It’s Those Awful Arrogant, Overbearing Rozzers Again

It’s been one of those weeks for Policing. Having got bored of attacking the Police for being over-zealous in enforcing the government’s lockdown, a certain sector of the public have moved on and resurrected Police Racism again.

In London two incidents flooded the Twitter waves

The first related to an operational matter whereby a disinterested observer just assumed that there was a bit of Institutional Racism going on and took to Twitter without waiting to establish the facts.

The second was a so-called journalist who took a photo in a park and immediately cried racism. When a Local Councillor got an explanation from the Met and passed it on, the author still didn’t have the decency to retract or delete her Tweet.

Imagine my delight when I found a couple of good news stories that received nowhere near as much traction as the so called ‘Racism’ tweets did.

Firstly, a young WPC in Rochdale (yes, I did type WPC, no I won’t apologise for it). Any OCU Commander should be extremely proud to have her on under his/her command. An absolute credit to the Police Service, and a thoroughly deserved Commendation.

Not only did Michelle help a vulnerable lady,

On some of her days off she went to the supermarket and bought shopping for them using her own money which she then delivered.

She also baked scones for them, cleaned their kitchen, did their washing and made their beds as well as cooking them a meal amongs other household tasks.

She chose not to tell anybody at work what she had done. A true credit to her profession, and certainly worthy of recognition in an age when it’s fashionable to bash the Police.

Finally, and certainly not least, today I discovered Chaz Singh (@PlymouthChaz) who had tweeted to tell the story of how he had been stopped by the Police, breath tested, and allowed to carry on his way (because it was negative 😂😂)

Now Chaz is a man who is quite obviously not white, middle class British. He decribes himself as #thatmanwiththeturban. I immediately loved his attitude. He was open about the fact he had been stopped and the reasons for it. Not only that but he went on to publicise the fact and his positive reaction to it, even including the Chief Constable and the Local Paper in his Tweet.

https://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/news/plymouth-news/plymouth-politician-thanks-police-breathalysing-4066739?utm_source=linkCopy&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=sharebar

Reading of Chaz’s experiences also prompted the following complimentary Tweet

If only more people were willing to publicise their positive experiences like Chaz did. Far too many just want to bitch and moan, or even, and much worse, just make shit up. Tweeting about things that either didn’t happen or the author has no personal knowledge of the event they are negatively publicising. The job of the Police is difficult at the best of times, virtually impossible during the current crisis, and still people seek out opportunities to knock them

Don’t be like Jessica and Rikvah, be like Michelle and Chaz

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Same Old, Same Old Tories

Before I get carried away and rant TOO much I would just like to say that I actually hope that I am wrong.

Following the downfall of the disastrous Theresa May and her infamous Cuts we inherited Boris Johnson as PM, almost by default as nobody else seemed very willing to challenge him.

In he came, full of promises and “Let’s Get Brexit Done” (that’s Boris for Strong and Stable) and quicky won over the public with all his rash promises. First he promised 20,000 ‘extra’ Police Officers. This is something that would appeal to all right-minded people. Why would we not want more Police Persons?

Following swiftly on the heels of the 20k pledge we had a promise to build 40 ‘new hospitals’, well, maybe 6 if we’re lucky.

Hold your breath, here comes another one. 50,000 ‘extra’ Nurses.

We currently ‘lose’ about 7-8,000 Police Officers per annum due to Natural Wastage, so are these 20,000 ‘extra’ officers ‘extra’ to what we currently have, effectively replacing those who will leave in the coming 3 years, or are they truly additional, in which case how the hell can we recruit and train more officers in 3 years than we ever have done before? 40,000 recruited and trained over a three year period when Cruella and co have already been instrumental in dismantling our training infrastructure.

The above chart clearly shows that never, since 2005 if at all, have we ever recruited more than approx 9,000 officers in a single year, so how will we cope with circa 40,000 across 3 years with a reduced capability?

