This is odd, yes

Police are having to “give tip-offs and notify gangsters who are fighting each other” rather than investigate crimes because of the Human Rights Act, a former justice minister has said.

Dominic Raab, who was in charge of human rights policy at the Ministry of Justice until the summer, said it was an example of “human rights being turned into an obligation”.

The warning letters – also known as Osman warnings – are issued by police if they become aware of a real and immediate threat to somebody’s life.

Police issue them when there is intelligence of a threat to someone’s life, but not enough evidence to justify the police arresting the possible offender.

“Dear One Ear,

Billy sez he’s gonna do you in.

yours, Plod”

Umm, sorry, but how did we get here?

59 comments on “This is odd, yes

  1. I suppose it makes a tiny bit of sense – I’ve not the slightest concern for the feral scum, but innocents could get caught in the crossfire.

  2. Also….

    “The Osman letters are named after London businessman Ali Osman, who was murdered by Paul Paget-Lewis, a teacher at his son’s school, in 1988.

    Courts heard Paget-Lewis had formed a “disturbing” attachment to Mr Osman’s son, Ahmet, then 14, and at one point told police he was considering committing a massacre.

    In March 1988, he stole a gun, killed Mr Osman and shot and seriously injured Ahmet.

    In 1998, the Osman family successfully argued in the European Court of Human Rights that the Metropolitan Police had breached Mr Osman’s right to life because it had all the information it needed to deal with the threat.”

    It’s a bit rich the police whinging about a procedure taking their precious time when it’s their own lackadaisical approach on another case that’s led to this situation in the first place!

  3. What a weird story – who (being reasonably well-informed) doesn’t know of Osman Warnings? The Telegraph, obviously.

    Paget-Lewis ‘at one point told police he was considering committing a massacre’.

    The cops may have acted in a lackadaisical way – but what should they have done? They probably get a thousand people a day saying this kind of thing.

  4. They probably do get a thousand drunks, druggies and nutcases saying it.

    Would any of them be a schoolteacher at a school? Who’d attacked the family house and shown increasingly odd behaviour like changing his name by deed poll to that of his obsession?

  5. From the ‘Indy’:

    “In December he told an ILEA inspector that he would ‘do another Hungerford’. That was also passed to police.

    Two days later, detectives went to Paget-Lewis’s home to arrest him for criminal damage. He was not there. ‘Between then and three months later, the police did not arrest Paget-Lewis. It was their failure to arrest that allowed Paget-Lewis to commit the murder,’ he said.

    Shortly after the arrest attempt, detectives took a statement from a person whose car had been rammed by Paget- Lewis who said that the teacher had said he was not worried ‘because he would end up doing life. This ought to have put police on their guard,’ Mr Hendry said.”

    Well, quite!

  6. I’ve never heard of Osman warnings either. It’s probably a question of the circles one moves in with some of us in all likelihood frequenting more salubrious surroundings than others.

    ‘ere, In’rested, nah offence mate.

  7. Yeah but it’s always easy in hindsight. This bloke should have been locked up in a loony bin, but there are c30,000 cops trying to deal with eight million peoples’ problems. Only a fifth (ish) of those 30,000 cops are working at any one time (three shifts, holiday, rest days, sick days, court appearances, courses etc) so let’s say that there are 6,000 cops policing eight million people at any one time. (Not to mention all the other people who commute or fly in to London every day.)

    Now, lots of those cops are doing stuff that does not involve dealing with the public – custody, guarding scenes, diplomatic protection, patrolling airports, driving round pulling motorists for speeding, working on surveillance etc etc.

    Of those who are dealing with the public, they are dealing with the crimes, mental issues, and timewasting complaints of the aforementioned eight million people.

    Those issues range from going to every suspicious death in the capital to dealing with road accidents to investigating murder, rape, robbery, cyber crime and gang crime, to breaking up pub fights and domestics to pinching people for to criminal damage and shoplifting to insane blokes saying ‘I’m going to end up doing life’.

    Not to mention, every single arrest they make takes hours to process, thanks to the govt’s insane paperwork, and that they’re constantly looking over their shoulders in case their mates dob them in for saying something off colour.

