HMIC No Crime The Whistleblowers’ Allegations

Yesterday saw the publication of the HMIC report into allegations that Police Forces across England and Wales have been systematically under-recording crimes.

They conclude that Police Forces have failed to record about 800,000 crimes a year, including 25% of Sex Crimes. An astounding figure, no wonder Crime is down across the UK.

The chief inspector of HMIC, nice Mr Winsor, said that a national crime recording rate of 81% was inexcusably poor: “This is not about numbers and dry statistics – it is about victims and the protection of the public.”

The investigation was based on reviewing 10,267 reports of crime by the public and 3,240 “no-crime” decisions as well as surveying the views of 17,000 police officers and staff.

The report rejects claims that the practice of under-recording is due to “fiddled figures” or dishonest manipulation, saying that although the staff survey and interviews with whistleblowers produced many such allegations, no one came forward with firm evidence.

The report says “that the police must record an incident as a crime when a victim reports circumstances that amount to an offence as defined by the law and there is no credible evidence to the contrary.”

Is this paragraph not at odds with the previous one? Despite surveying 17,000 officers and staff there was no “evidence” so it didn’t happen.

Apparently every allegation of Crime should be ‘Crime’d’. Surely every allegation should be recorded and No Crime’d if that is appropriate after investigation. Maybe Uncle Tom is showing his lack of relevant experience, I don’t believe that he could be that naive. Or maybe we’re simply taking a step back into the past and there will no initial investigation at the scene, just Crime Reporting with a follow-on investigation by the suits?

The inspectors say that a number of police forces accepted that “undue performance pressures had adversely affected crime recording in the past, and the culture of chasing targets as ends in themselves had distorted crime-recording decisions”.

If an allegation of Attempted Burglary is classified as Criminal Damage but contains a Point of Entry within the body of the Crime Report, this has probably been fiddled.

If an allegation of Grievous Bodily Harm has been recorded as Actual Bodily Harm or Common Assault but contains the fact that injuries were “Serious” then this has probably/possibly been fiddled. Need I go on?

I have mentioned this before, but when I last worked on Division (1999) the Met routinely ran an Ethical Audit (a small programme designed to hunt down anomalies such as these) on the CRIS database and bring the results to the attention of the relevant DCI. Does this no longer happen?

There are numerous people who could have told Uncle Tom what was happening and how it is done, but he seems to have chosen not to hear their voices.

Are we to assume then that there are 800,000 genuine “mistakes” across the country, every year, when crimes are recorded? 25% of Sexual Offence crimes contain genuine errors resulting in them being incorrectly recorded.

Or have HMIC just, ironically, classified the Whistleblowers’ allegations as No Crime in contradiction to their own guidelines?

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Is The Police Family Dying? Or Merely Playacting?

I’m not sure that I know the answer but I fear it may be the former, but some important people have yet to come up with some important answers.

Time to update an old favourite., Our Shrinking Police Service.

Where were we?  Oh yes, back in 2012   The attention-grabbing headline back then was that 5,000 Police Officers had disappeared into the ether in the previous 12 months.  So, how are we doing today? Well since then a further 6,191 have followed them.

Since the evil coalition came to power they have reduced the 43 Forces from 143,770 to 127,909 or 15,861 (11%) Police posts have GONE.

Many commentators have reported this today, but there is a bigger picture that I have yet to see reported prominently.

Our proud Police Family also includes Support Staff (civvies), PCSOs and Specials.  How are they doing?

Support Staff

  • Pre-Coalition – 79,296
  • 2012 – 67,472
  • 2014 – 64,096

A loss since the coalition came in of 15,200 or 19.2%

PCSOs

  • Pre-Coalition – 16,507
  • 2012 – 14,393
  • 2014 – 13.066

A loss since the coalition came in of 3,441 or 20.8%

Special Constables

  • Pre-Coalition – 14,251
  • 2012 – 20,343
  • 2014 – 17,789

An overall gain since the coalition came in of 3,538 or 24.8% , but don’t forget the recent trend is also downwards after a peak in 2012

So at first glance it looks like the Specials are taking up some of the slack like Cruella said they would, but their numbers are currently reducing as well.

