Policy Exchange – The Sequel (Other Think Tanks Are Available)

There I was, Saturday night, trying to find something to take my mind off the travesty that is Eurovision, when I came upon this tweet from Clive Chamberlain

BLOCKED? By Policy Exchange for asking a perfectly valid question? That’s just not cricket. It reminded me that I had previously written a post about Policy Exchange which I knew included where SOME of its funds come from, so I sent him the link. That inspired a series of tweets with various people joining in, and some quite useful information coming out of them. It also made me realise that it was in 2012 that I last had a prod at them. Time for an update methinks. It also got me very wound up about the ethics of Policy Exchange, and those who associate with them, but going back to who funds them; I took another, up to date, look at their website, who funds them, and what do they do? “Policy Exchange is the UK’s leading think tank. As an educational charity our mission is to develop and promote new policy ideas which deliver better public services, a stronger society and a more dynamic economy. The authority and credibility of our research is our greatest asset. Our research is independent and evidence-based and we share our ideas with policy makers from all sides of the political spectrum. Our research is strictly empirical and we do not take commissions. This allows us to be completely independent and make workable policy recommendations. There are numerous examples of where our policy ideas have been taken forward by government. Below are just a few examples

Directly elected police commissioners [I shall be returning to this later in my post]
The pupil premium
Free Schools

Our research predominantly falls under three main themes
Jobs and Growth
Poverty and Social Mobility
Public Services”

So, not much has changed from their website 2 years ago; Charity, Independent, Don’t Take Commissions, blah blah blah. Another part of their website allows access to their official accounts, the most recent posted being 2012-2013. Under income it identifies three types of income; Unrestricted Income, Designated Income and Restricted Income.

Unrestricted Funds – these are available for use at the discretion of the Trustees in the furtherance of the charitable objectives of the Charity.

Designated Funds. – If part of an Unrestricted Fund is earmarked for a particular project it may be designated as a separate fund …….blah blah blah

Restricted Funds – are funds subject to specific restricted conditions imposed by donors of those funds, such as donations given to the charity for specific research programmes and/or projects.

Am I being thick here, or does the definition of Restricted Funds mean the same as Taking A Commission, which they state they don’t do? Any explanations gratefully received. Much has been said about their charitable status, I for one don’t think it’s apropriate, and I’m by no means alone in that.

And their declared income for the year 2012-13?

Unrestricted Funds – £367,982

Designated Funds – £126,000

Restricted Funds – £1,490,473

So unless I’m very much mistaken the vast majority of their income is in the form of Restricted Funds, but they don’t do Commissions. How does that work? Am I wrong? Please correct me if I am.

Peter Kirkham played a blinder recently with this one.

@Alanw47@cate_a_moore@stivevans “a charity cannot exist for…securing/opposing change in law/policy/decisions” https://t.co/i34Dr0RYcF — Peter Kirkham (@Peter_Kirkham) May 24, 2015

The full quotation is “However, a charity cannot exist for a political purpose, which is any purpose directed at furthering the interests of any political party, or securing or opposing a change in the law, policy or decisions either in this country or abroad

What the hell else does Policy Exchange exist for except to influence government policy? Even if you call that ‘advice’ it’s still a political purpose, is it not? So why on earth is it allowed the benefits of Charitable Status’?  Their accounts contain the following stated ‘Object Of The Charity’ “The non-partisan advancement of education in the economic, social and political sciences and their effect on public policy and the policy making process in the UK and the promotion and publication of objective research

The next thing to irk me came out of that. With Charitable Status comes immunity to Freedom of Information Act requests. If Think Takes like Policy Exchange (other Think Tanks are available sadly) have immunity from FOI (a piece of legislation that Cameron doesn’t really like any way, and the Home Office’s attitude towards it is dire, woeful) why oh why is Mrs May pushing for it to be extended to cover the Police Federation. Us mortals have had to come to terms with the FOI over the last 15 years, and as a piece of legislation it’s not too bad, it’s the way it’s implemented by various authorities that stinks.

