Monday 22 April 11:49
World crashing down
As a custody sergeant I have heard and witnessed behaviour and acts from people detained from the bizarre and dangerous to the friendly almost happy to be here. There is one offence which gives a fairly generic response from a person brought into custody and that is drink driving. Now there are some people for whom it is their third or fourth time and really don’t appear to care or those that have long police records for a various offences and look at drink driving as a minor offence. But for the most it is previously unknown usually law abiding citizens who for whatever reason have had too much to drink and made the decision to drive.
The response you get when initially booking the person into custody is upset with themselves and the realisation that they have been arrested and detained for drink driving. They next provide breath samples on the EBTI (Evidential Breath Testing Instrument) and come back to the bridge area with officers to inform me of the result. It’s then you see the person think about what they are now facing being a period in a cell to sober up, charge and bail to court and then a likely ban for at least a year or more. They then think of the knock on effects of this outcome, no licence, no driving (well not if you don’t want to be arrested for disqualified driving), no way to get to work as most people don’t work within walking distance of their work, no job or loss of earnings, criminal record, pressure on family life, the list goes on.
Our society and lives are often tied with our mobility and taking this ability away is life changing. More so if another person becomes a victim of the person senseless act and is injured or killed. Drink driving still remains one of the top killers and causes of serious injures to other road users. What amazes me is that for the most they only drive a short distance, too lazy to walk a couple of miles home from the pub or ‘it will be ok I only need to get the other side of town’. I know a taxi can seem expensive but take into account of the above potential results and it seems nonsensical.
So next time you are planning a night out think how am I getting home. The advert currently on the TV where the barman goes through the results of being arrested for drink driving says it all. If you choose to ignore all the advice and ’chance your luck’ may we will meet at custody near you and ‘see your world crashing down around you’. #THINKNOTDRINK
Saturday 16 March 14:26
Recent snow inspired addition to officers kit, ‘the baton shovel’. This simple addition clips to the end of an extended baton to provide the officer with means to get on. Patent pending on the idea.
Monday 11 March 16:31
Alcohol related crime
Sussex police are working with partners from Action for Change in a joint initiative to tackle the cause of low level alcohol related crime in a new workshop scheme for offenders. The idea behind scheme is that drunken offenders who are arrested for drunk and disorderly, minor public order and criminal damage who are issued with a fixed penalty ticket currently set at £80 will have the option to instead pay £40 to attend a 3 hour workshop on alcohol. The workshops are in small groups of other people who find themselves in this situation. The workshops are run by experienced alcohol specialist trainers from Action for Change, who will provide information about alcohol and its effects. Action for Change is an East Sussex base charity with over 20 years experience of providing alcohol information, advice and treatment. This is similar in idea to that of the driver awareness course used for people caught speeding. It is hoped that by educating and advising people that their re-offending may reduce or stop. To find out more about the course please call Action for Change on 01323 721000.
Monday 11 March 16:11
Mobile fingerprint devices in custody
All of Sussex custody centres will shortly be equipped with a mobile fingerprint device. The device is a small unit linked to a mobile phone which allows the scanning of just two fingers to identify a link with the Police National Computer (PNC). There are many advantages of this over livescan (which is the big static fingerprint scanner), such as you are not trying to restrain a person with officers in front of a machine worth tens of thousands of pounds to ascertain their identity while risking harm to them, the officers and expensive equipment. The device will be mainly used in a situation when a detainee is refusing details or too volatile to ascertain these or are unknown to police. It may also be used for a detainee for example detained Section 136 of the Mental Health Act, who has refused details or appears unable to communicate with officers. This would be if there were genuine substantial concern for that person and that by ascertaining any details from PNC which may assist in their welfare and care, such as warning/medical markers, missing person etc. This device will assist in providing potential vital information towards the safer handling of detainees within Sussex Police custody. I will update more once devices have gone live with examples of their use.
Monday 21 January 11:59
We have a new member of the custody team today, tascor the station cat.
Monday 21 January 08:00
Making a difference
As Sussex is gripped by sub zero temperatures, ice and snow, it shows how much the weather effects policing. We often refer to PC Rain who on a wet evening will have a massive proactive policing effect on public order, as most people just want to go home or not go out in first place. Well it seems the same can be said about this cold and snowy period we are having.
