Public Safety? Not Our Priority Sir
In 2010 the Home Secretary, Theresa May, presented a paper to Parliament entitled Policing In The 21st Century, Reconnecting Police And The People.
I don’t normally waste my time reading such utter rubbish, but a few of the paragraphs caught my eye, and some even made me laugh.
The first was;
The police are charged with keeping people safe; cutting crime and anti-social behaviour. I am confident that they will do all within their power to meet that responsibility, and preserve the frontline of the police service for local communities.
I couldn’t believe I was seeing this one;
Whitehall has not only caused a growing disconnect between the police and the people; it has disempowered the police themselves.
Surely someone’s tongue was firmly in cheek here;
1.24 To assist us in complying with the Coalition Government’s regulation requirements this document is intended to stimulate discussion and elicit views both from those likely to be affected and any interested partners. Any legislative provisions brought forward following this consultation will be accompanied by a fully developed and robust Impact Assessment measuring the impact on the public, private and third sectors.
Let me deal with this para first. An Impact Assessment you say? There can have been no more significant change to Policing in modern times than those coming out of the Winsor reviews, some of which required legislative changes to make them lawful.
As is my want, I asked the Home Office for copies of all Risk and Impact Assessments relating yo the Winsor Reviews.
1) Could you please furnish me with copies of any Impact Assessment carried out in relation to the recommendations contained within Part 1 of Mr Winsor’s Review.
2) Could you please furnish me with copies of any Impact Assessment carried out in relation to the recommendations contained within Part 2 of Mr Winsor’s Review.
The Home Office response was;
No formal impact assessment has been carried out in relation to the recommendations. Therefore, the Home Office does not hold the information you have requested. The recommendations in the Part 1 Report were considered by the appropriate bodies, including the police negotiating machinery and the Police Arbitration Tribunal (PAT). The Home Secretary, having taken account of all relevant considerations, decided to accept the PAT award.
And an identical response for Part 2, so that’s how committed our government are towards “fully developed and robust Risk Assessments”.
Now let’s go back to the beginning;
Whitehall has caused a growing disconnect between the police and the people
Too chuffing right it has, but do they really care? Not much of a sign of that, just blame the Police for everything.
The police are charged with keeping people safe
How shall we help our Police to keep the Public safe?
Firstly we will savage their manpower levels, strip them of 17,500 warranted Police Officers (the equivalent of NINE small Police Forces) by 2015.
Then we kick them a bit more and make them lose the same amount again by 2020, or possibly even more.
Since 2010 we have seen the demise of approx 4,500 PCSO posts, down from 16,917 to 12,331. Does this sound like a Home Secretary who is keen on keeping you safe?
This is the sorry tale of the diminishing Police Family, Home Office figures so Cruella can’t really argue with them; (best viewed by clicking and opening in a new window)
To avoid you working it out I’ll tell you that over the 5 years of the last government the Police Family shrunk by 37,037 posts, and this despiter ending the day with 600 more Specials than we started with.
I ask you. are the the actions of a government committed to Public Safety?
Right across England and Wales Police Forces have been forced to close down and sell off countless numbers of Police Stations. How does this affect Public Safety? For certain periods of time during their tours of duty Police a Officers are no longer where they should be, on their patch, looking after you. Instead they might be several miles away parading at a central hub prior to driving out to where they will be working for the day, not the biggest of problems but they all add up.
At the risk of being accused of stating the bleeding obvious I’ll tell you, Mrs May, how Policing works. You need to have a number of officers that you can deploy as and when they are needed. This is never a precise science because the criminals and the hooligans never tell us when and where they are coming out to play. No amount of Intelligence, Analysis, Planning and Resource Allocation will ever get the Police response absolutely 100% right, so we need to have sufficient officers available, for the majority of the time, to react to whatever might be thrown at us, sometimes literally. You can give us all the iPads, Mobile Data Terminals, Shift Patters, reserved places in Costa Coffee (other Police Offices are also available) you like, but there is a Minimum Number below which we dare not go.
Do you know what that number is Mrs May? Do you even care? When the wheel comes off and there is another riot somewhere in a large city, or even a rural community, are the public just pawns in your political game, because, let me assure you, you will NEVER fill the shoes of some of your predecessors.
Mayor Boris recently bought some Water Cannons on eBay, ready for the day, and it will surely come, when the next riot breaks out in London. Theresa May has categorically refused to sanction their use. No “well they’re a bit old couldn’t you find any newer ones” or “well, they’re a bit cumbersome, can’t you find any smaller ones” just No COMPROMISE, that’s the word I was looking for, just NO. It seems that using Water Cannon might injure the rioters. Precious little concern for the safety of London Residents or the brave cops facing the rioters. A Home Secretary who just doesn’t seem to care and the Public are just collateral damage in her war with the Police.
Violent Crime and Knife Crime are most certainly UP in London, and quite possibly elsewhere too. So why oh why would a government concerned about Public Safety decide to impose restrictions on Stop and Search? Stop n Search is undoubtedly used differently in the Metropolis compared to rural areas, but that does not mean that it is wrong. It’s a question of using the correct tactic to combat the problem. Would you feel safe if our Police were prevented from checking people for knives, because that’s what Mrs May is proposing.
Ambulance waiting times are increasing across the country. What has this got to do with it, you might ask. While PC Jones is waiting for an Ambulance at the scene of the latest stabbing incident or Road Traffic Collision, some poor soul’s lifeblood may well be ebbing away with all the Ambulances queued up at A&E, waiting to discharge their previous patients into the care of the hospital; before they can respond. This inevitably has an impact on Public Safety ultimately. Not directly I grant you., but the chances of survival are greater if an Ambulance can respond IMMEDIATELY.
A& E Units across the country are choked up. The average waiting time for a non-critical case is, I believe, somewhere in the region of 4 hours. Every hour one spends waiting to be seen for a reasonably urgent attendance increases the recovery time and the likelihood of a potentially life changing outcome.
What has all this go to do with the government’s disregard of Public Safety? Their reduction in Social Care budgets at the other end means that hospitals frequently have nowhere to discharge their patients to, which causes bed-blocking, which causes patients to be on trolleys in A&E, which causes Ambulances to be parked outside for ages waiting to ‘unload’ which causes PC Jones to be waiting helplessly watching some poor soul get weaker and weaker, waiting for that life-saving Ambulance which may never reach him in time.
That’s what #CutsHaveConsequences.
Finally, we inevitably come to Jihadis and the UK Border Force. Many resources are being used up detecting and prosecuting men, women and children fleeing to Syria, or wherever, to join forces with ISIS (mainly). Why? Why not let them go? Maybe not the children but if adults want to leave, why don’t we let them? What we then need is our Border Force to be up to strength to make sure they don’t come back. Controversial I know, but if they’ve made a choice and they’d rather go to another country to fight, cook, have babies or whatever for terrorists, why should we allow them back in again.
Mrs May says let them come back and we will monitor them to make sure they are not engaging in acts of terrorism back here. The deluded woman clearly has no idea how resource-intensive it is to monitor, possibly, hundreds or even thousands, of suspected terrorists, just in case. Not a clue.
The Tory-led coalition slashed the UK Border Force budget by 20%, we know what that feels like, just look at the Police to see what effect a 20% budget cut looks like and their total staff was due to be reduced by 5,200 (22%) to a ‘mere’ 18,000 by March this year.
So I leave you, for today, with this thought.