    It all sounds very different years later in a courtroom, but in the above context the fact that some nutter changes his name (not a crime) and is accused of criminal damage (a crime, but you need evidence), and makes melodramatic and slightly abstract threats, and is actually the one in x,000 who goes on to do what in hindsight he was planning to do doesn’t surprise me. If you want to arrest everyone who you (reasonably) think might actually pull a stunt of this type you are going to need a lot more cops and life is going to be a lot less liberal than it already is.

    The old bill visited his house to arrest him, and he wasn’t there. They put him on the PNC and were keeping a look out for him, but if they’d hung around his house all week waiting for him to show, and in the meantime someone else had been murdered by Dave, another nutter they weren’t trying to arrest because they were looking for ‘Paget-Lewis’, you’d be moaning about the time they wasted on Paget-Lewis and how shite they are because they didn’t nick Dave when they ought to have.

    I am not saying the cops are perfect – they’re not. The system is particularly shit – we have too many laws, and the bad eggs the cops do arrest spend far too little time in clink while they waste time and money on eg bullshit drugs offences.

    But they have an almost literally impossible job to do and I for one won’t be criticising them (as individual officers) on the basis either of a report in the ‘Indy’ or on the pontifications in a courtroom far away of a bunch of bewigged cunts with no concept at all of what real life is like.

    (I’m not a copper, from my former life I do know a few who went into it.)

  8. @TMB no offence taken (and I have no criminal record 🙂 ) But they are a well-known thing – they’ve been talked about in the papers for years.

  9. Thinking about it, they are well-known to some people because of the Northern Ireland context – they get dished out with your morning paper over there. On the mainland it probably is gangsters, so ignorance of them (if you also don’t know much about NI) is understandable.

  10. And one final point, on Tims ‘how did we get here’ question. The cops are there to prevent crime, not just to mop up afterwards (Peel’s first principle, I think, and one with which most sensible people would surely agree).

    I would imagine that a lot of these threats are time limited – PC Smith hears on the GV that Jimmy’s doing to do Phil over because he’s heard that Phil’s been dissing him (Jimmy). Phil gets told and lies low for a bit, giving Jimmy time to cool down. It’s only a theory.

    And yes, these people are often revolting, filthy cunts. But the old joke of ‘why don’t we just let them all kill each other’, while superficially attractive, is hardly liberal.

  11. Interested: “Yeah but it’s always easy in hindsight. “

    Sure, but this isn’t just Monday morning quarterbacking here, is it? This guy should have been tripping all the red lights on any threat assessment scale you want to mention.

    Hell, anyone who watched a few episodes of ‘Criminal Minds’ would categorise him as ‘likely to blow’. But not our so highly trained plod?

  12. @Julia

    ‘This guy should have been tripping all the red lights on any threat assessment scale you want to mention. ‘

    Yes, but how many people trip these red lights every day, especially when you look at it in the cold light of day three months later? Loads. How many cops are there? Very few. They went to nick him, he wasn’t there. They put him on the system. But I don’t think (personally, on the facts as I know them) they could have justified a round the clock surveillance of his gaff.

    @rumpole

    ‘Incompetence may be right. Had they bothered they may have had enough for an attempted murder charge.’

    I don’t know if you’re an actual lawyer, but if you mean for the incident itself then no – he was convicted of manslaughter (of the father) on the basis that he was a loon, and so an attempted murder charge re the son would have gone nowhere.

    If you mean before the fact there would have been zero chance of such a charge. Attempted murder is rarely charged, being vastly harder to prove than murder itself, never mind that no attempt to kill anyone was made until the point that it was made.

  13. This bloke should have been locked up in a loony bin, but there are c30,000 cops trying to deal with eight million peoples’ problems.

    I’d have more sympathy with them over manpower issues if they weren’t appearing daily in the newspapers having arrested somebody for being nasty on Twitter and the like. The police are their own worst enemy.

