Operation Deansgate

An absolutely inspired initiative, very well done to all involved

Constable Chaos - UK Police Blog

OPDEANSGATE

Following the announcement yesterday by GMP DCC Ian Hopkins regarding ongoing planning for the funerals of PC’s Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes at Manchester Cathedral next week, and the subsequent announcement that GMP will only be requesting a two nominated officers from each police force to #CoverForGMP, I am moving to ‘Plan B’, otherwise known as OPERATION DEANSGATE.

There are sound operational reasons why GMP have been unable to take up our kind offers to cover the streets of Manchester whilst their own officers paid their respects and these, we cannot argue with I’m afraid.

However, we can, and must, still ‘do our bit’. – Over 5,000 police officers, staff and members of the public pledged their support for #CoverForGMP on Facebook and Twitter in the days following the horrific cold-blooded murders of our two colleagues Fiona and Nicola.

These are everyday people, so shocked, alarmed and distressed about what…

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Great blog (as usual) from Cate

Catemoore's Blog

I had managed to get all the way through Question Time without succumbing to deep depression.  Even my deep-seated discomfort of all things Kirsty Allsopp had not deterred me.  (Incredibly cool patchwork pillowslips are as much anathema to me as perhaps a beyond beautiful macrame body bag would be to Kirsty)

So it was that I found myself still watching my TV when This Week came on, with guests Michael Portillo and Jacqui Smith.  Inevitably, the Andrew Mitchell saga was discussed. Gategate. Plebgate. Or however else you like to refer to it.  To their credit, the actual use of the word pleb towards the armed police officers guarding Downing Street was given short attention and the conversation quickly moved on to the bigger picture.  Something our press is finding most difficult, it would seem.

This is where it got really interesting.  Michael Portillo said words to the effect of  ‘There are…

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Could this be the coalition government’s biggest cock-up yet?

This is a must-read blog. It shows the government for what they are – liars, and, yes, it probably is their biggest cock-up yet because there is documentary proof of their lies.

Pride's Purge

(not satire unfortunately – it’s the coalition government!)

UPDATEThis government cock-up could cost Tory MP Oliver Letwin his West Dorset seat at the next election!

More than half of the voters in his constituency have signed a petition protesting against the scrapping of the Portland rescue helicopter as part of government plans to cut coastguard and rescue services. See here for more info.

the coalition government’s biggest cock-up yet?

A government ‘mix-up’ over dates means the UK coast will be left inadequately guarded. For up to 2 years.

We know the coalition government has made some huge mistakes in its mad rush to sacrifice public services at the altar of austerity, but this one might just beat them all.

It’s not being very well reported but as part of its austerity measures, the government has just started closing half of all the local Coastguard Maritime Rescue…

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What Every Member of the Public Needs to Know

Well, in a nutshell, what you all need to know is that this great country of ours is under attack, and it is under attack from the enemy within – the ConDem coalition.  They seem intent on destroying everything that is good (in my opinion) about this country, and once it’s gone, it won’t be easy to get it back.  I make no secret of the fact that I have been a life-long Tory voter, but NEVER again.  I believe that if you don’t for somebody then you have no right to complain when it all goes wrong, so I will be voting for somebody in future, but never again for this shower of s**te.  I would rather vote UKIP of Monster Raving Loony Party.

Much has been said on my blog, and those of my fellow bloggers, about the ConDems reforms of the Police Service, so I won’t take up too much of your time repeating it all again except to remind you all that by 2015 the Police Services of England and Wales will collectively have their budgets cut by 20% and 16,000 police officers lost from our streets.  That in itself is a big enough undertaking with some very serious implications.  Make no mistake,  even the Met, the largest Police Serice in the country, is going to struggle to meet its targets post Olympics, and we haven’t even heard the last part of their austerity plans yet.   If you want to see how your local force is shaping up to the cuts go to the HMIC website and choose “Find Your Force” then look at the austerity report for your area.

But the Condems haven’t stopped there, oh no.

