How many times have we heard “Crime is down, Police Reform is working”? Ad Nauseum I suspect.
Police Reform has turned out to be an unmitigated disaster, devised and forced through by inexperienced politicians and their hired help. Politicians who have no experience or idea of how Policing works then compound that with a stunning arrogance refusing to listen to anybody who actually KNOWS how Policing works. Nuggets such as “it’s not about the numbers”, “your job is to cut crime” and “Stop Crying Wolf” all show how Theresa May either had no clue how Policing works or deliberately ignored it. Readers will have their own view on whether Police Reform is working, my opinion is quite unequivocal.
What we don’t need are Chief Constables and their teams doing the government’s dirty work for them. We have even seen the National Police Chiefs Council seriously considering Compulsory Severance as a means to better implement “the cuts”. That is nothing short of “traitorous” in my view and should never have even been considered.
Some Chief Constables have recently spoken out about the severe effects of the cuts. In most cases these are Chief Officers who should have spoken out sooner but chose not to. However, better late than never as they say. Some have yet to see the light.
Some Chief Constables however are sticking with the government programme. Only this weekend several commentators reacted to this tweet from Gareth Morgan, Chief Constable of Staffordshire
He is quite clearly stating that available evidence supports the fact that crime reporting has increased rather than crime itself. My own personal opinion, and it is only that, is that CRIME is up. However, many commentators have pointed out (and I am paraphrasing here) that it doesn’t actually make any difference whether it is crime or the reporting of crime that has increased. The end result of either is that a depleted Police Service has fewer officers to investigate a larger number of crimes, however they made their way onto the books.
Surely Chief Constables should be pushing this argument and not appear to side with the government’s “crime is down” mantra. Fewer officers have got a greater workload. How can NPCC, HMIC and HMG not understand that simple fact?
Life on the streets is getting harder by the shift for our fine Police Officers. Every day they have to make a broken Service work.
What they don’t need is Smoke and Mirrors deployed by their own Chief Officers. I absolutely understand that Chief Constables sometimes have to make difficult and unpopular decisions but they do not have to appear as though they are siding with the government. Their loyalty should be with their officers who are striving under unimaginable pressures to serve the Public properly.
You are, by definition, all senior Police Officers, yet you seem to have lost touch with the fine officers that form the Front Line.
As you are obviously aware, when the Conservative-led coalition came to power in 2010 there were 142,363 Police Officers in England and Wales, excluding BTP, or 145,015 if you include BTP. The next set of government statistics are due for release on 20th July, but the last set, up to end of September 2016, shows that there were 122,859 Officers, excluding BTP, or 126,252 including BTP. I expect that figure to have fallen again when the latest levels are revealed.
Every one of your members has worked your way up from lowly Constable to Chief Constable or Commissioner. Every last one of you.
Collectively, and individually, you KNOW what the Front Line has gone through in the last seven years, you have been there.
You absolutely KNOW that much of Policing requires Numbers.
Of the 122,859 officers left in England and Wales, 121,167 are what I would call ‘Front Line”‘, Constables, Sergeants and Inspectors. Anybody above the rank of Inspector has really joined “The Management”. NPCC Officers count for a really small percentage of the Police Workforce, 0.15% only.
Yet, for such a small number you have developed a language all of your own and have either forgotten what life is like on the Front Line or, much worse, you are choosing to ignore it. The Front Line is VITAL to maintaining an ordered and law-abiding (relatively) society. Who is it that controls the riots, confronts the armed criminals, looks for missing children, reports and investigates the crimes and prosecutes the offenders? The Front Line.
What do you think will happen when the Front Line is no longer there? Lawlessness, Anarchy, Crime Hotspots will become the Norm. Nobody will feel safe in their own homes, never mind on the streets. Is that what you want?
You seem to have finally noticed that the Front Line is suffering. I can only assume that you have finally woken up and realised that the Front Line is burning out, mental and physical fatigue is spreading like a bushfire on a windy day.
What do you propose to help heal these fine, brave and hard-working officers? Accoding to your Head Fred, Sara Thornton, they should ‘decompress’ and ‘feel supported by the structures’. Decompress? What on earth is wrong with saying ‘Unwind”, “Unload”, “Let Off Steam” or simply “Talk”? Structures? Surely “Resources” or “Facilities” or dare I say “Support Systems” might be better worded? You can’t even purport to be supporting the Front Line without phrasing it in gobbledygook Management Speak.
