Wednesday, 2 December 2009

PROTECTING THE PUBLIC:Supporting The Police to Succeed : Home Office White Paper December 2009


A long-awaited Home Office document, meant to dramatically reform the police service and slash red tape, outlines moves to dramatically cut police overtime, once again putting the Government on a crash course with front line police officers.

The paper also proposes standard police uniforms, body armour and beat cars in England and Wales.

Last year forces in England and Wales spent around £400 million on overtime. The Home Secretary, Alan Johnson will slash resources for police work at a time when the public are demanding officers spend more time on the streets. However, he also proposes huge reductions in back room staff, who are supposed to help free up officer time.

The White Paper — Protecting the Public: Supporting the Police to Succeed — sets out the Government plan to save £70 million on police overtime and £75 million by making huge cuts in back office support services over the next six months.  

The draft, released today, is available for download by clicking here, or the link in the Reference and Resource side bar. A quote from the draft states  “We will deliver better value for money for the public and achieve more frontline delivery through improving business processes, reducing bureaucracy and better deployment, at the same time saving money by reducing overtime.”

The document contains plans and long-term policies they plan to introduce, including police officers in England and Wales being required to wear the same uniform if Labour are re elected. A separate distinctive national uniform is also to be introduced in the next parliament for police community support officers.

Chris Grayling, the shadow Home Secretary, said: "This is quite clearly a real damp squib of a White Paper. There is a lack of any new real ideas and we get a clear sense that we have now is a Labour Government which has run out of steam and has no idea how to reform policing in the UK."

Only sergeants and constables are paid overtime, officers working at the front line of our society. Front end policing is where the financial support should be focused and overtime is a vital part of delivering the policing the public wants and needs. Senior Officers should have the freedom and discretion to allocate overtime according to policing priorities.

"Supporting The Police to Succeed" hardly seems appropriate when accompanied by proposals that might just push police morale over the edge.  


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