New Recruits - Are We Being Shortchanged?
I have said my bit about recruits salaries being cut and the Government somehow trying to sell the notion that this will improve the standard of recruits. Let there be no doubt that this is the Tories punishment of the police for perceived misdemeanours and will pave the way for privatisation of policing in the future.
Our wonderful Home Secretary, whose trademark seems to be a pair of Jimmy Choos, has enabled the new Police and Crime Commissioners to pay additional money to Chief Officers; up to 18% pay increases. Believe me, our Chief Officers do not need this carrot. They are already trampling over each other and sticking knives in each others back in order to clamber up the ladder. 'Kittens' now seems to have backtracked on her original view that the police did not need foreign police chiefs brought in to sort us out. She has decided to try and introduce legislation to allow foreigners to become Chief Officers.
The idea of the likes of Bill Bratton riding in on their charger and sorting out our criminal justice mess is a joke. When Bill took over as Police Chief in New York he recruited 5000 extra officers. He made sure the recruits were of a better calibre than those previously employed. He adopted a no nonsense approach to crime and stamped on organised crime and anti social behaviour. The difference is that here we are cutting police officer numbers, the American justice system supports that approach and the public supported the crackdown on anti social behaviour too.
When Bill Bratton has been here for a few months and realised that the British Justice system is just a revolving door for criminals: When he has been vilified in the press for bringing about the arrests of 'nice' middle class drunks and the offspring of hacks, you will see him heading back across the Atlantic with an almighty sideswipe at the Government. It could be a massive own goal for 'Kittens.'
There are some serious problems within the police service that have largely been brought about by the politicisation of police. Persistent Government tinkering and Police Chiefs falling all over themselves to bow to their whims has resulted in the situation we find ourselves.
We had 13 years of 'Nu Labour' who soaked up and embraced every piece of liberal advice and legislation emanating from Europe. The coalition Government have simply continued in the same vein.
Recruitment standards have been consistently lowered to meet politically correct quotas. We no longer have the authoritative figures required to deter, tackle and investigate crime in the manner that is required and expected by the public. Some officers are calling to be armed and bleat about the dangers of being single crewed. Hardly surprising when you need two or three officers to achieve what one used to be able to and when yobs treat the police with contempt knowing there is nothing the police can do and the justice system will completely fail to support them.
The office of constable is not overpaid but it is now filled with people who do not have the presence and, sometimes, other qualities required to fulfil the role. The introduction of PCSO's waters down the role of police officers and provides just another tier to be ridiculed by yobs and offenders. Tom Winsors notion of simply increasing academic qualifications will not change this. There are enough graduates in the job now. Almost all Chief Officers have degrees and they are apparently not good enough. Policing is all about common sense and academics are notoriously lacking in that department. These views will be seen as sexism, ageism, racism and many other ism's by the politically correct brigade and something that belongs in the past. Having retired, at least I can now express those views.
Chief Officers with Oxbridge degrees, like Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley, instead of fighting the corner for our policing are happy tell politicians it can all be done for less and with second rate staff. Keen to make a name for himself and climb the greasy pole he happily draws up plans to sell all our police stations and move officers into shopping centres or coffee shops. Behind the scenes, huge investments were made in 'communications' to try and sell lies to the public via the media and inappropriate relationships were built with the press, seriously affecting the reputation of the police.
Morale in the police has never been lower. Joining the police used to be a vocation. With cuts in officer numbers, political interference at all levels, managers dancing to politicians tunes, a target culture, a completely ineffective justice system and now, huge reductions in pay and pensions, the vast majority of officers have given up. They attend the 'office' on time and leave on time. Senior officers fail to grasp the meaning or outcome of this change.
The crass and spiteful way in which this Government are treating the police appears to be revenge for a few high profile police failures and actions against the likes of Andrew Mitchell. Their obsession with privatisation bringing about a cheaper more effective police is flawed. The police service needs improving, not destroying.