Lest we forget Inspector Raymond Fowler reminded us all of this

Finally, you’ll be pleased to hear, I got to scrutinising the Met’s Hospitality Registers. You must bear in mind that I did only look at the Met’s registers, it would take me a week to look at them all, but the entries I found will no doubt be repeated in a Constabulary near you.

In January 2014 Inspector Cranmer, bless him, head of the Taser Unit, turned down the offer of a lunch with a Cruise company, but did declare that he had accepted a cup of coffee and ONE biscuit.

In March 2014 Sir Bernie Hogan-Who declared a working lunch with Sir John Major

In June 2014 BHH declared that he had accepted a dinner invitation with Wiliam Hague as a Networking opportunity to end sexual violence in conflict zones.

In June 2014 Betsy Stanko, Assistant Director Corporate Development, declared that she had accepted a dinner invitation from Policy Exchange, in order to meet some visitors from USA and Nick Herbert.

In July 2014 BHH declared that he had accepted a dinner invitation from Lord Wasserman [I shall return to this in a minute]

In October 2014 BHH declined a dinner invitation from the Centre For social Justice due to previous diary commitments.

In November 2014 BHH declared that he accepted a Working Lunch with Lord Mandelson.

In November 2014 BHH declined an invitation from Policy Exchange to the Colin Crampton Memorial Awards Event due to Diary Commitments.

In November 2014 AC was invited by Dean Godson, Director, Policy Exchange, to attend the Colin Crampton Memorial Awards Event. He declined the invitation to the event but accepted the invitation to dinner.

In December 2014 AC Rowley declared that he had declined an invitation from Dean Godson, Policy Exchange as he was ‘Unable to Attend’.

In January 2015 BHH declined an invitation from Reform to attend the International Crime and Policing Conference, reason not shown.

I also noted that at least one senior member of Police Staff is declining ALL invitations from the Chemistry Club, no idea what the story is there but good on him.
Reform Think Tank continue to show just how independent they can be with these two tweets last week

 

Returning to Police and Crime Commissioners and Lord Wasserman as I promised to, Policy Exchange claim to have come up with the idea of them. The BBC gives Lord Wasserman the credit for being the mastermind. They can’t both be right. Was Lord Wasserman connected with Policy Exchange in some way at some time? If so what is Bernard Hogan-Who doing having dinner with him? I was always told that politics and Policing should not mix, but BHH seems to manage it.

Finally, a quick look at the some of the Trustees of this Charity;

Additionally Edward Heathcoat Amory is/was a journalist for the Daily Mail, and at least one if not more is a non-executive director at Dept of Education.

Charitable Status? And all that means. It’s about time someone with enough resources challenged that status, it gives charities a bad name.

Congratulations

Rather belated I know, but I would like to offer Daniel Finkelstein (or should that be Lord Daniel Finkelstein?) my most sincere congratulations, and I mean this from the heart of my bottom.

Having graduated from London School of Economics he started his political career with the Social Democrats in 1981 (well, someone had to), and managed to stick with them till 1990.

Before working for the Conservative Party, Daniel Finkelstein was Director of the think tank the Social Market Foundation for three years. During his period with the SMF the organisation brought New York police commissioner Bill Bratton to London.  Bill Bratton in London? That sounds familiar somehow. Must try and remember where else I’ve heard that.

Between 1995 and 1997 Finkelstein was Director of the Conservative Research Department and in that capacity advised Prime Minister John Major, and attended meetings of the Cabinet when it sat in political session. Finkelstein became among the earliest advocates of the ‘modernisation’ of the Conservative Party, laying out the principles of change in a series of Times columns and speeches.

Between 1997 and 2001 he was political adviser to the Leader of the Opposition William Hague, and, together with George Osborne, Secretary to the Shadow Cabinet.

In the 2001 election Finkelstein was the unsuccessful Conservative parliamentary candidate in Harrow West.

Finkelstein joined The Times in August 2001 as part of the leader writing team and was Comment Editor from March 2004 – June 2008. He became Chief Leader Writer in June 2008. He began The Times blog Comment Central in September 2006. He is also a regular columnist in The Jewish Chronicle. His weekly football statistics column, the Fink Tank, began in 2002 and runs in The Times on Saturdays.

