The Numbers Just Don’t Make Sense Imelda

Nearly 17,000 trained Police Officers have been discarded by the current coalition since they came to power.

A similar number of Police Staff (civvies in old money) have also been turfed onto the scrap heap.

It is estimated that a similar scale of carnage will be committed in the following years due to the coaltion’s absolute refusal to ring-fence the Police Budget.

A total loss to the Police Service of somewhere in the region of 68,000 by the end of the next term.

In whose world does that make sense?

 Blunderwoman. That’s who.

In tandem with the decimation of Policing as we know it comes the predictable onslaught on Stop and Search.  Apparently it is a much over-used and misused tactic. Allegedly a disproportionate number of ethnic minority citizens are finding themselves on the receiving end of a Stop and Search conducted by an overwhelmingly white Police Service.

“Crime is down is” the constantly repeated mantra churned out by the Home  Office and Senior Officers alike.

Is it? Is it really? Do we actually have a reliable set of #CrimeStats that we can feel comfortable quoting yet?

Have the number of Stabbings and Shootings really gone down, is it only in my head that there seem to be more? Those weapons are transported through our streets, under our very noses, and we are expected to conduct LESS Stop and Searches.  Before an officer can conduct a Stop/Search on a person of ANY ethnicity he/she has to have ‘grounds’ to conduct that search. Every officer is accountable for every Stop/Search he/she conducts. If those ‘grounds’ exist, are we saying that the Stop/Search should not be conducted, despite those ‘grounds’  just in case the person being Stop/Searched is upset by it? If one of our officers failed to Stop/Search a person who was subsequently found to have been carrying a concealed weapon which was used to kill somebody, at the very least the Daily Fail will be crying for that officer’s career to be terminated, but maybe it’s just better not to risk upsetting anyone out on the streets?

Every Stop/Search must be recorded including the ‘grounds’ for it, and the subject of it is entitled to apply for a copy of that record. I wonder how many are actually requested, or is this just another smokescreen?

Now I read that HMIC are recommending/requiring that all Traffic stops are now recorded as there are concerns that these too might be unduly weighted towards certain ethnic groups

And this following on from Imelda’s promise to cut red tape and bureaucracy.

So, maybe now we need to scrap all ANPR machines, together with mobile and static Speed Cameras just in case they catch too many citizens from certain ethnic groups.

All I know is that if I were still serving I would be hugely offended that Imelda and the Milky Bar Kid didn’t trust me enough to use my professionalism properly and account for my actions, having acted ‘without fear or favour’ in my quest to uphold the law and maintain Public Safety.

It’s not about Ethnicity.

It’s not about Institutional Racism.

It is about professional officers trying to do their duty in the face of a barrage of diversionary tactics.

So you want to extract your revenge for your treatment at Conference? Give the Police a damn good kicking? Make them know their place, reduce their effectiveness so that they can never again show you such disrespect? Is that it? Well remember who the Collateral Damage is in your campaign, the Great British Public! or The Electorate as they are sometimes referred to. I refer you back to a previous post Home Secretary.

With rapidly dwindling resources, an increased terrorist threat and Stabbings and Shootings, not to mention the myriad of other assorted crimes, just how are we to achieve the Primary Objective’ i.e. The Prevention of Crime?

The numbers don’t make sense, they are stacked against us and smug soundbites like a Smaller, Faster, Smarter Police Service don’t really hold up to the reality of what is happening, and that is that #CutsHaveConsequences and we don’t need any more ostriches thank you, we have enough of those already.

The only thing more ludicrous than these proposals would be to hear that my old friend Sophie as standing for Parliament or was going to be a PCC somewhere.

Finally, one last number that bothers me personally, is to do with pensions. This government has royally screwed up the pension arrangements for thousands of serving officers. I haven’t heard of many officers who won’t be worse off in some way. But what about the already-retired? I have always understood that there is no ‘pension fund’, that our pensions are paid from the contributions of today’s members. So what happens when ‘today’s members’ have been slashed by 30,000 or more?  Less contributions going into the kitty but the same amount going out surely? The government picks up the shortfall?

As I said, the numbers Just don’t make sense Imelda.

