What Do YOU Do In The School Holidays?

Go swimming? Surfing? Fishing off the rocks? Do your kids use a lilo? Do you take a ferry, belong to a yacht club?

If the answer to any of those is YES then I would suggest that you need the Coastguard Service.

I’ll bang on till the cows come home about the government cuts to Police and Armed Forces etc, but the Coastguards are taking a mighty hit.

Coastguard stations all around our coast are not being ‘slimmed’, they are being shut down.

Hands up all those who think this is a good idea.

I might be wrong, but I BELIEVE that it would cost a mere 15 pence a year on each of our Income Tax bills to fund keeping them open.

Personally I would give my 15p year after year.

The RNLI is a Registered Charity so ‘Call Me Dave’ can’t close them down, but who calls them out and co-ordinates their brave rescues? The coastguards do.

I have blogged previously about the closure of Coastguard stations on another site, you can find them here if you missed them.

The closures are HAPPENING, the moronic coalition government originally thought that it was a great idea to reduce 19 Coastguard Stations down to 8 to cover the entire UK coastline.  19 isn’t many, 8 is preposterous.  That has now been revised upwards to 11. If I have understood it correctly it was originally intended that only THREE of them would remain open and operational 24 hours a day, this has now been corrected.

This is how little regard the ConDem government has for the sanctity of human life.

All I am asking from you is that you remember that HM Coastguard is an Emergency Service, we should all stand together, united against Camoron and his cronies.

Proportionately the Coastguard Service has suffered massively with nearly 50% of it’s stations earmarked for closure.  Imagine if that was mirrored in Police Stations, Hospitals and Fire Stations.

If you use Twitter please follow @CoastalJoe1, @ChrisCr999, @Coastguard_SOS and take a look at their website for much better info than I have on what’s really happening.

Psssst….Met….How Happy Are You?

In a week which saw the Daily Fail pronounce that morale in the Police Service has never been so low, I thought I’d take a look.

The somewhat smaller print reveals that we are talking about Police Staff, but I’m sure Police Officers’ morale is not much better, however this study was based on a sample of only 3,335 people across the country.

70% of the staff surveyed  (from 999 call takers to detention officers and crime analysts) claimed that an increased workload is the main reason why they are stressed,

76% of them  have felt increasingly stressed over the last year.

Around 60% blamed job insecurity for their worries, with three quarters of those surveyed saying they have seen job cuts and redundancies in their area of work since 2010 (no surprises there then).

Almost two thirds (63%) said job cuts had hit morale, while 55% suffer from anxiety, 48% say they are demotivated and 47% suffer from insomnia.

Half had concerns about lack of support from management while 52% were worried about their pay and cost of living. A further 35% said they had a “bad” work-life balance.

I had a quick look at staff satisfaction surveys a while ago so I thought I’d take a look back myself, however, there’s so much data to plough through that I’m restricting my study to the Met, the largest single Police Force in the country.

The first thing that struck me was that having remained constant between 2007 and 2010, the questions were revised in 2011 and again in 2012, so I presume they’ll keep rewriting the questions till they get the answers they require.

There were some surprises though, to be honest, between 2007 and 2011

I am encouraged to share my ideas and suggestions has gone up from 50% to 63%

I am treated with fairness and respect has gone up from 55% to 63%.

In my team we build trust by listening and responding has gone down from 77% to 68%

In the new questions for 2011 there were some good, and some really bad responses;

I have confidence in the management team leading the organisation – 28%

I willingly do more than is normally required of me at work to help the organisation to be successful – 83%

I understand how I can contribute to the success of the organisation – 70%

I still intend to be working for the organisation in two years time – 71%

and strangely – I am optimistic about my own future here 37%

The organisation is good at retaining the right people – 16%

I get a sense of personal fulfilment from what I do – 66%

In the all new 2012 version there are some corkers

Taking everything into account, senior leaders in the MPS are doing a good job – 21%

I feel that decisions made by senior leaders in the MPS are based on true evaluation of what is best for the organisation and the communities we serve – 19%

I have trust in the senior leaders in the MPS to lead with integrity – 27%

If I contacted the MPS as a member of the public, I would be confident of receiving a good service – 34%

Processes for career development in the MPS are fair – 19%

There are many, many more psychobabble questions and answers and the responses, to be fair, are actually graded between Strongly Agree to Strongly Disagree, so the figures above only represent some sort of average.

