Increased racist hate crimes in Cumbria and the rest of Britain

A journalist writing a Cumbrian article about hate crimes used an unfortunate choice of words when he said: “The UK’s decision to leave the EU coincided with a spike in hate crimes across Cumbria…”

It was not a coincidence, it was the straightforward fact that moronic, malevolent racists used the referendum result as a facile and wicked excuse to hurt other people.  End of story.

Another part of the equation undoubtedly involves the fact that in the past few years the UK Government has caused vicious financial cuts on all police forces, as a result of which the number of officers everywhere has been seriously reduced – more racist trouble, less officers to help reduce or prevent it.  This already is a sign of things to come, such as the current pervasive increase in road deaths in Britain when, for over thirty years we have been one of the equal two top countries for road safety in the world, largely as a result of excellent standards of enforcement (one of the vital “3E’s” of road-death reduction).  Again, far fewer officers means  bigger problems – in this case more deaths.

Finally, may I add that if the do-gooders or perhaps the social workers of this world want to say that it’s not good for the police to think of certain people as being – say – “moronic, malevolent racists,” it is important that they remember that expertise in this field is multi-disciplinary and requires that police knowledge and experience be given just as much  weight as their own beliefs or skills.

Book review of ‘My Cup Runneth Over’ by the ‘Cumbria’ magazine – Part I

This month (February 2017) Cumbria magazine has published a much-shortened chapter from my novel – ‘My Cup Runneth Over’ – and next month they are kindly adding a review of the whole book.

Clearly, a book about being a young police officer stationed at a town in the stunningly beautiful Lake District National Park in the north-west corner of England has interest for British folks who know the Lake District but it has also been written to appeal to people from other countries, too – particularly those of you from the USA, where I have lived for over ten years.

Is this another example of the so-called, cultural ‘British Invasion’ in the USA?  I’d like to think so but as this is my first novel it would be silly of me to actually believe that.  I have, however, had the delightful good fortune to have had the style and humour of my novel repeatedly compared to the wonderful books by the famous veterinary surgeon James Herriot.

Remembering as well that even today the vast majority of British police officers do not carry lethal weapons, the novel offers a great insight into how such unarmed officers can operate in general safety and it also gives a great insight into rural life in England’s  second-largest and most scenic county – home of the famed ‘Lakes Poets’ such as William Wordsworth.

Dialect and police jargon are included in the writing but they are carefully explained in glossaries on the website – see the link below – so nobody need struggle to understand these fascinating cultural aspects. (The Lakeland dialect, for example, is strongly based upon Old Norse, from Viking times.)

And then, of course, there’s the crime aspect!  Naturally, none of the crimes or criminals in the book are actual events or real people, but each has been developed from my own lengthy experience in the police and the events are therefore very true-to-life and accurate in terms of police procedure back in the 1970s where the story is set.

Read here how readers from around the world have responded so wonderfully to My Cup Runneth Over.

Purchase the book (including USA) here.

Big Mistakes that Writers Make in Crime Novels – According to Police Officers

I’ve only just found the article posted below, from the Daily Express, but it was actually published the very day before my own first UK police novel went on sale.

Having spent many years in the police myself, I wasn’t too worried that I would have committed any serious transgressions, although of course I did strive to leave out as much as possible about the tedium and long-winded nature of many police investigations, but in reality that is a necessity for a writer, not an option.

My own top-six “hates” when watching or reading a story about the British police are:

  1. Inspector Morse, as entertaining as the programme might be, could not have kept his forename to himself.  An officer’s full name has to be written on every report and every statement made, and announced publicly every time an officer gives evidence in court.  So it could be no secret, even if he made every Endeavour to keep it so!
  2. British police officers do not “read their rights” to people, they caution them and later report or charge them.  Britain is not America!
  3. Similarly, British people do not and cannot “press charges” and cannot “withdraw charges,” either.  Again, Britain is not America!  The police and then the Crown Prosecution Service [CPS] make all such decisions.
  4. The portrayal in stories of uniformed officers as being less clever or less involved in major incidents is as laughable as it is offensive. Apart from there being a constant need for teamwork across many disciplines in the police, many excellent officers have no interest whatsoever in working for the C.I.D. (Criminal Investigation Department).
  5. Detectives share identical status to their uniformed brethren of the same rank; becoming a detective is not a promotion and certainly gives no authority over a non-detective of the same rank.  Once again, this is Britain, not America.
  6. Lastly, as it states in the article, details of cases are never, ever, discussed in front of members of the public or anyone else who does not have an adequate and legally justifiable need to know.

Here’s the article from the Express.

Reader reviews of Steve’s novel (and purchase here).

Steve Shearwater