David (Warwickshire) Vs Goliath (West Mercia)

Forget #Brexit, this is much closer to home and just as gripping to some of us.

Before I go any further, beacuase I’m a fair kind of person, I must point out the collaboration between Warwickshire and West Mercia Police Forces came into being in 2012, the present encumbent in West Mercia, my old adversary John Campion, has only been in post since 2016.  He had no say whatsoever in the planning and setting up of the colloboration between the 2 Forces.

Right, that’s got the civilities out of the way, let’s begin.

It would appear that Conservative PCC John Campion has decided to end the Strategic Alliance with Warwickshire, without Warwickshire actually agreeing to it.

Chief Constable Martin Jelley of Warwickshire said

Our two forces entered into a strategic alliance in 2012 which has been recognised nationally for the extensive nature of its collaboration and has demonstrated significant benefits from shared working.


In fact, it has allowed both forces to save more than £35million and maximise resources to Frontline Policing? Excellent, what could be wrong with that.

Save more than £35 Million?  Has to be good.  Maximise resources for Front Line Policing?  An excellent plan.  What could possibly go wrong?

The alliance between Mr Campion and his own Chief Constable is what could possibly go wrong.

As a Council Tax payer contributing to West Mercia’s coffers I have been shocked and appalled by some of the decisions and policies coming from the penthouse suite at Force HQ.

They include (and please feel free to add others in the comments below or email them to me and I will add them anonymised)

  • Withdrawal from the Central Motorway Police Group
  • Sale of VRM AB1, possibly at lower than best market value.
  • Closure of many operational Police Stations leaving (I believe) just one Charging Centre per County serving Shropshire, Worcestershire and Herefordshire, 3 quite large counties)
  • Project Athena, an IT system so frail and flawed it seems worse than some of the antiquated systes in use prior to my retirement. I can think of at least 2 IT systems from my era that could have been brought up to date and function better than Athena.
  • Failing to acknowledge the ‘experience gap’ in the West Mercia caused directly by Conservative cuts since 2010, merely pledging to recruit extra brand new officers.
  • The current ‘divorce’ between West mercia and Warwickshire.

In relation to Athena, I asked the question of West Mercia

1) Could you please tell me the total cost to date to West Mercia and Warwickshire Police of joining Project Athena?

2) Could you please tell me the cost for this Financial Year (alternatively the total number of hours) of overtime incurred by Police Officers in relation to file preparation etc for Project Athena?

The response I received was

The implementation of Athena has resulted in West Mercia Police and
Warwickshire Police force Alliance investment costs to date of £4.423m.
This represents the one-off costs from both capital and revenue.

The overtime cost to date for this financial year 2017/18 is £127,205.

The initial cost for the original 7 Forces was £32 Million over a period of 10 years. I’m no expert but the best part of £4 and a half Million so far for West Mercia and Warwickshire seems a little steep and possibly indicates a bit of creep ahead, but we’ll have to see. £127,205 is surely a scandalous figure for overtime costs on a system designed to be more efficient and save money.

In relation to AB1 I submitted the following FOI to Mr Campion

In relation to the sale of Vehicle Registration Mark AB1 could you please supply me with the following:-
Copies of Minutes of any Meeting where the sale of AB1 was proposed or discussed (redacted if appropriate) including the very first proposal to sell it. I have yet to locate in the Disclosure Log any document containing the original proposal to sell it and ensuing discussion. Decision Notice 8 only records the decision to accept the offer of £160,000, specifically NOT the Decision to sell the VRM.
Copies of any documents including, but not limited to, any correspondence concerning the monetary value of the VRM, any letters or emails between OPCC/PCC/HEO and the successful purchaser
Copies of any other documents or emails, not specifically requested previously, that contain reference to the sale of AB1 and have not been previously included in a Disclosure Log

His response?

a) Copies of Minutes of any Meeting where the sale of AB1 was proposed or discussed (redacted if appropriate) including the very first proposal to sell it. I have yet to locate in the Disclosure Log any document containing the original proposal to sell it and ensuing discussion. Decision Notice 8 only records the decision to accept the offer of £160,000, specifically NOT the Decision to sell the VRM.
The answer to this was:-
There are no copies of minutes or any other documents regarding the first proposal to sell AB1. Decision Notice 8 implicitly incorporates the recommendation to sell with the recommendation to accept the offer
b) Copies of any documents including, but not limited to, any correspondence concerning the monetary value of the VRM, any letters or emails between OPCC/PCC/HEO and the successful purchaser
The answer to this was:-
The documents and correspondence concerning the monetary value of the VRN and copies of emails between the OPCC/PCC/HEO and the successful purchase are exempt from disclosure under Section 43(2) of the Freedom of Information Act – Commercial Interests.