Then we have the creeping privatisation of the NHS.  Our government has abolished its obligation to provide us free healthcare.  Our government has privatised the NHS without us knowing,  Our government has been paid by healthcare firms, they have worked alongside them, they have worked with them, they have worked FOR them. They even employ former employees of these private healthcare firms. None of that can be contested, they’ve declared their corporate interests before.  Our Lords are benefiting to the tune of millions, if not billions, by privatisation of the NHS, but no-one seems to notice. When 6,000 nurses got the sack, and Lord Ashcroft’s business replaced them with temps (earning him untold fortunes), no-one seemed to notice.  Interestingly, like the Police reforms, the BBC chooses not to report these things.  New hospitals are PFI funded.  I went to visit my sister in a brand new hospital recently (Kings Mill, like the bread) and the first thing I noticed in the entrance were the 2 Car Park Pay Stations, no way are we going to get away without paying for the car parks.  Then as I ventured further in I encountered Costa, WHS Smith, a jewellery shop (a jewellery shop in a hospital FFS?) and a hairdressing salon.  Where were the League of Friends I ask?  I read recently that Interserve has taken over the Royal Marsden NHS Trust (amongst others) arguably the finest Cancer Research and treatment facility in the UK and right up there in the whole world.  The Financial Times also reports this from behind its paywall

Three NHS Trusts have pooled together to outsource all their hospital, community and primary care facilities management to one provider, Interserve, in one of the largest deals of its kind.  Around 2,000 staff will transfer to Interserve, the FTSE250-listed outsourcer, under the agreement, which is worth £300m to the company over seven years.”

Does this sound familiar?  Does this give you cause for concern?

And don’t think that the Ambulance Service has escaped either.  As I reported in a previous blog, earlier this month the Public Accounts Committee published its report entitled Transforming NHS ambulance services.   As soon as the government understand how the Ambulance Service works, it has made it clear that it intends to reform it.

The Fire Service.  Heard much about that recently? Last year central government cut 1,500 front-line fire service jobs.  So far this year a further 1,000 have gone.  Fire Brigade pensions are going the same way as the police, pay more, work longer, get less.  Countless fire engines have been mothballed and fire stations closed, and government are making plans to privatise parts of the Fire Service. Sound familiar?  See the FBU website for more detailed information about what is happening in your area.

The British Army.  Did you know that there are now approximately 35,000 more Police officers in this country than there are full time soldiers?  In mid 2012 the full-time strength of the Regular British Army stood at a mere 99,670.   I do hope I don’t get thrown in the Tower for revealing this statistic, but it shocked me to the core to see that the Police Service, even after its shrinkage, was much bigger than our Army, and it will only get worse with the next Defence Spending Review.  If only Adolf had waited, he could have taken us easily.

And finally, I am indebted to fellow blogger Tom Pride for bringing the plight of our Coastguard service to my attention.  We have long read on twitter how the Coastguard service is under attack also, how Coastguard stations are threatened with closure, pleas to sign their petitions also.  Well, it’s actually worse then that.  Tom has blogged again today and provided absolute proof of the lies spouted by David Camoron.  He produces a letter signed by said Camoron, and dated 12th July 2012 in which he categorically states that no Coastguard stations will close before 2015.  Well, it’s now the end of  September and closures have already begun.  Not worth the paper it was written on.   You can find Tom’s blog here and read the full story, be sure to read the Comments as well, quite illuminating

Each of these issues is major in its own way, each of these issues impacts in some way on our safety and/or well-being.  What scares me most is that they are all happening AT THE SAME TIME.  The Government are determined that by 2015 the shape of this country will never again be the same.  I assume that neither the Tories nor the Lib Dems will be re-elected but who knows?  Whoever forms the next government will undoubtedly be unable to reverse these decisions, and that is why we need to do something about it now.

The only action plan that I can think of is that old rivalries are put aside, the Federation and the Unions work TOGETHER (I know, it will never catch on will it?) and fight these reforms with a united front. Together we stand and all that.  Divide and Conquer.  We’re all facing the same problems and we have a common enemy.  I don’t pretend that I know how it can be achieved, but I do believe that individual fights are doomed to failure.  The ConDems have proved that they are too arrogant to consider anything other than their own proposals.  Some of the Lords and MPs stand to make quite nice tidy sums thank you out of privatisation.  But can we afford to let it happen without that last fight.  Dunkirk spirit and all that.

If this is the last that you hear from me, you will know that I have been thrown in the Tower, or that the Blog Police have confiscated my quill.

