together with a cannula they forget the panic and warmly settle into married live. Very much like marriage, the honeymoon period is short lived. By day 3 the cannula and my vein will have plotted against me. The vein cares more for its relationship with the small piece of loose plastic that it will collapse in order to get closer to it. It has no regard for the important job for which it was chosen just a few days ago.

All except one vein. This is a power house of a vein. It hides in one of those rare body black spots, just below the elbow area. If veins are the civil service of the medical world, this vein is the Cabinet Secretary. It is in an awkward place, and doctors don't like to use it...but i insist, this vein never lets me down. What makes this vein so amazing?

This vein is a big ol' vein. It takes large bore cannulas with a quiet dignity, knowing that its union with the plastic is a professional one only. It is a deep vein. Taking its cannulation duty seriously it pops up to the skin by just the right amount to allow regular insertions. It does not concern itself with fickle relationships with smaller makes its way immediately to an artery to ensure any medication quickly finds its way around the body. This vein is resilient. Over 6 weeks it was cannulated over 20 times. It was unfair of me to put it in such a position, but it did not complain and never let me down. Once these regular cannulations were over, it asked for a rest...and i proudly obliged.

On this particular hospital admission i insisted that the big old vein was tasked with the job of transmitting antibiotics to my heart. It took to the job with its usual can-do attitude, and it is still performing the task with honour after 14 days. Hospital policy says that it should have been removed after 3, but the vein and i have agreed that removal of the cannular would compromise our defences, and i have thus far resisted the pressure for it to be removed.

In a few days the cannula will need to come out. We know this, and are prepared for it...we are enjoying the time we have left. Once the vein and the cannula part ways, the vein will not shed a tear, for it knows that without the reliable and honourable Cabinet Secretary, the Prime Minister will not survive.

DJ Award for Best Browser: RockMelt

I would rarely use my blog to plug a product or service...i dont believe in anyone getting something for nothing. But this browser has blown me out of the water, and im surprised it hasn't found it's way into mainstream use. Let me give you a run down of what this browser is about.

It is a browser designed for the social media age. Apple, Mircosoft and Firefox are playing catch up by trying to modify their existing browsers to incorporate social media, and their attempts are clunky and not very intuitive. RockMelt is all about social media.

It has all the standard features you would expect from a has tabs, bookmarks toolbar, an address bar, rss feeds and an easily wipeable history. Here is what RockMelt does, in addition to all the usual features you would expect.

Facebook is integrated into
the top browser bar
Facebook Integration

Facebook has found its way into the very being of this browser. Next to the tabs bar you have the usual Requests/Messages/Notifications. If you are a big facebook user, this will save you tab space by allowing you to close your facebook page, and still be reminded how popular, or otherwise, you are. I am not a big facebook user, but i love this.
These things we know. They are facts.
Quick Compose

The general theme of this browser is tab space saving. The facbeook integration is designed to allow you to get all the notification features of FB, without having to open up a window. Quick Compose does the same, but has a much wider range of features. In the screenshot you can see how easy it is to do a facebook status update from the browser. This again saves me having to open up a browser when i feel the sudden and insatiable urge to remind everyone how handsome i am.

View Later
View Later

Sometimes in life i feel the need to be able to read 100 things at once. This often happens when i am reading wikipedia and getting a bit of tab-stack. If only i could file them away, without giving them the luxury of a whole bookmark. With RM, you can. Just click the little clock to the right of address bar, and like me you can save your important needlecraft webpage for a more suitable time and place...preferably my bedroom, with the curtains closed.

Sharing your inappropriate google searches made easy

Another great click-reducing feature is the share button. As you can see, i have come across a great list of Gentlemen's Clubs in the Daventry area, and want to quickly share that information with my facebook friends.

This saves me from opening up a tab, copy and pasting the link, and clicking share...a very handy tool when in a Pre-Gentlemen's Club induced frenzy.

Applications made easy (sort of)

The best, and the worst, feature of the RockMelt Browser is the applications feature. Its biggest disadvantage is its intuitiveness. It doesn't behave like an applications feature ought to...but if you put that to one side, and persevere, you will be pleasantly surprised. Lets take this one step at a time. Applications are displayed in the "App Edge"...which as default is on the left side of the browser. You can see it as a number of small boxes under the "hotspots" bookmark. Hovering over them will present you with updates from that particular App...facebook updates, twitter feeds etc...i really like it, but like i said, it takes a bit of getting used to.