The Ouchy Bit

  • Total Police Family in 2009 was 253,824
  • 2012 – 236,308
  • 2014 – 222,861

A total loss to the Police Family of 30,963 or 12%.

Nearly 31,000 family members gone since this lot took power.

A certain politician was quoted today as saying that crime is down so the police have less to do.

  • Crime Stats have yet to be sorted out as far as I know
  • Police do far, far more than prevent and investigate crime
  • If he and our other politicians actually believe this rubbish then it’s not so much a case of TJF, more like The Country’s F******.

And finally, the important (it is important surely?), unanswered question.

May I take you back to a previous blog

Policing In Austerity Two And A Half Years On

I wrote that at the beginning of this year and I asked the question;

Why is it necessary to reduce Manpower levels to LESS than their March 2015 Austerity Target Level?

Today’s figures show that those levels have dropped even further.

I would welcome any or all of our PCCs and/or Chief Constables to provide me with copies of their Risk and Impact Assessments for this (in my view) dangerous policy.

You can cut the budgets as much as you like Cruella, it still needs x number of Police Officers on duty, or available, to maintain the public safety of y head of population.

We’re getting Water Cannons, maybe you’ve got Drones and RoboCop in mind, I don’t know.

Could it possibly be that this destruction of our Police Service actually has less to do with Austerity than you would have us believe?

Mr Winsor has done you proud, can’t imagine why he never picked up his final paycheck.

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A Thought-Provoking View on Theresa May’s Speech to The Police Federation.

OK, I admit it, I’m biased, I know the author of this article personally, but I still think it’s a valid dissection of Theresa May’s vitriolic address to the Police Federation this year.

Ex DS Chris Hobbs has written a new article on Theresa May’s speech, and you can find the full article here.

Highlights of Chris’ article include;

a)  She would know only too well the results of a recent survey carried out by the University of the West of England which shows police morale to be on the floor with nearly 50% of officers stating that they would move jobs if the opportunity presented itself. She would know that police staff surveys amongst virtually every force in the UK shows widespread disillusionment that should send alarm bells ringing throughout the Home Office.

Yet despite that, like a cowardly street corner thug, she ‘stuck the boot in’ to a world renowned police service which is already on its knees.

b) It wasn’t as if the Police Federation were short of ammunition. Met police whistleblower James Patrick’s book, ‘The Rest is Silence’ forensically dissected the dubious machinations around police reform to reveal dubious practices involving conflicts of interest bordering on corruption. Sadly James’s careful research became lost in the crime figures furore that surrounded the book and his appalling treatment as a police whistleblower.

c)  From Hillsborough to Plebgate, Theresa May did not miss a trick in turning the knife in the already gaping police wounds yet, of course this ignores the fact that of the 132,000 serving officers and indeed a similar number of retired officers, only a tiny fraction of those not even numbering three figures, would be involved in the ‘transgressions’ mentioned almost jubilantly by the Home Secretary.

She accuses the police or more specifically Special Branch’s undercover SDS (Special Demonstration Squad) of ‘smearing’ the Lawrence family when the only evidence appears to some from one former disgruntled undercover officer. Of course, in the aftermath of Stephen’s death, the police had to ensure that the tragedy was not exploited by violent extremist groups and to the Lawrence family’s everlasting credit they rebuffed all advances from groups that espoused violence.

d)  Thrown into this diatribe of contempt almost inevitably was stop and search. Previously Theresa May used the term “absolutely disgraceful” when referring to the issue yet neither she, the Inspectorate of Constabulary or other critics seem to have considered the fact that front line police in inner city areas have an aversion to dealing with young people who had their whole lives in front of them, lying dead or dying having been shot or stabbed.

There are many others, I suggest you read the full article for yourselves, agree or disagree, I believe it will make you think.

I didn’t watch Cruella’s speech  live, my blood pressure wasn’t up to it and Angry Towers would have been in real need of a new TV if I had have done.  But I did watch it that afternoon, and to my simplistic view two things stood out loud and clear.

