Has The Apocalyptic Horseman Risen Like The Phoenix?

Is that a Mixed Metaphor?

Is Anarchy breaking out within MOPAC and/or the Met?

So many questions for a Monday morning, and I am aware that I am far from being the only person asking them.

BoJo’s Policing SPAD has been suspiciously quiet since his notorious and ill-judged Four Horseman of the Apocalypse Tweet (sorry Mr Gibbs, I won’t forget it and why should I?), but recently we have seen two absolute crackers come out of BoJo Towers and/or BHH.

Firstly, in a fine display of unilateralism, the likes of which I have seldom seen, we have Boris announcing the purchase of two Water Cannon for the people of London.  They still haven’t been signed off by Cruella as far as I know, but you Londoners can have them anyway.  As a major strategic resource it is unthinkable that BoJo’s SPAD will not have been involved in that decision.

Now today we have the ground-breaking announcement that recruitment of Constables into the Met will be open only to the residents of Greater London (within the M25 basically).

Now this causes me several problems really.

1,  Why only Constables?  If this is really such a good idea why not apply it to ALL ranks.

2.  The Metropolitan Police Farce proudly declares itself as an Equal Opportunities Employer.  Really?  Bernie Hogan-Who has previously admitted that his in favour of Positive Discrimination, but this just takes the argument to a whole new level.   Can the genuine needs of the Met be realised from recruiting solely from the Greater London Area.  Neither Bernie the Ostrich nor BoJo are Londoners themselves I believe.  What is it that Londoners bring to the party that is so important at Constable level (absolutely no offence intended)

Boris says “Every police officer is always and will always be selected on merit, but there is more than enough talent in this great city to give the Met all the devoted and skilled new recruits they need to go on keeping Londoners safe.”  Really?  Then the Met should have never suffered any recruitment problems and all the excellent members from outside the M25 were really never needed then?

3. The policy change will not affect serving officers, existing MPS police staff, members of the Special Constabulary, or existing police officers seeking to transfer from other UK forces.  Not that I have a problem with transfers in from another Force, but why are they an exception?  Is this an indication that the policy might not actually be lawful?  Conservatives are, after all, renowned for their unlawful policies.

4.  And this really is my biggest problem with it.  The Metropolitan Police Service intends to recruit 5,000 new Police Constables before 2016.  Boris Johnson wants to keep police numbers around 32,000.  In March 2013 there were 30,398 Constables in the Met.  This is approx 3,000 fewer than March 2010.  The Home Office have ‘helpfully’ changed the format for their twice-yearly Policing Strength stats and no longer include the breakdown by rank (oh, I wonder why), all I can tell you is that by September 2013 the TOTAL strength of the Met was down to 30,631.  Under it’s plans for dealing with ‘Austerity’ the MPS has a plan in place to reduce its TOTAL strength to 31,960 by March 2015.

So, I come back to the point I have made several times before, and the the Met, MOPAC and the government have taken absolutely no notice;  if the 2015 target is 31,960, why are we now at 30,631, a level lower than is targeted. Why are senior Police Officers and politicians, once again, playing games with the figures/  They did it with #CrimeStats and now they’re doing it with Policing Strength.  London presumably needs a certain number of Poilice Officers to keep it safe. So why would you deliberately go below that level and announce it was your intention to recruit 5,000 more?  Not that 5,000 is a realistic figure because the difference between current and planned establishments is much less than 5,000 and we all know that more cuts are planned for post 2015.  MOPAC’s latest TOTAL establishment figure for the Met is May 2014 and showed  30,945.

Cynical, risky, reckless, downright criminal.  They are playing with the safety of their residents and Tax Payers?  If you cut Blair Gibbs in half I suspect you would find Policy Exchange running all the way through.  Another major policy that I find inconceivable that he was not involved with.  Are we now witnessing the rising of Phoenix Gibbs from the Bonfire of the Vanities?

This tells me everything I need to know about MOPAC and the Met.  They have changed into a team of game-players.  Maybe BHH, BoJo and Blair will be appearing on Big Brother sometime soon.

Connect The Met–WTF?

With apologies to Bernard Rix for (almost) nicking his blog title, he’s obviously far more polite than I am.

In the last week two odd things have happened, or at least they seem odd to my warped way of thinking.

James Patrick abandoned his Employment Tribunal.  That in itself isn’t odd, but the circumstances surrounding it are.  As far as I am aware (serving officers or Police Staff please correct me if I’m wrong) the Metropolitan Police Mission Statement still adheres to the

Mission, Vision and Values of the Metropolitan Police Service policy

i.e.

we will strive to:

  • treat everyone fairly;
  • be open and honest;
  • work in partnership; and
  • change to improve. “

There’s only four items in that list, how difficult can it be to stick to them?