  14. Interested: “How many cops are there? Very few. “

    And yet they manage to secure the resources to:

    Trawl the net for people reporting hurt feelings on social media
    Block off streets at a time whenever some idiot climbs a roof to evade capture
    Turn up mob handed (BBC forewarned, of course!) when some sad bastard makes 30 year old allegations about a pop star

    So I’m not really buying the ‘we were too busy to catch a known deranged man who had already committed assaults & criminal damage’…

  15. I’m relaxed about this. There will always be times when the cops are pretty sure something bad is likely (balance of probabilities) to happen, but which in any fair justice system (based on “”beyond reasonable doubt”) they can’t actually arrest and charge people for. It is still their job to try and stop the bad thing. In the old days they might have put a junior plod on the end of the road, now they send a letter. Soon, you’ll find yourself added to a Facebook group called “Copper’s Deadpool”. 🙂

  16. Julia, Tim, in talking about the police wasting their own time, I think you are in violent with Interested’s point about them wasting time and money. Onwards and upwards.

  17. I am interested in the intersection of these warnings and libel laws. The police, I assume, have to be careful that they do not precisely identify the suspect. Which in turn makes the warning useless.

    “We know that a teacher obsessed with your son poses a real threat” may be fine – how many teachers could it be? And of course the warning may deter so the attack never happens. But “We know Paget-Smith is a real threat” is another matter. What is the state of the law?

    I assume some of this comes from Northern Ireland were British informants were clearly aware of some attacks, and may have informed British authorities, but nothing could be done without blowing their cover. People complain about that now. Personally I think the police should aim to disrupt organised crime by carefully leaking false stories so that if they are foolish they will kill each other. That is perfectly liberal.

  18. @TimN

    How does your ‘I’d have more sympathy with them over manpower issues if they weren’t appearing daily in the newspapers having arrested somebody for being nasty on Twitter and the like. The police are their own worst enemy.’

    conflict with my

    ‘I am not saying the cops are perfect – they’re not. The system is particularly shit – we have too many laws, and the bad eggs the cops do arrest spend far too little time in clink while they waste time and money on eg bullshit drugs offences.’ (That was only an ‘eg’ – I could easily have added twitter shit too.)

    I don’t know how many oil industry engineers there are but I expect a fair percentage of them are lazy, stupid, fail to prioritise the right things and make mistakes. Occasionally these lead to catastrophe, but I bet a lot just lead to money being wasted, time being wasted, and general embuggerance. This should not be used as a criticism of all oil engineers.

    @JuliaM

    ‘And yet they manage to secure the resources to:
    Trawl the net for people reporting hurt feelings on social media
    Block off streets at a time whenever some idiot climbs a roof to evade capture
    Turn up mob handed (BBC forewarned, of course!) when some sad bastard makes 30 year old allegations about a pop star ‘

    Yes, and? They fuck stuff up. Who knew? Their bosses make them chase up utter shite? Is this revelatory? My issue with you is that you only ever seem to be interested in knocking the poor cunts. They have a shit job, verging on impossible, and within the constraints placed upon them by the politicians, the media and the public I think they do reasonably well most of the time.

  19. @ Interested,

    It doesn’t conflict as such. But it would be nice if the police seemed to be a little bit reluctant or skeptical about enforcing these stupid laws rather than doing it with gusto.

    This should not be used as a criticism of all oil engineers.

    It would be a fair description of the industry, though. 🙂

  20. They have a shit job, verging on impossible, and within the constraints placed upon them by the politicians, the media and the public I think they do reasonably well most of the time.

    Okay, fine. But when the come into contact with a member of the public who they are arresting for these pointless “crimes”, at least show some sort of understanding. The one or two times I’ve come into contact with a British policeman over some minor issue they appear to be relishing the authority and the power they wield. Anecdata I know, but this seems to be the experience of a lot of people too.

  21. “Umm, sorry, but how did we get here”

    If the pesky porkers know of a credible, serious threat to some innocent person’s life, they should tell them, yes?

    The police don’t decide who’s innocent, do they?

    Therefore, the police have to tell people when there’s a credible, serious threat to their lives. They don’t have to tell them precisely what it is, and they certainly don’t have to disclose the sources of their information. I’m struggling to see what is being objected-to here.

  22. Well Hogan-Howe is shuffling off which has to be good news – he’s the quintessentially politicised copper more interested in tokenism and political correctness than policing.

    Of course the bad news is that Troilus Twat is in contention to take over so planes to Brazil may be full.

