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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MPs raise fears over cuts to Army

No Shit Sherlock.

Who do they think we are?  Do they think we’re really stupid? Don’t answer that, of course they do.

Plans to cut soldiers could leave the Army “short of personnel” and unable to meet future national security needs, a report by MPs has warned.

The Commons Defence Select Committee has also expressed its concern over the “the lack of consultation over the Army 2020 plan.”   That’s not an unfamiliar story either.

Under the Future Army 202 plan personnel numbers will be cut from 102,000 to 82,000 by 2018, with a doubling of reservist numbers. (Still sounding familiar).  The number of part-time soldiers, or reservists, is to be doubled from 15,000 to 30,000, but the Army is still a long way off from meeting its targets and the MPs’ report says there is scepticism that it will be able to recruit the numbers it needs.

Overall, the report echoes a familiar theme: the cuts to the armed forces have been driven by the need to save money, rather than any strategic vision of Britain’s place in the world.

So here we have it, a government hell-bent on doing whatever they think fit just to try and balance the books and make themselves look good, scoring a few points off the Opposition as they go.

Is that what we, the taxpayer, the voters, really want?

I, for one, want an Army (Navy/Air Force) that is fit for purpose.  I don’t want an Army that’s Second-Rate, poor relation to the rest of the world.

But it isn’t just the Armed Forces is it?  Police numbers cut by 16,000 so far, with more to come.  Coastguard Stations closing all around our coast. If you think you don’t need them then I assume you never go swimming in the sea on holiday, never go surfing, never take a Cross Channel Ferry. Why else would you not need them?

The NHS is in crisis with 145 Hospital Trusts forecasting that they will end the year in the red.

Some of the worst are;

Barts Health trust £50m

University Hospitals of Leicester trust £40m

University Hospital of North Staffordshire trust £28m

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals trust £24m

Mid Essex Hospital Services trust £20m

Mid Yorkshire Hospitals trust £20m

North West London Hospitals trust £20m

South London Healthcare trust (dissolved) £20m

East Sussex Healthcare trust £19m

Croydon Health Services trust £18m

Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals trust £17m

The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS trust (West Midlands) £17m

United Lincolnshire Hospitals trust £17m

Plymouth Hospitals trust £13m

North Cumbria University Hospitals trust £12m

Wye Valley trust £11m

Is yours there?

And then we have the banks.

RBS have recently announced losses of £8.2 Billion this financial year, with a staggering total of £46 BILLION lost over the last 6 years.  Are the bosses in prison, on bail awaiting trial, queuing up at the dole office, P40 in hand? NO they are not.  Instead they are paying themselves slightly smaller bonuses.

RBS set aside £576m for staff bonuses in 2013, of which £237m went to investment bankers; the bonus pot is down 15% on the previous year.

The bonuses for RBS alone would completely wipe out the £500 million savings that the Met (the largest Force in England & Wales) are having to make.  Pick on a few more banks, confiscate their bonuses (unless they actually deserve them of course) and UK Policing would start to look a bit more viable again.

I don’t have a degree in Advanced International Economics, but Vince Cable said

“But British taxpayers are still paying for the terrible mistakes of the past and I see no sign yet of a turnaround in the continuing decline of net lending to small business.

The public will simply not understand why big bonuses and large salaries continue to be paid out by a loss-making public enterprise, still underperforming in many areas.” and he’s quite right, I don’t bloody understand it.

If savings really have to be made then they have to be made, but I have seen some really reckless, foolhardy decisions over the last year or so, and it really winds me up to see the bankers seemingly immune to it all when it was them, globally, wot started this whole mess.

May I refer you back to one of my blogs from January?

Policing In Austerity Two And A Half Years On

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.  That’s not about Austerity, it’s gone beyond that. What are ACPO doing about that statistic?  Are ACPO driving that statistic? Or is it Cruella, the driving force.

One thing is for certain, it’s not over yet. We have yet to see the end game. What will UK Policing look like in 2015? No dogs, no horses, a few water cannons to make up for pitifully low manpower levels?.  Who knows, but I truly fear that it will get worse before it gets better.

