Saturday, 6 February 2010

Does Civilianisation Really Save Money?

Althea Loderick.........................Mark Rowley

Mark Rowley, Chief Constable of Surrey has recently taken over as the ACPO Lead for Futures. This appears to be fitting as Surrey like to believe they lead the way with regard to innovation and changing the way we police this country. Together with Althea Loderick of the National Police Improvement Agency a report has been produced suggesting that police Forces throughout the country should reduce the number of officers by around 28,000 and replace these officers with cheaper police staff. Mr Rowley believes that all forces should aim for a 50/50 balance of police officers and police staff. Surrey has more police staff than police officers!

At the same time the Home Office have announced that they want to see a £70 million reduction in the police overtime bill. The police may have to face cuts as the public spending axe starts swinging, but is this a sensible way to do it?

Mark Rowley joined Surrey Police in 2000. Referring to Police Authority reports, at this time Surrey had 2100 police officers and 760 police staff. Looking at the latest Police Authority report Surrey has 1845 police officers and 2335 police staff. So, over the last ten years Surrey has lost 255 police officers and gained 1575 police staff. Now, I don't have a Cambridge degree like Mr Rowley, but my 'O' level maths tells me that 1575 police staff cost an awful lot more than 255 police officers.

Mr Rowley would undoubtedly point out that Surrey has invested in new police staff such as PCSO's, Contact Centre staff etc. Being very generous this is still less than 500 staff. So even allowing for this 255 police officers have been replaced by over 1000 police staff. Police staff cost around two thirds of a police officer not a quarter and so Mr Rowley's argument does not hold up. If all Forces follow the Surrey model spending will increase.

In my own Force I have seen police staff replace police officers for the last 25 years. Initially this is on a one for one basis. Invariably though, I have then seen the police staff doubled or even whole departments spring up with supervisors and deputy supervisors etc. doing the job one or two police officers used to do. Why is this? My own view is that most of the 'desk jobs' were carried out by the longer serving officers. They knew the job and organisation inside out, knew how everything worked and were incredibly efficient. A member of police staff was brought in, they didn't know the organisation or how to get things done. Nor were they prepared to fore go breaks and work on if required. Invariably they went under with the workload and more staff had to be put in.

Another factor that seems to have escaped this report is that some long serving police officers have picked up injuries, disabilities or illnesses and are unable to undertake fully operational duties. Placing them in key roles that help the organisation function has been beneficial to the efficient running of the Force. Many Forces, including my own have 'civilianised' all these roles. The average Force has about 8% of officers who cannot perform fully operational duties. Forces are now at a loss as to what they are going to do with these officers. This is a tragic waste and is costing Forces dearly. They must either employ these officers effectively or ill health retire them, which will be very expensive.

Finally, if you pare your police officers to the bone you have no resilience in the force. When a number of unexpected murders occur or you have to police a number of critical incidents such as the flooding and foot and mouth outbreak in 2007, where do you draw in your extra police officers from? There will be none left.

Regarding overtime, I am sure that with prudence and budgeting some overtime spending can be cut. What people need to realise though is that most overtime is spent on proactive policing. Reductions in overtime spending will see a reduction in performance.

My message to Mark Rowley and Althea Loderick is this. Our job is policing. The focus should be on police officers. It cannot be right that we need one member of staff for every police officer. This is like saying the National Health Service needs a member of support staff for every doctor and nurse. Try reducing your police staff and increasing your police officer numbers back to 2100 Mr Rowley. That is how you will save money and get more policing done.


  1. Who on earth is going to listen to you - or anyone else who knows what they're talking about?

  2. The Job's Fucked07 February, 2010 20:19

    From personal experience .. I can assure you that Surrey Police couldn't find their own arses with both hands .. let alone provide a lead for other Forces ..

  3. Seems to me like most organisations in this mad bad new labour world the Police are a body of perfectly sane and reasonable human beings which have a cretinous leadership that dances to the tune of the state.

    New Labour have overseen the rise of the cretin to positions where they can do most damage. This comes clearer with each passing days as comical Ali, McBroon and the idiot Balls, who are of course all cretins, try to come across as something they ain't... human.

    Time to send for Mulder & Scully.

  4. They want Policing to fail, they want civil unrest.
    More civil unrest means more draconian police state powers.
    This is why they undermined parental and school discipline, promote 24 hr drinking, undermine the church, take fathers away from their children in secret family courts.

    Frankfurt Subversion

  5. It's almost as if Western Governments were undermining Western civilisation by design isn't it.

    Cultural Marxism


    More here

    Margaret Thatcher's senior Policy advisor
    Lord Monckton calls for arrests Pt 1 of 5

  6. The Job's Fucked08 February, 2010 09:41

    Anon @ 2010 ...

    I completely agree with you .. I can still remember the days when it was drummed into us that Police were and always had been "Apolitical" and I recall taking an oath to the effect that I would perform my Duty "without fear or favour .. malice or ill-will" ..

    The rot set in once those cretins busy having a career and climbing up the knives they'd plunged into the backs of others became aware that certain advantages could be gained by getting involved in politics ..

    Needless to say, this regrettable and reprehensible behaviour only applies to the upper echelons .. You know, the ones who are supposed to set an example and who demand as a "right" respect from the rank & file ...

    Senior "Management" ? ... I've shit 'em ...

  7. The Job's Fucked08 February, 2010 19:22

    Slightly off topic, I know, but ..

    Dizaei gets four years ... It should have been 24 years after the damage that bent bastard has done to the Met .. and by implication, to every other decent Copper in Britain ..

    See what I mean about Senior "Management" ? .. and he's not the only one by a long chalk, I rest my case ..

  8. Can you please try to remember to use ACPO Plc's full company name - we wouldn't want anyone getting them confused with CPOSA, the actual staff organisation.

    Something else to bear in mind about "P"CSOs and civvy support: they may look cheaper now, but when (not if, when) they spit their dummies and go on strike, who's going to pick up the slack?

  9. Who's the gormless looking prat in the uniform? Looks like he's wandered in to a force wardrobe from an accountant's meeting!

  10. Surrey has 255 fewer bobbies, but 1575 more remfs?

    What a knob. Only have to look at him to realise that he is no more a policeman than David Blunkett is a rally driver. I'll bet he was a pleasure to work for when he was an inspector, even more so when a custody sergeant.

    Of course, many coppers would've taken early retirement since new Labour's 'efficiency' came in........but those figures are staggering.

    Rowley has shoe-shining, careerist, oleaginous duplicity written all over him. He has the mean-spirited look of someone who would kill his parents to get to the orphan's party.

  11. This may be an unwelcome comment, but it needs to be said. If (and I stress the word 'if') police officers really are 'too expensive', then the appropriate management / government response is to understand why this is so and address the core problem. Civilianisation as a route to reducing unit cost isn't an answer - it's just a way for cowardly managers to duck the question.

    If I need a plumber, I don't want a TV repairman turning up. If I need a police officer, with the training, powers and responsibilities which this entails, then I need a police officer.

    Earlier comments about resilience are also relevant. It is in the nature of an emergency service to be under-used at quiet times and flat out at busy ones. We need to resource so we can cope with the busy periods - because these are precisely the times when we understand why that particular emergency service exists.

  12. Glad to see you were able to save so much. Very smart thinking by you.