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.

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Knife Crime vs Stop And Search (Plus a Few Ideas)

You’ll be pleased to know that I’m not going to regurgitate much of what I have previously written about Stop/Search or Knife Crime. Any or all of that is available in previous posts.

This really concerns the views of the Twitterati on the subject.

I posted a Poll on Twitter seeking people’s views on Stop/Search in relation to Knife Crime. I had no control over who responded to the poll and I requested that people retweeted it, so that it wasn’t solely my followers who responded and it became as random as possible.

It was set to run for just three days. Now the results are in.

Quite a comprehensive result, only 3% think that Stop and Search doesn’t have a part to play and should not be increased in some way. HOWEVER, that is just the beginning. The majority of people who responded to the poll don’t seem to have a problem with Stop/Search within the context of Knife Crime. We have just seen the whole of Birmingham subject to a s60 PACE order for a few consecutive days. Did we have any significant complaints against that decision? No, I don’t think so. Did we see rioting on the streets of Birmingham in protest against it? No we did not. Therefore, I assume, that under the current crisis the majority of the public are broadly in favour of the tactic. The modern Police Service should be trusted to carry out Stop/Search ethically and lawfully, and they should be supported in so doing, not threatened like Theresa May did in 2014.

There are some people who think that I am promoting Stop/Search as some kind of silver bullet. I am not, but before I leave the topic I thought it would be useful to examine the long-term correlation between Stop/Search and Knife Crime.

Stop/Search data relates to s1 PACE only

Knife = Knife, Bladed Implement, Pointed Article

Stop/Search data relates to s1 PACE only

Knife = Knife, Bladed Implement, Pointed Article

I cannot state from pure data that there is a direct correlation between certain crimes and Police Numbers, but there is a distinct upturn in Knife-Related violence following Theresa May’s edict about Stop and Search in 2014, that is simply a FACT.

Do I think Stop/Search alone is the solution? Most definitely not. It is a complex problem and will require a bit of joined-up thinking before it is resolved. Dare I suggest a holistic, and multi-agency approach?

What has caused this problem? It didn’t used to be like this.

In my opinion, in 2010, something very significant happened. David Camoron became Prime Minister with Theresa May as his Home Secretary. Between them they dreamt up ‘Police Reform’. They engaged a man with no experience whatsoever of Policing to conduct a number of ‘independent’ reviews and come up with the cure. In tandem with this we conveniently had #Austerity. Just one result of that policy was the culling of approx 21,000 Police Officers. However, that is not the end of the problem. Alongside the cuts to Policing we witnessed cuts in Education, Justice, Probation, NHS and probably many others. We saw blind allegiance to the principle of privatisation in as much of the Public Sector as possible. Were sound, experienced, knowledgeable voices listened to when they spoke up against it? No they were not. The Tories were on a roll and not about to listen to anyone.

In short, all of these cuts and reductions of services has created a void, a ‘Perfect Storm’ which means that no single agency can tackle the problem alone.

Stop/Search has two main benefits, properly and lawfully conducted. It can increase the detections of these weapons. They are all carried through the streets and are ‘in play’ to be found. Secondly, the mere fact that Stop/Search is being conducted should act as a deterrent to youths carrying these lethal weapons. We should see a return of ‘fear’ on the streets. Not fear of being given a kicking by some bullyish Police Officer, but a fear of the consequences of being caught.

Sentencing is woeful. Long, strong sentences just for merely carrying a knife should be introduced and enforced. If you actually use a knife the sentence should be doubled, at least.

What has happened to Youth Clubs, After School Clubs and similar? Gone, another lamented victim of ‘the cuts’.

More and more kids are being excluded from school because the kids get frustrated and the schools don’t have the resources to adequately deal with them.

An absolute eternity ago, when I was a Community Bobby, we had any number of ways of engaging with the local youths. I worked in Brent at the time. It doesn’t get more multi-racial and multi-cultural than Brent. Did we have a problem with youths stabbing and killing each other? No we did not. Why not? Possibly because we engaged with the children at an early age. We were invited into schools and gave talks, and showed videos on the perils of playing near water, playing on railway lines, and other such dangerous pursuits.  Were we laying down the law and forcing them to “do as I say”? No. I spent a week at a Teacher Training College learning how to talk to children. This was followed by an attachment to a school. We were not trying go bully them we were trying to educate them and save their lives.