The snow also gives you some hope for society as you see neighbours who normally hardly talk to each other or even know each others names, out together clearing their street of ice and snow. Is this just the British spirit of pulling together in the face of adversity? Wouldn’t it be great if we could build on this, take the opportunity to at least check that your neighbour is ok? We all have elderly people living in our communities who are often at higher risk this time of year from the cold. Do we really need politicians to tell us about ‘big society’? I’m sure those neighbours out clearing their street didn’t wait for an MP to tell them, they just got on with the job. So why not make a difference today, check your neighbour is ok and I guarantee that you will feel good about yourself. The concept of big society is this simple.
Tuesday 25 December 09:11
Christmas in the Dungeons
Happy Christmas from all here at Eastbourne custody. Working Christmas day is never a good thing but someone has to do it and being a police officer means business as usual. This morning I managed to creep out of the house at 5.30 without waking up my 4 year old son, who is now probably now jumping around to house very excited. Unfortunately we don’t have any chimneys in custody so no presents here.
I arrived this morning to find 7 people detained in our 21 cell capacity custody block and the smell of stale alcohol and wee. Out of these we have an Eastbourne man who has been charged and refused bail for burglary dwelling, he will be here until tomorrow and then transferred to Brighton Magistrates and likely will spend his new year in prison. There are 2 drink drivers who face a new year with no licence. A man for arrested a violent offence in Eastbourne, with a hammer and another man for last minute Christmas shopping without the paying part. A young woman detained under mental health act for her own safety, she will be assessed later this morning by a mental health team. And of course it would not be Christmas without the drunk. Who is a 19 year old lad who just did not know when to stop celebrating and when not to carry on being disorderly when police arrived. He has just got a nice Christmas present of an £80 fine to go with his hang over.
So we will spend the day dealing with these people and anyone else who decides to commit offences and get arrested. When you are enjoying your Christmas have a thought for not just myself but my colleagues from Reliance who work alongside police in custody and all the officers in Sussex who are working today to keep Sussex safe. Have a happy and safe Christmas.
Wednesday 19 December 22:59
They save lives
Twitter has lots of tweets about which is trying to get more defibrillators in locations to save lives. What about an App for smart phones with every location/building that has a defibrillator. This can also link to your satnav as a location setting for who/where the nearest defibrillator is. They save lives. .
Wednesday 19 December 20:41
Even in custody trying to get into the festive spirit.
Thursday 29 November 13:03
Made Monday’s scary day all
the more worthwhile.
Tuesday 27 November 15:01
A few weeks ago my 4 year old son asked me ‘dad can you come in a help for the morning in my class’? As this is something the school encourage I spoke to his teacher. Being a police officer I offered to come in uniform and give the class a talk about keeping safe and stranger danger. I ran this past the local school liaison officer PC Kemp and she kindly provided me lots of goodies to hand out to the children. I arranged a date with the teacher who then said ‘well I’m due to lead the lower school assembly next week, could you come in then and talk to the school’?
So yesterday I found myself looking at around 80 children from 4 to 7 years old while I stood at the front on stage. Having never spoken to a large group of children in this type of environment before, I was slightly scared to be honest. This may sound daft but I was completely out of my comfort zone. Give me a large group of drunken adults at 3am in morning all wanting to have a fight, no problem. A community meeting with several disgruntle people asking about policing issues again no problem. But 80 children all focused on what you are about to say, well that’s a different thing. I don’t think it helped having the head of year and their teachers all of which are very professional and experienced in these matters standing watching me.
Fortunately I had done some planning and had a lot of help and advice from my wife who is a primary school teacher. So with the help of her revised powerpoint and a big gulp of air I told the children all about my role in Sussex Police and that I was going to tell them about stranger danger. What got their attention was the pile of police uniform that I had gathered and telling them I would choose a few volunteers at the end to come up and dress up. So I gave the talk and they all seem to get the message, all remembering the three important rules Yell-Run-Tell. I then had a dozen or more of egger volunteers on stage dressed in various jackets, jumpers and hats, with one proud son in middle dressed in his own police uniform.
Monday 26 November 13:29
The custody centre dry cells help us preserve vital evidence.
