Archive | July, 2012

A Security Shambles…

17 Jul

As a dog, I have never been formally employed. I am presumed to be too small to be of significant use to humans. However, notwithstanding the rampant sizeism that pollutes your species, there is one industry in particular that all dogs are qualified to both work in and comment upon. Security.

On a daily basis I patrol my territory keeping it safe from, burglars, trespassers, cats and other lowlife scum who occasionally tread the suburban sprawl of Brownhills. I have a highly attuned nose and an appetite for investigation, which has in the past lead me to acquire a fair deal of insider information about the practices and procedures of the private security industry.

It is therefore no surprise to me, that there has been an almighty cock up in connection with the provision of security at the Olympics. There are several factors that have influenced this, but none more so than the desire of one party to keep costs down and the other party to make a tidy profit. I believe you humans have a word for this concept. Greed.

Imagine you want a job. Times are hard and you have limited choice, perhaps a spot of security work will tide you over. There seems to be plenty of it about, you settle down and begin the application process. The mountain you face looks something like this.

Owing to various regulatory requirements you must first be able to supply a full five year work history. This involves reference checks against all periods of self employment, PAYE employment, unemployment and education. It means contacting, employers, accountants, job centres and other organisations. It also includes a credit check and two character references. It may sound simple but compliance with this standard is a real pisser. For every ten applicants who start the process about five will come through the other side.

After such a thorough probing, you are delighted to learn you can start your basic job training. A three day course in door supervision or security guarding, with an extra day of physical skills training and conflict management training thrown in for good measure. This is a pass or fail course and you have to sit an exam at the end of it which is externally marked.

After jumping through this hoop you can then move on to applying for your government approved security licence.

This requires the applicant to supply a continuous address history for the past five years, a passport pictures signed by a ‘responsible person,’ proof of successful completion of basic job training, full CRB disclosure from any country lived in outside of the UK in the past five years, declarations that you’ve never been in trouble with the law or been detained under the mental health act and a cheque for over two-hundred quid.

If you get that lot in order, many applicants do not, you can now move on to phase three of the application. Job specific training. This is where some bloke who used to be in the armed forces and lost the will to live about twenty years ago gives you between one and seven days training in the specifics of your assignment. After this and assuming all your paperwork is correct you can start work. Finally!

Except you can’t. You have been hired specially to work on the Olympic games contract by a private security firm and it is only (for example) June. Thus far the bastards have not paid you a penny but have dug through the past five years of your life and made you endure between ten and twelve days unpaid training. At the end of this process you are expected to sit tight doing fuck all for a month until you can start to earn.

I also forgot to mention that as this is the Olympic Games you also need an extra security check to make sure that you are not a member of the IRA, Al Qaeda, the Lib Dems or any another organisation committed to the destruction of our parliamentary democracy. If this counter-terror check comes back clean, then yes, you are officially a Londinium 2012 security guard. But you still can’t work ‘till the games start.

Having made it this far through the shit storm, you may be now tempted to leave and work somewhere else, but perhaps you would first like to know how much you will earn, when you eventually get some work? Except, your security company won’t tell you that, it depends on where they send you, but you can expect a mediocre £6.50 to £8.50 per hour. To put this in real money, it works out at £12,000-16,000 per annum on a standard 37.5 hour week. But remember, you aren’t on a salary and you can’t start work for several months.

If you think piss is now being extracted from you at maximum velocity, there are still a couple of sucker punches waiting for you yet. This job that you have signed up for, which keeps you waiting for months to start, well, when it does start it only last for six weeks, before you are demobbed and chucked on the scrapheap. Your employer may not have mentioned this but after the games they will have a major surplus of security officers and your services will no longer be required. Welcome back to being unemployed, along with ten thousand other ex-guards, with the same qualifications and training as you.

The good news however, is that your pay cheque will be arriving shortly after your P45, that should cheer you up… Before you get too excited though, think back to your recruitment phase, do you remember the training and licensing costs that were incurred in your SIA licence application? Do you think these costs will be swallowed up by your multi-million dollar lords and masters? Ha. Think again. The licence is your personal property which means you pay for it, deducted out of your wages. You have no use for the badge after the Games but it still cost you around a week’s take home pay. Tough shit.

