An Open Letter To @PoliceChiefs

You are, by definition, all senior Police Officers, yet you seem to have lost touch with the fine officers that form the Front Line.

As you are obviously aware, when the Conservative-led coalition came to power in 2010 there were 142,363 Police Officers in England and Wales, excluding BTP, or 145,015 if you include BTP.  The next set of government statistics are due for release on 20th July, but the last set, up to end of September 2016, shows that there were 122,859 Officers, excluding BTP, or 126,252 including BTP. I expect that figure to have fallen again when the latest levels are revealed.

Every one of your members has worked your way up from lowly Constable to Chief Constable or Commissioner. Every last one of you.

Collectively, and individually, you KNOW what the Front Line has gone through in the last seven years, you have been there.

You absolutely KNOW that much of Policing requires Numbers.

Of the 122,859 officers left in England and Wales, 121,167 are what I would call ‘Front Line”‘, Constables, Sergeants and Inspectors. Anybody above the rank of Inspector has really joined “The Management”. NPCC Officers count for a really small percentage of the Police Workforce, 0.15% only.

Yet, for such a small number you have developed a language all of your own and have either forgotten what life is like on the Front Line or, much worse, you are choosing to ignore it.  The Front Line is VITAL to maintaining an ordered and law-abiding (relatively) society.  Who is it that controls the riots, confronts the armed criminals, looks for missing children, reports and investigates the crimes and prosecutes the offenders? The Front Line.

What do you think will happen when the Front Line is no longer there? Lawlessness, Anarchy, Crime Hotspots will become the Norm. Nobody will feel safe in their own homes, never mind on the streets.  Is that what you want?

You seem to have finally noticed that the Front Line is suffering. I can only assume that you have finally woken up and realised that the Front Line is burning out, mental and physical fatigue is spreading like a bushfire on a windy day.

What do you propose to help heal these fine, brave and hard-working officers? Accoding to your Head Fred, Sara Thornton, they should ‘decompress’ and ‘feel supported by the structures’.  Decompress?  What on earth is wrong with saying ‘Unwind”, “Unload”, “Let Off Steam” or simply “Talk”?  Structures?  Surely “Resources” or “Facilities” or dare I say “Support Systems” might be better worded?  You can’t even purport to be supporting the Front Line without phrasing it in gobbledygook Management Speak.

The Front Line comprises approximately 98% of the Police Workforce, why not use the language of the Front Line?  The NPCC constitutes less than 1/4% of the Police Workforce.

I would be horrified if you do not know exactly the stresses and strains that the Front Line are enduring.  Insufficient Detectives, too many cancelled Rest Days, too many extended tours of duty simply to cover for the Police Officers that are no longer part of the Police Workforce, culled by David Cameron and Theresa May. Too many officers off Sick with Stress or Depression.

If you are serious in your attempts to deal with the Mental Health issues creeping through the Service, put an end to physically and emotionally drained officers, restore the CID to an effective level, then, in my humble opinion, the answer is simple.

100% of the National Police Chiefs Council membership should stand united and point out, forcefully if necessary, to Theresa May and Amber Rudd, that the current situation is not tenable, not viable,  and is leading to the total collapse of an effective Police Service.

Some of your number have spoken out individually, but your entire membership, starting with Sara Thornton, needs to stand four-square and oppose the cuts. There is currently a Crisis In Policing and all the time that the NPCC adopt the ostrich stance it will only get worse. Just imagine how formidable it would be if the NPCC, The Superintendents Association and the Police Federation of England and Wales stood shoulder-to-shoulder and said to Theresa May “You are wrong, this cannot work, it does not work”. At the moment “Divide and Conquer” is winning.

Solidarity, Unity, remembering why you joined the Police Force are what is currently required. Maybe then fewer officers would need to “decompress”.

What possible excuse can you have not to?

Thank You

RetiredAndAngry

Ex Met

4 Comments

  1. Excellent piece! As a young man, wishing to apply to the police within the next year or so, I am getting increasingly concerned at the workload and lack of support for officers due to the austerity implemented by the current and previous Tory governments. My desire to join the force has not been quelled due to current circumstances, for I would not be suitable in the job if it was, but I am feeling rather depressed about the current situation and wish that I was somewhat more ignorant to the Crisis in Policing before submitting my application. Thank you for speaking up, and please do not stop until policing becomes sustainable once again.

    • retiredandangry

      Thank you Daniel, much appreciated. Fortunately my 30 years service are now behind me and I, along with others, are free to speak out where serving officers are muzzled. We will continue to do so. Good luck with your future career, I wish you all the best. I felt it was a brilliant job and I truly hope that it can be once again.

  2. An outstanding letter. Do Police Chiefs have any conscience, though? I’ve never been in the Police, but have noticed changes that don’t bode well. Resonating with one of your previous articles, our local station has been converted into flats. I miss “the bobby on the beat” – they lived locally, knew everybody – and you could chat to them. Then they disappeared. All institutions are being affected by the same malaise.
    Thanks for your informative posts.

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