Sunday, 5 February 2012

A Survival Guide For Decent Folk

Today's ramble into the world of the indignant, old curmudgeon of a boater. Is a somewhat miffed blogger banging on about how a fellow blogger has been abused.

For a long time I read the Police blog of NightJack. This was the blog of, a working policeman who would shine a light into the dark murky world of the modern copper's life. This fly on the wall blog won an Orwell Prize. NightJack's work was described by the Orwell Prize judges as taking readers "to the heart of what a policeman has to do". NightJack is no more. The Night Jack home page simply says that the author has deleted the blog's contents. It's all thanks to that great champion of free speech, Mr Justice Eady. He ruled in the High Court that the author of a blog could be named. Now for obvious reasons NightJack needed the anonymity if he was to publish such a blog. How on earth Mr Justice Edith could say that it was in the Public Interest to name NightJack will confound me forever.

Its a long story and a Google of "Nightjack" will bring up the sordid trail of his outing by The Times. Some of Nightjacks blog postings have been saved and an archive created Here By way of a personal protest, I have committed myself to never read The Times. A bit like the people of Liverpool have done with the Sun, after all the lies published about Hillsborough.
But there is a sting in the tail of this sordid tale.

The Times editor James Harding and News International chief executive Tom Mockridge have both given evidence to the Levinson Inquiry acknowledging that a reporter at the newspaper had admitted hacking an email. The reporter was later named as 28-year-old Patrick Foster, who accessed the email account of Richard Horton, a police officer who blogged under the name Nightjack.

Last week James Harding, editor of The Times wrote to the Leveson Inquiry admitting for the first time that the newspaper had failed to tell the High Court (Mr Justice Eady) they knew about the hacking before challenging the injunction. When Mr Harding appeared before the inquiry earlier in January he only admitted that managers knew about an incident of email hacking but did not name Mr Foster or give details of the story. Following his evidence The Times published an article admitting that Mr Foster had admitted hacking Mr Horton's email account.

Mr Watson’s letter to the Metropolitan Police, which was also sent to the Attorney General, said: “It is clear that a crime has been committed – illicit hacking of personal emails. A journalist and unnamed managers failed to report the crime to their proprietor or the police. I must ask that you investigate computer hacking at The Times. In so doing you will also be able to establish whether perjury or conspiracy to pervert the course of justice have also occurred.”

The proprietor who knew nothing - Stand up Mr Rupert Murdoch and News International.

The Metropolitan Police has set up Operation Tuleta to examine allegations of email hacking by journalists. The investigation is separate to Operation Weeting which is looking into allegations of phone hacking.

I hope when Tuleta and Weeting finally hit the courts the perpetrators don't come up before Mr Justice Eady, otherwise they will all get lifetime achievement awards.

As a sort of a legacy to NightJack here is one of his more inspiring posts.

 "A Survival Guide For Decent Folk"

Its reproduced here.

In these days of us increasingly having to deal with law abiding folk who have fallen foul of the “entitled poor” and those who have learned how to use us to score points and exact revenge, I thought it would be a good idea to give out a bit of general guidance for those law abiding types who find themselves under suspicion or under arrest. It works for the bad guys so make it work for you.

Complain First
Always get your complaint in first, even if it is you who started it and you who were in the wrong. If things have gone awry and you suspect the cops are going to be called, get your retaliation in first. Ring the cops right away and allege for all you are worth. If you can work a racist or homophobic slant into it so much the better.

Make a counter allegation
Regardless of the facts, never let the other side be blameless. If they beat you to the phone, ring anyway and make a counter allegation against them. Again racism or homophobia are your friends. If you are not from a visible minority ethnic culture, may I suggest that that the phrase “You gay bastard” or similar is always useful. In extremis allege sexual assault. It gives us something to bargain with when getting the other person to drop their complaint on a quid-pro-quo basis. This is particularly good where there are no independent witnesses. When it boils down to one word against another and nobody is ‘fessing up, CPS run a mile and you, my friend, are definitely on a walk out.

