Are Theresa May’s Policies The Real Reason Behind Our Children Being Killed By Knives?

Yes……….in a word.

Why do I say that so positively?

This won’t take long, but here is why I think that.

After their election victory in 2010 David Camoron appointed Theresa May as Home Secretary and she in turn engaged Tom Winsor to write an ‘Independent’ review on Policing, which came remarkably close to mirroring one of David Camoron’s speech from 2006.

Tom, as we know, later went on to become Head Fred at Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, despite never having served in the Police Service at any rank. I wonder what Her Majesty made of that. Even later he became Sir Tom, for reasons that elude me.

Whilst the Police Service was still reeling from the recommendations of Winsor’s ‘Independent’ Reviews they were hit by two sledgehammers from Theresa May.

1. Police budgets will be cut due to #Austerity (yeah, right) which, to date, has resulted in the loss of approx 21,000 warranted Police Officers with a lower number of PCSOs and Police Support Staff, and the closing of approx 650 Police Stations.

2. In her 2014 speech to the Police Federation Theresa May issued an edict that Stop and Search must be curtailed, or there would be ‘consequences’, because certain members of the population were unhappy about it.

Please note the two charts below. I will deliberately NOT claim that there is any correlation between the datasets, I merely present the facts. After the lashing I got from Dr Ben this week I must bow to his undeniable superior intelligence so I will leave it to him and the other Academics to explain them.

Fig 1

Figure 1 shows the total number of Stop/Searches conducted in England and Wales against the total number of Knife-Related Murders.

Fig 2

Figure 2 shows the total number of Police Officers in England and Wales against the total number of Knife-Related Murders.

Three FACTS are apparent from these two diagrams. Two of the FACTS are directly related to Theresa May’s policies.

  1. Stop and Search has REDUCED
  1. Police numbers have REDUCED
  1. Knife-Related Murders have INCREASED.

With facts like these staring them in the face, the College of Policing, UK Home Office and anybody else who can actually achieve anything should get off their arses, stop having nice chatty meetings and actually commission some proper research to

a) Establish if there is any correlation between all three of the FACTS

b) Identify, and put into action, a proactive, multi-agency plan to put an end to the carnage on our streets. We have had too many young people slaughtered already, we don’t need any more. I will say it again, I don’t give a stuff what colour or ethnicity these young people are, the killing simply has to stop.

In conclusion, do I think that the Tory and Coalition governments have blood on their hands? Yes I do, and Theresa May was the worst offender. I really don’t know how her, and all the politicians and Police Chiefs who sat by and said nothing can sleep at night.

In my opinion Theresa May’s policies have been directly responsible for many young lives being lost on our streets.

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Hello – Is There Anybody There?

Dorsetshire is a lovely county on the South Coast of England as I’m sure you all know. It boasts rolling hills, trout-bearing chalk streams and the Jurassic Coast. Something for everyone. That is exactly why, with the school summer holidays almost upon us, thousands of people will be temporarily increasing the population of Dorset while they take their Summer Holidays there.

A good time for Dorset Police to introduce a brand new Communications Protocol then? Possibly not, read on.

Who’d have guessed that my ace contact Blodwyn has a Niece working in Dorsetshire? Difficult to imagine I know, but sometimes these coincidences happen.

Bodwyn’s Neice (I’ll call her Rita because that’s her name) sent me this;

Dorset are now going to 2 radio channels for the entire force. That’s 2 radio operators for everyone 24/7 – except Friday lates when they’ll have a third. So Bournemouth, Poole & Christchurch will go on one channel and the rest of the force on the other. This is going live in 2 weeks time – right at the start of the tourist season. Fucking genius.

Fucking genius? Sounds like it to me. The County (Force area) gets busy, this can be predicted, it happens every year. A great time to introduce a new scheme. What could possibly go wrong?

If you are a resident of Dorset, or a holidaymaker within the county, and you have problems communicating with the Police in the County, particularly if it’s an emergency, and you feel they could have done better, maybe you could drop a quick note to their Police and Crime Commissioner or Chief Constable and make them aware of your problems in plenty of time for their Review of the improvements which I’m sure will come.

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Daily Fail – You Can Do One

I’ll keep this short and angry.

Headlines (front page attention grabbers) do nobody any good. They are not helpful in the slightest.

Her Majesty’s Coroner quite clearly did not apportion blame.

Under the current administration we have seen cuts to Police, Security Service and the National Health Service.

Ultimately the responsibility for what happened that dreadful night rests fairly and squarely with the three terrorists who are now all dead.

The Daily Fail and any other like-minded rags can stop with their criticisms right now. Somebody please give the Editor a stabbie and put him out on patrol, alone, somewhere in London where he can get a large dose of reality. Until then he can keep his lurid headlines to himself.

The End.

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#Degreegate 2.0

I find myself totally gobsmacked.  I thought that Degreegate had become just about as ludicrous and pointles as it could get, but I should have known better.

