I Can’t Quite Work It Out

The people have voted, and it seems like they’ve got Camoron for another full term.

I don’t agree with them, but I can see why the Jocks have voted SNP, at least that makes some kind of sense.

The rest of the UK have voted for some strange things

They have voted for a much reduced Police Service with a much hampered ability to respond to our various problems.

They have voted for a much reduced Armed Forces, they are at their lowest strength for decades and getting smaller.

They have voted for an NHS in danger of being dismantled and privatised.  Starved of funding, forced to fail, cue private companies riding in to pick up the pieces and rescue them.

They have voted for a shackled Justice system.

They have voted for a slimline Coastguard Service.

They have voted for Probation, Education and Prison Services to be neutered or privatised.

What do all of the above have in common?  None of them sell anything.  Traditionally they have all been sectors that soak up money without the ability to make a profit. How could they?  Until very recently consecutive governments have accepted that fact and whilst there have been minor cuts and Efficiency Drives along the way, it was always accepted that they were sectors that had to have money pumped into them to make them work with no option of getting a profit out at the end. It has always been that way, and I don’t see how it could be any different to that.  Oh, hang on,……..Privatisation might help.

They have voted for Bankers Bonuses.

They have voted for Outsourcing

I truly hope that the the great British Public do not find the need for the NHS, do not ever need a Police Officer, I hope their kids are properly educated, I hope they never need a Coastguard etc etc, because the shape of this country has changed irrevocably, and it’s what the country has voted for.

I didn’t, my conscience is clear, but very many did. I have heard it described as selfish voting. Who knows?

I leave you with one last thought, Be very careful what you wish for because you might get it.

You Have Only One Target – To Reduce Crime

Well I suppose I need to start with an apology, this story is not about Targets or Crime, just the opposite really, and if any of you are feeling a tad squeamish you might want to turn over to something else.

Some of you may have heard this story, most of you won’t. At least one of you was serving with me at the time in question and presumably heard about it. It wasn’t a well-kept secret.

Back in the 80s I was what used to pass as a Community Bobby, or Home Beat as the Met liked to call them then. One Saturday morning I was called up and asked to return to the nick. The Duty Inspector wanted to talk to me urgently, and No he couldn’t tell me what it was about over the radio.

So I hopped on a bus and got myself back as quickly as I could. It was not good news.  It turns out that a colleague of mine from an adjoining Division had gone missing. His wife had come home on Friday night to find a note, together with the remains of a bottle of pills and some empty booze bottles.  She’d called an ambulance, he’d been taken to hospital, still alive and had now done a runner from the ward he was on.

The Inspector’s next words will remain with me till the day I die “You’re the only one on duty who knows him, you can deal with the Missing Person Enquiry”.

So began the single darkest investigation of my illustrious career.

First stop the hospital where things were due to get a whole load worse.  He’d. Been put on a ward on the 8th floor overnight while the medical & psychiatric staff assessed him and he’d done no more than try to jump out of the window. Two attempts in 24 hours.

By now he’d walked out of the hospital building wearing nothing more than his hospital gown.

Not very long after this a crackly voice on my radio told me that the driver of a passing train had seen the body of a woman by the side of the tracks. About 10 minutes walk away.

It didn’t take long to establish that it wasn’t a woman but my mate, or what was left of him. I called up the Duty Inspector and informed him and he graciously sent a Sergeant to come and supervise me at the scene. He was far too busy to leave the nick.

The Sergeant who pitched up was a good one, but I found I was spending more time stopping him from stepping on the live rail than briefing him about the unfolding tragedy. So I’m afraid I shouted at him, he took in good spirit and we both got on with doing what needed to be done.

It goes without saying he was dead. Mercifully he would have died instantly. I now know what drove him to this terrible deed, and all I will say on the matter is that it was something that he SHOULD have been able to take in his stride and deal with it. It was neither related to the Job nor his marriage. That is all.

Once we’d finished at the scene, for continuity purposes, I had to accompany his remains to the hospital, then the mortuary and ultimately the Post Mortem and Inquest.  Offering him what little dignity I could.  The Coroner was brilliant and returned an Open Verdict on the grounds that nobody could say he wasn’t pushed, so at least his poor widow was left with the Life Insurance.

So after a day rushing around first trying to establish what had happened, then trying to find my mate and then dealing with the bloody aftermath, what words of comfort did my Duty Inspector have for me when I returned to base?