The Front Line comprises approximately 98% of the Police Workforce, why not use the language of the Front Line? The NPCC constitutes less than 1/4% of the Police Workforce.
I would be horrified if you do not know exactly the stresses and strains that the Front Line are enduring. Insufficient Detectives, too many cancelled Rest Days, too many extended tours of duty simply to cover for the Police Officers that are no longer part of the Police Workforce, culled by David Cameron and Theresa May. Too many officers off Sick with Stress or Depression.
If you are serious in your attempts to deal with the Mental Health issues creeping through the Service, put an end to physically and emotionally drained officers, restore the CID to an effective level, then, in my humble opinion, the answer is simple.
100% of the National Police Chiefs Council membership should stand united and point out, forcefully if necessary, to Theresa May and Amber Rudd, that the current situation is not tenable, not viable, and is leading to the total collapse of an effective Police Service.
Some of your number have spoken out individually, but your entire membership, starting with Sara Thornton, needs to stand four-square and oppose the cuts. There is currently a Crisis In Policing and all the time that the NPCC adopt the ostrich stance it will only get worse. Just imagine how formidable it would be if the NPCC, The Superintendents Association and the Police Federation of England and Wales stood shoulder-to-shoulder and said to Theresa May “You are wrong, this cannot work, it does not work”. At the moment “Divide and Conquer” is winning.
Solidarity, Unity, remembering why you joined the Police Force are what is currently required. Maybe then fewer officers would need to “decompress”.
Firstly, the much-revered College of Policing has proposed completely shaking up the entry route into the Police Service;
The three proposals are
Proposal 1. Establish a qualifications framework for policing so that individuals can gain recognition that has meaning and credibility
Proposal 2. Opportunities for existing officers and staff to gain accredited and publicly recognised qualifications for their existing skills, if they wish to do so
Proposal 3. Develop three entry routes for new constables
undergraduate degree in policing
graduate conversion programme
higher level apprenticeships
Hardly confusing at all, all about improving the professional image and status of Police Officers. No bad thing per se but it fails to recognise that Police Officers already have a good, professional status but it does need to be formalised and recognised.
Then we have the Gold Service from much-vaunted Police Now.
To get with the Police Now programme, In brief, you will need to:
be between the ages of 18-57 on application
have lived in the UK for the last three years
have indefinite leave to remain and work in the UK
be working towards or have achieved a 2:1 at undergraduate degree level or non-UK equivalent
have received a GCSE grade C or above in English language and be fluent in the written and spoken word.
So, sign up to the flagship Police Now programme to fast track to tomorrow’s leaders.
The Metropolitan Police contributes to my eternal confusion by offering Direct Entry to the CID for Specials, and this is where I need some help.
Will the successful applicants from the ranks of the Specials become part-time detectives, as and when their main job permits? Is this a back door into the Met and they will become warranted, Regular Tecs?
If they remain as Specials will they need to be graduates first? How do they fit in Detective Training School with their ‘proper’ jobs? If they don’t achieve some formal accreditation in Investigating Stuff their work will be torn up,for **** paper the first time they appear in Crown Court.
If this is actually back door DE entry as a Tec, this is surely demeaning the role of the traditional Constable. He/She needs a Degree or equivalent, a Tec needs to be a Special with who knows what academic qualifications.
I am not against Specials, I knew some very good ones and counted them amongst my friends, but this is really worrying and confusing and urgently needs clarification. The government has already tried bolstering the Armed Forces with Reservists and that did not go well. Policing is too important to risk getting it wrong.
Not for nothing are some Tecs in the Met labelled Cops In Disguise.
Sort yourselves out please, all of the above, work together, openly, and come up with a sensible solution that is acceptable to current and future officers alike.
To me the answer is an unequivocal YES. In my mind there is no option, it doesn’t need thinking about, it’s a No Brainer.
But then, my mind doesn’t always sync with everybody else’s.
