My short bio: I am a police sergeant within one of the larger forces in the United Kingdom. I am responsible for leading a local response policing team in a busy city. I need to be somewhat vague about where I work and which force I work for because I do not have permission to run this AMA and there's a nasty trend developing where police officers who post about it online are receiving disciplinary action.

My Proof: I took a picture of my warrant card but I've had to erase most of the information so I can keep my job. If the mods would like more info please tell me and I'll provide more proof. http://imgur.com/a/3yod7

Comments: 362 • Responses: 101  • Date: 

blackmagemasta95 karma

Have you ever fired two guns whilst jumping through the air?

sm0l67 karma

I've never fired one gun, let alone whilst airborne.

Leather_and_Lead41 karma

But have you seen Bad Boys II?

sm0l77 karma

We ride together, we die together. Bad boys for life.

blackmagemasta22 karma

Ok. Ever been in a high-speed pursuit?

sm0l33 karma

Yes. I am an advanced trained police driver and I am trained to deploy pursuit resolution tactics. I can't say specifics but it's the kind of stuff you sometimes see on TV.

And no I have never fired a gun while in a high-speed pursuit.

blackmagemasta19 karma

Neat. So what are your thoughts on the movie Hot Fuzz?

sm0l41 karma

Genius.

thefuckingswampking4 karma

You've never fired a gun? I'm American, and I know there's a huge cultural difference here when it comes to firearms, I'm just kind of perplexed! I grew up shooting guns(and I own several, myself).

Sorry if this comes off weird or anything!

sm0l37 karma

A paintball gun is the only thing I've ever fired. I just don't see the need to own a device which is designed exclusively to kill things. I'm not having a go at Americans, recreational shooting and certain forms of hunting must be an enjoyable pastime, but i don't see any need for someone to own an assault weapon or a hand gun.

sm0l1 karma

A paintball gun is the only thing I've ever fired. I just don't see the need to own a device which is designed exclusively to kill things. I'm not having a go at Americans, recreational shooting and certain forms of hunting must be an enjoyable pastime, but i don't see any need for someone to own an assault weapon or a hand gun.

laststance2 karma

What does your training entail if you have to deal with someone who has a gun? I thought they would ramp up the training after the Eagles of Death attack.

sm0l7 karma

We're taught how to disarm someone with an edged weapon, but there's not a lot we can do if confronted directly with a firearm. Unarmed officers are never deployed to incidents involving firearms so thankfully it's a rarity. All we can do it create distance, use tac-comms and find cover. Our vests are supposed to stop small arms fire but I'd rather not test that out.

Ihavereasons50 karma

Is it true there's a point in a man's head where if you shoot it his head explodes?

sm0l28 karma

There's a dirty joke in there somewhere.

IllCaesar8 karma

That is why Batman doesn't give head to Superman.

sm0l12 karma

Nah.

Reign_Wilson24 karma

My only experience with the UK police is their portrayal in Hot Fuzz. Would you say this is an entirely accurate depiction of the UK Police as a whole, or a wholly accurate depiction of the UK Police in their entirety?

sm0l42 karma

It's a pretty accurate depiction of rural UK policing to be honest (apart from the whole riding into town on a horse with a shit load of guns - that doesn't tend to happen, at least where I work). All the jokes about paperwork are true and the government likes to add more and more.

In reality, there wouldn't be time to sit around eating a cornetto. There's usually a whole backlog of jobs before the shift even starts work. The UK police has been treated badly by the government and they have git 20,000 police officer jobs over the past few years. If I'm honest, I don't know how much longer it can go on for.

fat_saint20 karma

What are the common names that police in the UK get called? Any particular ones that you find pissing off or irritating? What's the one thing that you would want the world to know about the UK?

sm0l49 karma

Pigs. Filth. Rozzers. Fuzz. Coppers. Bobbies. 5-0. Tit-heads (referring to the hats that some believe look like female breasts). Po-po (heard someone once call us the poo-poo...). I don't really care what we're called to be honest. I can usually laugh stuff off if it annoys me. I've seen some officers who will go up and challenge people if they say something they don't like but I don't see the point. I just brush it off usually.

Something I want the world to know... -We're not all cockneys. -Everyone who doesn't live/work in London hates London. -We do actually have nice teeth.

MarkDeath8 karma

I've heard people calling policemen 'Feds' around here recently, and that's just bloody annoying tbh

sm0l11 karma

There's a lot of interesting American terminology seeping through into this country. It's a bit weird.

woody_boyd_5 karma

You forgot peelers

sm0l7 karma

Never been called that to be honest.

NubSauceJr1 karma

As a white middle class American male trying to ruffle officers jimmies when I got pulled over was a sport to me in my younger years. Foul language and vulgar gestures are protected speech so that's normally where I started. Funny I've never had a ticket or been arrested. I got pulled over from 1 to 3 times a week because I drove a car very similar to what gangsters drove. I got rid of that car in 98 and got a full size truck and haven't been pulled over since. I just gave cops a hard time because I knew beyond any doubt I was legal and they had no legal reason to pull me over other than the kind of car I drove. Some people who are assholes to law enforcement have some justification for it.

sm0l1 karma

Respect goes both ways.

chipman7519 karma

How many times in your career have you said ello ello ello what's all this then?

sm0l55 karma

The correct term is "Ello, ello, ello. What's all this then?"

medianbailey17 karma

What's with the hats? My nan used to say it was to act as a crumple zone Incase someone dropped a brick on you. She also said cod liver oil would taste nice if I ate it quick though...

sm0l32 karma

They are built to the same safety standard as a hard had which you might find on a building site. So yeah your nan was pretty much right. Always trust your nan.

space_monster3 karma

just psychological, if I remember rightly (I did a 'police quiz' when I was at school). tall hats make people look taller & therefore less of a pushover.

sm0l15 karma

Actually it originated from a time when police wore top hats. Officers could use them to stand on and see over large crowds.

