Camoron, You’re A Plank

Let me begin by stating that the views expressed here are mine and mine alone. To the best of my knowledge and belief they have not been planted in my swede by Big Brother.

I have been a bit pre-occupied the last few days but a rumour reached my ears at Angry Towers that Call Me Dave has had his butt kicked by the House of Commons. Apparently Camoron has conjured up one of the most spectacular parliamentary defeats in modern political history. The first such foreign policy defeat since 1782.

What on earth did he expect? And how does he expect the Great British Public to be behind him.

My personal opinion is that we should be kicking Assad’s sorry butt all the way into the sea, but I am only one voice.

But if Call me Dave wants the Great British Public to support him maybe he needs to rethink his strategy.  I’ll help him if he wants.

Once we set out to help our illustrious American cousins to police the world (right or wrong that is indeed what we did) the die was cast. The bit I don’t understand is why do we invade and thrash some countries and not others?  A ‘Dodgy Dossier’ led us to invade Iraq in search of the Weapons of Mass Destruction.  To my simple mind it seems that there is slightly more evidence that WMDs exist in Syria and that they are being used against the innocent population of that country?  So what is different?

I’ll tell you what is different my friends, we don’t have a bloody Army any more cos Dave and his predecessors have flogged it off.

I won’t bore you with all the minutiae, I have neither the time nor the space, but I’ll give you a few facts about our Army.  Similar facts exist for the Navy and Air Force.

In 1905 our proud British Army consisted of 449,000 soldiers of all ranks.

By the beginning of this year their ranks had shrunk to 91,320, including the officers.  To maybe put this in perspective, at March 2013 we had 129,584 Police Officers in England and Wales. Not enough we say, so how the hell does Dave expect to police the whole world with only 91,000 soldiers?

If you really want to see the full, unexpurgated truth, you’ll find it here.

And don’t even get me started on the Police, Fire & Rescue, Coastguard, Teachers, NHS et al.

Dave my friend you cannot slash vital services to the bone and expect the country to follow and support you. Government has spoken and chastised you for the first time in ages, take notice or go.

As I said in the beginning, my views, my rant. I shall now get on with my weekend and hope that you enjoy yours.

#AJobLikeNoOther

Way back in the late 70s, early 80s, when I still had some hair and a much darker beard than today I met a lady.  This lady was a lady like no other. No, she did not become Mrs Angry, she became Constable Angry’s Night Duty Prisoner.

North West London. Early hours of the morning, I received a call to a suspected Criminal Damage to a vehicle.  The address was that of one of our local doctors. Mad as a box of eccentrics. Slipperier than a slippery thing.

When I arrived she indicated her car, with the remains of one of Tate and Lyle’s finest still visible beneath the petrol filler cap.  She had been sugared!!

I gave her all the advice she needed and we retired indoors for me to take down her particulars.  At some point in the proceedings Dr Patel’s (for that was surely not her name) husband appeared and he seemed verily most grumpy.

Fear not, this is not heading anywhere near where you might think that it is. I knew Dr Patel. Not in the biblical sense you understand. More like the “Yes Your Worship, I know Dr Patel” sort of way.

Some sharp words passed between them, words I had never heard before, and then a cut glass ashtray whistled past my left ear, passing closer than I felt comfortable with truth be told. No more Mr Nice Guy. “Dr Patel – you’re nicked”

Back at the nick she was booked in, searched and placed in a cell, not without the obligatory struggle. Glad she wasn’t my GP.

Eventually she was charged and bailed and at 6 o’clock Constable Angry went off duty and retired home.

It must have been at least 3 hours later before I was awoken from my slumber by the telephone. It was the nick. Apparently Chief Inspector Jones required my presence in his office and wasn’t prepared to wait. Goody thought I. Recalled off Nights. There has to be some overtime in this.

It has to be said that my arrival at the nick did not seem to improve the good Chief Inspector’s mood any. Apparently Dr Patel had made an allegation against the nasty bearded officer who had arrested her. My protestations that I thought it was quite a nice beard went unheeded, Mr Jones didn’t seem to have an opinion on it. An allegation had been made, a very serious allegation.

Apparently I had stolen something from Dr Patel, something very personal. I assured the boss that I was innocent but he insisted that I would have to submit to my locker being searched. I was a bit pissed off at this affront as my locker was quite obviously bursting with contraband. But searched it inevitably was and no knickers were found that matched the description of those that I had allegedly stolen. Moi?

The truth?  She simply hadn’t been wearing any. I know this to be true as I had the ugly end when we put her in the cell.

Oh well, back home to bed. How very dare she insult my beard?