40 new hospitals? Where is the money coming from for those? We can’t even get the two hospitals that Carillion left half-built finished. How will we pay for them, who will build them?

50,000 extra Nurses? Boris has now backtracked and that has been downgraded to 31,000. I don’t know enough about the NHS but I suspect that they will also struggle to recruit an extra 31,000 Nurses in short order.

Fast Forward, we have now had another General Election and Boris and the Conservatives now have a workable majority in Parliament.

Call me cynical, but maybe now the mask has slipped.

I’ll leave it for someone better qualified to commentate on the NHS promises, but I will address the Policing issues.

The government recently announced an increase in expenditure on Policing of up to £15 Billion. Gosh, that’s a lot, where is it going?

Is it just me or has the word ‘extra’ been omitted from the first item? And I do assume that all of these officers, 20,000 or 40,000, ‘extra’ or not, will have to either be graduates or sign up to an Apprenticeship programme?

If you want to know where the remainder of the £15 Billion is coming from, look no further than your Council Tax Precept. PCCs have been invited to raise the Policing Precept to pay for extra officers. Not such a generous government offer after all maybe?

But at least the new look government hasn’t put any conditions on the increased funding.

Kit Malthouse, Policing Minister, said the public “need to see results” for the £1.1 billion extra that police have been awarded for 2020/21. He said that they must slash their backroom staff to put more officers on the frontline and improve their use of technology to combat the surge in violent crime.

This will be tricky as those cuts have already been made.

“Lives are being lost. Families are being devastated. Communities are being torn apart. We must bring an end to this violence. This is the public’s money and they need to see results for their investment,” said Mr Malthouse.

“So it’s only right the Government holds them to account and we expect to see measurable outcomes from this generous settlement.”

This view is totally right and proper but does he not realise that is what the Police WANT to do? They certianly don’t need League Tables and Powerpoint Charts.

With Blair Gibbs, that well known Horseman of the Policing Apocalypse, inside Number 10 as one of Boris Johnson’s SPADs it will only be a matter of time before numerical targets are reintroduced into Policing.

The Times has already reported, on 5th January, that the Government are planning on bringing in a Target Culture again.

My opinion on that is predictable

All in all it seems that this version of a Conservative government hasn’t really changed much from Cruella’s regime, just a few more platitudes and empty promises.

Finally, NONE of Boris’ promises regarding Policing even begin to address the dwindling numbers of PCSOs and Support Staff, both culled under Theresa May.

Every person who voted Tory in 2019 did so knowing full well what the Conservatives had done under Theresa May. Most of Boris’ current Cabinet voted IN FAVOUR of those cuts and even cheered at the results of some of the votes.

Empty words and vote-winning rhetoric or truly the beginning of better times? We shall see.

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More College Smoke And Mirrors?

A recent set of College of Policing Board minutes makes the bold claim that the Police Service will be recruiting 53,000 new officers over a three year period.

This presumably includes Boris’ famous 20,000 officers.

My problem is this, since 2005 (at least) the Police Service has never recruited more than 10,000 new officers in a single year. After 10 years of #Cuts, where the hell are the facilties for training all these officers? How good will their training actually be? Can we actually attract 53,000 new recruits, especially given Graduate and Apprenticeship Entry looming?

Para 4.2 of the attached minutes makes this bold claim, but does anyone actually believe it?

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This Parrot Is Dead

I know a dead parrot when I see one and I’m looking at one right now.

Well, not really a parrot but a Superintendent’s Direct Entry Programme.

Many forces have indicated their continued support for the Direct Entry Superintendent Programme beyond 2020. However, our understanding of the current appetite for Direct Entry Superintendents would indicate there is not a sufficient requirement in order to establish a meaningful cohort for next year. So a decision has been reached that there will be a pause on recruitment into the Direct Entry Superintendent programme for 2020, with a view of reassessing service appetite in subsequent years.

