Ponder This Cruella

Thursday saw a bizarre event.

The people voted and it seems that the people voted for five more years of Cuts and Austerity, and that is absolutely the country’s right, if that’s what they want.

However, within 36 hours of the result being confirmed we had civil disorder outside Downing Street.

I am neither condoning nor discouraging civil disorder, but I AM anticipating it.

Are we heading for a new Summer of Discontent?  Because if we are, think on this, you and Milky have already disposed of over 17,000 warranted Police Officers since 2010, PCSO and Special Constabulary numbers are also down I believe, as are Police Staff.  If this isn’t bad enough you’ve kept your job and are about to embark on 5 more years of cuts leading to the loss of a similar number more.

What are you going to do when the wheel comes off?  When the Met has to ask for Mutual Aid like it did in 2011 something has gone terribly pear-shaped.  We’ve got even less than that now, more destined to go, where will the Mutual Aid come from.  17,000 officers, as has been pointed out elsewhere, is the equivalent of FOUR entire Police Forces along the South Coast, and you intend to DOUBLE that? Think about it I implore you.

Take a look at what happened only yesterday.

Can you hear the people sing?

Can You?

who you gonna call

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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

It’s Going To Be A Busy Old Week

It’s only Tuesday, and my quill is already getting blunt.

Yesterday I discussed the (yet again) vindictive reports coming out of HMIC and IPCC, you can find that here if you haven’t already read it.

Today I’m occupied by the proposed cuts looming for the Met.  I know that the Met is not the only Force facing cuts, merely one of 43, but what staggers me is the size of those cuts and what that means for the future of, what is undoubtedly, the largest Force in the land.

With 31,500 warranted officers it is far and away the largest force, and by comparison the second largest is West Midlands Police with 7,155 warranted officers, all the way down to Warwickshire with a mere 788.

I’ve learned a lot about the Met since I retired and I’m no longer certain that I would describe it as the Best Force, but nobody can argue that it’s the largest and probably best-resourced. In retirement I have spent some wonderful hours sharing many cups of coffee with colleagues still serving in Constabulary Forces and been made aware of the ‘Bleeding Obvious’  The Met do it differently.

In all the time I was serving I was blissfully unaware of just how lucky I was.  We used to moan that we didn’t have a widget for so and so, or a gizzmo for this and that, but basically we were incredibly well off compared to our County Cousins.

I don’t know if it is still the case but the Met used to survive on that dirty word ‘Overtime’.  Entire Public Order events were policed by officers on overtime sometimes, almost inevitably a third to half of a PSU would be on overtime.  Rest days being cancelled, with, or without, notice was a frequent occurrence.

In August 2012 I asked the Met how many Rest Days were still outstanding, waiting to be re-rostered and taken, the reply I got was this

“There are 165,624 rest days (as of 5th July 2012) that are currently shown
as either cancelled, outstanding or waiting for officers to re-roster
them.
However please note there are 43,355 rest days that have been re-rostered
to the future.”

I have read elsewhere that this figure is now closer to half a million.

I remember fondly that when overtime restrictions were first brought in (for welfare reasons allegedly) we were not allowed to incur more than 100 hours overtime a month without a supervisor submitting a report supporting it.  The Met truly did run on overtime even though they had even more than 31,500 officers in those days, and considerably less demand.

Which brings me to the point of today’s post.  In the last round of budgetary cuts in the name of Austerity, the Met lost £600 million from its budget.  Even a behemoth like the Met must have felt the pain. In fact I’m sure they did.  In an attempt to ease the pain Police Stations were sold off, Front Counters closed, manpower lost, back office officers moved back onto the Front Line, even Peel Centre hasn’t escaped untouched.

peel centre

No, they’re not carrying out improvements, that bit’s been sold orft.  Training Centres, Feeding Centres – gone.

Now we hear that the Met has to suffer a further £800 million of cuts and my honest question is simply HOW?

I can’t sit here and pretend that cuts are not necessary, I’m not convinced that they’re being applied fairly and evenly (why ring-fence the Overseas Aid budget for example?) but how on earth can the Met survive?  And what hope is there for the rest of the country if the biggest (by far) Force is suffering?

My loyalty (if I have any left) is obviously to the Met, but I am capable of seeing the bigger picture and I’m convinced that it’s not a good one.  I’ve said before that even if we elected a new Government this Thursday, the changes brought about by May, Camoron and Winsor will take decades to reverse, if ever, and now it’s set to get to worse.

