Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Police Cuts



Sorry about the picture but I thought it was a timely reminder when talking about cuts that some of our colleagues are facing real cuts on the front line.

Like many Forces, Utopia is reviewing itself and all sorts of projects are underway to cut police officer and police staff numbers. We are also bracing ourselves for further cuts when the public spending axe will undoubtedly start swinging next year.

I don’t know about your Force, but in Utopia police officer numbers are reducing steadily while police staff are increasing quite dramatically. We keep being told that police staff are better value and we can get more of them for less. We all seem to have been brainwashed now to accept this view.

I decided to look at the numbers and I would urge you to do the same in your Force. Over the last ten years we have lost 235 police officer posts but we have gained over 1500 police staff posts. Now I only got a C in Maths at ‘O’ Level, but even I can tell that for 1500 police staff I can get about 1000 police officers. So are police staff really good value for money?

Whilst reflecting on where we are spending money and where we might make savings I started to think about some of the beasts that have been created to oversee and manage the police service. If further money needs to be saved in future, is there scope to make it among the quango monsters that seem to be the tail wagging the dog? I have excluded the Home Office, for now, but this is where the big bucks are spent and where we should perhaps be focusing most of our scrutiny.

The National Police Improvement Agency (NPIA) was created in 2007. It employs 2327 staff and costs the taxpayer £700 million a year, enough to run two medium sized police forces. What do they actually deliver? They oversee some national products such as Airwave. (An expensive dogs mess!) In general it seems to be an expensive gravy train for lots of overpaid senior officers to provide advice, recommendations, support etc to Police forces that really takes us nowhere.

Look at some of the roles:
Peter Neyroud, Chief Constable and Chief Executive £195 K p.a. plus perks.
Angela O’Connor, Chief People Officer £145K p.a. plus perks
Richard Earland Chief Information Officer £160 K plus perks
Nice work if you can get it.

And some of the roles tell a tale about the pointless task that they perform:
Planning Dependency Manager £32-39 K p.a.
Transformation Change Analyst £43-53 K p.a.

I could go on but you get the picture. Would we miss it if it disappeared into the ether?

Next is Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary. Compared to the NPIA it is small fry. Home Office funded and only £12.34 million. But what do we actually get from the HMIC? They simply provide work for the bureaucratic machinery within each force, demanding statistics, reports, teams of officers preparing for inspections etc. Bugger off and leave us alone then we can save millions in bureaucracy and concentrate on the basics of policing and spend some money on filling the obvious gaps you so cleverly identify.

Next, the Independent Police Complaints Commission. £32 million at the last count. Is this value for money?

Finally, I wanted to mention ACPO, the Association of Chief Police Officers. Most people are under the impression that this is a staff association. It is not! There is a Chief Police Officer’s Staff Association. ACPO is a limited company funded by the Home Office to the tune of £15m last year and also by the Association of Police Authorities. Far from being an independent voice for the police service, it is a money making business funded to advise and influence but also to promulgate the views of the purse holders and masters. In bed with the NPIA; a very cosy nepotistic relationship providing lots of jobs for the boys and girls.

There is too much fat and too much overlap within all these organisations. When the public spending axe starts swinging next year I hope it cuts a swathe through these quangos and not within the Forces. As I first stated in this missive, left to the forces, they will cut front line staff rather than backroom police staff functions. God help us!

19 comments:

  1. Good grief! What sort of weapon did that?

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  2. Julia, I would imagine it was something as simple as a craft knife. I saw similar in a casualty unit caused by a `Stanley` type knife available in all good hardware stores - although, like paint thinners, they only sell them to folks over 18, so that's the shop's conscience clear. Had I come across this attack, I would have adjudged that lethal force would have been an appropriate response to prevent such a life-threatening act. One tiny snick of a jugular or femoral artery and it would have been all over for this officer. Headlines: "Armed Police Gun Down Teen With Tiny Knife" ?

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  3. I was thinking 'machete' or 'samurai sword', or something more exotic. Those wounds look so deep.

    No wonder body armour is becoming de rigeur even for paramedics...

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  4. I had no idea of all of those oversight agencies in your country. Yikes...

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  5. Britain is the Quango Capitol of the world. You make 'efficiency' savings by paying Mr Cholmondley-Warner £100K to identify two people making £25K who are surplus to requirements.

    That's neither hyperbole, nor a joke.

    Still, never mind about losing sworn constables. There's always plenty of 'P'CSOs - I mean, except at nights. Or weekends. Or during the school holidays.

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  6. Rogerborg, you forgot to mention the extensive powers of the PCSO's, so with your assumed blessing, I've added them here:-

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  7. To be fair "getting in out of their depth" closely followed by "calling a grown up for help" feature pretty heavily in their roster of superpowers.

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  8. HAHA.. Oh I love it.. a discussion between Hogday and Rogerborg just made my night/morning or whatever it is now.

    Oh yeah, if it's the picture that I'm thinking of that was a knife combat trained Police Constable who tried to tackle someone with nothing more than a small and very sharp knife.. and came out worse off. I've seen the originals of that from different angles and it's NOT PRETTY.. that's if it's the same PC/incident... and some of those cuts actually go down to bones but not visible in that picture thankfully.. as those pics are definitely NSFW (or for keeping your food down).

    I agree about the cuts etc. I may make a more indepth posting about this myself so as not to clutter up the comments any further.. ;-)

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  9. Rogerborg: Does the `power of deception` count?

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  10. .........Took me 4 days to come up with that one

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  11. HD,
    Took me four days to quit coming up with my breakfast after seeing that photo.
    Thats gonna leave a mark.

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  12. PG, yes its a grim picture. I don't think I'd have the balls to post a pic like that, but LTH made the point, the reality of small blades cannot be left to the imagination or the good folks of the UK who don't have to think about shit like this could come to the wrong conclusions when `knife-wielding` nutters got shot by police. And I'm pretty sure this was a `mere` craft/Stanley knife blade. To brutal to think about for too long. Sorry about the Cheerio's - in that case don't look at my article on the negligent shooting again, as I've changed the picture!

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  13. Waow, Horrible picture you post!
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  14. ...and then it's over to "Topless Darts" from Roehampton! Really, some mothers....

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  15. Hobbesy, usually a stalwart supporter of yours as you know but I dont see that picture as being necessary considering you're talking about financial cuts. Quite turned my stomach.

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  16. Stonham, when are you going to realise that nothing you say is of any relevance to the real world. Please go and crawl back under the stone you have come from.

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  17. Well said for this Blog...Those PCSO's are driving round in marked cars labelled POLICE in my area, yet they have futile powers and little sense to implement what they have. They Cannot even operate a blue light! So why have them parading around in vehicles with them on? They were a stupid idea from the outset. Policing on the cheap, yet at the cost of real bobbies...

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  18. Good - I am so glad the the taxpayer won't be having to pay for a wasteful Policeforce. Thames Valley, in my opinion being the worst. It takes 6 police officers, 1x sergent, 2x recovery drivers to stop a normal law abiding citizen who the minute the blue lights went stopped without restraint. Hope the Coppers stop getting easy ride, wasting taxpayers money, and claiming massive OT bills for 'easy jobs' simply to build up their points for bonuses!!

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