1)  This was a Home Secretary taking the opportunity of addressing the Federation to berate the entire Police Service of England and Wales for every single alleged outrage since Hillsborough, at least, and possibly earlier.  Some of the officers alleged to have done wrong at Hillsborough weren’t even Federated Ranks, SuperNintendos or ACPO.

2) The venom with which her speech was delivered.

Theresa-May-addresses-the-011   May1

Granted these two photos don’t show off her good looks to their best advantage, but do they look like someone giving a clear, well-balanced, objective speech to an attentive and supportive audience?

Apart from the onslaught at 1) above, I don’t think I can take much exception to the CONTENT of her speech but the delivery was absolutely awful, unprofessional and personal.  Well, actually, that’s not true.  Reform is working……..Is it?  Nick Herbert MP would beg to differ when he tried to rustle up some Police Officers to stop a rave in the middle of the night and there were none to send.

Crime is falling………Is it/  How can you tell, crime stats have been discredited across across England and Wales and we are still awaiting HMIC’s definitive report later this year and a new, improved model for counting them.

An Inspectorate more independent of Government……..don’t make me laugh.

More powers and resources for the Independent Police Complaints Commission…….yeah, of course, they need them don’t they.

Direct entry to inject into the senior ranks different perspectives, fresh thinking and new talent…………Brilliant idea, when will the first one go sickj with a Nervous Breakdown (or worse)?

Our reforms have been crucial in helping you to cut crime even as we have cut spending.

If we hadn’t introduced police and crime commissioners and established the College of Policing, we wouldn’t have been able to break the unaccountable ACPO monopoly at the head of policing in this country. By introducing PCCs we have made police leaders more responsive to the people they serve, and by establishing the College we are improving the professionalism of policing and giving your members a direct say in its future………Hang on, I’ll think of something to say when I stop laughing.

If we hadn’t reformed the way the inspectorate works……..Is this the Inspectorate she has just said is more independent of government?   Oh, I give up.

My quill has gone on strike, my blood pressure is rising, and the monitor is in danger of needing replacement.

If you haven’t yet read Chris’ thought–provoking article, may I recommend it to you now?

I thank you.

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Policing In Austerity Two And A Half Years On

In July 2012 HMIC released a series of reports Entitled Policing in Austerity One Year On. They wrote one report for each of the Forces in England and Wales. In each report was contained details of their individual establishment (Police Officers all ranks) together with their planned establishment for March 2015.

On 31st January the Home Office are due to release their latest set of Manpower stats for September 2013. They only get measured/released once very 6 months.

42% (YES nearly HALF, not a trypo) of the 43 Forces in England and Wales are already reporting that their establishment is currently LOWER than their planned March 2015 Target.

WHY?

As previously commented on elsewhere total establishment for England and Wales has dropped from 131,837 in September 2012 to 128,350 in September 2013.

Planned total Establishment for March 2015 is 128,670, so even the total for England and Wales is lower than it has to be.

WHY?

The Evidence

[office src=”https://skydrive.live.com/embed?cid=1F25BCA361AF2C0A&resid=1F25BCA361AF2C0A%214902&authkey=&em=2&wdHideGridlines=True&wdHideHeaders=True&wdDownloadButton=True” width=”550″ height=”450″]

The League Table

[office src=”https://skydrive.live.com/embed?cid=1F25BCA361AF2C0A&resid=1F25BCA361AF2C0A%214921&authkey=&em=2&wdAllowInteractivity=False&wdHideGridlines=True&wdHideHeaders=True&wdDownloadButton=True” width=”600″ height=”500″]

YOU MAY NEED TO USE THE SCROLLBARS TO SEE ALL THE DATA

So I ask you, PCC, Chief Constable, Home Secretary, Mayor of London, Prime Minister – two simple questions:-

Why is it necessary to reduce Manpower levels to LESS than their March 2015 Austerity Target Level?

Could it possibly be that this destruction of our Police Service actually has less to do with Austerity than you would have us believe?

Simple questions, maybe we could have a simple answer please?