The really great thing about the Apps, is that you can find an app whereever you is basically run of RSS feeds. So whereever there is an RSS feed, the app box in the bottom left of the browser will turn green to tell you there is an App available.

What i do not like is the lack of an App Marketplace...but hopefully this is to come soon.

Friend Edge

You might be noticing a theme here, RM works on an 'edge' theme. We have the Friend Edge, App Edge, Edge Links, and Edge Posting. Lets look at the Friend Edge. The friend edge can be found on the right hand edge, and displays facebook friends. When they are online on fb chat, you can chat with them through the friend edge...simple as that! I dont use the fb chat very let me know if you find this useful. You can promote any friend to the Favorite Friends area at the top, where they will remain at all times...watching you seek out escorts.

Other Features

There are loads of other features up for grabs on this great new browser. I have been using it for about 20 minutes, and i love it already. Will you let me know what you think?

My only problem is...somehow i have opened about 10 times the number of tabs as i ever have before...there must be a setting to sort that out somewhere.

NHS Executives at UHL out of touch with patient care

Last week i wrote about a decision by my local hospital run by University Hospitals of Leicester Trust (UHL) to close 2 wards, lose numerous beds, decimate staff morale, and reduce the quality of care provided to the patients. I write this from the bed of one of the soon to be closed wards...a ward staffed by nurses and doctors who have become like an extended family to me over the years. From a personal level, i will be very sad to see so many staff leave the ward to find other jobs. As a patient, and a citizen, i am shocked and appalled that the senior management team will allow so many beds to be lost, and for staff to be treated so poorly.

Chairman of the Board,
Martin Hindle
on holiday during critical
decisions effecting
quality of care
I wrote to the chairman of the board, Martin Hindle, who was on holiday. At a time when the hospital is in crisis, staff are facing massive disruption, and the Chief Executive is presiding over a period of massive debt and an unsure future, Mr Hindle has decided to go on holiday.

I received a reply from his PA, Mandy Johnson, who said she would pass my email on to Suzanne Hinchliffe, the Chief Operating Officer. I am yet to have the courtocy of a reply from either Mr Hindle or Ms Hinchliffe.

Suzanne Hinchliffe,
the Chief Operating Officer
not interested in meeting patients
most effected by changes
It is clear to me that the University Hospitals of Leicester Trust is not concerned about their patients. If they were interested in the view of patients they would have taken 5 minutes out of their time to contact me, someone who will be directly effected by their decisions.

It may now be too late. I am desperate to save my future depends on how well i am medically treated, and the Chief Executive is playing russian roulette with my health. When a patient takes the time to express concern, they apparently brush it aside as unimportant.

Shame on them. But also well done to them...they are each doing a great job at continuing to be paid an individual wage that could employ 12 more nurses each.

Hurdle 17: Evolution, not revolution: Goodbye Diet Justice Law Blog

Blogging is a great way of expressing yourself, meeting new people, learning new things, and building your confidence. The time may come, as it has for me, when blogging becomes an unsatisfying pass time, and i suspect that most bloggers can relate to this situation. It can be solved by a dash of feedback, a touch of reflection, and the flexibility to make changes where required.

When i started blogging, i did it to satisfy my own boredom. After a while things really took off and i am really proud of what i have achieved. I now have higher aspirations, but must make changes in order to achieve them. My first step is to decide that I am no longer a law blog. I can't compete with the big boys of law blogging, and due to my mix of content i don't really fit into their gang. So rather than try to fit in, i have looked at my content and let it tell me what my blog should be. Blogging isn't about forcing yourself into a particular mould.

It's about allowing your thoughts, interests, enthusiasm, and imagination fluidly drift into its own mould.

Why bother? you might be thinking...this is just semantics.

After a bit of research, i realised that you have to manage the expectations of your readers. I was advertising myself as a law blog, and then failing to behave like a law blogger. Now i have widened my scope, and made that scope clear next to the DJ logo, i hopefully won't have any disappointed lawyers and barristers who click on looking for a great law blog, only to find me talking about politics...or my cat...

