Smoke & Mirrors Chief Constable Style

How many times have we heard “Crime is down, Police Reform is working”? Ad Nauseum I suspect.

Police Reform has turned out to be an unmitigated disaster, devised and forced through by inexperienced politicians and their hired help. Politicians who have no experience or idea of how Policing works then compound that with a stunning arrogance refusing to listen to anybody who actually KNOWS how Policing works. Nuggets such as “it’s not about the numbers”, “your job is to cut crime” and “Stop Crying Wolf” all show how Theresa May either had no clue how Policing works or deliberately ignored it. Readers will have their own view on whether Police Reform is working, my opinion is quite unequivocal.

What we don’t need are Chief Constables and their teams doing the government’s dirty work for them. We have even seen the National Police Chiefs Council seriously considering Compulsory Severance as a means to better implement “the cuts”. That is nothing short of “traitorous” in my view and should never have even been considered.

Some Chief Constables have recently spoken out about the severe effects of the cuts. In most cases these are Chief Officers who should have spoken out sooner but chose not to. However, better late than never as they say. Some have yet to see the light.

Some Chief Constables however are sticking with the government programme. Only this weekend several commentators reacted to this tweet from Gareth Morgan, Chief Constable of Staffordshire

He is quite clearly stating that available evidence supports the fact that crime reporting has increased rather than crime itself. My own personal opinion, and it is only that, is that CRIME is up. However, many commentators have pointed out (and I am paraphrasing here) that it doesn’t actually make any difference whether it is crime or the reporting of crime that has increased. The end result of either is that a depleted Police Service has fewer officers to investigate a larger number of crimes, however they made their way onto the books.

Surely Chief Constables should be pushing this argument and not appear to side with the government’s “crime is down” mantra. Fewer officers have got a greater workload. How can NPCC, HMIC and HMG not understand that simple fact?

Life on the streets is getting harder by the shift for our fine Police Officers. Every day they have to make a broken Service work.

What they don’t need is Smoke and Mirrors deployed by their own Chief Officers. I absolutely understand that Chief Constables sometimes have to make difficult and unpopular decisions but they do not have to appear as though they are siding with the government. Their loyalty should be with their officers who are striving under unimaginable pressures to serve the Public properly.

2 Comments

  1. A cynic might suggest that Police Reform hasn’t in anyway been an unmitigated disaster: if one were to change one’s point of reference, that is. Firstly, few would deny entirely the proposition that the pattern of so-called “reform” we’ve witnessed over the last seven years has borne the hallmark of a dark hand at work. If the intention of the dark hand was to test the resilience, or otherwise, of the service then we can be sure that its breaking point has now been established. It might not be in the public domain but only a fool would dismiss the suggestion that, if nothing else, the NPCC had had some very earnest discussions during the summer about national capabilities. Another major incident like Manchester Arena or London Bridge, or worse still, two on top of each other might well see the effective collapse of the service in England. Then, were some other resource-intensive incident to occur (a domestic-based active shooter might be a good example) and its outcome were ajudged to have been botched or compromised in some way as a result of the major incident abstractions then the government would have secured the golden goose – the basis of a thorough-going, ruthless Royal Commission on policing. And Lord alone knows what might come of any such enquiry but we can be sure that its unlikely to be good for the service, its heritage (by that I mean the public consent, Peelian model) or ultimately the public. And if you feel that you should dismiss this all as the addled meanderings of that cynic then where does the sense of foreboding many officers – and not just on the frontline – feel at present come from? Its as though everyone is holding their breath. And you can only do that for so long.

    • I stand admonished, you are, of course, correct. Not being a cynical person it hadn’t occurred to me to look at the issue from a different perspective. For the ‘dark hand’ Reform has indeed been a success, but I’m not sure that model is what the Public want or deserve.

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