MKayow15 karma

Where do you stand on marijuana? Do you think it should be legalised so the police can better spend their time and resources on actual crimes?

sm0l44 karma

I think it should be legalised because of the scientific evidence. It's less harmful than alcohol and would hopefully curb the rise of so-called 'legal highs' which can be really toxic. And yeah it would give us more time to deal with other jobs. However the government would probably use it as an excuse to cut our budgets even more.

AntCricket15 karma

thoughts on pokemon go players?

sm0l44 karma

My whole team plays it. Not on duty mind.

K1ngWaffles24 karma

"Sir Im going to need to take a look out back, I believe you are hiding a dragonite back there I need to take in for questioning."

sm0l23 karma

Hahaha yes!

Melliw45 karma

Best cp Pokemon?

danielthomas12344 karma

OP pls

sm0l18 karma

I don't really know what I'm doing. I just keep catching Ratatas or whatever they're called.

PrincessRuri14 karma

How do you feel about American Police?

sm0l99 karma

I think that they get a lot of bad press. America is such a huge country and it's unfair to judge 700,000 people based on a bunch of (admittedly pretty horrifying) negative news stories. The vast majority go to work doing an extraordinary job which many could not or would not do.

There's a lot of differences in the way we handle things as law enforcement between the two countries. Obviously in the UK the majority of police officers are unarmed and only carry basic protective equipment. Whereas in the US all police generally carry firearms. I can't really make a fair observation because I've never been to the US but from what I have seen in videos online and in US news I would say that there is more of an emphasis on asserting dominance over the public and often escalating situations using force to establish control. In the UK police officers are trained to deal with people in a calm way and use communication to de-escalate situations. It's less about establishing dominance and more about talking people around to your way of thinking. Hope that makes sense.

NubSauceJr19 karma

US law enforcement is 100% about control. I would guess de-escalation training is probably 1% or less of the training they receive. It's all about taking control of the scene and any possible suspects as fast as possible upon arrival. A large portion of the assholes and bullies in high school went onto careers in law enforcement because it gives them a license to treat other people like garbage and if necessary, physically force them to comply. The top 5 bullies in my graduating class are all law enforcement officers and all have had multiple complaints but have never been punished.

From what I've seen and heard an officer who tries to de-escalate a dangerous situation instead of drawing their sidearm and demanding compliance will be ridiculed by their fellow officers. Accused of being soft and not having the backbone to do "real" police work.

The one thing that could fix law enforcement in the US is if the good cops snitched on the bad ones. The code of silence in law enforcement is exactly the same as in the mafia or in prison gangs. Until they step forward and report the bad cops things will never change here. The good cops ignore and sometimes even lie to protect their "brothers."

sm0l27 karma

From what I've seen and heard an officer who tries to de-escalate a dangerous situation instead of drawing their sidearm and demanding compliance will be ridiculed by their fellow officers. Accused of being soft and not having the backbone to do "real" police work.

This is in great contrast the the UK. Here, a job is considered to be done well when there is no force used and things are resolved by talking. That's why the police in the UK have so much support from the public.

AdseyV12 karma

Morning sarge,

I find the really crazy things happen at the full moon.

Your thoughts?

sm0l41 karma

Absolutely. Some say that police are too superstitious. But this one it true and I will challenge someone who says otherwise. If it's our team's turn to work the public order (Friday/Saturday nights in the city centre) you can guarantee that it'll be worse if it's a full moon. Sometimes it's our team, a full moon and payday. That's known as the triad of shit.

phordant10 karma

I understand the Peelian principles (a.k.a. policing by consent) to be the philosophical centrepiece to the police forces in the UK. Are these ideas in the front of your mind in your day-to-day duties and interactions with people?

sm0l19 karma

The key thing which sticks in my mind is the notion that "The public are the police, and the police are the public". I am always careful to not perceive myself as anything which I am not. We rely on the public as much as they rely on us.

RemoteViewingTrainee10 karma

You probably see a lot of the dark side of humans. What is the most shocking case you have ever worked? (you can withhold names of course)

sm0l22 karma

I can't be that specific because it would identify my location but It was a pretty nasty case involving a number of different police teams. It was complicated and in the end we managed to get someone convicted for abducting/raping/torturing a child. Thankfully I didn't have to directly deal with the victim, that must have been difficult for the officers who did, but I was involved with gathering digital evidence and logging images and videos of certain crimes. That was tough work.

Mikeemoo10 karma

Like many Brits, I'm very proud of our police force. I've not had many experiences with the police, but always found them to be both friendly and approachable while maintaining professionalism.