Tuesday 13 November 09:16
And now for what you’ve all been waiting for: I begin my tour of the custody centre cells.
Tuesday 6 November 02:06
And the result is?
I have spent the last 6 months revising for the Inspectors exam which I sat on 2nd of October. This was 150 questions in 3 hours. The past 5 weeks have been a nervous wait pending the results, as I really had no idea how well it went other than I did answer all the questions with 10 minutes left. Today I came into to work, opened my emails to find ‘Ospre confidential feedback report’. It was with some apprehension that I opened this to find that I had passed which was a great relief. This is just the first of many hurdles to become an Inspector. I now need to gather evidence for an interview at a later date when the force next decide to run interviews.
As you can see we have been adding video blogs of various parts of the custody block and there are more to come soon. Is there anything that you have ever wondered about custody and would like to know more about? If so just ask via here or via twitter SussexPoliceCus.
Tuesday 30 October 15:12
When someone is taken into custody for a drink driving matter, this is the Evidential Breath Testing Implement (EBTI) we use.
Thursday 18 October 10:23
In the next installment from my tour of custody, find out what happens when detainees are booked in before a Custody Sergeant.
As part of this process, I have to decide whether the arrest was lawful and authorise the detention.
Sunday 14 October 14:52
Today due to only 5 people detained I was out and about of an hour in a patrol car. I and another Sergeant transferred a lady detained in custody under the Mental Health Act to the local hospital. We then attended an address of a woman wanted for several shopliftings in Eastbourne. Unfortunately the address we had for our suspect was answered by an elderly lady and clearly was not where our suspect is living. A few enquires later we were banging on the right front door of the suspect. Unfortunately no answer but we now know where to look and she can expect some early morning calls soon.
A patrol through the town centre and sea front. Then along Seaside Road and various roads adjacent. Could find no criminals but lots of people enjoying the cold but bright sunny day. Back to custody to update the officer of the above new address. Great to be out in fresh air even for only an hour.
Wednesday 10 October 10:51
Over the next few weeks I’ll be posting video tours of the custody centre. In this one I take you from the vehicle holding bay area through to the bridge area.
Monday 8 October 02:30
Inspirational Community Project
I recently became aware of this inspired community focused project called Casserole. The idea behind Casserole helps people share extra portions of home cooked food with others in their area who might not always be able to cook for themselves. Casserole is all about looking at the small and unique contributions we can each make by cooking an extra meal along with our own and giving it to someone who might appreciate it. When it comes to cooking dinner, it doesn’t take much extra time to add one more portion to the mix, but the value of that extra portion to someone who lives on your street and struggles to get out and about amounts to much more than just a meal. As a Casserole volunteer, you might build relationships with people you would never otherwise encounter. Casserole was born out of a desire to help bring communities together.
How often have you thought ‘I really don’t know my neighbours or those who live in my community’? We have all heard the politicians talk of ‘big society’. This project is a very simple way to link and cement communities placing an element of care, compassion and respect which is so often missing in today’s busy society. Currently the project operates in Surrey but is looking to expand. As a police officer this project impressed as it focuses on key values we endeavour to provide the community we serve. Check out firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or sign up as a volunteer. It’s the small things in life that we do which can make all the difference.
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Monday 17 September 11:32
Yesterday came into Eastbourne to find we had 19 people in custody and 1 cell left empty. Spent most of the day trying to get these individuals dealt with. As usual had a few of the recurring faces, one being a 16 year old lad who seems to spend as much time in here as I do. This lad was here for yet another low level crime this time being criminal damage to a door. The lad was charged and refused bail to place before the courts today. He didn’t take this very well and became very upset and punched himself in face and had to be restrained until he calmed down a little.
This morning came on duty and completed my block check of those detained overnight. The same lad after spending the night in a cell had plenty of time to think about his life. He agreed that he was the only person who could take control of his life and make the changes to stop him coming here. He realises that if he does not change he will end up in prison and does not want this. He left for court and hopefully he will draw a line under his current situation and make the changes necessary.
Cases such as this young lad are sad part of being a custody sergeant, as you see these young people throwing away their life and prospects for the future. Sometimes you end up thinking are they a lost cause? Only time will tell with this lad. He has been provided with assistance from social services and youth offending but as with anyone it takes them to want to change for change to happen.