One Good Way To Reduce Your Establishment……..

Or is it?

It cannot have escaped your notice that Warwickshire Constabulary are actively recruiting Civilian Investigators to investigate serious crimes.

Yesterday, Fraser Pithie, the Conservative candidate for Warwickshire, wrote an article  on the subject amusingly called Fighting Crime Not Playing Politics.  Well I think we all know that PCC candidates are all doing exactly that, playing politics.  On his website he makes mention of the fact that he used to be a Special Constable and presumably feels that this qualifies him to not only to become the Warwickshire PCC (if elected) but endows him with great vision regarding the problems of Warwickshire and for that reason we should listen to him.  Well pardon me if I’m wrong but I have known many Special Constables over the years, none of whom have I ever felt would have made a good Chairman of the Local Police Authority, which is basically what the PCCs will replace I believe.  Not that I am saying that there is anything wrong with Special Constables, but if I can try and put it in perspective, I wouldn’t consider that I was a suitable PCC candidate because I lack certain experiences for that role, and on that basis I would extend it to Special Constables.  However, I digress, Mr Pithie thinks that it’s a good idea for Warwickshire Police to recruit Civilian Investigators, and he makes the point that they do not need the powers of a warranted officer.  As I understand it, and please correct me if I’ve got it wrong, these Civilian Investigators, if recruited, will be given the same, limited, powers as PCSOs.  The Home Office last night issued a statement that they will definitely “not have any powers above the limited powers awarded by the previous government”

I have to say at this point that wording of the advert causes me considerable disquiet, but the paragraph that I like the least is this one

Provide professional specialist advice and knowledge to all colleagues within the organisation in relation to all aspects of crime investigation and case file management. Commensurate with the use of ‘designated powers’ (Police Reform Act 2002).

How can it be the place of a (temporary allegedly) civilian investigator to advise the warranted officers on the best way to do their job, or maybe we’re saving even more money by cancelling training courses and having on the job training supplied by these civilian investigators.

But to get back to the point, Mr Pithie suggests that having a number of Civilian Investigators on the Force will release other officers to “focus even more on those criminals who commit acquisitive crime, which includes house burglary, car crime and robbery.”

So, if I get back to my point, the Civilian Investigators will free up a certain number of warranted officers to get out there and proactively target the villains.  It’s a pretty well established principle that the majority of crime is committed by the minority of offenders.  Modern intelligence analysis enables us to identify the prolific, recidivist offenders and conduct proactive, intelligence-led operations against them.  They may even be successful.   So far, so good.

Where this all has the potential to go belly-up is two fold.

  1. When police conduct target operations to arrest offenders, or engage in crime reduction activities, it is not unknown to experience displacement.  Simply put this means that it is highly likely that you will be successful in the area you are operating but you will merely drive the offenders to another area, or, heaven forbid, to another county.  However, we can contend with this and I know at least one Chief Constable who would classify this as a ‘Result’.
  2. The other issue is more insidious.   If you assume for one moment that we have been successful in our operations, we have arrested the offenders and locked them up (do they still do that?) and crime has been reduced and public tranquility restored,  there is a huge temptation that Chief Constables, HMIC, Home Office, whoever will decide that your county no longer need s the number of Police Officers that it had before because the crime figures don’t justify it.  So this could be a good way to reduce your establishment and keep Mrs May happy.

Or is it?  Your PCC will be happy, Theresa May will certainly be happy because she has told you that your only target is to reduce crime and you’ve done it, well done lads and lasses, but we all know (except the politicians) that this happy state will not last.  The criminals that you have locked up will come out again, the government may not like but ‘crime families’ certainly exist and another child/adult will step up to get involved in the nicking, or worse.  The Chief Constable next door is pulling his wig off because his crime figures are suddenly going through the roof and he doesn’t know why because no-one has told him about your operations.