It occurs to me that it’s nearly half a century since my boots hit the streets of North West London for the very first time and things were most definitely very different in those days. We had Reliefs, at first 3, later 4 and for a crazy while 5 (but that didn’t really work). Each Relief comprised one Inspector, probably 3 Sergeants, maybe 4, and about 20ish Constables. The Division covered maybe 10-12 square miles, and in an ideal world we would aim to field one Area Car (double-crewed possibly with a 3rd officer as ‘Observer’), one Van (normally double-crewed), five Pandas (notionally single-crewed but often seen double-crewed), one unmarked General Purpose car (single-crewed), one Section Sergeant and one Inspector, all patrolling. Anybody left over was posted to a Foot Patrol and cadged a lift when the Inspector wasn’t looking. And we were busy, although nowhere near as busy as the troops are today.
If we ever needed help (and we did often) it was never far away. Whilst we frequently moaned that we were ‘short’ we were NEVER as short as things are today.
We had more cops, we had more vehicles, we had more overtime, and we just about kept afloat, and we undoubtedly had fewer jobs. It was a matter of personal and professional pride to get all your jobs done. Handing too many over to the following shift frequently resulted in raised eyebrows.
Now I know that there’s a balance to be struck here, but more jobs, fewer cops, fewer vehicles and less overtime makes the officers more vulnerable. Yes, there is better PPE available but use it at your peril, particularly Taser, you’ll have Sophie and IPCC on your case. However, an officer off sick, or worse, in hospital, due to being assaulted and injured on duty is no use to man nor beast. What little officers we have left need to be fit, available and on duty. Assaults on Police Officers are escalating all the time.
The mere sight of a double-crewed vehicle will deter some idiots from taking on the officers.
I fully understand that numbers are down, but is that a valid reason NOT to double-crew? The safety (and thereby availability) of the officers MUST be paramount surely? Like many other public services the NHS, for example, has a Zero Tolerance policy on violence (or even threats) towards staff. When will the Police Chiefs adopt this policy?
Going back to the beginning, my old Division was only 10-12 square miles. Bronwen’s boyfriend Dai tells me that on Night Duty he (single-crewed) is frequently the only Police Vehicle to cover 400 square miles. One of my Twatter contacts told me last night that they were frequently the only DC to cover a large, busy county on nights. How can that be right? Either case, not right, reckless. What about Elf n Safety?
The population at large is increasing. Police numbers are still reducing. Just how low will the Populace/Police ratio go before it is unsafe? Has it already reached that stage? Is anybody from the NPCC or various Staff Associations ever going to stand up to the Home Secretary and demonstrate how unsafe this lunacy is?
We may not have sufficient officers to routinely double-crew, but that doesn’t mean “Double-Crewing Bad”. It means the bosses should be finding their voices and fighting back. What was that old expression? Acquiescing by silence. That’s exactly what is going on.
I know from last night’s conversations that there are Police Officers out there who don’t agree with routine double-crewing, all I can say is that I hope you never experience the need first hand before you become convinced.
In this day and age, nearly half a century later, the world has moved on. Double-Crewing or Single? Double every time in my book, and NPCC can fight for the resources to sustain it.
A number has been bothering me recently, a number that I simply can’t get out of my head, but I don’t know what the number is.
What is the number where the Police Service of England and Wales can no longer function? How many more officers can we shed before we reach that number? Because we know that even more losses will occur before 2020.
Twice yesterday I put the question to NPCC, together with the current and former Home Secretaries via the medium of Twitter
I say unsurprisingly because we know that no Risk or Impact Assessments were conducted as part of the Winsor Reviews. I asked the Home Office for copies and their reply was that none had been done, so why should I assume that Risk and/or Impact Assessments have been conducted as part of the culling of the Police Service?
Somebody somewhere must know the formula for calculating the bare minimum number of Police Officers needed to keep this country safe and maintain Law and Order, but nobody wants us to know. How far can we stretch the knicker elastic before it twangs and our drawers fall round our ankles?
Then I happened upon a convo on Twitter between NPCC and Leicestershire Chief Constable, Simon Cole;
@CCLeicsPolice: Targeted police patrol is an important form of engagement but digital channels also essential when people do so much online
Well, it’s taken 4 years but the Horsemen finally seem to have earnt their corn.
The votes have been counted and verified and I can announce that the winner is Theresa May.