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The Front Line Is Being Protected (or Maybe Not)

I was chatting to my old mate Dick over at Force HQ the other day (no, I’m not going to tell you which Force) and I got the distinct impression that, despite promises to the contrary, the Front Line was getting a wee bit stretched.

We’ve all heard the stats showing the pitiful number of Police Officers left in the Police Service after nearly 4 years of austerity, and we’ve heard the promises of Cruella and our masters of varying titles that the Front Line would be protected.  Well I thought I’d take a look from a slightly different angle.

In September 2013 Dick’s Force consisted of 2,750 Police Officers and in March 2013 (the last time the Home Office made this figure available) 2,185 of them were Constables.

BUT, what sort of service can these fine men and women provide in times of Austerity?

So, I asked the question – for 2010-2013 how many Advanced Drivers were available on District?

How many Fast Cars were available on District for those Advanced Drivers to drive?

The first question fell at the first hurdle. They don’t hold historical data, they can only tell me how many Advanced Drivers they have TODAY at District level,  and the answer is 238.

So how many cars have these Advanced Drivers had access to over the last for years?

2010 – 213

2011 – 219

2012 – Data Not Held

2013 – 142.

So between 2011 and 2013 we have seen a 35% reduction in fast cars on the Front Line.

I had a quick word with Dick, and he doesn’t believe it, he thinks the reduction is possibly closer to 70%

Whichever way you look at it you have 238 drivers to drive 142 cars.  That doesn’t seem enough does it?  Surely half this meagre total of cars is lying idle due to lack of available drivers due to the Shift System, sickness, leave etc, and that’s assuming that all of the cars are fit, healthy and roadworthy.

Or just maybe not all of these 142 cars are in routine use.

I don’t have a clue what the formula is or what it should be but slightly less than 10% of their total Constables are Advanced Car Drivers. After you’ve taken out the specialist postings etc that figure looks a little better. All I know is in the days when we had P6 Rover 3500s each shift had about 3-4 PCs authorised to drive them, fighting over the keys almost, never a shortage.

So, don’t worry, the Front Line IS being protected and the service we can provide the public is 1st Class and not hampered in the slightest by shortage of vehicles or kit. Or maybe I’m being sarcastic.

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It’s Been A Funny Old Week

Not that I’m laughing, it’s just that I can’t quite compare it to any other week, some good, some bad.

It started off on Monday with the promise that someone from the Dyfed Powys PCC’s office would phone me to discuss my disappointment at being ineligible to apply for a voluntary role with their force.  Well I waited and I waited, no phone call, so I gave up. Late on Tuesday afternoon my mobile sprang into life and lo and behold it was said PCC’s office.  I had previously voiced my disappointment at not being eligible to apply for a voluntary job as an Animal Lay Visitor (Police Dogs and Horses) on the grounds that I was a retired Police Officer.  After about 5 minutes of talking to this lady it became apparent that she was talking about a position on the Residents Panel. As I’m not a resident of Dyfed Powys it was sort of irrelevant to me, so I pointed out that she’s got the wrong job.  I pointed out to her that the job application pack stated that serving (understandable) and former Police Officers were not eligible to apply, and would not be appointed.  She explained to me that this was in order to assure the public of total Independence on the part of the Lay Visitor.  I then pointed out to her that the two Application packs for Residents Panel, and Lay Custody Visitor only excluded serving Police Officers (again understandable) and NOT former Police Officers. Surely Independence was as important re Custody Lay Visitors if not more so.  She assured me that this appeared to be a mistake and the Job Application Packs would have to be ‘tweaked’ to include former Police Officers as ineligible as well.  Needless to say by the time I got off the phone I was mighty peeved. I was actually quite offended that without seeing my CV, without the benefit of an interview, I had been stereotyped as someone who would not be seen as Independent, and presumably as being incapable of being Independent. Utilising the ancient art of rubbing salt into the wound they later recirculated the same job vacancies emphasising that they would like applications from Solicitors.  I gave up at that point and made a brew.