Whether or not we should employ these Civilian Investigators is a whole different issue, personally I’m opposed to it, but I don’t get a say.

Between 1st April 2011 and 31st March 2012 Warwickshire Constabulary said goodbye to 70 officers, predominantly Constables and Sergeants.  This represents a wastage rate of 8.2% of their establishment already.  But, worryingly, this set against them already having said goodbye to 51 officers (5.5%) in the previous year.  According to the Home Office figures only 3 officers joined in the same two year period.

I am indebted to one of the other PCC candidates, James Plaskitt, for pointing out that while the National Average Detection Rate stands at 27% (HO Stats), the rate for Warwickshire is a meagre 18%, and total reported crime has increased by 3.15% 2011/2012.  So, just maybe, Warwickshire has not actually got it right, and this latest, some may say, desperate, attempt to recruit Civilian Investigators via G4S is a cynical attempt to cover up the truth.  Warwickshire has slashed it’s Police Officers, Crime has gone up, Detection has gone down. In who’s book is this a success story?

Maybe Warwickshire have done us all a favour.  Maybe the PCC candidates, as they slug it out, can work on this, bring it to the forefront of public awareness, and put pressure on their ridiculaous idea of reducing police numbers.  Warwickshire hasn’t yet achieved a 20% reduction and look at what has happened there.  But don’t worry, they have increased the number of meetings they are having to combat the problem.  According to the HMIC report Warwickshire is on target to achieve £25m of savings by 2015.  This will include shedding 350 posts, 170 of which will be Police Officer posts.  Well they’ve achieved approximately 2 thirds of that so far, and look at what has happened in Warwickshire.

Just maybe we should hold Warwickshire up as a model Constabulary, a shining beacon.  Look public, this is what happens when you cut the establishment.  But, hey, this is just my opinion, what do you think?

One Good Way To Reduce Your Establishment……..

Or is it?

It cannot have escaped your notice that Warwickshire Constabulary are actively recruiting Civilian Investigators to investigate serious crimes.

Yesterday, Fraser Pithie, the Conservative candidate for Warwickshire, wrote an article  on the subject amusingly called Fighting Crime Not Playing Politics.  Well I think we all know that PCC candidates are all doing exactly that, playing politics.  On his website he makes mention of the fact that he used to be a Special Constable and presumably feels that this qualifies him to not only to become the Warwickshire PCC (if elected) but endows him with great vision regarding the problems of Warwickshire and for that reason we should listen to him.  Well pardon me if I’m wrong but I have known many Special Constables over the years, none of whom have I ever felt would have made a good Chairman of the Local Police Authority, which is basically what the PCCs will replace I believe.  Not that I am saying that there is anything wrong with Special Constables, but if I can try and put it in perspective, I wouldn’t consider that I was a suitable PCC candidate because I lack certain experiences for that role, and on that basis I would extend it to Special Constables.  However, I digress, Mr Pithie thinks that it’s a good idea for Warwickshire Police to recruit Civilian Investigators, and he makes the point that they do not need the powers of a warranted officer.  As I understand it, and please correct me if I’ve got it wrong, these Civilian Investigators, if recruited, will be given the same, limited, powers as PCSOs.  The Home Office last night issued a statement that they will definitely “not have any powers above the limited powers awarded by the previous government”

I have to say at this point that wording of the advert causes me considerable disquiet, but the paragraph that I like the least is this one

Provide professional specialist advice and knowledge to all colleagues within the organisation in relation to all aspects of crime investigation and case file management. Commensurate with the use of ‘designated powers’ (Police Reform Act 2002).

How can it be the place of a (temporary allegedly) civilian investigator to advise the warranted officers on the best way to do their job, or maybe we’re saving even more money by cancelling training courses and having on the job training supplied by these civilian investigators.

But to get back to the point, Mr Pithie suggests that having a number of Civilian Investigators on the Force will release other officers to “focus even more on those criminals who commit acquisitive crime, which includes house burglary, car crime and robbery.”

