17 Year Old Recruits. Is This What Policing Needs?

There was an article in The Thunderer, and others, yesterday announcing that recruitment into the Police Service will be opened up to 17 year olds. This seems to have quite literally polarised the world of Social Media.

Personally I’m opposed to it. The main reason that I am opposed to it is one of Life Experience. I was 19 when I joined, and 20 by the time I first hot the mean streets of North West London. with the benefit of hindsight I’m not certain that I was adequately equipped. I had survived 16 weeks at Hendon, none of this Distance Learning, CBT Malarkey, then 2 full days per month local training until I had completed my first two years.

Do I think I was adequately prepared? No, but not because I hadn’t been sufficiently trained, but because I didn’t have sufficient life skills and experience to back it up. All the time I was paired up with a senior Constable all was well. The senior Constables and some of the Sergeants and Inspectors were brilliant, they also patrolled the streets, they knew what me and the (very few) other recruits needed and we were properly tutored and mentored. I get the distinct impression that would not be feasible today.

In the other corner is a group that I assume includes a number of serving officers who are ex military. They quite reasonably point out that we recruit 16 year olds into the military, train them, then send them off to foreign parts to fight and possibly die. That is absolutely correct and I can understand why it is used as an argument against me. The difference, in my view, is that they fight as a unit, under close supervision on the battlefield, and in company with soldiers, sailors, airmen, far more experienced than they are. Police Officers can find themselves either alone, or part of a team of only 2, who are faced with anything from a difficult domestic dispute to a rampant, machete-wielding murderer, at close quarters. Once again it’s just my opinion, and I accept that there will be contrary opinions out there.

Also lining up against me, unsurprisingly, is the Collage (sic) of Policing. They most definitely think it’s a good idea, but they would wouldn’t they, they have to help Boris reach his target of 20,000 extra officers. At 17 years old they can’t possibly be Graduates but I can see the attraction of the Apprenticeship root, hopefully leading to a degree but without the Student Loan. I can’t help but wonder how many of them will hang around once they’ve got their Degree, as we all know that a Degree does not have to be relevant to a particular profession to get you a job.

The College of Policing said: “Reducing the age you can apply to be a police officer from 18 to 17 means the police service is able to recruit from the biggest possible pool of people at a time when it is looking for an unprecedented number of new officers.

“The restriction on 17-year-olds applying, particularly through the police apprenticeship route, meant the service could potentially have been losing good candidates to other careers.”

I’m not sure about that last sentence but it will certainly make it easier for Boris to reach his 20,000. I’m not convinced that the Collage should be a positive part of that, smacks of getting involved with Politics to me. I’d rather they came up with some innovative ways to improve grass roots Policing than made Boris’ life a little more comfortable.

Apart from anything else, these 17 year old recruits won’t even be old enough to get a round in at the bar. A minor issue I agree, but it makes one think.

Finally, this scheme does nothing to address the problem of mid service officers leaving the serving early. Retention is rapidly becoming a huge problem and one that does not appear to be being adeqately addressed.

I refer you back to a recent piece wot I wrote. https://retiredandangry.co.uk/the-ever-thinning-blue-line

The number of Voluntary Resignations as a percentage of all Leavers is rising. The 5 worst affected Forces individually, and I have no idea why, were Bedfordshire at 65%, Kent at 53%, Surrey at 52%, Northamptonshire at 49% and Cambridgeshire at 45%.

Those are stunning figures, and whilst they represent the 5 worst affected Forces, it does not make comfortable reading for anyone with an interest in Policing.

So, I leave you with this thought. Which ‘solution’ would be better for Policing? 17 year old recruits or solving the Retention problem?

The Ever-Thinning Blue Line

I recently read some of an interesting piece by Ian Wiggett regarding the shrinking Police Service of England and Wales. I suppose I should declare that I know Ian Wiggett, we served at the same station in a previous life. Unfortunately I could not access the entire article as it lives behind a paywall, but what I could see sparked my interest. I don’t want to replicate Ian’s work, that would be almost pointless, and I don’t want to unnecessarily repeat my own work because that would be boring, but some crossovers will inevitably occur.

By combining some of Ian’s work, that many will not have seen, and some of my work, that I don’t believe Ian has addressed, I can maybe have one final push to illustrate what the Tory governments, NPCC and College of Police have either done, or allowed to be done, to our once fine Police Service. After this I really am done, I cannot think of a single further angle to pursue. My earlier musings can be found here.

The graphic that immediately grabbed my attention was the one immediately below.  It is most definitely Ian’s work, not mine, so I hope he and Policing Insight won’t mind me referencing it.

Fig 1

It would appear that the Home Counties and adjacent Forces are having a torrid time retaining experienced officers, the Forces shaded the darkest blue experiencing Voluntary Resignation levels at over 40% of their Total Leavers. Why?

The 5 worst affected Forces individually, and I have no idea why, were Bedfordshire at 65%, Kent at 53%, Surrey at 52%, Northamptonshire at 49% and Cambridgeshire at 45%.

65% of all Leavers (not incluing Transfers) were Voluntary Resignations. Let that sink in.

This provoked me to go seek out the raw data that Ian’s article, and accompanying graphics, were based on. That is where I found this little gem, in the Home Office’s regular 6 monthly updates on Police manpower levels.

Fig 2

It clearly states that in the past year the percentage of Voluntary Resignations of Total Leavers (excluding transfers) has risen from 29% to 33%, a fact that has gone largely unreported. Why?

At March 2020 the Police Service Profile for the whole of England and Wales looked like this.