“Nice job, see you in the morning”

I’m not after your sympathy, these events are safely stowed away in a box and now only come out when I let them.  The nightmares have stopped. It certainly wasn’t a typical day in the Met, but neither was it unique.  I believe that the Met is slightly more enlightened these days, and hopefully, being the only Cop on duty who knows somebody might be the perfect reason NOT to deal with it.

But I won’t have any haggardy witch telling me that Police work is all about CRIME.

Take the Police Officers out of the above scenario for a minute.  Who would have dealt with it?

NOBODY

There isn’t another single agency that would have dealt with the events I have relayed above, and not a single crime was committed or alleged.

That is only one tale from a 30 year career, multiply that by 130,000.  Allow for more than one such instance in a career, most officers will have many such tales of trauma to tell.  Still no crime involved.

So Cruella, you can do one, do yourself a favour.  If you want to get it right and improve your (much) tarnished reputation just trying listening to them that do the Job, they just might know better than you what’s involved, and maybe even, how many are needed to do it.

Or you might just try carrying on with the wrecking ball.

Either way, I won’t be voting for your party, so you can stick that right up your Purdah.

wreathRIP Colleague

Many know who you were

 

So Were Regan And Hunt Really So Bad?

In the last few weeks I’ve thought a lot about the poor old Met.  What has happened to it over the years? Where is it going? Why is it going there?

When I joined mid 72 I heard a lot, and I mean a lot, of tales about the bosses of the previous few years “going out to collect the rent”. Thankfully I never encountered it myself, and I’m still not sure, all these years later, what I would have done if I had.  I absolutely know what I SHOULD have done, but life is not that simple for a young lad who wants to get in and see his 30.  The closest I ever got to a boss being on the take was a Chief Superintendent who “took delivery” of a 56 pound bag of Curry Powder, I kid you not.

I have written before about how certain operations and enquiries most definitely DID get binned after a diktat from a faceless senior officer.  I thought then, and I still think now, that was WRONG,  Nowadays I would use the word UNFORGIVEABLE.  There is no place in the Police Service for officers of ANY RANK who actively assist in covering up the crimes of others, especially when those others are politicians.

On the other side of the coin were the likes of Jack Tegan and Gene Hunt. Two characters quite accurately portrayed in my opinion. I worked for DIs and DCIs who just like the.  I am absolutely certain that any of my ex Met readers could name at least two or three from that era.

They were certainly a challenge to work for, sometimes fun, sometimes bloody awful, but their whole raison d’être was to bang up villains.  I can remember vividly, as a young buck on the Crime Squad being told on a Monday morning “off you go to Court lad, get some warrants and we’ll keep a few on their toes this week”. PACE saw the end of Search Warrants for “Diverse Stolen Goods”.

Maybe I should make it clear that I’m not talking about ‘fitting up’ anybody, rather than make the evidence fit the charge, these were bosses who would make the charge fit the evidence.  If you were a bit short on evidence for what you’d nicked somebody for these were bosses who would look at the evidence you DID have and maybe advise a slightly different charge to the one you might have been thinking of.

No Fitting Up, no Gilding the Lily, no Verbals just good, practical coppering to avoid having to kick chummy out the front door or, worse, offer him a lift home, because your evidence was a bit short. Charge him something else instead that you DID have evidence for.  I get the impression that PACE and the CPS aren’t overly keen on those tactics any more. The only people now that are subject to Fitting Up and Gilding The Lily seem to be cops, and I certainly don’t approve of that practice thank you.

So when I think about child abuse enquiries being kicked into the long grass, and Regan & Hunt and their unorthodox methods (they didn’t so much break the rules as play by different rules), given the choice I would take Regan and Hunt every day.

Villains got charged and sentenced in those days, they also had RESPECT.

I have no desire to be associated with any guv’nor that says “stop that enquiry now, the Yard says so”. Any senior Officer or, worse, politician, that interferes and halts or disrupts any investigation has sold their soul to the Devil, and I don’t want to work for them.

I joined the job to nick criminals, and by and large, that’s what I did. Never had the inclination to be a Rat.

Purdah – Have We Lost The Plot?

Cate Moore has already written a piece on Purdah and what it entails, so I shall not bore you by repeating it.

