When The Music Stops or #CutsHaveConsequences

#CutsHaveConsequences is a hashtag that’s been used a lot in the past few weeks, and rightly so. It got me to thinking.

Every single Force in the land has suffered cuts since 2010, all in the name of Austerity. Their respective PCC and Chief a Constable have formed plans to cope with the savagely slashed budgets.

In London Boris seems to have made selling off the family silver one his priorities.

The big one that hit all the headlines was the selling off of New Scotland Yard.  Bought for £123.5 million in 2008, it sold last year for £350, a nice little earner.  I suspect there will be some Tax to pay on the profit.  I suspect there will be costs associated with the move out of NSY to Curtis Green Building and I believe that the Met proposes spending between £30 and $50 million pounds to refurb Curtis Green and make it fit for purpose.

The profit margins are receding.

Then there is the fact that the Met has sold off about 35 of its major buildings including nearly 30 Police Stations for about £125 million.and Boris apparently plans to sell off up to 200 properties across London, although admittedly that figure will include Married Quarters and Section Houses.  Ultimately he proposes reducing the number of residential properties from 862 to a mere 200.

Now the thing that gets me about all this frenzied selling off is “where do the people go?”  Has the Met suddenly taken up Hot Desking?  The people displaced from NSY will not all fit into Curtis Green Building.  Other ‘support’ buildings are also threatened with closure.

In any or all of these buildings there will be (not an exhaustive list by any means);

  • People answering telephones
  • People operating computers
  • Desks for people to work at
  • Lockers for the Operational Officers (and hopefully some changing facilities)
  • Rooms set aside for specific Teams/Squads
  • Filing Cabinets (the Met still has a mountain of paper not yet shredded)
  • Garage facilities for the car
  • Car Parking facilities if you’re lucky and a member of the SMT

Am I being thick here, but if you reduce the number of buildings, the people who worked there either have to be displaced elsewhere or ‘got rid of’.

If they’re displaced elsewhere those elsewheres become overcrowded do they not?

If they’re ‘got rid of and join the ‘disappeared’ somebody else has to take up their work and increase their own workload.  I do not believe that there was a mound of spare capacity just waiting for extra work to land.

This here Austerity is due to be with us until at least 2019 allegedly.  Boris’s £125 million won’t last him very long and where will he get the next bundle of cash from once it has run out?  Why should he care? He won’t be Mayor for much longer.

Do not think for one moment that this is anywhere near the End Game, it isn’t, and if Austerity can knock the Met sideways like this, just think what it’s doing for your local Force.

So, when the music stops, grab a chair, grab a locker or grab an office.  They may not be with us much longer, Tesco et al could become the norm.

LeytonstonePolice_McLellan-23.jpg MCILG-police-206.jpgNo, these officers are not taking a sneaky break, they’re there officially to ‘meet the public’ rather than have a Front Counter remain open.  The police officers had no desk, no private area where they could speak to members of the public in confidence, no means of logging on to the police national computer etc, and they appear not to have official forms.

Contact Points, Coffee With A Cop, Chat With A Cop, call them what you may, they’re a pretty poor substitute for going to the local nick, with all the necessary forms and computers at hand, to report whatever is on your mind. AND NOT BEING OVERHEARD BY THE LOUT WAITING FOR A LATTE.

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Bernard Hogan-Who To Buck The Trend

BHH has apparently predicted that the Met can do something better than any other public sector organisation has managed to do to date.

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe has predicted the force’s deployment of mobile technology will buck the trend of failing public sector IT projects and deliver benefits both to victims of crime and officers.

All frontline officers are supposedly to be issued with data-connected tablets on which they’ll be able to record details of crimes, photograph evidence and issue crime reference numbers without needing to return to base.

Now don’t laugh, but he has combined ‘the best Police leaders’ with ‘the best IT leaders to oversee the project.  No danger of anything going wrong there then.  BHH says that he “is confident that our investment will pay off”.

At the same time he sought to reassure that an increase in dependence on IT will not be used as an excuse to reduce officer numbers, despite the recently announced further budget cuts.

All I can say is that they’d better be buying TonkaPads because if something can be broken, Met cops will break it, lose it, run it over or drop it down the toilet.

I can see the need to do something with IT because all the Police Buildings in London seem to be pubs or very expensive flats/apartments. now.  I dread to think where locker space is provided, and I’m pretty certain the Snooker Rooms went years ago along with the Plan Drawer’s Office.  No space for writing Crime Reports up, maybe this is all part of a Master Plan to reduce crime, make it more difficult to record.  Of course the IT on these tablets will be faultless with 100% reliability meaning no down time.