And now we have the best of all, the ‘divorce’ and breaking up of the collaboration that was meant to save £35 Million.

A Freedom of Information Request submitted to West mercia PCC by A N Other, asking for the cost of the breakup was met with this response

There is currently no total estimated cost for ending the two force
alliance.

Well, in my humble opinion that is nowhere near good enough.  Mr Campion is controlling a huge budget, he has already increased the Council Tax Precept for Policing, West Mercia covers 3 large counties in rural England and he is publicly accountable for his budgets and decisions.  There seems to be an emerging pattern, common to Conservatives everywhere in Public Office, that they don’t have to do Risk and Impact Assessments, then they can’t be held up as getting it wrong.

In fairness, Mr Campion did record this monumental decision in a publicly available format (for what it’s worth), enjoy (Please note it comprises 4 pages, just use the arrow at the bottom for Next Page)

26-Record-of-Decision-Ending-of-Strategic-Alliance-with-Warwickshire-Police

Now for the really boring bit, this would never had happened if I had been the West Mercia PCC, but Mr Camoron made damn sure that I (and many other Independeent candidates) hastily withdrew from the elections when he craftily increased the deposit payable by all candidates from £500 to £5000, which he did not apply to any other elections, just the PCC elections. Short of remortgaging Angry Towers, that well and truly saw me off without the might of a large, powerful political party behind me and the personal support of Theresa May I was toast.  Surprisingly (well I thought so anyway) Mr Campion didn’t even want to short-list me as an applicant to be his Deputy, but that’s another story entirely.

In conclusion, as a resident of West Mercia, who pays their Council tax (on time as well), takes an interest in the local Constabulary and their problems and interractions with their public I am appalled that such a decisision has been taken by Mr Campion.  I fully understand the anxst of the Warwickshire PCC and Chief Constable.  I truly do not understand how this will benefit ANYBODY, either side of the Alliance.  I can only hope that the people who did vote for him can live with that decision and tolerate the potential damage that will be done to Public Safety if this reckless proposal eventually goes ahead. But what do I know?

An Open Letter to the West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner

Dear Mr Campion,

You have been the West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner for several years now, and as you know the world of Policing has suffered some savage cuts brought about, mainly, by Mrs Theresa May. ince 2010. Policing as a whole has lost approximately 21,000 officers in total across England and Wales. How does that affect West Mercia I wondered. Unfortunately there is no published data prior to 2012, but below is a diagramatic representation of what Mrs May’s cuts have meant to the corporate experience of West Mercia Police.

It is immediately obvious that the band which held most of your experience, the 5-10 years service officers, have been savagely cut from 599 in 2012 to a mere 115 in 2019 (31st March). With the exception of the 30+ band, your band with the most experienced officers in it is now the band with with the fewest officers in it, a reduction of approx 80%.

As time goes by, over the next 10-20 years that band will simply move to the right across the chart meaning that there will be very few officers within your Force with any significant eperience, the left hand side of the chart being populated by Recruits and Probationary Constables. This will presumably cause problems within your Force going forwards when it comes to Specialist Employments and Squads etc. The ‘experienced’ officers staffing Major Incident Teams will be no more, will have retired, and been replaced from within the mere 115 officers currently with 5-10 years service.

Boris Johnson’s planned uplift of 20,000 officers will not help to ease the situation because the Service will lose approx 21,000-22,000 officers in the next 3 years due to Retirements and Resignations. If he means 20,000 EXTRA officers, how will we train them all, particularly in the light of the College of Policing’s Graduate Entry Scheme? Where will we put them all as approx 650 operational Police Stations have been closed down, including some in West Mercia.

Inter-Force transfers would help alleviate the problem, but is that really realistic on that scale?

I can only conclude that Mrs May’s cuts have done deep and irreparable damage to the Police Service of England and Wales and that West Mercia Police is a major casualty in that.