Stealing Knickers from a doctor?

A Job Like No Other, and for me I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

Can Camoron Ever Learn Anything?

Yesterday I was browsing the news and my attention was grabbed by this headline;

Memos warn over Army Reserve numbers

Basically, The Army Reserve looks set to fall well short of its target for recruiting new members this year.

In the three months from April to June, only 367 soldiers enlisted – less than a quarter of the target.

The government wants to expand the Reserve Force, formerly the Territorial Army, to 30,000 by 2018 (this is the important bit) to help fill gaps left by cuts to the regular Army. According to the Sunday Times, one “restricted” memo stated: “The Army is failing to attract sufficient recruits.” 367 recruits were enlisted in Q1 of 2013-2014 against a target of 1,432. And I have no idea where the Government’s aim to increase the Reserve Force to 30,000 by 2018 comes from because in 2011 it stood at 31,420 according to official MOD figures.  Maybe someone’s been a bit careless and lost a few.

Stats for the Volunteer Force are a bit complex as they are sub-divided into many categories but basically Reserve Forces peaked in 1990 at 90,600 (total for all 3 Forces) and have steadily reduced year on year to 37,070 in 2011

As part of the coalition government’s Defence Review, the number of regular soldiers is set to fall from 102,000 to 82,000 by 2020, while reservist numbers are expected to rise from the current 19,000 to 30,000.

Col Richard Kemp, a former commander of British forces in Afghanistan said that he does not believe increasing the size of the Army Reserve was realistic and accused the government of “hollowing out” the armed forces and that the government had been “cynical” in deciding soldiers sacked from the regular army would “suddenly and miraculously” decide to join the reserves.

It would also appear that Army recruitment has been outsourced to a company called Capita.

An un-named Ministry of Defence spokesman said it was “early days” in the recruitment process and it had “always been a challenge”.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said cutting the size of the regular Army was “unfortunately one of the steps we had to take to rebalance the defence budget“.

And now the Armed Forces look like this

Armed Forces

Well, all of this reminded me of a similar situation with our great British police Force (sorry, Service)

We too have seen Regular jobs shed and an increasing reliance on PCSOs, Specials and Support Staff.

The Police Service looks like this:

Police Note the steady decline since 2009, so you would expect that PCSOs, Specials etc would go up accordingly as government increasingly relies upon them to take up the slack.  They look like this;

Support StaffI find it interesting that the only section that is actually rising is the Special Constabulary.

Before you put me in the stocks and throw rotten eggs at me, I AM NOT decrying the Special Constabulary.  I have known some excellent Specials in my time. I am decrying the government’s cynical reliance on the one part of the Service that is UNPAID.

So, history obviously does repeat itself, the Armed Forces and the Police Service suffering the same fates.  If I had the data for the Fire and Rescue Service, the NHS etc I’m sure the graphs would look pretty much the same.

The number of armed conflicts our Forces are involved in doesn’t ever seem to go down, the number of incidents and crimes our Police deal with is escalating rapidly.

“Do More With Less For Longer” – ConDem Slogan 2010-2015

Call Me Dave to Outsource Parliamentary Protection?

Can this really be true?

Has he gone totally stark raving bonkers (OK so maybe he has).

I read today in the #FailOnline that the Government are considering outsourcing £31 million worth of Protection duties to a company/companies such as G4S.

What the hell does he think he’s playing at?

The fact that he’s even considering outsourcing such duties to G4Salikes proves that he doesn’t give a tuppenny toss for quality of service and reliability.  Has he already forgotten the Olympics fiasco?

If, for one crazy minute, this plan become reality;

It appears that these plans are currently restricted to the Bobbies within the Palace of Westminster, but who knows where it will end.

Will they enjoy the Right To Strike? That could prove interesting.

Will they endure long, protracted, tours of duty without complaint?

Will they and their families tolerate cancelled Rest Days and Annual Leave?

What happens when they need a Warranted Officer to arrest someone, dial 999?

The list just goes on.

…..the policing contract, traditionally provided by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), which runs out in 2015,”

I suppose everything has to have a contract these days, but some things you just take for granted.  There has never been an alternative up till now, so I never thought about a contract, Palace of Westminster was just another ‘Division’ within the MPS. Now official documents reveal that a review into the contract,  led by parliamentary security director Paul Martin, is exploring ‘all options’ – including ‘outsourcing’ some of the service currently provided by the Met.

