How Grass Roots Front Line Policing Gave Us Police Now

I almost apologise for banging on about Police Now. I’ll stop soon, honest.

One of the things that stretched my curiosity was “how did Police Now come to exist in the first place?”

I now think I have the answer to that, good old-fashioned Front Line coppers.

Once upon a time, in the kingdom of Hogan-Who there was a group of people called the Commissioner’s 100.

The Commissioner’s 100 was an initiative whereby officers and staff with ideas for change within the Met were encouraged to put forward their proposals to senior management board members including the Commissioner.  The implication here is that they were ordinary, normal Front Line officers and staff, relatively junior in rank.

Two of their members were Detective Inspectors David Spencer and Tor Garnett who, coincidentally, went on to found Police Now.

So who kicked off the Commissioner’s 100?

According to Management Today Tor Garnett set up {and allegedly chaired} the Commissioner’s 100, a ‘frontline do-tank’ where junior officers suggest new strategies to improve policing.

So there we have it, Commissioner’s 100 (a front line do-tank)was actually set up by Tor Garnett. Who’d have thunk it? The Commissioner’s 100 went on to recommend what would become Police Now. Crikey. At the heart of everything that Police Now do are the Peelian Principles.

In 1829 Sir Robert Peel proposed the nine principles upon which policing should be built, they remain the bedrock of British policing. The 7th Principle is the oft-quoted:-

Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.

This is where I first begin to encounter a problem “the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen” To me this implies that the Police are ordinary members of the public, who have extra powers and paid to maintain the peace etc. No mention here of either the Police or the Public needing to have degrees or a privileged education. Some will have I agree, but by no means 100% of the public are Graduates.

Ordinary members of the public? Like Tor Garnett then. How ordinary is she? She is a graduate of Gonville and Caius Colleges, Cambridge University, having graduated with a 1st Class Honours degree in Natural Sciences. Before University she had been Head Girl at the independent Channing School in Highgate.

There is a clear picture drawn here of your average member of the public done good and joined the Met. This is clearly what the public is made of now.

Many parallels are drawn between Police Now and Teach First. Indeed they do seem to be very similar in the way they operate.

The Police Now (Leadership Development) programme will enable you to make a disproportionately positive impact on the lives of many people.  Over the 2 years you will develop your leadership and problem solving skills to help maximise that impact.

Teach First is a charity working to end educational inequality. They are building a movement of leaders who inspire young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to achieve their full potential. They do this by supporting applicants to become influential classroom leaders through their Leadership Development Programme

The Leadership Development Programme offers a two-year, paid position in a school where you’ll teach and lead from the front, making a real difference from day one.

Teach First has Summer Institute, Police Now has Summer Academy. They both make mention of cohorts, Ambassadors and enhanced Leadership potential via their Leadership Development Programmes, together with concentrating on disadvantaged communities/neighbourhoods. Many similarities in terminology and practices.

The Vice Patron of Teach First is Dame Julia Cleverdon DCVO CBE. Amongst her other achievements in life is that she is the mother of Tor Garnett and the step-mother of Virginia Bottomley.

As you can see Tor Garnett really is just ‘one of the chaps’ from a typical British family.

None of this makes Tor Garnett a bad person of course. I am in no way saying that she is, she can’t help the circumstances of her birth or her privileged upbringing. I do question however, how this equips her to know what is best for Front Line Policing and its interactions with the Great British Public.

To insist that it is necessary to hold a 2:2 Degree (or equivalent) to enrol on a Police Now intake smacks just a little of Social Engineering to me and I fear that the combined activities of Police Now together with the College of Police’s (almost) compulsory Graduate Entry Scheme will inevitably lead us to a Police Service that no longer resembles the Public of Peel’s Principles.

As I have said before, Graduates have their place in Policing, I have never disputed that, but to engineer a system whereby it will eventually be 100% Graduate fills me with dread, and it betrays the great Robert Peel.

I have worked alongside Graduates in my service. Some have been exceptionally good and I would work with or under them any time. Conversely some were exceptionally bad.