Was I lefty, liberal officer that let the kids get away with everything? No. Ask anyone who knew me or worked with me. There was a line and if you crossed it you got nicked. I would happily hold my performance up against any other officer of my era, confidently. There is nothing wrong with being ‘busy’ but at the same time caring about the safety and well-being of the kids on your patch. Whatever their ethnicity, who knows what they will grow up to be, and become? They deserve to be taught how to stay safe and not to kill or injure others. We invested time, often our own, in the youths. In the main it paid off. Some invariably strayed from the path, the majority (from all cultures and backgrounds) did not. I am not aware that any of the youths I or my colleagues were involved with went on to kill or maim anyone. Knife fights and stabbings in general were almost non-existent, and it most certainly was NOT the norm to carry a ‘blade’.

Their parents supported us too. When the politics of the local council changed we were no longer invited into the schools as the ruling councillors had a problem with that. Was that the end of the programme? No it was not. The parents clubbed together and hired the local church hall for a session outside of school hours. Were those children resentful? No. Some of our number played football with them or coached them. In the streets it was “good morning Mr Smith” or whatever. They had respect, for us, and more importantly, for each other.

I was even invited to join the Board of Governors of the local Secondary School, so somebody outside of the Police Service must have thought we were doing something right.

Can we reintroduce this policy/practice? No we can not. Not any time soon. Even if there is a political and social will to do it, we can’t because we have lost 21,000 officers. We don’t have enough officers available to function at that level any more.

In short, the government have caused this. Specifically David Camoron and Theresa May. They have created all the factors that have led to the Knife Crime Crisis. Government policies have created a hole, a void, a vacuum that we cannot now fill. No, or little, intelligence now comes out of the communities to tell us who are responsible for these horrific crimes.

Increase Stop/Search? Yes, but that will not cure it alone.

Recruit xx000 more Police Officers? Yes, but they will not hit the streets for approx 6 months and then need to get up to speed on the streets, so that won’t be a quick fix. To replace the experience already lost will take literally years.

Give the Police £xx Million? Yes, but again, that will pay for certain things, but it certainly won’t cure the epidemic overnight.

Bring back Youth Clubs and After School Clubs etc? Yes, but where are the resources to allow it, and that won’t change children’s mentality/culture overnight.

Education? Vitally important to educate the children about the consequences of Knife Crime. Not “this is illegal, you must not do it” but a bit of a shock with graphic, if necessary, examples of Knife Crime, addresses from the various charities set up to help the victims of Knife Crime etc.

The government have starved many different services of resources. Some joined-up thinking needs to happen to identify how these shortages can be reversed. However this will not happen until Theresa May stands up and says “Sorry Britain, we got it wrong”. Can you see that happening?

This is not a quick fix problem. This is not a single agency solution. Anybody who thinks I was ever suggesting otherwise doesn’t know me very well. It shouldn’t really be a political football. Our children are being massacred, and the people who created the circumstances in which that crisis thrives are saying and doing precious little about it. I don’t care what ethic origin the kids are, neither the offenders nor the victims. The majority of them are children or young people and whatever they may have done, they do not deserve to die.

I am quite clear in my mind who is responsible for this disaster, and I have a reasonable idea what it will take to begin to end it, a combination of education, robust Policing, tougher sentencing and an appropriate level of resourcing, what I don’t know is how the hell we’re ever going to achieve it, and if we do, how long it will take.

ADDENDUM

The story of Stop and Search under all legislations since 2001

The chart above tells the tale of Stop and Search across the 21st Century. I have my views but I’m sure that others more highly qualified than me will tell us that all is well.

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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.

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How Long Before The Government Destruction Of The British Police Service Is Complete?

Wow, that is some headline. Do I really mean it? On reflection I believe that I do. Isn’t it a bit OTT?  No, I don’t think it is. I actually believe that this government, driven by Cameron and May initially, and now May and Rudd have systematically plotted the destruction of the British Police Service as we know it.

Why?

I really have no idea. There have been numerous suggestions why put forward over the past seven years and I’m really not sure which ones I favour.

Winsor’s Independent Reviews of the Police Service. Nothing much ‘Independent’ about them. Not one single Risk or Impact Assessment carried out to produce two volumes closely mimicking David Cameron’s speech of 2006.  Does anybody really think they were ‘Independent’? Are we really expected to swallow that the author (Winsor) never claimed his fee? Yeah right.

Why else do I think it’s a deliberate strategy by government?

Since 2010 approx 21,000 Police Officer posts have been shed from England and Wales alone.

