Thursday, 21 October 2010
So, how is Oberon (King of the Fairies, geddit!) proposing to deal with the CSR. There seems to be relief that we are only going to take a 20% cut in funding rather than 25%. Oberon has sent a letter to all senior managers in the force setting out his vision as to how this money is going to be saved. He is adamant that front line officer numbers will be preserved. This would be good but we have experience of how the figures can be manipulated and front line officers may be redefined if necessary. This is what he proposes. Worth noting as it will come your way too:
1. Less bureaucracy in crime recording. (This means that the police staff that record crime reports over the phone and the police staff and officers that allocate crimes for investigation will be merged and centralised.)
2. A changing culture of value for money. We have got to learn to do even more with less. (Sounds great, but what does it mean? The pot has been squeezed for years. With regard to officers, there is little if anything left.)
3. Further cuts in leadership numbers, administrative support and support services. (This is good but is unlikely to go far enough. The Force has almost trebled its police staff over the last ten years. Senior police staff have been allowed to build empires and grow their salaries and importance to ridiculous levels. To date we have seen nowhere near enough culling of these parasites who cause officers more work than they save. I have previously questioned the value of PCSO's. There are some very good ones, but the majority really deliver very little.)
4. Changes to the pay and rewards for both officers and staff. (This clearly means that the Government pay review has already decided that the rewards that officers receive for short notice shift changes, Bank Holidays and Rest Days will be changed. We may even see salaries for all officers with little or no reward for working extra hours, Bank Holidays and shift changes. This could be a disaster as officers will become unavailable when needed. There will be little incentive for managers to plan ahead and as officers are disrupted more and more for no reward, morale and productivity will fall.)
5. More collaboration with partners and other Forces. (Force collaboration and mergers are inevitable as budgets are cut. Will this provide a more effective service for less or just larger, faceless, depersonalised organisations providing a very basic one. Partners also face cuts and will withdraw services leaving the police with the gaps to fill sorting out the social problems of society that will inevitably come our way. Increased unemployment, cuts in benefits and other fiscal measures will undoubtedly mean increased crime levels and demand. And don't forget the revolving door justice system will get worse as fewer offenders than ever go to prison.)
6. Reduction in Operational Support such as intelligence, crime and incident reports. ICT improvements. (Eight years ago we had seven intelligence units and now we have four. Clearly, this is going to be centralised and reduced to one or two teams. The problem with this is that, as we found with the reductions that have already taken place, local issues such as antisocial behaviour, that are important to residents are lost and the focus becomes the traditional police functions of car crime, drugs and burglary. This is where resources get directed and this will become worse with a centralised function.)
So five out of ten for Oberon. We shall see in due course how it all unfolds.
Does Nick Herbert fill you with confidence? Reforming offenders is absolutely necessary but how is that going to be achieved with 23% cuts in spending in his department?
Thursday, 14 October 2010
In July I ran this story about two Surrey senior officers who had been charged with corruption after apparently lying to avoid speeding fines and points. They were acquitted by the Courts but remained suspended from duty pending internal discipline proceedings. Everyone expected them to be sacked; especially as the Deputy Chief Constable was privately telling some people that he was going to personally see to it. Surprising then that this week both officers returned to work. The Force has sent an e-mail to everyone saying that both officers had apologised to the Chief Constable for any embarrassment they had caused and that was it.
A quick reminder that Superintendent Johnny Johncox was on his way to visit his girlfriend when he set of a speed camera. Apparently, he sent a report to his boss, Chief Superintendent Adrian Harper, saying that if he was on call and if he was travelling to HQ for an urgent meeting would he be exempted from the fine and points. Adrian Harper apparently got the report and exempted him. If this is true, Johncox never owned up to the fact that he was not going to HQ. In any case why was he exempted from speeding to attend a meeting?
Chief Superintendent Harper set off a speed camera going from his office at Reigate to Epsom. He told his boss, Assistant Chief Constable Ian Dyson, that he was the on call firearms officer and he was attending a meeting at Epsom. Ian Dyson exempted him from his fine and points. There was no meeting at Epsom that day and he added a meeting planner to his calender after the speeding offence to show to Ian Dyson. He was a regular visitor to Epsom station. He was a hands on manager and well liked by officers. He has been linked to a female officer at Epsom and so was possibly more hands on than he should have been. But whatever the truth, why was he ever exempted by the Assistant Chief Constable to attend a meeting?
