Buffoon of the week IX

Bob met the future Mrs Bob, and they marry and have a couple of kids. Things go wrong, Bob attacks Mrs. Bob and bravely runs off before the police arrive. The assault is duly recorded.

Fast forward a few weeks, and Bob, as yet unarrested, has moved back in, and things are calmer somewhat. It was difficult to understand why anyone would let their spouse back in the house like this before I joined, but life is invariably less simple than it appears. Fear of further attacks if you refuse, financial needs, especially where children are involved, family pressures etc. Both experience at work and someone outside the job helped me understand why it sometimes happens. Thank you, you know who you are, and you made me a better police officer and a more patient person.

Anyway, the police ring Mrs Bob up to see how she is, unaware that he has moved back in. When she speaks to the call taker she is hesitant, a strong indication that there’s someone else there, telling her what to say.

Bob does not help his situation by saying “Tell them you want to drop the charges or I’ll batter you again”.

Loud enough to be heard by the call taker.

On a phone call that is naturally recorded.

As he’s a known offender in contact with a vulnerable victim and committing further offences, it’s put on as a high-priority job, and in the space of 20 minutes, Bob goes from his version of domestic bliss to being under arrest for both the original assault and witness intimidation, which will be frowned upon by the judge.

Bob has earnt his Buffoon of the Week award.

Well played.

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A fare cop, AKA buffoon of the week VIII

Taxi drivers get some stick from passengers, it’s fair to say. If a passenger runs off rather than pay the fare, inevitably time spent dealing with it costs the driver more in lost fares than the original fare, even assuming it can be recovered, so very few bother. Which sucks, because it just encourages people to do it again. Principle’s all very well, but they have to put food on the table, just like everyone else, and time is money.

Which makes this buffoon of the week winner all the better. Bob the taxi driver picked up a couple in town and took them to their home address. At which point they got out and ran. Bob is now down about £10, and is annoyed about it quite rightly.

Until, that is, he spots the woman’s handbag on the back seat, where she has left it. Quite within his rights, Bob takes money out of her purse equal to the fare, then heads off to the local police station to report it. In a stroke of genius, he leaves the meter running and when he gets there, helps himself to the fare from their house to the police station as well.

In a stroke of luck, he can be seen immediately. He checks that what he’s done is ok, and is reassured its fine, he’d have been within his rights to bill them for the time spent reporting it too. So he does. The feckless owner of the handbag is rung and invited to come to the police station to collect it, and is duly knocked off for making off without payment when she arrives.

Not only that, but she’s also down about £15 MORE than if she’d just paid up in the first place.

Well played, sir, well played.

(This kind of stupidity is very common. Years ago, one of our prolific vehicle crime offenders, Barry M, broke into a car right in front of two plain clothes officers on a football match day, when the villains know no-ones going to be coming back to their car for a while. A foot chase ensues, Barry goes onto a wheely bin and over the roof of a pub, and to change his appearance without being seen, ditches his jacket on the pub roof while temporarily out of sight.

With his immaculately filled in jobseekers application forms in one pocket.

Again, well played sir, well played)

Overpaid.

The list now has to expand.

Philip Hammond is under the impression that public sector workers are paid better than the private sector. When pressed on whether he’d said in private that they were overpaid, he refused to answer, instead saying private conversations shouldn’t be discussed.

In other words, yes I said it, no I don’t want to admit it, but I don’t want to be accused of lying later on either if someone says it openly.

And this from a man ho earns £140,000 for what is essentially a desk job. And has numerous outside business interests that mean he could comfortably forego his salary and not even notice the difference, such as over £10,000 a month in rental income.

No general in the army would dare to speak of those under their command like that. But then that’s because they’re generally not hypocrites – they lead by example and they understand how to motivate people. Not things Hammond could ever be accused of.

Finders Keepers, Finders weepers, AKA Buffoon of the week VII

This buffoon of the week winner was dealt with by a friend of mine, not me, so is a third party winner, but worthy of note nontheless.

Bob was stupid and a small time burglar, who was happier burgling abandoned houses as there was less chance of being disturbed or bothered with. He would steal copper piping and other metalwork from boilers in abandoned or neglected houses and sell it to scrap yards, for pennies. He must have been paying himself well under the national minimum wage given how much time the whole process would take, no holiday pay or sick pay either, it would have been better to get a job stacking shelves in Tescos, but that was his problem, not mine.

One day, Bob hit the jackpot. He was burgling an abandoned house, when hidden in the kitchen, he found £70,000 in cash! Happy days. Drug money, concealed in a house by someone unwilling to keep it at home, and not concealed very well. Bob has just collected more money in a five minute expedition than he will possibly ever earn in a lifetime of burgling empty houses. The sensible thing to do, bearing in mind it must have crossed his feeble brain what sort of person has £70,000 in cash and a need to hide it, would have been to keep very very quiet indeed about it. Bob cannot have been unaware of drug gang activity in the area, even if he wasn’t involved in it except as a customer.