So, if I get back to my point, the Civilian Investigators will free up a certain number of warranted officers to get out there and proactively target the villains.  It’s a pretty well established principle that the majority of crime is committed by the minority of offenders.  Modern intelligence analysis enables us to identify the prolific, recidivist offenders and conduct proactive, intelligence-led operations against them.  They may even be successful.   So far, so good.

Where this all has the potential to go belly-up is two fold.

  1. When police conduct target operations to arrest offenders, or engage in crime reduction activities, it is not unknown to experience displacement.  Simply put this means that it is highly likely that you will be successful in the area you are operating but you will merely drive the offenders to another area, or, heaven forbid, to another county.  However, we can contend with this and I know at least one Chief Constable who would classify this as a ‘Result’.
  2. The other issue is more insidious.   If you assume for one moment that we have been successful in our operations, we have arrested the offenders and locked them up (do they still do that?) and crime has been reduced and public tranquility restored,  there is a huge temptation that Chief Constables, HMIC, Home Office, whoever will decide that your county no longer need s the number of Police Officers that it had before because the crime figures don’t justify it.  So this could be a good way to reduce your establishment and keep Mrs May happy.

Or is it?  Your PCC will be happy, Theresa May will certainly be happy because she has told you that your only target is to reduce crime and you’ve done it, well done lads and lasses, but we all know (except the politicians) that this happy state will not last.  The criminals that you have locked up will come out again, the government may not like but ‘crime families’ certainly exist and another child/adult will step up to get involved in the nicking, or worse.  The Chief Constable next door is pulling his wig off because his crime figures are suddenly going through the roof and he doesn’t know why because no-one has told him about your operations.

Whether or not we should employ these Civilian Investigators is a whole different issue, personally I’m opposed to it, but I don’t get a say.

Between 1st April 2011 and 31st March 2012 Warwickshire Constabulary said goodbye to 70 officers, predominantly Constables and Sergeants.  This represents a wastage rate of 8.2% of their establishment already.  But, worryingly, this set against them already having said goodbye to 51 officers (5.5%) in the previous year.  According to the Home Office figures only 3 officers joined in the same two year period.

I am indebted to one of the other PCC candidates, James Plaskitt, for pointing out that while the National Average Detection Rate stands at 27% (HO Stats), the rate for Warwickshire is a meagre 18%, and total reported crime has increased by 3.15% 2011/2012.  So, just maybe, Warwickshire has not actually got it right, and this latest, some may say, desperate, attempt to recruit Civilian Investigators via G4S is a cynical attempt to cover up the truth.  Warwickshire has slashed it’s Police Officers, Crime has gone up, Detection has gone down. In who’s book is this a success story?

Maybe Warwickshire have done us all a favour.  Maybe the PCC candidates, as they slug it out, can work on this, bring it to the forefront of public awareness, and put pressure on their ridiculaous idea of reducing police numbers.  Warwickshire hasn’t yet achieved a 20% reduction and look at what has happened there.  But don’t worry, they have increased the number of meetings they are having to combat the problem.  According to the HMIC report Warwickshire is on target to achieve £25m of savings by 2015.  This will include shedding 350 posts, 170 of which will be Police Officer posts.  Well they’ve achieved approximately 2 thirds of that so far, and look at what has happened in Warwickshire.

Just maybe we should hold Warwickshire up as a model Constabulary, a shining beacon.  Look public, this is what happens when you cut the establishment.  But, hey, this is just my opinion, what do you think?

Our Revered Home Secretary…………

and why we should all be happy that she will be at the helm next week while the rest of the government swan off on a well-deserved vacation.

Born in 1956, she is nearly as old as me.  She is the daughter of a Church of England clergyman.  She was educated at a variety of establishments which included St. Juliana’s Convent School for Girls, a Roman Catholic independent school in Begbroke, Oxfordshire, which closed in 1984.  In 1977 she graduated from St Hugh’s College, Oxford with a BA (Hons) in Geography.