Why have these officers returned to work without any discipline case? How many senior officers have been exempted from speeding fines and points to attend meetings by other senior officers? I think the public and the force deserve a full explanation.
Tuesday, 17 August 2010
There was an appalling article in the Telegraph the other day hitting out at police bonuses. Readers of the article, not familiar with police pay, could be forgiven for not understanding any of it, other than the overriding authors contention we are getting extra money for nothing.
By way of explanation, let me say that it was the last Government that introduced these different payments. They were not wanted by the police service in general. The Government didn't like all officers being paid the same and introduced two payments to tackle perceived poor performance and to reward front line and specialist skilled policing.
Competence Related Threshold Payments (CTRP) were introduced as part of our salary and were to be paid to around 90% of all officers that qualify. Only those officers at the top of their pay scale qualify, so it is in fact only paid to around 40% of officers The idea was that these performing got a further pay increment and those that were not, did not, and this would encourage poor performers to improve.
Special Priority Payments were introduced to reward those officers that were working on the front line or those that had specialist skills. This was the Governments attempt at introducing pay differentials for officers. The payments are made to 40% of officers and reward those working shifts, for example, and those whose skills need to be retained. The amounts can vary from around £1000 to £2500 per anum.
I understand the aims of the Government when these rewards were introduced. They are part of the police pay package and do not represent new money being paid to officers. To suggest police are getting some extra reward for doing their job is misleading. Some officers effectively got a pay rise and others did not.
The rewards that should, in my opinion, be reviewed are those paid to the Superintending Ranks. They get performance bonuses for meeting targets. The risk here is that senior officers, who have control of significant resources, are using those resources to get their bonus. You can argue that is the idea, but if the Divisional Commander has met his anti social behaviour target for the year but is failing on burglary, he or she may decide to ignore the continuing public concern regarding anti social behaviour and focus all resources on burglary so that they get their bonus. I guess the coalition Government will decide this is another good reason to have elected police 'commisioners.'
Saturday, 24 July 2010
Superintendent Johnny Johncox was caught by a speed camera and put a report in suggesting that he was attending an important meeting at HQ. His line manager, Chief Superintendent Adrian Harper, exempted him from any fine and points. It turns out, he was actually going to see his girlfriend.
Chief Superintendent Adrian Harper was also caught going through a speed camera. He claimed he was attending an important meeting at Epsom and was late. The person he was supposedly meeting at Epsom had no record of any such meeting and the meeting was put in Mr Harper's electronic diary after the date. Assistant Chief Constable Ian Dyson exempted Mr Harper from any fine and points on the basis that he was attending this important meeting.
A Court has decided that these officers have not committed any criminal offences. They remain suspended from duty and will undoubtedly face internal discipline proceedings. They are likely to be sacked.
Dismissal is a severe punishment, but I find it very intriguing that if we assumed their original excuses for speeding were correct, why were they ever given exemptions? I can assure you that junior officers would not be given an exemption for attending a meeting. It appears that the rules are different when you reach the dizzy heights of the senior officer's dining club. Next time you get done for speeding tell the police you were attending an important meeting. I am sure they will let you off too.
Monday, 19 July 2010
The new Government is focused on volunteering. This is seen as the way forward in all areas of society. It seems likely that in future all recruits to the police will first have to have been a Special for up to two years. I sincerely hope that along with this policy we improve the training for Specials.
I noticed this story on the web. A criminal is being chased, by police, in a stolen car. A Special sergeant is nearby and wants to get involved. Perhaps injudiciously, he does a three point turn in the road. The stolen car ploughs into the side of him seriously injuring the passenger in the police car. The IPCC supervise an investigation and the Special sergeant is prosecuted and fined, with costs, £1300 and banned from driving for 6 months.
If Mrs Miggins was manoeuvring in the road and a stolen car being driven at excessive speed crashed into her would she have been prosecuted? What happened to the driver of the stolen car? Was his punishment as severe as this? I have my doubts.
The loss of this mans licence might have cost him his paid job. If I was this Special sergeant, volunteering my services for free and doing the best I could with the training I had received and I lost my licence for 6 months and had to pay £1300, I think I would tell the police to stick their volunteering.
