Smoke And Mirrors Par Excellence

Ladies and gentlemen you have been treated to a display of Smoke and Mirrors the likes of which is seldom seen in civilised society. The Aurora Borealis  is a poor second cousin, it is an illusion that David Copperfield or Penn and Teller would be immensely proud of, and rightly so.

We have lived through a week when the illusions were so polished you might even think some people were actually lying, perish the thought.

First under the floodlights in the ring at Cruella’s Grand Illusion was the government announcement that the Public Sector Pay Cap was being lifted for Police and Prison Officers. Hardly divisive at all..  A variey of Sorceror’s Apprentices queued up or were wheeled out to try out the latest mantra.

We have accepted the recommendations of the Police Remuneration Review Body in full.

To me, this says that the PRRB have made some recommendations and that the govt have accepted and will be implementing them.

The government pay offer to the Police was this

  • a 1% increase to base pay for all ranks
  • an additional one-off non-consolidated payment to officers at federated and superintending ranks
  • a 1% increase to the London Weighting payment
  • a 1% increase to the Dog Handlers’ Allowance

So that must have been what the PRRB recommended right? Well, let’s take a look


Well that’s not exactly what the government offered was it?  What were the other recommendations?


That’s DOUBLE what the government are offering.



Time will tell what happens with 3 & 4 but you can see from 1 & 2 that the Smoke and Mirrors has already begun.

The additional (1%) non-consolidated ‘bonus’ has proved to be quite controversial. Government has decreed that it must be paid from existing (reduced, stretched, unsustainable)!Police Budgets.  Many Chief Constables and PCCs have already warned that this could mean the loss of even more Police Officers in order to pay for it.

We didn’t realise it at the time but this was just the beginning of a cynical subterfuge by government. It was about to get worse. 

Enter into the ring the grand illusionist, Cruella the Magnificent.

At Prime Minister’s Questions Theresa May had the absolute affrontery to claim that in the 7 years since 2010 Police pay had increased by 32%.

Despite seven years of pay rises at 1% or less, she claimed a new police officer in 2010 would have actually gained £9,000 once progression pay and the rise in the income tax personal allowance was factored in.  So even once inflation, now at 2.9%, was factored in, the rise in real-terms take-home pay was still worth 32%, she boldly claimed. 

Unfortunately if a Prime Minister says something many will accept it as a fact, after all politicians don’t lie do they?  The Police Federation went so far as to accuse her of telling an outright lie.

Mrs May’s ludicrous, and highly selective, claim only just holds true for a hypothetical Constable joining in 2010 and making normal progression with increased seniority, nothing to do with pay rises in the traditional sense. A full explanation can be read here.

Just when things were beginning to settle down, the smoke was thinning and drifting away, we suffered our 5th terrorist attack of 2017.  Fortunately nobody was killed or very seriously injured but it could easily have been very much worse.

In a period of rising crime, increasing terrorist activity and who-knows-what other, increasing, demands on the Police Service Prime Minister, Theresa May, is recklessly continuing with her agenda of Police Reform and slashing the numbers that do not matter. 20,000 fewer Police Officers than there were in 2010. What does that really look like?  

I’ve used this graphic before, but I like it. I think it shows the loss of 20,000 Police Officers brilliantly. If you imagine the areas of England and Wales shaded pink, that’s what 20,000 fewer officers looks like.  Not one single Police Officer in any of the pink areas, not one.  Does anybody outside Conservative HQ really think that is a good idea, or sustainable in the face of the threats we now encounter?

So, as we now have 20,000 fewer, like it not, it’s the reality, we were told after Friday’s latest terrorist attack that “extra”armed Police would be patrolling the streets, the Threat Level has been raised to Critical, and extra officers generally would be on duty, assisted by armed soldiers where appropriate.

Let us be very clear.  There are NO extra Armed Police Officers.  There are NO extra Police Officers available of any kind.  We cannot just open another box of Police Officers and deploy them. Mrs May and her policies have emptied all the boxes. So where are all these “extra” officers coming from then?

The answer is incredibly simple.  They are the very same officers that have always been there.  They will be working longer shifts, they will be working on what should be their Rest Days, but have been cancelled. They may even be working on what should have been their Annual Leave but it may have been cancelled in extreme circumstances.

The only officers that could conceivably be described as ‘extra’ are those from the Civil Nuclear Constabulary and Ministry of Defence Police.  They are not really extra, they’re always there, they’re just not counted in the 43 Constabularies, and their numbers are really quite small.  Mrs May’s 20,000 will, inevitably, have included some Armed officers.  I don’t know the exact numbers but there are fewer armed officers now than 7 years.  Surely there should be more?

Oh well that’s alright then, everything is covered.

No it isn’t.  The consequences of the 20,000 shortfall and May’s policies doesn’t stop here.