She then had a succession of jobs, from 1977 to 1983  at the Bank of England, and from 1985 to 1997 as a financial advisor and then  as a financial consultant and senior advisor in International Affairs at the Association for Payment Clearing Services.  All excellent foundations for someone about to run the country.  A BA (Hons)  in Geography, it just doesn’t get any better than that.

Between 1986 and 1994 she was a councillor in the London Borough of Merton, where, between 1988 and 1990, she became Chairman of Education, and Deputy Group Leader and Housing Spokesman (1992–94).  In the General Election of 1992 Theresa May stood for election (and lost) in the safe Labour seat of North West Durham.  By 1994 Mrs May had become the Conservative Candidate in the by-election at Barking, but, unfortunately she lost that one too, coming 3rd to Margaret Hodge with just under 2,000 votes.

Already we are beginning to see the signs of future greatness and readiness to lead our country, a degree in Geography, various roles in the financial sector and a councillor for Merton Council .  A future Prime Minister in the making maybe.  I am getting the message clearly, worry not, your Country will be in safe hands.

In the 1997 General Election she finally succeeded and became the Conservative MP for Maidenhead.

A ‘potted history’ of her time in Parliament is as follows;

June 1999 – September 2001 – Shadow Secretary of State for Education and Employment

September 2001 – July 2002 – Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions

July 2002 – November 2003 – Chairman of the Conservative Party

November 2003 – June 2004 – Shadow Secretary of State for Transport and the Environment

June 2004 – December 2005 – Shadow Secretary of State for the Family

May 2005 – December 2005 – Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

December 2005 – January 2009 – Shadow Leader of the House of Commons

January 2009 – May 2010 – Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

May 2010 – current date – Minister for Women and Equalities

May 2010- current date – Home Secretary

She currently also holds the quite unofficial position of Government Minister most Telegraph readers would like to see sacked.

So you see, Mrs May has had a lot of Parliamentary experience, in a wide variety of roles, often multi-tasking with 2 or more jobs at the same time, for example she is currently Home Secretary AND Minister for Women and Equality so there is absolutely no way she will allow women to be disadvantaged under the Independent Review undertaken and published by Mr Tom Winsor.  I am quite certain that this great country of ours will be absolutely safe in the hands of someone so versatile as Mrs May.

Thank you for bearing with me on this journey, it is now time to remove my tongue from my cheek and make room for some coffee.

I am indebted to @Beazer916 for the photo

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary – the Nitty Gritty

Good afternoon folks, or whatever time of day it is when you’ve got your feet up with a cup of tea reading this.

You may not want to know about the nitty gritty of HMIC, in which case I apologise for taking up your time.  Some of you might believe that the devil is in the detail and want to know how HMIC works, and, possibly more importantly, how much it costs our country each year to staff this beast.

Anyway, I asked those awfully nice people at HMIC a couple of questions recently and I’ve finally been blessed with a response.

The first (cheeky I admit) question I asked them was this

a) What will be the benefits and entitlements of the new Chief Inspector HMIC’s  pension scheme?

b) How much will his contributions to that scheme be as a percentage of his salary?

The reply I got was this

You may find the following link to the recent Home Affairs Committee report on the Appointment of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary useful. Page 18 sets out the pension arrangements applicable to the post:  http://www.publications.parliament.uk/HASC – Appointment of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary.  Very useful I’m sure, but I eventually found it here http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmselect/cmhaff/183/18302.htm

I’ll try and save you a bit of time and give you the gist of it here;

Pension — The appointment will be pensionable from the outset.