Ask James.

  • Treat everyone fairly – Do you think James feels that he’s been treated fairly?  I can think of many, many other people who don’t think that they’ve been treated fairly.  Whatever else Grandma B and others think of my blogs I have always championed Truth and Fairness.  I can’t say that I’ve seen an awful lot of ‘Fairness’ going around within the Met hierarchy, but I have heard many complaints of bullying, oppression, corrupt/unlawful practices.

 

  • To be Open and Honest – Ask James, has the Met been open and honest with him?  Ask anyone who regularly makes Freedom of Information requests of the Met.  I certainly haven’t encountered much Openness and Honesty.  It seems like they go to almost any lengths to avoid answering the most mundane, and reasonable, questions, and then trip over and contradict themselves, which they wouldn’t do if they’d simpley answered questions truthfully and comprehensively in the beginning.

 

  • Work in Partnership – I don’t know a huge amount about the Met’s Partnerships but one immediately springs to mind; the Trident Independent Advisory Group.  They worked with the Met for 10 years to build community trust, prevent and reduce gun crime and to ensure police adequately investigate shootings when they happen.  Then in February last year the Metropolitan Police barred former members of Trident Independent Advisory Group (IAG) without giving them any notice. The Trident Independent Advisory Group was replaced without consultation with community members who had long held police accountable. That’s working in Partnership is it?

 

  • Change To Improve – Well I can’t say I’ve seen much of that going on, there have been muttering in dark corridors and musty rooms about the need to improve, but things change very slowly at the Met, I have likened it elsewhere to trying to do an Emergency Stop in an Oil Tanker at sea.

Briefly may I return to ‘Treat Everyone Fairly”?  The absolutely perverse findings of the Misconduct Hearing against James, and the equally perverse appeal findings?  Were they ‘Fair’ by the definition of an ordinary person?

Since James submitted his Open Letter entitled Closure, I have reason to believe that he has been contacted by a Supervisory Officer within the Met offering to send the Essex Police round for a ‘Welfare Visit’ to check that he’s OK and isn’t in need of anything.  Are they ****ing serious?  It was visits from Essex Police at the instigation of the Met that added to James’ stress in the first place, and he doesn’t even work for them any more, they saw to that.   Not very ‘Open and Honest’ either really.

The second thing that struck me as odd was the advert in the press recently for a “Commissioner’s Chief of Staff”.  What is that all about?  “This critical high-profile role reports directly to Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS). With connections across government and the criminal justice sector, you’ll be one of the most visible and influential members of the Met.  “

This is then followed by loads of psychobabble such as “

We’re looking for a credible leader with expert knowledge of government, the GLA and Mayor’s Office and today’s policing challenges. You’ll be capable of managing the Commissioner’s Private Office team and a budget of £1.8m.

You’ll also be able to deal with the media; manage stakeholders; build partnerships; and handle conflict thanks to your impressive track record in external relations management. Highly articulate, with excellent negotiation skills, you’ll be politically astute and able to navigate a complex policing landscape.”

The advert is subtitled

Connect the Met

but notably the one thing it fails to mention anywhere is;

“The successful applicant will be responsible for the daunting task of repairing the massive Disconnect between the Met’s SMT and ordinary hard-working Bobbies and Police Staff”

I’ve read it several times now, and even for almost £100k I can’t find that mentioned anywhere.

Austerity?  What Austerity.  Those of you in the Met (or living/working in the Metropolis) suffering cutbacks to your frontline Police Services may well want to ask Bernie or Boris or Steve (or maybe even Apocalyptic Mr Gibbs) how this appointment works in such dire times, which are seemingly destined to continue for a few more years yet, with a new raft of cutbacks poised to be implemented from 2015.

As I said in the beginning, apologies to Bernard, but I do think the two blogs are quite easy to tell apart.

Will the last one out please turn off the lights.

Apathy

Dictionaries define Apathy in the following ways, but they’re pretty much all in accord;

  • Lack of interest or concern, especially regarding matters of general importance or appeal; indifference.
  • Lack of emotion or feeling; impassiveness.
  • Absence of interest in or enthusiasm for things generally considered interesting or moving
  • Absence of emotion
  • Absence or suppression of passion, emotion, or excitement.
  • Lack of interest in or concern for things that others find moving or exciting.

Recently I have been detecting, what seems to me to be, an overwhelming flood of Apathy.

Before you all start beating me up (metaphorically I hope) I should make it clear that I’m not necessarily referring to my friends in Twatterland, more like the Great British Public at large, bless them.