I do, however, question the application of Purdah, and I appreciate that Cate does not necessarily agree with my views on this matter.

Having looked Purdah up, it seems to originate from the early 20th Century.

According to the House of Commons Library;

The term “purdah” is in use across central and local government to describe the period of time immediately before elections or referendums when specific restrictions on the activity of civil servants are in place. The term ‘pre-election period’ is also used. “………..”Guidance is issued to civil servants on the principles that they should observe in relation to the conduct of Government business in the pre-election period; the guidance for the pre-election period in 2015 was issued on 30 March 2015.”…………..”There is statutory guidance for local authorities about publicity during the period just before local elections. The pre-election period is defined as beginning with the publication of notice of the election. In 2015 the latest date for the publication of the notice of election will be 30 March 2015. The Code of Recommended Practice on Local Authority Publicity is issued under section 4 of the Local Government Act 1986. The Local Government Association has published Purdah: a short guide to publicity during the pre-election period which gives further information.”

So, there we have it.  To my simple mind Purdah applies to Civil Servants in Central and Local Government.

Police Officers are NOT Civil Servants, and neither are Police Staff, and neither are the general public at large.  I accept that there are specific regulations within the Police Service concerning Political Activity, membership of Political Parties etc etc, but as far as I can see they are specifically NOT affected by Purdah.

Any attempt by Police Management to impose Purdah on officers and/or staff I see as just one more example of ACPO types imposing their control over their faithful flock.  Many years ago if a boss said jump, the reply was “Certainly Sir, how high?”  Now it’s more likely to be “Yes Sir, straight away Sir, how high and in what style would you like me to jump?” The consequences of failing to carry out a questionable order having serious consequences, far worse than in yesteryear.

However, please don’t get into trouble on my account. I can only imagine the tone of some conversations if I was still serving, rather, just bear in mind, and question the reason for Purdah being quoted, perhaps inappropriately.

Policing Politics should never be mixed, yeah right.

Cynical? Me? Surely Not?

I must apologise for the language but I really have just about enough of this Government’s Total Bollocks. It’s Bullshit in my humble opinion designed to cover up the most monumental incompetence within government departments and make us, the public, suffer.  Austerity? Begone!! I should think Gideon and Call Me Dave fell about pissing themselves when the bankers gifted them that one. Manna from Heaven, just the vehicle they needed, a right Win Double, Dave gets to push through his hatred, sorry, Reform, of the Police, and others, and Gideon gets to soften the blows of some of the more monumental up-cocks of any government in modern history.

A while ago I wrote a series of posts for another blog on the subject of Government Wastage. What I found out staggered me.

I’ll try and bring you the highlights, you do the maths!!

I started off with

NHS Connecting For Health

An initiative by the Department of Health in England to move the National Health Service (NHS) in England towards a single, centrally-mandated electronic care record.  Eventually things came to a head in 2011.The project to “modernise” the NHS computer systems, replacing them all with a single system that would enable any doctor to access any patient’s records stalled.  After a decade, and nearly £12 billion spent, the project was abandoned.  £12 billion would pay the salaries of 60,000 nurses (that’s SIXTY THOUSAND, not a typo) for 10 YEARS.

Then I progressed onto

A Little Bit More Government Wastage, No-One Will Notice

AIRCRAFT CARRIERS

These may not float your boat, but they’re a pet hate of mine.  Not Aircraft Carriers per se, we need those, it’s what the government has done with them that winds me up.  Once again I don’t blame any particular colour of political party, once again they all seem to be tarred with the same brush, but I do think Dave had a hand in it.

Government routinely makes an appalling mess of things. Some years ago a single edition of The Daily Telegraph reported that a nuclear submarine suffered £5 million of damage after crashing into rocks because trainee commanders covered vital charts with tracing paper; that a government efficiency drive in the Department for Transport to save £112 million was likely to cost £120 million while sending messages to employees in German and denying them annual leave to which they were entitled; that hundreds of thousands of immigrants were excluded from official statistics by a counting system which was so unreliable that it was not possible to know the true population of Britain; and that more than 8,000 patients had died in dirty hospitals after contracting superbugs. And that was just one day’s headlines.