On a scale of 1 - 10, how much job satisfaction do you feel overall?

sm0l8 karma

I'm glad you have good experiences with us. I wish everyone was able to have the same. Sadly we are so stretched right now I fear our standards are slipping. It really annoys me when I am unable to spend time with a victim and am expected to spit out a crime number for their insurance and move onto the next job in the queue. It can get pretty disheartening when people are upset with the police but I can completely understand it. So probably 6/10 at the moment.

SheepishGames8 karma

Hi! Just to say I admire the police my father was on the force and my grandad was a detective. My question is: What is the funniest arrest you have ever done and what did they do?

sm0l17 karma

Sometimes I get called out to the country side and a pretty frequent call out there is to livestock on the road. Two police officers trying to heard a group of sheep on a busy road can be somewhat hilarious...in hindsight.

The best call I ever heard over the radio is when we were asked to assist the ambulance service with a frequent drug user who had stuffed a condom of cocaine into his arse. The condom had then split, he panicked and tried to use a spoon to extract the drugs from his body. In doing so, he tore the skin and started bleeding heavily so he called an ambulance. The best part is that he actually specified on the call that he wants the spoon and the drugs back afterwards.

Hamsternoir8 karma

How do you feel about the current PM considering her record as Home Secretary and stance on policing at the time?

sm0l35 karma

Ah, the wicked witch. (Theresa May for the non-police reading this). I am not sure how I feel about her being PM. I don't think it's a good thing. I believe she is attempting to de-fund the police to the point where the public are so upset at the service they receive that they will allow the government to privatise the police force. That would be a very bad thing.

MisterInfalllible8 karma

I believe she is attempting to de-fund the police to the point where the public are so upset at the service they receive that they will allow the government to privatise the police force.

"We're sorry, the police officer normally scheduled to work this patch is having mechanical difficulties and has been temporarily replaced by a replacement bus."

sm0l14 karma

If you are being assaulted: Press 1

If you have been raped: Press 2

To report a theft: Press 3

Please have your credit card details ready, your call is in a queue and will be answered soon.

DonutPills8 karma

how often do you see civilians with illegal firearms?

sm0l21 karma

Thankfully rarely. It's mainly the organised crime groups and inner-city gangs who may have access to firearms and they are dealt with by specialist police firearms teams. Someone once threatened me with a BB gun. Thankfully I could tell that it was a BB gun and managed to talk him down.

G65434-28 karma

Is it true that UK police do not carry firearms?

sm0l30 karma

The majority don't (myself included). I am one of a few who carry a taser. Other than that, it's a good old telescopic baton, incapacitant spray, cuffs and leg straps.

space_monster3 karma

do you get to choose what non-lethal weapons you carry? or is that determined by rank?

sm0l8 karma

Nothing to do with rank. All officers face the same threats (mostly).

All officers are issued with an expandable baton, incapacitant spray (Captor II for anyone who's interested) handcuffs and limb restraints (just big bits of Velcro).

Some officers are being issued with Tasers. This is usually a handful of officers in every shift. They are the ones deployed to incidents involving edged weapons in the first instance. They are not sent to firearms incidents. That's reserved for the firearms officers. They carry a Glock 17 and a G36.

NEED_TP_ASAP2 karma

Not busting your balls but what model is a SIG 17? I thought all their guns were P2xx.

sm0l2 karma

Yeah you're right. I fucked that up. This is what shift work does to the human brain. Edited accordingly.

gwarlad7 karma

Do you see yourself as a servant of society or a servant of civility? For example, do you believe everybody you come across should do as you say or do you not mind people questioning you? Sometimes I'm one of those "protest dicks" and the only police officers I've had any real difficulty with are ones that appear to have an inflated sense of authority and importance.

I say and ask all of above with respect. Partly your job sucks (partly I just hate the established authoritative control). ✌🏻️

sm0l14 karma

To answer your question honestly I would say that I am both. 50/50. I am there to help the public in their times of need and I am there to enforce the laws of the land. I actually enjoy people asking questions. And sometimes I have some quite interesting debates with people about policing matters, sometimes in the back of police car. I know the "protest dicks" you speak of. They are less interested in debate and usually just trying to let off some steam at someone who they think represents the government. Which I suppose on paper I do. There are sadly some who do let it go to their heads. They join the job for the wrong reasons and I have actually been involved in removing someone from their post recently due to this.

Something I was told whilst I was in training always comes to mine during discussions like this. "Do not aim to treat everybody the same. But do treat everyone fairly." That's what try to do.

xrimane7 karma

What does the rank of a police sergeant really mean in practice? In TV shows, a (criminal) sergeant is either the independent sleuth who has some constables around and avoids his inspector boss as much as possible, or is the sidekick who actually hardly does anything by himself (e.g. Bergerac and Midsomer Murders to just compare two John Nettles shows). How independent do you work? How much managing do you do?

sm0l28 karma

The UK police rank structure goes something like this: Constable Sergeant Inspector Chief Inspector Superintendent Chief Superintendent Assistant Chief Constable Deputy Chief Constable Chief Constable

I command a team of 8 officers on a daily basis. I am their line manager. I make certain tactical decisions during the course of the shift.

And yeah I spend some part of my day avoiding the Inspector.