My first encounter with Apathy was after Tom Winsor published his wonderful work; the Independent Review of Police Officer and Staff Remuneration and Conditions, This fine work, in 2 volumes (much like Harry Potter only real) recommended sweeping changes to Police Officers’ pay, pensions , terms of employment etc.

Faced with such monumental reforms, how many of us wrote to our MPs to register our views? I did and I know at least two others who did, but Parliament should really have been awash with such letters.

Sgt Thompsett launched an on-line petition in a bid to protect Police Pensions. It required 100,000 signatures to be debated in the House. It really struggled to get over the line, and only did so due to a monumental effort by some of you in Twatterland, you know who you are, and you should rightly be proud of yourselves.

Sgt Thompsett is not suffering from Apathy and neither are the stalwart few who tirelessly promoted the e-petition, but these petitions are an official document that can record for posterity the number of people who oppose or are in favour of a certain issue. There are approx 135,000 serving officers, countless Police Pensioners plus an unquantifiable number of ‘supporters’, so why did it take so long, and so much effort to get past the 100,000 mark? Apathy?

@J_amesP, now there’s a lad who’s not suffering from Apathy, and look where it got him. Whatever you may think of James he’s not been afraid to stand up and tell folk the reality of what’s happening, and THE ESTABLISHMENT DIDN’T LIKE IT. There’s a big fat clue. The establishment rely on their old friend Apathy.

Fire and Rescue Services across the land are being hit with Fire Stations closed down, Fire Engines being sold off or mothballed.  Apparently they can put out fires just as efficiently with less Firefighters, less Fire Engines and further to travel to get to the fire because there’s less Firer Stations. Where is the public outcry? Apathy?

Her Majesty’s Marine and Coastguard Agency are being decimated. Coastguard Stations closed down, jobs under threat and Search & Rescue Helicopter Services being sold off to an American company. There are those in the MCA that are doing a fine job in publicising this travesty but where is the public outcry? Apathy? Well let me tell you I have been aboard a fishing boat that was sinking off the Isle of Wight, it was not funny, and I for for one will NEVER begrudge the Coastguards a single penny. If you swim in the sea, allow your kids to go on the sea with airbeds, fish from the rocks, surf, scuba dive, cross the Channel on a ferry or any of those other water sporty things, you have no place to be apathetic, the sea is a dangerous place and if you get into difficulties at Great Yarmouth you really don’t want your friends and family to be explaining your problem to a Coastguard Control Centre in Hampshire or wherever. Local Coastguards for local emergencies.

The Probation Service are under threat of the P Word – Privatisation. Probation Officers have allegedly been ‘Gagged’ threatened with disciplinary action if they dare to speak out about it. Where is the public outcry about this? Apathy? I have seen a few blogs on the subject, and very informative they are too, but honestly, I’m not sure the public have even realised.

Gagging Orders at Scotland Yard. Word reached Angry Towers that a few serving and former senior officers at New Scotland Yard had been made subject of Gagging Orders for a variety of reasons. A Freedom of Information request to the Mayor’s Office (MOPAC) and the Metropolitan Police just received so Refusal to Confirm or Deny the existence of any Gagging Orders, so I was left to reach my own decision. Where was the public outcry? Do we REALLY want our senior police officers, serving or retired, to be prevented from telling you stuff? Apathy?

Police and Crime Commissioner elections – the national turnout figure was approximately 14.5% and at least one ballot box was found to be completely EMPTY at the close of the polls. Apathy? If this was a means to register a Protest Vote I for one don’t think it’s the effective method, but that’s just my view. In any case it was an unmitigated disaster and we are beginning to witness the consequences.

Local Council Elections last week – turnout across the country ranged between 25% and 50%. Some elections were cancelled due to insufficient candidates and the sitting councillors elected unopposed. Apathy? I can’t quite think what might have given rise to insufficient candidates.

Reform of the legal system – scrapping of Legal Aid in certain circumstances, particularly for challenging government decisions, proposed ban on the access to your own solicitor of choice if you happen to end up in the cells, and a compulsory reliance on the Duty Brief, Why? Where’s the public outcry? Apathy?

And I’ve just remembered, how could I possibly forget, the overwhelming lack of reaction to the peculiar appointment of Blair Gibbs to the position at MOPAC. I am an ‘outsider’ I agree, but all did not appear to be well with that particular appointment, a subject that I have blogged on previously. Where was the public outcry? Apathy?

I’m sure these are just a few and that you will each have your own examples to add. Make no mistake – Apathy will lead to the destruction of this country as we know it and all that we are rightly proud of. We may not win the fight, but why should Camoron and co get away with it unopposed. Write letters to your MP, I have and I know at least 3 others who have, email them, make their inboxes overflow. Go and see them at their surgeries if you wish. The Great British public has a voice, please use it before your voice box is removed #andtherestissilence.