What Every MP Needs To Know

By listening to my friends and colleagues and reading the Twats on Twatter it is evident to me that our MPs do not all understand what is happening to Policing in this country, and maybe not the other Public Services either.   It seems to me tat not only are a lot of them completely unaware of Tom Winsor’s Independent Review of Police Officers’ and Police Staff’s Pay And Conditions but are also completely unaware of the uncanny resemblance between it and David Cameron’s speech to the Dalston Youth Project in January 2006 and his Lecture to the Police Foundation in July 2006 on the subject of Police Reform.

A lot of what was said on those two occasions was subsequently referred to in April 2007 in a report entitled Policing For The People, an Interim report of the Police Reform Taskforce, authored by Brick Nether MP, ably assisted by Rabbi Glibs and 2 other folk.

In January 2006 David Camoron made the following recommendations on Police Reform

We should start with the reform of police pay and conditions.

  1. So first, we need local flexibility for pay and conditions. An officer who has given good service, and for whom it would be better personally and for the force if they moved on, has a huge incentive to wait around until thirty year’s service is up before getting a pension
  2. So second, we need further reform of police pensions so people can join and leave the force at the right time and the right level. We must get rid of that pensions cliff-edge.  Chief constables will tell you that today, an underperforming police officer is almost unsackable. That’s absurd.
  3. So third, the police should have modern employment contracts so bad officers can be sacked. Considerable progress has been made in relation to medical retirements and the days lost through sick pay – but much more needs to be done.
  4. So fourth, we must tackle the issue of a relatively large number of officers kept on restricted duties, on full pay. Some officers today have second jobs. In one force, as many as one in fifteen are in this position.
  5. So the fifth priority in reforming police pay and conditions should be to insist that policing is a full-time occupation in all but exceptional cases.
  6. As well as reforming pay and conditions, we will also look for more flexibility in the structure of policing. Today’s police family no longer consists only of regular police officers. Community support officers have begun to change the public face of policing and the nature of the workforce. Local authority wardens are proving popular in their communities. Support staff are increasingly being used to release officers for frontline duties. Chief constables should have greater discretion over the structure of their workforce so that they, rather than the government, can decide the right balance of staffing in their forces.
  7. More flexible policing structures will also require a new flexibility in police recruitment. Scientific and technological advances will mean that, increasingly, we will want to recruit professional experts who are now key in the fight against crime. So enhanced entry schemes should make it possible for talented people and professionals to join the police later in their careers and at all ranks.

In July 2006 David Cameron made the following recommendations in his lecture to the Police Foundation;

  1. If we have learnt one painful lesson in the last decade, it should be that money alone isn’t the route to successful public sector reform.  Of course, resources are important.  And I welcome the  increase in police numbers ……the deployment of Community Support Officers …… and the development of neighbourhood policing. We can take these reforms much further.  We could grow the police family further by empowering local authorities to recruit  many more wardens.   I’ve seen myself the success of initiatives like the one in Westminster, which has  piloted over 100 ‘city  guardians’.  They work closely with neighbourhood policing teams to deal with problems such as antisocial behaviour.  But it’s not enough to put uniformed officials on the streets just to provide a
    reassuring presence.
  2. The private sector has been operating prisoner transport and managing custody suites for some time.  There’s no longer a hard and fast divide between the public, private and voluntary  sectors … and innovative Chief Constables will combine them in new ways to  achieve the best results.  Forces need to look at other ways to reduce the cost of services and release manpower.
  3. In my speech in Dalston at the start of the year I set out a tough agenda for reforming police pay and conditions.  Local flexibility for pay and conditions …Modern employment contracts so that bad officers can be removed …Payment to reflect skills, competence and performance rather than simply length ofservice or seniority …Enhanced entry schemes to make it possible for talented people and professionals to join the police later in their careers …I recognise that this agenda is a challenging one … but it’s hugely in the interests of all committed police officers – and that is, let me say it loud and clear, the overwhelming majority of every force. I’d like to see Senior Constables recognised and rewarded for their experience and long term commitment … so that they are incentivised to stay in their neighbourhoods.
  4. Back office functions could be contracted out.
  5. Support services could be shared and procured collectively.  These arrangements could be made robust and legally binding.
  6. Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary should be strengthened and fully separated from police forces and the Home Office.  The Inspectorate is too close to both.  It needs to become in part an economic regulator, ensuring value for money as well as monitoring standards.