Results in Wales are not set to be announced until Sunday but it seems that the Tory Machine has won the day. Having lost Cheshire, Leicestershire and Humberside to Labour, they went on to take Hampshire from Independent, Kent from Independent, Lincolnshire from Independent, Norfolk from Independent, Surrey from Independent, Warwickshire from Independent and West Mercia from Independent. So, apart from 3 losses to Labour it seems that ALL of the Tory gains were at the expense of the Independents.
I don’t really see why we should be surprised by that, the Tories seem to have targeted the Independent seats with some very (in my view) questionable tactics.
Firstly we had the Cabinet Office decision at a very early stage to withdraw/withold funding for a free mailshot. Not everyone agrees with me but it is my view that this seriously disadvanaged the Independent candidates without the deep pockets of Party candidates.
We have seen Spin, More Spin and downright untruths from some of the Tory candidates in this campaign. What on earth is wrong with simply telling the truth? The story you are telling might not be a vote winner, but your proposals for dealing with it might well be. Don’t keep telling us that Crime is Down, when it demonstrably is not, tell us that crime has risen and what you propose to do about it. Way too simple that one for some candidates, they had to have a waltzer ride instead.
In Surrey we saw the late entry of two more Independent candidates which caused a few raised eyebrows and split the Independent vote, but having said that the Tory candidate attracted more votes than all three Independent candidates added together.
Here in DeadBadgerShire we had the (unwelcome) intervention of Mrs Theresa May, MP, Home Secretary. She seemed to be targeting undecided voters with an email assuring us all that Tory was the only way to go.
A certain amount of spin surely? Not only the Conservative PCCs that have had the power to ‘Hire and Fire’.
Not only the Conservative PCCs that have set the Policing priorities and overseen multi million £ budgets.
Crime is down by more than a quarter since 2012? Really. CrimeStats have endured all kinds of problems over the last few years. The Home Secretary knows full well that the Counting Rules have chsnged more frequently than my socks. Recorded Crime is on the increase once more but no mention of that.
We need a PCC that will take the job seriously and work with the government? Is she implying that ONLY a Conservative candidate will take the job seriously? Why is it essential to work with government? It isn’t, it is essential to make Policing work properly, and to serve the public properly. Mind you, it makes Theresa’s life easier to have a compliant PCC, that could well explain why she wants a PCC that will work with government.
How did she choose who to send it to? How did she get their email addresses (that could be a worry)? I didn’t get one so it wasn’t sent to all.
Even if wasn’t wrong to chip in (and some think it wasn’t) just because she COULD, doesn’t mean that she SHOULD have.
In Dorset she progressed to a rather more controversial video, promoting the same message as the email but targeted at Dorset.
Some of you know, most of you don’t know, but I was originally standing as an Independent Candidate for my local Force. I had received all my registration paperwork from the Electoral Commission, I had sorted my £5k deposit, was designing a campaign website and was well over half way through getting my initial 100 nominations as required when the Cabinet Office withdrew mailshot funding. I was left in a similar position to Mike Pannett but with three entire counties to cover I certainly couldn’t afford leaflets for 3 large counties, I couldn’t effectively ‘Press the Flesh’ over such a large area. Rightly or wrongly I took the decision early that the field was being tilted and manipulated by government so I withdrew. Ultimately the sole Independent candidate here finished 4th, so it is highly unlikely that I would have won. The Tories overthrew a reasonable Independent majority, despite the fact that the only candidate I knew anything about was the surviving Indie, and I was taking an interest unlike the average voter.
Do I regret withdrawing? I most certainly do. Do I think I could have won? Almost certainly not, but I am immensely grateful to those who supported and encouraged me, and I’m sorry if you feel that I let you down, but realistically I am convinced, with the benefit of hindsight, that success was far from assured.
There is an element that doesn’t believe that an ex Police Officer would make a good PCC. Whyever not? Almost anybody from a School Leaver to a 100 year old pensioner is eligible to stand. How is any knowledge and experience, at whatever level, be a negative thing?
With just the Welsh votes to be declared the Tories have 20 out of the 36 PCCs elected in England. More than half. Labour have 13 PCCs in England, leaving a meagre 3 Independents. THREE!!