You have been sucked in, bled dry and blown out again, so a private corporation could make a few million quid off your back under the pretence of supporting sporting excellence.

Unsurprisingly, a large number of applicants saw this coming, deciding to abandon this temporary, piss-take of a job offer and leave their employer high and dry. Which is why G4S now find themselves up a certain creek without a paddle. They were trying to peddle the mother of all exploitation operations. Two weeks unpaid training for six weeks work, followed by the loss of another week’s wages in final salary deductions. The government want to have a professional security outfit at the games, but they were happy to jump in to bed with the private sector because it was cheap. It was cheap for a reason and it has backfired spectacularly.

The Private Security Industry functions by exploiting staff to keep costs low and profits fat. It is a brutal way to earn a crust and G4S and the government are getting what they deserve. This whole episode is free-market capitalism at its worst.

Which is why I am confused. If you had hired me and a few of my bitches to help you with Olympic security you would be required by law to provide us with food, shelter and accommodation. You would not be allowed to transport my canine chums and I in anything like the same dirty, cramped, crowded conditions that humans have to endure on Public Transport, or abandon us to sleep under a bridge at night. You could only work us in eight hour shifts in hygienic, clean, quiet environments.

If you dared try and expose us to the hellish, cat-like behaviour you show each other you would be prosecuted, persecuted and a few of your species would even attempt to kill those who tried to subject us dogs to such cruelty. You seem to provide safeguards for the working conditions of dogs far more assiduously than you do for your fellow humans. Yet for the most part this rampant exploitation of humanity, in the name of profit, seems to go unnoticed by your species. You are a confusing lot.

Having said that, I am a dog. There are a great deal of things about humans and the Olympics that make no sense to me. Apparently there is an entire stick throwing competition taking place as part of the games but not a single dog will be allowed near it… madness.


Pool Lane, closed or open?

8 Jul

On a pleasant Sunday afternoon I was most upset to almost be mown down by a fat man riding a smelly, loud exhaust-fume belching motorbike. Now, I can attest that us canines are not renowned for our road sense, however, the incident occurred on a road which has been closed to traffic since 2007. Pool Lane, which runs parallel to the dam wall at the southern end of Chasewater Reservoir, is currently subject to a prohibition order which will make the ‘temporary’ motor vehicle ban that has been in place for the last five years permanent. If you want to know more about this I suggest you read this excellent post by Brownhills Bob.

Clearly, fatty on his fossil-fuel-fired pollution machine, must think that such restrictions do not apply to him and that Pool Lane is open for business. At the time of his transgression there were several small children on pedal bikes, joggers and walkers all using the road on a fine summer afternoon, not to mention other members of my species, too engrossed with sniffing each others backsides to notice the impending danger. After his near miss with me, the ignorant fool slowed somewhat and managed to avoid other pedestrians before zooming on through the non existent road block, designed to restrict such behaviour.

Aside from urinating on his spark-plugs, there are some steps we can all take to try and rectify this situation. If you have an ounce of common sense then use the details in Brownhills Bob’s post and contact the council to register your opposition to this road being reopened. I also would love the park management to have a look at the temporary blockade that is in place and see if it can be improved at all. As it currently stands Eddie Stobart could get one of his 18 wheelers through the gap where the scaffolding has been pulled out and the barrel turned. I appreciate that it still needs to allow pedal cycle users and other legitimate traffic through but any short-term maintenance would be most appreciated.


Pool Lane ‘road block’, Sunday 8th June 16:30

Hopefully my brush with the fat faced, helmeted road-hog will be an isolated incident and no serious injury, (to humans or dogs), will occur before this matter is permanently dealt with.

Chasewater Rising

8 Jul



Whilst out chasing rabbits on Thursday eve I paused to take a look at Chasewater reservoir. On today’s afternoon stroll, (no rabbits present) I took a similar picture from the same spot. In the three days that have since passed, the water level has noticeably risen. Hardly a surprise given Friday’s deluge, but still interesting to observe.



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8 Jul

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