SanshaXII20 karma

For formatting:

Constable

Sergeant

Inspector

Chief Inspector

Superintendant

Chief Superintendent

Assistant Chief Constable

Deputy Chief Constable

Chief Constable

Supreme Overlord

sm0l25 karma

Shh. You're not supposed to know about our reptilian overlords.

legendary24_87 karma

How similar is it for police officers in the UK to use their firearm on duty compared to American officers using their weapon on duty?

In America, it's up to police to make a judgment call on whether or not they should fire. I've heard that in some countries officers have to get approval by a commanding officer (or someone in charge) to use their weapon. Is it like this in the UK?

sm0l19 karma

I would say that around 5% of UK police officers carry firearms. Not sure of the precise figure but it's around that. Typically this is a Glock 17 and a G36 (or an MP5 in some places).

There are times when authority must be sought to approach people with firearms (or even Tasers) drawn. The intelligence is assessed by a commander and then a decision is made whether an armed challenge can be made. It is then up to the officer carrying the weapon to justify its use. That's the case if someone is deployed to an incident where a weapon has been mentioned.

If someone randomly approaches with a gun/knife, there wouldn't be time for authority to be sought so the officers can use their own discretion as to whether they should draw their firearm/Taser.

spackosaurus6 karma

how hard would it be for a mid 20's guy to join the police (no background in anything related) and work his way up with the aim of becoming a detective?

sm0l11 karma

It's definitely doable. I joined when I was 19. I was one of the older trainees in my group. Detective Constable isn't actually a promotion, it's the same level as a standard PC. Once you have completed the mandatory probation period (usually 2 years) you can specialise into a particular role (traffic, firearms, detective etc.) Some forces require a degree before you can apply. Depends where you are.

thebigread4 karma

It also goes a long way to volunteer to the police where possible. I don't know if that's still a thing, but it definitely was a couple of years ago.

sm0l5 karma

Join the 'Special Constabulary'. Become a volunteer officer.

Milligan4 karma

But I hear that you can't trust a Special like an old-time Copper. Also, I seem to be having some difficulty finding my way home.

sm0l2 karma

There aren't any old-time coppers anymore. Where are you?

vonlowe2 karma

Are you able to choose what you specialise in or are you just assigned something? (I study forensics and if I joined the police I'd rather go into something that used my degree well, as CSI jobs are super thin on the ground!)

sm0l2 karma

Yes, once you have completed the probationary period you can apply for posts in specialist departments. I did three years with our traffic unit before getting promoted and moving back to response work. Most CSI (formerly SOCO) are employed as police staff in my force. They are not police officers. I would say going with a private forensics company will be best. You'll be treated better and paid more.

ionwesker5 karma

Which crime TV show would you say most accurate portrays UK policing?

sm0l5 karma

'Happy Valley' does a decent job. 'Babylon' was scarily accurate. The rest are mostly BS.

Most of the fly on the wall documentaries are pretty unrealistic too. They will edit a 6-hour job down to 5 minutes of the best bits. I think that can sometimes have a negative effect on the public's perception of the police,because they don't show how much work goes into some stuff.

'24 hours in police custody' is a good one too.

rkk25 karma

Hi, my question has a few parts.

Are you familiar with problem oriented policing and, in particular, the SARA Model? If so have you ever utilized it, what problem/crime were you trying to solve, and what effect did it have?

sm0l6 karma

It's not something I've heard of over in the UK. I'll have a read about it when I'm less tired.

an0mn0mn0m4 karma

Do you think the bureaucracy is holding the police back from doing quality police work on the streets and if so what would you suggest, if money was no issue, could be done about it?

sm0l8 karma

If money were no issue I would double the number of officers. That's the only way. I probably spend 20% of my time out patrolling, 50% doing paperwork and the rest of the time doing my sergeant duties. There's been a handful of high-profile cases where the police have screwed something up so now everything has to be meticulously recorded and done according to procedure. An example would be that if we are called to a "domestic" and it turns out to be just a petty verbal argument. We have to record a full investigation. anyway. Just to cover ourselves. That takes about an hour each time...and there's a lot of domestic calls in my city. The majority of them turn out to be nothing.

thebigread4 karma

I used to work in Traffic (admin) for the Met and I will always recall a training video relating to an incident down my road where an officer was using his blues and twos at high speed on a personal errand, killing a pedestrian. link

I've always wanted to know......does the command centre/borough HQ know when an officer is driving with blues and twos, in real time? Do they need to have permission to use them (ie confirmation that they're attending a crime scene/chase)?

Edit: link to news article for anyone interested.

sm0l10 karma

There isn't an active monitoring system. All police vehicles in my force area are fitted with black box recorders which are only downloaded if an incident has occurred or a complaint has been received. The new vehicles coming into the fleet are fitted with external and internal cameras which are activated when the blue lights are on. Driving under blue lights is incredibly dangerous, and you'd be amazed at some of the stupid things people do when they see us in their mirror. I don't know of any officers who would willingly abuse that legal exemption, at the end of the day it's your neck on the line.

Melliw44 karma

What are the worst kind of people you have to deal with? My best guess would be big groups of drunk teenagers.

sm0l10 karma

Drunk teenagers are just a minor annoyance. They can sometimes be quite entertaining also.