Include reductions to PCSOs, Police Staff, Specials etc and the picture looks like this for England and Wales


I only currently have the data for Police Officers but including Scotland and Northern Ireland doesn’t really improve the picture much, they have, broadly speaking, stood still, neither gaining nor losing significant numbers

Surely it is not possible to manipulate the loss of Police Officers and their various support staff on such a scale without it being a deliberate act, and #Austerity is pretty much discredited now.  So what is the reason?

One of the Tory lies is that they have protected the Front Line, well would dispute that promise most vehemently, the government’s own data disproves that one

So, what makes me certain that it’s a deliberate act by government?  Firstly, losses on this scale can hardly be an accident or a mistake.  Even Tory MPs have occasionally gone off-script and complained that there were insufficient officers to deal with incidents that had arisen in their constituencies.  Having been reminded that their party had caused it they mysteriously went quiet. Head Office had presumably reminded them of the script.

Police Forces across the land have been forced to sell “the family silver” in order to reduce the worst effects of the cuts. Real Estate that will never be replaced. Over 600 Police Stations or Front  Counters closed, over 100 more earmarked for closure. Housing stock, training facilities and Feeding Centres etc sold off. How and when will they be replaced? Simple, they won’t be.

Traditionally Mutual Aid has been used by Forces in need of urgent, short-term assistance with a serious Policing problem.  Move a few dozen officers on loan to anotherForce  for a day or two. Only with constantly shrinking numbers that isn’t as simple as it used to be, as there are no longer an adequate number left behind.

Current losses of Officers alone are the equivalent of the areas shaded in pink having NOT ONE SINGLE POLICE OFFICER OF ANY RANK ON THE FORCE.


How can that possibly be anything other than deliberate?

Slowly, Some Chief Officers are waking up and complaining that their officer strength is not sustainable. Too little, too late and by many, no action whatsoever. Even recently some Chief Officers have claimed to have sufficient resources to Police their communities. How can that possibly be true?  Are they really saying that they have been over-staffed for years?  I don’t want to believe it but are ACPO/NPCC in cahoots with government, quietly standing by whilst their Police Forces are dismantled?

Modern recruitment regimes also affect the makeup of Police Forces.  Schemes that recruit ‘top graduates’ are guaranteed to change the face of the Force. Regarding it as a job for about 5 years instead of a dedicated devotion for 30 years or more will quickly make a difference. Adopting the MOD regime of dispensing withtheir expensive, experienced workforce and replacing thhem with cheap recruits also has an inevitable impact. Again, I can only believe that it’s part of a deliberate plan. 

The final thing to convince me was reading GrahamWettone’s excellent blogpost The Policing Crisis express has left the station.  It made me realise that I’m not the only person thinking this way.   

I can but agree with Graham.  This #CrisisInPolicing has been going on long enough that David Cameron  (before he stood down) or Theresa May, maybe even Amber Rudd could actually acknowledge this crisis and set plans in motion to save the Police Service.  They have done no such  thing.

Why?

You can call me a Conspiracy Theorist, I really don’t care. What I am is passionate about my former career and the ‘colleagues’ still ‘on duty’. Pay frozen, Pension increased, pay more for longer, receive less. This Mrs May just does not care.

Meanwhile the shrinkage just goes on.

If you are not already aware another former officer Peter Kirkham (@PeterKirkham) is doing a fine job highlighting the #CrisisInPolicing. Find out more hereLast Updated on

The Finest Police Force In The World

Or it was at least, and it gives me absolutely no pleasure to write these words.

When I joined the Met a million years ago in 1972 the old sweats took delight in telling me that I was now part of the finest Police Force in the world, they were referring to the Met of course, but a case could have been made for almost any UK Police Force. British Policing was a model for so many others across the world.  You only had to spend a handful of days at Hendon to trip over any number of foreign students studying something there, if only how to drive and skid.

I wasn’t originally going to write this post, and if you inhabit the world of Twitter you will have seen much of it already in separate tweets, twats, whatever.

I have had much to say about “the cuts” over the years, and I take none of it back, but today it finally hit me how deep the Crisis In Policing truly is. However, I’m not going to mention money at all in this pcost, but there will be a few numbers. Grim numbers.  I’m not even going to rant, this is way too serious for a rant.

Firstly, as I have referred to before, the latest official stats were released this week on the number of Police Officers in England and Wales.  As expected numbers have gone down further and are at their lowest level for a long time.