  • Serving police officers will be able to continue contributing to the Police Pension Scheme (PPS) for the duration of this appointment as the post falls within the scope of the scheme (Police Pensions Act 1976). This abates the pension of retiring/retired police officers.
  • Those who are not serving police officers will be able to join the Civil Service pension scheme. This offers a choice of a career average or stakeholder pension, giving you the flexibility to choose the pension that suits you best. The alternatives are:

—  Nuvos — A high quality, index—linked defined benefit pension scheme, payable at 65, that currently has a 3.5% member contribution rate. We also make contributions and meet the bulk cost of the scheme.

—  Partnership Pension Account — This pension account provides a way of saving for retirement. The department will make contributions to a stakeholder pension, which is a form of personal pension. The departmental contribution will vary according to your age at the beginning of the tax year. You may decide how much you want to contribute, but you do not have to contribute anything. If you do contribute, the department will match your contributions up to a maximum of 3% of pensionable earnings.

I note that as a non-police officer his pension contributions will be considerably less than those of a serving officer.  I don’t know if that is anything the Federation has considered and might be able to address.

My other question, for any other number-crunchers amongst us, was this;

Could you please tell me what the current staffing levels at HMIC indicating the Job Titles and total number of staff in each job e.g. Analysts, Finance Officers etc etc. This request is designed to include all ranks/grades from Chief Inspector down to Admin Assistant.

What is the total salary bill per annum?

Well those awfully nice people sent me handful of spreadsheets which I’ve been able to unravel and this is basically what I found;

There is the equivalent of 132.7 post-holders in the Junior Staff category.  I won’t bore you with their breakdown but if you really want to know you only have to ask.  I was provided with the payscale for each grade but not each post-holder’s actual salary.  On the figures provided the annual salary bill for the junior staff (their description, not mine) is between £5,641,769 and £6,576,265 p.a.

The senior staff is a little more straightforward.

There are a totally of 17 senior posts although not all of them seem to be currently filled, or ‘culled’.

Again, individual salaries were not disclosed by post-holders are clearly identified together with their pay-bands.

The total salary for the 7 posts currently filled is between £1,125,000 and £1,159,993.

Having got my trusty abacus out, I make it that the total annual salary bill for HMIC is between £6,766,769 and £7,736,258

My regular readers will recall that this figure is more or less the annual equivalent of the Queen’s Half Hour.  Is this fair? You decide.

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary – the Nitty Gritty

Good afternoon folks, or whatever time of day it is when you’ve got your feet up with a cup of tea reading this.

You may not want to know about the nitty gritty of HMIC, in which case I apologise for taking up your time.  Some of you might believe that the devil is in the detail and want to know how HMIC works, and, possibly more importantly, how much it costs our country each year to staff this beast.

Anyway, I asked those awfully nice people at HMIC a couple of questions recently and I’ve finally been blessed with a response.

The first (cheeky I admit) question I asked them was this

a) What will be the benefits and entitlements of the new Chief Inspector HMIC’s  pension scheme?

b) How much will his contributions to that scheme be as a percentage of his salary?

The reply I got was this

You may find the following link to the recent Home Affairs Committee report on the Appointment of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary useful. Page 18 sets out the pension arrangements applicable to the post:  http://www.publications.parliament.uk/HASC – Appointment of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary.  Very useful I’m sure, but I eventually found it here http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmselect/cmhaff/183/18302.htm

I’ll try and save you a bit of time and give you the gist of it here;

Pension — The appointment will be pensionable from the outset.

  • Serving police officers will be able to continue contributing to the Police Pension Scheme (PPS) for the duration of this appointment as the post falls within the scope of the scheme (Police Pensions Act 1976). This abates the pension of retiring/retired police officers.
  • Those who are not serving police officers will be able to join the Civil Service pension scheme. This offers a choice of a career average or stakeholder pension, giving you the flexibility to choose the pension that suits you best. The alternatives are:

—  Nuvos — A high quality, index—linked defined benefit pension scheme, payable at 65, that currently has a 3.5% member contribution rate. We also make contributions and meet the bulk cost of the scheme.