The worst people I have to deal with are the ones who have committed certain crimes against children.

sushideception4 karma

What part of your job do you like the least, and could you ever see yourself in a field besides law enforcement?

Edit: And what part do you enjoy the most?

sm0l23 karma

I have to deal with some pretty nasty stuff sometimes. Dead bodies do not usually bother me. I've been to loads of deaths and it's never really been an issue. The only times where I really don't like it are when it's a child. That's something which you never really get used to.

I had another job before I joined the police 10 years ago. I worked as a manager in a supermarket. So yeah I could probably go back into a similar job should I decide to leave sometime.

The best part of my job definitely comes when I get to help a genuine victim. So much of my time is spent dealing with pathetic things involving people who should really know better. I go to a lot of domestic violence calls. I would say that probably 1 in 10 are genuine victims of an abusive relationship. The rest of the time I am forced to attend due to a policy stating that action has to be taken. Even if both people are being stupid. Someone has to be removed from the premises. It's stuff like that with annoys me too. But when I get to help someone genuine that really pumps me up and makes me love the job again.

space_monster3 karma

sm0l7 karma

If I had a moustache like that I'd be a chief officer by now.

PyroIsShy4 karma

What made you want to be a policeman officer?

sm0l18 karma

Hot fuzz.

homerunman3 karma

Hey there! Stop by r/TalesFromTheSquadCar sometime, it'd be great to have a little different take on things!

What's your preference for looks - Battenburg livery or the old "jam sandwich"?

sm0l2 karma

I usually drive an unmarked car. But the blue/yellow looks pretty cool in my book.

rossputman2 karma

Any tips on how to identify an unmarked car?

sm0l14 karma

No.

FishyJizzSmell3 karma

sm0l12 karma

The second one.

I like purple?

FishyJizzSmell5 karma

Mikuru?

Not a massively popular choice, but you could do a lot worse.

Congratulations, you now have a waifu that will make you tea and cosplay.

sm0l13 karma

Great.

Uncle_Diamond3 karma

How do police in the UK look at policing in the US?

sm0l5 karma

There seems to be a lot more emphasis on asserting dominance over the public in the US, sometimes by escalating situations. Whereas in the UK we are geared more towards de-escalation and using tactical communications to talk people around to seeing sense. This works some of the time but we still have the other options should we need them.

DasKraftwerk3 karma

I'm British myself, and I do have to say that I am very grateful for the work you do in the community, especially during trying times such as these. What do you think that people should do or know so that we can get on better with local police forces?

sm0l2 karma

Don't believe what you read about the police in the media. We're actually a really friendly bunch.

Lenok253 karma

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Also, why could it be bad to post online about it?

sm0l13 karma

The best part of my job is when I get to help a genuine victim. And another great part is when I get to arrest someone who has given us a chase, or put up a fight. They are very rewarding. I had a great job recently where someone who was wanted for a serious assault crime was spotted in a car. He managed to crash it into a tree, he then fled on foot across some fields. The helicopter lifted and a police dog went after him but in the end I managed to sneak up on him. That was awesome. One of my favourite collars.

We have very strict "professional standards" rules. I am not allowed to post about being a police officer anywhere online because it "may have a detrimental impact on the police force's reputation". I'm not even allowed to wear any part of my uniform when travelling to and from work. It's stupid stuff like that which gets me down now and then. I'm proud to do this job.

spoodie8433 karma

I'm hoping to join the met police when I'm older, I'm going to go to college and do a Public Services Btec but would like some advice for joining the police force. So, what is the best advice you have for someone who wants to join the police force?

sm0l3 karma

I always liken it to that bit in the Shawshank Redemption. You have to crawl through a river of shit to get to where you want to be. Good luck to you.

Wayln2 karma

What was the training and education required for the job? Do police in the UK carry guns? And do you have an opinion on the police brutality in the US right now?

sm0l5 karma

18 weeks training then 2 years of tutored probation. Most of us are unarmed. I have never been to the US or met any US police. I try to ignore the media as it's rarely unbiased.

kevpool2 karma

Did you ever read "Wasting Police Time?" by ex-Staffordshire copper, Stuart Davidson writing as PC David Copperfield? If so, is it reflective of your experiences? If not, why not?

sm0l4 karma

I have actually. Good read. A lot of true-to-life stuff in there with sprinkling of artistic license.

spellers2 karma

what are your personal views on the charles de menezes and mark dugan incidednts?

obviously this draws a few similarities with what has happened recently with the US.

sm0l2 karma

Well I can't comment that much because I wasn't there. But, I know how much training and planning goes into firearms operations. They are not done half-heartedly or without purpose. You have to remember that there are similar operations being conducted 24/7 and you never hear about the ones which go without fault, taking armed criminals off the streets. As far as I'm concerned, based upon the public evidence I've seen, the shooting of Duggan was entirely justified. The Menezes case is an unfortunate and tragic one. There were a lot of contributory factors and, ultimately, the fault lies with the officers who were working that day.

I do think that body worn video should be introduced for all officers to avoid problems like this in future.

meat_croissant2 karma

If you were made Home Secretary tomorrow, what changes would you make?