Thank you.

Sorry, I Just Couldn’t Resist It

I do apologise, I had no intention of writing anything today and then that bloody Boris person went and published his Policing Plan for London and I just had to vent my spleen.

The first thing that grabbed my attention is his statement that he will recruit 5,000 more Constables in the next 3 years.  Very admirable, surely no-one would argue with that.   In March 2012 The Metropolitan Police Service had 24,328 Constables (male and female).  In March 2010 the number was 24,788 and in March 2011 24,595, so it is obvious that the number has slowly been declining over the past few years.  So how the hell, in times of austerity, does Boris think that he can increase the Constables‘ Establishment by 25%?  Completely admirable, but how is this going to be achieved? The Met will NEVER have had so many Constables.  Take note that the Deputy Mayor For Policing (and his special advisor Blair Gibbs no doubt) state that the Met can afford 26,000 Bobbies. What does that really mean?

The headline statement is recruit 5,000 more Constables but the actual report talks of increasing numbers from 24,000 to 26,000.

Boris states that he intends to keep Police Numbers close to 32,000.  So if he’s going to recruit a further 5,000 Constables that must mean bad news for somebody, somewhere.

Front counters in police stations remain a core part of the plan to deliver accessibility. Although front counters will
reduce in number, an approach will be introduced that aims to improve comfort and accessibility and enhance service delivery. Each Borough will have a front counter open all day, every day – 24/7. These will be supplemented with a further 40 front counters with non 24/7 opening hours.”  It is widely quoted today that 63 Front Counters will close completely, that’s approximately HALF the total number, and of the remaining 73 only half of those will be open 24/7.  In addition to the 73 front counters, there will be almost 100 contact points which will be open a minimum of three times each week for the public to talk to their local officers face to face. Most of these will be in Safer Neighbourhood Team bases.

The Mayor’s aim is to drive down crime by at least 20% in the key categories of burglary, vandalism/criminal damage, theft of and from motor vehicles, violence with injury, robbery and theft from the person. This challenge to the police has been accepted by the Commissioner.”  Again, very admirable, but he does he really think that the Police are or have been ignoring these types of crime?

MOPAC will:
ŠŠ “Hold the Commissioner to account for achieving a 20% reduction in the 7 key neighbourhood crime types
by 2016. Progress will be monitored monthly as part of the formal bi-lateral between the Deputy Mayor and the
Commissioner and quarterly at the MOPAC Performance Challenge meetings, which are chaired by the Mayor and held in public”  Oh good, more stats and meetings for the Direct Entry types to attend.

The Mayor is confident he can achieve his aim of improving cutting crime and boosting confidence, as well as finding significant savings. The aim is to cut costs to absorb a reduction in the central grant to the MPS budget of 20%.”  Well, if you work in the Met, there it is, budgets slashed by 20% over the next three years.  Don’t even think about asking for a new pair of uniform trousers, or a shirt.

The MPS net budget currently stands at £2.6bn (i.e. excluding special grants from the Home Office), and the Commissioner has been challenged to deliver savings of £500m – (this represents 20% of the net budget) – by 2016. The focus for these savings will be back office functions – the Mayor’s top priority will be to protect the front line and ensure that every penny is used to support it.”  Define Back Office functions, I’m sure most folk won’t agree what constitutes ‘Back Office’.

Reforming the policing model and the back office

This is being done by introducing the new Local Policing Model, and delivering the highest number of police constables the MPS has ever seen, as well as streamlining the top heavy management structure of the MPS. This will mean nearly a third fewer senior officers at ACPO rank and over 1,000 fewer supervisors (all ranks between sergeant and chief superintendent)”  Well at least the Met won’t need any of those Direct Entry chaps if they’re shedding supervisors, so that’s where the 5,000 Constables are coming from obviously.

The MPS has outsourced some back office functions such as payroll and IT support”  What is he on?  These are not Police functions in any way, they are purely support/admin and I know of no warranted Police Officers engaged in such functions.

There is much, much more to this report, it drones on for over 90 pages, and I certainly haven’t read it all yet.  I’ve just tried to skim and nick a few headline grabbers.

 

ADDENDUM

 

Below is a full list of the police stations that are to close under the plan.