Then we had Mrs Theresa May’s decision/agreement not to introduce Compulsory Severance “for now“.  “I have decided to accept the Tribunal’s recommendation not to implement measures to introduce compulsory severance at this time.

“However, this remains a reform that I believe government and the police should continue to consider. I have written to the Police Negotiating Board (PNB) to explain my decision in further detail.”

Then she went on to kick the officers on Restricted Duties; the Tribunal accepted a varied definition on Winsor’s Recommendation 39 from the Official Side of the PNB. This means that officers who are unable to undertake “the full range of duties of a police officer” will be regarded as being on restricted duty.

As a result, officers on restricted duties who are not fully deployable after one year should face a pay cut of around £2,922.

But the good news is that it has been alleged that she has told Tom Winsor NOT to wear his ridiculous fancy dress outfit at the National Police Memorial Day events ever again. It remains to be seen if he he dusts it off and brings it out again for any other occasion.

Fast Forward to Friday night and a discussion about Advanced Drivers and Fast Cars.  I cannot believe what I was being told about what some Forces are doing in cutting back the number of Advanced Drivers (and cars) from their strengths.  One officer even told me that some Forces even have “No Pursuit Capability”.  What kind of nonsense is this?  I thought the Front Line was being Protected?  Is being an active Advanced Driver not Front Line Policing?  Skills will be lost, officers will be demotivated and the public will suffer. As somebody said to me last night, “it’s not about the toys, it’s about retaining skills” and hence the service to the public.  I intend to do some digging around numbers of Advanced Drivers and see what pops up.

Finally (mind you the week isn’t over yet) as I was trying to block out the noise of the wind and the rain and get some sleep, news came in that Mental Health Cop’s twitter account and Blog had been suspended, seemingly as part of an investigation by West Midlands Police about their use.  I haven’t seen every single Tweet or Blog he wrote so I can’t really comment with any authority, but the feedback coming in last night and this morning was that this was one of THE most informative and well-used Twitter accounts and blogs of them all. Serving Police Officers and Members of the Public alike hold them in high esteem, and he seems to be the “Go To Guy” for any Police related Mental Health issues.

Well, let’s see what next week holds shall we?

ADDENDUM

And I haven’t forgotten the topsy turvy world of PC James Patrick.  He was told this week that he no longer faces a charge of Gross Misconduct, ‘merely’ a charge of ‘simple’ Misconduct now.   In one way that’s good news, but it is a bit of a double-edged sword, and if you go right back to the very beginnings there remain some unanswered legal questions that make me doubt whether the Met DPS has lost its collective marbles. James knows my views and I won’t repeat them here, but it’s added to a really ‘odd’ week for us all.

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A Gold Star For Avon & Somerset

I mentioned in a recent blog that the Chief Constable of Avon and Somerset, Mr Nick Gargan QPM, had been publicising on Twitter the fact that his force had been awarded a Gold Achievement Award by Investors in People.

This got me thinking, because I normally associate awards such as that with business, and the Police Service should not be regarded as a business, but that’s another blog for another day.

Why Avon and Somerset?  Why aren’t all the Police Forces queueing up to get one of these awards? Are they really worth the paper they’re printed on?

So I took out my trusty quill and scratched out an #FOI request to Avon and Somerset, asking the following questions;

I saw on Twitter recently that your Chief Constable announced that Avon and Somerset Constabulary had been awarded the Investors in People Gold Award.

Under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act I would ask you to supply me with the following information specifically in relation to the Gold accreditation (I am aware that you achieved Silver Status in 2012, but I am not requesting any info re that achievement)

a) How many Police Officers were interviewed as part of this accreditation and how many of each rank interviewed please? I am not requesting names or any other identifying features.

b) How many Support Staff were interviewed as part of the accreditation process and how many of each grade interviewed please? Again I am not requesting names or any other identifying feature.

c) What was the TOTAL cost to Avon and Somerset Constabulary paid to Investors in People for this accreditation?

Well, surprise, surprise, they eventually answered every question.