Defence, whose dreadful procurement record – including boots that melt in hot weather, helicopters that won’t fly in the rain, radios that don’t fit into battle tanks, naval frigates with no weapons, aircraft carriers with no fighter jets, and military transport aircraft that can’t fly into war zones – amply justifies Ernest Fitzgerald’s maxim that “there are only two phases of a weapons programme: ‘Too early to tell’ and ‘too late to stop’

It couldn’t get any worse, could it?

Well it could actually.

£500m jump jets may melt the decks of aircraft carriers: Latest MoD plan shambles

NEW Harrier-style jump jets set to fly from Navy aircraft carriers could melt their decks, US trials show.

I will let the then Shadow Defence minister Kevan Jones have the last word

“Only this Government could melt aircraft carriers.”

Just A Quickie Then She Said

This addressed the issue of Chinook Helicopters.

In 1995 it was decided that the country needed to buy 8 Chinook Mk3s in 1995 for £259million but they have been kept in storage since they were delivered in 2001.

They were ordered as dedicated special forces helicopters

It has always said the helicopters have not been able to be passed as fit for use because officials negotiating the deal to buy them did not ask for the access code for the software used to fly them and Boeing refused to hand the code over once the mistake was noticed.

But the Times reports the MoD never asked for the code because, under pressure from the Treasury, it told Boeing it planned to install its own software, thinking it could do so more cheaply.”

Now that does sound like the sort of thing a cheapskate arrogant government might say don’t you think?  Another example of The Treasury interfering in front-line issues. Sadly though the software didn’t work (quelle surprise) and the 8 Chinooks are no longer hi-tech fighting machines, but are now good old transport aircraft.

A village somewhere must be missing an idiot.  Didn’t ask for the software access codes?  Can anyone really be that daft?

It’s an old story and that’s why I’ve kept it brief, but it’s another £300-500 million pounds worth of government wastage to add on.

Then;

Reform and Wastage, Together, And It’s Happening NOW

Universal Credit.

Emperor Dave told us that he was reforming the benefits system.  He was going to save the country a small fortune.  His grand ideas included linking benefits to wages instead of inflation, a cap on Housing Benefit, adjusting regional benefits to the cost of living and apparently no-one under the age of 25 needs Housing Benefit anyway.  All in all he’s looking to save £10 Billion from the Welfare Budget.

It has become apparent that this innovative, flagship project has been hit by an IT glitch, somewhat reminiscent of the NHS farce.

The Independent reports that the scheme has been placed on a Treasury list of projects in crisis.  That sounds quite bad to me.

Universal credit has a development budget of £2 Billion. It is supposed to be a paperless on-line IT system for claimants that would bridge the DWP’s data with the Treasury.  However, the project is already suffering a £100 Million overrun. There are also concerns that a further £300 Million is being hidden by rising costs reallocated to child support payments.

A reorganisation of the complex IT system, following the departure this month of key senior civil servants in charge of universal credit, could mean an overrun of £500 Million by next spring.

There you are, we’ve just saved the Met’s Budget again.

Then I moved on to

Not Very (HMS) Astute – Just a little bit more Government Wastage

A confidential Ministry of Defence memo says that corrosion on the UK’s new fleet of hunter-killer submarines was caused by cost-cutting and warns that quality controls have been ignored, the Guardian can reveal.

Written by a senior analyst at the MoD, the memo says the corrosion is a “cause for major concern”, and that the first three Astute class boats are likely to experience “severe problems” in the future.

The £9.75bn fleet was commissioned 15 years ago to become a cornerstone of the UK’s naval attack capability, but a range of design and construction flaws have emerged.

The boat has yet to start formal service, Astute – four years overdue and £2bn over budget – has been surrounded by controversy since it was first commissioned 15 years ago.  Is this really acceptable?  Do we have to live with such apparent incompetence?  What would be the outcome if we behaved as incompetently as that?

Submarines that leak, whatever next?

We Told You About This Months Ago – More Govt Wastage, £74 Million

A government U-turn over fighter jets for the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers cost taxpayers £74m, says the National Audit Office. The decision to scrap an order for jump jets, which was later reversed, had been based on “immature data and flawed assumptions”, it says in a report. Labour says the report “lays bare this government’s incompetence”. But Defence Secretary Philip Hammond says the U-turn will save money in the long run and is backed by the NAO. “Not only did it save £1.2bn; it also means that by 2018, we will have fifth-generation stealth jets flying off the new Queen Elizabeth Class carrier,” says Mr Hammond.