PS. if I was American, I'd thank you for your service, but I'm British, so I won't.

sm0l3 karma

  • Increase funding to the Police.
  • Increase funding to the Ambulance Service.
  • Increase funding to the Fire Service.
  • Increase funding to the Armed Forces.
  • Decrease government spending.
  • Apply immigration controls and introduce proper checks.
  • Reform the human rights act.
  • Reform the crown prosecution service.
  • Build larger prisons.
  • Renationalise existing prisons.
  • Renationalise everything else.

I could go on.

GFY_EH2 karma

What was the reaction to Constable Dan Woodalls shooting death in the line of duty in the UK? Canadian officer originally from the UK, and was originally an officer their. I for 1 was impressed at how many officers from the UK came for the funeral and participated in the procession.

sm0l4 karma

I'm always surprised how far officers will travel for police funerals. An entire city was brought to a standstill at one of the more recent ones. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murders_of_Nicola_Hughes_and_Fiona_Bone

Birdwatchingyou2 karma

What is your favorite species of bird?

sm0l12 karma

I like Great Tits.

WolfmanComplex2 karma

I lived in the UK for a bit due to work. Do you think it's a bit excessive to have security cameras pretty much everywhere in the cities? I bet it cost a lot of money to have a few guys always looking at them.

sm0l2 karma

The police maintain very few CCTV cameras. They are usually owned by local councils and you'll find that nobody is manning them most of the time. That's true for my city anyway. They are always recording but whether they're pointing towards the crime taking place is sheer luck.

__--byonin--__2 karma

I'm a bit late to the party so I hope my question doesn't get buried.

What's your opinion on the legalisation of cannabis? What severity do you take on 'grey area' drugs in general?

sm0l3 karma

Personally I'm a believer in scientific evidence. It's safer than alcohol. I'll pile some anecdotal evidence on top of that by saying that it's far easier to deal with people who are high on weed than a drunk person. I'm all for legalising it.

RawrEZ2 karma

What is your favourite type of donut?

sm0l5 karma

Jam.

MasterFrost012 karma

Do you think Brexit is going to have a positive, negative or inconsequential affect on the police force?

sm0l3 karma

Positive. Public services were being cut to the bone before Brexit, and it's recently been announced that the austerity measures will be relaxed. Hopefully the police will get the funding they need to operate properly soon.

Another effect will undoubtedly be a small reduction in crimes committed by foreign nationals. We have a lot of issues with certain sections of the Romanian community at the moment. A lot of acquisitive crimes are being recorded where the suspects are of Romanian descent.

MinoTux2 karma

How much paperwork do you have to do? Is it painful?

sm0l6 karma

I do a lot of necessary paperwork, that goes towards making us the most accountable police force in the world. There is also a lot of unnecessary paperwork which takes hours to complete and it only there to cover our arses. I made reference to domestic incidents in another question. We have to fill out an entire book even if it was a petty verbal argument. If someone called the police, we have to do it. All because there have been one or two cases where police have attended a minor argument, gone away, and then a week later someone's been murdered. Then it apparently becomes the police's fault. I'm getting pretty sick of that attitude.

thatstoomuchsauce2 karma

How would you describe the general morale of the police right now? My dad recently left after almost 30 years, an part of the reason was that he and his colleagues all felt that the bureaucracy were taking the heart out of the job and replacing it with paperwork.

sm0l4 karma

Pretty damn low. I've had officers break down in front of me and go off sick with stress due to the enormous pressure that they're under. They sometimes have to make decisions in a fraction of a second which will be analysed for months in a court room. There is also a very clear media bias against the police which can be really quite degrading to people who put their lives on the line to protect the public.

Loudmouthedcrackpot2 karma

Are the helmets part of the uniform for female police officers?

I've only ever seen them wearing the hats (which, again, are different to the men's hats).

sm0l4 karma

Nope, female officers get bowler hats. Some forces are being boring and making all officers wear flat caps which I think are a bit rubbish. They're also quite uncomfortable.

Hickorywhat2 karma

Don't know if this has been asked but...: is the law still there about not being able to refuse a pregnant woman's request to borrow your hat as a loo?

And have you actually had someone ask this of you?

sm0l3 karma

Every bloody time...

No it's not a law. It's never been a law. Nobody seems to know where that comes from.

And every time I do a public order shift in the town centre I get asked by multiple drunken hen-party attendees whether they can urinate in my headgear.

Doesn't make sense anyway, there's vent holes.

IllCaesar2 karma

How do you deal with the perpetually/willingly homeless?

sm0l8 karma

It's a really tough thing to deal with. We just don't have anything to offer these people. I have a regular in the city I work in. He will go out and smash a window just go he gets arrested and can spend a night in a cell. There's just nowhere else for them to go. There are night shelters and asylums, but they won't accept people who are drunk or on drugs. So they end up on the streets. It's sad.

IllCaesar1 karma

Are any officers particularly wary of them? In my experience here in the United States police officers are either pretty relaxed about transients and don't think of them as much of an or they think they're some of the most dangerous and volatile folks out there and get an itchy trigger finger when dealing with them.

sm0l4 karma

Not massively. They generally aren't bad people. They are victims of a sad life. Addicted to substances and forced into theft (or worse) to feed their addictions. I'm wary of things like needle sticks or getting spat at though. I suppose my equivalent of an itchy trigger finger would be reaching down and having a hand on my spray canister.