  23. Inty>

    You’re right, the bastards are just people doing a job. That’s the problem. It needs to be seen as a responsibility and a privilege, not just another job you turn up to and put in the minimum effort required to keep it.

    In my experience pretty much every action the police take is unlawful in some way. Can’t expect them to know all the laws, but they clearly don’t even know the basics we ought to require them to know.

    At the end of the day, they’re selected for laziness, stupidity, and greed. It’s not surprising the majority are lazy, stupid, and greedy.

  24. Dave – “I’m struggling to see what is being objected-to here.”

    Because the police are being asked to do the impossible. How can they know what is a credible and serious threat? We have courts for that and even they do not get it right all the time. Putting the police in a grey area where a threat may or may not be credible – and think for a moment of the difference between something that is credible in the legal sense and something that is credible on the street – and they have to make a judgement call, is to ask for endless law suits which the tax payers will lose.

    Dave – “At the end of the day, they’re selected for laziness, stupidity, and greed. It’s not surprising the majority are lazy, stupid, and greedy.”

    F*ck off you c*nt. As usual you are making sh!t up.

  25. Planning a murder is not an offence unless it involves more than one person, in which case conspiracy. Planning a murder becomes attempted murder once you start to substantively carry out the plan. They could have arrested him on either charge, and probably then got him either committed or remanded. Would have stopped the actual murder taking place.

  26. “Conservative, n: A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal who wishes to replace them with others.”
    ― Ambrose Bierce

    That’s how we got here.

  27. ‘The cops are there to prevent crime’

    Only by deterrence.

    In the U.S., the police have no duty to protect you. Should you call when someone is breaking into your house, they DO NOT have to come. They usually choose to, but they don’t have to.

  28. SMFS displaying his ‘intellect’ for all to laugh at again, I see.

    “How can they know what is a credible and serious threat?”

    They’re the fucking police. _If_ they know of such a threat, they have to disclose it. Your quibble that they might not know of it is irrelevant, since then they’d have no duty to disclose it. Are you really this hard of thinking?

    “As usual you are making sh!t up.”

    It’s hardly a contentious statement. Have you looked at the police recruitment process, or the salaries they pay? No-one bright becomes a policeman without it being their vocation. No-one hard-working becomes a policeman when they can earn more for fewer hours of actual work and without all the ludicrous hassle. It is, on the other hand, a fantastic gravy-train for those who want a career-long sinecure.

    So, I’ll ask again, are you surprised that we have police who have responded to the incentives on the table?

  29. Dave

    “In my experience pretty much every action the police take is unlawful in some way.”

    Maybe you should not be spending your free time not spent “job-seeking” on picket lines or SJW protest marches, inter alia spitting on police officers, resisting their reasonable demands and abusing them?

  30. @Rumpole

    There was no murder. But to take your point seriously, what evidence did they have that he was planning a murder?

    @TimN

    ‘The one or two times I’ve come into contact with a British policeman over some minor issue they appear to be relishing the authority and the power they wield.’

    It’s not been my experience, but then I’m always polite and open and friendly with them on the odd occasions our paths cross. Doesn’t mean there aren’t some tools out there, and you may have fallen victim to them, but that’s just people. I don’t think there are all that many. (And note that the adoption of body worn cameras is leading to a huge decline in complaints, which makes me think that a lot of the anecdotes you hear are bullshit.)

    Yes, the police are just members of the public in uniform, I get that, you should be able to tell them to fuck off, or even get stroppy with them, but they get twats being stroppy with them all day long, every day. Imagine being in a job where you have to keep yourself massively controlled in the face of all sorts of shite all the time. It’s not easy.

    @Dave

    As I say, I know several cops from elsewhere. They’re anything but lazy, and thick – I’m not saying they’re rocket scientists but… One ex Army mate of mine was an officer (29 Cdo) and is now an Inspector. Old Amplefordian, degree, RMAS, joined the cops because he wanted to interdict cunts, and because he wanted an interesting job with a decent pension (he pursues various interests in his spare time). They’ve fucked him a bit on the pension, as I never forget to remind him.

  31. Dave – “They’re the fucking police. _If_ they know of such a threat, they have to disclose it. Your quibble that they might not know of it is irrelevant, since then they’d have no duty to disclose it. Are you really this hard of thinking?”