How many Police Officers were interviewed? – The Gold Investors in People assessment was a follow up to the previous assessment where we achieved Silver status.  The assessors reviewed specific area’s as part of the Gold assessment, and therefore a smaller number of staff and officers were interviewed.

Our records show that 37 police officers were interviews as part of the process. The number of each rank  interviewed is as follows:

Rank                                        Total
Constable                                    25
Sergeant                                       2
Inspector                                       4
Chief Inspector                              2
Chief Superintendent                    3
CC                                                 1
TOTAL                                          37

How many Support Staff? – Our records show that 59 members of staff were interviews as part of the process. The number of each role interviewed is as follows:

Grade                                           Total
Scale 3                                           5
Scale 4                                           13
Scale 5                                           4
Scale 6                                           7
Senior Officer (SO)                        12
Principle Officer (PO) and             18
above
TOTAL                                           59

What was the TOTAL cost to Avon and Somerset Constabulary? – As of the date this request was made, Avon and Somerset Constabulary have not as yet made any payments to Investors in People for this accreditation, however the cost is approximately £10,000.

So, let’s crunch some numbers;

Total number of Police Officers in Avon & Somerset is 2,873. 37 out of 2,873 is 1.3%.

The total number of Constables in Avon & Somerset is 2,196. 25 out of 2,196 is 1.1%

The total number of Sergeants in Avon & Somerset is 438. 2 out of 438 is 0.5%

The total number of Chief Superintendents in Avon & Somerset is 12. 3 out of 12 is 25%, a much higher proportion when it comes to Police senior management. Why would that be? Surely Constables and Sergeants are People to be Invested in too?

Now for the Civilian Support Staff;

Avon and Somerset has 1,779 Police Staff of all grades, unfortunately the Home Office do not provide a breakdown of grades and numbers.

59 out of 1,779 is 3.3%

Even without a breakdown of grades, we can see that Investors in People have interviewed more Police Staff out of a smaller total number resulting in, proportionately, more than double the number of Police Staff than Police Officers have been interviewed.  Of these the largest grade interviewed was Principal Officer or above.  Avon & Somerset Constabulary kindly informed me that Principal Officer or above grades approximately equate to Superintendent or above.  So once again the largest segment interviewed was Senior Management.  Should I be surprised?

As far as the troops on the Ground Floor are concerned can they have any confidence that this Investors in People Gold Award has any real benefits for them? Have they just been included in the process for appearance’s sake?

£10,000 (approximately). Total number of Police Officers and Police Staff is £4,652, so this represents an expenditure of just over £2 per head of all staff, but has it really achieved anything? Do the officers and staff of Avon and Somerset Constabulary feel more valued? Have they benefited in any way? What the hell is the purpose of this scheme in policing?

Interesting though that it was awarded mainly following the input from Senior Management not Ground Floor troops. Or maybe I’m just being cynical.

Have a good weekend.

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Have I Got This Right?

Or am I completely barking?

Police Officers are being moved out of ‘back room’ jobs and put back on the beat where they have always belonged, right?  No arguement there.

Police Staff (Civvies or Civilian Support Staff) then spread themselves more thinly to cover for the Police Officers who have been redeployed onto Beat Duties, right?

Then in whose world does it make sense to shed Police Staff jobs when they’ve just spread themselves more thinly to take up the slack?  Because that’s exactly what the Chief Constable and PCC of Dyfed Powys Police proposes to do.

Having reduced Police Officer strengths below what they need to achieve by 2015, they now propose reducing Police Staff strength by more than 10%. I’m not sure how that improves efficiency or serves and protects the public.

I’m bloody glad I’m a crusty old Pensioner. Happy New Year to Dyfed Powys Police and their Public

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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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How to Do More With Less & How the Home Office Treat Stats

I must have been asleep. I do sleep occasionally, I am sorry, but while I was asleep I missed the Home Office release of Police Service Strength figures last month.

In 2011 Theresa May told us that we would see Police Budgets cut by 20% and a reduction in Police numbers by 15,000 before the next election in 2015.

