on 26 February 2012
I got my eagerly-awaited copy of Wasting More Police Time on Saturday and have just finished it (Sunday). It is truly addictive, though not what I had expected.
Unlike the first book, Wasting Police Time: The Crazy World of the War on Crime, this time police officers from all over the UK (and even some who have left the UK to work in the police overseas) give us their tales from the front line.
The result is not for the faint-hearted - particularly the stories of death and having to break the news of tragedy to family members. The piece about the couple who had lost the baby they'd been trying for for years, and having to find the husband to bring him home from work, is truly heartbreaking.
As a member of the public it was a real eye-opener and made me think about the human beings underneath the uniform - admittedly a job PC Copperfield's earlier book had already done.
All good books provoke a reaction in the reader and book made me sad, cross and surprisingly optimistic - that there are still lots of decent people who are prepared to put themselves on the line for the good of society.
on 16 March 2012
Copperfield's excellent first book was vulnerable to criticism that it was just one man's experience, not representative etc etc. Notoriously, Tony McNulty MP dismissed it in the Commons as fiction.
The points Copperfield makes are too important to allow them to be so easily sidestepped, so this book is the testimony of some dozens of anonymous serving officers. As Copperfield's true identity was eventually established, they are all taking a real risk and must feel strongly about these issues.
To start there are a couple of chapters about the perennial problems of police work, dealing with society's human vermin and dealing with death, but the bulk of the book is about problems caused by politicians, courts and police senior management, i.e. new and often wholly unnecessary problems.
Criminals use extreme violence, especially against the police, at the drop of a hat, but are let off or charged with minor offences time and time again. Meanwhile the police are held to almost impossibly high standards. Like the army, they are often ill-equipped. They are still required to be PC Dixon when the world of Dock Green has long passed.
The big issue, though, as with the previous book, is the colossal amount of time and manpower that is simply wasted. Vast numbers of nominal policemen never set foot in the mean streets, but confine themselves to sending e-mails about targets from the comfort of their offices. For those doing real police work, procedures are wildly cumbersome, and they must take ten times as much time for diversity and sensitivity courses as for courses on catching criminals.
If the Home Secretary hasn't read this book she certainly should.
on 15 June 2012
Not only is this book extremely important it is also highly amusing, PC Copperfield has a natural gift for satire! I am an extremely proud daughter of a former police officer who served for over 30 years, 4 of my siblings have also followed Dad into the force, I myself have been unable to do so due to a health complaint. As you can see I have more than just a passing interest in this subject. It is an enormous part of my life and I am already more than familiar with the humans behind the uniform but I was still shocked by this book. Our police force is admired the world over (rightly so) but the government are slowly destroying it with their red tape, bureaucacy and human rights. I will no longer waste my time arguing the toss with ignorant friends and colleagues over the latest police bashing news story, I will simply recommend they read this book and I suggest somebody send the Home Secretary a copy as soon as possible!!
on 27 February 2012
This book is addictive, shocking, funny, moving and exciting in turns. Written in down to earth copper-speak, it's hard hitting and pulls no punches.
A must read for anyone with an interest in Law and Order or in how the current destructive cuts are affecting policing and therefore the safety of all of us.
on 4 June 2012
This book contains a lot of complaining. Many police officers have plenty to say for themselves, that they've kept bottled up, or at least they feel they are not being listened to by governments or the general public.
Subjects are very topical - including the London riots of 2011, the causes of which we haven't finished talking about (I suspect we won't for some time). But also the representation of the police and rioters in the media, in particular the BBC and the 4 main 'broadsheets'.
Now I'm not naive enough to overlook the fact that the police will have their story, and the rioters perhaps will have their own perspective. But the more you read and research about what happened, the more unavoidable is the conclusion that the media coverage and opinions were FATALLY politicised, and thoroughly ill-informed.
Almost at once people started drawing the conclusions they wanted to, before any evidence was gathered. Those who wanted to blame 'inequality' for the riots got this story in as soon as they could, and then went looking for evidence to support it, as only the worst kind of scientist would. There was much knee-jerk criticism of the police.