As we know, progressively, there will soon be ONLY 3 routes into the Police Service;

  • Apprenticeship. Join as a constable, and follow an apprenticeship in professional policing practice – you earn while you learn. This route normally takes three years with both on and off-the-job learning. On successfully finishing the programme, you complete your probation and achieve a degree.
  • Degree-holder entry. If you have a degree in any subject, you can join and follow a work-based programme, supported by off-the-job learning.  This route normally takes two years, and the learning you have undergone is recognised in a graduate diploma in professional policing practice when you complete your probation.
  • Pre-join degree. If you want to study first, you can do a three year degree in professional policing at your own expense, and then apply to a force and follow a shorter on-the-job training programme. Being a special constable can be included in this route.

Routes 2 and 3 require applicants to already hold a Degree of some kind and the Apprenticeship route requires applicants to obtain a degree at the conclusion of their Probationary period.

 

My ancient O Level in English Language leads me to believe that ultimately, one way or the other a Degree will be mandatory to join any of the Police Forces that adopt the College’s Policy of Graduate Entry.

 

That’s what I think anyway.

 

Yesterday the College published a lengthy thread on the subject on Twatter.

I’m sorry, it is long, but somewhere towards the end of it is this pearl of wisdom

So, there are no proposals to make a Degree mandatory for promotion up to and including, Chief Officer rank.  Well I’m sure that the Direct Entry Superintedents will be absolutely ecstatic with that news.

Firstly, how many Senior Officers above the rank of Inspector probably haven’t already got  degree?  Secondly, if it is becoming mandatory to either have or obtain a Degree at Constable level, over a period of time the Service will become 100% Graduate by default, natural wastage seeing thick old plebs gradually replaced by the College’s favourite Graduates.  The General Public is not 100% Graduate why should the Police Service be?  Why does it NEED to be?  Oh yes, Winsor, that was it.

I am fully aware that this is just my ‘unique’ slant on it, but all I can say is that I’m glad I’m not still serving and don’t have to put up with this bollocks (apologies folks).  If that make you happy College then I’m happy for you.

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London – Murder Capital

Over time we get drip fed stories and so-called facts to such an extent that you miss the point entirely over time or you become immune and apathetic to what is happening around you. I am aware that Murder in the capital seems to going stratospheric so I thought I’d take a simple look back and try to establish the true situation.

The overall picture looks like this

It seems blatantly obvious to me that the Met had a handle on the problem and the numbers were steadily reducing year on year until 2014, after that they were, and seemingly still are, increasing year on year, back up again.  Not quite as bad as they were in 2006, but we must not be complacent.

By Borough, the problem looks like this;

Seems like the best place to live is Heathrow, but I’d give Lambeth, Newham and Southwark a swerve definitely.

Whatever could have happened in 2014 to make the number of Murders go back up again, and reverse a successful trend? This happened.

And I am determined that the use of stop and search must come down, become more targeted and lead to more arrests.

Theresa May’s speech to the Police Federation in 2014 is what happened. I accept that numbers were already reducing due to pressure from Police Management mainly, but it certainly went down after her speech, at a time when Murders and Stabbings were on the ascendent again.

No wonder really that Murders and Knife Crime are going through the roof. Personally (and you don’t have to agree) I hold Mrs May personally responsible for young kids, black and white, but mainly black, being slaughtered on our streets over the past few years. I am NOT an Academic but Stop/Search comes down and Murder and Crime in General go up. If there is not a direct correlation please explain it to me.

One last thought for the day, what else has happened since Theresa May’s speech in 2014? This has happened

The picture is no diffeent outside London either

2014 was a year to remember inside and outside of London.

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A Police Service In Crisis – The Evidence

Apologies folks, it’s going to be a long, but in my opinion, important one today.

I was originally going to entitle this post TJ is VERY F but that seemed just a bit too frivolous for such a serious subject.  I have often seen the hashtag #PoliceInCrisis or #PoliceServiceInCrisis, and even used it myself, but is it true?  Is Crisis an accurate description of the Police Service of England and Wales in 2019?

Let’s take a look at the evidence.  Firstly there’s the Manpower (am I allowed to say Manpower?)

Manpower

Fig 1

No disputing that Manpower is well and truly on its way back down again, having peaked, overall, in 2009, and the combined strength of Police Officers and PCSOs is now only the same as Police Officers on their own was in 2002. What has happened to the population in the last few years? It has grown. The government took no notice of that whatsoever when they slashed Police numbers and resources, so how has that affected things? Experience. What has happened to experience in Policing? The Service has haemorrhaged experienced officers. In just the last few years the problem looks like this (Fig 2), in the main, experienced officers being shed and replaced with new recruits, cheaper to employ but join with no experience.