In 2011 he became chairman of that hugely popular and successful think tank, Policy Exchange, a fact which has been woefully under-reported of late.  PX Director Neil O’Brien  commented as follows on (then) Mr Finkelstein’s appointment to PX; “We are delighted that a person of Daniel Finkelstein’s intellectual capacity, detailed policy knowledge and wide ranging political and media contacts, is joining Policy Exchange. It is an exciting time to be at Policy Exchange. Over the next four years all political parties will be looking for new, workable policy ideas across a range of issues. Charles Moore is one of the reasons why Policy Exchange is now the most influential think tank in the country.

Since Mr Finkelstein took the reins at PX their publications have included some sterling work on subjects such as;

  • Capping Welfare
  • Prison Reforms
  • Social Work reforms
  • ‘Smart’ Policing
  • A Roadmap for Better Public Services
  • Reforming the Crown Prosecution Service
  • Policing in 2020
  • Competitive Integration in the NHS (whatever that is)
  • Electronic ‘Tagging’
  • Reform of Pay in the Public Sector
  • Gay Marriage
  • Police Pensions (affordability of)
  • Fracking

And many, many more.

No wonder then that Policy Exchange have attained the status they currently enjoy, and quite right that their chairman should be honoured in this way.

Daniel Finkelstein, appointed to the House of Lords, recommended by whoever recommends these things.

Well Done Lord Finkelstein.

PS

my thanks to Wiki and PX for most of the info here

Our Well-Respected Peers of the Realm

Is it just me who thinks that Peers of the Realm should be above reproach?  Should they not lead lives, personal and professional, devoid of controversy, ethical and moral. Upright citizens, a role model to us all?  Isn’t that how it should be? Except for Lord Prescott who is a roll model.

And then I saw this Tweet;

@TimesCrime  Lord Reid, former Home Sec, has joined the board of the crome and security consultancy @crestadvisory

I haven’t got a clue what crome refers to, but I know about Crest Advisory.

According to their own bio on Twitter;

Crest Advisory provides robust, independent advice to PCCs, criminal justice agencies, professionals and the security sector.

And that is the beginning of my problem.

Robust, independent advice to PCCs, that’s where it all starts to unravel in my tiny mind.

John Reid, Director, G4S Regional Management (UK & Ireland) Limited
John Reid, or Lord Reid of Cardowan, as he prefers to be known, joined G4S in 2009, having previously been Tony Blair’s Home Secretary and Secretaries of State for Health and Defence. The £50,000 a year it is giving the New Labour hard man quickly paid off for G4S as it landed a multi-million pound, four-year contract to supply private security guards for around 200 Ministry of Defence and military sites across the UK just three months after it took him on. Since then he has been diligent in ensuring the hi-tech security used by his employers is a feature of parliamentary debates whenever possible.

Also involved in G4S is one Lord Condon;

Paul Condon, Senior independent director, Non-executive director Ex-copper Condon, now Lord Condon to his friends, has earned his G4S stripes with the company’s move into policing. The former Chief Constable of Kent and Commissioner at the Metropolitan Police‘s advice and contact book will have been the subject of Buckles and co.’s attention recently. Condon has also worked at the British Security Industry Association and the International Cricket Council‘s anti-corruption unit. According to the G4S annual report, he has a “particular focus on the group’s involvement with sporting events” for the company. And if the potential for conflicts of interest weren’t already strong enough, in addition to the G4S grind, Condon currently spends his time as an advisory board member of Vidient Systems, a provider of “video analysis solutions for security, safety, and business intelligence applications” and is the Deputy Lord Lieutenant for Kent.

G4S earnings: £125,000 a year.
Shares: 2,000

So, what do you, my reader, reckon?  Are PCCs likely to get robust, independent advice from Crest Advisory?