Those officers will rapidly suffer ‘burn out’.  They cannot be expected to work 12-16 hour shifts, work their days off and still be as bright as a button, it doesn’t work like that.  They will be tired, possibly grumpy, their reactions and judgement will not be at their optimum.  I have already seen officers claiming that all Rest Days have been cancelled in London this weekend.  This could have been avoided if not for May’s policies.

The officers will be incurring overtime.  They have the option of taking Time Off in Lieu or being paid for it.  Time Off in Lieu just creates a problem further down the line, either there will be a shortage of officers available on some date in the future as officers begin to take the time they are owed, or they will find themselves unable to take Time Off that they are rightfully owed, further adding to their stress and fatigue.  Or they could opt to be paid for their overtime, only we are constantly being told that there is no money.  Police Stations are being closed and sold off, numbers of Poli e Dogs and Horses are being reduced in an attempt to save money. 20,000 officers have disappeared. Yet we still think officers can be paid for their overtime.

I can only assume that Theresa May must be incredibly proud of her achievements as she shows no sign of admitting that she was wrong or attempting to rectify the situation. I have never before heard a Prime Minister sound quite so insincere when she speaks. 

Mrs May and a small number of collaborators will soon have completed the destruction of Policing as we know it in this country.   All behind a display of Smoke and Mirrors, the like of which we very seldom see.

Finally, whilst this post has concentrated on the Police, I wish to make it crystal clear that I support ALL of our Public Sector and that they should ALL get a fair deal from the government, although I am not holding my breath on that one.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you, The Tories, Masters of Illusion.

How Long Before The Government Destruction Of The British Police Service Is Complete?

Wow, that is some headline. Do I really mean it? On reflection I believe that I do. Isn’t it a bit OTT?  No, I don’t think it is. I actually believe that this government, driven by Cameron and May initially, and now May and Rudd have systematically plotted the destruction of the British Police Service as we know it.

Why?

I really have no idea. There have been numerous suggestions why put forward over the past seven years and I’m really not sure which ones I favour.

Winsor’s Independent Reviews of the Police Service. Nothing much ‘Independent’ about them. Not one single Risk or Impact Assessment carried out to produce two volumes closely mimicking David Cameron’s speech of 2006.  Does anybody really think they were ‘Independent’? Are we really expected to swallow that the author (Winsor) never claimed his fee? Yeah right.

Why else do I think it’s a deliberate strategy by government?

Since 2010 approx 21,000 Police Officer posts have been shed from England and Wales alone.

Include reductions to PCSOs, Police Staff, Specials etc and the picture looks like this for England and Wales


I only currently have the data for Police Officers but including Scotland and Northern Ireland doesn’t really improve the picture much, they have, broadly speaking, stood still, neither gaining nor losing significant numbers

Surely it is not possible to manipulate the loss of Police Officers and their various support staff on such a scale without it being a deliberate act, and #Austerity is pretty much discredited now.  So what is the reason?

One of the Tory lies is that they have protected the Front Line, well would dispute that promise most vehemently, the government’s own data disproves that one

So, what makes me certain that it’s a deliberate act by government?  Firstly, losses on this scale can hardly be an accident or a mistake.  Even Tory MPs have occasionally gone off-script and complained that there were insufficient officers to deal with incidents that had arisen in their constituencies.  Having been reminded that their party had caused it they mysteriously went quiet. Head Office had presumably reminded them of the script.

Police Forces across the land have been forced to sell “the family silver” in order to reduce the worst effects of the cuts. Real Estate that will never be replaced. Over 600 Police Stations or Front  Counters closed, over 100 more earmarked for closure. Housing stock, training facilities and Feeding Centres etc sold off. How and when will they be replaced? Simple, they won’t be.

Traditionally Mutual Aid has been used by Forces in need of urgent, short-term assistance with a serious Policing problem.  Move a few dozen officers on loan to anotherForce  for a day or two. Only with constantly shrinking numbers that isn’t as simple as it used to be, as there are no longer an adequate number left behind.

Current losses of Officers alone are the equivalent of the areas shaded in pink having NOT ONE SINGLE POLICE OFFICER OF ANY RANK ON THE FORCE.


How can that possibly be anything other than deliberate?

Slowly, Some Chief Officers are waking up and complaining that their officer strength is not sustainable. Too little, too late and by many, no action whatsoever. Even recently some Chief Officers have claimed to have sufficient resources to Police their communities. How can that possibly be true?  Are they really saying that they have been over-staffed for years?  I don’t want to believe it but are ACPO/NPCC in cahoots with government, quietly standing by whilst their Police Forces are dismantled?

