Numerical Targets – A Somewhat Different Version

Back in January I posted a blog relating to Austerity and the Manpower (should that be Personpower?) targets each of our 43 Police Forces has set, that they should reach by March 2015. When I last addressed it in January 42% of the Police Forces in England and Wales had shed more posts overall than were required to meet this target.

In the light of the terrorist activity, both home and abroad, this does not seem like a good time to be shedding posts hand over fist. Imelda and Uncle Tom have a lot to answer for.

According to recent news approx 500 so called Jihadists are on foreign soil Jihadding. The UK does not seem to have a cohesive plan to deal with them when, and if, they return home. Apparently, revoking their passports and making them ‘stateless’ is not cricket, but surely most people would expect, or demand, something in the way of sanctions when they return.

If they do return home, do we want Police and Security Services to monitor them for the coming months and years or do we just ignore them? Not ignoring them requires some serious resources. Resources that have now been stripped by Imelda and Uncle Tom.

When Winsor’s fabulous Reviews were published, and taken on board by Imelda with indecent haste I asked the Home Office for details of Winsor’s Risk Assessments, Impact Assessments and any What If Analysis carried out on his two tomes. There are none.

So here we are, faced with a potentially awful terrorist situation at home with 16,000+ less officers to confront, contain and investigate it.

If just one Police Officer, PCSO or squaddie is killed or injured the cost of that can be measured in terms of 16,000 officers’ pay, or maybe even just the number of officers below the 2015 targets forces have reduced their establishments. This has to be a deliberate strategy, maybe a political ploy when PCCs and Chief Constables can declare “Ta Dah, we’re opening a few boxes of Policemen for you”

Not that I ever expected them to, but not one single Force has told me the reason why they’re shedding more than they need to. Maybe Simon Guillfoyle and Stick Child can explain it to us all.

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The Poisoned Chalice

So who is holding the Poisoned Chalice this week?

My nomination would be Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley of the Met. He is the current holder of the post of Assistant Commissioner Specialist Operations or ACSO. This is a hugely privileged post, the holder gets to know all kinds of ‘stuff’ and make decisions on that ‘stuff” A post with huge responsibilities to be fair. There have been some truly magnificent and inspirational holders of this post, notably Dave Venness, who I did know as a DCI, top guvnor. There have also been some right planks, you can look those up for yourself. I have no idea which camp Mark Rowley sits in as I know nothing about him outside of his bio.

He can’t be having an easy time of it though, wherever he pitches his tent.

A week ago we had the almost unprecedented instance of the Threat Level being raised due to a (then) unspecified threat to Police Officers’ safety.

Yesterday a bit more flesh was put on the bones following the charging of 5 individuals. The details disclosed yesterday and repeated this morning are truly shocking

5 Terror Suspects Charged – wanted to kill Police Officers

Purchase of a firearm with silencer, hostile reconnaissance of a London Police Station, photos of 2 Police Officers and 2 PCSOs, together with graphic images of an IS beheading.

The tricky bit is that many of our brave, frontline officers had to find out via Twitter or Facebook. The officers involved in this case will have had a mare of a job. Who knows how many Exhibits to log and ensure Continuity and safekeeping. I don’t suppose the interviews were much fun. In tandem with all of this would have been the decision about how much information to disclose to the troops, in what format and when.

It isn’t really acceptable that anybody should have found out through SM (how ironic), it has to have been possible to prepare a briefing and for the release of vital information to Police Officers to have been professionally managed.

So, for these reasons Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley gets my nomination for the Poisoned Chalice. Not very often I have any sympathy for an ACPO officer.