Can you just picture for one moment a Team of Oxbridge Graduates on a Level 2 PSU, all dressed up in their fire resistant overalls and Nato helmets facing a rock, bottle and petrol bomb-throwing horde? Or a simple Saturday night fight at a tasty boozer, rolling around in the sawdust? Some will rise to the occasion and some won’t, but I wouldn’t want to be there waiting for the percentages to become clear. Practical Policing is a dirty business and needs far more than merely the best available supervisors, products of an elite recruitment system.

You’ll no doubt be pleased to know that this will probably be my final chapter on the subject of Police Now, but they do trouble me (and others) deeply, and what I can only describe as Social Engineering. They, and the College, are changing the Social profile of the Police Service and moving it further away from that of the Public.

Police Now – A Slight Reprise

It hasn’t been long since my last critique of Police Now and, in my opinion, not much has changed and nothing has improved. The constant conversations going on over Social Media served nothing more than to make me realise that the situation was even worse than I feared and that my Impact Assessment required updating.

In my last post on the subject I pointed out that Police Now is a Registered Charity and as of their last published accounts had approx £6 Million in the bank. Recently I remembered that Central Government had additionally allocated monies to this charity. In 2016 the then Home Secretary allocated £5 Million to Police Now to fund their ‘expansion’. That possibly represents the majority of the £6 Million in the bank, possibly.

In December 2018 the Home Office allocated them a further £3.5 Million ” to attract excellent new talent, while introducing technology that saves time

All of this funding at a time when PCCs are having to increase the precept for Policing to make ends meet.

And then I re-read a Police Now document from 2014. Police Now – The Case For Change

What a wonderful, insightful, document this is. It’s 32 pages in length and so I won’t bore you with all of it, but it includes wonderful, eloquents phrases such as

Police Now has the potential to build on the inherent appeal of policing to attract a cohort of elite, diverse graduates and so prompt a significant shift in graduate perceptions of policing, as well as those
of influential adults, employers, and society more widely.

And

Following completion of the two year programme, Police Now Ambassadors will go on to improve the accountability of policing whether they continue their careers within or beyond policing. Within policing, whether as senior leaders, specialist detectives or experienced uniformed officers, they will have a grounding in accountable, public facing community policing. Those who work outside of policing (perhaps as MPs, journalists or leaders in the corporate, public or voluntary sector) will be able to effectively hold the police service to account and to support policing to continuously improve its service to the public

All of which led me to believe that this is all a government inspired/led process. We have been had over from on high. Firstly, what kind of an organisation thinks that it is a good idea to describe their recruits as ‘elite’, then train them for two years only to expect or encourage them to leave after two years, just as they have qualified, to become Ambassadors for Policing, maybe as an MP or a journalist. How is that an effective use of funding?

Secondly if Her Majesty’s Government are funding this then they must surely approve of the methods and ideologies being used.

Finally, scroll down to the bottom of the document referenced above, Page 27. Here we get an explanation of the Commissioner’s 100.

Police Now was an idea conceived by frontline officers and progressed through the Commissioner’s 100 programme. The Commissioner’s 100 is an initiative whereby officers and staff with ideas for change within the Met are encouraged to put forward their proposals to senior management board members including the Commissioner.

Are we really expected to think that Police Now was the brainchild of 100 ordinary, bog-standard, non-graduate Front Line officers and staff? Well, I for one do not.

Police Now – Impact Assessment

I have read much on Twitter this week about Police Now and how they have contributed to the world of Policing. I was particularly taken with their response to a conversation on Twitter regarding their collection of certain socio-economic data as part of their selection process.

In the interest of fairness I reproduce the relevant thread in its entirety

I was particularly taken by Tweet number 4 of the series. 53% were the first in their family to go to university, 14% received free school meals (compared to 13.6% of the population as a whole)

Another Twitter user had already queried this practice and Police Now helpfully provided their response above. My response would be “It is perfectly fair to recruit the BEST candidates regardless of their gender, ethnicity, education level or whether or not they had free School Dinners. If they really want to collect that data then they are free to collect on day one of their training regime, NOT as part of the selection process. Maybe Police Now could inform us what possible reason exists NOT to select the very best candidates? FULL STOP.

They state proudly in Tweet number 5 that 54% are women, and 20% are Black, Asian or from a minority ethnic background (compared to 13% of the UK population). I must confess at this point that I do not have the data to corroborate this claim, but am perfectly happy to accept it without challenge. However, the percentages quoted above apply to the officers that they have trained.