—  Partnership Pension Account — This pension account provides a way of saving for retirement. The department will make contributions to a stakeholder pension, which is a form of personal pension. The departmental contribution will vary according to your age at the beginning of the tax year. You may decide how much you want to contribute, but you do not have to contribute anything. If you do contribute, the department will match your contributions up to a maximum of 3% of pensionable earnings.

I note that as a non-police officer his pension contributions will be considerably less than those of a serving officer.  I don’t know if that is anything the Federation has considered and might be able to address.

My other question, for any other number-crunchers amongst us, was this;

Could you please tell me what the current staffing levels at HMIC indicating the Job Titles and total number of staff in each job e.g. Analysts, Finance Officers etc etc. This request is designed to include all ranks/grades from Chief Inspector down to Admin Assistant.

What is the total salary bill per annum?

Well those awfully nice people sent me handful of spreadsheets which I’ve been able to unravel and this is basically what I found;

There is the equivalent of 132.7 post-holders in the Junior Staff category.  I won’t bore you with their breakdown but if you really want to know you only have to ask.  I was provided with the payscale for each grade but not each post-holder’s actual salary.  On the figures provided the annual salary bill for the junior staff (their description, not mine) is between £5,641,769 and £6,576,265 p.a.

The senior staff is a little more straightforward.

There are a totally of 17 senior posts although not all of them seem to be currently filled, or ‘culled’.

Again, individual salaries were not disclosed by post-holders are clearly identified together with their pay-bands.

The total salary for the 7 posts currently filled is between £1,125,000 and £1,159,993.

Having got my trusty abacus out, I make it that the total annual salary bill for HMIC is between £6,766,769 and £7,736,258

My regular readers will recall that this figure is more or less the annual equivalent of the Queen’s Half Hour.  Is this fair? You decide.

Thoughts from the chair (small c)

I shall keep this brief, I’m taking a rest from long blogs you’ll be pleased to know.  A brief, but perfectly civilised, exchange with @keenyn7 the other day brought the point home.  The BBC ran a perfectly good item in their evening news programme pointing out to the viewers what a great job the Armed Forces have done in stepping in at the last minute to save everybody’s arses after G4S so woefully failed to deliver.  They showed servicemen off duty, in uniform, watching the events.  They showed servicemen on duty manning scanners etc and they showed servicemen in uniform generally walking about the Olympic Park mingling with the throng.  I believe that the unit used for the purposes of this broadcast was 7 Para Horse Artillery or something similar.

They (the BBC) then interviewed several members of the public and asked them what their views were on Armed Forces personnel being deployed at the games, and if my memory is being reasonably faithful to me today, the vast majority of those interviewed were generally supportive and thought that the troops had actually contributed something positive to the Olympic Games.

All of the above I would agree with whole-heartedly, our troops have stepped in at the last minute, slept in accommodation which is not the best and reminded me of the miners strike only too readily.  They have done all of this with professionalism and good humour and we should be rightly proud of them.

What was missing from this article, and I must credit @keenyn7 for raising it, was there was not one word of praise for the extra Police on duty at the Olympic Games.  It may well be that there will be a separate news item highlighting the good work done by our professional police officers, but I’m not holding my breath.  Instead we get drip-fed news items like the infamous I’ve Met The Met sticker incident.  In my tiny mind this raises three questions:

  • Are the media anti-police?
  • Have the media been instructed by HMG not to portray the police in a positive light?
  • Why are the police not being portrayed positively when the Police Service is in a time of crisis?

I will leave you there as I did promise you a much truncated rant today, but please do feel free to add your own comments and opinions, and thanks once more to @keenyn7 for planting the seed in our minds.

RetiredAndAngry Special Award

Well I deserve a #SlapSlap for missing this one the first time round.

A notable refusal to supply me with information in relation to Staff Satisfaction Surveys.