Fig 2
Fig 2A
Fig 3
Fig 4

Not that it really makes that much difference, but most of the public interact mainly with officers at Constable rank, Fig 5

Fig 5

Totally unsurprising, the government has been directly responsible for the loss of 21,000 Police Officers, meanwhile the population has risen and the ratio of Police to Public has demonstrably worsened. Due to the relatively small number of more senior officers there is not really a noticeable difference between Officers and Constables, which is reassuring. What is NOT reassuring is that the ratio has declined from approx 202 to approx 162, or approximately 20%

How do we fare in comparison to other countries?

Fig 6

Crime

Quite rightly, and unsurprisingly, Crime is perceived as a major constituent of the Police Service’s core business, but what has happened to Crime Stats over the past few years?

According to Police Recorded Crime crime levels have risen. The government favour the Crime Survey of England and Wales figures and (up until recently) were telling us that crime had fallen. Whilst CSEW stats may have shown a decrease in overall crime levels that is only part of the story. They are considerably (and constantly) higher than Police Recorded Crimes. Overall crime per 100,000 head of population has reduced slightly since 2017, but total crime is on the rise again, and Knife Crime is significantly higher than previously. As can be seen from Fig 10, the Rate of Crime was more or less reducing year upon year until 2014/15 and has been steadily rising ever since, despite the repeated government mantra that “Crime is Down, Police Reform is Working.”

If this wasn’t bad enough the ‘Clear Up Rate’ has plummeted to less than 8%, Fig 7. No surprises there, Response Officers are carrying a ridiculous number of investigations themselves whilst, at the same time there appears to be a national shortage of qualified Detectives. This has led the Met together with Police Now to launch a Direct Entry Detective initiative. Good luck with that. Additionally the Home Office or Office For National Statistics keep moving the goalposts. Currently the figures include only offences for which someone has been Charged or Summonsed, whereas previously they included all offences that had been ‘solved’ and a sanction of some kind imposed, i.e. the headline figure no longer includes Cautions, so it makes it look as though the Police are doing even worse. It wouldn’t make a huge difference but it would increase the Clear Up rate by maybe one or two percentage points.

Fig 7
Fig 8
Fig 9

Call Handling

Call Handling data is quite informative in my view. Whilst all Forces have immensely different volumes of calls coming into their Control Centres, London has many more than Suffolk obviously, the pattern of calls is similar for all of them. The volume of 101 calls has remained reasonably constant since 2009/10 but the number of 999 calls dipped between 2014 and 2016 but has now not only risen back up ,but exceeeded earlier levels. The chart below shows the combined data for all the Forces that responded (approx 3 quarters at time of writing) . The one FACT that stands out a mile is that whilst overall volume of 101 and 999 calls has not increased immensely, and in fact was very slightly lower in 2018/19, the total number of Police officers in England and Wales has reduced significantly. The total number of officers potentially availabe and the number of Front Line Officers have both reduced significantly but demand via 999/101 has remained more or less constant, occasionally even greater. Fig 10 below is not a complete picture, several Forcee have not yet responded to my FOI request, but if and when they do it will only make the total number of calls for Police larger, without affecting the manpower stats overlaid. Demand peaked in 2017/18 with nearly 27 Million calls for Police in the year, but is still only a tiny bit short of 25 Million whilst the number of officers available to deal with those calls has decreased. You COULD argue that the number of 101 calls received doesn’t necessarily impact upon the Police Officers directly, but it does impact upon the Police Service as a whole with the Civil Staff who may be dealing with many of the 101 calls have also been reduced from almost 81,000 in March 2010 to just under 70,000 in September 2018, having recovered slightly from a low point of 62,500 in March 2017.

Fig 10

Sickness

More than 10,500 police officers across the UK took time off work for stress, depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder in the past year. The figure – 10,684 – is a staggering increase of 69.76 per cent since 2012/13. And works out at around one in 13 officers. A total of 6,294 officers were signed off on sick leave for psychological illnesses in 2012, when the figures were first collated by Police Oracle, but that figure stands at 10,684 for the financial year 2018/19. Meanwhile 915 more officers were signed off sick this year compared with last year – a 9.37 per cent increase – according to a Freedom of Information Act request of all forces . 479 West Yorkshire Police officers took time off work for stress, depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder in the past year – an annual increase of 34% Brian Booth, Chairman of West Yorkshire Police Federation, said: “Front line Policing is Austerity Fatigued so a 34% increase comes as no shock. “Without adequate welfare provision supporting our front line colleagues, they are highly susceptible to psychological illness. “West Yorkshire Police Federation have been working closely with our Force offering support through counselling sessions and pressing for Trauma Risk Management training (TRiM) to be extended. “But it can only be described as wading through quick sand. It’s not only heavy workloads, reduced officer numbers, assaults and trauma incidents that take their toll. It can be working in isolation with no colleague to talk to, especially after a traumatic incident. “This is just another symptom of an underfunded service that it struggling day by day. The Government need to recognise and act upon these figures before it is too late.”