Home Office Stats for Policing Strength are already listed under 10 Regions plus BTP so maybe that’s what’s in store for us. Or maybe a National Force under a new Chief

winsor uniform

Commissioner, who knows.

I have previously writ that I’ve heard a rumour that the inner sanctum of the Home Office contains a document predicting a total National Policing Strength of 80,000, may your god help us if we’re ever reduced to those levels, but it would solve the budgetary problems which is the only priority the ConDems seem to have on their list. They don’t seem to care about the strength of the Armed Forces or any of the Emergency Services, who knows what they’re agenda is?

#TJF #CutsHaveConsequences

doomed

V For Vendetta, V For Vindictive And V Is For Vengeance

All of the above seemingly apply to you Home Secretary, although you’re not really the Home Secretary are you? You’re just another Tory Puppet trying to make Camoron’s 2006 visions become a reality.

A REAL Home Secretary, of any party, would CARE for his/her Police Service.

I know the Federation upset you, but oh deary me, you’re supposed to be a big girl and rise above all that.  Be PROFESSIONAL FFS.

Theresa-May-addresses-the-011_thumb.jpgSince your ill-fated appearance at the Police Federation Annual Conference a while ago you seem to have it in for the Police. Vengeance seems to be your main priority.  Unlike any of your predecessors that I can think of (and they have not all been perfect have they Jacqui Smith?), you appear to be conducting a Vendetta against a Police Service (Force) once the admiration of the entire world.

Since you and your cronies came to power we have had a constant ‘thinning’ of the ranks, unfailingly blamed on Labour, but in reality Camoron’s dream.

You were quick to jump on the Andrew Mitchell Bandwagon, calling for Police Officers to be disciplined for their part in the ‘conspiracy’ to bring down Mr Mitchell. That all ended well didn’t it?

We, the Police Family, are tired of your constant sniping and criticisms.  Dragging up the past, events from a quarter of a century ago may indeed have been wrong, but had NOTHING to do with the vast majority of today’s generation of Police Officers. That is Vindictive.

Constantly the mighty Police Service is being not only kicked in the face by you and your government, but kicked while it is down.  Anybody still serving who tries to put things right from within gets a right good kicking too. Where the hell is the justice in that?  More Vindictive behaviour, and the Home Office just sits back and lets it happen.

Judging by the latest set of figures we are now almost 17,000 officers down on what we had 5 years ago.  Are you proud of that?  We know that Austerity means cuts, but do try to be sensible for once, some things are actually important to the country.  The Health Service is important, and that is finally being recognised and something, hopefully done about it.  The Armed Forces are important but they have been slashed also by your colleagues in Defence.  Education is important and has some of its budget ringfenced.

The main losers in all of this seem to be the Police under YOUR leadership (ha!!)

Some things are too important to be cut.  Even if Austerity ended this weekend it would take generations to get the Police Service back to where it was.  Are you proud of that?

Instead we get Uncle (sorry, Sir) Tom Winsor telling us to ‘work smarter’ and ‘get upstream of the offending behaviour and give proper priority to the need to prevent crime”.  How sanctimonious and condescending is that? Does he think that Police Officers ever forget their Primary Objective which is drilled into them Week 1 of Basic Training.

In 1829 Sir Richard Mayne wrote:
“The primary object of an efficient police is the prevention of crime: the next that of detection and punishment of offenders if crime is committed. To these ends all the efforts of police must be directed…….”

We do NOT need reminding by someone who has NEVER been a Police Officer about the need to prevent crime.  More Vindictive comments.

In recent weeks we have seen the tragic attacks on off-duty officers, thankfully not terrorist-related, but every bit as serious and tragic.  Where have the, admittedly unwanted, words of comfort and respect that are traditional from the Home Secretary at times like these?  Nobody wants to hear insincere platitudes, but that doesn’t mean you’re excused from offering them.

Then we did have threats of Terrorist activity aimed at Police Officers, both on and off duty.  WHAT HAS BEEN DONE, OR IS BEING DONE, TO PROTECT THEM?  I don’t want you to reveal the details but I do demand reassurance that something is being done. YOU HAVE A DUTY OF CARE TO THEM HOME SECRETARY.