My last was this one

Government Wastage Revisited

Firstly our old friend Iain Duncan Smith and his Department of Work and Pensions.  It seems that they are quite likely to have to scrap their entire IT system for Universal Credit and start again from scratch.

£300 Million wasted. #Austerity? Not in Whitehall apparently.

A review by Universal Credit director general Howard Shiplee will apparently recommend two options for the future of the IT developed so far, which go even further than previous reports have suggested.

Option one would mean scrapping all the work done so far, thereby admitting it is not fit for purpose, and bringing most of the development of new IT systems in-house under the control of the Government Digital Service (GDS).

Option two would involve continuing to use some of the existing IT to support the current Pathfinder pilot projects, but developing new systems for the full roll-out – effectively delaying any decision to throw away all the work completed so far.

Option 1? Option 2?  Both of them seem to involve scrapping everything at some point, whatever.  The Cabinet Office, which controls GDS, is understood to favour the first option, while the DWP prefers to continue with the current IT for as long as possible. Two branches of the same government with opposing views, where have I heard that before?

The final decision will probably be made later this month by the Ministerial Oversight Group for the troubled welfare reform programme, led by Secretary of State for Work and Pensions,  Iain Duncan Smith.

The National Audit Office (NAO) said in a highly critical report on Universal Credit in September that £303m had been spent so far on IT. Of that amount, the DWP has already admitted to writing off £34m of IT work, although that figure is likely to end up even higher whatever happens.

Labour’s shadow secretary of state for work and pensions Rachel Reeves wrote to the Prime Minister last week, urging him to “start taking responsibility for this fiasco”. She added: “David Cameron has serious questions to answer about how he has allowed things to get to this stage and how his complacent, incompetent and out-of-touch government has wasted scandalous amounts of money on a half-baked plan IT now can’t deliver.”

Don’t sit on the fence Rachel, what do you really mean?

But if all of the IT were to be scrapped, the NAO report suggests that the final figure for the write-off would be in excess of £300m.

Most of that money has been spent with the four key IT suppliers for the project – HP, IBM, Accenture and BT.

The other piece of disastrous news that caught my eye this week was in relation to my old favourite – Aircraft Carriers.

The cost of two new aircraft carriers being built for the Royal Navy is expected to be almost twice the original estimate, the government is expected to confirm this week.

In the latest budget, the Ministry of Defence is set to estimate the cost of the two ships at £6.2bn.

£6.2 BILLION. What on earth are they doing? How many hospitals, schools, police officers etc etc could be funded by just the difference in cost between that and the original. Six years ago, when the contract was approved, costs were put at £3.65bn

The shadow defence secretary, Labour’s Vernon Coaker, said: “This is the latest in a series of financial fiascos in the MoD under David Cameron.  It’s that word fiasco again (see above).

This government seem to be very good at cut cut cut in just about every public sector. We must all pull together, this is a national crisis, a time of severe austerity, and all of these cuts have to be in place before 2015 because we know we don’t stand a snowball’s chance of being re-elected.

Whilst, at the the very same time, they are increasing their salaries, increasing their pensions, and their expenses have almost returned to the excesses of the bad old days.  Only a few days ago was there news about how they were claiming for gas and electricity in their second homes, and as one of my Twitter colleagues put it “Why do they need to do that, because if they’re heating their second home they’re not heating their main home, or cooking etc?”

So nothing has really changed since we spoke last. We are most definitely NOT All In It Together and the ConDem government that NOBODY voted for has shown just how arrogant and uncaring they can be.

Trouble is, it’s left me the dilemma, Who the hell do I vote for in 2015?

Answers on a Postcard please, assuming that Royal Mail still exists when you read this.

Since my last, our friends in the media have come to our aid and published this

Hideous £5bn government waste: including £6m on useless earplugs

Government departments have apparently poured £5.1 billion down the drain as the result of mistakes, write-offs and compensation.

The Department of Health, for example, was said to have wasted £761 million – including £49 million to exchange Tamiflu vaccines which were ordered just in case there was an avian flu epidemic, and went out of date

That was just part of the £255 million worth of vaccines that went out of date and had to be thrown away.

Likewise the Department of Health spent £28.5 million to make staff redundant during the reorganisation of the NHS.  Yes they have to pay redundancy, and they are spending money to save money, but £28.5 million? Really?

