I mentioned in a recent blog that the Chief Constable of Avon and Somerset, Mr Nick Gargan QPM, had been publicising on Twitter the fact that his force had been awarded a Gold Achievement Award by Investors in People.
This got me thinking, because I normally associate awards such as that with business, and the Police Service should not be regarded as a business, but that’s another blog for another day.
Why Avon and Somerset? Why aren’t all the Police Forces queueing up to get one of these awards? Are they really worth the paper they’re printed on?
So I took out my trusty quill and scratched out an #FOI request to Avon and Somerset, asking the following questions;
I saw on Twitter recently that your Chief Constable announced that Avon and Somerset Constabulary had been awarded the Investors in People Gold Award.
Under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act I would ask you to supply me with the following information specifically in relation to the Gold accreditation (I am aware that you achieved Silver Status in 2012, but I am not requesting any info re that achievement)
a) How many Police Officers were interviewed as part of this accreditation and how many of each rank interviewed please? I am not requesting names or any other identifying features.
b) How many Support Staff were interviewed as part of the accreditation process and how many of each grade interviewed please? Again I am not requesting names or any other identifying feature.
c) What was the TOTAL cost to Avon and Somerset Constabulary paid to Investors in People for this accreditation?
Well, surprise, surprise, they eventually answered every question.
How many Police Officers were interviewed? – The Gold Investors in People assessment was a follow up to the previous assessment where we achieved Silver status. The assessors reviewed specific area’s as part of the Gold assessment, and therefore a smaller number of staff and officers were interviewed.
Our records show that 37 police officers were interviews as part of the process. The number of each rank interviewed is as follows:
Chief Inspector 2
Chief Superintendent 3
How many Support Staff? – Our records show that 59 members of staff were interviews as part of the process. The number of each role interviewed is as follows:
Scale 3 5
Scale 4 13
Scale 5 4
Scale 6 7
Senior Officer (SO) 12
Principle Officer (PO) and 18
What was the TOTAL cost to Avon and Somerset Constabulary? – As of the date this request was made, Avon and Somerset Constabulary have not as yet made any payments to Investors in People for this accreditation, however the cost is approximately £10,000.
So, let’s crunch some numbers;
Total number of Police Officers in Avon & Somerset is 2,873. 37 out of 2,873 is 1.3%.
The total number of Constables in Avon & Somerset is 2,196. 25 out of 2,196 is 1.1%
The total number of Sergeants in Avon & Somerset is 438. 2 out of 438 is 0.5%
The total number of Chief Superintendents in Avon & Somerset is 12. 3 out of 12 is 25%, a much higher proportion when it comes to Police senior management. Why would that be? Surely Constables and Sergeants are People to be Invested in too?
Now for the Civilian Support Staff;
Avon and Somerset has 1,779 Police Staff of all grades, unfortunately the Home Office do not provide a breakdown of grades and numbers.
59 out of 1,779 is 3.3%
Even without a breakdown of grades, we can see that Investors in People have interviewed more Police Staff out of a smaller total number resulting in, proportionately, more than double the number of Police Staff than Police Officers have been interviewed. Of these the largest grade interviewed was Principal Officer or above. Avon & Somerset Constabulary kindly informed me that Principal Officer or above grades approximately equate to Superintendent or above. So once again the largest segment interviewed was Senior Management. Should I be surprised?
As far as the troops on the Ground Floor are concerned can they have any confidence that this Investors in People Gold Award has any real benefits for them? Have they just been included in the process for appearance’s sake?
£10,000 (approximately). Total number of Police Officers and Police Staff is £4,652, so this represents an expenditure of just over £2 per head of all staff, but has it really achieved anything? Do the officers and staff of Avon and Somerset Constabulary feel more valued? Have they benefited in any way? What the hell is the purpose of this scheme in policing?
Interesting though that it was awarded mainly following the input from Senior Management not Ground Floor troops. Or maybe I’m just being cynical.
Have a good weekend.