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Dear Mr Gargan……

It wasn’t that long ago that I wrote this blog concerning your recent receipt of a Gold Award from Investors in People.

Today, I read in the news that ‘Significant Cuts’ were coming to the officers of Avon and Somerset Police.  You have been quoted as saying that “seven in 10 officers could have a new role”.   “We used to be a force of 3,350 people. Now we’re something over 2,800. Today’s announcement and the changes next year will take us down below 2,800.

According to HMIC your target establishment for 2015 under the HMIC Policing in Austerity plan is 2,900.  Your Policing Strength is already LOWER than you need to achieve by 2015 and now you’re predicting/planning further losses. How on earth is this Investing in People? It sounds rather hypocritical to me, but I’m just a retired officer who obviously understands nothing.

Please feel free to explain to us all how you are a) Investing in People and b) ensuring the safety of your communities.

Thank you

As Avon and Somerset Police kindly responded to me, informing me that there would be further update released at 3pm, it’s only right and proper to bring that uodate to you;

Avon and Somerset Police has outlined its plans to save £8 million which could include closing the police station in Bath.

The cost-saving measures will also see the loss of 134 police officers across the region, which would be 61 PCs and the rest coming from every rank up to and including chief superintendent.

Chief Constable Nick Gargan said this was 100 fewer PCs than they initially thought they would have to lose and commended the team behind the review for coming up with the most effective and efficient ways of saving money.

Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens has promised to scrutinise the proposal and ask “the questions that local people will want answered”.

Avon and Somerset in Numbers

2763 – Police officers across the force.
134 – Number of police officer posts axed (61 PCs).
9 – Increase in number of police staff.
9 – Custody suites to close.
0 – PCSO posts to go.
1.99% – proposed council tax precept rise.

Sorry Mr Gargan, I still don’t get it, how is this Investing in People? Which people?
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This Is How We Know #CrimeStat Fudging Has Been Going On For Years

I do apologise to you, my reader, but I couldn’t let this go unchallenged any longer.

I very nearly said “Damn” when I saw this.

Mr Tom Winsor, Head Fred at HMIC, said in May 2013, “Police could be fiddling crime figures, watchdog warns”  Tom Winsor, HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary, said he wanted to review how all the country’s police forces record crimes amid concerns officers are deliberately changing statistics.

In November last year our own Constable James Patrick, and Dr Roger Patrick (no relation) appeared before Bernard Jenkin MP’s Public Administration Select Committee and told the Committee of their concerns that Police Crime Stats were being ‘fudged’. James was brave indeed and informed the Committee EXACTLY how it was being done, Dr Roger Patrick, broadly speaking, backed up James’ allegations adding his own two pennyworth with definitions and examples of Cuffing, Stitching, Skewing and Nodding.

The other invited witnesses giving evidence that day did nothing to contradict what Messrs Patrick were stating and Committee Members were left suitably aghast that this was going on.

One very high-ranking officer, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe QPM later told the PASC that some of the claims were “worthy of further investigation” but that he needed “to hear more detail”……. “On occasion there might be some inaccuracy but I think on the whole there’s a truth there we need to hear.”

The commissioner said he had not spoken to PC Patrick about his claims but that the Met would in due course.  An internal inquiry, led by deputy commissioner Craig Mackey, has been launched into around 20 claims made by the officer.  “If he has been making these claims for a long time it would have been best they were resolved before now,” Sir Bernard added.

Tom Winsor, who as Chief Inspector of Constabulary for England and Wales, is leading an inquiry into crime statistics, told the committee he was in no doubt it would uncover “some fiddling of the figures“.

So far, so good, this much we know.

Then I was browsing t’interweb and I came across an old article in The Torygraph dated 5th December 2009.  Much of the article consisted of allegations about crime stat fudging from the very same Dr Roger Patrick, with his Cuffing, Skewing, Nodding and Stitching.

But it also contained some very damning specifics;

In one case, an offender shot at another man at close range but missed and broke a window behind his target. The offence was recorded as criminal damage rather than attempted murder.