Senior Labour MP Barry Sheerman said: ‘After what happened at last year’s Olympics, it beggars belief we’re even considering letting a private firm look after the security of one of the most sensitive sites in the UK.’Mr Sheerman, former chairman of the Commons education committee, also condemned the ‘over-commercialisation’ of the Palaces.He said: ‘This is the historic Palace of Westminster where the nation’s laws are debated and made. It’s not some Disneyland theme park by the Thames.’Nicely put Mr Sheerman.

How to Do More With Less & How the Home Office Treat Stats

I must have been asleep. I do sleep occasionally, I am sorry, but while I was asleep I missed the Home Office release of Police Service Strength figures last month.

In 2011 Theresa May told us that we would see Police Budgets cut by 20% and a reduction in Police numbers by 15,000 before the next election in 2015.

In March 2011 there were a total of 142,217 Full Time Equivalent officers within the Police Services of England and Wales (including BTP).

By September 2011 the figures had remained constant at 142,217, a figure I find highly suspicious that they EXACTLY matched the figure from 6 months previously.

March 2012 and we’re down to 137,139

September 2012 is now upon us and the Home Office have achieved a Police Strength of 134,885

March 2013 is clearly the most recent data available to us, and we now have a TOTAL Police establishment of 132,608.

So, in just 2 years Mrs Theresa May has managed to ‘lose’ almost 10,000 Police Officers, or 2 thirds of her 5 year target.

All of the above figures have been extracted from official Home Office documents which aren’t always the easiest to navigate one’s way around, and there is clearly a discrepancy with the 2011 figures somewhere.  A separate data table shows the total Police establishment as 138,871 which is far more realistic.

So, nearly 10,000 down and another 2 and a half years to go.  How do you feel about that?

Where have these jobs been lost from?

In the last 10 years we now see 4,761 less Constables than we had 10 years ago, and 6,990 less Constables than we had just 2 years ago, March 2011.

Where have all the rest gone?

In the last 2 years we have lost 1,766 Sergeants but this figure is an almost identical 1,767 MORE than we had 10 years ago.

We’ve lost 484 Inspectors in the last 2 years but this leaves us with only 3 less than 10 years ago.

Chief Inspectors have fared somewhat better with a mere 484 being lost since 2011 which leaves us only 3 down on the total 10 years ago.

Superintendents (inc Chiefs) have shed 183 of their number leaving them 73 down on 2003 levels.

And ACPO weigh in with a staggering loss of a mere 14, leaving them 6 up on 2003 levels.

Now how do you feel?

For some reason the Home Office feel that’s necessary to include or exclude BTP when quoting figures, when they compare year upon year figures they don’t always exactly match the figures quoted in the previous year’s report, and often they mix different stats on the same page.  I guess it’s designed to confuse and keep the smoke swirling in front of the mirror, but I and others like me, will do our very best to see through the fog and let you know what is happening to our proud Service, or what’s left of it.

I’m fully aware that the figures I have quoted above don’t all add up, but I’m buggered if I can make any more sense out of the Home Office figures, they publish different figures, measured at different points in the year, and published in different documents, just to make life difficult I guess. But the undeniable truth is that Theresa May is Slashing the Police Service of England and Wales to an unsustainable level.

The Cannon FodderGaffers

 

A Guest Blog – Response Times and Stats

Recent articles in the press have prompted one of my readers to submit a blog to me for publication anonymously.

The author is a serving Police Officer and wishes to remain anonymous for obvious reasons, but that does not detract from the story they have to tell.

Because they are currently serving their information is current, their feelings about the subject matter are real and their story is reproduced unedited in any way.

Please take a moment to read and take in the significance of what is being said here.  Thank You

Policing is a constantly changing business, but some of the things that don’t change are response times to incidents.

For the uninitiated, the incidents that the police attend are graded according to perceived threat/risk/importance etc.
To keep things simple, I will refer to these as Grade 1, Grade 2 and Grade 3. Grade 1 being the most important, and which the police must attend within 10 or 15 minutes, depending on which force you work for. Grade 2 incidents usually have a time limit of an hour in which the police have to attend, and Grade 3 incidents should be attended within 24 hours.

Police forces are measured on their ability to attend incidents within the allotted time.

Recently there has been much talk about the recently released crime figures, and how crime is down with fewer officers. This has made the government very happy, but there are those that have stated that the figures are down because fewer people are bothering to report crime. Either way, it makes the Government look good.

The Home Secretary, Theresa May has stated that she wants to abolish targets, and I’m all for that. However, the Senior Management Teams have been target orientated for so long that I think that they forget what policing is all about.

Recently, officers from within Bedfordshire Police have been told not to mention to the public, anything about the how the cuts have affected how they work. Yet the police officers are constantly being told to be honest and truthful at all times. Does this mean that they have to lie to the public? Or just not mention the cuts?