Another, less well advertised, appointment to Crest Advisory was this one;

New Associate: Gordon Scobbie
May 3, 2013 Gavin Expert view, Policy insight, Profile raising (0)

We are delighted that Gordon Scobbie joins us as Associate today. Over the past few months clients have been asking us about how to use social media and technology to connect with the communities they serve. Gordon has joined us to bring the expertise we need to help clients make this connection. Gordon is an experienced leader and innovator with almost 33 years of experience in policing, criminal justice and partnership working.  He has a strong track record of delivering performance in operational and executive roles, supported by an academic background at Masters level and a career long commitment to continuous professional development. He has a passion for leadership, as well as a commitment to developing others through coaching, mentoring and acting as a supportive role model. He has been an innovator throughout his career, recently holding two national portfolios in policing at the executive level where innovation is pivotal to delivering successful outcomes.  Since 2009 Gordon has been the national police executive lead for social media and digital engagement as well as sitting on the ACPO ‘Policing Futures’ Board, with a particular focus on technology and innovation in policing.

Gordon Scobbie should be quite well known to most Twitter users reading this post.

Crest Advisory is the business of one Gavin Lockhart-Mirams.

Never heard of him? Neither had I.

Crest was established in 2011 by Gavin Lockhart-Mirams, who was a special adviser on home affairs to David Cameron in Downing Street for the first year of the Coalition government, though he was usually known then as plain Gavin Lockhart.

Before that, from 2009 to 2010,  Lockhart-Mirams was “the Conservative Party’s in-house expert responsible for supporting the development of the criminal justice reform programme”.

And further back, from 2006-2009, he worked for Policy Exchange, the think tank which was largely responsible for the PCC policy, where he was head of the Crime and Justice Unit.

From Policy Exchange to Conservative HQ, to Downing Street, and now private consultancy, all within four years.

I’ll ask again, Are PCCs likely to get robust, independent advice from Crest Advisory?  I have absolutely no idea. I hope they do, but fear that they might not. There are some very familiar names above, but not necessarily in the context we expect.

A Warm Hello to Everybody at Policy Exchange

Hi there, we don’t actually know each other but I know you’ve read at least some of my blogs.  I know these things because I get the logs and I actually read them.  So I feel like we’re almost friends now.

You’re in good company, some of my blogs have been read by A4e, G4S, a certain London law firm and even the Houses of Parliament.

So I’d just like to thank you for reading, you keep doing what you do and I’ll keep doing what I do.

Until the next time, adios

There’s No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

With thanks to one of our number for suggesting the title of this blog.

I made myself a promise that I wouldn’t keep harping on about Think Tanks, but I’m afraid it didn’t last very long.  Please accept my apologies.

It has come to my attention that certain Police Officers and Local Government Officials allied to the Police,  Mayor’s  Office For Policing and Crime for example, have been partaking of dinners free of charge as guests of certain Think Tanks.

Now I am in no-way suggesting that these officers and officials haven’t prroperly recorded these dinners in the relevant Hospitality Registers, because indeed they have, I have seen the entries for myself.  My issue with this is two-fold.

Firstly, as most Think Tanks register themselves as Charities is this morally appropriate?  I know what my idea of a charity is and Think Tanks do not fulfill that role.