Mutual Aid

Mutual Aid, for those that don’t know, is where one or more Police Forces send a number of officers (upon request) into another Police Force’s area to be deployed in assisting the home Force with an identified Policing problem, such as in the 80s with the Miners’ Strike and Greenham Common etc. The problem with it basically is that it denudes an already over-stretched ‘donor’ Force and is often accomplished by way of cancelling Leaves or using Overtime. Both of these have knock-on effects with the numbers of Rest Days and Time Off In Lieu building up which will have to be taken in the future, further reucing the resources of the donor Force. I read recently that Force A was supplying Mutual Aid to Force B but then had to call upon Mutual Aid from Force C to backfill the gaps caused by the original Mutual Aid depolyments.

Minimum Strength

On the subject of Minimum Strength I sent all the Forces an FOIA Request simply asking

For the current Financial year to date

On how many separate occasions have OCUs/Boroughs/Divisions operated at below Minimum Strength?

I didn’t expect to get many replies. However, to date, 5 Forces have actually given me a number. I won’t be namimg names here for obvious reasons but the numbers ranged between 0 and 71. The majority of Forces simply Refused, which is what I expected and three Forces answered “We don’t have that information recorded”, and one Force actually claims not to have a Minimum Level set. Two things disturb me about this, the fact that Minimum Levels ARE being breached, and that at least one Force doesn’t have a Minimum Level set. The majority of the other Forces do have a Minimum Level set, by implication it has been breached at least once, and many claim that it is ‘too expensive’ to extract that data in order to respond. If I was a Chief Constable I would want to be regularly briefed on that statistic, if only to be one step ahead if the whatsit hit the fan.

Outstanding Rest Days

I sent all 43 Forces an FOIA request, quite simply asking

Can you please tell, under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act, for the current Financial Year to date:-

a) The total number of cancelled Rest Days that are owed to your officers not already taken

b) The total number of hours overtime incurred by your officers and not already taken in lieu?

Just over half have answered, the request is now about 3 weeks overdue, so I had to give in eventually. The results from the 25 Forces that have actually answered so far are (in my view) quite shocking. A Grand Total of 122,633 Rest Days have been cancelled and still waiting to be taken off. Unsurprisingly the Met was the worst offender with 71,915 Rest Days cancelled in the first 2 months of the Financial Year and 20,366 of those still waiting to be taken off. The number of hours overtime as TOIL was also shocking with almost a quarter of a million hours waiting to be taken off. However, that is not the the end of it. Many Forces who did respond could not tell me how many hours were waiting to be taken as their systems did not allow for easy retrieval. Additionally, in the Met (again) 1,387,712 (Yes, nearly 1.4 MILLION) hours of overtime had been worked up to the 16th June but they were unable to tell me the current outstanding figure. Huge amounts of overtime are a sure sign of a Police Service struggling to stay afloat.

Resilience

Resilience? Well there isn’t any really. Whichever Force you look at Staffing levels have been cut by an average of 20%. That’s just for starters. Then we have the officers who have been lucky enough to take off one or more of the cancelled Rest Days that they are owed, or a few of the hours owed in Time Off In Lieu, although neither of these is guaranteed. Followed by Aid, a temporary relocation of the workplace to elsewhere in the Officers’ home Force, or Mutual Aid to another Force. Both of these activities leave the Officers’ home Station denuded or adds one more to the list of Rest Days that are waiting to be re-rostered. The vast majority of Operational Command Units no longer have the ability and the luxury of mounting proactive operations against criminals. Local Drug and Burglary Squads are mainly a thing of the past, not because they are not wanted or successful but because there are no longer sufficient officers to staff them, Response and other core duties taking priority. Then there is increased levels of sickness, most notably a marked increase in officers reporting sick with Stress -related problems or PTSD. All in all the average day sees many, many fewer officers parading for duty at all Police Stations. Above all, it is important to remember, that every time you read about ‘extra officers this’ and ‘extra officers that’ there are NO EXTRA OFFICERS. They are the same officers working Overtime, a cancelled Leave Day and leaving a disgruntled partner and family at home The politicians, media and even NPCC love to refer to ‘extra Police Officers’. There are none. Just the ones working extra hours are burning out. Police Officers, Specials, PCSOs and Police Staff, the ‘family’ has shrunk by approx 50,000 since 2010 (Fig 11).

Fig 11

College of Policing

I truly believe that the College of Policing deserves a paragraph all of its own. Not only are they responsible for Direct Entry Inspectors and Superintendents (see below) but they are also the driving force and instigators behind Graduate Entry. To repeat what has been published elsewhere, as of 2020 there will be ONLY 3 routes into the Police Service of England and Wales.

