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DJ's 1st Birthday

As we are in the last day of January 2012, i felt it would be a good time to have a quick chat about the 1st birthday of this blog. The big day is 19th Feb 2012, and on that day i want to give you a potted history of what i have achieved as a blogger in the last year. That will be my chance to thank all those people who have supported me in the last year.

My little blog post on the 19th will just be one blog post in a series of 10. I have had the honour to meet a lot of great people, and to thank some of the most influential people i have asked them to write a little blog post on DJ themselves.

I want to say a BIG thank you to these people who have honoured me with their time. I have asked them to write 500-600 word article on a topic of their choice. I have discussed the article topics with them, and i've got no doubt that there will be something for everyone. Here is the line up, why not add them on twitter?
@JonAshworth - My local Member of Parliament
@PFNDF - The Detective Forum of the Police Federation
@MrCliveC - A Police Federation Representative
@TheLawMap - A well established and popular law blogger
@MikePannett - An ex-police officer, turned best selling author
@julierainey - A social media expert working for a Home Office police force
@ASBO_Girl - An Anti-Social Behaviour expert
@legalaware - A good friend of mine, and fellow blogger
@AndyLukeUK - A fellow Special Constable
@Vidocq_CC - A fellow blogger and cold case expert

Child Protection Documentary BBC

I usually try really hard to take a balanced approach to my articles. If i've learned one thing from doing a law degree is that its essential to look at both sides of an argument. However, watching this documentary on Social Services, and Child Protection, i can't help by being disgusted at the way some people look after their children.

Social Services are under funded, and have one of the hardest jobs in this country. They are charged with ensuring the safety of thousands of children who are innocently born into situations that will prevent them from achieving their potential. David Cameron calls them 'Problem Families'. Watching the first half of this documentary gets me really angry because there are some people that just simply should be allowed to have children. Watching the second half of the documentary gives me a bit of hope that with support from Social Services those parents can make the right decisions for their children.

This discussion is a very difficult one. On the one hand, it is everyone's right to have offspring without state interference. On the other hand, there are a lot of people who irresponsibly have children when they are incapable of looking after them. China solves this problem by introducing limits on the number of children one can have. That doesn't sit well with me.

There are some who would say that parents should be assessed prior to having children to determine their suitability as parents. This doesn't sit well with me either. Who are we to say that one person is, and one person isn't suitable to be a parent? I don't think that one can assess a persons suitability as a parent prior to them becoming a parent anyway, so this approach would be flawed. 

Sadly, there are some people out there who have children and put the child through hell. My mother was one of those people, but i was very lucky to have the father that i do. Having had a difficult up bringing with my mum, i now prosper thanks to the intervention and support of my dad. If my mother had been assessed as not being suitable to have children, which she isn't and wasn't, i wouldn't exist. So i strongly oppose the suggestion that a poor upbringing means you cant turn out well as an adult.

It is easily one of the most challenging issues that face any society. I am quite nervous to write this article, because i know that the opinions on this are going to be strong. I want to open up this discussion, but i realise how emotive it can be. So lets keep it balanced and respect each others views...even if we do challenge them :)

So, have you had any experiences that you would be willing to share? How do you see the future of social service and child protection?

The ups and downs of the thin blue line

This blog post is inspired by a entitled "why do people leave the Police?". I'm not a big fan of online forums, even though i have had the pleasure to found a couple of my own. Entering these environments have to be done so with the knowledge that everyone has a back story, and that back story is a big influence behind every forum post someone makes. So when you ask a question of this type you are going to get responses from, potentially, someone who has been dismissed, someone who has been disciplined, but also someone who has had a fulfilling career, someone who lives the job every day, or someone who is just taking their first steps into the police family.

So i wanted to try and analyse this issue in a bit more detail, but as someone who has not left the police its not easy for me. What i have tried to do is analyse it by looking at the reasons why i joined the police, and the challenges i have faced in my 7 years of service.

I have wanted to be a Police Officer for as long as i can remember. There is a picture knocking around of me, aged in single figures, wearing an ill fitting tunic, custodian helmet, and holding aloft a set of chain link handcuffs and a chipped wooden baton. Bearing a very cheesy grin, i was convinced that being a police officer was all about standing around at church fate's chatting to bewildered children...maybe that's why i became a special? I'm being hilarious of course...

Age 18 i applied to be a regular police officer, and filled out the application form in my customary lackadaisical (word of the day toilet paper) manner. Obviously i didn't get in, but having been told i didn't take the application seriously enough i was told to try again, but apply for the specials to see if i really did want to be a police officer.