    Again you have failed to answer the question put to you. Are you thick or are you doing this on purpose? What is a credible and serious threat? Please define 1. credible, 2. serious and 3. threat. Bearing in mind that if it is actually a genuinely serious and credible threat the target is not warned, the threat is arrested.

    By what magical means are the police supposed to determine what is credible and serious? We let juries make most of those decisions. Why should the police be forced to do it instead?

    Telling someone that their partner is trying to kill them has real world consequences. Why should anyone do it without the decision of a judge?

    “It’s hardly a contentious statement.”

    That you make sh!t up? No it isn’t.

    “So, I’ll ask again, are you surprised that we have police who have responded to the incentives on the table?”

    So yet again you know nothing. You know no policemen. You know of no evidence. You are just making sh!t up.

  32. I’m just going to ignore SMFS’s word soup since he can’t follow the most simple chain of logic.

    Inty>

    You did notice I said ‘the majority’, not all – and that the major group of are (largely) those who are not ‘just doing a job’, but actually wanted to be policemen?

    If you want to see how things more normally go, I suggest watching any of the many follow-police-with-a-camera documentaries on TV for a few minutes and noting how many times the police do something unlawful. And that’s on camera, they’re utterly blatant about it and haven’t a care in the world.

    Frankly, I’d have more sympathy for the ‘it’s a hard job’ argument if police were generally civil and reasonable to those doing nothing wrong, rather than aggressively rude. A while ago my (eminently respectable, middle class, late middle-aged) father was walking across Hampstead Heath when he noticed a policeman on a bicycle riding past. My dad stopped him to ask if cycling was now allowed on the Heath, wondering if the rules had been changed recently. He politely wished the policeman a good morning, and asked ‘so is cycling now allowed here?’ The policeman told him to fuck off and threatened him with arrest for wasting police time.

    Things have got so bad that my eminently respectable, late-middle-aged parents refer to ‘the pigs’ these days, having been on the receiving end of too many bits of aggression.

  33. Interested: “My issue with you is that you only ever seem to be interested in knocking the poor cunts.”

    Not true. I link to police blogs, I follow police Tweeters, I watch a lot of fly-on-the-wall docos, and where they get shafted by management I post accordingly.

    If the ratio of these to the other stories is a little out of proportion, well, that’s not my fault. That’s where the bulk of the news goes.

  34. But rights always come with obligations. If I have a right to life there is an obligation on other people not to kill me. If I have a right to accommodation there is an obligation on somebody else to house me. If I have a right to vote there is an obligation on the state to allow me.

  35. @JuliaM “And yet they manage to secure the resources to…”

    I very much doubt the average copper is itching to spend time chasing Twitter trolls. Well, unless the weather’s particularly miserable.

    Speaking of trolls, it’s probably just as well these Osman warnings (which sound like the epitome of ‘something must be done’ bureau-bollox) aren’t that well know. Imagine the lols once they figure out the sweet spot for getting the letter sent out to scare the bejeezus out of their victim, but not have the police come round to have a word.

  36. Personally I think the police, as well as many other organisations including almost all the public sector need to ‘ step away from the media’. They are almost entirely parasitic, encourage posturing and vanity and make things worse rather than better. The public do not ‘have a right to know’, resources should not be wasted on 20 year enquires in holiday resorts, the guy that invited the BBC to film the persecution of Cliff Richard should not only be fired without pension but jailed for abuse of position – as should the BBC bigwig that went along with it. Twitter should be (totally) ignored. The police do not need the media at all , ‘online abuse and hate crimes’ can be documented and if they become too extreme the obvious sanction (after warning) is publishing full IP address details and photo of the troll. Job done. Police helicopters are almost entirely unnecessary, Sky helicopter should be banned. Every time plod puts on blues and twos it should be recorded like a taco graph and justified ( and no, as once reported in a day in the life article in the Times, a U turn and a drive down Oxford street on the wrong side of the road sirens blaring to ‘arrest’ a shoplifter in a Vodafone store does not count!) . As someone up the thread mentioned, they are their own worst enemy….oh and anyone who has attended common purpose needs to leave. Now.

  37. SMFS: “We know that a teacher obsessed with your son poses a real threat”

    All they need is the 3 rings of light and The Voice of the Mysterons to deliver the message.