So silence would have been golden. What was NOT golden was going on Facebook and bragging about having found said sum of money. Although keeping it instead of handing it in is illegal, the police were the least of Bob’s problems from here on in. Bob received a death threat fairly quickly, giving him a day to make arrangements to hand the money back, or else. Unfortunately for Bob, he spoke to the police and spilled the beans, who came, promptly confiscated the money, then served an Osman warning on him and his family.

For the uninitiated, an Osman warning arose out of the case of Osman v United Kingdom [1998] , in a nutshell the police had information that the victims life was under threat, from an obsessive teacher at his sons school. They didn’t take effective measures to protect the families lifes, the teacher ended up killing two people and wounding two more, and out of this arose the Osman warning – If the police have information suggesting your life is at risk, but not enough evidence to arrest someone yet, they have a legal duty to come and tell you that information suggests there is a risk, and to take appropriate precautions. This normally means moving house in a hurry, and if you choose to ignore the advice and something bad happens to you, then they aren’t liable.

Frequently they are served on gang members because of threats from rival gangs, in which case it would be tempting to stand back and let natural selection sort out the problem and then arrest the survivors, but the law is there to protect everyone, even those who break it. But I digress.

Bob now knew who he had taken the money from, and suddenly unable to give it back, needed no encouragement for him and his family to move house. My friend, who relayed the tale to me, took a statement about the threats while the family were packing their life into a removals van and moving to Scotland. To be specific, he persuaded them to leave the washing machine in the hallway until last, and he used it as a desk, quizzing them for details as they passed him at speed whilst loading the removals van and writing them up in the periods they were out of speaking range. He finished the statement just as they came for the washing machine, practically threw it onto the van in their haste, and were the far side of Hadrians Wall several hours later, never to return.

For his sheer ability to snatch disaster from the jaws of good fortune, Bob certainly deserves his buffoon of the week award.

Buffoon of the week VI

There hasn’t been a buffoon of the week for a while, I’ve not seen anyone who I think really qualifies.

Until now.

Young Saddam Miah, drain on society that he so clearly is with 25 convictions on his CV, was lucky to get a suspended sentence for supplying class A drugs. In places like Thailand or Iran, he’d be hanging from a crane before long, and in the USA, he’d be in for so long, he’d forget what the sun looked like.

But here, he gets away with a suspended sentence. While it’s easy to jump on the bandwagon and rant about the judiciary going soft, I obviously haven’t read the judges summing up or any pre-sentence reports, so I’ll refrain. But it’s fair to say he was happy with the outcome.

So happy, in fact, that he went out, got blind drunk in a hotel to celebrate, then threw a vase round reception to get the staffs attention. When they objected to his behaviour, he went outside and smashed up someones car, for reasons best known to himself.

That being naughty, he went back to court, and was promptly sent to prison for celebrating NOT going to prison.

The irony made me smile, but I doubt it had the same effect on him.

Buffoon of the week V

buffoon-awardThis buffoon of the week winner is from about 7 years ago, and was a particularly interesting evening. I got overtime for getting involved off duty, (four hours double time minimum as long as you’ve done more than a few minutes work) which was nice, but to be fair, I earnt it.

After a long day, walking the dogs is the last thing before bedtime. My normal route is about 1/2 hour long, the home straight is pavement with the housing estate on one side and road on the other. Halfway up this section is a path into one side of the estate. Just as I passed this, I saw two guys running down towards me, one naked from the waist up. He looked like a partially shell-suited version of the pillsbury dough-boy, which wasn’t pretty, but sadly nothing unusual. There’s no dress code where I live.

They jogged up to me, I thought jogging was why they were there until one of them asked if I’d seen someone wheeling a motorbike, as theirs had just been nicked. I hadn’t seen anyone with a bike and said so. As there wasn’t much more I could add or do to help, at this point frankly I’d lost interest.

Until I saw one of them had a handgun.

It was held down by his leg with his index finger outside the trigger guard and parallel to the barrel. For those without the benefit of the relevant training, this is how professionals carry weapons when they’re loaded with a round in the chamber and the safety catch off. The only reason to carry a weapon in that state is you anticipate using it on someone in the near future, and don’t want to fumble it when the time comes. He also appeared calm and in control of himself, which again screams ‘trained’.

It may sound silly, but the simplest of actions can be almost inpossible under stress. A former Italian prime minister, Aldo Moro, was kidnapped by Red Brigade terrorists in 1978. He had 5 armed bodyguards in his motorcade, in the ambush every one of them died without getting a single round off. Some were found with their fingers clenched round the trigger, having forgotten the safety catch, some never even got that far.

So…Bob the doughboy meant business.