Other payments are hard to put down to anything other than incompetence – including £1.2 million lost to the Department for Education because a school made a payment to the wrong account.  WTF??

£11 million lost by the Department for Work and Pension because it overpaid work programme providers.

£1.74 million spent by the Home Office on scheduled flights that it later cancelled.  This is not the biggest up-cock but it’s up there amongst my favourites as it involves our dear and sanctimonious friend Cruella and her Department.  Pots and Kettles dear.

The Ministry of Defence wasted  £4 million on the early withdrawal of the Sea King helicopters, and £7.2 million on a mobile mine detection system that didn’t work.

Boots and Aircraft Carriers that can melt, submarines that leak, Flights never taken or cancelled, Mine Hunting System that plain doesn’t work, Withdrawal of the Sea Kings too soon, Shall We, Shan’t We? Fighter Planes, Let’s just pay this money into the wrong account, the list goes on.  If you were a Finance Manager and this on your CV what would the likely outcome be?

So yes, I am cynical, whilst I do believe #Austerity exists, I also believe that it’s a highly convenient hook for this government to hang its hat on and slaughter all those public services in its sights, and we, the Public, don’t know any better, kept in the dark and fed Bullshit – The Mushroom Syndrome.

#CutsHaveConsequences, but not, it seems, for the criminally incompetent Bar Stewards that re wasting BILLIONS of our Taxpayer pounds, spending it like it’s their own, but it’s not, it’s ours.

Tot up the figures above (loosely OK) and tell me how many Cops, Servicemen, Nurses, Doctors etc etc could be retained even if only for a few years more.

Then Call Me Dave and his cohorts can try and convince me where I’ve gone wrong and that it truly is necessary and NOT a Vendetta.

The Reality Behind The Fudge

If you are, or have been, a Police Officer you can stop reading now, you already know it.

If you’re married to, or in a relationship with, a Police Officer, you can stop ready too, you already know it as well.

I was energised by two things this morning. Chronologically they were;

Tony Munday’s excellent post Cuts Have HUMAN Consequences

And a Tweet by @Stella_Coppard;

Tony makes some very valid, and excellent points, and I just want to take a few minutes to remind everyone just what sort of restrictions working for the Police Service comes with, most of which are not remunerated in any way.

You can never guarantee that you’ll come home at the end of your shift, although almost all officers accept that when they sign up it has an impact on families too.

You can never guarantee having those important dates off work, kids birthdays, anniversaries, wife/partner birthdays, etc etc. you can never even be certain of getting Christmas Day off to spend with the family, we had an unofficial system whereby officers with children got the first crack at being off, but nothing was ever guaranteed.

I do believe that things have improved now, but you could never guarantee being able to live wherever you wanted.

Firstly you had to live within a certain distance (I think it was 25 miles) of Central London if you were in the Met, thereby guaranteeing that your choice of accommodation was well and truly within the most expensive areas available. I know the allowances were more than those paid to County Officers, but not enough to fully compensate.

Secondly, even after you’d found the house of your dreams you couldn’t guarantee that you’d ever own it and move in.  Having found the ideal house for my wife and self, we’d made an offer, negotiated a price and all that kind of stuff, then came the bit of asking the Commissioner for permission to live there (yes, really, that used to be how it was) we were declined the All-important permission as the next door neighbour was on bail for Armed Robbery. I wouldn’t particularly have wanted to live next door to an Armed Robber, but it’s one more example of how the Police used to control our lives.

Caution was required in your choice of pub, who you chose as your friends, who your kids made friends with, totally innocent that one, but Big Brother was always watching.

So, next time you hear about the Cuts and how they have Consequences, please remember that apart from their pay packets our brave Police Officers (and other) have already made numerous sacrifices just to do the job they do, and they do it proudly.

Getting on to Stella’s Tweet, she’s not far wrong, and I’m sure she didn’t mean it literally.

We have already lost 16,000 officers across England and Wales since 2010.  At the end of March 2010 we had 144,236 officers in the 43 Forces.by the end of September 2014 that number was down to 127,909 a reduction of 16,327 or 11.3% across the board.