In March 2011 there were a total of 142,217 Full Time Equivalent officers within the Police Services of England and Wales (including BTP).

By September 2011 the figures had remained constant at 142,217, a figure I find highly suspicious that they EXACTLY matched the figure from 6 months previously.

March 2012 and we’re down to 137,139

September 2012 is now upon us and the Home Office have achieved a Police Strength of 134,885

March 2013 is clearly the most recent data available to us, and we now have a TOTAL Police establishment of 132,608.

So, in just 2 years Mrs Theresa May has managed to ‘lose’ almost 10,000 Police Officers, or 2 thirds of her 5 year target.

All of the above figures have been extracted from official Home Office documents which aren’t always the easiest to navigate one’s way around, and there is clearly a discrepancy with the 2011 figures somewhere.  A separate data table shows the total Police establishment as 138,871 which is far more realistic.

So, nearly 10,000 down and another 2 and a half years to go.  How do you feel about that?

Where have these jobs been lost from?

In the last 10 years we now see 4,761 less Constables than we had 10 years ago, and 6,990 less Constables than we had just 2 years ago, March 2011.

Where have all the rest gone?

In the last 2 years we have lost 1,766 Sergeants but this figure is an almost identical 1,767 MORE than we had 10 years ago.

We’ve lost 484 Inspectors in the last 2 years but this leaves us with only 3 less than 10 years ago.

Chief Inspectors have fared somewhat better with a mere 484 being lost since 2011 which leaves us only 3 down on the total 10 years ago.

Superintendents (inc Chiefs) have shed 183 of their number leaving them 73 down on 2003 levels.

And ACPO weigh in with a staggering loss of a mere 14, leaving them 6 up on 2003 levels.

Now how do you feel?

For some reason the Home Office feel that’s necessary to include or exclude BTP when quoting figures, when they compare year upon year figures they don’t always exactly match the figures quoted in the previous year’s report, and often they mix different stats on the same page.  I guess it’s designed to confuse and keep the smoke swirling in front of the mirror, but I and others like me, will do our very best to see through the fog and let you know what is happening to our proud Service, or what’s left of it.

I’m fully aware that the figures I have quoted above don’t all add up, but I’m buggered if I can make any more sense out of the Home Office figures, they publish different figures, measured at different points in the year, and published in different documents, just to make life difficult I guess. But the undeniable truth is that Theresa May is Slashing the Police Service of England and Wales to an unsustainable level.

The Cannon FodderGaffers

 

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What A Cop Out

For the benefit of those of you who can’t get through the Police Oracle paywall, I thought you might be interested in the following article; [I hope they don’t mind]

“Bedfordshire Police officers were told to stop complaining about cuts to the numbers of boots on the ground in front of members of the public, it has been revealed. [The public pay for the Police via their Council Tax, do they not have a RIGHT to know the reality?]

The advice was sent in an internal e-mail after crime victims reported officers had made “ill-thought out comments”, while attending incidents, about the impact of reductions on the force’s resilience.

The email was obtained as part of a probe of how cuts to police budgets are affecting response times by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ), which handed it to PoliceOracle.com.

According to the communication, one officer said to a victim: “You need to tell your MP you’re not happy with the number of officers on the street. We can’t help it.” [Sorry,is there something wrong with this that I’m missing?]

The email was understood to have been sent to senior officers in February this year after the force’s Victim Satisfaction Group met to discuss a recent survey, in which crime victims comment on how their incident was dealt with.

“One of the issues raised was the attitude of and comments made by some officers attending crimes,” it said.

“Although not considered or reported as being rude or dismissive, the perception is that officers are preoccupied with other aspects of policing, when all the victim wants is to feel that their particular case is the main concern of the attending officer.”

“Officers who attend are making ill-thought out comments such as making reference to the number of incidents they have to attend and the lack of officer numbers.”

The email asked the recipients to ensure that officers were briefed this was inappropriate and should stop.

It continued: “This is unacceptable and is shedding us in an unprofessional light. There are other more suitable locations to freely discuss the highs and lows of our profession.