#MaysMayhem

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Deep Joy, Kick The Cops Time Is Here Again

Last week we had the keenly awaited report from Uncle Tom’s Flock of Sheep regarding Integrity and Corruption within the Police Service. It clearly didn’t say what a lot of people wanted it to say as it led to some really slanted reporting by the Media. As I pointed out last week, it included nuggets like “Police are committed to tackling Corruption”, “Corruption is not endemic within the Police” and “122 out of 125 previous recommendations have been adopted”. Instead we had headlines such as “Police told to review 2, 000 cases of alleged Corruption”, “Police need to do more to tackle Corruption” and “Hundreds of suspected corrupt police officers evade justice by RETIRING”

I guess Investigation Finds Police Acting With Integrity isn’t much of a headline.

Today we get the IPCC’s version of the situation and are treated to headlines like “Police Complaints at Record High” and “IPCC: Obviously The Figures Are Worrying”. Dame Anne Owers, chair of the IPCC, said that the figures were “obviously worrying”, and also cited concerns that some complaints were not being properly dealt with.

Let me make it clear, I’m not in favour of Complaints being ‘whitewashed’. I don’t believe or pretend that all Police Officers are faultless and all complaints are malicious. Professional Standards Departments are one of the few departments not to have had their budgets slashed. It is incumbent upon them to establish the Guilt or Innocence of all officers who have allegations made against them. Guilt or Innocence.

Apparently there were nearly 35,000 complaints made in 2013/14, some 35% up on the previous year. 35,000 complaints relating to a workforce of 128,000 (ish). One in four assuming that no officer received more than one complaint. Is that so very awful? Not brilliant or desirable, but we’re talking Complaints now, not Corruption. More than one allegation can be included in a complaint “case” and the police watchdog said some of the increase was due to the broadening of the definition of a complaint.

The highest number of complaints were regarding police neglect or failure in duty, followed by complaints about police being rude or intolerant. Neglect or Failure in Duty? At a time when the Police have never been under such immense pressure, increased demands upon Police resources combined with a planned and deliberate reduction in manpower levels. Is that such a great surprise? Less cops, more work to be done. Is it any great surprise that Failure in Duty should be the greatest cause for complaint?

IPCC. The I stands for INDEPENDENT.

How “Independent” is it to state that the increased number of complaints is “Alarming”. Would/Should an Independent Authority not look beyond the headlines for a possible or probable cause? Maybe it’s just too easy to kick the cops and ignore the reasons?

Now for the bits hidden away at the end of the IPCC report and beneath the headlines in the Press.

The 35,000 complaints made resulted in almost 62,000 allegations being made against Police a Officers and Police Staff. Of these 62,000 allegations, less than half of them warranted an Investigation. Of those, less than 4,000 were upheld.

When Society encourages more reporting of anything, unsurprisingly the number (in this case, recorded Complaints) goes up, but less than 4,000 of the 62,000 were substantiated.

So what’s the headline now?

Less Than 4% of Cops Break The Rules

Doesn’t have quite the same impact does it?

Time to stop the witch hunts, report complaints and discipline in a fair and balanced way and establish the TRUTH. I’m sure that’s want the Police and Public both want to hear.

Stop this constant kicking and just be fair and honest.

Incidentally, the figures used in the IPCC Report are very confusing. There are numerous tables at the end, the numbers contained within each table do not seem to tally with each other and no explanation offered. If I have missed something there please do put me right, I’d hate to have misinterpreted the data.

#CutsHaveConsequences

Thoughts For The Week

Winners and Losers

In a week that has seen 2 major documents released into the wild who are the winners and the losers? Are there any winners at all?

Well, there are certainly some losers.

In the 6 monthly release of manpower figures for the 43 Forces, the two outright losers are Durham and West Mercia Constabularies.  Back in 2011 HMIC set each and every Force a Numerical Target for their Manpower, i.e a strength that they were required to attain by March 2015.  According to the September 2014 stats (the latest available) HALF of the 43 Forces in England and Wales have Manpower levels LOWER than they are required to achieve by March.  Durham and West Mercia currently have Manpower levels more than 10% LOWER than their target figure for March.  WHY??

We know that there are more cuts to come, are these two Forces really just getting upstream of the game or is there something more sinister at work?

