Sir Tom Winsor

Who is Sir Tom Winsor? Well, most people know by now that he was the lead author of the infamous Independent Review of Police Officers’ & Staff Remuneration and Conditions, first published in 2011.

The ‘highlights’ include

  • Tom Winsor provided the government with recommendations as to how a modern police pay structure could be achieved. Changes to pay that would lower police officer starting salaries but allow officers to progress more quickly to higher pay.
  • A stronger link between pay and skills – in the short term, a £600 allowance for officers who use certain skills (those required for neighbourhood policing, public order, investigation and firearms), and in the longer term, for the highest pays to be limited to those officers who develop, maintain and use professional skills, and who are carrying out roles that require the powers or expertise of a police officer.
  • A stronger link between pay and performance, with annual pay increase limited to those who have performed satisfactorily or better, and those identified as poor performers receiving no rise.
  • Proposals on fitness testing to ensure that all officers are fit enough to be deployed to the front line, with continued support for those injured on duty.
  • A requirement for applicants to have a policing qualification, A-levels, or relevant experience before becoming a police officer. {This recommendation has now been extended and requires a degree, or equivalent, for new recruits as of 2019 I believe}
  • A direct entry scheme to enable individuals of considerable achievement and capacity to join at the rank of superintendent, with appropriately rigorous training and development.
  • The introduction of a system of compulsory severance for police officers, as is currently the case for other public sector workers.
  • An increase in the pension age to 60 (compared to a pension age of 65 rising to 68 in line with state pension age for most other public service workers).
  • Tom Winsor has recommended that an annual fitness test should be implemented in September 2013 based on the entry standard for new recruits. In total, officers would be expected to run 540 metres in 3 minutes 29 seconds. The level of fitness required to be able to complete this test is not an unreasonable expectation for police officers, and someone of only average fitness should be able to pass the test well into their 60s.

I’m sure there are others, but the above seem to be the main features coming out of the Independent Reviews. Controversial, many of them, unsympathetic some would day, and others would claim that they very closely resembled David Cameron’s speech on Police Reform in 2006. I don’t know if Sir Tom even read that article, but he might have done..

The bizarre thing to me is that Sir Tom did not claim his fee (£300 per day) for the Reviews from the Home Office. I know that’s true because the Home Office told me.

Sir Tom has been a controversial character ever since. In no particular order, as they say,

Apart from his outspoken views on unfit cops, he has not been shy about upsetting the fine men and women of our Police Service.

He stated that the Police Service was currently “unfairly perceived” as a blue-collar occupation with a “clock-in and clock-out” mentality, whereas it should be regarded as one of the professions. I know many former and serving officers, and not one of them has ever displayed a “clock in, clock out mentality’ so I have no idea where he got that one from. I have never even heard or read that description from anybody other than Sir Tom Winsor, so I have no idea where it originated.

He was appointed as Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary despite never having served a single day as a Police Officer, totally unprecedented. If that wasn’t bad enough he pitched up at a National Police Memorial Day service in what purported to be a Police Uniform, many took that as a sleight on their profession.

Last year he upset and offended serving and former officers alike by claiming that Response Officers “take nothing home with them” implying that Response Officers left the stresses and experiences in their locker at the end of the day, and that tecs took their work home with them and worried about it at home. This was blatantly wrong, in my opinion, and showed Response Officers no respect or understanding at all.

Sir Tom apologised the very next day. Sir Tom said: “Yesterday, on Sky News, I made a mistake, for which I apologise.

I said that, in contrast to detectives, response officers “take nothing home” at the end of their shifts. That is plainly wrong, it is not what I meant, and I realise it has caused anger and offence. I am sorry about this.”

He added: “Response and neighbourhood policing are undoubtedly stressful.

“Police officers and staff who deal with the many dreadful things which people do to others, or which happen to them, most certainly do not leave them behind; they take them home, and in many cases they stay with them forever. This was illustrated by some of the harrowing examples on Twitter yesterday.”

Most recently he has displayed, again, in my opinion, a total lack of understanding how the Police Service works. He said the “shortcomings” of police chiefs who did not plan or use resources effectively were masked by the “get the job done” attitude of front-line officers. If he had ever been a Police Officer he would know full well that the default attitude of Police Officers is exactly that, get the job done. It is not done that way out of loyalty to the bosses, nor to cover up for the shortcomings of the bosses, but because your average Police Officer just wants to get the job done and achieve the desired outcome, frequently in unorthodox ways.