It’s a common sight in DeadBadgerShire to Police Vehicles parked up in a layby with the single-crewed officer tapping away at a keyboard within.  Saves on fuel and wear n tear as well reducing trips back to the Station.

Don’t get me wrong, I love technology, gadgets (not Gadget) but gadgets and gizzmos have to be part of the solution in an area like Policing, not the whole solution.  Is it only me that thinks that chatting to a crusty PC (are there any left?) or a sweaty DS when you go back to record the crime can sometimes have a positive outcome in relation to the crime you’re recording. Not always but sometimes.  Gods knows, clues are few and far between, anything helps.  Hitting SEND at the end of keying it in and giving the victim the corresponding crime number seems a little bit clinical and unsatisfactory to me, but I’m also aware that with dwindling numbers, and far worse to come, extravagances like chatting to the Crime Desk DS are on the way out, or probably already gone in some Forces.

Anyway it’s all going tom paid out of the proceeds of New Scotland Yard being sold off, so it can’t be all bad, can it?

Police Technology

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MOPAC – And How They Just Keep Giving

Well, that’s giving in a taking sort of way really. I must thank @TanyaSmith67 for bringing this matter to my attention, it had completely passed me by.  I’ll stop writing about it just as soon as Boris and co let me, honest I will.

Not content with selling off huge chunks of the Met’ s Estate (and I know there are those of you out there who aren’t quite as outraged as us at Angry Towers) but Boris’ deputy, Steve Greenhalgh, has found himself another controversy to get involved in.

Being in charge of the MOPAC/MPS estates strategy, Greenhalgh has endorsed, if not decided upon,.the sale of certain properties within the estate deemed ‘Surplus to Requirements’.  Last week, a mayoral press release said Greenhalgh had “intervened” to stop the sale of the Raynesfield homes in Raynes Park, “I was not happy with how they had been treated,” said Greenhalgh of Raynesfield’s residents. “I was not prepared to see key workers like nurses, carers and teachers forced to move out of their homes.”  In August it had been reported that “Nurses and school workers facing eviction from their police-owned homes say they are being “cleansed” from the borough due to a lack of affordable housing.

Key workers living at Raynesfield in Raynes Park and 30 Griffiths Road in Wimbledon will be evicted from their flats by the end of the year after the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) sold the land. The sale forms part of Boris Johnson’s long-term estate strategy to sell off properties and invest profits back into frontline policing.

Residents of the two estates, mostly on low salaries, will now have to leave the borough because they neither earn enough to rent privately nor meet criteria to qualify for social housing.”

Well, I have to say that I was completely unaware that the Met owned residential properties that were rented out to others, I was only aware of the Section Houses and Married Quarters.  Presumably these are ex Married Quarters that have been vacated by the officers, under whatever circumstances, and put onto the rental market. What do other Forces do?

The same thing happened in Hammersmith, where MOPAC owns a block of flats called Broadmead. Greenhalgh said he had been “very shocked” to learn that Broadmead’s residents might be turfed out and that he’d discovered this “all because” Tory councillors in his old borough had brought the tenants’ situation to his notice.

So I’m beginning to see the pattern now, Greenhalgh decides to sell off the Met-owned residential properties, that are now managed by a Housing Association and occupied by key workers or others on low income.  Then, when he hears that they residents are to be displaced (whatever did he think was going to happen to them?) he steps in top prevent it and everybody hails him as a hero.

Apparently Deputy Mayor Greenhalgh still wants those homes sold, but says this will now only happen if the new owner can offer existing tenants “similar or better terms” than they presently enjoy, ensuring that they can afford to stay, rather than selling the sites vacant on the open market for as much money as possible.

Tom Copley calls for apology from Deputy Mayor for Policing

So what is he playing at? I seen to recall that his political career has been dogged by controversy of one kind or another, and nothing seems to have changed.  He now seems to be quite happy to put people in fear of being evicted from their reasonably priced homes, then mounting his blue stallion and charging in to save them from the fate that he himself had instigated.

Or is that just the jaundiced view of a cynical duffer?

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WTF Are You On Boris?

Just as the ink had dried on my last post, and my aged quill was cleaned and dry, one of my erstwhile colleagues enlightened me to something else not quite right with the Met’s Property Portfolio. [Santa, please send new quill and ink for Crimbo, much obliged, I have been good].

According to that unmissable publication Mayor Watch the Met (or Boris) has seemingly blundered again.  Bought NSY for £120 million (if memory serves me well), put it up for sale at £250 million and finally sold it to an offshore investor from UAE for £370 million.