The Oxford English Dictionary defies Charity like this

  • an organization set up to provide help and raise money for those in need: the charity provides practical help for homeless people
  • [mass noun] the body of organizations viewed collectively as the object of fundraising or of donations: the proceeds of the sale will go to charity
  • 2 [mass noun] the voluntary giving of help, typically in the form of money, to those in need: the care of the poor must not be left to private charity
  • help or money given to those in need: an unemployed teacher living on charity
  • 3 [mass noun] kindness and tolerance in judging others: she found it hard to look on her mother with much charity
  • archaic love of humankind, typically in a Christian context: faith, hope, and charity
    In which of these ways do Think Tanks operate??
    Personally I would be very uncomfortable if offered a meal from a ‘Charity’ whose status I wasn’t completely happy with, but fortunately the decision is not mine to make.  I do however remember, when I was a serving officer, that the rules said “Do not accept gratuities”.  Nothing too ambiguous there.  No dilemmas.
    Me?  I don’t know the answer, is there an answer?  I just don’t feel very comfortable with it.
    Secondly, and possibly far more sensitive, is the issue of fraternising with Think Tanks per se.
    It is well known that they are political animals.  They openly admit to offering guidance and advice on policy to government.  My belief is that Police and Politics should not and must not mix.  There are many policies being formulated and reformulated at the moment, some of them affecting the police.  Is it right that ACPO types, HMIC types, Local Govt types are sitting down having a lovely meal at the expense of Reform or Policy Exchange?  I know it happens, I have seen it recorded in Hospitality Registers.  How would Inspector have reacted if I told him once or twice a month that I’d been out for a free meal with a load of Think Tank types?  I don’t think he would have been particularly impressed.
    Is it possible to sit through a meal and not engage in conversation with your hosts?  In this particular instance that would undoubtedly involve something on the political radar.
    The 1st 2 sentences on Policy Exchange website say this;
    Policy Exchange is the UK’s leading think tank. As an educational charity our mission is to develop and promote new policy ideas which deliver better public services, a stronger society and a more dynamic economy.
    REFORM says this;
    Reform is an independent, charitable, non-party think tank whose mission is to set out a better way to deliver public services and economic prosperity.Our aim is to produce research of outstanding quality on the core issues of the economy, health, education and law and order and on the right balance between government and individual; and to communicate it to politicians and opinion formers in all parties and none in order to create a consensus for reform.
    The Centre For Policy Studies;
    The Centre for Policy Studies has a rich history. Established in 1974 by Sir Keith Joseph and Margaret Thatcher, it aimed to ‘think the unthinkable’ with regard to public policy.
    These are but a few of the myriad Think Tanks that currently abound.  Given the quoted aims and raison d’etres above I ask you thisIs it appropriate for Senior Police Officers (or ANY Police Officer for that matter) or Local Government official to be accepting gratuities from such a body?I don’t know the answer.  I have an opinion, but I’m hoping someone will give me the answer.Police, Local Government or Think Tank, please leave your answers in the Comments section for all to view.  Anonymous is fine, I’m just seeking the answer.  Let us know, let’s have this debate, it’s long overdue in some folk’s eyes.

What On Earth Is Going On Here?

The time has come, the walrus said, to speak of many things……

Well, this old walrus is only going to speak about one thing today, and it’s something that is bothering me, but fear not, the truth is out there somewhere.  I may have missed this, you may all know about it.  I didn’t know about it until one of our number sent me a document which enlightened me.  This document (dated in May this year) is not yet in the public domain as far as I know.  I have Googled it several ways but come up empty.  What I have been able to do though is identify other information and anecdotal evidence which IS in the public domain that tends to confirm the information contained within this document.  Needless to say I have already submitted a FOI request in an attempt to flush out this document or the information contained within it.

The facts of the matter are these:-

  • In 2005 Cheshire Constabulary entered into a PFI agreement with a private consortium to supply Custody Services and certain Transport functions e.g. transporting prisoners to/from Custody.
  • Said consortium built 3 Custody Centres at Chester, Middlewich and Runcorn
  • This contract was to run for 25 or 30 years, dependent upon which document you read, but the difference is actually irrelevant
  • In early 2006 the 3 Custody Centres opened for business and a number of Police Staff were TUPEd across to the new consortium.
  • The private consortium not only built the Custody Centres but they supplied everything including, apparently,  doctors and nurses.
  • Written into the contract was a provision for reviewing the arrangements at 5 yearly intervals.
  • In May 2009 the contract was terminated by mutual agreement.
  • The system was generally thought to work quite well by those on the ground, and some elements of it seem to have been quite popular.
  • The 3 Custody Centres were subsequently bought by Cheshire Police Authority and the 53 civilian Custody staff were TUPEd back and became Police Staff, although some were subsequently made redundant as a cost-cutting measure.

So far you are probably thinking “What’s he making a fuss about?  Nothing wrong with trying something and then putting it back the way it was”

You may be right.  This old walrus may well be over-reacting, but I’ll tell you what I don’t like about this experience and what has left me worried about similar privatisations in the future.