A Pause you say? Does that mean a pause while the Superintendent’s Direct Entry Programme quietly disappears, or is this moribund parrot going to rise, Phoenix-like from the ashes to be stubbornly resurrected in a few years time when they hope the crusties will have gone quiet?

Or maybe this quietly sees the beginning of the end of several of Theresa May’s Vanity Projects?

  • Winsor’s Independent Reviews
  • Tom Winsor as Head of HMICFRS or whatever it’s called today
  • IOPC
  • Direct Entry Supernintendos
  • Direct Entry Inspectors
  • Graduate Entry Scheme and Apprenticeships

I have no idea what the cost to the Public Purse of the two Direct entry programmes has been, and evverybody has an opinion on how succesful and relevantthey have been, but the numbers do not really make sense to me.

In April this year I wrote a post concentrating on the Direct Entry programmes, it might have been a little bit critical bit critical but the numbers are simply these:-

In 3 years since the Programme began there had been a TOTAL of 54 Direct Entry Inspectors recruited, and in the 5 years since teir programme began there had been a TOTAL of 32 Direct Entry Superintendents.

And then it gets worse, the College of Policing decided not to tell me how many of those meaagre numbers had subsequently left (for any reason) but they did give me a clue (yes, I know it’s strange)

A) Up to 18.5% of Direct Entry Inspectors have fallen by the wayside one way or another since 2016.

B) Up to 31% of Direct Entry Superintendents have quit or been let go since 2014

Not exactly a glowing recommendation of such a controversial scheme, but I do know one thing in life.

This parrot is dead, it is an ex-parrot

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David (Warwickshire) Vs Goliath (West Mercia)

Forget #Brexit, this is much closer to home and just as gripping to some of us.

Before I go any further, beacuase I’m a fair kind of person, I must point out the collaboration between Warwickshire and West Mercia Police Forces came into being in 2012, the present encumbent in West Mercia, my old adversary John Campion, has only been in post since 2016.  He had no say whatsoever in the planning and setting up of the colloboration between the 2 Forces.

Right, that’s got the civilities out of the way, let’s begin.

It would appear that Conservative PCC John Campion has decided to end the Strategic Alliance with Warwickshire, without Warwickshire actually agreeing to it.

Chief Constable Martin Jelley of Warwickshire said

Our two forces entered into a strategic alliance in 2012 which has been recognised nationally for the extensive nature of its collaboration and has demonstrated significant benefits from shared working.


In fact, it has allowed both forces to save more than £35million and maximise resources to Frontline Policing? Excellent, what could be wrong with that.

Save more than £35 Million?  Has to be good.  Maximise resources for Front Line Policing?  An excellent plan.  What could possibly go wrong?

The alliance between Mr Campion and his own Chief Constable is what could possibly go wrong.

As a Council Tax payer contributing to West Mercia’s coffers I have been shocked and appalled by some of the decisions and policies coming from the penthouse suite at Force HQ.

They include (and please feel free to add others in the comments below or email them to me and I will add them anonymised)

  • Withdrawal from the Central Motorway Police Group
  • Sale of VRM AB1, possibly at lower than best market value.
  • Closure of many operational Police Stations leaving (I believe) just one Charging Centre per County serving Shropshire, Worcestershire and Herefordshire, 3 quite large counties)
  • Project Athena, an IT system so frail and flawed it seems worse than some of the antiquated systes in use prior to my retirement. I can think of at least 2 IT systems from my era that could have been brought up to date and function better than Athena.
  • Failing to acknowledge the ‘experience gap’ in the West Mercia caused directly by Conservative cuts since 2010, merely pledging to recruit extra brand new officers.
  • The current ‘divorce’ between West mercia and Warwickshire.

In relation to Athena, I asked the question of West Mercia

1) Could you please tell me the total cost to date to West Mercia and Warwickshire Police of joining Project Athena?

2) Could you please tell me the cost for this Financial Year (alternatively the total number of hours) of overtime incurred by Police Officers in relation to file preparation etc for Project Athena?