What do you think of the change? What do you think of the blog overall? Blogging can be a lonely affair, so holla back and let me know that i'm not blogging to myself :-)


Evening the morning: Sir Paul Stephenson...

Woke this morning to find the Commissioner had resigned. I have to say, he did it in a dignified manner, and got the timing right. Could he have weathered the storm? Is it going to help or hinder the Olympics' policing plan? What will he do next?

Lots of questions buzzing around, but i don't think my prediction that Sue Akers will be the next Commissioner will now come true...but i still think she is on course for the top job once the hacking investigations are wound up.

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Social Revolution

This decade is on course to be the decade of the peoples' revolution. The moderate media, on behalf of the public, have taken on the job of holding the powerful to account in a way that they never really have before. The media, with the help of many an employee with a conscious have labelled this the age of the whistle-blower.

At the beginning of the week i posted a "Top 5 Greatest Modern Political Moments". At number 3 was Tony Blair's last Prime Minister's Questions, and i thought he summed up the British parliament very well;

"...if it is on occasions the place of low skulduggery it is more often the place for the pursuit of noble causes" 
Tony Blair, 27th June 2007

The public rightly seize on the skulduggery, yet often unfairly refuse to acknowledge the pursuit of noble causes. All too often one incident overshadows years of great successes. Tony Blair's government, for example, achieved great things...but sadly his legacy with the general public is his weaknesses and mistakes. 

I often hear people make wide sweeping statements about politicians, governments and political parties. "the Labour government fucked this country up", "this country is full of foreigners" and "Gordon Brown ruined out economy" etc etc. What the British people are generally lacking, is the ability or willingness to take a balanced view. 

Politicians make a positive difference to our lives on a daily basis. We don't know about it because the newspapers don't want a headline of "everything is OK". A government can be successful, even when mistakes have been made. I have made many a mistake, and do not consider my life to be a failure. In fact i try to turn my mistakes into positive learning experiences. Admittedly government mistakes have the potential to have more widespread effects than my mouthing off without thinking, but humans don't get things right 100% of the time and we should give our politicians the room to take risks, make mistakes, and learn from them. This is a positive attitude for society to take when dealing with honest made mistakes. Taking that balanced view, we need to ask ourselves if a mistake is so bad as to require a resignation...we must not take the view that every mistake warrants a resignation. Things change when there is any element of there so often is at the moment.

There is an element of corruption in our society...there are corrupt police officers, there are corrupt politicians, there are corrupt bankers, there are corrupt builders, there are corrupt street cleaners and there are corrupt unemployed.
Where we have a corrupt politician, they must be held to account, and dealt with with the full force of the law. I think most politicians know that their behaviour reflects on all politicians... but as a mature society we ought to be mindful to distinguish between a systemic corruption, and individual corruption.

Thanks to the Telegraph we have cleansed parliament of our expense cheats...parliament is a more honest place. Was it systemic corruption? or huge scale individual corruption? I'm not totally sure.

Where politicians have been coseying up to a media mogul, we should again hold them to account. Holding them to account means investigating their behaviour, and taking appropriate action. Again, this doesn't always mean that politicians must lose their job.

We are in the middle of a social revolution against corruption. We must take advantage of the newly found strength of democracy and challenge real corruption where ever it may be. I believe we have unfinished business with the bankers

Every MP shares responsibility for the inaction and fear caused by News International and they have acknowledged that. Anyone who has been on the receiving end of some form of intimidation and blackmail can probably understand the sorts of pressures they were under. What was wrong was that MP's allowed the supremacy of parliament be overshadowed by their own fears and intimidation.

Representing a constituency in Parliament, the European Parliament or a Local Council is a privilege. Becoming a representative of the people should appear to be accessible to all, but i worry that the mistakes made, some unfair commentary in the media and elements of corruption have discouraged ordinary people from getting involved, leaving the way clear for career politicians like all of the current party leaders.

I write this out of pure frustration. Lots of my friends have given up on our politicians, and i don't want to end up going the same way...the problem is, our politicians become so easily embroiled in scandal, it can be all too easy to lose interest.

  • What practicable changes could be made to improve access to politics?
  • When will politicians learn to give us a reason to bother with them?