So far so good, although I suspect there may be some Capital Gains Tax liability there somewhere.

So, having sold off the Crown Jewels Boris now finds that the replacement premises that the NSY staff will be relocating to are too f’ing small.

Honestly, you couldn’t make it up.

Proceeds from the sale will kick-start a major investment opportunity to secure the future of the Met Police, with the funds being used to kit out officers across London with mobile technology such as tablets, smartphones and body cameras, enabling them to spend more time out on the streets. It will also allow much-needed investment in the remaining estate along with modern ICT infrastructure and new software platforms.

However the Met are relocating to Curtis Green building on Embankment but have already identified the need for extension works, they are planning the construction of a new rear extension to help create “525 work spaces” for officers and civilian support workers.

At the same time MOPAC has authorised a revamp of Holborn police station to accommodate the Met’s legal department and the refurbishment of three floors at its Marlowe House office block to create a further 616 work stations.

However a briefing document drawn up for Stephen Greenhalgh, London’s deputy mayor for policing and crime, warns that the combined space created by the projects may be insufficient to house all of the Met’s HQ functions.

The document states: “One of the original planning assumptions for the Mayor Buildings Estates Strategy and the exit of NSY was that all teams exiting NSY will be relocated within the remainder of the MOPAC estate.

“Whilst this position can be achieved in terms of available floor space, certain facilities would require further investment to maintain operational performance.”

The document continues:

“Recent developments have necessitated the need to look at the accommodation requirements of specific teams again, and occupational arrangements of key partner agencies.

“A growth bid for the specific team will require the provision of further accommodation. Studies are underway to model whether the existing MOPAC estate can meet these requirements or whether third party accommodation is needed.”

So, forward planning not high on MOPAC’s skillset then.  Green party AM Baroness Jenny Jones commented: “It does seem a bit ridiculous that the Mayor in his rush to sell off police buildings has left the Met with a headquarters that is too small.

Curtis Green, or Scotland Yard as it will soon be known, may not even be operational until October 2016.

And then, hold your breath dear reader, there’s the Met’s other White Elephant, Empress State Building which presently provides nearly 4,000 desk spaces for the Met.

ESB

This one is only leased, but is also on ‘the list’.

If I may quote from an article in the Grauniad last year…….

“Anyone as enmeshed in London government as Boris Johnson’s policing deputy Stephen Greenhalgh makes connections in overlapping fields. These can be valuable but also trigger unhelpful suspicions. Greenhalgh’s energetic history as a Conservative politician and company director illustrates how such problems might arise.

His present job as head of MOPAC – the mayor’s office for policing and crime – involves lots of complex maths about where Metropolitan Police Service personnel should be based. The objective is to save money in the context of big pressures on budgets. Several police stations are to be sold, along with New Scotland Yard, the Met’s famous HQ since 1967. And then there’s the Empress State Building (ESB), a 31-floor, 117 metre tall tower, which presently provides nearly 4,000 desk spaces for the Met.

The ESB is leased by MOPAC on the Met’s behalf from the property developer Capital and Counties (Capco), which bought a 50% share of it in 2008 and announced in May that it had bought the other half. The building’s location is significant. It stands within the 77 acres of prime west London land Capco intends to clear and replace with four high-priced urban “villages”, destroying in the process the historic Earls Court exhibition centre and the homes of around 2000 people, most of whom would sooner be left alone despite a promised offer of replacement dwellings nearby, if their responses to the council’s consultation on the issue are any guide.


This
widely-opposed redevelopment, known as the Earls Court Project, is dear to Greenhalgh’s heart. Most of the territory it covers lies within the borough of Hammersmith and Fulham (H&F), which Greenhalgh led for six years from May 2006. Greenhalgh championed the scheme when at H&F. Shortly before leaving for his new job at City Hall described it to the Guardian as “the best deal in the history of redevelopment in London.” Johnson too is a big fan, hailing it as a “landmark project” in one of his London Plan Opportunity Areas.”

My apologies to the Grauniad for such a large quote, but it seemed fairer and more effective than paraphrasing it.

Is it just cynical, suspicious me, or is there a potential conflict of interests here?

It certainly does nothing to help resolve the Met’s almost critical shortage of desk space.

Never mind, it will sort itself out and all become clear in the fullness of time. It’s probably just me.

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A Nice Little Earner Boris

This one is for all you Larndarners, NORF, SARF, it doesn’t really matter cos Boris has sold you out anyway.

I’ve blogged before about MOPAC selling off the family silver, most recently NSY has gone, as you will have heard.