  • Barking and Dagenham – Marks Gate Police Office
  • Barnet – Whetstone Police Station
  • Barnet – Golders Green Police Station
  • Bexley – Belvedere Police Station
  • Brent – Harlesden Police Station
  • Brent – Willesden Green Police Station
  • Bromley – Main Road 192 and 194 Ground Floor, Biggin Hill
  • Bromley – Orpington Police Station
  • Camden – West Hampstead Police Station
  • Camden – Albany Street Police Station
  • Camden – Hampstead Police Station
  • Croydon – Addington Police Station
  • Croydon – Whytecliffe Road South 9 and 11, Purley
  • Croydon – Kenley Police Station
  • Croydon – Norbury Police Station
  • Croydon – South Norwood Police Station
  • Ealing – Greenford Police Station
  • Enfield – Southgate Police Station
  • Enfield – Winchmore Hill Police Station
  • Greenwich – Greenwich Police Station
  • Greenwich – Joyce Dawson Way 11, Thamesmead
  • Greenwich – Woolwich Police Station
  • Hackney – Hackney Police Station
  • Hammersmith and Fulham – Shepherds Bush Police Station
  • Haringey – Muswell Hill Police Station
  • Harrow – Harrow Central, Kirkland House, Ground Floor
  • Harrow – Pinner Police Station
  • Having – Havering PASC
  • Havering – Hornchurch Police Station
  • Havering – Rainham Police Office
  • Havering – Straight Road 84-86
  • Hillingdon – Ruislip Police Station
  • Hillingdon – Northwood Police Office
  • Hounslow – Feltham Police Station
  • Hounslow – Brentford Police Station
  • Kensington and Chelsea – Chelsea Police Station
  • Kingston upon Thames – Millbank House, Ground Floor North
  • Lambeth – Cavendish Road Police Station
  • Lambeth – Gypsy Hill Police Station
  • Lambeth – Clapham Police Station
  • Lewisham – Brockley Police Station
  • Lewisham – Sydenham Police Station
  • Merton – Morden Police Office, 3 Crown Parade
  • Newham – East Ham Police Station and former section house
  • Newham – North Woolwich Police Station
  • Redbridge – Woodford Police Station
  • Redbridge – Wanstead Police Station
  • Southwark – East Dulwich Police Station
  • Southwark – Camberwell Police Station
  • Southwark – Rotherhithe Police Station
  • Sutton – Crosspoint House, ground and first floors
  • Tower Hamlets – Isle of Dogs Police Station
  • Tower Hamlets – Poplar Police Office
  • Tower Hamlets – Bow Police Station
  • Waltham Forest – Waltham House
  • Waltham Forest – Leyton Police Station
  • Waltham Forest – Walthamstow Police Station
  • Wandsworth – Jubilee House, Putney
  • Wandsworth – Tooting Police Station and former section house
  • Wandsworth – Battersea Police Station
  • Westminster – Harrow Road Police Station
  • Westminster – Marylebone Police Station and former section house
  • Westminster – St John’s Wood Police Station

What Every MP Needs To Know

By listening to my friends and colleagues and reading the Twats on Twatter it is evident to me that our MPs do not all understand what is happening to Policing in this country, and maybe not the other Public Services either.   It seems to me tat not only are a lot of them completely unaware of Tom Winsor’s Independent Review of Police Officers’ and Police Staff’s Pay And Conditions but are also completely unaware of the uncanny resemblance between it and David Cameron’s speech to the Dalston Youth Project in January 2006 and his Lecture to the Police Foundation in July 2006 on the subject of Police Reform.

A lot of what was said on those two occasions was subsequently referred to in April 2007 in a report entitled Policing For The People, an Interim report of the Police Reform Taskforce, authored by Brick Nether MP, ably assisted by Rabbi Glibs and 2 other folk.

In January 2006 David Camoron made the following recommendations on Police Reform

We should start with the reform of police pay and conditions.

  1. So first, we need local flexibility for pay and conditions. An officer who has given good service, and for whom it would be better personally and for the force if they moved on, has a huge incentive to wait around until thirty year’s service is up before getting a pension
  2. So second, we need further reform of police pensions so people can join and leave the force at the right time and the right level. We must get rid of that pensions cliff-edge.  Chief constables will tell you that today, an underperforming police officer is almost unsackable. That’s absurd.
  3. So third, the police should have modern employment contracts so bad officers can be sacked. Considerable progress has been made in relation to medical retirements and the days lost through sick pay – but much more needs to be done.
  4. So fourth, we must tackle the issue of a relatively large number of officers kept on restricted duties, on full pay. Some officers today have second jobs. In one force, as many as one in fifteen are in this position.
  5. So the fifth priority in reforming police pay and conditions should be to insist that policing is a full-time occupation in all but exceptional cases.
  6. As well as reforming pay and conditions, we will also look for more flexibility in the structure of policing. Today’s police family no longer consists only of regular police officers. Community support officers have begun to change the public face of policing and the nature of the workforce. Local authority wardens are proving popular in their communities. Support staff are increasingly being used to release officers for frontline duties. Chief constables should have greater discretion over the structure of their workforce so that they, rather than the government, can decide the right balance of staffing in their forces.
  7. More flexible policing structures will also require a new flexibility in police recruitment. Scientific and technological advances will mean that, increasingly, we will want to recruit professional experts who are now key in the fight against crime. So enhanced entry schemes should make it possible for talented people and professionals to join the police later in their careers and at all ranks.