  • Apprenticeship. Join as a constable, and follow an apprenticeship in professional policing practice – you earn while you learn. This route normally takes three years with both on and off-the-job learning. On successfully finishing the programme, you complete your probation and achieve a degree.
  • Degree-holder entry. If you have a degree in any subject, you can join and follow a work-based programme, supported by off-the-job learning. This route normally takes two years, and the learning you have undergone is recognised in a graduate diploma in professional policing practice when you complete your probation.
  • Pre-join degree. If you want to study first, you can do a three year degree in professional policing at your own expense, and then apply to a force and follow a shorter on-the-job training programme. Being a special constable can be included in this route.

This obviously means that in the fullness of time the Police Service will become a ‘Graduate Only’ Profession (except perhaps for Police Chiefs, most of whom probably have a degree anyway but there are currently no plans to make it compulsory). Why? This does not reflect Society as a whole and “The Police are the Public and the Public are the Police” will no longer be true. Robert Peel and Richard Mayne will be turning uneasily in their graves.

The finest point of all is that the College of Policing are actively encouraging officers to leave after a few years and become ‘Ambassadors for Policing’. (Fig 12) What profession who values their staff encourages them to leave with the vague suggestion that might return in a few years time at another rank presumably, but nothing is guaranteed.

Fig 12

Police Now have this to say on the subject

We anticipate that many Police Now officers will have a long and successful policing career. It is important to realise however that the graduate market is changing, and new graduates want
variety in their career profiles and do not always envisage staying in one job long term. Therefore, some will choose to move into different areas within the public or private sector. It’s vital that we have continued contact with these alumni. After all, the aim of the programme is to not only create
exceptional police officers but to create exceptional leaders in our communities, who can act as ambassadors

Coming late to the party is Apprenticeships for PCSOs. I’ve no idea how I missed this one but aspiring PCSOs will now need to choose the Apprenticeship or the Non-Apprenticeship route in (wait for it).

Level 4 PCSO Apprenticeship entry programme (England) (the End-Point Assessmentis only applicable to England).
Level 4 PCSO Apprenticeship entry programme (Wales)  (details of the Apprenticeship Framework (identity number: FR04078) are via the link)
Level 4 (non-apprenticeship) PCSO entry programme

Forces can work with different awarding bodies for you to gain this Level 4 qualification.  The professional curriculum covered and the level of professional education and competence you will achieved is identical.

An Ofqual-regulated Awarding Organisation (in which case the qualification is titled a Level 4 Diploma in Community Policing Practice)
Or
A Higher Education Provider (in which case the qualification is titled a Level 4 HE Certificate in Community Policing Practice)

Deary me, talk about Social Engineering, when did our PCSOs require a Level 4 Qualification? Call it an Apprenticeship and Forces/College can tap into the government Apprenticeship Levy. A cynical person might be tempted to think that it’s just a way to get someone else to pay for their training. As for the Level 4 Non-Apprenticeship route, No Idea. Information on that is sparse to say the least.

The Apprenticeship Route consists of

  • ten weeks’ training at a Training Centre, designed to give you a solid understanding in the essentials of a PCSO’s role and powers
  • ten weeks’ tutoring on your Local Police Area (LPA)
  • on and off the job learning and coaching over the course of one year to enable you to achieve the Level 4 Certificate in Community Policing Practice

But I still haven’t got a clue how the Level 4 Non-Apprenticeship route works, maybe they don’t want anyone to go that way.

Direct Entry & Part Time Working

I’ve left Direct Entry and Part Time Working until last because a) it has been done to death previously, and b) is probably less detrimental to day-to-day Policing that the topics above. This does not mean, however, that they can be ignored. I read recently of a Direct Entry Superintendent promoted to Assistant Chief Constable with 3 years Police Service and completely bypassing Chief Superintendent rank. I don’t know the person personally, they may be an absolutely stunning Police Officer, but I doubt it somehow. This precedent will have the knock-on effect of a total lack of experience at the very highest levels, meaning that when very sensitive operational details or RIPA requests come across their desks they may not necessarily comprehend the full importance of the operation or request. There is a potential (and I put it no stronger than that) for bad decisions to be made due to lack of operational experience. They may possess the most fantastic skills at running large HR Departments for example, but does that give them the ability to cut through the crap in a fast-moving terrorist operation? Hmm, possibly not.

There has always been the potential (mainly for mothers in my day) to work Part Time, but the current proposals go way beyond being family-friendly. Recruits are given the opportunity to stipulate 16 or 24 hour weeks from the outset with the option of Part Time Training also. How exactly will that work? It just smacks of an organisation desperate to put pegs in holes and that’s all they’re worried about. In my opinion it does nothing to increase or improve the efficiency or effectiveness of the Police Service.

It makes any Force look like it has more officers than it truly has. Those that choose to work just 16 or 24 hours per week cannot truly be counted when it comes to putting boots on the street to counter an identified policing problem. They are not ‘as available’ as an officer working Full Time. No criticism of the officers for choosing that way to balance their Work/Life but a cynical move by the Home Office, College of Policing and individual Forces for countenancing it.