Having given myself a stern talking to i put a lot of thought into the question "Why do you want to be a police officer?" I rolled out the usual clich├ęs; "I want to help my local community"..."I want to make a positive difference in peoples lives"...and "I want a job with lots of variety". This time i was successful, and very proud of having achieved one of my only life goals. They may be cliches, but i believed them wholeheartedly at the time.

One thing i have learned over the years is that it isn't until you get in the job till you can answer the question "Why do you want to be a police officer?". That may be because one doesn't really take those original reasons seriously until they have been tested under the pressure of operational duty.

Having done a couple of years as a special my expectations adjusted. I realised that my actions didn't always obviously equate to "helping my community", or "making a positive difference in peoples lives" fact sometimes you find your actions at odds with those values that propelled you into the job. There are times where the law, and the community expect us to act; when we know that that can have a negative consequence on all involved. Luckily the law is beginning to realise these 'catch 22' situations, and we are starting to be provided with a more versatile tool box containing methods such as Restorative Justice and Multi-Agency tactics. Opinions on some of these tools are for discussion on another day, however i've made my views on the latter clear in previous blog posts; i support them.

I'm now 7 years in the job as a special, and my reasons for wanting to do the job change on a regular basis. There are times where dealing with the worst of society can really get you down. I have been in situations where i question why i want to be in the job at all. There are also times where you can see that you've made a difference...and i think most cops will tell you that its the latter occasions that remind them why they do it.

Returning to the original question, every persons reasons for leaving the job are different. As someone who is still in the job, i can tell you that the reason why i dont leave the job are down to pride. No matter how bad a shift i have, i am always proud to wear the uniform. The guys and girls i work with are an amazing bunch of people and make the job fun.

I may 'only' be a special, but policing is my vocation, and it gives me my identity. Having had a long period of fluctuating health i had pretty much written off a career in the regulars, but now that my health has stabilised (and omg i'm starting to get FAT) i'm beginning to reconsider my future...maybe i am cut out to do this full time after all?

By the way, did anyone see the unforgivable rank error in this weeks Hustle?

SussexPol: The masters of new media

I write a lot, maybe too much, about the way the police service use new media. I cant help it, its a topic that i cant help but find fascinating because its one of the biggest challenges facing police forces across the country. Its a unique challenge for a few reasons...most significantly because its where modern policing clashes with 'old school' policing. It is important that the police find ways to engage with the public in the most effective way possible, but as its not a core policing objective there is conflict over funding and importance. New policing is, arguably. about the balance of 'customer service' against solving crime and protecting the public. Thats open to debate about the pro's and con's, but most people cant argue that thats where we are now; there is more focus on customer service than ever before...which i see as on the whole a good thing. Anyway...

I hope they don't mind me using this!
I felt the need to write again because i cant help but be impressed with how Sussex Constabulary have virtually (no pun intended) mastered the world of new media, and i wanted to give them a bit of blog space.

In Summer 2011 they had a triumph of an 'interactive day' (link pending). I didnt see everything that day, but from what i did see i this consisted of 3 or 4 'channels' of video which included interviews and spotlights on different departments. This was backed up with some excellent twitter discussion that i enjoyed a lot.

Their 'day to day' twitter accounts are both informative, and allow individual personalities to shine through. I have met at least one person who i can see becoming a good friend of mine, and i look forward to some possible collaborations.

What has prompted me to write this brief article, is my discovery that they publish virtually all of their policies online. This is a huge step for transparency in the police service. It demonstrates a move from 'secret unless published' to 'published unless secret', if i may coin a phrase. Those who work for the police will know how much work would have been behind such a move, and they most certainly deserve our admiration for their many 'new media' successes.

My own force has achieved a lot in this area as well. I have had amazing support from my new media team in terms of this blog...they have showed a great foresight, trust and patience with me and DJ. There are many other examples across the country, and i wish i could mention them all.

The future of the police service is in collaboration, and i cant see any better area within which to take the plunge than in new media. So...New Media Teams; share share share.

Diet Justice Birthday Celebrations

I sometimes feel like ive been blogging for years. In particular when i am coming under fire for something ive written, and even more so when im not! But its actually its been less than a year...on 19th February 2012, at 11am, DJ will be exactly one year old! It would be easy to let it pass, but this blog has played such a significant part in my life. I've met great people, learned a lot about myself, and shown myself that i am capable of anything if i put my mind to it. I'm very proud of what ive achieved, and it was done with the help of some great people.