In July 2006 David Cameron made the following recommendations in his lecture to the Police Foundation;

  1. If we have learnt one painful lesson in the last decade, it should be that money alone isn’t the route to successful public sector reform.  Of course, resources are important.  And I welcome the  increase in police numbers ……the deployment of Community Support Officers …… and the development of neighbourhood policing. We can take these reforms much further.  We could grow the police family further by empowering local authorities to recruit  many more wardens.   I’ve seen myself the success of initiatives like the one in Westminster, which has  piloted over 100 ‘city  guardians’.  They work closely with neighbourhood policing teams to deal with problems such as antisocial behaviour.  But it’s not enough to put uniformed officials on the streets just to provide a
    reassuring presence.
  2. The private sector has been operating prisoner transport and managing custody suites for some time.  There’s no longer a hard and fast divide between the public, private and voluntary  sectors … and innovative Chief Constables will combine them in new ways to  achieve the best results.  Forces need to look at other ways to reduce the cost of services and release manpower.
  3. In my speech in Dalston at the start of the year I set out a tough agenda for reforming police pay and conditions.  Local flexibility for pay and conditions …Modern employment contracts so that bad officers can be removed …Payment to reflect skills, competence and performance rather than simply length ofservice or seniority …Enhanced entry schemes to make it possible for talented people and professionals to join the police later in their careers …I recognise that this agenda is a challenging one … but it’s hugely in the interests of all committed police officers – and that is, let me say it loud and clear, the overwhelming majority of every force. I’d like to see Senior Constables recognised and rewarded for their experience and long term commitment … so that they are incentivised to stay in their neighbourhoods.
  4. Back office functions could be contracted out.
  5. Support services could be shared and procured collectively.  These arrangements could be made robust and legally binding.
  6. Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary should be strengthened and fully separated from police forces and the Home Office.  The Inspectorate is too close to both.  It needs to become in part an economic regulator, ensuring value for money as well as monitoring standards.

As Sir Robert Peel said in 1829, “the police are the public and the public are the police”. The link between the constable and the citizen is the foundation of policing by consent.

Then along came Tom Winsor and his team, tasked with undertaking his Independent Review.  After a few delays he published his proposals in two parts, too comprehensive to repeat here.  However, contained within his recommendations, in no particular order, were the following;

That Direct Entry should exist at Inspector and Superintendent level for suitably qualified candidates – see point 7 of Camoron’s January 2006 speech

Officers on Restricted Duties should have their salaries reviewed and reduced – see point 4 of Cameron’s January 2006 speech.  In February 2012 Tom Winsor e-mailed Steve Kershaw at the Home Office with a draft re-definition of Restricted Duties and asked the question “Is this on target?”  How does that affect the Independence of his Review?

Winsor has completely reformed the Police Pension Scheme, more or less in line with Lord Hutton’s Review of Public Sector Pensions – see point 2 of Cameron’s January 2006 speech. Pensions are now reformed to the extent that most officers will work longer, pay more and receive a smaller pension at the end of it.

The Police Regulations 2003 should be amended to create a system of compulsory severance for police officers with less than full pensionable service from April 2013 – see point 3 of Cameron’s January speech

Police forces should review and, if necessary, amend their pay grading systems in relation to local pay rates to ensure that they are paying no more than is required to recruit and retain individuals of the requisite quality. – see point 1 of Cameron’s January 2006 speech

In June 2012 Mr Winsor claimed that his recommendations had no hidden privatisation agenda (see point 6 of Cameron’s January speech) . However, the issue has already been raised that there is a ‘conflict of interest’ because his law firm worked with G4S to partner up with Lincolnshire Police.  See point 4 of Cameron’s July 2006lecture.

Whilst it is not strictly speaking part of Mr Winsor’s Independent Review we come inexorably to the question of HMIC.  In July 2006 Camoron said Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary should be strengthened and fully separated from police forces and the Home Office.  The Inspectorate is too close to both.  It needs to become in part an economic regulator, ensuring value for money as well as monitoring standards.  Lo and Behold, Tom Winsor (ex Rail Regulator) is now Chief Inspector Elect of HMIC.  Indeed @iofiv Twatted only yesterday “@iofiv: Whatever HMICs phrase “Independent Professional in the field” means, ACPO see HMIC role is moving from “support & challenge” to regulation” Is this just me being cynical or does something seem a bit pre-ordained here?