Do you actually have any plans that will tackle the lack of experience within your Force, rather than merely boosting the numbers with raw recruits? The College of Policing’s PFEQ policy will probably not boost numbers sufficiently and certainly will not bring experience, or do you not believe that experience is essential?

PCC’s Response

campion1

My Reply

Reply-to-PCC-Campion-Abbr

Policing Experience – Is There Another Crisis Waiting To Happen?

We’ve heard plenty about #CrisisInPolicing and I’m not going to convince you that there isn’t one. I have said before that there is, caused directly and personally by David Camoron and Theresa May. They were both arrogant and refused to listen to those who knew what they were talking about. Instead they preferred to accuse their critics of ‘Crying Wolf’. It’s obviously one of The Tories’ favourite sayings, only days ago Jacob Rees-Mogg accused the Remain supporting MPs of ‘Crying Wolf’.

The Tory #Cuts have left their mark, but does anybody really know what they look like? 31st March 2012 saw 136,339 oficers. I have studied the Length of Service of officers in all 43 Forces in England & Wales (NOT BTP) and the length of service in 2012 looked like this:-

A good wedge of experience in the 5-10 year service band and the remainder, more or less, even, albeit with fewer officers in each band. It makes Future Planning much more simple when the bands are roughly equal in size, Natural Wastage at the latter stages being compensated by Recruitment at the other end.

Fast Forward to 2019, what does the Service look like now?

The total number at 31st March 2019 has reduced to 125,114. The 5-10 year band is much smaller, there are way more officers with 5 years or less service and the 10-15 and 15-20 year bands have closed up and got bigger. At first glance this looks good, but what happens in 15-20 years time when the 10-20 year officers of today have retired or will soon do so?

Is this another crisis lurking, waiting to hit us when it’s too late to do anything about it? It might be easier to work out if I superimpose one set of data on the other, that shows some stark differences.

Just take a look at the 5-10 year service point. 24,000 fewer officers. More than the total of the Tory cuts. 10,000 more in the 15-20 year bracket, so a short-term gain there. From 20 years onward the downward curves more or less tally with other. BUT the huge difference at the 5-10 year mark MUST be making a difference NOW, possibly with Response and SNTs, probably less so with specialist postings, but does not bode well for the next 20 years or so, to whatever the government decide will be the appropriate time/age to hang up your boots.

Is there a further crisis coming? Yes, I certainly think so. Boris’s 20,000 will be nowhere near enough, and besides, 20,000 new recruits do not fill the experience gap.

The Answer To Everything Is NOT 42

Like many others of a certain age I grew up believing that the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything is 42. It took Supercomputer Deep Thought 7½ million years to compute and check the answer, which turns out to be 42.

It took me less than 30 years to discover that this is wrong, very wrong. The actual answer is 1, Teapot 1 to be precise.

Over the course of the last month or so I have heard several tales of officers being deployed ‘on Aid’ for long hours without even sufficient water to keep them fit and alert. I even heard of PSU Sergeants buying their troops bottles of water out of their own pockets. Hugely admirable but it simply shouldn’t have been necessary.

During the course of my illustrious 30 year career I was fed and watered literally all over England, at various times of the day and night, but the most important part of that was that we always knew it would happen.

One of my funniest experiences of Force Feeding’ that I can actually remember was back in my youth in 1976 or so, on the picket line of Grunwicks. We were ‘fed’ (breakfast) with a frozen pork pie, a cold Granny Smith and a cup of something brown, wet and steaming. But fed we were.

During the course of my career I experienced the highs and lows of ‘Force Feeding’ or Operational Feeding as they preferred to call it. Grunwicks was undoubtedly the lowlight, but there are two contenders for the #1 spot. On balance I think that Greenham Common probably takes it (until Met Police Catering Service took over) being fed in the restaurant at Newbury Racecourse. A very close second was RAF Newton during the Miners’ Strike. RAF catering was superb, sorry lads the Army Barracks at Ripon did not make the top 3.

For events in Central London (almost a daily occurrence) the Met had a huge Feeding Centre at Buckingham Gate where you could always rely on the Catering Staff to greet you with a warm smile, good humour and a hot mail, regardless of the time of day or night. The lease has been relinquished and is now, a training establishment for Vidal Sassoon.