As Sir Robert Peel said in 1829, “the police are the public and the public are the police”. The link between the constable and the citizen is the foundation of policing by consent.

Then along came Tom Winsor and his team, tasked with undertaking his Independent Review.  After a few delays he published his proposals in two parts, too comprehensive to repeat here.  However, contained within his recommendations, in no particular order, were the following;

That Direct Entry should exist at Inspector and Superintendent level for suitably qualified candidates – see point 7 of Camoron’s January 2006 speech

Officers on Restricted Duties should have their salaries reviewed and reduced – see point 4 of Cameron’s January 2006 speech.  In February 2012 Tom Winsor e-mailed Steve Kershaw at the Home Office with a draft re-definition of Restricted Duties and asked the question “Is this on target?”  How does that affect the Independence of his Review?

Winsor has completely reformed the Police Pension Scheme, more or less in line with Lord Hutton’s Review of Public Sector Pensions – see point 2 of Cameron’s January 2006 speech. Pensions are now reformed to the extent that most officers will work longer, pay more and receive a smaller pension at the end of it.

The Police Regulations 2003 should be amended to create a system of compulsory severance for police officers with less than full pensionable service from April 2013 – see point 3 of Cameron’s January speech

Police forces should review and, if necessary, amend their pay grading systems in relation to local pay rates to ensure that they are paying no more than is required to recruit and retain individuals of the requisite quality. – see point 1 of Cameron’s January 2006 speech

In June 2012 Mr Winsor claimed that his recommendations had no hidden privatisation agenda (see point 6 of Cameron’s January speech) . However, the issue has already been raised that there is a ‘conflict of interest’ because his law firm worked with G4S to partner up with Lincolnshire Police.  See point 4 of Cameron’s July 2006lecture.

Whilst it is not strictly speaking part of Mr Winsor’s Independent Review we come inexorably to the question of HMIC.  In July 2006 Camoron said Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary should be strengthened and fully separated from police forces and the Home Office.  The Inspectorate is too close to both.  It needs to become in part an economic regulator, ensuring value for money as well as monitoring standards.  Lo and Behold, Tom Winsor (ex Rail Regulator) is now Chief Inspector Elect of HMIC.  Indeed @iofiv Twatted only yesterday “@iofiv: Whatever HMICs phrase “Independent Professional in the field” means, ACPO see HMIC role is moving from “support & challenge” to regulation” Is this just me being cynical or does something seem a bit pre-ordained here?

At the end of the day, however, it’s not about how cynical I may be, these are all things, in my humble opinion, that your MPs should be aware of and if they aren’t, they need to be made aware of them.  If any of you attend your MP’s Surgeries, and I know that some of you have, no matter how well-meaning your MP (of whatever political persuasion) may be, they need to be in possession of the facts, and 99% of what I have written is that – factual.

I think most will agree that there IS a similarity between Cameron’s vision for Police Reform and Tom Winsor’s Independent Review.

I hope this helps

The Job I Love

Nice blog, well written and thoughtfully presented. I for one totally ‘get’ coping mechanisms including Gallows Humour, but not everybody does. What I will say though is in my experience it is not a good thing to bottle these emotions up for a long time, sometimes years. Everybody has to find their own way to release these emotions, albeit under control, otherwise that have a nasty habit of turning inwards and becoming destructive. So don’t think you’re a horrible cow, don’t let anybody else think it. I’m sure that you’re 100% professional when you deal with ‘your’ families, and that’s how it should be, how you deal with your emotions is your business.

HMIC » #023/2012 – Police custody in Staffordshire – improving

HMIC » #023/2012 – Police custody in Staffordshire – improving.

 

HMIC have conducted a study of Custody in Staffordshire Constabulary and havbe found many things to be satisfactory.  This service is provided by G4S in Staffordshire and I am somewhat dismayed by the things that HMIC found could have been done better.

 

There is absolutely no excuse for this:-

although there was an appropriate oversight of the custody function, the structure wasn’t clear enough at several points: a centralised custody model had been in place for two years, but was not fully embedded in consistent standards and practice;

 

and for a company (G4S) that does provide Medical Services, there is no excuse for ‘health services’ etc etc not to be up to the mark.

 

If this is an example of what all of the other Constabularies are facing, I will continue to worry