BigBizzle1512 karma

Is the 'us vs. them' attitude as prevalent in UK policing as it seems to be in the US?

sm0l8 karma

I wouldn't say so. One of the principles of policing in the UK is "The public are the police and the police are the public".

AiiM2 karma

How do you see the treatment of police officers against British youths (especially with treatment against Asians and black youths) and vice versa?

sm0l5 karma

Honestly I don't even think about it. I don't really see racism in the police. It's a media bandwagon which people love to jump on but I just don't understand how people can label all police as racists.

Traz_Onmale2 karma

What type of collegue do you hate working with?

sm0l7 karma

Every police officer I work with or who works under me is different. Some are good to work with. Some are not. Some are friendly. Some are not. When I first got promoted to sergeant I was 25. I had a few officer in their 40's working under me to resented the fact that I was so young and in charge. That took a bit of working out.

Owlstorm2 karma

There have been several news articles suggesting that racist incidents have increased since the brexit vote.

Have you seen much of this in practice?

sm0l6 karma

Recorded hate-crime has been increasing over the last few years. That's mainly down for increased support for victims and increased encouragement to report it. There certainly hasn't been any huge spike where I work. It's just the media latching on to anything they can find...

blueSky_Runner2 karma

Hi,

Thanks for taking the time to do this AMA. I have a question about stop and search. It's quite a political topic but do you personally feel that having the ability to carry out a stop and search makes your job harder or easier?

sm0l5 karma

Definitely easier. It's a really useful tool. People often have misconceptions about S&S and think we use it for 'fishing'. In reality it's a tool which allows us to prevent making unnecessary arrests. To perform a stop/search we need to have similar grounds to what we would need to arrest someone. So if someone matches the description of a shoplifter, or someone who has been seen selling drugs, it's far easier to search them at the side of the road and then let them go than it is to arrest them on suspicion of those offences, take them into custody and then search them at a police station to find that they really were telling the truth. It's designed to make the public's lives easier to be honest.

logiebear342 karma

How do you think that the UK should protect itself against similar attacks to those in France? Do you think that the actions that the government has so far made are sufficient?

sm0l9 karma

The UK is a bit of a special case. People like the idea of the police being unarmed. It's our 'unique selling point'. I think that sadly those days are numbered now and the government must start to take serious steps to reinforce our firearms capabilities. Especially outside London. There's a story today about there being 600 extra armed police in London. That's lovely, but I live and work in a large city where there's probably only 6 armed officers working at any time. It's a bit scary.

[deleted]2 karma

[deleted]

sm0l5 karma

I use discretion and common sense. If it's busy, ride on the road. If the road is busy/narrow/whatever and the pavement is clear it's a no-brainer. It's unlikely you would get a ticket unless you were doing something really dangerous.

celerym1 karma

Hey OP, thank you for taking the time to do this! I'm wondering about the kind of person you need to be to make a good police person. For example I'm mentally unstable and have serious problems with authority, so I've never remotely considered law enforcement or military jobs. Most police I've had interaction with seem to be straightforward, stable, reliable types of people. Would you say that's an important part of the position?

sm0l1 karma

You've got to be able to remain level-headed in stressful situations. Being able to empathise with people without becoming emotionally involved is another necessary quality.

[deleted]1 karma

[deleted]

sm0l2 karma

Well a lot of forces now require people to have a degree. I don't personally agree with this as I don't feel that a degree can really set you up to become an officer. To become a detective you need to join up, complete training and then complete (usually) 2 years of probation on a response policing team with a tutor. After that you can choose to specialise.

_________________--1 karma

How much police time is spent dealing with drunk people or alcohol related incidents?

sm0l6 karma

Oh loads. If we locked up everyone who actually committed the offence of being drunk and disorderly we would fill up our cells in 20 minutes.

Batraxin1 karma

What're the common firearms that you guys carry on you during patrol? My dad always sported his 40 glock when on duty, which I inherited and love it. They also supplied him with an AR-15 and combat shotgun(dunno what kind), but small town so never really had to use it.

sm0l4 karma

Typically, firearms officers will carry a Sig 17 all the time as their side arm. They will then have either a G36 or an MP5 which is usually kept in a gun safe in the vehicle until there is a call to an incident involving firearms. There's also other stuff like an AEP launcher and specialist kit which I can't really go into.

ItsRainbowz1 karma

How do you keep your composure when dealing with "awkward" people? There've been plenty of times I've seen some drunk guy mouthing off to a policeman, using every expletive under the sun, but they just stay completely calm. Do you just get used to it, or is it difficult to ignore?

sm0l5 karma

It sounds strange but I actually enjoy the challenge. Usually they can call me all the names under the sun and it won't bother me. I'll start getting the cuffs out if they threaten me directly or if they are shouting and swearing so loudly that it's affecting other people in a public place. If not I can take it all pretty much. That is unless I've been standing outside a nightclub for 6 hours on a cold night and I'm pissed off. Then my tether will be somewhat shorter.

chatshowhost1 karma

Whats your opinion of the NCA? Is it any different to SOCA or was it just a name change?

sm0l2 karma

Yeah they do the same as SOCA did pretty much. Large scale seizures and organised crime work.

sm0l6 karma

They also get cool leather jackets as part of their uniform.