Police Now has officially been in existence since December 2015. Their website includes this claim


Police Now’s mission is to transform communities, reduce crime and increase the public’s confidence in policing.

That’s quite a bold claim. Reduce Crime? I think it is generally accepted that crime across England is increasing, not decreasing, so I really don’t see how they can claim that they’ve been successful there.

Increase the Public’s confidence in Policing? I think that has been relatively constant over the last few years, I’m not sure quite how Police Now can claim that they have increased the Public Confidence. The Home Office have helpfully chipped in with this comment regarding Diversity;

Innovative schemes such as Direct Entry and Police Now are making the police workforce more diverse; showing that we can attract the brightest and best into policing, whilst introducing new perspectives into policing some of the country’s most challenging neighbourhoods.

As Police Now only recruit Police Officers at Constable Rank I shall confine myself to Diversity at that level and how it has been improved. Police Now came into existence in December 2015 and they have helpfully provided me with a link to find the relevant information.

The first set of official statistics after December 2015 is for 31st March 2016, so I will have to use that as my benchmark. At 31st March 2016 there were 6,020 BAME Constables in the Police Forces of England, not forgetting that Police Now did not originally serve the Welsh Forces. Ethnicity data is only published annually in March, so the latest set of comparable data is 31st March 2018. That shows a total of 6,543 BAME Constables in England. An increase of 523. In March 2016 there were 91,583 Constables in the Police Service of England, 6020 were BAME. That is 6.6%.

In March 2018 there were 90,083 Constables in English Forces, 6,543 were BAME. This is 7.3%

In their first two years of operations Police Now, in combination with traditional recruitment increased BAME representation at Constable level by 0.7%

In March 2016 there were 29,562 Female Constables in English Forces. This represents 32.3% of the workforce. In March 2018 that figure had risen to 28,306 out of a total of 90,083. This represents 32.8%.

In their first two years of operations Police Now, in combination with traditional recruitment increased Female representation at Constable level by 0.5%

It’s probably best to leave it to the Academics to come up with a conclusion, after all, I don’t have a degree in anything except Life. However, to my untrained eye, those figures don’t look like a roaring success.

ADDENDUM

Oh, and I forgot, all this has been achieved on a multi-million pound budget.

Police Now

I have had my concerns about Police Now for some time, almost since their inception really.

You can call me a Conspiracy Theorist if you like (I’ve been called worse) but the whole thing has an air of joined up thinking between Police Now, the College of Policing, NPCC and the Home Office. Not one of the other three bodies is challenging the activities, or concept, of Police Now.

Why on earth did two serving Metropolitan Police Officers suddenly think that they could train recruits better than the established system? Why on earth did they limit THEIR recruits to high-scoring Graduates? I believe that this pre-dates the soon to be imposed Graduate Entry Scheme of the College, but I’m happy to be corrected on that. Finally, why on earth did they have to register as a charity? As an unintended(?) consequence it currently makes them immune to Freedom of Information Act requests.

I haven’t seen answers to any of the above yet. What does their entry at the Charities Commission tell us? What were they set up to achieve?

Sponsors or undertakes research. Anybody know of any Police Now sponsored research? On anything?

We know they provide training, but I’m still not sure why.

Armed Forces/Emergency Services efficiency? That just sounds like someone ‘bigging up’ the role they play in order to obtain charitable status. What do Police Now do for the Armed Forces? Ambo and Water Fairies? Anyone?

So who does benefit from Police Now activities?

The General Public and Mankind? Is it only me who finds that both flippant and incredibly arrogant at the same time? Can anyone give me an example of where Police Now has benefited the General Public and Mankind please? There must be at least one example.

Next on my list of things to look at was MONEY. How are they funded? What sort of size is their budget?

As we can see their income for the 2017/18 year was £6.4 Million pounds and their expenditure was £4.7 Million. Why, oh why, do they need to retain just short of 1/3 of their income in their account unspent? £1.7 Million, just sitting there.

What do they do with all this money?

Oh good, they’re going to transform communities and reduce crime. The Police Service is losing that battle largely due to Theresa May’s cuts, but somehow the (relatively) small number of Police Now trained officers will achieve what the majority have failed to do for a few years now.

Where are they doing these fine works?

