A little while ago I wrote a blog about the Dyfed Powys PCC and some of the claims that he had made on at least two websites that he was associated with. Maybe I should point out that neither of these websites was the official PCC website, one was his own blog and the other Conservativehome, maybe that’s significant, I don’t know.
I took exception to some of the things he stated and sent off a few Freedom of Information requests to see if his claims really held water. I won’t bore you with most of them, but you can read them here if you want to.
One of the four proved to be a little more of a stickier than the rest, and that was ‘Training’.
To avoid being accused of fudging the issue and other things I’ll confine myself to direct quotes to get my point across, I hope you will understand and forgive me.
In his own blog Mr Salmon said “I have removed all targets from my police force. We have spent millions training the police to cut crime. They know how to do it. Why then tie them to their desks filling in paperwork?”
In the Conservativehome website this is slightly reworded as “I have removed all targets from my police force. The police know their job is to cut crime. We have spent millions training them to do it. Why then tie them to their desks filling in paperwork?”
We have spent millions training them how to cut crime. Not much room for confusion there surely? Mr Salmon and Dyfed Powys Police have spent millions of pounds training their officers how to cut crime? Is that a reasonable interpretation?
So I put it to the test, I fired off an #FOI request to the office of the Dyfed Powys PCC and asked two simple questions;
a) in 2012/13 How much money was spent in total training Police Officers to cut or reduce crime;
b) What innovative training, or training unique to your Force, have you personally introduced since you became the PCC?
In relation to b) I got the following response ” I can confirm that the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner does hold this information.
Although the Commissioner has overall responsibility for Dyfed-Powys Police, he has not personally introduced any training. Dyfed-Powys Police Force owns the training plan for the organisation.” So, no innovative or unique crime reduction training introduced by the PCC? Fair?
a) got far more complicated.
“a) I can confirm that the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Dyfed-Powys does not hold information in relation to how much money was spent in training Police Officers in 2012/13. This information will be with Dyfed-Powys Police Force.” So, the PCC’s office doesn’t actually KNOW how how much money was spent training officers in Crime Reduction. Does that seem like a reasonable interpretation?
The helpful staff at the PCC’s office then offered to transfer the request over to Dyfed Powys Police for them to answer it. Very nice of them I thought.
Yesterday they replied;
“‘All corporate training provided by Dyfed-Powys Police to Police Officers within the force is focused on force priorities to reduce crime and protect our communities’. However there is no specific breakdown of cost in relation to training police officers to cut or reduce crime.”
So, I think I have to conclude that Mr Salmon’s claims to have spent millions training the police how to reduce crime was a little naughty. Neither his own office nor Dyfed Powys Police actually knows how much money is spent on Crime Reduction Training.
Mr Salmon has been criticised and accused elsewhere of politicising the police. On the basis of my #FOI results I would have to agree. In Dyfed Powys at least their PCC seems quite happy to make political claims that maybe don’t quite stack up under scrutiny.
I see that the Dyfed Powys PCC is currently advertising a couple of Volunteer opportunities. I did consider applying for one of them, the dog section vacancy appealed to me, but I’m pretty sure I’d get paper-sifted now, and I don’t see me as a Custody Visitor really. But if Mr Salmon wants to contact me and offer me a volunteering opportunity with the Dog Section I’m sure I’d make a good Animal Welfare Lay Visitor.