Buckingham Gate Feeding Centre

However, returning to the bottles of water. This situation would NEVER have arisen if we still had Teapot 1. I’m not going to pretend that every time I went on Aid someone popped up at regular intervals and gave us bottles of water, no, that did not happen. What did happen was that we had sufficient troops on the event that we could always be relieved and sent off for a Main Meal or Snacks. No longer does the Police Service have the resilience to allow for such essentials. Not a luxury, an essential.

For smaller events, or for short-notice events that did not allow for planning of Operational Feeding we had Teapot 1 that would turn up with an assortment of Sarnies and drinks so that we didn’t go without anything at all.

An old Tranny Van suitably modified with a crew of 2 Catering Service staff does not cost a fortune. It is a cost-effective method of getting the ‘bottles of water’ to the troops on the ground. Getting rid of it was a huge step backwards, great for morale as well.

The answer to everything is Teapot 1

Primary Objects

According to Sir Richard Mayne The primary object of an efficient police is the prevention of crime: the next that of detection and punishment of offenders if crime is committed. … The ability of the police to perform their duties is dependent upon public approval of police actions

According to the House of Lords (Lord Hope of Craighead) It is the first responsibility of government in a democratic society to protect and safeguard the lives of its citizens. That is where the public interest lies. It is essential to the preservation of democracy

In 2010 the British government broke away from both of the above Primary Objects by drastically and recklessly slashing the number of Police Officers available within England and Wales to actually protect the public. Since 2010 we have lost approx 21,000 warranted Police Officers, approximately 7,000 Police Community Support Officers, about 12,000 Police Staff (I have seen a much higher figure quoted elsewhere), approximately 4,500 Special Constables and up to 650 Police Stations (plus ancilliary buildings) have been sold off

Crime Under The Tories
Knife crime vs Reduced Manpower

What happens to Knife-Related Murders with a (2014) government diktat to reduce the number of Stop/Searches conducted?

I have plenty more delightful charts that I won’t bother you with, but I think that the point has been made. The UK government has demonstrably abandoned its primary responsibility to protect its citizens. Why? For my money it stems back to Theresa May’s time as Home Secretary when the Police Federation showed their disaproval of her and her approach to Policing. She took it personally and seemed to set about an agenda based more on Revenge than Reform, but hey, that’s just my opinion.

The first responsibility of government in a democratic society to protect and safeguard the lives of its citizens

Has Theresa May and Government UK achieved that single ideal?

NO.

Instead Theresa May and her government have engineered a situation whereby the Police Service is unable to achieve Sir Richard Mayne’s Primary Object, and seemingly made sure that the Police Service got blamed for it. Fortunately (I hope) there are sufficient right-minded folk who can see through her Smoke and Mirrors

Her time is up now fortunately but vanity and arrogance seem to be the trademarks of her various positions within government. In my opinion she has failed at everything she has sought to achieve. EVERYTHING. Time will tell me if I am right.

Whoever her successor turns out to be, regardless of their support-seeking rhetoric, will have a huge problem on their hands in trying to undo the untold damage that has been wrought at the hands of a Home Secretary and latterly Prime Minister that does not seem to have succeeded at anything.

Funding The Police or Foreign Aid?

Part One

It is no secret that Central Government funding of the Police is steadily reducing and has been since 2010 when that Camoron person just about scraped home in a General Election.

The other thing about Police Budgeting that pisses me off is the way the government fudges the figures to make themselves look better.

I have heard it mentioned several times that the Police Budget is in the order of £12 Billion and the government frequently state that they have increased funding to the Police for this reason or that.

Really?

Oh look, Police Funding has gone up. Except for two things. The graphic above includes both the Council Tax precept funding (that has increased over the years) and a Counter Terrorism Grant (yes, that has gone up too).

The Proof

Since 2015/16 our generous government has increased central government core funding to the Police from £7.101 Billion to £6.962 Billion. Except for the fact that’s a decrease obviously.

Since 2015/16 total Police Funding, including Counter Terrorism) has increased from £11.94 Billion to £12.997 Billion. This represents a true increase but not much more than half of it comes from Central Government in traditional funding. The balance is made up of an increasing Council Tax precept (and some will say that means they’re paying for the Police twice) and various assorted grants or IT funds etc. A big chunk of it is also the rising CT funding. The only figure that seems to be going down is the government’s Core Funding.