I’m guessing from the latest published survey responses that the MPS SMT are rapidly thinking up some new questions as there are some big questions there that have had poor answers.

So, on the whole, I’d say that the Met is probably 4/10 happy, maybe 5 on a good day. Could do better.

OK Dave, You’ve Really Pissed Me Off Now

So there I was, sat in Angry Towers, eating my muesli, sipping on a glass of Goji Berry juice, enjoying a nice quiet breakfast,  when my day was ruined by the appearance of Call Me Dave Camoron gracing my telly box.

So what was so special about today? Any day that features David Camoron tends to be a bad day.

The answer is this “All government policies will have to pass a “family test”, David Cameron has announced.”………..”From October, every new domestic policy “will be examined for its impact on the family”, the prime minister said.”

Firstly, why wait till October?  Why can’t it begin to happen NOW?

Secondly, does he think we’re STUPID?  There’s a General Election next May, surely this can’t be a cynical attempt to win back the voters that he’s shafted over the past four years?  Can it?  He wouldn’t do that surely?

Thirdly, if it’s so important that every government department should  be held to account for the impact of their policies on the family, why didn’t he do something about IBS and his infamous Bedroom Tax?  Does that not impact on families Dave?  Or maybe it wasn’t so important then?

IBS’s Department of Work and Pensions have also claimed another place in the Westminster Hall of Shame with their sanctions against JobSeekers who, for very valid reasons sometimes, might miss an appointment or fail to apply for the prescribed number of jobs in a week.  Does that not have an impact on families?  Was that policy OK then Dave?

I’m sure that there have been many others over the last four years, these are just the two that irk me the most at the moment, that most definitely impact on families, and both seem to have IBS at their very core.

The icing on the cake was moron Dave’s warning that we have to be careful of ‘Blowback’, British citizens arriving back from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan or wherever they may have been fighting for the cause, intent on committing some form of terrorist outrage on British soil.  Tell me Dave, who was it who slashed the Armed Forces to a shadow of their glorious former selves?  Who has got rid of 16,000 Police Officers in the last four years?  The UK Border Agency is set to shed 8,500 jobs (22%) by 2015, yet another Coalition triumph.  And then you have the nerve to tell us to look out for returning terrorists?   What bloody planet are you on?

Rest assured on one thing – Government cuts are NOT going to make this country better able to resist a terrorist attack be it by home-grown, domestic terrorists, or terrorists from anywhere else in the world.  If you think I’m wrong Dave, please, please explain to me how I’m wrong.

Here endeth today’s lesson on how Dave has pissed me off.

I Told You The Coalition Government Cared About Us But You Wouldn’t Believe Me

I have posted several blogs about cuts to the Police, cuts to the NHS, Probation & Prison Services, Armed Forces etc etc.

This coalition government that we seem to have won in some kind of bizarre raffle just goes on and on.  Cutting everything in the names of Austerity and Reform.

Well listen to me Camoron, IT HAS TO STOP.

It’s bad enough that you’ve strangled the Police, our beloved NHS, the Justice system, Prison and Probation Services. They are now mere shadows of their former glorious selves, and I don’t suppose that any one of them can now be regarded as a Flagship, best in the world.

But you really do have to stop slashing and burning the Armed Forces.

You’ve cut the Army to the bone, not much more than a Defence Force now.  Heaven only knows what would happen if they were faced with two simultaneous theatres of operations.

I know form my brother-in-law’s experiences exactly how our fine airmen are being treated thank you.  You wouldn’t get away with that if they had a Trade Union I can tell you.

Then, this morning, I found this;  The State of The Navy

“At first glance it may appear there are many good reasons for optimism about the Navy but closer study quickly reveals serious deficiencies that undermine its credibility as both a deterrent and a fighting force.”