The biggest ‘winner’ is North Yorkshire with over 5% more than their March 2015 Target, so does this indicate some serious pain ahead for North Yorkshire, or is it 2 fingers from the PCC and Chief Constable?  I do so hope that it’s the latter.

The only Forces whose Establishments were higher in September 2014 than March 2014 were (in no particular order)

Bedfordshire +63

Wiltshire +8

The Met +651

Cumbria +11

Dyfed Powys +41

Thames Valley +55

Northamptonshire +3

Lincolnshire +10

and North Wales +31

So if you live or work in any of those 9 Forces (yes, just 9 out of 43) well done, lucky you.  If you’re one of the 32 others then times are even harder than ever before, and destined to get worse.

Nothing quite like a bit of slanted reporting.

This week also saw the release of the long-awaited report by HMIC into corruption and integrity in the Police Service.

Briefly, this report concludes that there is no evidence that corruption is endemic within the Police Service and that after HMIC’s reviews in 2011 and 2012 122 out of 125 recommendations have been adopted by Chief Constables.  That’s a good thing isn’t it?

You wouldn’t think so if you saw the assorted headlines and the manner in which this document was reported.

Police lack resources to probe corruption, inspectors say

Police ‘need to do more to tackle corruption’

“Better training” needed to tackle corruption says HMIC

Report shows police forces are ‘making progress’ in tackling corruption

Police told to review nearly 2000 cases of alleged corruption

Police turn down cups of tea because they fear it will make them look corrupt

Corruption not endemic in the police service …

Huge differences in the way it has been reported, and most of them negative.

I’m not immensely happy with the methodology adopted for such an important piece of work, but what’s new there?  It consisted of an online survey of police officers and staff achieving 17,200 responses and fieldwork activity in all 43 forces took place between 2 June and 8 August 2014. During that time, our inspection teams spoke to more than 1,500 officers and staff – not a huge percentage, and ranks and grades of those consulted are not disclosed.

At the end of the day the press, as is their way, chose not to highlight the “Corruption is not endemic” headline cos there’s no story for them in that, but most went with a negative slant. The report also added that most officers and staff were “honest and professional”, but there wasn’t a huge amount of reporting of that either.

That’s exactly what we’ve come to expect from our press in the UK, and then they demand our sympathy when they are portrayed as the victims.

Oh well, must go now and find a journo to feel sorry for.

Arise Sir Tom Winsor or WTF?

tom winsor

So, the worst kept secret of modern day policing is out, our old friend and valued colleague, Tom Winsor, is to become a Knight of The Realm.  It is to be noted that this award has been given for ‘Public Service’ and not for ‘Services to Policing’, although the joke is maintained by including it in the Law and Order section.  Cressida Dick, it should be noted, is receiving her award for Services to Policing.

Let us examine this more closely, what exactly has Uncle Tom done to deserve this?

He has re-written an old David Camoron speech and called it

Independent Review of Police Officer and Staff Remuneration and Conditions.

He has admitted, on national radio, that his method of estimating the fitness levels of bobbies on the beat were flawed and unscientific, he just didn’t know how to do it, so that whole section of his independent report is flawed in my opinion.

He omitted to draw his fee for writing his independent report, merely taking the expenses.

He saw off all opposition to become the Chief Inspector HMCIC, despite being the first and only CIHMIC not to have ever been a Police Officer.

Winsor has overseen the introduction of the new all-force annual Police Effectiveness, Efficiency and Legitimacy (PEEL) inspection programme.

Winsor has also overseen the publication of a number of vital HMIC reports on issues such as domestic abuse, crime data integrity and policing in austerity.

Home Secretary Theresa May said:

“As Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Mr Winsor has worked tirelessly to ensure that the Inspectorate is able to successfully shine a light on policing outcomes and value for money.

He established the PEEL programme, which is giving the public a clear, independent view of the quality of policing in their local area, and delivered thematic inspections on important issues such as stop and search and domestic abuse to ensure police forces are dealing with them appropriately.

I’m delighted to reappoint Thomas Winsor as Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary and I very much look forward to working with him in the future.”