  • The private consortium referred to above was GSL or Global Solutions Limited.
  • Global Solutions Limited was part of Group 4
  • Group 4 became G4S
  • The reasons that the contract was terminated early included GSL’s inability to deliver all of the services that they were contracted to deliver and GSL were not making any/enough money out of the deal.
  • Cheshire Police Federation knew of this situation
  • Unison knew of this situation
  • On 21st January 2008 Policy Exchange published a document entitled Footing The Bill:Reforming The Police Service.
  • On page 36 of their report it says this “GSL has delivered custody services in Cheshire, replacing 11 outdated city centre stations with three new custody suites.  GSL was required to reduce the length of time taken to arrest a suspect. Cheshire police authority also made getting more officers on the beat an explicit goal of using privately run custody centres. GSL was able to deliver on both counts: using specialised software to deploy police vans more efficiently it has saved time and human resources.”
  • This report was authored at a time when it must have been clear to all that GSL were actually failing to deliver.

Those are the facts as best as I can establish them at the moment.

I have submitted a request to Cheshire Police under the #FOI asking these questions

In 2005 Cheshire Police took a decision to outsource their Custody functions to a private company. Subsequently, some or all of those functions were brought back in-house.

Could you please supply me with copies of all of the documents which show the reasons why those functions were originally outsourced, and exactly which services were outsourced?

Could you further supply me with copies of all of the documents which show the reasons why those functions were subsequently brought back in-house.

Finally could you please supply with the identities of all private companies that provided Custody services during that time that they were outsourced?

I doubt I’ll get an answer but there is sufficient information out there to confirm the experience.

The Policy Exchange report also contains the following recommendation which I can’t say I actually disagree with “To extract the full benefits from outsourcing and private partnerships, contracts need to be short term, flexible, accountable through key performance indicators and possibly multi-sourced. The NPIA should, through consultation with financial and consulting services experts, establish a training programme that would ensure police forces are prepared to get the best possible terms from private partnership contracts. Implementing successful outsourcing requires well  trained procurement staff who can deliver top-quality performance. That means investment in procurement and contract management skills.”   What is sad about this is that this advice seems to have gone unheeded.  Lincolnshire Police are locked into a 10 year contract with G4S.  10 years seems like a long time to me, and no mention has been made that I have heard about Review periods for the contract.

All of this has left me with the following questions

  1. Why has Cheshire Police Federation not brought this to public attention in the light of current events?
  2. Why has Unison not brought this to public attention?
  3. G4S under the guise of GSL have previously dabbled a toe in privatisation on the small scale.  They failed.  Why now are they deemed to be an appropriate body to enter into privatisation of police functions on a much larger scale?
  4. Why did Policy Exchange endorse the scheme when it should have been obvious that it was failing?

Finally I will leave you with one last question

Please feel free to enter into this debate by leaving your comments below.  If there is a debate to be had let’s have it.  If this retired and angry old walrus has over-reacted please let me know that too.  One thing is for certain, experience has shown that privatisation of police functions CAN be reversed but I suspect that it is not easy, and probably not a cheap process in the short-term.  We have always suspected that there was no profit to be made by a private company in privatising the police. GSL seems to have demonstrated that quite clearly, but G4S, once again, think they know better and will make it work.  What do you think?

Some Quick Updates

Firstly the Warwickshire/G4S Poll results, as at 10:00 today they stood at this (just click on the image to enlarge it)

Still not too late to vote, you can have your say here

Secondly, the Queen’s Half Hour, a subject I know is close to all your hearts.

I have now had a reply of some kind or another from every Force in England and Wales with the notable exception of CUMBRIA.  Let’s name and shame them.  For their information I have now requested a review of their handling of my request because I feel that it has been disgraceful and contemptuous.

15 Forces refused to answer the request quoting cost as their reason for issuing the Refusal Notice.

6 Forces stated that the information was Unavailable for a variety of reasons.

The remaining 27 offered a complete or partial answer sufficient to make some reasonable estimates from.