Party Politics now play a HUGE part in Policing of England, and I’m sure Wales will follow suit. Who is to blame? Personally I blame, partly, Theresa May, for her questionable interventions, but mainly, our old friend APATHY.
The government did a wonderful job of keeping the elections low-key, but I’m sure more people COULD have voted but presumably didn’t think it was important.
Finally I want to pay my own personal tribute to Mike Pannett. I know the administrative hoops that he had to jump through in the background. He had to endure some pretty tacky tactics along the way, but he did so with head held high. Well done Mike. You have lost no friends or supporters here. The boy done good.
So says Sara Thornton, top Johnny at the National Police Chiefs Council.
Well I’m not going to take up much of your time today, just a little bit longer than it takes to say “Bollocks”.
What I will concede is that it isn’t easy to quantify the amount of crime that a Police Officer prevents by their presence.
No fool, well not many, anyway, will commit a crime in the presence or vicinity of a Police Officer, so it is absolutely impossible to categorically state that a Police Officer on patrol does not prevent any crime. Their are no records of what crime would have been committed if a Police Officer had not passed by.
What is far more likely is a weak, pathetic attempt by Ms Thornton to justify cutting Police patrols. Let’s be honest, Theresa May and her colleagues are responsible for these reckless, totally foolhardy cuts. Stop making excuses for her, get on the same hymn sheet as most folk, and simply tell it like it is. I assure you, I’m not the only person in the country that wants people in power/authority too tell the simple, unbridled TRUTH.
So, Police Officers don’t prevent crime? Once again, because I can, I say Bollocks, one of my late Father’s favourite words, you wouldn’t want to hear the rest.
For the last 5 years Rank and File Police Officers, Retired Police Officers and a large number of members of the Great British Public have been pointing out to an unheard get, uncaring government that enough is enough, you can’t cut the number of Officers across England and Wales to the degree that is being proposed without subsequent consequences. I think that is quite realistic.
Some time later he Federation got on board and kicked off what, in my opinion at least, was a highly effective and informative #CutsHaveConsequences campaign with huge billboards and a series of videos.
Finally, just in the last few days or weeks really, the ‘Chiefs’ have begun to speak out, but what they have to say really is too little, too late. They should have been shouting from the hilltops 5 years ago, not leave until the absolute, critical, last minute.
What bemuses me is this.
In a situation where everybody outside of government is agreed that there aren’t enough cops why, oh why, would anybody even consider making cops Compulsorarily Redundant.
The fact that NPCC are even having a vote on the issue speaks volumes.
You do not solve a critical shortage by making people redundant, so why do we need to vote on it.
What we need to do is to be as efficient as we can be, save money wherever we reasonably can, and when that limit is reached TOUGH. When the money finally runs, and it will, the government of the day will have a choice
a). Properly fund an adequately resourced Police Service or
b). Allow the Police Service to fail, pack up and go home.
Our Police Officers are Warranted Officers, Servants of the Crown, answerable and accountable to The Queen. They are NOT, and should not be treated like, Political Puppets.
You can bring in G4$, $ERCO or T$G Policing, but they are all private companies, answerable only yo their shareholders. The Queen doesn’t get any say in their activities whatsoever.
Whilst certain politicians, for whatever reason, might want to include and involve Privatisation in Policing, but do any of them really want to be responsible for its total collapse and death?
For the Front Line there is the #DoItRight approach.
For NPCC there is the approach of “doing the right thing” and steering the Police Service as best they can, looking after it and keeping in as good a condition as the government will allow. Their consciences will be clear and they will have earned the respect of their troops in doing so.
Or they can just vote YES to Compulsory Severance, then we will all know who’s who and where we all stand.
Get the hymn book out before Wednesday and make sure we’re all on the same page.
But you’re not going to get one from me, not today at least.
Police Oracle recently became the subject of some criticism by Mike Penning, the Policing Minister.
I was reminded of it in an exchange by Nathan Constable this morning, but the Police a Oracle version went like this;
When PoliceOracle.com quoted concerns raised by former ACPO President Sir Hugh Orde about the impact cuts were having on policing to Home Office Minister Mike Penning earlier this year, he replied: “Some chiefs have said to me exactly the opposite, so it would be great if you quoted those occasionally.