So December has really been a good month for the good Chief Inspector (sorry chaps), not only reappointed for a further 5 whole years but a Knighthood to boot.  Makes his unclaimed fee for his independent review pale into insignificance really.

They do say respect has to be earned, well I think this demonstrates quite clearly that Sir Tom has finally earnt our respect and maybe we should all now bow down to him, his words are obviously wise ones and he has been rewarded accordingly.

Or maybe I’m joking too, you decide,

Oh, by the way, a Happy New Year to my reader.

News of Tom Winsor's Knighthood Spreads Rapidly

News of Tom Winsor’s Knighthood Spreads Rapidly

And the best caption I have seen so far

Make It Look Like An Accident Bond

Make It Look Like An Accident Bond

Dear Diary – Day Two In Narnia

I suspect that I had something in common with many of yesterday. I was incandescent with rage, not an unusual condition for me, but it seems it’s infectious.

The thing that sparked it off yesterday was the anticipated news that Police Budgets across England and Wales were being slashed by a further 5% or £299 million. It has previously been predicted that any cuts of this magnitude will result in the loss of 34,000 more jobs, including Police Officers and Support Staff..

One Chief Constable has already declared that his Force cannot sustain further cuts, the PCC of Surrey has declared the cupboard to be bare and even the mighty Bernie Hogan-Who has said that further cuts will pose a risk to the public.

We are, it seems, living in a paradox. On one hand we have Cruella saying that more cuts are necessary, you must now set about doing more with less all over again, more jobs must go to pay for it, all is Doom and Gloom. Austerity is the reason for all these unpopular decisions.

Then we have Gidiot telling us that we have the strongest economy in Europe everything is rosy and that things could be so much worse, and are elsewhere.

So which is it?

Then, on the same day it is announced that HMIC and IPCC are getting MORE money allocated. What is that about?

The NHS Budget is apparently Ring-Fenced, I.e.Protected, and Camoron has pledged not to cut NHS funding by a single penny until 2020 if he is re-elected. Well we know the worth of his promises don’t we?

A large chunk of the Education Budget has been Ring-Fenced also. I don’t particularly have a problem with these, they are very important, but why not so Policing?

Then my personal favourite, the Foreign Aid Budget. Not only is this £11.5 BILLION budget Ring Fenced, but there are moves afoot to index link it to UK GDP.

I may prove to be unpopular with some (nothing new there) but Charity begins at home my friends. How can we possibly justify an £11.5 BILLION Foreign Aid budget when Policing and Defence Forces are losing personnel hand over fist because “we can no longer afford them”?

The last thing I did last night before I committed my weary frame to my straw palliasse was to send a Freedom of Information request to the Home Office seeking a copy of the Risk Assessment and/or Impact Assessment in relation to yesterday’s announced cuts. I know what will happen now, they will spend the next 20 working days (Christmas and New Year coming up) forgetting to answer me, then in about 5-6 weeks time they’ll tell me that there aren’t any. By which time the hullabaloo will have died down and nobody will care less again.

The only possible reason for these latest cuts that I can think of (other Conspiracy Theories are available) is that the Unholy Trinity of Camoron, Cruella and Gidiot are using The Budget to bludgeon our once proud and effective Police Service into total submission. Forces will HAVE TO merge to remain viable and they will have achieved total control by the back door.

In the meantime the Home Office comes in for ever more flack and Teflon shrugs it off, never seemingly called to account for her department’s gaffs.

Nobody ever said it was fair.

In the meantime I have huge respect and sympathy for the men and women still out there doing it. You do have support, but not where it matters it seems.

Have ACPO Finally Grown A Pair? Or……..

What on earth is going on in the rarified atmosphere occupied by the ACPO types? They’re beginning to sing from the same hymn book as us lesser mortals (or are they?)

The last few days has seen headlines such as

Lincolnshire Police chief says force will go out of business in letter to the Home Secretary

and

Cuts without reform put the public at risk

The first is obviously Neil Rhodes’ voiced opinion that his Force will go out of business if the current unsustainable funding arrangements continue.

The second is Bernie Hogan-Who’s belated entrance into the fray, in which he claims that “The police and other emergency services are looking at years of austerity. We must slash the number of forces and make a host of other radical changes if public safety is to be maintained”

My initial reaction was “About bloody time too, why have they taken nearly 5 years to speak out, we all know that already?”