Modern recruitment regimes also affect the makeup of Police Forces.  Schemes that recruit ‘top graduates’ are guaranteed to change the face of the Force. Regarding it as a job for about 5 years instead of a dedicated devotion for 30 years or more will quickly make a difference. Adopting the MOD regime of dispensing withtheir expensive, experienced workforce and replacing thhem with cheap recruits also has an inevitable impact. Again, I can only believe that it’s part of a deliberate plan. 

The final thing to convince me was reading GrahamWettone’s excellent blogpost The Policing Crisis express has left the station.  It made me realise that I’m not the only person thinking this way.   

I can but agree with Graham.  This #CrisisInPolicing has been going on long enough that David Cameron  (before he stood down) or Theresa May, maybe even Amber Rudd could actually acknowledge this crisis and set plans in motion to save the Police Service.  They have done no such  thing.

Why?

You can call me a Conspiracy Theorist, I really don’t care. What I am is passionate about my former career and the ‘colleagues’ still ‘on duty’. Pay frozen, Pension increased, pay more for longer, receive less. This Mrs May just does not care.

Meanwhile the shrinkage just goes on.

If you are not already aware another former officer Peter Kirkham (@PeterKirkham) is doing a fine job highlighting the #CrisisInPolicing. Find out more here

Police Resignations Double In 4 Years – The Truth

Such was the headline in The Times recently.  It got me thinking.  Have they? Have they really?

For some reason that I cannot quite guess The Times relied on the Freedom of Information Act for their figures.  Police Forces are well known for avoiding and refusing FOI requests, or simply not responding.  Why not use the twice-yearly publications from the Home Office covering the whole of England and Wales? Not only are ALL 43 Forces included, they contain much more detailed information.  Maybe that’s the problem, detail gets in the way of the story?

The article in The Times included claims such as

Resignations at the Metropolitan Police, the country’s biggest force, jumped from 337 in 2011-12 to 626 in 2015-16, according to figures obtained through a freedom of information (FoI) request.

and

During the same period resignations more than doubled at both Avon and Somerset Constabulary and Northumbria police

and

At Thames Valley resignations rose from 56 in 2011-12 to 100 in 2015-16. In Kent they rose from 50 to 94. Greater Manchester police had 48 resignations in 2011-12 and 77 in 2015-16. West Midlands police saw resignations rise by nearly 70 per cent over the period.

I normally like a numbers challenge so I decided to check it out.  Was this a real story or just a bit of lazy headline-grabbing? Initially I thought that the examples such as Avon & Somerset were not really that dramatic as the actual numbers were small. Time to take a closer look.

The first thing I noticed was that the Thunderer correctly pointed out that their figures for resignations were additional to Resignations, but there are other reasons/methods for leaving the Service.

The first thing to look at was how many had left in total, for any reason.

The first three years were high, as expected, as the Home Secretary’s wishes began to bite, but then we see a spike in 2015/16. What does that represent?  Let’s take a look at the reasons for leaving the Police Service.  I totally ignored Transferees as they leave one Force and join another, so the net effect on Policing England and Wales is nil.

The one thing that immediately becomes apparent is that more officers are definitely leaving the Police Service in the last two years.  After the initial purge by Theresa May, it calmed down a bit in 2013-2015, but between 2015 and 2017 the rate has crept back up again and is almost as high as it was in 2011/12.

But what about Voluntary Resignations?  At first glance it seems that they are indeed close to being double in 2015/16 as they were in 2011/12 as claimed by The Times.  Close but no cigar.  However I did note that Voluntary Resignations have increased year on year every single year, without exception, since 2011.

Then I had a clever (sneaky) thought.  Don’t count numbers, count percentages.  Counting numbers tells you MOST of the story.  If you want the full story count the numbers as a percentage of (a diminishing) Establishment.

So I looked at Voluintary Resignations and Total Leavers as a percentage of the relevant Establishment for the year in question. Lo and Behold a slightly different picture emerged. Across the whole of England and Wales (NOT including BTP) Voluntary Resignations in 2015/2016 were indeed double the figure for 2011/2012.  And what is more that percentage continued for 2016/2017.  Not only was The Times right, but it is actually worse than they thought because that rate has not yet diminished.

I also noted that, although the numbers are small, Dismissals have risen by over 60% between 2011 and 2017.  Is this a coincidence or part of a darker plan?

The Police Service is not only shrinking, it is shrinking at a much faster rate than previously. I have to admit that The Times were not only right, but the reality is actually slightly worse than they claimed.

The good news is that this is not a problem.  The College of Policing tells us that this is not a problem.

People enter and move around external industries all of the time – there is a healthy churn of experience and skill.

So it’s healthy, a Healthy Churn. Thank God for that, I was beginning to think that there was a #CrisisInPolicing.

The Home Office Version Longer Term

NHS Reforms Are Working, Waiting Times Are Down

I am NOT having a go at the NHS.  I am a staunch supporter of the NHS, half of my family have, or do, work for the NHS.

