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Monkeys, Winsor and Policing

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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?


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6 thoughts on “Monkeys, Winsor and Policing”

  1. I don’t know what idiot came up with this *ahem*, survey but… What people ‘think’ about a service – doesn’t make it FACT. If I’d handed in work like this to a research unit I’d expect to be fired.

  2. As Disraeli said there are three types of lie. “Lies, damned lies and statistics”
    There are three types of unreliable witnesses, “A liar, a damned liar and an expert”
    Pick whichever fits!

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