Thursday, 21 October 2010

Away with the Faries!

I was hobnobbing with some of the Force hierarchy recently. For the record there wasn't an apron or set of antlers in sight. Drink was flowing and one of the ACC's made a few indiscreet comments regarding the other ACPO team. Don't trust the DCC he said. I don't. What he says to officers and what he says and does in the corridors of power are two different things. He also said that the Chief Constable was a very clever academic but 'away with the faries' when it came to the practicalities of providing an effective police Force. An interesting perspective on the senior management team.

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?


  1. Cut out the politically correct indoctrination courses!
    My daughter works on the civil staff of a major police force and she tells me that all officers are to be sent on a "Female Awareness Course". As she says, she is fully aware that she is a female, and so it seems are all the officers she meets. So far she has managed to deal satisfactorily with any that become too aware without any formal training in no doubt a totally politically incorrect manner!

  2. Anything goes on the UK's policeless streets these days. And whilst our modern police hug the radiators and berate everything within the CJS other than themselves, they enjoy the luxury of having the time to write books and run profitable blogs, or be downright offensive.

    One of the most loathsome postings I have ever seen on a police blog appears today on 200 Weeks. It is complete with a graphic video depicting the horror of an actual death.
    “HE WON’T DO THAT AGAIN” is the scoffing comment from one very sick policeman. On balance it may be preferable to keep such examples of uniformed dross, off the streets.

  3. MTG
    Can I suggest that if you find police blogs disagreeable the best answer is not to read them. As for sentiments like "he won't do that again", well after seeing the distress caused to victims by repeat offenders I have little sympathy for any criminals who kill themselves. Rather that than innocent third parties get killed or injuured.

    As for salaries for frontline cops? Sure it could work. There would have to be some sort of banking for hours though so that excessive overtime was at least compensated by time off.

    It would be a strange system though when the hardest workers in any shift got rewarded by having their lives disrupted the most by court off nightshift, court on rest days etc without any financial compensation.

    I suspect many mobiles would be getting turned off and many caller I.D. screens getting bought for home phones. Perhaps a few Public Order cards and AFO cards handed in as well.

    Interesting times!

  4. A very interesting piece. I have witnessed much the same in universities, which are now, more than ever, clogged with people who don't teach or research. The talk now is of charging £6K - 9K a year for standard talk, chalk and book degrees. A typical academic should be able to teach around £600,000 (at the bottom fee) worth of business and might cost £50K including on-costs. We have no idea what happens to the rest. I simplify to the extreme, but this is also the case across the CJS. A massive resource is expended on what is often a molehill made mountain. I've been able to do some calculations on what one pair of dire scrotes cost every year over 7 years and the average was £100K. One could also calculate the average cost of a cop and look at what is actually done on average. I think we'd be scared!

    I sympathise with both Melvin and Anon, but we need a proper public dialogue. I no longer believe our police fit for purpose, but wouldn't put this down to odd rude comments. The problem is they aren't stopping the utterly dire criminals and treat victims badly. This may well be because police leaders are broadly unaccountable and focus on the wrong stuff.
    One might apply some standard sociology, but that might just lead to be called 'academic'! Thinkings account might well be an example in Goffman from around 1960.

  5. Off topic, so apologies but thanks for stopping by, makes me real happy to hare good music with others, means a lot.

    Take care and happy listening.

  6. I think there is almost always a minimum of 10-20% waste in any bureaucratic facet of government. I mean in the Las Vegas bail bond industry here, company's are folding because they fail to trim the fat in their budgets. So maybe cutting 23% is possible if the RIGHT cuts are made.

    A Hope Bail Bonds | 117 Gass Ave. Ste. B Las Vegas, NV 89101 | (702) 208-9898

  7. Oops I meant to say "companies" are folding not "company's" bad. I'm usually very good at grammar.