Back in February of this year I was finally referred by my GP to see a Hospital Consultant.  End of March I saw the Consultant Surgeon. Having ordered fresh X-Rays he decided that there was no option he could offer me apart from surgery, and that it was urgent.  So he put me on his Urgent List, surgery within 6 weeks.  Nothing Life-Threatening, but seriously affecting my quality of life.

Within days I was given dates for a 5 hour pre-op assessment and my operation, end of May.  No complaints there because he was taking my pre-booked holiday into account.

The day before my op I was contacted by the hospital enquiring about my general well-being and any factors that might affect my suitability for surgery the next day. During the waiting period I had contracted a chest infection, seen my GP and been presribed antibiotics (and taken them).  Sharp intake of breath and the anaesthetist decided that I could not have my op for a minimum of 4 weeks after the completion of my course of antibiotics.  A pain in the derrière, but at least I could understand that part.

Simple, naive me thought that I would simply be sent a new date >4 weeks hence. Silly me.

The very next day I somehow received a letter from the bureaucrats that, as I was “unfit for surgery” I would be removed from the list until my GP declared me fit, which would be a minimum of 4 weeks. Taken off the list, the ‘clock’ effectively reset.

4 weeks on my GP bemusedly certified me fit for surgery and a quick phone call, with letter to follow, got me back on the list. Less than a week later I got a letter informing me of new date for surgery, 12th August.  So my course of antibiotics had effectively delayed my surgery by 10 weeks, not just 4.

A new 5 hour pre-op assessment was called for as the revised date for surgery was >3 months after the previous assessment.  Annoying but fair enough, I understood the need.

Fast Forward to 10th August when I received a phone call from the hospital.  “Bad news I’m afraid, we have to cancel your op as we have no Anaesthetist that day” They hoped to be able to give me a new date later that day or the next. They haven’t managed that yet.

My gripe with this cancellation is that, unlike the previous one, there is no clinical reason for it. Jeremy Hunt has ‘Reformed’ and ‘Improved’ the NHS so that they are now required to provide a  7 day routine service and not just for Emergencies.  So there will be increased resources for that then? No. A 5 day a week service now has to cover 7 days a week with no extra staff.

As I sit here and wait for new appointment when I should have been waking up after my operation it occurs to me that the Surgeon, his Registrar(s) and the Theatre Nurses were rostered to work today but can’t because there are no spare Anaeshetists to cover for the one who has presumably gone Sick. What are those highly skilled professionals doing today now?  Checking paper clips and stitches ready for Monday? Who knows?

So Hunt’s ‘Reforms’ of the NHS have, totally precictably, led to a situation where when one member of the team goes down the whole thing grinds to a halt.  Refusing to increase the resources means that I COULD have had surgery on a Saturday,  only I can’t as the hospital has been robbed of all resilience by the ‘Reforms’.

I have said this before in relation to Police Reforms, but Reform is defined as

make changes in something, (especially an institution or practice) in order to improve it.

So where exactly are the improvements above Mr Hunt?

I know I’m biased, this is my personal experience of your Reformed NHS.  Working well isn’t it?

Surgery within 6 weeks is approaching “surgery within 6 months”  and as I write I still don’t have a new date but it sure as hell won’t be Monday will it?

Wherever you look in the Public Sector, the Emergency Services, the Armed Forces, they have been DESTROYED by the Conservative Party.

I hope you are proud of yourselves.

Have I Been ‘Hunted’ Down?

I thought I would leave the usual suspects in peace today.  This post is for my friends and followers in the NHS.

Before I write a single word I want to make it abundantly clear that I have the greatest respect and  admiration for the practitioners of the NHS, my ire and frustration are reserved for our politicians and any NHS Jobsworths there might be out there.

I believe that I have been a real, human victim of NHS Stats Fudging, and this is how it was done.

Some of you may know that I’m waiting for a hip replacement. My GP, in Welsh Wales, was particularly tardy in referring me to a specialist, and the reality is that he did nothing after my first X-Ray (over a period of years) until I began badgering him for a follow-up X-Ray to see how much the joint had deteriorated. Nothing.

Eventually he caved in and sent me for an X-Ray.  No complaints here, phoned the hospital to make an appointment “can you come this afternoon?”. What’s to complain about?

The results are in, the GP says “yes it has got worse, some time within the next 10 years you will need a new hip”.

My (NHS) physio saw the same X-Ray and report and decided that I needed to see a specialist, so she badgered the GP to refer me. The new  E-Referral system kicked in and worked like a dream, within a short period of time I had an appointment with a Consultant Surgeon. Another X-Ray and he decided that my cause was urgent, the joint is at risk of collapsing, a total Hip Replacement was my only option, he put me on his Urgent List, and informed me that I should get a date for surgery within about 6 weeks.

I soon received a letter informing me of a date for surgery at the end of May.  Whilst I was waiting I was asked to complete a questionnaire for the “Outcomes” Department.