The thought process here took about a tenth of a second, to switch from dog walker to job. I didn’t feel scared, just incredibly alert. My ex SAS friend Bob won a medal in Bosnia for a surveillance job where he and 3 colleagues were compromised and had to shoot the way back to their helicopter extraction site through several hundred Bosnian Serb infantry, who weren’t noted for being nice to prisoners. He said he didn’t feel fear or panic, just focused and hyper alert, they knew what had to be done and the whole episode felt like he was on autopilot, the shakes kicked in later. Something to do with his glands producing adrenaline differently to other people, apparently. Having seen people who panicked under fire, who mostly lie very, very still afterwards rather than shake, Bob was happy for his glands to stay the way they were.

In my own sweet way, driving home at speed while my house was burning down felt similar, and so did this. They didn’t need to know I’d seen the gun and I needed to get on the phone sharpish

So, a tenth of a second later, I pretended not to have seen the gun, told them where I’d come from so they’d know not to waste time searching there, and watched them run off. As soon as they were out of sight, I called it in. Agreed where to meet the police, ditched the dogs at home and went back out. Soon enough, 3 ARV’s pulled up, I didn’t know my local force even HAD that many, after a quick chat with the ARV crews, off they went on an area search, and I went back home. I wasn’t too confident they’d be found, I didn’t see which house they came from and didn’t look at them for long.

About an hour later, the phone rang and it was the control room inspector, saying they’d been arrested and when could I come in to give my statement? As I was on £25 an hour at this point, it seemed rude not to go in straight away. He was chuckling, and when I asked why, the idiots had failed to find the offender, then ironically helped the police to find them by ringing in and saying their bike had been stolen.

They expected a response bobby coming round, they were surprised to open the door to the nasty end of several Heckler and Koch G-36 rifles being jammed in their faces and were soon doing the pavement starfish as if their lives depended on it. Which they actually did.

As only one of them actually possessed the pistol, first prize in that competition was a 3 year stretch and then deportation back to Poland, his accomplice got a suspended sentence and then booted out of his house by the council, who take a dim view of armed criminality.

For their sheer stupidity in effectively handing themselves in for a serious firearms offence, I cannot help but award them buffoon of the week status.

Stupidity is no match for age, AKA Buffoon of the Week IV

buffoon-awardThis Buffoon of the week award was a collective effort, which makes their failure all the more pathetic.

3 clowns decided to rob the local post office one day, all in their late teens or early 20’s. They must have got their plan from the Usborne ‘Your First Armed Robbery’ book. They tooled up with machetes and knives, and timed their arrival in the getaway car outside the post office to just after the owner had opened up for the day. The fact that the owner was in his 60’s and not particularly mobile may have been part of the plan, it may just have been luck. They abandoned the getaway car with the engine running outside, and went in. First mistake, this looks suspicious outside a building with obviously valuable contents. Grabbed the elderly owner and told him it was robbery time. They jabbed and poked him a bit with their shiny new toys to emphasise who was in charge.

He told them, perfectly correctly, that it would take him a few minutes to open the safe as he was a little early and the safe was time locked. They decided to multitask by ransacking the building for anything of value in the meantime. However, multitasking implies taking on extra tasks while continuing with the main one, and here was their second mistake – they all went on a treasure hunt and left him in the room alone. With a telephone.

Quick as a flash, he rings the police and tells them he’s being held in a building by three armed robbers, and has injuries. The obvious response rolls out, armed response officers, dog units and response are sent, and we contain the outside of the building, getting geared up to treat it as a hostage scenario. A negotiator is contacted and we’re planning for a long time containing the building, blocking off the street, sometimes these things go on for days.

An elderly chap limps up to the officers nearby and asks if they’re there for the armed robbery. Told that theres a hostage inside and he needs to clear the scene sharpish for his own safety, he replies ‘I’m the hostage, or at least I was.’. The idiots had not only left him near a telephone, they’d also left him with no-one able to see him leave the building, and he wasn’t exactly moving fast either. Mistake number three. I’ve never known ‘But I thought YOU were doing it!’ to lead to such hefty prison sentences.

They were contacted by loudspeaker by a response sergeant, the original conversation would have been started by a negotiator. Negotiator is a long and arduous course mentally, theres’s a lot of training in subtle approaches to resolving things. For example, if a suspect/suicidal person asks for a cigarette, you never give them the whole pack, as then they don’t need you for a while. It’s always one or two, so pretty soon they’re asking you again, creating a dependency that helps control things.

This ‘negotiation’ ran along the lines of ‘Boys, you don’t have a hostage any more. We’ve got dogs, tasers and guns. You can come out of there on your feet, on a stretcher or in a bag, it’s all the same to us. Make a decision in five minutes or you’re playing hide and seek in there with the dogs. Your call.’

They came out in less than a minute.

None of them had any prior record. Most people start their CV with something petty and build up to the big stuff, like Ryan stealing 2 A to Z’s when his legs were too short to even reach the pedals of any car that he might subsequently steal. These three, for starting in such fine style, firmly deserve their award.