“Although equipped with mostly modern and effective vessels, this does not mitigate for severely reduced numbers. However good a naval unit may be, it cannot be in 2 places at once, a particular problem for a navy with global ambition.”

““The undeniable truth is that we are simply not spending enough on defence, and our sailors, soldiers and airmen are suffering in consequence” Col Bob Stewart”

“Overall the RN has some great capabilities but lacks critical mass, has its eggs in a few very expensive baskets and is inadequately resourced for its current commitments, never mind the unexpected.”

“The RN in in 2014 is at a particular low point, having lost a swathe of ships and aircraft as a result of the 2010 defence review. At least 1 new aircraft carrier, the F35 Joint Strike Fighter, new submarines and frigates are promised and in various stages of construction but none will be operational before at least 2020. There is also uncertainty about exactly how many of these assets the RN will actually receive.”

“Now down to just 19 surface escorts, this number is totally inadequate even for the RN’s routine tasks and allows no contingency to replace combat loses, breakdowns or the unexpected.”

So, the answer, it seems, is simple.  Dave, you and your cronies can relax. I do hope that the weather in Portugal is suiting you well.  Your team back here can carry on decimating everything contained within the ‘family silver’ and I’ll just hope that this blog gets read around the world and that anybody at all who has an issue with the United Kingdom or our allies will hold off until at least 2020.  That would be fair of them wouldn’t it?

 

sitting duck

‘Independent’ child abuse inquiries: A question of trust?

A Guest Blog by Chris Hobbs

The issue in relation to possible, systematic child abuse by establishment figures, has, over the last forty years, been like a bad penny which has appeared time and time again only to be buried on each occasion by a surfeit of loose change before making another unwelcome appearance.

When I was a young Met officer in the 80’s, every policeman and woman in London knew of rumours surrounding Cyril Smith and we all waited for something to happen but it never did. As is becoming apparent, Cyril Smith may well be the very large tip of a very large iceberg. The question is whether enquiries announced by the Government will succeed in their objectives or indeed whether establishment figures in the Government actually want every skeleton to be laid bare given the fact that obtaining the decision to hold any form of meaningful enquiry was very much akin to pulling teeth.

What is becoming apparent is that the keys which may help unlocking the truth of any establishment cover up could well be in possession of retired police officers together with those employed by MI5 and indeed other government employees including customs officers and Home Office civil servants.

Already there are clear signs of cracks appearing in the establishment dam: Lancashire Special Branch officer Tony Robinson stated that in 1977 he was compelled to hand over a file containing allegations against Cyril Smith to MI5 referred to by all Special Branch officers as Box 500.

Paul Foulston, a detective with the Thames Valley force, claims that an attempt was made by Special Branch officers to prevent him from interviewing a young man in relation to a murder enquiry. Foulston and a colleague interviewed him anyway and were told of Smith’s sexual activities with young men.

In the 1980’s Don Hale, described as a young campaigning editor in Bury, was handed a file compiled by MEP and well known Labour party figure, Barbara Castle. It allegedly contained the names of 16 “high profile” politicians who supported the aims of the Paedophile Information Exchange. Hale stated that his office was raided by Special Branch officers who confiscated the file and threatened him with ‘jail’ if he printed anything in relation to Barbara Castle’s dossier. Hale also stated that Cyril Smith visited his office the day before informing him that the allegations were ‘poppycock.’

Recently retired former Detective Chief Inspector Clive Driscoll gained legendary status when he led the enquiry which saw two of Stephen Lawrence’s killers, David Norris and Gary Dobson, imprisoned. DCI Driscoll’s reward for ensuring there was some justice for Stephen and Stephen’s family was to be forcibly retired from the Metropolitan Police. Doubtless those who made this decision, which infuriated Doreen Lawrence, would have poured over his personnel file which may well have contained details of his ‘falling out’ with senior officers in the 1990’s

Clive Driscoll’s investigations into possible child abuse within children’s homes in Lambeth during this time revealed the names of suspects who were politicians. Sharing these allegations with senior officers was enough to get him moved off the case. He had little choice but to hand over the relevant file upon his departure which has contributed to the current speculation that this was yet another cover up to protect establishment figures.

