#CutsHaveConsequences is a hashtag that’s been used a lot in the past few weeks, and rightly so. It got me to thinking.
Every single Force in the land has suffered cuts since 2010, all in the name of Austerity. Their respective PCC and Chief a Constable have formed plans to cope with the savagely slashed budgets.
In London Boris seems to have made selling off the family silver one his priorities.
The big one that hit all the headlines was the selling off of New Scotland Yard. Bought for £123.5 million in 2008, it sold last year for £350, a nice little earner. I suspect there will be some Tax to pay on the profit. I suspect there will be costs associated with the move out of NSY to Curtis Green Building and I believe that the Met proposes spending between £30 and $50 million pounds to refurb Curtis Green and make it fit for purpose.
The profit margins are receding.
Then there is the fact that the Met has sold off about 35 of its major buildings including nearly 30 Police Stations for about £125 million.and Boris apparently plans to sell off up to 200 properties across London, although admittedly that figure will include Married Quarters and Section Houses. Ultimately he proposes reducing the number of residential properties from 862 to a mere 200.
Now the thing that gets me about all this frenzied selling off is “where do the people go?” Has the Met suddenly taken up Hot Desking? The people displaced from NSY will not all fit into Curtis Green Building. Other ‘support’ buildings are also threatened with closure.
In any or all of these buildings there will be (not an exhaustive list by any means);
- People answering telephones
- People operating computers
- Desks for people to work at
- Lockers for the Operational Officers (and hopefully some changing facilities)
- Rooms set aside for specific Teams/Squads
- Filing Cabinets (the Met still has a mountain of paper not yet shredded)
- Garage facilities for the car
- Car Parking facilities if you’re lucky and a member of the SMT
Am I being thick here, but if you reduce the number of buildings, the people who worked there either have to be displaced elsewhere or ‘got rid of’.
If they’re displaced elsewhere those elsewheres become overcrowded do they not?
If they’re ‘got rid of and join the ‘disappeared’ somebody else has to take up their work and increase their own workload. I do not believe that there was a mound of spare capacity just waiting for extra work to land.
This here Austerity is due to be with us until at least 2019 allegedly. Boris’s £125 million won’t last him very long and where will he get the next bundle of cash from once it has run out? Why should he care? He won’t be Mayor for much longer.
Do not think for one moment that this is anywhere near the End Game, it isn’t, and if Austerity can knock the Met sideways like this, just think what it’s doing for your local Force.
So, when the music stops, grab a chair, grab a locker or grab an office. They may not be with us much longer, Tesco et al could become the norm.
No, these officers are not taking a sneaky break, they’re there officially to ‘meet the public’ rather than have a Front Counter remain open. The police officers had no desk, no private area where they could speak to members of the public in confidence, no means of logging on to the police national computer etc, and they appear not to have official forms.
Contact Points, Coffee With A Cop, Chat With A Cop, call them what you may, they’re a pretty poor substitute for going to the local nick, with all the necessary forms and computers at hand, to report whatever is on your mind. AND NOT BEING OVERHEARD BY THE LOUT WAITING FOR A LATTE.