So Just When Will Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe Resign?

I’m sure you don’t need reminding that Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe is the ‘top cop’ in the land, the Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis, Big Cheese, Top Johnny. He is in charge.

Under his stewardship we have seen one of the biggest scandals to rock the Met for decades, (but by no means the only one, where do I start?).  The recording of Crime Statistics for Metropolitan Police District.

It has been known by almost everyone within the Met that Crime Figures have been fiddled, it has been going on for decades and quite probably since the very first year that numerical targets were first introduced.

The then Police Constable James Patrick (amongst others) gave evidence to the Public Administration Select Committee and they eventually reported back that crime figures were being manipulated.

Tom Winsor of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary admitted that the manipulation of crime figures was taking place. The UK Statistics Authority withdrew the Met’s gold standard national statistics status. Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, was forced to admit the numbers were being fiddled and said the issue was a cause for concern.

FOUR eminent authorities all admitting that Crime Stats were being fiddled.

So what happened next? Was it put right?  Is all OK now?

Personally I have no idea whether I can yet trust the Met’s Crime Stats.

What happened next is that Police Constable James Patrick was hounded out of his job for daring to speak up.

Bernard Jenkin, the chair of the parliamentary committee that investigated the manipulation of crime stats, said: “The most depressing part of our inquiry is the way in which the Metropolitan police have treated my constituent, PC James Patrick, who was our key witness.”

The Grauniad went so far as to report this;

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) made repeated attempts to silence a whistleblower who exposed the widespread manipulation of crime statistics, it has emerged.

Documents seen by the Guardian show that senior officers made three separate attempts to stop PC James Patrick speaking out over the course of less than five months.”

Not a very honourable course of conduct in my opinion.

We also have the sorry tale of the TSG6, also on Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe’s watch.  If you missed that story previously you can read the transcript here.

In the last few months two senior people have resigned from Tesco due to ‘an accounting error’.  First we had the Finance Director falling on his sword, and just this week the Chairman.

So isn’t it about time that someone from the Met fell on their ceremonial sword and resigned as a point of honour over the most dishonourable things that appear to have happened, not to mention ‘an accounting error’ i.e. the Crime Stats?

Anyone want to run a book on when this will happen?

Psssst….Met….How Happy Are You?

In a week which saw the Daily Fail pronounce that morale in the Police Service has never been so low, I thought I’d take a look.

The somewhat smaller print reveals that we are talking about Police Staff, but I’m sure Police Officers’ morale is not much better, however this study was based on a sample of only 3,335 people across the country.

70% of the staff surveyed  (from 999 call takers to detention officers and crime analysts) claimed that an increased workload is the main reason why they are stressed,

76% of them  have felt increasingly stressed over the last year.

Around 60% blamed job insecurity for their worries, with three quarters of those surveyed saying they have seen job cuts and redundancies in their area of work since 2010 (no surprises there then).

Almost two thirds (63%) said job cuts had hit morale, while 55% suffer from anxiety, 48% say they are demotivated and 47% suffer from insomnia.

Half had concerns about lack of support from management while 52% were worried about their pay and cost of living. A further 35% said they had a “bad” work-life balance.

I had a quick look at staff satisfaction surveys a while ago so I thought I’d take a look back myself, however, there’s so much data to plough through that I’m restricting my study to the Met, the largest single Police Force in the country.

The first thing that struck me was that having remained constant between 2007 and 2010, the questions were revised in 2011 and again in 2012, so I presume they’ll keep rewriting the questions till they get the answers they require.

There were some surprises though, to be honest, between 2007 and 2011

I am encouraged to share my ideas and suggestions has gone up from 50% to 63%

I am treated with fairness and respect has gone up from 55% to 63%.

In my team we build trust by listening and responding has gone down from 77% to 68%

In the new questions for 2011 there were some good, and some really bad responses;

I have confidence in the management team leading the organisation – 28%

I willingly do more than is normally required of me at work to help the organisation to be successful – 83%

I understand how I can contribute to the success of the organisation – 70%

I still intend to be working for the organisation in two years time – 71%

and strangely – I am optimistic about my own future here 37%

The organisation is good at retaining the right people – 16%

I get a sense of personal fulfilment from what I do – 66%

In the all new 2012 version there are some corkers

Taking everything into account, senior leaders in the MPS are doing a good job – 21%

I feel that decisions made by senior leaders in the MPS are based on true evaluation of what is best for the organisation and the communities we serve – 19%

I have trust in the senior leaders in the MPS to lead with integrity – 27%

If I contacted the MPS as a member of the public, I would be confident of receiving a good service – 34%

Processes for career development in the MPS are fair – 19%

There are many, many more psychobabble questions and answers and the responses, to be fair, are actually graded between Strongly Agree to Strongly Disagree, so the figures above only represent some sort of average.