Based solely on the 27 positive responses the number of (recorded) man-hours that went unpaid last year was nearly 315,000.  Where no precise monetary value has been applied I have used a figure of £15 per hour, but this obviously does not take into account any enhancements that may have been payable.  My best estimate for the monetary value of the unpaid overtime based on returns by just 27 Forces (slightly over half) was £5,094,089.  A realistic estimate including Constables, Sergeants and enhancements is probably not far away from £10,000,000

So now we know the true value of the Queen’s Half Hour.

Finally, I am absolutely gobsmacked to see that The 4 Horsemen of The Apocalype has now been viewed (10:45 today) no fewer than 712 times in 15 different countries around the world.  Let’s just hope that the message gets out that Blair Gibbs and his think tank, Policy Exchange are going to attract some flak if they continue to behave with such appalling arrogance and disregard.

I thank you all for taking the time to read my blogs

The 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse

I am grateful to @Shabster66 for bringing this Tweet to my attention:- @Blair_Gibbs: #FF for my talented team @RoryGeo @Edwardmjboyd @kmsosa – together aka ‘Four Horsemen of the #PoliceReform Apocalypse’

Those of you who have got to know me over the past few weeks and months can probably imagine the effect this Tweet had on me whenI saw it.  Apoplectic if not Apocalyptic.  If that isn’t designed to be confrontational and to wind up the Bobby on the Beat then I don’t know what is.  As you may have guessed I Retweeted it with a certain amount of sarcasm and venom, so that you could all see it rather than because I agree with it.  And the I got to thinking,  this could be today’s blog.

So what do we know about the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?  How do they fit in with Police Reform?

Some folk would have it that the Four Horsemen are the most powerful entities in the entire universe, more powerful than any monster, Ghost, Demon or Pagan Deity and even more powerful than most Angels.  Does that sound like Blair Gibbs and the Policy Exchange?  Presumably Mr Gibbs thinks it does.

The 4 Horsemen, according to my good old friend Wikipedia, modernly represent Conquest, War, Famine and Death.

So let’s look at them one by one.

The 1st Horseman, Conquest.  Presumably Blair Gibbs and his team already think that the battle is won and he has been victorious in his Conquest of the Old Guard, Police Reform is assured.  The name could also be construed as “Victory,” as per the translation found in the Jerusalem Bible (the Greek words are derived from the verb νικάω, to conquer or vanquish). He carries a bow, and wears a victor’s crown.

The 2nd Horseman, is War, or mass slaughterWell, there’s a wholesale slaughtering of the Police Service on the agenda, so I guess that fit’s in quite well with the Policy Exchange’s vision of the future shape of the Police and his Reform Agenda.  The rider of this horse is dressed and red, carrying a large sword, suggesting that blood is about to be shed.  Mind you, if Mr Gibbs thinks that the war has been won I think he has seriously underestimated public opinion.  More and more people are slowly becoming aware of the potential (and real) consequences of this reform and are beginning to question it.

The 3rd Horseman is Famine.  He rides a black horse and carries a set of scales, but I don’t think he’s meant to be a drug dealer.  Well, Famine could be quite apt if the promised reforms go through with officers’ take home pay in danger of being cut.  In my service there were Police Officers on Benefits and I don’t want to see that again.  This Horseman is the only one that is heard to speak, and said “and see that thou hurt not the oil and the wine“, well you wouldn’t want to kill those two off, the government gets too much tax out of oil and wine to want to see it killed off.

And finally, the 4th Horseman is Death.  Well we’re about to witness the death of the Police Service as we know it if the reformers and the Think Tanks get their way..  This Horseman is commonly depicted carrying a scythe like the Grim Reaper.

I have a sense of humour, not everyone appreciates it, but it’s there.  I didn’t however see the funny side of Blair Gibbs’ Tweet.  But now I can see that #PoliceReform will be Apocalyptic and that the 4 Horsemen are obviously gathering, ready to sweep it through, in the full belief, I assume, that they are the 4 most powerful people in the #PoliceReform process.  I don’t know, it’s just my interpretation of a rather inflammatory Tweet.  Feel free to contribute your own interpretations below.