Vio_Amethyst1 karma

Did you join the force as a Special, or go straight into a paid position? Which way would you recommend to someone interested in joining themselves?

sm0l2 karma

I was a special for a year before I joined as a regular officer. Would definitely recommend it. Really opened my eyes.

nomogoslo1 karma

How do you feel about the police vs citizens tension in the US?

sm0l4 karma

I think it's pretty sad. There's clearly a lot of issues there. I'm sure it's not as bad as it's being played out as in the media though.

GodofWar12341 karma

Are there many British military veterans who look to working as a police officer a good job?

And if so, are there any military veterans in your team(s)/unit(s)?

sm0l5 karma

Yeah there seems to be a lot of ex-forces people in the police. A couple on my team are. There seems to be 3 jobs you can do after being in the UK military. Police, fire service or BT engineer. That's what they tell me anyway!

EliVlach1 karma

What's the nicest thing you've seen at work?

sm0l9 karma

I like doing community events (get to do fewer and fewer of them these days). So stuff like visiting a local school and speaking to the kids. Showing them the police car etc. Stuff like that I love doing.

Nicest thing I've seen... saw a lovely peacock the other day.

EliVlach1 karma

Peacocks may look nice, but they make one hell of a noise at dawn!

sm0l1 karma

I know. There are times where I've genuinely chased them away in my morning sleepy state.

imakenosensetopeople1 karma

Have you watched the BBC reboot of Sherlock, with Benedict Cumberbacht?

Also, a common argument in the US about gun control is that "the criminals won't follow the laws anyways" so it won't really keep guns from the hands of criminals. What is your experience with gun wielding criminals?

sm0l6 karma

Nope. Sorry. And Benedict Cumberbatch is a tad annoying anyway.

I've never come up against a criminal wielding a gun. We simply don't have a supply of guns in this country. As for the argument in the US, they're only criminals after the pull the trigger. A lot of the incidents involve legally owned firearms.

AngloKiwi1 karma

Were you serving at the time of the London riots? How do you think the police force delt with that, and what do you think they could do better next time?

During the Riots I saw footage of what appeared to be some sort of armoured cars being used, any idea what they were?

Recently it was announced that The Met was getting an extra 600 armed officers, do you think this is needed or is it just taking 600 officers off the streets?

How likley do you think it is for the UK to be hit by a major terroist attack?

What are your views of the growing Black Lives Matter movement in the UK?

sm0l4 karma

Were you serving at the time of the London riots? How do you think the police force delt with that, and what do you think they could do better next time?

Yes, I was called to work in London. That was pretty difficult work. It quickly became a case of damage control. Protecting ambulance/fire crews was something I never thought I'd have to do. I think it caught the police off-guard. We're not set up for large scale disorder in this country because it's so uncommon. We don't use water cannon. We don't use tear gas. We use plastic shields and wooden poles.

During the Riots I saw footage of what appeared to be some sort of armoured cars being used, any idea what they were?

Some forces do have armoured vehicles. They were probably in use due to the massive amount of police on duty. It would've probably been a case of finding any available police vehicle to use. Of they may have been a specialist firearms team. No idea to be honest.

Recently it was announced that The Met was getting an extra 600 armed officers, do you think this is needed or is it just taking 600 officers off the streets?

That's lovely for London, but there is the rest of the country to think about too. To be honest 600 isn't that many. There will probably only be 100 extra working at any one time when you take into account rest days/training days. 100 extra spread over London is a drop in the ocean.

How likley do you think it is for the UK to be hit by a major terroist attack?

I think it's imminent.

What are your views of the growing Black Lives Matter movement in the UK?

That's an odd one. I think there's a much deeper social phenomena occurring there. I certainly don't think there's a problem of police killing unarmed black men in the UK. Given that only 2 people have been shot so far this year. I think it's more of a case of a certain generation trying to emulate generations from decades gone by when there were social injustices to fight against. Nowadays they live in a relatively safe and fair world. I don't really understand it myself.

onlytech_nofashion1 karma

Do you know any Angus McCloud?

sm0l1 karma

No.

[deleted]1 karma

[deleted]

sm0l16 karma

To be honest, in the UK I would say that it's far less of an issue than in the US. Only two people have been shot dead by police this year although that's probably an unfair comparison given that there are far fewer guns in the UK. We've got it fairly good over here. I would happily argue that the British police service is the most accountable and scrutinised police force in existence. It's not without its failings, and those are all well known. I think that there is a degree of anger against British police which comes solely as a result of what people read in the media and a large proportion of negative police stories in the UK press relates to US police strangely enough. At the end of the day, the papers like reporting bad stuff. It's what people want to hear and it's how they make money.

modog110 karma

How annoying do you find the ambulance crews who wait outside a house for an hour for you when you have 20 ongoing incidents and are down 50% of your workforce, all because the patient they are there for apparently has a knife, and then when you arrive it turns out to be a 17 year old with a pencil sharpener blade...? :-P

sm0l5 karma

It's not their fault. They have policies and procedures just like us. I feel for them sometimes. They often get to incidents first and they don't have stab vests or protective equipment.

GoodOne_-1 karma

How do you deal with yourself? Are you a supporter of our system?

sm0l2 karma

Can you expand on your question? I'm not sure what you're getting at.