I’m guessing from the latest published survey responses that the MPS SMT are rapidly thinking up some new questions as there are some big questions there that have had poor answers.

So, on the whole, I’d say that the Met is probably 4/10 happy, maybe 5 on a good day. Could do better.

The Hypocrisy Of Numbers

Numbers have been in my mind for many reasons recently, but at the end of the day, what are they worth? Do they really mean anything? Do they have any value?

The number of Police Officers in England and Wales.  We all know it’s falling, we all know why it’s falling. I have sais it before and I will keep saying it until someone ‘in the know’ gives me an answer.  Targets were set for each Force for their total manpower levels in 2015 as part of their ‘Austerity’ savings.  These numbers are recorded and published by HMIC they are publicly available. So why, oh why, have some Forces cut their numbers BELOW the agreed 2015 levels already? Why do they need to?  Why have they done it? What kind of Risk/Impact Assessment was done?

I have sat through far too many Tasking Meetings to think that Tasking Groups never massaged the figures.  In the main they were honestly led, good valid, tactical options were openly discussed and where resources and the budget permitted, operational strategies were drawn up to tackle the problems identified and drive the numbers down.  It is only later in life that I learn of the Bonus System for senior managers, and the cynical part of me now looks at all of those Tasking Meetings in a whole new light.  Bonuses have NO part to play in a Police Officer’s remuneration package, ANY RANK.. We also need to remember that successive Home Secretaries have been changing the Counting Rules on a seemingly Annual basis. How hypocritical is that to feign shock and disbelief, and only blaming the Police, when they should be blaming themselves as well.

The NHS (and they are by no means alone) have a handy set of numbers too.  The most important set is probably the one entitled Waiting List Times.  Don’t any of you think that list isn’t fiddled.  I have personally known patients waiting for surgery be sent an appointment to have their operation on Christmas Eve.  Who wants that?  So what happens?  You politely decline the appointment, ask for a new one, waiting list times change cos you are now a fresh patient at the bottom of the list again.  Need to make an appointment to see your GP for some routine matter, non-urgent.  “Can I make an appointment to see Dr Smith in 6 weeks time please, he/she wants to see me again?”  This will likely provoke a response something similar to “ No, sorry, we don’t have any appointments that far in advance, can you ring us back nearer the time and they will have been released onto our system”.  What this really means is “If I give you an appointment today for 6 weeks time you’ll show up as a statistic, one of our patients who hasn’t been given an appointment within x days, so sorry, no, you can’t have one”

And finally, I am indebted to one of my friends who shared this (you know who you are)



Now this is excellent, this is number-fudging par excellence on a grand scale.

Zero Hours Contracts, that’s a bit like No Man’s Land, neither employed nor unemployed, could be either depending upon circumstances, but a good enough wheeze to keep SOME people out of the Unemployed category.

Workfare – another great scheme by IBS.  Get people working in (frequently) menial positions in a strange effort to justify being paid Jobseekers Allowance, or whatever it’s called these days. If these jobs are actual vacancies within the company (or whatever) then let these people apply for them and be paid the going rate, THEN they can come off the Unemployed numbers. As it is Workfare is just Smoke and Mirrors and taking advantage of the Unemployed, many of whom actually want to work and hold down a worthwhile job, not just pitch up their local Charity Shop and have a ‘job’ ‘invented’ for them and get paid far less than the going rate.

JobSeekers Allowance Sanctions – that’s just another ruse to avoid paying paying people their Allowance and keep them off the books.  There are NUMEROUS examples of these sanctions apparently being applied unfairly. Apply sanctions when its warranted yes, but be honest and consistent with their application, stop fudging the figures.

Disabled on Unpaid Workfare – Well I didn’t even know this was happening, so I can’t really comment, but if it is happening Shame on You DWP.

Unemployment Benefit/JobSeekers Allowance/Sickness Benefit/Disability Benefit – how many times have governments of ALL colours and hues swapped people from one list to another just to juggle the books and make one set of figures look better than they truly are.  That’s where the true hypocrisy creeps in.  The Police have been condemned (with some justification) for fiddling their CrimeStats, but have government after government done with the Unemployed and Sick?  That’s another scandal that’s been going on for as long as I can remember.

Come on Dave, sort it out. Be the leader with a true Quest For Truth.  If you don’t like that option Opposition beckons next year, get used to it.