  38. Another fine quote from Ambrose Bierce’s ‘Devil’s Dictionary is:

    Dentist, n. A prestidigitator who, putting metal into your mouth, pulls coins out of your pocket.

    By the way, I think the DD is available free in the Kindle Store. And possibly Project Gutenberg.

  39. @Dave

    ‘You did notice I said ‘the majority’,’

    Show your working. Otherwise, meh, as the kids say. And as you can’t show any working about any majority of police officers doing anything… meh.

    I feel sorry for your dad but if he’s anything like you he’s almost certainly a supercilious cunt who deserved a clip, never mind merely being told to fuck off. He got off lightly. Ought to be grateful that he wasn’t being arsey with a Spanish cop, or a French one.

    @Julia

    I meant here – I don’t follow you around the internet.

  40. @rumpole

    I don’t think he did, and in any event that would not constitute murder. He was found to be suffering from diminished responsibility ie he was a fruitloop. You can’t be guilty of murder or attempted murder if a fruitloop. FFS.

  41. Inty>

    Oh, if you were just going to let your prejudices rule instead of anything I said, you should have mentioned it and I wouldn’t have bothered replying.

    The conversation my dad had with the baconer was repeated here verbatim. But keep denying that any policeman ever did anything in any way wrong, that’s the spirit.

  42. Ought to be grateful that he wasn’t being arsey with a Spanish cop, or a French one.

    That’s kind of the issue though. In France or Spain the policemen are not your friend, and nor do they pretend to be, and everyone knows it. They are there to catch criminals, prevent crime, and solve crimes. They are not their to “interact with the community” and all the other PC shite that the British police do. So everyone avoids them unless and until there is real police work to be done.

    My problem in the UK is that the police as an institution pretend to be your friend, and maybe they once were, but now they are anything but and should be avoided at all costs same as you would a French policeman. In another generation Brits will do just this, and the police will wonder how it all went wrong.

  43. @Davey

    ‘Oh, if you were just going to let your prejudices rule instead of anything I said’

    From the man who confidently tells us that he knows how the majority of police behave.

    🙂

  44. Tim Newman +1

    I have three coppers in our extended family but they are regarded as the black sheep of the family. The attraction of joining the filth is a complete mystery to me.

  45. @TN: In France or Spain the policemen are not your friend, and nor do they pretend to be, and everyone knows it.

    True dat. Although I have found the police on motorcycles (les motards) to be reasonably nice and even to sometimes have a sense of humor. But the best experience I ever had with the gendarmes was when they showed up to a little fender bender one of my drivers was involved in when I was a lieutenant in the French Army. The Gendarmerie is a branch of the French Armed Forces, and so the poor buggers all had to salute me since I outranked them all.

  46. I only knew about them as the were part of a drama about a real life case where someone killed his wife and made it look like an accident then tried to do the same to second wife in NZ but failing, returned to the UK and was lining up wife number 3 for the same treatment and the police issued a letter based on the allegations from New Zealand, wasn’t a bad show, not sure how much of it was true to the original though.

  47. Dave – “I’m just going to ignore SMFS’s word soup since he can’t follow the most simple chain of logic.”

    The fact that you cannot justify even a single one of your claims is sad. But not proof you have a chain of logic.

    “If you want to see how things more normally go, I suggest watching any of the many follow-police-with-a-camera documentaries on TV for a few minutes and noting how many times the police do something unlawful. And that’s on camera, they’re utterly blatant about it and haven’t a care in the world.”

    Name three. As usual Dave, you’re full of sh!t.

  48. The police are I’m afraid damned in the same way Muslims are damned – perhaps 5% of each are active rotten apples, but the attitude of the majority of the 95% to the 5% is one of tolerance rather than a desire to root out the rot. When push comes to shove there’ll be a Muslim who will hide and support, or not inform on, an Islamic terrorist, and when the chips are down the police will look after their own rather than uphold the law. If indeed they care what the law is – the attitude of the police towards entirely legal photographers working in public areas a few years back when digital cameras first started to be ubiquitous indicated it wasn’t so much a lack of knowledge of the law, more an active desire to ignore the law entirely.

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