DJ's Top 5: Greatest Moments in British Political History & other vids

There have been some great moments in political history, and some not so great moments. Times when we can be proud to be British, and times we wished we weren't. There have been times when we have looked and laughed at our politicans, and times we have been proud of their achievements. This post shares with you my top 5 Greatest Political Moments...and later on some of the not so great moments. Enjoy!

  John McDonnell Suspended
Note Hoon's comment that "it is a tradition of the 
house not to vote on quasi-judicial...matters"
Very relevant to what's happening this week.

Speaker Martin forced to resign

Blair's last PMQ's

Paxman v Howard

Jim v Krishnan

And i still have more to give you! In my research i found some other great videos, and a couple of really hilarious falls. Click Read More to enjoy the hilarity!


My Verdict: Gordon Brown parliament speech on hacking

What's the verdict DJ peeps?

Part 1/3

Part 2/3

Part 3/3

Profile: The next Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis

DAC Sue Akers // Source //

Sue Akers has had the praise hat very few police officers have received in the past. She was today praised by the Prime Minister for her performance in front of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee of the House of Commons. The praise itself sets her on course for the top job. It will probably be this government's Home Secretary that will play a 1/3 role in appointing the next Commissioner. Looking beyond the praise, she has been given one of the most significant jobs in police and political history. Her success or failure, as judged in hindsight from a comfortable arm chair, will either make her a hero of her generation, or yet another conspirator in the News International joint enterprise.

Sir Paul Stephenson, The current boss // Source //
I have no doubt that she is on course for the top job...she is a good cop. Not only is she a good cop, but she is the most powerful cop in the country. She has the political and public support to dig where no one has dared dig before. It's almost certain that she will uncover the unexpected and the resulting prosecutions will be beyond even the wildest wet dreams of CamEdClegg.

Lets take a quick look at her background [pdf]. She is MetPol born and bread. She joined in 1976 during a time when female police officers were not taken particularly seriously. Arguably it was the height of police corruption and before the reputation life-belt that was, and still is, the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. I think it's important for modern police leaders to have a grasp of how things were pre-PACE, and she certainly has that. Her career has been one of hard work and perseverance, and she has rightly been rewarded with many promotions and now responsibility for one of the most constitutionally challenging investigations in recent history.

DAC Akers giving evidence to the Culture,
Media and Sport Committee of the House of Commons
// Source //
Most operational police officers will find themselves on the sharp end of a complaint, it comes with the territory. DAC Akers is no different. In 2006 she was introduced to a CO19 marksman and remarked "I've always wanted to meet the Met's very own serial killer". A throw away remark made between colleagues at a "social function" rarely results in a £5000 pay out to avoid being taken to a tribunal, but on this occasion it did. The CO19 officer remained in his position, although i question his suitability for the job if he feels the need to sue for 'hurt feelings'...but thats by the by, she shouldn't have said it and she paid the price. In the time honoured manner of a British bobbie, she accepted responsibility, took her licks, and continued doing her best with that lesson under her belt.

She has faced the ups and downs of policing, and she has come out the other end with achievements she should be proud of. She has a lot more to give the people of London, but i advise her to approach with caution...the role of Commissioner is innately political and rarely operational.

Her NotW investigation could be the making of a new Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis...or it could be the opportunity she needed to avoid getting in well over her head. Whatever happens, she is a great cop with a lot more to give, and i look forward to seeing her navigate the political landmine that she is currently balancing on the threshold of.

Prime Ministers Statement To HOC On Media Phone Hacking (13th July)

The way that MP's are putting politics aside to deal with the News International etc situation is something that we can be proud of. Our Parliament is showing us what they are capable of, and i have a new found confidence in the current Government. Now the House has shown us what they are capable of when they pull together, they can expect the public to start expecting them to deal with all matters in this mature and constructive manner. Notwithstanding the future results of the inquiry; this is a proud day for our Parliament and our country.

Medical breakthrough in pain control

In the early hours of Wednesday morning a group of nurses came across an amazing cure for pain the likes of which will change the way pain will be managed in the future. No longer will we be having to balance the risk of opiate dependants with the need for analgesia. No longer will doctors have to concern themselves the doctrine of double effect, nor will law students ever have to learn it because this breakthrough will rock the very core of medical science.