One detective, who declined to be named, said: “Name any crime and I’ll tell you how it can be fiddled.”

Simon Reed, vice-chairman of the Police Federation, which represents front line officers, said: “This research demonstrates that senior officers are directing and controlling widespread manipulation of crime figures. “The public are misled, politicians can claim crime is falling and chief officers are rewarded with performance-related bonuses.”

Denis O’Connor, the [then] Chief Inspector of Constabulary, published an official report into the way police record violent crime and admitted the figures may be skewed by “perverse incentives” around government performance targets.

Dr Patrick found that watchdogs such as Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) and the Police Standards Unit had a “general tendency to underplay the scale and nature” of gaming.

He was scathing of HMIC’s failure to tackle the problem, noting there were no examples of chief police officers being publicly criticised by inspectors for this type of crime figure manipulation.

HMIC tended privately to refer examples of widespread gaming to the Home Secretary or the police authority rather than “hold the chief constable to account” because of the risk of political embarrassment, he said.

Dr Patrick concluded that HMIC inspectors should be made accountable to Parliament rather than the Home Office, and suggested they should be drawn from other professions rather than solely from senior police ranks. [well that bit happened]

So there we are, all of this was known and brought to the attention of HMIC in 2009, and only now is their Head Fred pontificating on it and thinking that it might well happen. Professional #epicfail by HMIC? Own Goal?

Call it what you want, I call it disgraceful. I would respectfully suggest that this totally vindicates PC James Patrick and how the hell can senior officers like BHH claim that they were unaware of the scale of the problem? Founder members of the Ostrich Club? How dare any one of them criticise James Patrick and any other officers facing a similar dilemma when this has been know for YEARS.

It didn’t start in 2009, it’s been going on for decades. It isn’t helped by successive Home Secretaries introducing different Counting Rules, political interference at its worst and most irresponsible.

Even former Commissioner Lord Stevens has now weighed in to the debate.

Giving evidence to the Commons’ home affairs select committee, Lord Stevens said: “Ever since I’ve been in police service there has been a fiddling of figures. I remember being a detective constable where we used to write off crimes.”

Asked by Keith Vaz MP, the committee chairman, if it was still going on, Lord Stevens replied: “Of course it is. In certain forces.”

There’s the evidence, been going on for years, and it’s an absolute bloody disgrace that HMIC sit in judgement but appear at face value to have completely ignored Dr Patrick’s 2009 findings. Surely an enquiry into figures can’t take 5 years can it?

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Stop And Search To Be Replaced By Slap n Tickle?

I might not be the world’s greatest expert on the finer points of PACE but I do like to think that I know a little bit about practical coppering, and I don’t mean bending the rules.

After the recent Mark Duggan Inquest it may come as no surprise to hear that our beloved Home Secretary, or Cruella as I prefer to call her, is once again considering ‘tinkering’ (can I say that?) with Stop and Search Powers.

As you sit with your coffee and donut reading this, every single Police Officer that is on duty in England and Wales, and probably Scotland and Northern Ireland also, is fully accountable for everything they do.  Believe it or not Mr Winsor they are highly trained, and, yes, literate, professionals. Professionals that have had a huge amount of money invested in them, training them to be fit for purpose.

Every time there is a furore concerning Stop and Search the government of the day tries to appease the disaffected population by promising to do something about those naughty Police Officers and their over-zealous use of Stop and Search.

Well, I don’t expect turkeys to vote for Christmas, but neither do I expect my politicians to tell me that I can’t eat turkey at Christmas, or any other time of year, if I want to.

The guidelines about when a Police Officer can Stop and Search someone are contained within Code Of Practice A of PACE, which you can read here if you’re suitably bored.

The Met has gone even further and produced its own lovely colour coded document entitled

Territorial Policing – Patrol OCU
Principles for Stops & Searches
Standard Operating Procedures
Don’t worry though, it’s only 44 pages and you can find it here
So, by the time you’ve finished learning those two documents you are fully prepared to go out in the big, wide world and conduct your own Stops and Searches, knowing exactly what you legally require to conduct them lawfully.