“The more you keep doing this the more you as an organisation – the press – and these people leaving the service, [you] are actually undermining the morale in the police service.
“I’m trying to boost morale, but if you keep continually writing things saying that it’s all doom and gloom it becomes self-perpetuating. The truth of the matter is the boys and girls are doing a simply fantastic job.”
Sadly this quote was taken from an article in Police Oracle where the NPCC were warning that if the Home Office did indeed introduce cuts of up to 40% then the NPCC would be asking for the right to make officers redundant (Compulsory Severance). This very nearly made me swear, if this is the Police Chiefs’ idea of fighting the cuts then I’m glad I’m retired.
To return to the theme of the post, Mr Penning presumably thinks that I owe you an apology as, like the Police Oracle, I am also regularly telling you that “it’s all doom and gloom” and I am presumably equally guilty of undermine morale, whereas Mr a Penning tells us that he is trying to boost it.
We have already endured 20% cuts. Now we are being told of cuts up to 40% more to come. And the reaction of Police Chiefs is to ask for the power to make officers redundant? FFS.
The time has long since arrived when EVERY official body within the Police, Federation, Superintendents Association, ACPO, NPCC should have joined forces and presented a united front to the Home Secretary, alongside Public Opinion, but instead we’ll demand redundancies.
So, no, I won’t be apologising, not to Mike Penning, nor anybody else.
I don’t care how much technology, how many Efficiency Savings you throw at the problem, cuts of that magnitude are simply not sustainable. It’s not Rocket Science. It does not need an Einstein to point out the Bleedin’ Obvious. Continue with cuts of that magnitude and you you will destroy our Police Service forever.
Over to you Home Secretary, and I hope that doesn’t undermine morale too much.
As a devout cynic I shuddered mightily when the announcement, followed by the reality, that we were going to (and have done) lose 17,500 Police Officers under Dave Camoron’s ‘Reforms’.
That was bad enough and I don’t need to go over old ground, we have all seen the reality, the constant ‘Crying Wolf’, Cuts do indeed have Consequences and we are seeing them. It was brought home to me JUST how bad things are this weekend, the Notting Hill Carnival. As an established veteran of that event dating back to the most awful events of 1976 I always take an interest in how it’s going.
6,000 officers on Sunday (traditionally Children’s Day) and 7,000 officers on Monday. Over 300 arrests across the 2 days, 44 arrests for Knife-related offences, and at least one if not two Police Officers stabbed. I heard a rumour (unsubstantiated I agree, but neither has it been denied) that the Met ran out of Custody space at 10.30 on Monday night. That is a disgraceful situation,. there must be dozens of redundant Custody Suites dotted around the Met in Stations that have not yet been sold off or closed down, but, oh yes, you need experienced officers to staff them.
Then, to compound my angst, I caught up with the predictions that we are set to lose anything up to 22,000 jobs, and this based on the lowest estimate of a 25% budget cut, it could be as much as 40%.
Several Chief Officers are now coming out of the woodwork to complain about the cuts, with few exceptions, we should have heard from them so much sooner.
In the midst of it all we have whiny, negative Sara Thornton, who I always thought was better than that, banging on about how we can’t cope, we’ll have to stop visiting burglary scenes, etc etc, instead of using her privileged position to properly fight back. Give them some stick Sara, what have you got to lose?
I should be used to negativity from senior officers by now, but it still doesn’t sit well, how can anybody follow a Chief Constable who is hell-bent on apologising and making excuses for problems caused by government?
It’s a good job I’m not a cynical man or I might think that the current furore in the press about Police Cars without sirens being used in a Response mode was designed to deflect public attention away from the bigger problem. That is a separate, and valid, argument/discussion in its own right, but basically caused solely by Camoron’s savage desire to ‘Reform’ the Police Service.
More and more people are beginning to notice that their politicians are lying to them (allegedly) and it is no duty of a politician of any colour to tell outright porkies.
Camoron, Cruella, Milky Bar – You are NOT Reforming the Police Service, you are ANNIHILATING it. Stick THAT in your Manifesto’
Surely it is time for ALL Chief Constables, NPCC, PCCs, Federations and PFEW to join forces and totally condemn these evil practices and show a united front for once. Is that so unreasonable?