Unfortunately for me it all started to go wrong when I suffered a chest infection duringmy waiting   period.  In my naievety I saw my GP, got a script for some Penicillin and got rid of said chest infection before my surgery date.  

24 hours before surgery I was contacted by a nurse enquiring about my general well-being. I thought nothing about telling her of the chest infection “but it’s all cleared up now, I had a course of anti-biotics which I’ve finished”. At that point an Anaesthetist chipped in and said I would have to wait 4 weeks from the end of my course of antibiotics before I could have surgery.  Disappointed, but I accepted it, he’s an Aneasthetist, I’m not.

The very next day I received a letter from an Admin Wallah informing me that I had been removed from the list for a minimum of 4 weeks.  After that time my GP could certify me ‘Fit for Surgery’ and I could go back on the list.  Which is precisely what happened, and that was followed by guess what?  Another date for surgery in 6 weeks time.

While I have been waiting I have been asked to fill in another questionnaire for the Outcomes Department.  My previous Outcome was presumably “Removed from the list after 6 weeks”.

If the surgery now goes ahead as planned I will be recorded as having been dealt with well within the NHS Waiting Times. The reality is that outcome is misleading.  I COULD have been offered a new date for surgery 6 weeks after the course of antibiotics, that would have taken care of the Anaesthetist’s 4 weeks and I could have accepted it. However, through no fault of my own I was removed from the list for 4 weeks then went back on it at the bottom again.  So much for an Urgent need.

I have been told that if hospitals fail to reach rheir Target Times their funding is cut. They have had to devise methods of presenting their figures to make it appear that they are not failing to hit their targets.  This is government-inspired. Thank you Mr Hunt.

The surgeon says my need is urgent, but the Jobsworths know better, and it’s OK for me to wait, just so their figures look better.  After all, a chest infection is not the fault of me or the hospital. S**t Happens as they say.

If the operation now goes ahead as planned I will have been waiting for about 5 months since I saw the surgeon, but the record wil show that I only waited about 6 weeks.

I actually blame the government (there’s a surprise) for this. 

 “Fail to hit your targets and we will reduce your funding” sounds very similar to “Do more with less” born out of another government department’s policies.

The State Of Policing 2017 Style

The date is March 2010. David Cameron has yet to win the General Election and form his ‘victorious’ coalition government.  What does the State of Policing look like?

Firstly, and,  easiest to answer, we have a full compliment of Police Stations, Canteens, Helicopters, Dogs and Horses etc etc. Nobody has yet started to sell them off in the name of #Austerity or reduce their numbers and effectiveness.

England and Wales can boast 143,734 Police Officers.

There were 16,918 PCSOs and 15,505 Specials.

79,596 members of the Civil Staff were available to assist and back up the Police Officers etc with their Admin tasks.

The total number of crimes according to the Crime Survey of England and Wales was 5,900,760. (Due to lack of reliable data for 2010 this is a ‘guestimate based on data that is available). For the Calendar Year 2011 CSEW records 6,878,190 crimes in total.*

Police will attempt to apprehend anyone suspected of being involved in crime, whatever their method and behaviour.

There are no accurate figures available online for Stop and Search in 2010/2011 due to the passing of time, but there were 1,009,126 in 2012.

The population of England and Wales was approx 55.6 Million.

Direct government funding to the Police was £9,022 Million.

David Cameron was the Leader of the Opposition.

Theresa May was ‘just’ the Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

Tom Winsor was ‘just’ a solicitor.

Fast Forward to 2017

There are now 123,142 Police Officers keeping us safe.

They are assisted and supported by 10,213 PCSOs and 13,503 Specials.

There are now 61,063 members of the Civil Staff.

Police no longer pursue criminals on motor bikes or mopeds as their bosses have banned the practice in case the poor things come off their bikes and get hurt.  They could, of course, just stop, but why would they when they know they can get away with it?

For the Calendar Year 2016 the Crime Survey of England and Wales records a total of 6,040,726 crimes.*

The latest official figures (mid 2016) give the population of England and Wales as 58.3 Million, an increase of almost 3 Million, or nearly 5%.

Direct government funding to the Police last year was £6,727 Million, reduced by about 25%.

By the end of 2015 615 Police Stations or Front Offices had been closed and a further 125 were earmarked for closure by 2020.

Police Dogs, Horses and Helicopters had all been cut back as being ‘too expensive’ with scarcely a thought to how effective they can be.

David Cameron has been Prime Minister and has now quit politics for good.

Theresa May has been Home Secretary and is now Prime Minister

Sir Thomas Winsor is now Chief Inspector of Constabulary, HMIC, despite never having been a Police Officer at any rank.

ACPO has been wound up and replaced by the National Police Chiefs Council.