What the hell is wrong with that? The officers are accountable for it. I am in NO WAY suggesting that officers do or should Stop/Search with impunity, but why oh why would you want to set the them ONE Target – Reduce Crime, and then start tying their hands behind their backs when violent crime and crimes against property are on the rise again (#Crimestats permitting).

If any given section of the community complains about the voracious use of Stop and Search it is absolutely pointless, nay counter-productive, for our politicians to try and appease that section of the community by curbing Police use of Stop and Search.  What they should be doing is assuring ALL SECTIONS OF THE COMMUNITY EQUALLY that Police Stop and Search powers will be used appropriately, proportionately and lawfully, as and when, and where, they are needed.  The officers conducting these Stop/Searches are individually accountable, and in the event that a s60 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 order is issued then an officer of higher rank has to be in a position to justify this decision, in addition to the officer conducting the Stop/Search.

The illustrious IPCC have outlined their position on Stop/Search here.  It should be noted that they are not saying “Don’t do it”.

I have discussed Stop/Search with several people over the last 48 hours and we almost unanimously agree that if the actions are lawful and reasonable most people will be happy with Police actions if the reasons are adequately explained to them.  One of my Twitter friends described his experiences of Stop and Search as “either ending with a handshake or an arrest” which I think tells a success story. If no arrest was made the person stopped went off relatively happy with Police action once it was explained or they got nicked.  What is wrong with that?

Before I leave this thorny subject, there is one more element to it that should be discussed.  Is it appropriate to use Stop/Search as a Performance Indicator?

When I first joined the Met in the early 70s there was a book, Book 90 (Pre PACE) that contained hand written details of all Stops. Those that had resulted in an arrest were entered in red.  This became one of the best-read books in the nick.  Firstly because your mates wanted to know who was where in the very unofficial League Table and the Management wanted to know who was doing what when it came to AQR (Appraisal) time.  The end result of this was, end of month, the Phone Book came out, or a trip through the local cemetery, collecting names for ‘Stops’ to keep the Chief Superintendent happy.

Was this right? Probably not, but it hurt no-one.

I have been hearing tales this week of Stop/Searches being used as a modern day Performance Indicator and compared against those for neighbouring Boroughs/OCUs.  Can this be right? Most definitely not, and I’m sure the ECHR (and HASC/PASC) would have something to say if they heard about that practice.  Code A states the grounds for Stop/Search and last time I read it I found no reference to Performance Indicator.  Any Stop/Search carried out to keep the Chief Superintendent happy at your appraisal is almost certainly unlawful, unprofessional and far more likely to antagonise the local populace than a targeted Stop/Search in an area of high crime followed by a suitable explanation and apology for the inconvenience.  Yes, that’s right, I said Apology.  Modern day Police Officers should not be reluctant to apologise for inconveniencing a member of the public.  If their actions are reasonable, properly explained and an apology offered, I’m reasonably certain that most law-abiding citizens will walk off more than happy, reassured that you’re actually doing something about crime in their area.

When I went through Henditz to do my Initial Training it included repeated use of the mantra “Never apologise, you’re not sorry”.  Well we don’t live in such macho times any more, we’re much more pink and fluffy.  Apology is good, as long as it’s genuine and appropriate.

If the non law-abiding citizens are less than happy with your actions will I get excited about that?  No. Treat them with the respect they deserve, offer them the same explanation and apology and if they’re still not happy I really don’t see why our politicians should be pandering to them and offering to ‘curb’ the use of Stop and Search like what Cruella has suggested.

Finally, I give you this, Stop & Search to be replaced by Slap n’ Tickle, I’m pretty sure it’s a spoof, but in this day and age who knows?

.
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Who’s Looking After Mike Pannett?

The last (honest) in my mini-series on the perils of Rural Policing features North Yorkshire Police, and the home county of our much-loved and respected Mike Pannett (@MikePannett), author and TV/Radio Celebrity.

North Yorkshire is the biggest rural area in England, so if it needs to be suitably policed.