The official government chart looks like this:-


If that isn’t bad enough, do you recall Mrs May saying this in 2011, when she was still Home Secretary?

 “As I said earlier, we have to meet the challenge of police reform at the same time as we meet the challenge of reducing police spending. And we have to do that while protecting – indeed, improving – frontline police services”

This year Front Line Services look like this


Another official government chart. Does that look like something that is being protected or improved?

Mrs May and/or Amber Rudd has had no influence in Scotland. Their manpower chart (official government chart) looks quite different to ours


The overall numbers might be fewer (I shall come back to that later) and they are not without problems but the chart is trending in the right direction.

The Special Constabulary were meant to be our saviours in the May/Cameron vision.  Look what has happened to them.


Yes, I know, another official government chart.

There is no pretty graph specifically for PCSOs, but they peaked at slightly under 17,000 in 2010 and had been reduced to 10,213 in March 2017

So, I made my own chart for PCSO numbers and it looks like this (my chart, official Home Office numbers)


The Police Service of Northern Ireland (Norn Iron apparently) fares no better


But look on the bright side, we must be doing better than some of those hard-to-point-at-on-a-map places in Europe? Right? WRONG

My last nice, official government chart shows that the Police Service of England and Wales has fewer officers per 100,000 head of population than Scotland and Northern Ireland. In fact even Liechtenstein (where’s that?) has more than we do.

In fact England and Wales is 7th from the BOTTOM


The only words I can think of to describe this whole situation are ‘Disgrace’ and ‘Travesty’.  Theresa May you have done this, you and David Cameron. How can we possibly claim to be the finest in the world? How will we ever be able to claim that again? You proudly claim that “Police Reform is working”.  How can you possibly say that faced with the above information, every  piece of it found in a government  Briefing Paper dated June 2107, so it is relatively current.

TJF truly

Don’t “shed a little tear”, just “dry your eyes” and get angry. Very angry.  Please feel free to share this post, particularly if your MP is on Twitter. This is a National Disgrace that our Police Service has been dragged so low down. Let’s all make our MPs aware of what the picture looks like when the dots are joined up.

I, for one, don’tlike it. If you don’t like it feel free to give your MP some grief in his/her Summer Holiday.Last Updated on

That’s What Lack Of Experience Does For You

Way back in 2010 a small little article slipped through, almost un-noticed.  Mervyn King, then Governor of the Bank of England felt that George Osborne and David Cameron were “out of their depth”

You can read the article here

Paraphrasing, he felt that they were presumably too young and lacked experience to be Prime Minister and Chancellor.  Few would argue with him now.

He thought that the dynamic duo had ‘not fully grasped’ the problems they would face in tackling the economic crisis.

He was quite scathing in his view that they ‘had a tendency to think about issues only in terms of politics, and how they might affect Tory electability’. Mr King harboured serious doubts about the ‘lack of depth’ in the Conservative leadership 

In private conversations with American Ambasador,  Louis Susman, he said he had repeatedly pressed Cameron and  Osborne in private for details of how they would cut the deficit but had ‘received only generalities in return’. Susman would later inform Hilary Clinton that, in his view, Cameron and Osborne “lacked experience” and that “Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne have not fully grasped the pressures they would face from different groups when attempting to cut spending.”

The end result, as we all know, is that they were left, almost unchallenged, to blunder along in their naive attempts to run a country and we have arrived at the situation we find ourselves in today.  Between them they have screwed the hole foundation of our once great country, and are STILL too arrogant to listen to, or take advice from anyone.

Such a tragedy that more people didn’t get to see the thoughts of Mervyn King 5 years ago.Last Updated on

I Feel So Much Safer Now

NOT

I have just read Peter Kirkham’s most excellent post, and rather than paraphrase or précis it, I recommend that you read it here.

All I can say in response is that the government have not made me feel any safer at all.  We’re going to keep both of our new Aircraft Carriers. Oh goody.  The Typhoons are staying with us for another 25 years. Great.  We’re getting a shed load of Stealth Fighters, fantastic.

The government has pledged BILLIONS of ££££ for these things, and that is good.

What bothers me is that the current threat is from Terrorists and it is NOW, not in 10 years or so when the increased funding for the military etc will begin to reap its benefits.

If we are unfortunate enough to have a Paris style attack in London in the next few months, who will face it?