It doesn’t end there, it has been widely forecast/predicted/admitted that the losses haven’t finished and we’re going to lose more.  The final total is quite likely to be in the order of 22,000 or 15.2%

That doesn’t begin to address the losses of civilian support staff.  These have been cut from 79,596 in March 2010 to 63,378 in September 2014, a loss of a further 16,218 posts or 20.3%, already a higher price than the officers, and set to get worse also.  ACPO have predicted that the final losses will likely total 68,000 by the time this coalition has finished.

So we lose 34,000 officers and 34,000 support staff? (as near as dammit)  What does that matter?  The coalition will be out come May and we can stop this nonsense dead in its tracks.

Maybe.

Assuming that Camoron and Co, Gollum and Cruella get their just desserts, and get pitched off into the long grass, all is OK isn’t it?

Well, no, actually.  Hypothetically speaking, even IF we can oust the coalition and stop the cuts, and even IF we magically recruited another 16,000 Police Officers overnight and even IF we could get them all a place in a Training Establishment on Day One, it takes up to 2 years to fully train a Constable.  Direct Entry Superintendents seem to be able to do it quicker, but approx 6 months of Initial Training followed by a further 18 months of Continuation Training, or whatever they call it now, makes 2 years for a fully fledged Constable, and we all know that those IFs aren’t all going to fall neatly into place.

So next time you’re quietly seething at the cuts wishing there was something you can do, there is.  Take half an hour (ish) of your time and write a letter to your local newspaper Angry of Tunbridge Wells type stuff, and make the true issues known. Mainstream media seem to be completely tied by the government and only report what they want to or are told to, but if ONE person wrote to their local paper every day the groundswell would be noticed.  Thanks to Stella and @Cate_a_Moore for the suggestion, it’s a good one, perfectly legal and definitely worth considering.

I see lots of people on Twitter wishing they could do more, slagging off the government policies etc etc, well there is something we can all do, and it doesn’t take much effort.

Whether you support the Police, Fire, NHS, Coastguard or whoever, it’s the same for us all.  Even the dumbest Editor must sit up and take notice when his Newsdesk gets suddenly overwhelmed by letters from Joe Public supporting their Public Services.

I know I write from one perspective because of my background, but it doesn’t actually matter what your background is, if you support our Armed Forces, Emergency Services, NHS etc etc, simply write one letter to show your support.

This will not go away unless we can make it go away.

 

 

One Rule For Them………It Was Always Thus

I have to thank the Torygraph for this morning’s moan.

They ran an article yesterday informing us that disgraced politician Chris Huhne was back in Parliament.

This wasn’t exactly the story it first appears to be but does raise an important ‘Two Fingers’ issue.

Huhne is apparently one of a number of disgraced politicians who have been issued a pass giving them access to the House of Commons. 360 are able to use Westminster’s heavily subsidised bars and restaurants as well as other facilities – including ex-Tory minister Jonathan Aitken, who was jailed in 1999 for perjury etc. Many of the pass holders seem to have left the Commons after the Expenses Scandal or similar controversies.

Derek Conway stepped down after it was disclosed that he was employing (and paying on expenses) his son, who didn’t actually have any work to do.

Ben Chapman stood down after over-claiming his mortgage by £15,000.

Harry Cohen got his marching orders for misusing the accommodation expenses system.

It was commented on Twatter yesterday, can you imagine the scenario of a Police Officer being dismissed for dishonesty and being welcomed back the Police Social Club, mixing with his ex colleagues and enjoying the very favourable prices at the bar and in the restaurants? There is also the potential for picking up the odd bit of work by mixing in such circles, or lobbying MPs in the bar, getting your view across to serving politicians.

Why should disgraced politicians be able to enjoy these privileges? Does this mean that we can all apply for this pass and enjoy everything it brings? My the Admin Office would be overwhelmed with applications, but I suspect that we wouldn’t even be considered for a pass to the HoC.

So why should ex, disgraced, politicians continue to enjoy these perks. We, the Public, pay for subsidising these advantageous prices, and I for one don’t want to. Let them drink at the Bell And Anchor or any other pub of their choosing, I fail to see why they should have the right to continue benefitting from a system most of them abused.

Labour backbencher John Mann said: “I do not think someone who has committed a criminal offence that has meant they went to prison should get privileged access to the Houses of Parliament. Let them queue with the general public if they want to get in.”

Mr Mann said the list “reinforces the impression that this is a gentlemen’s club”.

I’m a Gentleman. Where do I apply?