Saturday, 3 July 2010
Saturday, 19 June 2010
Like almost all police officers I have had to deliver death messages. Some stand out, particularly the young and unexpected ones. I remember calling round a ladies house on a Saturday afternoon. She answered the door with two young children running around excitedly as a policeman was on the doorstep. Her and her children's lives fell apart after I told them their husband/father was in the mortuary having just been wiped out by a drunk driver. There are others I recall, such as the parents of the 16 year old boy knocked off his bike and smashed to bits by a drunk driver who could barely stand up.
I haven't become the virtuous non drinking driver and I will have a couple of drinks when I go out but I absolutely support the recent report recommending that the drink drive limit is reduced from 80 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood to 50.
A few years ago now I worked in custody and had the opportunity to test myself on the drink drive machine. I could drink four pints of beer in about an hour and a half before I reached the limit. There is no way that I am safe to drive after four pints and I would have been a severe risk on the road. You lose between 7 and 13 micrograms of alcohol every hour. This means I could actually drink five pints in two hours and possibly pass the test.
Tuesday, 15 June 2010
Sunday, 13 June 2010
At the National Police Federation Conference in May the Federation produced figures showing how the additional investment in the police service made over the last 10 years has largely been in the form of police staff rather than officers.
Nationally, since 1999 there has been an average 16% increase in police officers. This compares with an average increase of 54% in police staff. Thousands of police staff have been introduced, not only to deal with additional legislative demands and bureaucracy, but also taking on roles that have been traditionally performed by police officers.
Some Forces have taken this change of staff mix to new levels. Surrey Police has been highlighted in this regard, as in 2007 they were the first police force to have more police staff than officers. They have since been followed by Northamptonshire and Wiltshire and others are catching up. In Surrey, since 2000, police officer numbers have decreased 260 from 2100 to 1840. Over the same period, police staff numbers have tripled from 760 to 2300.
These figures are quite astounding. We keep being told that police staff are being introduced as a cheaper alternative to expensive police officers. Like all Forces investment has been made in PCSO's. Surrey has about 240 PCSO's. If we take those away from the 1540 police staff increase that still leaves 1300 police staff replacing 260 police officers. There have been no savings here. Surrey could have increased by around 850 police officers instead of 1300 police staff.
Where are these 1300 additional police staff and what are they doing? I don't think anyone has the answer to that one. What I do know is that we have created whole departments and career paths for police staff. What benefits are they bringing to front line officers or are they simply putting more demands on officers to feed the self perpetuating bureaucratic machine that they belong to?
The Police Federation is advocating that there should be a broad review and evaluation of all these changes in workforce mix. There should be some standardisation of the roles that police staff and police officers perform. Why can one force ‘civilianise’ a role whereas another deems that it is only suitable for a police officer? What value are we getting from this huge increase in police staff? The public want more police officers on the streets.
Forces that have more police staff than officers have no resilience in their response and criminal investigation departments. At times of high demand within the Force or in order to provide mutual aid to other forces neither have the capacity or resilience to provide resources in the medium to long term. Even in the short term the gaps can only be covered by overtime, which the Government is demanding must be cut by 40% with no reduction in performance. Using proactive resources and/or neighbourhoods may be impossible as these officers are not being trained in the secondary skills to provide public order units, search teams etc.
Police officers generally join for a career in the Force. Their initial training is more expensive but that needs to be balanced against the costs of training police staff who have a much higher turnover and require some expensive bespoke training for their roles.
Crime has been falling in England and Wales since 1995, long before this huge increase in police staff. There are serious threats ahead for the police service. There are going to be budget cuts, potentially serious cuts; more unemployment, cuts in benefits and threats of civil unrest are likely over the next few years with rises in crime and disorder a reality combined with a reduction in staff/officers. A staff mix of more staff than officers may not be resilient enough to deal with these potential threats or indeed some other day to day threats and demands and the 2012 Olympics, whose estimated demand is 10 to 15,000 officers per day.
We need to review the current staff mix within those forces leading these changes to ensure that there is sufficient resilience to enable officers to be available for the demands we face. The so called value for money that police staff provide needs to be reassessed when it appears we are pouring money into new police staff posts and we have little idea what additional value they bring.
We need to ensure that we have the right number of sworn officers to enable us to be able to tackle the issues we may face supported by the right mix of police staff. We are at risk of becoming a police service run by police staff where the only contact police officers have with the public is dealing with confrontation.
Thursday, 3 June 2010
Why hadn't armed police arrived within five minutes and found and dispatched the offender?