Fig 3

Cuts under the Tory government and coalition, since 2010, led to a dip in recruitment as Forces across the country came to terms with their slashed budgets. This currently leaves a visible and obvious dip at the 5-10 year service mark

Assuming for just one moment that Chairman Boris’s magical 20,000 extra officers programme is a success, in 5 years time the Police Service MIGHT look something like this.

Fig 4

At first glance they may not look very different, however, thanks to Boris, the numbers on the left will have increased, but the culling of the May and Camoron years means that there is now a significant lack of officers in the 7-17 years of service band. Arguably you could say that officers at that stage of their service are at their peak efficiency. They will have moved on from the bravado of youth, they will have earnt their spurs at the coalface, and, most importantly, they will still be young enough to do their job efficiently and promptly. Most worryingly, officers at the 10-15 year mark will be at a level comparable to brand new recruits and those about to receive their pensions.

There is nothing that I am aware of that we can do to resolve this problem, but one thing we can do to make it less disastrous, is to hang on to the officers that we do have.

This takes me back to the very beginning. Why are we seeing 33% of officers leaving doing so voluntarily and prematurely? There are many factors at work here, some we can address and some we can not. There is anecdotal evidence that officers are leaving due to the constant onslaught of vitriol and criticism on Social Media, and in some of the Mainstream Media, of everything they do. I do not agree with Steve House when he rejects the idea of routinely releasing body worn video footage in rebuttal of criticism. NOBODY seeks to stop the tide of heavily edited videos on Social Media showing some supposedly outrageous behaviour of officers, edited to show them in the worst possible light. Why on earth should we shy away from releasing BWV footage showing officers using patience and Home Office Approved tactics for dealing with whatever it is they are facing? If that looks ‘ugly’ and unpleasant, so what? If they are approved moves officially taught in Officer Safety Training why are we ashamed of showing them? If the Brigade of Armchair Experts are not happy with those moves let them take the matter up in the appropriate forum, intead we get morale decimated and Officer Safety compromised by the Snowflake Party, which includes some of our elected politicians who should most definitely know better.

We can also scrap the College of Policing’s bizarre policy of ‘helping officers to leave’.

Fig 5

We as a community have invested a lot of money in recruiting, training and equipping our officers.  Why on earth would we want them to leave?

Vanity Projects such as Direct Entry (Supt, Insp and now Detective), together with Police Now and Graduate/Apprenticeship Entry have led to a paucity of experience in favour of a quick fix (just my opinion). In th meantime what have these supposedly successful initiatives done for Diversity? Personally I’m not seeing it.

Finally, one last graphic before I go off for my Sunday Lunch. The long term situation. Finally, Joiners are beginning to outnumber Leavers. But the trend of officers with more than 5 years service is progressively downwards, reducing from 90% at its peak to a more modest 75% this current year. That may not seem too bad to you, but is still currently in decline and who knows where it will end? Based on the projections in Fig 4 the year 2025 would see a Police Service that has 73% of its officers having 5 years or more service. Not, in itself, terrible, but still in decline.

Fig 6

I leave the rest to you and your elected representatives. I can do more than state the bleedin’ obvious. However, in my humble opinion, this situation is far from acceptable, and COULD have been avoided.

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

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.

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.

ACAB – All Coppers Are Bastards

Last night I succumbed, I gave in, I shouldn’t have done and I am truly sorry.

I reacted to a post on Twitter. When will I ever learn?

After decades of people in high places teaching us that it is wrong to generalise and stereotype any section of the community I stumbled across a post using the hashtag #ACAB (All Coppers Are Bastards), and stating categorically that British Police are Racist Police.

The author, Mr Stafford Scott, has been highly vocal in his criticism of the Police and if you check out his timeline you will see that he does enjoy a bit of stereotyping, frequently calling upon the Macpherson Report to back up his assertions that the British Police are Racist.

Response PS had a pop at Mr Scott with this Tweet

and Stafford Scott felt it appropriate to respond thus

I could hold back no longer, I was vexed, so I entered the fray, hopefully without the use of insult or stereotyping

There followed a lengthy exchange back and forth where I asked Stafford what suggestions he had for stopping the killings and he just responded with more stereotypical allegations of Racism within the Police and mis-application of the Macpherson Report. Macpherson did NOT state that the Metropolitan Police were all Racist, he stated that the Metropolitan Police were Institutionally Racist, which is quite different.

Even Lee Jasper, an unlikely ally in anyone’s books, took Stafford to task and told him that some of his references to Macpherson were wrong.

Eventually, after several requests for Stafford to provide some practical suggestions as to how best stop the killings I gave up and bid him goodnight. That was the last I heard from him.

However, this morning I found this response on my timeline from an account I have never heard of before, in a very similar manner as Stafford’s stereotyping previously

Yet one more example of someone more intent on criticising the Police than helping to solve the problems.

Stafford, Lee Jasper, “clinical wasteman” (whoever that may be) and anybody else can all have their opinions on the Police Service, fair or unfair. That is a discussion for another day surely. Surely the priority has to be to stop the killings and the stabbings, of children by children.

As I pointed out to Stafford, it is not the Police who are killing the children, so any criticism of them is arguably less of a priority than finding a way to stop the killings.

I’m sorry Stafford, but I remain to be convinced that the use of #ACAB and labelling all Police Officers Racist will save one single life.

Stafford Scott has given us a fine example of a Community Spokesperson (he claims not to represent any organisations although his bio implies differently) who cannot, or will not, come up with a single practical suggestion to try, instead blames everything on “the Racist Police”.

I don’t, and I can’t agree, but I’m always happy to hear, and promote, any practical suggestion that Stafford or his supporters can put forward. My ONLY priority is to stop the killings.

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.