For the current financial year the figures look like this

Core funding has actually risen slightly to £7.108 Billion but the Council Tax Precept has also risen to £4.147 Billion. Total Police funding (excluding CT payments) has reduced from £12.269 Billion to £12.136 Billion.

But hey, a reduction of £0.13 Billion isn’t very much surely? Just £133 Million that’s all. Sounds a lot more like that.

The long and the short of it is that for the last 5 years the government’s Core Funding for Policing has been of the order of £7 Billion and total funding in the order of £12 Billion.

Happy with that? End of Part One.

Part Two

Overseas Aid. What is it?

How much do we pay in Overseas Aid?

In the 2018/19 financial year the Overseas Aid Budget was in the order of £14.5 Billion.

How much do we contribute compared to other countries?

So there you have it. Our government spends approx £2.5 Billion MORE on Overseas Aid than the total funding, from all sources, on our beleaguered Police Service.

How do they get away with it?

Brexit is the answer. It’s been in the papers but everyone is so fixated by the cock-up affectionately known as Brexit that this sort of news is simply hidden.

Britain is spending more money on foreign aid than it does on the police

We need to scrap the foreign aid target – and spend the money on policing instead

Everybody will have their own view as to which is more deserving, but it is true that in this country we have a Knife Crime crisis at the moment that, in part, seems to have been caused or worsened by Tory cuts to resources and various Youth Services. Overseas Aid is very noble, but personally I would prefer to see some kind of meaningful impact on the Knife Crime statistics by using some of that money to properly fund a multi-agency effort to stop the killing and maiming. Once that has been achieved we can consider the size of the Overseas Aid Budget again.  Quite simply “The killing has to stop”.

Reasonable?

More Smoke And Mirrors

Knife Crime.

Who is to blame?

Certainly anyone carrying or wielding a knife without a reasonable excuse or lawful authority is to blame.

Government silliness might make you think that Teachers or the NHS are to blame for failing to report crimes or suspicions to the Police. What a load of cobblers. You can agree or disagree with me, that is our right, but in my opinion it is quite clear.

There are TWO groups of people directly responsible for the stabbings and knife crime in general.

The first are the children, young people and adults that are carrying knives about our streets. Whether they be for offence or self-defence it is unlawful and must STOP. We do, however, have to agree a method of making it stop, the politicians just seem to want a series of meetings about it.

It is quite obvious from newsreel footage that many of the knives being carried for self-defence are quite capable of inflicting a lethal injury.

The other group of people directly responsible is Theresa May and all of the members of Parliament who voted in support of her ‘Reforms’. I hold Theresa May personally responsible, because she made it personal with her vitriolic attacks on Police.

The first thing she did was to appoint Tom Winsor to carry out ‘independent’ reviews of the Police Service. This resulted in a report with recommendations that so closely resembled a previous speech by David Camoron that the Reviews could not possibly have been truly independent in my opinion.

She then set about a series of cuts in the name of #Austerity that saw the Police Service reduced from 143,734 officers in March 2010 to 122,395 in September 2018. Not forgetting of course equally savage cuts to Police Staff and PCSOs. Even the unpaid Special Constabulary has shrunk.

Copyright Home Office

Cuts of this magnitude cannot possibly be carried out without consequences. In my opinion the consequences in relation to total crime are quite clear.

To my way of thinking it is quite obvious that once the cuts began to bite total crime levels rose. It was slowly reducing until about 2012/13 when it began to go back up again.

The second unforgivable act by Theresa May personally was her insistence that Stop and Search is in some way wicked and must be reduced. In a speech to the Federation in 2014 she said

And I am determined that the use of stop and search must come down, become more targeted and lead to more arrests.

Well it did come down. What happened to Knife Crime?

Copyright Alan Wright Copyright Alan Wright

As Stop and Search came down then both Knife-related homicides and Knife Crime in general went up. 2014 she made her speech to the Federation demanding a reduction in Stop and Search. 2014 the number of Stop/Searches began reducing drastically. 2014 Knife Crime started to go back up again.

I know Gavin doesn’t necessarily agree with me (I haven’t changed my mind Gavin) but looking at the two charts above I am compelled to believe that there is a link between the two ‘curves’. I have yet to see a set of data that suggests putting more officers on the streets or increasing Stop and Search causes the crime rate to increase.

