From Behind The Cloak of Anonymity

I have been thinking a lot over the last few days about those of us who tweet or blog from behind a cloak of anonymity.  I completely and utterly understand why a serving officer would want to disguise their true identity, but I have to say that I’m a tad confused by the Regulations and what they actually mean in today’s modern world.

@J_amesP has written an excellent piece on the subject at http://thepolicedebatingdirective.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/the-politics-of-impossible.html .  Police Officers are subject to the Police Regulations, of course they are, but they can also benefit from the Human Rights Laws as well.  Now I fully accept that I’m a long time retired from Her Majesty’s Police Farce, but when I was serving we were left in no doubt whatsoever that A member of a police force shall at all times abstain from any activity which is likely to interfere with the impartial discharge of his duties or which is likely to give rise to the impression amongst members of the public that it may so interfere; and in particular a member of a police force shall not take any active part in politics meant that you should not take an ACTIVE part in politics like joining a party, canvassing etc etc.  Nobody I know ever got into trouble for discussing politics in the canteen, or even in the back of the Station Van whilst out on patrol.

In this modern, hi-tec world in which we live,  is it so very different to Tweet our thoughts to the world?  From an official Police Twitter account, I would argue that it is absolutely NOT right.  However from an officer’s personal account I don’t really see how that breaches the regulations, particularly if the account contains the usual disclaimer that “these views are mine and not necessarily shared by my employer” as most invariably do.  I have even heard anecdotal evidence of officers being asked to supply the passwords of their personal accounts so that they can be checked.  If this is true then it is outrageous.  Many things have changed in The Job that I don’t necessarily agree with, like calling your Sergeant John, particularly if her name’s Alice, but that’s just me.  The management also have to accept that the world as a whole has changed and people, including Police Officers, have more rights than they used to have.

Some of us have addressed this issue by Tweeting from behind a Cloak of Anonymity.  Personally I find this a little sad, but I do understand and accept the issues of scrutiny from PSD and also abuse from fellow Tweetmates.  I too have an anonymous account, some of you know what it is, most don’t.  However, I don’t really care any more.  I am on the verge of ‘retiring’ my anonymous account.  I wonder if @SirIanBlair will do the same.  There’s a challenge, I will if you will.  It is unfortunate that any one of us to suffer personal abuse on Twitter because we have merely shared our thoughts with others’

Feel free to voice your views in ‘Comments’, anonymously or otherwise, I don’t care either way. One final thought, however, as this is clearly bothering so many of us, maybe the Federation could spend some of their pennies on obtaining some 1str Class Legal Advice from an expert in the field and putting this subject to bed once and for all.

Well, that’s me about done, I don’t propose to go over too much ground that others have already discussed, but you may like to anonymously answer the1 question below. It might be interesting to see the results.

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Our Shrinking Police Service

Dear Reader

The Home Office has kindly released the figures for the ‘Policing Strength of England and Wales’ as at 31st March 2012,  Yesterday’s headline figure was that approx 5,000 officers had left their forces since the same time last year.  What they’re not so keen to tell you is that the Civil Staff (or whatever you prefer to call them) was reduced by 6,536, PCSOs fell by a further 1,427. All this means that the Police Family shrank by a total of 12,972 posts of all ranks & grades across all Forces in England and Wales.

The chart below illustrates the manner in which the Police Service is shrinking, this chart includes ONLY Police Officers and illustrates how we are leaving a period of relative stability of numbers and have entered the downward spiral.

Comparison

This diagram shows where those officers have been lost from;

geography

1. Avon and Somerset 12. Dyfed-Powys 23. Lincolnshire 34. Staffordshire 2. Bedfordshire 13. Essex 24. Merseyside 35. Suffolk 3. Cambridgeshire 14. Greater Manchester 25. Metropolitan and City 36. Surrey 4. Cheshire 15. Gloucestershire 26. Norfolk 37. Sussex 5. City of London (see 25) 16. Gwent 27. North Wales 38. Thames Valley 6. Cleveland 17. Hampshire 28. North Yorkshire 39. Warwickshire 7. Cumbria 18. Hertfordshire 29. Northamptonshire 40. West Mercia 8. Derbyshire 19. Humberside 30. Northumbria 41. West Midlands 9. Devon and Cornwall 20. Kent 31. Nottinghamshire 42. West Yorkshire 10. Dorset 21. Lancashire 32. South Wales 43. Wiltshire
11. Durham 22. Leicestershire 33. South Yorkshire

 

So, you can get a rough idea of how these cuts will affect you from the diagram above.  Just click on the two diagrams to see a larger version.

But, sadly, none of this tells us the full picture.  Front-Line services will never be affected we were told.

My final diagram shows the ‘bigger picture’ some of which must surely contain Front Line services.  It shows the shrinkage of the whole Police Family over the last few years.  These are figures which, whilst not secret,and are indeed openly available, we are not encouraged to put them together and do a bit of joined-up thinking.

Family

I leave you with this thought, without any spin whatsoever, it is obvious to me that the Police Family is shrinking.  What is more, it is my belief that it is shrinking faster than the Home Office would have us believe.  I will repeat my offer, if you want to declare your home Force, I will happily supply the data as it relates to your Force, after that you can do what you want with it, it’s been released into the Public Domain

Don’t have nightmares, and thanks for reading