The response I received was

The implementation of Athena has resulted in West Mercia Police and
Warwickshire Police force Alliance investment costs to date of £4.423m.
This represents the one-off costs from both capital and revenue.

The overtime cost to date for this financial year 2017/18 is £127,205.

The initial cost for the original 7 Forces was £32 Million over a period of 10 years. I’m no expert but the best part of £4 and a half Million so far for West Mercia and Warwickshire seems a little steep and possibly indicates a bit of creep ahead, but we’ll have to see. £127,205 is surely a scandalous figure for overtime costs on a system designed to be more efficient and save money.

In relation to AB1 I submitted the following FOI to Mr Campion

In relation to the sale of Vehicle Registration Mark AB1 could you please supply me with the following:-
Copies of Minutes of any Meeting where the sale of AB1 was proposed or discussed (redacted if appropriate) including the very first proposal to sell it. I have yet to locate in the Disclosure Log any document containing the original proposal to sell it and ensuing discussion. Decision Notice 8 only records the decision to accept the offer of £160,000, specifically NOT the Decision to sell the VRM.
Copies of any documents including, but not limited to, any correspondence concerning the monetary value of the VRM, any letters or emails between OPCC/PCC/HEO and the successful purchaser
Copies of any other documents or emails, not specifically requested previously, that contain reference to the sale of AB1 and have not been previously included in a Disclosure Log

His response?

a) Copies of Minutes of any Meeting where the sale of AB1 was proposed or discussed (redacted if appropriate) including the very first proposal to sell it. I have yet to locate in the Disclosure Log any document containing the original proposal to sell it and ensuing discussion. Decision Notice 8 only records the decision to accept the offer of £160,000, specifically NOT the Decision to sell the VRM.
The answer to this was:-
There are no copies of minutes or any other documents regarding the first proposal to sell AB1. Decision Notice 8 implicitly incorporates the recommendation to sell with the recommendation to accept the offer
b) Copies of any documents including, but not limited to, any correspondence concerning the monetary value of the VRM, any letters or emails between OPCC/PCC/HEO and the successful purchaser
The answer to this was:-
The documents and correspondence concerning the monetary value of the VRN and copies of emails between the OPCC/PCC/HEO and the successful purchase are exempt from disclosure under Section 43(2) of the Freedom of Information Act – Commercial Interests.

And now we have the best of all, the ‘divorce’ and breaking up of the collaboration that was meant to save £35 Million.

A Freedom of Information Request submitted to West mercia PCC by A N Other, asking for the cost of the breakup was met with this response

There is currently no total estimated cost for ending the two force
alliance.

Well, in my humble opinion that is nowhere near good enough.  Mr Campion is controlling a huge budget, he has already increased the Council Tax Precept for Policing, West Mercia covers 3 large counties in rural England and he is publicly accountable for his budgets and decisions.  There seems to be an emerging pattern, common to Conservatives everywhere in Public Office, that they don’t have to do Risk and Impact Assessments, then they can’t be held up as getting it wrong.

In fairness, Mr Campion did record this monumental decision in a publicly available format (for what it’s worth), enjoy (Please note it comprises 4 pages, just use the arrow at the bottom for Next Page)

26-Record-of-Decision-Ending-of-Strategic-Alliance-with-Warwickshire-Police

Now for the really boring bit, this would never had happened if I had been the West Mercia PCC, but Mr Camoron made damn sure that I (and many other Independeent candidates) hastily withdrew from the elections when he craftily increased the deposit payable by all candidates from £500 to £5000, which he did not apply to any other elections, just the PCC elections. Short of remortgaging Angry Towers, that well and truly saw me off without the might of a large, powerful political party behind me and the personal support of Theresa May I was toast.  Surprisingly (well I thought so anyway) Mr Campion didn’t even want to short-list me as an applicant to be his Deputy, but that’s another story entirely.