Well if any of you are interested in what has been happening to the Met’s Estate then read on, if not, duck out now.

Below are details of the Met’s properties that have been sold off 2013 up until end of August this year. I don’t know if NSY has completed yet, but it doesn’t seem to feature yet.

Name of site
disposed of
Address &
Postcode
Value of
sale,
£’000
Purchaser
name and description
Expected new use Public Access
Prior to
Closure (Y/N)
Julian
Headon House – Office
West Hendon
Broadway, Edgware, Hendon, NW9
7AL
£3,250 Torah
Vochesed
Buildings Ltd
Private school for
Jewish community
N
Spring Court –
Residential
35 Station Road,
Sidcup, DA15
7EA
£1,149 Mr PJ and
Mrs BT Sherlock
Refurbishment /
redevelopment for residential
N
Kingsbury
Police Office
5 The Mall,
Kenton, Middlesex, HA3
9TF
£500 Bellway
Homes Ltd
Comprehensive
redevelopment for residential
N
Walthamstow Former Police Station 360 Forest Road, London, E17 5JQ £1,006 E17 Met Ltd Refurbishment / redevelopment for residential Y
Richmond
Former Police
Station
8 Red Lion Street,
Richmond,
Surrey, TW9 1RW
£2,700 Snowfinch
LLP
Ground floor
commercial, upper floors residential
N
Kingsground –
Residential
1-11 Kingsground
and
134-144 Eltham
Hill,
Eltham, SE9 5ED
£1,271 Wilson
Homes
(London) Ltd
Refurbishment /
redevelopment for residential
N
Hanwell
Former Police
Station
169 Uxbridge
Road,
Ealing, W7 3TH
£950 Octo
Investments
Ltd
Refurbishment /
redevelopment for residential
N
Amelia Street
– Light
Industrial
2-16 Amelia
Street, Walworth, London, SE17
3PY
£3,400 Family
Mosaic Home Ownership Ltd
Comprehensive
redevelopment for residential
N
St John’s
Wood Former
Police Station
20 Newcourt
Street, London, NW8
7AA
£8,555 Newcourt
Property
Holdings Ltd
Refurbishment /
redevelopment for residential
Y
Mackenzie
Trench House
– Residential
363 Lillie Road
London, SW6
7PD
£3,250 Cherwell (Lillie Road) Ltd. Refurbishment / redevelopment for residential N
3-5
Radbourne
Road – Office
3-5 Radbourne
Road
London, SW12
0EA
£1,115 Radbourne
DCP Ltd.
Comprehensive
redevelopment for residential
N
Willesden
Green Former
Police Station
965 High Road
London, NW10
£2,550 Gargreen
Ltd.
Comprehensive
redevelopment for residential
Y
Winchmore
Hill Former
Police Station
687 Green Lanes
London , N21
£900 AMC Trust Refurbishment /
redevelopment for residential
Y
Leyton
Former Police
Station
215 Francis Road
London, E10
£1,250 Uptime
Properties
Ltd.
Refurbishment /
redevelopment for residential
Y
Harold Hill
Former Police
Station
Gooshays Drive
London, RM3
£1,625 Lidl UK GmbH Redevelopment for retail N
1-8 Park Close, Windsor – Residential Brook Street
Old Windsor, SL4
£2,250 The Crown
Estate
Refurbishment / redevelopment for residential N
Battersea
Former Police
Station
112-118
Battersea Bridge
Road
London, SW11
£6,000 Linden
Limited
Comprehensive
redevelopment for residential
Y
Connaught
Gardens – Residential
Connaught
Gardens 5-9 & Flats 10-27
London, N10 3LH
£9,150 Pantheon
Services Limited & Muswell Limited
Refurbishment /
redevelopment for residential
N
Clapham
Former Police
Station
51 Union Grove
London
SW8 2QU
£4,500 Lexadon
(Union Grove) Limited
Refurbishment /
redevelopment for residential
Y
Muswell Hill
Former Police
Station
115 Fortis Green
London
N2 9HW
£3,525 Station
House (Muswell Hill) Limited
Refurbishment /
redevelopment for residential
Y
East Ham
Former Police Station & Section
House
4 High Street
South London E6 6ES
£3,350 London
Design and Engineering UTC
Education Y
Brockley
Former Police
Station
4 Howson Road
London
SE4 2AS
£2,050 Holbrook
Investments
Limited
Refurbishment /
redevelopment for residential
Y
Chadwell
Heath Former
Police Station
14 Wangey Road
Chadwell Heath
Essex
RM6 4AJ
£1,000 Al Huda
Welfare
Foundation
Education / community N
Orpington
Former Police
Station
The Walnuts
Orpington
BR6 0TW
£2,307 Berkeley
Homes (Eastern Counties) Limited
Comprehensive
redevelopment for residential / health care
Y
Hackney
Former Police
Station
2 Lower Clapton
Road Hackney E5 0PA
£7,600 Tauheedul
Free School
Trust
Education Y
Whetstone
Former Police
Station
1170-1172 High
Road London N20 0LW
£4,150 Alma
Primary
Education Y
Golders Green Police Station 1069 Finchley
Road London NW11 0QE
£5,312 Derbyhaven
Services
Ltd., & Ellora Enterprises Ltd., & Adria Services Ltd.
Residential / community Y
Harrow Road
Police Station
325 Harrow Road,
London
W9 3RD
£9,000 Redrow
Homes Ltd.
Residential Y
Wanstead
Police Station
Spratt Hall Road,
Wanstead, London, E11 2RQ
£1,635 Sunil Kumar
Goel &
Ajanta Gupta
Residential Y
East Dulwich
(New) Police
Station
173-183 Lordship
Lane London SE22 8HA
£6,400 Harris
Federation
Education Y
South Norwood Police Station 11 Oliver Grove
London
SE25 6ED
£2,300 Secretary of State for Communities
and Local
Government
Education Y
Barnes Green
Police Office
96-102 Station
Road Barnes SW13 0NG
£10,005 Berkeley
Homes (Central London) Limited
Residential N
Pan London
Residential
Various £4,128 Various Residential N
Highgate
Police Station
407-409 Archway
Road London N6 4NW
3,575 Bellway
Homes
Limited
Residential N
Barking
Police Station
6 Ripple Road,
Barking
IG11 7PE
925.00 Resco
Investments
Limited
Residential Y
Wealdstone
Police Station
74 High Street
Wealdstone
HA3 7AF
950.00 Meso
Investment
LLP
Residential N
Marylebone
Police Station
1-9 Seymour Street London
W1H 7BA
3,000 Seymour Street Nominees Limited &
Berkeley Street Nominees Limited
c/o The Portman Estate
Mixed use redevelopment Y
Tabor Grove 22 Tabor Grove
Wimbledon
SW19 4EB
1,635 Southpoint
Capital
Limited
Residential/office N
Hampstead
Police Station
26 Rosslyn Hill
London
NW3 1PD
14,105 The
Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
Education Y
West Drayton
Police Station
Station Road
Hillingdon
UB7 7JQ
2,200 Area Estates
Limited
Residential N
Chalk Farm
Garage
5-17 Haverstock
Hill London NW3 3NN
2,000 Cambridge
Gate Properties Limited
Residential/retail N
Sydenham
Police Station
179 Dartmouth
Road London SE26 4RN
1,455 Sydenham
PS Limited
Residential Y
Norbury
Police Station
1516 London Rd.
Norbury
SW16 4ES
940.00 Norbury PS
Limited
Residential Y
Pan London
Residential
Various 3,957 Various Residential N