College of Policing and Police Now have come into being to ‘transform’ the Police Recruitment and Training processes.

Compare the two scenarios above.  This is basically what the Tory Reforms of Policing have resulted in. How much good news is there? Anything that we can build on and improve for the future. Is the State of Policing looking secure and fit for future challenges?

Maybe there is somebody out there who could do a similar comparison for the NHS, Armed Forces, Prison Service, Education, Probation etc etc. All combined together in one place would make a mighty history of Tory Reform.

* Crime Figures quoted DO NOT include Anti Social Behaviour, Fraud or Cyber Crime

Bloody Civvies

Behind every good cop is a bloody civvie.  The oft-forgotten backbone of the Police Service is the Police Staff, affectionately known as the bloody civvies. Many people don’t realise it but the relationship between officer and civvie can be a very intense one sometimes. At the coal face they frequently work closely together and almost rely on each other equally.  For example, Police Officers have to rely on and respect the skills and judgement of the Control Room staff. Nobody wants to split the traffic in rush hour for 5-10 miles only to find a civil dispute over a hedge at the end of it, or NOT be given the true status of an active ‘Suspects On’ or ‘Officer Requires Assistance” shout. Teamwork.  They are part of ‘The Team’.

What gets forgotten is that the ‘bloody civvies’ have suffered equally, or more, during ‘The Cuts’.

I don’t have the greatest amount of time for the Corp Comms or HR staff. They tend to inhabit their own world, but the Comms Staff, Intel Assistants, Analysts, CID Clerks  (showing my age now) and the like can rightly regard themselves as ‘important’ even ‘indispensable’.

Rightly, much is made of the ever-shrinking number of front line officers. The cuts to the Police Staff make just as much difference but often pass without comment.

Well, I, and others, am commenting.

Nationally the Police Service has lost almost 20,000 Police Support Staff (NOT including PCSOs and Specials) since 2010, and that looks something like this

However, in attempt to minimise Police Officer losses,  the Met has lost proportionately more, NEARLY HALF since 2010, and that looks very much like this

It’s tempting to make a politically incorrect comment at this point, but surely ANYBODY can see that no organisation can lose almost half of its staff and continue to function as though nothing had happened.  This has to be hurting the Met in every area of its business, on top of the Police Officers they have already lost and will continue to lose.

THIS is why there is a #CrisisInPolicing

Come on Mr Khan, London can’t go on like this.  Neither can the rest of England and Wales.  It’s about bloody time that the Mayors, PCCs, Commissioner and Chief Constables joined together, and with one voice, point out to Theresa May and Amber Rudd that #CutsHaveConsequences. Not just boots on the ground, but behind the scenes.  I know of at least one Police Station where the Police Staff have been cut so hard that a warranted Police Officer has had to be taken off the streets to do the job that the redundant civvie had been doing. How mad is that?

Smoke And Mirrors? Meet Mirrors And Smoke

Dear reader I am typing this slowly as I know it’s a dry, boring subject that most of us don’t bother with, but unfortunately for you, I do. You may want to make yourself a cup of strong coffee before you read any further.

I have been looking at the strength of the various Police Forces post 2010.  The Home Office and HMIC like to quote these numbers as “officers per 100,000 head of population”.  I took a small liberty with this and I used “Constables per 100,000 head of population” as I don’t really care how many top-floor oiks there are, it’s the ground floor that interfaces with the public in the important ways.

Having aquired all the relevant data from official government statistics I laid it out and, unsurprisingly, EVERY single Force now has fewer Constables per 100,000 head of population, but the spread is not fair and even. Some have lost a far bigger percentage than others.

The luckiest Forces have only lost about 2% of their Constables (Surrey) , but others have lost as many as 30% (Greater Manchester, Nottinghamshire, West Midlands). The National Average being 20%.

I then thought that I would look and see if this had had a disproportionale or discernible effect on Crime Levels.

This was where I noticed the first anomaly.  The government quotes Police Officer numbers as “Officers per 100,000 head of population” as I mentioned above.

I soon realised that Police Force Crime Rates are quoted a “Crimes per 10,000 head of population”.  Now I know that we’re all capable of putting an extra zero on the end and making them comparable, but it could be deemed a bit more devious than that.

Measure Police Officers per 100,000 head of population gives you a bigger number, psychologically more acceptable. Dare I say “a good thing”. Makes it sound like more officers than if expressed the other way.

Measure Crimes as per 10,000 head of population gives you a smaller number, more acceptable and another “good thing”.  People might even think that crime is down.

When the post 2010, reduced, Police Force numbers are compared to the Crime Rates, MOST Forces have managed to make noticeable reductions in these crime rates.  The reductions go from 2.3% (Cleveland and Northamptonshire), to 29.7% (Cumbria) with the National Average being 11.6%.  However some have suffered increased Crime Rates between 3.4% (Merseyside) and 22.2% (Staffordshire).