If you subscribe to any of this, do yourself a favour and read this book, get the view of the people who were there, and had to deal with it. You'll learn more than if you spent hours reading the alarmingly bad journalism from the papers or the BBC.
I didn't find much about The Steven Lawrence case, which is a shame because there is another story the press has mostly failed to tell here. Also this book was probably completed before something on the recent 'grooming' scandal. The fight against racism does seem to have made some aspects of police work harder. Again, dial-a-quote journalists are on hand to make a generalised accusation against the police of racism. Some officers, all the same, do approve of the drive to stamp out racism in the force.
But most of all you'll see the story (already told by David Copperfield, Inspector Gadget and others) of the ridiculousness of modern UK police-work, the form filling, and having to ask people if they are 'happy with the service', while crooks laugh and get away with more crime.
The stories and opinions are heartfelt, and mostly contributed anonymously - so I am inclined to trust them all the more. Also there are many different opinions represented. The police see a side to human nature that most of us don't - thank goodness. We should listen to what they have to say about it...
on 14 July 2012
An easy to read book about 21st Century policing. I know lots of police officers who have to deal with everything described in this book. A MUST READ FOR POLITICIANS of all parties.
on 24 June 2012
Having recently left the job, this was a timely reminder of the mess I have escaped from. It's great to realise you're not the only one mystified and left banging your head against the wall whilst the police service self-destructs. Successful change will only come from within, and whilst the promoted continue to support the system that got them promoted, the dinosaurs will continue to rule.
Copperfield strikes again, lifting the lid on the truly bizarre state the service finds itself in thanks to the faceless idiots in the background who have never faced an angry man and who think they know best because that's how they were told it was.
Essential reading for anyone in service, or perhaps thinking about joining this merry-go-round that used to be a career, but is now only a job.
on 21 March 2012
I read the first book several years ago, and when I saw this one I thought it would be more of the same. It's very different, but I think I actually prefer this one. The book is made up of a series of extracts from serving police officers. In places it's truly shocking, thought provoking and challenging. Highly recommended.
on 29 July 2013
In this follow-up to PC Copperfield's 'Wasting Police Time', a large number of other police officers corroborate the assertions of PC Copperfield: The failings of the CPS, the bureaucracy, the penny-pinching savings, the shortcomings of equipment, and the political correctness gone wild. The authors make no bones about the fact that the policies of government(s), the social services, the judicial system, and the prison parole system are leading to reduced effectiveness of policing and resulting in serious and persistent criminals going unpunished.
The multitude of different authors all singing from the same songbook make this book more credible than its predecessor. Furthermore, the authors are drawn from police forces all over the UK, and the reader gets a better chance to understand their often very brave efforts to preserve law and order and help the public, sometimes under grisly and harrowing conditions. Reading this book will give you a better perspective of the police force and the work they do. Next time you get a speeding ticket for doing 80mph on a 70mph motorway, you'll understand that, in all likelihood, the policeman who nabbed you would much rather be after burglars, rapists, murderers and muggers, than sitting by the roadside helping his bosses tick 'crime solved' boxes for the government.
on 21 June 2013
A collection of tales from officers of all ages, service lengths and forces - some sad, some tragic, some funny and some absurd. The common threads which run through them all is the unpredictability of police work and the frustration felt by front-line officers at the lack of support, and some times deliberate obstruction put in their way by their leaders, the CPS but most of all politicians, which prevents them from giving the level of service that they would like to the general public. The media love to carry stories about the supposed shortcomings of the police on an almost daily basis, but anyone who reads this books will quickly realise that the true blame lies elsewhere. As our politicians continue to seek more and more political control over British policing: meddling, "reforming" and hampering for no other reason than their own political ends, anyone who wonders why a once much-respected institution, admired and copied in countries all over the world, is now the butt of so much criticism should read this book. I know that coppers, just like soldiers, love to complain, but they can't all be wrong can they?
I wish someone would buy a copy for the Home Secretary and force her to read it.