Most recently Barry Strevens, Margaret Thatcher’s Special Branch bodyguard for many years, revealed that he privately warned Mrs Thatcher of rumours concerning Sir Peter Morrison, Mrs Thatcher’s trusted aide, and his predilection for young boys. Those rumours originally emanated from a senior Cheshire police officer.

Theresa May and her advisers will be as aware of the above facts as anyone else and these facts, when added to the missing files in the Home Office, can only pour petrol on the bonfire of cover up allegations.

It seems obvious that many of these allegations would have found their way into the domain of the police. Within the Met, Special Branch was regarded as the safe pair of hands, albeit a reluctant one, for sensitive issues; even those which did not strictly fall within their remit. Files, such as those ‘lost’ by the Home office’ could well have come into the possession of Special Branch either as originals or as copies either directly or via MI5. In addition further reports may well have been placed on Special Branch or other police files in relation to relevant allegations, intelligence or even just rumours.

The reputation the Metropolitan Police Special Branch (MPBB) had for ‘not leaking’ was probably behind Margaret Thatcher’s firm assertion that the MPSB’s ‘A’ Squad, which protected leading politicians and other VIP’s, would not be merged with other police units including royalty protection. Barry Strevens was then a popular, highly regarded senior officer within ‘A’ squad.

It may well be that amongst other former ‘A’ squad officers there could well be held details of the indiscretions of politicians they were protecting. It extremely likely that where such indiscretions bordered on legality or which could have resulted in a public scandal they would have been reported by the officers themselves in which case details would have been placed on secret files.

The question is whether police files belonging to any force and containing potentially damaging allegations can be readily detected if indeed they haven’t been destroyed. Derbyshire’s Chief Constable Mick Creedon was able to secure access to a number of sensitive files in relation to his enquiry in respect of MPSB’s undercover policing operations.

However damaging reports in relation to establishment figures could well have been placed in files which themselves were given innocuous titles that would make them difficult to locate. The Met originally seemed to indicate that they are in possession of some files before such admissions disappeared behind a wall of obfuscation.

If we look at the number of officers who were just involved in the events mentioned above which are now in the public domain, and then add on others ‘with knowledge’  such as supervisors, the senior officers probably up to Commissioner/Chief Constable level and indeed those who actually handled and minuted the relevant documents and files together with police staff (civilians) responsible for indexing and filing then we already have a significant number of individuals who could provide valuable assistance to any enquiry.

Of course there are probably other relevant documents, files, intelligence reports and even crime book entries that have not come into the public domain all of which will have passed through the hands of police officers and possibly police staff at all levels in a variety of police forces.

The statement by such an esteemed former retired officer as Barry Strevens may well put other present and former officer’s minds at rest, at least to some extent. Barry could hardly have gone any higher in the chain of command with his concerns than to the Prime Minister herself.

‘Officers with knowledge’ however would be indulging in a form of whistleblowing and, those officers whether serving or retired, will be only too well aware that whistleblowing in the police service can be most kindly described as a lottery.

They would have seen former colleagues treated appallingly after they had reported wrongdoing or poor operational decision making and been aware of the dubious elements operating within the Professional Standards Departments of many forces. It is those ‘PSD’s who are the police who investigate the police.

Past and present officers would be considering the worst case scenario if they came forward with information. There would be an appointment with investigating officers probably of DC or DS rank who would have been allocated the task as an action. The resultant statement or report would be passed to a middle ranking or senior officer for consideration. In most cases this would be expedited in the usual way, however there is a not insignificant chance that an ambitious officer looking to enhance his or her CV and climb up the police career ladder, could well closely scrutinise the statement/report in order to see whether the officer, by failing to come forward earlier, may have committed an offence.

This could be one of “conspiracy to pervert the course of justice” or, the once rarely used but now extremely popular “misconduct in public office.” The matter may be pursued by the squad itself or passed to the force PSD. There then could be a ‘career enhancing’ early morning raid where laptops, desk tops, tablets, mobile phones, documents and even a moribund ancient Kodak instamatic lying dormant in the attic would be seized.