England. No Wales, no Scotland, no Northern Ireland. I do find that a bit unfair, but at the same time intriguing. I shall return to that point later. I do get my brain cells a little confused from time-to-time though. In the December 2018 Police Budget settlement “there is also £3.5 million for Police Now, a graduate recruitment and training programme “. The Home Office is responsible for the Police Service of England and Wales, but up till now Police Now have been ignoring Wales. Are Welsh forces being disadvantaged, unable to recruit any of the new generation of super-cops trained by Police Now? More later.

At this point I would like to make it quite clear that I am not criticising the recruits that Police Now are training or have trained. They are individuals who want to join the Police and have chosen the route that appeals to them most. Can’t knock them for that.

What does irk me though is the whole ‘language’ that has developed around Police Now and the College. Only a few days ago we were treated to this;

Is this really how PCs talk these days? If it is then I truly have missed something, somewhere.

Finally we get to a recruitment advertisement for Police Now Direct Entry Detectives on behalf of South Wales Police.

With a starting salary in the region of £20k, not great for a Graduate to be honest, the scheme entices applicants with attractions such as

The detective training programme lasts for two years, starting with a 12 week Detective Academy in September 2019. You’ll continue field training alongside qualified officers and once you successfully finish the programme and your two year probation period (which is standard for all newly joining constables to the police) you will be a Detective Constable (rather than a Trainee Detective Constable).

I don’t know what the standard length is these days but my Initial Training at Hendon was for 16 weeks, and I would never pretend that I was fully equipped at that stage.

To enrol you must

  • have achieved a 1st – 2:2 at undergraduate degree level or non-UK equivalent and a minimum of 2 years’ post graduation work experience

  • have received a GCSE grade C or above in English language and be fluent in the written and spoken word

  • be a Welsh-speaker or be prepared to achieve Level 2 Welsh by September 2020

I’m not quite certain how many Welsh-speaking Graduates they will find to apply, but the successful candidates can look forward to a training programme that includes a 12 Week Detective Academy. I have spoken to Bronwen’s boyfriend Rodney, who has served in one of the larger Welsh Forces for over 20 years, and he is not required to speak Welsh, and gets by perfectly well without it.

The Detective Academy starts in September and is an intensive twelve week residential training programme designed and delivered by outstanding and high performing detectives. It includes seven weeks of classroom learning, one week of personal safety and physical training and four weeks of field training in force. There are rest weeks during and after the Academy. You will be required to pass the National Investigators Exam (NIE) in November and the Academy finishes in December.

They will then be unleashed into the real world with training that looks like this

Throughout the programme you will typically undertake three postings. Each posting will last between five to nine months and take place in Main Office CID (serious crime), Safeguarding and Proactive teams. The combination of rotations will ensure you are capable of investigating serious and complex crime from the fifteenth month point, which traditionally takes a minimum of two years via alternative routes.

Yes, I am biased. I admit it. I am one of those dinosaurs your trainers warn you about. But really, if this is ‘the future’ I’m glad to be out, and I’m quite certain that the establishment is glad that I’m out too. I am obviously thick as mince. There is no way I would have been capable of investigating murders at 15 months service. I joined the Crime Squad with just over 2 years, and I have never learnt so quickly.

Ye Gods. At the 15 month point they will be capable of investigating Murder, Terrorism, complex Frauds, Rape and Indecent Assaults. This is obviously how Police Now are benefitting the General Public and Mankind, sending them Detectives infinitely superior to those previously available. They will be capable of putting together proactive operations against Organised Crime Gangs, with all the pitfalls that entails.

My conclusion is, and I apologise to Mankind, TJF.

Fear Not, The “Right People” Have Arrived To Save Us

It’s fair to say that I am vexed.

Last night I tripped over a Twitter conversation concerning one of my favourite organisations, Police Now.

Two of their 2015 intake were promoting the benefits of the Police Now route into Policing, and, in my opinion, did not take kindly to being challenged by crusties like myself and others.  I am not alone in not favouring this route.  I don’t need to reiterate my views here, I expect you can all imagine what they are, but last night’s conversation, taken together with an evaluation of Police Now by MOPAC, just pushed me over the edge.