In conclusion, as a resident of West Mercia, who pays their Council tax (on time as well), takes an interest in the local Constabulary and their problems and interractions with their public I am appalled that such a decisision has been taken by Mr Campion.  I fully understand the anxst of the Warwickshire PCC and Chief Constable.  I truly do not understand how this will benefit ANYBODY, either side of the Alliance.  I can only hope that the people who did vote for him can live with that decision and tolerate the potential damage that will be done to Public Safety if this reckless proposal eventually goes ahead. But what do I know?

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An Open Letter to the West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner

Dear Mr Campion,

You have been the West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner for several years now, and as you know the world of Policing has suffered some savage cuts brought about, mainly, by Mrs Theresa May. ince 2010. Policing as a whole has lost approximately 21,000 officers in total across England and Wales. How does that affect West Mercia I wondered. Unfortunately there is no published data prior to 2012, but below is a diagramatic representation of what Mrs May’s cuts have meant to the corporate experience of West Mercia Police.

It is immediately obvious that the band which held most of your experience, the 5-10 years service officers, have been savagely cut from 599 in 2012 to a mere 115 in 2019 (31st March). With the exception of the 30+ band, your band with the most experienced officers in it is now the band with with the fewest officers in it, a reduction of approx 80%.

As time goes by, over the next 10-20 years that band will simply move to the right across the chart meaning that there will be very few officers within your Force with any significant eperience, the left hand side of the chart being populated by Recruits and Probationary Constables. This will presumably cause problems within your Force going forwards when it comes to Specialist Employments and Squads etc. The ‘experienced’ officers staffing Major Incident Teams will be no more, will have retired, and been replaced from within the mere 115 officers currently with 5-10 years service.

Boris Johnson’s planned uplift of 20,000 officers will not help to ease the situation because the Service will lose approx 21,000-22,000 officers in the next 3 years due to Retirements and Resignations. If he means 20,000 EXTRA officers, how will we train them all, particularly in the light of the College of Policing’s Graduate Entry Scheme? Where will we put them all as approx 650 operational Police Stations have been closed down, including some in West Mercia.

Inter-Force transfers would help alleviate the problem, but is that really realistic on that scale?

I can only conclude that Mrs May’s cuts have done deep and irreparable damage to the Police Service of England and Wales and that West Mercia Police is a major casualty in that.

Do you actually have any plans that will tackle the lack of experience within your Force, rather than merely boosting the numbers with raw recruits? The College of Policing’s PFEQ policy will probably not boost numbers sufficiently and certainly will not bring experience, or do you not believe that experience is essential?

PCC’s Response

campion1

My Reply

Reply-to-PCC-Campion-Abbr

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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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First It Was Athena………..

……………Now we have iOPS

Don’t worry, I’m not going to bore you with a rehash of everything good about the wonder that is Athena.  Hot on the heels of Athena Greater Manchester Police have the wondrous iOPS system.  From reports I’m hearing it’s every bit as good as Athena.

I don’t think that I can sing its praises any better than the Manchester Evening News has in it’s piece subtly entitled 

The astonishing testimony of police whistleblowers who claim the new GMP computer system is so unusable that people will die unless it’s fixed

Multiple whistleblowers have allegedly contacted the Manchester Evening News complaining about the shortcomings of GMP’s £27 Million computer system iOPS.  Designed by Capita, the Force’s Integrated Police Operating System has been beset with problems from the outset, many so serious that officers fear that lives may well be lost if it is not sorted soon.  Whilst the Chief Constable, Ian Hopkins, has fiercely defended the system, many officers and support staff including SNT Officers, Detectives and Middle Ranking Officers have complained that it is basically unusable.

Problems range from inability to log on and inability to access information about crimes on their ‘patch’ depriving them of vital intelligence when they go out on patrol.  The officers were/are so worried about it that a Group was set up on Facebook called iFlops, ad a humourous post on the Force’s own internal Bulletin Board just said

“This is like groundhog day, achieving the square root of nothing.