So far not a peep of this. Apparently this time this tragedy is not our fault. Give it time and I am sure someone will decide it might be our fault after all. Let's get the IPCC to look at it. (See post below.) I am sure they will have some stupid advice for us.
Regards Inspector Gadgets call to arms on this issue, I am afraid he is sadly mistaken. Arming the police will not prevent incidents such as this occurring occasionally. Arming the police will ensure that betwen rare incidents such as Cumbria and Hungerford, dozens more people, including police officers, will be killed in firearms incidents. Arming the police will alienate us from the public. And if you gave some of my colleagues a gun I would have to resign as I know it is just a question of time before one of the idiots shoots me. Accidentally, I mean.
Wednesday, 2 June 2010
Sunday, 23 May 2010
Thursday, 13 May 2010
Sunday, 2 May 2010
Thursday, 22 April 2010
Is it me or am I reading more and more stories about illegal immigrants committing serious crimes in our country? Some are undoubtedly thrown out but many others are allowed to stay here. Our judicial system seems to be the only one in the world that takes any notice of the Human Rights Act and it appears that some seriously dangerous offenders are being allowed to stay here in case we breach their rights or they might suffer further punishment if they are returned from whence they came.
I don't think this was being considered by the authors of the legislation, or this. And this man should have have some of his body parts removed for his crimes. If you come from a culture where committing offences carries severe penalties why should you be allowed to come here and commit those offences and not be returned home to face the consequences? And if you want to kill yourself because you have been sent home is that our concern? We won't deport any illegal immigrants if they all try that little wheeze.
This country is going mad.
Sunday, 11 April 2010
Friday, 2 April 2010
Atkinson is a professional who is paid to analyse what is happening to our children. We should listen to her and the other experts whose views are based on science, not raw emotion. She has seen that our penal system is designed to protect the public and has no real investment in changing people. So when victim support groups get incandescent at the cost of keeping young offenders in secure units, I agree with them. Some £200,000 a year is too much to spend if public protection is the only outcome and the child receives no intensive rehabilitation.'
Wednesday, 24 March 2010
Saturday, 13 March 2010
Sunday, 7 March 2010
Monday, 22 February 2010
Sunday, 14 February 2010
I have touched on this subject before and it links very much to the Edlington case and other similar cases.
I am convinced that the major factor in the breakdown of our society and recidivism rates in this country is the woolly liberals, (small l) who cannot seem to grasp the fact that poor behaviour MUST result in negative consequences. If you have not read the Winston Smith Blog, I commend it to you. The blog vividly portrays life in children’s services and young peoples care homes. This in one area where the liberals have been allowed to take over, unimpeded by the press and public opinion. Once you have read a few of Winston Smith’s accounts, ask yourself; is it any wonder that two thirds of children in the social care system are involved in drugs, have serious criminal records and nearly half of those end up in prison?
The liberals have almost taken over the education system and likewise we have a huge swathe of young people in various ineffective projects outside of school or in school dragging it down to the detriment of those that wish to learn. The present Government has great difficulty understanding the differences and the perceived inequalities of private and state education. We are constantly being told that it is unfair that some can pay to get a better education than others. The reason most people send their children to private school is to get them away from the poor influences that infest the state sector and lower the educational achievement of most pupils. Private schools do not tolerate poor behaviour and address it far more effectively than the state sector. The liberals have ensured that there are only ineffective consequences in the state sector and so this spiral continues.
The liberals have taken over a large section of law and order and the same applies here. The murderous James Moore received numerous Court Orders and I know from my own experience that he will have had lots of nice chats about his behaviour and how he needs to change. But not one of those chats would have said you must not do this or if you do something bad will happen. That would be far too oppressive and so his poor behaviour NEVER resulted in negative consequences and he went on to murder an innocent young boy.
I am a great believer in the Supernanny school of life. If you have ever watched one of those programmes you will have seen that there are badly behaved children and there are always reasons why. Usually it is because the parents are ineffective. There are often other factors involved that need to be addressed. The first thing that Supernanny does is set the rules. If the rules are broken there are negative consequences. The work to address parenting or other issues then starts but always, always, the rules are set first and if they are broken there are consequences.
I am not suggesting that children or offenders are flogged or imprisoned at the drop of a hat. I totally accept that work needs to take place to address the problems of the individual or family but this must always follow the negative consequences. If we ignore consequences we are wasting our time with the good work and reinforcing a society where people feel they can behave as they wish regardless of others.