At the end of the day, however, it’s not about how cynical I may be, these are all things, in my humble opinion, that your MPs should be aware of and if they aren’t, they need to be made aware of them.  If any of you attend your MP’s Surgeries, and I know that some of you have, no matter how well-meaning your MP (of whatever political persuasion) may be, they need to be in possession of the facts, and 99% of what I have written is that – factual.

I think most will agree that there IS a similarity between Cameron’s vision for Police Reform and Tom Winsor’s Independent Review.

I hope this helps

Miracles Sometimes Happen

And this particular miracle was that I got a response from Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime to my FOI response within 48 hours.  I had asked them for copies of the Job Description and Person Specification for the post to which Rabbi Glibs has been appointed as Principal Advisor to Get Her Shaven Leg .  And they responded, in full, and promptly without making me wait.  Mind you they still haven’t answered my other question about how many candidates, who did the short-listing etc, but we shall see.

Back to the business in hand;

The Job Description is thus;

Job Title: Principal Advisor to the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime (DMPC)
Grade: 4
Responsible to: DMPC
Budget responsibility: None
Contract Type: Fixed Term Appointment terminating 5 May 2016
Employer: MOPAC
Job Purpose

  • To provide high level strategic and policy advice to the DMPC.
  • To offer non-executive perspective to the DMPC on designated Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) activity.
  • To develop and maintain effective partnerships with a wide range of specialist stakeholders on behalf of the DMPC.
  • To represent the DMPC – attending MPS/MOPAC strategic boards and meetings and liaising with relevant senior officers in the MPS and MOPAC as well as external stakeholder groups.
  • Main duties and responsibilities/accountabilities relating to designated portfolio
  • To support the DMPC in undertaking his responsibilities by providing advice leading to policy initiatives, planning, strategies and resources decisions.
  • To advise on and implement a communications strategy, including briefing and media advice.
  • To provide non-executive oversight of designated MPS operational activity, structures, use of resources, and risk registers in order to provide impartial advice and guidance on a regular basis to support strategy development and decision-making.
  • To represent the DMPC at relevant board-type environments and in public forums as appropriate.
  • To examine information leading to strategic decisions, assess them from a risk point of view, put them in context and offer advice.
  • To work with MOPAC Senior Management Team and Senior Staff to ensure DMPC priorities and Mayoral commits are developed into strategy and implemented.
  • To source the best policy advice and guidance for the DMPC, ensuring the wider local, national and, where appropriate, international operational context is covered.
  • To ensure that the MOPAC engages in and influences national policy on policing and crime
  • In addition to anticipated duties, undertake, as necessary, additional or other duties, which are within the skills and competences held, to meet the needs of MOPAC business

Now we all know now that Rabbi Glibs was the successful candidate, how do his skills sit with the person specification?;

Person Specification

  • Significant recent relevant experience in advising on and developing policy and reform in the policing and criminal justice sectors, investment and service improvement preferably in the police, local government and/or criminal justice sectors.
  • A successful track record in giving high level professional advice on complex and sensitive issues at a senior level and to politicians.
  • Strong strategic skills with an ability to propose and evaluate strategic options and to influence service improvement.
  • Well-developed analytical and problem-solving skills and an ability to devise creative solutions to complex problems and issues.
  • Exceptional influencing and communication skills, effectively communicating through clear and persuasive oral, written and personal presentations.
  • Knowledge and understanding of, and commitment to, best practice in equal opportunities relating to policing issues. Strong awareness of the need to drive equality and diversity change
  • Knowledge and significant experience of operating in a complex political environment with an appreciation of the statutory and legislative requirements and decision-making process relating to MOPAC arising from the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011.
  • Being a team player as part of a leadership team, and being able to apply consultation and negotiation skills to build consensus and promote service change and development.
  • An ability to engender maximum trust and confidence of the DMPC and MOPAC through the highest level of personal and professional integrity.
  • The postholder will need to achieve appropriate security clearance.
  • The post is politically restricted.

The information is there, one must make up one’s own mind as to whether it was a level playing field.  I will, of course, update you all on the outcome of my other, more sensitive, request in this matter.

Boris and a ‘tarnished’ Horseman

As you may well imagine there has been a bit of a firestorm on Twitter lately with the announcement that Boris Johnson has appointed Blair Gibbs to work alongside Steve Greenhalgh, the Deputy Mayor for Policing, at Johnson Towers as Principal Advisor apparently (whatever that entails).  This appointment is controversial in oh so many ways.