“We are all concerned with diminishing resources and external pressures, however by adjusting this behaviour we will quickly improve on this aspect of victim satisfaction.”

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary has said the force was expecting to lose around 10 per cent of its establishment – 122 officer posts – between October 2010 and May 2015.

According to TBIJ’s research, the force did not record the differences in its average response times between 2010 and 2013.

The research showed that the number of 999 calls Bedfordshire Police abandoned went from 4,343 in 2010 to 2,605 in 2011 and 3,063 in 2012.

Ray Reed, the Secretary of Bedfordshire Police Federation, said: “The feedback we are getting from officers is that they are constantly under pressure with reduced resources and ever increasing demand. We are having a re-organisation of the force in September which will hopefully address some of the issues that we currently have.”

He added the reorganisation would be informed by a survey of regular officers, PCSOs and special constables.

Supt Jim Saunders, who oversees the force control room and enquiry offices, said the force had worked to ensure it rose from the bottom of the victim satisfaction league table to 36th position, where it currently sits. He told this website the force wanted to rise to the top 10 within five years.

“We don’t wish to see our officers’ actions being perceived as anything but 100 per cent focused on victims of crime,” he said.

“The leaked comments (in the email) refer to the situation as it was in February this year and since then huge effort has been made to focus officers and ensure they give their fullest attention to victims in order to fight crime and protect the public.”

Supt Saunders said there were falls in the number of burglaries and violent crimes in the county, adding: “We are not complacent but the significant fall in crime is testimony to the great job the men and women of Bedfordshire Police are doing, day in day out, to fight crime and protect the public against a backdrop of real cuts to resources.””

Is this confirmation that ACPO (or some of their members) truly have swallowed the Government Bullshit Handbook?

Is the great British Public to be officially treated like Mushrooms (kept in the dark and fed bullshit).

My ethos has to be;

Don’t tell the public lies, don’t mislead the public, and don’t protect them from the truth.  If the truth is unsavoury, then let the author of that truth (Mrs Theresa May MP normally) deal with the fallout from it. It serves nobody’s purpose, except the politicians of course, to sugar-coat the pill.  The situation is dire, it’s going to get worse, more cuts are the way. Stop trying to convince the world that all is fine and dandy in the world of Policing (or any other public service come to think of it).

Dear Police Oracle, if you really do object to me reproducing your fine article, please let me know and I will take it down.
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One Good Way To Reduce Your Establishment……..

Or is it?

It cannot have escaped your notice that Warwickshire Constabulary are actively recruiting Civilian Investigators to investigate serious crimes.

Yesterday, Fraser Pithie, the Conservative candidate for Warwickshire, wrote an article  on the subject amusingly called Fighting Crime Not Playing Politics.  Well I think we all know that PCC candidates are all doing exactly that, playing politics.  On his website he makes mention of the fact that he used to be a Special Constable and presumably feels that this qualifies him to not only to become the Warwickshire PCC (if elected) but endows him with great vision regarding the problems of Warwickshire and for that reason we should listen to him.  Well pardon me if I’m wrong but I have known many Special Constables over the years, none of whom have I ever felt would have made a good Chairman of the Local Police Authority, which is basically what the PCCs will replace I believe.  Not that I am saying that there is anything wrong with Special Constables, but if I can try and put it in perspective, I wouldn’t consider that I was a suitable PCC candidate because I lack certain experiences for that role, and on that basis I would extend it to Special Constables.  However, I digress, Mr Pithie thinks that it’s a good idea for Warwickshire Police to recruit Civilian Investigators, and he makes the point that they do not need the powers of a warranted officer.  As I understand it, and please correct me if I’ve got it wrong, these Civilian Investigators, if recruited, will be given the same, limited, powers as PCSOs.  The Home Office last night issued a statement that they will definitely “not have any powers above the limited powers awarded by the previous government”

I have to say at this point that wording of the advert causes me considerable disquiet, but the paragraph that I like the least is this one

Provide professional specialist advice and knowledge to all colleagues within the organisation in relation to all aspects of crime investigation and case file management. Commensurate with the use of ‘designated powers’ (Police Reform Act 2002).