 

Now my basic abacus makes this just shy of £124 million.

Is is worth it?  Is that really enough to make a difference.  Where on earth are all your lockers and kit going going to be? Back room as Tesco (other supermarkets are available)?

In addition to this there are also plans to sell the following in the next year or so;

Chelsea Police Station

Buckingham Gate

A 5 metre wide strip of land on Isle of Dogs (god knows what that is)

Residential Property Treetops, 4A The Drive, George Road, Coombe Hill, Kingston, Surrey.   I have no idea who used to live here, but no.2 sold in 2009 for £3.75 MILLION, so not a PC I’m guessing.

  TREETOPS

Residential Property 17 Canonbury Park North.

Buckingham Gate, who could forget Buckingham Gate??  I don’t know if the County Forces have the equivalent, a dedicated Feeding Centre for those on Aid to Central London etc.  A fantastic building with great atmosphere, catering staff would always greet you with a smile and a cheery comment, no matter what the time of day, although they did sometimes give us curry for breakfast, but who cared?  A great place to swap your Beat Duty Helmet for somebody else’s if yours was a bit tired (allegedly) and those a little older than me inform me that it was the building in which the official enquiry into the sinking of the Titanic was held.  So not short on history either, but let’s just sell it off.

So there you go Londoners, a little bit more history goes down the pan, and will it REALLY help.  It sounds like a lot of money to us, but set against the operating budget for the MPS is it?