It is an absolute requirement of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act that officers have ‘grounds’ for conducting a search under s1 of the Act. s60 Stops are very different and can currently be authorised by an officer of Superintendent rank or above. No innocent person should fear being stopped by Police. It should be carried out courteously, with dignity and the officer should have a valid reason for carrying it out. You are always entitled to receive a written copy of the official record of that Stop/Search. In my experience people who object to being stopped and searched either have something to hide or are being whipped up by one or more of the professional agitators who pop their heads up every so often.

I have heard it stated by people who really should know better that the Met has a 20% ‘hit rate’ for Stops and Searches, i.e. a Target to be achieved. To my mind this is what they ‘hope’ to achieve, to make it a hard ‘Target’ would be both unethical and unlawful, but people still claim that is the case, but I don’t actually believe it.

One ‘Target’ we should be aiming for is 100%. We should aspire to remove 100% of those illegal weapons off of our streets. Every life that has been lost (vis a vis knife crime) and every injury inflicted has been caused by a knife unlawfully carried through the streets. More Police Officers on our streets making more use of Stop and Search has the ability to detect those knives, arrest the person(s) in possession of them, possibly act as a deterrent,  and simply save lives. Compared to a life lost is it really a huge inconvenience to be erroneously Stopped and Searched? Provided that the grounds exist (or a s60 Order) of course.

The same applies to firearms although I do accept that there are other factors at play there.

To implicate the teaching profession or the NHS as somehow being at fault is totally unbelievable and inappropriate. Add into the mix cuts in Youth Services, Local Authority budgets, Teaching and Probation and it must be very close to a ‘Perfect Storm’.

There is one primary person at fault here, the person who said this:-

Any attempt to divert the blame to anybody else is just more Smoke and Mirrors, but we’ve come to expect that from her.

No Direct Link Between Certain Crimes & Police Numbers

“I have to tell you that this kind of scaremongering does nobody any good”

“This crying wolf has to stop.”

“No direct correlation between certain crimes and police numbers”

All of these quotes come from Theresa May. Since her disastrous time at the Home Office she has clearly no intention of changing her views. For years she has bashed the Police Service and now she is Prime Minister, no subsequent Home Secretary has been very successful at doing right by the Police Service.

No direct correlation? I’m not totally sure what she means exactly by ‘direct’ or what evidence she has to support this claim, but lets’s take a look at some lovely figures.

Total Knife Crimes in England and Wales have risen slowly from 2014, and then more steeply after 2016. Anything significant happen in 2014?

“I want to make myself absolutely clear: if the numbers do not come down, if stop and search does not become more targeted, if those stop-to-arrest ratios do not improve considerably, the government will return with primary legislation to make those things happen,”

Theresa May addressing the House of Commons in April 2014

Let’s take a look at what happened after that cracking little speech

It is possibly no surprise that the reduction in Stop & Search steepened after Mrs May’s 2014 diktat. Police Reform so far has Stop/Search declining and Knife Crime rising. How do mortalities look?

Initially peaking around 2008, then a steady decline until 2014 when the figure rises to its highest since 1977.

Let us not forget that all of these offences are reported and investigated by Front Line Officers, how have they fared?

Not very well perhaps.

Thanks to Theresa May’s ‘Police Reform’ it is incontrovertible that Police numbers have shrunk dreadfully. I believe that there is a direct correlation between Theresa May and Police numbers. Stop and Search numbers have fallen off the cliff, but don’t be fooled by the ‘better arrest ratio’ argument, a higher percentage of a much smaller number equates to less prisoners in the bin, and that is NOT an improvement. In parallel with this Knife Crimes are at some kind of record high. All those knives are carried through the streets, and even if there are no deterrents left, fewer Stop/Searches means a reduced opportunity to seize the weapon and arrest the offender. I heard a Professor from Loughborough University state that increased Stop/Search did not work, it merely criminalised more people. Carrying knives through the streets makes them a criminal before they ever get stopped. For these reason I believe there is a direct correlation between reduced Stop/Search and increased Knife Crime (but I’m no professor).

Just before I close this post, in an attempt to inject some context and corroboration into my piece, a few more (final) charts.

Stop/Search down, Knife Crime up, albeit only a 3 year study.

Total Crime also started to increase after 2014

Police Strength down, total crime up.

The population is steadily rising.