I am firmly of the opinion that Sir Tom Winsor is being a bit naughty in his criticisms of certain aspects of Policing. The way I understand it, he was the lead author of the ‘Winsor Reviews’ that directly led to Theresa May’s Police Reforms. He knows full well the troubles and problems that have been forced upon the Police Service of England and Wales. He absolutely understands the consequences of losing 21,000 officers and the budgetary restraints imposed upon them. He has been at the very core of the cuts prior to his appointment to HMIC (as was). Now he is the Chief Inspector he really should understand what the problems are before criticising how the modern Police Service is operating. I’m pretty certain that most Forces could operate better at 2010 staffing levels, PLUS, some features of Policing, like serious Public Disorder, most definitely requires numbers. Maybe he should be making that argument back up the chain. There are only so many ‘Efficiency Savings’ that can be made. Increased use of technology is not always the answer. As somebody said a few years ago you can’t solve all those problems by chucking a few iPads at them.

So, there you have it, a potted history of Sir Tom Winsor for the benefit of anyone who may have missed him.

It’s All The Police’s Fault (No It Isn’t)

I am grateful (again) to @NathanConstable. I had the read the article about West Yorkshire Police and dutifully spluttered coffee into my All Bran but Nathan tweeted that we should read he comments, which I had failed to do. 

The gist of the article was about the reduction of Police Officers and PCSOs in West Yorkshire Police since 2010.  Nearly 100 fewer officers in Bradford alone.

To offset these losses more Specials have been recruited.

The comments, however, were shocking.  Some quite vociferous condemnation of West Yorkshire Police for what? For carrying out government policy, Reform if you wish.

Has one person from the Home Office stood up and said “It’s our fault, not the Police’s. We told them to do it”?  NO

Cruella and the Milky Bar Kid are the architects of this reform, and they remain notably quiet.

We tend to be a bit parochial and most of us only take notice of the Police Forces a) Where we live and b) any Police Forces we may have served in.  This story may be being repeated all across the land.  I don’t know because I haven’t looked, but as Nathan points out, the detail is in the Comments. It seems that at least some of the Public have been taken in by the government snd HMIC and do actually beieve that it’s the Police’s fault.

A couple of years ago I posted The Crucifixion Cycle and sadly it seems to be coming true, whilst we still (in the main) enjoy a good level of Public Confidence, there are those who would seek to crucify us, and government and HMIC are doing NOTHING to correct the opinion of those who believe that it is the Plice’s fault. NOTHING.

HMIC Are Pissing Me Right Off

Is it just me?

I have spent a lot of time this morning trying to work out if HMIC are biased or simply naive.

In their latest contender for the Booker Prize they have ‘found’ that several Police Forces need to improve.

Three police forces in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire have failed to adequately investigate crime and protect vulnerable people, their report said.

The Humberside, Lincolnshire and South Yorkshire forces have been told to improve.

Zoe Billingham said officers in England and Wales were being taken off the beat to man front counters, do desk work in stations and guard crime scenes.  She doesn’t seem to mention Mutual Aid, or redeployment within Force area.

This meant they now had less time for “vitally important preventative work in communities”, she said.

The government said police reform was working and crime had fallen.

“Police reform is working and crime has fallen by more than a quarter since 2010, according to the independent crime survey for England and Wales.”  He said the government had made policing “more professional, less bureaucratic for officers and more responsive to victims”.  “Last year we protected police budgets for the next four years, once local precept is taken into account,” he added.  “Chief constables and Police and Crime Commissioners have no excuse whatsoever not to deliver at least good quality policing in their areas.” – Mike Penning, Policing Minister

HMIC has graded 1 force (Durham Constabulary) as outstanding; 24 forces as good; and 18 forces as requires improvement. No force was found to be inadequate.

“Almost all forces are good at preventing crime and anti-social behaviour. Successful prevention means fewer crimes; and fewer crimes means fewer victims, and so more people are kept safe. This is at the heart of what the police are here to do.”  “But I need to raise a warning flag here. Forces’ good performance in preventing crimes is at risk if neighbourhood policing is further eroded.” – Zoe Billingham, HMIC

She also said 

Police leaders need to take heed of HMIC’s early warning and make sure that neighbourhood policing – the cornerstone of the British policing model, is preserved for future generations. 

