Like other bloggers, I was pleased to hear Teresa May announce that the Policing Pledge and Public Confidence and Satisfaction targets were going and we would just be measured on crime levels.
I have said before that senior managers will fiddle the figures and focus resources to get quick results rather than work properly and ethically towards achieving real results. For example, in my quite small Force, we have 35 communications officers; and that is after we have just got rid of some following a review. Their job is to take every opportunity, internally and externally, to convince the public that crime is low and we are doing a good job. We also have 57 administrators in CID and another 35 working with the Neighbourhood Teams. Part of their job is to allocate tasks but a large part is to contact victims of crime and disorder and to convince them that we are doing our best to detect their crime, even if we do just detect 22% of them.
Why do we need 35 communications officers and 92 administrators? Because the ACPO team want to increase our levels of public confidence and satisfaction to meet targets and they have introduced a propaganda machine, that the North Koreans would be proud of, in order to achieve it, rather than do the job properly and invest in front line policing.
Our Chief Constable has announced to the Force that we are going to ignore Teresa May's wish to abandon the Policing Pledge and Public Confidence and Satisfaction targets. This is very worrying because, with the budget cuts coming, the next thing I can see the Chief doing is cutting police officers and keeping his propaganda machine. What we should be doing is cutting all these back room police staff roles that actually produce nothing tangible and in fact increase the bureaucracy that infests the police officers role, and concentrate on real policing.
I am all for being measured on levels of crime, but don't measure Forces own levels of recorded crime. We can think of a hundred and one ways to keep those down. Forces should be measured using the British Crime Survey, an independent survey they cannot influence other than by doing the job we should be doing, reducing crime and disorder in the short, medium and long term.