In fairness, one of the two Police Now ‘recruits’ was far more engaging and willing to answer questions than the other, and DID answer all the questions I put to him.  Fair play for that.

The other was a different kettle of fish entirely, immediately (in my opinion) confrontational and hostile.  Not happy about being challenged at all.  Whilst not seemingly Tweeting from an official Police account he was Tweeting from an account that clearly identified him as a Police Now probationer.

His contributions to the evening’s discussions included;

and

I make no comment whatsoever on the officer’s abilities as I know nothing about him, but some of his Tweets tend to reinforce my concerns and reservations about the whole Police Now scheme;

and

As I said, I have no knowledge of the abilities of this officer, but studying for entry into the CID used to be unheard of during one’s probationary period.  I was too preoccupied studying for my Final Exams to have the capacity to study for CID at the same time.  It certainly was not the norm.

As for Police Now themselves, they seem to be convincing their cohorts that they are so much better than their predecessors.

The Executive Summary of the recent evaluation of Police Now made interesting, and in my view, disturbing, reading.

The final sentence is the most disturbing of all. If this is the view of those in charge of Police Now it runs a serious risk of being highly divisive, and if this rubs off onto their students it won’t be long before the public are offended.

Why do they seem to have this view?  Retired Met DCI and Policing Commentator Peter Kirkham had this to say

In the context the use it, “the right ones” is The Establishment saying “one of us”… They want relatively rich/posh members of The Establishment, with “the right stuff” in policing so The Establishment can control it. THAT is what Police Now & Direct Entry is all about – turning policing into something done by the ruling classes…

My concern is more basic.  If the new Police Now recruits are “Right People”. What does this say about the hundreds of thousands of exceedingly good and competent officers that have served us well since 1829?.  Speaking for myself I am vexed.  I honestly believe that I served the public well during my 30 year career, and added value to the Metropolitan Police Force.  Like our Police Now recruit I, and many of my colleagues, spent some time in hospital during our careers, many suffering career-ending injuries or worse.  Were we the “Wrong People” then?

I’m renowned for not giving a tuppenny toss wether a Police Officer has a degree or not.  I’m not anti-graduate I just think it’s a vocation that you can either do or not, irrespective of what sistifikits you happen to have.  A PhD in Theology?  Does that make a good Police Officer?  Or somebody who’s prepared to just get down and dirty and do it. Serve and Protect the Public.

So do I think Police Now and their cohorts are the future?  No I do not, and more than that, did I say,  I am vexed by them?

I Have Seen The Future – TJF, Very F

TJF, that was one of the very first things I was told when I left the cocoon that was Hendon Training School and appeared at my very first nick.

I suspect that it has been common parlance for generations.

Looking at various Tweets and Facebook posts over the past week.  Thinking about the tragic events of last week, and the response and reaction to them.  It troubles my aged brain.

Before you waste your time telling me, I know, I’m Old School, a Dinosaur even.  However, this does not mean that my opinions are not valid, my ideas out-dated and useless.  Some may be, some might be excellent.  Who knows?  I do still have Freedom of Thought, and this is what I think.

When Theresa May, either of her own volition, or doing the bidding of one David Camoron, set about the destruction, sorry Reform, of the Police Service, myself and others questioned her intentions.  We questioned the intentions and acts of (then) Mr Tom Winsor.  We questioned the intent and activities of certain Think Tanks.  Most unhealthy in my opinion.  Sadly the majority of the public were hoodwinked by it all. Some of Winsor’s ‘facts’ were completely unscientific is the best way to describe them.

Chief Police Officers were either hoodwinked also (unlikely) or were working to a totally different agenda.  Almost none of them came out into the open and stood up for the Front Line.

What does that matter?  So we’ve trimmed down the excesses of the Police Service.  That must be a good thing surely?  The Canteen Culture has effectively been smashed by the simple act of closing and selling off the canteens.

  • Approx 21,000 (or so) Police Officers have been lost since 2010.  The government can assure you if they want that the Front Line has been protected, but where do you think these 21,000 have come from?  Almost entirely Constables and Sergeants, who are, incidentally, very important to the Front Line.
  • Approximately 18,000 Police Staff too.  It got do bad that a certain Police Station in DeadBadgerShire had to put a PC into an office job because the last remaining civvie had been moved or dispensed with.  How crazy is that?
  • Over 600 Police Stations sold off or closed to the public.