The number of officers per 100,000 head of population is steadily decreasing. Not to worry, we’re Great Britain, we’re still OK, surely? Really?

24th out of the 27 European countries studied in 2016, and since then the population has increased and Police numbers have shrunk further.

IN CONCLUSION

I have heard Theresa May described as ‘deluded’ or ‘delusional’. I don’t think she is. She is intelligent enough to know that she has caused this crisis, and she is arrogant enough to never say “Sorry, I screwed that one up”.  She has got many things wrong during her political career, but I have never heard her once own up to it and set about putting it right.

I have no idea if there is a direct correlation between certain crimes and Police numbers, but I believe that there is. I also believe that there is a direct correlation between Theresa May’s policies and increased Knife Crime (and crime generally).

I would now like to see Theresa May personally address a conference hall full of Knife Crime survivors and the families of deceased victims. Would she dare to accuse them of ‘Crying Wolf’ and ‘scaremongering’? I suspect that they would rip her to shreds, metaphorically speaking.

In the meantime the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, is having an urgent meeting today with some NPCC types. I bet there isn’t one single practitioner in the room. Way to go.

Just What Have The Tories Done To Policing?

It’s a question I’ve been asking myself since 2010 to be honest. My opinions have never been favourable to the Tories, but apart from the constant, ongoing, reduction in officers I’ve never really put many numbers to it.

I fear that is about to change, but to be easy you, I hope to achieve most of what I have to say with some pretty pictures.

The whole of this project was sparked off by the finding of a government briefing paper on Police Service Strength, dated October 2018, so relatively up to date.

The first item that really boiled my piss was when I saw how well the Tories had truly protected the Front Line, as they have constantly claimed to have done.

Really? Protected the Front Line? We know that this government and previous administrations since 2010, have culled about 22,000 Police Officers from the overall strength. How does that look nationally? Post Code Policing I would call it.

In numbers, it looks like this. How does your Force fare?

How do we fare against our European counterparts? We must be in a quite healthy position surely?

 

European Police Officers per 100,000 head of population

24th out of 27? Is that where we want to be? Is that where we ought to be? Why are we so close to the bottom?

How are we faring at home?

The population of England and Wales is rising, as you may expect

Population of England and Wales 2003-2018
Officers per 100k head of population

So, as we can see, as one goes up the other goes down, quite markedly. Not very good really.

Well, that’s not looking too good so far, the Front Line has clearly NOT been protected, the population increases every year, with the number of Police Officers having been slashed by about 22,000 it is no surprise to see that the number of officers per 100,000 head of population is falling. What is absolutely staggering, and unforgivable is where we stand in comparison to our European neighbours.

How have we come to be in this situation? What is going on in the Police Service? Somebody on Twitter posed the question about crimes per 100,000 head of population. I can’t show that information on a map but I’ll do what I can.

Crimes per 100,000 Head of Population 2002-2017

As I see it, the crime rate was steadily falling until about 2011 and then it has more or less continued to rise ever since. At the same time as the number of Police Officers per 100,000 head of population has been steadily falling. Could there be a connection?

So where have all our Police Officers gone? What has befallen them and who is left behind?

Police Service Age Bands 2007-2018

The youngest age band (under 26) took a bit of a dip but then started to come back in about 2015. The most significant change is in the reduction in the 26-40 band, where, arguably, most of the experience is located. That started to decline in about 2010 and hasn’t really recovered. The Police Service is hemorrhaging experience and the numbers are really only slightly offset by the resurgence in younger officers, with less experience. Numbers are down 22,000 and those left behind have less experience.

Anything else going on with the ‘Leavers’ of note or interest?

Police Service – Routes Out 2006-2018

A bit busy and memuddled this one but one thing is clear that after an initial drop, numbers of officers leaving began to climb again from about 2010 onwards with 2015-2018 seeing record numbers leaving the Service.

In an attempt to inject some clarity I have separated the different exit routes to see more clearly what is going on.