Fig 13

Conclusion

There will be many out there in Twitterland who wholeheartedly disagree with me, but I sincerely believe that, taken together, the problems highlighted above (and possibly some others I have unwittingly overlooked) bears evidence to the fact that the Police Service of England and Wales has been systematically destroyed by politicians. I hold David Camoron and Theresa May personally responsible but others have their part to play; Tom (now Sir Tom) Winsor, and successive Home Secretaries following Mrs May have done NOTHING to put this right. NOTHING. Those learned academics will be telling me that I failed to show a causal link between political interference in Policing and the decline in performance levels of the Service, but I say, individually possibly (although I don’t believe that) but taken as a whole it can hardly display anything else. However they are entitled to disagree with my thinking, and I with theirs. What do YOU think?

In recent weeks the new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has pledged to put 20,000 officers back into Policing.  My personal view is that was merely a vote winning soundbite, and if he really means it he will have a much bigger problem than he thinks.  21, 000 officers, OK he’s addressed that, approx 8,000 fewer PCSOs, he hasn’t addressed that, 15,000 fewer Police Staff, he hasn’t addressed that, nearly 5,000 fewer Specials, he hasn’t addressed that and approx 650 fewer Police Stations PLUS other ancilliary buildings (INCLUDING Training Establishments)  and operational vehicles, he certainly hasn’t addressesd that.  The time taken to recruit, train and get these magical replacements up to speed will quite possibly take 10 years or even longer.

On top of his fabulous pledges he might like to consider these figures, which are certainly not going to help him.

Fig 14

Approx 30% of Police Officers leaving the Service are Voluntary Resignations. That is not sustainable. That is not a ‘Healthy Churn’. Instead of promoting fancy-pants Police Education Qualification Framework (PEQF) policies, maybe the College could better spend their time addressing the 30% Voluntary Regulations.

Well that’s my view on this disaster. What do you think? Is the Police Service ‘merely’ in crisis or is it in terminal decline?

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Police Suicides – I Have The Numbers

I am currently in the middle of replicating Carl Eve’s work and writing to all 43 Forces to ask them how many of their officers had died at their own hands.  I did not anticipate an answer significantly different to Carl’s but I thought I’d give it a go anyway.  As we speak I have had a response for about 1/3 of the 43 Forces.  I’ll provide a comprehensive update when I’ve had all of their responses.

It’s no exaggeration to say that I was absolutely gobsmacked to open the most recent email yesterday.  Just like Carl, every response I have had so far has been a variation on the “We don’t record that information” theme.  But one young lady from a Provincial Force decided to be more helpful than the rest and provided me details of a web search I could do that might produce some of the information I was looking for.

So off I jolly went, off to my favourite Internet Search Engine and searched the website of the Office of National Statistics.

I have no idea where they got their stats from as the Police Forces tell us “We don’t record that information” but they get it from somewhere.  The Home Office have always told us that ONS is far more accurate than Police Data so here goes (for different time frames unfortunately) I give you the numbers for Police Suicides as presented by ONS.

 

There you have it. I’ll do my best to bring these figures up to date once all the Forces have responded, but don’t hold your breath. Incomplete stats are sometimes better than no stats.

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Part Time Policing

On Thursday morning I found myself spluttering into my Corn Flakes. A headline was staring out at me.

Met announces that Police Constables can now join the Met in a part-time role

At first I convinced myself that it was OK. Officers were working part time in the 90s, what’s different?

When I read the article I became more and more vexed. Before I go any further I want to make clear that I am fully aware that others can, and will, have different opinions to me. That is absolutely fine. Healthy debate is to be encouraged, and you can’t have a good debate if we all think the same. I shall come back to this later.

The full article can be viewed by clicking on the link above, but contains some real gems

Applicants will select from a range of employment types on their application form (full-time, part-time 24hrs or part-time 16hrs). Candidates are also able to self-select their training preferences at the point of offer of employment.

Upon attesting at Hendon, all officers attend a Certificate of Knowledge in Policing course for eight weeks. Part-time officers will have the option to complete this course on a part-time basis.

Students will then have the option to complete their foundation training full-time, full-time with a four-week break clause at week five, or via a bespoke part-time training offer.

The bespoke part-time offer will see students forming a part-time cohort twice a year, attending a four-day foundation course over a 17-week period that will be delivered between 0900-1700hrs.

The working patterns available are:

– Full time (working 40 hours per week and earning a base salary of £30,372)

– Part-time officers working an average of 24 hours per week or 240 hours over the 10-week cycle (earning a base salary of £18,223)

– Part-time officer working an average of 16 hours per week or 160 hours over the 10-week cycle (earning a base salary of £13,149).

This all sounds very complicated. Full Time is simple, nothing much has changed, but who on earth is going to administer the two Part Time schemes, and how?

My next question is how are the 16 and 24 hour Part Time schemes going to sit alongside Graduate Entry and Police Now? I assume that the Apprenticeship route is completely incompatible.