Drug addict, before and after //Source//
Lets take a look at a case study. 18 year old male admitted presenting with upper abdominal pain. Bloods are normal, BP steady, pulse and oxygen sats normal. No guarding of the abdomen and no apparent swelling. Despite this patient presents with bouts of extreme pain causing a lot of moaning, easily could be interpreted as sex noises, much profanity, and heavy breathing. The pain comes on suddenly and severely.

Nurses drop everything they are doing, including caring for acutely sick admissions who may need to be rushed into theatre at a moments notice. Morphine is prepared because the patient is inexplicably allergic to all other pain killers.

Here is where the medical breakthrough presents itself. A patient who was screaming in agony mere moments ago is completely out of pain almost before the morphine has even finished being injected. Keeping in mind an Intra-Muscular injection of morphine doesn't peak for 20 minutes, this can only lead us to believe that the metal needle has massive pain killing properties.

So we have a patient who is presenting with sudden onset extreme pain, who is in all departments a healthy young man, who is suddenly cured by the mere sight of morphine.

Bullshit...that's all i have to say on the matter having been woken up at 4.30 with his faux screams of "pain".

A view from the other side of the front line

All of my recent posts have been tagged as 'blogging from a hospital bed'. Having had almost 60 operations in the last 8 years, and spent months in hospital, i have become very close to the staff of my regular ward. I see them more than i see my friends and family, they see me at my worst, and they care for me when i can't care for myself. They care what happens to me, and i care what happens to them.

Chief Exec of UHL Source
Just last month University Hospitals of Leicester staff were told by the Chief Executive, Mr Malcolm Lowe-Lauri, that they may not get paid in coming months. In May Mr Lowe-Lauri told staff that 'many posts would go', and just 4 days ago it was reported that in the first 2 months of the financial year they overspent by £7 million.

From my own experience; last year one ward was closed with just 24 hours notice, and some staff had turned up to work to find the ward literally chained shut. Another ward, dedicated to assessing patients before a pre-planned operations, has found itself open 24/7 when it only has sufficient staff to maintain a weekday 9-5 service. The late, night and weekend shifts are all staffed with agency nurses, which cost up to £146 per hour, a 60% increase on the cost of contracted nursing staff.

The NHS rumour mill has been in over drive for months, and i heard yesterday that all the staff from the 2 (male and female) surgical admissions wards were called to a meeting. Rumor was that the wards were going to be closed or moved.

The meeting went ahead this afternoon, and it was announced that both the male and female surgical admissions ward will be merged with the renal admissions ward. This is a move that will merge 3 wards into 1, involving a massive loss of amazing staff, huge reduction in beds, and a reduction in the quality of care given to patients.

I really admire the nurse managers that are in charge of surgical admissions. They are a perfect example of how the NHS should be managing the cuts. Knowing they were faced with a massively reduced budget they set about making changes. The changes they made resulted in increased quality of care, happier staff. and more importantly they actually made real cost efficiencies. They did this by introducing a triage system whereby every patient referred by a GP would be assessed by a senior hospital doctor who would then decide if the patient actually needed to be admitted. Prior to this the ward would be full of patients that could be treated effectively at home if their GP had the balls to make a sensible decision, rather than an arse covering decision.

This triage system reduced the ward workload, decreased the number of inpatients, decreased the time a patient would spent as an inpatient, and as a result increased the quality of care. These hard working members of staff should be rewarded for achieving the impossible, real efficiencies, rather than be put in a position where their jobs are insecure, morale is low, and Chief Executive is still being paid £200,000+.

Staff are clearly upset and angry at the decision, but are continuing to do their job to their usual high standard. They have two choices; find another job, or fight to keep their job when/if interviews are scheduled.

So i dedicate this article to the staff of Wards 26 and 27 at Leicester General Hospital...they deserve to be treated better than this. The Chief Executive has proven that he doesn't have the capability to manage the efficiencies, and he should step down with dignity having made an apology to his staff.

Google+ Give Away

Hey everyone,

I have numerous Google+ invitations to give away to my lovely readers. And i ask only one favour in return!

In order to get your Google+ invitation, simply choose from the below 2 review websites, Technorati and Blog Catalog, and give me a review. The review must be in the reviews section of each website. Once you have given me a review, comment on this thread with your email and i will send you a Google+ invitation. That's it!

PS. everyone add @kazzylady...she's great!