Further enquiries including the examination of seized articles would go on for months before the file is passed to the ‘independent’ Crown Prosecution Service where again the file would sit for months. Even if it were considered that the case would have not a snowballs chance in hell of surviving an examination by a jury, that individuals life and indeed that of his family, would be in shreds.

Those outside the police service and other public service employees such as the NHS may well find the above scenario implausible but police whistleblowers such as James Patrick, Dave Mckelvey, Brian Casson and Howard Shaw would beg to differ. Those in any doubt can simply Google the above names in conjunction with ‘police.’

Even the arrest of one serving or retired officer would be hugely advantageous to those in the establishment who have no desire to see any form of enquiry. Those in the process of considering whether to come forward would then see any such action as a pointless and dangerous exercise.

This, of course, leads us into the argument as whether there should be some form of amnesty for those officers ‘with knowledge’ of events, documents or any other form of information which could be relevant. Peter Garsden, president of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers, said, quite rightly that any amnesty would need to be carefully put together. He pointed out that this couldn’t apply to any police officer who was actually part of a paedophile ring and of course he is absolutely correct.

There would have to be a line in the sand drawn and it can be argued that any amnesty consideration should be applied to those who were ‘with knowledge’ of a cover up rather than those who actually instigated or ordered that cover up or were actively involved in abuse activities themselves. It could well be that few, if indeed any, police officers from either Chief Constable/Commissioner rank down to a ‘lowly’ constable would thus be accountable if those who actually instigated the cover up were at the highest levels of government, the civil service or from elsewhere within the establishment.

Any such instructions would have been passed to Chief Officers either directly or perhaps via MI5 and thence down the ladder to those officers, such as those carrying out the raid on the Bury newspaper, as described above. It is surely by working their way back up that ladder that investigators will establish from where these instructions came, whether from the highest levels of government or perhaps from within the police service itself.

Rank and file police officers back in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s had a deep, unconcealed, loathing of paedophiles and any instructions to cover up such activity would have been deeply resented. Those arguing against an amnesty will argue that those officers and other officials should have spoken out or ‘whistleblown’; they will also state that the argument, ‘we were only obeying orders,’ can never be sustainable.

My own analogy would be to liken the plight of the concerned officer to that of a lone, non-swimming’ passenger on the deserted deck of a fast moving ocean liner who suddenly sees another passenger falling overboard.

It would be an utterly pointless exercise for that individual to respond by diving over the side himself in what would be a fruitless attempt to effect a rescue.

Such was the situation faced by police officers in during this period. Any attempt at whistleblowing would possibly have resulted in that individual being prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act and even then there would be no guarantee of the issue in question being exposed. ‘D’ notices could have been employed to thwart any publication or, more likely a discreet phone call to the editor in question. Attempts to raise concerns internally would have been slapped down with dire warnings of disciplinary proceedings and instructions to ‘obey orders.’ That officer’s career would then be permanently tainted or totally ruined.

For those who may well pour scorn on the above, they should be reminded that even in the enlightened era of the 21st century to this very day, police, NHS and civil service whistleblowers have a torrid time if they attempt to raise concerns either internally or externally. Promises in relation to NHS whistleblowers have proved worthless and it would be a foolish officer indeed who places his faith in new whistleblowing protocols laid down by the College Of Policing. Even if official sanctions are not viable every rank and file police officer is familiar with the term, “doing his (or her) legs.”

The next question those ‘with knowledge’ will be asking themselves is in relation to the veracity of the relevant enquiry which has not got off to a great start with the appointment and then resignation of Baroness Butler-Sloss. They will remember the fate of David Kelly, arguably the most famous whistleblower who allegedly committed suicide after his identity was revealed as the individual who articulated concerns about the Government’s Iraq policy to journalist Andrew Gilligan. They will also remember dubious machinations around the subsequent Hutton enquiry.