Death In Service 2006-2018
Dismissal From Police Service 2006-2018
Medical Retirement 2006-2018
Normal Retirement 2006-2018
Voluntary Resignation 2006-2018

You’ll be pleased to know that’s the last chart/infographic for today. What do these last 5 tell us about officers leaving the Service? Fortunately the incidence of Death in Service seems to be falling and hopefully will continue to do so. Voluntary Resignations were falling but began to climb again about 2012 and seemingly continue to do so. Worryingly Dismissals began to rise steeply about 2012/13 and remain high. Is this a coincidence or an indication that IOPC/IPCC/DPS/PSD have been complicit in reducing numbers to satisfy the Home Office? I don’t know, but I don’t like the graph. Medical Retirement also shot up after about 2010, is this another way of getting rid of officers who would otherwise have been kept on, to appease the Home Office? Again, I don’t know, but I’ll ask the question. Bizarrely Normal Retirement is all over the shop, I have no explanation for that whatsoever, maybe you can suggest one.

In conclusion, to answer my own question, I believe that, put together, all of the statistics demonstrated above indicate a systematic running down of the Police Service that started under David Camoron and Theresa May and continued under the current Prime Minister and assorted Home Secretaries. Crie is Down, Police Reform is Working clearly doesn’t wash. Police numbers are down, crime, however you measure it is up, and the public have a very much thinned-out and depleted Police Service. The Primary Duty of any government is to ensure the safety of its citizens. I dare to suggest that the combination of charts above categorically demonstrates that this government are NOT ensuring the safety of its citizens. I haven’t even touched on Knife Crime this time round, but that is at horrendous levels at the moment with no support from Central Government for the support and tactics that the practitioners believe will be effective and work.

Since Camoron and subsequently May came to power in 2010 we have lost


  • approximately 15% of our Police Officers
  • approximately 40% of our Police and Community Support Officers
  • approximately 25% of our Special Constabulary
  • approximately 21% of our Police Support Staff
  • approximately 650 Police Stations or Public-facing Front Counters
  • An unknown number of miscellaneous buildings and vehicles

Can we really expect our Police Service (or any other Public Sector organisation) to continue to function at the highest levels in the face of such stringent cuts? There is no capacity for proactivity any more. Theresa May, as Home Secretary, initiated these cuts and then issued a diktat demanding less Stop and Search. Crime is rising, we have fewer officers and our politicians are interfering making sure that we are less effective in maintaining Law and Order. Officers are getting burnt out, many have committed or contemplated suicide or self-harm, almost every Force in the UK owes its officers thousands of hours in overtime and re-rostered Rest Days. This is simply neither sustainable nor good for the health of the workforce. NPCC and government try to convince us that they are concerned about Mental Health, but I see no practical evidence of that fact, just words.

That it is my idea of what the Tories have done to the Police Service. It is my belief that the government cannot even begin to challenge my figures above as, with the exception of SOME population statistics, every single one has been lifted from official Home Office publications or government briefing documents compiled by the Office for National Statistics. You, the reader, can agree with me, or disagree, I don’t mind either, but the argument is certainly worthy of discussion. If not challenged, where will it all end?

Reversing the cuts since 2010 is just the beginning. Crime has risen, demand for Police has risen, numbers have been reduced and those that are left behind have arguably less experience (absolutely no disrespect intended). We need to get back to a situation that is better than 2010 but recruitment and training are not achieved overnight. The government, and others, seem to think that Direct Entry, Police Now and a ‘Healthy Churn’ are the answer to this crisis. I beg to differ. It will take years, and for that I blame David Camoron, Theresa May and any Conservative MP that has voted for these cuts and failed to challenge them. It is a National Disgrace.

That is what the Conservatives have done to our Police Service, once the finest in the world, but sadly no longer.

Scandalous Reduction in Police Officer Numbers

I am thankful to my friend @ConstableChaos for bringing this to my attention

I don’t mean to be condescending to anybody, we can all do the maths, but this is absolutely disgusting.

Hidden within an article about Performance Related Pay within Policing is the little gem that Staffordshire Constabulary have, over a period of years, been reduced from 2,400 officers to 1,600.

Please forgive me for “stating the bleeding obvious” but that is a reduction of 800 officers, or exactly ONE THIRD of their previous establishment.

How on earth are they expected to achieve anything with a whole third of their officers culled?

Figures like these above make it abundantly clear that this is NOT about efficiency, or professionalism. This is setting the Police Service up to fail, nothing less.

There can be no possible justification for cuts of this magnitude and it is time for Theresa May, Amber Rudd and Sajid Javid to finally be honest, threat the British Public with some respect and be honest about what they have done, instead of insisting that “Crime is Down, Police Reform is Working”. This is not Reform, it is Annihilation.