And then I got to thinking……a dangerous pasttime I know

In July this the Uncle Tom’s organisation released a report updating us on how our 43 Forces were meeting the challenges posed by Austerity.  Three Forces were highlighted as needing to do much more to catch up and survive, these were Bedfordshire, Nottinghamshire and Gwent.

The Met, for example, was graded GOOD  on the grounds that

  • HMIC is assured that the MPS is using a range of methods to understand the demand placed on its services and the consequences of that demand, for example the numbers of staff required for prosecution file preparation and for crime investigation.
  • Through the use of a ‘star chamber’, the MPS has an efficient way to align human resources to emerging threats and retain staff in critical posts.
  • The force has maintained its drive on crime reduction and victim satisfaction throughout the spending review period.
  • Within this effort, it is recognised that securing the satisfaction of victims of crime in the capital is challenging.
  • The MPS is introducing ever more innovative means of interacting with the public ranging from greater use of social media to replacing traditional police station front counters with more flexible drop-in centres.

Well that’s all fine and dandy then.  Or is it?  This HMIC report is now yesterday’s chip wrapper. Nobody remembers it.  It was news for about one day in July and then……..nothing.

We had headlines from the Fed such as

More than a third of forces could struggle to provide the same service to the public if cuts continue, says HMIC

And then……….nothing.

So what if the public proclamations of Bernie and Neil Rhodes are nothing more than Cruella May leaking her vision for the future through the ‘trusted’ media of the Police in order to soften us up.  In the main we trust what the Police tell us more than we trust our politicians.

Is it vaguely conceivable that a couple of highly-placed cops could become government mouthpieces?  Surely not?  No place for politics in policing, wouldn’t happen would it? Would we be more receptive to the Home Secretary’s (and Camoron’s) Reform Agenda if it came out of the mouths of our Police Leaders who were seeming to be on ‘our side’ for once.

Or have ACPO finally grown a pair. You decide.

Personally I have been predicting a National Police Force, Fire Brigade policing and a higher level of front-line involvement for PCSOs and Specials for over a year now.  Is this what Bernie is suggesting?   At least the uniforms and vehicles will be cheaper if they’re all the same.

A Good Day To Bury Bad News……You Were Warned

So, some rebadged twat has won a By Election somewhere in rural England, Big Deal.

The real news of today is this

One in six police jobs expected to go after election, say senior officers

or

Police cuts: Tories to axe another 34,000 cops and police staff..

Yes, today’s big news is that this ragtag government are proposing to slash ANOTHER 34,000 posts, Police and Civilian, in 2015.  It would take total police job losses to 68,000 since the Coalition came to power.

Chief Constable Douglas Paxton, ACPO lead on finances and resources, said: “The Home Office have advised us to make an assumption that the police service will face further funding cuts, and we should assume a cut of 5% in real terms per year – or a further 20% over four more years.

The bit that I hadn’t seen coming was this;

The expectation that police will face a 20 per cent cut in funding is based on grant reductions recommended by the police watchdog, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC).

So, HMIC have a hand in this?  Have HMIC become politicised?  Maybe they should be rebranded TMIC or Theresa May’s Inspectorate of Constabulary.  Either way, that man Winsor seems to be at it again.

The Met has already sold off the family silver, it can’t be sold off again.  Other Forces around the country have sold off or closed Police Stations, moved into Tesco (other supermarkets are also available), made redundancies, cut officer numbers.   Where are these cuts going to come from?  Front Line services just HAVE TO BE affected this time round, no option. Many Forces have already exceeded their 2015 Austerity targets, maybe they knew this was coming and that’s why they did it? Who knows? But something stinks in the State of Maidenhead.

Even if you’re not a serving officer dear reader, these cuts will affect you, make no mistake.

I simply cannot envisage how the 43 Forces of England and Wales can absorb these proposals and survive as we know them.  Maybe this is just another way of a tired, weary, unimaginative coalition bullying us in the direction of a National Police Service, or, heaven forbid, G4$ and $erco et al (other private companies are also available and no doubt waiting).