The above results were judged against Office of National Statistics / Crime Survey of England & Wales data, the government’s preferred ‘official’ datase, and definitely caused me to wonder why two datasets that are obviously intertwined are expressed differently by a factor of 10.  If you wanted your audience to understand would you not use the same units for both datasets, thus enabling an obvious and instant comparison?

I did wonder what the same picture would look like, based on ‘out of favour’ Police Recorded Crime statistics.

Using the ONS/CSEW Statistics only 7 Forces did not show a reduction in the Crime Rate post 2010. Using Police Recorded Crime 24 of them (more than half) failed to show a reduction in the Crime Rate.

Those demonstrating a reduction varied between 2.7% (Nottinghamshire) and 22% (Lincolnshire).  The National Average is an INCREASE of 2.7% per 100,000 head of population. A quite different picture I’m sure you will agree,

My dislike of the ONS/CSEW methodology and resultant statistics is well know to a lot of you, and I know there are many academics out there who have tried to explain it to me and persuade me, but I’m a stubborn old git and I prefer things that can be counted rather than estimated. Police Recorded Crime has been under the spotlight for a few yerars now, and I refuse to believe that they are not somewhere acceptably close to accurate, although CSEW figures and Recorded Crime do sometimes include different categories for some bizarre reason that maybe the Home Office could explain to us.

I have deliberately excluded Fraud, Cyber Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour from both sets of figures.

The ONS/CSEW figures are consistently higher than Recorded Crime figures but their behavious is quite different.  They show a ‘decrease’ in crime which I’m sure many of you do not recognise.  They also paint a picture of most Forces winning the fight against crime and bringing it down.

Police Recorded Crime figures are significantly lower than the ONS/CSEW stats so favoured by government. However, they show that MOST Forces are failing to reduce the Crime Rate.

This is most definitely NOT a criticism of the Police Forces, they have suffered real cuts as referred to above.  The government, in the form of the Home Office, is spinning the figures to make Police Numbers appear better, crime rates appear lower and totally disguises how effective the Forces are being at combatting Crime Rates.

It is time for the government to stop crying “Crime is Down. Police Reform is Working” and deal with the reality of the situation.

Just for the sake of reassurance every single number I have used has been extracted from an official government dataset.  No guessing and estimating here ONS.

Finally, the Force that lost the biggest percentage of its Constables has experienced an INCREASE in crime of 5.2% against the Crime Survery figures and 16.5% against Police Recorded Crime.

Smoke and Mirrors have got nothing on our government.

The Finest Police Force In The World

Or it was at least, and it gives me absolutely no pleasure to write these words.

When I joined the Met a million years ago in 1972 the old sweats took delight in telling me that I was now part of the finest Police Force in the world, they were referring to the Met of course, but a case could have been made for almost any UK Police Force. British Policing was a model for so many others across the world.  You only had to spend a handful of days at Hendon to trip over any number of foreign students studying something there, if only how to drive and skid.

I wasn’t originally going to write this post, and if you inhabit the world of Twitter you will have seen much of it already in separate tweets, twats, whatever.

I have had much to say about “the cuts” over the years, and I take none of it back, but today it finally hit me how deep the Crisis In Policing truly is. However, I’m not going to mention money at all in this pcost, but there will be a few numbers. Grim numbers.  I’m not even going to rant, this is way too serious for a rant.

Firstly, as I have referred to before, the latest official stats were released this week on the number of Police Officers in England and Wales.  As expected numbers have gone down further and are at their lowest level for a long time.

The official government chart looks like this:-


If that isn’t bad enough, do you recall Mrs May saying this in 2011, when she was still Home Secretary?

 “As I said earlier, we have to meet the challenge of police reform at the same time as we meet the challenge of reducing police spending. And we have to do that while protecting – indeed, improving – frontline police services”

This year Front Line Services look like this


Another official government chart. Does that look like something that is being protected or improved?

Mrs May and/or Amber Rudd has had no influence in Scotland. Their manpower chart (official government chart) looks quite different to ours


The overall numbers might be fewer (I shall come back to that later) and they are not without problems but the chart is trending in the right direction.

The Special Constabulary were meant to be our saviours in the May/Cameron vision.  Look what has happened to them.


Yes, I know, another official government chart.

There is no pretty graph specifically for PCSOs, but they peaked at slightly under 17,000 in 2010 and had been reduced to 10,213 in March 2017

So, I made my own chart for PCSO numbers and it looks like this (my chart, official Home Office numbers)


The Police Service of Northern Ireland (Norn Iron apparently) fares no better


But look on the bright side, we must be doing better than some of those hard-to-point-at-on-a-map places in Europe? Right? WRONG

My last nice, official government chart shows that the Police Service of England and Wales has fewer officers per 100,000 head of population than Scotland and Northern Ireland. In fact even Liechtenstein (where’s that?) has more than we do.