To thank some of the people who have influenced me the most i will be hosting a "7 Days, 7 Guest Bloggers" series. Yesterday i picked 7 people who i want to recognise as being a big part of the DJ family, and sent them a lovable begging letter. Generally i have had positive responses, and i thank those who have been so enthusiastic about it.

I am really excited about it, i hope you enjoy DJ Birthday Week. Watch this space for other little birthday features :-)

If you have any ideas for the birthday celebrations, or would like to contribute, just drop me an email or tweet me.

Twitter chats this evening

This article is a personal one...its not about law, politics, policing or anything else. Its just a chance for me to have a vent. Lets start by dealing with my faux pas about blogging anonymity.

Since i wrote my first piece about Social Media i have come under some criticism regarding the issue of anonymous bloggers and tweeters. As soon as i realised that i had misjudged the issue, i posted this article by way of a correction. The criticism has generally been justified, and i thought i would briefly discuss it.


I am an amateur blogger, not a professional journalist. Therefore i have had to naively feel my way through the darkness that is the social media minefield. On my way i have hit numerous mines, and on occasion i have had to make public apologies. Making mistakes, especially ones that result in a negative reaction from my peers, weigh heavily on my shoulders. I blog with good intent, and try very hard to uphold the standards i set myself.

Moving regular readers know that, at times of crisis, i wear my heart on my sleeve. There have been many times when i have blogged when i am at my worst (see tag 'Blogging from a hospital bed'). Today is one of those such days, as i have today been faced with the decision to drop out of university.

Here is a little history of my university life...feel free to skip! I started my LLB in academic year 09/10, age 24, having been off sick for numerous months. It was a huge change and excitement for me. I brought with me a long standing medical condition that liked to rear its ugly head on a fairly regular basis. During that academic year it did so on more than one occasion, yet i managed to scrape through year 1. Year 2 came along, and i managed to almost finish it when i ended up back in hospital...i therefore had to interrupt my studies, with the intention of returning to them on academic year 11/12. When it came to academic year 11/12 i found that i had built up so much debt due to being in hospital for so long that i had no choice but to work. A job came along that i knew i loved, and i applied. This was not an easy process in itself...i had to do the interview while i was in hospital (long story for another day).  The job was perfect, and was over the moon when i was offered it. Sadly, despite it being part time, i had to undergo a very long full time training package which made attending lectures impossible. I am still working my way through that training package, but loving it. 

Despite being on course for a 1st class degree, my attendance has been poor because of work, and i am left with a few options. I could try and self teach, and complete this year with 'adequate' marks. I could go part time, which would mean i would lose all funding. Or i could 'withdraw'...or 'drop out', which is a more descriptive phrase. If i was to withdraw i would still walk away with a CertHE in Law, but not the degree that i was most passionate about, and dedicated to.

In making this decision i have to weigh up lots of factors. Money and health are the most important of which.

If i look at what i have achieved since i started university in 09/10 i have a lot to be proud has changed my life. I have met some amazing friends. I have learned how to learn again. I have started a blog that keeps me mentally stimulated and in touch with people who share my passions. I have learned a lot about myself and improved on my weaknesses, and mastered my strengths.

If life is like a fog covered ocean, university gave me the map and compass to help me navigate the storms ahead...maybe this is what they call 'the university of life'?

Anon's on Social Media

Last week i wrote an article that was focused on how the holders of public office should go about using social media in a personal capacity. Point number 2 looked at anonymity and accountability, and my view was that one should always avoid anonymity.

Having chatted with an anonymous tweeting friend of mine, @SirIanBlair, i have realised that i have woefully misunderstood and over simplified the issue of anonymity. In doing so i have suggested that all anonymous bloggers and tweeters have something to hide and subsequently offended some people who i admire and respect.

As a failed anonymous blogger, and a reasonably successful 'out' blogger, i have a bias in favour of the latter. I still stand by that, and would advise anyone who holds public office to avoid it. However, i acknowledge that the issue of anonymity is more complex that i suggested in my earlier article.

I hope that @SirIanBlair will take me up on my offer to write a guest article on DJ entitled "Why Ollie was wrong about anonymous bloggers and tweeters", but in the meanwhile i want to hear your views.

What are your views on anonymity in social media? What are the advantages of it? and what are the long term consequences, both good and bad, of being anonymous?