I also have concerns about who would take up this offer and why. What does the Met stand to gain from this except pegs in holes? I make no apology for being old-school. I joined in an era when The Job always came first. If your individual problems and circumstances could be accommodated they were, informally. The over-riding priority was always the Met. Work/Life Balance was skewed very much one way and the managerial attitude was very much “If you can’t take a joke you shouldn’t have joined.” Thankfully times are a bit more enlightened than that, but I am still of a generation that thought that The Job comes first, the breakup of many marriages. I’m not defending it, I don’t think we should go all the way back there, but The Job is The Job and needs to be done.

How will Duties Offices cover all the essential posts, arrange sufficient numbers of officers for Aid etc when some of those officers are on only 16 hours a week?  How does a ‘bespoke Part-Time training offer’ work?

I posted my displeasure with this policy on Twitter and the response was very much divided. Some disagreed with me, and explained how times have changed, whilst others proffered opinions quite similar to my own.

My own, old-fashioned, opinion is that ANY officer should be willing to commit to far more than 16 hours per week. One of the comments included the fact that Part Time working is not new. No it is not, but a 16/24 hour week is definitely new.

As I said at the very beginning, I don’t expect everybody to agree with me, and they haven’t. Obviously I haven’t had this scheme fully explained to,me, but I just don’t see how it is going to work. It should benefit both Met and Recruit, but I have yet to see how the Met will benefit in any meaningful way.

Part Time Policing? It’s not for me thank you.Last Updated on

#Degreegate – The Votes Are In

It cannot have escaped your attention that there has been a lot a discussion on Social Media about the forthcoming Graduate Entry Scheme into the Police Service.

I will no doubt be described as “Dinosaur”, “Hating the College” or “Resistant to Change” by some other Policing Commentators, but, like them, I am entitled to an opinion, and I am entitled to express it.

I don’t ‘hate’ the College, or anybody there, I just happen to hold a different opinion to theirs. I am resistant to “Change for Change’s Sake” but not to change for a positive purpose.

At least one officer was of the opinion that I didn’t know what I was talking about, and that there was a route into the Police Service that didn’t require a Degree, the Apprenticeship.

The three routes in will be:-

Apprenticeship. Join as a constable, and follow an apprenticeship in professional policing practice – you earn while you learn. This route normally takes three years with both on and off-the-job learning. On successfully finishing the programme, you complete your probation and achieve a degree.

Degree-holder entry. If you have a degree in any subject, you can join and follow a work-based programme, supported by off-the-job learning.  This route normally takes two years, and the learning you have undergone is recognised in a graduate diploma in professional policing practice when you complete your probation.

Pre-join degree. If you want to study first, you can do a three year degree in professional policing at your own expense, and then apply to a force and follow a shorter on-the-job training programme. Being a special constable can be included in this route.

So, I did know what I was talking about, whichever route one chooses to follow to enter the Police Service, at some point, involves having or obtaining a Degree, thus making, in the fullness of time, the Police Service establishment 100% Graduate.

I have thought about this long and hard. Having completed 30 years service across a variety of roles including some specialist roles I do not feel that not having a Degree held me back in any way. However, I was the “Supervisors’ Nightmare”, a Career Constable by choice. I concede that there may be a case for officers to possess an appropriate and relevant Degree if they wish to progress beyond a certain rank, e.g. Inspector to Chief Inspector, but Street Duty, Front Line officers do not need to have a Degree to perform satisfactorily and make progress within the Service.

With this in mind I posted two very simple, and essentially similar, polls on Social Media. As I am sure you are aware on e the poll is unleashed onto SM it is entirely out of my control who answers the questions, what their occupation may be, or their views on Policing in general. In short, I don’t believe I can be accused of ‘fixing’ them.

The first poll was placed on Facebook and asked one simple question with a pre-defined choice of answers, Yes or No.

  • The College of Policing are making it a requirement of entry into the Police Service that all recruits either already have a Degree, or obtain one via an Apprenticehip. Is a Degree necessary?
  • No, don’t be daft, of course it isn’t
  • Yes, all modern day Police Officers need to have a Degree

Unfortunately not very many people voted in the Facebook poll but the results were clear:-

A grand total of 69 people voted, ALL of them voting NO.

The poll on Twitter was far more successful Again it was restricted to two questions, basically Yes or No.

3,756 votes were cast with only 4% voting in favour of 100% of the workforce possessing a degree

In tandem, and nothing to do with me, the Civil Nuclear Constabulary ran a very similar poll on Twitter. It has not yet closed but latest scores are

With nearly 3,000 votes cast their poll also shows that only 4% were in favour of Degrees for Police Officers

CONCLUSION

it is quite clear to me that there is no appetite amongst Police Officers or the Public to have mandatory degrees in the Police Service, at least not by the proposed methods.  Three polls over the weekend have all shown a level of support of no higher than 4%.  Perhaps now is a good time for the College of Policing to revisit this policy. Maybe they could engage the services of a reputable company and conduct their own National Poll and see if that produces a different result.