“In addition, more than a third of forces are judged to require improvement in how they investigate crime and manage offenders, with backlogs and delays in the bunits which extract and analyse evidence from digital devices a particular concern. We found a similar picture last year; it is disappointing not to see more progress.”

Which all brings me back to the very beginning.  Is this an organisation in bed with the government or an organisation that truly doesn’t realise that these preceived failings will occur with depleted manpower levels.

Does the head of HMIC have any connections with government?

How many Forces have been graded by HMIC as having got worse since 2010?

Maybe the 18 Forces that “require improvement” could do so by recruiting more Police Officers and Police Staff to help them cope with their workloads?  Now there’s a controvertial thought Sir Tom.

Or maybe they can all just open a new box of Police Officers


Monkeys, Winsor and Policing

The infinite monkey theorem states that a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite amount of time will almost surely type a given text, such as the complete works of William Shakespeare.
Or, put another way, if you give 1,000 monkeys 1,000 typewriters they will eventually (at random) produce the complete works of William Shakespeare, or maybe even Tom Winsor’s Independent Reviews.

Well, it seems like the monkeys have been exceeding busy, used up a lot of trypewriter (sic) ribbons and come up with the HMIC PEEL Police Efficiency report.

With no surprise to anyone, Humberside Police were graded as ‘Inadequate’, which is not me being grizzly towards Humberside, but more a reflection on how things are at the moment.

The following 5 Forces were graded as ‘Outstanding’

  • Cheshire;
  • Durham;
  • Lancashire;
  • Norfolk; and
  • West Midlands.

Like with Humberside, are any of the above truly ‘Outstanding’?  The Chief Constables and/or PCCs of many of those 5 Forces have recently been complaining about their Force is being affected, and not in a good way, by the ‘Cuts’.

I know that I am not alone in suspecting that many of the Chief Constables and PCCs are having their egos massaged by their HMIC gradings, and, dare I suggest, this might dissuade them from their current campaign of highlighting the effects of the ‘Cuts’ on Force capabilities and the Public.

“As part of its annual inspections into police efficiency, effectiveness and legitimacy (PEEL), HMIC’s Efficiency programme assessed how a force maximises the outcomes from its available resources. We reviewed both the financial and workforce planning of police forces whilst examining wider questions of cost, capacity and capability. Our inspection focused on the overall question, ‘How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?’
To answer this question HMIC looked at three areas:

  1. How well does the force use its resources to meet demand?
  2. How sustainable and affordable is the workforce model?
  3. How sustainable is the force’s financial position for the short and long term?

As part of the inspection, a survey of 26,458 people was carried out by IPSOS MORI, looking into public satisfaction with the service provided by their local police force, and whether they considered it provided value for money:

  • 54 percent thought the range of services offered by the police in their local area had remained about the same;
  • 8 percent of respondents thought the visibility of the police in their local area had improved, 44 percent thought it had stayed about the same and 36 percent thought it had got worse; and
  • 7 percent of respondents thought the presence of uniformed officers had increased locally, 52 percent thought it had not changed and 31 percent thought it had fallen”

The population of England and Wales is somewhere North of 56 Million TOTAL inhabitants, approximately 45 Million of whom are Adults = about 0.06% of the adult population.  Is that really a statistically significant sample?

54% of a very small sample thought that the range of services offered by the police in their local area had remained about the same thus “proving” that the governments budgetary cuts and Reforms have made no discernible difference to the “majority” of people.  Do we really believe that?  Not likely, not on a sample that small.  Where do these people live?  How many were sampled from each Force Area?  Rural or Urban dwellers?

Sir Thomas Winsor said chief constables and other top officers had a “fear of the private sector” and lacked the skills to negotiate contracts with suppliers, particularly for new technology.  Is he MAD?  Chief Constables don’t negotiate contracts, they employ Police Staff at an appropriate grade to do that for them.

As I said before, there has already been a lot of discussion today about this report on Twitter, and I will just repeat one of the questions

Do any of you work in a Force that has had a ‘positive’ report from HMIC recognise that as being accurate?

All I have ever heard for the last four years are tales of how bad things are, I have not heard one single example of how ANYTHING is better under the ‘Cuts’ and Reform.


Or was it the monkeys after al?