The Police Family is Dead

Last updated on October 11th, 2023 at 04:56 pm

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The Police Family is dead

The Police Family is Dead, Long Live the Police Family R.I.P.

WTF are you talking about? I hear you say.

In a way, the Police Family is still alive, but is it ‘alive and well’?

My Observations

For those still serving, I’m sure your ‘siblings’ are still there.  Your ‘brothers and sisters’ in blue, I’m sure, are still there and genuinely doing their very best to look out for each other and to ‘have your back’.  However your ‘Aunts and Uncles’ and ‘Mothers and Fathers’ are mainly MIA.

I know I’ve been out for a long time, but I’m still in touch with both former colleagues and a few serving officers, and when I compare their various experiences I no longer see many of the familiar facets of a Job I was proud to be a member of and thoroughly enjoyed 29 of my 30 years.

However, I have been particularly disturbed by 2 Tweets this week, from different officers, of different ranks in different Forces.

The first was this one

The second one that particularly disturbed me was this one;

The Police Family is Dead

I have wittered on before about Experience haemorrhaging from the Police Service and this is exactly that. 17 years in, and without giving away any details, treated absolutely appallingly by his Force, zero, or possibly even negative, support from the Force’s SMT and barely more from the Fed (or so I believe).

How it was

I can’t speak for other Forces (but maybe you can give me some anonymised examples) but the Met always used to ‘look after’ its troops.  By that I definitely do not mean square up complaints or look the other way, I’m talking about Welfare.  I can just about remember Welfare.  Maybe it had something to do with the size of the Met, but if you had serious family problems (and I don’t mean your Second Cousin) there were a variety of practical options that could be used, none of which you would find in any Handbook.

Your shifts could be altered to facilitate your needs, your Rest Days could be moved around, you could be granted Annual Leave or Compassionate Leave, and if all else failed you could be posted to the Chief Superintendent’s Patrol, and nobody would ever find you there.  For short-term problems your guvnor (officially or not) had the discretion/option of just sending you home for the remainder of your shift without needing to take Time Off.  To the best of my knowledge, none of my colleagues abused the options and overall it just worked, and one did feel like a member of a compassionate family.

I would be genuinely interested to hear if similar practices still survive.

Relationships

Finally, before I leave the topic, there is the utter devastation wrought on many (not all) officers’ families and domestic circumstances.

It is well known that a large number of Police Officers’ marriages fail, with all the carnage that that involves.  A lot of them fail because the officer has either left home for somebody else, or been OTS and got caught out.  I’m not talking about those.

The Police Service puts untold pressures on to all of the officers’ domestic arrangements.  Long and anti-social hours.  Totally unplanned overtime, frequently for several hours, Rest Days cancelled at short notice, absolute uncertainty of being able to plan Annual Leave, and the built up stresses arising from the nature of the jobs that had been dealt with that day.  Some officers choose to take that home and talk about it with their partner, some choose not to and bottle it up, and for some, the answer to everything was “Pub”.

The Job causes many of these problems but offers very little in the way of help and support in return.  On top of that Government cuts since 2010 have greatly inhibited Forces’ ability to support their officers in a meaningful way.

In all of those respects, the Police Family is dead.  RIP.

All of the above based on my own, out of date, experiences and observations.  If I’m wrong please comment below.  All views welcome.

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4 thoughts on “The Police Family is Dead”

  1. I thank you for your post and although reading it is hard, it rings absolutely true. What a sorrowful state we now find our Police ‘Service’ in. It does not really appear to be serving anyone properly any more. And with reference to Tristram’s comment above, I have lived in a country that is totally and openly corrupt, not only the police and I would hate to see that happen in the UK, but inevitably corruption will grow, I imagine we are already on the slippery slope.

  2. No-one of us can afford a police service in this state. Corruption is inevitable now. I have been working in corrupt countries for fifteen years now. They are really really bad.

    1. Not only do I agree, I have been saying similar for years. The Job worked hard and succeeded in cutting out the majority of corrupt[t practices. Not to suggest that ANY are acceptable. But cuts under the Conservatives have created an environment where it can rise from the ashes again.

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