Whilst I was co-ordinating my two polls I became aware of a few issues that whilst relevant to Policing in general wheren’t totally specific to Degree Entry, although some most definitely were.

What happens to the (majority of?) officers currently serving who do not have a Degree?  Will they be left isolated, passed over for promotion or Specialist Roles?  For the next 35 years or so the Graduate Entry Scheme in ANY of its 3 guises will create a 2-Tier Police Service, the Haves and Have Nots.  I can’t believe that that is desirable to anybody outside College of Policing or National Police Chiefs Council. Why would it be?

It has been mooted by many (including me) that the skills and knowledge that Police Officers accumulate is quite possibly already at the same level as a Bachelors Degree, it has just never been formalised.  It was pointed out by one person that Level 6 NVQ is already equivalent to a Bachelors Degree, so why didn’t the Police Service take NVQs on board years ago?  Because at that time it was in nobody’s interest to make Policing a ‘Skilled profession’.  It is most certainly not an Academic Profession, not below the second floor anyway, but would lend itself perfectly to the NVQ route I would have thought.  Those that want to give up Policing and go on to Senior Management or the College of Policing would still be able to follow the Degree route if they chose.

As Police Officers approaching retirement we were told on oh so may occasions “you might not have a piece of paper but you have many ‘Transferrrable Skills’ that are highy valued in the workplace”.  Is/Was this true?  If so why aren’t those ‘Transferrable Skills’ sufficient for the College of Policing?  Why are they trying to fix something that might not be broken?

According to the Office of National Statistics only 42% of the adult population had a degree in September 2017. If the Police are the Public and the Public are the Police why do we demand that 100% of Recruits either possess or attain a Degree?

In the words of PCC Marc Jones

Put frankly these current proposals would push @lincspolice over the edge. The extra cost mean we could afford fewer Officers and the extractions would reduce it by 40-60 more. Simply unaffordable, undesirable and not thought through.

Finally, in relation to Policing in general, it has become apparent to me via many comments on Twitter responding to the poll, that there is a lot of anger in the community about the lack of Police resources and activity.  Many people have completely the wrong impression about Police Officers ‘sitting in their comfy offices and not wanting to report crimes or help victims of crime’.

I find a lot of Police I deal with now, spend more time trying to justify why the suspected perpetrator carried out the offense, rather than attempting to prosecute them. The Victims are often made to feel guilty for reporting crime, and are encouraged not to press charges.

I want coppers to do coppering, you know keeping order stopping criminal behaviour stuff like that.

Trying to grasp argument here. Is the crux we have apparently more than enough police but just sitting around waiting for things to happen rather than a proactive police force

While a fraction of those recruited into the #Police may of once had honourable intent over the course of their career pier pressure, paycheque mind control & bullying they are whittled down to accepting their fate, sitting out careers for their pensions like a mute sitar player

Plus many, many more in similar vein, or just rubbishing Graduate Entry generally (they’re on my TL somewhere).

PLEASE College of Policing, stall the Graduate Entry Scheme, undertake your own poll, engage with both operation officers and PFEW in an attempt to modify this madness into something will ultimately benefit the Service.Last Updated on

Degree Level Recruiting

I’m sorry, I’m off again, but in my own defence it is a topic I feel very strongly about.

Today I was sparked off by a Tweet from West Yorks Federation, followed by a series of Tweets from a very unlikely ally

Some of the responses were equally interesting

and finally (but there have been many more)

Apart from the arrogant insanity in enforcing Graduate or Apprenticeship entry routes only, what are they going to do about the 10s of thousands of perfectly adequate Police Officers currently serving without a degree?

There will be some commentators out there who will brand me Anti Degree/Graduate. I am most certainly not, I can see the benefits completely, but I am hugely Anti making them compulsory at point of entry. I have worked with Graduates and Non Graduates, some of each were good (most) and some were plainly awful. The most important factor I can think of is that one of the best (in my opinion) SIOs I ever had the privilege to work for would not be given a job as a PC under the new rules. Crazy.

According to the Office of National Statistics only 42% of the adult population had a degree in September 2017. If the Police are the Public and the Public are the Police why do we demand that 100% of Recruits either possess or attain a Degree?

Marc Jones makes a good point, what are the implications for serving officers who do not currently possess a Degree? Will they be required to obtain one or resign? Will serving officers without a Degree be automatically overlooked when selection processes are taking place for specialist roles or promotion?

Serving officers should be encouraged and assisted to obtain a Degree if they choose to. They should not however be held back if they do not. I spent my entire 30 year career as a Constable (by choice, not a failure to pass exams), I worked in a variety of specialist roles, was never turned down for anything merely because I didn’t have a Degree.

I can only ask the College of Policing to rethink this madness before further, irreparable, damage is done to a Police Service that is already battered and reeling.Last Updated on