Will a Trident submarine surface in the Pool of London and flatten the terrorists?  A squadron of Typhoons fly over the capital and demonstrate their skills at Air Strikes?   No.

It will be the Police who are the first resort. POSSIBLY supported by the Army, but with the best will in the world that can’t be guaranteed.

I remain to see what  Gorgeous George says tomorrow, but it’s highly likely that the very group of people who would be in the Front Line of any reply to an ISIS attack will be the biggest losers in tomorrow’s speech.

If that turns out to be true, and if we do indeed suffer an ISIS attack here, hundreds of thousands of people will never forgive, never forget and will hold the whole of Camoron’s Cabinet petsonally responsible.

If you choose to ignore the advice from professionals you do so at your own risk.Last Updated on

Misleading Parliament

I’ve had enough, I’m getting even angrier.  Apart from anything else there seems to be no justice in this country at the moment and we certainly don’t seem to be living in a Democracy at the moment.

Two years ago three Police Officers were threatened with being charged with Contempt if Parliament because it was felt that they had lied to a Committee.  I have no idea whether they lied or not, the important part for me today is what they were threatened with.

As ordinary citizens we have to listen to our politicians misleading Parliament EVERY SINGLE DAY, yet there is no retribution whatsoever.  When they do it nobody within Parliament, any Party, takes any notice whatsoever. It’s just accepted as the Norm, part of The Game.

Well, it’s not a bloody game when people’s lives are at risk.  Public Safety should be right up there with the principal objectives of government, but it clearly isn’t.

I am absolutely sick to the back teeth with Tory MPs of assorted levels spouting the tired old mantra “Reform is working”.  Reform is defined in the dictionary thus

make changes in (something, especially an institution or practice) in order to improve it.

We are not witnessing Reform, we are witnessing wholesale destruction of the Police Service in a manner, and at a pace, never before witnessed in this country.  YOU CANNOT MAKE SOMETHING BETTER by slashing the resources that you pour into it and simply sit back and say “Deal with it”. That in no way fits the definition of Reform.

The Prime Minister, Home Secretary and someone called Penning keep telling us, and Parliament, that “Crime is Down”.  It is NOT.

I will go so far Dave, Theresa, to accuse you both of LYING to us the Public and your contemporaries in Parliament.  I challenge you both you demonstrate to us a) how the Police Service is being ‘Reformed’ and not destroyed and b) that these ‘Reforms’ are working.  How has the Police Service been ‘Improved’?

If you repeatedly make these false claims in your official speeches and addresses in Parliament, then surely you are Misleading Parliament and presumably vulnerable to a charge of Contempt of Parliament as were our three Police Officers?  Oh no, of course, silly me.  You can hide behind Parliamentary Privilege.  You can spout whatever spin and alternative version of the truth that you want to with complete immunity.

As forDemocracy, I don’t believe that we are currently seeing policies from our Tory party that in any way reflect what the majority of the electorate wish for.  Do the public that elect you want the Police Service to be cut beyond recognition? In this age of heightened Terrorist Threat, do  the public that elect you want FEWER armed officers on our streets, fewer Border Force officers, indeed many fewer Police Officers generally?

I am now hearing about a potential threat of chemical or biological attack, maybe in France, maybe elsewhere.  Our government think that we can best proceed by cutting the number of officers on our streets and, by extension, our ability to prevent or react to any such attack.

In the long term I think it would be infinitely better for the government to admit they got it wrong and urgently set about putting things right again.  I don’t suppose for one second that Camoron gives a tuppenny toss what I think but I for one will never forgive him, or any of his government, if anything happens on UK mainland that could have been made less serious without their ‘Reforms’.Last Updated on

Critical Mass

CRITICAL MASS

1. (Nuclear Physics) the minimum mass of fissionable material that can sustain a nuclear chain reaction
2. the minimum amount of money or number of people required to start or sustain an operation, business, process, etc:

Well, we must just about be approaching Critical Mass in UK PLC any time now.

I make no apology for concentrating on the wholesale slaughter of our Police Service, nobody would be surprised by that, but it doesn’t stop there does it?

17,000+  fewer Police Officers, with yet more savage cuts to come before 2020.

In the last 4 years the British Army (not including Ghurkas) has been reduced by 19,000 Regular Soldiers and Officers.

In the same period the Royal Navy has been reduced by approx 5,000 and the Royal Air Force by approx 8,000.

The Crown Prosecution Service has seen its budget cut by 25% and staff numbers reduced by 2,500.