The RetiredAndAngry Special Award for the most long-winded refusal to supply information goes to Cambridgeshire Constabulary for this valuable contribution;

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (The Act) requires us to handle all requests in a manner that is blind to the identity of the requestor. Any information released in response to a request is regarded as being published, and therefore in the public domain without caveat. We have completed all searches within Cambridgeshire Constabulary and hereby enclose your response.

Your request for information has now been considered and I am not obliged to supply the information you have requested due to exemptions provided by
the Act.

In respect of Section 1(1)(a) of the FOI Act I can confirm that Cambridgeshire Constabulary conducted a staff survey in 2011 and the raw data for that survey is held by the constabulary.

Section 17 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 requires Cambridgeshire Constabulary, when refusing to provide such information (because the
information is exempt) to provide you the applicant with a notice which: (a) states that fact, (b) specifies the exemption in question and (c) states (if that would not otherwise be apparent) why the exemption applies.

The exemptions applicable to the information are:

Section 22 – Information Intended for Future Publication

Section 22 relates to information where the authority has made a decision to publish the information but the date for publication has not been reached.

This is a qualified class based exemption and as such I am required to apply a public interest test.

Public Interest Test

Factors Favouring Early Disclosure

There is presently heightened public interest in the inner workings of constabularies due to the situation surrounding policing of high profile public events in 2012.

Factors Favouring Non-Early Disclosure

The Force Executive Board decided at the time of the survey that publication would be made of the results during the 2nd quarter of the 2012/13 financial year and the process for this publication is already in motion. The full findings will be presented to the Board in August 2012 and the publication will be made shortly thereafter, the intention is mid-September 2012.

Early publication of the information contained in the survey would add cost to the process which are unnecessary at this time as well as taking staff away from other duties at a period when there is very high demand.

Balancing Arguments

I am satisfied that there is a robust publication strategy in place to have this information put into the public domain by the end of September 2012. It is my view that the public interest at this time weighs in favour of maintaing the present publication schedule as to publish early would have a disproportionate cost in terms of both finance and manpower abstractions which at a time of increased demand is unacceptable.

In accordance with the Act, this letter represents a Refusal Notice for this particular part of your request.

RetiredAndAngry Special Award

Well I deserve a #SlapSlap for missing this one the first time round.

A notable refusal to supply me with information in relation to Staff Satisfaction Surveys.

The RetiredAndAngry Special Award for the most long-winded refusal to supply information goes to Cambridgeshire Constabulary for this valuable contribution;

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (The Act) requires us to handle all requests in a manner that is blind to the identity of the requestor. Any information released in response to a request is regarded as being published, and therefore in the public domain without caveat. We have completed all searches within Cambridgeshire Constabulary and hereby enclose your response.

Your request for information has now been considered and I am not obliged to supply the information you have requested due to exemptions provided by
the Act.

In respect of Section 1(1)(a) of the FOI Act I can confirm that Cambridgeshire Constabulary conducted a staff survey in 2011 and the raw data for that survey is held by the constabulary.

Section 17 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 requires Cambridgeshire Constabulary, when refusing to provide such information (because the
information is exempt) to provide you the applicant with a notice which: (a) states that fact, (b) specifies the exemption in question and (c) states (if that would not otherwise be apparent) why the exemption applies.

The exemptions applicable to the information are:

Section 22 – Information Intended for Future Publication

Section 22 relates to information where the authority has made a decision to publish the information but the date for publication has not been reached.

This is a qualified class based exemption and as such I am required to apply a public interest test.

Public Interest Test

Factors Favouring Early Disclosure

There is presently heightened public interest in the inner workings of constabularies due to the situation surrounding policing of high profile public events in 2012.

Factors Favouring Non-Early Disclosure

The Force Executive Board decided at the time of the survey that publication would be made of the results during the 2nd quarter of the 2012/13 financial year and the process for this publication is already in motion. The full findings will be presented to the Board in August 2012 and the publication will be made shortly thereafter, the intention is mid-September 2012.

