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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Devon & Cornwall PCC Saves Force A Fortune By Setting Himself Up in Tesco

Other supermarkets are also available.

Let’s be honest, it’s not going to happen.  Police Stations and Front Counters can close, but a Tory PCC who initially made a bad decision about the location of his office can now spend half a million quid moving 1 mile to Force HQ.

Read the sad story here

But that’s not the whole of the story, this is a man, a Tory, man who only two years ago was lambasted for frittering away £700,000 on Consultants etc.

You can read that sad story here.

All this is a Force that has seen its Chief Constable declare that it may not be able to cope with the cuts and result in a purely reactive Force.

You can read that one here.

So why can’t the D&C PCC take a leaf out of the Met’s book and get himself a little trestle table in the corner of Exeter Tesco, and make himself available like frontline troops all across the country are having to do?

If he doesn’t feel that’s appropriate, he could take the time-honoured alternative of using the Crime Squad and Observataion Van on a Rest Day and save the County a fortune and everybody’s happy.

Not that that ever happened anywhere of course.

#CutsHaveConsequences but not for Tory PCCs it would appear.

#Cuts – Here Are Some Of The Real #Consequences

I was minding my own business, enjoying the solitude of Mrs Angry being on babysitting duties somewhere in the frozen north, and I became disturbed by some of the facts, figures and anecdotes I was reading.

The first one to grab my attention was this

One in 5, 20%, that’s appalling. Angry Junior lives in Dorset so I’m unashamedly biased, but it’s still an awful figure.

Next came

The equivalent of 7 (admittedly the smaller ones) Police Forces being lost thanks to Camoron, Gollum and Cruella is stunning, nothing short of criminal.

Then I made the mistake of reading the results of the ITV poll of Police Officers across the country.  About 500 of them responded apparently, and contributed the following, depressing, nuggets;

  • Our main priority is now servicing 999 calls. We spend no time on responses, on actually targeting criminals- we are just responding to calls
  • Not enough police cars to go around. Most officers seen out on foot are doing this as they have lost the scramble for the car keys.
  • As back office staff are reduced the work they did has not diminished. It is now officers who are having to complete the bureaucracy.
  • It is regularly impossible to get access to computers or vehicles.
  • Unable to attend community meetings due to further areas of responsibility which take precedence at the last minute and members of the community believe we don’t care.
  • As a Detective many of the rape cases take some time to investigate. I am dealing with some cases which are in excess of 6 months old. Due to lack of trained staff we have problems getting video interviews conducted.
  • Incidents such as attempted rapes would have previously been investigated by crime departments. these are now routinely being allocated to uniformed 24/7 officers who don’t have the time to ensure a quality investigation is carried out unless they are taken off response duties thereby reducing the number of officers available.
  • Having to decide which rape will be investigated today and which one we will investigate tomorrow as there was not enough staff to do both.
  • Police officer assaults are more frequent as all officers are now singled crewed
  • Due to lack of frontline officers, we are regularly being single crewed and sent to violent incidents, putting our personal safety in jeopardy. Also, due to lack of officers, there have been lack of resources to assist when officers have called for emergency assistance.
  • Unarmed officers having to attend armed incident because armed officers are too far away.
  • I have recently uncovered keeping detainees in custody too long as there are no staff to deal with them.
  • We have closed so many police stations and are now all based in “super” police stations miles from our communities. We have officers who do not know the areas, the criminals, the community contacts or the problems. I think this is a massive retrograde step.
  • Inexperienced call-takers, who are under pressure to answer an unrealistic volume of calls, are creating jobs for matters that are not in the police remit, mainly so they can move onto the next call, rather than dealing with the call effectively. In the last month I have been sent to incidents where callers should have been referred to Social Services, the Ambulance Service, the RSPCA, the Fire Brigade, Action Fraud, Environmental Health, the Dog Warden and the Taxi Licencing Authority.
  • Officers are spending up to an hour waiting to process prisoners booking into custody at peak times.
  • We have serious crimes waiting to be allocated but there aren’t enough people to allocate the work to, as officers are inundated.
  • On nights we have only 6 officers, 5 sometimes, to cover a population of a quarter of a million.
  • There just isn’t enough of us to cope.
  • Burglary victim has waited three days for a visit.
  • Every major incident has an affect, be it policing sporting events to murders, resources are stretched to breaking point.
  • Prisoners being bailed out without being questioned…due to insufficient officers available to interview them.
  • Significant investigation into vehicle crime had to be suspended as there were not enough officers to investigate.

So there you have it, not my words, not my interpretation, but the actual words of some of the 500 who responded.

This is EXACTLY how the cuts are having consequences on YOUR communities, and those cynical bar stewards at Westminster couldn’t give a stuff, or those that do are shouted down.

Then just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, ACPO predicted this;

Police cuts could cost 34,000 jobs. Here’s how to save 8,000 of them

The possibility/probability of 34,000 MORE losses yet to come.

#CutsHaveConsequences at ALL levels and in ALL communities.

Tell your MP, tell your local paper, tell ANYBODY who will listen, or the future is truly bleak

When The Music Stops or #CutsHaveConsequences

#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.

LeytonstonePolice_McLellan-23.jpg MCILG-police-206.jpgNo, 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.