The fact that the Chilcott Iraq Enquiry Report is still unpublished due, it would seem, to the joint efforts of both major parties, will again hardly boost the confidence of those ‘with knowledge.’ Even when the final report is it revealed, it is likely to contain omissions which, had Sir John Chilcott had his way, would be published in full. With tragic events unfolding in Iraq, most would view the reports publication in its original entirety as desirable, yet it could be that what is now a humanitarian disaster approaching biblical proportions makes this possibility even more remote.

Even the Leveson enquiry was tainted by claims that the Met had claimed a ‘public interest immunity certificate’ which prevented the disclosure of a report which allegedly contained details of improper behaviour by a very senior officer.

We have already seen that recent child abuse disclosures in relation to political figures have damaged all three parties. All parties will realise however that major political damage will be sustained by whoever is perceived to have actually instigated and orchestrated any cover up. Little wonder that efforts will be made to ensure that a few details as possible will emerge before the next general election.

Concerns of those ‘with knowledge’ will hardly have been allayed by the treatment of  John Vine, the governments ‘Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration’ who may now never obtain his deserved knighthood.

John Vine’s role could be described as a permanent enquiry into the shortcomings of the UK Border Agency and UK Border Force. Let’s remember the word independent here, as with the forthcoming enquiry into child abuse.

John Vine’s reports were frequently both thorough and damning and articulated the concerns of front line officers. There seems little doubt that this irritated the Home Office who began manipulating and then actually redacting sections of reports on spurious national security grounds; John Vine of course, would need no lessons from the Home Office on factors that presented a threat national security.

That John Vine’s independent status was undermined and Sir John Chilcott’s report will not be presented as he would have wanted it, can only lead to the conclusion that the announced and already troubled ‘independent’ enquiries could also be interfered with and manipulated especially when it comes to presenting the final report if that report was found to be damaging to political and establishment interests.

What is clear is that the terms of references of any enquiry need to include some form of guarantees for police officers, police staff, MI5 personnel and civil servants whether serving or retired who ‘have knowledge.’

Those individuals, mistrustful of contacting the police or the enquiry direct should also be able to approach an impartial gateway which will secure their interests before contact with police or the enquiry is made. This, as stated above, will not protect those  who have been involved directly in paedophile rings and indeed it is regrettable that the shameful way police forces have treated ‘whistleblowers’ and the discreditable conduct of elements within force PSD’s including the Met’s Department of Professional Standards, makes this necessary.

Those ‘with knowledge’ may regard whistlebowing to the media as the preferred option. The clumsy and failed attempt by the Met to use the Official Secrets Act in 2011 to get the Guardian to reveal sources plus the fallout from the Leveson enquiry may inhibit potential whistleblowers from contacting the mainstream media.

Another option could be the online Exaro investigative news website which has fought a relentless campaign against child abuse cover up with the result that many obstacles placed in its way by officialdom have been overcome. It even managed to secure the support of more than 100 MP’s from all parties which has played no small part in forcing the governments hand in relation to inquiries.

It is clearly prepared to ‘die in a ditch’ over the issue and it is hard to see them ‘giving up’ a bona fide whistleblower in any circumstances.

Even with all suggested safeguards in place however together with the persistent watchfulness of Exaro, there will still be doubts as to the whether the political will exists for such inquiries given the potential damage the results may cause. This in turn will result in there being constant public suspicion that establishment interests will attempt to manipulate both the enquiry and the final report.

Courtesy of Chris Hobbs (retired ex-Met)

The Shrinking Police Service Is a Bit Closer To Home Now

BBC News – West Mercia Police cuts the number of stations with public counters.

 

Front counters will close at 21 police stations and opening hours cut at another six, West Mercia Police has announced.

They will be replaced with an intercom linked to a police operator. Who am I to tell Mr Bill Longmore that this is not acceptable, but it isn’t?  21 Police Stations being linked to a Comms Office via an intercom.  There are some reasonable size towns represented in the list below, by no means restricted to remote, out of the way villages.