Early publication of the information contained in the survey would add cost to the process which are unnecessary at this time as well as taking staff away from other duties at a period when there is very high demand.

Balancing Arguments

I am satisfied that there is a robust publication strategy in place to have this information put into the public domain by the end of September 2012. It is my view that the public interest at this time weighs in favour of maintaing the present publication schedule as to publish early would have a disproportionate cost in terms of both finance and manpower abstractions which at a time of increased demand is unacceptable.

In accordance with the Act, this letter represents a Refusal Notice for this particular part of your request.

The Queen’s Half Hour – The True Story

My word, we’ll have The Queen’s Half Hour The Movie next.  Perish the thought.

As promised I have given up waiting for the last two non-responders to reply, they still haven’t, so they too can enter the RetiredandAngry Hall of Shame.  Lincolnshire and Cumbria Constabularies have made no kind of response whatsoever despite being reminded on two separate occasions that they were in breach of the terms of The Freedom of Information Act 2000.  I wrote to them on 12th, 18th  and 27th July 2012 pointing this out and requesting my information.  In the case of Lincolnshire I received an acknowledgement from them to my original request and then NOTHING, not even any kind of acknowledgement to my follow-up letters.

In the case of Cumbria they sought clarification on 18th June as to whether my request related to Police Officers, Police Staff or both.  Again, not even so much as an acknowledgemwent to my follow-up letters.  Disgraceful contempt of the law.

Which brings me to the vast majority who did reply. I wrote to 45 Police Forces, including BTP and City of London.  11 out of 45 issued a Statutory Refusal Notice to comply on the grounds that it would require more than 18 hours (or £450) to retrieve the information I had asked for.  Entering the RetiredandAngry Hall of Shame for issuing Refusal Notices will be Bedfordshire,  Devon and Cornwall, Dorset, Durham, Gloucestershire,  Hampshire, Northamptonshire, Northumbria, South Wales, Suffolk and West Mercia.

6 out of the 45 Forces stated that the information simply wasn’t available, i.e. wasn’t stored in a format that allowed for its retrieval.  These 6 Forces have also been allowed entry to the RetiredandAngry Hall of Shame, they are Essex, Greater Manchester, South Yorkshire, Surrey, Warwickshire and Wiltshire.

That leaves me with 26 Forces that either supplied and comprehensive response  or at least sufficient data that I could make some reasonable estimates from.

If you would like to know the exact response from your Force, please let me know and I will endeavor to supply you with an exact copy of their reply to me.

So, from the 26 positive responses I was able to estimate the true value of the Queen’s Half Hour.

The 1st half hour of Casual Overtime made up 256,609.5 hours in the 2011/2012 Financial Year.  Where an exact Financial Value of that overtime has been supplied by the Force I have used that figure.  Where no Financial Value has been supplied I have used a figure of £15 per hour multiplied by the number of man-hours.  Some Forces differentiated between Constables and Sergeants and some didn’t.  I suspect that a flat rate of £15 per hour is possibly a little on the low side.
These figures produced a total for the 26 Forces of £4,954,500.  A simple piece of arithmetic indicates that the total for England and Wales is quite realistically almost £8 MILLION.  So those out there who thought that Policing was just another job, please think again.  Hundreds of thousands of man-hours go unpaid every year.  This does not in any way include time that officers ‘donate’ prior to the commencement of their shift in order to be ready for Parade and Briefings.

And, finally, in addition to be admitted into the RetiredandAngry Hall of Shame, the RetiredandAngry Special Award for Archaic Working Practices goes to Devon and Cornwall for this contribution;

The Finance Department have confirmed that Officers record any hours worked over 40 hours per week on their time cards which are held locally. They can also not be sure that the 30 minutes (often referred to as the Queen’s half hour) is recorded on cards in the same way for all officers.