Is it home time yet?”

In less than a week iFlops gained over 1,500 members but the Group has now been ‘frozen’.

I urge you to read the full Newspaper article (link above) it contains far, far more info and examples than I have used. One thing is for certain though, following on the heels of Athena, the Police Service does not need another dud. “Designed by Capita….?” Is this another startling success for a previous Home Secretary’s outsourcing policy? Most of those have been abject failures so far.

Anyone brave enough to supply examples of iOPS’ iFlops please feel free to use the Comments section below, anonymously of course, and I’m quite happy to give them an audience if that is your desire.

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Police Suicides – The Grim Reality (Edited Version)

Many apologies for the length of time it hs taken to get this post from Draft to Published, I am still awaiting responses from far too many Forces for my liking.  Not acceptable for any request, but this one is simply numbers-based, but may have stirred up some embarrassment.

Following on from Carl Eve’s excellent piece in the Plymouth Herald I decided that I would repeat the exercise. I’m not assuming that Police Forces will tell me things that they wouldn’t tell him, they should answer ‘blind’ and give everyone who asks the same answer. They may, however, give me a different answer, and even if they don’t I’m free to present them in a different way to Carl.

I have asked each of the Forces the same two questions

  • For each of the previous 5 years how many Police Officers serving in your Force have taken their own lives?
  • For each of the previous 5 years how many former officers from your Force have taken their own lives?

So, only 1 Force (some have not respected the 20 working day deadline and responded yet)  records the number of serving, or former, officers who have taken their own lives? One single Force.  Most don’t record that information, many have Refused it on grounds of Cost.  Some have even referred me the the Coroner, which is quite inappropriate and displays lack of understanding in my opinion.

Quite, quite disgraceful. This excercise has done little more than to confirm the work of Carl Eve and demonstrate, in my view, that NONE of the UK Police Forces cares enough about its officers in the 21st Century to consider that some may take their own lives and record that fact, quantifying it. It’s a bit like the Drugs Squads of Yesteryear. If you don’t have a Drugs Squad, you don’t arrest many people for drugs and therefore you don’t have a drugs problem. Naively, Police Forces seem to take the attitude that if they don’t count the number of, at least, serving Police Officers who take their own lives, it isn’t happening. They don’t have a problem so they don’t have to do anything about it. How can any organisation that claims to care about its workforce say “We don’t know how many have taken their own lives because we don’t record that information”?

Stress/PTSD comes to us in many ways, and yes, I am aware that it affects all of the Emergency Services and Armed Forces, but I’m staying in my comfort zone. Others can write more eloquently about other Services affected.

I’m willing to bet that almost every Police Officer knows about at least one officer in their own Force who has taken their own lives. I knew two. The one that I have previously written about took his life for reasons that were completely unrelated to his occupation. I know what they were but I will not be stating them. The second was an officer I knew previously well from an adjoining Borough/Division and he took his own life because of the demons from a particular event he had been involved in during his official duties. The Sergeant from the local SNT where I live also took his own life a year or two ago but I had never met him personally. There is more out there than you may think.

Leaving aside the traumatic experiences that our officers suffer on a daily basis, the demand upon a much reduced Police Service is increasing alarmingly. The total ‘Police Family’ has reduced from almost 257,000 in 2010 to 207,000 last year. 50,000 lost to the ‘family’. That HAS to mae a difference and increase the stresses and orkload on those still serving. Crimes have gone up. 999 nd 101 calls for Police attention have gone through the roof, but the government still seem to think tha the anwer is to ‘work smarter’. More and more leaves are being cancelled. The ‘extra’ officers so frequently referred to by the government and media do not exist, they are an illusion, the same old burnt-out officers with their leaves cancelled again, or working extended shifts.