North Yorkshire consists of 3,209 square miles and contains 798,989 people.  Not quite as large as Dyfed Powys but 1.5 times as many people.

According to the HMIC stats the Force Strength is 3.24 Full Time Equivalent Staff (this figure apparently DOES NOT include Specials like I previously thought it did, but does include everybody else) per 1,000 head of population.

As we’ve seen before Home Office figures often contrast considerably with HMIC figures because the HMIC figures are slanted to make you think that there are more officers looking after your streets than there really are. So what does the Home Office have to say about North Yorks?

In March 2010 North Yorks had a total establishment of 1,486 Full Time Equivalent Police Officers or one officer for every 538 people or 1.88 officers per 1,000 head of population or 1.42 Constables per 1,000 head of population.

In March of this year those HO figures were; a total establishment of 1,370 officers or 1.71 officers per 1,000 head of population and a mere 1.3 Constables per 1,000 head of population. Coincidentally their Target Establishment for 2015 is also 1,370, so they have already achieved that 2 years early.

1.3 Constables per 1,000 head of population. Take away Abstractions, Sickness, Annual Leave, Specialist Duties etc and how many are there left?  I don’t know that figure is not published.

To revise my earlier questions;

  • Is a figure of slightly more than one and a half (or probably LESS) Police Officers per 1,000 head of population sufficient to ensure Public Safety?
  • Is a figure of slightly more than one and a half (or probably LESS) Police Officers per 1,000 head of population sufficient to ensure Officer Safety?
  • Why do the Home Office and HMIC use different comparators for illustrating Policing Strengths?
  • Why is it appropriate to include civilian Police Staff in HMIC Policing Strength figures?

I return to my original question, “Who’s Looking After Mike Pannett?” Almost nobody I suspect. You OK there Mike? Don’t worry Mike I’ve forwarded these figures to PASC as yet another example of Police Stat-Fudging. You’ll be OK.

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The Loneliness of Another Rural Police Officer

Don’t panic this isn’t going to be a series of all the rural Forces in England and Wales. Having picked on Dyfed Powys and received some quite useful feedback I thought that in the interests of fairness I would pick on another Force and see how the figures for Dyfed Powys stacked up against another Force.

I decided to pick on Avon and Somerset Constabulary for two reasons;

They too have rural officers covering places such as Simonsbath as well as a city, Bristol and largish towns like Minehead, Taunton and Weston Super Mare.

The other reason was their recent achievement of the receiving the Gold Award by Investors in People.  Their Chief Constable has been boasting of this achievement recently. This implies to me that they must be doing something really well.

Avon and Somerset covers a MUCH smaller area than Dyfed Powys, a mere 1,847 square miles, containing a population of 1.6 million individuals (source HMIC).  HMIC quotes the Force strength as 3.15 full-time equivalent staff per 1,000 population.  I note the use of ‘full time equivalent staff‘. I assume this to mean everyone from the Station Cleaner upwards to the Chief Constable.

In March 2010 Avon and Somerset had an establishment of 3,302 Police Officers, or 2.07 officers per 1,000 population, and a Constables Strength of 1.59 per 1,000 population.  Not quite the ‘just over 3’ that HMIC would have you believe is it?

By March 2013 the establishment had dropped to 2,873 or 1.79 officers per 1,000 population and 1.37 Constables per 1,000 population.  The official Avon and Somerset target for 2015 is 2,900, so like Dyfed Powys they have already shed more posts than they needed to.

It’s fair to say that I am dismayed. The two Forces that I have looked at, almost at random, have both shed more posts than they were required to to meet their 2015 ‘austerity’ target. Even more sinister than that is the issue of the Police Strength stats.  Is it just me? Am I being terribly naive?  If someone quotes Policing Strength figures to me I expect that to refer to the number of Police Officers on the books.  Whilst I have the utmost respect for the Station Cleaner and the Canteen Staff is it really right that they should be included in official HMIC figures, giving a completely bloated fiction of how many police officers are available to protect the community?