How can it be the place of a (temporary allegedly) civilian investigator to advise the warranted officers on the best way to do their job, or maybe we’re saving even more money by cancelling training courses and having on the job training supplied by these civilian investigators.

But to get back to the point, Mr Pithie suggests that having a number of Civilian Investigators on the Force will release other officers to “focus even more on those criminals who commit acquisitive crime, which includes house burglary, car crime and robbery.”

So, if I get back to my point, the Civilian Investigators will free up a certain number of warranted officers to get out there and proactively target the villains.  It’s a pretty well established principle that the majority of crime is committed by the minority of offenders.  Modern intelligence analysis enables us to identify the prolific, recidivist offenders and conduct proactive, intelligence-led operations against them.  They may even be successful.   So far, so good.

Where this all has the potential to go belly-up is two fold.

  1. When police conduct target operations to arrest offenders, or engage in crime reduction activities, it is not unknown to experience displacement.  Simply put this means that it is highly likely that you will be successful in the area you are operating but you will merely drive the offenders to another area, or, heaven forbid, to another county.  However, we can contend with this and I know at least one Chief Constable who would classify this as a ‘Result’.
  2. The other issue is more insidious.   If you assume for one moment that we have been successful in our operations, we have arrested the offenders and locked them up (do they still do that?) and crime has been reduced and public tranquility restored,  there is a huge temptation that Chief Constables, HMIC, Home Office, whoever will decide that your county no longer need s the number of Police Officers that it had before because the crime figures don’t justify it.  So this could be a good way to reduce your establishment and keep Mrs May happy.

Or is it?  Your PCC will be happy, Theresa May will certainly be happy because she has told you that your only target is to reduce crime and you’ve done it, well done lads and lasses, but we all know (except the politicians) that this happy state will not last.  The criminals that you have locked up will come out again, the government may not like but ‘crime families’ certainly exist and another child/adult will step up to get involved in the nicking, or worse.  The Chief Constable next door is pulling his wig off because his crime figures are suddenly going through the roof and he doesn’t know why because no-one has told him about your operations.

Whether or not we should employ these Civilian Investigators is a whole different issue, personally I’m opposed to it, but I don’t get a say.

Between 1st April 2011 and 31st March 2012 Warwickshire Constabulary said goodbye to 70 officers, predominantly Constables and Sergeants.  This represents a wastage rate of 8.2% of their establishment already.  But, worryingly, this set against them already having said goodbye to 51 officers (5.5%) in the previous year.  According to the Home Office figures only 3 officers joined in the same two year period.

I am indebted to one of the other PCC candidates, James Plaskitt, for pointing out that while the National Average Detection Rate stands at 27% (HO Stats), the rate for Warwickshire is a meagre 18%, and total reported crime has increased by 3.15% 2011/2012.  So, just maybe, Warwickshire has not actually got it right, and this latest, some may say, desperate, attempt to recruit Civilian Investigators via G4S is a cynical attempt to cover up the truth.  Warwickshire has slashed it’s Police Officers, Crime has gone up, Detection has gone down. In who’s book is this a success story?

Maybe Warwickshire have done us all a favour.  Maybe the PCC candidates, as they slug it out, can work on this, bring it to the forefront of public awareness, and put pressure on their ridiculaous idea of reducing police numbers.  Warwickshire hasn’t yet achieved a 20% reduction and look at what has happened there.  But don’t worry, they have increased the number of meetings they are having to combat the problem.  According to the HMIC report Warwickshire is on target to achieve £25m of savings by 2015.  This will include shedding 350 posts, 170 of which will be Police Officer posts.  Well they’ve achieved approximately 2 thirds of that so far, and look at what has happened in Warwickshire.

Just maybe we should hold Warwickshire up as a model Constabulary, a shining beacon.  Look public, this is what happens when you cut the establishment.  But, hey, this is just my opinion, what do you think?

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