Cops using personal social media...draft guidence

The effect that social media has had on our daily lives is on a truly epic scale. Its evolution has been rapid and now those who ignore it do so at the peril. This article is aimed specifically at those who hold a public office, or those who work in a publicly accountable organisation, and wish to start blogging/tweeting in a personal capacity. I have chosen this fairly narrow audience because they face a much bigger challenging when entering the world of social media, and the lack of clear guidance has meant that mistakes are made which undermine public confidence.

I am most familiar with the police service so will be talking about how personal blogging can be used to great effect by them, however it is equally applicable to any similar organisation. Anecdotally i see that most police forces focus their new media policies on how individual officers can set up and use their official police twitter accounts. Policies are having to be drawn up from scratch with almost no precedent to work from, so this is truly a whole new world. Less attention is given to how officers use social media in their personal lives, leaving an uncertainty that leads officers feeling vulnerable when using their own social media.

As a successful 'personal' police blogger/tweeter, who has avoided the pitfalls of anonymity, i feel well placed to write some guidance that shares my secret to successful blogging/tweeting.

I have no doubt that this will apply to anyone who holds a position of trust.

In order to build the most effective set of principles you should consider the below principles to be a draft. With the support of my readers, and those involved in police new media, i hope to build a set of principles that offer clear guidance to officers who want to blog in a personal capacity.

8 Principles
  1. VAT; Value Added Text
    1. Everything that you write should be done so with the intention of adding value to a debate. Rants and raves only serve to take value away, damage your credibility, and isolate you.
  2. Accountability and Anonymity - I made mistakes in writing this principle; its hugely over simplified. Here is a follow up article on anonymity, why not join the discussion?
    1. Maybe against your better judgement, a police blogger should never attempt to be anonymous. An anonymous blogger will always have the sword of Damocles above their head meaning you wont ever get the most out of blogging. Anonymity suggests you have something to hide, and brings your intentions into doubt. If your identity is discovered by your employer you will be put in a position where you will have to explain your behaviour, and your integrity may be brought into doubt. Inform your New Media team as soon as you start blogging...they can give you invaluable advice and even help improve your readership. I dont see that there is any need to inform your new media team for any other area of social media because it is less risky, however you should behave as if you had informed them. Check out the follow up article for this principle.
  3. Balance
    1. Blogging and tweeting etc is all about sharing your opinion. You are essentially a columnist, not a your readers will be expecting opinion. However its essential that you take a balanced approach. One sided arguments undermine your credibility and independence as a writer and could lead to you being labelled as an extremist.
  4. Legality
    1. This one is obvious...don't do anything illegal. In particular be cautious of libel and copyright issues. If you are going to make statements about an individual, make sure you can support those statements with some evidence. If you are going to use images, make sure you link them to the source. If you use other peoples material you must make it clear to the reader that its not your this by quoting and offering citations to the original author. Do not share privileged information that you have obtained while at work, do not name names, or show any identifiable content. Importantly, only discuss matters that are already in the public domain.
  5. Morality, Ethics, Integrity and Humility
    1. These 4 attributes are all very subjective. Make sure you are doing the right thing for the right reasons, in the right way, aimed at the right people. Blogging will sometimes result in making mistakes or offending people, its only natural. Be prepared to admit any wrongdoing and correct the mistakes. Your force will likely support you if you deal with mistakes in an ethical and honest way. To avoid problems you should limit criticism to national policy, not the behaviour of any particular force. More obviously; don't swear, don't lie, make sure your facts are right, and make sure that any criticism if fair.
  6. Building Trust
    1. Having informed your force about your intention to blog you need to prove to them that you can be trusted. Trust will build over a period of time, and the more ethical articles you post the more confidence your force will have in you as a blogger.
  7. Media Watch
    1. Always presume that your content is being read by the press...ask yourself; would the local media be interested in this article, and if so; why? Make sure your articles are clear, and not open to negative interpretation. If you are contacted by the media you should feel free to chat with them, however you should be cautious of unguarded comments.
  8. Professionalism 
    1. Remember, everything you do has the potential to reflect on your employer. You don't need to avoid writing about your work, but be aware that your employer will be watching, so don't write anything that you wouldn't want your chief to see.

    Do you agree? Do you disagree? What would you add? What would you take away?

    Click 'read more' to see some examples where we have got it the past to secure the future.

    Anti-Social Behaviour...a Labour legacy to be proud of

    "Education, Education, Education" and "Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime" are two quotes that, for me, define the early days of New Labour. The latter, arguably, being preoccupied by the issue of Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB). Seeing this article on the BBC News website today has put me in two minds about how important an issue it really is...surely there is a problem if neighbours are being driven to murder because of noise issues?