As a brief, and possibly irrelevant, comparison, the Met currently has 3.71 officers per 1,000 population and 2.84 Constables per 1,000 population, with far fewer rural areas to police, and for Cross Reference purposes Home Office stats show that Dyfed Powys currently has 2.16 Officers per 1,000 population and 1.6 Constables for the same figure.

Maybe I should submit my concerns to Bernard Jenkins’ PASC session looking a Crime Stats. More wholesale ‘fudging’ of figures is my view, with no valid reason other than make the situation look better than it really is.

One more time I find myself saying “Don’t fudge the stats. Good, Bad or Indifferent, tell us the TRUTH

Behind the cynicism are some serious questions;

Is a figure of less than 2 Police Officers per 1,000 head of population sufficient to ensure Public Safety?

Is a figure of less than 2 Police Officers per 1,000 head of population sufficient to ensure Officer Safety?

Why have these two Forces (and probably others too) seemingly reduced their official establishments BELOW their 2015 Target Figure?

Why do the Home Office and HMIC use different comparators for illustrating Policing Strengths?

Is this compatible with an Investors in People Gold Accreditation Award?

I’ll happily accept answers in the Comments Section from any ACPO officers who can answer any or all of these questions, thank you.

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101 Things We Should Never Forget

Well maybe not quite 101, but I’m sure you get the idea.

When you reach my ripe old age the grey matter isn’t as sharp and efficient as it once was, so I find it helpfulo to write things down so I don’t forget.

Here’s my list of things I don’t want to forget, please feel free to add your own in the comments at the bottom if you feel I might benefit from them.

THE NHS IS SAFE IN OUR HANDS – funny that because I thought it seemed like it was being dismantled and sold off, but it must be true Camoron said so and I mustn’t forget.

Tom Winsor never got paid for his far-reaching reports – I must have missed something somewhere because people ALWAYS want to be paid for work they’ve done, don’t they?

Tom Winsor was appointed Chief Inspector HMIC despite having no previous (or current) policing experience. I’m sure there’s no connection between these two, it just seemed convenient to list them both together.

Andrew Mitchell MP never said ‘Pleb’ He refuses to tell us what he did say, but he never said ‘Pleb’. Although he did feel it prudent to resign his Cabinet post a month later.

Andrew Mitchell MP is offered the post of UK European Commissioner at a salary approximately TWICE that of his Cabinet post.  Well, that’s the most recent story I heard, and absolutely nothing to do with the above.

G4S made an absolute shambles of their commitment to the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

G4S and Serco face a multi million pound fraud enquiry into alleged charging for non-existent services in relation to Electronic Tags.

G4S and Serco are both able to bid for new Government contracts despite being subject of an ongoing fraud enquiry.

The 6 day a week service of the Royal Mail is enshrined in law and is therefore protected.

Pension conditions for existing members are protected by law and therefore safe. That’s why the government changed the law, so that they could change the conditions, so must remember not to be taken in by promises that something is protected.

Coastguard Stations will remain open until at least 2015, said David Camoron. Apparently this was a drafting mistake in his letter and he didn’t really mean it.

The Police have only ONE Target and that is to cut crime, said Theresa May.  Police and Crime Commissioners think otherwise, have over-ruled Theresa May and set a whole raft of targets for Police Forces to meet.

There will be NO Frontline cuts. Damn good job too, my dog’s got fleas and needs dome Frontline, shame they won’t reduce the price though.

There will be no Tuition Fees – well we all know where that one went.

There will be no increase in VAT – not since they raised it to 20% anyway.  As an aside to this VAT in France is dual band, 19.6% for most things, and 5.5% for renovation works (i.e. building work on a property you have owned for more than 2 years), cafes, restaurants and numerous others. Certainly helped to kick-start the economy and get people back into restaurants and have work done to their houses.

We will provide 3,000 extra Police Officers – still waiting for them to turn up, late on Parade.

There will be no bonuses for Bank Directors – Bankers are even being given bonuses for making a loss, what chance do we stand with that one?

That’s about all my ageing brain can think of at the moment, if I think of any more howlers I’ll certainly add them, but as I said at the beginning, please feel free to add your own.

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