And now we get to the worst of my vexations, for I am surely vexed;

  • Policing Degrees (or equivalent) as a pre-requisite to join the Police Service as a Probationary Constable.
  • Direct Entry Superintendents

  • Direct Entry Inspectors
  • Direct Entry to Detective for Specials
  • Politically aligned Police and Crime Commissioners
  • Appointment of a civilian Commissioner for the Met.  She MAY have BEEN a Police Officer, and I’m not disputing that she is suitable, but the precedent has been set. Stand by for more.
  • Proposals for Direct Entry as Chief Constable
  • Police Now and their willingness to assist and support officers seeking alternative employment outside the Police Service after a handful of years, and their infamous ‘Healthy Churn’
  • College of Policing, there are just so many things there that I can’t bring myself to begin.
  • The PoliceFederation – I’m not totally convinced that they’ve been very good at identifying the threats and playing the Long Game.
  • An increase for the budget of HMIC
  • An increase for the budget of IPCC

Where does this bring us?

The Perfect Storm.  Everything is now in place to support the government’s dismantling (some prefer the term destruction) of the Police Service as we knew it.  The Front Line will doubtless cease regarding it as a Job For Life (I much prefer Vocation).  Five years then offski, take the experience learnt into the Private Sector for more money, better prospects, a company car and  weekends at home.


So there we have it, TJF – Very F, very possibly Terminally F.  And it is most certainly NOT the fault of the officers wueueing up to buy a sandwich in a supermarket, a coffee in Starbucks or Costa, or the officers taking too long to get through their lists of outstanding calls.  The substance and appearance of the modern day Police Service has changed substantially, and with crime and demands on the PolicecService rising steadily, is it really a good idea to cull 40,000+ posts?

I think we can all see where this started. Even a Dinosaur.

POLICE REFORM 2017

Mixed Messages From @NPCC, @Police_Now @MetropolitanPolice and @CollegeOfPolicing?

I’m old, I’m confused and my brain hurts.

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.

It cannot be impossibe.

Police Now – What Have We Learnt?

There has been a huge amount of discussion over the last couple of weeks about Police Now, some good, some bad, some supportive, some most definitely not.

I had queries about their ‘charitable’ registration, in particular the references to the Armed Forces, and being for the benefit of ‘Mankind’.  I have received reassurances that these are just generic ‘drop down box’ choices, predermined by the Charity Commission

We have learnt a little more about how the charity is a ‘safe’ option

 

We have been reassured about any possible conflict of interests arising from the appointment of certain trustees

 

On the subject of Police Now Enterprises Ltd, we have learnt a bit, but personally I am far from satisfied.  I do not feel that the existence of this company has been satisfactorily explained in a clear and transparent way.

Detective Chief Inspector David Spencer tried to throw some light on our overall concerns when he wrote a blog in response, which can be read in full here.

However, he says in relation to Police Now Enterprises Ltd,

Police Now has a subsidiary called Police Now Enterprises Ltd that is wholly owned by the Police Now charity. There are no individual shareholders who are able to profit from this subsidiary – the Police Now charity owns this subsidiary in its entirety. This is an entirely not for profit company. One of the reasons that Police Now Enterprises Ltd exists is to enable Police Now to utilise the gift aid provisions.

It is my understanding that to claim Gift Aid on a donation that donation must come from an Individual, who is a taxpayer, and has paid an amount of Income Tax equal to, or greater than, the amount of Gift Aid being claimed.  I can’t see anywhere in the HMRC rules where it says it can be applied to a £5 million government grant.  What are the OTHER reasons for its existence?  I’m genuinely intrigued.

I’m sorry David but I think Police Now has failed on explaining that one, it doesn’t seem to be quite that simple.

I asked Police Now what they were doing for Police Scotland and PSNI.  They did respond.

 

After that @MPalmer3270 started off a quite incredible thread about the Police Now staff

 

Which prompted this from me

 

I certainly did NOT expect the response I got to that.