It comes at the end of a week when the Police Service nationally is reeling after the publication of the Hillsborough Enquiry findings.  Much has been said about that and I will not comment further.

Damian Green MP, the new Policing Minister, announced this week that he will not reverse any of the recommendations contained within the Winsor Independent Review of Police Officer
and Staff Remuneration and Conditions.

Nationally Police Officers are still shell-shocked over the damage that Winsor recommendations, endorsed by Theresa May, will do to their pensions.  Despite assurances from Mrs May and others, there are many officers serving who will see their Police Pensions devalued.  I firmly believe, and have always believed, that if one wishes to change the Terms and Conditions of any pension scheme, not just the Police Pension, it should apply to new-joiners only.  Existing members should always be left with what they signed up to.  People who know more about this than I do tell me that this course of action may even be unlawful.

So, the timing couldn’t really have been much worse.

Then we come to the appointment itself and the direction that Policing is heading in.

No matter how many reports on the subject Blair Gibbs has written whilst at Policy Exchange, I am completely unaware that he has any actual policing experience.  Now that may sound familiar to you.  Only recently it was announced that Tom Winsor would be the New Chief Inspector of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary.  He too has no policing experience.  So now we have two important, professional advisory bodies with senior management having no experience of policing.  Even the appointment of Steve Greenhalgh himself in May this year was controversial Mayor’s appointment of policing chief Stephen Greenhalgh branded ‘a complete shambles’  It would appear that Mr Greenhalgh has no experience of policing either.  That brings us to 3 with nil practical experience.

As I pointed out in an earlier blog Policy Exchange authored the report Footing the Bill: Reforming the Police Service which I accept was published in 2008 before Blair Gibbs’ tenure there, I am absolutely certain that he will not go against the ‘vision’ of Policy Exchange and that outsourcing on a grand scale will now come to the Metropolis.

Blair Gibbs will not enjoy the support of rank and file London bobbies I am sure after his well-publicised and ill-judged 4 Horsemen Tweet.  If that is an example of his judgement I despair for the citizens of London, for it is they who ultimately carry the risk of outsourcing.  The government, Boris, Police Authorities and PCC candidates up and down the land may try to convince us that the risk with outsourcing would be carried by the company providing the services (G4S for example), but in reality it is surely the PUBLIC who carry the risk.  IF we go down the outsourcing route we cannot afford for it to fail.

Finally, a little piece of news at the beginning of July may have passed you by, certainly if you live/work  outside London.  Catherine Crawford and her deputy Jane Harwood both left the employ of Mayor Boris quite unexpectedly.   The story is covered here Two top policing advisers to London mayor leave  Now I happen to know Catherine Crawford, she was Chief Executive of the Metropolitan Police Authority when I worked there.  We had our disagreements (no surprise there really) and I don’t suppose for one moment that she would remember me, but my point is that whilst she was not, and never had been a Police Officer, by virtue of her role she had a reasonable handle on policing.  I can’t remember ever meeting her deputy but the same applies really.  I have to be honest and state here and now that I have no knowledge of why they left, but I find it completely extraordinary that two top people like that would leave their employment, unannounced on the same day.

In a leaked email, seen by the BBC, to former and current colleagues, Ms Crawford and Ms Harwood said: “We are very sorry that it has not been possible to see all of you face to face to tell you that today is our last day in the office.

“The timing has been outside our control.”

Maybe there is an inference to be drawn there, who knows.  The end result is that two people with at least some experience of policing have been replaced by one person with none, so all is looking good for policing in London.

I have been able to locate the job advert, advertised just about 10 days prior to the departure of Ms Crawford and Ms Harwood.  It reads like this

MOPAC is seeking a Principal Advisor to the recently appointed Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime (DMPC). This is a new post and the successful applicant will provide high level strategic and policy advice to the DMPC, representing them at external and internal forums and developing effective partnerships with a wide range of pan London and national stakeholders. Significant recent experience of developing policy and strategy on policing and/or criminal justice and of advising on such policies and strategies at a high level is essential.

MOPAC welcomes applications from a wide range of diverse backgrounds. Reasonable adjustment will be made to working arrangements to accommodate a person with a disability who otherwise would be prevented from undertaking the work.

For further information on the post please contact MOPAC on 020 7xxx xxxx

All applications are to be received by 5.00pm on Wednesday 4th July 2012.

Equal Opportunities

The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime is an equal opportunities employer.

The salary, if you’re interested, is in the range £52k – £58k p.a.

I’m sure Blair Gibbs will be only too happy to draw upon his time at Policy Exchange to ‘help’ Bernard Hogan-Howe meet the stringent budgetary cutbacks he needs to find.

Will the last one out please turn off the lights.