Never explain to the Police
If the Police arrive to lock you up, say nothing. You are a decent person and you may think that reasoning with the Police will help. “If I can only explain, they will realise it is all a horrible mistake and go away”. Wrong. We do want to talk to you on tape in an interview room but that comes later. All you are doing by trying to explain is digging yourself further in. We call that stuff a significant statement and we love it. Decent folk can’t help themselves, they think that they can talk their way out. Wrong.

Admit Nothing
To do anything more than lock you up for a few hours we need to prove a case. The easiest route to that is your admission. Without it, our case may be a lot weaker, maybe not enough to charge you with. In any case, it is always worth finding out exactly how damning the evidence is before you fall on your sword.

So don’t do the decent and honourable thing and admit what you have done. Don’t even deny it or try to give your side of the story. Just say nothing. No confession and CPS are on the back foot already. They foresee a trial. They fear a trial. They are looking for any excuse to send you home free.

Keep your mouth shut
Say as little as possible to us. At the custody office desk a Sergeant will ask you some questions. It is safe to answer these. For the rest of the time, say nothing.

Claim Suicidal Thoughts
A debatable one this. Claiming to be thinking about topping yourself has several benefits. If you can keep it up, it might just bump up any compensation payable later. On the other hand you may find yourself in a paper suit with someone watching your every move.

Always always always have a solicitor
Duh. No brainer this one. Unless you know 100% for sure that your mate the solicitor does criminal law and is good at it, ask for the Duty Solicitor. They certainly do criminal law and they are good at it. Then listen to what the solicitor says and do it. Their job is to get you off without the Cops or CPS laying a glove on you if at all possible. It is what they get paid for. They are free to you. There is no down side.

Now decent folks think it makes them look like they have something to hide if they ask for a solicitor. Irrelevant. Going into an interview without a solicitor is like taking a walk in Tottenham with a big gold Rolex. Bad things are very likely to happen to you. I wouldn’t do it and I interview people for a living.

Actively complain about every officer and everything they do
Did they cuff you when they brought you in? Were they rude to you? Did they racially or homophobically abuse you? Didn’t get fed? Cell too cold? You are decent folk who don’t want to make a fuss but trust me, it pays to whinge and no matter how trivial and / or poorly founded your complaint there are people who will uncritically listen to you and try and prove the complaint on your behalf. Some of them are even police officers. Nothing like a complaint to muddy the waters and suggest that you are only in court because the vindictive Cops have a grudge against you. Far fetched? Wait until your solicitor spins it in court and you come over as Ghandi.

Show no respect to the legal system or anybody working in it
You think that if you are a difficult, unpleasant, sneering, unco-operative and rude things will go badly for you and you will be in more trouble. No sirree Bob. It seems that in fact the worse you are, the easier things will go for you if, horror of horrors, you do end up convicted.

Remember to fake a drink problem
If you haven’t developed one as a result of dealing with us already. Magistrates and Judges do seem to like the idea that you are basically good but the naughty alcohol made you do it. They treat you better. Crazy I know but true.

No voluntary statements.
No co-operation beyond providing any documentation that you happen to have to hand. No admissions of anything, and never ever accept a caution to “end the matter”. (cautions go on your record) Insist on being charged or released: in other words, do nothing to help make their job any easier, because their interests and yours are not aligned.

So there you go, basically anything you try and do because you are decent and straightforward hurts you badly. Act like an habitual, professional, lifestyle criminal and chances are you will walk away relatively unscathed. Copy the bad guys, its what they do for a living.



  1. Nightjack was always one of my favourites! If you haven't already found him, there is another blog under the name 'Inspector Gadget' where many of the same sort of issues are explored - up-to-date comments and views on how modern Britain is being submerged in 'targets', 'diversity' and generally giving in to the great unwashed. The comments are generally as entertaining as the contents of the articles, and reflect the frustrations and demoralisation of a whole generation of law enforcers!

  2. "A Survival Guide For Decent Folk" I spent many many years working duty shifts as an appropriate adult and I am sorry to say this is 100% true.


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