The changes will come into effect on 1 September

  • Closed: Bridgnorth, Bromsgrove, Bromyard, Church Stretton, Droitwich, Kington, Ledbury, Leominster, Ludlow, Malvern, Market Drayton, Oswestry, Peterchurch, Ross-on-Wye, Rubery, Shrewsbury Town, South Wye, Stourport-on-Severn, Wellington, Wem and Whitchurch

 

  • Reduced hours: Hereford, Kidderminster, Redditch, Telford and Worcester police stations open to the public from 08:00 – 20:00 six days a week and 10:00 – 16:00 on Sunday and bank holidays. Shrewsbury Police Station open from 08:00 – 16:00 from Monday to Friday and 09:00 – 17:00 on Saturday and 10:00 – 16:00 on Sundays and bank holidays

These closures are serious, unlike the PCC’s website which, in my humble opinion, resembles a bad joke.

I visited the website in response to the above story, hoping to find more information, or maybe a valid justification for these closures.  The very first thing that struck my eye at the top of the page was a strap line :-Front Line Police Services To Be Protected”  Oh good I thought, it’s not all doom and gloom, so I clicked on it to get the story, and this is where it took me

Bill responds to the latest HMIC report ‘responding to austerity’

Captain Bill had this to say about protecting Front Line Services  “This report highlights the financial restraints which have been placed on West Mercia Police and I am pleased to see that it recognises how well it has coped with these.
“Despite making savings, the force is still delivering a good service to the people of West Mercia and frontline services have been, and will continue to be, protected.
“It is quite obvious that the police service will face ongoing restraint. I will explore every aspect of policing to see where efficiencies can be made to ensure that we continue to achieve value for money for our residents.”

 

Well, that’s alright then, Bill says it is so.  I accept that Front Counters aren’t Front Line Services in the Blue Light sense, but they are frequently the first interaction between Police and Public in any manner of situation, and should never be under-estimated.  Whoever is manning the Front Counter, be they Police, Police Staff or Volunteer, they are clearly not ‘Response’ but I would argue that it’s a Front Line function, although clearly not regarded as such in West Mercia, eh Bill?

On a slightly different subject, I did giggle when I discovered that the West Mercia PCC publicly published his decisions, 17 of them this year it seems, and here they are, in all their glory.

They’re Changing The Guard At Buckingham Palace

And this has naff all to do with Christopher Robin and Alice.

The senior management the Ever-So-Slightly-Unhinged Branch at New Scotland Yard have got together and finally managed to make a decision.

This decision has caused a slight uproar among Royal and Diplomatic Protection Department officers charged with guarding the Queen and her family, including high-profile members Prince William, the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.

Prince Charles was sufficiently miffed at learning of the proposed changes that he raised them with senior Met officers at Assistant Commissioner level.  Who is that today? Cressida’s on her bike, who knows?

An immensely powerful post ACSO, previously inhabited by some exceedingly fine folk, with the occasional moron thrown in for good measure.

In their usual manner the Met took absolutely no notice of anyone, including the future King of England, and went ahead regardless.

The Met said the move is not about cost-cutting and insists there will be no impact on the safety of the royal family. But it will affect the security of all senior royals, including the Queen, Prince Philip, Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall.  [Isn’t that a tad contradictory?]

Now SO14 officers, who work very long hours, are threatening to operate under European Union 40-hour-week guidelines after some of their colleagues were bluntly informed by email that they were “no longer in post”. Nice to see that the Met is still a ‘Caring Employer’, an Investors in People Gold Award can now only be a mere formality.

The personal protection officers have been told effectively it is over to them to sort it out – what exactly does THAT mean?

Lesser Royals, such as Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, have apparently already had their security details either reduced  or removed.

A ‘senior source’ was happy to be quoted as saying “Obviously it raises serious concern about the effectiveness of the department and will have an impact on the safety of the royal family. For the first time it seems Scotland Yard is putting a price on protecting the royal family. In the past this was not even a consideration — security came first.”

In my opinion, for what it’s worth, the security of the Royal Family should ALWAYS come first, regardless of cost.  Do NSY envisage removing Personal Protection Officers from defunct Prime Ministers and Home Secretaries?  Will the Commissioner now surrender his armed driver?  I doubt that, but who knows what goes on in that strange place that NSY has become.