And then I really became concerned

 

Taken together with an extract taken from a Job Desription for a job currently being advertised at Police Now

What you’ll get from us: 

  • An opportunity to work at a true start up and to make a real impact on the Police Now Programme
  • Be a part of a society-defining organisation and change the way that the most challenged communities across the country interact with the police
  • A great team passionately working to build the next generation of leaders –both in and outside of policing
  • A buzzing office located in Old Street in Central London
  • Salary: Circa £28,000 dependent on experience
  • Police Now’s core benefits package including 27 days holiday per annum and participation in a pension scheme (with employer contributions).

What does that mean?  Does this mean that we have learnt that Police Now actually exist to provide ‘leadership’ skills to people who will ultimately leave the Police Service and go on to take their skills into the Private Sector, or progress to be politicians or Civil Servants, both with skills provided by, and paid for by, Police Now (or, indirectly, by Central Government, that might be a clue).

So, this is what I have learnt about Police Now over the last week.  If you have learnt anything more, please share it with us all in the Comments section below.  I promise I will publish each and every Comment received on this subject in the interests of Balance and Fairness, and, who knows, we might even get a better explanation of the purpose of Police Now Enterprises Ltd.

The Divil Is In The Detail

I have thought long and hard about this one, I know that there are those of you out there who will definitely not agree with me on it, and also, there are those who definitely will. It is a subject that seems to have polarised large sections of the Twatterspere.

Police Now.

There, I said it.

There are so many things about Police Now that bother me, and I don’t even know what order to put them in, so I’ll go for Random.

They are a Registered Charity?  Why? Does this mean that every other Police Training Establishment can register as a Charity? I very much doubt it.

Their registration with the Charity Commission contains some very bold, and to me, bizarre, statements.


Interesting, I thought they only operated in England.  I have asked them what they are doing for PSNI and Police Scotland but as it’s a weekend I haven’t had a reply yet.


Under Classication it mentions Armed Forces.  What on earth are Police Now doing to benefit the Armed Forces and support their status as a charity?

The Beneficiaries of this Charity are The General Public and Mankind.  How crass, glib and arrogant is that statement?  I doubt very much that Billy and Joey living in their South London Council flat will feel any benefits from Police Now.

The Home Office has ‘gifted’ Police Now £5 million in order to fund 250 training places.  My elementary abacus tells me that equates to £20,000 per candidate. £5 million that undoubtedly has its origins in the Top-Sliced Police Budgets.

In 2012 Nottinghamshire Police stated that it cost them £13,000 to recruit and train each Constable.  In this age of Austerity and low inflation and salary increases that figure can’t have increased too much since then. So £20,000 doesn’t really represent  Best Value.

Most charities are exempt from enquiries under the Freedom of Information Act.  Whilst this may not have been a deliberate ploy it doesn’t help to reassure the cynical amongst us. They could embrace the FOIA and answer questions anyway.

One of their original directors appears to have been appointed with about 6 months Police Service, and has now resigned from the board.  What possible skills and exerience of Policing can somebody with so little service bring to the table?  If the skills they bring lie elsewhere then what are they doing in the Police Service? That one has me confused.

Something else that left me confused were TWO entries at Companies House;

Firstly Police Now, he registered charity,

Then we get Police Now Enterprises Ltd, a second and separate company with three directors, who are also directors of Police Now, and one of whom happens to be the Director of HR at the Metropolitan Police Service.  I have absolutely no idea if that is kosher or not, all I know is, in days of old it would not have been appropriate.  Times change, I get that, but it leaves me confused and concerned.

Finally (almost) half a dozen job adverts for positions with Police Now, advertised in LinkedIn.

If you look at the ads, see the Job Description, Person spec etc etc, there is a paragraph hidden away in the Job Descriptions that bothers me.  I have no issue with the salaries offered etc, that is a matter of public record and I don’t need to comment, people can have their own opinions on salaries et al.

More sinister (to me at least) is this paragraph

A great team passionately working to build the next generation of leaders – both in and outside of policing“. What are they saying here?  They are training recruits to be “leaders” who will subsequently leave the Police Family and find recompense elsewhere in the Private Sector?  Is that what they mean?

In the light of that I now have an issue with their logo.  I would love to show you but it’s copyrighted and can’t be reproduced, but what it says is Police Now, and underneath; Influence For Generations.  Hardly that if the recruits/graduates are going to leave after a few years to pastures new.

Or maybe I’ve got it all wrong and someone will point out the errors of my ways.