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

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.