In fact England and Wales is 7th from the BOTTOM


The only words I can think of to describe this whole situation are ‘Disgrace’ and ‘Travesty’.  Theresa May you have done this, you and David Cameron. How can we possibly claim to be the finest in the world? How will we ever be able to claim that again? You proudly claim that “Police Reform is working”.  How can you possibly say that faced with the above information, every  piece of it found in a government  Briefing Paper dated June 2107, so it is relatively current.

TJF truly

Don’t “shed a little tear”, just “dry your eyes” and get angry. Very angry.  Please feel free to share this post, particularly if your MP is on Twitter. This is a National Disgrace that our Police Service has been dragged so low down. Let’s all make our MPs aware of what the picture looks like when the dots are joined up.

I, for one, don’tlike it. If you don’t like it feel free to give your MP some grief in his/her Summer Holiday.

Ask Not What You Can Do For Your Country…

……..but what your country can do for you. No, that’s not a misprint, it’s how I meant it.

The 20th July 2017 was a dark day in the middle of a dark era.

In no particular order as they say

Parliament broke for it’s Summer Recess.  No run of the mill business, discussions, debates.  How very convenient.

The Office of National Statistics released the latest ‘official’ crime statistics.

Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) showed there were 5.9 million incidents of crime covered by the survey, a 7% reduction compared with the previous year’s survey.

The police recorded nearly 5 million offences in the year ending March 2017, which represented an annual rise of 10%; this increase is likely to reflect a range of factors, which vary by crime type, including continuing improvements to recording processes and practices, expanded offence coverage and also genuine increases in some crime types.

One set says ‘Higher’, the other set says ‘Lower’ and I have seen many arguments and reasons why one should be more reliable than the other, but, even if, the Police Recorded Crime figures are discredited and dismissed, the Crime Survey of England and Wales figures are still HIGHER than Recorded Crime, regardless of the direction of climb or fall.  So Recorded Crime should surely be regarded as a MINIMUM when resources are being allocated?

The Home Office released the latest set of Police Workforce figures, showing yet another loss of officers and Police Staff.

There were 198,684 workers employed by the 43 police forces in England and Wales on 31 March 2017, a decrease of 2,237 or 1% compared with a year earlier. This is the lowest number in the police workforce since 31 March 2003 (198,375 workers).
Similarly, police officer numbers have decreased in the last year, to 123,142 officers as at 31 March 2017. This is the lowest number of police officers at the end of a financial year since comparable records began in 1996. Records earlier than this are not directly comparable; however, they indicate that this is the lowest number of officers since 1985.

The number of officers in frontline roles has fallen, from 106,411 as at 31 March 2016 to 105,571 as at 31 March 2017, a fall of 840 officers (1%). Over the same time period the proportion of officers in frontline roles has remained stable at 93%.
The number of officers in local policing roles fell by 1.7% in the latest year, to 56,430. The proportion of officers in these roles remained stable, at 50%.

The most telling way I have seen to portray the Police Cuts is this, you may have seen it before, but it bears repeating


The bits in pink represent the size of the losses brought about by the last two governments since 2010.

As a little bit of fun, if anyone is curious as to how today compares with the ‘Gene Hunt era’ the long term history looks like this, fire up the Quattro

Sorry about the blue line Gene

 

I couldn’t find any figures earlier than 1979, and heaven only knows how accurate these are.

Between 2010 and 2016 the population of the United Kingdom increased by approx 2.5 Million.  I don’t have the figures for just England and Wales but I suspect that they account for more than half of that figure.

In short the Police are expected to deal with more crimes, more people with approx 21,000 fewer officers.

Apart from the obvious, one of the hidden problems with this is that the officers are burning out.

Returning to the title, what can your country do for you?  The government can reverse the cuts and reinstate the 21,000 or so ‘lost’ officers.  Even if they agreed to do this without reservation, reallistically nothing can change for at least a year and possibly much, much longer.

First you have to find 21,000 Graduates (more than that really) who want to join the Police for as little as £19k.

Then you have to paper sift the applications and interview the Short List candidates.

Then train them for about 4 months to get them ready for basic Street Duty.

2 years later they will hopefully be fully fledged Constables. Even Police Now couldn’t do it quicker than that.

The government need to realise that they are jeopardising Public Safety in breach of their public duty.

If Violent Crime is UP and Police Numbers are DOWN, the Population is UP, then I would say that the government, by virtue of their policy of Police Cuts, is failing in their absolute duty to ensure Public Safety.

I am in no way an authority on the subject, but I wou have thought that More People + More Crimes + Fewer Police = Government failing in its duty, but what do I know Theresa?

It is well known that the first duty of government is to protect the citizens to whom they are answerable. Few will disagree with this