We have got to win back this argument and ensure that the woolly liberals infesting education, children’s services, the Youth Offending Team and Probation are thrown out or re-educated. Their behaviour is also appalling and they need to understand that consequences exist and apply to them also. We are all guilty of allowing this to happen.
Monday, 8 February 2010
Saturday, 6 February 2010
James Moore Murderer ..................Joseph Lappin Victim
Sunday, 24 January 2010
Thursday, 21 January 2010
Secondly, because of the above, the justice system to the persistent offender is a joke. Go and spend a day in the courts and look at the staff hiding behind a protective screen while the offenders strut around swearing and intimidating everyone. Watch them leave the court laughing at the system and stating they have ‘got away with it’ because they got a fine or supervision order. The only penalty that persistent offenders actually believe to be a punishment is prison and we should not forget that and use it appropriately.
Thirdly, prisons are schools of crime and ineffective in reforming offenders because of a lack of resources, in prison, and motivation for offenders to reform. Let us have separate prisons for those sentenced to prison for the first time. Let us link early release to achievement in education and workplace training. It is obscene that we send people who cannot read or write to prison for 6 months or more and they still cannot read and write when they are released.
Fourthly, and possibly most important, prison works because it stops people offending. A burglar or car thief cannot commit offences when they are in prison and we must not forget that means thousands less people waking up in the morning to find their car broken into or stolen or coming home from work and finding their house broken into. I wish as much consideration were given to these victims as is given to the persistent offenders.
Thursday, 14 January 2010
Sunday, 10 January 2010
When you look at the figures, at first glance they may have a point. Proportionately more VEM officers are dismissed and face discipline charges than white officers. There is a lot more to this however. I have worked locally with the BPA and this is what we found.
If we first look at recruiting, many VEM officers join the police in exactly the same way as their white counterparts, but approximately 30% do not meet the standard to pass the assessment centre and receive extra help to try and pass this. It seems inevitable that if we are recruiting a significant number of VEM officers who need extra help to meet the basic assessment requirements of the service, proportionately more of them are likely to fail as officers and end up being dispensed with under Regulation 13 as unfit for the role of constable.
With regard to misconduct, some of the above also applies, but more significantly, cultural issues play a part in the discipline cases of VEM officers and particularly Asian officers. Those officers come from a cultural background where the family has significant importance and influence over individuals. The majority of Asian officers are disciplined for abuse of police computer systems. They are put under pressure to carry out unlawful checks on police systems by friends or family. This has been recognised and Asian officers receive additional guidance and advice regarding the risks and pressures. The BPA has acknowledged this and is also trying to help address this problem.
Family pressures may mitigate some of these officers discipline cases but abuse of police computer systems and the imparting of information gained by that abuse is a serious matter that cannot be ignored. This would simply be turning a blind eye to corrupt practice and put officers and informants etc. at risk.
I have no doubt that there will be examples of cases where VEM officers have been treated differently to white colleagues but we have not found this to be the case in my own Force.
Turning to promotion, this is a more difficult area. We had the case recently of the Met number three Tarique Ghaffur accusing Sir Ian Blair of being racist as he would not promote him. I do not know Ghaffur or his capabilities but his accusations tell me something about him and I am not sure he would ever be fit to run the Metropolitan Police service. I am no fan of Blair, but one thing I do know is that he is no racist and did more for promoting equality in the police than anyone.
We all have a ceiling in our careers and throwing in the race card every time you don’t get a promotion is a dangerous game and not one I would support unless a candidate has obvious qualities that are being overlooked.
The BPA on the other hand back the likes of Ali Dizaei who is once again facing corruption charges, and who is a complete charlatan who has used and abused his ethnicity to achieve the rank that he already has. Time and again he has said promote me or you are racist and senior officers, frightened to death that their own careers will be ruined by being branded racists, have done just that. The BPA does itself a complete disservice backing the likes of Dizaei and should distance themselves from him immediately.
Now, before I am accused of being a white supremacist who is obviously racist and in denial of racism in the service; let me say that I am not naïve and of course there are racists in the police service. As someone famous once said “The police are the public and the public are the police.” We are the public before we join the police and there are racists out there. We do what we can to root them out before they join and during their entire service. There is more to be done but throwing around allegations such as the above does no one any good.