Yesterday we heard the news that Addenbrookes Hospital had been graded Inadequate and placed in ‘Special Measures’.  I have to say that my personal opinion, for what that’s worth, is that Addenbrookes is NOT a bad hospital, it is an excellent hospital made bad by the government cuts.  The ‘highlights’ of the Care Quality Commission’s findings were;

  • A “significant shortfall of staff” in a number of areas resulted in staff being moved from one service to another and patients being cared for by workers without relevant training
  • Pressure on surgical services meant routine operations were frequently cancelled and, despite some outstanding maternity services, staffing issues led to regular closures
  • Important messages from the clinical divisions were not highlighted at trust board level
  • Introducing the £200m EPIC IT system for clinical records affected the “ability to report, highlight and take action on data” and meant medicines were not always prescribed correctly
  • Inspectors found “caring staff who did everything they could for patients” and “efficient” and “effective” emergency and major trauma departments

Surely to goodness the first two findings are indicative of budgetary strangulation?  ‘Not enough staff’ is usually caused by ‘not enough money to pay them’ rather than a physical shortage o staff or inability to fill vacancies.  The final point above is an indication of excellence in my book.  If the staff are ‘Caring’, ‘Efficient’ and ‘Effective’ then there is another reason why the hospital is under-performing, isn’t there Jeremy?

The Marine and Coastguard Agency is crumbling around our ears and the stalwarts who were not made redundant are now leaving the Service, presumably due the manner in which they have been treated.

Privatisation of Prisons has had a good effect, most of the lurid headlines we have seen in the last couple of years have taken place at privately run prisons I believe.

The list goes on and on, but getting back to my main point;

I don’t know what it is but somebody out there must do, and is keeping quiet;

There MUST be a Minimum Number of Police Officers, Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Doctors, Nurses, Coastguards, Lawyers, etc etc etc that we need for UK PLC to run efficiently and be safe and sustainable i.e. a Critical Mass.  I truly fear that we will soon go below that number, if we haven’t already.  All of the above services are NOT traditional Industries that sell things to make a profit, they all need money pumping into them to make them work and if you strangle that flow of money something breaks, doesn’t get done.  I have seen the question asked many times before – “What shall we stop doing in order to meet your requirements?”  I haven’t yet seen one single answer.

Some time ago I said that I had heard that the Home Office were looking to reduce Police Numbers as low as 80,000, nobody within the Police Service or the Home Office has ever challenged that figure and told me that I am wrong.

The Armed Forces are an embarrassment, through no fault of their own.  I am immensely proud of our Armed Forces, but they can’t get the job done with slashed numbers either.

Three years ago the NHS was the ‘poor cousin’ worldwide;

There were just 2.8 doctors and 8.2 nurses per 10,000 population in 2012, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

In comparison, the other wealthy countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) had averages of 3.2 and 8.9 respectively, with the EIU describing the UK figures as “worrying” due to the link between staff numbers and patient outcomes.

n terms of physical resources, the report said the situation was even worse, with just 2.8 hospital beds per 1,000 population against an OECD average of 4.8. In Japan there were 13.4 per 1,000.

The UK also had less than half the amount of equipment – such as computerised tomography (CT) scanners and magnetic resonance image (MRI) units – than the average, at 6.8 and 8.7 per million population.

Overall it ranked just 28th out of 30 countries for healthcare resourcing, with only Israel and Turkey coming out worse.

That was three years ago, how bad can it have got since?

Fiddling While Britain Burns
Fiddling While Britain Burns

And all the time the pompous idiots that rule this country sit back and make sure that the bankers etc etc can have their bonuses back and not have to suffer like ‘ordinary’ people.

What makes it all worse, unforgivable even, is that this a cold, calculated, deliberate act by Camoron and his Cronies.  Aided and Abetted by self-serving businessmen and women, Senior Police Officers, possibly even senior Service Personnel, Civil Servants all selling out for a Knighthood or a Peerage.

Now we know exactly what is meant by the words “Reform is Working”

 

Safe to say I’m not in line for either of those but I might just be on some kind of list by now.Last Updated on

And The Melton Mowbray 2015 Award Goes To…..

Mr David Cameron and his Cabinet Office

(Other brands of Pork Pie are most certainly available).

Who are the Cabinet Office and who has eaten all the pies?