It’s no great secret within the police, that figures have been ‘manipulated’, if you like. I won’t elaborate further, but it will come as no shock to any serving (or retired) police officer.

Are the recent crime figures to be believed then?

Well, before the advent of AVLS and ARLS, automatic vehicle location system and automatic resource location system, (a gps tracker fitted to vehicle and personal radios which can be monitored on a screen, and shows the viewer the location of an officer or vehicle), officers had to state when they had arrived at an incident via their radio.

Grade 1 incidents are usually not a problem for forces, as whenever one comes in, people will drop what they’re doing and attend within the allotted time. Grade 3 incidents usually aren’t a problem either, because they can usually be attended within 24 hours.

Grade 2 incidents can be a bit of a problem, for all sorts of reasons. A high number of Grade 1 incidents, not enough staff, staff tied up with a major incident etc.

I know of officers in at least one force that were asked by their supervisors to state that they were already at a Grade 2 incident before they arrived there, just to meet targets (all before AVLS/ARLS), and in this respect, the police didn’t really help themselves. It made it look like they were coping, and meeting targets. And this after the cuts had started to take effect. In this respect, they weren’t helping themselves.

What some of the officers didn’t realise was that they were leaving themselves wide open for disciplinary action if something went wrong. Imagine, you say you’re at an address before you get there, say, 10 minutes before you get there. But 5 minutes before you actually get to the address, you have a traffic accident, and knock someone over. Would the people who asked you to say you were already at the address back you up, if the Senior Management Team decided to discipline you because you said that you were somewhere you weren’t? And effectively lied?

Is it worth it, just to meet a target and make the bosses look good?

Congratulations

Rather belated I know, but I would like to offer Daniel Finkelstein (or should that be Lord Daniel Finkelstein?) my most sincere congratulations, and I mean this from the heart of my bottom.

Having graduated from London School of Economics he started his political career with the Social Democrats in 1981 (well, someone had to), and managed to stick with them till 1990.

Before working for the Conservative Party, Daniel Finkelstein was Director of the think tank the Social Market Foundation for three years. During his period with the SMF the organisation brought New York police commissioner Bill Bratton to London.  Bill Bratton in London? That sounds familiar somehow. Must try and remember where else I’ve heard that.

Between 1995 and 1997 Finkelstein was Director of the Conservative Research Department and in that capacity advised Prime Minister John Major, and attended meetings of the Cabinet when it sat in political session. Finkelstein became among the earliest advocates of the ‘modernisation’ of the Conservative Party, laying out the principles of change in a series of Times columns and speeches.

Between 1997 and 2001 he was political adviser to the Leader of the Opposition William Hague, and, together with George Osborne, Secretary to the Shadow Cabinet.

In the 2001 election Finkelstein was the unsuccessful Conservative parliamentary candidate in Harrow West.

Finkelstein joined The Times in August 2001 as part of the leader writing team and was Comment Editor from March 2004 – June 2008. He became Chief Leader Writer in June 2008. He began The Times blog Comment Central in September 2006. He is also a regular columnist in The Jewish Chronicle. His weekly football statistics column, the Fink Tank, began in 2002 and runs in The Times on Saturdays.

In 2011 he became chairman of that hugely popular and successful think tank, Policy Exchange, a fact which has been woefully under-reported of late.  PX Director Neil O’Brien  commented as follows on (then) Mr Finkelstein’s appointment to PX; “We are delighted that a person of Daniel Finkelstein’s intellectual capacity, detailed policy knowledge and wide ranging political and media contacts, is joining Policy Exchange. It is an exciting time to be at Policy Exchange. Over the next four years all political parties will be looking for new, workable policy ideas across a range of issues. Charles Moore is one of the reasons why Policy Exchange is now the most influential think tank in the country.

Since Mr Finkelstein took the reins at PX their publications have included some sterling work on subjects such as;

  • Capping Welfare
  • Prison Reforms
  • Social Work reforms
  • ‘Smart’ Policing
  • A Roadmap for Better Public Services
  • Reforming the Crown Prosecution Service
  • Policing in 2020
  • Competitive Integration in the NHS (whatever that is)
  • Electronic ‘Tagging’
  • Reform of Pay in the Public Sector
  • Gay Marriage
  • Police Pensions (affordability of)
  • Fracking

And many, many more.

No wonder then that Policy Exchange have attained the status they currently enjoy, and quite right that their chairman should be honoured in this way.

Daniel Finkelstein, appointed to the House of Lords, recommended by whoever recommends these things.

Well Done Lord Finkelstein.

PS

my thanks to Wiki and PX for most of the info here