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Reasons Not To Knock The Met

Or

Tell Us The Truth Please Boris/Bernie

I now have a new hobby – Data Miner, and sometimes you unearth real gold.

I have ‘stolen’ a dataset from Boris’s Vaults in Bojo Towers, and what it reveals is something you really ought to know.

I have been, and remain, a vocal critic of some facets of the Metropolitan Police Farce, mainly its SMT and Professional(?) Standards, the boys and girls on the front line do an excellent job under almost impossible conditions and restrictions, and nobody ever seems to go into bat for them.

So I will.

Reproduced below are some TRUTHS, No Spin, No Manipulations, No Falsehoods (at least not by me).  They represent the statistics that Mayor Boris is sitting on, doesn’t seem to want us to know.

For ease of reference I will not go back beyond June 2012 but comparable figures exist for most categories back as far as 2008 if you really want to check.

So, here goes, buckle yourself in, the Stats, the Whole Stats and nothing but the Stats

ASB (Anti Social Behaviour calls received by CCC (Central Command Complex

June 2012 – 35,676             May 2014 – 24,468

Total Notifiable Offences

June 2012 – 66,647             May 2014 – 57,562

Violent Crime

June 2012 – 5,311                May 2014 – 5,776

Robbery

June 2012 – 3,087                 May 2014 – 1,836

Theft from Person

June 2012 – 4,129                 May 2014 – 2,496

Burglary

June 2012 – 7,532                  May 2014 – 5,837

Theft of Motor Vehicle

June 2012 – 1,980                   May 2014 – 1,811

Theft From Motor Vehicle

June 2012 – 5,865                    May 2014 – 4,521

Criminal Damage

June 2012 – 5,519                     May 2014 – 4,972

Rape

June 2012 – 247                         May 2014 – 380

Sexual Offences

June 2012 – 840                         May 2014 = 1,081

Murder

June 2012 – 8                              May 2014 – 10

Gun Crime

June 2012 – 182                         May 2014 – 133

Homophobic Hate Victims

June 2012 – 109                          May 2014 – 116

Racist & Religious Hate Victims

June 2012 – 826                          May 2014 – 943 

Stop and Searches Conducted

June 2012 – 28,851                      May 2014 – 16,581

Stop and Search Arrest Rate

June 2012 – 11.56%                    May 2014 – 19.23%

Total Number of Regular Police Officers

June 2012 – 31,798                     May 2014 – 30,945

% Total victims ease of contacting police

June 2012 – 91%                          May 2014 – 94%

% Total victims satisfied with action taken

June 2012 – 69%                           May 2014 – 76%

% Total victims feel well informed

June 2012 – 65%                            May 2014 – 72%

% Total victims feel treated fairly by police

June 2012 – 86%                            May 2014 – 91%

% Total victim satisfaction

June 2012 – 74%                            May 2014 – 80%

Confidence in the Police

June 2012 – 65%                            May 2014 – 68%

So, there you have it.  Not all GREEN, but not many REDs.

The boys and girls on the Front Line are clearly doing an admirable job.  Why aren’t we told that Public Confidence in the Metropolitan Police is steadily INCREASING in all areas of their business?

Why aren’t we told that Stop and Search has actually DECREASED drastically since 2012 but the Arrest Rate has INCREASED?

Why are the Met (and they are not alone in this) being constantly pilloried by our politicians when Boris is sitting on Stats that seem to show them off in a very good light?

Boys and Girls, Ladies and Gents, Hold The Line.  You are doing a fantastic job in very difficult times and it will only get worse.  But when you go home to your loved ones tonight, do so with your heads held high.  We are constantly told that the figures do not lie (unless the SMT have fudged them), and they tell me what a wonderful job you are doing at the grass roots.

Please keep it up.

All this from a Workforce that mainly don’t live in London.  For the benefit of any of you who think that this is proof that ‘more can be done with less’ I would invite you to consider the consequences.  The stats above are, in my opinion, mighty impressive in most areas. The flip side of that coin is that too many officers are either ‘cracking up’ or leaving, because More isn’t being done ‘with less’ it is being done by ‘stopping the less from taking their Annual Leave and other rostered rest Days

Please feel free to share this blogpost with as many journos as you think fit, and let’s see how many will refer to it over the next few days.  I have no fear of the figures I have quoted, they are Boris’s figures, it’s up to him to justify them. I have neither changed nor spun them.

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Has The Apocalyptic Horseman Risen Like The Phoenix?

Is that a Mixed Metaphor?

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

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

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

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

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

Now this causes me several problems really.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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What Could You Do With £68k?

I was going to take a day off today, but events overtook me.