The PieAnd what was this terrible Pork Pie?   pork pie

At the risk of ‘banging on about it’ the alleged Pork Pie is the withholding of funding for candidates in next year’s Police and Crime Commissioner election.  For the 2012 Elections the government decided not to fund a mail-shot for those elections (at an estimated cost of £25-£30 million) because, as our old friend Nick Herbert put it, “it was not justifiable in the current climate”.  Instead they funded a central website at a cost of about £100,000.

I assume that nothing has changed and that is the position of Cabinet Office now, I have yet to see an announcement from Cabinet Office themselves but they have certainly not contradicted that view.

I have no idea what the figure is for England and Wales, but, certainly, where I live in DeadBadgerShire a significant proportion of the population do not have access to the internet, mainly by choice.  A large proportion of the population here choose not to have internet and emails, preferring to receive their information, on any number of topics, on paper.  I suspect that may well be true of many of the ‘Grey Voters’ across the land, certainly my mother is one, she wouldn’t know how to get an email never mind order her shopping from the supermarket online.

Do you think that the candidates for Conservatives, Lib-Dem and Labour will manage their campaigns without leaflets?  I don’t think so, and those leaflets will be paid for out of Party Funds, leaving Independent Candidates at an immediate disadvantage, and possibly thousands of pounds poorer.  Even the quickest search on Google would suggest that Mailshot leaflets are costing about £25 per thousand without the cost of delivering them.  Multiply that figure by the number of households in your Force area and it is starting to mount up.  Even if you get reimbursed for your campaign expenses you still have to stump up the money and get the leaflets printed in the first place.

Some Independent candidates in the 2012 election claimed to have spent £20,000-£30,000 of their own money on their campaigns.  I would be interested to hear how much the Labour/Conservative/Lib-Dem candidates actually contributed to their own campaigns.

I suppose it’s possible to campaign without spending a small fortune, but why should they be disadvantage in comparison to the ‘official’ candidates?

Then there is the £5,000 deposit, do the ‘official’ candidates pay that themselves, or do the Party pay it?  Poll less than 5% of the poll and you lose your 5 grand.  Independent candidates again, potentially, disadvantaged.

The second factor to be considered is that the Election is scheduled for 5th May 2016.  Unsurprisingly this is the same date as Local Elections in England and Wales, together with Mayoral Elections in 4 cities, London, Bristol, Liverpool and Salford.  What might surprise you is the fact that the government are apparently funding a Mailshot for these elections, despite the fact that only 4 cities are having Mayoral elections and the Local Elections don’t include every single a Council in England and Wales, so many areas will ONLY be having. PCC election on that date, just like 2012, giving the electorate no added incentive to turn out again.

The final straw came when I got a phone call from my friend Dai (you remember him, his girlfriend Bronwen works in the Police Canteen) and Dai said “You do realise it’s not really about the money don’t you.  There’s plenty of money splashing about, it’s more about ‘Control’, government trying to influence the outcome of the elections before the campaigns have even started”

So I got to thinking about it.  They’re going to fund leaflets for the Mayoral and Local Elections, there seems to be enough money for that, and those elections are on the same date.  Hmmmmm.

With Dai’s phone call still fresh in my ears, I remembered that there was plenty of money lying around when Cabinet Office were throwing millions of pounds at Kids Company.  Just how many £3 Million donations did government give them and for what?

In my stumblings around the Interweb I came across this, taken from a document by National Council for Voluntaryt Organisations.

At the start of the month, the Cabinet Office unveiled a consultation for a “new fund to support the sustainability of the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector”.

The fund, which is believed to be worth around £40m, will be open for bids from April 2015 and will run for one year.

As the fund will be quite small, resources need to be targeted at those organisations that need it most.

Hmmmm, so a £40 Million fund is deemed to be ‘quite small’, which I presume it is in the greater scheme of things, so I really don’t see the argument for a £30 Million funding for PCC Elections is ‘not justifiable

We can justify throwing Millions at Kids Company, we can set up a multi million pound fund for Voluntary Organisations but we can’t invest money into the Democratic Process?   Really Dave?

Finally I came across a rather excellent piece this morning by Jeffrey Harris, Deputy PCC of Surrey in his blog Ask The Question Why, he seems to be asking the same questions and making the same points as me, but he does it far more succinctly and diplomatically than I ever could or do.

meltonConsidering all the evidence, on the Balance of Probabilities, I find you Guilty, Dave, of fibbing, either by act or by omission, to the great British Public in general and to the Independent Candidates specifically, and here is your award.Last Updated on