The security of our nation is now a real concern, and you and Tom Winsor are not helping.  At a time when we need a physical presence to maintain security, you are slashing numbers to the bone, with promises of more cuts to come.  You can hardly call the Army in to help out thanks to the MOD’s far-sighted Human Resource Policy.

How many officers have been ‘lost’ from the Department that provides your (and others) personal security?  Can we do without them?  Are you somehow more important that ordinary folk?  The answer has to be NO, because you come from the public and are elected by the public. You can be replaced.

How long will it be before the tragic events in Paris over the last 24 hours will be repeated in London, Birmingham, Manchester or Edinburgh? Or even Much Wenlock?  It doesn’t matter where, it is far more likely to happen somewhere than nowhere. What are you doing about that?

One thing is certain, the officers that you so clearly despise will, to a man (and lady) DO THEIR JOB, because that is what they do.

Not that you really care but up until this government came to power I always voted Tory.  I will NEVER vote Tory again, EVER. You and your coalition chums have ruined everything that was ever Great about Britain.  Well, we have seen what has happened, and I for one can never forgive you for it.

We’re not stupid, like you clearly think we are, we know that some cuts are necessary, but making cuts all across the board and then pretending you don’t know why things are failing “it must be Labour’s fault” isn’t going to wash any more. We have seen this government  for what they are.

Vindictive, fuelled by Vengeance, conducting a Vendetta.

Make cuts by all means, but you could start by cutting things that are not going to cripple the country.  There is no use in having the ‘strongest economy’ in Europe if everything else about the country has gone to the dogs to achieve that dubious status.

Here endeth today’s rant.

ruin

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

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.

I’ll Have A Pint of Whatever The Home Secretary Is Drinking

Can somebody PLEASE tell an old codger WTF is going on?

In the last couple of months we’ve had (and this is just what my old grey cells can remember)

Theresa May orders police: Stop abusing our terror laws to hack phones and spy on journalists 

“Police are to be stripped of the power to secretly spy on journalists’ phones, striking a major blow for press freedom.”……..”The furore over police hacking journalists’ phones led to widespread calls for urgent reforms to the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA), which allows officers to request call data from phone companies without needing a judge’s approval.”

Well we all know that RIPA is no more used exclusively to investigate journalists than irt is to tackle terrorism. It is a perfectly useful tool in the Police’s Armoury and the only real issue is that that all requests should be AUTHORISED and PROPORTIONATE, NECESSARY and compatible with Human Rights. It would also help if they were Crime-Related.  But no, Teflon Theresa bows to pressure and jumps on the bandwagon, desperate to be more popular and maybe even get some votes next May.  Nothing too cynical there then.

We have also had;
Theresa May introduces new restrictions on stop and search powers

“Theresa May, the Home Secretary, has unveiled a series of measures which will scale back the way police can stop and search suspects.

Tougher thresholds will mean officers in England and Wales are able to use the most controversial form of stop and search powers much less frequently.”

Once again Stop and Search is a perfectly useful tool but it needs to be used properly and in line with the laws. Officers are always accountable for their Stop and Searches, they have had to provide a copy of the Stop/Search record on request for years now, nothing new there. Get the supervising officers to SUPERVISE and I don’t see the problem, every officer accounts for his/her Stop/Searches (and if they can’t they shouldn’t have done it) and what’s the problem?  Why take away or reduce a valid tool in the battle against Crime?

And now we have had;

Theresa May moves to give police powers to identify internet users

“Police are to get powers to force internet firms to hand over details linked to IP addresses in order to help them help identify criminal suspects online.

The Anti-Terrorism And Security Bill will oblige internet service providers (ISPs) to retain information linking IP (Internet Protocol) addresses to individual users.

The home secretary, Theresa May, said the measure would boost national security – but again complained that Liberal Democrats were blocking further steps.”

So she doesn’t like RIPA because it upsets her friends in the media but this is OK?  Seems far more sensitive and intrusive to me. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, but I don’t see anything wrong with RIPA either.

Smacks of a Home Secretary who is lost. Up the proverbial and doesn’t know which way to turn. Vote-seeking. Or maybe simply a Home Secretary who doesn’t know what her view is until she’s told, or simply weak in reality and is blown by the wind. Whoever blows strongest gets her support maybe.

Whichever it is, I simply don’t get it.