What could you do with £68,000?

You could employ 3 Police Recruits (or Student Constables, whatever they’re called today) for a year.

You could buy/lease a few nice shiny cars to compliment the fleet.

You could certainly fund a new Reward Specialist.

You could mount several street-level operations against Borough priorities and keep the public happy.

Or you could move a sign.

A Freedom of Information Request (not one of mine this time MPS) has revealed that it cost £68,000 to move the revolving sign outside New Scotland Yard in 2012.  Money well spent I say, seeing as how they’ll all be moving out by 2016 as Boris sells off a bit more of the family silver.

In it’s entirety, mainly cos it;s Monday and I could do with a laugh, here’s the request and the Met’s response.

Enjoy, I’m off to lie down in a darkened room;

I have heard that the MPS spent a considerable amount of money moving the revolving NSY sign outside New Scotland Yard. Could you please advise me:
1. Is this true?
2. When was the work done?
3. How much did the work cost?
4. What was the reason for the move?
5. How far was the sign moved?
6. How long had the sign been in place prior to its being moved?
7. How long is it before the MPS is scheduled to leave NSY, taking the sign with them?

RESULT OF SEARCHES

The searches located information relevant to your request.

DECISION

I have today decided to disclose the located information to you in full. Total costs of replacing and relocating the sign were £68,000. This figure included design and manufacture of a new sign, the mechanical and electrical infrastructure required to support the sign, installation, building work and associated professional fees including Town Planning process.

The works were part of resilience and security redevelopment works to NSY in preparation for the Olympics. The sign now provides electrical points for broadcasting organisations and is located to provide open interview space for news items.
The sign was moved in June 2012. The new site is approximately 15m from the original site of the sign where it had been for over 30 years.

The move of staff and officers from New Scotland Yard will be completed by Spring 2016.

Forgive me for being pedantic, but isn’t this Public (Council Tax Payers’) money? Could it not have been better spent? Yet one more example of inexplicable priorities.

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What Has Changed?

Back in April I wrote a blog post called If I Were Commissioner.

A little tongue-in-cheek maybe, but basically serious.  Not that I am ever going to challenge Sir Bernard Hogan-Who for the ‘top ‘job’ but I do like to keep abreast of what’s happening.

In the case of the Met, 2 months later, I don’t see any sign of anything changing any time soon.

I know things can’t be changed overnight, but I would have hoped to see some sign of an intention to change.

Much has been made, by a number of people, about James Patrick’s situation. What has changed? What is likely to change? He’s unemployed, that hasn’t changed. Have the Met given any indication that they are considering changing anything?  They have acknowledged that something needs to be done about CrimeStats but have ignored the one person who could possibly have been of most use to them. Nose Cut Face Spite.

The TSG6 – What has changed there? Have the Met issued any statements about the TSG6? Are Criminal/Disciplinary proceedings pending against any of the officers involved in the prosecution and discipline cases?  Not that I’ve heard.

Is there a new era of transparency dawning under the Total Policing brand? Not that I can see.

I can not speak about any of the individuals currently in the Met’s SMT and Management Board because I don’t really know them, I’ve been gone to long, most of the names mean nothing to me.  But I have heard and seen them, via the medium of TV etc, perform in their current roles, sacrificed on the altars of HASC and PASC. Mainly they were pathetic, avoiding issues, denying the undeniable, unaware of what was happening within their own organisation.

Decades ago there was most definitely a practice within the Met of promoting buffoons to get rid of them. Make them someone else’s problem. That tailed off a little when the buffoons that had previously been promoted introduced a policy that if the OCU Commander was willing to recommend an officer for promotion then he/she should be willing to keep them for a year.

That didn’t stop totally unsuitable officers mainly of senior rank being imported from the Counties. That ended well, with at least one high-profile Court case as the Met failed to identify that person’s problems when he transferred in. Or maybe they were developed after he joined the Met, who knows? DO YOUR HOMEWORK.

There was a time when the Sergeant or Inspector etc was Sarge or Sir/Boss/Guv. Now it’s John or Sid or whatever. That has changed.

There was a time when Police Officers (in the Met, don’t know about the Counties) were ORDERED not to speak to the press.  All enquiries MUST be referred to Press Bureau. Now it seems to be open season, anyone can give a quote to the press, and who monitors what is inappropriate, or who’s had a bung?  That has changed.