    For a lot of us ASB was a fairly intangible and unfamiliar beast. Kids playing in the street, cherry knocking, throwing snow balls, playing football, and preoccupying themselves with outdoor activities were all to be expected and encouraged. Yet ASB can, and has, made lives miserable, forced people to move home, and in extreme cases led to people taking their own lives or the lives of others. So it needs to be taken seriously, but what is ASB, and who deals with it?

    ASB is completely subjective, and it links hand in hand with the 'fear of crime' principle. Media coverage gives people free reign to let their imaginations run wild. Kids in the street become potential burglars. Throwing snow balls becomes a crime in case their is stones in them. Anyone wearing a hood becomes a likely robber. The lock on the front door goes from being a good defence against these troublesome youths to a loose piece of licorice that could be broken down by a loitering wind. I am mocking these situations merely to show one side of the argument here, the other side of the argument links in with the protection of vulnerable people, and dealing with situations early to prevent them from escalating.

    As outsiders we have no idea why a person finds what we consider to be minor ASB so upsetting. Identifying and supporting vulnerable people is important, and when dealing with this apparently minor ASB gives the police, and partner agencies, the chance to engage with these people and make sure they are getting the help they need. Too often have we let down people who need us.

    As i've already said, prolonged ASB can have a huge effect on peoples quality of lives...we all have the right to peaceful enjoyment of our home life. Its right that police, and partner agencies, deal with the minority that have a negative impact on their communities. Some critics say that Neighbourhood Policing is a waste of money, yet when you speak to someone who has been the victim of ASB you soon realise that its money well spent.

    As with everything in the world, its all about looking for balance. ASB policies are designed to protect people, yet the law of unintended consequences means that we are making the streets a hostile place for all young people, and encouraging over reporting of some types of behaviour.

    I have no doubt that the efforts put in to helping protect vulnerable people from the anti-social behaviour of others, others being both young and old, are worth every penny. Yet there is still a long way to go. The role of partner agencies is becoming increasingly recognised. It is not right that police take total responsibility for ASB, as partner agencies such as local authorities have a remit that can allow us to take a multi-pronged approach to dealing with ASB. This approach is proven to be much more effective.

    The future of ASB is in the hands of local authorities, government departments and the Police...together they can more effectively protect the vulnerable from a crime who's effect has previously been under estimated. Lets hope that the current economic climate doesn't undo all the good work that police forces and local councils have done to tackle this issue.

    Embracing the media

    I often talk about how the police are beginning to master the use of social media, but watching the new series of Coppers on Channel 4 has reminded me that this great progress extends to wider media as well.

    The first series of Coppers could have been just another Road Wars, or Cops with Cameras...a format that does well at sharing real police work with the nation, but i cant help but find incredibly tedious. I find it tedious because it shows well policing at its most volatile, but fails to show what the world of policing is really like for both sides. Coppers was unique in that it, for the first time, allowed police officers to speak their minds. Even more ground breaking is that it interviews those on the other side of that relationship, the criminals, suspects, and victims. I have no doubt that this is a triumph of modern leadership by the senior police officers involved, and it shows the benefit of nurturing such symbiotic relationships.

    Generally police officers still view the media with some suspicion. A suspicion that i suspect is borne out of a historically poor relationship. The modern view is that a good relationship with newspapers, broadcasters, and a well managed social media policy, can reap huge rewards.

    Both sides are known to have made mistakes, but as with any new venture it takes a process of fine tuned trial and error to succeed.

    I would love to hear your experiences of this flourishing relationship. Have you any experiences of when it has succeeded? or any when it has failed?

    Cops on Camera

    A very modern challenge for a police officer is the use of personal recording equipment. The advent of mobile phones have made audio/visual recording equipment available to everyone we come in contact with, and they use it liberally. YouTube is filled with such videos. This article will look at the dangers of such technology, and how it can help us.

    I am going to use the below video as an example throughout this article, so if you haven't seen it before take a look now.

    What does the video show at face value? The video shows an interaction between a cyclist and a police officer. The cyclist has chosen to record the interaction, and answer no questions unless he is required to do so. The latter being a right, and the former being a precaution...a precaution suggesting that the cyclist has had bad experiences with the police in the past. The officer appears to be fairly condescending, and cannot (or will not) clearly point to any lawful authority when challenged. When the officer decides that he has had enough of being filmed he uses violence, without warning, to take the phone away from the cyclist. This attempted theft results in the cyclist cycling away, and the officer not giving chase.