As I have said previously, back in the 80 the Met had its own Nursing Home at Hendon. There was some form of an annexe in South London near Denmark Hill, there were at least 4 Welfare Officers (not many for so many officers but better than none). I have no idea what facilities other Forces had but I suspect that they were better then than now. No Nursing Home, I don’t know how many Welfare Officers but I suspect none. A situation that is almost certainly repeated in the Counties. There is Flint House at Goring but that is one facility for the whole of England and Wales, concentrating mainly (or possibly exclusively) on physical injuries.

Officers unsurprisingly feel like there is no support for them. They are almost all too proud to seek help from the Samaritans etc (not a criticism by any means) and their families, whilst meaning well, lack the professional expertise to support them properly (again, not a criticism).

I know that Theresa May abhors the ‘Canteen Culture’ but canteens have always played a vital role in helping our officers deal with their stress atc. They provided a multitude of informal routes for lowering stress and coming to terms with the trauma of the day. Chatting or even arguing with your colleagues, a game of cards, a quick zap of the Space Invaders machine, writing up the last job, or just generally sounding off putting the world to rights. Costa (other expensive coffee shops are also available) is not the place for this, plus it comes with the added disadvantage that there will always be a random ‘David Bailey’ who wants to take pics of cops doing what cops do, eat and drink, in his/her local MacDonalds etc etc. Not doing anything wrong, they have to eat and drinks somewhere. Many, if not all, canteens at operational Police Stations have been closed, or the Station that housed them closed down. Still plenty left at HQ Buildings though, I bet.

Is it any wonder some of them seek release by taking their own lives. If the Forces actually knew how many officers had taken their own lives I might be persuaded that they care, but they don’t know. “We don’t collect that data”. Well they should. I was lucky all those years ago, thanks to ‘Don’ I got help whilst it was still there. Today’s version of me is not so lucky. Even if ‘Don’ still exists where can he take his officers for help?

It is a disgrace. I do not attempt to quantify the scale of the similar problems in the other Emergecy Services or Armed Forces, but I suspect they are similar. there really isn’t a reason why they shouldn’t be. Central Government needs to recognise the problem and dedicate sufficient resources to tackling the problem in a meaningful way. There is absolutely NO EXCUSE for failing to look after the mental health and wellbeing of our Emergency Services and Armed Forces. I am not differentiating, they all deserve our total support.  In My Humble Opinion there is absolutely no excuse in for any organisation in this age not to monitor employees who take their own lives. I can excuse slightly not monitoring Former Officers but current, serving Officers and Staff should definitely be monitored. How else does the organisation become aware that there is a problem?

#ProtectTheProtectors applies to all of them.

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Boris’s Mythical 20,000

Relax, this post will be very short.

Within hours of being appointed Prime Minister Boris Johnson was promising to recruit 20,000 extra Police Officers for England and Wales. The majority said “Wow”, “Brilliant” and other such sayings.

Me, I said “Bollocks”.

Don’t get me wrong, I wish him well, I have no idea how the savagely depleted infrastructure will cope, but to process 20,000 recruits over 3 years will take some doing, not impossible, but highly improbable.

Only it isn’t 20,000 is it?

Since 2005 the Police Service has experienced between 6,500-8,500 ‘Leavers’ per annum. That’s way before the Tory cuts began. Govt cuts have mainly been achieved by reducing Recruiting as Police Officers cannot be made redundant.

One fact is possibly an important contributory factor, since 2010 Leavers have ALWAYS outnumbered Joiners from 2010 until 2019, when the lines cross very slightly once more..

In order for Boris to succeed in his rather rash promise the Police Service of England and Wales, collectively, will have to recruit > 40,000 not 20,000, otherwise wastage will negate Boris’s target. Boris, College of Stupid Ideas and NPCC will have to get their heads together and sort out Retention, no easy task after Cruella’s Pension Reforms.  I wish him well, we need some positive action and news to make us more optimistic, I just wish he would be more honest with the numbers (again).

I rest my case.Last Updated on