Steven Greenhalgh gave a speech on Wednesday to ACPO outlining his (or at least his Principal Advisor’s) vision for change for the future. I didn’t see anything new in it, nothing that the Met isn’t already doing, or has previously tried before. Except of course for his ludicrous (in my humble opinion) suggestion that OCU Commanders could consider ‘pooling’ their (already depleted) budgets with local ‘partners’. I could easily be wrong but it has the flavour of Blair Gibbs and the apocalyptic Policy Exchange all over it.

Mr Greenhalgh included this in his speech, I thought it was priceless and wanted so much to share it with you;

“Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe has proven this [reform will be the new default and will succeed] in London – a peerless reforming and crime-fighting Commissioner who has had a harder job than any of his predecessors, but one who is delivering on what matters: cutting crime and boosting confidence whilst cutting costs and changing culture”

So, basically, whilst the Met is a bit like an ocean-going tanker and takes a few miles to stop or change course, I don’t see much sign that the Captain is awake and responding to inputs.  In the good old, bad old days the Met had more than a few Working Parties, looking at this problem or that.  Every now again one came along that had the right people on it; experienced practitioners with no vested interest in the outcome.  Oh, wouldn’t it be glorious if that could happen again.

A working party formed to reinvent the Met, staffed by people who know what they are talking about, know what is possible within the budget, know what is achievable and no vested interest in the final outcome other than pride in a job well done.

So there’s a challenge for you Boris, Blair, Sir Bernie, whoever.  Sit down and think about it. Get your joined-up thinking heads on and identify suitable people to form a Reform Working Party, NOT just over promoted senior officers looking for their QPM, but people from all walks, Constables, Sergeants, Inspectors, Retired Officers, MOPAC staff, Police Staff and MEMBERS OF THE GREATER LONDON PUBLIC to thrash this old chestnut out once and for all, and get it right.  We all want the same thing – we want the greatest Police Force in the world back again.  Sadly, for a variety of reasons, it’s a little tarnished at the moment, but it’s not too late, it is fixable, but don’t wait too long.

It will never happen in my lifetime, that hasn’t changed

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RetiredAndAngry’s Whistle-Blowing Policy

I sat down this morning to watch the video of the Greater London Policing and Crime Committee meeting from 13th May and to read the transcript of same meeting.

I very soon thought I was watching an episode of The Muppet Show.

There was somebody there impersonating the Deputy Commissioner of the Metropolis.  He couldn’t have been a real policeman because he kept using posh twatty words like Inculcate;

“I think our procedure, and I accept you do not have this but when you get it you will see that actually by rewarding them, is to effectively inculcate them and to provide some support around them in terms of the process around it. In terms of bringing things forward and raising issues, that is one of those things that we constantly say. The rewarding as well is about being very clear on where the values of the organisation are, so being very clear with people about doing the right thing, the courage and integrity you need to step forward and say things that are wrong in your place of business. The reward per se, we have looked at things like, and I know some people talked about, “Do you commend everyone who blows the whistle?” It feels a bit like a gimmick, I have to say, that sort of thing. “

 

Roger Evans AM: I am surprised that you think that commending people for it is a gimmick. I suppose it would be if you commended everyone. If you commended people where they had found something really serious that you are pleased to have been told and been able to put right–

Craig Mackey (Deputy Police Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service): Absolutely, yes.

Roger Evans AM:– that seems to me to be entirely appropriate.

Craig Mackey (Deputy Police Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service): Yes.

Roger Evans AM: Does it happen? Do you have any examples?

Craig Mackey (Deputy Police Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service): No. At times people get rewarded and thanked for raising issues and other times they do not.

And then we have absolute pearls like this;

“I can think of some examples where the support has been right, they have raised an issue about their supervisor and the supervisor has gone, or moved, so they have been absolutely right in terms of that approach. I welcome views if  colleagues think there is a way of rewarding people for whistleblowing, or incentivising it.”

Does Mackey really think it’s as simple as moving a supervisor who’s been complained about?  What chuffing planet are you on?  Not the same one as me obviously.

Well, that looks like a bloody good, consistent policy then.

The full encounter can be found here, it’s a great read.

Which brings me on to the title of today’s piece.

RetiredAndAngry’s Whistle-Blowing Policy is this

I promote a system that encourages people to bring to the notice of their senior management or appropriate body  all examples of wrong-doing or malpractice without fear of repercussions.  I actively discourage the Blame Culture that pervades so many organisations.  Whistle-Bl;owing is not necessarily about dropping someone in the mire, it is about identifying something that is going wrong and getting it put right.  That does not necessitate any kind of witch-hunt either against the whistle-blower or the individual(s) identified in the Disclosure (if appropriate), it just involves Getting It Right, and Doing It Right.

Is that so very difficult to comprehend Mr Mackey?

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