    Is this an accurate interpretation of what we have seen? Yes. Is this an accurate interpretation of what actually happened? We don't know. We dont know what happened before the interaction. We don't know how much the clip was edited. We do know that it was filmed by someone who was provocative throughout the interaction. We also know that the officer managed the interaction badly.

    There is very little officers can do about the way these films are edited, so they have to look to their own behaviour in order to manage the resulting film. Lets take a look at the cops as people.

    As a Police Officer one needs to be very self aware to avoid situations like this. In one 12 hour shift an officer can go from dealing with a burglary, to dealing with a suicide, to dealing with a missing person, to being assaulted outside of a pub. We are rightly expected to compartmentalise each job in order to provide the best service to the public, but sometimes this is not possible. To the lesser extreme; this officer may have stopped 15 other cyclists for the same offence that day. It can be easy to forget that each contact leaves a lasting impression, and where that impression is bad it reflects on all police officers, not just the one involved.

    In actual fact, i don't think the public ever expect us to be perfect. They know we are human. I think problems occur when we try to hide that fact. In this video the officer clearly couldn't quote the exact piece of legislation. Does he need to be able to do that? No.

    My point here is that it can be easy to find the camera an intimidating new development. Some people will set out to wind officers up in order to get a good youtube video. When dealing with situations like this it can put a lot of pressure on the officer to deal with things's this pressure can lead you down a path that is difficult to come back from. Don't ever be afraid to reassess a situation, and your own behaviour, and admit to yourself that "i was wrong", and choose another, possibly more human, approach.

    So what advice would you give to officers in these situations? Have you had any experiences similar? and do you agree in my 'face value' interpretation of the above video? I am also aware of a video that shows an inspector dealing with a similar situation very well. I couldnt find it, does anyone know which one i mean?

    Can't we just cuddle?

    I have been quite lucky in that i have had the privilege of having two careers, mostly running parallel to each other. My first career is in the leisure industry, my second is in criminal justice and law. You have heard a lot about the latter, but very little about the former. This article is going to take a tentative step into the former, by looking at something that should touch everyone, everywhere...CPR.

    Let me try and define CPR for you...i do so to set the scene for the rest of the article. Note that my words are very carefully chosen in the hope i can put to bed some misconceptions. CPR, Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, is a medical intervention, given in a clinical or non clinical environment, aimed at keeping vital organs supplied with oxygen while the heart is unable to do so by itself.

    As a trainer of CPR i tend to spout a lot of statistics at my trainees. Having done it for so long, its easy to lose track of the most up to date research. The following statistics are supported here.

    Universal CPR knowledge is important because 70% of sudden cardiac arrests occur at home, and up to 15% of them at work. If you are faced with a sudden collapse its important that you know CPR well enough to be able to respond immediately. For every minute that someone is in cardiac arrest, the individuals chance of survival reduces by between 7-10%. This is fairly well managed in the UK by ambulance response times, which are 8 minutes for any suspected cardiac arrest.

    So can't we just leave the patient until ambulance arrives? CPR is proven to make a difference to someone's survival, however there is a common misconception that CPR is going to make the patient suddenly sit up and walk away as if it never happened. In fact, a persons chance of survival with CPR alone is 2-8%. So before you do anything, call an ambulance. If you give CPR as soon as someone suffers the cardiac arrest, and the ambulance arrives within 8 minutes, the chance of survival is increased to 43%.

    These statistics are there to show you how important it is to learn a bit of CPR, you could save someone's life. The thing with CPR, as is with any practical skill, you can quickly forget what you have been taught. Despite what you may have heard, CPR has never been as easy as ABC. It has been based on complex protocols, updated on a yearly basis, that have been based on little research.

    In recent years, however, things have been getting better. A lot of research has been undertaken by the European Resus Council, the organisation that sets the European standard for CPR, and as a result of that CPR has become a lot easier.

    There has been a lot of talk in the last couple of years about 'hands only' CPR, and yesterday this was finally supported by the British Heart Foundation. This step is hugely important because it signals the end of very expensive, time consuming, and boring CPR training, and as soon as this is adopted by the resus council, CPR training will no longer include complicated protocols.

    The end to remembering the ratio of breaths to compressions. The end to cross contamination worries. And hopefully another step in the right direction of equipping everyone with CPR skills...skills that will stick with them for much longer than ever before.

    Coming implications of CPR