Home Office–A Rule Unto Themselves? Surely Not

I won’t bore you for long today.

Basically, I made an FOI request to the Home Office asking for copies of Risk Assessments and Impact Assessments in relation to the previously announced 5% cut to Police Budgets.

They were due to answer today.

This is the response I have been given;

We are considering your request. Although the Act carries a presumption in favour of disclosure, it provides exemptions which may be used to withhold information in specified circumstances. Some of these exemptions, referred to as ‘qualified exemptions’, are subject to a public interest test. This test is used to balance the public interest in disclosure against the public interest in favour of withholding information. The Act allows us to exceed the 20 working day response target where we need to consider the public interest test fully.

The information you have requested is being considered under the exemption in section 35 (1)(a) of the Act, which provides that information can be withheld if it is likely to prejudice the policy making process and the delivery of effective government. This is a qualified exemption(s) and to consider the public interest fully we need to extend the 20 working day response period. We now aim to let you have a full response by 17 February 2015.

In the mean time you may find published reports about this subject matter useful. These include the Peel Assessment and the ‘Meeting the Challenge’ report, carried out by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC). Both these reports show that forces are successfully managing to balance their books while protecting the frontline and delivering reductions in crime and are taken into account by Ministers before they make their final decision. To access these reports please visit the following websites:

https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmic/our-work/peel-assessments/the-first-peel-assessment/

https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmic/our-work/value-for-money-inspections/policing-in-austerity-meeting-the-challenge/

Additionally, you may like to see the Provisional Police Grant Report and Written Ministerial Statement (WMS). Both these documents explain how the policing budget is calculated and how this calculation is used by Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) to plan their budgets. Please view these documents at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/police-finance

Is it just me?  Am I being mugged off?  What I’m asking for is some reassurance that they have actually considered the consequences of these cuts, not how they work the bloody budgets out in the first place. Surely that IS in the Public Interest.

So, are HMIC party to this illusion that all is well and books are being balanced? Why would Uncle Tom feed Cruella anything other than the truth?

Now I sit and wait for another month and dare I anticipate that the Home Office will invoke the exemption and ultimately refuse like they normally do? Or am I the only one who wants to be satisfied that the risks have been suitably assessed.

#cutshaveconsequences

#CutsHaveConsequences

Why Tom Really Does Deserve A Knighthood

No, seriously, he does, read on.

  • Firstly he has to contend with being referred to as The Milky Bar Kid. As one who can remember the original TV adverts that must be most traumatic.

 

  • In 2006 two of Winsor’s policies established whilst he was Rail Regulator – on the structure of network access charges (October 2000) and the conditions on which new passenger train operators without franchise contracts with the British government (called open access operators) are permitted to compete with companies which do (May 2004) – were challenged in the High Court in London. The case was a judicial review brought by Great North Eastern Railway Company Ltd against the Office of Rail Regulation. Two open access operators were joined in the case as interested third parties, one of which, Grand Central Railway Company Ltd, was a client of White & Case. Winsor therefore both represented his client and gave evidence in the case as a witness. The defence of the case was successful. [My thanks to my friend Wiki for this paragraph].

 

  • After playing with his giant train set, Mr Winsor returned to London law firm White and Case where he was gainfully employed when Theresa May MP, so called Home Secretary, appointed him to conduct a far-reaching independent review of the Police Service.

 

  • In the course of conducting Mrs May’s independent review he interviewed a number of unfit or unhealthy officers and drew certain conclusions about the obesity of today’s Police Forces. I do believe he admitted in a radio interview that he used these figures as they were the only ones he had. Must be very difficult to get accurate stats.

 

  • It took him literally weeks, head down, with his support staff to write his review, that is quite similar to David Camoron’s speech on Police Reform in 2006, spooky that.

 

  • He worked so hard on it that he seems to have forgotten to claim his fee for conducting his independent review.

 

  • He must have been tired, poor thing, as he also seems to have forgotten to conduct any Risk Assessments or Impact Assessments on his review, but maybe he didn’t need to. To be fair, although the Home Office informed me that no formal Impact Assessment had been conducted, he did in fact carry out an Equality Impact Assessment on Part 1 of his independent review.

 

  • He also successfully maintained a Chinese Wall while White and Case were advising G4S in their negotiations with Lincolnshire Police.

 

  • He was far and away the best candidate when he was appointed Chief Inspector HMIC. He must have been, he was appointed in the face of good competition despite never having actually been a member of any Police Force at any rank previously. Impressive, and he’s just had his appointment renewed so he must be doing something right. Mustn’t he?

 

  • His HMIC have been writing reports on each Police Force and how they should be dealing with Austerity, only recently proclaiming that Police Forces must work ‘smarter’ in order to #DoLessWithLess.

 

  • After much more arduous research he finally told us that official #CrimeStats could not be relied upon. This was a great shock, we didn’t know this. Who’d have thought it?

So, dear reader, there we have it. #CutsHaveConsequences (oops, nearly made a spelling mistake there), and the latest consequence is that the chief cutter has received a Knighthood in the same week as predicting smaller Police Forces.  Well, at least you should all agree with me by now, very well-deserved it is too.